When Did I Lose Faith in Myself?

I worked in corporate America until I was put on bed rest with my twins, now twelve.

Companies would send their private jets to a little airstrip, by my home, and I would fly up to a factory and be back home in time for dinner.  I was young and feisty and I could keep a project together from idea to market.  I could negotiate a price and delivery date from China to the eventual chain of outdoor stores or military base.

I was on a product development team for a major boot company.  I was a woman in a business of men.  When passed a cigar to enjoy, I did.  I was comfortable there.

In college I worked in a steel mill running a blowtorch and assisting the crane operator.  I don’t remember another woman who worked there, but I know they did in the offices.  I weighed about 100 pounds and I wore three layers of flame retardant clothing, steel toe boots, safety glasses and a hard hat.  I fit in there.

I started blogging February 29th of this year.

I recently started calling myself a blogger.

I AM a blogger.

Bloggers need to go to conferences.  They need to meet others that proudly say they are bloggers.  They need to network and meet with publishers and find out how to monetize and find their people.  I need to find my peeps.

BlogHer ’12 is in New York City August 2-4.

I have looked at plane tickets.  I talked about going to the conference to my husband.  He has told me it would be awesome for me to go and encouraged me to do so.

I have no excuse not to go to BlogHer ’12, but I cannot get myself to do it.

Why?

The idea of going to a meeting full of women terrifies me.

Please don’t chastise me.  I know this is a counterproductive statement for women.

Hear me out on this.  I have always had a little secret motto in my head that goes like this…

“If a man can do it, I am sure I can.”

Women, for most of my life, have been harder to gel with.  I have girlfriends, but most of them would probably also get along with guys better than girls.

Where is that Abbie that would stomp around a factory floor asking the foreman questions?  Where is that Abbie that hopped on a plane and negotiated the price of thousands of sides of leather?  Have I gotten soft since having kids and no longer have an edge or a belief in myself?

If a man can walk into a conference full of women, why can’t I?

I feel stuck in limbo.  I am stuck between the person in the workplace full of men and the reality of my life now as a mom raising three little men.

BlogHer announced a contest today.  They are giving goodie bags to people who are NOT going to BlogHer ’12.  I wrote this to enter into the contest.  I was writing this post in my head though before I even knew about the conference.

Here I am on BlogHer

I have been thinking that if by chance I were to be chosen for a goodie bag I would like to request, rather rudely, that I would much rather go to the conference.

But I need a mentor. 

I would much rather see BlogHer run a contest granting one newbie the chance to shadow a BlogHer team member, DURING BLOGHER.

We would be instant chums.  She would tell me she appreciates my brass ba!!s when it comes to what I want to post and yet understands why I spell inappropriate words with symbols.  She would give me the inside scoop on how things really work and tell me plainly what I am doing wrong and how I can improve. She would share my fondness of vodka and love of desserts.  She would tell me there is a place for me and that I am not like everyone else that calls herself a blogger.  She would offer me a cigar.

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

allthatmakesyou.com

The Difference Between Mothers and Sons

This is what I do with hydrangeas from the yard.

Cute, right?

Get it?  It is an ice cream cone.  

Even cooler is that they are all from the same bush is our yard.

The boys brought the stalk you see below, into the house yesterday and asked me if they can cut more of them off of the bush.

I am perplexed as there aren’t any fresh blossoms.  I also don’t cut them back this far because they will bloom next year off of this years growth.

They wanted the long spent hydrangea branches from the yard to sharpen them into spears and arrows.

Perfect.

This is the difference between Moms and Sons.

Time to get out of the house.

Apple camp today!

Learning to make movies!  Peter would rather be sharpening hydrangeas.

 

(Just realized you can see our white suburban in the window)

“That is Because Their Parents Don’t Love Them.”

“That is because their parents don’t love them.” -Me. *(See Below)

“That is NOT true.  Caleb has a TV in his room and his mom loves him.” -Peter.

“I happen to know, because I am a parent and parents tell each other their secrets, that the only reason you put a TV in your kid’s bedroom is to get rid of your kids.” -Me again.

The Family Room is Good Enough

“Well, Mrs East must REALLY want to get rid of Caleb because they put a flatscreen on his wall and hooked up an XBOX.”  -Peter

“They are also, obviously, not concerned about him developing mashed potato brains if he can play video games in his bedroom.” -Yep, me again.

