Friday, December 5, 2014

Secret Subject Swap - December Edition

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

My subject is “Let's imagine that somehow you have come into a large (LARGE) amount of money. How will this change your life? ”. It was submitted by http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com.

Here goes:

Let me start by saying that I was not made to be poor. Seriously. I like vacations, and nice things and big houses far too much not to be able to afford them. (I blame thank my mother for that trait.) I've been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling throughout my life, eaten at fine restaurants, worn expensive clothes, had nice jewelry, driven nice cars. The majority of that was funded by other people. Now that I'm a "grown-up" I get tired of not being able to pay all my bills and still have money leftover. I wish I didn't have to check my bank account every time I want to buy something or go out to eat somewhere.

I often wonder what I would do if I won the lottery, or found out I had inherited a large sum of money from a long-lost relative no one knew about. My ex husband got 5 out of 6 numbers once on the Florida Lottery. You're probably thinking: "Wow! That must have been a fortune!" Not so much. It was roughly $5,000. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I mean, 5 out of 6 numbers of a $7M lottery and we on'y got $5,000?

Of course, I soon got over that and became overjoyed that we were $5,000 richer. It was perfect timing, too. We were due to go on a 2 week trip to Germany and England to visit some of my family and friends.

On the way to pick up the check, we started daydreaming about what we would have done if we had won the full jackpot. We decided we would give some to family to help with things like paying off mortgages, or getting into a house, or paying off credit card debt etc. Then we would buy ourselves a house and the cars we each wanted. Maybe a boat. Then we would invest what was leftover and live off the interest.

I would like to think I would continue at my day-job, not go overboard on the spending, save for my kids college tuitions etc. In reality, I would probably totally blow through it. I would definitely help out family, but it would have to be a set amount each. None of this paying off mortgages, etc. The hubs and I have pretty large families so we would run out pretty quickly paying off everyone's homes.

I wonder who would suddenly come crawling out of the woodwork once they found out. There's always that long-lost cousin, or person you went to pre-k with, or the guy who bought you a drink at a bar that one time. How do you deal with those people? I mean, you sudden;y have, say $10M and someone asks to borrow some. How do you say no?

Then I think of all those horror stories about people who get hit by a car a week after they win. Or the ones who get murdered by their girlfriend and buried under the driveway of their new house. Seems life gets so complicated for people when they come into money, whether it is a large inheritance, or lottery winnings, or even earnings from a successful business.

Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off not coming into that large sum of money...nah, I'd take my chances...


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a drink, and check them all out.

See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com Baking In A Tornado
http://themomisodes.com The Momisodes
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/ Spatulas on Parade
http://dinoheromommy.com/ Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com Stacy Sews and Schools http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/  The Bergham’s Life Chronicles http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com Evil Joy Speaks
http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com Juicebox Confession
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch Confessions of a part-time working mom http://www.silenceofthemom.blogspot.com Silence of the Mom
http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com Climaxed

Friday, November 7, 2014

November Secret Subject Swap

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

My “Secret Subject” is: Visiting the Homeland
My prompt is: "What is something you are thankful that happened this year?"
It was submitted by: http://themomisodes.com

Throughout the course of a year there are a lot of good things that happen that I can be thankful for. The health of my children and family, having a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs.

But those are obvious.

Something that happened this year that I am truly thankful for is being able to go back to visit my homeland. Before I start, I should mention that I consider England and America to be my home. I was born in Miami, Florida but spent a lot of my childhood in England. I lived in England, Spain and Scotland from the time I was seven-years-old until we moved back to Florida when I was a freshman in high school.

When I was a teenager I would travel back to England and Scotland for three to four weeks over the summer visiting my grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and friends. Once I left home for college my trips to the UK became less frequent and after I married and started a family they almost never happened. Traveling with a family is not cheap, especially 3,000 miles across the pond.

This summer I was fortunate enough to be able to take my husband and three of our children to England. We got to be there for my stepfather's surprise 70th birthday party where I saw friends and family I hadn't seen in years (including my sister who lives in Malaysia), we got to stay with my grandmother for a week, we stayed with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Wimbledon and saw two childhood friends of mine. I should note that the baby is named after my grandmother. When we made the trip the baby was seventeen-months-old and my grandmother had not yet met her namesake.

The flight over went surprisingly well. Hubs and I were in two seat at the bulkhead where there was a table that folded out of the wall and a reclining chair was set up for the baby. She only wanted to be in it when she was sleeping, so luckily she slept for about 5 hours on the way over (we flew over night). The other two kids were in the seats directly behind us. They were extremely excited as they had no idea where we were going until we were standing at the check-in a the airport!

Kids faces as we pulled into the airport and 
they realized we were flying somewhere.

Baby sleeping on the plane.

