Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back to School Tea at The Oak Park Tea Room

 We have been quite busy all summer and with school starting back this week, I took the time out to spend some time with my daughters.
 Our favorite tea room closed but we heard about this one in Raleigh. It was the perfect place to wear my Cinderella shoes! 
(a purchase I made "just because" I had nowhere to wear them but they reminded me of my favorite fairy tale so I splurged)
 The tea room offered various hats for us to wear as we drank tea and enjoyed chicken salad sandwiches.
 We all found something that fit us perfectly. Unlike the last tea room, this is NOT an "English" tea room, its very eclectic and southern.
 I thought it was beautiful inside. Such a fun atmosphere! They offer live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays (so make a reservation!)
 I think it would be a perfect place for a bridal party brunch or a little girls birthday party.
But, as the wall states... there's always time for tea!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Finding Something Beautiful in Every Day

Im back! 

As life continues to throw me curve balls I am learning to go with it, to make changes, to enjoy something in every day. 

Ive decided to change up this blog a bit.  Blog, not so much about my life but about experiences. 

My baby girl is beginning her final year of High School this week. 
Where did time go?

You cannot go back, so why not find something beautiful in every day and share it with those around you. 

Here, begins my new outlook on life.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Goals and Life

Life continues to move on in a direction I never saw coming.  I am beginning to accept it and not feel so kicked in the stomach.  I am tired. Working two jobs just to stay afloat and to get through the summer isnt easy. Its something I never wanted to have to do but never the less, here I am. Exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.  

My almost grown children still worry me.  There is so much to worry about and yet I must trust myself. I must trust that I trained them and raised them to the best of my ability and they will make right choices.  

I used to think that when I was an adult that life would be so much easier but it is quite the opposite.  Its more difficult. 

Even though I struggle day to day with life, I am trying to get back in the game of weight loss. I still have a few more pounds that I need to lose. Something else to put my mind on. 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017- Selfishness during Midlife


Not what I expected. 

Empty Nest ......

brings sadness, emptiness, and reflections on things of the past and future. 

I have come to realize that I had dreams in high school that were not like the typical teenager.  All I wanted was to get married, have babies (four to be exact) and own a daycare.  I did just that.  Life was not always easy but I found my happiness in my children. They were my life. 

 Most of my children are grown up. My baby girl has 1.5 years left at home and then shes gone off to college.  I realized this a few years ago and that's why I decided it was time for me.... that is why I took charge and lost weight and got healthier. I still have some to lose, and I'm not giving up. 

I have never regretted the life Ive had but now, I realize Ive lived my life for them and never really had a life of my own.  Ive had low self confidence and felt that I deserved all the bad that has ever happened to me. 

You would never know that all that is inside me when you look at the smile in my "selfies" 
Through my journey they past few years Ive gained self confidence but I battle with feelings of deserving the worst.  Most of the time I know I don't but its a battle.  I am now looking at my life trying to figure out what is next... where will 2017 take me? 

The worst thing I can imagine in life is not having my children on my side.  Not having them love me and wanting to spend time with me would kill me. I have found myself making decisions for them and not me.  I don't even know if that is the right thing to do. 

For years I have chosen a " word of the year" something to strive for, think about and attempt to obtain through out the year.  This year was several words....   

> peace
>time with friends 

I have spoken with a few friends who know exactly where I am right now because they are somewhere close to being where I am 

All I can do is pray that I make the right decisions from here on out. Ive never really lived life for me. Every job, every decision has always been for my children/family.  Its hard to learn to live for yourself.   

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Not Now

I  had every intention of blogging regularly. Life has been difficult for the past year and in recent months the toughest Ive ever had to face.  Some days I feel like Ive been kicked in the stomach and words escape me.  Midlife.....  I find myself dealing with things I never expected. My heart is breaking daily. Maybe one day Ill feel like writing about it. For now....   not so much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If I didnt laugh..............

 Today was "wear your Christmas Pajamas to work day" and I bought these cute pants just for the occasion . I should have had an easy morning since I didn't have to put a lot of effort in to getting dressed. I ran behind anyway and had a terrible headache (shooting pains right at my temple that id had for two days) before leaving I decided to use some peppermint oil to help with the pain but I got that in my eye!
 I was "crying" due to the oil as I ran to the car and then ran back inside in search of my glasses. Then I left again. For a very brief moment I stopped to admire and take a quick picture of this super moon! Sometimes you just need to stop and enjoy a moment.
 I headed on to work and got stuck in traffic due to a terrible accident. The whole road was blocked and I was sent on a detour that was opposite of where i wanted to be. Then I panicked because I was about to run out of gas! I made it to a gas station just in time only to stand outside in my pajamas pumping gas~!  I made it to work 30 minutes late.
Above I snapped a shot of me as I was about to head in to the grocery store IN PAJAMAS! Something I got all over one of my daughters for years ago and told her "we don't do that" and look at me..... what a day, what a week, what a freakin year its been! If I didn't laugh, Id cry. Not just any cry but an UGLY cry.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Summing up 2016

