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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To the parents of...

To the parents of...

"Vicky is an extremely articulate young lady.  We are impressed by her ability to express her thoughts and feelings."
Kindergarten- Mrs. Levi

"Vicky is very bright.  She completes her work on time and is eager to participate in class discussions and sharing.  However, it would be a good idea for her to work on controlling her talking when it is not discussion time." 
2nd Grade- Mrs. Higgins


"I appreciate Vicky's willingness to eagerly participate in class discussions.  However, it is important for her to learn when it is and is not time to be talking."
4th Grade- Mrs. S

"Vicky has been awarded 'Class Chatterbox' of this year's 5th grade class.  I'm sure this comes as no surprise to you."
5th Grade- Mrs. B

"Vicky received detention today for excessive talking during class."
7th Grade- Mr. R.

"Vicky is eager to participate in class discussions. She has great insight and I believe she would be a great asset to our Honor's US History class. Please remind her, however, that there are times when talking is not encouraged."
10th Grade- Mr. H

"Vicky has received Top Honors for her participation in our US Constitution Debate Team. Well done! but let's not forget that not all class time is meant to be 'talk time.'"
12th Grade- Mr. H

"Did you even hear what what I said? I feel like you don't listen to me?"
"Babe, you said like 10,000 words since I walked in the door. Which ones were I supposed to focus on?"
Marriage- The Hubs

The ability to express the tens of thousands of words that dance through my head has not always worked to my advantage.

But sometimes... Sometimes those words that can't be contained no matter how hard I try, mean something. They articulate someone else's experience in a way they couldn't.  They say the words they wouldn't. They soothe an aching heart.  They make a person laugh.  They help someone feel normal, understood.

Today is that day...

I am privileged to announce, from the Editors of  The HerStories Project...


 

Today I find myself among 36 amazing and brave female writers who share the power, love and loss of female friendship.

Today I have never been more grateful to have an unending supply of words... even though it landed me in detention more times than I can count.

On these pages, I hope you find your experience and the words that are often too hard to share.

Sometimes having too much of something is actually the perfect amount.
That's just my normal. 




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A letter to the mother of daughters from the mother of sons...



To the mothers of daughters from the mother of sons,

As mothers we have similar goals, regardless of gender. We want our children to have happy, healthy relationships- both physically and emotionally.  We want them to go out into the world prepared to make educated choices and calculated risks- with a healthy dose of caution thrown in. We want them to look at the world around them and see a place that has both good and evil, while understanding it is the choices they make that  makes the difference.
We want them to know more love than fear.

To that end, you’re working hard to raise women who know the true meaning of beauty, who are bright and confident- in spite of living in a culture who daily contradicts those messages.  Meanwhile, I am fighting to raise young men that know the power of their words and their bodies,  have pride while still having compassion and understand that being a “man” has a thousand different definitions.  

In recent months, however, I feel as though you and I have become unknowing opponents in the fight to raise our children.  As a society that laments the loss of “the village” that once worked together to raise its children, it is disheartening to find we are standing face to face rather than side by side.

Recent tragedies have distorted the image of our sons and daughters. Vicious acts of physical violence by famous athletes and vile images of disturbed college students with mental illnesses litter the media, sending the message that my sons are perpetrators and your daughters their potential victims. As the mother of sons, this is both heartbreaking and infuriating.  I don’t want your daughters to fear my sons. I don’t want young women to be afraid to be alone with them, doubt their intentions or distrust their words.  This is unfair to both of them.

As the mother of sons, I have taught and will continue to teach my boys that no one has the right to touch anyone without permission.  In our house “no” means “no.” Those who say it, mean it- it’s not a joke. Those who hear it, respect it- it’s not optional. I will instill in them the understanding that just because they HAVE the right to do something, doesn’t mean it IS right to do it. Their actions cause REactions and they need to consider that with every choice they make. My sons will grow up knowing through my words and my behavior that women, your daughters, are more than their skin and body. Through my marriage they will learn that spouses treat each other with love and respect- even when they’re angry or disagree. They will know to open doors, pull out chairs and help carry the groceries, not because a woman can’t but because it is OK to show her that you care and think she’s special. My sons will not be perfect, I’ll teach them that as well. But I will do everything in my power to make sure they are loving, kind and of strong character, not someone to be feared.

