Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm Full of It

I'm sure some of you, when looking at the title, thought to yourselves, "Why Yes. Yes you are." Well, I'm admitting it.

Last month I read many posts on Facebook where they list things they are grateful for each day. I enjoy reading them - especially my family's. My older sister posted her gratitude each day and after reading it, I would name something to myself for which I am so incredibly thankful.

Because I am. 

So incredibly thankful - for so many, many things.

But I'm just not feeling it. I've been grumpy and irritable and my tone has been considerably less that patient and pleasant. 

When I would name what I'm thankful for, it felt forced and cheesy. But I kept on naming things because, you know, the whole fake it until until you make it adage. I was hoping to get there, get to feeling it - and feeling it good.

I've been trying to write. Those 3 or 4 people who read this regularly have noticed that it's been 3 weeks since I've written. What they don't see is the 152 times I've sat down to write and had no words come.

Usually, writing helps me to sort out what I'm feeling and helps me to lay it bare. If I don't like something that is happening in my life. I'm the only one that I can change  - either the situation, or how I look at it.

I was going to write this post with the same title I have now, I'm Full of It. I wanted people to look at the title and think one thing and then read my lovely post about how grateful I am and see that I AM full of it. I am just so chock full of thankfulness. I had it all planned out in my head. Things usually look their best there...in my head.

Except the words wouldn't come. All of my thankfulness is stuck somewhere deep inside. I guess you could say that I'm a bit spiritually constipated. That analogy is going to make my mom roll her eyes to the back of her head so far, that they just might not make it back, but it's just the way it feels. My gratitude is all backed up. And if I don't work on it, if I don't loosen up the old pipes, so to speak, my gratitude is going to turn into my own tiny, petrified little pit of despair.

I know that having a thankful heart turns a lot around. I've seen many quotes pasted on friends' timelines on Facebook about gratitude and having a thankful heart. Here's one, 
And this:

Each one was a little dagger to my heart because I wasn't feeling it. And although I wasn't complaining so much out loud, I've been doing plenty of complaining to myself.

And, yet, I agree! I totally believe in the power that gratitude has over my outlook and how I behave and how I feel. And only I have the power to change any of that.

I have a really good life. I have a home. I have a husband that loves me and supports me and who works really hard to keep the bills paid and make it possible for me to be in our home with our boys. I am there whether they want me to be or not and I love that I get that choice. Yes, there are days where I fantasize about getting in the car all by myself and driving and driving and driving and yes, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT I am relieved when bed time comes along. But what would I do without those two boys? I am so lucky for the chance to have gotten to know and love the men in this house.

But, holy hell, things can be so hard.

I've thought about praying for a thankful heart. However, so many times, to get what you want there is a hard lesson to be learned. So praying for gratitude seemed like just asking for trouble. Who needs more trouble? 

Cowardly much?

Oh yes. 

I may have mentioned I'm seeing a counselor. She is really helpful with my parenting. She offers new words and encourages less words with my boys and really stresses the need for self care for all moms, and especially for mothers of kids with special needs. She suggested I read a book, by Brene Brown, called The Gifts of Imperfection. I put it on my Kindle and started reading. 

I came across this quote in the 2nd or 3rd chapter,
"Don't get me wrong, I'd love to skip over the hard stuff, but it just doesn't work. We don't change, we don't grow, and we don't move forward without the work. If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way."
I bookmarked my spot in the book and closed it out. And didn't pick it up for almost a month. And spent the month looking for a thankful heart in all the wrong places.

All of a sudden, it was Thanksgiving. Lobster had requested a quiet Thanksgiving day of football and food and just our family. For me, it's not quite a holiday if there's not a big group of people talking and laughing and enjoying good food.

We compromised with a pie night with friends on the eve of the big day and had a lot of fun with a house full and kids running and squealing and delicious desserts being shared. Boy 1 said he wants to make The Pie Palooza a yearly tradition.

Thanksgiving day was quiet, except for the harsh voices of boys spending too much time together and a mom singing songs about Jesus and kindness and groans and complaints about such singing. 

When dinner was ready, we sat around our table. Lobster settled an argument about where each boy got to sit and we then each listed a few things for which we were thankful. Lobster began our family prayer to give thanks and ask blessing upon our feast. While our eyes were closed, I almost gasped aloud. I was given a gift. I opened my eyes during the prayer and looked at my family. Where my heart had been discouraged and a bit heavy, I was filled with such love and appreciation for these men in my life and for the life that we have made together.

For just a moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion and the tears spilled over my cheeks. 

I know I have more work to do. I've got "things in the way". But that glimpse of how it can feel gave me the determination to keep working. 

And I am full of gratitude for that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stop Shoulding on Yourself

I stared at the floor in front of me. I knew what it was. I had heard the goings on moments before. I closed my eyes and sighed big - wishing that it would change before they opened again, but knowing that the job was mine alone.


It was all around me. The odor of partially digested chicken and broccoli and rice crispy treat and mucous and acid drifted around me. I groaned. I guess I could consider myself lucky. The last time this happened, it had been spaghetti and meat sauce.

