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Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Brazil,New Orleans, Catholicism

Today is Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is  more than just Mardi Gras and Carnival. It’s more than just ass shaking, parades and beads. It’s the day in which all of us good Catholics indulge in excess and opulence before we commence with our Lenten sacrifices. Bring on the guilty pleasures with wild abandonment.

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Easter, Jesus,Crucifixion, SalvationEaster is one of the few times you will read a religious post on here. My religion is the one thing I feel is very personal but being that my faith in God is so strong, I feel it would be remiss if I did not write a post about Easter. To purposely avoid it, would just be weird for me. I believe in a risen Christ so yesterday was our big holiday. If you are not into Easter and don’t celebrate, feel free to stop reading. I won’t be offended. This post is not for you. This post is for my children to someday read.

We decided a long time ago that for all the fun traditions associated with the holidays; elves, Santa, Bunnies and Leprechauns, my children would always know the true meaning of why we celebrate these religious holidays and holy days of obligation. This is why on Good Friday, as a family, we watched the Passion of the Christ.

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parenthood, stay-at-home, divorce

I’ve heard some pretty outlandish things but what I heard on the radio the other morning had to be in the top three.  A recent survey found that ¾ of all married women would rather get help from divorce solicitors chester or from a divorce attorney to divorce their spouse than be doomed to a life of a stay-at-home mother. Wow! Holy insult batman.

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Tonight, right before bed, Bella wanted a cookie. I, obviously, said no. You know, in the name of teaching her healthy eating habits, keeping her sugar intake down (especially before bed), keeping her teeth from rotting out of her head and a plethora of other reasons. You know the usual reasons we don’t give our littles sugar before bed. Common sense and we don’t want them awake all night bouncing off the walls. Then “it” happened.
Bella (very sheepishly) : Mommy, I want to tell you something but Grandma told me not to tell you. WTF? OFMG, I am bracing myself for God knows what. I just knew my daughter was going to let some deep dark family secret out of the bag. Give me the real low down on how they REALLY feel about me. I won’t lie, I winced a little.

Me: Yes, Bella. You KNOW you NEVER keep secrets from Mommy.NEVER! You tell me EVERYTHING.I don’t care who tells you to keep a secret.You TELL MOMMY THE TRUTH. What did Grandma tell you NOT to tell me? At this point, aside from wondering what the hell the secret was going to be, I am quite annoyed that someone would tell my daughter to keep a secret from me. I loathe liars, with a passion.This is not a secret. Bella knows this. My husband knows this. I don’t lie. I don’t like being lied to. No matter how small the lie is, it undermines trust and that ,my friends, is NO BUENO!

Bella: Well, Mommy, Grandma gave us peanut butter Oreo cookies and candy and a bunch of sugar before bedtime when she watched us the other night. Hmmm, is she referring to the night that the lovely and delicious Grandma babysat so that the Big Guy and I could go out for a supercalifragilistic date night? That night? The night that SHE was responsible for getting them to bed and to sleep? Really, this offense is not punishable by death. Isn’t that pretty much what Grandma’s do? Ply kids with sugary treats , surprise goodies and obscene amounts of hugs and cuddles?I actually expect this behavior. I mean as far as Grandma’s and MILs go, mine is pretty freaking AWESOME.WE love her big time around here.

But I am perplexed. I can let sugary indiscretions slide but encouraging or condoning keeping things from me, well,  that’s just not acceptable.  I can NOT tolerate someone teaching my children that it is alright in any way, shape or form to lie to me..their MOTHER. It wasn’t even worth lying about but the whole idea of asking my kids to keep anything from me, sends the wrong message. I am really trying to teach my girls to NOT lie and to have open honest dialog with their father and I.I am trying to teach them that their word is important and if they say something they must abide by their words.Promises must be kept. The truth must be spoken.

Me: Bella, I am very proud of you for telling me the truth. You can always tell me the truth. YOU won’t get in trouble for telling me the truth. But if I ever find out that you are lying to me again, I will be very disappointed in you and you will have to be disciplined. And if anyone ever tells you to keep a secret from me again, you come straight to me and tell me! OK?

Bella (looking a little worried and slightly relieved): See Mom, aren’t you glad that I gave up lying for Lent? I guess I was a good example with my Lenten caffeine sacrifice! I had to giggle a little.

