Glimpses of Jim

“I wish you could have met Jim.”

Adam kicked back in his recliner on Monday and told me stories about hanging out with HOS and Jim (HOS’ dad). There was something about the goofy smile on his face and the glean in his eye that was so genuine it was almost painful.

He laughed at his own stories of taking Jim’s ATV for a joy ride in the middle of the night only to have Jim come outside half naked and hollering. Adam and HOS would sit around and shoot the breeze with Jim while he drank his whiskey drink.

I recall the only picture of Jim that I see with frequency. It’s a snapshot of Jim on his office. He has white hair and beard. He is wearing glasses, a farmer hat and a sweatshirt. I don’t know what he sounds like, but HOS has shown me a video of him once before. I want to know what it is about Jim that makes Adam look the way he did when he talked about Jim.

Adam says that HOS is just like his dad. Mama HOS and his sister say the same thing, too, so it must be true!

I think I catch glimpses of it. Is that possible? Can I see pieces of someone I never met in my fiancé?

I think I hear it when HOS starts talking about taking care of the family. … Or complains about the weather, or “kids these days,” or my inability to remember where I parked my car and/or put my keys.

I think I see it in the way he shakes his head is amazement at people – not good amazement, think dumbfounded amazement. Or in the way he looks at Charlotte and plays with her. I think I see his dad in the lines he creates when he rubs his head when he is stressed (or mad).

I wish I could have met Jim, too. Beyond that, I wish he could have met Charli. I imagine he would have had the same look on his face that HOS did, a look layered with love, joy, fear, and determination to make sure the world doesn’t lay one finger on her precious body.

I think I would have liked Jim quite a bit.

Year-End Resolution Review – 2014

With 2014 quickly coming to a close, I’m weighing my new year resolution options. I decided the best way to determine my goals for moving forward would be to look at the goals I set for 2014.

That was a terrible idea.

Last year, I posted a blog with the following resolutions for 2014:

  • HOS and I resolve to dedicate more time to our relationship by having monthly date nights.
  • I resolve to pay more than the minimum payment on my debts while saving money weekly.
  • I resolve to decrease TV and technology time, so I can increase one-on-one time with my family.
  • I resolve to be thankful for the blessings given to me and mine.
  • I resolve to read one new book each month.

Little did I know, I was setting myself up for failure!

I was apparently thinking very highly of myself when I created this list because I chose not one, not two, not three, but FIVE goals. Who does that? Most people can’t complete one resolution, and I thought it best to set five.

Makes sense.

I can’t say that I failed completely. HOS and I did not achieve our monthly date night every month. We were probably around 75 percent, but we did it! We took time for us.

Ugh. Money. I’m going to be honest. I am terrible with money. I am terrible at saving. Let’s hope HOS takes over all monetary business when we get married. I did, however, pay more than the monthly minimum nearly ever time, so there is that.

We have made a lot of positive strides regarding Charlotte’s excessive desire to only watch TV and/or play a game on one of our games. It’s an uphill battle, especially with technology being so engrained these days. I’ll keep nagging HOS to put his phone away. He loves that.

Charlotte and I have been working on thankfulness. I think I could spend my whole life focusing on my blessings and giving thanks, and I would still owe God or someone a debt of gratitude.

Lastly, and sadly, I had hoped to read a book every month. That definitely did not happen. I bought a lot of books. I heard about friends reading books. I, myself, may have read a few books. I started reading some books, but never finished.

SO, all-in-all, if I were to grade the result of my resolutions, I would grant myself a C. Knowing all this, what should I resolve to accomplish in 2015?

What is a resolution that will really matter for me or my family?

*sigh* I was trying to think of something witty, but I realized what I need to do in 2015.

In 2015, I will set aside my fears, distractions, insecurities and general excuses and I will make a concerted effort to get Charlotte’s Mr. Elephant books published.

What is your new year’s resolution?

Yes, I Gave My Toddler a Pacifier

Tonight, I intentionally persuaded my two year old to take a pacifier.

I know. You probably think I’m terrible.

Let me explain… When Charlotte was born, HOS and I agreed that we did not want her to use a pacifier. Lucky for us, Charli started sucking on her index and middle finger of her left hand from day one!

