Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Live it to Love It

I know as adults we have responsibilities and obligations, and I know as adults it's our jobs to teach children to be responsible. I get that. Believe me I really do. But we also need to not take life so seriously.

I want to raise responsible, hard working kids. It is important to me but I don't think it's anymore important to me than teaching my kids to live life to love it. We're all given the chance to live life but it's our choice to love it.

We choose every day how to live our lives. As I was looking back tonight at pictures from my childhood I was struck with even though in some ways I live my life differently than my parents did for no other reason sometimes than it's a different time and we're all different people, but I realized my parents  taught me to love life. Such a simple but fundamental thing I think.

I think growing up I thought everyone lived their life the way we did. I thought everyone's parents loved each other's company like my parents, spent time with their kids playing ball or on evening walks. I thought everyone's parents spent road trips singing to Alabama as loud as they could. I thought everyone ended almost every night around the dinner table telling dirty jokes, laughing about the day, or retelling highlights from the latest game.

My parents worked hard, they had their struggles, ones I really knew little about because they chose to focus on the good more so than the bad, but they lived a life they fell in love with. On my wedding card my mom wrote, "I hope you have a life together as wonderful as ours has been."

As I made way out of their sheltered embrace I came to see the true gift my sisters and I were given in our childhood. They lead so much by example. They made us work for what we wanted; they raised three very independent, pretty responsible, successful daughters. But along with the values of work ethic and responsibility was to live life to love it. To spend time with the people you love, to do things that make your heart happy, to laugh often, to not take yourself or life too seriously.

Even though I have my rough, down  days like everyone else, I have a life I fall more in love with every day. As the years add up and I look back on my adolescent years, my college years, my young adult years, and now my parenthood and early marriage years I smile at all the wonderful memories that are a part of my life story.  It's our choice to live life to hate it or to live it to love it. My parents were my teachers that taught me to love it and hopefully I can be as great as them one day in teaching my children to live life to love it. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to live and love. You taught me a lot but this is probably the most important thing.


                                              My parents at a high school softball tournament


                                                   True Love still going strong 34 years later
                                                A little family friendly driveway basketball
                                                                   Dad
                                                        Mom with road trip rally cap
                                             Dad shoved her in the pond in her nice clothes
                                                    



 

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Honey Do List




"What?  You mean I'm suppose to do it the first time you ask? Here all this time I thought there was this unspoken rule that it really didn't need to be done until it was stated at least half a dozen times," I teased.

Oh, yes, I'm referring to the wonderful "honey do list". I'm a little bit of a nut if you haven't figured that out yet. I have juggled a lot probably since I was a student athlete with a part time job. Along with the juggling act has come my love for sticky notes. I could seriously kiss whoever invented those. Best invention EVER! Seriously I don't know how I would function without. No, I do not literally hand my husband a list of to do s every week or every day. I just verbally remind him what I need him to take care of. I remind him frequently. Like every day. Depending on if it's the sixth day or so maybe every hour. I'm pretty sure sometimes he stalls on purpose to just drive me crazy.

He likes to tell me he's going to give me a honey do list since I'm always verbally giving him one. Of course I inform him I give myself a to do list for pretty much every day; that I write his honey do list for me down for him. I don't need his reminder because I remind myself enough as it is. I have one at the beginning of every month then I chunk it down to what I need to get done each week. If it's a crazy stressful week it's chunked down again to what needs to be done each day. (Nut, remember?)

So the other day he wanted to me clean up our old stove so he could show it to someone that was interested in buying it. He even wrote it down on this honey do list he created for me before he left for work (he never leaves me to do list. Guess he thought he'd go for the smart ass award for the day). I of coarse couldn't resist the temptation to ignore it, be a smart ass right back,  and let him know I thought the rule of the honey do list was to see how long you could ignore it until the other person either did it or got mad.

In the end we ended up cleaning it together but  is there some unspoken rule about ignoring the honey do list for a specific amount of time before taking it seriously. Maybe I missed it in the marriage manual.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Relieved or Disappointed?


