Self Quarantine Day 40: Best Birthday Ever!

I never in a million years thought that I’d be celebrating my birthday during a pandemic. If you’d told me before Friday that this was going to be my best birthday ever I would have laughed at you and called you an idiot. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

My birthday celebrations started off Friday morning with the decision to put my mental health first. The Twins had been making me crazy for days. I’d lost all patience and my nerves were frayed. After asking for his help (something I’m awful at), The Hubs agreed to get the girls dressed, fed, and to his Mom’s house for me. I let myself sleep in then woke up and tiptoed around the house to keep from waking them while I got their clothes and diaper bag together.

During all of this a package arrived from my Meme. She’s the best at birthdays and this year she really outdid herself. She sent me some flowy hippy mu-mu dresses. She also sent me a beautiful opal ring that my Pawpaw gave to her for her birthday years ago. I cried and then got all dressed up for the first time in weeks. I put on jewelry and one of my new dresses. I even shaved my legs. *gasp!* I felt confident and sassy and, most importantly, relaxed.

That got me thinking about what I really wanted for my birthday. I wanted to relax and be luxurious. So I told The Hubs my plan and he made some arrangements. My Father In Law agreed to let him off for the weekend and my Mother in Law agreed to take the kids (all four, bless her) Saturday night and Sunday during the day. As the Hubs made arrangements, I headed to work. I was fortunate to have lovely views all day.

The view from my mask making kit station.

My team and I have been making DIY mask kits to give away for free to people in our community. The best parts of it are sitting by the road waving at cars and seeing how much people appreciate this simple thing. It’s just a ziplock with some fabric and string and instructions in it, but for some people this is a positive note amidst a sea of negativity. Others were super excited to give their kid something to do. So far our organization has given out supplies for over 600 masks. We’re shooting for 1000. So Friday my teammate and I sat by the road and waved at cars and spread joy while soaking up the beautiful weather.

Saturday morning I took it easy. We watched movies with the girls and snuggled. My Bonus Mom stopped by with a beautiful dress for me. No hugs (curse you social distancing!) but it was so good to see her. We haven’t seen each other since before this all started. The Hubs also gave me 500 worms for my compost bin. (Never thought I’d be excited about worms but here we are.)

Our newest pets!

After lunch we brought the twins to my in-laws where they’d get some Nanna and Pawpaw time and get to play with The Boy and Crazy Eyes who were already there. That’s when the real fun began. I went to Whole Foods and got the ingredients for my birthday feast. Wooo Buddy! I was a woman on a charcuterie mission! I had so much fun! I bought fresh berries, apricot jam, crackers, six cheeses, olives, pickled mushrooms, mixed nuts, pine nuts, flowers, and champagne. I even got chocolates and macaroons. I rarely splurge on myself anymore but the timing was perfect. I felt sassy and bougie by the time I left the store. I was giddy with excitement. What could be better than tons of cheese and tasty food?! Ummm I mean what could be better than a date night with my loving husband?! Haha! We feasted on fancy food while drinking champagne and giggling. My brother joined us via FaceTime and some of our other friends even made guest appearances via FaceTime as well.

My mouth is watering just looking at it!

Sunday morning I….SLEPT IN!! Miracles do happen folks! It only happened because the kids were gone and I’d had half a bottle of champagne but it happened! I woke up feeling rested and relaxed. I had a special breakfast of champagne and macaroons and spent some time in the garden. I even discovered our very first tomato!

With no restaurants open, I had to do brunch myself.

After brunch, we took a ride on the motorcycle. As always, I looked like a little kid on the back, especially compared to The Hubs. I can’t look like a badass. It’s just not in me. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden and I forgot just how much it relaxes me. The weather was perfect and the traffic was light. We even went through the Dairy Queen drive through and then spread out in the parking lot and had a picnic.

Picnic in the park..ing lot haha!

