Tag Archives: 40-something

IMRL (in my real life)

It’s funny how when you start out parenting you think you have a plan. You plan to grow them up, to do all the right things, and to live happily ever after.

Pee on the toilet seat is not part of your plan.

Children who refuse to eat vegetable is not part of your plan.

Mountains of never-ending laundry are absolutely not part of the plan.

I sometimes feel that life and my plan should have a conversation with each other, a shared google calendar, perhaps.

All the stuff that gets in the way of my plan is the problem, not my plan. Right? Right?

Say I’m right.

That’s real life, though, right?

Pendulous

Right now in my real life I feel like a pendulum. I swing from ‘everything is awesome’ to ‘what the freak is happening?’ constantly.

I’ve got to tell you, Lee’s job search is getting to me. I’m weary from the wanting and praying and hoping. Yet, I feel so grateful that we’re okay, that our kids are okay. It’s not where we thought we’d be at our age (hello, the plan I was talking about!) but we’re happy, healthy, and relatively stable in mind.

I feel for people job hunting. It’s demoralizing and tiring.

On to happier things in my real life.

Garden

We’ve started our garden. This year we’re trying it in the front yard. I hope it looks beautiful in July. The boys love planting things…hopefully they’ll also love eating the things that we grow. We planted arugula and lettuce. It’s a little late for those but I’m a Brave Misfit! No rules shall be followed in my garden. Green beans and peas went in as well. Sweet peppers are in, and in a couple of weeks we’ll put in tomatoes. I’m stoked.

This is not our garden. It’s not even our yard, but Liam wanted me to put this one in.

I’m getting the Brave Newsletter ready to go out and I’ll share some sites I love for gardening tips – so if you haven’t signed up go do it! You won’t be disappointed.

And if you are, please don’t tell me.

Screens

They are taking up my life. I’m going to be transparent here: I really struggle with screen time, I think for a couple of reasons:

1)They leave me alone when they’re on screens. Just being honest.

2) I love screens. I love the interwebs. I love Google and Instagram and Facebook (most days). I want to love Twitter but fail to understand it a little. I write a lot and I write on a screen.  And Netflix. I heart Netflix. I love a great series.

Liam interrupting me whilst binge watching. Er, I mean applying hyper focus.

There’s my struggle. I don’t allow myself to find a series very often because bingewatching is a real problem in my life. Hyper focus is my super power but can be detrimental when applied to movies and shows. Lee, my darling husband, told me yesterday that he wasn’t ready for me to find another series because he needs me to run things.

It’s like I’m the show runner! I AM THE SHOW RUNNER!!!!! Revelation. I’ve had a revelation, an epiphany whilst typing! (Can you tell I binge on BBC shows, which is why I feel I can say whilst?)

I really think we’d all be healthier and happier without screens in our lives, but here they are. So I’m applying some scheduling and trying not to freak out over it all. Liam told me the other day that he knows I often forget they’re only allowed screen time after 3:30, which is why he asks regularly. Smart kid, silly mama. So, I’m also reading some helps for parents with ADHD. 

Summer School

We typically do year-round school, so this isn’t a huge deal. However, this summer we’re going to keep going with Tapestry of Grace because we are behind where we’d like to be. Illness, schedules, math and science took over for a while. I love this curriculum so much, though, and I don’t want to short-change the children.

Spencer is begging me to short-change him, however.

Laurel is excited, though, because we’ll be studying early America, which means HAMILTON. I’m pretty excited, too. I’d be more excited if we won a free trip to Williamsburg, though. Or tickets to Hamilton. Or both.

I’ll probably settle for Fort Boonesborough, though, and be quite content.

Storage Unit
We went to the storage unit to look for sheet music. Laurel stayed home and did math. Look how big Spencer is getting!

It’s been two years.

Really almost two and a half.

I never thought our stuff would be in storage for that long.

The math works out like this: plan + life = new plan. 

I’m thinking, though, that most of this can go in a garage sale. Some of it can go here, too, but Spencer wants to save up for a red footed tortoise so a yard sale seems like the thing to do. I’ve got a ton of homeschool stuff that we no longer need, too. Maybe I’ll have an auction.

