My last name, the best gift my husband ever gave me.
Meg / cC
My last name, the best gift my husband ever gave me.
Meg / cC
Just a few random things rattling around in my tiny, only slightly intelligent brain on this Hump Day.
1. Don’t assume that those people who are biologically related to you will be loyal to you. To some people, “family” and “blood” are not mutually exclusive.
2. You will create a very unhappy life for yourself if you try to fit in where you do not belong, even if you try to fit in with family.
3. Yes, it will hurt when family members do not accept you, or appreciate what you bring to their lives. And no matter what you do, you cannot control that.
4. Having a soft heart in a cruel world does not make you weak or careless. It makes you courageous.
5. Do not allow other to make you cold or hard-hearted. The loving and caring part of your personality means a lot to those who matter.
6. Remember that if you do not fit in, you’re probably doing the right thing anyway. Never allow someone to put you in a box. Whip his/her ass with that box instead.
7. I have a 6’3” husband, 6’4” and 6’5” brothers-in-law, and a mother-in-law who adore me, for no reason at all. The Butlers have shown me more loyalty in the last 2 years than any member of my own family.
8. I also would trust my ex-husband and his family, all of whom have been wronged by me, more that I would trust my own family with anything.
9. Some people are only loyal to you insofar as you are part of their “agenda.” To some, you are nothing more than an opportunity. And to some, love is completely conditional, based on which of their needs you can fill, and how many.
10. When someone shows you their true colors, believe them. But forgive them.
11. The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” One someone treats you like a doormat, do not expect that to change. What you put up with – you end up with.
12. I would rather work every day of my life for the things that I have than to hear someone say, “You wouldn’t have that if it weren’t for me.”
13. You are entitled to NOTHING from this world.
14. I do not care how many times a snake sheds its skin – it’s still a snake.
15. You’ll never be “good enough” for people who can’t accept you the way you are.
16. Once you become a certain age (and that age is different for everybody), you suddenly realize what is important and what isn’t. You realize who matters and who doesn’t. And you understand where your place is in the world. For me, that age was 29. And my place is with my kids. Always and forever.
17. This Christmas will be mine and Jackie’s third together. I just realized that, and it makes me smile.
18. I know a lot of Christians who are bitter and sanctimonious. It is so hard to be a Christian with a chip on your shoulder. Jesus taught us to love. Bitterness and love are two other things that are not mutually exclusive.
19. I have to go home and finish cleaning today, so that my kids can wreck it when they come back home on Friday. I am convinced that I am the only person in my household who cares about cleanliness. And everyone is out to sabotage me.
20. I’d rather be loved wholly by 2 people than partly by a million.
21. I feel like I have worked really hard, for about 5 years, not to make any enemies. It was all for naught. No one will agree with your choices 100% of the time. But the more you approve of your decisions, the less you will seek affirmation from others. Don’t be afraid to disappoint someone if what that person wants is something very different from what you want for yourself.
22. I will never understand why people think that blocking me somehow hurts my feelings. Or that by not speaking to me at work affects me in any way at all. Please. It’s a public service really – like the trash took itself out.
23. I believe that all people set examples. They either set a good example, or they are a good example of what you DON’T want to be.
24. I cannot WAIT to see my kids on Friday. I have missed them so much.
25. I got to see ALL of my baby sisters on Sunday, even the two little ones, who just so happen to be my favorites. My Hanny is a beautiful blonde bombshell, and I love her so much. Today’s featured picture is one we captured on Sunday.
Okay, brain is empty. Time to finish out the work day, go check on my sick nephew, clean the upstairs of my house and go to bed.
Meg / cC
Continuing my “Q & A” posts, today I’ll be answering all of your questions about being a parent. Some of these are about my kids, specifically. Others are advice-seeking. And some are about kids in general.
I did not take down the names of the askers due to lack of time. But if your question was about kids, your answer is below:
1. Why did you decide to hyphenate your kids’ names? Honestly, it’s because I couldn’t decide between the two names. Lexi’s middle name is Lee-Ann, because I couldn’t pick between Lee and Ann and I wanted both of the people she was named after to be recognized (my ex-husband’s grandmother and my mother). Jameson’s middle name is David-Scott because we wanted to acknowledge both my ex-husband’s dad and my ex-husband. And if I ever have another child, his/her middle name will be hyphenated as well. Boy – Smith Jaxon-Drew, after my Daddy, Jackie, and Papaw; Girl – Hannah Garner-Kaye, after my favorite sister, my mother-in-law and my Aunt Sharon.
