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Vintage Dreams With A Modern Twist

The New Bucket List

I just turned 29-years-old and I find myself stuck. I am a paradox. I am too young to be old, but too old to be young. I am mature, but I am so absolutely immature. Some people celebrate birthdays with drinks and cakes, I have taken to using the day for reflecting on myself as a woman, a wife and a mother.

At some point in my youthful college days I sat down with a notebook and pen and thought up as many plans for myself that I could think of at that moment. I made a bucket list. I kept it hanging on my wall proudly and would mark them off when I accomplished them. If it was something large ticked off the list then I allowed myself to celebrate.

As I carefully glided through the years of early 20s, I continued to add items while I marked them off as well. I had the big ones on there that so many people dream of: get a new car, fall in love and be married, become a mother. Then I had ones on there like ‘learn how to pronounce Kids Cusine.’ For some reason I say Quids Casene. I still cannot knock that fucker off the list. It is impossible for me. Maybe someday.

Today I sit here, and think about what happened during my 28th year of life and what I can take away as a win, a loss, and a lesson. I knocked one big one off of my list by having a piece I wrote become published. As amazing and as exciting as that is, it was no longer a part of the bucket list. The new bucket list I made when I became a mother.

Things included in my Motherhood Bucket List were: go on a picnic, go to the aquarium, watch a meteor shower, change a life, pass on as much compassion and love as I can. My bucket list is a melting pot of tangible ideas and memories and then things that you could never really gauge if it is completed or not. It is the hopes and dreams I have for myself and I have for my child.

I want to teach him the alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers and things like that that all parents want their children to know. But I also want my son to be compassionate and inviting. I want him to know that while there is stranger danger, that there is beauty with talking to people you meet in line at the store.

Just last week we met an older couple who were probably in their eighties. They were total sweethearts. It all started because the man resembled my Poppy. My son, thinking it was his grandfather, reached over and grabbed his hand to hold it before I could say anything. You should have seen the look in the man’s eyes with how happy he was. My son refused to let go and the man laughed and held my sons tiny hand. I found out that they recently, just this past month, became grandparents for the first time but their grandson lived on the other side of the country so they didn’t get to meet him yet. It was two grandparents aching to meet the baby they loved and spoiled and couldn’t hold yet, and then my little guys thinking the man was his Poppy that led to an older couple becoming so happy. They said the interaction made their day.

Those are the small things I want to teach him. That while some people are horrible, there are people out there in the world filled with kindness. There are people out there who might need an interaction like that. A polite compliment at the store to anyone could change their entire day.

That interaction will have been knocked off my list. We impacted someone’s life positively even if for only a moment, and it was a wonderful feeling that I hope I can do more often.

You see, with bucket lists it’s mainly about your wants and dreams and desires. With a Motherhood Bucket List you factor in a variable of others into it. So as I throw 28 one final kiss, I reflect on my life, my family and my newly rewired list. I will add to it, and mark things off. I will find things that happened that I never would have thought to put on there and I will add them in hopes of recapturing the event again.

I encourage anyone reading this to make a bucket list. It can be a list for just you, or it could be a list for motherhood. Maybe your parents always promised to take you to see a little museum that’s off the beaten path and you never made it there. Take your children. Bring your unfulfilled hopes from childhood and share them. Seven-year-old me wanted nothing more than to go to a park that had animatronics dinosaurs. We didn’t make it there and now I’m 29.

I am taking my son this summer and I can’t tell you if he will have more fun or if I will. The one thing I do know is that the memories from the trip will last a long time, and if at the end of the day every item doesn’t get checked off my bucket list, I’ll look back to the ones that did and remember how much fun we had together, or how much we changed someone’s life even if it was just for a day.

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Woven Memories

I love holidays. I love the decorations, the traditions, the one time a year activities like pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms, and I love (x one million) the leftovers; but my favorite part of every holiday is spending time with my family. (Side note: speaking of leftovers, I’m sitting here eating the pumpkin upside down cake that my mom made. It is coated with a hearty serving of whipped cream, and I can sit behind my computer screen and eat the pile of whipped cream shame free.)

I have mentioned in some of my other posts that I have a large, close family both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. Both sides get along so well, and I could not find words to describe how it makes me feel when I am at a family party and see my four grandparents sitting and laughing together. I know that I am lucky to be a stone’s throw away from 30 and have my grandparents, and that my son gets to spend time with his great grandparents.

As you can imagine, over the span of 30 years the amount of traditions have grown, but they have also changed. We have our Polish traditions that we stick to on Wiglia (Christmas Eve) like waiting for the first star to come out before we eat, or my grandmother passing around the oplotki (host) and each person breaks off a piece of the blessed host as she kisses our cheeks and prays we have a healthy and happy life. In that moment it makes you feel like you have the world at your fingertips and that everything will work out.

