Taking Note

I need to remember that I have a terrible memory. Of course, if I could do THAT then I probably wouldn’t have a terrible memory and then this entire post would be moot. I believe that those two sentences may be two of the stupidest sentences I have ever written on this blog. And that’s really saying something.

I have to write everything down. That’s one of the biggest reasons my to-do lists look like Volume 2 in War and Peace. If it’s not written down on the to-do list, there is a good chance I will NEVER remember to get it done. I’d like to think that all my important thoughts take up too much room in my brain, but really I’m probably using all that space for song lyrics or lines from my favorite movies and keeping track of all my various passwords. I also use that space to remember where the closest Starbucks is at all times. With all that occupied space, there just isn’t enough space to remember to work task lists and, you know, when my last tetanus shot was.

For this reason, I’m pretty disappointed in myself that I didn’t keep better journals growing up. Luckily, I have a Sarah who did. I rely on her to remember all the things from 2nd grade on. In return, I remember other things. Like, song lyrics, movie lines and where the nearest Starbucks is.

I read an article once that helped explain why “mom brain” is an actual thing. (No, of course I don’t remember where I read this article. Don’t be silly.) As women, and as mothers, we take it upon ourselves to remember birthdays and school events and what size shoe our kids wear. (Unless you’re me. I can remember my favorite hockey player’s birthday but I have no idea what size shoe my kids wear. ANYWAY.) There is so much for mom’s to remember, it is quite impossible to fit it all in our brains. It made me feel a little bit better about my “bad” memory, but I still have regrets about what I didn’t bother to write down.

I have no excuse. I’ve been blogging for many years. I should have more written down. I’ve even thought about (editing) and re-blogging posts from my former blog-life when I was a bit more anonymous. Not all stories could be retold, but it would be fun to revisit those that could.

There is so much I don’t want to forget.

Like how much parental pride I felt when my teen bought this shirt for herself. I mean, come ON.

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Or how I went to a crab feed, and for the first time in my history of crab feeds, I actually ate crab. (I usually don’t.) (Best crab feed I’ve ever been to.)

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I want to remember our Oscar Party. I mean, for crying out loud Amy made a peanut butter and jelly cake. CAKE.

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And how much my girls and I love Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time. (Um…maybe I won’t forget THAT one.)

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How I made Mickey Mouse pancakes for Beezus the morning she took the SAT’s.

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Running with these fine womens.

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Speaking of running…I never, ever want to forget the look on Ramona’s face when she finished one of her track events and realized I had been able to get there on time. (And it wasn’t easy getting there.)

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Will we always remember the ridiculous amount of love we have for this silly dog?

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I’m going to miss these moments when they’re gone. Yes, of course, there will be new moments to celebrate and enjoy, but I don’t want to forget. If I write it down, keep track of these moments a little better, I don’t have to.  There’s plenty of blank space here. I just need to make it happen.

Dance Parties, Walls and Finding Home

When my kids were little, living room dance parties was just something we did and a huge part of who we were. I can vividly remember the girls being so little and getting down and getting funky as only toddlers and preschoolers can. The Now and Then soundtrack was on constant rotation back in those days. Sugar, Sugar was our jam. (There is also sugar IN jam. So that sentence seems oddly appropriate.)

Life happens in strange ways sometimes, though. We found ourselves selling our house and, not long after, we moved in with my in-laws. My husband started a business and went back to school. Nothing was the same and everything was up in the air. Our routines were 100% disrupted. Traditions that we used to have went by the wayside. Being a parent in my own home became difficult.

Just being myself became difficult.

During that time, very rarely was I a “relaxed” mom that could have fun with my kids. I have a lot of regrets about the kind of mother I was back then, but my biggest regret was not being able to let my guard down. If ever I want to drive myself to the brink of insanity, I can try to imagine the mom I *could’ve been* if I could’ve been the mom that I started out to be. In fact, just typing that sentence caused an elephant come sit on my chest. Regret is an ugly, ugly reality.

