All posts by jcasper3@carolina.rr.com

Julie is a wife, mother of three young girls, a preschool teacher. When not writing, crafting, or running kids to activities, she enjoys spending time with friends, family and her pets. She writes about anything that inspires her.

My Girls are Kind, and That’s Most Important To Me

I am probably one of the world’s worst parents. I wish I was more like other moms that have set routines for their children, only feed them organic meals, and limit TV time.

But that’s not me. My kids eat cookies and sweets more than twice a week.  The twins sleep in my bed or on the couch way more nights than they sleep in their own bed. Our TV is on a lot, and the girls watch You Tube on our home computers daily. I don’t push them to read extra, and I let them read the minimum minutes required each night for homework if that’s all they want to do.

I would never be nominated for The Best Mom award by far.

But, the one rule I am consistent about and will not give up on is this:  It’s important to be kind. I will not put up with unkind words or actions.

I believe my most important job as a mother is to raise kind, caring girls–girls that take care of others, give when they can, and want to make our community better.

I expect my girls to participate in community service events, and I expect the same from myself. I expect my girls to have nice things to say to others, and I expect this from me too. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t share it. There’s always something kind you can do for someone each day. Find ways to be kind.

I encourage my girls to help others, whether that’s in their classrooms, on the playground, or out in public.

I am inspired and proud when one of them asks for money to help an organization, or when one of them asks if we can volunteer for an organization.

Through acts of kindness, I’ve seen my daughters take quiet friends under their wing, select and provide needed supplies to their teachers, help around the house to raise money to give to organizations in need, ask if we can help bag or deliver food for families in need, and collect books and blankets to give to small children.

These kind actions mean more to me as their mother than any other routine. I don’t care if they wear mismatched clothes, if they watch too much TV or if they eat cereal and milk for dinner.

I care that they know the importance of giving and being kind to others, and that is the greatest skill I can teach them.

 

I Let My Kids Do The Christmas Decorating Because I’m All About The Memories

A couple weeks ago, we put up our Christmas decorations. Stockings, the tree, snowmen and Santas….my husband pulled all the boxes down from the attic, and we went to town getting the house all festive.

Our decorations in the house are kind of a mess….most rooms don’t “match”, the ornaments aren’t placed evenly around the tree, and there’s a little bit of Christmas in every room.  It’s a bit chaotic and mismatched, but we love it.

Why? Because it was created by the kids. The girls do the majority of our decorating. I let them be the creators because they all love Christmas, they get excited about decorating the house for the holidays, and I want them to be making memories.

I don’t want them to think the house has to look perfectly put together to be a Christmas beauty. I don’t want to criticize them for how they arrange the stockings or where they put the ornaments on the tree. I want my daughters  and my husband and I to have a fun and enjoyable time getting our house ready for the holidays. I want the girls to pull out their preschool creations and say, “Oh, mom! Remember when I made this snowman in Ms. Laurie’s class?” or “Look at this picture of me in kindergarten! My ponytails are so crooked!”

I truly believe life and growing up is about spending time with each other, making memories and less stress. Our Christmas decorations are hung with love, a little creativity from three very talented girls, and with joy.

Hanging decorations at our house isn’t a chore each year. It’s full of fun memories and sweet moments spent together, and I hope to keep it that way for years and years.

Through It All, There Are Blessings To Be Discovered

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to focus on my blessings. I let greed, self-esteem, and disappointment get in the way. I have moments when I grumble and complain and “poor me” myself throughout the day.

Those are the moments I really have to push myself to remember how truly blessed I am.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote some pretty heavy stuff about my childhood. Despite those years being a very difficult time, there were some blessings that came from them. I learned how strong I could be. It took me awhile, but I discovered that I was more than my past. I learned how to love myself.

Yes, I had a difficult time struggling with an eating disorder. But I’m blessed that it made me more aware of the importance of a healthy body image. It’s helped me speak to my daughters positively about self-esteem, nutrition, and exercise.

