Thoughts from an insomniac mother…

I stay up way too late for a lady who has three kids.

And it’s not even necessarily because I’m a night owl.

It’s just that the nighttime affords me a quiet and a stillness that is unreachable and unfathomable during the day.

It’s summer and I awake to a four year old jumping on my bed.

But if it were during the school year, I’d wake to an alarm that goes off far too soon with far too little sleep and the day begins with a flurry of activity.

I think “flurry” is a ridiculous term. More like… “monsoon-y blizzardish hurricane…”

But at night, no one is asking for a snack. And no one wants a story and no one wants to know how to find that show they like on Netflix. And no one is yelling, “Mom! Mama! Mommy!” [Read more…]

Raw

WARNING: This is raw and real. It may not be eloquent and it may not be perfect, but as I stood at my kitchen counter with tears spilling out of my eyes, I was reminded once again that NOT sharing my story is damaging. For me, for someone who may need to hear it.

 

I came to this as I was asking God, “Why? Why do I feel like this? Is there a purpose?”

And if I keep my struggles to myself, it will help no one.

Myself included.

So here goes…

It’s been a rough few days for me personally.

I have beaten myself up and crawled into my pit emerging only to do what I needed to survive. And that sounds dramatic. But it’s the truth.

I struggle with depression.

Most days, I am okay. But then there are times where the feeling of failing at being a wife, a mommy, a friend overtakes all the happy thoughts.

I have a non-neurotypical child. And I’ve mentioned this before. She is beautiful and smart and talented and creative and kind and funny.

But we also have hard days, hard times, hard moments.

Throw that into the mix of having two other kids who are also “live wires”, and at the end of every day my body often physically hurts from the toil of it all.

I feel overwhelmed. And with a million and one things barking for my attention, and some more loudly than others, I shut down.

But I’m tired and there are times where even my prayers are just my hands thrown up in angst, begging God to give me answers.

Parenting is hard. Parenting a child with high needs is hard. Parenting when you feel tired and at the end of your rope, is super freaking crazy hard.

And here’s this…I love my babies.

I love them with all my being.

I cry over how to help them when they seem “unhelpable”.

My husband is a source of strength…I am not in this alone. He is an amazing father who prayerfully seeks the best ways to guide our family. I am beyond blessed.

But depression and anxiety are not respecters of that.

Over and over and over and over this week, I feel like I have failed. I feel like everything that I’ve done has been wrong.

It has been hard. So hard.

And as I stood in my kitchen, listening to David Crowder sing, “Here’s my heart, Lord. Speak what is true…”….well, that’s when the tears came.

I KNOW the condemnation I feel towards myself and the feeling of failing and feeling hopeless are not real. I know they are not TRUE.

I can’t change my child…these are medical issues. Only God can “change” that…and He may not choose to do so.

It wasn’t what I asked for when I became a mommy…I had a totally different picture in my head.

And God rocked that world. And gave me three of the most amazing little people that ever existed.

If I’m being honest, I think I spent years…and even until just recently…wishing for something different. Not wishing for different children…but that the issues that we have were non-existent in our lives.

But they are. And I have to believe that because we struggle with the things that we do as a family, that God has a purpose for them. Not only for us, but for our story and our journeys to help another family.

We have been blessed to have some amazing individuals placed in our family’s life that have encouraged my daughter’s growth, that have loved her for who she is not questioning us or her for the struggles she has. And really, that’s all I can ask for…that God continue to guide us with people who love us as we are, flaws and all, and who encourage us, help us, respect us, and pray for us.

I’m pushing forward, because I have to. I’m leaning into the light, and holding on to Jesus as much as I can…and sometimes it’s the death grip/hanging on for dear life kind of holding, but I think that’s okay.

Some times the best I can do is to keep telling myself, “Keep moving.” It’s what I have to tell my kids when we’re getting ready for school or for bed. “Keep moving”…there are going to be things that distract us, but if we don’t keep moving, we get sidetracked and never get anywhere.

Today is a “keep moving” kind of day.

 

 

 

Five Honest (and boringly benign) Things About Me

Each one of these honest statements about myself could use a blog post of its own, but in the interest of just posting SOMETHING today, I’ve decided to just list them.

Maybe, just maybe, someone out there can yell a rousing, “ME TOO!”

 

 

1. I struggle with my weight. –Like, struggle more than Oprah in the 90’s kind of struggle. I lost 20 pounds awhile ago. Then, I gained 30 back. AWE.SOME. As in, NOT awesome. So, I need to lose 30 pounds, mostly because I currently have no clothes that fit.

