don’t aim to please. aim to write

I saw something the other day about how you (proverbial you) need to stop writing for likes or views or stats or whatever. Write to a person. Write for yourself. Don’t aim to please. Aim to write (I just made that last part up actually…).

I used to write for comments. The horror! I mean, let’s be honest. Comments are fun. They make you feel like someone else is actually listening.

And then, one day, I decided to stop obsessing. I decided I didn’t really care about comments. Or blog views. I really just wanted to write, so that’s what I do, now. Write when I feel like it. Or when I really want to share something. Or express myself.

It makes writing more fun and less stressful because I’m not wondering if someone I don’t even know will like what I am saying. *I* like what I’m saying, and that is enough for me, now. If you can also identify with me, that’s an awesome, added bonus.

For whatever reason, I have never been *that person* who seems to attract a lot of readers/followers/attention/likes/friends. This used to really bother me, because I felt like I was just as good a writer – if not better, to be honest – than X blogger or Y instagrammer. Why wasn’t I interesting? Follow worthy?

Then I decided that maybe I am more like a cult following kind of person. A few diehard, loyal fans, versus a watered down, mainstream person with wishy-washy readers.

And after thinking about that, do you know what I realized?

I preferred the loyalty – YOUR loyalty -over the masses.

Fun news for you – I still want to write a book. I have so much to say….that I have never said here….there is so much you don’t know…and I want to say it all at one time. In a different format than a blog post, obviously.

One day…I hope. It’s a long term goal. Even if no one ever reads it. Even if I am never officially published, at least I can say I did it; I completed my goal.

stop shaming our kids

I’m not one to get on one side or the other regarding hot topics.

Believe it or not, I really dislike conflict. I’m terrible with it. If you start yelling at me or raising your voice, any point that I *may* have wanted to make goes whooooosh! Gone forever from my brain. All I hear is buzzing, like white noise, just on the inside.

Anyway. Today is not the conflict avoidance day….so, here goes.

I am getting really tired – REALLY TIRED – I cannot express this enough….

REALLY. FREAKING. TIRED.

of all the news stories about X parent making their child wear a sign and stand by the road or have their picture taken and posted on Facebook to shame them.

To shame them.

Last time I checked, shaming someone, no matter their age, wasn’t the appropriate way to correct a behavior. Ever.

It increasingly feels like parents are doing these things for attention, like, “Ohhhhhh I saw on the news the other day how this dad/mom made this sign and put their kid on a corner for an hour! I’ll bet I could do one better AND make the news.”

JUST STOP RIGHT THERE.

If you’re disciplining your kid to hopefully garner enough attention to make it on Channel 5, there is a serious problem, here.

Dear News Outlets: STOP BEING AN ENABLER. If children are our most precious resource and we are supposed to be teaching them how to be responsible adults, wearing shame signs ISN’T THE WAY TO GO, so stop giving it press.

What lesson are shame signs teaching our kids? One where we must blatantly point out an undesirable behavior and then to make sure you really understand you messed up, let’s announce it to as many people as possible to make you feel small and insignificant.

I guarantee you that the only thing a child will “learn” from that exercise is that doing bad things means I wear a shame sign and my parents are assholes.

That isn’t the takeaway message they need to hear and carry with them in order to be better prepared to deal with difficult situations in the future.

The message kids need should involve why the behavior was wrong. What you can do together to fix it. How to approach the situation the next time.

And all of that?

All of that should happen in a private space. Mono e mono. Parent to child. Nothing more.

How would you feel if your boss did that to you? Dressed you up in a sign that said, “I suck so bad at my job, I’m on a PIP,” took a picture, and then emailed it to the entire company? Posted it to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram? And then did nothing more to help you improve?

How’s that for a confidence and resume booster?

If your boss gave you the shame sign treatment, would you learn from your mistake, receiving both knowledge and guidance as to how to do your job to the best of your ability in the future or would you resent your boss and live in fear of it happening again?

EXACTLY.

Stop treating our kids like crap. Teach them, don’t shame them. Be bigger than that.

can the 451 people please stand up?

So, hi. I feel like I pretty much write to myself, save the few who regularly read/comment (you know who you are). Except, here’s the thing:

IMG_1085-1.PNGWHO ARE YOU 451 PEOPLE?!

