Is it just me?

This week has been crazy for getting kids out the door to school.  I’m not even asking for on-time and organized at this point!  LOL!

Tell me if this sounds like your house.  The alarm goes off.  You, mom, need 10 more minutes.  You hit the snooze alarm until that make or break point of “If I don’t get up now, we’ll ALL be late”.  Then you walk into the kid’s room.  Waking them up is like talking to the wall.  No one wants to get up, except maybe the dog because they want to go out.  Child #1 finally gets up.  On to Child #2 (almost like a wash, rinse, repeat).  Now they’re moving and it’s your turn.

The warm water hitting your skin makes you want to take the longest shower possible.  It feels good.  But you only have time to do the basics.  Shaving your legs will have to wait until tomorrow. Dry time.  I don’t know what your routine consists of, but there is time for dressing, and changing a shirt once or twice to get the right look for today.  Brush your teeth, do your hair, moisturize, make up and deodorant (not my order mind you!). You can face the day.

Running downstairs, one child (we’ll call the good one!) is ready.  Child #2 is a lump on the couch.  Still in PJs, no breakfast and if you’re lucky, the book bag was packed last night.  You look at the clock and you have 10 minutes.

In my house, I bribe good child with driving to school instead of taking the bus if they take the dogs out while I get Child #2 ready.  Now it’s the fast pace of finding clothes… excuse the fact that the clothes are in the dresser, or the dryer, or more likely in the laundry basket folded.  But it’s the specific shirt that is wanted.  Mom gives it the old college try to find it (or your SOL!).  Mom saves the day.  Always.  Child #2 is dressed and getting shoes on.  Mom grabs mini-muffins and says “Let’s Go!”.  Child #2 eats in the car with the usual complaints of “I’m still tired.” but we make it to school on time.  A few words of encouragement and a big “I love you, have a great day” before the door slams shut and I’ve done it.  We made it.  All without a drop of precious coffee.  Child #1 gets dropped off, as promised, and then it’s the commute to work.

Not everyday feels this way.  Some days I’m surprised and kids are dressed and ready to go before I’ve even gotten out of the shower. But where is the fun in that.  LOL!

But I can’t be the only one.  I think the worst part is that it’s only October.  We still have the winter months to deal with (when no one wants to leave the house because of the cold).  This is why I enjoy the single Monday holidays off.  It’s like freedom to not be bound by the morning routines!

I think I need a nap already….

Instapot, I Love You!

Ok.  I bought into it.  Not long ago, I wrote about our purchase of the Instapot … an O.M.G. I love this thing.  One pot cooking, flavorful and painfully easy!  Even I can do it and I have an issue with following directions when cooking!

I took my first foray into the world of Instapot cooking last weekend.  My husband has been the guinea pig the first few times with marginal success.  The “burn” warning on the pot has been making him crazy, although we were able to salvage one meal.  But this was mine.  I was insistent on making Chicken Soup.  I found my recipe online and we got the ingredients.  This was looking good for me.

I start chopping up the veggies for the sauté portion of the instructions.  I’m secretly very glad my husband purchased a William Sonoma veggie chopper multi-tool for his birthday.  Cutting these things by hand would have caused a few bad words to come out of my mouth, especially when chopping the onion.

 Not so bad yet!

Following the sautéing step, I put in the chicken broth, stock, chicken, water and miscellaneous spices.  And I hit the soup function.  Maybe I’m inept or something (which is entirely likely), but I couldn’t figure out if this thing was working.  I ended up turning it off and on a few times, just not fully convinced the pressure cooking was starting!  After hitting what I thought was the right button and a few noises inside the pot later, I think I got a gold star. It was cooking!  Hallelujah!

7 minutes later, or 30 when you include time to pressurize and depressurize, it was time for the noodles.  Sauté function, here I come.  I knew I could do that!  Wouldn’t you know, it didn’t take long for those things to get to the right consistency.  This concoction was smelling good.  But I wasn’t quite convinced yet.  I’ve made chicken soup before and it smelled great, but tasted like chicken water.  Nothing to write home about.  This was going to be different (or I would give up my apron for good).

Guess what?  It was SOUP!  Alas!  I’ve done it.  Even the little people in the house tried and liked it… and even asked for more!  Say what?!  That doesn’t happen often!

