Category Archives: family

Celebrating Thanksgiving Just for Me

Celebrating Thanksgiving with older kids splitting their time between me and their dad was tricky. Unlike Halloween, the focus of Thanksgiving is on family. It was more challenging to find substitutes for tradition.

My childhood Thanksgivings were spent with extended family or at a buffet in a casino in Lake Tahoe. The food at the buffet was amazing, but I preferred the family gatherings even when I was the only kid.

One of the benefits of marrying into a large family was the awesome Thanksgivings. Despite our large numbers, my in-laws were always welcoming those who weren’t able to share Thanksgiving with their own families. My own parents even joined their family several times, which was convenient for me to have everyone in the same place.

After moving to Arizona, I  hosted smaller Thanksgivings with local family and we adopted family members along the way. Wednesday was pie day, as in the day we prepared for Thanksgiving by baking the stuffing Thanksgiving pieingredients – and of coarse pie. Thursday morning we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while I started cooking, and the kids would complain about the boring parts (now they say the whole thing is the boring part). After eating too much with family and friends, we’d play street hockey or take a walk to make room for the pies we made the day before. Finally, we’d wind down by watching Elf. It was the official transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas. The remainder of the weekend Fall decorations would be replaced with Christmas, and the TV and radio played non-stop Christmas movies and music.

This year my goal was to have dinner when the teenagers will be home, invite the rest of my loved ones and be grateful for whoever could make it. I planned activities for my grandsons and the older folks too. But like I said before, Thanksgiving is about family. So I adjusted my plan to have a smaller dinner with my parents and boyfriend and join the rest of my family, and my ex-husband, for dessert at my daughter’s house.

I spent some time with my family, but I let my anxiety about the situation keep me from enjoying it and watched my hopes for the day slip away. After a few days I was able to look for ways I can improve future holidays, and I’m choosing to focus on the expressions of love from this Thanksgiving:Thanksgiving

  • A long phone call from my daughter in New York, I was even able to talk to her new boyfriend who appreciated the fun things I do with my family.
  • My mom put a leaf on our gratitude tree that said “spending the day with my daughter”.
  • Overhearing my boyfriend share with my step dad how proud he is of how well I’m doing with my education goals.

There’s plenty of room for improvement as I continue trying to learn to celebrate in a way that brings joy to my heart. Fortunately, the Christmas season is upon us and I’m already practicing what I learned!

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Celebrating Halloween Just for Me

Halloween MummyHow do you celebrate the holidays? For the last 25 years my answers focused on my attempts to make the holidays memorable for my children. Now that they are adults and teenagers, they aren’t interested in many of the traditions of their childhood. Without the kiddos to concentrate on, I’m left me pondering what makes the holidays important to me and how to celebrate in a way that brings me joy.

It’s back to my word of the year, happiness, and figuring out what makes me happy – just for me.

I keep calling it an adjustment, but it feels like opposite extremes of the spectrum! All those years, bringing my children joy truly made me happy. The flip-side of not having them to focus on sometimes leaves a painful void. It’s hard to not take their lack of interest as a personal rejection – that I’m not important to them, rather than the activity. Realizing what I was doing to myself has helped a little. But I’m still trying to fill the gap.

With Halloween is around the corner (yikes!) and once again I’m looking for how to celebrate that feels like me.

Halloween candyWhen I was a kid Halloween was cool because you dressed up and got candy. With my kids, I stuck to the cute side of Halloween. I loved walking around the neighborhood with my kiddos, visiting the neighbors. But my favorite part was talking and laughing with my kids. Last year, my trick or treating days came to an end when my teenagers chose to hang out with their friends or had to work. I’m so glad I was able to enjoy taking them out one last time the year before, even though my neighbors gave me grief for not sending my teenage kids trick or treating on their own.

My oldest daughter loves the scary side of Halloween, with her haunted houses and zombie walks. But I’ve never been into the spooky parts. Do you know how hard it is to find Halloween activities for adults that don’t revolve around getting scared or drinking?

