Week of Transition

Last week was the first week that Jason was in Asheville all five days. He is now only doing one job. He leaves at 6a and gets home at 6p Monday through Friday. He seems to be doing well, but it is a big change from Angel.

I get up (or try to) at 530a and get ready. I hopefully have a few minutes of quiet time to myself before I get the kiddos up. I really cannot believe that I am that mom. The one that gets up early and then wakes her kids up for school. It doesn’t seem that long ago that my mom was getting me up for school.

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Hi!

I think I have passed the denial stage of this transition (“oh! I can handle this! Taking the kids to school is fun!’) and am hanging out in anger (“Ugh. All they do is fight!”) It isn’t rational, I’m just mad at having to get up and do all of the morning chores with the kids; get them ready, take them to school and then do my regular stuff with the littles. Then, I turn around and do all of the evening stuff with the kids too. I used to look forward to Jason coming home, but now when he gets here everything is done and he’s tired and not much fun to be around. We’ll get the hang of it though. I should be through to acceptance by the time school lets out. ;o)

The days are long and most times difficult, but I would not trade them. I know that things will slowly get easier as Henry gets older (and harder in some ways) and until then I compromise. I don’t make lunches for the kids anymore because it stresses me out and gives me one more thing to do; instead they eat at school. Next year we’ll combine activities because being out and about four times a week chauffeuring children is not my idea of fun and not theirs either. We’re burnt out and still have a few months to go.

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In the meantime, I’m learning to make felt flowers, crochet flowers and thinking about wreaths and what my potential etsy shop will look like. Learning new things keeps my mind occupied and my energy positive. We are also thinking about getting chickens! I wish I had friends with chickens. I’d love a firsthand look at owning them. What if we hate fresh eggs? What if we get devil chickens that try to peck our eyes out? What if cleaning out their coop makes me want to claw my eyes out? Just because they make it look cool on the hipster sites does not mean it’s for us. We’ll decide this weekend. I took Lorelei to the farm store to peek at the chicks and they had ducks too! So cute! Maybe we’ll have ducks in the far future when we have the imaginary land that Jason would like to own. My doula had ducks, they’re messy!

Anywho, time to wake up the kids and start the day.


Social Media

Facebook. Love/hate, right? Love keeping in touch with friends and family, seeing pictures of them or for comic relief. Hate the political, religious, ignorance that people sometimes put out there or agree with and repost. Some “friends” I only interact with on fb. Carrie, for example. (Hi, Carrie!) She’s really Jason’s friend, but he thought we might get along and we do, so now she’s mine. I met her face to face once in Florida and I do like her and it’s fun to hear about her hobbies and how her life is going. Some friends on fb, I’ve been friends with forever. Nicole, for example (Hi, Nicole). We’ve been friends since middle school. We keep in touch on fb and talk once in a while on the phone. She’s busy with her four kids, I’m busy with mine, but every time I come to Florida she makes the effort to get together. That means a lot to me and I enjoy seeing my friend. My best friend, Misty (Hi, Misty!), moved to Oregon six years ago. We’ve been friends for over 20 years, which kinda blows my mind a bit. We talk once a week, we take turns visiting each other once a year (which is crazy expensive to fly 3000 miles and a major hassle) because we’re friends and we make the effort to remain friends. I would go so far as to say she’s my sister.

Since moving to North Carolina I’ve learned to be more of an introvert. I don’t work and we don’t attend church here, so it’s hard to make friends. Facebook and Instagram are my social interaction. That can’t be all, though. Facebook is superficial. Funny comments, quotes, “hey, I’m at this place” updates and whatnot. Try to make it anything deeper and you might get unfriended. Face to face interaction is needed for that, for a connection with that person, otherwise well-intentioned comments may offend.

I’m thinking of having an analog weekend. Jason and I are on our phones (and him on his tablet) constantly. Looking through the eyes of my children I think they believe our phones are our most treasured possessions. I do enjoy Instagram, fb, reading my blog reader, but perhaps this weekend we’ll take a time out. We have plans to go to Asheville and see my mom and have a date night. I’m always excited to share where we go and what we do, but I think I’ll just enjoy it the old fashioned way; inwardly and with those present. I’m hoping Jason will join me on this venture.

