Monday, June 16, 2014

2014's Mire Update

Here I am, nearly 10 months later.

As much has changed, more remains the same.

In one of my two posts last year, I reflected on how I felt time slipped away, unnoticed, as I struggled to keep up with Life. In the other, I wrote about not tying self worth to accomplishments or perfection, as society sees it.

And yet, here I am. Still struggling. Feeling unaccomplished, unappreciated, unsuccessful & un-everything-else-a-mother-slash-woman-strives-to-be.

I have been accepted into one of the best nursing schools in the area. By the end of this summer, I will have begun what I am sure will be the hardest two years of my life as of yet. I am so excited, and yet terrified, of course. I have proven I can get good grades, as well as (sorta) balance school & Life (aka dinners, laundry, kids, dogs, basic personal hygiene). What I haven't proven yet is the result of throwing in Work. Money is tight, to say the least, and this boat won't float if I can't successfully work while fitting Life in with School.

It can be done. People do it. I can do it.

Says People.

My garden is haphazardly covered in black plastic. I can almost hear the ground crying out for plowage, plantage. I have no (half dead or otherwise) flowers in my house, yard or flower boxes. Wait, I lied..the dead remnants of last year's are still claiming a spot in 3 of the 4 deck boxes. The 4th box? My precious Bella ate those contents...

My camera has been dusted off, to be forgotten again, a few times in the last few months.

My desire to run has been acknowledged. Many times recently. Too bad admitting you'd really love to do something, proclaiming you really miss doing that thing, knowing that thing is good for you...well, that's not quite the same as *doing* that thing, now is it?

This blog...? Enough said.

Four things that fill my heart with joy lie unfulfilled, unfinished, unstarted. I seriously feel, in this moment, as if I have failed myself.

And I won't even get into the variety of ways I feel I fail those in my life, almost daily.

I suppose reading this melodramatic whinery, as an outsider, you'll wonder a few things.

Is she happy?
Is there any good in her life?

Yes. To both.

I am happy with the things (and people) I am happy with. I really couldn't ask for more then I have, unless it was unlimited amounts of money. I'd ask for that.

There is much good in my life (a newly remodeled bedroom, a loving man, smart & loving children, two slobbering dogs to name a few).

It's just that there are things that are very, very wrong as well. Mostly in my head, or perhaps my heart. I crave things...beautiful photography, my bare feet in the dirt, hearing "hey, good job!", the freedom I felt running through the woods, the smell of flowers, a written sentence that makes me (and perhaps someone else) laugh. And that, my dear reader, is where I have been stuck for a very long time. My own personal (self-imposed?) mire pit. I push, pull, claw & drag my way out once in awhile, and without even realizing it, slip back in deeper then before.

No inspirational pep-talk will close out this particular post. I'm not even going to pretend I have the answer this time. I simply don't. I'm actually beginning to think there *aren't* any answers.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Enough. You are!

3 words I've never been able to say to me.

3 words I'm drilling into my daughter's brain every chance I get.

3 words the media & most social influences will never lovingly whisper in your ear.

You Are Enough.

And you know what?

You Are.


Here I sit....sweatpants, a shirt riddled with dog drool & grease splatter from dinner prep, hair a mess, willfully ignoring (for today) a very intimidating pile of textbooks valued at $735. They are crisp, shiny new, awakening in me both fear & excitement. Come on..don't you remember getting your history/science/math book on the first day of school, and how great the cover felt under your fingertips? How much fun the paper bag covers were to make decorate with words and symbols of childhood? I guess that feeling never goes away, even when you're much too ancient for paper bags covering your books. Anyway, I'm sitting here, contemplating what I did/didn't do today, what I should/shouldn't do tomorrow, finding myself slipping into the "I'm not doing enough" space again. And that's a muddy, gross place, lemme tell ya. It's the same old, same old....I made dinner, but it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I folded 5 loads of laundry, but there's one basket still not put away. I swept, but didn't vacuum. I could have done better. And then the slippery slope becomes a  cascading river that carries you quickly over the edge, down into the pool of "I'm not enough". I'm not good-cook enough. I'm not maid enough. I'm not smiley & frolicy enough. I'm not skinny enough. I'm not funny enough. I'm not Mom enough. I'm not woman enough. I don't wear makeup enough. I don't dress my age enough. It's the Not Enough pool. Filled with quicksand, and piranhas. Sounds like a grand ole time, eh?

And then I got to thinking....wait a sec. Back up.

My daughter thinks she's fat. Why? Because she isn't rail thin like the media says she should be. She isn't as pretty (in her opinion) as the girls at school. She over obsesses about her hair, her clothes, her teeth, her everything. And still gets picked on. She "isn't enough", or so she's told.

 And what do I tell her? Wear what makes YOU happy. Do your hair YOUR way. Screw them if they don't like you, call you fat. Who are they to judge? You are enough. Just the way you are. Enough.