I wish I was an auction caller. I think that be so fun.

Here habadnye nadbandye Teaching Textbooks Algebra One heremabnda noeobdanae day dye going for $60 habandyend adyabodydady $80 over. I think I’ve got the hang of it.


So, that’s it. That’s the gist of my real life. Pee on the toilet set, battling binge-watching, planning summer things, lamenting loss, and moving on to summer plans.

Here’s hoping that in next month’s newsletter I can tell you that no urine drops have plagued my behind.

 

This photo does not represent guilty parties. At least not all of them.

I’d love to hear what’s going on in your real life, too. Share in the comments or shoot me an email, or visit on Facebook or Instagram.

Be brave, misfits. Carry on!

 

Antique Stores and Such

I’ve always liked to pilfer through old stuff. My mamaw’s Victorian house was chock full of amazing objects. There were old records, shoes, and pictures stacked under chairs and on window sills. Really any flat surface held something. A giant closet beneath the staircase filled with coats was at least 8 feet deep.  Untouched bedrooms held posters, board games, and clothes from eras gone by.

My cousins and I would sneak off to play hide-and-seek but then get lost in game of searching. That may have led to my love of antique malls and flea markets. Though I know Mom and  I spent many Saturday afternoons at flea markets. Perhaps it is just in my DNA.

At any rate, when we moved back to Lexington we discovered a little store called Feather Your Nest and fell in love. They have a collection of booths AND free coffee.

All photos by Kiley Shepherd

 

Hello?? Free coffee and antiques?

Yes, please.

There is just something comforting in history. I love imagining where items were before they ended up in the store. I enjoy wondering what stories a tea cup has overheard, whose fingers wrapped around it’s delicate handle. 

 

I have a jar of shells at home. We collected them on a trip to Dauphin Island a few years ago. I remember my toes digging in the sand finding shells, the kids coming and fishing them out. Mom held the bucket and they plunked them in. Liam and Spencer pretended they were money. Lee was out in the waves with Dad and Erik.  It’s one of my favorite memories.

I wonder if my jar of shells will end up in an antique mall one day.

Wandering around stores like this is like wandering around in someone else’s memories. I can imagine the housewife tying on her yellow apron, or a salesman putting on his fedora before he walks out the door. Their lives fascinate me but so do their dreams. What did they want out of life? Did they get it? Who remembers them today?

 

 

 

 

I’m not sentimental over objects, generally speaking. I tend to enjoy memories more. There are a few objects that I do love. My mother’s original wedding rings are special to me because they are one of my earliest memories. I remember watching her spin them on her ring finger with her thumb.  I also  remember the feel of the prongs holding the diamond as I played with it. I loved playing with her delicate fingers when I was small. I thought they were so beautiful. I still do, in fact.

My Dad had a nail brush, and still does. A thick white, two-sided brush. I still use it on my boys. I remember it sitting on the edge of our sink throughout my childhood. Dad likes clean fingernails but also hard, dirty work. He’d come in from outside, covered in sweat, and go straight to the restroom to clean up. Even then it reminded me of my Grandpa.

I also love my sweet husband’s journals. I tease him about them sometimes but they’re one of my favorite things about him. He is a poet, a real romantic, and has filled leather journals with his thoughts and prose. I adore how sensitive he is. His love of the written word was a surprise to me when we were young. 

 

Who knows where those things will be in 50 years. Who knows where I will be?

Today I am here, in my house, with my little boy and little dogs. I think we’ll go for a walk after we argue about Minecraft. Then we’ll all have dinner and it will be noisy and loud and I’ll wonder why I neglected manners so much.

Then I’ll realize it’s more fun to join in.

I can go to the antique mall for quiet.

 

Be brave, misfits.

You know where to go if you need a free cup of coffee and time to meander through a stranger’s memories.

