Dear Pinterest, I hate your guts.

Um, you guys?  Let’s talk about all the reasons why I hate Pinterest.

  1.  It’s ruined kid birthday parties for all moms everywhere.  Gone are the days of throwing hot dogs in a crockpot and buying a yellow bag of lays and some Hi-C and letting the kids run around the backyard.  For both of my kids’ 1st birthdays, I did the whole Pinterest thing.  What did it get me?  A bill of like $600, 100 hours spent making crap on my Cricut, a baby who slept through almost the whole thing, and a lot of leftovers because no one wants to eat things like “Owl bet you love gummy bears!”
  2. I am a teacher, and I tried to use it for cute lesson ideas.  But, you know what?  Every time I find something I could actually use, I click it and either takes me to a) a page where I have to buy the damn thing, or b) a blog where I search for 45 minutes and still can’t find the thing I actually want.
  3. Workout videos RIGHT next to dessert recipes.  Need I say more?
  4. Flourless, sugarless, only-made-of-air desserts that are AMAZING OMG????  Um…not amazing at all.  You can’t fool me.
  5. Get fit in 7 minutes a day with these easy workouts?  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
  6. Halloween.  Halloween has been totally turned into a giant burning pit from Hell.  All I want to do is get a white sheet from a rummage sale, cut some eye-holes in it, and say my kid’s a ghost.  Um….have you seen what “ghosts” look like now?  You need $250 in supplies from Michaels and a blow torch to make it.
  7. Oh, wait, back to being a teacher.  Apparently, now at things like Open House, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and the last day of school, I’m supposed to make something cute that matches a saying.  I am “Bursting” with excitement for this year!  Here are some hard starburst that I dug out of my kid’s Halloween candy from last year!
  8. It puts so much pressure on you to do everything yourself.  Some of us REALLY should just buy the stuff.  Some of us just don’t do things the way everyone else wants us to.
  9. Pinterest projects keep you awake at night.  How, might you ask?  Well, here we go.  Last summer I had this brilliant idea that we should try to get to as many of the 50 states as we can as a family while we can travel.  So I wanted to buy this framed map thing with pins, but my husband was all, “Omg, we can make that.”  So, I ordered a map of the U.S. and he went about bought like trim or something from Home Depot and some cork board squares.  Oh, and double sided tape.                            Well, guess what?  It’s fallen and slid down behind my bed like 10 times.  And then.  And THEN!  Last night.  My husband’s out of the country, so I’m sleeping in here alone.  Suddenly, in the middle of the night I wake up.  I look at my phone and it is 2:30 a.m.  Why am I awake?  Did a kid cry?  Is there a burglar?  Wait…what’s that sound?  It sounds like….um, YEAH IT SOUNDS LIKE THE SOUND OF PLASTIC RIPPING OFF OF DOUBLE SIDED TAPE.  So, I try to fall back asleep, and I am dozing off when….oh, yes.  You guessed it.  THE WHOLE DARN THING FELL RIGHT ON MY FACE.

Here is where it should be:IMG_5965

And, where it is now, after I ninja chopped it off my face in the middle of the night.

img_5964.jpg

In closing, I, Christy, solemnly swear that I am DONE with Pinterest.  We are breaking up.  And I won’t be mad if you do, too!

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

There’s nothing like a wedding to make you reflect on your life, right?  (Or, maybe that’s just me and the rest of you are like, “Uh, weddings mean cake and free beer, yo!”)  This weekend I stood up for one of my best friends as she married the love of her life, and I’m telling you, I did NOT stop crying.

And, here’s a little secret. Mostly, I was crying of happiness.  But, sometimes I was crying because 1) I know I’ll never see my babies get married, and that sucks, and 2) I just absolutely adore this family, and I kinda sorta wish I was actually a part of it.

I have always wished I could be part of a big family, or even have a big family of my own.  I wanted lots of siblings, and a crazy uncle to do ridiculous things at Thanksgiving dinner for me to complain about.  My husband and I both have pretty small families, and we’re not really close with anyone except our tiny, nuclear family.  Holidays are usually just us and our tiny little group.

What’s hard as you grow into an adult with your own children is that you want them to know their family!  Our extended families have never even really met my kids, except through social media.  I think about my own mom, who makes sure to care for her cousins and aunts and great aunts and I think…my kids will never know them.  We don’t live close, and it’s not convenient, and there’s a myriad of other excuses I could give you, but really, none of us are trying too hard.

I think that many of you with big families are probably reading this and going, “Gurllll, you should be thankful you don’t have to put up with crazy Uncle Joe and his drunken monologues over a burnt turkey with my cousin’s racist boyfriend spewing insults.”  I totally get it.  Grass is always greener, right?

