I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Little Things

You know, sometimes it's the little things that can make a bad day get ten times better.
This morning was absolutely stressful. I was running late. The kids were being uncooperative, feeding off of my tension I guess. Caden was just not wanting anything to do with listening to Mommy. He wanted a diaper (he's been potty trained for maybe a month or two now) and Sean wouldn't stop rolling while I was trying to change his diaper. Then Sean wanted to follow me everywhere, whining the entire way. Caden didn't want to put his pants on- he wanted to watch Harry Potter.
The dogs both ran out from my backyard through the hole they dug under the fence. When they finally came back, they tracked black mud through my carpet and when they decided to shake their coats dry, black mud splattered the walls.
I forgot to take my meds last night so my head was ringing with a headache.
When I finally got to work, I put on my make up and felt a little better. Then. A phone call comes in, my coworker telling me that my superintendent didn't feel like answering the phones and wants me to work at his building to come do it. WTF!!!!
So it's pouring rain. I'm low on fuel and do not have anymore room in my budget for it. But now I have to use even more gas just to get to a workplace where some lazy ass doesn't feel like stepping up and answering phones. Should I also make him some damn coffee and wipe his ass for him?
I decided that for the first time, I want to have a cigarette in the morning. Normally, I'll have one at lunch. MAYBE even one at night after the kids are asleep. It's just an indulgence. Not a habit. It doesn't control me. But today. Today I wanted one in the morning. I really hate the smell of cigarettes. Especially when it's on my clothes. It's disgusting. I smoke the grape flavored ones so it's not that bad. But still. I didn't care.
So I put on my great big jacket with the hoodie on it. And I realize as it's pouring out. I am wearing my ex's jacket!!! We have the exact same jacket and we both used ours for rainy days. I guess during the move, I accidentally packed it thinking it was mine.
So somewhere his poor non-childsupport-paying-constantly-lying-narcissistic ass is walking around without his precious jacket. You know, I always avoid thinking negative thoughts of him. Anytime I'm strapped for cash and having to ask family for diaper or formula money, I refrain from talking or even thinking badly about him. But today, just knowing that I caused him to be jacket-less and not even on purpose, it just made me smile. I was giggling about it for just a couple of minutes and then had to tell myself that I can only be evil for a short while.
I guess sometimes you just need a teeny bit of wickedness to lift your mood.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Okay, I have absolutely no clue about stocks, marketing, CD’s, or any other investment type of … thing. I am a complete ditz when it comes to this stuff. But I’ve been thinking, a friend of mine just told me he’s thinking of cashing in some stocks. Instead of taking out a loan to get a building done up for his business, he wants to cash in stocks? Why does that phrase, “cash in stocks” sound so damn appealing to me? Where are these stocks and how can I cash them in too?
I realized that I am way behind in the financial world. Actually I’m not even behind. I’m nonexistent!! I’m a pee-on! I need to get my head outta my ass and find out what I need to do in order to secure my and my kids’ futures financially! I mean, what if I was forced out of my job for some reason? I don’t even have a credit card I can use because the one I do have is max’d out due to bills and groceries! Wow, I am in some trouble or at least heading down the wrong path.
So I’ve decided I am going to take some time as often as I can to learn about the stock market. It’s boring as hell and I remember watching Trading Places (with Eddie Murphy) and not having a clue what the hell it was really about. It was funny and entertaining, but I felt really stupid. So other than studying for promotion (please God, keep me focused), I will be studying for even more money. Maybe in order to keep me faithful to this, I’ll have to come back and write about what I’ve learned so far. That’s what I”ll do. I’ll try to make it as fun and interesting as I possibly can. Even though it’ll be pretty tough. I’m not looking forward to it at all. But I am interested in making money.
If you have any tips for me, please please PLEASE share them! Oh! Before I forget, I did find a website that might help me and whoever else is even slightly interested in learning about this stuff. The article is titled Introduction to Stocks 101.
I guess I have some learning to do. I’ll let you know how it’s coming.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dreams, Passions, the Desire

I was chatting with my friend Patrick last week and our conversation sparked an intense inspiration in me that I haven't felt in so long! It was about dreams, passion, desire, sacrifices, etc. It isn't about love, well of course love would be included along the way. It is about US, our lives and our goals- our dreams.

