Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Monday, December 17, 2012


On Friday morning in a small town in Connecticut, a 20 year old man killed his own mother.  Then he drove to the school where she worked and murdered 26 other people.  20 of them were children, all 6 and 7 years old.  *I* have a 6 year old child.  I can not even fathom being told that my sweet, beautiful, free spirit of a daughter was shot and killed at school.  AT SCHOOL.

Who does this?  In my opinion, you have to be really, really, REALLY "out there" to commit such a senseless, violent act against innocent children.  I mean REALLY out there.  How can a young man from a nice town where both of his parents lived nearby be THAT far "out there" and nobody noticed?  Are there no warning signs at all that something funky is going on?  Were there warning signs that were ignored?  Or were there warning signs that those close to him paid attention to, yet there was nothing to be done?

How can there be no way to prevent this from happening??  I know there will always be bad people.  And bad people do bad things.  I don't believe gun control is 100% the answer.  Take away the guns and someone will use a knife.  Or a sword.  Or a letter opener.  Take away the knives and he'll make a bomb.  Take away the ingredients for a bomb and he'll poison you with bleach.  There will always be a way to hurt people, and even ways to hurt a lot of people at once.  But there has to be a way to make it a little HARDER for them to do it.

Notice in my previous paragraph, I say "he" over and over.  In an article written by Liza Long, it is stated that "since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman."  Why are mass murders being carried out by all these MEN??  Because they need help and won't ask or accept it?  We all know men hate to even ask for directions... you think a man is going to say "Hey, I'm thinking about shooting a bunch of first graders, can you help me?" 

Why did Nancy Lanza have semi-automatic weapons?  For protection, I heard one report say.  Now they're saying she was a gun enthusiast who enjoyed going to the shooting range... WITH HER TROUBLED SON.  Look how well that worked out.  She basically gave him the skills to perpetrate this crime.  I have nothing against guns.  We have guns in my house.  They are locked up in a gun cabinet and we don't use them.  They are hand-me-downs and guns that were gifts.... basically collectibles to sit there and look like guns.  But they do work.  Do we have an assault rifle that will fill a child with 3-7 bullets in a fraction of a second?  Hell no.  Why does anyone outside of the military need a gun that does that?  Anyone who needs to shoot so many rounds in an extremely short amount of time has evil intentions.  You're not going to go out & hunt for your supper with an AR-15 . 

Why does someone go into a movie theater and kill people at random?  Why does someone start shooting at innocents in a shopping mall?  Why does some guy stand outside a school and slash little kids with a knife?  What little switch trips in someone's mind that makes them think this is ok?  IT'S NOT OK, and you know what?  THEY KNOW IT!  Why do all of these mass murderers end up dead or at the very least wounded?  Because they don't want a way out.  They don't want to have to live with what they did.  They don't want to be punished for their crimes.  They hurt as many people as possible in horrific ways, then take the coward's way out and kill themselves or make the police do it for them.  That right there tells you there's some little itty bitty part of their brain that knows they should NOT be doing what they're doing.  And yet they still do it.

I am just rambling here.  I stopped watching the news after Friday night.  I don't want to know who Adam Lanza was or what made him tick.  It's pure craziness to do what he did, and whatever made him do it doesn't matter.  I don't know all the facts, I don't know the ins & outs of the gun control argument, and I have no bad feelings regarding mentally ill people except that they don't get near the amount of help and support they need.  I have had  experience with someone controlled by aggression and violence.  There is something wrong with people like that, and in most cases it's not their fault, just like having cancer is not someone's fault.  That doesn't mean being ill is an excuse for being evil.  I am not blaming his mother.  The woman was a victim as well.  I blame Adam Lanza... for whatever reason, he did what he did.  I just have all of these thoughts running around in my mind and I needed to get them OUT!

At this point, the only thing that matters is that 26 beautiful lives were snuffed out in an instant because of evil.  It's violent and it's senseless and it makes me so mad and so sad. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 30

I am thankful for the many blessings in my life. 
I have a husband who loves and supports me, happy & healthy children and wonderful friends and family.
I'm thankful that my mom and D are on their way to us right now!  Their long journey of three flights & two long layovers started at 4am today and we are so grateful that they make the trip each year.  My kids are beyond ecstatic that Grammie is on her way!
I'm thankful for turkey & stuffing, Cowboys football and Christmas decorations!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 29

I am thankful for Christmas music.  Much to hubby's dismay, I've already started listening to holiday tunes in my car.  To me, there's nothing more uplifting than a wonderful rendition of a Christmas classic like O Holy Night or Silent Night.  Here's one of my favorites:

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means I'm officially allowed to start celebrating the season!  Christmas music will be playing, decorations will be put out and lights will be strung.  I can't wait! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 28

I am thankful for my house.  It's not big or fancy or flashy.  It's twenty years old and definitely "lived in".  But my hubby built it with his own two hands and it's where we have made a home for our family.  It has curtains with wrinkles, dust on the mantle and a torn-up front walkway (compliments of my stepson who decided to redo it).  Our yard has more weeds than grass and my garage is overflowing with junk.  All of that is minor when I think of the people who don't have a home at all.  I'm thankful for a place to lay our heads, a place to celebrate the holidays, a place to raise our children. 

