Married, Year 7

It is the 7th wedding anniversary for my husband and me. Seven years married, and a lifetime to go. It’s interesting now to think back on the advice we have been given throughout our years together.

“Never go to bed angry.”

“Share the load.”

“Oh, you won’t be doing that for much longer!”

All of it was taken with a grain of salt because not a single person knows what goes on in some other couple’s relationship. Regardless of how close the outsider might be to the couple, they will never understand what it is like to be in your relationship with your significant other.

However, there is some sound advise out there. Not all of it should fall on deaf ears.

But, does advise ever grow old? Is there a time limit for the value of the advice? Does it grow stale over years, or lose its potency? Does it keep forever regardless of when it was given?

The best marriage advice I have ever read can be found in an article from a writer in 1886 named Jane Wells.

“Let your love be stronger than your hate and anger.”

Man, of they entire world doesn’t need that lesson right now, no matter the marital status. Letting hate and anger fester does nothing but foster more hate and anger. Only love can heal. True for life and marriage.

“Learn the wisdom of comprise…”

Another life lesson, but I feel this so truly for marriage as well. No one agrees with another individual completely on every topic known to man. And, if they do, they may need to take a journey to discover themselves. Find what really matters to them, and understand their own mind.

“Believe the best…”

Because the worst is sometimes an imagined doubt rather than truth. Give the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty.

“…living up or down to opinions.”

Set the bar high. Demand what you want, but be ready to compromise and be surprised.

“…true friendship…”

The basis of any marriage should be friendship. The couple should have a foundational bond of fondness toward each other, which will serve to keep them from falling apart. Friendships may be tested, but it is the connection between the two people that will endure.

“…hand this down to your children..”

Because the more things change, the more they become the “new norm”.

Finally, I leave you with this.

I have loved a man with my entire heart for over 15 years, and dedicated the rest of my life to loving him 7 years ago. It has been hard, full of compromises, times of anger, but the love we share is worth it. The relationship we have is everything to me because we keep surprising each other.

Happy anniversary, babe!

ABC Mouse Subscription

As most mom’s know, we are trying to find ways to keep our young ones learning, entertained, and, for just one moment, occupied while we try and do anything around the house! We also want to see our kids using technology in a way that is more than mind numbing television or video games. We want sustenance for their little minds!

Enter ABC Mouse.

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads as much as I have, especially if you’ve even thought the words “homeschool” or “kids at home learning”. HOW DO THEY KNOW?!

I finally caved because I was tired of hearing other apps being used on my five year old daughter’s tablet that were nowhere near educational. The ABC Mouse app at least has a purpose to teach the child something.

Again, I digress.

When I first got the app for my daughter, she’d play for a few minutes then look for her other apps. I’d redirect her and get her back on the learning path, but I think it is beneficial to all considering the app to know there is a motivational aspect to it that I had to explain to my daughter.

To keep the child engaged, ABC Mouse has a built in reward system. For every module they complete, they receive tickets for in app “purchases”. (They cannot buy tickets with real cash. I checked. They gotta do the work!) These “purchases” are for their virtual classroom, in app pets, and avatar clothes and home decorations. Money is a concept my daughter is still learning, so explaining the tickets and what they could be used for helped tremendously to motivate her and do the work!

Her current favorite thing to do is buy stuff for her avatar’s house. She was having fun buying up all the class pets and coloring by numbers, but we’ve moved on to decorating!

Overall, I think my daughter and I are both happy with the app and it’s teaching ability as well as it’s engaging qualities. I would recommend it to Mom’s looking for a way to keep their kids learning. I would just add, be on the lookout for the best discount code. There are a lot of them!

Self Awareness

I’ve taken several soft-skill classes pertaining to communication and personality types, and the one thing I have learned from each is how much room for growth I have. Call it ego or immaturity, but in my 20s, I could have sworn to you I knew exactly who I was and how to communicate with anyone effectively.

I WAS WRONG!