 One of our family traditions at Christmas is that the kids take turns putting the angel on the tree after we decorate. This year is was my baby girl's turn. Our tree is taller than ones of the past and I chose to put it in a spot where the ceiling is shorter.
 When she went to put the angel on it wouldn't fit. My husband tipped the tree over a little in effort to get the angel on but the tree slid right down and he was left holding the tip of the tree in his hands. Ornaments flew everywhere and we had to start all over again.
This pretty much sums up how my 2016 has been. I have had some good things happen and Ive worked hard and have lost a lot of weight and gotten healthier but so many other things have gone wrong and as this happened while I was snapping photos I said... this is how 2016 has been. Im thankful to see it go.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Maybe I have

One thing I was not prepared for when losing a lot of weight, was the reaction of those around me. They say they are happy for me. They say they are so proud of me. Then, they notice I might take more selfies, they notice I dress different, and then they start saying I'm so different and I'm just not the same person anymore.  Maybe I have changed. Maybe I'm not the same person anymore, and for that, I'm thankful. 

I do not regret spending years devoted to my family. I do not regret never spending time or money on myself. My children are all almost grown now and I decided it was time for me. So I started working on losing weight and many things followed. My self confidence is higher and I finally had the guts to stand up and say I'm not happy with some things in my life. I guess when I was fat, I felt I deserved the life I had, I deserved the unhappiness and the bad things that came along but now, I don't see things that way. 

It is time that I work on me. It is time that I stop doing what is expected of me and just be me for a change. Its time for me to decide what makes me happy and do it. 

I spent years not even walking in to a store that I had never been in because I didn't have the self confidence. I would have anxiety attacks trying to walk into a post office that Id never been in (if I were alone) and one thing Ive noticed is that I don't have those feelings anymore. 

I don't always feel beautiful but I no longer feel like a fat blob. I may not always eat right, but I am conscious of what I'm doing and I get myself right back on track after wards. 

It hurts when your family and friends cannot understand that its time you made a change. It hurts when accusations and mean comments make their way back to you but I'm learning to not care. 

Ive never wanted to pack up and move to a new place with a new job ALL ALONE but that is something that has crossed my mind more than once lately.  Maybe I have changed.... so what? Why cant people just let you be yourself and be happy for you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On being selfish

Is it ever ok to be selfish? 

I have spent my entire adult life thinking about everyone else. It's what I wanted and its who I am. I got married when I was 18. Shortly after our two year anniversary I learned I was expecting our first child. I quit my job when he was born, to stay home with him. Seventeen months after he was born my second child was born. Two years after that our third was born and finally four years later our fourth child was born. 

I made sacrifices. We both made sacrifices. I tried so hard to take on all the stress and responsibility. I raised the babies, taking them to the doctor, school conferences, dance practise, ball practised...etc...  I cooked, cleaned, ran a state licensed daycare and paid all the bills. If I thought my husband was stressed due to working a lot I had the kids help me clean more, cook his favorite dessert or whatever we could to make things better for him. I didnt get my nails done, waited until I absolutely had to to get a hair cut and you can forget buying clothes. I worked from home so I wore sweats that were stained and a mess. I didnt mind so much. I always wanted kids and I was blessed with them and I tried so hard to enjoy them all everyday. 

Its been difficult to watch them grow up and leave the nest. The first one was the worst so far. partly because he was the first and partly because he was leaving to become a Marine that we knew would go to war. About two years ago I decided that it was time for me to make changes. 

I was unhappy with a lot of things and I decided that I really needed to learn to take care of myself. I needed to do a few things for myself and I started with working on weight loss and getting in shape. That has been a good little while in the making and Im still working on it. As i started losing weight I HAD to buy myself some clothes. I have found a new addiction, and a love for a little fashion which is something I havent had the opportunity for before. I feel better about myself but I know there are so many other things I need to work on for me. 

I think when this happens people around you dont know what to do or how to act. They think you are being selfish because you are finally taking care of yourself by losing a lot of weight, looking better with new clothes, nails and hair. They think you are selfish because you are finally taking care of you by going to school or seeking other opportunities that might be needed. 

Am I selfish? Am i selfish because I need to sit down and decompress by blogging or checking our Instagram when i get home? Am I selfish for finally doing things for myself for once? Am I selfish for finally speaking up on how I feel about things and not putting myself on the back burner?

Can the mother of adult children,  and a middle age lady be selfish? 

