Friday, June 7, 2013

I miss blogging.

I really do.
But every day I am just coasting through my days.
There's nothing interesting to share.
I've become boringly disengaged.
I'm really struggling to find joy in life right now.
It's so strange. I'm not happy, I'm not depressed, I just am.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Shopping Edition!

Confession: I don't usually shop for myself. When I go shopping, I might LOOK for myself, but I usually wind up buying something for the kids instead. I'm a plain Jane. I'm not frumpy, but I'll opt for comfy over cute any day. Lately, though, I've been wearing jeans to work daily, and not feeling so great about that. I received a few gift cards to Kohl's, so I took myself shopping and found some GREAT things! So I just had to share the fruits of my labor.

--- 1 ---
This sweater is awesome and runs true-to-size (I am an M and got an M). It is medium-weight, which will be perfect for the office in the spring and summer (it tends to be a bit chilly at my work). It does look a bit bunchy with a long-sleeve shirt under it, so I'd probably only wear a tank beneath.

--- 2 ---
I got this shirt in white, and the scroll on the front is a beautiful purple/maroon mix. The pictures of this shirt do the detail no justice. I was worried about the length and the banded bottom, but it fit me perfectly. I have a tea-length maroon skirt that I just can't WAIT to pair it with!

--- 3 ---
I almost didn't buy this shirt because I was afraid it would look too old-ladyish. But for $6 and 30% off, I couldn't resist. I bought a large because I wasn't sure what size would fit me better. A large IS rather flowy, but the material leads me to believe it's going to shrink up a bit. The colors are VERY pretty, though!

--- 4 ---
I also bought this top in a L instead of an M. The material also seems like it will shrink a bit. I love that this top is longer in the back: I am SO self-conscious of when I'm wearing a shirt and my back shows when I move. That seems to happen a lot!

--- 5 ---
I've entered the world of maxis. I wasn't too sure of the skirt on the hanger, but when I got it on I was like, "WOW! I need to get MORE!" I may get another 1 or 2 soon, I love it THAT much. The skirt is made of a thick jersey, and it moves freely. I got A LOT of compliments on it on Monday.

--- 6 ---
I also scooped up this dress. Let me tell you, it's going to be THE DRESS for me this summer. It is SO comfortable, it doesn't even feel like I'm wearing a dress! I'm considering getting another of the same style but have no idea what stripe or print I would choose.

--- 7 ---
This 3/4 sleeve shirt hung out in my cart for the entire shopping trip. I contemplated putting it back no less than 6 times. I have weird issues with 3/4 shirts. I feel the urge to either pull the sleeves down or push them up, and usually neither option works. In the end, I got it, and I'm glad I did. The arm bands aren't tight, so I don't feel too uncomfortable in it.

All in all, it was a GREAT shopping adventure. Between gift cards and Kohl's Cash I only spent $30 on all this awesome stuff! Not bad!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

When Loving Them Isn't Enough (Part II)

On Saturday night I wanted to scurry to the computer and post a RAVING blog post about how well things were going. But then I sat and said, no, wait, give it time. ;)

On Friday while discussing the issues at hand with the kids, especially Julia, D and I came up with a course of action:
  • Discuss with Bebe our concerns, and help her to be a part of the solution.
  • Structure our Saturdays to meet everyone's needs.
  • Whatever we do or say, follow through.
Saturday after lunch we talked about how everywhere you go there are rules. We discussed rules in different places. Then we talked about what rules there were in our house, and it was no surprise to us that Bebe said, "None?" Yep, there was our answer. Together she helped us brainstorm some rules, and this is what we came up with:

Most of these rules are positive, but those that begin with "NO" are ones we want to be especially careful about (hitting for Dois, complaining/whining and watching TV before being ready for Bebe).

After brainstorming those rules, we decided to follow what will be our new Saturday pattern:
  • Bebe does 30 minutes of chores (whatever we give her to do: this weekend it involved sorting laundry, picking up the living room, and helping unload the dishwasher).
  • Since she did 30 minutes of chores (therefore saving us 30 minutes of housework), she earns 30 minutes of one-on-one time with us while Dois is napping. We played Apples to Apples Jr. this week, but she can choose any activity we can do while he naps.
  • After that hour of chores and 1-on-1 time, she has 45 minutes of quiet time. That's where she has to either rest or read or something. This weekend she used her 45 minutes of quiet time to start research for a school project.
When those time periods were up, Bebe and I went to Confession and when we came home, we took a walk with Dois. We spent over an hour walking and playing at the park. It was AWESOME! We came home, ate dinner, the kids took baths, etc. It seriously was THE PERFECT DAY.

Sunday went smoother than usual although the end was a bit harrowing due to bored, overtired children.

