My Real Life

May 31, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I was looking through our photo albums and photo boxes, the other day, looking for a very specific picture of Real Man and I.

I didn’t find the picture I was looking for, but I had a great time looking through the photos.

Until I got to the photos of us in the late 90’s.

Apparently, from 1997-1999, (wedding photos excluded), I was going through a phase of smiling for pictures with my tongue just peeking out between my front teeth, like a small child with a serious lisp.

Maybe I thought it made me look cute or sweet or innocent?

I don’t remember doing it, but looking at the pictures now, it annoys me.

So, I started to think if there were other phases I had gone through that I could remember.

Clearly, there were phases…but could I remember them?

The first phase that I really remember is my “Harriet the Spy” phase.

I read the book, as a kid, and remember being absolutely enamored with the story.

And so, I got a little notebook and carried it with me.  Everywhere.

However, there weren’t many conversations to listen to in my house.

The adults in the neighborhood all played bridge together once a month, so I already knew pretty much everything there was to know about them.

I couldn’t bring the notebook to school, or I’d get in trouble.

So, that phase was short-lived.

When I was a sophomore in college, I went through a vegetarian phase.

I had spent a week, the summer before, visiting the guy I was dating, who lived in Illinois.

They were big meat and potatoes people, and in that week, I ate more meat than I had ever eaten before.

I’m pretty sure that, at one meal, they served the big chop that flips the Flinstone’s car on it’s side in the opening montage of the cartoon.

After that week, I didn’t eat meat for the next year.

And then I wanted a cheeseburger.

When I was a senior in college, I decided I was going to be a coffee drinker.

Except I knew I hated coffee.

So, I bought myself a few boxes of those instant cappucino packets.

You know…like Cup-a-Soup, but with coffee.

Guess what?

I hated those, too.

But, it was senior year and it was spring and everyone around me was drinking coffee by the gallon in order to stay awake so they could get their Independent Studies done and I wanted, so badly, to share the experience.

But, I was pretty much done with my IS and was able to manage my time so I could do my work and still be ready for bed at a reasonable hour, so I had no reason for the coffee.

The worst part?

As a senior, I had my own room, and I only drank the coffee packets in my room, so no one even got to see me fitting in.

It was just me, my cup-o-java, and my Pump Up the Volume VHS tape, which I watched until the ribbon actually fell out of the cassette case.

I think I’m not so good at going through phases.

So, maybe you guys are better at phases than I am.

I’d love to hear what phases you’ve gone through, in your lives.  How long did they last?  Do you have photographic evidence? 🙂

Can’t wait to about them!

May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Filed under: Wordless Wednesday — Amy @ 6:00 am
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May 29, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

Filed under: Truthful Tuesday — Amy @ 6:00 am

No question to answer today.

Just a story.

18 years ago, Memorial Day weekend 1994, Real Man and I were just friends.

We had dated for a few months in high school, and had dated for a few months our freshman year in college (him in NJ, me in Ohio), but even though we had broken up four years earlier, we were still friends.

When I graduated, early that May, and came home, we were hanging out a lot and were realizing that we had never really gotten over each other…the timing just hadn’t been right before.

I was ready to start dating him again, because at this point, I was convinced he was “the one.”

He wasn’t so sure.

Not that he didn’t think I was “the one,” but we had tried it twice before and it hadn’t worked.

What would be different this time?

Memorial Day weekend, he and I decided to drive down to the Jersey Shore together.

We spent the day on the beach at Seaside Heights.

We people watched, we swam, we napped, we laughed.

And, in the late afternoon, we talked, and Real Man said, “Let’s give it a try.  It’ll either be the biggest mistake of my life, or the best decision I’ve ever made, but let’s go for it.”

18 years, (almost 14 of them married), 4 kids, 4 houses, 5 jobs (between us), 7 cars, pounds up, pounds down, arguments, make-ups, tears and laughter later, I’d like to think it was the best decision we ever made.

So, here’s a Happy Anniversary (of sorts) to my sweetie, my love, my life.

And that’s the truth!

May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Please take a few minutes and read her post for Memorial Day.

A good reminder that it’s not about barbeques and beer.

The Dudley Family Blog

May 27, 2012

Random Sunday Thoughts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I know, I know.

Lots of random thoughts lately.

I’ve been sick with high fever, and maybe it’s making me think random thoughts more than usual.

Or, maybe it’s just allowed me to ignore my edit button, and if it comes into my head, it’s coming out of my fingers on the blog.

Either way, here are some more random thoughts to entertain you this Sunday.

