middle children are okay!

hi, my name is anne and i’m a middle child.

growing up, i was the second of 3 girls.  my older sister is 2.33 years my senior, and my younger sister is 2.97 years my junior.  there is a fourth sister, but she was born when i was 13 so she’s basically a whole ‘nother generation.

3sisters
[my shirt is backwards here.  probably because i was a neglected middle child.]

recently, i’ve had multiple people with children ask my opinion on the welfare of their youngest if they have another kid.  one posed the question with concern by asking, “how do you think our second will fare, you know, if we have…a third?  will they be okay?”  another posed the question almost with contempt: “well we have the two, and we WANT more, but we don’t want the second one to suffer, you know, as a middle child.”

can i just say something here?  being a middle child is AWESOME.

unless you are an extrovert and/or like attention.

as far as i’m concerned, my childhood was a freaking blast.  i was always flanked by my sisters.  i was the 2nd of 3 but i always felt special and unique.  i got to try every sport i had a hankering for.  i got to quit every sport i had a hankering for after 1 year when i got bored with it.  i liked team sports the best because i wasn’t solely responsible if we lost.  once i got good enough at tennis to move from doubles to singles, i quit, because i didn’t like the attention.

3sisters4
[totally content being the mickey to my older sister’s minnie.]

i had my own birthday parties, i had my own identity, and it was the best.  no regrets, yolo, and all the jazz.

now i also must disclose that i was a painfully shy child and did not like attention.  one time, at the mall of america, i made my younger sister return something for me because i was too embarrassed to talk to the salesperson.  i didn’t like attention in the first place, so not being the center of it did not pain me one bit.

and as an adult, there is no pressure to show up to things because i’m the only child or one of two or something.  i never felt like i was compared to or competing with either of my sisters.  i like being part of a crowd and being able to slip in and out, taking a backseat and watching from afar.  i am comfortable with this.

[which is why it is EXTRA weird when hubs and i are the only “kids” at his parents’ house at christmas.  it’s like someone holding you down and tickling you and watching to see if you pee your pants.]

3sisters5
[just because they didn’t let me sit in the chair with my sisters doesn’t mean i wasn’t loved equally, probably!]

here are some fun facts about middle child syndrome that i found on the interwebz, and would like to dispel:

“Middle children often feel left out and invisible” – just the way i like it!

“Middle children tend to be more outgoing and flexible than their older and younger siblings.” – not even a little bit true in my case!

“Middle children tend to be ‘rebels,’ more so than their other siblings.” – nope, i am a giant chicken!

“Middle children are characterized by low self-esteem and extreme introversion, sometimes even leading to psychotic behavior.” – no…wait, am i a psychopath?  tbd.

“Middle children are also usually considered outcasts in their families.” – alright, let’s relax, everyone!

3sisters2
[if i close my eyes will i disappear completely? i wondered at the tender age of 4.]

now, are there times when i wished i was maybe a little more at the forefront of my parents’ thoughts?  maybe.  has one my parents’ forgotten the “e” on the end of “anne” on more than one occasion?  perhaps!  are there downsides to being a middle child?  probably.

but current and future parents, you need to calm down.  love your kids all the same and they will turn out fine.  and if they complain about being a middle child someday, tell them to calm down, too.

3sisters3[see? WE ARE AWESOME!  everybody calm down.]

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Getting Pulled Over By A Cop On Foot

When I was 17 years old, I was lucky enough to have my own car, or rather, “The car temporarily assigned to you” (thanks Dad).  While big pimpin’ around my hometown in my ’97 Nissan Altima, I was often tasked with carting around my two younger sisters, which was fine with me as long as I got to feel the wind in my hair and listen to Mandy Moore as loud as I wanted (don’t judge me).  One afternoon, Sara, who was 14 at the time, and I picked up Stacey, who was 4 at the time, from preschool.  Then things got tricky.