 

2. I’ve racked up exorbitant library late fees. And I own more Redbox movies than I care to admit to.

 

3. I kill plants. –Not because I WANT to but because, even though my grandmother could grow flower gardens that would make an issue of Southern Living jealous, I did not inherit the green thumb. I have kept my peace lily alive that a dear friend gave me (ironically, at my grandmother’s funeral)…but only after much guidance and my husband remembering to water it.

Oh, and I actually killed a cactus once. I thought that was near impossible. Like killing a vampire kind of near impossible.

 

4. I go to bed with dishes in the sink. And toys on the floor, crayons under the table, and laundry still in the washing machine. –I know. I’m such a rebel, right? I never really had a “wild streak” in high school or college, so this is how I “sow my wild oats”, so to speak, in my late 30s.

 

5. My “garage refrigerator” contains a pot of chicken tortilla soup that is…really old. And it’s only because I’m too lazy to remember it’s there to clean it out. –What makes this even more awesome is the fact that it was moved from the kitchen fridge to the garage fridge because I ran out of room in the kitchen fridge one day, and I was in too big of a hurry to dump out the contents (I won’t even call it soup anymore).

 

So, there it is. “Shocking truths”. Can we still be friends?

 

How I Tried To Find Redemption in a Package of Napkins…or Ugly Truths (part 2 of ???)

Emotionally, it’s been a weird week.

I don’t think that I need to try to explain this to the ladies out there.

Sometimes, it just gets…weird. For a variety of reasons. Or for no reason at all. Other than…you’re a woman…with hormonal swings.

But, as is the case with emotionally weird weeks, I found myself repeatedly taking one situation and letting the “feelings” that surrounded it spill onto the “feelings” of another situation, until finally, I’m just a ridiculous mess wandering around Target.

I need someone here to raise a hand and say, “Amen, sister.” (Then, email me and tell you did that.)

Now, I love me some Target. And I swear that they must use underground government agencies that deal in mind control to program the lighting and pump something through the vents that just makes us say, “I need…a new shower curtain. And a pair of shoes. And…underwear. And….15 things from the dollar section.”

Case in point: As I was leaving Target after my “I just need garbage bags but left with $30 worth of stuff when I told my husband I was only going to spend 15″ trip, I heard a woman on the phone with, I’m assuming her husband.

Hey honey. I’m just leaving Target. (pause) What did I buy? I don’t know what I bought. I’m at TARGET. Things just end up in the cart…I don’t even know what I bought.

I wanted to go give her high five. Because she was completely honest about what happens at Target.

And that is…we go blank and spend 30 minutes on a 10 minute trip and end up with things we never knew we needed. The woman behind me in line bought chocolate bunnies…and throw pillows.

If you have never left Target with a throw pillow before,  one day you will. It just happens. Something about the store makes you say…”Yes! Bright orange throw pillows with poppies on them! NEED IT!”

So…here’s how I found myself at Target with yellow napkins in my buggy. (It’s a buggy. I’m from Georgia. Leave me alone.)

…My oldest child had a field trip on Thursday. For a variety of reasons, I just couldn’t make it to this one. And for whatever reason, it broke my heart. Like…REALLY made me sad.

Now I’ve missed field trips before. But missing this one really bugged the crap out of me. Like I said, emotionally weird week to begin with.

Somehow, I managed to wallow in my self-pity of not being able to chaperone a field trip long enough to extrapolate out the guilt I felt for that onto the many other ways I feel like I’ve botched it as a mom in the lives of my kids.

Before I had kids, I was such a great parent.

And when I taught Kindergarten, I was a freaking awesome parent. (I didn’t have kids when I taught Kindergarten, but I thought I had the whole ‘parent’ gig figured out…)

I knew I wouldn’t send in my child a lunch that contained a granola bar as the main course. (Guilty.)

I wouldn’t forget to send in my kid’s homework or permission slip or let my kid be tardy that many times. (Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.)

I mean, I reasoned, If you’re a stay at home mom, there’s NO REASON you shouldn’t be able to get your act together and get that all that kind of junk done.

Honestly. I thought that.

I know, right?!?!

JUDGE.MENT.AL (and yes. I know “judgmental” doesn’t have an ‘e’, but when you’re writing it out like that for emphasis, it looks weird without it. And I’m neurotic about that kind of thing.)

