Monday, February 3, 2014

A Letter to My Sons

There are so many of these floating around out there, most of them are aimed at daughters for some reason. I feel like sons get left out of these...possibly because we don't feel they're vulnerable or at risk of being objectified or devalued by their significant others. But, that's just not true. Girls (and boys) are just as capable, and guilty, of making their boyfriends feel like they aren't good enough, like there's something wrong with them. So, while I don't want to minimize the need for little girls to understand that they are worthy of everyone's attention, I do want to say something to my boys.



Dear Monkeys -

You may think you've got it easy. You clearly inherited your Daddy's genes, so you'll probably never struggle with your weight. You both know how damn cute you are (even if you know it isn't going to keep you from getting in trouble...most of the time). You're smart, you're kind, you're funny (I like to think that was my offering from the gene pool). Honestly, you've got a lot going for you.

But the fact of the matter is, there will come a point in your life when you start to like girls (or boys...either is fine, and normal - but for the sake of simplicity in writing this letter, I'm going to stick to "girls") in a different way...a way that makes you want to be more than just friends. A way that makes you want to kiss them, like you've seen Daddy and Mommy kissing. Unfortunately, the girls you like may not always like you the same way - or at all.

That's ok. There's nothing wrong with that, sometimes people just don't feel the same way you do.

Unfortunately, when you like someone and they don't like you back, sometimes they're not very nice about it. I'll be honest, you're both kind of weird (which is AWESOME), so there's a good chance your unique personality may come up when the girl you like tells you she doesn't like you back. She might call you names, she might tell her friends that she thinks you're ugly...there are a lot of ways she might make you feel like you're not good enough for her.

There will come a time when you're dating a girl who did like you back at some point, but now she just doesn't. When she breaks your heart, it's going to feel like you weren't good enough for her.

This is where I want you to stop. Stop right there. Right now. Do not pass "Go," do not collect $200.

Don't you ever dare let yourself feel like you aren't good enough for another person to love. And don't you ever dare let someone get away with telling you you aren't good enough for them.

I'm not always going to be around to give these girls the karate-kicks to the face they deserve when they hurt my boys. And I'm not always going to be around to tell you, in no uncertain terms, what amazing boys you are.

The plain truth of it is this: You are good enough. You are perfect. You are worthy of everyone's love and attention.

You may just not be the right person for that girl to spend her life with. And that's ok. There is someone out there for you, and it's just not her. It may take some time to find her, and you're going to get hurt - a lot - along the way, but you will. While you're on that journey, the most important thing for you to remember is that just because you aren't the right person for that girl doesn't mean you aren't good enough for her.

So don't ever let her tell you that.

Now the flip-side of the equation. You are damned cute, you're funny, you're smart - you two are really the whole package. I know that during your teenage years, I will probably meet more girls than I'd like to...and I will have to deal with the fact that you're doing things I don't want to think about with those girls. I also know that you are going to break a lot of hearts yourselves, and those girls are going to feel like they weren't good enough for you.

Don't you ever dare make them feel like they weren't good enough for you. Everyone is good enough, and perfect, and worthy of your love and attention.

They just may not be the right girl for you to spend the rest of your life with. And that's ok.

While we're on this side of the coin, I want to make something very clear - relationships are a two-way street. There is give and take from both sides. And neither side should ever feel the need to "keep" their partner interested. You are worthy of your partner's interest just by being you. End of story. And they are worthy of your interest just by being them. Done. Never convince yourself that you need to change, or get fit, or quit a hobby, or act a different way to "keep her interested." On the flip side, don't you ever let your girlfriend feel like they need to "keep you interested." If there's something about that girl that you feel like she needs to change, then she's not the right girl for you to spend your life with. No one should feel like they need to change for you. When you fall in love with someone, you fall in love with everything about them - their quirks, their weird habits, their body, their mind, their soul - all of it.

This is going to get ramble-y here, so I'll wrap it up.

I love you both more than words will ever be able to express. You're my babies and you always will be, even when you grow up. There will come a time when I'm no longer the most important woman in your lives, and that's ok. But when another woman takes that place, I expect you to treat her like the most important woman in your life. Conversely, when you take the place of her father as the most important man in her life, she better treat you like you are.

You are perfect. You are amazing. You are good enough. You are worthy of everyone's love and attention.
And so is she.