While approaching an elementary school that had not yet let out its students for the day, I saw the crossing guard frantically waving his arms at me and motioning for me to pull over.  Not being one to challenge authority, I pulled off to the side of the road in front of the school, because crossing guard = cop = prison, which is what I was thinking at the time.

The guy walks up to my window, and we have this exchange:

“Miss, how fast were you going just now?”
“Um, the speed limit, I guess…”
“Well it looked like you were speeding, and this is a school!”
“I’m sorry sir, I-”
“Who is that sitting in the back seat?”
“My sister.”
“How would you feel if your sister back there was crossing the street after school and some IDIOT like you came speeding along and HIT her?”
“I’m sorry, I-”
“I don’t care if you’re sorry, how would you feel?!”
“I would feel very bad, sir!”
“Oooh, if I had a radar gun, I would write you a ticket so fast-”

Which is when the incredible happened.  Stacey, 4 years old, from the backseat of the car, upon hearing the word “gun”, starts yelling in her little chipmunk voice:

“I’M JUST A KID!  PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME, OFFICER!  I’M JUST A KID!!!”

The crossing guard was so flustered after making a 4 year old think that she was about to get shot that he reluctantly waved us back onto the road without another word.

The three of us then made a pact never to tell my mom.  But like the time that I threw a party in the basement while my mom was asleep two floors above us, or the time that I let someone drive my car and they backed into a cement wall, or the time that I hid bottlecaps in my bathroom drawer and claimed they were to make “bottlecap art”, everything comes out eventually.

Quit Typing 2011 Already

Apologies for the December sabbatical that I took from the blog.  I think I needed a break from life over the holidays.  Any grand plans I had to be productive were abandoned for some good old fashioned me time.  Here’s what I did over the past few weeks:

Read
The Hunger Games: all 3 books in the trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) in about 7 days, only interrupted by Christmas day itself.  I was obsessed.  The movie looks killer and much better than Twilight, probably.

Then I started Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  And Other Concerns.  My Dad gifted it to me for Christmas with a “is this book about insecurities and lack of self-confidence, or…?”

Watched
A shit ton of movies, for me: Winter’s Bone, Pretty Woman, The Kids Are All Right, Heathers
{Fun fact: I convinced hubs to watch Pretty Woman by telling him that there was a surprise twist ending.  Spoiler alert: there wasn’t.}

Rode
In the car for lots of hours between my in-law’s house and my own.  It was Buster’s first road trip, and he did pretty well, aside from the nose prints and the couple of times that he insisted on riding up front with me.

Ran
Hubs and I began a Couch-to-5k running plan that we are constantly trying to catch up with (completed workouts on the “Meh-xercise” page).  I timed it perfectly to coincide with a Valentine’s Day themed 5k in February, and then we almost immediately fell behind for various reasons.  But we’re committed to doing all of the workouts before race day.  And by race, I mean waddle.

Familied
Most importantly, I spent time with my entire family, and loved every second of it.  Especially the moment when I realized that the confetti I had intended my nephew to dig through to find his Christmas presents would become airborne as soon as he opened the box.  My bad.

I hope you also had a restful and me-time-filled holiday break of some sort.  Now back to our regularly scheduled job-hating, sleep-depriving, stress-causing lives.

One Ear Down, One To Go

While trying to listen to Christmas music while it’s still acceptable, my left headphone electrocuted me, and now it only makes a sssshhhhhhhh sound when it’s supposed to be filling the left side of my head with the joyous sounds of not-Aaron-Neville holiday tunes.  I still have the right ear, but, sitting at my cube, if people walk up to talk to me, they’re facing my right side, and if I can’t hear them coming then they might sneak up on me and catch me insert embarrassing activity here.

This will be pretty non-traditional year for my family.  Midday snacks at my dad’s on Christmas Eve, evening Mexican fiesta at my sister’s house, brunch at my mom’s on Christmas morning, a 4 hour car ride to my in-law’s house, and then Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Day.  I just realized…will there be stuffing?  Where will it come from?  Maybe I can make…stuffing pancakes on Christmas morning?  This will require some thought.