I forgot to take a picture but considering this was to the top, I’m taking the win.

It was an exciting victory.  We even took some to our neighbor just for the heck of it (with rave reviews coming back).

So hello instapot.  Welcome to my world.  Oh, and more chicken soup in our future…. maybe even tonight!

Camping, the cold and the thaw out

Well, we survived it.  Family camping with the cub scouts.  It happens every fall and spring.  You get lucky some trips and not so lucky others.  This one was in between for me.  If I’m being honest (and why wouldn’t I), it was fun to be outdoors, with the kids enjoying nature and spending time with people I really enjoy being with. The weather was actually great.  Nice fall weather, no rain and a camp fire.

My Cub Scout is now a Webelo scout.  That means he’ll be an official Boy Scout in February 2020.  It’s a little scary since we started this scouting journey in first grade, 3 years ago.  But while we were gathered around the campfire with our pack, I was a proud co-den leader watching my scouts participate in the flag retirement ceremony.  It was the best part of the weekend.  S’mores the size of my hand with jumbo marshmallows was a close second.

Now, before I go on, this was our first chilly weekend.  We had gotten into the high 80s weather wise earlier in the week.  That morning, we asked Jakzr if he wanted to spend the night knowing it was going to be cold.  He insisted he did.  We tried once more.  “If we get the tent up and you want to go home, we’re not leaving.”  We stayed the course.

So after the campfire, we retired to the tents.  More than half of our den left after the fire.  In the back of my head, I knew I should have texted Scout Mom to see what they were doing.  DOH!  Remember to do that next time.

We had two tents this trip.  One for the kids, one for us (and Mack… Lou went to overnight at daycare).  I got the kids all sorted after a quick trip to the bathroom and tucked them in for the night…. hoping Miss M would get past her annoyance with her brother and cuddle with him to keep them both warm.

Hubby and I had our own tent with Mack.  We have a twin air mattress and thermal sleeping bags.  Of course our typical banter can be heard by the kids just 5 feet away from our vinyl tent (LOL!). We heard a groan after a particularly bad joke!  We finally settle down and realize Mack is cuddled up on top of Hubby’s sleeping bag. It was clear that love won out.  Hubby with his warm-but-not-warm-enough-blanket was all that he had while the old boy had the sleeping bag plus two, yes two, blankets on top of him.

What?  We couldn’t let the 13 year old dog freeze in the cold!  What would you have done?

But it didn’t stop there.  Oh, hilarity continued to ensure.  I wiggle into my sleeping bag, unzipping it but not quite able to get it back up all the way.  At first, I didn’t really try.  I was still in that mix of too hot and too cold.  My pillow became Mack’s bed.  I figured if I had the ground, I’d make the best of it.  It wasn’t terrible.  And it was bigger than my own, so less of me was on the hard ground.  That’s my thinking, and that’s what I’m sticking with!

The night was spent with waking every hour or so.  The temps began to drop and naturally, there was a draft in the tent.  I think we were more concerned with Mack than we were ourselves.  Hubby spent the first part of the night feeling to make sure he was warm enough and re-covering him with the blankets to keep him that way.  I kept covering my head with my sleeping bag and hoping my breath would warm me, shivering when I realized my zipper was stuck and there was no way to fix it alone.  Desperate, I spent time with my cell phone in my mouth guiding the light so my hands could fix it.  No luck.  I was doomed to freeze.

Around 2, we heard Jakzr wake and make his way to our tent with a frustrated “Stupid zipper!” comment that made us both laugh, as he tried to close up the tent for his sister.  He makes his way in, dropping his pillow in one spot and making his way to the spot he wants.  Guess what.  Mack chooses that moment to move and jump onto the pillow!  Hubby immediate grabs the sleeping bag!  Love won out but now it’s time to get warm!

My frozen a$$ snuggles with the boy (thank goodness for boy heat!).  We grab my spare blanket from Mack and drape it over me, Jakzr and Mack!  That got us through the next hour!  It was also my turn to check on Mack every 45 minutes.  I think he was starting to think I was nuts.

Hubby seemed to have fallen asleep shortly after that.  My hips and back were starting to feel every lump on the ground and I was getting colder. That damn zipper just wouldn’t work. I snuggled into the boy a little more.