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 27

I am thankful for chocolate.  Because my Dove dark chocolate peppermint bark told me to.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 26

I am thankful for my cat Pumpkin.  He passed away a year ago this week and my heart still hurts when I think about him.  He was big and fluffy and sweet and kind.  If there was a picture of "gentle giant" in the dictionary, he'd be there.  He was a affectionate & loving cat and was so great with my kids.  He is missed!

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 25

I am thankful for my husband who always, always has my back.  We may not always see eye to eye on everything, but when my feelings are hurt or someone does me wrong, he is my staunchest supporter and helps me to realize that it's their loss.  I love him!

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 24

I am thankful for my children.  I may have already done this one, either separately or together like this, but today especially I have to say it (again).  I may argue and nag and out-stubborn them, and sometimes even scream like a mean banshee lady because their rooms are a mess, but nobody on this planet loves my children more than I do. 

I cherish their laughter and their smiles.  I admire their warm hearts and compassion for others.  I am impressed with their imaginations and I am lit up from within when I hear "I love you Mom".  I suffered a miscarriage shortly before getting pregnant with each of my children.  Some people may cringe when they read that, because to be honest, nobody really talks about it.  But it happened and I want to talk about it today.  I know that if I hadn't gone through those two dark times I wouldn't have J & K in my life now, and I am more grateful for these two amazing little people than anyone knows.  But a loss is a loss, regardless of when or how, and I want to take some time to be thankful for those two babies who never had a chance.  They never had the opportunity to grow, they were never named, they were never born... but they were mine, and they are loved. 

Please take a moment and pray today for a family in our community.  I don't know them personally, but a lot of my friends do, so their plight really hurts my heart.  Rex Fleming is a boy in J's school and he is about to begin his journey home to God after a two year illness.  I know so many people have prayed and lifted this family up and they will need it even more in the coming days/weeks/months.  Please ask God to make Rex's journey a peaceful one, and give comfort to his family as they mourn the loss of their little boy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 23

I am thankful for the beautiful fall weather.  For a lot of the year here in west Texas, the weather leaves a lot to be desired.  More often than not it is windy, windy, WINDY (and I hate wind!).  The summer lasts forever and can be Godawful hot.  Winter is too short (for this NY girl) and not enough snow falls for my taste!  However, in early November when the sun is shining, the wind is NOT blowing, and the temps are around 60, I am a very happy lady.  Even the bright, crisp mornings are nice, as long as I have my sunglasses, a turtleneck and my heated seats!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 20

I am thankful for the Diet Coke my hubby had waiting for me at work this morning! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 19

On this Veteran's Day, I am thankful for all of the men and women who serve in our military in order to keep our country free.  There are so many who make sacrifices in order for us to live in the best nation in the world, and I am so grateful. 

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 18

I am thankful for my husband.  He is a hardworking man who loves his family.  We've been together for over twelve years and I don't see how it can possibly be that long!  It seems like just yesterday that we had our first date at Waffle House at 1am!  We've been through so many of life's ups & downs.... our marriage has definitely covered the "in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer" but I have to say there hasn't been any "for worse" between the two of us.  He is my strongest supporter and my best friend.  I love our life together and hope & pray God blesses us with many, many more years together.

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 17

I am thankful for Cinnamon Streusel French Toast at Cracker Barrel.

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 16

Oops - missed a day!
I am thankful for a new job.  I haven't worked outside of the house in over eleven years (although I work harder as a stay-at-home-mom than I ever did at any "job"!).  As of this week I am employed part-time with a very flexible schedule.  I'm glad to have the opportunity to earn some money while also still being home when my children are.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 15

I am thankful for my family.  I don't just mean hubby & the kids.  I'm talking about my parents, my brother, my in-laws, my stepson, etc.  Every family has their quirks including mine, but I really am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 14

Today's post is simple:  I am thankful to live in the United States.  It truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I am proud to be an American.

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 13

I am thankful for the wonderful teachers that my children have been blessed with.   I know that every child has their quirks and qualities that make them different and sometimes difficult, and I think the mark of a great teacher is being able to relate to and work with a student, no matter what. 

Last year I learned that my son has a habit of moving around during class... a lot.  He fidgets, he tips his chair, he leans over the desk & table, etc.  None of his teachers complained... in fact, they reassured me that as long as he's doing his work and not totally disrupting everyone else, they don't care if he has to sit on the floor!  My daughter is very timid and sensitive.  I was so relieved last year when she ended up with the same kindergarten teacher that J had.  We know and love Mrs. O and it helped K immensely by having her first schoolteacher be someone she was familiar with, and who was so loving with my little girl.  I didn't know any of the first grade teachers, but I was nervous before this year over nothing.  Mrs. T is sweet and kind and K loves her. 

