Late Bloomers

I love how nature speaks to me. I received a great lesson today, and I wanted to share it with you.

At the beginning of summer I planted a garden. Granted, I may have been a tad tardy with my planting, but my garden has been a flop. I attempted a new method this year, hoping to avoid weeding, avoid tilling, and freshen up the soil. Instead of planting directly into the ground, I planted a pallet garden.

If you’re unfamiliar with this technique, it’s a simple concept. At least for me, which may have been the reason for my poor results. I basically tossed a pallet on the ground, filled it with soil, and sewed my seed in the rows of pallets.

My garden took off……..in the beginning. It sprouted. It blossomed. It flourished.  I was so excited, eagerly awaiting the results. The delicious food that I could bless my family with. But it never produced fruit. While others posted pictures of their bounty all summer long on social media, I chalked my garden up to a big ol’ dud. The plants were large. The leaves were green, the blossoms were oh so many. But no veggies were to be had.

J-Dub and I assessed the situation and decided that perhaps it was a little too crowded in that pallet. No, I didn’t thin the little saplings like the seed packet told me to….I just can’t stand to pull up potential. Each of those seeds has within it the potential to provide life nourishing food. I just figure I’d probably pull up the wrong one, that every little seed deserves a chance, and that the strong would win out. Wasn’t true. There crowded conditions kept any of them from producing. Anyway, we continued to water, it continued to grow, but when I realized my mistake, I decided what I’ll do differently next year. More room, less plants.

Today is Sept. 13. Here it is on the cusp of fall, and I got the surprise of the day when I discovered little bitty baby veggies growing in my garden. I laughed out loud, bending down to move the big leaves to see what else was hiding underneath. Quite a few little babies were there. Yes they are tiny. Yes they may not make it full grown, but they are there just the same.

 

“You’re just a late bloomer, aren’t you?” I spoke to my lovely little garden. “Just like me.”

I realized then and there, it’s okay. How often are we constantly comparing our lives to others who are posting their bounty on social media? How often do we think we should already have accomplished, achieved, experienced so much in our life by now?

We are so much like this little pallet garden of mine. We have within us so much potential. We are the seeds, full of possibility to give life nourishing fruit to others. But we sometimes get crowded out. Others outshine us. We may even look at the ones around us and believe that they have it all and there’s no way we can bear our fruit. Maybe we even believe it’s too hard, or there’s not enough to go around and those other guys already got it all. It’s never a good feeling when we feel like we are competing with the ones next to us.

We should never give up. Yes, it’s the oldest cliche’ in the world, but it’s more than a cliche’. It’s truth.  Just as I didn’t give up on this little garden. Even when we thought it might be a dud, we didn’t abandon it. We kept on watering it. There was always a little glimmer of hope that it might become what it was intended to. That is exactly why I checked on it today. In the hope that the fruit would be there. Same as us. We all have our dreams inside of us. Don’t give up on them. Don’t give up on yourself. You aren’t a dud. Keep your hope alive.

When I saw those little baby veggies, it brought me joy, and I quickly got the hose to give it more of what it needed. And like you and like me, our small baby fruits, that we think don’t make a difference, do bring others joy. Give yourself what you need. Whatever that may be. You are important and your needs shouldn’t go unmet. Take some time to reflect on what you need, and love yourself enough to tend your own garden.

My takeaways from this lesson in nature:

1) You have great potential and possibility inside you.

2) You may not be planted in the optimal place, but you can still bear fruit.

3) Don’t let others crowd you out. Stop comparing your bounty to everyone else’s. They have weeds too, you just aren’t seeing them.

4) Blossom in your own time, even if it seems too late. It is never too late.

5) You and your gifts bring others joy. Keep on. You never know when you are affecting another.

XOXO,

Angel

 

Paper or Plastic?

I know you’ve seen that meme floating around facebook that says something along the lines of “I’m so glad it’s Saturday, so I can run errands, clean house, do laundry, grocery shop…..etc. etc. etc.”

How true it is. Funny that my Saturday to-do list matches that meme verbatim. Funny, not funny.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m beginning to believe a tell-tale sign that you’ve hit a certain age is when you start griping about how the 17-year-old kid is sacking your groceries at the store. I can’t help but wonder if there is a training for this or if they just let them at it.