After dinner someone, usually my 85-year-old grandfather who has more energy and enthusiasm than the children, will ring a bell and announce that Santa had brought presents. The children barrel down the steps to see the family room filled with presents. They never see us sneaking them in to set up, and it helps keep the Christmas spirit and magic alive.

When it comes to my father’s side we have our Christmas dinner with delicious homemade spaghetti and meatballs. The night ends with all of us opening up the stockings that my Grandma handmade for us when we were born. Those stockings are like Golden Tickets from Willy Wonka: they are rare and not just handed out to everyone. In order to have a handmade stocking, complete with your name and birth year stitched on it, you either have to be a family member or marry into the family. It is a pretty good incentive to get married- these stockings are coveted!

The stockings always have oranges in them and kumquats, which are essentially miniature oranges. Every year they end up being thrown around the room. One year my brother overshot his throw and pelted me in the chest with an orange. I said we have a long list of traditions, I didn’t say we were mature about them all.

I was fortunate enough today to have an Easter lunch with my grandparents at my cousin’s house on my mom’s side, followed by a visit to my grandparents on my dad’s side. That is a lot of love to pack into one day. There were so many times that several of us laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes.

We snuck in conversations with each other on the sly to check in and make sure everyone is doing okay. I have been struggling lately with several medical conditions along with my usual anxiety and depression, and the fact that people take time to genuinely check in on me made my heart soar and it was desperately needed.

With leftovers packed (I scored tons of stuffing!) we headed to visit my father’s parents. My grandfather brought out a container of tinker toys and blocks for my son to play with while we visited. They were the same toys that I used to play with when I was young. While B. played with the toys my grandmother helped me bandage up a burn on my arm that was the result of a cooking accident. As she lovingly helped me with the band aid I laughed and pointed out that decades might have passed, but I am still that same little girl running to her to help with scrapes and bruises.

My grandfather is brilliant and can fix anything. He is sharp as a tack and also has a green thumb that could rival a botanical garden. Somewhere in our shoebox of photos I have a photo of me as a toddler standing in front of his flowers, little me being engulfed by these vibrant, gorgeous petals. My favorites were always the sunflower, and they are still my favorite flowers. He is the one responsible for the jars of sealed tomatoes that make our pasta sauce for Christmas. Personally, I think his dill pickles are the best items that he cans, but he makes a variety of different foods, so everyone’s choice varies. (Hey, Grandpa, since you read this blog, now is the time to set aside a jar of dill pickles for me, please and thank you!)

My grandmother is absolutely brilliant and incredibly talented when it comes to making quilts and afghans- among her man other talents. I’m currently snuggled under one as I write this. She made several large quilts over the years and stored them away. Once my cousins and I started getting married she had us come over and pick out what quilt we wanted to start off our married life. My husband and I chose a gorgeous one with fall colors that is aptly titled “Double Wedding Ring,”

Today she showed us her latest masterpiece, which is essentially looks like a round starburst and it is made out of different ties. It is different and looks so cool. I honestly cannot wait to see the finished project. I told her she was making Pinterest cool items before Pinterest was even around.

As we walked back to the living room after looking at the tie quilt I noticed that the quilt that usually hung on the wall had been swapped out for the one that I have pictured in this article. My jaw dropped and I stopped dead in my tracks to tell her how insanely gorgeous I found the hanging quilt. It wasn’t just the color scheme that caught my eye or the amount of precise lines sewn into the fabric. What I loved was the vintage feeling behind it, and you know I am a sucker for vintage items.

I told Grandma that out of all of the pieces I have ever seen of hers, this one was my favorite. She went on to tell me the story behind the fabrics, and I was blown away. She pointed out little details that told a story. The one piece of fabric on the bottom, middle square came from her mother’s old petticoat. On the top, right square the intricately beaded bow was an embellishment on a shoe. The buttons in the small, red square that is right above the middle square are buttons that came from a collection of buttons that have been collected over years. The right side, middle square was a vintage handmade, hand painted hanky, which has a border of intricate weaving.

Every stitch of the quilt told a story. It contained so much of my family’s history between items from my great grandmother, to the amount of effort my grandmother put in to complete the project. The quilt that had caught my eye to begin with went to the next level when I was told the backstories of the pieces.

I was sitting in bed with my mind racing, trying to sleep but failing, so I sat down to write this article. I’m sure one of the 12 people that read this post will probably think, ‘who the hell cares about your family traditions,’ but my intention with this was not to just write down my memories, or give a glimpse into my life; my hope with this piece is to make you stop and think about the little things in life that make up the bigger picture. A simple quilt was transformed into a beautiful time capsule of a piece that includes so many parts of people that I love with my entire heart.

I encourage everyone to start traditions with your family. I don’t just mean holiday traditions, even though they rock. Maybe your family tradition can be getting take-out on friday night, sitting on the couch, and watching a movie together. Or throwing a pizza in the oven one night a month and coming together to play board games.

