What Happens When…

What happens when you wake up one day and realize that all of the goals you set for yourself as a young woman are mostly complete?  You are now in your 40′s and have checked the boxes you set for yourself in your early 20′s.  Things like:

Attain a bachelors degree – check

Get married – check

Start career and climb up corporate ladder – check

Buy first home – check

Buy 4 door, practical car for future family – check

Have first child – check

Work on climbing corporate ladder more – check

Have second child – check

Buy larger home – check

Continue climbing corporate ladder

You realize you’ve checked all the boxes.  Everything seems to be going swimmingly.  Your oldest is approaching the end of high school.  Your youngest, still in elementary school, but growing quickly.

What now?  What goals do I set now?  I am interested in setting goals?  I have had a good career and while I’ve done well I haven’t attained all the career goals I have thought I would.  But is it worth to reach for more?  Will it fulfill me?

This is where I am at in my life.  And so far I discovered that this has been a wonderful time to discover more about me.  Who I am, what I’m doing and as Oprah would say, how to live my best life.  I’ve spent a lot of time working on myself and it’s been a tough but satisfying journey.

I have re-discovered friendships.  For so many years we were all so busy raising children and running them around that we didn’t have time for friends.  Now we are all starting to free up and we actually get to socialize with them more.  The teenager can babysit the younger one on occasion.  We can meet for dinner.  We can meet on a Sunday afternoon to listen to a band at the local watering hole.

I have time to work on my relationship with my Savior.  I get to think deeper thoughts and explore where I want to go with my relationship with Him.  I am learning to surrender myself to His will.  

You also get to find out that your children are pretty cool.  You can start to have real conversations with them.  Talk about their hopes and dreams.  Enjoy their sense of humor, which is for me is the most amazing thing.  I love to laugh with them about stupid stuff and family jokes.

This is turning out to be a really awesome time.  It’s making me look forward to my 50s.  I am hoping that I’ll get to travel more with my husband and continue to watch my children grow and start to fulfill their own dreams.

What happens when you reach your late 30s and early 40s and you realize that you accomplished most of your goals?

I am pretty sure I don’t have the definitive answer for it.  But for me, so far, it’s been about re-discovering who I want to be, to have the luxury of more time for friends and watching my children blossom into young adults.

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You know you’re old when…

You know you’re old when…

This will take a minute to have me set the scene so hold on.

My husband and I went out to dinner in the historic downtown section where we live. It’s recently come into its own and has several cool restaurants, bars and a lively scene. We love to go down there on a Saturday evening. However, we’re normally off the street by 11 because it gets a little young. What do I mean by young? Well, let’s just say it’s a bunch of people that I can’t identify with and leave it at that.

On this night, we were down there later than normal due to series of accidents. We were wrapping up our dinner around 9:30 when one of my husband’s young co-workers and his wife ran into us. They are really nice and cool. They invited us next door to a bar that we had never been into. We’ve never been in there because they allow smoking. Ugh.

Anyway, we accepted their offer and met them there about 10 pm. After arriving and grabbing a couple of beers I looked around and noted to my husband, “Uh, we’re the oldest people in here.” My husband said, “No way!” Then he looked around and realized, yes, we were the oldest people there. At least we were for about 15 minutes until some older looking dudes walked in – thank goodness!!!

But here’s the topper. The bar had a live band and I broke out a couple of my best dance moves. You know, Downtown Julie Brown like. I was HOT. Until I looked over and saw my husband’s young friend and his wife looking at me like “Oh, isn’t the old lady so cute trying to bust a move.” Although they probably didn’t think “bust a move.” They probably thought something way cooler.

It was a watershed moment for me. And our cue to leave – STAT!!

Did you see this?

Here’s an article that I read today on dailymail.co.uk website.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2297227/The-Gwyneth-Paltrow-guide-spring-fashion-warned-itll-set-nearly-half-million-dollars.html

I should first explain that I am not a Gwyneth hater.  I know a lot of people are but I try not to hate on anyone that is expressing their opinion.  I may not agree but that doesn’t mean I hate.

