Monday, April 14, 2014

my deep version of 'let it go' (note: not frozen related at ALL)

I let my expectations ruin things for me all the time. That's a bruiser of a statement to start a blog post with, huh?

I know, it's horrible and it also can be so true. I sometimes daydream about the weekends, or the way our evenings should go, and I get set in my ways and then I try to pave it all out so it works out in that beautiful, fairytale way that I think it should. And yep. In true fashion of living life with two crazy little people? It goes to the crap house real fast and I'm left disappointed and sometimes all irritated and a little miserable.

I hate that aspect of myself. I've been working hard to let that go. To really just try to be in the moments and go with the flow, and not really care that much about what I think or feel will go the best way. But to just let it go the way the wind blows, kinda-thing. 

This weekend I did just that--I kinda let all my expectations go and to my surprise, we seriously had the most amazing weekend and we all commented on the peacefulness and the fun of it the whole time. I mean, a true-feel-good-warm-heart-I-love-my-family-so-stinkin-much weekend. Things just went. Plans were made kinda haphazardly. But they all turned out so fun and well. And it helps that the weather was beyond amazing. After The Worst Winter Ever nothing, I repeat Nothing makes us happier. My kids love the outside so much. We had gross, dirty-water baths every night and I loved it.

A breakfast date while the big girl was in preschool. Random stops at the park watching our girl's just really engage with each other and play. Picking wildflowers. Dinner at the mall. New sunglasses for some little ladies who've been begging for new "gasses!" to ease their eyes from the bright sun (a problem we love to have). 

A fun morning at an Easter candy scramble, with bounce houses and tickets and cotton candy. An easy-going afternoon on the deck, blowing bubbles and getting dirty with chalk. Grilling dinner. Meeting friends for frozen yogurt and hitting up another park. 

Then topping the whole weekend off with a very overdue, kinda-last-minute trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, car naps, and then a very spontaneous cookout at my parent's house with all my family. 



Basically. If I could roll up my perfect weekend into a tiny little ball and keep it in my pocket forever it would be this. 

So that's it?

I lower my expectations then get mind-blown with such a feel-good weekend it makes me kinda weepy to hold these memories with my sweet family?

Interesting how that works.

***

Sweet memories can come when you just let yourself be and let all that other stuff go. I'm working on it. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The best twenty four in a looong time.

Our day away for my birthday was awesome. I'm sure that a day sounds like nothing, and you know what? While it is kinda short for a 'getaway', since I was in the mindset of it only being one day, oddly, it felt just right. I've also decided that anything longer may never be in the cards for us until our kids are, um, in college. So I won't even waste time wishing and I'm grateful, for real, for an overnight.

A day was great.

Heck. Even the drive there was like---let's talk about EVERYTHING! dreams! goals! Crap, you went the wrong way! ah, who cares, there's no kids to entertain! Let's drink more Starbucks!


In a days time we checked into a lovely, beachfront room at Caesars. We had a fancy, yet relaxed birthday dinner. I got a whirlwind little lesson in gambling, to which I decided I am so not interested, and would much rather burn my money away on, you know, new clothes. I miiiiight have side-eyed a few of those waitresses in those weird little outfits. We walked closely together, holding hands, down the streets and boardwalk, late at night, and decided to pop in for 'just dessert & drinks' at Melting Pot (something we've always wanted to do). We laughed a lot. We played around like teenagers in a crazy candy store. We slept in!!! (ok, it was 8:30am, but that's totally sleeping in, and bonus--I didn't wake up to crying/whiny/neediness of any kind) I got ready without someone tugging at my clothes or spilling my makeup bag for the 28th time. We ate breakfast at a little dive. I had a delicious & fresh Jersey bagel. My husband became my personal shopper & pretty much let me go into any store and shop to my heart's content. Then he paid and carried all my bags. 



A few times throughout the day I deemed it as THE BEST DAY EVER--because, well--isn't that obvious? It's pretty much my picture-perfect day. Actually, I would add a massage. But other than that? It was perfect.

