Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Completely Random Thoughts.

Today is just a sit down and type kind of day. I'm feeling out of touch so I'm just writing for the sake of typing practice!  Here are some random bits of info... you may or may not want to know.

I'm an awesome crafty kind of mama. But not a scrapbooker at all. If I can't make it with construction paper and crayons, I probably won't bother.

I want to lose weight without giving up everything I like.  But the weight isn't going anywhere. I can show you exactly where it sits.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Followed closely by Christmas. Probably because growing up we didn't have Christmas. I was 8 the first time Santa visited me. Ummm.... yeah. Try selling that one!  Now I'm super dork and all about the magic that I didn't get to enjoy. Let them be excited. Yes, it may seem like greed if they are demanding certain gifts, but we are just more about the surprise. We give because we want to. They love to get presents but have never been disappointed on a slow year.

I could spend my whole day in PJ's except that I don't want to wear them into the school. Not that my super sweat pants are much of an improvement but at least they are intended to leave the house!

When I was a kid, I bit my toenails for awhile. Now I only wish that I was that flexible.

No hair dye I can find will cover the stripe of gray hair I have right in the middle of my forehead. Did I tell you I was 23 when I found the first gray?

Dance Little Jean by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band makes me cry every single time I hear it. Even more so since my boys were 6 and 2 when I finally married their dad.

My Trucker complaint for the day?  "early" is not an actual time. I say "What time do you have to leave in the morning?" He says "Early."  Ummm.... I'm driving you in the morning, EARLY is anything before noon... WHAT TIME?  I guess it's 5 am this time. That's not early... that's ungodly.

I am anxiously awaiting the days when my kids will actually wake up to their alarm clocks on their own. Seriously... I am not good at getting up. I overslept again today. Poor rushed kids.  We make it on time, but we have to hustle.

I'm not only hooked on coffee. I am in love with Sugar Crisp and Rockets candies.  Really. I'm eating some right now.

Angel Baby just tried to run off with handfuls of Daddy's candy stash.... That's my girl!

I found a picture of the Trucker from when we first met... WOW.  That is so not how I remembered him looking. He looks like a kid. Now, not so much.

Today, I had three dead phones beside me and I didn't even notice. Work and personal cell phones, plus the landline cordless phone. No wonder it was so quiet around here...

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Update!

I would say I'm doing well with my monthly goals again. I think I just might keep this idea going.  Keeps my perspective in check when I'm slipping.

I've worked hard on accountability, but I think I've gotten caught up to the expectations placed on myself.  I am accepting my faults and looking at the real reasons why I'm not getting things done when I think I should have.  It is generally because I am stopping to enjoy life. Aside from diving head first into a book and getting lost for a few days (which definitely qualifies as time for me), I've been quite productive. And if I'm being entirely honest, the things I haven't completed on time have been due to enjoying my life, not being lazy on the couch with the TV on.

I addressed some areas in need of improvement with the Trucker. Not things he needs to change, but things I've noticed I have changed and I discussed some of it with him. If he understands my motives, he can support me better, and if he thinks I'm off my rocker I can reassess and make a different change.

Another side of staying accountable is with work. My annual review is coming up, so I have had to take a realistic look at my last year.  It's been a rough year, hasn't it?  You have followed me down my dark hole and are witnessing my climb back out.  I'm not sure exactly where I would rate my performance. I've been okay, but not spectacular. I'm not accustomed to just meeting expectations for work, I've always been one to exceed them. I'm the one who took work home when I didn't have to. I'm the one who took on extra tasks, helped others, trained others, constantly looked for ways to improve. But in some ways, because everything looked so dark, I'm not sure exactly how that translated into my assignments.  I'm not sure if my work was weak or if I just felt that way, you know?  This week will be a good one for determining where I stand.

I am sleeping better. I've been getting to bed at a decent time. That has also meant less time online, which accounts for my lapses in posting here. But my health has to come first. And as I get closer to healthy, I have more time all around.  It sure feels good to have decent sleep in me.

Reading with the kids hasn't been consistent, but play has.  The Trucker doesn't like to read (I just can't even start to comprehend this, how can anyone NOT like reading?) and the kids do. So, I will do whatever it takes to keep them encouraged and challenged with reading.  When I think of how I completely left this world to join the world of the Hunger Games last weekend, I know that I want my kids to have the same feeling of escape from reality as they get older too.  I guess, instead of reading out loud with them I have been reading beside them. At the same times as them.  I'm showing my interest in their reading and we are talking about our books. 
So, it's not a missed goal, it's just a bit different.

And, as I'm trying so hard to remind myself, change is OK.  Change is good. I don't HAVE to be perfect. I just have to be PRESENT.

