Saturday, March 31, 2012


A quote from this post has been working on me. I only started reading this blog a few weeks ago hoping to find some creative inspiration. But after reading it this morning, I feel like I have shed a little light on where I am stuck right now and can now has a little more compassion for myself and to, hopefully, work through it.
"Most women I know have only one conscious priority: making it through the day. This is a direct result of having been torn in a thousand different directions in any one twenty four hour period ... but acknowledging, recognizing and reordering our priorities so they can give purpose to our days is a deeply personal task that we all must do..."

My children are keeping me alive these days. I wake up solely because they need me to care for them. I eat and prepare meals because they need to eat. I enjoy the outdoors because they need the fresh air. (So do I. It does wonders for all of us.) I'm back here in this place I equally hate and dread. The dark cloud is nagging at me, exhausting me. If I had more energy I might be pissed off about it but I'm just sad. (Fukking dysthymia.) I have nothing for anyone anything unless they rely on me for their daily survival. At the end of the day, all I can do is lie on the couch and watch some of my favorite shows before it is time for bed.

Perhaps this is all amplified by Big Love's absence and having sick kids to care for during that time, or maybe it is because I have been completely wiped out by my own sinus cold/cough/sore throat. I haven't felt this sick in a very long time. I haven't exercised in over a week because I've been trying to rest as much as I can in the morning.

Thank God for my kids. For so many reasons. At this exact moment I am thankful for the look on Little Man's face as he figures out how to walk. Such pride and elation! Sweet One is constantly amazing me by finding new pathways into her world of imagination. I don't think I'd smile or laugh each day if it weren't for all of these magical moments the kids show me. And that is how they are keeping me alive.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Five days of single parenting

Last Thursday, Big Love took off for four nights to do his study leave. (He gets 2 weeks of study leave a year but only uses one because his budget barely covers that when used very carefully.) I stayed home with the kids. Alone. At first I was scared but then I ended up having some moments of feeling very proud of myself.

I found myself being patient for the day to pass by. How many times I've looked at the clock with dismay as I realize there another hour or two until Big Love gets home from work. But I didn't do that. After dropping Big Love off at the airport Thursday morning, we got home, the kids napped and then we took off to go for a special walk on a local bike path. Sweet One is doing amazing riding her bike.

Friday went well until it was 330 and we were getting Sweet One ready for her dance class. It was time to put ponytails in her hair and she lost it. Biggest. Tantrum. Ever. How does a three year old learn to slam doors? It was insane and I felt beat up from it for a long time. We got to dance class a few minutes late after walking with Sweet One riding her bike. I was the mother constantly getting after her to hurry up. Trying to impress that we were going to be late because of her behavior. She's too young for that, really, but I still tried. The door was closed when we got there and at first I let her think she might not get in. She was upset but then we knocked on the door and the teacher let us in and I was finally allowed to put ponytails in her hair! I don't remember how the rest of the day went. I just know the glass of wine once the kiddos were sleeping was a welcome visitor.

Saturday was a good day. Rainy and drizzly but good. Sweet One started telling me her mouth hurts but then I managed to help her figure out that it was actually her throat. We went to Sweet One's surrogate grandma's house for a visit where it became very apparent that Sweet One was a little out of sorts about her dad being gone. We made it through the rest of the day and enjoyed some chocolate cupcakes which brought  up her spirits. By the end of the day, I felt really good about how the day went and wasn't feeling completely wasted by the end of the day.

Sunday morning Sweet One woke up with a cold and Little Man woke up with another fever. The day was hard. Despite being continually medicate, Little Man's fever sat around 102 the entire day. He needed to be held A LOT. We played outside with our friends but Little Man just wasn't feeling well. Sweet One had her moments as well. By the end of the day, I felt wasted. I started hoping desperately for a decent night's sleep because I hadn't had any over the previous chunk of days.

Monday morning Sweet One was a little better but Little Man was not. We got through the morning and the naps before we loaded up the car to go and get Big Love. I had to do a few errands before picking him up and so we stopped at two big box store. There was a strong wind and when we got from the car to the store and Little Man was in a cart, he started shivering. I was worrying. At the second store, his head was so hot and he could barely sit up straight because he was so tired. I hated it. I felt like a terrible mother that I couldn't just keep him at home but luckily our shopping took less than an hour.

Sweet One yelled, "Daddy!" and ran to him the moment she saw him. When he sat down I started to relax. I no longer felt like it was all on me to care for the kids and that felt great. My kids are not accustomed to a parent being away at all and so it was hard. Had they not gotten sick, it would have been much easier.

