Washing a load of pride at the laundromat

This was my first experience with a “load” like this. And it’s not the fact that pride is hard to wash away, for me it was the fear of being exposed and out of my element for the first time in a while. Discomfort, inconvenience, the fear of the unknown all took trail behind me as I made my way in, and checked my laundromat snobbishness at the door…

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So the last time I remember setting foot in a laundromat was about the age of 4. I recall that age fairly well still. My parents, my sister Jaclyne and I lived in a duplex back then, down in San Pedro.  I remember our tire swing in the backyard, playing with play-doh on the back patio, our neighbor who had a giant toybox, shaped like a turtle that seemed to hold oodles of toys which I was envious of, and of course I’ll never forget our days at the laundromat. I just remember encountering so many various walks of life there. To me at that young age, it was like such an exposure to people of the world by simply sitting on a chair waiting for the clothes to get done. Back then it was leaving my safe environment at home with mom to go to a place where you never knew who you would meet, or what you would see. To be quite honest it was a place where I encountered someone with obscenely large ears for the first time in my life (couldn’t stop staring I’m sure) and the first time I noticed or became aware of other races besides mine(I asked my mom why the guy next to us looked purple). Through the eyes of a child, who wouldn’t know any better than to be bluntly aware of my surroundings, I also didn’t know anything other than that way of life at the time. It was a good time, and I am thankful for that.

Fast forward several years, my parents bought their first home, and we became accustomed to washing our clothes in the comfort of our own home. Laundromats became a thing of the past and that was that. I don’t like to call it a snobbish thing but essentially, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being in another one of those places again in my life. I knew that those days for us as a family were tight living and I guess somewhere down the road I began to associate it with being poor. How sad does that sound though I’m sure. For some I know it might be their entire life they use a laundromat and it has nothing to do with their status of living. It was just an ignorant way of thinking and becoming spoiled yet again with the luxuries in life.

Well the time ultimately came where I was faced with the fact that I had to actually step in a place like that again, out of necessity. THERE WAS NO WAY AROUND IT!! Pull up the shoulders and walk in like a big girl….figure it out and don’t drop any underwear on the way out! So that’s what happened, this big girl walked in again 25 years later, 3 kids in tow, and with A LOT of laundry I might add!

It actually wasn’t as scary as I imagined either. As much as I had done my laundry time after I time, I felt like there must be some magic way of working the machines that I was unaware of. Thankfully I met the sweetest lady who works the place, and she had me feeling right at home in no time, showing me the ropes. The kids all liked to help with it of course. What’s more fun than loading up clothes and pouring the soap in with mom right? Watching the dryers spinning is a favorite pass time now too lol.

One thing that I noticed hasn’t changed over the years are the various walks of life you can meet there. I have had the pleasure of meeting a homeless man, who is now on my list of inspiring people that I have been blessed to meet in this life. He lives out of his car at the moment, yet manages to take care of himself still some way or another. He is on the road to recovering from this state of living which he has been humbly open about with me. The nice owner of this particular laundry place has taken a chance on him and gave him a job to help get him back on his feet. There is also a local church that has been very good to him as well.  The same sweet lady (her name is Cathy) who made me feel at home, also brings him a good meal when he works. It’s just so refreshing to see truly GOOD PEOPLE in this world taking care of others. Having the opportunity to meet this man was a blessing. I have seen him working hard there and it is obvious he is grateful to be working, regardless of what job it is. It hit me when one day when I had run out of quarters as I was waiting for a last load to finish drying. It ended prior to all the clothes being completely dry. When both Cathy and the homeless man saw that my clothes weren’t done drying, they insisted that I don’t leave with damp laundry. It was at that point that this man reached in his pocket and begins putting quarters in the machine for me. It was as if he didn’t think twice about it…just gave away any hard-earned change like it was nothing. I couldn’t even thank him enough. How do you give thanks to a person in that situation who still gives of himself regardless of his own needs. All I could do was pray later that evening and gave my thanks to God for giving me that special moment to learn from that day.