A tragic casualty of not being able to be myself was the lack of dance parties in our family. It just wasn’t the same. *I* wasn’t the same. Letting go and letting loose wasn’t something I could do under the circumstances. I realize that you can still be a decent and wonderful human being without dance parties, but it was more than that. It was almost like we lost the ability to truly feel joy. In my opinion, dancing exemplifies joy. And when you are lost in life, you don’t always know what joy looks like. Even if you know that it used to look like dance parties, etc.

I was devastated the first time I realized that I had allowed this part of my girls’ childhood to be locked up. I remember times that I tried to get them to dance at a wedding or a party and it was like I was asking them to pull off their own toes. I already have plenty of guilt of being such a young mom and how hard it was to raise tiny humans. Now I found myself feeling guilty for so much more.

Years passed before the four of us found ourselves with a little more freedom to be ourselves. It was a breath of fresh air, but it would take quite some time before we could feel comfortable with letting our guard down. In fact, it would take years. There’s even a part of me that believes that a shift began to happen when Paisley joined our family. I know, I know…that sounds a little nuts. But that fuzzy little muppet thawed something inside all of us. Being completely goofy over a pet can help tear down some pretty strong barriers.

But it’s when we bought and moved into our new home last summer when I saw the biggest shift of all. Even with all the weirdness and orange walls, we somehow knew we were home from the beginning. To this day, several months later, I can’t explain how much I love coming home every day. When I turn on our street, I breathe a sigh of relief. The gratitude is immeasurable. Because everything I ever wanted for my family (and was never sure I would get) is in this home. For 16+ years, I dreamed of having this feeling. For 16+ years, I wished and prayed for this soft place to land.

I try really hard to not have regret. I do. I really do. I try to be present and be grateful for all that we have now. But there is a piece of my heart that is broken for all the years that we didn’t have this feeling of contentment and peace. I feel sadness for the years that our family was so uprooted and a little bit lost.

The past few months, the shifts and the changes that I’ve seen in my family have been something to behold. I hesitate to use a word like magical, but it just the word I want to use right now. Life isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not supposed to be. But when you can visibly see walls that were built up start to crumble, you take notice. When you can see your children allow themselves to be a tiny bit more vulnerable and open, there’s this sense of relief that can’t be explained. And while the dance parties haven’t returned quite yet, singing at the top of our lungs has. It’s different than our loud music days in the car. It’s wearing your heart on your sleeve, pure joy in a song, belting out as loud as you can singing that only comes from being silly and the freedom if being ourselves. And being ourselves feels so damn good. I’ve really, really missed it.

Motherhood, Dreams…and Everything in Between

We’ve become Olympic junkies.

It’s no secret that we love the Olympics, but even with the horrible prime time delay, we find ourselves completely hooked at all hours of the day and night. I may be ridiculously excited about Team USA hockey, and our favorite player being on the team, but I have watched every event they put in front of me. (We’ve even searched On-Demand for the ones that aren’t in prime time at all.) I usually can’t avoid any of the spoilers (I’d have to stay off the internet entirely) and I’m still tense watching the amazing flip, or wipe-out or jump or goal. There have even been times where I look FOR spoilers because my heart and my stress level just can’t take it anymore. (I’m looking at you, hockey.) But I have cheered and loved every minute of it.

As much as I’ve loved all things Olympics all the time, I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally involved in the women’s skeleton events.

I had heard of Noelle Pikus-Pace long before the opening ceremonies. I vaguely remembered her name because of other Olympics or competitions. But she lives somewhat near a certain sibling of mine, so I heard a little more about her this time around. Plus, have you seen my favorite commercial???


Last Friday, I knew all the spoilers. I had been watching AND keeping up with the news of a few different athletes or teams. I knew what was coming. My family had gone from softball practice to lessons to running a couple of errands so I had a rare evening home alone. So of course I was watching the Olympics and reading and finishing up some work.

