Friday, June 6, 2014

Officially Done...

So this happens to me every year at this time.

School? I'm done.

Activities? I'm throwing in the towel.

I'm officially done with the schedule, the routine, the waking up and rushing the kids out the door for the bus, and rushing them off the bus and grabbing snacks and rushing out the door to this, that, or the other activity.

I'm ready to hang up my chauffeur hat and give my over scheduled brain a break.

I'm done with policing the homework and the reading and the math facts.
I'm really done with trying to figure out math homework. I went through both the third grade and the first grade years ago and homework wasn't this hard. I promise, it really wasn't.

I'm done with school concerts and picnics and teas and exhibits and recitals and field days and field trips that all seem to be scheduled for the same week.

Can't they schedule some of this end of the year crap in February when we're just sitting around doing... "nothing"?
Instead it's all crammed into like five days. 
A school picnic? Eat lunch with your kid?
Sure, but I was just at the school yesterday and will be there tomorrow... Plus, I eat breakfast and dinner with my kids every day, so now lunch too?
Add that to the schedule. No problem-o.

I can no longer be held responsible for remembering sun screen, a towel, a hat, a share, chocolate syrup for the ice cream social, bug spray, a soccer game, wearing a red shirt or a gray shirt, sneakers only, a library book that was never returned(I swear that librarian is lying.  THAT BOOK IS NOT HERE) etc. etc. etc.

My brain is too full.
It's "end of the year" full.
It's filled with knowledge I want to get rid of and dates that are floating around...
just floating... with nothing attached to them.

June 13th... June 18th.... floating... floating...

Someone will say, "Can you do this on such and such a date?" And I panic because I know the date sounds familiar, but there's nothing on my calendar. WHAT AM I MISSING??? SOMETHING!

Sure, we are free that day. But are we REALLY? Or did I not write something down and we have some place to be with something to do with an item we're responsible for???
Panic.

Clearly, I've reached my breaking point.

I am longing for schedule free days where my kids don't have to rush out the door or be anywhere... where they can watch an hour (probably two hours if I'm being honest... ok... maybe three) of TV without my yelling, "I'M NOT GOING TO SAY IT AGAIN!! PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!! THE BUS IS COMING!!!"

And we can leisurely eat breakfast and not pack lunches...
Oh, I didn't mention the lunches.

I'M OVER THE DAMN LUNCHES.

It's not so much the lunches... its the containers.

When I went to school we were sent with a brown bag with our name on it... a sandwich in a plastic bag... a bag of chips and maybe a fruit roll up. You got twenty cents to buy milk. All of the 'containers' were THROWN AWAY afterwards. I did not come home with containers and lunch boxes to be washed or emptied.

Washing containers sucks my will to live.

YES, I send my kids with lunch in a lunch box. Sandwiches in a sandwich box. Water in a reusable water bottle. Snacks in a small tupperware container.
YES, I'm helping save the planet by reusing all of these containers.
YES, this for the greater good for future generations.
YES, I'm slowly losing my mind.

LOSING. MY. MIND.


BUTTTT...
(Of course there's a but and not just a small but... a semi big one)

On one hand, I'm SO done with school, but on the other hand...
I just watched a school year whiz by. LITERALLY.

It went by so fast, I almost didn't see it. It was a blur.
All of it. It was JUST September.

I was JUST sending my three tanned(Yes, I used sunscreen and they STILL got tan) beauties off to first and third grades...and now... it's over!

I was just making a tooth fairy, angel and fairy costume for Halloween.

What happened to Thanksgiving? And Christmas? And Easter? I have no idea!
And what happened to everything in between?

Where is that time?
It's gone! GONE!  And there is no getting it back!!! What the heck????

So while I'm loving the fact that school is over and the schedule is done....

I DO wish I could freeze time for a little while and have things stay the way they are right now.
I'd whisper into my kid's ears, "Stay small my little people.... stay small."
 
Come home and share with me the fifty states in alphabetical order song...and sing it over and over and over again until I too know the fifty states in order.

Turn cartwheels in the living room until you kick your brother in the head and knock him over and then you get sent to your room.

Carry your bunny blanket around and suck your thumb while you sit on the couch and watch TV.

Show me your loose tooth that isn't really that loose and wiggle it and wiggle it until it comes out the next day at school and the nurse gives you one of those tooth necklaces to wear proudly around your neck.

Stay small. And innocent. And precious. And perfect. In every single way.
Stay just like this...at least for a little while longer.

