Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Short Hair – Because We Care 

Short hair. I had a pixie cut for years. In fact when I met many of my writer friends (in real life) for the first time, several were unsure who I was. I didn’t match my picture! 

In the past few years I’ve grown out my hair. It’s longer than it’s been since I cut it my freshman year of high school. My guidance counselor used to joke he could tell how stressed I was by how short my hair  each time I cut it ….shorter and shorter. This was back before pixie was cool. I didn’t care. I’ve never been what you’d call a girly girl. Even now I don’t own make up and my friends help me pick out outfits because otherwise I’d wear only workout gear. And old sweatshirts – the older the better. I digress…..

Two of my girls have donated their hair to various organizations that make wigs for individuals who have lost their own.  One of the girls donated 2 times in 18 months for a total of 22 inches. She has so much hair each time it was a double donation. Littlest cut her hair to be donated last summer and yesterday I decided to donate mine. 


 
For us… it’s just hair that will grow back. To those receiving … I hope it makes their day a bit brighter or their step a tad lighter. 


There are several places to donate. Each has different requirements or guidelines. I was fortunate to find a place that takes dyed hair. We also have a local place that will take donations and show you process of what happens to your donated hair. 

Now…..how long before we can do this again?? 

Is Amazon Prints good for photos? YES it is! Plus $1000 of Amazon Gift Cards to be Won!

Amazon has launched a photo printing service that allows all customers to print their memories.  Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account, print the product of their choice, and receive free delivery. If you’re not a Prime member, you’ll receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite photos.  Prints start as low as $0.09.

Products and services available – but not limited to – Photo Printing, Photo Books, Photo Gifts, Printing Pictures, Photo Canvases. I’m ordering a canvas of the really cool picture of our snowboards from below while we were on the lift from spring break.  It’s going on my “My Happy Place” wall with the other snowboard photos!

One more time….with this amazing service there is

  • Free delivery with Prime
  • Prime Photos Benefit – As a benefit of Prime, customers get free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.  If you’re not a Prime customer, you can still get 5GB of free storage
  • Low Pricing (Prints starting at $0.09)
  •  All posts tied to current hashtag #AmazonPrints

Check out Amazon Prints here!

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!

Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

# AmazonPrints #Sponsored #Ad

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Consequences and Life Lessons

This week one of my kiddos learned about consequences. It totally sucked. This kid missed a deadline and as a result received a pretty (in my opinion) severe consequence. My child was upset and is still pretty devastated.

Guess what I did.

NOTHING. 

No phone calls, no arguing on this kid’s behalf…nothing.

I’m so over parents fixing problems for their children. My kid screwed up and has to pay the price. In the scheme of things, it’s so not a big deal even though – at the moment – it seems like the end of the world.  Anguish and heartbreak over this issue will pass. No one was injured – other than some possible pride – no damage was done. In fact, I’m almost glad it happened. My kid was upset about missing the deadline – more so than the consequence itself. To me that speaks to this kid’s character and this experience will reinforce the things this child values.  If one is to mess up, messing up when you’re a kid is the time to do it.

THE TIME TO LEARN. 

How are our children supposed to learn anything if every time they drop the ball mommy and daddy run in and fix it for them? I understand that there are times when intervention is needed and required. But when rules are broken, bent even, and consequences are applied, it’s practice for life. As an adult, if you miss a deadline for a project there will be fallout. If you don’t pay a bill, there’s a penalty. At university if you don’t turn in an assignment on time, a note from mom and dad will not fix the issue. Why not get back to teaching our kids that rules are rules. And they apply to all.

Before you go all crazy on me, I understand there are times when advocating for your child is necessary. I’ve recently experienced this situation as well. My point today is that not EVERY situation requires intervention. We want to grow responsible, compassionate humans. Failing is part of growing.

I let my kid grow. 

My Super Power

My super power is a big deal. I am DISHWASHER LOADING WOMAN. Hear me roar at my kids to “PUT YOUR DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER!” on a daily basis – feel the pppooowwwer. I had no idea as a child that there was such a power and that I would be gifted this responsibility as such a young age. (Shut up. I’m youngish.)

For a normal human – or person under the age of 17 living in my house – the distance from the counter to the sink must be expansive. And from the sink to the dishwasher – INSURMOUNTABLE. I simply cannot fathom any other reason for the repeated leaving of dishes next to the sink. Not even in the sink where they would be hidden from the mom-eye…but on the counter. In plain view. Cluttering up my kitchen (which equates with making me crazy!).

