No more “mommy juice” or “wine o’clock,” I beg you.





I know. I know. You think it’s cute, right?!! Hell, I even said it once or twice to my minis when they were younger. “This is mommy’s juice girls! You can’t have any of this! Let’s find your sippy cups of milk, okay?!” And I’d go back to clinking glasses (or solo cups because we fancy ;)) of wine with my girlfriends, have a giggle, and take big sips.

And this song and dance was happening with just about any and all of my friend groups, the people I follow on social media, the chatter I overhear at ‘ladies night out’ dinners, and on every tv show with a mom on it, etc. The narrative barely ever changes and it goes something like this:

‘being a mom is hard work so i drink wine to ____________________ (fill in the blank)’

Here are some of the options…

  • Reward myself
  • Numb the hard
  • Forget the mess (literal and figurative)
  • Want to feel good
  • Celebrate bedtime
  • Escape
  • Be more sexual
  • Insert your own answer

But here’s the part where I was a bit of the odd mom out though. I hate red wine, and only like one type of white, so if anything but pinot grigio was offered, I typically didn’t partake. I also tend to only drink socially…out to dinner with friends, a party, charity function, sporting event, concert, etc. Joshua and I aren’t the types of people who come home after a long day and drink a beer, or pour ourselves a cocktail. We don’t have wine with dinner…hell, I barely cook anything nice enough to consider pairing it with a wine option anyways!

So for 2017, I decided to not drink (I’ll get more to that part towards the end), and I’ve noticed more than ever before (probably BECAUSE of my not drinking) is how much women talk/post about how much they drink. Somewhere along the line, it became “normal” for women (specifically moms) to talk about how much wine they were guzzling every night…like it was their badge of honor for making it through the day? But guess who else noticed?!

EVERY FREAKING COMPANY IN THE WORLD

And guess what those companies are doing? Laughing all the way to the bank on the backs of what many women are now dealing with…addiction. We have become the PUNCHLINE to the jokes, ladies. You’ve seen the shirts, “I drink coffee til it’s acceptable to drink wine.” Maybe at one point it was funny? But many aren’t laughing anymore. They realize they can’t function without it. They’re waking up with the shakes. They’re wondering when they can start drinking again…when is wine o’clock? Can it start sooner because I invited a friend for a play date? “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” #amirightladies?! {internally rolling my eyes}

When Amazon decided to start their one hour delivery service, what did they broadcast right away? What was their marketing campaign? “YOU CAN GET WINE ON YOUR DOORSTEP IN AS LITTLE AS ONE HOUR LADIES!!!!” Seriously, google “amazon one hour” and the top two out of three things that pop up are “alcohol delivery” and “delivery wine.” Yall shared the heck out of that with everyone in your feeds, and drove up that SEO. Putty in their hands.

But THIS. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. When I realized that companies were no longer going after womens’ apparel/home goods/decor for their “funny” wine saying, but after our kids’ too…

What in the ACTUAL EFF is going on here?! I’m gonna need someone to explain to me why this is at all cute? And I’m NOT talking about the leg warmers (which we can agree are on point, obvi).

Then there’s this one that my friend Shauna sent me…

“I just love when my mommy dresses me in a onesie that calls me wino AND a snob,” says no baby ever.

And let’s not forget about this one, shall we…?!

Oh yay! You even get get a discount code “HAPPY10″…ironic wording, but who doesn’t love a onesie that says ‘moms are only fun when they’re drunk’…can i get an amen?!

YALL. We have reached a point where companies are putting alcohol on BABY CLOTHING, and people are lapping it up! Would you put cigarettes on a onesie? Then why are we letting THIS happen? And notice they’re targeting our baby girls primarily with this clothing. Women control most of the buying power?!!! Full stop ladies. Full mother effing stop. I’m sad, and I’m mad, and I think you should be too. We need to stop normalizing alcoholism, and set a good example for our children.

Call me a buzzkill, pun intended, but I’m not laughing anymore. Wine should be savored and enjoyed, not depended upon to make life manageable. Spoiler alert: let me tell ya what makes parenting harder…A HANGOVER, BEING TIRED, and FEELING LIKE ISH ALL DAMN DAY. And/or being obsessed with something so much that you’re thinking more about IT than anything else. And I’m #sorrynotsorry but you’re never going to convince me that you actually LOVE the taste of two buck chuck.

To make sure I’m being clear here. I don’t think all people who drink have a problem. I don’t want to ban wine. I think girls nights out are awesome! I love a good cocktail with dinner, a beer at a tailgate, and a mimosa at brunch. I’m not even saying getting drunk is a problem! I’m talking about a culture that glorifies alcohol abuse, and is specifically targeting exhausted moms. We’re being used as pawns in a game, and we’re the ones buying all of the onesies, AND the damn wine. I simply want us to look around and notice the LINK that’s been made between “surviving motherhood and drinking too much wine nightly,” and we’ve let it happen.

We shouldn’t demean motherhood, especially when so many women want to be, and can’t or aren’t. Is motherhood hard? Sure! Do you sometimes feel like you need to do something to remind yourself you’re an adult? Of course! But I can promise you the answer to any problem isn’t found at the bottom of the bottle of wine. Quite the reverse actually. And I’m not going to apologize for being a bit sensitive about it.

I grew up with copious amounts of alcohol at every family function. Life was a big party. My parents were the consummate hosts, and we even had a saying, “if you leave hungry or thirsty, it’s your own damn fault!” And by “thirsty,” we didn’t mean water. And all was well…until it wasn’t anymore. My dad’s party had become an addiction, and he went to detox, largely because of Joshua and subsequently me…with my mom having to make the call.

