Peanut Butter Grits
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
By Mellisa Pendleton

It's been a little while since my last blog post. Ahhhhh, life. It knows when you need to slow down. I had back to back weddings for April and well...I was just tired. When I'm tired (like bone dead tired), I usually get sick. It never fails. I'm such a baby about it too. If I have a fever...I'm out for the count on doing anything productive. I'm assuming it was a terrible cold, started by allergies, and inevitably went to my chest. Anyhow, it just goes to show you what stress, no down time, and an array of tasks on your 'to do' list can do. On a brighter note...no back pain. That last round of inflammation took its toll on my body for sure. I had made the decision to cancel or better yet post pone my back surgery and I'm so glad I did. Unless it's the absolute only option, then I wait. I had these big plans to start the gym when my weddings were finished up, but then someone would get sick or there was a school meeting, a doctor's appointment, something else on the calendar. So I just said enough excuses. Something will always be in the way. Always. So, I set my alarm for 4:30 am on Monday. Go make time for my health before the day even began. Now, for people who really know me know that I'm not so much a 4:30 up in the morning gal. I used to be. Long back when I worked outside of the home, but now a days...that alarm at 6:30 is torturous. BUT, and here comes the big BUT, I can't make excuses anymore. Y'all, I did a bootcamp yesterday morning and my legs feel like they may fall off. No joke. You don't realize how out of shape you really are until you start back again. I don't know why taking care of myself seems to be the ONE thing I can't master. I know all of you moms are shaking your head going "because you have children Mellisa." And yes, I agree they can put a halt to any form of self care, but I sure would like to do some things with them that require more than me sitting on the sidelines. Sidetone: being home before the kids wake up has given me that chance to read my bible. To spend my early morning light with HIM. 

We started a list this week. A summer bucket list of sorts. Ryder (my 11 year old) helped me cut out places from a local magazine and tape them to a book I got for my birthday. Hiking, zoos, river tubing, aquariums, state parks, and some emerald mining are just a few. He and I came up with a plan to take one day trip per week during this summer. Somewhere we have never been. We have been gifted an entire week by a family member to head to the beach before the kids are even out of school and we're taking it. I never fear of going places alone with my kids. I know some people ask how I handle it, but for me, I love to give them the gift of new surroundings every once in awhile. New air to breathe, new memories to make, and mom's undivided attention. I have so far gone through 2 entire closets to purge for the yard sale. I do this once a year and use the funds for our summer fun fund. 

My birthday was last week. It always feels different than when you were little doesn't it? I awoke to a closed bedroom door and 4 little people walking in singing happy birthday while holding a left over cookie cake with a lit candle on top. My 17 year old got up, shut my bedroom door, got all the kids up to make their homemade birthday cards, and presented me with the most beautiful display of selflessness. She babysits for a couple families and she used her own money to buy the kid's gifts for me. It brought tears to my eyes. What's really amazing is how well that child knows me. She got a book that was inscribed with 'Bucket List' on the front (a conversation we had a few weeks ago), bath salts, a new top, sangria tea, a new candle, and some delicious granola. This kid, I'm telling you...she's my wing woman. She knows when I have my off days, when I need a little extra hand with something...she just knows. 

I signed the kids up for something called the Nature Pal Exchange. We've been eagerly eye balling things we can add to the egg carton for our new friends. So far we have a snake skin, a leaf, and a tiny little pinecone. We gotta up our game lol. My kids are actually really excited about this little project. Not only to be given an egg carton of goodies from somewhere else in our country but to find some really cool things for them to give as well. 

