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Just Me

Stop The Judging


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I consider myself a pretty upbeat person. I smile at strangers. I sing & dance around my office at work & I try to find joy even on the days that I am feeling somewhat joyless. I try to remain positive, but it is not always easy when you are surrounded by so much negativity. I hear it at work. I read it in the paper. I see it on my Facebook feed. Even things that are meant to be beautiful get torn down and turned into something ugly. Friends are judging friends. Strangers are putting down other strangers. I am not saying that I have not done my fair share of judging. I have. I am not an innocent. In this world where we are constantly scrutinized for everything we do, what if we all could just stop judging each other?

Stop judging…

The way we raise our children – Whether I am a working mother or a stay at home mom, whether I choose to nurse or use formula, whether I follow Dr. Sears’s method of parenting or Dr. Ferber, I am a mother. I do not love my daughter less because I do not raise my child the same way that you do. I am just different. I am flawed. I am imperfect. I will make mistakes & I will learn from them. I will teach my child, love her & guide her the best that I can. Let me. 

Our grammar – Recently, I read a beautiful article in the Huffington Post. The post broke my heart, not because it was a particularly sad, but because of the comments that followed it. One reader commented that they were unable to enjoy the article because of the grammatical errors that were in it. There was a handful more comments similar to this. I found it strange that these people were unable to respect the beautiful content in her words simply because she had a misplaced comma or two. What a shame! I know that I do not have perfect grammar. I am not a writer. I am just a mother with a lot that I want to share & say. If you can relate to my words, look at my message, not my grammar.

Our political beliefs – I respect the passion that many of you have for your beliefs, but with that passion often comes close-mindedness & name calling. You do not know everything about me just because I am associated with a certain political party. Be passionate & fight for what you believe in, but don’t look down on those that do not share in your opinion because that is all that it is, your opinion.

Our choice of entertainment – The music I listen to sucks. The shows that I watch are mindless & the books I read are garbage. Who cares? If you don’t like what I am reading, don’t read it.  There is a reason that musicians & writers cater to so many different genres. There are many different tastes out there. It doesn’t make me an idiot because I like Adam Sandler movies. I am not weird for not liking country. I am just me. Get over it and worry about something real.

Our appearance – You have heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We have heard it, but yet we tend not to look inside if we don’t like the outer shell. Our race, our weight or the uniform we wear does not tell our story, so don’t try to rewrite it with your preconceived notions. If you are ready to know the whole truth, open the book.

 

Why 40 Is Not The New 20

IMG_20150114_212921548_HDRSomething happened today. I went to the eye doctor. I have been having problems focusing on things directly in front of me lately, so I went to have some tests done. After a number of exams, the doctor informed me that I might want to start wearing reading glasses & that over the next year or two that I would probably need to wear them regularly. He went on to explain that this is common in women “my age”.

“My age”? Did I just hear him correctly? While it is no surprise that this mother hen is no longer a spring chicken, this still did give me a jolt of reality. It is true that I am getting older.

They say that 40 is the new 20, but I disagree & here is why.

At 20… I hoped & prayed not to get carded when I ordered a drink out. “Please, don’t ask for ID. Please don’t ask for ID.”
At 40…If I get asked for my license, I am so excited that I need to text everyone I ever met, update my Facebook status & Tweet about it after I finish doing a back flip.

At 20…I was called Miss
At 40..I am referred to as Ma’am like it is a dirty word.

At 20…My jeans were low rise & my breasts were up to my neck
At 40…My breasts are low rise & my jeans are up to my neck.

At 20…my nights out started at 10 o’clock.
At 40…my nights out end with me passed out on the couch by 10 o’clock with the Big Bang Theory playing in the background.

At 20…I slathered on a pound of make-up to try to cover a pin-head sized pimple & continued to try to block it with my hands all day.
At 40…I shamelessly display my crow’s feet, stretch marks, gray hairs & every other imperfection without blinking an eye.

At 20…I would drink all night & wake in the morning without a feeling hung-over.
At 40…I can wake up feeling hung-over when I haven’t had a drink in months.

At 20…My medicine cabinet held a few bottles of cheap nail polish & cosmetics.
At 40…It is filled with prescription medication & hemorrhoid cream.

At 20…A hot and sweaty night might mean that you had a good date.
At 40…It means your peri-menopausal.