I thank God that He has blessed my children with teachers who love and appreciate them and are able to teach in a way that encourages a love of learning.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 12

I am thankful for my son.  Even on days like today (thank you time change) when his bad attitude is bigger than he is, I love him more than life itself.  J is so smart and funny and creative and thoughtful.  He's a typical boy, so he's also selfish and oblivious and stubborn.  He makes me laugh every day.  He loves trains and Legos and video games.  He hates school (except for seeing his friends) but he excels at everything he puts his mind to.  He plays football and golf and inherited my sweet tooth.  His eyes always have that special sparkle - just like him!  Even though he's almost my size, he will always be my baby boy. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 11

Today I am thankful for my daughter.  She is the kindest, most sensitive and loving child I've ever seen.  She has more compassion in her little pinkie than most people will ever have.  I am taking medicine that at times makes me VERY ill, and K was beside herself today when I was sick.  She was almost crying, she kept saying it makes her sad when I'm sick.  When I was laying on the couch, she brought me her trash can (in case I got sick), her kitty that she sleeps with (in case I got lonely when she went outside) and her Rapunzel blanket (to keep me warm).

I hope and pray that the kindness she feels toward other people never leaves her.  I hate that she gets her feelings hurt by others who aren't so careful, but I love that her true, loving heart shines through regardless.  Anyone who crosses paths with her knows that they are blessed, because K makes them feel that way.  She is a wonderful daughter, a thoughtful and fun friend and a truly special person.  Anyone would be lucky to know her, and I'm doubly lucky because I get to be her mom.

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 10

Today I am thankful for my BFF.  T and I have been friends, real TRUE friends, since I was twelve years old.  I sat behind her in homeroom in 7th grade, and we've been best buds ever since.  We were inseparable in junior high, high school and college until she moved away.  We each know the other's strengths and weaknesses.  She can tell people things about me that nobody else knows (thankfully she doesn't!), and vice versa.  Her family is like my family.

For the last two decades we've rarely lived even within driving distance of each other, and yet the bonds of friendship remain strong.  She lived near me when my first child was born, and she lived within a few hours of me when my second child was born.  My kids are friends with her kids and always ask when we will see Z & J again.  Thankfully our parents all still live in the town we grew up in, so we are able to see each other every summer when we go back to visit.

T is undergoing treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.  She has had chemo, surgery, more surgery and now radiation.  She is the strongest, most resilient person I've ever known.  Throughout her journey I've never heard her say anything negative.  She never complains, never gives in, she just takes each obstacle as it comes.  She does what needs doing in all aspects of life.  Her laid-back, go with the flow personality is the exact opposite of my routine-oriented, type-A obsessiveness and yet we mesh so well.  I miss her and hate that I am so far away.  Because of her illness she was unable to go "home" this past summer, so it has been over a year since I was able to spend time with her.  I wish I could have been there for her in a way other than holding her hand long-distance, but all I can do is say prayers and let her know I think of her often.

She is the sister of my heart and I'm so blessed to have her in my life. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 9

I'm thankful for sunshine.  You people in the pacific northwest?  England?  I don't know how you do it.  I'm solar-powered.  I'm much happier when I am infused with vitamin D - and not from a bottle!  Today it is a glorious fall day and it makes me happy to just stand outside and soak up the sun.  I know we need rain.  Lord, I live in Texas, we always NEED RAIN!  But I would be perfectly happy if the liquid precipitation would limit itself to the nighttime hours!

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 8

I'm thankful for modern medicine - even when it makes me feel lousy!  I've been suffering from a mystery illness for months.  My symptoms come and go.  Sometimes I feel perfectly fine.  Sometimes I don't want to get out of bed.  I've had test after test, checking my heart, my lungs, my immune system, my thyroid, my hormones, you name it, I've had it checked.  I've been to three different doctors, had blood drawn twice, had an EKG, a stress test and x-rays.  I finally have a diagnosis and (hopefully!) a treatment.  Unfortunately the medicine I am taking makes me feel worse than the illness!  I've read that that's a good sign - it shows that the diagnosis is right and the medicine is attacking the bad stuff & I feel crummy because of the toxins struggling to leave my body.  Aren't you jealous?

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 7

I am thankful for family traditions.  I'm thankful that I grew up in a family that made (and kept up) traditions, and passed on the love of them to me.  We always open one present from family on Christmas Eve.  We have turkey on Thanksgiving (much to hubby's dismay).  We always, always have a real Christmas tree (although we don't set it on fire & run up and down the street after we take it down like my dad did all the years I was growing up!!).  We carve pumpkins for Halloween - and it never fails that J gags until I end up scooping out the guts of his jack-o-lantern.  These traditions are what make wonderful family memories, and I'm so glad that I have a family that (mostly) appreciates them!

