THE BEACH AND THE PIT

 Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Every year somewhere around the 4th of July, The Hubster and I go camping on our Annual Beach Date Trip.  It's only one night, but it has become a tradition I look forward to so much, that when we are leaving the beach from one trip, I am already talking about the next one to come the following year.

I am a girl who thrives on tradition; the history of things excites me.  I can't explain it.  I'm the one who buys a beat-up torn-down table because it is that way.  I've had someone ask me as I made a purchase like that how I was going to refurbish it, to which I replied, "I'm not.  I absolutely love the cracks and weathered appeal.  It tells me all about it's character."  The person looked at me like I was mad, and it made me smile.

Building traditions is like that for me.  I believe it creates the legacy we live in the present and the one we leave behind.  I don't think anyone is going to remember things I said or did in 100 years, but perhaps I can build traditions in our family that continue to be passed along from generation to generation and that may make a difference both now and long after I'm gone.

It is crucial to part of that legacy that The Kiddos and Grittles (GRAND Littles) see The Hubster and I make time for one another; that we still date each other.  It is vital to the lifeline of their own marriages and relationships.  Hence, the Annual Beach Camping Date Trip!

It's pretty simple, really.  We take our tent, which we set up in the back of the truck instead of on the sandy beach.  There has to be a thermos of wine and two plastic wine glasses.  We take along hot dogs and tortillas to wrap them in - and don't forget the skewers to hold them over the fire!  

Ah, the fire.  It's essential to a successful night, and I mean ESSENTIAL.  We go around the beach collecting wood and shells to create a pit for the fire.  We roast those wieners, sip our wine, look up at the stars, and listen to the roar of the ocean waves (and maybe a little Enya).

We play verbal games that remind us of how rich beyond riches we are.  We play "What's the Top-Five Most-Beautiful Places We've Ever Been" game, and "Top Three Favorite Restaurants", or "Best Family Vacay Memories".  We talk about our wedding, which by no coincidence, took place on the beach.  We never let any sad or unhappy memories interfere with our date - we have enough of those during our regular-life days together!  #Reality

One of our favorite games is something we actually do on our regular days together, but this time with a twist.  On normal days at dinner together, whether we are by ourselves, with The Fam, or with friends, we play "The Pit and the Peak".  This game is where everyone goes around saying the worst part of their day first (The Pit), and then to end on a good note they must say the best part of their day (The Peak).  

Since no worst part of any day is allowed to be discussed on this date, we call it "The Beach and the Pit".  This is where we sit around that fire pit we built in the sand, and talk about all of the best parts of our marriage - the things one has said or done for the other in order to edify them; the times that stand out to us in a great and fond way.  Now sometimes things are repeated from the same game the year before, and that is more than okay.   And there are the new moments from the time we left the beach the year before to the present that we talk about.

It is so easy for we, as mere humans, to cling to the bad.  It is, in fact, easier to place any good on a forgotten shelf if something bad occurs.  We all do it, really.  But life is too short to allow that to happen, so I will fiercely fight for the memories of the happy things - the good parts - even if it means I fight fire with fire by sitting around one and forcing those memories to the surface.  It is the best medicine for those regular days that bring reality back into play.

Do you have beat-up torn-down memories in your own history that tend to make you feel like you need a refurbished life?  Do you allow them to make you feel cracked and weathered or know that it builds character in you and can create a good-and-long-remembered legacy you can leave behind?  Does it make you look back and feel like a mad person or make you smile?

Real life is not always beachy and full of fun and games - trust me, I know.  But it is definitely what you make of it and what you allow it to make of you.  Don't put all the good on a forgotten shelf.  And mark out those times to remember the peaks - even if it means you must fiercely fight to do so.  And in order to see you are rich beyond riches, let the fondest pit be the fire.

beachdate

OH, CHRISTMAS TREE

 LASDI©

LASDI©

Christmas is coming!  I love the Christmas season.  I don’t really have a standout favorite thing about it.  Well, that’s not true.  I LIVE for Countdown to Christmas on The Hallmark Channel.  But rather than have to decide what I like best about the holiday, I choose to like all of it equally: the decorations, the Christmas music, the lights; ALL of it!  But there are certain branches of Christmas that kindle special memories and spark a few flames in the heart.

