This is a must read. Beautifully written by a friend of mine!
I’m curled up on the couch with my hot chocolate and watching The Santa Clause. This is exactly what I wanted to do this afternoon before work tonight. Hot chocolate, Christmas movies, and blogging. Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I LOVE Christmas. I love the meaning, the joy, and the quality time spent with family.
This past week I made a lot of homemade things! I made the kid’s teachers a Peppermint and Orange Sugar Scrub made with essential oils. They were a huge hit and SUPER easy to make. All I did to make three 8 oz jars of the sugar scrub was:
In a large glass bowl combine 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar with 25 drops of Orange essential oil and 15 drops of Peppermint essential oil. Mix the oils in the sugar
Next take 3/4 cup of Coconut Oil (melted) and 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and begin to pour it into the sugar and EO mixture.
Blend the mixture and BAM — you have an amazing smelling sugar scrub! Easy as that!
We are spending Christmas Eve with my side of the family. The other day we told the kids we wouldn’t be going to Papa Grande and Marilyn’s house for Christmas Eve, but before we could get out that we were just moving houses and having it at Aunt Chrissy’s instead (Marilyn’s sister), James threw his hands up and says, “It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve if we didn’t spend it at Papa Grande’s like we ALWAYS do with ALL the FAMILY!!” — Calm down there buddy, not to worry, EVERYONE will be there.
Tuesday night I made this delicious White Chicken Chili. I doubled the recipe and substituted black beans for great northern beans. It was another HUGE hit with the kids and Matt. Whenever I make a dish that they love, it really makes me feel good. Hearing how awesome dinner is and how everyone wants me to make it again soon is just phenomenal. It always feels good to have a “win” in the dinner department.
I did things a little different with Christmas shopping this year. I bought most of EVERYTHING online, and I loved it! It was so easy and simple. I signed up for a free 30 day Amazon Prime account and got FREE 2 Day shipping on all of my orders. Not only did I stay under budget but I was able to get everything that I had on my Christmas list without modifying anything! The one thing I went to the store for was Jordan’s gift. A few years ago I gave her two of my old American Girl dolls. They aren’t in the BEST shape, but they worked for the time being. I wanted to wait until she was older and able to read the books before I bought her her very own AG doll. This year is the year and I was so excited and giddy walking into the AG store. Jo is going to freak out because I don’t think in a million years she would think we would get her an American Girl Doll for Christmas.
The past few weeks have really started to look up and I have been able to really get into the Christmas spirit. I look forward to my Christmas Tradition post I am writing for later this week! Stay tuned 🙂
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas outside. We had a huge snowfall this past Sunday and Monday. It dumped what felt like a foot of snow in 24 hours. The kids had their first snow day of the year and they got to join Matt and I at work for part of the day! I usually re-write the ever changing draft board on Mondays and I think it’s safe to say Jordan knows a lot of brewery names and what an ABV percentage is. I mean, she can’t go through life thinking Miller Lite is really the champagne of beers, right?
Last week was a rough one for me, but here I am, I survived. I went into work Friday night, and to be honest, I really didn’t want to. I was hurt, and it had been less than 24 hours since the incident happened. I spend more time with these people than I do my own family, and one of them stole the kid’s Christmas money right out of my purse. To me, a lot of those fellow co-workers are like my family. They’ve seen the good, the bad, and even the ugly in my life and still stood by my side, supporting me. So in I walked and my boss pulled me in the office, handed me an envelope, and said “After you left work last night we all pulled our money together and people came in today and put money in as well. Customers, regulars, and even old employees. They heard about what had happened and wanted to help. We love you Jess and you’re a good person and we wanted to show you how much we love you and have your back. That’s what families do.” I just began to sob like a baby. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. They all cared. They all wanted to make this right, not just for me, but for the kids.
I had an overwhelming feeling of love rush over me. How amazing was that? I walked around with tears still streaming down my face and hugged each and every person I worked with. “Of course, girl!” – “We love you, we’re family!” – “I know you would of done the same for me or anyone else here!” I left work that night with more money than I could count. The next day I walked into my other job, World of Beer (where Matt and I both work) and one of the managers pulled me aside and handed me an envelope. You’ve got to be kidding me. “We heard about what happened to you and we wanted to help. We love seeing those kids in here and we don’t want them to miss out on Christmas!” The love just kept on coming, from every direction, from people I’ve met a few time to long time family friends. I didn’t expect that at all and I made sure to use every penny towards the kids for Christmas.
Karma is real and what you put out into the universe you get back. After having all of that money stolen, I wasn’t angry at first, I was hurt. I kept thinking, if someone needed money that badly they should have just asked me, I would of helped in some way, and ya know what, we will figure this all out. Matt and I will find a way to make this work, everything is going to be okay. Christmas isn’t ruined. Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about love and being with the ones you love. As cliche as that may sound, it’s 100% true. I can’t remember every single toy I got for Christmas, but I remember being with my family, eating Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls at the table with my brothers and going to church and singing all of the Christmas hymns.
So, to say the least, my faith in humanity was restored. I realized that I wasn’t going to let one selfish person ruin our Christmas and by doing that it came back to me tenfold.
It really feels like I’ve been beaten down this week. I mean, honest to God, I’ve had a rough few weeks and I’ve rolled with the punches but last night — last night was the icing on the cake.
