Making My Own Definition

So the other night I am sitting and watching the Grammy's. As I sit and watch the Grammy's,  I realize that I am sitting the same way I always sit wonder while watching them,' why am I watching the Grammy's?' They annoy me. I don't know, Taylor Swift flipping her head back and forth. Is this necessary? I wasn't really sure why Madonna and Queen Latifah needed to be part of the marital ceremony performed by Macklemore. I thought maybe Ellen should have married all these people, if someone was going to do it, she spurred on this song. I mean Queen Latifah? But they didn't ask my opinion prior. I get the statement it was making and fully support it, I just wasn't sure that I would get married in an aisle at the Grammy's, with Madonna holding a cane, and who picked that song? Really what was with her cane? And really I am not sure why Beyonce had to get her hair wet. It was confusing. And can she please stop wearing leotards? It's also annoying. It is not a Broadway Tap Dancing Revival...all.the.time. Can she switch it up? I think she can afford an entire ensemble. She is not a cast member of Cats. And every time I see Willie Nelson's braids my impulsiveness sets in, and all I want to do is take a pair of scissors and clip them right of. Thank goodness Willie and I will never ever be in the same place, at the same time.

And then came on Carole King and Sara Bareilles. I love Carole King. Her music and voice are comforting, mature, and just wise. I have always enjoyed the laid back Lilith Fair type style of music once in awhile. You know hair flowing freely, long skirts, no make up, flower crowns, bare feet. Take out your Indigo Girls, you know you want to. Anyway, I just sat silently listening to these women on this past Sunday evening, and the lyrics of the song they were singing, their talents coming through the  musical instruments that they also were playing. They didn't need anything more, no crazy sets or small attire, and it was so good. It was music.

I have obviously heard Sara's song, 'Be Brave,' before. It is on quite frequently...like all songs played on the radio.Can they say overkill?  But this was the first time I sat and listened to the words. They were sung slowly and deliberately by these two women and I heard it.

The word, 'brave,' is a noun, a verb, and an adjective. You're welcome. I am certain you feel really enlightened presently...smarter...ready to take the SAT's again. I will do you one greater and tell you the definition too. Now stop, no need to thank me. So when describing something brave...you would be describing something ready to face danger; endure danger or pain, you are showing courage. You can just be, 'the brave.' A person who demonstrates courage or a fighting spirit. Name your kid Brave, set the bar really high. 'A spider!?!?! You're cowering in the corner over a spider...live out your name kid...I didn't bestow upon you pussy footing!!!!' Or you can actually be showing bravery...actively enduring pain without showing any fear.

Many of us probably think that being brave is saved for those who demonstrate great acts of valor. We cannot possibly be equal to those many deem as brave. We can show courage, but bravery? That's reserved for the  finest. You know, the fireman, a soldier, someone risking their lives for others. All great acts of courage and bravery, obviously. But allowing your actions to be considered brave, it seems like a challenge in comparison, right?

I, however, listened to the words in Sara's song and listened to Carole's awesome voice and considered those in my life that I consider brave. Those that I guarantee do not consider their actions worth being described as brave. When in fact they are.

I have a friend I am very humbled by. Her life is a story still being written and her depth is still unknown. When I think I do not have enough strength I am reminded and inspired her. This woman lost her husband by a senseless act of violence committed by a family member. In an instant she became a single mother, a widow, not given the chance to say goodbye to the man she loved and grew strength from. And she  endures. Her spirit endures. She has such a fighting spirit. She is a refuge for her kids and others kids...and sometimes even me. She is brave.

I have a friend who lost her mom to cancer over ten years ago. I vividly remember seeing her on the day her mom passed and actually seeing strength in her. It radiated from her. Lots of people lose a parent. This is something to me, I cannot fathom. The unfairness of losing a parent too soon is enough to make me weep, for anyone. This is incredibly hard. This friend of mine went on. I mean what else are you supposed to do? I am sure there were crippling times. I am sure she is stricken with overwhelming grief once in awhile. But she endures the pain. I reunited with her this week over dinner and her strength still radiates from her. Her mom's spirit in her. She is brave.

I know a woman who lost her son. She is obviously more then a friend to me, she is a mentor, and always has been since I was a stupid teenage girl. She lost her son over ten years ago as well. Her son and her son's fiance, killed by another driver, driving at them full force under the influence. A tragic loss. The grief was and still is unbearable. I can remember going to their home in the days after their deaths and the cloud of heaviness that silenced all of us in there. A man willingly operated a vehicle, clearly under the influence and stole something from her and the rest of her family; my friends. The anger that raged. Yet, this woman, she forgave this man. She showed him mercy. She showed him grace. She let him know what he had taken from her and her family and friends, but she faced danger and pain and forgave him. There is no forgetting her son. I enter her home today and he is everywhere, as he should be. It is like he is there subtly, but he isn't. But the story that radiates outside of his loss, is her bravery. Her demonstration of ultimate kindness and our ultimate purpose...mercy. Don't ever let me hear you cannot forgive someone for something less then this. She is brave.

