Guest Blogging

When I started blogging 12 (yikes!) years ago, it was mostly for me – to tell my story, to process life, to get support. My writing has evolved over the years, and enabled me to connect, as well as reconnect. What a privilege! To have someone I respect deeply, and appreciate even more, ask me (a second time!) to write a guest post is an honor, as scary as it is. It took me a few months to work out how the prompt/topic for this year with Miracles in the Mundane, but I think it worked out. Check it out here, and while you’re over on my dear friend’s page, give her some love. She’s an amazing writer, momma, friend.

Recreate, Re-Create, and Create at Miracles in the Mundane

Happy Wednesday


Dedicated to the Princess

My bigs have access to social media, and thus, get the links to my blog posts. It definitely adds a new element, and I’m always aware there’s a chance they’ll be reading my take on their lives. Now I will say this, my boys definitely provide a lot of fodder for this blog. I mean, seriously….ADHD, Prematurity, Autism, and just plain old being boys. I could write for years on what goes on with them in one month.

And then there’s the Princess. She is our princess, our middle child, our only girl. Outside of some colic when she was a few months old, she’s been our saving grace, our island of calm in a crazy world. She doesn’t get in trouble (much). She’s organized, self-sufficient, focused, self-motivated. She generally helps around the house without being asked. She’s an overachiever. Honestly, outside of the normal teenage-girl drama, she’s not much work. She’s been pretty independent since birth.

I do have stuff to write about her though. She is my mini-me, but she’s ten thousand times the girl I was at her age. And don’t get me started on watching her cheer or dance. Nutcracker weekend is in two weeks. I  know I will be that weepy momma once again, even though she doesn’t have a starring role this year. Watching her do something well when I  know how much work she’s put into it always moves me. Watching her do something she so obviously loves….I can see the joy in her face when she’s onstage. Watching your kid live one of her dreams – well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I don’t know if she knows how much I appreciate the fact she doesn’t give me much to write about.  I don’t know if she knows how much I appreciate our time together, even if it’s just singing along together to the radio as we drive to and from the studio. Oh, I absolutely adore being mom to boys, but good golly, I am so thankful I have a daughter. I love our shopping trips, cooking together in the kitchen, rolling our eyes simultaneously at the  boys’ antics.

She isn’t perfect, trust me. We’ve had our moments, especially as she begins to spread her wings and begins to become who she’s going to be. I may  not write about  her often, but you can trust that doesn’t mean she’s any less prominent in our home. She’s just the calm in the middle of our crazy.

Re-Introducing the Herd

The Herd has had an influx of followers the last few months (Go Herd!), so I thought it might be appropriate to reintroduce ourselves, and explain why three is a herd. This is a copy-and-paste from a long-ago post, but it covers the details. Happy Friday, all!

So….what is a herd exactly, and why do three make a herd?

When our third child was born, with the older two 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 respectively, my husband informed me we now had a herd. Having two kids is just having kids. Apparently, having three or more gives you herd status. Yes, I do frequently feel like I am a herder getting the kids out the door, getting them back in the door, getting them to bed, getting them to all their activities. Some would say my husband and I are outnumbered. I always smile and respond, “We still have more hands than we have kids,” meaning we still have one hand left between the two of us to grab someone or something. No, we will not be adding to the herd. This shop is closed!

When Little Man was 8 months old, we bought our big ole Expedition. I needed a vehicle that could hold three full-sized carseats in one row. And minivans were completely out of the question. Deal-breaker. I loved my Expedition. I loved my personalized plates even more, which mention the Herd. Everyone knows it’s us when we arrive somewhere. I do get some strange looks and/or comments – I guess there’s a video game that has something to do with a herd (I’m clueless what game, so if you know, please let me in on it).  Since we no longer use those big carseats, we’ve moved on to a smaller SUV, but I’ve retained the plates, and probably will as long as my Herd is living at home.

In addition to our three children, we also have three dogs – one small Yorkie, one medium Cocker Spaniel, and one large Labradoodle (more lab than poodle) – two cats, and fish. I live in a zoo.  My house is not my own. My herd owns it. I’m just the accepted caretaker.

Three is a herd because my husband said so. I love that we have a moniker. It’s us. It describes us fully.  Welcome to our herd.

Friday Favorites 6.17.16

First off, I just had to laugh at myself, because, the day before my birthday, I had to look at the calendar to check what the date was for the title of this  post. Good golly, yes, it’s summer! The Princess’ cheer coaches blessedly decided Friday morning practices weren’t a necessity. Can I get an Amen? The Herd (excepting Spouse) was able to sleep in this morning. It was glorious!

How’s your week been? It took me three days to recover from the end-of-school insanity and the big fundraiser we hold every year – which was last Saturday. I was that deep-reaching kind of exhausted. I took a 2 hour  nap Sunday, a 1-hour nap Monday, and I was still completely out before 10pm Monday night. I’m giving myself a week to get everything in the house back where it goes. I think I’m finally back to normal.

This week, I have a complete mix for you as far as posts I’m sharing. Kinda goes along with my theme of being all over the place this week.

