Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Is About More Than Just Boobies

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Did you know that?

We strive to save the boobies every year (and I'm all for it) but there isn't much said about the scourge of domestic violence in the world this month...and there should be.

Domestic Violence affects all of us.

More so, I think, than even Breast Cancer.

How many of us have known someone, feared for someone, helped someone, or even suspected that someone we know is in a relationship with an abuser?

How many men and women are still stuck in this cycle of abuse?

I lost my best friend. Christi.

My best friend was beautiful, funny, kind and loving.

She was a light and a shoulder and someone I loved purely and with my whole self.

We fought. We argued. We made up.

We loved each other. She was the sister of my heart. The sister I chose.

She was murdered, on April 16th, 2005.

She was 8 months pregnant with a little girl she'd planned to name Trinity and the mother of an 11 month old little boy named Jaiden.

She was strangled to death by her husband. The person who had vowed to love, honor and cherish her.

He cherished her to death.

He honored her by hiding her body and that of their 11 month old son, who he also killed that night, in a Rubbermaid container and pouring chemicals on them. Then he spent a week partying and smoking crock and sleeping with other women.

Sadly we weren't speaking at the time she was murdered. We were both at periods in our lives where we had had to make decisions that separated us. I was in survival mode for M and myself and tension was high, words were said.

We parted ways.

We'd done it before...but we had always done it knowing that we would see each other again. We would be together again. Christi and Shelley.


I'll never forget being woken up in the middle of the night by Husband-Man because he knew I needed to know she was gone. He had gotten a call while out working from another friend of mine and when he got home he woke me to tell me.

"Vanessa called. She saw Christi on the news. I'm sorry...Shelley, she was murdered."

Absolutely the worst words I've ever heard in my life. I wish I'd never heard them.

The amount of time I spent crying on the floor...wailing...praying...BEGGING God to give her back to me.

Just for an hour.

Just long enough to tell her I loved her and missed her and was so sorry for our falling out.

What I really wanted to do is go back in time and save her from him. I've never stopped wanting that.

I never will.

If she'd never met him, we would have made up and she'd be laughing with me every night on the phone.

She'd be here with me. Auntie Christi to my babies. Living our lives as we had always planned. Raising our children together. Going out on girls nights. Drinking wine and watching movies. Trick or Treating together with our children. Celebrating milestones all the time.

If I had saved her...But I couldn't. I didn't.

Everyone says that time heals wounds...and it does, I suppose...but not for me.

For me, as the years pass, I miss her more and more. I still wake up wanting to talk to her. I see someone with a body shape like hers, or a mannerism that she had and I ache with loneliness for her.

I have a really hard time with my birthday...because every year I get older and she doesn't. Nor is she here to celebrate with me. To tease me about the wrinkles I don't have yet. To look for the gray hairs I'm not yet sprouting.

Her birthday, I celebrate quietly, by myself.

She's not here to hug me. To sing with me. To giggle and laugh with me for hours.

She's not here for me to support, to love, to make laugh. She's not here for me to...well...she's just NOT here.

I think about her mother, Linda, all the time.

The number of times I slept over at Christi's when we were growing up are impossible to count. I wanted to be over there all the time. Linda was kind and loving and everything my mother was not. Both of our mothers were single mothers but Linda was so different. She knew her daughter. She was friends with her daughter and was genuinely interested in her.

I have a very vivid memory of Linda, Christi and I singing Light My Fire by The Doors and Linday singing it like Elmer Fudd. Christi and I just collapsed in a heap on the living room floor, giggling madly, while her cat looked on from the topof the TV cabinet in haughty disdain.

I can't hear The Doors without thinking of Christi. And Linda.

He stole Linda's entire family. Christi was an only child.

And I know that however much pain I feel, however much I miss my best friend, however much I long to hear her voice calling me a beaver again, to feel her arms around my shoulders hugging me, Linda must feel much much more.

I can't imagine losing one of my babies...I can't imagine the strength Linda must have, to bear it, to continue to advocate for Christi and her babies. To share Christi's story with other women in the hopes that they will hear it and be moved to help themselves or accept the help offered to them.

So...If you know someone, fear for someone, love someone...do something about it. Reach out to them. Offer them support. Help them in any way you can.

There will always be a piece of me that will wonder...If Christi and I hadn't parted paths at that time in our lives, would this have happened to her? Would I have been able to help her understand that his abuse wasn't forgivable? Could I have prevented her from marrying him?

I'll never know. I'll live the rest of my life, not knowing if I could have made a difference in the life of one of the most important and loving people I was blessed to know.

I love you Christi! More than infinity, forever and ever, until the end of time. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for loving me.

Shelley (aka. Beaver)




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Should Be Golden

Did you guys know that this month, September, is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

I didn't.

But now I do. And after reading this article...I think I'll start wearing gold for the remainder of the month.

I can't imagine being forced to watch my beloved babies battle this monster.

I know I'd be strong and fight and fight and fight for them. But I also know that if I lost even one of my babies my life wouldn't be worth living.

My babies are the most precious thing in my life.

Nothing makes me happier. Nothing makes me sadder.

I've been so very blessed to have the healthiest of children.

M was prone to ear infections and strep as a youngster but as he's gotten older he's very rarely gotten sick. A fever here and there. A cold or some sniffles. Nothing major. Nothing scary.

G has only ever had one ear infection and a couple days with a mysterious fever. Other than that...his three years of life have been incredibly healthy. Maybe because I breastfed him. (Lactivist typing here. You've been forwarned.)

But as healthy as they are, I seriously live in fear of discovering something insidious lurking inside their perfect selves.

Every bruise I can't remember them falling and getting scares me. Mosquito bites on G's leg worry me endlessly. M is playing football now and everytime he gets in the car after practice with an ice bag Saran Wrapped to his body in some place, the little anxiety monster in my brain starts worrying.

I know it's not healthy. I manage it better than I make it seem.

I keep a lot of the worry to myself because I know it's irrational. But what if?

What if one day G's white blood cell count isn't good? What if one day M's complaints about leg pain aren't the growing pains we think they are?

I've never been through anything like childhood cancer. I have no idea how I would even cope with facing this if forced to.

How does one face that?

Do you open yourself up and become an open book for your child? Sharing every moment of their life ans yours, as much as you can so that if the worst happens you know you understood them and they understood you? Or do you keep the brave face and tell them it's going to be OK? Do you lie to them when they are little and can't understand? Or do you tell them the truth and try to explain what is happening? How do you manage? How do you cope? How do you not sit in a corner with your precious baby in your lap and cry? How do you live everyday knowing how this all could end?

These are the thoughts that scare me. Because I know how I would want to be.

But I never want to have to BE.

No parent should ever have to be....

I have two charities that are incredibly close to my heart.

