A Change of Perspective


Today:  I am so thankful for this wonderful guy!
Wednesday night was the single-most terrifying night of my life.

It was a normal day, a normal afternoon, and started out as a normal Wednesday evening.  We came home and Jason had a quick meal ready for us.  We were rushing to get clothes changed and Bibles and books together for AWANAs and in the rush, we sat down to eat a quick meal.

Except Ty was trying to eat it too quickly and got choked.

I didn't immediately realize what was going on when he started spitting food out of his mouth on his plate.  He stood up and I was about to scold him for putting so much in his mouth all at once (I thought he was about to throw up based on the gagging look on his face).  Except he pointed at his mouth and everything clicked.

I'm not sure if Jason immediately realized what was going on because I think I shocked him when I jumped up and started pounding on Ty's back.  That didn't do any good and Ty was still struggling at his mouth like he was trying to pull the food out of his mouth so I reached around him to attempt the Heimlich Maneuver, something I have never in my life even had training on.

It was terrifying, that realization that you have to do something but you don't know if you can do it successfully.  At this point Jason was there waiting to see if he would need to help me.

I very much panicked.  I didn't think through clearly where my hands were and I wasn't sure how hard or gently to do the maneuver and I'm doing my best to think through what I'm doing while at the same time trying to think of what to do next if this doesn't work.

Thank God after the 2nd or 3rd time he started to cough and was able to bring it on up.  There was a big piece of hot dog and bun that had lodged in his throat.  I didn't look even partially chewed.

Of course, at the point when you know they're okay it's the same point that you absolutely fall apart.

I stood there and hugged Ty while I initially fought the tears and then continued as I started sobbing.  I did my best to sit down and finish my supper so that Ty would do the same.

Neither of us were feeling it though.

Ty sat there in shock as I assured him that he was okay and I was okay and that I was just relieved that he was okay.  I asked him if I had hurt him, and he said that I had hurt his ribs a little (I wasn't as far down on his torso as I thought I was).  But he assured me that he was okay and that he knew I was trying to help him and not hurt him.  Then he broke down crying, too.  I asked him if he was crying because I was crying or if he was crying because he was hurt or scared.  He said that it was because he was scared and I assured him that was a perfectly good reason to cry and that we were all very scared.

It was a very sobering night.  A night I hope to never have to relive.

But it also puts things into perspective.  I was irritated that Ty's AWANAs shirt was a mess because he hadn't hung it up and I was making sure that he didn't forget his Bible & his book like he had last week.  I was in stressed-Mama-needs-to-take-care-of-everything mode.  And then afterwards all of that was just so unimportant.  Because instead of going to church that night, we could gone to the hospital instead.



Make sure you know what to do if this ever happens to you:

Image Source:  imgkid.com

Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

#HelloKeurig | Keurig 2.0 K450 Review


Christmas came early at the Harris Household as I recently found myself to be the lucky recipient of a Keurig 2.0 K450 Brewing System, courtesy of Influenster.  I received the complimentary Keurig to test and give an honest review of.

Having already hinted at wanting a Keurig for Christmas, I was thrilled to find it sitting at our door last Monday when I got home.


I excitedly unpacked it and plugged it in so I could program it, fill it, and test it out!




I wanted to take a few days of playing with it so that I could give a fair and honest review with more observations than what my thoughts were upon unboxing it and plugging it in for the first time.  In the meantime, I got a second delivery from Influenster containing a thermal carafe and a carousel for the K-cups and K-carafes.


Over the past week we've burned through pretty much the whole supply of samples that came with the machine and have thoroughly enjoyed having it.  Only once have we had an issue with the machine not wanting to recognize a K-cup as being compatible.  After some wiggling and repeated re-setting, the machine finally got with the program.

So far, I've come up with a list of Pros and Cons that make me both love the Keurig 2.0...and wish for just a little bit more from it.