Or, maybe let me say this a nicer way. Can you all (that means you) please take a minute to say hello and introduce yourself? Tell me about your blog(s)? I’d kind of like to get to know you, since you’re getting to know everything about me. It’s only polite fair….

Then you can go back to lurking status.

Deal?

And here’s a carrot….my actual, just taken a few weeks ago drivers license picture (which you have already seen if you follow me on Instagram – Jessica bold).

IMG_0537.JPG

this is why I have food issues

Okay, so I have this thing with food that I buy and like to eat. It can be summed up in three words:

DON’T EAT IT.

I think this stems from back in the day when my thing was sour cream and onion chips (which I don’t even like anymore). My mom would buy them every so often, and by the time I went to have any, they were gone. Thanks a heap, family.

And now, I will demonstrate to you why I still have these issues in my life, in one scene:

[This morning, after Tim left for work. His breakfast? A giant bowl of cereal of my favorite, organic mini wheats]

Me: I’m definitely buying you your own box of mini wheats. The box is half gone from your one bowl!

Tim: It was opened before I got to it…didn’t you already eat some?

Me: I had one bowl yesterday with maybe 15 pieces. Not even enough to fill a small bowl.

Tim: Ok. So half gone not entirely all my doing. Maybe 3/4 my doing.

Me: I barely made a dent. I’m getting you your own.

Tim: Ok. That will work. Then I can eat yours when I am done.

End scene.

I am thankful – August edition

Wow. It’s been a month, that’s for sure. Life is very….different? This was Kellan and my first full month in Arkansas. It’s ready hot, you guys. REALLY FREAKING HOT. I’m not a fan, though I am thankful for our wooded backyard+ mature trees because that equals lots of shade….on the house. Not like a person “throwing shade.” I don’t even know if I totally understand that because shade is actually really nice…and cool…I guess trees throwing shade is just a whole different thing….I digress. Here’s our month. In thankfulness form.

AUGUST THANKFULNESS

THANKFULNESS

August 2: an entire day of zero house/unpacking/fixing stuff. And we found a mellow mushroom…haven’t been there mmmsince we lived in Georgia. Fun re-memory. AND I found two wooden Thomas trains on super clearance. As in both were less than $4.00 IN TOTAL. If you know anything about Thomas trains, you know the wooden ones are anywhere from $15 to $25 or more…EACH. I never find deals like that! I found this one by complete accident. Happiest checkout experience ever.

August 3: THE HALF BATH IS DONE! I mean, I need to put some soap in there but that’s way easy. Yay for the first completed room!

August 4: unexpected Mickey pizza from manager at longhorn because she heard Kellan asking for a pizza for dinner (versus the grilled chicken he had). We were so surprised when our server brought it out. Such a nice thing to do…the manager heard the pizza request in passing and acted on it. Such a rare thing to find and have happen these days it seems. Grateful to have been the recipient.

August 5: [writing this on August 6] because I’m thankful for surviving the day. Holy horrible sickness that morphed into a migraine and resulted in my bowing to the porcelain bowl around 9pm…and *then* barely getting any sleep because my head hurt so badly. The kind of hurt where you try not to think at all because that just makes it hurt worse and you instead try to find something to repeat over and over in your head. Like “cool moss.” Thankful to have survived the day and night because it was brutal.

August 6: Not having the stress of being the sole breadwinner in the family. I use to be really bothered by that – not being *the one* making all the dollars – but now I’m glad I’m not the one with that stress…not to say I never want to make the big cheese, it’s just that today, I’m thankful I’m not the one carrying that burden. I can only imagine how stressful it can be.

August 7: A NEW KITCHEN FAUCET that isn’t broken/has zero water pressure/has never run long enough with its tiny stream to ever get the water hot. It made washing anything really, really gross…having to will the tiny food particles down the drain…tiny wet food particles….ew ew ew. Thank you new faucet and water pressure!

August 8: even though Kellan is at the age/stage where I basically want to pull my hair out sometimes, there are these little moments where it’s just like, wow. Maybe we are actually getting through to him. Tonight, after we came inside after playing in the rain on the back deck (looooove the back deck), I handed him his water while he was sitting at his table reading a book and as I walked away he goes, “thank you, mommy” with zero prompting from anyone. It was so sweet and polite and unexpected. It makes all those other AHHHHHH moments melt away.

