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The Daily Special

Thankful ThoughtsThis week I am dedicating to myself. It’s all about me, me, me. Sounds a bit selfish I know, right? Wrong! I am a true believer that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. I dole out this advice quite often, but it’s a lot harder to follow it.

As I was relaxing during my massage today, I was thinking of all the things I have planned and scheduled to do for myself this week. I’m actually quite proud… and pampered. 🙂

Yesterday, in prep for today, I ate a good dinner, passed on the wine, and avoided the remaining scraps of sweets tempting me from the kitchen. This all after a pretty fun day hanging out with Brayden while Zack was back to school.

Today is day 1 of a 3 day juice cleanse. I’ve never done one, but have been wanting to try one for quite some time. I did some research, decided that after the holidays was a good time to start (hey, I wanted to enjoy my Christmas feast and New Years champagne), and found the best option for me. So far, the juices are pretty tasty!

Tomorrow I will continue on my juice cleanse.

Thursday is my final day, and also a day of volunteering in Zack’s classroom. I missed doing that over the past two weeks while he had winter break.

Friday is date night and Will and I are going to see Les Miserables. I can’t wait! It has always been my favorite musical, and I am excited to see it as a movie.

Saturday I have an all-day retreat with my Cranio Sacral Therapist (have I mentioned how much I LOVE going to see her, and how much she is helping me?).

Sunday is family day with no concrete plans – just the way I like it.

I’m feeling pretty good (partially due to the massage, and the facial that followed) that I am doing something good for myself every day this week. A daily special, if you will. It feels nice to put myself first, without feeling selfish.

I challenge you, what will you do today, tomorrow, the next day… to take care of YOU?

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Waking up to Chaos, Going to Bed in Peace

If you’ve been following along with me lately, you know that I’ve been up late these past few weeks. Well, this morning (and on most Saturdays – thanks, Hon!) I got to sleep in. It was just after 10:00am and I woke up and thought it would be good to get up and get my day started – with a cup of coffee, of course.

I opened the bedroom door and… OMG! What in the world happened in here?! Complete disaster! Toys, books, clothes, rags, drink cups everywhere – I’m not exaggerating – EVERYWHERE! I guess that’s the price I paid for sleeping in and not being in charge of “organizing” the boys (as if you can really “organize” a 4-1/2 year old and a 20 month old – Wow, I can’t believe my boys are already that old!).

I walk down the hall to the office / guest room and politely ask my husband, “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” he asks me back.
(Um, what do you mean, “what do you mean?” – open your eyes. Do you SEE anything wrong here?) Yes, didn’t actually say that. Instead, I said “the house is a disaster.”
“The boys and I were playing.” he calmly replies.
(Oh, okay. Because you have to play with everything all at once, right?). I didn’t really know how to respond to that without being a, well, you know, a B****, so I just smiled and went into the kitchen (trying not to injure myself along the way, through the mine field of could-be-very-painful items to step on).

Fast forward many, many hours (12 to be exact), and the house is once again calm. The boys have been sound asleep for hours, the dishes are clean, toys put away in their proper place (because there is a spot for each and every one of them and don’t even try to put them in the wrong spot…), candles are flickering, my feet are up and my husband and I just finished watching a movie – and yes, without having to pause it (what a treat!). The chaos of this morning has disappeared into the past, and my mind is clear, ready for sleep. I finished my work early today – despite the distractions (visual and the usual others of “I want a snack” every 5 minutes), so there’s no “having” to stay up late tonight. I might even indulge in reading a book in bed. A real, paper book that I have to hold in my hand and manually turn the pages – ah yes, that sounds divine.

And so, my friends, I am honoring myself tonight by shutting down early and climbing into a cozy, peaceful bed. Good night and good wishes. Sweet dreams and sleep tight. Zzzz… 

Happily Healing Out Loud

Follow Your HeartI’m starting to get into this habit of only posting once a week, which I’m not sure is good nor bad??? For a while I was on a roll, posting several times a week. So what happened? Good question! I think part of the answer is I’m getting more clear as to the direction I am going. I’m taking my own advice of listening to and following my heart, and my heart is telling me to start some other things up. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving my blog or anything – I love this, I’m proud of it, it is important for me – I just have other irons in the fire that need stoking. Boy, I wish I had more than two hands sometimes! HA!

