Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Reads 2017

Things I hate about summer: hot, humid temperatures; wearing bathing suits; bugs; hearing "I'm hungry" six million times a day; hearing "I'm bored" and "What can we DO today?" 8 billion times a day; and arguing with my kids about he need to wear sunscreen.

Things I love about summer: sleeping in; NOT packing lunches; lazy days when we don't have to be anywhere for any particular reason or at any particular time; family time; vacations; letting my husband grill dinner so I don't have to cook it; evening thunderstorms; and lots of time to READ!!! 

Now, I will admit upfront that I haven't yet read all the books on my list of books to read for 2017. So, why would I add an entirely new list of books to read for the summer? Well, because . . SUMMER!!! It's the best time for reading in my opinion! Plus, the last two books I started from my first list, just didn't' live up to my expectations, so I need to re-energize my desire to read. One way to do that is with some new books to try out! So, after reading some other lists, perusing my Goodreads recommendations, and a tiny bit of research, here are some books I look forward to reading over the summer. 

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a historical fiction novel about a woman named Marianne von Lingenfels. Marianne's husband, a resistor, died int he failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. After the war, Marianne returns to the castle that belonged to her husband's ancestors where she works to keep the promise she made to him to find and protect the wives of his fellow resistors. The women who come together to form this makeshift family must reconcile their pasts and overcome their challenges. Goodreads compares this one to The Nightingale and The Light Between Oceans which are two of my favorite books, so this one is a must-read for me!

One More Day by Kelly Simmons tells the story of every mother's worst nightmare - becoming the mother of the child who disappeared. But, then her sone returns -for just 24 hours before he disappears again. After that, the rumors and suspicions start to fly. When - IF - the crime is solved, what secrets will be revealed? 

 In My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Beckman, Elsa is an unusual seven year old whose best friend is her 77 year old grandmother - who is crazy. But, Elsa loves her grandmother's fairy tales about make believe lands and faraway kingdoms where everyone is different. When her grandmother dies and leaves behind letters apologizing to all the people she has wronged, Elsa is sent on an all new kind of journey. 

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes is one I was hesitant to put on the list. I loved Me Before You, but the sequel was a grand disappointment. I'm holding out hope that this one will redeem Moyes. In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in the hospital not remembering anything. Then, she finds a letter asking her to leave her husband. The letter is signed, "B." Forty-three years later, Ellie, a journalist, discovers that same letter in the newspaper's archives sets out on a journey to discover the story behind the letter. 

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain is one I've considered putting on my lists before, but it never quite made the cut. I learned it would be the read for a book club this fall, so I thought I would finally add it to the list. In this novel, Ive Hart loses her parents and is left to care for her aging grandmother, her mentally ill sister, and her nephew while managing her own epilepsy. The county's newest social worker, Jane, is drawn in by the Hart family, but soon discovers dark secrets hidden on the small farm. 

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan is another book about a missing child. This time, Rachel Jenner loses her eight year old son, Ben, after he runs ahead of her in a park. As the investigation unfurls everyone is a suspect including Rachel's newly married ex-husband, her seemingly perfect sister, and, of course, Rachel herself. As the clues come together, Rachel realizes that, sometimes, the real dangers are not strangers, but the ones we trust the most. 

The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry is the story of Eve and Cooper Morrison - Savannah's power couple. They have money, success, and what seems like a perfect marriage, but things are not always what they seem. They have challenges including Eve's sister who is staying with them and their own rebellious daughter. Then, after a car accident and different versions of what really happened, Eve has to sort out the truth and figure out what to do about it. 

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn proves that appearances are deceiving in this novel about domestic violence and the power of a mother's love. Jillian seems to have it all, but the story is very different when the doors are closed. After nine years she has suffered in silence in an effort to protect her two children, but, eventually, she find herself fleeing - with no money and no plan. I the finds her, her will surely kill her and take the children.

Have you read any of these? What books are on your list for summer reading?

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. This week's prompt was , "things I love and hate about summer . . . "


Monday, June 5, 2017

Currently (June)

Originally, I set out to write a "Currently" post every month in 2017, but after the first three, it began to feel monotonous and seemed that not much changed month to month. I decided that maybe writing one every couple of months would make more sense. My last one was in March and the beginning of June feels like a good time to share what's currently happening in life. 

So, currently, I'm  . . . . .  