At 20…You hope that you are never like your mother.
At 40…You realize you are your mother and proud of it.

100 Things That I am Thankful For

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Why is it that it takes the holidays for us to reflect on the things in our life that are most important? On New Year’s we resolve to better ourselves, on Valentine’s Day we show appreciation for our spouses & lovers and on Thanksgiving we give thanks for all of the gifts that god has given us. We should resolve to be better every day. We should celebrate our love & all of these gifts every second, but with the stresses of work, bills & daily life often we do forget. The holidays do offer a great nudge. This week is Thanksgiving. There are many things that I am grateful for but often take for granted. I challenged myself to make a list of 100 things, some are things that I cannot live without, some are the little things that make me smile, but all are things that make be thankful. These are not listed in any particular order.

1. My husband & daughter and my extended family

2. Life and health

3. A good-natured debate

4. Watching my daughter sleep

5. Low fat frozen yogurt

6. Weekends off

7. My memories

8. Sweatpants

9. Art

10. My daughter’s laughter

11. Owls

12. Changes of season

13. My mother-in-law

14. Spanx

15. Meditation

16. The money in my wallet

17. Beauty in unexpected places

18. Our travels

19. Chocolate

20. Inspiration

21. My sister

22. Color

23. Day dreams

24. Heated mattress pads

25. Inside jokes

26. Home movies

27. Forgiveness

28. Good friends that are always there

29. Books

30. Unsolicited compliments

31. Thunderstorms

32. ‘The Princess Bride’

33. Tears of happiness

34. Hugs

35. Upbeat people

36. Decaf coffee

37. Foot rubs

38. Singing when no ones listening

39. Raw honey

40. Our dog

41. All the I love yous

42. Old photographs

43. A good sneeze

44. The blogs that I follow & the ones that follow me

45. Peppermint Patties- Get the sensation

46. My mother visiting in my dreams

47. Pinterest

48. Central Air

49. Post-It notes

50. The Beatles

51. Water

52. My snooze button

53. Dance

54. Finding a solution to a problem

55. Bubble baths

56. The warmth of the sun

57. Cherry blossoms

58. Swiffer

59. Baby feet

60. Traditions

61. Drive through windows

62. “The Big Bang Theory” nerds

63. Naps

64. Movie quotes

65. Moments of silence

66. Kisses

67. Brie & jelly

68. Dimples

69. Anti-bacterial wipes

70. Netflix Streaming

71. Internet shopping

72. Sunsets

73. Family outings

74. That perfect little black dress

75. Herbal tea

76. Pearl jewelry

77. The sound of bagpipes

78. Respect

79. Moments of clarity

80. Snow Days

81. Looking up at the stars

82. Cuddling on the couch

83. Our home

84. Christmas Carols

85. The sounds & smell of the beach

86. Toe socks – Have you ever worn a pair? You would be thankful too.

87. A blank canvas

88. A quick-witted comeback

89. Girls’ nights out

90. Kindness of strangers

91. Nutella

92. The lessons I have learned from the mistakes I have made

93. Puns

94. Musicals

95. Vicks Vapor Rub

96. A lit fireplace on a cold night

97. Hair colorant

98. Over-sized sweaters

99. My glue gun

100. God for blessing me with all of these gifts

What are you most thankful for? Can you list 100 things that you are grateful for? I challenge you to post your list. Link back to me if you do so that I may see what makes you thankful.

Talking To The Angels

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It has often been said that children can see the angels among us. Our daughter has been surrounded by two very special angels her whole life. Sadly my mother and my husband’s father passed before ever getting the opportunity to meet their first grandchild. That did not stop us from introducing Mai to them at an early age. She wakes to their faces every morning. Their photos guard over her while she sleeps. She recognizes their pictures.

It has been many years since I lost my mother. My husband’s loss is fresher. The start of every football season sends my husband into a tailspin of emotions. Football was something that he shared with his father. I can remember the exchange of phone calls after plays. Sometimes they were screams of victory, other times they were filled with obscenities and anger about bad plays, poor calls and a plethora of other football related things that I know nothing about. Those calls are something that he misses.

My husband is in a football pool at a local Legion hall, one that his father had frequented in life. Every week he goes to play his picks for that week. Recently, he needed to take Mai with him. They went into the hall, made their choices and headed right back out the door. As they were leaving, Mai pointed behind them. “Look, it’s Grandpa Mike.” My husband stopped. “Where? Where do you see him?” “Right there.” she said, pointing back at the empty doorway again. There would be no reason for our daughter to make the connection between that building and her grandfather, but she did.