I alone possess the amazing ability to expertly cover not only the distance from the counter to the sink but – wait for it – the counter ALL THE WAY to the dishwasher.  I know, I know. Back the truck up. It is in fact possible for dishes to make their way from the table into a dishwasher while touching the hands of only one individual. Such skill must be a gift. A blessing from the dishwasher detergent people. Truly – a miracle – only only handed out to very few. This amazing talent has been granted to my husband as well – and goes well with his super power – Supper Power (this mama doesn’t cook).

But…I have found the answer – the key to transferring this power to my children. Using 12 short words, said in a staccato speech patter, I can make magic happen. I am able to control their movements with the words leaving my mouth. If you want to borrow these words, feel free. I don’t have them trademarked or licensed….and you’re welcome to send your children to my house when you use them.

“Put your dishes into the dishwasher or go pick up dog poop!”

TiffinTalk – Talk With Your Kids!

Device Overload. Everywhere you look, people are heads down looking at their phone, iPad, and/or iPod. The art of conversation –  face to face interaction – is becoming less and less prevalent. My children don’t like to talk on the phone, “It’s awkward! I don’t know what to say!” and yet they can text their friends faster with one finger than I can type with two hands. If speaking in person is hard now, how will we tackle the truly hard stuff that is a part of growing up?

Reading people’s faces and learning social cues can’t happen over text. We are creating – we have created – a world where everyone can be self centered constantly by placing their own take and emotions on whatever words appear on their screen. Maybe “Yes,” means Yup! or yesssss or YES! but we don’t know because we aren’t putting our devices down and seeing each other.

Enter Tiffin Talk.

“What’s Tiffin Talk?” you ask. The first thing I thought of when I received our Tiffin Talk boxes was the reading system I used during elementary school. Color coded, ordered folders in a little box. I opened each box (one for each age category of my girls) and dug in. The simplicity of the system is genius. A card. A question or prompt. And something fun on the back. Color coded by week and organized neatly.

I’m so very thankful I’ve had the opportunity to use Tiffin Talk with my girls. At first, my oldest thought it was cheesy. (I’m being completely transparent here.) She rolled her eyes when I asked for her phone, handed it over with a huge sigh, and said, “Okay – let’s do your thing.” It was slightly uncomfortable at first and felt like we were doing homework. But then the magic happened. After day four, she got day five out herself. She read the card in the morning and when we drove to softball that night, she got in the car, turned OFF the radio, and started talking. Willingly. To me. And it was awesome.

 

My middle daughter takes cues from both her older and younger sisters. She forges her own path but is always watching, aware of what’s happening around her. I put her Tiffin Talk card in her lunchbox the first day. She quietly asked if I could just slip it in her planner. She is still finding her way with her lunch crowd and didn’t want to pull it out at lunch time. I understood her needs and anxiety and started tucking the card, with a note, into her backpack each morning. She is my chatty one. She’ll come find me while I’m folding laundry and plop down and listen to whatever music I have playing or watch whatever show I have on in the background. Now…we turn off the television or streaming music and talk. She has always confided in me and this is reinforcing our connection.

 

And my baby. She is all in for this. ALL IN! She makes sure I didn’t forget to put her Tiffin Talk card in her backpack. She loves the facts and tidbits on the back of each card. Even those tidbits have spurred conversation. One card had translations for a few words. I took Norwegian and Russian when I was a kid so I struggle pronouncing French words properly. I asked my husband how to say a French phrase and all three girls were surprised to learn that Daddy took French and Spanish! We had a fun few minutes talking about college and high school with our children.
One of the coolest side effects of using Tiffin Talk is hearing the girls ask each other about their cards – seeing the oldest help the youngest with questions. Having the middle give her unique take on her sister’s cards. And watching them interact, smile, even disagree. They didn’t break down into arguments when they had different opinions, but LISTENED to each other. Not only are we talking more, we are all becoming better listeners.

 

I love one on one time with my children. It’s hard when there are four of them, one of me, and only 24 hours in each day. At first we were conscious and I ‘scheduled’ time to make sure we did this. Now…we are grabbing extra minutes to talk each day. I’m so very thankful.

Check out TiffinTalk today!

You can find them on Facebook and Twitter!