Update on debt and home: 

Since we decided that we were taking our house off the market, I had been racking my brain on how to do some much needed (NEEDED) updates on our home. I was lying awake one night when I thought about equity. We MUST have equity in our home. We hadn't refinanced our house but only once in 12 years so I did some investigating. Well, we do, so we decided to refinance our house and use the equity we have built up to do those things we feel will benefit us in the long run. We just had a brand new air unit put in last week and holy moly...is that how cold air is supposed to be? Not even exaggerating. It's amazing. What's even better is that the company we used was AWESOME. I'm talking top of the line customer service. I would recommend them 100 times over. Century Services went above and beyond. We've gotten an estimate on a fence for the backyard, and are making plans to pay off 4 debts. FOUR DEBTS! My student loan, one bank loan, one credit card, and LARGE bill to have my camera equipment serviced(sand damage from a beach session). So, our mortgage goes up $50 a month, but the total coming out of our monthly bills comes down $350. All that extra can go to principals on other bills. Super excited about our decision. Now some people will disagree, but I can tell you without doubt it's right for us. 

Also, new washer and dryer...praise the Lord! 

Happy Tuesday friends! 

xoxo Mellisa 

 

 
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
By Mellisa Pendleton

I heard the static from my alarm as my 11 year old charged in the room this morning bright and early. Dang, late again. The annoyance on his face was priceless. Out of all 4, he does NOT like to be late. I'm not gonna lie, I might have asked him at that point if he wanted to stay home (lol). "Mom, I've already missed 17 days this year" Ahhhhh, my oldest son's personality shining through. He knows exactly how many days he's been out due to sickness, broken bones, and randoms this year. Crap, he's right. 

I got up and we frantically start the day so that they could only be a little late. Then I realize I hadn't made my 6 year old's brown paper bag lunch for his field trip today. I think I remember telling my husband last night that I would "take care of it." It was hard not to feel defeated at that point until I saw two other amazing  parents I know pull into the school just as I was. We both giggled at each other. It happens. More frequently for others than some...but it's life. Will they win that coveted "No absences for how many ever days" certificate? No. But I'm hoping that all the good will outweigh all those little catastrophes ;) As I type this, I've told my 4 year old to go upstairs and pick out her own outfit for preschool. She has now come downstairs with leggings, a shirt they made there a few years ago, and two mismatched socks. Ahhhh, who cares. You do you baby! She also had a chocolate popsicle after breakfast so that I could use the bathroom in peace. You do what you gotta do friends. 

Update on finances: Since we have decided to stay in our current home for the time being, we also decided to refinance our house and use the equity in the home to do some dire needed updates. We are hopeful that it will be enough to tackle the 4 biggest areas we feel are important. Our air conditioner unit is close to biting the dust. So much that they can't even find a replacement coil to replace the existing one because it it obsolete. We have had the same carpet for almost 12 years and the back sliding glass door needs to be replaced. Lastly, we are really really wanting to fence in our backyard. Having 4 dogs that run away like they've escaped from prison if not on the leash has been hard. VERY HARD. Yes, refinance for a 30 year mortgage puts us back to starting over for owning our home, but the good outweighs that part. It only adds about $50 extra to our mortgage each month and we're hoping it is not only more energy efficient, but adds value to our house. We've gotten quotes on all 3 major jobs and we're very happy with them. Our interest rate went down as well. Not by much, but it is still decreased and that makes me happy. 

So, we're still trucking along to get as quickly out of debt as we can, but we realize it didn't take over night to get here and it won't take over night to get out. We have a huge yard sale planned for the first Saturday in May and I told the kids this next week that they're out for Spring Break we are going through the entire house and purging. PURGING. If your local, you won't want to miss this sale. 

Side note: my washer and dryer are getting delivered tomorrow. Praise the Lord! 

Happy Wednesday friends. 

xoxo Mellisa 

Link: Ellia May Designs (crazy amazing hair bows)

 
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
By Mellisa Pendleton

Y'all, it's been a crazy month. C.R.A.Z.Y. I was mentioning the other day on IG that we have had flu x2, strep, our washing machine has in fact bit the dust(which you can imagine the laundry mat trips), our oldest dog Eloise(she's 13 1/2 years old) has been diagnosed with cancer(they kept her at the vet for 4 days to get her belly under control-can you imagine that bill?), took our house off the market, our air unit has broken(praying they can find the replacement part), I woke up to a poop filled bed(the dog), and then...this. 

