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!

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my war paint is on

Typically, on Saturdays I post about the ‘adventure‘ of the week that I was able to experience with the kids but this week was different.

I had every intention to complete our adventure, which tied to the start of school, but something got in the way.

I was served. With divorce papers. On a Friday. Somehow my soon-to-be-cheating-abusive-scum-of-a-soon-to-be-ex-husband found the money that should have helped me pay bills, since he deserted us, to pay for an attorney instead. I shouldn’t be surprised but I was for some reason.

I’ve started my process to cope with the loss of my marriage, which is truly like dying inside…experiencing a death of an immediate family member but I guess I wasn’t as far into the grieving/acceptance process as I had thought.

My scummy-ex is lazy. Ask anyone he works with or his customers – he is never on time for appointments or work. He didn’t get the pay increase he thought he should…because he’s late all of the time and has an attitude…irresponsibility is his middle name. And unfortunately, I’m just now realizing what I’ve always known about how sleazy of a person he really is.

As an example, my father is fixing sooo many things that he said he would fix around the house, or that he had broken, for literally years, but he just didn’t ever do it because he had other things to do, like drink or work on trucks or Jeeps that are now sitting in MY garage.

So my guess was that he thought he would continue to ‘cheat’ on me with the soul-less Bethany D. and not take the time or money to actually follow through with the divorce…always knowing that he could try later to be a ‘MAN’ and own up for what he’s done and apologize. BUT…he has decided to act as immature as the trash that he is with and bail…and bail in a BIG way, without remorse.

I’m not ready to go into what he’s asking for, but I can tell you that he’s a disgusting human being and whoever his attorney is, is disgusting too, and shockingly is a woman – I have no idea how she sleeps at night because it’s insane what he’s asking for.

Pathetic is who he has become. And the sad thing is, is that I can only guess that his mom is the one paying for his issues. His mistakes. Literally the one paying for the bed that he has made and she continues to ‘threaten’ to pull back the money but yet pays for everything…all so that ultimately, she gets her way…which is to see her granddaughter, even though she lies like he does. I’m going to get punished for his mistakes, all so that SHE gets her way…all because SHE has more money. Or so they think.

Good luck. State of Florida – Grandparents have NO rights. And I can fight grandparent money with grandparent money. And guess who has no issue doing it because their kid didn’t do anything to cause this. NOT his mom! At least my parents know that they’ll get their money back because they taught their child to be able to keep a GREAT job and do well financially! It must suck to know that three of your four kids have massive issues. And the funny thing is that the three with the issues speak SOO badly of the one child that doesn’t have the ‘mommy-dependency’ issues that they have.

And then I get this text today after he knows that I’ve been served: “We can solve this outside of court by being civil with each other.” Civil??? He wants to be civil??? He wants me to compromise with him when he wouldn’t even try at our marriage?? Shocker – not happening! Another one of the examples that I was apparently married to a ‘Peter Pan’.

Grow up Erik. Grow up McDonnell family. I’ve been through this before (and maybe I should thank my ex-husband (jk)) but I know more than he does and I’m ready for this. My war paint is on.

That sucks to say. That I’m ready for battle. But in reality, that’s what will be happening soon.

I never took marriage as a joke, especially the second time around, and it’s obvious my scummy-soon-to-be-ex did. Like it’s that easy to walk away from when they realize that they have to actually be responsible…to try…to put effort into someone else other than themselves.

God help the woman that marries into this family after me. They will hate life. That’s all I have to say.

BUT after all of the emotion that I went through, God sent two things my way to shake me out of a dark moment…my dad and one of my best friends. My dad happened to be there, ironically fixing Erik’s ‘repairs’ to my house, when I was served and one of my best friends, K, texted me in the middle of my emotions asking if I wanted company, not knowing what had happened to me. God quickly saved me from melting down. I did have a moment that may have lasted 30 minutes (if that) BUT, if you have been through divorce, you know that 30 minutes to deal with the end of something that you thought would last the rest of your life is an incredible feat.

So, while the kids and I haven’t finished our ‘adventure’ for the week, I know we will tomorrow, and I know that it will be worthwhile and it makes me realize that I do have a good head on my shoulders and I really do know what I’m doing in this crazy parenting thing.

So when ‘life’ gets in the way roll with the punches and live it. Life will smile back and show you a better way, another day.

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #6

I loved how this weeks’ adventure started…by pure accident and prompted by the boys – kind of made me feel like I’m doing something right as a mom in creating these memories through our adventures.

Moms are guilty of doing too much sometimes and I’ll admit that I bend over backwards a lot more than I probably should, to make sure that they have what they need. For heaven’s sake, I ‘pre-open’ their water bottles that I pack in their lunch boxes because they struggle to get them open on their own and I don’t want anyone to make fun of them for not being able to open their own water bottles. Yes, you may laugh, I know I do, and yes, you are also right, I’ve coddled them…but I give myself and excuse – the divorce guilt. I’m working hard to find a balance between teaching them life skills and wanting to ‘care’ for them. But more about that in a later post.

This week was a tough week for my marriage and I deal so much better with tough times when I have friends or family around. I thank the good Lord because I think that I’ve had very few nights alone – maybe once or twice a week for the past three months where I’ve been completely on my own and when I’m not alone, it’s allowed me to focus on other things, life events and people. It’s been great to help me get through this pending divorce.