Oh. And I CERTAINLY would make sure I would attend every event and party and field trip.

As. If.

Man. I want to. But it just doesn’t always work out. And usually, I’m okay with it.

Not sure if I mentioned yet that it’s been an emotionally weird week…. So, yeah. I wasn’t okay with it this time.

The catch here is: my child was fine. Not fazed at all. And I think she felt sorry for me because when she left that morning she said, “Don’t worry, mom. I’ll tell you all about it!”

Great. As if feeling guilty about not going isn’t bad enough, now I feel bad for making HER feel bad for me. Being a mommy is such a freaking hard job.

After wallowing in my guilt for awhile that morning, I decided that I would redeem my self-proclaimed Crap-Mom of the Decade title. With…napkins. Beautiful and to-die-for napkins.

You see, every so often I get a paper from one of the kid’s (and there are three to keep up with…so that’s a lot of papers) that tells me they need this or that for this event or that project at school. And as is my standard modus operandi, I put that paper in a pile on the edge of the breakfast bar. Then, when I get a second paper or email that says, “need that paper or that item”, I dig it out and send it in with whatever is needed. (I am probably the single most frustrating parent to deal with…)

I’ve never been what you could call “organized”. Not for lack of calendars or planners or any number of file folders I’ve thrown my money away for, mind you.

Well, it just so happened that the middle child needed a pack of napkins for her Easter party next week.

Okay…no problem. I’ll get some and send them in. On party day. Because that’s how I roll. Ugh.

But this time, THIS party, for THIS class, I would send them in early. And they wouldn’t be plain old napkins. No. These would be so cutesy that it would almost be a crime to see them tossed away.

I would KICK BUTT AND TAKE NAMES with MY napkins. People would comment on how adorable these napkins were. They would probably bring about world peace. That’s how amazing these napkins would be.

I needed to go to Target anyway for garbage bags, and really…is Target not the mecca of all things holiday-amazing? I just KNEW I’d find my redemption as a mother in the Target seasonal section.

It was not to be, my friends. Not to be.

I searched that store…I mean, I CIRCLED IT THREE TIMES looking in every place imaginable for the cutesy Easter napkins. (And trust me. I know Target and where they keep their holiday merchandise. They hide it everywhere so that it kind of sneaks up on you and when you DO see it, you’re all, “Yep! Forgot I needed that complete waste-of-money holiday product!”

I finally decided that I would get brightly colored napkins. What makes someone more happy (or irritated depending on the person and their mood) than a completely obnoxious shade of…well, any color? So I chose yellow.

And there were 60 in a package. So there would be plenty. And I would send them in the next day, and my requested item would be a week early and not me running in with it, sweat pouring off of me in a breathless rush on the way TO the party. (I’m having flashbacks of bringing 4 dozen rolls to a first grade Thanksgiving feast where my daughter played the part of the turkey in the pre-meal entertainment.)

And so I purchased my napkins. And I was feeling…slightly better than before. Would’ve been great if I’d found those faboosh napkins that I had pictured in my head that I was going to send in, but whatever.

I would feel relief and be redeemed of mommy guilt by being able to do ONE thing correctly…and even BETTER than just CORRECTLY. It would be…shockingly un-Annette-like, because they would arrive to the classroom EARLIER than their appointed time. (Absolutely NOTHING arrives from my home EARLIER than its appointed time. ANYwhere. Sigh…)

Yes, redemption in the form of paper products was mine. Me=1, Mommy Guilt=0.

Until….8:00 this morning.

When I realized I forgot to send in the stupid napkins.

 

The Ugly Truth Made Beautiful (part one)

We all have a story.

We all have an area of brokenness that needs healing and repair.

And so what do we do when life hurts?

When dreams die?

When heartache comes?

I’m learning this all myself. I’ve checked out scads of books from the library and researched well-known “Christian” blogs and articles. I’ve read dozens of scriptures and scratched notes and quotes on papers and in journals.

Eventually, our wounds from life move us from the proverbial ER to physical therapy.

Just like a broken bone is reset, so must our broken dreams be. And so we can take them to the shelter of Jesus…and the work to rise again begins.

Our vision may be changed…or the course of life altered from what we thought would be our path.

But by resting our cares in Our Father’s hands and relinquishing our hold on the life that we feel has so greatly disappointed us, we begin to see again that He has great plans for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. —Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

What I HAVE learned and what I HAVE derived from weeks, months, of intense searching of what the next step after my broken dream is this…

The need to be REAL.

