Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tis The Season For My Favorite Christmas Albums

Martina McBride – White Christmas

Martina McBride White Christmas CD
Let it Snow | Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas | Silver Bells | Hark! The Herald Angels Sing | Do You Hear What I Hear | I’ll Be Home For Christmas | Winter Wonderland | O Come All Ye Faithful | Away In a Manager | Baby, It’s Cold Outside | Jingle Bells | White Christmas | Silent Night | The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) | What Child is This | Oh Holy Night

Pentatonix – A Pentatonix Christmas

O Come All Ye Faithful | God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen | White Christmas | I’ll Be Home for Christmas | Up on the Housetop | The Christmas Sing-a-long | Coventry Carol | Hallelujah | Coldest Winter | Good to Be Bad | Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day | Angels We Have Heard on High | O Holy Night | Do You Hear What I Hear | Mary Did You Know | Winter Star | Hark The Herald Angels Sing | Away in a Manger | Low How a Rose E'er Blooming | Little Drummer Boy | Silent Night | Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas | Santa Claus is Coming to Town | Jingle Bells | White Christmas | All I Want For Christmas is You | Holly Jolly Christmas | Santa Baby | Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas | Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) | Silent Night | Blue Christmas | Cold December Night | I'll be Home for Christmas | Ave Maria | Feliz Navidad

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Am The World's Okayest Mom

We are coming into the dreaded holiday season where people mainlining pumpkin spice and holiday cheer and I can already feel my heart rate rising and the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. My Facebook feed is flooded with mostly humble braggy "thankful" posts from people who normally complain about everything - even the weather - on an hourly basis, mixed in with hundreds of (supposedly) unbelievably easy and adorable crafts to make between now and Christmas.

Luckily, I am able to skip right by those posts and tune out the moms at the playdates who are already worrying about how quickly their newest Easy Peasy Life Scheduling Apps are filling up with holiday parties, photo shoots, shopping lists, visits with the in-laws, gift exchanges, private visits to Santa, and more wedged in between the usual volleyball practice, music lessons, chess club, and private tutor sessions.  Since I don't give a crap about most of that stuff, I just smile and say, "Man, that sure makes me glad that my boys just want clothes and cash for Christmas.  No one has invited me to a cookie exchange in years, and I don't put out big family holiday cards".

When I see the horrified expressions on these mom's faces illuminated in the glowing display of their cell phones, I just remind myself that I am an OK mom, and there is nothing wrong with that.  

There is a lot of pressure to be the World's Best Mom. Both from the outside world and from inside my tiny brain. Everywhere I look, I am bombarded with commercials for crap my kids don't need and holiday traditions I must start and food I must bake and then consume in mass quantities. There is an overwhelming feeling to make everything magical and amazing and special and unique and memorable and awe-inspiring or else I'm not a good mom. But you know what I realized a few years ago? I didn't have to listen to those commercials or my tiny brain. I could ignore it all.

That's right!  I don't aspire to be the worlds greatest mom.  I don't even try.

I am perfectly fine being the worlds okayest mom, and no one's childhood is going to be ruined because of it.

And it's not just this time of year that I feel this way. It's all year round that I hold that badge of honor proudly. I don't celebrate half birthdays (I celebrate the actual day, you can't get two parties out of me) or spend my weekends constructing the most kick ass diorama anyone in the eighth grade has ever seen (I wasn't good at those when I was in eighth grade, my kid has a better chance at an "A" making it by himself) or baking anything my family would enjoy eating. I don't make festive fall scarecrows to pose on our front porch (hay makes me sneeze) or get up to watch the sun rise with my kids (do you have any idea what time the sun rises??). 

Just because I don't do this stuff, doesn't mean I love my kids any less.

I don't live in a fog of mom guilt where I worry if I'm screwing up my kids. They know I love them and that's what is most important. I have to let them make mistakes and learn from them. I have to take care of more than just their happiness. The way I see it is, it's pretty hard to screw up your kids. As long as you're not abusing or neglecting your kids, you're probably doing OK. As moms, we have to let that guilt go. We have to stop worrying so much about our parenting and second guessing ourselves and judging ourselves. Our kids are happy if we're happy and I don't see how we can be happy if we're letting the mom guilt get us down. We can't worry about the kids or the husband or the house at the expense of us. Let's face it, we're the glue that holds this family together and if we start losing it, everyone is going to lose it. We have to give ourselves a break and say, "Today being the Okayest Mom will do."

It doesn't always have to be perfect. You can throw out the schedule and the menu plan and the vacuuming and just talk with your kids (better yet, watch a basketball game with them) or help them with their chores or their homework.

