Disaster, Thy Name Is Me

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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.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Did you ever put your foot in your mouth and then instead of pulling it out, put it in deeper? Were you able to ‘fix’ it or was the situation a complete disaster?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

I know everyone who actually knows me and just read my secret subject got a very good laugh.  I know I chuckled.  I mean, if putting your foot in your mouth was an Olympic sport, I’d be gold medaling all over the place.  I’m the Simone Biles of awkward foot eating.

Where to even begin.

For those of you who don’t know me well or personally, I’ll start with an introduction of sorts.  I am actually extremely shy and introverted.  My spirit animal is probably a hermit crab.  If I didn’t have to interact, I probably wouldn’t.  I’m better over social media than in person as a general rule.  I always feel awkward.  I suffer from chronic verbal diarrhea.  It’s horrible.  I’m worse around other women and specifically mom’s.  I feel more comfortable with men, but usually am still super awkward or say super inappropriate things.  I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, which would be fine by me honestly.

I revert to self-deprecation and humor in hopes of covering up my extreme social awkwardness and foot gorging behavior, but sometimes that really just makes everything worse.  My poor husband…  I feel like he follows me around with a pooper scooper, just shoveling and cleaning up the social disaster that is his wife.  I think if he could muzzle me at times he would, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.  I mean, I tease and say he finds these qualities of mine, endearing or even lovable, but I’m mostly trying to convince myself.  I’ve always felt I was the counter balance to his more taciturn and serious demeanor.  I’m the Lucy to his Ricky. The Jerry (Seinfeld) to his George.  The Pooh to his Piglet. The Jerry (Lewis) to his Dean.  Okay…maybe not.  But you understand what I’m trying to convey.  Hopefully.

As I mentioned, I feel the most awkward when talking to other women, especially other mother’s.  I don’t know why, probably insecurity.  I feel that if they spend too long talking to me they will see what a fraud I am and how I totally don’t have this motherhood thing down and I’m completely faking it 99% of the time.  I feel as a general rule that everyone is doing the whole parenting thing way better than me, and being complimented on my parenting makes me extremely uncomfortable and I often resort to making embarrassing comments or inappropriate jokes.  I can’t really think of specific examples, I feel as if in parts my entire life is a series of blooper reels on repeat and in slow motion being regurgitated for the entire world to mock.  I know it seems ridiculous, I have great kids, why shouldn’t I get some of the credit, but honestly I really think they are awesome in spite of my parenting skills or lack thereof.

My biggest problem, the way I see it, is that I perpetually feel like a 14 year old girl on the inside.  That mechanism people have that stops them from saying certain things in front of certain people, yeah I think mine is defective or broken.  I say a little prayer or mantra if you will before going anywhere that usually goes something like this:

Please don’t let me say anything stupid today.  Don’t let me forget to make eye contact and smile.  Not a crazy I’m probably going to boil a pet bunny on your stove later kinda smile, just a normal, nice how are you smile.  Don’t bring up sex, poop or private body parts.  Instead of thinking ahead of a witty comeback, actually listen to the person speaking to you, like really listen.  Do: If someone attempts a hug, just hug them back and be grateful they want to love on you. Don’t: If someone attempts a hug, launch into a 5 minute diatribe on how uncomfortable and awkward hugging makes you feel ending in a rather maniacal laugh and claiming you have to run to the loo (I never say loo except in my head because it sounds more sophisticated) because you haven’t pooped in 3 days. Just BE normal.  Be kind.  Be nice.  Again, because it needs repeating, BE NORMAL.  Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe. You got this girl!

For example, over Thanksgiving, I met my husband at work for the staff luncheon.  He works in a church.  At the beginning, we get in this huge line, and everyone holds hands, to pray before we feast.  I’m not a big fan of touching, unless it’s my husband or kids, so I was pretty proud of the fact that I picked the end of the line and only had to hold my husband’s hand, avoiding any potential awkwardness.  At some point, I realize everyone is looking at me and then pointedly looking over to the left of me.  I’m confused.  I offer up a blank stare, then I look to my left and realize, our line is supposed to be a circle.  The other end of this line that I have to bridge to make the circle is our Senior Pastor, essentially, my husband’s boss.  I thought I only groaned and said “oh no” in my head, but no… I voiced this objection with my out loud speaking voice.  Everyone chuckled,  out of awkwardness I’m sure, and I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  It’s not that I didn’t want to hold his hand, I’m just not a fan of hand holding in general.  What if my palms were sweaty, or unusually dry and had I even washed my hands, had he?  I’m pretty sure I licked my finger like 2 seconds ago, will he notice? I picked my ear earlier, I mean personally preferable over a nose pick but still…and not with the same ear picking finger.  I don’t think.  I’m pretty sure it was a different finger.  I think my hands are sweaty now.  Did I really just say no?  Why do I leave the house? WHY? He probably doesn’t even remember this incident, but it’s haunted my mortifying nightmares for weeks.  If I haven’t felt stupid in a day, it’s probably only because I haven’t left the house and talked to anyone.

