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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Queen Bees

I have mentioned before that I have a lot of kids that live on the cul de sac where Angel and I live.  It seems like this number is constantly growing, just last week I looked in the back yard and there was a boy I had never seen before.  He had red hair and freckles I am guessing he is about 8.  I asked who he was and he said “Owen” then I asked do your parents know where you are and he said “yes mam” like a nice southern boy. The kids range in age from 4 to 10 and are mostly girls.  Lately, I have heard bickering and name calling among them, mostly at Angel.  She is 5 and has not yet gotten caught up in the name calling and she knows I do not allow it.  This is mostly done among the older girls.  It is interesting how they work, the girls that is, the 10 year old, who is the oldest of them all, told me the other day that 2 of the other girls called Angel a brat.  I try not to get into this as I know all too soon Angel will have to learn how to deal with this herself, but when one of the girls came over to play I asked her if she did in fact call Angel a brat and of course she said, “no” and then said it was the girl who told me about this in the first place.  Ugh.
I thought about a book that I bought for my sister when my nieces were in school “Queen Bees and Wannabes” and thought I should give her a call to ask if I can borrow it.  This is the book the movie “Mean Girls” was based on.  Why are girls so mean to each other? I guess I need to read the book.  This got me thinking about girls and the way they treat other and then women and the way they treat each other.  You would thing that females would eventually grow out of this, but I can say from personal experience that they don’t.  Women that have strong personalities t are labeled a bitch, a control freak, moody or hard to deal with.  I have lost friendships, had people gossip about me, make cryptic jabs at me on FaceBook (UGHHHHH FaceBook! That is a whole other post) and judge me. After all we as women have fought for why do we do things to undermine and cut each other down? This really bothered me until recently; I realized that I don’t care what people think or say about me.  I know who I am.  I am an awesome mother, daughter, friend and soon to be wife.  I am confident about things that I do and the person that I am.  I know that the people that are in my life are the people that love me for me and are not just a “friend” on FaceBook.  I want to set an example to my daughter that when people talk about her or call her names, which they will, to turn the other cheek and to be assured in who she is .
The good news about Angel and her friends is that these kids may call each other names one day but the next day they are having a tea party.  I hope it stays this way for a long time but just in case I am going to get that book.  


Friday, April 17, 2015

Another Birthday

Another birthday has come and gone. I swore to myself I was not going to do anything crazy for Angel's birthday party this year but we all know how that goes. When I started thinking about planning her birthday party shortly after the holidays (Yes I plan that far in advance I'm a little what you would call an enthusiastic  planner).  I wanted to do something small but magical to make it very memorable. This will be the last year she would spend her birthday with kids from her preschool class. I looked into jump houses, princess boutiques and even considered having a castle jumpy in my backyard. You would not believe, or maybe you would how expensive these things are. Not that I am cheap, as I have been called, I just would rather spend my money on other things for her. After I considered many avenues I decided just to have a party at our house in the backyard. But what's a party without a little bit of entertainment? Then I thought what could that be? I thought about the standard jumpy in the backyard but what if it rains? I couldn't have 10 to 15 kids in my house. So I did what any mother of a daughter that lives in a princess fantasy land would do, and I hired Anna and Elsa to come and celebrate Angel's birthday with her. Now don't get me wrong Anna and Elsa aren’t cheap, in fact they are very good businesswomen. I knew the surprised look on Angel’s face would be priceless and worth every penny they cost.

I was a bit worried about the turnout as I invited all of the kids in her preschool class and I got two RSVPs from them. Don't people RSVP anymore?  How do I know how many cupcakes to buy?  How much food to get?  How many prizes I would need for the kids? One year on Lucy's second birthday I bought large Easter bunnies to give as treats and we only had three kids come. I was stuck with 7 extra chocolate bunnies!  My advice from one parent to another is if someone invites you to a birthday party even if you can't go just let them know, it's common courtesy.

The day of her birthday couldn't have been more perfect!  The weather was absolutely beautiful! It was a cool spring day with sunshine. We had an excellent turnout with lots of kids too. Anna and Elsa were perfectly spectacular. They sang songs for Angel and our guest, had story time with the children, made a craft with them and even helped them all decorate their own cupcakes. When it was time to go they presented angel with her own signed snowflake ornament.
Everybody had a wonderful time including me, which is rare as I am usually stressed during these types of events. I think one of the big factors of why I was a little calmer was due to the fact that my Michael was with me. I thank God for him every single day, he is my balance. Where I usually would have to do everything myself he helped me in every way possible. I didn't have to worry about putting Angel's bicycle together; he helped me clean the house, helped with the food, helped with decorations and even hung snowflake lights outside to keep with the theme of Frozen. He wanted Angel to be as happy as I did. As if things couldn't get any better I looked over at one point and he was filming and taking pictures of all important aspects of the her and the event.