I wanted to throw a towel over the whole mess and walk away, but there was a boy in the bathroom that needed to get back to his bed. 

The same boy that, in his urgent, sickened panic, forgot he had a bowl in his bed for this very reason.

I haven't had to deal with much puke. And not for a long time. I've been pretty lucky in that way.

I didn't miss it one bit.

I realized that I had forgotten paper towels in my shopping last week. I groaned, again, thinking about kneeling over this with a rag and a bucket.

I had jinxed it, you know. Last week, I had been reading a blog about a woman "knee-deep" in vomit. I thought, "Whew! I'm glad my boys aren't yakkers."

Hearing my groans, my son said, "I'm sorry Mom." 

Separated by a sea of puke, I just answered, "I know, Sweetie. Stay there so you don't walk through it." I wish I could say that I quickly made a path and swept him up in my arms, tucked him back in his bed caressing his hair while he fell back to sleep.

I wish I could say that.

I did make the path, but he traversed it mostly alone and fell back to sleep after just a peck on the forehead. I focused on the job at hand.

Later, after cleaning it all up and after a load of laundry, I thought about how I reacted. I thought about how I would have wanted my mommy to respond to me when I was sick.

I then thought of how my counselor said that she's noticed that I get the most teary when I talk about what I should be doing.

It's so easy for me to listen to another mom talk about her failings and tell her to not be so hard on herself - and mean it. I've been told many times that I'm too hard on myself.

Why is it so hard to afford that same sympathy and empathy for myself? Why do we moms do that?

It's all right to want to do better. Doing our best is all anyone can ask. But somehow, we demand more of ourselves and then feel terrible when we don't measure up. 

So I put my question to you, gentle reader. How do we show the same kindness to ourselves that we show to others? How do YOU that?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Circle The Wagons!

It's been quite a wild few weeks. In addition to our usual madhouse, Boy 2 has been giving us a run for our money - both with behavior at school and here at home. Really, it should give me plenty to write about. I, however, have felt the complete opposite. I kind of just want to hole up, form the wagon circle, and hide.

Pioneers Crossing The Plains of Nebraska by CCA Christensen
Doing that for a little while is all right. I'm the type that likes to wallow in it for a bit and see if it passes. But, really, there's only so much of that you can do, especially when you're a mom. We need help. And I'm the one that needs to find it.

I remember - back when I had no children - when I had all the answers. It takes a firm hand and a loving spirit and the kids will fall into line. Kids behave the way they do because the parents aren't consistent enough. Oh, I was so smart then. I really miss those days.

Of course we have to be consistent. Let the consequences be the teacher. Of course we have to love them. We are the adults and we have to act like it.

But kids are different. What will work for one, will not even faze another. Kids' brains are wired so differently. And in our case, there are "brain issues" as well. I'm just going to say "brain issues" because there are some of our boys' stories that aren't for me to put out there for display on the Internet. 

So I went searching for help. I found help for myself rather easily. When we were going through our educational classes for foster care and adoption, there was a woman teaching one of the classes who is a Licensed Professional Counselor and I thought to myself, "I would totally call her if I needed help." 

It took a couple of weeks to work up the courage to call, but I did. And I'm so glad. She has so much experience with adoption and parenting kids with special needs and just parenting in general and the need to put on your own oxygen mask first, as hard as that can be.

Finding help for my little peanut has been a bit harder. The names I had selected at a clinic that takes our insurance didn't have any openings. I had been doing some other research to find a counselor that would accept our insurance and that would have experience with "brain issues" and adoption. 

The school and, specifically, Boy 2's teacher has been so good to work with. She has some personal experience (also not my story to tell) that helps her to understand our position and that means so much. I feel incredibly grateful for both of our boys' placements in school this year. How a teacher responds makes such a difference.

Yesterday, I heard from the clinic and we have an appointment - with one of the top names on my list! It's not for 3 weeks, but we have a date. I know things take time, but I'm feeling like I can see the light. And hopefully, it's not the train. ;)

We already know that I don't handle stress well. Wallowing and a tendency for comfort eating are not a good combination. I was feeling pretty good because I had been able to at least maintain my most recent weight loss - until this week. I'm sure hoping it is some water retention, because almost 8 pounds is a lot to gain in one week. I didn't log it into My Fitness Pal yet. I'm just trying to drink a lot of water to flush out my system and see how it goes. I haven't been logging in a lot of things on My Fitness Pal, lately. I need to find a way to keep track that doesn't take up so much time. 

Exercising would help manage my stress. So that comes back in this week. And Lobster is home from another trip. It's really nice to be all together again. We love having that man home. I'm pretty sure he's just got one more this year. 

This past week was pretty busy. While Lobster was away, I spent a day with Boy 2 at school, babysat, 2 boys' soccer practices, appointments, volunteered at the school and did a Halloween Food demonstration at a church event. Would you like to see my table? I sure had fun doing this!

I made stewed monster toes, apples with ogre snot (sorry mom!), eyeballs on a stick, Dracula's dentures, pickled brain, cheese witch fingers, french fried spider legs, and bloody band-aids. It was fun and the boys really enjoyed the left-overs. And I have to admit, that so did I.

