Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Dos and Don'ts for the Daughter I don't have...

I was convinced my youngest son was going to be a girl.  I checked out a book from the library two days after I found out I was pregnant with him, and I found a bookmark stuck inside it with Olivia written on it.  That was the girl name I had picked out before I ever had children.  So of course, I thought it was a sign.

Lo and behold, Jax popped up on that ultrasound screen and he was very much a boy.  When I saw him, I cried and felt so guilty that I’d been hoping for a girl.  (If you think I’m emotional now, you should’ve met pregnant me.)  I wouldn’t trade that kid for ten little girls, or all the money in the world.  I have no doubt whatsoever that I was meant to be the mother of two boys.  Those little dudes have my heart.

I used to think that maybe someday down the road, we'd want to try again for a girl.  Jeremy and I have even talked about adopting a daughter.  Time (and potty training) have all but squelched those distant possibilities.  Not that we wouldn't still consider it, but we don’t feel like it’s something we're missing.  I’m very content with my family just as it is.

I have several friends who have teenage daughters.  As I witness their trials, I sit back and silently thank God that it’s them and not me.  One of my friends has a daughter who is the constant victim of mean girls.  Another has a daughter who has been repeatedly jerked around by a jackass seventeen-year-old boy.  Both of these women are wonderful mothers, and their daughters' struggles break my heart.  I cringe when I think about my beautiful nieces experiencing these things someday.  I’ve thought about it a lot lately and have reflected upon the mistakes I made and the things I wish I’d learned sooner; so I’ve compiled a dos and don’ts list for the daughter that I don’t have.  Yet.  Who knows what the future holds?


I don’t think I was confident until a few years ago.  I struggled my whole life with feeling inferior.   I didn’t really have a reason to be that way; I was loved, I had friends, I didn’t have an extra appendage or anything. I just wasn’t confident and didn’t know how to be.  Through the years, I learned that people only take you as seriously as you take yourself.  Put on a smile, stand up tall, and know that you have something positive to offer the world.  Things will be so much easier when you settle into that mindset. 

Note: This is not to be confused with overconfident.  Nobody likes an ice-princess who rests high above everyone else on her self-imposed pedestal.  Those are the bitches that will end up miserable and alone.

2.  Don’t BE A MEAN GIRL.  

I know this is broad, but it’s really as simple as just being kind, considerate, and empathetic.  Everyone (with the exception of the extremely mentally ill) has an inner voice that speaks up when something you say or do or think is unkind.  I’ve been the victim of mean girls, and it sucks.  But no matter how much they piss you off, do not stoop to their level.  Brush it off and stand tall (see #1).  If you sink to their level, you’re no better than they are.  I’ve also had mean girl moments myself.  I can promise you that those moments never got me anywhere.  If anything, they just made people lose respect for me.  Fortunately, my inner voice is loud and squawky so I don’t ignore it now.


I’m ashamed that I was almost 30 before I realized how important this is.  I had female friends growing up, but very few that I trusted.  I constantly compared myself to them and resented their successes rather than celebrating them. Completely ridiculous, I know.  Your female friends will sometimes understand things that nobody else will.  Mama B. (my bff’s mother) recently said to me, “If you are older than 25 years old, and you don’t have at least 3 female friends who would take a bullet for you, then there is something seriously f’d up inside you.”  I laughed when she said it- because Mama B. is hilarious- but she is so right.  Cherish those friendships.  Build up the women in your life.  Be their cheerleader.  You are going to need them.

4.  Don’t BE FAKE.  

This goes along with number 3.  There’s a fine line between building up and being insincere.  Does this mean that you should tell your BFF that her ass looks fat in that dress if it does?  No.  It means that you should tell her that her hair looks beautiful instead.  And if she specifically asks you if it makes her butt look big- then drag her to your closet and offer to let her borrow something else that you just KNOW is going to look even better on her.  Tact is invaluable and goes hand in hand with sincerity.

5.  Don’t PLAY THE DITZ. 

I can’t tell you how many cute boys asked to copy my homework in high school.   It used to drive me insane.  I could think of plenty of things I wanted them to ask me- but copying my homework was not one of them.  So I got the idea right before I went to my first college class that I was going to play the ditz, because the girls who actually were a little ditzy seemed to get all the boys.  I had this warped idea that letting them know I was smart would kill my chances.  But the boys who are drawn to that?  Morons.  Dumber than a bag of hammers.  And they will still want to copy your homework.  Lesson learned, believe me.  I dropped the act rather quickly.