Oh and one last thing: I love you. Even though you're weird.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

6 Things You Should Stop Posting on Facebook. Like, Right Now.



I read a post with a very similar title to this on The Stir yesterday, and to be honest, it was really negative. The author is clearly bitter about having to read all the happy things going on in her "friends'" lives. Honestly, the only self-censoring I do when it comes to posting on Facebook is making sure that whatever I post isn't going to get me in trouble at work. Otherwise, if I'm thinking it, it's going on Facebook.

I tend to get annoyed with people who complain about what others post - on their PERSONAL Facebook pages - because, frankly, get over yourself. If you don't like what I'm posting, hide me. I won't be offended. If my amazing children, wonderful husband, epic weight loss (30 lbs in 2013, baby!) or opinions (I have many) offend you for some reason, there's this cute little box you can click that makes it so my happiness (or snarkiness) don't show up in your feed. Done. So simple.


However, in light of her post, and to be as hypocritical as possible - obviously - I think it fitting that I identify a few things that I feel we all can agree have no place on anyone's social media page.

THINGS THAT SHOULD NEVER EVER GO ON YOUR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER - EVER.

1.) Description of your bowel movements.

Let's face it, there's a reason we don't discuss these things in civilized conversation, and that reason is that no one wants to know what's coming out of you. Seriously. We don't. Life is not "How I Met Your Mother," and no one outside of Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin and Barney really want to know if your excrement represents an ampersand.
"To Know or Not to Know" - the episode in question, albeit a different moment.
2.) Passive-aggressive comments about some way you were wronged by a "nameless" person (but they know who they are...oh yes, they do).
The Oatmeal is a wonderful, wonderful site.
My passive-aggressive response to these passive-aggressive posts:

Truth.
3.) Talking about how high/drunk you are at that moment...or were last night...or last weekend. Or ever.

HAHAHA OMG I'M SO CRUNK RGIHT NOW I CAn BrAeLY TPYE TIHS OUT! HAHAHA!

Yep. That needed saying. We're all better for knowing that you were wasted. Also, what the hell does "crunk" even mean? I feel old.

Margaritas Make Spelling Awesome
Something tells me the spelling problems weren't the result of the margaritas.
Look, we all like to kick back and relax, wind down after a long week. Sure. I'll admit to drinking...more than I should...on more than one occasion. But, because we're all judgmental assholes, when we see you posting about it, the first thought that comes to our minds is not "Man, I wanna go party with that person!" It's "Well, they're making responsible adult decisions, aren't they?" Because, while we all do it, many of us also know that everything you post on the internet stays there for eternity - and getting wasted is one of those things you should keep between you and your cohorts.

Wise words.
4.) Analysis of the previous evening's sexual exploits.

Things you never wanted to know about people you barely know, #546.
This is really along the same lines of reasoning as the drunk/high posts. Honestly, it's all about adulthood at this point, and do you REALLY want your boss saying "Good weekend?" while half-smiling at you and possibly winking when you walk in on Monday morning? Because I sure the hell don't.

5.) Duckface selfies.

I don't care who you are, they all look like this. Just stop. Try smiling instead.
Because no. Just no. Seriously, no. I said no. NO MEANS NO. No.

6.) Posts that are clearly fishing for compliments you don't need because you're a size 2 and OMG YOU ARE NOT FAT WILL YOU SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY?!?!?!?!

Bust Out the Rod and Tackle Box!
I always read these posts in a Valley Girl voice. It makes it easier to move past them without rolling my eyes so hard they get stuck.

You know who you are.

That was slightly passive-aggressive. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Self-Image

Ok, before I get started, this is not a "oh, boo hoo, pity me and make me feel better" post. Honestly.

I just...I don't know. I feel like I need to "say" this "out loud."

I'm not pretty. Not "conventionally" pretty, whatever the hell that means. I have days when I look in the mirror and think, "Hey, not so bad!" And then I look at a picture of myself and I'm like "Jesus, what the hell?"

I mean, I went to go update my profile picture for Twitter, and, well...look at it! This was after about 20 attempts of trying not to look like a complete spaz, and then I gave up and said "The hell with it. It's not getting any better than this." 

I'll never be a model. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever be a movie or TV star. There is a worldview of what is "pretty" and I'm not it. I've got a big nose and a weird chin, my bottom row of teeth are crooked (thank you, failed orthodontics). I'm overweight, and my body accurately reflects the two children I've had (not that I'm blaming them).

Now, obviously some of this can be changed. I can lose weight (God help me, I'm working on it, OK?) and I could get my teeth straightened and my nose reduced and somethingorother done to my chin to fix it....but those things cost money and then I wouldn't look like me. Except the teeth thing - that's mostly just a money issue.