I assured her that she did the right thing by ratting out Grandma. Grandma, if you’re reading this post, no more telling the girls to keep anything from me in the future.We’re all good, just remember that and I don’t care if you give the kids sugar, I expect that.

What would you do if you found out Grandma,or anyone, told your kid to keep secrets from you? Does it matter what the lie is?Is there such a thing as a little lie to be kept from a mother? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Like most parents, I’m overwhelmed trying to decide whether or not to send my girls back to a private school this fall and I know that I am not alone. August 13th is coming at us like a freight train. I’m not normally a nervous person but the thought of sending my girls back to school has me terrified. The question every parent wants the answer to is how to send kids back to school during a pandemic? Is it even possible to do it safely? Let’s ask the CDC

I’m an optimist but I also have common sense and I do not take chances when it comes to the life and death of my girls. On March 9, my best friend (who happens to be an ED doctor) called and warned me that quarantine was coming and Coronavirus was much more serious than any of us anticipated. By that Thursday, I had decided to take my girls out of school. New normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know About Coronavirus

It was an easy decision. My daughters’ health was in jeopardy by an unknown pandemic. My gut told me what to do and I did it. We’re still quarantining because there is still so much about the pandemic that we don’t fully understand. I’ve lost friends and family members, more each day are contracting this virus. With each announcement, I’m more acutely aware of how easily any one of us can fall victim to it, and none of us know how our immune system will react to it. If you’ve given yourself false security by choosing to believe that it’s only other people’s families and friends who die from CoVid-19, you’re wrong. It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone of us can get it.

I felt safe when we were all staying in the house. I know that’s not sustainable for the long-term.

Was it frustrating for the world to come to a screeching halt? Yes, I’m not naturally a person who can stay still.

Is distance learning inconvenient and stressful? Yes.

Do I wish everyone’s lives could go back to normal and we could safely go back to life as we knew it before CoVid? More than anything. We’ve lost months of plans, travels, celebrations and time with people we love that we won’t ever be able to recover.

Do I want my girls to enjoy their 8th grade and sophomore year of school, filled with firsts and lasts and all the childhood goodness in between? 1000x yes but I don’t think it’s possible this year. We’re no safer than we were in March. In truth, it’s even more dangerous now because, people refuse to wear masks and social distance, and those are the only weapons we have to currently protect us.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients

I’d like to believe that if everyone was taking responsibility for their own well-being, observing social distancing and wearing medical face masks, we could all find our way through this together. It would be easier to trust that people were trying to do the right thing. We could all take peace knowing that we were all working together to protect each other, out of human courtesy and respect for life, regardless of a little personal inconvenience.

The government is urging our schools to open, even threatening to withhold funds. How can they ask parents to send the children we created, birthed and love more than anything else in this world back into schools in the middle of a pandemic? I fully understand that our economy is in danger of collapse because of shutdowns but at what cost are we willing to sacrifice for economic comfort? We can live without a lot of comforts but my children are not an option. No one wants to sacrifice their family for economic recovery.  Nobody should have to. Human life is irreplaceable, no matter your politics. I wouldn’t sacrifice my enemy’s life for my own economic satisfaction.

People are scared of losing their homes, their jobs, and their very way of life because of coronavirus. Requiring that our children go back to the classroom is irresponsible and dangerous. Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump are effectively saying that our children’s lives, the teachers’ lives, and our (the parents’) lives are less important than the DOW Jones. It’s easy to surmise that when an administration lies to a nation and tells us the opposite of common sense and truth, puts our lives in jeopardy, there’s another agenda right beneath the surface and it’s not altruistic and it has nothing to do with our freedoms. It’s about what politics has always been about money and power.