#RealityRocks
This is a sponsored post. I received Tiffin Talk at no charge.

When You’re Not ‘That’ Mom

When you’re not ‘that’ mom. The thoughtful, caring, happy-go-lucky, laid back mom. I’m not that mom. I’m the – I expect more, expect you to expect more, do your chores, suck it up and figure it out mom.  I don’t love sitting and chatting constantly but I do love hearing what you have to say. However if you start whining with zero intent of finding a solution – – this mama ain’t got time for that.

Often I observe other moms super excited to be at every single practice, every school event, every playdate. Even planning events or activities for said play dates on a  regular basis. I am not that mom. I’m too blunt. I enjoy my children’s activities but have a hard time hiding when I’m done – over it – or annoyed. I feel that by being authentic, I’m showing my children that it’s okay to be human. Demonstrating that that while I’m in love with being their mom, at times my brain is seeking something other than what we’re doing at the moment.

Even shopping. God. I HATE to shop. Recently I took one of my girls bra and underwear shopping. Most moms would bond over this. We did the first time – I think. I know she wanted to  – and I tried but —- but —- PICK A COLOR ALREADY. I don’t want to spend 45 minutes in a store stinking of perfume while you decide between blush and baby blue. Because child – that bra will be under a shirt and if anyone can see any part of the baby blue or pink, you’re not wearing the shirt properly….or out of my house!

I get jealous of moms that take/get such immense joy from each and EVERY LITTLE FREAKING thing their children do. I exist. I get through. I survive. I endure.

I don’t always enjoy.

However I do find pleasure in a lot of things. Seeing my children succeed, smile, laugh, and yell with glee. These things make my heart SING.

But honestly, there are times I cannot take sitting through one more..practice…concert…play…whatever.

I wonder – what am I missing? What am I missing out on by not being ‘that’ mom? I worry I’m lacking something – that my children will grown up wishing they’d had someone else as their mama. Am I enough as I am?

Then I remember. I’m the best me I can be. I’m working on being the most I can be. I’m the mom I am and I love my kids deeply and with an unwavering intensity. I love them in my authentic way.

 

my way

Staring at a Burning Candle

I just spent 10 minutes staring at a burning candle. Breathing and staring at a candle. Trying to keep all the random, crazy, sane, not so sane, and mundane thoughts from taking hold as they popped into my head. It wasn’t hard, just awkward. For the first time in forever I was aware of how many thoughts are flying around in my head constantly. I didn’t fight the “I need to pay for dance,” or “I need dry my gloves,” or “Why am I doing this?” thoughts. I didn’t focus on the random words or calls to action but just acknowledged and … let them float off. All the while watching a candle burn, focusing on calm, slow, even breathing.

I have always dealt with pressure well. It’s when the pressure is off or the storm is over that I fall apart. This last storm – my husband having surgery – triggered my (I thought long resolved) PTSD. In addition, I fell snowboarding, bumped my face – not hard at all – and set off a series of weird events. A few years back I took a baseball to the face and ever since when the weather has extreme shifts or I get a particularly bad migraine, a portion of my face will go numb. After my husband’s surgery and a small fall, half of my face went numb. Right down the middle, including half of my tongue.

Then half of my face felt like it was in fire. And life was hell.

I was exhausted at the end of the day. Trying to concentrate over the fire or numbness in my face took so much energy. I had a constant headache and wore sunglasses non-stop for a month. Honestly, I thought I was going nuts. I just waited for each day to end so I could go to bed and try to find a comfortable position and … not sleep.

After seeking help from a chiropractor, who sent me to a medical doctor, who sent me to an ENT, I had a two hour long MRI. As someone who is mildly claustrophobic, this was one of the most awful  experiences of my life – ranking right up there with having meningitis.

They found no source for any my facial nerve pain. Thankfully. The list of things they were looking for … seriously scary stuff. Thankfully they found nothing out of the ordinary.

STRESS.

Once again, stress had kicked me. I thought I was dealing well after seeing my doctor about PTSD. I thought I had a handle on things. Evidently my body disagreed. Stress has a way of finding a weak spot in your body and reminding you you’re human. This time stress found my facial nerves.

This week, things are better. I’m feeling more normal. After fielding a million questions about wearing sunglasses inside during the day, including one comment that floored me (“I wondered if she was high or something?”), I am hoping today I will only need my sunglasses outside. Or at least wear my normal glasses when others are around. While I still have a daily headache, it’s mostly manageable and slowly improving. I can focus enough to read a book and watching television isn’t totally awful…I’m on my computer and able to think….