I cannot shout it loudly enough from the rooftops that my dad is now 13 1/2 years sober, and that he hasn’t relapsed since that day he was driven to detox. It’s a real mind f%$k to see your dad in a hospital gown, shaking from withdrawls. But it’s music to your ears to hear him say “thank you for telling on me.” I was 22 when he got sober, and a few months later, he walked me down the aisle. I’m so damn proud of him.

But know this ladies, your children see you. They’re watching and absorbing everything you do. They hear your words and see your actions, and internalize them more than you may think. I have 8 and 11 year old girls. I need to set the right example. It starts with us, as most things do.

And when we know better, we do better.

I don’t know what the answer is. I am not an addiction specialist, and am not pretending to be one. I certainly can take a joke. But I feel it in my bones that this has simply gone too far. Maybe I’m wrong? But when I get a private message telling me that a person pretends to drink around their family because they’re questioned to death if they don’t have a cocktail in hand, we have created a culture that doesn’t make sense to me. When I decline a drink at a party, and the first comment is “but you have KIDS…how do you NOT drink?!,” I am confused. How do we fix this? I’m all ears.

I briefly mentioned above that I quit drinking this year, and people were shocked to hear I was giving up alcohol for 2017. “But you don’t have a problem?!!!” I heard that one a lot. Some of my closest friends have never even seen me with a buzz, let alone drunk. So yeah, I know I don’t need to stop. But I had the time of my life New Year’s Eve 2016, and felt like my hangover was going to last a lifetime, so I grandly declared on the most official of all places, facebook (#duh), that I was going to be SOBER for ’17! It even had its own hashtag 😉

I did it for a couple of reasons…I love a good challenge (I’m competitive even with my own self), I needed a resolution (for once), I thought I’d lose weight (didn’t work), and more. But mostly, because I had seen the shift in society I talked about above, and it was driving me insane. I thought that if I went sober for 2017, maybe other people reading my post would be inspired to do so too? They would see that I’m a mom, with multiple jobs, a crazy life, lots of stress, and yet STILL didn’t NEED to drink to “deal” with it all! That maybe they had been internally contemplating it, but didn’t want to do it alone? I mentioned in the post that if anyone wanted to do it with me, to PM me and I’d support them on the DL. No one took me up on it. Damnit.

But I wasn’t deterred.

And although it was hard at first to say “no thanks!” I got into a rhythm and was drink-free for 7+ months! Now, I’ve promised to always be honest on this blog, so I did have a few drinks on my birthday in August, but I didn’t get drunk! In fact, I fell asleep sans buzz, and woke up feeling awesome! Well, that’s not true. I was allergic to something in the room, and woke up congested and a hot mess of snot, but there was no hangover!!!

I realize that this means I don’t get to say #sober17 anymore (I stopped using the hashtag even). I also realize that if I was in an actual recovery program, that I wouldn’t get to decide to just have a few drinks on my birthday…that’s not how it works. But unlike every diet I’ve started, at least I didn’t say, “well I’ve broken my streak, so screw it!” I went right back to saying “no thanks” and haven’t had a drink since that day, and WILL finish out my mission!

My point in telling yall about Sober ’17 is because I wanted you to know that I’m not just talking about the problem I’m seeing, but trying to walk the walk. But also, an important note: those drinks on my birthday had NOTHING to do with my kids, or being a mom. In fact, I was at a local resort with four of my girlfriends, swimming in a pool and getting a facial. Nothing HARD about that day at all, except the already mentioned allergy attack 🙂 The glass of wine I had wasn’t used to cope with life.

I want us to find other things to help cope with the hard, instead of the “Just have a glass of wine! It fixes everything!”

If you need resources to help with alcohol, check out this list. A sober friend of mine also suggests the podcast, Home. If you know of any other great resources, please comment below. Also, I’m curious to hear your thoughts…is anyone else with me on this?! And please share if you’re so inclined. We can’t change the things we aren’t willing to talk about.

Feel free to PIN IT!





Can kindness be the super hero this Halloween?




It’s that time of year again. You know the time. When people complain about kids who don’t live near them, or kids who don’t live in their neighborhood, coming to their house to ask for a PIECE OF CANDY. Yep, I’m referring to the Halloween Haters.

I know. I know. You live in the huge, popular neighborhood (Baxter Village, Willowmere, Providence Plantation), where you not only have to provide candy to your regular neighborhood kids, but also to kids who DON’T LIVE THERE.

{Here is where I’m supposed to loudly gasp with disgust}

Oh yeah. Except, I’m not disgusted by it. And maybe that’s because I don’t live in the big neighborhood, so I’m not forking over the added cost of feeding children for ONE NIGHT A YEAR. But I just can’t imagine that I would be as livid and as rude as I’ve seen some people be on social media about this. Actually, I know I wouldn’t be like that because I believe the more the merrier, and that we belong to each other, but I digress. Yes, I see your posts/comments. Fun fact: Your comments are seen by your friends’ friends. Yes, I think it’s crazy you’re upset.

I actually saw where a woman had typed, “I think they’re BUSING the poor kids in from miles away!” Or this gem, “I’ve never been a fan of people who go to other neighborhoods to trick or treat.” And another facebooker said, “I’m sick of paying for the extra mouths of the kids I don’t see in our neighborhood on a daily basis…I spent an extra $100 last year!”

WOW.

Let me mention this, in case you’ve forgotten, or it hasn’t dawned on you. Not every kid lives in a neighborhood. Some live on a busy street with no sidewalk. Not every kid lives near other homes. The next closest home might be 5 miles away. Not every kid lives near people who participate in Halloween. Not every kid lives in a SAFE neighborhood where they can walk outside (before OR after dark) and knock on unfamiliar doors, knowing they won’t be in danger.

