Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh Peggie, What did you Start??

The other day, my friend Peggie blogged about how her little girl is becoming a young woman. He daughter found some "bumps" on her chest. Guess what they were? You guessed it, the beginning of boobs!! Her daughter and Sporty are very close in age, but as I read her post, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief. "That's a long way off for me!"

Yeah, right. Literally, the very next day, my daughter came to me and said, "Mom, I'm having a problem. I found this bump on my chest and it's a little uncomfortable when I press on it." Guess what it was? Yes, you guessed it, the beginning of BOOBS!!! HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN????? Just yesterday my baby was a newborn and now she's getting boobs??? I'm WAY to young for this! I shouldn't have a daughter with booblets - as she calls them.

I told my daughter not to worry and explained to her that her body is changing, this is all perfectly normal. Then she asks if her boobs will be as big as mine! Someone please - get me a martini - QUICK! ( I realize that mine are Fabulous - but she's only 9!) I told her that it will take a while for her body to change. She said, "First my glasses, now this! What's next???" If only she knew..... With an acute case of Bronchitis, yesterday was not the day to answer that question.

So today, I girded myself with the BIBLE for all those seeking to answer these questions: "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret." I had it airmailed. Please, Judy Blume, SAVE ME!!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Hero's Welcome

No, it wasn't exactly a ticker tape parade - it was just dessert night at our children's classroom. Some time ago, I wrote a journal about a little boy that my daughter was having some issues with in her classroom, it was entitled "The Hidden Cost of War." It turned out that little Jimmy's behavioral issues stemmed predominantly from the fact that his Daddy was deployed to Iraq and Jimmy was rightly scared and angry about it.

In the months that followed, my daughter and Jimmy have become great friends. They have a lot in common - with both of their father's being military. Sporty understands when Jimmy is sad, afraid and sometimes even angry. She has felt all these things too. She fears for her Daddy when he is gone - she worries for his safety. She is afraid that something bad will happen... sometimes she even asks me if her Daddy is going to die. On rare occasions, like when her best friends moved away, she even gets angry. So, Sporty and Jimmy, they were a good fit because they can relate to one another on so many levels that ordinary children just don't understand.

Tonight was "Dessert Night" at school. All the children were to bring a special dessert to share and proudly display all their work from the last semester for their families. It was an especially exciting night for me as I was looking forward to seeing all of Sporty's work, as well as seeing all the work of the other children that I had helped during writers workshop.

Little by little, the parents trickled in. In the haze of confusion, I notice Jimmy come marching into the room. ( He almost always "marches" - like a soldier) Tonight though, there was something different about Jimmy. He was smiling and his eyes were so full of joy, before I knew it, right behind Jimmy stepped a huge man into the room that I had never seen before. I didn't need an introduction to know that this was the man who Jimmy was so proud of.

As the night went on, parents mingled throughout the room. I took my opportunity to introduce myself to Jimmy's father. " Mr. Tulley? I am Mrs. Schultz. My daughter sits next to your son and they have gotten quite close this year. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you have done and wish you a very warm welcome home!" Do you know, tears actually came to his eyes.

He told me that he had heard all about Sporty and what good friends our children had become. He thanked me for offering to help his wife while he was away. He told me about the horrors of the war. He said that he actually would tell people that he was just home from Iraq - just to hear them say "Welcome Home." Thank you was and is apparently an alien concept to most.

I was proud of Sporty, when the night was over she gave him a big hug and said, "Mr. Tulley, I just wanted to say thank you so much for all you did to protect us. I'm really glad you're home." At least my 8 year old gets it.

As we talked, I relayed to Jason ( that's his name) that my husband was also active duty. Do you know what his big concern was? He was concerned with making sure that the children and I had everything we need. He said, "If you need ANYTHING, you don't hesitate to call. I'm real handy and I'll be glad to help." Once a hero, always a hero, I guess.

