Genetics or Not?

Both of my children were diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and are both a textbook case of it.  They have a serious inability to focus mixed in with hyperactivity (always fidgeting, can’t sit still, talking a mile a minute, and, as my husband describes it, are often “shot out of a canon”).  There were times when my youngest was doing gymnastics that I could literally see her bouncing up and down on the sidelines with a look like she was going to crawl out of her own skin if she was told to be still. She literally couldn’t control herself.  She used to get in a lot of trouble in school and at home in her early elementary days because she was just so impulsive.  My oldest has more of the inattention piece than her sister.  She zones out and totally tunes everyone and everything around her out.  This sometimes makes her appear clueless just because she isn’t able to follow along with a whole conversation, process it all, and tune out all the distractions around her at the same time.  Her infamous quote is “I’m so confused,” and that is simply because she missed half of what was said.  Both girls are super unorganized and a total mess.  My youngest is famous for loosing things, and both of their rooms look like an explosion went off in there most of the time.  Anyone around them can tell when they have taken their medicine and when they haven’t because there is such a night and day difference.  They can function so much better when they are on it.  My oldest has figured out ways to cope on her own in addition to her medication and will tell you that she has to chew gum to pay attention in class at school or have something to “play” with in her hands at home.  She always has a small ball that she is throwing up and catching or bouncing off the wall or ceiling while she is on the computer doing schoolwork.  Somehow those things help her focus.  While both of them have come along way from those younger years, they both still struggle with their ADHD.

For years I wondered how they both ended up having it.  Was it something I did or didn’t do when I was pregnant?  Was it a result of our parenting? Was it my fault? I couldn’t see where they got it from.  Some say it is hereditary, but neither my husband nor I have ever been diagnosed with it and neither has anyone else in our families.  If anything, we have always been the total opposite of hyperactive, inattentive, disorganized, impulsive, or any of their other tell-tell characteristics.  My husband will say that he could see that, had it been a bigger thing when we were younger, he might have been diagnosed with it.  I have never seen that side of him, though. He tells me that he was a troublemaker and that he struggled in school as a kid, but that is hard for me to envision knowing who he is now.  I on the other hand was always a good student and was never one to really ever get in trouble.  In fact, I have often been referred to as a “goody two shoes”.  Some would say that I am organized to the extreme and far from hyperactive.  I am actually more of an extreme introvert.  It has only been in the last 4 or 5 years that I have come to think maybe I do have ADHD minus the hyperactivity.  I see myself as more the inattentive type.  I am starting to believe that my over organization and compulsive habits are just my way of coping, much like the gum and balls are for my oldest. It has honestly been since I stopped teaching that I have come to this realization. For so many years, I was juggling a lot and was incredibly busy.  It was almost like that was masking the fact that I may have ADHD.  I was laser focused because I had no other choice but to be.  It is only now that I don’t have as much going on that I realize that I really do have a hard time focusing and that I do little things all the time subconsciously to cope.  I cannot sit and watch a television program without using a coloring app on my phone.  Otherwise, I am distracted by other things and have to constantly rewind the show because I missed whole sections.  It sometimes takes me hours to write one blog post because I catch myself totally spaced out or suddenly doing something completely different.  Sometimes I even have to walk away and come back to it because I have totally lost my train of thought and have no clue where I was going with a particular paragraph.  Just this week, I was on a zoom call for our monthly team meeting and found myself really struggling to pay attention. I was beyond distracted. That is kind of what got me thinking about this subject and making multiple realizations about myself. Maybe it is just a sign of aging or maybe I really do have ADHD.  Maybe I am just going crazy.  I don’t know.  It certainly makes me wonder a lot lately.  Could the girls have gotten it from me? If you would have asked me that a few years ago, I would have vehemently said, “No way!” Now I am not so sure. 

Regardless of where it came from, genetics or environmental or whatever, I no longer see it as a bad thing or something terrible that I may have caused like I did when they were younger. Without it, neither girl would be the unique and totally cool kid that they are now. Yes, it was a struggle at times and sometimes I still want to pull my hair our when they are going 90 miles a minute, but I wouldn’t change a single piece of it. If I have it or not, really doesn’t matter. I have learned to cope with whatever it is without even realizing it. It has caused us all to grow and learn about ourselves and each other and has made us all into the people that we are today, and I just happen to think that we are all pretty awesome (most of the time <wink, wink>). None of us are defined by the label. It is simply a small piece of our story.

Anchored,

I Get Knocked Down BUT I Get Up Again!