6.  Do READ. 

Read anything and everything.  Immerse yourself in books and learn as much as you can.  Embrace your brain.  Even though boys will want to copy your homework when they realize your brain is as big as your boobs, don’t fret.  Those same boys will be your subordinates at work someday.  They aren’t the ones you’ll be married to.  The boy you'll marry did his own damned homework.


Celebrities are just like you and me, except they’re under the constant scrutiny of spotlight.  Watch them long enough and they’ll do something very humanly disappointing.  Even the most wholesome celebrities can flip their psycho switch at any time and shock everyone (ahem, Miley).  Be your own celebrity.  Set a goal and chase it.


Notice that I said your dreams.  Other people will tell you what they think you should be.  Parents are the worst at imposing these kinds of expectations.  I fell into the trap myself.  I think I only became a nurse because, somewhere along the way, someone put it in my head that it was expected of me.  So I did it- even though it took me many years to go back and finish.  I graduated at the top of my class.  I did my job and I did it well.  I loved my patients and my co-workers.  But I wasn’t happy, because it was never what I wanted to do.  So at 31 years old, I finally got the guts to say that out loud and pursue my dreams.  Don’t make the mistake I did; pursue your dreams now.  Don’t take no for an answer.  Do what makes you happy because it is your life.  Nobody can live it but you.


Trust me honey, in fifteen years, he’s gonna be a trailer park train wreck and you’ll be thanking God you dodged that bullet.  I could post the picture (read: mugshot) of the boy whose ass I was convinced was the rising and setting point of the sun and you would all laugh and laugh.  But I won’t do that, because I’m not a mean girl.  

Of all the couples I know who were together in high school- only ONE made it to marriage and are still together now.   Don’t delude yourself into thinking you are that one couple.   You most likely aren’t.  And as you will learn in high school, statistics do mean something.


Not just emotionally, but physically, too.  That’s right!  I said it.   Do that instead of having sex before you’re ready, with some little dumbass who is too young and clueless to make it anything other than a nightmarish experience.  While he is acutely aware of his own body, and intimately acquainted with it- he has no idea how to touch yours.  Thank goodness I waited until I was 19 to make that mistake, but it was still a big one.  (Mistake, that is.  The penis was small.)  

So unless you want to be poked and prodded and manhandled by sweaty, confused fingers who couldn’t find your special button if it had a red flashing light on it, just don’t.  Seriously- don’t.  By the time you meet the man you’re supposed to be with, he will either have A) saved himself for you and be patient and intuitive enough not to make it horrible or B) have already poked and prodded enough other girls (who didn’t love themselves enough) that he’ll finally know what he’s doing.

Now that I read back over these, I wonder if this is why God gave me boys.  Maybe he knew that I would never really be able to say these things to my daughter.  Or maybe I would, and it would scar her for life.  Or maybe it wouldn’t, and she would be as wise at 15 as I am at 32.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Real life scary story...

It was a dark and stormy night…

A lot of fiction starts out that way, but this non-fiction story starts out that way, too.

It’s been raining and storming here all night.  I barely slept between the crashes of thunder that shook the house and the lightning that lit up our bedroom like a sports arena.  We live in a wooded area (it isn’t called The Woodlands for nothing), and every time it storms, I lie awake waiting on a tree to crash through the house.  I’m a bit of a worrier.  I’m a scaredy cat; I hate scary movies- and I’m very, very freaked out by collies and garden gnomes.  (You probably don’t want to know.)  Irrational fears are part of the reason I have a VIP pass to Crazytown.

So as you can imagine, I was more than a little unsettled this morning when my husband woke me up at 6:15 with the news that there was a bat in our house.  ON HALLOWEEN.  The irony isn’t lost on me; believe me.

He opened the front door to go to his early morning CrossFit class, and this furry little demon flew out of the storm and into our living room.  I don’t know what the hell he thought I was going to do to help, but he woke me up, anyway.  The first word out of my mouth?


See?  My brain instinctively jerks the steering wheel toward worst-case scenario.  I blame my mother.

I got up, already terrified of what was to come, and started flipping on lights and shutting all the doors upstairs that contained our children and dog.  I tiptoed down the stairs and he silently pointed to the bookcase, with eyes bugging out of his head.  I think the fear pooling in his eyes was what really flipped my oh shit switch.  If my big, strong CrossFitting husband is scared of this thing…we are screwed, people.

He put on the gloves he wears to feed our snake (big thick ones) and grabbed an old towel.  I watched from the stairwell in silent horror, gooseflesh overtaking me, as he crept to where it rested on the bookcase.  He mumbled something about wishing the Turtleman lived in Texas just before he dropped the towel on it and tried to wrap it up.

