On and on it goes

Man, what a morning. It was the kind of morning where you’re already late and you can’t find stuff and when you get in the car with all the kids, you find that you left the radio on XM’s Lithium – which is uncensored – and Nine Inch Nails blares on with “I want to f*** you like an animal”. And as you quickly change it, your seven year old has a melt-down reminiscent of when fights used to start in school. One kid lays an insult and kids are all going “Oooooh!” He reacted just like that when he heard it. I had to nip that one right in the bud and then try to move on with my day. I took them all to their various places, then got Ash from way past my work to take him to his work (his car is being worked on) and then I myself went to get my car worked on.

I shouldn’t complain; it’s going to cost me a whole lot less than Honda. But still. Ugh. I got back to work and realized that – again – my key card for the parking lot was gone. I swear my children must be throwing them away when I tell them I’ll pay them a dollar to clean out my car. Well, as an experiment, I used a Starbucks gift card and – lo and behold – any old card will open the gate. Mwuhahaha. I literally laughed hysterically as I realized this and drove around for a spot. Had anyone been walking, they’d have heard me and thought me mad.

So here I am, buried under work I have no interest in doing, and trying to feel normal. You know those days? If your routine is broken up, everything just feels weird.

BUT, we had a pretty good weekend. We finally got a new washing machine, though it’s not going to be delivered until Friday. We didn’t do anything else special ON my birthday. In fact, I made different food for each person in my house because I’m a good mom. And I ate oatmeal for dinner!

Saturday morning started early, with Ash dropping Ell and I off near the race start line around 7:30. It was a great morning for a run: 43 and sunny. Elliot did very well but I jacked up my knee on an uphill and it was a tough run back down said hill. But when it was over, I felt pretty good in general. In fact, I worked my ass off all weekend: we mowed and weeded and cleaned. It was nice.

That night, we met six of our friends at hurricane for my birthday and had a great time! Sabrina had to leave early but Greg came back and the rest of us closed that place down. Though I had intended to go to the new “barcade” in midtown, we had fun at the restaurant anyway.

So today, I am worried about money and the summer but this always seems to work out, even when it’s at the seemingly worst of times. I am hoping to just be ok, as always. I don’t know. Sometimes life is just such a crazy up and down roller coaster. I wouldn’t change anything about it, but sometimes I’d like it to stop spinning so much.

Run and hide

Uh oh; I’m starting to get that “I need to run away and hide” feeling. I’m overwhelmed and worried about money and now, my car is having issues. And they aren’t cheap to fix. Why is it that this always happens when you can least afford it – both in time and money? Le sigh. It’s always right around this time of the year that I begin to stress about all this…stuff.  And I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Or maybe everyone else has some kind of secret to suppressing their angst about, well, everything.

I know there are things I cannot remember; I’m going to drop the ball and be left muttering “Oh shit…” when I realize it’s something I can’t fix. No matter how hard I try to get organized this week, my brain is just not with it. And I am struggling.

I take solace in coffee in the morning and beer in the evening. I’m exercising and sleeping better due to eating better but still – sometimes you cannot help but get the feels about issues in your life. It might be time to make two lists: one for the things I have to get done and another of the things that will bring me joy and that I am thankful for.

I should be thankful that we can take a trip later this year; that we can afford to fix my car; to eat, to eat out; that our children are healthy; that I have car issues and not body issues. That I have a job and nice things and a roof over my head. We should all take a moment to just be present and thankful.8dcbd0a02c3de6fdb66d7ff6a47598ec

Still.

I am restless and irritated and I need to go register Elliot for camp and it’s raining and I didn’t take a lunch break so I just want out of here.

And tomorrow is my birthday so… yeah. Bring it on.