Typically, during this time of the year, I do a lot of vendor events with my Trades of Hope business.  It is a great way to introduce people to the mission of TOH and the stories of our artisans.  Many people are shopping for Christmas gifts, so I usually do really well at those types of events.  The minute I tell people who walk up to my tables that everything is handmade by women around the world rising out of poverty and human trafficking, they are instantly intrigued.  I can see their heartstrings being pulled as I continue to tell them the stories behind each piece they pick up.  Many of them are so moved that they are compelled to shop with me.  I love it when someone is so touched by the mission that they call others over to have a look at the beautiful work our artisans do. Each sell I make means that a woman is able to keep and feed her babies.  It is all about spreading HOPE and changing the world.  Sadly, though, COVID has thrown a wrench in that this year, and many of the events I normally do have been canceled.  I had all but given up on the fact that it just wasn’t going to happen this year, and I was pretty bummed.  When an opportunity to do a 3-week event arose, I jumped on it.  I applied and was almost instantly accepted to be a vendor.  It is actually a Farmer’s Market that they turn into sort of a Holiday Market for 3 Saturdays each December.  They have their typical food/produce vendors, but they add several other vendors to allow people to do holiday shopping while also getting their fresh produce and baked goods.  I had never done anything quite like it before and wasn’t really sure what to expect.  They made it very clear that they would be following strict social distancing guidelines, and everyone had to wear a mask.  Plus, the event is outside which helps to minimize exposure.  I felt pretty comfortable that it was safe to participate…at least on the COVID front. 

My husband and I arrived pretty early last Saturday for the first day of the event. We were told where to set up and began unloading our car.  We were told to unload everything and then move the car before beginning to set anything up.  Before my husband could park the car and get back over to me, I had to rush and move things so the person next to me could set her tent up.  It was insane! They expected us to be set up in like 2 minutes, which is near impossible.  Anyway, I had planned for it to be really cold, but I did not plan for the 30-50 mph wind gusts.  My husband usually gets me set up for these events and then leaves until it is time to take down and go home.  He couldn’t leave me this time because the wind was so bad.  Despite him really anchoring my tent down, we were terrified it was going to blow away any second.  The sides of my tent were blowing so hard that they were actually moving my tables and knocking stuff over left and right.  It was miserable.  We did have a few periods where the wind would die down, but for the most part, it was a constant battle.  We were not supposed to break down our displays until the event ended at 1:00, but at around 12:00 the wind picked up so bad that we just couldn’t maintain anymore.  Our tent was pretty much the only one still standing at that point because it was so well anchored, but we were barely keeping it down at that point.  After a few big gusts too many, we decided we better take it down before it snapped loose and broke.  I immediately started pulling down all my stuff and boxing it up because I knew once the tent was down, everything would go flying.  At that point I didn’t care that we were packing up early. I didn’t want to break or lose anything so I was just throwing stuff in boxes at fast as I could while another guy helped hold down our tent so my husband took down all the sides in preparation for bringing the whole thing down.  Necklaces were getting tangled, and there was no rhyme or reason to how I was boxing it up.  I just wanted it all down as soon as possible.  

As I was throwing things in boxes, my husband was rushing to get the tent down as fast as he could.  I really wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing since I was so focused on my task.  In my head, he had already pulled the tent down.  In reality, he had only taken down my sign and the sides of the tent.  I was bending down to put stuff in a box as he yelled that he was running to the car to grab the bag that the tent goes in.  Keep in mind, I thought it was already down.  The next thing I knew, I was flat on the ground with a table on top of me.  One of my tables had blown up, smacked me in the head, and ended up on top of me.  It all happened so fast, that I was kind of stunned for a few seconds.  I didn’t know what had really happened.  I crawled out from under the table to see my husband running towards me as he saw it all play out.  He immediately asked if I was ok.  I quickly said that I was and started grabbing things that were blowing away.  My money box with all the cash in it had blown up with the table somehow.  I don’t even think it was on the table to begin with, but who knows in all the chaos?  Anyway, somehow it got unlocked and opened and money was flying everywhere.  I was trying to grab it all as the people next to me helped.  I had no clue that my tent had still been up and was actually flying down the street as my husband and a few other men chased after it.  Apparently, the tent snapped loose from the stakes holding it down, and in its wake, it flipped the table onto me as it flew away. Then it slammed into the ribs of the guy in the space next to me before continuing down the street. Thankfully, he was very nice about it, but I felt so bad.  It was a complete nightmare!  I am so glad that my husband had decided to stay the whole time because I don’t know what I would have done if I had been there by myself.  