I'm feeling good and hopeful. I love my little family and we're having a bit of a rough time right now. But we're getting the help we need. I heard somewhere that one sign of maturity is knowing when and how to ask for help. Maybe I'm finally feeling like a grown up. I can't solve everything with a hug, a kiss, and a pat on the behind. I can't even solve it all myself. And that's OK. 

It's OK.

I think I can let the wagon train loosen its circle. I'm ready to get back on the trail.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloweening It Up

We are Halloweening it up around here. Halloween and Christmas are my favorite holidays to decorate. With all these boys around, I'm not really into cutesy decor. I don't necessarily want to permanently damage the minds of small children, but I want it a little creepy around here - at least more creepy than normal. I love that not dusting actually helps with the ambiance this season.

I should really have this sign up year round. It's a good warning that all who enter my home should have. BEWARE: There will always be laundry on the couch and a floor in need of a sweep and wash.

As you enter, watch out for the spiders. I don't feed them this time of year. They get plenty of trick or treaters on Halloween. I'm taking applicants for a family of snakes to take up residence in the bird house. You can't see them (because they're still in my living room), but some bats are also moving into The Bat Motel on the ceiling in the entry way.

 Thanks to my 3-year-old nephew for assisting me with the spiders and web. He was a BIG help. I'm working on a spooky section of the yard as people enter with ghosts and ghoulish creatures and bright eyes in the shrubbery.

Inside, the mantel is loaded. 

I love this corner of the room,

In the bowl is a lovely collection of eyeballs, disembodied ears and fingers and bugs - lots of bugs.

But my favorite find at the Dollar Tree this year are the holographic portraits. I'm bummed with how terribly the pictures turned out, but I had to show them.  I make everyone look at them when they come over. 

The cheap plastic frames aren't great, but I love how they change when you move.

It reminds me of the old scary movies when the painted portrait's eyes would follow the characters walking through the home. Don't you love them?

I've gotten a lot of ideas for Halloween decor and food from Pinterest. It's a great resource for tons of great things in one place.

On the weight loss front, I've been a bit derailed. I had a binge a week and a half ago. All because of a stupid bag of potato chips. I'm back on track, but it's hard to just let it go - and stop thinking about those chips. Bah!

I'm not sure why I seem to sabotage myself whenever things are going well. I was feeling so strong and I was LOSING WEIGHT again. Sigh. 

I've just got to keep going every day. And no more potato chips. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sucky - Yeah, I Said it.

Late last week I started writing a post about guilt. And I just may finish it someday. But that won't be today.  You may notice that I am a few days late with this post. And I feel really guilty about that. (winky, winky)  But I am totally wiped. I've been sitting here by my computer staring at the pile of laundry to be folded waiting for me on the couch. And by staring, I mean glaring; and by waiting, I mean taunting unceasingly.

On a completely unrelated note, I read an article about the over-use of commas. Now I'm afraid to use them. I am totally a comma abuser. Is there a 12 step group for that? I need to go back to 7th grade English class. What's funny, (or not, actually) is I've been kind of snobby about it when I read. So, yeah. Sorry. Add it to the list of stuff I thought I knew but really don't. I have a friend who is a middle school English teacher. I'll have to ask for some lessons.

Lobster went out of town Sunday morning. The only good things about that is that I get to park in the garage and no one thinks it's weird when we eat cold cereal and gyoza for dinner.

I hate when Lobster travels. Well, maybe hate is too strong of word. I dislike Lobster's travels. Add on boys' endless arguing, a hailed out soccer practice, too little sleep, and Boy 2's behavior issues at school and it equals a sucky week.

So last week we threatened that if Boy 2 could not control his own behavior, we would have to control it for him. We would do that by attending school with him. 

Guess who didn't control his behavior?

Guess who wasn't out of town and got to attend the first grade - not once, but twice so far, this week?

I'm hoping that I don't have to make a third or fourth... Fingers crossed.

I saw this on a friend's Facebook timeline:

It totally cracks me up. I want it. This is me on a mug. There are several for sale on Amazon and other online sites. I just have to pick which I like best. LOVE it. Maybe I'll just hint a lot and it will show up in my Christmas stocking. Yes, I just mentioned Christmas. I just got out the Halloween decorations. Doesn't that make it time to start talking about Christmas?

I get to spend the morning with my nephew tomorrow. I'm hoping he'll help me with my "spooky" Halloween decor. I love hearing him say "spooky."  And if you are into Halloween decorations, check out Dollar Tree. I scored some great stuff. The cashier said it disappears fast, so hurry in. Once I'm put together, I'll try to get some pictures.

I'm going to bed. I can't take the laundry taunting me anymore. That will show it who's boss. Take that, laundry. And tell your friends.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smile on My Face

I have rocked myself a bit out of this rut in which I've been stuck! I'm afraid to celebrate too much because it's so easy to fall back in those cursed grooves. I love seeing the scale lower than has been in a long time.

I can partly attribute my 3 pound weight loss this week to a tight budget. There was no eating out, no extra treats. I'm going to have to keep it this tight from now on. ;)  I focused on my water intake and I added in some exercise. 