Keurig 2.0 K450 Brewing System
Image Source:  Keurig.com

Pros

  • The Keurig 2.0 no longer has the single-cup limitations.  While the 32 oz carafe falls short of the regular 8-12 cup capacity of the typical coffee pot, it does give the user the option of brewing more than one cup at a time which is nice for us as I typically make a cup of coffee for myself and my husband at the same time.
  • The Keurig 2.0 makes it simple and easy to dispense hot water which comes in handy as The Husband is a tea-drinker, The Boy is a fan of hot chocolate, and I enjoy a cup of hot water on days when my throat is itchy or sore.  We no longer have to worry about waiting on the kettle or forgetting about it on the stove and we can have hot water in significantly less time!  Oh, and guess what else this means?  I can make oatmeal with my Keurig.  Score!
  • Having never owned a Keurig before, I'm not sure if this is a new feature but I really like the Energy Saver Mode on the Keurig.  I can set the time limit that I want and if the machine is not used in that time frame, it powers itself to a low-energy standby mode.  
  • Love the full-color LCD touch-screen!  It's large, bright, and easy to read.  AND I can choose from multiple wallpapers as the background for the screen, too.  Being able to make little tweaks like this makes me happy.
  • You can save your favorite settings and access them easily which means I can have a favorite setting for my coffee, The Husband's tea, and Kiddo's Hot Chocolate.  It's little things like this that make me happy!
  • The water reservoir has a super-convenient flip-lid that makes filling the reservoir super easy.  I can either pull the whole reservoir off to refill it (or clean it as the need arises) or I can just pop the lid up  and pour a pitcher of water in.  Because only the front part of the lid flips up, I don't have to slide the machine out from underneath the cabinet.
  • It is super quiet!  Other Keurig machines I have used have been pretty noisy while heating water and especially while dispensing coffee; this machine is noticeably much quieter during both processes.

Cons

  • One of the biggest, most often repeated complaints of the Keurig 2.0 is the incompatibility of non-Keurig approved K-cups.  Prior Keurig owners who made the upgrade were disappointed to find that they could no longer use the K-cups they already had as they did not have the Keurig circle of approval on the lid.  
  • My K-cup/Eco-brew incompatibility is another big issue for many users as well as for our household.  Some eco-brew products are starting to pop up on the market that are supposed to be compatible with the 2.0, however there is no such option for the K-carafe at this time.  Of the very few available options, none have quite been what I'm looking for so if I want to use my own coffee, I will be using the regular coffee pot for the time being.  The ideal 2.0 compliant eco-brew product would give users the option of a K-cup or a K-carafe, in a fashion similar to the K2V Adapter for Keurig Vue machines.   Once I use the four K-carafe pods that came with the machine, I'm not really sure how often we'll use the carafe until there's a more economic option available.
  • The drip tray is a separate piece from the Keurig that doesn't 'click' or affix to it so much as it just slides into place in front of it (it is removable to make room for the carafe).  This wouldn't be a big deal to me except for the fact that I have two males in my house with yet another male on the way.  What that means to me is that every time this Keurig gets moved by anyone other than Yours Truly, this drip tray will not be moved along with it.  How often do I expect that to happen?  About as often as I expect to have to close the silverware drawer behind them.  Which is pretty much daily.
  • I have a few miscellaneous pieces that came with the brewer that I suspect are somehow filter related...yet they're not mentioned anywhere in the setup guide or the product manual.  So I'm keeping  them as replacement parts as I feel they're somehow pertinent....but at the same time I'm worried that maybe I've set the machine up completely wrong and just don't know it because I wasn't told what they are or where they go.
  • My regular coffee cup is 14 or 16 ounces.  My husband's regular coffee cup is probably 18-20 ounces.  The Keurig 2.0 has a k-cup limit of 10 ounces.  This is bad for me, but good for Keurig and their Keurig 2.0 Compliant K-cups because it means we will have to brew twice as many to get our regular fix.  Rumor has it that using V-cups (made for the Keurig Vue) unlocks larger cup size options, I'm just hesitant to buy a bunch of V-cups unless I know for sure that this is the case.

