Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Weird Mom

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I've always been very introverted. I don't believe it really has anything to do with my being an only child. I know plenty of people who have no siblings and are very outgoing and bubbly. From a very young age, however, I've just felt that my opinions were unimportant and unwanted, and even an annoyance, so mostly I have just stayed quiet. I don't know where this feeling came from. My parents certainly never told me this. However, it was just a feeling I had.  And often when I did or do have something to say, I feel like I am being ignored, so sometimes I repeat myself or come off as pushy, even though I don't mean to, in order to be a part of the conversation.
My shyness has contributed to my social awkwardness, which is something I still can't shake to this day. Because I am quiet, people sometimes think that this means I don't like them, or are bored with them, which just isn't the case. I've tried, to no avail, to change this, but it just never quite works out.
My problems with social rejection started when I was around seven, and we moved to a new town. To this day, I don't know what really happened, but I was immediately an outcast. I had many labels...ugly, fat, shy, poor, you name it, I've heard them all. And soon I began to believe it, and those labels became my identity. Looking back now at those early days, I wish I would've stood up for myself more, but I was terrified of getting in trouble or suspended from school, or making my awkwardness worse.
I've also never been the girl with a ton of friends. Even as an adult. Sure, I'd have close friends at times, but eventually, they'd stop talking to me, and drift away, no matter how hard I would try to rekindle the friendship. I've also always had a hard time making friends. People that I liked or admired that I wanted to get to know better and be around, did not feel the same way about me. I'm a very sensitive person, and this really hurt my feelings. After all, I was trying to break out of my introverted shell and be more outgoing. I realize that I may have come across as too pushy, or trying too hard, but I didn't know what else to do. I have always tried to be more social, so that I would feel more included, but it has always backfired. So, I just came to expect rejection. To this day I still have a really hard time getting and keeping friends. After being told in many ways that "There's just something off about you," you believe it, and believe that you are just somehow very flawed and others just have a natural aversion to you, and that will never change.
I've also been told by many people, even some close family members, that I have no sense of humor. This is not true. While I do admit that I'm a very literal person, and I often can't tell when someone is joking with me or is trying to be passive aggressive and attempting to start an argument, I do enjoy all kinds of comedy and humor. I especially enjoy sarcastic comedy. One of my favorite movies is the Tim Allen flick, Big Trouble. This movie is full of sarcasm, and I find it hilarious every time I watch it, and have quoted lines from it at times. After revealing to a family member that I really enjoy this type of humor, they immediately told me that it was wrong, and it was akin to being mean and a bully. This made me very upset and self conscious again, and has me wondering if I am just an inherently mean, bad person, and that is the reason I am such a social outcast. To me, laughing at a sarcastic movie or comedian, and enjoying their humor didn't even occur to me as being offensive.
Lately, I've tried to be more assertive in everyday life. After all, I've been told over and over that I need to be more assertive and to "put myself out there."  If I'm online, for example, and read something that I really connect with, I'll post a comment. Of course, not everyone is always going to agree with me, and that's absolutely fine. But because I never stood up for myself in the past, and at this stage in life, if I feel attacked, especially by someone I personally know, I have gone on the offensive. Sometimes too much. This again has led to me being socially ostracized. Being told you are uncaring and nasty really hurts, and couldn't be further from the truth. I do feel. Very deeply. Even about things that aren't a part of my life. The death of a celebrity whose work I enjoyed and admired, the death of a child who was killed by a gator at a theme park, just to give a few examples, have made me very emotional, and I have even cried about it on occasion. But because my opinions have cost me friendships, I have started to retreat back into to my introverted shell.
I have come to accept the fact that I will always be "off," and even those close to me don't understand me and never will. So what does this have to do with being a parent you might ask? Let me explain.
My hopes for Sara, and for her future siblings is that they are socially accepted. Sara is a very smiley, happy baby. At just over 2 months old, out of necessity, I put her in daycare. I am thankful for this. She seems to really enjoy her time with the other babies and children, and I believe it has helped her development too. I'm hoping that this early socialization follows her through school and into adulthood.
I will always let her to know that her opinion matters, and that she should speak up if she has something to say. And also, she should defend herself if she is the one being bullied. If she feels that she is being excluded or that she is the outcast, or different one, to ask those around her why they feel that way. I wish I had done this, but because of my sensitivity and shyness, I have never done so. I will foster (but not push) her to engage in social activities such as sports or dance, or whatever her interests may be, so that she can learn to work as part of a team and have a creative outlet in order to express herself.
And most importantly, when that day comes, as it inevitably will, if she has a classmate or someone in the workplace, or wherever, who is the odd one, that she should take some time to get to know them, talk to them,and find out something interesting about them. I will let her know that even if they differ from her in opinion, or how they dress, or what neighborhood they live in, or whatever, that they still matter, and deserve to be included, and she should try to understand them. I just hope that her classmates, and everyone whose paths she crosses in life, would attempt to do the same.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Beauty and the Beast Experience