The other thing I do when I’m nervous or talking to people I don’t know that well, or even people I do know well is that I ramble…or babble incoherently, however you want to phrase it.  This is especially true with someone that I really want to like me or someone I want to impress.  You should hear me in job interviews…oh the horror.  I get nervous and worry about not sounding intelligent or witty so I just open my mouth and holy highway of verbal vomit someone please stop me I can’t help myself make it stop punch me in the face right now please.  I probably need to be medicated.  For reals.  You are now probably thinking, omg she’s NOT medicated?!?!?  Nope.  I’m not.  I’m free-ballin’ this crazy thing called life 😀

I’ve always used humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  It’s hard for me to relax in social situations so I’m pretty much guaranteed to use my foot as an all day sucker.  I have to work really hard to appear more extraverted than I actually am.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  My hope is that people will in general find me endearing and humorous and spend the majority of the time laughing with me and not at me.  I hope they understand my heart is usually in the right place and I never intentionally mean to offend.  It’s much easier for me to share and be open in the social media arena than it is in one on one situations.  I’ll post pics of my weight loss journey all over Facebook and Instagram, but when I see someone who liked or commented on my photo, my inner 14 year old girl is screaming “OMG THEY SAW ME IN A SPORTS BRA AND YOGA PANTS WITH MY BACK FAT HANGING OVER AND MY BOOBS SWINGING LOW AND SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT!!!!”  RUN!  HIDE!  DO NOT ENGAGE!  WARNING!

I’m not sure I did a great job of answering my secret subject this week, but I’ll wrap up by saying, I’m basically a walking social disaster, but I hope you’ll love me anyway ❤

And pray for my husband.

Especially that.  I’m exhausting.

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday!

xoxo

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver      http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                  http://thelieberfamily.com

Confessions of a part time working mom    http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                     http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                     http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                     http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Wedding Bells Are A Ringin’

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.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

Tell us about your wedding . . . or the last wedding you attended.

It was submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

My first thought when I read my “Secret Subject” was which one?  I’ve had 2 weddings.  Awkward.  I briefly entertained the idea of sharing the juicy details of my super secret wedding to Adam Levine, but the restraining order prenup forbids it.

I’m just happy Adam is back to looking like his sexy self.  Impending fatherhood does his body good.

Anyway, I digress.  Weddings.  I don’t remember the last one I attended, so I guess I’ll talk about mine, both of them.  They couldn’t have been more different, just like the men I chose as grooms.

Tom AND Jerry.

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Not made up names.  My ex and current husband carry the same names as the cartoon I grew up watching.  I snicker every time I inadvertently use both their names in the same sentence.

I was barely 21 when I married the first time, and we were engaged for a very long 18 months.  I was obsessed with weddings in general.  Even as a child, I was transfixed by the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  I loved books, movies and tv shows about weddings.  I couldn’t get enough, my whole life I dreamed of what that day would be like. I watched Father of the Bride, the one with Steve Martin, probably a million and one times before my Christmas wedding in ’92.  They used to have these wedding shows on the TLC network (I have no idea if they still do), and I watched them religiously.  I loved hearing the engagement stories and watching as they planned their dream weddings.  I could have stayed in the engagement period forever.  I wanted a very traditional wedding.  I wanted to feel like a princess on my very special day.  My family didn’t belong to a particular church but my groom-to-be was Catholic.  Ironically, I wanted to get married in the church I belong to now, but none of us were members at the time, so we couldn’t.  The very same church where I would meet, hubby #2.  We ended up getting married in the Catholic church that my groom grew up attending.  Not my first, second or even third choice but I made the best of it. An omen?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I knew I wanted to get married during the festive season.  My bridesmaids dresses were dark green, poinsettia’s everywhere.  Since I didn’t grow up Catholic, didn’t know anyone who was Catholic, I was unaware that purple was the liturgical color of Advent.  Purple.  Very Violet.  Also means penance, humility and melancholy.  I should have done my research…this was clearly an omen.  Not a good one.

Most of the wedding was a complete blur.  I don’t remember the food, the music or the people.  I do have one distinct memory.  I remember after we were pronounced man and wife, I heard catcalls and whistling coming from the back of the church.  It made me smile.  My new sister-in-law, my favorite of his 5 siblings, and probably one of the very few on his side of the family truly happy at our blessed union.  She would go on to die tragically in a car accident less than a year later.  I think of her often, and her memory always brings a smile to my face.  She did more for me than she’ll ever know.  I think she would have been sad that we didn’t make it for the long haul.  She was definitely our biggest cheerleader, at least as far as I knew.  She always made me feel like a part of the family anyway.  She was a life-force, and I still miss her.  I wish my girls could have known her.

The other thing I remember is the priest who married us.  He shattered all my stereotypes of what a priest would be like, act like.  I don’t know what I thought exactly, but the Father that greeted us for our pre-marriage counseling sessions, smoking a cigarette and telling inappropriate jokes and hilarious stories, was nothing I would ever have expected.  I instantly fell in love with him.  I heard from many people after the wedding, that he gave one of the best ceremony “sermons” they’d ever heard.  He took the time to get to know us, and his message and words definitely reflected that knowledge and insight.  I was very sad to learn that he passed away recently.

I remember my dress and permed hair.  Mostly, I remember how skinny I was and I remember thinking I wasn’t skinny at the time.  My future fat self should go back in time and slap that stupid skinny girl silly.

