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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

He asked me if he could help him wrap his presents for his brother and sister.  My youngest, my baby, now 7.  He is no longer a baby.  But sometimes even he will admit that he still needs his mommy.

He was intent on finding little boxes in which to put the presents before we wrapped them.  Decorative duct tape and a Lil’ Webkinz are too recognizable wrapped on their own.  So we found little boxes, the one for the Webkinz with a little plastic window where the baby seal could look out to surprise his brother when he opened it.  We got the paper, cut it to size, and began taping.  He broke the cheap 99c tape dispenser, looked up with surprise.  “It’s not a big deal, Lukey.”  A moment of relief, then a refocus on the task at hand.  I held the paper for him while he got a piece of the Scotch tape and carefully placed it on a wrapping paper seam.  His hand, still so small, so beautiful, acting in a moment of love and joy for his brother and sister.  It touched my spirit in a way I just didn’t expect in that moment, and it’s still bringing peace to my heart.

His sister loved her duct tape, and his brother gave a big smile and a Jake sized-laugh when he saw the baby seal poking his little face out.  And it was beautiful.  And it was Christmas.

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My youngest made a Thanksgiving card for Cory and me.  The message contained within said, “Daddy, thank you for making me breakfast every morning.  Mommy, even though I don’t see you much, I still love you.”

Heartbreaking, because it’s true.

I’m in school full-time.  I’m working a job I love full-time.  Just over a year ago, I was doing neither.  I was home full-time.  I was mommying full-time.  I was available to the kids full-time.  I’m not anymore.

I don’t have to be working or going back to school.  I do love what I’m learning in school.  I think that this degree, hand-in-hand with the job I’m working, could really lead to a career that I love, that I’m good at, that makes me a better person.  I want to be a better person for me, for my family, for my friends, for my community, for my world.  I want that.  And, most of the time, I’m confident that this is worth it.

Sometimes, today, through the eyes of my youngest, I’m not so sure.

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….crazy for feeling so lonely.

First of all, crazy is one of those words.  You know, one of those words that, if you keep looking at it long enough, just doesn’t look right anymore?  Look at it:

CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY

Am I right?  That ‘Z’ just starts to look wrong all up in there.  Crazy.

So, I was going to say that I don’t feel lonely, but I do kinda.  I’m surrounded by people I love, newish and old.  This whole family/school/work thing is just throwing me a bit right now.  I’m scattered.  I have one life, set of responsibilities, and attitude at home.  I have another life, set of responsibilities, and attitude at work.  I have a third life, set of responsibilities, and attitude doing schoolwork (and showing up in class).  And then there’s the lives I’m missing, social and physical fitness.  I loved those parts, and I’m just barely hanging on by a thread on those (but still hanging on!!!).  So, yeah, I’m lonely in the way I have to compartmentalize right now.  No one is right along side me in every facet.  Lonely is an apt description.  (Hmmm….lonely is becoming one of those words, too.  Lonely Lonely Lonely Lonely Lonely Lonely )

People looked at me as if I was crazy when I said I was going to start school full-time not long after I started work full-time.  And there’s the family that I love, too.  Husband, 3 kids, a dog, 2 kittens.  Yeah.

I didn’t REALIZE that they weren’t joking, or overreacting, or just didn’t know how amazing I am.  Ha.  Maybe not that last thing.

Turns out, maybe I should have listened to them.  Maybe I should have slowed down. Stress is what I feel right now.  Stress from good things and bad.  Stress from healthy choices and not.  Stress from healing and growing.  Stress from not knowing if I can do all that I’ve set out to do, all that I’ve told so many others that I will do.  Stress from not wanting to care about appearances of success or failure.

And so, here I am.  Batshit crazy (sidenote, have you seen the book, What Shat That?  I’m such a 12 year old boy sometimes; I had to have it.).  Commitments made, responsibilities set, getting by one day, one hour, one minute at a time.  That’s what I can do.  That’s what I can offer.  So, if I appear to not exactly know what I’m doing one minute to the next, you know that that’s the true me right now.  That’s my journey on this part of the road.  That’s me, giving the best I have to give.

Be gentle with me.

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I woke up this morning at 6am to the alarm going off.  It’s Saturday.  The kids didn’t have to be up.  My husband didn’t have to be up.  Just me.

I was out the door before 7am to drive almost an hour away, on a Saturday morning, to go to class at 8am.  I didn’t get out until after 10am (which is about 40 minutes early).  I made it to the second of the 2 boys’ soccer games.  It was cancelled.  The one that plays first?  I think I’ve only made it to one of his games this season.

Starting in two weeks, I’ll be in class from 8am-2pm every Saturday.  Including the hour drive each way, that’s 8 hours that I’m away from home.  In addition, Saturday is my only regular day off of work, and that’s because of school.