Morning came eventually.  Miss M woke, cold, but seemingly in a better mood than the rest of us.  I located my sweatshirt to wear it myself, giving it up 10 minutes later.  We could not pack up fast enough.  The promise of the warm car, warm coffee, sleep… a few Aleve won out.

But we survived!  The chill finally left me about mid-day.  The nap felt good and the back and hips… well, its nothing a few more Advil won’t cure!

Would I do it again?  Yup.  I just have standards now.  A new air mattress and temps that don’t go under 50.  I think that’s a fair compromise!

 

Self Care

Reading the last few posts, my anxiety clearly got the better of me.  Sorry for being a Debbie-downer.  I realize I can’t hide in my writing.  It all just seems to come out.  Add in a bunch of stressors, and I fell apart.  It’s hard to admit that.  But the part that I look at is that I’m able to dust myself off, regroup and be “me” again.  You know, the upbeat, happy, focused me.

I had lunch with Boy Mom today.  It’s been a few weeks since we were able to get together because of our crazy schedules and such.  So this was much needed.  It’s still hard to be so open to people about my anxiety without feeling like I’m going to be judged, but I knew this was a safe space.  I had a ear that was willing to listen which is all I needed.  Five minutes to just talk.  It got such a weight off my shoulders. Then we were able to move on to other things and laugh.. her laugh is the best!

Relief is such an important feeling and it dawned on me that as moms, we really don’t take care of ourselves.  Well, most of us don’t.  WHY???  I took a few days off after working on Sunday.  I still got sucked into a few work things but I remember my hubby telling me to do something to take care of me.  It was wonderful to do that today.  I slept in.  Hubby took the kids to school and dealt with the routine shuffling of getting everyone out the door on time.  I took a nap today.  That was a little migraine related, but I still did it for me.  And between us, I went and bought Jakzr new PJs for Pajama Day at school tomorrow to not have to do the hunt for the matching shirt and pants.  You totally would have done the same thing, right?

The best part is one more day left at home on my three days off.  Hubby is working tonight, so he’ll sleep til the afternoon and the kids are going to school.  I’m planning to spend the AM catching up with my training sessions that I’ve been doing and working towards my small business goals.  It’s really not hard when it’s so much fun.

We’re also going camping over the weekend.  Packing and shopping is necessary for this.  Shopping for food since it will be a group… packing because it’s going to be cold.  Can I tell you how excited I will be for that!  Any excuse to wear a sweatshirt!

A little nature, fresh air and family time.  So opposite of last week and I can’t wait!  Woo hoo!!

But as I look forward and focus back on me, I’m going to start scheduling at least 20 minutes for me.  Even if it’s a bath with the door locked or sitting in the car with the radio on…. ME TIME!

Share with me how you get me time during your day or week!  I need inspiration!

Moms unite!

Inspiration Found

One of my favorite things about training and coaching calls is the inspiration or change in perspective I get.  Full of anxiousness leading into last weekend because of something big at work, reflection from training last night really clicked.

Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real

OMG.  It’s so true.  75% of my anxiety leading into my work event was exactly this.  I say 75% because my 25% was what I knew could happen.  That’s the fault of many years working in operations.  False evidence was actually quite real evidence!

Luckily, everything when perfectly.  Whew!

But I choose to write this because the anxiety wins too often these days.  The overwhelming fear and stress contributes to so much.  It really stems from changes that I never anticipated, much less knew how to handle.  Losing mom at 31 was never in my wildest ideas.  Even when we had the usual mother-daughter arguments, I never, ever imagined adulthood without her.  Heck, my sister and I would argue over who’d “get” mom in her old age!  We’d debate over who’d have the better yard, the bigger house, kids, etc.  It was always a game to top the other.  Dad was never part of the conversation.  We always pictured him on a motorcycle riding cross country!  Some days, I don’t think we were far off!

Fear is a unique feeling.  At work, I manage the change curve. I’m the calm one.  The one who seems to always accept that change is going to happen so why fight it.  My perspective is often unique.

I don’t fear being a parent.  I don’t fear being a wife.  I don’t fear being a grown up (but there are days that I don’t want to be one… I’m sure you can relate!).  I accept that I make mistakes.  I am not perfect!  So where does it come from and how can I fix it?