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See all that Christmas greenery clashing with the purple/violet…sigh.  Or are you distracted by that sexy perm and ginormous bow on my behind?

I don’t understand why my girls don’t want to wear this dress for their own weddings…it’s a mystery.  That shiny satin.  The puffy shoulders.  All that beading and lace.  Timeless is the word.  Am I right or am I right?  I know, right.

Anyway, things didn’t work out how I planned.  My life took a million different turns, each more unexpected than the next.  I wouldn’t change any of it, because it finally brought me my soulmate and partner for life (cause I’m not getting divorced again, so he’ll literally have to die to get out of it – a fact I remind him daily).

My second wedding was a much smaller affair, only family.  My parents had a beautiful backyard, a place where I loved spending time, so I knew immediately I wanted to get married there.  While it lacked the fanfare, pomp and circumstance of my first wedding, I remember almost every detail like it happened yesterday.  I couldn’t wait to make this particular man my husband.  There are certainly days when I need to call on the emotions of that day, remember all the reasons I fell in love with him and merged our two families.  I knew that my life would never be the same.

Our wedding day was sweet, romantic and full of promise.  We were surrounded by the people who loved us most, especially our three beautiful girls.  It was a warm, sunny, fragrant and beautiful day in May.  Even though I remember every detail and emotion I felt on that day, we frequently forget the actual day itself.  One year, I had to pull out our marriage certificate to confirm our anniversary.  We often go half the day thru before we realize, “oh hey, it’s our anniversary today!”  We also struggle to remember how many years it’s been.  I choose to see that as a good thing.

67 percent of 2nd marriages end in divorce.  Those aren’t good odds.  Blending two families is extremely hard work.  There are certainly moments when I wanted to throw in the towel.  No one dreams of their second wedding.  I married the first time intending it to be forever.  Forever didn’t work out so well, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’ve been judged rather harshly by some for being divorced but no one was harder on me than I was on myself.  I felt like a failure.  I felt quite strongly that I had let my girls down, let my family down, let myself down.  It’s not a subject I like to talk about or share.  It’s something I’ve carried with a certain degree of shame and embarrassment.

But on that day in May, all I felt was hope.  I felt loved, protected and cherished.  I knew the road would be bumpy, challenging and would at times feel insurmountable, but with that man at my side, I felt like we could conquer the world, overcome every obstacle life would throw at us.  I was excited.  Invigorated with purpose and direction.  He continues to challenge me, encourage me and inspire me.  I love him more each day, even the bad days when he drives me crazy and I want to punch him in the throat.  It would be a loving punch.  So much LOVE packed into that punch. So. Much. Love.

I wanted to punch him this morning, but lower than the throat this time.  Lucky for him, I was writing this blog and being forced to remember all the reasons I married him.  It probably saved his life. Seriously.

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My babies!  Where has the time gone.

I love this family so much (including you man-child).  In the time honored words of Tom Cruise…

They complete me.

This reminds me…we need an updated family photo.

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:

Baking In A Tornado

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Lieber Family

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

All Good Things…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Use Your Words

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

barren ~ forget ~ calamity ~ sovereign ~ smooth ~ lofty

They were submitted by: http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

I think I have mentioned once or twice, in passing, about my obsession love affair with Adam Levine. He’s inspired many blog posts over the years.

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Oh goodness, we had some really good times together.  In the day to day bustle of life, it’s easy to forget how true was our love, however imaginary brief it might have been. I’ve boxed away those treasured times in the annals of my heart’s desires, the memories too painful to revisit upon daily reflection. Our love was true.  Our parting, oh sweet parting, was the greatest calamity of our time. The love affair to end all other love affairs smashed upon the rocky shores of circumstance. The tidal wave of memories washing over me, bittersweet.

It’s difficult to fathom that he would willingly give up all this…

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For this…

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To each their own I suppose…

Our love a barren landscape now, stripped of the beautiful purity and divine emotion it once held sovereign. 

Our love defined the lofty expectations of the loveless and forgotten. A light to behold in the window of the heart, a beacon to all who gaze upon it, nevermore. Lost.  Adrift in the sea of bitterness and betrayal. Gone forever. Like the awesome twitter account I deleted in a fit of pique, that Adam never followed, even after months and months of campaigning, begging, pleading…but that’s beside the point. Or not the point rather. I’m not sure of the point, now that I think on it… Points are overrated.

For the record, Adam looked like this in the midst of our whirlwind love affair –

But with she-who-must-not-be-named, he has turned into this –

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DR. EVIL! I wonder if it’s smooth or stubbly…

AND this –

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SHE HAS RUINED HIM!

I can’t even…

I have no words… (’cause I used all 6 already, not that I’m braggin’)

I’m sorry I can barely even type, my eyes drawn to the horror that is that blonde monstrosity sticking up all over his head. He seems to be having trouble finding himself these days, could it be…dare I say it, because he is truly lost without me? I suppose we shall never know.

Oh Adam… As the saying goes, “all good things…” and all that. We must end the madness of our longing, that which will never be again.  The season has passed on our great love, and it’s time we both move forward, forging new paths, however…blonde or bald.

You have to let me go.  Choices have been made, promises given. I will forever treasure our time together, however brief. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be your faithful stalker follower on The Voice, cheering you on to success.