When it is 95 Degrees Outside I Have No Issues WIth a Video Game That You Move To

“Mom, no one can really get mashed potato brains because there is no such thing as mashed potato brains and why don’t you ever want to get rid of me?” -Peter.

“Peter, go to you room and read a book. See, I love you AND I want to get rid of you” -Me.

Keep Digging Peter

* I threw all other parents under the bus out of frustration he wouldn’t stop asking for a television in his bedroom.  Each child is different as is each circumstance.  I am not one to judge, as I know I am doing the best I can, this day.  So if you have put a TV in your kids bedroom, I am sure you still love them and know that our boys have a “kids living room” with a TV in it in the center of their bedrooms.  I think a TV in their rooms would be redundant. 🙂

-Abbie, allthatmakesyou.com

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An Update With Nothing Dead to Report

Our Tom Sawyer, (Peter) caught a squirrel with his live trap within four hours.

It was immediately let go after enjoying its apple.

Peter has had requests to catch some bunnies in a neighbors vegetable path and relocate them.  He is so happy to go over in the evenings and set up his little trap.

I think it is genetic.

Here is the story about his long line of trapping ancestors back to Native American and French fur traders.

The live trap he begged for is working much better that the method I suggested.  My method kept him BUSY for hours.  I like methods that keep little boys busy!

A Mother’s Guide on How to Trap a Rabbit

  1. Box
  2. Twine, Very Long
  3. Stick
  4. Carrot
  5. Patience and the Ability to be Very Quiet
Yes I know they are doing it wrong but it is a process.

A father goes to the hardware store and buys a box trap.  

A mother lets them try for two months in glorious silence with gratitude that the boys are busy.

Here is the story about his long line of trapping ancestors back to Native American and French fur traders.

-Abbie, allthatmakesyou.com

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Who Taught You Everything Bad?

Everything BAD I ever learned, I learned from a cousin!

First Cigarette

My cousin was 16 and I was 12 and she had to drive me somewhere.  She pulled over and stuck a cigarette in my hand and said, “You’re going to smoke this.  I am going to smoke a cigarette and if I do you will tell on me, so your going to smoke one too.”

Birds and the Bees and Other Stuff

I knew where babies came from long before my friends at school and then I knew about all the stuff middle schoolers do before they even think about making babies.  My older cousins told me about what was happening in junior high.   It terrified me as an elementary school kid.  It is also probably why I was scared into not even having a boyfriend until 9th grade.

First Encounter With Police Officer

It was the Fourth of July and a different cousin and I were using cigars to light fireworks down a dirt rural road. I found out that night that not only were we too young to smoke even a cigar but fireworks were illegal in Michigan.

Sneaking Out

I learned to push my car down the driveway so that we didn’t wake up the parents.  I also learned to push start a stick shift, which is no easy feat for a 15 year-old and a 16 year-old that weighed less that 100 pounds.

Sneaking Into Bars and Getting Served at 16 

This was easy back in 1988.  Hair was huge and makeup went on with a putty knife.  They couldn’t see how old you were through the layers of on gunk on our faces and shoulder pads definitely make a young girl look older.

Trip to Canada Requires a 24 Hour Alibi 

You could drive 50 minutes and all you needed was a drivers license to cross the border.  There were no cell phones so you just needed to “sleep over at a friends.”

Blonds Have More Fun (I know better now)

A gallon of pool chlorine dumped on your hair will give you a “sun-kissed” hairstyle for summer.

There is even so many more things like, you can drain a chocolate covered cherry with a toothpick and spit in it and feed it to your babysitter.  Want to get even with your sister?  Put neon poster board in your house windows that announce when your sister started her period just before her afternoon school bus goes by.  Stay out past dark and know you are in trouble?  Just toll around in the dirt and smear lightening bugs all over you and tell your mom you were abducted by aliens and that is why you didn’t make it home before the street lights came on.  Moms can’t yell if they are laughing.

I have said it a million times, long line of wack-a-moles is where I have derived my lineage.

This all was learned through cousins, (who probably learned a lot of it from my mom who acted like THEIR older cousin..

Your friends are afraid of your parents.  Your cousins aren’t, at least mine were not.  My mom was passing many of these “gems” onto the cousins that eventually taught me.

This is why we live ten hours away from my own kids cousins.

They are all OUR CHILDREN and Lord knows we were bad, bad, bad.

We heard regularly how bad our mothers were from anyone in town.

