I have found some very encouraging, uplifting, healing blogs that have kind of helped push me forward in opening about my recovery from addiction with food. Disordered eating, whatever you want to call it. These blogs or Facebook pages encouraged me to look at myself as OK just the way that I am.

The one that has currently had the most positive impact you can find HERE!

From these social media outlets, I even started following some plus size fashion pages. Recently, I've started wearing different clothes. I found that even though I was heavier than I was two years ago, I wasn't nearly as self-conscious in my clothes as I used to be. Whereas before, I had to make sure that the outfit I was wearing was flattering and I had to make sure there weren't any bulges sticking out. (there are ALWAYS bulges, c'mon!) But if I believed they weren't there, they weren't there. Ha!

That's why in the past when I lost a significant amount of weight, even though I was still large, I felt like I looked acceptable on the outside, looked good in my clothes, and therefore, I was "happy". Inside I was still a hot mess.

I have always been meticulous about the way that I look and wanting to look my best on the outside. I grew up with a family that looked meticulous at all times. It didn't matter what was going on inside the house, when the Douberly's stepped out, well, we looked like we had it together. So, even though I don't care about looking perfect now, I have used looking good on the outside as kind of my mask for a long time.

Whenever I have lost weight in the past and gotten semi-close to regular-sized clothing, it never failed I would head over to Lane Bryant thinking  how happy I would be that I would be rid of this store once and for all. Part of my shame in being fat is having to shop in specialty stores.

 Of course, eventually I would regain the weight back and there I would be.....back at LB shopping for my 22/24. *sigh*

There is nothing wrong with having to shop specialty stores. Back in the day, when I was much younger, there just wasn't the choices available like there are today. It was kind of an ordeal to find fashionable clothing that fit when I was a teenager. Don't even get me started on shopping with my mom at Proffits Department store in 1982.....

The thing that I have realized is that I was the one who heaped that shame and guilt upon myself. I, again, was adding shame and guilt to something that no one was doing to me, I was doing to myself. Ugh.

What created the shame in the first place? When you don't let people in and you look meticulous on the outside, it is hard for someone to understand the depth of shame a person holds within them. I take responsibility for allowing shame to grow and build in my life, but it didn't just "pop" in my head to feel shame.

It was carefully taught.

The adults in my life when I was an adolescent were key in also contributing to the belief in myself that I was less than. There is really too much to write. I was also bullied by my peers because of my weight (they didn't call it bullying back in the day....). Even family. Loved ones with good intentions spread shame. I took it in, I allowed it to shape me. I believed it.

I have rehashed this junk with people over and over again. It doesn't accomplish anything. It's done. Over. What I allowed it to do to me, however, wasn't. What I have also learned in therapy this past year and a half is that anger turned inward turns into shame. Ding! Ding! Ding! Talk about eye opening.

Anger with no place to go but in, equals shame, guilt and self-hate.

 I certainly heard many other positive things about myself from my peers and the adults in my life. There were many positive experiences in my adolescence, to only focus on this junk would be unfair.

I guess my pain didn't have anywhere to go or I didn't have the tools to get it out so it went inside and my shame ended up being seen on the outside. And it's been haunting me for 30 years.

Even though I know and feel responsible for my eating habits since the time I became an adult, for years I turned what happened in my adolescence and allowed it to shape what I believed about myself.   My 30's came the first true spiritual freedom, first experience of the freedom from food, lots of healing....just no way to make it last. The cycle would win again. Heaping more guilt, shame and self-hate. Confirming all those negative beliefs I had about myself. Yes, you are a fat slob who will NEVER change. No one will EVER love you.

So, even though the 22/24 still haunts me, I've gotten so much more comfortable in my skin the past year and a half. I have learned that all the messages that pop into my head are not ones I need to be meditating on. I have learned to accept myself (for the most part) as I am right now without self-hate and shame. I am surrounded by people who love me and accept me. When I expose myself on this blog, I get acceptance. And part of why this journey is continuing, is able to exist, is the people around me. Encouraging me. Loving me. Helping me. Accepting me.

I guess it's kind of like hearing truth instead of lies. When you hear truth there is no shame, there is no fear. There is love. Acceptance. A kind of nodding your head in agreement moment with people, rather than ringing of the false, conditional statements from the past in my ear one. last. time.

I might even be close to saying this:

The past is past. Thank God.

The present is pretty awesome.

I think it's time I accept the 22/24's of my life and live in the current moment in all this love I am surrounded with. It's time to accept not push away. It's truly the only way to make permanent, lasting change begin.

Next post I will discuss the biggest factor in helping me love and accept myself.... stay tuned!