That 25 year old girl that stood at the alter with her soon to be husband imagined and wanted a future with three or four kids. The 27 year old woman that welcomed that first baby girl still envisioned that she'd experience that surreal moment of meeting her baby for the first time at least two more times. The 30 year old mother who welcomed her second baby girl did not see all that baby's firsts as her last because she still imagined the bigger family of at least three kids. But now that almost 34 year old mother of two isn't sure what she wants anymore.

In the last year we've gone through the hope of finally bringing that envisioned third baby into our family to only be faced with the disappointment of losing it. As we've moved through trying for the third time for the third baby, with each month that passes I am left with trying to figure out if the feelings I feel are feelings of disappointment or relief. I have always been a girl that knows what I want and goes after what she wants. But at 33, at a point in my life where I assume I shouldn't feel so unsure and uncertain, I am faced with realizing I don't really know what I want.

Do I feel relieved  because it's an easier than facing the disappointment? Do I feel relieved because maybe deep down another baby isn't really what I want but what I think I want because others want it for us? Do I feel relief because for another month I avoid the daily fear of worrying if it's going to happen again and that not just me but the girls and Nate are going to get their hopes up to just end up disappointed again? Do I feel relieved because I'm scared and not ready yet to take on the emotional rollercoaster that I anticipate coming with the change of another baby?

I am not a run or avoid change kind of person. Usually I look for new change the way my girls look to change their clothes multiple times in one day. But our life is in a good place with balance, with each other, with work,  with the girls getting older, with finances and the house; however, as much as I have tackled change with moving, work, adding babies, taking on new commitments I also know all too well change is a lot of work, change is a lot of stress, not just on me but on my relationships. Am I relieved because I fear my capabilities to take it all on?

Or am I disappointed? Just as my newsfeed overloaded with the births of everyone's babies around the time the first pregnancy would have been due now as I close in on the due date of the second loss pregnancy my feed seems to fill with so many third pregnancy announcements. I am happy for my friends and family so please do not doubt that but can't help feeling disappointed for myself. Why do they get to have more children and I don't? Was I really not ready? Will I ever be ready? If not, why?

Am I disappointed because I feel that I let that 25 year old girl standing at the alter or that 27 year old first time mother down? Am I disappointed because I can't be what she envisioned. Am I relieved so I don't have to be disappointed? Or am I disappointed because deep down each month I feel relieved?

Here's the thing I do know though. This is part of my journey; I don't know if I fully understand the why of it. But I believe one day I will look back and understand why it all played out the way it did. For now I just hope I can have patience and have peace in the end with whatever the final outcome is.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Raising Tough Girls



"You need to get tough, girl."

These are words from me my daughters are not unfamiliar with. They're said in an affectionate, sometimes playful way, but they are words I want my girls to take to heart. I was raised in a family of girls. I am raising sisters. I come from a family of strong women; I am surrounded by amazingly strong women in the women I choose as my friends. I plan to raise strong, tough women.

Their father dotes on them, and they dote on him. As much as him, and myself, want to protect them from the ugliness,disappointments, and struggles of the world they cannot always be pampered  Daddy's girls. I hope every little girl gets to experience a daddy that's her first love and fiercest protector and supporter like my sisters and I did and my girls do now. But as their mother as much as I love to snuggle them in kisses and cuddle them at night I also personally bear the responsibility to raise tough girls.

Here's why I think it's important to raise tough girls

1. Other girls: Girls and women can be petty. They will ridicule, manipulate, and some will do what they can to tear them down. A girl needs to be strong enough to stand up to her; to walk away from her; to not be pressured into being her.

2. Boys and men: Not every man is going to dote on them and pamper them, whether it's the first boy that breaks their heart, the one that lets them down later in life, or the one that makes acceptable or unacceptable demands of them at work or in school.  Again a girl needs to be able to stand up to them, walk away from them, and not let them destroy them.