I knew what was coming! I knew that she medaled. I knew that she won silver. I knew these things! But I watched her last run. I saw her cross that finish line, craning her neck to see the first numbers to make sure that she had won. I saw her leap up and hug her coach. But even more, I saw her climb over fencing and barriers and scale the bleachers to reach and celebrate with her family. I heard her say over and over “we did it!” as she hugged and kissed her husband. And then she reached for her children and parents and all the family that was there supporting her.

I sat on my couch so very many miles away and I sobbed. Like, ugly crying. The kind of crying you’re glad NO ONE is witnessing. Yeah…I cried like THAT.

After they had moved on to the next event, I was still a wreck. I rolled my eyes at myself. “You don’t even know her” was a thought that crossed my mind.

It wasn’t until I was trying to explain to one of my brothers why I did care so much that I got it.

I do know her. No, not personally. But I know something about her that connects us in a very small way.

She’s a mom. She was an Olympic athlete before she was a mom, but she’s a mom. A bad-ass, hard working mom who has sacrificed A LOT to live and work toward her dreams.

I’m not saying I’m anything CLOSE to an Olympic athlete (I trip over my own feet) but I do know a little bit about being a working mom.

All moms work, and work hard, but there are some special challenges when you work outside the home. Whether that be in an office or even on a skeleton track, it’s not easy. I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to miss field trips and special classroom events because you can’t get the time off of work. (Or, you know, you’re out of the country training.) The guilt and the sadness aren’t things you get over. Not really. I can somewhat understand how hard this was on her.

But, amazingly, I also was completely inspired by her. She’s a mom, yes…but she’s also Noelle. She’s a person besides mommy. She’s living her dreams. She’s kicking ass and taking names. She’s winning Olympic medals, dammit.

I always thought that I had to give up my dreams because I came into motherhood a little unplanned and a LOT early. I (we) sacrificed a lot to make sure our little family survived. (And some of those sacrifices really sucked.) But it’s important to remember that I’m still Jill. Yes, I’m a mom and a wife and a sister-daughter-friend-cousin-whatever. But also, Jill.

I’m not saying I’m training for any Olympic events (remember, trips over own feet) but I am saying that it’s okay if I have dreams of  my own. No matter how big or how small, it’s okay to take a turn and try them on for size. If nothing else, I want to show those daughters of mine that their dreams are important, even after they become moms. Even if becoming a mom is the best dream ever realized.

Cooking: a time and a place

I made a batch of apple butter this weekend. No one is more surprised than I am that I pulled it off but I have honestly been stepping outside my kitchen comfort zone. Okay, I stepped outside of it TWICE in the past month, but still. APPLE BUTTER WAS MADE.

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I know that, for some of you, this doesn’t sound like a huge deal. But for me? Well, at some point in the past 10 years, I’ve convinced myself that I’m a terrible cook. I’m not saying I’m chef material, but it was a pretty harsh statement when in reality, I’m just really effing busy. I think that when I added “mother of two” to the list of jobs that I possessed, cooking became a really big chore. I just simply didn’t have time for it. By the time I got home from work…well, cooking loses all it’s fun when you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom by yourself.

Life just got busier and busier. And my time and patience for cooking fell further away. I still had a few things that I could cook well, but that wasn’t very exciting. And then, by fault of me caring too much about what other people thought, I felt very self-conscious about my cooking. I had gone from She Who Doesn’t Have Time to She Who Cannot Boil Water.

(Note: my husband and children have always been very sweet about my cooking. As such, their opinions still matter. Some.)