Didn’t work, it scrambled out from under the towel and I SAW ITS FACE.  I will never get that image out of my head for as long as I live.  And the sound it made, my God- the sound!  It was this evil, high-pitched shrieking sound that could’ve only been breathed into its strange little body by Beelzebub himself.  Then it got much louder in intensity and had these odd layers of intonation.  That’s when I realized I was screaming, too. 

He finally managed to wrestle the shrieking hell beast into submission under the towel, and he took it outside and let it go.

He just looked at me, totally disgusted, when he came back in the house.  Lot of help I was.  Ha.  He said he knew I wouldn’t be much help, anyway.  He just needed a witness to call 911 in case it started trying to eat his face off.

I’m glad it’s over without event, but I’m left wondering…is this a thing?  Do bats just fly into people’s effing houses?  Because if so, and this happens to me at some point while hubs is out of town for work… I will pack our suitcases and leave.  It can have the house.  We’ll get another one.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Laser Hair Removal Review

I’ve kind of felt like the above Shel Silverstein poem was written about me since having kids.  I wasn’t a hairy person before I became a mama.  But hormones are some nasty little pranksters.
Let’s be honest, unless you’re a cast member of Duck Dynasty, nobody wants to be Sasquatch.  I’m just not a fan of excess hair: not on me, not on the hubs, not even on poor Annabelle, who is currently shedding like crazy in this Texas summer heat.  She leaves little globs of it on my furniture and it’s positively gaggariffic.
When Jeremy grows his beard out (and it ain’t no pansy beard, either… growing a beard is like his superpower) - I always threaten to just quit shaving my legs and pits if he doesn’t get rid of it.  He laughs at me, because he knows I won’t even make it a week.  I can’t stand it.
It does get annoying to have to shave and pluck various body parts, and then you just have to do it again a couple of days later.  But time and experience have taught me to leave the more long-term methods to the professionals.  I won’t get into the whole story, but at one point, I had the genius idea to DIY wax my nether region.  When I stood up, there was some residual wax and I accidentally glued a labia to my inner thigh.  It looked like my lady parts had a stroke.  It ended in blinding pain and tears and me swearing I’d never again do such a stupid ass thing.
Truth is, though, even a professional waxing (on any body part) is unpleasant.   I usually let the ladies at the nail salon guilt me into a wax before I finish getting my pedi.  “You want wax yo face? It daaark.”  Ugh.  Yes, please.  Go ahead.  It doesn’t hurt any less when they do it, but at least they get all the wax off.
 There is just no inoffensive way to remove hair.  Shaving dries your skin, plucking is tedious, and waxing is freaking OW.  So back in April, I decided to check out laser hair removal.  “It feels like rubber bands snapping on your skin,” the FAQ on the website read.  Pffft.  I can handle a rubber band!  After a few treatments, the results are permanent.  PERMANENT, as in- NO MO’ HAIR, people!  Sign me up!  I read rave reviews all over the internet, and figured I’d try it on my face before trying any other areas.
When I called and made my first appointment, the esthetician asked how I’d been treating the area (my face). I told her by plucking and using Nair.  She then instructed me to SHAVE MY FACE for the next two weeks before my appointment.  Yes, shave my face.  Like a big burly man.  I was positively traumatized by this suggestion, but I complied- since I wanted to do everything they recommend to make the treatment work.  Naturally I went out and bought a hot pink razor especially for my face so I’d remember I’m still a chick.  I swear the shaving made it worse.  Before, I was fretting over a few scragglers.  After the shaving commenced, it got out of hand.
When I got to the first appointment, the lady observed my (by then extremely stubbly) chin.  She said, “Oh wow, that’s really coarse!” 
Was it supposed to be a compliment?  I don’t know.  She continued to stroke my chin while ogling me like a science project gone bad, and eventually called for backup.  While she and another esthetician discussed my man beard, and whether they should move me to another room with a different laser- one with a face melting nuclear gamma ray, I assume- I just stared at the ceiling and slowly died inside.