Monday, October 29, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 6

I think this goes without saying, but today I am thankful that my long-distance family and friends are all safe from Hurricane Sandy.  I know it can still pack a wallop tonight and through the coming days, but it's comforting to know that the people I know and love along the east coast are ok after the initial brunt of the storm. 
My family is in New York, and I have a lot of friends up & down the coast including New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.  It's heartbreaking to me to see the pictures of the devastating wind & rain damage, not to mention the flooding.  As I sat here in sunny, mild west Texas watching the news coverage, I hope everyone knows that my thoughts and prayers were with them thousands of miles away!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 5

Today I am thankful for football.
I admit I'm a sports nut.  I don't think hubby really appreciates the fact that his wife LOVES sports.  Many, many men aren't so fortunate, as they have nobody in their home who will share their passion and enthusiasm for the game - any game.  I play golf.  I help coach softball.  I like to watch baseball, hockey, golf, basically anything except soccer or basketball.  But I LOVE football.  And living in west Texas, weekends during the fall mean football for us.  Friday nights will find us at the high school game, regardless of where it is.  Saturdays are when J's team plays.  Sunday is NFL day when we spend hours rooting for (and yelling at) our Dallas Cowboys, as well as keeping up with every other game because of our football board and fantasy football leagues. 
To me, there's not much that can compare to a sunny, crisp fall day, homemade cookies in the oven and football on tv. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 4

I am thankful that other people (aside from the ones who have to!)  love my children.  I don't ever want people to think (or God forbid actually say) "Oh, not THOSE kids!"  Last night K spent the evening with friends, trick-or-treating and having fun girl time.  We were going to pick her up after we got back into town (around midnight) but my friend assured me the girls were snoring away & that she was fine.  Turns out she WAS fine.  I picked her up around noon today and she was happy, slept great and had lots of fun.  My friend always says how sweet K is, and it makes me a happy and grateful mom when I get compliments on my kids.  *I* know how great they are, but not everyone has to feel that way!

Friday, October 26, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 3

Today I am thankful that hubby & I take time every week for a lunch date.  It's so easy to get caught up in busy lives and jobs and being "mom and dad" and this hour every week is a reminder that we were a couple before a we created our family.  I've known hubby for almost 13 years, we've been married for 11 and I still look forward to our "dates" so much!  More often than not it's the little things, you know?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 2

Today I am thankful that my children enjoy sports.  I think that playing sports is so important for kids.  They learn discipline and teamwork while at the same time having fun with other kids as well as learning to follow rules and listening to other adults (sometimes!).

I love that J plays football.  It is my absolute favorite sport and I will always be his number one cheerleader! 

I love that K plays softball.  She has been blessed twice with a fun team twice so far and I enjoy her games very much. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - Day 1

Today I am thankful that I completed my second-to-last day of physical therapy.

Yesterday I walked 2+ miles, did an hour of physical therapy and stood at K's softball game for two hours.  Two months ago, any one of those three would have had me popping ibuprofen and sitting on the heating pad the rest of the night.  After all three yesterday I went to bed without a twinge!

I will "graduate" Friday after ten weeks of stretches, exercises, massage and ultrasound, and I'm happy to say that I am about 95% pain free! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

37 more hours...

On Wednesday at 12:30pm, my little girl will turn six.  I can hardly believe it.  She is so smart and so caring and so sensitive and so beautiful.  It humbles me that I have the privilege of being this amazing girl's mom.

You know what?  During my pregnancy, when I found out I was having a girl, I cried.  And not tears of joy.  I'm ashamed to admit it now, but I thought I was having a boy, I already had a boy and knew what to DO with a boy, I wanted another boy.  A girl?  What do I do with that?  We're talking hair clips and bratty girlfriends and hormones - oh Lord.  Of course, that's water way, way under the bridge now and if any of you ever tell my daughter that, I will deny it to my dying day!

K is a girly-girl who loves princesses, dresses, shoes and nail polish.  She asks just about every day if she can wear make-up and wants to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel.  She is also a little bit of a tomboy and loves Super Mario Brothers and playing sports.  She loves kittens and horses and stickers and books.  She sings and dances in the dark listening to Taylor Swift and gets embarrassed if you catch her at it.  She is bright and sweet and wants everyone to be her friend.  She has her daddy's brown eyes and his sense of humor (hello?  Three Stooges marathon??) and her mama's soft heart and sensitive nature.  She is my little girl who is growing up faster than I can stand it. 

Happy Birthday K!  You light up our lives, baby girl.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spring has sprung!

I realized when I signed in to my blog the other day that I never published this post from last month!

I always hate to coin phrases like "they always say ______" because, really, how annoying is that?  Who are "they" and why are "they" always right????  However, I need to make an exception.  THEY always say if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes and it will change.  Some of you who don't live here might think that's an exaggeration.  It's not really.  My cousin once commented on a photo of mine on Facebook.  He wrote, "I'm pretty convinced you have the craziest weather on earth in Abilene."  Yeah, that about sums it up.  The picture he was commenting on was a piece of hail the size of a ping pong ball that fell one morning.  We left the house and it was sunny.  By the time we got to school two miles away, the sky was lit up with lightning and it was POURING hail.  I'm not kidding - the school yard looked like it was covered in snow.  The temperature that morning was a chilly 45.   And just two days before that we were having summer weather - sunny and 90+ degrees!