NOT EVERY KID HAS WHAT YOUR KID HAS…a neighborhood, filled with homes that are warm and welcoming. Or maybe they aren’t, huh?! So I BEG YOU, before you complain AGAIN this year about this “problem,” keep some perspective. You have to buy extra candy, and see some unfamiliar faces, for a few hours on ONE night out of 365. But you may just make a kid’s (or many kids) day, week, or possibly life.

Because these are memories that can last a lifetime. Not just from the Halloween standpoint. But maybe they’ll notice that strangers were kind to them? Maybe they’ll get candy for the first time in a long time, because their parents struggle to get dinner on the table, let alone the “extras” like candy/pencils/stickers/treats?! Or maybe they just really love the decorations your neighborhood puts on display, where their home has none to look at? Maybe they just want to have carefree FUN for one night, and your neighborhood provides that for them?

Sure, there are probably some ungrateful, rude, disrespectful bad eggs in the bunch. But that goes for any neighborhood in America, and I can assure you that some of those rude kids LIVE in your neighborhood FYI! And even if they don’t, why punish the good kids because of a few?

So I ask you, is it really THAT big of a deal? Is it really THAT hard to give them a treat without being bitter? Is it really worth saying anything unkind about them, or their parents who may drive them there?!

And while I’m on the topic of giving out candy even when you don’t want to…give it to the dang teenagers and kids who didn’t put on a costume. I’m thrilled to pieces that they still want to get out there and walk door to door. I also don’t know their motives behind collecting the candy. I know of a few dentist offices that have a “buy back” program, where they’ll give you cash for your pounds of candy, and then they ship that candy to troops overseas! I call that hustling at its finest 😉 Or maybe they’re not getting enough food at home, and haven’t eaten since their free lunch at school? Do they have sensory issues and costumes just don’t work for them, as it’s tough enough to just get them dressed in pants with buttons on them? Does it really bother you THAT MUCH if they’re “too old” or “not dressed up,” or are you “supposed” to be pissed?

Here’s an idea…try not to be annoyed. Instead, feel gratitude. Be appreciative that you live in such a wonderful neighborhood, that people WANT to be in it. Because, if you love all of the perks (fun, safety, decor, kindness) of where you live, how can you expect others not to notice, and want the same, for even just one night?

Or there’s always this idea…turn off the light, don’t answer the door, save all of your money, and don’t see any of the joy you could’ve brought to many faces. Like these…

 

 

 

Throwing back to 2015 I think?!

Let’s have kindness be the superhero this Halloween, shall we?!




Best advice for a high school graduate?!




When I tell people that I coach high school JV cheerleading, I usually get the response, “You’re a SAINT! I could NEVER be around that many teenage girls and keep my sanity!” or something along those lines. Most people definitely pity me, or tell me how awful high-schoolers are, even if they don’t have kids that age yet. Funny huh? 😉

Coaches!

I’m quite quick to tell them that the young ladies I’ve met and coached, are some of the nicest, most polite, respectful, hard-working, funny, and fun people I’ve ever met. It’s actually been my honor to be in THEIR lives. I also tell people if you’re looking for a self-esteem boost, get around 15 teenage girls, as they tell you all the time how great you are and how much they looooooooooooove you (heart emojis are everywhere)!!! 😉

Loving on me! Such a sweet group of girls!

But seriously, I tell them (and their guardians) all.of.the.time how they have given me hope that my minis will be just fine at that age. I ask their guardians often, “what did you do to keep them so sweet? I don’t want to screw mine up because they’re so great now!” Many of them simply say, “she is just a good egg,” “she’s always been this way,” “stay firm and have boundaries, but lead with love,” “I trust her and she trusts me,” and so on and so on…

One of these girls, who was on the Varsity and competition squads, is named Bailey. And not only did she cheer for the school, but she also babysat my minis a few times. I was happy for every moment I (and they) got to spend with her because she is delightful. She never seemed too busy to listen to my old a$s talk about my gymnastics glory days, even though she was probably like, ‘okay Coach Mandie…I get it!’ She would make time to spot Lilly on her tumbling skills, even though she certainly didn’t have to. I never saw her so much as roll an eye at anyone…adults, coaches or peers, during a practice/game/competition/warmup…no matter how much stress she was under.

Bailey…she just LOOKS like a nice person, right?!

So it’s no surprise to me when her mom posted this on Facebook the other day. I’m not facebook friends with her mom, Tracy, but because I am with Bailey (and she was tagged), it came up in my feed. By the end of it, I was SOBBING bit fat tears. Certainly, part of it was because I pictured myself in her shoes, a mother of two daughters. Kids that are so great, that I almost ALWAYS want to be around them. Another part of it was putting myself in Bailey’s shoes, and thinking back to when I was a female headed off to college, and the scary/exciting things that it brought up in my memory.

Mother and daughter!

But this list of advice is spot on, and in my humble opinion, a MUST READ, and a must share. Our graduating girls (and guys even) need to read this. And parents, you do too! Naivety doesn’t work, I promise. Prepare them for the REAL world, as that’s exactly what they’re entering.

