for reals...

for reals...

A blog about parenting teens and other things. There are a lot of "mommy blogs" out there. I love many of them. However, they aren't really applicable at this stage in our parenting. A blog about parenting teens? Now that is something I can get behind!

Although, I will say, if you are looking for advice on parenting, I can mostly offer the things I've found that DON'T work. I'm not an expert. AT. ALL . Unless we're talking about eyerolls. And then, I've got that shizzle nailed...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Confession time...

I am addicted to my iPhone.  I know there are some super serious addictions out there, and I'm not making light of them.  However, by definition I am addicted:


 noun ad·dic·tion \ə-ˈdik-shən, a-\

 : a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)

: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

Is being addicted to my phone "harmful" as stated in the first definition?  Probably not in the traditional sense.  But, it does cause conflict in my house.  Often.  It's something I try to work on, stumble and fall, and try again.  

I think part of the problem is that while I could give up my phone (or at least the features on it that suck my attention) deep down, I don't really want to.  I use it as an escape.  

I would imagine most people who meet me would not peg me for an introvert.  I'm fairly outgoing, and willing to engage in most conversations.  However, in true introvert form, this tends to exhaust me.  I need to recharge my batteries a lot.  Generally, I do this in two ways...plugging into my phone, or burying my head in a book. 

The problem is, I notice the girls picking up this habit.  I'm setting a terrible example for them.  It's hard to get too upset with them getting sucked into reading.  Although, it has caused problems in the past...Peyton got grounded from the library and reading anything unrelated to school work when we found out she was reading in class instead of listening to her instructors.  (Clearly she is on the road to juvie if this was what her crime and punishment were.)  But, the electronics are taking over all of our lives.  It's got to change.  And I'm afraid it has to start with me.

I'm working on it.  And admitting there's a problem is the first step...

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Our goal is to raise our girls to be grateful.  (By the way, does anyone else have trouble spelling that word?  I always want to spell it greatful...)  It's difficult, because often times we take things for granted and perhaps are not the best examples.  I'm totally looking at you, Mark!  OK, not really.

By most standards, we are extremely fortunate.  We have never had to worry about the basic necessities.  But we are also in a position where our kids are privileged enough to go to private school.  Our 15 year old had a car as soon as she had a drivers license.  We can afford a lot of extras.  And we feel pretty lucky.

However, it can be a challenge at times to see the immense wealth surrounding us at the fore-mentioned private schools.  It's easy to get stuck in the more, more, more mentality.  But it also goes deeper than that.  The guilt from being so fortunate and not doing more for those with less.  Seeing people on the street corner holding a sign asking for help and looking the other way.  Going on vacation, and then thinking about how many people you could have helped with that money.  The list of items to feel guilty about could be endless.  We try to do good, but could always do more.

I also really want the girls to be grateful for the little things.  And that can be an exercise in futility.  The other morning, Peyton informed me that she needed black pants and a black shirt for her choir performance...that day.  She came in to raid my closet, and was critical of every option presented to her.  After several attempts to appease her, I finally left her to her own devices.  I was finding it very difficult to be gracious. Besides the fact that she expected me to drop everything and attend to her needs, I was resentful that she was making me late and leaving a heap of clothing strewn about expecting me to clean up after her.

I walked away, trying to find some gratitude in myself.  I'm grateful she knows I will try to help her, I'm grateful for a closet full of clothes, etc.  About five minutes later, she came in and gave me hug.  "Thanks for helping me, Mom".  And for that, I'm very grateful.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whoa, hold up.

The other day, one of the girls and I had a conversation that I would never have imagined.  Without going in to detail, it was pretty big.  I tried so hard to not freak out.  I mean, freaking out is kind of what I do.  It's my thing

That got me to thinking about those times in parenting when you don't know what to do.  Or what to say.  Or when your first reaction is wrong.  And you know it.  What do you do then?  No, for real...I'm asking.  Cuz I suck at reacting well.

What I did do, was ask a lot of questions.  And freak out internally.