READ ALSO:  I Miss you Most at 6-Feet Apart

You’re probably wondering how to send kids back to school in a pandemic. What our high school is doing has addressed a lot of my concerns. It’s a very comprehensive and well-thought-out plan but even still, I’m not sure that it’s enough to convince me to feel safe enough to send my daughters to school. At the end of the day, my kid is still immune-compromised and I’m diabetic. Whether I want to believe it or not, going into a public place of 1000 or more students (even with a mask and everything intended to be done right) in one building puts their lives in jeopardy because there is a lot of room for human error. When you’re dealing with children, human error is more likely than not.

new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Here are a few things our school is doing to send kids back to school during a pandemic, I won’t share it all because it’s a 16 page PDF ( I told you that it was comprehensive) but here are a few things:

  1. Masks to be worn in transition (in and out of building, between classes, on way to anywhere).
  2. In class, the desk will be socially distanced, masks are not required (this part gives me pause)
  3. unless asking a teacher for help.
  4. If you are in a class with a teacher who is older or immune-compromised, mask must be worn the entire time. If you cannot do so, due to a medical reason, the student will be transferred to a different classroom.
  5. Anyone who tests positive, must stay home for 10 days and must be fever free for 72 hours. Cannot return to school without a physician’s note and negative tests for coronavirus.
  6. There is a separate CoVid isolation room with plexiglass between beds and its own ventilation system for anyone exhibiting symptoms. Students must be picked up within 30 minutes if sick and going home.
  7. Students who are vulnerable, immune-compromised, have parents who with underlying conditions, have been exposed to CoVid or have tested positive symptomatic or asymptomatic are to participate in virtual learning which will be live-streamed daily by all teachers so kids can “attend” class from home and have live interaction and learning.
  8. Desks and chairs need to be sanitized when students enter the room and before they leave. Regular COVID 19 Disinfection should be done all around the school.
  9. Hallways will be one way.
  10. 10 minutes between classes to allow for one-way traffic and getting books in a safe manner.
  11. All returned library books will be isolated for 10 days.
  12. The school will be fogged nightly.
  13. Lunch will be socially distanced, utilizing the cafeteria and Basketball gym as well as adding a 4th lunch period. Lunches are to be packed from home or plated and delivered by cafeteria workers. Masks must be worn until sat at chosen, assigned (for the year) seat. No more a la cart offerings. Only touchless pay. In addition, schools can also opt for a food service company in order to ensure safe and healthy food for the students.
  14. Lockers will now be Freshman, sophomore, junior and senior versus whole grades in certain hallways. No sharing of lockers unless you are related and quarantined together, in which case, you will be required to share a locker with your sibling.
  15. Students will be dismissed to lockers in a staggered phase i.e. Freshman and Juniors after the first period, then sophomores and Seniors after the second period, alternating as such for the remainder of the day.
  16. Daily dismissal staggered.

There is so much more. Our plan is very comprehensive. It’s great on paper. I’m just not so sure how it will work in reality.  I hope it works and fully recognizes that it’s a little different for our private school than it is for public schools. It’s a privilege that all of our students have laptops and WiFi and that many of our students have at least one parent who stays at home and can readily be available when and if we need to go to virtual learning.

READ ALSO: The New Normal is Not Normal

You’re not alone. None of know how to do this. We’re all in this together. But if you can’t reconcile yourself to which way to choose, if you can, err on the side of caution. We can overcome a pandemic but we can’t bring back the dead. Go with your gut and do what’s best for your family and your child. This is a new territory and there is no absolute right or wrong answer but I think the choice ultimately should be with the parents. No matter what you decide, we’re all in this pandemic together. Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance and PLEASE wear your masks.

Are you or what are your thoughts on how to send kids back to school during a pandemic?

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Photo courtesy of the internet

Starbucks, Keurig, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Diet coke are all collateral damage of a bad girl gone good.Yesterday was Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday! You know that one day of year that all of us Catholics live for.It’s the day ( more like the 5 day weekend) that we go crazy stuffing our faces with rich foods, drinking  libations of the most toxic variety,and partaking of any and all activities that may fall under the verboten category on Wednesday. If there is any way shape or form that a particular item can be considered pleasurable, you can be sure, we, devout Catholics, are trying to consume as much as we can, as fast as we can. We are storing up our pleasures to sustain as over our long religious hibernation. It usually consists of a lot of really good people doing some really , maybe not so good things, for beads while stuffing their faces and filling their bellies.It’s a mad dash for the finish line before the game gets reset and we have to go to the back of the line. It should be renamed  Sodom and Gomorrah day because unofficially, that’s what it is. It’s the day before the day that we make a great sacrifice for the next 40 days. It’s sort of our annual last hurrah. Because, really….we KNOW it’s going to be a long 40 days and nights. Depending on what you are giving up, it could be longer. I’m no half asser . I tend to give up the things I like the most, my vices.