So maybe next year I'll keep things simple with a small birthday party.

Nah I say that every year…….

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Best Friend Title

In the past I have written about my wonderful friends a.k.a. my General Counsel. I have been blessed with a variety of friends. Some I have known almost all my life and some I've known for a few years. I cherish every single one of them. The other day I was talking to someone, and I referred to my best friend. It got me thinking about the title of best friend. Some titles, like mom or grandparent are given by default, but most titles like CEO or doctor must be earned either by selection or by hard work or both. I think the title of best friend is one we throw around loosely. However, it is an important title that one should not take lightly by either calling someone a best friend or being one.  This got me thinking, what qualifies someone to be a best friend?

I remember when I was in my early 20s my friends and I would qualify our friendships by saying, that if you ever called me in the middle of the night and needed me to come bail you out of jail I would. Thankfully no one ever had exercise that promise. Looking back over the years I think about what my friendships mean to me and what my best friend has done for me. Having friends is great but having a best friend is even better and being called someone's best friend is the best. Friendship means growing with each other.  To be a best friend you must grow and adapt together, a friendship is a relationship after all. I'm not writing about my mom.  She's one of my very best friend and gets an award for being one every time, and I'm not talking about my fiancĂ©. He is a new best friend that I look forward to making an old best friend. I am writing about a person who I have known since I was 13. I don't remember the first time I met her, but I do remember I wanted to be her friend. She was beautiful even back in the 90s with big hair. In the early years of our friendship we became inseparable.  She was like a sister to me and still is. She is kind, loving, caring, patient, diplomatic and of course still beautiful.   We have had our ups and downs like most good friendships and made it back to one another. She is the person I always call for advice, not making a decision sometimes before I talk with her.  She's genuinely concerned for me, she will honestly tell me what she thinks, and I respect her thoughts.  There is no malice or jealousy between us. I don't talk to her every day, sometimes when I do it's for a few minutes and sometimes it's for an entire hour on a Saturday morning over a cup of coffee.
The person I call Laura gets the title of my best friend and I hope I have hers. I love her and look forward to growing old with her like those old ladies on the birthday cards.  Who is your Best Friend?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Food Experiment Follow up

This is a follow-up to my last post about my food experiment. I've had lots of questions and comments since my last post about my food experiment especially when I was stuffing my face at a gathering this past Saturday. After the fall to the king cake on Friday, I proceeded to go on a full on binge this weekend.
Friday for lunch I did eat a salad to try to compensate for the king cake but the rest of the weekend went downhill. I took my sweet Angel to the movies and basically had popcorn for dinner. Later, I snacked on leftover peppermint Hershey kisses from Christmas. Saturday morning I got up and I had a steaming cup of coffee filled with hot frothy delicious milk. None of that coconut milk crap. For breakfast I had a big bowl of cereal. I will say it was Kashi but still it was cereal with almond milk. That afternoon I went to a gathering where there was no shortage of incredibly delicious food that was not on my required eating list. Pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans topped off with bacon, chips and homemade salsa, spinach and artichoke dip, crackers along big logs of cream cheese one covered in jelly and the other was rolled in salt-and-pepper, gumbo, sausage, 4 types of cheese and the worse of all was a homemade chocolate chip cheesecake topped off with fresh strawberries. I will admit I eyeballed that thing for over an hour waiting for someone to cut it.  That never happened so guess who cut into that beautiful thing??? I stood guard and continued eating it until about a quarter of it was gone. Quite a few people there knew about my eating plan and kept asking me if that was on my list. HAHA….. It was delicious! I cannot explain how incredible that cheese cake tasted, almost as good as the slice of King Cake that started it all. The weekend continued this way and was polished off Sunday night with a big bowl of toffee ice cream.
The downside to all this cheese cake eating? Saturday night and pretty much all day Sunday my stomach hurt so bad. I don't know if it was the dairy or just the fact that I was not used to consuming that kind of food. I had extremely bad stomach pains, of course gas, I was bloated and my face was swollen.  So guess what I went back to doing yesterday? I have to admit that I do feel much better eating clean, which is one of the main reasons I started this food experiment. I don't have those peaks and valleys with my blood sugar and (Oh my I can’t believe I am admitting this) my arthritis wasn’t nearly as bad.  
It's hard to eat clean especially when you have severe cravings that you cannot deny, but the consequence of eating like that for me isn't it worth it. Will I eat like that again? Of course. Just maybe only one day a week and certainly not to that extreme, but that cheese cake was good.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My food Experiment

