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Juggling Change

14 Aug

I’m experiencing one of those seasons of my life where everything seems to be going right. I told a friend last night that it all seems a little too good to be true lately and that I’m just waiting for a ball {or a few, but hopefully not all} to drop. I can’t help it, it’s the pessimist in me.

The kids and I are squeezing the last drops out of summer with evenings at the pool, Tuesdays at the farm, and playdates with friends before school starts up again next month. We had a blast at the beach last weekend, the kids brought home sand in every.single.thing, but it was so worth the smiles on their faces I caught on camera while they dug, made pizzas and strawberry pies and rolled in it for hours.

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I started my part-time job yesterday, and so far, so good. I am confident it is going to work out. But it’ll likely be November before we really know if it’ll be the right fit for the long-term. I hope so.

We have one last trip before we can settle in for the real end of summer and the start of fall. One of my husband’s cousins is getting married, so we’ll be heading out to Wisconsin for the festivities and I’m so excited to get to spend time with the family. Saying prayers to the travel gods for safe, tantrum-free travel with our little people.

These years of our kids being little, this season of our life is right now. I’m trying to teach myself every day to stay present and enjoy this time because I know when I look back I’ll feel it flew by too fast. It already seems like the past five years have buzzed by.

I used to dread change, would feel the anxiety and fearful anticipation crawl under my skin, but I can sense my attitude shifting. I’m beginning to love the transformations of the seasons of my life. I never realized when I was in the throes of a career which I loved and which loved me back, that within a few years I’d want to have a family and things would have to change.

My illness emerged before I’d have a chance to come face-to-face with the issue of opt-in or opt-out. I had to opt-out for a very different reason and I’ll never know how life would have played out in the career arena for me, had I not been dealt the mental illness card.

The thing is, I’m okay with not having a traditional career. I’m content with being able to use all of my skills to their greatest capabilities because I’m dividing my time efficiently and effectively. I’m a wife, a mom, working part-time, writing part-time, and I’m also producing a show over these next nine months. Sure, there are plenty of times when I feel like I’m spread too thin. But ask any mom if she ever feels she has the perfect amount of time for everything and everyone in her life and of course she’s going to say No. No way, Jose.

This life which my husband and I have built is not perfect. But its perfectly ours. And each time a new change arises, I’m the first to lean in for extra hugs because they help. He’s always there, with a smile, to wrap his arms around me and say a simple, “It’s okay.”

He’s right. If a ball drops, it’ll be okay. I’ll just pick it back up and start juggling again.

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The Best Summer Camp Counselor. Ever.

15 Jul

TheBestCampCounselorEverThe best summer camp counselor. Ever.

“Tomorrow I’m sending my kids to a three-night, four-day all-inclusive summer camp for FREE. It’s called “Sleep-away camp at Grandma and Grandpa’s house” and they are super excited. (The kids, that is. My parents are excited too, but are also just a teeny bit nervous that they’ll survive this little experiment.) I, however, have faith that everyone will have an exceptional time.

Including my husband and I who will be home enjoying the peace and quiet.

Sometimes parents just need to take a break from their offspring.”   ….please click over to WhatToExpect.com’s Word of Mom blog to read the rest of my article which I wrote last week. It was just posted today.

Thanks so much for reading my work!

Back to Normal Life

18 Jun

AirplaneHomeOur view on the flight home from Cancun.

It feels good to be home. Terrible-two-girl-tantrums and all.

There is nothing like the anticipation leading up to combined with the time spent enjoying vacation to the fullest.

We definitely milked that vacation for all it was worth. After nearly a week of indulging in gourmet meals (sometimes brought directly to our room), one-too-many drinks during and after dinner, and the lazy, I’m-not-going-to-exercise-I’m-on-vacation mentality, lounging by the beach and pool with fruity, boozy drink in hand for six days, my body was ready for a detox when all the fun came to an end. All good things do end sometime.

 

We’d soon be back to our regular family routines. But first, we had one more day with all the family together to celebrate Father’s Day at the marina where my in-laws keep their boat.

Smiles all around as week took a leisurely ride around the bay before circling back to the dock to gather around the picnic table for a lunch spread fit for a king, three actually, courtesy of my mother-in-law. Owen and Vivian squealed and giggled as they chased each other in the grass, busy bees at work playing while we ate.

