End of the School Year Blues

Only a few weeks left till the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. To say that I am counting down the days would be an understatement. The weather is warming up as I delightfully pull my summer wardrobe from the back of my closet to the front. My toenails are painted a cotton candy pink and the sun lingers a bit more each day begging me to stay out and play just a bit longer basking in its warmth.

With all the wonderfulness and warmth of summer surrounding me it’s no wonder why the last few weeks of school are like a warden breathing down my neck telling me to get back in my cell. I don’t want to pack one more lunch, sit in anymore carpool lines or help with any homework. I JUST DON”T WANNA! I want to go out and play.

I feel the school year is very similar to being pregnant. At the beginning you are so excited practically oozing with joy. As the newness wears off you begin to get a little squirmy. The last month seems to take an eternity How is it possible to cram a zillion days into that last month? Then you give birth either to an adorable bouncing baby or in my case summer break and you forget all about that last terribly long month.

Are any of you mama’s feeling this way? I can’t be the only one who has dipped into the depths of despair during this last LONG month. Hang in there summer break is on the horizon. We will make it! We will sip lemonade outside and watch our little ones frolic in the sun. We will. YES, we will!

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Is that a Zebra?

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I always forget whether it’s vertical or horizontal stripes that make you look skinny, so I combined them. Believe it not the top and skirt were bought at different thrift stores. Here is the breakdown of this thrifty find:

Skirt: $3.99

Top $0.99

Shoes: $3.89

Tommy Hilfiger purse $4.99

Total: $13.86

Hope this inspires you to be head to toe fabulous!

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Grace

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We all want grace, grace from our friends, family and spouse. The question I want you to ask yourself is, do you allow yourself to give grace to others and yourself?

There are two areas of my life where I feel giving grace is a struggle for me. The first area is with my children. I do a fairly good job of giving them grace in their everyday life. I give them grace to learn at their own pace, to make mistakes and to fail. Where I struggle is giving them grace to find their own place in this world and to make their own path. We all have visions of what we want for our children and who we think they should be. The truth is they are only a part of us, not an exact replica.  I don’t think life would be as interesting with 4 mini Gretchen’s. I have a Samantha, a Caleb, a Logan and an Ellaray. They are all unique and very different from myself and each other  Letting them explore and forage in this great big world is hard for this mama bear. I want to shield them and guide them; as a parent should, but I often want to over guide. I forget that they are learning to be who God made them to be. They may not turn out who I thought they would be but they could turn out be someone even better. I hope I am able to give them grace on their journey.

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The part of my life that I yearn for grace the most is with myself. As a mother I am continually racked with guilt and worry. The loop of thoughts that continually run through my brain daily and nightly go something like this; did my Ellaray get enough to eat, I forgot to tell my oldest daughter to never park by a big van for fear of being a target for kidnapers or are there tidbits of advice I’ve neglected to tell my sons about how to treat a lady. It’s enough to drive one crazy. Sometimes I imagine that a padded room at the sanitarium is being prepared for me and how I long to just take a nap there where there is no noise or responsibilities. Alas though I am a mom, and these struggles are not unique to me. We all struggle with these thoughts. I encourage you to give yourself grace in this area of your life. Moms we are human! I know that’s novel idea. We will fail. We will forget things, even important things. It’s ok you can wallow in your failures and forgetfulness but only for a moment then accept grace and move on from this.

I pray that I will continually learn to accept grace into my life along with being able to give it abundantly to others.

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Be a Lucy

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I recently came across this photo floating around on the internet. It struck a cord with me. I have always been an I Love Lucy fan. I believed we were kindred spirits not only sharing a birthday but a penchant for innocently getting into trouble.

You name it if it’s a sticky situation I will have found myself knee deep and dripping in it. I don’t do it on purpose it just happens. It could be my naivety or my serious lack of thinking things through. I often get flustered and all my thoughts fly out of my brain only to go sit and squawk with the birds on the overhanging telephone wires. I am left with an empty brain scrambling to force jumbled words out of my mouth. Usually there are a lot of “I’m sorry or I don’t know how that could have happened”.

I am the girl that starts frantically looking for my phone only to realize I am talking on it. Today for instance I forgot to brush my seven year old daughters hair before school. A quick spit pat down on her long hair in the carpool line and she looked even worse then when I started my liquid spit bath.

