Monday, June 30, 2014

Saturdays in Redneckville: Backyard Camping and a Dead Mouse

So, what's the first thing you do after going camping? SLEEP. Then you set up your tent in your yard to air and sweep it out. And then you leave it up because the kids saw it and they want to sleep in it.

Tennille's kids have never been camping. EVER. So, we had a practice round in our backyard. Complete with s'mores.
Camping Dinner. Yep, Johnny was in a button down and a tie. He just wanted to. 

Our tent. Oh wait, this is David Tennant I got distracted.
 (I do not know the source of this picture, it was on Tennille's computer.
 If you own the copyright, please let me know,
I will credit you or take it down, which ever you prefer).
This is our tent. It's huge. We slept two adults and five kids and had room for at least two more sleeping bags.

I made fire. Without Larch. And without gasoline. Thank you Girl Scouts

Bella Rose all snuggled up.

Bossypants' first roasted marchmellow.

Oh yeah, we use old car seats as chairs around our backyard fire pit. 

Johnny like wearing no shirt. Flipper likes his marshmallows burnt. 

Tennille said the baby wanted marshmallows. I think she just felt nostalgic about childhood.

When we camp for real, the phones will be locked in the car. 
In other news....

Later in the week, my laundry room started to smell. I thought maybe the hot weather had just made the washing machine funky. The laundry didn't smell when it came out of the washer, and the drum didn't stink, but there was a definite odor around the washing machine. Thinking that perhaps a wet rag or sock had gotten dropped behind or beneath the machine, I pulled it out to investigate. This is what I found...

Yeah, the worst part is that Larch made me deal with it. I had to pull it out and throw it away. But I did it.

Today, I duct taped our kiddie pool back together. Give me a mullet and I could be the redneck woman poster child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo Challenge Days 19-25

I suck at posting these daily. Check out Motherhood{honestly} for more frequent pictures. And to see the awesome photos other people are taking.

DIY. Lois Lane made these for me as a birthday gift about 3 years ago.
After Hours. Tim the Toolman adds wood to the campfire.
Morning Routine.
Majes Me Sad.
In Your Bag. Yep, I keep books in my purse. The Outlander series is AMAZING. The first boom is called Outlander ( go figure). Read it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saturdays in Redneckville: How to Camp in Large Groups for Less Than $100

We FINALLY went camping this weekend. It's mid-June and this was our first camping trip this year. We are so behind. The most redneck part of the weekend I can't write about yet. I really want to, and hopefully I will be able to soon. You will understand why I can't write about it right now when I do finally write about it in the future.

This weekend's camping trip was a first for me, and not just because it was the first trip of 2014. Rather than driving to a spot and unpacking, we drove to a lake, unloaded all our crap out of the car and into a fishing boat, a canoe, and three kayaks and crossed to the other side of the lake. The three families that showed up the first night managed to get all the gear across in 2 hours. We all decided this was great fun, but really was quite a lot of work. Worth it though, like childbirth.

When we camp, we go big. Everyone comes. Tim the Toolman, The Hot Italian, Dorkfish, and The Hot Italian's two teenage boys. Superman, Lois Lane, BamBam, CJ and Lois Lane's parents. The Artist and JZ. Mama T and Mark. And of course, our little family of four. I don't think any of us know how to camp in small numbers.

Because we camp in large numbers, we have spent YEARS finding an efficient way to camp. We used to all bring enough food for our respective family units and then we would share and swap among the other campers and everyone would go home and eat camping left overs for a week. The biggest problem with this is that we all spent way to much money on food that sat in a wet pile in a cooler all weekend and then went bad in our fridge at home in a matter of days. Then we got smart. 

When we decide to go camping, the men decide things like where to camp (heavily influenced by the women) who is bringing the chainsaw, and how much beer to buy (this is determined by calculating how fast they can drink it, how close the nearest gas station is to our camp site and how many women are pregnant, nursing, or just unlikely to drink). Lois Lane, The Artist, The Hot Italian and I then text each other endlessly for three days to arrange meals. 

If we leave for camp Friday afternoon and come home Sunday afternoon, there are 6 meals that will need to be prepared over the course of the weekend. With four families camping we each pick one meal and the other two (normally lunches) are picked up by who every volunteers (generally who ever feels rich that week). Most times we only have three of the four family units camping and two families take a breakfast and a dinner and the third family provides lunches for the who weekend. Then each family brings snacks to share and drinks for themselves. This allows those of us with small children to make sure they eat if those without chose to feed more sophisticated palates (and to feed the kids breakfast while we wait for the heavy drinkers to wake up). We went from spending between two and three hundred dollars each for one weekend of camping, to $100 or less per family for the weekend. Hallelujah!