Lately I find myself in situations I never imagined Id be in at this stage of my life. Its difficult but I know Im not the only one. Life is hard but Im taking a deep breath and pulling on my big girl panties and moving on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

He is a Veteran

My little boy was born after 22 1/2 hours of labor on Mothers Day. He wasn't breathing when he was finally delivered after 3 hours of pushing and the help of vacuum extraction. The cord had been wrapped tightly around his shoulders. The cord had to be cut away from his shoulders and he was rushed away. He finally cried and there was a sigh of relief in the room. The cord was cut a second time  by his daddy and I was finally able to hold him for the first time.  

Once we were home, I didn't want to put him down. I would stare at him all day. Sometimes I would change his clothes and look at him in different outfits. He was perfect and he was mine. He was ours. 

I was never away from him for more than a week until he graduated from high school. Two weeks later he left for Marine Recruit Training and I cried. I cried hysterically. I felt as if someone had died. It took weeks before I could talk about him without crying. I wrote him every day for 13 weeks while he was in training. One year later, I watched him deploy to Afghanistan. 

My baby boy, who loved Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney, left to fight in a war. He was an infantryman. He was in the middle of a mean and dangerous war.  He deployed twice to Afghanistan to fight. The second time was worse than the first. It was in a time when our President had said he had brought our men home and when I or my daughters mentioned that our Marine was fighting in Afghanistan people would look at us and say, " He cant be, Obama brought our men home" It was infuriating! My son lost friends over there, he saw his fellow Marines injured and dying, he fought for his own life and for those around him. He had some very close calls and Americans thought all our men were home. 

I sent my baby boy off to war. Ive never been the same. It permanently damaged me inwardly. I am proud of him for doing his part. I am thankful my son made it home but he was also permanently changed. He is not the same person he used to be but he is my son. I am proud of him. He is a veteran. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I am one of "those"

I have become one of "those" people. 

I work two jobs now. My full time job in the public school system in an Autism Classroom and 
two evenings a week I work with an Autistic teenager in his home. There is about two hours between jobs, so Ive started stopping by Starbucks and enjoying the aroma, the music and the coffee, and of course the free Wifi! 

Today I sit going back and forth from phone, to laptop in between sips of my Peppermint Mocha (a favorite of mine, next to Hazelnut coffees)  Neither are good for me and my weight loss. I had lost 84.5 pounds but when I weighed this morning as I do the 1st of every month, I had gained 2 pounds. Ive slacked on my working out for several reasons. 1) a very sick daughter 2) a very sick "me" 3) a little depression from various things going on in my life these days. 

One thing I know, is that weight loss makes you healthier, sometimes happier, and boosts your confidence but it does not fix all the mess on the inside. We all go through childhood traumas, teenage drama and situations with your own children as they grow and become their own person. In the midst of all that, we often have a jumbled up mess we need to deal with. (especially if you keep things bottled up inside like me) 

HEAVY SIGH ...... 

A few weeks ago I started a daily post on Facebook and Instagram #82daysofhappy 
in which I post something each day NO MATTER WHAT that makes me happy or that I am thankful for. Why 82 days? Well, that's how many days there were until the last day of the year. 
Ive done well with posting every day even though I have been dealing with several things which left me not so happy. It encourages me to look for something good in each day. I have tried to steer away from negative posts but I found myself posting something yesterday that seemed to catch some people's attention. I truly felt that 45 years of struggles were sitting on my chest all at once. 
I am considered middle aged now and I never thought Id go through things I am going through at this age and its hard sometimes. Last evening I received a phone call from a family member who was showing concern about my post. We went on to talk about other things and today when I was thinking about that, I realized I was shown several more things to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for family. They are usually there no matter what. Even when we live close and don't have the time to see each other, they are there when the rubber meets the road. When you really need them, they are there. Even when you cannot tell them everything that's going on in your life, you know they are there. 

Secondly, I realized there are so many things we all take for granted. 
My cousin went on a mission trip about 1.5 years ago to the Philippines. While there, he fell in love with a cute Filipino woman and he hasn't returned yet! They were married and have been doing so much paperwork to get her to the states to visit. In the mean time, my cousin is learning a while new way of life. They have no washing machines or dryers. They wash clothes in the river or go to a hand pump well  to gain access to water to wash their clothes. They climb trees for fruit to eat. They have no air conditioning in the midst of hot hot summers and when he was very sick with a severe ear infection he could not call the doctor and get an appointment that day. Its hard for us in the United States to remember that people live this way, but they do. 

In the midst of trouble and heartbreak I am thankful for family and for modern conveniences like washing machines and running water. 

Today, I am one of those people who sit in Starbucks and write about how thankful I am to have modern conveniences because just sitting here in Starbucks is a luxury.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

On Being A Mother

 As far back as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother. 
I wanted someone to love me and I wanted someone to love. 
I wanted to get married, have babies and raise them. I wanted to teach other children and love them.
 The few photos I have of me as a child I had a baby doll in my arms
or I was caring for my little sister.  I learned how to be a mother from my daddy, my aunts, and my grandmother.

