Friday, April 13, 2018

Ten Things I Hate This Week

Last week was spring break for two of my kids and I took the week off work, but my oldest was still in school and my husband was away on a business trip (that wasn't to anywhere worth tagging along). So, we didn't go anywhere or do anything very exciting. There were plenty of "I'm bored!" utterances and raiding the pantry just to kill time. By Sunday evening, I was actually almost looking forward to Monday, getting back to routines, having things to do,  and interacting with other humans besides my kids. 

What was I thinking?!?!?!?!?

For real, guys! This has been the longest week E.V.E.R. It really felt like it should have been 5:00pm on Friday by about 2:00pm on Tuesday! 
3 toed sloth walking
Anybody else feeling this way?

Well, because the week is taking so long, I've been in a weird mood. (Or, perhaps those should be reversed!) I've been a little grumpy, a little annoyed, a little silly, and really tired. In the midst of that weird mood, I read the prompt for this week's Finish the Sentence Friday and immediately thought, "Yes! I'm doing this one!" After all, a little bit of grumbling can be kind of cathartic, right? 

So, here's my list of things I hate more than anything this week (and most other weeks, too!).
  1. Math homework. Seriously. There have been more tears in this house over math than pretty much anything else this school year. I never liked math when I was in school and I think I like it even less now that I have kids! 
  2. Drama. You might think that with three daughters, I would be used to drama, but the thing is  - I don't do drama. My girls are actually pretty low key when it comes to the tween/teen girl theatrics, but, occasionally, they get caught up in the hullabaloo others have created. I have very little patience for those who stir up craziness in order to get attention and even less patience when my daughters get sucked into it. 
  3. Group projects. Here's what I would like to propose to all teachers everywhere (I say this with utmost respect, too, because I come from a long line of teachers.) If you feel it necessary to assign group projects, let's first teach the kids how to MANAGE said projects. For example, maybe one student could be a project manager? Maybe we could use the opportunity to teach kids how to DELEGATE tasks and LISTEN to the ideas of others. We could talk about deadlines and respectfulness and responsibility to others. You might think group projects would be less stressful because there are more people to carry the load. However, there is inevitably someone in the group who wants to control things and someone in the group who doesn't carry their weight. In the end, it often creates the drama I mentioned above. I'm honestly not sure who despises group projects more - me or my kids! 
  4. Packing lunches -  It's near the end of the school year. I'm out of ideas and out of motivation. So over it!
  5. The grocery store might actually be my LEAST favorite place on earth! Yet, the way these kids go through food, I find myself going there quite frequently. They eat all the time, so I have to re-stock the pantry almost daily sometimes. 
  6. Trying to lose weight. 
  7.                              That's All I Have To Say About That- Forrest Gump Quote

  8. Mornings - Two of my three kids are not morning people and neither am I. It's not a good combination.They don't want to get out of bed and I get tired of having to wake them up and hurry them out the door. 
  9. Interruptions - Do you know how many times I tried to type this post before I was actually able to finish it? I don't either because I lost count amidst all the interruptions that diverted my attention.
  10. Opening up my blog and realizing how long it's been since I actually wrote and posted something. Then, also realizing that I didn't really miss it all that much. 😩😢 "To everything there is a season" I suppose.
  11. Only being able to think of 9 things for a list that's supposed to have 10!!! So there! 
Well, it's finally Friday (after I started this post on Thursday), so I think I can safely say I've made it through the week relatively unscathed. We have seven more weeks until all the kids are out of school for summer - not the I'm counting or anything. I sure hope those weeks don't go by as slowly as this one did! 

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Linking up with Kristi & Kenya for Finish the Sentence Friday.



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Thursday, March 1, 2018

41

I'm sitting on the couch on my 41st birthday as I type this. It's raining and it has been a pretty ordinary day with little fanfare except for lunch with co-workers and lots of  "Happy Birthday" wishes. That's totally fine with me. I'm not very good at being the center of attention and a day with no crazy schedules to juggle and some simple time with my family is pretty much the best gift I can think of - along with a back rub and ordering in for dinner so I don't have to cook. Last year, I was less than excited about turning 40, but, obviously, I survived because here I am. 

