Nine years gone

Nine years ago yesterday, I flew Austin to Dallas to Cedar Rapids, racing against time, hoping to win a few moments to tell my grandpa how much I loved him before it was too late.

By the time I got there, it was too late by my mom’s estimation to go to the hospice center. I argued, but eventually relented to the promise of rising early and making the trek.

The next morning, as I got myself ready, I found a group of three stark white hairs at my crown; my first greys. Everything seemed to be taking too long. G’pa had a rough night, according to my eldest uncle. He had taken the night before’s vigil. Finally, it was time to go.

My mom and I got into the car to go collect my grandma. As we neared the gates of Meth-Wick, the call we’d been fearing came. G’pa has breathed his last. There would be no goodbyes from me to him breathing, and hearing me. My goodbyes would be to his body, soul already departed.

We collected G’ma, and my mom gently told her that he was gone. It was a tear filled ride. My mom apologized to me for not taking me the night before.

The time after that was a blur. I remember snippets, but that’s it. I stayed with G’ma the rest of the time that I was in Iowa. They played “On Eagle’s Wings” at his funeral service, and I cried thinking back to being little and going to church with he and G’ma. Whenever that hymn was in the program, he’d be so happy, and tell me that it was his favorite. The night before I returned to Texas, I went out with one of my oldest friends, proceeding to get drunker than a skunk on Bud Light, because that was what he’d have periodically through the summer, after a long and hot day in the garden, with his bees, or, more like than not, both.

I flew back with a hangover, which is horrible. My step-dad gassed up my Jeep and I drove back to Killeen. I was numb. X was waiting, mowing my lawn with one of those old school, motorless mowers. He did what he could to cheer me up.

By the time that June was half through, an expected guest failed to arrive. By the time we found out why, I learned that within the week that I’d returned to Texas, I’d gotten pregnant.

Flash forward nine years. Uncle Carl passed about ten months after G’pa. I gave birth to Ryli in San Antonio during his memorial service.

The comical thing about Ryli… she is stubborn as me, a trait that was inherited by me from G’ma and G’pa. She has the curls that G’ma always wanted, but had to get perms to acquire; Ryli also inherited a forehead that is a nearly exact replica of hers. Ryli loves to garden, and has a temper slow to ignite but pretty damn scary when it does, like G’pa. Ryli just has a litany of characteristics that she inherited through me from them.

He’s been gone for nine long years, and I still miss him to this day. Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic and sappy, I imagine him “special ordering” Ryli at the stork’s shop. But I have Grandma’s memory; I can’t forget, but the reminders help me deal.

I still love you, Grandpa.

Home, Review, Shopping

REVIEW TIME: Brandless

First, I paid for the entire order; this review is the opinions of myself and my family, there was no compensation or recognition. For more on my disclosure policy, click here.

Brandless was and is TOTALLY worth it. It came last Tuesday, as promised. I may have gotten a tad excited and forgot to take pictures of the box. It also didn’t really help that the box arrived mere minutes before the school bus and my eternally ravenous youngest two children. I did catch something that did accidentally get left behind in the warehouse; I contacted customer service via email, and they shipped another, smaller box behind the bulk of the order. No worries on my part, as they handled it quickly, and it was just the two bottles of melatonin, just delayed by a day.


I will start with the snacks, which were devoured within days. The overall favorite goes to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins. I actually had to divvy those bad boys out, because the three offspring were all fighting over them and/or attempting to barter for them. They’re like the crispy, thin edge of a cookie. It’s basically the cookie equivalent of a muffin top. Everything else was equally as good, just not all unanimously adored as the cookie thins. I was the only one who got any Tomato Basil Hummus Chips. Those are M-O-M-M-Y-‘S. That is final. Ryli’s favorite was the yellow corn tortilla chips and salsa. Landry had an affinity for the cheddar cheese popcorn. Connor has been asking for cookie crisps nearly daily.

The toilet paper and facial tissues… the treeless paper products. Texas sized allergies made short work of the facial tissues, since they were the travel side. They held up well to the allergy spawned drainage for the kids, however. I’m not quite sure how to describe the toilet paper. Its got  nice feel to it; it feels thin, but it holds up well. The rolls seemed on the small side, however one pack of six with four to five people using it lasted a week. This second pack just may last longer, as the littles go to their dad’s this weekend. I was so impressed, I have a current order for boxes of tissues and six packs of toilet paper.