Despite getting hit in the head with the table, I only had a minor headache.  I am so glad that I was bending down at the very second it all happened, or I could have been hurt really bad.  I am terrified of going back and doing it all again this Saturday and next but I am not going to let the wind stop me.  My husband and I have been keeping a very close watch on the forecast.  Right now, it is predicted to be significantly warmer this weekend with 10-15 mph winds.  While we would prefer little to no winds, that is much better than 30-50 mph gusts.  Even though the day was difficult, I was still able to spread HOPE to a ton of people and did pretty well considering the terrible weather.  I am hopeful that it will go even better this week as long as the winds stay down.  When I said earlier this week that the hits kept on coming, this was one of the hits I was talking about.  I literally got knocked down! Yep, that old song just went through my head too. “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down!” It may be a silly song, but it’s the truth! I got back up again and will continue to spread HOPE everywhere I go no matter what gets thrown at me!   That’s all we can do right? Whenever something or someone throws punches at us, we simply need to get back up again and keep going.  Don’t let anything hold you back or keep you from moving forward!

Anchored,

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

It is crazy to me to think that Thanksgiving is two weeks away from today.  What a crazy year it has been!  Some parts of it dragged on forever and other parts have been speeding by.  My husband and I were discussing our Thanksgiving plans last night.  We used to try to go home to South Carolina every year to spend time with family, go Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister, and attend our state rivalry football game.  Since we moved so much farther away two years ago, though, we haven’t made the trip.  It certainly isn’t that we don’t want to because that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Unfortunately, the long drive down there is bad enough on a normal week, but the traffic on the way back home after all the festivities is such a nightmare that we can’t bring ourselves to make the trip.  Thanksgiving is the biggest travel time of the year across the country, which typically adds several hours to an already LONG trip.  The drive to and from SC during Thanksgiving week is too miserable to justify the trip.  On top of that, both girls always have practice on the Sunday after Thanksgiving that they are expected to attend.  It is hard for them to miss practice this time of the year with competition season about to kick off.  We have just decided that it is best that we stay close to home that week.  It makes me sad that we don’t get to carry out our family traditions, but part of me also likes that we get to spend the time together as a family of 4 making new traditions.

Two years ago, we had a quiet Thanksgiving here at the house.  I didn’t cook a huge Thanksgiving meal for just the 4 of us, but we did have a nice dinner together.  Then I went out and did a little Black Friday shopping on my own while my husband watched football and the girls did their own thing.  The shopping wasn’t nearly as fun or as enjoyable as it usually is with my family, and I did not stay out all day and night like we normally do.  Black Friday isn’t so much about the deals for me as it is about time spent laughing with my mom and sister. Doing it alone just isn’t the same.  Then, last year we had a mini stay-cation and traveled a couple of hours away for a change of scenery and to do something fun with the girls.  We had our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant for the first time ever, which was strange and nice all at the same time.  We did a little bit of Black Friday shopping at a nearby outlet mall as a family.  However, shopping with my crew was no fun at all for me.  They couldn’t keep up with me and were miserable most of the time, so I cut it short and we went to an amusement park instead.  Except for the shopping, we actually had a really good time together for those few days. No, those two years weren’t the Thanksgiving that we were used to, but we made the best of them and were together which is all that matters. 

This year with COVID, we have made the decision to have another quiet week at home.  We are not going anywhere or doing anything out of the ordinary.  I will make a Thanksgiving meal for us to enjoy.  I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I am certain that it will be something small as none of us really love the big, traditional Thanksgiving meal (Yes, we are weird!). I will probably make a little something that each person loves.  I doubt I will go out and do any Black Friday shopping this year either.  I honestly don’t really know what Black Friday will entail this year anyway.  Some stores are already having big sales each week in an attempt to keep the crowds to a minimum, so I will likely do all of my shopping online this year.  Yes, I will again miss spending time with our extended family and Black Friday shopping, but the memories that I am sure we will make instead will be just as special. It is just a different kind of Thanksgiving. I am sure that there will be some football and Christmas movie watching as usual, a bit of online retail therapy, good food, a little Christmas decorating, and a whole lot of family time.  We can begin to create new family traditions. Maybe I will even have the girls help with the baking this year. It may be different these days, but we are going to make the best of the situation. Honestly, I couldn’t really ask for anything better than time together.

Anchored in a Different Kind of Thanksgiving,

  

Can’t We All Stay Young?

I am well aware of the fact that I am getting older.  In fact, that has been made abundantly clear to me several times in recent weeks.  On the positive side of it all, I was recently told by two different people that I don’t look my age.  I am taking that to be a compliment.  One person found out that I had 12 and 16 year old daughters and exclaimed that information shocked her because I didn’t seem like I was old enough to have children those ages.  I told her it was good skincare. LOL! Anyway, maybe I don’t look my age, but I sure do feel every bit of it.  To prevent myself from boring you with my pity party over my aging body, I am just going to try to briefly list all of the things that have made me feel my age over the past few weeks.  

I’m a HISTORICAL doll!

