Thursday, January 28, 2016

what's up wednesday

(one day late)

What we're eating this week: falafels, pizza, and soup - Elden has been devouring soup and it's about the only way we can get veggies in him so I keep making it.

What I'm reminiscing about: Chicago! The weather here felt very springlike the other day (40s, bright sun, no wind, birds were chirping) and for some reason that reminded me of the time Jon and I spent living there. I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have at the time (hindsight, blah blah blah) but some of my favorite memories in the city were walking around Lincoln Park and just checking out all the little shops and restaurants. It was so simple and nice to just spend that time exploring together without a care in the world. 

What I'm loving: my hair! I got a haircut last night and my head feels five pounds lighter. I'm trying to grow my hair out so that when I pull it back into a pony tail I don't have a bunch of pieces falling out of it and getting in my face. I tried a new salon and I loved the girl who cut it. I hope to go back but it ended up being more expensive than I anticipated so I will probably put it off for six months...

What we've been up to: cleaning and discussing all the updates we'd like to make on our house. 

What I'm dreading: still being sick. A coworker's daughter has something similar and apparently her doctor told her to expect to have it 8-10 weeks. Considering I'm on about week 7 I'm really hoping to be done soon.

What I'm working on: taxes. We're hoping to get a return that we can use on a few home improvement projects but I'm a bit anxious that we will end up with nothing back.

What I'm excited about: our summer vacation to Bethany Beach! I'm not the only one excited...

What I'm watching: right now the shows we try to catch when they air are New Girl, Scorpion, The Goldbergs, and Big Bang Theory.

What I'm reading: nothing... Unless blogs count.

What I'm listening to: I alternate between three stations on Pandora--The Cab Radio, Pvris Radio and Mayday Parade Radio. 

What I'm wearing: the same stuff I always wear. I have about six tops and three pairs of jeans I rotate through each week. It's partially because I don't have tons of cold weather clothes and partially because I don't have tons of clothes that fit me well. And I'm too cheap to buy myself more.

What I'm doing this weekend: not much! Maybe a play date Saturday and church Sunday but that's it. And I couldn't be more excited about doing nothing.

What I'm looking forward to next month: my sister is going on a medical missions trip in the spring so she and is putting on a fundraiser at a Cleveland bar. When you buy tickets you get unlimited well drinks/beer and all you can eat pizza, pasta and wings. I'm most excited about the food and there will also be a bunch of raffles. It will be fun to go and hangout and eat our faces off.

What else is new: not a whole lot. I've been super bad about my diet lately but it's so hard to remain compliant when I feel like junk.

Friday, January 22, 2016

five on friday

{1} Drugs: Because I haven't been healthy since November. This is my second round of antibiotics and first round of steroids. The good news is that my asthma is back to normal. The bad news is that I have about a day and a half left on these antibiotics and this sinus infection is still kicking my butt.

{2} Taxes: I am waiting on my final W2 to figure out what kind of shape we're in. If we get a tax refund I think we decided we are going to add ceiling lights to all of the bedrooms (they are very cave-like without them).

http://www.treesofantiquity.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_29&products_id=243
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{3} Grapes: We are planning on planting a variety of apple trees in the front yard and grape varieties along a trellis next to the deck in the backyard this spring. For the grapes we picked out glenora, interlaken and block monukka. They each ripen at different points in the season (early, mid and late) so we are hoping to have homegrown grapes all summer long once they're established.

{source}
{4} Laundry Closet: Something we're daydreaming about is moving the laundry from the basement to the second floor where all the bedrooms are. We haven't worked out specifics yet and it's probably too expensive of a project for us to do any time soon, but it's fun to imagine!

{5} Quality Time: My mom took the week off work and took Edith for the day Wednesday and Elden for the day today. It worked out perfectly because on Wednesday Jon needed to take Elden to the dentist and today Edith has a well visit. Both kids love quality time with their grandparents!

Friday, January 15, 2016

music and the Big Gift

My childhood dream was to be a musician or an actress one day. I would daydream, practice, and even enlisted my neighbors to put on a Spice Girls concert with me on our front porch for our parents. Did I mention we lived on the corner of a busy intersection? And also, I have a pretty horrid case of stage fright? Never again.

