Since I just celebrated my 34th birthday, I thought I’d share 34 things about myself. I really like this whole correlating number theme for blog posts, so don’t be surprised if you see more of these in the future! This post is really long. If you wanna read the short version, just read the words in bold. If you want to know every little detail, read it all!
1. I am one of 3 sisters.
I am the oldest. One of my sisters is 2 years younger than me. We both look a lot like our father. My other sister is 5.5 years younger than me and looks like her father.
2. My father committed suicide when I was 3.
Even though I only have one faded memory stored away in my brain with him, I’ve never stopped loving him, missing him, or thinking about all of the things he’s missed out on by choosing to leave this world. It took me a very long time to find peace with the fact that he was mentally ill and just didn’t want to struggle anymore. I have let go of notions that he didn’t love me or want to be here with me.
3. I met my husband only 5 months before we started our family.
Sometime in August of 2001, he showed up at my apartment with some mutual friends. We became instant friends. During the month of September, we fell in love and moved into an apartment together. On Halloween, he asked me to marry him. In November, I met his family. On January 20th, 2002, I found out I was pregnant, which means I got pregnant around Christmas. It’s no wonder that people thought we were crazy, but when you meet your soul mate, you don’t need years to figure it out, you just know. I do think it’s a much better idea to get to fully know a person before you merge your lives together, but in our case, everything worked out. 14 years later, he’s still the guy I fell in love with at his core. He may look a little different (even better if you ask me!), and he may have changed some of his ways (again, for the better), but he’s still my very best friend.
4. There was a time in my life when I didn’t think I wanted kids.
After a miserable break-up with my high school sweetheart, I didn’t think I even wanted to love again. Then I met my husband and knew I had never truly been in love. I knew I wanted to spend forever with him almost immediately. Then I got pregnant with my son and thought he’d be the only child. When he was 3, I decided he should have at least one sibling to grow up and old with, so we had his sister. After that, I thought I was done. Joe Daddy was scheduled to get a vasectomy, but then I had an awful dream that the kids and I died and he was left all alone, unable to start over. He was only 23 at the time, so I convinced him to at least wait until he was older. Then we became Christians and decided we wanted to have as many kids as God would bless us with. 2.5 years and 3 kids later, I decided I’d rather limit my blessings to as many as I felt I could physically, mentally, emotionally and financially handle. I think I probably overestimated my abilities, but I also know that I can do all things with God’s help. And so far, I’m still hanging in here, despite feeling overwhelmed physically, mentally, emotionally and financially at times. I wouldn’t recommend having 5 kids to anyone, because while I do love my kids and our life together, it is difficult to raise them in this world. The world expects so much of us, far more than I know I need to give, but I still feel that constant pressure to live up to those expectations and standards. I don’t regret creating my large family, I just wouldn’t encourage anyone else to do it. You’ll have plenty of challenges and blessings if you just have one or two kids! Trust me.
5. My favorite color is…all of them!
Seriously, other than a few shades of certain colors, there isn’t a color I don’t like. I have just about every color you can think of in my house. I would probably be depressed if I lived in the typical beige house. I have beige walls in most of my house, so I’m not dissing on beige, I just couldn’t have beige walls with beige floors with a beige couch and wood furniture. I mean, I could, I just wouldn’t be happy about it. Color makes me happy! The more, the better!
6. I love birds.
I would never own a bird as a pet, and I’m not a bird watcher. I guess you could say I have a connection to birds. Something about them draws me to them, like a moth to a flame. I love all birds, but especially the really colorful ones like phoenixes (even though they’re not actual real live birds), peacocks, parrots, macaws, lorikeets, parakeets, toucans, love birds, flamingos, blue birds, and cardinals. I also really like owls, chickens, ducks, swans and penguins! Yes, I’ve pretty much named every bird in existence. I love them all! I have a bunch of decorative birds and bird paintings in my house and both of my tattoos are bird related. Peacocks are known to symbolize nobility, and my name just so happens to mean noble. Coincidence? Hmmmm…
7. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
I lived there until I was 6, so I only went to preschool and kindergarten there before moving. My father’s family came to NOLA from France in the 1800’s. My grandmother once figured out that I’m 1/32 French. I’m a whole bunch of other stuff too, but my father’s great, great, many great grandparents were full blooded French folks. I love both French and Cajun cuisine. I haven’t been back to see my NOLA family since my grandfather died when I was 19, but I still have contact with them. Joe Daddy and I have been talking about taking a trip there for some time now, but somehow we keep ending up at the beach instead, LOL.