Big Love didn't go to work the next day but I sure felt strange. After such an intense 5 days, my body was crashing. I'm now onto my third day of being sick and I'm hoping it won't last much longer. With two kids, I can't actually find any time to nap or rest during the day so it's hard to plug along. I would love to have a chunk of time to just be by myself but it isn't going to happen any time soon.

(And one little bitch. Big Love got to go to New York City two times on his study leave. Once upon a time my sister asked me if I wanted to go there with her and when I checked with him he seriously whined, "you'd go without me?" On his behalf, we were newly weds. But how times have changed! My bucket list has a visit to NYC on there. I've wanted to go for a very long time.)

People who have to single parent on a regular basis are my new heroes! My hope for every single parent would be that they have a support network so they can have a little time to themselves now and again.

Sunday is Little Man's 1st Birthday! I can't believe it is here so quickly. We're going to have some people over and I'm going to prepare a little bit of food (previously I've always prepared too much). It should be a nice afternoon. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the kids can play outside because I can't imagine 7 kids and 10 adults in our house. It might get a little crazy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


It was getting to the point that I just wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hold things together much longer. After a long time of no time without my kids nearby my anxiety levels were too high, I was moody and I just felt completely depleted. There wasn't much left of me anymore.

Luckily, the discount theater that is about a 13 minute walk from my house was playing The Descendants at a perfect time for me to go yesterday afternoon. I was only a little sad to give up a beautiful afternoon with record highs because I needed this time so much.

I'd never been to our discount theaters before because the schedule never worked out but I'm glad it did this time. For the first two blocks I ran through a list of things I should have told Big Love - where his hat was, how to strap him into the new wagon, don't forget the sunscreen. (For a brief moment I thought of running back home to tell him!) Then I stopped. There was no point. Big Love may not think of everything the way I do but he figures it out his own way. I spent the last chunk of my walk breathing and enjoying the sun. I got to the theater and I was the only paying customer for The Descendants. The theater barely held 100 people in 7 rows and the screen was only about a third of the size of newer theaters but I loved it.

As I walked back out into the sunshine I felt like a new woman. When I was a block from home I saw Big Love pulling the kids in their new wagon that arrived the day before. Little Man wasn't strapped in tight enough (Big Love didn't realize the crotch strap was there), nor did he have a hat on in the bright sun but he was happy looking around from his new perch. Sweet One was excited as she jumped out of the wagon and hugged me then continued to run ahead of us.

Part of me is surprised how different I feel today, while the other part is just reminded of how important it is for me to get some time alone that has nothing to do with being a mom. I used to go to movies a couple times a month but have only been to one since Little Man was born two weeks short of one year ago.

I hope this is enough to get me through being a single mom for a few days!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The creativity part of my brain feels stagnant. I've been trying to motivate it by checking out more sewing/crafting blogs. One of the new blogs I'm checking out is Me Sew Crazy and today they're having a giveaway for a Visa card. I'm supposed to blog about it to try to win it so please excuse this post if you think it is annoying but $100 is a lot in my world!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Differences that teach me

Call me crazy but I really thought that at 33 (and only a month and ten days away from being 34) I might not be so afraid of people not liking me. That maybe I'd have some confidence in who I am and what I have to offer in a friendship. I still lose my marbles a little whenever I go somewhere that will surround me with people I don't know.

