Things and stuff

This has been an insanely busy autumn.  Today was the first day of journalism club; one of the clubs I “teach.” I have an amazing group of kids again.  Today we worked on the parts of an article and how to interview.  Next week I’ll be passing out permission slips for yearbook committee.  I’m very nervous about this because I’ve ended up overwhelmed with students that wanted to join in the past and it’s hard for me to deny any child experiences like yearbook and journalism.

I put up my very first homemade poster board in my temporary classroom.

My college classes are getting progressively harder. I’m writing a research paper in APA format for Human Growth and Development. It’s titled Difficult Decisions: Middle Class Families Face Tough Choices in Determining the Care their Elder Relatives Receives. Essentially it’s about facing the decision to either put your parent in a nursing home or move in with them/have them move in with you and provide homecare. I should have done something simpler like Toilet Training but I can never take the “easy” path without feeling like I’m letting myself down.

Caregiving for my FiL is still hard.  He’s getting meaner as his illness progresses and seems to only find joy it making me feel bad no matter what I do. It helps a little to know that his behavior is normal for a dementia patient but it’s still emotionally exhausting. The research I’ve done trying to figure out how to provide the best care for him is how I got the idea for my paper.

Happy news: My husband is going to start working out with me! I’m so excited. =) I hope this will be a good outlet for all the stress we are under.


P90X graduate!!! Now what?!?

I’ve officially completed 90 days (a smidge more than that actually)of P90X.


  • I can outrun my children!
  • Down 30 lbs
  • Down 2 jean sizes (and the ones I’m in are getting a bit loose)
  • Down 1 underwear size (for some reason I was more excited about this than the jeans… )
  • I can take the stairs at my school without panting like a rabid wildebeest.


  • Due to Dr.’s orders I had to tone down how often I exercised so I’m sure I could have gotten a lot more out of it then I did.
  • I’m not yet at my “ideal” weight.
  • Most of the weight I lost seems to have come from my ribs. (How many times have you heard… Your ribs are looking hot baby, you been working out?)
  • I’m not ready to let go of Tony Horton yet…

The next steps:

  • Since it’s “highly recommended”  that I not push as hard with the exercising I’m going to do a hybrid program next that includes P90X cardio and kenpo along with Turbo Jam.
  • I’m going to continue drinking Shakeology.
  • I’m going to continue to “Bring It” in a way that doesn’t send me back to the ER again.

The support and encouragement I’ve received from my husband, kids, my coach, my friends, and random strangers on the internet have gotten me over several rough patches.  Thank you all!!





College Life & The Shakeology Experiment

I remember when I completed my first semester of college, 14 years ago…  There were several (through my eyes at the time) “old” people in many of my classes. I saw them struggle with the idea that the teenagers in their classrooms were now their peers. I”m now looking at that from the other side.

I’m taking two online courses and two on campus courses.   If I stay on track I’ll be finished with my Associates Degree in General Studies by the end of summer. So far, my campus courses are filled with young people (just out of high school) with a couple in their early twenties.  My strategy has been to keep to myself and hope none of them realizes I’m nearly old enough to be their Mom.

This strategy has failed.  My very first new college friend I met leaving class for the day.  We had a half-hour long discussion about Maurices and fashion before she made the comment, “I wish I was old enough for a Maurices credit card.” Hmmm.. wait.. WHAT?!  *cough* I asked, “How old are you?”   She’s SEVENTEEN.  yeesh.  My fashion-buddy is a baby. (relatively) Interesting.

My next new friend is in her early twenties. Pretty young. I doubted we’d have anything in common until we started discussing books.  Since my taste in reading is pretty eclectic and I read voraciously, just about anyone that is a huge reader can find some common ground with me.  We found a LOT of common ground.  She’s also one of those vivacious, loud, opinionated people that I just love to hang out with ( See:

So far I’m glad I haven’t managed my plan of college hermitage. I like my new friends, young though they may be, and I”m having the time of my life!

Now, the Shakeology experiment… When people ask me about Shakeology they usually wonder what it tastes like and if it really fills you up. I’m very biased.  I LOVE Shakeology so it’s hard for me to answer with anything negative. Hence the experiment.

My children are BIG eaters. They are all the kind of kids that eat 2 bowls of cereal for breakfast and then ask, “What’s for lunch?” less than an hour later. They are big time snackers and between-meal-eaters (I’m fortunate that they love veggies, since that’s all I let them snack on.). So this morning I mixed each of them a shake (I used whole milk because they’re growing and need some fat with their breakfast)

The taste responses are as follows:

Zoe (12) Yummy!

Scotty (10) It’s like drinking Cocoa Puffs! (this is a good thing in his opinion.  it made me shudder a little bit.)