Being the mom of two girls, we’ve had our share of American Girl Dolls and accessories over the years.  Well, in case you haven’t seen their newest HISTORICAL doll yet, let me enlighten you.  I am now a HISTORICAL doll!!! That’s right the newest American Girl Doll is an 80’s girl.  I’m not kidding when I say that this doll could have been created to be me in the 80’s! She comes complete with an acid was skirt, Walkman with a removable cassette tape, scrunchie with the side ponytail, plastic bangle bracelets, and a Lip Smacker! Her add on accessories include a fanny pack, PAC-MAN Arcade Game, Care Bear Pajamas, Care Bear sleeping bag, and a mini Care Bear! Oh and let’s not forget the PAC-MAN plastic lunch box that comes with a thermos  and Cheese Puffs! Wait….there’s more! You can even get the classic pink and teal Caboodle!!!  Seriously! I could go on and on about all of the other accessories that are ripped straight from my childhood, but I will spare you.  How can I possibly be old enough to be a HISTORICAL doll???

Images from americangirl.com

My vision is failing me!

I went to the eye doctor yesterday for my yearly eye exam.  I have been wearing glasses since my first year of teaching when I realized I couldn’t read the board when I was standing in the back of my classroom.  Over the years my vision has slowly deteriorated, and my distance vision has gotten worse.  However, I have never had a problem seeing up close or reading.  Well, at my appointment yesterday it was made clear that has changed.   I am also now struggling to read and see up close.  That means that I had to order my first pair of progressive lenses yesterday.  I was so worried about having that bifocal line on my glasses that I was just going to suffer with my current glasses.  Thankfully, they explained to me that there is now a progressive lens that doesn’t have the line.   It’s just one more sign that I am getting older. 

The grays are taking over!

I have been coloring my roots for a couple of years now to cover up a little bit of grey that I had at my temples. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to bother me.   I really had so few of them that my stylist was using a very light grey coverage formula.  This last time I got my hair done, though, things had changed.  I was seeing more and more grey and it didn’t seem like the color was lasting long enough because I was noticing more and more LONG grey hairs.  My stylist told me that it was time to move me to FULL grey coverage with a stronger formula.  It really is depressing! 

I’m out of touch!

This is something that my kids have been telling me over and over again lately.  Apparently, I have lost my edge and am no longer with the trend of being the hip, cool mom.  I have reached the point where I can’t stand to listen to the same music as them, and I am constantly turning the volume down in the car as my oldest reaches to turn it back up.  According to both girls, I am clueless when it comes to what kids their age are doing and are interested in.  Everything they are into seems so dumb to me. Don’t even get me started on Tic Tok!!! On top of that, my youngest is frequently accusing me of embarrassing her, even when I am just standing there don’t nothing. I think the fact that I am breathing is embarrassing to her.   I feel like I have become my own mother.  You know that commercial where this guy is trying to help people not to become their parents?  I think I am at that point.  

I really am getting older and older each day.  It’s true.  I don’t want to admit it, but these things just keep reminding me. Plus, my aching body is further proof.  I truly have had a blessed life thus far. As my next birthday approaches, I hope that I have many more years to come.  I just pray that I continue to age gracefully AND that I keep getting those ageless comments every now and then to make me feel better about the process. Why can’t we just all stay young forever?

Anchored and Aging,

#MomLife

You know how people always say that moms put their family before themselves all the time? Well, I am a prime example of that.  Whenever we move, I immediately start researching and asking around to find doctors for my girls.  I get them in right away to see a pediatrician and then get all the specialists set up for my youngest.  I find them a dentist, orthodontist, and any other medical professional that they need within a month or two of our move.  Then life gets busy, and I never set up those things for myself until it becomes a necessity to get my medications refilled. There have even been times that I went months without my migraine medication and was miserable just because I just didn’t make the time to get myself set up with a new doctor.  Every single time we have moved, it has taken many months before I find new doctors for myself.  I just don’t make myself a priority.  Once I get an established physician, I am consistent in going and making appointments.  It is just that initial appointment that always gets pushed aside.   We moved here a little over 2 years ago, and I just went to the dentist for the first time.  Keep in mind that I am usually religious about going to the dentist every 6 months. While it should have been a priority, it just wasn’t unfortunately.  I really am ashamed to say that it took me that long to go.  I can assure you that now that I have broken the ice, I will go every six months religiously…until we move again. 

Putting myself last is a big part of why it takes me so long to establish doctors, dentists, and such for me.  I think another part of it is the fear of finding someone good that I like.  I always do extensive research before I pick someone to try.  I’m a little weird about it, I guess. I have been looking at dentists for a while before I finally pulled the trigger and made the appointment.  I just don’t like new and unknown, and I am definitely not good with change.  It’s even sadder that one of my few friends here is actually a dentist and would have gladly seen me, but I couldn’t make myself make an appointment with her.   I was afraid of it being too weird.  It’s not like I have a fear of the dentist like some people. I really don’t.  I’ve never even had a bad experience before.   Although, I do have to admit that I once bit my dental hygienist when she was inserting that tray of nasty fluoride like back in the day, BUT I was little and that hygienist was my aunt.  LOL! Oh, and the sound of them scraping plaque off my teeth is a bit like nails on a chalkboard for me, but other than that I have no problems going to see a dentist.  I have good teeth and have never had a cavity in my life. The biggest dental work I have ever had was having my wisdom teeth removed and having braces.  It really is all about not making myself a priority and not liking change.  

