Friday, March 21, 2014

Are You the "Inviter" or the "Invitee"?

Are you the person who likes to invite or do you prefer to be invited?  This is something I have really never thought much about until last night.  Two of my close girlfriends and I met for coffee.  Ahhh, I love coffee night with friends.  Starbucks, 8:30pm, cup of coffee that is my kind of night out! J 

Of course, as soon as we meet it is as if you here the barista say, “On your mark, get set, go.”  We only get to meet up about once a month, so there is a lot of catching up to do.  Plus, Starbucks closes at 10pm that only leaves 90 minutes for three women to share.  It is nonstop talking and only minor breaks to breath and take a sip.  We always get reminded when they are about to close and then have to continue our conversation in the parking lot or walking around at the near by Kohl’s (they are open until  11pm).   Yep, I know…we walk on the wild side! J

Anyway, we started a conversation about inviting people to our homes or letting the kids have friends over.  I mentioned that I really need to be better about allowing my kids to have friends over.  Both of my friends love to extend invitations and have people over to their homes on a regular basis.  I on the other hand, really don’t invite people over unless it is a holiday or birthday.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I don’t want to open our home to other people; I just worry about what the other person will think.  I don’t want them to feel like they “have” to say yes or that they will feel pressured to come over.  Plus, I don’t want to interrupt other people’s family time.  My husband works every Saturday, so our only family day is Sunday, which also involves church and church related activities.  In my mind, most other families spend Saturdays together.  So, I don’t want to call and interrupt that time when both parents are home.  I know... I am aware that I tend to over think things.  J

So I decided last night that this is an area I need improvement.  I am really going to begin making an effort towards becoming more of the person who does the inviting.  What I found interesting is that one of my friends mentioned that since she usually does the inviting she feels she is never invited.  Isn’t that interesting? I would have never thought about that.  My other girlfriend, who I consider to be one of the most social people I know, joked that she just always invites herself to my house.  Which I love!  She does the work for me and there is no rejection!  PERFECT! J

So, I am curious, are you the "inviter" or the "invitee"?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Big Math Lesson for My Big Girl

Let me start by saying, I am not allowed to call my newly four year old daughter a baby or little girl.  She is a big girl and nothing gets her heated faster than being called little or baby!  I think that is because she is the youngest of three, having two older brothers to be exact.  Her whole life is spent trying to keep up.  As far as she is concerned, their ages are equal.  Actually, she rules the roost most of the time, keeping both boys in line. :) Yesterday while in our home-school classroom, she found some left over foam sticks.  She pulled them out with excitement and handed them to me.  I told her we could sit down and sort them by color.  She quickly gave me instructions that I would sort certain colors and she would sort the rest.  After we sorted, she wanted to count how many stick were in each color. I decided she this was holding her interest, we should continue the lesson.  I told her to line them up by color.   She loved lining everything up just right.  I can't blame her, I love it when things line up just right (too many years in dance and drill team working with formations).  She was still interested so we continued into "more and less".  We compared which stick had the most, which had the least, and which were the same.  I thought it was great that we were able to get so many math lessons in one sitting.  I love it when that happens!  We discussed color, sorted, counted, lined them up (which resembled a graph) and then discussed less and more.  AWESOME!  It was a big math lesson for my baby, oops I mean, big girl. :)
Proud to show off her work!  
(I know the photo is poor quality.  I took it with my very, very outdated phone)

The best part, we used supplies we already had on hand.  It was nothing fancy and coudl be duplicated with just about anything you have around the house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One Year of Blogging!!!