The men would be content to eat hot dogs and chili all weekend. Us women, we have to share tents with them. 

I like the make ahead kind of meals. I made a Taco Soup for Friday night, packed it up in gallon sized zipper bags and reheated it on a camp stove in my cast iron dutch oven. Breakfast was biscuits and gravy. The gravy was made from packets and the biscuits were baked at home before we left with the help of Tennille.
About those biscuits. I didn't have any biscuits and I didn't have time to run to the store, so we made them from scratch. The first time, Tennille grabbed what she thought was a measuring spoon, so we had to eyeball our baking soda. They tasted off and salty so we tried again. This time, she read the recipe as tablespoons when it was teaspoons and again we had salty weird biscuits. Larch said they tasted like fish. Our final two batches were perfect. (With ten adults, three teenagers, two kids and two toddlers, you need two batches of biscuits).

Including the alcohol, hand sanitizer and band aids I think we spent about $85 on this camping trip. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photo Challenge day 15, 16, 17 and 18

Freindship. This is Johnny and Flipper.
Vice. I know I should quit.
Close Up
I'd Rather Be...reading. This series. 
Forget Mr. Knightly, I want a Jamie Fraser.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#YesAllWomen My Story

I really don't do the twitter thing much anymore. I'm only familiar with the #YesAllWomen movement because I've been reading about it on other women's blogs and have heard it mentioned on the news. Though nearly a month late, I have decided to re-work a post from April 2012 because right now might be the time for it. I see a lot of stories about the rape culture and harassment and assault in "public" places. Women dealing with fear walking to and from our cars, getting cat called, not being able to say no but having instead to say "I have a boyfriend" or "I'm married".

My experience with a disrespectful male happened in my own home. Where I should have been safe from "entitled" men. The only man entitled to anything about my body is my husband. Even then, I have the right to say no.

In the summer of 2011, one night when Larch was staying over at a friends house, I woke up to find a stranger at my window.

The window was open, as well as the blinds to let in the cool night air. I don't remember anything specifically waking me up. I just opened my eyes and heard someone at the window. At first, I thought it was Larch, trying to scare me or something. I think I may have said his name before remembering that he was probably drinking and smart enough not to drive home. Then, I realized the man outside my window was mumbling in Spanish. In lewd tones.And I could hear him, you know...touching himself.

Lily was still sleeping in a crib. Right under the open window. I was in the bed and could see out the window. Well, not so much "see" because of the time of day, but in the morning I can see kids walk to school without sitting up. I wasn't wearing much. It was summer and it was hot and we have no air conditioning. I slowly pulled the blankets up to my chin and said "I think you better leave." He didn't leave. He finished, then left.

I was surprisingly calm. As soon as he took off, I grabbed the 12 gauge shotgun from the closet and called the cops. Then I freaked out because my husband and my dad both, weren't answering their phones. I turned on all the lights and smoked in the living room. Yep. In the house. While my kids were home. I wasn't going to go outside for all the money in the world. I only barely cracked the door to talk to the officer who responded to my call. 

The pervert was never caught. I never heard any follow up from the police department. I would assume they cared. It only took 5 minutes for them to get to my house, and as soon as the officer got a description from me, he took off like he had just seen the guy walking down the street, which was very likely.

I'm fine now, but it took me a few weeks before I would let my husband touch me. MY HUSBAND. And a few more before I could change clothes somewhere other than the bathroom in the back of the house with a fogged glass window you can't see through.

I should not be responsible for the actions of a man no matter how I dress. I should not have to double check the backseat of my car before I get in after work. And I most definitely, should not be objectified by a stranger in my own home.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A conversation about BPD

First...Happy Father's Day.

Now to business.

The other day I had an amazing conversation over Facebook with an old college roommate. I felt that it was worth sharing. So, here we go:

FRIEND: I was reading your blog. Do you like DBT?
I work at [redacted] with the criminally insane. We use DBT.

BREANNA: DBT was very useful. I graduated back in December. I still use the skills daily.

FRIEND: It's a pretty extensive learning tool. Do you still do the paper part where you log things and such? Do you have a coach? Do the supplement with meds too?

BREANNA: I don't actively log which skill that used in a day. I do tend to note them and tell my husband about it. I do a lot of writing on my blog or just in my journal, which I guess is kind of similar but not as intentional. I'm supposed to still have a one on one meeting but financially that's just not feasible right now. I have been off meds for about 9 months. The whole point of my going through DBT was to get to the point where I could drop the seroquel.

