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Maggie, A-Z

 

I realize I’ve been neglecting my little corner of the blogosphere, but I didn’t realize I had been two whole months! I’ve been seeing this little ‘quiz’ floating around on several blogs I follow so I thought it might be a good way to dust off the cobwebs and get back to over-sharing.

A. Age: 28 (when did that happen??)
B. Bed size: Queen
C. Chore that you hate: Homework. And scrubbing the bathtub. I’d take homework over the tub any day.
D. Dogs: Just one, my bad boy Bandito.
E. Essential start to your day: A few cups of extra strong, black coffee. Lately I’ve been addicted to Starbucks Komodo Dragon.
F. Favorite color: Black and any shade of green
G. Gold or Silver: Silver
H. Height: 5’6″ (and shrinking!)
I. Instruments you play: I bought a bass guitar and gave up on it in high school. My husband recently bought me another one so we’ll see how that goes.
J. Job title: Stay home momma/full time student
K. Kids: 3 girls. Lorelei, Lillian, and Ellie.
L. Live: the middle of stinkin’ nowhere
M. Mother’s name: Ann
N. Nicknames: Maggie
O. Overnight hospital stays: A few. 3 times with kids and a couple other random times (car accidents and such)
P. Pet peeves: Repeating myself and people who are constantly “connected”. Seriously, we got along just fine before latptops, cell phones, etc. Put them away and actually experience your life!
Q. Quote from a movie: I don’t play favorites, I’m such a nerd I could talk entirely in movie quotes. Hi Fidelity is endlessly quotable and there are some real gems in Poolhall Junkies and The Big Lebowski.
R. Right or left handed: Right
S. Siblings: Jack, Jennifer, Maureen, Alex, Darianne, Dalton, Alejandro and little Pablito.
U. Underwear: Umm, always?
V. Vegetable you hate: None! I am an equal opportunity veggie lover (which comes in handy when you’re vegan!)
W. What makes you run late: My children and my insane forgetfulness
X. X-Rays you’ve had: A bunch. I’m chock full of radiation.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Being vegan and having 2 kids with Celiac has kind of forced me to become a foodie. I love experimenting and finding new ways to combine flavors. Of course my husband’s favorite meal I make is still good ol’fashioned meatloaf.
Z. Zoo animal: I lovelovelove to watch the prairie dogs and it makes me laugh so hard that the zoo keep spending money building them better habitats to keep them contained but they continue to find ways to escape and appear in other exhibits.

 

How I Realized I’m Raising a Hoarder

So. Hey there. How you livin’? I hope you don’t think I’ve forgotten you, because I totally haven’t. (That sounded creepier than intended.)

Anywho. School started today. Wait, that needs more emphasis… School started TODAY!!! I love my children, really I do. Like, more than they could possibly bear. Like, I would gnaw off my own arm if it would prevent something bad from happening to them.

I’m not sure how me gnawing off one of my own limbs would save them from something. Anything. At all. But I would do it! If that situation ever presented itself…

Where was I going with that? Ugh. Why is everything so awkward tonight? What. Is. Going. On???

 

Let’s start over. We’re friends, right? Sometimes my friends like to call me to whine talk about stuff and I listen and try not to give dumb advice. I’m really terrible at advice. Like if you called me and said you had just gotten your hair colored and you were crying and you hated it, I’d probably suggest that you just shave it. And then proceed to list various cool people who are bald and convince you that yes, your face shape would totally support the bowling ball look. And, while my advice may be terrible, at the time I wholeheartedly believe it and am fairly good at convincing people I’m right so just… be careful. And don’t ask me for advice. Just tell me to shut up. So guess what? You get to be that friend today. Not the one I convince that bald is beautiful. The one who listens to me whine. Feel free to tell me to shave my head when I’m done, but my mom always said I only hear what I want to hear. So just… remember that. I have “selective hearing”. It’s a gift.

My kids started school today and that is completely awesome. They all wore cute clothes, brushed their hair and teeth, I was awarded Mom of the Decade because I got up before 8am and made them pancakes (gluten free and from scratch. yea, I’m amazing like that), they all had fun at school, there was extra recess time, etc, etc. Here’s the part where I whine and freak out.

Y’all. I spent three hours cleaning my nine year old’s room today. THREE HOURS. I was sweaty, dirty, dusty and somehow covered in sand (what?). In short, I was a total hot mess. My kid is evidently a hoarder. When did this happen? How did this happen?! I am not the kind of person who keeps stuff. I think it’s a result of moving a bazillion times as a kid, or maybe it’s an extension of my OCD, but either way, I throw stuff away on the regular. Trash, recycling, Goodwill, friends, neighbors, whatever. If I haven’t used it in 6 months I obviously don’t need it and out it goes. My oldest child is evidently the Yin to my Yang. The peanut butter to my jelly. The ninja to my pirate… Anyway. The point is, she keeps EVERYTHING.

