Author Archives: Tiffany (lifewithblondie)

About Tiffany (lifewithblondie)

This mom blogger has tackled everything from adoption, ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, conduct disorder, hives, pimples, curfew violations, and puberty to sweaty armpits, major surgeries, prom nights and letter jackets in addition to becoming a fairy godmother (aka Grandma).

It’s My Birthday Too!

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It’s My Birthday Too!

Dear Softy,

You’ve been gone for 13 years now… and I still think of you every single day. But especially on our day. On our day, I sing the Beatles and miss you like crazy.

I’m afraid I don’t sing it quite the same way, but hey, I sing it to you!

Most years I cry. But the tears aren’t as awful as they used to be. The hole is still deep in my heart, but I’ve learned to smile when I miss you.

I wish I had more pictures of us together. I wish I had more pictures of you. There are never enough memories when you cross my mind.

Last year was probably the worst year of my life. I hope nothing ever tops it. I was scared most days. I thought any moment everything was going to implode. I worried about my daughters. I worried about my sons. I worried about my marriage. And I worried about the strain our troubles were taking on the entire family. I could feel the sorrow every time I talked with my mom or my dad and it just made my heart ache.

So many times I thought about you. I just know you would of had the perfect words of wisdom to get me through the rock bottom of my existence.

There were days when I tried to channel your voice and give myself a pep talk.

The other night I had this dream. You will still here. My step-dad too. And I was talking to both of you. And I was listening to you tell me you’d been here each day. You were telling me all about the things I’d been through, just to prove you were never far away. I woke up feeling your presence. In fact, I was calling your name out loud.

Sometimes I get those dreams and I see you and I don’t even want to get out of bed because I don’t want to lose that moment. But I have to get up. These kids will knock the walls down if I’m not watching carefully.

You know 40 started off rough, but it sure did turn around. I’m finally finishing college. I know, it took me a few decades. That’s ok. The more amazing thing is that I’m a writer. A real bonafide cash-the-check writer!

And my kids are doing amazing things. Blondie got married and her dreams are slowly coming true. My Dyl Pickle is graduating. And the rest of the crew is moving right along. Tucker is going to high school. I always wish you had seen him just once. I still think of you in the hospital that last night I saw you. You said “wee Willy Tucker, that silly little f—–fellow.” He was born 41 days after you passed on. I’m not sure how my dad came up with the exact same sentence, but he did. Isn’t that ironic?

Trenton is headed to Junior High which will make the twins the rulers of intermediate school- big fifth graders! And KK is only one step behind, but you know all this, because you’re still here. I know you’re here.

When I feel like breaking down, I say to myself “Girl get yourself together. Softy is gonna see you fall apart” and that’s how I pick myself up when the days are overwhelming.

41 is going to be amazing, I just know it is. Whether I’m conquering the world wide web or tucking my grandbaby into bed, I know you’re part of me and I never let that go.

Birthday Buddies

My grandfather and I at our last birthday dinner

And now when I think of our birthday, I smile more than I cry. You were the greatest gift the good Lord ever gave me. Grandfathers have a way of making the world magical, and you did exactly that.

So Happy Birthday Softy. I still miss you, but today I’m gonna try not to cry, because it’s my birthday too!

Love always,
Tiffany XoXoX

Praying in the Front Seat

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Praying in the Front Seat

This morning I was dropping off my son’s medicine at the Junior High. I was rushing from school to school because it’s STAAR testing day in the great State of Texas.

I won’t bore you with my feelings about standardized testing. Not today. But for the record, I don’t believe the STAAR test is the right way to encourage achievement in education.

However, this morning my focus was encouraging my kids to do their very best. I wanted to send them to school full of beliefs. They are able to conquer STAAR Mountain!

As I came out of the Junior High I noticed a father parked in front of the school. Maybe he was a grandfather or an uncle, but for the sake of this story, he’s just Dad.  Read the rest of this entry

Impossible To Beat

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Valentine’s Day really isn’t my favorite holiday, but I’ve said that before.  It just never lives up to those movie-made expectations. I’m always left feeling sort-of bah-humbug. But this year I didn’t have a bad Valentine’s Day…

I didn’t sit around and write 65 cards for my kids to pass out. I sort of hate that tradition because I know where those cards end up. I also didn’t spend 19 hours perfecting the most amazing Pinterest cupcakes ever. Because I also know exactly where those cupcakes wind up. Instead the ZooCrew requested “Fruit Rollup Valentine’s”… AHHHH! The best of both worlds! A cool valentine + a snack for the party rolled into one! I’m loving the Type B personality that has taken over my life. Simple AND impressive: that’s how I roll! (OK, that’s how I’m learning to roll. Better?)