St. Judes is one of them. They do such marvelous and good work there. They care for children in a pure, loving way. Researching, treating and caring. If you're the donating kind...you can donate here.

Because it is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Spread the word. Tell a friend. Wear some gold. I know I will.

And please...share with me. How have you dealt? Have you been through this? Are you like me and actively fear it? You can find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as @InANutShelley. And you can always leave me a comment.

Can't wait to hear from you.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Baby Wishes

I'm at work at the moment and listening to Spotify... And I just have to say... Ed Sheeran's song Small Bump makes me want another baby so badly.

I adore babies. Especially the ones I make.

I know that it was the best decision to choose not to have more... And I don't regret it.



But the emotional, motherlove area of my heart just yearns... Pines... Cries out to have another baby. I adored being pregnant with both of my babies. Feeling like a superhero. Knowing I was doing something no one else could... And that is growing the most perfect baby for our family. Feeling them wiggle and squirm. Talking to them both as though they were already here. Giving them a life before they were born. Introducing them to the voices and noises of their soon to be world.

Then when I had those babies... Oh golly. Nothing beats that feeling.

Not jumping out of an airplane.

Not marrying my Husband-Man (hope that doesn't hurt his feelings... But I'm pretty sure he'll get it)

Nothing at all can top hearing the cries of that small bump brought to life.


Nursing them.

Cuddling them.

Smoothing lotion on sweet and soft skin.

Tickling toes.

Smooching soft cheeks.

Gazing at the small perfection of eyelashes, fingernails smaller than grains of rice, sweet smiles, the smell of their breath... All of it so, freaking precious.

Every moment.

And I'm sad (for the moment only) because I'll never experience that again.

I'll get over this in ten minutes or so. But at the moment... After just listening to his song... I'm sad.

If you're pregnant, treasure it. The swollen ankles. The discomfort. All of it. And know that I would gladly trade places with you... For the moment.

If you just had a baby... Smooch that sweetie as often as you can. I mean it... Kiss the skin off their hands and toes and cheeks. Get their bellies and pat their bottoms.

I envy all of you. So much.

"Small Bump"

You're just a small bump unborn, in four months you're brought to life,
You might be left with my hair, but you'll have your mother's eyes,
I'll hold your body in my hands, be as gentle as I can,
But for now you're scan of my unmade plans,
[album version:] A small bump in four months you're brought to life
[acoustic version:] A small bump in four months you'll open your eyes

[album version:] I'll whisper quietly, I'll give you nothing but truth,
[acoustic version:] I'll hold you tightly, I'll give you nothing but truth,
If you're not inside me, I'll put my future in you

You are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
Oh, you are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
And you'll be alright.

Oh, you're just a small bump unknown, you'll grow into your skin.
With a smile like hers and a dimple beneath your chin.
Finger nails the size of a half grain of rice,
And eyelids closed to be soon opened wide
A small bump, in four months you'll open your eyes.

[album version:] And I'll hold you tightly, I'll tell you nothing but truth,
[acoustic version:] And I'll hold you tightly, I'll give you nothing but truth,
If you're not inside me, I'll put my future in you

You are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
Oh, you are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
And you'll be alright.

And you can lie with me,
With your tiny feet
When you're half asleep,
I'll leave you be.
Right in front of me
For a couple weeks
So I can keep you safe.

'Cause you are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
You are my one and only.
You can wrap your fingers round my thumb and hold me tight.
And you'll be alright.

'Cause you were just a small bump unborn for four months then torn from life.
Maybe you were needed up there but we're still unaware as why.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pursuing Perspective

G is almost three.

In a matter of just a few weeks he will be three. I have a hard time thinking about it.
But one thing stands out to me.

He never went through "Terrible Twos".

Neither did M.

In fact, I'm not even sure what the "Terrible Twos" are. I've heard stories. I've heard horror stories. I've seen some really terrible two year olds in my time as well.

But here's the thing...Ya'll are going to be surprised to hear this...And I hope you stick with me...I'm gonna be a little radical here.

It's my belief that there is no such thing as "Terrible Twos" or "Troublesome Threes".

Yep...Read it again.

It's a myth.

I have experience with this. I have two boys and both of them have been two.

Both of them were destructive. Both of them were delightful.

Both of them told me no. Both of them told me to "go away".

Both of them colored on my walls. Both of them tore up books.

Both of them wore more food than they ate. Both of them have woken from naps looking like this:

Gabriel at age 2. He was channeling Einstein.
Essentially...my boys were normal, crazy, silly, funny and drove me insane.

But I never felt like they were in the midst of some mythical moment in their lives that needed to be classified as "terrible".

No...I treasured the twos. TREASURED them!

Two years old is independence. Learning their limits. Discovering their world. They were so busy all the time. One minute here and the next in the bathroom. One minute giving me kisses and then the next begging to watch The Lion King.

Incidentally, both of my fellas love The Lion King. I've come home from work every day this week to find both M and G sitting in front of the television watching Simba and company. Just another bond they share that I find beautiful.


When M was two he LIVED for Simba. He went through something like three VHS tapes because he would watch the movie and then rewind it and watch it again. He learned the buttons on the VCR from watching me and by the time he was three he would wake up in the mornings on weekends, walk out to the living room and turn on the TV and put in his most recent copy of the movie and settle in to watch. I'd wake up to hear Be Prepared or I Just Can't Wait To Be King and know that he'd be hungry by the time (SPOILER ALERT) Mufasa died.

I recently replaced our DVD copy that seems to have disappeared and the two of them have watched it every day since I bought it. G walks around with a plastic pig toy saying "They call me MR. PIG!!!" and then rushing at anyone near him yelling "AHHHHHH!!!". So funny. He really loves when we all run screaming in fear like the hyenas.

I digressed....Sorry 'bout that.


This is a word that has been a mantra for my life as a mom.

My perspective when M scribbled on my walls?

Walls wash and I wanted to paint it anyway. As soon as he understood he was not supposed to color on my walls (which we started teaching him that day) I painted my living room the most beautiful shade of green. Now I have G and it's about time to paint them again.

Potty training?

It'll happen when they are ready and not a moment before. M trained himself. We showed him how. We let him set his pace. We offered no incentives. No bribes. Nothing. If he wanted to go he went. If he didn't, he had pull ups. But we took him with us and we asked him often if he wanted to go. The result was he ran out of pull ups at daycare one day and had to be put in underpants. My best friend picked him up for me because I had to work late and when I went to pick him up from her I grabbed him for a huge hug and patted his bottom and didn't feel a diaper.

Turns out she didn't even realize he hadn't been wearing a diaper because he would just go potty without saying anything. He never wore another diaper. And he only ever had two accidents.

