Archive | March, 2015

Self Reflection

21 Mar

SmallStep

This morning as we waited for my son’s dance class to start we had a great conversation in the car. He was asking about jobs and asked what my first job was. I explained that I became a business owner when I was nine years old. He was pretty impressed until he found out that the business made exactly zero dollars. My brother and I decided we would open our own detective agency. We crafted a sign and placed it in my bedroom window hoping someone would walk or drive by and be in need of our help. Our parents made us take the sign down as soon as they got home from work. I simultaneously opened a business and got fired from my OWN business within a matter of a few hours. My son decided his first job would be more practical. He insists he will be a Target cashier.

That conversation turned into him asking what my first “real” job was. In case you are wondering, I was a costume character at our local amusement park from the age of 14 to 16. That job also happened to be where my husband and I first met 12 years ago. When he grows up my son wants to “be a real estate agent and work from home the way you and Daddy do.” Hopefully he doesn’t think my husband and I get paid to watch reruns of Dr Who episodes and order Jimmy Johns five days a week. Spoiler alert: there really are days where we really do get paid while we watch Dr Who and eat Jimmy Johns.

I regress.

The conversation eventually turned to “if you had a million dollars what would you do with it?” To my surprise my wise beyond his years seven year old boldly said he has no intention of ever being a millionaire. I said “If you are a millionaire you can see everything in the world.” I hope you are sitting down for his response… “You can SEE the world from a postcard, Mommy. Anyway, you don’t have to be a millionaire to EXPERIENCE the world. If you want something bad enough you make it happen.” I literally teared up. Not only because my son is the child I always dreamed of having, but because he was right. Far too often we make excuses as to why we aren’t LIVING. “Someday” should be a word that is banned from our vocabulary. The truth is, someday rarely ever even happens. It is our pathetic way of lying to ourselves to make us feel better in the moment.

We (society) work 9-5 Monday through Friday more often than not at a job that is rarely, if ever fulfilling. For what? So we can “someday” retire and travel the world? Guess what? When you get to the age most people retire a) there is a good chance you won’t have the kind of money you planned to have when you retired and b) you may not have the health required to fulfill all of your dreams. One of my grandmothers DREAMS was to see the fall colors on the east coast. It was her “someday.” Her someday never happened. Before her “someday” came around she passed away far, far too early. Her dream was likely attainable when she initially thought of it. The trouble is she thought she had time.

I don’t want to be the “someday” person I am slowly becoming.

Another example of my son’s infinite wisdom happened smack dab in the middle of a pretty tough four mile hike we were on today. My five year old was tired, hungry and had a new blister that, in her mind, was going to make her leg fall off at any moment. In my last ditch effort to distract her we were talking about all of the things they wanted to do this spring break. Among them were seeing Cinderella, making a fort in the living room and going swimming. My son said he wished we could go see my grandparents in Texas because he hasn’t seen them in “FOOORRREEVVERRR.” I reminded him how expensive it is for four people to fly and said we didn’t have the money, but maybe we could go next year. His response was “How is that going to change anything? It will cost the same amount next year.” Valid point.

The great thing about that conversation is that my husband and I booked our flights for a spring break in Texas last week. We are surprising the kids and taking them. They will find out once we get to the airport. That “someday” plan IS happening.

I do not have a 9 to 5 job. I never plan to have one again. That being said, I still have a job that requires so much TIME. Time I could spend living now instead of postponing my life until retirement. I am determined to have my cake and eat it too. I want a job that requires less time and yields more money. Do I plan to book a one way ticket to Egypt so I can begin my travels? No. I am not crazy. We have children and bills and…life. For now we will keep the successful business we have spent years building. While we keep those businesses thriving I plan to spend every spare moment brainstorming what I can do to make my “somedays” a reality.

My son doesn’t want to BE a millionaire. Millionaires are usually too stressed to enjoy life. My son wan’t to enjoy life. To experience life. And darn it, I do too!