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They displayed for us all what was spinning around within my heart: joy and gratitude.

How did I get so lucky with these three amazing, loving, kind, smart, funny, fathers in my life? They’ve each given their children so much in life by just being themselves. And I’m so proud of each of them.

 

Today, I find myself back in my little mothering moments.

Rising early to the sound of my son’s voice at my bedside.

Calming the third tantrum of the day before naptime by the little miss.

Smiling as I gaze out the window above our kitchen sink, washing fruit for lunch.

Piling laundry into the washer, folding the load that just finished.

Blowing bubbles on the deck for over an hour, surprised at how big it seems they’ve gotten in just a week.

Catching up with friends I’ve been missing, making dates to get together soon because it’s been too long.

Crafting with the kids, snapping pictures of their masterpieces as we go.

Picking up the same toy I picked up a few hours before. Repeat. Repeat.

Pondering what to attempt to make for dinner.

Eagerly awaiting my husband’s arrival home at the end of the day.

These are tiny moments in my day. Each day a little different than the next, but always full of my three favorite people living life within my favorite place to be, always. Home.

 

Linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary who has just arrived with her family in their new home in Austin, TX. Welcome home, Heather!

Memories Captured

10 Jun

MemoriesCapturedcollage

I often have to pinch myself.

I sometimes can’t believe that I got my wish.

One boy, one girl. My sweet little munchkins who I often catch playing together in the corner of the family room. Building forts, having picnics on our maroon couch blanket all spread out on the beige carpet, or just running around the house chasing each other in their superhero capes.

He leads her in the mischief they get into when I’m not looking. Such a loving, doting big brother. The way he puts his arm around her protectively, leaning in to kiss her forehead which comes up to right where his lips are as he turns his head, eyes still on me. I love how he loves her, how she looks up to him and follows his every move.

The fun they’ve been having lately playing dress-up is just so silly and adorable. I’ve found her tangled up in his jammie shirt, while he’s running down the stairs with his underpants on his head exclaiming how he is “The Underpants Man!”

When I think back to the year we spent planning our wedding, and the months when I was trying to pick out our first dance song, I smile and my heart swells with wonder. There were two songs we had narrowed it down to: True Companion and One Boy, One Girl….

We ended up going with True Companion and there couldn’t be a better description of my love. He is my perfect compliment, my true companion.

But whenever I hear the song we didn’t choose, my eyes tear up and I think of how incredibly lucky I am that my dreams came true.

Rainy Wedding Days

20 May

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Last night, before turning out the light in the guest room of my brother’s house, I pulled a slim white album off the corner bookshelf at the foot of the bed. I knew what the album contained before opening it. Some of the photos were familiar, but I marveled at how I found there were several which I seemed to be looking at as if for the first time.

They looked so young to me. I tried to imagine the emotions they must have been feeling on that day. Fear, excitement, joy, and a little anticipation for a new sort of freedom thrown in for good measure.

My dad, he stood so straight and proud. Decked out in his dress uniform. Short military haircut, boyish grin. His eyes sparkled with an obvious happiness.

My mom, a vision in her long-sleeved, poofy-shoulder white gown. With lace detail and tulle veil. Her eyes gazing nervously into her future.

At that moment, when they became husband and wife, I wonder if they stopped to think during all the buzz and exhilaration of the day. Did their future flash before their eyes?

Did they envision two kids and the single-family house with a white picket fence? Did they ever think, in their wildest dreams, that they’d eventually have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law who so perfectly fit their own daughter and son? Or that many years down the road they’d be the proud grandparents of four beautiful grandchildren ranging in ages from eight weeks to almost 5 – two boys and two girls?

I guess our family has a thing for keeping things in balance.

If my parents felt on their wedding day anything like I felt on mine, they experienced a roller coaster of emotions, tied together with a string of nerves. I just wanted everything to be perfect and so naturally, it rained. Not just a little sprinkle. No, actually, it was quite the opposite. The sky threatened to open up from the second we woke up that Saturday. But of course, it held off until that critical moment for every bride. Just as my dad and I were getting out of the limo to enter the church filled with our friends and family, rain fell from the sky in buckets.

The rain must have brought with it the good luck that everyone says a rainy day wedding brings. It also rained on my parent’s wedding day, forty-two years ago this October. For me, married for almost 10 years, I most certainly feel extremely lucky in love.

