Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kicking the Sh*t out of Option B

My friend Helen and I like to refer to Mid-life as the 2nd Middle School. It's all that awkward ugliness all over again in grown up form. There's disappointment, confusion, frustration...all of it. There is no doubt I'm there...questioning it ALL, wondering how I got here and how it'll all play out. It's been an interesting year to say the least.

My soul is being searched. My losses are currently being mourned. And I'm now planning to "kick the sh*t out of option B."

I am learning that grief comes in all sorts of packages, but painful nonetheless. It has truly been a year of  pushing through for me and my little family. I've found myself pushing through grief in the form of the sudden loss of my closest friend and neighbor, parenting, marriage, and career struggles. Not to mention, exhausting and unhealthy relationships, and dreams that will never come to pass. I have cried A LOT. I have screamed at God numerous times. I have begged for mercy and guidance. I have questioned every single fiber of my wonderfully-made self. I have wanted to quit everything. I have felt repeatedly kicked while I was down. But did you know, while you're "down", you discover a lot of wisdom, grace, love, and good ol' "Option B", as Sheryl Sandberg calls it. 

While grieving the sudden loss of a friend who knew my every move for the last 10 years, and who was like family is still very raw, it is the grace and love from friends and family that make the really difficult days a little more bearable. I have gained a greater appreciation for the old cliche..."life is short". And the concept of making a positive impact while we are here is far more brilliant than before. Through Robin's death I've learned to love more passionately! I no longer have her here with me, but I now have numerous new close{r} friends and a deeper connection to older friends because of her passing. I have felt God working through and in me these last 4 months. Her husband told me just a few days after she died that we all would have to take on being a little piece of Robin, because she just made this world a better, more interesting place. And it's true. Though it will never bring her back, our Option B is to keep her spirit alive through her love and passion for those she loved.

Losing someone special is never easy, and let's face it, neither is being a mom or wife! Marriage and parenting can sometimes feel like the most unrewarding, thankless, and difficult jobs we'll ever have. The worst part...there is no time-clock and there are no weekends off for either one. In recent months, there were days where I just didn't have it in me to play either role, because it seemed pointless.

There. I said it. 

But here I am, because quitting is not an option and I know deep down, it isn't pointless.

I'm the wife to an awesome man I've been with for 24 years. And we promised to love, honor, and duke it out for the sake of each other until we're dead. And I birthed 3 handsome, smart, talented, frequently bull-headed, bundles of love {who, at times, test my patience and make me want to get in my car and drive as fast and far away as possible, and live off the crackers and french fries under the seat, and drink from the left over water and Gatorade bottles in the backseat}. But regardless, I love them so fiercely! So, Shan and I are pushing through Option B - for better or for worse! 

With some guidance we're learning to communicate more effectively and attempting to put the quality back in our time together. And even though we usually feel like we're peeing in the ocean, we're continuing to teach our boys how to effectively communicate, love all of them where they are, and praying that they see themselves as God does.

Meanwhile, there's this whole career thing. Do you ever really know what you want to be when you grow up anyway? This year posed many questions for us in our professional lives. Shan has been feeling less than fulfilled and wondering if he needs to change directions. My contract wasn't renewed back in July due to a financial crisis at the college. And we've both felt a whirlwind of emotions regarding our futures. I even went on a wild-goose hunt for another job. I had the pleasure of experiencing hard-core rejection a few times, which was awesome. {Insert sarcasm font} Then there were the interviews and offers that came my way that just fell short. 

So I stopped searching. 

I just decided to be still and know that God's got this. For me, being quiet and still is quite a job in and of itself. But while I have been "still", I have had time to search my soul, lifestyle, and goals to see what's going to work for me and my family. I may never have a cut-and-dry title - doctor, lawyer, teacher, realtor etc., because I've never been one to stuff myself into a box. I absolutely do know what I'm good at though, and I know God is using all those things to cook up a fantastic Option B for my family and me. 

And what about all the "-ships"? That whole love is patient, love is kind passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It's for real. And when you start to feel all the things that love is not, it's your cue to get out. Friendships and relationships of all kinds. Those relationships are like sponges. They will suck the life out of you! It's not always easy, but it is completely necessary.

Slowly, but surely, I'm making peace with the ones I'm having to let go. Option B? Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, because it is so much better than struggling to make certain relationships something they'll never be. Then, that is where God comes in to fill those holes and redirect your energy to the people who need it most. He needs us to get rid of the weeds to allow the fruitful, beautiful relationships that He scripted to blossom.

