Monday, October 31, 2011

Sometimes...

Sometimes I feel like a failure as a mom.

Someone held a mirror up to my parenting style recently, and I was aghast. Like - seriously blown away. I like to pretend that I'm super-savvy mom with everything figured out, but after a glimpse at where I had apparently failed, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. And like a complete failure.

I have done some serious retrospection and introspection since that moment, and I've come to a conclusion: I'm not perfect. I mean...I already knew that, but while I was busy beating myself up (like...Rocky style), it re-occurred to me that I am a big blob of not-good-enough. I'm going to mess up (a lot), Sometimes Sadie's dinner is less-than-balanced (pizza anyone?), sometimes I laugh when she pouts, sometimes I get impatient, sometimes I get judgmental and forget that I need to pull the plank out of my own eye before worrying with the splinters in the eyes of others.

But in spite of my shortcomings... My child knows that she's loved. She has food. She has shelter. She has kisses and hugs. She has bedtime stories EVERY night. She has snuggles EVERY morning. She has a routine. She knows what it means to serve others. She knows how to pray. She genuinely cares about her friends and her family. She says "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am," and "yes sir" and "no sir," and "please" and "thank you," and a myriad of other niceties. She doesn't whine. She doesn't beg for "things." She has seriously thoughtful conversations (you know...for a four year old). She is being entrenched in the values of our family. Someone had to instill that stuff in her, right? Right?!

So, in honor of every mother who has ever felt like the "worst mother in the world," here's a little note of encouragement: When you look in the mirror and don't like what you see (especially when someone else has put that mirror in front of you), remember that there is a little person who thinks the sun rises and sets in your eyes. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom 8:37). You have every tool in the tool kit to be the best possible mother for your child - you were hand selected for your kiddo(s) because you were the *perfect* mother for them. Don't be discouraged...take heart. Remember the things you've done correctly. Parenting is mostly guesswork. If you guess right 51% of the time, you're ahead of the curve. Pat yourself on the back for the good times, and plow through the bad ones. All of the scouring that your spirit goes through during those times will make it GLEAM when you come out on the other side.

I'm cheering for you...and for me.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Draw a Stick Man

You've gotta try this. Sadie and I entertained ourselves twice with drawastickman.com.

Here was our "Daddy" stickman:
He just fought a dragon.

You can make your own fighting stick dude here.

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Trunk-or-Treat

Let me tell you a sad little Halloween story:
On October 31, 2010, our family went Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood near our apartments. Most people's porch lights were off, and/or they didn't answer the door when we knocked. We did manage to get candy at TWO houses though (amazing, right?). At the second house, we were greeted by a sweet elderly gentleman who was excited to see Sadie all dressed up and brought out a candy dish for her. His (not-so-sweet) wife then came to the door and asked us, "where are you all from?" to which we replied, "Oh, we live over there - across the road." She then sneered, "in those apartments?" We confirmed that we are, in fact, apartment dwellers. She then said, (get ready for it): "Don't THEY do something for you over there?"

{crickets}

Since when is it ok to be a snob on Halloween? I was devastated at a crappy Halloween experience (even though I thoroughly despise the holiday, I'm trying to give my child a normal Halloween experience so that she doesn't enter some sort of druidic rebellion as a teenager). We got candy at two houses, and were shunned at one of them.

Fast forward to 2011 (and a happier little Halloween story):
Refusing to allow Halloween to get the best of us this year, I contacted our township to see if they would allow me to host a "Trunk-or-Treat." "Trunk-or-huh?" was the general response I received. Apparently, Trunk-or-Treat is a southern thing. Who knew? Since I'm southern (did you know that?) I decided it was time to build a case for Trunk-or-Treating in the lovely Northeast. In case you're still confused, Trunk-or-Treat is an event held in a parking lot where people pull their cars into the lot with their trunks facing the aisle-way or walkway. You open your trunk, decorate it (sometimes awesomely), and divvy out candy from the trunk (instead of from your house). Kids go trunk to trunk instead of house to house. Sound weird? Here's why it's awesome:
  • Guaranteed Candy
  • No "blackouts" (everyone who is there wants to participate, so you don't have to worry about someone's porch light being off)
  • Safe, controlled environment
  • Kids get to see all of their friends in costumes
  • There is a contained period of time during which the event takes place (so when it's over, it's over)
  • Much shorter walking distance for much greater treat return.
How can you not be an advocate for this?

So the township was on board and decided that Trunk-or-Treat would work for them, but after I finished filling out the paperwork, I wondered if our church was doing anything. Long story short(ish), they weren't, so we decided to do it there instead. Because as much as I love my township, I love my church a bazillion times more. (Sorry, townsfolk!)

In true church fashion, they did it up with hot dogs, music, and a (loose) contingency plan. Even the snow couldn't keep us down (for more than 24 hours anyway).

I got zero pictures of the trunks, but here is a photo of most of the people who dressed up:

People got SERIOUS about their trunks. They were amazing! We had a "ladybug" VW Beetle - way cool. There was also an awesome Candyland themed trunk, a Pirate Ship, a Bob the Builder trunk, a "Camping" trunk, a jungle trunk, and lots of others. I was super impressed. The gauntlet has been thrown for 2012.

If any trunk photos get posted and/or emailed around, I'll update this post because I feel like a dork for not having any on here.

I *did* get pictures of my two favorite girls inside of OUR "80's cartoons" trunk:




They were so silly - they just wanted to hang out in the trunk!

Trunk-or-Treat is the way to go, dude. We had a blast!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sadie and Madison

Sadie got to spend some time with her BFF Madison last night, and I FORGOT MY CAMERA! I got a couple of shots with my phone, so I'll put them on here...sorry for the crappy quality!

You know what "giddy" means, right? I hate to break it to you, but you've never seen "giddy" until you've seen Sadie and Madison in a room together.

Here they are petting a bunny at Madison's preschool:

I'm not sure how to explain the outfits...I mean, other than "awesome."

Here are some pics of Sadie and Madison over the last 2 years:

I have a feeling these girls are going to be best buds for a long time. Please remind me not to forget my camera next time.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Errant Thought Roundup 45

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love watching movies with Eric on "school nights."
I love seeing my baby girl at the end of a long day (or any time, really).
I hate how impatient I get with God.
I hate washing my hair. And shaving my legs. Hygiene is such a time eater...
I like girls' night out.
I wish I understood sometimes. And sometimes I'm glad I don't.
For goodness sake...never say never...you'll be proven wrong more often than not.
I hope I make the right decision.
I hope my husband doesn't mind that I tell him the same stories over and over. I've lost my mind.
I pray that I never get what I deserve. So should you - that would be AWFUL.
I pray for a sweet friend...she may be coming out on the other side of an uphill struggle. Woohoo!
I will try to leave work at work this weekend.
I won't enjoy snow this weekend. Really? In October?
And for today...you haven't lived until you've let your husband give you an injection.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Airbrushing at its Finest

Once upon a time, a Groupon showed up in my inbox. A Groupon for a huge percentage off of a pinup shoot. I've thought in the past that cheesecake photography could be fun, so when the opportunity arose, I snatched up the Groupon almost without thinking.

Alas, since I had already paid for it, I was obligated to use the coupon. I made the appointment - awkwardly. I went to the studio and picked out clothes - awkwardly. Then I had my hair fixed - awkwardly. Then I had my faux eyelashes expertly applied...but it felt totally awkward. Then I put on cheesecake clothing - awkwardly (and with lots of assistance from the only person in a 600 mile radius that I would trust to snap me into these things). And then I trapped myself in a room with a woman I didn't know who was telling me to "show some teeth" and "stick [my] chin out" and "relax [my] forehead."

And before I knew it, I had experienced the most awkward thing I've ever done. I felt old and weird. Today, I got the results in my inbox. I would just like to say that this photographer is a photo editing software MAGICIAN. All of the photos I took are PG-rated (or PG-13 at the very most...but that might be pushing it). Despite that, I've cropped up some of my favorites to make them G-rated so that you can see that with a little help from airbrushing and good lighting, you too can look absolutely nothing like yourself for two hours:




Feeling old and weird and awkward? You should totally do this...

Voice of experience: The upside down shots are the most flattering (which is why 99% of mine are upside down). Go for it, girlfriend.



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Friday, October 21, 2011

30 Before 30 - Animal Farm

28 down, 2 to go. T. W. O. Y'all...I'm 'bout to do this.

Apologies that this stack looks tilted...I think I took the picture crooked. Oops.
I'm pretty proud of that crooked stack, ya know...

Animal Farm was actually a lot easier to stomach than 1984 (both by Orwell). I don't know if you'll recall, but 1984 made me want to nosedive into the Grand Canyon. Orwell really liked to talk politics, apparently. The book was about a bunch of barnyard animals who decide to overthrow their farmer in a "revolution." They succeed, and come up with some basic tenets of "Animalism" that all of the animals are supposed to adhere to. The farm is renamed "Animal Farm," and the animals set out to self regulate. The goal of the farm after the revolution is for every animal to do his fair share of the work so that they can all live with plenty of food and comfort. Perfect socialism. Egalitarian Utopia. The smartest of the animals (the pigs) become corrupt and tyrannical. The corruption of the pigs leads to persecution of the lesser animals. The pigs decide that they are above the tenets of animalism, so they do whatever they want (even though no one else is allowed to). They live in luxury (while the other animals are nearly starving), they sleep in beds, they drink alcohol, they consort with humans...basically everything they made rules against at the onset of the revolution. The entire book basically shakes down to one quote: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." In the end, the lesser animals on the farm watch the pigs break out into an argument with some humans and they begin to realize that they can't tell the difference between the pigs and the men. Whoa.

Moral of the story? This quote from Orwell himself pretty much says it all: "...Totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries."

That is so important and so perpetually relevant that it bears repeating. So you're going to have to read it again: "...Totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries."

In other words, as long as you are surrounded by enough people saying (convincingly) that black is white and white is black, you'll start believing them. and then you'll forget that gray exists. Be careful, people.

It's a good book and a fast read. It's not too gut-wrenching (though there are some tough moments), but it will definitely rattle your perspective a little.

Next Book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Errant Thought Roundup 44

I wasn't going to write an ETR tonight, but when I told Eric, he said, "What?!? It's THURSDAY! You have to write an Errant Thought Roundup. It's just like Sundays when you really don't want to go to church and those services end up being the best."

So there you have it - who can argue with logic like that? This'll probably be the best ETR ever because I want to write it the LEAST that I've ever wanted to write one.

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love that Sadie's Jem Costume Tutorial was featured here!
I love that I got to spend time with two precious friends tonight. How fortunate I am to have met so many amazing women in my life.
I hate it when I'm disorganized. It's so annoying to hear people being resigned to my disorganization. "It's no problem...I knew you'd forget." How awful.
I hate that I tell the same stories over and over again. Eric knows every story of my entire life. Seventeen times.
I like making things beautiful. And making beautiful things.
I wish people weren't bullies. I just watched an adult get bullied for 8 months, but it was done under the guise of performance improvement. How very sad that this happens...and how very sad that it happens after the age of 13. Shame on those people.
For goodness sake, I know I was made for something better than this world. My heart aches for "something better," so according to C.S. Lewis, that must inevitably mean that I was created for more than this world can offer. I agree.
I hope that I remember to never put people on a pedestal. Despite their best intentions, people will disappoint us. They will act out of character, they will use bad judgment, they will hurt our feelings...people are faulty. Keep them on the ground where they belong.
I hope that one day soon, I can take four hours, sit on a park bench, and not talk to anyone. I just want to meditate. I've been wanting to do it for a while, but four hours is a long time to be silent. It'll be like a "fast" from talking.
I pray that cancer never infiltrates our family (again). It's scary and horrible. I wish it could be eradicated permanently.
I pray for a family who just lost their 14 month old daughter to SIDS. I can't imagine waking up without my daughter in this world...I can't even think about it.
I will remember that bad things happen to good people because our world is broken. God doesn't exist to shield us from bad things, but He will comfort us when bad things happen...and bad things are inevitable...they're going to happen. If bad things didn't happen, how could we really appreciate the good things?
I won't get into any more redneck fights on facebook. What a nightmare.
And for today...be awesome.


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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Mama Visits Philly :)

Mom came to visit us this weekend! It was a four day trip, but it was still too short. She got the whirlwind tour of Philly, though. :) Here are some highlights from our visit...

Carriage Ride:


We definitely did the "tourist" thing and took an hour long carriage ride through Old City. I tried to convince mom that it was a tourist thing and that I could show her everything that the carriage ride would show her (for free!), but she insisted. In hind sight, our driver knew WAY more about the city than I could ever hope to know! SO glad we did it!

Sadie petting "Teddy," our horse:

Sadie and Teddy:

Sadie took this pic:

Liberty Bell:

US Mint (We went in and watched money being made!)


Somehow we managed to have time to go to Old Navy:

Quarter Carousel:


Mom and Eric (Sadie took this pic too):


The fam:

Mom and Sadie at the airport this morning (before the tears):
Two of the most beautiful ladies I know...

Wish it would have lasted longer...hopefully we'll be able to go to NC for Christmas. It's tough living 9 hours away from your mom...1-2 hours away would be pretty much perfection, actually.

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Be Good, Be Kind, Be True...

Something extraordinary happened this weekend...my kid said the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn't even know she knew it!! My heart is a puddle...I'm so proud!



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