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.

Another New Season

Something happened yesterday that normally I would have been here, writing away, within the hour. But as I started towards my computer, I realized I couldn’t do it, even if I’d written it from my perspective. Do you know how hard it is for a writer to process something when she can’t write about it, at least not the way she used to write about stuff like that? Sigh….this mothering of teenagers is hard!

We’ve been facing a few new challenges/adventures/experiences this school year. But as my blog is connected to my social media accounts, and as the older two herdies have their own social media accounts (with which I am “friends”), I’ve realized I can’t blab the way I used to. I’ve been a blogger for eleven years. It’s always been from my perspective, and I’ve never set out to embarrass or humiliate them. They have now reached a certain age, a certain presence in the world I don’t feel right sharing even my experience of all their experiences. Does that make sense?

Maybe someday they’ll choose to become bloggers, and will write about it themselves. And maybe someday we will reach yet another new stage I’ll feel free to hammer away at these keys. Oh, don’t get your hopes up I’m done writing about my herd. You may just be hearing it differently for awhile. I don’t feel I can share everything the way I’ve shared it before, unless they give me explicit permission.

I will tell you this…Yesterday was a rough one for the Princess. There was a tearful phone call, some ice cream, some french bread (cuz that’s how she rolls), her bestie and bestie’s mom over in the afternoon with candy and lots of laughter. She knows we have her back, and she had a better outlook today.

Don’t worry  – The Herd isn’t going anywhere. It’s just going to maybe sound a little bit different.

Olympic Back Stories

I think one of my favorite parts of the Olympics is hearing/watching all the backstories they do on individual athletes. I love finding out what challenges they’ve overcome, how they started, how they came to this point – an elite athlete competing on a world stage. Every time I see one of the back-story segments, I can’t help but think what my kids’ back stories would look like….

My kids and their cousins face multiple challenges amongst the group. A few have already overcome so much….prematurity, hearing loss, autism, anxiety…..I watch them excel in school, in running, in golf, in acting, in being amazing, funny, brilliant human beings, and I’m moved. I write their Olympic back-stories in my mind all the time, and it can (okay, frequently does) make me cry.

Big Man was born over 3 months prematurely, spent over 90 days in the NICU, was diagnosed with asthma at 5  years old, and ADHD at 8 years old.  He could have, and probably should have, faced hearing or vision loss, heart surgery, developmental delays/disability, Cerebral Palsy, or a host of any other issues. Instead, he can hold his breath underwater for over a minute (so much for preemie lungs!), ran a half marathon at 15 years old in under two hours, and golfed on the Varsity golf team as a high school Freshman. Can you just hear that Olympic story?

Little Man was diagnosed ADHD and Autistic when he was 8 years old…pretty late, comparatively.  He continues to be mainstreamed in school, and his brilliant mind often scares me. He’s smarter than the rest in this household combined. He can code like a fiend. He has his own YouTube channel on which he regularly posts gaming videos. He seems to finally be coming into his own, more secure in his abilities, in his friendships. There may  not be an Olympic sport for coding, but if there were, he would win, so I write his story in my mind too.

One of my niece’s is hearing-impaired. She was late-diagnosed as well, but she hasn’t let that hold her back. She accommodated for herself before anyone knew to accommodate for her. She’s a wicked-fast runner, competing at a high level in cross country and track at her high school. College recruiters started contacting her a year ago. Yeah, I write her story every time she wins or places well in a race.

Another niece faces anxiety and depression. She’s also a beautiful, talented dancer, in  her second  year on her college dance team. On top of that, she writes, oh my does she write. I’ve had the great joy of reading multiple articles she’s written this summer. I’d like to think she gets that from me. Hah! When she’s a national news reporter, sportscaster, or journalist, someone will write a segment on her life. Back story…..I’m already writing it.