Anyway, this blog post today is not going to be about the weather.  Well, it's not supposed to be.  I kind of went off on a tangent.  I wanted to start off saying that I'm not a big fan of spring.  I know it's a favorite season for a lot of people (my mother).  Everything is new and green and blooming and getting warm.  Here in Texas it is still dry and windy, mostly hot with an occasional cold day thrown in.  Give me fall and winter with football, Christmas music, turtlenecks and fuzzy socks please.  We don't have grass, we have weeds, so even in the springtime our yard doesn't look very pretty.  The only trees we have are mesquite trees, so big deal.  Where are the magnolia or dogwood or any other pretty flowering trees?  Certainly not here.  However, there is one thing I have come to love about springtime in Texas.  Bluebonnets.  They are the state flower and are so, so pretty, but you have to be careful because if you blink, you might miss them.  When the time is right, they pop up out of nowhere and, seemingly overnight, you have fields upon fields of blue.  Then, about a week later, they are wilted and fading and then just gone!  

Ever since J was a baby, I have made it a tradition to venture out into the field of bluebonnets and take pictures.  Everyone always loves these photos, and in ten years, we've only had two springs when I didn't get any.  One year was unusually warm or wet or something, and the few bluebonnets that did pop out weren't very picture-worthy.  Last year was such a crazy winter that we had NONE.  Zip, zero, nada.  

Apparently this year Mother Nature decided to flaunt her awesomeness, because they were EVERYWHERE!  Bluebonnets had been out for over a week, so most of them were already past their prime when I went to take pictures.   The big field near my house that we usually go to, though, was still overrun with them, and an occasional pretty yellow flower thrown in.  Surprisingly my kids were even cooperative about the photo op.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Romans 5:5 ESV 

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Today I really needed to read this verse.  Lately my hopeful and optimistic spirit has been dampened by circumstances out of my control.  Not by anything disastrous or life-threatening, nothing like that.  But my ability to see the best in people & give them the benefit of the doubt is beyond me right now and I need some encouragement.

Unfairness is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Maybe it indicates that I live in a dream world with my head in the clouds to admit that I think things should be done the way they are supposed to be done.  That they aren't always, even when pertaining to something unimportant, is abhorrent to me.  Why do people lie to each other?  Why say one thing and do the opposite?  Why make poor excuses instead of owning up to the truth?  I wish I had the answers to those questions, because right now my faith in other people is low.  Saying what you mean and meaning what you say shouldn't be so hard!

I don't have a perfect moral compass.  I don't always make the right decisions.  I like to think, though, that I always, always try to do the right thing, even when it means stepping way out of my comfort zone.  Recently I did that in defense of someone who needed defending, and all it got me was attacked in return.  In my experience, people will lash out and accuse when they have a guilty conscience.  I very rarely speak out on anything, so if I do and someone gets defensive or evasive, I tend to believe that they are in the wrong.  There is defensiveness and evasiveness flying all around me.

I once read somewhere that you should beware of half truths, because you might learn the wrong half.  So true!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox said:
'Tis easy enough to be pleasant, when life flows like a song. But the man worthwhile is the one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong.

I am trying my hardest to smile in spite of things going wrong.   However, I would prefer to open my own eyes, rather than have them opened for me by other people and their actions.  Unfortunately, as the saying goes, life is not fair.  Sometimes it's not even the end result but simply the process or the journey that isn't fair.  That's what I'm struggling with right now.  Other people's selfishness in serving their own agenda has put a huge dark cloud over the pleasure and enjoyment I've known for weeks.  It's not the agenda itself, but the way certain people went about it, that has upset me.

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them. (Phyllis Bottome)

I am glad that this struggle revolves only around me and my expectations of others.  My husband and my kids are somewhat affected by the outcome, but the problem in dealing with it is all mine.  There is no way to alter these difficulties, so I must alter myself.  I'm trying.  I actually told Hubby last night that he hasn't been able to do it in twelve years, but I wish he could finally teach me how to let things go.  It's so incredibly hard for me to turn the other cheek when I know someone is wrong.  I want it fixed, and in my life right now, I have no tools to fix it.  I'm on the outside looking in and my humble opinion means next to nothing.  Hubby has this amazing ability to mask his feelings until he gets over it, which normally happens fairly quickly.  He can hold a grudge with the best of them, but very rarely does he.  He's able to see what truly matters in the grand scheme of things.  I need to learn to follow by his example and not let my soft heart and my logical mind bring me down when life isn't careful with them.  People tend to stomp on soft hearts and ignore logical minds.  Thankfully I married a man who protects the first and appreciates the second.  

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I want to feel hopeful again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's a zoo out there!

Last week was spring break here in Texas.  Does it matter that it wasn't even officially SPRING yet?  Apparently not.  Anyway, since kids happy to be at home = mom NOT happy to have the kids at home, we all scramble to find something fun and interesting (and cheap!) to do. 

We decided to visit the Forth Worth Zoo.  If you've never been there, I highly recommend it.  It's easy to get to (just over 2 hours away and two turns off the interstate) and very inexpensive.  Adult admission was $12 and the kids were $9, parking was $5.  In the DFW area, that is almost unheard of.  I do not, however, recommend going during spring break.  Apparently this particular zoo sets ATTENDANCE RECORDS that week.  Lovely.  Fortunately we went on Monday, and not half-price Wednesday, so it was only slightly crazy instead of total insanity.