I feel like it's the same way for dying dreams. You reach an age where you realize certain dreams will never come to pass. For me, it's a particular career, having a daughter of my own, giving my children a certain lifestyle, being a different size, etc. It hurts a lot to wave my white flag and surrender, knowing that these things just aren't possible. But dwelling on what will never be is only causing ridiculous amounts of negativity and pain. What I've learned is that letting go of these things is actually less painful than constantly mourning them. I've never been one to quit or give up without a fight. So it's really weird to have to throw up my hands and say "oh well". But it's all making way for Him to reveal His greater plan for my life. Option B..."Surrender", can be very bitter, but it is also far sweeter than I ever imagined.

I don't know why all of that had to come to a head in 2016. It was like a gigantic pimple that felt so good when it finally decided to pop! It all truly felt as gross as that sounds. Don't get me wrong! We've had our fair share of blessings and they have been counted numerous times and I'm usually not a Debbie-Downer on this here little blog. But all that muck may be why I haven't felt much like visiting this space. It's not really fun to write about pain and loss, and the weight of a heavy heart makes it so hard to be perky. If you can relate, know I'm praying for you and that we can move into this new year...2017, recognizing and kicking the sh*t out of our Option B.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hello... It's me.

Hello? It's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet. To go over...everything...

That seems like a pretty good way to make my re-entry into Blog Vegas! And since life in the last few months has been kind of heavy in the Acres, I think I'm gonna re-enter with a recap of some good times.

Sound good? Good.

My little Fu-Man-Choo was cast as Augustus Gloop in the 5th grade play. He was absolutely perfect! And it couldn't have been a more fun production if they tried. It was some greatly welcomed comic relief after that darn election!

The highlight, according to Fulton, was getting to wear a fat suit!

Excuse the heads. And when will I ever learn to turn the phone the right way?

In case you didn't hear me screaming and crying from the mountain top, my long awaited 2015 Christmas surprise became a reality. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE ADELE!!! And it was quite possibly the greatest night of my life. Ever.

I went a little crazy and may have streamed it live on FB for my mom and sweet friend, Renata because they might be almost as obsessed. Unbelievable. That was Friday.

Shan and I don't get away very often so Saturday, we.slept.all.day. And that, was a very close second to the concert. We got a late dinner at the famous Pitty Pat's Porch - which is ridonkulously good. After dinner, our high school friend, Matt treated us to a night at his improv called Dad's Garage. If you're in the ATL and have time for a good laugh, please pay them a visit. Outstanding!

And the only way to really capture what a great weekend it was, is to make a cheesy video of course. (And thanks to youtube the even cheesier song got muted. darn copyright laws.)

Early in October, we spent a fabulous weekend in Brevard with friends. We couldn't have asked for better company or weather.

And we celebrated no.14 for this guy! Whaaaat?

And 5 days later we celebrated no.42 for moi! Whaaaaaaaaaat?

How does a 42 year old celebrate, you ask? At the SC State Fair. With an elephant ear as a cake. And then if she's blessed with great friends, they take her out to dinner.

And October wouldn't be complete with me mentioning my favorite holiday, Halloween!

This year was weird. It was on a Monday and I have one trick or treater down. This momma is sad. I don't like this getting older thing. Not one bit.

This year we had "just Sam", some scary characters - a creepy jester and some kind of black phantom- and a superhero duo...Batman and Robin.

Oh and I can't forget...our hurricane party for hurricane Matthew - so fun -and Oliver's head injury on a natural disaster weekend with no power (only "good" because it wasn't serious and it was highly comical and ironic the way it all happened. And it gives us something to laugh about.).

September was a total blur. Total.blur. The only thing I really remember was this cool kid celebrating no.11, the Beautycounter for Target launch, and an AC Flora cheer reunion.

Any who. November is over halfway done and I'm absolutely giving thanks for all the things...big and small. Life is hard sometimes and I have recently been clinging to the good to keep perspective. And trust me, it has pulled me through every single time!

It was good to do a catch-up dump on this-here space on the interweb. I've missed it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, February 27, 2016

One More Card

Here we are 3 years after my Aunt Laynie passed away. And gosh! It's crazy how life goes on after you lose someone. In those first few moments it feels like it can't possibly go on, but looking back now, so much has happened. We've celebrated Christmases, birthdays, all sorts of holidays, family gatherings, and special achievements without her. It's strange and still really hard sometimes, but the great memories pull us through. 

