“Everywhere you look…” (my views on Fuller House)

“Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?”

It’s right there, in the 25 year old theme song.

As I type, I’m on episode 3. I’ve seen some reviews online, and one thing is appearing pretty clear to me.

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Yes, it’s corny. Yes, there is over acting. Yes, it’s not believable.

Do you know why?

We have become so used to TV dramas and reality TV. There is so much violence and sex on TV, and it has become acceptable for there to be innuendos, nudity, and gore. I’m not condemning this – we watch Family Guy, Walking Dead, and I admit that I will still watch Jersey Shore on Hulu. But at the same time, what happened to the values that used to be taught during the cheesy “family” hours on TV? This is more wholesome than most things on TV, especially since my kids have outgrown many of the kids shows on Disney and Nick. Hulu and Netflix will still run a lot of the older TV shows – The Wonder Years, Charles in Charge, Newhart, even going back to Lucy and Andy Griffith, but frankly, they don’t attract my kids.

This does. Girl Meets World does. And even though there are still a few jokes that are adult themed, it’s a lot more like the family shows we watched growing up. We can sit down, as a family, and watch it together, and every one of us will enjoy it.

As a matter of fact, my 14 year old is currently pouting because I started it while he is at school.

Guess I’ll just have to watch it a second time!

Mamas Coffee Time

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This morning, my house smells divine. All it takes to make me happy in the morning is the smell of fresh coffee. And as my household knows, I couldn’t go without – if Mama ain’t got coffee, ain’t nobody happy!!!!

My family cracks me up. There is myself, my loving husband, a 14 year old boy, a 10 year old boy, and 3 dogs, 2 of which are little bits. For such a small house, we have a lot of chaos. This has never been more apparent to me than this last few weeks.

My husband has been working graveyard. When I first became a stay at home mom, early last year, he was on days. It was so easy to get into a routine – he goes to work, our oldest goes to school, I sleep a little later, then I get up. I have nice, quiet, coffee time before my youngest gets up (he goes to school online).

I adore my husband. I adore waking up in the morning and he’s right there. And when I get out of the shower, he’s waiting for me. And as I am drinking my very first cup of coffee? Yep, there he is. And I adore the fact that he doesn’t really take a lot of time to “wake up” in the morning, after about 10 minutes, his brain seems to be functioning perfectly, with no blissful, hot, smooth caffeinated assistance whatsoever. (No, that’s not jealousy. Honest. Honest. Nope. Not even a little bit.)

Now when I get up, instead of Mamas Coffee Time, my husband has just gotten home. At about 3, he goes to bed, and I have my peace finally. Except for the dogs. Climbing up on my head. Fighting over the nylabone (of which there are two, by the way. They just both want the one that has been chewed down to a nub). And then the old dog growling and the pups, as they are encroaching on her rug. And the the 14 year old gets home. Full of 14 year old conversation. For the rest of the night.

Right now, though, my husband has been working some doubles, to get ready for our vacation later this year. So he doesn’t get home until about 3 in the afternoon, and then goes to bed after about 30 minutes. And my 14 year old has baseball practice until about 5:30. And so I get peace. And I have to admit, I kinda like it.

Although I adore him. And my dogs. And my kids.

And my coffee.

(And that coffee cup up there? He bought for me on our honeymoon!)

What I’m Reading – Current Books I Can’t Put Down

What I'm Reading

(post may contain affiliate links. I will only link to items I use and love myself.)

I have been on a reading kick lately! Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a BIG reader, but there are times when I read more than other. Right now, I am taking on a combination of really awesome self help books, and some comfortable fiction. I don’t know about you, but I have a good selection of books that I can read over and over again.

I go back and forth between hard copy and Kindle. Typically, the books on my Kindle are going to be the comfortable ones, because I read before bed, but I have a ridiculously varied collection on there. The other thing that is nice about my Kindle is the conveniences – an entire library, in a tiny package! Nothing quite beats a real book, though. Turning pages, hearing the rustle of paper, even the smell of books…

To get to the point, though, right now I have several books going, and they are all so amazing that I wanted to share them with you!

 

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

I am one of those that fell in LOVE with Eat, Pray, Love. I follow Elizabeth Gilbert online, and every time I read something she has written, I adore her even more. With Big Magic, she enraptures me yet again! I’m only half way through it, but this book has me remembering what imagination is like, and digging deep for my lost creativity, while realizing that it makes NO difference what others think about it. Want to write a story, but not sure if you want to publish it? Write it for yourself! Have you always wanted to be elbows deep in clay, sitting at a pottery wheel, but afraid you won’t make anything “good”? Who cares, you don’t have to please anyone but YOU! Want to learn tap, ballet, yoga, snowboarding, but feel too old? Says who? This book is an amazing argument to those self doubts that we all have with our own inner critic.