Later that night after the Twins went to bed The Hubs and the big kids worked on building me a new fire pit in the backyard. Right before midnight we ate the cake that he made and they happy Birthday to me. It was so sweet. He’s never baked before or decorated a cake but I think he did a great job.

Not bad at all for his very first baking experience.
Birthday cake at midnight is the best!

Today I took it easy with the exception of a couple work meetings. At some point last night three of the four kids ended up in bed with us and I ended up in the Twin’s room on their extra mattress with The Hun so I was exhausted. Sometimes when you have four kids life gets weird and they all decide to have bad dreams or not sleep at the same time. (Probably because the big kids ate cake at midnight.) My Mom and Bonus Dad brought me over a platter for my future cheese boards and a couple of cheeses to go with it. (I’m a cheese fan obviously.) My Aunt even took care of dinner and brought us Ramen from my favorite place. I’ve had calls, texts, and Facebook shout outs all day. My boss even remembered my birthday on our conference call.

It’s hard to be grouchy when you wake up to such a sweet face.

Quarantine may suck, but I wouldn’t trade this weekend for anything. This has been the best damn birthday ever. I couldn’t have asked for more. I feel so blessed and cared for. My family and friends have shown me so much love and spoiled me rotten. I can’t thank everyone enough. I’m excited to see what the future holds even in these uncertain times.

Self Quarantine Day 36: Who We Are

I’ve gotten a lot of new followers here on the blog in the past month and The Hubs revamped my site so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce our tribe again. For you long time readers, you’ll get all up to date on us too. Our family is a little wacky but we’re fun. I use nicknames for everyone here just to be on the safe side. The kids love their nicknames and we actually use them regularly.

The Hubs:

My husband is a big hairy biker man who’s recently developed an obsession with our yard. He’s super smart, very creative, funny, loving, and strong. He’s a Combat Veteran and sometimes struggles with the effects of PTSD. He is usually covered in dirt, grease, oil, or some other funky substance. He’s a great Daddy and an incredibly supportive Husband. We met five years ago and never looked back. I tell him that I love him because he looks intimidating to people who don’t know him but really that’s just a small piece of the puzzle. He says he loves me because of my butt.

Our Five Kids:

Let me preface this by saying, that I am fortunate to have only had one pregnancy in all of this. As far as Bonus Kids go, I hit the jackpot. I don’t often make the distinction between “my kids” and “my bonus kids” because, as far as I’m concerned, they’re my kids. I’m not their Moms, nor would I want to replace them, but I love them just like the monsters that I carried in my belly.

Our Oldest:

She won’t come up in my writing very often as, unfortunately, we don’t get to see her or talk to her anymore. That’s a long story and this isn’t the right place for it. What’s important to know is that we love her and care about her. She’s from my Husband’s first marriage and we only met her for the first time a year ago. It’s an odd situation. We both are happy that we had the opportunity to meet her and hope that we’ll be able to have a relationship with her someday. All of the kids know about her and love her. She’s their big sister regardless of how far away she is. She is an essential part of our story and therefore we always remember to say that we have five children not four.

The Boy:

Our sweet Boy is the only Boy in the whole brood. Poor baby still asks me when I’m going to give him a brother. I always tell him that the baby factory is shut down here and that he should ask his Mom for one. I tell him all the time that he’s my favorite son and he always laughs at me and reminds me that he’s my only son. He’s 8. He is fiercely protective of his little sisters, loves to draw and learn new things, and enjoys driving me crazy. He is his father made over. He’s empathetic and soft hearted though. He cried for hours when our fish died. He has a bad habit of talking back because he hates being wrong. He comes by it honestly between his Dad and Me. Poor kid. He’s working on it. I did an interview with him here on the blog for his birthday the other day. If I had to have only one son in a sea of daughters I’m so happy that it’s him.