When it comes to friendship, I always hope to enrich those around me. Either by sharing new information, opportunities I’ve learned about or fun to be had. That’s another reason I blog, besides documentation. I’m real with people, never lying or putting on false pretenses. My thoughts and emotions are valid, I’m worth effort and time. I’m smart and creative and willing to be genuinely involved in a friend’s life. I have to remind myself of these things because sometimes people are disingenuous and quick to dismiss or judge. Maybe you need this reminder as well? You are worth time and effort. I’m willing to step away from those who disagree.

See you Monday. :o)


31 Days of Life with Four Kids: Day 22

The blog has been looking a little strange because I’ve been posting from my phone. It’s a great option, but there is not a lot of control (and a tiny keyboard) or ability to preview posts. Happy to be back posting from my computer!

Portland always messes me up. There are a few factors to why; it’s a great city and I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the culture, my friend completes me as if I’m seeing my long lost sister, I’m away from my family and therefore feel like a different person.

I’ve been feeling a little cooky lately, messing with my hair and getting my nose pierced (which I hated and have already taken it out). In Franklin, the culture is low key. I’ve been struggling with this new life of mine as a stay at home mom, which I’ve already mentioned a few times. I’m getting older and we’ve got some personal stuff we’re dealing with with Jason’s job which always freaks me out. I feel like maybe I’m acting out a bit, trying out some new things to rebel against this slow life we’ve created.

However, being home today with Lorelei I realized that I love my life. I love my kids and delight in them. I accept that they have become more important than my fashion choices. I accept that my life revolves around my house, getting dinner made, homework done (theirs and mine) and trips to wal-mart. I am enjoying it. I surrender (in a good way) to this slow paced life and growing older.

I was at the park on Tuesday and this young mom was asking me about my stroller. I have one of those tandem strollers with the option for the child to sit or stand. I realized in that conversation that I am a seasoned mama. I know I’ve been a mom a long time, I do have a ten year old, but I’m no longer clueless when it comes to the little things. I’m relaxed and confident in my parenting skills. This little tantrum of mine has allowed me to accept that my kids and my family are very important, worth putting the time and effort into them that I do. I not only have to do a good job I want to do a great job. I don’t have to stay home, I want to stay home and for the most part I enjoy it and take it seriously. I’m grateful for my hardworking husband who allows and encourages me to stay home with the kids.

I think there may be a stigma with staying home that our generation battles. We’re supposed to do it all; home, family, career and look good doing it. I am getting quite good at multi-tasking, but some things will take priority over others. I also have a sneaking suspicion that putting my family first will allow the other things to fall into place instead of the other way around. My fear that I would waste away is unfounded. I think some moms waste away when they stop paying attention and I have yet to do that. I am always looking for ways to improve, so this is just another way of doing that.

Psst! To start from the beginning go here or click on the 31 Days button in the sidebar.


31 Days of Life with Four Kids: Day 20

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Yesterday we enjoyed an Apple Festival. We could try over 50 different types of apples and I tried many, but McIntosh is still my fave. They had pears too!

We then headed to my tattoo appt at Icon for Elli to rework my Geisha girl. I love Elli’s style and knew she could improve it.

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This is what it looked like before.

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This is the after shot. It’s angry here, but way better than before.

We picked up some yarn and headed back to the house for the evening. I headed to bed early because my throat was still bothering me.

Sunday was a chill day. We went to Target and did some knitting throughout the day. I took a little walk and video chatted with the kids. I miss them so much! Jason had been working on the trebuchet for our Halloween party.

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Now, I’m just hanging out at the airport, waiting to board my flight home, missing my friend already. It was a good trip. See ya, Portland!