2. I can’t decide whether or not I want/need to breastfeed. Help! Well, no one can decide that for you. It’s a decision every mother has to make for herself. I did not breastfeed. I had a full-time job with both kids and I didn’t think I could find time to pump. Also, I am heavy-chested, and it really hurt when my milk came in, so I just wanted it to dry up as quickly as possible. But I know a lot of mothers who have breastfed who say it is the best thing they’ve ever done. Whatever choice to make will be the right one. Trust your maternal gut.
3. What have you adopted from your childhood that you now use on your own kids? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Basically, if it happened to me, I make sure it doesn’t happen to them. I am still so scarred and jaded, after being abandoned by the one person who is supposed to love me, that I raise my kids with opposite ideals and motives. My fear is being anything like my mother. And my drive in being a good parent is to be nothing like my mother.
4. How do you juggle work and kids? I do the best I can, just like most mothers. I work 8 to 5, come home, make dinner, finish up homework, eat dinner, watch some t.v. while I fold a load of laundry or two, give goodnight kisses and go to sleep. I have somewhat of an advantage, though, because my kids see their dad every other week, which gives me time to catch up on housework. And I also have an amazing husband who doesn’t just put up with my kids, but helps me raise them by picking them up from school, overseeing bath time and starting their homework all before I get home during the work week. I can say that you can find time to do the things that you think are important. And that is why it is imperative that mothers have their priorities aligned correctly.
5. What are some of your “hang-ups” as a parent? Like I said, doing the exact opposite of what my own mother would do is a conscious goal of mine. If I’m getting nitpicky – I feel like a bad mom if I don’t: Feed them a full meal at dinner time, like a meat and two veggies; Write notes to them on their lunch bags; Make sure they are dressed nicely and their hair is fixed for any outing at all; Keep the snack drawer stocked with all of their faves; or have to tell them I “don’t have any money” if they ask me for something at the store.
6. What are some of your kids’ favorite things to eat? Well, they’re typical kids. There are some things they both love – mac and cheese; chicken nuggets; fries; fried pork chops; red beans and rice; pizza; fried chicken; potatoes; flavored rice; spaghetti and other kinds of pasta; pancakes; cereal; Mexican; Japanese; Chinese; venison; eggs and all kinds of junk food. There are things that they both hate – broccoli; steak; homemade tacos; tomatoes; sauteed veggies; and anything incredibly spicy. And then there are foods about which their taste buds “disagree” – James prefers granola bars, chips and dip, gravy, Hershey’s kisses, salads, corn dogs, ranch and most fruits, while Lexi enjoys chicken noodle soup, applesauce, pizza and nacho Lunchables, pizza rolls, cheese and fruit snacks. I try to keep all kinds of different foods that they both like so that they’re both satisfied. I don’t like hearing my kids say, “I’m hungry,” even if I know they’re really not.
7. Do you have any tips for getting your kids to clean their rooms? Hell, no. I wish. And if you find anything that works, please let me know! Kidding. I’m so bad at this, because my kids are happy to live in filth. But usually, we just stop everything and make them straighten up. We don’t do anything fun until their rooms are spotless. Sometimes I give up and do it for them, because they don’t do it to satisfy me anyway, but I’m getting better about teaching them how to clean up after themselves. It’s definitely a struggle.
8. How do you keep the boys off of your girl? She is so pretty! Well thank you, and I agree. She’s only 10, so she’s not all that interested in boys just yet. When it happens, though, and it will happen, she has two dads that are not afraid to give those heathen boys a stiff reality check if it is necessary. I’m not concerned right now. She’s a really good girl. I love her so much.
9. I am starting to regret buying so much for my kids when they were little, because now that they’re adults, they constantly ask me for money. If I don’t give them what they ask for, I fear they will keep my grandchildren from me. What should I do? Do not ever allow someone to use their children as leverage against you. That is the worst kind of blackmail. You cannot control their choices. I would offer my time, but that’s just me. Instead of forking over the dough, offer to keep the kids while they pick up a part time job to cover expenses. Leave the ball in their court. The very same thing has happened to me with my nephews and baby sisters, so I definitely feel your pain, and I’ll be praying for you and your family.