Why am I saying all this? I don't know, maybe I just needed to say it so I could feel like I was being completely honest about who I am. Maybe I am feeling a little sorry for myself. Maybe I was just bored and this was what was in my head.


I'm seriously contemplating getting some audition tapes together for various TV opportunities...mostly because what will it hurt? But deep down, I feel like no  matter how good they are, I'll be looked over because I'm not pretty. And I have "Climbing Uphill" from The Last 5 Years echoing in my head.

"I am a good person. I'm an attractive person. I am a TALENTED person. Grant me grace..."

Rant over.


Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm still here...

So...I figured since I "own" this blog, I should probably come back and start, you know, blogging or something.

I'll admit, almost everything I've done with the interwebs since about 2008 has had an undertone of trying to find a way to make money with it. Well, I've come to terms with the fact that CLEARLY that's not ever going to happen with my blog...or, as it turns out, anything I have tried to do on the interwebs since 2008. So, instead of using my blog as a means to an end, I am going to use my blog for its original intended purpose. To, you know, blog about stuff.

Anyway, so I've been on hiatus from blogging for a while. You may have noticed...all four of you. To say I've been busy would be the understatement of the century. I moved into my in-laws' basement with Ryan and the boys. We've been "happily" camped down here for a year and a half now, just about. It will be another good, solid year before we're ready to buy a house of our own, but it feels like it's a decade away. I'm almost positive something is going to happen to set us back, because it always does. Right when things start to feel easy, the powers that be decide to dump a bucket of Jesus-H-Christ-Life-Sucks on you, and you have to work through it before you can move forward again.

How's that for optimism?

I've also started a new job. Well, I say job...and that's misleading. Job implies that you get to go home at the end of the day and not be working. This is a career (yay!), which means that I am required to BE my job. All day, every day. I am thrilled to finally be doing what I've been working toward - though, truthfully, I know in my heart that I would still rather be acting than anything else in the world - but a girl's gotta eat. And so does a girl's family, funnily enough. So, for all intents and purposes, this career is what I want to be doing. And it's fun! Well, it can be fun, when I'm not stressed out of my mind and so busy I can barely think straight.

No, it is fun. When I'm able to dig out from the mountain of work and delve into the creative side, take all the puzzle pieces and put them together into a plan of my own creation, it's incredibly fun. But, oh my God is it stressful sometimes. In a good way, if that makes any sense.

I've also kind-of-sort-of started working on my novel again. I can't guarantee it will go anywhere good anytime soon, but I'm writing. That's a start. It's all I can ask for. One day, I'll finish it. I hope it's sooner rather than later, and I hope it's as good as I'm imagining it can be.

I feel like this blog is basically documented proof that I never finish anything I start. Going to school to be a teacher? Nope, failed out. Apparently online courses are hard for those of us that need external accountability. Writing a book? Meh, maybe someday. Buying a house? Sure, once I get my shit together and finally conquer my student loans.

I've got "learn Italian" on my bucket list, too. I have every intention of doing this. Someday.

See? Complete and utter failure at life.

Oh, well.

So, I can't guarantee my blog updates will be frequent or regular. What will probably happen is I'll get into a groove where I blog like three times a day, and then you don't hear from me for months. That's pretty much my method.

I hope you didn't give up on me after all these months. I'm still around. Still kicking. Still cynical as ever...just incredibly tired all the time and bitter that things aren't easier. But, I know they'll get easier. Someday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Zombies = Love. True story.


See? Clearly an art prodigy.

 I have the best kids. I hate to break it to you, because you probably think your kids are pretty great, but mine are the best. Proof? Ethan made me a Valentine's Day card. On the front were his painstakingly drawn letters spelling out the heart-squeezing "I Love You." When I asked what else he had drawn on my card, he pointed out the zombies, ghosts, green ghost, black knight ghost, and zombie ghost that he'd drawn on the front for me. Because he loves me. Suck it.

I'll bet your kid didn't make you a card with a zombie ghost on it. Or a person with a cut-out heart for a head (not pictured). That's talent.

Seriously, though, seeing those little figures on the front of the card made my heart swell for so many reasons. First, because he made me laugh, obviously. (And it's more special than any card you could buy at the store because it was just so....Ethan. It didn't surprise me at all, which was part of its awesomeness.) But also because he's growing up, and this is proof. And it's proof of EXACTLY who my little boy is growing up to be. He's growing up to be AWESOME.