Bailey and Tracy! I love the “Be Nice or Leave” sign 🙂

In Tracy Barnett’s words…

“You see, I have this amazing person in my life who will be leaving me soon and I’m supposed to be all chipper and cheery and all “life awaits you” about it. “She will become such a brat that you will be glad to send her off to college” they said. “This is the natural course of events and this is part of your job” they say. “She’s ready” they say. Well….she’s not a brat, I don’t want this particular job to end, and I’m not ready. I am sooooo not ready. And I’m being a big fat baby about it. So I am going to write down my feelings, a stream of conscious thoughts and awkward motherly advice in an attempt to work through the worst of it, so that I truly don’t eff up this most amazing, exciting rite of passage for the best person that I know. Because, in fact, my kid is a way better person than I am, and I am going to miss having her around to aspire to. She really is just that nice, kind, honest, true to her convictions and a good influence on me. So this note to her is part unsolicited advice, part apology and part catharsis solely for my benefit, and likely will be in no logical order.

  1.  Learn to like beer. Seriously. Stay away from liquor. And shots. NEVER do shots, I don’t care who is chanting your name over and over. You, and your conscience, will thank me later. That one bit of advice, alone, will save you from much humiliation and self-flagellation. You’re a tiny girl; you won’t need a lot of alcohol to alter your judgment and make really crappy decisions (especially when it comes to boys, see #3) – I’d like to ask you not to drink at all but I’m not totally naive. So drink beer. My hope is that it will make you feel super full and miserable before you can actually drink enough to get sloppy. Don’t get sloppy – don’t be that girl.
  2. Limit the borrowing of expensive clothes from your roommate. It will be oh so tempting. But…you will spill something, rip something, lose something and it will ruin your friendship and it will piss off her mom. The reverse holds true as well.
  3. Trust your gut and be true to you. Your body is YOUR body and you alone get to decide your boundaries. And sometimes, boys…well, they might fib to sway you. They just do. Not all boys, and certainly not always, but booze-infused boys will pretty much say whatever they think you might want to hear to achieve an end game (see #1, impaired judgement is not limited to girls). Now, here is where I insert a huge blanket apology to my friends who have boys. Your sons are not whom I’m speaking of, but someone out there is raising that arrogant, entitled kid that thinks he can do whatever he wants with whomever he wants – that’s who I’m worried about. And I hope this doesn’t this offend anyone but if it does, then please include the statistics on girls date raping boys on college campuses in your admonishment of me. I’m not a total alarmist on this topic, but I would be lying if I didn’t have some tinge of hesitation about sending my daughter into the arena.
  4. Remember the long game. You are at college to lay a foundation for your future, as an adult. Adulting sucks, in general. But it will suck more if you squander your opportunity to prepare yourself as best you can for the competitive landscape that awaits you upon graduation. I’m all for the work hard/play hard approach to life. Hell, I live it! Gleefully, in fact. But it’s all about the mix. Keep in mind that whichever proportionality you choose, it affects your options in 4 years. I truly feel bad for your generation. Yeah, you’ve got technology by the tail, and yes you are far academically superior to my generation when we were your age, but man are there a lot of you! There is just a much greater percentage of really super smart kids out there today. So if you think the college acceptance process was a discerning bitch, just wait until you and all your peeps are out their vying for a real J.O.B. The competition will be fierce so prepare yourself accordingly.
  5. Be smart on social media. (One of) my proudest moments, as your mom, was recently when a mother of a freshman approached me at your cheer banquet and said “You don’t know me, but I’m (your new favorite person because I’m about to shower you with mommy accolades) and I just want you to know that I, and the other moms, stalk your daughter’s Instagram and Facebook page and hold them up as examples to illustrate to our daughters that this is who they want to emulate.” That, right there, sums up social media and its vast butterfly effect. Oh if only I followed my own advice…but this isn’t about me. Anyway, your take away: Don’t put stupid crap on your social media. People everywhere are judging you (and honestly, you don’t want Nanny calling you too…it’s annoying and she’s usually right about whatever complaint she might have about your posts).
  6. Fake it til you make it. Be confident in yourself, your abilities and your decisions! This is life advice. If you aren’t confident, then figure out how to exude it. It’s a differentiator on almost all playing fields: social, academic and professional. Now, this is not permission to be arrogant. That is also a differentiator of a different sort, which – as a female, will take on the label of “bitch.” That is not what we are going for here. What I am proponing is being confident enough without breaching the tipping point. It’s a delicate balance. Find it.
  7. Leave high school and its drama behind. You don’t want to peak in high school so strive to learn from the lessons that surviving high school teaches you. College is where you come in to your own, better understand the value of true and sincere friendships and become a better version of a friend to others. Always keep in mind to look for those who may be “eating alone” – be friendly and remember how it feels to be left out and don’t be a leaver outer.
  8. So let’s talk about this YOLO approach to life….I’m 50, so a “you only live once” mantra resonates with me much greater now than when I was your age. But you see, if I had applied that philosophy to my decisions at your age, I probably wouldn’t have even made it to 50. Your decisions and actions have consequences. There is life after that Instagram post or Snapchat story where you thought “YOLO, I’ll (fill in the blank with some stupid decision). As you continue to get older, the stakes get higher. So, YOLO has a place…but shouldn’t be a lifestyle.
  9. Try to let me bother you without seeming like I’m bothering you. Meaning: please bear with me and try to put up with me as we walk through this transition together. I will, I have no doubt, be as annoying from 167 miles away as I was (and am) within the same house. Obviously, you can ignore my calls and I haven’t always modeled the best behavior for you on that front (sorry Mom….) but be patient with me. I apologize, in advance, for how much I am going to miss you. 😊
  10. Know that you are supported and loved unconditionally and you can always come home, in the emotional sense. College will bring forth challenges that will seem overwhelming and you may sometimes feel that things are getting the best of you. Always know that we are here for you to guide and support you even if we aren’t physically there. No doubt you will have friends to turn to for much of your emotional needs, but for those things that just seem SO.BIG. know that you can “come home”. We will always be here.