Remembering her today has had me hunting down some of my favorite memories of her. I'm out of town, so I've been sifting through photos from FB and my blog just trying to feel her. Which led me to just what I needed to be able to "feel" her. 

I have this weird thing that I do, where I always save the last card I'm given or that my boys are given until the next occasion or birthday. Then I throw them out and save the newest one. I do it because you never know when it may be the last card or note that person gives you. I guess it's just a superstition of mine. But I can't help it! There's just something about the messages that I like to go back and read. Even if it's just "Love, So-n-so". And then there's something about seeing the person's handwriting and signature that's so very special and personal. Knowing their hands have touched the card and their thoughts streamed out by the strokes of the pen is very sentimental to me.  
Any who.
A few months before her passing, my Aunt Laynie knew her health was failing. I think we all knew it would be the last birthday she'd celebrate with me. All I wanted was "just one more card" on my birthday. Because she wasn't able to get out and about, I was afraid I wouldn't have my "one more card". My mom, knowing me and all my weirdness and how important that was to me, went to pick one out and took it to her to sign. It was so simple but the sweetest gesture on both their parts. Now, every time I look at it, it feels like I'm celebrating with her right then and there all over again. I will always treasure the thought put into making that birthday card happen. And I'm so incredibly thankful that I have my quirky little card saving tradition because there are days that I just need to read her message one more time. 
Missing you still, Laynie! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Comparing Crosses

I grew up Catholic and am now a practicing Episcopalian. Lent has always been a really huge deal in my Spiritual life. It's a time to reflect, repent, and take up your cross. I love the personal gains I make each year during those 40 days. Lent to me is kinda like the spiritual New Year's resolution. But my favorite day of Lent is Ash Wednesday! And if you're even remotely familiar with the Holy Day, you'll understand my reason why. Sadly, it's not even a holy reason at all.
Like I said, I grew up Catholic. Went to Catholic school for 11 years (I was the heathen in my family who bailed and graduated from one of those other places...you know...public school.) We observed every Holy Day with an intense academic lesson leading up to it and celebrated it with all the pomp and circumstance of a full Mass. That's one thing I love about the Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans, they do it up right!
Any who. I have always favored Ash Wednesday, simply because of the stir that the cross on your forehead causes. It cracks me up every year. Just FYI, in case you don't know, the cross that goes on your forehead is made with the ashes from the burned palm branches of the last Palm Sunday. The ashes symbolize that we came from dust and to dust we shall return. The little piece that they say when they administer the ashes comes from Genesis, I believe.
So this year, I noticed the same giddiness in my boys that I still get on Ash Wednesday...which happens to be a gigantic no-no in the church. You're supposed to be somber and in reflection, but you just can't help noticing what everyone's cross looks like as they parade back to their seats. You ogle at the darkness, thickness, thinness, and the ones that resemble other objects. You wonder if some people will notice the stray ashes that have sprinkled onto their noses. Should you tell them? Is it bad to wipe those off? Do those count the same? Because you're not supposed to wipe off the ones on your forehead.
Then when you get back to your pew, you check out your neighbor's ashes and you may even snicker about the shape or size. It's kind of funny to compare crosses. If you have bangs, you hold them up just so, so your neighbor can give you a nod or thumbs up on the artistry of your very personalized cross. If you've been there, you know this is kinda the unspoken order of things during the service.
Then you go out in public with your cross on your forehead. I love the instant connection you feel when you spot someone else with their ashes. Makes you wanna give 'em a fist bump or a peace out. It always amazes me the looks I get from the poor clueless folks though. And it blows me away the number of people who seriously do not know that the ashes are a religious thing. The looks and questions still make me chuckle after all these years. I have been asked if I knew that there was dirt on my head many times. I have been asked if my pen leaked. And the best so far was the waitress the other night who said..."I've seen a couple of people with that today. Is that for medical purposes?" I said, "Yes! It's the ashes from the medicinal marijuana I smoked earlier. It makes it last longer." No. I didn't really say that, but I really wanted to. 