We are definitely a family that stands united and that stands on tradition.  For us, Christmas starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Every year we go pick out the perfect-not-perfect tree. When The Kiddos were Smalls, we went together as a family and it would take us hours to find the right tree.  Even though they all liked something different, we wouldn’t leave until we all agreed on one.  The Hubster and I would nearly always agree on the tree we liked, and of course, each Kiddo would choose a different one.  At that point, it was time for all of us to go to each tree everyone liked and “sell” the others as to why that would be the Christmas tree for the house. 

But no matter which one we ended up deciding upon, we knew what awaited us when we got home.  Christmas-tree-decorating-day meant The Hubster climbed into the attic and brought all the packed-up Christmas boxes down for us to deck the halls, and it also meant cinnamon popcorn and homemade eggnog.  We turned on Christmas music (the classic kind, of course) and away we would go.

Now that The Kiddos are Talls, they still hold that day as the day for putting up the tree and getting their ornaments up in their own homes.  And so, still, do we.  Now each year, The Hubster and I go and pick out our own tree knowing it’s a reminder of times gone by.  For the last few years the tradition has been for Aunt Lu to come with us and help us choose.  The three of us still do the walk-and-find.  My choice is not always what most people would want, though. 

When I go a-tree huntin’, the big winner is always one that stands up straight, because I believe we stand up straight when we’re confident about life.  We shake the tree, and if the needles fall off right away, it doesn’t get picked.  That means it’s not healthy enough to last, and I intentionally choose health for The Fam so that we can last and be together as long as we can.  To pull a tree out and see if it’s rounded all the way around or flat on one side, and that the trunk is large enough to be grounded into a tree stand, is a big deal.  My goal for my family and myself is to be sure we are grounded, and well-rounded in everything we do.  I especially like the ones that are a little imperfect; the ones that maybe have some sort of gaping hole or seem to have some branches that jut out further than the others.  I like the ones that are blemished in ways that show the flaw, though it may be a little hard to see.  Isn’t that how we are as mere humans?  We try so hard to look a certain way or stand out, knowing each one of us is imperfect on the inside, though it may just barely be enough for anyone to see.

Once we find the precise tree, we place vintage ornaments on it with the greatest care.  Each one gets unwrapped and hung in just the right place.  Now I know some of you have that ornament OCD The DAUGHTS talked about in her blog, The Untidy Tribe, but as for The Hubster and I, we just put them on the tree where we really believe they belong.  If that means a couple hang close to one another, then so be it.  Even with that, there is a parallel to what we feel for our family and community not just at Christmas, but every day – we want to hang close to one another, believing we are in the exact right place with the right timing for each season.

Christmas is coming!  How have you stood united with those you love?  What traditions have you kept or created to give a sense of who you are and the legacy you build to tell your story?  Do you embrace your imperfections, no matter how you decorate the outside?  How do YOU choose YOUR Christmas tree? 

“Oh, Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches.”

BEAUTIFUL GUTS

BeautifulGuts

As All Hallow’s Eve draws nigh, it seems that ghouls, goblins, and grossy guts are everywhere.  I get it.  I get that we have this one day for us to gather in unity to celebrate and glamorize our fears and dark sides.  But for the last few years, I think of Halloween much differently.

To start, I think of a young, gangly girl walking into my home for a midnight premier party I threw for The Hunger Games.  I think of her skinny legs on the highest heels I’ve ever seen – and they were paired up with a mini-skirt and croppy toppy.  Our eldest son had invited her as his date, so she was on the arm of someone I love very dearly, and it put me on the defense instantaneously.  Now I’m a fairly reasonable woman, but when said defense kicks in, I tend to go all “Sheila From The Block” - and that can be quite scary to a youngster like the one I’m describing.  It takes real guts to get through a night like that.

I think of a little sprite who came to a Thanksgiving evening without warning, and started asking for a “sliver” of this and a “sliver” of that, and licking her chops at all the food fare without care.  She was a tiny little thing, and I couldn’t believe the amount of food she ingested.  It reminded me a bit of Gollum referring to his “precious” when anyone came within the vicinity of her eating arena.  It was alarming and charming all at the same time, as she filled her guts with the glorious food feast.

