Thursday Ten: I don’t want to have to use my AC edition

1. The humidity. Oh the humidity. I’ve had to break down and turn my AC on. It’s not the heat is the UGH UGH UGH. Actually, it’s both. When I can, I leave it off but honestly, I’m more concerned with the pup getting too warm during the day. It’s only June 11, though and I’m already kind of freaking out about my electric bill if I’m using the AC already.

2. Spring and fall. Spring and fall. Those are my seasons. You know, the short seasons that last about five days each.

3. I finally used Apple Pay for the first time which was oddly exhilarating and far too easy and did you know you can Apple Pay RIGHT THROUGH THE SEPHORA APP? And the Starbucks app? And wheeeee, I just ordered some new Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick because best. color. ever. (And Apple Pay.)

4. For nearly 24 hours, my Fitbit wasn’t working and I died a little bit inside. I’m addicted. Also, I’m absolutely positive I walked 18,000 steps that day and I guess we’ll never know. (It’s working now. Oddly, I was registering an almost complete charge but I gave it a whirl and left it on the charger for a few hours and then it was working again. Hallelujah)

5. You guys are nice people. You are.

6. This is not going to be a retina blog. Because I can’t have this place be a retina blog. Oh, and because I started a retina blog somewhere else. Gotta compartmentalize sometimes.

7. School’s out for the summer and with that comes the summer schedule with the girls spending half the time with me and half the time with their dad. It’s always a tough adjustment. I’m used to having my people around and it’s a bummer when they’re not.
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8. I miss my daughters.

9. I still tell myself every night to go to bed earlier and then I still never do.

10. I admit. I’m grasping at straws for ten things this week. I mean, how on earth could I top my broken retinas?

Mangos and grief and looking for normal

I just sliced a mango, so juicy that as I held the fruit steady, its juice ran from my cutting board. So ripe, I put the knife down and pulled chunks of the fruit apart, tossing them into a ceramic bowl. When I finished, I grabbed a mango chunk from the bowl, popped it into my mouth – refreshing and sweet. I washed and dried my hands, then poured the mango from the bowl into a plastic zip top bag and threw it into my freezer.

I eat a lot of mango lately.

Mango. Papaya. Avocado.

I’ve never been a smoothie person and now I make smoothies all the time because vitamins. I need vitamins. Nutrients. Goodness.

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Mangos are rich in vitamin A. Avocado contains lutein. Also, supposedly it helps turn the carotenoids of the mango into active Vitamin A.

I don’t know if it really helps anything, but at this point, I also figure… what could it hurt?

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I was recently diagnosed with a degenerative retina disease. I was probably born with it – it’s a hereditary disease that no one in my family seems to have. We’ve traced back – we can’t think of anyone else who has it, but to be honest, i don’t really know how far back we went. It’s autosomal recessive which is a fancy way of saying, I received one copy of a mutated gene from my dad, and one from my mom – they were both carriers so they each had a good gene and a bad one… and I got the messed up ones (yay me). It means that there’s probably been generations of carriers of this gene, but they just didn’t have the dumb luck of genetics.

Retinitis pigmentosa.

I had never heard of it before this year.

The diagnosis has hit me a bit like a ton of bricks and on some days I feel totally normal and I don’t think of my eyes at all and on some days, I find myself sitting on the floor of my mudroom crying because I don’t know what the future holds, and all I can see is a future of worst case scenario.

The reality is my night vision and peripheral vision will progressively worsen.

To what extent, no one can say for sure. But I know what the worst case scenario is and in my scared moments, in my vulnerable moments that is the place where my mind goes. To the worst place.

I shut my eyes sometimes and I imagine a world where the scenery is gone and if I let myself stay in that place my heart will break in half and it takes awhile to unthink those things and so I try sometimes to just pretend that everything is okay.

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I am trying very hard to be hopeful and I am told and I have read that there are tremendous advances being made in medical research. I am told that there will be treatments in my lifetime; I’ve even been told that there could be cures in ten years.

