Five Things About Me – Old School Blogging

Five Things About Me
Old School Blogging
Today I’m linking up with Elaine (Miss Elaine-ous) for some old school blogging. This month’s topic is “five things about me”. Join in (please!) and link up so we can read all about you!

Five Things About Me…

Five Things I Have a Passion For

  1. My family – I am completely in love with my husband and children. They pull the majority of my focus, and that’s the way I like it. I really enjoy doing special things for them and showing them how much I love them.
  2. Writing – I have been writing about my thoughts and emotions since I was very young, and I don’t plan to ever stop. It’s the most effective way I’ve found to work through the things that vex me the most.
  3. Knitting – I love to knit and almost always have a portable knitting project with me when I leave the house.
  4. Photography – I’m not particularly accomplished at this passion, but I do enjoy it. I’m passionate about organizing and storing my photographs, printing them to hang in frames around the house, and capturing all of the little moments that make up our lives.
  5. Pinterest – Yes, I will admit it. I love pinning new content and organizing my boards and cataloging all of the fascinating things that the Internet has to offer. If you haven’t visited my Pinterest boards lately, please do!

Silly Family Collage

Five Things I Would Like to do Before I Die

  1. Get in excellent shape – It’s a fantasy of mine.
  2. Watch my girls become women – It’s not about having grandchildren. I just want to see the women that my beautiful daughters will become. I wonder what careers they will have, what they will do with their lives, and I hope that I can see at least some of their adult lives unfold before I die.
  3. Write a book – This is a long-standing dream that I hope to achieve before too much more time has passed.
  4. Move to Charleston, SC – I love Charleston. Always have, always will. I’ve wanted to live there for as long as I can remember. One day…
  5. Get a half sleeve tattoo on my left shoulder and upper arm – I have a lot of unsightly scars from my past on that arm. It’s taken me years to be comfortable wearing sleeveless shirts, and I have gotten quite good at ignoring curious stares, but I’d love to cover it all up with a gorgeous bright-colored tattoo that incorporates all of my family’s birth flowers.
Charleston, SC Sunset

Five Things I Say A Lot

  1. Really?
  2. If you don’t want her to touch you, move to the other end of the couch!
  3. If you don’t want your things to get lost, put them where they go!
  4. I don’t even want to know.
  5. I love you.

Five Books and/or Magazines I Have Read Lately

  1. Amazonia by James Rollins
  2. Interweave Knits
  3. Needful Things by Stephen King

Normally I read a lot, but I can barely find time to write these days… so I have only 3 on this list.

Five Favorite Movies

  1. The Great Escape
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. The Prestige
  4. What Dreams May Come
  5. The Story of Us

5 Favorite Movies

Five Places I Would Love to Travel

  1. Europe – I dream of traveling around Europe one day. I’d love to take my children on a European adventure, but I can’t imagine that I’ll actually be able to afford a trip like that before they’re adults. It’s a wonderful thought, though.
  2. The West Coast (again) – I took the girls on a cross-country trip from south Georgia to San Diego, California in May 2005. It was so much fun, but the girls were too young to remember it. I’d like to repeat the experience now!
  3. Hawaii – My little brother and sister-in-law live in Hawaii and I’d love to visit them!
  4. New York City – I’ve never been and always wanted to visit.
  5. Jamaica – A trip for two to a Sandals resort would be divine! Unlikely, but divine!

Five People I Invite to do this Meme

Janine, Lizzi, Cyndi, Jessica, Katia

When I Was Younger…

When I was younger, I had a grand vision of how my life would be when I got older.

I thought I would go to college. I was a smart kid, after all, and I had a dream of an advanced education and subsequent career that would just unfold like magic. That’s just the way it happens, right?

I thought I would marry Mr. Wonderful, who I would meet in college and not sleep with until at least the sixth date. He would be driven and career-oriented. Together we would build a life of wealth and privilege that would never involve digging through couch cushions for gas money.

I thought I would have two (or maybe three, I could never quite decide) well-behaved and perfectly conventional children. They would excel at sports, dance in ballet recitals, and always play well with others.

The perfect life, right? How hard can that be to achieve?

When I Was Younger... Heather (1995)
When I Was Younger… 1995

When I was younger, I had no idea that my life would end up so far from that picture in my mind.

I never thought I would watch my classmates go off to college while I worked at a run-down florist in a bad neighborhood, with no opportunity for advancement.

I never thought I would marry a man who was the exact opposite of “career-oriented”, who quit job after job and expected me to support our family with only my new home business income.

I never thought I would choose a man who enjoyed playing video games more than spending time with his children and wife. I never thought I would end my marriage, after five years of being a married-but-single mother to two small children, as well as the sole breadwinner.

I never thought I would develop a drinking problem and a love of pills, marijuana, and cocaine. I never thought I would spend so many post-divorce weekends sleeping my way through strange men’s beds. I never thought I would feel like I just wanted to die, or that I would make my own blood flow at times, just to feel something in a sea of nothing.

I never thought I would see the inside of a psychiatric ward, or have addictions that I would need to recover from.

I never thought I would marry again, this time to a very different man, a better man. I never thought I would want to start having children again at the age of 29.

