That’s the best photo I can come up with for now but yes, we have a Killer Instinct 2 arcade machine in the kitchen. Ash bought it in (probably) 2003, when we were living in a huge ass house with other people. It worked well in the basement but then we moved here and it just doesn’t work. Now it did, before kids, because we’d have parties and people always played it. I feel like we’ve outgrown it now, even with two boys getting older. The monitor sometimes shuts off after ten minutes of play and to be honest, we just play more console and computer games. It’s kind of sad because Ash misses his days of arcade play but it’s just outgrown its space in my kitchen!
On our way back from Chicago, we had booked a hotel in Chattanooga instead of Nashville because we had this grand idea of utilizing an indoor pool. In the end, it was useless because we forgot floaties and Elliot is still terrified of the pool. He won’t even go in with us holding him; he clings to your flesh for dear life, his tiny nails digging in so hard he’ll draw blood. SO, anyway, we ran into a whole lot of southbound traffic – other holiday travelers – and were way behind schedule. Outside Nashville on the way South, we decided to look online for a restaurant with a play place, preferably Chik-Fil-A, since that’s the only fast food the kids eat anyway. However, there weren’t any so Ash started looking for McDonald’s, simply for an indoor playground. Their website allows you to search for locations by play places so we found one, input the address into the fancy new GPS and got off the interstate.
Well, I tell you, this McDonald’s was a.) in the ghetto and b.) did not have a play place. We got back on the interstate ASAP and started looking again. This time, their site sent us somewhere southeast, on a road headed to Knoxville. We ended up in a fairly nice little place where they had those cool new outdoor mall type shopping places and diamond stores. More my pace (more on this idea later) but the McDonald’s definitely had an indoor play area. While Ash and I haven’t had their food (minus ice cream three or four times) since 2004, Elliot has had it exactly twice. The rule is that he can have fast food if he’s with someone else who has it. Like, he ate it with my parents once. He was hungry so he got a cheeseburger and I ordered Isaac some chicken fingers. Which he did not eat. I ate them and they were HORRID. ANYway, we went back to the play place which was semi-closed due to a broken step. But we were so frustrated we decided to play anyway, along with a few other kids. I prepped myself for the manager to come tell us to get out but it never happened, thank God. I probably would have gone off on him. After the first mishap and it being late and everyone hungry, we were all on edge. The kids did have a great time playing and it was a much needed break from the car.
When we were about 45 minutes from Chattanooga, Ash sought a Dominoes that wasn’t far off the highway. He ordered his pizza and we timed it just right to pick it up and not be far from the hotel. I had never done this before but it worked.
All of this just reminds me how much we rely on technology now but it still lets you down. The website for McDonald’s was clearly not updated. And something I think GPS devices should come equipped with is some kind of meter to determine what type of neighborhood you’re heading into. We have come to expect perfection, because it’s so readily available and easy. But it’s clearly not foolproof. I learned quite a bit on this trip, about the way we expect devices to be and our expectations of our morals. We don’t eat fast food but if we’re in a bind, we’ll go ahead and do what we have to do. There have to be exceptions for everything. Things cannot be ideal all the time. Hell, we got into that hotel so late that all we pulled out were toothbrushes, etc. We all just took our clothes off and got into bed; screw pajamas. I went down to the car the next morning to gather clothes. It wasn’t perfect, far from it, but we still managed and are not worse for wear. I am really glad we decided to drive in the end. It taught me a lot and I hope the kids got something out of it as well. And I know for sure I won’t be eating McDonald’s again for a long time!
Well I… well, I was going to tell someone I’d be willing to pick up the slack on some of those memes now that I have a blog that can actual host linky widgets but I don’t know if I’ll have the time to really keep up with it. Sitting here back at work for the first time since the 21st of December, I realize just how insane my life is going to be very soon. The University begins again on Monday, my face to face class, Tuesday. I finish up one online class next week and begin a new one, along with another course for another school. On top of of all that, there’s a lot I want to do for the kids this semester, mostly helping Elliot to conquer reading, which I thought he’d be doing already.
While I’m… admitting things, I had a hell of a morning. Felt fine – flu-wise – all the way until about ten minutes from work. And then it struck: nausea. And the thing is, I know it’s not from the flu. Because I’m about 8 weeks pregnant. I had had some morning sickness already but this was particularly bad and I tell you, there may be no worse thing than an impending hurl while driving. I found a little baggie that had contained a Chik-Fil-A toy and used it, but sadly, it did have a hole in it. Sigh. I had to high-tail it into the work bathroom and see what I could do about my jeans. It’s not bad, just really lame. It’s not my first rodeo here and yet, that was a major fail.
