I've been debating about whether or not to write this post. I've been trying to figure out how to write this post. How do I write something pertaining to my family or my home when none of that is the same as it was when I started? How do I manage to update you without pointing fingers and placing blame? How do I figure out a catchy new blog name when I live in Opp? (And "You Down with O-P-P?" is already taken?)
Here's the thing...I love to write. I'm not really good at that many things, but I like to hope/think/assume I'm at least halfway decent at writing. Especially considering it was my major in college and all. Writing is my outlet. It's how I manage to organize and file my feelings when it feels like my mind is moving a few hundred miles an hour. And I love reading back over some of the funny stories and things that have happened along the way - it's like a scrapbook for people who are better with words than glue guns.
So here's the story in a very small nutshell:
I got divorced. It feels weird to write that, even now, because divorce was something I never wanted to go through. My parents are still happily married, and I wanted Charlotte to grow up in a household with mommy and daddy there. And divorce feels like failing. Like I wasn't enough. Like if I would have cooked better he would have loved me more. Or if I was skinnier he would have loved me more. If my hair was blonder/I was taller/nicer/prettier/etc into oblivion it would have made him love me more. H and I had some problems, and I never denied that. I won't go into his because I feel like it's not really my place to out his demons to cyberspace. So I will just use MY space to talk about ME. As much as I hate to admit it, I am not and was not perfect. I have a sharp tongue that can bite, even when I don't necessarily mean for it to. I'm a very blunt person and sometimes I tend to say things without a whole lot of regard for other peoples' feelings. When I get hurt, my immediate response is "what can I say to hurt you as much as you just hurt me?" Sometimes other people don't understand my sarcasm or sense of humor. And sometimes I'm just a smartass.
Yikes. Facing you own major character flaw is rough.
Let's just say there are some humiliations and transgressions that just can't be forgiven, so I had to move out of the Hysterical District. It just got a little too hysterical for my taste.
And where did we go, you ask? The booming metropolis of Opp - and we couldn't be happier in our new life!
Things are much different now, but at least there's peace and harmony in the home. No screaming and cursing. No fighting or slamming doors. Just laughter and the promise of a new beginning back home with my family and the friends that love us most.
There are other exciting things to tell, but I don't want to bore you to tears just yet. Just know that I'm back and ready to start writing again (for all three of you that actually care!)
My blog has been giving me fits lately! I keep getting these really crappy error messages and it won't let me write. :(
But now, obviously, it's working again, and I have so.much.to.say.
As usual we've been busy. We are always SO busy. I hate it. What happened to the days where all I did was go to a couple of classes, take a nap, lay out by the pool, and hang out with my friends? Ahhh...college. If you haven't been, I highly suggest you try it.
I've even heard it's possible to learn a few things while you're there, but I'm sure my parents would argue that point.
Here is a brief synopsis of life in The Hysterical District. (I was planning on writing a whole in-depth story but I was so shocked that I could actually post something my mind has now gone completely blank. Kind of like when you walk into a room and forget why you came in the first place)
Charlotte is now in daycare full time. Our beloved nanny had a stroke about a month ago so we had to make other arrangements. Thankfully she is relatively okay, but she will have to have some pretty intense therapy and is therefore unable to keep Charlotte. :( It was rough to say the least. Now I know what all the other working moms were talking about when they left their newborn at daycare - it's heartbreaking and scary. It was rough in the beginning, but she seems to really like it now.
She isn't a morning person at all. Wonder where she gets that? And she is a BIG fan of lounging on the couch in her pjs for a few hours while watching cartoons, drinking juice, and eating Cheerios. Again...where does she get that?!
The whole entire house has come down with a nasty stomach bug. Or The Plague as I like to call it. Daycare has turned her into a walking Petri dish of bacteria and funk, which she will inevitably bring home to her loved ones. Ugh.
There's been a ton of other really funny things happening lately, but I will have to tell you about it all later.
How's that for a cliffhanger?
Charlotte Day Carrigan, today is your second birthday! You are the sweetest, cutest, funniest little gal I ever had the pleasure of giving birth to.
People always say "You'll never know how much you could love someone until you have a child" and boy were they right! Having you in our lives has made us realize what true love is really about. Growing up, your Mimi (my mom) warned me that one day I would have a daughter and God would pay me back for all the grief I caused her.