This morning, as we all awoke in the cold light of day with our Fat Tuesday hangovers, it hit me like a ton of bricks that today was WEDNESDAY. Yesterdays was “that” day, but today is “THIS” day…Ash Wednesday. The official start of our 40 day sacrifice. For my very first accountable Lent, I gave up red meat. Oh No she didn’t. OH YES, I DID! And to prove that I’m no half asser, I was a vegetarian for the next 10 years. I was eventually done in by a McDonald’s cheeseburger, but I digress, that’s an entirely different post. I’ve given up cursing in the past. I realize that I should be embarrassed that cursing is something that any Mommy should be in actual need of giving up, but believe me when I say..I have a bit of a potty mouth. The worse part is that I do NOT realize when I drop the F* Bomb..until I get some gaping mouth look from a fellow Mommy, or worse..my husband. There was the year that I gave up alcohol.This was pre children. I would never willingly relinquish my Mommy juice ever again, unless with child, which I don’t really have any plans of ever doing again. But believe me, when I don’t drink,people ,who know me, automatically assume that I MUST be pregnant. But this year, I pulled on my BIG girl panties. I gave up caffeine. *GASP*

I know, I am as surprised as the rest of you. Why an insomniac prone to migraines thinks its a good idea to give up her number one vice is beyond me. Caffeine is another thing I usually only give up when with child but I feel that my addiction is getting too strong a hold on me. I’ve tried to ween myself off the Starbucks for quite some time. It is only a fabulous treat that I allow myself on occasion. You sexy toffee mocha with a couple extra shots , you really know how to speed up my pulse first thing in the morning.I have also personally been keeping Keurig k-cups in the black with my overwhelming addiction. And let’s not even get started on Diet coke. You evil bitch.I have tried to  give you up on multiple occasions. But you and your maleficent sister Diet Dr.Pepper keep luring me back in to your web of self destruction. I am thoroughly convinced that there was no forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden..it was a piping hot cup of pure pleasure..it had to be a Trenta from Starbucks. If not, it was certainly a ice cold fountain diet coke with loads of ice that sent poor Eve, and the rest of us, on our path of pain.

That’s right people. I am doing what Eve couldn’t do in the garden..I’m passing up the caffeine for the next 40 days. It’s going to be hard. Let’s be honest.I’m pretty sure, it’s going to be like Charlie Sheen when he gave up the coke. Maybe even as ugly as Whitney when she gave up the crack , oh wait, bad example. Anyways, I wonder, do they make a synthetic caffeine that I can take intravenously to keep away the DTs?I just don’t think walking around in polite society looking like I have the shakes is going to be beneficial to anyone and probably a little frightening to the countless small children that I encounter on a daily basis. They have electronic cigarettes and nicorette gum for smokers trying to quit. There is methadone for methamphetamine addicts. So what’s going to get me through my withdrawals? Anyone have any words of advice for me?

Why did I give up caffeine you ask? I gave it up because if it wasn’t hard it wouldn’t be a sacrifice. It would be easy and everyone would do it. So if you see me on the street and I’m cursing, drunk and shaking like a fool…pat me on the back and say “Way to go girl!You will be kicking that nasty addiction right in it’s big hairy ass and making all right in the world again:)” I dream big folks.Now, since I didn’t have my coffee this morning,I’m off to take a nap..how else do you suppose I’m to get through my days on no sleep!Happy Mothering!

*After reading this,I’m thinking I may need to addend this to be coffee and Diet pop.I’m not sure going completely cold turkey off caffeine all together is going to prove a wise move.Hold me. I’m afraid.

** Oh yes, I had to add this because this blog also serves as my remembrance of  my girls childhood. The Big Guy just went to pick Bella up at school and upon seeing her standing there, he promptly went at wiping the dirt off her forehead.He forgot it was Ash Wednesday and not until he looked up and saw the other mother and child sporting their ashes did he realize what he had just done.Damn lapsed Catholic:)


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public school, private school, bad parent, good parent, education

Hi, my name is Debi and I am a product of public school. Before you get your panties in a wad about the title, this is in response to a post on Slate called, If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.

