finding me: adventure #1

The silver lining in this divorce is that it’s forced me to really dig deep and figure out who I am and what I want out of life. I’ve started to create an ‘Elle Woods’ style vision board, I’ve spent time just being by myself, and I’ve spent time with friends, just being me, without apology or hesitation. And it’s been glorious. I really can’t say that I’ve had a day of loneliness in F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

A couple of friends that I have to thank, have committed to helping me rediscover who I am and doing things that I’VE always wanted to do (even though they want to do these also because the ‘fun things’ are truly just that awesome to do). I’m picking these things…no one else and I get to be the one to do what I want when I want to (and that’s if the kids aren’t with me because the kids always overrule me :)).

And as much as I love my kids, I need to do these adventures on my own. Mom’s forget, all too often, who we were before we had kids – and we mentally shame ourselves for wanting time alone…so I am working diligently to find a balance between mom-life and me-life and work-life. Thank goodness for friends so that I get to have fun with other adults during my adventures too.


Recently, I had my own, first, personal adventure. Bingo. Yes, that’s not a play on words…I played Bingo. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always thought that it would be fun to go and play Bingo with the hard core, dauber-owning, bingo players.

It was just as much fun as I thought it would be.

A friend of mine went with me to Bingo and  we bought daubers (the ink-dot things that make playing Bingo faster) and spent $1 for three cards and we didn’t win a thing but had so much fun. The people playing are super intense and I think I was even “shushed” once or twice, because I like to talk and giggle a lot, but it was so much fun.

To get out of the house for a few hours, spend time around adults, get my blood pumping trying to keep track of 6 Bingo squares at once, giggle when I couldn’t keep up, giggle at the bad words heard around the room when someone said Bingo, giggle when there was a loud sigh of relief when the announcer said that it was not a Bingo, and giggle at the mad rush for the exit when 75 people lost and Bingo was over, was so much fun.

I’m not sure that I’m going to do it again but I’m glad I went. It was something different, a change of scenery and a chance to do something that I’ve always wanted to do – call me simple, but it was so much fun.

About a year ago, I watched an episode of Duck Dynasty where the mom and Willie went to Bingo and he attempted to ‘call’ the numbers/letters for Bingo. I loved watching the intensity of each of the players and because I love people watching I thought it would be so much fun.

The reality was that it was so much better than the show portrayed. 🙂 The people watching was awesome and it was packed with people from all backgrounds. I like the simple things, I suppose.

Create a Bucket List.

My advice to anyone getting ready to get married – write a list of things that you like to do, and make sure that it’s not all about the things that your soon-to-be-spouse likes to do. It’s wonderful to do things together and you should have regular date nights, but you should do things that you both want to do, not just your spouse.

I think that my ‘people pleasing’ mindset has compromised too much in both of my marriages and I never really asserted myself enough to get to do what I wanted to do. That’s not to say that I didn’t love getting interested in their favorite things, it’s just that neither one of my husbands ever asked me what I wanted to do on date night. It was only ever what ‘we’ wanted to do and because I was always fine with whatever they liked, they never stepped outside of their ‘boxes’ to do something that was on my bucket list. But, at least, this is something new for me to focus on – checking everything off of my bucket list.

And because I’ve focused on it – I never really realized that my bucket list is a mile long. I can’t wait to do everything. Things like camping on the beach and enjoying a resort with the rooms on/in the water have given me a new drive in life. I am going to work not for the work accomplishments but purely as a means to give the word ‘life’ a new meaning. I want to teach my kids that it’s important to set goals so that you have a reason to work hard and then enjoy ‘moments’ and life and create memories that only they can relish in.

I can’t wait to create new memories and I can’t wait to teach the kids the value in creating new memories.

We didn’t realize that we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

i will never apologize for being me again. my new goal: stop being a people pleaser.

Okay people pleasers. This is a lesson for us…for you…and especially a reminder for me.

I’m a people pleaser.

If you’ve been around me for more than 10 minutes, you’ll quickly figure out that I’m a people pleaser. I truly admire those that are the opposite of me because it’s a black hole that we get ourselves into, those of us that are people pleasers. We can’t stop ourselves. We want everyone to be happy even if it’s at our own expense.

So we bend and twist and give in to everyone else’s needs until we realize that we can’t please everyone…and then we start the next day and try a different route to please everyone for something different. It seriously is an addiction.

