Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Letter to Myself

Dear Self,

I know you mean well, but the high expectations you constantly place on me unintentionally make life seem impossible. It's daunting enough just trying to stay on top of things, but why do you make me feel like I'm always supposed to be doing more?

More crafts. More exercise. More cleaning. More home-cooked meals. More one-on-one time with my children.  More Bible time. More organization. More. More. More.

And, it's never enough.

I'm not skinny enough. Healthy enough. I don't clean enough. I'm not creative enough. Pretty enough. Fashionable enough. Spiritual enough. Disciplined enough. Nice enough. Fun enough. Hospitable enough. Smart enough. Thankful enough.

So, I try so hard to be better.

Better at saving money. Better with my time. Better at slowing down. Better at speeding up. Better at being a wife. Being a better friend. Better at household management. Being a better parent.

And just when I think I'm doing better, someone else comes along who's doing more, and again, I'm back to feeling like I'm not enough.

Why can't I just ever be enough?


Sincerely Exhausted,

 
Me



Have you ever felt like you could have written the above letter? Maybe it's just me, but we all have times as women where we struggle with just feeling like we are simply enough. That we are loved and appreciated just as we are.

 There's a movie I saw years ago called, "Forces of Nature", with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock. In one scene, they are dancing, and Sandra starts giving Ben marriage advice, since he is headed to his wedding. One line has stuck with me after all of these years. She says to him, "No matter what annoying habits she has, just realize that she's dealing with a huge mountain of imperfections every day. So you might just want to let it go."

I loved that line! As women, we set such high expectations on ourselves and struggle with what to do when we can't live up to them.


News Flash: 
Your imperfections do not define who you are. 
They have made you who you are. 

You're enough because God made you and loves you just as you are.

You don't have to be better  or try harder for His love.

He loves you more than you ever thought possible.
                          

Enough actually is enough.


Trying to be better is fine, but do it in the understanding that you are already enough

You are worth way more than you give yourself credit for. 



You really are. 

Sincerely,


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Presidential Dumb-dumb


Welcome to Hotel Homeschool... Newborn Style.

Opie had just started first grade when Peanut was born. Two weeks later, we moved to Maryland to live in a hotel while my husband finished job training. I didn't want Opie to have to change schools three times in one year, so I decided (in a moment of temporary insanity),  to homeschool him in the hotel (with a newborn!?!) until we could get settled in New Jersey. (Oh. My. Word!)

Since we were so close to D.C., I decided to take a field trip into the city to visit some famous monuments. I was thankful to be able to do this with him at such an impressionable age. I was determined to take full advantage of living so close to such a great city. 

When we arrived in Washington, I was in awe myself. I'd only ridden through the city once, years before, and I was as giddy as he was. (okay, probably more so)

We walked to the World War II Memorial and gazed at the fountains and the giant eagles. I shared with Opie some of the names etched on the stones and what they meant. It was moving and powerful. I was already deeply impressed with how I, his Mother, was handling this field trip. Didn't I deserve to be nominated for some Homeschooling Hall of Fame Award? 




(Ever notice that right when you think you're Smarty McSmarterton, you get whacked back down to Gumby status?)




We moved on past the Reflection Pool towards the pinnacle of our day: the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial. Inside, I was brimming with enthusiasm. "This moment could be a defining moment in Opie's life," I thought. "Where he could embark forth on a journey to become president himself.  I could just picture him swearing in, saying, "I owe it all to my Mother, who lit a spark in me on the day we stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. She is the reason I stand before you today." He was about to see a magnificent example of how your life and character can make history.

We approached the Memorial. 




As we rounded the corner, Opie's eyes grew wide as he looked up at the enormous statue of Abraham Lincoln. For a moment, I watched him soak in the vast space around him. The huge columns. The etched writings of Lincoln on the walls. The richness of our Nation's history. His curiosity was palpable and this supermom was about to make homeschool history.

 So, with great passion and purpose, I spoke....(*Cue symphony of Star Spangled Banner*)

"Opie, (pause.) This is Abraham Lincoln, the fifth president of the United States of America."