All in all, if I were looking to spend money to buy a Keurig, I wouldn't yet choose the 2.0.  I hate to say it, but it's true.  The limitations of the 2.0 force people to either settle for less than what they paid for or it forces otherwise honest people to scour the internet for many of the very searchable hacks for using old K-cups, non-compliant Eco-brew cups, or even how to open up the menu so that you can brew the larger sizes that are available on some other Keurig machines.

The Keurig 2.0 has the potential to be a fantastic machine, without the limitations of the "Compliant K-Cups" my satisfaction would have likely doubled.  Unfortunately for Keurig (but fortunately for consumers) there are companies hard at work in developing products to trick or bypass this technology which means that Keurig will have wasted considerable money in developing a technology that will ultimately not serve the purpose I expect they intended it to.

Going forward, I do plan to hang on to the Keurig 2.0 brewer in hopes that someone (preferably Keurig) will develop products and solutions for the issues that are most hindering this system, however I expect that we won't get a lot of use out of it until we find a product that lets us brew our own coffee in the machine.


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes and would like to thank Influenster for sending me this great machine to review. All opinions are 100% my own opinions.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Based on Your Search History: Books Edition


I'm not sure when the last time was that I cleared my computer's history and deleted the assortment of cookies that have built up in my system.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

And a really amusing thing.

Because when I go browsing for books for gift ideas, I came across an entertaining selection that made me wonder if my computer knows me even as well as my husband knows me.

For your entertainment....

The Snark Handbook


This wasn't the first book recommended, but the one that made me realize there was some internet history in play.  The best part was when I realized that it's not just one book, but the first in a series!

Insults Every Man Should Know


I'm certainly not a man, but I can see the value in this book!  

Insults Every May Should Know includes sections on:
  • Insulting someone's intelligence
  • Insulting someone's sexual prowess
  • Insults for the office
  • Insults for game day
  • Insults throughout history
  • Insults from around the world
What's not to love about that!?


Little Penis:  Oh the Places You'll Grow!


Even Amazon knows I live in an All Boy household....it's my fate.  And so to make me feel better about it, they even suggested a penis book to add some humor to our so-very-not-boring life.

Little Penis:  Oh, The Places You'll Grow! doesn't come across as a child-friendly book that I can share with The Boys, but it does seem like it would be a book full of laughs.

This book recommends using your finger as a puppet as you navigate the pages, however, we all know that guys never follow instructions...


Penis Pokey


Because once you've clicked on one Penis book, Amazon thinks you want to see them all...

Yet another book that I wouldn't think is advisable for younger boys...in this book every scene has one thing missing and the reader is left to (creatively) complete the picture.  Penis Pokey is the book where you get to be the star!

Unless you're a girl.  Then you get to point and laugh at The Star while they read it.


Raising Unicorns:  Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful—and Magical—Unicorn Farm!


At first I thought this one was a random suggestion after the penis books, but after a moment's though, I understood what the two have in common.

Raising Unicorns: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful—and Magical—Unicorn Farm! didn't really peak my interest so much because of the topic matter, but because of the level of sarcasm dripping from the reviews of those who have read the book.  I can't help but think we may have a few things in common.



The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:  A Lexicon for Those of Us Who Are Better and Smarter Than the Rest of You


Speaking of sarcasm!  The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm: A Lexicon for Those of Us Who Are Better and Smarter Than the Rest of You presented itself as a great book idea for all the obvious reasons!  

However, the reviews left me thinking that there were wiser ways to spend my money (such as the Unicorn Farm).  Everyone has their own sense of humor and it would seem that the author thought his to be sarcastic, but his readers seem to disagree.




Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Caution: Blessings Ahead


Last week I was scrolling through one of my favorite websites in the world, Tumblr, and I found a quote that reached out and grabbed my heart.