1.  How is possible that my temperature is 102.6 right now, and yet I am absolutely freezing and shivering with the chills?

(I don’t need an actual scientific explanation…I’m just pondering.)

Monkey in the Middle keeps telling me I should get out from under the blanket because my fever is so high, and I keep trying to explain that I’m freezing.  Thank goodness, he’s never been really sick, so he doesn’t understand.  Here’s hoping he never does.

2.  Here’s a conversation that happened here yesterday:

Baby Monkey: I wish I was an elf so I could go into houses at night and use a flashlight.

Real Man:  Well, you can use a flashlight in our house at night.

Baby Monkey:  No, I want to go into OTHER people’s houses and use a flashlight at night.

Real Man:  Oh, so you want to be a criminal!

Baby Monkey:  No, Dad.  An elf.

3.  I’d like to direct your attention to my friend, Shane’s, blog.

I think I’ve sent you there before, but this week, he’s writing about the songs of summer and how they define certain times in our lives.

He nailed it.

Check it out.

4.  I’m on the hunt.

I’m on the hunt for a mug.

Anyone who has ever opened our mug cabinet might think this is a strange ambition, considering the sheer amount of mugs we have in this house.

They’ve accumulated from both of our childhoods and through our entire relationship.

We’ve got mugs with Disney characters, with our names, with Thomas Kinkaide pictures, and almost every other kind of mug there is.

However, I want something special.

I drink a lot of tea, and little mugs don’t do it for me.

However, I don’t just want a plain, big mug.

I want to find “the perfect” mug.

I want a mug that has some kind of saying about writing on it.

I love quotes from authors about the craft of writing.

And, since I do most of my writing at my desk with a mug of tea by my side, I can’t help but feel that it would be inspirational.

(Can’t you see it?  My novel finally gets published and I dedicate the book to my mug?)

So, if you happen to see such a mug in your travels, my dear readers, please give me a heads up.

‘Cuz I’m on the hunt.

5.  We Bought a Zoo.

No, WE didn’t buy a zoo, but we watched the movie last night for family movie night.

Loved it.


Watch it.

(Just be mindful of the language…we weren’t quite ready for some of the swears and did a lot of impromptu coughing to cover up.)

May 26, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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I have something that’s been weighing on my mind for the past few days.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a family member to a skydiving accident.

He left behind a young wife and baby daughter.

Sky diving was on my list of things to do in the near future.

In discussing the situation with two of my friends, one of them said “Don’t do it until the kids are all grown up.”

The other friend said, “You can’t not do things because there is a risk involved.  Life doesn’t stop because you have kids.”

And, suddenly, I can see both points.

I’ve always been a risk taker and have always been interested in going higher, farther, faster.

As I age, I’ve found that I want to reach out and try more things that I haven’t done before.  Maybe I hear the mortal clock ticking in my ear.  Maybe I’m just crazy.

However, I want to do these things, and part of why I want to skydive and take a trapeze class and bungee jump is to teach my kids that it’s okay to take risks and to try new and scary things.

And yet…what if something did happen to me?

Is it selfish of me to want to do these things while I still have young kids?

Should parents put those dreams on the shelf until their kids are older and are living their own lives?

I’m interested in what other people think about this topic and would appreciate any and all comments on the topic.

May 25, 2012

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am

1. Are you a napper?


I have never been able to nap in the middle of the day.

That’s how I knew I was really sick, and should probably slow down and take care of myself this week.

5 naps in two days.

That’s so NOT how I roll.

2. What was your favorite subject in school? Most hated?

I loved math.

I loved math so much.

All the way through elementary school, loved it.

We did these math packets in 6th grade and it was a contest to earn points toward an ice cream party.

Couldn’t believe they were giving me a reward for doing something as fun as math.

I loved math with Mrs. Tribus, in particular.

Freshman year Algebra and Senior year Triogonometry.

My all-time favorite classes.

I love Algebra and everything Algebraic.

It’s why I loved teaching chemical equations in Science.

I hated gym.

Seriously hated gym.

I can’t climb the ropes, I can’t do pull-ups, I suck at the Presidential Fitness challenge.

No one picked me for their team and I really felt like kids were graded on their ability, not on their effort, but we all had to take the class, so that didn’t seem fair.

So, I started to cut.

And lie.

And that’s when I started to get A’s and met Real Man, so I guess it all worked out for me.

Great message to the kids.

I will say that gym class is MUCH different today…at least in our district.

I probably wouldn’t cut today.

Or at least, not as often.