While we were visiting my grandmother I got to go to the grave of my grandfather who died of lung cancer four years ago. The last time I saw him was a month before he passed. He was diagnosed in the summer and within months he was gone. He wasn't a smoker, he was incredibly active and healthy up to that point. My brother and I lived with our grandparents for a while after our parents divorced. They were like second parents to us and were always a constant in our lives. It was extremely emotional for me but I loved that my children got to replace the flowers on their great-grandfather's grave. They hadn't seen him since they were four and eighteen-months-old, so the only memories they have of him are those in photographs.

Kids being silly with my sister


Changing out the flowers at their
great-grandfather's grave.


Traditional English Sunday roast

My grandmother reading with
her namesake

This trip was the first time hubs and the kids had been out of the country. I've been fortunate to live in, and travel to, many different countries and have been exposed to lots of different cultures and experiences. It is always exciting for me to travel with someone who has never been there before. Relive the excitement through them. Seeing the thatched roof cottages, the beautiful green landscapes of the English countryside, and the buildings that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. We took a trip into London to see the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum and Harrods. The kids and hubs got to ride in their first English taxi and the "tube".



Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards

  
Harrods

One day we took a riverboat up the Thames to a place called Hampton Court Palace. The palace was build by King Henry VIII where he (and his six wives) lived and dates back to the 1500's!

 
Front of Hampton Court Palace

Hubs and I fraternizing with the
Hampton Court Palace locals

We also got to visit friends in the Lake District in the North of England. We saw beautiful lakes and got to visit the Beatrix Potter experience.

 
Walking through Kendal in the Lake District

 
Inside the Beatrix Potter experience

On our way back south from the Lake District we stopped at Morecambe Bay. Having grown up on the Atlantic in Florida, hubs was determined to see the other side of the Atlantic. We had a really great traditional English fish and chips for lunch.

 
Morecambe Bay

Not many people get to travel, let alone out of the country. I know how incredibly lucky my family and I are and I am extremely thankful for the experience we all got to share. Now we need to start saving up for the next trip!

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                 Baking In A Tornado
http://themomisodes.com                                   The Momisodes
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/               Spatulas on Parade
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/         Stacy Sews and Schools
http://dinoheromommy.com/                              Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com                 Climaxed
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                Someone Else’s Genius 
http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/            The Bergham’s Life Chronicles
http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/                     Confessions of a part-time working mom
http://www.crumpetsandbollocks.com               Crumpets and Bollocks
http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/                        Sparkly Poetic Weirdo  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop the Shaming

Renee Zellweger is ALL over the web since her appearance at Monday's Elle Women in Hollywood event. There are many speculating that she has had plastic surgery of some sort. Others are saying she looks different than she did in Jerry Maguire and Bridget Jones because those movies first came out 18 and 13 years ago, respectively and, at 45-years-old, she is bound to look different than she did in her late-twenties/early-thirties.

 
Renee Zellweger at Monday's Elle Women in Hollywood event (left) 
and in 1998 at a movie premier (right).

Why does everyone care so much? Leave the woman alone. She claims she didn't have any work done and that she is glad people are noticing a difference in her appearance. She says her new look is due to a "happy, healthy lifestyle" and not surgery. I say more power to her. Who am I to judge if she has procedures to try and prolong her youth or not? To each their own.

Personally, I am not a fan of plastic surgery and I don't foresee myself ever getting a facelift, but that is my own personal preference. Do I think it is a shame that so many women feel the need to go under the knife for reasons of vanity? Yes, I do. I think it is sad when a woman doesn't feel like she can age gracefully and has to try and hang on to that last sliver of youth. I think it is worse when a perfectly beautiful young woman gets rhinoplasty to give herself the "perfect" nose. What I don't do is judge them or shame them for making those choices.

We all make decisions in life for different reasons. No one knows exactly what another person has going on within themselves that makes them choose what they do. Maybe that young girl was made fun of for the tiny bump in the bridge of her nose and is finally able to do something about it. Maybe the older woman is afraid her spouse won't find her desirable anymore if she has wrinkles. Many will say "shame on the bullies or the spouse for making her feel that way". But who will ultimately be shamed? The women.

I am so tired of the double standard that is out there when it comes to women.

Woman gets raped...she asked for it by wearing a short skirt.

Wife gets beaten...it's her fault for staying with the guy.

Girl loses too much weight...she looks unhealthy.

Girl gains too much weight...she looks unhealthy.

Lady gets plastic surgery...she's pathetic or sad for trying to hang on to her youth.

When is it going to stop? When are we all going to quit being such judgmental assholes? When are we going to end sensationalizing what celebrities do with their faces, victim-blaming those who are abused and shaming women for their weight?