Let me start by saying (or admitting, as Slate would have you believe it’s a crime) that I send my children to private school. GASP! I don’t really believe you are a bad person for sending your kid to public school. I believe that as parents we all do the best we can for our kids. If trying our best makes us terrible then we’re all the worst kind of parents.

I didn’t go to private school and neither did my husband. We grew up blue collar. I am one of six kids who had a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked as a forklift driver in a factory. We survived on one blue-collar salary, Tang, public school and all the gluten. We survived. We overcame but I’m not sure any of us thrived in that situation.

Let me put this in further perspective, I was a gifted child in all honors classes and still I was not challenged. I was bored and by the time I was in high school, I was so unchallenged that I hated going to school because it felt like a waste of my time.

I wasn’t thriving because even the best at my public school wasn’t good enough.

When I had children, I knew that if I could afford it, I wanted to send them to private school. More specifically, I wanted to send them to Catholic school because I liked the idea of more challenging academics with constant spiritual nurturing incorporated into their daily routine. Yes, you can do that at home on your own but I like the idea of spirituality and faith being present daily and, perhaps more importantly, how it molds them and the children they spend their days with.

We are not independently wealthy. We are middle class parents who have made the decision that we want to give our children the best opportunity to grow and learn at a young age. In making this decision, we have accepted the fact that we may have to sacrifice other things. Things like extravagant vacations and a larger house. Don’t feel sorry for us, we still travel a couple times a year, our home is in a wonderful neighborhood in the suburbs and there is always plenty to eat. We made the decision to invest in their future but it’s not compromising our present in any way that is too much for us to bear.

The author of the article said that parents who put their children in private school are bad parents because we are doing a disservice to the other children of the world because after all, doesn’t every child deserve a great education? Yes, they do but it is not my place to save the world. It is my responsibility to do for my children. The only way the author’s scenario works is if you take private schools out of the equation entirely. Then, and only then, will all focus shift to bettering the public schools which I wholeheartedly agree needs to be done.

Those who follow her idea of putting our children into public schools with subpar curriculums now to make education better unintentionally make our children martyrs to the cause. I’m not willing to sacrifice my children’s education in hopes that I might be able to make the world a more level playing ground for future generations of hypothetical children. Meanwhile, failing the two I gave birth to. It is not my right to sacrifice their future. It is my duty to protect it.

By this author’s logic, I can argue that if you have the means and you don’t put your child in private school, then you don’t love your child at all. If I am a monster for caring for my children and doing my best to give them every opportunity to excel in this world then so be it because at the end of the day, my only responsibility is to my children.

Raising good humans who are functional, contributing and caring members of society is literally the most important thing a parent will ever do with their life. This is done by being present, be involved and giving them the guidance to achieve their hopes and dreams and that all starts with a good education. The system is failing the public schools, not me.

Are we bad people because we didn’t send our children to public school?

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19 second, third and fourth graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were gunned down by an armed mass shooter, 18-year-old, Salvador Ramos a student at Uvalde High School. The massacre happened at Robb Elementary School, where children between the ages of 7 and 10 study, occurred at around 11:37 local time, this morning. Ramos was killed at the scene by police.

Uvalde is a small, close-knit community where moms typically walk their children to school. In a town filled with humble, hard-working people with a population of 16,000 residents, nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic.

Ramos bought two assault rifles just days ago when he turned 18. This morning, he shot his grandmother before his massacre at Robb Elementary. While he fled after shooting his grandmother, he got into a car wreck near Robb elementary and then ran into the school and started shooting.

His grandmother is still alive and receiving treatment in San Antonio.

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

Again, I am sitting here alone with my thoughts on a day when 19 children were gunned down in a Texas elementary school. Why? How? How do we allow this to keep happening? This morning, 21 families sent their loved ones to school and they will never see those sweet faces again. They will never feel the pull of those little outstretched arms around their necks. Never hear their laughter ring out at something silly. Never get to tuck them in and say good night ever again. Those parents will never get to watch their children grow up and become who they were meant to be because some asshole was able to easily get his hands on guns, walk into a school and snuff out those precious lives. We are all responsible. How many more children have to die? How many parents have to lose the most precious thing on this earth to them before we say no more?