Update: Stuffing Pancakes DO exist!

Because there are so many kids in my family, we do Secret Santa every year so that we don’t have to buy presents for everyone, because we’re low maintenance like that, and also because we’re all pretty cheap.  I am pretty excited about what I’m giving my Secret Santa this year.  I won’t spoil it here, in case he/she reads this, but here is a clue…

Approximately 2 more hours until I am officially off for the holidays.  I may or may not “forget” my blackberry charger at my desk, so that I am unreachable for the next two weeks.  But probably not.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas or whatever else you might be celebrating this time of year!

So, Thanksgiving Happened.

So, Thanksgiving was fine.  Nobody cried!  But hosting is flipping exhausting.  No matter how prepared you think you are or how much work you do in advance, there is still going to be a crap ton of stuff to do last minute.  By the end of it, my back was killing me from washing so many dishes and pots and casseroles, and I think the longest I got to sit at the dinner table was about 90 seconds, because of various demands for superfluous things like forks, plates, etc. etc. and so forth.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this housewifey thing after all.

The funniest part of the whole experience was when my family left, and I was left with hubs, his parents, and his kooky cousin.  So naturally, I set out to finish the 4 bottles of wine we had overzealously uncorked before dinner so they wouldn’t go to waste (not even 2 Buck Chuck is poured down the drain at casa de Annie).  Around 10:30 p.m., drunk and looking for something to do other than watch football, I suggested we go to the nearest Target at midnight to watch the herd of Black Friday cows file in and fistfight over TVs.  Shockingly, everyone was game for a trip.

As soon as we got to Target, we realized our mistake, as none of us were laughing at the insanely long line to get in the door.  Rather than walk half a mile to the end of the queue, we opted to wait off to the side near the entrance, planning to go in once the doors had opened and the line had dissipated.  When we finally made our way into the madness, we could tell that all of the good stuff was gone.  I headed back to the electronics section, and this is what I saw:

I was so scared.  Luckily I found my way back to my in-laws, who had miraculously managed to score this baby from someone in the checkout line who realized that her mom, at another Target, had already scored the coveted item of the night:

It was OURS, all ours.  My in-laws were nice enough to pick it up for us as a Christmas gift, and now we are the proud owners of a living room TV whose image doesn’t burn itself into the screen when you push pause on the DVR.  It’s glorious.

I’m generally not a fan of Black Friday, mostly because of the crowds, having to stand uncomfortably close to strangers, and having to make snap decisions about buying things, which gives me lots of anxiety.  But we didn’t take it too seriously, and everybody came home happy.

Anybody else have an exciting Black Friday adventure?

San Francisco Or Bust…I Choose Bust

Hubs and I visited San Francisco for our first wedding anniversary this past July, and ever since then, he’s been daydreaming (to himself and out loud to me) about relocating out west.  He really, really loved San Fran…and I wish I could agree.  Here are my generalized thoughts on the city.  If you’re offended by any of these, sorry in advance.

1. The Weather

Every. Single. Person. that we told about our plans to go to San Francisco repeated the famous Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”  After the twelfth time, we were like, we knowwwww, San Francisco is cold in the summer.  WE GET IT!  But the truth is, it really is chilly.  Our first night there, the fog hung so low that you could taste it, and I had to wear closed-toe shoes, a jacket, and a scarf.  Keep in mind, we had traveled from Atlanta, where it was approximately 1,000 degrees with 1000% humidity.  So while the cool weather was a nice break, it also felt really, really wrong.  We got a better view of the grim reaper fog when we were driving back into the city via Oakland a few days later, and it looked like the apocalypse, people!  I did not get warm fuzzies from the “charming” San Francisco weather.  Not at all.