My daughter. She came home in tears quite a few times last school year in tears over older girls who were teasing and bullying her on the bus. My heart broke for her. The meanness of other people becoming a harsh reality for her. I encouraged her. I encouraged her spirit and I encouraged her to face this pain. She was aware of what bullying was and she turned around one morning and faced the unfairness, on her own.  Marching herself into school and notifying who she was supposed to. Sitting down with the girls who were bullying her and an adult, and telling them how it made her feel. I am not saying that this is the answer for all types of bullying, but this empowered my girl. She now continually stands up for those being bullied, her heart on her sleeve. She is brave.

I can tell you stories all day long of those I find brave and why they are this way. I feel its something we shouldn't diminish. Recognize it and gain strength from it. Bravery is honorable, and bravery is inspiring.

In recent times I have adapted the mindset to look at things like this; would I allow what is happening to me happen to my daughter without her acknowledging it and stopping it? Or would I allow my sons to treat another like this? If my answer is no, it is time to face it. Is this bravery? Is this bravery to stand up for what I think is right? Is it brave to expect to be treated a certain way and standing up and opening my mouth when it isn't? Is it brave to voice my pain and experiences wanting to empower others?

I listen to the lyrics...she is encouraging us to say whatever it is we want to say, to let the words fall out. I think about the personal stories of bravery that I only just listed here and can see how beneficial it has been for me for these women to have let their words fall out. Their bravery has been their strength and mine, and whoever else have heard their stories...even my sweet Kendall's.

She then sings, 'Honestly, I want to see you be brave.'

I hear sarcasm, you might not, but what I hear is like, alright already, enough is enough, stop being broken, stop being depressed, stop letting the past weigh you down...show me that you can be brave.

And this is part of the new turn in me. Each person that is brave has let go. They have faced pain and or danger head on and declared it unwelcome in their mind. They have said goodbye to things that have crippled them in their past and turned these things into their courage to move forward. They have forgiven and accepted and allowed love and compassion win. Bravery allows your spirit to come out.

I am finally getting to brave.

"Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is."


'Let your past make you better, not bitter'

I will confess, I have been a quote whore lately.

Written words speak volumes to me.You want me to hear something louder then I ever have, write it down for me.

So much clarity and thought comes from something written.

While going through things that have been so very painful, I have found so much strength in quotes.
Some I have read and I am like, 'that's it!!!' They have been the words I wish to say to express myself but haven't been able to find them. They have been my motivation in times where I have felt like crawling back into bed pretending that I actually don't have real responsibilities. They have made me cry. They have made me laugh. They have made me think.

They have given me justification over issues that I have really struggled with. They have allowed me to feel validation that my pain is real and that the things I say and feel are actually not complete nonsense.They have given me reason when I have reached top frustration level. They have encouraged me. They have so put me in my place and have had me really wrestle with my current mind set and how it should really be or I should really act.

They have made me feel not so alone in my struggles. It is comforting to realize when reading one that the person being quoted experienced something that left them with these words.Their pain that was real and significant is now helping me. It is with that motivation that I sometimes write. I find it incredibly healing to verbalize what is on my heart, my soul, and on the tip of my tongue through writing. I feel at times that it is much clearer then if I were to leak my verbal diarrhea through my mouth. I have been called out on this a lot and have chosen to be very careful with my words for the most part.

 It is true, I am my grandmothers granddaughter, so there are times that there isn't much left unsaid. Perhaps just the audience has changed. The list is very small as to whom I let me guard down around and can be the completely uncensored me with them. I am completely ok with this. Feeling judged and unworthy is a miserable feeling. Getting a redo, or a chance at a completely personal renovation has left me choosing wisely. I don't want to come across really self righteous when I share that. It's just I have been kicked in the vag so many times now that a girl builds some boundaries.

I have also found a lot of these things in not just quotes but lyrics too. Songs that people wrote while experiencing life and all its up and downs. I have always been this way with music. I have passed on songs to people to better express where I am and how I feel. This has also had me struggle  tremendously as well, because people keep on playing music, even in the grocery store, cause when reaching for a box of angel hair pasta a certain song on the overhead can bring me to tears...again....awkward crying moment.

So much clarity and thought comes from something written.

So I have found myself grateful for the quotes, words of inspiration, and songs  passed onto my by friends and family and those I have stumbled upon myself. I am one of those girls that posts these reminders all over the place. It can never ever hurt to be reminded of where you came from, what you choose to inspire you, what you wish you had the balls, or um, tough enough vag, to say, and what your motivation should be. My house has now become a museum of my scars and my heart in progress.

And who knows maybe someday someone will quote me and I should hope it's not anything spoken in a moment of lesser sanity...but I have a feeling the children are taking mental notes. That's not very nice.


I'm in Love...

There are times when I have thought, am I ok with only creating 3 children? There are times when I have thought, was creating 3 children a bit too much? Cause you know babies? Yeah, they grow up. And then they start talking and realizing, hey wait a second this voice I have can actually say anything it wants like, 'No!,' or 'You're the meanest mom in the whole world, like the whole world, not even just America.' So much for being narrow minded.

I tell you what. It's hard to raise these things. It's a lot of pressure to know that you are going to send real human beings out into the world and they have to in fact perform and it's all on your shoulders. What are the important things they need to take with them? What are the big things, and what are the little?