The need to be open and honest about who I am. About my struggles, my fears, my dreams…all that I feel that God has released for me to share.

Over and over again, that is what I feel has reverberated so intensely with me. REALNESS.

Realness in order that it might strike a chord in another’s soul…that someone who struggles the same as I do would see a little bit of themselves in my stories and know that they are not alone. That they would also understand the continual and ever-present need for grace. The heart cry to take repeatedly to Our Heavenly Father our needs and our brokenness…and our interrupted lives.

A book I read recently titled Nurture by Lisa Bevere, presented some beautiful ideas of how women can NURTURE other women by simply being real and honest.

When we draw near and are honest, God can turn around our issues and then take what blesses and heals us on an individual basis and magnify it for the healing of many–sometimes even the healing of nations.

Whoa. The “healing of nations”?

I, in my own strength, would never be able to even help with the “healing of one”, let alone nations. But I think we limit God sometimes by putting limits on ourselves. If that makes sense.

We say, “Oh God could never use me to do THAT.” Or “No. I can’t do THAT.”

And I don’t mean to come off as arrogant, but rather to point to an all-powerful God and say, “HE can do anything. And if He wants to use me for it, then who am I to argue?”

God has used some messed up people to pull off some amazing world and history changing events, friends. Read about Moses or Abraham or Jonah or Paul or David. We are no more broken than they. It is what we choose to let God do with that brokenness that brings about the changes in our lives as well as the lives of others.

So…for me, it is time to get REAL. It is time to spill out the ugly truths that lurk underneath the exterior of Annette Parris. The ugly truths that, through God’s grace and presence, can be made beautiful.

No one benefits from any of us being dishonest or pretending that we have it all together. If anything, especially among women, it harms our self-images and destroys what could be opportunities for God to bring about beautiful and REAL friendships that are refreshingly honest in a society where we all tend to want to project an image of who we THINK we SHOULD be at times, rather than who we really are.

The following quote from Lisa Bevere’s book was one that leapt right off the page at me. I would have ripped out the page it was printed on and taped it to my mirror…only it was a library book. :)

The daughters of our time are not interested in watching us as we pretend to be perfect…They want to know what we learned when we failed. They hope we will be brave enough to be honest, authentic, and wise with our words and life lessons. They hope we will STRAIN THE BITTERNESS FROM OUR STORIES AND PRESENT THEM AS WINE, LACED WITH PROMISE.

I bolded the last words because THAT is what I have harbored in my heart for months now.

Bitterness.

I wrote a post a few months back regarding how I wished to let go of the anger that had bound up my heart.

You see, MY story, involved some very hurt feelings. And although I wanted to let go of the deep anger that I had let take residence in my heart, I know now that I left it there. I only succeeded in shoving it down even further within my soul.

And that is where the seed of anger turned into a bitterness that pervaded my entire life.

It wasn’t just a bitterness at people, either. It was a bitterness, I am ashamed to say, at God.

If you had asked me if that was the case, I probably would have denied it vehemently. Because I was in denial of it with myself.

And it wasn’t a miraculous, blinded by the light moment, that opened my eyes to it either. I suppose for some people it is…but it was over the course of several weeks that I feel like the shadow was lifted that revealed that terrible bitterness that I needed to release to My Heavenly Father.

I have some work to do…I won’t lie. There are conversations that I need to have with people, and I often feel that awful stab of pain that comes out of nowhere sometimes when I think of my “story”, my “broken dream”.

What I have learned is this: it is a process for me where I need to repeatedly, over and over again, bring the broken pieces of my heart to my God.

I am a broken person, and I can only survive this life where things get messy and relationships get ruined and decisions are made that alter families by seeking His grace over and over and over again.

I fail and fall everyday. As a wife, as a parent, as a friend.

And that is why I cannot survive without God’s immeasurable mercies and love.

We all have a story. 

And I don’t think the “details” of mine really matter so much anymore. It is what I choose to do with it.

And what I am choosing to do, and must daily bring under My Father’s grace, is to be real. To use my blog, my little corner of the world, and my life as an example of no longer hiding what others may be able to glean hope and healing from.

And so it begins.

See! I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:19

And the Snakey Winner is…

I told y’all that if you wrote me a story using my guidelines, I’d make you a Snakey and send it to you.

Well, ONE person took me at my word.

I had a few promises from other people, but no one else followed through. Not mentioning names (Carrie).