In this particular case I might make an exception.  Not to hate on Gwyneth but to express how her suggestions are so completely different from how I live my life.  I appreciate that she is posting pictures that are aspirational.  But her suggestions just don’t fit in with my life.  Cost of the clothing aside, the outfits themselves aren’t well suited to my lifestyle.

The first outfit shown, for an evening out, is just laughable for me.  I don’t care to bare my stomach at the age of 46 and having borne 2 children.  My stomach isn’t my best asset – at all!  And short shorts…please.  Shorts for the evening, yes.  Short shorts – uh, no!

The second outfit, with the big skirt, for hanging around the house; how would I run the vacuum with that thing on?  Can you imagine trying to do laundry or unload the dishwasher in that thing.  It’s just not realistic.

The final outfit.  Let’s just say that it is way too warm to wear in Florida.  I’ll leave it at that.

Maybe I need to start posting some stuff about my fashion choices.  They may not be the best but they are a heck of a lot more practical.  In the meantime, I’ll tell you what they consist of.  Mostly clothes from the Gap, The Limited and Ann Taylor Loft.  With some Old Navy thrown in there.  Casual sandals and flips flops with some killer heels.  I love some killer heels.  Bracelets.  Earrings.  A good denim jacket.  Scarves, lots of scarves.

That pretty much sums it up.  I will add that Gwyneth does look fabulous in all of her fashion choices.  You go girl!

Sometimes You Gotta Be Sneaky

My oldest son is very thin. This isn’t a bad thing. My husband and I were both really thin growing up. So there isn’t a worry about his weight itself. But I do worry about his nutritional intake. Left up to him he would subsist on Chick-fil-a sandwiches (which are delicious). So, over the last few months I have been attempting to inject more nutrition into his diet. Here is my approach.

Approach 1 – Keep more stuff in the freezer for him to eat instead of running to the fast food joint

I made burritos with his favorite fillings. I wrapped each one individually and placed in the freezer. Now all he has to do is just heat it up in the microwave. This way I know he has eaten something that is lower in sodium than the burritos you buy in the grocery store. Next time I make them I will post details on how I did it.

I made individual sloppy joe pies. I have a post on Pinterest with all the details. You can find it here:

The key is all homemade ingredients and trying to inject vegetables. I try to sneak in puréed spinach whenever possible. Using fresh ingredients also helps keep him away from processed foods and higher sodium foods.

Approach 2 – Smoothies

I am trying to get up in time to make a smoothie for the boy in the morning that he can drink on his drive to school. Right now he seems to like one with frozen bananas, frozen strawberries and orange juice. This morning I tried a monster green smoothie and modified it by adding some strawberries and a little agave syrup. He drank it but prefers the one above. Maybe I will sneak in a little spinach in the regular one. Here is the link to the monster green smoothie:

http://iowagirleats.com/2012/01/04/my-top-secret-diet-weapon/

Approach 3 – Healthy Snacks

This past couple of weekends I have made Banana Nut Bread. I try to up the nutrition by using wheat flour. I slice the loaf up and wrap individual slices. This way he can grab a slice and head off to school. Here is the recipe I use:

http://www.food.com/recipe/starbucks-banana-walnut-bread-384181

This morning I made chocolate covered banana slices. I plan on keeping these in the freezer so either of the boys can grab as a snack.

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Overall I think I am making progress. I am nowhere near where I would like to be but I keep trying. My youngest has even worse eating habits and is picky. We do make dinner at home most every night and keep trying to get him to eat new things.

Wish me luck and let me know what you do to try and inject more nutrition into your lives.

The Eyes Have It

PeterThomasRoth eye cream

Review of Peter Thomas Roth Instant Firm Temporary Face Tightener

Before proceeding you should be aware that I’m going to post some pictures. Of my eyes and eye area. Without makeup. Without a moisturizer applied. They are very scary looking. Be prepared.