During this ridiculously festive and overbearing season, let's put aside our guilt for a day and just embrace our Okayestness (hey, if I'm making up words, I might as well go for broke) and just slow down and breathe and be. I don't know about you, but I'm going to relax and enjoy this time of year and not worry about hitting every item on the holiday to-do list or concentrate on "making memories" with my kids. My guess is, if I just slow down and spend time with the ones I'm truly grateful for, those memories will make themselves. They may not be the best, but OK, is fine by me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Questions from the Mother of Mayhem

Here's a fun little "more about me" questionnaire.  Please feel free to share it or answer it on your own blog.

1.  Pool, lake or ocean?  --  I love water, and really can't pick between these.  I'm happy around all of them. 

2.  Camping, cottage, or hotel?  --  I'm a bit of a travel snob.  I am not a fan of camping at all.  The bugs, the dirt, the constant campfire thank you.  Give me a luxury hotel any day of the week.

3.  Favorite ice cream flavor?  --  Mint chocolate chip is always a winner with me.

4.  PJs, nightgown, tshirt & shorts, or birthday suit?  --  This one depends on the weather.  Usually I'm a t-shirt and shorts girl.....but if the weather is cold, I will trade the shorts for sweatpants.

5.  Fave summer beverage?  --  Strawberry lemonade

6.  Would you rather be hot or cold?  --  I would definitely rather be hot. I'm ALWAYS cold and I hate it.  I find it so much easier to warm up than to cool down.

7.  Sandals with heels or flats?  --  I like to have a bit of a heel in my sandals or dress shoes.  Being 7 inches shorter than my husband, I don't mind having a bit of a boost.

8.  Shorts or skirts?  --  Shorts mostly, but given the right venue, a skirt is totally appropriate.

9.  Sit in the sun or the shade?  --  If it's not too hot, the sun is always preferred, but on 30+ days, I like having the shade nearby.

10.  Water, tea, or soda?  --  Of these choices, water wins hands down.

11.  Favorite summer fruit or vegetable?  -- It's probably a tie between cherries and blueberries.....but I love ALL seasonal fruit.

12.  Sunrise or sunset? --  I think they are both lovely, but if I absolutely had to choose one, I would have to say sunrise. 

13.  Bike ride or walk?  --  Walking.  I feel like I miss too much when riding a bike.  Walking allows me to take my time.

14.  Winery or brewery?  --  Well, I don't drink either wine or beer, but I've enjoyed days and meals at wineries, and I find the atmosphere very relaxing, so I guess I would go with winery.

15.  Garden or no garden?  --  I love garden fresh veggies, but I hate gardening, so I will go with no garden.

16.  Big summer concert or music festival in the park?  --  I love the atmosphere of park festivals.  They are so much fun, and a lot less hectic than big summer concerts.

17.  Fave cookout food?  --  I love corn on the cob, chili, and fun takes on salads.

18.  Dine indoors or patio?  --  Patios are the best place to spend warm summer days.

19.  Favorite summer destination?  --  I love to travel.  I doesn't matter where.....anywhere that takes me to a new place is where I want to go.

20.  Big theme park or local carnival?  --  Well, I see advantages to both.  However, local carnivals often have local vendors, which I always like to support.

21.  Drinks blended or on the rocks?  --  Blended drinks are the best.  No question.

22.  Popsicle or freezie flavor of choice?  --  Grape!  

23.  Hot dog or hamburger?  --  That's not even a question.  Burgers are dogs are just nasty.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm Over It

I've done a post like this before as we all have things we rant about. Trust me, with a kid in university, one in high school and a middle schooler, their numerous activities, apprehensions and homework pressures, not to mention, my own -- worrying is a BIG part of my life! However, like I've said before, I know that I need to let go and let GOD!! Why worry, when He has a plan for me, right? Well, that is easier said than done and there will be days where I will be a worry wart! However, I have decided to let a lot of things go and to simply be Sooo over some of them. 

Try it, because let me tell ya, whether the issue or dislike is serious or trivial, letting it go is so very FREEING!!!

1. Hollywood. 
And Their ridiculous political rants. Seriously, you're actors and actresses getting paid HUGE bucks to entertain, you're not heroes, not keeping our country safe. Go back to the studio and shush!! Matthew McConaughey was recently interviewed and asked if it's time for the Hollywood elite to accept the Presidency. His response was this:
“Well, they don’t have a choice now. He’s our President. And, it’s very dynamic and as divisive of an Inauguration and time as we’ve had. At the same time, it’s time for us to embrace and shake hands with this fact. And be constructive with him over the next four years. So anyone, even those who may strongly disagree with his principles or things he’s said and done — and that’s another thing, we’ll see what he does compares to what he has said — no matter how much you even disagreed along the way, it’s time to think about how constructive can you be.”
Alright, Alright, Alright, Agree or Disagree, just get along and deal.

