Be the Candle

Are you in need of some encouragement today?

One of the most amazing things about giving encouragement is that is seems to multiply and come back around. The more you give away the more you seem to get.If you are feeling lost or discouraged or worried or sad or worn out, try encouraging someone else. Start with just saying one nice, true thing to a fellow human being and see what happens. 
I’ll start: YOU are amazing! Yes, you. The one working so hard thinking no one has noticed. I have, and I’m proud of you. You’ve so got this!!!

#blessings #mypinkchampagnelife #complimentsareawesome #inspiresomeonetoday

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Bless This Mess

Maybe it’s because I’ve hit my busy time at work or we’ve started school or I’m just not in my groove yet but things are kind of a wreck around here. If you’ve been checking out my Instagram feed lately you can see a theme: big fat mess! 

 (Yesterday’s post, my actual laundry room!)

It’s ok, I own it.

I recognize at this point in my life it is just not possible for me. Well, it is, but then I would have to give up things that are important to me: Oasis time with Mr. Wonderful, family dinners, playing outside time with my kids, precious time alone.  (Snapped this adorable pic of a great big sis taking her brother for a ride)

I’m just not willing to give any of those things up for a clean house or even an organized one at this point. We are slowly but surely getting ourselves together and adapting to our new normal and that’s good enough.

We are learning to give ourselves and each other a break. And then we plow through the mess to continue making memories. For the longest time my hands were so full: of deadlines and papers, hurts and worries, To Dos and expectations. And now, even though I still have those things that must happen today to keep my family on track, I try to focus on the priorities and let everything else go. 

(Three gifts from my kids while we were playing outside-my treasures)

 
I am choosing to be a different kind of Supermom: I’m the one whose kids may arrive somewhat messy and loud but I bet they’ll be laughing. And Mr. Wonderful and I may not have a typical household-the Mad Cow (PTSD) makes that impossible. But we embrace the impossible around here. We do what we can do and leave the rest for tomorrow–it’ll still be there when tomorrow comes. And if we can handle tackling it then, we will.
After the last few years we’ve been through–Mr. Wonderful going kinda nuts, us finally getting a PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) diagnoses, him getting treatment, our family learning how to cope with our new normal–the little things just don’t matter anymore. It’s amazing how your perspective can shift when you’ve seen up close and personal how bad things could be.

So we’re a mess. And I’m grateful for it. God bless this mess!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, swing by and say hello! 

#PTSD #mentalillness #nostigma #messyhouse #blessthismess #blessings #mypinkchampagnelife

Laundry

Have I mentioned yet how much I hate laundry? 

It may be a smidge out of control and my helpers are only mildly effective at best. One of them who shall remain nameless is constantly undoing all of the laundry we’ve already folded. As proof I’m including an actual un-retouched photo of my laundry room–and it’s not even the worst it’s ever been. 

I should probably be embarrassed. But this is real life y’all! 

To stay on top of the amount of clothes needing washed I really need to do two loads every day. I blame Mr. Wonderful for this–because he is a giant his clothes are humongous and take up lots of room. Truly I am in need of a visit from the Laundry Fairy.

I need her to whisk away my dirty laundry and exchange it for clean and sparkly. She seems to be to busy to drop by these days.

Does anyone else ever run a load of laundry, forget about it because you got busy with twenty-seven other things and then have to re-wash it? Twice?

Yeah, me either.

Mr. Wonderful tries to help out but he has the Mad Cow which means his short term memory makes it nearly impossible to remember about that load of clothes he put in. Sometimes I re-wash his loads and mine. The silver lining here though is that when our clothes are clean they’re CLLLEEEEAAAAANNNN!

I’m hoping to get to some laundry later today as my children have informed me they have nothing to wear tomorrow. But I also know my limitations: I have two work appointments and a speech therapy appointment for the seven year old, plus dinner, homework and baths to navigate. It might not happen.

It’s ok, that’s what I have Febreeze for….😉

Anyone else brave enough to post a pic of their laundry room?

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. I would love to connect with you on Instagram @MyPinkChampagneLife and Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Poopmageddon: A True Story

As you may have guessed by the title this is not going to be a sweet post. Disclaimer: sometimes my life is disgusting and I’m all about sharing.