I thought I was pretty good with animals, you know proud that I have raised a small farm of potty trained, well behaved animals.So kids you know, show them the way and they will be functioning. Some nights I lie in bed with all their responsibility weighing me down....all expectation on me to have them remain normal. Now my cat is taking craps on pillows on the kids beds. I can't be sure, but I think the universe is trying to send me a message.

Being a mom is no joke. I fail on a daily basis. They will look me in the eye after I have requested something of them. I can see it there, in those eyes, the battle within them to choose to do what they want or what I have asked of them, and it's all, 'Here it is Melissa, here is what is going to prove if you are winning.'

There are days I feel as though I can write a book on what not to do. And in those days you can get real down on yourself and feel like you have failed humanity because you are not raising the next president who is going to make health care more affordable, bring down the national debt, and save social security. This is real extreme because I'm not sure I would want a son as the president, I mean those Kennedy's have been really put through the ringer. However you just desire them to consistently show that you work your ass of for them, and that your life is now taken the back seat if not in the trailer attached to the vehicle.

Are you and they really going to pull through when it really matters?

There are then the days that you are filled with so much pride and joy for them and in them. They are fun. They are sweet. I sit in school conferences and hear just how great they are, mild mannered, and such good friends to everyone. I do indeed  raise an eyebrow and look down to make sure that the teacher does in fact have my child's name on the paper in front of her, but it is in those moments I wipe the sweat from my brow and think, alright, I've got this, for today.

Jake is my baby of the three and occasionally I wonder if he will always be the baby. I mean I am very very certain right now that my hands are completely full. And I do certainly have all those fertility issues that can really put a girl through it. But babies, they are so very sweet. And a big family is incredibly fun, this I know.
 But there are more ways then one to solve this problem, fill the love tank,bring the joy of watching new life come about, and making my family grow.

Meet Henry Walter. 

Photo courtesy of his mother & father

This boy, in all his coos and gas that new babies bring, has us all smitten.
He just makes sense, I love him fiercely. He has added greatly to my healing. I thoroughly enjoy being, and am honored to be, his aunt.

Supporting his mama is second nature. It kicked in from the moment I saw them together, and I love watching her with him and encouraging her as she finds her way through this new role. I find it difficult to explain, but it is almost that she is a little sister no longer. She of course is my sister, duh, but she now has a son, the greatest responsibility she will be given, and it makes everything different, but in an incredibly good way.

And the cousins. Let me tell you. You get a bit nervous. They have been the only littles for quite a few years now. I wondered and was concerned about the transition that would occur in them. Listen, my family is close, we think about things like this, accept it.There have been some major hurdles for my kids lately and so each one is prepped for. I tend to totally over worry, but none the less, I have learned, preparation is essential, for at least, me.

Their aunts are their world.  The sun rises and sets on my sisters bums according to my kids. Then their aunts got married and their uncles seamlessly became part of that world. And just like with the weddings and all that meant, I talked about the coming baby incessantly with them. Kept them up to date as the day grew closer and closer. Kept it exciting and fun. I shared with each of them the special roles they could have in this baby's life. I reminded them as to just how important they would continue to be with everyone and that welcoming the baby into this would be so awesome. In many ways our family is so close that it was reminiscent of welcoming a sibling in some ways. I share this closeness with my cousins too. So we all got how important this change was and is for them too. But irregardless, this child was coming, so come hell or high water, they best have at the very least, sucked it up.

And then he came. And all was right with them. As each of them met him they instantly ate that baby right on up. Small smiles of adoration and pride. He is their little prince. You can see the protection over him from them. You can see the understanding they have grasped surrounding Henry's needs and attention. They have beautifully loved him. They talk about him with everyone who asks. They each have a special story of moments they have already had with Henry. And the kid doesn't keep them up at night. They are reaping all the benefits of a new baby without having to change the poopy diapers unless they want to. Nothing and everything has changed for them, and Henry fit right on in their lives. They eagerly await stories from me about Henry if I have spent time with him without them, and they giggle and smile and share all their thoughts about him all over again.

They have made me so proud. The good always weighs out the bad, as is in almost all circumstances, most specifically when it comes to parenting. Seeing your kids understand and display love and compassion that they have learned and felt themselves, is a great gift. Sure they give me a run for my money some days, but seeing how proudly they love and adore their Henry, fills me. 

Parenting is all sorts of difficult...and my sister is now all over finding that out. But when they demonstrate what really matters, and it isn't a fight over taking out the trash or bedtime, then you kind of feel accomplished, if but just for a minute.

So yeah, I do love me some babies.
And Sir Henry is my baby love right now.
Thanks fir returning the favor and making me an aunt, Meggie.
Let the giving and payback of loud, over sized, and messy toys begin!


I am not a Pear Shape

About the age of 11 I was wearing my first bra. Assets I suppose I could thank my Nana for, but to me, I would have, and still would prefer for them to be different. Less, there. You roll your eyes if you sit in a smaller rack, but I tell you what, I envy the ability for you to wear those cute strapless anythings. Like a long strapless maxi dress? Kill for it. Alright, that's extreme, but it is pretty close. I need to embark on an all out  strapping on of a suit of armor underneath that bandeau top for anything to be where it is supposed to be. And wearing all that gear, in the summer heat, when you are supposed to wear those cute tops or dresses? Let me tell you something. A raging inferno goes on under all that boob battle gear, and not in a good way. Things being to melt, slip, dig in, and itch, all you want to do is run home and rip it all off and swear to the creators at Bali that you will never ever again be so foolish.