I had planned on going to a low-impact aerobics class at the Y, but I chickened out. I found that my cable provider has exercise "classes" on demand for no extra cost. I've been doing a walking workout in my living room. I tried a Sweat Sexy workout, but somehow, my moves did not look like the women on the screen, and they were definitely not sexy. It was, however, sweaty. So, I'm halfway there.

Our Primary children did a presentation in front of the congregation at church today. The kids all did such a wonderful job. Each child spoke about something they've learned this year and sang songs. I was so proud. I was especially proud of Boy 1, who has never before been able to say his part in front of the crowd. While he hid behind the podium, he said his lines clearly. It was kind of funny to see people in the congregation look around to see who was speaking. I was so happy and proud! I had tears rolling down my face and I almost forgot I was supposed to lead the next song. This was a big step for my anxious boy. Boy 2 did a great job, as well. They earned a trip to a local pizza place that also has video games and such. Proud Mama day.

I'm keeping it short and sweet. I'm a tired puppy.

Make it a great week!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I've been feeling good about the number of books I've read this year. I have a goal of 40 books and I've read 29. I'm ahead of schedule and it looks like I'll be able to meet my goal. Some of the novels on this year's list are now favorites. I love reading!

One day last week, I looked on Goodreads.com and saw that a friend of mine had met her goal of reading 80 books in 2013. By September, she had read 80 books. 


All of a sudden, my 29 books was a pittance. I mean, my friend has 3 young boys, her own business, has lost a significant amount of weight (she looks FANTASTIC!) and volunteers at school and church and does things with her family and friends. AND SHE READ 80 BOOKS!

My feeling of accomplishment disappeared, and it was replaced with discouragement. I started to question how she was able to meet her goal. That is exactly 1.54 books each week. How is that even possible when you have an already busy life? 

When I realized that I was tearing her down to make myself feel better, I was ashamed. I was already envious of her in her weight-loss efforts. But, she worked hard for it. She has logged into My Fitness Pal every day - for over 200 days in a row. She exercises several times per week. She works hard. And she is an amazing, strong, driven woman. She accomplishes a lot. No wonder she met her goal of reading 80 books. She is a person that accomplishes goals. She makes things happen.

Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why get out that measuring stick at all? I was happy with the number of books I had read. I was proud of it.

You know, sometimes comparing ourselves to others is not such a bad thing. We can see something in a friend's experience - something that worked for them, or made things easier and use that information in our own lives. We can see that someone accomplished something and be inspired to do better.

But often in our measuring, we come up short. And it stops us cold.

My boys are comparing all the time. One has more milk than the other. How many crackers did you get? How many kisses? How much time with Daddy? How many songs before bedtime? Over and over I tell them, "That doesn't matter. Right now, we're talking about you, not him. You don't need to worry about that." 

Why can't I take my own advice? I don't need to worry about that.

It's destructive, this comparison thing; this measuring our weakness against another's strength. This life is not a competition with those around us. There is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, skinnier, richer, stronger, happier, luckier, better read than we. It doesn't make us any less amazing. It doesn't diminish what we do.

So, help a girl out. Share with me how you keep your head up. Tell me how you stay positive. Divulge your secret to avoiding the measuring stick. Give a friend a hand.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Excuse Me, I Didn't Get The Manual

Wouldn't it be nice if kids came with an instruction book? 

"Here's your bundle of joy, Mama. Oh, don't forget his manual! You'd sure be up a creek if you forgot that!" 

Now, I know all the basics. I don't worry about any of those. I can:
  • Feed them good food - lots of fruits and veggies and a few cookies now and then.
  • Keep their bits clean - and don't forget behind the ears. 
  • Teach them to be polite, over and over and over and over and over....and hope it sticks. Someday.
  • Make them go outside and run around and use their imaginations. Keep an eye on them, though, so they don't whack your poor plants to pieces with their "swords" or use your tomatoes as bullets or as an art project worthy of Jackson Pollock on the fence.
  • Give them lots of hugs and kisses until they literally can not stand any more.
  • Be their mom, not their friend.
  • Et cetera, Et cetera...
What I'm having trouble with, is the "when?" questions -and a bit of the "how much?", as well. As in, when do I  let them ride their bikes in the neighborhood with no supervision? And when do we talk about the birds and bees? And how much information is too much? And how much and when do they need to know about the circumstances of their births?

As their mother, I'm supposed to know when they are ready for things. I am aware that comparing myself to other moms and my boys to other children is not a good idea. However, the boys start comparing immediately. And over and over, I keep finding out how much I really don't know.

Our neighbor has a son one year younger than Boy 1. He rides his bike to school, to his friends' houses - all over - with, seemingly, no limits. Boys 1 & 2 would like to do the same. The back yard is no longer enough. I grew up wandering my neighborhood. I want my boys to know that I believe they can handle themselves in all situations. But...But...But...

Boy 1 is extremely impulsive. He could be riding along, see a cat running across the road, drop his bike in the middle of the street and chase the cat into the yard of someone we don't know. He recently called some teenage boys that were walking down the street (who were minding their own business) a name while he was out riding his bike under my supervision. He's lucky they either didn't hear him, or were good at ignoring annoying kids (they also ignored his apology). He might not be so lucky next time and get hit or learn some really unacceptable words. 

