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Posted in boys, Kids, Parenting, Single Parent, Sons, Sports, Uncategorized

Wow

Let me first say that I am terrible at blogging.  There are days when I don’t want to go anywhere near my computer.  I really want this blog to be successful, and yet I am not doing what I should do to make it succeed.

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I am a realtor in Tampa.  Real estate is hard, hard work.  In order to be successful, you have to make a schedule and stick to it.  You also need a good coach, a source for leads, and money.  Yes, you read that right.  In order to make money in real estate, you have to have money to get started.

I have spent money I don’t have in an attempt to jump-start my real estate, and I have done okay.  My first year I sold $2.5 million in real estate, but I was working for a broker that took most of my commission, so on paper, it looks like I made a great income, but in reality, I made barely enough to get by.

Since my husband baled on us, it is very hard for the boys and me from month to month, so I need this real estate game to pan out.  The purpose of this information is to give you an idea of why I have allowed my blog to lapse.  It was never my intention, but life does get in the way.

Now, back to business.  I took my kids on vacation in July, and we had a blast.  I even allowed their dad to tag along.  We were getting along, and I thought it would be nice for the kids to see that side of us.  Well, it did not last long.  While the vacation went well and we were all smiles, the aftermath was terrible.

I can’t go into detail, but just know that I made a decision that I thought was best for my children and my financial situation and it BACKFIRED!  The good thing is that it was really a great thing.  Even though there was some drama involved, it all played out to my benefit.

What I mean by this is, I found out that the decision I made, in the beginning, was the correct one.  Also, the doubts that I had about reconciling with my husband were validated.  I paid a high cost for this validation, and I have not yet decided if the return on investment will be met, I am content.

So, what have I been doing lately?  Other than working, I have been in football mom mode.  If your kids play any sports, you know what that means.  Saturday’s are a thing of fiction.  Early mornings and some late nights due to practice and meetings.  That being said, I LOVE IT!  I love supporting my boys and their sports endeavors.

This year, my oldest son is playing for his middle school, instead of the Pop Warner league.  This has been an eye-opening experience, as he literally put the school on the map.  They only won1 game, but they have not won a game since 1988.  Not only that, he scored a touchdown in every single game except 1.

That is significant considering the team has not scored a touchdown in a game since 2014.  Braeden was a true asset to the team and really enjoyed the experience.  He has also decided that we really have to select his high school carefully, as he wants a school with a great academic and sports team. In other words, we may have to go private.

My youngest played for Pop Warner, and it did not go well.  Each year the politics of this league seem to get worse and worse, and the best players suffer at the hands of the coaches kids.  That being said, I am taking my time, making sure that I find the best school for the boys next year.

So tell me, what do you guys think about organized sports leagues?  Do you experience what is known as “daddy ball”, where all of the coaches kids get the most playing time and the other kids get their minimum playing requirement and nothing more?  Let me know your thoughtsIMG_20120929_152221 on this issue.

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Posted in boys, Family vacations, Kids, Mom guilt, Parenting, Single Parent, Sons, Staycation, Uncategorized

Welcome Back Tawana

OMG, where do I begin?  I have been away for a while, and I have no excuse.  Life was really happening big time.  Last time I posted, I wrote about mom guilt and not having the money to take the kids on a “real” summer vacation.  Well, the guilt got the best of me, and I took the kids away for 5 days.

I know, some of you may judge me and say that I should not have done that.  If money is tight, why not save that for a vacation next year?  Well, I could have done that, and yet I did not.  My kids are everything to me, and though they never complained, I could tell they needed some time away from the drama that is our life now.

We didn’t do anything outrageous, I took them to a resort, and we made a few day trips whilst we were there.  We went to Cocoa Beach, which is always beautiful, and we had a great time.  We also went to the aquarium and the wax museum.  We took one day to just space out and not do anything except eat, sleep, and play video games all day.  (I think that day was the most fun for me.)

