A Blogger Looks At Forty

(I’m not sure why I chose that as my title. It’s true, I did go through a serious Jimmy Buffet phase, but that ended – thankfully – in my late twenties. Come Monday, I’ll probably regret using it. But for now, that title is here. I wish it were beautiful, but whatever. Some people claim that there’s a forty-year-old woman to blame, but I know it’s Tom Brady’s fault. Okay, I’m done now.)

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Now that the dust has settled a bit and my Over the Hill balloons have deflated like a couple of body parts I won’t mention here, I’ve finally taken the time to reflect on my 40th birthday. In all honesty, it kind of snuck up on me. Last November we got an invitation for a high school friend’s 40th birthday bash, and Mike got a panicked look in his eyes. He realized my birthday was approaching quickly, and feared that he might already be months behind on planning some kind of epic event to celebrate.

That became the question of the moment – What are you going to do for your 40th? Vegas was brought up as an option, but that’s so not me. The Colts had a home playoff game, which was tempting, but not very social. Others suggested I needed a big and fancy gift, specifically of the jewelry kind. Nice, but for a girl who chooses a simple silver band over her wedding diamond every day, not necessary.

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In the end I decided I just wanted to drink beer with some of my favorite people. And Mike made that happen for me. We met about 25 friends and family at the pub down the street. We had the back room all to ourselves. My dear neighbors helped Mike decorate, and it was perfect. The room was filled with blue and white. There was a Colts cake.

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And how well do they know me? My birthday party had a hashtag, y’all.

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The party moved from the pub to our house. I stayed up way too late, had one too many beers, and laughed so hard my cheeks still hurt the next day. In a nutshell, a perfect way to usher in a new decade.

Granted, I am only 40 and 11 days old, but it does not bother me in the least. It’s better than the alternative, after all. I’m not even close to the person my 20 and 30-year-old self imagined a 40-year-old Angie to be, but that’s okay.

I do not have the career (hell, I don’t even have a career!) I imagined. But (most) days I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to stay at home with my kids. Taking care of my home and family brings me great joy and satisfaction. Isn’t that what we all want to say about our chosen line of work?

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I do not have the perfect marriage. But I have been married to the same person for almost 18 years, and that’s something to be proud of. We struggle, like so many others, to keep the spark alive, to treat each other with kindness, to readjust as we grow and change and age. And yet, Mike is still my favorite person to see, first thing in the morning (Theoretically. I’m still dead to the world when he leaves for work.) and last thing at night. He’s the first person I want to talk to, whether I have the greatest news in the world or need to vent. I’m incredibly thankful that I have someone worth fighting for.

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I am not the mother I thought I would be. This parenting gig is so much harder than I ever could’ve imagined. I am constantly getting it wrong. My kids eat too much junk. Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I yell. I am impatient between the hours of 8 and 9 pm, when I should be doling out hugs and stories. I say no a lot. Still, my kids love me and give me ample opportunities to do better. If I accomplish nothing else in this life but love and mother these kids the best I can, that will be more than enough.

I could go on and on. I can’t pick paint colors or window treatments to save my life. I am far jigglier that I ever thought I would let myself get. I want to love these wrinkles and grey hairs, but my vanity gets in the way. I covet other people’s possessions and successes. I don’t floss regularly. I will never understand euchre, no matter how many times you explain it to me. I hold grudges and require gold stars to feel validated. In short, I am a hot mess.

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But I am a satisfied hot mess. Because I am alive. Because I have family and friends that love me as I am, just as I love them. Because I made it here in one piece. Because it just means I have more and better stories to tell. That’s how this girl looks at forty.

 

 

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Trusting in My Gut and Andrew Luck’s Beard (It’s Complicated)

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Forgive me for walking around in a daze today. We are on our second snow day of the school year, which doesn’t seem like much. However, if you consider that the kids have only attended one full day of school since December 19th, perhaps you can understand. I don’t even know what day is what anymore.

The other, more joyous, reason for my space cadet-ishness is that I’m still trying to process the Colts divisional playoff game victory. In case you’re not living in central Indiana or as football-obsessed as I am, let me recap. Last night was the second playoff game for the Colts. We faced Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver. Now, we’ve beaten Peyton and the Broncos in previous seasons, but we opened up this season by letting the Broncos trample all over us. Not fun.

I’d like to tell you that I’m the kind of fan that believes in their team no matter what, but I’m not quite there yet, not with this young team. Yes, Andrew Luck is amazing, but he’s only in his 3rd season. He has a lot of growing to do. My beloved Reggie Wayne is struggling. The defense and the offensive line have had some great games … and more than a few downright terrible ones, too. While Peyton and the Broncos have struggled at times this season, as well, it’s still Peyton Manning. In case you don’t recall, he was my quarterback for awhile. I’ve seen him perform miracles and resuscitate dying games before. So there I was yesterday … hopeful, not afraid to pull out all the punches in case it made a karmic difference, but also fully resigned to the reality that it might be the last Sunday to wear my Luck jersey.

