Sunday, April 21, 2013


Long time no blog!

Life has been busy.  Between school and work and kids and trying to keep *some* of my sanity, blogging has been the furthest from my mind.  I've had a hard time feeling "inspired" lately and truly haven't thought of anything to blog about.  However, something happened the other day and I feel like maybe I just need to type it out in order to process it.

I have been a member of an online group of moms since I found out I was pregnant with Tenley.  It is a group of women who were all pregnant and due in January of 2012.  We originally "met" on a website called The Bump, however we moved over to facebook and formed a private group, making it easier to have open dialog and giving us a little more privacy.  We started with around 180 women, but over the past 2 years, we are now at about 140 members.

There other day in a group, I worded something poorly and even after clarifying my point, I was labeled "racist" by a few of the women.  I have met only a couple of the women in this group in person, so the vast majority of them only know me online. I know that any of my "real life" friends know that this statement is absolutely ridiculous and know that I might be a lot of things, but racist isn't one of them. One woman went as far as to say that she hoped my children "learned to appreciate other cultures from someone other than me" and that she hoped my children "didn't inherit my ignorance".  Ouch.

My original post was in response to a lot of things I saw on facebook and different news sites stating that automatically assuming the Boston bombings might have been linked to Al Qaeda was racist.  I disagreed.  I think that in recent history, high profile terroristic acts against our country have been linked to (and here is where my wording was wrong and got me in trouble) "radical Middle Eastern or Muslim groups".  I could not, for the life of me, remember the group name "Al Qaeda".  I was hoping that the word radical would jump off the page and my point would be understood, however, it was not.

Eventually, someone said that using Middle Eastern, Muslim, and Al Qaeda interchangeably was where she was having an issue with my post.  I thought about that and understood her point.  It was ignorance on my part to group the three together.  I think if my original post used only the word Al Qaeda, the responses would have been different.  I should have said, "Having experienced the terror of September 11th, I don't feel it is racist for my initial fear response, upon hearing about an act of terrorism against our country, to be thoughts that it could be linked to Al Qaeda."

Over the past couple of days, I have been thinking about this a lot.  I always want to improve myself and I'm not prideful to the point of not being able to admit when I am wrong.  I thought about my poor choice of wording, and how it was simply a blunder of words on my part, and not that I feel negatively toward any particular race or religion.  I don't.  I can't change that woman's opinion of me and honestly don't care to. Anyone who can so quickly judge my parenting ability based on a slip of wording is not worth my time or effort.

The number one thing that keeps coming to my mind, however, were the responses that I got from some of the women.  I really thought about it, and the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became.  I think that we, as a generation, have such a huge opportunity to change this crazy issue we seem to have about not being able to discuss our misconceptions about other cultures and our questions about the differences between different races.  It is so detrimental to give someone the label of "racist" instead of listening to them and having an open dialog about a misconception.

A girl that I work with and I have had many conversations where we give each other a hard time.  She is black, and I am white, and both of us have heard the stereotypes that are out there about each of our races.  One day, I jokingly said, "If I were black, I would name my kids something crazy!"  She laughed and replied, "If you were black and named your kids something crazy, I would consider you ghetto."  We laughed about it, and it opened up a conversation in which we discussed some of the common misconceptions about the other's race.  It was a fun and light-hearted conversation in which we were both open-minded enough to discuss questions that we were previously afraid to even ask, for fear of offending someone or being labeled as "racist".

Does it make me racist to have questions about another race or culture?  I would hope not!  However, we seem to have this wall up where it is considered rude to ask a question.  You know what this does?  It allows ignorance to continue.  You know what ignorance breeds?  Racism.

What happened to me the other day happens all the time!  My comment was absolutely not meant to offend anyone.  I worded it poorly and as soon as I realized my mistake, I apologized, took responsibility for what I said, and tried to correct it.  The women who criticized me did so with the idea that they were taking a stand against racism.  However, I think by doing something like this, they are doing just the opposite of what they intended.  They were wrong in how they labeled me, and I know I'm not the first person in history to be wrongly labeled as racist.  It makes me feel that I can't start a conversation with the intent of educating myself, or ask a question to better understand something that I have previously misunderstood. 

