Who Wants to Go to HalloWeekends?

13 October 2014 | 23 Comments

Cedar Point Giveaway

October is my absolute favorite time of the year to visit Cedar Point.  If you live in Ohio and haven’t been to HalloWeekends, you should definitely try to get there.  Not only is the entire park decked out in its Halloween finest, but the cooler temperatures make it the perfect time for coaster riding.  There are family friendly, mild spooky tricks and treats for your little ones during the day and up near the front of the park at night.  If you’re a brave soul, there are scream inducing, frights for you too… and that is just the coasters!  Ride all of your favorites in the morning, then hit the fright zones and haunted houses in the evenings.

So WHO wants to go to Halloweekends for free?  Cedar Point wants to make that happen for one of you lucky peeps. 

That’s right, we are hooking you up with a sweet FOUR pack of tickets (nearly $200 value!) so you can go enjoy a day at America’s Roller Coast during 2014 HalloWeekends. There are just THREE short weekends left, so this giveaway is going to be a quick one. 

Maybe you’ll go this weekend?

Disclaimer:  Cedar Point is one of my favorite blog relationships and I work with them several times a year.  They provided (4) tickets for the giveaway as well as tickets for my family to enjoy Hallweekends.  All opinions are my own.

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20 Years.

01 October 2014 | 6 Comments

I’m in the midst of planning our twentieth reunion. 

From high school.

As in, I graduated from high school twenty years ago. 

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Two thoughts permeate my brain.  One, how is that even possible?  Two, my best friend is a hoarder.

So, I should tell you that one of my very best friends moved back to Ohio this summer.  She has lived in Florida for my entire marriage and almost all of the time I have been with Dave.  She has seen my kids grow up through pictures and visits twice a year.  I still sometimes forget that she is here permanently.  It is weird and wonderful to have her a three minute drive away.  It’s bizarre to be able to call her and ask her to come over in the middle of the week.   When we do get together, it feels a little like vacation Natalie, home for just a minute.  Let’s pack everything all into one week of shopping and dinner out and fun!  Woooo! 

Dave just keeps saying, “Well, you DO have a lot of time to make up,” and sending me on my way.  I think he secretly loves it because Natalie tells him all kinds of stories about Fun Michelle.  That is what we call me, in the late nineties.  Fun Michelle are the stories my children won’t hear until they are old and planning their own 20th reunions.  Hopefully.

While we’re on the subject, most of our reunion planning meetings go like this,

HOW is it possible that we have been out of high school for twenty years?

It can’t be twenty years.  Don’t you feel like we’re supposed to still be twenty-two?

Maybe late twenties, max.

Do you think so and so will come to the reunion?  I wonder what ever happened to so and so.

Remember when so and so did that thing in high school that was hilarious?

Remember when you dated so and so?  Ahhhahahaha! 

Well at least I didn’t date so and so!

We were such idiots.

SUCH idiots.

We didn’t get anything done!

Totally, but I laughed so hard, my face hurts.

Worth it.

We also have the added bonus of Natalie memorabilia.  Now, I have a box of stuff from grade school and high school and college.  You throw in your senior pictures, some old grade cards that your mom saved, and a year book or two, right?  Pretty typical?  I feel like a lot of people have that box.

Natalie takes it to another level. 

She has receipts from a store where we used to work, with the cashiers’ names circled.  Did we really need to know that you bought a salad and cheese from Julie in 1993?  Probably not.  How about ticket stubs from movies she went to with names scribbled on the back… it’s important to remember that you, Jay, and Abby went to see Jurassic Park, twenty some years ago.  Have I mentioned every award and certificate she was ever given?  There is a folder full, people.

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Oh, I can already hear her yelling at me while she’s reading this.  She’ll tell me it’s not fair if I don’t tell you that her parents just moved and so they went through everything that was packed away there.  She will protest that she was just keeping all of this for our twentieth reunion.  For this very occasion.  She will try to convince you, THAT was the reason she had two copies of everything from our prom program to our commencement announcement.

I maintain that the ticket stubs speak for themselves.  And I am going to wear this 1994 vintage broomball beauty, pinned to my sweater…

Natalie Button

Just so you all know, Nat is the best sport in the universe and gave her blessing for this post.  By blessing, I mean, she sighed and told me that she was going to tell you all that we’re only friends because she let me cheat off her in pre-calculus class our junior year. 