And when we get into a relationship, it’s easy for us to lose ‘us’…to lose who we are in a relationship with, order to adopt our partners wants and needs so that we can make them happy. And in a way, it’s not a bad thing because that’s who we are…making people happy makes us happy. But the problem begins when we choose partners or friends that don’t understand who we really are and they take advantage of our personalities instead of giving back to us in order to make US happy too.

My newest life.

I’ve given up, at least at this moment, in the hope that I’ll ever find a guy that can fully understand who I am and give to me unselfishly, just to make me happy because they love me. And that’s ok with me. It’s oddly calming to know that I can take care of myself. I think that my friends have clearly shown me in the past 90 days that I have people in my life that love me and they want nothing from me other than for me to be happy, which is more than what I’ve experienced from either of my ex-husbands.

My life has been packed with social events and it’s because I’ve opened myself up to me…doing things that make me happy, regardless of what others think I should be doing. And the biggest thing that makes me happy is experiencing life with others…with other people that make me laugh, that understand my humor, that don’t judge when I’m not perfect or when I say silly things or can’t focus on a darn thing and jump around from topic to topic. That’s who I am. I’m imperfect. And I’m proud of it.

I love life. I love to be silly. I love to laugh more than anything in the world. My poor sister used to get in so much trouble, when we were growing up, because she would sing at the dinner table and try to eat at the same time in order to prove my dad wrong – that she could sing and eat – and she’d get in trouble and then I would laugh. This occurred probably five nights out of seven. I couldn’t help it. I’m that girl that laughs at the wrong times. I did it this weekend when my own son was getting in trouble by his grandpa for being gross at the table. And I don’t care anymore. It’s how I’m wired and I am no longer apologizing for how I’m wired.

If laughing at the wrong times is the worst thing I do…then I’ve lived a good life.

I’m not perfect.

Unfortunately, laughing at the wrong times is not the worst thing I’ve done.

I’ve said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I’ve insulted people unintentionally. I’ve insulted people’s talents without realizing it. I’ve judged people without seeing the whole picture. I’ve thought that I was better than people, unfortunately a lot more than I want to admit. I destroyed my sons lives by leaving their father. I’ve cut people off in the church parking lot because I was starving. I’ve critiqued my ex-husbands choices. I’M. NOT. PERFECT.

BUT, I am who I am.

When you screw up, it’s how you deal with the screw up that will really define who you are. That’s where I think I do ok and why my incessant need to please everyone comes in handy. I care about others and their feelings a lot! And if I even think for one second that I’ve insulted them, then I internalize it, over think it, send an email, send a text, call, send another text, just to say I’m sorry.

So, I’m just a little proud of myself for being able to say, “I am who I am” without caring if anyone approves of my choices or not (and in all honesty, I do care still a little, just not nearly as much as I used to).

Dating Life 3.0

So…as I’ve started thinking about dating, flirting, or whatever with men…I’ve really decided to just be me. I’m not going to apologize, ever. I’m a lot to handle but I also have a lot to give…a lot of love…a lot of attention…a lot of intelligence…a lot of a lot to give to another person. So if the worst thing that they have to deal with is that I have a lot of emotions, then if they can help me keep my ‘up’ up, then we’ll be good, because I’ll be willing to devote the same amount of effort into that person that they put into me.

Whenever I date again, I refuse to hide who I am. I likely won’t lay it all out there on date #1, but I will be who I am and not feel bad. If nothing else, it will give the ‘other party’ the opportunity to think “holy crap, this girl is for me” or “holy crap, this girl is nuts”. But even if he thinks I’m nuts, I won’t internalize that to be “I’m not enough”…it’s simply, “He can’t handle all I have to offer.” And that’s how it will be and that’s ok with me.

And I will no longer accept that they can’t handle me because in reality, they aren’t mature enough to realize that I’m not a lot to handle…I’m a normal woman, normal human being, normal person that has emotions…and if they can’t handle grown up emotions, then they can leave. Sorry, they missed out on a grown up. And if they walk away, then I’ll know that they weren’t a grown up because I promise, the issue isn’t me. I don’t require large sum deposits in my bank account, big presents, lavish dinners and date nights…I require attention…anything that anyone else wants.

