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…

IMG_4893Legit.

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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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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Holiday Cheer Day 6: A guest post from Tiff

Holiday Cheer Day 6: A guest post from Tiff

YouAreLoved_Black_8x10_HappyHippoArts (1)For today’s nominee I would like to share the nomination letter that was submitted by Tiff about Stephanie. Tiff relays why Stephanie needed Holiday Cheer:

“This recipient is an extraordinary lady. She is an amazing mom, daughter, friend, wife, sister and all around phenomenally loving spirit. She manages to keep this incredible beaming kinetic energy, and awesome sense of humor, and joy for life even during the rockiest of times. She has dealt with an exceptionally tough year, with some financial and medical issues that would have knocked anyone of the Avengers to their knees, but she has weathered it with an open and loving heart. For this reason , I was very excited to be able to nominate her.

She is one of those people that spend her time making sure that she has taken care of all the people around her that she loves. She is always taking care of everyone else, sometimes to the exclusion of herself. Her kids are such great, bright, centered little guys, and it is because she gives them balance and strength, and a soft, safe place to land when times get rough. She is the kind of mom who lets them be themselves , and reminds them that they don’t need to let anyone else define them.

She has also directed that same sense of light and love toward her other family members and friends. She is that mom who you would go to for shelter, for help, or just if you needed to whine about something. My gratitude for this woman is huge. My respect for how she lives her life as a go-er, a do-er and a mama-bear extraordinaire is unending. She has talked me off many anxiety ledges and has been such a comfort; a true friend when I was feeling isolated and alone. 

Her effect on all the other people around her is deep and profound. I don’t think she realizes how much she truly does impact so many of us. I think this was a way to let her know how very much she is loved and appreciated. She has this gift of turning her burden into blessings on a daily basis and in doing so she is teaching her boys and all the rest of us an invaluable lesson: Cherish what you have right now…the rest of the story will play out in its own good time. Thanks for the lesson, my friend.”

Not only does this beautiful letter describe our recipient perfectly, more magic happened with this nomination when a local hair stylist, Patty Ann came forward asking to help out a whole family. She wanted to donate to a family because she had known hardship herself and had received kindness. She took this as an opportunity to pay it forward. Patty Ann (shown below) collected a grocery gift card, and herself bought a tree, Vans gift cards for the boys, a cut and color for Stephanie, and dinner and movie out. Patty Ann is also an extraordinary person and that these two selfless women were connected through Holiday Cheer is so very touching to me.

So cherish what you have,

Tiff & Patty Ann

 

Holiday Cheer Day 3:Best Friends to Infinity and Beyond

Holiday Cheer Day 3:Best Friends to Infinity and Beyond

IMG_3250Do you remember the day you met your best friend? Which friend of yours has been through your life the whole way through? Now could you imagine that after only knowing them for a few short years you would have to go through losing them. Now take even another moment to think about what it would be like to bear that loss at 6 years old.

Our recipient for day 3 doesn’t have to think about that she lives it. Jaeda lost her BFF when she was 6 years old. For the last two years she has had to learn what life is like here while her BFF is in heaven.

Her mom. Amy, has shared her thoughts via FB and I thought I would share them here as well:

Jaeda“We love and miss her so much. Lately Jaeda has been noticing that the songs they used to dance to are now old songs. She wonders if they’d still be having dance parties to the new songs. Jaeda will forever miss this friendship, a young friendship that taught them how to be a friend.”

 

jlk & Jaeda“One of my favorite pictures of these sweet girls! …These girls had so many first things together. First sleep over, first concerts (gilroy gardens concerts were so fun with these dancers), first time riding in cars together, sharing clothes, sharing exciting news (Jaeda told Jennifer on the phone when she found out about Ava ), swimming together, learning how to bribe moms for dinner dates and the talent of a princess show! This year without her friendship, her spunk and sparkle has been so very hard. I’m thankful for all the time we shared with this amazing princess…but so very angry that she is forever 6.”

jaeda unravelJaeda is one of the most mature and well mannered young ladies I have ever met. Whether she is Fluttering or manning a bake sale, she is incredibly involved with raising awareness and funds for Unravel, an organization that raising money for pediatric cancer research and treatment. She is committed to putting an end to the disease that robbed her of her best friend. Beyond her passion to put an end to pediatric cancer, Jaeda has been recognized both at church and school for her character.

