On letting things go and being a better person

I admit it: I lost the desire to work when I thought I might change jobs. I couldn’t MAKE myself feel better about doing the work; it had to come as part of the logical progression. In time, I started to feel a little more motivated (granted, this was a small amount of time.) Yesterday was my low point. My back is still giving me fits so I left and went directly home, running a hot bath, using a face mask I got for free at that oils party, and reading a book. After, I put one drop of lavender oil on each temple and fell into the most blissful sleep. When I woke, I went to Publix and then home to catch up on the baskets of laundry I fail to put away, day after day. That four hour stint by myself was exactly what I needed.

I came into work today and the office was having a pot luck breakfast/birthday thing for our department chair. It was nice to converse with those people because the sense of unity we once had has been corrupt ever since the last office manage left. The only person I consider to be my friend up there – the one I thought was mad at me – is clearly angry at those other folks. She didn’t participate and this made me sad but you know, I can’t let that bother me. That is her issue to deal with.

I got mad at Elliot this morning for being so negative about pretty much everything people said. But I realize I have been like that for about 2 weeks now. Ash and I always tell the kids to have balance in their lives. But I am just as guilty here. I’ve been unpleasant, unmotivated, and angry. I’m allowing myself to tip the scale too far on the work side of things and it’s taking away from the rest of me – the mom side, the wife side. I guess the first step is realizing it though.

What I have been, mostly, is sad and anxious. I keep thinking that something will turn my mood around; I’ll find a new job and that will be the answer. But I guess what I have to do is make something happen. I know I whine on here quite a bit about breaking out of the funk but as always, there are peaks and valleys. I felt great this morning but as this afternoon wears on, I feel less and less human. I type, I read papers, I check Twitter. My brain barely computes what I am seeing. I take in knowledge, my mind drifts. My ideas are like marbles rolling around one of those old wooden Labyrinth games; plunking into tiny holes – traps – and disappearing.  Not long to go now and it’s home to fix quick snacks and run off to baseball. My life is a crazy mess but I should be thankful that it is this and not something awful. I am… I am…

More random stuff – I do love me some bullets

  • I find myself sort of enamoured by sea glass. I know you can’t find it naturally much around here except for maybe in the Fernandina beach/Amelia Island area near Jacksonville. I looked up how much it sells for on ebay and am amazed at how much people want for that! I guess if it took you a while to find it yourself then labor makes up part of the cost.bottle_of_colors_feb_2013
  • I also keep browsing handmade signs on etsy that are beach-like in nature. Things that pronounce Beach house rules, as if I have one of those! I have this dream that my parents will have money soon and we’ll save up and all of us will rent one at St. George for a week. And we’ll spend all day in the sun and we’ll have fires and pinics and when the kids are asleep, the adults will sit outside at night, sipping beer and watching the stars, listening to waves lap the shore. And in the morning, the first thing we’ll do is wander down to the water… because we can. I’d say this is either #1 or 2 on my current bucket list.il_570xN.440783556_8d7r
  • I’m feeling pretty burned out so I guess that’s where this desire to escape to the beach or into some kind of craft is coming from. I don’t want to grade papers, I don’t want to talk to grad students, I don’t want to have to think!
  • I need a change. I need new scenery. I need new challenges. If you know me at all, you’d wonder where the real me went because normally, I thrive on stability and reliability. I expect things to stay status quo at almost all times. Not to say I can’t be spontaneous but I like things to be content. Something is changing in me.
  • Maybe this is a good thing. I feel like I can envision this precipice upon which I stand and look out onto a shift in my life. 9706736558_732c8a2048_z
  • I’m going to an essential oils party tonight. You know, like a Tupperware or Passion party. I usually go to those things with the intention NOT to buy anything. But I may actually try some for my back pain. I guess it can’t hurt and I know a lot of people who support that homeopathic remedy solution. Anything to alleviate this pain; anything.
  • I don’t know why I do it but I’ve been torturing myself by looking at the aforementioned vacation rentals. So cute! So close to the water! I can just image being away from it all! There’s this feeling of longing that is just so foreign. It’s rare that I want something as much as I want to take a weekend and just unplug.

Weird, fun, crazy, exhausting weekend

My life just keeps getting crazier and crazier, I tell you. First, I agreed to grade some papers and I have ZERO time to do it in. THEN, my BIL came into town. THEN, I did this horrible thing to myself.