Later, I revisited the conversation with her, and asked for her feedback.  I asked how well she thought I handled it.  What I could do differently.  What reaction she expected.  And hopefully, made her feel like she could come to me with the hard stuff.

It was both exhilarating and terrifying.  Just like parenting...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


As parents, we have had to adjust our expectations often.

This past weekend, we went to McCall.  It was the girls Christmas present.  The idea was that they could pick which "Winter activities" they wanted to do.  Wellllll....come to find out, it was about 50 degrees and beautifully sunny in McCall.  The tubing hill was closed, there was a hockey tournament at the skating rink, there wasn't much snow around for cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  You get the idea...

I had plans to make this a "trip to remember".  We don't travel much so when we do I want it to be super special.  What I forget, is that any time we do travel, it IS special because we rarely do it.  Our girls tend to be happy with anything they get to do.  I think they tend to have fewer expectations.  We did do a lot of fun things...ceramic painting, glass fusion, shopping, eating out every meal, and they got to try snowboarding.  Somehow, the trip exceeded their expectations.  Have Mark and I set the bar that low?!?  Ha!

On a different but related note, since Mark and I grew up playing sports, we always assumed that our kids would play and love sports as well.  Silly expectations.  Peyton tried various sports, but just doesn't have a competitive spirit.  Not sure how that happened as her parents are super competitive.  (Perhaps more now than when we were younger if my actual sports performance is any indication.)  The funny thing about Peyton (funny in a good, amazing way) is that she loves to perform.  In front of an audience.  Of real live people.  Honestly, it makes me a little dizzy and perhaps sweaty palmish just thinking about being in front of an audience.  Center of attention?  Um, no thanks.  I don't even like when I have to speak in a meeting.

Syd has no qualms about performing in front of large groups either.  Her piano teacher once told me "Sydney never thinks she can't do something.  You could ask her if she could walk on water and she'd probably say yes".  Recently, she led the singing in front of the entire Church congregation (about 1,600 people) and never batted an eye.  And, she loves piano recitals.  LOVES them!

There are so many parenting situations where our kids don't meet our expectations.  But often, they do far exceed them.  It's then that we need to pause and realize how blessed we are with these two.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pretend Friends

Waaaaay, waaaaay back before I had internet on my phone (or in my home for that matter), I was pregnant with our first little ginger.  Three of my co-workers and I were all expecting around the same time.  We happened to find this website called Babycenter.  They had these things called "boards" in which other folks with your specific interests etc. could converse. Wait, what?

I spent some time on bed rest (can NOT believe I complained about getting to lounge around all day!).  While on said bed rest, I spent way more time than you can imagine posting on, and reading a board labeled April '99 babies.  At the time, I was extremely new to the internet so at first I was mostly a "lurker".  Although I didn't know there was a name for reading/not posting on a board.  It was exciting to share some camaraderie with other women due around the same time as me.  After all, misery loves company! 

What I didn't know, or couldn't fathom, was that some of those ladies would become some of my best friends...even the ones I've never met.  When we all first stated posting, we had screen-names.  No one "knew" anyone else in real life, nor did we know anyone's actual name. Boy have times changed for my little group!  

We have moved our board to a couple different venues over the last 16+ years.  Yep, 16 years of friendship with women I've never met.  Cray - Z.  There are about 11-12 of us that still visit our "newest home" at least weekly. We have shared so much about our lives over the years.  Good, and bad.  It's a great place to vent about things in your everyday life, get it off your chest, and get back to reality.

Many of us have gone on to have subsequent children.  We've been through divorces, illnesses, deaths, and even a few group spats. There have been many meet-ups, which is amazing as we live all over the country...and even in Canada. Honestly, I've gotten some of my best parenting advice from these ladies.  And it still continues.  One of our more recent conversations was the tipping point for me starting this blog.  Another gave me the idea for the name. 

For a long time, the board was my secret.  Not from Mark, but from the outside world.  I would say "Oh, my friend said blank" to which Mark would ask if one of my "pretend friends" said it. And if there were others around, I was almost embarrassed to tell them what he meant.  Guess if you didn't know about my pretend friends before, you sure do now...

