Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It Was Great

What a great weekend! I mean it was great. We were just the right amount of busy. We watched games. We played games. It only rained once and not for very long. 

For the last two years, I spent the holiday weekend alone. It was a gift from Tim. He took the kids to his parents' cottage to give me a little break, a little alone time. It was so nice. But this year, JT had a baseball tournament and Tim's parents were out of town. So we were all home together. I was slightly bummed to be missing out on a weekend of day drinking and bingewatching TV and doing a lot of nothing. But it turns out being together was exactly what I needed. 

I think it's what we all needed.

"I think we have the best family," Wade told Tim when we walked back from a family basketball game. "Well, second best."

"Who is the first?," Tim asked with a surprised smile.

"Well, God and Jesus," Wade said matter of factly.  

I feel pretty good about two things--our second place ranking and that Wade thinks about God and Jesus at all (we have totally slacked on taking the youngest child to church!).

The only problem now is that none of us want to go back to school or work and we just want it to be summer vacation!  It was a great weekend.

Morning meeting on Saturday to talk about family rankings and all the fun we were going to have over the long weekend.

The world kind of exploded with green in the past week and a half. And we love it. 

Tim is one of the coaches on JT's team.  

A lot of baseball this weekend. It was fun to watch.

JT plays hard and yup, gets very, very dirty. Lol.
Love the shades right?!

What a goofball. He's the bat boy for JT's team.

Friday night at the court. JT was at a friend's house so we subbed with a neighbor kid. 

My dad came to town for a night and gave Wade a run for his money on the basketball court.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Celebrating Friendship and Life and A Giveaway

So I'm doing this fun and exciting project with my friend Christine. Here's what it's all about, what we are all about and how you can win a very cool hat.


Christine and I have been friends for forever. We met in middle school and grew up to have very different lives. But we share a history, a love of life and a hope for the future that started when we played games like MASH.

We used to dance our hearts out at school dances. We spent the night at each other's houses, staying up late talking about the boys we liked and the lives we wanted when we grew up. We played MASH. We watched scary movies. We swam in her neighbor's pool on hot summer nights.  We were good friends living the life in middle school in the late 1980s.

In high school, we got even closer. We shared milestones like getting our driver's licenses and special events like being on the homecoming court. We still danced our hearts out at school dances and talked about boys we liked. We dated best friends for a little while. We spent hours and hours at each other's houses.  We filled out the quizzes in magazines and watched MTV and talked about the lives we wanted when we grew up.

The closer we got to being grown-ups the more we saw that being a grown up wasn't always as magical as it had seemed in 1989. The more time Christine spent at my house, the more she saw the troubling sides of my troubled mother. She knew more than almost any of my friends what was really going on in my home. Her house became a refuge for me. Her mom became a mother figure to me too. When my mother didn't come home one night, I called her mom. When one of my mom's boyfriends got too touchy feely with me, I called her mom. 

The more messy my life got, the less Christine and I hung out though. We had silly fights like girls do in high school. We were teenagers being teenager-y. Then we graduated and went to different colleges and moved away and sort of stayed in touch and sort of lost touch and ultimately didn't really know what happened to each other (this is how it was pre-Facebook, remember pre-Facebook?).

Fast forward 13 years, we literally ran into each other on the stairs of a gym. We talked. We realized we lived within a half-mile of each other (we live 3 hours away from where we grew up). We had lunch and caught each other up on our lives. Then we had lunch with her mother when she visited and we all caught up some more. 

We saw each other at the gym. We trained for a marathon at the same time and cheered each other on and supported each other. We had more lunches. Then Facebook happened and we found all the friends from all the years. We started having dinner with another good buddy from middle school that we discovered lived near us too (thank you Facebook). We danced our hearts out at our 20th high school reunion. 

Here we are on the dance floor at our 20th reunion
having so much fun and I think kind of owning the floor. 

In some ways, it was like nothing had changed. 

Something that hadn't changed however was my complicated, troubled mother. During one particularly rough period, I was talking to Christine and she said "You need my mom." And I did. Her mother met  me at a Cracker Barrel in Kalamazoo (our hometown and where my mom lived then). Her mom gave me advice and helped me and hugged me. Just like she had done in high school. 

Then Christine told me her mom had cancer. She was worried and heartbroken. So was I.

Christine dove into research and ways to help her mother. She devoted her life to it. Her mother is doing better, so much better than doctors thought she would be. 


