Friday, August 22, 2014

Sorry I'm Sorry

The Dorky Daddy recently posted a heartfelt admission of an issue that he deals with, which is so admirable and awesome since a lot of guys don't admit to it. I felt it was important to reiterate that it's actually an issue for the whole family. Namely, I do it, too.

We're uncontrollable apologizers. And we're officially sorry about it.

You'll see on his post the moment that the truth hit us, but let's just say that our unnecessary apologizing has been passed on to our 2-year-old son. Yup. Show any sign of distress, and he immediately starts faux crying while saying "I sowwy, Mama. Sowwy, Mama."

Lose something. "Sowwy, Mama!"

Spill something. "I sowwy, Mama! So sowwy!!"

Punish over something. "Sowwy!!" (Okay, that last one is awesome, but he doesn't know to say "sorry" for doing something wrong; just because we're upset.)

Some might say it's not a big deal, or that it's not a bad problem to have an apologetic kid.

To that I say, well, keep it to yourself. (Yeah. I went there.) You get to feel what's best or worse for your kids. We get to use our (in this case shared) intuition to decide that this is a problem for us. He's no off-the-wall, drug-abusing kid, of course, so it is all relative...but it still concerns us. And the fact that our apologetic ways allow people to discredit our feelings is something I'd rather Hadley not have to deal with, too.

Sorry for the blunt moment, but it was needed.

Wait. No. I'm not sorry. God, this is so damn difficult.

Taking the energy down for a moment *turns dial* let's address the reasons that apologizing can be a negative thing. List time:

* Sometimes...just once in awhile...it's a manifestation of passive aggressiveness. We all have frustrations on a daily basis. At work. At the grocery store. (I can't COUNT how many times in one trip I'll apologize to people at Hannaford for something I didn't do.) Out clothes shopping. Heck, at home with your partner. If someone ticks you off, be it in a big or small way, sometimes "sorry" pops out when you're actually upset about something...and aren't REALLY sorry.

And, I'll admit. When someone walks in my way or steals the spot in line or takes advantage of me at work...I will passive aggressively say, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" *raises hand* I do it. It's been done.

* Insincere or overused apologies lose their meaning. The more you say "sorry", the less you really mean it. The more I hear Dave say it, it simply blends into the conversation. Sure, it's a word of kindness (usually), but we need to learn how to use our TONE of LANGUAGE to display our kindness rather than jumping around the kitchen apologizing for tripping over each other. 

* Apologizing without thought gives the other person the upper hand. Totally. I tend to apologize as a kindness tactic -- regularly saying "Oops! So sorry you caught me eating my lunch. Sorry! What's up?" Seriously. They interrupted MY lunchtime (which I was trying to get work done during) and I'm hoping, at the very least, to receive an acknowledgement that I'm being put out a bit before dropping my sandwich and helping them out.

Instead, I've often found that the person disregards it completely and continues on, like a bulldozer, with whatever their own needs are. My confidence issues ain't gettin' any better with crap like that goin' down. It is what it is, and it's not great.


So, yeah. There's more, but that's the general idea of the thing. Our goal is to raise a happy, healthy, kind, intelligent, confident young man. Part of confidence is being comfortable with yourself and knowing how to act in situations. Regardless of how we appear, Dave and I both have confidence and self-esteem issues. The last thing we want is to pass these on to our beautiful little man. Last thing.

Dave is doing great at trying to identify when "sorry!" is an acceptable response and when it's probably not the best go-to. He's not phasing it out completely; that's not the point. It's knowing when to say it and when it's not necessary. That's all.

I, actually, already started working on my sorryisms at work last year. It. Was. Hard. There was definitely a bit of acting needed to help me learn how to not get plowed over (I also used the sorries as a way to be kind, which often got me screwed over). And, y'know what? It kinda worked. There are still people who are just always going to be hard nuts to crack (which is fine), and I learned which people respect some confidence and some boundaries.

I didn't start implementing it in other parts of my life. I didn't think it seemed necessary. But, now it seems it is.