We spend so much time wishing for the next... ready to move out of one stage and into the next that we forget to enjoy the stage we're in.

These moments are fleeting. All of them.
Every day contains thousands of moments to be cherished.
Every. single. Day.
The schedules, the activities, the teas, the games, the sunscreen, the bug spray and even the containers... all of them moments.
Breathe those moments in. Slow down and cherish. All of it.

Because before we know it, those moments will be gone and we'll be on to the next.
*sigh*


IN the meantime...

What the hell am I going to do with my kids for an entire summer???

Pray for us.

Peace, Love, and RIGHT NOW

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

and five months later... we have a post

Yeah, so I haven't posted anything since September.

I'll blame it on the start of school, or the holidays, or after school activities... or my job.... or my kids... or my husband...or the laundry.....the never ending piles of, "oh look, I was caught up ten minutes ago and now there is a ANOTHER EVER LOVING PILE OF LAUNDRY sitting in front of my washer."

Right. Blame it on that.

So recently, I read an article on Facebook  from a working dad about his wife, a stay at home mom and how her job is ridiculously hard. 
Yep, we know. 
Just a little bit funny how it takes a man to write an article about a stay at home mom for anyone to acknowledge the fact that it's the HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD. 
I'm pretty sure moms have been saying it for centuries and it's only just now being shared, and shared again on Facebook with people liking it a thousand times over. Social media, gotta love it. 

And then I read another article or blog post from a working mum to a stay at home mum. And yes, it said 'mum'.  And I'm pretty sure the article wasn't referring to a flower, but a mother.  And of course, after reading the word 'mum', I ended up reading the rest of the article in an English accent in my head.  And not a good English accent.  I don't excel at accents, except my own which was once a New Jersey accent and is now a weird mesh of New Jersey and Connecticut where I don't know if I should say the name Shannon, like Shaaaaaanon or the way people in Connecticut say it... which is way more cute-sy and less Tony Soprano and...well, I can't even phonetically type out what it sounds like. 

Anyway, I digress.   
The working mum was acknowledging how hard the stay at home mum's job was and vice versa.    
Both jobs are equally difficult.  ABSOLUTELY.

I have yet to read an article about the "working from home full time mom".  I'm pretty sure I know why. 
I'M one of those working from home full time moms...and I'm pretty sure there are no blog posts or articles about those women because those women don't have the damn time to brush their teeth, never mind write an article about their job(s). 

So here I am...taking a few moments out of my day(and yes, my teeth are brushed)...to describe the trials and tribulations of the "working from home full time mom". 

I wake up at the butt-crack of dawn. I'm not even sure I would call it dawn, I'm pretty sure it's still the middle of the night.  The rest of my house is still sleeping, although, I often hear my youngest stirring at that time... and that's when I hightail it out of the house to hit the gym...because I'd rather be working out at 5:30 AM than dealing with my still tired, hungry and demanding to be held and fed, 16 month old.  
Mother of the year here.  
 But I workout at 5:30 mostly because that's the only time of the day I can fit it in. 

SO
Work out at 5:30 am, home by 7:00 to 3 children trying to get dressed, pack backpacks, eat breakfast and get out to the bus on time, or as I like to call it - hell on earth.

Let me preface this by saying, I do everything possible the night before to have our stuff together for the morning. I do everything short of insisting that my children sleep in their school clothes and shoes..in order to be ready for the morning.    But, without fail, we end up behind the 8 ball... EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  

This morning... everyone was ready. Ready EARLY and then I remembered it was Tuesday.  One of the twins' share day.  Today she had to bring in something to represent the 100th day of school. She had to bring one hundred somethings to represent the 100th day of school.  Awesome. 
100 pennies.
Down to the wire, 100 pennies counted and in a plastic bag and running out the door to catch the bus.  

Three kids out the door, turn back to see what's left of my kitchen... dishes next to the sink, dishes in the sink, milk and juice out on the counter, coffee cups, and cereal boxes - oh, and there's my toddler, with all of his sisters' toothbrushes in his mouth.... oh, and I still haven't showered.  
I have exactly forty-five minutes to get showered and dressed and try to clean up the kitchen in order to log onto my computer for 9 am. 

Now, normally, I'd have a sitter to help with my toddler, but my sitter went and found a new, REAL job and I'm left holding the bag.  So because I'm the work from home mom, that falls under one of my job responsibilities...to find a new sitter AND care for the kid until we find the new sitter, while working from home.  Excellent. 