We ate panini's outside in the sunshine for lunch until two dudes started throwing chairs at one another and the cops had to come, therefore we migrated inside for our safety. Sweet, Atlantic City :) We went wayyyyy out of the way so I could get a chick-fil-a unsweet tea for the ride home. We arrived to our two crazy and wild cuties and my wonderful parents--and then went out and had Mexican for dinner.

The rest of the night and weekend was normal as normal could be. Bath and bedtime and catching up on the DVR, and going to the Y, and breaking down on the side of the road for two hours (minor hiccup, ahem), and teaching the sunday school kiddies, and going through my new stuff. I know life isn't about stuff, I don't even really think I'm very materialistic, at all--but dude, sometimes a little shopping spree is nice.


It was good. Now, it's time for a detox.

And a massage.

Yes, a massage would be good. 

**

Thanks for all the birthday love. You guys are cool.

Friday, April 4, 2014

29. No, really---it's 29.


So 29 is the birthday I'm supposed to cling to, huh? I mean, I assume it's just because it's The One before the big 3-0, but let's be real. Is 30 really that bad after all? Everything I'm reading and hearing is that 30 is awesome. I actually find myself almost wishing to be on the other side like most of my friends--you know, in some 30-year-old-utopia. Doesn't the promise of better skin and utmost confidence come with that age nowadays? That's what I hear anyway.

So tomorrow's the day I turn infinitely 29 or something like that.

This morning my TimeHop app came up and showed me the post I wrote last year on my birthday and in it, had a few goals, per-se, for the year. Interesting, because I'm not a huge goal-kinda-lady. Also, this is the first time since last year I looked at this post--pretty sure that's not how goals work.

I said: So this year. Year 28 (hold me). I want to get stronger. Be healthier. Be nicer (yep, my husband will laugh at this and then nod). Be more intentional. Smile bigger and more often. Push myself further than I thought I was capable. Continue loving on these precious girls of mine. Spend more time with God. Not be pregnant. Be warm and embracing. Stretch myself in uncomfortable situations. Meet new friends. Challenge myself. Get more haircuts (a year between haircuts is absurd). Drink less diet coke. Clean my house more (just kidding). Read more (won't happen).

I can honestly say that in some areas I kicked total butt. Others? ehhh, notsomuch, oops.

So let's focus on the positive, k?

Stronger. Check.
Healthier. Check.
Pushed myself. Check.
Loving my girls. Check.
Not be pregnant. CHECK, CHECK!
Meet new friends. Check.
Challenge myself. Check.
Get more haircuts. Check. (dude! I got on an every 6 week schedule for cuts--who AM I?)
Drink less diet coke. Check. (COMPLETELY QUIT! Booyah!)

I mean. This year wasn't a total and complete waste. So high five for that.

Last year I was also whining about the boring nature of adult birthdays, especially as compared to your kid's awesome celebrations. But this year? This year I told Declan I just want to WAKE UP AND GET TO LAY THERE IN PEACE.  ie: I want no one NEEDING me. Nope. Not a peep. I want to not move a muscle if I don't have to.

So we are going to a hotel in Atlantic City. 

serious.

One night, that's it. I just want a 24 hour date with my husband where we don't have to sing Frozen songs or threaten this or that if you don't stop hitting your sister, for the love.

IT WILL BE COMPLETE BLISS.

I am convinced.

And my goals for 29? Well. I haven't gotten that far and that's cool. Because all I'm thinking about right now is a 2 hour long drive with my husband, getting to listen to the music of our choice, and--oh,  yea, TALKING TO EACH OTHER. That's right. It's a luxury 'round here getting a word in edgewise with the little ladies in our household. I have no idea where they get that.

alright 29. do your thang.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

only one. a pep talk of sorts.


Last night after dinner somehow my whole clan ended up on the kitchen floor. Hundreds of fresh crayons strewn about, coloring books galore. We were all full blown laying on your belly-style-coloring. I have to say, my husband is an impressive colorer. I had no idea.