It touched me for so many reasons, primarily because it gave me hope.  For many months now I have felt like I was trudging uphill through an unseen battle that I didn't understand.  I couldn't find logic in it, I couldn't find a reason for it, and even worse, I wasn't in a position to escape it.

I won't go into details on this, but I will assure you that it has nothing to do with my wonderful family or the sweet little boy that we will be adding to it next year.  The details are irrelevant.

The important part is that this quote was like a cloud parting in the sky and allowing a ray of hope to shine down directly into my heart.  It was reassurance that everything is worth it in the end.

And I firmly believe that.

And I firmly believe that it's important to share that.

When I was in middle school I was very much in a Country Music Phase.  Every week the hosts of the nationally broadcast show that I listened to would interview artists so that we could learn more about them, their music, and what brought them to the place that they were at that point in time.

Within a short period of time of each other Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood (who were both big at the time, if that narrows down a date for you) were featured on the show and they both shared such a similar message that it stuck with me, especially.  They spoke of the trails and the hard times they had been through in their life and how they always tried to keep a positive outlook and they always did their best to persevere because without fail, every difficulty was followed by a blessing they would never have had otherwise.

Each burden lifted and carried made them that much stronger.  Each point that they found themselves broken made them that much more compassionate towards others.  Each dark night ended with a glorious sunrise.

And this quote was a reminder to me of that.  Everything will get better.  Everything will be worth it.  Don't give up because you're hurting now, because the joy that follows this will be so much better than you ever dreamed it could be.  


Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Crack Kitten


I woke up at 5:00 a.m. this morning to the many noises of Link, our cat.  He's a loving, well-behaved kitten until almost exactly 5:00 every morning.  Apparently this is the time he has his kitty coffee and kicks into hyper speed.

Crack Kitty is what we call it.

This hasn't been a problem before now because for the last four years I've slept with ear plugs.  Now that the husband has dropped almost 50 pounds in the last three months (take a moment to think about how incredible that is!), he no longer snores and for the sake of my ears, I need to get used to sleeping without ear plugs again.

Which is why the kitten that I usually love and dote on in the mornings is getting scowls and growls from me these days.

This morning he started in on the wooden blinds in our room.  He likes to get behind them and look out, which isn't a problem except that they're heavy and bulky and the bang and clang around when he gets in them.  And when you have one more precious hour of sleep, it's a most unwelcome interruption. 

So I start thinking about what I can do to keep him from being able to get in the blinds in our room.  There are plenty of other blinds on that side of the house that can afford him a view of the dog, he just needs to know that he's not welcome to use the view from our room anymore.

So I'm thinking that I could get some pieces of plexi glass in 5"x18" strips and use L-brackets to mount them to the inside of the window pane where it blocks him from getting his paw behind the blinds to pop them out and let him on the other side.  Cheap and easy and since they would be hidden behind the curtains, it wouldn't be very noticeable.

Once I got the cat to accept that I would cause severe harm to him if he didn't get out of the blinds, he expressed his angst with me by clawing on the side of the bed until I swatted at him.  After that, he decided he'd rather jump up on the bed directly on top of me anyway.  I silently fumed for a moment before swatting him away.

In that moment I envisioned what could be my best invention ever if I had more of an inclination for tinkering.  This invention can be customized for your needs and for the behaviors of your cat, so for those of you who have a cat that 'cracks out' at a certain time of night, you can set the device for that particular time.  In our instance, apparently Link's witching hour is 5:00 a.m., so that's what time I would set ours for.  At shortly before 5:00 a.m. this device would use a variety of sensors to locate the cat and physically catapult/eject the cat from the room. 

Instead of doing just that to the cat that was still—at this time—perched in the middle of my back, I just swatted him off.  He took this as his cue to engage his turbo boosters and spend the next twenty minutes jingling his way through the house at top speed.