What mother had e'er spoken words with such conviction and truth

"What did you just say?" my husband asked. 

I sensed I'd said something incorrectly. 

"Oh, Silly me! Opie, he was the sixth president."

My husband shook his head.

"Seventh?"

Nope.

"Tenth?"

Wrong again.

"Thirteenth?"

Getting Warmer.

"Fifteenth?"

You gotta be kidding.

"Sixteenth!"

Somebody get this girl a cookie



So, the teachable moment? Not like I'd planned. 

My mommy big-head? Deflated.

And that Homeschool Hall of Fame Award? I'd have a better chance at winning the Nobel Peace Prize.


"And to think," my husband added, 
"you are in charge of my child's education."


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh Snap! Shots: Moments

In real life, 
Oh Snap!

Moments.

Life is full of them.

And kids make them extra special.

Moments that we freeze in our mind.

Moments of "Wow. I can't believe you're mine."

Proud moments with our little "helpers."

Loud Moments.

"Dat's too yowd" moments.

"Dat sparkler's weally scawy" moments.

Finding-new-"toys"-under-the-bathroom-sink moments.

Getting-into-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink moments.

Getting-into-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink moments.

"What in the world happened here?" moments.


"So that's where last week's snack went" moments.


Moments where they blow our minds with how they think, like protecting Mater and McQueen's eyes from the glaring sun.


"MOM, Come look at me!" moments.


"This is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way" moments.


I love these pictures! They make me smile! Next week's theme is: "What's in your wallet?" Dump out your purse or diaper bag, snap a picture and write a description of what you find. (Just do it. You know you need to clean it out anyway!) Go ahead and send it to me today, so you won't forget! I'm gonna do it, too! 


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gas Confessions

It's shameful! 

I'm a grown woman for crying out loud! 

How could I not know any better?

How can I share a mistake this huge? 

Well, they say that confession is good for the soul.

So, don't judge me.

The truth is... 

(I-ran-out-of-gas-in-the-middle-of-the-woods-with-my-toddler-in-the-backseat.)


Whew! There. I said it. 

Horrible, isn't it? 

Well, let me defend myself by saying...

It all started when my husband took Opie on an overnight canoe and camping trip with a family from our church. He was hoping I could drive up with Peanut later in the day and visit them for a bit in the evening. So, he plugged the campsite address into our Garmin and bid me farewell. 

When Peanut woke up from his afternoon nap, I put him in his carseat and off we headed toward the mountains of New Jersey. As I pulled out of our drive-way, my phone rang. It was my Mom calling, so I strapped on my bluetooth headset to chat.

At that point, I noticed my gas tank was extremely low. I passed two gas stations close to my house, but since my Mom was talking, I didn't want to interrupt her. Besides that, it looked like my drive was going to be another forty-five minutes, so I assumed there would be another gas station somewhere along the way.

And that is where I deserve a swift roundhouse kick to the head.

I am still new to New Jersey. I typically don't veer off my beaten path. And the fact that I was headed into the woods should have been a clue that perhaps this wasn't the most populated route. 

Now, I am quite naive at times and I just figured that somewhere over the mountain and through the woods, I would see a sign of hope. You know, a good Samaritan who just happened to be traveling with a full gas-can in his trunk. Or better yet a rich country estate with it's own gas pump. Hey, it could happen!

I finally arrived at the state park. I almost stopped when I saw the ranger's station. But, then, I noticed I was almost to my husbands campsite. "Why not wait?" I thought to myself. "Dennis and the guys will know what to do.

(Insert another full roundhouse kick.)  

You see, my GPS didn't actually take me to his campsite. It took me to somebody else's campsite. And up to that point, I had been hopeful

Yeaaaah, not so much anymore. 

I got back on "Ain't-Nobody-Livin'-Within-Fifty-Miles-of-Here Road" and tried to keep my eyes peeled for some sign of life. I passed a park ranger and nearly got whiplash trying to do a one-eighty to catch up to him. 

