Friday, February 25, 2011

It goes by too fast most days

How is it that it feels like just yesterday that our family was here:
And Isaac looked like this:
And Piper looked like this:
Is this not the cutest little boy you have ever seen?
And I adore this little girl and her crazy hair.
And now we are here - 2 kids well into toddler years.  I am so thankful and blessed to be called their mommy.  I am in awe at times that I get to be a mom.  Even after a night of my 2 1/2 year old waking up 4 times.  It is easy to find delight when looking at these two precious babies-and yes I will call them my babies for as long as I live. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Off again

I am having a very off day today.  I just feel antsy and like I am just waiting on something, anything different to happen in my life.  I feel like I am wasting time.  Mind you I still have no idea what I want different or what I should be doing.

I am also just plain old tired, exhausted actually. I hate feeling this constant blanket of tiredness these last few weeks.  There is only so much caffeine can do these days.  And besides I really do not like being dependant on artificial means to have energy.  I know that I need to start exercising in some form or fashion.  I hear time and time again from so many that it helps.  Mark has started working out every night after the kids are in bed and I am so proud of him!  I also feel somewhat guilty as I crawl in bed when he goes out to exercise.  But, not guilty enough to do anything about it. 

I see the sun shining out my office window and it makes me craze spring and summer and lazy days with the kids at the park and the lake.  But it also makes me wish for more time to do those things I want.  Why can I not be content today?  Why is finding delight so difficult today? 

I tell myself that this is normal and that these are the minor downs of the ups and downs of life.  One thing I am really encouraged about is Mark & I have started praying specifically for direction in a certain area of our lives. 

Married people out there - I challenge you to pray with your spouse every night.  It does not need to be a big, long, super spiritual prayer. 
It can be, "Thank you Jesus for this day, keep the kids safe and healthy, help us have a good day tomorrow.  Amen." 
Seriously, most of my prayers when we first started a few months back were like that.  But the act of praying together, of listening to each other, and having that connection is so cool. 

But anyway, back to Mark & I praying together.  It has given me so much more peace knowing that we are together asking God for direction.  I am reminded again that God is God and He desires to be a part of every area of my life and our life as a family.

Okay-deep breath.  I feel somewhat better.  Thanks for letting me ramble and I am looking forward to being on again soon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Working Girls Unite!

Okay, so maybe my title gives you the impression of a different kind of working girl. . .  but I mean the working outside the home full-time girl. . . sheesh!

I would love some tips on how to balance.

(pausing here for laughter, snorts, "You've got to be kidding me!" comments)

I am not going to lie.  I struggle with how to juggle it all.  And please don't tell me that it's okay to leave a little dust around or a bowl can sit in the sink for a night.  If you came to my house right now you would see that lately I have been having success in spending time with kids, BUT. . . . . . our house is a WRECK!!!!!!!!!! 

Honestly, I do not expect perfection.  Really.  I am fine with some clutter and beds unmade, among other things.  But I think there is a responsibility I have as a human, wife, parent, etc. to keep our home a little lot better than I have been.

My struggle comes from having absolutely no energy after the kids are in bed to do anything like housework.  This may be due to the fact that our kids our still somewhat random about sleeping through the night. 

(Reminder-they are 16 months and 2 1/2 yrs. old.  Yeah, it's awesome.)

I have also learned that I need some time for me at the end of the day to unwind.  I wish I didn't, but that is just how I function.  I cannot go non-stop working from the moment I wake up until I drop into bed in exhaustion.  I have tried and it is not a pretty sight.  Just ask my husband.  Not pretty.

So, what do I do?  Do I not spend time with the kids after being away from them all day?  Do we use only paper plates and plastic utensils?  Buy new underwear for everyone every couple weeks?  And yes, I have been tempted and I have given in to this temptation at times too.  Okay not on the underwear thing, but wouldn't that be nice?!?!?. 

I honestly think though my biggest hurdle is the inability to prioritize what needs to be done, sticking with that, getting things organized so everything has a specific place and finally, just plain old motivation.

So, working girls, I am open to advice.  Comment away!  And if you are like me and have no clue, just tell me.  Then at least I will know I am not the only imperfect mom out there! ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh why not?

I love that the day I want my hair to look nice for a luncheon fundraiser, it is frizzy, flat, and static-y (yes that's a word).  This is actually not that different than any other day, but why can't it look nice just once?!

I love that the day I am wearing 'less' clothing (little black dress for fundraiser), I am sweating more than ever.  I just returned from the rest room after sticking wads of toilet paper in my armpits to soak up the sweat. . . . . . . . seriously.  I did throw them away before leaving the rest room - otherwise that would be gross. 