I bought a costume to wear to work on Friday and we’re having a potluck. I’m thinking about making Monster Munch and Mini Mummy Bagel Pizzas. I also put together a “pumpkin” decorating contest. I gave everyone a print out of a blank pumpkin for them to decorate. We’ll invite the other teams to vote for their favorite.

If I have enough energy, I’ll spend Halloween night in the driveway with festive activities for my trick-or-treaters; paper pumpkins for them to decorate, pumpkin bowling, and a bean bag toss. Maybe a few quick games of Halloween bingo or I could share some Halloween trivia.

I’m not sure if any kids will be interested in taking a break from their candy quest, but it is fun thinking of the possibilities. I think I’ll be okay on my own this Halloween.

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September 2015 Review

September 2015 was the hardest and saddest month I’ve had in a long time! I knew I’d have a hard time with my daughter going to college but it was still more than I bargained for with the empty house. In addition to the time alone, I’m trying to learn what brings me peace now that I don’t spend so much of my life taking care of my children. But that is another post for a future date. On a more cheerful note, here’s a review of last month’s accomplishments from September.

September card-3 – The number of words added to my book (or in this case the sum total of words edited out)

.2 – Pounds gained, it’s a good thing I started working out the last couple of weeks

1 – Birthday card made, I haven’t done that in a while

2 – Books read including Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

2.5 – Hours cruising Canyon Lake with my honey

Wheel on the wall5 – Days on antibiotics to kick a nasty case of bronchitis

10 – Mini signs on the bicycle wheel on my wall

16 – Pictures on Instagram

18 – Projects finished in September

32 – Construction paper spiders on my kitchen wall to celebrate Halloween

$100 – Gift card to Kneaders that I won!

445 – Just Wanna Be Me pageviews

49,987Pinterest views

Top Just Wanna Be Me Posts for September

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July 2015 Review

July KneadersJuly 2015 is in the books and I am so glad I wasn’t moving this year (unlike the previous 2 Julys). Not only did I not move, but I continue to get more settled and have added a little more character to my home – bicycle wheel and all!

1 – Blogger event at Kneaders. There was delicious food with all kinds of interesting things to look at and socializing. In addition to some of my favorite things, we had a kitchen tour.

1 – New software, yay Scrivener! I did get my book transferred over, but I’m still learning all the cool things it can do.

1.6 – Pounds lost in July, almost as much as I gained in June.

2 – Kinds of muffins for Sunday breakfasts; Blueberry and Chocolate.

3 – The number of treats I made this month; Salted Caramel Brownies, Brownies, Hot Chocolate Cookies. My kids and my co-workers loved them.

3 – I finished 3 books! It took me a couple of months to finish my commercial insurance book (AINS 23). And significantly longer to finish The Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. (Add links)

July Dinosaurs

5 – People around the table at Ted’s Hot Dogs.

11 – Projects completed, a little cleaning, a little decorating and quite a bit of reading.

30 – Day Thigh Slimming Challenge

38 – States visited the blog.

41 – Photos posted on Instagram.

54.15 – Percentage of Just Wanna Be Me visitors are men!

100 – Plastic dinosaurs hidden around my house. When we find one, we hide it again for someone else to find.

150 – Crunches, baby steps.

205 – Number of visits from Russia, beating out USA. What’s going on there?

464 – Inner Thigh Pulses

512 – Side Leg Lifts

551 – Side Lunges

633 – Just Wanna Be Me pageviews

712 – Leg Swings

751 – Plie Squats

762 – Words added to my book.

25884 – Pinterest views

As you can see by some of the last numbers, I did pretty good sticking to the 30 day leg challenge.This month I focusing on my bootie and trying to sneak more ab work too. August holds some other excitement other loving my body back into shape, but I’ll tell you about that in a few short weeks. Please share your July highlights or August goals!

Top Pinterest Posts

1. Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

2. Chicken in a Creamy Parmesan Sauce

3. Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

4. Cheddar Potato Balls

5. Tuscan Chicken Skillet

Top Blog Posts

1. Pizza Nachos

2. Book Theme Party Decorations

3. Culture of Being Nice

5. June 2015 Review

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