10 Ways Life is More Like a Box of Wine Than a Box of Chocolates

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Momma may have said, “Life is like a box of chocolates,” but Momma was wrong!  Life is much more like a box of wine. More times than not, you DO know what you’re gonna get:

1. Taking your kids while you’re bra shopping. You’re basically gonna get no peace, no feedback, (no pun intended) no support, and probably no bra.

2. Telling people how you really feel. You’re gonna get a pissed off friend, a rescindment of your New Year’s Eve Party invitation, and a “defriend” on Freakbook.

3. Going on vacation to Yellowstone National Park-  You’re guaranteed to do all the laundry, pack four or more suitcases, forget the snackbag, and get your period while camping.

4. Telling grandma you like her pants. You’re gonna hear about where she got them, the coupon she used to buy them, and an identical pair at your birthday. Elastic waisted polyester.

5. Taking away your kid’s electronics as punishment. You’re gonna get bombarded with requests to play board games, unwanted help in the kitchen, and the repetitive mantra of “I”M BORED”

6. Acting interested about your neighbor’s gifted child. You’re gonna get every detail about their full-scale IQ testing, how they’re perfect, and the reasons why they’re better than your kid.

7. Going to the grocery store in the raw. You’re gonna run into the PTA president, your ex-boyfriend from high school, and your neighbor with the high IQ kid.

8. Planning a romantic Valentine’s Date. You’re gonna get flowers from Wal-Mart, resistance to going to said date, and a husband more willing to receive than give {wink-wink}.

9. Placing your husband in charge of your 4th of July Party. You’re gonna get a drunk guy in the pool, an unlit/unmanned grill, and a mess from his friends to single-handedly clean up.

10. As you can see, most situations in life are clearly more like a box of wine.  Biting into a chocolate of any sort leaves the possibility of something, while unknown, may be delicious. Where in life, you will often turn up with a headache, irritable attitude, and an empty container.

In Honor of Valentine’s Day – Our Mixed Tape of Love

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This morning I read this post by Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms. I felt personally connected to the post because I, too, was a mixed-tape girl. That was back in the day when you had to hit the red record button at just the right time and catch the stop at the end to avoid commercials.

So inspired by Erin’s list, here’s the top eight songs on our mixed tape of love:

1. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel: College was the majority of our dating time and our engagement. And I learned much about my honey during that time. He also shared his music tastes with me and this song falls into that category.

2. Beauty and the Beast – Peabo Bryson & Celine Dion: I’ll admit it. We saw this movie as one of our dates early in our courtship (yes, back when couples courted/dated). We are also huge Disney nerds. We even took our honeymoon in Disney World!

3. You’re My Home – Billy Joel: DH played this song for me privately, after we were engaged. It’s how he envisioned our relationship and our future. It’s über fitting at this time in our lives, because his work involves travel, like the lyrics tell in the song. I just love when he’s home.

4. Smoke gets In Your Eyes – Platters: Oh, we were so cute at our wedding. In the months leading up to that day, we took private dancing lessons from Teddy-With-The-Bad-Toupèe through the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. I. Kid. You. Not. We learned the smooth moves that made our first dance so special. Plus, it was a surprise to our guests at the reception.

5. The Toast Song – Bob and Tom: This is traditionally a kid’s song, and it’s one that makes all five of us sing along and giggle! Those were the days of listening to the Kids Only channel on XM Radio. Now it’s Top Hits or Disney.

6. Nerves – Terri Hendrix: Also a traditional kid’s tune, this one has earned a permanent spot on our iPods. The lyrics are meant for siblings, but we say “nay, nay.” They also apply between parents and children of any age. Yet, as annoyed as we may get with each other, the love still burns.

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7. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton: A classic and one that my honey will softly serenade to me as we slow dance at anyone’s wedding reception.

8. Steal Away – Celtic Thunder: DH and I toured Ireland in 2004 with his rugby team. We have always been fascinated with Ireland and all things Irish. After finding Celtic Thunder on tour in the states, we saw them live four years in a row. Their music is a special part of us.

If you’ve got a mixed tape or playlist that’s special for your family, I’d love to see it! If you don’t, I encourage you to think about it. Going back through those memories left a warm, happy feeling in my heart.

If you’ve got one, leave a link to it with your comment.

 

New Year…New Habits

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I was reflecting on my goals for 2014. To me, resolutions are goals, not rules. My goals include:

Eat healthier.

Move more.

Show more patience.

Connect with friends regularly.

I made these goals with hopes of changing. If I had to pick the one thing to change about myself; it would be to improve my patience level, especially with my kids.

As I sit here typing, I’m told that I’m raising my voice to DD2 to turn off the TV. Seriously? I didn’t even hear my own voice get louder.

It’s not a flattering attribute to be visibly annoyed. So it is certainly something about myself that I need to and want to change.