Anticipating summer break! My oldest daughter finished her school year just before Memorial Day. My other two, however go trough June 7 (three more days!!!) and, y'all, I am SO DONE! I have ALL the symptoms of parental end-of-school-year-itis. I am ready to spend some lazy days sleeping in, sitting by the pool, NOT packing lunches, and NOT arguing about homework or bedtimes! 

Looking forward to Punta Cana!! Partially because my husband travel so much for work, my girls always want to travel and see new places. Recently, they have been desperately wanting to go somewhere outside the US, so, a few months ago, we got their passports and began thinking about a summer vacation. Of course, one wanted a beach, one did not want just a beach, and one didn't care. We were trying to figure in travel times, time changes, budget, and keeping everyone happy. Finally, we settled on an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic where there is a beautiful beach, but also lots of other things to do. 
I'm already there in my mind!

Reading The  Zookeepers Wife. It was one of the books I had on my lis of Books to Read in 2017. It's the fourth book from the list I've picked up. I read The Mountain Between Us and The Secret Life of Violet Grant. After those, I bought Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult which had gotten rave reviews. However, I just couldn't get in to it. I read the first section of the book, then, put it on my nightstand and haven't picked it up since. I recently downloaded The Zookeeper's Wife on my iPad and, so far, it is not nearly as engaging as I had anticipated. The narrative skips around and I just finished a painfully slow chapter about some German zookeeper and reverse genetic engineering.  Plus, I remembered how much I dislike reading on a screen - I need to feel the pages between my fingers. I'm about ready to give up oaths one, too and move on to . . . . 

Compiling my list of books to read for the Summer!! Yes, I've only made a 4-book dent in my list of 10 books to read for the year, but summer reading is different, right?? It doesn't mean I'm giving up completely on my original list either, but there can never be too many books waiting to be read and the summer is the best time to read them (at least for me!). Look for that list soon and tell me what's on you summer reading list in the comments! 

Listening to pop music. My kids have recently declared their disdain for the country music I usually listen to and the novelty of show tunes has worn off. So, I've recently become quite familiar with Ed Sheeran, Chainsmokers, and someone named Alessia Cara. Perhaps more familiar than I intended to becasue, while I actually do enjoy most of their music, it seem that opt radio stations have a repertoire of about 6 songs, so anytime I tune in and hear that same 6 songs over and over and over again. 

Planning Vacation Bible School. It is one of my favorite parts of my job, but also one of the ones that takes the most work! Ours isn't until mid-July, but we try to get as much done as possible before people scatter for summer. It's been pretty all-consuming lately!

Feeling excited about the "This is Us" Facebook discussion group I am co-hosting! It is also through work and discussion will be faith based, but it gives me a great excuse to re-watch some of the episodes. Better yet - the group is open to anyone! First set of questions based on the pilot episode will go up tomorrow. If anyone is interested in joining, click the image HERE 😊 

It's probably only taken me about an hour to write this post, but that hour was split up over three days and so many interruptions I lost count. The last one involved an 8:30pm urgent need for a yellow shirt to wear the next day for field day and the panicked believe that one could not participate if not wearing the appropriately colored shirt assigned to each grade level. Also? As I finally finish this just after 9:30pm on Sunday nigh, I have absolutely no idea what might end up in their lunch boxes tomorrow since I never made it to the grocery store this over the weekend! Seriously y'all, summer cannot get here fast enough! 

What's happening in your life currently?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blogging Boundaries