Crazy Eyes:

Our middle daughter is our wild thing. She’s a tough girl with a huge personality. She’s 6 going on 21, complete with blue eyeshadow and tiara. We started calling her Crazy Eyes when she was little because her eyes were practically bigger than her head and as blue as the sky. She still likes to bug them out at people. She loves to play her guitar, dress up, and treat her sisters like walking, talking baby dolls. She is stubborn, funny, and thoughtful (when she wants to be). She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. She makes up for her ferocity with her loving heart. It’s not unusual to find her taking time to color pictures for the people she loves. One day she’s going to take this world by storm.

The Conqueror

The Conqueror is one half of our two year old identical twin pair. She’s our Twin A. Her nickname and her twin’s started as goofy commentary on their constant grouchy faces as babies and stuck. She’s usually the one in charge of the two. She loves to play with her dolls, try to boss me around, and is very protective of her twin and me. She also really enjoys snuggling and ends up in our bed at least twice a week. At home she’s super independent but when we go places she wants to be in my lap the whole time. She enjoys helping me cook and tasting things as the meal progresses. You’ll often find her playing dress up and being sassy. She loves a good purse and pair of shoes or jewelry.

The Hun

Our youngest kid (by a whole four minutes) is our funniest. She’s got a wild imagination and loves to snuggle and play. She has a great smile but can mean mug like crazy. (Hence the name.) While she loves to play dress up, you’re more likely to find her playing in the dirt. The Hun is our nature baby. She’s never met an animal, plant, or mud puddle that she didn’t want to be friends with. She and her sister both call themselves by The Conqueror’s actual name but she knows that it’s not her name. She always makes sure that The Conqueror has her juice or snack before she enjoys her own. When we go places she’s the first to start talking to people and have fun. She’s the cuddliest of all our kiddos but has very little interest in being snuggled at bed time. She’s also the world’s messiest eater.

Me:

I’m the matriarch of this weird little crew. I’m a manager at a children’s museum where I’m fortunate enough to run the best team in the business. (Okay so that’s not proven but I refuse to let anyone even try to convince me otherwise.) I love to read, cook, and draw among other things. I recently started making and selling my own soaps. I’m a bit of a free range parent and believe that children learn through play. I’m a terrible housekeeper. I blog about our adventures and my thoughts and any other oddities that come along. It’s not easy juggling kids, marriage, pets, side hustles, blogging, mental health, and work. Life is weird. It’s wild and it’s fun. I’m so happy that I get to spend my life with the family that I’ve been blessed with.

Thanks for coming along on our crazy ride. I hope you enjoy our stories and learn from our adventures.

Self Quarantine Day 31: Reset

Tonight I am doing nothing. Well, not quite nothing. I’m obviously allowing myself to blog but I’ve set a timer. Fifteen minutes is all I get. Then it’s reset time.

I’ve been working non-stop for days. I wake up and clock in. I work for 8 hours, sometimes more. All while juggling the needs of my children and husband. Sometimes, like today, I get an escape and I get to go into the office while my Mom or Mother-in-law takes The Twins. A good day of work brings with it the satisfaction of mental exhaustion but it also brings with it the exhaustion of mental exhaustion.

Gone are the days of the card ride home to decompress. The commute to work to get my mind right. I never thought that I’d miss sitting in traffic.I wake up early and end up doing housework. Or, even more common, I get five minutes of alone time and then the Twins wake up.

I have projects that I want to get done. A new recipe to cook. A clean house. A fruitful garden. A new rosary to make. Clothes to wash. Soap to make and sell. A TV show to watch. A blog to write. A sketch book that must be filled by August and only has three sketches. Apps to distract myself with.

Not tonight. Tonight the idea of doing any of it, even the things I love to do just felt too damn much like work.

So tonight I do nothing.

No sketches, no soap, and sure as hell no dishes.

Tonight I’m unplugging even though part of me had a little freak out moment as I typed those words. Publish a post and not check on it?! Not check Facebook for soap orders or random distracting videos?!

Nope. None of it.

I’m running a bath, reading my book, (an actual story and not a self-help or management book), putting on my husbands pajamas, eating chocolate, and going to bed.