 

Yep....broken. I had a wedding in beautiful Charleston over the weekend and I called my mom to check on the kids one afternoon. Well...she said Jackson had hurt his arm, but she wrapped it and he went on with his day. Sunday night when I got home I could tell it was still bothering him, but it wasn't until the early hours of Tuesday morning that the pain woke him up from a dead sleep. Took him in and sure enough...he has a buckle fracture on his wrist. Trampoline catastrophe. Anyhow, we got him all figured out and Ryder comes home yesterday afternoon complaining of his thumb. I take a look and the thing is 3 times the size it should be...so this happens....

 

I can't make this stuff up guys. These two just got over a bought with the flu and strep. I went to the Ortho Urgent Care twice in one day. Holy heavens, let this be it for while boys, ok? 

Your momma can take but so much. 

 

So, we've had to purchase a new washer and dryer. It had to be done. But, I do feel better that I had someone come out to actually say the words..."Mrs. Pendleton, it's gone." Dang. So laundry mat visits are my new norm. I do like getting all the clothes done at once but gracious it's annoying. I had these big plans for today to clean the house, get laundry completed, and anything I could accomplish before picking Ella back up from preschool..I get home and look at the schedule. Crap! An awards ceremony at school for J at 11. So, off I go to it because children don't stay little and I want him to know I'm there. 

A few things about Charleston I realized...

1: It is GORGEOUS. I hadn't been there since high school and wow...just wow

2: There are bugs there that my body has never dealt with. I have bites all over me. They itch and I'm pretty sure I'm ripping part of my skin off while scratching. 

3: I was able to really relax even with the amount of shooting I was doing. It's impossible not to be relaxed there. 

4: FOOD...no other explanation necessary. The food is delicious. 

5: I'm so lucky. Really, I am. This family welcomed me into the home they were staying at and it was just perfect. 

6: I hate driving long distances. Hate it. My back felt like an 80 year old woman. Would I still do it again in a hear beat? Absolutely. 

7: I missed my kids desperately. I wished they had been there to dip their little toes in the ocean. 

8: I wish we had a beach where I live b/c I honestly think I'd do beach sessions all the time. Even if every ounce of my gear was covered. EVERY CREVICE. 

9: The local wedding planners, caterers, florists are just amazing. AMAZING. 

10: I want to go back with my kids. 

It was a awesome trip. It really was. Blessed beyond measure. 

xoxo Mellisa 

 
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
By Mellisa Pendleton

I was woken up last night just as the clock turned to morning by a barking cough. Through the baby monitor I could hear her sniffling, coughing, and hot with fever. I ran upstairs, picked her hot body up, and headed back downstairs. Her feverish face hit my neck and all I could think of at that moment was I'm here. We did our normal events with checking her temperature, giving her a cold glass of fresh water to sip on, and I asked her "would you like to sleep with mommy tonight?" Her eyes got brighter the moment she knew she had a snuggle buddy for the rest of the early morning. I was laying in bed and images flood my head. Does that happen to you? I get a chance to go to sleep and everything that ever was just starts coming in like a movie reel. I thought about how even though I am so tired, I get to take care of her. There are parents that lay with their children in hospital beds wishing they could be at home with their babies. Some don't even have that opportunity. Some pray for years to have someone to take care of. Some just wish they could hold their baby one more time. 

I laid there listening to her deep seal cough and I just gave thanks. It was dark but she still reached for me. She grabbed my finger with her still tiny dimpled hand. She found comfort in knowing that even though she didn't feel good, I was there. 

It was a very long day yesterday. The kids were out of school for a teacher workday, and it seemed the boys wanted to do nothing but fight. The tattling, the poking fun, the constant whining...gracious alive it was long. I put the kids to bed and sighed a big relief. You know those days momma? With 4 kids, they happen more frequently than I care to admit. But in that late moonlight air was a chance. A chance to do what I was born to do. To care for. To allow my tired bones to still give what I had left... to her. 