Last night as we were relaxing before bed, Mai began talking about her grandfather again. She was telling us a story about Grandpa Mike. I asked her “Do you talk to Grandpa Mike?” “Yes” she replied. “What does grandpa say to you when you talk to him?” “He says I am growing bigger & bigger.” My husband & I fell silent and looked at one another. We didn’t need to speak. We both already knew what the other was thinking. I didn’t ask another question. I just reflected on our little girl’s answer.

All this time I have felt so much sorrow that she never got the chance to meet her grandparents, but it seems as if they have been with her all along.

 

 

Countdown to 40 – Bucket List For The Second Half Of My Life

befunky_artwork.jpgI talk often about how quickly time has flown by since the birth of my daughter. In 1 1/2 weeks she will be turning 2 1/2. It seems almost impossible. Almost stranger than that is on that very same day, I will be kissing my 30’s goodbye & turning 40. Ouch! This has been a hard realization for me. For me entering my 40’s finally signifies to me the end of my youth.
I look in the mirror & the face looking back is different than the one I remember. There are more lines. The grays from my head seemed to have spread & set up new residency in my eyebrows. My skin is now much looser and things that once were higher… well are not quite so high or perky anymore. It makes me sad, but is reality.

We all grow older. Our faces & bodies age, our looks fade, things begin to ache for no reason & you wake up in the morning feeling hung over even when you don’t drink. You become more forgetful. You become more forgetful. Oh & you tend to repeat yourself. I am certain I have told the same stories to my husband about 101 times. Sex symbols from your youth begin to grace the covers of AARP & even worse than that people now call you ma’am.

My first 40 years on this planet have had their ups & downs. In my life I have made a lot of mistakes. I have been good and been bad. I have had my heart broken and also broken a few hearts. I learned that soul mates are real & married mine. I have seen people I love die & I have brought life into this world. I have laughed, cried & felt utter joy.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen many places & have done many things…

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But there is still so much left I want to do. What things do I still want to accomplish, see or learn? It seems as if there is so much. My bucket list is a long one. Here are a few highlights of an otherwise long list…

1. Be there for my daughter’s wedding

2. Go to Cambodia

3. Learn another language

4. Hike Macchu Picchu

5.Write a children’s book

6. Hold my grandchild

7. Learn how to fence

8. Visit all the U.S states

9. Grow old with my husband

10. Go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan

11. Run a marathon with my husband

12. Go to a masquerade ball

13. Learn to belly dance

14. Pay off our home

15. Get a tattoo that represents my mother

I have not lived a perfect life, but I have lived a pretty good one. I can’t wait to see what the next half will bring.

What’s on your bucket list? I would love to hear.

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Surviving My First 5K

4571612_race_0.9308576257227521.displayThe day finally came. It was only a matter of time that I would finally break down and run my first race. With a marathon runner for a husband it was inevitable. 311638_2198507855488_1079399790_nEven my daughter has already completed her first race. Should I be embarrassed that my two year old received her first race medal before me? IMG_19701 I started training a couple of months ago. I did not realize just how bad of shape I was in. My first couple of weeks started off great, but then work, baby & scheduling conflicts made it virtually impossible to get to the gym or run outside. I was very worried about how ill prepared I was. I became even more worried when I saw that the course was all uphill. Luckily, my first 5K was an obstacle course race. With 16 foamy & muddy obstacles there were many breaks in the uphill running (and by running, I mean mostly walking). The obstacles consisted of climbing walls, a giant foam slip & slide, mud crawls & a massive bouncy slide as the finale. Between all the huffs & puffs, some muddy water in the mouth & foam in the eyes, I had the time of my life. 4613116_race_0.31827722650558266.display 4612902_race_0.3917459688648467.display 4603715_race_0.9380796214813815.display 4577822_race_0.33772453226369137.display 4577694_race_0.42480102795743213.display I am disappointed in myself for not training harder for it, but I did accomplish what I set out to do, I finished my first race & had a great time doing it.  It was a nice break for us mommies. I am ready for round 2. Bring on the next race & this time I will train harder. 4589346_race_0.5318026521172017.display

What I Love & Hate About Social Media

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I enjoy the social media world. It can be fun, interesting, informative, funny & inspiring. It can also be scary, sad, discouraging and leave you feeling bad about yourself. People can catch up with old friends or make new ones. They share triumphs & disasters. Some even use it as a soap box for political views and other beliefs.