Wait...what?!?! why should I treat myself any differently?

My children aren't perfect, but (most days) they are kind, caring, smart & loving. I am Mom enough.

My house isn't perfect, but the people who live here have what they need, when they need it, how they need it, and no one ever has to drip dry after a shower. I'm maid enough.

I smile when I am happy. I frolic when I drink. I'll loose 35 lbs, someday. If I wasn't a decent cook, people around here would be skinny, and they aren't. I don't even LIKE a lot of makeup, hair gel or high heels. And I'm really, really not a pool person. So, I'm gonna go out on a limb (and ask anyone out there who needs to, to join me)....

In all our imperfect-ness, quirkiness, busy-ness, decide-to-play-today-instead-of-worry-ness. On the days when we never get out of our pj's. On the days when everything we touch breaks, falls, cracks or cries. On the days when our kids hate us, the dogs won't even snuggle, and it rains. In those moments when we feel accomplished, and the moments when we don't. When our hair is perfectly groomed, and especially when it looks like shit. In that moment when our child makes our heart skip, whether in fear or in pride. In every hug, every smile, every song of laughter, and yes.even the tears.

Just the way I am, the way you are. In every way imaginable...

I am enough. And so are YOU.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's about time

I always say blogging is good for the soul. My soul, anyway.

And, I say photography is good for the heart. My heart.

I also say that life is too short to not do what you love. What you *really* love.

I love blogging. I love photography. I love my children, my man, my dogs. (Yes, I now have two wonderfully boxer-ish boxers.) I love a clean house, a quiet Sunday morning with coffee & smiles, running, reading, music, gardening, flowers, and a plethora of other things. Thing is, I've recently discovered that life is too short to do everything you love. And the agony of choosing which is most important to has crept into my heart as of late. So, here I am to blog about it.

I lost my job, gained a puppy, dabbled in some major couponing and began the pursuit of a new career, all in the short space of this past spring. After many discussions and non-decision making moments, I then dove head first into college. At 35. Terrifying, if I'm honest. I did a light first semester, only a few classes, and surprised myself with a successful completion of my first ever college experience. I'm now just days away from starting a full 13 credit hour fall semester, and awaiting responses from a few part time employment applications I've put it over the last few days. Which brings me to the point of this catch-up post. I have no time.

The fact that I'm sitting here, talking about having no time, while my unvaccumed floors, dusty entertainment center & never-ending piles of laundry surround me...writing instead of heeding their filthy, unkept calls? Well, it's ok, for this moment. I have a (extremely) rare few hours of only-one-in-the-house-is-me, and Pandora stopped playing seconds after I finished wiping down the kitchen backsplash. As I walked to the computer to verify I'm still listening, I was contemplating my money making options (aside from my amateur photography sales attempts), and for a brief second, wished I could write. Which brought me to memories of this blog, and to the chair in which I now sit. You see, I've long struggled with intermittent splurges of energy on things I love, only to loose ambition, or interest, or just find another random must-do to spend time on.  Photography, gaming, gardening, crafts, three (or was it four?) different blogs I've started (with a passion & a promise) then abandoned. And it seems that every time I leave one of these loves in the dust for another, a month or 8 go by before I realize I left it behind. And then I feel as if I epically failed. And I rediscover what I loved, and why.

I picked up my camera for the first time in months. The bird flew away. I set it back down. And spent hours posting images I'm not sure are worth anything for sale. I'm writing now, but can't guarantee this post won't be the only one posted in 2013. My garden is half planted, unweeded, unwatered, and still begrudgingly giving me a few squash & tomatoes here and there. It's making do without me. It would be better *with* me, but I'm at peace with a weed garden. Next year, I'll have a kick-ass garden that will put all my hopes & dreams for this year's to shame. Life goes on, most of the time.

Staring down a four month stretch of nothing but work (I hope), school, homework (for 5 of the 7 who live here), cooking & cleaning, I'm again terrified. I'm terrified I'll loose myself in the wake. Speaking of wake, I'm also a bit terrified there will be no time for sleep. I trust you'll believe me when I say there isn't enough coffee in the universe to make this girl non-monsterish when she is short on sleep. I'm not afraid of school. I know that I can pull off a insane (and unrecommended) course load, no problem. I know I will find a way to feed my family ever night, and keep the laundry washed, at least. I'm pretty sure I can find time to clean the bathroom, give a dog a bath & grocery shop once in awhile. I'll make sure there is kisses at bedtime (for those who still allow it), homework in the mornings after breakfast, and only one or 2 school snacks forgotten a week. I'm pretty sure I can juggle everything, or 98.4% of it, for a little while. Four months isn't that long, right? Right?!

It's all about time. Spending time, making time, finding time. And not loosing the important stuff along the way.

