Disconnected

Disconnected

Have you ever been in a crowd and still felt so alone? Have you ever been loved and had friends, but still felt so disconnected?

Almost four years ago I made a conscious choice to live out loud and be more vulnerable; be my authentic self inside and out. That has changed my life immensely. But I still struggle with friendships. I know there is baggage that makes me insecure with them. I haven’t been able to completely off load that yet, but I am pretty darn close. Yet, I still feel disconnected and lonely. So I have started to examine that more closely. Why am I feeling this way? What I am doing that causes this disconnect?

For one, small talk is my weakness. Asking about the weather or talking about topics across the surface is like nails running across a chalkboard for me. I love deep, meaningful conversation. Discussions about politics, relationships, creation, heaven, anything with substance is what I would prefer to talk about.

Most people like to keep things light. Not everyone is interested in sharing their whole heart in every conversation. Experience has taught me that oversharing and openness isn’t always well received. So instead of the open, happy, fierce little girl I used to be; I have bottled up my intensity. I often feel awkward in social situations. I am of two minds; I want to just share and be open; be me. But the other half of me knows this might be too much for the other person and I will suffer heartache and feel so dejected if the person shies away from me the next time I see them. So instead I have become socially awkward, saying hi, but then not knowing what to say next. Choosing instead to sit away from the group. I know I am not broken because I am too intense, too emotional, my too much-ness is just right. My too much-ness is just who I am. But sometimes this too much-ness leaves me feeling so lonely and disconnected.


Maybe we all feel this way. Maybe we all just really want to scoop people up in hugs and love them something fierce. If you watch children they are vulnerable and open and just run up and hug each other. They talk and play easily. They accept one another without question, until they are older and other people’s judgements have been handed down to them. But before that, in the innocent beginnings of childhood they just accept and love each other something fierce.
Maybe too, motherhood is just lonely. Maybe working motherhood is even lonelier. When your plate is so full with pick-ups, drop offs, housework, homework, laundry, cooking, email, conference calls, laundry (I know I said laundry again damn soccer jerseys and P.E. uniforms and favorite outfits that have to be cleaned and running out of underwear faster than you can keep up with) and practices, performances, games, and everything else in between just doesn’t leave time to make meaningful connections.

I try to make connections, but I just feel awkward, shaky, uncoordinated in my attempts. I can be me with others, but then I pull back worried my too much-ness will scare away the natives.

The smoothness of other people’s interactions boggles my mind. The ease with which they jump in and out of conversation, remember introductions, remember each other’s names even! I swear my mom brain decided people’s names are not necessary to its survival so every night when I sleep it deletes them. I have begged and pleaded with my mind to stop doing this, it is quite embarrassing and it is very detrimental to my interactions with other civilized people, but it is still not listening. So I watch in amazement with the ease of other  people’s conversations. And if I do connect; I make the mistake of sharing a story of how I relate. So stupid. Such a poor way to connect. But it’s what tumbles out of my mouth first because I am nervous, maybe even because I am so nervous about saying the wrong thing; it is what comes naturally for me – saying the wrong thing. So then I think throughout the whole conversation “don’t talk, don’t talk for the love of God woman stop talking.” It doesn’t always work. I have told you my mind doesn’t listen to my instructions. Sometimes I talk anyway against better judgement and then feel angst about it for days later.

Does this happen to you, too? Do you feel too much? Do you feel disconnected? Do you pull back as to not overwhelm others with how much you like them or want to know them?


I meet people and instantly know I want to be their very best friend. But as an adult that means getting to know them better, arranging interactions, all that takes time. I just want to scoop them up and say let’s be forever friends you and me right there on the spot. I want to be my childlike self and hug them on site every day. Go right to talking about the stuff that matters and just be friends without all the time spent getting acquainted. Time is short on this earth and I opt into the childlike way of making friends, but most adults aren’t as keen with that option and my too much-ness is over powering. So I decide instead to hold back and hide my intensity.

I have great friends; I have bonded and connected with amazing people. But I still hold back. I still feel awkward about showing up and being seen. Maybe it’s just time to let go and not worry about scaring people away because the right ones will stay. The right ones will stay and love you something fierce back.

Watch out people; this girl is done holding back. This girl is tired of feeling lonely and disconnected. Plus I think we need to all be loved something fierce right now, anyway. So I think I am going to do just that. You will be the first to know if it backfires on me. I will let you know how it goes. Watch out world here I come.


Sincerely,

Scared

Scared

In a weeks time I have written about bravery and grace and just being okay with the falls we experience in life and yet no matter how much I try there is an undercurrent of fear in my heart.

It’s okay to be scared right? Lately I am scared of everything. Okay longer than lately; it started when I was born. I think I was born with extra sensitivity to the world and somehow that made me more afraid of the world; well maybe not the world, but the energy and emotions in it.

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I am scared of the little and the big things.

For starters, I am scared that no matter how much I empty my heart and pour it into my writing that this blog will continue to be nothing more than a diary that is more important to me than anyone else, which is okay, but I want to be a writer so much it hurts. So much that sometimes I run and hide from my own writing and I don’t write because no matter how hard I try or much I write it will never be good enough for anyone else to read.

I am scared that no matter how much I know that God loves me and believes that I am enough;  I will never feel like I am enough. That the weight I continue to feel will only continue to grow – this weight that I feel has already manifested itself into the weight that I carry and I can feel myself waving the white flag as I am crushed somewhere underneath it all. I am scared that no matter how much I want to be seen; that no one really sees me at all.

I stopped watching the news a decade ago because if it hurt my heart then it definitely could damage my tiny son’s ears and heart, too. So off went the news, because I was so scared and my heart was so hurt by the toxins that spewed from it. There had to be better things to report. But now when we are praising men for sitting during our national anthem, when our police officers are seen as the criminals and men are shot in the street for the color of their skin and whole groups of people are killed around the world for their ethnicity or beliefs and our leaders seem filled with more darkness than light maybe there isn’t better news to report. And that is scary. So scary that when I think about the world I am terrified that no matter how kind I am or how much good I try to put into the world that the darkness in it will swallow me up whole and not just me, everything that I hold sacred; everything and everyone that I love.

Scared doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about being a parent. Failing seems to be the name of the game. I know I have taught them manners and I know they are the kids that will help other kids and be kind; that part of life I think they understand. They are really great kids. But this year my kindergarteners have been kicked, choked, pushed, shoved, yanked and called names with words I don’t even allow out of my own mouth. My daughter continues to try to navigate a place where mean is the norm. That scares the crap out of me. I have had to teach them how to fend for themselves and that shouldn’t even exist at their age. What in the heck is happening in the world that our children are behaving this way? This scares me to death. Haven’t we come to be a civilized people where we don’t have to fear for our lives every time we walk out into the world?

The chaos is gobbling up the innocence of our world. The chaos and darkness are pushing out the light at a fierce pace and I can’t help but feel helpless. And that terrifies me. How can I help my own children understand a world that scares the shit out of me? Scares me to the point that I can’t read the news anymore either, because what I read leaves me shaky and nauseous.

Yesterday as we drove home from school the kids started to talk about how they feel things they can’t see. How the current of energy runs through them. Other people’s energy. This scares me to death. They are like me, extra feel-y. I still struggle with not letting other people’s energy invade my space, my emotions, my thoughts. How am I going to teach my littles not only how to fend off actual physical threats but also emotional, maybe even spiritual ones too? They feel this same unbalanced chaotic energy in the world that I do and can’t explain how or why it is hurting them.

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I know we have to go forward and love one another and do good and continue to live our lives to the fullest and that the darkness wins when we feel fear, but sometimes that isn’t enough to stop me from feeling it. Sometimes I am engulfed in fear and feel shaky all day.

I know people who the absolute worst has happened in their lives and they continue to take one step forward; sometimes because life forces them to, but they do it. I am inspired by that and I know that despite my fear that I will continue on as I have been and do my best to do good any way, but I feel better admitting the fear.