Toby (8) It tastes like marshmallows and chocolate!

Sophia (21 months) Gulp gulp gulp gulp *holds up empty cup* Chalky Milk Mama? (that’s how she requests/demands chocolate milk)

So Shakeology is four for four in the taste department.

As of right now it has been two hours since they had their shakes. Not a peep about lunch yet. (Which is AMAZING.) And they only had a 1/2 serving each.

So now I can honestly say, yes Shakeology is filling…. and Heck YES it tastes good.  Now go buy some. Please.  I have college bills to pay…..

Stressful Smalltown Situations

I love my tiny little town, most days. This past month and a half.. not so much.

We just received yet another nasty nasty note from our town. Some of these notes have been justified (there have been a few times we let the grass grow a smidge too high) some were just being picky (a letter about garbage in our yard: the garbage was my kids’ wagon and a couple of toys.)

This note was about our garbage not being picked up. I’d get the nastiness if we hadn’t explained the situation to them, but we did, so now I’m just praying God has his own brand of karma.

The situation is this… Week 1 we noticed they didn’t pick up our trash. We called.  We jumped through hoops. We finally got ahold of someone who said essentiallly, “oopsie, our bad.  we’ll be there next week.”

Week 2: still no pickup. Oookkay.  Call again. Jump through the same hoops. Finally get another “Our bad!” and they swear to pick it up next week.    In the meantime we explained the situation to our town because neighbors were complaining. (sorry neighbors.  I love you, I really do.  I just don’t love you enough to drag 2 week old garbage that has been sitting in the sun back up to my house.  Deal with it. All of your houses are far enough away that you can’t smell it and I’m sorry that it’s an eyesore. But seriously…  wishing karma on yall too.)

Week 3:  PICK UP!! Hurray!  The aggrivation is finally over!! Not.

Week 4: No pickup. Seirously?!?! We call again. We recieved another “our bad.” speech.   At this point were majorly annoyed.

Week 5: No pickup. Come to find out the last time we paid our bill they put it on a different account.  They assured us this was fixed.

Week 6:  No pickup.  &^%^ !!   This time they say it’s because we didn’t pay last months bill.  We calmly (sort of) explained we didn’t really recieve any service for the last month and we threatened lawsuits and to move our service to another company. They assured us they would be there to pick up next week.

Week 7: Pick up!! And receipt of the nasty letter. JOY.  I feel like this nasty letter should have been sent to Waste Management. What I ‘d really like is WM to write a letter of apology to my neighbors and town… with something like.. if you can’t be nice we’ll stop picking up your garbage and then the Armstrong family can write nasty letters and complain about you!!.

I’m such a private person that maybe I shouldn’t be in a small town.  When people say that in a small town everyone knows everything about you they are not exaggerating. People here know things about me that I don’t know about myself… (my favorite comment…”Did you know you’ve worn those jeans twice this week?” my response…”Uhh..”) Gossip here is rampant and only 10% of it is true. And if you aren’t a “Lifer” (someone who was born and raised is this town) you will always be an outsider.

But even with all the nasty rotten stupid idiotic mean things that go on here, I really do love my town.  I love knowing every single child that is in the same age group as mine.  I love waving to people as you drive by. I love that our two main restaurants, Subway and McDonalds, know me well enough to brace themselves when I come in the door (They know it’s gonna be a BIG order). I love that when times are rough the entire town bands around you to support you through it, even if you’re an outsider.  And these people have been my rock many a time.

Any small town nuttiness you’re willing to share? I’d like to know I’m not alone in this.

Soulmates? and other issues.

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City)

I’m freaking out about the beginning of school for my kids. I know this seems unrelated but follow the path of my convoluted thinking for a minute and you’ll see where I’m going.

I fully believe that everyone has a soulmate… a person that completes them (too Jerry Maguire?)… someone who not only finishes their sentences but intuitively knows when they need a hug or a swift kick in the rear.  What I don’t believe is that finding your soulmate is necessarily a romantic thing.

Case in point… My baby sister has a soulmate. Her best friend. They speak in a code only they understand. They complement each other in every way.  They can spend hours and hours together and never run out of topics to discuss. They never get bored with each other.

There’s a million and one names for this phenomenon.  BFFs, sista from another mista, chicks before … you get the idea. Whatever you want to call it, I think every woman needs a friend that you can share anything with, that you can be around and be totally yourself, that you can laugh, cry, and scream with, that puts up with your mood swings and your insanity, that their mood swings and insanity never bother you, and someone who you can just be a girl with.