Listen, the guilt of being a single parent is tough.  On one hand, you may be struggling to make ends meet, and on the other hand, you have children who are accustomed to a certain lifestyle that has been taken away from them in one fell swoop.  What do you do?  To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer in my opinion.  As a parent, you do the best you can with what you have at the time.

I get frustrated and sad at times, and then I remember that this will not always be our lot in life.  Things are going to get better for us, it may take a few more months of hustling, and late nights, but things will get better.  Trust me, things have to get better from here on out.  If you had any idea where I have been this past month and what I went through, you would agree.

Kids remember the time we spend with them, and when they are old enough to know the sacrifice that goes along with it, they appreciate it all the more.  The time I spend with my children is very special to me and we bonded and became closer during that short staycation.  Not only that, but they had a story to share with their friends when we returned.  So while my guilt may have gotten the best of me, I have no regrets.

So, talk to me.  Do you have any tales of single parent guilt that you would like to share?  No judgment here, just curiosity.

 

 

 

Posted in boys, Family vacations, Mom guilt, Parenting

Mom Guilt

Okay, This past week has been tough.  Since the separation, I have been overcome with mom guilt.  Now that the summer is half over, it is getting really tough on my.  Particularly because I am not able to do the same things with the kids as I could when “we” were together.

I know that kids wanted to go some sports camps, but it was not in the budget.  They didn’t give me a hard time, they totally understood and yet I still felt bad.  We were supposed to spend 10 days with my family, but I had to cancel that as well.  Once again, the kids were great about it, and yet I have been sad about it since I canceled our reservations.

Now, its July, and most of there friends are coming back from vacation, and we have been NOWHERE!  Normally, we would just be returning from a trip as well, but my  income changed drastically this past year.  So I am suffering from “mom guilt”.  Not because my children are complaining, but because I feel like a failure for not being able to take them anywhere.

I know that this feeling is irrational and I really should not be stressing myself over it, and yet I can’t let it go.  My kids have all been amazing during this trying time, and I am so proud of them for the way they have dealt with this situation.  I should take my ques from them and charge this year to the game.

Yes, I will do that.  Plus, we have so much fun together at home, and between you, me and the tree, I hate the beach.  The sun, the sand everywhere, the sun, sucking in my gut in a bathing suit, and did I mention the sun?  Anyway, I have an 8 month plan in place to get things back on track so that next year we can go away with no worries.

So talk to me moms, has anyone else out there had this problem?  How did you deal with it?  Do you have any advice on how to keep these feelings at bay?  I am always open to feedback.

Posted in DIY, Home Improvement

Pewter Oak Dream Home Flooring

Let me first apologize for being away for so long.  I had to tend to my “real job” and sell a few houses to keep the lights on.  Now I can get back to my “fun job,” BLOGGING!!!!  I promised you all I would do some product reviews, and I must stay true to my word.

You all have seen the photos of my boy’s rooms since I completed the renovations, so I thought I would talk about the flooring I used.  When I first decided to change the flooring in the boy’s rooms, I found a really nice flooring online that I thought would do well.  I have Acacia wood on my first floor, and I wanted something that would match the color.

I found a wonderful looking floor on Build Direct, that was well priced, but there were no reviews.  I like to have at least 5 reviews on an item before I spend a good deal of money on it, so I searched the internet looking for reviews on that flooring to no avail.  Finally, I decided to look at Lumber Liquidators, and I am certainly happy that I did.  I found a wonderful deal on some Dream Home flooring.

The flooring is a pewter oak in color, and is very simple to install.  The instructions in the package are helpful, as there are pictures that correspond with each step.  This particular flooring has a click and lock system that does not require a wood block and hammer.  You will need a mallet to secure some planks, but not each one.

As I told you before, I did not have a table saw to cut my planks, I used a Dremel hand saw.  You night think that this was a hindrance, but this flooring worked very well with the hand saw.  That was due to its 8mm thickness,  Some people might think is flimsy, but it is surprisingly tough.  Also, I had to make some tricky cuts, so the hand saw actually served me very well.