Do I protect them from these possibilities, or do I let them learn the hard way?

Part of me wants to let the natural consequences do their work. But, Boy 1 has special needs that must be taken into consideration. 

And Boy 2? He's six. How much freedom/independence does a 6-year-old get? Not much around here.

Those manuals would sure come in handy, you know? 

I have said it over and over again, this parenting thing is not for sissies.

I love the idea of Free Range Parenting in theory. My anxiety and, I admit it, pride holds me back. I, of course, worry for their safety. But I am also concerned with what they may do or say to people and if it will cause me embarrassment. 

Taking on the job of parent opens us up to all kinds of fun opportunities and embarrassment is one of those. I guess I should just get used to it.

Here we go back to the ABC's of Me. Almost done!

I'M STUCK: again. The exercise starts up once more. If I don't want to cut calories, the exercise has to make a come back. I know it. The first steps off the couch are the hardest. The boys being in school means I have no excuses left. I know I'm tired of writing about being stuck. And, I'm sure you are weary of reading it.

I'M THRILLED: with how the first week of school went. The boys love their teachers (and so do we) and there have been no complaints. I am LOVING my days - so much so, that, I'm feeling the slightest bit of guilt. This is going to be a great school year.

I USE: an 8-ounce cup to drink my water now. I find it easier to finish when I can down it quickly. I was using these huge cups and just seemed to take forever to empty them. Every time I come into the kitchen, I drink 1-2 glasses full and I get my daily recommended with no problem!

MY VITAMIN: D is severely deficient according to my blood work taken at my recent yearly physical. I've been prescribed 50,000 UI of Vitamin D that I take weekly. Once I'm done with this after several weeks, I'm supposed to take a daily supplement with my multi-vitamin. My doctor said that it's especially common here in the northwest for deficiencies. She said I would feel better, but I haven't noticed any change yet. 

I WANT: to finish building our raised vegetable beds. I've still only got one - and that is full of tomatoes that are finally ripening. I have room for 2 more in our space. Lobster started the 2nd bed around Mother's Day, but got frustrated with my design and quit. I have since dug out the other sides to make it level, but the boys have "helped" in the digging. That's what we get for leaving the project unfinished, I guess. It is, seriously, the story of our lives. So many unfinished projects.

I AM XCEPTIONALLY: pleased with my window boxes. They could use some more red Geraniums, but I love the way they look.
Next year, I will use white Sweet Allyssum instead of the Lobelia. Although when the weather is too cold for most of the annuals in the box, I'm going to replant the Lobelia into my flower beds.

I am Xceptionally happy with the Sweet Potato Vine. It looks so lush and although I had originally wanted the chartreuse variety, this purple looks great! Maybe next Spring, I'll do some of both - that would be a nice contrast with the red Geraniums.

I YELL: much less lately. Having our home be a "No Yell" zone is something I have been working toward and I admit it's a struggle. It really becomes a habit - and a hard one to break. Once I've got it, hopefully, the boys will follow suit. My "tone" is next on the list.

I ZONE: out if I sit down for too long in the late afternoons. There are some days I can't stay still too long, or I literally cannot keep my eyes open. I really didn't think I would turn into an old lady quite so soon.  Luckily, now, the boys are getting home from school at that time, so I keep pretty busy.

Whew! I'm so glad those ABC's are done. It took me much longer than I had planned and some of the letters were downright tricky.

Have a great week, all!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back At It

It is officially the week before school. School here in our district starts Wednesday, September 4th. Boy 2 will be in the first grade - there all day. It will be good for him. He was ready for all day last year, but our school doesn't offer all day Kindergarten. I'm starting to get a bit giddy when I think about all I can get done in 6 hours by myself. Although, then again, I'll have no excuses left. 

S'all right, still giddy.

I MADE: a dinner, last week, that even I couldn't eat. I don't think that has ever happened. I feel like I do a good job in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and I usually have a good tongue (?) for flavors. But, something was not right with this casserole and it all ended up in the yard debris can. Thank goodness it was just us. We scrounged around to get food for everybody - a can of chili, a lonely corn dog, a quesadilla, some peanut butter and jam. I needed to go to the grocery store and there wasn't much from which to choose. 

Big time Mama fail.

I NEED: a lot of alone time. I've written about this before. I usually get it after the boys go to sleep. That would all be fine, except that I usually end up staying awake way too late. That makes it hard to get up in the mornings and I start off my days grumpy. I'm not much of a morning person anyway. Before we had kids, Lobster would get up in the morning and be all chipper and talkative and actually expect me to answer him - before work.  I remember just looking at him and thinking, "Are you kidding me?"  That is definitely one thing we didn't discuss before marriage. It should really be on the list of important pre-wedding topics.