Now go carpe some freakin’ diem!”

ARE YOU CRYING?!!!
{SO.AM.I…AGAIN.}

Tracy, her hubby, Bailey, and her sister. I will blink and this will be Joshua, the minis and me. 🙁

But seriously, HOW GOOD IS THAT?!!! Thank you so much Tracy, for putting this into words! I hope that it is this hard when it’s time for my minis to head off to college (or wherever life takes them after high school). I have a feeling if I’m already hysterical, it will be. Please share if you thought this was great advice…knowledge is power for our kids. And as my friend G always says, “we belong to each other,” and “there’s no such thing as other peoples’ kids.” They’re all our kids you guys. Let’s take care of them. And pretty please, start talking kindly about teenagers…there are some really good ones out there…I promise!

Happy graduation loves!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT! IMAGE BELOW (for reference to this post)…

I hate the beach. There I said it.

 

It’s that time of year again! Nope, not referring to the end of school, although that is upon us too! I’m referring to the time of year when my minis are going to start asking us to go to the beach, and the stud and I, through gritted teeth, are going to say, “OF COURSE WE ARE SWEET CHILDREN! WE CAN’T WAIT!” Why?! Because parenting means sometimes doing things that you don’t want to do. And for us, that means going to the beach. I know I know, you LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVE the beach. Good for you! Can my kids go with YOU then?! Kidding!!! (sort of)

Before I get too far in to why I hate the beach as a 35-year-old, let’s go back to a 12 year old Miranda. I was visiting the beach for the first time ever in my life. I was there with my gymnastic’s team, and my mom was a chaperone so she got to be with me for my first experience!!! We ran onto the sand, and I charged in to the ocean like I had been waiting 12 years for this (I had)!!! I was maybe in there for all of 15 seconds, and I felt this pain on my ankle, like a stabbing. And I lifted my leg out of the water, and a jellyfish tentacle was wrapped around my ankle. I freaked the EFF out yall. I tried shaking it off, and was hysterical. Because not only did it hurt like hell, but it wouldn’t get off of me. Finally, it released itself and my mom dragged me out of the ocean.

Remember in the movie Inside Out, those “core memories” that stick with you forever?! This was one of them. It’s also a huge reason why to this day, I still have issues with the beach. But it’s not just that, as you’ll see. I’m a beach hater. There. I said it. And it’s okay if you’re a beach lover. We are allowed to feel differently about topics, especially ones this important 🙂 #sarcasmisfun

also, none of the beaches i’ve been to look like this ^

SO HERE IT IS
…in absolutely no particular order, here’s my list of 14 reasons why I hate the beach…