Just out of curiosity, I checked the date of my first blog post.  It has been one year!  My first post was March 5, 2013.  I can't believe I have kept it up for a full year plus published over 100 posts.  It has been such a fun experience. I have learned so much about blogging, writing, statistics, page views, gadgets, widgets, buttons, link parties, etc.  Blogging has its own language, that is for sure!  Prior to my blogging life, I never realized how much time goes into one post.  Not only is there the writing and editing process but then there are links and photo editing, publicizing, and the list goes on.  It is a lot of work but love every minute of it! When I originally started, it was my hope to have more of a food blog.  Even the name of the blog, (A Cup, A Cup) was in reference to the fruit cake in the movie Steele Magnolias.  I love to bake and cook for my family.  But I soon realized how hard it is to get decent pictures of food.  I mean really hard.  I have basic photography knowledge.  Usually my approach is to take a load of pictures in various settings in hopes to get one good picture.  Time after time, the food would not look near as good as it did in the person and it is really hard to capture how good it tastes.  I also learned that food pictures look best in natural light and I tend to do most of my baking at night under the the lights of my kitchen. As time went on, the blog definitely took a change in direction.  I found that many of my posts have been more of a healing method (for me) as my family has had a rough two years.  There have been several posts that I have hesitated to share.  I wasn't sure if people would find them too honest, negative, or real.  However, my husband would always encourage me to publish the post regardless of what I thought others might think.  He said it was more important to publish and pray that they would reach someone who needed it rather than worry about those who may judge or criticize.  Surprisingly, I have only received love and support... so I think. :)  If you don't like my blog please don't tell me.  I would rather not know! :)  My most favorite posts are about my family and the category I call "A Cup of Girl Talk".  I enjoy just being honest about being a wife, mother, and woman.  Those posts are usually filled with humor and I feel like I am at Starbucks with my best girlfriends.  My husband I have also enjoyed sharing our home-improvement projects.  We have worked so hard on our home and it is great to share it with everyone. Of course, I would not have continued if I didn't have any readers.  Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time out of your very busy schedules to read my posts.  I have cherished every word of encouragement you have given me along the way.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO ME!!!!  (Yes, during this process I learned that "blogiversary" is an actual term). :)  Who knew?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

He Keeps Me Grounded and Thinks I am Hot! :)

As most of you know, this is Charlie, my amazing husband and best friend.  He is the most incredibly patient and affectionate person I know.  He is laid back and easy going when I am climbing the walls and can't seem to slow down.  He is my voice of reason and continuously helps me gain perspective.  Most importantly, he is my dance partner in the kitchen, car, or isle at the grocery store. :)  

I can't imagine "doing life" without him.  

We just came back from our family vacation in Washington.  Our family vacations are so important and cherished because it means we have a full 7 days with him (away from his work schedule).  AND, when we go as far away as Washington, no one can bother us! :)  He is ours!!! :)

I captured this picture of him relaxing one evening during the trip.  I couldn't help but sit there and watch him.  He seemed so peaceful.  Not that this is unusual...he is always peaceful, especially when he is sleeping.  Stress never interrupts his sleep.  I get so annoyed sometimes when I am awake at 3am and he is sleeping like a baby.  How is that possible?  But that is another story all together. :)  I just loved seeing him away from the daily grind.  He truly soaked up every moment of the trip.

As I watched him, I remember how he looked when we started dating at the old age of 17. :)  Over the past 17 plus years, I have witnessed him become such an amazing man, husband, and father.  I just love him so much.  He has seen my best and my worst and he has laughed and cried with me along the way.    I always joke that he is my "bee-bee".  That is the term our youngest son gave to him favorite baby blanket.  Charlie is my bee-bee because when he is around I just feel better about everything.   

**He also insists that I am "hot" (his word).  :)  Too much information????  When I stand in front of the mirror and complain about this and that part of my body or wardrobe, he always reminds me that to him I am the hottest woman on the planet (and that is all that should matter).  I usually follow that with an eye roll and sigh and then he gets annoyed that I can't see what he sees...  :)

In our family's world of chaos he is my rock.