3. Did you have the something old new borrowed and blue at your wedding? What were they?


I’m not really sentimental, but my Mom is.

So, I probably did.

Ma…wanna field this one?

4. What one thing are you determined to do this summer?

Make sure the monkeys have fun.

They’ve, essentially, lost two summers in a row.

The summer of 2010, I was pregnant and sick, sick, sick all day, all night, every single day of the summer.

We didn’t do much of anything, and I felt really badly for it, but public vomiting just wasn’t high on my list of ways to spend time.

Last summer, we spent the summer packing and moving and it was stressful and absolutely no fun at all.

We didn’t even get to the pool, the past two summers, more than a few times.

So, this summer?

We’re hitting the pool, going to the park, taking day trips, running through the sprinkler, playing badminton, playing kickball, going hiking, going to the movies on rainy days, having ice cream for lunch, and doing whatever else their hearts desire (within reason).

5. Ice cream or Popsicles?

I live in a house of Popsicle people.

I, however, am an ice cream girl, all the way.

Popsicles are more refreshing, it’s true.

However, they aren’t as satisfying as ice cream.

A large chocolate cone with rainbow sprinkles from Dairy Queen is my all-time favorite ice cream.

And, if we’re talking sundaes, it’s the Friendly’s Reese’s Pieces Sunday with chocolate ice cream, hot peanut butter sauce, hot fudge sauce, and Reese’s Pieces.

Oh, summer…I’m so glad you are almost here!

May 24, 2012

Random Thursday Thoughts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

1.  Pie

Pie is one of those things that seems to be SO much better in theory than in actual practice.

I was home with a sick Monkey Girl on Tuesday, and we spent the day snuggling, reading, and watching old episodes of iCarly on Netflix.  One of the episodes, which we had seen before, was the one where Mr. Gallini, from Gallini’s Pie Shop dies, and no one has the recipe for his pies.  Throughout the episode, people are eating pie, talking about pie, making pie, smashing their faces in pie…you get the picture.

Since then, all I can think about is pie.

Whenever I see pie on tv, (and there really is a lot of pie on tv and in the movies.  Someone in a diner is always getting a slice of pie, and it always looks delicious), it’s all I can think about for days afterward.

Particularly coconut cream pie.

Coconut cream pie.

Just writing it gives me the pie jones.

I’ve never actually eaten a coconut cream pie, but lord knows I want to.

And I want to throw one in someone’s face.

Because, apparently, that’s what you do with a coconut cream pie.

But, pie in real life is never quite the same as pie on tv or in the movies.

The insides spill out onto your plate.  It’s flat.  It’s burnt.

I love cherry and blueberry pie, but I have to steel myself, every time I eat it, for the reality that it will not live up to my expectations.

To prove my point, Monkey Girl and I bought a Key Lime Meringue Pie.

It was beautiful.

It tasted…eh.

So, pie.

Love the idea.

Not always the reality.

2.  Real Man was setting up Netflix on the Play Station the other night, and it had “Amy’s Top 10 Recommendations.”

So, we were assuming, that based upon our viewing habits, it would have some recommendations for us.

I use Netflix and the kids use it for streaming, constantly.

So, imagine our surprise when two of their top 10 recommendations for me were “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” and “Buccaneer,” a black and white film from 1938.


3.  You know what I’d like to invent and patent?

Soft ice cream that has sprinkles already built in.

That way, you can’t like the sprinkles off before you are finished with the cone.  If they are spread throughout, there would be sprinkles in every bite.

That would make me happy.

So very happy.

4.  There is nothing…nothing like a trip to the pediatric center at the hospital to make you realize just how lucky you are.

Took Monkey Girl for a chest x-ray and blood work and just saw so many sad and scared parents.

And saw so many brave and courageous little kids.

Broke my heart and inspired me, all at the same time.

And made me count my blessings again and again and again.

Donate, volunteer, do anything you can to help out the pediatric wing at your local hospital.

Helping children.

No greater cause.

5.  I love a good thunderstorm.

Nothing better than sitting inside, looking out a big window, watching a storm.

Except being OUTSIDE in a storm.

Gimme rain, gimme thunder, gimme lightning and let me be out in it, and I am good to go.

There’s just something very untamed and natural about a storm.

You can’t stop it and you can’t control it.

Very cool.

6.  My mantra for the week is “Don’t be part of the problem…be part of the solution.”

7.  Along those lines, 5 of my FB friends posted, yesterday, about paying it forward, random acts of kindness, and giving back to the community.

I think I know some pretty darn good people and I’m proud of each and every one of them.