Thoughts take me back to a more mature young lady, filled with quiet countenance as my family embarked upon our Annual Family Festivus at Christmas.  Family picture time came about, and she willingly became the photographer instead of assuming she was to be in the photo itself.  She was content to have been asked to be part of Family Night at all, it seemed, and wrapped arms with me and slid her hand into mine as we crossed the street for dinner.  She then quietly and authentically whispered, “Thank you for having me” in my ear.  And my guts did a butterfly flip.

I think of a quirky young woman, daring enough to be different and wear knee-high socks with the character Jack Skellington from the movie ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’  on them all year long (to go with her Jack Skellington earrings and hair bow, of course), no matter what holiday it is.  Now that takes guts!

I think of someone with so much talent it baffles people.  I see in my mind’s eye all the colorful and creative ways she paints, draws, and pieces things together to make the most incredible art.  I think of the upright work ethic in her gift of artistry, and really anything she does for that matter, and I know how very rare a quality that is.  I see her work her guts out.

I think of a strong female, coming into a family of strong females, somehow knowing just how to graciously fall right in line with them without having to gnarl her teeth in order to prove something.  Gutsy move.

When I think of Halloween, I even think of a hot, breezy day in August near the beach.  I know that one does not necessarily coincide with the other for most people, but for me the two are harmonious.    That was the day a beautiful and blushing bride who looked like an angelic woodland fairy got married.  To my son.  And with all her guts pledged her undying and forever love to him.

Why do I think of Halloween when I think of all of these things?  Because my whimsical and wonderful Daughts-In-Law, Kiren, was born on that day, and we celebrate the holiday much differently from most people.  We don’t celebrate our fears or dark sides.  But we do celebrate in unity.  We celebrate how beautiful she is.  We celebrate how unique and exceptional she is.  We celebrate her ferocious-yet-gentle love for her husband.  We celebrate her fierce loyalty to a family she fits so perfectly into.  We celebrate her beautiful guts.

IN A PINCH

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

There are bad pinches and there are good pinches.  It is much like salt.  Too much of it can ruin a dish.  But I happen to know that just a pinch of salt can make the flavor of something pop.

A pinch doesn’t always make one feel warm and fuzzy, though.  

As a little girl, there were two different kinds of pinches I remember: the kind that was wonderful, like the kind my grandfather would gently give me right on the tip of my nose after he would kiss me hello.  And then there was the one that would leave a sting on the back of my arm or hi-nee from my parent when I would misbehave in public.

Some pinches can hit ya right in the feels.  Like the moments that pinch your heart.  

I can remember the very second each of my children were born.  I can remember how my heart felt like it would explode because I was overwhelmed with joy as they took their first breath of life (and screamed their bloody heads off).  I could literally feel a lovely wrench in my chest.  It is the kind of pinch I will never forget and always hold with me.

Then there was the moment someone I loved passed away.  The pinch I felt in my heart was there, but much different from that of the joy I knew from life being given.  I distinctly remember standing where I was for what seemed like forever, thinking how much I was going to miss them; how I thought the terrible, achy pinch in my heart would never go away.  And I must say, though it has eased up some, the scar from that particular pinch is still there.

I’ve been in many a precarious position in my life.  Sometimes I put myself there, and sometimes it was merely the circumstances.  But either way, I wound up in a pinch.  

When I was a teenager, I made the conscious decision to go into a store with someone I knew was going to shoplift.  I didn’t take anything.  Well actually, I was GOING TO.  But at the last second I chickened out.  I was questioned when she got caught because I was with her.  Luckily the cameras showed I had not taken anything but simply because I was with her I found myself in quite a pinch!  (For the benefit of the reader needing an ending to that particular story, I did NOT end up in the slammer.)

Back when I was a young, single mom of two small children, my tire blew out on the highway. I had never changed a tire before, let alone on a busy road.  (I sure did learn FAST!!)  Even though that was something out of my control, I was most DEFINITELY in a pinch!  (No worries, Folks.  As you can see that one turned out all right, for I am writing this many years later.)

I used to always wonder what a pinch-hitter was when I heard the term used in baseball, until someone explained to me it was a substitute batter – someone to replace the batter when the team is in a pinch.  