My friend Terri, who also incidentally invented the “tell me a story” game, wrote THE BEST STORY EVER.

Well, the best  story ever using the four words and one phrase that I listed.

Click HERE… and laugh till you wet your pants.

I read it three times. I literally laughed out loud every time.

Then again, we also have inside jokes involving the phrase “meet me by the bananas” and the word “papaya”.

What am I talking about? Well, go read her story.

To prove I did make her a Snakey of her own, I would like to present…

SNAKEYS ON A PLANE.

Again, this was her idea. You all should totally be jealous that she’s my friend. Unless you’re her friend too. And then, you would understand why she gave me this idea.

Only, she suggested a felt airplane and a little felt Samuel Jackson.

Which would’ve been super cute. But I’m not that good at felt crafting.

So, instead there’s a printout of him hijacking my five year old’s toy airplane. That’s missing a wing. But I took a picture of its good side.

Oh…and I’m sending Terri the little Samuel Jackson you see here, too.

I would throw him away, but Sam scares me a little and I’m afraid I’d have nightmares of him climbing out of my garbage and sucker punching me.

Because I have weird dreams like that.

How To (not quite) Train Your Dragon

 

I have crazy dreams, y’all.

I like to think that I have an overactive imagination…which I also like to blame the kids’ bizarre behavior on sometimes. (Seriously. My daughter only needed a pair of boots, a Ranger Rick magazine, and a stick…A STICK…to create a day’s worth of play last week.)

Anyway, my dreams are also possibly indicative of my need for “talk therapy” and a visit to Oprah.

My nocturnal subconscious is on complete overdrive these days.

I’ve driven an airplane to the moon and back with Ben Affleck as the co-pilot while rescuing endangered Tibetans. (This came after I watched Ben win his Golden Globe for best director for Argo. Side note: Watch Argo. Then question your accomplishments in life.)

I’ve petrified people accidentally with my friend Terri. (That one happened after I watched Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets.)

And I’ve intercepted a suburban drug ring, battled time-traveling mutants and sang my heart out for the lead role in a hit Broadway musical.

Let’s face it. In my dreams, I kick some major butt.

While my biggest accomplishment during waking hours is to complete all the laundry in one day.

So anyway….my latest epic battle in Dreamland had me whooping up on a dragon.

Now to get to the dragon, my fellow battlers (whom I do not know while I’m awake, but we seemed to be pretty good buddies while I was dreaming…) and I had to rescue something (I can’t remember what exactly) from an early 1900’s era circus of people who pitied me for some reason. I’m not sure why, but several people would look my direction and start weeping uncontrollably. I don’t know if I looked THAT messed up or what, but it didn’t seem to bother me.

Until I woke up and thought about it. Now I’m all, “Do I just  appear pathetic to other people or something? Is it my hair?”

Oh, and also before we made it to the dragon’s lair, I had to spend some time with elfin people in a forest while worms and gummy fish crawled all over my legs…and the elfin people assured me this was a good thing.

I know, right? This makes NO SENSE. Do you feel sorry for my psyche yet?

So worms and gummy fish and elfin creatures aside, I finally make it to this bricked tunnel. It was lit by lanterns hanging on the wall, but the farther you walked in the darker and narrower and deeper the tunnel got. You could hear the dragon roaring, and for whatever reason, my fellow dragon slayers wanted me to go first. And I was all, “Yeah. I got this.”  Until I could feel the dragon’s breath.

So I did what all brave heroines in dreams do.

I turned around and ran. And punched the guy next to me and told him to go first.

I think he did, because suddenly I was alone. And then it hit me.

I had this thought, I’m totally gonna defeat this dragon. I have no idea how. And I have no idea how I know this. But I’m gonna kick its tail.

So, then I start thinking that I shouldn’t be worried. I know I’m going to win. But then I think, Well I have to come up with a plan. And then I think, Well I guess I don’t need a plan. I’ll just go and do whatever comes naturally.

But for some reason, I thought poking it in the eye sounded good.

So, I set off down the tunnel with no weapons save my fingers that I’m going to poke it in the eye with, and then halfway around a dark corner I realize…

The dragon isn’t really a DRAGON. It’s whatever we fear the most. For each of us in the tunnel, the dragon would take a different form.

Is anyone ready to buy the rights to this and make a movie yet?

I’m all philosophical even in my dreams. Should that concern me?

So, I enter the phone booth/elevator thingie (Yeah. I don’t know. It came out of nowhere.) that’s supposed to take me to my dragon.