In my 20’s, I moved to the west coast for a job, knowing no one in my new environment. I’m blessed that that time away from friends and family taught me to be more independent and assertive.

In my 30’s, I suffered a miscarriage. While it was an extremely difficult time for me and my husband, the blessing from the experience was that we realized how much love we had to give to a child once we conceived one. That unborn child taught me how much I could love another being, and how painful loss is.

In my 40’s, I lost a close friend of mine. While I miss her dearly, I’m so very blessed our paths crossed. I’m so grateful for the times we did get to spend together and the laughter we shared. I’m grateful for all the advice she gave me through the years. She was classy, confident, and caring.

On those days that I’m in a downward spiral, convinced that my life sucks, I try hard to focus on the blessings in those crappy moments. I (almost) always can find something positive that leaves me remembering what a blessing that moment is and how truly grateful I am for all the experiences and moments.

Dear Husband, I Want Another Baby (Or Maybe A Puppy Will Do)

Dear Husband,

Let’s have another baby. Seriously. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think we should consider it.

For 12 years, my main role has been “mom”. Sure, before getting married and having kids, I didn’t imagine this would be my role. I really thought that I would be a corporate girl. My only concern would be racking up degrees and promotions.  I liked being needed and in charge at work. I liked making important decisions. I liked helping and serving employees and customers.

Then you came along, and my goals changed to seeking marriage and growing a family with little ones running around the house.

So here I have been for 12 years, running our “family corporation” (and killing it, by the way), and now it’s getting to a point where I’m  not needed so much by the kids. Sure, I get a still snuggle or some hand-holding, but it’s few and far between. But gone are the endless hugs and the “I love you mommy” comments throughout the day.

While I’m so proud of all that the kids are accomplishing as they are growing, and I love watching them exert their independence and make their own decisions, the nest is feeling quieter. I’m feeling more lonely.

So…maybe we should try for that fourth child. Sure, it’d be super-difficult, nearly impossible. But a little one to watch giggle, and sleep, and crawl, and stuff Cheerios into his mouth….I miss all of that. We might have better luck waiting for grandchildren in 20 years or so. I really don’t want to wait that long, though.

On the other hand, we could always get a puppy. You could be a hero, and come home with a sweet little doggy that needs love, needs potty trained, wants to be loved.

I know, you’ll tell me that the timing isn’t right. Was the timing ever right when we found out we were pregnant with the girls? The timing won’t ever be right, really. We just will need to jump in and do it. And the girls would be so excited to have a “little brother” or a “little sister”, even if it is a fur baby rather than an actual baby-baby.

Help me get my “baby fix”, dear husband. Let’s have that baby. Let’s look at adopting…adopting a young dog. He or she would be welcomed and loved by the whole family.

My Experience With Eating Disorders

I was hoping to come up with a better, more catchy title for this post, but I couldn’t. This post is honest, real, and are things in my past that I think triggered my disordered eating. I don’t share all of this for sympathy. I share it because it’s the truth. All of us have a past and have situations that we have had to overcome or deal with. All of us are who we are because of whatever path we have  had to travel so far.  Dealing with these issues in this post have made me stronger as a mother and a wife, and they have in some way affected the person I am today.

Body image has always seemed to be an issue within my family. My aunt is always concerned with her clothing size and the number on the scale. My grandmother ate like a bird…I remember her eating the same lunch of Dannon yogurt and a side of radishes with salt every day for lunch. I was always a bit bigger than my twin sister, and I remember being compared to her often—comments about me being “bigger boned” than her. I was never a big girl. I was probably average. No one would have looked at me and thought of me as overweight.

The first time I remember dieting was in seventh grade. I would eat a rice cake and a piece of turkey as my “sandwich” at school. Water to drink, and some pretzels to go with everything. I would take naps so I wouldn’t eat so many snacks at home. If I was sleeping or resting, I wasn’t eating and that meant losing weight.

I was never super-thin during my tween years. My weight would go down a few pounds as I dieted, and then back up again as I hung out with friends and enjoyed lunch at McDonald’s or ice cream from Carvel.