Maybe if we are afraid together something good can come of that. Maybe acknowledging the fear leads to a way to face those things we fear and conquer them. Maybe…

Scared but hopeful,

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Teaching them to fall

Teaching them to fall

One of my kiddos is obsessed with monkey bars right now. He has to try out the monkey bars at every park, no matter the height or complexity.

This triggers my panic and fear index – reflex – whatever it is; it freaks me the hell out!

I am a worrier. It is a trait that has plagued me forever – seriously I have worried about everything my whole life. I have worried about what I wear, who likes me, if I stink, about my skills as a human, you name it I have worried about it.

Now, being a parent you know that when you have kids you worry about everything times a gazillion. You put them to sleep and check to see if they are still breathing a hundred times. You hope you are feeding them enough of the best, healthiest foods. Will goldfish at every meal damage their brains? That is a rhetorical question by the way. You drop them off at school and you worry…

Will they have friends?

Will they be treated with respect?

Can they handle peer pressure?

Will they eat their lunch?

Will they get the help they need?

What if they get lost?

Will they be a good friend?

Will they choose kindness when it comes to others?

Did I read to them enough?

Maybe we should have listened to more classical music?

Maybe I should have fed them more Omega 3s?

And on and on and on…

So where were we? Oh yeah, I know monkey bars.

Monkey bars seem like no big deal, but they are up high and I worry. Kids are letting go one hand at a time and dangling! Dangling above the ground at arm breaking height mind you.

So after several monkey bar attempts and a park that has 3 sets of monkey bars – seriously why so many different kinds of death-defying obstacles at a park? Who created this jungle gym of terror? Those big chips of wood underneath- who the hell thought that was good landing material? 

But I digress. Any how, I got tired of feeling my own panic and trying to remain calm on the outside. Isn’t that the life of a parent or a human at all – calm on the outside, melty panic on the inside. Which then makes me think of chocolate and then makes me wish for M&M’s. Then I thank God there isn’t chocolate nearby because I am a stress eater and I would eat all of the chocolate at this death park.

Again I digress. But that is when I had an AH HA moment! (Yes, thank you Oprah for giving me the words for the moment when a life changing idea hits my brain.) This scenario I am in isn’t about being careful or worry or panic; he is going to fall. We are all going to fall. So instead of worrying about the fall; I need to plan ahead, I need to teach him how to fall.

So I proceeded to walk him through what to do when he felt like he needed to let go or when his hands got slippery.

“It’s okay to fall,” I say.

“Just let go. It isn’t that far to the ground,” I continue.

“Just fall like this,” I show a soft release and hop to the ground landing on my feet.

“Just do your best to land on your feet,” I finish.

Oh my gosh you guys!!! You guys!!! Did you hear that?! It is okay to fall. We don’t have to be afraid to fall.

While this logic applied to his monkey bar stunts, and worked extremely well I may add. He kept monkey bar-ring on without incident. This logic also applied to life. He might stumble in life, but it is okay. We can stumble, no big deal!

Like a roller coaster – life is full of these wild twists and turns. (I know I went from monkey bars to roller coaster, but bear with me. Both analogies fit what I am talking about here.) We may see them coming, but until we go through it we don’t know what it will be like. But if we buckle in and know the twists are there then maybe we will just roll through better. Maybe we won’t be so panic-stricken or uptight. I mean who goes through a roller coaster with every hair in place, and all their grace in tact?

When we embrace the fall and let it come then the ride might be a bit more enjoyable. We can be less afraid and worried all the time.

We are going to be okay.

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We are.

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So maybe falling is part of it; falling, getting back up, moving forward, balance, step, step, stumble, step. Maybe instead of all the worry and fighting against the current maybe we just accept the awkward, stumbling and recognize the beauty in that – maybe when we do that we will reduce the amount of pressure in our lives and feel free to explore and try new things. Maybe we will feel more free and able to connect. Maybe we feel free to love ourselves and show ourselves to the world because a fall is just a fall after all.

I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that teaching him how to fall made us both feel a whole lot better.

Your breakable, flawed, stumbling friend,

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Big mistakes and bravery

Several years ago I started to disarm myself. Piece by piece I set down my armor. I came out of hiding and decided in order to live fully I must be seen fully. That is why I started this blog and even named it “afourytale” – a fairy tale; four kids – a..four..ytale…get it.

I didn’t want the cliché version of a fairytale; I wanted to rewrite the standard fairytale. Fairytales aren’t beautiful stories with happy endings. Fairytales are messy, unkept, broken stories that do not always have perfect endings. When I read how the little mermaid really ended in her becoming foam on the ocean; my heart crumpled. But I think we need to rewrite these stories with more modern versions of truth. Fairytales are our lives – they are hard, broken, beautiful, messy, lonely, noisy, colorful tales of truth and vulnerability.

I wanted to share that even with all of the mess that life can bring our perspective can create that story into a fairytale. And in order to do that; I was going to have to set down my armor and show all the sides of myself and my life. I couldn’t hide behind perfectionism any more. I didn’t want to be seen as perfect anymore. In fact I had come to despise that word and every time someone would describe me that way I would cringe. I had to shed the armor and leave perfectionism behind me.

Now disarming myself and shedding my armor is something I have found that I have to relearn on a regular basis. My default button is to run and hide. It is so much easier to grab my armor, steel myself and let things bounce off of me and not feel.

After three years of constantly setting down my armor a strange thing has happened. Now when I try on my mask and armor it doesn’t fit right. Something feels askew.

Each time I try to put on my armor or retreat to its steely protection I hear loud and clear these words from the Universe: “Fear not. Remember.”

When I hear these words I set down my armor and go out into the world feeling extremely unprepared, totally naked and yet fully alive. I let what comes hit me and instead of retreating I feel each inch of it and decide not to let others dictate how I feel about something, but to define it for myself.

For instance, yesterday I was called selfish. It stung. It hurt fiercely. But I decided instead of retreating, instead of hiding my hurt, to fully listen to how it was said and decide for myself – is that how I define me?

I take things personally. Does that make me selfish? No, it makes me human. I do not have to change that I take things personally. I am a person after all. I just need to make sure the person that I am talking to; knows that I am hearing them as well.

I am not selfish. My truth is that I am kind, super extra feely, and that being personal and feeling everything that comes at me is how I best process the world. If I just allow myself to feel only what other people expect me to and to only react the way other people expect me to, then I am right back in my armor and that is not how I want to live my life.

Being brave is setting down your armor and being your true self. Brene Brown uses the Teddy Roosevelt quote about going out into the arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Life is the arena; where we show up leaving our armor behind and let our blood and sweat show for all to see. When we do that we can become connected to one another. We can also become whole. We become fully alive.

Why am I telling you all this? I tend to make mistakes on a large-scale. I tend to make mistakes that affect other people and not just myself. Not on purpose mind you. I go in with my whole heart and do my very best. Daring greatly if you will. But I have also learned that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t something you should keep doing no matter what.

About a month ago I tried to do something I thought I always wanted; only to find that it didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t who I was any longer; it was only who I thought I was. It was a part of me that fit into my armor. And since I can’t wear my armor anymore without feeling completely ridiculous and askew; this activity didn’t fit me either. I had to say, “No thank you; this isn’t what I want.” It was hard. It was scary. It was also just right for me. Being brave sometimes means saying no thank you, that’s not for me even when everyone else is watching.

And last but not least, being brave also means asking for help. A group of my friends decided to get together. I couldn’t fathom trying to join them. I felt like bad company and thought it would just be a bad idea to go. “No one wants to see me any way. I won’t be missed,” I thought.

The words of the universe stirred in me again…”Fear not. Remember”… and I began to reevaluate my thoughts. Ah-ha! There I go again defining myself using other people’s ideas. What do I want? What is best for me? And my answer changed. I wanted to go. I was still scared and nervous that I would chicken out at the last-minute. I know some of you think this rather silly to be scared of your own tribe, but letting myself be seen by the people I love is terribly difficult, because what if they woke up today and decide they don’t like me anymore. They can see all of me now and if they don’t like me after they have seen everything then what? Fear of pain, fear of rejection still creeps into my soul and takes away my courage to be seen.