I married my Pinch Hitter.  He is definitely my substitute batter when I find myself in a pinch.  Example:  the other day I had a catering gig that called for – wait for it……SIX-HUNDRED cake ball truffles.  Now these beauts cannot be stacked on top of one another or their gorgeous candy coatings and lovely decorations will crack and break.  I was going to have to make several trips back and forth in order to get the beloved cake ball truffles to their destination with no harm to befall them!  But my Pinch Hitter got me out of the pinch in the coolest way possible.

It’s too hard for my non-engineer-way-of-thinking brain to explain, but essentially, he took some cardboard and wine bottles we use for projects (not the hardest part of my job, emptying those bottles......wink!) from the garage, and did this:

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

Hence, it took one trip, and all the truffles were unscathed.

Think about the pinches – the bad ones and the good ones.  Some of them hurt and can leave a sting or even a scar.  Some of them are wonderful and make you remember the joy life can bring.  Think of the pinch hitters in your life that have helped you make it through something unscathed.  Or perhaps you were that pinch hitter a time or two.  Either way, with every pinch comes growth in our lives – like the pinch of salt that can make the flavor of something pop.  

 

JIVE TURKEY

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

To me: How do you make him do it??  What kind of bribery do you use?  Did you strike some sort of bargain?? 

To The Hubster: How did She manage to make you do it??  Did She bribe you?  You must hate your life.

These are questions and comments we get every time we dress in costume (which, by the way, is more often than any other adults - and MAYBE even kids - I’ve ever known). 

It could be a theme night.  We’ve done French (berets and tiny moustaches are just fun), Winter Wonderland (we were the Snow King & Queen, of course), UK (that was fun because I got to see Adrian in a kilt – hubba, hubba), or even Japanese (because Geisha makeup is a MUST).  It could be the ever-regular-reason, Halloween.  We’ve been Peace & Quiet, Gomez and Morticia Addams, Sick & Tired, and Mummy & Deaddy.  It could be for a party.  We’ve been mega-trends from every era from the 20s to the 90s, and literally everything in between.  We’ve been Wonder Woman and Captain America (both circa 1940s and circa 1980s), and we’ve been Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix.  We’ve even been Thomas Jefferson and his wife, Martha.  I’m telling you:  the list goes on and ON.

Just a sidebar:  He especially loves keeping the costume boxes (yes, PLURAL) very organized.  He recently catalogued our wigs.  Yep.  Now we have a wig library. 

I’m telling you, WE COSTUME UP.  But therein lay the key word: “we”.  I’m never alone in it.  Adrian suits up no matter what, and never complains and never declines. 

The Hubster knows life is fleeting and very short.  He knows we are partners.  He knows it is not threatening to his manhood, but rather a fun way to be present and in-the-moment.  And he knows me.  And he loves life.  And he loves life with me.  And he loves me.

We jive.

This particular costume (yes, that’s him in the picture), I simply said, “Turkey Costume”.   And he donned it as though he were a proud peacock instead of a turkey.  He danced around with kids, and he pretended to peck at people’s heads.  And, as most rock-star turkeys do, he wore sunglasses and drank trendy coffee.

I’m not saying costumes are for everyone.  But I am saying all the things that make The Hubster jive with me and with life ARE.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to be sure you know life is fleeting and very short.  I want to make sure you are present and in-the-moment.  Do you love life?  Even when it is not going perfectly?  PS -  it never will (go perfectly, that it is).  If you don't already, learn to love it and give thanks for it.  Embrace the costume moments.  And I promise you – it WILL jive.

 

I AM FLAWED. NOW PASS THE BUTTER.

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

I am flawed.  On the inside and on-the-out.  And not just for me - but for women everywhere since the dawn of time - weight loss has been one of those flaws.  Well, I'm not sure weight LOSS is the struggle so much as weight GAIN. And loss.  And gain.

This is something I have struggled with my entire life.  Even when I was in high school and built like a brick poop-house and had the tiniest little waist, I had those thunder thighs.  And believe me, I know I did because those 'helpful peers' in school would tell me so.  "Hey, Thunder Thighs!  Where'd ya get those thunder thighs??"  Clever.  Very clever.

