The Ten As – Living Life Post Break-Up

On the heels of my “Tips to Get the Job” blog post, I have received a few requests to write about how to handle break-ups.  Additionally, my sister just broke up with her boyfriend of 10 months, and a co-worker’s sister is going through a divorce.  Relationships are ending everywhere, and I am putting out fires all over the place.

I am no expert.  I have learned these lessons just like everybody else.  But having been married three (3) times and divorced twice, I have a little experience in what it takes to move on after someone leaves you. 

And with that, try these:

1.      Accept reality.  This is first on the list because it’s the first thing you need to do.  The situation is this:  it is over.  Living in “la-la land” won’t benefit you in anyway.  Just accept the break-up, and don’t try to manipulate or change what has happened.

2.      Analyze the damage.  Before you can even think about the emotional side of the break-up, you need to handle the business side of the relationship.  And the damage will depend on several things – how long you were with that person, whether or not you have assets or children or pets, etc.  There are logistics that will need to be sorted out.  I would suggest making a list.  Pack his/her belongings – check.  Divide furniture – check.  Separate the bank account – check.  When the goal is to move on with both of your lives, this may be the easiest part of breaking up with your significant other.

3.      Allow the hurt.  This one was always the hardest part for me.  When you break up with someone, it’s all you can think about – how hurt you are.  And then you fall into the trap of The Blame Game and Guilt Trip and “What if?” Lanes, and it becomes a vicious cycle of trying not to think about it, but then thinking about it anyway.  There are so many emotions that pop up after a break-up – anger, upset, betrayal, depression.  Feel them all.  Embrace them all.  For a short while, allow yourself to think about it and fall apart.  The quicker you do it, the easier it will be to move on from those emotions and thus your life.  It would be unrealistic to try to avoid those emotions.  So instead, embrace them.

4.      Amputate the baggage.  After you’ve spent a few days melting down and trying not to go crazy, it is time to cut ties, tie up loose ends, and close the book on the relationship.  This step means different things for different people.  But you need to purge.  End your “connections” with him/her on social media, delete all of the phone numbers and pictures and e-mails in your phone, throw away his/her old ratty t-shirt you used to sleep with.  Remember, you’ve already accepted reality.  It’s over.  He/She is not coming back.  There’s no need to hang onto any of those things.

5.      Acquire a friend.  I think we all have the ONE person that we talk to about anything and everything.  If you don’t, get a dog.  You’re going to need to talk to someone, and you’re going to need that someone to be objective and trustworthy.  Venting is like free therapy.  Practice the art. 

6.      Aver a routine.  You may prefer to crawl back into bed and cry the days away, but the quicker you get up and get back into the swing of things, the easier it will be to move past this whole ordeal.  Tell yourself that the world doesn’t stop just because your relationship did – there are still jobs to do, bills to be paid, kids to be fed.  It can be a real test of strength, but it is SO important to keep your schedule.

7.      Attempt new things.  When it feels like a piece of you has left with your ex, a good way to regain some sense of self is to experience new things.  Buy tickets to a concert, go to that bar your ex would never step foot in, get the silly pair of socks and jump up and down on your bed.  Whatever YOU want to do.  Again, keep in mind that he/she is gone.  You get to make decisions for yourself now.  If you like creamy peanut butter but bought crunchy because that was your ex’s preference, throw that shit away and go buy what YOU like.  If you only wore thongs only because that’s what your ex liked, go raid the granny panty aisle of Target.  These are silly examples, but making decisions with only yourself in mind can be so liberating.  It’ll make you feel better.  You’ll wonder why you changed so much for your ex, and you will fall in love with who you REALLY are all over again.

8.      Abstain from drama.  You will feel really great about your post-break-up progress, and then some bullshit will hit you right in the face.  He/She will drunk text you out of the blue, or you’ll hear a rumor or you’ll find out he/she has ALREADY met someone else.  Do not let these things deter you from your already amazing progress.  Stay on track.  Remember, yet again – it’s over.  There is no point in engaging.  Do not bother trying to defend yourself.  Do not cast judgement (at least not out loud).  Do not fight.  Use your journal, dog or friend, and vent, but do not let the melodramatic nonsense get a rise out of you.        