FRIEND: Seroquel... did it make you drowsy? We had a dr who gave a pt 5mg of zyprexa. It made an ASTOUNDING difference. I really have a bad taste in my mouth for personality disorders as they have a bad reputation at my work. They are axis 2 so harder to treat. It is so interesting to know you then and hear about your life changes now. How did you get diagnosed? Also, brea... I'm super happy you are doing well!

BREANNA: Seroquel made me drowsy for the first week or two then it wasn't so bad. The worst part about it for me was the weight gain. I gained 60 pounds in 3 months. The first 3 months I went off of it I lost 10 pounds like it was nothing. In the last year I've gone from a 16 to a 10. My mom and I and a lot of my family always knew I had a problem, we kind of figured it was bipolar disorder. After I had my kids I had a total breakdown and drove frantically to my mothers and told her to call somebody and make me an appointment because I couldn't do it myself but if I didn't I was going to check myself in to the hospital for fear of hurting my children. That's where I got my diagnosis of BPD and ADHD. Although, I knew about the ADHD, I've always just coped with that. I've done a lot of research and from my understanding BPD is harder to treat than schizophrenia. It's really scary to live with. The hardest part for me is not having a clear picture of who I am on my own and so, having this irrational fear of being alone because I don't even know how to think if I am by myself because I have no one else cluing me how to act to fit in. I've gotten really good at being who I need to be to be liked. Which makes me really good at customer service.

FRIEND: It seems to be a way of training the brain. I am glad that you sought help when you knew you needed to. That in itself is a good indicator that you are capable of changing your thought process. Do you have the tendency to want to self harm? It seems that with BPD a lot of people will self harm for attention and accidentally go to far and kill themselves.

BREANNA: Not recently. When I first started treatment I would, after a fight with my husband. I was too scared to draw blood, but I would definitely scratch at myself trying to get him to see things my way . It was definitely a manipulation tactic. Also, before I was married it wasn't traditional self harm but heavy drinking and promiscuous activity to be considered self harm because it was definitely not good for me and it was also to fit in and seek attention.

FRIEND: Absolutely. BPD is really just a way of thinking to manipulate in anyway. You have to do a lot of brain retraining. Which can be very difficult as you know. But it makes sense that it is difficult because your whole life is spent thinking and behaving 1 way. Is it difficult to raise children and maintain a relationship with the disorder? Do you see any traits in your children?

BREANNA: Yes yes and yes. Reading children is hard because my emotions are so hair trigger and so extreme that sometimes I yell at my kids in a way that is totally unproportional to their behavior. I think I scared my children. Maintaining a relationship is difficult because when my husband and I fight, I hear him saying I'm not good enough, "I'm going to leave" when that's not anywhere close to what he means. However, I am very lucky to have a husband who is very understanding and patient with me. I wish I didn't see traits in my children, at least one of them has hair-trigger, extreme, emotional reactions. I'm already trying to teach them emotion regulation skills from DBT right now so maybe they can avoid diagnosis and not have to relearn later.

BREANNA: Hey...If I change names...can I publish this conversation on my blog. I think it would be really interesting given that you work with the mentally ill and you're the one asking questions. It will be a new perspective I haven't seen on any other blogs.

FRIEND: Yes of course. I love to dissect the brains of my patients but a lot of times they are too far into the manipulation it's not honest. Or, they won't engage. It's super cool to talk to someone who is positive and succeeding in their recovery that is able to maintain relationships and children. I'm never ashamed to ask. We can never learn enough!
Plus, I was in the thick of it with you. Living in the dorm when you were in your peak. Remember?

BREANNA: Yes absolutely. Your half of the conversation will be completely anonymous. I do remember. It got worse the next year. I failed out of NIC. IN the time I was failing out of college I met my husband and married him 6 months later. Which means he fell in love with me when I was at my worst. Which honestly, could also be said to be my most fun because, since we've gotten married and had kids, I do not party like I did and I am not nearly as spontaneous. But I also don't scream my head off at him every other day

FRIEND: That is amazing that he able to see past that. Also a blessing that you didn't harm anybody physically or emotionally. We see a lot of things like self harm or harm to children and spouses.

BREANNA: Yes definitely
Although any emotional damage to my kids may not show up for years yet

FRIEND: Yes. That's the scary/difficult part.