Last week, when I got back to the pew, Sam said mom, yours looks like a person. I giggled. Then he and Fulton asked me what theirs looked like. I told them sorry guys, nothing exciting, just dusty crosses. Fulton asked if he could go to the bathroom to check his out. I can remember wanting to do the same, but my answer was No! you can wait. Same conversations we have every year. It's hilarious the anticipation that builds when you have to wait to check out your cross!  

When I left church, I headed to my ukulele class at my friend's art studio, and the girls in there all got it. No crazy stares or questions. But! They did exactly what I was talking about ^^^ up there. They were sizing up my cross compared to the others they had seen that day. We all laughed about the awkwardness of it and shared our funny cross stories. At one point someone said Wow! That's a big one. It kinda looks like an animal, but I don't know what. They said dog, horse, etc..

And then, lo and behold! We figured it out...

We had found my ashes' twin. Isn't he cute?!? Totally irreverent, but totally funny and true. I had Christi's cow on my forehead.
I better stop before I get excommunicated from the church. Now back to repenting and being somber.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

So This is What it Feels Like

Hi! My name is Claudia. I'm a recovering Over-doer, Martha Stewart Wanna-be, Viral Pinner (650,000 times because of this post), Creative Blogger, and Ideaholic. I hit rock bottom about 2 years ago.  My creative juices still flow and the urge is ever-present, but it had to stop consuming my life.
Ok. Kidding. Not kidding.
Y'all know I love some costumes, holidays, and theme parties! (Exhibit A, B, C, D, E, F...you get the idea.) I still do. But it was becoming a chore. A competition among other moms, pinners, bloggers, etc. That doesn't feel very good. It squashes creativity and makes it no fun at all! And as life would have it, all those plans and ideas have suddenly fallen to the bottom of my agenda. Besides, I think the only one who really cared was me. The accolades were great and all, but they don't drive the train very long. The accolades weren't up with me at 2am making party favors or gluing gauze strips to long johns for a mummy costume. It takes a lot of energy and time. Making the cutest Valentines, creating the perfect birthday party, or costume is just not really that important anymore. It seems that now all I can wrap my brain around is the boys, their homework, extracurricular activities, and my must-dos.
So this valentine's I finally got what IT feels like...to let it go, make it easy, manageable, and just keep it simple. And it all started with this box.
Fulton and Oliver were both required to decorate a box to use for collecting and distributing their valentines. I helped Oliver start his and then Fulton said, "Oh yeah! I need to do one too." Of course you do!!! I huffed and puffed and searched all over. NO BOX.
So off to Walgreen's we went! That's where I found these babies for 2.99 each. SOLD to the exhausted momma, who really no longer gives a poo and neither do her boys.

 And at that moment, the cute Valentine idea I had conjured up got upstaged by Darth Vader and the gang. Complete with tattoos and we even added a little pop of candy with a (Pinterest girls, close your eyes!) STAPLER! What?!?!?!? Who the heck have I become?!?!?!? Who uses a stapler? Staplers aren't cute and no body will ever pin, like, or repost store-bought Valentines that were stapled!!!
Guess what? I became the mom who no longer cared!
This is what their Valentines looked like. And I loved every square inch of it. It was easy and it felt so good! And the bonus: they did all of it themselves...except the stapler. YAAAASSSSSSS!
I urge you to PIN this bad boy to your "No One Really Gives a Crap" board.
My wheels will always be turning. I'll still plan parties, design invitations and costumes...in my head. But I'll be sure when I'm ready to fall off the wagon and give those plans life, that it feels good and doesn't send me to my rock bottom.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Little Wise Guy

Sam. I love this kid! He's always had a way with words. The things that come out of his mouth are full of snark, but laced with oh-so-much wisdom. He is now a teenager and I appreciate his point of view. He's still young enough to say it with a little brutal honesty and get way with it, and has always had the gift of a great sense of humor to soften the blow. So, it's really the best way to drive home a message.

Tonight was kind of a tough night at dinner. He had just returned from golf tryouts and didn't make "the cut".
Side story... SOAPBOX: when and why did they get rid of so many middle school sports in public schools???? It is neither fair, nor developmentally appropriate for 7th graders to be on the same playing field with physically and emotionally seasoned 9th-12th graders. And we wonder why these kids "blossom" too soon!
I digress. So Sam started playing golf about 4-5 months ago. While I wasn't a fan of the whole middle schoolers with high schoolers set up, we encouraged him just to try. Twenty tried out and only 18 could make it. We knew the odds were not in his favor since he is so new to the sport. And unfortunately, 2 of the 5 7th graders got cut from the team. I felt bad for him because he was a little bummed.