As the mothers of daughters, I need you to help your girls know these things about my sons. Please teach them that not all men physically abuse, laugh at crude jokes, or disrespect women. Remind your daughters that my sons can find them beautiful while still valuing who they are. Tell your daughter that my son will listen when she says no. Also tell her he means it when he say no as well. Help your daughters grow up knowing through your words and actions that they are more than skin and body.  Talk to them about the difference between having rights and doing what is right. Show them that all actions have REactions and to make decisions wisely. Instill in your daughters the belief that they are special and deserving of someone who wants to open their door, pull out their chairs and carry their groceries. Share with your daughters that all men should not be feared or judged by the behavior of others. Teach them that even though my sons aren’t perfect, they are capable of great love and immense respect.

As mothers we have to stand together and  fight against a world that wants to tell our children to fear one another. We must educate and empower our children so they can go out into the world confident and capable and able to explore happy, healthy relationships.
That's just my normal.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Great Pumpkin is trying to kill you, Charlie Brown






276 days until Summer Vacation
121 days until Christmas
93  days until Thanksgiving
84  days until Halloween
28  days until Fall


The leaves are beginning to turn. Memories of scarves and gloves float on the crisp night breeze. Winter boots and sweaters are lining the racks in every store.

 



OK, so maybe none of those things are happening here in San Diego, but we still know that fall is just around the corner because...

 



That's right, ladies and gentlemen, All Things Pumpkin has begun.  We have pumpkins to satisfy every one of the five senses. One can smell the sweet scent of pumpkin and spices in every home d├ęcor outlet and bathroom. I can feel the weight of that $40 Cinderella pumpkin taking its toll on my back and my bank account! Is that a crying child I hear? His big brother must have picked the pumpkin he planned to take home. Gracing the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog I see nothing but overly priced pumpkin decorations.

But nothing announces the arrival of Fall and All Things Pumpkin quite like the taste of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Known as PSL to the experts or #PSL to hipsters)

Sadly, the smell of the #PSL (I'm a hipster in case you didn't know) is all I can tolerate.  After the #PSL Incident of 2010 which involved a birthday PSL, a trip to Trader Joe's and a panicked stop in the bathroom of a local park as my digestive system expelled every  Grande ounce from its walls, I've learned to be content with just huffing the pumpkin-y goodness like it's glue. 

Much like the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center, the return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte is a symbol of the changing seasons and the onset of the holidays. Second only, of course, to the return of the Starbucks Red Holiday Cup... which truly makes it the most wonderful time of the year!

So imagine my horror when I stumbled upon this little diddy today...

Full article here

Now I'm no grammar expert, but I'm pretty certain quotation marks typicall imply sarcasm. Therefore, I read this post expecting some "pumpkin" mocking going on- perhaps even a little "pumpkin" shaming. Being the well-educated woman that I am, I investigated further.  (Translation: I skimmed the article)

I won't go into all the details because, well, there are a crapton of them.  But I'll break it down to the 4 basic points the author wants to make:

  1. Starbucks is acting kinda shady when it comes to revealing the ingredients in the #PSL
  2. There's some bad shit in the #PSL- things with long words, some abbreviations, and a Roman Numeral 4 (For those of you who want to save a little time Googling "Roman Numeral 4" it looks like this: IV)
  3. As hard as it is to believe, there is no pumpkin in the "pumpkin" spice latte
  4. If you drink a PSL, you'll grow a third nipple which is likely to sprout hair

I'd like to quickly touch on each of these points. I should state from the beginning though that I did zero research, unlike the author of the original article.  Clearly she is smarter than me and like 1,000 times better looking.  Seriously, this woman is the Food Babe for realz!