9 am, log into work... kitchen is now semi-clean... also managed to throw in a load of wash, I mean, I'm home.. might as well at least WASH the clothes(folding is another story)... Sit down to work...and fire off a few emails while fending off little hands that are reaching for my keyboard and my phone. 
Second cup of coffee, thanks. 

There are things that fall under my responsibility because I'm the work from home mom, they are including, but not limited to the following: Sick kids, doctors appointments, kids being sent home from school with some sort of illness(real or not), answering the door and being available for any sort of repair man, starting dinner, snow days when all the kids are home, after school activities, teachers conferences, school concerts, presentations, teas and other school events that school administrators think are a good idea to schedule for the middle of the day, because, you know... no parents work or anything.   And these things are my responsibility not because my husband is some tyrant and refuses to share the workload, but because logistically, it makes sense. I'm here. And he's in an office 45 minutes away. 

NOW...I can hear some of you saying, "You don't HAVE to work from home. You could put your baby in daycare, your kids in before school care, and head to an office all day."  
And yes, that is true. 100% true. 

I was laid off this past summer and I refused to take a new job in an office. I only wanted to work from home. Why? Because I get to be the one to get my kids on the bus, off the bus, pick them up from school when they're sick and attend their school concerts and teas.   Call me crazy, but I like having it all. 
I like making money and working, but I also like, you know, actually SEEING my kids. 

But with that comes the insane juggling act of doing it all. AT THE SAME TIME.
Conference calls on snow days include wildly flailing limbs and muting my phone to yell at my kids to be quiet and watch the movie I put on...and to also keep their brother from eating the rainbow loom rubber bands. 
My days seem endless.  
They start before dawn and end way past what a bedtime should be for someone who gets up before dawn.  
What work I don't get done during the day, I do at night. 

Most days I feel like I survive by the skin of my teeth... especially now without a sitter... (please God, let me find a good sitter)  And every day, 4 pm rolls around(Bus drop off time) and my anxiety level kicks in. Because now it's a circus act until bedtime.... after school activities, homework, snacks, baths, dinner, refereeing arguments... all while still being accountable for work. Oh yeah, WORK! 

When I tell people I work from home... their response is usually, 
"Wow... that's really awesome. You're so lucky!"
And I know I am. I am SO fortunate to be able to BE HERE(and the working in sweats isn't a bad gig either). 
HOWEVER, being here also has another side to it. It has the making the dinner, loading the dishwasher, throwing in the wash, side to it... BECAUSE I'm here.  There's that "doing it all' side that you can't shut off. 

And yes, there are days I'd like to actually leave my house and see other adults and maybe, ya know, LOOK nice?  Most days I look and feel frazzled and tired. I'm really tired. 

And there's this ever present feeling I have of not being able to do anything at 100%.  Like I'm not excelling at any one thing.  Because I'm not 100% a stay at home mom...and I'm not 100% (although full time) a work from home employee... My dinners aren't exceptionally delicious, my house isn't spectacularly clean, my attention is never 100% focused on any one thing...because there are always a zillion things going on in my house...and in my head.  So while I'm having my cake and eating it too(I'm not sure this is the right analogy describing this)... I'm not doing any of it well or really enjoying any of it - mostly because I'm just trying to survive. (Much like the first year after my twins were born). 

So what's my point? 

My point is...

ALL mothers make sacrifices. ALL mothers are struggling on some level. 
No ONE has the perfect situation all the time. 

And the grass is ALWAYS greener in your neighbor's yard(especially if they're retired and have ALL THE TIME in the world to tend to their yard and flowers and trees) 

ALL mothers -working from home, working in an office, or stay at home moms- want to know that the sacrifices they're making and the juggling, circus acts are worth it. 
That every struggle won't last forever, and every struggle will make us(and our children)stronger and better people. I mean, they will, right?(Please say I'm right)

And I know with absolute certainty that ALL mothers want to feel appreciated, encouraged and to feel like they're doing a good job - especially when they're sure they aren't! 

So for all the mothers out there... whoever you are, wherever you work..... Keep it up.  
Keep on keeping on. 
You're doing a great job! 
And it's ALL worth it. 

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW









Saturday, September 14, 2013

Am I keeping up?

For the past few years I've had the honor and privilege of calling myself a "soccer mom".  