This cat is going to be the death of me.  Or him.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

There's Only Grace


There is no guilt here
There is no shame
No pointing fingers
There is no blame
What happened yesterday has disappeared
The dirt has washed away And now it's clear

There's only grace
There's only love
There's only mercy
And believe me it's enough
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
There's nothing left now
There's only grace

I was re-arranging my closet as I listened to these words.  It's my semi-annual ritual of swapping the summer clothes with the winter clothes.  As I did this mindless task my thoughts had wandered to goings on in my life, both past and present.

As I belted out the words along with Matthew West, God spoke to me.

You see, as I had been re-arranging my closet, I was in thought about some ugliness that has drifted through the past few years of my life like fog across the still surface of a lake.  I've been trying to figure out why I have continually felt so plagued with others on the outer perimeter of my life causing problems that made me feel almost as if they were trying to steal my happiness.  And I've begun to wonder if that's what it was....I'm happy.

And the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it all coincides with exactly that.

When I found myself as a single mother so many years ago, there was one thing that I came to inwardly realize.  Only I have the ability to make me happy.  And if I couldn't make myself happy, I had no chance of helping anyone else with their happiness.

And this is a difficult thing to do.  You can't just decide "I will make myself happy" and then instantaneously be happy.  It's a struggle.  How do you make yourself happy?  How do you keep others from making you unhappy?  

Over time I realized that my acceptance of myself played a part in my happiness.  I removed frenemies from my life that continually stirred up drama, I stopped looking for a guy to complete me and my little family and started spending my down time in the yard with Ty or on the couch with a book.  I started finding ways of making myself happy, and I found happiness along the way.

And then along came a man.  Mystery Man, as he was known for several months.  And he made me even happier.  We had about 10 months of sunshine-out-our-backsides-happiness before we got engaged in 2010.  

The happiness didn't stop there.  But the trials started.  Around the time we got engaged I felt attacked in various ways.  On our Wedding Day I was under attack in a big way.  Life was giving me all these reasons to be happy, and others on the outside were giving me reasons not to be.

And so it continued.  As Jason and I started our lives together and found our way together, we had to fight off conflict and drama that I've never really had to deal with before.  It all felt very personal and very deliberate, but now in looking back, it feels different.

Over time things have gotten better.  Where problems were before, they are no more.

And where that source of trouble has faded away, another has stepped up to take its place.  

I've been tried in a big way over the past few years.  I've had phases of ugliness that have attacked me and I've had hateful, nasty, uncalled for comments made to me and about me and it's left me feeling quite ugly on the inside as a result. 

My soul has become heavy and weary, so much so that when the song Worn (by Tenth Avenue North) came out, it was instantly my Heart Song.  

I’m tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

And this is where my thoughts were as Matthew West sang Only Grace and I found myself singing along with him.  When I'm worn and I'm broken, I turn to God.  But I also turn in on myself, too.  And when I turn in on myself, it's hard not to feel sorry for myself and to see—both magnified and amplified—all the things wrong with me and all the things I'm missing.  And when the reasons for your unhappiness are all too obvious, it's hard to see others who appear to have it together and have everything that your heart hurts for and not wish that they at least knew a little of the pain that you were feeling.  

I've thought for several years now that these attacks on me may not be what they feel like...what if they're unhappy people struggling to be happy for others.  What if they're wounded souls—like a wounded animal—that strike out at the hands and hearts that could help them if they'd let them.

What if this is why God keeps allowing others to hurt me like this.  Over and over again.  Part of me thinks it's because I'm not bold enough to stand up, speak up and demand "Enough is enough!"...part of me thinks there's a lesson I'm missing out on.

Today, as I sang Only Grace I wondered if it's because I could be an example to those He's trying to reach.  The most hurtful people are all too often the people that have been hurt the most.  This is how they were raised, this is how others have treated them.  This is what they know because it's what they were shown.  The difference between me and them is that I was raised differently.  I was given mercy and love on a regular basis.  I can show them better than they are showing me.  I can give them better than they are giving me.

What if instead of becoming hurt, I became humble?  What if instead of carrying a grudge, I shared grace?