Was I misinformed?  Maybe.  Am I unwilling to change my opinion on something?  No.  Is calling me a racist and refusing to further engage me in conversation to get to a common ground beneficial?  No.

If we can't ask questions or have conversations without being labeled as racist, or without making low-blows about a person's ability to raise their children with respect and understanding of people who are different than them, we will continue in this vicious cycle.  Ignorance breeds racism.  If we keep labeling people as racist for simply making a statement or asking a question, they'll eventually stop trying to understand.  Misunderstanding allows ignorance to continue.  And ignorance breeds racism.  See the cycle?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 9-???: Well....

I have learned a few things during my blogging over the past month. 

1. I still love to write.  Always have.  Probably always will.  It's theraputic and relaxing and I just love it.

2. I love it when people read what I write and I love reading what other people write.  I am not perfect and I feel like if we were all willing to talk about things that we need to work on in our lives, then we wouldn't feel so alone in our struggles.

3. I'm really really really bad with keeping up with a 31 day challenge.  Like, really bad. 

I think I am going to stop calling this a "31 Day Challenge", and start calling it a "31 Changes Challenge" takes much longer than 31 days to make any kind of substantial change in your life...and that change should be a permanant change, not a change that only lasts during the 31 day challenge. 

So, here is my 9th chage...

There is one thing that became so insanely clear to me this month.  I talk a lot about my son and how he is a huge motivation for me to be a better person.  This month, I really took the time to evaluate how I interact with him, and I learned something that I proabably should have known all along. 

Since the time Grayson was a baby, he has always been so in tune to my feelings.  I remember holding him while we were at a big gathering one time, and he wanted nothing to do with me.  When I handed him off to Nick, he was fine.  When I took him back, he would have another melt down.  I didn't realize until then how uptight and nervous I was about being around all of those people.  He could feel that, and because of that, he couldn't relax while I was holding him.

That is one example of many.  Grayson has always been very aware of how I am feeling and the mood I am in.  This month, I started paying attention to how I spoke to and interacted with other kids Grayson's age.  One of the things I noticed was how little and fragile and young those other kids seemed.  They all seemed so innocent!  I realized that I didn't treat Grayson the same way I would treat another 4 year old.  I hold him to a higher standard, which is fine, but I really felt like on a pretty consistant basis, I was being too harsh with him.

I decided that I would try to change my attitude toward him for a day, and see what happened.  I was shocked, to say the least.  My little boy was a completely different kid.  He thrived on praise and hugs and kisses!  He was so well-behaved and sweet, and so much more willing to do what I asked him to do. 

It makes a lot of sense, though.  I don't want someone yelling at me all the time.  I wouldn't respond well to that.  I need a lot of pats on the back and "good jobs!" and hugs and smiles and laughter.  I don't know why I thought Grayson would be any different.  He is JUST like me.  Of course he needs those things to be the best that he can be, too.

The other day we were in the car and we were singing and being silly.  We were having a really good day, and I was trying extra hard to be patient with Grayson and to be kind in the way I spoke to him.  All of a sudden, Grayson said, "Mommy, I really like it when you're happy!  I don't like it when you are mad."  I asked him if he thought I was mad a lot, and he said, "Yeah, you ARE mad a lot!  But today you are happy and I like it!"  ...I love the brutal honesty of a 4 year old.

Obviously I still have days where I am short-tempered and have a hard time being patient, but I am working and making a concious effort to change the way I interact with him.  He is a sweet, silly, crazy, loving, smart, kind, and amazing little boy, and he deserves my patience and understanding.  Tenley is still a baby, so this stuff doesn't effect her yet, but it will...and hopefully by the time she is Grayson's age, I'll have this whole "mom" thing a little more figured out. :-)


We took family pictures for the fist time in a loooooong time, and so far I am in LOVE with the pictures we have seen!  Kelsey Ray Photography rocks my socks off. 

