Happy To The Tenth Power

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 14:  Ten Things That Make Me Really Happy

1. The smell of a spring rain when it first hits the asphalt.

2. The sound of my youngest kidooski’s laughter, especially when he’s being tickled, his voice dropping an octave, infectious in its silliness.

3. The sight of my oldest kidooski’s smile and how it takes over his whole face, cheeks sinking into dimples, nose wrinkling up, eyes turning into slits.

4. The feel of my Hubs’ goatee, soft-yet-prickly all at once, and just the perfect calico of ginger, grey, and blonde.

5. The taste of a diet Pepsi within the first minutes of waking, all fizzy coolness to quench my thirst.

6. The indescribable feeling in my heart when my kidooskis gush with pride over their latest accomplishment, whether it’s making a 100 on a tough test or learning how to tie a shoe.

7. The joy in my soul when someone compliments my children for being empathetic, or well-behaved, or polite, or kind.

8. The pride I feel in my bones when my Hubs knows just the right words for situations that leave me speechless.

9. The euphoria of a road trip with my girlfriends, windows down, radio blasting, tears of laughter rolling.

10. The spiritual energy of thousands of voices raised up to sing their praises to the Lord.

You Can Stuff Your Sorry’s In A Sack, Martha!

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 13:  A Public Apology

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One thing I can say about myself without reserve is that I don’t have a problem admitting when I’m wrong. Which happens more often than I’d like. Like A LOT. So it’s not too far of a reach for me to write this blog post. The only problem is picking just one thing to publicly apologize for. Since my blog is supposed to be my rants about those perfect, crafty, happy homemakers who make me feel incompetent and useless, what better object of my penance than the one and only Ms. Martha Stewart. Martha, this one’s for you!

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Oh, Martha, where do I begin? I’m sorry for picking on you so often in my blog. I’m sorry that you’ve made yourself such an easy target with all your condescension and holier-than-thou attitude. Oops… Did I say that out loud? Moving on… Martha, dear, I apologize for not living up to your expectations. As if any normal person could? Hey! Who said that? Anyway, as I was saying, I’m terribly sorry for teasing you for having gone to prison. How’d ya like those obnoxious orange uniforms, mushy meals, 100-thread count sheets, and your girlfriend Big Bertha? Umm… Where was I? Ms. Stewart, I can’t even begin to make up for the many times I’ve compared other women to you, calling them “Martha Moms (MMs)”. Lord knows even those women pale in comparison to your unbelievable self-righteousness. Better be wrapping this up before I put my foot in my mouth… I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry I didn’t start this blog years ago, because it sure feels good getting all this off my chest. And THAT, Martha dear, is a Good Thing.

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Youth Is Wasted On The Young

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 12:  What Do I Miss?

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What do I miss? It’s simple, really: I miss my youth.

I miss the carefree days of summer break, sleeping ‘til noon, hanging over the bed talking to my girlfriends on the phone while twirling the coiled phone cord.

I miss riding in the back of a pickup truck to go to the lake.

I miss being able to do cartwheels across the yard without getting dizzy.

I miss the flutter in my heart and knot in my belly from falling in love at first sight for the hundredth time.

I miss exploring the creek and skipping rocks across the pond behind my house.

I miss playing Marco Polo and Sharks and Minnows.

I miss Freeze Tag and Kick the Can and Ghost in the Graveyard.

I miss Truth or Dare and Seven Minutes in Heaven.

I miss the sound of the Ice Cream Man, the catchy tune getting louder as he turns down my street.

I miss his Bomb Pops and Snow Cones and Screwballs.

I miss the park and swinging so high that my toes nearly touch the clouds, then jumping off into the soft wood shavings.

I miss riding my Big Wheel, playing with Barbie’s, and collecting Wacky Packages.

I miss walking to the arcade to play Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga and Dragon’s Lair.

I miss birthday parties and sleepovers and Girl Scout camp.