So until then, I won’t ever apologize for being all that Staci is, again. If they don’t appreciate it, then it sucks that they won’t be a part of my amazing life. I refuse to ever apologize again for who I am. And neither should you. You’ll find the perfect person for you if you are never ashamed of everything you are – the good and the bad (or at least what YOU think is the bad).

So one day, when I’m ready, I’ll write my bio for an online dating site and it will be nothing but the truth…just bullet points (because I love bullet points):

* camo lover
* jeep lover
* country music lover
* fine dining expert
* a passion for roller coasters
* has a love of scary and girlie movies (and anything with Marky Mark in it)
* lover of sushi and Mexican food
* would love nothing more than to throw her hair into a pony tail and hat in order to go fishing, eat matzo ball soup, and go to Gator football games

Perfect girl, right?? I think so…and at this point in my life, I don’t care if anyone else agrees with me. 🙂

Who cares what everyone else thinks!

Keep your chin up. A lot of us love you out there!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

some of my sanity needs to come from working out

Why is it so easy to put weight on and soo darn difficult to take weight off?

In 2013, I worked really hard to get into much better shape than I previously had been. Over the span of my 14 year relationship with my ex-husband, I slowly added waayy too much weight to my body, most of it I’ll blame on my travel schedule and stress. One other contributor could have been that I just really love food, but I think I’m in denial that that could be the reason. (completely kidding) I especially like the comfort foods with lots of cheese and yummy carbs and of course those are the foods that will help you gain weight. But at the time, when I was being disciplined in my work out schedule and diet, I felt the best that I had ever felt in years.

I felt healthy, lighter, and more energetic. I think part of the ‘spark’ that my Irish Idiot saw in me, when we were dating, was that I just felt good in my own skin. Then I fell in love and slowed down on my workouts because I love being in love and loved doing anything and everything with my husband. Beer didn’t help the situation either but relaxing with a couple of beers, on the patio, or while watching the Cowboys, was a nice ending to the week. And my soon-to-be-ex isn’t the workout type, or at least hadn’t been until he started cheating (should have been a big sign) so our outings were aimed more at ‘how much fun’ we could squeeze in rather than finding a balance between a healthy lifestyle and enjoying extra calories. Then I got pregnant and added even more weight. So now I really have to focus on this to get healthy, mainly to help reduce my stress in addition to feeling better.

My Favorite Workout

During my freshman year of college, I was in the best shape of my life. I was working at a gym and was working out at least two hours a day, with running being my primary cardio workout. And I loved it. Running is such an outlet for me – I get lost in my own thoughts and don’t even realize how long I’ve been running, but it’s so hard to make it happen now, especially now that I’m a single mom again. I’m hoping to find a work/life/kid/get healthy balance soon but for now, I’m squeezing it in whenever I can.

I’m not a huge fan of running on the treadmill – I’d much rather be outside but it’s hard to balance being alone with three kids, or even just one, and going for a run early in the morning, before it’s sweltering, or in the evening because of extra-curricular activities, so I’m going to try what I did to lose weight in 2013. Insanity…the Beach Body workout. I lost about 40lbs and 5 sizes in about 5 or 6 months. I just need to commit.

Two weeks ago I pulled out my DVD’s and did the first workout. It was exhilarating! I thought, “I can do this for 60 days. It will fly by.” Then on Tuesday I had to give myself a small pep talk that I’d feel much better once I got through it. Then Wednesday…I just was exhausted, so I skipped. I felt extremely guilty for skipping, so Thursday I worked out again. Then Friday…I’ll just blame it on the Irish Idiot because he kept harassing me via text and phone calls and I was emotionally drained, although I realize that working out would have reduced my stress.

Then last week rolled around…and I wanted nothing to do with working out. I was so focused on 15 different things, that I prioritized them higher than my health. And I feel it. It was a bad decision. I should have put my needs first for this one thing.

I told myself that I would complete one week, then write a blog post about how great I felt, and in all honesty, I was writing it to help me keep myself accountable to continuing my work out schedule. So when I hadn’t had time to write a new blog post about it last week, I think that I used it as a crutch that “if no one knew that I was on this new journey, then I didn’t have anyone to answer to for skipping last week”.

My first goal.