I do, however, know this big family.  And they humble me every. day.  I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who has so many loyal friends as this family.  They have taken me in, making me feel so special, and loved, and kind of like an honorary member.  Everyone I was introduced to over the weekend went like this, “This is Christy.  We love her.  You totally will, too,” and I was greeted with a GIANT, GENUINE hug.  Do you know the kind of hug I’m talking about?  The REAL hug.  A hug with meaning.  Where you can feel the love and acceptance coming right through it.

It was like this with everyone.  How does one family have so many friends who are so genuinely kind?  Well, they are genuinely kind.  They are fiercely loyal, and brave, and they so deserved this weekend of pure love and happiness.

Reflecting back on my own wedding, almost 11 years ago, now, it’s hard to think about some of the friendships and relationships that have been lost throughout the years.  I know that’s normal, and expected.  We grow and change.

But, mostly, it makes me think about the word family.  And you know what?  I have seen all the memes and read all the quotes about it, but I have finally decided that it’s totally true.  Family is MUCH more than just the people you are related to.  As we grow, we create our own families.  Our friends are also our family.  And I am so lucky-even though I wish for a closeness with my relatives that I don’t always have, I have family everywhere.

I think of my people.  The ones who have been here, by my side, through every sad or happy event.  Those who reach out to me over and over to make sure I’m ok.  How lucky am I?  I mean, come on!

 

I totally do have a big family.  It’s made up of all sorts of people I’ve dragged along with me as I navigate through life.  And sometimes we kind of grow apart, and back together, but we still grow.  And the pastor reminded me during his words that there is NO way we can stop the bad stuff from happening.  We just can’t.  But, we can make sure that we have people there to support us through it all.  Together, you can make it!

Like I always say.  We’ve got this, yo.  We’ve got this!

 

Buttons

Today, my 4-year old son pushed EVERY button that I have.  I swear, there are days when he is like a little tornado and he breaks or hits or spills or ruins EVERYTHING in his path. By dinnertime, my patience was completely gone.

And when my patience is gone?  Everything just gets worse.  So, instead of me saying, “Oh, that’s too bad that you spilled your milk again.  Please clean it up and now you can have water for the rest of dinner,” it turned into me yelling, “SERIOUSLY?  I swear all you did all day was make giant messes for me to clean up!  GO get a towel, right now!”

So, of course, instead of cleaning it up, he pounded his fist on the table and screamed, “EH!!!!” and gave me a look.

His sister looked up from her dinner plate and quipped, “Geeze, mom, it looks like E is not listening to you at ALL today.  Are you going to take his lego train away?”

Daggers.  DAGGERS in her direction.  HOW, oh how do kids get so sassy?

Then, of course, and I bet you can guess what I did next, I yelled, “I have had enough!  It’s time for a time out!”

You guys.  I don’t even use time outs.  I don’t even really think they work in the way that people use them.  I think a break from something or time away can work, but the way I was handling this was failing miserably.

2 minutes later, we were both sitting on the floor, hugging each other, and crying.

What I know:  my kids feed off my attitude, my demeanor, and my actions.  I also know that my son is very physical and busy and he spills and breaks things all the time and I know that he (almost always) doesn’t do it on purpose.  I know that I need to show him that I’m serious and show him that he can’t push me, but that I still respect him.

Right now, my husband is in another country, and he’s going to be gone for 3 weeks.  My anxiety is high, I’m not sleeping, and I don’t have another adult around to coach me (my husband and I coach each other or tag team when things get rough, so we don’t have things like this happen).

But, now I’m sitting here, feeling like I’m the worst mom on the planet and wondering how I was ever allowed to have kids.  I’m debating whether I should write out how I really feel, which is a failure.  A complete and utter failure.

A friend of mine once told me, “Be careful not to take too much credit for what your kids do that is great, because if you do, you’re also taking responsibility for their mess-ups.”  I totally loved that when I heard it, and I try to remind myself that only so much of what I do has anything to do with how they act.

But, then, there are days when all the parenting articles and books I’ve read and all my teaching experience just gets thrown out the window, and I’m sitting on the floor, hugging my kid and sobbing.

I would tell anyone else, “You are a GREAT mom!  We all mess up!  Go easy on yourself!” and I would mean it.

But, not for me.  For me, I think, “You suck so bad.  How can you do this again?  You’re going to ruin your kid for life and now he’s crying because you can’t even handle being a parent.”

I’m tired, tonight.  Weary.  Right now we’re watching our 3rd episode in a row of some terrible show on Netflix because we tried to do art and I got out all the paint supplies and my daughter painted her brother’s face and he threw his paint brush at her because he was mad.