Freedom, Slavery and Insults.

Photo credit: Katie Lloyd Photography

I've just started sharing my journey that I have been on for a while to get healthy....not just physically, but mentally. It means I've shared a lot of things I have never shared before out in the open. Thanks for coming along.

Since sharing my goals and wishes last post it has been a bumpy road, when things are going on emotionally, it's harder to keep that 'one day at a time" focus. Especially last week. I enjoyed cake and other treats, and I tried to stay neutral about it, but there were too many things going on in my head.

I'm not surprised that it's been tough. I'm not surprised by the mental attacks in my head regarding myself, my body and what I eat. It just gets exhausting. And I don't think most people who don't have "ED" (eating disorder) or what I like to call disordered eating.... really get this part. It's hard to get in an addicts brain and understand what they allow in and don't allow in.

For me, and I can only speak for me, when you have lived in shame most of your life, it's just like a really bad habit. And if you have been in this habit for so many years it's difficult to just "snap out of it". I really wish it were that easy. After my last post I felt almost invincible....I felt like I could do it. We could do this thing. I have accountability. I have support. I have truth on my side. I forgot that I still have to start every day over and live in that day. It's easy to get mentally sidetracked. Sometimes, I have help with the mental fight, other times I am  mentally fighting against myself.

Then some drunk guy passing me in a truck verbally insults me while I'm in a parking lot (with my husband) after enjoying a date night out. That happened about a week ago. I haven't been verbally called out on my weight in years. It's embarrassing, horrifying and degrading.

I would like to say it didn't throw me for a loop, but it did. I would like to say it didn't hurt, but it did.

And, I would like to say the truth of God's love for me and how He views me and my mistakes wasn't shaken, but it was.

So, why does it surprise me, after years and years of not hearing any verbal insults thrown at me because of my weight I get that. 

 I'm not surprised it happened because I think this getting healthy process has a BIG spiritual component to it and that was just spiritual warfare. My mind was getting mentally strong, I was believing in myself, I posted the last post and felt warm support and it felt safe. If Satan can't get me to hate myself then he will use the next. best. thing. Public humiliation.

A catcall attached with an insult.

 In public.

It's kind of like I get the nerve to open up my messed up stuff inside my head in order to heal and Satan hurls something else at me to stop from moving forward.

 I look at myself and remember everything that I have done. The money I have spent to lose weight. I remember the  weight I have lost in the past and how it has crept back on, once again. And  then I look at an unflattering picture and I allow that picture to change how I view myself. It eats away at me.

That's why I'm sharing it, because it's been inside my head for days now and it has discouraged me and I allowed it to make me feel less than. I have emotionally eaten on it, definitely. The only difference is I don't shame myself now. I just try and understand the why behind it.

I'm also sharing it because I know I am not the only one with the struggle. And once I put it out there, I will be reminded that I am not alone in this struggle.

That's really how I get better. Feelings are going to happen. I'm going to feel sad, angry and upset at myself and others. I just have to figure out the why of using food to cover up those feelings. For the most part, I was just sad...for days. I felt defeated (which I did not need to). I was overcome with self-doubt and feelings of this journey being too daunting and overwhelming, I mean, how many times have I been here? Who am I to think I can do this??? Huh?

I forgot to live in the moment and take one day at a time. I allowed the negatively to take over, but only for a little while. I then process the hurt. I remember I am not alone, I never have been. And  as long as I keep going, I can only move forward. It's a temporary setback. I remember all the good I have been doing, mentally and physically. And I put one foot in front of the other and keep moving on.

My mind could go either of two ways...I can believe a lie or I can believe the truth. And today I am believing truth.

"ED" wants me to believe the lies. "Satan" has a few good tricks up his sleeve. But I have the power of the universe behind me with some pretty amazing people backing me up. And if I choose to focus on that, instead of the lies, then ED doesn't win this time.

For me it's not really about counting calories, burning them off in exercise and getting fit. In the end, I may not look like a fit person to you, but if I have a fit, healthy mind, then there is a peace there that can't be understood if you have never struggled with shame. What I keep hearing is, that when I get the fit and healthy mind, the body will follow.

Then I will be able to look at myself and find love no matter what is hurled my way. To be comfortable in my current skin. To walk confidently. To not listen to drunks on the side of the road. To look at the unflattering pictures and remember how blessed I am instead of how alone and isolated I feel. To remember the family, friends, and loved ones around me that love me  and support me in spite of my failures and setbacks.

Those outnumber any insult hurled. Any attempt of Satan to make me go back to where I was. It's not going to happen this time. I may take two steps forward and one step back, but as long as I keep going and learn different ways then I am a success.