Charlie, I love that I love you more and more each day. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finding Healing and Hope in a Little Bit of Honesty

I took this picture last week on a family vacation to Washington.  It reminds me how small we are and how big God really is.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our oldest son was re-diagnosed.  His original diagnosis was ADHD with Anxiety, OCD, and impulse control issues.  After almost two years of in and out of public schools, major anxiety issues, too many melt downs to count, medication that we thought we would never use, my husband and I felt the diagnosis was incorrect.  It just seemed like it didn't quite fit.  After months of cleaning the slate of doctors, finding new doctors, testing, filling out questionnaires, more testing, more interviewing, re-stating and re-telling how dramatic the last couple of years have been and how they have consumed our lives, the new diagnosis was Aspergers. This was not an easy switch.  Although it makes much more sense and answers so many questions (regarding his behavior), a diagnosis like this hurts so much as a parent.  With ADHD, there was always the hope that he would grow out of it, that things would change with puberty, etc.  With Asperger's, we have had to come to terms with.... this is just who he is, it is completely neurological, this is how his brain is "wired".  It is not something he will EVER grow out of.  Wow!  That is hard, I mean really hard as a parent to grasp and accept. We have ran the gamut of emotions.  I, in particular, have had a lot of anger.  And unfortunately, that anger has come out towards our son.  I hate Aspergers!  I hate the stress it puts on our son, our family, and our lives.  Aspergers makes everything seem like a challenge.  It means witnessesing grown adults judging your child and his behaviors.  It means watching as other's whisper things under their breath, roll their eyes, or get annoyed with the presence of your child.  It means feeling like no one else understands your parenting.  It means watching your child time and time again struggle in social settings.  Writing and admitting those sentences brings tears to my eyes.  It stings, it makes me feel like a horrible mom. This anger has made me question God and why He trusted us with our son.  I haven't felt equipped for this.  It took my mom giving me a bit of hard love to really come to terms with all of this.  She told me that I am angry at him (our son) because he has a diagnosis that I don't want him to have.  She said it would be like if he passed away, I would go through a period of anger while I worked through each emotion.  That realization hurt but it also made me see that I have to change.  It is not his fault, he is not a different person because of the diagnosis.  I hate it for him, I have never wanted anything like this for him.  As moms, we have dreams for our kids.  We dream that they will be successful in school, makes friends easily, and become productive adults and citizens.  I often wonder what this diagnosis will mean for his future and the dreams I have for him.  So many things/milestones will always be a struggle for him.  Will he be able to have a family?  Will he be able to hold a job and consider himself successful?  Will he be able to love?  We he be able to move out and live on his own?  Will my husband and I ever have the house to ourselves? (when you have three children that thought occurs often:) ) I have prayed, screamed, thrown huge temper tantrums since this diagnosis.  I try to remind myself that it could be so much worse.  He is healthy, bright, ridiculously smart.  He was born with congenital heart disease and survived three heart surgeries.  I should be thanking God, not yelling at him and threatening him that if he doesn't heal my child He will have to deal with me... I have learned that the "momma bear" comes out at people and at God. :)  Thankfully, my God will give me the love, grace, and mercy I need to carry on.  He will provide us with the tools and people we need to help our son.  He already knows our future and the future of our son.  He holds us in the palm of his hand as he takes care of us during this storm.  Thankfully, He trusts us more than we trust ourselves. I have come to realize that I have been so selfish.  I have been acting like this diagnosis has happened only to me.  I have been stomping around in such a horrible mood, blaming everyone and everything.  Yes, this is part of my journey, but it is really our son's journey.  I think God gave him to us because he knew we would not give up, that we would put endless hours of research, therapy, and fight into our son's diagnosis and treatment.  My mom has always said that I am her greatest accomplishment.  I understand that now.  I also understand that this is not the time for me to feel as if everything is easy and how it should be.  That comes later in life.  I don't think we are suppose to feel like we are doing everything right as parents.  If that were the case, we wouldn't cherish the tiny milestones and treasure the huge accomplishments.  A simple hug from a child who is not easily affectionate would not stop us in our paths and bring tears to our eyes. HE knows what HE is doing... now I just need to remind myself that HE is at the wheel and HE will deliver my family safely. It is all in HIS timing... not mine. * I realize that this post may be a little too honest form some people.  I am not writing this for everyone.  I am writing this to help myself heal and for any parent who has had a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I am writing this for those who do not judge because far too many times they have endured the feeling of being judged. Thank you to those of you who have kept our family in your prayers.  You have given us strength and endless encouragement.  We love each of you!