I miss the girl with pigtails, the teen with Farrah Fawcett wings, and the young woman with the spiral perm.

Like I said, simple… I miss my youth.

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Clumsy Is As Clumsy Does

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 10: My Most Embarrassing Moment


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Oh, this is gonna be a fun one for sure! I am probably one of the clumsiest people I know. Yes, I’m one of those klutzes that trips on sidewalk cracks and is guaranteed to spill at least one glass of water all over the table at dinner at least once a week. However, narrowing down my numerous embarrassing moments to just ONE is near impossible. Instead – rule-breaker that I am – I will dig deep into the memory banks and retrieve the TWO most embarrassing moments of my life. Just think of it as two good laughs at my expense for the price of one. You’re welcome.

The great part about these two moments is that A.) They happened literally within the same year; and B.) They both happened at the most self-aware time in my life, the dreaded high school years when even a pimple was a major hide-your-face-in-shame moment. Now that I’m a grown woman who has given birth to two children and has little-to-no sense of modesty left, I can look back on these moments and laugh at the irony of it all.

Embarrassing Moment #1: “Hey! Who put that pole there?”

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I should have known better than to try out for cheerleading in high school. Especially since being uncoordinated goes hand-in-hand with being clumsy. But I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. At my high school, we had a week of “boot camp” right before tryouts, allowing cheer candidates the opportunity to learn the routines and watch the current cheerleaders practice. On the first day of boot camp, I was looking forward to seeing the varsity cheerleaders practicing so I could get an idea of what I was signing up for. My friend and I began walking from the gym to the field where the squad was practicing their stunts, chatting excitedly about the day’s activities.

You would think I would have seen it. Better yet, you would think my friend could have warned me. But there it was. Smack dab in the middle of my path. A huge, wooden telephone pole. You can probably guess what happened next. As I turned my head to watch a really cool herkie being executed, I walked full force into said pole. The side of my forehead took the brunt of the blow. The kick from the collision sent me flying backwards onto the sidewalk. In front of the entire varsity cheerleading team. All I remember at that point was shouts of “Get her some ice!” and “Are you okay?” coming from blurry girls’ faces. Within seconds, the biggest “goose egg” rose up on my forehead. The colors on my face went from an ashen pale white to crimson red as I surveyed the crowd that had gathered around me. I ended up being physically fine, no concussion, stitches, or broken bones, but the mental scars certainly lingered. Let’s just say that cheerleading was NOT in the cards for me. But something else was. Which brings me to my next embarrassing moment…

Embarrassing Moment #2: “I’ll Tumble For Ya”

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While I wasn’t cut out for cheerleading, for some reason I was able to do gymnastics. I was even good enough to make the junior varsity team in high school. Though to this day, I’m not sure how in the heck I did. Anyway, it was the beginning of the season, not long after my forehead had healed from the aforementioned close encounter with a pole, and gymnastics practice was in full-swing. We were only a couple of weeks away from our first competition, so we had practice nearly every day after school in the gym. The same gym where the football players’ locker rooms were located. And, the same gym where the football players congregated before and after their practice to watch us gymnasts. I remember having a huge crush on one of those very football players.

As fate would have it, my clumsy gene decided to rear its ugly head at the worst possible time. We were just starting practice and were warming up with some incredibly low-impact and really easy turns, jumps, and tumbling passes. One specific turn, the Arabesque, was next in the lineup. A turn that I had done hundreds of times. A turn that would “turn” into an embarrassing moment. As I pivoted and did the little hop, somehow I managed to land wrong. My right ankle twisted and I heard a loud “POP”. The most excruciating pain ensued. I crumpled into the fetal position, sobbing and oblivious to the group of football players that had been watching us. My coach yelled to two of the guys to run and grab the big cooler of ice from the locker room.

Next thing I knew, I was being hoisted up by two other football players and carried to the bleachers. Screaming in pain, I vaguely remember seeing the face of one of the guys who picked me up. Of course, it was him. The crush. I didn’t have time to react because all of a sudden my right leg was being plunged into a huge Gatorade cooler filled with ice and cold water. A trip to the ER followed. Turns out I had torn my Achilles tendon almost completely in half. I ended up in a cast and on crutches for three months. Needless to say, I didn’t get to compete that season, and my gymnastics career was over before it even started. And I guess I must have scared my crush half to death, because he never did ask me out!

What are some of your most embarrassing moments? Surely I’m not the only klutz in the room! Please share with me in the comments below.

At This Moment

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 9:  A Moment in My Day

Oh. My. GOSH! I am SO far behind in this blog challenge! How in the heck is it already day 15, yet I’m only just now writing my post for day 9?!? Ugh. Have I mentioned before how bad I am about procrastinating? If not, it’s probably because I put off telling y’all about that until the last possible minute. See what I did there? Procrastination. Thank goodness this day’s topic is short-but-sweet. I’m just supposed to post a photo of something that represents a moment in my typical day. Since I’m a bit camera-shy these days due to some recent weight gain, I’m going to get a little tricky with the camera work. Here’s a glimpse of what I do every day:

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Wow. I’m living on the edge, huh?

One is the Loneliest Number

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 8:  A Piece of Advice For Others

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Well, if this isn’t role reversal time, I don’t know what is! Usually it’s me on the couch asking for advice. However in keeping with the spirit of this blog challenge, I suppose I can dole out one piece of advice to my readers today. I wracked my brain to think of what gem of wisdom I could share with my fellow human beings. I think I’ve established that I have a hard time measuring my own worth, let alone broadcasting it to an audience. I guess the best way to help others is to speak from personal experience and hope for the best.

*Disclaimer: This advice is merely my own opinion and not meant to be taken as the words of an expert. Don’t try this at home.

As I shared in my first blog challenge post, I am an only child. In a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat for my many flaws, I can’t help but to keep returning to that fact. I’m selfish? If I’d had to learn to share everything with my siblings, that wouldn’t be true! I like being the center of attention? Well, of course I do! I’ve been the center of my parents’ attention for forty-something years! I’m easily disappointed? Duh. When you’re used to always getting your way, you tend to set really high expectations. Okay, so maybe these are really exaggerated examples, but the point remains. If I’d had sisters or brothers to share it with, my life would have been totally different.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog post… My best piece of advice is for you future parents out there:

Don’t have only ONE child.

While I understand that’s not always possible, and that many parents are happy they were even able to HAVE a baby in the first place, if there’s any question about whether or not to give your kid a sibling, take it from me and just do it.

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To prospective parents, it might seem easier just having to take care of one baby, put one kid through college, and pay for one wedding. To the potential only child, it might seem great to have everything to yourself, to not have to share your parents’ love, and to always have your own room. Trust me, this grass ain’t so green.

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Parents: When you grow old and your only child has moved across country with his/her spouse’s family, who will take turns having you over for dinner? Who will take care of you when your mind begins to go? Who will pay for the nursing home? And what if your one chance at having grandchildren decides she’d rather have a career than kids? Or he decides to remain a bachelor? Or become a priest? Lonely-Only’s: Who will you play with on rainy days when Dad’s at work and Mom has a headache? Who will you borrow those cute jeans from? Who can you depend on to scare away unwelcome suitors? And, who will grieve with you when the inevitable happens and your parents pass away?

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Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely advantages to the non-sibling life. I have an incredibly close relationship with my parents. After they retired, they didn’t have to choose which kid to move near. My sons are the only grandchildren they have, so they are able to attend every ball game, enjoy every school performance, and celebrate every milestone with them. Holidays are easier to schedule. Babysitters are always available. And whatever inheritance or legacy they leave is mine and mine alone.

My awesome Mom & Dad.

My awesome Mom & Dad.

But then I watch my two boys, throwing the ball to each other in the driveway. Making forts together inside on rainy days. Arguing over who called shotgun in the car. Wrestling over the last piece of pizza. Cheering each other on during football games. Having each other’s back against the cruelties of the world… And then I’m glad I took my own advice.

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My two kidooski’s, Boy 1 and Boy 2.

Fear Not, For You Are Not Alone

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 7:  The Thing I’m Most Afraid Of

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I’ve already covered many of the things that I fear or that make me uncomfortable in a previous blog challenge post. But today’s topic asks me to tell you what tops my list. The numero uno thing that makes me quake in my boots. I’m not really a scaredy cat, even though I dislike heights. And spiders. And big dogs. And some horror movies. Okay, so maybe I am a little skittish. But the aforementioned fears are all mostly physical things that elicit a natural fight-or-flight reaction from a lot of people.

The thing that I’m most afraid of is an intangible feeling that’s really hard to describe. (This is the part where I get a whole lot less Crafty, and a whole lot more personal…) I guess it comes from an internal struggle that I’ve fought for most of my life, or from low self-esteem that I’ve battled for years. My number one fear? If I had to use one word to describe it, I would have to say LOSS. I don’t mean losing as in the opposite of winning. And I don’t really mean the loss of a loved one, although I do worry about that like most people do. More along the lines of “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” type of loss.

There are many times when I look around me and realize how blessed I am. I have a loving and supportive husband, two handsome and well-rounded sons, and an all-around life of contentment for the most part. All of a sudden, the fear and self-doubt will creep in: “I don’t deserve all of this. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.” And I’m scared to death that I’ll lose everything. That something horrible will happen to my family. That I’ll wake up and realize this life was all a dream. That I’ll end up all alone.

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There is a silver lining to carrying this fear inside me, though. It has made me stronger. It has made me truly appreciate everything I have in my life, knowing that it could be gone in the blink of an eye. It has made me more sympathetic and compassionate. This fear has forced me to look deep into my core and find the faith in God that rests inside my heart. To see that He is beside me always. And when I remember that… I’m not so afraid anymore.

hewalkswithmeCredit for image and quote, Caroline Naoroji

Wearer of Many Hats

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 6:
If You Couldn’t Answer With Your Job, How Would You Answer “What Do You Do?”

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Hahahaha! Can you hear me laughing through your computer? Why am I laughing? Because when I read the topic for today’s blog challenge, the first thing I thought of was the many times in my life I’ve been asked this very question. From my younger years, when it was phrased more like: “WHAT are you DOING?!?”; To my teen years, when it became: “WHAT have you DONE?!?” More recently, it has come in the form of: “So you’re a Stay-At-Home Mom. What do you do all day?” The implication that I don’t do anything all day is made worse by the fact that the Hubs was one of those who asked. Once. And only once. (He was younger and dumber back then.) These days, I turn to any questioner that utters these words and reply with another question: “What DON’T I do?”

Since most of you probably know by now what I do for my day job (blogger, web admin, yadda yadda), I’ll try to give you an idea of the “other stuff” that I do:

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Got a sore throat? I can diagnose strep simply by smelling your breath! Got a boo-boo? I keep Neosporin and Band-Aids with me at all times. Got a fever? One cool palm to the forehead can predict your temperature within two degrees.

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CHAUFFEUR

Notice I didn’t say “Taxi Driver”. That’s because at least they get tips. And charge by the mile. My routes vary from the school that’s less than a mile away to as far as the baseball fields two towns away.

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SHORT-ORDER COOK

Again, notice I didn’t say “Chef”. This Momma don’t do gourmet. But when four people have four different orders, I’m a whiz with the microwave.

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REFEREE

Way too many sports analogies I could use here. Like when Boy 1 smacks Boy 2, it’s three strikes and you’re out! Or when Boy 2 retaliates and Boy 1 ends up on the floor, he’s down for the count. And I’m not afraid to stick both kidooski’s in the penalty box without a two-minute warning.

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TEACHER

This is kind of cheating (pun intended) with the topic today since I actually was a paid schoolteacher. However, when it comes to my own children, the teaching goes much further than reading, writing, and arithmetic, and this school doesn’t let out for summer.