8. I love food!
I’m a very non-picky eater, which has made being on this strict Low FODMAP diet super hard for me. I love just about any meat, fruit, veggie, grain or dairy product you can think of, as well as just about every chemical laden packaged or fast food you could name! Giving up the junk wasn’t nearly as hard as limiting myself of the healthy stuff. I miss garlic the most!
9. I’m an introvert.
I’m not shy and I’m not antisocial, although I do claim to hate people and being social from time to time ;). Being an introvert, for me at least, means that I enjoy being by myself often. I enjoy being around other people too, I just don’t feel the need to be social very often. Having a big family makes it even harder. I get so much social interaction just taking care of my family and interacting with people through their school stuff and extracurriculars that it makes me almost never feel the need to connect with my friends. But because I do care about my friends and don’t want them to doubt that, I push myself to do things I often don’t really want to do. The older I get, the less I care if people understand me. True friends will stick around long enough to see they have to come to me. One of my sisters lives 5 minutes away from me. We spend a pretty good deal of time together, but it’s because she initiates it. She’s an extrovert, so she’s always wanting to host parties and go off places with her family and friends. There have been times when I have to tell her that I need space because I can get really overwhelmed if I don’t get enough alone time to recharge my social batteries. Online socializing has been such a great thing for me because I feel like I can stay connected with the people I love without having to spend time with them. I know that only probably makes sense to the introverts out there. Shouldn’t you want to spend time with the people you love??? Yes, just not every day, week, month or year…depending on how many other people I have to see on a regular basis. Going to the gym, going to church, coaching my girls cheer squad, taking Tay to gymnastics, going to school functions, letting the kids have friends over and spending time with my husband and kids is plenty of social interaction for someone like me. So, I try to make it to big events like birthday parties and occasional Girls’ Nights Out. Just calling people up or swinging by their house to chat is never gonna happen with me, and I know that it’s for that reason that I my best friends are my husband, my sisters, my mom, and my neighbor. I just don’t have the time to pour into any other relationships once you factor in all the alone time I need. I’m blessed with a pretty good number of other friends that are there when I have a question about something or need a favor, and I try to do the same for them in return. I think most of them get why I am the way I am, but if they don’t, maybe they’ll read this and understand a little better.
10. I’m 5′ tall.
That’s it. I’m short, but I’ve always enjoyed looking up to everyone else. I think being short has made me feel more grounded…and easier to blend in. I don’t like to stand out.
11. I have been pierced 23 times.
19 of those times were in my ears, twice in my tongue, once in my nose, once in my labret (underneath my bottom lip), and once in my navel. I took out the jewelry for most of my piercings when I got pregnant with my son. I had more of a punk rock look going on before that. Somehow getting pregnant made me want to look more conservative, more motherly. Later, I decided that I could be a good mother and look kind of edgy. Today, I keep my tragus rings in and only put additional earrings into my first hole. Many of my other holes are still open, I just prefer a more simple edgy look these days.
12. I have two tattoos.
One is a peacock feather between the tops of my shoulders. My name means noble and peacocks symbolize nobility. The other is 5 black birds in flight on outside of my left arm, from my elbow to my wrist. The birds represent my children. Each one is a little smaller than the next, so each kid knows which bird they are on my arm. I really want to get love birds on my feet, one on each foot, facing each other so that their beaks look like they’re touching when my feet are together, holding a banner in their feet with my wedding anniversary in Roman numerals. I also want a phoenix somewhere, a purple octopus on my hip, something on my ring finger, and my kids’ birth dates in Roman numerals either on the back of my right arm or on my left side near my heart. I got my first two tattoos at the same time, near my 13th wedding anniversary. My husband got his first one with me. We had planned on making it an annual thing, but we couldn’t afford it this year. It cost us over $400 to get everything we got that first time! We might have to make it an every other year event.