I’ve been hard on myself lately and I let it get the better of me.  Sitting here on the other side of it, it drives me crazy that it got the better of me.  So I do what I do best.  Dust myself off.  Move forward and give myself some grace.

So I’m here and focused.  Staying positive like always!

Anxiety wins again

Since the summer, I’ve been struggling with my anxiety in many ways.  I’m anxious at times, nervous, worried.  I wouldn’t call myself depressed, but maybe that’s the underlying issue.  When I spoke to my dad the other day, he asked how I was doing with my “depression stuff” and it made me feel weird.  In a “is that what it is” way or in a “oh, someone else called it out” type of way.  I’ve shared that I’ve started seeing a counselor.  Truth is, I think I was on my way to a nervous breakdown of sorts.

Between counseling, self-help and being supported by my amazing husband, my stress has eased up.  It’s not perfect, but I am glad that I was able to realize when something was wrong.  The odd thing is that it’s not my usual stress reaction and that freaks me out.  I used to get what I call grief stress.  When I start getting in that frantic mode because things are too busy and I’m juggling a lot of things, it’s the time I miss my mom the most.  I know it almost instantly when I get to that point.  I miss my mom every day, but generally not to the point I’m crying over it.  The tears are sign #1 to slow down.

So whatever this new version of stress response is, I’m over it!  I get physical pain in various places for a brief few minutes.  My old techniques of talk it out, or deep breathing, aren’t cutting it half the time.  I try to be outwardly positive and not let on that it hurts, but it can be tough.

Sharing that I’m in counseling is tough for me.  Once upon a time, I thought it was necessary but was a form of weakness for myself to do or maybe more so, to admit..  After going this summer, I realized that I probably should have done it a long time ago, despite my own fears.  Maybe I could have nipped this feeling a long time ago.  But I can’t change that so I look forward.

I’ve started trying to slow down.  Not take on more than I can handle.  Learning the word NO has been very hard.  As someone who jumps in feet first, it’s hard to wait for others to jump in and volunteer… or not.  I jumped in as a Girl Scout leader because those around me didn’t.  I saw the hesitation around the table and just couldn’t leave knowing I could do something more.  I have never regretted that decision.  But that’s usually how I ended up doing extras, until I got in a groove and then just waved my hand saying “I’ll do it!”.  I was teased gently the other day about that.  I spend an hour or more with these kids and I forget about everything that bothers me.  They give me joy.

As someone who is typically more private, I don’t like to just throw this all out there… I do worry about what other people think.  If this is “out there”, how do I protect myself?  I’m not looking for sympathy or for someone to worry about me.  I still want to stand on my own two feet.  I don’t need a crutch.  I’ve always, always been independent.  I’m not going to stop now!

So I’m not sure that I had a point to all of this.  Maybe if anything, it’s be honest with yourself.  But also make sure you have some awesome people in your corner.  I have amazing friends.  That helps a bunch.  But my husband is my best friend.  Without him, I don’t know I’d be as confident as I am!

You too will find your path!

 

Helllooooo??!

When I typed out tonight’s title, I felt like I was in a large, empty room seeking human contact.  Almost like I was in the movie “The Truman Show”.  But no, I’m right here, on my couch listening to my crazies (sitting next to me or in my head… or both, whatever!).  I’m having one of those weeks that I could have circled on my calendar weeks ago and just knew it was going to be insanity.

As a TV geek by profession, I can tell you that when the “it” show is going to air, the run up to it is frantic.  Or at least it is in my world.  Anything with intense scrutiny would be like this, right?  The main focus is the audience experience.  How to make it awesome, look good and keep retention.  No pressure right?  Add in that I’m an operational person and any change to the plan immediately makes its impact.  Crazy, right?  But honestly, these are the days where it’s fun.  These are the days I’m reminded why I love what I do.  Next week is when we get to hear how we did, what people are saying.  It’s a really awesome experience.

So that’s why I’ve been silent here.  8+ hours of work, followed by commutes, scout meetings and good old fashioned exhaustion, and here I am.  2 days overdue on blog posts.  Part of me wants to feel guilty.  Part of me wants to feel disappointment in myself for not getting everything done.  BUT I’m here now.  I’ve dusted myself off and I’m looking at the positive.  If you’ve missed me, doesn’t that mean I’m doing something … right perhaps? Well, if you’ve read this far, I’ll take it as a yes!