It is 2014, people! We have terrorist threats, deadly disease outbreaks, girls being kidnapped from schools and children being sold into sex slavery. Grow the fuck up. Get the fuck over what someone chooses to wear, weigh or do with their face.

Yes, it is sad that our children have to grow-up in a society so self absorbed and appearance-oriented. But that's the way it is. I don't want my girls growing up thinking they have to be "perfect" or my son growing up thinking his significant other should look like someone out of a magazine. I'm also not going to rely on celebrities to raise my children and I will teach them to be kind, decent human beings. I am going to try and instill values in them that help them look past all the bullshit and see people for who they truly are, not what they look like. I am also realistic and I know my kids will want to be pretty or handsome and, as with the rest of us, appearance will play a part in who they choose as a partner.

What I won't do is criticize my, or anyone else's, appearance in front of my kids. I will not shame someone because their shit-head spouse hit them and they didn't get themselves out of that environment. I won't teach my son that women who wear revealing clothes are "asking for it". I will not lead my girls to believe that what they weigh determines their self-worth.

I don't know what goes on behind those people's closed doors any more than you do. We don't know what makes people do the things they do, wear the clothes they wear or stay in an abusive relationship. Who are we to judge? Almost all of us change our appearance in some way or another on a daily basis. We wear clothes that are slimming or accentuate certain features, blow-dry and style our hair, wear makeup and pluck our eyebrows. Who are we to judge someone for changing the way they look. We're all guilty of it in varying different degrees.

Maybe we should spend as much time teaching our young to be accepting of others, and less time criticizing each other.


Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Reasons My Kids Are A**holes

My kids are assholes.

There. I said it. God, it feels good to get that off my chest! I'm sure no one else knows what I mean. I'm sure your kids aren't assholes. Now, don't get me wrong, I adore them all, it I'm sure Ted Bundy's mother loved him, too.

Sometimes I look around at my five (yes, I said five) and think, what the hell am I doing here? This isn't my life! I drift off to a place where I can sleep in as late as I want, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I can watch whatever I want without worrying if it is "appropriate". I can go lunching with friends, travel, go to concerts and late-night dinner parties without having to find a babysitter. I can leave the house the first time I get in the car, not the 26th time after I remember something else I need for the kids while we're out. I can say fuck as often as I want without having to change it to fudge as it escapes my lips.

And then the baby screams "NO" at me again and I'm suddenly jolted awake and back to reality.

1) They're always hungry. With a minimum of three out of my five kids in the house at any given time, there is always one that wants feeding. They never want to eat at the same time. Ten minutes after two of them have finished their cereal, another wants eggs. Then ten minutes later, the first two want eggs "because their cereal didn't fill them up". Assholes.


2) They won't voluntarily help each other. I swear, I have never met a bunch of children more unwilling to help each other. One of them will step over a sock belonging to her sister and walk all the way into the living room just to tell her that there is a sock of hers on the floor. God forbid she just pick the sock up and put it in the laundry hamper. I am convinced this is a snowball effect, and I keep trying to explain this to them. How many times do I have to tell them that if they would all start helping each other out, it will be contagious and they'll all get along so much better! Assholes.

3) They won't stop growing. I just bought one of the girls a new pair of sneakers two months ago. She's worn them four times at the most. Now they are too small for her and I have to buy her new ones. Their feet keep getting bigger, their legs keep getting longer, their clothes and shoes keep getting smaller (along with my bank account). Assholes.


 4) They ignore each other. The boy could ask one of the girls a question and I'll hear him all the way from the other room, yet the girl won't answer. She will 100% ignore him. I know she heard him because she is sitting 2 feet away from him and I can hear him from 30 feet away, through a wall. He'll repeat himself three times before I finally get up and go in there. As soon as the girl sees me she looks at him with wide eyes and says "huh? What did you say?" Nice try, sweet cheeks, you're not fooling anyone. Assholes.


5) They are constantly in competition with each other. I am the first to say a little healthy competition is good for anyone. It can help someone strive to be a little bit better at whatever it is they're doing. What I will never understand is why they compete over who was first to finish their chicken wings; who the baby looked at first when she woke up from her nap; how many times they blink in a minute. My personal favorite is competing over who knows more words to a song on the radio. Without fail, a song will come on in the car and two of them will ask the others if they know the words to it. Then they will all proceed to sing as loud as they can, only they mumble half of the words but then get mad when someone says they don't know the song. Assholes.