Then there’s my nephew B. He’s an actor. He also is a runner. He’s bloody brilliant as well, but six years ago he was an entirely different kid.  He writes too. His FB posts are witty, sarcastic, thought-provoking. He heart is huge, particularly for the underdog. Some day, when he is up for an Oscar, they’ll do a back story on him. They can thank me, because I’ve already written it in my mind for them.

Now, I didn’t call these five out to say the rest in our family aren’t amazing as well. My brother, sister, and I each helped produce great kids. They are all extremely talented in their own ways. And I have an Olympic backstory for each of them.

Friday Favorites 6.3.16

It’s JUNE!!! It’s my birthday month!! It’s also insanity personified…Big Man took his last final as a  high school freshman Wednesday morning. The other two are still in until the 9th. We had our last Parents’ Day at Lunch at the Princess’ middle school today. Last night was Open House at Little Man’s school. Next week brings a two field days, and a graduation ceremony. It’s also race weekend this weekend – Big Man and I will run the Rock n Roll Half Sunday morning. Wish us cool weather and a solid marine layer, please? It’s 97 degrees  here today – no bueno in running land. My brother and nephew are en route as we speak. Brother will be running the full marathon (yep, he’s completely crazy) while Neph will run the half with  us. On top of all this joyousness, our big fundraiser is next weekend. Nope, not busy at all, which explains why I’m sitting here holding my eyelids open with my fingers. I turned on some loud music hoping that will help. Also, I may need some carbs. Just realized I haven’t had any today, and ran 2.75 miles this morning. That explains it. I’ll be right back….

Oh yeah….pretzel thins and jalapeno Greek yogurt dip….Mmmmm…..Now I might make it to school pick up time.

Okay, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here’s the list of favorites for the week. Wanna know a secret, the reason why I do Friday Favorites? I write this post because it makes me really read a lot of posts at least one day a week. There. Now ya  know. And so, onto the list…..

  • All moms have their push-button issues, things that drive us over the edge. I almost spit my water all over the monitor when I saw this post a few minutes ago. A Momma’s View has it spot on today. My kids are pretty much guaranteed to hear me yelling when I find empty boxes in the pantry, much less one that still has something in it and a new, opened box sitting right next to it. If I find both of those situations at one time, I’m going to need to dig deep that day.
  • We deal with Little Man’s anxiety a lot, along with his feeling he has no value. This post at Autism Thoughts touched me so deeply. I pray one day Little Man has enough self-awareness to have this conversation with himself.
  • bluebird of bitterness nailed it yet again. lol
  • I’ve started following a bunch of dad bloggers lately. They’re awesome. I don’t tend to get Spouse’s take on this parenting gig, so I eat up posts from dads like they’re candy. This one from all in a dad’s work is fabulous. He posts questions from his kids, and his answers. #gigglefest
  • Speaking of dad blogs…..check this one out from My Least Favorite Child Today. I could, quite seriously, have him on this list every week. If you’re a germaphobe, you may want to skip this one….
  • I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new blogs/bloggers to follow. A Opinionated Man re-shares his meet-and-greet weekly, if I recall correctly. I’ve found tons of awesome stuff through this thread. Go share yours, or find some new writers to follow.
  • I’ve been missing some poetry posts lately. Keith Garrett at keithgarrettpoetry got me with this one today.
  • Lastly, it’s lizard season around here. We have two cats. That means lizards are regularly brought inside by said cats as “toys”. Often these toys end up dead. They almost always lose a tail. True story – I found a bunch of lizard-less tails under the banquet in the dining room. There’s currently a younger lizard hiding out underneath my fridge. Every time he tries to make a break for the sliding door, the cats pounce. If you know me, you know I don’t like lizards at all. They rate just above spiders in my book. But I’ve had to become rather adept at catching them, and releasing them outside, away from the cats. The entire time I’m transporting them on the dust pan, I’m calmly but firmly requesting they NOT jump. If they jump, all bets are off and good luck to ya. This all being said, your pet photo of the week  is a lizard I rescued recently.

lizard rescue

Send thoughts for happy, fast legs and feet for us Sunday morning! What are your weekend plans?

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!