When scanning through the pages of fashion magazines you see the outfits laid out by stylists that are 'made for your shape or body type.' The newest being the triangle, the rectangle, the circle, or the hour glass. Let me tell you something, unless of course you have been gifted with the perfect hour glass like my darling cousin Kara, who looks stunning in just about everything she wears, ok, she just looks good in anything she wears, you are left with the most undesirable shapes to describe yourself. You're a circle? Yeah, you're welcome for that flattering description, real nice, I'm sure. However, at least you have a description and options, because then there is me. I take the shapes to a whole new level. If it's a piece of fruit, I am an upside down pear, and if its a shape you are after to put in a bathing suit, well I am the cone; an ice cream cone; cake cone, not sugar. So where is the cute dress for this body type, Allure?

So the mirror and I have never had a real good working relationship.
Pictures being tagged all over the place on Facebook? Horrors!!

The carrying and birthing of children has subsequently further damaged said body image. Cause let me tell you something, I had a bad case of it prior to this bodily trauma, and now stretch marks and muffin tops? What on earth!!?!?! Hip expansion? The weird face changing thing? Feet? Mine shrunk. I told you I wasn't normal. Down a whole size. I can't make it up. And then the boobs. Years of weight up, down, and all over the place has just left them well utterly confused. I use the term, 'utterly,' very loosely and will allow you to spell it differently as well.

My closet. prior to my move, spanned 5 different sizes, I kid you not. This is some serious fluctuation.

I love me some clothes. My closet and dresser presently, to my mother and grandmothers horror, is a filled vat of  black and gray, with some white to offset, as well as some polka dots and stripes thrown in. 'How many black running pants does one need?!?!!?' Sixty. The answer is sixty. I exaggerate slightly, but just to annoy them. 'How many little black dresses are in here Melissa!!?!?!' One for each and every occasion I have been to. Ever. Take that.

I enjoy a colorless wardrobe and yes, black is my favorite color. Do you understand how awesome your accessories can be with this pallet though? I would however slightly appreciate clothing that had me looking like I had an ass instead of this pancake. I also would like to be able to purchase a button up shirt that came in a size that was actually fitted in the correct places and buttoned up over my boobs, instead of that gap that occurs. Right now my options are the trash bag with buttons look or the not buttoned up with a cami underneath. I love the flannel shirt thing right now, I would appreciate being able to purchase one.

So I have approximately spent well over twenty years of my life concerned about my body and how it looks. And perhaps more if you count the insecurities surrounding my freckles, but that is minor once you start aging and still have them...all of a sudden you are 'youthful.' I have constantly compared myself to others. I have opted out of photos because I felt like I looked less then desirable. I put on a brave face and mock my chicken legs and the flab that has come from bearing three children in my abdomen, but they have bothered the heck out of me. I stand before a mirror and huff and puff and wish this, that, or the other was so very different. I do the dreaded look at celebrities in magazines, (gasp!), and wish I could look that fabulous just three months post baby.

I run. Well, compared to many, I jog. I do this around my kids schedules so it is hit or miss. There was a  period in my life where I was regimented to run about 40 to 50 miles a week, and sometimes more. I sometimes wished I was as fast or as thin as I was when I ran then. I have thought about running my old stomping grounds and paths wanting to train for a half and then full marathon. But when I thought of this, it was all for the wrong reasons, it was to look like I run.

I have pushed and pulled my body for all the wrong reasons. I have looked at pictures of me with my kids and have gone, 'ugh, photoshop that mug out.' Me. Their mother. I have starved and purged and I have withheld. There have definitely been times I could and can lose some weight, but I beat myself up regardless. Judging myself, becoming my harshest critic. Looking at myself as unattractive because of what I weighed, or what size and shape I was.

I have harshly judged myself over the rejection, opinions, and worth of myself  from the male gender. Not realizing what my true worth or beauty really is. I pour out words of advice to other girls stating why and how not to do that, proclaim their beauty and their worth meanwhile believing a different truth for myself; that I am not enough; pretty enough, confident enough, worth enough.

I stood before a mirror the other day while waiting in line to exchange something while in yoga pants and top, gray, of course. No make up. My hair slopped in a braid. Jake clinging to my leg. Instead of looking at a young boy and his mama in a moment of sweet love, I looked at myself, and made a disgusted face, thinking about just how yucky I looked. And thought about just how unattractive I probably looked in that moment.

I pass hundreds of moms and their little ones throughout my day and I would never think that of them. I think the opposite, 'oh she looks cute with her hair like that.' Or, 'I love that hoodie, it looks good, wonder where she got it.' And many more compliments. When she more then likely stood in line, caught a glimpse of herself, and thought the same exact thing I had thought on that day of myself. Ridiculous.

And it just needs to end. We need to embrace who we are and become what makes us happy. We need to clothe ourselves in the things that we feel best in. We need to stop scouring magazines defeated about our given named shape. We need to encourage one another as women. Just given the fact that we are women makes us beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we need to become this for ourselves. You want to eat that piece of cheesecake for dessert? Have at it. You want to do a juice fast or get rid of gluten? By all means. But lets do it because we want to, not because we feel like we will pay the price if we do or don't. My greatest competition is myself. I have made myself uneasy and have chosen not to believe compliments about myself from others because my inner voice is very LOUD. 'Oh they're just being nice, they have to say something.' Let's be louder.