My next memory of wanting to lose weight was when I was 16. Sixteen was a rough year for me. I began having flashbacks of being abused as a child. I would be working on math homework, and an image of my neighbor asking four-year-old me to do “bad things” to him would pop in my head. I felt like I was going crazy. What was wrong with me to have these images?

There was a teacher in my high school that everyone loved. He was known as someone who was easy to talk to, and was readily willing to find help for kids who needed it. I didn’t want to tell my parents what I remembered…partly because I remembered telling them about the abuse back when I was little and I didn’t remember anything being done about it. Maybe they didn’t believe me when I told them back when I was little. If that was the case, why would they believe me now, 12 years later?

So I went to the teacher, and I told him about the memories I was having. He assured me that most likely if I was having these images pop up, something probably happened. He encouraged me to talk to my parents about it, and he said he would get me in touch with the school psychologist so I could get help.

In the next few weeks, I talked to my mom who did remember me telling her about the things that happened to me as a little girl. I had my first couple of appointments with the school psychologist so I could begin to work on healing, and I had a teacher who I (thought) I could trust and cared about me.

The teacher I thought cared turned out to be a teacher who cared inappropriately. He would have me pulled from class to go to his house with him during school hours. He would express how much he cared about me and wanted to help me, then he would ask me to tell him in detail what abuse I endured, explaining that talking to him about it would help me recover from what happened. He would remind me how much he cared about me, and that he thought about me all the time.

It was all overwhelming. I felt out of control. I was dealing with past abuse, I had a teacher who was overly-caring and starting to be inappropriate with our discussions and meetings off of school grounds. I just wanted to be like other teens. I began eating junk and taking chocolate-flavored laxatives to purge. Binging and purging helped me feel more out of control while in control. I felt relief when I could get “everything out”. I ate to stuff down my feelings.

Bulimia became my little secret. I kept up with my secret until my friend found me in the bathroom crying one evening late spring. I couldn’t leave the bathroom because my stomach hurt too much from all the laxatives I was taking. I told her what I had been doing. She cried with me, and we talked about how my friends loved me and I needed to love myself too.

College came, and I was a “good girl” my freshman and sophomore year. I ate normally, made new friendships and enjoyed my college experience. I began to date my sophomore year. I was happy, and life was great.

Then it was time to go on spring break. I decided to go on a diet to lose a few pounds. Right before spring break, I went to a seminar where a college student was talking about her experience with anorexia and bulimia growing up. She provided details about when her disorder began, ways she hid her binging and purging, and how she would lie to others about eating. Watching her presentation triggered something in me. I wanted to feel in control again like I had back when I was bulimic.

I lost a few pounds, and then a few more. And then a few more. I have to admit that while I felt in control by controlling what I ate, I was totally not in control. I couldn’t stop starving myself if I wanted to. This period of my life is also a bit of a blur. I remember looking at my body in the mirror, extremely happy with my ability to not eat and get small. I remember loving that my bones were jutting out and a size zero was too loose on me. I remember being cold all the time. I counted calories all the time. My favorite meal was a cup of minute rice and a Diet Coke. When I wasn’t studying or going to class, I was out walking around campus or running the track. I visited the health center every day just to use the scale and weigh myself. I felt powerful.

In reality, I was weak and my eating disorder had complete power over me.

It took another year, and a lot of tough love, for me to start feeling good about myself and to really work on my past, my self-confidence and control/trust issues. I did eventually get back to a more ideal weight and back to loving myself and my life.

Unfortunately, eating disorders like to creep up over and over again. And the year before I started dating my husband, I began limiting my food and dieting again. I lost weight quickly and was down to 100 pounds within a couple of months. People I worked with asked me if I was sick. I’d lie to my now-husband and tell him I ate dinner already so I wouldn’t have to eat with him. At some point, I confessed to him that I had been lying about eating. He was livid. He told me that we would not stay in a relationship together unless I agreed to get help. He was not going to sit around and watch me kill myself.