So far, so good, when it comes to enforcing and following the rules. Whining hasn't been eradicated, but it has lessened. One of the challenges we are still facing, though, is getting Bebe to bed on time and having to poke and prod her every morning to get moving. It's tough. :( Any suggestions for that one? We start waking her at 6:30-6:45 and need to leave by 7:40. It's always a struggle.

Little by little I'm confident we'll get there... 

Setting aside dreams for motherhood?


I should preface this by saying that these are thoughts running through my mind, not necessarily whines/vents...

We all know that motherhood involves sacrifices, but how many dreams have you set aside when faced with just how much motherhood has changed your life?

When I got pregnant with Bebe, I had only become a youth minister a year and a half earlier. When I got pregnant with her, I had only been at the parish I was at for six months. If you remember, Bebe is a honeymoon baby. It didn't take long after D and I got married for the rumor mill to start that I was pregnant and leaving, and they were right (sort of). I was determined to remain a youth minister after having Bebe. Since my job was only 20 hours/week (probably 16-18 in the office and the rest with the teens) I figured, "It's doable." I asked if I could bring her with me when I worked in the office, and that request was granted. I set up a Pack N Play and a bouncer in my office (which was like a giant living room), hung a privacy sign on the door when I was nursing, and ATTEMPTED to work.Only, the problem was, most days I wasn't getting work done. I was torn between my child and my job. I had to schedule our youth nights when D wasn't working or had school. I felt like I was giving neither 100%. At about the time when Bebe got mobile, a new priest took over the parish where I worked. He walked into my office and said, "Is this a daycare?" I knew then my days were numbered. They decided to create a full-time position, and I was welcome to apply for it, but it was not automatically mine. I applied and interviewed, but left knowing that it wasn't for me. I had nothing to show for the year I'd been there, so I gracefully bowed out. It was hard, leaving youth ministry behind. I was juggling so much on my plate (a small, refluxy child, a husband who worked odd hours between working FT and being in school FT, we only had one car until Bebe was 5 months old, etc.) I know I NEEDED to, but I still often think back on it. How could I  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts & Reflections on the election of Pope Francis, 1 week later.

In 2005 when Pope Benedict XVI was elected at the papal conclave, I was ... somewhere else. I don't remember anything about the conclave or the news stories that followed it. I recall hearing about "Cardinal Ratzinger" before the conclave started. News media said he was a shoo-in, and that he was VERY conservative. At the time, I was not, so my thoughts were, "Oh great..."

I will admit that I had a sort of detachment to Pope Benedict XVI. I can't say why precisely. I just never felt an interest in him, as I did in Blessed John Paul II. Maybe it was because I had the opportunity to see JPII in Toronto in 2002, and I was still mourning the loss of the man who had been The Face of The Church for my entire life. Maybe it was because I still had many misunderstandings and misgivings about my own faith. I don't know.

I never expected to get as excited as I did when I realized that Pope Benedict's resignation (is that the correct term?) meant that I would get to experience a conclave, and this time I would really pay attention to it. And I did!

I was at work a week ago today, watching the Vatican's live feed on YouTube, waiting for the smoke to come, and Tweeting like a madwoman. I waited... and waited... and waited... and then, there it was! WHITE SMOKE! I remember my heart started pounding, a huge smile crossed my face. I knew what was coming next: HABEMUS PAPAM! But who, who would it be? The news media had said there was no real "front-runner". I hadn't expected the white smoke so soon! And then I waited... and waited... and waited... and then Cardinal Tauran appeared. And I sat still.

In anticipation of the conclave, I had pulled up YouTube videos of "Habemus Papam!" videos for Bebe and I to watch. We watch the announcements and first words of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict the XVI. I knew the format: The announcement of, "Habemus Papam!" then some Latin, then the new Pope's first name, more Latin, then the Pope's last name, more Latin, and then the name the Pope had chosen to take. In both videos we watched (multiple times) as soon as the new Pope's first name was announced, the crowds went absolutely bezerk.

So when Cardinal Tauran named Georgium Marium.... I was surprised at how QUIET it was. But Cardinal Tauran continued and said the name Franciscum for the Pope's name... and it was still fairly quiet. I know, I myself said, "WHO?" I did not know who Jorge Mario Bergolio was before that moment when I heard his name.

Then I waited... and waited... and waited... for what felt like an eternity. And then, there he was.

I can't even describe how my heart swelled when I saw him. Many of you are probably nodding your heads knowing just what I mean. And THE HUMILITY he showed, when first he asked us to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and then asking us to join him in praying for HIMSELF? I was knocked over. Completely. I can't even describe it, but at that moment, I was SMITTEN.

And one week later, I'm still smitten. Pope Francis has already brought a new energy to The Church which is hard to explain. Non-Catholics have expressed curiosity in him. They've heard my excitement and they've lent an ear--they want to know who he is, what he stands for, etc. Friends who are Catholic in name more than anything are finding hope in him. His humility, his simplicity, and his steadfastness in major tenets of the faith are admirable. It's his commitment to LOVE ALL ABOVE ALL that is ringing through loud and clear already.