I firmly believe it's because we didn't push him. We used perspective and put ourselves in his shoes (pull ups?) and waited for him to lead. You've heard of Baby Led Weaning? We practice Toddler Led Potty Training.

Husband-Man and I have started telling G that once he turns three we are going to start using the potty more. So far he's on board with it. He doesn't seem worried or scared and because he senses we aren't pressuring him I hope it stays that way.

Two years old is an incredibly fun age. But you, as the parent, have to be willing to alter your  perspective to allow yourself to embrace it. Be two again through your child's eyes. Experience the world for the first time with them.

She refuses to use her fork for spaghetti? Maybe it's because she loves the texture of the noodles against her skin. There is plenty of time to teach her table manners. And she is washable.

If he keeps pulling the books off the shelves...Remove the ones he can reach (even if it's all of them) and replace them with his toys and his books. Then you can work with him on putting his toys back on the shelves when he is done playing with them. Give him the power to discover organization. On his terms.

Two year olds don't understand they they are stressing you out. But they do understand that you are upset with them. And that stresses them out and reduces their ability to learn.

They don't understand that its a bad thing to pour the whole Brita pitcher in the overflowing dog bowl. They are just trying to help. Doing what they've seen you do.

Two year olds are still learning to communicate. They are getting better at it but they still can't really communicate their emotions. When he is frustrated...don't make it worse by getting frustrated yourself. Stop. Think of how horrible it must be to not be able to express yourself and gather patience.

When we couldn't understand what G wanted when he was asking for something or needing something we would give him our hand and ask him to show us. 100% of the time he would take us to the issue, or what he wanted and we were able to understand his needs. We'd say "Oh, you want waffles? OK. I'll make you waffles" and he would smile and dance and there were no tears.

Give them chores. Let them wash dishes with you. Let them set the table.

G loves nothing more than standing on a chair at the sink while I'm cooking and using sponges and bottle brushes to wash his plastic dishes for his play kitchen. he makes a heckuva mess..but its worth it to see him happy and hear him humming and 9 times out of 10 I needed to mop the floor anyway.

And he absolutely LOVES setting the table. I'll get the plates down and he starts hooting and hollering and dancing and when I hand him the first plate to carry into the dining room he crows "Thank you!!!" It's not a chore to him. It's a big boy job and he is helping me. I don't worry about him breaking my plates either. if he does...meh. I need new plates any way.

Nothing is more important than him growing and learning and expanding his world. Brokern dishes and water on the floor are minor when you think about the other things he is learning from these activities.

There is no such thing as "terrible" any age. There is a such thing as you, the parent, not adapting and changing your perspective.

They're only two once. Let them be two. Or three. Or four.

Embrace the chaos and stop crying over spilled milk. Mop it up, pour a new cup and kiss that sweetie of yours while they are still small enough to pat your face with chubby hands and kiss you back with sticky lips. You'll miss it when its gone. I promise.


PS. Don't forget to be social. You can find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley. Can't wait to hear from you.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend Fun!

I hope you all had a great Easter! He is risen!
I'll just jump right on in.
We started our Easter weekend with a delayed Passover Seder with Husband-Man's family (he was raised Jewish. Did you guys know that? Have I told you that?).
Michael helped lead the seder with his PawPaw and Husband-Man. He is such a cool kid. Nerdy, goofy and adorable. Utterly likeable. And he loves his PawPaw.

Pops and M. Seder buddies!

On Saturday morning our Lodge (Elks #8) had an Easter Egg Hunt for kids and they asked Husband-Man to be the Easter Bunny for the second year in a row. Michael was on hand to help manage the kids and when it was discovered that he had a Spider-Man hoodie he was pressed into service as Spider-Man.
Spidey was unable to convince G that the Easter Bunny wasn't going to eat him. At least the first time.


It took some time and patience to get G to be willing to sit on the EB's lap. But finally after he "bribed" the EB with some candy (I'm not sure what he was thinking...maybe that if the EB ate the candy he wouldn't eat G...I don't know. He's 2 and a half. Who knows what goes on in that mind of his.) he finally acquiesced to sit on his lap. But he was in no way happy about it. Check out that face. It's my favorite.
We woke up on Easter morning and had a great time looking through the baskets left by the EB. Michael got some new Spidey comics and a cool Spidey keychain and an Adidas SackPack that he's beeing wanting for a while, along with candy and a chocolate bunny.
G chewing on a worm from his basket.

Bunny wabbit.
G got a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse camera (It doesn't take real pics) and a fishing game. Along with a Mickey plush dressed as the Easter Bunny. Sooo cute. Plus of course the candy and such. Not too much though. I'm trying to reduce the amounts of unhealthy foods we are eating.
I didn't get pics of their baskets either because I was too busy having fun playing the fishing game with G. Trying to take a stance of less is more. If I spend all my time taking the pics then I won't really have the memories of playing with him will I. I'm picking and choosing.
I chose to play yesterday.

After our traditional egg hunt in the yards (M had 8 camo eggs he had to find and G had fun colored ones and I do have video for that...I just have to figure out how to get it from FB to YouTube.) we went to the Zoo, for the fifty thousandth time. What can I say. We love The Louisville Zoo.

G rode the train for the first time after asking to the last few times we've been there. He sat really still and seemed nervous through the whole ride. We sang the Dinosaur Train song for him and Dinosaurs A-Z and announce the "time tunnels" and everything. He was still uneasy about it.
I didn't bother trying to get pics because I was more worried about keeping him feeling safe and secure. I have no idea why he was so nervous but I think we'll hold off on doing that again for a while. Poor sweetie.  
But I got some sweet shots of him on the slide at one of the playgrounds.
This is my favorite. He was squealing WEEEE! The whole time.
G loves Kipper as well and uses a lot of Kipper's words. "Ready. Steady. Go." and "Wee hee" and "Way Hey". Kipper is such a sweet show. If you aren't familiar with him...check him out.

Michael met up with his prom date again while she was dining on salad. Apparently their date is still on. We'll see if that lasts.
Last year they met for the first time.

This year they renewed their acquaintance. It's love.
We ended the day with me having a huge headache (I think it's allergy related because it's still here this morning.)
I spent the evening cuddled up in bed with G and watching Pride & Prejudice and Emma while he looked at picture books and flopped around, willy nilly. It satisfied my need for intelligent and sweet and his need for snuggles.
I hope your Easter was wonderful. We didn't go to church, we never do, but we celebrated in our special way and acknowledged the sacrifices made and the joy of the resurrection.
 I hope you have a blessed week!
As always; Don't forget to be social. You can find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley. Can't wait to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fandoms...Got one?

So..I'm a nerd. My name is Shelley and I am a fan.

Last year around the end of May, Husband-Man was out of town for business and M and I were looking for a series to watch on Netflix to keep us entertained.

We landed on Doctor Who. Our lives changed.