10. My son just “came out” to his dad and me, and we disagree about how to handle it. What would you do? Wow, this is a loaded question. I will say this. My kids are my kids. I don’t care if they’re gay. I don’t care if they end up waiting tables for their whole lives. I don’t care if they end up in jail. I love them because they’re my kids. Will I always agree with their choices? Absolutely not, and I’m not supposed to – I’m their mom, not their friend. But having come from a family who shuts people out for being different, I can tell you that I will embrace my children no matter how they turn out. Set a good example, in LOVE. Set aside your personal convictions and love your child anyway.
11. Do you have a favorite kid? I do not. I love my children in equal measure. But it would be unrealistic to think that I love them “the same.” My kids are different, so my love for them, while equal, is executed differently. Lexi is a daddy’s girl and she has very special bonds with her dad and stepdad. She seeks affection from them more often than me. My bond with Lexi is based on our shared gender. We talk about stuff. She comes to me for advice. We are probably closer to being “friends” than we have ever been. Jameson is younger, and 100% MY boy. He loves his mama. He enjoys cuddles and kisses and tickles and giggles from me and only me and I revel in it. Jameson and I have a very special bond and I hope we always do.
12. Do your kids get along? Not even a little bit. Lexi thinks it is hilarious to poke and prod and pick on her brother, and Jameson retaliates by hitting and screaming. They absolutely KNOW HOW to get along. They just choose not to, at least until an adult steps in with threats or nags.
13. How does your ex-husband feel about your current husband? Oh, the kids’ dad has told me that he really likes Jackie. I don’t think they’ll ever be “besties” or anything, because that would just be awkward. But they do like each other and they get along really well. There are no issues with our abilities to co-parent and I’m very grateful for that.
That covers all child-related questions, at least for now. If I missed your question, or if you have a question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In going through all of my reader questions, I realized that A LOT of people wanted to know more about my marriage or my philosophies on same. So I created a “category,” if you will, for this post, answering all of the questions you all had that relate to marriage.
Again, I did not write down the names of any of the askers, and I do apologize. But if your question was about marriage, directly or indirectly, it should be here.
1. How did you and your husband meet? We actually met about 10 years ago, in an emergency room. I had just given birth to my first child and I was tanning to even out my complexion (you know, stretch marks and all). But I had an allergic reaction to the bed or the product they used to clean it in between users, and I had to go to the ER to be treated for my rash. Jackie was the night nurse there at the time, and he treated me. We went about 8 years without any contact, but then reconnected when he started working on the floor of my office. The rest is history.
2. If you could give only one piece of marriage advice, what would it be? Listen. Don’t talk. Listen. You can get a lot more accomplished by opening your ears instead of your mouth. I’ve been married 3 times, and miscommunication was/is a common theme in all of them.
3. How tall is your husband? He towers over you! Haha! Jackie is 6’3”. I am 5’5”. That could be the reason for the towering.
4. Who said “I love you” first? I think I did. I’m not entirely sure. Jackie would probably disagree with me on this one.
5. Do you do anything that really annoys your husband? I’m sure I do a lot. He can pretty well handle what I dish out, though. I think our biggest issue is that we fight differently, so it usually gets worse before it gets better. But it does always get better.
6. What do you and your spouse fight about the most? It’s hard to say. We do bicker about kids, just because we have different parenting styles and philosophies. We complement each other in almost every way.
7. What do you typically do on “date night?” There are lots of times that we will go out to dinner and then shopping (usually the grocery store), and then there are times when we each buy a 6-pack and sit at home and watch football. We go to movies, too, though we haven’t done that in a while. He does work on the weekends that my kids are with their dad, so that he can be with the whole family when he is off. So a lot of our “dates” are just family days out, when we do something fun with the kids. Next scheduled “date” – the pumpkin patch!