This is the life of freedom.

"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law" Galatians 5:1

Getting It All Out.

 My church had a women's retreat recently where the focus was on freedom. I led a breakout session at the retreat on Saturday, along with a few other women. But for the most part, Friday night and Saturday was a time of worship and a time in the word and a great time of just refreshment and healing.

My breakout session was on freedom from the bondage of food. It was quite difficult being a large person leading a session on being free from the bondage of food. It felt, well, hypocritical. But, I was loved and accepted by those present and I explained in my session where I was in my journey and it was honestly the best thing that I could have done for where I am. That's kind of what led to my last post. Even though I have dealt with what happened in my pastor's office when I was 16 years old long ago, I had never openly shared it with the world. And it needed to happen.

There is a lot of "stuff" inside of me that I have never let out. I have spent the last year and a half in the best treatment/therapy that I have ever had. As a therapist myself, I believe in therapy and there is nothing wrong with saying you need it. My weight is one area of my life that I. can't. control. Which, I have found is quite common (Look at Oprah, girl has got it together but can't stay a size 8, not that she needs to, but you see what I'm sayin'). Or we control too much (anorexia and bulimia...or more mildly with over dieting and exercising to stay a size 6). So, it goes both ways. Disordered eating doesn't really have a preference it's just when you're really, really fat or really, really skinny people can see it more. Some people are really good at hiding their disorders.

I have spent the last ten years diligently attempting to get to a healthy weight and I haven't succeeded.    There. It's out there. I said it.

Most of that time I hated myself and the way I looked. If I lost weight I was "happy" and liked the way I looked, even though I never made it anywhere near a goal weight. I lost a lot of weight.....but.....I had a lot of weight to lose, so.... I would lose, gain, lose. repeat.  I was depressed and got to the point of being so sad and depressed about the way that I looked that it spurred me to change. What I have learned in the past year and a half is that you can't hate your way to a positive change. Let me say that again YOU CAN'T HATE YOURSELF INTO A POSITIVE CHANGE. Yep. And I have about 30 years of hate to undo. Wow. It's my hate. I own it. I've had medical interventions in order to reach a goal weight and had initial success, great success, only to slowly re-gain. Enter more shame, guilt, self-hate and failure. *sigh*

Not only have I had to come to not hate the way I look in order to change I really had to embrace the way I look. The reason for change had to come from something besides what was on the outside. Because being a certain size on the outside isn't going to necessarily make me happy, even though that's what I've focused on for so. many. years.

It's about acceptance. Love, not hate. Being able to say I'm beautiful. You can tell me I'm beautiful 10,000 times and it doesn't matter if I don't believe it.... It's about trying to see myself like my husband sees me. Like my kids see me. Like Jesus sees me.

 I'm to the point where I want to stop procrastinating and move forward with a plan.  I have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and next year at this time I want to look different. To finally begin a journey with love and acceptance and move forward to healthy living because I just want to be healthy, move freely, have energy to keep up with my kids...all kinds of things make the list not just the fact that I could be smoking HOT as a size 8. That's really not the focus, it  can't be. That's kind of like the icing on the cake. It can't be the end all, be all. I'm more than that. I'm so much more than just a pretty face. I always have been.

I want to stop procrastinating now that I have worked on a lot of this "head" stuff and while taking it one day at a time still hold myself accountable to eating clean, 80-90% of the time, eating whole foods, working my body out in a healthy way (which means I don't have to kill it, I just have to move it 3-5 times a week). All this while giving me grace when life happens. Understanding what eating in moderation means. Living with the hard feelings. The sad feelings.

So yeah, I may be a mess for a while. There's a lot of stuff in here that's not  pleasant or fun and it either comes out and gets processed or I drown it with food. It's really difficult to explain in a paragraph, but if you stick with me long enough you will be able to experience the ups and downs of recovery. Because that's what it is. It's a journey. And there will be ups and downs.

Just like walking into that retreat with anxiety about sharing about being free from food's bondage and wondering if I was going to be laughed out of the room, writing this post leaves me feeling exposed and "out there". But I went ahead and did that breakout session and great things came from it. Instead of being laughed out of the room I was loved, accepted and affirmed. It was crazy. It was healing. The retreat was healing. Jesus is healing.

 It's very healing sharing your scars and realizing that people aren't going to reject you but offer you support. For too long I have rejected support and built walls and kept people out. I still do. I have a long ways to go. But just writing this blog post helps. It is healing. Putting it out there.

So, I want to be free from this junk so if that means putting it out there I'm going to put it out there. I'm the only one who can choose to let it go. It just may mean seeing all kinds of parts of me you haven't seen before. Hopefully you can love me through this process.