I can still remember when Facebook first came out. I am certain that I did not sleep for about a week as I was navigating through it’s pages, stalking old class mates, throwing virtual sheep at my friends and playing Mafia Wars. It was a guilty addiction. How did I ever live without knowing that Johnny Smith had a great workout today or that Mary Johnson was stuck in traffic? Not that I should poke fun. As a blogger my life is an open book.

We share so much with friends, family, acquaintances and even perfect strangers on these sites. We post pictures and updates on our lives and anxiously await comments & likes from our followers as if it adds value to our self worth if we receive a large number of likes.

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I have secretly been a little bit wounded if nobody acknowledged something that I found to be particularly witty or clever. Why didn’t anybody like this? It was pure genius.

In the mean time my news feed is filled with selfies of girls doing kissy faces, followed by people complaining about selfies of girls doing kissy faces; pictures of happy families, followed by someone calling this family fake. There is name calling, public arguments and people critiquing your grammar. (Sorry guys, I know mine isn’t perfect.) There are status updates from the same people every half hour, chronicling everything from what they ate for breakfast to their first bowel movements. There are debates about everything including gun control to the existence of God. I myself, am the annoying mommy that posts too many photos of her cute kid. Guess what? I don’t even care. Many people that we are so called “friends with” we don’t even like. Here is the funny thing. The people that we follow on the sites, we choose to follow. We have made a choice to let them into our personal lives and in turn we get to be a guest in their’s as well.

The world looks different through another person’s eyes. It is fun to live life vicariously through others. Before, I had my daughter, I used to enjoy looking at all the happy families & wondering what it would be like to be a parent. Now, I see people’s travels and remember the days of trekking around the world.

It is a great way to stay in touch or reconnect with old or far away friends. I have two very close friends that live out of country. It costs a fortune to call each other. Here I can keep up with their lives, see their new homes & celebrate their new jobs & other triumphs.

All of these outlets are meant to be fun. Enjoy the benefits & just laugh off the rest & if that doesn’t work remember there is always the unfriend button.

 

 

 

‘The Story Of Us’ Told With Movie Titles

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                        ‘The Story of Us’ told in Movie Titles.

I was a ‘Single White Female’ who was sick of ‘Bad Boys’ that were ‘Clueless’ about how to treat a ‘Pretty Woman’.  I went to a ‘House Party’ and there I met ‘The Last Boy Scout’. I could ‘Say Anything’ to him. It was ‘Serendipity’. He gave me ‘The Butterfly Effect’ in my stomach.  It was ‘An Affair to Remember’. It was ‘Love Actually’. After about ‘9 ½ Weeks’, he took me home to ‘Meet the Parents’. On ‘Valentine’s Day’, he took me to the ‘Casino’ & gave me ‘The Rock’. I ‘Accepted’.  With my ‘Bridesmaids’ & some ‘Goodfellas’ standing up with us, we celebrated ‘One Fine Day’ ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘ is what we said, while on our ‘European Vacation’ ‘In Bruges’. Then, I found out that I was ‘Knocked Up’. Soon I was ‘Big’ & people would point & say ‘She’s Having a Baby’. Before I knew it, it was my ‘Due Date’. I was so excited to hold ‘My Girl’.  All she did was ‘Scream’. I wondered if ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ My husband was away at the ‘Police Academy’ I was ‘Dazed & Confused’ without him. When him & the other ‘Super Troopers’ graduated, it was time for him to be ‘The Family Man’. Together, we’re ‘Bringing Up Baby’ & it is ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ This is ‘As Good As It Gets’. I can’t wait to see what ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ brings.