So instead of retreating and hiding – my default – I sent them a group text. “Guys, I want to go tonight. But I am scared I will decide to hide here at home instead. Can someone please come pick me up so I can’t back out.” And guess what; someone came and picked me up. Everyone rallied behind me. Everyone understood.

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I can’t live in my armor anymore. I have to live in the arena. My soul is the only thing that feels true any more. Just because my armor doesn’t  fit doesn’t stop me from trying to slink back into it mind you.

Armor has many names…perfectionism, fear, hatred, addiction – the things we use to numb are armor. The things we use to hide ourselves it is all armor. You have to know what your armor is to know how to take it off and set it down.

I have had many people comment on my courage and bravery the last year and I never thought this was me. “I am just a girl,” I say. “I am just trying to take the next best step for me.” But I have taken time to define bravery for myself.

Being brave is….

not letting fear dictate your choices

not defining who you are by other people’s standards

taking your next right step

remembering who you are

remembering to ask for help

setting your armor down and stepping into the arena unprepared, raw and wide open.

I guess by that definition I am brave. But I am also just a girl trying to take the next right step. But I am not doing it in the quiet darkness, steeled against the world. I am doing it here, and in the arena, and out in the open for all to see. Some days that feels really difficult, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. So here is to big mistakes and bravery because I have more to make and more to learn.

Fear not.Remember –

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Legit

My heart is heavy tonight as I write my life lessons post for late June/half way through July, but I still felt this need to write so here I am.

I am going to start with the heavy.

We need to pray people…

France, Dallas, Baton Rouge, the whole globe. We need to take a moment and pray.

We ate out tonight and the family at the table next to us bowed their heads and prayed and offered gratitude before their meal. I was struck by how this simple act was so profound and healing.

We need to pray.

We need to lean in together and pray. No color, all religious preferences, all sexual orientations, just gather as humans and pray for one another.

And now on to the lighter side of things just because I feel like if I keep thinking about the heavy and the world my children may inherit if things don’t change I don’t know what…

Where does the title legit come from? Well, I have this awesome friend, Cristal and she is always saying how things are “legit” and well life lessons and life in general are just legit; I mean you can’t get more real than every day life.

We need to laugh people…

Laughter is truly the best medicine for the soul. We need to laugh and play and just enjoy the moments that we do have when we can. (Sometimes you have kids crying and shit is legit and you cannot laugh at that moment, but you will laugh later and that is the thing to remember…laugh when you can laugh). For example, one of the twins locked themselves in the bathroom 4 years ago and then seriously did it again this week. I was quick to laugh because I learned from that first lesson and that nifty little key to unlock the door this time was a life saver.

But a couple of suggestions if I may…

Download Snap Chat and play with it. My son thinks I am whack because I don’t post anything on Snap Chat, I have it just for the filters. And I say so what?! Because seriously I have never laughed so hard. And really do I need another place to post crap?

 

Because that is too legit to quit…am I right?

And play like a kid because sometimes it is just freeing and fun…

Billy Beez, I highly recommend it. It’s legit.

The family that dabs together stays together…

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Enough said, because they did this over and over and over and laughed and laughed.

Even dogs get excited to order Starbucks…

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Seriously, I think that dog ordered a latte and a lemon scone. I hope he paid for the car behind him, because random acts of kindness are legit.

Wear the crazy leggings…

So I know, LuLaRoe is kinda cray, cray the way people hunt and shop and talk about unicorns. You don’t have to get sucked all the way in…but those buttery soft leggings, I mean, I pull those on and I feel 12 all over again. It’s the 90s with Full House and Rave Hairspray. And that is worth $25 and a little embarrassment when you are wearing them at the grocery store right?

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But mostly do what it takes to get through…

Life is not fair. I know I have first world problems, but I empathize and understand that a lot of people do not. I know that things can be so hard. I deal with death on a daily basis and I know first hand what shattered lives look like. I know. I do.

I think we each have to do what we can to get through. To find our way.

For me, it’s knowing that I will teach my children to leave a place better than you found it, use their manners, do their best, chase their dreams and always help the person up behind them. To listen to other people’s stories.

I will work to make sure they take responsibility for their actions and pitch in and help out wherever they can. To teach them understanding and compassion in a world that so desperately needs it. And mostly to love them. But also to love my life and set the example. To be a person who shows not tells. To be a person that is afraid, but lives life any way.

And these sweet faces help keep me legit. Two of these faces turn 6 tomorrow. Two of these faces are closer to being a teen than a kid. All five of these faces are the best parts of my life. All five of these faces can drive me absolutely bat shit crazy and at the same time make my heart explode with adoration and unconditional love. These five faces get me through each day…

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Until next time,

Michelle

Life breathers

Life breathers

In a world that always has fire-breathing dragons we need life-breathers, too.

Yesterday was like any other day; work steadily flowing in and projects to complete, kids to love and instruct, bickering to manage, meals to prepare, guilt and stress to squelch, and of course the echoes of the outside world that sneak into our lives via radio and TV. But as life does there were some pretty amazing moments yesterday and a wonderful visit from a beautiful, sincere friend. Those are the life breathers, the moments that give my life the pick up that it needs, the moments that matter more than the noise.

Lately the world has been super topsy-turvy. But, somewhere in the world it has always been super topsy-turvy. I am like you though, I feel a bit like my nerve endings are open to the world and when I watch the news or read an article about politics I am left feeling anxious and disappointed and saddened by those people in the world whose poor choices hurt other people.

The thing that gives me hope are life breathers, the moments and people who remind me that there is love, courage, kindness, and just plain good in the world. For me yesterday when things were getting a bit crazy and I had sat at the computer long enough and the kids had bickered long enough, I dragged them on a bike ride. My daughter was less than happy about it to say the least.

As we peddled along, and she sulked along, her brothers began to laugh and smile in the open air. I praised their attitudes and got a, “WOW, mom! You are the worst mom ever!” It stung, it always does. But, then it also made me laugh. If I am getting under her skin and holding her accountable for her behavior I am doing my job. And for a moment I thought about how so many moms and dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, and uncles are all trying to do their job giving a child the things they need even when it is tough love so that the world can be filled with people who are compassionate, thoughtful, responsible, and well just plain good.

That in itself was a life breather, that thought filled me with hope for our world, reminded me that there is so much good out there.

We came home and my parents stopped by. They are leaving on a cruise and wanted to give the boys their birthday gifts. Just watching them interact with the boys and the joy everyone had at just being together…that was a life breather. And to top it off, the goofy moment when I was trying to get the Spiderman silly string figured out so that it would spray correctly and accidentally squirted it right at my dad’s face and the ceiling; that was a life breather. We both laughed so hard. It felt good to laugh that hard. Life is funny and that is a life breather. We need to laugh.

We sent them on their way and I filled the dinner table with plates of food I prepared; a home-cooked meal, and that was a life breather. Sitting all together as a family over food I prepared. It felt good to breathe in that life moment. It buoyed me up and reminded me how to let the little things carry the same weight as the big things, maybe even more sometimes. I tend to let my mistakes carry the most weight; in fact sometimes I think my actual body weight is proportional to the guilt I feel about what I mess up in life. It is important to allow the moments of success fill you up, too.

At at the end of the evening my dear, wonderfully vulnerable, honest and real friend came by in her pajamas. I was in heaven. That was such a life breather. She had a terrible, horrible, no good bad day and came to seek a few moments of refuge with little old me; I was almost in tears I felt so honored and thankful. We talked until midnight. Sitting and talking with her reminded me just how much people need other people. We need to be seen and loved and lifted up; it breathes life into us like nothing else can. It puts the fires out when we stop and see one another. When we stop and listen to each other’s stories and offer meaningful exchange, we change the world for the better.