Today marked the day that I stop worrying about whether I'm doing everything right as a parent. (I'll resume that tomorrow.) Clearly, I'm raising a creative, thoughtful, funny little boy who is doing just fine thankyouverymuch. He may not write as well as some of his peers, he may not be reading yet, or speaking three languages (JESUS, Abby, way to show everyone up!) But, he's going to be just fine. And I'm so proud of him.

*Logan also made me a card, which was adorable and perfect. And also smelled really yummy - thank you Crayola Fun-Scents (or whatever the hell you're called). It was not overshadowed by his brother's card, by any means. In fact, it was a beautiful peek into his bright, creative, wonderful future as well.*

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time

I need some time. Today has been....bad. I'm in a pretty bad place right now, emotionally.

So, it may be a while before I blog again. I honestly just don't have it in me right now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

We are here.

Recently, we made a very difficult decision. We packed up our things and moved our family of 4 into the basement of my in-laws house for an indefinite amount of time. I say "indefinite" because the timeline is completely dependent upon us paying off my student loans and saving up a decent downpayment for a house of our own.
Those of you that know us know that we have been on a financial roller-coaster since 2008. Moving to Hays was, by and large, one of the worst decisions we've ever made. However, I didn't have a job, and Ryan was offered a position that payed slightly more than he was making - and it used his degree, which was kind of important - so we went. We went without doing the math. Without realizing that his salary was not going to cover all of our bills and expenses. I tried to supplement our income in several ways - starting my own advertising business (I had a grand total of 2 clients, who were both related to me), working from home (which actually worked very well except for the software updates that left me unable to actually....work), and then finally working at Dillons. However, we still never made enough to actually support ourselves - with student loans, credit card debt (which kept racking up because we didn't have enough for food, and didn't qualify for assistance because we made too much), and all the other "things" that kept popping up. And my endeavors in freelancing and entrepreneurship cost money that we didn't have as well. All in all, it was a difficult couple of years in Hays, to say the least. We also had a baby to take care of during that time and, of course, conceived and delivered our second child while we were there as well.
In retrospect, we know we should have waited until we had our shit together before we had babies. But we can't give them back, they're here now, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. So, crappy decisions aside, we had a family to support and were unable to do so.
Thankfully, Ryan was offered his position in Hutch, and we were able to move here. The house I chose for us to rent was, literally, the best thing we could afford. And $700 a month for that heap of garbage was certainly not a fair price, but that's Hutch for ya.
Anyway, we have been doing fine for 2 years. We can pay our bills, have cable, buy the occasional extra. We thought we'd be golden when I got the job at SRS and started making double what I was earning at Dillons - but then MY student loans kicked in, and we really didn't gain any ground. The problem is not that we were struggling, because we weren't. Yes, we have some credit card debt - not much - and yes we've had to watch our spending, but we've been pretty much ok since we moved to Hutch. The issue we finally had to come to terms with was that we had no end to being "just ok" in sight. Unless one of us started earning substantially more, we were only ever going to be "ok." We had no savings and no way to move forward.
We finally decided that if we ever wanted a home of our own, retirement savings, college savings for the kids, or even more kids, we had to get rid of my student loans. And the best case scenario we were facing was paying them off at the same rate for 20 years until they could be forgiven. Not exactly ideal. So, the solution we came up with was that we would suck it up, make some sacrifices, and move into Ryan's parents house so we could be spending our salaries solely on paying off my student loans. I have close to $47,000 to pay off, and we're looking at it taking us about 2 years. I'm looking for at-home jobs that I can do after work, or just better full-time jobs so that I can earn more and pay them off quicker. Ryan is looking for extra work as well.
We are lucky that we have such wonderful families that this is an option. I know that there are parents out there that wouldn't do this for their kids - move their whole lives around to fit a family of 4 into their basement. My parents and Ryan's parents were both willing to do that for us, but since our lives are here, Ryan's parents get the *cough* privilege of undertaking the task.
They've been wonderful, and we now have a cozy little space to live in with no rent, utilities, or food bills for the next year or two. We are finally on track to giving our family a future, and though it was heartbreaking to leave our home and the memories there (even though it was a heap of garbage where the sewer backed up into the backyard every few months, mice and snakes and spiders kept trying to overtake the place, and the carpet looked like someone died on it - it was still the place where Logan learned to crawl, walk, and talk and Ethan learned to ride a tricycle, catch a ball, shoot a basket, write his name...), it was the smartest decision we've made since we got married.

So, that's where we are now. As I've alluded in previous posts, it's going to be a tough couple of years, but it will be worth it when it's all over. And it better be, because the next time we move, I'm going to burn every cardboard box that has ever existed.