At some point in the past year, I have found that I enjoy cooking. Not all the time. (I’m still effing busy.) But I have found that I love finding that creative side of me when cooking something up in the kitchen. I have tried to make things that I’ve had in restaurants even if I don’t have a recipe. (I maybe try this more often with adult beverages, but whatever IT’S PRACTICE.) I find a recipe I want to try, but I always tweak it to my taste. And when I started to panic (again) that my grandmother won’t live forever and I still hadn’t figured out how to make her apple butter, well…I finally did it. No, it’s not as good as hers (how could it be) and I didn’t make it like she does, but dammit. I made it. For whatever reason, that’s a taste of my childhood and it was super important to me to know how to make it when it comes time for my gram to…retire her apple butter making skills.

I know. It’s just apple butter. But it represents what can happen when I stop thinking the worst of myself and I get out of my own way. In doing so, I have this special (delicious) memory that I can continue and pass on. It’s a step in the right direction.

Or outside the kitchen comfort zone.

Type – A Resolving

The other day, I read an article listing 16 signs that you might be a Type A personality. I thought I would see a lot of things on that list that I wasn’t. Instead, I found myself seeing so many things on that list that I so, totally am. To be honest, I was a little bit shocked.

I realize that I have my…THINGS. I know I have a perfectionism disease. And a people-pleasing disease. I always have to be doing something. (Even if it’s just reading a book or on social media…or writing) But when I hear people being described as a Type A personality…well, I’m not like those people. Am I? I always pictured Type A personalities brimming with confidence and bad-ass/can-do attitudes. I don’t really describe myself in those ways.

But as I’m reading this list, holy crap.

I’m not all of those things. But I’m most of those things. In some way or another or partly that way or another. (Except for the intolerance and career before relationships. And sometimes I really can be good at relaxing.)

On New Year’s Eve, I started to get nervous that I didn’t have a list of goals or resolutions I was going to make for 2014. I mean, making resolutions is just what I do. It is Type A list-making at its finest! Sure, I have big plans for my life with the family or work or Cap City Moms. I know there are things that I want to do. But I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments where I felt like if I defined what those goals were, I was limiting myself.

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About 20 minutes before midnight, I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to make some sort of list. (Why I’ve never thought myself to be Type A, I’ll never know.) I had a couple of running events that I wanted to do, so I wrote those down. I put the College Bucket list on there because we need to keep crossing things off. But then I just wrote: BE BADASS.

And then I let it go.

I. Let. It. Go.

I didn’t make a list of resolutions that included how much weight I wanted to lose. Or how many miles I wanted to run. I didn’t make a list of all those things that would “make me a better person” in this New Year. For the first time in recent memory, I started this year feeling a lot more hopeful and, really, a lot better about myself than I ever had.

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I like who I am. Right now. Without losing weight. Without running. Without whatever it is that I always seem to write on those damn lists.

It’s amazing how freeing acceptance is. It’s also helpful to, maybe, realize a few things about yourself that you didn’t know before. (Hello, closet Type A Jill.) With that acceptance and those realizations, I’ve come to see (again) how much I get in my own way. I am my own worst critic and my own obstacle standing between me and some of my biggest goals and dreams.

I’m not 100% sure how to get OUT of my own way, I will probably always have a wicked hatred for long lines, and a pretty to-do list will make me the happiest nerd on the planet. But knowing all this sure makes it a tiny bit easier to navigate around the crazy that I create for myself. It’s a start.

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Turn the Beat (Year) Around

I’ve had writer’s block for almost two weeks. I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t know how to say what I want. I have things that I want to talk about…to write about…to hash out and try and make sense of things that don’t always make sense. I want to start conversations and get the ball rolling. I want to be creative and wake up that side of my brain that seems to be sleeping away the rest of 2013.

We had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with family. We surprised the hell out of my mother in-law on Christmas Eve with visiting family from Mexico. I still get verklepmt when I think about how excited she was (and still is.) My sister came to town a few days ago, so we’ve been spending time with her and her family, too. We’ve gone to a hockey game, we’ve gone to Apple Hill…we’ve tried new things around town that we’ve never tried before. I’ve spent time with friends. I’ve enjoyed my family.