  • I’d picked all my favorites for the day, when a few new posts popped into my feed. I, of course, checked them out before starting in on this. And I found this on kelzbelzphotography which is ironic as I was having one of those days of “uh, yeah, not really sure I like him much today.” If you’re married, why did you marry your spouse?
  • Sarah at Running on Healthy is one of my running heroes. She’ll be running a marathon tomorrow, and leaving her precious baby girl for the first time. Go cheer her on, and if you’re a parent, share some advice how to manage the guilt the first time you’re away from baby.
  • Sunday is Father’s Day. I haven’t written my Daddy post yet, but trust me, my Daddy’s kind of amazing. Peg at Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings  wrote an awesome post in honor of her dad. Love this one. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
  • Joeyfully Stated captures just one way having children will humble the heck out of you.
  • The title for today’s post on Fisticuffs and Shenanigans had me completely intrigued. Then it had me spitting my water all over my computer screen.
  • I must need humor today, or am in a funky mood and am finding the most random stuff completely amusing. This at Square Peg in a Round Hole also resulted in some water-spitting.

I have no animal photos this week. Have I mentioned the level of tired going on around here? I will tell you the Damn Cat has been leaving more “treasures” around the house this week. Today, there was a mouse butt in the entryway. I kid you not…just the back end of a mouse. I can’t make this stuff up. I think he’s still trying to prove  his worth after we fired him  upon returning from our Hawaiian vacation to find a mouse had taken residence behind the refrigerator. Oh, and we finally captured the lizard that had been trapped in the dining room for two weeks. He’s been safely re-homed outside where he belongs. He seems the type to be a repeat offender though. Time will tell.

Happy weekend!


Friday Favorites 5.20.16

Oh my blog-world friends…This momma is toast today. We have (respectively) 7 and 13 days of school left. Yes, our high school gets out over a week ahead of our middle schools. I’m exhausted. Beat down. Over it. Done. The worst part though is knowing that summer won’t really bring relief. Cheer practice for the Princess will continue on through the summer, at 6am. I kid you not. Big Man starts cross country (9am – 11am, Monday through Friday) June 20th. And of course dance doesn’t break for summer. Recital is July 22nd and 23rd. No rest for the weary. I’m just sitting here being mad I don’t get to sleep in at all this summer, unless we manage to get away for a few days somewhere in between all the madness.

That being said, here’s my list of Favorites for today.

  • This post at Fabulous With Glitches just made me laugh. That’s been my Friday, spot on. And, I almost puked, and fell off the reformer, in Pilates class today. Bonus!
  • Shannon, Running Sunflower, had this to say about hills today. I love this post for soooooooo many reasons. A) The race I’m running in two weeks has a couple of gnarly hills, but it’s an awesome course and I’m really looking forward to it. B) Life has had its own share of hills lately. I love her line at the end, “And every hill — each and every one — has a top.” Beautifully written, Shannon!
  • I’ve been weepy as heck lately, and coming home stories ALWAYS get to me. This one is no exception. We all deserve a feel good moment today, so I’m sharing this one posted by bluebird of bitterness.
  • This is truth right here, and it made me lol. Short but sweet on  Arch Druidess.
  • A Momma’s View lifted up my heart, and made me cry at the same time (sensing a theme here?).  Go…If you don’t click on any of the other links today, click this one. So many people are out there doing battle every day. We are so quick to judge, without knowing anything about them, or what they’re facing. Don’t be the critic or scorekeeper. Cheer them for having the courage to fight.
  • Lastly, your weekly cute animal post. By the way, The Bloggess is a great one to follow. She’s just awesome-sauce.

Oh Lordy – the Princess just got home from school. A boy asked her to the 8th grade dinner dance, which is tomorrow night. Really? The DAY BEFORE???!!! She’s all in a tizzy. #andsoitbegins

What are your plans for the weekend? Any links you care to share?

Happy Friday!

Giving myself a seat at the table

I had a work dinner last night, and as I sat there at the table, surrounded by successful business women, I began to feel I didn’t belong. Honestly, I’d tried to get out of it at the last minute, that feeling of less-than surging throughout the day.  Not one of the women was treating me as if  I didn’t belong, and I realized it was the voices in my own head telling me I was out of place. I took a deep (internal) breath, contributed what I could to I could to the conversation, relaxed, and ended up having a great evening, leaving for home feeling empowered and lifted up. As competitive as women can be with each other, its usually our own selves putting us down the most. This particular group of women is all about lifting each other up. As much as I thought I hadn’t wanted to go, I’m so glad I went.