6) They complain about everything. My husband has two kids form his first marriage, I have two from my first marriage and we have one child together. We have our weekend schedule set so we have all five of them on the same weekends. My stepdaughters live three hours away so that is the only time we see them, other than during holidays. Because of that, we like to schedule fun things to do with them on the weekends they are all with us. Take this weekend, for example. We decided to take them to the local pumpkin festival. We've done it every year for the past five. Yesterday, we were walking from the car to the festival and they were already complaining that their feet hurt, they were too hot, the grass was poking their feet through their shoes, they were thirsty...you name it, they complained. Had we decided to stay home and not go anywhere, they would have complained that they were bored. Someone always has an arm that hurts, or a bug bite that itches, or a growing pain in their pinky toe. Complaints. Constantly. Assholes.


7) They get off on scaring the crap out of me. Really, any chance they can get. They jump out from behind the corner when I'm walking down the hallway. The boy waits until I am right up to his face in the morning when I try to gently wake him up and he suddenly flips over and yells "aaaarrgrgrggggghhhhhh!" Like some sort of demented pirate. Or my personal favorite, when they leave things like giant spiders and mini alligators in random places. Assholes.


So there you have it. My kids are assholes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Whose Boobs Are They, Anyway?

I was holding the 14-month-old when she simultaneously looked at me and squeezed my right boob.

"What are you doing?" I asked. She grinned and did it again.

"Please don't squeeze my boob." I said. I was met with her inquisitive "what do you mean, yours?" look.

I put her down with her toys and my mind wandered.

Are they mine?

I've had boyfriends refer to them as "theirs". I've had 3 babies claim them as their own while breastfeeding.

They certainly don't look like mine. My boobs are perky C-cups that sit where they're supposed under my tube-top, without the aid of a bra. I cupped my breasts through my t-shirt and pushed them up; they still didn't look right. I used to be able to go bra-less all the time but wouldn't dare now, at least not out of the house, with nipples that point down to the ground like a dog who's nursed one-to-many pups.


My best friend and I used to take our bras off and wave them out the sunroof as we drove past truckers. They would honk, wave, smile, give us the thumbs-up, and they never actually saw anything. It was the idea that we were driving around bra-less that drove them crazy!

I went to Mardis Gras one year and came home with more beads than anyone would know what to do with. I even got a string of $15 blinking palm trees for free for flashing the street vendor. He could have bought lunch with that $15, but he took a 10 second flash of boob instead. I'm amazed at the power of the boob, able to keep a child alive and bring a man to his knees. There should be more female world-leaders so we could stamp out hunger and negotiate world-peace by wearing a tight shirt.

I'm fascinated by the mixed reactions we get over bewbies. Saunter around on the beach with little more than a Hershey's Kiss-sized triangle of material covering the nipples and everyone is tripping over themselves, wiping drool off their chins. Try to discretely nurse your baby under a cover and get kicked out of the restaurant/store/bowling alley you're in.

Turn on any TV channel, open any fashion magazine or walk through any mall and you are going to see boobs plastered all over the place, and not discreetly. Funny thing is, they aren’t being advertised for what they were intended for - nourishing offspring. They’re in underwear, bathing suits or covered only with the model’s own arm.


Who gives anyone the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with MY body? If I want to wear a low cut top with cleavage spilling out, so be it. If I want to breastfeed my child in public, so be it. Why does curmudgeonly old pervert or "Sally Stick-Up-Her-Ass" get to decide what is appropriate? Who decided that nursing a baby in public is “disgusting” or “off putting”? Who the hell gets off telling a woman she has to feed her baby in a public restroom? Fuck you. I didn’t ask you to take your steak into the can and I can see more of your wife’s tits in that dress she’s wearing than you will see of mine feeding my child.



Isn't it about time we stop shaming women for the choices they make, whether it is breastfeeding or wearing revealing clothes? I allowed myself to second guess my right to breastfeed in public because I was making others "uncomfortable". I shouldn't have. After all, they are MY boobs.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Secret Subject Swap - Dreams


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.


Secret Subject Swap

The subject I was given is: "Describe one of your strangest dreams and find a life lesson out of the hogwash." It was submitted by: http://www.crumpetsandbollocks.com

dream 

noun, often attributive \ˈdrēm\
: a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep

When I first read my topic for this month's Secret Subject Swap, I was all: "Say what? This is hard! How the heck am I going to narrow it down to one of my whacked out dreams?" So I'm not going to limit it to one, I'm going to tell you about four weird-ass dreams I have had.

I've had many strange dreams during the course of my life. Some of them include: not being able to get bubble gum out of my mouth; the feeling that I'm falling; being chased and I can't scream; pushing a baby around in a stroller in heavy traffic. I decided I would tackle finding out what each of those dreams represents and maybe learn a little about myself along the way.

The bubble gum dream is 
a reoccurring dream I have had since high school. In this dream, I am chewing gum and decide I don't want any more. I try to take it out of my mouth but I can't get it all. It gets stuck around my teeth and I feel like I'm pulling strings of it from the back of my throat, strands of Big League Chew. Not matter how much I pull, it just keeps coming. I start getting panicky, like I can't breathe, and I eventually wake up. I never get all the gum out. 