I absolutely LOVED picking up Bebe from school and telling her, "We have a Pope!" Sharing my excitement with her was contagious. When we got home I pulled up the video and we watched together. I hope it's something she'll never forget. I know it's something I won't.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When loving them isn't enough.

How can love not be enough? What happened to "love is all we need"?

I'm learning the hard way that love isn't enough. You can't just LOVE your children.

I LOVE my children. I really and truly do. I LOVE them. I CARE for them. I CHERISH them. But it isn't enough.

D and I have failed them. Dois is still young, so let's just say this--we've failed Bebe.

Now, how can I say that we've failed our 8-year-old? Is she smoking? Is she living in juvenile hall? Is she constantly being punished? Is she flunking out of school? No, she's not doing any of those things.

At the same time, she doesn't interact with her peers appropriately, she knows no boundaries when it comes to personal interactions, she expects the world to bow down to her beck and call, she is disrespectful to others, etc.

We've sat back so many times and said, "How did this happen? We've LOVED her. We've CARED for her. We've FED her. We've met her basic needs! How did this happen?"

We ignored Proverbs 22:6: "Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it." 

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." The saying goes. Are we heading for Hell? I don't know. But some days, especially on the weekends, it feels like hell.

Our house has no rules. Not a single one. There is no across-the-board rule that I can think of. Everything is tolerated. We say a lot of "don't do that" but do we enforce it? No. Enforcing takes more effort. We can't make the effort because we're too tired. We're too tired because we work full-time (and D works full-time and part-time), there's a home to care for, chores to be done, etc. Enforcing rules will be met with resistance and resistance is exhausting. Then when Bebe goes somewhere and someone tells her what to do, she disregards them. And we wonder why?

God entrusted us to be parents to our children and we are failing them. We don't beat them, we don't starve them, etc. but our parenting thus far can be just as damaging long-term.

I don't know where we're headed from here. We always say we'll try harder, we want to do better, etc. but it hasn't happened yet. "Better late than never" but what if it really does become never?

I'm so discouraged, and sad for our children. It's not their fault they are who they are, it's entirely ours.

(Part II coming later: The Plan)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An inkling...

For years D has been asking me if I will go back to school and get my Master's degree someday. I've always responded, "Maybe... when I figure out what I want to be when I grow up!" If I'm going to get my Master's, I want it to be in whatever I KNOW I'm going to do. I don't want to get it and wind up in some other field (sort of like my bachelor's).

I started out in college as an elementary/special education major. I did two entire years studying to be a teacher. But my classroom experiences never felt right, my schedule was tight (I was to have only ONE elective over 4 years), and I just didn't feel called to teaching. After some pretty amazing faith experiences, I opted to change my major to Theology and minor in Writing. I wanted to become a youth minister, I decided.

Well, I graduated (with a lump of private school loans--yay, fun!) and was a youth minister for 2.5 years. But, like teaching, it just never felt right. I worked the next few years in various jobs (leasing assistant at an apartment complex, child care worker at a gym), until I landed the job that I have now: as a proofreader for a Christian publishing company. In some ways, I'm using my degree AND my minor in this position (although the company's audience is primarily Evangelical Christian and my degree is in Catholic theology). Still, I've never thought of this job as a "forever thing." I enjoy it, but this is not my career.

Sometimes I've thought about journalism. It would be awesome to work for Catholic News Service or something like that. Other times I think about getting back into ministry--maybe elementary or preschool-aged instead of teenagers. Or maybe I would just make a full-time career out of writing novels, magazine articles, etc. someday.

Every year our region of the Diocese puts on something called "The University." There are, like, 80 classes offered during Lent on various Church topics, from scriptures to modern-day issues. I had attended a class years ago, but not since. This year, I planned to attend at least one. I chose one titled, "A Very Special Mary." I wanted to learn more and know more about Mary, and it was at a parish close to home, so why not? Well, I loved it. The presenter wasn't the best, but I LEARNED something. And I walked out of there saying, "Man, I really want to go back to school." I would love to study the scriptures more in-depth. I would LOVE to become a professor of theology.

Then my head interrupts my heart: "But wait! How will you do that?! You still have student loan debt from your bachelor's degree! Master's degrees in Theology don't come cheap! You can't go to a state school for it! How will you raise two (maybe more) children and go to school? Wasn't the plan for you to be a stay-at-home-mom? How could you pull THAT off?"