And so.

That’s what I need to remember.

And that’s what I need people to remind me: to have hope when I don’t feel hope, and to believe that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to be.

I know that they say that things happen for a reason, and I’m not necessarily inclined to believe in that cliche – because for me, the reason is just dumb luck. Genetics. Nothing that anyone could do anything about.

And all I can do is wait.

Look for my new normal.

Feel sad when I feel sad. Feel angry when I feel angry. Ignore it all and bury it deep when it’s too much to deal with.

And in those moments when I feel empowered, in those moments where I tell myself that this will not defeat me, this will not define me, and I am stronger than all of this and I will get through this. I will make a difference.

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I wish there were more empowered moments and less grieving moments.

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I eat a lot of mangos lately. More avocados than ever in my life.

 

 

To tell Congress to support vision research, click here. There is so much amazing research being done; research that can maybe help me someday. It needs funding. Contacting your state’s folks really couldn’t be easier, click through – I guarantee it will take less than two minutes. If you’re able, consider a donation to the Foundation Fighting Blindness to support research and programs to fight blindness.

 

A letter to my daughter on her thirteenth birthday

My sweet Princess,

The other day, I stood in the card aisle of the grocery store, scanning possible birthday cards to give you – as I picked up cards and read them, I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. What on earth is wrong with me? Why are your birthdays getting harder for me? I love seeing how you change each year, I am so excited for each year in front of you – but oh this is feeling old, sweet girl.

Time is moving so quickly.

When I went to your parent teacher conferences this year, several of your teachers told me such wonderful things about you. Your science teacher, your social studies teacher, math – and all of them echoed the sentiment that has rattled in my head for quite some time: “I am so excited to see what she will become. She can be anything.”

(No pressure.)

So while I am a bit emotional about your birthday, I hope you know just how much I am enjoying see you be who you are.

When it comes to gymnastics, you are a hard worker. Even after all these years, to watch you when you compete is a joy. You exude this confidence and charisma – particularly when you do your floor routine. You are so fun to watch. When  you master a new stunt, your excitement and your pride – it’s contagious. I don’t know how you do the things you do. A balance beam is only a few inches wide – I tried last year to stand on the beam. I was terrified. On that beam, I realized not only how narrow it is but how high up it is – and you, YOU are jumping, cartwheeling, executing turns, and moving from one end to another with this ease. It’s so hard and yet when you are up there on the balance beam – it looks effortless. I am in awe. Always.

You are a lovely soul.

You are kind. Everyone tells me how kind you are.

Your sense of humor is beyond your years and often the snark level matches my own and you are dry and you are witty and oh god sometimes you crack me up. I got a blister on my foot the other day – I went walking in flip flops – two miles in flip flops, even the good ones, is not a great idea. The next day, i was complaining of the pain and you said to me, “Yeah, I had a feeling that wouldn’t turn out that well.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I replied.

“Because I realized that sometimes it’s better to keep my opinion to myself,” you said. “I just haven’t exactly got it figured out when those times are.”

I don’t know. It made me laugh.

When you had to do a social studies project about Grand Rapids – you messaged me and told me that you’d arranged to interview several people – could I drive you to these interviews? You had sent such professional, self-assured emails to these people, asking for their time, for their insight – and they did – they gave you their time. I couldn’t believe your initiative. Your drive. It is a common theme – I am not sure I was as focused as you when I was your age.

I barely remember thirteen.

It was the year my family moved to Michigan. Eight grade. I had bangs. I moved here and I felt like I was a fish out of water.

I don’t know what this year holds for you. I know that thirteen years ago tonight, I was in a hospital waiting to meet you. I had been so ready to meet you for so long. When I found out I was having a girl, I knew right away what your name would be – and I had, for months, been driving to and from work, having conversations with you – just to hear your name  in the air. You were born at 9:03 p.m. and you are still my night owl. (Oh, how I hate to wake you up in the morning. It’s neither easy nor fun!)