1. Starbucks is shady: Based on the assumption that all the Babe's quotes and alleged conversations with the "people" at HQ are legit (Yes, I intentionally used "people" because I was inserting sarcasm) I have to say I have mixed feelings about this.  Of course the Bux should share their ingredients because it's the right thing to do- and the law I though?  But do you blame them for holding back? You know what will happen if they do share them. Healthy people will freak out.  Starbucks will defend themselves.  People will freak out again.  Starbucks will compromise and make a new/healthier version of the PSL and it will take like absolute shit because no one wants chunks of pumpkin goop and bits of nutmeg floating around in their holiday drink!

2. Long names, abbreviations and the Roman Numeral IV are bad: Based on the Babe's research, there's a lot of not so awesome stuff in the PSL. However, like anything else in life... MODERATION! You like the #PSL? Cool, have a few during the season.  Heck, have one a week if it gets you through the Monday Blues or the Perpetual Tuesday. If you choose to have one every day, however, your hairy third nipple is going to be the least of your worries!! I can name at least IV other health-related problems you'll have if you consume that much latte. That's alotta latte, people.

3. The "Pumpkin" Spice Latte doesn't have any pumpkin?!?! Um, I'm going to go out on a limb here and "assume" (There's those pesky quotation marks again!) no one in their right mind is actually surprised that the pumpkin has secretly been replaced by the "pumpkin." Hopefully if someone was looking to actually ingest some pumpkin they would consume something other than a DRINK!

Duh!! It's in the freaking pumpkin patch, soup or muffin.

4.  Hairy Nipple Theory: I may watch 'Big Bang Theory' but I don't actually know much about science.  Shocking, I know. So it's probable my folicled-nipple theory might be inaccurate.  But you don't have to be Sheldon Cooper to realize consuming large amounts of chemicals on a regular basis isn't going to lead to anything good. 


All in all, I'd say Food Babe gave me a lot of food drink for thought.  All joking aside, we should be smart about what we put in our bodies.  They're the only bodies God gave us, so a measure of caution and thought should be given when making decisions about its well-being. That being said, God also gave us a brain. I don't think many people ordering a sugar-laced drink, topped with whipped sugar and sprinkled with granulated sugar is under the false illusion that this is a "healthy choice."  They just want a fun holiday drink that helps them feel a little more festive... even when it's 90 degrees.

I'd rather eat my pumpkin than drink my "pumpkin" 
That's just my normal.

 
 
*P.S.*
Did you notice the link in the upper right hand side of the page? 
You didn't? Oh, go look now.  Then click on it. Then pre-order the NEW BOOK!
Release day is September 15th!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Not so super, but still a hero


Have you ever looked around only to discover you are drowning in the chaos of your own making?

“Chaos” is the word I’d choose to describe every summer, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter vacation.  Oh, and let’s not forget 3 day weekends.  Oops, can’t fail to mention those early dismissal days either. And how can I forget every day that ends in “y”? I guess it would have been easier to say, “I live in chaos all the time.” I think I have mastered the art of “controlled chaos” but we all know that’s just code for “a hot mess with a pretty package.”

For a long time, I convinced myself I was the victim of the madness.  My kids are high energy.  I work from home. We don’t have any kids on our street. Our street is too busy so the boys don’t like playing outside. I’m PTA president. I’m a Room Mom. I’m the Room Mom Chair. I write a blog. My husband works late. I have to exercise to stay healthy.

I can conjure up an endless list of reasons why this whirlwind of a life which, more often than not leaves me depleted, is not my fault.  The simple truth, however, is that my list of reasons is simply rational explanations for why I’m overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, exhausted and generally in a bad mood. And just so we’re all clear, I define “rational explanations” as “plausible excuses.”