Naively, we thought the finger sucking was adorable, innocent and far more convenient than any pacifiers. Twenty-nine months later, we are in the beginning stages of a losing battle to kick the habit.

Charlotte isn’t conscious of her finger sucking issue. We ask her to stop, and she removes her fingers only to pop them back in a few moments later. She sucks her finger so hard, she is starting to develop blisters and callouses.

Tonight, she held out her hand to show me two deep grooves from her teeth! She is biting and sucking on them so hard she has sores!

I gave up!

I offered her the only alternative I knew. And you know what, I’m not even sorry. I would rather teach her to use the pacifier and then break her of that habit than let her continue sucking her fingers.

What do you do to help your children overcome their bad habits?

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Husband of Sorts is No More

You won’t be reading much about HOS on the blog moving forward… As of Tuesday, December 9, HOS is no longer my boyfriend.

He is my fiancé!!!

There are not enough exclamation points and smiley faces to adequately express my feelings. 🙂

How did he ask me?! Well, Let me tell you.

I came home to him pulling dinner out of the oven. I need to pause here for a moment. This is HUGE! HOS is a picky eater, so he hasn’t needed to cook. Ever. It’s crazy, I know.

We have had several conversations about cooking. Basically, I wanted some help in the kitchen. Coming home to find him pulling dinner out of the oven was a great moment in and of itself. I was elated to have the help, so I was hugging on HOS, giving him kisses and telling him thank you. I decided to razz him a little and said, “next thing you know, you’ll be proposing to me.”

The next thing I knew, HOS went upstairs. When he came back down, he had a black box. He had this smile on his face. I know he said something briefly as he handed me the box and dropped on his knee. I can’t tell you what he said. I was staring, dumbfounded, at the most beautiful ring!

HOS asked me to marry him, and I kept asking if he was serious, and is this was “for real.” I could hardly see through the rivers of tears running down my face.

There have been a few truly perfect moments in my life. One was Charlotte’s birthday, and one was this proposal.

Charli made it even better when I turned to show her my ring, and she said, “that’s MINE!”

I’m excited for the next chapter of my life with my beautiful little family. I love them more than they will ever know.

… Stay tuned for rants about wedding planning, bittersweet moments without my mom, and pitiful moments of wedding ignorance. 🙂

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Thanks, Mama HOS

It’s Thanksgiving night, and I have thousands of reasons to give thanks. God blesses me and mine more than we deserve. Tonight, though, I want to focus on my gratitude for HOS’ mom.

Mama HOS is amazing on so many levels. She is strong, determined, loyal and fierce. She is also gentle, loving, generous and kind.

Mama HOS doesn’t mess around when it comes to her life and her family. Because of that, she spoils the pants off all of us. There is no favor too big or too small. She takes care of her family. I could share one hundred reasons I’m thankful for her.

My #1 reason I’m thankful for Mama HOS is her pure, vast love for Charli.

This afternoon, I watched Mama HOS rock Charlotte. She whispered softly to Charli and made up stories while gently caressing Charlotte’s hair.

I excused myself from the room and went to find HOS. He took one look at me and asked if I was ok. I started crying and told him about his mom and Charlotte in the next room. I couldn’t explain why I was crying, but my heart couldn’t handle that scene without overflowing!

I think I have a better understanding now. I cried because I am thankful.

I’m thankful Mama HOS is here.

I’m thankful Charli has family nearby.

I’m thankful HOS’ family wants to have a close relationship with her.

I’m thankful that, while my mom can’t be here to rock Charlotte and love on her, Mama HOS (and Nana Sue) will fill that role and be so amazing. That is so hard for me because no one will be my mom, but damn, these grandmas are just right for my baby.

And now, I’m crying again.

Thanks, Mama HOS! 🙂

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Beautiful, With or Without the Lip Gloss

Charli stood in my doorway this weekend begging for help with her “makeup.” I twisted her lip gloss open and gently applied the smallest amount of shine to her pink toddler smile. She grinned, smacked her lips and said,

“I’m beautiful!”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “yes, you are, but makeup doesn’t have anything to do with it!”