Why do we let those voices in our heads even get through? I’ve written before that we are our own biggest bullies. (You can read that post here ). I still completely believe that’s true.  Those voices in my head, my own negative talk, is louder and meaner than pretty much anything anyone has ever said to me. And I was saying a LOT of negative things to myself yesterday and last night….a ton of negative things, comparing myself to others, and negating any success I’ve had in my life. On the way home from dinner, I was repeating those comparisons, all the negative things I’d been thinking, and made myself come up with a counterpoint to my own negative speak. It went something like this:

  1. “I’m not a VP of this, CEO of that…I don’t own a company, nor do I make million dollar deals.” Well, guess what? I successfully work part-time, manage a crazy household, take care of myself, volunteer in multiple organizations, and have three pretty decent, smart kids. Do I sometimes look at the women around me who have all those letters after their names and wish I’d made some different choices in my life? Duh, yeah. But the lack of letters after my name does not equal a lack of success. It’s just different success.
  2. I have friends who can hike twenty miles in a day, ski down the scariest of mountains, do triathlons like it’s nothing, run marathons multiple times a year…friends who aren’t afraid to get out on the open water in a kayak or on a stand up paddle board…friends who mountain bike crazy courses. I hear that voice in my head telling me, “You can’t do that…you won’t ever do that….you’ll never be that adventurous.” Well, voices, I’ve run six half marathons and I’m training for my seventh. I’m not fast, but I’m out there, and I do it. Not everyone can say that. I’ll probably never win a race, but I’m in the race.
  3. The voices say, “Your house is a pit. Look at this house…they have kids and their walls aren’t dinged up, their carpets aren’t stained, their windows aren’t covered in fingerprints or dog snoodles.” Yeah, well….my kids live in a happy home that doesn’t tell them to only drink juice in the kitchen. They do ride their skateboards up and down the front hallway.  The back bedroom (supposedly a guest room) has essentially been taken over by their video games and computers. Our couch is more comfortable than it is pretty.
  4. The voices say, “Look at that blog….it’s been around half the time of yours and it has ten times as many followers as yours, they have so many comments, so many likes, and you have like 5.” Then I remind myself I don’t write this for the glory. It is amazing and awesome to engage with other writers, but this is primarily my therapy. I do write with the hope my words, my honesty in what our family faces will somehow help someone else. But I don’t write each post with the thought it’s going to go viral, nor that I’ll get 100 likes, nor that I’ll reach 10,000 followers by next week.
  5. The voices say, “You’ll never write that book.” Yep, I may never write that book. But then again, I just might. The fact is, I can. It might completely suck, but someday,  I just may do it. I’m working on that courage factor.
  6. The voices say, “You suck at this fundraising thing. Look at that team…they’ve raised twice what you’ve raised in half the time.” Then I remind myself it’s not about the total, it’s not about the recognition. It’s about who is helped by every penny we raise. What we do, what we’ve done, makes a difference. End of story. That people continue to support us twelve years into this continually amazes me.

Shutting down those voices takes practice….daily practice. The trick is to not let them get louder than the positive voices in your head. I keep telling myself to not let the negative speak win. I have a feeling I’ll be working on it forever, but I will keep working on it. I’m giving myself a seat at the table because yes, I do belong.

Friday Favorites 4.15.16

Good Lord – we made it to Friday. For a week that went by incredibly quickly, it’s also felt like it took a million years for five days to pass. I’m struggling mightily to focus – so many balls up in the air at the moment. Isn’t that rather typical though? How was your week? Weekend plans? Our community holds a community garage sale twice a year. The homeowners’ association takes care of all the signage and advertising. Residents just put their stuff out and handle the transactions. At the end of the morning, one of the donation places comes through with a big truck and picks up whatever you didn’t sell. Pretty good deal, right? Well, tomorrow is the day for the spring garage sale. I’m covered in dust and spider webs from gathering all the junk/unwanted/over it stuff we’re getting rid of. I don’t know how we come up with so much to get rid of every six months, but there you have it. I have two tables full of things for tomorrow morning, plus a sofa and love seat.

I’ve fought through the distractions and lack of focus (wait, is that a spider crawling across my forehead??!!!) to put together my favorites for this fine, sunny-in-Southern-CA day. Hope you enjoy!

  • I’ve been following Lillian at Hopes and Dreams: My Writing & My Sons almost since I started at wordpress. She’s doing the A-to-Z challenge this month, and I loved her post today. She did an awesome job of weaving a theme through multiple stories from her life.
  • Brittany at blissfulbritt could use some love. We’ve all been there…the blogging gods are NOT smiling upon us, life has gone wonky, changes are in the works. Go give her some encouragement.
  • In the US, it’s tax season. Our typical April 15th deadline was kicked back to Monday the 18th because today, D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day, and all the Federal offices are closed. So there’s a teeny reprieve, but it doesn’t take away the angst of tax time. bluebird of bitterness has some interesting stats. Now that sounds totally boring, but trust me, this post isn’t the least bit boring.
  • Stiletto Momma was worried she wouldn’t be able to come up with an M post for today, so she handled it like any grown up would.
  • As the mother of an autistic child with sensory issues, I frequently (daily) wonder what life is like from his perspective. I look to blogs written by adults on the spectrum, as well as those with anxiety or sensory issues. I find 21 and Sensory to be very insightful. In her post today, she answers questions others presented.
  • I’m adding today’s post on Diary of an Internet Nobody because the photos are so peaceful and pretty.

Your weekly animal photo is my whackadoo cat, Willie. It was raining outside. He wanted to be outside, but he did NOT want to get wet, so he sat right up on the door. Mission accomplished.

Willie in the rain

Happy Weekend!