When I was looking into what this could mean, I came across this description: "Dreaming of chewing gum that grows out of proportion and even though you take it out, it still continues to happen, can be seen as you having to censor your words. The act of chewing can relate to your attempt to say things in a way where others can swallow them (accept them). Yet, the gum grows and that signifies that there are many things unsaid (that are getting out of proportion). The gum being in your mouth and increasing in size can also signify an obstruction that you're dealing with. Since we eat and talk with our mouths, the obstruction can relate to you expressing yourself freely as well as your livelihood being threatened (food is sustenance and if your mouth is filled with gum, you can't take in food)."

This makes a lot of sense to me. I have never been confrontational, in fact, if anything I have been more of a people pleaser. I find it easier to go with the flow than to try and fight the current. I have been somewhat hesitant to be open and honest with regards to my childhood and some of the things I remember. I would rather skirt around the issues and pretend they didn't happen than risk the wrath of the people they involved. The part about censoring my words and not expressing myself freely makes total sense here. I suppose, if I want to stop having dreams that I'm choking on gum, I should confront the issues that I've been suppressing all these years. (Easier said than done.)


Another dream I have had more than once is the dream that I am falling. In one article I read, the falling dream means that "something in your life — finances, a relationship, career, etc. — is rapidly going in the wrong direction. It means it is time to redirect the situation immediately! Falling dreams are also common for people who suffer from depression." Suddenly it is all becoming so clear! My life always seems to be disorderly in one way or another; finances are constantly up and down and I've certainly had my fair share of screwy relationships! I also come from a family with a history of depression and battle with it myself. I can definitely see how that out of control feeling of falling and helplessness goes hand-in-hand with things that may be seem unmanageable in my life. Lesson learned: get my shit together.




The third dream I looked into is one where I'm being chased and, no matter how hard I try, I can not scream. My mouth is open and I am screaming as loud as possible, only it comes out as more of a whisper, or like I have a cold and lost my voice. According to what I read, "feelings like anxiety, anger, hatred and jealousy could trigger chase dreams. In essence you are running away rather than confronting an issue...You are trying to avoid an unpleasant situation, something that you are not ready to confront..." and dreams where you scream but no sound comes out may be a sign that "you are unable to speak up and defend yourself in this particular waking life situation." 



I suffer from anxiety and I know there have been times when I have been angry, jealous or felt hatred for one reason or another. I can't pinpoint exactly what triggered this dream, it seems like it could be anything. Not being able to scream really makes sense with how it ties into my inability to speak up about things. If I could just figure out what it is that I should be speaking up about. (Maybe it's that childhood stuff again.)

The final dream I researched I have only had once and I remember exactly when I had it, unlike the others. I dreamt I was walking down a busy street, pushing a baby in a stroller. Traffic zooming past me, left and right. No matter where I turned, I couldn't get out of it. This article states that "babies can symbolize a literal desire to produce offspring, or your own vulnerability or need to feel loved. They can also signify a new start." At the time I had this dream I had just met the man who would later become my first husband and father to two of my children. We hadn't known each other long but we were already talking about me moving from Tallahassee to Jacksonville to be with him (new beginning). 



I had recently broken up with a boyfriend who went all psycho on me at the end. We had gotten pregnant and we made the heart wrenching decision that a baby wasn't right for either of us at that point in our lives. After that, he became incredibly clingy and I felt like I couldn't breath. I was struggling myself, mourning our decision and riding a wretched wave of guilt and regret. When I broke it off with him he would leave horrible, hurtful messages on my home phone and I would end up having to turn my cell phone off because he wouldn't stop calling it. It was a tough time for both of us but the hurtful things he said really left me feeling totally unloved and vulnerable. I believe the baby dream represented a combination of the new start that had presented itself to me, the desire I had within to have a baby with the right person and at the right time, and also wanting to feel loved after being so badly hurt.

What did I learn from all this? I need to be more outspoken and stand up for myself and things I believe in. I need to take control of my life, be it finances, relationships or my depression and anxiety and not allow myself to be intimidated into keeping quiet. 

Should be easy enough...


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Shaving Fiasco of 1986

Day two of the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge has us reminiscing on our school days. I was going to write about my kids first day of school, but then I remembered The Shaving Fiasco of 1986, and decided to share that instead.

I will start by saying that this story didn't take place on the first day of school, but it was early on in the school year and it is basically my only memory of the one year I spent there. I was seven-years-old, in second grade, I guess. I was one of those little girls who had a lot of hair on her legs. It was blonde, but it was there and apparently more noticeable than I thought.