8. My wife and I constantly fight about housework. How do you and your spouse divide chores? Jack and I both work, so we tackle the house as a team. We each have specific chores that we are in charge of – I do the laundry and Jackie does the kitchen. I vacuum and dust and he sweeps and mops. I do the majority of the cooking, and Jackie walks the dog more than I do. Granted, if I stayed at home, I would do more housework than Jackie, because I would consider that part of my job. I will say that if I specifically ask Jackie to do something, he does it without griping. I’m pretty lucky, I guess.
9. What’s the most romantic thing he’s ever done for you? The way Jackie proposed to me was pretty fantastic. We went out for my birthday, and to surprise me, he set it up so that my family could join us for lunch. He proposed to me there with our family present, and it was really sweet. He also used to bring me Oreos and M&Ms when he worked with me. And sometimes, out the blue, he’ll text me and tell me he wants to take “the most gorgeous woman out on a lunch date” and then ask what time he should pick me up. It’s not always the grand gestures that mean the most. Sometimes words of encouragement, little presents or compliments, or even cuddles make all the difference in the world.
10. What have you brought from your divorces that benefits your current marriage? I am a lot calmer and my filter has improved. Jackie would disagree but he didn’t know me back then. I was a horrible wife to my first husband. I was a fantastic wife to my second husband, but he was too narcissistic to see it. Jackie is great because he has accepted me for all of my bullshit and loves me anyway. There are a lot of things I’m still working on, but he’s been patient with me while I do.
11. Do you believe in the saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater?” I do not. People can change. I have been both the cheater and the cheatee, and they are both horrible roles to fill. Granted, I know people – and I’m related to people – who will always be cheaters. But it’s because they refuse to change. If someone sets his/her mind to it, they can cure themselves of the insecurities that make them attention-starved. I certainly have changed.
12. Who comes first, kids or spouses? I think if you do it right, there will never be a competition. My family comes first, and that includes Lexi, Jameson and Jackie. If push comes to shove, Jackie knows that my kids are always number one, but he knows that, and he appreciates that. I knew Jackie was the “one” when he acknowledged that he knew my kids were my first priority, and he even said, “They should be.” Word to the wise, though – don’t separate your love for your kids from your love for your spouse. If you do that, you’re setting each of them up to complete with the other for your attention.
Tomorrow – more questions answered!
Meg / cC
Since I’ve spent the last couple of months doing the A to Z Challenge, I have severely neglected my messages. I apologize.
So today I thought I would answer some questions that you all have sent me. There were so many questions, that I was able to categorize them into separate blogs, and this one will be all about food! Sucks for me, because I skipped lunch today and I’m starving, but you’ll have your answers once and for all!
Note – I was in a rush of sorts while going through these messages, so forgive me, but I did not disclose the names of the askers. If your specific question was food related, though, your answer will be in this post.
1. How do you eat Oreos? Whole, dunked in milk! That’s provided I actually do eat Oreos, I love them, but so do my son and husband. I probably haven’t eaten an Oreo in about 6 months.
2. How do you take your coffee? I put a substantial amount of French vanilla creamer in the bottom of my mug and then fill it about 2/3 of the way to the rim with coffee. I do like my coffee a little darker (my husband has spoiled me) and I use creamer so that it’s quite sweet. I have gotten out of the habit of using sugar. Confession – I HATE powdered creamer and I won’t use it. I’ll skip coffee altogether first.
3. What are the best pizza toppings? I am not terribly picky when it comes to pizza, but my favorite is pepperoni, mushrooms and banana peppers.
4. Do you have any meal prep tips? Funny you should ask – I just started meal prepping at home, in an attempt to gain some control over my husband’s sugar levels. This last week I made Chinese beef and broccoli over rice and chicken burrito bowls. The only thing I can recommend is to make something that you won’t mind eating several days in a row. I gave Jackie all of the meals, because I kind of prefer cold foods for lunch – fresh veggies, fruits, cheese, lunch meat and dipping sauces. I’ll do another post soon with step-by-step meal prep instructions, once I figure out what I’m going to make next week!