No kidding, we watched 7 seasons of this show (each season is anywhere from 12-15 episodes) in less than three weeks. Husband-Man would call and we would be impatient with him because it meant we had to stop watching. We were junkies. I'm only a little ashamed to admit this.

For those of you who haven't watched it I'll try to explain it a bit.

The Doctor is the main character. He is an alien from a planet named Gallifrey. He looks like a human but isn't. He has two hearts instead of one and is very old. The Doctor, when mortally injured, can regenerate and change his body and appearance.

This is why you will often hear people refer to Number 9 or 10 as their favorite Doctor. At the time of this writing there have been eleven Doctors (with eleven different actors portraying him since the early 1960s) and we were just introduced to the twelfth in an episode that aired on Christmas Day. We've only seen number twelve for total of maybe 5 minutes, probably less, so we have no idea what he is going to be like and personally, I AM EXCITED to find out.

The Doctor travels in a spaceship called The TARDIS.

TARDIS = Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

The TARDIS has been The Doctor's constant companion through the 50 years the show has been on. The TARDIS is sentient but has no way of communicating with him other than to take him to the places she decides he needs to go. The TARDIS looks like a Police Public Call Box and is blue. You've likely seen pictures of it.

The Doctor also travels with companions. He meets people in his travels and decides to take them with him on adventures. He's had many companions in the run of the show and people have favorite companions the same way they have favorite Doctors. Each new companion teaches The Doctor something even as he is doing the same for them. The companion in the show functions as an audience surrogate. We, the audience, are in the role of companion on The Doctors travels.

I can tell you that M and I have watched the series from The Ninth Doctor through the Eleventh and that we each have our favorite. I love Number Nine. M loves Number Ten. My favorite companion is a tie between Donna Noble and Rose Tyler. I identify with both of them. I see myself in them.

So...go watch Doctor Who and I'm happy to engage in a discussion with you about the nuances and theories. I love doing that.

Moving on...

I'm also addicted to a few other shows, books and things that are considered nerd-ish.

Game Of Thrones anyone? Tyrion, Khaleesi, Jamie and Brienne are my favorites. I can do without Jon Snow (at least for now) and his brooding. I don't find that interesting. But boy is this new season getting good. Eh? (looking for some discussion here as well...bring it on.)

Harry Potter...I met Harry when I was in my early twenties and I was forced to read him by my MIL. She liked him and thought I would as well so she gave me her books and waited. I read them all and then waited two weeks for the fifth book to come out, curled up in a corner in the fetal position. Worst wait of my life. I've since gotten better at dealing with the wait between books and seasons of the series I love. I blame J. K. Rowling for this.

Harry meant a lot to me and was technically my first fandom. I escaped to Hogwarts with him every time I read his stories. His journey from abuse resonated with me. His family hated him because they didn't and wouldn't try to understand him. Been there. Sadly I have no magical powers. But Harry made me feel like I did. Every time we kicked Voldythingy's butt it was a kick in the butt to anyone who ever doubted me. Powerful stuff there.

Harry was my number one love. Harry is my homeboy. Harry, Ron and Hermione kept me company and fed my imagination in ways that only opened me to more and more and more.

It blows my mind that there are people in the world who see only darkness and the devil in Harry's story and to those people I can only suggest reading the story. Understand the real depth of the Christianity that runs through it. Harry was always a path to God for me. The core of Harry's story is that love is the greatest power in the universe. I'm pretty sure that was Christ's message as well.

*Climbs down from high horse*

Husband-Man and I were chatting about this the other day and he thinks my passion for my fandoms is hilarious. I cosplay. I throw premier and season finale parties for Doctor Who. I debate theories on what is going to happen, what could happen, what I want to see happen. I find joy in other people who think the same way. They are my people. We are one.

(Shout out to my FB groups Fifty Shades of Geek and The Doctor and The TARDIS - Group)

The best thing about fandoms is that they accept anyone. Anyone at all can love The Doctor or harry or Game of Thrones. Anyone can find meaning, anyone can relate, anyone can fantasize. Fandoms don't discriminate. Your crazy is our crazy. Your love is our love. As long as you keep it civil and play well with others you are welcome. Joffreys, Daleks and Voldythingys, need not apply.

Do you have a fandom?

The Walking Dead?

Doctor Who?


Harry Potter?

Game Of Thrones?

Where do you dream of going? Who do you walk with? Who have you learned from?

Share in the comments. Let's discuss.

Don't forget to be social. You can find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley. Can't wait to hear from you.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Would You Assume That?!?!

Warning: This is a pretty major rant and I mean no ill will or meanness...

Can I ask an honest question? I promise I intend no malice. Many of you are my friends, my com padres, people I enjoy and want to keep on enjoying...But I have a problem.

Someone intimated to me the other day that she was surprised I knew as much about a certain subject as she did. Her reasoning?...She's an introvert...and I'm so obviously not. 

It hurt me that she would say that, but I wanted to learn something so I asked why. Her response "You're so bubbly and happy and fun. I just assumed you wouldn't have an interest in things like this." 

Luckily for her I'm a nice person and I genuinely like her so, I restrained my extrovert tendencies and didn't get loud and obnoxious when I informed her that I like reading, calm and quiet just as much as she does. But I also enjoy people and I learn a great deal about a bunch of different things because of my interactions with and curiosity about other people. 

I've forgiven this person but this opened my eyes to a common trend lately and I just wanted to share and ask to have a conversation with you, my dearest introverted friends.

Why does it seem like extroverts are always being portrayed as idiots? 

Why is it automatically assumed that because I'm happy all the time (I'm really not...remember this post) I'm an airhead? 

Why is it assumed that introverts are "deeper" "more intelligent" than their extrovert counterparts?

Why is it OK for an introvert to complain about the extroverts around them disrupting their day and making them miserable but it's not OK for an extrovert to complain about the introverts around them sucking their happiness into a black hole of boring?

I've been an extrovert all my life. But I've always tried to be a very kind one. I genuinely like everyone. There are very few (sadly yes there are some) people that I don't like and can't tolerate. And even those people I'm nice to because I've always felt that while I dislike them, it's not their fault that I do. My feelings are mine and I own them. They don't set out to annoy or upset me on purpose (once again though...there are a few who do) and so it's my problem that I don't like them so it's my responsibility to either avoid them or learn how to deal with them. But nicely. Kindly. With tolerance and love. 

It's been my sad experience to run afoul of quite a few not so kind introverts lately and their excuse for their unkind behavior has been that they are introverts and I annoy them. Simple. As. That. 

I realize that I am loud, but I also know I'm not the only person in the world...if I'm loud and you can't tolerate it...Kindly tell me. Chances are I don't realize it and as soon as you let me know I'll do my level best to fix it for you. Because I care about you. 