If you wrote her a letter 8 years ago, she still has it. If she got a pencil in her Valentine’s box at school in 1st grade and she chewed on it and the eraser is gone but it still has 2 inches of lead left, she still has it. If she secretly ate a piece of Halloween candy 2 years ago, I can guarantee you the evidence is tucked away in her room somewhere. It. Was. Revolting.

I ended up removing not one, but TWO 13 gallon size trash bags of junk from her room. That’s twenty-six gallons of garbage. Twenty-six! That doesn’t even include all of the paper trash that went into the recycling bin. Are you kidding me?!

So, after sweating and being totally grossed out and picking some things up using only my fingertips and wishing I had rubber gloves for three hours, then actually cleaning her room and taking out the trash and rearranging her furniture a bit so that everything has a place and it’s all nice and shiny and wonderful, I started to get excited because she’s going to be home soon. Excited and a little worried. She’s not a big fan of people touching her stuff and not only did I touch it, but I threw twenty-six gallons of it away.

Cold sweats. Pacing. Texting my friend to say that if she hasn’t heard from me by 5pm she may want to tell my husband to come home from work. The front door opens. Expostulations about the First Day of School are shouted. Bedroom doors open. Here it is, the moment when she realizes her evil, total big meanie of a mother has lain in wait all summer only to sneak into her room the first day she’s gone and has thrown away All Her STUFF.

“Oh Mom, you cleaned my room. Cool. I’m hungry.”

Seriously?

When Does School Start Again?

I love summer. It’s my favorite season. I count down to summer starting the day after Christmas every year. I pine for it. I long for it. I dream about all of the things I’m going to get done around my house, all the places I’m going to take the kids, all of the late nights spent laughing with my husband and friends until my cheeks are sore, and all of the things I’m not going to do. If you’re anything like me you have a list a mile long of “things I’ll do as soon as I have the time”, but guess what? Summer isn’t the time for that stuff. Summer is for lazy mornings, afternoon naps, impromptu trips to the pool, ice cold sweet tea, cartoons, sidewalk chalk, and having a picnic in the front yard just because you can.

Love notes are sweeter when written in chalk

The end of May finally arrived and with it my fantasy of the perfect summer. Three months stretched out before me, just waiting to be filled with anything and everything or nothing at all.

Only one small problem.

It’s been 100 degrees or higher every. single. day.

Are you kidding me?!

Our wagon is lonely because it's too hot to play outside

I’ll admit, temps above 100 do make for great swimming days. But 100,000 other people figured that out too and I don’t think you can still call it swimming when you’re practically arm wrestling 14 sweaty people for 3 feet of lukewarm water.

So I signed the kids up for a reading program at the library and they each checked out 5 books on our first visit. Then when we got home they proceeded to read not only their library books but also every other book in the house, exceeding their goals by double digits in an afternoon. I couldn’t take them straight back to the library to turn those reading logs in, right? I mean, wouldn’t they be suspicious? So I said we’d hold on to the logs until the middle of summer so we don’t look like a bunch of prize-hungry library liars. (Yea, that’s a thing. Google it.)

We lost the logs. Cue 3 girls throwing 3 fits that lasted something like 3 hours. Or maybe it just felt like 3 hours.

Nah, I’m pretty sure it was 3 hours.

We got a puppy in February (bear with me, I know it doesn’t seem relevant right now, but it will). In February he was 2 months old, tiny and very sleepy. Sleepy all the time. His absolute favorite thing to do was to lay in my lap and crash so hard I worried he was comatose.

By June he was 6 months old. And not so sleepy. He still sleeps like the dead but it’s only for an afternoon nap and at night. The rest of the time he is on full-on-Tasmanian-devil mode. He only has these two speeds (kind of like my children, come to think of it). The kids had begged and begged for a puppy; my husband and I tried to be reasonable and wait to make the right choice. We relented; the children celebrated, singing our praises. Now all I hear is, “Bandit! No! Mooooooommmm!!!” All. day. long.

Calgon, take me away.

Or something like that.

I love my darling babies and want only the best for them, which is why I’m wondering: when does school start again?

A little bit of dark, cool, sweet quiet time

~Maggie

Linking up over at Mama Kat’s “Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop”.

 

Hi, My Name is Maggie and I am an Addict

I have a problem. An addiction. It started out innocent enough but it slowly began taking more and more of my time. I heard a couple of my favorite bloggers talking about it on their podcast and it sounded like fun. Like a beautiful, creative way to bookmark all of the lovely things you find in random, cobwebbed corners of the internet and share them with others at the same time.