I am not telling my kids.  They think we come from a long line of book readers and college class takers.

I am breaking the cycle with silence and denial.

These kids all think I am so boring and square.  They say things like, “You want some NUTS and then they all giggle like I don’t get it.”  They make up songs about drinking beer because it rhymes with Brittany Spears.

Peter confessed and told me a limerick he learned on the bus.

I was so disappointed.

Cannot believe I am saying this but, I would have made my Mom proud.  The one he told me was so boring I couldn’t have him walking around teaching other kids this lame rhyme.  I gave him a good one to share on the bus the next morning.

Yes, my Mom taught it to me & it has “ding dong” in it. I’ve yet to be called by the school  office for any of them…but this one, I thought I might.

Then he asked me who King Kong is.  Never mind.

😉

We have cousins in town this week.  Three girls and I am in heaven.  I know they are all telling each other things they don’t want me to hear and I know they are all learning bad things.  I know this because I hear them upstairs after midnight giggling uncontrollably.

I realize I have to let them have a little fun, but we have all been having a LOT OF FUN!

We stayed at a minor league ball game until almost 11 last night.  Mitchell caught a ball and then stood at the dugout and had a player sign it and then he gave it to his cousin, Eileen who is in 3rd grade.  I was so proud.

Who did they chase down to have their picture taken with?  A police officer.  Such smart kids!  I once convinced an entire Detroit Swat team to let me and a car load of boys go, return our alcohol, (driver was not drinking) and write down directions to the club we were going to, when I was 16.  I told them that when I told my dad that they stuck a gun in my face and frisked me he would not be happy.  I also told them it would be insane to think that a 16 year-old girl could be stealing cars and taking them into a Detroit alley to be chopped.  I mean, really, a helicopter with a spotlight on us?!

See, my kids do not need to hear ANY of these stories!

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry, and hopefully cry laughing.

allthatmakesyou.com

Previous posts you might enjoy…

The Bethenny Frankel Show Called Me About the Fifty Shades of Grey!

Forbes Article on Bethenny’s New Talk Show

The Bethenny Frankel Show Called Me!!!

I have to share this super exciting thing that happened about a week ago. I share this because I realize this is probably as far as my very exciting story is going to go. As usual, my frontal lobe is defective and I ramble things off that perhaps I shouldn’t, even to television producers!

As some of my regular readers know I have been busy updating all three of our boys rooms. I had the phone practically in my hand for about a week straight talking to carpet people, painters, and furniture salesperson. I kept measuring and they kept calling me back with info and prices and since nearly all of these contacts were local I was shocked when, while the phone was in my hand, the caller ID said…

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA!!!!

Who calls me from Los Angeles, California? I might get Temecula or some other former goat town in California but Los Angeles proper?

I answer, “Hello.”

Pleasant young woman, “May I speak to Abbie… Ssss….how do you pronounce the last name?”

I chuckle and say, “It is just as it looks.” and then I say my married last name and then I say, “I tried to get my husband to take my last name when we got married. It would have been so much easier, _______. It even rhymes, Jim _______.”

Nice lady on the phone chuckles now.

Who am I talking to I wonder? This is the kindest bill collector I have ever spoken with. I’m kidding!

She says, “This is _____ from the Bethenny Frankel Talk Show.”

I have instant heart palpitations. Spontaneous combustion is occurring from my ears up and my kids are erupting into what I can tell already is going to morph into World War III in the kitchen below me.

I move into a spare bathroom on the second floor in hopes she cannot hear my boys and in hopes my boys don’t find me.

I am going to sound cool, sound cool. Bethenny, in my world and my head is AMAZING. I get her. We had similar childhoods. I understand her abrasive, at times, personality and I know that it comes from having to be her own parent and knowing how to “talk like a man.” I get her need to show people she is worth something and has value and her desire to have a family of her own, to do it right. I understand her drive and let me try to say this without sounding nuts, (like I would think anyone else saying this about someone they have never MET) I think she is all that with a side of chips.

When hearing about Bethenny’s new talk show I checked it out online and they were advertising an upcoming show about friendship. They were asking people to submit a letter about any friendship their viewers may have had that was special.

I had just posted my story “Two Broke(n) Girls.” It was perfect timing and so I forwarded it on. The best part, they are going to choose two friends to fly out and be on the show.

Did I think I was going to get chosen?

Of course!

