Diary Entry: Summer Evenings Being a Mom

What I love about this summer is being a mom. I can do the fun summer things, like making lemonade, cutting up watermelon, and finding fun educational things Isla hates/loves.

Isla is currently napping. She went down quite late this evening because she spent time with Nathan before he went to work today. It was a great opportunity for me to get my booty to the grocery store. I don’t mind going to the store, but it wasn’t really something I wanted to do in my 3 hour free time. Isla has been a handful lately. I don’t know what it is. She acts like she owns the adults in her life. I’m sure it’s typical behavior for a 4 year old, but it certainly drives my patience.

When Nathan got her today, she screamed and cried for at least 30 minutes because I made her wear a pair of blue pants. Her outfit is so cute. She just hates having no control over her fashion. I let her dress how she wants sometimes, but she doesn’t get that weather plays a huge role in what we wear. Teaching her has been hell. I finally put all her winter clothes in a box at the top of the closet. Now we’re trying to teach her how to look presentable (which may cause some debates).

I’m really thinking about giving her less of a wardrobe to choose from. Like 4 shorts, 4 pants, 4 shirts and 4 dresses. But then I won’t need her chest of drawers anymore. That’s ok. Minimalism is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to making choices and not feeling so overwhelmed. -I need to minimalise my closet some as well.

I’m also thinking about getting rid of a ton of her toys. She barely plays with toys. She likes to twirl and dance about in costumes more. If she plays with toys, she really only plays with her doll houses and stuffed animals or wants to read books with me. Oh, and cash registers. She loves making people pay for things!

She loves her iPad, and I love letting her play on it. It has taught her a lot. But I don’t like her being on the thing or watching stuff all day. So I’ve been taking those things away from her. She thought at first that she was being punished. I’ve told her that it’s not good to be on screens all day, and that she needs to play with her toys and use her imagination. She has caught on decently, but when she gets tired of playing and wants to watch TV, she starts to get antsy and moody. A true addiction. It’s my fault. Some summer days are just too damn hot to go outside and play. So we stay in, bored, watching Netflix. I’ve tried to break the habit by taking us to Books-a-Million for a couple of hours before nap time, and then visiting friends afterwards.

She used to watch a movie (Puss in Boots) every night while in bed to fall asleep to, while with her lamp on. I’ve cut both those out now too. She gets one day a week to watch a movie in bed, and only Christmas lights around her dresser and her Christmas light up angel (one of those fiber optic things) . She transitioned well. I was very proud!

Anyways, this was a mommy blog! Thanks for reading!!

Diary Entry: Kayaking!

I never thought I would see so many creatures as I have in the past week! I went kayaking with my friends. I was a kayak newbie, so I was a little nervous, but once I found how easy it was to go, I fell in love with it.

The first journey, we found a poor baby bird who looked almost dead in the water. I wouldn’t have thought it to be alive if I hadn’t seen it gasp for air. I had us quickly scoop it and placed it in the back of one of our kayaks.

We ventured on down stream…or up stream? It’s hard to tell with the bayous. Under the bridges I saw where birds had made giant nests. They looked so cool! The looked like giant dirt diver nests. There were ducks along the shore, quacking noisily together, and a few turtles. Then another bird in the water, its parents trying to get it out. We saved that one too. It was a baby crow.

The weather was nice that day. It was cloudy, drizzling every now and again, so the heat was super bearable. And the birds, well, we made friends with them. I kinda wanted to keep the baby crow because those things could make good pets, but I saw the mites. So I mostly held onto the little finch…if that’s the type of bird that is…he had the roughest life on sea and looked younger than the crow. Either that or crow babies are stronger. I have no idea, I’m not a bird expert.

We went kayaking again a couple days later. We went to Black Bayou. This is a national wildlife reserve, so it’s more of a swamp. This is where all the critters were. The spiders and the alligators. An eagle’s nest (did you know their nests are as big as a queen sized bed?) and many other birds. I even saw a blue heron, they recently went from endangered to the threatened list…if I’m remembering correctly.

I don’t have pictures of this trip. I didn’t want to get my phone out. But Bridget did!