Because of this and having been sick, I have not been working out at all. I feel crappy about it and crappy because of it. I can’t wait to regain a little energy so I can at least use the elliptical again. The flu had me on my ass so badly that I couldn’t do a thing, seriously. I lost track of time and things and had no idea when are where we all were. Which is such a bad way to be! I always say, moms can’t get sick. And it’s true.
I’m just trying to get my life back on track here. Hoping this weekend will see to that. Though, I did get all my Christmas decorations put away yesterday and got cleaning done. I felt so darn good about it. In fact, I even tried to take a nap but couldn’t because I was too riled up to clean. Crazy, right?
Well, there you have it. I’m going to try to get organized in my office before our Spring meeting, which always unsettles me a little, even though I talk to these folks all the time. Have a good weekend!
Oh man, you guys. Shortly after I posted Monday morning, I really got to feeling bad. I had errands to run though so the boys and I hit up Target and Burlington and we went to Chik-fil-A – because they love it – and by the afternoon, I knew I had something worse than a sinus infection. I started my “dead to the world” phase then. Tuesday, I barely had the energy to do anything but luckily, Ash was off work so he took care of the kids. By 2:15, I dragged myself to Urgent Care and came home with a flu diagnosis and an RX for Tamiflu. I tell you what, that stuff WORKS. That night, Ell had a low grade fever and by Wednesday mid-morning was full-on sick. So he and I went to the ped around 2 and sure enough, flu. My doc also got Isaac on the meds as a preventative and Ash went and did the same. Tamiflu for everyone! I lost so much time; I barely knew what day it was. I’m not 100% but WAY better than I was. I plan on finally taking down the Christmas stuff today while Elliot rests; I think he’ll be good to go by tomorrow.
But what a cruddy way to welcome the new year, you know? I wanted to begin by cleaning the house and resetting after the trip but I’m lagging behind. Plus, I was supposed to have been at work the past couple days. Without fail, I’m going tomorrow. The thing is, it’s not just my FSU job I have to do stuff for. All my other online and teaching obligations begin really soon and I was planning on getting them squared away these two days while in the office. I think best there. Sadly, I am going to need to learn to adjust.
And just when we’ve settled in next week – school begins the 7th – we’ll leave mid-day Friday to go to Orlando. We have yet to do Christmas with my family because of the Chicago trip and at the same time, Ash is running the Disney marathon. It’s going to be an insane weekend. But I am looking forward to it. I know my mother wanted us all to be together for the holidays but it can’t always be that way. She’ll adjust as well.
Well, that’s what’s been going on here with us. It’s been crazy and there’s no sign of that letting up soon but we’ll get through!
- Because we head out today, time – of course – drags by.
- My tattoo is just about done peeling, and not a day too soon. We’ll probably be in the pool by noon tomorrow. Though now I am thinking I should hold off until Friday. Although, my artists said 2 weeks is plenty of time before a pool and internet opinions are mixed. I’ll play it by ear.
- We are totally eating Chik-fil-a on the way out of town this afternoon.
- Even though I slept plenty and had coffee this morning, I am dragging. Sigh.
- I’d better get it together before I need to pack up the car and remember everything.
- The real question is: try to squeeze in a nap or load up on caffeine?
- Four hours in a car with just me and the kids; le sigh.
- We don’t have DVD players for this trip (because it IS only four hours) so I am hoping they’ll look at books and play. LOL. I don’t know who I am kidding!
- Ideas for keeping a 5 year old and a 2 year old happy in the car? I know they won’t be sleeping, that’s for sure.
- Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind. I have to go teach and then meet with a few students before I go home!
- I’ll be back Monday, y’all.
It was quiet in Tallahassee this morning. Still, cold. The sound of birds was mysteriously absent and even as I parked downtown for my bagel, the traffic seemed muted. A bright sun rose in a clear sky and the world was slow, peaceful.
I sipped my coffee and began the arduous task of grading papers. For someone who HATES doing that, I have found myself entrenched in multiple jobs that require this. Much like laundry and dishes and taxes, I accept that this is something I just have to do. It’s mind-numbing and I keep looking for a distraction.
So I read some blogs and I hate that I keep clicking on Posie Gets Cozy in my blogroll. For so long I followed their journey of adoption and I cry in my office as things fell apart for them. And yet, they soldier on and make the best of things. And I am so very thankful that I have been blessed with the family I have.