I get to my “dragon” and I realize it’s a bunch of doors. Just…doors.

Like, every door I open leads to another door. Or to a brick wall. Or…to a chest of drawers. Which is weird…but then again, so is this whole dream…I guess it kind of fits.

As I’m opening doors and getting nowhere, I realize what my dragon is. It’s that I feel like I’m “stuck”. Like I can’t get to the next place.

And I know that I have to get out of this tunnel and make it to the outside, but I can’t figure out how. I still have that feeling that I’m going to just blow this whole thing up and be able to do one heck of a victory dance in the end, but I’m starting to get tired from searching. And I’m getting frustrated and all I can think is “WHEN is this going to end?!”

And that’s it.

I woke up with a massive headache.

Now, I don’t need to be some fancy dream interpreter to figure this one out. It’s pretty much all there in black and white.

And my whole dream aligns perfectly with some thoughts and feelings that I’ve been wrestling with lately. (And before the masses start whispering, this has nothing to do with my marriage. I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who KNOWS it!)

Oh…and it just so happens that two of my FAVORITE quotes (I do love me some quotes) are about dragons.

“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”–G.K. Chesterton

 

And I’ll end with this, for anyone who may be fighting their own dragons right now…

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

I do not, however, have any advice for you if you encounter gummy fish and elfin people in the woods. If you figure THAT one out, let me know.

 

 

I am the Wallower (to the tune of…I am the Warrior)

I am a wallower, y’all.

A study was done recently that said that 1 in 3 people who spend time on Facebook leave the site feeling bad. As in lonely, envious, etc.

Confession: I can totally be one of those peeps.

So, I love the whole social media bit. Can I just tell you that it’s how I learned that Steve Jobs died, how I heard about Hurricane Sandy, how I found out who was playing in the Superbowl, and how I discovered the Navy Seals blew up Bin Laden.

I seriously learn more “news” from SOCIAL media than I do from any other source.

I will live tweet through an awards show like nobody’s business.

Yes, I live tweeted through the Grammy’s.

Frank, Frank, Frank. I’m just so confused.

Speaking of “what the crap” live TV moments, would it not have been so awesome to have had twitter to live tweet through the American Music Awards that year that Guns N Roses was straight up drunk while accepting their award? Or when Sinead O’Connor ripped up that pic of the Pope? Or when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction? Oh the things we could’ve tweeted and retweeted, yall.

I feel proud to say that I watched all of those events listed above LIVE.

Anyway…me. Wallower.

So, I can pop on Facebook or Twitter, and see pics of people enjoying themselves with 15 of their closest friends. Or show that really cool handcrafted dog sweater they just made. Or read about their trip to an island they recently purchased with the inheritance they’ve received from their rich Nigerian uncle.

And I will leave feeling like I have no friends, the talent of a dead parrot, and curse the fact that I don’t have any rich foreign uncles. Or that I’ve even been on airplane since 2006.

That last part is true. Well, last two parts. I don’t have a rich foreign uncle.

That I know of.

I’ll probably receive an email from one tomorrow.

And he’ll need my bank account number to transfer me the money.

After he takes my kidney and leaves me in a tub full of ice.

But in the meantime, I have GOT to get out of my wallowing funk.

Tonight, I flipped through and saw some pics and statuses, and I was all, “Oh. That looks fun.”, “Oh, her hair is cute.”, “Oh, why can’t I figure out how to wrap a freaking scarf like that? It’s just a piece of fabric! It shouldn’t be that hard!”

And amid all the fun and happenings, this was my post tonight, guys.

I’m seriously laughing as I write this.

It’s a snake. Made out of felt.

And it has no purpose WHATSOEVER.

I literally have no idea why I made it.

One of my children asked for it. So it’s their’s now. And its name is Snakey.

If you’d like your own personal Snakey, I’ll make you one. But…for a price. You must come up with a story and use these words: lederhosen, kumquat, piratical, and the phrase “no refrigeration necessary”. Then I’ll send you a Snakey. For real. Humor me, and Snakey is all yours.

By the way, rights to that game belong to my friend Terri. She’s amazing and makes me laugh. She’s my only friend who I can say I’ve saran wrapped a raw egg to her head and tried to smash it with a frozen fish. This is a true story and no, we were not drunk.

So, tonight, as I was sitting on my right foot, and wallowing in self-pity over Facebook, my foot fell asleep.