The thought of how very hard it would be is overwhelming.  I can hold a grudge.  I know how to do this.  I've practiced and perfected it for thirty-two years.  Maybe it's time for a little grace instead.  Maybe next time I'm insulted, I can let it slide and understand that the problem really may not lay with me.  The blame doesn't always have to be placed on my shoulders, but if it is, so what.  My God is strong enough to help me carry it.

God works through the difficulties.  Maybe this is His way of telling me to start letting go of my grudges.  And in the process, I can give to others the grace that He's given to me.



Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Getting There | 100 Happy Days


It has been way too long.  I came back here to add a badge to my blog and was greeted with the smiling faces of the Lake Hamilton kids that brightened our morning almost five months ago.

Five months.

Once upon a time I was on this blog several times a day.

Once upon a time I smiled every time I came here...just like tonight when I saw those kids faces.

Once upon a time this was my sanctuary.

Once upon a time, people used my blog and my words as a way of connecting to me and showing they cared for me.  Not ammunition for criticizing me.  Which has been the reason for my absence for far too long.

I'm doing my best to move past that.  The individuals that were using this sanctuary to hurt me four years ago have now embraced me and are learning to love all of me and not just the (limited) socially acceptable parts of me.

Slowly but surely, I'm bleeding the negativity out of my life.  Slowly but surely I'm getting there.

And when I'm fully there, I'll be back here.

Until then, here's some of the happiness I've had in the last 59 days as I've participated in the 100 Happy Days challenge.

*edit* - okay, so the widget will either let me enter my user-name or the hash-tag, not both.  So you're getting my whole Instagram instead of just the #100happydays images.  That's okay, just more to enjoy!

Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Encouraging


This morning, The Boy and I wound up behind this bus of Lake Hamilton students.  What a great way to start our day!


Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Why I want to raise a nerd


The Boy:  “I’m afraid I’m going to get made fun of.” 

We were on our way to school this morning when my son told me this.  I had just taken this picture of him.  When we were still getting ready earlier that morning, I had told him to get some gloves to wear for school.  He got out his Pikachu hat with the gloves sewn into a scarf.  He looked stinkin’ adorable.  But he was still worried what the other kids would say.

Me:  “Do what you’re comfortable with.  If you’re not comfortable wearing it, don’t wear it.  But if you like it and you want to wear it, then wear it.  Don’t let others decide who you should be.  I get made fun of, too.  I know what it’s like.  You want to wear your Pikachu hat, and you should wear it because you like it.  But if you’re afraid that you’re going to be made fun of and that you won’t be able to handle it, then you can leave it here and just wear your regular gloves.”

The Boy:  “[Unnamed Relative] said that I don’t need to listen to you because you’re going to turn me into a nerd someday.”

Me:  “Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing.  I would be proud if you were a nerd someday.  I would be proud even if you aren’t.  I kind of hope that you become a nerd someday because it’s ‘nerds’ that have created so many good things in life.  Electricity, computers, video games, medicine…  Nerds aren’t bad, they’re people who make life better and more interesting.  Just remember that this is why it’s very important that we don’t make fun of others for wearing or doing things that they like.  We should always encourage each other.  If somebody likes something, we should allow them to like it, even if we don’t.”

This conversation first thing this morning both broke my heart and hurt my feelings.

Can I just say first and foremost that one of the worst things about being a parent is that you put so much effort and energy into making sure your child is happy and confident and secure with whoever they are and whoever they're becoming and whoever they want to be...and others get to make 'funny' comments to break their confidence?  This is honestly one of the things I detest the most in this world  No wonder suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.1  We're teaching our children from a young age that you have to be who others expect you to be and not who you were created to be.

With that said, I thought I'd just take a moment to share with you some of the reasons why I think my kid would benefit if he were to grow up to be a nerd.

But before diving in...let's take a quick look at the word "nerd".  There are a lot of people throwing that word around as if it's something lowly or ugly.  There's nothing negative about it.  Like nerds, the definition of a nerd is a frank, honest, and candid assessment.  We don't hide it.  And we shouldn't apologize for it either.