It has been 5 weeks since I laid the flooring in Bryce’s’ room, and it is doing really well.  He plays basketball in there every day for hours at a time.  He has dropped scissors, and hangers, with no damage to the floor.  He has even spilled some water on the planks, and there has been no damage thus far. Time will tell this laminates true durability, but right now, it is holding up well.

I will be watching the floor, and giving updates over time, but for the price, I really can’t complain.  I used 220 square feet of flooring in Bryce’s room and the flooring cost me $.79 a square foot.  The flooring I originally had my eye on cost $1.49 per square foot, so I saved a great deal of money.  I am not expecting this flooring to last 30 years, but I am confident it will serve us well until we move in a few years.

All in all, I recommend this flooring for small, medium traffic areas of the home.  I would not put this in a kitchen, as it is not water resistant, and may not stand up to heavy foot traffic.  So far, it is doing it’s job in my both my boy’s rooms, and I am quite happy with it.

In the next year, I do plan to use a different Dream Home flooring on the rest of the upstairs, and I keep you all posted on that flooring as I get closer to installing it.  However, I will not do the install myself.  I am not confident enough in my skills to tackle my stairs with a hand saw.

Please give me some feedback on your DIY jobs, especially if you have used this particular flooring.  Even if you have not used this Dream Home Pewter Oak flooring, let me know about what flooring you have used, and how it worked out for you.

 

 

 

 

Posted in boys, DIY, Home Improvement, Parenting

This Girl is on Fire!!!!

I would like to start this post by thanking everyone who read my last post.  It is quite exciting to know that people are interested in what you have to say.  I really hope that you all continue to read and share my blog.

My last post discussed my venture into home improvement and turning my 12 year old’s room into a basketball court.  Well, my 13 year old wanted the same thing done in his room.  I was excited and intimidated at the same time.  Braeden’s room is twice the size of Bryce’s room, and the doorway sits at an angle. This meant that I had to get to know my Dremel tool very well to make the cuts accurate.

Also, Braeden has a walk in closet in his room, and an en suite bathroom.  Talk about scary.  My cuts had to be precise and flush.  I could not have gaps or ill fitting laminate boards.  I decided to to do the easy part first, and get it done quickly, so I could take my time with the geometry that lay ahead.

Once again, I hit my groove and was clicking and locking like an old school break dancer. I finished the main part of the room and closet in a few hours.  I had time to paint the closet baseboards, let them dry, and reattach them in that time.  That made me feel like I had really accomplished something for the day.

For the next few hours, I sat with a pencil, tape measure, and laminate board trying to figure out the cuts for the doorway.  I was about to get frustrated when I remembered a video that I watched a few months ago that talked about making difficult cuts when installing flooring.  The guy used cardboard to make a stencil and then cut the boards to fit.

I needed something a little more pliable,as I needed my boards side under the door trim as well.  That’s when the light bulb went off.  I grabbed my box cutter and some left over padding, and I cut out my stencils.  Once I had my stencils cut, I got my laminate boards, my Dremel saw, and I went to work.  That shortcut made very light work of a process that I was dreading.

With all the laminate boards in place, I attached the new baseboards and transition piece, and I was done.  The room looked great and Braeden was very happy with the new flooring.  I was going to apply the wall paper the next day, but my daughter gave me some foo for thought.  You see, Braeden’s room was once her room, and she painted that room herself three years ago.  The back wall had a design on it, and she thought the wall paper might not complement the overall aesthetic.

Braeden and I agreed, and I had a solution.  I would run the flooring up the wall, cover the backboard in brick wall paper, and attach that to the wall.  So, that is exactly what I did.  This process added two extra days to the project, but the outcome was well worth it.

The extra work was due to the ceiling not being even, and the two windows on the wall.  I will let you know that up close, you can see the imperfections, but that’s okay.  Over time, I will get better, and I my projects will look more professional. Right now, I am having so much fun being “Handy Mommy.”