He has been reading a chapter in a book, focusing on Desire. He said that in it, he learned that many people dream but not many have the desire to reach the dream. Here are the questions he asked me, to kind of light the inspirational fire and of course ignite an intriguing conversation. I love intellectual conversations. Okay, okay, here are the questions that he asked me and I now ask YOU:

1. What are your dreams?
2. Do you have the desire to make those dreams a reality?
3. What will you give up in order to make that happen?
4. What happens when you finally reach that dream? What's next?
5. How do you know if it's the right dream?

These are all incredibly wise questions and I felt they deserved well-examined answers. Here are my thoughts:
Yes, many of us dream and not many have the desire to reach them. And not all dreams are the right ones, therefore not all are worth the sacrifices. But I believe that if one finds within themselves their skills, talents, and passions then they will be able to dream the right dream and if they have the desire, they can reach the dream. If it is the right dream, it will be worth the sacrifices. And if it is the right dream, there will be no "what next" because the dream gives back-- not to ourselves but to others. And we will keep dreaming and keep reaching and serving and inspiring others to find their own purpose in life. That is my belief.

When people are asked "What are your dreams?" you always hear the common answers: "I want to be a millionaire," "I want to fly a plane," "I want..." I want, I want, I want. I think that to dream the right dream, you first have to discover what God has planted inside you. What are your skills? What are your passions? And the even bigger question- what do the people need from you? What do you have to give the world? You don't have to adopt a child or start a caucus or anything. But you should look deep inside and find out what is pulling at your heart. Many people who were abused as children work at their healing and then go on to reaching out to others who have suffered the same pain. Many people who now run domestic violence shelters, work as doctors, or even artists, give back to the world through their own healing. You'll know your dream is the right dream if it is tugging at your heart and soul, and involves impacting the world in a positive way even if not in a big way.

Someone once told me that there is only one difference between people who dream big dreams and people who do big things-- action. Do you have the desire to make your dream become a reality? Talk is cheap and only good for entertainment. If all you want to do is dream, that's completely your right and your prerogative. But I ask you, what kind of life are you living if it is not a purposeful one? Find out what it takes to reach your dream. Are you willing to do it? If not, ask yourself why not? Don't make excuses, give a valid answer.
What will you give up to make your dreams become a reality? As a single mother, I know it's hard to juggle school and work, life, children, and all the things in-between. But I don't ever plan on using my kids as a reason to stop pursuing my education. And you shouldn't either. Nothing puts a more negative impact on your child's self esteem than letting them know that they caused you to stop your life. Instead, you should be leading an example for them! Even if you can only take one class a year and spend the rest of the year reading books. Do something that keeps you on the path to fulfilling your dreams! Stepping stones may be small, but they lead you somewhere. Let your children see you working to attain your goals. This tells them that life is important and valuable!

What happens when you finally reach your dream? Once you "get there," keep on dreaming and work for OTHERS instead. This is where you are most purposeful. When you finally reach your dream and think you're done, you have failed! What a waste it is to believe you've fulfilled your purpose and you're still alive! LOL Seriously, once you believe you have reached that position, it is time to give to others if you haven't already. Make your dream serve others, humans and animals alike.

How do you know if it's the right dream? This is just my opinion and it may make sense only to me but I believe it. It is the right dream and it is worth the sacrifices if you've reached that last paragraph above and finish til the last sentence and implement it.

Happy dreaming, everyone.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Newly Single Mom's Financial Shock

Finances are precious, precious things for the single mom.  Whether you are or aren't receiving child support, you will find yourself accounting for every penny you have.  I’ve got two young kids who are both in daycare and one just started potty training.  I’m looking at $800+ a month in daycare costs.  Then there’s diapers, formula, baby wipes, pull ups, and the regular groceries on top of that.  Living off of one paycheck and no child support left me waiting impatiently for the next payday.  