I’m approaching my 30s swiftly, and I am finding myself reflecting on my communication skills and personality type in ways I’ve never taken the time to consider before. Am I a details or big picture seeker? Do I like small talk or getting down to business? Am I competitive, or am I collaborative? I’ve never stopped to consider any of this in my communication style. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself and am working on the parts of me that can be improved.

For example, to answer the small talk versus getting down to business questions, at work specifically, I loathe small talk. I have a job to do, and I only have so many hours in a day to complete my tasks. When communicating with coworkers, I want to get to the point and move on to the next.

What I have realized this says about me and how it translates into my personal life is my amount of patience. I have a five year old daughter, and I try to summon all the patience in the world sometimes when I am talking to her. Otherwise, with anyone and anything else, my fuse is short! This is one area in my life I want to badly to work on. I want to be more patient. I want to take the time out of my day to stop and smell the flowers rather than plowing through life like a bulldozer.

I’ll get there one day, but for now, I’m just glad I have become more self aware. The first step is acknowledgement, right?

Trolls World Tour – Movie Review

My five year old daughter loves Poppy and Branch! After that first movie came out, it was all she would talk about. She would sing the songs and want to wear “Poppy pink” all the time! The movie was sweet and catchy with the mashups, so not too much heartache to be found after watching it multiple times a week.

When we heard a second movie was coming out, my child was so excited! We made the viewing party into a real experience for her since we weren’t able to see it in theater (due to the thing that must not be named). We baked cookies, made crazy drinks, and ate whatever she wanted for dinner. We laid out our spread and turned the movie on.

We built the moment of watching the movie up so much, this child was bursting the moment the first song began! Every few seconds she would say, “Daddy, did you see that!” Or, “Momma, look!” It was hilariously adorable! Luckily we were at home because this child could hardly contain her excitement.

As the movie played out, she was completely sucked in!

I, on the other hand, missed the first movie.

Don’t get me wrong, the second movie was cute, too, but something about the dialogue didn’t work for me.

In the first rendition, there is a conflict, a mission, a redemption, and a resolution. All of that is present in this sequel as well, but the interactions between the characters just feel short and bland. I know these movies have a lot of music in them, which I thoroughly enjoyed in both films, but there is a lackluster quality to the spoken exchanges between the characters themselves. Anytime they weren’t singing, there wasn’t much value added to inform the audience of what was happening.

Without getting too detailed, there is mention that certain events happened before and history was repeating itself. There is even a quick reference to whom the conductor of the first event was, but it’s blown off so quickly, it’s hard to tell if it’s really what they meant or if they were just wondering if that was the case. There are several instances like this where they just casually throw a comment out, but there is no further interaction amongst the characters to progress the thought process.

I know, it’s a kids movie. I didn’t have any overreaching expectations of the movie other than my daughter’s enjoyment, and she definitely enjoyed it!

Queue playing the soundtrack on repeat until we can buy the movie and play it incessantly!

Frozen II – Movie Review

Frozen IIIf you’re like me, have a young daughter and are staying inside the house, I’m betting we have watched Frozen II about the same number of times by now. Memorizing the songs was easy; by now, we have moved onto reciting each character’s lines in our best impersonating voice! It’s getting a bite dire in these living rooms.

One thing I do have to say about this sequel that I’m not so sure is receiving the spotlight that it should is the emotionally intelligent writing. I noted several different psychologist and doctors in the credits that I’m sure played a large role in this script! It’s clear the message in this second movie was meant to teach youngsters how to handle and respond to such big emotions the characters were feeling, and I will add that it was very well done!

There are many scenes throughout the movie which attempt to broach the subject of one mental illness or another, but there is one scene in particular that struck all the right chords for me. I have struggled with depression, mainly in my youth, but as I have matured, there is always that tinge that attempts to pop up. I’ve learned how to deal with it and carry on, but there are others in my life that also struggle with a mental illness. I digress.

This scene revolves around Anna, and she begins to sing a song. It’s at a point in the movie where things seem hopeless, and she’s all but crumbling under the weight of it all. This one particular scene speaks directly to grief and depression, and to me.

