Breakfast 

I had every intention of eating healthy this morning with my new Pinterest “pin”

I finished this off instead…

In my defense, it went better with the Pumpkin Spiced Latte with Cinnabon Creamer. 

Wake me up when September ends!

Cough. Sniff. Cough….repeat.  

Better to be a Nerd than one of the Herd

(Part 1)

It wasn’t too long ago that Catherine and I decided to have a “Girl’s Day”.  It was a gorgeous day, the weather was perfect.  When I asked  what she wanted to do, she replied that she would like to go to the pool.   My heart immediately sunk.

The dreaded pool.  The embarrassing swimsuit.  The excess weight gain that I can’t blame on Baby weight any more since my kids are 12 and 15.

I tired to negotiate, “Let’s go to the river instead, I know a nice secluded spot that is just perfect.”   She reluctantly agreed to go to this elusive spot that I completely over-exaggerated, mainly because we had already passed two swimming pools and I had a panic attack about the over-crowded parking lot and started crying.

We trudged in the muddy water, both of us completely miserable, but still determined to have a good time.  It didn’t take long for her to lose her sandal, we both watched it float downstream as I did my best to chase it while sliding on the rocks, barely able to breath because of the frigid water temperature.

As I was retrieving the sandal, she was sneaking out of the river.  I turned around, sandal in hand, she was headed to the car laughing at me as I was trying to balance myself on the rocks.

We get in the car, she asked again if we could just go to the pool.   I had a brief internal nervous breakdown and off we drove to my version on hell….Oh, I mean Pool.

When we got there, she immediately spotted some friends, there was a bench conveniently empty next to them so we snatched it up and I encouraged her to go hang out with them.   She did, the girls ignored her.  She tried so hard to fit in, but they got up and gathered into a circle around the fence with their cell phones, taking selfies with their tongues stuck out, which I am pretty sure has taken the place of “duck lips”.   She sat on the bench that they were hanging out at trying to casually make her way back to me without looking like a total loser, after a few minutes, she made her way back to me.

We sat there silently for a little bit, then she asked if I would like to go swimming with her.   I am pretty sure I never felt so comfortable in a swimsuit in my life.  I asked her if she was ok while we were wading in the pool.  She laughed and said of course she was, she wanted to hang out with me anyway.

I will be honest, I wasn’t sure how that comment made me feel.   Proud, that she wanted to be with me.  Sad, that this stupid cruel world we live in thinks it is acceptable to hurt a little girl who is just so desperate to  find a friend.  Completely pissed off, that these prissy little jerks have their faces in their phones 24/7 and can’t see that there is a great big world out there that they are missing.

Kids know nothing about “Changing the World” anymore.  They don’t know how to be good citizens or friends to kids who may be just a little different than them.   They search for that one group of friends that act just like them, while taking advantage of bikini season Posing half naked in their provocative selfies desperate for a boy to notice them.  The conversations they were having was sickening to hear, and I was actually happy to know that my daughter was not part of that particular group.

As we wrapped up our pool excursion and made our way back home, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.   She just doesn’t seem to fit in.  Sure, she is different.  It’s not her fault, God decided to wire her a bit differently than other kids.   Her heart is the same.  Actually, I am proud to say, her heart is way bigger than others.   It is unfortunate that kids want to grow up so fast, whatever happened to just going to a pool and actually going swimming?  If you want to relax poolside, how about read a book or entertain each other by….wait for it….talking to each other!!

I learned a few lessons that day.

  • Just wear the swimsuit, and wear it proud!   I earned every stretch mark.
  • Ok, so maybe I need to go on a diet…..
  • I am raising my kids to be good humans.
  • I am teaching her to love every one, no matter their ethnicity, disability or social status.
  • There is nothing more beautiful than a good heart.
  • I can’t punch, trip or drown mean girls because that would be frowned upon.