And she was right. You are just as strong willed and independent as I am, which doesn't bode well for us in about 11 years. But for right now, on your second birthday, I'm just gonna focus on what an absolute blessing you are.
-You are VERY independent, and you don't want me to hold your hand or help you do anything. You so desperately want to be a "Big Girl" like the neighborhood kids you play with each day.
-You are so funny! (I prayed you would be funny, witty, and entertaining because hello...gene pool?) You are easy to make laugh and giggle, and the things that come out of your mouth are just hilarious.
-Speaking of mouth...you are saying a lot of words these days and forming full sentences. This is a blessing and a curse, but I love it all. Even when you said "Oh shit!" in context at the church Easter egg hunt when you spilled your bubbles.
-You aren't very cuddly and lovey-dovey. You never have been. You're too busy for long hugs and sitting still.
-The neighborhood kids love you and always ask if you can come outside and play. This makes me smile because I want you to be social and friendly.
-Your manners are great. You say "thank you", "please", "yes ma'am", "bless you" and "sorry" about one million times a day. I'm proud of my little southern lady, and I hope you always show respect to your elders.
-You love to dance and sing, and you recently proved you are indeed my child when you stole a microphone from the neighbor and refused to get off their "stage" (aka, porch) during an impromptu afternoon concert. You also like to play your piano and make your daddy and I dance together. After we dance, you clap and say "Yay!" like we are Fred and Ginger.
-You're still mean to the dog. We're working on that.
-Minnie Mouse and Sophia the First are your favorite things on television. You get SO excited when you hear the theme music.
-Did I mention you are absolutely adorable? Your brownish-reddish-blondish hair is curly and wild, and your big blue eyes just sparkle. You're already a little brown baby from being out in the sun so much this summer, and there is nothing cuter than your bikini tan lines.
I love you so much. I can't wait to see what kind of person you grow to be. But if you could just slow it down a bit, that would be great!
Happy (belated) Memorial Day to you and yours! We had an awesome weekend full of good old-fashioned family fun, and the only thing I can say at this point is....Why can't every weekend be a long weekend?
Thanks to our stellar sales staff (myself included, of course) we made our May budget and had a little party at work on Friday. I rolled in about 9:30 with my Nike shorts and t-shirt, did a little bit of office work, then proceeded to gossip until lunch time. Ahhhh. Our fearless leader grilled sausage dogs and we all had a couple of beers before closing it down for the day. Friday half-day? I don't mind if I do!
We just joined a local country club last month, and I have been so pumped to test out the facilities. And by facilities, I mean the pool, grill, and the margaritas. H and I took Charlotte and stayed all Friday afternoon. It was delightful.
Saturday morning rolled around and it was a beautiful day! I'm not sure about you, but we were blessed with some seriously perfect weather all weekend long. It was glorious! Of course we HAD to have another pool day. Our neighbors are members, too, so they joined us at the pool. They have two little boys so the ladies hung by the pool all day with the kiddos while the men played a little golf. Charlotte just loves those boys, especially the youngest, Charlie, who is only 3.
Our other neighbors invited us (and basically the whole neighborhood) over for a movie night on Saturday night. They set up a projection screen in their front yard and we watched Rio. Charlotte thought that was the coolest thing EVER! And actually, it really was. We spread blankets out for the kids, and all of the adults brought some sort of food to add into the mix. And of course, true to The Hysterical District fashion, there was quite a bit of wine floating around, too. H and I are still talking about how much fun this was. I would totally suggest doing something like this in your neighborhood if you can!
Side Note: The majority of Mobilians are Catholic. Which means there is a lot of wine at every single event we attend and everybody has a crap ton of kids. In the afternoons, our street looks like an elementary school just let out. Almost everyone has 3 kids, or at least 2 with another on the way. Our street is North Reed Ave, but the nickname is "Breed Street" because everyone that moves here starts popping out babies immediately.