IMG_3252Delivering Jaeda’s gift was such a wonderful experience. She was so excited. The homemade pillowcases she loved because she loves pillowcases and has one from a recent sleepover where all her friends signed it, which she excitedly showed me.

She was excited about the Descendants DVD, but flipped out when she saw the Justice and Claire’s gift cards. She couldn’t believe we guessed her favorite stores.

jlk & jaeda 2At 8, Jaeda is poised, polite, and carries a compassion that is greater than people four times her age. Thank you all for making this sweet girl’s day a little brighter and helping to let her know we are all supporting her.

Peace and love,

Michelle and the Holiday Cheer Elves

 

October lessons…2015 Style

October lessons…2015 Style

The weather here in California is not getting with the program that it is October. It has been hot and humid with very few cool days. We need rain out here and I know there are parts of the world where things are much worse, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t complain a itty bit. As the year draws to its last quarter, I think my reflecting on what I have learned is becoming more blunt and matter of fact. Hopefully my hard-earned wisdom with help you find the same knowledge without as much work.

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It is more than okay to say, “No.”

A few weeks ago I planned a playdate for a Friday afternoon evening, where my mom friends and their kids could stop by and hang for a bit. I promised pizza and drinks. Well my week quickly went from okay to crazy. My grandmother had a major stroke, the kids were giving me major run around on every teenie tiny thing, a few extra work projects fell into my lap and I finally decided it was all too much and cancelled the get together. I just knew if I attempted to pull it off I would stress and be over exhausted and bad company. What I found from this was the amazing group of friends I am blessed with. Almost each one of the women I invited praised me for cancelling. They totally understood. One of my dear friends dropped off flowers. All of them offered help and I sat back in awe and wonder of these fabulous friends. I am so blessed that these people are in my life. I know how great they all are, but by saying no and being honest with them that I couldn’t do it all I was able to see this side of them as well and I am so glad that I did. Of course, one said she would come TP my house and yes that made me love her even more.

If you are like me and need to hear that having a meltdown even as an adult is okay…then it is okay; really it is.

Do you find yourself trying so hard not to lose your mind at the child that questions your every ask? Do you find yourself trying to stay calm as you wait for your child to find their shoe when you needed to leave for soccer 5 minutes ago? Are you constantly stepping on Legos that were supposed to be cleaned up 20 minutes ago? Do you find yourself breathing deeply while you listen to your children bicker and argue about who DID NOT spill the milk all over the kitchen and not tell anyone? Do you ever have to plunge an over-clogged toilet that some sweet child used even though it was already clogged and pray to the God’s of human waste to please not let anything spill over the edges only to have your prayers go unanswered? I can empathize. Sometimes all of this happens in one day and when your children start to argue in the car you lose your mind and snap at them all only to feel terrible 10 minutes later and have to apologize for yelling, but not for being fed up with their behavior. Yep, that’s an average day of parenting and you should cut yourself some slack because we can’t all be Mary Poppins or Florence Henderson – our days don’t fade to black and magically have help. Our days run together and we make it by flying by the ever-loving seat of our very own pants. So don’t feel bad if you lose your shit; it happens, it passes and then maybe two weeks later it happens again, but it will all pass and mostly your kids will remember the good times. Mostly.

Then there are moments like these:

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#forthembecauseofher
#forthembecauseofher
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brothers & friends

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Fluttering together

Fluttering TextFluttering

Give back to the community as a family.

This past September and October we fluttered; which is an awareness and fundraising campaign for a non-profit group Unravel that raises money for pediatric cancer research. They also give money to families with children who are battling cancer. We created some great memories out there, but also along the way learned about bravery, empathy, kindness, and hardship. It is such a wonderful opportunity to help and learn all at the same time. So pick your cause and then fight it together as a family.

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Being scared is human and also more than okay.