Back from the dead

There’s a card in this online game I play called Antique Healbot (Elliot pronounces it AN-ti-cue) and when it comes into play, it says, “Back from the junk heap!” And that is what my brain said as I typed that title. I literally am back from the shit; we were all down and out from Sunday on. I went home after class Tuesday and the younger ones were done throwing up and felt fine but Ash and I both had extreme stomach pain. I felt like a million tiny swords were trying to burst forth from my gut. The downside of how I got this illness is that, unlike the kids, my stomach didn’t expel all its contents and start to recover. No, I just felt like absolute crap for  a solid twenty four hours. I woke Wednesday morning feeling… ok. Stomach was slightly better but I had the headache of the century. Elliot had his biography parade (everyone got to show off their projects) at nine so I ended up just taking him to school close to when it starts and staying for that. Then I dropped off a package at FedEx, ran to the doc to get them to correct the date on Dakota’s shot records (they effed this up last week and without the right date, she was not allowed to be at daycare!), then I picked up some chicken, kale, sweet potato soup from Fresh Market and some crusty bread and headed home.download

It was exactly what I needed: I sat in bed and did work, then I napped, then ate, then napped, then graded and cleaned. By the time everyone was home, I felt pretty much back to normal; 93% at least. Ash had to work late to make up for time he took off earlier so we had breakfast dinner, which is one of the coziest, most warming things to have on a cold rainy day. When he got home, we basically just camped on the couch. Clearly, everyone needed a time out. I see a connection between that and the above card’s ability: I definitely needed to restore eight health to myself.

I feel a renewed interest in work today. I was feeling buried under all the projects I can never seem to complete but I am slowly crawling my way out. I am messing with the Summer and Fall schedules, I am grading my FSU papers (this is one I was REALLY behind on), and I feel like I CAN do this.

I want to get back to blogging more consistently and also, doing my creative journal. Once I do, I think I will have things a lot more under control in my life. Heck, just getting this posted has made me feel a lot better. Anyway, I hope you are all well. I must move on to the next stage of today: teaching.

 

Difficult things to process

Last night, someone walked into the main library on campus and opened fire. At the time, they reported about 400 people in that library. It didn’t use to be so packed; when I was going to school, people utilized the library as inoften as they could – just when they needed to get a book and it was widely known that only the most hardcore students studied there. Over the past decade, the school has spent millions renovating and making it the central hub of student activity. There are more, faster computers, study areas, private rooms for group work, and a Starbucks. It’s open 24 hours many days, too.

You hear about these things happening on campuses across America but it hasn’t hit this close to home. As far as I know, the last time something truly scary happened on FSU’s campus was when Ted Bundy killed two sorority girls at Chi Omega. We were obviously dealing with a serial killer then. These school shooters seem to be of a different breed, usually driven to madness by school-related pressure. We don’t know yet who the shooter was but something is bothering me, and I find it actually interesting that I feel this way.

If the gunman was a student, then I am not entirely sure how I feel about the police killing him. From the news reports, they asked him to drop his weapon after he had opened fire on the library and when he turned his weapons on them and began firing, they shot and killed him. If he was a student and I were, say, his mother, I might immediately think that the police should have aimed for the knees or legs and taken him down. But I do not think he should have been killed on site. This then seeps into the argument of what role police play. Are they peace-keepers or low-level military?  What is protocol in this situation? It seems from recent events, they don’t have any sort of tactical plan; they shoot to kill the second they feel the least bit threatened. This calls into question when this shift occurred.  I want to believe that it used to be that they would do what they had to do to bring the offender to justice, not simply end the life and wipe their hands of it.

Today, the entire campus is sort of sad and distraught about this and I myself am torn. I am so bad about determining how big of a deal something is. On the one hand, it is awful that someone thinks that killing innocents is the answer. In the grand scheme of things, no one was killed aside from the shooter and the fact that staff members (myself) have to still report to work indicates that it’s not life-shattering. What level of “bad” is this? How do we feel about it? Everyone keeps posting hashtags #WeAreAllFSU everywhere and though I agree with the solidarity, it sometimes feels forced. Again, I don’t KNOW how to feel about any of this. But typing it out helps.

Campus is quiet. I had to park in a different lot because my usual place was reserved for people for the afternoon press conference. Imagine being school officials at this time. What to say about this? Parents will claim there’s not enough security, but there is. And would we send our children to a school who regularly posted cops at the entrance to the library? No. It’s a scene that denotes am inherently dangerous space, which 99% of the time, it is not. It’s a difficult now to think about this and what it ultimately means. I certainly don’t really know but it has brought about many questions. I am conflicted. And for today, I will push through and keep thinking about the bigger ideas at hand.

Let me off this ride!