My oldest daughter has found a love of soccer and my younger two are trying(Valiantly) to follow in their sister's footsteps.  So more often than not, during the weekends during the school year, I can be found on the sidelines of the soccer field.

And in the beginning...when my daughter was five, the games were...well, comical. They were less like games and more like controlled chaos. The girls played on a short field with maybe four players on each team, and no goalies.  There was no score. There was really just a lot of chasing the ball. All of them. In a pack like wild dogs.
This was all to teach the fundamentals of the game. Perfect.

As my oldest has gotten a little older, the field length has gotten longer, the girls actually hold their positions on the field(Somewhat) and there are goalies(even though they look like these teeny tiny breakable dolls in front of these HUGE nets) .  Perfect.

It all started out so cute and fun...and actually kind of nice to spend my Saturdays watching my girls play and learn a game. 

So last year...at the beginning of second grade the practice/games went from once a week, to twice a week.  Ok, no biggie.  But there was also an option to add two extra days to sharpen skills and play more games.  And I bought into it for a while.  Sure... give her those two extra days... for a few hours each day. Why not? She loves it. 

Second grade. Seven years old....Four days a week of soccer?
I mean, there are only seven days in the week, right? So FOUR of them were spent playing soccer.

Let me say it again...SHE. WAS. SEVEN.

I can't stress that enough here.

So here I was, signing her up for these extra days...thinking...
"Great, she'll sharpen her skills... she'll become a better player... blah blah blah blah blah" 
Was I serious?

I mean, she's a child. A baby, really. 

Why should she be sharpening her skills when she's really just learning the fundamentals of the game still and trying to find out if this is something she really LIKES and wants to pursue?

That point got kind of lost.  
And I think it's gotten lost on a LOT of these "Soccer parents" (You can really put any sport/hobby in there instead of soccer... it applies to anything, really)

We get so caught up in...well, KEEPING up... that we're talked into signing up for more... and we push push push...and for what?

To have our kids burn out at age eight and tell us, "Yea, ya know what?! I don't really like soccer anyway." 

I just don't get it.
Where we live... it seems that the trend is that you have to start your child in a sport or activity by the age of three or he/she will be BEHIND. 
Are you kidding me right now?

There are SO many sports and activities my kids would like to try, but heck, I don't have time to sign them up for them all NOW. 
So I get sort of frantic thinking...
"Holy crap... if they don't start now...find their passion RIGHT NOW... they'll be so far behind, they'll never be as good as the other kids... they'll miss out on so much"

And I've come to realize that really? I'm being a freak.  And there are a lot of other freaks out there just like me .... freaking out about the same damn thing! 

And it's not our fault... it's like a wave... it knocks us down.
We get so swept up in keeping up and trying to do what's best for our kids that we forget what's actually BEST FOR OUR KIDS!!!

My girls want to try new things... art classes? Sure! Tennis? Maybe! Basketball? Yup! And the list goes on and on.  They're 8 and 6... they're babies. They have time. PLENTY OF TIME.

But as parents, it seems like we're constantly being pushed to sign them up for more... sharpen their skills... get them ready for the next level.  The next level? But what about THIS level?   How about we look at THIS level and hope the kids are having fun and learning something new and if they're good, well that's just an added bonus.  I mean, right?

But is this what it has come to? It's like we're already prepping them for college... a scholarship, maybe(Because frankly, who the hell can afford college anymore?) ...    But it seems less like a recreational activity for them and more like WORK.
And as we all know... there is plenty of time for work later in life, but for kids? Their time is so short to just be a kid and do what they like! LETS LET THEM BE KIDS!!!

I mean, don't get me wrong... if my daughter begged me to play soccer four days a week, telling me she didn't want to do anything else... I'd sign her up.  I really do want her to be happy.

But when I ask her if she wants to play extra days and her response is "maybe" instead of "YES, YES, YES!"... isn't that a sign that maybe it's time to introduce her to something else?
Open a door to something that may pique her interest more?

I don't know... maybe everyone else has figured this out ahead of me, but from what I've seen, I don't think so. 

I've seen the panicked look of the mom who just signed her daughter up for soccer for the first time at age eight...wondering if she'll be the black sheep because all the other kids started when they were three.  

I mean, that's sad, really. 

At eight years old you're still figuring out what you like and what you don't, right? You shouldn't be an expert in your field at that age.

I mean, I'm in my mid-30's and I'M still figuring out what I like... I'm certainly not an expert at... well, ....anything.