 There is this silly run coming up in Philadelphia around Valentines Day that a friend had posted about on Facebook. It is a cupid run, and you just run in your under garments. She jested who might be 'in' on the run. I immediately was like, 'oh hell no, no one needs to see this run down the street in anything less then some running pants and top, fully clothed, preferably in a sweat suit.' The reaction was much of the same from everyone. But then I got this, why not, thought going in my head. Who really cares, right? There are no rules to your under garments, so a cami with a sports bra underneath and some boxers or shorts undies would be doable. Surprisingly, the reactions were much the same as mine, and not even about just the immodesty of running down the street in your unmentionables, it was how we would look in them. Telling. And I'm not calling any of them out, I thought the same exact thing, and I am certain just this little Facebook feed among ladies I know wasn't the only conversation going this way. In our underwear, some of us cringe when in our underwear in front of our significant others, so on a public street? Running? I'm not doing this unless someone is chasing me...with a weapon...and I don't have one on person. But then it hit me who really cares what I look like, it would be fun. And see that's the thing. Sure, not everything in life is a run down the street in your panties and bra, but the reaction is much of the same.

'I can't wear shorts, have you seen my legs?!?!?!'
'A bikini!!?!?! Goodness NO!'
'A fitted top?!?!'
'I wish I was as skinny as I was when I first said I was fat.'
'I hate my double chin.'
' I wish my hair was straight.'
' Look at these stretch marks!!!' 

We are missing out Ladies!!!

I think you're beautiful. If you have a child, he or she thinks you're beautiful. If you have a spouse or significant other, this person thinks you are beautiful. Someone thinks you are beautiful because you are, and its not just one person. It's true. Its time to start thinking the same thing about ourselves. People say its what's on the inside that counts, and I can agree with that too. But its the confidence we exude as to who we are on the outside that matters to, so let's get on it. 

A run in my underwear?
Why the hell not?
You want to sign up, and I will run with you. Cause no matter how humility free I will proclaim to be on this day...sister doesn't want to do it alone.

Could you do me a favor? Could we start randomly complimenting each other? Could we build up other beautiful women? As simple as 'I love that nail polish shade you're wearing, its awesome, where did you find it?' She will think about how awesome she was for choosing that color each time she glances at it throughout the day, I promise, and you did that for her.

(And over there in that sidebar is an awesome blogger I would love to give credit to for her awesome
 movement to change how we see ourselves as women and how our body image needs to change no matter what shape or size...Brittany, Herself....click and laugh and be inspired.


Home 'Sweet' Home

So listen.
I am a firm believer in all things comfy.

Top to bottom. You put me in some fitting clothes and in the back of my mind I am thinking, 'I cannot wait to get into my yoga pants and a tank when I get out of this place.' When I put on a freshly washed and dried, (heaven forbid), pair of jeans I am squatting and stretching, twisting and turning like I am readying myself to be in some sort of sprint race. 'Don't mind me here, just loosening up these here pants so I can actually take full strides without looking like I am in a straight jacket.' 

 My sisters and I bring a pair of comfy pants with us when we go places. The clock strikes a certain hour, and if around the right people, meaning those that won't judge us for our lower half attire choice, or those who's opinion we do not care about, we will  just casually slip away and return in some super awesome let it all loose knickers.

And I want the place that I live to have the same sort of feeling; can rock a pair of skinny jeans and look pretty decent, and when you let loose and relax, it also can get all cozy like in a pair of leggings. I want you to be able to come in my home with your kids, by yourself, with your Mom Mom, or with your significant other, and be able to wrap your hands around a warm cup of coffee and snuggle up in some quilt.

Recently I moved closer to home. Meaning closer to where I grew up. Meaning I could ride my bike to my parents house if I wanted, which I could, but I won't. I hate riding a bike. Unless it's a beach cruiser. And I don't even have one. But anyway...meaning we go there at least once a week for a meal. Meaning the empty nesters now have company.

 Chalkboards...the latest obsession. Don't even get me started. I could chalk you one right now.

I readily admit, that I, as well as every other member of my immediate family have an obsession with pinterest. However, you cannot go wrong when you find this on the side of a road and find a pretty awesome fellow to create the idea rolling around in your brain for it. Peacock Blue as a color? 
Why the hell not?

The place I moved to is teensy tiny and down sizing all our things was a must. But so was acquiring things that make a place my home. A place where three kids can just be themselves, have things accessible to them, but still be a place that I can call my home.

A  place for a random game of Life with a 3 year old...patience of champions. 
Cultivating creativity with markers...stain paranoia setting in....what the heck are they thinking!?!?

 Spots for Legos way up high, out of reach of even the most skilled climber. Cause let me tell you a think or two about Legos....in a future post...sister has a lot to say.
 I suppose to me, your home should mimic your personality, perhaps have your visitors be able to tell what interests you and what makes you, you, and happy. I believe that your home should be a bit of a retreat for you and those who live there. Your comfort zone.