I am over-weight. I struggle with that a great deal. It would seem that it would be an easy fix, but so far it has not been for me. I am often afraid that people think I am lazy, undisciplined, and gross all because I can’t get a handle on my weight. Lately, I don’t even want to go out in public because of how I look. I know my life being crazy is an excuse, but still it has been hard to squeeze the “me time” I need into my days.

My best friend is coming to see me and I am terrified that she will no longer be my friend once she sees me. Totally illogical and off-base thinking, but it hasn’t stopped me from actually thinking it. But instead of brandishing myself for my fear; I am embracing it. It is okay to be afraid. I need to move past this fear because the most important thing is showing up and being seen.

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Sometimes those damn Facebook quizzes have too much truth in them for a Friday night or any day of the week really.

So I know you take these because I have seen you post the results from time to time. Those FB quizzes; they suck us in because really sometimes we want to know who our Hollywood boyfriend might be, or what our name really means. So I took the name one and it was great, but it also said I was moody. And right away I was like you stupid FB quiz what do you know…you don’t know me. And then I took breath and was like damn you; how did you know that. I am moody, but I did not need my iPhone to tell me that. Sometimes it’s better knowing and being in a blissful denial than reading in black and white and I right or am I right?

Before I sign off I just want to take a moment and say thank you! Thank you for reading my blog. I have a great audience of friends, family, and internet friends that join here to read and support what I write and I am beyond grateful.

Via Pinterest. Click photo to be taken to the source.
Via Pinterest. Click photo to be taken to the source.
Until next time,

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May, June and beginning of July lessons 2015 style…

May, June and beginning of July lessons 2015 style…

Did you miss me? I know you did; I know you could barely stand the suspense I have built being on hiatus this past little while.

I should be at a reading tonight, but I am sick. I am 37 sick, which is different from 25 sick. 25 sick you can pop some DayQuil and still conquer the world. At 25 you can medicate and barely feel sick. 37 sick is different. You pop DayQuil and still need a nap. Your body aches (that also may be because of the fall I had yesterday – which by the way is also different at 37). So in my 37 year-old sick, medicated haze I felt it might be time to spread some of my 37 year-old wisdom, which again is different from 25 year-old wisdom, and by different I do mean better. At least wisdom gets better with age.

1. Beverly Hills Troop is the way to go…

So my daughter is a Girl Scout. This year was her first camporee. I now know I missed out on nothing as a non-Girl Scout. Camping is not my cup of tea. I love nature and smores, but I am more of a let’s go for a hike and then sleep in a warm bed with a solid roof over our head kind of girl. I did however get the tent up all by myself! And it stayed up all night long. I know, I know I have a plethora of miraculous secret super powers.

                      This is the tent  I set up!
         This is the tent I set up!

2. Keep things big and small…

Most of us I am sure have a little box of special keepsakes, but if you do not; you should start to put one together. I have kept cards from birthdays, letters from friends and yes the shirt my husband was wearing the day we met is also in this box along with the balloon he gave me on my first birthday we celebrated together.

Now that you are done gagging, let me reiterate that you should save things big and small. I went through my box the other day and came across a card that my friend’s mom had given me for my 16th birthday. The memories that came flooding back as I read this card brought a smile to my day. These little mementos are what become our priceless treasures.

The Birthday Card I saved!
               The birthday card!

3. There is so much more to do than play video games…

If your house is like ours the kiddos are always wanting to play on electronics. It is a constant battle to keep them entertained without having to pull out the electronics. My advice is get outside – we have invested in a trampoline just to lure them to the outdoors. But also, go places – we do this as often as we can. I recommend the Children’s Museum in Monterey. I especially liked the life-size Operation game myself.

Life-Size Operation!
            Life-Size Operation!

It is also fun to find other past times – my kids like to play Life and Mancala. I also recently purchased a puzzle from Amazon and my oldest and I spent a good 90 minutes of quality time putting it together.

90 minutes of quality time all due to a puzzle full of old candy wrappers.
90 minutes of quality time all due to a puzzle full of old candy       wrappers.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I am any less addicted to Candy Crush or Solitaire on my iPad. Nor does this mean that my kids do not play video games – it just means we strive for a more well-rounded day.