And excuses they are. Because when I when look at my life, I see it is the result of a myriad of choices I make on a daily basis.  Of course there are some choices that really aren’t choices.  When I “choose” to feed my kids, I’m not really “choosing” to feed my kids.  I know that. You know that.  And we’re all pretty irritated by it. But I DO choose how to schedule my day- when I wake up, when I go to bed, when I eat.  I choose when to say yes and when to say no. I choose where I want to invest my time and my money. The end result of those choices might be chaotic, but it was my chaos born from my choices.  And I need to own that.

I decided this summer would be different.  After last summer, loving labeled “The Summer My Wife Cried More Than She Had in Our Entire Marriage”, I knew something had to change.  And in order for things to be different, I had to take a good long look at what wasn’t working and why. 

I find the biggest problem with self-discovery is the amount of self I discover. 

And what I discovered wasn’t so pretty.  The busyness of my life was the product of those choices I mentioned. I’d like to say those they stemmed from a desire to serve, a willingness to volunteer, a strong work ethic or the desire to be healthy.

But the honest to goodness, low down dirty truth is that my choices were fueled by the amount of things on my To Do list, meetings on my calendar, and the amount of “Wow, how do you do it all’s” I received.  I thrived on being Super Mom, Super Wife, Super School Volunteer.

The only thing fed by my chaotic Super life was my pride.

My family suffered.  My psyche was strained past its limit. My heart was continually heavy while my mind was never at peace. The do-do-do begot more do-do-do. It was never enough because pride is like an adolescent boy… It’s always hungry, never full.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my almost-40 years, it’s that timing is everything. I believe in Divine Timing. Others believe life is simply Good Timing. Although it was good, it was nothing short of divine that the following post from The Hands Free Revolution showed up in my Facebook newsfeed on our very last day of school.

 “Exactly two years ago, I had an epiphany. I wanted summer to be different than it had in the past. I wanted to use that time wisely, doing things that mattered with the people who mattered most. As I was figuring out how to go about it, I discovered a powerful list based on 16 years of research that revealed what kids most loved their parents to do…" (read full post here)

iscovered a powerful list based on 16 years of research that revealed what kids most loved their parents to do. I took that inspiring list and paired it with some photos of what I hoped my “Hands Free Summer” was going to look like. But let me warn you, it’s not picture perfect. It’s not too organized. It’s not efficient or productive, but I can breathe, laugh, play, and feel joy—which are impossible to do when I am tethered to a device, constantly trying to pick up the mess, and stressing over details that won’t matter five years from now. As we head into the weekend, I invite you to read (or re-read) this post. Be reminded that it’s the little things we do as parents that mean the most. Be reminded that the things our children will remember are a lot easier to do than we are sometimes lead to believe. In fact, you may already be doing some of them. May a Hands Free summer begin this weekend! Thank you for walking beside me on this journeyAt that very moment I made a decision… Our summer would be different. I would not be Super anything this summer.  Vacation was going to be about Work and Family.  Everything else was sidelined. And I created my own Hands Free Summer Contract to make sure of it. I gave up working out for 2 months.  My floors had more dog hair than normal. And more than once I told my kids to grab a pair of shorts from their dirty clothes basket because I just couldn’t get to the laundry between beach trips and adventures with friends.

This summer I was not super… but I was my kids’ hero and that was more than enough.


 

My kids returned to school 2 days ago. Unfortunately Work and Family have to share the spotlight with a few others- Lunches, Homework, Football, Soccer, Chores & Permission Slips to name a few.  This doesn’t lessen the value of our Hands Free Summer. In fact, it’s because of my lack of Super that I am entering this new school year more relaxed, refreshed and renewed than ever.  Will life become chaotic again? You bet it will.  Will it become as chaotic as it’s been in the past? I sure as heck hope not and all that self-discovering better not have been for nothing!

My hope is that as the chaos starts to build and the madness begins to swirl all around me, I am able to step back and remember what matters. I will strive to remind myself that the only people I need to impress are the ones who will see me as their hero whether I have 2 things or 20 things on my To Do List, regardless of how many hours I volunteer or how brightly my floors shine.