And then we both got busy doing other stuff. But I found that the more I talked about it the more comfortable I got. Almost three years in from my diagnosis, I feel that this is maybe the most honest I've been able to be about Borderline Personality Disorder. At least in writing.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

To My Left. Photo Challenge Day 12

This cute thing is almost always sitting on my left side. Honestly. Even if it means she has to sit on the arm of the couch, she prefers my left side. Don't know why. Also, she hate when I take her picture while she is eating. In this case, it's a frozen strawberry banana Go-Gurt.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Something I Hate

Don't get me wrong I have some wonderful childhood memories involving the ice cream man. It was always super special when mom gave me money to buy ice cream. But the ice cream man where I live now, lives right across the street. That means at least twice a day my kids hear that music and start begging, sometimes 3 or 4 if he has to restock.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Photo challenge Days 9 and 10

Drives Me Crazy
Compute. This is my figuring out how many 2x4s I need to build a picnic table. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Saturday in Redneckville

So I've done a couple of Saturday in Redneckville labeled posts in the past but I have decided to make it a weekly feature. At least for the duration of the summer. The idea being that I will write about an interesting, redneck event experienced or perpetrated by my family and/or close friends. I think this will be infinitely easier than trying to continue Ten Things Tuesday, which I now realize was forced and not as funny and clever as I liked. Also, as I recover from BPD, I am losing my need to constantly make lists for and about everything.

So, here's how I envision this working. Every Sunday or Monday (smart money says Monday) I will post a Saturday in Redneckville post. I like the sound of that title. I have a feeling most things I write about will occur on a Saturday, but I can't guarantee it.

DISCLAIMER: Larch has informed me that he and his brothers are roughnecks not rednecks and that I barely qualify as a country girl and therefore I am definitely not a redneck woman. I will concede the point about roughneck verses redneck, but by and large the majority of the American population doesn't not understand the difference. I believe his lack of confidence in my country girl status is more his nice way of saying I am a wuss. He may be right, but I put my clothes on a line to dry, I make bread from scratch, I like to fish, and I know how to make a deer roast palatable, I think I am country enough. If you add in that I like to "stand barefooted in my own from yard with a baby on my hip" and my undying love of country music (and possibly my tendency to giggle uncontrollably while riding on the back of a 4-wheeler while slightly intoxicated) I think I may also qualify as a mildly redneck woman.

So for this week....I had a hard time deciding between a story involving a bar, lost kids, some cops and a pregnant woman, or to share pictures from Johnny's Birthday BBQ.  I chose the BBQ because Larch built the most awesome fort out of cardboard boxes and my 4 year old took a nap in a playpen. However, I promise to write about the other thing soon.  I've already told the pregnant woman that she has no say, I am writing it, but I will change her name.

Johnny's Birthday BBQ

The first thing you need to know about my family is that it's big. Larch is the oldest of four. All four Thornton kids has spouses (or in one case a long term girlfriend) Larch and I have Johnny and Lily. There is a 15 year old and two toddlers. That's 13 people so far. Larch's parents are divorced so there are three grandparents on that side of the family plus on really close friend who is not technically my mother in law's boyfriend. Now we are at 17. My side of the family has my mom, my dad, my sister, and one set of my grandparents (the other set live in New Mexico so they never come to family events). 22. Family events generally include one of our sets of friends who have a little girl Johnny's age and a new baby. That's 25 + a baby. Then you add in my bestie, her husband and their three kids, there is the distinct possibility of 30+ people being in my backyard for a family event like a birthday. Since we all have dogs, you could also add in up to 7 dogs. This weekend we only had 23, sixteen adults and 7 kids, and 2 dogs. That's a lot of hamburgers y'all.

As I said above, Larch built the most awesome cardboard box castle for the kids to hide out in.

Other redneck-ish occurrences included Johnny's receiving new arrows for his bow, a hunting backpack, and fishing gear among his presents. (He also received normal 7 year old presents like Legos, books, a movie, and a ladder ball set, which now that I think about it is more of an adult game, but still less redneck than a hunting backpack).

Also. Bonfire.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Reply

If you haven't read "To My Friends Who Became Mothers Before Me" at, go here first and read it. This is my reply.

To my now knowledgeable, and therefore guilt-ridden, best friend who has finally taken the plunge into motherhood.

You are forgiven.

You are forgiven for uttering the words "I'm tired." You didn't know. I didn't know before kids either. Take heart, it gets better. It will be years yet, but eventually your children will be less demanding and you may get to sleep in or take a nap.

You are forgiven for your welling meaning baby food book. To be honest, I don't really remember you giving it to me, much less where I put it. 

You are forgiven for thinking it would be fun for you and your boyfriend to be my house guests days before delivery. I was the fool who said ok. I was thinking pregnancy is miserable and I needed a distraction from all the waiting.