If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about Pinterest. I used their site to search for anyone and everyone I know who might have an account so that I could request an invite. No luck. I resorted to requesting an invite directly from the site and… waited. And waited. And waited some more. Waiting for that email was like waiting for a package to come in the mail from Hong Kong. I don’t know if you’ve ever ordered anything from Hong Kong but it’s a total crap-shoot when that package is actually going to arrive. It could be two weeks or two months!

So I’m waiting on this email from Pinterest saying Yes! We want you! Join our cool-kid club and amaze us with you knack for finding neat stuff on the internet! (Ok, maybe it didn’t say exactly that but that’s how I read it. I do remember it saying Congratulations! Or something of the sort. Maybe other people get that excited when they see Congratulations! addressed to them or maybe I just have a crazy need for acceptance. Either way.) So, I’m waiting and waiting and I finally get it.

I’m in! Woohoo! Time to pin to my heart’s content! Time to hunt down all that cool stuff I’ve been bookmarking in my head for just such an occasion! But then I find myself in a downward spiral of despair. I don’t really have anything interesting to pin. No beautiful landscapes or easy 10 Minutes, A Glue Gun and an Imagination DIY posts to link up. Nothing.

Then inspiration hits. I’m pinning gorgeous dresses. I’m digging up all kinds of fun furniture projects. Shoes, shoes, shoes galore! So many pretty things! It doesn’t take long before this pinning thing is out of control. My husband comes home from work at 2am and I’m up, staring blankly at my laptop screen, my skin pale in it’s glow, clicking on images to pin like someone in a Hitchcock film. He doesn’t even ask what I’m doing anymore. He knows I’m pinning. He knows there’s nothing he can do to stop me. Even if he took desperate measures and disabled our home wifi he knows I’ve downloaded the Pinterest app on my phone.

He shakes his head and walks away, ashamed of what’s become of me. The next day, I get this:

I fully expect him to follow through on his promise of a 12-step program to end this madness. I pinned 14 cute tops while writing this post.

 

 

Oh, and I know I shouldn’t be doing this but if anyone wants a Pinterest invite without having to wait like I did on pins (get it, pins? ha!) and needles for an invite from the site, let me know. Just don’t tell my husband it was me that got you hooked.

29 Things I Love About My Husband

1. His eyes get all crinkly when he smiles

2. He’s playful

3. He’s authentic, I’ve never known him to care what other people think about him

4. He surprises me

5. He has super manly hands

6. He puts up with shares my OCD

7. He talks backwards when he’s nervous or excited

8. He’s ticklish

9. He has the funniest laugh I’ve ever heard. Seriously, it’s contagious.

10. He doesn’t mind when he comes home from work and I haven’t crossed anything off my list for the day

11. He helps me with my homework

12. He’s my personal cheerleader when I feel like I can’t take one more step towards my degree

13. He’s the best Daddy to our daughters

14. He’s generous

15. He gets up before me every weekend and brings me a cup of hot coffee to wake me up

16. He kindly waits until that first cup of coffee is gone before asking me any important questions

17. He works hard to give his girls the best life possible

18. He understands that money isn’t everything and occasionally takes a day off just because

19. He is a great model for the kind of men our girls will marry someday

20. He’s silly

21. He eats my cooking and never rarely complains, even in that awful just-married stage of culinary disasters

22. He doesn’t let Lorelei give up on herself when she’s working through something hard

23. He holds Lily accountable for her actions

24. He doesn’t let Ellie push him around too much

25. He looks at me the same way now that he did when we were dating and it makes me feel beautiful, even when I’ve just woken up

26. He reads my essays and short stories

27. He does the dishes. A lot.

28. He’s smart

29. He let’s me lay my head on his lap when we watch movies, even though he knows I’m going to fall asleep and he’ll be stuck that way for the next two hours

Here’s to you, Honey. I love you and I’m so glad we’re together. Today you turned 29 and I’m looking forward to celebrating your birthday with you many more times.

My Husband Hates Lunch

I just realized something today. Every day my husband helps me make lunch for the girls. And then he leaves. Every day! What is up with that? He always makes up some flimsy excuse like, “I have to go to work to support our family” or “Someone in this house has to have a job” something equally lame. Puh-lease. I’m not buying it.

You know what I think it is? It’s lunch. He has some weird, deep seated hatred of lunch. I mean, I understand that lunch can be pretty boring but what kind of whack job actually hates a meal? Evidently, my husband is that whack job.

In order to stop the cycle I have come up with a brilliant plan: I’m never feeding my kids lunch again. If we don’t make lunch, he doesn’t have to leave. Perfect logic. I am a genius.