While I’m in the bathroom, let’s talk about the personal care items I ordered in this box. I was a bit leery as to how long the shampoo and conditioner would last when I plucked them from the box. Connor was the first one to use them, and it made his hair look so good. Next up were Ryli and Landry. I was instantly impressed, as I realized that a little bit of each does the trick, and it smells divine (tea tree and aloe). It’s also the same scent as the equally awesome body wash. The kids have decreed that they must use these products. The scent is neutral, so the boys liked it as much as Ryli and I. In case you were wondering, I loved the three of them at least as much as the kids did.

Rounding out the personal care items comes the facial cleanser & moisturizer and the toothpaste. The facial cleanser instantly makes you feel a surge of pep with its grapefruit scent. As with the shower supplies, it doesn’t take a large amount to do the trick. The moisturizer soaks in without the residual greasy feel, with no scent. Combined, I was happier with them than I’ve been with some of my other products, running the gamut from grocery store buys to MLM and Department store splurges. Thumbs up on that.

The toothpaste and mouthwash surprised me. I’m a bit picky about the flavors, and how long it affects the taste of everything. They are both a light mint. The smell coming out of the bottle and tube was stronger that what they left behind. I liked that very much. I also am fairly certain my teeth have already whitened some. The mouthwash left my mouth feeling clean, but not overly fried with the mint  and alcohol combination. I’m the only one who has used it thus far, as the kids are fully stocked in the dental department.

As for the kitchen, I’ve only used the olive oil spray to date. I used it to spray down the innards of my slow cooker before making my salsa-cheesy chicken. It’s looking like it’s going to be an easy clean up. I still have some olive oil left from Kroger, so I’m going to leave the jury out for that. The coconut oil will be used as soon as I make brownies, and lastly, that sturdy little whisk will be used on the eggs for said brownies.

I didn’t forget the melatonin. That works like a charm. The 3 mg caps are perfect for me.

I’ve already placed my second Brandless order. Next month, I intend on making a try with the dishes and table linens. My overall review… I’m in love.

Sorry about the delay. My time at the doctor’s office went long, then I came home, took care of my self-care, and prepped Ry and Lan to go see Avengers Infinity War with the kids. We had to take off early to get across town and to the theater early enough to get some excellent seats.

31 Day Challenge, Factor 5 Leiden, Home, Mama's Mission of the Month, Meal Planning, Mental Health, Organization, Parenting, Routine, Scheduling, Self-Care

Mama’s (tardy) Mission of the Month: May 2018


Hello May

Here it comes, May 2018’s Mama’s Mission of the Month. Sorry about the delay, but I may have fallen asleep before the prime time line up on the networks made it to their first commercial break. Then, I woke up soaked in sweat. Apparently, the kids felt the need to crawl in bed with mom, and each sleep on half of her. Last time I checked, they have each other in loose choke-holds; silly little cuddle monsters.

If this is your first time reading a Mama’s Mission, you can find out all the details about it here. Otherwise, without any further to do, here is May’s edition.


Self-Care (Physical)

  • Boho Berry Checklist *
  • 2,500 steps (minimum) a day
  • 64 ounces of water (minimum) a day

Self-Care (Mental/Emotional)

  • Boho Berry Checklist *
  • Minimum 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Read 30 minutes per day on average


  • OB-GYN appointment to (hopefully) get scheduled for an ablation **
  • Keep INR *** appointments and keep my levels between 2.0-3.0
  • Schedule Landry’s 7 year well child check up (eeeeek)


  • Get a routine going
  • Keep/get appointments and couseling as needed
  • Schedule for all the end of year events at school


  • Continue streamlining storage and organization
  • Keep planners up to date
  • List of things to keep a look out for (make lists by room?)


