Embracing Time and Chaos!

A few weeks ago, Audrey got to stay home two out of her three mornings that she is normally at school because there was a snowflake (literally…ONE) and everyone–as usual–panicked! In the moment, I was so frustrated because I have been a little exhausted lately. Mostly because of Lauren. Since the day she was born she has basically been attached to my side. That really isn’t an exaggeration. Even as I type this she is sitting at my feet and I am begging her to go play with her sister in their playroom. And not only is she always wanting to be right by my side, she also barely lets daddy do anything for her these days. He tries to help but she yells, “I WANT MOMMA TO DO IT!!” I really don’t get much time to breathe. Thankfully, Audrey is definitely more independent these days and is happy to sit on the couch and watch a movie alone or quietly color or play with her toys.

Those three mornings a week that Audrey is at school is a little bit of a breather for me. Yes, Lauren is home with me but it still gives me just a little bit of quiet. So when I didn’t get that that week it was frustrating and I cursed all of the people in the Portland area who run for their bunkers the second they even hear the word snow.

Fast forward to this morning. Audrey had a field trip to another school to go see what it is like in kindergarten. Chris took her, but while they were gone the reality hit me that my first baby is less than 6 months away from turning 5 years old and starting kindergarten and she will be gone everyday. And yes–before you say it–I KNOW how fast they grow up. I am living it everyday already. She is so excited and she is learning and growing so much everyday.

The realization that this time with her at home most of the week, except those few hours 3 times a week, is coming to an end is making me rethink my attitude from a few weeks ago. I am chosing going forward to enjoy those days and to enjoy the fun-filled summer we have ahead of us. And no I am not one of those enjoy every moment people, because let’s face it, while being a mom is rewarding it is also exhausting and messy. But I do want to embrace and make more of the time we have together on a daily basis.

How do you find some quiet and peace in the midst of the chaos of raising tiny humans?

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Anxiety and Me

anxietygirl

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Some general risk factors for all types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Temperamental traits of shyness or behavioral inhibition in childhood
  • Exposure to stressful and negative life or environmental events in early childhood or adulthood
  • A history of anxiety or other mental illnesses in biological relatives

All three of these potential risk factors fit me to a t…

I have always been shy. That may come as a shock to some but it is very much true. Growing up I struggled with any type of presentation I had to give at school etc because I was always so paralyzed with the fear of standing in front of the class. It has held me back from a lot of things. It has always made it hard for me to make friends. Instead of being myself I am always this awkward shy mess. I will stand alone in the corner because it is better than the alternative of approaching a group of people I don’t know.

When my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July of 1996 it began a pattern of  stressful situations that would plague my life over the next few years.

I have at least two family members who suffer from some form of mental illness such as depression.

My odds were never great, but I spent most of my adult life thinking I was just a worrier. Nothing out of the ordinary, just regular worry and anxiety that we all experience at some point. Then out of the blue this past September fear, worry and anxiety took over my life. It became debilitating, it was all I had to function enough to take care of the girls every day. It was scary because I literally felt like I had no control over my fears and my emotions. In October I was prescribed medication and I started seeing a clinical psychologist. A lot of people hide these types of things from others and I don’t really understand why. My medication has been literally life changing. I am calmer and feel like I see things more clearly than I have in years. I don’t want to take meds for the rest of my life, but for now it has given me the balance and calm I have been needing in my life for many years. And because no pill is the magic and perfect fix, I have been seeing a therapist to  help me better cope when my anxiety is trying to get the better of me.

Anxiety is something I think that people on the outside really struggle to understand. It’s not something we can just shut off.  It is also something that none of us should be ashamed of. We need to all stop hiding behind the perfect little life we put on social media for the world to see. Be you, be real and if people don’t like it then they aren’t your people. It has taken me 41 years to finally learn that lesson, but I have and it is freeing.

I know it has been  quiet around here the last few months, truth be told I have been selfishly wrapped up in my life and my family. The end of 2018 came crashing down on me in a way I never could have imagined. The last 4 months have found me walking a path I never thought in a million years would be part of my story. But, I am here and hopeful and fighting with all I am to reach new heights in my personal life I never imagined possible. Don’t worry it is not health related, we are all fine. But it is a story that I am not ready to share. If and when that time comes you all will be the first to know!

 

41 things for 41 years!

