What 41 Looks Like

I had no problem with turning 40 last year.
I embraced it.
I relished it.
Face it, I totally rocked 40!

Forty-one, however, has given me pause.

A few weeks ago I started to think about what 41 looks like.

It is different for everyone, but for me this is what 41 looks like.

Becky cropped

Forty-one is slightly overweight, but resigned to the fact that my 23 inch waist from high school is completely out of reach.

Forty-one has embraced being healthy over being a certain size.

Forty-one is stiff joints, and *gasp* bifocals!

Forty-one is being the embarrassing mom to a teenager instead of the cool mom of a pre-teen.

Forty-one is laugh lines, the occasional silver (I refuse gray) hair.

Forty-one is asking my husband, “Does this make me look old?” instead of “Does this make me look fat?”

(Ranger, if you are reading this, the only correct answer to this is “NO!”)

Forty-one is realizing that the music of my youth is now known as “the Greatest Hits of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s!”

Forty-one is jamming to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in the student union and when the students look at me with wonder that I know this song, I look at them and say, “Dude, this is my generation! I lived through Grunge and mosh pits!” I think I am being invited to speak to their history classes.

Forty-one is accepting that while I enjoy Zumba, it is not something I should be seen doing in public.

(Forty-one is KNOWING I would end up in traction even trying to “twerk.”)

Forty-one sounds like, “Because I’m the Mom and when you are the mom then you will know too!”

Forty-one is recognizing that my mom isn’t hiding in my bathroom mirror and that it is really my own reflection.

Forty-one is going to the library everyday not to hang out or to study, but to work.

Forty-one is acknowledging the craft projects started 15 years ago will never get completed. Time to move on.

Forty-one is trying not to relive my youth through my children. I can do this, I know it!

Forty-one is accepting that I have said teenager (see above) who will be starting high school, then college, then getting married, then having babies, then will be 41 herself!

Warrior Meg

This is where my age problem lies.

Dude! I’ve had a breakthrough!

I don’t have a problem with me turning 41, I a problem with Big turning 13.

So, really, if 40 is the new 30, then 41 is the new 31 right?

In that case, 41…

I’ve got this!


It’s a Disneyland After All!


So my Sissy and I did it. We went to Disneyland without our husbands or our children.

We only feel a leetle guilty.

We had a TON of fun!

We brought the kiddos home T-shirts.

Our cousin Kathy came too! She’s pretty darn cool!

We heard Sir Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake perform. We saw Jay Leno filming live. We rode Radio Springs Racers in Carsland, Hollywood Tower of Terror, and Screaming.

Disney just won’t be the same without us.

Ten Truths

Ten Truths I know right this minute:

1. It’s been far too long since I got my blog on.

2. Teaching two classes while researching and working the reference desk while juggling kids, hubby, etc. was not my best idea.

3. I’m so excited to be going to ALA in Chicago this summer!

4. I’m going to “Mickey’s House” this fall … without my husband or my kids!!! 

5. I’m on the fence about letting Big Baby-sit for more than a few hours at a time. I have no doubt she can do it; I’m more on the fence whether or not Baby will allow Big to be “in charge.” Denny Crane.

6. I don’t miss my gallbladder.

7. My cat needs to diet. I’m not saying she’s fat; I’m saying she could make a great paperweight, in a high wind.

8. I would go through the whole gallbladder fiasco again if I could have an afternoon of lunch and shopping with my Sissy, Mama, Missy, Kathy, Laurel, Denise, Marsha, Julie, etc., etc., etc.

9. I’ve got far too many papers to grade before the end of the term.

10. Did I mention the whole Disney thing? Did I mention that I feel a little guilty about it? I do. 

That’s all.

You can go away now.

I’ll try to post again soon.

I’ll even try to get a picture or two in there!



Can you hear me now?

For several years Big has been begging for a phone, and for several years we’ve said, “Ummmm, no.”

The discussion goes back and forth.


1. All my friends have them!


1. Good, then if you need to call me you should have no trouble finding a phone!


2. How am I supposed to call you to pick me up from Pep Band?


2. Turn around and say, “Hey, Mom, can we go now?”


3.  But what if I want to call Grandma or Nana or Becky? 

This is where she tries playing the guilt trip – you moved me across the country from my grandmas and my BEST FRIEND!