  1. SAND…whether you’re slathered in oil or sunscreen, the second the faintest wind blows, you’re now a human piece of sandpaper. Go find a piece of wood on the pier and file that shizz down with your body. At least you’ll be productive. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY must there be so much sand?! It’s in every crevice five minutes after I’ve stepped foot on it, and I mean EV-ER-Y. And it’s either too hot, too rocky, or too gross looking. Where is all of the fine, white, perfect sand I see on the Sandals commercials? (Don’t answer that…it’s in places I can’t afford).
  2. WATER…the ocean isn’t made for humans you guys. I know that shocks some of yall! Yep, I bet you’re even surprised that there are sharks in there?!!! Why are you shocked by this?! That’s WHERE THEY LIVE. Just like we have houses and roads and utility bills, they have water and seaweed and other things that only belong in the ocean.
  3. CURRENT/UNDERTOW/WAVES…some people actually see the water as a place to have fun, where you jump waves, body board and surf. I see a death trap. Where with one wrong move, you’re trapped, injured,  drowning, or gone. The current is unpredictable, and powerful. I don’t mess with that shizz. Nope. Also, I can’t see through it. And If I can’t see through it, you won’t see me in it.
  4. WIND…Yeah, it may feel good every once and while to get a gust of wind when you’re drowning in your own sweat, err I mean laying out, but it’s also why I’m trying to stand the umbrella back up for the 1,835,394,037th time. It’s the reason why I’m human sandpaper. It’s the reason why my kid, who has only been in the ocean for four minutes, is now another town away. It’s the reason why it will take 34 minutes and two adults to lay the towels down on the sand. And it’s the reason why we will get a mouthful of sand, when the people who set up next to us, shake their towels out when packing up to go home.
  5. OUTFITS…getting ready to go to the beach with kids takes LONGER than the amount of time you will ever spend AT the actual beach. Gotta put sunscreen on head to toe, get in bathing suit/trunks/rash guards, find hats/sunglasses/water shoes and any other accessory they (all of the sudden) NEED to take to the beach.
  6. ALL OF THE FUN STUFF…Don’t forget about the $178 worth of stuff you bought at WINGS, that you won’t even be able to fit back in your car on the ride home Sunday, because you were packed so tightly on the way down, you couldn’t find a kid for a few minutes when you stopped for gas/to pee. NOW, you get to blow up all of the stuff, til you’re so lightheaded, you question whether or not you can safely walk TO the beach.
  7. PACK COOLER…Because even though it’s supposed to be recreation, you’re in the middle of a sand trap, without a kitchen, and all of the humans still have to be fed. So you must pack enough food and drinks, in the event there is also an apocalypse. But here’s the kicker. It’s damn near impossible to eat said food on the beach, because of SAND and WIND (refer back to #1 and #4). So you’ll use at least three bottles of your purified filtered water to wash off everyone’s hands so they can hold the food, just for one of them to accidentally drop the PB&J in the sand. BAD WORDS.
  8. CARRY EVERYTHING…Load up that wagon with half of the house/hotel room you’re staying in. You need towels, chairs, an umbrella, the 28 pound apocalypse cooler, boogie boards, things to build sand castles with, toys, sunscreen, floaties, etc. Whatever doesn’t fit, goes on your back. Unless you have to also carry a child. Never mind. This is the perfect push you needed to get the 6 month old to start walking. Maybe he or she can also carry something?
  9. WALK…I have a hunch that my “beach lovers” probably have/get homes ON THE BEACH. But the Millers don’t have that kind of budget…we stay three-five rows away, so we have a decent walk to get to the sand and water part. With five kids in tow, that may take a good 20 minutes, especially if the 17 month old needs to walk because of #8.
  10. NO POTTYS…this affects all of us, adults and kids alike. But ESPECIALLY if the kid needs to poop. Last summer, it took us ALL OF 90 MINUTES to get the five kids ready, dressed, packed up, and then a 20 minute walk to the beach. So nearly TWO HOURS have passed since we started the “we’re going to the beach, kids!!!” song and dance, and we finally put our feet in the sand! The kids are so excited and running around, the stud and I set everything up in 16 minutes flat, and then one of them says to me, “Deedee, I have to poop.” Yall, I SAW RED. I probably (totally) said some unkind words about bad timing, and possibly (no doubt) dropped a cuss word or two. So that child and I walked 20 minutes BACK TO THE HOUSE, waited 10 minutes for him to poop, walked 20 minutes back to the beach, and then GUESS WHAT?!!! Not thirty minutes later, the youngest hit a wall, and needed to go back to the house for his nap. So there was another 20 minute walk back with him. FFS. How do people find this enjoyable?!!!
  11. CAN’T RELAX…if you’re in the ocean, because your kids LOVE it and beg for you to get in, you’re worried about some/all of your stuff being stolen or blown away. If you’re with your stuff, depending on the tide/how busy it is, you might struggle to see your kids. There is danger at every corner. Besides the water, there’s no boundaries. So you have a kid who likes to wander? AWESOME! Looks like you’re going to get your steps in for the day! It’s also a super fun game keeping the 15-month-old out of what looks to be the biggest bathtub of all time. And don’t get me started on kidnapping, or creepers looking at your kids. I realize not everyone thinks like this, but I DO, so sue me. Oh, and how long has it been since you REAPPLIED THE SUNSCREEN ON EVERYONE?! Hurry!
  12. BATHING SUITS…What does every woman who doesn’t feel good about her body want to do?!!! WEAR AS LITTLE AMOUNT OF TIGHT FABRIC AS POSSIBLE!!! Not. But that’s part of being at the beach. And not only do you have to wear it, but you have to play in it, and build sand castles in it, and chase a toddler in it, and serve the meals in it. One wrong move, and a boob falls out, or a butt cheek…or worse?! It’s like doing all of your daily tasks in lingerie. But without air conditioning or comfortable seating.
  13. INJURY…Inevitably, despite my best efforts to lather everyone in sunscreen, someone will get severely burnt ON DAY ONE, and thus will need to avoid the sun the rest of the trip. Which makes it SUPER HARD to go to the beach the rest of the days. Someone will also get stung by a jellyfish (we’ve already covered my attack). Someone will break an arm (happened at the OBX a couple of year ago), and you will have to avoid water the rest of the time. TOTES convenient when the fun options are 1. ocean and 2. pool.
  14. CLEAN EVERYTHING…when you get back from the beach, you have to spray off everyone and everything you brought with you, which we already established was the equivalent to a large moving van. All of the kids have to be washed off and stripped down. All of the stuff has to be sprayed off. The cooler needs to be emptied. The wagon shaken out. The kids redressed. So basically, it’s more steps than even being at home.

    And this is why it’s called a “family trip” and not a vacation

I know I sound like such a hater, but for the life of me I cannot understand why people like to do all of these things so much?! Is there something I’m missing (besides a good attitude)?! I also realize that I would feel differently if we had a house ON the beach, WITH a pool, and no young kids (or kids at all) with us. I also think there is a difference in beaches…some of them really do look blissful…I’ve just never been to those 🙂

And I do think that there’s something to be said about nostalgia. If you grew up going to the beach every year, and it holds incredible memories for you, you may love it that much more as an adult. I just don’t have those memories. And neither does the stud. He didn’t see the beach until he was NINETEEN. It’s kind of like The Goonies. I never watched it as a child, and now to try and watch it as an adult, makes me want to scoop my eyeballs out with a grapefruit spoon. (Oh, now I’ve really pissed some of yall off, huh?! A hater of the beach AND The Goonies?!) 🙂

But we go because our kids LOVE THE BEACH. And that means that we’ve never let on to them how much we despise it. So before you try to school me on how damaging it is for me to ruin it for my kids, I obviously haven’t. I play along the whole time, sucking it up as we go. We look for shells, we build the drip castles, watch Lilly jump for joy, and bury their legs to make them look like mermaids.

The stud gets them up early one morning, and they watch the sun rise together, daddy and daughter time at its finest. It’s also some of my favorite pictures he’s ever taken of them…

I live for the seashells my nephews gather for me, saying “Deedee, I got shells just for you.”

Look at their elated faces when we got them the “unlimited rides” wristband for the fair! Only cost us $175 for our family of seven 😉

So I do see the joy in MANY of the moments.

I would just rather see those moments of joy WITHOUT sand in my crotch.

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So am I “irresponsible,” or a “hero?”




“ARE THEY ALL YOURSSSSSSSSS?!”