So my truth is that I’m starting again today. I’m on my journey to reach my first goal of losing 25 lbs. I could care less how long it takes me, even though I keep thinking that I’ll wake up tomorrow and be where I want to be. After the first 25 lbs., I’ll re-evaluate and set a new goal. I’m hoping that you join me on my journey either by doing something to get healthy or smiling at my struggles and successes or by keeping me accountable to my goals. I can only imagine there will be a few more posts about my journey, probably mainly aimed at bringing humor through some of my fiascos with exercising in front of the TV but also to keep me accountable.

My shameless plug (I get nothing for saying this, btw).

When I first worked out with ‘Insanity’, I felt cheesy admitting it because I purchased it from an infomercial that I watched one Saturday morning. Now, though, Beach Body has really done an amazing job building their portfolio to include ‘On-Demand’ workouts and amazingly good shakes, but also they have built their brand to be more main-stream and convenient to the user. And if nothing else, it is a fantastic work out and really does a great job maximizing your time while balanced with helping you achieve the results and health you want.

I promise though, I get nothing by promoting this. I just truly believe in the products that they offer. One of the newer things that they offer are shakes that help curb your cravings for sweets, junk food and all of the food we want but know we shouldn’t have. Should you want to do more research into everything that you can have at your fingertips, including the amazing shakes (Shakeology), reach out to my friend Patricia through her Shakeology site. She has a great story that is inspiring – the shakes and workouts helped her lose the weight she wanted to lose (even though I don’t think she needed to) before a major knee surgery.

Regardless of the method that you choose, take some time each day to get healthy, both in food choices and exercise. It not only will help you to lose weight, and reduce medications and stress, but for me, it will help me stay around much longer in life so that I can tease my boys about the Hurricanes always being lower in the NCAA Football standings than the Gators.

If you are on an exercise journey now, I wish you the best of luck and feel free to share to keep everyone inspired! I can’t wait to share my successes with you soon!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

a book!!!: hockey sticks and pink bows adventure #8

I am soooo excited for this adventure even though it’s going to take a few weeks. As usual, my oldest is just as excited and my #2 man groaned, even after #1 reminded him how much he loves each adventure after it’s done.

This adventure is brought to us by my silly grandma.

My grandma was one of my favorite people in the world. And even though she isn’t with us anymore, she still is one of my favorite people. Something that I hold very dear to me is that I have a baby picture of her next to one of my baby pictures and other than the fact that mine is in color, it looks like the very same baby. I can only hope that one day, when I’m older, I won’t just look like her, but I’ll have her outlook on life too!

The older that she got, the spunkier she got. I hope to be the same Grandma that she was one day (a LONG time from now). She fully defined the old clichĂ©d statement, “the older you get, the less you care what anyone thinks”. And I lived this stage of her life with her when I was old enough to appreciate the value in not caring what anyone thinks…I wish I was as brave as her. I strive for that each day.

Recently when my parents were cleaning out closets, they found a little notebook that she had written in at some point while she was in school. It is a simple, adorable story about a little girl that didn’t have much but had eyes that sparkled and only saw the positive in life…she had hope when most wouldn’t see hope. It’s a sweet little children’s story that she wrote that I’m trying to edit and turn into a children’s book.

This created an opportunity to plan an adventure for the boys and a chance to connect them to my grandma that I loved so dearly and they never had a chance to meet.

Creating our very own book together!

We are creating the illustrations for the book together. I think that it will be so amazing to see their pictures, their interpretations of her words, together with her words. I think she would be so proud…she would be shy in wanting her words published, not because she was embarrassed by the story but would be afraid that no one would appreciate her words.

For me, the best part is that I get to add my own words because, god love her, she spilled the beans about Santa Claus in the story…and who would buy a children’s book about Christmas with the bonus being that the mystique of Santa would be ruined?? So she and I both get to write this book together and it makes it even more special for me.

It’s been fun talking about what the boys can draw, and for me, where I could take the story without completely changing it from her initial design. And if nothing else, their kids may get to hear one day about how they learned about their grandma by helping to put her words into art form. They’ll have a story to pass on about someone that brought life, light, and spunk to the world.

As soon as it’s done I’m sure I’ll share it but until then, it’s been wonderful finding a way to connect them to one of my most favorite people that helped to create who I am today, my values, my memories, my life experiences. It’s been fun walking down memory lane and sharing some of these memories with them. And it’s brought me close to her again as I type out her words and add my own.