To go back to the original question, “What do you do?”, I guess you could say I wear a lot of different hats, sometimes more than one at a time. But if I didn’t, I sure would feel naked.

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Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

31-Day Blog Challenge, Day 5:  Public Profession of Love and Devotion for Another Blogger

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For the fifth entry in this challenge, I will be gushing about a few individuals that have inspired me to become a blogger. Two of them I don’t know personally, but wish I did. One of them I do know personally, and am glad I do.

My introduction to the wide world of blogging all started with a chicken. A giant, metal, profanity-laden chicken. Named Beyoncé. I had finally mastered the ins and outs of Facebooking when I stumbled across a status update from my boss (at that time, the principal of the school where I taught). She emphatically recommended we all click on her link to read this hilarious post from an Internet writer named Jenny Lawson, aka “The Bloggess”. When I clicked on the link, which you can read here, I entered the domain of one of the snarkiest, sharp-witted, vulgar-yet-wittiest writers I have ever encountered. I laughed so hard at her rooster tale that I just HAD to read more. And so I clicked. And kept clicking. And I haven’t stopped clicking. I even bought her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, so that the laughter would never end.

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After falling hopelessly in love with The Bloggess and her writing style, I was curious as to what else I was missing in this new “Blogiverse” I had just discovered. It didn’t take long before I found the next blogger, a viral vixen who penned the post heard round the world about a naughty little Christmas imp and the overachieving Mommies that devote far too much of their holiday season finding new ways to get him in trouble. If you haven’t read “Overachieving Elf-on-the-Shelf Mommies,” do yourself a favor and read it right now. The blogger behind this overnight sensation is a Kansas gal named Jen, and her blog is People I Want to Punch in the Throat (PIWTPITT). Jen was my main inspiration for starting this blog. She says all the things that go through my brain but I’m too afraid to say out loud. She’s irreverent, blunt, and hysterically funny. Like The Bloggess, she also wrote a book (Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat ). AND SHE ACTUALLY COMMENTED ON ONE OF MY FIRST POSTS!! I will never wash that post again!

People I Want to Punch in the Throat Book

As time went on and I began to learn more about this blogging thing and words like “SEO”, “Page Rank”, “Google Analytics”, and so on, I had the unbelievably good fortune of being in the right place at the right time. At the beginning of this year, I found myself looking for work. I’d taken a hiatus from the working world, but my husband had recently been laid off. I needed a job quick, but I also needed flexibility so I could juggle the responsibilities that come with being a Mom. I went ahead and posted my resume on our community web site and crossed my fingers. Within a few days, I got the phone call. A sweet, southern drawl asked to speak with me. She said she found my resume online. She had a good feeling about me because I was a teacher, as she had been in the past. She wanted to interview me as soon as possible for a job assisting her with her new business. A business that works with bloggers. After speaking for a few more minutes, we began to connect the dots of our small town lives and realized that our sons had gone to elementary school together and are now at the same junior high. She told me to check out her two blogs, one personal and the other business. We met soon thereafter, she hired me, and the rest is history. The blogger? Bobbie Anne. The blogs? Blog With Mom and Advertise With Bloggers.

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I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourselves, “I see what she’s doing… She’s kissing her boss’s booty to score brownie points!” To that, sir or madam, I say no way, no how! Not only is her personal blog a well-written and entertaining account of the daily observations of a typical mom of two boys (like me), but she also has so much knowledge about the world of blogging and how to run a business, and she teaches me something new every day. I love that she is able to put together a post at a moment’s notice and find topics to blog about everywhere she looks. I admire her ability to keep her posts short and to-the-point (unlike me, as if you couldn’t tell by now). If The Bloggess and PIWTPITT inspired me to start blogging, Bobbie has definitely inspired me to keep blogging.

Who do you admire in the Blogiverse? Are there certain bloggers that you just can’t get enough of? Please share in the comments below!