It’s not like I lose it on the cashier in the grocery store. The most common victims are my immediate family. I truly enjoy my family, and I want them to feel that, not my irritability. However, my rants and voice-raisings happen too often for my liking. In my head, I justify my behaviors with, “Well, he’s being a loud, ADHD, 8-year-old boy! How should I get his attention?” or “She’s a teenager acting like a…well…a typical teenager! How else do I get my point across?”

There are many other ways to get his attention or get my point across to her that I could and should start practicing. And that’s what it’s gonna take to change: practice. It takes 21 days of consistent practice to change a habit.

For me, some alternatives to getting hot under the collar could be:

  1. Breathe and count to 10. It sounds easy, but it’s not the first thing that pops in my head. Maybe I should write it on my hand in Sharpie?
  2. Step in DS’s line of vision, instead of yelling from behind him. This is hard, as it takes 5 extra seconds to walk over there and I want his attention NOW.
  3. Look my teen daughter in the eyes when I speak calmly. She says when she feels heard and understood, she stays calmer. In return, I can stay more relaxed, less annoyed.

I think if I practice these skills, I’ll be on the right track to achieving one of my New Year’s Goals of 2014.

What about you? Any resolutions that you’ve been tackling you’d like to share?

Five Valentine’s Day Dates To Reconnect

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DH and I have celebrated about 20 Valentine’s Days. Some were low-key. Others we knocked out of the park. All were focused on us and reconnecting.

In college, I decorated his dorm room door with pink/red balloons hanging from red streamers. There were also construction paper hearts involved. It was SO romantic. He was totally embarrassed. You can’t blame me; it was our first February 14th!

Here are 5 ideas that are just the ticket to a fun, romantic date:

1. Go ice skating. Spending a couple of hours holding each other up on blades of steel, certainly brings a couple closer together. Top the night off with a hot fudge sundae at a local creamery.

2. Locate a local business hosting a drop-your-kids-off-here-night like Artsy Doodle. Make dinner reservations next door at the nice sit-down restaurant like Biba. (Those red words are links, so when you click on them, will take you to those businesses’ Facebook pages in another tab. Go ahead, try it!)

3. Snowy weather got you homebound? Cook a meal together. DH and I used to do this more. On Sunday, we rocked the kitchen making Super Bowl food. We made a mess together and cleaned it together. It filled our love tanks.

4. Schedule a couple’s massage. A fun couple we know did this over the December holidays. They LOVED it. Just go in with a talking/no talking agreement.

5. Rent a hotel room. Bring whipped cream, strawberries, champagne and your imagination. (Not that we ever did that.)

And that’s only five! You can do this. Go make some plans and treat each other to some special quality time. Take care of yourselves and each other!

ketchupLinking up with Michele and Mel for the Ketchup Linkup!

Be There – Depression Hurts

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As a person with depression, I have tried 25-30 medications since 1999 to find one that would stick. Once I slipped down that sad slope, I’ve been depressed or more depressed. This is what’s known as bipolar type 2. Effective medication restores my normalcy.

One early medication that worked well for almost a year was Nardil. The problem/blessing with Nardil is that your diet is limited. You can’t eat anything aged, processed, or containing caffeine. I really missed eating cheese, sour cream, lunch meat, bananas, beer, liquor, coffee and chocolate.

I remember being hospitalized over Halloween that first breakdown.  “Carrie” was playing in the TV lounge…ironic? Inappropriate?

I was discharged before Thanksgiving. I can remember going to a couples’ holiday dinner in December for our church. My husband made a dish that met my limited diet requirements. It was a broccoli/fake cheese casserole with cracker crumb topping. He steadied me as we walked from the car into the house. The other 10 couples fussed over how well I looked, mentally and physically. I felt like a zombie faking my participation in their happy world. I didn’t FEEL sad. I really didn’t FEEL anything. Correction- not feeling suicidal was a positive…I suppose?

And so it went. A medication would work (a year, maybe more?), then wane, then in-patient, then ECTs poking holes in my brain, then new meds. For many years, my brain has worked at holding any memories like a spaghetti strainer. I misplace my cellphone too often (daily). I look at photos of my husband and the kids at events. I’d insist I wasn’t there, only to be shown a photo of me. I’m there but not there.

Do I hate my mental illness? I certainly hate the destruction it influenced in my family. My husband and I were divorced in 2000 (reconciled 4 years later and remarried). My daughters inherited some traits of mental issues. I left my teaching job 8 years ago because I couldn’t keep all my balls in the air: parent, spouse, and teacher. I want to volunteer in school for my son, but I get so overwhelmed, I just can’t.

But do I hate depression? How can I? It’s part of me and made me who I am. Currently, I’ve been hospital free for almost 3 years. I started my blog in August of 2012. I’m connecting with others and speaking up for those who can’t yet.

So if you know someone who is struggling with depression or med changes or ECTs, hug them and be present for them, especially when they can’t be present themselves.

Image credit: “Creative Commons Holding hands @ Blundeston, Suffolk” by timparkinson. Used under CC BY 2.0/ Tinted red and text added