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The bottom line is that life breathers can be little moments of happiness, peace, joy, sanctuary, ah-ha moments, or life breathers can be other people who love us unconditionally or the best part is we can be a life breather for someone else, or everyone else we meet.

Now, I know no one is perfect and thank goodness we aren’t. We would never learn anything or be even the slight bit interesting if everyone were perfect. The point being, we can’t always be life breathers, everyone once in a great while can have a fire-breathing dragon moment, that is just the way it is. But if we are life breathers most of the time what a wonderful world it would be; and what a wonderful world it is because if we really stop and pay attention and drown out the noise of the media saying, “Look here, look here” and we chose to look for the life breathers instead of the fire breathing dragons; I think you will find what I have found, there are way more life breathers in the world; way more.

In a world that always has fire-breathing dragons we need life breathers, too.

Until next time,

me

Not too proud for do-overs and other random musings…

Not too proud for do-overs and other random musings…

Two blogs in a row people…What!? What!?

I know I can hear your cheers through the computer and yes, it is a miracle.

Well I guess because the twins are going to officially be big kids and we have been pretty busy up in our hizouse that I have a lot that I feel I need to share. I know I over share people…that is beside the point.

Any way back to my over sharing; I wanted to let you in on some more stuff that I am learning this month…

I talk too much. No for realsies…I really, really do. I am going to start carrying duct tape in my purse or on my person at all times. I think I will get some of the cute kind from Hobby Lobby though. Enough said.

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I am passionate about education and yet I always feel under-educated to share my opinion on things. I speak from the heart and what feels right from experience. I should probably stack up some facts and research to back those feelings up before I go spouting them off. It’s just a thought. Don’t get too nervous for me.

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Parenting is serious business people. It is daily marathons without any training or experience. This shit is for realsies. Like for real, for real. I have been peed on, pooped on, spit up on, thrown up on and scariest of all hovered over in the dark and scared to death by a child whispering “mom” in the middle of the night. That is some creepy-deepy stuff right there.

I have felt more joy and pain that I ever believed capable by a human heart all due to my children. But I have to say having four small humans all upset at you because of the choices you made as a parent sucks big time.

Mind you I know that if they are all upset at me I am most likely nailing it. All four mad at me that is a 100% success rate in the parenting world. I know you’re jealous. Don’t worry you can do it, too. If I can do it, so can you. Plus it was super easy, I just made them do homework, clean and help out instead of playing on their iPad/Video games and they lost their minds! Can’t say it didn’t sting a bit though to have them all gang up and be angry at me at once. With good friends to vent to and cocktails it is survivable. Also, learned that from experience. Just saying.

Having friends that you can pour your heart out to even if it is crazy nonsense like why do I care if my kids are all unhappy with me because I make them do their homework is absolutely priceless. Find your tribe and hang on for dear life because your people, friends who will hold you up and tell you the truth; they are invaluable. I mean I called a friend yesterday as I hid in the closet from my children just to vent about my crazy mom life and I can’t thank you enough for always having my back and always, always telling me like it is. Find your people. Hold on to them. Invaluable. Got it? Okay, next thing I am learning. Ready. Go.

When your parents are the absolute best people on the planet; let them know it. I already knew this before but being a parent really drives it home. I mean they are serious proof that you can survive your own children.

I have called my mom numerous times to apologize to her when my own kids have served up karma right in my face. I am sure I need to apologize to my dad too. You raised three girls, and I am learning girls have mad attitude, those are some serious survival skills, Dad. You made it through three girls. Mad props to you. Thank you for being amazing and still being my biggest fan. I am a lucky girl.

Last one, see I started with I talk too much to prepare you – see that now?

I am literally living on hope and faith and pixie dust these days. I make mistakes and learn. But one thing I have learned is that I am not too proud to ask for do-overs when I can. Whether it’s admitting I did something I shouldn’t of to my kids or asking for a do over from a friend; it is worth the ask.

Exhibit A. Sunday our family was at the Unravel 5K Family Fun Run and the kids complained all morning about every little thing trying to get out the door. It must have been too early for them on a Sunday. Any way by the time we get there I am doing everything possible to hold it together to try and SHOW them how they should behave and that they should be grateful that we are here to support this cause.

Two separate friends come over to say hi. And I said a very quick hi to them. Well once everything was calm I realized I was probably kind of snappy to them so I found them both and asked for a do-over hello. It went awesome and I felt much better. I am sure they did to. There is that saying people will always remember how  you made them feel and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t made anyone else feel bad just because we (my kids and I) were having a bad morning. But it all worked out okay.

So I talk to much; I am working on that one. It’s a hard one for me. You are still reading this so it can’t be all that bad, right?

In a nutshell: Remember this too shall pass and keep living the dream.

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Peace (And I mean that in the true 1990s since of the word)-

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5 things happening in afourytale land

5 things happening in afourytale land

So I haven’t done a lessons post in awhile; I worry they are too preachy. I worry a lot. But you already know that. But I figured there are some things going on in my head these days that I have found a tad helpful that you might like to hear, too.

IMG_42521. I am a notorious cancel-er…I mean I am worse than ABC right now. I try to juggle the balls of life and I tell you what I drop them like they are hot! I schedule get togethers or try to host things and then people say they will show up and then I am a terrible reminder or a date has to change because of a school function and then no one can come. So it ends up getting cancelled. I think I am going to just stop planning things ahead of time. It just isn’t possible with kids, school functions, work, sports, and sleep. So if you want to see me, people who know where I live, stop by with wine or coffee and I will start-up the fire pit and we will hang. I am a home body so I will be here. That is it, that is the deal from now on. You are invited always and we can hang here whenever since I am not planning any more get togethers. This is easier – flying by the seat of our pants kind of works around here so now I am applying it to hanging out with friends as well.

IMG_43202. I am back on the wagon people. My fit bit thinks it has been stolen. I am on day 5 of exercise and have won badges and all kinds of fit bit announcements. It seriously didn’t know it had to work this hard with me. Of course I am waiting to weigh myself for several weeks because even though I am attempting to eat better there are occasions where chocolate peanut butter shakes or a scoop of ice cream may make it into the vicinity of my stomach. But sanity is important and these things keep me sane and happy so they stay.

IMG_40093. Tomorrow’s aren’t guaranteed; we all know that. So my advice and the lesson that I am learning is don’t wait. Try the new thing. Get the Henna tattoo even if they are for kids. Seriously that is it – just do the fun thing. The car that spun out of control and almost hit me as I waited at a stop light just reaffirmed that there are no guarantees.

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4. Find good people. I am so blessed. I have found amazing people. I have a tribe of friends and family that help with kids, listen to me whine, save the day, forgive me, and most of all love me just as I am. They are all authentic, kind, funny amazing people and I seriously could not do this life without them. My bunco group is the best group of gals around. I LOVE you all soooooo much! And to the moms that can make my day with just one look, you know you are, thank you!

IMG_42625. A girl who changes her hair is ready to change her life…I died my hair pink. Not my whole head mind you; just a few highlights here and there. Many of you know this already, but I am sharing because the feedback has been mostly positive. And even the one day when I had to see my friend’s parents with pink hair and I felt 16 all over again, they were super awesome about it which reminded me that I AM an adult. Even adults dye their hair crazy colors sometimes. But seriously, go for it. If it is something you have always wanted to do and have not; if you can (providing it is workplace acceptable) go for it! P.S. pink does fade, but it was AWESOME while it lasted.

See you all want hang out with me. I know, I know. I am a pretty cool introvert. Don’t worry there is a lot of room around the fire pit.

I hope you are all hanging in there and living the dream.

P.S. Enjoy the sweet moments in life, too. I can’t believe I have one summer left until these two are in school all day! I literally just threw up a little thinking about it.

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XO

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How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

Sometimes on the way to an authentic, joyful life signs land in your lap and if you aren’t paying attention they reach out and grab you. This happened to me today.

BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert came to my possession through a dear friend. Now this friend, mind you, is someone whose opinion matters a great deal. Ironically, she is also the same friend that tells me that it is none of my business what other people think of me. So apparently I am not supposed to care what she thinks, but I do. I can’t help it.