I’m not so super but I’m still someone’s hero.
That’s just my normal.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Test: Are you a Seasoned Mom or a New Mom?


No one can deny there is a certain “Groundhog Day’esque” quality to a mom's day.  On one hand, we have the peace that comes from having structure and knowing that no matter how badly we screw up today, it will be OK because we will be doing it all over again tomorrow.  On the other hand, there’s the mind-numbing realization that you will, in fact, be doing it all over again tomorrow.
As our children age and we become more experienced moms the monotony ebbs a bit. The kids are able to pitch-in with daily meal making and emptying out those bottomless laundry baskets. I also have a better understanding of what they can and should do, making my expectations more reasonable. I no longer think twice about the things that threatened to sever the thin thread of sanity I clung to as a young mother. Of course, these things are replaced by equally if not more annoying things. However, as a mom with a few years of experience under her low-waist-jeans-cinching belt I feel more capable of handling these challenges.  

For example, I don’t get quite so angry when my youngest son leaves the front door open because I now understand it is less likely he is completely deaf and didn’t hear me tell him 267 times to close the door, and more likely because he is 8. Conversely, I now get angrier when my oldest says something unkind to his brother because at almost 11, he understand the power of his words.  That, my friends, is the product of years of mothering experience.

There are lots of ways to distinguish a Seasoned Mom from a New Mom. In fact, psychologists and sociologists should conduct a study to determine the experience level of a mother based on her answers to a few questions. I am certainly not a trained professional, but I think the test might look something like this…
 
Are you an Seasoned Mom or a New Mom?
Phase 1: Rorschach Ink Blot Test
Please state the first that comes to mind when you see the following images:
 
#1.
2 children fighting over the same toy neither of them
had any interest in 10 minutes ago.
 


#2.
Child who has not showered in God knows how many days.

 
 
 
#3.
2 weeks worth of laundry sitting in the basket waiting to be folded.
 



#4.
Science project on the Migration Patterns of Monarch Butterflies 
which took 13 hours to complete and only 30 seconds to leave on the kitchen table
the day it was due.
 
 
#5.
Beautiful, happy butterfly
 



#6.
Strawberry Margarita!

Conclusion: Answer #5 indicative of New Mom. All other answers evidence of Seasoned Mom.

 
Phase 2: Rank the following phrases from 1-10 based on frequency
(1 being most frequent, 10 being least frequent)

1.       Can I watch something?

2.       I’m hungry.

3.    Can I have a snack?

4.       Can I watch something?

5.       I can’t find my (fill in any item on the planet)

6.       He touched me.

7.       Can I watch something?

8.       Can I play my iTouch/iPad/DS/xbox/computer?

9.       What’s for dinner?

10.   I love you and want to hug you all day.

Conclusion: Ranking indicates Seasoned Mom

 

Phase 3: How would you respond to the following phrase: “Mom, watch!”

1.       Wow, that’s amazing!

2.       I’m so proud of how hard you worked!

3.       Be careful!

4.       I don’t feel comfortable with you doing that.

5.       Don’t kill yourselves, I don’t have time to take you to the emergency room today.

6.     How is this different from the other 27 times you did that?

7.       I have to watch, it’s the law.

8.       If I have tell you NOT to do that one more time you’re going to be sorry!

9.       Do it again so I can post it on Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and then Tweet it!

10. *non-committal sound* Hmmm…

Conclusion: Answers 1-4: Indicative of New Mom; Answers 5-10: Indicative of Seasoned Mom
Note: #9 indicates both New and Seasoned Mom as well as the sub-category : “Mom under the impression everyone will think her child is as amazing as she thinks he/she is.”

 

Final Results:  
Based on the data collected through the highly technical "Are you a Seasoned Mom or a New Mom" test we conclude that Seasoned Moms have an excellent sense of humor and it is this sense of humor which allowed the New Mom to remain sane so she could one day become a Seasoned Mom.