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow
Xavier Lopez

What makes me the most upset and angry is that 10 years ago ( and many times since) I found myself crying over other people’s children. I send my girls to school every morning since Sandy Hook afraid and praying that when I return to pick them up, they’re still alive. What the fuck kind of country do we live in? A country where Republicans care more in theory about unborn babies than they do about the safety of those children already living? A country where we believe it’s a political decision what women can and can’t do with their bodies, where we don’t respect a woman’s right to govern her own body but we believe it’s more important to coddle those who don’t understand the constitution and believe that every person is entitled to the right to bear assault weapons and callously and randomly murder our living, breathing children?


America, what are we going to do to protect our children? What are you willing to sacrifice to keep your child safe? I don’t know about you but there is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for mine. Our children go to school every day knowing that an active shooter is just as possible as a tornado. They have drills for both. Our children live in a world where they know that just existing puts them in peril and they know that some of you are willing to make that sacrifice, as long as you can keep your right to bear arms. What about my right to hold my child in my arms? What about every parent’s expectation to live their life loving their child and watching them grow up as we grow old?

My eyes are burning from crying. I held it in all day until my girls went to bed because I can’t let them see how terrified I am. How broken and raw the thought of losing them makes me. How my heart is shattered for the moms and dads who are going to bed tonight knowing that from this day on, their life will never be the same. From this moment on, they will be changed. There will be a hole in their life and a void in their hearts that will ache every minute of every day for the rest of their days. It will never get better. My heart breaks knowing that nothing will change and in a few days, there will be another shooting and someone else’s child will not be coming home and it will go on and on because we let it. Many Robb Elementary parents are still waiting to find out if their children are alive or dead.

No parent should have to lose their child in such a way and we have the power to stop it. We just need to prioritize our children’s lives above a right ( ironically, that was written into the constitution at a time in history when civilians needed to be at the ready to protect their families from enemies domestic and foreign because there was not a big enough army) to bear arms. We are no longer lacking sufficient armed forces. What we are lacking is humanity and general respect for the lives of others.

We don’t need to bear arms we need to raise better humans with fewer guns and more kindness and compassion. We need to condemn hatred and bigotry. We need to care more about people and less about being right or getting our way. We need to love more and be more tolerant of things, people and cultures we don’t understand. We need to destigmatize mental health and make it the norm to seek support. Most importantly, we need to protect our innocent children from being murdered while doing nothing other than existing.

I am angry because this was senseless and preventable. Yes, we could have stopped this. It’s the guns. The guns are readily available to anyone over the age of 18-years-old who wants one and can afford it. You say don’t give guns to the mentally ill. Do you think mentally ill people disclose they are mentally ill when trying to purchase a gun? No, in fact, since we live in a country that stigmatizes mental illness they simply avoid seeking help. That’s the protection plan. They don’t disclose. If the guns were not so easily accessible if it were more difficult to access firearms maybe the children of Sandy Hook would be going into their senior year next year. Maybe the babies at Robb Elementary would be heading off to summer vacations and camps and all the other things that little kids do in the summertime. Instead, 22 families will be planning funerals. 22 families will be crying themselves to sleep. 22 families have been broken like so many countless others at the hands of a man with a gun.

Who shoots little kids? What have they ever done to anyone? What is so wrong in your head to make a person want to shoot up random strangers (helpless children) because whatever is going on in their own lives isn’t easy? Most of us don’t have it easy. Life is hard and made exponentially harder when we have to constantly worry that something tragic and potentially dangerous can happen to any of us at any time, especially in a world that values getting their way over doing the right thing.

So please keep your thoughts and prayers, they won’t bring those babies back and they are of no comfort to those grieving parents. If you want to do something to change the narrative, lay down your guns. Implore your representatives to push for common-sense gun control. No one is hunting with an assault rifle. No one needs an arsenal of weapons at the ready. A child’s brain is not fully developed until 25-years-old, why are we allowing teenagers to buy assault rifles? Unless, an 18-year-old is in the armed forces, being taught how to properly use a weapon to protect his country, there is no reason he needs a gun. And in no world is owning a gun more important than children getting to live and grow up.