On Saturday, Ash and his brother had a race about an hour away so they were slated to be back by 2. My parents were set to be in town by 2:30. Around 9, I was putting kids and groceries in the car, I put the cart away and got in myself. And that is when I somehow managed to wrench my back so badly that I honest to God could not move. I somehow got Baby Girl out and on her mat at home but the kids carried in the groceries and I went to the couch to cry. The pain was so bad I had to ask someone for help, which is really unlike me in any way. But I couldn’t actually move. Luckily, my friend, Catherine, was able to come over. I don’t think I could have made it without her help. When Ash got home, he tried to get my upright but it was just so awful. I told my legs to move but they wouldn’t. I cried. It was worse than childbirth! The funny thing I found out is that I felt better the more I moved around. So even though rest sounded like the right treatment, the longer I sat, the stiffer it felt. So I pushed through Saturday night and that was by far the worst; that and early Sunday morning when BG woke up. Ash had to get her and bring her to me because I couldn’t bend over in the slightest.

Well, since Isaac’s birthday was Sunday, I had no choice but to get up. Luckily though, his party went off without a hitch. The bounce house showed up on time, a bunch of kids came, and fun was had by all. I am glad; he really  loved having all his friends there and a day just for him. Sometimes he gets overshadowed by the oldest and youngest of my children.

I took them all to school this morning and then we met back up with my family for breakfast before all going separate ways. I am happy to be in the office where things are slightly more calm but at the same time, there’s still potential to be crazy busy. It’s like it just never ends. I am jealous of my husband, who took his brother to the airport and is taking the day off. (Though he’s also doing taxes so, no thanks.) What I really want is just one evening where we have nothing to do. No baseball, no grading papers, no homework, no nothing. Le sigh.

These are not the droids you’re looking for

I’ve been mysteriously absent the last few days and it feels so odd for me to NOT visit regular sites or even check twitter or Pinterest. I thought I might actually craft a Random Tuesday post but then I got sidetracked. Not only is work very busy, but we have Isaac’s party coming up and each evening – when we don’t have baseball games for Elliot – is filled to the brim with party prep. Add onto this a possible new opportunity I am working on and I am just so overwhelmed.

I liked that t-ball was on Saturday mornings, though if I wanted to get stuff done, that was a kink in the chain. Now, either Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evening is dominated by a game. Dinner is all wonky and I am forced to plan ahead. This was the first week so I am still getting the hang of it. Wednesday I made BBQ pulled chicken in my crockpot. The only reason it worked out was because I was home around 11 so I set it for 6 hours on low. Elliot and I loved it but Isaac was not having any part of it, which is odd because that is what he orders at Sonny’s. But I am going to need to plan ahead a whole lot more; he has seven more weeks!

I thought I might break Wednesday night; after we finally got the kids in bed, I got on the couch and started thinking about all the things that still have to get done, then the back pain I am having (think it’s a pinched nerve), then the stuff I had to do that night alone like wash bottles and finish laundry… and I was ready to crawl in a hole and hide forever.

Then yesterday was insane at work – hardly a moment to sit still – and when we got home, we then immediately left for dinner. Ash won some gift cards to our favorite pizza place in his 10k last weekend so we got a nice treat. I had a beer, so that was also excellent. BG gave me the gift of silence: she slept almost the entire time we were there. As soon as we got home, I put her to bed, the menfolk kept working on deck deconstruction, and then Ash and I worked more on Isaac’s party stuff. THEN, we started working to build our new entertainment center for below the TV. Ash went to Party City the other night and when we didn’t really see what he needed for the party, wandered next door to HH Gregg (where we hardly ever shop) and ended up finding a table he liked. We are almost done but by 11:15, we were so tired we had to quit.

It’s been nice though, being busy. But it has to end at some point here. I need just a bit of a breather to collect myself; to reboot.  You can only go go go so much before you crash and burn. I went out to talk to Carrie (she runs the hot dog stand on campus) and I said, “You know what I’d like to be doing right now?” And she guessed my exact answer: “Laying by the pool drinking a beer.” That about sums it up.9061609600_2de80e418c_c

 

Last summer, vacation

Get off of my cloud

I find myself in an exceptionally good mood today, which feels odd. I am normally neutral or a little less than; I’d say on any given day my attitude and overall contentedness with the world sits anywhere from 40-70%. I always pride myself on maintaining status quo; so as long as everything is going smoothly and my obligations are getting taken care of, I am perfectly happy not assessing how I actually feel.  But as I said, I feel GOOD today.