I realize that you don't always want to talk to me...I also realize that I sometimes gloss over or overlook social cues...If I'm overwhelming you...Please tell me. Be honest. Say something like, "Shelley...I am very sorry but I just can't talk right now." I'll be a little disappointed (what extrovert wouldn't?) but I'll respect you. I'd much rather you respect me enough to let me know what to do to help you be at your best than for you to allow me to invade your peace. 

But I'm going to ask you a favor, and I'm sincere, and I really want dialogue about this...Please stop treating the extroverts i your life like they are the enemy. They aren't. They just want to be your friend. They just want to love you. They just want to understand and learn from you.

Also...It sure would be nice for you to understand that while I am an extrovert, and I talk a lot, and I love people and being the center of attention, public speaking, singing, telling stories and generally anything that allows me to interact with people...I also:

Need time alone (just not as much as you)

Enjoy reading (a lot...I mean...A LOT!!!)

I sometimes don't want to be around people. I sometimes just want to sit in my own space and marinate in my music...just like you.

Have the ability to think deep and very meaningful thoughts

Most importantly...I'm a person worthy of respect and love and kindness. 

This piece really resonated for me when I read it and I really hope you'll check it out and take most, if not all, of it into account. Just like you need me to take care of you...I need you to do the same for me. It's all about mutual respect. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Promised Update

Good afternoon loyal friends!!!

Just checking in with the update I promised last night.

I weighed in this morning, before I ate or drank anything, and I weighed 229. That's down 10lbs from 239 when I started and I have to say...I'm pretty darn proud of me.

I did have a few weeks where I didn't track outside of my head and I indulged more than I should have so I'm sure that set me back. But...10 lbs in a little under two months is very encouraging. With no exercise (more on that later) and just modifying the way I eat.

Even when I do indulge a little I always find myself mentally counting the points and trying to keep track. I think that's a really good thing. It means that even when I'm not tracking and I'm not being "good" I'm still being mindful. That's kind of what Weight Watchers is all about...at least for me.

On to the fitness/exercise thing.

As you know I just started a new job and one of the perks of working for this company is that I have access to a gym for literally dollars. We're talking $8 every two weeks (that's contigent on me visiting the gym 24 days of the month if I don't manage that it will be $15 every two weeks and still totally worth it).

I can totally manage that!

I took a tour of the space today and am already salivating to get on an elliptical. Have any of you ever used an elliptical? I never have and they look so fun. Are they as fun as I think they are? Do you like them? Seriously, let me know in the comments.

But they have circuit equipment for two different levels of fitness, a myriad of classes like yoga and Zumba and spinning and oh so much more.

They also have stationary bikes in the cardio area that have screns attached to them. These screens are like a video game. You can set a mission and work toward achieving it. Like playing a race car game at the arcade only you are in charge of the acceleration in a much healthier and (to me) fun way.

On top of that they have free laundry service, so I can wear my workout gear and when I finish with it, place it in a bag attached to my locker and they will come through each evening and wash my clothes so that they are there, clean and ready for me, the next day. It's totally worth joining just for that!!! OK, not really...but what a great service.

I have to fill out the paperwork and then I get to sit down with a coach who will listen to my goals and help me figure out a program that will work for me. And I'm filling that paperwork out as soon as I post this for you guys.

I've also been working on ramping up my activity in other ways. This new company rewards wellness and a lot of the associates wear pedometers and walk...A LOT!

They have a wellness program that tracks their steps and they have fitness contests surrounding walking all the time. I want to get involed, so I bought a Fitbit Flex and got moving. the goal at the moment is to walk 10,000 steps every day. So for I'm on track for the last three days.

I literally was walking in place in front of my TV last night at 10:15, watching Big Bang Theory (I love that show, don't you?) because I still needed 3,000 or so steps and I knew I could do it. So I walked in place, stepped from side to side, walked around and around my coffee table during the commercial breaks and ran in place while watching and by the time the show was over I had my 3,000 and I was feeling great!

All in all I feel like I'm doing some really great things for myself and I can't help but be proud of that.

Husband-Man says he sees a difference in my form since I started Weight Watchers but I don't notice anything. I haven't lost any pant sizes (trying not to be impatient there) but I know I will soon.

Thank you for all of your support and kind words. You guys are the best!

Don't forget to chime in about ellipticals down below...I'm really curious.


PS: Be sure to find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How I'm Doing So Far

So it's been a little over two months since I started Weight Watchers and I really like the program. It's easy to work with and I approach it sort of like a game.

"I want mint chocolate chip ice cream for desert...If I eat a low points dinner then I should be able to have points left over for desert."

"I want macaroni and cheese...go to EmilyBites.com and follow her recipe for Buffalo Chicken & Macaroni and Cheese Muffins."

Seriously...go to her site. Get the recipe. Even if you aren't on Weight Watchers. It's delicious and I MUST have it at least once a week now. Try it. Let me know if you like it.

I actually track my weight tomorrow so I'll post a brief update on that when I do. But  really just wanted to update you on where life is at for me at the moment.

I'm in the middle of my second week at my new job. It's been crazy and hectic and soooo enjoyable. I love this job already. It has some of the elements of what I was already doing, webcast production, support and education, but now I get to actually build processes and best practices and I LOVE doing things like that. Its fulfilling and rewarding to be able to save the company money all the time. And I have a great boss. She's very supportive and unlike my last employer, really wants to understand my role and how I do what I do. I have to admire that.

(Just an aside...G is, at this very moment, checking my pockets for my phone because he wants to play music to dance to. I love his tenacity because he keeps asking..."Where is the phone? I want to sing. Where is the phone? Is it in your pocket?")

And now a funny story...

While I was putting together dinner tonight G was dancing around me begging to go outside and swing on our tire swing. I finished what I was doing and popped it into the oven to bake and proceeded to take him out to the swing. When we got out there I noticed that the bottom of it (It's hanging vertically) was filled with nasty water and I didn't want any of that getting on G or me. 

So I did what I've seen Husband-Man do a million times and I grabbed the swing and swung it really hard at the tree so that it would bounce against the tree and splash the water out. 

It worked. YAY!! 

But then, it came swinging back. I wasn't standing where I was going to get hit so I was laughing and giggling with Gabriel who thought it was all very funny. Until the rope on the swing played out, and the tire jerked at the bottom of the rope...and sent a huge stream of mucky, nasty, leafy, black, swampy winter water right. In. My. FACE!!! And in my MOUTH!!! OMG. So gross!

