Aug 30, 2012

Some Good Things

Even though the joy and good are surrounding me, sometimes I have a hard time seeing them.  As much as I wish I was one of those always-wearing-rose-colored-glasses-and-life-is-all-rainbow-and-unicorns type girl, I am not.  I get so easily frustrated and overwhelmed and angered by the sad and bad and yucky of the world that it is sometimes hard to see anything else.  It can be so difficult to see the good even though my life is filled with all good.

Which is why I am taking this opportunity to participate in Good Thing Thursday to find and appreciate one of the many good things I have going on.  It may not be life-altering or world-changing.  It may not be the love and peace and compassion I'd like to see in the world.  But it's Good, all the same.


Last weekend we went camping with my husband's family.  Now, I'm not exactly an outdoorsy girl, but I don't want to miss out on family time, especially since this was Paige's first experience.  So we stuffed our car full of fishing poles, sleeping bags, and hot dogs and ventured to the great outdoors.  The rain and mosquitoes were my least favorite (shocking, I know), but there were a lot of favorites.  Here are a few:



And of course the best, s'mores.

Here's to noticing and appreciating all the Good Things.


Aug 29, 2012

This is My Prayer

Last night while I was in bed trying to fall asleep I thought about the past several days (actually weeks, if I'm being honest) and this was my prayer.

Please help me to listen to my kids and really hear them.  To appreciate their wonder and imagination of the world.  To take the extra minute to hear Hope's story about our door being a cave instead of rushing her out because I'm in a hurry and we're running late, again.

Please help me to let go of bedtime struggles.  Help me to put the computer down when Hope gets up from bed for the hundredth time instead of getting angry because after they're tucked in is supposed to be 'my time'.  Instead let me take her back to bed and help her calm her body so that she can find a restful sleep.

Please help me to stay patient and use a quiet voice.  When the girls are having a screaming match, please help me to find my soothing voice and deal with their issues calmly instead of being another screaming voice that results in one, if not all, of us in tears.

Please help me to smile more and laugh with them.  To be okay with the mess in the living room and basement and kitchen because they are playing and having fun and maybe just want me to join in.  Please help me join in.

Please help me remember that they are two and four and such big girls.  But also that they are only two and four and my expectations can be high, just not unrealistic.

Please help me start and end each day with a patient heart, a positive mind, and a passionate soul.  Help me to be the kind of mother I want to be, the kind of mother my kids need me to be.

And if I fail at any or all of these things, please help me to forgive myself and try again.  To always always try again.



Aug 28, 2012

Just Dreaming...

I have been feeling an itch lately.  The kind that makes me want to make a big change, to pack up the family and live somewhere different.

I love where we are.  I love the midwest, it's the only home I've really known.  I love that most of our family (minus my sister) is here.  I love that I have good friends here.  I love that it is comfortable and safe.  That it's not making me stretch in any way I don't want to.  I love that I pretty much know what to expect.  No big surprises.  Apparently I'm not big on surprises.

But I kind of wish I was a risk-taker.  An action-taker.  I wish that we had the kind of life where we could decide to be somewhere different and just go.  Before we had Hope we talked about living somewhere else for awhile.  Probably not permanently because we wanted to "end up" near our families, but we both loved to travel and wanted to be adventurers and explore and live in another part of the country, or even world.

Except that we never did.  And sometimes I wonder, even if Hope hadn't come so soon after we got married, if we ever really would have.  You see, I've always been a big dreamer, just never a big doer.  And I kind of wonder if we ever would've been brave enough to follow through on all our talk.

I always thought I was the daring one, but my sister is the one who lived in another country for a year, who moved to Boston without a job lined up, who now calls New York City home.  And I am the one living two hundred miles from where I grew up.

Most of the time I'm just fine with that.  But sometimes I'm not.

So lately I dream of picking up the family and leaving.  Of finding a condo near a beach, usually in Southern California or Florida, and spending my days embracing sand in our hair and in our home.  Or adventuring over to the English or Irish countryside, or finding an Italian or French villa, or even living in Vienna, and introducing the girls to another culture, another way of life.

I am longing for it, even though I know it won't happen.  Even if we could manage it financially (we can't).  I don't think we'd ever go through with it.  I just don't think I'm brave enough.  Because for all my speak of wanting to embrace a new adventure, I know the obstacles would probably be too much for me.  The struggles would be too hard.  The reality of uprooting the girls, our home, our life, would be too overwhelming.

I like safety and comfort and knowing.  But I dream of risk-taking and adventures and the unknown.


Aug 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Main Man

Today is my husband's birthday.  And while we have a standing joke from him once saying it's "just another day", it is, in fact, a very special day because without Adam I would be lost.  Without Adam there would be no Hope or Paige.