On another note…

I know everyone says, “Kids say the darnedest things” (who says “darnedest”? Why is that even a word?), and I’ve practically stalked my kids from the moment they exited my womb, just waiting for some pearl of wisdom or childish nugget of hilarity to escape their lips. Nine long years of hiding behind couches, lurking outside of bedroom doors, sneaking around my own house, and nothing. Nada. I had pretty much decided that I gave birth to the most un-funny people on the planet until this summer. It seems they are finally getting the hang of sarcasm, but not quite, and this whole stretching-their-sarcastic-little-wings and the inevitable crash-and-burns have made all my sneaking/lurking/hiding totally worth it. (I know a lot of parents who don’t think sarcasm is funny, but I am the kind of mom who has used the “Your mom” comeback on my kids a billion times and you know what? It’s funny every time. Because I’m. Their. Mom. Ha! Their confused little faces make my whole day.)

Anywho, this morning I was eavesdropping drinking my coffee and I overheard the following:

Lily: “Blah, blah, blah, it’s your special talent.”

Lorelei: “If you say that again, I’m gonna “special talent” you into next year.”

Haha… what? What does that even mean? I really wish I’d started listening in made my coffee earlier.

Then the other day Lorelei was telling her sisters about Adam and Eve and how everyone is related to them because they’re our ancestors and Lily, ever the blond, asked, “What about our Unclecestors? Everyone always talks about our Auntcestors but no one knows anything about our Unclecestors!”

On Being Present

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Yesterday my husband and I forewent our usual 4th of July tradition of traveling to an old friend’s house in the country two hours away in favor of sticking closer to home and attending a pool party at a new friend’s house. Despite my initial hesitation and feelings of guilt that we were “bailing” on our friend’s annual event, despite the fact that the weather was absolutely beautiful until we got halfway to the pool party and the sky literally opened up with fat raindrops falling in sheets and lots of lightening, and despite the fact that out of many people invited, we were the only people to show up at the party, it ended up being the best choice we could have made.

My friend refused to allow us to bring anything, graciously taking care of drinks, burgers, hotdogs, condiments, you name it -(I broke the rules and whipped up two dozen cookies because I can’t bring myself to show up empty-handed)-  so I was spared the usual frustration of coming up with something to bring that will feed x amount of people and that the majority of people will like, not to mention spared the task of finding something suitable (and cute) to transport said food to the party since my kitchen accoutrements have not grown as quickly as my new found love of cooking/baking. When we arrived it was pouring and continued to do so for the next few hours. With other guests staying home to wait out the storm we ended up with a cozy little get together, minus the pressure I sometimes feel when meeting a ton of new people and the pressure the girls feel to “behave” in front of a bunch of strange grownups.

Eventually the clouds drifted away and we were able to go swimming after all. My friend spent the next two hours catching the girls as the dove into the deep end, allowing my husband and I a rare chance to swim and play and canoodle a little. The girls pelted us with water guns and we fought back, their shrieks of joy plus the deep sound of my husband’s laughter making my heart swell.

As far back as I can remember I have always been looking forward to the next thing. It’s always been a struggle for me to focus on, and thoroughly enjoy, the present. When I was small it was, “When I grow up” or “When I’m a teenager”. When I was a teenager it was “When I’m an adult” or “When I move out”. Lately I have been stuck in this pattern of constantly looking ahead once again. I find myself thinking, “When we buy a new house” or “When my husband finds a job” or “When I graduate college”. As if my life will officially start when one (or all) of those things happen. As if being married to a wonderfully loving man, with three beautiful, smart, amazing, gorgeous, precocious children, isn’t enough.

Yesterday brought my thoughts back into sharp focus on the present. It seemed as if time had slowed down. There was nothing to do but enjoy each other in the moment, nothing to look forward to. Time seemed to stand still while our daughters were launching themselves from the edge of the pool, then breaking the surface of the water grinning and so proud of their bravery at jumping into the deep end. I snapped some photos later in the evening of my husband and the girls lighting sparklers and fireworks but none of them compare to the snapshots I have saved in my heart of him laughing and spraying the girls with water or of the looks on their faces as they so trustingly launched themselves from the edge of safety with their eyes shut tight.

It’s not a bad thing to look forward to and plan for the future, but it is a crime to ignore what is going on right now in favor of it. Our children are growing so unbelievably quickly, my oldest recently reminded me that in just 8 years she will be leaving for college. College! When did this happen? When did my babies grow so tall, so long legged and lean, so smart and thoughtful? And as for my husband, I never want to take him for granted, never want to look at him and not recognize in him the man I fell in love with. He has such a heart for us, for loving “his girls” and providing for us. Every day he shows us that he loves us and isn’t afraid to tell me his needs too. I am incredibly envious of his ability to be so open. It’s an interior battle for me to lay myself bare like that and I respect his bravery both out in the world making a place for his family and in the privacy of our home, plainly letting me know what he needs. I don’t want to miss out on surreptitious glances across the living room, over the heads of our children, because I am daydreaming about what we might have someday. I don’t want to get caught up like so many people I’ve met who believe that their fun will begin when their kids leave the nest.

I am intensely grateful for my children and my husband and grateful for yesterday for allowing me to realize just how much.

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