May Update

This month started out very contemplative. My mom, the girls and I went to a local labyrinth walk for a picnic. It was beautiful there and the kids really enjoyed a little creek they had in their “fairy garden”. :o)

Jason was entered into a pie eating contest! He eats lunch every day in the cafeteria with his co-workers and they are forever commenting on how he is always the first one done. During hospital week the employees organized the contest and Jason one by half an ounce! (they weighed each pie before and then weighed them again after the three minute timer was up) Jason is very blessed to work for an amazing company that takes good care of its employees and they are lucky to have him as well. :o)

My Aunt Carrie and her husband Edd came to visit. They were passing through on a fun little road trip and stopped to stay a few days with us. We were happy to see them! We took a few hikes, one of them was to Wayah Bald. It has a great view as well as an old lookout tower.

We had a great time exploring and enjoying the beautiful weather.

One of our favorite things to do when we all get together is play games. We love Uno and I talked them into playing a game I got for Christmas, Quelf. This game is hilarious! Here you see Carrie, with a toilet paper mask and necklace, all part of the game! Haha! Sorry for the blurriness, I sneaked this picture on my phone. :o)

For Jason’s sister Amber’s birthday the “kids” all got together and went white water rafting. We always go to the same place, Paddle Inn, on the Nantahala River. We had a great time!

It seems that we were very busy last month, but we enjoyed spending time with our families.


March Update

Whew! March was certainly a FUN month!

We celebrated Lorelei’s birthday on that first Sunday. She was so cute in a purple vest I made for her! She was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd that is our family now, but she enjoyed herself!

Next it was my birthday and I am now well firmly placed in my 30’s. Jason’s sisters and significant others came over for drinks and board games and I have to say, it has been one of my best birthdays thus far. We had a hilarious time!

This month we watched Spring begin and went on our first hike, where we saw a bear cub! So cute! We also planted some beautiful (hopefully!) flowers and anticipate starting a garden very soon.

On the 27th we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It seems like much longer, but in a good way. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have such an amazing husband! We left all three kiddos with Nana and Papa and set out for Asheville. We wandered the mall, Target and ate at Carrabba’s and it was worth the three hours round trip, ya’ll. Chicken Bryan! I took the rest home and ate it for lunch the next day! lol It was so nice to spend some quality time with just Jason and I together.

This month I’ve also realized that Lorelei is old enough and I am to a point in my stay-at-home period that I need to take some time for myself. One Saturday I went and saw Hunger Games at our adorable little theater. It was such a good movie! The following weekend, Noah had a boyscout thing and Jason took all three kids with him while I went to the library- by myself! I came home with an ARMLOAD of books! I didn’t go ANYWHERE NEAR the children’s section! lol It was wonderful! I found a couple of great books centered around Buddhism. One is called How to Expand Love by the Dalai Lama and another is titled Anger, Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh. Ha! I have no idea how to pronounce that. I’m really looking forward to diving into these. Jason has been so sweet to give me time to refresh away from the kiddos. For whatever reason it is hard to take the time, but the rewards of that time away benefit the whole family.

For Lorelei’s birthday we got her a sandbox. At first she was a little leery of it, but now she just plops right in and begins to munch and dig. :o) We spend quite a lot of time out on our porch playing and Noah and Nora ride their bikes or the razor. We enjoy the fresh smells of Spring and the warmer weather so much.

I have been thinking about going back to school in the fall. I’d like to get my B.A., but am seriously contemplating a degree in Web Design. I’ve been playing around with Gimp and really enjoy it.

I’ve also started another blog. It has been in the works for some time and just this month I let’er rip! I enjoy writing this different kind of blog and I will also continue my monthly updates here. If you’d like you can check it out here.

Until next month!


January Update

My goal is to come back to blogging in a year. I’ve chosen to take this time to journal more, instead of worrying about putting stuff up here more often than once a week. As I thought about what that first post might be like, I realized it would probably be a never-ending update of an entire year or a “pretend this never happened” starting where we left off debacle. My remedy is to do a monthly update of where I’m at and what I’m working on.

This month has already been very enlightening. I’ve started a Shutterfly Photobook to keep the memories of this year. It is a little bit like blogging, which cures the itch and calms my worries of not having documented this year.

At first, I was not very good at journaling. It’s like I had forgotten how, but by the end of this month it has become like second nature and has revealed many good things. I don’t know about you, but when I journal I write and write until suddenly what’s on the page is how I really feel and a solution to whatever has burdened my heart.

I mentioned that Noah has started counseling. He really likes it and so do I. He has someone who is unbiased and totally supportive and I have someone to talk with about step-parenting, chores, motherhood and anything else that comes up. It is such a relief to have the encouragement and wisdom from someone who doesn’t judge me and is only there to help our family.

I’ve always carried around with me some thoughts that are never helpful. The typical, I’m not good enough, I’m a horrible mother kind of thoughts. I mentioned this to Noah’s counselor and she was very encouraging and simply told me to repeat to myself that I am a good mom when I begin to feel that way. A kindof Mantra to carry around in my heart. I am a good mom. The funny thing is, that it worked. I may make mistakes and I may have regrets, but at the core, I am a good mom. Even if it were only partially true at the beginning, it is a belief that will encourage me to be a better mom. :o)

The kids got DSs for Christmas (*cough* from Patrick *cough*). Now, if you can remember, we got rid of the Wii a while ago (best decision ever) and I was seriously NOT excited about this gift, but I also knew they would love them and we would have to set rules and limits. It has actually been really good. Surprisingly! At first when trying to set limits, Noah would steal back his DS or steal Nora’s or hide it under his pillow to play at night, but we stayed consistent to our Family Rules and he is getting it. He knows that if he, for instance, turns the DS in at 730p (30 minutes before bedtime) and doesn’t steal it later, he can play it the next day- if his chores are done. Moderation! Responsibility! Happy mommy! Happy kids!

The deeper struggles that I have are taking a little longer to work out. Hey, everything can’t be solved in a month, right? Jason and I are reading a book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman . It is more for couples who have been married for a long time and are having a little (or a lot!) of trouble, but it has us talking and learning, which I love. I’ve also read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and it is a really good book! The core value of the book is, “live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else”. That may sound silly, but it sure makes driving a Kia everyday and purposefully having one car for the time being seem brilliant. We looked up our yearly credit report and went through the paperwork from closing Jason’s business, so now we have a clear perspective financially. We are learning to live within Jason’s paycheck and to save (still working on that last part, actually). There may be some changes to the hospital come June due to an integration of the IT department with another hospital, so we need to be prepared.

That’s where I’m at in all of this and continuing to journal and read. I’ve been researching chickens and gardening and we have Lorelei’s 1st birthday coming up, so I’ll see you at the end of February with another update.

Me and Baby Girl on our trip to Florida

Resolutions

This last year to me was more of a ride the wave kind of year, rather than a purposeful year. We had a baby, closed a business, moved to another state and settled in. North Carolina feels like our home now.

On our recent trip to Florida to pick up the kids I noticed that we were both very tense the entire time we were there except for when we were checking out our old house and talking to a sweet neighbor. I loved our old house (well, loved who we were as a family there), but the rest of Lakeland, not so much. There are some not-so-good memories there and I realized that Franklin is a peaceful town and I have learned to love the quietness of our new home. I don’t really go out much, unless it’s to the library or grocery shopping and I like it that way.

The last few months of 2011 were spent in deep thought most of the time without any real need to share what I was thinking. I have posted here sporadically and really only to update those left behind in Florida. It is no longer a space for ponderings or sharing what I’ve learned in order to help others who might be going through the same thing. I write here and post for documentation only. I hope to one day transfer my blog to a blurb book or something to keep forever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about 2012. What does this year hold for us? What do I want to do, what do I want to work on within myself? I’ve started a list, some practical and some spiritual things. One thing I know for sure is that I will not be posting here. This year for me will be spent quietly. I will be journaling instead, keeping my thoughts to myself until I can talk them out with close friends or family. For whatever reason, I feel my work here is done. I’ve grown through my divorce, new marriage and new baby and become a healthier person. I do not feel I have any more to offer right now. I feel that this year will be a quiet work within and I am looking forward to it.

Of course, I will still be posting snippets and pictures on facebook for fun, so you can alway catch me there. Who knows, maybe next year I will resurface, hopefully with much to share. Thank you for reading all these years, my friends. :o)


Christmas 2011

The kids went to their Dad’s on December 22nd, so it was just us and Lorelei for Christmas this year. It was very quiet in the house, but also neat to see what life would be like with only one child. (extremely boring and quiet, did I mention quiet?) We did nothing. Well, not nothing, we did things we couldn’t do with the other two here, like nap and watch scary movies during day, but other than that, we did nothing.

Christmas morning we opened presents with Lorelei. She liked the bows the best, but eventually warmed up to her presents. Here she is with her crazy bed hair.

We then went over to Jason’s parents house that afternoon for Christmas lasagna (so good!) and opening presents. I think this is my new favorite tradition. I remember as a child going over to my grandparents house to open presents with all of the family and going to Jason’s parent’s is very similar and fun. Here are a few pics.

Opening presents

The best present, Unicorn Meat!

Playing with her cousin Madison

Santa butt

A good time was had by all. :o)


December Knits

December was spent knitting. I had decided to make something for Jason’s sisters and then I ended up making something for Brian (brother-in-law), my mom and my friend Misty. It was so very fun to extend myself and learn new techniques. It is wonderful having a knit shop right in town to be able to pick out the perfect yarn or ask a question or five.

I did not, however, get very many pictures of the final product. :/ I have a few, though, so that may satisfy your curiosity.

This is the hurricane hat found here. I found most of the other patterns on Ravelry, a great resource for knitters. With the owl mitts I knit for Amber I knit my very first cables which turned out to be very fun. I look forward to doing more cabling. I then worked on a collared cowl for Misty in secret. We usually talk knits and work out patterns together, but I couldn’t say anything and it was SO HARD not to!

One of the patterns called for “light blocking” which is basically washing the knits and then laying them out on a towel and pinning them in place to dry a certain way. You can’t just throw your knits in the washer, you need a special soap and you have to be very gentle, so Nora and I filled a bowl with water and soaked the knits for 10 minutes each and then gently squished out the water, laid and pinned them. I did get pics of that!

These mitts were for Sheena. I just love the colors and the whimsical swirls. They were my first fingerless mitts and I did not mess up once! A first! lol

Here are the owl mitts. The pattern is on Ravelry, Owl Mitts by Sandra Ruppert. They tended to roll into themselves, so it helped to block and pin them. I then had Jason sew on buttons for eyes (LHM, I cannot do buttons!). Again, very cute.

The striped mitts at the top are the Gradient Mitts by Lee Meredith on Ravelry. I totally changed this pattern. I changed the gauge of the yarn using only one strand instead of three and also the number of rows for each, well, row. I was very worried that they wouldn’t turn out, but they did. :o)
This pattern used short rows, which is turning the work mid row and knitting back and forth. It turned out beautifully and looks much better on Misty, but here is a pic.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic of the caponcho I made for my mom, but the pattern is on Ravelry, Rosa’s Caponcho by Emma Fassio. I used bulky yarn, US 11 and plan on knitting just the cowl part for myself. It was very warm and knit in a beautiful teal and natural brown. I almost kept it for myself! ;o)

Earlier this year I debated on continuing to knit. I’ve been knitting for almost three years, but I wasn’t good at it. I messed up a lot and had to start over at least three times per project which is NOT FUN, but I continued to learn basic techniques and started buying yarn for projects instead of buying yarn without a pattern and trying to “wing it” and magically (ha!) all that I learned and all those hours of practice finally came together and I finally feel confident in my craft. It is actually fun to knit again and still challenging (it will probably always be challenging, and with this cold weather and snow on the horizon there is a need to knit things for myself and my family. :o) I’m glad I kept at it and I hope the girls enjoy their knits!