 

 

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Home Again

Our family traveled a lot when I was a kid. We took short trips, long trips, and sometimes just day trips. I loved going, seeing new places, but also knowing that we shared the same sky, the same moon no matter where we were. I can sleep so well in a car, probably because of all that traveling. One of my favorite memories is lying in the back our big yellow van, my head against the wall so that I could see out of the window above my head. I would sleep that way, only waking when when we slowed down to turn into our neighborhood.

The big hill that leads to our house is lined with trees and streetlights and is as comforting to me as home. I would open my sleepy eyes and know exactly where we were, which neighbor’s house we were passing. As we pulled into the drive my parents would chant, “Home again, home again jiggity jig!” Even today I feel myself relax as I drive up that street.

It’s funny to me that I never wanted to move away from home. I mean, I wanted my own apartment as I got older,  but I never thought about living in another city. After Lee and I had been married for a couple of years a job opportunity came up that would require us to move. Every cell in my body wanted to stay in Lexington but I knew that Lee needed this.

So, we moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.

The first few months there were scary and lonely. Driving in Knoxville terrified me, and I learned lots of back roads to avoid the interstates and heavy trafficked roads. Because the radio in my old black Volvo didn’t work I had to sing loudly to distract my babies and myself from my panic at sharing the road with so many trucks. Old hymns, Mary Poppins, and Queen make up the soundtrack of those days.

Moving made me brave.

I was able to travel I-75 because I knew that home was at the other end. Going to visit my parents gave me courage. On the return trip knowing that Lee, our house, and our little life were all waiting for me made my goodbyes less bittersweet. It’s funny how fears abate when you have people waiting for you. They give you mission.

We moved three more times, twice two new town, and each place I fell in love with. I enjoyed learning the history of our new town, local favorites, and hidden treasures. I stopped thinking of Lexington as home and more as the place that I grew up. Two years ago when we moved back I couldn’t help but contemplate home, and what that means.

I was reminded of all the coming-of-age novels I read where the main character moves back home and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. I always wondered what it was like to move back home after redefining yourself in another place.. No one knows what you were like in high school, or about your brothers, or what you and your best friends like to do. You don’t run into people you know at the store, at least at first, and you can switch hairdressers easily. Everything is new, and that can include you.

Moving back home, though, was so different than I thought it would be. Living in my childhood home, roaming the streets of my neighborhood with my own children, is much more grounding than I had imagined. On our daily walks we step onto the same corner that was the meeting spot of the neighborhood kids. Even though someone else lives there the house across the street is still ‘the Leggett’s house’ to me and my parents.

My handwriting, in permanent marker, is in the closet of the bedroom my girls now share. My boys’ swing set is where me and my brothers played for hours. Neighbors who knew me from childhood stop me and we condense our lives into a ten minute chat. We wave goodbye, filled with memories of a picturesque past.

Moving back to the town where I took off my training wheels for the first time, where I learned to drive, and where I got my heart broken for the first time made me brave again. While a new place can give you the freedom to be someone a little different it can also sweep you up into a current that’s not your own. We’ve had some heavy stuff happen, which caused the shoulds and have-to’s to become even more weighted.

Sometimes you just keep functioning and don’t realize how big of an influence fear has become.

Moving home gave me the space to face that. Moving home gave me space to find my courage again, to remember that no matter what happens in my life I have a place within me that houses my ten year-old self. The me that knows riding down a hill with no hands is possible, the me that doesn’t care about skinned knees or climbing too high will always be there, waiting. Fearlessness that reins freely in our youth isn’t grown out of. Rather, it is covered up under the guise of maturity  and responsibility, making us think we’re grown ups.

Audacity is always waiting for it’s moment to shine, though.

Coming home made me feel that again. Watching my youngest learn to ride his bike with only two wheels on the same sidewalk I did unleashed it. I’m probably not going to ride my bike with no hands today, but my heart is lighter, more able to be in the world.

Life is short but fear makes it shorter.

Today courage means filling my life with relationship that make my life messy, embracing inconvenience and taking heart in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. Pushing through the uneasiness that comes from going against the grain of this life is not always easy but my days feel longer when fear is not in charge.