The biggest take-away from my group was that we need others who are in similar situations.  We need someone to talk to who has "been there, done that".  When I was home with the girls full-time, I didn't always have a "person" who was in my same boat.  More than anything, these awesome chicks have been that... my life raft.  I'm so thankful for them, every single day!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

As parents, we've come to realize that the things that drive us most crazy about our kids are the things that they inherited from us that we don't much like in ourselves.

Case in of my children woke up with an eye that didn't feel quite right.  She immediately made the Evel Knievel leap to "I've got pink-eye.  I'm going to have to miss school.  How will I make up all the work I'm going to miss?  Will I have to go to the doctor?  If they give me medicine, will it make me sick or will it hurt?"  She apparently laid awake until she couldn't stand it any longer.  Decided to come wake us up at 5AM.  I'm not sure how long she was awake with the churning going on in that head.

I admit, once I looked at her eye and realized she was completely fine, I got annoyed.  Mostly, I got annoyed because she takes after me in this crazy.  I can ignore the heck out of an illness or an injury.  However, once I admit that I may be injured or sick, I go straight into hypochondriac mode.  Crazy. Cakes. Hysteria.  Well, hysteria may be a little too strong of a word.  But, obsessive is probably not out of the question.

Sometimes, this hyper-focus can be a good thing.  Not very often, but it does happen.  My concern about an illness when Sydney was a baby led the doctors to test a couple extra things.  Once resulting in a diagnosis of Salmonella.  Once in finding out she had a rare bacterial infection in her urinary tract.  Sydney also takes after me in the "never get anything normal" sickness department.  These things would obviously have been discovered eventually, but I "knew" something wasn't right.  I think as parents, we generally know our children better than anyone.  So, we know when something is really wrong.

I have also lain awake at night worrying about something, only to wake up the next morning to discover they are fine.  Or I'm fine.  Or the dog is fine.  Or that noise I heard when Mark was out of town was clearly not someone breaking in to murder us all in our sleep.  You know, since it's morning and we are all alive.

This also manifests in other super fun ways.  Occasionally, I will over-think something and freeze up...unable to proceed with whatever task it is.  Our kitchen back-splash took several months to go up.  Not the actual tiling process, the starting.  I bought the tile and other supplies and they sat in the garage for weeks. And they sat, and sat, and sat.  Until one day, Mark got them out and started tiling.  Wait, what?  I wasn't ready!  We had never done a tiling job before.  I was frozen with my fear of the unknown.

Syd and I have the same irritating ability to take a small grain of fear and obsess over it until it becomes this huge, seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  Until it's not.  It often takes Mark and his logic to snap us out of it.  Usually because we get mad at him.  Lucky guy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

High School? Wait, what?

Monday night, we went to the new student information night at our older daughter's high school.  However, we went because our youngest daughter will be starting there in the Fall.  I'm not sure how this happened!  The old adage of "The days are long, but the years are short" has never seemed truer than right now.

It was one thing when Peyton started high school.  She's not the baby!  I will admit that this, our last year at St. Mark's, we have been a bit disconnected.  We have been St. Mark's parents for 11 years.  I think some of the shine has worn off.  If given the choice, we would absolutely send our kids there again, but we are ready for a change.  I will also admit that Sydney hasn't had the amount of attention in her last year that her sister did.  She requires less parenting, always has.  Things are less "new" this time.  I  even considered not attending the information night.  Mark wisely explained why we should go.  Soooo, we went. 

It was fun to see Syd get excited about what BK has to offer.  She and Peyton are similar in a lot of ways, but it will be cool to see her forge her own path.  She's a lot more interested in what classes she will take.  She's ready for the challenge.  In fact, she got home and started going over the course options.  She's decided to have her first science class be Physics.  I can safely say Peyton wouldn't take Physics if she didn't have to.  And certainly not as a Freshman!

Syd is ready for high school.  No doubt.  Just not sure I am...