Tomorrow will be a new day, though, and after they go to bed I’m going to watch 2 episodes of Scandal without anyone saying “MAMA!” and eat some chocolate, and attempt to get a good night’s sleep.

And tomorrow I will remember that although I’m not perfect, and although I mess up, my kids are going to be ok.  Maybe even great.

Just need to breathe-we’ve got this, you guys.  Whether your struggle is with your spouse or parents or children, just take a breath.  Give yourself a pep talk.

On we go.

 

Notes from a 24-Hour Trip

  1.  That whole thing where the kid asks, “Are we there yet?” over and over and over and over?  Yep, it’s legit.  NON-STOP.
  2. My children refuse to be convinced that their dad is ALSO in the car with them.  I’m telling you, I heard, “Hey, Mama?” 1,456,800 times in a 2.5 hour car ride.  At one point, one of them said, “Mom, why is Dad going on this trip, again?”  I swear.  Somebody should follow me with a camera to freeze my facial expressions.  I said, ever so calmly, “I don’t know.  Maybe you could ask your dad, who is sitting next to me.”  No, lie, I got:  “Mom, can you ask dad why he’s going on this trip?”  irritated.gif
  3. Swimming in a hotel pool….I mean, it’s just never fun.  Either other kids are acting a fool, or your own kids are being naughty, or you’re certain by the look on an adult’s face that they’re actually peeing in the pool.  Also, I have been reading/listening to WAY too much stuff about True Crime, because this morning, I saw this man with an approximately 12-year-old girl, and I was convinced he had kidnapped her and I spent the whole morning trying to make eye contact with her so she could let me know she needed help.  I’m just now realizing that they probably thought I was trying to kidnap her.  Huh.  Oops.
  4. Rest stops.  They make the perfect place for kidnapping.  And for my son to decide to throwback to his 2-year-old days and whip the stall door open while I’m in mid-wipe.  Awesome.
  5. Children’s Museums.  These are the places where I can see a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with how we’re raising children.  My kid can’t play because all the good toys are being used by the grown-ups.  My kid can’t get to the toy because the grown up is “helping” their child use the toy (i.e. doing it for them).  My kid takes a toy from someone else, or does a normal asshole kind of kid thing, and the parent wants to have a fight.  I mean, I want to let the kids work it out, but whatever.  Then someone’s kid does something to my kid and the adult apologizes to me 87,000 times and I’m like, uh, it’s totally fine.  Today I saw a grown man holding his 8 year old so he could slide down this hill thing.  UM LET THE KID FALL THAT IS HOW THEY LEARN.
  6. Diet Coke.  Girl, you know it’s true.  Ooh ooh oooohhh, I love youuuuuu.
  7. And….early bedtime tonight, yo.

 

Before and After

The thing is, I can’t put my finger exactly on when it happened. Was it after we lost the twins?  Or was it starting even before that?

If you’ve ever experienced a tragedy, you know that there’s often a very defining moment.  Your life is split into two:  Before and after.  But then, later on, the edges start to blur a little.  The fuzziness takes over and you can’t quite remember what you were like before compared to after.

Before the twins died, I don’t think I was anti-social.  I don’t remember preferring to stay home than see my friends.  I can’t recall feeling as awkward socially as I do now, or as worried about what people think of me.

Being funny has always kinda been my “thing.”  It’s how I cope, how I’ve always coped.  Growing up, I had a father who was always yelling at me. Calling me names until I cried, and when I cried, new names followed.  I was always on edge, waiting to accidentally do whatever the thing would be that would set him off.  I hid in my room a lot when I was little, and I read books.  So when I was around other people, I put on this act that I was the happiest person around.  I smiled and laughed and joked.

But then, as soon as I got my driver’s license, and a job, I was off.  I couldn’t wait to see my friends.  To get out and away!  I’ve never been a drinker-I’m still not-and my friends and I, we just watched movies and played mini-golf.  But I loved being with them.  There were 6 of us in high school, and we did everything together.

College was even more social for me.  My parents were going through a nasty divorce, and I was being threatened and guilt-tripped and so I did what I knew best-I became the funny, spontaneous girl who would laugh at anything and act silly and do whatever anyone wanted to do.  I had a friend, D, who was pretty much the most fun friend I’ve ever had, and he pushed me to do all sorts of random stuff (he kidnapped me once, blindfolded me, and drove me to St. Louis to Six Flags, lol.) that made me love life, even when I hurt.

I’ve always been really lucky in the friend area.  With a few exceptions, I’ve had a lot of loyal friends, always sticking by me when the shitty stuff happens, and helping me celebrate when the good stuff happens.