3. Tell me when and I’ll lend you my phone.


There are two really huge things getting in the way of Big having her own phone, and one of them is known as the Ranger the other known as Mama (there really isn’t anything petite about me…seriously!).

Well, this was working fine for me, and then I saw it…



It looked suspiciously like the Ranger’s old cell phone.

The one he never answered.

The one he used for playing video games.

The one he got rid of after he found out he’d be carrying two phones around, his personal phone and one for work. 

He really hates phones!

But now here was Big with this phone of her own?

“Sweetie?” I asked, “Where did you get that phone?”

“Oh,” she says, “Daddy gave it to me. He said I could have it.”


There was no discussion over Big having a phone.

There was no sassy contract over the responsibilities of having her own phone.

There was no decision over how she was going to earn the money to pay for her phone.

It was just there.

I was SOOOOOOOOOOO not happy! (enough O’s to get my point across?)

Then she continued, “Yeah, it doesn’t work, but Dad said I could have it.”

Oh, okay then.

I was good with that.

Then I started noticing something.

Big was carrying this phone around…

And not just in the house.

She wanted to take it to school (Ummmmm, no).

She did sneak it to PRE (read CCD or Catechism).

I saw her showing it to someone.

I later asked her what she told people when it wouldn’t turn on –

“Oh, I just told them that it needed to be charged. I wasn’t lying, it does need to be charged”

No off position to the switch of genius on that child.

I’m not all that worried about her running up a huge phone bill though…

Did I mention that Big really hates talking on the phone?

She always has.

You see, for Big it’s all about being able to show her friends that she’s cool, that she has a phone too, that she fits in. Apparently the rule book only says you have to own a phone, not that it has to work.

The thing is we are going to have to seriously consider getting Big a phone of her own soon. She’s starting to go on school and church trips without us, and she wants to babysit her sister this summer and we don’t own a home phone.

Decisions are going to have to be made and rules outlined.

Until then I’m going to pick my battles and let her pack around the Ranger’s old phone.





What, Sissy, No Wally?

So, last year I made some sort of “Goals.”

Two to be exact.

Goal 1: More self reliant children

Goal 2: Save money with M’ah coupons!

I bet you’ve just been DYING to know what happened! 


Well, Goal 1 with the kids was something that was a forced action.

The Ranger injured his back in May, and spent the entire summer in bed.

Isn’t this the sweetest photo! (Dear, Ranger,I hope you don’t divorce me for sharing it!)


We are still traveling the road to recovery. It has been bumpy, but we are persevering!

However, over the summer, the girls took on a lot of responsibility.

They fetched and carried for their Daddy. 

They fixed their own breakfast and lunch while I was at work.

They tried NOT to kill each other.

Baby is now the gourmet toast maker in the family.


She cooks it gangsta style!

Her specialty is cinnamon and sugar toast, macaroni and cheese and Spaghettio’s.

Big is a hot dog, microwave pancake, and frozen pretzel connoisseur. 

They both have shown the ability to clean and tidy.

Although, I’ve noticed that them knowing how to do it and doing it are two different things!

Baby is rarely tidy, she takes after me. 

Big is a bit more tidy, however, she HAS to leave a book on the dining room table at all times! Apparently one cannot eat without reading at the same time!

Goal 2 took on a life of it’s own.

My three ring binder and I probably have wanted signs in the stores all over town!

I don’t have an exact figure for my savings for the year, but I saved around $600 at Kroger’s alone. I also have a habit of price matching between WalMart and Kroger’s and then adding my coupons. However, WalMart is not helpful enough to show me my savings and pulling out the calculator got pretty boring. BUT, I estimate that I saved pretty close to $1,000 this year in sales, coupons and bonus points.

My personal Goals for this year are a bit different than last year:

Goal 1: No WalMart.

As most of you know, this is easier said than done! Especially in Middle-of-Nowhere, TN! But the challenge was made by the Ranger.