Finally they decided the regular laser was sufficient, so she gave me some eyewear to put on and donned glasses of her own that reminded me a lot of Darth Vader.  She flipped the power button to the laser machine and it literally sounded like a weapon of mass destruction powering up (or what I imagine one would sound like).  She asked me if I’d used numbing cream or if I’d like to try some- I’d have to wait half an hour to start the treatment if so.
“Numbing cream?” I scoffed, “No.  I’ve had two children.  The regular way.  And tattoos.  I’m good, this can’t be that bad.”
Jennifer, meet regret.
The first zap lifted me up off the table.  I literally got air I jumped so hard.  Rubber bands, you say?  Right.  Maybe if said rubber bands were coated in broken glass and lit on fire.
The esthetician said, “Are you okay?” 
“Sure,” I lied through my trembling teeth.
“I’m gonna try to go really fast, okay?  We’ll get it over with and see how you’re doing before I do another pass.”
I tried to distract myself by making up acronyms for PASS- since I had no idea what she meant by “do another pass.”  Putrid Acid Skin Scorcher?
With every zap, I could not stifle how hard it made me jump.  It was SO shocking, and SO hot.  After about 4 zaps, I could smell my flesh burning.  I started to panic, and I could not calm myself no matter what.  My body reacted violently to the sound and the smell, and the godforsaken feeling of that thing.  After a while, I was so jumpy and embarrassed that I couldn’t stop convulsing when she put it to my face, so I started laughing maniacally.  I couldn’t stop.  Jump, laugh, shiver.  Jump, laugh, shiver.  This went on for TWELVE ungodly minutes, y’all.
The good news?  After that first treatment, the hair on my face started falling out when I’d cleanse or do facial masques.  Read: No more shaving like a man. When I went in for the second treatment 4 weeks later (with numbing cream I bought after that first treatment, I might add)- the esthetician made the comment while reading my chart, “I don’t know why she said you have coarse hair.  You definitely do not.” 
Well, no- that’s because this is a new face.  She melted the old one off.
The numbing cream was an adventure in itself.  They told me to put it on up to an hour before my treatment.  Still totally shell-shocked from that first rodeo, I slathered that shit on.  I mean, gobs and gobs.  And let it sit on my skin.  By the time I got to the laser center, I looked like Benjamin Buford Blue.  I could not feel my face from the nose down.  But guess what?  I didn’t even flinch when she zapped me.  Thank the heavens above.  That one was much easier to take.  I could still smell the skin and hair burning, but who cares?  I didn’t feel it.
Today was my third treatment.  I basically have no hair on my face at this point, but I’ve already paid for the treatments, so I went anyway.  I used the numbing cream, and overdid it again, just to err on the side of caution.
Little did I know that when I left,  I was going to make a wrong turn in the pouring down rain on my way home and end up in an abandoned strip mall in the Mexican ghetto. With a dead cell phone and no GPS. I had to stop at the El Valero gas station somewhere between Spring and The Woodlands and ask for directions.  The only problem?  My face was numb, and my lip was protruding out in that Bubba-esque way.  So as I was asking the gas station attendant how to get back to Gosling Road, drool seeped out of my mouth and onto the counter.  He was glancing and pointing outside at the time, so I hoped he didn’t see.  I attempted to wipe it off really quickly with my skirt- just in time for him to turn around and catch me.  Sigh.  He looked so disgusted.  And somewhat worried.  I’m sure he was hovering just above the panic button, and surely called the cops to report the slobber bandit when I left.
But I digress.  I guess I said all of that to say that laser hair removal works.  It is unpleasant in a whole lot of ways, but at least once it’s done, it’s done.  You don’t have to do it again in two days, or a week, or two weeks.  Once your treatments are complete, it’s over and you’re free.  I am impressed enough by the results that I think I’ll move on to other areas over the next few months.  Although there are some places that I will not even consider.  Last time I checked, they don’t make hazmat suits for the man in the boat, so I don’t want that zapper anywhere near my special parts.  Pits and legs, though?  Yes.  Can you imagine never having to shave again? 
That’s all for now.
-Hairless and loving it