So the point is, he didn't get the ticker tape parade that his service and sacrifice rightly demand, but he did have a nice welcome home and the smile on his sons face - worth more than a thousands parades. Now if only we could end this war and bring all our loved ones home...

Who I Was vs. Who I Am

It's funny how throughtout our lives, some things change and some things remain the same. My dad was recently here for a visit. Often, he likes to talk about events, often terrible events, that happened in my past. I hate these little walks down memory lane for many reasons. Primarily I dislike them because: 1. no one likes to be constantly reminded of their mistakes and 2. I'm just not that person anymore.

It's almost as if my life now began at 25. That was the year that my husband and I met. I have grown and changed so much in my life in the 12 years since then, that in many ways, I am almost unrecognizable, even to myself. I hate being compared to the person that I used to be - a person that I'm ashamed of. It bothers me when people who are close to me, especially my dad, sometimes can't seem to notice the difference.

I was painfully shy as a child and this reserve was often misunderstood as aloofness. I hated ( and still do!) loud noises and had difficulty joining in overly affectionate or boisterous situations. I my head and in my heart, I knew what it was when I saw something happening that I believed to be wrong, but standing up and saying something was completely out of the question. I lived my life in books, often preferring their company to that of real people. I guess in some ways that still holds true.

When I met my husband, even when we were just friends, I guess I really was like that flower just waiting to spread my petals and blossom. I believe that I came into my own. Sure, I still have those moments of being shy or reserved, but they are fewer and fewer. Often I am the first among my friends to share my feelings and encourage others to do so. I want to BE the person that I see in my husband's eyes. I want to BE the mother that my children can be proud of.

Yes, I still have a long one to go and many more life lessons to learn. But at least now, when I look in the mirrior, for the most part, I like the woman I see.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Things that I learned from my Teddy Bear

When you think about it, there's a lot that you can learn about life and about being a good friend from a teddy bear. Here are a few things that I have learned.

1. Where you are isn't nearly as important as who you are with.
2. When communicating with a loved one, listening is much more important than talking.
3. There is nothing like the comfort that an old friend provides.
4. A bear hug goes a long way to changing a bad day.
5. Sometimes the most important part of being a friend, is just BEING THERE.
6. It's ok to let your inside stuffing show sometimes.
7. Love will change you, but it won't make you any less beautiful, in fact, it will make you more beautiful in the eyes of those who love you.
8. Everyone needs someone to hold on to.
9. There is no such thing as too many kisses, in the morning, in the middle of the night... time doesn't matter, only love does.
10. Someone has to keep their eyes open all the time!

If we all lived our lives like a teddy bear, I think that the world would be a pretty wonderful place.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Adrift...some times

Do you ever feel like you are just riding the tide of life, hanging on for dear life to the surfboard as all the events around you come crashing down? Honestly sometimes I feel like life sort of happens to me instead of having a proactive role and making life happen.
It's frustrating to feel so out of control, until I remind myself that there is so little in life that we truly have control over. It's all an illusion, isn't it? As time passes, one day seems to bleed into the next, only seperated by the growing laundry list of things that need to get done.
On the plus side, sometimes this makes time go by faster and when you are the one left at home waiting, as I often am, anything that makes the time go by faster is a welcome reprieve.

Honestly, looking back on my life and the mistakes that I made when I was younger, and then looking around me now, I feel so blessed to have somehow been lucky enough to end up here. I have: a wonderful husband, two beautiful, vivacious little girls, a lovely home that I am proud of, both my parents are still with me, and wonderful friends... When I look at things in this way, my heart swells with gratitude and I can put things in their proper perspective.

I suspect that everyone has those days where they feel like life is crashing down around them. We all have those moments of feeling overwhelmed. When my husband is home, I turn to him and share these thoughts and feelings with him. Most of the time, he quietly listens and in all honesty, that is all that is required. Much of the time though, he isn't with me, and in those moments, I either need to find the peace within myself or find somewhere else to turn.