But what was funny was when I asked him to set the stage and tell me what happened. He said, "well you know, mom. He lined us all up and started saying all the stuff he gets paid to say, like...how he appreciated us all coming out and trying our best... Then he started saying, I'm sorry to let you 2 go. This doesn't mean you can't be a part of our team..."
Then Sam interrupted himself and said "I wanted to say...um, yeah it does! Because you just gave us the speech about how we didn't make the team! We're not stupid, just not that good at golf!!"
I'm sure it's not easy to let a couple of eager kids down, but don't try to hand them some janky lines to make them feel better. They get it. And thank the Dear Lord that He blessed my child with a sense to find comic relief in crappy situations.

Then a few minutes later, I was looking at my new SELF magazine that came in the mail. He said, "Mom! What are you reading?" Like it was a Playgirl Magazine!
I said, "it's a ladies magazine for fitness...so I can look like her {Kate Hudson in a bikini}." We both laughed out loud - I don't know if that is good or bad.

But he then went on to say, "Mom, that's the problem. Too many moms try too hard to be like what they see on TV and in magazines. (And he actually named 2 of my best friends.) It would make life so much easier for everyone if they would just be who they are supposed to be!"

Those are some wise words out of a pretty young heart and mouth. He never ceases to amaze me. Go love his sweet heart. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Detours and God-Nods

Road blocks, bumps, holes, construction, you name it. My week looked a little like this...

It was trying, to say the least. At every pot hole I was looking for the big orange detour sign to take me to a smoother road. I felt like I needed something loud and clear, because the path was cluttered with signs pointing every which way. I was so confused and frustrated. 
But looking back on the week, I realized we don't always get "loud and clear". I think it's God's way of making us trust him and listen more attentively. I remember my really good teachers using tactics like that to get us to pay attention. Often, those little whispers are all we need for peace to move us along the bumpy road. You know what I'm talking about, "God-nods". So, I thought I'd share them in this little space o' mine.
Being a parent is the hardest thing. EVER. This week I felt that on my heart more than any other week so far. Then I read this article... right here.
"Across the board, mothers of only middle-school-age children reported the highest levels of stress, loneliness and emptiness, and also the lowest levels of life satisfaction and fulfillment. Mothers of infants and adults were found to be the most satisfied, Luthar said."
While that quote in particular resonated with my soul, the whole article is worth the read if you've ever raised or plan on raising a middle schooler! After reading, I suddenly didn't feel so alone, and felt more like I was surrounded by a silent support group of awesome women. We are all just trying to do and be the best we can for our middle school children. It can be physically and emotionally taxing, and sometimes it seems like the most thankless and exhausting position you'll ever hold. But for now, I'll push on, loving my little "alien", knowing I'm not alone.

Intentions. With mine, I seem to live on the road to hell these days. My intentions are always to help, advise, provide good cheer, be friendly, share, and do the right thing. It's never a good feeling to have someone perceive your best intentions negatively or as a threat. If you know me well, one thing you can say about me is that I'm chock full of ideas and suggestions. Solicited or not, they sometimes sneak out. It's a problem among creative people. I'm a team player. Always. I love to help. I want people to feel appreciated and also like they can count on me. It's just who I am.
At one point this week all those qualities about me were challenged, because they were perceived differently from my intentions. I questioned myself. I doubted the very qualities that most people love about me and it hurt my heart.
But then, a young lady who is a student where I work, came into my office to chat before she left for class. As she was walking away she shared with me that she had been extra stressed and worried, but that she has adopted the mantra "if it won't matter in 10 years, then I'm not going to worry about it." I thanked her for reminding me of that because I needed it in a BIG BAD way. I love the vessels God sends us. This time it was a 21 year-old college student. Who knew? I love and appreciate that she shared her wisdom with me.

With all the ugliness of this week, it's nice to know I have Shan for my husband. My dad told him when we got married that he couldn't have "handpicked a better man". Such a great guy! I sometimes ask him, "why do you stay married to me?" I feel like I'm a train wreck most of the time and feel like I can't get anything quite right in this stage of my life. His answer is always the same..."because I love you." That should be good enough right? But I still think one of these days I'm for sure going to send him out the door and over the edge. God love him! He truly loves me at my very best and my very worst. And this week could definitely be considered one of my worst. 
Lysa TerKeurst is my absolute favorite! She's like a ROCKSTAR of The Word. If you don't know who she is, you're missing out. She speaks life and The Truth in the most real way. She has a God-given gift for sure. Thursday, a precious life-long friend in San Fran sent me an email to check in and to share Lysa's blog post.