9.      Avoid negativity.  Friends of you and your ex are often guilty of picking sides, asking too many questions and/or bashing one party or the other.  That kind of relationship is not one that is healthy right after a break-up.  Let those people know, very clearly, that you will accept their support and love, but you will not entertain ugly remarks or any other types of negativity.  You’ll find this is easier once you’ve completed steps 1 through 8.

10.  Adopt new standards.  Being single again can be a curse or a blessing, depending on your outlook.  And while you can have fun on the rebound, you will eventually need to reflect on the relationship.  What went wrong?  What are my flaws, what are his/hers?  And at that point, you will subconsciously begin to create a mental list of things you need or absolutely do not want when getting into another relationship.  Do not stray too far from that list.  It will help you decide if new prospects are even worth a shot.  There are some things that can be worked out, but there are also some things – and you’ll know deep down what they are – that are non-negotiable.  Maybe you forgave your ex for cheating but don’t want to go down that road again.  So put it on your list – MUST BE LOYAL.  Maybe you hated the fact that your ex never brushed his/her teeth – MUST HAVE FRESH BREATH.  Maybe it bothered you when your ex ignored your calls – MUST BE ACCOMMODATING.  Keep your list short and sweet.  Details can be worked out, but the “bigger deals” – life choices, goals, etc. – should be discussed in the early stages of any new relationship.  This way, you’ll know right away if you should continue to see this new person or if you need to stop wasting your time.

Interestingly enough, it took my second divorce to realize that I am actually worth something.  And it is important to remember that you cannot be happy with anyone else if you are not first happy with yourself.

Hope this helps.

XOXO!

Meg / cC

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Tips for Getting the Job

I’ve actually gotten a lot of messages recently from people hit hard by the economy, who want to know how to increase their chances of getting a good job.  I thought that a blog post would cover some of the bases.  And it’s also a nice break from what I normally write about, namely “Meg’s Melodramatic Life.”

I started working for my company almost five (5) years ago.  I’m only 30 but this is the job I’ve kept the longest.  I was hired at this company on the front-end of a “growth spurt” and the employee volume has almost tripled in the five (5) years I have been here.  In those five (5) years, I have worked in 3 different areas of my department, and currently I am working hand-in-hand with our legal department wherein it relates of the money-making side of my current position.

When I got this job, I had only a couple of years of somewhat related experience in the field.  I had about two (2) years’ experience in accounts receivable at a company headquartered in North Carolina called LabCorp.  If you’ve ever been at the doctor and had blood drawn, I’m sure your name is somewhere in LabCorp’s system.  But I mostly had a legal background, working as a paralegal for the District Attorney in our small town, as well as for my town’s Chase headquarters in the foreclosure department.  Moving from legal to medical coding/billing was a huge leap for me, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

My resume was properly fluffed, at least enough to get me an interview.  I went through a series of interviews in order to get this job.  And while I didn’t necessarily “dazzle” in over-experience, I certainly impressed with my personality.  I readily admitted I was not as knowledgeable as others may have been on paper, but what I lacked in experience I made up for in open-mindedness, willingness to learn and a problem-solving, outgoing attitude. 

You can be trained to do anything if you set your mind to it, and my mind was certainly set.  Mostly, I dove into my work, and at first I did make a lot of mistakes.  I took a lot of notes in training, and then just went through the motions for a while.  But one day, I showed up to work and it just “clicked.”  Oh, THIS is what I’m doing.  One thing led to another, and I ended up running the billing for one of this health network’s clinics.  And then I started doing the billing for ALL of the clinics.  THEN, I handled all of the insurance claims that were DENIED for every clinic.  And finally, I ended up throwing myself at worker’s compensation claims and basically learned the process on my own.  There’s a lot of pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with self-teaching.  There isn’t any aspect of this billing operation that I don’t know.  I have had head hunters contact me in the five (5) years I’ve been here really wanting me for my current experience.  And while I’ve turned everything down up to this point, expanding my skill set is always a good thing.  Who knows where this experience will take me?  I could retire from here, or I could go get my insurance license and run a worker’s compensation firm.  The possibilities are endless.