BG slept all night so that always helps. We worked out last night and it was difficult but satisfying. ( I love the 13 minute mark of T25; Shaun T looks right at you and tells you that you’ve got this; just 12 more minutes and you’re done!) We also took a long walk down a different trail than normal. It’s the Fern Trail at Governor’s park. Ash used to mountain bike through there and now he runs a portion of it. We walked roughly 3 miles and didn’t even have too much complaining from the boys. They like it but eventually, get tired. At mile marker 48, there was an area where rock encroached on the little gulley below and make the water narrow but created a landing. The boys got down there and explored for a bit while I stayed above, since I had BG in the carrier. I also had the dogs. While they were down there, my two Bostons encountered another whose name was Kudzu; cute!20140325_17535320140325_175424

 

What is even more strange about my unusual good mood is that the past two days have found me being rather snippy and quick to easy annoyance. Little things got on my nerves: Ash not cleaning up the hair after shaving, dishes in the sink I failed to wash, the kids messing around at dinner. Maybe somewhere in the night, my subconscious decided to say “screw it, be happy.”

Tomorrow, at 12:31 PM, I will turn 35 years old. What is it about those kinds of numbers that make it seem much more important? 31? Not anything to mention. 23, just a random number in between 20 and 30. But count by 5s or 10s and it’s a huge deal. I don’t feel 35 so I guess that is what matters. I have a free Starbucks drink coming to me, a 10 dollar off coupon from World Market, and a free cone at Bruster’s.  I have my eye on a new pair of shoes and I plan to buy BG a bathing suit for when the pool opens. There’s a lot of stuff on my horizon and it’s almost all good. Sure, we have to do our taxes and chances are, that money is going towards replacing the pipes in our house; a huge job but one that desperately needs to get done. But that’s 35. That’s having a house and kids and living the domestic life. I wouldn’t trade it for being single or making a million dollars or being famous. Not for one second.

Writer’s Workshop – You thought you were busy before…

workshop-button-15.) Something that is a challenge for you

As a mom of three, keeping up with everything is a challenge for me and here’s something I wrote about it:

 

It has been a scant 20 seconds since I gave at least three hugs and kisses to each boy, tucking them back in after they got up to close the closet or move a shoe or something of that sort. The door creaks open and one is now thirsty; the other is, therefore, also dying of extreme thirst and they both pad into the kitchen. I tell them goodnight one more time and sit on the couch, holding my breath. What other stalling tactic will I see next? How long before I hear the door again? I don’t, but then my seven month old remembers it is still evening hours which means she should scream her lungs out for absolutely no justifiable reason. It is her job as a baby – who does little else – to exercise those new lungs so I’m up again, cradling a tiny warm body in hopes she stays quiet for a little while, because after a nine hour work day where my office is a revolving door of grad student with their own set of problems, the last thing my fragile psyche can handle is more senseless crying.

A friend once told me that the hardest thing is going from zero kids to one. That first kid is a doozy but as you add more, it’s never so bad. You’re more prepped, they explained. You’ve done it before and at least know what to expect. Ok, I’ll give my friend that: as I had my second and third children, I went into it knowing how the kid thing works. But I don’t know if it’s “not as bad” so much as it is just entirely different. One to two seemed like my problems enhanced exponentially. They didn’t just double but intensified based solely on each individual issue that arose. The thing I had going for me that second time was that I had another boy so I felt comfortable in doing boy things. No new clothes needed to be purchased. The nursery stayed as it was; all the toys were good to go as boy #2 aged. Sure, having two boys amplified the sound in our household tenfold and there were a lot of pretend guns and cars and dinosaurs. But it was also pretty magical. Still, I don’t think zero to one was harder than two to three. Dividing my attention amongst everyone is by far the most difficult part. I’m pulled in so many directions: the boys, husband, jobs, my own basic desires like, you know, going to the bathroom.