August 9: Mimi is here safely!

August 10: Parenting lessons from Mimi. Also known as watch and learn. She makes it look so easy!

August 11: Seeing how much joy Kellan brings to Mimi. It is so sweet to watch them together, laughing and playing. He loves her so much. Whenever they see each other it is like no time has passed, and they just pick up where they left off.

August 12: the most perfect, low humidity, mid-80s with a breeze weather day. Lots of other things happened today that were less pleasant, but the weather was spot on.

August 13: A fun afternoon going to an antique store with my mom! I am new to the antique scene and I LOVE looking for fun finds! She’s way more experienced so she helps me learn how to look for the “real antiques.”

August 14: some days I am reminded just how blessed our family is….how blessed I am. Nothing in particular really happened, it’s just sometimes I get this feeling inside like, “Wow. We really have so much to be thankful for.” Today was that day.

August 15: Kellan asking to sleep with Tim at bedtime. He lasted all of five minutes before saying, “I want to sleep with mommy” but it is a huge sign that he’s getting ready to be comfortable sleeping on his own/without mom all night! Also slightly bittersweet but yay for imdependence.

August 16: We organized the garage… almost. As in a garage sale must happen before we can completely finish, but still. It looks way better than it did, and we all know how much we love (read: extremely dislike) an unorganized mess.

August 17: getting more of the house out together. I think today is the first day since we moved in that the hallway area between the kitchen/dining room/pantry is 100% clear. Oh, also thankful for my ability to see I was having a bad attitude morning and Tim gave me a huge bear hug and said he was sorry I didn’t get any sleep (which is true). Self awareness on both parts made me try to constantly check myself before I wrecked myself all morning until the little black rain cloud following me finally dissipated.

August 18: I have been having trouble finding the humor in minor “disaster” things that happened recently. Today, the watermelon I bought wasn’t secured properly in the back of my car and rolled all over the place on the way home. After we pulled into the garage, I opened the back door (Highlander) and got Kellan out of his car seat. I started walking inside and I hear a loud thump and I was like, “Kellan! Did you drop the watermelon on the floor?!” (Concrete garage floor) and in a very proud of himself voice he was like, “Yessss!” And the first words out of my mouth were, “It’s ruined!” (I dropped a watermelon out of the back of my car the other week and totally destroyed (bruised) the inside). Then, as I start walking back outside all I can hear is Kellan yelling in a panicked voice, “It’s rolling away! Oh no! It’s rolling away!!!!!” In a split second, I knew. I knew exactly what had happened. And I started laughing hysterically. Kellan’s watermelon had made it to our downward sloping driveway and rolled allllllllll the way down and across the street. When I asked, through my laughs, where it went, Kellan points and goes, “Over there! In the road!” And sure enough, there was our watermelon, resting in the gutter. I’m thankful today to be able to see the humor instead of getting upset about a probably ruined watermelon.

August 19: honestly. I forgot to write something before going to bed last night and now it is the next day and I can’t remember anything….because 1. mom brain and 2. we had to get up super early to go to the DMV. Or as Kellan said while crying this morning because wakeup time was WAY earlier than normal, “I don’t want to go to the DMV and U and W.” I hear ya, kid. Me either. Anyway……totally drawing a blank….I’m thankful for?…..Tim finally getting a diagnosis on his ankle (tendinitis….and now he’s having to wear a walking boot for a month and take massive steroids to help with swelling)? Maybe that, yes. So he can get it healed and then get on with our exercising together selves. Because that is way more fun, in my opinion.

August 20: Getting to the ER in time after Kellan had an allergic reaction to peanuts, we think. Glad I listened to my mommy radar after he started breaking out in giant hives all over his body.

August 21: thankful to have had the FOURTH doctor I called get Kellan in for an appointment and subsequent referral to an allergist today versus weeks from now or not accepting new patients now. Hopefully we will know something soon…even though soon is like two weeks from now….

August 22: Not that I was driving super fast, but thankful the cop I passed “checking” speeds seemed mine non-ticketable and stayed in his hiding spot (how is that even fair, anyway?)