Being a grown up is messy and complicated and can break your heart. Friendships that last a lifetime can offer support and perspective and strength. Remembering the hope and excitement Christine and I felt for each other and the future as we filled out the quizzes and dreamt about what it would all look like makes us smile now. Friendships that last a lifetime are like going back in time a little bit. They feel like home. 

Christine and I have very different lives and are very different people in so many ways, but we have a history and we have lunch and we have laughs. And we are doing fun projects together to support each other. Christine created an apparel line, inspired by her mother, called BawareL.  

"I created the "B" with the modified cancer ribbon to symbolize my personal journey with my mom's battle with cancer and my positive result for the BRCA1 gene," she said. "The modified cancer ribbon signifies my desire and hope to see a shift and integration of more natural, alternative methods into the world of conventional prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases."

She hopes to raise awareness and inspire people. I'm helping her spread her message. And hopefully inspire a few people with my own positive outlook on life. I'm so proud to be a part of her mission and help people live a more positive, healthier life. And to celebrate friendship and people that stick with you and moms that look out for their kid's friends and love and ahhhhh! 

Here's the link to her site- click here. 
If you live in the metro Detroit area, her merchandise is in two Rochester area Hallmark stores. Sharon's Hallmark at The Village and on S. Livernois. Go check her out!

And here are a few of our videos:

(Click here to watch the video.)

(Click here to watch the video.)

Here's how you can win a hat from BawareL.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 23, 2016

Reset Button

Adjusting to being a working mom and having older kids has been sort of hard for me this year. I have loved my jobs and the feeling of independence and helping the family. I also love seeing my kids get older and who they are becoming. But! I truly loved being a stay-at-home mom to all my little babies for the past decade. I miss it.  

I also miss the slower pace of life when they were small. I miss who we were as a family--dinner times together, slow rolling weekends, board games, dance parties in the kitchen, playing make believe in the backyard and watching movies together.

Lately I feel like I am just driving people everywhere, annoying my older kids, yelling at everyone about electronics, dancing in the kitchen alone and just being tired all the damn time. Most of that time we are split up and all over town at different events. 

We had this friend once who said when he and his wife were fighting and life was kind of crazy and not working, they would have a date night and spend real quality time together. He said it was like hitting the reset button. They remembered who they were as a couple and what they liked about each other.

This past weekend, we got to hit the reset button on our family. We had less games and activities to go to and the weather was nice and neither Tim or I had to work. So, we hung out together, we cheered each other on, we slow rolled our days, we ate on the front porch, we did yard work, we played board games, we watched movies, we played make believe in the back yard.

We remembered who we were/are as a family.
Finally warm enough for breakfast on the front porch!

We are silly and wrestle-y (whether I like it or not, lol).

We are active and sport-y.

Lucy's first year of softball is going great.
She's having a lot of fun. 

Active means getting outside and exploring as much as possible too. JT and I are really good at that.

Even though we are the family that forgets the snack for the team, we get really excited when the other families remember and we get to eat it. (The picture below is after the game after the parents told the kids where snack was. It was the fastest Wade ran that whole day.)

He was really excited about snack! Lol.
We help each other.

JT was helping Wade with his swing before his game.

We are inconsistent with chores and allowance, but when we ask, the kids usually do them with only mild eye rolls. Boosh!

We like board games. And being silly and beating each other and laughing.

Even though we forget because life gets crazy and we are all getting older, playing make believe in the backyard is pretty amazing.

I'm adjusting to this new phase in life.....well at least I'm trying. Aging and time are just weird. 

Weekends like these help. I love slowing down enough to look around at all that we have to be grateful for and remembering who we are and what we love about each other.

And hey, I didn't have to dance alone in my kitchen on Saturday night. Wade had a dance party/dance off with me!

A video posted by Angela Youngblood (@jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed) on

Friday, May 20, 2016

It's Hard To Say Goodbye & What I Know For Sure This Week

I am ending the first year of working as an assistant preschool teacher. And all I can say is Waaaaaaa!!!!!!!

I have so much to say about this past year and I will, but right now I'm sad that's it's over. I fell in love with these kiddos and their families. How do we say good bye? This is harder than I thought. I'm sad about saying goodbye, even to the kids that I had a harder time figuring out. 

Preschool is kind of an amazing place. These kids are full of light and joy and sweetness and truth. And I love them.