There are days when 24 hours is enough. I get work done, the kitchen cleaned, dinner made, kids in bed, AND find time to work out and watch an episode of Inkmaster. Still, there are days when you’d think I hadn’t the slightest idea how to be a mom. Jeans didn’t get washed or we’re out of apple sauce and the dogs are jumping on kids and kids are crying and this mom has had it. There have probably been times when my neighbors thought they should call the Child Services because I’m ranting about my kids’ lack of sense. I would kill for just one or two more hours to wash dishes and maybe – just maybe – I could even read a book.

I chatted briefly with a guy who works at a downtown eatery I’ve been frequenting for years. I knew he was getting married over Spring Break so we talked about it and he beamed happily explaining his honeymoon in Paris and Rome. Then he said, “Well, back to the grind. That’s the way it is.” And he’s right. This is life; the good stuff presents itself here and there and sometimes you get a break but day to day this is what we do. We’re busy, we have to get stuff done, we give ourselves over to inevitability of responsibility. You could go crazy thinking about what the point of it all is but then, when my oldest son comes out of his room again, even after the second glass of water, and gives me a sweet kiss on the cheek and a tired “I love you”, then I know why I do all this. I know.

T25 – What doesn’t kill me makes me… well, maybe

FocusT25

 

Shaun T says: get in there and focus! Ash and I started this on Monday so yeah, we’re  only on day 3. So far, I am feeling the burn. The first day was cardio and yesterday was “speed 1.0″, which was slightly easier in that there were a lot of yoga stretches. These  proved easy for me but Ash had trouble with balancing. I can tell you that I love the 25 minute countdown and the loading bar for each exercise. And last night went by so quickly compared to day one. I can’t expect every day to fly by but if they are so intense that they breeze by, I will be happy.

The plan is to stick to it as best we can. I like that we tend to do it after the kids go to sleep (so anywhere from 8:15-8:30) and then I make it past that 9 PM slump I was in for the longest time. I work out for 25 minutes, do a 2 minute cool down, rinse off, then go wash dishes and bottles or catch up on other little chores. This was exactly what I was looking for! I juts hope it can tone my body in the ways I want. I’m not looking to be a model; I just want to be thinner. I don’t need to have ridiculously defined abs; I just want less leftover baby flab. I want to go to the beach and feel relatively comfortable in a bathing suit. And besides, I didn’t think I was that out of shape until we started and I want to keep my health. I’ll be 35 in 15 days!

The fear of not knowing

UGH. Ash is driving with the boys to Orlando today and he’s not answering his phone. One of the worst things EVER. He texted me to ask my parents’ address – obviously for GPS purposes – but then didn’t answer. I can only surmise that a.) he’s on the phone with his brother, who also flies in there today or b.) didn’t hear his phone over the laptop, which is probably in the center console playing a movie for the boys. Still, I just hate worrying. I worry a lot, though maybe less than I used to. But what’s a mom to do when 3/5 of her family is on the roads and it’s raining? I’m finding it hard to concentrate on work when I don’t know if they’re ok.

On the other hand, there’s a part of me that feels alright and believe they’re just fine. I think it’s my leftover Catholic faith that rescues me here. Sure, I may not be an avid church-goer anymore but I grew up in Catholicism and having a strong faith in God. I’m not a bible-reader or a volunteer in the church. I feel bad that I sometimes treat religion like a buffet – picking and choosing what suits me. But I put my mind at ease when I pray and I always remember thinking that if I took anything away from preaching as a child, that it was the power of prayer. And whether there really is a God or not, believing that he’s got my back and won’t let anything bad happen to my family definitely makes me feel a lot better.

****************

Not twenty minutes after crafting this post, I received a text. They were in Gainesville, stopping for lunch. I definitely feel a lot better.

Now I can work on the myriad things in front of me. I ate me a Jimmy Johns sandwich and the day is cruising along. I am looking forward to my evening; I can’t lie. It’s rare that I’m in the house alone (baby girl won’t count tonight ;) ) so I look forward to having my own time.

 

Crash

I feel like a lot of things are coming crashing down this week; small slip-ups, little failures; tiny stresses for everyone. On Monday night, we were that family in Target. I was the mom speaking in clipped phrases, hushed tones to her children. “Hey, put that down.” and “No, stop messing with the cart.” All the while, it was nearly 6:45 and Baby Girl decided that check out was the time to begin crying because of sleepiness. We left hurriedly, my children wondering if I was going to lose it any second. I managed to keep calm and composed, however.