My head has shot down my heart. But my heart is hopeful. I'm prayerfully asking God to guide me if this is what I'm meant to do. I hope it is, because I can't even begin to explain how excited I feel about the possibility of going to school and learning so much more. I told D last night, my #1 regret in regards to my education is NOT the debt that it put me in, but the fact that I blew off/did the bare minimum in most of my classes. I wish I'd paid attention more, especially for how much it cost me!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Poser edition

Following in the footsteps of other people,  here is my .gif-filled Friday Quick Takes.
--- 1 ---
Today I embark on my 34th trip around the sun. What a wild ride it's been so far!

--- 2 ---
When I went to the car this morning, dragging purses and bags and diapers and whatnot, I opened the door and discovered flowers, chocolate, and a card waiting for me.10 years and he's still makes me giddy!

--- 3 ---
Yesterday, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's resignation, I've seen quite a few interesting posts on Facebook and Twitter regarding the church's need to "move into the 21st century." I go all Judge Judy on them.

--- 4 ---
I'm on a major reading kick. I blame Love, Anthony. In it Lisa Genova mentioned the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Well, our library had it available by ebook so I decided to take it out. THEN I got a notice that Defending Jacob was ready for me to read. So I am currently reading three books (forgot to mention A Wrinkle In Time, which I got out for Bebe but decided to read myself since I never had) simultaneously. I love when this happens, though. I feel odd when I'm not reading anything.

--- 5 ---
On at leas three different occasions, Bebe has approached me with a quiet, "Mommy?" and every time I find myself responding

--- 6 ---
I love my children so very much, but lately I've felt a little crazy. Bebe has started giving me preteen attitude, and Dois is engaging in "terrible two" behavior. I want to enjoy them and cherish these days, but more often than not I find myself

--- 7 ---
And despite all these moments, I keep thinking about this
(credit: SugarPlum Studios)
and how I can't wait to do it all over again.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Conversion Diary!

Monday, February 25, 2013

When "whatever works" doesn't work.

Confession: Being a "whatever works mom" doesn't mean I'm totally laid-back. It doesn't make me chill and casual. I wish it did! When I say I'm a "whatever works mom" it's more like, I have no desire to parent my children identically. They're different, and different things work/don't work for them. So I go with whatever works.

But every now and then, I run into a situation where discovering what DOES work is a struggle. I'm at one of those crossroads right now: Dois is such a loving, snuggly child. He has always had an odd tendency toward aggression (as young as 14m if he was frustrated he would smack himself in the head repeatedly), and in the last month or two his aggression has gotten stronger. Granted, he's changed daycares and we moved--so there has been a lot of transition in his little life lately. But we need to get to the bottom of this, and we need to communicate to him that hitting is NOT okay.

"Hands are not for hitting. Hitting hurts." The gentle parenting approach. I want to use it and I want it to work, but it doesn't. Such phrases are spoken and the hitting continues. It means nothing, no matter how often we repeat it.

Walking away from him or putting him down when he hits (after telling him not to hit) causes a tantrum of epic proportions. I have heard that if we keep doing this the tantrums will fade, but they haven't yet. And he bangs his head on the floor and shrieks and kicks and... I don't feel he's SAFE.

Time outs? How do people get their 2-year-olds to STAY in time out? No way is that happening here! I have tried it, but he just gets up and runs off. Then it's a game of chase-the-toddler.

I'm scared. I'm really scared. He's sweet and loving and I DO NOT think these are signs he will grow up to be a serial killer, but I'm scared that if I don't address these behaviors correctly and SOON that it's going to get even worse. And I can't imagine that. There's a lot of hostility in our house lately caused by the stress of his tantrums and aggressiveness.

I just want me sweet boy back.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dressing an 8-year-old.

Bebe is almost 8.5, and I will confess that I still pick out her clothes daily. She does not really have much of an opinion on what she wears, so it has made my life easier to select things for her. I stick to mix-and-match items. She has leggings and yoga pants in a variety of colors, shirts of various brands, etc. As she moves into size 8 clothing, though, I have been feeling a lot more stress in choosing appropriate clothes for her.

I'm not a fan of dayglo colors (and they're ALL the rage). I find a lot of clothing on the racks to be WAY too racy for an 8-year-old. At the same time, I also struggle with not wanting to dress her like she's 5.

I'd say about 70% of her clothing is Jumping Beans brand at Kohl's. But it's size 7, and they don't go up to size 8. Due to this, I've found myself browsing many websites looking for clothes that I thought would work for her. 

Today we went on a little shopping expedition, and I think we made out pretty well! She had a $50 gift card from Macy's to use, so together we selected some tops I thought were appropriate and she loved. Then we finished off our trip with stops at H&M and WalMart.

In the end, it wasn't as traumatic for her (or me!).

She loved putting on a fashion show when we got home, so I thought I'd share some of our findings. 

Before we went shopping, we went to a birthday party. Pardon the laundry pile behind her. This is one of the cute ensembles I managed to put together. Top is from The Children's Place, skirt is from Macy's, and boots are from The Children's Place.