Now I will go to all the end-of-the-year parties and try not to cry as the old Boyz To Men song "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" plays in my head. Like I said before, waaaaaaa.

(Click here to watch the video.)

I am being a little dramatic, I mean Boyz To Men, really? But the truth is, I loved this job this year and being a part of these families' lives and watching all the kids learn so much and grow so much. Maybe it gets easier every year, but I am going to miss these kiddos. I know that for sure right now.

Here's what else I know for sure right now:

  • This show looks very promising. I need a good show that has good writing, that's about life and all the real stuff we deal with. I miss Parenthood and Friday Night Lights so much.

(Click here to watch the video.)

  • Wait this show looks awesome too!!!! So funny. I like to laugh.

(Click here to watch the video.)

  • Time is weird. I will never stop being fascinated by how fast time goes. Lucy looked so grown up this week going into her choir concert. It kind of took my breath away. It's not bad or sad, just weird because everyone is growing up.

  • It's finally starting to warm up here and Michigan and I AM SO HAPPY!!!!

What do YOU know for sure this week?! Tell me!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Power of Abe...Socks

When I was a kid I thought it would be so cool to have superhero underwear. Remember Underoos? I thought that would be so awesome to know you were wearing a super power shirt under your clothes.  Not only was it just cool as hell, I felt like it would give me an edge. Like maybe if I'd been wearing the Underoos I wouldn't have misspelled Wednesday in front of the whole class like I did in Mrs. Hutchinson's class that cold-ish day in 1983. Maybe. We'll never know because for some reason my mom never really believed in the power or coolness of Underoos and I never got any.

But a few weeks ago one of the best things that has ever happened to me happened and it involved a superhero of sorts, and the Internet and socks. A sock company sent an email that said this:

Ahhhhhh!!!! How cool, right?!?

I was finally going to get my chance to wear a super hero under my clothes. Someone who fought for real change in society.  A real hero--not a reality star or a pro athlete or a comedian or satirist or made up guy who flies or spins webs. Someone who made an impact in the world, created real change. For me that hero is Abraham Lincoln.

I sort of stumbled into loving this hero of mine. This past summer on a road trip the kids begged me to stop when we saw a sign that said "Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln." Okay, actually I forced my kids to go with me. But I was fascinated that there was a museum celebrating our 16th President nestled in the mountains of Kentucky along with all the liquor stores and Baptist churches.

So we stopped and my fascination began. I started reading everything I could and watching biographies. I found ways to work facts about Abraham Lincoln anecdotes into almost every conversation/situation. Like when the kids and I went bowling, I said "you know who else liked to bowl?" The kids rolled their eyes and said "Abraham Lincoln" in annoyed unison. 

Abraham Lincoln was a poor, uneducated guy who wanted something more. He was a hard worker who wasn't perfect. He told great stories. He had great empathy. He was a loving father who believed in childhood. He wanted to see all the sides of a situation. He loved to make people laugh. He was prone to darkness and feeling a little too much. He was described as always looking a bit disheveled. He cared. He was deliberate. He was passionate. I truly believe the post Civil War America would have healed differently (and better!) if he had lived longer and that we would have felt the positive impacts from that time today. 

I literally could go on and on (and on) about Abraham Lincoln and defending Mary and the complexities of depression and ahhhh, there I go again. But this post is about socks. Why do I love wearing Abraham Lincoln socks? Because just like the old Bonnie Tyler song "I need a hero!"  Don't we all? Not just a hero, but someone that we can look to and learn from and feel inspired by. I like to think when I wear my socks that I feel even more compassion and empathy even if I sometimes still misspell Wednesday.

I wish I could give everyone a pair of Abraham Lincoln socks. If you want to get a pair, go to this website, SockSmith.com. These socks are soft an comfortable and yeah, inspiring.

While you are ordering, click on the song below and rock out.

(Click here to watch the video.)

I was given a pair of socks to do this review, but the thoughts and opinions are all mine, all original.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Doing Whatever I Want

Tim took all the kids to JT's baseball tournament in Indiana this past weekend. I had to work and had deadlines for articles and couldn't go. At first I felt guilty and upset. I cried. When I came home from work Friday night after the kids and Tim had already left, I found a bottle of wine and a note on the counter. 

The note said:

Enjoy some time alone, I miss you, I miss us.
Sit on the porch, pour a glass of wine, smell the lilacs and relax.
I truly love you.