See the Beauty in the Small Things

12 Mar

The other day our real estate agent gave Tom and me the best complement. She said we both have such positive attitudes about things. While that is certainly not always the case, it felt great to have someone acknowledge the fact that we really do try to make the best out of every situation. We always, always, always try to laugh when all we really want to do is cry.

2015 has certainly tested our ability to stay optimistic. 2014 was a pretty uneventful year for us, but 2015 rolled around and smacked us right in the face. A week into the year we had fired our first real estate agent (in dramatic form, too). We got a new (amazing!) agent and thought we were set. Well, we put eight offers in on homes and finally our offer on one was accepted. All was well, right? Wrong.

Two weeks before closing our lender completely dropped the ball and we lost the house. We felt terrible for wasting other people’s time and energy. Everyone else was worried about US. We were really fine. Just another memory to add to the entire experience. We could either be depressed for days, take our sadness out on one another and cry, or we could try to find the silver lining. We decided to laugh. Probably an abnormal amount. Looking back, the experience really was pretty funny.

The kids are thrilled to be staying where we are. We will start looking again in 2016 in hopes that it is more of a buyers market and we can get more house for less money. We will enjoy the comfort of the home we have already built our lives, family and business in for over four years. And… we will take a trip to my grandparents house because a hug from your grandma can easily erase anything bad that has happened.

When I think of all that has happened in the last ten years of my life I often wonder how I managed to become a productive member of society. My parents got divorced, my brother (only real friend at the time) left for the military, I got pregnant at 18, was nearly homeless with a 6 month old, got pregnant again at 20, struggled so much with being a step parent, started a business, moved literally 8 times in that span and tried to figure out who I was.

Friedrich Nietzsche said “He who has a why can endure any how.” What a brilliant man and such a true quote. My children are and always have been my “why.” When you become a parent what YOU want really isn’t your number one priority anymore. What your children NEED becomes that priority. So no, I am not a genius. I am not super mom. I do what I need to do for my children and I LOVE doing it. I love being a mom and seeing their smiling faces. I love providing for my children. I love being challenged to laugh instead of cry so they don’t have to see me falling apart.

When I reached the end of my rope I held on tight and got ready for one heck of a ride.

To My Son Nearing His 7th Birthday

2 Mar

Nikkos1

Nikkos,

Your birthday is in four and a half days, but I didn’t want to wait another day to tell you how incredibly proud of you I am and how blessed I feel on a daily basis to get to be your mom. I may be a bit bias, but you are the most brave, talented, smart, witty child I have ever met. You amaze me on a daily basis. This year you have grown so much and it has been so fun to see you develop your own personality and opinions.

In the last year you have developed a love for house hunting and DIY shows, have become a champion dancer, have gotten straight A’s and have lost your two front teeth. By the way, thank you for losing them right before Christmas. It gave me the chance to sing “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” over… and over…. and over. At least until you rolled your eyes and reminded me that I wasn’t funny or cool.

This year you have been an amazing big brother to a little sister who pushed your buttons on a daily basis. You always have a wise word and a hug for her when she gets in trouble. When she wrote her name all by herself for the first time you gave her the biggest hug and said “Sissie I am SO proud of you!” And you really meant it. You told us that she would always be your best friend. Although I know that likely isn’t true, I have every ounce of confidence that you will always be there for her.

In the last year you have gone from struggling with basic picture books to requesting chapter books at the book fair because picture books are far too easy for you. You have learned about bugs and even more about antique toys. This year you have also decided that you want to be a real estate agent when you grow up. I am confident you will be an amazing real estate agent as you have given ours a run for her money.

This year you have developed a faith in God that I only aspire to. You have such an amazing sense of right and wrong and pray on a nightly basis. You always say you have faith that everything will work out the way it should. It fills my heart to see you living in a way that others can look up to.

So, happy birthday my Doonie Bear. My handsome man. My wise, wise, old soul child. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for you.

Love you to the moon,

Mommy (Because, at home, you still aren’t embarrassed to call me Mommy)

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