This friend is someone who lives fully with grace, passion and compassion. I am incredibly fortunate that she has welcomed me as a friend. Today, I was reminded again just how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

I woke up before everyone this morning, took a breath, and filled my coffee cup. I was so happy to have some quiet time to read more BIG MAGIC ( I am capitalizing this title because not only is it capitalized on the cover; it kind of lends itself to capitalization because BIG MAGIC is kind of a living thing all its own).

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Any way, I get to the section about Permission and Ms. Gilbert poignantly states that one does not need permission to live a creative life. She even gives stellar advice on how to speak to “your darkest interior voices” if they try to sidetrack you. I am starting to see how this book might be speaking directly to me.

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In the next chapter, Elizabeth (because who knows one day we may be friends), discusses how “[m]aybe you fear you are not original enough” and I get another pang, like hmm maybe Elizabeth is speaking to me. She concludes the chapter with, “[s]hare what you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”

As I read that last sentence it hits me full on, not only is this book sending me a message, but this sweet friend with her sweet note tacked at the front is sending me one, too.

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I have had conversations with her about these very things, and some I have not. Some she must have read here in this little blog. But what a beautiful, wonderful thing to be seen and heard and then gifted such a magical message.

We can often sabotage ourselves into “not worthy” or “not enough-ness” thinking. It is just holding us back. In fact, my inner voice often keeps me from joy and authenticity.

Twice this weekend, I have been with friends. The first I was open and shared and we had a great conversation. After the evening ended all I could think was shoot, I said too much. I over shared and there is no way this person will ever want to hang out again. Then last night, my “darkest inner voices” kept me trapped and quiet. “Don’t speak” they said. “You have nothing to share. You will just sound stupid” they shouted.

These inner voices are not helping! They keep me distant and even make me look RUDE! I need to listen to the BIG MAGIC and if I have something I am driven to share; I should share. If I feel unoriginal it doesn’t matter; the idea might be out in the universe already, but not with my unique fingerprint attached to it.

So I got the message this morning. These dark inner voices keep me from cultivating relationships, creativity and success! I need to go Elizabeth Gilbert on them and believe in myself. Be open, work hard and be kind. Choose creativity, compassion, and connection.

Or if I need to I can start small. Start, Stuart Smalley (from Saturday Night Live fame) in fact:

I am a good mom.

I am a good friend.

I am a writer.

I am grace.

I am compassion.

I am worthy of joy and connection.

And doggone it people like me.

I will do better to keep my dark inner voices in check from now on.

May you also be blessed with the kindness of a dear friend who believes in you and bestows upon you the gift of reminding you that you are in fact worthy.

Feeling humbled –

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Innocence on the field

Innocence on the field

There are eight little four and five year olds running around the field. The coach has instructed them to pass the ball back and forth to each other as they make their way from one end of the field to the other. Each group is trying to figure out exactly how to accomplish that task.

One child who has played before, shows his partner and they quickly speed through the drill. They are done and waiting before the other three groups start. One child tries to take the ball all by himself, one child has moved to camp out in the goal and another is starting to wander off by the sidelines to get water. A couple of the players are waiting for their partners because they understood what to do, but their partner have checked out (remember there is one in the goal and one on the sidelines).

Whether it is their age, inexperience or the wind just entered through their ears and stirred up their brains to wonder about different things instead of completing the task at hand; they were all doing things differently. In the end all four groups ended up finishing the drill and standing on the opposite side of the field.

This got me to thinking about life, and how we are all doing the best we can. Most of us finding our way. Maybe we are apprehensive, curious, have our own agenda to complete before we get started on what is at hand, or are natural leaders and forge ahead – we are all just moving forward (or in loop de loops then forward or stopping and then starting again) in our own ways.

With everything going on in the world, wether it is the political election and its teeming climate of hatred or terrorist attacks on innocent civilians or genocide or drug and sex trafficking or just plain seething frustration that seeps out discontent on Social Media or even face to face, it struck me that while these children completed the drill not one of them was angry or seething with frustration. No one was upset that all the others had a different or wandering way of completing the task. There was definitely some guidance from parents and coaches, but it was loving guidance because of the innocence that was on the field.

Of course witnessing this event had a precursor so my observation was definitely tainted with the discussion from earlier that day.

My children and I had quite a talk about respect, kindness and acceptance after the attacks in Belgium. We started to talk about how terrorists come to be and how we can not succumb to a fearful way of thinking. We talked about how we CAN dislike someone, but that doesn’t mean we should ever be disrespectful.

The events that are transpiring in the world that I mentioned earlier are all disrespectful, selfish acts when you strip them down. All are fueled by hate and fear.

My whole life has been guided by fear. I stayed in a relationship because I was afraid to be alone. I didn’t go away to college because I was afraid. I didn’t go to a party in high school because I was afraid; instead I watched the girls through a window from my parked car, let my fear overcome me and drove home. I didn’t tell people I was a medium because I was afraid. And even at soccer practice last night I didn’t go sit by this really awesome mom I met because I was afraid. Afraid that she may not like me, afraid that I might be a bother, just plain afraid to say the wrong thing.

We cannot be led by fear.

How do we fight what is happening around us?

We cannot be led by fear. We have to be kind, open, respectful and selfless.

I know there is discontent. It is rampant.

There is a tense, heaviness to the air. I know you can feel it, too.

There a lot of you, that like me are good and kind and want to make this world the best it can be. We are working toward that. The media and the spotlight are shining on the negative.

HATRED makes a lot of noise. It is messy and loud and dark. Shadows can cover up the light from time to time.

But we have to remember that even though we may be led to the see more of the fear and more of the turmoil; the light is still shining bright and we can focus on being kind and respectful and keep it at bay. It doesn’t mean it won’t touch us or hurt us, but it does mean that it can’t own us. It can’t suck us into its gnarly, twisted grasp.

We are the innocents on the field of life. We need to be able to find our own loop de loop, start stop, or forge ahead way. We need to offer each other space or loving guidance. Not criticism for being different, lost, afraid, weak, lonely, or afraid. I think we need to remember we are all just making our way at our own pace with our own baggage and make way for each other. Move over and offer a seat, a shoulder to lean on, rebuild our community of humans as ONE of many different kinds.

It is a nice thought and I am still an idealist; I think it can be done. I have a friend that always says don’t just be sorry, be active. We need to be active in order to heal this world of ours. We need to teach our children compassion, grace, kindness, respect, and open-mindedness. Anything is possible, if all those little munchkins at soccer can make it to the other side of the field; so can we.

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Yours kindly,

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Lucky Socks

Lucky Socks

Today I am wearing my lucky socks one last time.

I love these socks, despite the hole that has appeared in my left heel and I think they deserve to be worn one last time.

These socks have been around for the birth of 3 of my 4 children. They still fit! Not something that can be said about very many other things in my closet. They have seen me through sleepless nights, presentations, late night writing sessions, my first reading, parties, and just ice cream nights on the sofa. They are my go to superstitious, Irish girl socks.

When I think about these socks I think about how I pull them on in the hopes that things will go well; that the chips will land in my favor. Maybe even that there are such things as miracles and pots of gold. That anything is possible. My idealistic heart beats a little brighter.

That is kind of how I approach the day. Right or wrong, I don’t know. My dad always tells me to walk in like I belong there. That it is confidence that people follow and are attracted to. There is truth in that for sure. I see it all over. Day in and day out. People follow others who behave as if they know what they are doing. People gravitate to far less secure people than myself because they are boisterous with confidence and charm. The confidence is so bright it seems to attract people like moths to a flame despite what might be underneath it. It always bothers me how people are so easily attracted to fake light, but they are none the less.

I guess I like to go out with my armor down lately. I find more comfort in what is real and raw. I know that leaves me as somewhat of an outsider at times; okay I feel like an outsider all the time.

I saw this from Humans of New York on FB this week and it struck me.