I'm thinking you cannot go wrong with knowing where you came from and relying on your family to protect you & help you, so you know a random 'Lyon' statue. As well as a pretty significant pin showing up in your new place...more on that some other time.

This was very hard for me to start again. I had grown very accustomed to the place that we had lived previous to this. Despite moving close to home, it didn't, and doesn't always feel like home. Which is really hard when you have three kids to convince that they too can feel comfortable in this new environment. Despite it being a 'homecoming' of sorts, it still had me homesick. I came from a home I had brought all my babies to. I missed my neighborhood. I missed my routine. I missed my friends. I missed the small town feel. I missed my Target. I missed the kids school. I missed my gym. I missed my children's friends for them. I missed by library. I missed my Wawa. I missed the familiar faces. I missed the open door policy of kids coming and going throughout the afternoon. There were those that said I wouldn't miss it, yet I really did. But that too wasn't home anymore way before I moved. It slowly lost its heart and it was time to make a find a new one in a new place. It was time to make a new routine and a new comfort zone, and I needed to begin in my new place.

Alright...so maybe you think I have an problem with recycling furniture. Ask me if I care and if you will ever be invited over...
 Book reading under Mama's feet while she's baking and just leaving them there. Where and when else? Seriously.
The drop zone. Cause where else but the table we eat upon?
After we moved, there were nights I would come home from work and just could not settle. It honestly takes a lot for me to settle anywhere to sleep. So this did not surprise me. I rarely sleep anywhere well. Unless it is a home to me. So if I say to you...' I sleep so well at your house,' it is the deepest form of a compliment. Presently, I think I only say that to one person, and that's changing too. See this whole change thing? Yeah.

Please do not think for one bloody second that I am organized and neat. People. I have been known to be called Monica. (Friends). Open a certain closet...you're screwed. It's my mother's nemesis. But laundry is mine...as you can see.

So home. It is more then four walls to me. It is more then a place to store my things. I grow roots. Really deep ones. It is my safe place and it is my comfort. You know when you are young and you are scared
 or sick and all you want to be is home? This is how I always felt. A home has a cat. A home has love. A home has deep, well kept secrets. A home is a hiding place. A home is where you can stand in the middle of a room and turn slowly around and be happy because it is you...and in my case, your three little ones too.

So slowly I am picking and choosing. I am moving this in, and this out. I am rearranging this here. and this there. And as I do it, I am realizing how making this new home is mimicking making my life new. I am seeing where the center is. I am realizing by moving things in and out, rearranging this and that, is making a home to live in and a person who is learning to settle there.

Roots are forming.


Cry Baby

I'm a crier.
Like a low down and dirty crier.

What I have found while being a crier, is that there is all types of cries. Because all types of things deserve different reasons to cry. I mean, why not?

I cry some in happy times. Like when I am holding my baby nephew. I can feel the tears. Because he is just so perfect, and he is just so sweet. And I can give him right back to his mama and daddy for the night.

But that little nugget is a whole other post of his own. I'm talking about the sloppy tears.

Take for instance the movie, The Notebook.  It's like one of those movies that I just cry to because I'm stupid. I know I 'm going to cry when I watch it, I cry every time. To me it's simple; write me love letters every day for a year and send them to me. In the mail. When I'm not talking to you. Because I'm angry with you for being a jack ass. And then when I do decide to come and see you, you best give me a movie star kiss in a thunderstorm. I mean,why not expect someone who will read me our love story when I succumb to my inevitable loss of memory? You wrote me letters for a year...surely you have something to go off of!

 I don't think its too much to ask of someone to know all the right things to say at the right time so that I am left speechless. Oh, I have verbal diarrhea? It's easy to plug it up. And it's just a  handy man that will build me a house when I'm not talking to him so I can paint naked in it someday when I return, nothing major. Ok, so maybe not the last one, I mean the house, sure thing, but I am not a very good painter and doing it naked would surely not be considered elegant in any way.

But I sit and cry and cry and cry. Not feeling sorry for myself, but maybe feeling sorry for all those dumb guys out there that don't realize just how simple it actually is. Dude, you want to go and play in mud for the afternoon with your toys? We don't ask much. All you have to do is take us out on a row boat for about an hour in the morning, say silly things to us that give us sea legs, row us on back to shore, and we are set for the day.  I do wonder though if Nicholas Sparks is a hopeless romantic for his wife. What a disappointment it would be to find that he isn't. I would feel so misled.

This did not begin with The Notebook or any other sappy movie at this point in my life. One of my friends growing up and I, used to sit and watch the movie Beaches just to cry. Like that was our purpose.We would have sleepovers, and then on a random saturday mornings, would agree to watch the movie just so we could cry. And then proceed to watch it with more friends so that we could all cry. I mean I suppose you could call it cathartic or pathetic. Either way, to this day, if Wind Beneath My Wings came on in some department store, I would certainly fill up a bit.  So this mellow drama with crying at movies is a life long commitment to tears. Bring over your tear jerker, I will totally cry with you.