More to come..... (eek!)

On healing from past hurts....

So I got into a Facebook argument with a friend from high school last week. What's new, right? That's what Facebook is all about it seems these days, right?  ha. No, this was pretty interesting. I didn't mean to get into a Facebook argument.

I went to school with this friend since 4th grade. We graduated from high school together. There were 12...13, maybe of us altogether in the graduating class. Independent, fundamental baptist church. My friend wrote a post about our childhood and tagged me in the post. He was remembering a lot of good people (and they were). My friend didn't know that his trip down memory lane and my subsequent negative comment (which was only party negative) would lead to the equivalence of  him yelling at me in his response to me. He was basically telling me to get over it and stop raining on his memory lane parade. Or at least that's how I interpreted it. I commented back "sorry" and he said "OK". Then I decided I wasn't "sorry". I felt what I felt and I wasn't sorry. So I deleted my sorry. He deleted his 'ok' and his rant, but left my comment. We have since discussed and ad a great conversation (via Facebook messenger of course ;-) ) love my life long friends. I really do. 

But at the time he didn't know the stuff that I had processed in therapy that week. In essence, in his comment he was telling me to get over it. I mean it's been 28 years. He may have just been talking about the fundamentalism and legalism we grew up in. I was talking about abuse. Not sexual abuse. I want to make that clear. But spiritual abuse. Abuse in power. I had processed some deep shameful stuff that I had never processed before just a few days before. So I'm thankful for Tim. 

So, listening to my friend take a stroll down memory lane discussing other people was fine. We had some great memories with some great people. It wasn't all bad. At all. I guess the timing of his post with the timing of my processing just clashed, but it was really a good thing and quite beneficial, because it was really good for me.

No one may really understand this or me or why I feel the wayI do and that's OK.  I've processed some heavy stuff the past two weeks. I have never, ever written anything down about the spiritual abuse I encountered growing up in a independent, fundamental baptist church and shared it. Ever.

Yesterday I led a breakout session at a Women's conference. I told a group of women who do not know me one aspect of spiritual abuse that occurred when I was beginning my senior year of high school and it was done by the the pastor I grew up with in childhood . It was an abuse of power on his part and it should never have  happened. This abuse has a critical role in my shame with my weight. I have never shared anything like this with people who were not super close with me. 

Today, what my pastor, Aarron Schwartz said, most likely in passing,  hit me straight between the eyes, was that when people abuse spiritually, it is usually most likely because of a boundary break. I would agree with that. Not surprised by that. What he said next, took my breath away. Those who spiritually abuse, for the most part, are not bad people. But because of broken boundaries, they take on or don't have the necessary boundaries they need so they hurt other people because of it. Wow.

And I think that's exactly what happens in churches where there is no accountability. The Pastor takes on way too much power and before you know it, he thinks he needs to save his flock. And so he takes on too much responsibility and before you know it he is taking on the role as 'messiah' and rescuing and then there is anger, disappointment, and hurt when people don't respond the way he wants them to. And everything gets warped. It was just warped power. The end. And it hurt innocent people. And that is sad.

Anyway, this needed to be written for me. I think it is part of my continued healing. Some may not get it. That's OK. It wasn't written for you.

I have forgiven long ago. People will be held accountable for their actions. Why this has taken so long for me to let go .....SHAME. And I was the one holding onto it. That's why. And that wasn't my fault. Because I didn't put that shame there. But I am responsible for putting it to rest and walking in freedom.

Some people think I"m broken.
A prisoner of the past.
What they don''t understand is that healing takes time.
Because even though I am whole
 and even though I am free,
Shame has its own calling card,
 Shame has its own address and name.
Shame likes to take up residence in a broken person's soul,
And even though that person isn't broken,
Shame just doesn't seem to know.

Until The Light breaks in and The Door is opened
And memories are brought to light
And the broken is reminded
They had no part in the hurting
No, they were just an innocent one standing by

When you're sixteen or seventeen
You trust the adults in your life
And if they tell you you're pretty
Then you believe them when they tell you a lie.

You were pretty. That wasn't the lie.
It's OK to not feel fondly
Of a place that heaped shame
It's OK to mourn
And it's OK to feel sad
Maybe no one else experienced it,
But you did. That shame called your name.

But now there is freedom
And now there is light
You have told your story
And it shines in the light
Go and be free
For you have always held the key

I have no idea if this poem makes any sense but I just wrote it this afternoon. Along with this blog post. The more things I put to light the less hold they will have on the inside. And I want ALL the stuff  that has been holding me on the inside to finally come out. I want to experience freedom like I have never experienced it before.