So proud of these two sweeties!

My beautiful family!

She told us to tickle...and this is the cuteness that came from that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 8: Quit procrastinating.

I'm mad at myself. 

Wanna know what I did today?  Slept in (which was awesome) and then sat around dreading the idea of doing homework.  And then found some other pointless thing to do instead of homework, and then did homework.  Lots and lots and lots of homework.  Oh, and got annoyed with my kids for interrupting me while doing homework.  Why did I have so much homework?  Because I did it all last minute. 

I could have done homework Wednesday.  Or Thursday.  Friday or Saturday or Sunday, even.  Nope.  Waited until today.  When it was due.  Missed out on all kinds of fun with my kids and definitely didn't get my hour of playtime in with them all because I chose to procrastinate.

I am off every Wednesday.  It's the perfect day to get homework done.  Grayson is in school, Grandma can come over and watch Tenley for a few hours, and I can go find a place to sit and do homework.  If I would just take that time to do it, I wouldn't have to worry about it for the rest of the week!  I could enjoy my kids and get all kinds of stuff done around the house and maybe even take a nap without feeling guilty about it if I would just do my stinkin' homework on a day when I have nothing else going on.

I read a saying once (in this blog ) that you should just go ahead and eat that frog!  Wait, what?  Okay, here: "If the first thing you do when you wake up each morning is eat a live frog, nothing worse can happen the rest of the day."  Makes sense, right?  No?

Well, first, you have to figure out what your "frog" is.  Homework?  Working out?  Cleaning the house?  All of the above?  Well, if you're like me you spend an innumerous amount of time worrying about those things and dreading those things and building them up in your head, and then you end up wasting the whole day and getting nothing accomplished.  So, if you do them first...go ahead and eat that frog...then those things are out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your day!


You will now find me doing my homework on Wednesdays. 

So, what's your frog?  Catch it.  And eat it!  :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7: Dreaming

Today is my anniversary!  Nick and I now have 3 years under our belts and a lifetime to go.

We went to dinner the other night to celebrate and had lunch together today before he had to leave for work.  I love those times when it is just us.  No kids, no friends...just us.  He is my favorite person to be with.

We talked about our past and all the mistakes we've made.  We talked about things we've overcome together during the last 3 years and how everything seems to be moving in a good direction.  Most importantly, we talked about our future.  We always talk about our future.

Nick and I are both pretty optimistic people.  We love life, we love our family, and we love planning our future.  Anytime we are together, the conversation at some point will involve our future plans.  What we want from our careers, what we want our future home to look like, what we want for our's my favorite conversation.  Everyone needs to dream.  Even if your dreams seem far-fetched, it's better to imagine and strive to reach them than it is to sit and be complacent, right? 

Life can get so crazy sometimes.  Between work and school and family, we can get so bogged down that we start living day to day and just going through the motions.  Sometimes I feel like a robot.  Work, eat, sleep, repeat.  It's so mundane.  It's also exhausting.

You know when there is something exciting coming up, like Christmas,  and you get a little pep in your step?  You have something to look forward to!  You smile more, you enjoy life a little're happier!  Right?

I truly believe this is why Pinterest has become SO insanely popular.  It allows people to dream.  It gets you out of your reality for a bit.

So, I'm going to make sure that I allow myself to dream.  Even crazy, far-reaching, impossible dreams.  You do the same.  Set goals for yourself!  Share your dreams with someone.  Make a plan.  Find a way to turn your dreams into a reality.  Life is so very very short. 

Nick, thank you for being the one I share my biggest and smallest dreams with.  Because of you, life is more fun.  Thank you for loving me enough to forgive me when I mess up.  Thank you for loving our babies the way you do and for being the type of father that gets excited about their future.  You give me a reason to wake up every morning and a reason to keep dreaming my crazy, impossible dreams.  You allow me to be silly and crazy and sometimes unrealistic.  You bring so much love and laughter into our home, and I truly can't think of a single person who I would want to share all of this with.  We have such an amazing future together.  Thank you for giving me a reason to be excited about this life.  I am more in love with you today than I was on the day I married you 3 years ago, and I know that with every year that passes, I'll love you even more.