I’m done avoiding stress through busyness. It’s time to address stress and how I deal with it. Taking the time to do the things that make me happy and calm is a priority. Snowboarding as much as I can, running more, drinking extra water, giving up diet soda…..and staring at a candle each morning.

…..

What do you do to deal with stress? Let’s start a conversation….

 

PTSD Sucks

My husband had surgery in mid December. He got hurt snowboarding. I didn’t deal well with any of it.

PTSD sucks. 

Seeing him semi-conscious pre-surgery with a nasal cannula, hooked up to an I.V., with blankets covering him to his chin put me back to a place I never want to return. His eyes were closed, his breathing was slow, and I was helpless.

It wasn’t the same thing. He was going to wake up and be just fine. Not have to learn to walk again. Not have to be in the hospital for weeks. Not come home and be helpless.

PTSD sucks.

My behavior was normal. Completely and totally normal. My mind remembered the fear and anxiety and my body reacted. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was testy and OCD about the house being tidy. I made sure everything was done and done properly and then would sit in my closet with the door shut and sob uncontrollably until one of the kids needed me. Finally my husband told me I was scaring the kids and needed to go to the doctor. That statement, “You’re scaring the kids,” punched me in the gut. The kids have always come to me with their problems and fears. Always me.

PTSD sucks. 

I went to the doctor. She assured me I wasn’t the awful human being I, in that moment, believed myself to be. She explained anger can be extreme anxiety. That my body was using muscle memory of a traumatic event and that was why I hadn’t been able to eat more than a yogurt a day in over a week. She told me….it was time to go back on anxiety meds for a little while. I sat there and cried, relived to hear I wasn’t going crazy, I wan’t going to be like this forever, and that I wasn’t an awful human.

PTSD sucks.

The sun didn’t shine in my world for a while. I was still upset and testy. I worried incessantly about my husband, his interpretation of rules, and his recovery. I quickly learned to keep that to myself as he’s an adult and unlike last time, he’s just fine. I was trying to control a situation that wasn’t mine to control. Letting go was, and is hard, but necessary.

Last week, I felt like myself for the first time since he got hurt. I didn’t plaster a smile on my face and chatter out of fear of anyone seeing through my act. Those closest to me knew better but respected my need to attempt to act normal. I smiled a real smile. Laughed without forcing it. I went snowboarding without guilt. I found my happy.

PTSD sucks.

You just have to see it through to the other side.

The Tree That Shed….

This year we had the tree that shed….all of its needles.

Our family tradition has been to drive to a local, nearby tree farm, cut down a tree, and drive it home. Drag it inside, set up it, and by then my family is over helping with the “experience.” Asking, pleading, and prodding ensues in order to get the lights and ornaments on the tree.

This year amidst the hustle and bustle we decided to stop at a big store and buy a precut tree. After a movie we walked among the cut trees.  They looked fine. They looked okay. The two Littles gravitated towards a particular type and we chose one they were in love with.

At the tree farm, the employees tie the tree to your vehicle. At this place, WE tied the tree to the truck. And it was comical and took about 15 minutes to make sure it was secure and wasn’t going to fly off and cause a Griswald kind of Christmas experience. We got it done and headed home.

I noticed immediately the tree wasn’t “shaken” as they do at the tree farm. A few more needles than we were used to fell as we set up the tree and let it sit for a bit to settle…and to make sure it wasn’t going to fall over. Our stand is a little …. lacking.

Success. Onto adding lights, ornaments, tree skirt, and train underneath…because we’re all cute like that.

It started slowly. The needles fell in small waves.

Check out this video I took of the noise it makes…. Stick with the video to the end…….

And by the time we got back from Bridger Bowl, the sad tree looked like this…..droopy and forlorn.

After we removed the lights…..it became the epitome of sadness.

And the death zone of danger was created for anyone not wearing shoes.  Note my carpet is beige.

 

Next year we shall get our family fresh cut tree from the tree farm.

 

 

Elevate The Season with Bulletproof Coffee

Winter is upon us here in the midwest. Snow is coming and the colder temperatures along with it. While many dread winter, I love winter above all other seasons. For me winter means layering up in snuggly clothing, warming my feet and hands by the fireplace, seeing holiday lights twinkling through the snowfall….and of course, snowboarding.