And tonight, I’ll be watching your school choir perform and you’ll be singing a solo and oh, to think about it, I get the kind of goosebumps that make my scalp tingle.

Your texts are some of my favorite to get. I like when you heart my pictures on Instagram.

You steal my Chucks and my turquoise pants.

You are vibrant. Emotional. Sassy. Prone to hangry-provoked tears. Loving.

(Lest you go getting a big head, I will say that sometimes you and your sister argue and it drives me absolutely BONKERS. I thought y’all were supposed to be best friends. Ah, maybe someday.)

So.

Thirteen.

And eight grade next year.

It really does fly. Oh, how it flies.

I’m not perfect, far from it – but I think we’re doing okay. Because even those moments – those trying moments – I look at you and I look at your sister and I can’t believe how blessed I am, how amazing you both are.

And today, I celebrate you – it’s your birthday. Thirteen years ago today I saw your face for the first time and it’s still one of my favorite faces on the planet.

I love you with my whole heart and I’m so very lucky to be your mom.

Love,

Momma

Thursday Ten: It’s been like watching paint dry edition

1. The week before a three day holiday weekend – that’s just about the longest week ever, isn’t it? I feel like i have so much to do and yet I’m struggling to get things done – I’m hopeful that tomorrow is an easy day and that the three days of rest will allow me to hit a mental re-set button.

2. Sometimes I see things that bring me joy.
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3. And we’re in the homestretch of the school year – seems like the never ending stream of field trips and school events will go on and on and on. Of course, this is not my first rodeo – I know that it ends. I know soon we’ll be elbow deep in summer ready for school to begin again. But for now, this end of the school year business is for the birds.

4. The Princess has a migraine tonight and I feel badly for her because I know how miserable she must feel. On the other hand, I’m grateful that at nearly 13 years old, she’s old enough now to make it to the bathroom before she throws up.

5. Those are the major milestones, right? Earlier tonight, I was realizing that the first big “wow, she’s growing up” milestone is when your kids no longer need you to help them eat their ice cream before it drips out of the cone. I noticed this as Pumpkin was eating a scoop of mint chip. Without needing my help.

6. Finally was able to put a dent in cleaning the playroom with Pumpkin this evening. Oh my gosh, what a mess that room is. She even let me throw some things away. The clutter, oh my gosh, the clutter. I’m glad to feel like it’s coming around a bit.

7. So, in exactly one week, The Princess will be 13. It’s… sobering, somehow. That means I’ve lived in this house 13 years. It means my daughter is a teenager. It means that there’s really only five years until she’s an adult, goes to college. And… where did the time go?

8. My Facebook feed tonight is filled with friends with graduating seniors tonight – so at least I’m not there yet.

9. I went to the library, checked out a bunch of books and… haven’t spent any time reading again. (Common themes are common, are they not?)

10. Ah tomorrow, let’s hope it flies. Mama needs a three day weekend.

Thursday Ten: Watching Greys Anatomy Reruns on Netflix edition

1. I know there was some wicked big stuff happening on Grey’s in the past few weeks but I haven’t watched it live in several years. I’m only on season seven so whatever it is that Shonda Rimes did that pissed off so many people (and trust, I KNOW WHAT SHE DID because hello, people, y’all spoiled it like two seconds after it happened) doesn’t really impact me yet because I’m only on season seven and I have a lot more people for her to kill off first before I catch up.

2. After a rather dismal few StitchFix boxes, I came home today to one that was pretty much knocked outta the park. Only one piece that didn’t entirely fit, and it may work with a cami underneath and if not? I have a kiddo who will LOVE that shirt because it’s chevron and chevron is her favorite.

3. Also, her birthday is two weeks from today and she’ll be 13 and so, early birthday gift?

4. I don’t like jelly. I ended up describing peanut butter yesterday as being a “lone wolf.” Peanut butter doesn’t need jelly. PEANUT BUTTER NEEDS NOTHING. You can quote me on that.