My timer is going off now. Rest calls me.

Goodnight.

Self Quarantine Day 29: Chain Reaction

I’m an advocate for learning through play but sometimes it’s hard for me to slow down and get involved in the kids’ play. I get caught up in everything else that needs to be done and I can be a bit of a stick in the mud. Today I decided to have some fun with the kids.

I was inspired by an awesome video from my friends at Knock Knock Children’s Museum. Since the quarantine started they’ve been releasing daily videos about various topics. Some of it has to do with making and tinkering, some videos are story time, others are arts and crafts or even physical activities. Today’s video was about chain reactions. You can check it out here.

I’ve always found chain reactions and Rube Goldberg machines to be exciting and fun so this felt like the right one for us. I showed the kids the video. They loved it and wanted to see more. So we went on YouTube and watched some other really awesome chain reaction videos. The look on their faces when I told them that we could make one erased all of the annoying things they’d done during the day. They were excited about science and excited to play with me.

We cleared off the table first. Then, I had them each gather five items that they thought we could use. We ended up with way more items and many things that we tried and scrapped. We must have spent close to an hour working on our chain reaction. Our end result wasn’t overly impressive but you can tell by our celebration that we were super proud of it.

It was 100% worth every minute of time we spent on it. It was fun to watch them problem solve together.It felt good to slow down and pay special attention to them without having to enforce a ton of rules. They suggested new things to try and I got to say yes every time. One more gift from this stupid virus. It’s a shitty situation but today at least some good came from it.

Self Quarantine Day 27: Easter Done Differently

Here goes Rona, making life strange again. This Easter is the most odd one that I’ve ever had. I’d even go so far as to say the weirdest Easter most of us have had.

This morning I watched Mass via Facebook. The Hubs was happy because he didn’t have to get dressed up and go. It was nice not to have to fight the kids and The Hubs to get up and get dressed for Church. As a cradle Catholic though, I missed the ritual of it all. The sign of peace is normally my favorite part and today it consisted of looking at The Hun and saying “peace be with you” while she climbed all over me. (She was the only one awake.) Hearing the prayers and songs brought a small piece of normalcy to the day.

My Dad’s Dad usually hosts the Family on Easter morning. He has for my entire life. This is the first Easter in 28 years that I haven’t hugged him and shared a meal with him. We talked about my garden and soap making. In true Pops fashion, he gave me advice. He cautioned me against always feeling like I have to complete bsomething on my to do list. Being a workaholic is a common trait in our family. He’s no stranger to burnout. He told me to slow down and make time to do nothing sometimes. The Universe speaks through him.

The kiddos were excited about their Easter baskets. The bunny did well this year. Beanie Baby type stuffed animals were a hit as were parachute men (of all things) and candy. I reused last year’s Easter Baskets and skipped the Easter grass in favor of tissue paper. While we didn’t dye Easter eggs (maybe tomorrow), the kids enjoyed playing with plastic eggs as they ran around in a flurry of sugar induced craziness.

We had biscuits, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. Not unusual fare for our Easter morning. Lunch was a different story though. Pops usually has a great spread. Pickled things, salad, crawfish étouffée or stew, potato salad, etc. Today the kids and The Hubs ate leftover burgers from yesterday and potato salad. I skipped the burger and just ate the potato salad. I’m not a burger person.

We played outside. I made some soap. The Hubs and Crazy Eyes are working on a mini garden planter kit that my grandmother gave her. The Boy is watching a movie next to me on the couch while I write. It’s quiet in the house. The Twins fell asleep without eating dinner. I expect that will bite me in the ass later but they didn’t nap so we’re just going with it.

It feels very unlike Easter. It’s been nice to slow down though. Tomorrow I’ll be back to working from home. One more day of doing my best to make it through. Here’s hoping that this all ends soon. Happy Easter everyone. May your hearts be filled with peace and happiness.