The song is called “The Next Right Thing,” and as Anna begins to sing, it is clear how she is feeling. She’s lost and scared and just ready to give up. One of the lines of the song is, “Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb.”

It’s a punch to the gut! I wanted so badly to pull her up from the floor and help her through the pain as I have known that feeling before, too. But, the song continues, and she coaches herself. She pulls herself up and focuses on one step at a time. Looking too far ahead is too much, more than she can take. Instead, she breaks it down to the next breath, next step, and next choice. She chooses to do the next right thing.

If nothing else, I feel this moment more than any other in most Disney movies, and I am a Disnerd. While I don’t fully understand the need for this movie, other than to cash in on the prize cow (it doesn’t progress their story, in my opinion), I do think it is very well done. While I am not a fan of watching it 10 times day, I do find myself pausing at the Anna scene and agreeing with her song. Sometimes, all we can do in our moments of weakness is focus on the next right thing.

Anxiety (explicit)

Fuck you, anxiety!

You won’t win this war.

Fuck you, anxiety!

It’s you I abhor.

I can’t fucking stand you and the way you impact our life.

I won’t let you do this.

You won’t destroy our lives.

I’ll fight you tooth and nail.

I refuse to let you win.

This is our happily ever after.

You’re just a distraction.

So, fuck you, anxiety!

We’re stronger than that.

We’re going to make it through this, so go stick a thumb up your ass!


We’re just going to pretend like this never happened, but damn, did it feel good to write!

What life has taught me

In the past few months, I have learned some very hard lessons. Ones that I don’t think I was ready for. They came like a shockwave, jolting my entire system and shattering everything around me. Honestly, I’m still going through most of it, trying to make sense of it, but I’ve absorbed it as much as I can.

A few highlights:

Try to listen first. There is a time to talk and a time to listen. Sometimes, just listening is all that is needed. Sometimes, your opinions don’t matter. There will be occasions when your words are needed, but try to listen first.

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of anyone else. I struggled with deep depression as a teen. It was dark and all consuming, but I made it through with help from others. I can’t imagine what may have happened to me if they hadn’t been there, hadn’t been strong enough to help me. I came close to sinking back into that familiar darkness recently, but the will to find my happiness brought me back. I’ve realized that no matter what is happening in my life, if I want to help those around me, I have to take care of myself first.

Never take peace for granted. Whether you notice it or not, everyone strives to have peace in at least one aspect of their lives. Work, home, hobbies; some part of their lives. When every part of life seems chaotic, that sliver of peace is the safe haven a person can curl up in and recoup. Never, ever take that solace for granted. Cherish it completely!

Love will always triumph over fear. I know it sounds very Frozen movie-ish, and I do have a five year old daughter who loves those movies, but it’s true! Love is the greatest weapon, the ultimate conquerer of fear. As life throws me around in this unforgiving sea of fear, I am holding on to the one anchor I know is always there. Love is stronger than fear.

I’ve been learning these lessons hard recently, and I am taking heed. If nothing else, these past few months have given me such clarity in these four aspects of my life, for the rest of my life. I just truly hope life can finally come to a place of peace for a while.

Mental Health Care – the stigmatic sector

I can’t tell you how many times I have started this post and then deleted it. My backspace key is wearing out. WordPress is sending me emails like: Try the Publish button, you’ll like it! But, every time I do, I wonder what the feedback will be. I wonder if I’m saying it right, or saying too much. I want to get this right because the stigma already exists around it, and I don’t want to add more negativity to the topic of mental health.

Mental health is at epidemic proportions in this world, and the past few weeks of my family’s experience in this field of care is a true testament to why.

I’ve been on anxiety medication for years,” the medic smiled.

After five days, the patient will be released with two weeks worth of medication, so they can find a psychiatrist who can continue the treatment,” the in-patient nurse informed.

The psychiatrist has denied you to the practice because you did not complete the program as prescribed,” the intake therapist stated.

Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin“, the general practitioner said. “It can be treated in the family practice realm. Come back in a month.”

