Life with Ladybug: Back to life. Back to reality.

shan at the beach

On our way back from Panama City Beach in Florida, we stopped by my parents’ house to spend the night – and to pick up a chicken.

No, not KFC. Against my better judgment, we were bringing home one of the chickens from my mom’s flock to join our lone chicken survivor, Tessa (we lost our other two chickens recently).

That morning, as we visited over my mother’s homemade waffles, she commented, “Well, vacation is over. Back to reality.”

I groaned at her words, but as I took another sip of my hot tea, I realized that the thought didn’t actually make me sad. I pondered over why that was and came to the conclusion that I love my work, my community, my life.

My reality doesn’t bite. So heading back wasn’t a bad thing.

Sure, there are plenty of things I’ll miss about vacation. Things like:

The food. No cooking! No clean-up! One of my favorite meals was at Great Southern Café (my daughter also gave this restaurant the Best Lemonade Award from along all the places we ate along the Panhandle). We also had fun seeing the alligators and eating crab legs at Bayou Bill’s Crab House. I’m not typically a sushi fan, but we also had a great experience at the restaurant FireFly. Our waiter was amazing and had actually lived in NWA for a time a few years back. I tried my husband’s Bubba Roll and it was gooooood. It was cooked, so I didn’t get all ooged out about raw fish. I also loved my Caesar salad with blue crab.

Great Southern Cafe salad

Great Southern Cafe salad

The sunsets. Wow, those Florida sunsets. Gorgeous.

sunset

The ocean sounds. I love the sounds of waves lapping against the shore. I even have a sound machine so I can hear the beach anytime, right here in Northwest Arkansas. Granted, it doesn’t sound exactly the same, but it still has a calming effect.

view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Endless fun without the interruption of work. I didn’t say “Hang on! Just let me answer this one last email” even once. My daughter noticed.

The awesome pillows. Seriously, I miss my Holiday Inn Resort bed pillow. That was a first.

Riding bikes at Rosemary Beach. We had a great time riding around the little town. It’s so pretty!

That eclectic book store. We loved visiting Sun Dog books while we were visiting Seaside. It’s so adorable and we bought a few new beach reads (as if we didn’t already have a stack to mow through).

Sun Dog Books, Seaside

Sun Dog Books, Seaside

But, truthfully?

I’m glad to be back home where reality is doing laundry from the trip, jumping with both feet back into my work groove, setting up lunches with friends and enjoying Game of Thrones marathons with my husband (where I can mostly be found with my eyes shut tight, my fingers in my ears and humming so I can’t see or hear what’s on the screen).

That said, I do believe vacations – or even staycations where the whole family is out of their routine together – is a balm for the soul. It’s nice to be pampered and to experience the bonding that naturally happens when you have fun together as a family unit. And the beach is my happy place (my husband’s, too).

As I took my dishes to my mother’s sink after breakfast, I remembered that the day before we left Florida, my daughter expressed regret at having to come back home.

And I told her: “It is better to have vacationed and departed than to never have vacationed before.”

Au revoir, Panama City Beach. Hello, realistic {lovely} life.

shan, blue dress, circleShannon Magsam is mama to Ladybug (a salty/sweet tween girl who still likes things like superheroes and unicorns, thank goodness) is wife to newspaperman/entrepreneur John and is co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com.

Beauty Buzz: I’m too young for wrinkles!

beauty buzz, nwaMotherlode.com

Dear Andi,

I’m trying to be realistic about the aging process, but I feel like I’m getting wrinkles much earlier than my friends the same age. Is there something that could be causing this?

Barring basic genetics, where my understanding falls somewhere around “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” there are habits you may have picked up over the years that are causing you to get more wrinkles than your contemporaries.

Unfortunately, some of the damage may have been done years ago and can’t be undone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late.

Smoking, for one, even “socially” is notorious for causing the fine lines around the mouth that plague many women. (This of course is a superficial side effect, but we all know the spiel on smoking. If you’re not sure, ask your 3rd grader who will be brutally honest with you.) If you’re still a smoker, it’s not too late to stop and work on reversing the damage.

tanning bed gogglesTanning is more commonly associated with skin discoloration and age spots but still attribute to the new and unwanted texture that is aging your skin. Even if you have finally started listening to the warnings and applying the SPF, those baby oil days by the lake have a delayed effect that can take you by surprise.