Even so, I’m totally anti-social now.  I make plans because they honestly sound fun, and then when the time comes to go, I panic.  I make excuses as to why I can’t go.  A few days before, I start trying to figure out how I can get out of the plans without looking like a bad friend or feeling like a liar.  My closest friends know that I have anxiety and that sometimes I just can’t do it.  It’s the in-between friends, the ones I want to get to know better, or the ones I’m hoping to show that I really do love them, that I worry about.  Do they think I’m a flake?  Do they think  I just had something better come along?

I’m such an open book in my life, because I find so much value in knowing that I am not alone, and so I figure someone else wants to know this, too. That I’m not the only one who experiences these issues and that I’m going to be ok.  But, for some reason, this one is hard for me to admit.  I feel like I’m….I don’t know, lazy, maybe?  Like I don’t want to be compared to someone who is afraid to leave their house to even go to the grocery store, but as I get older, I can totally see how easily that may happen to someone.

My husband is leaving the country next week and will be gone for 3 weeks.  My friends are all, “Tell us what you need!  We’ll help!  Let’s hang out!”  But once the time is actually here, I totally retreat.  I hide.  I do everything by myself because I don’t know how to do it any other way.

But, like I was saying before, I don’t exactly know when or how this happened.  Was it slow, or was it sudden?  Did I lose the twins and just decide I didn’t want to have social engagements again?  Everyone in my life knows not to call me-I won’t answer.  I’ll text you back, but I won’t answer the phone.  I used to spend hours on the phone, talking and laughing and sharing stories.  Now, when I feel it vibrate, I tense up, and stress out.  I mean, seriously.  Stressed out because my phone is ringing?

I’m working on it, though.  One thing I have learned about myself in the past few years is that I need time to myself.  I need time when no one, not even my lovely kids and amazing husband is talking to me or needing something from me.  For me, self care comes in the form of absolute quiet.  I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore when this started, or why, it just is.

My husband is great, and we have what I consider to be a pretty phenomenal relationship.  But, it took him a while to understand that I needed alone time and that it had nothing to do with him at all.  I’m sure it sounded bad, like, “Oh, hey, what I mostly need right now is for you to stay away from me.”  And even though you can say, “It’s not YOU I need to be away from, it’s that I need to ONLY be with me,” it’s a hard pill to swallow if you’re not familiar with anxiety. Thankfully, he understands now and supports me.

The thing about before and after, is that you don’t get a choice.  I can’t just wiggle my nose and be back to who I used to be. And, honestly, I don’t think I’d want to be that person anymore, even if I had the choice.  But, I also don’t have to accept everything about my “after.”  Life is all about change, and adapting to change.  Right now, I’m still figuring this all out.  How can I honor my needs and practice self-care, but not be a terrible friend/daughter/sister/mother?  It’s a balance, that’s for sure.

Have you changed in certain ways in your life?  What are you working on?  Whatever it is, you’ve got this, yo!

F-I-V-E

  1.  My 4-year-old baby got his tonsils out today.  I spent the whole morning weepy, worried about him.  The second he opened his eyes, he said, “Mama?  Where’s my wheelchair?  They said I’d get to wheel it myself, mama!”
  2. I have read 3 books in the last 3 days, and somehow or other, they are all about murder.  You guys.  That’s not smart!  My dreams?  Dude.  I can’t even.  Last night I couldn’t sleep because of the tonsil surgery and so I was having extra-extra whacked out dreams.  In one, I was walking through a swamp, and suddenly I noticed that Vicki from Real Housewives of Orange County was there (I am SO sorry if you do not know who she is-you should probably google her) and I was on my way to tell her I was glad she broke up with Brooks and then I realized she was trying to kill me.  Yep.
  3. Have you ever noticed that sometimes people really make themselves at home when they really shouldn’t?  This morning, I was sitting in the waiting room, with my mom, reading, when I watched this lady come in like a tornado.  She had like 4 bags, her purse, a small pizza in a box, and a Big Gulp.  Oh, did I mention this was outpatient surgery?  Anyway, she TOOK HER SHOES off, put her feet up on the love seat, opened her pizza box, took out a magazine, and then put her phone on SPEAKER and called a lady I have endearingly named the “Second Most Annoying Person on the Planet.”  She was SO LOUD and I had to look at the bottom of her feet and I just wanted to know if she really had someone in the outpatient surgery or if this is just where she comes to hang out.
  4. You should go watch the docu-series called “The Keepers” on Netflix
  5. After all these years, I still wish I were Kristi from The Baby-Sitter’s Club.  I would have SO rocked that presidency.  And I may have kicked Mary-Anne out, because, let’s face it, she liked boys more than she loved the BSC.

Give me your five!  What’s up with you?