2. Dreary Weather. 
I think Mother Nature is mad at us for all the unrest in the world and is punishing us with grey skies. It's been the dreariest Winter, not the worst winter, not the coldest winter, not the snowiest winter....just so darn DREARY!! Enough already. I know you're up there sun! Doing a sun dance daily!! 

3. People Who Still Don't Get Blogging. 
Do you ever get asked why you Blog? I know I do, and my answer is always, "For the fun of it, it's my hobby, my online diary of sorts." Most people think that is great! Some will ask: How much time does it take? To which I reply "Oh, about 15 hours a week or more." Then, I get the look as if some people think I'm nuts, especially since I work too. It's my hobby people. I don't ask you why you spend 15 hours on social media?? Think about that one. 

4. Snacks that Taste like Cardboard. 
I'm a snacker, but I do not want the high calorie stuff (well I do but not gonna do it). Anyway, sometimes I get sick of fruit, veggies, hummus and nut butters and just want something of convenience. Enter a recent Special K purchase: Protein Bites. They are so bland, I had to throw them out. Ugh. I'll stick with a string cheese. 


5. Crappy Customer Service.
Ok check out girl at Sobeys, can you pull your eyes off Instagram for one second? And don't you even sigh cause I will sling so many coupons at you, your head will spin. You are not getting paid to file your 5 inch nails; show some respect. And look me in the eye when I say Thank you. I take the customer satisfaction surveys ya know. Oh and don't get me started on customer service over the phone. Held on the line for 90 minutes, finally rings to a person who can't speak English, only to have my call dropped, whaaaaat? Ugh.

6. People that go into or work in the medical field who are not personable or compassionate. 
I get the importance of the book smarts, an absolute must. However, I think the other must is a compassionate, nurturing heart. Rude, blunt, sarcastic, cold care just doesn't cut it for hurting patients. 

7. People who Don't Leave a Tip
Understandable if the service was horrific as I referenced how horrible customer service can be. However, even if the server was poor or mediocre, you should still give them some kind of tip. I was only a waitress for a split second but I know how the tips are the livelihood. It saddens me when I hear a conversation with someone laughing about not giving a tip. Shame on you! 

So True

And something to remember this fine Tuesday: 
Never Ruin a Good Day by Thinking About a Bad Yesterday! Let it Go! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Yes, I Have All Boys; What's It To You?????

It was in Walmart when it happened...........because EVERY good story happens in Walmart. (Remember this story.)  It was one of those rare days when all three boys were home, and apparently bored, so they decided to accompany me on my shopping trip.

We were in the cleaning supplies aisle, when I first heard her voice.  "Three boys, huh?  Awwww".

It was the "Awwww" that caught me off guard.  As a seasoned mom of 3 boys, I knew immediately where this conversation was headed.  Usually I just laugh and smile, and if I'm feeling particularly salty, before they can say it themselves, I tell them how full my hands are.  I turned to see a mom, who looked relatively close to my age, but her boy/girl twins were far younger than my own children.

I laughed and said, "Yup, three boys".  I had to bite my tongue from adding a smarmy remark like, "I really should be stocking up on bleach.  You'd be amazed how often they still miss the toilet".  I don't think she would have appreciated my humor, since it looked like her kids were still in diapers.

I turned my attention back to the shampoo, realizing that it was probably time to pick up some more hair dye.

"But you won't get to go to dance classes, or Girl Scouts.  Don't you just want one more and hope it's a girl?"

I cringed.

I completely understand that 85% of these comments come from well meaning places.  I'm a girl, and therefore I must want more like me!  Girls are the best, I should know because I am one.  What could I possibly have in common with a hairy little beast who will one day just leave me for another woman.

In my experience, these comments usually come from mothers with young girls.  Rarely have I ever met another mom of all boys ever say to me, "I wish one of them had been a girl"; even as a joke.

I've learned that mothers of all boys are a special kind of crazy, and I am honored to be part of a club full of Lego towers, Nerf wars, and bathrooms that will always smell like the NYC subway -- and I get it!  We're kind of like an enigma.  As women, why wouldn't we want to raise someone with whom we could braid their hair, and paint their nails, and sit through 8 hours of dance recitals on Saturdays with?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret.  My identity isn't suddenly lost on me because I'm the mother of all boys.  I'm not any less "girl" because I'm not raising a daughter, and as far as I know, a little piece of me hasn't died because I can't braid my sons' hair, or paint their nail,s or go shopping with them for a prom dress.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel like I'm missing out on ANYTHING when it comes to being a mother, solely because I'm a mother to only boys.....and you shouldn't either. I promise you that these three boys bring me more joy than I ever though imaginable, and mothering them, in all their testosterone-fueled glory, is right where I'm supposed to be.