So while I may not have posted every day this week, I am getting more in touch with my purpose and my passion, and isn’t this why I started this in the first place? Yes, it was. That, and to share and inspire, support, educate and guide others (including myself) on this journey of Motherhood. To tell my stories (uncut and honest), to heal myself through writing, and letting the world (well, someday maybe the world, but for now just you…) know that they are not alone and that somewhere out there, someone is going through the same thing.

I did something very brave for myself yesterday. I cut my pills in half. HUH? Yes, I am still taking anti-depressant medication. I have wanted to wean myself for several months, but the day I went to the Doctor and talked to her about my intention, I literally was in tears because I wasn’t ready. How was I ready to be medication-free when I made my appointment, and then be freaked out and terrified to go off them just a few days later? Life is funny that way, and our minds and bodies are extremely intuitive as to what we need. I will say that I have gotten very good at hearing what my body is trying to tell me. I’m not always so good at listening, but my awareness is usually up there, ranking high.pills

Anyway, as I was saying… I cut my pills in half. Last night. 

I have been feeling pretty good lately, which is odd (well, not really for me – I am a glutton for deadlines and procrastination and like to feel busy, even though I do still enjoy a long day of couch surfing in my jammies)… where was I? Oh yes, feeling pretty good, despite being busy. Not just the usual busy of taking care of the kids (as if that isn’t enough), but busy with all of my “irons in the fire.” I’m happy, though. Happy with what I’m doing, what I’m working on. Happy with the people I’m surrounding myself with. Happy with my vision. I have a ton of stress in my life right now, but I am honestly happy – and that makes a huge difference.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post, but I felt an urge to share my step forward, and also to share that I still have sooo many articles and posts tucked away in my little brain, and someday (soon, I promise…) they will be typed up and posted. Even if no one else reads them, they will be healing for me to have written them “out loud.”Writing Out Loud

The ABC’s of Thankful Thursday Thoughts

Alas, it is Thursday again. Alas, it has been more than a week since I last posted. Alas, (I apologize if I am repeating myself with this one), but “life” has been happening – I know, excuses, excuses…

The agenda for today’s post (gosh – seems so formal):

1. Thank Let’s Cut The Crap  for awarding me the Awesome Blog Content Award – YAY for me!
2. List all the things I am thankful for today… should be easy.

Okay, here goes…

I am touched and honored to have received yet another blogging award. When I first started blogging, I didn’t even know there were such things as blogging awards, but now I receive them with joy, gratitude and inspiration. I would like to thank all (the few) of my readers who appreciate my writing. I don’t do it for the awards or the recognition, but more as an outlet and also in the hopes that I may touch even just one person and make their day a tiny bit better. So, THANK YOU to Let’s Cut The Crap (you really must read her blog!!!).

Seven things about me:

1. I am a SanFrancisco 49ers fan – and I am really looking forward to them going to the Super Bowl after they beat the NY Giants on Sunday 🙂

GO NINERS!

2. I have tried many different lasagnas, and besides this really delicious green (yes, it really was green – must’ve been pesto-based) lasagna I had at a restaurant several years ago in Paris, my favorite is still Stoufer’s (which is what we’re having for dinner tonight – YUM!).
3. I have three titanium screws in each of my knees.
4. I like my wine.
5. I have a MAD sweet tooth!
6. My favorite movies of all time are Top Gun and Shag
7. I love to entertain, and wish I had a house that was better equipped for it, but I’ve also given up on the fact that my house has to be “perfect.” I’ve realized what matters most is the company I’m surrounded by. (Awww…)

I would like to pass on the ABC award to…. drum roll please…

The Animals Have Escaped
Susan Heim on Parenting
The Blog Hospital
Father Trek
Anywhere Is

There are other most-worthy blogs that I read, so please checkout my blogroll.

And now, to get to the Thankful part. I am thoroughly thankful for: 3 hour naps (by Brayden, not me – unfortunately); sleeping through the night (again, by Brayden – and Zackery – but not me); 4WD (that’s four-wheel-drive for all those non-snow people) that works, especially since there is a winter storm watch; the Stoufer’s lasagna that I’m about to pop into the oven (see above #2); the 49ers in the playoffs (see #1 above!); my pink, fuzzy crocs (cozy!); the walls that are keeping that nasty wind blowing outside from blustering into my living room (brr!); my husband who works harder than most people I know to provide for our family; Zackery’s preschool (I LOVE it!); Brayden’s happy demeanour; Zackery’s polite manners; the ability to love, give and receive…

Happy Thursday everyone!