“I bet you can’t go without shopping at WalMart,” He said.

Game. On.

We had been talking about how we didn’t know where all our salaries had gone. We make decent money, especially since I’m working now. We’re not vacationing in Hawaii (Sorry, Bitty), but we have a house, groceries, food, vehicles, etc. which is more than most. I’m not complaining about what we have. I’m complaining about the fact that I KNOW we make enough to put more into savings than we are. 

His response was that it went to WalMart. Their marketers are great! I mean really, how many of us run in for just one or two things and leave an hour later after spending a hundred bucks?

Just me?


I’m on a mission to A.) prove my dear, sweet husband wrong, and B.) save money while doing it!

So, we’re halfway through January and I haven’t been to WalMart. It calls for more planning on my part, but I’ve stopped thinking, “I’m just going to run into WalMart for this one thing!”

Now Goal 2 is purely selfish. 

I admit it.

Goal 2 involves something I rarely get to do in person.

NO! It is NOT exercise! I exercise plenty! 

It is to spend time in the same physical location as my Sissy.

I miss my Sissy.

Darn, I’m crying.

My Sissy came for a week last Summer.

We went to WalMart. 

We went to lunch.

We went to the Container Store. (we LOVE the Container Store!)

She explained to Big about bratty Baby Sissy’s.

We giggled, we guffawed, we gabbed.

It was all good.

Then she went home, and I miss her.

So, my goals are for me this year and not necessarily for the whole family – 1. prove the Ranger wrong and 2. go see my Sissy. Pretty simple-ish. Maybe.





Big is a trumpet player – she blows horn.

She listens to music and you can watch her fingers hit invisible trumpet keys on her other hand.

The channel she begs for on the car radio is 1940’s music.

She falls asleep to Dizzy Gillespie, Satchmo, and sometimes Doc.

She has seen Doc Severinsen in person.

The highlight of year was getting to speak to Doc after his concert.

The Ranger took her.

He didn’t get a picture.

The Ranger ordered her first trumpet when she was six months old.

He had high hopes.

When Big started band last year (6th grade) we held our breath.

We’ve tried to be open about instrument choices.

She thought about the oboe, clarinet, flute and trombone before she settled on the trumpet.

She could probably have played any of them, but she has a passion for the trumpet.

Big has to work at it, but she is getting better. She no longer sounds like a sick caribou!

This year she is stretching her blowing skills.  This year she tried out for All West Jr. Band.

Her band teacher told us that she would probably put in hours and hours of practice, but would be unlikely to make it.

Her teacher wasn’t being mean. She’s very nice!

Her teacher wasn’t telling us that Big lacked the ability. She is very supportive!

Her teacher was being realistic. The reality is that All West Jr. Band is made up of middle school students from the Western half of Tennessee. There are hundreds of students auditioning for a limited number of seats. Most students who pass the audition are in the 8th and 9th grade. They have more years of practice behind them. They have the experience of auditioning and not making it behind them.

The decision to try out for All West was Big’s.

She has band class five days a week. She went to more after school practices than I can count!

She walked around breathing through a plastic tube (kind of like a scuba diver) for the last week!

But it hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows.

Big is at the age of drama! Very little comes without some drama of some sort. This was no exception!

The girl growled! She sobbed! She screamed and threw tantrums!

Over an A-flat. Over an E-scale. Over the unfairness of the chromatic scale! Over a trumpet that just doesn’t play right!

It got to a point that we considered withdrawing her. (Sometimes things just aren’t worth the drama and we like to choose our battles)

Big is all about being the best, perfect, WINNING! (Surprisingly, she’s not an athlete). And, All West was not something she was going to be the best at.

“What is the point of doing this if I’m not going to get in?!” she growled at me one night.

My explanation, “Sometimes it isn’t about winning or being the best. Sometimes it’s about just doing, the experience of it.”

She looked doubtful.

She went through with it.

I’m so proud of her!

I thought she was going to puke! (Everybody should experience being so nervous they think they’re going to hurl at least once in their life)

We drove the two hours to the audition site. We were early.

She warmed up and practiced for over an hour before it was her turn.