Lord, protect me from the world’s wonky view of love

I have a sign displayed in my home. It reminds me, redirects me, and protects me from the world’s wonky views of love.
Our love isn’t a romantic movie where I wake up in full makeup in a pristine house and nothing on my to-do list but for my husband and I to take a little canoe ride through a pond filled with swans.
Here’s the thing about love. It’s sometimes complicated. Sometimes blissful.
Some moments are incredible. Others incredibly difficult.
Love breaks us. It makes us. It shakes out all the good and bad.
It’s the most beautifully painful sacred surprise you could ever hope to grow through.
It’s a package deal. It’s a gift that doesn’t always feel like a gift. It’s the thing that makes me less selfish. And gracious, I need to be less selfish.
I want the best version of love. So I need to bring the best version of me to my love, my man, each day.
And choose to make our love a little less complicated.
A little more sweet.
A little more inviting for the best version of him to take my hand and whisper, “Hey babe, we can do this.”
Yes. Love is a choice. One we are still making. And as a visual statement of the vows we exchanged 23 years ago, we keep this simple reminder in a place where we constantly see it. 
The “We Still Do” sign and frame are now available in the Proverbs 31 Ministries bookstore along with some of my other favorite marriage resources. Click here to find out more.
And if decorating your home with hints of your love story sounds painful because you’ve been begging God for a sign that He hears your prayers for your marriage, He does. I felt so strongly to share this with you today. He hears and He cares. I’d love to share a free 5-day devotional with you called Praying Boldly for Your Marriage. Sign up here.
Again, it's all in the timing! I needed to soak up the goodness that Lysa wrote about and that Kathleen felt on her heart to send my way. It's not always perfect, but it's always beautiful. I am so glad to have him by my side on one of my messiest weeks, because We {absolutely} still do. 
I'm so grateful for a weekend to regroup and THE TRUTH that HE always provides - even if it's only in whispers. I caught some good ones this week. So I'm going to do my best to be listening extra carefully from now on. Praying for a better week ahead and hoping we can all pick up on the God-nods sent our way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lessons from Disney

Part 1 of 2...
So we returned from our fabulous trip to the "Happiest Place on Earth". We set out with the highest of expectations and even started our family hashtag, #DisneyBakationPart2. We each had our own punch list of things we had to do and we were armed with FastPasses and uncontainable excitement. But (Disney lovers close your eyes.) I didn't love it this time.
I think maybe we went back too soon. Shannon and I both agreed we should have waited at least another year, maybe two, before going back. I'm wondering if the boys were older and all doing the same things if it may have been better for us. When Shan and I divide and conquer I feel like I miss out on what he and the big boys are doing. Oliver was able to do a good bit more this time, but we were still limited. He just doesn't dig the characters as much anymore, so standing in line to meet them is not super fun. It makes me a little sad. And he's not quite big enough or into the flipping and twisting rollercoasters.
Any who. I'm forever grateful to Shan's parents for the 2nd opportunity to experience Disney as a parent. The boys were rock stars as they hit the ground running everyday for 4 days and didn't stop for about 14 hours. There were certainly no complaints from them.
However, this old gal was feeling like the magic was a little lackluster this go-round. There were still precious memories made. But I think I was seeing the World of Disney without my rose-colored glasses this time. I love surprises. Good ones. And there wasn't a whole lot to be surprised by since the boys had experienced everything just a couple of years ago.