My friend mentioned the Christmas Connection charity thing Publix is doing now. Basically, they sponsor homeless kids and we buy them a gift on their wishlist. I do feel more charitable around the holidays and find myself angry that I complain about not having so-and-so, even as children go unfed and unclothed and freaking homeless out there. What an ass I am…
I always feel a certain dichotomy right about now. I bitch and moan about money all year but it somehow seems like I have enough during these months, even though I am spending more. I don’t know how this all works out but it somehow does. So what is wrong with me? Why do I still stress out and get all worked up? I think a wonderful gift for me would be a couple months worth of yoga classes. I need to chill out.
I have been taking my vitamins and trying to stay healthy but I can feel my body rebelling against wellness. It is tired by 8 PM and all I feel like doing these past few days is lay on the couch. The colder weather doesn’t help; fleece blankets are all I crave. And hot tea. The year is inching towards its close and my biorhythms are in a downward swing. All I can do is seek out more caffeine and hope that these small weekday runs energize me enough to get through laundry and whatever other evening tasks await.
I wish we had a fireplace.
I wish I had the motivation to do things once I get home from work.
This is the third day in a row Elliot has stayed home. He threw up some, but not enough to be concerned. He was achey but then magically OK. He managed to eat half a sandwich yesterday and then half a bagel and some crackers. But his nights are plagued by the mucous he cannot deal with and neither of us get much sleep.
I am drinking a large coffee.
It is now December and I can’t barely wrap my mind around the fact that we’re almost done with another year. Out of the blue the other night, Ash says, “Wow, you’re going to be 33 in a couple months. Crazy.” I’m not sure why he was suddenly ruminating on my age but he need not remind me; I’m well aware.
But at the same time as all of this, I am immensely content with the season. Some of my gifts are already purchased. We had frost on the ground. My tree is beautiful. The ticks (knock on wood) see to have retreated. And I really love all of the month of December. I should, again, remind myself to take things one day at a time and just be grateful for it all. Just open my eyes and see.
I would love to say I am back to normal blogging but this week will probably be another interruption. Monday and Tuesday will be normal workdays but after that, it’s all family to-dos; Thanksgiving with lots of people, traveling and all that jazz.
I’m talking myself out of the stress I usually experience in that type of situation. So far, I am very mellow. However, I haven’t begun packing yet and inevitably, that’s when the weight of the upcoming trip will finally hit me. I can’t get freaked out about all the little details because I won’t be able to function that way. Fact of the matter is, I have to deal with my immediate family, the extended family, Thanksgiving meal, and try to squeeze in my running and my online job. I want to say I’m awesome enough to do so.
Our weather has been wonky lately. It was warm for a while and then it got cold then tapered off to simply cool. And enjoyable. The tick problem we had over the summer up and disappeared. Then the weather got confused and turned warm and muggy again and the ticks reemerged. I am eagerly awaiting the next big cold front in hopes they’ll go away again. I’m tried of picking them off our poor dogs.
I feel the urge to Christmas shop but must temper myself, as I only have a little money now, but will have more soon. I don’t want to buy the kids too much stuff because I feel like our house is full of toys as it is. On weekends, I can’t tell just what they play with and how many toys go unnoticed. Oh, maybe some day they’ll be rediscovered but I feel like we just HAVE too much at this point. And it looks like my mom’s copping out; says she’ll get ideas from me and just give me money. That’s no fun and though I don’t want her going overboard for them, I think she ought to buy them SOMEthing.
But let’s not get too far ahead. Thanksgiving comes before all the crazy Christmas buying. SO… This week’s Monday Music theme is songs about thanks for that you’re thankful for. The following is both for me:
Golden Girls somehow made this comeback not that long ago when Betty White became the sole living Girl. But I have watched each episode at least 5-6 times each and don’t regret it one bit.
It goes. And it goes. The kids wake up, they want food. One argues about the clothes he wears. The other tires to hide behind things so I don’t get him dressed. But he thinks it’s a game. The husband leaves for work. I make some breakfast and throw together school lunches. I might remember to bring coffee/food for myself. I probably will forget and be scrounging for some sustenance around noon.
I work. It might be a busy day and I can’t keep things straight. Or it could be dreadfully slow and I’ll be clawing my eyes out by 2 PM. Either way, I go home and feed more mouths (both human and canine) and I shove armfuls of clothes into the washer and clean up the kitchen and tidy up the house so it doesn’t look like it got bombed. I don’t care so much about it’s actual cleanliness until the weekend because it’s a futile effort to keep it nice-looking.
Somewhere in between all this, I run. I am training again so there’s no question about will I or won’t I? It’s an accepted truth that I will don the Under Armor and get out there. I think. I think about the pain in my legs and how I could be going faster. I think about the potential lurker in the bushes and how I will knee him in the nuts if he attacks me. It gets me through the run and I am back home, exhausted and trying to stay awake for God knows what reason.