4. Make time for friends and family…

Believe me I get it; I am an introvert to beat all introverts. Sometimes even going out with people I want to see is a challenge. I also know I am repeating myself, yes even though I am 37 I can remember that this is a lesson I have talked about before. Making friends and letting people into your life is huge. It is definitely quality not quantity that you should be concerned about, but it is important to show up for those you care about no matter what.

Me and My Bestie back in high school.
Me and My Bestie back in high school.

5. Be yourself…

“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody but yourself-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight-and never stop fighting.” E. E. Cummings.

This past week I was at a team meeting out-of-town and good old self-doubt popped into my head second guessing things I said and did and reliving moments when I said and did things and then this new wiser 37-year-old voice piped up and said, “what the heck, you were you and if that was something that was too much or too little for anyone else there than you narrowed down the pool of people who accept you for you.” And then I did a wonderous thing; I stopped reliving the moments of the meeting and moved on to the present. I am pretty sure the whole world shuddered a little with this earth shattering revelation. You felt it I am sure; it was that HUGE. Be yourself AND be at peace with being yourself. It doesn’t get better than that.

Until  next time…

me

necklace from my sweet friend
necklace from my sweet friend

Still here; still learning…

Still here; still learning…

It’s been awhile I know. There is a lot happening in our fourytale lives. So much learning going on it is enough to make my head spin. In my quest to the best possible adult I can be (so that I set an example for my children; walk the walk and all that jazz) and to continually be authentic to the rest of the world (as opposed to hiding myself like a hermit in public places) I take a moment to jot down and share these lessons with all of you. It makes sense to me that there is someone out there that stumbles along the same pathways. So I share my musings to help that same someone; even if it is really just to make me feel a little less alone.

Loved this She.Is.Beautiful sign
Loved this She.Is.Beautiful sign

1. Let go of FEAR…

FEAR is the number one reason that we stop in our tracks and don’t take that leap of faith into something new. I am going to go ELSA on all your butts and tell you to “LET IT GO”, queue music and the throwing off of the cape.

Small amounts of fear of course keep us safe or a little bit of nerves keeps us on our toes. I am not saying live with complete reckless abandon; you can not blame me for what you do in Vegas on your next trip.

What I am saying is take that next step, try that new place, go to that movie by yourself if you really want to see it. Fear leads to regret and that is a heavy weight that most of us carry. Let go of fear before you are 40.

Swing at the park with your kids instead of just watching from the sidelines.
Swing at the park with your kids instead of just watching from the sidelines.

2. Be happy in your size 14 jeans or size 18 or size 2 or whatever…

Being healthy is important and that is something I still struggle with. But bottom line find happiness and enoughness right now! Life is short. Choose happy and move towards that no matter what size you are. Life is too short to wallow.

My happy place
My happy place

3. If you are an introvert…

Quiet is rare and much-needed if you are an introvert. Do not feel guilty for needing it. Extroverts are usually a part of an introvert’s life somewhere; their best friend, spouse, or even their child. These extroverts may make you feel a bit guilty for your need to have quiet to recharge. Don’t let them strip that quiet time away from you. Find it, savor it, and you will be a better person for taking that time to yourself.

IMG_10914. Don’t let your children take life too seriously…

Let’s take sports at 10 years old for example. As I watch my son run sprints, do push ups, and coaches fume at each other during and after a ball game I think to myself that all this is just a little too TURBO for kids. The parents get way too involved in the need to win and succeed. There is a lot of fun missing in kids sports these days. We need to remember that while kids are capable of a great deal, there is something to be said for just letting them enjoy this part of their life. Adulting is really not a ton of fun all the time. I mean, HELLO – mortgages, fixing and maintaining cars, bills, junk mail, rent, JOBS – EVERY SINGLE DAY JOBS – there is no SPRING BREAK in adulthood. So letting them be little is a bit too priceless for us to allow 10 year olds to treat their baseball season like a career.