Que Pandora. Time to show those cobwebs & dust bunnies who's boss today. Pin It

Monday, November 5, 2012

Be Thankful

The last month has been pretty full of challenges & obstacles. Fall is zipping right past me, and I've had little time to bask in it's cool, colorful splendor. Kids have been...well, kid-ish, in both good & bad ways. The washer broke, and I HATE trips at 10 pm on a Thusday night to laundry mats. Cars keep breaking. Teens....need I say more? Normal life has just been wearing on us, physically & emotionally for a very long time.

My T said something to me in one of our little spat chats the other day that really resonated in my soul as profound, and timely. He said "I think we need to chat about the things we appreciate about each other." He went on to say how life is so full of chaos & drama that it's hard to step back & keep in sight the positives. We were both feeling just so completely unappreciated, by each other, by the minions, by everything & everyone. This really opened my eyes! I love this man with everything I am, and am sooo very grateful for everything he does for me & our family, and yet he doesn't feel it. And I know he loves me, so... Something has to change.With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I felt the need to redirect focus in our home, hearts & minds. For us, for the kids, for the future spouses they will have.

A good artsy-fartsy project was just what the doctor ordered, and I've been eyeing a few for awhile..

This one and this one. And this.

On one of my many child related errands this weekend, I made an impromptu detour to A.C.Moore's. I had a vague idea of what I wanted, but decided to just go with the flow, and see what happened. I ended up with flat white spray paint, some chalkboard vinyl stuff,  a stamp, black ink, some cute little brown tags & a few fat chalkboard pens.

I started with a fairly large wooden picture frame I had been given years ago. It was dark-ish baby blue, no glass, no backing board. I've been stubbornly refusing to throw it away, knowing someday I'd find a good use for it. I spray painted it flat white. Three coats. Then, I took some hemp string and strung it through the half-pulled out staples on the backside of the frame. (I didn't take pictures, sorry! The staples used to hold the backing board in place.) Then I stamped each of the paper tags, and hung them on the hemp string with some adorable little miniature clothespins. Then, down came the dining room clock, and up went this frame with tags.

I sat there looking at it, and it was like...cute, but....meh. The three strings with tags attached seemed off kilter somehow. They were evenly spaced throughout the frame, but the empty space above the first string was glaring at me. And the white of the wall didn't match the white of the frame, and it annoyed me. In other words, it wasn't done.

So, I talked T into cutting me a piece of louon (in exchange for honorable mention later on in the project). I took out the rolled vinyl chalkboard stuff...garbage. Don't buy it. I went downstairs, got the leftover chalkboard paint from the girl's bedroom painting, and spiffed up the wannabe wood square. After trying a staple gun (turns out it was empty), hot glue & carpet tacks, I ended up attaching the new "chalkboard" to the frame with some very teeny finishing nails. After a few tries, I got the chalkboard pen to work splendidly. Yes! I was done!

The words aren't centered. I don't care.

The boys have been eager to fill out some of the cards, and I've done some as well. One of the girls filled one out too.

So far, TV, PS2, washing machines, food, the couch and "the man with the saw" have been forever recorded as things we are thankful for.

We'll keep filling them out, as the days move us towards Thanksgiving, and I hope to make this a tradition in years to come. Hopefully, this will help remind everyone in this house (including me) to be appreciative of what we have, no matter how yucky things seem in that moment.

PS. Next time, I'll take pics as I go... Pin It

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Weekend of Fall

I got a bit of decorating done over the weekend.

(free printable subway art here)

I also took time to make cupcakes, cookies & crumb cake. A few years ago, I would have felt guilty that 2 of the 3 came out of a box. Today, not so much. Ok, maybe a little. But, I'll get over it.

Also grocery shopping, cleaning, 13.4 loads of laundry, and some alone time with my camera. Ok..we weren't really alone, but time with the camera is sufficient, or me, for now.

My daughter:

Her eye, her request:

I love fall, and I love that I finally got a chance to enjoy it, for a fraction of a moment.


I'm already looking forward to this weekend, and hopefully pumpkin patches, carvings & costumes.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Thankful's

I'm not promising a weekly theme, but today is Thursday.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Defiant teens? Overdue bills? Empty bank account? Meh.

Paperwork drowning from 9:15am to 5pm? Pffft.

More chores then I could do if I didn't sleep for a week straight? Whateva.

In light of all the things I could (and frequently do) complain about, I am choosing this moment, today, to be thankful for some of Life's little things.

1. Boots. (my flip flops are going to be jealous...)

Boots are da bomb diggity. Pair 'em with a cute skirt, some rockin' jeans, or (if you're 19 and a size 3) some short shorts, and you could quite possibly rule the world with your sexy boot-wearin' self. Just remind yourself to de-pill your leggings before leaving the house..