I don’t even think I realized just how go go go we’d been until, well, this morning. I told you how I’d gotten very good at using my phone’s calendar feature. That really helped me to keep my head above water but then today, as I was coming into work, I was more aware than usual so I started making a to-do list. Holy crap, folks. This thing ended up being about ten items deep and some of them are sort of involved. I crossed one off: registering the boys for soccer. I was reluctant to go from flag to soccer with only about, oh, 3 weeks in between but they had asked and Isaac actually showed much more interest in that sport over others. So that is marked off; yay.

I still have to place an ad in the paper and on Craigslist for our upcoming yard sale. I am actually REALLY looking forward to doing that. We will get rid of this disassembled TV stand and the five entire boxes of kids’ toys and clothing. I also plan to go through the kitchen. It’s amazing how much stuff I accumulated in that room alone that I don’t really ever use. Anything left is being donated. We are also trying to sell our bed frame on a local site where we’d probably get more money than the garage sale. It’s a good bed: a solid walnut frame and it’s a big canopy style thing. We just want a king size and not such a huge hunk of wood in the middle of our bedroom. I’m actually more of a minimalist when it comes to furniture. When we get rid of the frame and the old mattress, we will also probably get new carpet. Our bedroom is the last to get new carpet; each of the other three were replaced each time we had a baby. It makes a huge difference! I cannot wait until our bedroom is clean and nice and new again.

The other thing that’s been dragging me through the mud is Todd. He was going every couple of weeks to see the dog eye doc but then his eye started to look worse so we went after one week and we’re slated to go back in another week. The problem is that he got a slight cut on the bad eye and it turned into an ulcer. Now the thing is growing bacteria and if it gets really bad, the retina could become perforated. I am hoping this new regimen of drugs will help but to be honest, if it doesn’t and they need to take the eye out, that would certainly be a relief. Dogs can do just fine on one eye; it’s their third most important sense anyway. I’d just like to put this all behind me.

Let me tell you what else snuck up on me this week: Teacher Appreciation at the daycare. Unfortunately, we got an email about it Monday… for Friday. That is not enough time! Especially seeing as how my week was broken up into Before Family Came Home and After. Wednesday was like Monday to me because they were back and it felt normal again. So now it is Thursday and as it is, I have to run to the grocery store on my lunch break and I have zero idea what I will do for those teachers. I used to get little baskets and put color themed items in there based on the suggestions the director gave us about what they like. Well, probably not this year. I am thinking a heart-felt card and a ten dollar Target gift card is all they’re getting. With three kids, an ailing dog, and an overwhelming amount of work, I just cannot hold myself to the old standard.

I may just be going with little mason jars of candy and whatnot along with a colored ribbon and card.

So, now that I have spoken with an editing client and crossed a few other minor things off the list, I have to run to the store on my lunch break then go home and tend to the old dog. It’s always something and if I didn’t know any better, I’d tell you that secretly, I love how busy we are.

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

So, nine years ago this happened:431872364_931eac81e7_o

 

For a long time in my twenties I didn’t think I would ever get married, that anyone would want to marry me. I wasn’t emotionally stable and I had no clear idea of what I brought to the table. Through dating Ash and then marrying him, I discovered all my strong suits. I also figured out where I was weak and where he stepped in. This manifested itself more and more as this happened:1287904184_52754e6168_z

And that baby was a game changer for us. But it also made us stronger. So we decided to make another one:4528779707_fe486b3df8_z

I got really used to our family of four. It was perfect. And as the boys grew, things got so much easier. 

6223700527_716d3afd09_z

7051811549_e66a03c92f_z

 

 

We grew as a family and learned how to coexist in (mostly) peace. But then, my wonderful, loving husband convinced me that we needed just one more. Just ONE more…9650026136_8a46a8e50b_z

 

So here we are, nine years later. We have done so much in this period of time, it would take days, maybe weeks for me to recount it all. But it’s been magical and I can’t wait to see what keeps coming. Next year, at 10, we’re going back to Hawaii and it is going to be amazing!431876630_7bde303926_z

 

Happy Friday indeed

I have a confession to make: I was clicking about in Spotify and while listening to the complete James Taylor songbook, I ended up on one of his Christmas songs. And well, now, I am listening to that album. It’s way too early, I KNOW. I don’t even want to think past Monday let alone into December! But it’s just so… soothing. Holiday music makes me feel at peace and with the busy life I lead, I need that.  I really do.

