“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. 

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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.

Closing, opening

I have read a few blog posts lately wherein the writer was keenly aware that the summer – as it applies to the school year – is coming to a close and everything feels so very imminent. Backpacks and supply lists and Fall sports… it’s all coming; knocking at our doors. But I also read a few about how this mindset cuts off valuable “summer” time and activities. I said it earlier this summer: we could still go to the beach after August but why don’t we? The weather will start to get more bearable and the beach will be perfect. We so quickly give up the summer dreams when school begins because so too does the drudgery. I love the new semester in college – everything is so new and full of hope. But it quickly becomes day after day of WORK. The kids feel it too: homework and they’re tired and we just have less usable time to just hang out.  But I think we utilized our summer pretty well in that aspect. We hung out, we sunbathed, we hiked, we dallied, we goofed off, we ate and drank. I imagine that as the kids age, it’ll only get better. And though Fall is upon us soon, I look forward to the years to come.

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Summer evening

We worked out then showered the sweat away, changing into loose house clothes. The air conditioner is good, cold, but this heat is insane and even in the darkness of our living room, the fan whirring at top speed, I feel the oppression of summer. Dinner is made and popsicles follow up – we decide to take a walk, though my weather app claims it is 100 degrees. Luckily, the sun is hiding behind some darker clouds and a breeze blows, though it merely whips the warm air around our faces. In the overcast mid-evening, I appreciate how each home harbors so much life inside it. No one else is outside; just our family of five humans, two dogs, dripping wet  by the time our 15 minutes of walking are over.

Another cool shower and I change and put Baby Girl to sleep. She drifts off lazily while eating and my days of this special time with her are numbered; we’re weaning. I only do this twice a day now and soon, she’ll be drinking regular milk from a cup. Sunday, she’ll turn one. I marvel at how quickly her first year seemed to go compared to either of the boys’.

Once she’s asleep – so peaceful – I slip out and put on a necklace and a slight bit of perfume and head out the door, on my way to a going away party. I rarely attend any events; so many people on my Facebook feed sending out invites yet, so many obstacles. It’s not that I don’t want to go out but with work, kids, mother/wife duties, it’s all so exhausting. So on a Monday, no less, I managed to find three hours to go and enjoy food, drink, and my peers.

After indulging in yummy food and two IPAs, I drove home in a light drizzle, the streetlights a colorful hazy zigzag through the raindrops on my car’s windows. It reminds me of being in college and my friends and I driving around town. There’s something really comforting to me about being in a moving car at night – I can’t really explain it. Maybe I formed that when I was young and we vacationed, getting up super early when it was still dark to get to Disney World from South Florida or to the airport. I reveled in the quiet, the stillness of night.

At home, my night is coated in the alcohol after effects and my sleepiness, but I manage to wind down on the couch with my laptop. It’s so quiet and peaceful – two things that the majority of my life are not. Even in my office, when no one’s around, there is always something. I’m not very good at sitting for long periods of time, doing nothing. But these brief moments in the late evening, I appreciate for that reason. Life is crazy, busy, full, and wonderful.

Drink one for me

My friend Carrie and I decided our co-authored memoir would be titled “Drinking on a Tuesday”, because life and kids are stressful. I DID drink last night, in fact – sake. I am not a huge sake fan but it was pretty good. I paired it with a volcano roll (that was actually on fire, like so:)mKsqg26ABHCLWa

which made the stuff on top all hot and melty. I also had a spicy tuna roll and a couple pieces of unagi and then my night was capped off by picking up birth control. LOL. Actually, the best part was driving across town at 9 pm. It is rare that I’m out at night or at least, near downtown, so it was kind of nice. I always liked driving at night, seeing everything lit up, and it was a moment for myself as I approached the intersection of Tennessee and Monroe, looked up at the folks on the 8th floor of the Hotel Duval, and on the distant horizon, the sky was just a wee bit still illuminated a cerulean blue – because it’s high summer.