All West

At one point I thought she was going to make a run for the door! I could see her chin wobble, she was close to tears, and she looked ready to bolt!

I took her hands in mine, made her look me in the eye and told her, “Nothing that happens in that room will determine how your life turns out. It is a room, with people behind a screen, who are going to listen to you play your music.”

It must have inspired her, because she nodded, grabbed her music and said, “Let’s go.”

We checked in, and I watched her turn the corner toward the rooms where the auditions were being held. I could finally let MY nerves go!

Would she hit those high notes that give her grief? Would she remember her scales?

Would her trumpet “stop playing?”

Ten minutes later she was back, visibly relaxed.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“I did AWESOME, Mom! I played everything they asked, I hit all my tones and notes, I’m really happy with how I did even though I really don’t think I made the band.” she answered with a huge grin on her face.

Earlier in the day I had asked her what her greatest fear was, her answer, “Not playing as well as I know I can and them kicking me out before I’m done.” I then asked her if she was going to be upset if she didn’t make it into the band (I wanted to be prepared) and her reply surprised me, “No way! Do you know how many extra practices you have to do for that!” So, it was the best of both worlds for her – on one hand she wanted to play well, on the other hand she really didn’t want to be in the All West Jr. Band. (Sorry Ms. Presson!)

She may not realize the benefit of this experience yet, but someday I hope she looks back and thinks about how she undertook an “impossible” task and saw it through knowing that her best may not be good enough – strength & bravery, that she saw it through – integrity, and that she practiced and practiced and practiced until it stuck- perseverence.

Did I mention how proud I am of her?



Happy Halloween, Y’all

So, it looks like I just did a whole bunch of posts, but they’re just pictures…

Gotta keep Grandma and Nana happy!

Last night was Halloween.

‘Cuz you probably didn’t know that.

Typically we hand out a small fortune in candy to the urchins who come to our neighborhood only once a month.

This year we decided to try something different and we went to Trunk or Treat at our church.

We’ve never done Trunk or Treat before.

We didn’t know quite what to expect.

We got there on time.

The parking lot was full of cars.

There was no one in said cars.

They were in church.

Did I mention that we attend a Catholic church, and Halloween is All Saints Eve and November 1st is All Saints Day, a day of holy obligation which means you go to mass. They were having All Saints Day Mass on All Saints Eve.

Did I mention that my children were in costume.

Did I mention that they were the only children in church in costume.

Someone forgot to share the memo.

Church first, then quick change in the bathroom, THEN Trunk or Treat.

As a friend pointed out, at least they weren’t dressed as a witch, devil or hooker!

My friend is quite helpful!


She was dressed as a gypsy, complete with a jingly coin, belly dancing scarf. It was age appropriate, but every time she stood, sat or knelt she jingled.

Baby could have cared less. She was dressed as the princess she is, she was Snow White.

Now, when you catch sight of these costumes don’t think I made them.

My Mama is retired, has a sewing machine and knows how to use it!

Baby plans her costume a year in advance. She’s sitting on the couch thinking about it right now.

Big is more of a spur of the moment costume planner. If something catches her eye, that’s what she’s going to be.

Big happened to see the pattern for her costume while we were shopping for fabric for Baby’s costume.

I digress…

Back to Trunk or Treat…

So, after church we head out open trunks up.

People decorated their trunks!

I missed another memo.

I didn’t.

I did, however, hand out candy by the handful!

I was a favorite stop.

In addition to candy, there were also hot dogs.

I sent the girls over to get a hot dog while I was handing out the last of my candy.

A few minutes later they both ran up to me hollering, “MOM! Hold this!” They both then proceed to hand me their paper plates…

filled with cookies and a cupcake…

not a hot dog in sight.

We left a bit early, Baby was getting really cold.

When we got home, at 7, there were still a few porch lights on in the neighborhood and a couple hundred kids still roaming our street, so we went to a few of the houses on the block.

It was a well satisfying evening for us!

Until Baby girl came downstairs this morning with a froggy voice, sore throat, cough and fever.

She’s on the couch watching Kipper and waiting for some scrambled eggs.

So, with that, I’m outta here!