Merriam-Webster defines "nerd" as:
  1. a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.
  2. a person who is very interested in technical subjects, computers, etc.2
The Urban Dictionary lists 369 different 'definitions' for the word 'nerd'.  The top four ranked are:
  1. One whose IQ exceeds his weight.
  2. An individual persecuted for his superior skills or intellect, most often by people who fear and envy him.
  3. An 'individual', i.e. a person who does not conform to society's beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obsession with a given subject, usually computers. Unfortunately, nerds seem to have problems breeding, to the detriment of mankind as a whole.
  4. A stereotypical label used to describe a person that is socially inadequate. A four letter word, but a six figure income.3
So I struck out the first one above because it's pretty offensive to say that larger people can't be nerds, too, even though traditionally it's the skinny white male that's thought of as the nerd.  Nerds—much like homo sapiens in general—come in every shape, size, and color, and dimension.

That's the thing about nerds.  You don't have to fit into a cookie cutter to be one of us.  (Note:  Cookie Cutter is our household slang for the types of individuals who all choose to look the same, act the same, talk the same, and be the same.)

We're accepting.

This basically sums up every reason I could give for why I'm glad I'm a nerd, and why I would be glad if my kid wound up being one, too.

You don't have to look like us to be one of us.  In fact, nerds are kind of like tongue-prints, there are no two nerds that are alike.  Which is why it feels like nerds embrace differences and diversity a little better than non-nerds.  Wear what you want to wear, make what you want to make, share what you want to share, be who you want to be.  We know what it's like to be a pariah for being who we are.  Why would we victimize someone else for being true to who they are?

You also don't have to be passionate about what we're passionate about.  Just be passionate.  Obviously I love Doctor Who.  Does that mean I roll my eyes and groan at every Sherlock fan that comes across my Tumblr Dashboard?  (Trick question:  Sherlock, too, has attained a level of awesome in the 'epic' division and I thoroughly enjoy it as well.)  Find something you like and tell the world why you like it.  You'll meet new friends with a shared interest and you may introduce existing friends to a new passion, but if you don't, that's fine, too.  I enjoy a good book (or a bad book or just about any kind of book) and my husband relaxes best with a video game controller in his hand.  That's fine.  We like what we like.  Nerds accept this.

How do we learn to accept this?  Typically by being rejected.  Honestly, that's the best way to learn.  And I'm okay with my kid facing a little rejection.  I want him to know what it's like to be different so that when he meets others that are different, he can be accepting of them and not hateful, hurtful, or critical.

I also want him to learn to be accepting of himself, too.  I want him to have the safety of being comfortable with himself because I believe that if you're not true to yourself, you'll never truly feel comfortable being yourself and you're less likely to find an honest feeling of safety with anyone else.  If you can't feel safe with someone, how will you be happy with them?

I could list economic reasons as to why I would be tickled to raise a nerd, too.  LZ Granderson did a fine job of it, though, so I would just point you in his direction if that's what you're interested in (See:  Why I'm raising my son to be a nerd, 2011).
Jocks go on to play for your favorite team but nerds go on to own the teams those jocks play for. --LZ Granderson

When it comes down to it, I will love my kid no matter what he turns out to be.  If dyed his skin green and decided he wanted to be an alien when he grows up, you know what, the only thing that would change for me is what colors we choose to wear for our Christmas Cards.  If he woke up one day and embraced sports whole-heartedly, I will cheer him on at whatever he chooses to try—whether he succeeds or not.

But the honest truth of it is that my kid likes to read.  My kid likes science.  My kid loves to learn.  My kid is fascinated by technology.  Why wouldn’t I embrace that?  Why wouldn’t I encourage him?  Why would I make him think that he is anything less than one of God’s most wonderful creations—no matter what he does with or becomes in his life?