I picked the kids up Monday from school and asked them how their day was. As I turned to look at James he had tears rolling down his cheeks. “What’s the matter bud?!” and he just looked at me and said, “We got our report cards and I got a couple of 3’s.” If you are not aware, some elementary schools don’t give out actual grades (A’s, B’s, C’s..and so on) until a certain grade level. 1’s are considered above and beyond, 2’s are for right on track for their grade level, and 3’s are for needs lots of improvement. I asked him what the 3’s were for and he told me “Well, my handwriting is really bad but I’m working on it and my teacher thought I didn’t turn in an assignment, but I did, and she couldn’t find it so it was marked incomplete, but she found it in her desk today. And sometimes…I can’t control myself when I know the answer to something so I blurt it out and I’m really trying to work on that too.”
I mean, those were all things we figured were going to be said on his report card because it’s not new news to us. I told him, “Well, it looks like you’re very aware of what you need to work on, so why are you so upset, relax bud, you’re kicking Math’s butt though!” I turned and looked at Jordan and asked her, “Well, what about you? Anything I need to know about before Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday?” She looked me dead straight in the eyes, with a smile on her face and said, “Nope! I’m all good!”
As we are driving home I get a phone call from our bank asking me if I’m using my credit card out of state. “Uh, no. No I am not.” — They read off the pending charges and we came to the conclusion my credit/debit card number was stolen. I took a deep breath and began the process of having them reissue me a new card as soon as possible.
Lucky for me I thought. I’m a server half of the week and I still had all my cash on me from over the weekend, so I thought I had nothing to worry about. I had the kid’s Christmas money all set to be deposited so I could use that until I got my new card.
Wednesday rolls around and Matt and I went up to the school for the Parent/Teacher Conferences. Matt ran into Stephanie earlier that morning and she gave him the thumbs up about James’ conference. Which to be honest, after his year thus far, we were ALL a little worried. So after that thumbs up, I wasn’t too concerned or worried about going in to talk to their teachers. — If only life was that easy, right?…
We sit down with Jordan’s teacher and she asked if Stephanie was going to be coming. We told her no, she was at home with the kids, but not to worry because she already asked if I would let her know how everything went. “We need to address some serious behavioral issues first.” My mouth dropped to the floor and Matt turned about five different shades of red in like 30 seconds. “I didn’t send a note home or call you because I wanted to talk to you about this face to face.”
Now, I don’t normally put the kids on blast. I usually brag about them to anyone who will listen to me, but sometimes there are some ugly times and things that kids do that make parents think, “What have I done wrong?” — I want you parents to know that no kid is perfect and they all make mistakes, but it doesn’t always make it the parent’s fault. And if you have a child who was hurt or offended by another child, don’t look at that parent like they don’t know what they are doing or their child is just pure evil. You don’t know what that household is going through. Remember small children are just that, small children, with small brains, who are just embarking on understanding this crazy world we live in. We are all human.
Back to the story. Her teacher looked me in the eyes and said. “Jordan has been really acting out and not her normal self the past few weeks. Right after Thanksgiving Break the kids got a paper they could turn in for a treat if they read and had a parent sign the paper. Well, Jordan forged your signature, Jess.” My jaw dropped even further. Um, excuse me, my seven year old did WHAT!?” — Her teacher said, “When the librarian asked her if that was her mom’s signature, Jordan said yes, then the teacher pulled out James’ that you had signed and it clearly wasn’t the same signature.” What the actual *@#$!
She then goes on to say, “Then on Monday she went to the Scholastic Book Fair in the library and she stole a roll of fancy tape. The librarian pulled Jordan aside and asked her if she took something that wasn’t hers. Jordan told her no. The librarian asked her three times and Jordan kept telling her no. Well, she then made her empty out her pockets and out fell the tape.”
I couldn’t even form words. I felt like someone just took one of those wrecking balls and smacked me in the side of the face with it.
“I’m so sorry….that’s actually not all of it. Yesterday she stole a bag of pretzels from one of the girls in class and put it in her desk and ate from it all day. I didn’t know about it until the girl’s parents emailed me saying their daughter came home crying from school. I’m so sorry guys. I KNOW this isn’t like her at all and up until a few weeks ago she has been GREAT, but all of a sudden she just started this really mean streak.”
I’m pretty sure the first thing I ended up saying was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Because Jordan hasn’t acted different at either house at ALL, and trust me, one of us would of said something to each other about it. Clearly there is something going on in that head of hers and on Sunday, her and I are going to have a nice little chat about it. I called Stephanie after we left and I’m sure Jo got a well deserved ear full after we hung up.
Well that’s just a fabulous start to the rest of my week now. Wednesday through Saturday I serve at a restaurant. I make easy quick cash and I’m still able to balance everything else going on in my life. Last night was a busy night and at the end I went back to where we keep our coats and purses to put the money I made in my wallet. I opened up my wallet and every single dollar was gone. All $250 of it. All $250 of the kid’s Christmas money — gone.
I just began to sob. I sobbed like a baby and one of my best friends just sat there and held me as I cried. I’ve been busting my ASS the past month to make sure that EVERYONE gets Christmas. And here I sit, with zero dollars set aside for presents.
I mean, I took one hit, then another hit, then another, I just couldn’t do it anymore and I lost it. When is enough, enough? I feel like I was not only whacked with one of those wrecking balls but then ran over by a fleet of semi-trucks. I’m really hoping last night was the end of it all, because I don’t know how much more I can emotionally take.