Solidarity

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Solidarity

Well. Hello there. Long time, no blog.  I have no excuses to offer. 

Wait.  Yes I do.  Four to be exact.  But we don’t call them excuses in our house.  We call them blessings.  Or maniacs.  Depends on the day.    

Anyway.  Back to the lecture at hand (<--  name that circa-1992 song)

You know I love to write.  Basically because I like to talk and when I write, no one can cut me off and tell me to stop the words (like I have to do to one of my own children because LAWDY so.many.questions.)

And while I love to write, I especially enjoy it when there is a purpose.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I can ramble like a BOSS and chase them squirrels BUT it seems that God gave me an opinionated personality and, while I do try and keep that in check, there are some things I feel very passionate about these days, probably because Dallas and I are living them first hand.    

TEENAGE GIRLS. 

Those two words are ALL CAPS for a reason.  Y’all.  The real reason I haven’t blogged is because of this last year and those two words.  Not entirely but basically. 

If you have a teenage girl or a girl at all, don’t hear me hating on them because I am not.  I have many friends with teenage girls whom I absolutely adore (and secretly pray my boys will marry).  It’s just that, well, I was once one of those teenage girls and…whew.  Let’s just say that I DREAD a version of me at thirteen to come within a ten-foot-pole’s distance of my son.  But they are. 

And who wouldn’t?! I am absolutely biased but my first born is witty, athletic and quite easy on the eyes…and all of these things SCARE THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF ME. 

I initially thought I would share more details on our battles but I decided that it’s not important.  Let’s just say that there have been conversations with girls via texting and Instagram (that he literally had an account for about 6 total minutes!) that have forced us to moderately stalk our child and all his methods of communication. And we do it absolutely unapologetically. 

Now listen.  Some of you may be thinking that we’re extreme, that “boys will be boys,” and that this is normal.  However, this is where I’m pretty black-and-white.  I do not like the “boys will be boys” excuse.  Boys are, by nature, impulsive humans who need direction until they are mature enough to make good choices for themselves.  That is our job.

I know it’s exhausting.  I know it’s never ending.  I am constantly asking myself, “When does this end?” which is obviously a waste of breath since I have three more little d’s coming up behind him.  But here’s my point. 

Monitor your kids. Please. FOR THE LOVE.  Don’t be afraid to say no to them.  Don’t be afraid to take that phone and review everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING, even the deletes – I can tell you how to do that if you need to know).   

And just so we’re clear.  I’m speaking to moms of both boys and girls.  I need my boy moms on this crazy train with me because we all know that when one boy has waaaaaay more freedom than the others, it makes it waaaaaaaay more difficult to be effective in our quest at keeping their age-appropriate innocence.  Nonetheless, I’m empowering you all to STAND FIRM. 

Believe me.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Dawn, I don’t want to know what’s on their phone.”

Well, friends, I didn’t, either, but if you’re not in touch with what they’re doing now, it’s only going to get worse.  Deal with it now.  Let’s hold hands and deal with it together.  Solidarity, my sweet sisters.  

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Life Is Just Weird Sometimes

Life Is Just Weird Sometimes

About two weeks ago, I got a text from my brother.  He asked me why I kept “Steve” anonymous in my book.  I told him I did it to protect myself — for both the fear of the actual person and the fear of a potential lawsuit.  Not that I ever thought he would read it or hear about it and not that anything I said was false but more to cover my bases.    

And then he told me that I had no reason to fear.  You know, since “Steve” has been dead for ten years. 

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Almost a year ago, I was challenged to tell my story, to help others as they deal with their own personal skeletons as I dealt with mine. 

Can I be very honest?  Those weeks and months were, at times, a living hell for me.  As I would sit down to work on a chapter or story, memories would flood me and I could almost feel myself back in the moment.  And they were usually not moments I wanted to walk back into.

Some days, I would carve out an hour, maybe when my youngest son was napping, to write.  Many times, after just a few minutes, I would end up in the fetal position, vowing to quit this “stupid dream” that was now causing me so much pain. 

I guess I had never really faced so many situations after the fact….that is, until I was writing about them and remembering every last nightmare.  Many of these nightmares involved “Steve.” 

During the process and upon completion of the book, I would go out for a run and confuse a passerby for “Steve” and suddenly feel sick to my stomach and quickly head for home.  I would wake up in the middle of the night, remembering more details about things I had hoped I could just forget altogether. 