5. Yes. I amuse myself.

6. Listening to All Songs Considered on our way to Chicago last week, Chris and I heard The Staves “No Me No You No More.” And I immediately downloaded and have been listening to it ever since. Beautiful harmonies. Calming.

View on YouTube

7. In and out of Chicago in 24 hours last weekend. Not something I’d recommend but we were pretty happy to celebrate the wedding of some friends and road trippin’ with Chris is always fun (even though – poor guy – I slept most of the way back because I wanted to leave early so I could spend Mother’s Day with my daughters).

8. We tried Uber for the first time while in Chicago so that was pretty interesting. How country bumpkin of me is it to describe Uber as “interesting”? But… it was. I mean, cabs in general kinda squick me out and I’m always relatively certain that cab drivers never passed drivers training so I felt no more or less safe in an Uber. Comfier than vinyl cab seats.

9. I had a really good day today. In a sea of days that have been more than a little tough, today was a good day. Acknowledge. Smile. And strive for more of them.

10. Tomorrow’s Friday. This is the kid’s last FULL week of school for this year. There’s a weekend coming. How are YOU? Good, right?
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Thursday Ten: A Little Bit of Rain, A Little Bit of Sun edition

1. What a difference a day makes. Rain. Sun. Closed. Open. It’s been a roller coaster lately and, y’know, I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. But sometimes you just want to say, “Hey Universe? Easy there, now. Just… slow…your…roll.”
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2. Work has been completely busy lately – I make progress and then… I’m still left with a full to do list. The days generally zip by, though, which is a very good thing.

3. “Mom, you’re so lucky to get to write all day!” said Pumpkin the other day. Sigh. I guess it’s hard for kiddos to realize that writing all day is different when writing all day is writing web content about things like updating your operating system and making sure your browser is up to date.

4. Took The Princess for a manicure the other day. Made an appointment for 6:30. Didn’t end up getting in until 7. A bridal party was taking over the whole place – and as soon as they walked out, the woman doing my nails said disgustedly, “They had a 5:30 appointment. They showed up at 6.” Why don’t people realize how rude it is to be late like that and how it’s a domino effect that doesn’t just impact YOU but the other people after you. Pffft. Rude bride lady.

5. We had two days of spring and now it’s nearly 80 degrees. Gah. Pure michigan.

6. What a week for birthdays! Happy birthday to Chris and to my dog – who share a birthday. One of them was five years old this week. One of them…is a little bit older.

7. Book club was at the local Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo – and whoohoo $2.99 margaritas. I only drank half of one – basically because my margaritas are way better. Also? I didn’t feel wasteful because y’know, $2,99 margarita.

8. I need to get more sleep. I keep meaning to go to bed earlier and then I look up and it’s midnight and hey self, you were supposed to be sleeping by now.

9. My oven has decided to stop working so that’s something new and exciting that’s happened. Seriously, after being in this house for 13 years, I’m afraid that all my appliances are going to start dying all at once. And that would NOT be a good thing.

10. I have a fridge full of leftovers. I don’t eat leftovers. I need to not save every darn thing every time. I can’t even remember when I made some of this stuff?

Thursday Ten: In The Homestretch Edition

1. This time of year makes me more than a little crazy – we’re entering that time of year where it seems that every darn school activity is scheduled one right after another – boom boom boom boom. Permission slips, field trip money, concerts, performances. KISS YOUR FREE TIME GOODBYE, MOMS AND DADS. It’s ALL school ALL the time. Well, for a few more weeks. And then it’s summer and YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

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2. Oh summer. Well. It feels like this summer is filling up with lots to do already – and not much at all. I have to say, my perspective on summer has changed somewhat since I no longer work from home. When I was sitting in my home office all week – summer was a real struggle for me – because I had to balance being a mom and being a good worker bee. Now that I’m in an office full time, that problem is solved for me. NOW my bigger issue is that the cost of childcare increases in the summer. Boo.

3. And I still hate summer weather.

4. Mad crazy desire to travel – what are your tips and tricks and hints for outta the country travel. I want to see Spain and I better start saving my pennies. Wanderlust times a bajillion.

5. Now that we’re done with Gilmore Girls, The Princess and I have been watching Glee. I…prefer Gilmore Girls.

6. I have become a maker of smoothies and it’s tough because my blender is a piece of garbage and MANGOS ARE TOUGH TO BLEND. Brought a smoothie for lunch yesterday and was slurping up chunks of mango through my straw. Yum?

7. This week has felt a hundred years long and yet, it’s been okay? The weekends have seemed too far apart lately. That may be a sign that I need a vacation. Nothing on the calendar any time soon, unfortunately. I really need to get better about making that a priority.

8. It feels really weird to not be getting ready for the Avon Walk. I miss the fundraising and the anticipation and I even miss the forty miles. Life just got kooky this year.

9. Looking for taco recipes is some of my favorite kind of Google-ing.

10. I accidentally bought red lip gloss the other day. I’ve been wearing it but I don’t like it and I still hate red. I’m just too cheap to throw it away.

Thursday Ten: Better Late Than Never edition

1. I’m having trouble writing lately. Actually, that’s not really true – I’m composing posts in my mind all the time, but none of them yet have made it to the screen. And that’s probably okay – there’s a lot going on in this brain of mine lately. And one of these days I’ll write it down. Soon. Or not. I mean, why does the day only have 24 hours, anyway?

2. We’re not supposed to “glorify busy” but honestly? That’s really just the way it is.

3. Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome? It’s awesome.
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4. We’re wrapping up gymnastics season this weekend and I am pretty excited. Love to watch my girl compete, but it’s very time consuming and so I’m ready for a few months off from those four hour meets and long drives to get there.

5. I wanted to love the new Alabama Shakes album as much as I loved their previous. And it’s good but it’s so different than their first album. It sounds like they’ve been listening to a lot of D’Angelo lately. And, in general, it just doesn’t feel cohesive to me.

6. Wish I could make myself spend the $40 on Ryan Adams huge ol “Live at Carnegie Hall” collection. (I probably will. Slowly. I’ve already downloaded two songs.)

7. I am so far behind on listening to podcasts – and it’s funny because I haven’t listened to the radio in forever and sometimes it’s nice to have the talking in the car when I drive – it’s like I have company when I don’t. That sounds like a weird reason to like podcasts but it’s also because the radio station I listen to plays wretched dance remixes during the evening commute and that just sucks, so no.

8. I spent time with my niece and nephew today and they made me so ridiculously happy – the unabashed giggles of a toddler is enough to bring a smile to even the crankiest face.

9. Saturday is National Mani Pedi day and you better believe I have my appointment set because eventually the weather is going to be better again and I’mma be wearing flip flops.

10. Cheers to the people who go above and beyond. The people who make a difference – the people who make change. The people who make the world brighter.

Thursday Ten: Trying To Ditch Negative Nancy edition

1. I was in the middle of a spectacular mope today when on the drive home, the new Real Simple Podcast (“I Want to Like You”) started playing. Today’s topic was negativity and one of the main points they made was that often people who complain are doing so because it’s easier than acknowledging your actual feelings, and so I made an effort to acknowledge the things irritating me today: a snotty email, when other people have more control over my schedule than I do, when people take their bad day out on me, when the school cancels an after school function without alerting parents, thus sending a child home on the bus when my child care provider (my awesome stepdad) was expecting to pick her up at school an hour later (Spoiler alert: my awesome neighbor-slash-mother of Pumpkin’s friend texted me that my daughter was with her, I alerted my stepdad, everything worked out – BUT WHO DOESN’T TELL THE PARENTS WHEN PLANS LIKE THAT CHANGE?!). So. I’m putting it out there: I knooooooow I’m being negative. I’m trying to get through it. A lot of feelings about a lot of things is making me complainy.

2. I don’t get enough sleep and I don’t like being negatively impacted by things outside my control. Therein lies the root of 97.4% of my frustration in life.

3. That onion rings aren’t health food might account for a good .6% of the frustration in my life.

4. Things I’ve recently learned: a box of 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures costs $7.99 on Amazon; going to a weekend clinic to get a head wound glued shut will cost over $1,000. (Oh, doctors, you so crazy. And yes, I’ll be fighting y’all on that ridiculous shizz.) Also? I will probably just risk letting any old injury go stitch less and glue less because OH EM GEE, that’s not even worth it to me. Also, you can buy a skin stapler preloaded with disposable staplers on Amazon, for under $40, so I really think they should reconsider my bill. Also? Bleeding head wounds 4 lyfe.

5. I have had the theme to “House of Cards” stuck in my head for hours and it’s NOT EVEN A REAL THEME REALLY.

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6. Everyone appears to be heading out of town for spring break and I’m jealous. Okay? I said it: JEALOUS.

7. We’ve been really busy at work and we’ve been managing to accomplish a ton – and it’s been crazy and chaotic and GAH!!! But, making headway on some projects is a good thing.

8. The weather was gorgeous the other day. See? I’m not all gloom and grump.

9. When you ask people the best part of the day and they respond? Awesome. Just as I absorb the negativity of people around me, I’m hoping I catch some of the good, as well.

10. The Princess mastered a stunt in gymnastics that she’s been working on for a long time and I think that is pretty amazing. Love to see her progress.

Thursday Ten: Cold Snap Edition

1. It warmed up. Then it got cold again. I knew it would because it always does but that brief bit of warmth has made the cold unbearable again even if the now cold is way warmer than the January cold. In essence, I’m back to being an early winter cold wuss instead of a seasoned end of winter grump. It’s better than it was but I could use some consistent spring warmth.

2. Thing I just googled: Travel to Spain. Thing I googled yesterday: Can your cell phone mess up your garage door?

3. There’s something clicky in my ankle when I move it just so. (So stop moving it like so, right?)

4. Last week’s need for retail therapy gave way to a bottle of Philosophy Purity cleanser because it smells good and I love Philosophy stuff, but if I’m going to be honest, I’m kicking myself for buying $30 cleanser. Pricewise, it’s probably on par with having purchased some type of cleanser in the grocery store (because the bottle is so big) but OH MY GOSH I HATE SPENDING MONEY.

5. And yet the need for retail therapy strikes me sometimes and it CANNOT BE CONTAINED.

6. Next week it will be April. Please note: I hate April Fools Day. I also hate when brands think they’re so cute by sending April Fools Promotion messages or trying to trick people and thinking they’re so funny. JOKE’S ON YOU, BRANDS, I HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR.

7. One of these days I’ll post about what it’s like to not try to build a photography business anymore (yes, I know, every week I mention something that I mean to blog about at a later date and then never do). I also know that most of us know what it’s like to not try to build a photography business. I know that I don’t miss it, necessarily – because I don’t have time to miss it – but I feel it keenly sometimes when I see photographers that aren’t that talented getting a lot of work. Am I the best out there? Not by a long shot. But there are people who hire people who do bad work and somehow they’re getting by. I dunno. Just… a thought.

8. I’m trying in earnest to get back to doing the Piyo workouts again because a) it truly works and b) I’ve been feeling less than fab about myself and needed a boost. I’ll do my fourth piyo workout of the week tonight after taking yesterday off because oohhhhh, muscle fatigue (gotta love it!). Sometimes it takes that achey feeling in your muscles to make you remember what you love about working out.

9. This year has been my worst year yet for March Madness brackets. It’s so bad even that I’ve just stopped looking. I have no idea whose in the Sweet 16. Is it over yet?

10. One of the best parts about writing my Thursday Ten post is knowing that Friday is right around the corner. So, Friday, I’m looking at you. Be here soon.