The same way people fantasize about winning the lottery, I am fantasizing about my girlfriend and I running away to CAL-i-forn-“I”-“A” to meet Bethenny Frankel! Heck, I think ALL of my neighborhood girlfriend peeps would fly out for that!

Is she calling to tell me we won?!!!!

My hands are shaking!

She says, “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

Me, “Yeah. Sure. No problem.” This was said in a much slower and lower tone than my voice really is. Do I always sound like a pot head when I am trying to NOT sound like me?

“Are you married?”

Me, “Yes.”

“Do you have children?”

Me, “Yes, three boys.”

“Oh…how old are they?”

Me, “7, 12, 12.”

“Oh, uh..”

Me, “We have twins. They are the ones that are 12.”

What is wrong with me?!!! Really, I had to explain that the 12 year-olds are the twins and not the 7 year-old and one of the 12 year-olds? I am so distracted by the sounds of my boys screaming, “Mom told you not to give me Charlie horse! I’m telling!”

She asks, “And how old are you?

I say, “39.”

I am now running down the back stairs while I hear my three boys running up the front stairs and fighting like a giant “Fight Club” tumbleweed every step.

I am in a pair of boxer shorts and a tank top with no bra, a very thin tank top.

She asks, “And your husband’s age?”

I say, “39.”

I am now running through our garage towards the driveway.

She says, “Awwww, that is so cute. You and your husband are the same age.”

I am now running down my driveway, but really bouncing, in broad daylight, while I hear my boys who were “against” each other have now turned on me.

I hear the boys screaming things like, “WHERE ARE YOU MOM?!”

Another yells, “I see her! She is outside on her stupid phone, walking down the street.”

Here they all come out of the garage and after me…

I say to the nice girl who works for Bethenny Frankel, “Oh yes, not only are we the same age we are born the same week AND with baby Jesus’s birthday right between us.”

WTF did I just say? What DID I just say?

I am fully prepared to run onto the golf cart path, barefoot, and with my cell phone, sans bra, and with my husbands underwear on as I realize this is a once in a lifetime chance for…I don’t even know what yet.

She is now laughing instead of chuckling. Thank God.

I am thinking, she doesn’t know me and my sense of humor. You can’t say things like that to someone you don’t REALLY know. What if she is Jewish? What does that have to do with anything? What if she thinks I am a religious freak and I really use the term, “baby Jesus” regularly in my speech?

She says, “Have you read “Fifty Shades of Grey?”

When I submitted the “Two Broke(n) Girls”story they were also chatting on Bethenny’s new site about “Fifty Shades of Grey” and how it has changed their reader’s sex life. I, the ever-present smart ass, replies with my post I had also just written that week called, “Poor Husbands and their Wives’ Naughty Books.”

They weren’t calling about the “Two Broke(n) Girls?”

I answer, “NOOO! I can’t read it because my dad will read it first on his Kindle and then he will want to have a book club discussion and I am not discussing a mom porn book with my dad and I cannot borrow a girlfriends hard copy because, well… I don’t know where it has been and what if a page is sticky? My mind would make it into something worse when it was probably just candy hands. Frankly, I feel like I have already read the book since all my naughty girlfriends are giving me the “blow-by-blow” of the three books…”

That is how I talk. Commas do not enter into my speech and my frontal lobe, which is supposed to filter what we say, has apparently completely stopped working.

She is chuckling again, “Yeah, I just wanted to call and see if you had read it yet.”

I say, “Crap, I was hoping you were calling about my post about friendship and the reference letter I wrote to my BFF’s new neighbors when they meet her and decide they hate her at first, (like I did) and why they should give her a second chance. It is honestly funnier than my “Fifty Shades of Grey” post.”

Did I just try to give someone advice on what to put on their talk show? Did I just hint that my “Grey” post wasn’t good?

OH-MY-WORD! What if I get invited to be on a show about the “naughty book?” If I don’t get banned from my kids southern schools for my post about the gay marriage vote in my home state of North Carolina I will FO SHO get shunned if I go on a talk show about a sex and bondage book.

Sign me up as I am sure this means they won’t ask me to come in and be a “scissor mom” or count “Box Tops” for the school PTO after that!

We talked for a few more minutes while I continued to ignore my kids chasing me down the street shouting things like, “ARE YOU TELLING DAD ON US?!” and, “WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?!” and, “YOU SAID YOU WOULD GROUND HIM IF HE PUNCHED ME IN THE SHOULDER AGAIN!” and, “I WANNA TALK TO DAD!”