Yet the day I heard that “Steve” had died at age 42 from congestive heart failure, I found myself both incredibly relieved and incredibly sad.  Weird, right? Relieved that I no longer had to worry if I’ll bump into him at the grocery store but sad because…well, because he was the only father figure I ever had, if only for six or so years. 

And maybe because I have no idea where he spends eternity.  Had you asked me fifteen years ago if I cared about “Steve” and his eternity, that answer would have been easy.  Nope.  Don’t care. 

But I’m not the same person that I was fifteen years ago.  And while I don’t think I ever wanted to see him again, I have this strange sadness inside of me that hopes he met Jesus before he died.  Because, in the end, it’s all that matters. 

Oh and, for the record, I don’t like serious posts.  Not my thing.  

Oh Wheat, How I Love Thee

Oh Wheat, How I Love Thee

Five years ago, if someone had told me that I would be drinking protein shakes for one or two meals, tossing back some “swamp water” every morning like clockwork and fasting regularly, I probably would have laughed hard enough to wet myself. 

Oh stop it.  It’s not that I’m a stranger to healthier eating habits.  I rocked Weight Watchers after each babe was born.  This chick can count some calories.  However, as much as I loved WW, it only taught portion control.  I needed to know what I was missing and what I had too much of in this mom bod.

For a while now, I have heard stories and read articles on the effects of gluten in a person’s daily diet.  And I was most definitely intrigued.  But listen.  I love my chocolate glazed from Dunkies.  I day dream about the Five Guys Little Cheese and I do not mean with lettuce for a bun.  DINNER ROLLS ARE MY LIFEBLOOD and the thought of having to pass on that complementary Foccacia bread served at “Not Your Average Joe’s” with the oil and spices on the table that I basically lap up like a puppy dog was just too much to handle.

So when I would hear someone say that they couldn’t have gluten, I almost felt like I should hug them. And apologize.  And ask them if they were okay because…how are they even surviving? That’s seriously how I felt. And, yes, I can be a bit overdramatic. So what?  

But then about three weeks ago, I found myself with belly aches and just some overall GI issues every single night that I could not seem to attribute to anything in particular.  I must have just read an article on symptoms of gluten sensitivity so I thought, “Eh, what the heck? I can do anything for a few days.” 

YOU GUYS.  It is not that hard.  Really.  I’m not kidding when I say that I had mentally prepared myself for a very real, deep sadness as I mourned the loss of the sweet wheat in my mouth. 

As it turns out, I was wrong.  There are so many things that I can still have without modification.  And the other things like brownies and cookies can be made using alternative ingredients.  And only about a third of said ingredients sound like drugs.  You know, like xanthan gum. I’m still not even sure how to pronounce it but a friend gave me some in a small baggie and if a police officer had stopped me, I am fairly certain I would have been brought up on charges of possession. 

So here I am, day eight, and NO belly issues.  None.  Now, I did go through a bit of a detox for the first few days where I am pretty sure I may have sounded like a younger Cruella deVille and felt a little homicidal.  Not to worry, though.  That has since passed. 

Now that I’ve seen how doable this dietary change can be, I think we will be implementing across the board which means one of two things: 1) I will be upping my Betty Crocker skills in homemade crescent roll making or 2) my children will hate me for a few weeks when I say “No” to the nightly “Are we having rolls with dinner?” interrogation.  But then they’ll move past their homicidal phase just like I did and we’ll all be peachy keen.  Sort of. 

Besides, much of my “research” has shown that a lower gluten intake correlates to better behavior.  Not that we have any issues in that department ever in this house EVER…but, let's be real, I’ll gladly take any assistance that I can get before I go freaking loco. 

Now.  Who’s happy they logged on to read this masterpiece on my musings of bread? 

Oh and one last thing I’ve learned.  Gluten free does NOT mean calorie free.  Trust me.

Movin' On Up...To The Eastside

Movin' On Up...To The Eastside

I’ve never been much of a gym shower-er.  Then again, I’ve never been a member of a gym like the one I am now. 

I basically joined the country club.  This place has a full service café, a spa, every group class you could ever imagine, a Kids Academy that offers lessons in things such as karate, t-ball, field hockey, gymnastics, swim lessons (and did I mention I can have up to THREE HOURS A DAY OF THESE LESSONS?!?)…

And then there are the showers. 