I was attending Holy Cross Lutheran School in North Miami. I'm not really sure why, as we weren't Lutheran. We didn't even go to church. I just googled the school and found some pretty interesting statistics: it is a private school serving 300 students, grades K-8 and it is situated in an inner city neighborhood; it has a 7% White student ethnicity rate. I have no idea if the neighborhood was considered "inner city" when I was there. I know my parents didn't have much money at the time. They were divorced and I lived with my mother and younger brother, and spent every other weekend with our dad. These stats have nothing to do with my story, I just found them interesting.

I remember sitting in chapel one morning wearing my new jean skirt. If you remember the 1980's, denim was all the rage, so that was a pretty big deal. Even bigger were banana clips, I was definitely wearing one of those. I heard a couple of kids giggling but wasn't sure why. As we were walking back to class, a little boy, I can't remember his name, starting making fun of me calling me a gorilla because of the hair on my legs. I was mortified! There I was, seven-years-old, thinking I looked like hot shit, and some little ass wipe was making fun of the hair on m legs. I wanted to hide under my desk the rest of the day, or stretch my awesome new skirt down to the floor to cover my monkey legs.

Ahh, the acid wash, denim skirt. 
Every girl HAD to have one!

No wardrobe was complete without 
the mother of all hair accessories;
the banana clip!

That night I was in the bath and I spotted my mother's razor on the edge of the tub. It dawned on me that I could shave my legs! It was perfect, no more monkey legs, no more ass wipe making fun of me. So I did it. I was very carful and went really slowly, dragging the blades up my shin and over my knee. I didn't cut myself, at least not that I can remember. Feeling very proud, I stepped out of the tub and pulled out the drain. As I stood there drying off, I noticed all the hair clinging to the side of the bath. I started rinsing it off, not wanting my mother to know what I had done. Oh my god! My mother was going to be furious!

What was I going to do now? My mother was sure to notice my sleek, smooth legs the moment I stepped out of the bathroom. I looked around and found the biggest towel I could and wrapped it around me. It went down to my ankles. Phew! I walked out of the bathroom and into my bedroom. My mother was sitting on the couch talking on the phone. When I got to my room I realized I didn't have anything long enough to cover my legs. Jeans were out as it was Miami, and hot, not to mention I was supposed to be getting ready for bed.

I went out to the living room and asked if I could borrow a pair of my mother's leggings because, 1980's. She said yes as she eyed me curiously. It was the towel, I knew it. she was growing suspicious. I scurried into her room, almost tripping over the towel, and dug around in her drawer. All of a sudden I heard her say:

"I'll call you back in a few minutes."

Oh no! She's coming! I have to get these leggings on!

As I turned around I saw my mother standing there, watching me.

"I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the truth." She said.
"Um, okay."
I replied.
"Did you shave your legs?"
"What? Shave my legs? Psh...no, why would I do that?"
"Tell me the truth, did you shave your legs?"
"No! I didn't! I don't even know how!"
"I'm only going to ask you one more time, did you shave your legs?"


I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my cheeks getting more and more flushed by the second. All I a sudden I burst into tears.

"WAAAAAAA!! YES! I DID!" I managed to choke out between sobs. When I told her why, she was understanding, but I was in big trouble for lying.

I think I was around twelve-years-old before I shaved my legs again. By that time I was at boarding school in England and we lived in Spain with my stepdad and his kids. When my mother found out, I had been doing it for so long, she couldn't really say anything.

I wish I could say I learned some great lesson about not listening to what other people say, or not lying to my parents, but I didn't. I went to school the next day, even more aware of my legs because I knew that kid was going to notice the hair was gone. He still called me a hairy legged gorilla, but after some time he got bored of that and turned his attention on to someone else.

When my daughter was seven, she was in the shower when I heard a bloodcurdling scream. I ran in to see her holding her thumb. Turns out she was curious about my razor but cut herself before she had a chance to try and shave anything.

My daughter is nine-years-old now and still asks me, from time to time, if "grown up girls have to shave their legs."

To which I reply:

"You don't have to do anything you'r not comfortable with, and don't let anyone try and tell you differently. Ever."

Do you have any embarrassing school stories?

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Favorite Things About Fall

When I came across the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge I thought it would be a perfect way to try and get back into the swing of things after my hiatus. I am desperately searching for my mojo but I'm not having much luck. My muse is silent. However you want to say it, I can't get inspired. Maybe writing a quick, prompted post each day will get me back into it.

Today we have two prompts about fall.

1) What are some of the activities you love to do in the fall? and 2) What are some of the traditions you have for the three months before winter hits?

I'm combining my answers otherwise this would end up being one long, repetitive post!  I love fall, or maybe I should say I love the idea of fall. Living in Florida there isn't much of a seasonal change. We have summer with a couple of cool spells thrown in between November and February.