She told me she, “liked my energy” and I continued to try to act cool, like talk shows call me regularly. I may have said my group of girlfriends were, “The Real Housewives of North Carolina.”

Yep, I did and collectively between that and the other things that slipped past my lips and the three screaming banshees that followed me everywhere, I realize I will probably never hear from that nice girl again.

I have had so much fun telling my girlfriends the story that it is (ALMOST) just as good.

Follow me or start hammer tweeting (here) Bethenny Frankel or post on her FaceBook wall (here) or comment (here) on Pinterest, (I will send you an invitation if you aren’t on even he, he) to give Abbie at “All that makes you…” a second chance because surely I have enough stories for my own show. I have “dirty” school noodle art.

Oooooo…Bethenny could bring in that British Nanny to make my kids stop calling my phone and computer and blog “STUPID.” I think a shock collar and remote I keep in my pocket would work. They say “stupid” and I say PAVLOV’S DOGS! For Pete’s sake people I am kidding! I just did it again! I just told the “Nanny Show” how to do their job.

-Abbie, and I hope we can share all that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry and cry laughing. allthatmakesyou.com

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/bethenny-frankel-prefers-good-conversation-celebrities-talk-show-article-1.1092336?localLinksEnabled=false

Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

.   Our Peter’s first grade teacher’s names this year were

Hatfield and McCoy.

Hatfield to left and McCoy on right.

Dont they look ferocious?

I fuzzed them for privacy.

I cannot make this stuff up.

It is the end of another school year and my oldest boys have finished their first year of middle school and our youngest has finished his first year of first grade.  Avery in red and Mitchell in yellow.  They are receiving a citizenship award. Here is Peter receiving a “Future Scientist” award. He is in the pale yellow.

The Turtle Has 1 Toe On 1 Foot, Like A Human, Wanna See It?

It is 8:00 am on a Saturday.  I am drinking my coffee and Peter, who is already outside looking for critters to be his “pet for a day”, has just run into the house and announced…

“The turtle had one toe on one foot, just like a human toe.  Wanna see it?”

I, of course, said, “YES!”

I am now awaiting his return with the “toe-d turtle.”

It could only get better if he found one of the two-headed turtles we went to see at our local science museum.  That is what you do with mutated animals now instead of a “side-show.”

I can tell it is already going to be one of “those kind” of Saturdays!

Have a great weekend and see you tomorrow!

Abbie,  All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

allthatmakesyou.com

God and That Sense of Humor

I just wanted one picture of my nieces at my boys soccer game during their visit last February to NC.  One is a teenager and wasn’t enthusiastic about photo op.  The other niece, while far more enthusiastic, missed her opportunity to smile when her unbridled energy caused her chair to flip backwards. I hit the clicker and as I looked down to check the photo and I saw she was upside down!  No worries as she was fine but…priceless.

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.  allthatmakesyou.com

Booger-Gate

Me, “Come here boys. I want to show you something.”

We all walk into the living room. They are bothered as they are sure I am going to give them a job.

Instead I say, “Who is wiping their boogers on the wall when they are sitting in this chair?”

I point to “Mount Snotmore” and they all three make faces like this…

Then they all start doing that Beavis and Butthead giggle.

I have found things on the wall before…

I shouldn’t be grateful it is just boogers this time, but I am. I am happy it is not a slug or worse.

I ask again who is doing this gross thing and they all simultaneously say it isn’t them.

So it’s this guy again I find in my house from time to time…

I bet it is this one. He just looks like a booger wiper.

I tell them I have bought a BOOGER DNA test from Walgreens and if whomever has done this despicable act comes clean before I get the results I might be more understanding.

It’s Booger-Gate!

They make faces like this now.

Boy, “What? They can do that now?!!”

They begin turning on each other.

Another boy, “Sure they can! If they can do it on those TV shows!”

And yet another boy, “If it was you that put them here, you better tell her!”

Second boy from above, “I put mine in the back seat of the car. Those aren’t mine.”

I am now making this face…

It was a complete “Bogger-Gate” and the worst part is that the other two came clean by telling me where their secret booger stash was, that I hadn’t found yet.

Is this normal behavior for boys? Some boys? Some animals? Expected from the children I birth?

– Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry, and hopefully cry laughing.

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