Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Honey badger don't care. Okay... maybe a little.

Sometimes, it seems like the Universe is talking to me. Before you call the dudes in the white coats to come get me, hear me out. There are certain lessons in life that are tough to learn. REALLY tough. And they come up over and over and over again. One of my lessons just seems to crop up on a regular basis: giving other people too much power over me... caring much too much about what others think of lil' ol' me.

I'm sure in all my nerdiliciousness, it comes as a huge shock that I was bullied a lot in school. I was teased about my glasses. I was teased because I was too smart. You name it, I was teased for it. In middle school, even my math teacher got into the act by calling me "Six" on a regular basis. In Roman numerals, six is VI. And, according to Mr. Herring, VI stands for "village idiot". Maybe he thought I didn't care about his little nickname for me. But, he would be wrong.

High school was the worst. Walk down the hall... hear girls whisper "bitch" as I passed by. Dirty looks. And little things like having a song with the repeating lyrics "I hate everything about you" dedicated to me at my senior prom. (No, I'm not kidding. Video is below if you have no idea who Ugly Kid Joe is or why he's so angry.)

College was easier because almost everyone there was pretty darn smart. EVERYONE was a little different. And it was okay. But, man... I still cared entirely too much what others thought of me. Truth be told, I did a heck of a lot of stupid things, all in the name of trying to fit in, trying to be cool/loved/accepted.

Fast forward to becoming a parent. Geesh. When Macey was born, I was so worried about what everyone thought of me. For some reason, when you have a baby, people feel the need to share their opinions freely, and I took almost every unsolicited comment to heart.

"You're not breastfeeding?! You might as well be feeding your baby rat poison!"

"She was a preemie? Poor thing. Did you _________?" (fill in the blank with some reason that it was my fault my water broke at 34 weeks.)

"You had an epidural?! Weren't you worried about the effects on the baby?!" (insert look of disgust here)

The bottom line is that I've always cared entirely too much about what others thought of me. I've based my whole self image on other people's views. And you know what? That is really screwed up.*

As I'm getting older, though, I'm gaining perspective. I'm starting to care less and less. More often, I'm adopting the attitude of "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, and yours stinks." Obviously, a serial people pleaser like myself can't just turn it around in one fell swoop. But, I'm working on it. The Universe keeps delivering LOTS of opportunities to just say "NO" to what others think of me. And maybe one of these days, when my hair is old and gray and my boobs are reaching my knees, I won't give other people's opinions of me a second thought. But, until then, I better get off the computer and take a shower. I'm expecting a package delivery from the UPS man, and what would he think if I answered the door in my snowflake pajama pants? *shutter at the thought*

*For the record, instead of writing, "That is really screwed up." I replaced the word "screwed" with the F-bomb. But, ironically, I decided to change it for fear of offending anyone. See? I still have a long way to go. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I had a dream...

A few nights ago, I had a dream. I haven't had a dream this good in a long, long time.

I was baking. In a commercial kitchen. In a STORE, y'all. It was my store. And it was glorious.

It was sleek-ish with a few industrial antiques here and there. The walls were a beautiful rich pumpkin color. One entire wall was worn brick full of character and stories to be told. There were beautiful little spotlights everywhere. It had a strong smell of coffee and cakes. There were little tables in which folks could sit down with a salted caramel mocha and a chocolate chai spice cupcake. It felt warm and cozy. It felt like mine.

On one side, there was a case filled with cupcakes and breads and other bakery-type offerings. So pretty. So chic. On the other side, there was a little room used as an office that Rhett and I shared. He worked on graphics and web design. In my spare time, I worked on graphics and code.

In this dream, I got a chance to combine the two things that I love most: baking and design.

Of course, I woke up and thought, "Aaaaahh... isn't that nice!" And then I thought about it some more. Of course, the realist in me surmised that it would be nearly impossible to accomplish. Where in the heck would I get the many tens of THOUSANDS of dollars that it would cost to start such an operation? And could I keep such a place afloat? And would I be working myself to death?

Obviously, this dream is a long shot... as most good dreams are. But, it all starts with dreaming it and thinking that there's a small chance that it really could be possible. So, I'm putting my dream out there in the Universe, writing it out so that whomever's in charge can know what I want deep down in my heart.

Hello, God/Universe/etc. It's me, Jenny. Are you listening?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas makes me want to throw up a little.

A few weeks ago, I started really thinking about Christmas. Instead of feeling excited, full of anticipation, I felt sick to my stomach. My thoughts on the issue?