Every year as the New Year approaches I start thinking of all the things I’m going to change the following year. Most of the time it includes weight loss. And most of the time the year comes and goes and not much changes. I decided not to make any resolutions this year. 2018 (my 40th year) felt like it should be this big symbolic, monumental year for me, but, it wasn’t. At least not in the way I would have expected. The last two months of 2018 were among the hardest of my entire life. In fact, it almost broke me. But, it didn’t and it has made me rethink my not making a list of resolutions for the coming year.

The other day Carly posted THIS and it inspired me to do something similar. Since I want and need 2019 to be a year very different from the last I’ve decided to make a list of 41 things I would like to change or accomplish in this coming year. I’m still working on my list and when I finish it I will post it here so that you all can join me and encourage me and maybe push me along the way.

One of the first things on my list is writing here. Writing has always been something I enjoy and has always been very therapeutic for me. I’ve gotten away from it. Much like reading which I talked about in my last post. I want to be more committed to using this space to share with all of you a little bit more of me each day. Hopefully you will stick around and see where things go.

What are your resolutions for this coming year?

30 books in 2019

Ever since I can remember I have loved to read. When I was a kid I was always at the library or asking to go to the library. At school it was one of my favorite places to be. I was a terrible student, but boy did I love to read. I kept a flashlight in my room and long after I was supposed to be sound asleep my mom would always catch me hidden under my blankets with my flashlight and whatever book I was currently reading. Car trips, riding the bus, recess. Basically any chance I got I was reading.

As I got older my love for books only grew. I’ll read almost anything but my favorites are law/courtroom dramas, which makes it no shock that my favorite author is John Grisham. Any suspense, crime type books. I even went through an Agatha Christie phase. While I do enjoy non-fiction, nothing beats getting lost in a good story. Escaping in to the pages of someone else’s story is one of the best ways to wind down my day. Yet somehow I’ve gotten out of the habit.

Some might say because I have kids I don’t have time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My kids still nap. Once they go to bed I’m up for at least another three hours. I have the time, I’ve just chosen not to. This year that changes.

To get to back to reading I’ve decided to challenge myself to read 30 books in 2019. I’m excited to start towards this goal and dive in to a bunch of new books.

So hit me with your book suggestions. What books have you loved and are must reads? Fiction, non-fiction, romance, drama, crime etc. I want to hear from you!

Gone to the Cows

Back in September I made a post about some of the things I had hoped to do that month. We actually only ended up checking one thing off of that list, visiting a Dairy Farm.

We found a local Dairy Farm not far from us. I sent them a message on Facebook and to my surprise they responded almost immediately and told me when they milked the cows and fed the calves and that we were welcome to come by the farm any time.

We picked a day to go the following week. The girls were so excited! When we arrived at the farm one of the owners was there to greet us. She was so nice and gracious to show us around. She took us in to the milking barn. There was 5 or 6 cows hooked up and being milked while a whole crew waited patiently for their turn. I may or may not have stopped and have a conversation with my new friends.

During milking they filled up a huge jug straight from one of the cows to put into buckets for the calves. I couldn’t believe how nice and gracious they were in allowing the girls to get right in there and help.

Both girls were beside themselves with excitement. After feeding the calves milk the girls got to help give them their grains. Audrey probably would have stayed and slept with those babies had we let her. While Lolo loved the cows she was a little more obsessed with Zeus the farm dog, who was much more interested in finding mice! We also met their horse named Vince who sneezed carrots all over Audrey and Chris and it was hilarious!

We need to go back and buy some milk from them. I encourage all of you to support local farms and business. After such a great experience I am looking forward to finding more local places and learning about them.

I learned a lot about cows, especially that cows have very dry and rough tongues and also if you stand with your back to a cow they will lick your butt!

If you are local and looking for some farm fresh milk check them out, Schoch Dairy and Creamery!

Poop-Gate 2018

I saw THIS news story a while back about a woman in Detroit smearing dog poop on her neighbors doorknob because she thought their dog had pooped in her yard. She claimed it wasn’t the first time and did it to teach them a lesson. She never spoke to them, never gave them a chance to defend themselves and really had no proof it was even their dog in the first place. A few months ago I would have been shocked that people are actually like this. I mean WHO does this? Who doesn’t take the grown up and civil approach? Apparently our most recent neighbors are exactly the kind of people to deal with things like this in a similar way.