We hit up the pool again on Sunday for some more family fun time. So far, we are certainly getting our money's worth for the club membership! Haha! I plan on being there as often as I possibly can this summer, hopefully teaching Charlotte how to swim. (I was a lifeguard about a hundred years ago so I'm somewhat qualified) She loves the water and doesn't act afraid at all. She will put her face in the water, she went down the slide, etc. Between the pool at my parents' house, my in-laws on Dauphin Island, and my neighbors' river house I know she needs to comfortable in the water. And safe, too, of course!
Monday was actually very low key. We decided to take it easy and do some things around the house because H had to work Monday night. Charlotte still managed to get in a little baby pool action in the backyard and play with her friends down the street. We also had a little street party that afternoon to kick off summer break. It was supposed to be a crawfish boil, but unfortunately the market was closed for the holiday. The guy who owns the local Wings also lives on our street, so he hooked it up with wings, chips and queso, chicken fingers, wraps, etc. It was a nice ending to a fantastic weekend!
I can't be more thankful for my little family and our life together. I complain a lot about our old house that never seems to be clean and always has something breaking down, falling off, or messing up, but overall I'm so glad we live where we do. I have great neighbors who have become great friends, and it's so nice to get advice from other moms that are (relatively) in the same stage of life as me.
I'm also so thankful for the veterans, current soldiers, their family members, and the canines that work so hard to keep us safe and free. My grandfather and my dad are both veterans, and I'm so proud of them and their service to our country. I won't ever forget the sacrifices they, and so many countless others, have made to ensure my freedom and the privilege to live in the greatest country in the world.
I don't really have much to write about today, but I just got tired of reading my last post when I opened my page. It was sad, and it made me sad, so let's get happy with some random Wednesday facts!
What I'm Watching -- There are quite a few good shows on right now and even a few great shows. First of all, Mad Men. Oh how I love you Don Draper, let me count the ways...Maybe I love this show because it is something I can kind of relate to. No, I don't sip Old Fashioneds in my Upper East Side apartment, but I DO work in advertising. This show is a glimpse at a time period in our country when things were really changing and moving in a different direction. Love. it.
I'm also watching VEEP on HBO. I love Julie Louis Dreyfus (Elaine on Seinfeld is probably my favorite TV character of all time). This show is seriously funny, and whether or not it is an accurate portrayal of what goes on at The White House--it is EXACTLY what I imagine goes on at The White House.
But don't worry that I'm going all intellectual with my television watching. I'm still getting a good healthy dose of mind-numbing, IQ-lowering shows like The Real Housewives of Orange County and Dance Moms.
What I'm Reading -- I'm on the second "Game of Thrones" book and it is ah-mazing. I want to watch the series on HBO, but at this point I'm looking at about 13 hours of television if I start at the beginning. And that's a LOT of time that I just don't have. The books are really good,but there is a ton of violence and dying horses. The horse part is hard for me to take so I'm not sure I could watch the show without having some sort of breakdown.
Where I'm Going -- We've got some exciting things planned in the next few months. We are heading to Perdido Key this weekend for some family fun in the sun, then a nice Mother's Day brunch at the yacht club. Woo hoo! I bought my mom the coolest gifts for the big day and I can't wait to see her face when she opens her surprises. Sometimes giving really is better than receiving. (But receiving is still really good, too!)
My big 3-0 is next month, which is not quite as exciting even though I do LOVE a good birthday celebration. I hope we ring in my 30th with a bang (and I'm sure we will)! Charlotte's birthday is also coming up next month (along with my mom and dad's, too) so I've got to get to planning. I'm thinking a Minnie Mouse celebration pool party at the country club will do nicely.
We've also got a wedding next month for one of H's best friends. We both love Zach a whole lot, and we're so excited to be there as he weds lovely Liz. It's always nice when two nice people find each other. And I must admit, I'm pretty pumped to dance the night away at some of my old college stomping grounds!
And by "stomping grounds", I totally mean the library, Mom!
Is it just me or has there been an obscene amount of sadness this week?
I can't even imagine what went through the minds of those runners and fans in the first minutes of that chaos. What must it be like to witness that? To smell the burning flesh and fumes from the bombs? It just breaks my heart with a sadness and helplessness that is only comparable to the feelings I felt the morning of September 11, 2001.
