Friday, April 17, 2015

Moving On

I've probably got something like eighty versions of this post in my drafts folder.  I just don't know how to write it or even if I want to publish it.

When I first started this blog, back in 2009, it was mainly because I was slightly obsessed with digital scrapbooking.  I wanted to join a few Creative Teams (to get free stuff to feed my addiction!) and most of those teams asked that you blog about their kits and show off the layouts you made with them.  Most of my early blog posts look something like this:

I probably haven't completed a digital scrapbook page in at least five years now.  And, obviously, that's not the only thing that's changed about my life.  In the years since starting this blog, I've moved to Memphis, had another baby, lost my grandfather, ended my marriage.  And those are just the big things.  Thousands of little things have happened over that time span.  Life is different than I ever would've imagined when I began this blog back in March of 2009.

And lately that's left me thinking . . . what do I do with this blog?  I've never written with the aim of wanting sponsorships or ads or making a living off writing about my life (I would LOVE to get paid to write; notsomuch getting paid to write about MY LIFE, not with all the criticism that would come along with!) I've written because . . . because I like to write.  Because writing about my life is what I know.  Because I love to look back and see entries like this one and remember how when J was in kindergarten, he would wave at me until he walked into the school building and couldn't see me anymore.  Because I love to click on a tag that will take me to posts that remind me of fun times on trips and little moments that I might have forgotten. Because I like to talk about food and Memphis and fun things that happen on the weekends.  Because I WANT TO REMEMBER! 

That's why I write.

But, at the same time, writing about my life means also writing about the people in it.

My children are getting older, my boys to the point where they can tell their own stories. 
There are people who were in my life who no longer are, not in the same way: what do I do with the old posts that feature them? Those people are still part of my story even if they're chapters in the past.
There are new people in my life: do I show them in posts?
Am I completely overanalyzing this? (YES.)

Obviously, this would be more of an issue - perhaps an ACTUAL issue - if I had a bigger blog with thousands of readers.  But it still makes me think and wonder. I know there are people who read this blog and I have no idea who they are or what they do or what they think.  There are people who read this blog whom I don't know personally but have taken then time to get to know via various forms of social media (not going to lie: another reason I love blogging.  I LOVE "meeting" people from all over the place.)

I've gone back and forth over whether or not I want to completely privatize this blog and only write for myself.  Or do I want to make it open to invited readers?  Do nothing at all? That's the chosen route at this point which pretty much makes this entire post moot.  I do know that I'll be a little more choosey in what I post.  My children could potentially read this some day so I'll never, ever post details about the demise of my marriage (I like to think I wouldn't do that, out of respect for both of us, even if there were no children involved.)  I'm choosing, at this point, not to share many details about my new relationship though there's a good chance the boyfriend will be popping up in pictures.  I'll still write about my children though not possibly not as much as I did in the past.  As I said previously -- they're getting to the ages where they can tell their own stories, where they could potentially be embarrassed by ME choosing which of THEIR stories to tell.

Long story short: someone needs to write a book on the evolution of publicly writing about your life . . . as life moves on.

Long story even shorter: My name is Brandi and I'll analyze the shit out of any and every situation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday Things

1) The Duggars.  I know.

First off, Jill had her baby a week and a half ago and I was reading somewhere that it was only ten months ago that she and her husband were allowed to be alone with each other and NOW THEY HAVE A BABY.  Talk about going from zero to a hundred.  Daaaaaaamn.

And since we're on the subject: did she really actively labor for 70 hours? I'm side eyeing that. I'm actually side-eyeing a lot of what's been reported about that birth but I'll keep those thoughts to myself. For now anyway.

Then there's the news that one of the boys is in a "courtship" which is like pre-engagement in their world.  He's 18.  The girl is only 17.  I can't even snark on that.  It's just sad.

I need an intervention re: my obsession with reality show fundie families.


I don't know how I feel about Hillary (the other one) for Prez. I mean, we knew it was going to happen but still ... could we please not have a Clinton or Bush? And is Jeb Bush going to end up the repub nominee? I mean, REALLY? Another Clinton/ Bush election ... just the thought makes my head hurt. 

