Flashback Friday – Hello World, Redux

I used to do a feature called “Flashback Friday” where I would revisit previous blog posts. When I decided to keep my old posts, rather than deleting them, I decided this would be a nice thing to continue so that I can help my blog come full circle and continue the Then and Now theme. So, let’s look back at my Very First Post, “Hello World!”

In that post, I included the following statement: ” The topics that run through my head the most include (in no particular order):  Harry Potter, Twilight, reality TV fluff, exercise, reading, cooking, baking, eating, my faith, losing weight via Medifast, my home-based business, my son’s issues (ADHD/Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism),  dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s, decluttering/organizing, and learning to blog.” Below I will go over each of these topics, many of my comments indicate future blog topics.

Harry Potter– Still a big part of my life! My heart still skips a beat whenever I see or hear of anything Harry Potter-related. I will definitely continue to discuss all things Harry Potter.

Twilight– Still a fan, but not something that I think about too often. I haven’t read the books in a while and I do think it would be fun to re-read them and blog about it. I also haven’t watched either of the Breaking Dawn movies yet, need to do that. After reading Twilight I really enjoyed the Hunger Games and Divergent series.

Reality TV Fluff – YES! Still a fan of all of the “Housewives” franchises as well as several other Bravo and MTV series, “Mysteries at the Museum,” “Life Below Zero,” “Fixer Upper,” and more.

Exercise– Still enjoy exercise, although it has been somewhat of a challenge the past couple of years thanks to some foot and ankle injuries/issues. Fingers crossed that 2020 will be the year I am able to get back into a good routine. Currently I attend weekly Osteostrong session and have joined the local Club Pilates location that is opening soon.

Reading– Still a book lover, but the past several years I have not done well with making time for it. As I figure out my new life routines, I want to be sure that I set aside time for reading.

Cooking, baking, eating– A hearty yes to all three! This enjoyment along with not being able to exercise has contributed to a substantial weight gain, I’m sorry to say. Again, hoping 2020 will be the year that this turns around. Several months ago I started a subscription to Hungryroot and it has been a game changer. Muffins are my baking item of choice.

My faith– An integral part of my life. I can’t imagine going through 2015 without it. I just started a 31-Day Prayer Challenge that, even though I am only two days in, has been amazing!

Losing weight via Medifast– I had success with Medifast but the the issue I had with it is that I could not exercise due to the low caloric intake, I really need to exercise for my physical and emotional health. I am currently working on adopting an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle.

My home-based business– The business is at a low simmer. I have created a new online identity, “Flamingo Susie,” as a business brand, but not a lot has happened so I need to decide if I want to continue with that or just stick with Muggle Mom.

My son’s issues (ADHD/Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism)– In 2015 we added Type 1 Diabetes to this list of issues. There have been lots of struggles and there have also been lots of triumphs. I’d love to be a resource and an encouragement to mothers whose kids have similar issues. I’m happy to report that he graduated high school and college and is now working in the computer science field, living on his own in another state. Let me add that I know all of these things are not possible for every child and hope that I am not sending a message that this is the only version of “success.” I think as mothers we just want to help our children figure out their paths and do what is appropriate to help them move along.

Dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s- My mother passed away in 2015. I was with her at the time and it was a very powerful moment. I have been moving through the grief process. A few people have reached out to me when their mothers were diagnosed and it is an honor to try to be a resource and comfort to them. I now consider myself an Alzheimer’s advocate.

Decluttering/organizing-Still my main bugaboo. Now that my children are out of the house, I look around at all the things that are lying around because “they might want/need them some day” and realize that they will never want or need them and they need to go. I have found some good resources, mainly podcasts and Facebook groups, to point me in the right direction and have started the process of The Big Clearout. I am giving myself grace and understand that the house did not get this way overnight and it is not going to become magically decluttered and organized overnight. Progress, however small, is still progress, though, and I am making progress. Again, this is something that I am figuring out how to work in to my new routine.

Learning to blog-Obviously I am still learning and the blog is a work in progress. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts, I also enjoy using Instagram and, sometimes, Snapchat.

If you made it through this list, you deserve a special thank you! When I started my blog I really had a lot of ideas swimming around in my head! It’s interesting to note what was consuming my thoughts at that time. I guess that is one of the things about journaling, being able to step back into one’s head space at the time of writing. I’m not going to make any predictions about what topics I’ll be focused on in the year ahead but I’m looking forward to thinking and writing and, I hope, getting some feedback.