Outfit #1 that we picked up. I had her wear a white tank top under it because the neck is lower than I prefer. Top is from Macy's. Navy blue leggings are from Gymboree.

This cute ruffled sleeveless T we got from Macy's looks great in person! Paired with pink leggings from Gymboree.

Bebe's favorite color is red, and she found this dress on the clearance rack at Macy's. It was only $7 so how could I say no?! It said it was a medium, so it's an 8-10. It's big on her, especially at the neck, but she loves it. Perhaps we'll hang on to it for next Christmas?

 This was the first shirt she picked up at Macy's. The flutter sleeves are really nice, and the 3-D bow on the puppy was definitely her favorite thing. Paired with black Circo leggings from Target.

 This shirt we picked up at Wal-Mart for only $3. It's a lot like what I have in her drawers right now. This outfit is pretty typical of what she wears most days. French terry pants are Circo brand from Target.

This outfit was only $7 at WalMart for both pieces! I was worried an 8 was going to be too big, and it is a little bit, but she has room to grow into it. Our store didn't have many to choose from for these sets, but I've found more online. I think I'm going to pick up one or two more!

This shirt was actually a gift from her Auntie. It's a Gap shirt that has that off-the-shoulder look. We finally picked up a tank top to go under it, so she wanted to try that on, too. Paired with black Circo leggings.

Would you believe that this dress was only $6?! I LOVE H&M! Bebe was excited to find another dress with red in it. This is actually a size 6-8y, which is hit-or-miss for her build. Sometimes I find she needs an 8-10y at H&M, but I'm so glad this dress fit her! I know she will wear it a lot this summer.

As we venture into summer weather I know she'll need more things. My #1 hunt is for nice knit dresses that aren't too pricey. Wish me luck!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Totally Random

— 1 —
Last night Bebe spilled a full glass of strawberry-blueberry-pear smoothie (homemade!) on our brand-new beige carpet. ACK! I did what any quick-thinking mother would do: ran to Pinterest! We patted, we blotted, we diluted with water, and we used a baking soda-vinegar paste to work the stain out. I'm happy to report that this morning D couldn't tell me where the spill happened!
— 2 —
I bought myself a red sweater. I am wearing it as I type. It makes me think of Christmas or Valentine's Day but it's SO soft and cozy. The bonus? It was only $9! I love clearance and 30% off Kohl's coupons!

— 3 —
 I've discovered that I'm in the wrong profession. Last Friday I hit a post in our carport. On Monday I took my car to a few places for quotes. Labor costs are $55-$60/hour?! I need to go become a mechanic.

— 4 —
I signed up for Italian lessons! You would think since D speaks it fluently, he'd teach me... but he's never around enough. And anyway, I'd love to learn Portuguese from him first. The class runs from May through July, and I can't wait! An extra bonus is that a friend I only see every once-every-six-months-or-so-when-the-stars-align is taking it with me, so we'll see each other every week for a while!

— 5 —
Fridays are no longer fun days. I'm stuck not in "Woo-hoo, it's the weekend!" mode but, "ZOMG how am I going to survive without meat today?!" mode. I don't have eggs, nuts, seafood, etc. to fall back on like most. Breakfast was a smoothie & dry cereal. Lunch will be pinto beans and polenta (forgot to make rice). Dinner will probably be pasta with sauce. Only a little under 13 hours to go...

— 6 —
My office started a Biggest Loser challenge. I joined in because my friends were doing it and I have been wanting to shed the last few pounds I'm still hanging on to since having Dois (although I can't blame him--I can blame my insane lack of willpower and distaste for exercise). Week 1s results showed me in 2nd place! OK, don't pay attention to the fact that 1/2 the people in the challenge were out of the office for weigh-in due to the holiday or a conference. 2nd place! I highly doubt I will win, but it's nice to see myself chipping away at the weight I want to lose.

— 7 —

We got a fish. His name is Carl "the Science Fish." He is a veiltail betta, and is very pretty (this picture is proof of my horrible photography skills--he's a beautiful blue and red mix). We haven't killed him yet and it's been 4 days. He seems depressed, though. Hasn't been eating much. I'm already remembering why I'm not a pet person. Kids are high-maintenance enough, thankyouverymuch! 

Head on over to Jen's blog for more 7 Quick Takes!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I wanna be somebody...

I'm going to apologize in advance to any readers who read this and can figure out the conversation that sparked this post. If you were a part of it, please know I didn't write this in response to any one thing, but more because that post got the wheels turning in my head.

I would like to think that if I ever suddenly died, that one of the primary thoughts people would think about me is, "She was a very loving mother. She would do anything for her children." Because, honestly, I would. I love my children so much. Perhaps, some may think, a little too much. For me, they come first and foremost. And then after them comes my husband, my faith (yes I am working on moving that up the list), my home, my job, and maybe, just maybe, if there is anything left, THEN it's me.