My family plays together in the winter in ways we don’t the rest of the year. We ride in the snow and bond over tough mogul passes, laugh with each other during epic wipeouts, and help one another through difficult passes in the trees.

As ‘snowboard season,’ as we call it, approaches, it’s easy to forget about self care. I pick up an extra job, continue to work hard, and play harder than I do any other time of the year. This year I’m making a point of meeting my needs. I’m going to take time to ride and work on skills I want to work on…not just the ones I need to work on. I will rest when I need to, remembering to feed not only mind and soul, but also my body.  I’m going to #ElevateTheSeason.

I snowboard to fuel my soul. I drink coffee to fuel my body. Until three years ago, I didn’t really understand or ‘get’ the love of coffee. I started out by drinking ‘foo-foo’ coffee as my friends called it – drinks loaded with sugar and flavorings. I essentially had a small bit of coffee product with my creamer and additives. As the years have passed, my tastebuds have grown up.

As a type ll diabetic, I’ve made a commitment to being healthier. For me that means paying attention to what I eat and where the food I choose comes from, including the coffee I drink. I learned about adding butter and other things I wouldn’t normally add to coffee from a neighbor and had to seek more information. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d even like it. The thought of butter in my coffee seemed….wrong. But I tried it. I brewed whatever coffee I had in my cabinet, took a dollop of random, grocery store stick butter and a scoop of coconut oil and threw it in my blender.  It was okay. I ended up adding honey. It couldn’t be what I’d be hearing about. I decided I needed to know more.

Taking that need to know more, I started educating myself. I quickly determined “Bulletproof Coffee” was the thing I needed to understand. To begin my research, I looked up ‘ghee.’ I had no idea what it was although I’d seen it in stores and in the homes of multiple friends. It’s clarified butter and Bulletproof Ghee is this amazing, grass-fed, unsalted butter. Then I educated myself on Brain Octane Oil. What is this stuff? By definition Brain Octane Oil is a a purified form of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. There are these things called carbon tails on MCTs. Brain Octane Oil is a pure C-8 MCT. This means it is nearly odorless and tasteless, it can be quickly be converted to energy giving you a boost, and it helps burn fat. It’s one of the main ingredients to the perfect Bulletproof Coffee.

Next up, coffee beans. I didn’t know anything about how high quality beans different from lower quality beans. Low toxin, high performance coffee beans are key to healthy coffee.  Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee Beans are carefully grown, harvested, processed, and roasted to ensure the best possible quality. Lesser quality coffees may contain mycotoxins – damaging compounds created by molds which grow on coffee beans (and other things as well). I searched mycotoxins (you should too!) and now that I’m aware of the difference in coffee beans, I’ll be paying attention! Anxiously, I started checking the mail for my shipment of coffee.

My Bulletproof Coffee arrived. And grass-fed ghee (aka the clarified butter I mentioned above). And Brain Octane Oil. I made the coffee per the directions, added the appropriate amounts of Bulletproof Ghee and Brain Octane Oil and put it in my blender. No sugar, honey, or cream. Just those three ingredients. It frothed up and was gorgeous looking – all creamy and latte like.

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It tasted amazing. My husband wanted to try it. He took a drink and walked away with my coffee! I had to make more …. for each of us. I’ve taken to waking up each morning thinking about my coffee. Today I added a high quality cinnamon and it was just lovely. I faced a somewhat dark, gloomy morning with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. The snow hasn’t arrived just yet, but it will come. This morning I was able to see the beauty in the clouds and rain, relax and simply enjoy my coffee while my family started their day.

I’m looking forward to taking my Bulletproof Coffee, ghee, and Brain Octane Oil with me to the mountains next month. I can’t wait to wake up, see the amazing sunrise, and sip my coffee while preparing to snowboard in an breath-taking place. I will do my utmost to Elevate My Season and Bulletproof Coffee will help me along the way.

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Below are links for you to use. Check them out. Read more about Bulletproof Coffee. Educate yourself and jump in. There’s a starter pack that is a great way to try it all out. It would make a great gift for someone special in your life! Or #elevatetheseason and buy it for yourself!

 

Find Bulletproof Coffee on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

#elevatetheseason

#bulletproof

#bulletproofcoffee

 

 

This is a sponsored post. I received Bulletproof Coffee, Ghee, and Brain Octane at no cost.

 

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