 

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero

This book is on my Kindle, for one good reason – even with Amazon Prime, I couldn’t wait to read it, and opted for instant gratification! (that’s why I have no picture of my own copy!) Jen Sincero has a wonderful tell it like it is way of inspiring and motivating, again, challenging self doubts and insecurities. I’m not quite as far in this one, but this is an amazing read for anyone wanting to find their best life.

 

Girl Code

Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur – Cara Alwill Leyba

 

Okay, Cara Alwill Leyba is one of my new heros. I previously read Fearless and Fabulous, and am now on to Girl Code. It’s like being able to sit down with your girlfriend, who also happens to be your mentor! The dialogue is casual and fun, and has already done so much for me as far as motivation in my business ventures!

The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top -Michelle Visage

I recently rediscovered Audible. When my husband is playing video games, or I’m spinning yarn or knitting, or sometimes even cooking dinner, I can pop in my headphones and listen away! Right now, I’m listening to The Diva Rules. Michelle Visage would have to be my other current hero, and has all the Jersey guts I wish I could have! Throughout this book (which, if you get the audio version, she narrates herself, in her amazing, gravelly, pulls no punches voice!), she tells some of her story, and shows that even with the fun and awesome things she has done, it took guts, and there were times she herself was TERRIFIED! Oh my goodness, you get scared TOO??? It’s okay, darling!!! Michelle Visage is exactly what I need in my life right now!

Jewels of the Sun

Tears of the Sun – Nora Roberts

Remember how I talked about books I can read over and over? I’m not a die hard Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb fan, but this trilogy…wow. It’s well know that Nora Roberts is a great story teller, and the way she paints the picture of the rolling Irish hillside, the sound of the sea, and the charming village of Ardmore, I can’t help but visit it again and again. This trilogy has romance without being too sappy, folklore, and a perfect Irish pub, complete with at least one ceili (why can’t WE party like that??), and breathtaking imagery.

I can’t complete this post without mentioning that every night I read Harry Potter on my Kindle – I’m a Potter Nerd. Right now, it’s Prisoner of Azkaban, though my ten year old and I are reading Chamber together as well!

What about you? Any recommendations?

Brynne

My Outdoor Projects (hopefully!)

Spring seems to be coming early in Eastern Oregon! We are already staying in the 50s for our highs, and even creeping into the 60s! I’m antsy for Spring, Winter is my least favorite season. I don’t do cold well, never have. Needless to say, I’ve already started a few seeds indoors, and have a couple of ideas for outside!
First is my raised garden bed. That will go on the west side of our house. As you can see, right now there is NOTHING there. Originally there were some horrible bushes, but hubby pulled those out last year.

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Unlandscaped west side

The front of the house has no landscaping yet. I’ve spent the last 2 years trying to decide what I need to plant there, but it’s mostly shade, and I don’t want anything a) that doesn’t flower, since it needs color, and b) gets too big, since the low window is the only natural light in my sons room. We’d love to build a porch, but our only water spigot is there, and we can’t block it.

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The unlandscaped front

What I think I’m going to try, though, is a LOW patio, just off the ground, made of pallets. It will be big enough for pots of growing things, and some chairs, maybe a little table!
I will definitely have “after” images once I get done!

-Brynne

Then and Now – what I can learn from my 19 year old self.

The happiest I remember being (as an “adult”) was when I was 19. I had friends, places to go, things to do – nothing that was ever important, but there was always something there if I chose to be social.

I have spent the last several years trying to figure out what was so different for me then, that I was able to be that happy. (Besides being 19, of course!)

I wasn’t afraid then. I cared about others, but I cared about myself, too.

What changed? Why I am so afraid now?

I have thoughts on this, but they are ever changing, as I am discovering more and more about myself as an adult.

I ended up spending my 20s screwing up. A LOT. I had no idea how to adult. I was not raised in an environment where adulting was something that my elders taught. So, even though there were a lot of mistakes, and a lot of failures, I realize now that I was learning. The downside to this, though, is that I was also learning that I was a disappointment. Again, now that I am in my 30s, I know that I was more disappointed in myself than anything else. Sure,my parents were likely disappointed in choices I made, as I can be with my teenager, but they knew then what I know now – I was learning how to adult. Unfortunately, though, there was damage there, and no, I’m not blaming my parents. (Parents are to blame in many aspects of childrens lives, but I don’t like the word blame. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, it’s a lot of winging it, and bluffing, and hoping you’re doing the right thing.) But I, being who I am, took those learning experiences, and made them negatives in my mind, without even realizing it.