13. I’m not a pet person.
I have a dog, and I have grown to love her, but there are a lot of things about having a pet that bother me. If it weren’t for my family wanting a pet, we wouldn’t have one. When I agreed to let them have a dog, I researched breeds for a while before searching for an actual dog. I know a lot of people think it’s wrong to buy a dog that is bred when there are so many homeless dogs in kill shelters, but I knew there were certain attributes of dogs that I wouldn’t be able to live with for long. We ended up going with a Doberman Pinscher because they are known to be protective, but not aggressive. They have short hair, but don’t shed real bad. They are smart, but not spiteful. Most of them have their tails docked at birth (which was good for us because I didn’t want a large dog knocking my kids down with its large tail). I wouldn’t have been able to get it docked myself though (or crop the ears). Most importantly, they are good with children and enjoy being part of a family. We ended up finding a female blue Doberman an hour away. She was $600, but that was one of the lowest prices we had found (the ones with papers were around $1200!). She was worth every penny though, because Bleu is the best dog I’ve ever had. She had a bit of a problem with excessive barking (I swear she was barking at every squirrel that came near our yard) and running off if the kids let her out the front door (although she always came back, she would sometimes go out in the street and chase cars, which scared me, both for her and the cars), but ever since we bought a shock collar, she’s been much better!
14. I love to exercise.
I can’t tell you how many years I started exercising only to quit a week later. It wasn’t until I joined the fitness center at my church that I found something I could stick with. I first joined 3 years ago, right after I had Ty. I still had 3 kids at home so I only stuck with it for a month before deciding I just wasn’t ready yet. After Ty stopped breast-feeding at 8 months, I decided to give it another try. I took a couple classes during the week, which gave my girls a little time with little people their own ages and a little time away for me. I took the winter off and then went back in the spring. Then I took the summer off and went back that next fall. I managed to drop 25 lbs over those 2 years. I was being consistent and had come to enjoy exercising. Then I did something crazy and took that next winter, spring and summer off thinking I could save some money and work out at home. I gained 7 lbs. Not only was I not being consistent, but I stopped eating as healthy as I had been. I decided the $29 per month I was spending on my gym membership was worth what I got in return. Not only did it help me exercise consistently, but it gave Ty a little time away from me and it gave me some social interaction with people I had come to love to work out and fellowship with. I decided I wouldn’t even take the winter off this year. For the first time in my life, I can say I have been consistently exercising for five consecutive months. Sure, I started this journey 3 years ago, but I’ve never continuously worked out consistently for this long. I try to go to the gym every day Monday through Friday for an hour or two, but it rarely happens. Last week, I missed Tuesday because Tay had her endoscopy. The week before that I missed Friday because Tristyn woke up with a herpes outbreak and had to miss school. The week before that I missed Monday because the kids were out of school. On average, I work out 5 hours per week. Some weeks I do the full 7, some weeks I only do 3. It’s not even about being healthy or losing weight for me anymore. I truly and honestly enjoy it. If you’d like to hear my entire weight gain and loss journey, go here.
15. I love to drink water.
It wasn’t too long ago that I wasn’t drinking any water, like at all. From the time I was a teenager until just a couple years ago, the only time I drank water was if I was sick or I was thirsty and the only thing available was water. I pretty much drank coffee, Coke, sweet tea and alcohol. I even drank them while I was pregnant with all five of my children. It’s no surprise that I was obese at 160 lbs at only 30 years old, even though I was only 110 lbs from age 20-27 (yes, a 5′ tall person is considered obese at 160 lbs! I couldn’t believe it myself)! Once I started exercising, I started drinking water, at least while I was exercising. The more I drank, the more I wanted to drink it, but every time I would take a break from exercising, I would slip back into drinking several cups of coffee then several cups of Coke or tea then a couple glasses of wine at night. It wasn’t until I started having my irritable bowel symptoms in October 2015 that I gave up sodas, coffee, tea, and wine (at least as much of it). Now, the only things I drink are herbal teas, water, and the occasional adult beverage. I’ve had no other choice than to learn to love to drink water, LOL! I can’t have caffeine, juice, alcohol, soda or tea without it upsetting my stomach. There are times when I say F-it and just do what I want, but I almost always regret it. So, I love water now. I fill up a 9-cup jug every morning and take it with me wherever I go. If I run out or forget to bring it somewhere, I usually have a smaller bottle of water in my purse or my car or I buy one. I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to buy a bottle of water at first. I felt like I was wasting money. I’d much rather get a soda for $2 than water! But I have learned that it’s worth it for me if I’m thirsty enough to buy the drink that my body needs and won’t get sick from.