This is where my wonderful friends come in. I know that I can pick up the phone and I can call my friends, and they will be there to love and support me. In turn, I try to do the same for them. What do you do though, when it's the middle of the night and you might feel bad for waking a friend? That's where the internet comes in. It's such a wonderful tool. The computer is always there - your online friends may sign in and out through the course of the day, but they are there. I have a wonderful group on Cafe Mom called Highs and Lows. This is where I share the trials and triumphs of my life and the warm and wonderful women there are always there to uplift one another, support one another and be the proverbial shoulder to cry on. So if you are looking for that in an online community, come and join the group hug! We'd be happy to have you!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What Do You Think?

All my friends have been re- doing their blogs. I guess I caught the fever, though I am not sure what I think about this new layout. I'm not sold that I am going to keep it yet. What do you all think?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rants and Remembrances on Valentines Day...

So, I'm a little late. It's been a crazy week here. I had water in my basement 3 nights out of 7. Once was the heater, once was my washing machine and once was literally flooding from the deluge of rain we were getting. That's the way the week went, so I didn't have time, or the inclination to share my thoughts on Valentines day sooner.

Nine years ago, my husband took me for a walk on the beach. I knew something was up because he told me that he wanted to get up early and see the sun rise. (My husband is NOT an early riser, I am.) So, we woke up at 5:30 and headed for the beach. It was a beautiful morning in sunny central Florida. We walked along until we found a quiet place to spread our blanket and watch the sun rise. As the sun made it's first appearance on the horizon, my husband took my hand, got down on his knee, and asked me to be his best friend forever - his life partner. I will never forget that beautiful day.

Still, Valentines Day is not a favorite. The holiday itself seems so forced. Any other time of the year, you can get a beautiful bouquet of roses for $29.99 - $39.99. Of course on February 14th, some arbitrary date probably chosen by Hallmark, you can't touch roses for under $50, and that's cheap. I hate the obligatory card and flowers. I would rather have wild flowers, daisys, or sun flowers (my personal favorite) than roses. I would rather have a note, a love letter, a flower - just because than because someone said that February 14th is the "day for Lovers".

Part of my angst about Valentines Day is the fact that my husband is actually rarely around on that day. I think out of the 12 years we have been together, that we have made perhaps 4 Valentines Days together. That's a pretty sad commentary isn't it? It was the same this year. He missed it by a nose. He did leave notes for the girls and I, and a beautiful bouquet of daisies, but all in all, Valentines day seems to have lost that special allure.

I think that every day should be a special day to tell the ones we love how we feel about them, not just one day out of the year. It's like the song (sort of) says...." Don't save it all for Valentines day, give a little love everyday... Holidays have come and gone, but love lives on..." Take the opportunity today to tell your loved ones that you care. You'll be glad you did! I'm off to hug my daughters right now, and maybe play a game of Jenga!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thoughts for the Day.. A Poem I Wrote

I'm not much of a poet, but I am trying to revive that part of myself - exercise all my writing skills. So here is how I am feeling today, summed up in a few succinct words.

Here With Me

When you’re here with me,
I can breathe.
When you’re here with me,
I believe
That nothing can touch me,
Nothing can hurt me,
I can fly.

When you’re here with me,
I sleep at night.
When you’re here with me,
I try
To trust
That nothing can touch me,
Nothing can hurt me
It’s safe to cry.

Just as I start to believe,
All the doubt starts to recede….