Anyway. As we were laying there and going to town on coloring books, Declan says something about wanting to make a Spring/Summer bucket list to make sure we're intentional about places we want to go and things we want to do.

Perfect. Sounds good to me.

So I grab a poop brown crayon and start jotting things down. It quickly became a family discussion and Emeline grabbed her pen and began 'writing', too and asking everyone in the family the same question,  "did you 'fink about it? where do YOU wanna go?"

We thought and we pondered. We threw out fun ideas like going fishing, and to the local railroad--trips to the lake and to the zoo. All of these things sound so fun to me. I wrote down my idea for last minute, spontaneous weekend trips. I wanna hit up some cool restaurants, you know, think Diners-Drive-in's and Dive's style. I wanna DO fun stuff. I wanna just go with my family and hike and find little hidden corners of the world I didn't know existed. 

I have this deep urge to explore.

The problem is--when it comes down to it, nothing I ever think in my head that sounds so amazing ever turns out to be, well, that amazing

Am I the only one with this problem?

The actual act of getting there, doing it, the planning, the prep---it's all so exhausting. And gosh, with kids--things actually going as planned? Forget about it. I can't even get a 30 minute Target trip to go my way, let alone some whirlwind, last minute, weekend trip, I'm sure-----so why bother

Sometimes that's how I feel. And I haaate it.

I don't know if we're just in a rough patch as far as the kids ages go or what. But sometimes I feel like we'll never get to live that fancy free life I picture in my head.

The truth is--when I really dig deep and I think about it? The problem lies within me and me alone. It's how I react to the stressful situations, the way the kid's act like, well--kids. I can get out of my fairy tale mindset and just know that new situations, new places we visit, new things we explore, while they'll be fun, we will still have those hurdles to get over, and gasp, life isn't over in the midst of it. 

I know. It all sounds so trivial. And I guess it really is. But sometimes it holds me back, and dang it-I don't want it to.

I want to have a fun summer filled with making memories. And yes, some of those memories are gonna come with messes.  

It's gotta be about the journey. I only have this one life, right?

Monday, March 31, 2014

The end of naptime didn't ruin my life.

3yr. 8 mo. 7d. I cannot complain about that. Anyone who does complain about that amount of glorious naptime deserves a swift kick in the you-know-what from the mom of kid who stopped napping at some god forsaken early age like 18 months or something.

We had a really good run.

And while I thought the end of naptime would kill me....it's been a few months now and it isn't so bad after all.


(via)

It's true. I Dreaded (with a capital "d") the end of naptime for Emeline. I pushed through every hurdle, every time I thought it was The End, and we made it through to the other side and the few blissful hours of quiet time in the house mid-day remained. It became my little sanctuary. I thanked God silently every day for this little gift of peace. This little boost of energy. For the time I got to pop my feet up for a second and drink another cup of coffee, and drink it hot, while I'm at it. Never did I realize that drinking hot coffee would be a luxury. What has my life become.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'd hate for you to get me wrong. I am not happy naptime is over. In fact, we've basically just replaced naptime with "quiet time" and this way we both still get alone time. Because the truth is, by about 1:30pm, I can think about nothing else. I have never, and will probably never be the mom who wants naptime to stop, or keeps my kid awake just to spend time with them. I really can't fake it. I love me some alone time, and that's a byproduct of naptime, therefore=it's a love/love relationship and there's no denying that from me. Sister, that's the truth.

Right now, although my time mid-day alone has dwindled down to about an hour, tops, with multiple interruptions in between. It has been survivable. I've not completely lost it yet and for the most part, we're all kinda happy and ok.

As far as knowing when it was time? Well, it's not that she just completely stopped napping one day. No. Actually, I'm pretty sure the girl would have willingly napped until she was 13. We just found that bedtime was getting so friggin' hard (as in, let's drag this out until past mom's bedtime, and, yea--no, that's not cool). She wasn't TIRED. Even if we let her stay up later than her sister. Or let her play in her room. Or whatever. It was a fiiiight. And we were sick of fighting.

