16 Ways to Know you Have a Teenage Boy

In honor of my son, Mr. T, who turned 16 on Monday, I thought I would bring you

16 Ways to Know you have a Teenage Boy

  1. Your water bill has gone up.  This is due to extended showers.  I fully believe that this is due to a sudden interest in cleanliness.  This is the story.  This is the truth.  I refuse to believe anything else.
  2. The fact that there must be a force-field around all of your laundry hampers is a genuine concern.
  3. You understand what Snapchat is, how it works and yes, you are worried.
  4. Food disappears.  Like overnight.  Like if you wash a bunch of grapes and lovingly pluck them from the stems and put them in a bowl in the fridge, make sure you eat all you want right then.  They won’t be there in the morning.
  5. Serving sizes become meaningless. The note that says “Serves Four” becomes “Serves a mom, a teenage son and 3 tablespoons will be left over.  Too little to save for tomorrows lunch but too much apparently for the human garbage disposal to eat.”
  6. You’ve heard the perks of living at home, and they don’t include love, they include Food, Shelter and Wi-fi.
  7. You start to wonder if eyes really can roll back into a head, and if so – is it worth a trip to the emergency room? Didn’t you warn them when they were younger that “If you keep making that face it will stick that way?”
  8. You’ve had a conversation and then had to sneak onto the internet to translate what was actually said.
  9. You know what Kk, Bae, Molly and Poppin’ Tags all stand for.
  10. You’ve had a complete conversation where all of the answers you received were in the form of sighs and grunts.
  11. There have been days when you communicate via Twitter and Text more than you talk in person.
  12. “Can I drive?” Is the most common phrase in your house.  You even start hearing it in your sleep.
  13. You have to troll Twitter to find out what is going on in your kids life. #StalkerMom
  14. Mysterious phone calls start coming in.  Sometimes these phone calls require hanging out in the back yard.
  15. Clouds of aftershave/deodorant/cologne is becoming a permanent feature in the bathroom.
  16. You have heard the “Mom, I need my space” talk.

If any of the above has happened to you, you might be raising a teenage boy!

And you know what?

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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My Cup Runneth Over

I am so very blessed.  I try not to forget this in my everyday life; I frequently say thanks and tell those in my life how much I appreciate them; however, recently my blessing have had a very physical manifestation.

This past month it was made very clear to me how much I am loved and how very fortunate I am to have such wonderful, caring and loving people in my life.

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I used to think that everyone else was lucky to have me in their lives – I’m smart, funny, witty and a great listener.  🙂  Now I fully believe that the opposite is true.  I am the lucky one.  I’ve had more people reach out to me than I ever expected.

And it wasn’t out of obligation, either!

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I heard from people that genuinely cared! I heard from people that I new in high school, people that I knew when I moved out of the house for the first time.  Mentors that have been there for me since I started in the industry and I heard from the friends I have today.  It was amazing.  I mean, I know I’m loved, who wouldn’t love me, right? (Okay, there are a few, but I think it’s a defect in them, they must be missing the right gene!)

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I wanted to just take a minute and not brag or boast, but to tell everyone thanks.  Thanks for loving me.  Thanks for being there for me, for reaching out.  For all of the well-wished, cards, text messages, emails, phone calls and flowers, thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  I’m blessed and my cup runneth over.

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So, feel free to just put You’re Welcome in the comments box, cause you know I’m talking about all of you guys, too!  (And notice that it’s totally against my nature to be so mushy, so I had to throw in some e-cards to lighten the mood!)

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The Things I’ve Said This Past Week

Oh my God!

Brake.  Brake.  BRAKE!!!!

Well, we know my seat belt works.

Release.  Release the wheel. RELEASE!!

Slow down.

Slow down!!!

Don’t tip the car over!!

Turn into your lane, your lane!

Don’t hit the pedestrian!!!

Get up to speed.

Curb!  Watch the curb!

Back up and try it again.

Whew, we made it.

Can you tell yet what I’ve been doing more of this last week or so?  Teaching Mr. T to drive.  Since last year I’ve been giving him opportunities to drive, mainly in empty parking lots and the short trek to the bathroom facilities when we go camping; however, he has really ramped up his driver’s education lately.  I think this is mainly because he realized that his younger cousin was driving more than he was.  We are just a bit competitive in our family!

So not ready for this yet...

So not ready for this yet…

I have discovered that construction zones are not the place to let him learn.  I’ve also discovered that he’s not ready for the main roads yet.  I’m already dreading the freeway experience.  I usually talk to Erica at the end of the day and as I’m on my way to pick up Mr. T from school, about 6:30, and we hang up when he gets in the car – and Mr. T keeps laughing “why does Erica keep praying for your safe return? Does she think I can’t get you home in one piece?”

Well, uh, yeah, that’s pretty much it.

I took my eyes off the road just long enough to snap a picture!

I took my eyes off the road just long enough to snap a picture!

 

 

 

What Does “Being Brave” Mean?