So maybe it’s not that I have true writer’s block. Maybe my energy has just been spent on being present and enjoying my loved ones.

Maybe sometimes you just need to realize that you’re where you need to be.

I’ve taken some time to think back on 2013. To say it’s been a big and busy year is a tremendous understatement.

I started Life of Jill.
I chopped off all my hair. Because of course.
Sarah and I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
Ramona turned 11.
I was a cast member of Listen to Your Mother – Sacramento.
Beezus went to prom.
I went to a couple of amazing conferences.
Campfire Wednesday was the best thing to happen to summer.
We bought a house.
A Giants game where they lost, but we had a blast.
We met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences along the way.
Beezus turned 16.
Ramona started middle school.
My brother got married.
Paisley turned 1.
Cap City Moms became a (softly launched) reality.
Celebrated 16 years of marriage.
College Visits? Ooph.
I enjoyed the hell out of my family and friends.

 

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That’s not even all of it. Not even a little bit!

Yeah, there were stressful and hard times and sad times mixed in. But when I think about 2013, there were some pretty badass things that I’ll be celebrating tonight.

And maybe that’s where I get stuck.

I focus so much on the past. I am celebrating a fantastic year coming to an end. I think about all the good that happened. I am thinking about all the fun that was had and all the love that was shared. But for some reason, I get stuck on how great things were, and I have difficulty looking ahead. I prepare myself for disappointment in 2014 because 2013 was so rad? That’s a pretty piss-poor way to do things if you ask me.

AND YET.

I basically have about 15 hours to celebrate and enjoy the end of a very awesome 2013 and snap myself into realizing that 2014 could be even more. More fun. More family time. More awesome. IT COULD HAPPEN.

Instead of sitting here worrying about what could go wrong. I should focus on all that is so totally right.

Life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans, right? Well, sometimes you can’t even make plans because you’re stuck looking back at the past and trying to walk into the new year backwards.

So yes…I have 15 hours to celebrate an awesome year. But I also have 15 hours to turn myself around and start walking face forward and get ready for what an amazing year 2014 will be.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Life Without Pinterest is Like a Night…Without Pinterest. (Or Blogging.)

Last night, I admitted to Sarah that I hadn’t been on Pinterest in weeks. She was understandably shocked. Quite honestly, I didn’t know that my Pinterest Vacation had lasted so long. But when you’re spending every spare moment on a new adventure? Well, I guess time just flies. With, or without, Pinterest.

This, maybe, applies to this right here blog of mine.

And so here we are.

To catch up? I had a really amazing Thanksgiving, thankyouverymuch. We started the day with Run to Feed the Hungry. I don’t know why we had such a great run, but we had a freaking blast. Maybe it’s because we’re so cute.

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Thanksgiving dinner was spent with most of my siblings, my cute family and my inlaws. And you know what? It was pretty gosh darn fantastic. And wonderful. And I loved every minute of it. Even if I didn’t get a chance to shower after the race. (Good news is that I showered BEFORE. That was lucky. And a lot planned.)

The next day, we set out to find the biggest Christmas tree ever. Okay, not ever…but the only thing I asked for Christmas was a huge tree. So we made our way up to Apple Hill…along with a million other people…and braved the weather. And by “weather” I mean it was, like 9 million degrees. Which, if you think about it, is pretty odd weather for picking out a Christmas Tree. But we were on a mission and powered through! We would not be sidetracked! Even if we were wearing WAY too many clothes and probably suffered from heat stroke at one point or another. The hugest Christmas tree needed to be found!

However…the tree farm we settled on, didn’t have the huge trees we were thinking we would find. By that time, we had searched for quite some time. So I settled on what I thought was a nine foot tree. Maybe the family would just have to buy me an actual present, too, since the tree wasn’t GINORMOUS. But as it turns out? It was actually a little more than ten feet. And turned out to be the perfect size for our front room windows. The star perfectly looking out the top windows.