Today I celebrate the person with which I chose to walk this winding, up and down, happy and frustrating, path of life.

He has brought me more peace, more laughter, more joy, and more fun.

It has not always been easy and I imagine that there will be moments even more difficult than those we've already faced, but there is no one else I'd rather be doing this with.

So, today I wish my wonderful, supportive, made-for-me husband , a very, VERY Happy Birthday!

May there be many more.


Aug 22, 2012

Hoping for Light

It started raining here today, and I feel it feeding my mood.  Dark from the cloud-filled sky, like the darkness in my mind, cloudy from thinking.  I am worn down.  I am on edge.  I am not feeling the brightness of sun from this morning, only the gloom from the right now.

Rain sounds nice, but seems to be reminding me of tears.  For some reason my body does not release them, only collects them inside, waiting for the perfect conditions to let them flow out.

The thunder and lightening, my thoughts.  Loud and jumbled, pulsing through my head.  Quick and too bright, flashing here and there.

I am overwhelmed.  I am nervous.  I am worried.

I see a therapist once a month, a psychiatrist once a month, and am currently on two medications filled once a month.  The bills, they are everywhere.  A reminder of something wrong.  A strain on me.  A strain on us.

Cutting back here, scrimping there, budgeting everywhere.  Always budgeting.

I worry.  And I wonder.  What can I do?  How can I fix this?  How can I make it easier?  I feel guilt, because, after all, this is because of me.  My issues.  My fault.

The rain is soft and slow.  And even though it feels sad, it also feels good.  The cool air breezing through the screen, the smell of wet grass, the much-needed drink for our earth.  The rain, it always comes, but then, so does the sun, peaking through the clouds and bringing with it, light.


Aug 20, 2012

Quiet Love

I hear her squeaking and crying in the hour of too-early-for-Mommy-o'clock.  I quick tiptoe on our cold and creaky floors, gather her up, and plop us into my bed, hoping to avoid waking her sister.  I am relieved to be in bed together, one because this child is a breakfast-right-when-she-wakes-up kind of girl, and two because I love my bed.  Perhaps unhealthily so.

My baby curls up against me, even though her long legs and thinning chubbiness give away her toddlerhood, she is still baby to me.  Her head rests on my shoulder and I bury my nose into her crazy mess of curls to find hints of sweet apple from her bath the night before.  Her breathing is morning heavy and periodically interrupted by a sucksuck on her pacifier.

Calm gives way to running thoughts, because that's what happens when my mind gets a chance to wake up.  Thoughts of birthdays later in the week, cleaning that hasn't been done in way too long, running I'd like to squeeze in.  Little thoughts.  Big thoughts.  Anxious thoughts.  A lot of anxious thoughts.

Most times I can't, but this morning I stop them, focus on my breathing and her breathing.  I shut them all out and snuggle into her, my big lady body folding into her little baby one.  And we are together, relaxing again in the stillness of morning, and I am happy.  I am peaceful.  My mommyheart swells with joy at the quiet love.


Aug 19, 2012

Zzzz -- Sorry I Just Fell Asleep

Wow, I am tired.  Have I mentioned that once?  Or twice?  I know, probably about a hundred.  I've petty much been like this since we got back from New York.  Adam told me I have a pretty killer case of jet lag.  Which made me laugh and laugh.  You know, that whole one hour is hell to readjust to.

Week 33

The week was great.  The weekend was great.  And I'm kinda bummed it's over.  But that's nothing new.

Looking forward to a good week ahead.


Aug 17, 2012

Overwhelmed And Deep Breaths

I am trying so hard right now.  Trying to let things go, trying to remember that everything will be okay, trying to take one day, one moment, at a time.

I mentioned awhile ago that I have depression.  And while I am not worried this is a depressive episode, I realized today that I've forgotten to take my medication for several days in a row.  Which might be a good explanation as to why I'm feeling overwhelmed and anxious and beating myself up about it.

I want so desperately to feel good and grateful right now.  Because I do have so much to be grateful for.

Like this:

And this:

But I am so overwhelmed.  And I'm lacking patience that I usually (okay, fine only sometimes) have.  But I am also taking a deep breath.  Or two.  Or three.  And reminding myself how wonderfully blessed I am.

By the way, I'm also rejoicing that the weekend is almost here.


Aug 14, 2012

One More About Running

So, here's the deal.  I promise this isn't going to become a running blog because, let's not kid ourselves, I'm not exactly a runner.  But can I just let it out for a moment here?

Today I actually ran a whole mile.  And really, this is a big accomplishment for me.  Before today the most I could run without taking a walking break was a half mile.  So today felt... not too bad.  And I was kind of proud of myself.