Driving back, I looked over to see Elliot sobbing quietly. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. His answer was not what I expected. “I don’t want to have to be a grown-up someday and pay bills. I just wanna be a kid.” I calmed him and reminded him just how long he has to be a kid and not to worry about the future. He was quiet a second – doing the math – and replied, “I only have 11 years before I go to college! It’s not enough time!”

What seven year old worries about this? Now I worry for him because he’s a thinker and emotional and lets this stuff get to him. I had no worries about the future when I was a kid. I worried about doing well in school and making more friends and being a well-behaved daughter. But it’s like I knew better than to think of a time when I had to worry about much larger issues. I wish he could find a way to put all that away for a while.

Yesterday, I was on pick-up duty and when we got Isaac, we saw he had gotten on red at school. This is a very rare occurrence for my middle boy. He is almost always on green; yellow happens only every now and then. He seemed to feel no remorse for his bad behaviour, which is what bothered me even more. The final nail in the coffin was when Ash finally got home. He slipped in the back door and the boys didn’t notice until a few minutes later. Isaac comes running out, “Daddy, you’re home! I got on green today!” A lie! Isaac is the honest child, the one who never wants a spanking but if he must, wants to know if it will hurt and immediately feels sorry for what he did. So this is relatively disconcerting, though I tell myself it’s just a phase. Overall, and compared to Elliot, he has weathered these little ages and stages fairly well. They say,”Oh, terrible twos.” None of my children were bad at two. Elliot was an awful three year old but Isaac has only shown glimpses of bad behavior this past year. I am hoping we can get to four here soon and he’ll be good to go. But not if he’s getting on red and lying about things. No sir.

Tonight I have to pack up the menfolk for their weekend trip. I am looking forward to Thursday night with Baby Girl. Just me and her and after 7 PM, just me… and the TV. Well, and cleaning. My mom will get into town Friday evening and we have no plans but it will be nice anyway. I need to regain some semblance of balance in my life. I feel like I have a headache every single day and I struggle to keep up. I struggle to feel alive in the face of all the to-dos. It’s not so much that I want something for me; it’s that I need slowness and time and the feeling that I have control of something. But maybe that just isn’t what being an adult is about. If so, then I do feel pretty bad for Elliot.

Looking for more

It may not be snowy here and in fact, it’s quite sunny and clear today. BUT, the mid-winter blahs still affect me. I’m feeling like I need to completely gut my kitchen and start from scratch. Ok, that’s unreasonable. I want to pull everything out and throw away junk. We have this corner where things have just sort of accumulated. There’d a knee-high stack of coloring books, a extra nap mat for Isaac when he goes to VPK, a non-functional computer, an old blanket that is there for God knows what reason, a grill cleaning kit, Elliot’s fishing pole, a bag I bought thinking it would work for a diaper bag but abandoned, and at least five reusable grocery bags, all crumpled and jammed behind the computer. Sometimes things don’t really have a place where they technically live so they end up in a spot that becomes a place you just vow not to look at. But I am starting to hate the clutter.

Last week when I was pissed at the world and shut myself in my room all evening, Ash broke me down. He knew I was stressed about money and the clutter. (This was when the old TV was in a weird place in the kitchen and the ginormous box the new one came in was still in my living room.) He knows me all too well. The cleaning I did this weekend really helped my overall psyche but still, I need to do something major in the kitchen/dining room area. And once I get started there, I remember all the little things on my long-term to-do list: print family photo for Isaac’s school bulletin board, print photos for cute frame I bought more than a year ago, hang paintings I did in Dakota’s room, pressure wash house, etc etc etc…

In the face of all this STUFF I have to do, I tend to redirect and find other stuff to focus on. I have the hope of a new job and finding new hobbies, and I really want to find new blogs to read. I actually like ones where people simply write about their lives. Take Swistle’s post from today; it’s just about a clock but I like that. It reminded me how I feel about winter and just how mundane stuff can be interesting to read because you know what she means. If you have any good blogs to share, please do.

Meanwhile, I look forward to warmer days and to nights where I don’t have to get up more than once (I’ll take once over three, four). I look forward to prospects of more money and to birthdays and outings and maybe even making new friends. I hope for nice new neighbors and the motivation to get stuff done in my yard. I look for more and stay hopeful, ever optimistic.