Heck, maybe I'll give soccer a try.. ;)

PEACE, LOVE & RIGHT NOW

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Things I've learned 15 days into summer vacation

So...

The last day of school was on June 26th.
That's 15 days that I've been with all four of my kids nearly around the clock.

And although I seem to have lost a bit of my sanity... I have definitely learned a few things in a very short period of time. 

Lucky for you, I get to share what I now know.

1. No matter the time of day or even if they've just eaten a 12 course meal, my kids are always hungry.  Like brought to tears, "Hunnnngrrrrrrry"

2. Cleaning up the kitchen and keeping it clean for more than 10 minutes is a pipe dream

3. There is "NOTHING" to do at my house. EVER.

4. I never have enough scotch tape

5. I should've bought stock in scotch tape

6. Laundry is a joke especially when my kids put on clothes, then bathing suits, then a new set of clothes, then a new bathing suit and at the end of the day throw it all in a wet pile on the floor of the laundry room.
Don't EVEN get me started on towels.

7. No matter how well you rinse off limbs, empty out shoes, brush off clothes, shake out hair...
sand still gets EVERYWHERE

8. There is one tattle tale in every group and tattle tales are REALLY annoying.

9. My oldest daughter thinks she is the boss of everyone.... including me.

10. Having a baby that naps and three other children stuck at home while the baby naps could possibly warrant a trip to an insane asylum OR an emergency room.  Either one.

11. My husband's, "very little TV this summer" rule is laughable.  The person who does not stay home all day should not be allowed to have a say-so in any rules. Period.

12. Getting ready for the beach definitely takes longer than getting ready to play in the snow. 
At this point in the game, snow is a clear winner.  At least in the snow my kids are 100% covered and NOT by sunscreen ....ANNNNNNND I'm not afraid of them drowning or getting eaten by a shark

13. Inside voices are like unicorns... they don't exist.

14. Grilling is old... and has been since June ...of 2007

15.  Bees cause PTSD. 
Day one of summer(Literally off the bus from the last day of school) there was a bee sting incident.  "We" now see bees EVERYWHERE and feel the need to sprint from the house to the car in order to avoid being stung.

16. "But it's not even dark out!" is not a good enough reason to stay up later. 
Note for next summer: Black out shades.  For the entire house.

17.  The one who says, "I didn't do ANYTHING" has always done SOMETHING.

18. I need to actually learn how to take a door off the hinges. 

19.  Just because it's summer vacation, doesn't mean that real life ceases to exist.
Laundry still has to be done, groceries bought, dinners cooked, bathrooms cleaned...all with children in tow.
It's like taking the physical challenge on Double Dare. Honestly, I'd rather stick my arm up that giant nostril to pull out the boogery red flag  than go to the grocery store with my four kids.


Being the fun, "yes" mom I thought I'd be this summer is proving to be a lot more difficult than I initially thought.

Just today I contemplated drinking at lunch time and I just heard myself saying,

"For every time I have to come downstairs because you three are fighting, you'll all go to bed 15 minutes earlier"
At the rate we're going ... they'll be in bed in the next five minutes.  (Which might not be a bad thing)

Gotta run(and possibly hide).... I just heard, "I'M TELLING MOMMY!!"

Oh....There's no need to tell mommy...she already heard the entire thing... those inside "unicorn" voices are a dream.  :)


Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW



Thursday, May 23, 2013

...and we'll go up, up, up....

So, if you saw the Zach Sobiech story on facebook recently... you've probably been feeling like I have these past few days...pretty emotional, inspired, and honestly... down right sad.

If you haven't seen the Zach Sobiech story... you can watch it here... My Last Days: Zach Sobiech

Basically, here is the long and short of it.

At 14 years old, Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma... he battled it for a few years... it came back and he was given a few months to live.
Zach chose to stop treatment and spend the last few months of his life LIVING and not dying. 
Zach created music.... beautiful music. Zach loved his friends. Zach loved his family. Zach loved life.

Zach died on May 20, 2013. He was 18 years old.

I did not know on Monday morning when I watched Zach's story that I'd be so moved, so inspired, so touched and so heartbroken.

I did not know that when I clicked on the link to the video that I would be watching a story that was so, so similar to a story that I already knew by heart.

If you've read my blog or know me personally, you know that I lost my brother to Ewings Sarcoma.  
2 years, 7 months and 1 day ago. 
He was 2 weeks shy of his 26th birthday.