Self Quarantine Log Day 26: Washing Away Stress

Being a working Mom takes up almost every waking moment. If I’m not at work I’m thinking about work. If I’m not at work or thinking about work I’m taking care of my kids or thinking about them. Sometimes I’m doing it all at once. Working from home since the quarantine started has largely eliminated any feelings I had of work life balance. I know I’m not the only one either. It’s hard work to carve out time for the blog let alone something completely unrelated to work or kids or cleaning the house. “Me Time” has been somewhat unattainable.

I’ve mentioned before that I used to have lots of hobbies before the kids. Once upon a time I decided to try soap making. I enjoyed it but it was a short lived hobby because a single person can really only use so much soap and I moved on to another craft. Like a good little crafter I held onto my supplies but I nearly threw all of them in the trash a couple of months ago. Fortunately I didn’t.

Soap making is back in action! I’ve been ordering new supplies left and right and dreaming up new scent and oil combinations. The soap is fun to make. People are even interested in buying it and that’s exciting too. The most exciting part is making it though. For now I’m just using a melt and pour soap base and not making it from scratch. It’s a much faster process and requires less investment.

I’ve missed having a hobby that had nothing to do with the kids or work. I’d taken up embroidery for a while and enjoyed it but it can be time consuming. Cooking is fun but when you have to do it to feed your family and not just to make something cool it loses its appeal. Nothing like cooking something fancy only to hear someone whine about how they don’t like it to make you feel defeated. The kids like to help me with the soap and it’s a rather quick process. The Conqueror likes to scrape the leftover soap out of the bowl and they all enjoy smelling it as I mix it up.

I feel so accomplished when my soap is hardened and I can cut it and bag it. It’s a silly little thing but it’s good for my spirit. It’s a good lesson for me about self care. Self care is something I greatly struggle with even though I’ve gotten better about it. I think The Hubs sees that it’s good for me to have this time too. He’s always supportive when I’m trying new things but he’s working harder than ever to give me the support I need. I love him more now than I ever have and tell him often.

When all of this is over I may have a thousand bars of soap but that’s okay. The creation of each one will have helped to wash away a little of my stress. Scrub a dub dub!

Self Quarantine Log Day 24: Let’s Hear It For The Boy

8 years ago I was in college and trying to decide what to do with my life. I was busy planning my 21st birthday party and hanging out with friends. Little did I know that mere minutes away from my home a momentous event was happening that would forever change my life. 8 years ago today my Husband held his newborn son for the very first time.

I met The Boy three and a half years later, after Crazy Eyes had joined the mix and The Hubs and their Mom had parted ways. I remember telling The Hubs (then boyfriend) that I didn’t think The Boy liked me. He was a tough nut to crack. Most three year olds are and he’s always been more shy than his sister. He warmed up to me by the end of our visit and he stole my heart in the process. He’s my little buddy. My first baby. The child I chose to love.

He loves that I write about him in my blog so I thought I’d interview him.

What are your favorite things? Your (my) shrimp fried rice, robots, Spiderman, LEGOs, and playing with my sisters.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to join the Airforce but if Mommy won’t let me I’m going to be a fireman or an architect…or a super spy…or an inventor scientist. I’m not sure.

What subjects do you love in school? Reading and math.

What’s your favorite color? Red.

What’s your favorite monster? (He insisted on this question.) Werewolf!

What are your favorite songs? “Old Town Road,” and “I Believe I Can Fly.”

What should people know about you? I’m cool and funny and smart.

What do you like most about yourself? That I’m like Daddy.

I love this kid. He really is cool and funny and smart. He has the biggest heart and makes sure the people he loves know it. I’m so glad that I get to be his Deedee. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Self Quarantine Log Day 22: The Spite Lists

We’re 22 days in and I’m starting to hate writing about my days. Tonight when talking with my parents we started talking about things we hate. My Bonus Dad and I both have what we call, “spite lists.”