Every single day is another stitch added to the quilt that is your life. Make your quilt unique and full of love. Remember that stitches can come undone, a seam can pucker no matter how hard you try to flatten it or how many times you redo it, but that is the beauty of a byproduct of you, your life, and your personality; there is beauty in the flaws, but those small parts added together can make for one hell of a showstopping piece.Woven Memories Blog

The End of an Era

It is the end of an era; and with the end has come two very distinct facts: I am old and I am overly attached to inanimate objects.
My 30th birthday is only a month and a half away and as that mile marker looms I can’t help but reflect on my past and my present (as the super hero Worst Case Scenario Girl I try to not think about the future because I will invent nothing but issues and worry for myself.) In my senior year of college I sat down and wrote a list of what I wanted to accomplish, a bucket list of sorts. It had a variety of items on it with varying degrees of seriousness anywhere from having a child to owning a book case that’s filled. I can’t find the list but I remember the important ones that held the most weight. I accomplished them, yet somehow I still feel like something is not complete.
30-years-old seems to be ancient to a child, but is considered a baby to an octogenarian. There are days where I feel like I have peaked and then there are days where I think, God willing, I still have so many years left in life to accomplish a new list, one that has more mature hurdles than my last one.
Tonight I will write that new list, but this piece will be my last piece that I will write on this laptop. The laptop I bought myself after I obtained my BA and went into the world wide-eyed and ready to take on life. As a journalist I wrote countless articles on this laptop, some of which led me to win first place in my state for investigative reporting. I have spent countless hours punching these keys to write books that no one will ever read because they are more of a diary than a book; a main character having identical issues that I was struggling with but didn’t know how to handle in real life. When I write it is an escape. I couldn’t handle the stress and pressures of certain events, but Shya in a book was a force to be reckoned with and she had the confidence to tackle whatever was whipped her way.
I have cried on these keys as I spent sleepless nights praying for my anxiety to ease up, and finding solace in the sound of the keys tapping. My space bar has a worn out spot, there are scratches and marks on the cover, and the ALT key on the left side sticks. A fully charged battery only lasts twenty minutes before my computer starts yelling at me to feed it more power. I feel you battery, I get tired after doing anything for 20 minutes, too.
The technology and options today with computers, laptops, and tablets are insane. My niece has one that is a detachable tablet and it folds three different ways depending upon what task she has to accomplish. When I realized this laptop was reaching its end I started to look for a new one and went to our local, big-chain electronics store. The salesman that helped me asked what I was looking for. Touch screen? Detachable? Battery life of 30,000 hours?
I just want to write, I told him.
He showed me one that is great for writing because you can drop and drag sections and this and that and all kinds of fancy movements. No. I want to write, with a real keyboard, and I need Internet. That’s it. This is karma, really, because I made fun of my mom when she was looking for a cell phone and she said all she wanted was to be able to take and receive calls. She doesn’t use the Internet on her phone, I just taught her about GIFs, but I understand it now.
I have seen commercials for some of the touch screen laptops and how people in certain job fields use them and it makes sense, but not for me. I finally found a simple one that I was instantly drawn to as I passed by the laptops in Target. As we walked past electronics I stopped and turned to see a plain, white laptop. No touch screen. No small keyboard. No bells or whistles. It was simply perfect and it felt like it was calling to me, begging for me to take it home and make new memories on it, just like I did with this one.
I guess it’s out with the old and in with the new, except now it’s out with the 20s and in with the 30s while I stubbornly refuse to accept new technology.
Maybe I will write a best seller on the new laptop. Maybe it will just be home to dozens of documents that will never see the light of day, but will forever hold relics of my years through stories that paralleled my life. Either way, I’m slamming forward with new starts, a new laptop, a new age bracket, and the same amount of love and passion for writing that I have had since I was a child.
I hope you all stick around to see what my thirties hold. I can’t guarantee it will be pretty, but I’m quite sure with a toddler there will be enough hilarious and gross stories to keep you laughing; if you don’t feel like laughing, ask your computer. I’m pretty sure they convey emotions now when asked verbally. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Antiquated Adages with a Modern Spin

Everything changes with time; our bodies, rules and regulations, music, style, even our language has changed and adapted with trends. If you read classic literature like Shakespeare it is a completely different style of how we speak now. Text speak is becoming increasingly popular, students have spell check to help correct anything they spell, wrong the comment section on articles is becoming a free-for-all with their/they’re/there and then/than falling as casualties, amongst others. Sometimes I feel like I am in the minority of people who make a conscious effort to use who and whom correctly, and I find myself silently correcting everyone but I never verbalize the correction because I am not one of those people.