Anyway, in the hopes of good mornings to come, I have decided to give myself a firmish bedtime. If I expect to get up at 6:30 every school morning, I need to be in bed by 11pm. That will give me around 7 hours of sleep and, hopefully, that will be enough. I've been getting not enough sleep for so long, that I'm not really sure how much I need. I know I'll need to, eventually, get an alarm clock, but for now, Lobster will use his phone to wake us up. I'm hoping it will improve the start to our day. We can sure use it. There are some mornings when a boy is room-bound by 7:30.

I'M OVER: summer. It has been a warm, dry summer. While it's great for summer veggies (woohoo tomatoes & cukes!), it's not so good for Amy. It rained this morning and I just sat at the table and happily listened to the drops on the roof and I actually could feel my lawn and flower beds relax. It's like they said, "Oh yeah, that's what it's like."  Our sprinkler system has been shutting down zone by zone over the past several years and it's finally dead. I've been schlepping a sprinkler around just trying to keep things from shriveling away.

So, while there are many things to love about summer, it's just not my season. I really get to missing the rain. I think I was supposed to have been born here instead of the dry desert of Utah. I like the moss between my toes.

I'VE PLAYED: way too much Plants vs. Zombies, lately. I put the game on my Kindle for the boys and I thought I'd better play it to make sure it was appropriate (you never know with zombies-wink wink). I was hooked. I've gone through all the levels in less than a week. Boy 2 loves it as well, and likes to get me to "help" him. I have a hard time letting the boys make the choices about what plants to put where. I've decided I can't play with them anymore. It makes me too uptight and I'm not nice about it. I'm a weirdo - it's just a game, right?

I QUIT: drinking cow's milk. I've been trying different options and I've settled on the unsweetened almond milk. I really like the sweetened vanilla flavor, but it has so much sugar (more than cow's milk, which has a lot). There are a lot of reasons I switched. Most of all, it's just gotten so that it grosses me out to think about all the stuff in milk. I won't mention them here. I haven't been able to talk my family into switching yet, but I'm working on it. Yes, I know that there are many things made with cow's milk - things that I still really like to eat. I'm still figuring it all out. 

I'VE READ: 28 books this year. I have a goal of 40 books, so according to Goodreads.com, I'm 3 ahead of schedule. My goal last year was 50 books and I came up short. We'll see how my new bedtime affects my progress. If you haven't joined Goodreads yet, do it! Send me a friend request. I love to see what others are reading! I'm always looking for something good to read.

FOOD: Not enough veggies - needed to go grocery shopping
FOOD TRACKING: 3 of 7 days
EXERCISE: 2 days of light yard work
HYDRATION: Mostly good. I read somewhere that I need to drink water like it's my job. That has helped me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Really Need To Stop Watching Animated Movies

Saturday, we had a beach day. It ended up being a very short beach day, but beach day, it was.

It was Lobster's birthday(ish) and he wanted to get some family pictures. The last time we took one, it was March AND that was the last time we were at the coast. I was really looking forward to being on the beach, watching the boys dig and throw rocks and race the waves and close my eyes just for a minute and listen to the water crashing on the sand. Usually, I pack a lunch and try to stay on the beach as long as the boys (Lobster included) will let me. This trip, however, we decided to live it up and try some local fare.

Not finding much to choose from where we were, we headed south to a larger city. As we came to the split on the highway where you have to choose to go north or south on 101, traffic was at a stand-still and backed up onto the highway. Rather than getting in the line of cars, Lobster quickly made a U-turn and got on the highway heading east - toward home. 

Now, I totally agreed with his decision to turn the car around, but going home an hour and a half after getting to the coast was not what I had in mind. 

And I was not happy. 

And I made sure Lobster knew it. 
It's when I get quiet when it's the most dangerous. 
And I. Was. Quiet.

We were all hungry. I was angry about going home. Lobster was upset about me being angry. And the boys, for once, knew when to keep their mouths closed.

Lobster found a little Mexican place in a small town on the way. We walked in and were the only customers there. The food was simple, but good and they had a delicious jalapeno crema in a little squeeze bottle. It was so good on my tacos. Don't worry, I've already found a recipe to try at home. I can't wait. If you know me, you know I won't be making the fish tacos. I'm sure they are very good, though. If you like fish. I don't.

We talked it all through at the table and figured out a way to salvage the afternoon. We took the boys to see Planes at our favorite movie theater. It was really cute. It had a great message about making your dreams come true and doing your best and getting up when you fall. The quote from the Dusty (the crop duster that wants to be a racer) is,
"I'm just trying to prove maybe, just maybe, I can do more than I was built for."
 I have a feeling I put way too much thought into animated movies. The Croods really affected me, too. It was deep. I totally identified with that caveman. I was thinking about it for weeks. And Planes has been on my mind, as well. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was such a good message to give to kids, "Don't be happy with what you are, you can be better! You can be whatever you want! Don't be content with the mundane. Your life should be exciting all the time!"

Am I being a downer when I think that someone's got to be the crop duster? We can't all be racers. While I agree that we should each do our very best and go for the things we want, we need to be realistic. It's a wonderful thing to be a really good crop duster. And we can be happy knowing that we do a good job. Learning to be content with what we have/are/do is, in my opinion, the best way to have inner peace - and a great secret to happiness. It's a terrible thing to always be wanting more.