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: For this particular adventure, I read the story to them and started the discussion about how we could break it into small sections for each page. We’ll discuss picture concepts for each page and then each of them will do a page at a time. I don’t want to overload them because I have two perfectionist and one will just end up scribbling if he gets tired of doing it and the second will stress out that it’s not perfect. I want this to be a fun memory and for them to look forward to it since it will take a few weeks to complete.

#4: During our adventure, I will take pictures of them creating these pictures and of course we’ll have the book in the end to hang on to and pass on to future generations.
Our next adventure will repeat a similar process – printing out a description of the adventure, and a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

mid-week motivation: 6 things that i’m thankful for this week

My #1 man had a big birthday this week. And I sat, the night before, and boo-hoo’d. Not because it was a reminder that I was getting older and my ‘baby’ wasn’t so much of a baby anymore, but because I’m so incredibly proud of him and feel so fortunate to be his mom.

I also reflected that never in my life could I so clearly say that ‘it takes a village’ to raise kids. I’m surrounded by such incredible people and so much love that I thought I’d pause to take a moment and show some gratitude. I’m hoping that this will give you a mid-week ‘bump’ of encouragement…look outside of what is happening and list out everything that has been amazing, fantastic, or inspiring. You’ll be surprised how big the list is…and you’ll have hope that the next day will be just as amazing as today. Seriously, write down things like, “I didn’t stub my toe again” or “I didn’t lose my cool when the parents in car line cut me off”. Those are things to thank the good lord for – trust me, I’ve been there.

I have a ton of garbage in my life right now that is working its’ way out and I realized that even with all of the garbage (my Irish Idiot) I have TWO TONS of amazing things happening in my life also. So here’s my gratitude list to inspire you:

I’m so Thankful for:

1. The Good Lord.
I’m in no way perfect, but my journey toward having a closer relationship with him starts new each day, and I can honestly say that I feel the daily hug; the daily peace that comes with knowing that even when I’m at my lowest point, that I have someone that won’t judge me, curse at me, loves me regardless of my flaws, and will always be there for me. That is something personal and incredible and I can only hope that each of you reading this will experience this one day.

2. My Kids.
I walked into my kids room tonight and saw beauty…really saw peace, tranquility, love, and perfection. There is nothing like knowing that your kids are safe and sound and together. The love that they share is incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more perfectly imperfect children. They drive me insane some days but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want anything different than the strong-willed, happy, laughing children that I have been blessed with. My life wasn’t complete until they arrived.

3. My Family.
I don’t know how to put into words what my family has done for me. Whether it’s been to help me fix a toilet roll holder, give me moral support during a tough moment, or help me coordinate the who, what, where, when, how, of the kids athletic and school schedules, they are there…always. And when you get a message on Facebook or a text from a cousin just checking on you, life seems not-so-bad. My life is full because they are in my life. I couldn’t do life without them. They are saints!

4. My Friends.
I’ve said this before but my friends are amazing. Simply perfect. They seem to have a way to coordinate who will text me and who will call and who will invite me out and who will stop by at just the perfect time. And even though I know that this isn’t really what is happening, they really do have just the perfect timing. Whether it’s to text me because they care enough to remember that a particular day represented an emotional memory or they invite me to dinner to spend time with just the girls, my friendships couldn’t possibly be stronger. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. They are saints too!

5. YOU!
All of you reading my blog give me encouragement. It’s hard for someone to put their emotions, life, and experiences to words, hit the ‘publish’ button and wait…wait for reactions, not knowing what they will be. Some of you may hate that I’m discussing my divorce(s) so publicly, some of you have reached out and shared incredibly personal stories about your relationships, but all of you have encouraged me to keep ‘talking’ about what is happening in my world. Every day that my ‘viewership’ grows, and even if it doesn’t and I only get one view, I am encouraged to write again. Someone out there is validating that what I’m saying resonates with them or is entertaining them, of which either one is one of my goals. Thank you for your feedback, positive and negative…it’s been an incredible journey so far.

6. The guy that flirted with me.
Man, that felt amazing! Totally unexpected and not reciprocated, but man did that feel good. 🙂

Try it!

To help you get over the mid-week hump, take a moment today to write down five things or three or even one thing that you are thankful for. The memories that you’ll relive will be enough to get you through some of the toughest days.

xoxo Staci Beth