So, as I’m waking at 6am every Saturday, I wonder if I’m making the right choices.  11 years as a SAHM immediately changed into a full-time working, full-time student mom.  I second guess it all.  Especially when a friend says, “So……..you’re doing all of these things when you could just be home all day.”  I used to be home all day, and I liked it.  Especially when I miss another soccer game.  Especially when my husband is trying to co-ordinate 3 kids’ activities in three different places at the same time…..and there’s only one of him.  Especially when I look at my schedule and realize that there are weeks where, in a three day span, I may only see my kids for 3 hours total.  Especially then.

I don’t have to work.  We’re not rolling in money, but we could get by just fine.  I don’t have to work.

I don’t have to go to school.  I’m not pursuing a bachelor’s; I already have that.  I’m not pursuing a higher degree.  I’m earning an Associate’s Degree.  I don’t have to go to school.

What I am doing is working at a job I love.  I love my job, and I’m good at it.  I’m going to school to learn more about subjects that I have been fascinated with since I was 12 years old.

What I am doing is growing, changing, and living.  What I am doing is pursuing knowledge and a career that I love.

As recently as two years ago, maybe even less, I told my husband that I couldn’t imagine having a career that I was really passionate about pursuing.  If I did, I told him, I might consider working outside the home.  But at the time, there was nothing.  I’ve found that now, and I am passionate about it.

And so, I’m working.  I’m in school (for the first time in 16 years).  And I’m loving my family.  And I’m being so thankful that I married the man that I did, and that he still loves me more than can be measured.  And I love him the same.

I’m living.  I’m not living and growing and changing in order to teach my children any lessons.  I’m living and growing and changing because it is what’s best for me right now.  And I hope that they will take note and realize that it’s always a good time to pursue your dreams and passions.  I hope that they see it, but that’s not why I’m doing it.

When I’m at my best, and Cory’s at his best, we’re in the best place that we can be to parent our kids and love them and make it appealing to always grow, always learn, always pursue that which stirs your heart.

Balance?  We’re not there, yet.  It’s a lot, yeah.  And Cory is a trooper.  As are the kids.

So, I’m going to try to stop the second, third and fourth guessing.  I’m going to remember that growing, changing and learning is what we’re made to do.  I’ll try to encourage and support Cory in his need to do that, and always, always be there to support and cheer on the kids as they do.  For, although I don’t do this to be an example to them, I hope that I still will be, and that they’ll live their lives in a way that brings growth, passion, learning, and hope.

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So, a year ago today I was still technically a SAHM.  I was volunteering at a teen homeless shelter, an agency of which I knew I always wanted to be a part even though I’d never stepped foot inside.  I spent most of my days taking the kids to school, then headed to the gym for a run or a swim, trying to prepare for my first triathlon.

Fast forward one year.  I’ve completed three triathlons, and a half-marathon.  I am going to school full-time.  And still doing the wife/mommy gig, the most important gig in my life. 🙂

I’ve also begun working at that agency that I’d admired for so long.  Full-time.  And today we begin a new venture in that agency.  I was and am privileged to be a part of a new team hired to bring this project to fruition from the ground up.  It has been a growing, exciting, hopeful, and stressful process.  I’ve learned a lot about myself through this process, and a lot about my co-workers.  And, more importantly, how we, with our differences, can feed off of each other to make a great team.  I think we’re getting there.

Today is the first day that we’re opening our new program.  So excited.  A little stressful (remember, stress can be good stress, too!).  And, mostly, tons of hope for our new clients.

New ventures are exciting.  It’s going to take more balancing of all of these good things than I ever thought possible.  I, and my family, are still trying to figure this whole thing out.  I am amazed at how loving, supportive, and patient my husband and kids have been.  I am one lucky lady….

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Hey, hey, hey!!!!!  What?!  I know, right?

So, it’s only been almost a year since I’ve posted.  And why am I posting now?  Because WordPress reminded me that I was about to lose this here domain name.  I’ve had it too long to give it up, yet.

Over six years already.  Wow.  Remember that first post?  Yeah.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m more often, “mom,” now than Mommy.  Occasionally, but still.  I’m still not perfect (and neither are you 😉 ).

My almost one year old is now seven and a half.  Sheesh!

Let’s see….when I first started writing, I had two toddlers and I was about to start homeschooling the oldest, I think.  I hadn’t worked outside of the home for a few years.  Fast forward 6 years and I’m working full-time and going to school full-time, all second to familying full-time.  I don’t think it’s any less busy than having three little little ones in the house!

I’m amazed and humbled and dumbfounded and joyed and pained and exhilarated by the events of the last six years.  So, so much.

Six years doesn’t seem like a huge chunk of time, but it holds so much.  Six years is longer than many people have to live on this earth.  So I’m thankful for every failure, every success, every pain, every joy, every fear, every hope.  They are signs of a life.  My life.  I’m embracing it all.  I hope you are, too.