My dad once said, “Sacking groceries used to be an art form. Now they just throw them in there any old way.” I dismissed this comment and chalked it up to being a grouchy old man remembering days gone by with paper bags and orderly groceries. Fresh faced boys with a little too much Bryl cream gingerly placing eggs in paper bags. We all have those images from sitcoms or movies where ladies walk from the grocery store carrying one paper bag with a loaf of french bread sticking out of the top. Paper bags have a structure and can be artfully filled with great precision. But nowadays we don’t always get the choice for paper or plastic. We get what we get, which around here is plastic.

I went to The Walmarts today and quite almost bought out the store since we literally had NOTHING to eat at our house. We’ve been living on Saltines and grape jelly over here. So my basket was overloaded. You know, to the point I had to change my stance and engage my quads in order to turn the corners. Now, a younger me used to not care about how the groceries were placed in the basket or how they went on the conveyor belt. A younger me put the groceries up and let the checker/sacker who is one in the same, sort it out. But the older me, she has a system. I strategically unpack my cart onto the belt so that items can go together in the sack making it easier on me to
a) fit them all in my basket
b) carry them in from the car
and c) put them away.

Today, didn’t really go so strategically, and as I placed my sacked groceries into my cart, I couldn’t help and think of my dad and his comment. When you have an already overloaded cart, you’re operating on limited space. A large grocery bill ends up being about 976 plastic bags full of groceries that you have to fit in your basket, carry in from the car, and put away.

This is where a little art of sacking would come in handy. I honestly don’t understand why they put one item in a sack. Why? My checker/sacker put every kind of meat that I purchased in its own sack. No need to mix pork and beef. And of course cleaners need their own sack, and then the tiny package of sewing needles go in their own plastic sack on the off-chance they may bust out of their packaging and puncture the OJ. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

So many items in their own sack. Except of course the can goods. They all go together, all 22 of them. Don’t mind this permanent indented red mark on the crook of my elbow from my 70 lb sack of green beans.

I couldn’t help but do a little combining right there in the checkout line. It was that, or have a rigor. It’s okay if bread and eggs go in the same sack, it really is. And paper towels don’t really need their own sack. It’s okay, throw a container or two of yogurt in there. It will be fine.

Even with own combining, I still made a gazillion trips into the house. By this time, my quads were truly burning and of course, I was starving, my Saturday was half gone and the second half will be my date with laundry, and by the time I got all my groceries in my little kitchen, there was no where left to step and I was exhausted. Walmart Grocery Shopping should be the new Olympic Sport, especially when you’re down to nothing but saltines and grape jelly. It’s quite a feat.

But ode to joy! I now have a kitchen stocked to the brim, and Pizza Hut on speed dial. You know the drill.

 

 

 

Love in My Lap

IMG_2849.JPGThe clock is a kill-joy on mornings like today. Mornings when my baby girl is so warm and snuggled up against me, her breathing heavy and full, a half-snore.

Mornings come so early for us, and bedtimes don’t always come easily. It’s hard to rub the sleepies from our eyes some days, and this morning was no exception.

I am on the countdown to summer break, for both of us. Well for all of us. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find our cat marking X’s on the calendar, if she only had opposable thumbs. I think she’s on the countdown too. She knows that soon we can sit like this all morning if we want to. We probably will. I love her soothing purrs and EK’s half snores.

It’s no secret that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. But I will carry her from her bed to the recliner as long as she reaches her arms around my neck and snuggles her face into my neck each sleepy morning. I will carry her as long as I have strength to do so. I will hold her in my lap as long as she curls up in it. I will breathe in the smell of her hair and kiss her little head for as many days as possible.

I believe that the gift of being an older mom is knowing in my heart how fleeting the days are. I may not be young and hip. I may occasionally get mistaken for her grandmother. I may be old-fashioned and a bit of a stick in the mud. I may get tired soon after playing shadow tag, but I am sure of one thing. I am not foolish enough to believe that these moments will last.

When you get to a certain age, you start looking back. Here I am, halfway through life (not positive, but realistically yes, but gosh that’s hard to think about) and it went by in a blink. Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I remember a younger time when it felt like days dragged on and waiting for something to come seemed to take an eternity. Like graduation or a wedding day. Even summer breaks felt long when I was a youngster. I remember a younger me full of goals and dreams, rushing through days, not living in the present but taking every day for granted, the next would come and I would wash and repeat. Can you relate?