We are 3 weeks into the new year and I wonder how many of us have kept to our new year’s resolutions?  I don’t usually do resolutions I make a list of obtainable goals, which I guess are about the same thing.  Usually my goals are things like travel to a new place, experience something I have never done, get healthy, etc.  I always incorporate getting healthy and leave like that because getting healthy could mean many things like exercise more, lower cholesterol, eat better, reduce stress, whatever.  For the past 2 years I have participated in the Daniel Fast along with my church.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Daniel Fast it is based on Daniel fasting in the bible to show his devotion to God. There are several types of Daniel Fast but basically you are only allowed to consume fruits and vegetables for 3 weeks.  This is not about weight loss.  It is a mental, physical and spiritual journey with yourself.  You really learn a lot about the effect food has on your body and how addicted you are to certain things. The first year I did this I was completely unprepared and lasted a little more than a week.  Last year I did much better but at week 2 was craving protein so badly I broke down and had some salmon.  This year I knew I couldn’t do the strict Daniel Fast so I looked at other types of healthy eating plans.

For the past 3 weeks I have experimented with what I like to call my Whole 30, Paleo, Daniel Fast, clean eating plan. These are all clean eating plans that have the same basis, which is eat clean, 1 ingredient foods, nothing processed.  They all have their own guidelines.  I took something from each of them and blended what I thought would work best for me.  At first I did a detox to get myself off of processed foods.  This took about 3 days and I suffered from headaches and some nausea.  I eliminated all dairy, sugar and all processed foods.  Basically, I ate whole proteins, vegetables, fruits  and nuts. The first week wasn’t bad at all once I got past the headaches (which were very mild) and I  was surprised at my self-control and ability to pass up things that I would have normally eaten.  Week 2 I was still going strong but I was getting tired of eating eggs every morning. 
In the mornings I also drank what I began calling fish food (which is exactly what it smelt like) but I do recommend it.  Green Vibrance is loaded with green stuff that is good for you but taste awful!  I mixed it with some juice and did a shot of it, holding my nose at first.  What I really wanted was a cup of coffee with some hot frothy milk and sugar.  I actually day dreamed about a Starbucks caramel macchiato. MMMMMMMM. At the beginning of week 3 I could feel myself getting weaker.  I had done a great job of passing up cookies, cakes, candy, even croutons in my salad.  Today I hit my breaking point.  Down here in the south around this time of the year we begin the celebration of Mardi Gras.  Along with Mardi Gras comes the King Cakes.  
If you don’t know what Mardi Gras is then you have been living under a rock. If you don’t know what a King Cake is please let me explain; King Cakes are like giant cinnamon rolls topped with sweet frosting, green, purple and gold sprinkles.  Some bakeries fill them with cream cheese, Bavarian cream and other flavors like pecan praline, raspberry, apple or lemon.  There is a plastic baby that also goes inside them (which is not eatable and not relevant to this post).  This morning I purchased a few King Cakes for some of my customers.  They were warm when I picked them up, fresh out of the oven and the aroma of absolute deliciousness filled my car.  By the time I dropped the last one off the eggs and fish food shot had worn off.  When one of the girls asked if I wanted a piece of this delightful cake I could not be rude and say no.  I was salivating over the thought of it.  When the first bite hit my tongue it took everything I had not to shove the entire thing in my mouth and get another piece. I think I even forgot to breathe while I was eating it. I felt like a crackhead getting a fix.  It was soooooo good! So I have blown what I worked 3 weeks for. 

The moral to this story is, there isn’t one.  Just kidding, I did feel much better eating clean and I came to realize how much crap is in the food we eat.  Moving forward I will be more cautious about what I put in me and my families bodies. I do eat healthy and will adopt trying to eat non processed foods, but there ain’t nothing wrong with a little sweetness every now and then especially when it is fit for a King ;)   

Happy Mardi Gras y'all!!!!