The problem is, I also am feeling surprisingly discouraged.  Which seems weird considering I just successfully completed my first mini-goal.  But I am.  Discouraged, that is.  I know it's only been two and half weeks since I started any physical activity, which really isn't a very long time.  And I also know that my usual run/walk of fifteen minutes isn't exactly a stellar amount of time.  But man, this whole exercise thing is not increasing my energy level.  (Or making myself feel better about my body.  But that's a whole other issue.)

And I so want more energy.  It's kind of a big part of why I kick-started this whole thing in the first place.  I almost feel like I was able to get my butt out of bed (and do more with the girls) before I started all this.

Am I just impatient?  Am I not putting enough time in?  What is wrong with me?

I'm not going to quit, because even though I don't necessarily have more energy, I do feel better overall when I get out and do something, but man, it's kind of hard to feel motivated right now, I can tell you that.

Okay, venting over.  I'm going to try to just feel good because, even though it took two and a half weeks, I finally ran a full mile!


Aug 13, 2012

I'll Take 30, thankyouverymuch

This past Saturday my husband's first cousin once removed got married.  (His cousin's daughter, which is what that would be, right?)  I had an absolutely great time, and I think the girls did too, despite being up too late and being D-O-N-E by the end of the night.

But, oh my goodness, I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a young coed who can't handle her rum. And I didn't even have any rum.  Or vodka, for that matter.  But maybe ten glasses of Coke start to have the same hangover effect?  At least none of it came back up.  It was mostly in the throbbing head kind of way.

And my body, oh how it ached.  Which, of course, has nothing to do with me getting older and everything to do with what a workout dancing all night is.  Swinging a four-year-old around and holding a two-year-old while rockin' all night is amazing strength training, and the dancing itself is great cardio.  (Stop laughing, it's totally true.)

But I'll be honest.  At this wedding of young-ins (the couple getting married are early twenties), I was keenly aware of being a not-as-young-mother-of-two-children.  Which I am totally okay with.  The only thing they really have that I don't is the potential to party all night and not wake up feeling like they were hit by a truck.  And flat stomachs minus the stretch marks.  And naturally perky boobs.  (Damn.)

Really, I would much rather be this thirty-year-old lady than go back to who I was at twenty-one.  Mostly.  No, I really am a much happier and healthier person today than I was back then.  Plus, with age comes wisdom.  So I'm totally wiser.

And I wouldn't trade where I am and who I have around me for all the youthful bodies in the world.  Ever.


Aug 12, 2012

Where Did the Weekend Go?

That's what I'd like to know.

Of course, I know where it went.  It was filled with Olympic evenings, breakfasting with friends, celebrating a commitment of love, picture snapping, dancing, and cake eating.  There was a sleepy morning, coffee talk, adventures between sisters, and a chaotic bedtime.

The weekend was quick and fun, crazy and exhausting.  Which is why I've got to get myself to sleep.  Some weekends leave me feeling refreshed and ready to go for the upcoming week and then others are so crazy I feel like I'm scrambling to prepare for Monday.  This weekend, although packed with joy, was of the latter.

Here are some scenes from this past week.

Week 32


Aug 7, 2012

Baby Koala

She comes to me, her arms outstretched, blue eyes meeting mine with a plea.  You hole me, Mommy?  Pwease?  I pull her up, her body fitting onto my hip like a well-placed puzzle piece.

I call her my baby koala when she wraps her arms tight around my neck.  We snuggle together for a moment, or a million, and then she puts my face in her hands.  I puff out my cheeks, or she squishes them, or we blow in each other's faces, or we kiss kiss kiss.

I try to do this, when she asks me to hold her, instead of saying Just a minute or Not right now, because I know these moments won't last forever.  I know there will be a time when those pools of blue roll at the sound of my voice.  When her body might shrug away at my touch.

She is my baby.  They both are my babies, but right now she is still the baby.  And maybe sometimes I still baby her.  I'm okay with that.  Because when she wants a snuggle, I want to say yes so much more than no.

We hold onto each other until she is done.  And then I put her down and she goes to play.  But sometimes she holds out her hand and asks, Follow me, Mommy?

How can I say no?  I take her hand and follow.


Aug 6, 2012

Some Sleep Required

Today I am tired.  And not the, oh it's been a long day kind of tired, but the everything feels so hard and I'm just tired of it all.  Which of course makes me feel guilty and that I have to preface everything with how much I do love my life, love being a mom, and wouldn't change it for anything.


But I am so tired.  I'm tired of the toys that I am always putting away.  Because even though we make our kids clean up their messes, I seem to end up cleaning up too.  I'm tired of the garbage getting full and having to take it out.  I'm tired of the never-ending dishes in our sink.  I'm tired of the laundry.  Oh my goodness, the laundry.  You would not believe how many loads I have yet to wash, and how many more I have yet to fold.