Black Bayou is filled with lily pads and cypress trees. It was stunning to be in the middle of it all. The eagle’s nest is the end of the boat trail. Before we went back we all decided to tie ourselves together. It was so funny! I don’t know if it’s a normal thing to do, but I’m sure we looked quite amusing. We would play the Pirates of the Caribbean song (Daniel’s suggestion — genius!) when paddling fast. I hope someone saw and heard that…cause it made my day for sure.

As beautiful as the swamp was…I do not care to go back on those waters. Too much anxiety about capsizing among the gators and spiders.

Forgiveness

I will probably look like the chick from the Grudge in this blog post. Hopefully not by the end of it, though.

I always thought I was someone who had the upper hand in forgiving people. As naive as it sounds, I have always had such a hard time holding grudges. Then I met Laura.

Laura did some very awful things to me. She two faced me. She pretended to be a friend, but ultimately changed my whole life. Granted, it worked things out for the better, now. I saw that when I met Daniel, and realized what it was like to be truly loved.

Laura. She’s a spider in my life.

And because of her, I know what it feels like to have a hard time forgiving.

When I first began going to the Catholic Church, journeying through RCIA, one obstacle was confession. Because of my grudge on Laura, I wasn’t sure how to explain to the priest that my problem was deeper than just an easy sin. It was something I couldn’t change. Something bad that hurt me….that made me hate myself and cry.

How do you just forgive someone who turned your whole world around? Once I became Catholic, I visited a priest in another town every couple of weeks to talk about it. He could see how hurt I was, from what she did, the oppression, and from my own transgression. He would spend the time speaking to me about it, encouraging me to keep praying. He saw my problem… if I forgive her, I would have to be friendly with her. But I didn’t want to be friendly. I didn’t want to be around her. And he told me that forgiveness doesn’t mean being friends. I had to come to terms with this. This had been a problem my whole life. I always forgave…and forgot…and continued. I was naive. Thinking staying friends with people who did me wrong would make things right again…

I also read a verse somewhere, either during a Mass reading or on my own, that Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross to forgive everyone, and how little my burden is compared to that sacrifice. It would make me cry staring at the crucifix. He wants my yolk. How could I be so bitter…

It’s been since 2016. I only now feel the affects of forgiveness towards her. The anger I used to feel at her name, at seeing her, it has become more like a pity feeling. I just want her away from my daughter and to move on. I don’t need Isla learning that it’s ok. But for so long I wanted her to taste her own medicine, to feel pain twice more than she made me feel. And I hated that. It didn’t help. It only made me more angry when I didn’t see her in pain.

To conclude:

I see more than ever that there needs to be a balance between forgiveness and friendliness. Sometimes, friendliness is necessary. Other times, it is not. And being concerned about vengeance can only keep you in the darkness of a grudge.

This quote from St. Philip Neri is perfect!!

“If a man finds it very hard to forgive injuries, let him look at a Crucifix, and think that Christ shed all His Blood for him, and not only forgave His enemies, but even prayed His Heavenly Father to forgive them also. Let him remember that when he says the Pater Noster, every day, instead of asking pardon for his sins, he is calling down vengeance on himself.”
–Saint Philip Neri

picture from Forgive Me, But Forgiveness Ain’t Easy by Cynthia Toussaint which is a cool blog about forgiveness! How relevant!

Diary Entry: Spiders

I really don’t like when I go through random nights of nightmares and uncomfortable sleep. Daniel just bought my grandmother’s house…so now it’s his house….it feels weird to say it. We’re in the middle of doing some renovations and setting it up so he can finally move in. We packed up everything in his apartment. It’s a lofty flat, so everything is under his bed and the place is not well insulated from the outside world. In other words…SPIDERS EVERYWHERE!

OK, not everywhere, but my mind couldn’t help but think they were scurrying away from his grasp (I didn’t help because spiders) as he pulled things out from under the bed, waiting to crawl onto the blankets and attack us at our most vulnerable.

So, when all was said and done, I had spider nightmares all night! It didn’t help that the night before I saw a spider scurrying across my bed, and another chilling between my nightstand and the wall. I kept waking up slapping myself, scared spiders were on me. I’m still uneasy about sleeping in my bed.

And then we went kayaking at Black Bayou. Water spiders….EVERYWHERE. When we made it back to shore 2 hours later, our kayaks were covered in the creatures. Especially Daniel’s. His kayak had been swarmed by them. He is just so chill about them! HOW CAN HE BE SO CHILL ABOUT THEM?!

I hate spiders….