Here are a few of the ways that we've been addressing the issue:

* I've been talking to Hadley in a low-key, "it's not a big deal" sort of way when he says it. We talk briefly about why he said it, and usually why it's not needed. If it IS needed, I'll say something like, "It was good of you to say you were sorry. When you *did such-and-such naughty act*, you were making bad choices and hurting our feelings, so it was a good thing to say 'sorry' about." Or whatevs. I've seen a quick decrease in his use of the word. Sometimes a quick one or two sentence chat gets into his smart little brain better than a super big lecture or hitting him over the head with it.

* We're not doing anything like a "Sorry Jar" or anything so drastic. Sometimes an apology is totally warranted, especially in marriage or in the day-to-day. But, we'll gently remind each other, "Honey, you said 'sorry' and it's totally cool, you didn't do anything wrong." While Dave likens it to quitting smoking (it's definitely a habit), it's not the sort of thing you need to kick yourself over when you accidentally let one slip. Sorry happens. It's a process.

* If I'm truly sorry for something, I state why. I like to use "I'm sorry because..." any time I'm actually admitting a mistake or a poor wording or any number of reasons. Self realization is where it's at. It also makes the apology carry so much more weight. It gives "sorry" back its importance.

* We're having issues, but working on finding replacements for "sorry." It's difficult because there's a sweetness attached to it that nothing can match. Again, it all depends on the situation. Sometimes it's best just to cut it out. Other times, say someone's having a bad day, just responding "Dude, that sucks" doesn't show enough empathy. So, we're feeling it out. Saying "I'm sorry your day is so terrible" might just have to be a replacement for the time being.

And just because I prefer to end on a positive note, and I hate that I was super harsh at the beginning of the post (I'm not sorry, but I don't want it to be taken the wrong way), here are some of the awesome things about "sorry":

* Sorry can melt your heart when it's said at the right time...especially by someone who's admitting a wrong or who happens to be an adorable 2-year-old who seems to be connecting to you while saying it.

* Sorry can hold so much power, when used sparingly. When you truly make a mistake and can own up to it (the hardest part), saying "I'm truly sorry" and owning the problem, then finding a way to fix it, it can earn you respect. Or not. But maybe!

Care to add anymore positive things about "I'm sorry"?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Quick Trip and Summer Check-In

So, we got away for a quick day trip to Old Forge last Friday! And, of course, the weather sucked. I mean, felt like a drizzly, cold autumn day. Luckily, we both love the fall, so it wasn't a huge downer. Just a little road bump.

Here's a quick recap of the day. Let's see. We left a bit later than I had expected, but since I knew it wouldn't be a super full day, it totally didn't matter. And, unfortunately, Hadman wasn't great in the car to OR from Old Forge. Eh. Ya win some, ya lose some.

We drove into town and found a parking spot. Since it wasn't quite lunch time and the farmers' market wasn't open for business yet, we decided to make a stop at the Old Forge Hardware Store. It's not really a hardware store as much as a general store, including tons of kitchen items and toys and books. Of course, we left with a book for the little guy.

Then, it was time for lunch. We hit up the Adirondack Cafe, and considering it's hard to navigate this place without a stroller, it was great to be welcomed to the place. (Walt's Diner was embarrassingly not great about it.) Tough when it's a touristy town.

Anyhoo, we had a great meal, then walked through a fine mist over the infamous bridge down by the lake to see Hadman's favorite -- duckies! They were, luckily, loving the weather.









Then, we decided to try the beach area nearby. Sure, it wasn't warm enough to ENJOY it, but we had fun walking around and collecting things. And, of course, some more ducks came by to say "hi" again. I even stuck my feet in the sand (although it doesn't really count on my summer list...not really what I meant).

We walked to the farmers' market, but it started raining heavier and there wasn't tons to choose from. We did leave with some wine from the Montezuma Winery (a super sweet Fat Frog Red and delicious Canvasback Red) and some raw honey for Dave.

After the market, we decided to drive the back roads near the ski slopes (you can actually ride the ski lift to get a great view, but with a wriggly 2-year-old and on-and-off rain, it wasn't happenin') and saw at least half a dozen random deer, a family of turkies, and a fox. Fun, fun!!

All the while, Dave and I realized we were both craving a donut. Just a cup of coffee and a donut. For some reason, we continued our drive in the opposite direction and happened upon this joint...