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Warning:  Spoilers Ahead!
This past Friday, I took an evening off and joined my local mom's group for a showing of the new Disney Beauty and the Beast movie. This was a movie that I was really looking forward to, as I loved the classic 1991 animated film. I had seen several trailers, and I wondered how true to the original this film would be. I wasn't disappointed! The original songs were all there, as well as some new ones, all wonderfully brought to life by the actors, whom I didn't even know could sing. What a surprise!
Several plot holes were filled, such as how Belle gets Beast onto the horse, and why the villagers seem to know nothing of the castle. There were also a few changes, such as the Beast's age at the time of the curse ( around 10 in the original, ) and both Belle and the Beast are given a backstory regarding their mothers, which was a wonderful addition. The only thing that the movie didn't reveal that I was hoping for was the Beast's real name. I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel for that, lol!
Now, I am aware of some controversy surrounding this film, making some apprehensive to see it, and has led the film to be outright restricted and banned in some countries. I have to say, that those fears are unwarranted and unnecessary after seeing the movie. You see, after hearing about these controversies quite a bit, I was on the lookout for these parts to see what all of the fuss was about.
The LeFou/Gaston relationship:  The director described this relationship as LeFou being enamoured by Gaston, and at times went between wanting to be him and wanting to kiss him. This didn't really translate into the movie. I viewed LeFou as such an insecure social outcast (he is) that he views and uses Gaston's "friendship" as a way to validate himself, and to give himself some social standing. I believe that deep down, LeFou doesn't even like Gaston.
And as for Gaston, he doesn't really need LeFou. He is already the most popular guy in town. I believe he only keeps LeFou around because LeFou's fake adoration of him stokes his ego. Plus, LeFou is such a pushover, that he will do anything that Gaston makes him do without question, so of course he keeps him around.
They are both merely using each other for their own self interests, and I never got the perception that LeFou wanted to make the relationship an intimate one. If that was the director's intention, he failed. 
The cross dressing scene: Towards the end of the movie, during the big battle between the castle inhabitants and the townspeople, there is a scene where the wardrobe uses her powers to redress three attacking men. When she is finished with them, they are dressed in lavish gowns, complete with makeup and wigs. Two of the men turn and run, seemingly embarrassed. The third, turns, and smiles, as he really likes his new look. That's it. The scene lasted for just a few seconds, and was funny. I laughed, just as everyone else in the theater did. I'm pretty sure it would go completely over the heads of younger kids, and older kids and teens would just find the moment silly.
The dancing scene: At the end of the movie, the Prince is throwing a ball, and everyone is dancing and happy. There is a quick scene where LeFou and the cross dressed man from the battle are dancing with each other. They look like they are happy, and having a good time, just like everyone else. They aren't intimate in any way. They are just participating in a group dance. Again, it was just a momentary scene, and I doubt young children would even notice or care.
So, I'll say again that the controversies surrounding this movie are completely blown out of proportion. My hopes would be that no one would deny their children from seeing this movie if they wish because of unfounded rumors.  
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie! I loved seeing all of the little girls dressed up in their yellow princess dresses, and I can't wait until Sara is old enough to enjoy movies, so I can share this with her. And I truly hope that they make a sequel, as there is so much more story to tell with this fairy-tale!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Perfect SUV for a Growing Family