That's what we do. We love unconditionally even when we are so exhausted we can't see straight. I was talking to a friend yesterday that I was good at a lot of things, but playing pretend wasn't one of them. My daughter LOVES to play pretend. You know, little voices, with little trinkets. It is not something I enjoy doing. It's just not me. I am wonderful at reading stories, putting science experiments together, painting, letting them cook with me, playing boardgames, but pretend play with barbies...it's like torture for me. I was telling them how I know I'll look back and wish I had said yes to those things. How I felt guilt. They, being the amazing blunt honest friends they are, reminded me that I do plenty. That it's ok to say no. Still, I went to bed thinking of all the things I could do better. 

But, then she woke up and I took great pride in comforting her, and I thought to myself...but you do this well Mellisa. You care the best. 

So to any mommas who feel like they don't add up, who feel like they aren't the best at this mothering thing, to those who just pray to get through the day...you are not alone. You are the perfect mother for your perfect child. She/he was hand picked just for you. 

xoxo Mellisa 

P.S. Positive for Flu. Winter germs go away 

 
Monday, March 27, 2017
By Mellisa Pendleton

I wanted to give myself some time to write this between what I witnessed and how I felt about it. I wanted to step back and figure out the why first. I'm sure there are times when I accidentally mom shame and don't even realize it. I can only pray I catch it and it's before it spews out of my mouth. And I pray even harder that my children won't witness it. A few months back I sat at a school function. I watched as these beautiful little souls walked up to receive their certificates. I'm a people watcher my nature, so I also witnessed how proud all those parents were, taking pictures and giving them high-fives. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw giggles. No, not from kids, but from adults. Then I heard what they were saying. They were talking about how a mom's shirt was so small that her larger belly hung out. It took all I had not to say anything. It took every ounce of my being not to shame them right then and there in front of everyone. I just had to sit and pray. Pray that I could hold my tongue. Pray that that momma didn't hear them. Pray their children weren't listening. Pray that whoever's family that was wasn't sitting close enough to listen to the word vomit. 

Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when I have not had the best response, when I have had word vomit myself, when I am ashamed of how I have reacted to something, but gosh, it's a whole other ball game to witness it so close. 

Guys, WE ARE TEACHING THE FUTURE. We are the example that our children will learn from. After I sat on this for awhile, I thought about that mom I heard shaming. How sad she must feel to make fun of someone else. What must be lacking in her life to feel the need to say those things out loud. How lonely she must be to need giggles from other mommas acquired from such a sad situation. Oh how times have changed. I used to sit back and join in on such ridiculous conversations. I have. I did. I've had to ask for forgiveness. I've allowed other mommas to make comments about others without speaking up, and for that I am just as guilty. Just as guilty as the person saying it. 

So, I challenge you. How do you react when someone who doesn't live up to our standards walks into a room. How do you react when a parent does things different than you do? How do you talk to your children when they ask why those people are weird? How would you react or change the way you speak if you knew someone was always watching you? Here's the thing...someone is always watching you. Not only God, but your own children. They are watching you, listening to you, learning from YOU. 

It's easy to point fingers, but I want to challenge you this week to look inside first. I have to do it multiple times per day. How would the way I speak to my children look to HIM. How would mom shaming someone else look to my children? What could I do to change that today? We are built on a society where there are "People of Walmart" sites and that says a lot. We like to shame just about anyone else who doesn't live up to our own standards. Just the other day I saw where someone posted a picture of a person minding their own business wearing something that the photographer thought was ridiculous. Who freakin CARES?????? I have farted on my children's heads plenty of times. I kid you not. We are that family. And I love it. We are real. We find humor in these walls that some would find disgusting and I'm ok with that. 

I want my children to grow up confident enough in their own skin that they feel no need to shame anyone else.

Happy Monday friends. 

xoxo Mellisa 

 
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