I don't want to write about politics. I thought that, after the election, all the political arguing and bantering would die down. It hasn't, though. I have some friends and family who are passionately on the left and other friends and family who are passionately on the right. Personally, I'm closer to the middle than I am to either extreme, but no matter what stance I take on any particular issue, there are people - people who are very important to me - who would be upset, offended, and probably even disappointed in me. Plus, I absolutely despise the politics and all the quarreling that goes along with it. So, I don't want to put any of that here on my blog or on my social media feeds.
I don't want to write about teenage hormones and mood swings, sex education workshops for middle schoolers, conversations about Netflix series portraying teen suicide, how it feels when one of your kids doesn't share your faith, or how my "baby" will be heading to middle school this fall and I'm not sure either of us are ready for that. Well, actually, I DO want to write about those things, but I CAN'T write about those things - except in posts that will remain buried in my "drafts" folder, never seeing the light of day on my blog. My kids read my blog now. My kids' friends have read my blog in the past and might again at any time, seeing anything and everything I post about my daughters' lives. Nothing is more important than my relationship with my girls, especially right now when we are navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence. Maintaining mutual respect and trust is far more important airing my grievances here or any number of page views those posts might earn. 
I don't want to write (again) about my body image issues, how many pounds and sizes I've gained in the past couple years, or how a lot of my clothes from last summer aren't fitting this spring. I don't want to tell you that, some mornings, I look in the mirror and vow to not put a single morsel of food in my mouth that day, but then fail miserably or that, somedays, I look in the mirror and just think, "#$@% it! I'm forty and life is too short to worry about calories and spend hours making myself miserable at the gym!" I don't want to admit that I am absolutely wrecked every time my nine year old says "I'm fat!" or when I hear her say one of the best things about finding a new sport she actually likes is that she's lost weight since she started participating. I don't want you to know what a pathetic hypocrite I am when I tell her, "You are NOT fat! You are just the way God created you to be and you are BEAUTIFUL!"  while I think to myself "What have I done to this sweet, innocent, beautiful child God entrusted me to care for?!?! Is it my fault she calls herself chubby?" That's some heavy dirty laundry that will have to be aired elsewhere, but not here.
I don't want to write posts that are filled with judgement, crass comments, and profanity - even though it often seems that those are the posts that "sell." It's not who I am and I won't "fake it" to garner popularity or boost the potential acceptance of pieces with my name in the author line.
I don't want to write anymore about how I'm struggling to write these days. I already wrote about that here and here. Actually, I feel like I've written about it a lot more than that, but those were the only posts I could find. Maybe that just means it's been on my mind a lot. I love to write and blog, but, with limited time and all these blogging boundaries surrounding stuff I don't want to/can't write about, there's not a whole lot left it seems. 
Usually, I don't want to write about All The Things I'm Not, but I did last month. I thought nobody would want to read it because it sounded whiny, but it has been one of the most shared posts I've ever had with twice as many page views in a under a month than anything else I've ever written. Maybe, sometimes, the things that are hardest to write are the things that strike the loudest chord because they are things that everyone struggles with but no one wants to say "out loud." 

This post in which I wrote about all the things I don't want to write about without really writing too much about all those things, is part of Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. Thanks to her for the challenging, but fun prompt "I don't want to write about . . . "

Monday, May 8, 2017

All The Names I've Been Called . . .

They call me "mom."  It used to be "mommy," but they are too grown up for that now - mostly. These three girls who grew inside me are now growing into young women faster than I can wrap my head around it. These three beautiful, wonderfully unique individuals who frustrate me and amaze me all in one breath. They call me "mom" and it's the best name I've ever had.

They call me "Ms. Weesa," their preschool version of my actual name. Like my own children, they grow too fast. They bring sunshine to my week with smiles and high fives, sometimes even little baby cuddles in the nursery on Sundays. They remind me of innocence and unencumbered joy. 

They call me daughter. The two who raised me and the two who raised my husband. They embrace me despite my flaws. They come to my rescue, impart advice, and worry when they shouldn't - because they're parents and that's what they do. It's what I do, too, because I have learned from them and they have been the best teachers a girl could ask for.

They call me friend. Women and men who would drop everything to help me and who know I would do the same. People who have laughed with me; cried with me; shared joys and fears.

He calls me wife. He also calls me "girlfriend" and "beautiful." He doesn't overlook my flaws - he loves them because they are part of me.  He has been my rock for 20 years now and, I sure hope we have many more to share together.

Of all the names I've ever been called, these are my favorites.
My actual name, Lisa, is derived from the name Elizabeth which means "promise of God"  or "God is my oath." According to the Social Security Administration (and, there were almost one million babies born in the United States between 1880-2015 who were given the name of "Lisa." The name was most popular in 1965, a year when over 60,000 babies in the US were given the name. According to my parents, it was just a name they liked, but it didn't have any other specific reason for choosing it. 

I am also called sister, aunt, cousin, niece, co-worker, teacher, boss, blogger/writer, and volunteer. I wear many hats, it seems, when I put them in a list. I wear all my names proudly. Whether proper names or titles, they came from somewhere or were given to me by someone significant. When you put them all together, they describe the person that I am. They provide a glimpse of the people who love me and the people who mean the most to me.

This post was inspired by Finish the Sentence Friday which is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. The sentence was "They call me . . . " I didn't get this written in time to actually link upon Friday, but I loved the prompt, so I wrote it anyway!

Monday, April 24, 2017

All the Things I'm Not

I'm not a size 2 or even a size 10, but I'm healthy, medically speaking. I've always struggled with body image for a variety of reasons - and probably always will - but I'm trying with all my might to be a good example for my daughters, so I'm working on it and, most days, making progress (albeit it in teeny tiny baby steps).