I finally had my dentist appointment yesterday, and everything went totally fine as expected.  I liked both the hygienist and the dentist, and it was so dumb that I waited so long.  The worst part was trying to understand what they were saying to me through their multiple layers of protective gear.  It was really hard to hear them.  Again, there were no cavities, and they were impressed with how well my teeth looked considering it had been 2 years since I had a cleaning.  I just got lucky with good teeth genes. I do have some receding gum lines because I am aggressive brusher. I do better about that when I am concentrating, but I’m usually not paying attention when I brush my teeth. They also recommended an upper bite guard which I’m not thrilled about because I clench my teeth at night. Overall, though, it was a great appointment and one that I should not have put off for so long.  

I would like to say that I have learned my lesson and will do better the next time we move, but that would likely be a lie.  I know myself too well and am certain that it will be a struggle for me again next time. It’s just the life of a mom who doesn’t make herself a priority and also doesn’t like change. 

Anchored and Rambling,

Halloween PSA

It is that time again for my yearly PSA post about Halloween.  This is something that is so important to me, and I will continue to share it year after year.  My youngest daughter has a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  It is an allergic response to certain foods.  Her esophagus can become very inflamed just by eating her trigger foods, and it can cause irreversible damage.  When she was younger, this led to several dietary restrictions.  She couldn’t have dairy, eggs, corn, peas, or squash.  If you have ever read labels, you know that just about everything contains either dairy or corn.  This made her food options extremely limited, and Halloween became a source of much stress and disappointment.  I will never forget this one Halloween a few years ago when she went out trick or treating and got a bucket full of candy. That evening she sat on the floor, dumped out her whole bucket, and then began sorting through what she could eat and what she couldn’t.  As she sat there with tears running down her face realizing that the safe pile was getting smaller and smaller, my heart broke into a million pieces.  The pile of things that she could eat had less than 10 pieces of candy.  She just kept saying how unfair it was.  I felt utterly helpless because in that moment there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better for her.   I snapped a picture to remind me of that moment and vowed to try to make a difference not just for her, but also for other kids with allergies as well. 

Teal Pumpkin

I don’t really know what Halloween is going to look like this year.  I know some people aren’t going to participate, but I know that others are determined to give kids something to look forward to in these crazy times.  I have seen people create candy tubes that you can shoot candy through from your front porch to the sidewalk to maintain distance.  I have also seen people taping sticks to the back of candy to stick in their yards for kids to easily grab as they pass.  It doesn’t really matter how you hand out treats this year.  What matters is that you have alternatives to candy for those children like mine who can’t eat the candy.  The Teal Pumpkin Project was started several years ago by another allergy mom, and it is such a brilliant movement that allows children with dietary restrictions or allergies to still be able to participate safely in Halloween.  All you have to do is to place a teal pumpkin on your porch.  You can paint your own or most stores now sell pumpkins that are already teal just for this purpose. The teal pumpkin is a symbol to those with allergies or dietary restrictions that it is safe to come to your house.   You simply get a few non-edible treats to pass out to those kids that need them.  DON’T mix them in with your candy because some people have contact allergies.  Just have a separate bowl of non-edible treats and allergy friendly candy. When kids come to my house to trick or treat, I simply ask them up front if they have any allergies.  If so, I offer them the bucket of safe treats.  You may only get one or two kids that need the safe treats, but I can’t tell you what a difference that small act will make for those children.  The good thing about it is that even if you have non-edible treats leftover, you can just pack them up and have them for the next year as well.  While my daughter is able to eat most candy now, I will ALWAYS have a Teal Pumpkin on my porch.  It saddens me every year when my teal pumpkin is the only one in our neighborhood, and my prayer is that one day every single house will have one. That is why I will continue to share about it over and over again.

Here are some inexpensive suggestions for safe treats you can purchase. 

Bouncy Balls/Spider Rings/Erasers/Rubber Ducks/Stickers/Bubbles/Silly Glasses/Crazy Straws/Mini Notepads/Mustache Lip Whistles/Vampire Teeth/Glow Sticks/Dum Dums/Finger Puppets/Stamps/Pencils/Slap Bracelets/Slinkies/Slime/Variety Pack

I urge you to consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year and every year to come.  It can truly make some child’s day, and keep some mom from worrying to death about her child’s safety.

