And the Halloween Fun Continues!

So, tonight we sat down all four children with bowls full of candy corn and candy pumpkins and watched Casper’s Scary School! Okay, so sitting does not last long when you give four toddlers their own bowl of candy, but hey, why not? We only live once and these are memories that will last throughout that lifetime!

candy corn
Candy Corn Movie Time!

After the movie, we designed these high-quality construction paper ghosts, scribbled some perfectly designed eyes and mouths (see #24), (insert giggle) and gave the children crayons to finish them off. A quick piece of tape to hold on the pipe cleaners and BAM, the second decoration of the season is complete!

As I said previously, the holidays are about family time. They are for making memories. They are for sweeping up the scraps of construction paper and making eyes with them the next night. We spend quality bonding time every chance that we can. We just disguise it as playing 🙂

Grab some paper and crayons and show us what you got!

“Gigi”

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Understanding Needs: Toddler Talk

While sitting at my computer, I can anticipate Clarabelle needing to use “Gigi’s bathroom” at least 3 times per hour so that she may enter the room and say “sooooo, what’s up?” I smile and ask what’s up with her and she toddles off to the bathroom only to repeat the conversation as she finishes and exits the room. It’s a thing we do.

So, anyway, today she enters, does her little exchange, and goes into the bathroom. I hear “Gigi, I need you.”

I jump up from my computer and open the bathroom door. She seems just fine. She is adjusting her pants as she pulls them up and so I asked, “what do you need?”

“You,” she responded.

“What do you need me to do?”

“Nothing,” she smiled, hugged me, and said, “sooooo, what’s up?” She then toddled off to the living room.

I stood there for a minute and reflected on this odd exchange. She did not need me to do anything. She just needed me. What an amazing concept!

 

During the year that the children were in foster care, I remember going to eat at Cracker Barrell with my son, Zach, one Sunday afternoon. Across the room from us, I looked up and saw them! My heart dropped. I wanted so badly to go to them but I was afraid. I didn’t know the rules about these things. I did not know how the foster parents would act. I did not know if it would cause a scene. The ache of being so close and yet unable to reach them was unbearable! It was like drowning just below the surface of the water where you can see the way out but you are held down so as to not be able to gasp in the air that is just above you.

 

Before we left, I took a deep breath and approached the table. I spoke cordially to the foster parents and their family and then turned my attention to the children. I was happy to see them. I wanted to stay in that moment. But I knew I had to be brief. As I leaned down to tell them by, Clarabelle stated, in the same matter of fact tone that she had in the bathroom today, “But, Gigi, I need you and Elliott needs you, too.” I held back the tears. I wanted to meet that need. I wanted to be with them every moment of every day to help teach them and guide them through life. I wanted to tell her that I was trying so hard to bring them home. I wanted to take them from their high chairs and run as far away from the nightmare that we were living as possible. But, instead, I looked in her sweet face and said, “I know, baby, Gigi needs you and your brother, too. But I have to go now so I can keep working to bring you home.”

After a few more times of her stating that she needed me, I turned and the tears fell.

It was a terrible feeling to know that I could not give her what she needed. But, in the same breath, it was a beautiful thing to know that she did then and still now knows that our needs are essential to our wellbeing and those needs include being with one another.

A child does not need a fancy home or an abundance of “things.” They need love, time, and attention.

May we always Meet the Needs of Children

“Gigi”

Needs V.S Wants? — Jay Colby

Many times we confuse the difference between what we require and what we desire in relationships. We make a list of all the important traits we want in a partner, with very little concept of what we really need in our relationships. Our lists often include items about physical appearance, the level of income or […]

via Needs V.S Wants? — Jay Colby

Daily Prompt: Superficial

Oh, the places I could go with this one! The people that I could discuss! The experiences that I have had! But instead, I will take the high road here and not elaborate on the superficial people who are so caught up in what others think of them that they are unable to see the harm in their own actions and discuss the beauty of words.

As I explained in an earlier post, I am a literature nerd. Words are absolutely amazing. Words do not need any praise but rather sit there waiting for someone to see their beauty. I remember in college, I was writing my Capstone project on Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein. I wanted to convey a deeper analysis of the fiction than that of a simple God complex (that had been done a million times). That was the surface analysis. Eventually, my paper portrayed Frankenstein and his monster as the same person through the potential of a psychological diagnosis. Regardless, the point that I am getting at is that I wanted more than the surface. I wanted more than the basic understanding. I wanted a word that could define what I wanted to say. I came across the word “perfunctory” and I was elated! Perfunctory: An action carried out with minimal effort. I did not want to give a perfunctory analysis. I did not want to only see what could be seen without effort. I wanted to dig and work for my understanding of this literature.

The same is true of how I want to see people. Like was said by another blogger, I do not want to see an airbrushed photo, I want to see a person. More so, as I read on the daily prompt, I do not want the image of someone caring, I want someone to actually care.

Life is short and it is hard. But taking the easy way out does not mean that you are living. Do the work. Do not live in a perfunctory manner. Do not live superficially. And, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT sell yourself so short that you do not expect others to work to know you.

You are worth the work!

“Gigi”

I was sober once: Confessions of a woman who refuses to live in moderation

Ahhh, sobriety. In most instances, this means the lacking of mind-altering substances. I do not agree with this definition. In fact,  this definition pisses me off! Sobriety,  in my experience, is the same as conformity and I do NOT conform. I do not fall into some neat little category of empty nests and regrets. I do not believe that I must suffer through aging in a way that requires support groups and little yellow pills. I do not believe that I must live in a way that makes others dread getting older.

I mean, I am 40 and society has told me to dread this age. The “sober” me believed that everything that I wanted to do in life had to be done before the moment that I turned 40. After that, I was supposed to curl up in a little ball and do two things.

  1. Dwell on all of my losses from opportunities to loved ones.
  2. Wait to die. Wait to become a loss that someone else would dwell on.

Okay, maybe I am being dramatic because of the recent birthday but I still have so much to do and Damnit I am going to do it! I will not live soberly or somberly because of an age. I will not conform to society’s plan of aging. I will not be concerned about what is expected of me. In fact, I will not be concerned about what others think.

I have A LOT of regrets. I have made many mistakes along my way. I could spend the next stage of my life dwelling on these or, which I choose option number 2, I could get out there and make some more! Yes, I plan to regret lots of mistakes that I will make post-40 and perhaps, by the age of 50, I will be ready to dwell on these. But, ehhhhh, probably not!

Do not live life in moderation! Take in all of it that you can get!

“Gigi”

 

100 Things about us for our 100th Blog

Okay, you guys have started to really get to know our story and we are honored by the love and support that we have received. However, we really feel that maybe we are holding back. Like, maybe, just maybe, you all deserve to hear a little bit more about our true smudges. (Truthfully, Gigi just thought this would be a fun 100th blog but this introduction sounds waaaaay more interesting!) So, without further ado, here are 100 things about Gigi and Ashley (aka -A-)!

  1. Gigi is a two-time divorcee.
  2. Ashley had spinal fusion at the age of 13. Two titanium rods and 42 screws make up this bionic woman!
  3. We love (I mean LOVE) Grey’s Anatomy!
  4. Gigi is petrified of spiders.
  5. Ashley killed the spiders until Mikey came home at which point she became too scared to do so! (lol)
  6. We have a carb addiction.
  7. Gigi was 16 when she got pregnant with her first child, Damion.
  8. Ashley was 17 when she got pregnant with her first child, Clarabelle.
  9. We have never lived apart.
  10. Gigi loves lists! (a serious obsession. My best friend once said I need a list of lists to make)
  11. Ashley is not as organized as Gigi (she comes to me to make her lists)
  12. We have never flown (although this is on our bucket list)
  13. Gigi loves sunsets and sunrises because beginnings and endings are worth remembering.
  14. Ashley loves crunchy peanut butter. This is truly a funny excitement that she gets in her day!
  15. We once laid out all night to see the Poseidon meteor shower and a deer jumped over our blanket!
  16. Gigi works for a company that sells academic papers.
  17. Ashley hates to write academic papers! (seriously hates this!)
  18. We bought a foreclosed house and did the remodeling ourselves! (Youtube and books, baby!)
  19. Gigi hates math! Numbers are certain and life is not. Quite frankly, to me, that means numbers do not make sense!
  20. Ashley likes direct answers.
  21. We agree to disagree between math and literature.
  22. Gigi has bungee jumped!
  23. Ashley cannot bungee jump because of her spinal fusion. (excuses excuses!) lol
  24. We are not artistic. I mean, yes, you all have seen our “crafts” but seriously, neither of us can draw a stick man.
  25. Gigi has no tattoos. I was supposed to get one in high school but the tattoo artist passed away that weekend and I vowed that I would never have one. (This is one commitment that I have kept… see #1)
  26. Ashley has one tattoo. It represents the times that her two children were born and is adaptable to include future children. (Gigi is excited about that idea)
  27. We have never been to the West Coast. (Plans are in the works!)
  28. Gigi has been on 11 cruises.
  29. Ashley has been 10 cruises.
  30. We love to cruise!
  31. Gigi does not like to be alone. Fortunately, with four grandchildren, this is not a problem!
  32. Ashley is way better with makeup and loves to watch makeup tutorials.
  33. We need pedicures!
  34. Gigi believes a tanning bed is a place to relax but rarely has time to relax.
  35. Ashley believes relaxing requires a cell phone! (generation gap acknowledged!)
  36. We are actually private people. (Yes, this blog has been a way to change that to some extent.)
  37. Gigi has a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities with a concentration in English.
  38. Ashley left college because of the CPS case to focus on her children.
  39. We love thrift shopping!
  40. Gigi has had the same best friend since birth.
  41. Ashley has had the same best friend for 7 years.
  42. We are both friends with the other’s best friend.
  43. Gigi is a literature nerd.
  44. Ashley has recently found her literary voice.
  45. We read to the children every day.
  46. Gigi hates the word hate! (always told the kids to find a better way to express emotions)
  47. Ashley hates the word ointment. (She says it just sounds weird)
  48. We do not attend church. (I know, this is a touchy one, but it is true.)
  49. Gigi stays in contact with everyone who has ever referred to her as their second mommy.
  50. Ashley once broke her wrist by “falling” out of a swing.
  51. We laugh about things so that we do not cry!
  52. Gigi homeschooled all of her children at different stages.
  53. Ashley was homeschooled from the ninth grade because of her back. (The protocol at their school was to curl up in the fetal position if there was a fight. This was physically impossible for her.)
  54. We rocked homeschooling!
  55. Gigi got her high school degree from an adult school while she was pregnant with Damion.
  56. Ashley graduated from homeschooling early and tested high enough to get a scholarship.
  57. We believe that education is essential to life. Not because of monetary gains but because of understanding the world.
  58. We are not political but we are activist!
  59. Gigi gets very involved in causes.
  60. Ashley is more cautious about involvement.
  61. We back each other regardless.
  62. Gigi still stays in touch with her high school prom date.
  63. Ashley did not go to prom. She chose a cruise instead.
  64. We own too many dresses!
  65. Gigi gets migraines.
  66. Ashley struggles with kidney stones and gallstones.
  67. We are guilty of letting our medical problems go.
  68. Gigi has been proposed to three times.
  69. Ashley has been proposed to three times.
  70. We are not really into jewelry.
  71. Gigi does not like new people.
  72. Ashley is far more social.
  73. We spend most of our time together.
  74. Gigi is 40 years old.
  75. Ashley will be 21 on the 14th of October.
  76. We believe in the extended family lifestyle.
  77. Gigi had an ACL and Meniscus replacement.
  78. Ashley hates seafood. (Date night was to Red Lobster!)
  79. We struggle with our weight!
  80. Gigi has a few grey hairs.
  81. Ashley no longer knows her natural hair color.
  82. We love hair dye!
  83. Gigi hates anything gross!
  84. Ashley likes to gross out Gigi!
  85. We agree to disagree on gross stuff!
  86. Gigi is a terrible passenger.
  87. Ashley has embraced Gigi’s passenger brake pedal!
  88. We love to road trip together.
  89. Gigi does not like to hunt.
  90. Ashley loves everything outdoors.
  91. We have never scuba dived but plan to soon.
  92. Gigi wrote seven chapters of a book but lost it when her computer crashed.
  93. Ashley just got married!
  94. We have struggled through the worst atrocity that a family could endure (the legal kidnapping of children)
  95. Gigi will never stop fighting for the rights of parents.
  96. Ashley will never forget how her rights were violated.
  97. We will always persevere!
  98. Gigi is a coffee fanatic!
  99. Ashley hates coffee!
  100. We really do not like to clean mirrors! The title and concept of this blog came as the result of Gigi looking at her jewelry armoire and seeing all of the smudges!

So, there you have it. A little look into ourselves. Not too much. I mean, seriously, if we gave it all then you guys would stop reading!

 

There are so many details to us all. Treasure your details!

“Gigi”