Thank you for listening.

Hi friends

I'm in the middle of a summer sabbatical right now with the blog. Thinking things over. Trying to figure out who Reflections of a Mom is these days. Good things to come. And you will be the first to hear about it! 

Great, Positive ADHD Article!

oh my goodness! I love everything about this article. As many of you know I have an 8 year old with ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult....it was truly eye opening. My 8 year old already has questions about why he has to take medicine. How awesome this professional explains ADHD symptoms to families. Coming from a strengths perspective myself from my social work training, I just simply. love. this.

Click HERE to read how you can explain ADHD to your child from a strengths perspective!

Happy Monday!

Let It Go (the non-Disney version)

On the way to church last Sunday I couldn't help but anticipate the anxiety that would soon  be brewing once we parked the car and went into the theatre (where the church meets). A lot of my anxiety was based on expectations. Expectations that I knew weren't going to be met. It had nothing to do with the church. It simply had to do with knowing my two boys were about to be unleashed.

Having a son with ADHD and then having a younger son that does everything his big brother does well, you see where this is going. Impulsiveness begets impulsiveness. It makes life interesting. And it really puts a wrench when we go to places and do things that are unstructured and can be overstimulating, like church. Now imagine church in a movie theatre. Yeah. So every week it feels like I am fighting a battle. Every week we have to go over the same rules. I have to be "on top" of the impulsivity. It can really be exhausting.

My expectations have to do with control. I want to control my children. I want them to listen. I want them to keep their hands to themselves. My brain knows why Carter has the need to touch everything, but the mom in me just wants him to stop. I want them to do what I say. I want them to act a certain way in public. I want people to think that I am a great mom. This is a common issue that I have to deal with quite frequently. And it's mine. I own it. Basically, I am giving myself anxiety. Over things I can't control. I long for my oldest to be still. For him to walk with us and not run impulsively away from us. To ask before he does something, to sit at the dinner table and stay there. To understand consequences and to understand that just saying your sorry doesn't instantly make everything right, it's not a pat answer that fixes all the messes. I want him to walk in a straight line without hopping, skipping or jumping all the time. I mean, he's 8. Why can't he do that? Why can't I make him do that? How do I help him learn to control himself. I mean, it's a life skill, right? I am a therapist. I teach kids and families about feelings, behaviors, impulse control yet I am challenged by these behaviors every day. Does anything I try and teach him stick?

God pretty much teaches me every week that I just need to let go. And last Sunday he was teaching me to let go of straight lines, perfect walks, the messes, the broken toys, mannerly communication with others in public, and the hope of asking before doing (ha). To just let go of  my expectations.

And with that, the anxiety left. It wasn't long, though, before I picked it back up again when Carter wouldn't listen to my request to stay by my side and when I pulled him away from the water fountain to "consequence" him. To prove my point. To show the others around me that, I am trying. I am trying to control the behavior. I could see the anger in his eyes. He just wants to do what he wants to do. I have to teach him that there are limits. There's nothing wrong with that....it's just that my expectations are usually centered around what other people think, and that is not Carter's responsibility. So why am I punishing him for something that I created? I just wanted him to be still and stay by my side. But, we are in a movie theatre. Big open spaces, lots of hallways to run through. buttons to push on doors to make them open. I mean, for an 8 year old, ADHD boy this place is heaven. Add a four year old into that mix and I. get. overwhelmed.

He's not going to stand still. He can learn the rules....no running, but right now, he's going to dart ahead. Jump to the water fountains  and well, that's ok. Because sometimes I just need to pick our relationship over my expectations that he's never, ever going to meet. And how frustrating for an 8 year old little boy to have to suffer through, whether he has ADHD or not.

The more I try to make Carter conform at age 8 the more he resents me. I'm not talking about discipline matters. We discipline, we have structure, rules and rewards. But staying on him for things that are just expectations of good behavior, those are the things that rob the joy out of our relationship. Do I really need to stay on top of him for every little thing? No. Just let it go.

It's a fine balance. And I have sucked at it lately and I can tell from our relationship it is affecting him. It's time to pick battles. Let things go. We both need our emotional love tank re-filled and I see glimpses of that happening. We had a great weekend in Chattanooga over spring break and I really tried to just enjoy my boy. Tell him how much I love him. Praise him. Point out what he is doing good. Tickle him. Ruffle his hair. Stroke his cheek and tell him that I am so glad that he is mine.

Enjoy the good times. Stay in the moment. Take is one day at a time. Breathe. That's all I can do and am trying to do.