Just remember, any children you have with she-who-shall-not-be-named will never be as precious or beautiful as our own children would have been…

It’s with tears in my eyes, that I bid you…

ADIEU ❤

(I’m keeping the t-shirt though, and I might still occasionally wear it to bed and hug myself tight…)

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“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!” Audrey Hepburn

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

 

http://bakinginatornado.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Luckiest Girl Alive

“Marriage is the highest state of friendship. If happy, it lessens our cares by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our pleasures by mutual participation.” Samuel Richardson

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.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

When I received my prompt, I was so relieved.  Whew!  An easy one! The day I met my husband is definitely the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

All week, I’ve been writing this blog post in my head.  That’s how I do it.  I compose a general outline in my head before committing my ideas to paper.  It was going to be epic!

A beautiful tribute…

The love story to end all love stories!

Except today, I’m pissed at him. Like really angry. Suddenly, I’m not feeling so lucky. My feelings have been hurt. My brain is filled with all the things I find annoying and aggravating about him.

I tried prayer:

“Dear God,

I’m having a hard time loving my husband today. He’s a jerk. I mean really, don’t you see this, I mean you created him.  I’m not blaming you per se…but I mean… No, no I’m sorry God, this is not how I meant for this prayer to go. I’m struggling today. I need some divine wisdom, a calming touch, a deep breath.  Actually, you probably just need to hold me back from punching him in the face. ‘Cause THAT would feel good! I mean, it would feel terrible. Obviously, I don’t really mean that.  Except that you can see into my heart and you know that I actually do mean that exactly. I’m a terrible person.  An awful wife. Who thinks like this, I’m not a violent person. See what he does to me! I’m just really angry, and I need some help putting things into perspective.  Remind me why I love him? What?  You can’t think of anything either can you? Why so quiet?! Thank you for the beautiful weather today by the way. I opened the windows and usually that calms me, but today all I see is dog hair swirling around in the breezes. I should go vacuum. I don’t feel like this little talk is helping. No offense.  I’m sure you’re trying.  It’s me, not you. I want to be angry. It’s fueling my indignation.

We’ll try again later.  

Sorry.  

Amen.

P.S. You agree I’m right and he’s wrong though, right? Just checking…”

I went back through my workbook from a Bible Study on forgiveness I took, hoping and praying for inspiration. Everything I read just makes me more angry, because I quite strongly believe that I’m the injured party here.  My big offense was waking up this morning! Sorry my BREATHING angered you honey, tell me how I can make it up to you please?!?! Ugh!

Adam Levine never treated me like this when we were pretend married.

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Round and round I go. A vicious circle, never-ending. I tried meditation.  I took a long walk. Still angry. I indulged in a very Gone With The Wind moment, standing in my front lawn, shaking my fist at the sky. I felt very dignified, but I probably just looked deranged to any onlookers.

I wonder how many calories anger burns?

Oh goodness, he’s trying to call me right now.  I’m not going to answer, that’ll show him.  OMG he’s calling again. I’m ignoring you!  How does it feel?!?  Hmmmmm?

Now he’s texting me.  Sigh.

“Hello??” he says.

The nerve.

I remember when I first met my husband.  Our complicated history is not something I talk about very openly.

I had two concerns about dating him:

  1. he’s short
  2. he’s “churchboy” (my nickname for him)

I could probably best be described as agnostic when we met, which coincidentally happened to be at church.

I was a single mother. My divorce had been extremely difficult on me, both financially and emotionally.  I had 2 little girls and everything I’d ever dreamed or wanted for them (and for myself) had been shattered.  I was desperate for connection.  I was lonely. I didn’t have any family close by and any friends I kept from the divorce were single and interested in single-life pursuits, not changing diapers and wiping noses.

I remember giving my girls a bath and I just started crying.  It had been a rough day. An exceptionally rough day, and I just couldn’t pretend to be happy and cheerful in that one moment. I was watching them giggle and play and I just felt overwhelming sadness. This isn’t how my life was supposed to work out.  This was not the plan. In the blink of an eye, I found myself overcome with feelings of grief and guilt. I gazed upon their little blonde heads and felt with absolute certainty that I had ruined their lives forever. I should have done more, said more, been more…

My baby daughter looks up at me, with her big blue eyes, touches my arm and says: “It’s okay mommy, God loves you.”

The next Sunday, we got dressed up and went to church.

Where I met, “churchboy.”

I remember the first outing I attended with the church singles group was a family camping trip. We were all sitting down to dinner, and my future husband starts pulling out all of this tupperware, which he hands to the cutest little girl ever. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her. She was wearing overalls and sporting the most adorable braided pigtails adorned with girlie clips. She was 6 months older than my youngest and 2 years younger than my oldest. She looked so much like her daddy and boy did she adore him. In this tupperware, he had packed some chicken breast and asparagus tips…honestly, who packs asparagus tips to go camping! I suddenly felt the need to hide my bag of Cheetos and PB&J sandwiches.

He had a hole in his shirt though, which I found endearing.

Blending a family is no easy task. We experienced more than our fair share of challenges.

He was everything I never even knew I wanted or needed.