I was covered in nasty stuff and yelling for Husband-Man, who ran out and when he saw what had happened very kindly didn't laugh, though I could tell it was taking an effort to hold it in. As I stood there soaked and embarrassed and disgusted, he shared what I'm sure he thought was a kind and loving thought, that was going to comfort me and make me feel better. He says, "This is one of the things I love most about you. No one else ever has things like this happen to them, but they happen to you all the time. I really love that about you." 
Nice thought...Yes. I love him too. And I appreciated the thought. I'll be reminding him of it the next time something wacky happens to me and he gets frustrated. Not gonna lie...that happens too.

But here is my question...a great deal of that nasty water got into my mouth because I was laughing when it splashed me...Am I going to die? Do I need a shot?

If I die...I'll be really sad. I'm going to refuse to die. I'm just going to say no to death. That'll work...right?


That's where my nutshell is at the moment. Stay tuned tomorrow for a brief post about my weigh in and keep staying tuned for other adventures. I also have to own up to getting side tracked on working on This Is Not A Book, with the new job and all the insanity that has entailed I've been neglecting a few things. I'll post an update on that as well soon. I did a really fun one that I can't wait to share with you but it's not ready just yet for it.

As always, thanks for reading and spending time with me. 


PS: Be sure to find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I Learned Today

This post is a bit emotional for me...

Just before I was hired by the company I just left this week in September of 2007, I was laid off by the company I worked for at the time. I had only been there about 6 months and it devastated me. The company was locally owned and was an ad agency and I had always dreamed of being an Advertising Executive (the movie What Women Want probably helped with that).

I truly loved my role there. I loved the people I worked with. There were fiftyish people employed there and we were a family. All very close, eating lunch together, traveling together, failing together, succeeding together. When one of the employees was on a diet...everyone else supported them and cheered them on. It was honestly the best place I ever worked.

To lose the job I loved so much was a cruel blow and I really had no idea what I was going to do. The office manager/HR Director was literally crying when she told me they had to let me go. She was so upset at the thought of losing me and before I left her office I was consoling her. "I'll be OK Stevie. I promise. I'm resilient and I know something great is coming for me. One day I'm going to see you out somewhere and you'll see how wonderful this is going to be for me. Thank you so much for the opportunity."

I left the building that day sobbing and completely not believing anything I had said to her. I really just wanted to make her feel better because she had taken a chance on me when others hadn't and it had worked out for both of us until the bottom fell out and the owner had to let people go. In one day the company went from employing 50ish people to employing 15.

Fast forward...6+ years in the future, I've been hired by my current employer and they are in the process of doing my background check. I got an email from the verification company performing the background check this afternoon saying that they weren't able to get confirmation that I worked at this ad agency. I was confused. Until I realized that it was my name causing the problem. In the 6+ years since they laid me off I've gotten married and the agency knew me as Shelley (because that's my outside the office name) but the verification comany was asking for me by my legal name. They wanted information for someone the agency had never heard of so the agency couldn't provide it.

Once I got the email I called my old employer to let them know what was going on and to ask for their help...and I'm so glad I did. I'm so incredibly glad I reconnected with them. I spoke with many of my old coworkers as they literally transferred my call from one to the next to the next to the next. They all wanted to see wedding and baby pics and to know how I am because in the 6+ years since I left them they have wondered how I am often. My name still comes up around the lunch table. Silly things I said, did, gifts I gave, cookies I baked, goofy things I did while traveling for work. And when they finally put me through to the HR Director, Stevie...she had tears in her voice when she told me she was so glad that my predicition came true.

You see...she knew all those years ago that when I told her I was going to be OK I didn't mean it...We both knew it. I was devastated and trying to be strong. My 24 year old self was trying to be brave in the face of such uncertainty. So for her to finally find out what happened to me was beautiful for her and for me. To be reminded of that day and to see where I came from and how bold I was then and to see where I have grown and how much and how far...It amazes me.

I'm also just in awe that 6 months of working with these people left such an impression that 6+ years later they still talk about me and wonder about me and laugh at me. It's so flattering and incredibly humbling to know they still think so highly of me that they would pass my call around and immediately call the verification company while I was still on the line so they could assure me that they did their part to advance my future. I hung up the phone in tears but oh my word what happy tears they were.

The lesson for me in all of this is that who I am, while not strictly buttoned up and professional, is someone who makes strong connections. That I am apparently someone who leaves a very lasting good impression. In my career I have been told many times that I am too happy. Too perky. Too caring. But now I know...Those jobs just weren't right for me. They didn't value me and my personality and who I strive to be everyday. I hung up that call today thinking about exactly how lucky I am that I've found my place.

I'm so glad that I am who I am and that I've always been this person, no matter what. I'm so glad I've always tried to be a kind, caring, perky, happy person because in the end...that's who I am and it's obviously paid off.

Have any of you ever experienced this? Tell me about it in the comments.


PS: Be sure to find me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm Baaaack....With Something Fun

I'm sorry I'm a slacker.
I'm sorry I've neglected you.
I'm sorry but I promise I'll get better.

Life got a little hectic for me. The company I currently work for lost their contract with the company they have me contracted to and so I've been trying to figure out my next steps. I was stressed and scared, not just for myself but for my team as well and just didn't have it in me to be fun and silly. But luckily for me everything has gotten worked out. The new company taking over the contract is wonderful and is going to absorb all of the people who work for the current company. I however will not be moving on with the new company because....I was offered a very wonderful position, doing something I love, at the company I was contracted to.


I was very excited when I got the offer and I'll be starting soon. I can't wait and am so flattered and overjoyed to still be able to work with the wonderful people I have worked with for the past six years. Its a huge personal achievement for me considering where I came from and the fact that no matter how hard I tried I was unable to pass my math courses in college to get my degree. But I've worked long and hard and finally it's paid off.

OK...Enough about me...Let's talk about something else.

Have you heard of Bunny? Or maybe you've heard of her as Grav3YardGirl on YouTube.

Bunny is a vlogger on YouTube and I absolutely love her.  I found her channel accidentally one day a few months back, when I was looking for a review of some crazy product. I ran across her series, Does This Thing Really Work and was transfixed. Have a look...

Her facial expressions. Her blue blue blue eyes. Her hilarious delivery. I just loved her. Much like my feelings for Jennifer Lawrence, I really want to adopt Bunny into my family. I think she'd get us and we'd be besties. (Is that creepy?)

Anywho...I've spent time watching her and enjoying her and she recently started a new series called Wreck It Wednesdays. I had no idea what it was about because I'd not been watching them but a fellow Swamp Family member (Hi Casey!!!) was telling me how fun they were...so I tuned in. And I'm so excited that I did.

It seems that there are these wonderfully cool journals in the world, called Wreck This Journal. It encourages you to do things to it that are fun, creative and sometimes a little scary. Not like horror movie scary. But scary for book lovers like me. Things like poking pencils through pages and taking the book for a walk and eating colorful candy and painting a page with your tongue. But the whole idea of it is to open your mind to possibilities and to get you to use your creativity.