From Then to Now

A New Year. A fresh start. A blank page. It seemed like the perfect time to do that thing I had been telling myself for … how long … that I needed to do — get the writing juices flowing, start working on my blog again. However, I had no idea that, other than one (now deleted) post in 2017, I had not posted since 2015. 2015. You see, 2015 was the Worst Year of my Life.

What happened in 2015? Things that felt like one assault after another. As I stare at that date it all comes flooding back. In January my daughter, then 13, went to the ER (which apparently is now called the ED so I’ll try to use that terminology) with a head-splitting migraine. In February, my son, then 18, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In March, my husband went to the ED (!) with a severe case of the flu. In April I lost my job. In May my mother passed away. I spent the month of June in a daze.

In July, my family received amazing news. My paternal uncle was a Korean War POW who died of malnutrition in a prison camp. No remains were ever received. However, some time in the 2000’s my aunt (his sister and closest blood relative) gave DNA to a project trying to identify a quantity of remains that had been received from South Korea. In July 2015 she received a call that they had identified remains belonging to her brother. Obviously this was great news but also very emotional and a lot to process.

In August I started a new job as full-time nanny for my then 5 month old niece. This is honestly what saved me, being around this sweet baby every day. That was when the healing started.

Fast forward to 2019. Things came full circle. My son, newly graduated from college, started his first job and moved into his first apartment, out of state. My daughter graduated from high school and started college. My niece started full-day junior kindergarten. I spent the last quarter of the last year trying to get my bearings in this new, “empty nest” life, with no large or small children depending on me on a daily basis. It felt like blogging might help me put together the picture of my new season of life.

As I look over my “old” blog, I wonder if I should just move on and start anew. However, my sense is that it will be helpful and healing for me to bridge the gap between old and new. Reflect on things that have happened, changes that have been made, lessons that have been learned, in the time between Then and Now. I think it would be helpful for me and it would be really cool if it helped somebody else out, too.

T1 Diabetic Hallows

Last week we were all rather shocked when Ron, 18, received a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Thankfully, this happened at his physical and we did not have to find out through a traumatic event.

I feel that writing about our experiences with Type 1 Diabetes will help me in dealing with this new challenge. By posting my thoughts via blogging, I hope I may help other parents in some way, either in recognizing the signs and symptoms of T1D, sharing information, and/or supporting them.

I decided to start a separate blog for posts related to our diabetes journey. Being me I still wanted there to be some sort of Harry Potter connection so the name of the blog is T1 Diabetic Hallows.. I have also created a T1D Pinterest Board which Ron checks regularly.

Not an Elder Wand, but an Insulin Pen. Not an Invisibility Cloak, but an Invisible Disease. Not a Resurrection Stone, but rather a Juice Box.

(Image from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” ©WarnerBros. 2010 taken from IMDB)

IMG_6633-0

For the First Time in Forever — Follow Up Friday

small_3397858623Why yes, it has been a while since my last post.  What better way to jump back in than with a “Follow Up Friday” post so I can follow up on previous posts and catch you up a bit on what-all has been going on with me.

First, regarding previous blog post subjects:

  • Hermione the bread starter is no longer.  I had a bunch in the freezer but ended up throwing it out in a big clean-out.  I would like to maintain another starter someday, not necessarily the Amish Friendship Bread, but right now I feel like I have enough other things to take care of!blogging word cloud
  •  I still plan to finish my series about our Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend because it is still fresh and beautiful in my mind and something I will always remember!
  •  I also plan to finish my series about training for my first 5K.  *Spoiler Alert* – I completed the 5K, in a time I was pleased with, even!  Unfortunately I never did start to like running but for a reason which shall be revealed, last month I completed another 5K AND a Half Marathon!  What the what?!
  • We sold our cluttered house and bought what is pretty much our dream house (not necessarily in that order …).  Lots more deets to follow on all that.
  • Since we moved I haven’t been shopping at ALDI very often
  • I’m not sure where my french Harry Potter book is

In addition:

  • I am now working outside the home part-time as an inventory auditor
  •  I have become a “Hunger Games” fan
  • We adopted two cats, adorable solid black brothers we named Toby and Tolkien, aka The Chocolate Drops.  You can see a picture or two of them on my Instagram and on Crookshank’s (might as well call him by his real name now that we have more than one cat! = Teddy) Twitter account, @Teddy0605.  The kittens are so cute and entertaining that I’m working on a new blog about them that I hope to make live soon.
  • Not to brag, but I have over 1,000 Followers on Pinterest — would love for you to join us!
  • I have a precious nephew, “Teddy Lupin,” who turns two tomorrow
  • Time marches on!  Ron is now 17, Ginny turns 13 next month, and Muggle Man and I celebrate our 25th anniversary this year!