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Also, did you KNOW you had to stand on ladders to decorate ten feet trees? I may have had some nervousness tackling the top of the tree with lights. Okay, I may have had sweaty palms and shaky legs as I leaned from the ladder to those top boughs.

Ten feet is a wicked good start to my tall tree obsession.

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Also, remind me to tell you how weepy it can get when you start hanging all the “Baby’s 1st Ornaments” and realize just how long ago that was. Time, you’re an asshole.

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Speaking of time…it is now December 12th. I haven’t purchased one Christmas present and I’m pretty fine with that. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I know it will get done. I know there will (eventually) be presents under our tree. And I’m even pretty sure that my cute family will like what will be wrapped and ready for them. You know, when I actually find time to go shopping.

It’ll happen. It will.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the NOT shopping. It’s good for my soul.

Also, this book has nothing to do with anything. Except it’s it DOES. Because who wouldn’t want to read THIS?

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Have a great (almost) weekend, everyone.

the path to OFF DUTY

The past few days have given me pause top post anything here until I get over my rage. Okay, I haven’t had constant rage for a week, but…well, a good part of it. Our life is insane with two parents sharing tasks. So you can imagine what the insanity looks like when there is only ONE parent. And by the mention of my rage, you can probably guess that the solo parent is ME.

But here’s the thing: I do not have rage because I am solo-parenting it right now.

I have (had) rage because it has also been one of those weeks were SO MANY THINGS have gone wrong. Things that would’ve complicated a regular week. And, yes, some of my frustrations came from breakdown in communication with everyone in my family. It’s good that I know when there are schedule changes for school, practice or lessons. You know, so I can get people where they need to be. I believe there was a child of mine that wasn’t super careful or watchful and the dog ate something she wasn’t supposed to. That’s ALWAYS pleasant. Then there is the getting ready for an out of town tournament. And coordinating all things under the sun so that everyone is where they need to be.

It has been trying. And, honestly, a lot of damn time in the car. In rush-hour traffic. And trying to figure out how we’re just going to make it all work. Especially getting everyone packed and ready to go.

I only hope that I didn’t forget to pack anything.

Spoiler Alert: I PROBABLY FORGOT ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS.

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But? I’m super looking forward to a fun weekend. Hanging out with some of the funnest parents a softball team has ever seen. I get to see one of my very dearest, wonder-twin friends. And? I’m just telling you all now that I am OFF DUTY as soon as my husband gets back into town. Well, when he gets back into town and then after he drives the three hours to the tournament. BUT THEN.

What am I going to do? Well, watch softball, of course. But I’m not making ONE meal, driving anyone anywhere or cleaning up after ANYONE. Off-Duty is going to be awesome.

And oh so very needed.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

 

 

 

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my marriage is now old enough to drive

A few weeks ago, I was headed to pick Beezus up from school. There was a difference in schedules that day, so I was headed out to the high school a little earlier than normal. And as I stopped at a light not far from the school, a truck pulled up next to me.

I thought,

“Huh. That’s funny. That looks like The Dude’s truck.”

Being that I drive a car much lower than the truck, I couldn’t really see in the window. And, like always, my mind was filled on the next thing. Like my to-do list once I picked up my kids.

“Huh…funny. That guy’s arm looks like it could be The Dude.”

And then the truck’s window rolled down and I happened to look over into my husband’s smiling face.

I laughed. I hadn’t expected to see him. And so my mind ignored the possibility that it COULD be him.

Not that I shouldn’t be happy to see him, but this unexpected “running into each other at a stoplight” seeing him made me stupid happy. Like, my heart did that pitter-patter/flip-flop thing.

I rolled down my window, still laughing. And after some funny hello’s, I found myself blurting out,

“It’s my person!”