Once she became a kid who could actually GET through the whole day napless without being a complete and total meltdown-freakazoid by 5pm, then we knew it was time. She could handle her little self without physically sleeping mid-day, make it to bedtime fairlyyyyy happy--and with as much as a story, song, and a kiss and she was KNOCKED OUT COLD.

For the first few days my husband and I would stand there in complete disbelief.

OH MY GOSH WAS BEDTIME REALLY THAT EASY????

I traded my time mid-day for some more hours on the evening end--and that's basically the gist of it. Both girls go to bed at the same time now (Lucy still takes a 1-2 hour mid-day nap), and both sleep a blissful 12'ish hours at night.

Finally cutting out the mid-day nap didn't kill me, it made me stronger. (Just kidding, hey Kelly Clarkson!) No, really. At the end of the day, I'm all heck yesssss it's bedtime! And it's much easier when she's actually totally tired and ready for bed, too, go figure.

We cut the nap and I lived to tell about it.

That, my friends, is a victory.








Tuesday, March 25, 2014

no more bliss!

Yesterday I received a doozy of an email. One of those ones that leaves you feeling kicked in the stomach and as a side effect completely nauseated. It basically informed me that someone on the big 'ole internet was stealing photos from my blog and using them in craigslist ads when seeking men. Awesome. 

Oh, and not just photos of me--but photos of me with my kids, too.

My first reaction was freak out! cry! scream! OMGGGGG! I didn't do anything other than freak out a little bit, in actuality. But the more I started dwelling on it, the more I started feeling all riled up. How dare someone steal my pictures? How dare someone have the nerve to use my face and claim it as their own, and my kids? sick human being that must be. I was starting to get all livid and hot-headed and downright freakin' pissed, if I'm being honest. I kinda felt violated and icky and gross. Because--uh. MY PHOTOS ON RANDOM CRAIGSLIST ADS. !!!!ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS NEEDED!!!!!

In effort to clear my brain I went to the gym and completely and utterly exhausted myself in an hour body combat class. I just pictured myself punching and kicking the snot out of every catfishing jerk out there who has the nerve to steal photos and pose as someone they're not.

Weirdly, that did the trick and I left that class not only feeling 100x better, but happy to boot.

Endorphins are a funny thing.

It's been about 24 hours since The Email and basically I've come to the conclusion that, while kinda sick and ultimately kinda messed up, I did this to myself. I mean, in the sense that I choose to blog on public forum. I choose to share pictures. I choose to use the internet at all.

Because, let's be honest.

Your photos on Facebook and Instagram and all those internet-based things can be stolen and used for random purposes all the time. It's not just because I have a blog.

Although, I will say--I'm glad the person who took my photos took them from my blog, since, well, the guy who discovered them did a reverse-google-image-look-up and what do ya know??? He found me! Little 'ole me at this Loves of Life blog. Happily married. Clearly not soliciting random men in Omaha. Who obviously had gotten some of her photos hijacked because the wonderful world wide web isn't that safe, cushy place my brain pretends it to be after all.

Go figure.

I can feel yucky. I can feel sad. I can feel a little bit violated, too. But it won't really help.

After all, I choose this. I choose to share. I choose to write and post photographs, all of which I know could (and do) end up in random google searches and (come to find out) random Craigslist ads.

Do I think it's right?

aw, helllllll no.

It's downright wrong. But that doesn't change that it happened (and still could continue to happen). Although, I pray it doesn't--because imma start huntin' bishes down, yo. (Trying to act scary doesn't work well for me, ahem).

I officially lost my lovely internet ignorance this week.

And you know what they say- ignorance is bliss.

***

Since I know there will be questions, I emailed the person using my photos and nicely asked them to cease using them. However, all I had was one of those randomly generated craigslist emails, so I don't know if it went through/got to them, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. I also reported to Craigslist Fraud Department. That's about the extent of what I can/did do.