My good friend Karaboo and I tend to email almost every day and share parts of our life or quotes, pictures, etc. that we’ve found interesting/funny/inspirational.  Last week she sent me a copy of Are you being brave? by Simple Mom.  This is not a blog that I follow, but I’m always up to read something new.

The blogger posed the query “Stop and think about the bravest moment in your life.” Now, most of you know what I do when told to stop and think about something, I usually don’t.  I gave it a slight pause and nothing immediately popped up, so I continued reading.  She goes on to detail her brave moment that happened while she was working on her pilot’s license.  Both of my parents have gotten their pilot’s licenses, so I know how hair-raising and gut-wrenching that can be, and I have to admit, my dad is red/green color blind.  The colors on planes (to indicate if they are coming at you or away from you) are red and green.  So, I see how that could be a momentous occasion in a person’s life.  The blogger is very adamant that you don’t compare your moment to anyone else’s; all of our life experiences are different. I appreciate her pointing that out, as we all know that my goal for this year is to stop comparing myself to others!  🙂

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I read the blog to the end.  I stopped and thought about my bravest moment.  I’ve jumped out of a plane.  I’ve ridden the Titan at Six Flags -twice (255 feet tall, speed exceeding 85 mph, those are stats that I’m really glad I didn’t know beforehand!), I’ve swam in an ocean, given birth and I’ve taken multiple road trips with my family. These are all big, brave things in my world.

It was time to answer Karaboo’s email… “I love this!  And while I respect her journey, and the big brave thing she did – there are days that sometimes just making it through the day makes me feel brave!”

Sometimes it is hard to pull the trigger and hit send on an email when you don’t know what reaction the other side is expecting from you!

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Oh thank goodness! Karaboo agreed with me!  I should have known her thoughts were going in the same direction as mine.  Karaboo sent back that she was thinking that it was brave to be a single mom, or a step-mom.  Working from home or accepting a job that you have no experience at.  “What about the 100’s of little things we all do each and every day that others don’t see as brave, but was brave for us.”

So, to answer Simple Mom’s query, and as I told Karaboo, I love the big adventures, and they make great stories and very, very memorable moments, but for me, sometimes just making it through the day makes me feel brave.  Walking into a room where I don’t know anyone makes me feel brave.  Attempting to make cookies after dinner really makes me feel brave.  Hearing my son tell me he loves me makes me feel brave.  Writing this blog makes me feel brave.  It means that I stood up and faced the day, faced my fears and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

I’d ask you all to stop and think about your bravest moment… but, we know I hate that – however, I will tell you feel free to share your bravery below!

Here's wishing you all be brave!

Here’s wishing you all be brave!

Lessons from the Movies: Lord of the Rings

I love movies.  I mean, really love movies.  I prefer action and comedy, I’ve been known to watch a chick flick or two and I still love cartoons and animation.  I’m dying for Despicable Me 2 and I want my own minions – I’m just saying.

Anyway, Mr. T and I went and watched The Hobbit the other day.  It was awesome!  I’m a big Sci Fi and Fantasy lover – and Mr. T has been good about indulging my Sci Fi addiction, but he was never really interested in Fantasy (apparently vampires don’t count, cause that dude loves the series Angel more than I do!  When Christian Kane comes up in conversation, Mr. T doesn’t mention his latest series, Leverage, he always mentions Angel!  Ladies, seriously, go Google Christian Kane… trust me!)

Squirrel!!  We saw The Hobbit and it was awesome.  When we left the theatre I suggested that we borrow the Lord of the Rings trilogy from his uncle and watch that.  We did.  Now, since Mr. T won’t indulge my Fantasy cravings (and boy, does that sound wrong!!) I’ve never seen these movies.  We sat down on a Sunday night and made it through the first two, and finished up on Monday night with the third.  I really enjoyed them.

Now, I have not searched this, refused to find any other blogs related to this, so if I’m covering old material and someone else has made this point, please forgive me.  Also, I get that I should be talking about the book, but unlike The Hobbit, I’ve never read the Lord of the Ring books, so we have to go with the movie version.

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I liked Frodo, and as the “main” character, I could see why people talked about him; however, I LOVED Sam, the best friend character played by Sean Astin.  Sam was there, every step of the way, always treated Mr. Frodo with respect and never seemed to mind that Frodo was going to get all of the attention.  Sam put up with tons of crap, from the other characters, from that Gollum and from Frodo himself.  Towards the end of the third movie, he impressed me most.  They are on the volcano and Frodo just can’t walk any further and Sam says “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you”.

This resonated with me.  I’m a big believer that everyone has their own journey, their path to walk and that I should be here to help them along the way.  I’ve told my friends how pleased I am to be part of their journey and tried to be there for them during the flowers blooming stages and there when they stumbled and needed help over the uneven ground.