Even at two years old, Charlotte is aware of beauty. She watches me get ready in the morning – style my hair and put on my makeup. We read Sleeping Beauty, a story in which three fairies could give Aurora anything, and they give her beauty and great singing voice. (Gag) But Charli loves it.

She wants to put on makeup with me.

She wants to be the princess from books.

There is nothing wrong with Charlotte wanting these things. I refuse to worry about them. I could spend endless hours reading blogs about how one parent says to raise my child, or what psychologists believe caused body issues. I could become so obsessed with being the “perfect” mother for Charli.

But I won’t… Because the “perfect” mother doesn’t exist.

There is only me.

And I already received some awesome parenting advice on body image.

My mom owned one bottle of mascara and one blush. I don’t know that she ever wore either of those things during the 18 years I knew her. She didn’t need it. She didn’t define herself by clothes, hair or makeup. She was a mom, wife, friend, teacher, follower of Christ. Her actions, not her appearance, told the world who she was.

Now, I’m not naive enough to believe my mom was 100 percent happy with her physical appearance. She would go through slim-fast phases, not unlike my calorie-counting phases. That was the only evidence I had of any insecurities, though. She hid her feelings about her body or appearance from her children. Instead of focusing on outer beauty, mom taught me modesty and humility. She taught me kindness, love, charity, discipline, honesty and strength. I could go on… In essence, mom taught me the beauty of being an amazing person.

I’m not like my mom. Those are some big shoes to fill! I do things a little differently, and you’re very welcome for my diligent use of make-up! I absolutely have issues with my personal appearance. But I’m not worried about Charli.

She comes from a long line of beautiful women. Lip gloss or not, mascara and blush or not, her actions will demonstrate her beauty.

Granted, we have a little while before we get there. She is only two!

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My Name is Angie, and I Was Scammed By *IC FREESHIPPING

I learned today that I have been incurring fraudulent charges on my credit card since January 2013. Oh, yes. You read that correctly… I have been duped for the past 22 months!

I know that many other “young” adults in my generation (and the generation after mine) are terrible with money. Emphasis on TERRIBLE. I am no different. I’m working to change my ways, and this new journey to financial security/freedom requires a long, cold walk through the depths of my student loan debt and what little credit card debt I have accumulated.

I’m learning just how oblivious I am/was in terms of my own money! Let’s set aside the wasted spending at the gas station and lunches out with friends for another day so we can focus on the topic at hand…

TWENTY-TWO MONTHS of fraudulent charges? I’m embarrassed for a number of reasons:

  1. I obviously haven’t read a credit card statement in nearly two years.
  2. I have paid more than $250 in charges I did not incur.
  3. The fraud continued despite a recent credit card number change.
  4. The look on HOS’ face when I told him how many charges have hit my account…

I pray that you are all far better at managing your money than me. If not, then I beg you to at least read your credit card and bank statements! Don’t just give away your money like me!

Here are a few tips to avoid being a credit card fraud sucker:

  • Request both paper and email statements, so you’ll see at least one version.
  • Review all transactions to verify authenticity.
  • If a transaction is suspicious, call your credit card company right away! My card card provider, Chase, offers 24-hour customer service.
  • If you see a $12.97 charge from *IC FREESHIPPING.COM, cancel your card immediately, and call your fraud department. This is the group that got me!
  • Do your research. In my case, a quick Google search shows *IC FREESHIPPING.COM fraud complaints going back as far as 2010! This is a good way to learn more about the vendor when faced with the possibility of fraud.
  • Stop buying things online. Ok, so I know this is nearly impossible, but it’s the best way to prevent issues! If you’re going to continue shopping online, vette out retailers you’ve never used before.

Take it from me – the dummy who let an old trick get the best of her for nearly two years – pay closer attention to your money! If you’re not watching your financial back, who will?

One last note and an unsolicited plug – use a trustworthy credit card provider. Chase was awesome on the phone today. They were kind and understanding, while still inquisitive to make sure I truly was experiencing fraud. In the end, they paid me back for all the fraudulent charges and are sending a new card. What would your credit card provider do for you?