I'm not an extrovert. I probably never will be, but I'm not as introverted as I once was. I don't shy away from social situations like I did many years ago. 

I'm not exceptionally talented musically or artistically speaking, but I'm good at my job. I'm organized and efficient. I can get up in front of a room full of preschoolers and feel right at home. Not sure what that says about me, but it's something that would intimidate a lot of people.

I'm not at all fashion forward, but I've learned that comfort and quality are more important than style and a closet full of clothes - at least to me. 

I'm not twenty-something anymore. I'm not thirty-something either, but I do think that older really does equal wiser and bolder. It's a trade-off that I'm generally content with.

I'm not a gourmet chef and, lately, we've had more take-out than I care to admit. I can cook, though, when I have the time in our crazy schedule and I make a fabulous banana pudding and a pretty good lasagna. I enjoy it- except when the family sucks all the joy out of it by complaining about the menu. 

I'm not a socialite. Usually, I feel like I'm on the outside of "the circle," but, that's okay. Most of the time, anyway. I've always been on the outside and I'm comfortable there. Except when I'm not. Then, it's tough.

I'm not a famous blogger. Once, I thought that someday I might be. Now, I just write because I like to and because it makes me feel better. It helps me sort through all the crazy thoughts in my brain. It has given me friends and an outlet; a hobby. It has taught me a lot about the internet, social media, myself, other people, and truth. It hasn't given me fame and it most likely never will. I've accepted that and decided that, maybe, fame isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.

I'm not a perfect mother. I yell and get frustrated. I give up too easily on fighting some of the daily, minute battles with my kids. I don't orchestrate "quality time" as often as I should. I nag about insignificant things. But, I love my kids fiercely and I can assure you, you do not want to awaken the Mama Bear in me. I'm extremely proud of the people my girls are becoming and I'd like to think that I have just a little something to do with all that. 

I'm not a perfect wife. I sometimes harbor resentment silently and I forget to say thank you for all that he does. I frequently ask for a foot rub and rarely return the favor. I scoff when he tells me I'm beautiful. But, he's my best friend and I am wildly in love with him. All the time. Even when I don't say it or show it.

I'm not a perfect person. I'm flawed and I have weaknesses abounding, but I am a child of God, wonderfully and fearfully made, despite - or, perhaps, encompassing - all my imperfections. 

It's funny, sometimes, what things come together in a writer's mind to inspire something. 

A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with one of my daughters about not always seeing the glass half-empty, because she always tends to focus on the negatives. However, after dropping her off at a tutoring session one afternoon and taking a little time to go walk around a park by myself, I found myself doing exactly the thing I had tried to discourage in her. I'm pretty good at seeing the glass half-FULL, until it comes to myself. Then, I have a habit of focusing on the negative and, as I walked that day, I found myself silently berating the person I see when I look in the mirror. 

As I attempted to re-direct my thoughts, I remembered two things. One was a sign I had recently seen in a local donut shop. It looks something like this:

The other was a song called, All The things We've Never Done. In it, a husband laments all the things he and his wife have never done (traveling, building a mansion, etc.) as they celebrate an anniversary. The wife, however, celebrates all the things they've never done (being unfaithful, lying, etc.). It's a beautiful song that I heard many, many years ago, but have never forgotten. (It's so old, I couldn't find a video with lyrics, but you can listen here.)

As I walked that day, my mind swirled and whirled with the all of these thoughts - the song, the sign, and my listing of all my shortcomings. Eventually, my list began to include some "buts" and some positivity. The list above is what was hurriedly typed into the Notes app on my phone - in a shorthand version that took me a while to re-decipher. 

There's a lot of things I'm not, but that's alright because what I'm not leaves space for all the things I am. It's taken a full 40 years with lots of ups and downs for me to get here, but I'm finally beginning to accept myself for who I am - and who I'm not. Sometimes I slip back into old habits and I need a sign, a song, a blog post, or something else to remind me that I am just exactly what I'm supposed to be - and that who I am is actually not so bad. 

Thi post seems to strike a chord with many people and it inspired this week's Finish the Sentence Friday topic! Join me & Kristi or Finding Ninee in finishing the sentence "All the things I'm not . . ."


Monday, April 17, 2017

Eight Things a #GirlMom Hates to Hear

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. When I was younger, that was my plan in life - finish college, get married, have three kids. Specifically, I planned to have two boys and, then, a girl - because, you know, it's so easy to plan those things. 