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Stinker 1

 

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Stinker 2

5. Not really a lesson but…

So this isn’t really a lesson I guess, but maybe make sure your toddler age kids go to the bathroom before you sit down to eat – like an hour before. I swear to all that is holy in this world that every time I sit down to eat one of my twin boys needs help wiping their butt. It really should be a better weight loss plan, but somehow that isn’t working out for me either. But I think I am just passing this along as a word to the wise. If you can avoid butt wiping at meals, try. Maybe other people know this already, but somehow these two boys make a difficult task daily.

6. Trust your instincts…

Unless your instincts tell you to jump off a bridge without a bungee cord, trust your instincts. Lately I have had to do a great deal of that. I have had to listen to my intuition follow it and hope for the best. Each and every time it has led me to the right decision. (Yes, for those skeptics out there I just jinxed myself and you can read about that in my next post). No, but really, listen to your soul it knows what is best for you. Follow it and you will be so surprised where it can lead you. The things – friendships, healing, growth, spirituality that I have found by following my soul has been life changing.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me indulge a little by sharing my recent lesson learning experiences with you. LIVE today and ENJOY.

Until next time,

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Falling Lessons

Falling Lessons

IMG_0794He stumbled out of bed trying to make his movements swift and silent. I burrowed back into the bed still freezing from the realization that most of my covers had been removed. Pulling them tight up to my neck I squeezed my eyes shut in hopes of more sleep to come. Instead the flashlight from his phone shone right in my eyes as his frustrated fingers fumbled a zipper. Exasperated he took the suitcase with him to the hall and left us again in the darkness of the early morning thinking we were all still asleep in our beds.

The twins slowly wakened and I called them over into my bed to try to get a few more minutes of quiet. As we lay there I heard the soft saintly voice of my wise, owl friend. I could hear her comforting tone wander through the halls into our room.

“It’s okay if you fall you know, that means you are doing it right. You are going to fall lots of times; that is the right way to do it.”

First Day Skiing
Successful first day – she wants to go back!

And I realized as I was trying to get a few more moments rest, she was up and helping to send off our husbands and older children to the slopes. My two oldest children were going skiing for their very first time. And instead of being ungrateful or feeling bad I wasn’t out there, in that moment I was most grateful that my dear wise owl friend was. She said the best thing to my daughter to calm her for her first day of skiing. She said things better than I ever would have.

She continued to console her saying, “You are going to do great! They really should call skiing lessons falling lessons because you do a lot of that on the first day.”

I never would have thought to say that and my heart is so full knowing that my daughter heard those words before she ventured out to her first day of skiing.

They really should just call it all falling lessons because really that is what we do all the time in life. It is the how we get up that matters the most.

Here’s to falling well and standing up even better,

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September Lessons 2014 Style…

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Ah, September…

I know people love fall. My grandmother loved fall with the change of leaves and seasons, but I am not a fan.

Nope.

Fall = start of school craziness.

September is not my favorite month, not by a long shot. It might actually come in 12th out of 12.

However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have anything to teach me; I definitely continued to learn through September; hopefully you will gain some wisdom from my lessons, too and if you don’t gain wisdom then maybe a good laugh or at least a sense of solidarity for a moment knowing that you are not alone.

shit could be worse

1. I CAN NOT DO IT ALL

This lesson keeps slapping me in the face and somehow the resiliency in me keeps ignoring it. I jump right back up and try to do everything again; then a wave of overwhelm comes and knocks me right back down. I need to remember this lesson. You just have to do what matters to you most and forget the rest. What you got done in a day, you get done and really things could always be worse.

2. Tell everything

People that wear masks make me nervous. My favorite people are the people who are open, honest and you know exactly where you stand with them.

I always have been able to see right through to someone’s soul. I know you even if you don’t want me to, so when you wear a mask that doesn’t jive with who you are it gives me the heebie jebbies.

I know a lot of people buy other people based on exterior images all day long, but most of us see past that.

Be who you are. Be open, be vulnerable.

Take my word for it; the past two years I have done my best to be completely open. I haven’t regretted one minute of it. Not one.

It is still scary and I have been hurt, but my life is way more complete now that I am just all out there.