My kid is a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) kid.  And those kids are going to be the adults that will be running the show in the future.  Does that mean there’s no place for Jocks or Pencil Pushers or Cookie Cutters?  No, we all have our place in the future.  But my I want to raise my kid to change the world, not change himself.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Conversations with the Husband | Adorable





Me:  (Taking my hair down for the umpteenth time) Ugh!  I just want to shave my head today!
Husband:  Feeling a little Karen Gillian, are we?
Me:  (Putting my hair back up)  I should have washed my hair.  My book was too good though.  (Taking my hair down for the frustratingteenth time)  Gaaaaaahhhh!!!  BLIMEY!  Blimey!  Bollocks!  BUGGER!!
Husband:  (Laughing)
Me:  I know.  You can't take me seriously when I use them, can you?
Husband:  But you are adorable!
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Resolution


Everyone's asking for my resolutions.  I don't get this, but sure...whatever.

Can we just start with the fact that I wasn't completely kidding about this?



I mean, seriously!  It's a great idea!  And some of the women (and one man) on my friends list agree with me!  (Or are humoring me).

But yet, people are asking—most likely out of habit—"What resolutions did you set for the year?"

And while I could list seriously boring things like 'Getting in shape' or 'Focusing on the positive' (which would be on my list, I've decided that life's a little more fun when you take it less seriously.

So my resolutions for 2014 are as follows:
  • Replace any of my traditional words of frustration (including but not limited to "God Bless America!", "Son of a Gun!", and "Dadgumit!"—no judgment, I live in The South) with "Blimey", "Bugger", and "Bollocks".  They make me want to smile and if I'm frustrated a smile would be a good thing.
  • Figure out a pattern and sew my own fleece footie pajamas.  With thumb-holes and pockets.  (Seriously not kidding.)
  • Build something.  Not sure what yet.  Ideas I'm mulling over would be a Tardis-shaped birdhouse, some wooden Calvin & Hobbes cutouts for the front yard (again, seriously not kidding), a picnic table, or some sort of garden-ish something (ideally with capabilities for a fairy in residence).
  • Unplug and empty the fish tank in the guest room since Harry Potter (the last fish) is now fully disintegrated. 
  • Convert some poor unsuspecting soul into becoming a full-fledged Whovian.  
  • Draw something that I deem "good enough" to hang in the house.  (Preferably something a little nerdy)
  • Paint something (else) that I deem "good enough" to hang in the house.  (Preferably something a little nerdy)
  • Determine the timeline of a bruise.  (Already started on this one.  So far Day 4 is the day the bruise is the darkest.  Green & Yellow tones come into play on Day 6.  We'll see if it's consistent.)
  • Read 52 books.  (Working on this one as well).
  • Complete the conversion of The Kitten into being a lap kitty.
So that's really about all I've got. 

All attainable, but all fun, too.


Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Closing Arguments


My Goal for 2014:  Embrace the best, dismiss the rest.
I've been focusing a lot on positivity and negativity lately.

For several months I've toyed with the idea of implementing it into my blog for 2014 (still chewing the cud on that one).  As I've tried to call myself out on my own negativity in order to get rid of it, I've been noticing it hiding in plain sight in other places as well.  Which lead to a conversation tonight when the husband got miffed with me earlier this evening when I referred to him as 'negative'.  He adamantly insisted that he's not negative.

A short time later we were laying in bed and I had the blissful realization that tomorrow is Friday and thus tomorrow is jeans day.

I commented, "I could really get used to this whole two days on, then off one, two days on, and then off two."

He responded, "It makes the week feel like forever though."

Dismissing it, I continued on, "No, it's great!"

Negative Nancy countered, "You get two Mondays!"

"And two Fridays and two Saturdays!" I quickly responded and then added, "See?  Negative!  There were two positives to point out and you chose the one negative!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case!

P.S. - This post published with permission.  My apologies to all of my would-be-verbal-assassins (of both the in-your-face and the behind-the-back varieties), you'll have to find another reason to annihilate me.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.