Eric’s tough words were just what I needed and they scared me. Here I was, hating myself and hurting people around me that loved me. I had to decide if I was willing to give up starving myself to have a relationship with someone who cared deeply about me.

Eric’s words stayed with me, and I started counseling and started eating more normally. I decided he was important to me. I loved him more than anyone, and I wanted to have a future with him. That meant getting myself the help I needed. About nine months later, when I was at a stable weight and kept the weight on, Eric and I were married.

I still think about weight and food a lot. Calorie counts run through my head all the time. I look in the mirror some days and I hate what I see. People who knew me when I was skinny and anorexic….I wonder if they think I’m fat now. I wonder if I look like I’m out of control because right now I weigh more than I have in a long time.

When I get angry about something, sometimes I think, “I’ll show them, I’ll just not eat.” Or, if I feel really out of control with a situation, I’ll not eat much that day. I’ll limit myself as a way to punish myself.

On the flip side, I have three little girls now that look up to me. I know I have to be a role model for them. I know that they look up to me and watch how I respond to situations and they see what I do and hear what I say. They have been the main reason I haven’t slipped back into disordered eating for the past few years. I want my daughters to have good, healthy relationships with food. I want them to love their bodies, I want them to be confident in what they look like. I try hard to not talk about diets and not let them hear me comment negatively about myself or my body.

It’s a struggle, even now, 30 years later. But my family is worth it. While I’ll always struggle with an eating disorder, I work hard to keep it in check and keep it from controlling me.

I Am Quiet, But I Have A Voice

I know I’m an introvert. I’ve always been on the quiet side.  Sure, I can be loud every now and then, especially around close friends or in a small group. I’m more of a listener and observer. I’ll speak up when I need to, and I have no problems public speaking or confronting others. I just prefer to be quiet/observant. This is my comfort level.

That doesn’t mean I have a quiet mind.

I had lunch with my friend, Sara, a couple of weeks ago, and she commented on how proud she’s been of me.

“Why?” I asked.

“I love that you have a voice, and you are using it through your blog.”

I think that was one of the best compliments I’ve gotten in a very long time. Thank you, Sara!

I DO have a voice. Lots of introverts do. We just don’t feel like we always need the attention to be heard. Our minds have lots of ideas and thoughts, we just pick and choose how and when to share them…and who to share them with.

Sara’s right…I do have a voice, and I choose to voice my thoughts, situations, and inspirations through my blogging. It’s my place to write, share, and be honest and real with you and with myself. It’s where I’m not uncomfortable speaking out and using my voice. My blog is me–all of who I am and what I believe in, care about, and think about.

This month marks one year that I’ve been blogging on One Inspired Mom. While my blog is pretty generic, and I’m not interested in making any money off of it, I am fulfilled by it. I get to share whatever I want, however I choose to share it. I say it how I feel it. Others can get to know me, what I believe in, and “hear” me speak.

I am grateful for all of you who have encouraged me this first year of writing.  I am amazed at how many texts, emails and comments I receive after each post from others that often feel the same way or have gone through similar situations.

Thank you so much for listening to my voice, and I look forward to sharing more of my voice with you this next year.

I Think I’m Having A Mid-Life Crisis (And It’s Pretty Awesome)

I’m going to be 46 in a few months, and I’m pretty sure I’m going through a mid-life crisis.

It’s pretty awesome. Actually…it rocks! I’m loving all of it and how it’s making me feel.

It all started last month when a friend of mine invited me to go zip lining with her. As I waited my turn, my heart was fluttering, I was super-chatty with the zip line dude, and I was scared. But when it was time for me to push off of the ledge and I began to soar way over the trees, I started to chill. It was such an amazing feeling to be floating quietly along, watching all the people and landscape below me. I felt like a badass. I liked it.

When another guide suggested my friend and I jump from the 100-foot drop, I was all in (so was my friend–who is also a badass). The guide counted down, and when he got to one, I was told to just walk off the platform and allow myself to fall down the 100 feet. This time, I wasn’t really nervous at all. I figured, why not do this? Seriously, I’m only going to live this one life. And I want to live a full, adventurous life. I want to take chances, make changes without fear, and live a real life.