But there are things that make this existence less mundane. My yard may be covered in dead leaves but some of them are just fallen and pretty, so pretty. I am feeling a renewed interest in reading. I went so hardcore there for a while but then had to back off. I am about to make some extra money. And I just got an email this morning about another opportunity. This is good. Very good. Ash and I both running makes us more energized. Isaac is exceedingly cuddly lately. He’s my boy who will fall asleep on the couch with me. I am wearing a shirt today that, one year ago, was pretty tight. Today, it is almost embarrassingly loose. I am only 7 pounds away from my lowest weight since I was a fat college freshman who got fatter. And Bones is on tonight.
I know I frequently blog about this same topic but I feel it’s relevant at all times; we cannot always be “on” and it’s never all bad. It’s normally somewhere in the middle with some highs and lows. Peaks and valleys… all part of life. And it’s all about how you make it.
I was getting dressed for our anniversary outing this past weekend and I was semi-ready; skirt on but still deciding on a top and Elliot comes bursting into my room and says, “Mommy, why are you so… beautiful?” He paused for a while and just assessed me for a minute. I don’t know what he was originally thinking but the last word he chose affected me in a way I didn’t expect. I tend to brush off compliments but hearing him say that warmed my heart. Even if I don’t believe it.
I am glad I don’t have daughters because I have a very real fear of self-image problems and I know that girls struggle with that a lot more. (And I know that doesn’t sound quite right – glad I don’t have daughters – but I am just too scared to have to deal with it for them.) Not saying boys don’t – or won’t – but I know the kinds of pressures put on young girls to be “beautiful.” I always buried that stuff way down deep when I was younger and put up a front; I pretended I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me but as we all know, it’s not ever easy to simply ignore hurtful words.
I was bullied a little as a kid. I had curly hair and a gap between my front teeth and I was short. But I made up for my shortcomings in other ways. I was really fast and really smart and – as I recall – kind of funny. But I was never fashionable and I guess sort of a dork so there was always a cool kid who made fun of me. I grew up and fixed those things but I still don’t think I am an attractive person. But when you have kids, you have to convey a certain level of confidence. Kids are eerily perceptive so I think it’s important that I do this.
I put on a pair of jeans this morning and they fit me really well. Hugged my curves in good ways and actually felt a little looser in certain areas, thanks to running. I put on a pair of brown Merrells I got off Ebay and a green shirt and looked in the mirror. I felt pretty put-together and thought about what Elliot said. It was a rare moment for me to feel like I’m not totally hideous. In fact, I was actually happy about the way I looked. I shall carry that with me and use it to bolster that confidence so my boys can grow up comfortable with who they are. I learned something new about myself and I owe it in part to my four year old son and his kind words.
The longer I live… the longer I am a homeowner/adult/wife/mom/employee, etc… the more I learn how I feel about my life in general. The day to day minutia can really drag me down if I don’t have certain things I harbor as sacred. And I think that’s why I like to reminisce so much and why I hold so many memories dear to my heart. A lot of people don’t like to think about the past but look to the future. I hold a set of good memories as a salve to heal current wounds.
Most of my autumn memories are just snapshots of a time; I will smell something on the air like burning wood and instantly picture the pot belly stove in the living room of the vacation house my family visited in Western New York. In the evenings, it turned dark very early and we didn’t have a TV that got more than one channel so we worked on jigsaw puzzles and read while my grandpa stoked a fire. He loved to sit and watch a fire burning.
If the air is crisp and cool, I think of the crabapple trees on the property of the Hungry Hollow house (same as above). Their fruit was often on the ground and not very good tasting but we’d pick up the discarded little red apples and fling them into the lake or up into the valley. The ker-plunk sound they made as they landed pierced the country quiet.
Ash and I went to a different movie theater last week and it had a dark, musty smell about it, sending me back to a time we visited NY and my mom convinced me to brave it down to the cellar. I remember standing at the top of the steps leading down into that black nothingness below that smelled of water and darkness and earth. It terrified me.
But everything I took away from those October trips out to the country where solitude reigned and scared this city girl to tears changed the way I saw this time of year. It is comforting in a “things are changing/hunker down for the winter” way. At the same time, Autumn makes me feel a little sad because the year is just about to slip away and what have I done? What did I accomplish this year? I try to make a list, though one list of “things” does not nearly suffice for all that we’ve really done. Just letters making up words making up stuff that no one can truly understand unless you lived it. So the list is for me and to help me get through this dichotomy I deal with every October through December, just before the New Year comes and renews me for another length of time when I am prepared to go out and do and make the most of my life.