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These are my shoes.  They are about a year old.  People ask me if they’re new.  They look new.  They’re not.

They were purchased to run a 10k with Baldman last fall.  Guess what?  We didn’t run it.  There are so many things that we say we’re gonna do that we don’t.  It’s not fun.

These shoes have run, though, miles on a treadmill.  Miles that I never thought I would be able to run.  Miles that have pushed me, strengthened me, challenged me, and drained me.  Miles that have restored bits of my sanity, renewed mountains of hope, and reclaimed years of my life.  Miles that, unbelievably to me, I wouldn’t trade for anything.

But these shoes are asking for more.  They’re asking to be pushed to their potential; worked to their limit.  They are asking to be underestimated.  They are craving to be gotten dirty, grimy, and worn through striving for the finish line.  And they will be.

Not a 10k for these shoes, but a few weeks from now, they will be sprinting with me across the finish line in my first triathlon.  My first triathlon.  Meaning 1) I’m competing in a triathlon and 2) I think there will be more than one for me!  Craziness.  And joy.

 

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Okay, picked up this fill-in from Heather.  Enjoy. 🙂

 

1. If I could get away somewhere for the weekend I would go to:  a B&B with my hubs.  And I’m going to in a couple of weeks, celebrating our 14 years of marriage.  Crazy.

2. Something I often rant about is: okay, 2 things.  One, when you share something with someone and they respond with, “Well, it must be nice,” in a snarky, jealous way.  I’m happy for you when something good happens to you, you should try and do the same (for me or anyone else).  Two,  when we feel we have to justify a purchase to someone just because they compliment us.  (This will probably make more sense to the ladies out there.)  When I say, “Ooohhh, your ring is really pretty,”  Or, “I love that shirt!”, believe what I say.  I don’t mean, “Wow, I really think that ring is pretty and it must have cost a fortune.”  I really don’t care what you paid for it.  I don’t need you to tell me that you found it on sale.  I’m really just letting you know that I like it.  It’s fine if you got a deal and want to share that with me, but that’s really not the intent of my compliment.  I’m really just glad for you that you have something you enjoy.

3. One item I need to have in my fridge at all time is: Vanilla Yogurt.  A big tub of it.  It’s essential for our smoothies and parfaits.  A few frozen strawberries, bananas, blueberries and yogurt in the blender and the kids think they’re having ice cream for breakfast. 🙂

4. My “life-saving” product is: Frizz-Ease by John Frieda.  It makes my hair almost sane.

5. A friend is someone who: is honest, is there for you, rejoices in your joy, comforts and listens to you in your sadness, and doesn’t leave you for the newest model.  I wonder if I’ve been guilty of that.

6. If I could write my own blank it would be: The next thing I want to learn to do is _________.

7.  My favorite kind of art is: photography.  It brings me so much joy.  And Norman Rockwell paintings.  I just love those.

My answer to Heather’s blank: Mark Harmon.  Maybe I was twelve, though.  Oh!  And Jon Bon Jovi.

My answer to my blank: A cartwheel.  Haven’t checked that off the bucket list, yet. 😉

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I love journaling; I’m sure that’s why I started blogging.  I keep several journals.  One for each kid, from the time I knew I was pregnant with each of them.  (Sadly, much like their scrapbooks, the journal for the oldest is rather full, while the youngest just gets a sprinkling of an entry every now and again).  One personal, one dealing with weightloss (or lack thereof), one for things I’m praying about.

I think my latest, though, will be by far my favorite.  It’s a journal I’m keeping with my daughter.  I read the idea in a book about, shocker, journaling.  I decided it would be a nice new facet to our relationship, and it has been.  I also wanted to make sure that we started it while my daughter is still young enough that she doesn’t think I’m the world’s biggest drag.  I think we managed that.  My desire is that it becomes a place where we can share our thoughts, ideas, fears, hopes, joys, questions, and answers.  I want this to be to be a safe haven from judgment, disappointment, embarrassment, and insecurity.  I want us to share the moments of our lives that may be too fragile to speak aloud, but that still need to be expressed and experienced together.  I want her to know that there is always a safe place where we can meet.

Only a few months in, I already treasure it.

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Like the clipping of an oft groomed fingernail, the moon tonight was just a bright sliver of light in the cerulean sky.  It had not yet climbed to its bedtime perch, but sat delicately above the treeline.  The clouds tonight were stretched and gently lain across the earth as new batting just about to be stitched into a soon to be favored quilt.  The moon hung just above these clouds and created a beautiful illusion.  If you could suspend reality for just a moment, it appeared that a giant mountain range, just north of Cincinnati, was being sung to sleep by the moon.  It was a delightful thought.

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