We dodged obstacle after obstacle, hurdle after hurdle. We somehow met each challenge, not always with dignity or grace. We each made terrible missteps, huge mistakes. We each carried pain from our previous relationships. We wore our grudges like armor, our fear like a mask. Our children needed to make adjustments. Sacrifices were necessary on all sides. On the outside looking in, we were a wildly successful blended family, hardly anyone even knew we’d both been married previously or that the girls weren’t all biological sisters.  The truth was ugly.  We were a hot mess. Battle lines were drawn daily.  His and hers. There were days I felt the rifts were as wide, if not wider, than the Grand Canyon, infinitely deep. Wounds barely had time to scab over before we were ripping them open again. We lashed out. We struggled. We fought. We questioned daily our decisions, our marriage, this idea that we thought we could ever make it all work.

Yet, we were both committed to doing exactly that, making it all work.  Somehow it did, it has. He’s my best friend. As mad at him as I am in this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing and I still believe with my whole heart that meeting him was the best and luckiest thing that has and will ever happen to me. We did struggle, but we also loved, laughed, hoped, dreamed and vowed to never give up.  We knew we had something special, something worth fighting for, no matter what.

Our faith journey has been rocky. We haven’t always stayed on the same page, I veered off the beaten track more than once. He remained steadfast and true in his belief, in his patience in the face of my doubts and fears. He never made me feel stupid or inadequate. My faith, or lack thereof, didn’t scare him. He loved me and he believed in me and he knew I would work it out and he’d made the decision to walk beside me as I navigated thru the twisty confusion my uncertainty and unbelief created in my heart and mind. He prayed for me. I envied his strength and convictions. I still do.

As it turns out, finding my faith was the easy part.  Living it out on a daily basis, now that’s hard. I wonder if God ever wants to punch me in the face? Probably. Sometimes I want to punch me in the face.

My feelings are still hurt, but now I’m also feeling nostalgic.  And dare I say it…loving.  Ugh!  It’s true, I’m thinking warm and gooey thoughts about the man whose head I wanted to rip off a moment ago. I mean, I’d still punch him, but maybe just on the shoulder…all affectionate-like. Ish.

He’s not perfect, but neither am I.

He is my best friend. He’s my person.

He changed my life. Meeting him, loving him, marrying him was the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you God. Thank you for bringing us together. Thank you for creating something beautiful out of the ruins of our mutual divorces and the inevitable fallout. Thank you for placing him into my life at the perfect moment. Thank you for blessing me, loving me, forgiving me. Thank you for opening my heart.

My cup indeed overflows.

Amen.

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“Marriage – a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.” Beverley Nichols

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

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Feel The Burn

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Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 12 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on the links at the bottom of my post for a peek into some other homes.

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“Having a little girl has been like following an old treasure map with the important paths torn away.” – Heather Gudenkauf

One of my most popular and most read posts of all time recounts the night my daughter’s vagina fell out.  You can read it here.  Crazy times. Every time my daughter calls me with some physical ailment or another, we measure it on the “vagina falling out” scale.  God love her, but she can be a tad dramatic.  I don’t know where she gets it.  Like AT ALL.  One time, she got a boil from an ingrown hair and was convinced she had ebola.  Dr. Google is her physician and he’s always presenting her with worst case scenarios.  I keep telling her to quit asking him.

One day a short while ago, this same daughter and I were taking our daily walk with her new puppy and I notice she’s kinda walking funny.  I’m torn between ignoring it and asking her about it.  I just never know what she will say.  She has a tendency to overshare.  On the one hand, I’m thrilled that she trusts me enough to talk to me, really talk to me, about anything and everything.  On the other hand, there are some topics I would be happy to avoid…forever.  I watch her continue to kinda waddle along until I can’t stand it anymore and I ask her.  I should have kept my mouth shut.  When will I learn.

Apparently, she’d had a rough day a couple of days ago.  This guy she’s dating had come over to her apartment to hang out, and when he arrived, she’d been crying.  Naturally, he asked her what was wrong, and she proceeded to sob all over him, recounting her tale of woe.  Basically, if it could have gone wrong, it did.  It was one of those days where a thousand tiny things go wrong, and you just get overwhelmed by it all and want the day to end.  Taken individually, none of these things were a big deal, but piled up on top of one another…well, sometimes you just need a good cry.  He patted her on the back, listened and then offered to make her tea.

Feeling slightly better, she accepted.  Tea sounded comforting and perfect for the situation.  She gave him a watery smile in appreciation of his thoughtfulness.  One moment, she’s cradling the cup in her lap waiting for it to cool, the next moment she’s accidentally dumping the entire boiling hot contents in her lap.  She jumps up screaming hysterically, ripping her yoga pants off.  Her date just sitting there on the couch in stunned silence.  I’m looking at her horrified as she tells me this.  She looks over at me and says “Oh, and did I mention, it’s also that time of the month?”  Oh no.

me:  “So you stripped down naked? Like…completely? With him just sitting there?”

daughter:  “Mom!  I dumped scalding hot water all over the crotch of my yoga pants.  I just wanted them off, panties and all.  I don’t think he noticed the pad though, you know with all the screaming, I’m pretty sure he was panicking and not really paying attention.  I hope so anyway. I kept my shirt on though.”