16. I love herbal teas.
I was a big time coffee drinker for so many years. Giving up the coffee was pretty hard, but luckily I enjoy hot teas too so I was able to supplement them for the coffee. I started out drinking green tea with honey. Then I found out caffeine was a big no-no for me. So I switched to herbal teas. I think I really just enjoy having a hot drink, especially during the colder time of year.
17. I used to be a nail biter.
I used to bite my nails so far down that they would bleed. It was painful and I hated it, but I just could not seem to break the habit. I spent the summer with my grandparents when I was 12 and my grandfather helped me stop biting them by keeping an emery board on hand. Every time I felt the urge to bite them, I’d file them instead. It worked! I still went through many phases where I would bite them, but the emery board method always helped me stop. The last time I had a biting phase was almost 6 years ago when I was still working. Ever since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been able to keep the biting at bay! I guess despite the longer hours, I’m less stressed staying home than when I was working.
18. I almost died from alcohol poisoning when I was 19.
I had a very dysfunctional childhood. My mom was an alcoholic. She gave me my first drink (tequila) when I was 14 years old. I was left unsupervised every day after school, and as long as she didn’t have to take me anywhere, my mom didn’t care where I went. I had a lot of friends who were 4-6 years older than me, so I drank pretty frequently. I was small, so I often drank too much. I blacked out a few times, but thankfully I had decent friends who took care of me. Nothing crazy ever happened…until I was 19 and had slowed down. In addition to alcohol, I did a lot of recreational drugs. I fell in love with a conservative boy, so I cleaned up my act. I went on Prozac to help keep me off the drugs. One night, I decided to have a couple shots with friends at my house while my mom was at her boyfriend’s. After 3 shots, I blacked out. When I woke up, I was in the hospital with my mom and 2 sisters standing over me crying. They said I had been unconscious for 6 hours and no one knew if I was going to wake up. My sister (who was 13 at the time) said that I drank the rest of the bottle of tequila and started puking. She called my mom when my eyes rolled in opposite directions. The hospital gave me liquid charcoal and IV liquids and waited for me to wake up. I was so horrified that I could black out so easily on the Prozac (which does warn you not to drink with it) that I swore off alcohol. Later I came off the Prozac and allowed myself to drink again, but never to get drunk (although it did happen by accident a time or two over the years). Just this past weekend, I blacked out again! For the full story, go here. I doubt I’ll ever drink liquor again.
19. I used to want to be a teacher when I grow up.
Unfortunately, seeing up close how the school system works has been enough for me to change that dream. I went to a junior college and got my Associate’s in Science for Elementary Education when Jules was 2-4 years old (my husband started 2 years before me, but we graduated at the same time!). I even graduated with the highest GPA in the class and got accepted to UGA. When I started at UGA, Tay was a few months old and I was still working full-time. UGA was not a good fit for me, so I dropped out after the first semester. I planned on going back to finish my degree one day, but then I changed courses and became a SAHM. I’ve toyed with the idea of one day flipping houses, but for now, I’m gonna blog for a while and see where it takes me.
20. I don’t do politics.
The whole system is corrupt. Need I say more?
21. I’m not a sports fan.
I’m not a competitive person, so most sports just don’t interest me. I don’t mind watching things like dance, cheer and ice skating competitions, but not much else is worthy of my time. I don’t mind my kids playing sports for fun, but I doubt any of them will ever be professionals because we just aren’t those people. There’s nothing wrong with those people, but those people tend to be competitive and we’re not. Not me, not my husband, and so far, none of my kids are either.