- We don't have the money this year. Well, actually, we DO have money, but it really needs to go to things like new tires for the Suburban, paying off some debt, and saving for future "oh shit" moments.

- It's SO MUCH PRESSURE. Pressure to get the right gifts. Pressure to live up to the expectations. Pressure to have the best Christmas EVER. *barf*

- How do we give the kids a fantastic Christmas without the normal festival of greed? As the kids get older, they want EXPENSIVE things. Their friends are all receiving things like iPods and phones and pricey video games. We can't compete with that. And honestly, we shouldn't even try.

When I thought about my FAVORITE holiday, Thanksgiving, I tried to figure out why I love it soooo much more than Christmas. Why? Because there's no pressure. We get together with our families. We play board games and work puzzles. We eat yummy food that we look forward to all year. We cuddle and talk and laugh. There is SO MUCH LOVE when we get together for Thanksgiving. I couldn't help but wonder... how can I make Christmas more like Thanksgiving?

So, I called up my mom. Then, I called up my sister. Then, I called my mom again. We talked about making the season special without the pressure. More love. Fewer gifts. More time together, doing what makes our hearts feel good.

So, for my side of the family this year... no presents for the adults. Seriously. Instead, donations to people who really need it. Whether it's a clean water fund, adopting a family for Christmas, or something else that our hearts feel close to, we're donating instead. Because when it's all said and done, I don't need THINGS to tell me that my family loves me.

Even on Rhett's side of the family, we're cutting back. This year, we drew names for a gift exchange. Considering how big our family is, it's still a lot of money, but it's a heck of a lot better than buying every single person in the family a gift.

I still struggle with what to do for the kids, though. Big kids? Probably money, as there is no better gift than letting THEM choose what is important to them, budgeting their money, etc. Ella is more complicated, as there must be toys. But, she's just as happy with a bouncy ball from a vending machine as she is with an expensive "this year's must have" toy. So, we'll be focusing on fun stuff that will last instead of trendy toys that end up discarded in a day or two. Finger paints. A bright pink ball. New crayons. Toys that keep on giving and never get old.

So, this year for Christmas, less pressure. More love. More memories. More FUN.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's been a while, huh?

Well, I just pulled 301 photos off my camera. Yes. Really. Can you believe it's been over 3 months since I downloaded pictures? What kind of mother am I anyway?! Geesh.

So, what have we been doing for the last 3 months?

Ella turned four. Can you believe it? FOUR!

Ella insisted on a Blue Mermaid theme. Never heard of the Blue Mermaid? That's because it was a character in exactly ONE episode of  Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr. 

Jeebus, Ella. Really?

This is the evil Squidy... who was also only in that one single episode and was the archnemesis of the Blue Mermaid. 

The poor Blue Mermaid apparently has no bones in her arms. *saggy mcsaggerson* Oh well. I guess that's what happens to mermaids that venture out of the sea onto dry land*?

*I realize that's a lame excuse, but Ella totally bought it.

Then, we started school. And all those pictures were LAME (the few that I remembered to take.) So, we'll skip over that.

After that, Macey came home. For good. I'm so glad to have my girl home. There are just no words. *sniff, sniff* So thankful. She's HOME.

Then... HALLOWEEN! Complete with eyeball mini cupcakes. 

(below, left to right) 

Macey decided to be an 80's valley girl. She has the vocabulary and "accent" DOWN. She's almost as good as her momma at being totally awesome, dudes. *wink*

Ella was very reluctantly a cave girl who chatted up every single adult she came into contact with. "Your deck is CREEEEEEPY!" "Dude, you have a lot of stairs!" "You have numbers on your house, kinda like a car." "Two pieces? You are AMAAAAAAZING!"

Cole was Harry Potter for the second time. He ADORES Harry Potter. He's read all the books multiple times. If memory serves, he's had three Harry Potter birthdays. And since the last movie was released, the book series is over, and this is his last year trick or treating, he decided to pay homage to his favorite character of all time... Harry James Potter. 

We have a rule at our house that 6th grade is the last year for trick or treating. After a kid gets to be as big as or bigger than the adults passing out the treats, it's just time to stop. So, this year, Carter watched from the sidelines. Can you believe how grown up he is? I mean... he's started SHAVING. His FACE. Yes. Really.

So, we've been busy. Life has been chaos... sweet, beautiful, gorgeous insanity. But, truly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Totally MIA... well... almost totally.

It's been entirely too long since I posted. I need to get on that. Like... NOW. Updates to come. :)