November will be here soon, I need to start looking at the next round of goals. I'm so glad you're here, sharing this with me.  Have you set any goals of your own? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October's Focus

O pen mind.
C aring voice.
T ime for me.
O wn it.
B e accountable.
E njoy a good night's sleep, every night.
R ead WITH the kids every day.

Since September turned out to be a successful month as far as my goals are concerned, I intend to do the same for October.  I've been thinking about this for a few days and I think the above goals are appropriate.  I want to keep an open mind, so I don't scare myself off of new machines at the gym, don't avoid trying new foods that are healthy. I want to listen to the kids stories and dive in to their made up world with them. An open mind will be great.  Time for me comes mostly from the gym, but I would like to make at least a bit more effort in this area. Time for me at home, like doing my hair or make up, getting dressed a bit nicer. OOOHHH How about actually remembering to take my makeup OFF?   

A caring voice is important, often the words we say don't sound how we mean them because we have not put thought into HOW we say them.  This is easier to do when we are well rested, so I'm staying committed to going to bed at a decent time every night, no 2 am work sessions anymore. That's not good for me or anyone around me...

I read with some of my kids, most of the time... And it's always fun for all of us. I am making it a priority to actively read with all of them even if it's only a few minutes every day.

Accountability, owning my actions, is very necessary. When you start lying to yourself about what really needs to be on your to-do list.... it's not good. Example?  I chose to ignore the truckers laundry, knowing that he had no pants left for work. All day I avoided it, finding reasons to be irritated that he didn't do this himself. However, he didn't actually ASK me to do it.

So, it hits the high end of my to-do list. I organize the laundry room, do some work, play with the kids, spend time online.... totally not laundry.  Then when he asked me in the evening if I would mind throwing it in for him, I gave him this big line about how I wanted to do it in the morning, but I just got so sidetracked.. So, I've BS'ed my way through the whole situation. I am not accountable to me, because I KNEW what I needed to do, and I'm not accountable to him.  Of course, this is just an example, there are many situations that it can apply.

I'm definitely feeling better. Finally starting to feel like life is normal. I'm back to volunteering two mornings a week at the school. It's a project that only takes about ten or fifteen minutes, but I've really missed doing it. I'm eating well and energized, the exercise is making stress management easier.  I'm not suffering Mom-somnia so much. I'm actually going to bed earlier every day. (hate those days when a really good show is on at 10 pm!). Shortening the list of things I want to improve has allowed me to just accept the improvements that come unexpectedly.  I can finally actually find time to RELAX. And that is not something I've done for ages.
September went well:

Start strong, stay strong
Exercise at least 3 times a week
Play with all three kids at least once every day (even if only 10 minutes)
Teach Angel Baby Something new
Eat Breakfast every day
Make Time for marriage (don't forget the hubs!)
Be present, stay focused
Expect and allow imperfection
Relish the small things

There was only one week that I didn't hit the gym 3 times and I did exercise at home. I did a lot better at being focused and staying in the moment. Imperfection is something I expect to have to work on forever, it's hard for me to let go.  I have gotten much better at eating breakfast, in fact, I have been watching my food quite carefully.  And I think that the trucker and I have enjoyed better quality time. We are pulling back together, much closer than we've been for quite a while. I've seen him laugh with me more, and I have seen him step into the daddy role more fully than I remember ever before.  When we support each other, it gives us both strength and energy to be better parents. And Angel Baby... Well, she's always learning something new.

I must confess, the things she learned from me this month were not really things I planned. She learned how to climb on the counter, how to fill the sink with water (she even adds the dish soap), where we keep the good snacks and how to get the straw in the Kool-Aid Jammers.

She is also counting to 15, and recognizes all of the numbers 0-9 by sight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Ran

It was amazing. It's a feeling that has been lost to me for too long. And it's been lost to my family.

Depression led to exhaustion, which led to little or no physical activity beyond what was actually required each day. My kids would call to me to catch them in the back yard or across the school yard. They'd ask to race to the van afterschool. I would run a few feet smiling and laughing with them. They loved how I always let them win.

It wasn't a choice. My body resisted every step of the way. If I did manage to get going, I could be completely winded by less than 1/2 a block. Running late to pick them up at school was painful. Parking is never good there unless you arrive early. Being late means you are parking a long way from the door. Being late means you better run if you are going to be there when the classroom door opens. Even harder if I've got Angel Baby with me, then I've got to carry her because her little legs don't go that fast.

Encouraging independence in my boys, I would wait outside and watch for them instead.  They could show how grown and responsible they are by remembering all their things.  Good life skills, right?  Everyone needs to learn how to organize themselves.

But I hated it. I thrive on being there. There is a small moment of happiness, love and surprise in my kids when I'm standing by the classroom door. They are fresh, I can see exactly how the school day made them feel. If I wait outside, those thoughts fresh in their minds have faded after conversation and play with their friends on the way out.  I miss out.