You’re gone again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rising to the Occassion- Sometimes It is Harder Than it Seems

My mother in law is going to be joining us here for three weeks in March. I am happy that my husband will see his mom and that my children will get to see their grandmother, but sometimes getting excited about her visit is harder than it should be.
My husband is under so muh stress at work that he just doesn't need anymore. Some days he works from 6 am until 9 pm or later, and when he finally comes home, he is just dragging. I mean, the minute he puts his self down on the sofa, he's asleep. My mother in law, like the rest of the women in his life, enjoys his attention - and LOTS of it. Her visits aren't enjoyment for him, but usually WORK, which really increases his stress levels and makes both him ( and her!) impossible to live with. We almost always fight while she is here, and we rarely do any other time. It's very frustrating.
This year, I don't want to add to his cares and concerns. I'd really like to have a nice visit with his mother, but I'm worried. I say this every time she comes to visit and yet, on every visit, rising to the occassion is harder than it seems. She has a vast array of weapons in her arsenal, each one uniquely designed for getting under my skin.
I guess whne I am truly honest with myself, what it all comes down to is the fact that I hate to share my husband. Our time together is so limited and to share what time we do have with someone who is so annoyingly needy really gets me. This time I want to stop being selfish and really try to make her visit enjoyable for him, but I'm not sure how to do that.
I love my husband and I want to help ease his burdens, not make them worse. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Whatever tips that you use to help make your MIL's visits enjoyable - I'm all ears! Thanks so much!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Just Need to Vent

So in spite of it being all about being positive, sometimes you just need to vent. I'm getting my period, which sadly, always brings out the worst. I guess the first part of my vent should be about that. I really hate having my period. Ever since I had my youngest, my periods have just been FUBAR. I have a four day period - which isn't so bad, except that the bleeding is REALLY, REALLY heavy. Seriously, I can bleed through a tampon and two pads in less than a half an hour. All day - every day - for four days. Hating life right now. Plus, it's painful which just really sucks.
I made a really nice dinner for my husband last night. Home made shrimp dip ( thank you Paula Dean!), double stuffed potatoes, corn, and spinach stuffed flank steak. Even a Boston Cream Pie. He's been working so hard that he just came home dragging. Honestly, I should have known that in his present state the candle light, heart plates and dinner would be completely lost on him. He didn't even touch the Boston Cream Pie. I'm ready to pitch it.
My Mother in law? Well, we are paying for her ticket to come and visit. All she has to do is get me the dates that she can come and I will make the reservations. She told me that I would have the dates Tuesday night. It's no surprise, but I'm STILL WAITING. I mean, what? Do I have to pick up the phone and make the arrangements for her dogs too? At some point people just need to be accountable. She has until next weekend, after that, I'm not doing it.
Ok, I realize that I wouldn't be nearly this upset if I weren't really hormonal, but you know?

I need a box of midol, a really long bubble bath, a bottle of champaigne and maybe my outlook on life today will improve a little. Well, at least it isn't Sunday and the liquor store is still open.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Monster In Law

Anyone else here see the movie with J-Lo and Jane Fonda? If you have "issues" with your Mother in law, it is simply a must see! Basic synopsis: over-invovled mother is upset when son becomes engaged to a woman that she does not approve of. MIL then sets out to do all she can to break up the happy couple. When the future daughter in law finds out about all her perspective MIL has been up to, she gets even... and the results are just hysterical. In true Hollywood fashion though, the end was a fairy tale with the two women reaching an understanding. ( Of course the male character, the adorable Michael Vartan, was oblivious throughout of all the machinations going on.)
After seeing this movie, I am CONVINCED that someone has been spying on my MIL and I. The movie clearly shows the battle between the two women for the attention of the man. It's sort of sad really, because it shouldn't be a battle - but it is. At least in some cases. I'm sure that there are some normal mother in laws out there - just not mine.
She isn't a monster, in fact, before I married my husband, I adored his mother. I still do, it's just that she is so needy. Actually needy doesn't begin to cover it, but it's a start. It's all about her son - even my children - her grandchildren are nothing more than "also rans" when it comes to her attention. First is her son, second is her grandson, and those two little girls of mine? Oh yeah - also her grandchildren coming in at a remote third. It's irritating.
I guess what gets me the most is the fact that she presumes to tell me how to love my husband, and she lectures me on who he is. The fact is, she doesn't know him at all, and hasn't for many years. She doesn't understand his cares, his dreams, his life. Not understanding would be fine, what isn't is presuming that she knows it all and than can "straighten me out" on some of it.