Our summer hasn’t been exceedingly hot, I noted, which makes it easier to get out and mow the lawn, walk the dogs, and enjoy outdoor activities. Tonight is Family Night at Ell’s camp so we’ll be attending that. I’m assuming it’s outside, as it is at a local park. On Saturday we have a birthday party for Ell’s friend, Lucas (my boss’s grandson) and I want to enjoy this weekend. Last weekend was kind of, well, crappy. It rained all Saturday. I normally wake up on weekends and make breakfast, drink a cup or two of coffee, then start on tasks. I usually feel motivated to do so and energized by accomplishment but this past Saturday? Nope. I didn’t feel like doing ANYthing. I read in bed actually, and it was hard for me to get going at all. I opted out of the birthday party so Ash took just the boys, in the rain, to a pool party. I stayed home with a cranky teething baby and forelornly stared out the window at the driving rain. Sunday wasn’t much better. Though the sun came out in the late afternoon, it was still a long day inside, watching movies.

I desperately need a beach day.

I’m ready for the summer term to be over.

I want more coffee, always.

I want the motivation to do more fun things with the kids.

I need something awesome, random, and unexpected to happen.

But as they say, a watched pot…

The intangibility of memories

Not long ago, I began a new board on Pinterest when I was feeling particularly nostalgic for my childhood. Specifically, I was remembering the McDonald’s near I-95, down Hollywood boulevard. That was the one with the indoor playground. I remember it had a green floor in that area that was slightly spongier than normal tiling. There were two Filet-o-fish bouncers that sprung back and forth, a slide, and a little climbing type house. But not much else. I was not able to find any photos of pre-plastic monstrosity indoor playplaces but it was one of my favorite places to go.

This led me down a wormhole of things I remember as a kid: Teddy Ruxpin, Lite Brite, telephones with long curly cords(!), Oregon trail, Muppet Babies, Picture Pages, smelly stickers! The list goes on and on and all these faded images made me feel young again – made me relive the feeling of being that kid again. There are few things  today than can replicate how wonderful it is to think back on these memories. And every time I get into one of these reveries, I feel as if I can’t *quite* reach the true feeling I want to. I can’t touch them; they’re just fuzzy images in my head but oh, for that brief moment, I am a carefree little girl who likes to ride her scooter over the hump of grass out front and catch a slight bit of air before landing in the street. I am the girl who runs around the perimeter of my huge yard because I love the speed and the feeling of being fast. I am the girl who builds Lego houses and names all the little Lego men. I’m a good student who puts everything into her work and I seem to have balance in my life: school, homework, play, tv, family.

These days I struggle to make sure everyone gets their respective lunches; did all children get a towel for water day? Did I pull out cash for various activities? Is it laundry day? Bottles have to get washed and clean laundry sits in baskets for far too long. I have these grand delusions of you know, reading a book or getting other work done once kids go to bed. But I am always exhausted.

When something triggers a childhood memory though, boy, that’s a magical little moment in my day. Instantly transported back to jelly bracelets and velcro shoes. Riding on the back of my dad’s bike, getting slushies from a trailer parked by the beach. I’m the kid my dad took to McDonald’s for his favorite filet-o-fish sandwich and who he graciously watching  play on the plastic toys, the slide, the swings. In that moment, I am free.

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Currently

Stolen from Kenzie; done before but needed blog fodder today. SO, Currently I am:

 

READING | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. So far I like it. The 80s references are great but it’s depressing that I can imagine our world being this way.ready_player_one_by_sepiawolf-d5iw7bc

WATCHING | World Cup, mostly. When Game of Thrones ended, we haven’t’ picked anything else up.

LISTENING TO | If you know me at all, Jimmy Buffett.

LOVING | These “vintage” v-neck shirts I found at Old Navy. I needed a new one to replace my old brown shirt from there and though they haven’t a single bit of brown in their current line, these are super soft and wash great! They fit even better after the first wash.Old-Navy-Vintage-Tee-Product-Photo

WANTING | To do some fun things with the family but with the energy needed. I feel exhausted and blah every weekend so it’s hard to make plans. (OK, last week we made it to the beach so I should stop.)

NEEDING | Clarity. Simplicity. I have some possible new things on the horizon and they might bring this about for me.

GETTING READY FOR | class, and working on editing a manuscript.

EXCITED ABOUT | The fact that it’s summer and I do feel a sense of laid-back-ness. It was actually hard to think of something I’m truly excited about. All I could think about was how I might be getting some extra money soon and it’s like, should I be happy about that as much as I am? I kind of hate money, in principle.

THANKFUL FOR | The fact that I have a job and money and great kids and for the most part, stability in my life. Silly, I know, but I just feel grateful for those things.