YOUR creativity.

I'm a pretty creative person. I love photography. I love music. I love coloring coloring books. I'm all about imagination and opening your mind to new things.

But I've been feeling like I'm in a funk lately. I haven't been sewing as much because my hobby area has been taken over by people with laptops who live in the same house as me (Looking at you Husband-Man and M) and I haven't been feeling inspired any way.

I thought...hmmm. Well...maybe I can get my creative juices flowing with this. So I went to the book store and bought something else.

That's right. I didn't buy Wreck This Journal. I bought something else that was created by the same person, Keri Smith.

I bought...this:

I can't really tell you what it is. Because as you can see...This Is Not A Book. But I hope to one day be able to define for you what it is for me. I think it would be different for everyone who buys this thing.
I'm going to attempt to explain this to you. It's going to be jumbled and garbled but...Put in the simplest language possible, this is an experiment. This is a journey. This is the start of what I hope to be a very inspirational time in my life.
Each page of this thing has a different challenge in it. Something you must do. The first page says:
This is an inconvenience.
Take This Is Not A Book with you everywhere you go for a week.
You must place it in full view at all times.
So I have. I've taken it to work. I've taken it to dinner. It has literally gone with me everywhere. No one has really asked me about it so it hasn't really been inconvenient...but that could change. I'm only on day three. But see...this is an excerise in perspective as well because to other people it might be inconvenient to just carry the dang thing around all the time. I'm ALREADY LEARNING!!!
I plan on finishing it. I plan on sharing my journey with you. You can look for pictures and updates and I hope you decide to get one of the series as well. There is another that I think I'm going to get for the family that is scavenger hunts or something. Husband-Man thought it sounded fun so fun we shall have.
Be sure to check back often here at the blog but feel free to also follow my time with this experiment in inspriation on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley. You can also find me on Instagram as InANutShelley. I'll likely be posting many pics/videos there.
Stay warm. Stay safe.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm Coming Out

I watched the Grammy's last night and was inspired by the performance of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert. It was beautiful and moving and it just cemented something that I haven't shared with many people. But I've decided to change that.
I'm coming out...as an ally.
For a long time now I have struggled with and been conflicted about my feelings on gay marriage. I was raised in a very strict Christian upbringing. One that denounced homosexuality and taught that gays were sinners.
Even as a young teen, being taught by a gay theater teacher, who I loved for his unique vision and way of seeing all of us as beautiful and worthy, I felt conflicted. How could I love him, if I was supposed to denounce him as a sinner. Did that make me a sinner? Because I loved him and wanted his happiness. While he was instrumental in teaching me about my self worth he made me doubt the things I had been taught about "his kind". It was confusing to say the least.

I've kept my mouth shut for a long time. I've resisited taking a stand. I've resisted being drawn in to arguments about gay rights and I've felt horrible about it for a long time. But this...this my friends is going to change.

You see...when R, who is now 19, was 15ish, she let her family know that she liked both boys and girls. She considers herself Bisexual. I was astounded and initially disapproving. Husband-Man was the same way. We didn't denounce her though. We waited. Was it a phase? Was she just being "cool"? It was tough to tell...and kind of still is, because to my knowledge she's never been in a committed relationship with another woman. However...I don't profess to know everything about dear R. Nor do I need to.

But over the years I've slowly come to the realization that no matter who she is, who she loves, what she believes about herself...I will always know these things about her. She is a member of the human race and she was created by God to be loved and I will do everything I can to love her the way she needs to be loved. Tough love. Kind love. Love through obstacles. Even when I felt like she hated me...I loved her. It may not have seemed like it...on either side, at different points, but there is much much love between me and R.

Of all the things she has taught me in the 13 years I have been with her...she taught me how to accept my conflicted feelings. She taught me how to feel about my LGBT friends. She taught me that the lessons I had learned in church long ago may have been wrong.

So I'm declaring now...I've chosen a side.

I'm on her side.


If she decides to be in a relationship with a woman...I'm OK with it. I'll still love her. That will never change. She'll always have my support.

I refuse to sit in judgement of anyone on this issue. Who am I to tell you who to love? I'm not Him. I'm not God. And one of the most fundamental lessons I did learn from a young age is "Judge not lest ye be judged."

I'm not going to call you a sinner. I'm not going to say you aren't.

What I am going to do is campaign for you. Your right to love who you love. Your right to be who you are. Without restrictions. Without condemnation.

You can agree. You can disagree. I care not.

All I know is that when I meet my Maker on Judgement Day...if he asks me why I chose as I did I will say to him..."You taught me to love unconditionally. You bid me to not judge. I've done as much as I can to follow your example and I'm unashamed."

Because I'm not ashamed.

To my friends; Jeff, my Disney and Downton Abbey buddy. Jennifer, who becomes Godzilla as opposed to my decision to Sparta Kick people when they make us mad...in our heads of course. Tyson, who is so quietly kind and thoughtful and just the nicest person to talk to. Katy, who works and giggles and makes me smile when I see her. John, who is my brother. David, who is also a Downton buddy but is also a sewing friend...I love how he says "Hey girl, Hey!" every time we chat. Tony, who taught me to be me and to be free and to value myself when I was only 15 and so scared to be who I thought I was.  And all of you others that I can't name or think of at the moment.
I'm with you. Wholeheartedly. You have a new ally. I have a lot to learn and a lot to continue to change in myself. But I want you all to know that I am your champion. No matter what. I love you all for who you are not who you love. And I feel so much better about it. No conflit. No confusion. I'm out and I'm proud.

When I was at church they taught me something else
 If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
 That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
 When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
 Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
 I might not be the same, but that's not important
 No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

 ~Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert


PS: Don't forget to find me on Facebook at here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Helicopter Hatred

My last few posts have been a little more serious than I typically get. I thought today would be a good day to show you what life is really like in my home.

First allow me to say this: Our house is almost always a wreck. 


I have an almost three year old baby who loves to climb on things and get into stuff. 

I have a Husband-Man who is a DJ and so equipment is moving in and out of my home all the time, which means that other things get rearranged constantly. 

I have no art on my walls because its kind of safer that way and wood floors are much easier to clean liquid off of than carpet. 

With that said...I'll beg you to not judge what you are about to see of my home too harshly. 

I've accepted the fact that my house will look like a tornado has blown through until G is at least a little older. 

Diaper boxes full of DVDs and book shelves with no books are pretty much going to be my life for the next little while...But when you see the pure fun and silliness of this video...I hope you'll understand why I just can't seem to mind the chaos wrought on my home. 

The fun we have as a family is worth so much more than a perfectly put together home. The laughs and giggles and silliness we share makes up for all of the feelings of insanity I have when I look at book-less bookshelves. I know it won't be this way long...So I'm choosing to treasure these moments. And I get to share them with you. Which is also worth it. So...here is how some of my morning was spent. 