Also, I'm not particularly skilled at acting or music. I can usually carry a pitch, I have relative rhythm (Jon might disagree with this) and I have an uncanny ability to remember song lyrics from years and years ago (Jon is 100% behind this statement and was actually surprised when we went to a work party and I could recall basically every late 90s/early 2000s throwback song that came on my Pandora). In high school I got the smallest talking role in a rendition of a comedy that escapes me. I was at every rehearsal, including daily rehearsals during "hell week," only to get crazy sick, lose my voice for opening night (I had to scream my single line to get it out), and be admitted to the hospital for several days the next morning due to what was diagnosed as "an unidentifiable virus that caused your airways to close." Suffice to say, I never went out for drama club after that.

Yet music is everything to me. I've constantly got a soundtrack running through my head, and I find myself choosing specific songs that mirror the current events in my life or mood. I'm usually plugged into Pandora when I'm not at home. I'm also quite dramatic. (I'll give you a second to compose yourselves after that piece of shocking information.)

The thing is, even though I have a passion for these two things, God did not gift me with the skills required to pursue them. As part of my Introspection 2k16 campaign, I've been trying really hard to evaluate what gifts I do have.

Most of the time, it's seemed like there are no gifts here. I tend to think of gifts as big flashy things that everyone notices immediately and oohs and ahhs over. But in an effort to show myself grace I've tried to reevaluate. Perhaps my empathy and the way the brokenness of the world shatters me is my Big Gift. My desire to do all the things certainly plays a role in that. Perhaps God can use me to do something to substantially contribute to this world. 

I feel like I have so much potential to do good but I'm stuck in this weird place of not having an obvious opportunity to do so. I haven't come across anything that screamed at me, "drop everything and follow me." When you hear people talk about their life missions, they have their testimony that there was some Big Call where God clearly spoke to them and gave them direction.

It's been radio silence here.

I'm trying to be patient. I'm wondering if perhaps I've grown so complacent that I've lost touch with God. I'm so status quo and self reliant that there hasn't been some obvious Big Call on my life. It's hard to sit and wait, especially when I am very much a doer. There are specific causes near and dear to my heart, but I'm not really sure how to involve myself. 
Patience has never been a gift of mine, either, so I'm trying to use this as a growing experience to better myself as a person. But it can be so hard waiting.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

december, 1 second every day

My iPhone is making me very, very angry. It suddenly stopped saving any events I add to my calendar in spite of telling me so (no error messages) and in an effort to rectify this I followed some advice to delete all apps from the phone.

I did. It didn't work. And I lost a lot of my 1 second videos.

Luckily I had already uploaded this to my personal Facebook so I was able to grab it, but I had already deleted a few of my favorite videos from January so those are gone forever.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

to the new mom in the dressing room over

To the newly postpartum mom in the Kohl's dressing room:

I was a few stalls over, celebrating a jeans victory while you stood defeated, asking your grandma not to tell anyone you cried tonight. She gently responded that she would never, and to give yourself a break because you just had your second baby.

My tongue felt heavy in my mouth as I debated whether or not to say anything. You see, just a few months back I was in your shoes, except I was about a year out from my second child's birth. For a year I lamented over my changed body and the way clothes no longer fit me right. I cried several times per week as I got ready in the morning, utterly uncomfortable in my own skin, wondering how my husband could possibly find all these flaws attractive.

I mourned for the way I used to look until, at Thanksgiving when no pants fit me, I decided I had enough. I would diet to lose the 15 pounds that found me when I stopped breastfeeding, but this ran so much deeper than a number on the scale. I just wanted to learn to appreciate my body and try to love it the way my husband does.

It hasn't been easy. The thoughts of self loathing are always tucked away, waiting for a moment of weakness to knock me down completely. But with the support of my husband, the grace of God, and a lot of work on my part to retrain my thinking, I am finally learning to appreciate my body. As you stood in tears, I stood with a smile on my face because for the first time in five years I was able to try on jeans that didn't make me cry. I no longer saw the stretchmarks, what I not so affectionately refer to as my kangaroo pouch, or my pointy hips. I saw a woman with jeans who looked damn good--despite the fact that my body looks similar to how it always has. 

But for once, I saw beyond my physical reflection. And I know this blog probably doesn't mean anything to you right now. When I was in the thick of it a 'tiger stripes' post flashed across my newsfeed and I rolled my eyes because these aren't tiger stripes, these are just reminders of how I am ruined. But if you really want to--even if you don't think you can--you can learn to appreciate your body, too. Maybe for you, that will mean dieting. Maybe that will mean you just need to retrain your thinking. But let me assure you: I saw you, and I thought you looked wonderful. 