The Kardashian’s in all there stylish, designer clothes and out of proportion drama are entertaining to watch but I would not for one second trade lives with them. I like my crazy life and quirky yet forgetful personality. This is me, a bit out of sorts, full of love with crazy creative energy and always feeling like there is something I forgot to do.

I don’t want to be a Kardashian, I want to be a Lucy.  This photo is my screensaver so that I am remind to be Lucy better yet to be Gretchen!  Be you, because nobody can be a better you then yourself.

When Kids Subconsiously Conspire

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Me after I hit the trifecta

 

 

I have 4 amazing children. Samantha, an independent and responsible woman who is married and out of the house with a daughter of her own. Caleb, a tender hearted teddy bear and lover of football who is enduring last year of high school. Logan, the epitome of a stereotypical boy, rough and tumble, yet a hard worker and very organized. Logan is in his last year of middle school. Lastly, there is Ellaray, a spirited 7 year old who loves anything pretty and would talk and sing 24 hours a day if she could.

 

I am blessed beyond belief with the honor of being their mom. That said, as parents we all have hard days with our kids. Mainly it is just one of the kids that might be acting out or struggling with school. I take that kid aside talk to them and try to get to the heart of the issue all while making it clear that their present behavior is unacceptable. This is a part of parenting. It is an expected part and what I signed up for when I became a mom.

This being said occasionally I hit the trifecta. Yes, a trifecta would be great if I was betting on a horse race but when you have a trifecta with children you win the pot of meltdowns, pigpen behavior and  bad grades.

One morning this week I hit the trifecta. The day started out with a daughter who refused to get out of bed, then piddled around getting dressed. After nagging for an entire hour a few meltdowns (from both her and I) we finally managed get out the door.

Emotionally exhausted from this mornings ordeal I poured myself a cup of coffee. I was hoping to bask in the quietness of my home as all the children were now at school only to discover that apparently my youngest some had gotten into the maraschino cherries the night before. This was evident by the sticky ruby colored goo dripping of a good portion of my counter tops. On closer inspection I discover this syrupy liquid on the fridge, floor and even inside the silverware drawer. I could feel my blood start to boil. No one was home so I had time to compose myself and think of a proper punishment.

I took my cup of coffee and sat down on the computer to check my emails. Just some time to myself to get focused and calm down after a hectic morning. Then I clicked on an email from my oldest sons school. He was is danger of not graduating. He apparently has just given up on school, a sever case of senioritis. At this point there is no calming me down yet I have hours before anyone comes home from school.

I went to my dry-erase board and scribbled the new house rules that included earlier bedtimes, TV restrictions and food etiquette that was to be required in this home, in other words; if you messed it up clean it up (wouldn’t this would make a great quote for a rustic sign).

By the time I had everyone picked up from school I was much calmer and was able take each child aside and talk to them and encourage them to in the right direction. By the end of the day I was just exhausted having to lay down the law with each child in hopes of detouring their behavior. It rarely happens that all three of the younger ones are disobedient simultaneously, but when it does happen I am convinced that they all conspired to do it purposefully all at once just to drive me mad.

I just want you to know that as parents we are all in this together. No matter how adorable yours and my kids look on our Facebook page and Instagram feeds, we all have our days where we struggled to keep our sanity as parents. Hang in there moms and dads. I’m hanging in there right along with you.

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21 Years

IMG_1518`Twenty-one years ago today I became mother. I was not even twenty myself. I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me then that two decades after I gave birth to my first daughter that I would have not one but four amazing kids, who despite my shortcomings and at times poor life choices I have managed not to screw them up to much.

Over 20 years ago I brought my day old baby girl home to a trailer. Not the nice kind of trailer, like a double wide on acres lush green pasture but a few pieces of metal thrown together with car tires on the roof to keep it from blowing away. My daughter weighed over 6 pounds which in itself was a miracle as we were so poor my meals often consisted of popcorn and cherry Kool-Aid. I was so naïve that when the doctor told me I was due on January 26th I fully expected her to make her grand entrance that day, and she did. Not one of my other children were considerate enough to come on time.

If I could talk to my 19 year old self, I would tell her that “you are stronger then you could ever imagine”. I would tell her to give herself the gift of forgiving herself and others and the grace to move on and learn from her mistakes.

Twenty-one years ago my life was forever transformed as I entered into motherhood. At that time in my life I didn’t know a lot, what I did know with great certainty was that children are the greatest gift life has to offer. Happy birthday, Samantha. It is an honor to be your mom.

 

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Gretchen Anthony
https://about.me/gretchenanthony