2. Mmmmm Food

My favorite food that we got to try in SF was a sourdough bread bowl with some sort of tomato bisque.  It warmed the cockles of my heart, it was so good.  But if I were faced with the dilemma of what to eat every day in San Francisco, and I had sourdough breadbowls as a readily available option, I would weigh 800 lbs.  Additionally, when the weather is depressing, I tend to eat my feelings (see item #1).  Foggy weather + sourdough mecca = popping the top button on my jeans, forever.

Sidenote: the shrimp in San Fran are effing creepy.  If you are from the east coast and shrimp are important to you, then DO NOT order shrimp in San Fran.  They are small, bumpy, and creep me the F out.

3. The MotherClucking Hills

Never have my calves hated me so much that after a day of walking around San Francisco.  There is a reason why everyone who lives there has such toned legs; also a reason why they take the trolley an extra block and walk DOWN to wherever they are going.  People who know better avoid walking uphill at all costs in this city.  Tourists like us will probably never learn.  I enjoy a leisurely stroll in a new city when I’m traveling, but there is nothing leisurely about strolling through San Francisco.

4. MoneyMoneyMoneyMoney

San Francisco is mucho expensivo!  Everything from housing to food to entertainment is expensive in this city.  Probably not as bad as New York…probably.  I decided on a whim to look at what kind of condo we could get in the city for the same price that we spent on our house in Atlanta, and if the thought of trading in a 4 bedroom house for a studio was appealing to me, I’d be packing my bag right now (see what I did there?  BAG.  No use in bringing clothes that won’t fit in the door of your 10X15 shoebox of an apartment).

5. Distance

San Francisco is approximately 2,500 miles from my family here in Georgia.  It’s even further from hubs’ parents in Savannah.  While I would like to consider myself an independent woman who has no qualms about moving across the country or even the world in order to experience a new adventure, I would miss my mom too much.

In short, I am a chicken who is afraid of change, weird shrimp, and seasonal depression.  The End.

There Is a Right Way to Eat Popcorn

When we were younger, my sisters and I were taught the elements of how to eat popcorn the correct way:

Quantity: Take a small number of pieces out of the bag/bowl/bucket.  Preferable amount is 5-7 pieces, without butter, duh: it’s messy AND fattening.  Deplorable.
Speed: Grab your pieces of popcorn as quickly as possible.
Noise: Make as little noise as possible while pecking for popcorn, so help you God.
Agility: Place all selected pieces of popcorn into your mouth and close your lips BEFORE chewing.  This element is crucial.
Minimal Disturbance: Chew slowly and quietly with your mouth closed.
Repetition: Repeat until you mess up any of the above 5 elements.  Then your popcorn will be taken away from you.

It wasn’t until I got to high school and started going to movies with my friends that I noticed,

People do not follow the popcorn rules!  How could they not know?!

It was then that I realized that the popcorn rules weren’t as widely accepted as, say, turning off your cellphone during a movie, or holding doors open for old people, or washing your hands after going to the bathroom.  Yes, people break these rules, but they all get the stink eye for them.  If you cut in line, everyone will judge you.  If you eat popcorn loudly in a movie theater, only I will judge you.  And even though I know that it’s not normal to be annoyed by people who eat popcorn the wrong way, it still bugs the hell out of me.  I know I have problems.

I also can’t help pointing out the wrong-popcorn-eaters to my husband on the rare occasion that he actually takes me out in public.  He never notices it until I point it out to him by saying, Do you hear that guy two rows back chomping on his popcorn?  It’s so loud I think my ears are bleeding!  And then we trade seats and it’s another 12 months before I get to go to the movies again.  The last one we saw together in theaters was Inception, and before that it was Slumdog Millionaire.  In my dream movie theater, everyone gets to wear noise-cancelling headphones with adjustable volume.  But then I’d be complaining about people who text during movies, and…well, what’s the point.  That’s why I have Netflix.