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It’s only weird if it doesn’t work, right?

SHAME ON ME. My Colts came to win. It was a fun game to watch, made even sweeter by the fact that we’d invited some Broncos fans over to watch it with us. I tweeted last night that I have a different feeling in my gut about this team after this game … the same feeling I had during the post-season in 2007. You know, the season they won the Super Bowl? And what do I scientifically base this good feeling on?

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1. It was a milestone year for me in 2007. I was pregnant with Eli. This is a milestone year as well. I turned 40.

2. We beat the Ravens in our Divisional Playoff game in 2007, a game no one thought we would win. Look familiar, 2014?

3. I have a new Luck-y mug, a delightful birthday gift hand-picked by Eli. We are 2-0 since I’ve started caffeinating myself from the Horseshoe.

4. Just like 2007, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Tom Brady and the Patriots. We did it then and we can do it now. This little statistical nugget helps, too: the Luck-led Colts are 12-0 when facing a team for the second time in a season. And guess who we lost to 42-20 earlier this season? Those no-good, Ugg-wearing, Beli-cheating Pats.

5. Finally, my gut says so. Or it’s the leftover tacos talking. Either way, I think this team can do it. I really do.

I had an interesting conversation via text with my friend Lisa, who wanted to know if it was hard rooting against Peyton yesterday, if I felt any torn allegiances. That’s when I realized how much I really love this Colts team – because I wasn’t the tiniest bit torn, nor was there even the smallest piece of me that was rooting for Peyton to win. It is cut and dry. Black and white. (Or blue and white?) My loyalties go like this:

  • First and foremost, root for the Colts. No matter what.
  • If their season is done, or on any given Sunday when they’re playing any team but the Colts, root for the Broncos.
  • Root for whoever is playing the Patriots.

A little over a month ago, Peter King asked me how I felt about Andrew Luck. How do my feelings for him compare to my affection for Peyton? I gave him about as detailed an answer as you can give in 140 characters or less. I told him it was tough, that I like Andrew a lot. I’m glad he’s our quarterback, if it can’t be Manning (and praise the football Gods we didn’t draft RGIII instead). I like the direction this team is heading. But the affection isn’t there. Peyton is special for reasons that I’m not sure will ever be replicated (for me).

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If I had to answer the same question again, a month later and two games into the post-season, I’d say those things again. But I’d also have to say, “It’s complicated.” Because Peyton will always be my favorite football player. Always. If there was no Peyton Manning, I promise you, there would be no football-loving Angie. I know this, and as corny as it sounds, my life would be so different. I’ve cultivated relationships I treasure that would have only occurred with football. I’ve had opportunities I would have never dreamed of. And for five months out of every year, one of my greatest joys is sitting on the couch with my husband and watching football together. That all goes back to Peyton.

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I can’t say that about Andrew Luck. But that doesn’t mean I won’t feel a different affection for him as the years go on. For as much as I love Peyton, he’ll always be that guy that broke up with me. Sure, sure, it was the “It’s not you, it’s me” routine, but a breakup is a breakup. It will always hurt deep down inside. Maybe this how I deal with losing my all-time favorite player to another team: I set boundaries. I can still love everything Peyton Manning was and is to me. What I can’t do is root for him over my team. Andrew Luck? He’s not my rebound guy anymore. He’s the one. He’s the one that makes me smile, with his adorkable personality. He’s the one that will help me make that transition to football without Peyton, whenever that day comes (which I’m fervently hoping isn’t right around the corner).

And maybe this year, if my gut is right, he’s the one to get us that Lombardi trophy again.

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2014: The Year in Review

Happy New Year! I can hardly believe that 2015 marks two HUGE milestones around here: the 9th (!!!) anniversary of this blog and my 40th birthday (!!!!!) Yes, that’s a lot of exclamation points, but well-deserved. If this blog were a person it would be in 3rd grade. Any day now it’s going to hit puberty and start getting all lippy on us. And 40. Whoa. That just happened last weekend, and I’m still processing it. More on that (and the most fabulous party Mike and my friends threw for me) coming soon. But first, I’d love to take a look at the year that was …

January

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We saw the beginning of the Polar Vortex, and barely made it back from celebrating my brother’s 50th birthday in Nashville.

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I read 26 books in 2013, then promptly set a goal to read even more in 2014. And I did! I read 30 books (with the best books I read coming soon). This year’s goal? 35.