 

Small Town Girl

3. I am a small town, down home girl

Crowds are not my thing. Bypassing any event that has more than 10 people is always a must on my list. I like being where I know people and people know me.

My daughter started a new school this month and having the community there welcome her and make her feel important was HUGE. Her other school was over crowded and she was often overlooked. Being a part of our small town community is a blessing.

I love passing cows on my way home. Seeing pumpkins and corn grow and then being able to buy that same produce at our local produce stands is nothing short of awesome.

Cities smell like sewers and are over grown with people who push, rush, and stampede past one another. No thank you.

Love my small town.

4. It’s way too easy to fall off the wagon

One year of running like a mad woman. One year down 22 pounds.

One year later, I watch too many shows on T.V. and love my couch. I am up 30 pounds to my heaviest ever and crave COKE.

Easy peasy is just too easy peasy.

It is so easy when you are tired to stay sedentary and just flop to sleep. I know I have four kids, two dogs, a full-time job, a new part-time job, am a struggling writer, and try to have some time for friends so it makes sense to be exhausted.

I know I should not give myself too hard a time for not being as fit as I could be right now. I know beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but I still need to get back on that wagon. I know many of us hop on and off… I know lots of you have been in my shoes.

I have to start where I am every day, accept that and be good with it.

start where you are

I would just like to stay on the wagon and have it be easy. Not going to happen I know, for right now I am just waiting for that wagon to come back round the mountain again so I can jump back on. I will keep you posted.

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5. Parenting strips you of your dignity

Parenting is not a bowl full of Lucky Charms. Parenting absolutely without a doubt takes every ounce of dignity you ever had and up-chucks it out in front of every available audience to see.

At a local school fundraiser, I had to drag a child screaming through the crowd and the parking lot all because he dropped his glow stick in the dark way past where we were going back for it and he lost his mind because I wouldn’t go back for it. This is the up-teenth time I have had to drag a kid screaming from some event or store because the started to throw a fit and I wouldn’t cave.

I have cleaned up poop off of public restroom floors because kids have gone in their underwear and as I remove it to change them it drops right out on the floor. I have had poop splash in my face, same type of scenario.

This month on three separate occasions one of my younger children has asked if the bump on my belly is a new baby – NO IT IS NOT for those of you wondering the same thing – but that of course did not make me feel any better about my appearance.

Kids tell it like it is and embarrass you to no end with their antics. I still content their should be some sort of academy awards for moms. We need a red carpet event that celebrates us and all we do in a day. C.K. Lewis could host with and help bring humor to our stories. And really we could all use a night out where we could enjoy our own dinner without having to be interrupted or cut up someone else’s food. Am I right or am I right?

 

- Sam Parker
– Sam Parker

6. Kindness matters

Sitting in a restaurant this past weekend listening to a grown woman berate her aging mother within earshot of the entire front house and waiter who was standing at their table it was completely clear how much people are disgusted by rudeness.

The same can be said how astonished and cheered people are by kindness. When you wait to hold open a door, stop to help them pick up dropped items, return a dropped item, or even ask if they need help.

This time last year I participated in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge and it made me focus on doing one Random Act of Kindness a Day. I still do this, every day and the acts of kindness have a greater impact on my life than they do on those I help.

Do one RAK a day; it really does make every day sweeter.

7. ADD

Check email, check Facebook, check messages, fast forward through commercials, DVR favorite shows, listen to Sirius Radio, check Google for answers, ask Siri, all these things have made me prone to attention deficit disorder.

I had to watch regular, love TV the other day and could not believe how irritated I was at the commercial break. At one point, I almost forgot what I was watching. The pitfalls of technology.

Sometimes I think we do need to drop all the devices and remember how to get things done without them and how to soak up what is around us.

8. I have issues with things taking their time

Delayed gratification might just be a nemesis of mine. Relationships take time and you have to let people get to know you, but I have never been good at that. I am a quick judge of character and I am ready to be your friend right away if we get along. When it takes two years to finally get to know people and start to do things together that drives me crazy.

That and lost socks.

single socks

I mean really where do these things disappear to?