What caused this sudden re-emergence into blogging?  An opportunity to write reviews for a website which required samples of my writing.  I sent a link to my blog, which of course I “keep meaning” to update.  As I looked back over old posts, I came across this one, and it was such a wake-up call and reminder of why I started my blog in the first place (I really should print it out and post it for frequent reference!).  My blog needs me, and I need it!

(All aboard The Feels Train)

feels train

Thanks for checking on me, as always please Tweet me @realmugglemom

 

 

(skeleton) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/3397858623/”>Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(blogging cloud) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnett/2836828090/”>Kristina B</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(Feels Train) http://www.funnyjunk.com added by poxitorium at Zombie Master

 

You can please some of the people some of the time … (or, “I Gotta Be Me!”)

You can please some of  the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

I really enjoy tweeting via @realmugglemom and would do it even if nobody ever read my tweets (which may often actually be the case). I’m not hung up on how many “followers” I have (good thing!) but it is interesting to watch the numbers change. For a while I hovered between 25 – 29. I wondered if I would ever make it to 30? Or if it would go all the way down to 20? I’m not sure what happened but in the space of about a week my followers doubled. The number stayed the same for a while, then, it seemed like each day it would go down by one. Of course each time it goes down you cant help but think, “I wonder what I tweeted that pushed this person over the edge to hit “unfollow?!”

I know one “problem” I have is that I don’t fit a neat “niche.” I am a Christian, but I found out a while back that that does not necessarily mean that I automatically fit in, or don’t fit in, with certain groups. It seems that I’m “too Christian” for secular groups but “not Christian enough” for others.

Here’s an example. When I was expecting Ginny I was on a pregnancy due date message board. Years after the babies were born the board was still going strong. However, as people left the board along the way, it ended up that most of the board members were not Christian and were single or divorced. There was a lot of what I felt was “bashing” of “marriage” and of “Christians,” and even though comments were made in general, I took them personally.

I finally decided that I needed to find a board with more like-minded Moms and joined a Christian moms board. Unfortunately it was a really unpleasant experience and I did not fit in there, either.  I grew up in a very tolerant and open-minded, “mainline” Protestant church and on this board I quickly realized I had been living in a sheltered world.  I also figured out why my friends on my other board didn’t like “Christians.”  Whoa.  It was a very eye-opening experience, and it made me doubly determined not to try to “hide” my faith, and also (by not hiding my faith) to share with others that not all Christians are like the ones I encountered on that message board. 

My “online handle” is “MuggleMom.”  So far it seems that most of my followers are either other “Mom” bloggers (mostly Christian), or other Harry Potter fans.  I don’t think the Christian Mom Bloggers dig my Harry Potter tweets, and I don’t think the Harry Potter fans dig my “Mom” tweets.  I could “focus” on just one of these areas in an effort to attract more followers, but, as my handle indicates, these are two things that are very important to me and I don’t want to downplay either one, just to be more popular.  I know I don’t agree/just love every Tweet that the people I follow Tweet, so I’m assuming that those who choose to follow me, do as I do and skip over the ones they don’t care for and enjoy the ones they do.  (If any of  you happen to be reading this, thank you for bearing with me and taking the “bad” with the “good”)!   In the meantime, my plan is to keep being “me” and to keep blogging and Tweeting about the things I love.

Finding Balance

I am finding that for me, what works best is not so much trying to achieve that elusive “balance” but more of a “moderation in all things” approach.  For example,  online life vs. real life.  I have seen a few bloggers and Tweeters announce that they are giving up their blogs in order to spend more time with their families.   While I certainly agree that family is more important than whatever online stuff you have going on, and I applaud their efforts and hope that they achieve their goal, I don’t know that giving up the online stuff is the answer.  My reasoning comes from personal experience.  A few years (pre-blogging, Twitter & Facebook days!)  ago I gave up my message boards for Lent.  I felt like the boards were taking up too much of my time, distracting me from my housekeeping and other duties, and that cutting them out of my life would free up my time for prayer, Bible study, and other more important pursuits.  What happened surprised me.  I realized that my message boards were not the cause of my problem, but a symptom.  I was avoiding these other important pursuits, and when I no longer had my message boards to turn to, I just found some other way to fritter away the time.  I wasn’t any more productive or spiritual or whatever without my boards than I was with my boards.  Rather than cutting out my message boards, Twitter, and other online activities, I find that a better solution is to be intentional about the time I am spending on them.