Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mom, are we poor? {life lessons from the trenches}

Mom, are we poor?
Three times B has asked this question over the last few days.
Not exactly sure what sparked it.
Could it be all of the time we have spent golfing  (thanks to family donations) at country clubs, recently?
I suppose it was inevitable.
At some point, the magic of childhood innocence starts to fade.
Why do you ask that?
He didn't seem to have a specific reason.
I don't know.  I just want to know if we are poor.
These are the times when you wish Siri could just give you the right answer.
How do you tell the truth, but not make them feel insecure?  How do you explain that in the grand scheme of the world, we are not poor at all, very rich in fact, but perhaps in our society we merely get by?  How do you make them understand that financial wealth is trivial, fleeting and meaningless, when they are bombarded with the excessive more-more-more society we live in?
I thought about offering some eloquent 'Mom Talk', about how we are rich in love and family, but I knew that wasn't what he was after.  He's too smart for that now.
I decided to keep it simple.
No.  We are not poor.
I should have expected what was coming next.
Well then, are we rich?
No, we are not rich either.  We are average.
Average. Ugh.
That word drudged up the old "not good enough" and constant insecure feelings from a girl I once was knew, a girl who hid in the floorboard of her Dad's old truck because she was too embarrassed to be seen in it.  A girl who moved often, and who didn't always invite friends over.  A girl who ran home crying from the bus stop one day in her "Kmart" jeans.  A girl who swore she would have plenty of money when she grew up.  A girl who didn't learn until she was in her 30s that there is no real value in materialistic dreams.
Well, we won't be when I grow up, because I'm gonna be rich.
I hope so, son.  I hope so.
But I hope it won't matter to you.  And I hope you'll always feel confident along the way, no matter what your financial circumstances.  And I hope you will be kind and generous to others, and use your talents and resources to serve.
I hope.

Monday, April 7, 2014

So it went a lil' something like this... {Spring Break 2014}

Spring Break 2014 has come and gone.  le SIGH.  It was glorious.  Only working one job.  No hectic schedules for the kids.  No homework.  Time to workout in the mornings.  Time to eat healthy throughout the day.  Early quiet time to study the Word.  Bliss.
Spring flowers in Marietta
As usual, it took me a day or two to regroup.  By my Wednesday morning shower, I could literally feel my mind open up.  Thought processes were clear.  The weight was gone.  So refreshed.
I spent some time wondering, why can't I get it together like this during the "school" year days?  Why does a little thing like school/work have to ruin my tranquility and zest for living?  Isn't there a way to have both, to have it all?  
If there is, I surely haven't found it.  And I am sure by this Wednesday, day 3 of being back at work and the boys back at school, my mind will be locked up like a trap again.  And I'll feel angry, anxious, and unhappy.
Amid the worries of losing my job, of not being able to enjoy my boys each day, of not having any time to reflect and take care of my mind, body, & spirit, there is one shred of hope....only 7 more weeks until summer break.
Thank you Jesus!

So, since my mind will be completely cloudy in less than 48 hours, I'd better make note of a few of the fun things we did get to do last week...

~The boys hit the pool for the first "official swim" of the year.  Still too cold for me, but not painfully cold.  Not sure the water temp because our pool thermometer is broken.
B and b didn't care, though, and also spent time racing around the Mann 500 poolside, as per their usual.  When they weren't clinging on to me terrified of the hoards of bees, hornets, and wasps.
~Of course we had to spend time at the golf course, so B could get some practice in.  It was nice to be able to go early in the day, rather than rushing around after school.
 b is still not interested in golf, but he l-o-v-e-s playing some Mario Kart 3ds racing in the clubhouse!
~Then, we stayed a few days in Marietta at Aunt Lynn's.  She spoiled us as usual with shopping trips to PGA Superstore, the mall, and more!
The boys "relaxed" in her hot tub.
I am certain we need one of these at Casa de Mann Pool Resort & Spa.  Except it would be one more thing to take care of.
~B played in a wonderful golf tournament at Lake Lanier.... if you like, you can read all about it here.
Sunrise over Lake Lanier
All in all it was a great week and none of us wanted to go back to reality today.  Did I mention there are just 7 weeks left in the school year?  Oh yeah, I did.  See, my mind is going already....

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hello Spring

Here at the House of Mann, we are so happy to see Spring arrive!  b has been asking me for weeks now, "Is it Spring yet?! WHEN will it BE Spring?!" He hates wearing pants, long sleeves and shoes.  He wants to be in shorts, tshirts, and crocs/barefoot, on the regular.  The other night after his nightly, "Is it Spring yet?!" whine fest, he pulled me close and whispered,
"Mommy, you know I really hate Winter."  
He gets it from his mother.  I don't apologize.

So he was especially excited, when this past weekend, we traveled to Jekyll Island, GA, for B's golf tournament and enjoyed some warm weather and sunshine.
Both B and b had a glorious time running around playing in the sand and surf - which was really too cold for my taste, but you know little boys don't care!  It must be the Canadian in them.
It was so nice to have a reprieve from the nasty weather we have endured this winter.
I know I say it all of the time, but I LOVE these boys so much.  They drive me absolutely crazy, but they are always my sunshine.
Once again, special thanks to my sweet family
 for making this trip possible for us.  
We are so blessed!

For more on B's golf tournament, click here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Miscellany Monday

In celebration of the totally random, most assuredly mundane, recent moments....

{1}  Meet the Parents
If you follow me on any social network, you ave probably heard that my parents were both in the hospital.  My Dad broke his hip at work which required major surgery and hardware to fix.  He is still in a rehab facility and recovering nicely.
My Mother had hand surgery, she had her stitches removed today and is doing well.  She is still living with us since her house was destroyed in the fire.  They are finally finished tearing what was left of her house down.  I need to post a few pictures of that sadness.

{2} Little Golfer
B is back on the U.S. Kids Atlanta Local Tour for the Spring season.  He had his 1st match on Saturday and played with the 8 year olds for the 1st time.  He did well adjusting to the longer yardage, and still finished in the top 5.  
Since he is one of the smallest and youngest, he will have to work hard to regain his position at the top of the leader board.  Saturday, he wasn't that far behind the leaders, and he hung in there the whole match and kept battling along.  He had a few bad breaks that cost him, but he never gave up. When it was over, he rushed to where I was in the golf cart and privately cried his eyes out.  I almost cried with him.

{3} Little b
Little b has finally "broke up" with Spongebob, so to speak. {insert choirs of angels LOUDLY praising the LORD}  If I am being honest, though, I have to admit it is a little sad to see him transition to another phase, growing along.  These boys just grow, grow, grow!  It goes wayyyy too fast.  
What in the world am I going to do with all of his Spongebob "stuff"?  In a way, I am sad to part with it - yes, that dang tacky stuff!!  But since I am really working on letting go of "stuff" again I hope I can pack it and purge.  Which brings me to my next point...

{4} Becoming Minimalist
I just *love* following this page: https://www.facebook.com/becomingminimalist 
As a person who has always had a distorted attachment to things, I need encouragement, perspective, and inspiration.  If you are looking to simplify your life, you should check it out!  I really feel so overwhelmed with all of the things we have to take care of and the things we have to do, it drains me.  Last week, I shared this picture from the page...
and it received much conversation.  We are all too busy, y'all!  We cannot enjoy anything because we are too busy taking care of our mountain of stuff and agonizing over all of the cluttered busy schedules we have that keep us running sun up to sun down.  You know, if I were Satan, and I were looking for a way to keep people distracted from God, I would overwhelm them with things, and to-do lists so they couldn't focus on Him.

{5} Changes
We have been receiving word of big changes at work.  While none of it has been a big surprise, it is still difficult.  Next school year will probably include a major change for me.  I am trying not to dwell or worry about what will happen or where I will end up.  Easier said than done, but, I am really trying to turn it over to Him -  and play Scarlett as per my usual...I won't think about that now, I'll go crazy if I do, I'll think about that tomorrow!  I think it is my right as a Southerner.

{6} No Pressure!
So since I am so good at simplifying my life, and not letting things bother me these days, I am sure that is why when I went to the doctor last week, my blood pressure clocked in at 171/122.  No, that isn't a typo, and yes the nurses freaked out.  My cholesterol is up again too.  Boo!  No surprise, though.  So I really must get focused and get back to taking care of my health.  I started c25k again today.  I really hate running, but I seriously have to lose some weight.