May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Filed under: Wordless Wednesday — Amy @ 6:00 am
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May 22, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

Filed under: Truthful Tuesday — Amy @ 6:00 am

Today’s question comes from Jeff.

Jeff asks: If you had group therapy with yourself and the members of the group were you at various ages (teen ager, twenty year old, thirty year old, forty year old, fifty year old and sixty year old)?  What would each member of the group be working on(yourself at different ages), or will be working on (future ages)?

Great, great question, Jeff…

Looking around the group, I’d see teenage me.  Let’s say, at 15.

That girl would, most likely, be working on feelings of invisibility.  I went about my days feeling largely invisible, at 15.  I had my friends, but no one else really seemed to notice me.  This wasn’t always a bad thing, as I love to observe, and being unnoticed meant that I was completely free to watch everyone else.  However, that feeling that no one really saw me was definitely something that wore on me, as time went on.  To an extent, it follows me, even as an adult.  Real Man and I continually bump into people we graduated from high school with and they’ll say “Hey!” and shake Real Man’s hand and chat with him and then ask to be introduced to his wife.  Real Man will say, “You remember Amy?  She graduated with us?”  They look at me with blank, apologetic stares.

So, that quiet 15 year old is working on not feeling invisible.

Next to her, sits a 25 year-old young woman.  She’s there to work through the responsibilities of adulthood.

At 25, I was teaching 8th grade Science at a school that I loved.

I was making money, I was sharing a house with Mike and Nita, my roommates.

I was dating (and was about to become engaged to) Real Man.

Life was good, for sure.

However, 25 is young.  Very young, and at 25, you feel so adult, but at 40, I can look back and say “How young it is to be 25!”

Paying rent, having a job that required me to get up at 6:30 in the morning, teaching piano lessons after school, paying off debt, getting my first masters degree, thinking about marriage and the future.

It wasn’t hard…it was wonderful.

Yet, it was new and challenging and required a lot of self-reflection, and so this 25 year-old woman is working on being an adult, while still feeling a teenager in so many, many ways.

The 35-year old woman in the circle is in the midst of a life-changing decade.  In the course of 5 years, she had given birth to 3 children.  She had moved into her third home with her husband.  She had changed school districts, had taken on more responsibility at work, had enrolled in her second masters and principal certification program, was diagnosed with diabetes, was diagnosed with Kikuchi Fujimoto disease, which led to a neck surgery which, accidentally, severed a major nerve in her neck, and endured sinus reconstruction surgery.

Throughout it all, she had discovered the endless joys of motherhood, deepened her already strong bond with her husband, found how strong she could be and what she could endure and survive, and come to grips with the fact that her life would never, ever be about her again.  Life was busy, and exhausting, and rewarding and good.  What she is working on is how to maintain a bit of herself in a life that was all about taking care of everyone else, without feeling guilty about it.

The 45 year-old me will have a 16 year-old teenage daughter, and boys who are 13, 11, and 6.  It will be a life full of sporting events and plays and concerts and college visits.  She’ll, likely, spend most of her life in the car and life will be a contradiction of a child getting ready to leave school and another just beginning.  Proms and first concerts.  Drivers permits and first lost teeth.  It will be a time of hello’s and goodbye’s and will be tearing at her heart in more directions that she ever imagined were possible.  Luckily, she won’t be alone, and she and her husband will be each others greatest support and comfort.

So, this 45-year old woman will be working on how to deal with beginnings and endings without feeling as though the world is crashing down around her.

Finally, the 55 year old woman will be in a home where there is just one child.  Her 26 year-old daughter will (hopefully) be off on her own, with a job and a life that is not dependent upon her.  Her 23 year-old son will be in the same situation and her 21 year-old son will just be beginning an independent life.

She and her husband will, after so many years, be in a home with just one child, a 16 year-old boy, and it will be an adjustment.  They will begin to be thinking about an empty nest, and what that will mean for their lives.  They will probably be beginning to plan for retirement, although that will still be at least, AT LEAST, ten years away, probably more.  If I know this woman, (and I think I do), she will be starting to feel a bit of guilt about the stirrings of excitement of being able to start planning for things like long-term travel and other things that she and her husband were not able to do with a house full of children.  She will miss her children, terribly, but will, hopefully, be comforted by the knowledge that they are self-sufficient, happy adults.

So, this is a woman who is planning for the future, enjoying the present, and beginning to let go.

The 65-year old woman could possibly be a grandma, so, although I think I will ROCK grandmotherhood, I don’t really want to talk about that possibility right now.

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