3.  Independence: One day they will hopefully want to marry but I don't want their survival and existence to be grounded in the need for a man. A girl that can survive and exist independently will be one that finds herself with a man that is her equal, not one that she stands behind but one that she stands with.

4. Self Esteem and Confidence: It doesn't matter if it's their body and appearances, their relationships, their careers, and even their own family or friends at times the pressure to be different, the voice to be better, the nagging that says "not good enough" will rear its ugly head. A girl that can shove past her insecurities and walk forward past her doubts and mistakes is a girl that can succeed.

5. Balance: In our changing times girls will have more opportunities than ever before. There is a new girl emerging, and it is an amazing opportunity for every girl's future. The possibilities are endless but in the pursuit to do it all, to be it all, to have it all with family and ambitions a girl that has the strength to find herself a balance, to find peace in where she's at, will be able to move towards the thing we all seek and the thing we all want for daughters: happiness.

6. Grit and Determination: The world of opportunity is at their fingertips but nothing is given in this world. A girl that has a determined nature and is full of grit will find what she's looking for in the friends she keeps, in the man she marries, in the career she pursues, and in the life she lives.

We no longer live in a time where our daughters go from the protective care of their parents into the protective care of their husbands. The possibilities and hopes for them today are endless. So, daughter, as your mother I will do my best to make you a tough girl, confident to take on the world that awaits  you.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Other Half of the Female Population



While us women in developed countries battle back and forth over the internet in the proclaimed mommy wars or in our little cliques at work or the playground, there is a whole different battle going on for about half the other female population in this world. In third world countries women and girls, ages similar to our own young daughters, are denied an education, choice in even who they'll marry or even ownership of their own bodies. Many lose their lives in childbirth and due to a lack of healthcare. When they survive the birth of their children, high numbers of their children die before age 5.

My husband often recognizes me as a feminist with my vocalized views on the woman today and what I want for the daughters I am raising. However, as important as equal pay, breaking down gender stereotypes for men and women, and breaking through the class ceiling as leaders just as capable as our male counterparts is today, as women who experience a better equal world for women today than our grandmothers and great grandmothers half a century to a century ago, I think it's important that we don't forget half the female population of the world is still struggling for those same rights and opportunities we now maybe take for granted. The following sites all showcase this struggle : Days for Girls ; Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide; Women for Women; Campaign for Female Education .

Change is always on the horizon. It's easy to forget about the change that needs to take place when it doesn't have much impact on us personally. Every now and then things like this catch my attention and I hope my faithful readers take a moment to at least check out some of the additional reading material on this issue I have above.

I haven't focused on promoting a cause since Christmas but those of  you that have been around here long enough know that I have particular causes that I interest me and that I like to use what little, very little, income I make from my writing to donate to these causes. Last summer I promoted a childhood cancer foundation from my hometown and made a donation with my book sales at the end of the summer. At Christmas, my friend Jess and I used our hobby income, my writing for me again, to adopt a few lower income children to buy gifts for so they'd have presents Christmas morning. Christmas is a long time to go without finding a cause I can promote and donate to so my goal for the rest of this summer is to help raise awareness for underprivileged women worldwide, particulary those in third world countries. I"ll pick the exact organization I'll donate to at the end of the summer because I'm sure I'll read about more between now and then.

That also means though that  I have to promote how I make money from my writing in order to generate some sale dollars to donate, and I haven't pushed my ads or book on here in awhile. This actually a great time to do that because two of the companies I run ads for on this site are things you need this time of the year. Shutterfly is one of the affiliate companies I work with and they are a great place to print your summer vacation photos. With school around the corner Janie and Jack, Gymboree, and Crazy 8 are all great places to do your online school clothes shopping. I have an affiliated partnership with all three of these. For any that are unfamiliar with how affiliate marketing works, when you click on either the links in this post or the ads that run alongside any post and place an order I make a small commission. It's the commission from these sales between now and Aug 31 that I plan to donate to an organization that benefits women.