I never thought that babies could die, or that my baby could die, or that I would see heartbreak and pain in my husband’s eyes that I could not ease.

I never thought there would come a day when I would call the police, unable to control my own hysterical child during one of her many psychotic episodes with no clear trigger. I never thought I would cry so hard and feel so impotent to fix my child’s mind.

I never thought… so many things.

I’m not sure my younger self would believe any of that if I could go back and tell her. I’m not sure I’d want to tell her, because to tell would surely change the path. I might not have this man who loves me even when I’m crazy and happy and depressed and laughing. I might not have these kids, who make me smile and cry and feel pride {and fear/terror/sadness} and laughter in my heart.

When I was younger, I had a grand vision of how my life would be when I got older.

Now that I am older, I look around at my life and see what a grand vision my life has become. There are so many things that I never thought I would experience, and never would have thought I could survive, when I was younger.

This is not a perfect life, or an easy one.

It’s not the life that I imagined, but I am proud to call it my own.

When I Got Older... Heather (2013)
When I Got Older… 2013

Finish the Sentence Friday

My Daughters’ Names

What’s in a name?

Choosing my daughters’ names was not a task that I took lightly. We made many lists, and considered ancestry, word origins & the meanings of different names. First names have to flow properly and sound right with the middle and last names. There’s so much to consider, because you are not really naming a baby, you are naming an adult. I feel that any name must work for whatever profession my child chooses to pursue , whether that be writer, teacher, lawyer or President of the United States.

My oldest daughter is Lakin Leigh. Lakin is my middle name, and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Leigh is the more feminine spelling of her father’s middle name, Lee. It flows beautifully with our last name. Her name was decided before we knew she was a girl, before we were even pregnant. Her name suits her perfectly.

Lakin Leigh

If she had been a boy, the name we had chosen was Andrew Patrick. I loved this name at the time, so much so that we considered it again when pregnant with our second child. Ultimately, I can’t picture myself as the mother of an Andrew or a Patrick, though I’m sure I would still be in love with the name if my oldest had been a boy child. Funny how that works, eh?

My second daughter is Addah Shannon. I had loved the name Addah since high school, when I had a brief friendship with a beautiful blond girl by that name. Her middle name is from the River Shannon in Ireland, and goes well with our very Irish last name. As it turns out, “Ada” is a family name, though I did not know that when we chose the name. I realized pretty quickly after Addah was born that we would forever be correcting the spelling and pronunciation of her name, but it never seems to bother her. The English meaning of Addah/Ada is “happy” and the Irish meaning of Shannon is “little old wise one”. My Addah is indeed a very happy and wise child, just as her name suggests.

Addah Shannon

Unlike our first pregnancy, on the second time around, we did not find out whether we were having a boy or girl via ultrasound. If Addah had been a boy, which I was absolutely convinced of until she was born, the name we had chosen was Rory Patrick. I still love this name, though it didn’t feel right anymore by the time we were pregnant with our last baby. Different husband, different place in my life, but still, a lovely boy’s name.

David and I considered hundreds of names for our third baby before we settled on Clara Edith. Clara means “clear, bright, famous” and Edith means “prosperous in war”. We had five early miscarriages before we conceived Clara, and we were in a very dark time financially when we became pregnant with her. She was the symbol of our clear and bright future, and we felt very prosperous in love, even during the war we were waging on our financial circumstances. Clara is a lovely old-fashioned name, and not one that you hear very often, which is exactly what we were looking for. Edith was my paternal grandmother’s first name, which makes the name even more special to us. It is the perfect name for this beautiful child.

Clara Edith (photo by Carly Marie Project Heal)

We had a perfect boy name picked out as well, in case Clara had been a boy. It is still our favorite boy name, and we hope that we will one day be able to bestow it on a son, so it shall remain private for now.

I adore all of my daughters’ names, and wouldn’t change them for the world. I think their names suit them perfectly, and I can’t imagine them being called by any other name.

How did you decide on your children’s names? Are they named after family members, friends, or famous people? Do you prefer classic or unusual names?

Easter Flashback Pictures

It’s time for an Easter Flashback!

I love looking at pictures of my big girls when they were little. Looking at the girls now, at 10 and 11, it’s hard to believe they were once so toddler chubby adorable, so kindergarten sweet. Where did those years go?!

I’ve picked out some of my favorites from past Easters to share this week. I never realized just how informal we are about Easter, until I had all of these pictures in the same place. Some years we have the pretty dresses and beautiful pictures, but some years we didn’t bother with the fancy dress clothes at all. We always have candy and baskets and hide Easter eggs though… you know, the important stuff!

Easter Flashback - Lakin 2002
Lakin – 8 months – 2002

Continue reading “Easter Flashback Pictures”

5 Stupid Things I’ve Done – #FTSF

Finish the Sentence Friday

I’m late but I’m still joining in with “Finish the Sentence Friday”, hosted by Janine at Confessions of a Mommyholic.

This week’s sentence to finish is “I did something stupid once…” and if you choose to join in with your response, make sure to go link up so everyone can read what you think about social media!