I woke up early this morning so I could grab some alone time/writing time/coffee time. All of this is necessary if I’m going to be recognizable as myself. Especially the coffee part. And I have found that writing a book is a solo affair. I keep getting up earlier and earlier to beat my children awake because otherwise they are all up in my business which means I’m trying to write while someone is breathing and chewing loudly and asking me if I think The Hulk could beat up Superman in a fight. (Of course he couldn’t; he’s strong but Superman is strong, can fly and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Duh.)

But I digress.

I had managed one cup of coffee and minimal writing on my next book (shameless plug: coming out next year!) when I heard my Littles awake. I made breakfast for them and then went to get them from upstairs.

Little Sister was already skipping happily down the stairs singing a song about poop. I’m starting to realize that if I want to truly know what’s going on with my kids I should listen to her little ditties. They are somewhat based in the actual circumstances going on in and through the house, so when she’s singing a song about bugs or mice or spiders or poop, I should tune in.

The smell in the baby’s room when I opened the door was like a sucker punch to my sinus cavity. Holy poopstorm Batman! It appeared to be everywhere. My eyes could barely take it all in. And there was Baby Boy, happily jumping up and down in the filth.

Now as a Mama I have seen and dealt with some disgusting things. But this put even the Poop Debaucle of 2012 to shame.

This was Poopmageddon.

No matter what type of training or college or experience you have, nothing prepares you for something like this. The smells, the sights, the amazement at the locations of said poop was so astounding. It was like he invited three of his baby friends over for a poop party-I have never seen so much of the stuff in my life!

So I did what every Mama does in this situation. I steeled my gag reflex, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work giving the baby a bath (such a waste of that bath last night!), doing laundry and burning everything else. I even had to call in reinforcements-Mr. Wonderful was half awake but he got to work as well.

This was definitely not on my Monday To Do List.

Now that everyone is clean and shiny again (only for a moment, I’m sure), I’m relaxing with my second cup of coffee until tomorrow. I wish. Let’s be real, until the next time there’s a disaster.

Maybe we should see who would win in a fight between a Mama and Superman. 

My money’s on the Mama.

#Mama #Superman #Thehulk #Batman #superheroes #disaster #mypinkchampagnelife #amwriting #motherhood 

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. I would love to connect with you in Instagram @MyPinkChampagneLife and Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Monday Coffee Quote

  
Oh ho ho, it’s Monday again! Whether or not you’re ready for it, it’s here. But it is a chance to do things right this week, a fresh start, a new way forward. So grab your venti triple extra large cuppa joe and hit the ground running! Today is a blessing, treat it as the gift it truly is and see what happens to your Monday❤️

☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️

#coffee #coffeeisforclosers #Monday #letsdothis

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. I  would love to connect with you on Instagram @MyPinkChampagneLife or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Mermaid Queen

I am obsessed with all things mermaid. My daughter is convinced that we are mermaids: I am the Mermaid Queen and she is the Mermaid Princess. We swim, we love–no, we need–to be near water.

Even my name is sea-related. Meredith can mean “of the sea” or my favorite, Keeper of the Sea. 

So today, when I felt caught in the storm, when I felt like I was drowning in kids and work and responsibilities and frankly, a tinge of sadness at the transitory space my world and my family is occupying, I decided to dive deeper.

Instead of coming up for air I am retreating to the depths for some rebalancing, relaxing, renewing. And I will let the eye of the storm pass so that I may once again roam my seas a Mermaid Queen.

(Photo credit artcollage.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagram @mypinkchampagnelife and Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Transition. Sigh.

I’ve been avoiding thinking about it all summer but now it’s here: my baby is starting middle school tomorrow and I am not ok with this.

I met this kid for the first time in an airport when he was five months old-this was only about five minutes ago, I’m certain of it. And now my budding almost teen little old man is one step closer to becoming an actual man and I find that I am weepy and weird and generally in denial about this first.

Any other Mamas (and Dads) out there feel me? Is anyone else waking up to find themselves on the business side of a kid transition? Any other parent just trying to keep it together, proud one moment and wishing for time to stop the next?