How did you score?
I'm definitely a Seasoned Mom.
That’s just my normal.
 
All Ink Blot photos from inkblotphotos.com
 

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Men vs Women... Logic is in the eye of the beholder



It’s hard to admit this, but I don’t take criticism or correction well.  I tend to get a wee bit defensive when someone brings my faults to light. 

If I were the mature and composed woman I aspire to be, when someone addresses my faults my first thoughts would be something along the lines of, “Hmmm… This is not easy to hear but I trust and value this person so it’s best for my personal development that I listen to what they are saying and spend some time reflecting on their words.”

We can safely assume I am not a mature and composed woman. Consequently, this is what actually goes through my mind when someone offers up some constructive criticism, “YOU want to criticize ME? Well, you are a terrible listener, your car is always a mess and your new haircut is not cute at all!"

It's safe to  say “accepting criticism” is a “growth area” for me. Luckily, I have lots of people in my life willing to help.  And just last week a complete stranger lent a hand!

I was lucky enough to have my most popular post included on the fabulous site Mamalode last week. (How do I know it’s popular? Well, some editor in Romania copied and pasted it on her online magazine a few months ago.  You know you’ve written something really good when someone steals it and gives you 24 hours of fame in the 9th largest country in the European Union.)

Back to my helpful stranger-friend… I think we’ll call him “Dick.” Dick didn’t really like something I had to say in my Mamalode post. In fact, he was quite put-off by my picky potty positioning…
 
"I need the seat up you need it down do i ask you to put it up when you are done no so learn to work the seat it's not that hard. Just so you know i always close the lid to flush because it's gross not to. but stop whining."
 
Poor punctuation aside (Seriously, Dick. Have you heard of a period or a question mark, some capitals perhaps?) Dick has some valid points.  I decided it would be wise for me to fight the urge to poo-poo his opinion and spend some time pondering his words. 
 
Was I whining? Should I be more considerate of the men in my house and their potty positioning needs? Have I carelessly gone about my day, forming opinions and making observations from a non-gender-neutral viewpoint?
 
Well, Dick, you'll be happy to know your grammatical error-laden words were not typed in vain! This week I paid particular attention to the things around me and made a concerted effort to see them with your constructive criticism in mind.  Here's what I discovered...



Mom brain = A lemon on my bathroom counter? WTF?
                    8 year old Boy brain = I have this lemon in my hand. I don't want it anymore. I'll just put it here.




Mom brain = Why is my exfoliating brush in Nate's room?
           8 year old Boy brain = Cool brush! I want to carry it everywhere. I'll just put it here. 
 


Mom brain = Befuddled 
 10 year old Boy brain = I don't see the problem?


This was such a hot mess I couldn't find a place to add text to the picture.
I think even my 10 year old would agree he missed the mark
when told to "put the laundry away."



 
I think Nate has watched the movie "Signs" a few too many times.
Mom brain = Confused
8 year old Boy brain = I might get REALLY thirsty.
Alien brain = Oh no, not water!
(See the movie & you'll get that^^^ joke.)



Mom brain = Why is my exfoliating brush on the stairs?
8 year old Boy brain = Cool brush. Let's take it downstairs. I'll just put it here.
 
 

Mom brain = He can't remember to put his shoes away or clear his plate...?
8 year old Boy brain = I love post-its!
 
 




So Dick, after a week of careful observations, I've come to the following conclusion:  While you might like to leave the seat up, it's my ass that's falling in the bowl at 2 a.m. So I'm going to continue whining until the seat is down, my exfoliating brush is left where it belongs, the milk lid is actually on the milk, I can find a water glass in the cupboard and there are no freaking lemons on my bathroom counter! You'll be happy to know I've given up on the toilet paper, though.  Enjoy your victory.

