Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014 {Tuesday Ten Linkup}

Since yesterday was Memorial Day, which is often considered the "official" start of summer, Rabia and I thought it would be fun to share our Summer Bucket lists for today's Tuesday Ten!  I made a bucket list last summer.  I actually printed it, put it on the refrigerator, and we had fun crossing things off together.  I even gave an update at the end of summer sharing all the things we had actually done from the list.   

I'm a list maker by nature, so I love doing things like this!  The only problem is, my bucket list is longer than ten!  There are things on the list I know we will do (i.e. We already have two beach trips planned) and things that will be more challenging (i.e. traveling somewhere new).  I hope we can get to them all and that I can give another update later this summer.

What's on your "To Do" list for the summer??


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Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

The Teacher Wife 
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Meet our co-host for the month of May, Mrs. Tee!!

Please make sure to check out her blog and follow her on social media!
FacebookTwitter, Google+Pinterest

We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.
Come link up again next Tuesday, June 3 when we'll be sharing the songs that are currently stuck in our heads!

We have also created a Tuesday Ten Facebook group!  If you would like to join the group, click the link and request to join!

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's a Small World After All! {Ask Away Friday}

This week I'm swapping Ask Away Friday Questions with Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life and Laughter!  I think I first met Tiffany through SITS Sharfest, a Saturday morning Twitter party hosted by the SITS Girls.  Then, she began participating in the Tuesday Ten I host with Rabia and, now, she's even our Tuesday Ten co-host for May!  As I was doing a little research to come up with questions for Tiffany, I also realized that she is a fellow North Carolinian.  It truly is a small world sometimes!

Here are my answers to the questions she asked me!  To see the questions I had for her, head over to her blog~

The South

1. You're southern born and raised. What is you favorite southern quality?
This is a tough one because I've never really known anything else.  I have never lived anywhere other than the South.  Southerners have a reputation for being hospitable and friendly.  I've have generally found that to be true and love that about living here.  Of course, we also have some really good food!  

2. I am city born and raised but a happy southern adoptee. Are there any stereotypes you have/had about us city folk? Have you found them to be true or false?
I think some southerners assume that "city folk" (and northerners in particular) are not as friendly and that they look down on Southerners as being less intelligent "rednecks."  That's not true in my experience, though.  I have met some big city transplants that are super nice and some of my best blogging buddies live in New England.  When I first vlogged, I was worried that others would laugh at my Southern drawl, but several blog friends from around the country said it was "cute" and "endearing."  Nobody made fun of me.  No matter where you are, you will find nice people and not-so-nice people.  It really has very little to to with where  you were raised and much more to do with how you were raised.

3. I love the slower pace of the country and the overall friendliness. Have you ever been to the city and was it a shock to your southern charm?
Yes!  I went to New York City for the first time when I was in college and it was definitely a shock, especially when we got on the subway going in the wrong direction. I have also been lucky enough to travel to Paris.  It was absolutely amazing, but so very different form my usual way of life.  Lastly, I recently went to Las Vegas for the first time.  That was some definite culture shock!  Vegas is "in your face" all the time and I was not a big fan.


4. My Aunt was a Special Needs High School teacher for over a decade and often brought me in as a teen to help. I know it takes a very patient and tender hearted spirit. How did you decide to teach special needs?
It was actually rather accidental.  In college, I majored in child development and took several classes on inclusion and special needs.  However, that was not my intended career focus.  I went to college on a wonderful scholarship that required me to teach in the public school system for a few years upon graduation (or else actually re-pay the scholarship financially.)  Well, there weren't many open positions for preschool teachers in the public school system, but I found one that was for a preschool special needs teacher that would essentially be co-teaching with a classroom PreK teacher.  I interviewed, got the job, and naively thought "I took the classes. I can do this!"  I won't lie, that first year was rough.  By Christmas break, I was about ready to quit.  However  I had a great co-teacher who was also my mentor.  She became (and still is) a wonderful friend.  Through her support and many, many tears,  I got through the tough times and fell in love with my students.  I truly felt called to continue working with special needs children.  I continued in the position for a few more years, eventually moving into my own classroom, until I had my first daughter and became a SAHM.    


5. You mention your 'pull your hair out moments' and yes we ALL have them. How do you resist the urge? I escape to the bathroom or a book. 
If I can, I escape to my computer to blog or peruse social media.  If I can't do that, I just try to walk away for a few minutes to my bedroom or maybe the bathroom and take some deep breaths.