I don’t know why that stuck with me. And why it still sticks with my now. It makes my heart swell and it still makes me giggle. But there was something about that chance meeting at a stoplight that reminded me how much I love that he’s my person.

So much of this past year has been a near-constant reminder why he’s my partner in crime. We can both be such pains in the ass, but we are better because we have each other. We are a team. We are the balancing act that beats all.

We are beating the all the odds.

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Someone told me yesterday that The Dude and I did everything right.

And I laughed right out loud.

Because for 16 years as of today, I’ve joked that we did everything backwards and wrong. Because our baby was at our wedding. Because we lived with my in-laws. Because we’ve barely made it through all the obstacles. Because life was so, so hard.

Because we’ve done nothing by the book and nothing by the rules. Okay, almost nothing.

But something that this year has shown me (again) is what a crock of shit those rulebooks often are. Because maybe you have to make your own rules and blaze your own trails because the path on the map doesn’t make any sense. Instead of being worried about our rough beginning, we can be so damn proud of our present and our future. And if someone pays us the compliment of doing everything right, say THANK YOU…and recognize how blessed we really are!

My life is insane and crazy and chaotic and, well, hard. But my life is also full and wonderful and fun and amazing. And sometimes it’s nice to be able to sit back and remember all that.

So who cares that maybe sitting at a stoplight was the best date we’ve had in a while.

Don’t tell my husband, but apparently it doesn’t take much to make me ridiculously happy.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and by Kid, I Mean ME)

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When I was little, I cried if anyone looked at me cross-eyed. I was scared of men with beards. And if someone laughed at me, I swear it scarred me for life. Since it was easy to make me cry, I was an easy target. Let’s be honest…I was probably super annoying.

I grew out of my fear of facial hair. Crossed eyes aren’t my undoing. And I can laugh at myself fairly often. But I never grew out of being really sensitive. And I have to be aware and careful of those sensitivities.

I (generally) can’t watch the news and will mostly stick to reading the headlines, if that. I avoid certain types of movies and TV shows and books. In fact, Sarah will often tell me about a new show she is watching or book she is reading, stop mid-sentence, and tell me I’m not allowed to watch or read whatever she’s talking about. Even Beezus will talk about something and say “Yeah, Mom…you can’t read/watch that.”

They are my parental-guidance-suggested in real life form.

There have been times, obviously, that I’ve let my guard down. I’ve watched movies that still haunt me. Or books that have burned images in my brain that I wish weren’t there. There are news stories that still wrench all of my guts.

I mean, yeah…I’m probably still really, super annoying.

And there are many times when I feel like a complete and total wimp.

I feel like my sensitivities are weaknesses.

Like I am weak.

But every once in a while, I have moments where I can recognize that God built me this way for a reason. When I can get past my frustrations of being a total weenie, I see the softness for what it is. I am hard-wired to be soft. And to feel.

Honestly, I was hoping that writing this out would maybe make me feel better. That I could recognize the lessons I’ve learned from being so open and so soft-hearted. Like maybe I could remember that soft doesn’t necessarily mean weak. And that maybe having a soft heart allows the love to get out easier.

But instead, I’m not even sure if I want to post this. I’m annoyed and worry that *I’m* annoying. And I haven’t even gotten to the point of what I wanted to say.

Ridiculous AND annoying.

Except for maybe I am the one who is missing the point. And maybe I’m not learning the lessons that I need to be learning. And that when my heart is breaking for friends or I’m sick with worry for another…that maybe I need to take this soft heart that I have and apply it to my damn self. Or maybe it’s a reminder to all of us to take care of ourselves and our health and well-being. Or that we all remember that life is short and to love our people.

I don’t know what I’m meant to or what I should say. Except that I’m truly sorry if you are hurting or sad or worrying or angry. And if there is a prayer or good thought or giant internet hug, I’m sending all that I have to you.

And maybe that’s my answer. That there is no point.

Just a whole lotta love headed your way.

Because that’s just how it’s supposed to be.