A friend of mine is a life coach, and her motto is “scared but doing it anyway”.  That’s exactly what I decided to do as I walked off the platform–I threw scared out the window and I did it anyway. ‘m so glad I did. It was the most amazing feeling! I can’t wait to do it all again.

That day of outdoor adventures kept me on my “take chances, make changes, no fear” mantra.

I started working on a novel. This is big–I’ve thought about writing a book since I was a little girl. I’ve been way too chicken and not confident enough to actually try to do it. I’m only in the outlining stage, but I’m excited to be making time for something I’m eager to do. Sure, no one might read it and it might never ever get published, or it could be a big hit. Either would be scary, but I’m going for it anyway. If I don’t do it now, when will I? No fear. Take chances. No regrets.

I’m also thinking of getting a tattoo. All my life, I’ve been against getting a tattoo. Why would I want to be in my 80’s or 90’s and have something permanent stuck to my sagging, old body? As the years go by, however, there are some words and symbols that signify what I live for and what I believe in. Using a part of my body as art to always serve as a reminder of what I stand for in some way has become more and more interesting to me. Currently, I have a temporary tattoo stuck to my forearm so I can see if I really am ready for some ink. The tattoo says, “believe”. To me, this word speaks volumes. Believe in yourself. Believe you can do anything. Believe in others. Believe in family. Believe it can happen.

My other mid-life change? I changed my hair. Way more than usual. I was growing it into a bob down to my shoulders. It was very conservative. Yesterday, I decided to just go for it and have it cut very differently. I had it dyed a dark brown, had a bunch of funky layers chopped into it, and I left the salon with a new attitude and a new haircut. To me, it’s cool. It’s crazier than usual. I don’t have a “mom haircut” anymore.  I also know this: It’s just hair. And if I change my mind about it, I can change it again. It’ll grow back, and it can be cut. Making changes–I’m doing it.

Hello, mid-life crisis. Welcome! I’m ready to try more new things that I’ve been afraid of or nervous about in the past. Sure, changes are a little scary, but I’m going to just go for it anyway. And I can’t begin to tell you how strong and empowered I’m feeling these days!

It’s awesome 🙂

I Have An Autoimmune Disease…Here’s What You Don’t See

In 2016, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease–an autoimmune disease that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).  While there are other diseases much worse than my diagnosis, I still deal with a lot of frustrating and annoying symptoms.

I look just like everyone else when you look at me, and like many people with autoimmune diseases, you wouldn’t know I have Graves Disease. My thyroid levels are controlled through medication, and I meet with an endocrinologist every few months to talk about symptoms and monitor thyroid levels.

While I usually look perfectly fine on the outside, there’s a lot going on with me that you might not see or notice.

I have many days that I am completely fatigued. While I love working out, some more strenuous workout activities can wear me out for a few days. In the past, I could run many miles, work out with weights, push myself hard during exercise and just deal with some sore muscles the next day while continuing with work outs. These days, it takes me longer to recover from a hard workout.  Workouts leave me exhausted and I need to nap or rest for a day or two before participating in another strenuous workout.

In addition to fatigue, I often have heart flutters and heart palpitations.  The palpitations can make me feel light-headed or breathless. On days where my heart rate is higher than average, I have a difficult time working out, and I have to slow down and partake in exercise that doesn’t raise my heart rate too high, like yoga or walking.

My hands tremor often. It’s usually slight and not very noticeable to others unless I hold my hand out to show them. But some days it’s difficult for me to draw straight lines, to hold my toothbrush steady while I’m brushing my teeth, or to put my coffee cup up to my mouth without it jiggling around. It can be frustrating.

Joint pain seems to be one of my biggest problems. When I do have flare-ups, the pain seems to be in my ribs, ankles, or knees. Over-the-counter pain killers are somewhat helpful, but the aches and pains can make things like sleeping difficult.