Photo by Rangarajan Ragunathan on Unsplash

Diary Entry: Isla is Going to Pre-K

Isla was accepted into pre-k. I’m a little worried about how much she should know. I’m sure she knows enough… but I remember how I struggled in school. I don’t want Isla to feel like I did.

I wasn’t a bad student, but I remember having a hard time understanding what I was being taught. I was mostly in my own head, and I didn’t spend enough time going over my lessons. It’s amazing that I was an honor-roll student. I practically guessed on tests.

I want to start teaching Isla over the summer. I want her to know how to count to 20 and say her ABC’s. Maybe even read a little. I don’t think I’m a great teacher though. I don’t know how some mothers homeschool. I would love to homeschool, but HOW!? And WHY?!

Isla can learn so much better at school. The only thing that really bothers me about sending her off…is sending her off on her own, with all those different kids to interact with and teachers to raise her academically. I didn’t think I would be the mom to be afraid of leaving my child at school…but the thought of her starting school makes me feel anxious.

Mom says she should ride the bus after school. But I don’t think I want her riding the bus for a long time. I want to make sure she’s in good hands. I saw too much bad on school buses. When I was in kindergarten, my bus driver treated me like crap. Strait up left me on the bus after school because I fell asleep. She also purposefully slammed the bus door into my nose and screamed at me for crying about it. I ended up tripping because of the pain and tears and busted my nose. I have a crocked nose…and I blame that day and that lady.

I was also bullied a lot on the bus, and I remember people bullying others. Especially the poor younger kids. And the bus drivers themselves were kinda mean.

It was a great day when I no longer had to ride the bus. The last 2 years of high school were bliss.

This has become a rant about school buses.

Anyways, I came up with a plan to start teaching Isla everyday of the week. And when Nathan’s off, spending an hour of our time together to sit Isla down to learn. Then have Daniel question her when he’s over. He’ll be like her tests. I suppose I will start this coming up Monday.

I don’t want to be too hard on her. I just want her to be prepared.

Gosh, I’m so nervous about it.

Diary Entry: Memphis, Tennessee

Daniel and I joined Nick and Lara yesterday – today in Memphis.

Daniel and I carpooled with them.

I have never been to Memphis, so I was pretty thrilled! Our plan was to go to the zoo today and hang out in Memphis last night. We only live about 5 hours away. Only about 30 minutes longer than Dallas and about the same as NOLA. I don’t know why I’ve been to Dallas and NOLA so much and never Memphis.

We stayed in this nice hostel located in a church in the center of a busy area, which was very convenient. It was one room with two bunk beds for us. It was kind of a communal bathroom. Kind of. One side had 4 or 5 private bathrooms, and the other side was shared. I stuck with the private bathrooms.

We went to this great coffee shop that had a pistachio frappe. Pistachio is one of my favorite flavors of anything. Why is pistachio such a good dessert!! We sipped on our drinks and played chess for a little bit before going to get some BBQ at Central BBQ.

This is when my nerd luck came out. I had apparently touched something I am allergic to in the coffee shop. I’m not allergic to anything that I know of except lobster. My left hand broke into a hivey rash. But once we got to Central BBQ, I washed my hand off and the hives went away.

We then went to play putt-putt, then some ping pong at this club/bar/hangout that was really cool! It was for people over 21. They had a volleyball court, ping pong, beer pong, and an outside band area, etc. I enjoyed ping pong until I slid into a step up and peeled my toenail back. Then my legs freaked out and broke into a very itchy rash.

So Daniel and I went back to the hostel because I sucked.

This morning, we woke up and went to the zoo! We got there around 10. I have never been in such a big zoo! It was basically a rideless themepark!

I finally got to see pandas and penguins!! And we also saw jaguars make love lol.

Pandas are interesting bears! They sit so funny! The eat and sleep. I can respect that.

We spent 5 hours at the zoo. Now we’re finally on our way back home. It was a great time for sure!

Memphis is a cool city! It has that small town vibe, but it’s big and has lots to do. A better version of Austin. In a way. Austin has it’s perks. Basically, I could live in both those cities and love it always, if I was into leaving home.

I thought about how home is only a short ways away from several big cities. And I like that. I prefer that. I can visit Dallas, Shreveport, Memphis, Little Rock, NOLA, Jackson in a day. And that’s amazing, isn’t it?