Is this normal?  Sometimes I feel like every mom must feel this way, but when I'm stuck in the moment I usually just feel so alone in my exhaustion.

I don't know if maybe I haven't recovered from our six day trip.  Or maybe it has to do with my recent increase in physical activity.  Whoever said that exercise gives you energy is full of crap.  (Okay, I realize that after just one week of running I may not be feeling the benefits quite yet, but I'm tired and crabby and gonna complain about it.  So there.)

And now that I'm done, I feel like I'm supposed to say something positive about how it will all be better, or how it really isn't that bad, and wrap everything up with a neat little bow.  And I guess I do know that it will get better and it isn't that bad, but I just don't feel like putting a bow on this.

It's just how I feel right now.  And that's it.  Sometimes I have these days, sometimes I don't.  So now I'm going to go get some sleep and hope it helps.


Aug 5, 2012

I Surprised Myself This Week

So, get ready to have your socks knocked off.

I've started running again.  Okay, so if you don't know me well, your socks may still be on, but I have not been consistently running since about 2004.  (Yeah, exactly.)  Now, keep in mind that I use the term running quite loosely as what I do is a sort of shuffle that is probably barely faster than a brisk walk.

It's only been a week, and I have yet to run for a full mile without a walking break (or two), but to be honest, my goal at this point is only to be able to run for two or three miles without walking.  Even in my prime eight years ago (yikes has it really been that long?), I did not have lofty time or long distance goals.  Basically I want to be able to say, I'm going for a run and then have a comfortable few miles and be done.

For so long I did not want to start running again because I knew I'd be frustrated to not immediately be able to pick up where I left off.  But it's been so long now that I have zero expectations to be able to run for more than a block at a time.  So, the fact that it's only been a week and I can make it a half mile without walking makes me feel pretty good.  Well, I feel good when my lungs aren't burning and my legs don't feel like they have forty pound weights attached to them.  So basically, I feel good when I'm taking a walking break or when I'm done.

All kidding aside, it has been surprisingly invigorating.  And I hope that I can continue through the fall and even winter.  But we'll see.  I'm keeping my expectations and goals pretty low so that I don't get too easily frustrated. It's what works for me, what can I say?

(But I know Adam is hoping I'll feel confident enough to do a 5k fun run with him at the beginning of December.  Truth be told, so am I.)

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go eat a giant sundae and take a nap.  I did just "go running" after all.


Aug 4, 2012

It's a Lovely Saturday

Ah, Saturday, one of my favorite days.  Made more wonderful by sharing some cinnamon rolls with friends, which I am about to do.

Saturday also means time for Project 365, of course.

Week 31

I think we went out for ice cream twice, if not three times, this week.  'Cause you never can have too much ice cream, right?  And of course there was an evening of limboing.  Adam and I might have been making up our own words to the song.  Also, a trip to the zoo and new butterfly house, and of course, playing outside in underwear and sparkly shoes.  Because what summer is complete without an adventure outside in an outfit made up of only "undies" and "parkly shoes"?

(Paige has been eager to wear underwear here, which does not equate to actually using the potty.)

And now it feels like a perfectly lazy Saturday.  The weather is cool enough to have the windows open, and it's raining, but not hard enough to have to close out the sweet breeze.

I'm going to go enjoy a cinnamon roll.  Happy Weekend, all!


Aug 2, 2012

The Moments of Life

Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.
~~Omar Khayyam

Here's the thing, it's pretty easy to be happy in the good moments.  The moments that are warm and fuzzy and filled with happiness and joy.  The spontaneous outing for ice cream, the successful morning at the zoo, the moment between two sisters full of hugs and sharing.

But this quote got me thinking that it's not always so easy to be happy in every moment, especially the ones that aren't happy.  The ones that hurt and cause discomfort and pain.  A two-year-old's temper tantrum in public, the death of a loved one, an ongoing argument.  Even the ones that just feel annoying and eye-roll worthy.  The basket of unfolded laundry taunting for five days, the inevitable whining at five o'clock, the obnoxiously loud cell phone talker at the coffee shop.

But life is about all of these moments, the happy and sad.  The good and the bad.  And as hard as it is to actually be happy in those sad and bad moments (something I think that is virtually impossible) I feel like it is important to remember that without the negative, we couldn't have the positive.  Without sorrow, there could be no joy.  Without bad, there could be no good.

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes (okay, often) I need to remind myself during those annoying and bad moments that they are still a part of my life.  And I don't necessarily have to feel happy during all those moments, but I do need to remember that those negative moments make up life just as much as positive ones.  And life's a pretty good (and happy) thing.


Little White Whale