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The Year of 40

  • October 31, 2014 7:50 am

Last month I celebrated my thirty-ninth birthday, and began my journey to 40.  Birthdays have really never bothered me, and I hadn’t given much thought to turning forty until thirty-nine rolled around. However, now that I see that birthday cake bonfire on the horizon, this particular milestone is taking up a lot of space in my mind.  I find myself thinking of a lot of “should” and “should nots.”   For example,  I probably shouldn’t eat cake for breakfast.  I shouldn’t hope for snow days.  I shouldn’t get traffic tickets for running stop signs or not wearing my seat belt.  I shouldn’t be surprised by bad manners, and I shouldn’t forget my cell phone at restaurants.  At the same time, I should be more responsible with my money. I should watch the news. I should know and understand the intricacies of our political system.  I should cook dinner every night, and probably drink more water.  But mostly, I should feel more like a grown-up.  The problem is, I just don’t.  In fact, I actually find myself referring to other people as grown-ups—some of which are younger than me.  I don’t feel in charge of anything specific—other than my family.  I can give orders to those crazies better than any CEO, but in dealing with everyday people, I feel like I blend.  And now a month into this year of 40, I see myself stepping out of my comfort zone more than usual.

I’m speaking my mind more often and with more confidence—thinking that my ideas, beliefs, and goals have value.  I see solutions to problems more clearly, and work to solve those problems more efficiently.  I feel myself not wanting to be ignored—in my profession, with my kids, or even in the check-out line at Wal-Mart.  I expect people to use good manners and be competent in what they do—no matter that task.  While I’ve always leaned towards shy, lately I’ve come out of that shell and connected with people because of common interests and experiences, and it’s those experiences that have given me perspective.  I’ve seen a few things, done a few things, made a few mistakes, and had a few successes.  Shockingly, I’m beginning to realize I know things.

I also find myself wondering where my place is among my peers, co-workers, and community, and if I’ve earned a cushion of respect and loyalty to be more comfortable in my own skin—something that has always been a struggle for me.  It’s always been  easy to see my faults, to criticize my failures, and to downplay my successes. In doing that, I’ve become a master at shaking my own confidence.  I’m realizing that being a grown up is finding confidence in my skills and strengths, accepting my faults and failures, and knowing that those faults and failures don’t define me.  They have built my character, added to my perspective, taught me life lessons, and given me the power to accept who I am.

Last week I traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a friend’s wedding.  The last time we were together in the city was in 1997 during our Congressional Internship.   At that time, we had no clue how to manage our lives, what goals we had, or where our decisions would take us.  Breathing the same air together this many years later, and reflecting on our work, kids, friends, heartbreak, and celebrations since that time added to my brain frenzy about turning 40. I realized how much I have changed in the last seventeen years, and surprisingly, how much I have actually grown up.

As I inch closer to celebrating the past four decades, I feel myself letting things go, looking to the future, and daring myself to relax, get comfortable, smile, and say my piece—whether I should or should not.

He falls for advertising…

  • November 15, 2012 6:55 pm

While eating a Dorito Locos Tacos….

“Mommy, this really does take Tacos to a whole new level.”

It’s not the first time he’s quoted marketing.  Maybe I should encourage this line of work?

Anyone else have this problem?

  • September 23, 2012 6:43 pm



I might be the worst mom in the whole entire world, no wait…universe…

  • August 28, 2012 6:10 pm

I really, really might be the worst mother in the history of mothers.  Even my mom guilt isn’t taking over on this one–and mom guilt is pretty much the most powerful force on the planet.  Seriously, someone needs to harness that power for The Force (Star Wars moms will get that one.)

Yesterday, I watched all the moms drop their little ones off for the first day of school.  I empathized with the shed tears, and watched goodbye hugs and kisses.  I might of had a few moments of good mothering–I took the “first day of school pictures,” and posted or texted them to people waiting to see how the Big Kids looked.  I also gave the hugs and kisses–even had a First Day of School Present for my first grader’s teacher.  (Trust me, she’ll be getting presents ALL YEAR.)  I texted my middle schooler throughout the day, checking in on the locker situation, the lunch situation, and the riding-the-bus situation.  I prayed that my first grader’s spontaneous nose bleed was not an omen for the ENTIRE year ahead.  I beamed when my fourth grader stopped at recess to give me a hug.  I did have moments…small, but perhaps noticeable moments.