Logic is in the eye of the beholder.
That's just my normal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This Is Almost 40



In 2 months and 24 days, I will be 40.  Like many of life's milestones, it's a good time to take pause and reflect. 

I can happily say, I think I have much to be proud of. I've accomplished most of the goals I set and many of the ones I didn't meet weren't necessarily "unmet," so much as they simply changed as I changed.  What was once a dream to teach at the high school level morphed into a love for middle school students instead. My burning desire to become a triathlete, cooled to more reasonable goals.  And my plan to marry a wonderful man, and forgo having children because we'd be busy traveling the world and having a fabulous life.... Well, I got half of that one right.

That being said, I wish I'd done a few things differently...






Although I grew up in sunny San Diego, the number of times I've actually gone in the ocean are few and far between- too worried about how I look to get out of my chair. I didn't boogie board with my kids often enough or regularly go for walks on the beach to collect seashells. I should have worn more skirts or even a pair of shorts now and again. I wish I'd enjoyed simply moving on a long walk rather than berating myself for not running fast enough or long enough. I never scheduled that second surf lesson or threw caution to the wind and bought the paddleboard I dreamed of using each morning after I dropped the kids at school. We didn't eat outdoors nearly enough. Nor did we use our fire pit to make s'mores as often as we could have and should have. I wish I'd jumped on the trampoline more- in spite of the pee. I should have encouraged more lemonade stands and ridden more water slides or worried less about getting them into bed on time. 

The list of should have's and could have's and wishes and worries is long. 

Yet I can still say with confidence that this  has been a life well-lived thus far. 5 years ago I don't know if I would have been able to have this perspective.  And that, my friends, is what Almost 40 looks like.  I can look  over this first half (God willing) of my life and see that so many of the choices I made were the product of 2 things: my age and my self-confidence.  Neither of which I had enough of. Until now.

Age is a powerful thing.  As we know, with age comes experience.  In my almost 40 years I have experienced a lot and learned some valuable lessons.  I've come to realize I'm capable of much more than I ever give myself credit for. I've finally accepted that although life can feel overwhelming a lot of the time, it's not always about "getting it right." Life is full of U-turns and do overs so if I don't get it right the first time, I have endless opportunities to. And most importantly, most things aren't as dire as I think they are- we will get through them and we will survive.

Our pastor once said he finds it funny that we talk so much about low self esteem when there are few things we give more time, more money or more thought to than ourselves.  What kind of crazy person would invest so much into something they don't at least like? Obviously we like ourselves plenty.

Being almost 40 has brought me to a place where I don't know if I'm more confident, so much as I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am- for better or for worse. I'm a good friend and a loving wife. I second guess most of my parenting decisions which, although annoying, keeps me honest and makes me think before I act... most of the time. I care way too much about the way I look.  I scrutinize my thighs much more than my choice of words. I try hard not to be envious, but fail.  A lot. But when you put all those pieces together, you get me. And at almost 40 I can finally say, I'm OK with that. I rather like the skin I'm in.

As Almost 40 turns into Actually 40 I'm going to try hard to remember these things and live accordingly.  I will get out of my beach chair and walk the beach looking for sea shells and sand crabs because you can't suck it in for 8 hours, so just go for it. I will spend more time in the ocean and on water slides. I will throw my best tricks on the trampoline- pee and all. I'll eat outdoors in spite of the bugs and worry a little less about what time my kids go to bed. I'll try to envy a little less and love a little more- even my thighs. I will spend the next half of my life tied down by my own silly insecurities, skewed perceptions or my bikini strings!

Besides, rumor has it, 40 is the new 25 and if I'm this together at 25... just imagine how fabulous I'll be at 50.

This is what almost 40 looks like and I think I like it.
That's just my normal.

*By the way- You might have noticed the new ad on the top, right side of the page. Well you can click on it and pre-order the new anthology I'm in. You'll even save $1.00! So go ahead and do it! Click away and order it right now! (Almost 40 has improved my skills as a saleswoman.)