I was thinking about sayings today and how every saying started somewhere, but, despite the fact I use them, I had no idea of their origin. When something goes amiss people say, “Well that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” I can understand why, but where did it start? Why did that phrase catch on to be passed on to generations of people and furthermore, why aren’t any of my phrases popular yet? I am going to toss out a few suggestions and tweaks for popular sayings. Pass my words around the world, let’s update old phrases to be up-to-date and reflect on our society.

Vintage Dreams With A Modern TwistOld phrase: That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

New phrase: That’s the way the gluten-free cake-pop from Starbucks crumbles.

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Old phrase: It’s raining cats and dogs!

New phrase: it’s raining so hard let’s start a benefit to make sure cats and dogs have adequate shelter.

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Old phrase: A penny saved is a penny earned.

New phrase: Every penny spent using my Starbuck’s rewards card is another point that I earned towards a free drink.

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Old phrase: Loose lips sink ships.

New Phrase: Your Frenemy will share your Facebook status.

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Old phrase: If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?

New Phrase: If you post a Facebook status but no one likes it, do you still exist?

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Old phrase: An apple a day keeps the doctors away.

New phrase: An all organic diet keeps the doctors away.

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Old phrase: As busy as a bee

New phrase: As busy as a barista at the hipster coffee shoppe around the corner where people can come to play their original music.

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Old phrase: Be so happy that when people look at you, they become happy too.

New Phrase: Be so happy that when people see you they will ask what vitamins and makeup you use to look so ravishing. It is the perfect time to also pitch that you can sell them everything they need and they can also becomes a seller, too! You can make up to millions!

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Old phrase: Don’t cry over spilt milk.

New Phrase: I am not changing this one. Plenty of strong, kick-ass women have cried over milk. The milk they took time to pump and save. The milk their children will drink, or husband, because this is a safe spot and we don’t judge here.

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Old phrase: If the shoe fits, wear it.

New phrase: If the over-priced –sucks-your-stomach-fat-in leggings fit, tell your friends about them in a private group.

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Old phrase: A watched pot never boils.

New phrase: A watched buffering circle on Netflix will never load.

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Old phrase: Burn the midnight oil.

New phrase: Get your order submitted before the online coupon expires at midnight.

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Old phrase: Dance like no one is watching.

New phrase: Try this new dance craze, everyone will be watching.

 

Unicorn In The Wild

Vintage Dreams With A Modern Twist

If you have spent time on any parenting or mom sites or forums/ boards you have heard about women like me. We are not common. We are a rarity, especially lately, it seems. We are all most unheard of and our numbers are dwindling rapidly.

I am a unicorn. I am the one who, for the vast majority of the time, tries to keep the peace. I seek and find a positive trait about everyone. I like people. I do. I can be found commenting nice things on posts. I try to help everyone with anything that I can. My friends come to me with issues because I tiptoe around words and delicately phrase things so they land softly when told. I know a lot of people, and I am friends with several of them, that believe in being blunt when speaking even if it is harsh.

There are ways to say things nicely but still get your point across and I believe that it is a waning art form. Everyone speaks their mind with no regard for the impact that it can leave on others, whether it is real life or on a site that is designed for support but somehow forms cliques that could rival The Plastics. Some situations will always need brutal honesty, but it seems to be more frequently than not that things are handled with no regard towards the person receiving the message.

If someone doesn’t look good in a bathing suit there are ways to say it that won’t destroy that persons day or image of themselves. As unfortunate as it is, people tend to remember negative words more than positive ones. You can be told you are pretty a thousand times but the one time you are told you are ugly will be remembered. Replace pretty with any situation. If a mom is told over and over again that she is an amazing mother but encounters someone who says that she is a terrible mother, than that will always stick out. I know some people can push things like that aside but I never could.

I never wanted to be responsible for making someone feel bad. I know how that feels. I know what being bullied is like and how on my worst days I think that everyone that said I wasn’t good enough was probably right.

Mommy wars are at an all time high. No one will agree on anything ever. It doesn’t matter how you feel or how long you fight or how poignantly written your words are. It doesn’t matter if you have heaps of scientific studies. There will always be a natural divide. There will always be the people in the comment section picking things apart viciously, just like there will be the person who finds something beautiful about the exact same thing.

So let’s start building each other up again. Let’s remember that even though each of us is different, we are all trying to make it through this parenting thing together; and let’s face it, parenting can be a war zone some days. On the days where kisses and giggles turn into RPG (rank poop gas) and IED s(“I Eat Dirt?”) and you feel this  close to crying, remember that you aren’t in it alone. We will pick you up.

I know that I sound like the girl in Mean Girls who says, “I wish we could all get along like we used to in Middle School. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy “

You would be right (slides a pretend piece of cake to you.) Eat up!

Life

The old adage is that it flies by and to seize every moment, every opportunity. Be quick to forgive. Love people because you never know how long they will be gracing your life. Try to learn something from everyone you meet- whether it is a good lesson or a bad one.