A good friend of mine gave me this product as a Christmas gift. Yes, I still consider her a good friend. In fact, she may have even moved up my friend scale because she bought me a product that helps me look younger. This is the criteria I use to measure my friends. I am that shallow. Nevertheless, on with the review.

I love this stuff. I use it underneath my eyes and it smoothes out the wrinkles. I cannot go a day without it. Here is a picture of my eyes before applying the product or any moisturizer. You can see the lines underneath my eyes and in the corners.

eyes1

The Peter Thomas Roth product will leave behind a white residue on your skin. To prevent this I mix it with a little bit of concealer and it seems to do the trick of removing the white residue. Before applying it to my face I first squeeze just a pea shaped amount in the palm of my hand. A little goes a long way with this product. I then add another really small amount of Olay Regenerist Eye Regenerating Cream with a Touch of Concealer. I mix them together before applying. Using my fingers I apply the product beneath my eyes and towards the corners, applying generously and evenly. I use my clean fingers to wipe off any extra and to blend the remaining into my skin.

Here are my eyes with the product applied:

eyes2

Here is a final picture with the product applied and the rest of my eye make up on:

eyes3

The end result is a smoother eye area that looks natural. I highly recommend this product for the quality and its ability to smooth out my eye area while still looking natural.

Why the Judgment?

Have you read any of the press about Guiliana Rancic’s comment that she puts her marriage before her baby? More importantly, have you read the comments section of the articles? The comments are cruel, unfair, judgmental.

If you like, you can read one of the many articles and comments here:
http://moms.today.com/_news/2013/03/02/17163522-giuliana-rancic-puts-marriage-first-child-second?d=1

Unfortunately this is a sad part of parenting. Fellow parents are so quick to judge and criticize kver silly things. I see it everywhere. In the media, in the comments sections of news articles and blogs and in my own hometown. I know I personally have been whispered about at my sons’ elementary school as “oh, his mom works.” As if it explains every minor transgression my child has ever made. I have had a perfect stranger shout at me when my youngest was 2 and bolted away from me and ran into a busy parking lot before I could catch him. The stranger didn’t know that my son had never done that before and doesn’t know that he never did it again. Unfortunately, children don’t come out of the womb knowing that you shouldn’t run into a busy parking lot and lots of other things.

I understand the criticism when children are being neglected or mentally, physically, sexually or verbally abused. Those children need us to be their voices. To cry loudly when they have been treated unfairly. To ensure that we intervene on their behalves by calling the authorities or reporting abuse through hotlines. This is where we need to focus our attention and our voices.

Our children benefit when we lift each other up as parents. It’s a struggle to be a good parent on a daily basis. We all try to make good decisions and weigh the consequences of everything we say to our children and things that we let them do. I personally have benefitted from having a strong group of friends that I can rely on for solid advice. I can be honest with them about my struggles and my children’s struggles. They are always a good sounding board and helpful. And yes, sometimes they might even offer some criticism. Criticism, when it conmes from a good place, has helped me be a better parent.

Let’s focus on criticizing parents who are truly abusive and neglectful. Let’s report them and make a stronger effort to keep them safe.

It’s official. I am old.

Well, it is official. I am old. I pulled a scarf out of my closet today that I have had for over 20 years. I am pretty sure that makes it vintage.

Vintage. From my very own closet.

Not vintage that I bought in a store, never worn by me, by some really cool, famous designer. Haute couture you know? Actually, I don’t know. I don’t own any high end designer stuff. The closest I have come is purchasing a Coach bag from the outlet but that’s it.

This scarf was purchased for me as a Christmas present in the late 80s. Yes, the 80s. The horrible decade of fashion. It sounds implausible that I kept something from the 80s that might be considered fashionable today AND appropriate for a woman of my age. I have kept it because it is a kind of classic print although I haven’t worn it in many, many years.

Today I broke it out to wear with a sweater. It looked awesome. It’s just too bad that I realized I had something in my closet I have owned long enough to be vintage. My joy turned to shock. How did this happen?

On a positive note it does pay to keep the classic items in your wardrobe. Especially your accessories.

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