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sterling Virginia, GoRVing, Winnebago, Hyatt Place, Road Trips, Traveling with Kids, Mission BBQ, Abbot's Custard

We’re headed to Cape Hatteras for our end of the summer road trip but tonight we’re in Sterling Virginia. We love to travel and there is nothing like one last getaway before school and routines go back into effect. The sad story of it is that our girls are at the age where they really have no free time throughout the school year for travel.

We still travel but it is always at the expense of something else. For us to get away, they have to miss something. Give up something. Forfeit something. That’s mostly been okay. I think it’s good to teach kids about making choices and letting them know that we can’t always get what we want and most of the things worth having come at a sacrifice, a cost.

This year, the wiggle room for sacrifice is even slimmer.  This year, we have confirmation and we’re planning for travel over breaks and we’re preparing for high school and possibly a move. There are a lot of balls in the air so this trip, the four of us, the calm before the storm that is our day to day lives is so special.

Tomorrow we head over to Reston, Virginia to pick up an RV that we will be driving to Cape Hatteras, NC. Not going to lie, the Outer Banks have been on my travel bucket list for many years. We used to live in North Carolina in our 20’s but we were so busy with work and life, we just never made the time to go. We kept thinking, we can go at any time. We live so close. But before we knew it, we didn’t live there anymore. So we’re all very excited about this opportunity to not only go on an adventure someplace that we’ve always wanted to go but to be able to do it the week before school starts back. One last taste of salty air and ocean breezes before the minutia and obligations take over.

Tonight we find ourselves in Sterling, Virginia a quaint, charming, beautiful city about 40 minutes west of Washington D.C. which just so happens to be one of my happy places. By degree, I am a political scientist and all things about politics and history make me ecstatic. D.C. makes me absolutely giddy with delight.

sterling Virginia, GoRVing, Winnebago, Hyatt Place, Road Trips, Traveling with Kids, Mission BBQ, Abbot's Custard

We pick up the RV in the morning and with a 6-hour drive ahead of us to the Cape, I thought Sterling would be the perfect setting for a relaxing night. I used up some points and we are staying at the Hyatt Place at Dulles. Just like last month, when we stayed at the Hyatt Regency, the service is consistently awesome. After a long day of being trapped in the car, it was a welcome relief to be greeted by friendly faces and a room pristine and stocked with the foam pillows that I requested ( allergies to feather pillows make travel a challenge at times).

sterling Virginia, GoRVing, Winnebago, Hyatt Place, Road Trips, Traveling with Kids, Mission BBQ, Abbot's Custard

The room was a very nice size with a separate sitting area big enough to accommodate all 4 of us on a sectional. We unloaded our belongings and set out to find food. We found Mission BBQ and OMG, am I glad we did. The food was delicious and the staff was awesome. Our server was so helpful with picking out sauces to top our BBQs. There were like 8 choices and he even let us taste test them. His recommendations were spot on by the way. The food was melt in your mouth delicious.

Then, after an hour or so of just relaxing (as God intended vacations to be), we decided to go find something sweet and explore the area. That’s when we found Abbott’s frozen custard located in the cutest little shopping center and fell in love. I had the strawberry cream cheese and chocolate almond and it was divine.

sterling Virginia, GoRVing, Winnebago, Hyatt Place, Road Trips, Traveling with Kids, Mission BBQ, Abbot's Custard

I’m convinced I may need to revisit living in Virginia. I’ve never been to Sterling before but we lived in the Richmond area and we loved it. Sterling feels like Matthews NC and Washington D.C. had a beautiful baby and I want to live here.

It was just supposed to be a stop along the way but I’ve got to say, Sterling Virginia, I think I love you.

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The last few days, life has been weighing on me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been somewhat of an emotional wreck.I’m feeling as if I am falling short..in every avenue.

I have become accustomed to the weight of the world pushing down on my shoulders like a spring about to be sprung at anytime. This I am used to but  kept telling myself..”I” can do this. It’s only  for a few more months. I can hold it together.If the Big Guy can go away to support his family, leave his home and his children..I can do this. I am afforded the luxury of staying in my own home with our little family by my side. Sure the silence after they go to bed is deafening and sometimes heartbreaking, but it is the least I can do.I owe it to ‘Us’ to be able to do this.Of course, I have my occasional breakdowns and find myself having a nice long, ugly cry over some seemingly innocuous incident. But then I move on and I am free of the pressure for a little while.