The item G is using as a racket is the lid to one of those Pampered Chef microwave steamer thingy's. I can't remember what they are actually called. But just today it has been his hat, my hat, a tennis racket, a microphone and a few other things I cant remember. It's never a dull moment with this cutie. 

I hope you enjoyed the video and the respite from my recent seriousness and I promise I'll work on curing myself of Vertical Video Syndrome soon.

Have a super awesome weekend, my darlings!


PS: Don't forget to find me on Facebook at here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Letter To the Future (Inspired By An Incredible 12 year Old)

Have you ever noticed how wise kids are? How they can kind of cut to the heart of a problem or think of something in a completely new and fresh way. Have you ever just been in awe of their brains? How they think?

I learned today about Taylor Scout Smith, who, aside from having an incredibly awesome name (seriously...her parents made her middle name Scout. I love them!) was apparently very forward thinking.

Taylor Smith passed away recently of complications stemming from pneumonia. Before I go any further I need to take a time out and address her parents specifically.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. As a mother of two boys and step-mother to one girl, I can't imagine what you are going through. To lose a child is every parent's worst nightmare. To lose a child unexpectedly is even worse. Everything I have learned about your daughter indicates that she was as perfect as you thought her. And we parents always think our babies are perfect, because they are. They are perfect for us. They were sent after all. I'm in awe of the child you raised and she has inspired me in many ways, as I hope you'll see fromt he further contents of this post. Know that you are being lifted in my prayers. And thank you for sharing your daughter with us.

After Taylor passed away her mum and dad began finding out new things about her. The stories from friends and teachers and others who Taylor had made some kind of difference to. Whether in a large or small way it seems this girl touched many. What a great legacy.

But my favorite thing was the letter they found in her belongings. A letter she wrote to her 22 year old self. A letter clearly questioning where she would be in 10 years. A letter comforting her 22 year old self with the knowledge...even at 12 years old that if "they" didn't go to college it wasn't a big deal because she knows "they" already have good judgement and reasoning. Self awareness...from a 12 year old.

She was goal building. She was looking into her future in a way many of us never do. She was projecting where she would be and more importantly WHO she would be and I find that incredibly, deeply inspiring.

She also was curious about Doctor Who and if it was still on. That fact alone pleases me immeasurably. Anyone who loves The Doctor is a friend of mine and I love that she asked about the future incarnations. Whovian to the core, is our Taylor Scout Smith. Once again a sign of great parenting.

I write a lot about how I see myself. Things I do to make myself feel better when I have a bad day. I write thigns that no one will ever see because they are private and hidden and for me only. I've never given a thought to what my children my find of me after I'm gone.

Ok..that's a bit of a lie. I have. But I've never really, deeply, thought about it. I've thought about the Facebook posts I make and the tweets I've tweeted. I think about this blog and how they don't read it now but I really hope they will when they get older, so they can see their mum is more than just their mum. I want my children to see that I had thoughts beyond them. I want my children to see that I had goals and needs and wants and loves and passions that they weren't aware of.

So...Thank you Taylor Scout Swift...you beautiful, intelligent angel. Thank you from the very bottom of my currently 31 year old heart. Thank you for changing my perspective and making me think about what a letter I write to 41 year old self might look like.

If you are interested in reading all of Taylor's story, and you really should be, you can find it right here.

Meanwhile...Here's my letter:

Dearest Shelley,

We're 41 years old now. Do we love it? we always said you weren't afraid of aging. Did we stay that way? Were we excited to blow out the candles on our 40th? Did Husband-Man throw us the surprise party we really wanted but didn't feel like we could tell anyone we wanted? Ever...for any of our birthdays? He's our Husband-Man...he should have read this letter...since it's on our blog and gotten busy. I hope, for his sake, he did.

Are we happy? Happy with our body? Did the Weight Watchers thing work out for us? Do we even remember that? For the record...today, as of this writing, we have just finished eating our lunch and it was only 6 points after we had a 4 point breakfast. I'm kind of ridiculously proud of us at the moment.

Our life? How're the kids? All healthy? Do we have any grandbabies? If not...R needs to get busy. Tell her from me. We need babies. I know how much we are looking forward to being a grandmother. I've even spent time trying to figure out what we want our grandbabies to call us...if they ever get here.

But really...Is M still DJing? He's 13 now and really into it and he says it's what he wants to do when he grows up. Did he? Or did he completely change course when he got to college? Or did he maybe go to a trade school? Trade schools are getting good press right now. Because not many people are entering into trades and instead are going to college because that's where the emphasis has been put over the last few years. Everyone is pushing their kids to go to college. No one is thinking about who is going to fix their toilets in 50 years. No one except you. Because you're kinda smart. I'm digressing...do we still do that? I hope so. Life is more fun when its lived in a stream of consiousness.

Speaking of stream of consiousness...Was Eddie Izzard ever The Doctor in the last 10 years? If not...I'm sure you'll be as upset about that as I am now at the mere thought of it. Rupert Grint and Eddie Izzard are my two dream Doctors currently. I hope we finally get to see them. I refuse to believe Doctor Who is no longer on the air...but I am kind of hoping that Moffat has moved on. I'm getting a little bored of him.

What about G and R? Did R take over the third world country like she planned? Or did she set a less ambitious goal? Is G on the way to being the rock star we all think he is? Are we managing him? OMG! Please tell me he's better than Justin Bieber at everything. Tell me he's not obnoxious. Tell me he's kind and sweet and fame hasn't gone to his head. Or you can tell me he's just G. Being sweet and cute and 12. I'd be totally OK with that too. Actually...I'd be much more OK with that than the whole rock star thing...but if he has dreams I know we'll pursue them for him.

How about your career? How's that going? Did you ever figure out for certain what path you wanted to take? I recently learned that my career is going to be taking a turn but I'm still not sure in which direction. I'm hoping it turned out great. I'm hoping we love what we are doing now. Or at the very least that we finally went back to school and finished our degree or at least got our hair license. Careers are important but they are a means to an end. The end is the place you want to be. The end is the most important part. Right now my end is having the money to support my family and being about to take the time to love them in the way they deserve to be loved. I hope that hasn't changed.

I also hope you know that I love you. I sometimes don't sound like it when I talk to us in the mirror, but I'm working on fixing it. Did I do it? I've loved you for as long as I've lived. I've loved every minute of being us. I've loved everything we've learned and every goofy thing we've done. I've loved our personality and just being who we are. I really hope that we are just the same, silly, goofy and utterly filled with love for everyone and everything. Willing to open our eyes wide and see the world and experience it as only we can.

Who ever we are now...I know we're awesome. Taylor Scout Smith taught us that.