22. I love to take pictures.
In February 2012, I bought a DSLR so I could take better pictures of my growing babies. I got the Nikon D5100 with the extra zoom lens for $1,000. I started out with those disposables that you dropped off to be developed. Then I got my first digital camera in May 2006 when I graduated from college. I was hoping the DSLR would allow me to start taking my own family pictures so I could avoid dropping $250 a few times a year. I figured I’d make my money back after a year, so the $1,000 was a worthy investment. It was a rocky start since I knew nothing about photography, DSLR cameras or editing, but thanks to YouTube and some helpful photographers, I taught myself to take and edit my own family photos. I’m finally to a point where I can look at my pictures and say, “Good job!” rather than, “Good enough.” It only took me 3 years!
23. I’m a recovering perfectionist.
I am a very visual person, so I notice things that most people probably don’t. I notice what people wear, and not just their clothes, but their accessories too. I notice when someone changes the decor in their house or moves furniture around. Being like that means that I like to have my things look a certain way. I like for things to be organized, tidy and in their place. I used to really struggle when things weren’t just the way I liked them to be, but having 5 kids has a way of making that impossible to achieve…like ever. I spent so much time trying to keep things perfect that I exhausted myself and missed out on more important things, like snuggling. When I had my last baby, I decided to let go of the dream of perfection and just live. If there’s time to clean and get things looking perfect, I do it. I can’t help it. It’s just me. However, more often than not, there’s just not enough time to keep things looking perfect and enjoy time with my family. I try to stick to a schedule where I’ve carved out time to do both, but we all know how life goes. Stuff comes up. Kids get sick. Extra errands need to be run. Friends want to come over. We wanna get out of the house. I refuse to kill myself to keep to a strict schedule to keep my house perfect when hardly anyone else but my family sees it. I know for a fact, they don’t care what it looks like.
24. I don’t like shopping.
I bet some of my closest friends would disagree with this statement because I probably seem to be buying stuff all the time. I’m often redecorating or reorganizing something and that often requires me to go shopping. Here’s the thing though: I like stuff to look good and organized; I don’t like to go shopping for the stuff that makes that happen. I don’t like doing the actual work that goes into it either. I don’t like organizing, I just like things to be organized, so I organize fairly often. I really hate grocery shopping, but we gotta eat, so I do that once a week. I’ve tried spreading it out further, but with the amount of stuff we need and the amount of fresh foods we consume, a week is pretty much the longest I can go between trips. I kid you not though, I dread it every week. It’s just not fun to me.
25. I thought I wanted 3 girls and 3 boys that all looked alike.
When I dreamed of the perfect family, that’s what it looked like. Nice and symmetrical. I wanted the girls to look like me and the boys to look like Joe, but all very similar to each other. What I got was the complete opposite. I never made it to 6, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have 3 boys and 3 girls. At best, I could have ended up with 4 girls and 2 boys. I got 3 blue eyed babies, all with different shades of blue, one with brown eyes, and one with hazel. I got 3 blondes, all with different shades of blonde, one brown and one red haired child. They even all have different skin tones, mostly pale, and just one olive complexion like me. Some of them look a little alike, and some look like Joe and some look like me, or a mix of us both, but they definitely don’t look the way I envisioned they would. But you know what? I didn’t get what I thought I wanted many many years ago, but I damn sure got what I love! I love that we all look different! I love that I got a little bit of every color in my children! I love that I only have one boy and 4 girls! I don’t know if I love it because that’s what I got and I love them unconditionally or if it’s because my perception of perfect has changed, but I love my asymmetrical colorful family, LOL!
26. I like having a small house.
This time last year, I was trying really really hard to cut out as much extra from our budget as I could so I could pay off our debt and save up for a bigger house. I tried, but it didn’t happen. Not only did stuff come up that increased our debt (stuff like a $1300 septic tank repair), but my husband got transferred to a smaller store, resulting in a $1500 per month decrease in his pay. It was then that I realized, even if we pay off the debt, I’d rather spend that money on vacations and extracurricular activities for the kids than a house. A bigger house would be more upkeep and maintenance. A bigger house would mean bigger utility bills. A bigger house would probably cost us double what we pay for our small house. So we decided that we’d rather stay in our small house, let the kids share rooms for the majority of their time here at home with us and put our money into other things. We do plan on fixing this house up over the next couple of years, changing the flooring and siding and adding a garage, but for the most part we are going to use our money to make life more enjoyable outside of our home. Of course, if the opportunity arises and we come into a whole heck of a lot more money, I’d reconsider getting a bigger house. I just don’t want to be house poor, nor do I want to spend all of my time cleaning it!