6. You're a list maker. Do you make your list mentally, digitally or the old school pen and paper way?
Old school -pen a paper.  I usually have several lists going at a time.  Today, I have a house "to-do" list and a blog "to-do" list.  There's always a list stuck to the desk at my office of the things I need to get done at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I also keep this dry erase board on my refrigerator to write down groceries as I run out of things.  (Helpful Hint:  Put a board like this on your fridge.  When you need to run to the store, just snap a picture with your phone.  Then, you don't have to worry about forgetting your list at home!)  


7. If you could learn any sport instantly what would it be?
Right now, it would be fast pitch softball!  I played softball in high school and actually pitched, but it was slow pitch way back then.  My oldest daughter is playing softball this season.  Her league is the first age when they do kid pitch and she wants to be a pitcher, but it is fast pitch.  It's very different from what I did and I wish I could help her more.  

8. Share your funniest awkward moment. 
The most recent one I can think of happened at one of those school awards ceremonies at my two younger daughters' elementary school.  I was sitting with some other parent friends and we were giggling at the scowl one of their daughters was sporting that day.  She was obviously in a bad mood and the dad was lamenting about how moody his daughter had become recently.  I joked that "maybe it's genetic!" trying to be funny and suggest that he was moody as well.  Only problem??  His daughter is adopted - from China.  Definitely an open mouth/insert foot moment!  Fortunately, he laughed about it and retorted with a joke about me having a "blonde moment."

9. Pick three words for these three letter that describe who you are as a person. T G S :) T - Thoughful; G -Grateful (for all my blessings); S -Smart

10. What's the last song you heard? Did you like it or hate it?
I love music and I often listen to Pandora on my computer while I'm typing a blog post.  As I type this, right this second, I'm listening to "Crash My Party" by Luke Bryan.  I love it and have it on my iPod as well. :-)


#AskAwayFriday was created by Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking questions and getting to know each other better!
Meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world and #AskAwayFriday makes it fun and easy!
Be sure to check out all the awesome Ask Away Hostesses!  They are:
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Amber from Bold Fit Mom

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Biggest Fears

Back in October, I wrote a post called The Scariest Things About Motherhood that included things like labor and delivery, finances, and meltdowns.  They were fears that are "universal" to moms and dads.  However, part of the  #30Things Challenge is to focus more specifically on ourselves and list three of our own, legitimate fears.  It's not a comfortable topic, but here are my three biggest fears.

The first one I will share is my fear of water.  It's ironic since we have a pool in our backyard, huh?  The truth is, I can't swim.  My parents couldn't swim and I never learned growing up.  As an adult, my husband has tried to teach me, but my adult knowledge of the worst case scenario and the subsequent fear simply won't let me relax enough to learn.  In fact, if you are drowning in our pool, you would have a better chance of being rescued by my eleven year old than by me.  When we moved into this house, the pool was one of my biggest misgivings about it.  Now, I am very glad we have it and I am MUCH more comfortable in the water than I used to be.  I actually do go in the deep in as long as I have a noodle or some other floatation device, although it does make me nervous still.  My husband and my three daughters are great swimmers.  I am so glad my girls are have had the opportunity to become comfortable - and SAFE - in the water.  Maybe someday, they'll teach me too.

Two of my little fishes!

My second big fear is heights.  I have never liked them.  When I am up on a high perch, I can feel my pulse get faster and my body tense up.  I don't go near the edge.  I don't even like climbing up on ladders or step stools, really.  I have braved some heights for the sake of saying I've done it - like going up in the Eiffel Tower or crossing the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain.  Every time, though, I require some coaxing, I hold on with white knuckles, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief when I return to solid ground.  I have no idea why I have this fear of heights.

Grandfather Mountain is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I grew up.

Finally, the last fear I am going to share with you - fear of failure.  Don't we all have this fear to some degree??  I think, however, being a grown up and a mom has made this fear bigger.  When you are young, failure means failing a test or not making the team.  Although it seems at the time like something so devastating, in the grand scheme of life it really isn't such a big deal.  When you become an adult, though, with responsibilities and people who depend on you, failure becomes a much more significant problem.  When you fail, you let down the people who trust in you the most; your co-workers, you spouse, your children.  

If you Google "quotes about failure," you will find plenty of quotes indicating that you are only failing if you are not trying or that failure is merely a stepping stone to success.  You will also find, however, that Susan B. Anthony once said that "Failure is impossible" and that Gene Kranz is credited with saying, "Failure is not an option," referring to the rescue of Apollo 13.  That's kind of how I feel. 