Enough with the tangent of my background.  Below are some tips for landing your own job.  I have kept the tips general, as this process applies to almost any job hunting situation.

1.       Create a well-written, easily read resume with no spelling errors or other typos.  I know it may seem silly, but it is surprising to see some of the resumes that come through our office.  They are filled with grammatical, punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors.  Some of them are in weird fonts, all caps, and/or they are poorly structured.  Your resume is a potential employer’s first look into your ability to do a job, so make sure it’s a good one.

2.       Include a cover letter.  Every cover letter should be different and address the specific position for which you are applying.  In the cover letter, highlight your skill set and provide a little background about yourself that may not be “resume” worthy (i.e. – where you’re from, unique personality traits, etc.).  Make sure you sign the letter – don’t just type your name at the bottom. 

3.       Post your resume to career websites and decrease your workload immensely.  Utilize Indeed, Career Builder, LinkedIn, Monster and even Google to find a job.  There’s also a new site called Zip Recruiter that I hear is the BERRIES.  By posting your resume publicly to these sites, you can minimize the number of faxes you have to send and phone calls you have to make.  Make sure your profile for each site is set up with accurate contact information, especially e-mail, as many recruiters will contact you this way.

4.       Follow up via email or phone.  After you’ve sent your cover letter and resume to a company, wait a couple of days, and then call to see if it has been received.  Speak clearly and confidently over the phone.

5.       Look presentable.  Once you have reached the interview stage, it is time to look the part.  A few tips for what to wear/how to look:

Dressing for Interviews.png
6.       Make eye contact, shake hands and speak clearly during your interview.  Even if you are not confident, play the part.  Shoulders back, sit up straight and be present in the moment.  Remember that your resume is a company’s first impression of you on paper, but even if you lack experience, your personality can absolutely score you the job of a lifetime if the interview goes well.  Smile.  Employers want to know that you are excited about possibly joining their firm.  What better way to do that than to smile and appear to be happy and excited?

7.       Brainstorm a list of questions to ask at the interview that concern the company itself.  The more specific you are, the better, because the employer will appreciate your knowledge of company lingo (please use it correctly, though) and overall intelligence with regard to the way their company is run. 

8.       Answer questions posed to you with honesty, but do not throw yourself under the bus.  The employer may ask you why you’ve left previous jobs, where you see yourself in 5/10 years or what your focus would be if you were offered their position.  Be prepared to answer those questions honestly.  But seem ambitious when you do answer them.  Avoid using non-words like “Uhhh” or “Ummm” and try not to stumble over your words.  This can take practice, but it is necessary.

9.       Conclude the interview process with follow up contact, thanking the employer for their time.  This can be over the phone, but I have also sent e-mails before, and it seems to go over a little better.

10.   Be patient.  You may not be called right away.  Do not panic, as they may not have completed interviews for all eligible applicants.  Don’t waste time waiting on a call back, though.  Continue  job hunting and interviewing as usual, and eventually SOMEONE will call you.  You may even get the difficult but confidence-boosting task of having to negotiate offers to decide between two or three career choices. 

Don’t fret.  Just stay on task.  Doing your best can put your mind at ease.  No one can expect more than your absolute best.  And even if/while the bills are piling up, you’ll sleep better knowing you’ve done all you can do.

If you have any specific resume questions, you can email me at lexiandjameson@gmail.com.  Best of luck to all of you out there looking for something or something better!

XOXO!

Meg / cC

Doodle Day

My last name, the best gift my husband ever gave me.

Butler.png

XOXO!

Meg / cC

Brain Dump

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.

XOXO!

Meg / cC

Reader Questions, Parenting Edition

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 lexiandjameson@gmail.com.

XOXO!

Meg /cC

Reader Questions – Marriage Edition

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!

XOXO!

Meg / cC

Reader Questions – Food Edition

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!

XOXO!

Meg / cC