Not anymore. Now me and J-Dub look at the clock in the evenings and can’t believe it’s 8 pm already. Where does all the time go? It flies. That’s the truth.

The clock that hangs on my wall was a gift from my dad. I remember my 25th birthday when he gave it to me. I remember the 25 year old who was cute and hip and took everyday for granted. She could probably play shadow tag for hours. The clock chimes on the hour. I try to have EK ready before 7 bells each day, but today we sat a little longer. I relished the seconds that passed. I attempted to slow down time. I did not want them to end. I felt such joy and love. But the clock chimed our reminder that time is passing; slowly for some, much more quickly for others.

I nudged her awake, stirred the cat, and began the day with a heart of pure gratitude for the love I hold in my lap each morning.

 

My Grits, but please don’t kiss them

The other day at work, a couple of us started talking about grits. I was left out of the convo, because all I had to say was, “I’ve never had grits.” And, “what is a grit anyway?” The others began to tell me what I was missing out on, how they fixed theirs, and how often they ate them. Granted, I was curious.

That afternoon around 4:15 (my optimal binge eating time), which just so happened to be the day before Valentine’s day, I just so happened to be at The Walmarts getting all the things that I just so happened to have procrastinated buying earlier. Mom stuff. Party stuff.  Valentine’s stuff. Stuff like: party refreshments for EK’s Valentine party, Valentine cards for EK’s party, crafts for making EK’s Valentine box, candy for EK, candy for J-Dub, a card for J-Dub, and all the other things.  Do you see a pattern here?

A few things to note:
1) The Walmarts has recently been rearranged completely. So trying to find anything is enough to drive a sane person stark-raving, run-down-the-street-naked, pull-your-hair-out, crazy. Can I get an Amen?
2) The Walmarts before Valentine’s Day is probably second in crazy only to Black Friday shopping, especially the candy and card aisle; both of which I had to maneuver.
3) 4:15 is when I am really hungry . On the verge of Hangry. You’ve been warned.
4) I should never go to The Walmarts at 4:15 (during my optimal binge eating time) the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s a dumb idea. Neither should you.

You probably know where this is going. I’m at The Walmarts at 4:15 the Day before Valentine’s Day and I’m pulling everything off the shelf whether I need it or not, because this is basically a high stress time and I need to get the holy crap out of there with my life. I tried to remain calm; going within, thinking happy thoughts, humming. Instead of calming me down, I was only annoying myself more. The only thing that was going to make this better was buying food items I never buy because it’s 4:15 at The Walmarts on the Day before Valentine’s Day, and eating is my Xanax.

Loading my basket with red yarn, googly eyes, Kool Aid Jammers, Cap’n’Crunch, Chex Mix, Pink and Red cookies, and you guessed it… Instant Grits, I arrived home fully intact but a bit disheveled. J-Dub remarked about my interesting choice of foods I’d purchased. Well yes, it’s 4:15 at The Walmarts the Day before Valentine’s Day. Need I say more?

Today I prepared some grits. I understand that instant grits isn’t going to measure up to (whatever the opposite of instant is)…..slow grits? But I’m an amateur. I have to begin somewhere, and “instant” is usually where I like to begin. I read the directions, prepared them like instant oatmeal, and tried a taste.  I got the cheese grits, so I thought they would have a nice taste, not really needed any extra, but I can only imagine what the un-cheese grits taste like. I added salt, that didn’t help. I added milk, that kind of helped. I added sugar, that really helped. Still, I don’t think I’m a fan.

Truthfully, I’m lost about grits. I don’t  know whether Grits are a breakfast food or a supper food. I don’t even really know how a grit is different from corn meal. And I really don’t know what the term “kiss my grits” means for sure. Anyone remember Alice? Flo? Any help would be appreciated. If you’ve got the answers, I need them.

From this experience, here are my take-aways . Besides learning when not to go to The Walmarts—(4:15 on the Day before Valentine’s Day; if you’ve not been paying attention), I also learned the best way to fix grits:

 

 

******* Throw them out, and pour a bowl of Cap’n Crunch********

 

 

 

 

Emma’s 6th Birthday Party—emoji

I’m running so far behind, I’m not sure I’m coming or going.