As a mom, I make small mistakes every day.  I yell.  I forget things.  I let them watch too much television.  Those are insignificant failures and these are not the failures that cause me to lose sleep at night.  The scary ones are the big picture pitfalls - failing to raise them properly; failing to keep them safe; failing to show them how much they are loved.  In those endeavors, failure simply is not an option.  It lurks in the back of my mind like a wild cat waiting to pounce and I must not let it find me.  Ever.

What are you biggest fears?  Have they changed as you've gotten older?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ten Patches Every Mother Needs {Tuesday Ten LinkUp}

If you are a regular participant in or reader of Tueadsy Ten, you have probably figured out that Rabia and I like to look at lists of weird holidays for topic inspiration.  When we were working on our topic list several weeks ago, I saw that tomorrow (May 21st) is National I Need a Patch For That Day.  AT first I thought, "Seriously?  That's a day!  Who comes up with this stuff?"  However, I was also intrigued so I read the explanation:

Quite simply, it is a day in which we sit back and celebrate the humble patch in all its forms. You may be wondering what sort of patch is referred to, and the answer is that it is every single type of patch that you can imagine: from patches in clothes to nicotine patches, from software patches to patchwork quilts.
Do we really need a day to celebrate patches? Well, think about it. Every single day we take many little things for granted, even though we would often struggle without them. Think of I Need A Patch For That Day as an idea that helps us to appreciate those little things in life.
~via www.daysoftheyear.com

After reading the explanation, I ran it by Rabia and we added it to the list.  As I began thinking about exactly what to write for the post, my thoughts turned to motherhood and how many times I've wished for a simple solution to the trials and tribulations of being a mom; an easy fix, like a patch.  So, naturally, here are. . . . . 

  1. A Sleep Patch - This one really needs no explanation, does it?  When they are infants all the way to when they are teens and beyond, moms never get enough sleep.  Wouldn't it be great to have a patch we could slap on that would make us feel refreshed and rested even after spending the entire night awake with a teething infant or a broken hearted teen daughter??
  2. An Energy/Caffeine Patch - Now, if we had a sleep patch we might not need this one.  But, if the sleep patch doesn't work, maybe we could have an energy patch.  It seems that every evening, when I am running on empty, my kids get a sudden burst of energy.  If only I had a patch to give me an instant shot of stamina to hang on a little longer; to stay up a few extra hours and still not be a zombie the next day; to read that story just one more time; to help finish the school project without losing my cool; to have a little spark left for the hubby even after the kids have gone to bed.
  3.  A Whining Patch - This is a patch for our kids to wear.  Can't take any more whining??  Then, just like a bandaid, stick on a NO WHINING patch and your kid is instantly unable to whine.  Just thinking about it make me happy!
  4. The "I Want My Body Back" Patch - Pretty much every mom I know struggles with post baby body image.  Most of the time, even if we work out and get back to our pre-baby weight, our bodies are just different.  There might be stretch marks or parts that are a little a lot saggier than they used to be.  We might just carry the weight in different places.  What if we could temper our supposed figure flaws without liposuction? What if we could slap on a patch and make it tight and taught again??
  5. The Picky Eater Patch - Do your kids turn up their noses when you put peas or pork chops on their plate??  Mine do.  Sometimes, I wish I had a patch to fix it.  Just stick it on them and they will eat ANYTHING - even spinach and brussel sprouts!
  6. The Invisibility Patch - Tired of hearing, "Mom! Mommy! Mom!"  Tired of your children following you all around the house and into the bathroom??  No problem.  Just plaster one of these babies on your forehead and you are instantly invisible!  You can see them, but they can't see you!
  7. The Heartbreak Patch - There are times in motherhood when you heart will inevitably break.  It might be when you watch them walk into kindergarten or middle school.  It might be when they are bullied or when they don't make the team.  Maybe it's when they go off to college or get their own heart broken.  It will happen.  Moms (and dads) need a patch for that.  I envision a large, heart-shaped sticker that you place directly over your own heart to make the hurt sting a little bit less.  
  8. A Chocolate and Wine Patch - This one is for those days when you are at the end of your rope and you just need something - anything - to get you through a couple more hours.  Maybe you don't actually drink or maybe your kids ate all your chocolate (The horror!).  This patch would give you the same calming effect without the alcohol or the calories.
  9. The Patience Patch - In those seconds before the giant meltdown, when you feel it coming and you know it's going to happen, but you simply cannot control the explosion of frustration, anger, and cursing that is about to occur, grab a patch for that!  Slap it on quickly, anywhere, anytime for an extra shot of patience so that maybe you can hold you temper a little bit longer; maybe just long enough to get to the other side of the situation without losing your cool.
  10. The No More Mommy Guilt Patch - At some point or another, all moms worry that we are screwing up our kids.  We worry that we are not spending enough time with them or that we are spending too much time with them so they are too dependent.  We wonder if we made the right choices about breastfeeding, sleep training, school, and punishments.  We compare ourselves to other moms and think they do it better.  This patch would make all of that go away.  Not only would it make us shed the feelings of guilt, but, for just a little while, it would allow us to see ourselves through the eyes of our kids.  We would see that we are superheroes; that were are loved so very much; that we are the perfect mom for our kids; and that we really are doing just fine.
What do you think?  Which of these patches would you like to have?  Any others you would add to the list?