The Sound of Silence...

My husband and I enjoyed sleeping in until  8 am this morning. My cell phone alarm going off is what woke us up...thank goodness!!!

It was ENTIRELY too quiet in the house. I knew Carter was awake because he had come into our room before 7 then left. I figured Griffin was still sleeping. 

I get up just in time to see Carter darting for the garage door and I quickly ask if G is still asleep. Nope, he's awake.

Carter runs ahead and I hear he and G discussing the dog. I tell C to get inside and I call G. No response. After about the third call, I'm freaking out ( and a little angry). I move to look into the back yard and see this blurry image of Temple Run jammies running toward the garage.

They had let the dog out and wanted her to come in, the dog wanted to run in the woods and play. 

I wanted to kill them for 1) being outside with no one knowing. 2) for being outside in their jammies. 3) for embarrassing the heck out if this momma (what if someone sees them out in their jammies unsupervised!!!). 

Thankfully, this had *just* happened. They had just wanted the dog to come in. I caught them in the nick of time. They will be *strongly* reminded that letting the dog out to pee is awesome and shows us great responsibility. Crawling underneath the garage door to chase the dog isssss NOT ok. There will be a discussion about household rules later today ( this was already in the works). 

Every time Greg and I get to sleep in on the weekends we end up saying that we are paid back times 2 because the kids decided to do something, um, questionable. 

It was a really good sleep, tho.... 

Underachiever moms, unite!!!!

Do you let your kids go a week without a bath?

Do you completely forget about costumes, cupcakes and school projects until the day before ( or of-- yikes!!)

Store bought valentines box AND Valentines??

Do you wait and see what everyone else is bringing to the class party so that everything is either taken or you just have to grab some leftover plates and napkins from the last party?

Not change your kids underwear every day?

Have they been wearing those same pair of jeans for yet another day because the laundry just hasn't  seem to do itself? 

Kids teeth go unbrushed for a couple of days?

Throw away yet another cookie sale form?  

Forget a deadline?

Then this post is for you. You rock! It's okay. Kids aren't going to remember this stuff. You haven't let them down. You love them, spend time with them. Kisses and snuggles will win out on the best costume every time. 

So, lay the guilt aside. Go have fun with your kids. Go buy the store bought cupcakes. Recycle the costumes, store bought, nonetheless. 

I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be those mon's out there that "do" more than I do. More creative. More homemade. More cookie sales, and yes, I'm bitter. But I have to remind myself It. Just. Doesn't. Matter. 

And if you are "that" mom that does all the above, kudos to you. I'm really trying not to be jealous and post passive-aggressive comments under your pictures. Forgive me. Just show me love and grace for I am just jealous of your awesomeness. Seriously, you rock too.

Because it is what it is. And nobody is better than the other. 

In the end, we love our kids the same, we just show it in our own unique way. And that's ok.

So, I will not think about the fact that I sent my kid to school with only his Dr. Suess hat ( that he wore Wednesday) to finish up Dr. Suess week. Yeah. I still rock. And you do too! 

Valentine's Candy and Grief...

So I indulged in a little Valentines candy today, pre-valentines day. Stopped at Walgreen's to pick up some things and bought some little 2 for $1.00 Russell Stover valentine's candy. For some reason, Valentines candy does not make me think of romantic love. I've never asked for Valentines candy as a present, probably because I am always watching my weight. It doesn't mean, however, that I have not eaten my fair share.

Today, I specifically thought about an early February nine years ago. I was pregnant with our first child. I honestly didn't think that I could get pregnant, even though I had no reason to think that other than I was older and overweight. I went from utter shock in learning that we were pregnant to being overjoyed...and a little queasy.

Anyway, I will never forget it. We hosted a Super Bowl party with our Sunday school class, who I had shared our awesome news with. We had told our family. I wasn't even 8 weeks pregnant yet. The next day I was scheduled to have the first ultrasound to date the pregnancy and hear the heartbeat.

We went in for our scheduled appointment. We went through the entire ultrasound and I wondered why we couldn't see the heartbeat.The technician didn't let on until she had gathered all the information she needed for assessment and then she let us know that she was sorry, but she didn't see a heartbeat.

It was a pretty ugly scene. I may have screamed. I know I was crying and inconsolable. Poor Greg. He was also in shock and was trying to comfort me. I'm sure we asked questions. I can't remember now what they were. The tech left us alone for a while. I got dressed and we waited to see my doctor's nurse. They gave us options on what we could do. I was so in shock that I couldn't do anything but go home.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with Valentine's candy. Well, in the next few days, my mom came to be with us. I couldn't decide whether or not to have a D and C. And in between there, I ate Valentine's candy. I remember going into Target and seeing all the Valentines displays and bought a big box of chocolates. And proceeded to eat them all.