I’m extremely blessed to have both a romantic soulmate and a sister of my heart soulmate.   Our relationship is quite strange. For one she’s old enough to be my mother (she actually has a daughter my age). We prove that opposites attract… she’s extremely vocal (verbal diarrhea is putting it mildly) where I”m quite quiet… she once shaved her head for a bet where I would be terrified it’d make my face look fat… she doesn’t give a hoot what other people think and I tend to obsess about it.

Our biggest and first common ground is our daughters.  She had an “oopsie” late in life  and I had one at 19. Our daughters are in the same grade and played tee-ball together (we met at tee-ball practice 5 years ago). Once we established the connection we went from strangers to doing everything together. When the President of the elementary school’s parent group finished her term… I stepped in and dragged Teresa with me.  In return she made me her assistance troop leader in girl scouts. We attend the same church. The past 5 years we would drop our kids off at school, ride around town in her “office”, and talk for hours. We did yearbook committee for 4th-5th grade together, we did 5th grade journalism together, we went on field trips together… and that brings me back to my fear of this school year.

This year our daughters are moving on to Jr. High, different building… different rules.  While I stay behind and do journalism and yearbook with my younger sons, she won’t be there. This year when I drop my boys off and escort them to their rooms, she won’t be in the hallway to greet me and go for a ride. She won’t be there after school to make plans for the week.  It hurts just to think about it.

We’ll still see each other (there’s still church and Girl Scouts) but it will be much much less. This school year it will be me that feels that childish  pang  of worry… will I make friends this year?  will anybody play with me?


Geek Lite

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m raising the next generation of geeks.  Want proof?

  • My 8 yo can pvp better than I can.
  • My sons regularly argue whether melee or range classes are better.
  • My 18 mo can navigate a mouse like a pro.
  • When I yell “Line of Sight!” at the park (yes…I’m that Mom) my kids know what I mean and hustle back into my range of vision.
  • My 10 yo has been asking Santa for a laptop for the past 5 years.
  • Grounding my kiddos from the computer is the ULTIMATE punishment.
  • If the choice came down between paying our internet bill or eating that week my kids would vote internet.
  • My 12 yo is a fb and youtube – aholic.
  • All of my kids know what 1337 means.
  • Horde vs Alliance is  a regular debate in my house.
  • My kids don’t yell “Geronimo!” They yell… “Leeeerrrooy Jenkins!”
  • If I have a computer issue… I’d ask my 8yo before I’d even think of calling support.

Still not convinced?  I could go on for pages. I could complain or attempt to push them to be “normal” children…  but why?  My kiddos are 1337. challenge posted a blogging challenge…  “How do you discipline your children”.  There’s nothing I love more than a good controversial topic… so here goes..

The short answer is: I discipline according to the circumstances.

Each of my children are disciplined differently.. why? because my children are all different.. different ages… different temperaments… different likes and dislikes and different learning styles. As much as I struggle to stay “fair” I will never be so in my children’s eyes.

I’m not a big fan of physical punishment but I’m a firm believer in letting the punishment fit the crime so on occasion I have used “spankings”.

I never ever ever punish my kiddos for true accidents. I have a couple of klutzes in the family and to me it makes more sense to invest in paper towels and inexpensive dishes than to instill a fear of spilling juice or dropping a plate. I never punish my children for being children… 8 year olds are going to forget to feed their pets or do their homework on occasion… that’s why it’s my job to remind them and help them build their responsibility levels.

Things that warrant discipline: physically harming each other (I.e., My brother took my toy so I’m going to punch him in the face.), Lying, using foul language, telling me No when I request something (I.e., “I forgot the diaper wipes, would you please get some for me?” “No… I’m busy.”), “forgetting” to do things they’ve been reminded to do, Begging at the store (HUGE pet peeve of mine… ask once and if I say no… Drop it.)

The actual disciplines…
For lying, cursing, being disrespectful: Gargling a mouthful of Lysterine. And not the mint stuff, the stuff that tastes like the urine of a severe alcoholic.
For not sharing toys: 1 warning and then the toy belongs to Mommy. Toys may be earned back at a later date.
For physically endangering themselves. (I.e., My eldest, when she was 9, thought it would be a grand idea to cross a major 4 lane highway with a friend so they could go to Subway.) Spanking.
For deliberate destruction of property (I.e., one of my boys has a love of scissors), for breaking “house rules”, and for everything else that doesn’t fall into the above categories: Loss of privileges. What privileges and how long depend on which child and what the offense was.

I think the important thing about disciplining your children is not whether you spank or do time-outs… it’s whether you are consistent and if the discipline is done with love. Whatever the discipline and whatever the circumstances I always tell my children how much I love them and I explain why I did the discipline (I.e., I love you and I want you to grow up controlling your tongue and not letting it control you.)

I enjoyed writing this post and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. I’m off to do Stretch X now!!  =)

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