He, like Zach, battled cancer for a few years, endured surgeries, chemo, radiation...spent about 9 months cancer free and then it returned... in his lungs.

 He then spent another 10 months doing more chemo as a maintenance type program. 

Two weeks of chemo, two week break, two weeks of chemo, two week break... and he was miserable. For two weeks of every month, he didn't move from the couch.
He was ill. 
And we knew that the treatments weren't a cure... they were just buying him time. 
So he made the decision to stop treating...And start living with what little time he had left.

He had almost a whole summer before the cancer took over.

And watching Zach's video brought it all back for me. 

Everything about Zach and his family was so strangely similar to my brother and my family.
I could literally do nothing but cry when I watched. 
And then I watched it again. And cried some more.

And should I be embarassed to admit that I watched it again?

I couldn't help it. I was transfixed.

It was like I couldn't get enough of Zach or his family.

Because in a way they were MY family.
He was my brother. His sister was me. His mother was mine.

Watching the video... you could feel the strength, the courage, the love.
I was moved by their grace. 
I was heartbroken by their sadness.

In watching Zach's story NUMEROUS times, I felt that familiar feeling of trying to find the happiness through the sadness during my brother's last few months... trying to savor the moments -the touching little moments....
the sound of my brother's voice as he teased my girls, his boisterous laugh... the funny faces he made when telling a story... his walk... his scent.  

There was this ever present feeling in those last few months that time was slipping away... too quickly.

While we were trying to make memories and enjoy what time we had left...we were ever aware that our time with my brother was like sand slipping through our fingers... there was no holding on to it. 

All we could do was maintain and breathe. And love. And laugh and cry. And live.

And watching Zach and his family, it all came back.
That feeling of, "Hold on. I don't want this to end yet. PLEASE don't let this moment end"

And it broke my heart all over again.

And you'd think that maybe I'd avoid watching stories like Zach's... to spare myself the heartache.

But actually, I'm grateful to have seen it.

It opened my eyes.

Because in the past 2 years, 7 months and 1 day... while I've been healing,
I think a part of me had closed off to really feeling..really living.
I've tried to forget because it hurt too much to remember.

I just forged ahead.. .pushed through and looked forward, but in that... I lost a lot.

In the three years that my brother was fighting cancer, my family learned to cherish the little moments and let a lot of unimportant things go.

We really enjoyed each other's company and savored all the tiny moments because that's all we had.
Happy or sad...all we had were those moments. 
And together, we lived day to day... moment to moment... until the end.

So while cancer took my precious brother... it DID give us the ability to live in the moment.

And I think I've lost that.

I've lost the ability to just be here now and breathe and live.
I've lost the ability to savor the day I've been given.

And really... isn't that all we can ever do? Live the day that we've been given?
ALL of our time is limited here.
There is a cap to all of this... and for some it's much sooner than others. 
And we don't know when our time is up.

And that's crazy to think about. But it's also kind of a relief.

Like someone taking a weight off your shoulders saying,

"Hey, stupid! Let it go! Live right now! How do you feel RIGHT NOW? Forget next week!"

And I needed that.

I needed to be reminded of that by Zach and his family... by my own brother and my family.

We all have the ability to live in the now, we just need a reminder now and again.

And sometimes it's a painful reminder... sometimes it literally hurts. 

But I'm grateful. 

I'm grateful for these past few emotional days spent in a fog.

I'm grateful that I've been reminded that I have a lot of love to give now... that I have a lot of life to live now...that I have a lot of emotions to feel now... and that ALL of our time is here is limited with our without a terminal illness.

I'm grateful for the Sobiech family for sharing their story and their courage, and for the gift they've given me...reminding me to live...all day...every day...for as long as I'm here.

Rest Easy, Zach Sobiech.


Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW


And we'll go up, up up.....
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you....











Thursday, May 9, 2013

So this is marriage....

11 years ago this coming Sunday, I met my husband.

It was Mother's Day.     It was also his 27th birthday.

We met on the side of the road....literally.

I wasn't hitchhiking(nor was he). 
My car wasn't broken down.  No, it was nothing like that.

The short story is...
He waved, I waved.
He stopped, I stopped.

We went out that night and that was the end of that..... or the beginning, rather.

11 years. 

When he proposed I thought our married life together would be as easy as our brief 7 months of dating had been.
Yes, you read that correctly.

We dated, excuse me, KNEW each other for 7 months prior to getting engaged.