The way you rest your head on your pillow can cause wrinkles to form on the dominant side, no matter how soft your pillow. I’ve heard plastic surgeons say they can tell which way a person sleeps just by looking at their face…yikes. Sleeping on your back is the best way to avoid the repercussions of your “beauty sleep”. Strategic placement of pillows can help you retrain your natural sleep position.

The same trouble can arise if you regularly lean on your left hand while working at a desk or rub your eyes and forehead in exasperation when you have told little humans TO PUT ON THEIR SHOES for the hundredth time.

Although it is almost unavoidable, pulling on your eyelids to put in your contacts or apply eyeliner can slowly reduce the elasticity of the delicate skin around your eyes. Try using your less dominant ring and pinkie fingers to pull the lids since they will be weaker.

So, what’s a mom to do?

Laser treatments, chemical peels and retinal treatments can help erase surface wrinkles and injections like Botox and fillers can root out some of the deeper wrinkles. But, none of these are permanent and can’t improve your overall skin quality on their own. That can be achieved by always using sunscreen on your face and hands (yup, unless you are a true southern belle and wear gloves everywhere, your hands are being constantly exposed to the UVs) and drinking plenty of water, as well as the changes I listed above.

I want to clarify before I go, there is nothing wrong with aging gracefully and loving the laugh lines you earned listening to endless knock-knock jokes, or the crows feet brought on by squinting into the sun at hundreds of baseball games.

I will never not have the freckles I earned at my many summer camps but the fact that my skin no longer bounces back after I apply eyeliner really bums me out. Embrace what makes you unique, including the steps you take to feel confident and beautiful.

One last thing: I recommend not watching videos of people getting injections online unless you are a healthcare professional or want the heebie-jeebies the rest of the day. (Shudder)

AndiAndi Douglas is the mama of three little ones and when she’s not playing house, reading them a book or trying to get them to go bed on time — adores playing with makeup. She loves to answer your beauty questions (including those about hair) so send ‘em on over! Just email them to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Inside His Head: Husband with wandering eyes?

insidehishead2.jpg

Dear Inside His Head husbands,

Whenever we go to the local pool, my husband always stares at other women. I’m not really the “jealous type” but he is so obvious that I can’t help but notice. How can I convince him he’s being a jerk?

greg1thumbnail.jpgGRAY: You can’t. I’d suggest you get him a pair of mirrored sunglasses so you won’t know what direction he’s looking in anymore.

It’s just in men’s nature to look and if you’re stuck with some poor schmuck who does everything short of having his tongue loll out and drool then I can only thing I can say is: you’re the one who married the fool. The rest of us at least believe we’re a bit more cunning about sneaking glances. And if you think you’re married to a guy who doesn’t sneak a peek at women at all, then you’re just not watching
him close enough.

glasses.jpgSo I suppose the only conclusion to be drawn is all men are jerks and your oogle-eyed man is simply got a bit more in the jerkdom department than most. If you want to change his behavior I suggest stern measures, like a Louisville Slugger, but that may only make him bedridden and a bit slower to pick up on your hints.

And why do we stare? Well, it’s really all your fault as women. If you weren’t nice to look at we’d undoubtedly spend more time watching football instead.

marty3thumbnail.jpgMAX: “She doesn’t have to convince him he’s a jerk. He IS a jerk, a big, fatheaded jerk, whether he thinks he is or not.” ~ My wife

I couldn’t find a suitable, pithy quote to start my answer, until my wife read the question over my shoulder and provided one ad hoc. The quote works because, well, it’s absolutely true. Men, don’t ogle girls in front of your woman. You break this rule, you’re an ass.

You must tell him immediately that this behavior is disrespectful and insulting. This should solve the problem with a decent man. If it doesn’t, then his ogling is a symptom of a much larger problem: He doesn’t respect you enough to stop a behavior you find offensive.