I really need to stop watching animated movies.

So, I'm finding this ABC's of me thing much harder than I thought. And I'm using a dictionary. And I'm only on "J". Ugh. I'm sticking to it, though. I've got to stick to something, right? I'm redoing "I", because it was lame last week.

I'M IGNORANT: about most things technical. I'm slowly learning how to work a little more independently on the computer, but I've got a long way to go. I am SO not computer girl.

I JOKE: a lot. It's a defense. I use sarcasm. I'm trying to not be so sarcastic here in my family. Boy 1, especially, has a hard time understanding what I'm saying. He's a little more of a literal kid. When we took a Love and Logic class, we were advised to avoid sarcasm. It was said that the delivery of what we say is just as important as the words.

I KEEP: too much stuff.. I don't have good storage solutions and the paper is driving me crazy. I feel helpless about most days. I need to better use my binder and get better storage. It's embarrassing. Lobster gets fed up with the paper and dumps it all in a box and puts it in the garage. I've gone through many boxes and I've got so many to still get done. It's sure easier to know what to do with papers when they're a few years old. I'm telling you, my organizational skills are severely lacking.

I'M LOOKING: forward to school starting. I'm ready for routines. This will be our first year of both boys in school all day. Part of me is excited and part of me wonders what I will do. I'm thinking of looking for some part-time work. Anyone hiring? 

Sunday stats are lacking this week. I forgot to weigh myself this morning. I've been neglectful in logging in to My Fitness Pal. I've been drinking water, but having trouble snacking in the evenings. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

More Fun with ABC's

I took an unexpected break last week. I lead the music for the Primary, which is the children's Sunday school portion of our church time. It's something that I am loving, but it is exhausting. There is a lot of preparation. I lead the singing in 3 groups. There is the nursery, a group of 18 month to 3 year olds, the junior Primary - which is ages 3 to 7, and the senior Primary - ages 8 to 11. So, although we basically sing the same songs, my methods and plans are very different.

When you work with kids, you have to have energy. Your attitude about them and about music is key, in my opinion. Good, positive energy is essential. But, keeping it "up" for almost 2 hours is very draining. Then I get to come home and everyone is hungry, and dinner's not going to get itself, is it?

Anyway, right after dinner, I could not keep my eyes open. Literally COULD NOT KEEP MY EYES OPEN! Boy 2 kept trying to play a game with me and he finally gave up because he kept having to shake me awake.

Lobster took the boys for a drive and when they left I was in a trance, sitting on the couch. An hour later, they came home and I was in exactly the same position. I haven't been that tired, well, I can't ever remember being that exhausted.

So, I kept meaning to get to writing. But, what a week it has been. I won't even go into all the stuff the boys have broken. They have been in rare form, and not in a good way. Boy 2 is especially, um.....challenging, lately. What is that saying (or is it a song, or a nursery rhyme?),
"When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was bad, she was horrid."
It is Boy 2 to a "T". There is not much middle ground with him. He can be so loving and helpful and he is a hard worker - give him a job to do and he WORKS. He's such a good snuggle-bug and he's really smart. But, boy, if he's not occupied, or if he's too wound up or ticked off, watch out.

This week, it came down to when I was not "on" as a parent, I just wanted to be "off" completely. I've been emotionally drained, physically tired and perpetually pissed off.

Don't you want to come hang out? Really. I'm a barrel of laughs.

Is anyone else ready for school to start? It's less than a month, now.

Let's get on with our ABC's!

I FEAR: much more than I thought I would as an adult. When I was in Elementary school, a teacher gave us a fill-in-the-blank type form. One of the lines read, "I am afraid of_______." My answer was "nothing." Now that I have children, most of my current fears have to do with them and the world in which we live. After talking with my mom and finding that I, indeed had many fears as a child, I know that my answer was mostly bravado, but oh, to feel that way would be fantastic, wouldn't it? 

I'M GRATEFUL: for the life I have. There are a many things that would be great to do or to have, but I really have a good life. I have a husband that loves me, and works really hard to make sure that I can be here, at home, with the boys. And as much as I reminisce about how quiet our house used to be, and how things used to stay nice and unbroken, and how I used to only have to do laundry once a week, and about all the weekends when I could sleep in, and .....oh wait. What was I trying to say?  

But seriously, those two little boys, sleeping in their beds, and their daddy have my heart. It's theirs completely, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I HATE: ants. They make me feel creepy crawly and we must live right on top of multiple ant hills, because we just can't get rid of them. We've used traps, and sprays and natural remedies and they just keep coming back. And the funny thing is that they're not even in the kitchen. They are in our bedrooms and bathroom. It totally creeps me out. 

In general, I like bugs. I think they are cool. Give me a Dragonfly, a Praying Mantis, a worm, or a spider, even (and no, that's not an invitation for them to come into my house, just for the record). But ants  - ugh. Oh, yeah, mosquitoes too. Hate 'em.

I INTENDED: to use a lot more letters, but I got stuck on I. But it is time to go to bed. Morning comes much too early around here. There comes a point when it is really just too late to make any sense. 