Friday, May 31, 2013

Welcome to Texas

I told everyone when we moved to Texas last summer, “I created a blog! I’m gonna update it all the time!” 
I’m a dirty, dirty liar.
In my defense, I did create one on Wordpress, but then I never blogged.  Not because my life is of such great consequence that I have no time to document it.  (Don’t you love those blogs where the opening line is, “Sorry I haven’t blogged in soooo long, but I’ve been sooooo busy!”  Read:  I’m so important.  Sure.  Whatever.  I’m already yawning.) 
I neglected to blog because 1) Wordpress is not particularly user-friendly.  Blogger is better, so here I am!  2) I went from being a full-time nurse to a stay at home mom.  It’s difficult to sound interesting and insightful with a toddler flinging Cheerios at your face and an eight year old whose social calendar has turned you into a permanent hostess.  There are always children in my house that did not originate in my womb.  Not that I’m complaining; I always wanted to have a home where all my children’s friends would want to come.  Wish granted!  As a result, I haven’t been blogging.  And there’s never any milk in my fridge.
For those of you who are still with me after that ridiculous intro… Way to hang in there, sport!  I’m going to get to the point here in a minute. 
So what has this first year in the Lone Star State been like for us?  So much better than I could’ve ever hoped.  We lived in Savannah, GA for 5 years, so we spent last summer in our South Carolina hometown with our friends and family before the move.  I cried for days when we had to leave everyone behind.  Then we got here and moved in to this great house with a huge backyard, where sweet Annabelle (our big, goofy Great Dane to those of you not in the know) can run and play.  The hike and bike trail that goes on for hundreds of miles throughout The Woodlands is only steps from our front door.  And our neighbors?  Possibly the coolest people on planet Earth.  They all practically knocked each other down to welcome us.  Truly, the hospitality here is epic.  I was so afraid that I would get here and everyone would be an NRA card-carrying liberal hater.  But no, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the area is as diverse as it is friendly.  The schools are fantastic, and the kids have adapted well.  Hubby loves his job.  We are happy here.  (Not in that Look-At-Us-We’re-So-Happy-On-The-Internet way, but truly happy.)
I do not miss being a nurse.  Not even gonna lie.  I still have to clean random fecal matter off of things, but it’s less horrifying to clean smeared baby poo off of a crib railing than to have to wipe it off a 500 pound bedridden stroke patient’s scrotum.  True story, both scenarios.  I don’t miss charting, or pompous doctors, or third shift totally destroying my circadian rhythm. 
I enjoy being home with the boys.  Who wouldn't?  Look at these faces!

I love being able to make their breakfast every day, and tuck them in to sleep every night.  I love being able to take evening walks as a family down to the waterway or the park (there are 4 parks within walking distance of our house).  I love getting outside and meeting people in the area.  Did I mention how friendly these people are?!
Speaking of friendly,  I got pulled over the other day doing 34 in a 20…which also happened to be a school zone.  And I still have a Georgia Driver’s License, a year after moving out of Georgia.  And I couldn’t find my current insurance card.  All of those factors would equal a cop running out of ink, you would think.  I held it together and hoped for the best.  I made a few jokes and apologized.  The cop came back and said that he was letting me go with a warning, and to go get my Texas driver’s license ASAP. (Which I still have not done. Hehe. I’m a rebel.)  When he walked away, he drawled, “Welcome to Texas.”  My jokes have NEVER worked on cops before, so I’m going to assume it was my cleavage that saved the day. 
Another perk of this area is that the live music is phenom.  We live in close proximity to The Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion, which hosts tons of awesome shows all year long.  So far in this very early summer concert season, we’ve already seen The Lumineers and Dave Matthews Band.  Both were completely swoon-worthy in every way.  Here’s a picture of me and my mega-handsome hubs the night we saw The Lumineers.
Besides taking care of my boys, finally having a house that stays clean 95% of the time, and cooking several nights a week (which I NEVER did when I was working full-time, props to moms who can pull that off), I’ve spent the past year writing a book.  To completion, believe it or not.
I’ve kept a folder full of writing projects over the years that I’ve never finished.  (Cue The Avett Brothers singing, “I haven’t finished a thing since I’ve started my life, I don’t feel much like starting now…”)  Most of my projects are about my kids, musings on life, and bad poetry.  Bad, bad poetry that I shall command burned upon my departure from this Earth.
The book I completed?  Fiction.  Fantasy/Suspense/Romance.  Yes, I said romance.  Read: SMUT.  Not 50-shags-a-day smut, but enough that I haven’t bothered to query an agent yet.  I’m too busy trying to think of the perfect pseudonym, so that if my grandmother reads it, she won’t realize it’s me and blow out her last good heart valve.  Or, gasp!  My preacher.  But he thinks my name is Jessica, so I miiiiight be safe on that one.  We’ll see. 
The story itself was born of a mishsmash of my weird dreams, my love of Karen Marie Moning books, and my (borderline obsessive) celebrity crush on Taylor Kitsch, a la Tim Riggins- after watching all five seasons of Friday Night Lights on Netflix.  In an embarrassingly short period of time.  So when people poke fun at me about my Taylor Kitsch Pinterest board, I just tell them it’s for visuals and character development.  Totally normal, right?
I’m really excited about it.  I have the best beta readers in the world.  They’ve encouraged me and championed me throughout the process.  I look forward to sharing more details soon.
I still miss my friends, but social media makes it much easier to keep up with them.  I’m currently plotting to have them all relocated here.
I don’t think I ever did get to the point, did I?
Oh well, I’ll do better on the next one.  Hopefully I’ll blog again before next summer.