5. Are you brand loyal to condiments? Depends on the condiment:
a. Ketchup – I usually buy Hunt’s, because that’s the cheapest. I like for my ketchup to be vinegary, and not sweet, if that makes sense.
b. Mustard – I buy whatever is cheapest. I only eat mustard with tuna, and I occasionally use it to make deviled eggs, so I really don’t care about the brand.
c. Mayonnaise – Kraft and only Kraft. In the South, there is a huge controversy about mayo, because everyone swears by Blue Plate, which is only available in this region. But I don’t like Blue Plate. It leaves a film on my teeth and it’s flavorless and slimy. Kraft is the best mayo, and it’s all I buy.
d. Salad dressing – Hidden Valley Ranch, every time. Olive Garden Italian, though I have tried the Kraft Zesty Italian and it’s not terrible. I also love Marzetti Supreme Caesar Dressing and it is delicious, but it’s like $4 a bottle. I wish I had a good homemade steakhouse ranch recipe. If you have one, shoot it my way!
e. Pickles – I don’t eat pickles. I put dill relish in tuna, but that’s it. My husband just bought some pickle spears, and I think they’re just the Wal-Mart brand. He’s not picky.
f. Honey mustard – O’Charley’s is the best, but again, we don’t really use it, so we don’t keep it on-hand all the time.
g. Tartar sauce – There’s a store in the South called Brookshire’s and I really like their tartar sauce because it’s not sweet. I was my tartar sauce tart and tangy.
h. BBQ Sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Spicy. I’ve tried a couple of other brands but I always come back to SBR’s. The perfect amount of spice, and just the right thickness. It’s so delicious.
i. Spaghetti sauce – I buy Hunt’s in the can, traditional “flavor.” Yes, it’s the cheapest at about $1 a can, but it’s also my favorite. We use 2 jars every spaghetti night, and it’s a big hit with my little ones.
j. Salsa – I buy Wal-Mart’s medium heat chunky salsa. I also like Tostino’s. I want junky but mild salsa.
6. Are there any foods you hate that everyone else loves? I don’t know about “hate,” but I do not care for bacon. I will eat it on a BLT occasionally, but if I never had it again, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I also don’t like diet drinks or anything marked “fat free.” I just prefer to eat/drink less of the full fat product. I do not like lemon in my tea. And I don’t like peanut butter cups, candy corn, red wine or beer, sweet potatoes or anything pumpkin flavored.
7. Are there any foods you love that everyone else hates? I absolutely love pickled bologna. It’s nostalgic for me, as my Aunt Sharon use to buy me a big jar every time she came to visit me when I was little. I have been known to eat tomatoes like apples. And I could eat a salad a day and be happy. And I put mayo in my black eyes peas and pinto beans – judge away – I don’t care.
8. What do you order at:
a. McDonald’s – It varies, but usually a Big Mac, large fries and a sweet tea. I eat my fries first, and then I’m full, so I end up giving about 2/3 of my burger to Jackie.
b. Burger King – If I absolutely have to eat there, I get a Whopper Junior. But I HATE Burger King and I haven’t been to one in probably 4 years.
c. Arby’s – I haven’t eaten this in a while either, but I usually get a Roast Beef with Cheddar and curly fries. Lots of Arby’s sauce, but none of that Horsey sauce. Yuck.
d. Sonic – A New York dog, large tater tots and a cherry Dr. Pepper.
e. Taco Bell – 2 soft taco supremes with mild sauce and a Mountain Dew. I LOVE Taco Bell.
f. Dairy Queen – I have actually never had their food. I usually just get ice cream. Butterfinger Blizzard. Yes, yes, yes.
g. Chic-fil-a – Chicken nuggets, 8 count, value size, with a Dr. Pepper and 5 ranch sauces.
h. Wendy’s – A taco salad and sweet tea.
i. Subway – Turkey and pepperjack on white, UNTOASTED, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, black olives and banana peppers.
9. Given your choice, what would you eat for dinner tonight? Hm. Something grilled. Probably one of Jack’s grilled ribeyes and a veggie skewer, but I just so happen to love grilled foods.
10. What’s your favorite:
a. Pizza chain? Papa John’s. By a mile.
b. Burger place? Red Robin. Oh man, those are so good.
c. Sandwich place? Newk’s probably. They have the BEST lunch foods.
d. Bar chain? I like the atmosphere of Buffalo Wild Wings, and I also like our local Texas Roadhouse and the way their tvs are set up. But Longhorn has the best drinks. Raspberry margarita on rocks? I could get seriously drunk.
e. Steakhouse? Ohhhh…that’s a toss-up between Texas Roadhouse and Longhorn. I love them both.