Well, I did finish college, get married, and have three kids, but that's where my little plan derailed. You see, all three of my kids are girls. 

Yep. Three daughters - each one unique and different from the other in so many ways. The oldest is the intense, determined, independent one. The middle one is the high-energy, silly, unpredictable one. The youngest is the girly, tender hearted, fashionista one. They are as different as they can be - except for the fact that they are all distinctly lacking a Y chromosome - and I wouldn't change them for the world! 

During my 14 years as a #GirlMom, I've gotten lots of comments and advice about my role. Some of it has been insightful and helpful. A lot of it has been just downright annoying and rude. So, in case you are wondering or trying to figure out what to say - or what NOT to say -  to your friend who just had another girl, here are a few things you should NEVER say to a #GirlMom.
1. Are you going to try for a boy? Since my youngest is now nine years old, I don't get this question too much anymore, but when I did, it was infuriating. The answer is "NO!" We love our daughters and this question insinuates that having a boy is somehow better. Also? Trying again is not guaranteed to produce a male, so the idea of "trying for a boy" is kind of ridiculous anyway.

2. You better start saving now for the weddings!! Okay. A) We are already painfully aware that the financial burden of the weddings will fall on our shoulders. We do not need this reminder.  B) Not every wedding has to cost a bajillion dollars. C) We are so very, very tired of hearing this comment! Take a pause and come up with something else. 

3. Look out for the teenage years! Well, I've recently entered the teenage years with my oldest and I can tell you a couple things. First, the crazy hormone stuff starts well before the teenage years - as in fourth grade. Second, girls are not the only gender who go through puberty and, from my understanding, guys can have some pretty erratic mood swings, too. Last, it is honestly not nearly as bad as I thought it would be based the number of times I received this warning when they were little. 

4. I feel sorry for your husband/their dad! Why?!?! Why do you feel sorry for him?? Am I not parenting these children, too? Are you implying that he doesn't love his daughters just as much as he would love a son? Do you assume that he would prefer to have sons?? And, above all else, please remember it was HIS "chromosome donation" that made these tiny humans into females in the first place! Don't feel sorry for him, please! (As you can tell, this one really gets under my skin!) 

5. They'll be best friends!  I heard this one a lot after we found out the gender of our third child. I only have one brother, so had not experienced life with a sister. I was promised by many people that these girls would be best friends. Let me tell you, they have their moments as best friends. However, they also have their moments of despising each other and being outright mean to one another. There is plenty of sibling rivalry in our house and the fact that all three are girls, I believe, only makes it worse sometimes.

6. I hope their Daddy has a shotgun! Maybe this is a Southern one, the implication being that their Daddy is going to need a weapon to fend off all the boys. I have many problems with this statement. For starters, I can pretty certainly assure that boys who came calling on me were just as scared of my mom as they were of my dad (and I mean that in a good way, Mom!) Similarly, any boys who come calling on my daughters better have the same respect for me that they have for my husband. Also, if you ever said this you obviously don't know my husband. He does not need a gun because he has a computer and, if you plan to date one of our daughters, he will know everything there is to know about you (including your address, your parents' employment, and anything you may have ever posted on social media) before you ever step foot onto our front porch. Finally, we have no intention of scaring off every boy who wants to date our daughters. What kind of parents would that make us?!?

7. At least they won't stink and eat like boys do! Um, obviously you have not met them. The first question they ask when I pick them up from school is "What's for dinner?" and I DARE you to smell my middle daughter's tennis shoes without a gas mask. Seriously. I dare 

8. Well, at least you'll have someone to take care of you when you're old!  Is this the consolation prize for having daughters? There's nothing good about it until I'm 90?? Please!

Having three daughters wasn't my original plan, but parenting rarely goes according to our plans, right? I'm sure having sons would have been wonderful, too, but I'm very happy with my three girls. No matter whether we have sons, daughters, or some of each, parenting is full of challenges and joys. Instead of thoughtless comments like the ones above, let's use our words to support one another and celebrate!

Do you have boys, girls, or both? What comments drive you crazy? 


Friday, April 14, 2017

6 Signs You Need a Vacation

Two of my three daughters have been on Spring break this week, but the oldest was on a different schedule and had school Monday-Thursday. So, while a lot of people I know were lounging on the beach or hiking in the mountains, I was still here - carting one kid to school, picking her up from drivers ed 😳😱, and trying to keep the two out of school kids from being bored out of their gourds - and me from being bored out of mine. 