It was the after school hours that were my complete undoing.  As I rounded the corner to my classroom after sending off all the First Day Students, I could hear the loudest first grader on the planet battling an invisible enemy.  I could also hear my fourth grader pounding away on a laptop–no doubt composing a guitar band symphony.  Moments later, my middle schooler arrived, STARVING, and demanded FOOD.  I might have snapped.  I could even have yelled.  I’m not sure because either I blacked out or blocked it out.  Either way, my hoodlums were quiet for a small moment, and I’m certain I scared other children not gentically bound to me.

This is where I FEEL TERRIBLE.  I watched all the moms pick up their kids from school–running to eachother with hugs and kisses and promises of wonderful afternoons full of ice cream and solutions for world peace.  In the meantime, my offspring didn’t even have the chance to suit up before the outbreak of nuclear warfare, and, there was in fact, the nuclear warfare.  When we managed to army crawl our way out of school and into the car, I actually asked for complete silence–as if they hadn’t been asked to “use their inside voice” all day.  And, (so sad), the first thing I did when we walked through the doors of home-sweet-home:  tylenol.  A headache was about to take nuclear warfare to the next level–and noone needs to see that.  There. was. just. so. much. talking.  and laughing.  and more talking.  LOUDLY.

I want to be present for my children.  I want to listen to all their stories, woes, and celebrations.  I want to hold them when they are upset, and toast them when they are happy.  I want to know and experience it all.  But sometimes, can we do it in a quiet voice?  Pretty please?

Disappointment is harder than Potty Training

  • March 8, 2012 11:09 am

My mantra these past almost eleven years of parenting has been that NOTHING, I mean NOTHING is as hard as potty training.  For us, and the Scroggins Hoodlums, this was by far the most difficult skill to master.  Even given the current status of my oh-so-not-into-school-kindergartener, I’d rank potty training as harder.

Until now.

Yesterday, our oldest hoodlum competed in the Regional Spelling Bee.  Reading, Writing, Spelling, Acting…anything with words and letters is completely her thing.  She’s a dog with a bone when she’s talking plot or word parts.  Because of that, she was pumped for the contest, completely high on her ability to put letters together in the correct sequence of a word.  We studied.  She studied.  We studied some more.  We were all prepped and ready.

When we arrived at the contest, I think we all were a little overwhelmed.  It was held on TCU’s campus, and was quite an official event, with printed signs and ready made name tags.  After a light breakfast snack, all the spellers and families headed into the ballroom to hear the rules, and the spellers took the stage.  At that point I realized we might be in over our heads.  The contest was held for third through eighth graders, and from the looks of the spellers, most were very mature eighth graders.  When the contest began, I knew we were in over our heads.  Many of the spellers asked for root words, definitions, parts of speech, etc.  It was exactly like all the Spelling Bees I’ve seen in movies–this was the real deal.

Watching our hoodlum walk across the stage to the microphone, listen to the words, and tentatively ask questions was…difficult.  On her final word, she looked at the moderator, asked for the word again, and turned three shades of red.  She held on to the bottom of her shirt and started to spell…A.  It seemed like hours while I watched the gears turn in her head, and her mouth say the word as she fidgeted on stage.  Finally, she finished…uria.  But, it was Aria, the soprano solo in an opera.  She was crushed, disappointed, and deflated.  It was heartbreaking.

I know it built character.  That’s what my mother always told me when something like this built my own, but it broke this mommy’s heart.  She recovered through the day, but I still saw the ghost of disappointment pass across her face as we celebrated all the successful words spelled up to that point.

She’s vowed to return to the Bee again next year, and to begin studying now, which is an amazing feat for her really.  At times I wonder if she thinks she was born with the ability to read.  I know she looked to those older girls with respect, and hopes to strive for that kind of success again.

I knew there would be moments like this.  I knew there had to be moments like this.  I didn’t know that it would feel like my own heart fell out of my chest and onto the floor as someone stomped on it.  I didn’t know that I would wish for superpowers, and hope for time to freeze as I snuggled my hoodlum to a safe, cozy place to recover.  I didn’t know that I could will something to happen with every cell in my body, and feel the hurt in those same cells when it  didn’t happen.  I know there will be more moments like this–probably many more.  Next time I will try to prepare The Mommy as much as I prepare The Hoodlum.

If we can get through the next month….