Oh my gosh, the showers.  Not only are the showers all that I dream my home bath might be one day but they also provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, Q-tips, mouthwash, razors, happiness…like WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!

I almost cried when I took a tour as I dreamt of how different my bathing times would be.

Gone are the days where I have to wonder if the blood-curdling screams coming from outside the door are because an actual finger has been severed or if someone’s snack was stolen because I decided I needed three-and-a-half minutes to myself. 

No longer will I shave my pits with a rusty-ole razor because it was used in an experiment with the bar of soap and a Batman figurine by a child. 

Or how about the shampoo that is always and forever diluted from being dunked in bath water?  I’ve even taken steps to prevent this by hiding my own shampoo but they still KEEP FINDING IT!

And we won’t even discuss the difference in cleanliness between the two facilities.  I actually cringe every time I step foot in mine at home because I KNOW WHO I’M RAISING.  It’s a total crap shoot in what I’m standing in…and a very real possibility that it’s actual “crap” if Daly did what Daly does. 

This is a lot of words to describe my excitement but it really is that good.  However, and hence the blog, I come to you needing advice. 

Because, like I said, I’ve never been a gym shower-er.  Therefore, I don’t really know how to act in the locker room. Meaning I have a lot of questions that I’m hoping you’ll have answers for. 

For example, the walk from the locker to the shower…how does that take place? I can’t say I’m super comfortable going au-natural.  After all, I would hate for the other ladies to envy my stretch marks and cellulite. 

But today I just felt confused.  I took my gym bag (I have one now!) and a towel* to the shower and then found myself in a predicament because there’s no bench in the shower. So how do I go from point A to point B? And if this is a dumb question, give me a dumb answer.  I can take it.  I just need to know. 

Also, how long is too long to steal all the hot water? At home, all of us are on a clock because there is but ONE shower for SIX people so we have to conserve. Well, five people now because I have a new option.  And I sure will drive ten minutes for said option.  

And it’s probably not a big deal.  I am sure I didn’t go a minute over forty-five.  Just asking…for a friend. 

*How do they get the towels to smell so incredibly fresh?  Despite my attempts with fabric softener, vinegar, essential oils, my home towels still come out stanky and like a wet animal has taken them for a spin.  

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Wowie.  Fall has “fallen” upon us and, man, am I so happy for that! Not only does it mean gorgeous foliage and all things pumpkin but, more importantly, SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION! Halleluyer, thank you Lord, they are back with precious teachers and, for a short period of time, I am not breaking up legit fist fights over who ate the last bag of Doritos.  Because that is obviously something to bloody your brother over. 

And now that I have all this “free” time with three-fourths being publicly educated, I’ve decided that it’s time to keep writing.  After having spent over six straight months working on “Carried,” I took the summer off to reflect on that accomplishment. 

Because it was an accomplishment for me.  Will it ever be printed and sold in stores? Probably not.  Will I ever be discovered by some publisher and have book signings in Time Square? Unlikely.  I’m not saying these things because I don’t have confidence in myself.  Well, okay, maybe a little because I’m just me and I have words and I don’t really know how many care about my words so seeing myself on the shelves of Barnes & Noble seems extremely far-fetched but I am okay with that.  I don’t write for a giant paycheck.  I write because I enjoy it.  I write because it feels good to express myself.  I write because some of you tell me you like to read it.  I write because it’s my therapy outlet. 

And now I’m ready to write again, this time about things not so deep as before.  Because, let’s be real, that junk was HEA-VEE!

So, I’m turning to you, my beloved groupies who have either subscribed to my blog or found this via some social media outlet.  Or stumbled upon it and thought, “Who the crap is this crazy chick?”

What should my next book be about? I have some ideas but am curious to know your thoughts.  I think it’s obvious that it has to be about boys.  And maybe parenting.  And how you should just do everything opposite of me. 

But seriously though.  I do think it will be a parenting-type book, obviously not a “what-to-do” but more of a “what-not-to-do.”  I have some ideas for chapters but would love to know your feedback…what do you want to hear about?  Hit me with it.

How I handled something (and likely screwed up)?  How I didn't handle something and just pretended it never happened to avoid dealing with it?  How I plan to handle something very badly (i.e. puberty and pretty girls)?  

You know what I write well.  If left to me, I'll diarrhea all over the cyber pages of the internet and then you'll wish you had told me so ready?…and go!