The older she gets, the more she notices that she is different.  She is not one to let me take a picture of her because she thinks she is ugly.  She quietly blends in when she is around kids her age, or she retreats to me or another adult.  Social situations, no matter how hard she tries, can sometimes be an overwhelming experience for her.

I don’t pressure her to be around kids her age, but I do pray that God sends her that one special friend that embraces her nerdiness and her weird tendencies and loves her anyway.

(Part 2)

Today, she had the opportunity to hang out with her cousin and her friend that happens to live next door to us.   Due to a full summer schedule they hadn’t been able to see each other for quite some time.   I had some work to do at The Greenbrier and decided to invite them to tag along with me.   Gave them some money and told them to have fun.   They went to dinner at Draper’s and shared a giant banana split for dessert, then took off for a few hours to explore.   We caught up after I finished up and decided to take a walk and enjoy the evening.

IMG_1189The teenager that is totally camera shy came out of her shell with the help of her friends.  They laughed and joked, making the pictures burst with personality and self confidence.  There were no selfies.  They weren’t trying to impress anyone.  It was just three friends enjoying each other.  Talking.  Laughing.  Just being kids.IMG_1171

On the way home, they were talking about the things they used to do with each other when they were younger, playing with their American Girl dolls, climbing the neighbors tree house, sledding on the coldest of winter days.

“I wish we were young again.”  they all said simultaneously.

I put my sunglasses on, not because the sun was too bright, but to hide the tears in my eyes.  Ages 16, 15, and 13 were talking about wanting to be young again, while I am trying desperately to stop my aging process by wearing excess amounts of anti-aging sunscreen, buying the latest and greatest wrinkle cream, liposuction, boob job, tummy tuck…yet I am still embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit.    All because I so desperately wanted someone to love me.  I needed his approval.   I told myself over and over again that I was not good enough.

What was I teaching my daughter?  What am I going to teach her?

  • I am going to stop worrying so much about my, not so fit, swimsuit body and teach my daughter to love herself.
  • I am going to teach her that if you are lucky enough to have one friend, you are truly blessed.
  • I am going to teach her that she never has to have the approval of a boy to make her a beautiful woman.
  • She will be taught to be strong, independent and able to stand on her own.
  •  She will always be loved and she will be taught to love.

So you’re a little weird?  Work it!!  A little different?  OWN it!   Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!     -Mandy Hale

 

**This particular pool incident took place a few weeks ago, I am proud to say that this Momma wore a very modest high wasted bikini to the beach last week and we had the time of our lives!!  She also made a super cool, nerdy friend from Tennessee and they spent the week together swimming and crabbing!!

 

Six Pack?

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Adam: Mom, can you see my Six Pack!

Olivia: I’m pretty sure that’s just ribs!

Adam: Ohhhh Shot Down!

September

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There is something about a cool September morning.   The subtle hints of pending Autumn were all around this morning as I took my morning walk.   Soon the trees will yield my favorite colors as reds, yellows, bronze and hints of burgundy fill the West Virginia mountains.   Mornings are filled with heavy fog lifting through those hills.  The bright morning sun makes the dew filled spider webs glisten  like diamonds.

The nights will soon be filled with warm bonfires, sweatshirts and children trying to squeeze in the remaining days before the snow starts to fall.     In bed, the open windows will soon replace the AC and quilts filled with their own precious memories and stories with fill the room with conversations and laughter as the kids and and I will tell stories of the good ‘ol days.

I switched the floral summer scents in my house to Pumpkin and lazy evenings are now spent finding new fall recipes on Pinterest.   Oh, and Starbucks in getting ready to give us some pumpkin spiced lattes!!!

Soon, we will make memories of our own as we visit the pumpkin patches, take long walks and drives, weekend trips and maybe a ghost hunt or two in October.

But for now, let me just savor the first few crisp mornings of September.

Have a beautiful and blessed Labor Day Weekend…..

 

You Should Write More.

“You should write more.”

That is what people tell me all the time.   I have become negligent with writing, because let’s face it, who wants to read a blog from a lonely, too busy, single working mom.   I probably wouldn’t read it either.