God knew that I needed the shelter of home to find my courage again. It’s not about the place, or the house, or the neighborhood, either. Those things are nice but home is something inside, a notion that dwells within. It’s about being able to remember who Christ says I am, and for me that’s easiest to do when I think about who I was as a kid. I wasn’t weighed down by shoulds and have-to’s and didn’t hold back my love.

I am home, again.

Home again.

Jiggity jig.

 

 

I’m curious; how do you find home? Is it a place or a time? Does home make you brave, too?

 

Lessons Learned In My Real Life (IMRL)

Sheesh. It’s been a month since I posted.  Once it’s been a week it’s easier to take a longer. When I move into the ten day territory of no writing I become paralyzed. I stack up all of my failures and block myself in. I let that bleed over into my every day life and before I know it I’m binge eating chocolate something’s and avoiding contact with humans.

Me hiding from the world.

There may also be lots of Minecraft going on when I am over affected by life.

One of the many things I learned in counseling is that reframing my situation is vital to moving forward.  So I had a little chat with myself.

“You’re not failing, you’re taking a break. You’ve had a lot to process this month, a lot of school to do with the kids, and lots of check-up appointments. Take this time to re-energize yourself by filling up with good stuff.”

Easy peasy.

I read  for pleasure not just improvement, and I started an online course I purchased last year but didn’t get around to (telling myself that I can go at my own pace). I had a couple of nice, long chats with friends, shared some stuff that’s been weighing on me, and felt a thousand pounds lighter. I baked cookies and made some recipes I had tucked away to try. The yard got some TLC, as did my school area, and I got a haircut. I went on a spending spree with coupons at Walgreens and bought myself some mascara and facial moisturizer and I didn’t even feel guilty about it. I quit Pinning and starting doing.

I think taking a break for a few weeks after Thanksgiving will become a tradition.

I’m finally learning that it’s okay if it all doesn’t get done. It really is. There were years when I packed kids who were literally puking into he car, made them hold a tupperware dish to hold their rejected bodily fluids, and drove 8 hours to be with family for Thanksgiving. They aren’t scarred are anything, at least not by that trip, but why did I push so hard? Two words, friends: people pleaser. I did not want to disappoint. Or fail. Or not be good enough.

People pleasing is an endless traps that ends feeling worthless. What’s weird is that the people you think you’re pleasing might not even know that you’re trying to please them. They might not even care if you please them. They might not even want you to drive yourself bonkers trying to do it all right.

The moral of the story is:  take a break if you need to. Don’t pack puking kids into the car for an 8 hour drive. Don’t drive your family crazy cleaning the house for people who don’t care if your house is clean. Don’t kick yourself for not getting cards in the mail, or buying the right gifts, or baking the right cookies, or making the best meal ever.

Grace.

Grace.

Grace.

Watch Christmas Vacation and laugh at how ridiculous and true it is.

Play board game with your kids and do the dishes later.

Call a friend and tell them that you miss them.

Seriously. Take a break. Enjoy the view from where you are now.

Revel in the knowledge that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that the sky is full of stars, that the ocean is always there even if you cannot see it, and that you are loved beyond measure.

Go on now. Get your revel on.

I dare you.

 