A Babysitter and Coffee is Cheaper Than Therapy

My husband and I were talking the other day about finances – always a not so joyful conversation topic. Like most of the rest of the country, we are constantly discussing the need to “tighten down.” For us, this is hard, as we already have minimized where we can (I know there are probably several areas where we could do better, but I’m trying to keep some sense of realism about what we’re I’m willing – key word – to sacrifice).

The conversation always ends up in the direction of daycare / babysitting expenses. Lucky me, this is “my” expense (as compared to the “shared” expenses of groceries, utilities, etc). We are a completely merged household. We don’t have separate accounts (um, not that I know of, do we Hon?). We both make decisions, especially financial ones (again, right Hon?). So don’t get me wrong, there really aren’t “my” expenses and “his” expenses, they are all just expenses; expenses we both have to deal with. The big issue is which expenses take priority?

Now that Zackery is in preschool, his daycare expense has disappeared, replaced of course with the cost of preschool, which is about half of what we were paying per month. Good deal! Less overall hours, but I’m happy (honestly) having him home earlier (thus avoiding the evening rush to get dinner on the table in time).

We had a credit at Zack’s daycare from pulling him out to start school before the month was over. I loved his daycare – awesome! I felt like part of their family and vice versa. Zack had been going there for 2-1/2 years and it was hard for me to pull him out, but he was ready for school, and I guess so was I. He kept asking when he was going to start “big school” and mentioned he didn’t want to be with the babies anymore. So yes, he was definitely ready!

Anyway, we had this credit and we had been discussing putting Brayden in one day a week. He was younger than when we started Zack, but I went for it anyway. I knew he’d be fine (I trusted the daycare completely, and Brayden was no stranger to coming with me to pick up Zack). So, for 6 weeks Brayden went to daycare on Fridays, while Zack was in school and I did… what did I do? I slept, I showered, I ran errands, I wrote, I relaxed, I caught my breath! It was wonderful. A real day “off.”

Then, our credit ran out, and the thought of shelling out that extra cash (which still combined with Zack’s preschool cost would be less than what we were paying just for Zack) was hard for even me to swallow. Will had been talking about stopping daycare once our credit was up (and he wasn’t 100% on board with starting in the first place, but Mama usually gets her way – really I’m not bad, just determined). I knew this was the right thing to do, so I made the call and canceled. I felt bad, and didn’t want to cause issues, but being like family his daycare was overly understanding and supportive. She’s still saving a spot for him for down the road when we are better off financially. I love her.

I also feel good about the decision NOT to have Brayden in daycare because it’s really what I am trying to be – a full time stay-at-home Mom. Wait, did I say “trying to be?” Yes. I think sometimes we have this image of our ideal selves doing these ideal things, like being the most perfect (a word we should just take out of the English language) Mom. The Mom who makes eggs and toast for breakfast every day; who happily folds load upon load of clean, spring-fresh-smelling laundry; who makes pot roast from scratch every Sunday for dinner, blah blah blah. Um, yeah, that’s not me.

I am a very loving, nurturing, passionate Mother, but I need my space and “me time” too.

We’ve had a babysitter who has been watching Brayden on Wednesday mornings for almost (or maybe over – wow!) a year now. She is awesome. I love her too. I love a lot of people! J It gives me time to run to the post office or go to an appointment (it’s kind of awkward taking your toddler to the gynecologist with you). I share her with one of my other Mommy friends and we have generated the “perfect” (I know, sorry I used that word I said we should ban) plan. Our babysitter (who shall remain nameless as I will protect her and keep her all mine, ha ha ha!), now watches both our toddlers all day on Wednesdays, switching houses every other week. So, while Zack is in school, and Brayden is with super-babysitter and his little toddler friend, I get my day “off” again.