Have a great week. Peace.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The ABC's of Me

I am a little late in posting again. I snuggled with my boys for a bit last night while they read in my bed and the next thing I knew, it was 3:00am. I've been tired and grumpy and I think I have at least caught up on some sleep. Now, I'll have to work on the grumpy.

I'm starting a bit of self-evaluation with The ABC's of Me. It will take me a few weeks to get through the alphabet, but I'm choosing a word starting with each letter and seeing how it applies to me. If you have any suggestions for words I should use, leave them in the comment section.

Here we go.

I ASPIRE: To be like my little sister and rock my work outs. My sister goes to the gym 5 days a week. More recently, she has started Spartan Training and pushes herself very hard. I aspire to be like her.

I haven't gone to the gym for months. I have sporadically done my Kinect Zumba workout. I really like working out in the privacy of my home. But I can see the benefit of going somewhere, and being expected.  This summer - specifically this month, I have not been as dedicated to working out. I have many excuses (my biggest one being that it's hot and we have no air conditioning), but they are just that, excuses.

I BELIEVE: In the power we each have to transform ourselves. I believe in MY own power to transform my inner and outer selves. My intentions are mostly good. I often seem to fail in the follow through. And not just in my weight loss efforts. It bleeds over into all parts of my life. That's one of the parts of me I'm trying to transform.

I CONFESS: I haven't even looked at my Summer Mind and Body Challenge that I started in June. It's now the end of July, and I don't think I've tracked points at all this month. It's a little embarrassing since I made such a big deal of it. I really should have gotten an accountability buddy.

I DECLARE: This has been a hot summer. A lot of people say that we don't need air conditioning here in the Pacific Northwest (Lobster being one of those for a long time), but that's just a bunch of hooey. I admit that some summers, there are just a few weeks that you need it, but during that time, YOU NEED IT. We're replacing our old dinosaur of a furnace before the fall and I think I've finally talked Lobster into central air. 

I'M EXCITED: About tomatoes from my garden. Each of my tomato plants has green tomatoes. My grape tomatoes are just starting to turn color. I can't wait!

I'll continue this in my next post. I need to get out my dictionary. ;)

FOOD: I finally went grocery shopping. Salads are GREAT!
FOOD TRACKING: 3 full and 2 partial days of 7.
EXERCISE: No formal workout. Some light yard work.
HYDRATION: Good. Not great, but good.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh, To Be 19 Again...

It was my father's birthday this past week. He would have been 75. My sister put a photo of him at 19 on Facebook. He looked so happy and young. I could really see my sister's resemblance to him - something I had not noticed before.

I was showing the picture, one I have on my wall, here at home, to my sons. I asked Boy 2 if I looked like my dad, and he said, "Well, he's a lot skinnier." I laughed and agreed. I started thinking about how I looked when I was 19, and if I also resemble him. So, I got out all the old pictures and found a few from 1989, you know, the good old days. The days of shoulder pads and big hair. Those were some good times.

So, here's the picture of my dad. Doesn't he look handsome? And here's me at 19.

I don't see too much resemblance...maybe, just a little around the mouth.

Just for fun, here's another:

And to think, I really wasn't happy with the way I looked then. Silly girl.

Sometimes, it's hard to stay positive. I've been struggling with that a bit, lately. I like to think that I'm generally a positive person.  I know I can do this. Why am I letting myself get tripped up? This is all a mental game. I'm the one who's supposed to be in charge around here. The frustration that comes with knowing just how much weight I need to lose is a bit overwhelming. Sometimes, I worry that won't be able to do it. 

And sometimes, because I feel it, I hear it from others - even when that's not what they are saying.

I try really hard to keep that doubt hidden. I keep it bound and gagged in a dark corner. It is always struggling to get free. And, at times, an arm or leg breaks loose. The gag slips just a bit and its whispers pierce and tear and deflate.

I think the key - and it sounds so trite and overly simple - is to truly take it one day at a time. One choice at a time, even. How can something so simple be so difficult? 

Let me know when you figure that out.

Like the old photographs I was looking through, my memories of my dad have become slightly fuzzy around the edges. I do remember a lot of love and laughs. He was a large man for most of his adult life. He didn't talk to me about his size and how that affected his spirit. He seemed very happy and positive. He's been gone almost 10 years, now, and I had lived in a different state for a few years before he died. I'm sure I only saw what he wanted me to see. I understand. I resemble him in that way.

Being positive is a choice. Sometimes, there are many things that get in the way, but the power is ours. And it is a power. Maybe, even, a special power. I can't read people's minds. I can't burn people/things to a crisp with my laser-vision (as much as I would love to, at times. Sometimes the stink-eye is just not enough). My super-speed isn't happening any time soon. I can choose to be happy. And I can choose to disregard the doubt. Only feed the positive thoughts. Maybe, I can make that ugly old doubt shrivel up and disappear. 


It's worth a try.

FOOD: It wasn't pretty, folks. Especially the second half of the week. 
FOOD TRACKING: 5 OF 7 days. My calories went over goal, 5 of 7 days, as well.
HYDRATION: Good, but not good enough. 3 words- Dirty Diet Coke.