So I thought it would be nice to have family over for dinner on Sunday…just because…just to say thank you for supporting us in so many ways over the past couple of months…just because having family over for dinner is fun for me and the kids. I called everyone…they accepted and then the boys brains started rolling.

The kids have always gravitated toward the kitchen. Whether it’s to eat me out of house and home or to help me cook or to ‘create’ their own ‘recipes’, they have bugged me and my mom, to learn how to cook and bake. One of my oldests’ favorite shows is ‘The Chew’ and the chefs are rock stars to him. They are pretty darn close to the equivalent to the stars of the Descendants movies…and to an almost 10 year old, that is rock star status.

They wanted to have our family over and to cook for them. The idea evolved into creating a restaurant. And I loved it because I have struggled with them seeing the ‘need’ to serve others instead of themselves this summer so I thought it was a great way to teach this important life lesson – servanthood.

This is what we did:

* Named the restaurant, created the sign for the restaurant and hung it in the living room. My thoughtful son chose four poster boards, and used each of our favorite colors to write the name of the restaurant on the poster board.
* Put an ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ sign on the front door.
* Created a menu with three appetizers, four main course options, three side items and three dessert items.
* Mom made all of the food…kiddos helped with the desserts.
* Set the table which the kids have become experts at.
* Divided the responsibilities – i.e. who would greet our customers, who would seat them, how to seat them if the ‘whole party’ wasn’t there, who would take the orders, who would run the food, and a few other things. They were taking this very seriously!

My oldest even put on a tie and the best we would get out of my #2, when we asked him to put on ‘nice’ clothes were gray camo pants and a green camo shirt. It was classy. 🙂 Most of everything went as planned except my #2 man decided that he’d rather sit with the ‘customers’ and eat instead of running the food…but oh well. His attention span is shorter – he lasted longer than I thought he would.

This kept me a little busier than I expected and was only able to capture pictures of the empty plates and dirty dishes after we were done but it was quite a learning experience for the boys because they were tired too after taking care of others needs. It was fun to see them really trying to pull this off and take this so seriously. The icing on the cake with this adventure is that I was able to cook all of our meals for the week in one night! It’s been great!

And once again, the beginning started as groans (mainly from my #2 man) but after our ‘customers’ left they each told me how much fun they had. My oldest has really started to join my ‘adventure movement’ because he’s been coming up with ideas on his own for our adventures.

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: During our time together, I took pictures (even though it was after the fact) and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out 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.

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #1

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to face a few harsh realities happening in my life. One thing that I’ve decided, though, is to really focus on growing my relationship with my three kiddos by just simply having fun.

I watched a TED talk by Shonda Rhimes about a year ago and was inspired. If you haven’t watched it, it’s worth the 15 minutes to listen to every word. {Here’s the link – just copy and paste https://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything) She talks about how she decided to say yes each time her children asked for her time and about how hard it was to do and yet how fulfilling it was to do.

So my ah-ha moment came this week when I was doing some planning for my future and there was a little girl saying “Mom, Mom, Mom” and grabbing my pant-leg. I realized that I want to make sure that whatever career move I make that I make sure to just stop what I’m doing and have fun with them, pay attention to them, create an adventure with them each week.

‘Hockey Sticks and Pink Bows’ will be our adventure each week and my plan is to document and share each adventure with you. Feel free to use any of these ideas for your own adventures. Most will be no more than spending time together as a family, some will be adventures that take us to new places, and some will teach us something new.

This week’s adventure was something simple but so much fun. There’s a new show that will be on TV based off of the popular game app, Candy Crush, and my oldest has been dying to see it. So we went to the dollar store and picked out $9 worth of candy. I know $9 doesn’t sound like much but trust me – it’s a lot and it really hits you how much candy you gave them about 30 minutes after the sugar hits their system. And then we sat down and watched a different game show (because I was wrong about the start date :)) and I asked open ended questions and they answered during the commercials and I even received a “Mom, that was fun.”

That was it…a quick little game show. But it was family time. It was a good time to ask questions and for me to be reminded how smart my kids really are. It was technology free (except the TV). It was peaceful. It was exciting. It was an adventure in being still and just ‘being’.

How did I do it?

This one was a pretty simple. I listened. I listened to what the kids were saying they wanted to do. And I wasn’t directly asking…I was reading between the lines.  Listening for when they got excited or when they mentioned something more than once. And then, like I mentioned earlier, I got excited. I looked forward to fun and to family. And then I got them excited because of my excitement and then they didn’t care that it only cost $9 for this week’s adventure. They were excited because it was something that they wanted and I made a big deal out of what they wanted and communicated to them that I care enough to listen. Even the little redhead joined us and her little giggle was the icing on the cake.

Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and then slid them into sheet protectors and hung them on our fridge. The boys are quick to get the redhead her juice in the morning so they read it before I was even awake and started to get excited right away.

During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our 2nd adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the 2nd adventure, print out 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.

Love these kids!

Have an amazing weekend!


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12 things i will teach my boys

A wise woman once told me, “I’m raising a man, not a hockey player.” My goal as a mom is to pass along wisdom from my life lessons that will help them in their beautiful lives.

When you are pregnant, your dreams run wild with wishes for your child’s future. At almost 10 years into being a parent, I have 100 times the amount of dreams for my kids then I did when I was pregnant. I created a list of 12 life lessons that I hope to raise my boys to know.

12 Things I will teach my boys