So as a Disney "veteran" here are 13 Things I learned at Disney: 
  1. I'm definitely more cut out to be a boy mom. Princess-Schmincess! They're all the same. The Star Wars and Dinosaurs attractions are much more exciting. 
  2. Call it a cultural barrier or whatever, but I think I may be one of the only people to still use the two words, "excuse me".
  3. We all know I'm a sap, but the Disney parades and performances make me cry. All of them. Every time.
  4. Darth Vader is scary as hell...even if it is just a tall guy in a costume.
  5. Beer tastes better at Disney. Maybe because they're $8 each. IDK.
  6. There is no such thing as comfortable shoes when you log 10+ miles a day.
  7. I think Obama's refugees all got a weekend pass to Disney because they were representin'. 
  8. If you think about it, Disney World is a lot like Wal-Mart but with costumes and rides. 
  9. My husband has a second calling as a cruise director. Damn, Shan! You had us hoppin'! 
  10. The Star Wars fireworks show was worth the drive by itself.  
  11. The Disney crowd calendar lies. Don't trust it.
  12. Oliver needs to be a leash-child.
  13. I think I'm a one and done kinda girl. There are very few things in life that leave me coming back for more. Ride a ride, move one. Visit a theme park, move on. Life's too short to get hung up on the same stuff. 
Disney is great! It's super magical and I think it should be visited at all different stages of life...childhood, teen years, pre-kids, as a parent, as a grandparent. But I am for sure not the gal who sings zippity doo dah as I skip through the park. Nor do I like herds of rude people who don't understand right of way or basic turn taking skills. So I'm checking it off until the Baker boys are all teenagers. I love that they loved it though. So stay tuned for our trip highlights!

Friday, January 08, 2016

First Oh hey, Friday! of 2016

I love an Oh hey, Friday! post to get my blogging mojo going again.

So here we are. Happy New Year! In my opinion, New Year's resolutions are for the birds. They just set me up for disappointment and the other F-bomb. Failure. And after the undocumented personal challenges I faced in 2015, the last thing I need is more disappointment! 
So I'm dedicating this post to the top 5 things I'm looking forward to most in 2016!

Ukulele lessons. I've been asking for a uke for a while. And this year I got one for Christmas. A red one! They're inexpensive and I've heard they're fairly easy to learn to play. My friend Mary Lynn and her hubby own a music studio locally and both of my boys have taken from them. They are starting an adult Sip & Strum class and I cannot wait!!! Contact me if you want to get in on the action.

Disney! This past November was two years since we first went to Disney as a family. We are fortunate enough to have Shan's parents treat us to a second visit to see "The Mouse" in less than a week. I think there's even greater excitement this time among my boys because they know exactly what to expect. They're already talking about what's on their lists of must-dos. 
This time we'll be going to Magic Kingdom and MGM again and adding Animal Kingdom and Universal to our agenda. I've heard great things about both and we've already started counting down the days!

Hello from the other side!!! I'm pretty sure Shan catapulted himself to "Husband of the Year" on Christmas Day. To put it mildly, I'm obsessed with Adele. Even way back when she first came out I was impressed by her effortless range and the quality of her voice. The lyrics of her songs tell wonderful stories and to top it all off, she's a classy, decent person.
Any who. When we found out about her new 25 tour in 2016, I knew we had to try to get tickets. With 6 devices between the 2 of us, trying to get tickets seemed like it wouldn't be a problem. After 15 minutes they were all sold out. I texted Shan and told him I had no such luck. He told me he didn't either and I sulked for days. Until!!! Christmas morning when he surprised with tickets! To say I fell apart is an understatement. He had a 3% chance of getting them! Unbelievable!!! So we're headed to Adele in ATL in October. Whoop!

The loo. As you've heard many times, I'm the Queen of my castle! I've always been surrounded by boys. That also means sharing bathrooms with boys. It's no secret that boys and girls treat the potty very differently. While a gas station type bathroom doesn't even phase most men, it can certainly send most women over the edge. 
We live in a vintage house with 3 vintage bathrooms. We don't even have a master bathroom. Our bathroom is the tiny  downstairs hall bathroom that we share with guests {and our boys when they're too lazy to walk upstairs to theirs}. It's been making me crazy for 12 years! I've begged Shannon to add on and he's finally agreed to get it going in 2016!   

Leadership training. I'm VERY excited about the opportunity to attend the Leadership Summit for BEAUTYCOUNTER in February. Y'all, this company is chic and cutting edge, having the highest standards and quality ingredients in the personal care industry. I have never been a fan of direct sales. They've always been a turn off to me for several reasons. But I swear! This company is different and sells itself with their amazing, non-toxic, and high performing products. Once you sample the products and learn about what's in the products you have been using, you're hooked. I seriously don't have to do a THING. I wasn't able to attend the first Summit last year, and from what I have heard, it was something I didn't want to miss out on this year. I can't wait for a rockin' weekend with my BC girls!

That concludes my first Five on Friday for 2016. Be sure to follow the Friday fun...