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This past week, I got a chance to try out a new vehicle, and I was quite impressed! The Infiniti QX60 (formerly the JX35) is a stylish, roomy SUV with seating for seven.
There were so many things I loved about this SUV, that I don't even know where to start! I guess I'll start by saying just how much room there is. This car had two very comfortable seats for the driver and passenger, with both a heating and cooling feature which is awesome for using year round. The middle bench seat offers plenty of leg room for passengers, and can slide forward and fold, independently, for easy access to the third row seat. The seats also recline for comfort. Another thing I'll note is that if you have a forward facing child seat, it does not need to be uninstalled in order to fold the seat forward. 

The third row seats were also quite large in size, and an adult could easily access them and sit comfortably. I didn't utilize the third row while I had the SUV, however, as I kept them folded down in order to have more room for my stroller and groceries. 

The controls on the vehicle were quite advanced! This car came with all of the technical bells and whistles. It had navigation, satellite radio, and both a back up camera, and a surround camera system to make parking easier. It came with driver assistants such as Distance Control, which helps keep the vehicle at a safe distance from other cars, a lane departure warning, which lets you know if you are drifting out of your lane, and a collision warning, which lets you know if you are approaching a stationary or slow moving object, like another car, too quickly. All of these features are also available on my own SUV, but one of the new features that I don't have that the QX60 does, is the blind spot warning. 

This feature is a small light on the inside of each mirror that would light up as another vehicle approached you from the side, and then proceeded to pass. If you are thinking that this would be distracting, it's actually not. I barely noticed it as I was looking forward, and I was thankful for the extra piece of mind when I was looking to change lanes. In the Seattle area, we have wide freeways, and it has been raining quite a bit, making visibility poor at times. The blind spot warning light gave me the added security of knowing when the lanes next to me were clear, and it was safe to switch. 

This model of the QX60 that I had was also equipped with the premium package which included a Bose surround sound speaker system,  ECO mode, to save fuel on long road trips, Snow Mode, which helps you immensely if you are driving in deep snow, and a cool 3D forward display. And of course, it comes with Bluetooth technology for hands free access to your phone. 

The Infiniti QX60 is a great family car for anyone, and with a starting price around $43,000 for a base model, it is pretty reasonably priced for a luxury brand. I loved this car, and all of the features that came with it! Some, I'm familiar with, like the camera system, the driver assistant systems, and navigation. And some were new to me, like having a third row seating and the blind spot warning lights. The only cons about this SUV were that when the third row of seats are being used, there's not much cargo space. I doubt I could have fit my stroller in there. Also, this vehicle does not come with an option to upgrade to a V8 engine. I love the "pin you in your seat" feeling that I get when I step on the gas in my FX, which I did get with the V8 option. The QX60 only comes with a 3.5L V6. It's peppy, but not as much as it would be with the stronger engine. Other than that, this is a great car, and when my needs change, and I require a vehicle with a lot more room than my current SUV, I will definitely remember the time I spent driving this QX60, and put it at the top of my list! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Well, it's January, and the Holidays are now over. It always goes by so fast! It seems like it was Summer just yesterday! This was Sara's first Christmas, and I was so excited to make it a fun one, even though she won't remember it when she's older.

We normally decorate our entire house from top to bottom with lights, but this year has been unusually cold and rainy, so I just put up a few lights in the yard and my twinkling snowflakes along the porch. I also decided to go with real garland this year, which looked awesome, but, I'll admit was a pain to put up. I do think I'll get it again, though. We also decorated the inside of our house with our usual garland along the stairs, two trees, and lights and decor on the mantle of our fire place. Our place looked really festive!