(I am pausing here for you to laugh, gag, find a different blog to read, etc.)

But what I really do love is that today is my Friday, tomorrow I get a whole day with my wonderful husband and tomorrow night I get to drive to Bismarck to see my wonderful friend Christina. 

Happy Friday Thursday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Being Off and On

Kelle at her beautiful blog enjoying the small things and her post from yesterday On and Off got me thinking about being "on and off" and what that means to me.

Lately I have been feeling a desire to do more.  More what?  I don't know exactly. 

Do I have some idea?  Yes.  Am I ready to share all that?  No.

I do know that I have been feeling on and off at the same times it seems.  Let me try to explain. 

I feel as if I have all these desires, passions, ideas in my head.  I feel as though I get inspired with everything around me.  I feel as though I am learning to be more intentional with my kids.  I emphasize learning because truthfully it does not come natural for me.  There are some parts of mothering that come natural for me and others that do not.  Being intentional and present in the moment of reading the same book 500 times or singing along with the same Signing Time DVD over and over and over, etc. - that does not come natural to me.
*Side note:  Huge weight lifted in being able to admit that somewhere other than in my brain.

The off part comes from feeling like due to certain parts of my life that need my attention and time, I cannot pursue the other parts of my life that I want to give my time and attention.  I read about people who seem to do it all; work outside the home, have kids (and do a great job raising them it seems), have hobbies/passions, have healthy marriages, time to workout, don't wear the same 5 outfits week in and week out and I wonder how on earth they do it.  I know the saying that women are great at multi-tasking, but I must have missed out on the multi-tasking mother gene.  I do not feel like I can give 100% to my kids and 100% to my husband and 100% to me.  Actually I know that I can't.

My kids are my first priority and passion.  I know at times I may make it seem like they are all work and no fun.  Forgive me for that impression.  My kids bring me more joy and peace and delight than I would have ever thought.  Really, they are amazing little people that I look at and wonder what I did to deserve such blessings.  And then I remember I did nothing - God did everything. 

By making the choice to have kids and to be present and intentional in their lives, I have chosen to lay other things aside in my life.  And I am happy with that choice - thrilled as a matter of fact. 

But why then, do I have all of these feelings, thoughts, desires pulling at me?  I have a feeling of being "off" and yet I am at the same time feeling more "on" in my life than I have in a long time.  I feel as though I am making important strides in overcoming fear, in being a better parent, having better communication and relationship with Mark, etc.

In reading all of this just now, I realize it is somewhat garbled and disconnected, but it is also what I feel and I don't want to edit myself for the sake of good writing - so please bear with me.

All in all, I am again trying to rest in the process of life and find delight in this time.  I know that God has a plan and purpose for everything under the sun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love Tuesday! And other random things. . .

  • While I am usually ridiculously cold at work, today I was so hot. . . as in my cheeks were red, armpits sweaty (too much detail??), hair pulled back, sleeves rolled up HOT!  Ugh, can I not just be a regulated normal temp at work?

  • Why does it seem like the majority of blogs by women are from women who stay home with their kids?  Do working (outside the home) women not have the blogging gene?  Is it a time issue?  Lack of interest?  I would love to find and follow more blogs of working moms.  I love the blogs I follow of stay (and work your butt off raising kids) at home moms, but I would also love to read about the struggles and ups and downs of working moms. 

  • Why does it seem like when you are the most broke financially conservative, that is when things/opportunities/bills come out of the woodwork like crazy.  It is like Dave Ramsey says I guess, "Murphy follows broke folks" (I may be paraphrasing that).

  • I love how I have medical, dental, life, and vision insurance and yet I cannot get any insurance to pay for a doctor prescribed treatment to decrease the amount of headaches I have.  Hmmmm, not trying to be obnoxious, but wouldn't you think it would be better, cheaper for insurance companies to pay a one time $600 bill than a lifetime of prescription costs, ER visits, specialist office visits, etc. . . . . I'm just sayin'.

  • My little boy told me Happy Valentine's Day yesterday about 30 times.  It does not get much better than that.

  • My little girl gave me a wet sloppy kiss with a bit of leftover supper on her mouth.  And while my gag reflex was in full swing (I am not immune to the disgustingness of toddlers), it does not get much better than that.

  • Am I the only one out there not getting on the skinny jean train?  They remind me of when I used to roll my jeans, my white Guess jeans.  And then pull my socks over them.  And wear generic Keds.  And a multi-color sweater (think Bill Cosby).  Although I will admit, if I was as tiny as the models I see the skinny jeans on, I may jump on board.  But for now - I will stick with boot cut. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy "Holiday Made Up by Hallmark" Day!