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9. I used to be…

intelligent, witty, current, driven…then I had kids. Now I am home Friday nights preparing for a big day of soccer, Home Depot maybe pick out some wallpaper and Bed, Bath and Beyond if we have time.

 

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10. I am a crazy, embarrassing mama bear

At soccer one Saturday, you may have heard a crazy mom after her son was pushed several times by the other team and no call was made by the ref say something like, “Don’t let him push you! Push him back!” If you did, that was me. I don’t know what came over me.

Doing the best I can, right where I am, one day at a time,

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The Shirt

be kind

I tried to talk him out of it. Not because I didn’t want him to have it. Not because I wouldn’t be proud of him wearing it. Only because the world can be stereotypically biased and cruel sometimes.

My mama bear instinct just wanted to keep him safe. Shelter him from hurt and ridicule. That is what we do as mama bears. Protect and shield as much as we can and then send them off out into the world hoping they are strong enough. Wishing them as few bangs, nicks, and bruises as possible, hoping they can stay whole and happy.

My son wore the above shirt today. The shirt he carefully hand-picked at Old Navy because I told each child they could pick one since they were on sale. The shirt he jumped and hollered about so excited because not only did it have his favorite character of all time on it, but it was also his two favorite colors: pink and purple.

This shirt has been worn many times, but to be honest sometimes it sits in the wash pile a little too long. It may also be hung in the closet a bit too out of reach for my son’s small arms. All to protect. All out of concern. All out of my need to shield him just a little longer. I have written about this shirt before and the comments we receive when we are out in public.

Now that he has started school, I knew he would want to wear THE SHIRT. Last night I hung it carefully in his closet within his reach knowing full well it would be the first choice for him in the morning.

In the morning as I bustled about the kitchen, I heard his joyful feet bounding down the stairs. He leapt into the kitchen proudly boasting his Sofia shirt and that he had dressed himself. I steeled my heart for him and what the day ahead might hold; all because of a shirt.

I spent my morning in silent prayer. As I busied myself with the tasks at hand, a constant repeated prayer kept running through the back of my brain:

Please God let the world be kind to my sweet boy today. His soul is pure and full of light. Please let the world be kind to my four-year old who understands more about forgiveness than his thirty-six-year-old mom. Please, oh please, oh please.

Dropping him off at school he skipped his way to the entrance, so jubilantly thrilled to show off his most prized possession, hoping his friends would love it as much as he does.

As he proudly displayed his shirt to one of his teachers upon entry, she looked at him, his twin then me and said,”Well at least we will be able to tell them apart today” just a tad bit too full of judgement. I saw his shoulders sink a little as he heard it, too.

My heart broke a little more for him today. He arrived home and excitedly rattled through a string of wonderful things about his day, there was nothing and I thought for a moment we were safe just awhile longer. About fifteen minutes later, he found me sitting alone and said,

“Mommy when I was sitting next to Eliza* today she said, ‘why are you wearing a Sofia shirt?'”

He went on to explain that he had told her how excited he had been when he bought it and how he got to pick out as a special treat. He said he thinks she thought it was supposed to be just a girl thing and that he didn’t like the way she asked him why he was wearing it.  I reassured him that his Sofia shirt was a great shirt and that he needed to always wear just what he wanted. He said that he would, but it was the disappointment in his little voice that broke my heart.

My hope is that he continues to wear what he wants and do what he wants no matter what his peers think or say, but I know that today changed him a tiny bit. He was disappointed that the world didn’t love that shirt on him as much as he loved that shirt on him. These events are bound to happen in varying shades throughout his life; that is part of life; but the mama bear; my mama heart, wishes I could shield him a little more; take the brunt of it myself. That is what all of us mamas wish for. We hope that the world is kind to our babies and that they can be their shining selves without facing ridicule. Unfortunate that, that isn’t always the case.

I want to take a moment though and thank those of you who saw my Facebook post and prayed and well-wished with me today.Thank you all of you kindness warrior mamas who help make this world a better place and with me become the village of support for my kids. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Watching my littles grow and learn,

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*Names were changed to protect the identity of children.