If you’ve missed it, I published THIS post recently about why we had guardianship of our nephews this summer, and then followed it up with THIS post (about a comment I heard often)! It’s a funny thing going from two kids to five kids, but not as much for me, as it was for random strangers I guess?! Because they were the ones who had the most comments, some incredibly rude! Before I get in to all of that, here was the age breakdown of the kids when they got here:

  • Gavin was 15 months
  • Ethan was 3 years old
  • Aiden was 6 years old
  • Lilly was 7 years old
  • Bella was 9 years old

Now, I will say this. We have extremely easy daughters. If we didn’t, this probably would’ve been an absolute shit show to be honest. But luckily, our minis LOVE babies, babysitting, and a captive audience, which these boys certainly provided. I was coming off of closing my bakery, and a cake business that I had for almost ten years! So I gotta say, the idea of five little ones, under nine, for the summer, in our tiny condo, STILL didn’t scare me!!! Because the last ten years had been TRUE INSANITY. I figured, if I could put up with thousands of customers (and their personalities and sometimes outrageous demands, while having nonstop deadlines) I could handle a few extra kids. I was just looking forward to getting to see my minis during the day, without the stress of a job, for the first summer EVER!

My minis turning around my sign for the last time!

My goal was to get out of the condo every single morning, weather permitting, that we could! I’m a big fan of doing a fun activity/outing in the morning, coming back for lunch, nap/quiet time, a before-dinner walk, dinner, bath, bed. And repeat. Every single day. If it was raining, or brutally hot, we would entertain ourselves with a dress up runway show, LEGOS, crafts, cooking, etc.at home!

But for the most part, I’d venture out with all five kiddos every morning, and the LOOKS I WOULD GET, YALL! Sometimes, they were sympathetic looks, like, ‘awe, look at that poor woman and all of those kids! She must be sooooooo stressed.’ Sometimes they were looks of disgust, like, ‘UGH. Can’t you just stop having kids?! Our planet doesn’t need more humans stealing all of the oxygen.’ Sometimes, they’d even go as far as to make comments, loudly, “Great! A daycare just walked in!”

And I know you’re thinking, ‘No, they would NOT say things like that!!!’ YES PEOPLE WOULD. YES PEOPLE DID. YES PEOPLE DO EVERY DAMN DAY. Just ask any parent who has, say, more than three kids.

Once, when Joshua was with me, a random guy felt the need to walk up to us, and said to him, “Man. Just tell her “no!” every once and a while!” referring to our sex life, while gesturing at me #awesome. These strangers, of course, didn’t know our story. They didn’t know that we were the guardians of three of these kids, and only two were “ours.” They didn’t know that the boys have two military parents who have six oversees tours between them. They didn’t know that the same people who protect their right to comment on our large family, entrusted us with these precious boys.

We LOVED the Discovery Place!

UNTIL, they would see how well-behaved these five kiddos were. Because let me tell you this, all five KNEW how to behave in public. They all knew what was expected OF, and FROM, them. If there was any acting up, we would leave. I’m not one to subject strangers to bad behavior, and I’m not one to reward kiddos by staying somewhere if they don’t deserve to. So when we would walk in, and I’d automatically hear people say stuff, or see them recoil in disgust, I’d want to scream, “AT LEAST GIVE US A DAMN CHANCE BEFORE YOU JUDGE US!!!”

But I didn’t. I just let the well-behaved kids speak for themselves, and before I knew it, those same people, who rolled their eyes and stared, would eventually come over to me, “Are they all YOURS?!!!” I’d explain the story to them, and suddenly, wouldn’t you know it…I was a SAINT?! “Oh my gosh. You’re watching all of the boys because their parents are in the military? You are a SUCH a good person. WOW! You are such a blessing to them!” And my favorite, “family is EV-ER-Y-THING!!!!”

Um, is it though home girl?! Because when you thought my FAMILY consisted of five kids birthed by me, you thought I was irresponsible, greedy, didn’t know how birth control worked, in over my head, etc. But now…NOW…you think I’m a hero for taking them all in. And subsequently, taking them all out (of the house)! 🙂 You judged us before you knew anything about us. Which begs the question I asked myself over and over…

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU HOW MANY KIDS A PERSON HAS?!

Seriously, why? As long as they aren’t affecting you in some way, why does the idea of a big family seem to bother people? And please, let me make sure to reiterate, I understand the curiosity! I also understand that some people were trying to be funny in some of their comments. I also ‘get’ that anything beyond the societal “norm” of 2.4 kids, will evoke questions and stares, but I will never understand the rude comments, and the bad behavior assumption.

In the not so distant past, having five children wasn’t considered to be SO MANY EFFING KIDS! But that doesn’t even really matter to me. What matters is that people respect what other people choose to do with their lives when it comes to having a specific number of kids. I’ll tell you this, I loved having five kids! My hands were full, but so was my heart. I was covered in hugs and kisses, and it was fun to have the boys! Sure, there was pee EVERYWHERE! But that was a small price to pay to have so many little ones to laugh at my jokes 😉

Just because the thought of five kids would overwhelm YOU, doesn’t mean that it sounds awful to someone else. That’s called projection folks, and you gotta stop that shizz.

My favorite story took place at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Azteca. I walked in with all five kids, and we were sat at a table. Joshua was coming from work, so I was there were without him for a few minutes. I sat all of the kids, making sure they all had chips, salsa, their waters, etc. and they were all perfectly quiet and happy.

A group of eight people, maybe in ages ranging from 55-70, came towards where we were seated, and I met their faces. I could tell in their comments and mannerisms that they assumed the five kids would ruin their adult-filled evening, and heard them even ask the hostess if they could be seated somewhere else, but it was the only available eight-top and they begrudgingly took their seats. Joshua showed up shortly after, and I filled him in on the rolled eyes, the looks in our direction followed by heavy sighs, and told him that they were none-to-pleased to be seated next to us. As usual, the kids were PERFECTION the entire way through dinner, and were adorable with the mariachi band, the waitress, and anyone else who talked to them.