This year, we decided to spend Christmas day in Boise, which I mentioned in a previous post, and it was so much fun! Sara got to experience her first white Christmas, and enjoyed playing in the snow for a few minutes too! She got to meet her extended family on her dad's side of the family, and for me, it was my first time meeting many of them too! We had a wonderful meal, and watched football and some holiday specials. Sara made out like a bandit with such cute gifts. A Scentsy pig, which she adores, and a Fisher Price Bright Beats dance mat, which she is also quite fond of. She also received cute clothes, some books, a chair with dangling toys that she can sit it and play with from her dad, and her very own musical toy cell phone from me, since she loves my real phone so much!

We came back mid week, and my parents came over New Years Eve, and we had Christmas 2! Again, she made out like a little bandit with another Bright Beats Robot to go along with her dance mat. She also got a bunch of cool toys from her cousins, and more cute clothes! From her Grandmother, she received her very first American Girl Doll, Lea, which was the doll of the year for 2016. My mom's name is Lea, so she wanted Sara to have it as a nice keepsake to remember her by for all time.

Mark and I also did alright for gifts! He received movies, a Star Wars game, and clothes, and I received Sentsy warmers, clothes, and the highlight of Christmas, a Burberry trench coat, which I have been wanting for a few years now! What a wonderful gift from my husband!

We rang in the new year quietly at home, watching New Years at the Needle on TV, and then went to bed. It was a great holiday season, and I'm so looking forward to next year! Now it's time to take down all of the decorations, which is always a bit sad for me, but I'm looking forward to the rest of this winter, and maybe a ski day, Valentines, and a trip up to Leavenworth too!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We're going on Vacation!

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Growing up, we never went on really big, extravagant vacations, but living in south Georgia, we did make it down to Orlando several times for short visits to Disney and other area attractions. These are the times I cherished, and I want to continue the tradition of Summer vacations with Sara and her future siblings.
Whether it's a few short trips, or one big get away, I think the time together to decompress and have a great time is priceless. Since I've been with my husband, unfortunately, we haven't traveled much together except for a handful of times. That is something I want to change now that Sara is here.
Over the last few weeks, I've been thinking about where we can go that's close, and would be fun for the whole family. My husband isn't much of a beach person, but he has said that he likes lakes. So ultimately, I took the jump and booked a resort stay at Lake Chelan, in Eastern Washington.
Since moving here, I've never been, but the lake, with it's crystal clear, turquoise water, I've learned, is a very popular destination for Seattleites. It's only a few hours away, and easily accessible. Just about everyone I know has been at least once, if not multiple times.
Looking at the pictures online, the water and beaches resemble closely those in the Bahamas or Caribbean, another destination I love.
I can't wait to try out stand up paddle boarding, relaxing on a sandy beach, and splashing around in the beautiful water with Sara! Summer can't get here fast enough!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lazy Days

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Wow, it's been awhile since I've written a new post! I guess I've just had a bit of writers block and little inspiration the last few weeks.
Since my last post, Valentines Day and my 38th (yikes!) Birthday have passed. For Valentines, Mark got me some lovely roses and chocolates, and a hilarious musical card. For my birthday, we really didn't do much. It fell midweek during a stressful work week, so I just didn't have the energy to do much. I'm thinking maybe a trip to the mountains one day soon to celebrate, though, before the snow melts for good.
I have been enjoying this colder than usual winter that we've been having here in the Puget Sound. There was even a few more snow days this past week, and maybe more in the forecast soon. Did I mention how much I love the snow? I love watching it fall, and how silent and still it is when it's coming down.
Sara has been growing so fast! She's even babbled a few words, and she's getting on her hands and knees in an attempt to crawl. So far, all she's managed is army crawling, but I'm going to have to start baby proofing the house here soon!
Right now, she's sitting on the floor, playing with her toys and blowing raspberries at me, so I think I will go join her. Maybe go find Mark and watch a few of the new movies we've recently bought.
I do have some ideas for some product reviews coming up, so I will get those out soon. Stay tuned!

How To Book a Disney Cruise

Well, we did it again! Cruise life has been calling, and we listened! We've just booked another cruise on Disney Cruise Line for Summer ...