Every year the family and I go to a local fall festival. It runs for a couple of weeks and is filled with all sorts of food and arts and craft vendors. Hello artery clogging, fried yumminess! There is a circus show, live music, frog tossing contest, maze; you name it, it's probably there. They also combine it with the Annual Buddy Walk for Downs Syndrome. For three years running we were part of a team with two families who we worked with who both have daughters with Downs Syndrome. We all got together and raised money for this great event and walked a mile around the festival grounds. Afterwards we spent a few hours enjoying the festival. Unfortunately both families moved away early last year so we thought we would check out a different festival. It was not good! I'm excited to head back to the original one and eat some corn dogs, or kettle corn or elephant ears, listen to some music and watch the kids bouncing around on the bounce houses!

I love baking during the fall. I won a cupcake baking contest at my old job by making pumpkin spiced cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, decorated with a candy corn pumpkin on top. It was a strategic move. There were other, more fancy cupcakes, but I knew the pumpkin spice would win as it was leading up to Thanksgiving and was the right time of year for it. But then again, I am obsessed with pumpkin everything...lattes and creamer; candles and air fresheners; PIES! I could go on, but I w'll spare you.


Another activity I love during the fall is doing arts and crafts with the kids. One year we made pilgrim masks and wreaths made out of paper leaves with all the things the kids were thankful for. (Luckily I made the list!) Last year we made ghosts in a jar for Halloween decorations. Which reminds me, I need hubs to get up in the attic and bring down the decorations.

"Ghosts in a Jar" decorations the kids and I made last year.

Speaking of decorations, I love decorating the house for fall. I've already been contemplating bringing out the Halloween stuff, but I'm trying to hold out for October 1. September just seems too early for spiders, witches and ghosts. After Halloween comes the Thanksgiving-themed decorations. I have a scarecrow family who lives outside our front door, stuck in hay bales. Last year I got to add another member who is now 19-months. Of course, as soon as the Turkey-Day decorations come down, it is time for the Christmas decorations. That is by far my favorite time of year! The lights, the music, the gift-giving. Love!

My list wouldn't be complete without mentioning FOOTBALL!! I am a huge Florida State Seminoles fan and basically live the whole rest of the year in anticipation of football season. I am also a Miami Dolphins fan along with the hubs, my dad and my father-in-law. There's something about sitting around on Saturday night and Sunday watching the games. Obviously the FSU vs UF game is the highlight of the season and that is always played a couple days after Thanksgiving. Hubs and his immediate family are big Gators fans, so its always fun to talk a little smack and get release our competitive selves.

Last year we dressed the baby in her "House Divided" outfit
for the FSU vs. UF game.

Last but not least is Thanksgiving. It's about more than just the the decorations and football. Thanksgiving is my second favorite meal of the year (a close second to our traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve dinner). Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it all. The most important part, though, is being with family and giving thanks for all the blessings in my life. Hubs and I have finally, after five years, managed to get all our kids on the same schedule. (We each have two from previous marriages.) I'm excited to have them all together with their baby sister so we can share the day together.

For me, the only thing that could make fall better would be if the weather was cool and the palm fronds changed colors.

What are some of your favorite things about fall?


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blogity-Blog Tour

When the lovely It's Why You Like Me was looking for volunteers to join in on this little blog tour she was taking, I thought: "why not? I mean, it's not like I have 5 kids, 2 dogs and a husband to take care of. I could use a little more to fill my day."

So, here we are. The idea is to give you a peek into my home, family and projects and then answer four questions about my blog/blogging process. Here goes nothing...

My husband and I each brought two children into the marriage and had one together. We have 10-year-old twin girls, a 9-year-old girl, and 8-year-old boy and a 19-month-old girl. We were both married before, I affectionately refer to them as our "practice marriages". I look at it kind of like writing. There is always a rough draft to every story, our previous marriages were our rough drafts. Hubs and I met at work. His brother was my boss, though I didn't realize that when we met initially, but that a whole other blog post.

What projects do I have going on right now? Well, other than running kids around between school, Tae Kwon Do, Soccer and Girl Scouts, I am doing some work as Project Manager for a friend's website design company. It is only a few hours a week right now but the hope is that that will continue to increase as time goes on.

I am trying to get my Jamberry Nails business off the ground which consists of trying to network and sucker people into get people to host in-home and Facebook parties. (In all seriousness I absolutely love Jamberry wraps. They are totally fun and affordable and I don't have to wait for my nails to dry while trying to wrangle five kids!)

A few of my JAMicures. Bottom right picture 
is of my three daughters' hands.

Hubs and I are also in the process of trying to paint the inside of our house. I tackled the kid/guest bathroom a couple of weeks ago and hubs is painting the kitchen as we speak.