There is also always my book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas you could purchase if you don't have your copy yet or it makes a great shower gift for the mom to be or other gift occasions. There is also an  Amazon ebook copy for $2.99.

So if you're still reading now thanks for checking out this post. If you're a regular reader I hope you consider some way to contribute to my hopeful donation for the end of the summer. For any of my female readers that have their own small supplement income business selling beauty products, cooking ware, cleaning products, fitness and health products, home décor or fragrance products let me know if you're interested in contributing any summer sale $$ to the cause and I will link your business page on the blog. Thanks, ladies. As always love and take care of one another.





 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Home is Where the Work Is

"Home is where the heart is" is the cliché saying we all know from childhood on in our lives. I don't want to say there's not truth to that because I believe there is. It's where I get the most hugs from my children, it's where we laugh and visit with the friends that are like family, it's the place where the love of my life and I have built our dreams. It's the place I have found comfort and peace at times. The people I love most in the world are there to love me every day.  Home is where my heart is.

But home is also where the most work is. I don't think it matters if you're a stay at home mom or dad or working mom or dad. Nothing involves the same dedicated work as home. Nothing will test your work ethic like the dedication that is needed at home.

Home is where you work endlessly on your relationship with your spouse. It's where you fight and make up. It's where you hurt one another and forgive one another.

Home is where  year after year, sometimes sleepless night after sleepless night you work diligently at raising responsible, successful, caring children. You worry about your choices in the beginning, then you worry about them and their choices later in the adolescent years. No matter their age building your relationship with them is some of the most important work you'll ever do.

Home is where you pour over bills and financial statements trying to figure out how to make what you have coming in to cover what you have going out.

Home is where the work of the laundry, cleaning, organizing, and dishes never seems to end.

Home is where you pour sweat and sometimes tears (depending on how frustrating the job is) into the envisioned renovations you imagine or the surprise repairs that always seem to pop up at the worst time.

It is within those walls that you'll do the most work on yourself to grow in your relationships, in your confidence, in overcoming your weaknesses and building on your strengths, and in becoming the person you hope to one day be.

Our work at home will be some of the hardest and most important work we'll have in our lives. It's not a job to take lightly or for the faint hearted.

 
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Six or Not Sometimes Life Just isn't Fun

"Why? Ugh, this is just not a fun day," wailed my six year old.
"Life is not always fun, girl. Get use to it," I said.
"That's a little harsh, don't you think?" replied my husband.

To some, including my husband and children at times, I'm a mean mommy. In my defense I'm not always mean and a negative nancy. But I am maybe a little blunt and tell it like it is too much. Six or not though, the truth is life isn't always fun.

She might as well learn to deal with that disappointment now. I like to have fun. I plan lots of fun because I'm all for play as hard, if not harder, than you work. My husband has accused me of being a slave driver at times with my expectations of what I expect to get done in a certain amount of time. I can sometimes be pretty demanding about stuff around the house. But I'm a believer in taking care of your stuff and I am nobody's maid so pick up after yourself. (Now I can also when the weeks get crazy be just as much as slob with leaving stuff laying around as the rest of them which is fine as long as when we catch a chance to pick it all back up we're doing it together.)  Again sometimes shit comes up that you don't want to have to do but you have to get done. No it's not going to be fun, but you suck it up and get it done. I know it's not fun; I know sometimes it really sucks.

So six or not sometimes life just isn't fun. Am I a mean mommy because I don't make every day an adventure in fun? Am I a mean mommy because I make you clean up after yourself on a daily basis? Am I a mean mommy because I ask you to help out around the house? Am I a mean mommy because I am sometimes busy taking care of other things I can't drop everything and be at your beck and call?

Here's the thing, my precious little princesses, I know your daddy wants to pamper you and spoil you. Believe me you are well spoiled, and even though at times like now at six you might see me as the meaner parent I'm betting one day you'll understand. You may even thank me. Life won't always pamper and spoil you, girl. At times it will disappoint. Some days won't be fun; some days honestly will suck. But don't worry, your mean momma here will do her best to make sure you're capable of just bearing down and getting through it. Maybe even with a smile on your pretty little face.