I did something stupid once… five times… actually, I’ve done a whole lot of stupid things. Haven’t we all? Even if you take the sex, addictions, old boyfriends and ex-husband out of the mix, I’ve met many less than stellar decisions in my 33 years on this planet.

  1. I lost my car and house keys for an entire day once. I searched everywhere in the house and car, and finally enlisted the help of my neighbor to find the errant keys. We searched together for another hour or so, finally giving up and deciding to fix a drink to drown our sorrows. Guess what I found in the freezer, hiding behind the vodka bottle? Um… yeah, my keys. I used to drink a lot. Very stupid.
  2. One fine day, I left my house in the morning to take the kids to school. I closed the locked front door behind me before I realized that I had left the keys and my purse on the kitchen counter. Luckily, my bedroom window was unlocked. so I finagled it open and fed my 5 year old daughter through the window. She came around and unlocked the front door for me, then needed to use the potty before we could leave again. While we were waiting for her, my 3 year old decided she needed to pee and couldn’t wait, so I changed her pull-up and got her redressed. We left the house, now late for school, and as the locked front door closed behind us… I realized I’d never gotten my dang purse and keys! Through the window again, my child!
  3. I’ve lost my sunglasses on top of my head more times than I can count.
  4. Years ago, I would resize all of my pictures of my kids to a nice web-savvy size. This was in the dial-up days, so pictures couldn’t be as large as they can be now, or they’d never download for most people. I saved over the originals, not thinking anything of it. The result is that now, many of my pictures of my kids’ first years are too pixelated to properly print out in 3×5 size. I hate that… it makes me feel very stupid, and there’s nothing that can be done about it now.
  5. In 2005, while preparing for a cross country road trip from Georgia to San Diego, California and back, the ex and I bought a soft luggage rack for the top of our fairly new car. It was supposed to clip onto the top frame of each door, mounting it safely for the road trip. Thing is, we ordered the wrong size, so it didn’t want to clip on properly. No worries there, we just peeled back the rubber seal on the doors so that the clips would work. Except, you know, the rubber seal is there for a reason, which we didn’t consider in our haste to just get the installation done. The doors leaked when it rained from that day forward… quite a hard lesson learned.

That’s just the first five things that spring to mind when I think of stupid things I’ve done. I know there are many more… so many more.

What stupid things have you done that you can laugh about now?

5 Stupid Things I've Done | The Destiny Manifest

Old School Blogging

Old School Blogging
Today I’m linking up with Elaine (Miss Elaine-ous) and Heather (Theta Mom) for some old school blogging. Back in the old days of blogging, we used to pass these little lists of questions around and “tag” each other and then we would read and laugh and smile at each other’s answers. Fun!

Join in (please!) and link up so we can all read and laugh and smile at your answers!

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

In 2003, my daughters were 1.5 years old and 3 months old. My ex-husband and I were packing to move from South Carolina to south Georgia. He was taking a job with his mother’s company, hoping to finally find a job that he would want to keep. Lakin was a ball of toddler energy and Addah was a tiny nursling when we moved.

Old School Blogging - Lakin as a toddler

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list?

I have a rather extensive to-do list… one for 2013 and one that runs for 1,001 days, ending in March 2014.

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

Apples, pears, pecans, graham crackers/peanut butter… and tuna salad on saltines. Yum!

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire:

I would pay off all of our debts and buy a nice little 3-bedroom house in the downtown area of Greenville, SC. I miss living downtown, where I grew up. I’d fund savings accounts for my girls to go to college, make sure our personal savings was well-funded, and take care of our parents and siblings. A second vehicle would be nice, for David, so I could cut down on my daily commute back/forth to work/David’s school.

After all that, we’d go to Europe on vacation. David and I have always wanted to go and show the girls some of the world.

5. Name some places you have lived:

I was born in Falls Church, Virginia. My family moved to Greenville, South Carolina when I was 3, and I’ve lived here for the majority of my life. In 2003, I moved to Mount Vernon, Georgia for 2.5 years, before moving back to Greenville. In 2011, I moved to Keller, Texas for 3 months, before moving back to Greenville.

Old School Blogging - Greenville

6. Name some bad habits you have:

I bite my finger nails. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, and I do it without thinking about it, so it’s very hard to quit. I stopped biting them for a couple of months in 2011 and had lovely, shiny fingernails that I spent a lot of time filing and polishing. They got a little too long and I broke one… and then proceeded to bite them all off. I haven’t been able to quit biting them again since then.

Other bad habits include worrying too much, over-analyzing everything and staying up way too late at night.

7. Name some jobs you have had:

My first job was a drive-thru cashier at Long John Silver’s, then I worked as a waitress at a little restaurant near my house. After high school, I was a floral assistant for 2 years, putting together bouquets of roses and graveside arrangements of lilies. I became a mama in 2001, and opened my business sewing soft soled leather baby shoes in 2002. I closed Moss Feet Shoes in 2006, and after my divorce I took a job teaching knitting classes and selling yarn. After that, I worked as a web designer for several teachers in the school district, while volunteering with the school and chairing several committees.

8. Name those you are tagging for #OSB:

Janine, Stacia, Emily, Terrye, Kate