On Monday, following what was one of the most frustrating of days for more reasons than above, I got home late, hubby was working OT and I had a training session at 8.  That meant I had about 30 minutes with my husband over dinner.  Dinner conversation evolved when the boy decided to tell me about a bathroom experience.  Is this the joy of boyhood?  Luckily, the perplexed look on my face made them all stop.  It was more than my brain could handle.  I began to prepare myself for my training class conference call and thought, a nice glass of wine might help today.  I grabbed my glass, the bottle opener… but forgot the bottle.  I’ve been meaning to open this bottle for weeks!  After a chuckle, I’ve just said to myself “at least I’m getting closer!”

I feel like laughing at myself at least gives me the extra something to help me push past whatever has my focus.  Well, that and the unwavering optimism I’ve always had.  Can’t hurt right?

Then today, I looked at my desk at home.  Total chaos.  You didn’t expect me to say it was organized right?  There was something in me that was frantic over it.  I couldn’t look at it for one more minute!  I had to do a lot of conference calls today, so I reorganized it in between taking notes.  Thank goodness that I figured out I have an easier time focusing on calls when I’m doing something easy.  So moving papers around was the ticket today!

You’re probably trying to figure that out, right?  Well, when I was little, I remember watching my mom on the phone with my grandmother.  She would doodle over everything – a newspaper, envelope, her address book.  Circles, patterns, you name it.  I kept her address book because I wanted to have something with her handwriting.  Many pages are covered in them.  So for me, I’ve found my groove.

Well, that’s all I can muster for tonight.  Time to send a note about another scout meeting tomorrow and some must see tv for me – A Million Little Things comes on tonight!  Can’t wait!

Til tomorrow!

My Daughter with the Heart of Gold

Ugh.  It happened again. Morgan fell in love with another animal.  I was working an event at a local Pub and it was a dog event.  Two tables over was a rescue.  With two ADORABLE little dogs.  They were 13 weeks old.  The cutest ears, puppy barks and were very soft.

Miss M was over the moon with these two.  One boy, one girl.  I reminded her of daddy’s rule – you have to get rid of one before you can get another (and for the record, we’re not getting rid of Mack).  She tried hard.  Especially when the lady told “us” (more like the group of people around the table, for the record) that if you fostered, you get first dibs on adoptions after they get fixed this week.

It got worse.  M’s eyes got bigger, saying “Mom, we can foster!”.

I told her no and she commented that she couldn’t wait for daddy to come to the event and see these two. 5 minutes later, I turn and look and someone is HOLDING the girl pup.  I knew it was going to be BAD.

She comes back to my table.  Massively in love.  I made her call her dad.  I figured if she didn’t listen to me, he would get through to her.  She grabs my phone and calls.  5 minutes later, or maybe 10, she’s back and in full blown shut down mode.  Dad said no.

But I have to give her credit.  When I went to ask her about it, she just told me she needed a few minutes to calm down.  Unfortunately, that never happened.  A half hour later, I had to text my wonderful husband to come get her.  I was disappointed that she left, because I like doing these events with her.

When I got home, I was a mix between mad and upset.  Before she left, I had asked her for help and she reacted very unlike her – even for when she’s mad.  Hubby had to work tonight, so after he left, it was time for the chat.

My beautiful, wonderful daughter fessed up pretty quickly that she was just very upset.  She also admitted that in her state, she shut down and doesn’t really remember much about what she said or did.  That tells me how overwhelmed she really gets.

I am proud of her for admitting this.  Most grownups can’t identify when they’re that upset, let alone how they really feel.  Yet at 12, here she is open enough to get it.

We really didn’t know there was going to be adoptable dogs there.  It would have changed my decision.  But for the kid who has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 5, I can’t really blame her.  She was a vet for 4 years for Halloween.  Doesn’t that show you the commitment here?  Heck, she’s even wanted to volunteer at the animal shelter (which would be awesome to do if it wasn’t 35-45 minutes away).

My poor girl.  She fell in love hard.  But she has a heart of gold.  Who could really blame her?