Anchored,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Blog-iversary

Wisdom Necklace

It’s my blog-iversary! I have been writing this blog for TWO years now.  Can you believe it? I am honestly proud of myself for sticking with it and continuing to show up here even when I didn’t want to sometimes.  Of course, this year has been like no other and has resulted in days where I just had nothing to write about, or I felt like I was writing the same thing over and over again.  Sometimes I sit here staring at my computer for hours typing sentences and erasing them because I can’t come up with something that I feel is worth sharing.  When you are not going anywhere or doing anything, your life becomes pretty boring.  Those days when I couldn’t complete a post are days that I felt like I let myself down and broke my commitment.  Initially, I was beating myself up for all the days that I didn’t publish something, and I even thought about quitting.  Thankfully, I eventually realized that in the grand scheme of life, it wasn’t that big of a deal if I didn’t post 4 days a week, every week of the year.  No one really cared about that but me, and I was beating myself up for silly reasons.  I also realized that I wasn’t ready to give up on something that has brought me so much joy and has challenged me in ways I never expected.  

Writing this blog has forced me to take a big look inside myself.  I have discovered weaknesses that I need to work on and areas of strength that I didn’t know I had.  It gives me the excuse I need to analyze the person I am and then strive to be a better version of that person every single day.  That is what I want for all of my readers too.  My goal with writing this blog has always been to help women, and helping myself has just been an extra bonus.   I want other women to know they aren’t alone in the world, and I want them to feel better about themselves as a whole.  It is important to be ANCHORED in who you are.  That means standing up for yourself and trusting in the person God created you to be.  While being anchored in who you are, also never stop learning, growing, and challenging yourself PIECE BY PIECE.   I strongly believe that you are never too old to stop growing as a person.  We should always strive to be better than we were the day before.  This blog has allowed me to grow into a person that I am proud of, and I want the same for all of you.   

While my second year of blogging wasn’t all that I wanted it to be, I have continued to show up, pour my heart out, and share some of my passions with all of you. For that, I am proud and so grateful. Thank you to all of you that have consistently shown up to read what little old me has to say.  It means the world to me.  The messages and comments I get are what motivate me to keep going.  If something I write resonates with just one person and helps them to feel like they aren’t alone or helps them to feel better about themselves, then it is all worth it.  Here is to another year of growing and learning and sharing my little world with all of you!  

Anchored for Another Year,

Time for a Break

I love my children with my whole heart. In fact, they are a large part of the reason that I am no longer teaching.  For so many years I had given my heart and soul to my students to the detriment of my family.  I’m sad to say that they always got the stressed out, worn down mom and were often put on the back burner. I finally realized that it was time to give my heart and soul to my family, and that required me to walk away from the classroom.  I just didn’t have the capacity to do be a good teacher and a good mom at the same time.  It truly has turned out to be an unexpected blessing.  No, it hasn’t been easy giving up that second income and relying solely on my husband’s income and I really miss my students, but there have been far more rewards that have made it all worth it.  I have always had a close relationship with my oldest daughter.  She is a lot like me in many ways, and I just get her (for the most part).  Our relationship has only grown stronger since I stopped teaching.  I love that she feels comfortable talking to me about important things.  On the other hand, my youngest and I have butted heads majorly for most of her life.  She and I are like oil and water, and she has blamed me for every single thing that has ever gone wrong in her life.  She is the kid that would argue with me just for the sake of arguing over whether or not the sky was blue. For many years, our relationship was quite combative.  She would yell at me and I would yell right back. That was basically the only way we communicated.  Over the last couple of years, I have really worked to repair our relationship and learn how to best communicate with her.  Thankfully, we have done a 180 and get along so much better.  I think she actually likes me now!  I truly love the relationships I have built with both of them now that I devote the majority of my time to them.  

Again, I love my children. I really do! However, I NEED A BREAK FROM MY CHILDREN! Yes, that is really what this post is all about, and I am totally not kidding.  Being secluded with them for the past 6/7 months has been A LOT. It was great at first.  We got to spend time together and actually talk to each other instead of running from one thing to the next never really having time to even see each other much less talk to each other.  Now, however, they are just bored out of their minds, and they come out of their rooms and just sit and talk NONSTOP, mostly about nothing important at all! They even follow me from room to room not even coming up for air.  They both have ADHD and talk super fast anyway.  When they aren’t doing anything to burn off all that excess energy, they instead talk.  They talk and talk and talk, and they do not recognize my cues that I am either busy or not listening at all.   They are completely oblivious. They just continue to talk about nonsense.  It seems to have amplified with the start of school, too. They hold it all in while they stare at their computers.  Then at the first break in their day, they just explode.  For example, my oldest just came down because it is her lunch break.  She went on a 10 minute spiel about the new update on her phone. I had to remind her multiple times that she needed to be eating her lunch instead of talking to me.