Graves disease can affect eyes (known as TED or Thyroid Eye Disease). Many days, one of my eyes will appear larger than the other. I deal with dry, red, burning or irritated eyes occasionally, most likely related to Graves Disease. Eye issues and bulging eyes are a symptom of Graves Disease…this symptom is noticed often in pictures  taken of me–one of my eyes will appear to be a different size than the other.

I also have days where my anxiety and irritability are more pronounced than normal. The anxiety will affect my ability to sleep, and I’ll have many nights that I only get four or five hours of shut-eye if I’m lucky. My mind races often, thinking about a million things at once.  It’s hard for me to chill out and relax. In addition to these issues, brain fog is a constant. I have a hard time remembering conversations or details all the time.

Yes, you might look at me or spend time with me and think there’s nothing wrong with me at all. You might think I look “normal” today and I must be better, or that I’m having a great day. I do have good days; but often, I am dealing with symptoms that I am hiding well and muddling through because I have to. Unfortunately, even with medication, I can’t control how I’m going to feel from day to day.

So if I have to decline joining you for a workout,  if I cancel our plans to go out because I’m feeling anxious, or if I hide behind sunglasses all day, forgive me. If I seem tired or irritable, forgive me. If I can’t remember what we talked about yesterday, forgive me.  Often, my autoimmune disease is to blame.

Even though you can’t see my autoimmune disease, it’s there.

My Kids Aren’t Perfect, And I’ll Never Expect Them To Be

I have an important announcement to make. My kids are far from perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I think my kids are pretty amazing. There are a lot of things they achieve that I’m super-proud of. But I don’t expect perfection from them.

All three girls do well in school. I don’t really push them too hard, though. I don’t have a set amount of reading time or homework time. We don’t have tutors, and I don’t create extra work or worksheets for my kids. I don’t send them to summer enrichment camps. I expect them to do whatever the teacher assigns to them each week. I encourage them to do well, and I praise them on their successes. But I will not push them competitively to achieve. I want them to want to achieve. I don’t want it to be more stressful than the stress they put on themselves. Do I expect them to get all A’s? No. I love it if and when they do, but if they get a lower grade, it’s all OK. I’m more concerned with them trying their best. If it didn’t work out this time, then it didn’t work out. I don’t get angry, I don’t ask them why they didn’t get a perfect score or perfect grade, and I don’t compare them to the other kids in their classroom. To me, they are successful when they put their own effort into their schoolwork, and they do the best work they are capable of doing. Yes, that usually means an A or a good grade/score, but if it doesn’t end up that way, life goes on.

I also don’t expect my girls to be the best athletes in town. I want them to choose activities they enjoy. I want them to love the sports and hobbies that they pick. We aren’t  naïve—we talk about hard work, and they know that if they want to get better at something it takes patience and effort. I don’t force them to have extra coaches or practice more at home after their actual practices are finished. If they want to go outside for a  run or if they ask to go to the batting cage, I’m happy to go along. I am an encouraging mom, and I let them know how proud I am of their achievements in their activities. But, again, I want them to want to decide on their own to get better or do better. I could make them practice more, but are they going to love that sport or are they going to lose their spirit?

I don’t want perfection from my kids. I am not perfect, so why should I expect them to be perfect? I have bad days, there are a lot of things I am not good at. I fail at things all the time. And I’m just fine.

And I want my kids to be kids. They have their whole lives to worry about success, achievement, and working super hard to prove themselves. I want them to have time to play, chill out, and just have fun without worrying about being the best all the time.

I’d would rather my girls be kind to others, be encouraging, know how to accept defeat, know how to share, be proud of their friends achievements and not jealous. I would rather my girls look for the good in the world and think about others. These are the things that will change the world….not if they are perfect students and perfect I their sport or activity.