All kidding aside (ok, I wasn't kidding), we had a great time.  We packed a lunch and had a picnic on the grass outside the parking lot before we went in because I'd been told the food was the one expensive thing at the zoo.  The zoo is very pleasantly landscaped with a lot of nice walkways, shade trees (we don't have those in Abilene) and even a handy little train that takes you from the back of the park to the front for only $2.  That was nice when the kids were tired of walking after seeing everything!  We saw hippos, elephants, flamingos, tigers, leopards, turtles, horses, fish, birds, penguins, bears, monkeys, and so many more.  The only bummer was we couldn't find the cheetah - we found the exhibit, but NOT the animal - and that was the one big cat K was so excited to see.  Oh well, there's always next time.   But NOT during spring break!

Parking lot picnic!

I'm not sure what animals were behind us, but it made for a nice backdrop for the photo!

The tigers were LAZY!

The mountain goats were NOT lazy!  They were playing on the rocks and giving us quite a show!

Sharks!  (they were small)

J sat on his perch much more easily than K!

Happy train riders!

The girls each picked out an animaland animal to "make".  J picked out two bags of rocks.  Yeah.

Another photo op?  C'mon Mom!!!

I don't think the 10 yr old in the way back ever slept, but this is what the zoo did to these girls! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not feeling the love

Do you ever have days where you are not necessarily in a bad mood or upset with someone, but certain things are just pissing you off?  That's me today.  I feel good.  I slept good last night.  I exercised this morning.  I enjoyed lunch with my kids.  There was nothing bad that set me off, so I'm not cranky.  There are just these.... annoyances.... that have been gathering in the back of my mind, and I'm reaching the point where I have to let them out.

  • This God-awful-blowing-dust-everywhere-making-breathing-difficult-strong-enough-to-rock-my-CAR wind.  I am SO over it.  I have lived in Texas for eleven years and I think the wind has gotten progressively worse every year.  Last year was the absolute worst.  Everyone says "Oh, the March winds".  HA.  March?  Try February, March, April, May, June.... you get the idea.  IT.  NEVER.  ENDS.  I don't have the kind of hair that looks good after a wind storm.  I have stick-your-finger-in-a-socket kind of hair that is barely tame on a good day.   Baseball caps are a fashion requirement for me in the spring and summer.   I also have very sensitive eyes, made worse by allergies (or so my optometrist tells me).  My eyes water all the time.  See a Visine commercial?  Watch my kids practice crossing their eyes?  Bright sunshine or a slight breeze?  My eyes water like crazy.  40mph winds are NOT my friend. 
  • My sixteen-year-old cat refuses to stop pooping on the floor.  She only does it at night when she's in the laundry room (where she has slept for the past eleven years).  I've noticed lately that if I put an assortment of boxes, rubbermaid lids, etc, over the carpet where she is going, then I don't wake up to any surprises.  Until now.  She  outsmarted me.  Last night I put out my anti-poop tools all over the floor, only to walk out there this morning to find a present on the OTHER carpet in front of the washing machine.  Damn cat.   She gets yelled at and her nose shoved in her droppings when she's bad.  She gets heaps of praise, love and treats when she's good.  You'd think she could figure out which is the better deal.   Little does she know that she's pushing me to the end of my rope.  My next step is putting her in the garage for the night.   She can bunk down with my car on the cold concrete floor and see how fun that is.
  • Fox.  I am not a big tv watcher.  In fact, during the day I don't even turn it on.  I'm the anomaly in my house, because when my husband and kids get home, the first thing they do is turn on the television.  There are very few shows that I like to watch on a regular basis.  American Idol is one of them.  Unfortunately, that show airs on Fox, which my Dish Network no longer offers thanks to a dispute in price.  Seriously.  I live out in the boonies so there is no other option.  We can't get cable.  We switched from Directv because we had to PAY for local channels.  Now that we have free local channels with Dish, they proceed to drop one.  Trying to hunt down American Idol the next day online is frustrating, and watching the show on my laptop is not my idea of a good time.  Good thing I don't ever want to vote for the singers.
  • The current craze over grown-ups reading young adult novels drives me crazy.  I love books, I am a dedicated reader and my tastes are pretty varied.  However I have no desire to read about teenagers!  The whole Twilight thing?  Ick.  I have nothing against vampires or love stories.  In fact, one of the best books I've read lately is Darker After Midnight - a book about vampires.  But they are ADULTS!  I don't care how good the story is or how talented the author is.... I just can't get into a book about children just a few years older than my son.
  • People who preach about the evils of flour, sugar, carbs, artificial sweeteners, etc.  I get it.  You are a food nazi and you are skinny.  You also can't be as happy as this bread loving, french fry eating, Diet Coke addict.   I know that people who rigidly control those items in their diet maintain a ridiculously healthy weight.  Good for them.  I can't and I won't give them up.  If that means I'm ten pounds heavier than I want to be for the rest of my life, so be it.  I eat healthy.  I love salad, fruits, water, tea.  I will take chicken over red meat any day.  My blood pressure is perfect and my cholesterol is fine.  I walk three miles several times a week and I can ride eight miles on my exercise bike in thirty minutes.  If I want to eat a Dove chocolate or twelve, leave me alone.
  • Speaking of fitness.... I want to say I will NEVER become a runner.  I don't know how many people in my life have told me recently that they always said the same thing, and now they love to run.  Bully for them.  They obviously didn't stick to their convictions.  I. AM. NOT. A. RUNNER.  If I had to run two miles to save my life, I'm not sure I could do it.  I don't have a runner's body, I don't have the stamina you need, and I don't enjoy it.  It's torture.  I would rather walk ten miles than run half a mile.  Talk it up all you like, you will never convince me that I will learn to like running.   
  • When do you think someone will realize that we have taken the whole reality show concept too far?  I will admit there are some good reality shows out there.  I watch some of them.  My husband watches far too many of them.  So many people do.  I don't get it.  Why would I want to watch a show about hog hunters or whatever they are called?  Or Swamp People?  I'm sorry, but if you need subtitles for a show that is broadcast IN ENGLISH, that's not my kind of entertainment.  Alaskan troopers, Cajun Pawn, Gold Rush.... the list goes on and on.  Hubby's (and J's) latest obsession?  Finding Bigfoot.  This show is beyond ludicrous.  These seemingly sane adults are standing in the woods at night, they hear a crash, and immediately they announce that it was a sasquatch throwing a rock at them.  It couldn't have been a branch falling or a deer running through a bush, right?  Maybe it's the unbelievable factor that makes these shows so popular....  millions of people sit around their tv saying, "I can't believe they made a show about THIS!"
I know I have more rants and raves in me somewhere, but my mind is tapped out for now.  That should relieve enough steam that I won't boil over into a PMS-clone anytime soon. 
Happy Wednesday everyone.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A mother's love (and a daughter's love)