2. Earrings. Whoever invented them, I love you. Would marry you, love. Errrm, would bring a really nice bottle of wine to your wedding, love. are awesome.

3. Pens.

Without them, the world would be less ink filled. Pencils aren't low maintenance enough for me, and I never learned sign language.

4. Music. It makes me smile. Unless it's a sad song. Then I cry. But that usually means I needed to cry, so I'm still thankful.

5. A good smile. It's like a light fixture in a very deep closet. When it's off, you really miss it. When it's on? Everything is sooo much easier.

6. My kids. They make me smile.

7. My camera.

It always waits patiently when I'm too busy to give it attention. It quietly does it's job when I ask. It never criticizes when I make it look bad. And it fits nicely in my hand.

8. Google. Without you, I would have won many more bets with my (imagined) brilliant responses to random questions like "what are fingernails made out of?" Ok, ok...I'm not thankful you cost me bets. I'm thankful that when I find your hidden easter eggs, I get giddy like a school girl.

9. My puppy.

He puts a smile on my face, at least once a day. And then he pees. If you're peein', you're still alive, so I'm thankful.

What are you thankful for?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


For years, I've been rushing out of the house by 7:20 am, dropping unfed (and sometimes undressed) kids at a sitter, going off to my day job, and coming home around five. Dinner was usually by 6, and sometimes we had homework done before bed. Free lunch at school saved my ass many times...ok, almost every time. The baby sitter saved it a few too, with last minute homework scrambles, forgotten snack replacements & a few "I'm gonna be late" days too many. It worked. Not well, but it was our routine.

Now, I have a new routine.

Up at 6:30 am.
Make coffee, throw together 3 lunches, feed puppy, kiss T goodbye, perhaps claim the bathroom as mine for 34.9 seconds.
Leave at 7:05 am.
Drop off a child at school, be home by 7:35 am so another child can leave for school.
Make 2 more lunches, finish up any 1st or 2nd grade homework that got ignored missed the night before, corral two boys & convince them getting dressed is good for their health. Double check that i didn't forget to give them breakfast. Prep a dinner, let puppy out at least three times, get dressed, perhaps take another 34.9 seconds to throw some makeup on my face. Throw in, switch around, or fold a load of laundry. (did you *really* think I'd not mention laundry?) Hair brushing has never been optional. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that... sometimes, now it is.
Boys on the bus at 8:45. Hopefully, I have remembered to give them both snacks AND lunches.
Puppy-proof the kitchen. Earrings in. Shoes on. Baby Puppy Gate up. Check pockets & hands. Keys? Coffee? Purse?
8:55 am. Out the door to work.
9:15 am - 5:30 pm. Work.
6:00 pm. Home. Kiss T, pet puppy, feed puppy, finish making dinner (unless T has gotten home first & already done so), serve dinner. Eat. Fold laundry (maybe). Decompress with T. Attempt to catch up boys' homework. Maybe read a story, give a bath, trim some nails, or other mom-ish stuff. Play with puppy. Some days there's taxi service thrown in, or errands, or grocery shopping, or last minute scrambles for projects, pet supplies, beer, etc. Get boys ready for bed. Secretly wish I was going to bed too.
8:00 pm. Boys in bed. Chit-chat with girls. More decompressing with T. Sometimes more taxi service. Shower at some point before midnight. Let puppy out..again. Think about all the things I wanted to do today, but didn't. Fall into bed & dream about smashing my alarm clock into millions of teeny tiny pieces with a 40 lb sledge hammer.

And here's the kicker.

Every single day, I feel less accomplished, less organized, less....DONE. Every. Single. Stinkin'. Day.

I thought for sure with 2 extra hours every morning, I'd have time to cook, time to enjoy sons & mommy time, time to clean. I'd have time to be a better mom, a better significant other, a better me. Time to actually help with homework. Time to take pictures. Time to calibrate a kidney-friendly canine diet. Time to do bills, cut coupons, scour the web for new recipes. Time to blog, at home. Time to paint my nails. Time to... clean my room gasp!. I don't. And I don't get it... perhaps the puppy ate my super-mom cape. Perhaps whichever one of my brain cells that controls "organization of life as a mom" is fried. I really don't want to be super-mom. It's just that...well, I had all these visions of all these things I'd be able to cram into that 2 hours a day, and all these ideas of all these things I'd be able to do in the evenings. Haha! I sure laugh at me & my ideas... sigh.

How do I start feeling less like I'm chasing my tail, and more like I'm chasing the dream? And, for the love of all things good & evil the heck do I STAY caught up on ANYTHING? I just want to NOT feel at the end of the day like I did nothing, and yet exhausted myself in the process. Is that really so much to ask?

I did have make time to whip up a batch of home made chocolate chip cookies this morning, in between lunches & make-up. The laundry lost the "I'm of upmost importance" battle, for once.

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