Turns out that baby managed to get hand, foot, and mouth disease at school. It’s very mild and everything I read and what the daycare said is that once the rash shows up, they are no longer contagious. I took her to the doc yesterday to make sure that is what it is and MY doc said not to send her today because she still could be contagious. SO, I am here to teach but then going home and Ash will go into work. It sucks too because it’s not like she’s actually sick. She’s not going to sleep a lot or want to cuddle on me. No, she’s going to get into things and be all over the house.But she will take a nap at some point and that is when I am going to dust and sweep and put up more indoor Halloween decorations and be ready for tomorrow.

We’re having Ell’s friend Addy and his parents over to watch the game. Back in the day – before kids –  we used to have parties all the time. I’d gather party food items and make up the house and make sure the deck was ready. But these days, I am not used to hosting anymore than my parents. (If you don’t count holiday meals). But I am not good at figuring out small gathering/football foods. I am going with chips and salsa, a fruit tray with caramel sauce, and mini chicken meatballs. I got the teriyaki pineapple ones from Cotsco and chose a recipe that essentially mixes grape jelly and chili sauce and they simmer in the crockpot. My friend, Courtney, make a similar recipe and I always love those little things!

Speaking of her, we’re going out tonight. Sushi! I have to make sure I don’t overeat. With this stomach issue I have been having, it seem the apple cider vinegar is keeping things in check but I can only really eat smaller meals. I may only have one beer also, just to be safe. If it is indeed a stomach ulcer, alcohol can irritate it. I have a doctor’s appointment Monday and hopefully I can get answers. I actually really like my doctor; I never feel like she just blows me off. I mean, when I went in with that abdominal pain and she promised me that the ER was my next stop, she wasn’t kidding. That was when I had to get my appendix removed. But in general, I get the feeling like most doctors don’t try to diagnose your issues, they just send you off to a (more expensive) specialist. What good is a GP if they just send you elsewhere? ?

Anyway, this is what I have for you today. I actually have quite a bit of work to do after I teach but I will need to do it at home and boy, won’t that be fun with a baby? Yup! have a good weekend!

 

Absence

I’ve been finding it hard to blog this week; my mind is preoccupied. This entry will detail some personal stuff and be a bit complainy but maybe what I need is to write it out.

I know I mentioned it briefly before but I have messed up my hormones. Baby D was born in August of ’13 and I breastfed her like my other two. In late May, my period returned, which is a relatively “normal” amount of time. But then I had another one about two weeks later. Ugh. Then, it waited a normal month, I had one, then another two weeks again. But after that, I went to the doc for my annual. Though I told him about the irregularity, he said it was not unheard of. I trust my doctor and do not feel like he was blowing off my concern.

While I was BFing, I was on the mini-pill, birth control specifically designed to not diminish your milk supply. After my annual, he put me on the normal BC because I was weaning anyway. I was halfway through a pack of mini-pills but he said to start the BC. I was down to one feeding a day with her when she got sick: throwing up all night. The following day (this was mid-August) I fed her every 3 hours for the entire day and into the evening. Since then, I have not had a regular cycle. The doctor still contends this is normal but I’m starting to be suspect.

If for some reason I have become pregnant, then birth control has failed me when it never has before. I don’t feel pregnant but I am having intense back pain. My entire back from the bottom all the way up through my neck is sore. It’s a horrible feeling to be uncomfortable no matter what I do. It’s causing a headache too so that stinks. Last night I was convinced I had a migraine because I had so many similar symptoms. I woke up feeling fine aside from the back pain. It’s beginning to frustrate me more than I can explain. I hate medical issues when the answer is not clear. No one can say, “Oh, that’s the Flu, here’s some meds.” I’m not one to run to the doctor right away so I am just stuck.

I’m going to take a pregnancy test just to ease my mind. I have to know one way or the other. If you’re on birth control and not having periods, well, then, there must be some kind of medical miracle shit going on!