When our meal was over, I was busy wiping the kids’ faces and hands, and Joshua got up to pull the car around. The table of eight stopped him, and I heard a woman say, “I just wanted to say what a fabulous job you two are doing with those kiddos.” Joshua told her that we had our hands full, but that we loved it. The rest of her table made some kind comments and some of the kids followed Joshua out. Then she leaned over towards me, and said, “I will be honest, I didn’t want to sit here at first because I thought it was going to be disruptive. But I was shocked at just how great they all were.” I told her the story of why we had five kids, and she REALLY couldn’t stop with the compliments then.

I told her that I could sense when people were bothered by us, and kindly mentioned that I’d appreciate the benefit of the doubt every once and while, but that I certainly understood why people were curious. When I was ready to take the last few kids to the car, her entire table clapped for me, and made sure to say “good job” to the kids. I got choked up and thanked them for the gestures.

Different Mexican restaurant. Same stares 😉

And as much as I desperately wanted to get the benefit of the doubt, I wanted the KIDS to get the benefit of the doubt from people more so than anything. I’m a huge believer that if you expect kids to be bad, you’ll look for every instance for them to be bad. Maybe try expecting the best from them, and they just might rise to the occasion?! This is why I don’t love the terms “terrible two,” “threenager,” “frightening fours,” etc. It’s almost a predetermined ‘this is when my kid (or other kids) is going to start sucking.’ Well folks, I’m here to tell you, THEY DON’T HAVE TO. But that’s a whole ‘nother post!

Bottom line, I’m no hero. John and Joy are the heroes of this story. We simply filled a role that was needed (and that we signed up for many years ago BTW), and I craved people’s support more than ever. Not their misplaced judgments. So think about that before you decide to know the story of the large family you see walk in somewhere. Perhaps they’ve adopted children from a bad home situation? Maybe there’s been a death in their family/friends circle, and they took in the children left behind? Or guess what?! Some people LOVE the idea of a big family, and can choose to have as many as they want!!! My dad is one of nine, and my mom is one of seven. It’s not weird to everyone, I promise! If you’re wondering how to react to a family with lots of kids…show love, grace, and kindness (like you should to everyone else BTW).

Oh, and could ya hold the door for the woman with the double stroller, a diaper bag, purse, and a bajillion kids?! Kthanks.

 

I saw Beauty and the Beast, and was SHOCKED!





I was sitting in the movie theater with my daughters, Isabella (10) and Lillian (8), and was anxiously awaiting this “exclusive gay” scene that the director of the movie, Bill Condon, said was coming. Then the movie was over, the credits ran, and I was confused. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom. I didn’t leave to get more popcorn, or refill our drink. I didn’t even so much as nod off for two seconds. So HOW DID I MISS THE MONUMENTAL GAY SCENE that led Franklin Graham to call for a boycott/ban of the movie?!!!

The answer:

Because there isn’t one.

Spoiler alert folks! The “scene” they’re talking about happens in the last few minutes of the movie, where two guys dance together. BUT WAIT MIRANDA. They must’ve been grinding, right? Not even close. They must’ve been making out while dancing?! Wrong again! They must’ve been groping each other?! Nope. Their hands were above the equator.

The two guys were dancing with ladies at the ball, and you know when you switch partners mid-dance (let’s think of square dancing), and you end up with the other person’s partner? Well, that’s what happened here, but it ended up being two guys as partners. NO WAY! But listen closely yall. While they were dancing, they actually LOCKED…

wait for it…

EYES.

Yep. They locked eyes. And it lasted 1.9 seconds (seriously, I timed it). The entire GAY SCENE lasted less time than it takes me to sneeze. I really hope you’re not offended by my retelling of this CRAZY scene. One that people are SO MAD ABOUT that they can’t even support Disney anymore. The one that they are claiming to be a “slippery slope,” that opens the door to a PLETHORA of gay characters. One that they refuse to take their children to because they don’t want to have to explain what GAY means. {shudder}

So imagine my shock when we got to the credits, and I STILL hadn’t seen anything I needed to explain to my kids?!!!! I felt bamboozled! I questioned if they sent us the version they’re showing in Malaysia, where they had to cut the GAY SCENE out?!!! Excuse me AMC…did yall get the wrong copy?! I clearly missed a MAJOR part of the movie.

Please tell me you are picking up on my sarcasm?

Let’s just say, I’ve seen more affection, than that scene had, watching two guys celebrate a touchdown of their favorite team. I’ve seen more sexual tension in a high five/bro hug. I’ve seen more action in a trust fall.

Bottom line…maybe you’re the type to not welcome a gay character in a Disney movie, but Beauty and the Beast is NOT the mountain you should be willing to die on to get your point across. And here’s something to consider…maybe don’t blindly boycott a film based on what someone else says? Dig for information. Make sure you have the actual facts. I suggest seeing it first BEFORE you decide what it does or doesn’t have in it. Weird, I know. 😉

In fact, if ANY group could be pissed/shocked/underwhelmed, I’d think it would be the LGBTQ community? I’m curious to hear their thoughts, more than anyone else’s.

Anyways, the movie was great! I had never seen the original (I know I know), so it was all a whole new world (wrong movie? 🙂 ) for me!!! The songs were wonderful, the characters were perfect, the special effects were stunning…I simply LOVED it!

And by the numbers, it doesn’t look like the boycott is affecting Disney’s pockets at all!