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

I’m not a patient person.  Now, I will so very gladly admit that I am a lot more patient now than I was 15 years ago.  Having a kid can do that to you.  I have no choice but to slow down.  To let him tie his own shoes, dress himself and figure things out on his own.  But do I apply this to the rest of my life?  As I was watching the movie, I was pissed at Sam.  The end result is that the ring has to be destroyed (oh, oops, spoiler alert) and that is all that will save Middle Earth.  So, when Frodo stumbled and fell, I could picture myself there, and seriously, I’m not sure that I would be as wise as Sam was.  I wanted Sam to just grab the ring and go toss it in the fire.  I mean, really, they’ve made it that far; the ring has to be destroyed.  It’s a no-brainer.  In the back of my brain, I understood what Sam was doing – he was letting Frodo walk his own path, continue his own journey – but my overwhelming feeling was for Sam to just get the ring and destroy it.

Instead, with much wisdom, Sam told Frodo “I can’t carry it, but I can carry you”. I hope that I can be the friend, mother, sister, aunt and daughter that will allow people to walk their own path and carry them when they can’t go on instead of getting frustrated and doing it for them. I hope that I can be the type of person that is okay standing in the background while others get the spotlight.  I hope that I gain the wisdom to see and act as Sam did.

Of course, Frodo irritated me even further when he couldn’t go back to living his life again after that adventure and took off – but, that’s for another time.

Lessons Learned from the Movies: 50/50

When I get a free weekend from my cable provider for the premium channels, Mr. T and I go through and record everything that we want to watch.  He gets to his movies pretty darn fast; it takes me much longer to watch mine! Mr. T goes camping every year between Christmas and New Year with his grandparents and I always take one day during that time for me.  This year I chose to catch up on my DVR.  I watched several movies that day, Hangover 2, Horrible Bosses (which I realized at the end I had already seen), a movie I’ve already forgotten, and 50/50.

50/50

50/50

My aunt had cancer, and though she lived in Alabama, she came in every 3 weeks and stayed with my parents and did her treatments here in Texas.  Towards the end of her life, she moved down here and bought a house a few blocks away from my parents.  I knew that the movie 50/50 would hit some sore spots, so I had put off watching it.  If you have ever gone through cancer with a loved one, then several parts of this movie will seem familiar to you.  The bonding time over the treatments, the finding a driver to take you to and from your appointments, and, just like in the movie, my aunt shaved her head before her hair could fall out.  As far as accuracy goes, it was very similar to what we went through a few years ago.

Adam has cancer and it’s not good.  He’s going through this journey with his best friend Kyle, his mom, a crappy girlfriend and his therapist.  Adam’s girlfriend ends up cheating on him (which, is not uncommon in this situation.) so that cuts down on his support system.  At one point, Adam has just had enough.  No one could understand, no one cared like he did, no one could admit that he was going to die, no one was being there for him like he felt they should be.

Wow!  Haven’t we all been there?  Not to that extreme, thank you God, but had moments where we have felt isolated, alone, on an island all by ourselves.  I’ve had moments like that where I would swear that there isn’t a single person out there looking out for me.  I’m sure you’ve felt it, when all your friends and family call for help with their problems, but don’t even bother to ask about yours.  When you’ve been struggling and your friend texts about an inane subject, not giving any consideration to what you are going through.

We’ve all had those moments when we feel utterly hopeless, isolated and alone and Adam hit that point in the movie, too.  He felt insular, removed from everyone in his life.  I think that feeling actually closes us off to what is around us, and it was illustrated in the movie.  When Adam was at his worst, feeling so very alone, there was a moment when his eyes and his heart were opened.  Once he stopped being so upset at everyone else, he was able to see them more clearly.  What he saw was that his mom was going to a cancer support group.  That she was doing what she could to help him, and that she had others to be there for her to help support her so that she in turn could be there for him.  Adam saw that his best friend was reading a book about going through cancer together.  Not only was his best friend reading the book, but had dog eared and underlined and highlighted pages.  Kyle wasn’t being a total dope, but was doing what he could to learn how to be there for Adam.

When that feeling of hopelessness settles in, it is easy to close our heart and minds off to those around us.  I think that if we stop for a moment, and allow our hearts to open, we might really see the good in those around us.  We might see that despite what it originally looked like, their hearts are there for us.  They are willing to support us and be there for us, if we will only let them.  And, with an open heart, we should let them.  Let people in, let them help!

Of course, there are those that just don’t care and will text you about inane subjects with no consideration to what you are going through! They still will exist, no matter how open your heart is! Just like you have those in your life to help you; maybe you were put in their life to help them.  Just a thought.

Here's a group of my friends (support group!!), all of which I'm sure would help me shave my head!

Here’s a group of my friends (support group!!), all of which I’m sure would help me shave my head!

Standard disclaimer: Just my thoughts, pictures used by permission (except the one of me and my friends, they’ll just be surprised when they see it – hi Karaboo!), I wasn’t paid to talk about this movie, but if you want to pay me to watch and talk about movies, leave a comment below!