Click to sign up for #TuesdayTen reminder emails: http://eepurl.com/PXVtr

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

The Teacher Wife 
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Meet our co-host for the month of May, Mrs. Tee!!

Please make sure to check out her blog and follow her on social media!
FacebookTwitter, Google+Pinterest

We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.

Come link up again next Tuesday, May 27 when we'll be sharing our Summer Bucket Lists!

We have also created a Tuesday Ten Facebook group!  If you would like to join the group, click the link and request to join!

Friday, May 16, 2014

She Had Me At "Cookie!"

This week, I am once again combining Finish the Sentence Friday with Ask Away Friday!

I am super excited to be swapping questions with NJ form A Cookie Before Dinner.  NJ is a relatively new blogging friend.  I am terrible with remembering details, but I think I met her through her review of The Mother Of All Meltdowns and through Rabia.  Don't you just love the title of her blog??  And her tag line is "a sweet life well lived."    Another quote from her - "I long for a slow and simple life, but realize half of the fun is found in the crazy moments."  Don't you just love that, too??  Truthfully, she had me at "Cookie," but I was drawn to her and her blog by her perspective on life as expressed through those quotes.  NJ describes herself as a fun seeker and an extrovert.  She is also a very supportive blog friend and I am thrilled that I get to meet her at BlogU in less than a month!!!

Now, on with the questions!  Here are my answers to the questions NJ sent me (and they were awesome!).  To see her answers to my questions, head on on over to her blog.   

1. Answer the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt... "The Nicest Thing Someone Ever Did For Me Was . . "  
That's a tough one!  Many of the things that come to mind are things my hubby has done - sending flowers just because, taking me on trips, and, of course, helping to make me a mom!  Being a lover of words, it also means a lot when people give me compliments.  Lately, people have been praising the work I'm doing at our church (children's sermons, organizing the Easter Egg Hunt) in my new part time job.  Those compliments truly mean the world to me!

2. Besides your own story, which essay is your favorite Mother Of All Meltdowns story?
No way I can list just one!!! I loved Dana's story about her Disney meltdown.  I also adored Ginny Marie's story about threatening to give away all of her daughter's clothes.  I felt a connection because I did a very similar thing years ago.  I really enjoyed Marcia's Powdered Sugar Fight of 2007, too.  It made me giggle out loud as I could just picture her, her house, and all her kids covered in powered sugar - and trying to explain it to her hubby!

3. What advice do you have to someone who wants to grow their blog beyond a hobby blog? 
I wish I had some!  At the moment, I am honestly a little frustrated with trying to grow my own blog.  After growing slowly but steadily for about a year, I seem to have hit a plateau.  So, I guess my advice would be to be patient because there is no magic formula and there will be ups and downs.  The posts you think will go viral probably won't.  You may think getting a feature on one of those bigger blogs (i.e. Scary Mommy or Huffington post) will instantly catapult you to fame, but it won't.  Beyond that, get involved in blogging communities through blog hops and/or Facebook groups.  This will help you build a supportive core group of blogging friends who will share your work and stand by you when everything else doesn't seem to be working.

4. What is your favorite social media site? Why do you love it? For me, Instagram is where it is at because I can't tell a story well without both words and pictures.
For the longest time my favorite has been Facebook because it's where I'm comfortable and where I can could get the most interaction.  Lately, however, as all bloggers know, Facebook has been making it more difficult.  For example, I have over 600 followers on my Facebook page, but Facebook is showing many of my statuses to less than 100 of them.  So, I'm trying to venture out into other platforms like Twitter and Google+.  Twitter is kind of overwhelming because it goes so fast and, in my experience, the only people actively using Google+ are other bloggers.  Therefore, my answer to this question is changing and evolving.