3) Karis had spring pictures taken at school a few weeks ago. I went to look at them the other day and, no lie, I wanted to cry. Not in a "my baby is growing up" way but rather a "who took these overpriced awful pictures" way. This was the best of the bunch:


When asked why she didn't smile her response was "I didn't like her." Her meaning the photographer. Come on, photog! Don't take pics of little ones if you can't get them to smile! At least I have her RBF preserved for all eternity. 

4) I was in the car yesterday. Windows down, sun roof open, jamming out to ... Nick Jonas. How did that happen? And which of the Jonas Brothers is he anyway? The younger one?

5) I was asking the boys what they want to do this weekend. J's response? "Go to that other crawfish festival thing you were talking about." Uh, yeah. Think that boy is a fan of the mudbugs! 

6) Speaking of the weekend ... I thought it might be fun to go to Shelby Farms and try out the new zip line. Until I checked out the deets. None of my own kids are old enough and the cost ... not happening. We'll figure something else out. The Tennessee Brewery Revival is open again this spring and family friendly during the day so we might have to wander downtown. Said it before, I'll say it again: I LOVE Memphis this time of year. 

7) Kyan will be seven three weeks from Saturday. So far his wish list looks like this: new shoes, new backpack, Peyton Manning poster, a trip to Sky Zone, a trip to Hawaiian Falls, and for his friend to spend the night. Surprisingly, even with the two trips thrown in there, it's less expensive than the list his sister gave. Because her list contained, you know, everything. 
8) There is just a little over a month of school left and, man, things are about to get CRAZY. Standardized tests, field trips, picnics, graduations, field days, all kinds of stuff. The month of May is always so exhausting. 

9) Little girl toy gripe: Littlest Pet Shop. So these things are already tiny enough and THEIR HEADS POP OFF? What the? I hate pretty much all girl toys these days. Except Barbie and her unrealistic dimensions. She's still my homey. 

10) Appropriate. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All of the Sudden

(When I was looking for pictures to go with this post, there was no way I could NOT use both these  Sum up life with three babies perfectly!)

I was telling someone the other day that when Karis first started walking, I moved the trash can - that had formerly set in the kitchen - into the laundry room where I could close the door to keep her from getting into it.

 She's now five.  My trash can is still in the laundry room.  Never mind that she's been able to open all doors for years now.

I also moved my snack bucket to the top of the fridge.  It's still there.  Even though she can climb onto the countertop to reach it.

It's like . . . one day, you have these babies or toddlers or little people who get into EVERYDAMNTHING and you think you might lose your mind.  Then, all of the sudden, you wake up and your baby is just a few months away from starting kindergarten.  No one pours maple syrup all over the living room couch anymore.  No one turns on the jets in the bathtub, sending a spray of water all over the bathroom.  No one pulls the keys off your laptop.  No one NEEDS THEIR MOTHERLOVING DIAPER CHANGED EVERY SIX SECONDS. 

I'm not sure if this is an "it gets better" or a "let them be little" post.  I'm so confused!  I've always had babies or toddlers.  I've never been in this position . . . where all of my children were school-aged or nearly there.  Where they could all fix their  own toaster waffles for breakfast on a day when I'm too harried (or too lazy.)  Where they're all so . . . not as needy . . . of me.  Never mind that one of Karis's favorite things to say is, "I need you!"

I've said it before but I really do LOVE the ages my children are at right now.  Sure, it has it's challenges.  OH BOY does it have its challenges.  Don't get me stahhhhted.  But it's also . . . well . . . I'm in that easy spot where the teenage angst years haven't yet (entirely) begun but we're past the complete and total exhaustion of the toddler years.  They still test me.  They still drive me crazy at times.  But it's not as hard as it once was and it's easier than the years to come.

And it truly does seem like it happened all of the sudden.

Like I blinked and all of the sudden my fat, curly-headed toddler was this aspiring basketball player.
Like I went to sleep and woke up and my needy little Mama's boy was all of the sudden trying his hardest to ride a bike without training wheel.
Like it was just this sudden thing that my precious baby girl WILL BE GOING TO KINDERGARTEN IN AUGUST and is bossy and sassy.

All of the sudden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mudbugs. Ribs. And Good Times.

This is the absolute best time of the year to live in Memphis.  The weather is amazing. There's a festival of some sort going on every weekend. It's easy to just get outside and have fun.