Clearly, math is NOT my forte, but choosing best friends is.

I Am a Cliché. I even Know How to Spell Cliché.

04 September 2014 | 3 Comments

This morning, I dropped the kids off at their respective schools.

I know.    

Can I explain to you how magical it is for a parent to have two hours and fifteen minutes to themselves, three days a week?  The answer to that is, pretty damn magical.  Thank you, sweet, sweet pre-school.  I haven’t been alone on a regular basis, in a silent house no less, for seven and a half years.

Seven.  And a half.  Years.  Just the QUIET alone.  Those kids of mine are apparently a noisy duo.  The first two days, I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the radio because the quiet was so magnificent. 

This morning though?  I almost danced my way out of the classroom.  I was the mom in the SUV, giant smile on my face, blasting Vanilla Ice and singing every word, just because I can.  Then I got home, to my quiet house and picked twelve pounds of tomatoes from the garden.  Homemade tomato sauce?  Heck yes.    Did I mention it was quiet? 

I might even shower before noon!

I have much, much more to tell you.  Including explaining what I’ve been doing all summer.  I intend on doing just that, but for now, shhh… thirty more minutes before I have to pick the little one up.

To That Girl, In Her Twenties.

20 August 2014 | 4 Comments

That Girl in Her Twenties

It’s fine that you don’t have it all figured out. 

Hear me out.  I know you think you do, because that is how you have operated your entire life, but no, you don’t. 

Not at all, in fact. 

You are exactly, unequivocally where you are supposed to be in your life.  Trust in that.  Put to rest that feeling, the one that says, everyone else has a plan and you don’t.  It doesn’t matter that your siblings, your friends, your parents, that girl from high school, your cousins, or your mortal frenemy were married, had a job, whatever at your age… that isn’t your story, it’s theirs.  Stop bringing self-doubt and comparison to the table instead of your own bounty.      

Enjoy right where you are, right at this very minute.   Your entire life is there, laid out before you, just loaded with possibility.  You can fill it with whatever you want. 

I wish you could appreciate how unbelievably awesome that really is, but you won’t until you are old.

You get to make mistakes.  Thousands of them.  You get to try stupid shit.  If there ever was a time to do that, it’s now.  Trust me.  You get to do that thing that you believe in, the one that puts a fire in your belly when you think about it.  You can even do the thing that everyone in your life tells you NOT to do.  Sure, sometimes you will screw it all up, but sometimes it will be magnificent.  Do it, regardless of the outcome.  Just because you can.  

That goes for dating too.  You get to date the right ones and date the wrong ones, you don’t even have to recognize the difference right now.  You can have unapologetic {safe… goes with out saying, doesn’t it?} sex without attachment.  You can be in a long term relationship without ever having sex at all, if you like.  You can date, you can flirt, you can masturbate without shame, you can be abstinent, have a thousand partners, you can love a man, or a woman, or both.  Your body doesn’t belong to your parents, your partner, your friends, your religion, or anyone other than you.  And that is exactly who gets to make the decisions about it.  You.       

You get to struggle and work harder than you ever have.  You will learn exactly what you are made of in the moments that you think you can’t handle.  You will flounder and you will figure shit out, or you will fall flat on your face.  The first will teach you perseverance, the second will teach you humility.  Both are hard won, valuable gifts.

You get to figure out, sometimes it’s ok to walk away.  You can run from toxic friends, from your small town, or your big city, from the thing that you no longer want to be, but were just sure you wanted to do when you were twelve, and even from that relationship that no longer makes you happy.    

Your life, it will unfold.  Faster than you ever imagined it could, in most cases.  All it will be a part of you and each piece is important.  You will have hilarious stories to laugh about with your friends, the heartaches will have softened, you will know that you lived your dream, you will be grateful for the mis-steps and mistakes and the lessons learned. 

I know it’s hard to see right now because you are waiting for that next thing.  The person.  The career.  The house.  The kids.  The feeling that you have it all figured out.  Not unlike when you were five and waiting for school to start, twelve waiting for your first kiss, or sixteen and waiting for your drivers license.  Those things you’re waiting for, they will get there, when they get there, they can’t be rushed.  If I’m being honest, sometimes they never show up.  

Here is a secret though, one that some people never figure out.  You don’t need any of those things, not one, to be a complete, wonderful, dazzling human being.  You’re already there.  But, you knew that already, didn’t you?

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