Anyhow, this is the month of love, and I promised that I was going to be positive. So today, I love movies that can make me laugh at very difficult situations and relationships in my own life while also giving me a new perspective and understanding. Monster in Law gets two thumbs up.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue...

SInce February is the month of love, I wanted to talk about some things that are important to me, that I may not share everyday. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my country. I am proud to be an Amerian, always have been. When I see that beautiful flag blowing in the breeze, my heart swells with pride. I don't think that there could be a more beautiful flag in all the world than mine.
I grew up as the daughter of an retired Colonel in the US Air Force, and as such, I was always taught what it means to be a patriot. My heart beats true for none but our beautiful red, white and blue. Now that I am married to a Navy man, that same heart bleeds Navy blue and gold...
Today, I chose to talk about how I love my country becuase it is Super Tuesday, the day that many states throughout our wonderful country will cast their ballots for our next president. It truly feels as if we are on the verge of something historic. I love feeling as if I am riding the winds of change, especially when they are accompanied with such a sense of hope and optimisim for the future of this country that I love so much.

I hope that if you live in a state that votes today that you are on your way out the door ( like I am!) to cast your ballot. After all, we take for granted what a third of our planet can only dream about. Don't be silent, ROCK THE VOTE!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's the Month of LOVE!

My goal for this month is to blog everyday - because I love to BLOG - and to write about something that I love. I am taking a page from my friend Steph's book and keeping it positive!
I am one of those strange people that love winter. I really do. I love to watch the snow as it drifts down from Heaven. I love the glorious, pristine white of the snow when it is still fresh. I even love that crispness in the air that makes my cheeks all rosy.
I enjoy playing in the snow with my children. Watching them frolick and play as they enjoy a snow day is one of my favorite things. I love the joy in their voice as they whisper the most magical of all words...."SNOW"....
I love warming up after I have been out in the snow. I love throwing my children's snowsuits right in the dryer and the warm, clean smell when they are dry. I love sharing a hot cocoa with Posh as she chats happily about her trek into the winter wonderland.
I know that there is a lot about winter that many of us don't like, myself included, but today, I wanted to embrace those things that I love.

I'm not the only one in my family with a love of the winter. Last week, Sporty brought home the following poem from school. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

I run outside.
I watch snowflakes form
a frosty blanket
on everything in sight.
In the light of the dawn,
a shimmering quilt of diamonds
covers the landscape.
Gleaming icicles decorate the snowy trees
as snowflakes swirl down to the ground.
As the sky gets brighter
the wonder of winter becomes
a world of glistening snow.
I will never forget
this wintery wonderland!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Finally.... An Epiphany!

My best friend from childhood called me the other day. She was feeling down and needed a little pick me up. She is getting married in October, and I think that facing such a major life change - even a positive one - causes all of us to become reflective on our lives.
Stephanie and I have grown up together, and we have so much in common, even part of our scarred psyches are the same. Right now, she is having some issues with her career and not really liking where her life is going. I can certainly relate. Sometimes I think that my life is floundering like the stories that I am waiting to finish.
Stephanie and I have both always wanted to be writers. We are both very creative and have always fed off one another's creative energy. She expressed the other day that she wants to write more but for whatever reason, she is stuck. I told her how I could relate. Right now, at this very minute, I have no less than five half baked stories just waiting to be either finished or brought out from my head and put on "paper".
She asked me why I was stuck? I told her that my stories all ask a question - a question that I am waiting to answer. I wanted this answer to be some universal truth, but now, after I talked to her, I realized that the answer doesn't have to be universal, it just has to be mine. I think that realizing this will finally let me move on....
Why is it that those we love the most are often able to get right to the quick of the situation? I love those brief moments of epiphany!