Through all of that, I've come to this conclusion - I NEED A VACATION! 

In case you are wondering if you might also be in need of a vacation, here are some signs to look out for.
1- You have trouble sleeping. - This week, I've had trouble falling asleep. Then, I wake up at midnight feeling like I've been asleep for hours already (which I haven't). After that, I find myself waking up at 5:00am even though I could actually sleep a little later. 

2- You are super, extra moody. - My family might say this "symptom" is par for the course these days, but I can tell you that, this week, it's been worse than usual and more difficult for me to keep it in check. It doesn't take much to set me off and my sentences are laced with unnecessary curse words (at least inside my head).

3- You've lost your motivation and you just don't care. - Theoretically, I could have gotten a lot done this week. I could have cleaned the house, sorted through kids summer clothes from last year, organized a closet or two, kept up with the laundry, and/or several other things. You know what I've done? Absolutely nothing. You know what else? I don't give a flying flip about it.

4- Everything gets on your nerves.  - And, I mean everything. Your kids, your spouse, your pets, your clothes, your job, your schedule, yourself -  it all drives you crazy for no apparent, extraordinary reason.

5- You have a serious case of Facebook envy. - All those pictures of my friends on the beach, at Disney, or standing by some mountain waterfall??? They make me want to hurl my computer across the room and watch it explode into smithereens. (But, seriously, I love you guys!)

6- You actually spend/waste time creating memes like this - Basically, just so that you have something pretty to post on Facebook, too. And, as a means to avoid all that stuff I mentioned in #3. 
(BTW- this is an actual photo I took from my November vacation with the hubby in Key West. Can we go back, please?)
Are you currently experiencing any of these pesky symptoms? If so, grab a margarita S.T.A.T and meet me somewhere under a palm tree!! 

It's been a while, but I couldn't resist this week's Finish The Sentence Friday prompt, so I'm linking up with Kristi from Finding Ninee.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Coffee Dates With My Daughter

"This is so frustrating! With the different drop-off schedules at the girls' schools and since we live out in the boondocks, there is this awkward gap of time that I cannot figure out what to do with. It's not enough time to come back home and get the oldest, but if I take her with me to drop the others off, what are we supposed to do for 30 minutes?" I lamented.

"Why don't you just take her to Starbucks or something?" he replied.

"Really?!?! You want me to take her to Starbucks every single day??" 

"Well, it doesn't look like you have much of a choice, does it? Just look at it as some quality mommy-daughter time." 
This was a conversation I had with my husband back in August as we were gearing up for the start of the new school year. I was feeling supremely irked by the schedules I was facing, the fact that my husband travels A LOT for work and, therefore, cannot help often, and the fact that we live so far away from both of the schools our three girls would be attending. 

I had racked my brain trying to come up with a solution to this particular timing conundrum. I had calculated minutes and mileage. I had run through different possible scenarios in my mind and kept coming up short on a viable solution. 

"Why don't you just take her to Starbucks or something?" he casually suggested, as if it was a very simple solution to a problem I had made far more complicated than was necessary. (Can you imagine?!?) Then he tagged on this little gem, "Just look at it as some quality mommy-daughter time," and, somehow, turned my frustration into something that looked like a positive opportunity. (Salesman!)

And, pretty much, that was that. Problem solved. 
So began the routine. Every school morning, I wake all three girls at the same time. We do the typical things - getting dressed, packing lunches, scarfing breakfast, and yelling at each other to "Hurry up!". Then, we're out the door. We drive 30 minutes and drop the youngest two girls off at their school. Afterwards, the oldest daughter and I head to Starbucks for our almost daily coffee dates. We're "regulars" now and we know the morning cashier by name. She knows us and what we usually order - though, once in a while, we shake it up and throw her a curve ball. We grab our drinks, my daughter laughs at how much cream and sugar I add to mine, and, typically, we head back out to the car where we sit and chat for about 20 minutes before the final five minute drive to her school. 

During those chats we've discussed politics and social issues. We've talked about friends and relationships. We've laughed and watched videos on our phones. We even have a habit of checking the departure schedule for the nearest airport and pondering where we might go if we were to bypass school and drive directly to the tarmac! Some mornings we talk a lot and others we spend more time quietly people watching and surfing our devices. 

That awkward space of time I dreaded and resented has, instead, become something I cherish. (Don't tell my husband he was right! 😜)

My daughter is in a very academically advanced and challenging program and there has been plenty of stress and tears this year - for her and for me. She is feeling immense pressure (in 9th grade) to choose a college; choose a major; choose a lifelong path.

There are days that I am drowning in motherhood -the schedules; the homework; the to-do lists; the hormones that come with mothering three tween/teen girls. I think to myself on occasion, "I can't wait until they're all grown up and out of my hair!" 

Then, I sit there with her in the mornings and I am brutally aware that these days won't last much longer. This week she starts driver's ed, so next year she'll be driving the last leg to her school while I supervise from the passenger seat. The year after that, these coffee dates will be gone because she won't need me to drive her at all. The year after that, she'll be applying to colleges and preparing to leave. 

I'll get my "wish" and I'll want these moments back. 

So, for now, I'll hold on tightly to that awkward space of time and appreciate it for the gift that it gives me - time with my oldest, precious daughter; time to bond and be together; time to laugh and time to chat; time that is slipping through my fingers and will be gone too soon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

30 MORE Totally Random Questions

Back in January, I posted 40 Totally Random Questions and answered them in a post here on the blog. Honestly, it was a little bit out of desperation to maintain my January writing momentum, but it was actually a lot of fun. Some other bloggers answered the same questions on their blogs which made it even more amusing. So, I decided to do it again. This time, however, I'm only doing 30 - many of them are two-part questions, though! 

Want to play along? Great! Copy and paste into your own blog post. Then, replace my answers with your own! Let me know here in the comments or on Facebook so I can read your answers, too. 

1-Do you have a lucky number and why is it lucky?
I suppose my lucky number is 12. It was the number on my high school sports jerseys and I got married on 12-12 (December 12). I don't really ever rely on it, though.

2-Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?
I'm not really sure if I believe in them. I have never seen one myself, but have seen stories and TV shows about people who have - or think they have. I don't think it would surprise me either way if I ever found out a definitive answer to the existence of ghosts.

3-What kind of music do you like most and what is the last song you downloaded??
I mostly listen to country, although my kids have recently decided they HATE country music. When we're in the minivan, they like to listen to a radio station that plays "The Best of the 80s, 90s, and Today" which is fun, too. The last song I downloaded was, "The Fighter" by Keith Urban with Carrie Underwood. 

4-Do you play any instruments? If not, what instrument would you like to learn?
I play the piano!! I took lessons for many years as a kid. It doesn't come naturally to me, but I can still plunk out a tune. I also played the clarinet in 7th-8th grade band, but couldn't even begin to play it now! I would love to learn to play guitar.

5-Which personality trait of yours is your most favorite? Least favorite?
Hmmmm. My most favorite(s) would probably be that I'm organized and compassionate. My least favorites(s) would be that I tend to over-analyze and stress out about things. I'm definitely a Type A! :-) 

6-What is the furthest you have traveled from where you live?
David and I traveled to Paris, France in 2012! (Oh my! Has it really been almost 5 years?!?!) 

7-If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? 
would probably follow my kids around to see what they do and how they act all day at school, then hide from them when they all got home! 😆

8- If you were making a time capsule today for your great-great grandchildren100 years in the future, what are some things you would include?
I would include an iPad with lots of pictures and music on it (with a charger and instructions on how to use it).I would also include some news articles, books, and recipes that have been handed down through generations. 

9-If you could remain the same age for eternity, what age would you choose and why?
NOT 40!! Also not high school and not pregnancies (25-30), so that means I would probably end up choosing to repeat my early twenties. I was a newlywed and, if I could do things a little differently, we would do less working and more traveling during those years when we didn't have kids and so many other responsibilities. 

10- Do you think it's okay to lie to someone in order to spare his/her feelings?
It totally depends on the situation. In general, I think it's okay if it is regarding something that's fairly insignificant. For example, telling your friend you love her new hairstyle when you actually think it's awful is acceptable because telling the truth won't change anything and would actually have a negative effect. However, if it is something more significant or something that is affecting your relationships, then you should be compassionate, but honest. 

11-If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?
Home renovations! 

12 -When you go to the movies, do you get popcorn or candy? If candy, which kind?
Definitely popcorn with plenty of butter on it! My kids prefer candy - usually Skittles.

13- Speaking of movies, what is the last one you saw in a theater?
I saw Beauty and the Beast with two of my daughters the day it opened. It was awesome!