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 6: Being Thankful and Content

Happy November!  This is my favorite month.  It finally starts getting cool, the leaves change colors, and I can wear cute fall clothes!  My birthday is this month, my anniversary is this month, and Thanksgiving (um...hello, AMAZING food) is this month!  Lots of great things happen in November.

A lot of people have been posting every day on facebook something they are thankful for.  I love seeing all the happy and positive posts; they are drowning out the negative ones, which I totally appreciate.  With all the political propaganda plastered all over with everyone bashing the party they don't believe in, it is so refreshing to see people taking time out of their day to be thankful.

I read something once that really stuck with me.  It said, "What if you woke up tomorrow with only those things you thanked God for today?"  Ouch.  There are days I think I would wake up with nothing, if that were the case.  We so often forget to thank the One who provides everything for us.  In this great country of ours, even those who are considered "in poverty" have access to food and water on a daily basis.  Our worst isn't so bad when you really stop to think about it.

My amazing best friend of 13 years (Omg...thirteen years?! Where did the time go?) spent a summer in Africa and came back with beautiful and tragic stories about the people there.  She came back completely changed.  She loves to use the hash tag #firstworldproblems when she sees someone complaining about something that would be considered a blessing in a third world country.  For example: ", my iPhone is totally spazzing out on me!  I can't check my email.  My day is ruined!" #firstworldproblems

I truly have so much to be thankful for.  I have the world's best parents, who have completely supported me and loved me through some really ugly times.  I have a sister and a brother who will put me in my place when I need it, stand up for me when someone isn't treating me right, and will act completely crazy with me in public places. :-) I have beautiful friends, who I know would be there for me in a heartbeat without even asking them.  I have a job that I love.  I have a roof over my head.  Food on my table.  Water to drink.

I have a husband who loves me at my worst, encourages me daily, provides for our family, tells me I'm beautiful...and is so genuine about it that I believe him.  He stands up for me when I can't find my footing to stand up for myself.  He loves our babies and the relationship he has with them is so admirable.

I have two amazing kids.  God allowed the honor of being their mother.  I still haven't figured out what I did to deserve it, but I am blown away daily by the lessons they teach me.  They are happy and innocent and beautiful.  Most importantly, they are healthy.  I hope I never forget to be thankful for that.

Isn't that enough to count myself as blessed? You would think so. However, on a daily basis I find myself wishing for more. I want a new outfit, or a less hectic schedule, or a day to be by myself, or more money, or the ability to get everything done in one day that I think I should. I find myself seeing these people that seem to have it all together, and I wish I were more like them. I see the crafty people that post stuff on facebook and I wish I had their talent. I see moms in the store who have their hair fixed, make-up on, kids dressed like they came straight out of a magazine, and then of course their beautifully dressed children are behaving just as beautifully...

...and then I look at myself, with my hair in a hair tie (probably not washed), jeans, t-shirt, flip-flops, and no makeup, with my kids looking (although still adorable) like they rolled in the dirt before we walked in, and Grayson asking if he can, "Please please please have a toy?  I'll be a good boy.  I really want one.  Mom?  Mommy?  Mom?  Mom?  MOM! Please can I have a toy?  I'll be good.  Please!!!  Mom!  Can I have a toy?  Just a little tiny one.  I promise I won't ask anymore, okay?  I'm not asking for a toy.  I reaaallllyyy like toys, though.  And I'm a good boy.  A really really good boy........................................................and also I love toys."

Do these other moms sedate their kids before walking in?  I'm just wondering.

That's just it, though.  I see a short snapshot of these women and their families.  I see them for a couple of minutes in a store.  I see what they choose to present.  Who knows what their lives are really like?  They could be perfectly happy and just as polished as they appear, or they could be miserable.  There is no way for me to know either way.  And it shouldn't matter.