The word "selfless" sounds too prideful. A person who is selfless is someone who puts everything and anything before themselves intentionally... but the thing is, you can't be selfless, if you don't truly believe in the core of you that there is a self. I think that's where my issue lies.

I can't say where the root of all of this is... perhaps it developed over time through my rocky childhood, struggles with bullying, failed relationships, etc. I don't put myself first--ever--because I am not confident in who I am. What is there to put first? (If that makes sense.)

I shower every few days. I last wore makeup at my wedding. I only wear dresses to weddings. I dress comfortably, not stylishly, 96% of the time. I don't work out at a gym or exercise at all. I don't eat insanely healthy or care about what I put into my body (besides what I'm allergic to, plus drugs and alcohol).

When I was in high school I went on a retreat where we got this little printout of a girl and the caption says, "I know that I'm SOMEBODY, because God don't make no junk!" Yes, I believe this... but my actions speak louder than my words and my actions say that I don't.

At the same time, I have no clue how I could possibly do all I do in life and also do more to take care of myself. For starters, the motivation isn't there. I can't say I WANT it, but I don't want to DO anything to get it (yes, much like a spoiled child). Secondly, I already feel maxxed to my limits. Stretched too thin. Every single minute accounted for in one way or another. Even finding time to pee is difficult. I know this isn't the way to live, but I don't know what else to do.

I think, honestly, this is why I struggle with my blog at times. Why am I writing? I'm a nobody. A nobody trying to be a somebody. A poser, if you may. 

I want to be a mom, but I also want to be ME. The problem is, I'm going to be turning 33 in a little over a week and I still have no idea who ME is. I'm defined by my children, my husband, my job... strip it all away and what you have is a shell of a person.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Photo edition

--- 1 ---
February 1st we began our move! While the kids sat in a chair watching TV, D and I began loading our cars with boxes to take to the new place...

--- 2 ---
....and boxes, and boxes, and BOXES. Yes, there were a lot of boxes. But this stack of EMPTY boxes were the fruits of our labor by Saturday night. We worked all day Friday and all day Saturday, and by Sunday morning we were about 95% moved in!

--- 3 ---
Which was good, because on Sunday we got to spend time with some very special friends of ours who came ALLLL the way from Alaska to warm up a little bit. Bebe and K are only 2 weeks apart and they are both cut from the same mold. I've never met another child Bebe's age who matches her personality and energy as much as K does. We had a great time with K and her family--we swam at our pool, then we went to Chipotle (on Superbowl Sunday night, so the place was dead). Poor Bebe cried the entire way home after saying goodbye.
--- 4 ---
My silly boy. He's fascinated by all of the doors here. Since we're in a downstairs unit, our apartment is handicap-accessible and the doors have easy-to-open handles. Many doors have been slammed in the last week by this playful little bugger.

--- 5 ---
Combining the kids from 2 rooms into 1 was probably my biggest challenge. I had a floor plan going in, but once I got in there, nothing felt "right" where I had envisioned it. When I came home Monday night, I found this:
D had the morning off and took it upon himself to rearrange the kids' bedroom. And he did a great job! Their toys are all neatly put away and there's a nice large space in the center of the room for them to use for playing.

--- 6 ---
We lost a room when we moved. We went from having separate dining and living room spaces to having one large (but not very large!) space for both. I'm pretty happy with how we set things up. It honestly doesn't feel as small

--- 7 ---
As if moving isn't stressful enough... On Friday D and I took the day off to do some moving ourselves. On Monday D took off the morning to do some moving-related stuff. On Monday, when I picked Dois up from daycare, he was coughing.  Overnight that cough became a HORRIBLE cold. D and I have been rotating days off, but the poor kiddo is miserable. Tonight I was desperate to eat dinner (kids had been fed) but he was too fussy for me to put down. Finally, out of desperation, I swaddled him and put him in the chair to watch TV. 2 minutes later, this is how I found him:

Sweet boy.
He is on the mend, though. Fever-free for 24 hours, so he's heading back to daycare in the morning.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Feb 1st edition

Really interesting title, huh? Sorry, my brain is fried. Packing and moving will do that to you. Without further adieu, here are my 7 quick takes....


Tomorrow is moving day! And yes, here I am writing QTs instead of packing. It's funny, really. Last Thursday I was in a panic, telling D, "Ahhh! There's so much to be done! I'm FREAKING OUT!!" and he was like, "Dude, calm down! It will get done!" (Which made me want to beat him, not hug him.) Then on Tuesday, how the tables had turned! D was like, "Ahhh! There's so much to be done!!" and I was like, "Calm down! It will get done!" Haha. We balance each other out SO well.