It's like when the trucker gets home from work. 15 years in now and I still love to be right by the door when he gets home. I like to welcome him. I get excited like a little girl, looking forward to the way the day changes when the whole family is home.  It's a thrill that I miss if I'm busy in the kitchen.  It's not expected and it's really not necessary, but it feels good.

Today, both boys wanted to come home for lunch. Art normally stays, but I allow exceptions to keep things fun. I was running a bit behind. The close parking spots were taken, so I squeezed in as close as I could. I hopped out and ran. Straight to the doors of the school. A speed walk down the halls to the other end of the school to meet Art (because we just don't run in schools, do we?)  I made it to the closed door just as the lunch bell rang.  

He was happy to see me there, happier that he didn't have to walk all the way home.  He gave me his little mischievous grin and said "race you!" He slipped out the side door and across the playground towards the front of the school. 

A few months ago, I wouldn't have even thought about it. I would have turned and walked back through the school to meet up with Macboy and walked slowly along to the van. We would have made it home in a decent time, no pressure.

But today, I smiled back at that goofy grin. Today, I jumped up and ran after him. We came around the corner of the school just as Macboy was coming out the other door. And seeing the smiles from both of us, he joined right in. We paused before crossing the street, then raced the rest of the way to the van.

We were seated in the van and laughing. They instantly shifted into telling me how the morning went and what's in store for the afternoon.  I didn't spend the drive home trying to catch my breath. I wasn't winded. I was happy and giggling right along with them. I made them try to guess what I'd made for lunch. Macboy didn't even complain that Art was invading 'his space' as he normally does when Art comes home with him at lunch.

I am so grateful that I really started to see the sunshine again. I was in place so dark, truly believing that 'this is it'. That the hard painful realities of each and every day were just plain old truth. That it was good for them to learn responsibility and take care of themselves. It was certainly easier than acknowledging what I was missing.

Before, I ran from life. I hid from reality. 
Today, I ran for fun. I ran for play. 
And it paid off in so many ways.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September Is Better Than New Years

Have you ever felt this way?  Even before I had kids going to school, September has held a strong power over me.  In January, the routines are the same after the first. You are already in a groove and have to be well motivated to get past any rut you might be stuck in. I have never made any big sort of New Years Resolutions. At least not any that I could keep!

With September this is just not the case. I have been permitted the luxury of being able to work from home. This meant that there were no real time commitments through the summer and many long lazy mornings and late nights. For us, September restores structure to a disorganized life. It imposes schedules and deadlines which we hadn't faced for months.

I can't just allow the kids to stay in PJ's because I'm behind on laundry, I have to stay on top of it so they have clothes for school. I have to get up at the same time every day because they have to be up. I get a free pass, like a get out of jail card, to start over.

What better time to revisit my own personal agenda?

What makes me love my job?  What energizes me? What do I want to write and how to I want to spend my time?

I still have Angel Baby here during the day and that keeps me from becoming too wrapped up in schedules or lost in work. She forces me to take breaks, which I appreciate. I use her little distractions to stop, do something important (play, cuddle, sing, dance, pay attention to HER), and then I can switch tasks if needed.

I have joined up at a local gym and have been doing well getting there at least three times a week. The benefits far surpass simple health. My Trucker is getting some quality Daddy time without mommy interference. Yes, I do interfere... not intentionally, but simply by being here. They will almost always ask me anything before they ask the Trucker.  I am the one who is here the most.  I am getting breaks to focus on something wonderful... something other than my mom-duties, employee-duties and wife-duties. I am getting time to focus on ME.

The kids are getting to bed earlier, which is giving me time to unwind at the end of the day again. An hour or so can do such wonders for the following morning. Not to mention the change in my quality of sleep!

I am focusing on adding variety to our meals and also trying to eat regularly myself.

Simply put, September forces change and this time, I'm prepared with ideas of what I want to change.  I'm proud to say that my goals for September have been working very well. Here's the mid month recap:
Start strong, stay strong  I'm proud to say I'm doing well. Strong Start, strong days.
Exercise at least 3 times a week  Right on track!
Play with all three kids at least once every day (even if only 10 minutes)  The best and most FUN of my goals is going great!
Teach Angel Baby Something new  So far she is counting from 1 to 11 and recognizes most of the numbers by sight.
Eat Breakfast every day  This needs work, but I'm getting closer and I haven't had those days where supper is the first meal of the day.
Make Time for marriage (don't forget the hubs!)  Going well and one of my favorite things to focus on!
Be present, stay focused  I slip occasionally, but I am catching myself and returning to the moments.
Expect and allow imperfection  I'm feeling more calm and finding less chaos, it seems the less pressure you put on yourself, the easier it is to get things done.
Relish the small things This surprisingly takes more effort than you would think. It's so easy to overlook the little things in the face of a larger distraction.