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Dear Daughter: Here’s Why I Didn’t March For You

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Dear Daughter: Here’s Why I Didn’t March For You

I love every word!

A Future Free

Dear daughter of mine,

You are so young and precious and innocent. You pass your days amidst sippy cups and Cheerios; amidst Minnie Mouse and your beloved dolls and toy kitchen.

But someday—sooner than I’d like—you’re going to grow up. And you’re probably going to hear a lot about something that’s happening right now.

You’ll learn about the unprecedented election of President Donald Trump, and you’ll learn about the thousands and thousands of women who came out to march all over the country in protest.

They were very loud. Some screamed; others gave speeches. Many carried big signs; others locked arms together. Some even wore “funny” outfits.

What were they upset about? I’ll tell you, sweet one.

They’re mad because we women don’t make as much money as men. They’re mad because we women don’t have full rights over our bodies. They’re mad because we women have to pay…

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Let Love In

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Let Love In

As parents, it’s easy to see where our children need love. They need love when they’ve had a bad day at school. They need love when they missed the ball at practice. They need love when their brother tore the head off their favorite baby doll. And they need love when the dog won’t play with them after they spilled their noodles on the floor and when they lied about finishing their homework. The job of a parent might include the roles of chef, chauffeur, nurse, counselor, teacher, preacher, laundry-doer, and referee; but no matter which role you’re taking on, being a parent always involves dishing out love.

As moms and dads, we’re consumed with the needs of our children. We want to build their self-esteem and their character. We want to foster creativity and inspire faith. We try to teach them to play fair and share. We spend every waking moment creating this list of things to do just make sure we’re hitting the mark. But there is one thing we sometimes forget, and it’s really simple. We’re people too!

Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we don’t have our own inexplicable bouts of grumpiness. Being moms doesn’t make us exempt from overwhelming loneliness or feelings of failure. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to stop ourselves in the middle of our own destructive patterns and just let love in.

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Say Hello To My Little Friend

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There is something really wonderful that happens when your daughter becomes a mother. You get smarter. Really!

For 5 years past their expiration date I heard “If you had just let me go to this party” and “well you should have let me do that instead” and now that Ms. Presley Layne has hit her not-so-terrible two’s, it’s all “I’m so glad you didn’t let me do that” and “how did you know I’d go there?”

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We Can’t Make the Grade

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I’m not surprised to see many central Texas schools receive failing grades on the new report cards the State of Texas sent out Friday. When will we learn? This is not the way to educate a smarter generation.

Here’s the result for my local school district:

Campus District School type 2016 Rating D1 D2 D3 D4
ROCKDALE ELEMENTARY ROCKDALE ISD Elementary Paired campus
ROCKDALE HIGH SCHOOL ROCKDALE ISD High School Met standard* D F D A
ROCKDALE INTERMEDIATE ROCKDALE ISD Elementary Met standard* C B D A
ROCKDALE ISD ROCKDALE ISD District Met standard* C C D A
ROCKDALE JUNIOR HIGH ROCKDALE ISD Middle School Met standard* C D C C

The new report rates schools and districts in four domains:

  • D1: Student Achievement
  • D2: Student Progress
  • D3: Closing Performance Gaps
  • D4: Post-secondary Readiness

It’s no wonder that state teacher groups are calling for the legislature to repeal this new letter grade system, that will markedly affect most Texas schools. The question I have is why do we keep sticking a square peg in a round hole? Read the rest of this entry

Ready or Not, Here We Go

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I’m not sure if I’m going to sit down and make any iron clad resolutions this year. Instead I think I will vow to count my blessings every single day. This past year I really learned how to let go and let God. I’ve been at the bottom of the barrel with the cutoff notices in my hand and no idea how I was going to manage them and instead of freaking out I folded my hands together and at every turn He provided for my every need. It takes a lot for a control freak to give into blind faith and trust that everything will be ok, but I’ve lived in this house 17 years and so far we’ve always had food and lights and clothes and gasoline in the car so if I’ve had to swallow some lumps, that’s ok, it was all part of the journey.

20141209_083117I know 2017 is going to bring a lot of new changes. In just a few short months my first born son will graduate high school and move on to new things. This house will change. I won’t have my Mr. FixIt all the time. And when he goes, Hercules will go with him, and I’m gonna miss his big sad eyes riding shotgun every morning. Read the rest of this entry

Hurry Santa, before these cookies disappear! 

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There are some things you have to supervise kids very closely with!  Fireworks, science experiments, painting, and COOKIES!  Trust me on this,  never ever leave the cookies unsupervised.

This year I have really tried to bring back some of the simpler joys of Christmas.  We’ve been decorating and making things and avoiding the hustle and bustle that inevitably tries to steal my joy every year, but I have a confession to make.   Read the rest of this entry