After living in this community for over five years, I still feel like I have three heads. I have friends here but sometimes it is exhausting knowing that most of their world view is more conservative than mine. I keep my mouth shut a lot because I am afraid I may get burned at the stake if I were to voice many of my beliefs  even with the one friend I consider a very close friend. For the most part I have shied away from sharing liberal items on Facebook. I know my friends back home wouldn't have a problem with it, but here is another story. A couple weeks ago I finally took a chance. I was sick of hiding. A woman that I am hoping to become friends with posted this and I shared it. A number of my friends from back home 'liked' it. Just as quickly, another friend from here commented as to why she disagreed with it. (Now I know she is just sharing her opinion, and she believes that as well, but it often comes across like she is ready for a fight.) I struggled for a few minutes as I tried to decide how to word what I thought - terrified that I wouldn't be concise enough with what I wanted to say or worse, sound like an idiot. Luckily, a friend from back home swooped in and beautifully stated an opposing opinion which was exactly what I wanted to say. (I thank her for her thoughts.) I'm not sure if constantly being surrounded by these differing opinions will push me too hard - I already feel stifled.
"Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to
use the tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake."*
I'm trying to grow. Rather than avoiding people who hold different views, I listen. I have learned a lot about making connections with people who I don't click with immediately. I met one woman within the first year I lived here but it wasn't until we both had kids that we became friends. I know I wouldn't have been able to friends with her when we first moved here. I didn't understand how to be friends with people who thought very differently than I about some things. I felt threatened by differing opinions but I am finding that there common threads to build friendships on and learning more about myself. When it comes to the really important things, my views aren't changing to what I am surrounded by, I'm learning more why I believe what I do.
"we had to learn how to bend
without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got
and what I'm not
and who I am."
When I first moved here I went through a lot of culture shock and I struggled. There was a lot I needed to learn about people and friendships. I had spent so many years with people who had similar experiences as I did (school, working in the music community). Those I became friends with rarely had different moral/political beliefs than I did. I took this for granted and truly thought it would always be like this. Perhaps it was about time I learned that this isn't always the norm. I'm not sure if constantly being surrounded by these differing opinions will push me too hard; I already feel stifled. I am trusting that my gut will tell me when I have compromised too much. It's been a pretty trustworthy guide so far.
"I won't give up on us
even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up.
I won't give up on us
God knows I'm tough enough
We got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it." 
 It is hard to feel so out of place on a regular basis but I am holding on. (Some days, barely.) I'm trying to have faith in myself but it can be harder some days than others when I feel like I'm lacking connection to the people in my life that keep me grounded.

*All quotes from Jason Mraz's song I Won't Give Up.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Enough already!

It amazes me how fully my kids live each moment. If they're happy, they beam and smile with every inch of their bodies. If they're pissed, well the whole world is gonna know. And between these two extremes there is so much that happens. The life I see in their eyes as they learn and explore everything around them is inspiring. I love how much they love their life and how proud they are of themselves and what they accomplish each and every day. I've said it before and I will say it until the day that I die, I will do everything in my power to help them grow and strengthen in who they are; I want them to be courageous in who they are and each step they take.

When she was around 3 I remember holding my niece's face as she looked up at me and I told her that she was beautiful and that I wanted her to always remember that. Today I learned that this perfect girl is being bullied. I am sickened. I am angry. I am sad. I do not know any particulars, only that she has been having major struggles with getting to sleep and is constantly complaining about stomach aches that my sister is relating to anxiety.

The part of my mum brain that finds ridiculous things to worry about before they are even close to being a possibility has always been afraid of my kids being bullied. Big Love was bullied a when he was in school. To what extent he never says. He only says it is in the past and doesn't matter anymore. He was a skinny kid who was a year and a half younger than his classmates. Very smart. And he wasn't very good at sports. He was the kid who often got picked last. I'm afraid that what happened to him will happen to our kids.

Bullying makes me sick. I hate the stories of children committing suicide because they are being bullied in school, I hate everything that comes of bullying. For some children to be raised believing it is ok to treat other people so poorly is wrong and I pray hard that one day it will end. I never want the light in my kid's eyes to be extinguished by anything or anyone. I do not want anyone to tell them they are not good enough or beautiful enough - or worse, that they would ever believe those words. There is not an inch of them I do not think is absolutely perfect in every way.

I hope my niece can get the help she needs to function better. I hope her bully gets the help s/he needs to stop being angry and hurting my niece.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Song for Sweet One

Dear Kristen Chenoweth,

My three year old daughter loves your music. She thinks they're awesome. I do, too. The Christmas I was pregnant with her, I listened to your Christmas album over and over and over. And over. Considering I had Sweet One two weeks after Christmas, it wasn't a surprise to me when the following year she started singing along to the songs. It was the first time she ever sang along to music that was playing.

I got your new album when it was available and Sweet One has enjoyed it a lot. This morning, she and I were in the car driving to the mom's group when I heard her say, "Make it louder, Mum!" and we sang to this song all the way. It nearly brought tears to my eyes listening to her singing these lyrics. Thank you for having songs on it that will help to nurture the kind of woman I hope she grows into. (Ok, so doesn't exactly understand what she's singing about when she says that she wants someone she can bitch about!)

Perhaps one day I'll be able to take her to one of your concerts.


January did have more stickers than X's, but the big goal I had in mind for February was to cover up the entire month in stickers. We didn't make it as there was one "Big Ugly X". I think I was more disappointed than her because I was really excited to take her to a toy store and let her pick out her very own new toy (she's never done that before) as a reward for making it through the whole month, bite free. Oh well. Hopefully March will be another story!