14 - If you had to, which of your 5 senses would you choose to live without?
By process of elimination, I would probably choose smell. I wouldn't be able to do all things things my kids need me to do (i.e. driving!) if I lost my sight. I'm already losing my hearing and it is frustrating. I wouldn't want to lose touch because then I couldn't feels hugs and kisses from the people I love. Maybe, if I lost my sense of taste, I would also lose some weight, but never tasting tacos or chocolate again?!?! No thanks. That leaves smell as the least essential one in my book.

15 - What were your best and worst subjects in high school?
My best subject by far was English - grammar, vocabulary, reading. Easily, my worst was math. Those are both still true today!

16 - What were the mascot and colors of your high school?
We were the Panthers and our colors were red, black, and white. 

17- What time is your alarm clock set for and what sound does it make (buzzer, radio, a particular song)?
My alarm clock has two alarms. One is set for 5:30am. That's when I get up on school mornings to get myself ready before waking the kids and getting them out the door. The other is set for 6:30 - the time I usually get up on Sundays to get ready for work at my church. They are both set to the radio.

18 - Are you an early bird or a night owl? Has that changed with age?
Neither! I like my sleep. I neither stay up late nor get up any earlier than I have to. I think the only thing that has changed with age is that I could function on less sleep when I was younger. I seriously don't know how I survived when I had newborns and I cannot even imagine having that consistent lack of sleep in my life right now.

19 - Do you have siblings? Do you like your place in the birth order?
I have a brother who is two years older than me. Because of our gender difference, I don't really think it would have changed much if I had been born first, so birth order isn't really a factor.

20 - If you were only allowed to have one type of dessert for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
OK - clearly I did not think up all of these questions on my own because this scenario makes me very sad. However, if I must choose something, can I just say chocolate? You know, chocolate cake, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies. Chocolate. 

21 - If you had to, could you jumpstart a car or change a flat tire? (This one's for you T!)
No, I could not do either, but I know someone who can and I have a cell phone! 😜
flat tire memes
Photo Credit
22 - Do you cry easily? What's the last thing that made you cry?
I don't cry easily, although my emotions (i.e. hormones) fluctuate a lot more as I 'm getting older. The last time I cried was last week when I heard some sad news about someone I know.

23- Have you or would you ever skydive or bungee jump?
Absolutely NOT!

24 - What was the last thing that make you feel really angry?
Hmmmm . . .I have an answer in my head, but not sure I should go into detail here on the blog. I'll just say it has to do with my daughter's lack of playing time on a current sports team. It sends me into Mama Bear Mode and I may or may not have already typed an email expressing my feelings about the situation.

25 - Do you frequently remember your dreams? What is the last dream you recall?
I rarely remember my dreams, but I did remember one last week. In the dream, it was as if we were moving into a new home and, even though the house wasn't completely finished, we were having people over for a party. Apparently, I hadn't seen the house throughout the building process, because, in my dream, I went downstairs and was very upset by what I saw. The cabinets were the wrong color. There were several different kinds of flooring. I woke up feeling legitimately angry! Guess I've been watching too much HGTV! 

26 - Have you ever been on TV? What for?
Yes! I've actually been on the local news a few times. The first time was when I was a teacher. They had a segment about interesting school programs and did a story on my special needs preschool class going to the local YWCA for weekly swim lessons. The other couple of times it was related to my blog. I've done my Christmas Toys list on air twice and was interviewed with another blogger about the book we were in

27 - Who is the last person you actually called (no texting!)? What was your conversation about? 
My mom. We were catching up on events from the week and discussing my daughter who was sick with he flu for the second time in a month!

28 - Are you a hugger? Other than spouses or children, who is the last person you hugged? 
I'm not much of a hugger. I'm more of a personal space kind of gal. The last person I hugged other than family was a co-worker on her last day before she moved on to a new job.

29 - Have you ever won a contest or random drawing? What was the prize?
I won some books through a blogging contest once. Other than that, I don't recall ever winning a contest or drawing. (Unless you count the time I put my middle daughter's name in a drawing when she was two and she won a bike!)

30 - Using the first letter of your first name, list the following- all beginning with that letter. (i.e. My first name is Lisa, so all mine have to start with and "L".)
  • Food - Linguine
  • Drink - Lemonade
  • Item of Clothing - Leggings
  • Something in the bathroom - Listerine
  • Something in the kitchen - Lemon
  • A city - London
  • A movie - LaLa Land
  • A Book - Little Women
And, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed reading my questions and answers! Play along on your blog or, if your not a blogger, choose a couple to answer in the comments below!

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