And I was going to come up with this amazing and awe-inspiring and completely epic analogy involving our self-pity and loathing and what it feels like when your foot falls asleep and you try to walk on it and you can’t even feel your foot so you end up falling down, ON YOUR FACE, but your husband’s upstairs and the kids are asleep so no one hears you and then when your foot starts to wake back up it first feels like a big ole sandbag and then it feels like a thousand mosquitoes are biting it all at once…

But I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t sound completely dumb…and by posting it would make me feel like even more of a loser than I did to begin with because I was posting wonky looking stuffed snakes and everyone else was beautiful, with their 34 closest friends, and had amazingly clean carpets and no random laundry laying about in their pictures.

Now, I am NOT saying that I think you shouldn’t post that stuff, because you should. I LOVE looking at it. And it’s a good exercise for me in getting over my wallowing in self-pity thing.

In seriousness, I’ve been working on TRYING to (I don’t want to say “meditate”, it sounds so ethereal)…”think on” a verse of scripture each day. Really just kind of mulling it over in my mind and trying to let the words seep into my heart and soul, so that it overflows into my actions and relationships.

It honestly was the best thing for me tonight to have a verse come to my mind that pulled me out of my wallowing pit.

So, I’ll continue to post my freaky little felt creatures (felt is my medium these days…well, that and calories. I bake when I’m in a self-discovery mode…anyone need a cake?). And you guys post pics of your infinity scarves. And we’ll all live happily ever after.

Oh, and if you’re a Frank Ocean fan, or better yet a Forrest Gump fan, I just want to offer you my sympathies after last night.

 

 

It’s a Keeper!

I love my husband.

I love our relationship.

I love that I can text him and tell him that there’s a piece of furniture on the side of the road that we might want.

Um, yeah.

So this practice is new to me. In Charleston, when people are done with something, they just put it out on the side of the road.

“The Junk Man” comes around to pick it up. Or, most typically, someone just wanders by, spots it, and decides that they need it.

This place is a “Hoarders” paradise.

Now, I’d like to say, that you feel kind of like you’ve arrived when you see someone “picking” your trash. I actually got a little smug once when I peeked out my dining room curtains and watched neighbors grab old broken shelves from next to my mailbox.

Honestly people.

And once, when our neighbors across the street were moving, we saw a kiddie table that Stephen told me to go look at. I was mortified to get out of the van and start staring at their…literally, junk.

The table didn’t look too bad. I was actually thinking that I could clean it up and paint it (Ha! I NEVER paint anything that I say I’m going to paint!). But as I got closer, I noticed some stickers on the top. Strawberry Shortcake stickers. It looked awfully familiar.

I was about to “pick” a kiddie table from my neighbor’s pile that they had originally “picked” from me when we moved in!

Amazing.

So, it should really come as no shock to you that the following is a text conversation that my husband and I had a few days ago.

Yeah. That’s right.

I love my husband.

Also, he DID bring home a bubble gum machine from someone’s trash once. I made him leave it in Georgia when we moved here, because all it ever did was sit in the garage. I have to admit, it was a cool find. But honestly, who needs a bubble gum machine. I question where the original owner got it from. And I’m guessing his wife made him throw it out, too.

Stephen confessed that he misses that bubble gum machine.

I love him.

He also had a sign that came from a white elephant party that said “No Dumping”. That got left behind too. (Sorry Jill and Russ.:))

It’s not that Stephen and I don’t appreciate nice and new things. We do. Oh, we really do.

But we also appreciate a thrifty find.

Good gravy. Take me to the thrift store and I WILL come home with something. Something that I probably don’t need, so I’m not exactly sure how “thrifty” that is but whatever.

As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

For the record, the BEST white elephant gifts usually come from the thrift store. I tried to get my friend Terri to buy a picture frame with an old pic of some little twins from the ’90s. They looked terrified, and it was freaking awesome. She regrets not making this purchase.

But back to my couch on the side of the road…

He texts me, two minutes later, and says, “IT’S A KEEPER!!”

I laughed out loud. I totally LOLed. I almost never LOL at a text.

Before I know it, he sends me this picture.

Now, you should know that we are the type of people who will not only pick up a used couch off the side of the street, but that we will trade website work for vehicles. That’s where we got that car from. (Thanks Nick and Meredith!)

I believe that we should bring back the whole “bartering for goods” system.

One last thing you should know is that Stephen and I totally drive beater cars, because THEY’RE PAID FOR. We are huge Dave Ramsey fans. And if you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, then you should google him. He sells himself and doesn’t need my advertisement.