One thing I will never regret is taking part in raising my little sister, having and raising my own four children and taking part in caring for so many other children along the way. 

The one thing I never knew, was how hard it would be to let them go. 
I never understood how hard it would be to say goodbye to my children as they started their own lives and didn't have time to call their Mom. 

I didn't know how hard it would be to be a mother. 
I didn't know how difficult it would be to make decisions for them or for myself that would make them angry at me or that might hurt them temporarily. 
I didn't know how painful it would be to me to see them hurt. 
I didn't know. Had I known, I wouldn't have changed anything. 
Ive loved being a caretaker, a mother and a sister. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fear of the unknown

As  a child I was nervous every morning before school. My daddy would stop by Hardees and buy us a country ham biscuit and orange juice before school and I would be so nauseous, I couldn't eat. Once I was in school I was fine, but walking in with the thought of everyone looking at me made me nervous.  As a teen I felt the same feeling if I tried to walk in to a store or any place Id never been before. I was more comfortable if I had someone by my side. 

In High School I couldn't consider college because of he fear of not knowing my way around, the fear of being lost and looking stupid. All I could think of was I wanted to get married and have babies. I wanted four children and to stay home with my children and have my own home daycare.  That is exactly what I did. I got married two months after graduation to a childhood crush. We dated three years, had fun fishing and riding around drinking Pepsi from glass bottles and having talks about our future. 

I have struggled, though less than earlier in life, about walking in to new places. There have been a few times that Ive been scared to walk in new places and have had major anxiety and just drove away. 

Now, I'm a middle age woman, who finds herself scared. My children are almost grown. I have one left under the age of 18. She will be moving on with her own life in under two years. Now I find myself in a situation where I'm scared. 

I have been scared for most of my life. I am dealing with uncertainty right now. I am uncertain about what my future holds from here and I'm scared. This is a place that I cannot just drive away and avoid walking through the doors. 

Will I ever have confidence to walk without fear of the unknown?


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Growing Up Fast

If you are reading this and you are a long time follower you know about my childhood a little but Im going to touch on that a bit for those who read and don't know. I am not saying anything to hurt anyone. This was just my life. 

I was born to teenage parents. My dad graduated high school and went to work. My mother quit school and later got a GED. My dad worked long hours trying to provide for our family. When I was 3 my sister was born. By the time she was one, my parents separated and my dad became a single father at the age of 22. My grandmother, and my two aunts helped raise us. My dad did a lot but when he was working we spent time with those three special ladies. 

Summers at my grandma's house were spent running outside bare footed, exploring the woods, creeks, walking along railroad tracks, riding bikes to the store to buy candy, and making homemade cinnamon toothpicks! With my daddy we watched movies, sat on the porch watching the rain, and chased each other through the house shooting disc guns at each other hiding behind furniture.

At home with my daddy, I became a mother to my sister. I helped get her ready for school, bathe her at night, I learned to cook at an early age and eventually my dad would drop me off at the grocery store with his credit card and I learned how to buy groceries for the family for the week. I grew up fast and was always more mature than other children my age. 

For most of my childhood I lived day to day knowing that this was just my life. Sometimes I longed to have a mother like some of the friends in school who had mother's who volunteered a lot at school. 

It took me many years to use my childhood to identify with others in similar situations and see that maybe this is why I had to go through some things. 

Growing up fast can be a blessing and a curse... you just need to concentrate on what you learned through the hard times and how you can use it to help others. I think that my childhood is another reason I chose a career working with children. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Im back!

When I was in school and even when my children were young, we were encouraged to journal. We didn't have to have a topic, just free journaling. Just write what is on your mind without stopping. Let the creative juices flow, express yourself, don't worry about proper grammar and punctuation.... just write.  (I always had to use proper grammar and punctuation though...) 

I have always enjoyed creative writing. I enjoy various kinds of poetry. It does my soul good to now watch two of my children enjoy the same things. 

I started a blog some years ago. I didn't care if anyone read it because I just enjoyed writing. I gained quite a few followers and earned a little cash from ads. One day I just decided I was done. I was empty. No thoughts to journal and less time. My once thriving blog "Fried Green Tomatoes and Sweet Tea" came to an end. Eventually I started this blog but couldn't get into it that much. Posts have been few and far between. 

Today as I thought about the emptiness and the struggles I'm facing now..... I missed those times of free journaling I decided to once again write (hopefully regularly) in this blog. If only one person reads and identifies with anything I write then, maybe it will help someone to not feel as alone as I do. 

Lookout BLOGGER LAND Im back!