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So this is the deal.  I am turning 40 in 16 days and I am basically going through an identity crisis.  I haven’t blogged in a while for numerous reasons of which I probably won’t share…but I will be vulnerable enough to share some thoughts from my young 39 year old self before I turn into a 4o year old “grammy” as my children are calling me now.

I see all you skinny moms.  You are beautiful and gorgeous and amazing and basically jerks.  I mean that in a good way of course.  I see you post your exercise pictures in your cute outfits and hear when you talk about this work out or that class you take.  I see you.  I hear you.  I so desperately want to be you.  I want to want to exercise.  I want to want to eat kale and whole 30.  I want to be so many things that I am not.  So here I sit in my identity crisis.

Have you ever seen yourself in a picture and wondered who that person is and in reality…it’s you?  Then when you realize what you actually look like you decide to try and be in as few pictures as possible.  I have mastered the “hide behind a kid” look.  Thank the Lord I have so many kids and there are still some short enough that I can stand behind and just my head is seen.  I truthfully make every picture taken of me as physically possible pointed from an “up angle.”  Apparently that isn’t the angle my teenage daughters love, but whatever…they are like a size 2. So this is where I am.  A 39 year old mother of 9 (currently) and I am trying to figure out if I am just making up excuses for not loving myself or do I actually have some legit reasons that I am the way that I am.

We have been venturing out to the beach more often since Disney is no longer operating and let me tell you, there are some ladies out there with 100% confidence in who they are.  You know what I am talking about.  I often find myself applauding (in my head of course) the women that wear suits that I would never have the courage to wear.  The best part of it…they really don’t care what anyone thinks of them.  I basically try to wear as much as I can when I go to the beach.  Shoot, if it weren’t 100 degrees with the sun beating down on me, I’d wear a turtleneck and jeans.  Which leads me to another crossroad in my thinking.  I see you curvy girls.  I see your confidence and your love for your body in the way God made you.  You might work out.  You might not.  You might eat Kate or you might eat puppy chow.  (yum…I literally just made some to take to work with me tomorrow).  What I find more beautiful than anything about you is your love for yourself.

So here I sit.  I’m calling the skinny girls “jerks” cause I am jealous of them and loving the curvy girls because they love themselves. I don’t have to question the skinny girls if they love themselves because in my mind, how can you not love yourself…you have it going on, right?

But…then I remember we all have baggage.  We all have insecurities and things we don’t like about ourselves.  I am positive my skinny friends out there are feeling the same things I feel, but just differently.  I know all my curvy girl friends struggle with something even if they are confident in they way they look.  I can make you a list of hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t like me or why I don’t like myself.  Heck, I am positive there are people reading this right now that don’t like me and I don’t have to even tell them why they shouldn’t like me.  However, a couple nights ago something happened.

Dan and I were laying in bed surrounded by a few of our kids and we were watching something on TV together.  I probably saw someone beautiful and amazingly all together awesome looking on whatever we were watching and whispered this to Dan. “I am sorry I am so fat…. I am really good at wanting to be skinny for you and I am sorry that I am not.  I am sorry I am not like all the other skinny moms we know.”  Without a beat, my husband of very few words and to be honest, not the smoothest talker and most nonromantic man on the face of the earth says to me, “Susan, it’s ok…all those other moms are not raising 9 children right now either.”  That my friends is not an excuse, but it did trigger something in me.

Listen.  This morning I was woken up to this.  “Uh mom, I am really sorry to have to wake you up, but (insert a 2 year old’s name here) was taking a really long time in the bathroom so I went to check on her and….well…mom…she was holding a piece of her poop and playing with it.”  Friends…I am NOT making excuses for being overweight and hating my overall appearance but I am living in a constant (and will probably forever live in) battle of loving myself and loving others.  Maybe it’s just a season I am in right now or maybe a miracle pill will come out and help me lose 60 pounds tomorrow or maybe this will forever be my struggle.  But what I can tell you is that I have a heart for others.