Our spite lists are a lovely collection of things we hate for various reasons. While not generally negative people, we both revel in adding to our lists when something new pops up. Of course, when we add new things we update each other. It’s a weird habit, but it’s something we share and enjoy.

His spite list is largely made up of overused and ridiculous words and terms. The man is an English teacher and a words guy. It makes sense. His list contains words and phrases like “on boarding,” “cruft” (apparently it means extra crap in a program), and “fro-yo.” He has “yeet” on there as well. I despise that word too so I get it. The additions of “headspace,” “unpack,” and “granular,” make me giggle because I love them. He also has sweet potatoes, eggplant, people who love raspberries, and the movie Napoleon Dynamite on his list.

When asked if she has a spite list, my Mother says that she’s not allowed to have a spite list because every relationship needs one flexible person. Although as soon as she said this she added that anything labeled as Cajun above I-10 was on her spite list.

My spite list is more varied. Bicycle riding, for instance is on my spite list. I never learned how to ride as a kid and now I refuse to because so many people in my life have either made fun of me for not knowing how to ride or insisted that they could teach me. Before my 21st birthday I swore my brother to secrecy and made him teach me. If someone put a gun to my head and told me I had to ride or they’d shoot I could make it about five feet before jumping or falling off. Its enough for me although I don’t consider it being able to ride a bike.

The word “obnoxious” makes me want to destroy things, especially when people use it to describe me during arguments. People who refuse to put their grocery carts back without having a physical reason why they cannot do so are also on my spite list. It also drives me insane when people say, “I’m so OCD.” Nope. You are not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You HAVE Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Let’s be honest, if you’re saying it as a half joke to excuse your weirdness then you probably don’t actually have it and that’s wrong on a whole other level as well.

We have other things on our lists as well. I think maybe everyone has at least one or two things on their list even if it’s not a list that they name. I’ve most definitely added quarantine and COVID-19 to my list. Do you have a spite list? What’s on it?

My Five Favorite Authors

I LOVE to read. I always have. Reading has always provided me with a means of escaping reality. It’s an especially welcome distraction right now when I’m stuck inside and finding myself overwhelmed by my anxiety. I’m sure I’m not the only one so I’ve put together a list of my five favorite authors. Each has written multiple works that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Some have even penned books that changed my life. I encourage you to pick up some of their books if you haven’t already.

1) Jonathan L. Howard:

Primary Genre: Science Fiction

The Book That Started My Love: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

I’ve never thought of myself as a sci-fi fan but it turns out that with the right author, anything is possible. I enjoy Howard’s dry, witty humor and expansive vocabulary. It’s impressive to me that, even though I’ve read several of his books, his plot lines still contain surprises and twists that are unexpected and exciting. Far too often I find that I enjoy one or two books from an author and then get bored because they all start to sound the same. I don’t often reread books but I actually went back and reread his entire Johannes Cabal series because I wanted to see all of the little clues and connections that he’d planted along the way. It was even better the second time around. I can’t wait to read more of his novels.

2) Neil Gaiman:

Primary Genre: Fantasy

The Book That Started My Love: Good Omens

I LOVE Neil Gaiman and so do millions of other people. Read one book and you’ll understand why. I’ve devoured his novels, short stories, and collaborations. I can’t get enough. His stories are inventive and unpredictable. His characters are believable and relatable, even in fantasy worlds. Good Omens opened the door for me to so much more. While it’s actually one of his collaborations, it served as a great introduction to his work for me. I’ve since filled my shelves and my heart with his other books.

3) Anne Rice:

Primary Genre: Fantasy

The Book That Started My Love: Interview With The Vampire

Anne Rice has such a way with words. When I read my first book by her I was a preteen and I still enjoy her work. With her Vampire Chronicles series, she helped to do away with the creepy vampires of Brahm Stoker and usher in an era of vampires with sex appeal and charisma. She is incredibly descriptive and paints pictures with her words. Under her own name she’s written about vampires, witches, werewolves, religion, and so much more. She’s also written erotica under her pen name A. N. Roquelaure. 50 Shades of Grey has nothing on her.