It's fitting, I suppose, that this week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "When I think about life's lessons" because milestones like birthdays have a way of making us look back at where we've been, what we've been through, and what we have learned. At 41, I've certainly learned a few things about life, but I'm certain I have a lot more to learn, too. I definitely don't have all the answers. Does anyone? 
A few things I've learned . . . . 
          
Work hard. There's rarely an excuse for giving less than your best. The final outcome may not be perfect or even very good, but you can still feel good about it if you gave it your all.

Be civil. I think, right now, our world needs a lot more of this one. You don't have to agree with everyone on every issue, but fighting about it almost NEVER solves the problem. Instead of arguing, TALK. Have an honest conversation. Be open to hearing someone else's point of view - not because you need to be persuaded into agreeing with them, but so that you can understand why they think and feel the way they do. Hopefully, they will return that respect.

Your parents were probably right. As I've gotten older and parented my own kids, I've heard my parents' voices in my head so many times. Occasionally, I hear them coming out of my mouth, too! I'm sure I rolled my teenage eyes or mumbled under my breath about how ridiculous their advice was. Now, I'm telling my children many of those same things and they are rolling their eyes at me. Karma. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help. This is one I'm sure I learned the hard way and that I tried to teach my middle daughter just today. We sometimes make ourselves crazy trying to do something - or lots of things - because we are afraid that asking for help makes us look weak. On the contrary, I believe asking for help takes courage and a real self awareness to know when it's time to reach out to someone else. 

Love deeply. Days may seem long, but life is short. Tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get because tomorrow isn't guaranteed. That sounds super cliche, I know, but it's true! 

Laugh. Smile. Find joy. Again, life is too short to spend it focusing on the negative things. Find the positive. Be a glass-half-full kind of person.

Everyone is struggling with something, so be kind. It may be something obvious like the loss of a loved one or an illness. However, it may also be something that you never see like personal finances or depression. Big or small, major or minor, everyone has their crosses to bear. Be kind. Offer joy.

Be yourself. I've struggled most of my life with accepting myself and learning to love myself just as I am. But, I don't think I've ever tried to make myself into someone I'm not. After all, there's nobody else on earth who is just like me - the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you spend your energy being "fake," you - or someone else - will almost surely end up disappointed. 

And, finally . . . . 

Birthdays really aren't so bad. No matter what your age, birthdays are as joyful or depressing as you make them. As my dad says, having another birthday is better than the alternative! 

By the way, my most favorite thing I've ever written is also a list of lessons - Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughters. I've even considered turning it into a book. If you're up for a few more words of Golden Spoons Wisdom, check it out! :-) 

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Linking up with Kenya, Kristi, and lots of other FTSF-ers for Finish the Sentence Friday.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

There Is No Such Thing as Perfection In Motherhood

When you are trying to "make it" as a blogger - whatever that may mean to you - one piece of advice you get repeatedly is something also referred to networking. Basically, you are supposed to read and comment on a bunch of other blogs so those bloggers will also read and comment on your blog - and unspoken rule of reciprocal blogger etiquette. 

A few years ago, when I was trying to "make it," I did just that. I scoured the internet for ALL the mommy blogs. As would be expected, I found some that just weren't my cup of tea. However, I also found some that became great blogging buddies and that I still read today.

One of the blogs in that second category is called Perfection Pending which is authored by Meredith Ethington. I don't remember how I found her blog, but I remember being hooked by the title right away, because, really, there is no such thing as perfection in motherhood or parenting. As I continued to read Meredith's blog, I came to appreciate her honesty about the hard parts of motherhood and the humor she was able to insert to make those hard parts a little more bearable. She has always taken a tell-it-like-it-is approach on her blog and done it in a way that feels encouraging and uplifting. So, I was super excited when I found out that Meredith was writing a book and I was even more excited when I got an advanced copy to read and review. 
In the book, titled Mom Life: Perfection Pending, Meredith gets real about many aspects of parenting including the infant years, toddler years, the never-ending laundry, the house that is never actually clean, the complete lack of alone time, and bedtime bedlam. She touches on keeping a healthy marriage while raising tiny terrorists and the fact that every parent has regrets. She does it all with joyous sarcasm and candor that is extremely encouraging and refreshing. All the way through I was nodding my head and repeating "Yes! Me too!"

If you are a parent at any stage, you need to grab copy of this book. You will laugh and maybe cry (but in a good way!). You will certainly see glimpses of yourself, your kids, and your parenting ups and downs on every page. After reading it, you will feel validated and be assured that your parenting - despite everything you think is it lacking - is actually completely normal and that, as Meredith says, "You are a good mom. Kids are just insane." 

The book is available on Amazon as of today. Below, is a little bit more about Meredith. You can also follow Perfection Pending on Facebook and Twitter


Meredith Ethington is a mom of three and the writer and creator of the popular parenting blog, Perfection Pending. She is a born and raised Texan who loves real talk and laughter, mixed with a little bit of sarcasm. Meredith earned her degree in Psychology and then began writing in 2007 as a way to document her life as a new mom. She quickly realized she had a passion for writing, which helped her work out a lot of her feelings about being a mom. She writes mostly to commiserate with other parents and to remind herself that she doesn’t want to be a perfect mother­­–she wants to be a real one. She is a staff writer for Scary Mommy and Momtastic and has her work featured often by Babble, The Huffington Post, and CafeMom. In 2017, BlogHer named Meredith a Voices of The Year Honoree. She has been featured many times by Today.com as one of the funniest parents to follow on Facebook and has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. Meredith now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, three kids, and a very moody cat.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Better Than Anything

I've fallen in love four times in my life. 

The first time was with the guy who became my husband. I met him when I was 19 and I wouldn't say it was love at first site, but more of that giddy, butterflies-in-the-belly nervousness of a new romance. He was a whopping six years older than me (which seems like a lot when you're 19 and 25), so I wasn't sure it could really work. But, it didn't take long for both of us to realize that our relationship was something special and it quickly grew into something much deeper than that initial slaphappy feeling. 

The other three times were when I met each of my daughters for the first time. Of course, I LOVED them as soon as I knew they were growing inside me. I wanted to protect them and thought about them constantly. They were literally with me anywhere and everywhere I went every second of the day. We had a connection, both physically and spiritually. However, it's a strange feeling to be so infatuated with a person you have never even met. With my first two, we didn't find out their gender in advance, so they didn't even have names. Until they did. Until they were born. When their tiny, slimy, red, wrinkled, writhing little bodies were laid upon my chest - that's when I was IN LOVE with each of them  - the same, but also anew every time. 

That feeling of being newly in love is overwhelming and powerful in the most wonderful and joyous way. It is also rare and exceptionally hard to replicate.That means, there are not many things in life that feel quite as fabulous as the sensation which engulfs you when you realize you have fallen totally and completely in love. There are, however, a handful of things that come somewhat close. 

Here's my Finish the Sentence Friday Listicle of things that are "better than anything except falling in love."
Children -  Some people don't particularly like young children and that's totally fine.  After all, they are germy, temperamental, and loud. However, they are also precious, innocent, and honest. They make me smile and make me laugh. They are where I see all that's good and pure in the world. I see God in their eyes and grace in their smiles. 
Part of my job is leading a weekly children's chapel with the preschoolers at our church. A colleague took this picture of me at this week's chapel. I hate looking at myself in pictures, but I don't mind this one so much because I see joy on my face. That's because, when I'm surrounded by children, their joy bubbles over into me.

Falling into a cozy bed at the end of a long day (or any day!) - I am neither a morning person nor a night owl. It's actually quite unfair and extremely counterproductive. I hate getting out of my warm bed in the morning and, by about 8:00 every night, I am ready to climb back in and snuggle down under the covers. Nothing feels quite as comforting as finding just the right spot with the covers pulled up under my chin. 

"This Is Us"  - Okay, I know this is a cheesy addition to the list, but seriously - there are not many things in life that make me feel all the "feels" the way this show does. No spoilers here, but if you haven't seen the last two episodes (post-superbowl one and the one from Tuesday, 2/6), then, brace yourself. Also, while I totally love Sterling K. Brown, I am wholeheartedly recommending Mandy Moore for whatever the next big acting award might be after her portrayal of Rebecca in these last two episodes! 

Getting a compliment  - Have you ever read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman? He proposes that we all have "languages" - Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch - and that we use these languages to give and receive love. However, of the five, typically one or two are stronger in a given individual than the rest and that one primary language is the best way for us to receive love. (i.e. if your primary is acts of service, your partner should show love by helping you do laundry, cleaning out your car for you, etc.). (You can actually take a quiz HERE to discover your primary love language.)  Anyhoo, one of my primary languages is, obviously, words of affirmation. I love a good compliment from someone telling me I look nice, that I did a really good job on something, or that they really appreciate something I've done. . 

Food - The fact that food is on this list may be a direct correlation to my lack of success with dieting. Really, though, food can bring comfort and happiness. For some it may be a decadent piece of chocolate cake. Others might prefer a delicious bowl of pasta covered in your favorite sauce.  Still others might prefer a crisp, green salad with just the right touch of dressing. Whatever your food preferences may be, there is nothing quite like anticipating and tasting something that excites your tastebuds and fills your soul. 

A Beautiful Beach - I can't swim, so it is probably rather ironic that I love the beach, but I do. There is something so calming about listening to the rhythm of the crashing waves and feeling the warmth of the sun coupled with a refreshing breeze. I do love winter and a good snow day, but there's nothing quite like relaxing by the ocean with some sand in my toes. 

A good laugh - I don't mean a little giggle following one of your kids' corny jokes. I mean a really good, deep down belly laugh - the kind that makes your side hurt as tears roll down your face. I'm talking about laughing so hard that you almost can't stop and really don't want to anyway. Those kind of laughs are the absolute best kind! (One of the last things that made me laugh like that was this video. I seriously thought I was going to have to change my pants!) 😂



My family - With three daughters, all of whom are in or quickly approaching teenage years, and a husband who travels a lot for work, I'm not going to lie and tell you that my family is a constant source of joy. Of course, there are eye rolls and frustration. There are schedules, budgets, chores, whining, and arguments. But, there is also love and laughter. There is nothing better than feeling my middle daughter wrap her lanky arms around my waist or nestling my head on my hubby's shoulder after he's been gone all week. I wouldn't trade the moments of reading a devotion with my youngest each night or the coffee dates with my oldest for all the riches in the world. 

Sure, there are other things in life that are almost as good and euphoric as being or falling in love, but these are the eight at the top of my list today. What would be on your list? 
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Something else that is almost as grand as falling in love?? Finish the Sentence Friday, of course! Thanks to Kristi and Kenya for hosting and for the fun prompt! 


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Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter

As I sit here typing this, the snow if falling outside and my children are bundled up as they sled and laugh. Although it is not typical, I actually love winter. I do not like the heat of summer, but I love cool feel of winter air on my cheeks and the chance to curl up under a warm blanket. It feels so cozy. And, the best of all is a snow day like today.

There is something about snow. It's the anticipation leading up to it. Will it snow? How much? Will we get that call telling us school is cancelled? The watching and waiting. Then, when it arrives, it is joy and happiness. It is the smiles on children's faces and wonder as they look out the window (even though my kids are not so little anymore.) It is peaceful and serene. A reminder of the beauty and magnificence of God's creation. 

I'm not sure that I would want winter to last all year long, but I will not be ashamed to call it my favorite season of the year. And, on snow days like today, I will soak in all the beauty; all the joy; all the hope realized. 

~Time's up!~




This short post is part of the Finish the Sentence Friday linkup noted by Kristi and Kenya. This week was a stream of consciousness post about the word "Winter." The idea of a stream of consciousness post that that, for five minutes, you just write. Not proofing; not editing. Just write. That's what I did, although I did go back to proofread and add pictures before publishing. 😉


Do you like winter? Did you get any snow where you live?

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 2018 . . Looking Back and What's Happening Now

Late is not a great way to start a new year, but I guess that's how it goes sometimes. While my kids were out of school for Christmas break, I sorted out a list of my top 10 posts from 2017 and had every intention of writing them up in a post to kick off 2018. I got busy working on a project I had volunteered to do for my kids' school, though. Then, I lost the motivation to write the post and, suddenly, here we are almost halfway through January. I had basically given up on it, but a couple days ago, Kristi and Kenya announced that they were teaming up and shaking up the Finish the Sentence Friday Linkup that I have always loved. Even better - this week's theme under the new set up is a listicle (for non-bloggers, that's just "fancy" blogging term for a post that is pretty much just a list of something. It makes it sound extra special, no?). That gave me just the little nudge I needed to write the post after all and I decided to include that mini-list in a larger list by turning this into a "Currently" post for January. 

Of course, I'll start by saying that I am currently looking back on 2017. We are less than two weeks into 2018 as I write this, but, still, last year feels like it is pretty far away in the rear view mirror. In the last twelve months, blogging really, really took a back seat in my life. I wrote 33 posts in 2017, averaging about three per month (compared to 41 in 2016 and 106 in 2015 😳). These post would probably, mostly qualify as my favorite posts of 2017, although there are a couple outliers int he group. Since they were my most viewed post, however, I guess, maybe, they are my readers' favorites. 

  1. All The Things I'm Not. This was one I was very hesitant to publish, but it seemed to strike a chord with lots of folks and was shared many times. 
  2. Eight Things a Girl Mom Hates to Hear I guess I'm not the only girl mom who can relate to these! 
  3. My Books to Read in 2017 Confession: I only read three of the eight books on my list. I started two others from the list, but they didn't float my boat after all and I never finished them. However, I did read a couple other books last year, but, much like blogging, my reading ebbs and flows with the busyness of life. 
  4. The Angst of Almost 40 The good news is that I survived turning 40 and it won't be long until I cross over to 41. The bad news is that I still don't like it! 
  5. 40 Totally Random Questions and the Answers You Never Knew You Wanted to Know wins the "What was I thinking with that exceptionally long title?" award and comes in at number five for 2017. I have no explanation for this other than the fact that it was published in January and had more time to get views. 
  6. The Most Important Job In The World The intro for this one speaks for itself. It is and will always be one of my favorites. 
  7. Miles and Miles This post was a lot of random thoughts about miles in my life and my kids' lives. 
  8. Coffee Dates With My Daughter  As much as I may already be looking forward to the end of the school year, I will sure miss these! Next year, she will be driving herself and these precious moments will be no more. 
I'll stop there because the next two on the list are extremely random and certainly not my best. They were just "out there" longer to receive a few more views.
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What else I am currently doing?

I've been watching a lot of movies in the theater lately it seems. During December I saw four  which is an astronomical increase! A group from our church watched "The Star." I also saw "Wonder" and "Jumanji" with my kids and "The Greatest Showman" with my family. They were all really, really good. 

Speaking of "The Greatest Showman," I didn't realize when we went to see it that it was a musical, but the songs were so catchy and the movie was amazing. Since we saw it, my kids have been listening to the soundtrack, which means I have been listening to it, too.

I suppose we've all be weathering the weather. We had two weeks of unprecedented cold and today as I write this it is almost 70 outside with a chance of thunderstorms this evening. What?!?!? The thunder is from a cold front that will send temperatures back down to below average over the weekend. After nearly 41 years in North Carolina, I suppose I should be used to this by now!


Finally, I'll say that I'm feeling excited about this new FTSF format. While I don't miss the stress and pressure I used to put on myself to write, I do miss all my blog buddies and the connections that have diminished as many of us have been blogging less lately. Maybe this new setup is a chance to re-commit and re-connect just a little. 😄

I guess this post is better late than never as the old saying goes! I hope all of you had a great new year that that 2018 will hold much happiness and joy for all of us! 

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Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi & Kenya
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