27. I have no desire to travel outside the United States.
I’ve been to Canada and Mexico. Both were okay experiences, but I definitely realized how much I love the US of A. I’m sure I could get used to living in another country if I had to, but I’ll be perfectly fine if I never leave again. There are plenty of places in the U.S. that I would love to visit briefly one day, but the most I’ll probably ever see of another country will be over the internet or television. With all the craziness that goes on in the world, I just don’t have any desire to risk putting myself in a dangerous situation to go site seeing.
28. I will never go sky diving…or do anything else “just for fun” that has a high risk factor of death.
I am not a thrill seeker. I get most of my excitement from watching other people do crazy stuff on television. Even if I knew I had one day to live, I wouldn’t spend that time jumping out of a plane.
29. I hate my hair, but I’ve learned to accept it.
I guess you could call my hair curly, but it’s not that good pretty curly. Unless I straighten my hair with a flat iron, pull it back, or mousse it up, it looks like I licked my finger and stuck it in an electrical outlet. After 34 years, I feel like I have finally learned to accept my hair for what it is and deal with it appropriately. It literally took me that long to get here though.
30. I’m an indoor girl, but I love camping.
Nature is pretty. Nature is also dirty, hot, cold, sweaty, and full of critters. I am so thankful someone invented houses, air conditioning, central heat, electricity, running water and windows, because my favorite way to admire nature is through the glass panes of a comfortable building. However, one of my most favorite things to do with my family is to go camping. There’s just something about unplugging and “roughing it” that bring us together unlike any other time. Of course, I never like to go camping for very long…and I wouldn’t mind having an RV instead of a tent.
31. I’m not religious.
Take that for what you will. In my opinion, every religion has positive and negative attributes, but overall they have created more harm than good. What I believe is between me and God…whichever one you believe in. I am a member at a Methodist church, and I do teach according to their beliefs when I volunteer there, but that doesn’t mean I believe everything they believe.
32. I hate the cold. I hate snow. I hate rain. I hate extreme heat.
If I could have my way, it’d be sunny and 70 degrees outside every day.
33. I’m scared of the ocean.
I love the beach and I love looking at and learning about the creatures of the sea. I just don’t want to swim with them. I’ll usually let the kids drag me out until the water reaches my knees, but the whole time I’m thinking of all the scary things that could be heading towards me to eat, shock, sting or bite me. I never stay in the water for long. No thanks!
34. I hate the dentist.
I went to a dentist a few years ago that claimed I had gum disease. They did all kinds of extensive work every 3 months for 2 years. Every time I left there, my mouth hurt worse. Every time I went back, they said my gums and teeth were in worse shape than the visit before. I let them fill several cavities that they claimed I had because I had not gone to the dentist for 7 years before I started seeing them. After the 3rd time of them telling me I had 3 new cavities pop up in the 3 months since I had last seen them, I decided to find another dentist. My new dentist said that my gums were fine, except they were receding, most likely from all the scraping and planing the other dentist had been doing and that my teeth had a bunch of superficial drill sites. He said I didn’t have any new cavities, even though that first dentist said I had three. I think that first dentist knew that I hadn’t been to the dentist in 7 years and saw that I had good insurance so I could “afford” to do whatever they told me, and took me for the sucker I so clearly was. I was so upset by the situation that I stopped going to the dentist altogether. It’s been a few years though so I know I really need to go back before I do need a bunch of extensive work done.
And there you have it! 34 things about ME 🙂 I don’t think there’s much else to tell! LOL!
It’s been a while since I actually sat down to blog about our…
This week has been like Christmas for us! Last Thursday I posted pics of my…