me:  “omg, well are you okay? I can’t believe you didn’t call me.”

daughter: “What could you have done?  Yeah, I’m okay, I mean I have burns all over my vagina, and it hurts to wear clothes, or walk, or sit…or do anything really. But I am walking better today at least.  I was walking really bowlegged at work, and now it’s more of a slight waddle. Like a pregnancy waddle.”

me:  shaking my head

daughter:  “Yeah so I ran into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, it was excruciating, I couldn’t think what to do.”  Her date brings her an ice pack.  “Yeah it was kinda awkward, him helping me hold the ice pack to my crotch, because I’m shaking so bad.”

me:  there are no words.

daughter:  “I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly how he imagined seeing me naked for the first time.”

me:  I’m speechless.

daughter:  “Really I’m fine.  Don’t worry.”

me:  “You and your vagina are going to be the death of me.”

daughter:  “Mom, don’t be dramatic.”

me:  “You know I’m going to write about this right?”

daughter:  “yeah, I figured.”

me:  “I’m taking that as approval.”

daughter:  sighs.

A week later, she breaks her hand.  Sigh.

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Man-child turned 10 last month.  His birthday was on a Thursday, so we decided we’d let him skip school that Friday.  He was super pumped.  On the following Monday, I put a note in his folder.  I might have fibbed.  A little.  I mean he did have a big piece of birthday cake.  A stomach ache wasn’t exactly a lie.  Exactly.  Ish.  I pick him up from school and ask him if he gave the note to his teacher.

Man-child: “Yeah I gave it to her.  I told her you lied though.”

me:  “WHAT?!?!”

man-child:  “Well, mom…come on, she wasn’t buying the tummy ache.  She knew.  And you didn’t raise me to be a liar did you?”

me:  stumped.

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My son left his iPod on the coffee table in front of me, and I notice his screensaver.

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Then my husband sends me this requesting I buy it for him:

Hello

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meet

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I used to worry that my husband and I wouldn’t have anything to talk about when our kids had all flown the nest.

husband:  “I find that I poop before the gym and then I need to go again when I get to the gym.”

me:  “How is that even possible?  Are you cutting it off before you’re finished?”

husband:  “No, I feel done when I’m done.  I’m not holding it back, it’s just like after moving around a bit more, I’ve jogged some more loose.”

me:  “I’m happy if I go once a day. I need to drink more water.”

husband:  “I can’t imagine going less than 4 or 5 times a day.”

me: “Well, you eat a tic tac and you have to poop it out.  Do you have an eating disorder?  Do you weigh your poop?”

husband:  “Is that a thing?”

me:  “Well, I saw it on a criminal minds episode once.  A girl with an eating disorder kept a food diary with her poop measurements.  So I guess so.”

husband:  “huh. The more you know…”

Clearly, my fears were unfounded.

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Man-child and I love to spend our weekend nights playing with the filter on Snapchat.  We really know how to live it up. If you’re wondering what my husband is doing during this funfest…he’s tilted back in his favorite chair, eyes closed, mouth open, gently snoring.  He’ll grunt occasionally during our antics, letting us know he’s annoyed by all the laughter.  Sometimes he’ll ask when we are going to bed? I’m not going to bed at 7pm, I don’t care how annoyed he gets.  Be jealous.  Here are some of our favorite outtakes:

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MC (man-child) Kardashian

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I’ll leave you with this horror show 😛

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

Buzz around these houses next:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://www.juiceboxconfession.com

http://www.menopausalmom.com/

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://www.gomamao.com

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Please, Don’t Pass The Chocolate…

“Today is Valentine’s Day, or as men like to call it, Extortion Day.” Jay Leno

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that my husband and I don’t really “do” Valentine’s Day.  We usually get something for the kids, a small box of chocolates or an inexpensive gift.  As a rule, I love any excuse to holiday and buy gifts.  Valentine’s Day is just not a holiday I’ve ever been able to get behind or support.  Truth be told, it kinda makes me rage.

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So why am I writing a blog post about it?  Good question.  Call me a masochist I suppose (I’ve been binge watching Criminal Minds, and as a result have found myself interjecting profiling terms in every day conversation…I caught myself using narcissistic the other day, and no, I wasn’t talking about my husband 😉 ).

Today’s post is a part of a series from “Blog With Friends”, which is a collaborative effort.  Each month, a group of bloggers publish a project based upon a specific theme or idea.  The projects are diverse, special and unique to each blogger, every month is different. The theme for February is Romance.  You can find the links to the other bloggers and their projects listed at end of this post.

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Initially, I wanted to write a book review.  Reading is a major hobby of mine, but I had a difficult time finding the “perfect” book and then worried that even if I found it, I wouldn’t have enough time to read it.

I was running out of time.

I’m not particularly crafty.  I can’t cook or bake.  I can’t even sew on a button.  But as I mentioned before, I do like to holiday and buy gifts.  An idea was born…  Gifts!  Gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, specifically non-food related.  I can do this!

If you’ve read previous blog posts, then you know that I have lost almost 80 pounds and looking to lose about 70 more pounds.  Holidays and times of celebration are difficult for me because they usually center around food.  Valentine’s Day is certainly no exception.