Meanwhile, an Advil took care of some of the pain but it’s still uncomfortable. I’m a mom and can’t just hang out on my back all day so I have got to get this fixed. If I still feel like this Sunday, I am going to Urgent Care and see if they can at least do a preliminary Xray.

So that’s what I’ve been dealing with this week. I’m tired and pushed to my utter limits and I have no end in sight. We have football and birthday parties for weeks and weeks and all I want is to feel normal again and take a damn nap.

Playing catch up, as always

Finally got a quiet moment! It is day one of the Fall semester so things are always crazy. If it CAN go wrong, today will be the day it does. I typically see lost students and confused students and frantic ones too. But I am always amazed by the very few who are grateful for my help. One kid even came back after his class to thank me, because he said he was really upset about being late before and knew he didn’t properly acknowledge me.  It’s nice to see some kids’ parents taught them to be good.

I have been trying to listen to just one song for the past hour but every time, I get interrupted. I can tell you that every first day goes this way. I can sit here and goof off, waiting for someone to need help or I can start in on a task of any sort and people will need me. It’s pretty crazy how that works.

I don’t feel as energized for the beginning of the semester as I usually do. It could be all the impending things coming up or all the little awkward stumbles lately. You know, the baby’s issue, Ell’s birthday, this party we planned for Saturday that people might not actually show up to. Speaking of baby, I got a call from the nurse at the pediatrician on Friday afternoon at nearly 5 o’clock. She said “everything’s fine” but they want me to bring her back in a month to check her weight. They also sent the results to the gastroenterologist who is supposed to call me. Though I am not entirely sure what for if “everything is ok.” Right? The nurse mentioned to “just keep feeding her” so on Saturday, if she seemed hungry, we fed her. And you know what? She threw up. So… yeah. I don’t know.

This time of year seems so hectic and yet, I think about 2013: at this time, baby was not even a month old. I wasn’t working because I was on leave so I had much less money, Elliot had flag football, and in general, my life was in upheaval. So why does it feel so much crazier now? Will this continue as my children age? I have this fear that I will not be able to cope when, one day, all my kids have left and it’s not like this at all. I want a break now but will I then?

Maybe it’ just back to school blues. As the air turns cooler and we settle into our routine, this will start feeling better, more natural. Until then, I need to learn to relax.

Used to be her town

I’m on this Google Earth kick and currently – between grading papers and checking Facebook – I am driving east on Hollywood boulevard towards the ocean. I just passed the former Hollywood Mall and the train station. Now I am in the area where there was a liquor store. My dad went in there a c0uple times a year to buy things for my grandfather. James Taylor’s Her Town Too came on Pandora and I find my heart aching for the feeling of being little and riding in the car down this palm tree lined road. It’s unnerving how well I can remember being young and what that felt like. I know so many people who put their past in the past and don’t utilize anything from their childhood. I use it to identify with my children and to spawn good feelings/good moods.

But I am already in a great mood today; as I posted on Facebook, we saw an amazing rainbow between rainy clouds all the way to daycare. Then I got sidetracked trying to photograph it and took another route. I ended up parallel to Thomasville on the other side of town and decided to ride Meridian to Monroe and then on to work. And somehow, I got all green lights. I mean, the entire way across town! The key now is to hold on to this good feeling. Music helps – my Ambrosia Pandora station likes to play James Taylor, Player, and Air Supply. All of this culminates into a feeling of belonging. I used to belong to Hollywood and, for a time, the Orlando area. There are songs I identify with those places and when I look at the same places on GE, I am instantly transported back. It’s an amazing phenomenon that this technology can aid in memory.

What also helps is being productive. I’m tying up some loose ends and working on my Fall syllabus. In a few hours I’ll go to Target. Shopping always lifts my spirits, even if I’m only purchasing undershirts and shampoo. Plus, I get time to myself. Shopping alone so very rarely occurs. I almost always have one if not two OR all three kids attached to me. And any parent knows: it is not easy to take them places. Sometimes they’re wonderful: behaving and quiet and grateful. But for the most part, herding them and wrestling them into any kind of submission is nigh impossible.

But they aren’t always bad and I have to remind myself that things really are great. And I must tell myself that just because it got all cloudy and sad outside, today is still going to be amazing. Today IS amazing.