This weekend I was lucky enough to go on an annual camping trip with my family. Including myself there were 29 people with six kids four and under. There were three generations in the house and we got to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday.

I use the term camping loosely in this situation because what started as a camping trip 8 years ago has morphed into us staying at my aunt and uncle’s amazingly gorgeous house that has air-conditioning, a room for my husband, son and I to sleep in, and has enough acreage to host a garden that gives us fruits and vegetables for the weekend, with room left over for my brothers and cousins to set up tents and actually camp. The kids had a pool to swim in and lawn games. We had stacks of boards games and there were a steady rotation several times a day of food and snacks so we could spend the day doing what we want and just have fun.

After playing Jenga on Saturday with my cousin, brother, and sister-in-law my husband and I ventured off for an hour before dinner would be served. My aunt’s house is only a five minute drive to my alma mater, so I took the opportunity to introduce my son to my college campus.

As I held his little hand and walked the deserted campus, I let myself reminisce. Going to college was no easy task for me. I was a homebody and wanted to stay with my mom. But mom encouraged me to go for at least a semester to see how I really felt. After my first semester I found out that, for me, college wasn’t just about the things I would learn but also the people I would find as friends that once college was over would transition to best friends for life.

My college best friends Kelly, Laura, Moe and Kristen were there for me through the heartbreaks and failed tests. They celebrated anything we could celebrate. They got me through when there were days I wanted to just leave.

Even with an incredible support system, I still wasn’t happy. I prayed every day. All day, every day. I prayed for the days to fly by. I prayed for the days to slow down. I prayed that I would find the perfect job. I prayed that I have clarity to decide what exactly the perfect job is for me.  I prayed for strength to get me through; just one more day. Then that one more day turned to one week.

Before I knew it I was walking across the stage, accepting my BA in Sociology with a minor in professional writing and falling one credit short of having a minor in Spanish as well.

I had the degree. It was in my hand and I could not believe it. The days of sobbing and uncertainties, the impromptu road trip back home in the middle of the night, the days of feeling so much stress I didn’t think I would make it out alive. I did though. I somehow did it!

As my walk with my son ended, and my memories still had their dreamlike cloud hanging over me, I made a startling realization. I am doing to parenting what I did to college. I wake up every day thinking one down a million more to go. When my son first sat up I couldn’t want for him to stand. When he stood I couldn’t wait for him to walk. I didn’t take time to appreciate all of the little things he was doing every day.

I don’t want to be one of those parents who are just trying to get through the day every day. We are struggling with bedtime where it takes up to three hours some nights to get him to go to bed. I get frustrated but then I feel bad. In the grand scheme of things, how big of a difference will those three hours make when they were spent singing songs with my son, holding hands, giving butterfly kisses, but one day – and I will never know when- my son will tell me he is fine and doesn’t need me for bedtime. Bam. In the blink of an eye his childhood will be over.

What I want to say to you, my lovely readers, they say time flies and it does. I see it flying every day and now I’m starting to realize it is going quickly so I better take the extra long bedtimes and use them in any  way to build memories, and as a way to get in extra snuggles before he reaches a stage where he won’t need me.

The present demands your attention, the future is there so you can wonder and prepare. I am done taking everything for granted. I am done praying, pleading, and begging for a chapter of my life to end because this chapter is wonderful. I will enjoy my two year old and his crazy sleep schedule. I will enjoy family camping with my grandparents, my son’s great grandparents, and try to push off to the back of my mind that two people who are so engrained into who I am won’t be here forever so I won’t let myself or child waste any opportunity with them.

Time is fleeting. Don’t put things off. That thing that you are wishing and willing to go away will someday be gone, and you might realize maybe it wasn’t as bad as you always thought it was.

 

 

Enough Is Enough

I am scared to write this. I am even more afraid to publish this, and am contemplating if I even should. I am married to what is considered a public enemy right now. My husband, my entire heart and soul, is a police officer.

There is nothing I can say or do to convince every person that not every police officer is evil or power-hungry, just like you cannot convince every person that a certain race is not evil or bad; there will always be a fight. There will always be people who oppose events, people who belittle or demean your feelings. There will be people who argue with you even if you presented them with thousands of pages of legitimate proof; for instance, there are people who argue that the Holocaust never happened, despite the massive amount of proof, history, and first-person records of it.

I cannot convince you that every police officer is good, and in fact, I will stand by your side and say that not every one of them is good. There are some that abuse the power, there are some that are shady and corrupt. While the argument comes up that you will find this is true of every profession, police are responsible for lives. Sometimes those lives are taken. Please know that as a proud police wife and as a woman who has insane amounts of empathy and compassion, that when those lives are taken, such as Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we hurt, too, and we want answers and proper action to be taken to assure that if the officers were in the wrong, then they be prosecuted. We want the bad cops out, too. We want everyone to know that there are so many good police officers left in this world, but they have targets on their backs now.