  • Stick to budget
  • Meal plan
  • Keep registers up to date


  • Self-Care Challenge
  • Schedule and stick to it
  • Clean up and keep up with social media sites


  • Tweak BASS
  • Take/give all medications daily and journal
  • Figure out what kids will need for school for 2018-2019


* I’m a member of Boho Berry, so I get free downloads of all manner of printables on the Boho Berry Tribe Free Resource Library. I printed out the May Monthly Tracker and use it in addition to the monthly tracker in my Academia. Feel free to check out Boho Berry here.

** An ablation is basically getting your uterus cauterized. I’m on blood thinners, and have yet to reach even a hint of menopause, so I have some monthly bleeding issues on a horror movie/crime scene level. I can’t do hormone replacement on account of the Factor V Leiden, so a hysterectomy is out, as is anything hormonal, leaving me this as my potential out.

*** INR stands for International Normalized Ratio, which is a measure of how a person’s blood clots. Being that I have Factor V Leiden that has reared its vile head twice, I should be on blood thinners for life. “Normal” is 1.1 or lower. For a person on thinners, its 2.0-3.0. I’m currently flirting with the high side… yikes.

Mama's Mission of the Month

Mama’s Mission of the Month April 2018 Recap (not good)


Remember that? Unfortunately, I do. April was a month for big dreams and bigger frustrations. My medications aren’t quite where they should be, which led to a lot of frustration and tears on my part. I also figured out what was off and will address that with my doctor this month. The kids being at home for a week with that wicked stomach bug didn’t help, either.

I’m going to strike through what I accomplished, and turn the disappointments a lovely shade of red. Anything that was at least started, but not completed, will be green.

Self-Care (Physical)

  • AM/PM routines
  • Walk a minimum of 2,500 steps a day
  • Minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night (partially dependant on Ryli and Landry)

Self-Care (Mental/Emotional)

  • Journal at least every other day
  • Weekly therapy (only missed once, thanks to the stomach bug from HELL)
  • Read 30 minutes minimum a day, and take a half hour all to myself.


  • Keep up with everyone’s medications
  • INR* appointments as scheduled
  • Schedule with dentist


  • Nail down routines
  • Address need for counseling
  • Finalize things for “House Cup” (trust me, that will get an entire post to itself)


  • Streamline storage and organization 
  • Meal plan
  • Set chores


  • Budget
  • Keep registers up to date
  • NO extra purchases


  • Make and follow blog calendars
  • Facebook and Twitter regularly
  • Reorganize my Pinterest


  • Planners up to date (final set on Sundays)
  • Minimum of 64 ounces of water per day
  • 30 Day Self-Care Challenge (that would be on top of what I have previously listed here)


As you can see, it was not my proudest month. That shall change this month, I know it. I’ll unveil May’s a bit later. Until then, my friends.

Shopping, Upcoming Review

A little bit of everything (UPDATED)

I think that it is rather safe to assume that damn near everyone who has a Facebook account sees a barrage of ads every single time they scroll though their news feed. It’s just the way things work. Sometimes, the things are silly, or just too frivolous to bite on. Then, there’s the things that you save for the right time.

Late last week, one of those tempting, save for later ads popped up in my feed, and I clicked on save. The company is called Brandless, the premise being that typical, branded products come with a “brand tax”. In a nut shell, you are paying more for the name on the package. Pretty much everything on the site is either organic, non-GMO, tree-free, or something along those lines. Everything on the site is $3. Some of the items are 2/$3 or 3/$3, but seriously, just $3. For every order, they donate a meal to Feeding America. Right now, they’re offering free shipping on orders $39 or more. They carry everything; food items, hygiene, cleaning, kitchen gear, paper and office products, basically, a little bit of everything.

I bit today. There are some things that we need or very soon will need, so I went for it. Here is the result:

Like I said, a little bit of everything. I’m pretty sure the only category I skipped completely was office supplies, because I’m currently set. It can also be argued that no one “needs” the snack items that I bought, but if it lets me finish cooking dinner in relative peace, sign me up already. Allergy season in Texas is unusually brutal this year, so leading off the list is coconut oil. I cook with it, but I also put it on Landry’s chapped little nose and cheeks. Cooking spray is a need, as is the olive oil because I will be making pita again in the near future. Next is the snack items, which will be fun. Then, here comes the bathroom business, from toilet paper to shampoo to mouthwash. A replacement wire whisk because Landry tried to peel mine like a banana, and two bottles of melatonin round out the list.