Each kid as a different show that they like to watch with me. I DVR it and then we watch it in the next day or two. In theory, this is a good thing. They still want to spend time with their mama which should make me happy, right? WRONG! I cannot stand watching T.V. or movies with them because they do not stop talking through the entire show.  I can’t pay attention or even hear what is going on in the show because of all the talking and questions about every little thing. If they would just be quiet and listen, they would know what was going on.  IT DRIVES ME NUTS!  I honestly can’t imagine living inside their heads.  Their brains work so different from mine and it seems to be running 90 miles a minute, and I just can’t keep up.  Half the time, they talk so fast that I can’t understand them.  Sometimes I can’t even follow the conversation because they jump all over the place and it just doesn’t make sense to me.  I know that is part of living with ADHD, but wow! Sometimes it is overwhelming.  I guess I should be thankful that they can at least hold it together for school.

I know that I just said at the beginning that I love that they talk to me, but I don’t have to love it 24/7, do I?  Sometimes, I just need a break.  I need an escape every now and then.  When we are stuck in the house together for 90% of the time, I just get a little stir-crazy and need some time away.  They really need to go back to school!!  They need someone else to talk to besides me.  I think all moms feel that way sometimes.  It doesn’t mean we are bad moms and don’t love our kids.  It just means that we are human, and we need to take time for ourselves to recharge (or our ears to stop ringing).   I told my husband on Saturday that I needed a mommy break, and he kind of laughed and told me that I should enjoy it while it lasts.  He says one day I will want these days back.  I know he is probably right.  It’s easier for him to say that because he isn’t here getting the brunt of it all day, everyday. I just really like quiet time, and I’m not getting much of it lately. I need it to be quiet in order for me to think and be productive. That is the difference in my brain and theirs.  They need constant noise, and I can’t operate with noise. 

I’m going to say this a third time…I love my kids.  I love being their mom.  I love their unique personalities.  I just need a break sometimes, and right now is one of those times! Seriously, can I just walk around with noise canceling headphones?

Anchored,

Time to Get Crafting

I am a crafter by nature or maybe genetics as my mom is also a crafter. I think maybe part of it is the teacher in my too.  I love making things and being creative.  I am one of those people that will see something cute and think, “I can make that.”  Instead of just simply buying it, I either then kill myself to recreate it or buy all the supplies to make it and never follow through.  This is why there is an entire wall in my office of shelves that are full of crafting materials and unfinished projects.  It isn’t that I don’t have full intentions of completing them.  It is that for so many years, my life was so crazy that I never really had the time to devote to finishing things that were for fun, so they kept getting put to the side.  Now that I have some more time on my hands, I have gotten around to a few projects like the new wreath for my front door that I am totally in love with.  (I won’t even tell you how many unfinished wreaths/door decorations I have just waiting to be done.  Let’s just say it is an outlandish number.)  It is usually the projects for my house or for me personally that never get done.  Things that I do for others are much more likely to be finished. That usually means that it is either a gift with a deadline or I am being paid to create it.  No, I don’t have a crafting business to add to my long resume of job titles, but I have been known to create things for family and friends for a small fee.  I’m not really good at charging people, so I typically only charge whatever it cost me to make it. I know…that isn’t good business, but it is what it is. 

While we were in South Carolina last week, I decided to embark on a new crafting/home improvement project.  Since we bought and moved into our house a little over a year ago, we have had the same Roman shades in the living room that came with the house.  We have 4 windows that have an arch at the top, so these shades had to have been custom made.  Traditional Roman shades don’t work with the arch so I have been searching for a similar shade that would work with the windows to replace these since they do not match the rest of my décor.  That task has proved very difficult and has been a source of much angst.  I found people that could custom make them for me, but they were going to cost me a fortune.  I finally decided that I was going to attempt to make them myself.  Keep in mind that although I am a crafter, I do not sew or own a sewing machine.  My one attempt to make curtains using my mom’s sewing machine years ago was a total disaster, and my grandmother ended up taking them apart and remade them.  I don’t know why sewing is difficult for me, but I could barely figure out how to operate the sewing machine much less than sew a straight line.  How is it that I am going to make Roman shades without sewing them you ask? Well, I am going to attempt to use that iron on tape (stitch witchery) in place of stitching.  I may be totally kidding myself in thinking that I can make this work, but I have to try. 