Most of what I write these days consist of some comedic episode that, all too frequently, happens with my kids.   I have used my blog to jot down memories recently.  The happy ones.   The ones that will make me smile 10 years from now when I sit down, more than likely by myself, and reminisce of my lovely little family and the memories we made together.  Just the three of us.

10 years from now, when my kids wont be kids anymore and they will be well on their way to becoming successful adults and possibly having families of their own, I will be able to look back and laugh at the time Adam licked the school bus windows from a rousing game of Truth or Dare.

Their first 10 years on this earth have already come and gone.   I blinked and they are both in Middle School this year.    Making friends, becoming more and more independent every day.

No one warned me….No one told me that there would be a time that I would no longer be a cuddle buddy while watching cartoons on a rainy Saturday morning.   I can still pour the cereal, but they rush out the door to meet their friends to go to the skate park or independently walk downtown to catch Pokémon and grab a smoothie at the local coffee shop,  “Later Mom” as the door swings open and they are gone before I can ask for a hug goodbye.

No one warned me of the dramatic hormonal bipolar teenage episodes that my daughter would have monthly!   You know, the one where she hurls her body on the couch claiming 14081026_10210706397879555_755076733_nthat she is dying a week out of the month!!    I go in for a hug…GET OUT spews out of her mouth like the Demon telling the priest to leave on the Amityville Horror!!

My son’s “dating” experiences are looking to be as productive as my own social life.   He meets them on Instagram, an hour later he changes his profile to “Taken”.     Two days later they break up.   You would think because they never really met in person or lack of communication since they just DM each other to say “Hey, WRUD?”   Sadly, most breakups are due to one of them finding someone else they just like better!!

I didn’t understand that, until I decided to try Online Dating.     Then I realized, that is EXACTLY what my son is doing on Instagram.  “Hey, WRUD?”  I respond.    There is chit chat.   Then boredom sets in quickly and I begin to wonder, what on earth am I even doing? How did my life change so dramatically?   I went from married to having a man pick me out of his own personal line up.

“This is how everyone meets people now!!   My best friend just met the love of her life on (insert dating website here)”   

We live in a culture where people are too darn lazy to actually go out and have an actual face to face conversation with anyone.   We hide behind our IPhones and computer screens.     Instead of properly asking a women out, you are texted something like this, “Hey, you wanna meet somewhere for a drink?”   Which means….“I haven’t met you in person, and I really have no idea if we will hit it off, so I am not going to waste my precious time or money on dinner.   A drink is cheap and if I don’t like you I can leave quickly!!”     The site that I signed up for, a man can actually send you a virtual flower!!    The tackiest thing I have ever seen in my entire life!    Oh, Thanks so much because a FREE virtual flower is so much better than the real thing!!    14126

My life consists of a random text message, “Hey honey, wanna chat”?     “What do you do for a living?”   and yes, the occasional _____ Pic!!     Like I really needed to see that!!                  Ok. Thanks. Bye.

Then you find “the perfect man”.    The handsome, likeable, stay up all night talking and feeling like a teenager again man.    The one that when your phone gives the magical “ding” you immediately smile.    The one that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.   Until you see that he has been online all day long, and reality sets in that you have willingly paid your hard earned money to an online version of The Bachelor.      Warm and Fuzzies gone, and nausea sets in!

“Why don’t you write anymore?”

“Because people always think I have it all together.  The kids and their weekly comedy routines are a great read.   my life? Eh, not so much.   I want people to see me smiling.   I don’t want them to see the real me!!”   

“You are missing the chance to inspire other Single Moms that are going through the same thing.   You are missing out on your actual calling in life.   To be an honest, straightforward, sometimes comical, strong woman who refused to let life knock her down!!”