You are more than a changed body. You are more than what you perceived about your appearance. From hearing your conversation with your mom and grandma, I would go so far as to say you are an amazing, capable, loving woman whose kids are lucky to have you. Don't let the lies of our society break your heart. You are beautiful. You deserve to let yourself see your beauty. 

Signed,
Someone who has been there

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

sacrifice

Preface: I'm not writing this from an area of condescension or pride. In fact, this is me actively trying to take my goals for 2016 more seriously and show myself some grace.

"Does Edith have a brother that comes here? You threw me because you don't come in very often with them, it's usually their dad, so I didn't recognize you. There's another mom here that throws me off, too." - administrative assistant at our pediatrician's office*

Her words stung in the same way that paper cut I didn't know about burned as I washed my hands this morning.
  
You don't come in very often with them.

It was a stark reminder of how much I miss by being the working parent. Not to mention the fact that so few moms are as seemingly uninvolved as me that she could recount a single other soul that tricked her the way I had.

She didn't say anything I haven't thought, though. The well visits I'm noticeably absent from. The sick babies who cling to me as I try to make as graceful an exit as possible, all while fighting back tears because I want to hold you all day, too. The time I spend staring longingly at my computer screensaver and texting Jon, begging him to send me a new picture because I miss them extra that day. Sometimes being the working parent really sucks.

Don't get me wrong. Right now it's necessary. And truthfully, even if it wasn't, I don't know that I would give it up. Work is so rewarding. I am continually being challenged and growing in ways I wouldn't have dreamt of five and a half years ago as I stepped into my first 'big girl' job. I have value. I am contributing. I am not horrible at what I do. My work puts our family in a position where we don't have to worry about whether we will eat this week or how we will pay our bills. If a car breaks down it is not a catastrophic blow that jeopardizes our livelihood. And the best part is our kids get to be with Jon. He is so involved with them--constantly challenging them, taking them on adventures, and modeling the way a man should behave and treat others. They love him, I love that he gets to experience this, and given our backgrounds he would simply be unable to provide for our family in the way I can right now. This is no fault of his, and really, no fault at all. Jon's contributions to our family are worth infinitely more than my paycheck. He picks up more slack than I care to admit on any given day after having already 'worked' 9+ hours with two very demanding clients. This arrangement works for us.

But it's not without the guilt. The way my heart feels like it's being trampled when Elden begs, "Mommy, don't go to work. Stay with me forever." The milestones I've missed and heard about secondhand. The stats and mom groups and story times and injuries and everything between. 

I have had to sacrifice so much to provide for my family. There are days where I am relieved to be getting a break by going to work, but there are also days where I would give anything to have even just half an hour longer with my kids. And sometimes even the most simple comments are enough to make my head spin.

*I know she didn't mean anything by her comment at all, my response to this was simply all the things I felt in the moment. We love our pediatrician's office so much (seriously a big part of why we moved to where we did was because it was only half an hour away and we could continue to go there)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

bring it on

I've been sick for the better part of 3.5 weeks. Between the madness of the holidays and tending to the plague as it came, left, and came back, I haven't been up for much writing.
I've been sick for the better part of 3.5 weeks. Between the madness of the holidays and tending to the plague as it came, left, and came back, I haven't been up for much writing.
We had absolutely lovely holidays. The magic was alive in Elden and we got to spend a lot of time with each other and our families since my company closes from Christmas Eve to New Year's each year. It was so wonderful hearing Elden yell, "woohoo!" each night as we cuddled and I told him I didn't have to go to work the next morning. 
My diet has been going well--I've lost over 10 pounds now. I'm proud of myself for sticking with it and learning some discipline and self control. 
Things with Jon have been quite lovely, actually. We had hit a rough spot late last year where we were neglecting each other in the ways that are most meaningful to our spouse. It took a few weeks but we've really made progress on loving each other well and Jon's patience with me is a constant reminder of why I fell in love with him in the first place.
We had an inside camp out after Christmas. Elden lasted approximately 15 minutes before requesting to go to his room. He's definitely his father's son.
I made a giant sandwich for our small group New Year's party. No offense to my kids, but it's one of my greatest contributions to society to date.
Edith doesn't like her snowsuit. I bet you didn't see this post going in this direction when you first started reading. I'm really trying to be more half full lately.

We've booked a family vacation (our kids' first time at the ocean!) for June that I'm beyond excited about. Jon and I are dreaming about making our house perfect for us. We may take steps to grow our family. I have a great feeling about 2016...