When I got pregnant with Chelsea, the time bomb kept ticking.  I gained 120 pounds.  I literally gained an entire person in nine months.  And I don't mean the 7-pound little person I was carrying.  And I had 'those' family members that liked to have fun at my expense and thought nothing of bestowing upon me my new nickname, Eclipse.  Nine months later, I got pregnant with Cameron and the weight gain continued, as did the new (and oh-so-funny) nicknames.

And let us not forget the people that dubbed me the Butter Body.  What's that, you ask?  Well you've heard of a butter face?  Where they say everything looks good on her but-her-face?  I was the opposite.  The people (I know you meant well, Y'all) who said, "You have such a pretty FACE!"  Which meant everything else was either not note-worthy, or it would be a shame to mention.  But-her-body.  Get it?

I am in the present.  I have since lost the weight, and it took hard work.  And it continues to be a struggle on a daily basis.  But so much of it (besides the eating right and exercise, obviously!) is about the heart of the story.  It is about living healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Those people that called me names, whether it was all in good fun, out of mean-ness, or their own insecurities; those people had no idea that no one is exempt from allowing that to define a person, and it indeed worked on me and made me unhealthy - on the inside and on-the-out - for a very long time.

I am in my 40s.  And I LOVE IT.  There is abundant power in the age that allows you to feel your sexiest, even though your body is not the same; or feel your best, even though you're so much older.  But it is not all about the age of wisdom and experience that has helped me learn to love and respect who I was, who I am and who I have become.  

I am a woman of faith.  There is a quiet and serene humbling that happens as you grow and develop in the life of having the Creator lead you that allows you to understand all are created, and a very large respect happens for all bodies that house the souls that are people - no matter what they look like.  You have more of a respect for the wrinkles and lines in a person's face that are proof that none of us are immune to life-and-death.  You have more of a respect for scars on a person that are proof of the battles they have fought.  You have more of a respect for every body-type that are proof that we are all different, yet created equal.  But it is not all about the strong foundation of faith I have that has helped me to learn to love and respect who I was, who I am,  and who I have become.

I have a husband.  He is also my friend.  And he is also at that age of wisdom and experience, and is also a person of faith, and continues to grow and develop in that.  And he loves me.  For who I've been, who I am, and who I have YET to become.  On the inside and on-the-out.

Example:  I am washing dishes.  The Hubster comes up behind me and grabs me around my mid-section playfully.  I, being coy (and a bit embarrassed about my mid-section, if we're being honest), say, "Hey!  Don't grab my rolls!"  And his retort?  He closes his eyes like he is picturing a smooth whiskey with a nice cigar, or a juicy steak wrapped in bacon, and says, "Mmmmmm.  Get me some BUTTER for dem rolls!"  I guess that makes me a Butter Body FOR REAL. 

I am grateful.  I am blessed to have that kind of love and friendship, and I allow it to have power over me and give me confidence.  He calls me beautiful every day, whether I've got my eyebrows and lips on, or if my hair is in a knot and I'm bra-less and in my loungy pants for the second day in a row.  And he knows I'm flawed on the inside and on-the-out.  And he doesn't care.  He loves me.  He lifts me up, edifies me, and encourages me.  He celebrates me.  

So who are you surrounding yourself with and what kind of power do you allow them to have over you?  Who do you allow to be relevant in your life?  Are you judging people for their outsides, yet never wanting to be judged for your own outsides?  Or do you allow yourself to see people as beautiful; flaws and all?  

Lift up, edify, and encourage people.  Celebrate them.  Celebrate you.  On the inside and on-the-out.  Do your best to live healthy in mind, body, and spirit - and pass that around.

And do me a favor:  PASS THE BUTTER.

Designed: A Guest Blog

  Please do not copy this photo - all rights (reservedly) reserved through The Durham Family

Please do not copy this photo - all rights (reservedly) reserved through The Durham Family

Well, this month's Guest Blogger is very special to me.  You can rest assured you're in for something wonderful when you read her words.  She will tell you where to find her other work in the post, but I like that I can find her by my side whenever I need her.  Carly Durham is a woman of rare quality and substance and I admire and adore her.  You can look for a large dedication to her in my upcoming book - and an even larger one in my heart of hearts.  Love you, Car.  Readers:  READ ON.