So I wrote!    I am hoping my pathetic attempt at parenting and dating can put a smile on your face.   Maybe a Horrified half smile?      Laugh at my expense!   Go kiss your husbands ladies and thank them for loving you unconditionally!   Try to find your kids between 14111781_10210706771208888_1981914392_npractices, school, sports and video games and tell them that you love them….if you must, DM them or Snapchat them a picture of your face looking like a dog or Ozzy Osbourne or Faceswap with the Cat!!   Whatever you have to do, let them know that you are Right Here and if they need you, they know that you are accessible and ready to give them that hug!!

As for me, I am paid up for the month on this site.   I will make the best of it.   Who knows, maybe Prince Charming might send me a virtual flower or two tonight!!    A girl can only hope!

I LOVE YOU A LOT!

Adam and Ray backseat conversations:

Adam: (Has Ray in a head lock). “Tell me you love me!!”

Ray: I love you!!!
Adam: tell me you love me A lot!!!

Ray: I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you………

Adam: (laughing)

Ray: Oh, I love you A LOT?

How Loving and Patient He Must Be….

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”        Jeremiah 29:11

Being a Mom is not easy.

My kids both had me in tears this morning as I was trying to get them ready for school.   My daughter wanted to use a different back pack (on the last three days of school!!!).   The straps had been tied in a knot and I was unable to get the knots untied.   Crisis!!!    Absolute-Teenage-Breakdown!!

My son, decided he would throw his own fit because his Cargo-shorts were dirty and I was going to make him wear a pair of shorts that didn’t have 7,000 pockets!  Apparently two pockets on a pair of shorts is not sufficient.     Hence, making me the worst mother in all of the entire world!

I did it….I just walked right out of the house.   I finally had enough.    I looked at them and proclaimed, “get ready by yourself!” and drove away.

*Before you think I really am the worst mother in all of the world, let me say that we go to my parents house every morning for breakfast.   Something that has been part of my kids routine since they were in Kindergarten*      So, as I walked out the door, Grandma was making them a healthy breakfast and looking at me with her own bit of desperation as to Why was she being punished?

I got in my car and did what any terrible mother would do.   I drove around the block a few times to cool off and came back, made sure they were ready and drove them to school.

My son was very well aware that I was not happy since just the day before he also proclaimed me The worst Mom ever when I didn’t get him ice cream after I got off work, picked home up from school, took him to get his hair cut, changed two flat tires on my lawn mower and mowed the grass….all while he was sitting in the garage (in the shade) playing on his IPhone 6 whining that I didn’t have any food!!  Grandpa, who was helping me with the mower, took him to their house, where I am sure he was served a bowl of cereal in front of the TV on the recliner!

Did he feel bad?  Sure he did.   Both last night and this morning, he gave me a kiss and told me that he was sorry.   Both times, I graciously accepted his apology, and I always welcome a kiss from the most handsome (entitled, selfish Brat….OMG, I created a monster) fella in the world.

The kids, the back pack, the wrong shorts…You are the worst mother in all the world!!!     I cried.   I cried ugly tears this morning!   I couldn’t stop crying.   The never ending cycle of never being good enough.   Not for my kids, not for my (ex) husband, not for my family, not even for myself.   I strive to be the best.   I exhaust myself so I can be the cool mom, the cool Aunt, the friend to everyone….I do it all because I have this overwhelming sense of needing to show people how much I love them.  To the point of forgetting to love myself, or feeling guilty if I plan a night out to go out to dinner with a friend, or (Heaven forbid) even a date.    As I took my long drive this morning to talk with God, my question to Him was “Why?”  One simple sentence, This isn’t how I imagined my life.    Once again, like most days, He didn’t answer.   It’s ok, I know He’s pretty busy.    Instead, I counted some blessings and went on with my morning.

My life.  Unpredictable.  Chaotic.  Full of Love.  Full of family and friends (even some random adopted strangers).  Lots of laughter and even some tears.

And yes…..Even being voted The worst Mother in all of the world!

There is a song that we used to sing in Sunday School….

He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.   It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be…..

He’s still working on me.

How loving and Patient He must me….