Friday night, we had plans to hit up the bbq cook off at the spring Blue/ Gray game at the Liberty Bowl. The friends we were meeting there were worn out from cooking (and, let's be real, drinking) all day and ended up leaving earlier than we could make it there. We scrapped those plans, headed to Mulligan's for dinner, then watched the Grizzlies win. 

Saturday was the Overton Square Crawfish Fest. It was 

Each carton of mudbugs was $20 and it was DELICIOUS.  Spicy and just ... yum. The boys tried them for the first time and loved them. 

We spent most of our time at the kids' area where the games were ridiculously overpriced. But kids had fun and that's what matters, right? 

That night, it was dinner at La Hacienda that included seemingly endless margaritas. Every time I turned around, someone was refilling my glass. That combined with the beer earlier at the festival and we were ... let's just say a couple people in our group were dancing with the waitress at one point. 

I dreamed that night that I was at a wedding and took a selfie with Lawson Bates. (Really, Brandi? Really? Step away from the reality TV.) Looking through my phone, though, just showed selfies like this one:

The hat that belonged to our waitress. Showing off the fajitas. Big smiles. Tipsy eyes. All signs of a pretty great night. 

We spent much of Sunday being lazy then headed to the park for a picnic dinner. Ribs and chicken left over from Friday's BBQ contest, all the fixings ... it was DELISH! The theme for the entire weekend might as well have just been "fooooood."

Hanging Kyan by his toes because, well, he's Kyan.

I love packed weekends even though they mean when Monday rolls around I'm exhausted.  That's just a sign of a great time, though, right?

Friday, April 10, 2015

You Know Why Kids Suck? Because Their Parents Suck.

Wednesday morning, at Kyan's awards ceremony, the two moms sitting in front of me carried on a conversation though out the entire program.  They didn't even bother to whisper.  By the end of the program, I knew that one of the boys was playing baseball, the other had received a C in Social Studies, and White Trash Mom #1 didn't like her son's teacher.

During the same program, the lady sitting next to me answered her phone.  And talked.  For, like, two minutes.

Later that afternoon, my boys came home from school telling me that a neighbor had yelled at J to "hurry the hell up." (AW HELL NAW!  I don't even talk to my kids that way!)

The next day, I went to Jaidan's program and the two ladies sitting next to me talked through the whole assembly.  Their conversation was in Spanish and I haven't taken any since circa 1997 so I can't relay what they were speaking about.

My point: all these parents were rude.


During the first grade program, the school counselor reminded the children to remain on "zero zone" and be quiet.  99% of the children immediately went quiet.  The parents, though?  Yeah, I still had to hear all about little Cole's first baseball practice. 

We talk about children all the time.  "Kids are mean."  "Kids are rude."  "We worry so much about leaving a better planet for our kids without focusing on leaving better kids for our planet."

You know how you raise better kids?  Kids who are not mean or rude or disrespectful or entitled?  YOU LEAD BY EXAMPLE.  You are not any of those things.

You keep your mouth shut during an awards ceremony because, for starters, it's polite and also because there's some first grader walking on stage with a huge smile on his face because he's PROUD of himself and wants everyone to hear his name and his accomplishments.

You turn your phone off when you're in any kind of crowd where things are supposed to be quiet -- be it a school program, a movie theater, or church. 

You say "excuse me" and "bless you" and thank people and always offer up a "you're welcome" when someone expresses thanks.

Simply put: if you don't want to raise asshole kids then don't be an asshole yourself. 

I fail at a lot of things and I know that.  But one thing I know I am is very polite.  I was raised that way and I'm raising my children that way.  Disrespect is one of my biggest pet peeves and I'll be damned if I'm going to raise children who don't care about others around them.  In fact, one of the biggest arguments I have with one of my children is framed around, "you have to care about other people too, not just yourself!"  One thing I try very, very hard to do is lead by example.

I'm polite to people even if I do not know them.
I say "excuse me" and "thank you" and I hold the door open for little old ladies and make sure to hold the door if someone is several steps behind me. 
I say "ma'am" and "sir" because it's the way I was raised and it's the way I'm raising my own children.