Three weeks ago, we celebrated our little one’s sixth birthday and I have yet to document this momentous event with pictures.

This time, I did it differently. The first five of her birthdays, we have celebrated at home with friends in an old fashioned birthday party. I’m a bit old fashioned actually and I have learned that when having big parties and renting out places, serving 3 decker cakes, and having lots of hoopla, this only gets harder the older they get. So, we have celebrated at home, with homemade cupcakes and games.

And now here comes the BUT.

But this year…….

She wanted to have her party at the gymnastics center. If you’ve been paying any bit of attention, you’ll know that she is crazy about emojis right now. So of course, it had to be an emoji party. She has pined over other little girls’ fancy, two layer cakes and asked if she could have a big cake. So, I bit the bullet and went with it, no matter how much it went against my grain.

Who’s to say my grain’s going the right direction, anyway?

It was a ton of fun, very stress free for me, and dare I say…..easy.

The kids got to jump, run, swing, balance, and hang like monkeys.

I even did my part by making some “poop” cupcakes. Of course, Emma helped.

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Another birthday in the books.

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On Your 6th Birthday

My dearest Emma,

You are now six years old.  This year has been a whirlwind.  Heck, your whole life has been a whirlwind. How is it that you were so tiny just a little bit ago? A little bundle. It seems so far away, and at the same time, it feels like yesterday.

You want to be so big. We have a measuring chart hanging in our house and sometimes you check to see if you’ve grown everyday. You got your first big girl haircut, cutting your  waist long hair up around your shoulders. You just lost your first tooth, and already have another one a’wigglin’.  You want your ears pierced so badly, but your daddy is hesitant, so we’re putting you off a while longer. Just slow down a bit, kiddo. It goes so fast. We have time. We have time. There’s one thing, though. You still let me hold you. Every morning, you sit in my lap and let the sleep fade away in the dark morning. I love it so much.

You are the smartest kid. I am constantly amazed at your reasoning. You are sensitive and logical, also a bit melodramatic at times.  I might add you have a tad bit of a little temper. It’s not a good thing to have. Learn to control it and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of trouble down the road. You are witty and funny. You love a good joke and you think practical jokes are the funniest! We often find our bathroom toiletries all rearranged or your dad will find something you’ve stuck in his boot. You act silly and dance around the house unashamedly moving and grooving.

You are a pure joy. We have so many laughs and so many good times together. My favorite is when you say “I love you so much! You’re the best mommy in the world.” You have no idea how much I love you, Emma. You’re the best girl in the whole wide world!

XOXO,

Mama

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and indoor

 

1st Lost Tooth Chronicles

I’m almost certain my daughter’s front bottom tooth was flopping around in her mouth longer than 5 year old’s teeth are supposed to flop. Seriously, I lost track of time, but it began to wiggle weeks ago, months even. We predicted when it would come out, yet all predictions, Thanksgiving, and Christmas passed. Still the tooth hung in. Lingering.

At Christmas time, her uncle peered in and noticed her new tooth was growing in behind it. “Let’s pull it.” We pleaded. “No!” she protested.

Days passed, weeks passed, still it hung in. She hung tight. We hung on.

Worry reared its head. What if something is wrong?

I had to search The Google, as this was unlike anything I’d heard of.  Of course, I was reassured that it is common for a tooth to grow behind, and is coined shark teeth. I was reassured that the tooth will come out, and only in some cases, a dentist visit would be required.

“Let’s pull it,” we pleaded. “No!” she protested.

Days and weeks passed. I noticed she started taking bites with her side teeth rather than her front. The tooth began to flop. It noticeably moved when she talked. A gap began to grow.

Tuesday, she ran to the car from the bus stop yelling about how she lost her tooth. Around her neck was a string and a plastic tooth that unhinged and opened up. A tooth locket. The school had given her this necklace to store her treasured tooth. However, she literally lost her tooth. She said it’s somewhere in the gym. Naturally, she had a bit of a crying jag at school about it, but she was going to write the tooth fairy a note, to make sure she knew.

She said she hoped the tooth fairy gives her a dollar and 3 pennies. I said that was a pretty good deal, considering there’s no real tooth for the fairy to have.

These are the memories I will cherish. Gappy smiles. Snaggle-toothed grins. Tooth fairy magic. Wonderment. Innocence and a buck o three.