Bingo! It was like a place you would've found in the '40s. They only had coffee and two kinds of donuts. Just two tables for outdoor seating. It was perfect. And, yes, I wore a sweater and scarf. 'Twas chilly! Just the right kind of day for a homemade donut and a big, super hot cup of coffee.

So, it wasn't the greatest day ever, but we had a good time. It also makes me want to hit up a farmers' market with more locally-grown produce, and that's labeled for it. Just saying.

Oh, and what better time than now (not that summer's over -- it's not!!!!) to check in with my summer fun list:


A couple of them weren't done as much as I like (like family walks, and the garden had a major issue I'll get into later), but they were done. I'm also hoping to putter a bit more, get a WARM sandy day, and I'm thisclose to finishing two books. TWO! That's humongous, folks.

How's your summer going? And don't tell me about your kids returning to school already. Our neck of the woods, the kids don't go back (meaning I don't return to work) until after Labor Day. Let me have this!!! ;-) Just kidding, you can tell me about it, but I'll be plugging my ears and singing "la la la" the whole time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anti Clorox Wipes

In a house full of cats and an active toddler around, messes are inevitable. Namely, messes of the bodily function variety.

That's right. Cat pee and potty training smears.

It happens. Daily. Gross, but it's kind of a moot point when you're in love with those little rascals.

So, when we recently ran out of my OCD-ish husband's favorite clean-up tool, disposable Clorox wipes, I found myself hesitant to buy some more. I knew full well that it was contributing to an eco-hater status, which I cringed over every time we wiped a potty seat. Plus, the nasty chemical makeup of the wipes bummed me out.

Of course, I did what every mother does when faced with a dilemma: I took to Pinterest.

There actually wasn't as much as I thought I'd find, but I really only needed to find one great pin. And I found an awesome resource for you guys at Live Renewed. You've got not one but TWO recipes for a natural disinfectant.

I decided to take her Castile soap (ahem, I hope you all know we mean Dr. Bronner's when we say that, right?) and tea tree essential oil recipe and run with it, mainly because I had all the ingredients on hand.

Side note: My essential oil experience has been a fun experiment that's working out quite well so far, and I still haven't ordered my replacement lemon (and any new ones I'd like to try out, so any suggestions for new "flavors" would be welcome in the comments!), which is why I didn't try the other recipe. I'm loving the quality and non-pressure system that Native American Nutritionals has in place compared to others.

Anyhoo, back to the wipes. Here's how I put this shebang together:

 
For the reusable wipes, I just cut up a couple of (*cough* too small *cough) soft old T-shirts, which gave me...like...maybe 16-20 wipes per shirt, depending on how big you make your wipes. You can also use old cloth napkins (I cut up a few of those for the days I'm out of T-shirt rags) or your husband's old boxers or whatever. Just check first. Let's just say I'm waiting for mine to give up on a couple of crappy white tees to sacrifice for the cause. I'm not sure if color really matters or not; it's not like I care whether they get stained since they're rags, but I'll be sure to update you if the color runs. (That said, if you have something white to cut up or use, um, choose that. Probably best.)



Here's the stuff I mixed up. Per her recipe, I used about 10 drops of tea tree oil (which actually SMELLS like it's disinfecting, I kid you not! Like Lysol, but natural!), two tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's, and a cup of water. I ended up splashing a little more water in to moisten all the wipes, but I think it's because I put the solution on the bottom of the container instead of pouring it over the top.

Doubt that this stuff works as well as Clorox? Behold...doesn't this look all disinfecty? If that were a word, of course...



Right?? So, I put the solution at the bottom of my empty, de-labeled and washed Clorox container...


Sexy. Anyhoo, this is the point that I cut up my reusable wipes. I wadded them together, kind of in a roll, and pulled them up in the middle (I didn't end up using the old white napkins on the outside since there wasn't room in the tube)...


Don't overthink it. Just shove it in and pull in the middle. It works. Okay, this is probably the point I should have poured the solution over everything, but I had already put it in the bottom hoping that it would seep upward. I'm sure it probably would have seeped just fine, but I'm an impatient mama and love to see results. So, I splashed a bit more water on the top and shook the thing. Here's our final product:



Yup, I grabbed a marker and labeled it with a cheeky description. It also has the recipe in small lettering on the other side, just in case my husband feels like whipping some up next time, or in case my incredibly shoddy memory fails me. Again.