I don't believe it, but Mark (and a lot of other men) does.  Valentine's Day is a fun day for me. . . .I don't go all out, but any excuse to buy candy, get flowers and most importantly show love, is a good day to me.  And it's not that Mark hates the day. . . I think just the pressure to make it extra special is what bugs him.  So, we keep it pretty low key. 

I know there are probably 50 million blog posts today about love and their significant other. . . so here is the 50,000,001 post.

Mark & I went on our first date Feb. 3, 2004.  He had asked me out the night before. . . for that same night, but I *ahem* lied (not proud) and said I had to babysit that night. . . .after all I didn't look very cute after a long day at work! 

Anywho, the point is that when Valentine's Day rolled around, we had only been dating a couple weeks and I had told my brother weeks prior that I would babysit for him that night.  So, during the day we went to a track meet at Concordia and then decided to have an early supper.  Considering we had only been dating a short time, I didn't want there to be a lot of pressure on Valentine's Day. . . and there are only so many places in Moorhead to eat. . . so we went to Village Inn on V-Day!  It was actually really fun.  We were there super early, so we ate with all the old-timers.  It was so fun to see all these cute old couples or groups of little old ladies eating together. 

Fast forward to the next year - we are now 2 weeks past being engaged (he asked a year to the day of the first day he asked me out) and we decided to make Village Inn part of our tradition!  No waiting and inexpensive. . . plus, it was part of our story.

We have now gone to Village Inn every year since. 

I wish I could accurately put into words how I feel about Mark.  He is the best man that I know.  He is a servant to the core.  He loves unconditionally.  He gives without seeking a return.  He is my best friend.  I would rather sit around with him and do nothing than go do anything else with anyone else.

Mark is an amazing dad.  He continually challenges me to be a better mom.  Not by anything he says, but by how present he is with our kids all the time.  He truly enjoys being together as a family, playing with the kids, making up silly games.  Where as I struggle at times needing a break, he seems to never need a break (although I know he appreciates it when he gets one). 

Mark has a heart for God.  He is quiet about his faith, but it is strong nonetheless.  These last few years as we have journeyed together to build our faith as a couple, he is open to the things God has for him and for us as a family.

I used to hear people say that they love their spouse more today than the day they married them and I would wonder how that is possible.  I have learned that it is possible because you have experienced the ups and down of life with that person.  Mark has seen me with bed head and stinky breath.  He has seen me in a bad mood and when I whine about nothing.  He has walked with me through my inner struggles and fears.  He has rejoiced with me in the births of our kids.  He has laughed with me about nothing.  He has shared more inside jokes and silent communication than anyone else.  I can say that I truly do love Mark more today than the day I married him.

Happy Valentine's Day, Mark - and I can't wait to be that "cute old couple" at Village Inn someday! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fear and Freedom

This weekend Mark in going to be gone - and I am okay with it. 

For those of you who don't know much about me, that is a HUGE step.  My entire life I have been ruled by fear.  I could write a book on the ways I have allowed fear to shape the choices I have made in my life.  But I am learning this year that my fear is based more on my sense of control or lack of control.

I fear losing Mark - not as in him leaving me, but I fear him dying.  But what I fear more than that is that I won't know if he gets hurt or killed.  I fear that I won't be there at those final moments of his life.  I fear that he won't know how much I love him and that I will have regrets about how I have shown or not shown him love.

To those who have never dealt with fear, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., it is hard to understand how deeply fear can grip a person.  Fear is a powerful, powerful emotion and its grip is one that is not easily broken.  Fear is a seemingly never ending cycle.  For after my first panic attack at the ripe age of 8 (at least that's the first one I remember) I began to fear being fearful.  So I would do everything in my power to avoid the circumstance or situation that had caused me to panic.  Hard to do when the fear reared its ugly head anytime my mom left.  This made me going to school, her going to work, the store, out with my dad, etc. extremely difficult for me and my entire family.

As I grew up, those fears would ebb and flow. . . I would have months of relief to be followed by months of despair.  It truly was a roller coaster of emotions, the details of which may be for another post. 

Fast forward to my adult years.  The grip of fear in regards to my mom had finally broken away.  I lived a few precious years without the overwhelming fear of fear. 

As I began my relationship with Mark, it was free of fear.  Then came the summer of 2004 and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was on vacation with my parents, brother and his family.  I think it had to do with the fact that I knew this was the man I loved and wanted to be with for the rest of my life and the realization of that triggered in me the fear of losing him.  To most everyone else when they realize they love someone or find the love of their life it brings comfort, peace, joy.  To me it brought those things with a 1000 lb. side of fear.