4) Diana Gabaldon:

Primary Genre: Historical Fiction

The Book That Started My Love: Outlander

I can’t stop reading The Outlander series and all of its accompanying novels and novellas. I’ve been through the main series twice and eagerly await the next installment. Diana Gabaldon has got me, and so many others completely wrapped by her compelling storylines and characters. You love to love her heroes and love to despise her villains. She weaves her stories around major historical events without being cheesy. Her works have spawned a TV series, cookbooks, special tours of Scotland, and whole slews of fans.

5) Erik Larson:

Primary Genre: Historical Non-Fiction

The Book That Started My Love: Devil in The White City

I actually reviewed Devil in The White City on here a few months ago. I loved it despite not normally enjoying Historical Non-Fiction. In his books, Erik Larson manages to make history compelling and entertaining. I find myself hanging onto every word and struggling to put his books down. Unlike many historical authors who stick to the same subject matter, he writes about a variety of topics and time periods. There’s something in his collection for everyone.

There are so many amazing authors out there to love and I’m happy to share my top five with you. So what about all of you? Who are your favorite authors? Leave me their names and your favorite books in the comments. I can’t wait to read something new!

Self Quarantine Day 19: Mom’s Birthday

Today is my Mom’s birthday and I can’t celebrate with her because of the pandemic that has shut down the world.

I’m on day 19. Others have been doing this for even longer. My state is on a “Stay at Home” order until April 30th. So not only will I not see my Mom on her birthday. I won’t see my parents on mine either. There are bigger, much more awful problems in the world right now than not seeing family on birthdays but in times of struggle family is who I turn to. It feels completely alien to not be with them during this.

Not being able to just go to my Mom’s whenever is especially hard on me. I was able to see her briefly yesterday but it wasn’t the same. We both worried about unintentionally getting each other sick. My Mom is my best friend. We’ve had our rough patches like when I was a shitty teenager but she managed not to kill me. She’s always been there for me. She chose to be brave and bring me into this world when many women in her situation would have taken a much different path.

Mom was 18 when I was born but she didn’t let that stop her from graduating high school and then going on to graduate from college. She sacrificed so much to make sure that I was taken care of. She definitely had help along the way, but I know that even with help it wasn’t an easy road. That’s the way my Mom is though. When she chooses to love someone she does it with her entire heart. I’ve talked before about how my Dad shows love but Mom is very different. She says she loves you all the time. It doesn’t stop there though.

She’s a problem solver. You call her upset and she’s going to try and find a solution. She’s there to cheer you on when you need it whether you are her kid, her spouse, her friend, or some stranger that she sees struggling. She’s sassy and extra and I love her for it. She’s been known to take something simple and make it into something completely over the top and perfect.

She is a woman of many talents. She can cook pretty much anything. You don’t dare leave her house hungry. Her gumbo is famous (passed down from my great-grandmother of course) and her peach pie is out of this world. She makes pasta, bread, and pretzels. She quilts, makes clothes, and embroiders. She has a garden. She journals. She occasionally scrapbooks and, of course, is great at it. In her younger years she painted and cross-stitched. I have yet to see her pick up a hobby that she was bad at it. If she was bad at something she’d just master it and then move on anyway. She rarely uses these skills for herself though, she’s always doing things for other people. A quilt for me, a pie for my Bonus Dad, a specially decorated care package for my brother, dresses for the girls. The list goes on. She is the epitome of showing love through acts of service and quality time.

When I talk about her like that she sounds like a little old southern belle. She’s not fragile or old though. She’s loud and opinionated. As my Bonus Dad lovingly calls it, she’s a “mouthy b***h.” She’s never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what’s right. She’s the bravest woman I know. I wouldn’t be who I am without her.

Happy Birthday Mom! And screw you COVID-19!

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