August 23: Struggling with coming up with a thankful moment of the day these past few days….today we put up pictures and Kellan didn’t nap but oh! He asked to vacuum! He walked right over to it and said he wanted to vacuum! So, that was new….and this morning at breakfast, we were cracking up because Kellan kept asking Tim to do the “voice of Batman/Superman/Aquaman.” Batman was deep. Superman was a radio personality voice. Aquaman was Kermit the frog voice. It was hysterical. Thankful for those laughs.

August 24: Getting stuff done. As in hanging about a million pictures. Yay for less clutter and pretty walls!

August 25: random act of kindness from a lady in the floral department at our local grocery store. Kellan ran over to look at the balloons while I was finishing checking out (read: had to chase after him). He was behind the counter when I got there and I was like AHHHH! We don’t work here! Then I saw the lady and she was like, “I was going to blow these up for him if that’s ok?” I was so surprised. It was such a sweet thing to do! Usually we get the evil eye if Kellan runs off and does something like that, like why are you not controlling your child?! She, instead, says, “He’s just too cute!” Zero irritation or eye rolling at Kellan just being a kid. That is one amazing thing that we are learning about Arkansas. Everyone is so child friendly/patient/gracious. It’s really hard to find places like that these days, but we found it here.

August 26: Random venting session with the BFF. I think we both feel better, now.

August 27: THE ONLY NATURAL FOOD STORE IN THIS TOWN HAD BREAD. Kellan all time favorite, toast with jam, can be consumed again.

August 28: at the grocery store today, I saw a mom, dad, and little boy no older than two, in the produce section. The kid had one of those tiny shopping carts and the had knelt down with a bunch of bananas and was calmly and very nicely telling/explaining to him to put them into the tiny cart gently. The kid was trying but I mean, the bananas were almost as big as he was, so I’m guessing the task was a little difficult for his little hands. Anyway, the mom was standing above them both, arms crossed, looking pretty annoyed. Finally, she said, “gentle hands” and rolled her eyes because obviously dad was using the incorrect words to get his point across. The dad immediately started saying “gentle hands” and at that point, I walked by them so I don’t know how the story ended. I am guessing more passive aggressive lecturing from the mom. That whole five seconds scene really made an impression on me, though. The dad was really, really trying to do/say the right thing and the mom was just standing over them like, “You are such an idiot. You have no idea what you’re doing.” And maybe he didn’t, but from an outsiders perspective, he was doing everything right and was making a big effort and that effort was basically sh*t on when the mom stepped in all, “GENTLE HANDS.” I think maybe the randomness of me seeing this tonight was a moment for me to step back and be thankful that Tim has a dad like that, who really does try to do the right things, even if he doesn’t know the “usual” or the “term/phrase” that Kellan is used to hearing to complete a request. I need to be a silent observer instead of stepping in and sh*tting on their activity by basically saying Tim is doing it wrong, whatever it may be. It’s actually pretty heartbreaking to witness, as I did today. All that effort by dad is basically undermined when mom steps in in that manner. So, I’m thankful to have witnessed the hurt and harm in my own actions, though not done by me. I guess sometimes you have to see it that way to really understand how you look to a stranger.

August 29: Safe travel home day for Tim!

August 30: The most gorgeous sunset! I love nature.

August 31: Kellan’s sense of humor. He knows he’s making a joke and cracks himself up, which makes everyone laugh.

our first Arkansas ER visit

Okay, so, this is for everyone (anyone?) who reads my monthly thankfulness wrap up. Towards the end of the month, you will read these exact words:

August 20: Getting to the ER in time after Kellan had an allergic reaction to peanuts, we think. Glad I listened to my mommy radar after he started breaking out in giant hives all over his body.

….and I know if I don’t say something now, I will suffer the wrath of worry all OMG! IS HE OKAY?! WHAT HAPPENED?!

So. First, is Kellan okay? Yes.

What happened?

We aren’t exactly sure.

After dinner last Wednesday night, Tim and Kellan were on the couch playing and also eating a combo of peanut butter and chocolate chips. Mostly chocolate chips. Kellan then said he was hungry (again, I think the kid is growing because he legit went through an entire loaf of bread in the form of “toast with jam!” in two days). I took him to the kitchen to eat cereal, as requested, and I noticed three small red dots on his chin and I thought, “Hmm. That’s strange.”

