Friday, October 24, 2014

Currently: Go with the Flow

This week's themes are: anticipating, contributing, discussing, listening, deciding

I'm not really anticipating anything this week... just trying to go with the flow.

I have felt crappy all week, so I haven't been contributing much to anything. My stomach is a mess. I'm not sure if it's a bug, or stress, or something I ate, but I am ready for it to go! I can't complain, though, it could be worse. My brother was sent home from the hospital last Friday, only to be taken to the ER and admitted yesterday. I feel so bad for him. That's something I should be contributing to -- the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Crohn's is a really horrible disease!

We have been discussing the great things moms do on Instagram this week. See Elaine and Alison's posts for more. Such a wonderful initiative. We mamas do so much for our kiddos.

A photo posted by Jessica Sweeney (@goaliej54) on

Joshua and I have been listening to the soundtrack from The Muppet Movie. The only song I recognized when we first bought it was "The Rainbow Connection," but we've come to love them all. Josh and I sing "Movin' Right Along" in the car; he does Kermit's part, and I do Fozzie's. So fun. Josh does a pretty good Kermit impression. And also, Yosemite Sam. I heard him in the bathroom this evening, "Shh... be vewy vewy quiet!" I love it.

I am still deciding what to do with that furniture I want to sell. I am abnormally paranoid about Craigslist. And forever a procrastinator.

How is your week going?

Linking up with Lindsey and Randalin for this week's edition of "Currently"

Writer's Workshop: What Did You Call Me?

This week, I'm following the prompt: 3.) The last time someone called you a name.

It was about five years ago. A bunch of my friends and I were in a bar, having a great time, when I decided to fight the crowd to use the facilities. I pushed my way through a bit, until I came to a group of guys who were blocking the hallway.

"Excuse me," I said politely.

"Hey, watch out for that linebacker behind you," one guy said to his friend.

A linebacker? I knew I had a lot of weight to lose, but I was hurt. Normally, I wouldn't say anything, but I decided to speak up. The Guinness made me do it.

"A goalie," I said.


"I'm a goalie. An ice hockey goalie. I don't play football," I corrected him.

And then they were all interested, or maybe just embarrassed because I'm not sure they meant for me to hear. "Do you play for Providence College?" and other questions.  I just smiled and walked away.

I'm not sure I could name a linebacker if my life depended on it... but go Patriots!
Even though I was proud of how I handled the insult, this exchange bothered me for a long time. Even after losing over 30 lbs, that comment and countless others before it have dug deeper than the weight. They made me feel so un-beautiful, un-feminine, un-wanted. Things I have struggled to and wanted to feel ever since I was an awkward and goofy-looking young girl. All I've ever wanted was for people to like me. But now I know it's not always that important.

I am tired of letting others make me feel bad about myself. They have no right; they don't know a thing about me. If I am being a jerk, then yes, I hope someone would make me feel bad. But it's not right to criticize something I have no way of changing, or that may be hard to change. Or that may only be bad in their eyes. God apparently didn't want me to be a supermodel, but He may have some other, more fabulous plans for me. I'm tired of people making me feel so crappy about myself that I don't have the confidence to find and succeed with those plans.

I'm constantly reminding my child to be kind to everyone. Kindness and respect are so important. When we were on vacation, he voluntarily, and without my immediate attention, held the door open for a woman in a wheelchair. And made her smile. I had to choke back tears as I told him how proud I was. You got it, kid. Always do those things.

I also know now that it's up to me, too. To not let these insults control me, especially in a case like this where it's not someone constantly bothering me. (Unfortunately, it hasn't always been that way.) It's hard, because I am so sensitive, but I can always change the way I perceive what people say. And I have the right to stand up for myself or get help if a situation is out of control.

I guess if I look at my story now, I can give it a positive spin. Calling me a whale would have been another thing, but a linebacker is strong and athletic. And they were ready to believe I was still in college!

Day-um... I am good.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Friday, October 17, 2014

Currently: Being Kind to Myself and Promoting Creativity

I discovered today that one of my favorite Instagrammers is also a blogger, which was super exciting because I am looking forward to reading more about her two adorable children and all the good times they have. Her son is just three days younger than Joshua -- the coolest little dude -- and his younger sister is just the cutest (and apparently, toughest) little cookie.

Lindsey is co-hosting a link-up called "Currently." In her words: "The deal: Use our themes or use your own - just let us know what is 'currently' going on with you! Be sure to stop by and say hello to the other bloggers linking up - especially to my amazing co-host at Harvesting Kale." Sounds good to me; I'll play along.