I had lost a lot of weight previously so, even though they weren't asking why, I told my mom and my husband that for now, I was going to eat candy. I was going to be fine, and I wouldn't keep eating candy, but for the next few days, I was going to eat as much candy as I wanted. LOL.

By the end of the week I decided to have a D and C and after one more sonogram to ease my mind and to make sure that our little baby indeed had no heartbeat, the procedure was done and the rest is history.

I think I ate another big box of candy after the procedure. I'm sure I shared. Maybe.

I have absolutely no reason why I remembered that today. I think I probably remember it every year, but for some reason today I needed to write about it.

Greg and I have gone on to have two healthy children (along with two more, just as devastating, miscarriages in between). I have had more vaginal ultrasounds than I ever care to remember. Lots of bloodwork. I am glad that the fear and anxiety that always followed finding out I was pregnant is behind us. No more holding our breath through the first trimester. No more "procedures". No more loss in the baby department.

But today, as I bit into my little Russell Stover treat, I just happened to have my breath taken away from a memory of a hope that turned into a loss and a left a lot of tears and questions behind it.
And the memory of that time flooded back as if it was yesterday and I felt compelled to write about it.

I guess there is always room for processing grief and today was my day.

If: Gathering Nashville

I am so looking forward to the IF: Gathering local event in Nashville this weekend. My soul needs this. I need this. I know I need to go because I am already trying to talk myself out of going.

I was the only one of my friends who was actually able to snag an If: Austin registration. It sold out in like, 2 hours. Crazy. But, with no friends going and fitting the hotel bill on my own, not to mention the flight down to Texas, I decided to stay local.

Is anyone else attending an If:Gathering local event??? Look on my sidebar for details on how you can get in on the action before it's too late.

I want to see you there!!!!

Have you had the talk???

Since we now have an eight year old, parenting in some ways is getting easier. But, as Carter gets older, there are dilemmas that pop up that take proactive approach. Who knew 8 years ago that I would be having discussions about Internet safety with my eight year old.....

Yes, technology is one of the things that HAS to be addressed early. Times have changed and just like the sex talk,  starting the conversation early is monumental. That talk, the sex talk, is a continual conversation you should be having with your child from the time they start asking simple questions about where babies come from, not something you try to have with them when they turn 10 or 12. Good luck with that if you do. For more on age and developmentally appropriate discussions on sex, see my post HERE

This time, our discussion with Carter had to do with technology. Here are some things we recently addressed with him.

1) We explained why we were having this discussion, in a very age appropriate way. We told him that since we are his parents, it's our job to keep him safe. One of those ways is monitoring what he does on the Internet. We informed him that it is very easy to see and hear things that are not appropriate for him to see or hear. We explained to him that some parents may not monitor their kids in the same way we do, and that's not bad, but we definitely want him to know and be prepared when and if something comes up.

2) My husband and I discussed with Carter that if he is playing a game and he is prompted to watch a video to get points, coins, or whatever mom and/or dad need to be there with you while you are viewing them, or need to view them enough to know you aren't being exposed to something you shouldn't.

3) We had a discussion with Carter about what is appropriate content and what is not appropriate content for him to view if and when he is with a friend and that friend has more access to technology without parental supervision. I would be naive to think that the possibility of him being exposed to something that is inappropriate isn't there. This included bad words, cursing and nudity. I explained it like this....if you see anyone naked or partially naked on a video you are watching, it's not appropriate for you to watch. Carter knows (somewhat) what  bad words are and words that you aren't allowed to say. We didn't go into much detail. You don't have to. They know.

4) We discussed what to say and do when something inappropriate pops up or his friend wants him to watch something that is inappropriate. We explained how to say, nicely and politely, that what they are viewing is something he doesn't want to see or that he knows his parents don't want him to see. We role played different scenarios with what to say when his friend questioned him or made fun of him for not wanting to watch something inappropriate. Then we told him he could always go to an adult and ask to come home if his friend didn't listen or wasn't being nice to him.

5) We asked him if he had any questions. Surprisingly, he didn't. You could tell his wheels were turning in his mind. I told him that after he thought about it a little while and had questions to please feel free to ask me or dad. We also told him he never had to be afraid to tell us something, that we would (try) not to get mad and if he talks to us up front about something it's less likely that he will get in trouble. And he would never get in trouble for telling us something that he saw, however, if we catch him watching something or hiding something from us, that requires a consequence. The big thing we were going here was trust. He can trust us with information. We are safe. It builds on our relationship.