You are forgiven for calling me with all of your single girl drama. Yes, talking on the phone is torture with young kids, but maybe more for you than for me. I was the one who kept interrupting you to yell at the kids. To be honest, I was feeling nostalgic about "the good old days" and you reminded me that my life as a mother was hectic but much less drama filled. And I was dying to talk to someone who could use words longer than two syllables.

You are forgiven for talking to me while sleep deprived. You didn't know. And don't worry about rubbing my feet. That's my husband's job.

You are forgiven for not bringing me food, or folding my laundry, or doing my dishes. (You are a better cook now, then you were then). Thank YOU for not commenting on the disastrous state of my house. For finding a place to sit amongst the clean but unfolded laundry piles with nary a word. And for holding the baby while I made you that lunch. I am human. I didn't tell you then, but all I did was warm up the leftovers from dinner the night before. I'm glad you liked it.

Please do not apologize for asking me to come downtown for margaritas. On the occasions I did go, I really needed an excuse to shower. On the times I didn't, I really wanted to, but passed out while putting the kids to bed. Speaking of margaritas, do you want to go out and have one, or should I bring the ingredients and the blender to your place after bedtime?

You are forgiven for your baby envy. It happens to everyone. Even when you have kids. Sometimes especially when you have older kids.

You are forgiven for not knowing my children's nap and meal schedule. I may have grumbled then, but it taught them to sleep anywhere and be flexible. And if you stayed with me through their crankiness, you have paid your penance. 

You are so welcome. Loving someone means putting someone else's needs before your own. I knew that before the stupid snowman said it to the girl who sang the song I can't get out of my head. I will always stand by you. You stuck it out with me.

Thank you. Mothers often feel under appreciated. You too, are doing an amazing job. You are an awesome mother. I am proud of you for taking on motherhood after having seen me struggle through it. You are truly brave. I will always be your friend.

Furry Face

Day 7 of the Motherhood{honestly} photo challenge is furry face. This is a great time to introduce you all to the new member of our family. He was born late last summer and came to live with us in mid fall. His name is Jasper and just like my kids I love him but sometimes I just want him to go away.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Johnny Turns 7

My first baby turned 7 at 6:42 this morning. I wasn't as upset as I thought I'd be.  Although I did tell my mom, or maybe it was my bestie to shut up when they pointed it out as I lit candles on his cake this afternoon. Today was also his last day of 1st grade. They grow up so darn fast.

Johnny wanted a Seattle Seahawks birthday party this year. Seeing as how they are the Superbowl Champions and I grew up in Seattle and they are the closest NFL team to our location and that we are just huge Seahawks fans anyways (even when they sucked), I said ok. The theme went as far as his invitations and the shirt he chose to wear today. Although I did make a football field cake.

Johnnhy talked me into inviting all the boys in his class over after school. Thank goodness only 5 of them were able to come. But I learned something. Seven year old boys in a group will entertain themselves. Also, if you ask if they are hungry, they will say no, but if you tell them you have pizza, they will run you over. And 6 first and second graders can drink a gallon and a half of Kool Aid in less than an hour.

Tomorrow we will have a family BBQ for the aunts and uncles and close family friends (read my bestie and her three kids who weren't invited to all boys party). Since it will be a Saturday, I will be writing another installment of "Saturdays in Redneckville" Sunday afternoon or Monday Monring (smart money is on Monday after the company and the hangovers are gone).

If you don't want to see a bunch of pictures of my son's party, stop here and come back later, otherwise, here are a bunch of pictures of my son and 5 little boys whose faces you can't see. Oh, and a close up of the letter T on Johnny's birthday cake for the Motherhood{honestly} June Photo Challange.

Lily doesn't know it's already busted and completely empty.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Year Later

I cannot believe it has been just over a year since I last posted. There are a couple of reasons for that. My husband will tell you I pick up hobbies for about a year and then I drop those hobbies and come back to them later. That is only part of what happened. Shortly after my last post, I started DBT therapy for my BPD. (More on that later.) I have also gained a best friend, seen my first born through 1st grade, and gotten marginally better on this housework thing.

I decided a couple months ago I needed to start writing again. But, as usual, life got busy and between turning 29 , enjoying the Sun, and planning my son's 7th birthday party, I just never sat down to do it.

So, I'm coming back, and to make it easy on myself, my first month I am participating in a daily photo challenge over at Motherhood {honestly}. Jamie is pretty awesome. And she lives in North Idaho, so that's a plus. And while she's a little bit liberal for me sometimes, what is the world without diversity? So you should definitely check her out, and see what everyone else is posting for their pictures.

Here is the daily challenge list

and here are my first 5 photos:

Summer Selfie


Something Green