Writing a guest blog for a woman who I consider to be nailing it when it comes to being a woman who can do it all (which she herself admits, she does not and we do not have to do it all- be it all, she just wants to encourage us to do what we do overflowing with passion and love) surprisingly brought up some shoved away insecurities.  I guest blog from time to time for random internet blog buddies and write occasionally over at adoption.com but a post for Life-As-She-Does-It felt daunting. And then she had to go and get the witty Katy Livingston to go first, leaving me the follow up post. I stand little chance. It’s like signing up for a meal train to bring my store-bought chicken or grilled cheese sandwiches the night after your foodie friend has listed she is making lambs with chimi-churi sauce and homemade buttered-pecan ice-cream. The "look-ahead" is a real technique to make sure you are not setting up your people for disappointment. Now here I offer you my boxed mac n’cheese with added hotdogs weenies after you just ate homemade beef bourguignon.  Go ahead a lower your expectations my people. 

While I no longer fear that I will be childless, my lack of fertility is a theme that runs deep in my life.  Insecurity attached to infertility molds my thoughts and shapes my worldview.
What does it say about me? About God? About who I am suppose to be?
Honestly, I give it way to much power. Why do I let it take root so deeply?
Here is where we are at: We have never stopped trying. Really, how can I stop? After 5 years of charting, peeing, calculating, I know this stuff down cold and am constantly aware of where I am at in my cycle. Woman was created to bear children. Go forth and multiply. Labor and Birth.
What does that say about me that I do not join my fellow woman in this path?
In a moment of doubt and insecurity, I sought counsel and comfort in a friend after a month of disappointment and grief.

"It's not so much that I ache for pregnancy so much anymore, I just feel flawed to my very core.  My body….. It's just I……… How come I don't do what I was designed to do! I hate my ovaries. UGH!"

Speaking TRUTH over me, she replied:

"I hear you what you are saying, on a whole, as a woman, what you feel women were designed to do. BUT YOU. YOU.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made and designed. There is great purpose in that."

Designed.

Can I hold on to that promise? Can I uproot the belief that I am failing in my "role" as a woman and rather plant the conviction that I was designed? That I was indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13).

And further, when I question this truth, what am I saying about God?

Then I really dig in a little more, when I question this truth, what am I saying about my uniquely designed son?

I firmly believe he is fearfully and wonderfully made with this incredible extra chromosome. I would not for one-second question his design. Every inch! Every chromosome! (ohhh goodness- have you heard that he is the cutest baby in the world - because word is spreading fast!!!)

Designed.


Thankfully, God, He is not afraid of the dark places my doubts and insecurities take me sometimes and He finds me there. 

He would also be pretty cool about it if you wanted him to go ahead and shine some light on your dark places of doubt and disbelief if you want to ask him. Because while we cannot all rock turbans on hair and giant rings on our fingers like She does, we all have been designed to rock our own unique self.  Sometimes we start to doubt that.

Life-As-She-Does-It friends, you are women so unique. If you stumbled here to read about a legit recipe to prepare with hopes to razzle-dazzle your people for a meal train, or you have come seeking encouragement on how to make the magnificent mundane, know that life as You do it has great purpose and significance. Perhaps you are fashioned to be the mom that wears yoga pants every day and puts on make-up once a year for your husbands work Christmas party but you read books to your kids in the best character voices and make a slammin-good lasagna. Or maybe you are the woman who does not leave the house without her lashes on and lips drawn, who started her own business and is not looking to start a family as she is diving into the calling God put on her heart. Either way. Every way.
 
Designed.

Own it. You are a created woman. You've nailed it.

The Pursuit of a Domestic Pursuit: A Guest Blog

  Photo Source  HERE

Photo Source HERE

Hi, All!  I have a treat for you guys and cannot WAIT to share it!  I have a guest blogger today by the name of Katy Livingston, and let me just tell you - she has a GIFT, Ya'll!  She is a talented writer (visit her blog!), and a devoted mom and wife.  She is, in my opinion, a GREAT balancer, which is rare these days.  She may say otherwise, though, as we women tend to do.  But I'll let her tell you more: TAKE IT AWAY, KATY!