So I guess what I pictured was a stress free life...  living together... sleeping in on Saturdays, Saturday night dinners out with too much wine and after-dinner beers at the local pub, slightly hungover Sundays spent at our condo complex's pool. 
I pictured working out at the gym together or going for long runs just the two of us.
I pictured vacations together as a couple, trips to places we'd never been... jobs where we made enough money to cover our expenses and put some money away for the future... and life would be easy breezy, lemon squeezey.

And I think we had that for maybe... a year.
ONE year.
One year of our marriage was exactly like the above. 

And then real life set in with multiple babies, job changes, out of state moves, deaths in the family, layoffs, etc. etc. etc.

What's funny...or really NOT funny is ... no one EVER tells you that marriage is hard.
No one tells you that marriage is WORK.
It's a full time job on top of the full time job you already have.

While you're trying to make your way through life and raise children and work a job and keep a house and do day to day things... you still have this relationship that you have to maintain and foster... you still have to remember to communicate and love and laugh.

Marriage puts a whole new spin on things.
When life throws you a curveball... and something unexpected comes your way,  not only do you have to navigate your way through it, but you have to navigate your way through it WITH someone else.

And you think that would make it easier..... but sometimes it's not.

It's really like one giant road trip. 

Sounds fun, but if you're anything like us...

He's driving... and I'm in the passenger seat holding the "oh shit" handle, slamming on my imaginary brake and cursing under my breath.. praying we don't die.

And sometimes that's how marriage is. 

There is no instruction manual. 
There is no, "When situation A. arises, try XYZ and if that doesn't work... try QRS"

And you know what?
Sometimes you encounter some tough stuff.
And sometimes it's TOTAL crap.
And sometimes life hands you a LOT of lemons...and you're so SICK of making lemonade...you just wish that life would just hand you the bottle of vodka so you can squeeze those damn lemons into something with a little kick.

And you put your head down, and you grit your teeth and you get through it.
Together.
Sometimes you get through it separately, but together.
If THAT even makes sense.  

And sometimes you come out on the other side of a MAJOR challenge and you think,

 "We survived that. I REALLY didn't think we'd survive that."

But you know what? 

It's all worth it.
It is.

And it can be easy...  really easy for us, especially during a difficult time to look back on these past 11 years and see ONLY the challenges... the struggles... the stress and completely disregard the good.

And it can be really easy to count...even list the things that have gone "wrong" for us.

But it's still worth it. 

Why?
Because the good outweighs the bad.  And love always wins.

And marriage means you have this person by your side who is going to have your back for the rest of your life.

And this person is the one who knows you the best, has seen you at your worst and STILL tolerates you with all of your imperfections and annoying habits(yes, you have them too)

This person is the only one who knows what it's like to be as tired as you are because you've both been up all night with a puking kid or a crying baby. 

This is the person who knows what its like to laugh through the dinnertime antics with you or Sunday morning pancake breakfasts(with the chocolate chips and NOT syrup even though you think chocolate chips don't belong anywhere NEAR a pancake)

This person can finish your sentences and knows what you're thinking without you having to say a word.

This person will bring home cookies from the store even when you tell him not to(but really want him to and he knows it)
This person will take YOUR college cat to the vet to be put down because you're too panicked and heartbroken to do it.

This is what marriage is...with its challenges, uphill battles and stress and "oh shit" handles and imaginary brakes... and this is what is good.

This is what is good.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Does anyone know where the right side of the bed is?

I remember as a kid, if I woke up in a bad mood... my mother would say to me,

"Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!" 

I hated hearing that.
It's an expression that never really made any sense to me. 
I only knew it meant I was being teased for being grumpy in the morning.

Getting up on the wrong side of the bed back then was perfectly OK.
I was in a foul mood.
It was accepted. 
My family ignored me and went about their business and I got over my mood in my own time...and all was ok in the world of Kristen once again.

As a parent...getting up on the wrong side of the bed is like TOOOoooTALLY unacceptable.

There is no such thing as everyone ignoring you... letting you get over your mood and moving on with your day.
OH NO!
You have to SUCK. IT. UP.
Grin and bear it.
Put your big girl panties on and get over it... like NOW.

Well, many recent mornings, I've gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.

And that would be due to the fact that I'm not even really sure I sleep some nights. 
Some nights I'm up and out of bed so many times... I don't have time to sleep.
Im seriously starting to doubt the existence of the RIGHT side of the bed.