He must have been going a hundred miles an hour, 'cuz I couldn't catch up to the guy going sixty in a thirty-five! (Wait...could that be used in court against me?)

I passed a couple of creepy log cabins, but all I could picture was me duct-taped to a chair, held hostage by mountain people. Besides, I had Peanut with me, and I couldn't risk putting him in danger. 


Out of gas and out of ideas.

And that, my friends, is when I lost it

Panic set in. Dreams of being rescued by park rangers, random hikers, or Channing Tatum quickly dissipated. Reality was sinking in and it wasn't looking pretty. I decided to pull over when I noticed my cell-phone actually had a signal and before my gas totally fizzled out. It was here when my decision making skills finally took a turn for the better.

I dialed '911.' (all the while, hysterically crying as if I had been impailed by a spear)

They transferred me to the park ranger's station, where I spoke with a female ranger who asked me the dumbest question I could have imagined: "What do you see?" I slightly hesitated and then replied sarcastically, "Umm, woods...and a river." "Well, we are all busy with other things," she said. Nevermind, I had a toddler in the car with me and the sun was about to set!

To sum up the following two hours, let's just say that I was still sitting on the side of Old Mill Road. Peanut was starving by this point and it was hotThankfully, I just happened to have some bottled waters in the trunk and nuts I had grabbed for a snack. (which in and of itself is a miracle because I never remember to grab snacks!) 

Eventually, my husband returned to the campsite from their canoeing expedition and noticed ten missed calls from me. He knew something was wrong since I had not arrived yet. He picked up on call attempt number eleven and assured me that all would be okay. They quickly plugged in my approximate location on their GPS and a few minutes later, my knights in shining Chrysler arrived. 

Boy, was I glad to see them

We switched Peanut to the other car and laughed for a second about the crazy ordeal. Best of all, my precious husband never said a word or scolded me about my mistake, and was just glad we were okay. 

He also commended me for leaving a small amount of gas in the car. After all, it came in handy when he drove it to their campsite, that I had apparently passed...two miles back. 


The moral of this story folks? 

I think Channing Tatum would 
make a nice-looking park ranger.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm Officially Old


My oldest, at age five, shooting his BB gun. He still has a love for shooting...

When I was younger, nothing drove me crazier than when Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted by my parents turning the channel to watch the news.

I hated the news. It was a bunch of political gibberish and stories that didn't interest me in the least. And besides, I was more interested in which one of the Smurfs was eventually going to kiss Smurfette! In my mind, only old people watched the news. Who else could enjoy watching someone in a suit reading from a teleprompter?

Fast forward twenty-five years.

Wanna know what my favorite thing to do in the morning is? Sip my coffee (or in my case, french vanilla creamer with a touch of coffee) with my hubby next to me and watch the News. In fact, our favorite is Robin Meade. It's fast paced and covers a wide range of topics quickly. (It doesn't hurt that my husband thinks she's drop dead gorgeous.)

Well, my oldest son recently discovered 'Top Shot' on Netflix. It's a series from television about professional marksmen (and markswomen?).  He loves it and gets so frustrated when, while watching it, we come in and do the 'presto-channel change-o' to watch our news.

Now, I've told you before about his habit of writing everything down on paper. So, this morning, after I switcheroo-d from Top Shot to Robin Meade, this is what I found on the dining room table:



Yep. I guess I am the official old person now.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Oh Snap! shots: Birthday Bashes


I seriously did not do this on purpose.

How cool is it that this week's theme was "Birthday Shots" and I am celebrating my birthday with a give-away, too?!! I couldn't have planned this any better if I'd have tried. I would give myself a pat on the back for having my act together, but not this week. 

The downhill cycle all started when:

I crammed my schedule too full.

Which caused me to let the house go...

Which caused laundry to pile up...

Which made me feel overwhelmed...

Which made me not feel like cooking dinner...

Which didn't mean a hill o' beans. I still had to cook...

Which means I still had dishes piled up, but I have not a dishwasher...

Which means I let the dishes go because I was sooo exhausted...

Which means I regretted that decision the next morning...

But, I had no time to do the dishes because...