God truly choose Mark for me, because he did not run away in the face of my panic attacks, illogical fears and emotions.  He didn't understand them, but he just loved me in spite of them.  I remember him telling me he wasn't going anywhere.  To a young woman who at times wanted to run away from herself, those were powerful words.

I have since had a lot of highs and lows with my fear.  I am just coming out of a really low time.  A time when once again I was consumed by fear and what it could do to me.  Fear does not just weigh me down.  It is a burden to those around me.  It is a heavy burden for Mark to bear, knowing that he is the 'source', for lack of a better term, of my fear.

With the realization though that my fear is based in not being in control, it has empowered me to really look at the things I fear and call them out.  I have no control over what happens to Mark whether he is in town or out of town.  I could talk to him on the phone during the day and the second we hang up he could get into a horrible car accident or some other freak thing.  Only God knows the number of days we are here on this earth.

So, I have been speaking life to myself the last few days and weeks.  I still struggle.  I still get that ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach when I can't reach Mark by phone or when I am waiting for him to return home after work.  I wish I could say that I didn't, but I am able to say in spite of the feeling of fear, I am getting so much better at not allowing it to rule my life and Mark's life.

I am happy that he gets this weekend away with a good friend.  He needs a break from our crazy life and I am looking forward to being able to give him the gift of being at peace and even looking forward to this time alone. 

There is freedom out there from this fear and I am on a journey to find it one day at a time.

I will find delight in embracing my past, living in the present and claiming my future, whatever it may be - free from fear.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Home Alone. . . .AHHH!

For the first time since I have had kids, I will have 24 hours alone. . . no spouse, no kids. . . .just me. 

Mark is going on his annual ice fishing trip with a good friend and so Friday night and part of Saturday it will just be me and the kids (take a moment and pray for our sanity).  Then Grandma and Grandpa come to the rescue get the kids and I have Saturday night and part of Sunday alone!

The thought is somewhat overwhelming actually as I am not quite sure what to do with myself anymore when it's just me.

Is that sad?  Or normal?

I am looking forward to the time though - I think I get so used to constantly having people around that I have forgotten the joy of alone time and how therapeutic  it can be.

So, I am trying to think of ideas of what to do.  I know I will go to the library and get a good book (yes, I am a nerd who loves to read) and I plan to rent at least one chick flick, but after that. . . . . my temptation is I should spend the time being productive and finish some projects I have at home, like:

1)  Actually have all out clothes put away in appropriate closets and dressers, instead of hanging in the laundry room and folded on the bed in the guest room.  Yes, it's sad and annoying and I still have yet to motivate myself to change it.

2)  Hang up pictures in our bedroom - bare walls drive me nuts and yet since we moved in we have gotten no further (or is it farther?) than bring the pictures into the bedroom and setting them on the floor.

3)  Pack up all the kids clothes that are too small and bring to Once Upon a Child or thrift store. 

4)  Scrub tub.  (okay in all honesty, I highly highly doubt I will run out of enough things to do that this would be at the top of my list. . . .but seriously it needs to be cleaned!!)

5)  Go through all the kids toys and pack up toys they no longer use or that are missing pieces and throw or bring to thrift store.

6)  Go grocery shopping for food that makes sense to have on hand so I can make an actual meal that makes sense instead of having hot dogs, PB & J, and grapes for supper.  Seriously.

7)  Paint our downstairs bathroom.  It is neon blue - ya, not kidding.  I am sure the people who lived there before us were wonderful people, but seriously enough with the blue.  Six rooms in our house were blue when we moved in.  There are now only 4 1/2 that are blue (I know, we have a lot of work to do), but this neon shade of blue has got to be the next to go.

8)  Decide on color for downstairs bathroom.  Okay, so perhaps this item on the list should be before painting, but I think we all know that by this point on the list. . . I am not getting any of this stuff done this weekend!

If you have ideas of things I should do this weekend or if you just want to live vicariously through me (as I do through people who go on vacations with or without kids, or who no longer have to change any diapers - ever), feel free to let me know!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm so excited. . . and I just can't hide it. . . . I know, I know, I know. . .

. . . if you are still reading after that horribly annoying title I am either. . .

. . .honored that you deem my writing so magnificent that you choose to ignore the frequent occasional rare moments of immaturity. . . . 


. . .convinced you are a die hard Pointer Sisters (or 80's music in general) fan and figure I must be super cool to know that song!