Yesterday we finished up the Novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. This is the first novena that we've ever prayed together, and we both really enjoyed the experience! There were some nights when I had to wait up until 11:30 or so for him to come home so we could pray together, but it was well worth it! I'd heard really interesting stories from those who had prayed it before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I don't feel like anything "monumental" happened, but in the same sense, the novena brought us together. A little funny on the side: D thought that a novena was NINETY days, not NINE! What a relief it was when he found that out (on Day 7 of our novena)!


Bebe got into our district's Gifted & Talented program. SO incredibly proud of her! This is a new journey for us--I've never doubted that she was bright, but I didn't know what would put her into the "gifted" category. I have a lot of reading (and learning) to do, as many of the "issues" we have with her seem to be VERY common among gifted learners (which is comforting--misery loves company, I guess!). At the same time, this new bit of info has me a bit disappointed in the school system in general. With budget cuts and the need to give all students an equal education, the area that took the biggest cuts was Gifted & Talented. What that means is instead of Bebe getting placed in a GATE class 5 days/week for half the day for 6 weeks (as used to be the case), she is getting placed in a GATE class one day/week for half the day for only THREE weeks (because they had so many 3rd graders identified as gifted that they needed to divide up the class). I just don't get how anything is going to be accomplished, and how this is going to help us with things like her boredom in the classroom! But I am just sitting back and waiting right now to see how it goes.


Yesterday was my mom's birthday (happy birthday, Mom!). She turned 69. This past year has been a big one for me. I think it finally hit me, my parents are getting old. My grandparents all lived into their 80s and 90s, but I feel very uncertain about my parents' futures. I love them, but I wish they took better care of themselves. I want my children to know them for a lot longer. Her diagnosis of breast cancer (in November? I can't remember anymore) made these thoughts and feelings so much more intense. How much time is left? 


Speaking of time... I am reading Mitch Albom's new book, The Time Keeper. I am really, really enjoying it! I love how Albom's mind works. I've loved every single one of his books that I've read.


Remember in November when I was SO pumped up about NaNoWriMo? I worked fiercely on a novel and managed to pump out 50,000 words in 30 days... and I haven't touched it since. That is a sad but true reality of my life. In the meantime, I've also come up with two other FABULOUS novel ideas. Now if only I could find time to write and edit more!


Speaking of editing, maybe 8 months ago, my uncle published his very first book. Amused by this, I decided to purchase it for my Kindle. Much to my surprise, it was filled with errors! I asked him to please allow me to send corrections to him so he could update his file, and he was very appreciative. He recently contacted me to let me know that the sequel would be coming out soon--and he asked me to edit it before publishing! I am very excited to have a new task to do.

OK kids, that's all for today. The boxes are calling my name. Make sure to head over to Jen at ConversionDiary to read other people's (more interesting) Quick Takes!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I find myself missing blogging. Yet, at the same time, I have a very unhealthy relationship with the internet--I can't seem to stay away from it. :(

I know I lack connections to people right here in California, so I seek out connections on the internet--but sometimes I think the reason why I still feel "all alone" here is because I've spent so much time developing online friendships instead of in-person ones/

I bookmarked this blog post months ago, and keep returning to it. Trying to find a work-life-blog balance was a challenge for me (is a challenge for me). And my blog--what purpose does it serve? For me? For others? For God?

Our lives are mapped out by the various journeys that we embark on,  the paths we take along the way. I can't explain why, but I feel like recently I've finished a journey. I also feel like a new one is starting.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post (as usually is the case when I sit down to write!), but I felt like this needed to be said. I'm thinking of taking things in a whole new direction. More to come...

Saturday, January 26, 2013


(not sure that's the right title for this, but I couldn't think of anything else)

January 26th is just another ordinary day. It's not anyone's birthday (that I know of), no one's anniversary (that I know of), etc. In fact, it wasn't until about 4pm when I said to myself, "What day is it today?" that I realized today was January 26th. And then I went, "huh."

You see, five, six, seven years ago--heck, even last year--January 26th was a big deal. It WASN'T just an ordinary day. It was a milestone! A BIG FREAKIN' DEAL.

January 26th reminded me of the victory, reminded me of how far I have come in my life, reminded me of how God has helped me to rise up in the face of adversity.

I find it so incredibly amusing that last year around this time I was excitedly anticipating January 26th--and this year not a single thought crossed my mind about it until the day was almost over!

11 years ago today, I was sitting in an emergency room, my friends gathered near by, my arms and legs covered in over 500 (yes, that is not a typo) cuts. Self-inflicted. (The Goo Goo Dolls got it right when they sang, "You'd bleed just to know you're alive.") None serious enough for stitches, but nonetheless a sight to see. A nurse gawked. I tried to disappear with my eyes closed. I felt like my life was over. If only I knew that that day would be just the BEGINNING, not the END!

11 years ago today was the LAST day that I ever cut myself. And 11 years ago yesterday was the last time I ever touched a drop of alcohol. Tomorrow I can officially say that I have been cut-free for 11 YEARS (mind-blowing, seriously, since I can remember celebrating going 11 DAYS without cutting) and today I've been sober for 11 years.

11 years ago today, I started on a new journey in life. One I was not completely ready for. I was hurting so badly (both physically and emotionally), I was so done with life, I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day where things were the same over and over and over again. I never thought I'd come out of the black hole that I was in. And yet, here I am.

"God cares for people through people." That's one of my favorite quotes, and it couldn't be truer in my life. Eleven years ago today, it was my college friends (ahem, Jen) who were my voice when I no longer had any. They were scared shitless (pardon my swearing, but honestly, there's no other way to describe it). I don't blame them, I would've been, too, in their shoes. But that night, they were lifesavers.

I just can't believe how far I've come with God's help, and with time. Time really does heal all wounds (although the scars are still present). In the last year especially, I feel like I've finally been able to bundle up ALL of my experiences from the last 15 years and actually put them behind me. I'm able to look at even the really, really bad times and not feel so engaged in them. They're a part of who I am, and they always will be, but at the same time they're not on the forefront anymore. And what a good thing that is!

Eleven years (and probably a few weeks) ago, when I was there at "rock bottom" I remember saying to a friend that I wasn't strong enough, I just couldn't handle it. And she told me, "You are strongest when you're at your weakest point." It didn't make sense then, but it does now. I look back, and I see that strength. I didn't see it then, but I do now.

One day I hope to somehow repay every person who has been there in my life to help me get from there to here. I don't know how, but I have to. I owe it to them. For God's glory.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm baaaack!

It's been 19 or 20 days since my last post, and I'm baaack!


Well, mostly because I'm avoiding things, haha.

The last 20 days have been FULL of excitement, though!

1. We're moving! My mother-in-law had been staying with us for 6 weeks, and during that time the kids shared a room for days at a time. When she was about to leave, Bebe asked us if she could still share a room with Dois. D and I went, Hmmm... We thought about it (after all, it won't be much longer before they're too old to share), we prayed about it (we were hoping to buy a house when our lease was up, but we weren't finding much), and we inquired about it--and we got the deal of a lifetime: on a house only 1 block away! We are downsizing to a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom 1064sq ft apartment from our current 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom 1300sq ft townhome. And we are EXCITED about it! But not about packing. Packing pretty much sucks. Always.

2. Dois started a new daycare! I mentioned in the past that his previous daycare was not feeling as good to us anymore. It wasn't as if things were TERRIBLE there, but we knew it wasn't a place for him long-term, and to be honest, it was expensive. D and I looked around at other places, and decided to enroll Dois in the Carden school located on the campus where D works. It was more affordable, had longer hours (I was always stressed rushing to get Dois on time), and was a better long-term fit for him (meaning, he can stay there until he starts Kindergarten). The weeks leading up to the transition were hard, we wavered in our decision. Dois was so incredibly loved at his previous daycare and we felt like we were taking away their sunshine (he was the favorite). But in the end, we knew this was the right choice. The transition was tough for 2 weeks, but now he runs in with a smile and doesn't even say goodbye. He's getting the love and the care that he got at his previous daycare, and he is learning and exploring new things everyday.

3. We prayed for God's guidance, and we're getting it! A seed has been planted, courtesy of House Hunters. We've been praying for God to reveal His will for us for our future. First came the realization that there were no houses we wanted to buy, then the opportunity to move (and save $500/month! Officially putting our home-buying plans on hold) and then came House Hunters. One night D and I were watching and in back-to-back episodes, the home buyers were buying homes in low cost-of-living areas. And it was like a seed was planted. Yes, we've talked about how expensive SO Cal is and we've discussed getting out of here, but there's always been trepidation. But now? Now we're actively looking around the East Coast for possible places to relocate. We've been working our BUTTS off for a 20% down payment here in California, which could easily be a 30-50% down payment in other areas of the country! We have no familial ties here, really, so the only thing really keeping us here are our love for the weather and the fact that we're "established" here (I've been at my job for over 6 years, and D has been working for the state for 5 years now). But is the weather really worth the fact that D works 2 jobs and we can't afford the things we'd like to (travel, Catholic education for our children)? NO WAY!

4. We've decided that sometime in the near future, we'll be trying for Baby #3! I never really thought I'd hear D say he wanted a third, but he's said it--a few times! We need to get through this move, but then, who knows. It's exciting. I absolutely love our family right now--the kids are just so great and loving with one another, we're so happy, I just want it to GROW!!

Annnnnd, that's it. I think. But that's a lot for 19 days, right?!

My internet fast isn't going so well, but I'm trying...

Time to get back to packing!