{7} Spring Fever
 I am so sick of this crazy weather and coldness.  Thank GOD it has been warm for the last few days.  So much so, that Spring Fever is really kicking in.  I cannot wait to escape the school schedules, and work nightmare and be free - in the sun - at the beach, even!  B has already been asking me when our beach trip will be, and reminiscing about all of the fun things we have done in years past.  b just hates going to school so much he asks all of the time, "When will it be summer, when will it be our day off?!"  I guess they are like me.  I think some of my most happiest memories from the last few years, and from my whole life, have been from right down in F-L-A.  I cannot believe it has been 3 years since this photo was taken.
That was a wonderful trip.  B had the best time surfing the waves that year, and b was still in pull-ups.  T didn't know she had cancer yet.  I had not had my hysterectomy.  Nanny was still alive. 
Oh summer break, come with the quickness!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

B on TV

Last week, B was invited to discuss junior golf on a local television show.  He was excited!  
I was excited for him until I realized no one else would volunteer to appear with him - which meant I had to go and be "fat Mom"! My goodness, the camera actually adds 20lbs and I don't need a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g extra added!  Oh well, it's not about me, right??

Everyone at the station was really nice, and they asked us to please come back again.  I will be on a serious diet before that happens!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

It is definitely rare, but sometimes it does happen.  Snow.  In. Georgia.  In a word...UGH.
Of course these 2 funny faces loved it.
Although B really liked it more than b.  He was on the hunt for frozen fun.  We tried to build a snowman, but the snow was like powder and would not "pack".
So we gave up on the snowman and found other things to do.  B used a beach skim board to sled down the ice covered street.
Having reached his limit of obligatory time in the winter wonderland, b retreated inside to play video games.
Bruce loved it as much as B and ran around frolicking and barking like a nut.  He even found a half eaten squirrel to play with.  ICK.

As for me, I admit, it was pretty, and our neighborhood sure looked fresh and clean under that soft white blanket, but snow in Georgia, I'm not for that!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gamers! {bad meaning good}

“If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.” ― Marcus Brigstocke

My little gamers drive me nuts.  They obsess.
48 hours after Christmas, and B had defeated Kaos and beat the whole new Skylanders Wii U Swap Force game.  He had also dropped $200 of his Christmas money on additional Skylander figures.
He wanted to spend more, but I cut him off.
b, on the other hand, stayed glued to his Nintendo 3DS and continued to scream and yell at Mario Kart 7.  Sometimes even head-butting the screen - yikes.
So I cut him off, and he threw a FIT.
Oh the agony of these games.  It is truly a love hate relationship - they love them, but they hate them, too.
In the past, I limited "game time", but I had decided to let them blow it out during Christmas Break, especially since the weather was horrible and we could not go outside.  Since school has started, they have been back on a bit of lock down and we have all suffered.
It is like breaking an addiction.
Part of the problem with B and b is that they are over-the-top perfectionists.  a-hem.  They feel driven to play the game over and over until they play it just perfect.  
If they are not playing the game, they are on the computer looking up strategies and watching Youtube how-to videos, or they are drawing and designing new video games. 

B has been working on designing new Mario games, one of which is a hybrid of Mario Kart 7 with Skylanders characters integrated in each level.  He wants me to find out "who in Japan" he can send his designs to.  He has 3 notebooks full of designs and 8 slideshow presentations in my Google Drive.  For real.
He also conducts races around the pool (our cement racetrack of sorts) and records time trials for Mario Characters in a notebook and charts them on a Google Spreadsheet.

Since playing the DS, b has started showing a competitive nature we have never seen before in him, ever, and he has even come out of his shell a little, too.  He tells me how he gets his classmates to "play Mario" games on the playground and he tells me about conversations he has with his friends about who has what games and which are their favorites.  My non-social child has also started asking me to have friends over to have playdates for playing games.  He draws pictures of Mario characters and watches old Mario Show dvds.  Spongebob has taken a back seat around our house lately.  #sorrynotsorry #ThankYouJesus
Sooooooo....are the games ruining their lives?  Are they stunting their creativity and imagination?  Are they making them socially inept?  Are they becoming brain-dead zombies, vegging out on the couch?

No. And it appears we're back to where we always seem to spin back to, moderation and common sense....and perspective, because this is really just their "thing" right now, and before too long they'll move on to something else.

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