Then there is that crying when you don't want to cry, and you twist your face up in all different shapes and expressions. I am certain that I look like an idiot, but at least I didn't cry. Victory! This as expected, occurs at the worst and most awkward of times. Specifically because I am around people that I may not feel comfortable crying around or I really wasn't expecting the tear attack. So if I have really got a jump on the impending tears, I will yawn. Because everyone gets tears in their eyes when they yawn, duh. But if the tears do do a sneak attack, brought on from like an unexpected upsetting text I receive while standing in line to purchase some really great leg warmers, and next thing I know it's my turn, I do face contortions to stop them.  'I know I look stupid cashier lady. I know I look like there is some imaginary man punching me in the face, but see if I don't do this, I will cry, and do you really want my snot to touch my debit card that I want you to charge.'

And there are just people you don't want to cry around. It usually takes a connection to be comfortable enough to have tears and snot spewing down your face in front of them. Although I have been in tears in front of strangers, this is very awkward. Not recommended, refer back to necessary face contortions, because its always better to look like there is something is wrong with you then actually cry. I mean show humility, what ?!!?!?!  I jest, but for real, its a personal thing to cry for some people, myself included. It's like showing someone your inside, and I've got some pretty thick walls protecting those suckers.

Then there is that cry if you are a girl, and perhaps the occasional guy, no shame fellas, that you just like throw yourself on the bed heaving in sobs. This is done primarily alone, in the company of your one and only best friend, your mom, or in my special case my mom mom, or your sisters. It's the important ones, and its one or all of the above. All of these people I have mentioned have seen my breakdown cries and they are just ugly. Its sound affects. Its from the pit of you sound affects that just need to come out sometimes to feel completely released. It's everything you are saying not making sense. Sounds something like gibberish with breaths in the middle.

 These breakdowns may or may not occur around a specific special time for a lady. And if they do it can sometimes explain a lot. 'Oh so I'm not losing my mind...where's the tampons...I don't have any...nooo....why am I never prepared...it's been twenty years...I have dementia...(crying again).'  However, that is definitly not always the case, as you all well know. All sorts of things can bring on one of these episodes. It is near the end of one of them that you now look like you were punched double fisted in the eyes and you realize you can no longer breath out of your nose and it could perhaps be like this for a few days depending on the length of breakdown. And you're all wiping your snot and eyes with your palm, wrist, arm, sleeve, anything.

My sisters and I have this 'special' little thing that some other 'special' people have, and that is crying when other people cry. We just fill up and let them drip on down when someone is crying to us. It's going to happen every time. You know, your friend crying to you because their baby just went to preschool for the first time, yup, I'm crying with them. And if I cry telling my sisters, they cry too. Some may call it a huge sense of empathy and compassion. That is so very nice of you. We just call it, 'special.'

 I will be honest, crying for me is usually triggered by a realization of me not having control, and that can scare the hell out of me. No control over circumstance, pain, hurt, frustration, anger, confusion, so on and so forth. It's no secret now that I have been through some really shitty times lately, having to really let go, in order to make progress. So crying it is!

 For the most part I will cry alone because when you're a mom you have to cry when everyone is asleep or when you are in the shower, otherwise your kids start to panic about existence. 'If she's crying how is she going to remember exactly how I want my lunch packed!?!! How will we get through a game of Clue!?!?! Who will bake the cookies!?!?!

However, when I have chosen to brighten someones days with a crying spell, I occasionally found myself apologizing while crying in front of them,'I'm so sorry I'm crying to you like a loser, (sniffing snot), you must be ready to slap me across the face or go and get your belt and give me something to cry about.'
But I have come to realize that those closest to you want to hear your heart and not tell you to shut up. So being upset about being paranoid about being upset is just plain dumb. That I am.

My dearest friend actually feels upset about something that has occurred to me before it even hits me to be upset about it. And let me tell you, these are the people you want on your side of the fence. She sticks up for me before I even know I need her to. And when I reach that point she is ready and willing to help, given she has had some prep time. I'm really loving the people I have chosen to be on my side of the fence. There is something to be said about weeding.

 I have come to realize that your should not let anyone dull your emotions. People should feel honored you are crying in front of them. It's real and it's raw.

Or if you are crying because of them, they might want to have some sort of padding on just for safety precautions. I'm not sure how anyone cannot feel sympathy when another is crying in front of you. But it happens. I've bared witness and experienced this first hand, and there is nothing more crushing. Don't be that guy.

I have come to realize that crying doesn't always have to signify emotional instability and a deep dark depression. Because along side of those breakdowns, I had happiness and felt love.
And I most likely would not have felt any of that  if I wasn't so open with my emotions.
Sure, crying is typically a pretty low point. It's feeling pain at it's finest.
But it's such a release.
It feels good to let out that pit of you emotion.
You should try it.
Get some solid people on your side of the fence and let it out.
There is something to be said about me watching Beaches with that friend of mine and crying when I was merely a 'tween.' It was about finding people you are most vulnerable and comfortable around and sharing your heart.

I  have come to realize that crying is the letting go of something old and the awakening of something new.
 I have felt hurt. Felt alone. Felt defeated. Felt betrayed. Felt scared.
And I cried.
I have cried all by myself. I have cried in front of my important people.
I will continue to cry.
And when I have let it out and felt, I then turn the corner.

And crying then becomes empowering. 


The Number 13.


You know.
I am not one to be very superstitious.
But looking back on things that one may find worthy of being superstitious of, one might find it quite easy to for me to be such.