  • March 5, 2012 8:47 pm

I know one of the main themes I ramble about here is time, or rather time management. But, for real, we go in phases where I literally feel out of breath for an entire month. We are in one of those right now. Most of it I realize is self inflicted for whatever the reason…baseball, piano, 4H rabbits (!!!!), and just your basic date night or friendly gatherings. But, when I look at my to dos right now I don’t even know where to start. On top of the family stuff, this is crunch time at school. We’ve got just two six weeks left to get it all out there and reign in the year. While I love a good countdown, looking at all the things that need to happen in that short timeframe makes my head spin.

So, I think I’ll just think about all that tomorrow. I’ve done quite enough thinking for today…and soon, I’m going to spend a whole dy not thinking. Soon. Just gotta get it on the Calendar…

Has Spring already Sprung?

  • February 27, 2012 4:12 pm

I’m an allergy sufferer, but usually my daily dose of Allegra and an occasional dose of Nasonex will cure all my sneezing.  But, this weekend, I was put in an allergy coma for about 24 hours.  It was absolutely nuts.  I sneezed my normal 20-30 times in a row, but then kept on sneezing, sneezing, and sneezing again.  I think I sneezed for about two hours nonstop–not even kidding about it.  After all that, I was just exhausted, and still my nose was trying to seek out all possible allergens.

I think I’m almost recovered–not quite sure, but I’m wondering.  Is there a crazy new pollen out there than I need to eradicate now?  I’m definitely not a fan of THIS part of spring.  Are we already there?

practically, eventually, obviously

  • January 15, 2012 8:51 pm

Practically.  Eventually.  Obviously.

These are words we grown-ups might use daily, even hourly without paying any attention.  But, when our pre-schoolers use these words its…hilarious.

Today I overheard, “Obviously, we need to use a Darth Vader mask because “eventually” the Storm Trooper will become Darth Vader.”

Does that mean I use those words too much?  Or maybe it just means my kindergartener is expanding his vocabulary.  I mean, obviously eventually he’ll practically be a genius. ;-)

Then, you will laugh, as we d

Technical Difficulties

  • December 20, 2011 7:54 am

I’m that person.  The person who ALWAYS has technical difficulties.  At school, I keep the tech department hopping.  My computer won’t toggle back and forth with the document camera.  The speakers are fuzzy.  The laptop cart won’t charge.  The lights in the classroom are blinky.  I can’t get my Prezi to work.  The DVD won’t play sound-the video part is fine, just the sound part.  You name it, I’ve had the issue.  Hopefully they love me for the mere fact that all the problems I have are evidence that I use the technology.  That’s what I tell myself at least.  At home, I’ve gone through a few cell phones.  I think I’ve mentioned this.  I’ve run over one with a car (but just one!)  One of the babies drooled a little too much on another one and shorted it out.  I’ve dropped a few, and apparently the smart phones don’t like that.  Most recently, I’ve broken the connection where the phone charges, so I have a back up battery and a separate battery charger and I switch out batteries daily.  I try to watch TV, and either my husband has a much too complicated system, or it’s user error on my part.  I vote for the complicated system.

And now, my disease hit the blog.  For the past week I’ve had issues making my posts actually post, which when blogging is most important.  I called in the tech-experts, and hopefully we have fixed an tech issues, and I’m working on the user part.  Either way, I’m able to upload my thoughts again.  And, isn’t it funny…those days I wasn’t able to post, I had the most bloggable thoughts?  Of course, they are gone now, but they were good thoughts!!

I could blame it on the fact that we are still in school on the 20th OF DECEMBER.  But, I won’t…not this minute anyway.

Ranger Fever

  • October 24, 2011 8:22 pm

I think everyone in North Texas, perhaps all of Texas, has a little Ranger fever right now.  The Scroggins boys have it really bad, and are even making career choices with the Rangers in mind.  Tonight as we watched Game 5, my third grader gave me filled me in on his research.

So far, he has discovered that professional baseball players make a few million dollars a year.  He said he was good with that, and would even share a million with me if he made more than two million a year.  He’s a sweetie.  When we played with blocks, I really stressed that “I get one, you get one” thing.  Anyway, he then went on to tell me that he hadn’t quite discovered how many years of college were needed for the career, and was still researching that.  He figured it was at least one, but hoped he could still be an Aggie graduate despite his major league status.  I just nodded in agreement.  Hopefully that college thing will stick as much as the sharing thing.  The last thing he wants to research is other famous baseball players.  He of course knows ALL the Rangers, but figures there is at least two or three other baseball players that could fall into the “famous” category.

He also mentioned that he needs a few more Rangers tshirts to truly be a ‘big’ fan.  I’m on it–anything to get closer to that one million a year just for me!