I have a little framed artsy-looking saying on my dresser that says something like "The best thing about being mother and daughter is one day you realize you have turned into friends".  I am too lazy to walk into the bedroom and read it so I could post it word for word, but you get the gist of it.  I wish every mother and every daughter could live out that sentiment.

I know there are mothers without daughters, and daughters without mothers.  And some of the ones who do have each other sometimes (or all of the time) wish they didn't.  Sometimes all of that femininity and estrogen just clash day after day and the relationship just doesn't work.  And sometimes even the best mother-daughter relationships will have struggles.  There are some of us, though, who are blessed to truly be friends with our mothers.

I don't mean to paint a picture rosier than it actually is.  Mom and I have had our differences.  I was not always the easiest teenaged daughter to raise (or the easiest twenty-something daughter).  There were times when I loved my mother and times when I really really resented even the idea of her.  I knew what I wanted and what I was doing and how dare she say otherwise.  I'd like to think that every child, male and female, feels like that at some point, though, so I don't have to look back and think how exceptionally rotten I was.  I believe I'm going to remove K's bedroom door before she turns into a teenager so I can avoid the "go to my room and slam the door" fiasco that most girls perfect at some point.  I know that every fight and every tantrum and every mom/daughter battle in our future will be worth it if K and I turn out to have a friendship like I have with my mom. 

I think that maturity, as well as motherhood, have made me a better daughter.  I appreciate my mom, I have fun with her.  I like her.  Do we always see eye to eye?  No.  Do we want to be in each other's back pocket?  No.  But today, on the eve of her leaving after a ten day visit, I am feeling the warm & fuzzies toward the lady known in this house as Grammie. 

If you are blessed to have a loving mother-daughter bond AND you are able to spend a lot of time with your mother, consider yourself lucky.  I would give a lot to be able to erase the 2000 mile distance between my home and my mom's.  Thanks to technology (and her recent addiction to texting), we talk every day.  I spend time in her home every summer and she spends time in mine every spring and fall.  But I don't have the option of calling my mom and saying "Want to go see a movie?"  and I certainly don't have the option of sending my kids to the safe haven known as Grammie's house when I am at the end of my rope and need a break. 

My kids adore their Grammie.  They are closer to her than most kids are to grandparents who live right around the corner.  They love spending time with her.  They make her laugh and she showers them with love.  I am not ashamed to say that it is a vacation for me when my mom takes HER vacation here with us.  My kids generally want nothing to do with me when she is around.  It's exhausting for her, but a very nice bonus for me - I get to spend time with my mom while giving my kids a rest from THEIR mom!

I know tomorrow I will have a tearful goodbye at the airport when Mom leaves, and my kids will not be happy campers at school.  Tomorrow evening this house will be full of long faces and it will take a few days to work off the post-Grammie stupor.  I pray for safe travels for my mom, and I am thankful for the time we are able to spend with each other.  I'm even more grateful that we ENJOY that time, and we are all already counting down the days until our next visit with Grammie.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where's the maid?

Cleaning the bathrooms is the bane of my existence.