We went outside after he was finished so Tim could look at how to attach our American flag to the entryway and that’s when I noticed that his shoulder had a red rash type thing on it.

Then Kellan said his back was itching, so I lifted up his shirt and I see more redness, which I now realize are hives, all over the small of his back.

I said something to Tim about it and he said he used to get hives all the time as a kid, no big deal. Something about this particular event didn’t seem right to me. Kellan does have really sensitive skin, so he will get mini-hives when he touches certain things that bother him and we have to be careful with what type of shampoo/lotion/laundry detergent we use. This time, though, it was like they were multiplying faster and spreading all over the place. Usually, they stay where the contact occured.

I took Kellan inside and tried to find someone to call to help me. The hives were getting bigger and more numerous by the minute, and it had only been maybe 15 minutes since I had noticed the first few hives on his chin. This is what led me to believe it had been the peanut butter, since the irritation started near his mouth. I couldn’t understand why, since no one on either side of our family has an allergy to any kind of nut or any food at all for that matter, and he had eaten peanut butter many times before. Either way, my mommy sense knew we couldn’t just wait and see what would happen.

Unfortunately, we had yet to find a pediatrician for Kellan in Arkansas and that was a BIG mistake. I wasn’t able to talk to any after hours nurses without first having a pediatrician and the ones from our Colorado pediatrician weren’t able to help because we didn’t live there anymore. I finally called the hospital and asked what to do and they said, “Go to the ER. Now.”

So, off we went to the ER. Poor Kellan was covered from head to toe in hives. He was so swollen. It was very scary.

Flash forward to filling out a check-in sheet and saying it may be a peanut allergy and we were in the triage room in less than five minutes. The guy checking out Kellan was like, “Yep. I can definitely see the hives….”

After waiting maybe another ten minutes, they called us back for the worst thing ever. I mean, Kellan was crying when they took his blood pressure during triage and now waiting for him were two shots with needles that had a circumference the size of the tip of a pen. That’s not even an exaggeration. These things made *me* cringe and I wasn’t even getting one. I had to hold Kellan while they gave him the shots (at the same time, thankfully) and the poor thing screamed a scream that will haunt me forever. It was pure, raw pain.

After we were sent back out to the waiting room again to wait for a doctor, Kellan fell asleep in my lap for maybe 45 minutes. I think his poor body and brain were on overload and he had had enough. The shots with steroids and an antihistamine worked, though. His hives were almost gone THREE HOURS LATER WHILE WE WERE STILL WAITING. Granted, the place was packed, but still. 7pm to 11pm is kind of exhausting for a two-year-old. When he woke up, he kept telling Tim that his legs felt funny. We are guessing it was from the medicine.

Long story short we didn’t get out of there until 11pm, along with a prescription for a 3-day dose of steroids and an epipen.

The next day, I found a doctor who would see him that day versus two weeks from now or not at all because they weren’t accepting new patients. After a quick check and some questions, she made an appointment with an allergist and told us to get rid of all the peanuts/peanut laced products/things that may have been manufactured near peanuts.

Our cupboard is now bare, thank you very much.

We see the allergist next week.

The more we think about it, Tim and I are really not sure if it is peanuts. We are thinking it may be fiberglass, as that was the only other thing that Kellan was exposed to at the exact same time as the peanut butter, as Tim had it on his clothes from work that day, which isn’t typical, and he has gotten a rash from it (fiberglass) once before.

It’s all to be determined at this point. I don’t want to get my hopes up that it isn’t peanut butter but I am really hoping it isn’t peanut butter.

For now, I am that parent who avoids all that say “made on a line that also processes tree nuts” snacks and carries a brightly colored bag that contains two junior epipens along with liquid and dissolvable benadryl.

Happy thoughts for no peanut allergies.

 

it’s rolling away!

So, let it be known that we bought a $20 watermelon the other weekend.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A twenty dollar watermelon.

Twenty. Dollars.

An entire Jackson dedicated to a single piece of fruit.