Other goings on In My Real Life:
  1. During my shower a couple of weeks ago I noticed a black thing in the corner of the tub. Further examination revealed that it was Spencer’s sock, his dirty sock, with a bar of soap in it. I was lamenting to my daughters the grossness of that discovery when I noticed Laurel’s extremely guilty looking face. I asked her what was up. She said, “I know what the sock was from. Spencer and I were playing hunger games…” I stopped her there and asked her not to explain any more. Ever.
  2. My husband found a library book that has been missing for three months. It was under our bed, where I have looked multiple times. I suspect he is gas lighting me.
  3. I have no socks. I’ve been wearing my Dad’s or my husband’s, alternating days so that they don’t catch on. I think they’re onto me.
  4. My youngest is 7 and still has not outgrown poop jokes. I fear he never will, because poop jokes are actually funny. Like, no matter what question somebody asks answering with ‘poop’ always elicits a laugh. From me.
  5. Speaking of poop, farting is also funny. Especially when I lock the windows on the van so that they’re trapped with the odor. Especially when I’ve eaten salami.
  6. I’m sorry about #5.
  7. We had our 21st wedding anniversary, which was not nearly as exciting as turning 21 was. On the upside no one threw up. Happy Anniversary to me! and Lee!
  8. While at the grocery I realized I still have some work to do. I loudly complained to my daughter that $6.99 was too much for baby potatoes, but that I really wanted them. As I cradled them I noticed the produce man was giving me the side eye and I worried that I had hurt his feelings by yelling about the overpriced produce. So, I did the normal thing and put them in my cart, only to circle around and put them back. PEOPLE PLEASING BEHAVIOR ALERT.
  9. I miss not living with my parents. Not because I don’t want to live with them, but because I used to take their stuff when I came home to visit. It cracked me up when Mom would say, “Oh, we have those same towels!” or “I have that exact picture at home.” The thrill is gone now and I’ve been reduced to hiding the spoons.
  10. I am trying to apply more fashion sense to my life because I’m 43 now and for goodness sake that’s what grown women do. Honestly, though, it just takes too much effort and the kids say that I cannot just knot a fancy scarf around my neck and call it fashion, particularly if I’m wearing pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. They want too much, I tell you. The Coldwater Creek models make it look so easy.

 

Here’s to Sunday nights, Monday mornings and real life.

Skipping a Year

I hate to whine, but I had the worst birthday ever last year. I’m not even kidding. It was the worst.

Photo Credit: sameold2010 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: sameold2010 via Compfight cc

My birthday was on a Friday in October. I still get excited about birthdays that fall on a Friday. On Wednesday I wasn’t feeling well and by Thursday I had a pretty good fever. Friday morning I woke up knowing that I had the flu thanks to full on body aches, chills, cough, and intestinal issues. I took it like a champ, though.

Well, not really. Lee came in to wish me well and I just croaked, “Save yourself. Get out of here.” and he scampered away to work. When the kids came in I told them, “It’s not my birthday. I will not accept it. I get a do over next week when I’m better.”

There was much weeping and gnashing of the teeth and watching back to back episodes of 30 Rock while I tried not to pee my pants when I coughed (unsuccessful). I never got my do over because my flu friend stuck around for 2 weeks then invited his friend bronchitis over. Bronchitis was boring so I got a UTI just for fun. The doctor I went to for the UTI said he’d never heard someone describe the pain similar to  ‘peeing out a razor blade’. I told him he’d obviously never had a patient with a UTI.

Anyway, all this to say my birthday came and went, we got through winter and our immune systems recovered. Around six weeks ago I realized something, something huge! I’d been telling everyone I was 43 but I’m actually only 42!!!

I guess my time in my sick bed made me feel like Wesley, from The Princess Bride, when he had years sucked away from his life. Except I felt like I had a year added to it.

Seriously, though, can you believe I’m only 42????

I feel like I’ve gained a year. I feel so young and energetic.

Unfortunately at this age you don’t get a lot of opportunities to tell people how old you are. If I’m hanging out with Liam and his friends and they’re exchanging ages I like to throw in a, “Well, I’m 42.”  The kids look me over in a disapproving way and move on with their  command-establishing-by-age. Most of them can’t even remember what month they’re born in , and if they do happen to know that they don’t really know the order of the months, so then the hierarchy of power becomes based on height.

At my age no one wants to be in charge at the playground. No one. 

I cannot believe that I thought I was 43 for so long this year. My kids don’t care, my husband is just irritated that he’s still four years old than me, and my parents don’t keep track of my age much these days.  Now that my birthday is just three months away I’m thinking maybe I’ll be 43 for two years in a row. Except, I do like how 44 sounds with its nice alliteration and all.

Oh, gosh. It’s a dilemma. I think it’ll be a game time decision.

In the end, I’m still 40-something and I still need bifocals and my kids still think I’m really old.

But today I’m only 42, and I feel really young.