So, back to the original question – what was different about me? What made me more social, more energetic, less afraid?

I didn’t let other peoples opinions bother me. I did my thing. As I said before, I cared about other people, and there are select people who knew me very well at that time that would concur. But I didn’t let the little things disturb me, the opinions of others, what they thought. I was just a kind and fun person.

I hope that I can take this knowledge, and turn it into that true version of mself that I strive for, now that I have a slightly better idea how to “adult”.

(this is definitely a more rambling post, but maybe someone out there will get some use out of it someday 🙂 )

Little Indulgences

My wonderful husband went back to work last night (he works graveyard) after a week long vacation.

There were times that week felt like months.

It really was so nice to have him home every night. But this girl has her routine, and even though it isn’t a mass of scheduling, I always know that certain times of the day I will have to myself, to watch what I want, listen to what I want, do some cleaning without having it undone behind me, be creative – basically, just have some quiet time. I know that I will go to bed at a certain time, with only our 3 pound chi-pom for company in our king sized bed, and I can watch Gilmore Girls until I fall asleep. With him home, this didn’t exactly happen.

Today I am feeling good, relaxed, and relatively unmotivated. I finished a skein of yarn I have been working on for a couple of weeks. I got some cleaning out of the way that I had put off while he was home, and, since he came home, and went straight to bed, I have been indulging in reading the first book in one of my favorite Nora Roberts trilogies. I have been playing a bit on my 3DS (which is rare). I have been watching old episodes of One Tree Hill, and I have been sitting and letting my mind drift.

It has been amazing.

I won't feel guilty today!

This is not all just from settling back into a routine after his week off. It’s been a culmination of a lot of reading, pondering, writing, dreaming that I have been doing the last few weeks. And I feel great. Actually, I’m finding that there are a lot of things that are sitting there, close within reach, but not quite reachable, inspirations and reazlizations, and breakthroughs right around the corner. It’s like a dream that I am catching the edges of, just as I wake up.

It goes against everything in my being to not think myself as lazy today, but I’m learning that these days are okay, are good, in fact. My house is clean, my kids and dogs are fed, nothing is needing my attention, so this is okay! Whew! That has been a long time coming! (am I the only one that struggles with that? Anyone??)

So today, I’m going to go back to doodling in my brain dump journal. I’m going to read another chapter, and watch another drama filled episode of a really girly teen drama. I’m going to drift and dream and wait for the inspiration/realization/breakthrough moment to find me.

And I’m gonna be okay with it.

 

 

What do you do as a SAHM when your kids are older?

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I’m new to the stay at home mom game.

My kids are older. They are way beyond the toddler stage. They no longer need me to fix them lunch, or turn the channel, or get them dressed. My baby is 10. My older is in high school.

I was a single, working mom their whole lives. Almost two years ago, I married my husband, who is now their father. He is an amazing dad to them, especially for someone who never thought he would have children, and was already in his late 30s when they came into his life.

When he started his job, just over a year ago, I had been in stressful call center jobs, in many positions, for better than ten years. It was something that came easy to me, and I was good at it. It also tends to pay better than most jobs (but marginally). My health was suffering, though.

I have clinical depression and anxiety disorder. Not the best combination with that type of work.

His new job, though, was a great one, and allowed me, for the first time ever, to be able to quit my job, and stay at home with the kids. When this fist happened, I was so glad, but also so lost. This was all new to me!

What exactly does a stay at home mom DO when she doesn’t have small children??

I cook, and I clean, but honestly, once your kids are a certain age, there is not as much of that to be done. The demands on my time that most stay at home moms have are negligible.

Having worked for so long, I’ve struggled with feeling useless. They don’t need me like they used to, but I also don’t want to appear to be one of those “Peg Bundy” moms, who sits around and watched TV all day. My depression, of course, didn’t help this much. By the end of 2015, I felt that I had completely lost myself, and had no idea what to do, who I was, and what I supposed to be doing.

There were no blogs, articles, pins, podcasts that I could relate to, since they were all geared towards moms with little ones.

Logically, though, I knew why this was important. I’m here. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. When my 10 year old discovers something new, or just wants to be silly. When my teenager has had a rough day of high school drama, and just needs a hug. When he makes the team. When they want to play a game, or tell a joke, or just hang out and watch whatever Mom is watching. When they want a hug. This is all SO IMPORTANT.

The other thing I am realizing, though, is that it is important for me, as well. This is preparing me. Preparing for the day that they are no longer here, and are off living their own lives, with their own wives and kids. I’m being given the opportunity to figure out ME again.