This is so hard to write and I keep failing on words. I can speak for hours on end of the incredible police I know. Anyone that knows me knows that my husband is my hero. He wears his badge proudly, and I stand in his massive shadow, beaming up at him because I know he is one of the good guys. The vast majority of police are good. They want to help, they want to protect you. They run into the storm when others run away.

Five police officers were killed in Dallas. Five. That means dads, husbands, sons, brothers, uncles, best friends were taken away. Several more were injured. 21 officers were injured in a protest that occurred in Minnesota. It is getting worse. It is getting worse on both ends and the only thing getting accomplished is adding numbers to a growing body count.

What can we do? I have been wondering this. I would love world peace, while others would wish for anarchy. So what we need to do is work together. We can demand that police shootings be investigated and have the officers held to the punishment of the crime. That’s a good place to start. We can teach our children that police ARE there to help us. I can’t tell you how many times my husband’s heart has broken because he answered a call where a child was hurt, or could not breathe. Police cry for the families of the calls they answer.

One night the power in the town went out where my husband works and a call came through of an elderly woman asking for police presence at her house. When my husband got there it turned out that everything was all right, she was just scared to be alone in the dark. He talked with her a while and went around making sure she had everything she needed to get through the storm, and the outage. The main thing is that he could have left the elderly woman that could easily have been your mom or grandma or aunt, but he didn’t.

Police deserve our respect, and we should follow their guidelines just like we would give respect to a teacher and follow the rules of the classroom. If a police officer pulls you over, be respectful. I doubt that the majority of you like having people screaming in your face at your job. So be respectful to the officer, and have respect for yourself. Keep calm. I have been pulled over before and could barely answer the officer through my sobs because I was so upset. I told him I was speeding and deserved a ticket, which he wrote me. I didn’t try to cry my way out of it, I didn’t argue. I accepted that I was in the wrong.

I always have, but especially now, I teach my son acceptance and compassion. It doesn’t matter the color of someone’s skin, if they are nice and friendly, go be friends with them. If you don’t like them, or they are mean to you, don’t be friends with them.

I also have to explain that yes, daddy is our hero, but some people in the world want to hurt him. He thinks of his daddy as the good guy and can’t wrap his brain around why someone would want to hurt the good guy. I have no answers for that. I just pray that we find a middle-ground here. Heated arguments and debates with plans to put into motion, a way to change what we are all angry about. Stricter punishments for police who are found guilty of an unnecessary shooting and police being shot and killed for wearing a badge needs to be handled with as well.

We are nowhere near that yet, though. Until then, I hope people stop killing each other. It is driving wedges further and further apart.

As for me, I will go and sit and wait with my heart in my chest for the door to open and my hero to come in so I can throw my arms around him and thank God that he was kept safe for another night, and pray for his safety for tomorrow.

Why My Marriage Works.

I met my husband when I was 16-years-old. I had just started working at a local grocery store and he immediately caught my eye. 6’4”, trim and muscular, red hair, and eyes as blue as a cloudless, summer sky. I had never been on a date, still didn’t have my first kiss, and was awkward (I still am!) but I went after him like a kid running after an ice cream truck: wide eyes and desperate to catch it.

But I didn’t. The truck kept driving right into a cul-de-sac of friendship. He would be single, and I would finally get a boyfriend. Round and round it went. Then I left for college, but we had become close friends and kept in touch with stray messages here and there, and saying hello when we ran into each other on holiday breaks.

I emerged from college a social butterfly. Just kidding. I was still as awkward as that little side-to-side dance that people do on a side walk when they all most collide with someone, and then they both keep trying to step in the same direction. I was working for my local newspaper and he was getting ready to graduate from the police academy and working at the local store I frequented. He said he often noticed me in my heels and pencil skirts and had wanted to ask me out for a while but it never seemed like the right time.

Our first date lasted hours. It was seamless; perfect. We had known each other for so many years that all of the small talk was done and it was a matter of catching up. I had a string of bad relationships that left me burned and I went into this thinking it would end like all the others, and I would rather be married to my career than have to put time into a relationship. Instead of typical first dates with pauses, lulls, and poorly-attempted passes, every time we hung out it was like being with my other half; he was the piece of me that I never knew I was missing.

He proposed after a year of dating. We got married less than a year later, despite a few family setbacks during wedding planning. The morning of the wedding everywhere I went people commented that I was the calmest bride they had ever seen. I told the women at the bank, nail salon, and hair salon that there was nothing to be nervous about because I was walking down the aisle to my best friend, and that as fun as the wedding will be, the real fun doesn’t start until the day after: when we get to start our life together as husband and wife. I know, I know, this is all corny, but it is true.

He works around 80 hours a week at a dangerous job with mostly night shifts and friends will ask how we make time for each other. We sacrifice sleep. A lot. He will get off the midnight shift, come home for 1 a.m. and we will eat snacks and watch movies. Our date night out now includes runs to Target and the grocery store.