Love, Tim

It was what I needed to read. Tim knows me well. He knows that I need alone time to feel more normal. So, I sat on my porch and got a little drunk.

Then I watched a movie, Sisters (sort of funny, but not the funniest ever). I worked a little. I ate a lot. I took the dogs for walks. I drank more. I worked more. I slept in. I watched a documentary on Richard Linklater (so awesome! I'm a fan.). 

(click here to watch the video)

I worked again. I danced in my kitchen. I played my records. I watched stupid clips on YouTube. I made a pizza for myself. I drank more. I slept more. 
My friend brought me a coffee on Sunday morning. She knew I needed caffeine from all my day drinking and to get all the work done. And yes, I'm listening to the Dazed And Confused soundtrack. Love it!

This morning I woke up refreshed. Happy. Relaxed. 
I've been feeling so run down lately and a little anxious and even more sensitive than usual. It turns out I what I needed was a little time to do whatever the hell I wanted.

Kids are back, routines (or my attempt at them) are back, crazy busy pace is back and I'm all "Let's do this!"

Friday, May 13, 2016

Old Eyes, Being Nice and What I Know For Sure

You should say something nice to someone. We all should. Being nice is so simple it's almost dumb. I mean why don't we do it more? 

Yesterday someone said something nice to me and it literally made my day, maybe even my week. I'm almost embarrassed to say what it was because it might make me seem so vain. But um, I'm a blogger who loves to post pictures of myself on social media....I think people might get that I have vanity issues. So here it goes...

Lately I've been feeling exhausted, run down, drained, depleted, old. The other night I Googled "how to fix hooded eyes without surgery" and discovered it's a common problem for "older" women. It turns out there's some pretty highly recommended egg white recipes that sound promising and last for at least 24 hours. Not quite as long lasting as surgery. Whomp. Whomp. So yesterday when a woman dropping off her granddaughter at my preschool said "you have four kids? you look like you just got out of college." Um, holy shit lady, THANK YOU. I mean I get it, she doesn't stand that close to me and maybe she's a little blind, but she said those words and I ate them up. She was nice and I needed someone to say something nice to me. It made me feel better. I did my best to open my old tired hooded eyes and said thank you.

So yeah, go say something nice to someone. You have no idea how low they may be feeling and how much they may need to hear something nice. Something simple or even a nice smile. It's so simple it's dumb. I'm going to do it. I'm going to say something nice to all the people everywhere all weekend.

I know for sure that being nice has a lot of power and we should all do it more.

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • JT turns 10 this week and I can't believe it! I made this video of our boy. Check it out.
A Decade of JT from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

  • I got a pretty rad present for Mother's Day....a record player!!!!! I am loving listening to my 45s from when I was a kid and reliving the 1980s. 

The turntable sits on top of my great-grandmother's sewing machine (still so want to learn how to sew ).

  • Peyton is amazing. My kid ran in his first track meet after the broken leg/surgery/therapy saga and crushed the 2-mile. I'm so amazed by him and proud of him and so grateful.

  • I love this song!

(Click here to watch the video.)

  • Bubbles are always a good idea.

  • This video on acceptance is so damn powerful. Full of bravery and vulnerabilty and truth. 
click here to watch it- https://www.facebook.com/nantucketproject/videos/1209177322428158/

What do YOU know for sure? Tell me!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Decade of JT

JT turns 10 this coming weekend. 

We've always called JT our light bringer because he is full of light, and joy and magic and smiles. He is a fun kid. A sweet kid. An amazing kid.

He's part Huck Finn, part Mowgli, part Matthew McConaughey, part Peter Pan/Lost Boy. Given a choice of inside or outside, it's always outside. He's got a special love for animals. He craves adventure. If he never had to wear a shirt again, he'd be the happiest kid around. 

He's also the kind of kid that is kind to everyone. And isn't afraid to talk to anyone. 

He's the kid who charms the people at the store, the teachers, the coaches, the senior citizens in church. JT loves people and they love him back.

He's the kid who has Celiac disease but doesn't let it bother him. He's never once complained, even when he's had a gluten attack. He's the kid who has ADHD and school sometimes isn't his thing, but he works through it and finds ways to make things better. 

He's the kid that seems sort of magical. He makes you want to believe in magic too. 

JT makes life brighter. He is our light bringer.

It's a tradition around this house that when a kid turns 10, they get a video recap of the their first decade. So here's JT's....

A Decade of JT from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.