I need to focus on that.  We are almost 8 months into our first foster care journey and even though we had NO idea what in the world we signed ourselves up for, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.  I adore and love these girls.  I know this sounds cliche, but maybe we needed them more than they needed us.  I love their mom and my heart aches on a daily basis for her.  I have watched our own kids welcome in 2 more kids to an already wild and crazy household, but let me tell you something…our kids have been so amazing through this.  Today Abbie was sitting outside with them while they were playing with a new bubble machine I found for them at Home Goods (is anyone else glad that place is open back up?  Dan isn’t too happy with my sometimes daily visits to “check their stock”, but somehow it’s always on my way to somewhere I am going) and the girls were pretending it was her Christmas Birthday and throwing leaves and sticks at her and shouting “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Abbie.”  She literally sat there and let them do this to her because they were having so much fun.  This morning the girls were running around the house chasing Griffin and giggling and screaming at the top of their lungs which got to be a bit loud for our children still doing school work so we sent them outside to run around the house and chase him.  I could hear their screams and giggles from inside the house and the girls were so sad when I made Griffs come inside to do schoolwork.  Anyways, I don’t know how I got so far off topic here, but I say all this as my journey to find my identity as an almost 40 year old.

Will I always struggle with self worth and confidence?  Yup.  Will God always see me for who I am and who He made me to be? Yes.

Will I see the skinny moms on a daily basis and desperately love and hate them at the same time?  Yup.  Will God always see me for who I am and who He made me to be? Yes.

Will I mess up?  Will I yell at my kids?  Will I say something I shouldn’t say?  Yup.  Will God still see me for who I am and who He made me to be? Yes.

Will people not like me or my kids for being who we are?  Will we be hated or judged for who people think we are but really aren’t?  Yup.  Will God see our family for who we are and for all He created our family to be?  Yes.

I could go on and on and on.  All I know is that I am turning 40 in 16 days.  I have always struggled with loving myself and I am kinda sick and tired of it.  I might not have it all.  I might mess up and eat puppy chow for all 3 meals tomorrow, but I do know at the end of the day I have a Father in Heaven that will love my failures and my successes!  I will probably regret posting this because it’s not something I really like to say out loud.  So if you see me…just act like you didn’t read this, ok?

And just because I haven’t blogged in a while…here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to.  We packed up and moved to Florida almost a year ago.  Guess what?  We left for Florida on my 39th birthday….I am hoping turning 40 won’t be as traumatic as driving out of the state you grew up in your whole life away from family and friends that you desperately miss every single day.  We shall see what 40 brings!  I will post a blog with a year recap of our ups and downs so stay tuned for that…cause Lord knows this past year has been a wild one!

One of our favorite things to do...feed the turtles in the Villages.

One of our favorite things to do…feed the turtles in the Villages.

Just 2 boys living with 7 sisters.

Thank you mom and dad for our braces…and you’re welcome.

Yup…they are all ours and God has been SO good to us.

Not sure what is happening…but this is us in a nutshell.

Lanie is ALWAYS doing some sort of bendy/stretchy thing…always.

NO! We are not getting another dog.

If you visit us, we promise to take you to the beach in style!

Watching their awards ceremony online…I was banned to the opposite side of the table so I couldn’t be seen.

‘Cause don’t all teenager daughters lay on their dad while texting their boyfriend?

Kens has the BEST laugh and smile!!!

Someone asked me the other day if she was mine….Yes, she is, but I am not sure if she got any of my genes!

This girl right here…she’s something special. She never ceases to amaze me.


Told you. Always.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I taught her how to make felt flowers so she could make me the BEST Mother’s Day gift EVER!

We have this game….we fill balloons with random things and force people who come over to visit into playing the game. Maybe that’s why no one comes over?!?

Swimming with a turtle? Griffs was in HEAVEN! He has been asking for a turtle for years. And no, we are NOT getting a turtle…yet. 😉

Trying to recreate a pic from when we first moved in….too bad the water is FREEZING still! 

and these girls right here….if they let me, I would love to write a blog about how proud and amazed I am of them. Moving during your high school years is NO joke. Maybe they’ll give me the okay to share…one day.