This post was actually a lot of fun! Thank you, Guys, for all of your questions! Stay tuned for more Q and A posts, where I’ll give parenting and marriage advice!
Meg / cC
Taking a break from my life to doodle in peace. Finished product…
Meg / cC
“Have you ever lied to your husband? About what? Do you ever think that telling a lie is okay?” – Lydia I.
Lydia, this is an interesting question, and one I was almost afraid to answer, because my husband does read this blog. However, my mood today has sort of prompted a little guilt regarding dishonesty, and maybe this is the best way to approach my issues without freaking Jackie out.
I do not lie to my husband. My husband knows me better than anyone else, and in fact, he has accepted me for exactly who I am. He has not tried to change me or “better” me. Even with all of my drama and issues, I am enough for him, and I find a lot of comfort in that.
What I can say is that I don’t think my husband understands the severity of my anxiety or depression. I think I haven’t shown him how bad things are/can be, because I don’t want him to think I’m a nut job. Granted, I don’t show anyone how sad I am. But sometimes I feel like Jackie doesn’t know the “dark” me, because I try to spare him the hurt of what I go through almost every day. I am a sad, clinically depressed individual. I have been in therapy for more than half my life, and sometimes I feel as if that therapy hasn’t even made a dent in my real problem.
And honestly, the real problem is that I hate myself. It’s not an appearance thing or a regret thing or even a guilt thing – those are just symptoms. I’m talking about a deep, dark, almost profound hatred of myself. Everything about me.
On mornings that Jackie is home, I keep quiet, wandering around the house, getting ready for work. To Jackie, and to anyone else who might see this, I just look like your ordinary mother, going through her morning routine – bath, bra, hair, clothes, jewelry, car.
But in my mind, even if I’m having a conversation with Jackie or one of the kids, I’m repeating hateful things to myself. When I look in the mirror while I’m doing my hair, eyes so piercing that it may one day break the glass, I silently utter insults at my reflection.
What I do on lonely mornings and evenings, however, takes the cake. I figure that saying the thoughts out loud must mean more than just thinking them, and so I stare at that same mirror and say, “You’re nothing. You’re loved by no one. You’re a stupid, fat, disgusting middle-aged woman who has never and will never serve a purpose in this world. You’re a waste of space. You’re a terrible excuse for a human, an even worse mother and wife, and you don’t deserve to live.”
I do not cry myself to sleep on nights when Jackie and the kids are home, because again, I do not want to expose them to this sick side of me. But I am sure that our dog has seen more than his fair share of tears and heard more than his fair share of meltdowns.
Depression is not a weakness. It is an illness. It’s an illness that can be very well-hidden. On the outside, people probably think I’m doing okay. I smile and converse normally. I work and do my chores at home and stay somewhat productive. I may even have fun every once in a while. But that’s only who I want to be – not who I am.
Who I am is a very sick and sad person, who contemplates suicide on an almost daily basis. Who I am is a mother who just can’t get it together most days. Who I am is a 30-year-old nobody, who has never, and probably will never, find her place in this world. Who I am is a victim of my own thoughts, fears and anxiety. And no amount of therapy, medication, venting, journaling or even blogging has helped up to this point.
My therapist says that I should challenge those thoughts by saying nice things about me. But how can I do that when every bad thing I say about myself is 100% the truth? How can I accept myself, knowing all of the horrible things I’ve done? How can I appreciate the love that I get from Jackie and my kids, when I can’t even love myself? How can I forgive myself when there are about 6 million people who cannot forgive me? I am no better than they are. What do I have to do to learn to be okay with who I am, while also trying to better myself?
No, Lydia, I don’t think it’s okay to lie, ever. Even if the truth hurts, a lie will hurt worse. My Daddy always said, “Your lies will find you out,” and no lie I’ve ever told has ever ultimately helped me or anyone else.
Having said that, I am obviously a big hypocrite, on top of all of the other bad things, because I don’t think I’ve ever expressed the magnitude of this depression from which I suffer.
Jack may hate me for posting this. He may even realize that he can’t help me and decide there’s nothing in this for him anymore. Or maybe he’ll think he can fix this and put forth that effort. I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s never okay to be dishonest, no matter the cost.
Meg / cC