But I forgot about one vital piece of information…them. More important than can I do this, can they do this.

Bella had a terrible time last year when this all began.She had to leave her preschool with all her friends, her teacher, her life.Then when the Big Guy had to leave this past spring again, she was a wreck.He had to leave the day before her 5th birthday. An angry, displaced, overwhelmed little basket of nerves. I understood. I gave her some time and space. I was there with hugs and consolation. I was there overflowing with understanding and love.Always standing by with love. I never want them to feel a lack of love because of the lack of people around to give it. It broke my heart to watch her have to go through this at such a young age. To feel such misery and discombobulation is awful for anyone to experience. Eventually, the anger subsided. She grew up..too much and too fast because she was forced to accept the situation and learn to live with it.This breaks my heart to know that she has lost some of her innocence about the world because of money. I hate to see my children want for anything, especially when it is their Daddy, whom they really do hang the moon on.

There was one person who was silent through it all, my Gabs. Gabs is 3 and this situation with the Big Guy having to be gone, for work, has been going on since right around the time she turned 2.She was just a baby, really. So, I never considered how it would affect her. I don’t think I even put her into the equation because she was so small. However now, she is 3 and a half and she has found her voice.She notices everything and she has an opinion.The last 8 months have consisted of me being here with my girls trying to figure it all out, the Big Guy being gone, on his own,alone.It’s been Christmas Fridays and funeral Sunday nights left standing on the stoop, while watching  through tear filled eyes as my girls run down the road waving bye to their Daddy;screaming “I love you” at the top of their lungs. It’s been Sunday nights filled with meltdowns of little girls missing their Daddy. Its been week nights of soothing little broken hearts calling out for their Daddy. It’s been hard all the way around. Lately, Gabs has been acting out.She cries for her Daddy almost nightly and she tells me on a regular basis that she hates me and quite frequently can be heard asking “You hate me, don’t you?” I know that she doesn’t hate me but lately her question has been cutting like a knife through my soul. She wants her Daddy and I am beginning to wonder if she doesn’t think I am punishing her by not being together. Does she think I have control of this situation? In her little mind, does she think I have willingly chosen to keep us all apart?

It’s almost too much for my heart to bear.The rock and the hard place that I am nestled between is this; Bella is finally comfortable in school ( after being yanked out of her school in Virginia last year) and has finally made friends after the alienation episode at the beginning of this semester. I feel like I owe it to her to make life as normal as possible. After all , she is the child and I am her parent so I need to sacrifice to do what is best for her. That has been the plan since we first pulled this nasty trick on her. The Big Guy and I agreed to sacrifice so that the kids could remain in  their home, their city, until the end of the school year..to give them security and stability. It’s been incredibly difficult but it seemed to be what was best.

Now,little Gabs is begging me to move us to be with the Big Guy; crying nightly, angry, confused, melancholy and still so small. What do I do? How do I choose? One scenario I pull Bella out, once again, and she has to start over..yet again. That doesn’t seem fair. But then on the other hand, Gabs only wants to be with her father.Its such a simple request and a luxury that all children ,with two happily married people,should be afforded.But even this simple request, I can’t provide for the little people that I love more than life itself.This weighs heavily on my soul.Am I making the right choice? How can I choose one of my children’s happiness over the other? What are going to be the ramifications of these choices we are making today for our children down the line?Am I damaging my little ones?

So, here I sit alone in the quiet reevaluating every decision that I have made since the beginning of this entire situation.The last 24 hours have been a roller coaster of emotions. It started with goodbye on a Sunday night, the girls started crying and they wore down the armor around my heart.And I haven’t been able to regain my strength and stability, the weight of their little breaking hearts has knocked me off of my feet.Today has been a succession of crying over movies, tv shows, Gabs telling me that she hates me, and a bedtime reading of Love You Forever. I feel like a fragile ball of exposed nerves  roaming free in the world. I am exhausted from the gravity of this whole ordeal. For now, I’ll pull my armor back on and regain my balance, for my girls. But I have to do some very serious soul searching. We think we are giving our children everything they could hope for but in the end, it boils down to what everything is to our children. For my girls, everything is a good night hug from their Daddy. It is priceless. How do I choose who deserves to be happiest? How do I tell one that their needs has to be put aside for the others?

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