Let me back up a little. A few months ago we got new neighbors. I actually met them on the street a month prior to them moving in. They were looking at a different house down the street and stopped me to ask about the neighborhood. They were really nice, had kids and I remember telling them where we lived and if they moved in to come say hello. Fast forward about a month and there they were moving in right next door to us. I thought how wonderful, a nice couple who also have a toddler. The first week they were here their dog dug under the fence between our two yards over and over again. At least 5 times that we know of and twice we watched her poop in our yard. What did we do with that poop you ask? Well, like grownups we just cleaned it up, it wasn’t intentional on their part. We never said anything about it and we went about our lives. We realized very quickly that the nice couple we thought were moving next door weren’t very nice at all. In fact they were downright unfriendly. They never said hi, they never would even look in our direction. I get wanting to keep to yourselves. We are kind of like that, but we also know most of our neighbors by name and know in case of emergencies etc that we would have each others backs.

After they had only been here about a month we had an incident. We were in the process of laying new rocks and stuff in our backyard so we had been taking our dog Belle out front to go to the bathroom. 99.9 percent of the time we picked up her poop immediately. Once in a while late at night she would poop and Chris would pick it up first thing in the morning before he left for work. This happened MAYBE twice in the time they had lived here. So the morning of Poop-gate 2018 Chris went outside to take Belle to the bathroom and he found dog poop on our driveway and under our car. Immediately we suspected our neighbors. Chris couldn’t say for certain whether Belle had pooped late the night before or not. I was livid! Before they moved in that place had been empty for 7 months and there were times we would find random stray dog poop in our yard. Unless they had been watching out their window at 1 am they had no way of knowing OUR dog was the guilty party. While we could assume it belonged to our dog, we weren’t 100 percent certain. Even if it WAS ours, it was not a regular thing. We aren’t the kind of people to just let our dog poop and not pick it up.

That evening they were finally home and were outside so Chris went out to confront them. He asked “do you guys know how dog poop got over on our driveway this morning?” The guy said “I kicked it over there, my kid walks here!” Chris who is much nicer and much mire civil than I am said “you should have just told me, knocked on my door at 7 am.” They could have been adults and just let us know and nicely asked us to make sure it never happened again. The irony in all of it is that their backyard was littered with dog poop and cigarette butts. You know, WHERE THEIR KID WALKS!!!

I am happy to say that after only two months of living next to us they moved. Good riddance! I have little time for people like that, they weren’t friendly at all. I am happy to report we now have a new family next door who seem very nice!

But seriously WHO throws dog poop? How do you guys deal with difficult neighbors?

September

yellow  autumn leaves on background old woodI’ve decided to steal an idea from my friend Carly to post monthly about things we will do that month. I love this idea to research things in your area each month. I am always looking for new things to do and new places to go. Maybe actually putting it down in print will help us actually do some of those things we always talk about but never do. And maybe, we will learn new things and meet some new people along the way.

September is filled with possibilities and just happens to lead us into my favorite time of year. I LOVE Fall. I love the cool crisp weather, pumpkin spice lattes and scarves. I could go on and on, but I won’t. But seriously though, what isn’t there to love about fall?! We spent 6 years in Boston and believe me when I tell you I have never seen anything as beautiful as fall in New England. It was almost enough to make me want to stay, almost!

Visit a Dairy Farm – When we were visiting the new Tillamook Creamery Visitor Center last week they had this huge plastic cow you could “milk” and a calf you could bottle feed. Naturally the girls loved it. They also loved watching through the windows and watching how the cheese is made and cut and packaged etc. So, we thought how fun would it be to see where it all begins? I have been doing some research and there are definitely a few local farms who do tours. I just need to find one that will give us the most for our dollar. I may or may not be just as excited about this as I know the girls will be.

Visit the Duck Pond – I went here with Audrey last year on her last field trip of the year. So many ducks and geese. We even saw a Blue Herron fishing for its lunch. This was back in May and it has been my intention to back ever since with Lauren and Chris as well.

Have a Campout in the living room  – This is something that Audrey has been talking about for months and we just haven’t got around to it. I am not sure where she got the idea, probably on one of the shows she watches. Chris needs to get the tent out and open it up and get it all set. We may even do it up in our room since we have a rather large space. Wherever we do it I fully intend to have smores.

Eat at a new restaurant – We don’t eat out very often, but when we do we seem to always go to the places we know we like and NEVER try anything new. That needs to change and I hope this month will be the month we actually step out of our normal routine.

Read a new book – I used to read all the time. Before you assume I don’t have time because I have kids that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s all a matter of what I chose to do in my free time. I think I would like to get back in to the routine of reading before bed, Wish me luck.

How about you? What does your September look like, at least in your head?