I am blessed!  Yes, my life is hectic and crazy and disorganized.  Yes, Grayson will continue to ask for toys every single time we go into the store...repeatedly...and loudly.  Yes, some moms will look like they have it all together while I look like it is all falling apart...but that's just a snapshot.  My family is happy and healthy and full of love.  My kids go to sleep every night knowing they are adored.  I go to sleep at night knowing that no matter what life throws at me, I have the most amazing support system.

So, I will be thankful for that and I will be content with what God gives me.  I hope I am never put in a position to know what it is like to be without the things that I take for granted.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 5: Realistic goals

I realize that this is not actually day 5 and that it should be day 8, but the weekend happened and sometimes all the time it is more important to get tied up in spending time with your family and having fun than it is to blog. 

I had a great weekend.  Went out with a friend Friday night for dinner and drinks, cleaned the house with the help of my handsome husband Saturday and cooked dinner that night, and Sunday we have a weekly tradition of grilling steaks and watching a movie at home.  It's my favorite night!

During this time of hanging out with my family and getting stuff accomplished around the house, I realized that I was constantly thinking about what my next daily challenge should be.  I was being so hard on myself about it, that I was having a hard time staying in the moment and enjoying my family.  Then, I realized how silly that was.

I started thinking about how often I felt I should be doing something more.  I am my own worst critic.  I am so mean to myself!  I wouldn't put the pressure I put on myself on anyone else, so why do I feel the need to put it on myself?  I know it's good to challenge yourself, and it's good to have goals, but it's also good to realize that you're not perfect...and that it's okay to not be perfect.

I realized that I hold myself to such a high standard, that it is literally impossible to meet that standard.  In my head, I have a million things I feel I should be doing, and because it is seriously not even almost possible to get all of it done in a day, I feel like I've failed. 

Nick knows this better than anyone, but when I feel overwhelmed, instead of sorting out what needs to be done in order of importance, I tend to just give up and not do any of it.  We started cleaning this weekend, and I felt like there was so much to be done that I didn't know where to start.  I think Nick must have seen that all-too-familiar look on my face, because he handed me a trash sack, and told me exactly where to start.  He knows me so well. 

So, I need to start setting realistic goals for myself.  I am not superwoman but I am also not a failure.  Setting unrealistic goals can sure make you feel that way in a hurry, though.  I have a full plate, and not everything is going to get done every day.  It's okay.  It'll be there tomorrow.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” -African Proverb

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 4: Making plans

Today, I worked with my sweet friend, Margaret.  I absolutely love her.  We have a lot in common.  She's my age, has an insanely cute little boy around Grayson's age and another baby on the way.  She is almost finished with nursing school, and I am so happy for her.  She will be a fantastic nurse.

Margaret is also a Christian.  She is one of those people who can walk into a room, and just her presence alone makes you want to be a better person.  She's always smiling, has an amazing attitude, and handles stress with such grace.  I truly believe there are very few people in the world like her.

We were talking about my plans for nursing school, and I realized that I really didn't have any solid plans.    Honestly, I feel a little lost and very confused as to what I have left to do, and even where I want to go.

I think I'm scared.  Nursing school is no joke.  It's hard.  It's exhausting.  It consumes a HUGE amount of your time.  I think because I know my limits, I know that working full time is out of the question for me while going through nursing school. 

I am so thankful for Nick's job.  It will allow me to go to school without having to worry about working full time.  We will certainly have to be more conservative with our finances, but we can definitely afford it.  For the past few years, my excuse for not tackling school head on was the fact that we couldn't afford for me to work part time or prn.

On day one, my challenge was no more excuses.  By the end of next week, I hope to meet with an academic advisor and finalize my plans for nursing school.  There is no reason that I shouldn't.  I really don't have anymore excuses.

God has always always always provided for us, even when it seemed hopeless.  He has always been faithful.  I look back to the past couple of years when we were basically surviving on my income, and I have no idea how we did it.  I know that over the next couple of years, He will continue to provide for us.

Margaret offered me a lot of encouragement today, and she really made me think.  I am so thankful for people like her who make me strive to be a better person. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11