I had to learn to adjust my lifestyle according to what I had in my wallet.

My wallet.  :-/
When you’re a new single mom, you realize that you’ve taken that second paycheck for granted.  When you did your grocery shopping, you pulled things off the shelf after deciding it was better than the item next to it.  You got the best type of baby formula.  You threw in an extra 3-pack of baby bottles.  And who the heck doesn’t believe that Huggies is way better than Pampers?  Oh and btw, those cool strawberry puffballs in the can made just for your infant?  Loved those.  You didn’t realize how much more you were spending and how much more you could’ve been saving! 

Your household income is now half of what it used to be and since your paycheck is the only source of income, you’re going to have to do more with less.  My $800 in daycare costs was fine with two paychecks but now I have to carry that alone AND buy the groceries, and pay the bills, and I need an oil change for my car!  Oh and plus, I’ve got two dogs so we’re looking at dog food AND possible vet bills.  

What’s a girl to do? 

First things first.  Write a list of all your expenses.  All of it.  Be honest with yourself.  Everyone has a habit they’ve got to admit to.  If it makes you feel better, I’ll admit mine—I eat out too damned much. 

Strip it down to the bare necessities.  Let’s say: Groceries, Rent, Utilities, Auto, Debt Payments, Clothing.  Now take a look at the bare necessities.  How can you minimize spending in each of these categories?   

Look at your utilities—do you really need cable?  If you can’t or don’t want to get rid of it, at least take it down to the basic channels.  I use Netflix- $15 a month is wayyy better than a cable bill.  Do you have a cell phone?  If so, why do you also have a house phone?  Save money on electricity and water by shutting off lights when you’re not using them and stop leaving the water running when you’re brushing your teeth. 

Save money on fuel by keeping your speed at a consistent pace (set your car on cruise control).  You waste fuel every time you pound that gas pedal.  Get your oil changed and tires rotated regularly.  This helps maintain good gas mileage.  Also, shop around and look for a bank that offers a lower interest rate on auto loans—then refinance!

Now look at your debt payments (loans and credit card bills).  You can find tons of websites that talk about how to pay these debts off faster.  Pay more than the minimum. 

You can’t do much about rent other than… find another place to live.  If your rent is decent and the location is safe, I’d stay where I was.  But if you could use a change of scenery and found a cheaper (and still safer) place to stay, why not?

Clothing—shop at the cheaper outlets!  I love those shops that have cheap clothing.  I absolutely cannot stand spending $40 on a pair of jeans.  So I keep my jeans forever and ever until the hole in my knee turns into a big huge rip.  LOL Anyway, the point is – screw brand names!  Unless you can find them really really cheap, of course.  J

Groceries—my favorite nightmare.  I have only two tips.  Bring a calculator and look for store brand items.  Punch in the cost of each item as you put them in your cart.  It’s amazing how much you can save when you’re more conscious of how much you’re spending.  I don’t buy name brand diapers anymore.  I buy the cheapest brand available.  Luckily, my youngest son Sean doesn’t have any tummy sensitivities to formula.  He makes grocery shopping easy!

Another thing about groceries that I just remembered—look for places that offer cheaper foods or help for families in need.  Angel Food Ministries is an excellent way to save money.  I’ve basically cut my grocery bill in half by buying through them.  Churches are a blessing when it comes to support. 

When it comes to single momming, you cannot be proud.  I mean, of course be proud of who you are and all that.  But do not be too proud to ask for help.  Don’t ever feel that you should not apply for foodstamps, WIC, or any other means of help.  If you don’t qualify, fine.  But don’t not  apply.  There are so many resources out there that are available and meant for us!  Be sure to stick to a good, healthy budget too.

Finally, you want to make sure you have some money for emergencies and… treats.  Yes, I said it.  Treats.  Everyone needs treats, especially us.  Moms in general.  Or hell.  Women in general!  LOL As long as you limit your treat spending to “treats” and stay away from incorporating them into a normal way of life, be happy to reward yourself for being a great and powerful woman!