Hey all, I'm Katy, and I usually blog over here at http://livingaslivingstons.blogspot.com/.  A HUGE thanks to Sheila for inviting me to this corner of the interweb!  I have never “guest blogged” so to speak, so Sheila is taking a huge risk here. If you haven't met She, one of her biggest gifts is that people like me can't say “no” to her. I am filled with equal parts admiration and fear of her.  It's a beautiful thing. So full disclosure before we get started:

comfortzone

On being almost 30 Without Finding a Domestic Pursuit

If you know me, you know this: I have the best parents in the world. My life growing up was pretty much cake (even though the recent release of Jurassic World has freshly opened the wound from when the original Jurassic Park came out in theaters and my parents wouldn't let me see it because it was PG-13 and I was probably 8. It's 5 years, guys! No one even follows those rules!)

Despite the awesomeness of having folks who loved us and even seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time with us, I recently discovered that I missed out on one key aspect of adulthood: a domestic hobby. My mother succeeded in all aspects except passing down a really cool skill that I can utilize now and bring with me into my golden years. I look around and see other ladies who have creative hobbies, and I feel left out.  While I am totally at peace with the whole Stay-at-Home Mom gig, I just haven't even found my thing.  I have friends who may use extra time alone to craft because it's “cathartic.” If I have some extra time to myself, I think, “I guess I could shave my legs or something...”

So far, my domestic hobbies are as follows:

 having babies

 making lists

 finding dessert recipes on Pinterest for my husband to bake

 blog stalking

 going to Kroger (I know this is weird. But seriously, grocery shopping is the best!)

Now, lest you think I have spent no time brainstorming other options:

  I considered learning to sew. I even made a sewing board on Pinterest, but as it turns out, I just like making boards, because it's the same as writing a list. My sweet friend tried to teach me how to thread the needle of a sewing machine, and I was just sitting there, sweating, trying to remember what she was saying.  Why are there 4 steps just to put thread in there?! There has to be a better way.  Add this to the fact that my Mother-in-law is literally a professional quilter, and I don't want to bother trying to live up to that level.

  Gardening: Maybe. This one is still a consideration. I can't see myself enjoying crawling around on the ground and getting dirt all over my hands, but I guess that shouldn't bother me since I spend most of my days in the cesspool that is kid germs.  Also, it's blazing hot outside.

  Knitting/Crocheting: I don't know the difference between the two. I love the idea of sitting in a rocking chair and having a little project in my lap. But the counting. The counting.  I can see myself losing count and ruining scarves that I won't ever have the opportunity to wear because of the blazing heat.

  Cooking: I generally prefer eating. Cooking is fine, but I don't love it. I also don't seem to have a knack for it.  Plus, I don't usually try any recipe with over 5 real ingredients, 5 steps, and like 4 dishes to clean.  I do love the Food Network, though.

  Photography: This is the last photo I've  taken:

  Please do not copy this photo - all rights (reservedly) reserved through Katy Livingston

Please do not copy this photo - all rights (reservedly) reserved through Katy Livingston


#ExhibitA #nofilter

  Crossfit: because... I just can't, y'all. Also, I don't want to “Eat clean and train dirty.” I mostly just want to train a little bit dirty and not really eat clean at all. I don't need that kind of peer pressure in my life.

Here is where I have hit the dead end. But I would be lying if I said I didn't have one pursuit at all. I sort of do: reading.  As a kid, I used to read in the car on the 4-minute drive home from elementary school. In middle school, I used to read a lot of novels about people with terminal illnesses, and my mom was worried I would need therapy or something. I forgot how to read for fun during high school and college. My friends who worked at a bookstore would give me book recommendations that never failed to stir up something in me and bring me back to the joy of a new book. Then somewhere along the way, I let myself fall into the mom trap of surviving the day and falling onto the couch for some mind-numbing tv before bed every. single. day.

But guess what? I just joined a book club. And I just started reading a real book, and I love it. I feel like a new woman. And I'm going to try to not be too awkward when I meet some new ladies to eat snacks and chat about said book. And I won't feel badly that I don't have a thing right now that allows me to make someone a gourmet meal or sew cute baby gifts or have a beautifully landscaped yard or homegrown vegetables or a sick body. I'll just enjoy those few minutes I have been spending every night immersed in a beautiful, new world by the glow of my Kindle light while my husband drifts off to sleep next to me.

Because that's enough for me right now.