I’m really curious about the toilet paper and facial tissue; not going to lie about that. It’s tree-free, as they make it with sugar cane and bamboo grass. I’m intrigued, and at twelve rolls for $6, it’s an experiment to make it to the end of the month. Remember, there was a nasty stomach bug posted up in our house a couple of weeks ago, our stockpile was more or less decimated.

If I really like this stuff, I’ll pay the $36 for a B.More membership, which you can check out here. That will get me a year’s worth of free shipping on any order and get a lot of meals for Feeding America ;they donate 10 meals when you get your membership, and then two more every time you place an order. I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of the idea of helping people by doing what needs to be done to take care of me and mine.

Shipping is supposed to take 2-4 business days, so I’m guessing the absolute latest that my shipment will arrive is next Wednesday. I’m not planning on it going anywhere today, so that way, if I ordered early enough for it to get out of the warehouse today, it’s a bonus. As soon as it gets here, I’ll take pictures, and I will give you our review on it all, good, bad, or ugly.

As of 5:10 April 20, it’s on the way. It’s due in by close of business Tuesday. Can’t wait!

Scheduling, Uncategorized

Friday the 13th… teeheehee

Thankfully, the little ones don’t buy into the superstition yet, since they’re testing again today. We’re down to the last six weeks of the school year. In the next few weeks, we will hear back as to whether or not they get their transfers to a different elementary school for next year. Hopefully, my poor crossed everything don’t fall off while I wait.

Nicole and I have already started to plan for them transferring, since she will be taking them to and from until I get a vehicle. That means dry runs starting in August, just to figure out the timing of everything. The kids have already been warned that they will still have to get up early; potentially even earlier than they get up now, as Nicole has to be there as well. They’re good with that, though, at least in theory. We shall see, we shall see.

This weekend should be interesting. When they drift off to sleep tonight, all the tablets and Ryli’s phone will vanish. In all likelihood, so will the 20+ Baby Alives and all the Littlest Pet Shop figures. I’m going to be nice and let them sleep in, but once they get up, they have to start work on their room, whether they like it or not. They get enough done, I’ll return some of their toys and tech until they drift off to sleep yet again. Then, I’ll repeat the process. I will help, don’t get me wrong, but gone are the days where I am the one to clean up their room. They just demolish it again.

Other than that, we’ll just relax and do laundry… after we sort through the clothes that either don’t fit or just never get worn. It should be a satisfying weekend, once we get through it!



Challenges, Home, Parenting, Routine, Scheduling

Slight change in plans (I want my bed back)

I have got to get the kids to sleep in their own beds. Ryli is pretty good about it, unless she’s ill or Landry is being obnoxious about it. Landry just climbs in my bed and passes out, and by the time I go to bed, I’m in no mood to transfer his butt to his own bed. I am sleeping horribly. The first thing I do when I get them off to school is take a nap. I use a sleep quality monitor on my phone. My sleep quality sucks with both of them in my bed, and improves a good deal if there is only one in bed with me. I can only imagine how much better it would be if they both were in their own beds!

So, that leaves me to come up with something to use as an incentive. I think I may try to see if I can use new bedding sets as the reward. I’m fairly confident that we could find something that both of them like that coordinates relatively well. We shall see.

The slight change in plans is that I will be putting the 30 Day Self-Care Challenge on the back-burner until next month. I am still making a conscious effort to practice better self-care, but there are a few tasks that are derailing me. I’m going to practice for now, and get those other things addressed. Then, I’ll just be in a better place overall. Things could actually go according to plan, however, and I could end up starting when I complete the few odd tasks. First on that list is kicking everyone but me out of my bed. Hell, once I get Landry out, Tiger will follow. He loves to sleep with his human.

I will give Landry some credit. Ever since the medication change, he has been a dream come bedtime. Now, I have to hound Ryli to go to sleep, because odds are good that come 8:00, Landry is already gently snoring his brains out in Dreamland. He’s even been known to wake up by himself in the morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Time to get ready to greet them when the bus finally drops them off. It was an end of six weeks testing day… yikes!