I had crammed my schedule too full.


I felt guilty about letting it all go. But, as my oldest says, "It's my birthday month! So, I can do whatever I want... right?" :)


In Real Life, 
Oh Snap!


You want birthdays to be perfect, especially the cake...





You get the kids all dressed up for the occasion...




Sometimes it goes off without a hitch...


This is me on my second birthday. Wasn't I cute?


Other times, not so much...

"By golly, you're gonna eat this cake... now stuff it!!"

"I was fine until you put this dang carrot hat on my head! I look ridiculous!" 
(This is my oldest son at his Carrot Top themed first birthday party.)

Things can get kinda messy...



Or violent..

Superhero's chasing down a "villian" at my son's 4th birthday party.

But, no matter whether you celebrate their big day in NYC



Or at the park with friends and family...




Just remember the most important thing...


At the end of the day, we all get cake!

Thanks for submitting the birthday pictures! Next weeks Oh Snap! shots has no theme. Any funny pictures will do! I have some I haven't been able to use yet and I am dying to!


***The necklace with the most votes for my Birthday Give-Away was... #1! So, I'm ordering it for myself tomorrow! Thanks for everyone who voted!
Raindrop Brolly via Etsy
And Congrats to Mandee McDonald, who will receive the necklace she voted for, which was #3! I may have to buy one of these for myself, too! Hope you enjoy yours!

Mrs November Studio via Etsy

PS. Thanks for all who voted! There is another jewelry give-away coming soon, so stay-tuned! It's a good one!

A Beautiful Day


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot Date at the Pistol Range


My husband has been dying to take me to the pistol range where he is a member. He wanted to teach me how to properly shoot a gun just in case we have an intruder while he is out of town, or worse, some parent cuts line in carpool.

So, I finally got a sitter and went.

Once we arrived,  I took a fifteen minute safety course, then signed a paper saying that I wouldn't sue them in case I was injured or shot or something like that. (I never read the fine print.) They said we could not shoot if we were impaired by drugs or alcohol. They did not mention sleep deprivation as an impairment. Peanut wakes me up at 5:30 every morning. Believe me. That is an impairment. 

Before entering the range, I had to put on goggles and ear protection that was supposed to make me look ridiculous safe. 

Were they really about to hand this gal a loaded gun?
My husband helped me grip my 9mm Sig P226 (impressed?) and before you knew it, I was a shootin' fool. I must say it was quite loud in the range, and the ear protection didn't do diddly for me, but, that didn't stop me from poppin' caps and goin' all gangsta'! 

Look at that grip! Yowza! I look so for real, don't I? 

Thanks Honey, for two reasons:

A. Snapping the above picture when I was obviously not ready
and
B. Not telling me to wear close-toed shoes, thus allowing my feet to get burned from hot brass flying from my gun. (who knew?)

The final outcome?

A score of 238 out of 250 on my first lesson, a hot date with the hubs, and one Mama who ain't playin' around with any carpool shenanigans...


HOLLA!

PS. Be sure to go register for my Jewelry Birthday Give-Away! 
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's My Birthday, So Another Give-Away

My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and I've had trouble thinking of gift ideas to give my husband. 

Since an umbrella is the symbol I chose for my blog, I thought perhaps a necklace with the icon on it would make a nice gift. So I went on Etsy, and I couldn't pick just one!

That's where you come in.

Take a look at these and vote for your favorite one. I plan on purchasing two of the necklace with the most votes.

One for me,

And one for a lucky follower of this blog!**


So get to gettin' and leave a comment with your vote!

You must comment to be able to win!

**You must be a follower of Briantics to be a winner


1.
Raindrop Brolly via Etsy
                                                   
2.
Gleeful Peacock via Etsy

3.
Miss November Studio via Etsy

4.
Paris On Sunday via Etsy

5.
Silent Roses via Etsy

6.
A Twist Of Fate Design via Etsy

7.
Sanguine 'n Melancholy via Etsy


I also put links to the corresponding Etsy stores under each necklace. 
Check them out!

GOOD LUCK!

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