My task while in SC was to get my mom to help me find all the materials that I need to make the shades including fabric. Well, finding a fabric that I liked, that would work for the project, and that had enough yards in stock proved to be quite difficult. I needed a fabric that was a little stiffer to make it work.  My windows are basically floor to ceiling, so I needed more yards than any fabric store had in stock.  Every time I found a material I liked, we quickly discovered there wasn’t enough.  My mom later had the genius idea to look at regular curtain panels that I could convert to the shades.  The task then was to find a curtain that I liked that had 4 panels in stock.  This was much harder than anticipated.  I guess many places are low on inventory due to COVID production delays.  Anyway, after two days of looking, I finally found something that I like that I hope will work.  The fabric isn’t as stiff as I would like it to be, but I am hoping it will still work.  I may spray a ton of starch on it to see if that helps.  Now, I believe I have all of the pieces and parts that I need to get started.  I think my biggest task will be cutting the length of the panels to the right width.  I am not sure I will be able to cut it in a straight, even line.  At this point, though, I am not sure I care how it looks as long as it matches.  I seriously have not wanted people to come in my house for the past year because of the totally nonmatching shades. 

I seriously don’t know why I do these things to myself when I know it is going to totally stress me out! Actually, yes I do.  I would much rather kill myself trying to make them for around $150 than to pay someone else $1000 to do it for me. Can I really make shades without sewing??? Stay tuned to see the fruits of my labor.  It could be a masterpiece or an utter failure.  It may take me a whole year (or two) to get it done, though, so don’t hold your breath.

Anchored,

Baking 101

My 12-year-old has decided that she either wants to be a baker or a photographer when she grows up.  Meanwhile my 16-year-old has no clue what she wants to do with her life, but that is beside the point.  The 12-year-old has decided that she needs to practice her baking skills; so this summer I have taught her how to use the mixer, the oven, the stove, etc.  At first she was wanting to bake something new every day, but I had to quickly put a stop to that.  I was running out of eggs and milk way too fast.  We have cut it down to once or twice a week that she has been wanting to bake something constantly.  She has mostly been making box cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.  We haven’t yet ventured into her making things from scratch.  The first few times I was in the kitchen with her going step by step with everything to make sure there were no eggshells in the food and that she didn’t burn the house down.  She now has proven to me that she can handle it and has graduated to doing it on her own as long as I am somewhere in the house.  This makes her so excited as she has always loved being independent.  Plus, it has given her something to do and look forward to while we are stuck at home.  She is also enjoying constantly making fun of her sister because her sister is still too afraid to take things in and out of the oven by herself. 

While I am happy with this newfound interest, it does come with 2 huge problems.  First of all, she is an extremely messy baker.  She hasn’t quite learned how to ice things yet.  Part of it is that she doesn’t really like icing, so she never uses enough which makes the cakes crumble.  I know what you are thinking…what kid doesn’t like icing?!?!? Remember, this is the kid with all the food issues.  Anyway, I don’t know how she manages this, but she always ends up getting icing EVERYWHERE!!  I find it days later in places it never should have been in the first place.  It’s insane!  One of the things I have to constantly remind her is that if she is going to bake, she has to clean up after herself.  She seems to think that means just putting everything in the sink for her sister to wash.  You see, they both have dishwashing jobs.  The youngest loads and unloads the dishwasher and the oldest washes the pots, pans, and other things that I don’t like to put in the dishwasher.  It is really just a constant source of arguments between the two of them. It’s a work in progress for sure.  

The second problem, and probably the biggest, is that we constantly have all these sweets lying around the kitchen.  I think I gain weight just smelling them baking.  Once she has a finished product, she insists that everyone in the house tries it right away.  We have to ooh and ahh over it or she thinks she is a failure.  Then, she is constantly shoving more and more of it at us because she knows she can’t bake something else until the current baked good is gone.  Her dad isn’t really into sweets all that much, so he will eat it that first time just to please her and then not again.  Her sister likes cookies but isn’t big on cake, so she will sometimes refuse to even try it.  This causes much angst too.  Basically, it leaves me, the one who has a weakness for cakes and cupcakes, eating it all.  I think I have gained like 10 pounds just from eating all her creations.  I don’t know what to do about this dilemma because I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I cannot keep eating all this myself.  We threw out almost an entire cake last night because I just couldn’t eat it.  I am hoping that she doesn’t notice, but I am sure she will.    

Despite the mess and the added calories to my diet these days, I really love that she is interested in baking.  It gives us a common ground. When I was 11 years old, one of my mom’s best friends taught me how to bake and decorate cakes.  By the time that I was 12, close family friends were actually paying me to make birthday cakes, and it is something that I still love to do.  As I have shared before, my youngest and I butt heads A LOT.  We are like oil and water 98% of the time.  Baking is one thing that we have sort of bonded over recently, and it gives us something to laugh and talk about.  I have really tried over the past couple of years to really work on our relationship.  Things have gotten way better than they used to be, and this has sort of been the icing on the cake (pun intended).  I really love that we have this in common.  I guess it is worth the extra calories if it means we aren’t yelling at each other all the time. Bring on the cake!

Anchored,