And I have a new-found appreciation for a rainy day.

“Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.” – William Shakespeare

{It’s been raining all day today, my last day here in Florida. It was a perfect day to write, with the melody of raindrops falling fast and furious as I type out and post what I wrote this morning. Tonight it’s back home to Virginia, to my little family who I’ve missed so much these past 4 days.}

Song: Five Minute Friday {7}

17 May

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In a few hours I’ll be leaving on a jet plane. Flying down south to meet a shiny new face, the newest, littlest member of our family who was born in March. I have yet to hear the song of her tiny cries, her coos and gurgles. I will say goodbye to my three lovies with kisses and hugs, breathing in their scent in an attempt to keep it with me while I’m gone.

For three nights, four days I’ll hear the song of my brother’s family, a newborn in the house, demanding the attention for bottles, diaper changes, snuggles. I can’t wait to hold her, to spend time just sitting and talking with my brother, sister-in-law, mom, dad, nephew. Because time slows down a little when I’m on vacation, listening to the song of my sweet family which I’ll wrap around me until I have to say goodbye on Monday.

When I’ll return to the familiar song of my own family, waiting patiently for my return.

 

Five Minute Friday

 

 

A Life I Love: Blogging for Mental Health

15 May

Sometimes it’s hard to come to terms with the reality of what life has thrown at me. Why me?

Sometimes it’s beyond scary to admit that I’m struggling. I feel so alone.

Sometimes I fear that my friends will turn their back on me if they know the whole truth. How am I going to share everything?

Sometimes it’s terrifying to look back at what happened in the past because of what could have been. I’ve changed so much in such a short amount of time.

Sometimes I look around at all I have, the decisions I’ve made, how far I’ve come and I am in complete awe of my life’s fullness. How did I get so lucky?

On days like today, when the sun is so far lost behind the piles of sheer white and grey clouds, I find myself wrestling with my emotions. On days like today it’s so easy to remember if I let myself go there. The dark days, the weeks and weeks of bleak, dull depression that had wrapped its claws around me like a cat that caught a field mouse. The not being able to pull myself out of bed in the morning and the falling asleep on the couch in the late afternoon because it was so much easier to dwell in my grief than it was to push it aside to try to function normally. I haven’t felt that heaviness, the crushing weight of desperation, in seven years.

 

And for that I have so much gratitude.

 

But on days like today, twinges of it come back. And I don’t push them away. I let them come and I let myself acknowledge them, if only for a moment. Because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to ever forget what I’m fighting for every day.

 

My mental health.

 

Not only for myself. But for my family. For my incredibly laid-back, fun-loving, funny, intelligent and handsome husband. The one who was by my side from the first day it all hit to the present. He is my better half and has all the qualities that I lack which is why we fit each other so well.

 

Together we completed our family with first a boy, and then a girl. Two little people who everyone says look just like us. I couldn’t be more proud of them, of their personalities which shine and twinkle like the stars in a deep black clear summer night sky. Each night, as we read stories before bed and snuggle in close, and every morning, when I nuzzle their still-sleepy noses to wake up so we can start our day, I take time to breathe in their scents. It’s hard to believe that they’re mine. I will always be their mom. He will always be my son. She will always be my daughter. And I want them to always be proud of me.

 

My life is the reason why I keep fighting. My family, my friends, my heart. They all deserve to see me succeed.

 

Each day may be a new battle, but every one I win makes me stronger for the next fight. At the end of the day, when the sun is setting and I see the brilliance peeking out from behind a mess of clouds, I know I’m staring into my future.

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And I’m nothing but enthusiastic for what lies ahead.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

Comfort: Five Minute Friday {6}

10 May

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COMFORT

Back then, newly sick and with the fear of a mental illness diagnosis looming over my head, there were few things that brought me comfort.

 

One that was the most strong was her love

and her continued fight

to get me back to well.

 

There were so many tears back then. But we were able to smile when we were together for pictures, even if it sometimes felt forced. Behind the smiles there was silent suffering.

 

No matter what, she never stopped trying to comfort me. To ease my pain. To take the hurt away from her baby, her firstborn.

 

She will always bring me comfort in times of sadness. She’s my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

I love you with all my heart.

xoxoxo

Five Minute Friday

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