Here are some fun Valentine’s Day facts for you (courtesy of stvalentinesday.org):

  • More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day each year
  • Approximately 8 billion candy hearts will be produced
  • On average, men spend $130 each on candy, cards, flowers, dates and jewelry.  That is more than double what women spend.
  • About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year, 2nd only to Christmas
  • Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given each year (most will be imported from South America)

Between Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day, I would venture to guess that most New Year Resolutions are broken or severed, nothing but a mere memory until next December 31st.

Speaking of broke, at this point, we are still recovering from Christmas. The thought of spending an average of $130 per person on gifts for Valentine’s Day just seems ridiculous to me.  Personally, I think there are a thousand FREE ways to show someone you love them throughout the year, and will probably mean much more to your significant other than a box of chocolates or a dozen red roses on a big business designed and fabricated holiday.

However, I promised non-food gift ideas, so non-food gift ideas you shall receive.  I did not say they would be good ideas though, so reader beware.

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According to the History Channel, Valentine’s Day may attribute its beginning roots to the Pagan Festival “Lupercalia”.  During this fertility festival, goats would be sacrificed (along with dogs for purification) by the priests.  The hides of the goats were made into strips and dipped in blood.  These bloody goat hide strips would be taken to the streets and used to gently slap women.  The women of this time believed that the touch of the goat hides would make them more fertile in the coming year.

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I wouldn’t recommend slapping your significant other with bloody goat hide strips but there are several organizations, like heifer.org where you could gift a goat in the name of your beloved, these donations help feed children, empower women and families or provide goods and services, like medical supplies or education.  The gift would have historical significance and practical application, a gift that truly keeps on giving.  Not as romantic perhaps as having a star named after you, but the impact such a gift makes on the lives of others is worthy of consideration.

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Charles, the Duke of Orleans, wrote a poem to his wife in 1415 while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  It’s credited with being the 1st hand written valentine.  I think love letters or poems make excellent gifts.  I wouldn’t model the poem Charles wrote for his wife, it was a bit dark and melancholy, might not quite set the romantic tone, I mean he was imprisoned at the time.  There is no cost to this gift idea.  It’s a great way to celebrate all the things you love, respect and admire about your beloved and a gift they will keep forever, passing down to future generations, a time capsule of your relationship. There are some very famous love letters if you need inspiration:

  • Napoleon to Josephine
  • Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor
  • Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning
  • Beethoven to his Immortal Beloved
  • Winston Churchill to Clementine
  • Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas
  • Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash
  • Abigail Adams to John Adams
  • Gerald Ford to Betty Ford

Just to name a few…

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It is considered lucky to be woken on Valentine’s Day with a kiss.  You could surprise your beloved with a day of pampering.  His/her massages and/or pedicures.  Fill a bathtub with coconut oil and drops of lavender, light some candles, play some music.  Use this day to remind you both that relationships must be intentionally cultivated.  Set aside time for quiet togetherness, reading or watching a movie you’ve both wanted to see.  Play a game.  Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are shared.  Shared experiences create memories which last a lifetime.

You could make a video valentine for your love, like this one:

Screams romance doesn’t it?  Or something…  Seriously though, I love those Snapchat filters, they provide hours of entertainment for me.  I’m not sure my husband would agree though…

You could explore how other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Use their traditions or customs to make your own.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean romantic love, you could include kids, family and/or friends.

My motto this year is “The Family That Works Out Together, Stays Together.”  There are St. Valentines themed races in almost every major city, spend the day as a family walking/running a 5k or a 10k if you’re feeling ambitious.  Take a walk or hike, explore nature.  Ice skating is a fun family activity if nature is still hidden under snow in your neck of the woods. Check out local events in your area, most cities have plenty of weekend ideas and activities for the whole family, friends and couples.  Many museums have Valentine’s Day themed art exhibits.  Many of these events are offered free of charge to the general public.

My favorite products are the ones you can buy that benefit charities, for example:

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  • MiiR BPA free water bottles – $1 from every bottle purchased provides one person in need with clean drinking water for one year.
  • UNICEF Market sells a variety of gifts, clothing, jewelry and more to benefit children in need.
  • Stone & Cloth sells totes, backpacks, iPad cases and journals supporting education for children living in impoverished conditions.
  • Shopping For A Change is a global marketplace that benefits the artisans themselves, mostly women from economically disadvantaged regions.
  • Peacekeeper Cause-Metics donates all distributable profits to women’s rights and health issues.
  • Kiehl’s gives back to local communities and charities that fund HIV/AIDS education and research, well-being of children and environmental stewardship.

There are so many philanthropic companies out there producing and selling a variety of products, home goods and services, I can’t possibly list them all here.  With a little research, I’m sure the perfect gift could be found with the added benefit of helping others.

Being thoughtful and romantic doesn’t have to cost money, and I don’t know about you, but it’s usually the gifts my kids and husband made for me that are the most memorable and treasured.

If Valentine’s Day is something you celebrate and gifts are expected, be creative, be thoughtful, be romantic.  Decide what those aspects mean to you and your significant other and plan accordingly.  Roses, candy and a card might be traditional and customary, but this year try and think outside the box (of chocolates), really think about what your significant other would enjoy.  Maybe it’s as simple as a clean house, a quiet day or an extra hour of sleep.  Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show your beloved that you pay attention, that you listen and whatever you decide to do or give should reflect that knowledge and awareness.