If he continues to leer, I would strongly suggest you get some form of counseling or some form or lawyering. Or, as my lovely wife suggests, “Next time the bleeping fatheaded bleep stares, make a big bleeping fire out of his bleep in the front yard.”

johnthumbnail.jpgMAVERICK: Wow, what pool do you hang out at???

Well, he’s not really being a jerk unless you’ve told him to quit peering at the other ladies and he keeps doing it or he’s actually leering and drooling.

And make sure there’s no double standard. If you eye-boink guys and comment on their builds (and face it ladies, more and more of you are doing just that) don’t expect your husband to put on the blinders.

Only other real issue is if he’s staring at young women who are, shall we say, just barely young women. That’s really uncool.

bikini.jpgGuys will look. We can be discreet about it, though. Tell him he looks like a creep. If he gives a fig, tell him it bugs you to see him ogle other women. Both are viable reasons not to let our whole heads turn or our tongues loll when a nicely proportioned women walks by.

But we’re only human, and we’re guys. We should get points for at least trying and not be taken too much to task if we are tempted by exceptional shapes in tiny packages.

To read more Inside His Head, click here.

remix (4)Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!

Mosquito Joe treatments begin this month!

It’s May 1st, mamas, which means a swarm of unwelcome visitors will soon be multiplying all over your yard. If mosquitoes bug you as much as they bug me, Mosquito-Joe-logoyou may want to nip this problem in the bud early. Mosquito Joe is a national service that began providing mosquito treatments for yards in Northwest Arkansas last summer. We paid for the service to treat our yard last year and had amazing success, as did several of our friends.

Our home backs up to the woods, so the mosquitoes can get particularly nasty back there. It’s frustrating to have gorgeous spring and summer days and feel like you have to go inside just to get away from the bugs. And we’re not big fans of slathering on the stinky insect repellant and then have to wash it off later.

After we started the Mosquito Joe treatments last summer, we hardly noticed any of those blood-suckers at all, so we know the new treatments made all the difference. We’ve already scheduled them to come back again starting this month so we can get a jump on the problem before it has a chance to get ugly and cover my kids’ skin in itchy welts.

FYI… Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) wrote on article recently for Mashable.com that points out that the disease-carrying mosquito is the deadliest animal on the planet, killing more humans each year than sharks, lions, crocodiles, rabid dogs and snakes combined! Mosquitoes also outnumber all other animals except for ants and termites. Yikes. Click here to read this eye-opening report.

For more info on Mosquito Joe service on how to get on the yard treatment schedule, call our local contact (who’s also a fellow mama) Stephanie Simon at 479-202-9960. The first service for new customers is only $39. Click HERE to see their website.

 

An iPad for your thoughts? Take this survey for a chance to win one.

MHW-Motherlode-AdMaybe the kids don’t listen to their mamas as much as we want them to, but more and more companies ARE paying attention to what we mothers have to say. In fact, a local company called SOAPware is going to give one local mom an iPad mini in exchange for less than five minutes of her time. (SOAPware is a software development company that works with healthcare clinics and hospitals across the country.)

Fill out this online Mom’s Survey and your name automatically goes into an online hat for the random drawing to win an iPad mini. Woo-hoo! This could be an amazing gift for someone in your family, or you could keep it and enjoy it yourself! :-)

ipad miniAs always, we have thoroughly checked out this survey and have also taken it ourselves, so we can assure you that there’s no scam here. Here’s what you need to know about the Mom’s Survey:

  • They’re not asking for too much personal information — just first name and email address and your “age range.” (No specifics.)
  • They’re not asking for too much of your time. (The survey is only 3 questions long. That’s it. We took it in less than five minutes, and it’s all multiple choice point and click. No essay questions here.)
  • They’re asking these questions in order to make the healthcare system more helpful and efficient — which is something we moms can appreciate since we’re usually the ones who are taking kids, aging parents (and even reluctant husbands) to the doctor.

We hope you’ll participate by providing your honest feedback on these healthcare-related questions. And if you happen to help yourself to a FREE iPad mini because you offered your opinion?? Well then everyone wins. :-)

Good luck, ladies! They’ll contact the winner of the new iPad mini in July!

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