I would love to hear about, and see photos of your home improvement projects.  If you have questions for me about the projects I have done, let me know.  Also, I am going to be doing some product reviews soon, so if there is a specific product that you want me to review, let me know.

Here is a list of the product I used for Bryce and Braeden’s room .

1.) Dream Home 8mm Pewter Oak (I ordered 48 boxes)

2. ) Sherwin Williams Smoky Blue (Paint for Bryce’s room)

3.) Roberts 70-190 Super Felt Premium Felt Underlayment (Padding for Braeden’s room)

4.) Harbor Breeze Mazon 44-in Brushed Nickel Flush Mount Indoor Ceiling Fan (I had these professionally installed by a service provided through Amazon where I purchased them.)

5.) Wallpaper Faux Smooth Rust Tuscan Brick Wall

6.) BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit (I used the 18 gauge brad nailer to attach the baseboards and the laminate to the wall.  I did not use this to attach any flooring to the subfloor itself.)

7.) Black & Decker WM125 Workmate 125 350-Pound Capacity Portable Work Bench 

8.) First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment (Padding for Bryce’s room)

9.) Dremel SM20-02 120-Volt Saw-Max Tool Kit (my new best friend)

10.) Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max 3.8-Amp Oscillating Tool Kit with Quick-Lock Accessory Change Interface and 36 Accessories (I used this mainly for sanding the edges of cut boards to ensure a flush fit.)

11.) Silver 1″ Gumballs, 2LBS (instead of whistling, I chewed these as I worked)

 

 

 

Posted in boys, DIY, Parenting, Sons, Sports

Basketball is Life

When it comes to boys, sports go hand in hand.  My boys love sports, basketball and football to be specific.  Bryce, however, seems to lean more toward basketball and I have to say, he is quite great at it.

With Bryce’s 12th birthday creeping up on me, I wanted to do something really special for him.  He is a simple kid and does not ask for much, so I wanted this to be a memorable birthday for him.  I decided to turn his room into a basketball court.

This was going to be a large undertaking, and I wanted to do it on my own.  Mind you, I had never done any home improvement beyond painting; and yet I was ready to take this on.  Actually, I was rather excited about it.  Not only did I have to prime and paint, I had to rip up carpet, remove nails and baseboards, and lay down laminate.

The part I dreaded the most was the painting, and I love painting.  This job, however, called for me to prime over a very, very red paint.  Three large walls had to be primed in a grey eggshell, allowed to dry, and then painted with this beautiful blue Bryce selected. The painting alone took 2 days, but once it was done, I was so hyped to get stated on the flooring.

Once I removed the carpet nails, the baseboard nails, and excess debris from the floor, I was ready to lay the padding. I chose a padding that absorbs sound to reduce the noise we would hear downstairs whilst Bryce was playing.  The padding was a little pricey, but I am sure I got the best deal because I ordered from my FAVORITE online spot, AMAZON!!

Laying the padding was quite easy, as long as you line it up properly before you expose the tape.  Once the padding was properly laid, I started to click and lock, click and lock, click and lock.  It was so easy and everything went quite smoothly. That is until I got to the closet.  Oh, the closet.  I didn’t want to use transition pieces so I had to measure very carefully and cut even more carefully.  Oh, did I mention I did it all with a hand saw?  no table saw, just a Dremel saw max.

Don’t sleep on any Dremel tool, you can build a house with the proper attachments.  Anyway, I conquered the closet and the doorway, and was ready for the final touches.  I wanted the room to look like an outdoor court, so I put up wall paper that resembled a brick wall.  I took one of the laminate boards, cut it in half, glued the pieces together and made a backboard.  Once I secured the hoop to the backboard, I secured that to the wall, and the final result was AMAZING!!!