DISCLAIMER FOR MEN:  Just because she says she wants to work out more, doesn’t mean you go out and buy her a fitbit or gym membership, unless she EXPRESSLY asks for it.  Don’t buy her a mop because you noticed the other one is ratty and torn.  Don’t buy her kitchenware unless she specifically requested such an item.  These examples are NOT the kind of knowledge and awareness I’m talking about.  If all else fails, call in reinforcements and ask for help.   Or it could be a very dark and melancholy Valentine’s Day indeed.

DISCLAIMER FOR WOMEN:  Just kidding, we don’t need disclaimers 😛

I tried to keep my ideas gender neutral, applicable to both men and women.  This is probably the worst gift guide ever but hopefully I inspired at least some of you, if not inspired then perhaps you learned something you didn’t know before.

“If you only have one smile in you give it to the people you love.” Maya Angelou

Hug someone you love today ❤

The theme is romance, enjoy my other blogger friends and their individual projects.

Baking In A Tornado

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Someone Else’s Genius

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Spatulas On Parade

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The Lieber Family

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Cluttered Genius

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Home on Deranged

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Fun Is My Middle Name! Or not…

My third buzzword for 2016 is

FUN 🍾🎉

FUN 🍾🎉

and more

FUN 🍾🎉

When I shared this goal with my husband, he had three thoughts:

  1. a stripper pole in the bedroom
  2. more gym time
  3. his/her tattoos

As appalling tempting as those ideas sound, that’s not exactly where I was going with this idea. Although, I do think my husband would rock the g-string and pasties.  If you actually know my husband, then you’re welcome for that visual 😛

It’s difficult to find time to vacation with my husband’s schedule.  We’d love to take more family vacations and romantic couple getaways.  Family vacations are difficult financially with four kids, and then trying to find a block of time we can all go is virtually impossible.  Our 3 girls work full-time, go to college full-time, I’m lucky if I see them more than once per week, forget a full-fledged vacation!  Couple vacations are more manageable financially, but we can’t just leave our 10 year old son behind, not to mention our dogs, and for the reasons listed above we don’t want to burden our girls with this added responsibility, they already do so much.  Extended family isn’t really an option for us either for many reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to romanticize our vacations.  During the planning phase, my visions of family vacation time are Instagram and FaceBook post worthy.  My kids all get along, my husband and I don’t argue, everything goes smoothly and according to plan.  We are the poster children for family fun, togetherness and happiness.  People will want to be us.  They will envy my planning skills, covet our shared photos. 

The reality is usually far different.  For example, the time my husband took off the side of our dodgy RV with a gas station pump.  Or when man-child’s penis got caught in the netting of his swim trunks causing him to cry during the entire walk from the beach to our rented house, every step excruciating pain, not being able to communicate the problem and being yelled at for crying and carrying on.  It’s with fondness that I recall the time my oldest daughter ate the side of a mountain with her face on our first ski trip, and sported a nasty black eye for the remainder of the trip.  Or the time my husband played chicken with a semi-truck in our dodgy RV.  Ah, that RV…such memories. We look back and laugh at these stories now, or at least most of them, but they don’t exactly live up to my expectations.  Our family trips bonded us (tested us) in ways different than we expected. However, I wouldn’t trade one memory or experience, the good, the bad or the ugly.  

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The Dodgy RV

We’ve learned, out of necessity, to rock the staycation.  The six of us have fun just hanging together, playing games, watching movies, eating, drinking and general merriment.  Despite the fact that we haven’t seen much of the world, we’ve done a good job of instilling a sort of wanderlust in our children.  They love to travel, are open to new adventures and places.  Sometimes the best adventures happen in your own backyard.

 The bottom line is that fun is what you make of it.

Honestly, who needs a romantic getaway when you can send your husband sexy videos like this in the middle of his work day.

 

He couldn’t get away home fast enough 😉

Anyway, there is so much in our home state, even our local cities, that we haven’t yet experienced.  Our fun goal for 2016 is to do a better job of exploring the great state of Texas.  It’s practically it’s own country, or so the locals like to say 🙂  

Given my fitness goals for this year, I also wanted to find a way to incorporate exercise into our daily life.  I think 5k’s are great way to do this.  We can train as a family, and some of them are really fun!  Our German Shepherd loves being with all of us.  I thought scheduling scenic hikes with her and the whole family, little day trips, would be fun.  I’m not a huge fan of camping, but I’m willing to give it another try.  Maybe. Possibly. I’ll put it on the list…at the bottom.

In the next few months, our youngest daughter will be moving out (insert sobbing emoji here) and it will just be the three of us.  I’ll have even more time to pursue things I think are personally fun, like blogging, writing, reading and binge-watching television shows on Netflix. I am currently super addicted to Criminal Minds, eleven seasons all waiting for me!  I’m on season 2 and already an expert on profiling.  

My kindle is armed and ready.  

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My kindle queue changes all the time, and I’m always looking for suggestions.

What kinds of things do you do for fun?  What books are on your reading list this year?  Do you have any fun family vacations planned this year that I can envy from afar?  Romantic getaways with your significant other?  Please let me live vicariously through you, share ❤