I'm not relaying any of this to toot my own horn.  It's more of for this reason: I'm teaching my children via osmosis.  I want them to be respectful and I don't expect them to act any certain way I wouldn't or won't act.  Leading by example.  It's what all parents do, whether they even realize it or not.

If you're raising kids . . .

Love them.  And lead them.  Nurture them.  And teach them.

And quit freaking talking during my kid's honors assembly!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday Things

1) Monday is always a bitch but this one ... especially so. No one wanted to wake up, we were all grumpy. I was folding laundry that evening, walked into my bedroom, and noticed this:

Yes. Picasso Karis had to Monday it up even more by drawing "Despicable Me" on my wall. 

2) Yesterday was Kyan's honors program at school. For the third quarter in a row he received awards for Principal's Honor Roll, Citizenship, and Perfect Attendance. I'm really proud of him but that perfect attendance ... I'm proud of myself for that one! It's a total Mom award. 

3) I'm a Dollar Tree freak. I found these there the other day:

They're fake Snackeez! And $1 a pop ... much easier on the wallet. 

4) I did something the other night that I hadn't done in months: I stepped on a scale. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought. I've gained 12 pounds since October. That's not good but also not horrible. It's six weeks until my birthday and it would be nice to have those 12 pounds gone by then. Easier said than done, though! I know I CAN do it. It's just ... WILL I?

5) I got an early birthday present from my grandma on Easter Sunday. I.Love.It. 

6) My friend Vanessa posted about Shiner prickly pear on Facebook the other day. So when I saw some ar Kroger, I had to pick it up. It's a sweet beer and very good. The Ruby red is still my favorite. 

7) Current favorite song:


Yup, it's totally about sex, no hiding that. Eric Church ... Damn. 

8) Sooooo. Last week, I drew on the kids' pictures as an April Fool's joke. Bad idea. 

Now they won't stop!

9) I read yesterday that Mary Kay Letourneau and her husband (who was once the 13-year-old student she was convicted of raping) did an interview with Barbara Walters for 20/20.  I'm so disgusted by this.  She was 34-years-old when they began their "relationship."  The fact that they married doesn't lessen the obvious: she's a pedophile.  So, yeah, way to go Barbara Walters for glorifying pedophilia.  And, let's be real, if a man had done this?  Yeah. 

10) The selfie struggle is real!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Baby

This picture pretty much sums up exactly how we felt at the end of the weekend:

Yes.  Worn OUT.

I don't know how people with Christmas babies do it because having an Easter baby WORE ME OUT.

I got the kids up at 6 Sunday morning to check out goodies from the Easter bunny. 

I don't go all out for Easter (it's not Christmas!) and this year we had a birthday on the same day. The kids each got one toy (ball guns for the boys; Littlest Pet Shop for Karis), a pair of sunglasses, flip flops, a coloring book, and some candy. All three baskets came in at under $50 and they were happy with what they had. 

We hit the road a little after 7: Arkansas bound. 

Church was followed by Easter dinner.  My family doesn't like to eat or anything. Not at all. 

Yeah. That's four cakes and later my Aunt Karen brought in another one. 

One cake was extra special! 

We all sang Happy Birthday to Karis then she opened presents. 

My Little Pony and Disney princesses were the stars of the show. 

If you have preschool aged children, then there's a good chance you know all about the YouTube videos of people opening eggs to see what's inside. Karis watches these all.the.time. and was SO excited to hunt Easter eggs. In fact, I'm pretty sure she thought we were hunting eggs soley for her birthday; not for Easter.

We didn't have a ton of hunters this year but the kids all seemed to have fun.

Hunting in the rain. 
Barefoot. (#Arkansas)

We headed home a little after 3 and the kids quickly zonked out in the car. My boyfriend called on the way home and said he and a friend had decided Easter dinner should be somewhat extravagant. They were throwing streaks and shrimp and crab legs on the grill and did we want to come over? Um, yeeeeeah. 
Brandi Happy Easter

The kids played football and the men did their thing on the grill. In addition to all the meat, we had delicious stuffed mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes, and ...  ohhhhh, gluttony. 
J's first crab legs!

It was SUCH a great Easter and my Kare Bear had an awesome birthday too.  But it's already Wednesday and I still need a nap to recover . . .
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