Since moving to Arkansas, we have had to drive basically an hour both ways to the grocery store. Where we live has exactly zero options for organic produce. I know. I’m so annoying. Just buy the other kind. Except, I can’t. Now that I know what I know about GMOs and what we are doing to our food these days…it actually hurts my soul to buy any produce without a 9 in the front of its little fruit code. My bananas? 94011. So, we drive every weekend to the only – and I mean only grocery store with a decent selection of produce that is within close proximity. Why not Whole Foods, you say?

I think the closest Whole Foods is two hours away.

We live in the sticks, you guys. At least when it comes to healthy eating options.

Anyway, on one such trip to said grocery store, I let Kellan pick out a watermelon on the way in. They were in one of those giant cardboard bin things and the kid loves watermelon. It’s only good in the summer. Who am I to deny him?

We go about our business buying the remainder of what is on our list and finally get to the checkout. The girl behind the counter was brand spanking new. She had the cheat sheet explaining how to scan everything literally two inches in front of her face and was struggling with how to do the watermelon, so she had to save it for last so she could ask someone to help her.

Finally, whoever was in the checkout counter next to us told her what to put in and she did while Tim, watching the screen to see how much everything is, sees the watermelon price pop up, looks at her and goes, “The watermelon is how much?”

“Twenty dollars.”

Tim: “Twenty dollars?” Obviously he’s sure she punched something…multiple somethings…in wrong.

“Yes sir! Twenty dollars!” She says with a smile. Because I guess this is a normal occurrence here. Twenty dollar watermelons.

Tim looks at me, his eyes about to bug out of his head like what in the world kind of watermelon is this?!

I just look back at him completely innocent all I have no idea. It’s organic? (But seriously that’s ridiculous for a watermelon).

Me: Do you want me to put it back? (This is always the response when the husband is about to have a coronary over the price of anything. You’ll see why…)

Tim: No.

Me: Are you sure?

Tim, through gritted teeth: NO.

Tim was not going to be shamed by a watermelon.

Right before Tim lifted our precious cargo into the cart, the guy waiting in line behind us looks at him dead in the eye and says, “better savor it, man.”

****

My story was actually going to end there, until our watermelon drama continued today. Except it wasn’t twenty dollars. Instead, it was poorly secured (read: not at all) in the back of my car. I have a Highlander and if your groceries aren’t properly stowed, they’re going to roll around everywhere.

Somehow, the watermelon Kellan and I bought today managed to escape its little nook and was rooooolllling all the way to the left and then rooooollllllling all the way to the right every time I turned a corner, all the way home.

When we made it to the garage, I took Kellan out the the car and then opened the back hatch to get the groceries. The watermelon was right at the edge, basically about to fall onto the bumper.

Before I could load my arms with all the bags of groceries my arms could possibly carry and do the grocery bag shuffle to the house – because that’s what you do when you have a toddler – I went to unlock the door and put my purse on the counter. Past experience has taught me not to have a locked door and a million grocery bags. New moms take heed.

Right before I went inside, I hear this dull thud. In that moment I knew. I knew what had just happened.

Kellan! Did you crash the watermelon to the ground?? The hard, cold, concrete ground….

The response was a very happy “Yes!”

“It’s ruined!” I yell back.  I know this because just a week or so ago, a watermelon fell out of the back of my car and when we got it home, it was completely ruined inside. You’d think I’d learn to strap that baby into the seat by now.

I put my purse down and turned back to go to the garage to survey the damage when I hear a panicked Kellan yelling, “Oh no! It’s rolling away! Oh no! It’s rolling away!!!!”

In the ten seconds it took me to put up my purse and make it back out to the garage, our watermelon had managed to find its way out of the garage to our downward sloping driveway and tried to make a run for it.

Where is it? I asked Kellan, between fits of laughter. I knew that in his mind, he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. He crashed his watermelon to the ground (haha! Look at what I did!) and now, now it was paying him back. Cause and effect in the greatest of lessons.

There! Down there! In the road!

We have taught Kellan that the road is for cars and if one is coming, we move to the grass because we have no sidewalk here. He knows the road is no place for a kid or a watermelon to just casually meander.

Kellan points frantically to the gutter all the way across the street, looking at me like, “Why are you just standing there and laughing, mom? This is an emergency! The watermelon! It’s rolling away! It’s in the road!”

 

 


this is where you ask those burning questions

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