And I've come to realize (in my lack of sleep stupor)... kids don't "get" social cues.

There are mornings when it's CLEAR that I'm barely awake.

And what's even more clear is that I'm NOT happy about it.

Any adult would see those things in my face and leave me alone.
Kids? Not so much.

Every day at my house starts with what I like to call, "The morning marathon." 

Who wants what cereal? who needs juice?... who is bringing what for a snack to school?...

"Mom, can I buy lunch today? PLEASE? It's pizza and I really, really, REALLY love the school's pizza"..(really? It's cardboard) ....

"MOM! She's not sharing her stickers with me... and Sophia gave those stickers to BOTH of us!!! MOM!!!"

And the talking, chatting, arguing, questions, singing....all continue through the morning marathon.

And all I can think on those "wrong side bed" mornings is,
"Please. For the love of GOD.  I need more coffee ...and I need silence..  I need to hide somewhere because I cant take this insanity!!!"

And then the hair brush comes out.... "Mom, can you brush my hair???"
In my head... I'm thinking...
"Can't you brush your own hair?"
And I KNOW the exasperated look on my face said exactly that.

And then another voice in my head says;
"You should be cherishing this moment. She won't ask you to brush her hair for forever"...and...
"Be thankful she HAS hair!"... and then... "Be thankful she's HERE."

THE GUILT.
It sets in.  In those moments my guilt takes over and all I want to do is cry.

What kind of terrible person...NO, what kind of terrible MOTHER am I?

I should be counting my blessings...cherishing the moments.... EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

And when I don't? Guilt takes over...and I'm covered for the rest of the day in a shroud of it.
Guilt hanging over me like a black cloud.

I'm not 100% certain, but I'm fairly sure that most moms carry around the very same guilt.
Maybe it's not in the forefront of their minds at all times, but it's there. It's hiding ... lurking somewhere...waiting to come out.

We're all trying SO hard to be these super moms...
These loving and patient and kind and caring and wonderful mothers...24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

But we're worn out and tired and exasperated and run ragged. 

And we feel guilty on top of it all for not feeling our gratitude all of the time and cherishing each moment... And really?? IT'S TOUGH!

For the most part we probably all succeed at doing what is right and what is good for our children ...keeping them safe and secure and loved.  Absolutely.

But it's a challenge to remember to cherish the little moments in between refereeing arguments and packing back packs and pouring cereal and cleaning up spilled juice. 
Especially when there's that piece of you that's needing a moment to be by yourself...and to just BE yourself...bad mood and all.

And there's a piece that maybe just needs to take a step back or TWELVE steps back and take a breather and get some space because it's overwhelming...always putting everyone else's needs first.

And it's overwhelming feeling guilty for WANTING to take a break, for wanting to go back to bed, for wanting to shut off the noise in your house for a while and let someone else handle the breakfasts and the hair brushing.  And for not cherishing it all. 

I am so VERY grateful for all that I have. 
So very, VERY blessed to have four healthy and happy children. 
I know this in my heart 100% of the time.   

On mornings when I'm struggling to keep my eyes open and not tell my kids to get their own darn breakfast... it's hard to keep that in my head.

And that's ok.  I mean, it is, right?

Perhaps I need to cut myself some slack and quiet that guilty little voice in my head....
Perhaps we all do.

Some days it's a challenge just to get out of my own way.
Some days it's a challenge just to be ME, but then to try and be a patient, kind, loving, grateful, blessings-counting Mom - maybe on those days... it's a bit too much to expect of myself.

Maybe on the days when I "get up on the wrong side of the bed",  I can just try to BE and DO. 
I'll BE Mom who packs the backpacks, and waits for the bus and reties shoelaces 100 times... feeling grumpy, worn out, tired and a little exasperated. 
I'll DO my best to just get through the day and NOT have a meltdown. 
I'll DO A-OK with keeping my kids safe and secure and loved(but maybe lack a little in the patience department) 

and that IS ok!

On those days maybe I'll just need to remind myself to start fresh again tomorrow... to drop-kick the guilt ...that it's ok to be tired and grumpy sometimes and everyone has that right ....even moms!


And at the end of those days... when the dishes are done and the laundry is folded and the day has been put behind me..
I'll peak in on my sleeping kids and will count my many blessings.... smile at their little sweet faces... wonder over how lucky I am to have them in my life....and that will be ok...
In fact, that will be BETTER than ok...THAT will be wonderful.

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW