Choosing Joy

  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2015)
This guy.

He reminds me to choose joy in all situations. You wouldn’t know it from this pic but we’re on our third round of meds for an ear infection. This means he’s had ear troubles and pain for at least six weeks.

And he’s happy. He’s not defined by his circumstances and he certainly doesn’t let them get him down. He just chooses happy. All the time.

He reminds me that life is good. That there is always something to be joyful about. That even if you’re aren’t at 100% for whatever reason, you can still choose happiness.

He’s my little hug from heaven most days. He brings joy to all around him, even his daddy, who suffers from the darkness of PTSD. But Mr. Wonderful can’t stay in the dark too long when this sweetie swoops in with his light and belly laughs and silliness and games of hide-and-seek.

Pure bliss.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Wild Hair Weekend

I’ve been on a tear lately. 

In the last four years of our lives we’ve had two (more) babies, moved three times, gotten sober, received a PTSD and TBI diagnosis, gotten medically retired from the military, begun ADHD testing and occupational/speech therapy, began learning trombone and gotten a book published. 

Needless to say, because of all of the aforementioned crazy, things are a mess.

I’m not just talking dirt. I’m talking clutter, chaos, scootching things under things so I don’t have to look at them, dingy windows and souls, broken toys and hearts. There have been ruined clothes and dreams. Messy fingers, faces, rooms and lives.  

 Now that we feel more structurally sound I feel capable of tackling all of those messes I haven’t had time to work on. Now that we don’t feel like any mildly rushing wind will blow us over, I feel ready. It’s amazing what a shored-up foundation will do for a person.

As the caretaker of the bunch, even though organization is not my gift, I am trying. At first I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of additional stuff I really needed to tackle. I have a lot of daily things that have to happen to get work done and children fed and clothed and bills paid and doctors visited. 

Why on earth would I take on more?

This is the question Mr. Wonderful posed to me just this weekend. He couldn’t figure out why I was hustling and bustling about the house. And as y’all probably know, once you begin a project it somehow creates three additional projects. The cycle is exhausting so I admit, I see his point.

But in taking on our master bedroom closet, I had a little closet epiphany: bit by bit, these Wild Hair Weekends as Mr. Wonderful calls them (the ones where I get in a frenzy to get something accomplished) are really just my way of taking my life back.

Over the last four years, I have been undone and unsettled. 

Understandably.

More life change has happened during that time than any other time put together. So I keep reminding myself that the messes that are all around me are pretty normal and I have to tackle them one at a time. Easy does it. Bit by bit. 

 (photo credit femaleentreprenuersassociation.com)

It’s taken a while to get this through to my stubborn self: you mean I can’t be Wonder Woman and just make it work out right now? One snap of my silver bracelets and evil is vanquished? 

 (photo credit wonderwomanfans.tumblr.com)

I wish.

This is why the Wild Hair Weekends exist. Not just to put our family back in order but to get my soul back in order too. To give myself breathing space and sweep out the cobwebs, both literal and figurative. To lessen the clutter and free myself of the baggage.

The struggle is real, but it will be so worth it. 

At least that’s what I’m telling myself….  (Photo credit Meredith Shafer)–My latest project, a desk for my office. I’ll post pics when I’m done.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 1

I’ve decided since its November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner I’m going to (try to) do 30 posts about Thankfulness. There’s just something about gratitude that makes you reset and helps you shift your paradigm.

Feel free to join me, post your own or leave me a comment!

Today, Day 1 of Thankfulness, I’m grateful for squishy baby snuggles–  (Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer

Swing by my Instagram or Twitter page and say hi!

MIA

I haven’t been as disciplined at blogging this summer. I’ve been tripping over, uh, spending time with my kids and that sometimes means I’m not writing here.
I’m a little torn because I love this blog world but I know it’s time well spent when I’m memory-making with my munchkins. I’m also spending most of my writing time working on the follow-up to my book, trying my best to make my sophomore effort not suck. 

It’s the last day of June and I feel like it’s all slipping by so fast! I want to just hang on to every sticky, sun-drenched moment and fill it with sno cones, pool time, lightning bugs. I want the sounds of crickets to be my nighttime lullabye beyond this season. If only it could stay summer and my babies could be these perfect ages and we could ruin our dinner with fro-yo forever.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
The boys wrestling, it looks like the baby’s winning!

It’s a struggle. I want my new writing and speaking career to go already. But I don’t want to miss a thing with my kids. I don’t know how to have it all but I do know this: I’m not going to quit trying to have my version of “all.” I’m going to keep pushing and shoving when it comes to my writing and personal career satisfaction. And I’m going to keep cramming as many sweet sunshiny memories down my kids’ throats-they’re only under my roof for a short time. 

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
 

It’s all happening now, and I’m doing my best to just hang on and enjoy the ride. 

Blessings, friends!

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

My Funny Girl

So Big Sister (aka, Little Mama) likes to help me take care of her baby brother. Poor Baby Boy has been suffering from diaper rash so I was doctoring him up with butt medicine today. Big Sis gets a crazy look on her face and asks, “Mama, why are you putting yogurt on the baby’s bottom?”

Yogurt.

I love that girl.

  

Also, this is how she rocks the dentist’s office. What a kid!

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

To All the Mamas

Can I just tell you good job today? And thank you! I know that this gig is hands down the hardest, craziest, most rewarding and yet often, thankless job you can find. As the Mama of Littles, I know they can’t really say thank you; as the Mama of Bigs, I also know sometimes they just don’t think to.

And that is ok. It’s not up to them to build your self esteem as a parent, even though they may tear it down sometimes. So that’s why I have taken it upon myself to say thanks. I am a bona fide grownup (most days) and now that I’m a Mama, I get the need for encouragement from outside sources.

During the dark days of Littles, when you’re sleep deprived and don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror because you suddenly look like an old woman with carrots stuck in your hair it’s hard to find encouragement. Especially if others around you have opinions. About everything.

And I hear that there are also dark days for Mamas of teenagers too. I have a tween right now and all of the eye rolling and sighing is making me super excited for those years to come.

Sometimes the minute to minute, day to day stuff gets in the way of our enjoyment of these children. And then we get cranky or forget who we set out to be in the first place or feel mired in the weird nooks and crannies of our lives where we have left small pieces of ourselves. Maybe we left them accidentally, like skin sloughing off. Or maybe it was on purpose, like cracker crumbs to help us find our way back someday.

Oh, this Mama gig! The only thing I can guarantee is that it’s probably not what you expected it to be. And you’re probably not who you expected to be. And that’s ok too.

That is why I’m going to say thank you today to all the Mamas doing hard work. And I’m going to say to most of you (you know who you are): you’re doing a good job. You’re giving your best to your kids and family and spouses and work and activities and lessons and recitals and sports practices. You’re up early and staying late just to finish the job that has no end.

I’m proud of you. This is hard but you’ve got this. 

And just in case you didn’t catch that: 

YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

Now I’m going to go call my Mama.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

10 Ways You Know You’re an Older Parent

1. You join your kids for a dance party in the living room and your bones ache the next day.

2. You don’t see anything wrong with eating dinner at 4:30 and you justify it because you have little kids who go to bed early.

3. When you go to your preschool age kid’s class party you wonder why so many high schoolers have babies these days.

4. Your kids are impressed that you know answers to “olden times” Jeopardy questions about the ’80s. The 1980’s.

5. You’re exhausted. All. The. Time.

6. You go through the whole list of kid and dog names before you call the right kid. Then you forget why you were calling them in the first place.

7. Kids you once babysat for have kids older than yours.

8. You realize when your mom was your age you were applying to colleges.

9. Your high school friends are posting pics on Facebook of their kids’ graduations and their grandkids.

10. You’re trying to stay out of reading glasses while you still have one in diapers. 

It ain’t easy but I’m blessed! Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Top 10 Reasons it’s Awesome Being an Older Parent. If I remember…

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015