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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