Do I tell her that when my third and final baby was a boy that of course I felt a twinge of sadness and mourned right then and there the fact that I would never experience that wonderful mother/daughter bond that I have with my own mother; the one that has brought me so much joy -- or is that a silly conversation to have here among the shampoo and conditioner.

I wasn't sure if I should excuse myself and pretend I didn't hear her, or if maybe I should tell her that there are so many other things that I will get to enjoy as a mother of all boys.  Or maybe I should just turn and bolt, because that wouldn't be at all awkward, right?

"My mom is already the best girl there is."

And from another;

"Our family is perfect the way it is."

And finally --

"Moms got her hands full as it is.  She'd go crazy with another kid".

I have NEVER been more proud of my three boys than I was in that exact moment.  You know, I worry a lot about what they are hearing when someone says "You know, it's still not too late to try for a girl".  It hurts my heart to think that they'll internalize that, and feel as if they're not enough.  As if I could ever wish them to be anyone other than who they are.  As if their parts, or lack thereof makes a lick of difference to me.

It was in that exact moment that I realize I couldn't have said it any better myself.

I laughed.  "Nope.  These three right here are more than enough for me", I said with a smile, and as I turn to walk away, my 12 year old stops me in my tracks, gives me a high five and says "How's that for being on team mom"?

No, my friends, I'm not missing out on a thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Don't Let Them Pass You By

I LOVE a new year filled with a fresh start!  Growing up, I remember singing the following hymn.  This week it reached out to my heart. The lyrics ring true to me….

Improve the shining moments; 

Don't let them pass you by. 
Work while the sun is radiant; 
Work, for the night draws nigh. 
We cannot bid the sunbeams 
To lengthen out their stay, 
Nor can we ask the shadow 
To ever stay away.

2. Time flies on wings of lightning; 

We cannot call it back. 
It comes, then passes forward 
Along its onward track. 
And if we are not mindful, 
The chance will fade away, 
For life is quick in passing. 
'Tis as a single day.

3. As wintertime doth follow 

The pleasant summer days, 
So may our joys all vanish 
And pass far from our gaze. 
Then should we not endeavor 
Each day some point to gain, 
That we may here be useful 
And ev'ry wrong disdain?

4. Improve each shining moment. 

In this you are secure, 
For promptness bringeth safety 
And blessings rich and pure. 
Let prudence guide your actions; 
Be honest in your heart; 
And God will love and bless you 
And help to you impart.

Text and music: Robert B. Baird, 1855-1916

As I was looking back on some of my photos from 2016, I see so many cherished memories from the year. I look at pictures feeling like the events were just yesterday, yet see that they were months ago. I am SO grateful for photos and how they can bring a memory back to the mind. We are lucky to live in a day and age to be able to record everything around us. Our phones are attached, which means a camera is always on us.

I’m determined to not let the moments pass me by this year. Like the song says, “life is quick in passing, and if we aren’t mindful and aware the moment will fade away”. We “can’t call back time” but instead MUST take advantage of the here and now!

I’m excited for the new moments and memories of 2017!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Leave The Shore Behind

Staying close to the shoreline has its perks.  There is comfort in the shoreline.  There's safety. Familiarity.  When you stay close to the shoreline, it's easy to get out when the water gets rough, or you get bored.  In the shallow water, you know exactly what to expect.  You can see straight to the bottom and out across the horizon.  Next to the shoreline, you believe that you can see all that there is to see; all life has to offer.  But, you're wrong.

All that life has to offer does not exist at the shoreline.  When you leave the shoreline behind, that's when you come to discover what life really has to offer.  There's beauty, excitement, depth.  When you leave the shoreline behind, you discover things that you would have never dreamed could have existed from your place in the shallow water.  Your eyes are open to a world full of wonder.

But more important than that is what you find within yourself.  You discover bravery.  You discover strength.  You discover passion and desire.  Because when you leave the shore behind, you discover not only a world of endless wonder and possibility, but you discover just what you are capable of.

Life isn't meant to be lived next to the shoreline.  It shouldn't be lived in mediocrity.  Settling and playing it safe are not the way to live.  It's not living at all -- it's merely existing.

Stop playing it safe.  Find passion.  Passion in your work.  Passion in your hobbies.  Passion in love. Passion in life.

There will be days  full of rough water, when you miss the safety of the shoreline.  Days when you wonder why you ever left.  I promise you, though, those days will far be outnumbered by beauty, excitement and depth.

So, leave the shore behind.  Because the moment you do, you will be able to live the exciting, passion-filled, wonderful life you always imagined.

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometime...