And August Oozes its Way Out with 1000% Humidity

81 | 365 - August 24, 2014

Six more days left of August. I say that as if it means something – as if September 1 rolls around and the weather will flip the switch and the temperature will be tolerable, my allergies will abate and I will no longer have hair so frizzy that it can only be contained by finally succumbing to the ponytail.

But six more days and as we near September first, the temperature has kicked up a few notches as has the humidity and OH MY GOD IT’S THE WORST.

(Snow and sub-zero temperatures are also THE WORST so as you can clearly tell: I have weather issues.)

But August is almost over and I AM SO GLAD BECAUSE UGH.

Let’s cross our fingers that it’s 65 and sunny on Monday.

A Letter to My Sweet Pumpkin on her 9th Birthday

Dear Pumpkin,

Nine years ago this morning, I remember calling in to work saying, “I don’t think I’ll be in to work today because apparently I’m having a baby.” I called them back less than an hour later to tell them you were born. You made a swift arrival into this world, sweet pea. A swift arrival. An early morning arrival. Every year I’ve said, “You’ve been an early bird ever since!” The past week or so, however, you’ve had days where you’ve slept so late that I haven’t seen you before I leave for work – grandpa arrives to watch you and your sister and I say, “She’s still sleeping!” and he’s amazed as I am because since when do you sleep past seven a.m.?

Since now, apparently.

For your birthday, I bought you a pair of leggings from H&M with a print of pug faces all over them. They are so gaudy, but I think you are going to love them! I bought them two months ago when I was shopping for your sister’s birthday and I have been holding on to these pug pants ever since. I also picked up a pug tee, another shirt with a dog with a matching headband, socks with dogs on them, and a Web Kinz that looks like it could be our puppy’s twin. But smaller. You still really really love dogs – and while some people think, just how many dog stuffed animals does a kid need? I don’t much worry about it because you like what you like.

You’ll be entering fourth grade in the fall and you’re an amazing student – teachers really like your creative mind and your reading skills are exceptionally high. You ask amazing questions and you are curious and insightful. You’re friendly and welcoming and you like people. You have pretty awful handwriting though. Your teacher last year said he wasn’t worried about it- he could still read it and could see the thoughts you were trying to express and it wasn’t worth fussing over. I think you just get so impatient. You want to get those thoughts out. You prefer typing though.

Lately, I find you often typing stories on the computer. Or you’ll tell me about a dream you had that you plan to make into a series. You amaze me – because not only do you have all of these ideas ping-ponging around in your brain, but you’re fabulous at expressing them. While you don’t always like to share what you’ve written, when you do, I’m completely impressed. And I’m proud of you a lot and I’m proud of me a little – even though you would still be you if I wasn’t one who likes to read and write but I like to think that by seeing me read, that you decided that it wasn’t an awful thing.

Who knows. You’d probably be  a writer if I was illiterate.


Your hair was cut into a short, sassy do earlier this summer and I’m in love with it – the ease of it, the elimination of that big ever-present snarl that was always a daily battle. You like to brush your hair now. You look more like YOU. A little bit older – not too much – but you were lost behind that tangled hair. You radiate and I can see your clear blue eyes and your delicate shoulders and you aren’t trapped by hair. It seems a silly thing, to be so amazed by a haircut, but it truly makes me smile.

You are empathetic and are very concerned with others’ feelings. Not just other people, but things. I worry about your heart sometimes, how much you hurt for things – you cuddle with one stuffed puppy and worry that the rest might have their feelings hurt. Your hurt is sweet and genuine and I am blown away by your big heart and your caring but I am afraid for you and afraid of the world sometimes that isn’t always kind to tender-hearted souls. I hope that you will be strong when faced with life’s challenges. But I’ll try to not worry too much about it – for I’d rather you feel too much than nothing at all.

Empathetic. Kind. Silly. Fun.

Big heart. Sweet smile.

The other day on a trolley ride, I asked if you would sit in my lap. “MOM! I’m too old to sit in your lap…in public,” you said. Good to know you’re still my little girl, even though you’re getting older.

Some days you and your sister are best friends. Some days the bickering drives me bonkers.

Some days you clean your room without asking. Some days I find ten empty Capri Sun pouches hidden behind the couch.

Some days you want to write and write. Some days you want to play at your friends’ houses until I say it’s time to come home.

I really like you, Pumpkin. Not only do i love you but I genuinely like you. I think you’re a really neat kid. I think you’re lovely. I like having you around. I am so blessed, really, to have two amazing daughters.

I am so glad you were born. I hope that 9 brings you a lot of great things. You’re gonna move mountains, miss.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you with my whole heart.




To My Daughter on her 12th Birthday

Dear Princess,

Last week your language arts teacher sent an email assigning your family and people who love you to write you a letter that will go in a time capsule for you to open up in six years, during your senior year of high school. I knew, when I saw that, that I’d be writing your birthday letter soon so admittedly for the past several days I have had versions of both letters tumbling through my head – and I’m not sure what I want to say for either, only that thinking of these letters makes me want to cry.


How are you 12?

There’s something about having a middle school kid who is wearing size 9 Chucks and who is becoming more responsible every minute… it’s making me feel a) old and b) that this is all going so fast and that I’m going to blink and you’re going to be opening up that letter your senior year before I have had a chance to process the years between now and then. And I don’t wish them away, not at all. I never want to hold you back, but I like that you’re still my kid and I’m still your momma and that I’ve still got some years with you under my roof before you fly.

And fly you will.

You are, in a word: Amazing.

You are funny, responsible, intelligent, talented, creative, kind-hearted, and beautiful. You are an old soul and you are sassy. You are sarcastic and you are gracious. In short, you are everything I could have ever dared ask for and so much more I couldn’t have dreamed of, and yet you are.

You are fierce and tender and loyal and lovely and there are times when I catch a glimpse of who you will be when you’re older and it’s good. I’m so proud of you.

I’m proud of you when I see you compete at a gymnastics competition. I’m proud when your teachers tell me how much they enjoy having you around. I’m proud of you when you thank me for doing something special for you. I’m proud when I see you with my friends and how you are entertaining and witty and you light up a room. I am proud when you bake your crazy awesome cookies that everyone loves so much. And I’m proud when you do nothing at all, when you just are. Because it’s not all about big moments – you bring light into my life in small ways too.

You still like gymnastics, reading, baking. You are going to do a presentation on photography soon and that makes me smile, that my hobby is yours. You help me pick my pictures of the day, sometimes, and you are so exacting as you look over the images for clarity and point of view.

Your room is usually a mess and you nag at your sister sometimes as if you were the mom. You are prone to bouts of “hanger” and at times you can be easy to upset.You believe in fairness. You believe in vanilla ice cream cones with sprinkles. Your cousins adore you and actually, most kids adore you, even toddlers you’ve just met climb into your arms like you’re family.

And twelve years ago, I held you in my arms for the first time and now I am thinking of today and this year and six years from now and how you’re not a baby, not even close, you’re right smack in the middle of this growing up thing and I think you’re turning out pretty okay, and I am so happy about that.

I have no idea what this year will bring – seventh grade, yes. More gymnastics, probably. I try to think back on what I was doing in seventh grade and I can’t remember much beyond a crush on New Kids on the Block (which is not altogether unlike your crush on One Direction). This is our last year before the teen years, and I always hope that you are not one of those girls who will end up hating her mother as I’ve been warned can happen. I think I’d be devastated if it did.

I am, as I am every year, excited to see what this year holds.

I wish I had something profound to say to you this year, but I am also trying to think of something profound to say to Future Six Years From Now You and I find that that causes me a great deal of feelings because I don’t want to think yet of that and what your future holds.

For now, though, you’re here and I’m glad and there will be no flying out of the nest today, only excessive amounts of pizza and mint cookie ice cream. We’ll sing happy birthday and you’ll blow out the candles and I’ll take lots of pictures of you, my beautiful daughter and I’ll wonder where the time went and how are you twelve and look how blessed I am to get to be your momma.

Happy birthday, kiddo. I love you with my whole heart, Princess. I’m so lucky to be your mom.

<3 Mom

Because Being a Mom is Freaking Hard, Y’all.

253 | 365

I woke up to a card with a lovely poem propped carefully on my nightstand and the scent of chocolate waffles cooking greeted me as I walked down the stairs and I shared an amazing breakfast with my daughters and then we went to buy flowers for my mom and then we came home and the day kinda eased back from “it’s MOM’S SPECIAL DAY!” to… “Sunday.”

Most of the time, I just do what has to be done because it needs to be done. I’ve had a fever every day for a week and yet, I’ve still kept on being a mom, I’ve kept on being an employee — and the only thing I’ve let fall through the cracks is myself.

So I guess I wanted it to be Mother’s Day a little longer. A little longer without having to fix a doorknob that was falling off, or soothe a tantrum because I couldn’t find the good sprinkler, or referee a silly fight.

It’s silly to admit that, I guess. It sounds ungrateful. And I don’t mean for it to.

I had lovely cards, and lovely waffles, and I know how very much they love me.

I think I just wanted a time out on the rest of the stuff. A time out from the work. A time out from demands. A day to just…be.

And for parents… that’s just rarely how things go.



Thursday Ten: Cough Cough Wheeze Edition

1. I haven’t written much – at all – lately but I have spent the past week, plus, feeling like I’ve been hit by a train. I had a doctor’s appointment last Thursday. Seeing as how I don’t have health insurance , so I wouldn’t have gone for a cough, but I had a physical planned and I had budgeted for it like you do when you have no health insurance. Since I was there already, I mentioned I was feeling really awful and sure enough, I had a fever and “Your lungs could use some antibiotics.” Well, I’m done with the antibiotics and though I’m fever free, I still feel like garbage, so… I’ve got that going for me.

2. What do you think the grace period for not posting spoilers on the internet is? A day, two days? A week? It’s a funny thing, seeing people get peeved about having things “spoiled” – and sometimes I think they’re well within reason. Other times I think, Jeez so people are all supposed to keep quiet about the outcome of a major sporting event in case you can’t watch it for another few hours? Get over yourself.

3. “Did you get an Under Armour headband in your Birchbox this month?” asked The Princess. Uh…no. Well, she said, her friend did. Why does it annoy me that there are eleven year olds getting Birchbox, the one thing I do for myself, my splurge, my treat? That there are kids who just get this stuff – even if it is only ten bucks a month – annoys me.

4. By the way? I’m very easily annoyed these days. Like…very.

5.  And as long as I’m good and annoyed. Know what else is annoying? JANUARY AND PEOPLE ON DIETS. Facebook is filled with people on ridiculous diets, and while I applaud efforts of health, I know that most of these people are following such rigid regimes that there’s no way they’ll stick to it. And when I see people already talking about returning to their old habits once their diet is “over,” I can’t help but wonder why they’ve bothered in the first place. You drove 20 miles out of your way to buy a $9 loaf of bread made out of bird seed, all the while talking about cheesecake? Why bother, then, with the cycle of deprivation in the first place if you’re already scheming to negate all your efforts? The only thing that truly works when it comes to weight maintenance, best I can tell, is if calories expended are greater than or equal to calories consumed. Yes, math. No meat, no bread, no dairy, bird seed bread, only food eaten while standing on your right foot and listening to an eight-track tape of someone yodeling… it doesn’t matter. If it’s not realistic, if it’s not manageable, it won’t stick. Unless it’s medically necessary, what the hell is it with people and extreme diets? Gah. Glad their enthusiasm dies down by February because if I have to look at another Facebook picture of someone’s diet-stocked refrigerator, I’ll throw my buttered bagel at my laptop.

6. Speaking of bagels (ooh, nice segue…), I took over Chris’s kitchen Saturday and made the homemade onion bagel from the latest issue of Food Network magazine. They were surprisingly easy but there’s a lot of waiting involved, dough rise time, predominantly. It felt like it took ALL FREAKING DAY. But? So good. Next time? Half will be asiago bagels. Half will be everything bagels. All will be delicious.
134 | 365

7. This week has kicked my butt. I’ve not been in a great place emotionally this week and I’m doing my best to dig out. Job hunting isn’t going well and I’m starting to feel like I might need to change course, and that’s…terrifying. I don’t know where to go from here or what I’ll end up doing, or even if it’s necessary, if somehow the course will right itself without me having to do anything differently. When you are in a career that approximately 590235% of the world is in, well, the odds aren’t exactly tipped in your favor if you’re trying to be impressive. I’m a little worn down right now. Hoping this fog lifts soon.

8. While we’re out of that whole polar vortex mess, it’s still freakin’ cold… and when I woke up to a cold house Monday morning, I was not a happy camper. My furnace has since been repaired – AGAIN – but dang. All of this makes me long for spring. That and my energy bill. Oof.

9. I caught myself the other day considering getting a puppy again someday. Shhh. Don’t tell my kids. By the way? Slap that idea out of my head.

10. This song has been stuck in my head for days. Love love love. So beautiful.

Thursday Ten: There Should Be No Negative Numbers In Weather Edition

1. So this polar vortex thing? Ooof. I’m glad the cold snap is finally breaking – with temperatures finally in the double digits and wind chills greater than zero (but still single digit so bite me winter, you’re still a cruel cruel monster) it is a vast improvement over the negative temps, -20° windchills we’d been experiencing. And the girls – set to return to school after a two week winter break – had snow day after snow day, making me wonder if they’d EVER go back. Temps too cold for salt to work on the roads so the roads were a mess. Just all around NO FUN. I’m not made for winter, I know I’m not.

2. After braving the cold temps and gross roads for work on Monday and Tuesday, I woke up yesterday after a night of very little sleep and excessive coughing and called in sick to work. Calling in sick to work is the worst. I have a super awesome phlegm-y cough, breathing feels funny, and I have a head full of snot – so, why do I feel bad about not sharing my germs with my colleagues? Weird.

3. So we tried the frozen bubble thing. I guess my big question is WHAT THE HECK DOES SHE MAKE HER BUBBLES OUT OF? For us, it went a lil something like this – I blow the bubble, catch it on the wand, hold it outside and shield it from the wind, hand the wand to a kid, grab my camera, try to shoot around kiddo’s hand shielding bubble to catch pic before the bubble pops. SIGH. Granted, this is subzero windchills and oh yeah, wind. So we’ll try again on a calmer day. Kind of cool to see things freeze, but totally different than the article.
130 | 365

4. My dog had a massive clogged oil gland on his back that he ended up scratching open so it became infected and smelly. Thaaaat’s fun. He’s on antibiotics now so here’s hoping I’m able to continue tricking him to eat big giant pills wrapped in lunch meat. Also? Dog pimples are high maintenance.

5. Chris and I watched Blackfish last week – and while I didn’t cry like a lot of people have said they did, it has made me question my acceptance of animals as entertainment. I love marine mammals – have been able to swim with the dolphins on more than one occasion and have seen several SeaWorld type whale shows. And yeah, I’ve always loved them. The documentary did make me reconsider my feelings about whether animals as entertainment is a practice I wish to support. I hate the circus – hate seeing how sad and worn out the animals look – why would the animals at a waterpark be different? They’re not, really.

6. I finished watching Parenthood on Netflix and now, as I promised myself, NOW is the time to read more books. Currently reading: Night Film: A Novel.

7. Like a lot of people, I’ve entered the new year wanting to focus more on my health. 2013 and its resulting stress wasn’t good for me – I gained a few pounds, I lost more than a few hours of sleep, and I’m sure the stress levels did a number on me. I’m really wanting to make an effort on eating more mindfully in the year ahead. We’ll see how it goes. Picked up a new issue of Cooking Light the other day and here’s hoping I come up with a few great recipes to try.

8. I’m sure you’ve all been awaiting the post where I tell you I’ve picked my word of the year. Hope you weren’t holding your breath! I wasn’t even really sure if I was going to pick one – 2012 was “Breathe” (so apt), 2013 was “Seek Joy” (I tried). But the year was a difficult one last year, and I wanted to just MOVE FORWARD in this new year. Dust off from the challenges 2013 threw my way. So… for 2014, I chose…phoenix. In Greek mythology, the phoenix rises from the ashes of its predecessor. Basically, the phoenix symbolizes renewal. Could I have chosen Rise? Renewal? Yeah. But I’m a weirdo.

9. I received a pasta maker for Christmas! I had taken a pasta making class before the holidays so my mom got me a pasta maker. In the class, pasta making seemed so incredibly easy, so I can’t wait to give it a whirl at home – 1/2 cup flour and an egg – that’s it. Seeing as how I desire to eat less GARBAGE, I love the idea of making things from scratch versus packaged food.

10. Still awaiting my nephew’s birth. ANY day now. My sister’s doc said that if the baby doesn’t make his debut in two weeks, they’ll induce. Sooo, I’ll be an aunt again in the next 14 days. Amazing. Can’t wait to meet him.

Day 27: Holiday Books for Children

Tonight as we sat at the dinner table, I was glancing at the flap of the book I was reading – you know, the part filled with praise and people saying great stuff about the books.

“It’s always good,” said Pumpkin.

“Well,” I responded, “you don’t sell very many books when you put bad things on their covers.”

“I wonder if they pay people to say good things about bad books,” was her reply.

Probably some do. But – I am not one of those who gets paid to talk about books. I get books in the mail and I’m happy for it because WE LOVE BOOKS – but the opinions are, of course, mine. I tend to avoid talking about the books we don’t enjoy but I don’t mind at all sharing with you the ones that we’ve loved.

This latest round of books are great for the approaching holiday season. The girls and I put up our Christmas tree tonight and I admit, I think I’m finally ready to find that Christmas spirit. Here are a few of the Christmas stories that we’ll be re-reading this season.

Twelve Days of Christmas Susan Jeffers

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Susan Jeffers

This story is a retelling of the classic “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, only it’s focused around a girl named Emma who finds a gift left for her by Santa and then imagines this great adventure where Santa saves the day. The illustrations are lovely – in fact, The Princess mentioned repeatedly how much she loved the art. I can never remember how the song goes so it’s kind of awesome to have a book as a cheat sheet.

Charlie the Ranch Dog

Charlie the Ranch Dog: Charlie’s Snow Day (I Can Read Book 1) based on the Charlie the Ranch Dog books by Ree Drummond

We’re kinda fans of The Pioneer Woman around here (well, her cookbooks and her recipes anyway… I hate to say it but the show leaves me kinda underwhelmed though I really love how she keeps her spices in mason jars), and that extends to Charlie the Ranch Dog. My youngest is a huge Charlie fan. Well, she’s a huge fan of most dogs – but when she saw this Charlie book in the mail, she may have squealed. This learning-to-read book is a bit young for my eight-year-old, but she loved the adventures of Charlie playing in the snow (and Charlie’s eventual longing for the warmth indoors).

Zoomer's Out of this world christmas

Zoomer’s Out-of-This-World Christmas Written and illustrated by Ned Young

Another dog book! When a space ship crash lands in Zoomer’s backyard, Zoomer and his brothers end up having a picnic with a family from outer space and sharing adventures before helping them mend their ship to send them on their way so they could get home in time for Santa’s arrival. A bright, funny story with lots of made-up words and creative and intriguing illustrations.

Biscuit's Christmas Storybook

Biscuit’s Christmas Storybook Collection

What? More dogs?! (Hey, we know what we like). This collection of Biscuit stories features nine stories – they’re short and easy to read so they’re ideal for your beginning reader. Both of my girls are far past the Biscuit stage of books – but your beginning reader will love them even though they’re not all Christmassy or even winter-y and some of them kind of seem like an odd selection for this Christmas storybook but odds are the only person in your home it will bother is you.

What are your favorite Christmas books for kiddos?

Day 20: Changing the Way I Think About Thinking

077 | 365

Yesterday, I lay awake in bed my brain churning for hours before my alarm was due to go off. I was worried about something and my brain turned it over and over again imagining every outcome – every possible outcome except what actually happened:


In all that stress and worry and hours of thinking, nothing happened, everything was fine, and I lost hours of sleep for nothing.

Prone to overanalysis anyway, I’ve always been the introspective sort to weigh my options, dissect things and events in my mind and take things down to the bare bones to evaluate – so while this isn’t a new thing, it’s something that’s actually really starting to annoy me.

It annoys me because I have real stuff to think about.

What’s real: job hunting, programming my thermostat so I don’t spend too much money heating the house when no one’s home, my stepfather’s recent surgery, securing childcare while my stepfather recovers from surgery, why my hip hurts every time I run.

What’s not real: the thought that somebody could yell at me about a thing that a rational person wouldn’t be mad enough to yell about. For example.

You see the ridiculousness.

And if I were to dissect that, I could see what that thought would upset me: I hate conflict. I’m a people pleaser. I try to not intentionally upset people. I work hard. Yelling is yucky. Do not like.

No wonder I wouldn’t want that.


What I need to do when the hamster wheel that is my brain starts turning is this:

What is the worst that could happen?

If that bad thing happened, what does that mean?

Will I care in a week, a month, a year?


Will it work? I don’t know but I do know that realistically, I can’t do anything about hypotheticals, really. I can only deal with reality. I am a creative person, and nearly every worst case scenario that my brain can create has been worse than reality (I’m that creative, y’all). I gotta start using my power for good instead of evil. Would be nice to start envisioning some happy plot lines, wouldn’t it?

If you’re an overthinker, how do you deal with it? Do you give in to the thoughts or are you able to channel your thinking in more positive ways? If you’re a recovered overthinker, how did you kick the habit?

Day 16: In Praise of Single Parents. Or, Just Me.

Every Friday morning, with very few exceptions, my daughters and I get up and venture out to a nearby grocery store for doughnuts and coffee. When I tuck in the girls on Thursday night, usually I’ll say “Hooray! Tomorrow is broccoli day!” and one of them will say, “NOOOOO! DOUGHNUT DAY!” and then when my alarm goes off Friday morning, I’ll gently shake each of them awake, “It’s doughnut day – get up, get dressed.”

Traditions, yo.

Doughnut day was born of a time several years ago when the Ex, before he was the Ex, had to go out of town for several weeks for training and I was left at home to care for the kids on my own. I spent a lot of time planning meals, I remember (peanut butter pancakes, for example, was better in theory and didn’t really win over the crowd as I’d hoped), a lot of time organizing so I could have it all together.

But then.

The girls wouldn’t sleep. They’d give me such drama at bedtime. I was so exhausted by the end of the day, I just wanted them to want to rest too. Right around that time, I ran into our family doctor in the grocery store. She was buying her son a doughnut for staying in his bed all night – and that’s when it hit me: If bribery is acceptable for the doctor, it’s acceptable for me.

And thus doughnut day was born. “If you go to bed at bedtime without fuss all week,” I told the girls, “on Friday morning, we’ll go out for doughnuts.”

And they did.

So we did.

And we’ve been doing it almost every Friday since.

Now that single parenthood is a way of life and not just a temporary situation, I’ve found that bribery makes a lot less sense. However, I’m not always sure what the right answer is. I am torn at times between why should I give you something for doing what I’ve asked of you and I’ll buy you a pony if you will just throw the damn empty Capri Sun pouch in the trash!

Though I’ve yet to buy any large animals, my method seems to be somewhere in the middle – and that some days are better than others.

Parenthood, as a rule, is just…tough. Even under the best of circumstances, you’re still faced with all of the stupid battles people make up to terrify you into thinking you’re ruining your children – breastfeed versus bottle, stay at home parenting versus working outside the home, organic versus the regular old stuff that’s cheaper. If you believe what you read, we’re faced with countless ways each day that we an really really irrevocably damage our kids (Oh, you let your kid watch an hour of Nick Jr while you were cleaning your kitchen? You might as well just say sayonara to all those brain cells you just helped kill).

When you’ve got a partner in the home, you have someone to share the blame responsibility with. Someone to help lighten the load. Someone to watch the kids while you scrub the counters so you don’t rely on Dora and her creepy backpack to keep Junior entertained. Someone to take over when you’ve had a rough day and need just five minutes to yourself to regroup.

When you’re on your own, you don’t have that. And so you juggle.

Even if the other parent is still in the picture – if you’re the one doing the heavy lifting in your home, solo, yeah, you’re a single parent.

Since I’ve been on my own with the kids I’ve…

  • only been to book club once. I don’t want to take them to a sitter so I can go sit at a restaurant for several hours on a school night to talk about a book I might not have had time to read anyway.
  • learned to workout later in the day – working around the kids’ schedule rather than my own.
  • gotten better at cooking. I’m the only one doing it, I hardly every get a break, and if I’m going to eat my cooking all the time, I’d like it to be good.
  • learned that my definition of good cooking differs from the kids’. Spend time cooking to be met with a turned up nose? Way harsh, kids.
  • been the one to get up with the kids when they have bad dreams or comfort them when they can’t fall asleep. The 3:30 a.m. wake up call from Pumpkin the other night after she had a bad dream left me bleary eyed for most of the next day… her too. But, we’re in it together.
  • taken the brunt of their frustration for…well… everything. What’s more fun than an overtired child? Well, pretty much everything. As I said to a friend the other day, talking to a sleep deprived child sometimes is akin to negotiating with terrorists – treading lightly to avoid setting her off. Having no one else to pass that off to means that I’ve…
  • had to get better at counting to ten and keeping calm. Child upset about not being able to attend a party because another event is scheduled at the same time? Sure, tantrums are no fun to listen to, but, if I stop and listen – I know why she’s upset. It’s valid. I’d be upset too. By not reacting in kind, by keeping calm, we can navigate out of the funk a bit faster
  • gotten better at reading my children
  • had a lot of fun being ridiculous with my children – singing and dancing around the living room at the top of our lungs? YES PLEASE.
  • learned to choose my battles – not everything is a big deal
  • had to find ways to keep ourselves entertained without breaking the bank
  • tried to always keep my kiddos in the forefront of my thoughts when making decisions, particularly those that might affect them

I can’t speak for everyone, or for everyone’s experience – but I have noticed that I get down on myself quite a lot – arguments with the girls can leave me mopey. My overtired child told me the other day, “NOTHING YOU DO IS IMPORTANT!” and I felt gutted and cried because I’m trying so hard, working so hard and they don’t see it.

So for those of you who might need to hear it: You’re doing hard work. You’re doing a good job. What you’re doing is important. You’re doing the best you can with what you have. You can ask for help if you need it (and I’ll listen if you need to vent). They tell me the tough times get easier and they’re already getting easier than they were so I imagine maybe, just maybe, they’ll keep getting easier. Television won’t break your children. And neither will a doughnut a week. Don’t take it personally if your kids don’t see the value in what you’re doing  – but know that they will realize some day how much you care, how much you love them, and maybe they’ll realize your struggle and maybe they won’t. You’re raising good people. Being a single parent doesn’t mean that your kids are gonna be broken relationship-phobic hooligans (Y’all, I just really wanted to say “hooligans”).

The day-to-day stuff falls on my shoulders and sometimes I get tired. Years ago, necessity made me create a new doughnut day tradition, these days necessity has taught me more useful things.

We’ll all be okay.

Now hand me the remote and pass the doughnuts.




Day 15: Getting Things Done

When I was working full time, I would come home exhausted, throw together a meal at the end of the day, half-heartedly shove the dishes in the dishwasher when the meal was done, and just barely do enough to keep the wheels turning because HELLO? EXHAUSTED.

I kind of have no excuse for that now.

And though I have a tendency to do the things I need to do, mostly because I can’t stand to be surrounded by chaos, I find myself making massive to-do lists for myself every Wednesday evening – things that I should do over the next four days.

Things like the furnace repair appointment and doing laundry and putting the clothes away and scrubbing the bathtub, helping the kids pack for their weekend at their dad’s, pay the house payment, write a blog post (…check!), return library books, etc etc etc.

Some weeks, my list is so long, I have to turn the paper over.

I find myself moving from task to task and never truly relaxing, and then feeling exhausted come Sunday.

Idle time makes me nervous. It serves me well to keep moving, to get things done.

This morning I vacuumed the crumbs out from between the planks on the dining table and then polished it. The sun streaming through the window shined off my table in a way that brought a smile to my face.


I like results.

So much of what I do in my life has no immediate results. My lists give me results. I write it down, I do it, I cross it off. BOOM.

I’ve been a list person all my life. I like lists. I like accomplishments. (And I LOVE how clean my living spaces are RIGHT THIS MINUTE).