5.I know you're a country music lover! What are your top five country music songs of all time? 
Wow!!  You are really making me dig deep with these questions!!  It is hard to pick just five and my answer might change if you ask me again tomorrow, but right now I would say:
  1. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
  2. Hey, Pretty Girl - Kip Moore
  3. Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss
  4. The House That built Me - Miranda Lambert
  5. My Wish - Rascal Flatts

Oh, and I Hope You Dance - Leann Womack.  Can't forget that one! 

6. One of my favorite posts is one you wrote this fall- A Letter To My Daughter Upon Entering Middle School. How did Rachel's first year go? What surprised you the most about her? What surprised you the most about being a middle school mama? 

Thanks for that and thanks for asking about Rachel!  Her first year of middle school has been great.  For the first three weeks, it was smooth sailing.  Then, we hit a bumpy patch and there were a few weeks when it got tough.  We were all dealing with more projects, more pressure, new schedules, and time management.  But, we got through it and it has been back to smooth sailing since November.  Rachel is a super smart kid.  She is making straight A's at a school for academically gifted students.  She seems to have fit in seamlessly and I am so thankful that she has adjusted so easily.  Middle school is a different world, though.  They definitely don't "hold the hands" of the parents like they do in elementary school and they expect the kids to be self sufficient and responsible.

7. Are there any updates on "CeCe"? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to stand the gap and become a foster parent?

Actually, yes! I won't go into details in respect of her privacy, but I have a friend who, through her job, was able to look into public records.  As far as we can tell, CeCe is alive. This was a concern due to her health issues, but no death certificate is on file.  (sounds so morbid, huh?)  It also appears that she was, in fact, adopted by the family she went to live with when she left us as there was documentation of an official name change.  It was such a relief to find this out and I am so happy to know that things worked out as planned.  Hopefully, someday, we will make contact again.

Our fostering situation was very unique.  I am so glad we did it and, without knowing it, CeCe touched so many people while she was living with us.  That said, it was hard.  Having not yet been parents when we took her in, we really didn't know what we were in for.  Although we always knew it was temporary, letting her go was heartbreaking.  Being a foster parent is a wonderful, selfless thing to do, but it is most definitely not for the faint of heart.

8. What does summer look like for your family? Are you traveling or sticking close to home?
We are going to the beach twice this summer.  Once in June with my hubby's family.  It is a tradition.  We rent a big beach house and all hang out together for a week.  In July, we will be going to Hilton Head for a few days with one of my good friends and his family.  Other than that and Vacation Bible School at our church, we really don't have any definite plans.  The girls and I usually go spend about a week with my parents, too, but we not have settled on dates yet.  The girls and I would love to tag along on one of hubby's business trips as well, but nothing firmly scheduled at this point.  We are lucky to have a pool, so we have lots of friends over and spend lots of lazy days hanging out at home!   

9. What is the oldest post you have in your draft folder? Why haven't you published it? 

Someone else asked me this one!  So fun to look back.  The oldest draft I have is from August 2011 and it is "An Update on the Blankie Situation."  Earlier that summer, I had posted about trying to break my youngest daughter's attachment to her blankies, which are just cloth diapers, that she has carried around forever.  I promised my readers an update at the end of the summer, but never wrote it because there was nothing to update.  My efforts failed and I decided that having a blankie wasn't really a big deal anyway.  She still has them  now - 3 years later - but, only when we are at home. 

10. Where do you see your blog going in the next year? What goals do you have for your space? 
This is a great question and something I admire about you, NJ, and your blog - you have very definite short and long term goals.  It is something I have been thinking a lot about.  Like many bloggers, I started out with aspirations of fame and fortune.  I had visions of being the next Scary Mommy or Glennon Melton.  I quickly realized, though, that was not a realistic goal.  I have been trying to re-focus and come up with something more concrete and attainable.  I have always wanted my blog to serve as a virtual memory book for my girls.  I want them to look back on all my posts and stories when they are mothers and find the kind of comfort and "I'm not the only one" feeling that blogging has afforded me.  That is my super, ultimate, long term goal.  In the midst of getting there, though, I'm still trying to figure out what I want on a more short term level.  Sometimes, (most of the time) I want it to grow and I want to see my numbers (shares, followers, page views) increasing.  As I mentioned, though, it has plateaued lately and is making me wish I could find a way to just ignore the numbers completely.  In short, the answer to this question is something I am still deciphering.    


This post is part of Finish The Sentence Friday.  FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies.  Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic
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