This is just the beginning. What is awesome about having this conversation BEFORE anything happens is that we can build on it constantly. As with the sex talk, it's a continual conversation that comes up every now and then. When we inadvertently see something or hear something we shouldn't, I take that as an opportunity to talk to him about it and why it is wrong or something we don't watch or listen to. It helps him understand the difference between right and wrong and it keeps a dialog open. If he knows he isn't going to get into trouble for discussing things with me, which means I don't pass judgement or jump to conclusions when he brings something inappropriate up or asks questions, then he knows I am safe and his dad is safe and he is going to be way more open with us and we will have a continual dialog. If he is asking simply for the knowledge and understanding to help him make better choices, then I welcome those comments and questions. If he does something blatant to get attention, there will be a consequence. There is a difference and you, as the parent, will recognize this. I hope.

Whew. Good luck.

Love, Crafts and Birthdays

My son turned 8 last week. I'm still trying to come to terms with that. He's so big and grown up, for eight, that is. So sweet.

Anyway, he wanted a Minecraft party theme and we had already decided to have the party at home to cut costs. 

Pinterest was my friend (and enemy) in planning this party. If you want Minecraft you pretty much have to create it, there are really no kids party supplies out there. I am thankful for those who went before me and created these printable templates!

In the end, I still spent a lot of money. But his having this memory of this party in our home with his best buds was money well spent!!


For the cupcake wrappers and toppers I used THIS site (SOOO super easy!!!)

There were lots of Minecraft cakes and cupcakes online and as usual with all my recipes/creations, I made a hybrid. I did the cupcakes, which are on many sites. And somewhere I saw a cake made out of iced brownies and white cake to look like a block, which everything is supposed to be square, of course. So I created this so that the kids could have a cake, brownie or rice crispie treats. Honestly, people came up with way more interesting rice crispie treats, making them into coal and whatnot, but let's face it. I'm lazy. If there is a shortcut, I will take it. And, I couldn't do EVERYTHING on Pinterest, although I considered it. So I focused on the cupcakes being the main deal and just went out and bought the premade rice crispy treats (yes, I know, processed crap) and served it up this way.

what Minecraft party is complete without Creeper Juice? So cute. But nobody wanted it. They all wanted sprite.. LOL. Live and learn. Buy little sprite bottles next time and take those labels off instead.

Food printable cards I found HERE...among other printables if you need them. A bunch of the sites had the candy ideas. This is what I did.

Creeper bags. Again, this idea is everywhere and so easy. I mean, if I can do it, anyone I can. I pained those creeper faces on the goody bags myself. Love.

Kids enjoying the party. Oh, remember to help the kids take the cupcake covers off. Some of the kids didn't eat their cupcake because they couldn't get the tape off the cover. Oops. Fail.

Carter was so excited throughout the week as I prepared for the party. He even helped with some of the crafting. The day of everything went so smoothly because I had been working on the party all week and had gotten most everything finished early. I had time to spare to get ready and chill a little bit before the party began. Don't get me wrong, it was exhausting but to me ALL birthday parties for kids are exhausting, I would rather just be in my own home.

We had one craft activity (which was THE BOMB!) And you can get the idea HERE! Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the craft but you can check it out on the website link I provided. OMG! These people are amazing. I mean, seriously. Using the Frugal Family Times blog for the Minecraft party was the BEST. It's how I found out there are Minecraft parody music videos on Youtube. We had these playing on our TV through our BluRay player as the guests arrived and they LOVED them. Check out everything on the link above!

I am excited I get to do this again in April when Griffin turns 5! He has asked for a Mario party, lots of great ideas on Pinterest. woo hoo!!!

Have a great week!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Yeah...I know it's been a while.

December was crazy. Here is my top 10 for the past month...

1.I went to Haiti. Amazing.

2. Came back from Haiti. Broken...and tired.

3. Helped out with my son's Christmas party. Awesome.

4. Getting everything ready and finished for Christmas. Stressful.

5. Knee injury right before Christmas. Inconvenient (and painful).

6. Sleeping in every day during Christmas break. Fabulous!

7. Two weeks at home with my boys. Awesome.

8. Very Quiet New Years Eve. Ahhh...

9. I hosted a Downton Abbey Season 4 premiere party. Fantastic.

10. Extended Christmas break due to icy, cold weather. Cabin fever with two active boys. Um, I won't go there.


I'm still recovering. How about you?

This is the first day since December 19th that both of my kids are in school for a full day so I figured I would update my blog.

I have lots to talk about in 2014, just not today. I'm enjoying some peace and quiet.

And coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

How was your December?