Sigh. It’s here and there are many more transitions to come. I’m sure I will handle them all pretty much curled up in the fetal position eating cupcakes while looking through photo albums. Who’s with me?  #middleschool #Imnotready #hecantwait #hewillcombhishairtomorrow

Fab Friday

 I’ve regrouped after a rough day-it’s Friday people! Let’s go out into the world and shake things up a bit! Today can be the day you change your life, your mind, your circumstances. What are you waiting for? It’s time to go be awesome! 

Have a blessed day friends!

#Friday #cantbelievewemadeit #TGIF #blessed

(Photo credit blog lovin) ©CopyrightMeredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagram @MyPinkChampagneLife or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Broken Places, Broken People

So we had to go to the VA today. This is not a place I take Mr. Wonderful willingly. It’s a trigger for his anxiety just to get ready to go there. Then once we go, it’s usually hurry up and wait. And get care from an organization that still doesn’t know what to do with soldiers that suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Bless their hearts. 

I think many of them are trying. The lady we saw today was actually running almost on time and we were shocked! She was kind-hearted and doing her best to do her part.

But it’s always an exercise in frustration. We know this and prepare for it. Today it was in trying to get into the Caregiver Program. That’s not advertised by the VA. That I was probably eligible for two plus years ago but didn’t know about. 

We’ve already sent all of Mr. Wonderful’s medical documentation multiple times to the VA and now the caregiver part of the VA will be asking for it again. Can’t you guys just communicate with each other and save us the trouble while saving some trees??

Also, we found out that to be part of the Caregiver Program I, (said caregiver) will have to attend classes on how best to be a caregiver. Taught by medical professionals who are not caregivers. While they’re asking the already over-worked, over-scheduled caregiver to leave the home where she is caregiving, creating a situation where I will have to find and pay for a sitter for each of the six classes. This will be after I go through the online application (done), two phone interviews, a home visit by a nurse and after a team decides if I’m caregiver material according to the VA.

Riiiiiiggghhhht.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good caregiver. According to this article, 53 veterans die every day waiting for their benefits claims to be processed. The number of claims the VA has on backlog currently stands at 900,000. 

This isn’t good caregiving. Mr. Wonderful and I may have walked to the very edge and looked over it but my veteran is still here. The very entity charged with benefits and caregiving for our nation’s heroes is letting 53 vets die every day on their watch. And they’re going to determine if I’m really a caregiver? Or teach me how to be a caregiver?

No thank you. I like my vet and want him around for a long time.

This just isn’t ok. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fix it all. But I do know that making it so difficult that even people like me want to give up is not the answer. When you make it so hard on the veteran and their family, the people that are already broken down and struggling as it is, that they want to just take whatever you’re handing out to make all the hoop jumping go away, there is something not right.

Maybe if I tell our story and then others tell their stories more people will realize that this is happening all over the Unites States to our heroes. Maybe it will make you a little uncomfortable. Maybe it will make you mad.

I hope so. I hope you will stand with my family and say this isn’t ok. Support military families, write your senators or representatives, ask a vet if they need anything. Shake their hands, get to know them. Appreciate them. Make them feel human again.

Because goodness knows the VA won’t.

(Photo credit Life Change Ballroom) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagram @MyPinkChampagneLife and Twitter @MyPinkChampLife.

Too Fast

  
He wants so badly to be just like his big brothers, following in their footsteps, growing up all too fast.

Summer is almost over and all my babies are getting bigger. Moving up a grade. Changing and growing inch by inch into the people they’ll become someday. There’s nothing like the end of summer to help me celebrate the good times we’ve had while reminding me with a steady metronome-like beat that time does, indeed, march on.

And it’s moving at a pace I don’t like anymore. As a kid I used to wish to be bigger or older of faster or taller or driving or R-rated movie going or college age or drinking age or adultish or independent. And I became all of those things almost without noticing.

But now that my babies are swept into that same march of time, I’m not sure I like it. I just want to stall for a bit, throw a rock into the gears and grind them to a halt so I can enjoy these moments for just a moment longer. So I can cling like a crazy woman to the ages and stages my children are in before they move on to the next one, each progressive stage coming sooner and being shorter than I’m comfortable with.

But no one asked me. 

So I steal the moments and make the memories where I can, celebrating with my happy dance every chance I get. Because they are only this exact age at this exact moment for all of time. And I’m going to embrace it, love it, enjoy it, and hold onto it for as long as I can.

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagtam @MyPinkChampagneLife or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!