Right?  Right?  Hello?


Anywho. . .moving on.  I really am excited today.  For some reasons I won't share yet (and yes I hate when people do that too) and for other reasons I will.

I am excited that today is Friday, my favorite day of the week.

I am excited that I am going out with Mark, my parents, and brother tonight to a movie and then appetizers.  NO KIDS!

I am excited that it is sunny and 30 degrees - I went out at lunch today with just my jean jacket (a cute, trendy one not an 80's one. . . so hush) on. . . and of course pants and shoes - sheesh!. . . I'm not that kind of girl!

I am excited that my baby girl is done with antibiotics and so *hopefully* this means diarrhea and diaper rash will cease.

I am excited that even though I have a headache for the 9th (or is it 10th. . . who knows) day in a row, they are not lasting all day every day. . .it's the little things, you know?

And lastly, I am excited that I live a wonderful life (I hope you read that in the most sincere, non-cheesy way possible).  I do not have a perfect life and some days (or weeks) are just plain yucky.  But I have an amazing husband, two great kids, great parents, siblings, church, etc. and I just can't complain about any of it!  At least not today! ;)

Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How do you decide?

I truly am asking this in a hypothetical, but not rhetorical manner.  We are not contemplating any major life changing decisions right now. . . unless you count what color the downstairs bathroom should be and how on earth to teach our son to not whine for everything. . . .

How do you make the big decisions in your life?  The ones like. . .

. . .what career should I choose,
. . .should I switch careers,
. . .should we have kids,
. . .should we have more kids,
. . .should we buy this house or that house,
. . .should we move to this city or stay where we are at,
. . .do I stay home with the kids or go back to working outside the home? . . .
. . .and all the others that I can't think of but I am sure we all encounter throughout life.

Do you pray, seek counsel from friends, family, go with your gut?  Does it take you months or days. . . or hours to decide?  Do you find you and your spouse (if you have one) typically agree or is there usually a compromise?  Do you feel good after making a big decision or do you have 'buyers remorse'?

I am curious. . . . and I love to hear from you . . . . . . . . .all 4 of you ;)!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Delighted. . . ummmm. . . working on it!

So, I have been feeling bad about my last post and how negative and whiny it was.  Yes, it is an honest portrayal of how I have felt recently, but there was no hope, no even in this I will overcome. . . so I will now see the positives.

I am thankful that my headaches are just that - headaches.  They are not a brain tumor, cancer, or any other life threatening disease.

I am thankful for the miracle of medicine and doctors (medical and chiropractic) and the options that are out there for pain management.

I am thankful that I know the Great Physician and that healing comes from Him. . . in whatever form he chooses.

So, I will choose to delight myself in Him. . . . in spite of my circumstances.

Oh, and my meds finally kicked in again so I am pain free - amazing how that helps perspective too!

Feeling fuzzy

I have a headache. . . sounds pretty tame, normal, take some Advil and call it good, right?  Well, this headache is going on day 7. . . . Advil is no longer my friend after taking 4 every 4 hours for a week. 

So I went to the doctor, added new daily med (on top of the one I already take) and got a prescription for drugs to take for pain. 

Went to pharmacy to fill pain med prescription only to find out they no longer make that medicine.  Of course this is after 5pm and so the clinic is now closed.  Wait till next morning, go to clinic only to find out my doctor is in Grand Forks today and no other doctor feels comfortable prescribing something else. . . . which in a normal state of mind I understand. . . but I was not in a normal state of mind.  I was in the Hello-I-Have-Not-Been-Pain-Free-In-6-Days. . . . .and oh my kid didn't sleep worth crap last night, so give me some freaking drugs!!!!! 

Alas, Mark & I called pharmacies in the area and found one that had 20 pills left (which will get me thru about 4 days)- I felt like a crack addict when I told the pharmacist to please hold them for me, I would be right over. 

And so I took pain meds. . . and they helped. . . for a little bit.  Until Mr. Headache came back laughing and taunting me. . . . SO FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I am waiting for doctor's office to call back so I can see if there is a new magic pill out there for me to try.

I am usually pretty good about dealing with my constant headaches, but every once in a while, I get plain sick of them. . . . and today is one of those days.

Okay, enough whining. . . I think my 2 year old is rubbing off on me.  He has taken the art of whining to a whole new level.  Seriously, if whining was an Olympic sport, Isaac would be a gold medalist.  His whining in the morning while rushing around to get ready and out the door. . . wow, if it wasn't so irritating and obnoxious, I would almost be proud of how tenacious he is and his stamina to whine about the same thing for so long.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!