We spend all of our free time together, and still laugh and joke like we did when we were 16. The years have been rough with a lot of hurdles along the way, but were still floating through the best we can.

Our entire relationship has been set on a foundation of friendship and I believe that is why our marriage works so well. We have been together all most eight years and going on four married. We have a two-year-old son, and an 8-year-old collie that I refer to as a son. I am still nauseatingly into him and proclaim all the time that I am the luckiest girl ever. My advice to anyone who asks about marriage is, in my opinion, marry your best friend. When you have a problem, who do you go to? Your best friend. Something went wrong at work? You go to your best friend. I can go to my husband about anything and he helps me through it. I am sappier now than I ever have been and find myself cringing with the things I say about him like the time I described the color of his hair as freshly-minted pennies. In fact, I am going to go tell him now how much he means to me before he finds out I wrote another love note about him via the Internet.P and i marked

Raising A Sensitive Child

I cry over everything. I am not exaggerating when I say everything. A commercial with puppies? Tears. A sad movie with unrequited love? Tears. Someone wins on a game show? Tears.bear with fish copyright

I always like to think that me being emotional and sensitive does not equate to being weak, despite the fact that some people do believe that notion. Just because I cry easily does not mean that I am some weak dandelion puff where one strong wind will blow me all over the place. Being emotional and in tune with my emotions, and others, is what I believe to be a wonderful quality. It might mean that people take advantage or walk all over me, but I would rather know that at the end of the day I try to be loving and kind and if people want to be nasty and think poorly of me for being like that then that is their prerogative.

I am fortunate enough to stay home with my son so we spend all day every day together. We are attached at the hip and while I must admit that there are times, and days, where I could use a break to be by myself, I do love being with him continuously. What I still fail to grasp sometimes is the massive, huge, monumental amount of pressure that being home carries because every word, action and movement is under a two-year-old’s microscope.

Cubby, which is one of my son’s nicknames, has picked up some of my not so great behaviors such as my penchant for letting out exasperated, overly dramatic sighs when I am frustrated; or that he is incredibly indecisive when it comes to everything (paint colors for crafting, what to watch on movie nights, whether he wants ketchup or mustard with his chicken nuggets.)

The beautiful flip-side of that is that he has also picked up being sympathetic, empathetic, and has a massive amount of concern when it comes to other people. Maybe it is because he is my son and I am biased, but I believe he is the most in tuned with feelings child that I have ever met. If a family member is crying he instantly walks over, places his tiny hands on their arm, bows his head slightly and asks in a gentle tone, “what’s wrong?” then listens when they speak. Once they are done saying what is going on he rubs their arm and tells them it is going to be all right. He has caught me crying on more than one occasion and has snaked his arms around my neck to hug me and say, “You’re ok, mommy.”

My husband finally had a night off from work this past week and it fortunately coincided with one of those pop-up carnivals that travel around and setup shop in large parking lots such as a mall or a chain store. We arrived a few minutes before the ticket stand opened so we decided to try our luck at some of the games. He chose the game with the dozens of rows of little bowls that you try to sink a ping pong ball into with the prize being a goldfish. I have NEVER had any kind of skill when it comes to athletics and have an insane twitch when trying to throw things that makes whatever I am throwing go off in some insane direction (think: aiming for a fish tank straight in front of you and somehow the ball ends up over your left shoulder. There is no reason for it other than I have absolutely zero amount of athletic grace. Or aim. Or skill. Okay, I am horrible when it comes to sports except for being attached to the underdog players that rarely get off the bench.)

So, here we are with 20 ping pong balls placed in front of us and Cubby is throwing these things with wild abandon, but was having a blast. Then he sunk a ball, which means we got a gold fish! Then he sunk another ball, which meant that we now get TWO gold fish. Hooray for us. We have a beta fish at home that we got him back in November who we named Nipper Pickle Pants. We usually call him Nipper; he has his own lovely tank that is adorned with a police car sitting in the bottom of the tank.

The end of our carnival experience nears and while I stand in line to get myself a caramel apple to take home for a late-night snack I send my husband to collect the fish we won. Cubby carried his fish friend in the inflated bag and was so happy. Then he accidentally dropped the bag on the concrete which subsequently led to the bag springing a leak. I quickly placed my hand over the leak and ran to get a new bag before the fish could suffocate in my hands.

There I am, running through a carnival, telling a gold fish that costs 29 cents at the store to hold on because I am going to save him. He is a scrappy fish. He has got this- I have got this. I go to the game stand and she makes me wait while she beckons people to try and play, then yells as they decline. “I just need a new bag, please,” I tell her as the water count drops lower and lower and I coach the fish to just hold on a few more seconds. I get a new bag and the fish swims gleefully in the water as it can breathe again.

Back to the car I go so we can head home. Cubby names the new fish after his favorite superhero, which I am happy about as he is also my favorite superhero. Once we get home Cubby gets a bath and goes to bed and our new superhero fish is swimming around in his new home, which is placed next to our beta.

The next morning we wake up and head upstairs. I kiss my puppy good morning and then go to feed the fish. Our new superhero fish is dead, floating on top of the water with eyes and mouth open. He lasted less than 15 hours from when we got him. I quickly gave him a proper burial, never alerting my son because I thought he wouldn’t think about it.

I was wrong.

After waking up fully Cubby comes to say good morning to Nipper (our beta fish) and the new goldfish. He asks me quickly, “where is the new fish?” I try to play it off and tell him that Nipper is there, swimming around happily. He asks me where the new orange fish is and I am at a loss for how to explain it so I tell him the new fish has gone to see Jesus. Cubby said a simple, “oh” then went off the get one of his trains. A few moments later he went back to the kitchen.

Cubby is a climber. He will scale anything and everything he possibly can and does it quickly, despite the fact it causes me mild heart attacks every time he climbs, but I know it is a stage most children go through. He sets his train down, gets onto the stool that sits at the snack bar and crawls on the counter to sit next to Nipper. He places his face against the top of Nipper’s bowl and I listen in, not letting him know I was there. Then I hear the following conversation between my two-year-old son and our pet beta fish: “our friend is gone. That’s ok. It is ok to be sad. We can be sad, Nipper, our friend is gone. It’s ok.” He then continued to sit there with a hand on the fish tank side and face by the top so he can speak inside to the fish. He was comforting our beta without any prompting from me.

That is when I realized that my son has more compassion at two than some people I have met that are 30 times his age. I am such a proud momma of the little boy with the big, blue eyes that always has a nice word for everyone when they need one.

As parents it is up to us to lay down the foundation of how our children will grow up. We are responsible for sending them out into the world, and that is a lot of responsibility to shoulder sometimes. There will be days where tempers are lost, and frustrations get the best of us. Maybe we yell, maybe we shut down completely and sit and take time to collect ourselves. The beauty shines in the moments though where you don’t even realize that you are teaching your children about things like honesty, bravery, and empathy. While you are saying please and thank you to the woman at the checkout, you might not stop to think about how much that sticks with your children, but it does, and lessons like that carry through.

Are You Up For A Challenge?

It has been a bleak few weeks for our country, for our world, and it looks like the climb back to love and acceptance and peace is becoming more and more unattainable with each fleeting second. If you read comment sections online, or even the comments on your friend’s posts on social media, you will find someone that is aggressive and angry. I am not talking about the person who is upset and speaking passionately and emphatically. I am talking about the people who use over the top language and derogatory terms to try to push down anyone that does not agree with them.

I am going to be honest, I cannot stand it. The fighting, the arguing, who is right, who is wrong, why someone hates someone and why everyone else should hate them too. It’s exhausting.

Guess what? World peace is a long gone notion right now. We need to band together to get there and we become further and further apart by the minute. Every article that comes up will have heavily prepared keyboard warriors; locked and loaded and ready to fight for whatever subject they want to fight about. In my opinion, nothing is going to get better anytime soon. So, my lovely readers, what can we do? Sit around and wait? Or go and join this Internet fights?

Here is what I do and what I want each of you to do. You ready for this? It can be hard. Some days seem damn near impossible. Be nice. That’s it. That is my strategy, be nice. Be nice to the lady at the grocery store. Tell the woman you just passed in the store that you had to stop to tell her how stunning she looked in her outfit. Tell a mom you see struggling with a baby that she is doing a great job.

I give compliments all day long to so many people. They are not always returned but I never expect them to be. My mom asked my last weekend why I waved to the men that hold the signs at construction zones. I told her it is because they spend all day outside, car after car passes them, and I just wanted to be friendly and put a smile on their face. Maybe they were having a bad day and that helped. I don’t know.  What I do know is that he smiled and waved back with enthusiasm. He has to deal with pissed off drivers being annoyed by construction lines and having to wait. He hears the horn being layed on because someone has somewhere to be. People fly through at reckless speeds with no second thought for the safety of the workers on the road. Then there I was, a big smile on my face and waving enthusiastically. That HAS to help. That’s a little piece of good being sent out into the world.

I am such a unicorn and I believe in happiness and sunshine and rainbows. I believe that we can all get to live on this planet happily, somehow, without killing off more groups of people we don’t see eye-to-eye with. Find a beauty in your day to day life and embrace it. Send love out to the world and let’s see if we can’t get a ripple effect from it.

So, ask someone if they need help unloading their groceries or to take back their cart. Tell someone you admire their strength and courage. Ask where they got their jewelry from because it is absolutely stunning. Talk to people. Brighten their day. Every massive change in this world starts with a few steps.

Let me know how it goes when you try it out!

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