I'm keeping them where we kept our old wipes, under our bathroom sink. It's where we dump Hadman's potty and where they get used most frequently. This also happens to be where our laundry hamper lives, so it's perfect. If I think it's gross to toss these in with the laundry, I'll grab our old wet bag from cloth diapering days and keep them in there 'til all the rags and linens need to be washed. No big deal.

Whatchya think? Would you try reusable wipes, or are you addicted to your current method of disinfecting? No judging here.



(By the way, there's an affiliate link or two included in this post. Just a warning. It won't blow up your computer, and if you purchase anything off of Amazon after clicking through my links, even if it's not a product I listed, you'll be helping to run this here little blog. Which is awesome of you and earns you a gold star for the day.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Alright. I'm blogging about this for two reasons. One, to remember that I took part in a timely fad for, yes, a good cause (like looking back and saying you took part in "Hands Across America" or something). Two, to add a few things to the video I made.

So, by now I'm sure everyone (except maybe my mom) has heard about the ALS Challenge, and probably been tapped to do it by a friend or two. Of course, the time came and I couldn't feign societal outcast any longer. But, I had to look into it further to decide whether I was one of the many skeptics out there, or if it was really important enough to do. You can search the internet and find a slew of people who argue for either side, and I was just slightly to one side before being forced to consider doing it.

Watching my friends post videos stating, in essence, who tagged them and the three individuals they'd be torturing back, followed by a dump of icy cold (sometimes not so much) water over their heads, had me kind of shaking my own head. My issues were thus:

a) Is it really raising awareness if no one even says WTF ALS even IS?
b) How much is it helping the cause if the point is to take part in a viral campaign that's about AVOIDING paying to help research/treatment efforts?

It seemed to be a popularity thing. A fad. A chance to lightheartedly piss off one's friends. The point of the thing was moot.

BUT...then I got tagged by my brother-in-law. He's a guy who, while we joke our butts off together quite a bit, I respect. A lot. Not only would I be tortured for NOT doing it, I respected him too much not to at least consider it.

So, I decided to do it a tad differently. Just a bit.

I researched. Of course, the internet is such that, these days, you can find a million "valid" explanations on how to do something "the right way." Yeah, no. Since this wasn't an organization-based campaign to begin with, there was really no accurate way. Some said that the point was to raise money even if you dump the ice water, just in smaller denominations ($10 or $20, depending on what you read). No matter what, if you didn't do it, you had to spend $100.

All of this left a yucky taste in my mouth. Many of my friends and family are budget-conscious folks. A good cause is great, but dipping into the grocery funds ain't. Forcing someone to give $100 or $50 or even $20 if they have a family to support just isn't the way to get help. I much prefer saying, "give what you can, if you can." 

And saying "no" just makes you a hardass; not a team player. Y'know, the kids who got made fun of in school. Neither's the best situation.

So, I did this:



Notes: I enjoy talking to folks, really, but when my nerves get up, my lisp gets a-goin'. And "ums" get used generously. And, um, degenerative. Yes. I know.

But, more importantly, I'm trying to bring some awareness to the thing. Aside from stating the definition of ALS (poorly, but still) and the official website for donations (is anyone else waiting for some fake ALS sites to pop up and start making a false profit on this thing??), I make it clear that I am ALSO making a donation, and invite anyone to do so, as well. The ice water was really just for fun, to avoid familial harassment, and to prove that I'm a tough broad.

A couple of facts that I had hoped to state, but I knew I'd ramble and the thing would be wicked long:

There are over 30,000 individuals in America alone living with ALS. Once receiving a  diagnosis, the life expectancy is 5-6 years, tops. There is only one medication to treat ALS, and it only extends one's life by mere months. There. Is. No. Cure. Oh, and this disease doesn't discriminate; young, old, white, black, fit, unhealthy. It's not genetically passed. It's like winning some horrific lottery. "Hey, ya never know."

I kid you not. Check out alsa.org for more sad but true information.