I get that my "job" as the homemaker is to keep the house clean.  No problemo.  I don't always have shiny floors or clean baseboards, but I am anal enough that eventually the mess will bother me and I keep the house presentable.  I like to vacuum, I have been on a "get rid of all of the junk" kick lately and in my house everything has its place.

However, I think bathrooms, more specifically the toilets, should be an exception to that rule.  Why?  Because the women in the house are NOT the ones who make the mess.  When we pee, it goes IN the toilet.  By process of elimination (pun intended), the gross yellow STUFF that ends up under the outside lip of the toilet, all down the back of the toilet, on the floor behind the toilet, can only be blamed on the men in the house.  Since we women tend to sit and face forward when we use the bathroom, it would be pretty tricky indeed to somehow get some substance from our bodies onto anything behind us.  Correct?

I am so thoroughly grossed out that even the end result of a clean bathroom isn't enough to give me the "job well done" pat on the back.

Give me dishes, laundry, even mopping any day of the week, but please please PLEASE don't make me clean up after you in the bathroom.  Gag.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Music's biggest night

Some things I've learned while watching the Grammy Awards tonight:

  1. If there was any question about why I do not like pop music, tonight explains it.  Back in the day when I was a fan, pop music was Madonna and Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams and yes, Whitney Houston.  Rock music was the Eagles and Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.  I loved it all.  Lady GaGa, Nikki Manaj, Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters... why are talent & success measured on a weirdness scale???
  2. Jennifer Hudson gave a stunning, emotional tribute to Whitney Houston.  Not bad for an American Idol reject.  Ha!
  3. Katy Perry is my hero.  If I could rock blue hair and a curvy body in a painted-on gold outfit I would! (not really)
  4. I will miss Whitney Houston.  I admit I haven't listened to her or even paid one bit of attention to her in many, many years, but her songs were a big part of my childhood and she was a beautiful, talented lady.  Her Super Bowl performance of the Star Spangled Banner is my very favorite - ever.  That her life ended up the way it did is such a tragedy.
  5. Glen Campbell is the ultimate rhinestone cowboy.  Out of all the grandpa performances tonight, his was the most endearing.  Sometimes, people, you have to know when you ain't got it anymore (McCartney, Beach Boys).
  6. Adele is the bomb.  I don't live under a rock, so I know who she is and could even name a couple of her songs, but I can't say I've gone out of my way to listen to her.  She was phenomenal tonight, though - a brilliant vocal performance which also happened to be one of the most NORMAL of the entire night.
After speed-watching tonight's show (thank you DVR), all I can say is thank God for country music!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The mind is the first thing to go...

My son got this really neat clock for Christmas.  It has a picture of a football field/stadium as the clock face, and every hour on the hour, it plays a sound like a crowd cheering for their team.  Cool, huh?  The only problem is that it scares the CRAP out of me EVERY. SINGLE.  TIME.  It's not loud, and I know what it is when I hear it, and yet I still get startled.  As a stay-at-home mom, it is my job to be home.  Whenever I'm not out running errands, I am usually at home by myself.  I rarely watch tv, so the house is quiet.  Until this clock goes off.  I immediately jump, look around as if to find out who is breaking into the house, and then settle back down once I realize what that insane noise is.

The worst part?  I'm the one who put the batteries in the clock and I'm the one who put it up on his wall.  Not to mention that *I* am the genius who bought the darn thing.

Happy 39th birthday to me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mornings are for the birds

Are you a morning person?  Yes?  More power to you, I say.
My mother is the most "morning" morning person I know.  She wakes up at 5am without even needing her alarm clock.  Sleeping in for her is staying in bed past 6:30.  She wakes up in a good mood and happily goes about her day.  Of course, this also means that she's dozing in her chair by 8pm every evening!

I inherited a lot of things from my mom, but that is not one of them.  I despise mornings.  Alarm clocks are my enemy.  I don't want to sleep until noon every day, but being able to wake up by myself at 8:00 or 9:00 would be bliss.  Having to get up at 5:55am every weekday simply because my son wants to ride the bus does NOT make me happy. 

I would gladly stay up until the wee hours every night, reading, catching up on tv shows, just enjoying the peace and quiet of the house.  Unfortunately staying up late means I'm even MORE tired and lazy in the mornings, so the occasions when I  do that are few and far between. 

My mother and I have passed on these morning traits to my children.  J is the morning person like his Grammie.  He is always all smiles when I wake him up, regardless of what time it is.  On weekends when I don't wake him up, he is still wide awake by 7am, busily building with his LEGOs or playing a video game.  K, on the other hand, is my morning twin (although I don't think even *I* am that grouchy!).  She is a beast to wake up.  She doesn't normally sleep late (maybe 8am on weekends), but whenever she has to get up before she is ready, watch out. 

In my little world, midnight is a much happier hour of the day than 6am.  I wish I knew how to wake up and embrace the morning, like my mother.  If there is a secret, she hasn't shared it with me, so I guess I'll continue to glare at my phone when the alarm goes off and do my best to drag myself to bed at a decent hour.