What makes someone hate THAT much? Don't get me wrong, I have stumbled across people throughout my short time on Earth where I thought, "Ugh. I hate her/him!" But I've never hated someone so much I literally wanted to take their life, and I can't even begin to wrap my brain around wanting to annihilate an entire country and culture of people because of my hatred.
What do we do when the world seems so desperately dark? What do we do when we feel a sense of hopelessness for our future and our childrens' futures? How we do continue to see the good in humanity when it seems like there is no goodness left?
Some people pray. Some people cling tightly to their family or their friends. Some people go out and do good for others to remind themselves (and others) that there is indeed some good on Earth. Some people just retreat further into their holes, imaging a sense of safety in their solitude.
What do I do? A little bit of it all, I guess. I have faith and a loving, forgiving God that I turn to for comfort. I have family and friends that I want to hug and simply say "I love you". I try to give someone an extra smile or a little bit of extra help just so they know not everyone in the world is bitter and afraid. And yet in spite of this, part of me still wants to hide under my bed with my baby, husband, and dog.
But we can't. We can't hide from our new reality and our new world. Why would we want to? Because as much as that part of me wants to run scared, I know I can't. We can't. Because if all the good people run and hide, then they will have won. They will have achieved their goals and we, as a nation and as a whole subset of good people, will have lost.
There is a quote floating about on The Facebooks from Mr. Rodgers (as in PBS' Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood) that basically says something like "When something bad happens, look at the people who are helping". And I'm sure you've seen video footage from Boston where dozens of people are running toward the smoke and carnage to help the victims.
There is the good. And there is indeed, a lot of good.
Here is a little known fact about yours truly...I love some karaoke.
Have you ever seen someone get onstage, grab the microphone, and just completely silence the crowd with a totally Idol-worthy performance of "Fancy" or maybe even "Purple Rain"?
Well, that's not me.
Don't get me wrong, in reality I completely realize that I am by no means talented. I can carry a tune, and maybe even do it halfway decently, but NO ONE is mistaking me for Carrie Underwood. (And it ain't just because of my legs). In my head (and in the privacy of my shower) I sound ah-mazing!
But here's the thing about karaoke, and it's what makes me love it even more...
You don't have to be great, you just need to commit.
I am a self-proclaimed karaoke professional, performing in exciting venues from Troy, AL to the famous taverns of Dauphin Island. (The Pub and The Oarhouse, maybe you've heard of me?) What I have found to be true across the nation (or southern region of Alabama, whatever) is that the crowd just wants a show.
So whether it be a version of Salt & Peppa's "Push It" or an old classic like "Freebird", you just have to entertain. Nobody expects it to be perfect, but everyone expects it to be funny, loud, and sang with enthusiasm. And, if at all possible, get the crowd involved. Everyone loves to sing along with "Sweet Caroline" and Heaven help us all, "Sweet Home Alabama".
Just grab the microphone, and take the stage like you really are Carrie Underwood. Or a white-girl version of Salt & Peppa in a Banana Republic sundress and cardigan.
I have a couple of songs in my wheelhouse, and I tend to stick with what I know. For instance, I can't sing high notes worth a darn, so I like to go with some Janis Joplin or Bonnie Rait. Or maybe even some Jimmy Buffett or Alabama if the mood seems right.
And although there was that one time I sang 'Wind Beneath My Wings" on a dare in college, I usually play it safe. (By the way, the wager was free drinks all night if I would sing it a la Bette Midler, and I totally. rocked. it.)
That's why I like karaoke so much -- it's not so much about the talent, it's about the effort. And if you're in the audience, remember to cheer. It takes a lot of testicular fortitude to get up on stage and sing in public, so remember to clap and sing along like you're watching the next big thing on the music scene.
Unless you happen to catch me singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" again, in which case just sit back and enjoy the experience. And record it on your handy-dandy iPhone for future blackmail opportunities.
I am a true Southern Belle--a girl that knows how to ride a horse, write a thank-you note, and down a bourbon drink. I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast in historic (and hysteric) Mobile, AL, with my adorable hubby Harris, my blue-eyed beauty Charlotte, and the pupper dogs, Lois and Charlie. This is our story....chock-full of witty banter, bar gymnastics, home renovations, dog hair, parties, and fun as we conquer parenthood and the fabulous life. I hope it doesn't disappoint!