More than 50% of people who go to the E.R. for heart attack symptoms a

re actually experiencing a panic attack,” the therapist assured.

But, each of those people who end up in the E.R. have different experiences getting help with their condition following the emergency room visit.

The lack of care providers is astounding! And, it only gets worse as you try to get more specific with your search. Does this one take your insurance? Does this one have an office within a two hour travel range? Is this one even accepting new patients, and if they are, do they have any schedule availability within a day or two?

Mental Health Awareness 2016
Pine Rest Christian Health Services Blog

I couldn’t believe how many care providers (psychiatrists and therapists) I called that had at least a 48 hour call-back time then an even longer wait to actually be seen!

You break a bone; you are seen by a doctor immediately. You have a cold or some other physical ailment; you’re scheduled to be seen within a few days.

Your chest tightens. You have unbearable thoughts. You can’t imagine living any longer. We’ll see you in two weeks!

I am not attempting to downplay the care that should and needs to be provided to those with physical ailments. I am simply asking, why isn’t mental health held to the same caliber? Why aren’t those who have dark thoughts and physical symptoms in reaction to their mental state treated with the same expedience? How can a doctor (who is one of a very few in a certain geographical area and health care sector) deny a patient from care?

The stigma that surrounds mental health isn’t there because it is hard to understand how these patients feel. More people than not these days can relate to the list of mental health disorder symptoms. It’s there because the treatment these patients need isn’t. Imagine a world where a patient visited a doctor once and was cured of anxiety, depression, or any other mental ailment. Would there still be a stigma?

Mental health issues are not the problem. Access to care is.

Car Totaled, Totally New Car

I have had the same vehicle since I turned 17 years old. My first car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, came into my possession in 2007. It was a new to me car with about 42,000 miles on it. That thing was a tank! It didn’t have much as far as features, even for 2005 standards. It had manual windows and keyed entry, but it was mine, and it could go forever!

Fast forward through high school, college, road trips, marriage, and a baby, and that car was still going strong! Twelve years I ran that car on basic maintenance and fluid changes, all the way up to 160,000 miles, and I would’ve put money on it running for at least another five years. Well, I would have lost it all.

A few weeks ago, a stake body truck decided to back into the front of my geriatric vehicle. The driver was a wonderful person, very apologetic, pulled off to the side of be road and took responsibility for the accident. In the D.C. area, having the person at fault actually stick around and accept fault is huge! Anyway, his huge, landscaper type truck almost cut the front bumper in half, shattered the grille, and crumpled the front half of the hood. Luckily, this was all at a very low speed, so no one was injured, but man, my poor car!

Now, I’m driving a rental, and a salvage yard tow truck took my well driven, beyond paid for car away. They haven’t given the official word yet, but the adjuster is under the impression that it will be totaled. Twelve years of travel, of life in one vehicle, gone. Not to mention not having a car payment. Ugh!

Just waiting on the insurance check, so I can go car shopping, I guess, but my heart just isn’t in it. I don’t even know where to start!

Wonder Park – Movie Review

We were looking for a family movie the other night, and came across Wonder Park. We couldn’t really tell by the movie poster what exactly the movie was going to be about, but it’s a Nickelodeon movie, so we didn’t think we could go wrong.

IMDB: June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals – only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she’s the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland.

Did you catch that last word there? The title of the movie is Wonder Park, but the name of the park is Wonderland. What?!

As if that wasn’t enough to get your goat, the movie starts off sad. And I’m not talking about Inside Out beginning of the movie sad. More like, Lion King beginning of the movie sad. Literally, my husband googled the end of the movie to ensure it wasn’t a total cry fest type of sad.

Besides the little hiccup in the beginning, the movie evolves into a really cute film. The young heroine has to fix the park she created with her mother after a tragic moment turns her away from the creative, carefree child she wanted to be. Her journey forces her to face her fears and embrace her imagination even in the darkest times. And I promise there is a happily ever after!

Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 for me! A safe, family friendly movie everyone will love.