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This was so moving to me. It made so much sense and I think that it encapsulated the way I am facing things with my own life these days. I show up; maybe forgetful, quiet, timid, reserved, big-hearted, extra feely, overweight, underdressed at times, hurried, rushed, abrupt, not always present, but I show up and give it a go ready to learn and grow. Always with the feeling that I don’t belong and have so much to learn.

People are glamming themselves up these days. Whether it is in their facebook feeds, their make-up, or how they portray who they are, but the truth of the matter is a lot of us aren’t being our true selves when we go out. Or some of us are falling into a trap of hiding behind a cause, mentality or blame game that makes it less about us and more about “them”. Even though there is no them – it is always us, always. I think most of us know the jig is up, but there are quite a few these days that have worn their masks and been in hiding so long that they are starting to believe their own rouse.

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Me – with my make-up mask, best feeling self to go out into the world.

This is a parody of how many pictures I had to take to get a good picture of myself – see that may be how many tries we have to have or more to get something so we feel like it might be just right or at least close enough.

My husband is good at everything. He helps without question, pitches in, works hard, makes friends easily, is well respected, funny, kind, athletic, strong, can play any game, do any handy task, is up to date on current events, speaks intelligently, is knowledgable, seems to pick up new things easily and well next to him I often feel like I just don’t add up. We were talking about it today and it hit me that, that is more than okay. That is what I want people to see. I want to be anything but perfect and I want my own vulnerability to be a beacon for others to feel they can share theirs to.

What makes us different, flawed, unique and interesting is exactly what makes us humand and being human is what makes us the same. That is the common dominator. And in a world where it feels like differences are being persecuted and people are wearing their hate on the outside, wouldn’t it be nice if people started walking around wearing insecurity and vulnerability on the outside – open and ready to learn from one another. Welcoming each other for who we are instead of how we might be perceived to be.

Because look at the beauty that can be found in moments just as they are; no posing or filters…

Happy, little, blissful, real, raw moments.

So today I have my lucky, hole-y /holy socks on. Today I approach the world ready to learn, vulnerable, wearing my insecurities on the outside. I will walk in with my heart and my perspective open wide because there is so much to learn. I have so much growing to do.

Keep learning, keep growing, keep showing up and breathe,

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Lessons afourytale style

Lessons afourytale style

It’s been more than awhile I know. Life keeps a girl busy you know. I know you do…you are flying through it with me.

There have been many happenings in the fourytale hood and I hope I am learning lessons and growing; that at least makes it seem like the rough moments are worth something right? If you attribute it to a learning moment instead of just a rough patch or embarrassing minute in our lives as it moves with barreling speed toward the finish line it seems to make it all more worthwhile.

So what might you ask I have learned these past few months of 2016; well here it goes…

IMG_39301. I still have a teacher voice.

This past weekend my daughter was in a local school production and I volunteered to help. My assignment for this show was to be a mom backstage in the girls’ dressing room. Of course, they have to be quiet backstage or else the audience can hear them. Well they got a bit out of hand and from somewhere came this voice, “I want everyone in their seats right now. And I want your voices quiet.” I looked around to see where it came from and to my amazement as the girls rushed to their chairs quietly they were all looking up at me. I got them quiet and in their chairs. Another mom who was helping came back into the room after escorting a few to the restroom and she was impressed by the quiet. I told her I could still rock my teacher voice. The lesson here…sometimes you never lose the things that are truly a part of you and you can use those mad skills you acquire over your life time. Of course one girl in particular thought I was the meanest person in the universe, but all you got to do is behave and then you don’t have to feel my wrath – which just included taking her clothes bag which she was flinging and staying quiet and in her spot which was near impossible for her. Whateves…I know being tough and sticking to your guns gets results and respect so I will take her assessment as a compliment.

IMG_39352. Still feel small

There are still times I feel so small and out of place. We have a family friend who is a great cook and beyond that she runs her home to a T and always seems knowledgable…about everything. I always feel small and out of place when I am around her. Like there is nothing that I have that can add to the conversation. See I am a mac n cheese, follow a Pioneer Woman Recipe, fly by the seat of my pants mama and sometimes that just doesn’t feel like enough when I am in her presence.

I haven’t watched the news in close to a decade (I read it occasionally, but there is so much bad I kind of skim it to be honest). My mom brain is so full of schedules, what needs to be paid when and who has what assignment due that I don’t have a repertoire of interesting conversation topics. Plus I have a knack of horrible small conversation skills, so I just feel plain inadequate around her.

My point behind this…sometimes no matter how comfortable we think we are there are times we can all still feel small and insignificant.

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Seriously who could say mean things to this cute face?! Kids can be so cruel.
3. What happens when someone calls your daughter an ass

See the flying by the seat of your pants mama also thinks that kids need to handle some of their own disputes because they have to become adults that can handle other adults. I have my own bully that I have to deal with on a regular basis and I know my kids will run into people who act like idiots in their lives, too. So when my daughter told me that another girl called her an “ass” I told her to ignore it and steer clear of this girl. If she felt she needed to she could address it and tell the girl in her own words that she didn’t appreciate being called names. We talked about how when someone else calls you names it says a lot more about them than it does you and that this girl was just reacting to getting into trouble and taking it own on her.

Well what I didn’t realize is that my daughter actually felt threatened by this girl. So she was afraid to go to play practice. In a nutshell we had to have other talks about how you need to tell an adult that someone makes you feel unsafe and if you feel like someone is going to hurt you that you need tell an adult, “I  think this person might hurt me” or something to that effect.

So if someone calls your child names you may want to inquire if they actually feel threatened instead of it taking two teachers and two days to figure that out. Just saying in case this ever happens to you.

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He looks sweet and innocent but he can dig in and be relentless.
4. Life isn’t fair.

So, your child orders chocolate chip pancakes. Then they take three bites of said pancakes and ask for dessert. You tell the child no, that their dinner is much like dessert because of the chocolate chips. Be prepared for your child to tell you, “You are not being fair” and that “You are so mean”.

Said child also after downing an extra large M&M cookie, a full can of pink lemonade, and two handfuls of M&Ms asks for more snacks and you say no, they have had plenty of sugar and can wait until the show is over, one hour without a snack will not kill them. Be prepared to listen to whining for an hour regarding how unfair you are and how hungry they are and how could you starve them to death.

I kid you not, no matter how much you ignore them or tell them life isn’t fair, or time out them, you have to keep up with this for days for it to sink in that they will not get their way EVER! Be prepared to repeat this at age 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18 as a child seems to forget this lesson every 18 months or so and needs to relearn it. It is exhausting and you know what…it isn’t fair…because life isn’t fair and your kids make you aware of that at every turn.

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I know only four lessons in two months. I am sure there were more and I am also sure that 4 is enough when your plate is full. So I leave you with those four lessons this month:

  • use the gifts you have even when you think you have lost them, they are still there
  • it is totally normal to feel inadequate from time to time we are human
  • always remember to ask your child lots of questions when they tell you things
  • last but not least life isn’t fair when you are 5 and can’t have dessert or when you are almost 40 and your dessert sticks to your thighs.

Love, laughter, and lots of learning to you,

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Ring it out, baby! Last lessons of 2015

Ring it out, baby! Last lessons of 2015

38. Yep in 12 days and roughly 5 hours I will be 38. My odd years (When my age is odd, not when I am odd. See I know what you are thinking.) have somehow always been my best. However, 2015 took its toll on me personally. I am not sure how you feel about 2015; I hope it was good to you, but most people I run into had a heck of a year even on a small scale. Don’t get me wrong I am a glass half full person, and my family and I are truly blessed, but this year had hiccup after hiccup. I am grateful for the hiccups for sure and I focused on the positives; that is where my lessons are coming from, but if you noticed I wrote a lot less this year. The reason for that was every time I sat down to write I wanted to vent about how much things stunk or how bad I felt this year about well; everything. Don’t worry I am not going to do that now, but what I am hoping for, for each and every one of us is a wonderful 2016.