Is this in the budget? Well, it’s in mine! This arrangement that we have still costs money every week, money that Will and I were both hoping we could save for date nights instead of just watching Brayden, but it’s even less than having Brayden in daycare once a week. Bottom line, still saving money, however the discussion still comes back around to, “do we need to have super-babysitter?”

My answer: YES! If I don’t get my day off, to do whatever I want need to do, I will go crazy – literally. I would be sitting on the couch in some therapist’s office once a week (for which we’d have to pay for a babysitter anyway), feet up, crying and begging for sanity and peace.

I have had both boys at home with me (and granted we may have actually gotten out of the house) for a solid week or more without a break, and it wears me down. I know myself. I’m being honest with myself, and my husband. If I don’t get a break every week (and I mean more than just 15 min while I take a quick shower, which usually results in a rush job because I can hear one or both of the boys crying out in the other room), I will go bonkers.

So, here I sit, on my Wednesday off, writing (my personal therapy), enjoying my second cup of coffee at Wild Cherries, knowing that Zack is happily learning something fabulous in school and Brayden is probably now happily on his way to dreamland for his nap with super-babysitter.

Moral of the story: A babysitter and a cup of coffee is cheaper than therapy!

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

It’s just about 9pm on Wednesday evening. I’m not feeling that great (not sure if I’m getting a bug or what), it’s day four of my husband being out of town, the house is a mess (when is it not?), I haven’t gotten done half of what I wanted to this week, and not to mention I have a rib or two popped out of place on my left side.

Unfortunately it’s a none-too-welcome frequent occurrence… and it sucks! It’s painful, it’s hard to breathe, and it’s hard to really do anything. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has ever had this happen, but for me, the only thing that ever really fixes it is a trip to the Chiropractor, for which I had no such time for today.

Speaking of which (not having time), I find myself blogging instead of getting to the billion and one things I have to get done tonight. Hmmm??? I guess I can at least happily cross THIS off my list.

The boys are finally sound asleep (“knock on wood” – in fear of jinxing myself to them waking for one of their common unknown reasons). The house is quietly humming and I am taking a moment (just a quick one, I admit) to feed my soul before bounding back up into reality. So much to do, so little time, such a lack of energy…

I’ve never been a good power-napper. When I take a nap I want to SLEEP! I don’t want to wake up after 5, 10 or 15 minutes. BUT, writing for 5, 10 or 15 minutes, well that seems to re-energize me. YAY! So, I’m going to allow myself to finish writing this post, which honestly isn’t really about anything at all – except self-honoring.

Taking Time For Me

Donner LakeSitting at Donner Lake with my cup of coffee from Wild Cherries Coffee House. I did the same thing last Wednesday morning, except didn’t bring anything else with me. Last week was purely a “clear my head” morning. With everything going on in my life, I chose to give myself a break and not “work.” Something I don’t nearly do often enough.

Despite having tons to do and a billion things I could write about, I got my cup of coffee to go and found a nice, quiet pier to sit on. With the brisk, chilly morning air breezing across my flip-flop adorned toes, I basked in the mountain sun reflecting off the bright blue lake. I wasn’t there long – just long enough to enjoy the warmth of my coffee, but it was just as long as I needed.

Today, I sit here, at the same public pier #37, once again enjoying my Wild Cherries coffee, this time with pen and paper in hand. Yes, I have my laptop with me, but it is a bit difficult to plug it in (as a revolt to my dying battery). So, I am being “old-fashioned” today – writing as the thoughts flow from my head, down through my heart, transforming into words as my fingers grasp my pen and the ink appears on my paper. (Okay, yes, I know that as you’re reading this I have actually gone back to the future and am typing this up… but hey, I had a nostalgic moment there).

I happen to glance up at the mountain side, and I see a train chugging along through the tunnels above the lake. I block out the sounds of the cars driving by along Donner Pass Road, and I inhale a deep breath of fresh mountain air. A fishing boat moves slowly across the rippling water in front of me. The leaves are dancing gently and the sun warms my face and my soul. What a perfect morning that I am gifting myself!

I know it’s important to take care of myself, but it is not often that I actually get to follow my own advice. I know that if I don’t take time for me, how can I possibly take care of anyone else? Not to sound selfish, but everyone needs a little self honoring every now and then, especially mothers. I hope that today YOU get to treat yourself to a moment of refreshment and peace.

And now, back to reality….

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