Oh, and to learn more about Lou Gehrig, I greatly suggest watching "The Pride of the Yankees". Sure, there are tons of great books out there, but there's nothing like watching Gary Cooper portray the real man, being brought down by this crippling disease in his prime. It's heart-breaking and true.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming... Oh, and do tell me what you think of the challenge in the comments! Did you take part? Are you hoping to? Do you think it's a superficial masking of truer fundraising efforts? Let's chat!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Currently - August 15th

Dudes. August is halfway over. Practically. I suck at math. And I make completely blatant observations. Hi, my name is Megan, and I'm awkward.

Oh, and I'm working on a bit of a makeover for this here blog, but am having some layout issues. So, all ya get is the new header. Enjoy the cleanliness while it lasts!

That's enough of an intro, right? Here's what's "currently" going on 'round here...


I'm currently searching for rugs. Well. I shouldn't say "currently" because I'm always searching for rugs. We have area-ish rugs in our sunroom (with boring, thin stripes; too traditional), living room (there's also a carpet, but I need to ground our seating area...with a rug that's only slightly darker than the carpet...der?), and dining room (three words: squares, multicolor, scrolls). The rugs in those areas ain't cuttin' it anymore, so I've scoured Overstock, West Elm, RugsUSA.com, and about a dozen others regularly to see if I can find a deal. Unfortunately, even the deals are a tad rich for my blood. Plus, when I find something I *think* might work, I question it. I'm just a questioner when I'm spending a couple hundred (each?!) smackers. I drool at Target this time of year, thanks to back-to-school college kid rugs.

On non-sticky and non-comfy/ugly clothes days, I've been wearing the crap out of a silky blouse I scored at TJ Maxx recently. I'm not usually a Maxxanista outside of their home goods goodies, mostly because their stuff is super trendy (read: only a model can wear it without looking super awkward...and we all know I'm pretty awkward on my own) or downright ugly. I also always feel like, while perusing their racks, I'm searching the clearance racks at Kohl's (ya never know what you're gonna get), where I always leave disappointed. This one, however, has some small navy-and-coral (reddish coral?) prints and is flowy enough to make me feel hip but covered up. And it's weird because I'm not a "blouse" person. At. All. But, it's my new fave and has made me think about a few other pieces I should try. Isn't it awesome when ONE PIECE can inspire you for the rest of your wardrobe? Worth the price...which I forget.


Needing me some full-on motivation. It hasn't gotten any better since last week. Almost every day has been usurped by some thing or another, so my days of "he's napping, go paint/dust/pick up/go through something" have halted. I'm to the point where I know I should just finish ONE more project before I head back to school and I'll be happy. Now, which project will that be...?


{I could totally use two for this one, but I'm gonna get creative here. Watch me!}

Despite a really kind offer from loved ones for their house and a deep desire to do so, we've decided to put off any moving plans to the spring. Again, we hope to keep working on our beloved-but-small house while keeping our eyes on the market in areas we hope to move. The two reasons we have to move: Our neck of the woods is getting a tad scarier and just isn't an area we hope to raise kiddos (not so bad that we can't wait a little, honestly) and since we do hope to have more kids, it's just too small (it's shy of 1,000 sq. ft....plus 3 cats...carry the one...yeah, it's cozy). The two main reasons to wait: Some big ticket bills will be paid off come spring, so our finances will leave us feeling a lot more comfortable to make some changes, and waiting also means that we'll be able to look more for the wishlist items we hope to have in our "want to own it a long, long time" house. 

I won't say that I've been eating crap recently, but my husband and son are eating tons better than I am. Our dinners are usually the same thing, but I tend to incorporate more veggies and fruit into their lunches and snacks (and sometimes breakfasts) than I do my own. I just don't pay any attention to mine. I've been carb-based for awhile and I'm concerned it's starting to show a bit around my mid-section. Squishy. So, I'll be on the search for a lazy person's workout routine to get my arse moving (see? Moving?) and try to make a few food changes to see what I can do. Needless to say, we haven't been as active as we all should be for an adorable, young, spry family. *ahem* She says while eying the innumerable gray hairs springing forth from her noggin.

I'm taking part in the Currently linky party, graciously put on by Ot & Et and Harvesting Kale. Gotta love a party you don't have to brush your teeth or brush your hair to attend!