Here are my lessons to close out 2015…

1.Get off the sidelines.

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At my daughter’s 9th birthday I noticed that a lot of the girls started out shy and sat on the sidelines. We had it at one of those make over places, but they also have a stage and microphones. Once my daughter was finished with her make over she threw on a boa and got right up on that stage and sang her little heart out. Some of the other girls followed her lead; those girls had a blast at the party. What she taught me is that you need to jump right in with both feet and live. There is no living done on the sidelines; nope. You have to go for it. So in 2016 I am all in baby…are you with me? Except for sky diving you can go do that yourself because seriously what sane person jumps out of a perfectly good airplane?!

2. Great people do things before they are ready.

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I think Amy Poehler and I would be the best of friends. Seriously if you know Amy you should have her call me; we would be BFFAEs (Best Friends Forever and Ever)! Seriously, I am not in the least bit kidding; if you know her call her I totally want to meet her.

Any way after reading Yes Please (yes you should take the time and read it for 2016 if you haven’t) and binge watching Parks and Recreation in my spare time I think she is my own personal guru. Two things I have learned from her and Ron Swanson are:

  • Great people do things before they are ready – seriously you can’t plan out the future. Life is bumpy and unexpected crap jumps out at you every single second (not really, but you get what I mean) and you just have to go after your dreams. If you don’t start now then when?
  • Also my personal favorite, “don’t half ass two things; whole ass one thing.” That is my favorite line from Parks and Recreation to date. There is even a mug and if you don’t know what to get me for my birthday get me that – don’t worry about duplicates either if I had a whole stinking set of those I would literally be the richest person in the world and Amy Poehler would be super impressed when I got them to pour our Vodka and Cranberry Cocktails into when she came over.  You thought they were for coffee didn’t you…so silly mugs can be used for everything. A good friend told me just about a whole bottle of wine fits into one of the travel Starbucks mugs in case you need to know that for your next Trick-or-treating excursion. Just saying. Plus they would totally go with my Duck Dynasty bobbleheads.

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3. Even if things seem sucky they are totally worth it.

IMG_3559 (1)So our Newport Beach Thanksgiving Vacation was a bit crazy. For starters we parked our car with the valet at dinner on one of the first nights there and they lost our keys. Then within a day the norovirus (more affectionately named Kim-O-Rea after patient zero) ran through 19 of the 23 of us. But despite the lost keys and vomit we had a pretty good time. We took bike rides, played on the beach, spent time playing games, had Thanksgiving dinner on the beach, saw a movie and went bowling. And the cousin time with the kids was priceless. So even though we may have stayed in the worst rental ever (on the inside – it was filthy) the time we spent together and the memories we made were totally worth it. Plus I got this awesome picture of me with Zach; win win! Or as Zach says…BOOM!

4. I love snow and the place I call home.

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I know you are wondering how I love snow is a lesson. Well just keep reading and you will see.

Our family made a trip to Salt Lake City for my grandmother’s memorial services and it snowed. Arriving there and seeing all the sites is so relaxing. Even though I only lived there for 3 years; literally from 0-3, it is home to me. It is the one place in the world that actually feels like I belong 100%. I love just about everything about it. I know that the snow made travel a bit hard and it was really cold, but I can’t help thinking my grandma knew how much I loved the snow; how much I loved home blanketed in snow and she made sure that it was covered in it just in time for us to be there. This made me realize that even if there isn’t always someone to go home to that maybe just the place needs to be visited to sooth your soul to feel that welcoming feeling. So I guess that means that you need to find that place that feels like home and visit it if you aren’t already there. See that is kind of lesson worthy.

5. Find your happy.

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Find your happy – whatever it might be. Maybe it’s a person; like these two pictured here. They are blissfully happy when they are together. Or maybe it’s a good cup of coffee or maybe it is a long hike. Whatever it is find it and make sure it becomes a part of your life on a regular basis. Life is hard and you need to make time for what makes you happy.

6. Keep going…

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The Barista at Starbucks wrote “good job on your 5k” on my cup – proof that I actually looked like I ran the whole thing. Which I totally did, even though my 11 year old son beat me by 10 minutes.
Sometimes you are your own worst enemy or at least I am. I want to be healthier and I want to be able to run 9 miles again. I will do that in 2016, but I know it will be one of the hardest things that I do to accomplish that again. I had to put all my focus and energy into it when I did it last time and this time I am busier and somehow more exhausted, but I must keep going. In 2015 the farthest I got was 5 miles and 20 pounds heavier. 2016 is going to be different. I hope you go after what you want in 2016, too. And I hope no matter how hard it might be that you achieve it.

7. Little things…

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Mother Theresa said do small things with great love. I have mentioned her before, I know. She is kind of a big deal. Any way I put that into action three years ago with the 25 days of Holiday Cheer and then adding to that by doing 36 random acts of kindness for my birthday and then the next year Fluttering for Unravel. So I took a trip down my Facebook feed (that is what memory lane is these days) and saw that most of what I do these days is small things with great love. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. See I am human and I mess up; rather a lot really. But doing things for others in small steps and sharing that with others has changed my life in such a drastic way. This is something that will continue through 2016 and if you have an idea about how to help others – go for it because amazing things happen.

8. You get old.

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This is my son…I cannot be old enough to have a son this age!
Holy Freaking Fruitloops kids put the fast forward button on your life. I cannot believe I have been a mom for over a decade and that my 20 year high school reunion is in 2016. That math doesn’t compute with how I feel, but that doesn’t change the fact that you get old. I have decided instead of being bummed about getting old I am going to enjoy it. I am going to love each day and what it brings. Of course crappy things happen when you age and there is more death than you ever wanted to face ever, but there are cool things, too. Like watching your kids become grown people and getting to stay up as late as you want and being able to drink alcohol in a mug that says “whole ass one thing” if that isn’t icing on the freaking age cake I don’t know what is.

9. Marriage matters.

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So as my husband was calmly putting together a doll house this Christmas Eve (yes that doll house above had more pieces than you can imagine) and we spent until 1:30 AM putting the final touches on Christmas; it really hit home what a good team we are. My husband, yes I know I have talked about him before as well, is just pretty amazing. He helps around the house, he is a hands on dad, and he works so hard to provide for our family. But we are a team and marriage is hard work. We went out a couple times just the two of us this year (I know I had a post about date night once a month-it didn’t happen) and we are still best friends. Yes of course at first the kids dominate the conversation, but we have found that our marriage is the key foundation to our family and it needs work to make sure that the family stays sturdy. In 2016 I am going to make sure I let him know how important he is and how much I appreciate all he does for us. And more importantly, I am going to make sure I let him know how awesome I am and that together we are like the Dream Team. Too much? Okay, well you get the idea.

10. Being a twin mom…

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I get it, I do…they are stinking cute and tons of fun. They also can cause quite a ruckus and I have blamed a lot of my failing memory, lack of sleep, disorganized ball dropping behavior on being a twin mom. And in 2016 that will not change. Having 4 kids is enough to drive one woman bat shit crazy. I love them dearly and I wouldn’t want my life any other way, but it is totally their fault that I am a completely different human than I was 10 years ago. It is completely their fault that I am losing my mind, but it is also completely their fault that I am a way better human than I was a decade ago. It is completely their fault, all four of them, that I know and understand a love that can’t be explained with words. I understand what it means to be selfless because of them. So even though I blame them 100% I also thank them 100% for all that they have done to help me become who I am today.

I wish you and yours a blessed and prosperous 2016.

Sincerely,

Amy Poehler’s BFFaE

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August and Half of September Lessons 2015 style…

August and Half of September Lessons 2015 style…

*etsy print – click image to visit the original source
1. Do not write about how depression feels, but if you forget to take that advice and do it anyway…

Be ready that it could have the opposite effect of what you intended. If you write about how depression feels in an effort to let people see inside of you be ready for some people to talk to you as if you might break and be ready to hear a thousand ways that you can get help. (If you have read the blog you know I see a therapist and have seen my medical doctor about depression. My family and friends are aware and I really am fine. I was just writing about it with the intent to inform).