Related Topics:

http://live1015phoenix.cbslocal.com/2014/03/07/5-most-anticipated-movies-of-summer-2014/

http://jemsloves.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-90s-in-a-snapshot-the-20-year-anniversary-of-reality-bites-what-im-reading-watching-and-listening-to/

http://bohemu.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/march-movie-madness-2014-week-one/

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7 Stages Of PMS – A Husband’s Helpful Guide

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I am having a bad week. I started a cool new job, I no longer have to work evenings, I have more time with my family. It doesn’t sound so bad does it, well it is. The monthly ritual of misery & mood swings has reared it’s ugly head. For the past two days my poor husband can do no right. Last night I was particularly ornery & told him that he needed to pen a book on what not to say when your wife is pre-menstrual. Since it is highly unlikely that he is going to compose this helpful bit of literature, I thought that I would help out instead.
If you are one of the fortunate men out there that is not married to a victim of PMS, read on anyways many of these stages are seen in pregnancy as well.

 

1. The emotional stage: Guys, we know that we are oversensitive & emotional during this time. It does not need to be pointed out to us. I can cry at the drop of a hat. I broke down in tears last night because my daughter wouldn’t eat her peirogis. Is this a bit of an over-reaction? The answer is no…just go with it.
What you can do: Be ready with a box of Kleenex and avoid Lifetime & the Hallmark channel.

 

2. Irritability: I am typically a lovely person, but for about 3-4 days out of the month I turn into a miserable flesh eating monster. A former co-worker of mine used to lock herself in her office for days until I was over the worst of it. Sorry Michelle.
What you can do: Say nothing! If you open your mouth, it will almost certainly bring forth a tidal wave of rage. If you must speak, these are the only acceptable phrases, Can I …give you a foot rub, bring you some wine, take care of the baby so you can nap?

 

3. Hunger: My belly is rumbling as I type this. I am a bottomless pit that is stuffed full of chocolate, frozen yogurt & any comfort foods that I can get my chocolate covered paws on. DO NOT point out how much I am eating.
What you can do: Go get me a bag of chips..no really, go get me one. I’m starving.

 

4. Bloating & weight gain: If you are not already cranky & emotional enough, try on a pair of jeans. What once was just a little muffin top has changed into more of a pound cake.
What you can do: Roll back the weight on the scale and tell me that you accidentally shrunk the laundry.

 

5. Fatigue: As the mother of a toddler, I am tired all the time to begin with. Add the crimson tide to the mix & I might as well be sleep walking. Yaaaaaawn!
What you can do: “Honey, let me get up with the baby, You go back to sleep.” Ahhhh, that’s nice, but I am still mad at you for absoluuuutely nothing.

 

6. Cramping: Here is my favorite part of it all. The mind numbing pain almost makes me forget about all the rest of it.
What you can do: Trade bodies with me for the day

 

7. The Gassy phase: There I said it..I fart a lot during my cycle. It is not pretty or sexy but it is true. I hold it in at work all day & once I finally get home, it sounds like test day at the Kazoo factory.
What you can do: Hide all the cans of beans, broccoli or other gas producing edibles. Do not laugh & ask me if I just farted? Do not start a “Mommy farted” chant with our daughter.

 

Follow these simple rules & we can all get out of the next few days unscathed.

 

Related Topics:

http://nodivingintheshallowend.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/emotional-rollercoasters/

Spice Up Your Art. Herb & Spice Art.

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I come from a family with a creative gene. When I was a little girl, my grandmother’s house was covered with drawings and paintings that she collected from my aunts and uncles over the years. One of the most interesting pieces was a landscape that my aunt Melanie had made. It was crafted out of different oats and grains. I always found it fascinating.
This weekend, I was cleaning out our spice cabinet. It is shocking how old some of the spices are in our home. I have been wanting to toss them for a while, but my husband hates throwing anything out. He doesn’t like to waste. All these herbs & spices brought to mind my aunt’s artwork. Instead of throwing them out, I thought we would experiment a little.

I started with a sturdy piece of scrapbook paper & drew out my design. I chose an owl because I love owls. In small sections, I outlined my drawing in glue. For smaller details, I used a toothpick to spread the glue. I shook out the spice and shook the paper lightly to spread the spice out until it covered the glue completely. The excess was poured onto a paper plate to use later. I continued to work in small sections, using dark spices for dark sections & lighter ones for light sections. Allow the glue to dry in between changing spices.

Herbs & spices used in my picture:

Pepper,garlic salt,oregano,paprika,parsley,bay leaves,celery salt & ground cloves

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I hope you enjoyed our spice art.

Thank you as always for stopping by. Please follow us on Facebook as well.

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                     http://angelswearplaid.com/2014/02/11/letting-my-hair-down/swirling-sea/