Here’s my message to my girls: Please, daughters. Never expect perfection from yourself. No one is perfect all the time. And striving for constant perfection only leads to stress, anger, depression, and feeling insecure.  Always do what you feel you can do, and know it’s OK if you fail or you don’t succeed. Your other qualities will help you achieve more in life than if you get straight A’s, are in the gifted program, or if you are the best player on the team.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

I thought it’d be fun to share with you ten things you might not have known about me….

  1. I’ve run a lot of races, and I used to really love running before I was diagnosed with Graves Disease.
    I’ve run one marathon, four half-marathons, two 10K’s, and over a dozen 5K’s. Running was my choice for exercise, and it helped me stay sane while raising twin babies/toddlers.

2. When I was in high school, I attended a school that was similar to
the one in the movie, Fame.
The name of my school was FPAC (Fine and Performing Arts Center of Howell High School). I was accepted into the creative writing program. I took core classes in the morning, and then afternoon classes were spent writing and learning about the arts. It was one of my best experiences.

3. My writing has been published.
I won my first writing contest (a poetry contest for a local lumber company) when I was in 2nd grade. In grade school, I remember winning a writing contest that my school library held, and I was so excited that the prize was a paperback book!  In fourth grade, I’d write plays and my teacher would let me produce them and the class would perform them each Friday. One of my Halloween stories was published in The Asbury Park Press when I was in high school. I’ve had a number of articles published in a sorority magazine called The Triad.

4. I’ve finished a couple degrees and I’m really close to finishing a couple more.
My undergraduate degree is in Speech Communications. I also have an MBA. I only have one semester and student teaching remaining to finish my Elementary Education degree, and I have one more year remaining to receive my MLS (Master Library Science degree). I love taking classes and learning, and I was accepted and almost went to law school (but met my current husband around that time, and that changed my plans!).

5. My husband and I were good friends before we ended up dating and getting married.
Eric’s from St. Louis, but I met him when I was the one living in St. Louis and he was already living in Charlotte. We were friends and kept in touch via email/instant messenger while I lived in California. Somehow I ended up getting transferred to North Carolina for work.  Eric set me up with one of his friends that I was interested in dating. That didn’t work out (I was spending a lot of time hanging out with Eric because he was fun and liked to do things). Eventually, Eric and I decided we would make a good pair. We were engaged in September, and we married that following March.

6. Eric and I got married in Las Vegas.
My dream (before I even met Eric) was always to get married in Las Vegas. I wanted it to be completely cheesy–Elvis impersonators and a little chapel. Eric agreed to a Vegas wedding, but wanted something more classy. We settled on a wedding at The Venetian. A little Italian singer dressed in costume sang, “That’s Amore” and strummed his guitar while I walked down the aisle with my dad. It was the best wedding ever! I wouldn’t go  back and change anything about it!

7. I try my best to protect my girls because I don’t want them to have to deal with things I had to while growing up.
I know I can’t protect them from everything, but I pray a lot that they won’t have to go through things that I dealt with as a child and teen. I was abused by a neighbor, I dealt with an eating disorder for years, and I was taken advantage of by a teacher when I was in high school. I share these things about me not for attention or pity. I share them because it is a part of my history, it happened, and I am who I am today because of what I experienced. I am real, and I am honest.  These are all issues I hope that my girls never experience.

8. If I could have any career I’d be either a writer and write novels, or I’d be a librarian.
I love reading, I love information, I love writing, and I love books.

9. I love animals.
If I could talk Eric into it, I’d live on a farm or somewhere with a lot of land so we could have many dogs, cats, chickens, cows and other farm animals. I wouldn’t have horses, though. I fell off of one as a child, and I am still nervous riding them.

10. I have an awful sense of smell.
I hardly ever notice awful smells. When the girls were in diapers, I’d never know they pooped unless I checked their diapers. I change the cat litter daily, but I don’t notice the smell too much. I only know if someone has passed gas or if something smells bad if one of the twins (who has a great sense of smell) tells me she smells something stinky.  The only time I was good at smelling odors was when I was pregnant.

Hopefully you learned something new or interesting about me! And I hope you enjoyed getting to know me better :).