 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mood swings and the Internet Debate on Medical Marijuana



We made it back from our two week trip from going around half the country to visit family. We saw eleven of the girls' twelve grandparents and all their aunts and uncles, as well as seven of their twelve great aunts/uncles (siblings to our parents), and more cousins than I care to count. It was a good trip for the most part. The kids and the dog traveled well. That holy terror of a giant puppy we have (she'll be one next week) actually did awesome.

However, I've still found myself lately in this rut/funk lately. I had even reached a point where I almost considered postponing the trip, which I have never in ten years of traveling around to visit family ever contemplated.  I almost always hit a low after returning home from seeing my family but on top of it I had to return home to a house absent our dog. As much as I was ready and knew it was time to tell our Bettis boy good bye, I did not want to have to put him to sleep. I prayed for him to go on his own; I would sit down beside him on his rough days these last few months and tell him it was okay to let go and leave us. As Nate said when we were driving out, it was a rather haunting experience. So many people kept telling us it was the thing to do, and even as great as Falls Road Animal Hospital was, I don't know if I could do it again. We were sad to let him go, but when my six year old started crying in the backseat, "I bet Bettis was sad to let us go too," it just drove home my anxiety of whether we were doing the right thing for him.

On top of that a couple things came up recently that were stark reminders that this isn't the first summer with either the arrival of our third child right before summer or anticipated arrival at the end of the summer. Most of the time I've been okay with the reality of what is, and we're still hoping for the third eventually.

So today is the first day back to routine, which includes getting back to my go to coping outlets- exercising and writing. However, on a sarcastic note, as some know  I am not a big medicine/drug fan as much as I've been told it would help with my low moods. But it was shared with me recently that with this new movement with medical marijuana and legalized cannabis that it would be a great "natural" medicine for some of my depression issues. I even read a book from another that promoted teaching our children to see marijuana as a "natural" medicine we should not be afraid of.

WTF, right? This whole medical marijuana push is starting to annoy me the same way as the arguments surrounding the Confederate flag and Supreme Court decision in regards to homosexuality. But I'll get on my soapbox about those two later even though some of my arguments here may apply. First, realize that anybody and everybody, including myself right now, can post any crap they want on the internet.  Everything you read on the internet is not truth. Second, there are some valid arguments for legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. I believe it does have medical purposes for some serious situations like cancer; however, I understand it may not be chemically enhanced (again I haven't done my official research here including smoking it) but natural or not I don't really see how being stoned out of my mind all day or half the day is a constructive, "natural" way to deal with some disorders like anxiety and depression. I don't care if the damn peacock (the moral of the stupid story I read) got to spread it's beautiful feathers after using the natural remedy of cannabis to treat its depression. Being high all day everyday  is not a "natural" way to be productive in your day to day life; that's called looking for an escape instead of facing your life to me.

That damn book's argument for supporting the legalization of marijuana because it's a "natural" remedy to a variety of disorders and health issues just really rubbed me the wrong way. Natural remedies is this, some creative outlet.  Or how about healthy eating? Or exercise? Or my favorite exercise outside in the fresh air. You want natural? Go make your muscles burn while breathing in the natural fresh air of cow and horse manure. If we're going to believe any piece of shit that people shovel at us, we might as well go breathe in the good stuff. How much more natural can you get than horse shit?

Disclaimer: I can blow smoke out my ass just like about everything else you read on the internet so do not blindly accept my claims as truth. My research on this topic is pretty much nonexistent. I would be willing to support the arguments for this more if we could cut back the idea that it's the "natural" cure to humanity and every ailment we face. But on second thought maybe it could cure the ignorance of those that are arguing that the Confederate flag stands for freedom and state's rights (cause you know a state's rights to limit the freedom of an individual's rights is so patriotic).