This week's themes: appreciating, feeling, looking, regretting, playing

Tonight, I am appreciating those make me feel like I contribute something to society, especially when others tend to brush me off. We all want to feel like we are part of something, that we are worthy and important and needed. I appreciate when others appreciate me. I also appreciate the wonderful nurses and doctors and medical students at Beth Israel hospital in Boston, who have helped my brother recover from illness. He has been in and out of the hospital since August, and in for about a month this last round. He has been doing so much better since they have started caring for him up there, and I am so thankful for that. Hopefully, it's nothing but recovery and health from here.

I am feeling tired. There aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I'd like to do. I suppose I could skip television, but then I wouldn't be feeling as inspired as I was after watching The Biggest Loser tonight. I'm signing up for the gym this weekend! I'm feeling ready to make a lot of positive changes in my life.

I'm looking for someone to buy some old furniture. Anyone in the tri-state area interested? I need to get it out of storage because it's expensive, but I have to admit I am paranoid about having to meet people if I were to place an ad on Craig's List. I may just donate the couch and chair, but the dining room set was expensive, and I'd like to get some money for it.

Cow and Sheep navigate the corn maze
I'm not really regretting anything, except maybe not being as productive as I wanted to be this weekend. OK, who am I kidding? That Once Upon a Time marathon was totally worth it. Sometimes you need to veg. I'm currently working on improving my self-worth, and being kind to myself and allowing myself to rest and taking care of myself is vital to that.

I'm looking forward to playing with Joshua this weekend. Our current "game" is "Chicken Tornado 6: Kitty's Adventure," in which Kitty the cat meets all of her animal friends (inspired by The Muppet Movie).  There is also a spin-off, played at Nana's house, called "Cow and Sheep Meet the World," which led to the very awesome creation of a Super Trash Jet Plane (a box converted to an airplane, in which the animals can travel). Playing with Josh is always interesting. There are plot lines and scripts, and even musical numbers (some written by the playwright himself). Each animal has a very distinctive personality (and voice). If this kid doesn't grow up to make movies, he'll be making Broadway musicals. Although, in his words, "I want to be everything when I grow up, but especially an engineer and a poop doctor."

There you go.

So... how YOU doing?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writer's Workshop: My Pumpkin and Our Patch

This week, I'm following the prompt: 5.) Show us your pumpkin patch.

If there is a season my son and I love, it is Autumn. We love the cooler weather, colorful foliage, and of course -- pumpkins! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin coffee... Autumn is great, but it makes me fat. We also enjoy decorating with pumpkins. Pumpkin lights, ceramic pumpkins, pictures of pumpkins (his favorite thing to draw), pumpkin towels, pumpkin spice soap... if it has a pumpkin on it, we probably have it around the house. It's no surprise that Josh's favorite color is orange, and that my nickname for him is "Punkin" (a combination of pumpkin and punk, which he can definitely be sometimes).

So, it makes sense that one of our favorite Autumn activities is going down to the pumpkin patch. We have a tradition of going to Schartner Farms, taking a hay ride out to the corn maze, and picking out some pumpkins. It's always a great time.

Ready for the tractor!

The kids maze

Creepy corn stalks in the maze

How do we get out of here?

There is a new theme every year. This year's was sports, complete with a Green Monstah!

And Tom Brady, of course!

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I snacked on a fresh apple, Josh danced with his farm animals, and we had a lovely hayride. The life!

Inspired by Kat's post, here's a look back through the years at a boy and his pumpkins:





Stay tuned for photos of our other favorite Autumn event, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Flames of Hope

One of the most touching tributes to those who have been afflicted with breast cancer that I have seen is the Flames of Hope Waterfire in Providence. It takes place on a Saturday night every October, and includes vendors selling goods to raise money for breast cancer research (and for patients, I believe) and education resources, a ceremony and torch light procession from the State House to the Providence River, and the lighting of bonfires along the river, with another ceremony in the river basin. The event has grown to include a 5K Run/Walk (which I also attended this year), and is said to be one of the largest breast cancer awareness events in the Northeast.

The Waterfire itself is so beautiful, and my photos do it no justice. The music chosen for the event just adds to the emotion of the night, as we remember those we have lost, support those who are still fighting, and educate those who can be saved if they catch it in time. Our state's motto is "Hope," and we are reminded that there is hope on a night like this.








Back in September, we got all ramped up for our trip to Disneyworld -- and at the same time, for hockey season -- when we went to see Disney on Ice: Frozen at The Dunk. Joshua loved it.