This is the bathroom, obviously from the toilet.
We changed it from a light pee-yellow to Chinese Jade.

This is a corner of the kitchen leading into the dining room. We're
changing it from "light pee-yellow" to SilkyWhite. On the left is
the remnants of some artwork my daughter left for me when she
was about three-years-old. I'm sort of sad it is gone.

I am also planning a baby shower for a friend of mine next month. (This has somewhat fast-tracked the urgency of painting the inside of our house.) It is my first time planning a baby shower and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I'm in the process of making a diaper cake - another first for me.

Obviously I still have quite a way to go with this
but you can see where its headed. Hopefully.

Now on to the blog-specific questions.

1) What am I working on?

I'm glad you asked. Currently I am working on myself and I'm trying to get back into the swing of blogging. I took roughly four months off as I was struggling with some personal issues. Namely anxiety. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown for a while there, and questioned my sanity. More than usual. I disconnected from social media and my blog and tried to focus on me. This included spending time with my therapist (who helped me through the end of my practice marriage) as well as the help from some anti-anxiety meds. I'm happy to report things are better, though not back to "normal". I honestly couldn't have done it without the support of my hubs.

2) How does my work differ from those in my genre?

I have a genre? I guess I'm considered a "mommy blogger" as most of what I write about, or Facebook about, involves my kids, or kids in general. Sometimes I write about more peronal things, like the time I got my first Brazilian bikini wax. I'm not really sure how much my work differs from other mommy bloggers, except that I am no professional writer. I don't write for money, I have no aspirations of becoming the next big thing or writing a best seller. I write to get shit off my chest. I write because I enjoy it. I was not an English major, in fact, I didn't even graduate from college. I think I have a pretty good handle on the basics of grammar and the English language as a whole, but I'm far from perfect. I'm long winded, I use cliches and I put commas and hyphens in all the wrong places. But that's okay. I have never claimed to be a great writer, I'm just someone who writes. A lot of the other bloggers I know have dreams of being published. While that would be amazeballs, it isn't on my bucket list.

3) Why do I write/create what I do?

As I mentioned above, I write as an outlet, a way to vent or to share.

4) How does my writing creative process work?

I don't have a process, per se. Something pops into my mind or up on my newsfeed and inspires me to write about it. It could be anything from why I think color coordinated Easter egg hunts are ridiculous  to my family's experience with lice. I take out my iPad mini or sit at the computer and I start to type. Sometimes I can bang something out in less than a day, sometimes I go back to it for weeks. If I try to force something, it doesn't work. My topic has to be either something that inspires me in some way or a prompt, like More than Cheese and Beer's Sunday Confessions. I wish I could tell you I have some highly ritualistic process, but I can't.

So there you have it. Pretty freaking interesting, I know you are all riveted to learn these great details about me. Now let me introduce you to two other lovely ladies who graciously volunteered to keep this blog tour going.


First up is Samantha Rodman, aka Dr. Psych Mom. When she isn't running races or taking care of her three kids under 5, She blogs at Dr. Psych Mom about psychology, parenting, relationships, sex, and sometimes, The Bachelor. She invites you to write in with your questions about relationships or parenting, and also to apply for her Functional Couple Fridays, where she e-interviews regular couples making marriage work (http://www.drpsychmom.com/submit/). Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @DrPsychMom.



Three interesting facts about Dr. Psych Mom:

1) I was the 7th best speller in the US in 6th grade.

2) I went to the same highschool as Marisa Tomei and the same college as Julia Stiles. (That's pretty cool!)

3) My favorite state is Nebraska and I've visited it twice.


My second victim volunteer is the lovely Karen from One Valium at a Time. Karen blogs about life's highs & lows as they come; one at a time (or 5mg at a time, whatever works). She's also been spotted hanging around at places such as Facebook and Twitter.



                        


Three interesting fact about Karen:

1) I have three grown children and three grandchildren, two of which I'm raising. It's complicated and exhausting, but that's what family's do. We pick up the messes our children leave behind...I mean love and care for one another, right? "Round Two", ding, ding, ding! (Wow, you have your hands full! Your kids are lucky to have you!)

2) I'm a Registered Nurse. I've cared for the elder to newborns and every age in between. My first love is Neonatal Intensive Care, but after many years and several hospitals (aka...can't keep a job); I even did travel nursing for a year, I'm now working for a Home Care Agency caring for chronically ill children.

3) I was in an abusive relationship for 15 years. It ended 20 years ago in divorce. It ended again a year ago in death. His passing threw me into full blown PTSD. That's when I started blogging, to empty my head of all the ugliness I held in for so long.

So there you have it. Make sure you stop by Samantha and Karen's blogs and social media sites to show them some love.