A Black Cat. All black. Big, poofy, nails of steel.
Yeah I wrastled...I said wrastled, that near feral kitten right on down and brought it to my grandmothers to live happily ever after.

That cat subsequently randomly attacks you while you pet it, leaving scratches so deep one might think you had a bad encounter with the Wolverine. And I personally would like a good encounter with the Wolverine and his muscles...just sayin. But cat all purring and eyes shut in pleasure one second, and the next its claws to the arm, eyes bulging in complete fury, it doesn't end well.

This cat also decides to barrel up, almost army crawl like, behind you just because he is in the mood, and attach himself to the back of your leg. It mimics an unsuspected attack from behind by an enemy. You flail forward not quite sure what hit you. Nail puncture marks to the back of your leg like you were riddled with bullets. He will then detach and run so quickly away there is no time to react and seek revenge.

This cat also enjoys hiding in dark stairwells, with his black fur and all, and spring up hollering when you have the audacity to not notice him and step on him. Like this is our fault. You either have to be light on your feet or you fall to your iminent death at the bottom. My grandfather once called me, having narrowly survived such an attack by this cat, from the bottom of the stairs, on his cell phone, unable to move, well with the exception of his fingers, so he says. He luckily lived to tell about this harrowing encounter with said cat. He is also a known exaggerator, ( and perhaps I did inherit a trait or two), so it is very likely that he tripped on the last step and slightly bumped the wall across from him and the cat laughed in his face, so he had to think of something good. But you didn't hear that from me.

 So this Black Cat is just plain nasty and one might consider it unfortunate events or some bad luck...but I'm not superstitious or anything.

Gray Hair. It is simply said that if you pull out one ten will come in its place, if you're superstitious. And I'm just saying, this girl now has to fully dye her head of hair. It's no joke. And its terrible. My hair is long. Like the longest I have ever had it in my life.  I'm not sure what the point of this length is anymore. That's another subject. But the dying process of this hair is ridiculous. Initially, when the gray hairs started coming in I picked them out like it was my job, one by one, day by day, or when I felt like actually styling my hair, who am I kidding? Coincidence? I'm 35 people. Just 35. Wirey gray hair is not welcome here. But to test this theory on another, I may have picked a gray hair from my sisters head the other night. I may be closely watching her scalp for results. I cannot suffer in this alone. How fair is that? For her sake, I will again state, I am not one to be superstitious.

The number 13.
Taylor Swift has it as her lucky number.
To me, she's just doing that to be a bit rebellious. Stop writing the number 13 on your skin Taylor. Didn't your dad ever yell at you when you came home from school with ink writing on drawings on your skin? Seriously, my dad.
A sure fire way to get his blood boiling would be to sit at the dinner table with ink doodles on your skin.
He would state that it was going to seep through our skin and we were going to die from ink poisoning.
Superstitious much?
How do you explain people living and breathing with multiple tattoos on them Michael?

My daughter, she was born on the 13th of February.
And she is every bit of a rebel. Like from the uterus she preplanned being born on the 13th just so she could go up against the number itself. It would be completely typical. She is my daughter. 10 days late. On purpose. Typical.

Yet, she is stronger then I.
I produced a girl that is fiercer then I and she can own that number 13 like no ones business. A rebel.

But for not being a superstitious person 2013 really pushed a lady.
It went balls to the walls and said, 'yeah, take that.'
Then it decided to kick me when I was down too...cheap shots.
It occasionally strapped me into a roller coaster of the heighest heights and the most jarring turns.
My back is killing me. 

I pushed back daily on that dumb number 13 for those three sets of eyes that look at me all innocent and fill me, and that's what I had in me. At the end of the day, all went neglected and felt like the bottom of the barrel besides those three babies. They got the best of me, and that's it...and I owe them so much more. And I whisper it into their sleeping ears as they tumble off into sleep each night.

So if you got the shaft from me in the past...2013 was my crowning glory.
If you felt like, seriously this girl is like the debbiest downer in the past...2013 was the bottom of the rung for me.
If you felt like you had lost me in the past...2013 I went into hiding.
If you held  me up through a lot and you feel like I didn't notice...seriously you brought me to my knees on numerous occasions by my humbleness and and gratefulness. Words failed me a lot of the times. I basically sucked.
If you feel like you needed something from me in the past and at the end of 2013 you were still around waiting, because you are awesome and irreplaceable...it's coming...

Because then this sister remembered 2014 was coming and I would love for you to join me there. 
I always liked me some even numbers, nice and fair. Don't you?

And I can feel me rising. That laugh. It's loud and it's obnoxious, but it's mine.
That mouth...it runs like verbal diarrhea sometimes, but it feels so good to have it start to flow again. To stand up for me. Say what I feel. Apologize for when it says things out of line to those that don't deserve it, but not regret when they do. Because the quiet, for Ms. Lyons,signifies pain and hurt. If this girl is quiet and she is around you, check vitals and if they are fine, presume a storm is raging inside.And I want to put the oddness behind me, I don't want to be quiet anymore.

So I've missed you guys.
I owe you a hug.
I am sure for many of you, I owe you lots of time.
An apology.
And a drink.
The Lyon is back.
Get ready to hear me roar.

And if you don't like it...go break a mirror in my name. I will be over here knocking on wood.