I’ve been reading the most amazing books, that are helping me rediscover my lost confidence, and that are inspiring me to reach down and locate my long ago misplaced creativity. I’m indulging in my favorite paperback novels. I’m not ashamed to say that I am binge watching my favorite TV shows (including guilty pleasures!). I’m still cleaning and cooking, and helping with homework, and playing chauffer, and all of those mom things. But in the in between, I’ve started what is likely to be a magical journey to find myself, and what makes me happy and fulfilled outside of “mom” and “wife”.

And this is where I will write about it.

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Giving my kids strong roots is my job.

I want my own bathroom.

I have a husband. I also have two kids at home, 14 and 10 year old boys. Add to this the fact that we have 3 dogs, two of which are male.

The. Testosteone. Is. Palpable.

No matter how much I clean it, our one bathroom smells. I’ve resigned myself to Glad plugins and Febreze.

No matter how well I know that they know their manners, there is still flatulence, poo jokes, and roaring laughter if someone dares say “you DO do that.”

Outside the home, they are all always gentlemen, though.

And in a few years, it will be just me and ONE man. Maybe a dog.

So for now, I am sitting back, and coming to terms with my messy, sometimes stinky (until I can Febreze it), often loud and juvenile, greasy home. And enjoying every second of them all knowing that they can just be themselves at home.

Kids, Cancer, Humanity, and #hashtags

There is so much bad in this world. Every day, it terrifies me to let my 14 year old son leave the house. Yes, I know that it is not realistic to keep him in my sight 24/7/365. Yes, I get that it is not healthy to do so. I didn’t say I did it.

Any of you with kids, and many without, I’m sure can relate. Even in our little town, in Nowheresville, Oregon, there are bad things. It’s the nature of the world today.

I try and live by example for my children. I try and show kindness and fairness and love. I try and teach them to give back, and to care for everyone, even though I am totally honest with them about how hard the whole ‘love your enemies’ thing can really be.

And sometimes it seems futile. I turn on my computer, and am bombarded with Kardashians, and skeevy politics, and shady corporate deals. I love my computer, and social media, and “guilty pleasure” blogs and tv shows. But being able to take it into context is something that even many adults have yet to grasp, nonetheless my children.

So, even though I never give up, sometimes it feels like we can’t make a difference as individuals, and it makes me sad to see the world my children are growing up in.

But then something will come along to make me feel a lot better about it all.

There is a movement happening right now, in our little corner of the world.

Pendleton High School Spanish teacher Kathryn Youngman. My attention was brought to this particular woman this week, via my sister in law, on Facebook. Sis had taken her Spanish class back in the day. Doing a bit of research, I found out that this teacher is, for the third time, battling cancer, this time with stage 2 breast cancer. Despite this, she is still in the classroom, inspiring kids every day that she can possibly make it.

Over the last few days, my feeds on social media have exploded with a new hashtag. Apparently Senora Youngman has a dream of meeting Ellen DeGeneres (whom I adore!). The kids from Pendleton High School began bombarding Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and probably other sites that I don’t use regularly, with the tag #YoungmanOnEllen, hoping to make their beloved teacher dream come true.

Besides the amazing story of this womans fight against cancer (which is a horrible monster that took my stepda from us in 2013), I am SO INSPIRED by the movement these kids have created, thinking beyond themselves, and pouring so much love out to the community and their teacher.

It gives me hope that the kids are turning out okay after all 🙂

For more information about Kathryn Youngman, start with

http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2016/01/students_start_twitter_campaig.html

and make sure you follow the hashtag #youngmanonellen!

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My kiddo, wearing a pink Keep Collective bracelet that he put together for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2015

 

Do I hafta grow up?

I think I’m a grown up now. Or ‘grup’, if you are old like me.

What makes me think this is that I have discovered the things that make me excited (doing or having) are what I would have called BORING not too long ago.

I’m getting a new washer and dryer today. This is bringing me no end of excitement and joy. I hate doing laundry! But even so, I am SO STOKED about getting a new washer and dryer!

For Christmas, I got pretty new mixing bowls and casserole dishes. My husband got me a fancy Ninja (the one with the blender, single serve, AND food processor!). BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.

I’ts only January, and I’m ready for spring. Why? Not because of cute spring clothes, or the approach of swimming weather, or anything like that, but because I have PLANS, plans for a GARDEN, and I cannot wait to spend my days digging in dirt and (attempting) to make things grow!

My favorite window shopping experience now? Home Depot.

It’s official. I’m a boring grown up.