Once the floor and hoop were ready, I put together his new bed, moved his desk back in, and the court open.  If you are wondering how big my son’s room is, it is 230 square feet not counting the closet.  There is a queen sized bed in there and a desk, but the way it is set up leaves lots of floor space to play ball.

My son loves his room and he says it is the best birthday gift that he could have received.  He plays basketball in there everyday when he is not playing outside.  He has one on one games with his brother and father on a regular basis, but most of all, he keeps “the court” clean.  Can you believe that all it took for my son to keep his room clean was to turn it in to a basketball court.

Posted in boys, Parenting, Sons

Starting Over

When last I wrote to you, it was my introduction, if you will.  Letting you know all about me in a effort to draw you in.  After reading over my introductory blog post, I realized that I may not have sold my revelation of being a boys mom.

My children are everything to me, and when my husband left,they were truly all that I had.  Once my daughter went back to University, it was just me and the boys.My boys are active; if it is sports related, they have to participate.  During this time of transition, I did not think that I wanted to participate in any of that.  What’s worse, I thought my boys would be upset.

In August,we had to make a decision about football, and I knew both the boys wanted to play.  The problem was the cost.  With no access to the funds I once I had, I could not afford to let the boys play.  Registration fees, cleats, practice pants, and extra balls would run me just under $1000.00.  How was I going to explain this to the boys?

I decided to talk with my older son first because I would need his help telling his little brother.   When I told Kyle, he was a little upset, but he understood.  He also assured me that he would help his brother to understand the situation.  To my surprise, Bryce, my youngest, took it very well.  He told Braeden that he understood that money was tight,and could play next year.

My kids are amazing.  They felt the financial changes that came with the separation, but they were not letting those changes consume them.  This small concession on their part really brought us closer to one another.  The boys and I hung out together more.  We went running together in the morning, and had breakfast together after.  Braeden convinced me to start watching some of the shows that he liked so we could talk about them each day, and I did.

Through all of that adversity, the boys and I became closer to one another.  Our runs got longer, and we added some circuits to  the workouts.  I even ate carbs for breakfast, and the boys started having protein shakes.  They ate what I made for dinner without complaint, and they went to bed without being told.  Life was getting back on track, and I was getting closer and closer to my boys.

My oldest son, Braeden, he would text me during the day to check on me.  Both boys showered me with hugs when they arrived home from school.  I played hide and seek with them, threw the football, and made attempts at playing basketball each day.  During dinner we talked and laughed.  They farted and burped whilst blaming the other for their actions.  It was so much FUN!!

Things really turned a corner when Braeden started playing basketball for his school. Not only was I picking him up from practice, but I became the taxi service.  Any kid who did not have a ride home from school after practice turned to me son, who in turn called me.  If a kid did not have a ride to or from the game, they called me.  My son loved being the go to kid, and he was always appreciative of me going out of my way for his friends.

Next on the agenda was sleepovers.  I never let my daughter go to or host sleepovers.  I did not want a house full of giggling girls.  I was firm on this–No sleepovers!  Well, that changed when Braeden asked to a few friends over one weekend.  The boys were loud, they ate too much, they stayed up late, they burped, they played video games until the wee hours of the morning, and I loved it.

The noise did not bother me.  The yelling at the television whilst playing video games did not bother me.  The laughter at 2:00 a.m. did not bother me.  This is when I knew that this was the life for me.  After that weekend, my house became the sleepover house.  Every weekend I was to host to at least four 13 year old boys who could eat their weight in pizza and wash it down with six sodas.

My boys were happier than I have seen them in a while.  Braeden loved that all of friends wanted to come over all the time.  Bryce was happy that he finally had his own room could be as messy as he wanted.  I was happy that my boys were happy and adjusting well to the change.

Being an active, aware, and present mother to my boys has not only made them happier and more well adjusted; it has made me a better mother.  It has also made me happier, and given me better insight as a parent.   Is there anything that has happened in your life that has allowed you to take a different approach to your parenting style?  If you are open to share, I would love to hear about it.