2. This too shall pass

Bliss

For the last couple weeks, my kids have fought like CRAZY – and I know they will survive, but I MAY NOT survive. It is looney toons up in this hizhouse. One minute they are all working together to earn thousands of tickets at Chuck E. Cheese and sharing and the next minute they are teasing each other, tattling, fit throwing.

OMG - Fit throwingIt is a roller coaster ride I would gladly pass up. But, I know that mixed in with these moments of fighting that all the good stuff happens. I am just so done with attitudes and bickering at the moment that it takes me about 20 minutes to realize that this too shall pass.

3. It is okay to be an introvert

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/21-things-introverts-love?sub=2809321_2105375#.bwmrnedvEQ
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/21-things-introverts-love?sub=2809321_2105375#.bwmrnedvEQ
I can not tell you how many parties I have not attended because I needed down time or how many parties I attended where I socialized a total of 10 minutes out of the 3 hours spent at the party. People also think this is odd and that something is wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with you. You just might be an introvert and that is a normal healthy thing to be. It is okay if you need time to recharge. You will refuel and be able to connect again. Shake off what people think, take your time to recharge and move on.

4. Some dogs chew everything

Roxie Baby

If you happen to ever want to get a Collie – they chew every single ever-loving thing. They are super smart, too. They absolutely find the thing that will cost the most money or be the most missed and they chew that. Tonight it was the new license plates and registration for the new car. She literally pulled it from out of all the other mail on the counter and chewed that. Still wondering if she actually likes us.

5. You will survive your own child entering middle school

You will survive

My oldest started middle school this year. It is an awkward feeling dropping your child off into a world that you only know about through memory or hearsay. The good news is that the awkward feeling passes and they find their way just as you find yours.

6. Do not look up school lunch ideas on Pinterest

Holy lunch making mamas! There are some crafty and talented lunch making moms and when you see what they make for lunch and how they make it you will quickly feel inadequate unless you yourself are one of these Pinteresting mamas. This is where I need to channel Amy Poehler, “Good for you, not for me!” So glad there are moms our there that can express their creativity this way – I may put together some new ideas for what is in my child’s lunches from these beautiful creations, but there will be no dolphins or cute little faces inside my kiddos lunch boxes. Nope, not happening.

School Lunch Pin 1

school lunch pin

Well that is it for now, until next time,

Me

More musings from around here…

More musings from around here…

Just a couple of weeks ago I posted lessons for the summer so far, but my mind is a bit filled with jumbles of ideas I have finally decided to write them down all at once.  I am writing these things I am thinking about down to keep my own sanity, feel less alone and maybe just maybe these are things you think, too and then we can think them together.

1. I don’t like to freak people out.

I don't like to freak people out contrary to what this photo shows.
I don’t like to freak people out contrary to what this photo shows.
Recently I was told that I freak people out. Here is what is important to know; I am incredibly skeptical of my gift. I treat it as a gift and I do not abuse it. The only time I ever communicate with the deceased in reference to other people is during a scheduled reading.

I CANNOT read minds. I DO NOT do readings on the spot. I DO NOT pay attention to spirit during a run of the mill get together. They respect the awkwardness I feel about seeing them and usually keep their distance. This is important to me to keep these things separate. As Peter Parker says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Don’t think I am getting high and mighty – the point is that I treat the ability to speak with the dead as a gift and there is a responsibility that comes with that. It isn’t a parlor trick for fun; it is something that is possible and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves.

2. There are tons of people who do the same thing as you and there will always be someone better than you.

Stay in your lane
Stay in your lane
To this I say – STAY IN YOUR LANE. Comparison seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon for most humans. It can be a destructive habit. You need to stay in your own lane. I believe life is about achieving your own personal best; not your neighbor’s, mentor’s or even a societal ideal “personal best”. You just need to pay attention to what you want to achieve, stick to that and do the best you possibly can; that is good enough.

3. The Facebook Showcase

Sometimes I get wrapped up in looking at everyone else’s best self and how spectacularly shiny other people seem and I forget that I am usually seeing the best parts of them. People don’t always post a snapshot of when the kids have gone BAT SHIT CRAZY and the HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A TORNADO hit it and the DOG THREW UP and the PHONE IS RINGING and you have a DEADLINE TO MEET and PEOPLE ARE WAITING TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT with you and you still haven’t got the 10 minutes you need to look at your schedule to answer them – no people don’t post that REAL LIFE stuff. They post the best moments; the smiling shiny moments. We all have them and that is the stuff we want to remember, but really there are moments of all kinds every day and I need to remember that everybody has both kinds of moments.

4. Put your load down

Just set it down – it doesn’t have to be folded and pretty. Just drop it and pick it back up when you can.
My therapist missed me…not really I just decided to start back up again. Basically because well; I have a breakdown about every 4-6 weeks where everything makes me sad and I feel so OVERWHELMED I think I am going to just explode from the amount of crap I am trying to get accomplished in a day. Which I know is silly, I should not be sad and I should not feel overwhelmed, but then I do and then I feel bad about feeling that way. Any way you get it the same vicious cycle. I know some of you are thinking it is a hormonal thing, but it isn’t – I checked – okay there may be some of that there. Any way, when I was talking with her last week we realized I feel OVERWHELMED, I finally set my load of THINGS – HAVE TOS, SHOULD HAVES, WANT TOS, DIDN’TS – down. But these feelings sort of force me to set them down. Of course, my wise therapist says, “Have you ever thought maybe you should set those down more often?”

Well the clouds parted and light shone down from above and there were birds singing – maybe not, but it felt like that. I had written before about another wise friend who said I needed to remember to put my gas mask on first (you know when you are on a plane and the attendant tells you if you are flying with small children put your mask on first before you help them – that her is analogy to me – I know I have really smart friends). I need to at least once a day put my gas mask on first. For me this is exercise and reading. I need to find ways to fit this into my day first and the rest of the stuff can follow.

I am working on this – I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS and that my friends is a beautiful thing. I don’t ever want to be a polished piece of art; I want to be a messy, bunch of paint thrown against a wall in many different colors on different days so when I get to the end of my life and look back I can see all the wacky pieces and see that in all that chaos and uncertainty there was a beautiful work of art.

5. There is no introvert-ing today.

Yesterday, I put all my stuff down (actually took the day off and left my phone in the glove compartment of my car) and spent the day with friends and our kids at the pool. Can I just say it was like breathing in pure oxygen? The mommy guilt that I had felt melted away in the sunlight. Sitting with those moms who talked about their days, which mirrored my own, was refreshing.

At one point as I was off on my own, one of the moms said, “The mommies are over here, Michelle.” And another said, “There is not introvert-ing today, Michelle.” It was just so nice to be with people who knew me, understood where I was at and lovingly reigned me back in. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel for yesterday, for those friends, for the sunshine, and those precious moments of sharing that reminded me we really are all in this together.

6. What the hell is up with media?

I just have to add this because – really – they are the problem. News reporting has become a complete circus – it is overdone, way too dramatic, and way to slanted. What happened to an impartial recording of events that included both good, bad, and just plain old stories?! Sometimes you can find that still on your local news, but I am at a loss with the news. Years ago I stopped watching it because I couldn’t have it on with kids around. So I would read it, but now even that has become difficult. I am just saying…

7. Junior High

Holy Freaking Fruit Loops

HOLY FREAKING FRUIT LOOPS – my oldest is going to be starting Junior High in under four weeks – WHAT THE WHAT?! That is all. My mind is still reeling with thought and yes, I will be throwing up after I drop him off the first day.

Promotion

That is mostly it…hopefully you gained something from my jumble and maybe you feel a little less alone. I am hoping now that some of these things sit with me better and make some peace with my own mind.

Until next time,

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P.S. Yes, I used a lot of CAPITALS. YES THEY WERE NECESSARY. No that does not mean I am yelling – it means I am saying it with emphasis.