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There is much to be learned in this world. Try spending a couple of hours in a laundromat and you are bound to discover something. I am so thankful for being reintroduced to this experience all these years later. Even more so because I never want my kids to feel that they are too good for these places or anything for that matter. There is a huge upside to bringing our clothes in there as well: it saves me time because I can get it all done at once and it’s saving water since I’m not at home doing it! Besides the worst thing that could happen (dropping underwear in the street) hasn’t happened yet, so I think I can get used to this for a while! The pride has dried so to say 🙂

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A pirates night for me :)

Sail away…

Nothing like a night of assembling these little cupcake topper’s for Gavin’s fifth birthday party and enjoying a glass of one of my faves… Gewürztraminer!!

So I have a thing for wines and happen to enjoy putting extra effort into the little details that make birthday parties special. Being that it’s a milestone birthday, I’m trying to make it extra special for him. I’ve always been a little more laid back with my sons parties as opposed to my daughters. The girly parties are not hard to go overboard with of course! So ever since he decided on a pirate party, I’ve been inundated with different inspiration and ideas while surfing the web. I love these free printable’s I found online…makes party planning and detailed decorating go so much smoother and affordable (you can’t beat free).

I also saw this cute idea on Etsy for the table decor. I don’t know why, but mama felt like trying her hand at building a “ship.” It’s not like any other project I’ve ever taken on… interesting to try to figure out going off of a picture, but its been fun. Gavin absolutely LOVED it when he saw it. Best thing is, it was easy and cheap to make. With the help of my trusty ol’ coupons from Joanne’s of course and using supplies I’d already had, it was around $10. Not too shabby I think…

Here is a peak!

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Casted and ready to soon set sail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully it all comes together on the day of the party. Until then my hands are tied in preparation…thankfully not for walking the plank Haha.

 

 

Home is where my heart is…always

I’m not sure what compelled me to take this photo back in May, as I was outside in our backyard doing some exploring with the kids. At the time it was mostly my inclination to get a shot using the magnified/zoom feature. (That’s always a fun one to me) It could have also been that they were such cute little clovers, a miniature weed as I like to call them, since they tend to pop up out of nowhere. Or purely reveling in the simple beauty that was just steps away from my everyday living. Whatever the reason then however, holds more value to me now that I’ve let go of that way of living for a while. And that brings me to the story behind the “move.”

Sometimes life hits you with things you never thought possible, the ‘curve balls’ as they say, and that’s when you have the opportunities to choose your next path or destination. Of course there is always the alternative, which is to not grab life by the horns and direct it, but rather get swept away from the undertow of what we can’t change. For many it would be a safer reaction to ride that current deeper and let it own you for a while. For me, I know that the calmer water awaits, but not before an upstream battle. We were coasting for a bit I’ll admit but certainly getting nowhere fast. I may not have felt ready or willing to face the challenge of getting through the tough times we’ve been faced with, but I’m not one to sit back and ride things out either. I’m the ‘take charge’ type of personality and it was time to step in and make changes.

One of my favorite flowers in our backyard...such a beautiful fragrance it gave off

 It has never been my intention to become defined by what I have in this world,  or in what I own. What mattered to me years ago, which I’m not afraid to admit, was fitting into what “should” be or what I thought was expected. This world today certainly makes it hard to stay in tune with, and discern what we identify ourselves with. It’s the whole concept of “Living the American Dream” right? It’s so overrated if you ask me!! It’s an obsession with “things.” Whatever happened to just being ok with the simple necessities? As I’ve grown over the years, I’ve realized now what matters most to me is my family that I adore. Lucky for me, I realized this at a time when I needed to most. When people, and jobs, and money felt like it failed us, it was still okay. Time to turn new leaves and directions obviously.

So owning a home with a horrible loan attached to it has been detrimental to many, including myself. Add that to an array of other unforseen hurdles and uh Houston… we have a problem. I’m so not about to let things go down without a fight around here, so my conclusion to the mortgage issue was simple.