BUT…that said…we can totally still be friends if you own a credit card.

SO after Stephen sends me the pic of the couch on the car, WHICH he got up there BY HIMSELF (yeah. dat’s right.), we have this text exchange.

And later that night, we laid in bed laughing our heads off about this whole mess.

Who are we? How did we find each other? What are we gonna DO with that couch?

We laughed so hard that we woke up McKenna who came into our room and said, with squinty eyes and her stuffed cat in her hands,

“Are you guys TRYING to keep me awake?!”

Which only made us laugh more.

Which made her mad.

But that’s a story for another day.

So…the couch is sitting in the garage at the moment because it has not yet been steam cleaned. Stephen wants to put it under a black light…me personally? I’d rather NOT know, and yes, I am aware that it could contain bedbugs or something equally disgusting. But, like I said, I have a really good steam cleaner that’s going to get some use.

Oh…good gravy.

I never imagined that this would be the kind of thing that I would come to treasure about our marriage. That we’d become total “pickers” who don’t mind looking like a fool for a free couch. (I mean, honestly, I could clean it up and sell that thing for some dollars…”flipping” a couch, right?)

So, for your next date night, I suggest rummaging through someone’s hand-offs and then come up with some ridiculous way to transport it home and then laugh about it till you wake up your oldest child.

Man.

I love my life.

 

 

Why I Don’t Have a “Schedule”

I have discovered that no matter how many times I try to come up with some daily chore list or cleaning schedule, it never works out.

Like, things just have to fall into place naturally, and then I say, “Whoa. Look at this new routine I have going. I’m pretty awesome.”

And then of course something will inevitably happen that will turn that routine into a mockery.

I don’t even know if mockery is the word I’m looking for right now. Probably not.

Oh…and also, I have discovered (and then I keep re-discovering it because somehow, I seem to forget this every so often) that while the kids are still so young, my routines change more than they stay the same. We have “phases”. Like the moon. You know, waxing and waning and gibbous and all that nonsense.

Only it’s more like, “he’s in preschool”, “he’s NOT in preschool”, “it’s summer”, “it’s not summer”, “he’s sick”, “she’s sick”, “they’re sick”, “I’m sick”.

Nothing is constant around here.

More often than not…it goes something like this…

Wake up. (Kenni wakes up on her own…she has an alarm.)

Wake Caia up. She is a BEAST when it comes to waking up. She OWNS her sleep. Like a boss.

Then I send the next hour rushing them through eating, getting dressed, brushing teeth, finding shoes, and locating last minute items.

I know, I know all you super-prepared, I have a pinterest made checklist that I mark off with a fancy colored pen every night people, I should have everything laid out by the door the night before. But, that only works if everyone isn’t so flipping tired at night time that they remember to put it by the door. Or to tell their kid to put it by the door. (By the way, I only mock you because I want TO BE like you. AND…because I did that for a season…it lasted roughly two days.)

After they are out the door, I get a shower and eat and have my coffee.

Jack is already up before the girls are gone, so he wanders around behind me or sits on the couch eating while watching his “shows”.

Anyway, the basic everyday routine is…dishes, kitchen counters, laundry in, vacuum, make bed, sweep.

Then after all that is done, Jack and I can play or go out. Or I can have fun if it’s a preschool day.

But then there are days when the big kid has a doctor appointment first thing in the morning.

And then there are days where I spent half the night with a feverish four year old in his twin bed (my entire body hurts), and he’s home sick from preschool. Then it’s a rush to get what little I can get done finished before the last dose of Tylenol in his system wears off and he becomes a puddle of whiny, fever-y goo begging for mommy to snuggle with him.

And I do.

I do love snuggling with my boy.

I asked him last night if I could keep him forever. He said yes. Then I asked him if he was gonna grow up and get married someday. He said, “probably not”. When I asked him why he said, “Because I just love you too much.”

Melt. My. Heart.

But I’m no fool. He’ll leave me one day. For someone younger. And I’ll try really hard not be “that” mother in law.

(BTW, I have a great mother in law. And I’m not just saying that because she’ll probably read this.)

So, that’s where we are today. I’m sitting propped up in bed with a sleeping and sick little man.

Sometimes I think that when I come up with “my” daily schedule that I believe would put Martha Stewart to shame, God remind me of that verse that says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”.

Then I think He giggles at me.

I’m so proud when I think I know what I’m doing.