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Mike came home with the terrible news that his favorite margarita mix was being discontinued. We spent the better part of early 2014 hunting high and low for any remaining stock. As of today, we have 9 left. I guess our goal for 2015 should be finding Margarita Mike a new signature cocktail.

February

Passports for taking kids to Spain

We announced that we were planning a monster trip to Spain! I spent the next four months planning every last detail of the trip like it was my job.

I railed against Fresh Tops, detailing what was, without a doubt, the worst customer service experience I’ve ever had. It remains one of my most popular posts, as people continue to tell me their own horrific Fresh Tops stories. It was never resolved, even after we got the Better Business Bureau involved. Still pisses me off.

On a happier note, my second favorite time of year (after football season) came around again: NFL Combine weekend. Something fun and crazy always seems to happen while we’re at the Combine. This year it was my ZOMG Adam Schefter face.

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March

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We marked the one-year anniversary of our move into our home. I continue to be in awe of the amazing friendships we’ve made here, and wonder just how we managed to stumble into this wonderful home without even meaning to move in the first place.

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I got to meet Clinton Kelly, which was pretty freakin’ fabulous. Thanks to a few hours with him, I’m not the happy owner of a two of 2014’s hottest trends: a lace shirt and a moto jacket.

April

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The annual Girls’ Trip! We’ve been making these trips happen in some shape or form since 2007. Long live the Daiquiri Shack and beach-hair-don’t-care.

Remember that one time we caught a baby rabbit in our garage and it was our pet for an hour?

We had a pet rabbit for about an hour.

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School picture day? #nailedit

May

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Our family’s favorite little miracle turned 3.

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Shortly after, me and my favorite guy celebrated 17 years of marriage.

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We mastered the selfie. Or rather, the kids used up every single bit of memory I had on my phone taking selfies.

June

Elena took her ukulele and her bad self to the school’s talent show. I never get tired of watching this video of her performance.

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We spent the rest of June and part of July traveling! I still can’t believe we made the trip happen. You can read about our travels to London and Spain here. Believe it or not, I’m still trying to finish editing photos and blogging about our trip! I guess it’s just my way of trying to make the trip last forever.

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Elena turned 12 while we were in Spain! We celebrated with pastries, a carriage ride through Sevilla, and some very authentic McDonalds.

July

This is normal suitcase-packing behavior, right? Pastries > clothing #sixesinspain

We wrapped up our trip to Spain. As sad as I was to say goodbye to tapas, churros, and our daily helado, it was good to be home.

August

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Eli turned 7! It was a pretty low-key celebration with our cul-de-sac friends, but I don’t think he minded one bit.

It probably helped that the day after his party we welcomed this little guy into our home:

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Our lives (and my carpets) will never be the same again.

September

After nearly 3 years of employment, I had to say goodbye to The Container Store. While I don’t miss working weekends or until 1 a.m., I miss the incredible people I worked with terribly. Of course, I still have to get my fix there every couple of weeks (although shopping without the discount isn’t nearly as much fun). And I can’t resist fronting and straightening the shelves when I shop. You can take the employee out of TCS, but you can’t take the TCS out of the employee!

I bought this chocolate coconut peanut butter (made locally by B. Happy Peanut Butter) last night at #twistedsistersindy. It might not make it to Monday.

I discovered my newest obsession: B. Happy Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter. Like, if I have it in the house I can barely think about anything else. At the New Year’s Eve party we attended, I found out my neighbors are good friends with the guy that makes it. “We can get it for you by the box, if you want.” This does not bode well for my 2015 weight loss goals.

It only took one month for me to become one of those crazy dog people. I regret nothing.

October

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Fantasy Football officially took over my life. I spent hours researching my lineup each week, agonizing over injuries and looking for trades. I spent over half the season in first place, only to lose to GonnaBeALongYear in the playoffs. And then Mike ended up winning the league, which was even worse. Curse you Fantasy Football!

First time watching Andrew Luck do his thing in person! #Colts

Mike and I did make it to a real game, though, watching the Colts decimate the Bengals.

November

Somebody earned their Bobcat badge tonight. There were handshakes, smiles, and (most importantly), Capri Sun.
I forgot how hard 7 can be. Whose idea was it to have 7 coincide with full-on tween hormones and drama?

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At least I could wash my parenting dilemmas away with some of the best pumpkin beer ever created.

December

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So, I barely blogged at all in December. It was a much-needed mental break and a chance to truly savor the holiday season with my family. But I did manage to take what might be my all-time favorite picture of the kids ever. Christmas card 2015 photo? DONE.

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Thank you so much for caring about the shenanigans of my little family. Here’s to another year!

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