Let someone else carry the load for a while…

I love my house, period. But that’s just it, it’s just a house when it comes down to it. It doesn’t define what we are as people in the end. And could it be that in finding someone who can handle the mortgage for a while better than we can, is a way to make it to our end without regrets? After all it’s being proactive and not going for an easy out, which will strengthen our character overall. But was I really ready to let go and be okay with someone or other family using it and calling it their home for a while? The thought of that was more than just an unsettling moment of consideration. It was through much prayer and visualization that I could actually see that the opportunity would become a blessing in disguise for our family. More importantly it was what needed to be done.

Hand washing, here I come!!

After convincing my husband that renting out our home was the answer, we were on our way to yet another huge, life changing event….a two bedroom, one bathroom tri-plex soon awaited the arrival of our six person family. Am I crazy you ask? Maybe so, but my crazy is going to get us results so I am proud of that. It is a huge sacrifice for our family (let me mention we are going without a dishwasher, microwave, washer & dryer, no outlets in the bathroom among other minor things) but it’s down to those simplicities now. I can appreciate that and I want the kids to develop an appreciation for it as well. What we are going without, I’ve realized, is not the end of the world. It’s all those things we have come to expect, because we are used to having them in our life. But not having all the little niceties won’t be the end of me, it will make me even more joyful on the day I do have them again.

It has been a little over a month now and the truth is I am completely content here. It has been so eye-opening to downsize and learn to let go of a lot of the “Stuff” that accumulated over the years. The kids have adjusted well to smaller spaces and less unnecessary toys. Although they are tiny still themselves so they probably hardly notice.  It was actually a great lesson for them as I had them pick only their three favorite toys to bring with us. A few favorites went to storage where they could trade it out at a later time. Most of it I’m proud to say, they opted to donate or give away to friends. The most important thing to me is knowing we don’t need those things or the house to be happy. Our home is without a doubt where our heart is. Our heart and family are here now and there is nothing more I need or could ask for when it comes down to it. Thankfully we found a nice family to rent our home to, and I’m grateful to give them a place to call home as well.

Till we meet again...

I know I was blessed to have the opportunity to make all the sweet memories we h aveat our home for the past 8 years. From bringing each baby home from the hospital, and welcoming them to their new world, the day little legs and hands first crawled across the floors, the sounds of the kids busy at play, the good nights and good mornings, the beauty in my backyard, to the toy messes and random silly bands I’d find around the place…It’s all kept close to my heart. While one door has closed on those times for us for a short while, another one opened to pick up where it left off. There are plenty of new memories to be made here for the time being! So I’m okay with letting go.  I consider this a small adventure on the big journey of life and I have faith that I’m headed the right direction.

It was a touch of Hawaii every time I looked out from my kitchen.

Apple days are upon us!!

Well Fall is knocking on our door already, which is exciting in so many ways!! The seasons are shifting, colors are changing, the leaves are descending and of course apples are in all their ripening glory (‘A touch of fall is in the air’ as my dad always puts it)…and we happen to be an apple loving family around here. Particularly Grant, who is the youngest, has had an apple in his hands since before he turned one! We’ve humored quite a number of people when they saw someone Grant’s size going to town on an entire apple, like it was nothing! Anyway it’s practically a given that we would study apples at this point in our school year . So I thought I’d share our fun experimenting with apples!

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Dissecting an apple, incorporating division (it’s never too early for that!) We discussed the parts of an apple and similarities and differences between the varieties.

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They did taste testing of course and charted their personal favorites, to least favorite!

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We also counted all the seeds from each apple and graphed out which apple had the most seeds…Golden Delicious won!!

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Grant had to partake in the festivities!!

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Nothing to end an apple lesson, like an apple and cheddar sandwich. There has to be a first time for trying everything right?! The kids actually enjoyed this unique sandwich!

This lesson was a follow-up to our reading that we’ve done this month, which has been a variety of apple themed books from the library (Apples by:Gail Gibbons, Apples: Wonder Books, level 1, Golden Delicious, A Cinderella Apple Story to name a few). We will also be doing a field trip to the apple orchards, which they are super excited for! So happy apple picking season to everyone!! 😉