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Reasons it's OK to have your husband go away

Declan is on a guys trip with my side of the family in Florida for Spring Training. Thank the good Lord he comes home TONIGHT. He up and left us, freezing cold in so-called "Spring", and spent his days in a baseball stadium, by the pool, drinking little umbrella drinks (I kid), and reading. Can you imagine such bliss? I actually can't. So try to imagine it for me. That kind of relaxation is completely out of my realm and capability to even pretend to picture. So do it for me, k? thanks.

Anyway. It was important he go. That they all go, really. My dad really treasures those types of memories--and most of you know about my Dad. He loves baseball. He loves his kids, those that married in. And he loves sunshine. Spring Training is a special memory he's held with my brothers over the years...so they wanted to make sure to get in one last trip while they felt they really could with my Dad. This trip was it.

What it meant for me, though? Was five days single parenting. Which--I must say, woo buddy. I'm not cut out for. But what I do know is the fact that he rarely has to go away is awesome and so I (try) not to complain about these small trips because other wives have to deal with spouses being away for months and months at a time.

But what I did do was come up with a list of 5 Reasons it's OK to have your husband go away.

1. You can load the dishwasher exactly how you want.

This might be a strange one--but it kind of covers a lot of bases. My husband is much more Type-A personality than me. He likes things neat and organized (mostly), I don't really care about such things. Therefore, when I load the dishwasher? It drives him crazzzzzy. I could care less. Hey! If dishes get washed, then who really cares how it looks? But when my husband is away, it's like--WHO CARES! Throw the dishes errrywhere!! No one will see it but me!!!!!!!! (and then I realize this means I'll be the one who has to unload said dishwasher since, well, he's not home to do it, and the novelty wears off fast. But still! Let's not diverge from the case at hand here.) Getting to load the dishwasher without a "really, Katie?" every time-is, well, a novelty 'round here.

This translates to other areas of the house, too. I let much of the day to day stuff roll off my back when he's gone. I didn't stress about vacuuming up all the crumbs every day. If the dishes piled in the sink too long? Ah, well. We're all alive and that's what matters. I usually try to keep things relatively neat, you know, to stay on top of things while he's at work so when he's home from work there's less of that stuff to worry about. When he's gone though, I sort of let the day to day stuff slide.

2. You learn you can do things you usually pretend you can't do.

The internet went down? Call Declan. The trash needs to go out? Call Declan. The laundry needs to be done? Call Declan. The dog needs to go out? Call Declan.

Turns out, I can do all those things (stop rolling your eyes). Granted, I knew I could--it's just, why bother when you don't have to? Trash day rolls around and there's tons of garbage to go out. Guess who's a big girl now? Hauling that trash like a boss. Fixing internet and TV issues. Boom. And oh, yea, doing our weekly loads of laundry? Yea, I guess I'm capable of that, too. My husband happily does the laundry--we've always been a split-household-work kinda couple. But my gym clothes aren't gonna wash themselves.

As it turns out, I can handle it all. But when he gets back, it's back to pretending I can't. Er, or should I say, 'won't', or 'don't want to'. Whichever. (shhhhhh)


3. You can get into bed at 8pm and surrender yourself to netflix all night.

There is no secret that single-parenting is anything but exhausting. Holy moly. The days I know Declan will be home at a normal hour, etc, I mentally tell myself to 'just make it to 5pm'. But when Daddy won't be home allllll night or the next day (or the next, or the next), you just HAVE TO KEEP IT TOGETHER. You have no choice to check-out or hand the duties over to your spouse and just leave the house/the room/lock yourself in the bathroom. So by the time you're done the bedtime routine x2 kids you're just FLAT OUT DONE.

Every single night I retreated to my bedroom at an ungodly early hour, embarrassingly so--with my water, a snack, and Netflix at my fingertips. I mean, it's basically heaven. But there's no one else in the house to hang out with/watch shows with/do adult things with (giggle), so-- I mean, you get to watch episodes of Revenge back to back and not feel bad about it, cuz, you totally earned it after a long, hard day with the kids, alone.

4. You don't have to shower.

No explanation needed. (just plug your nose)

5. You realize how much your spouse actually does. 

It always helps to put life in perspective again when someone is absent. Yep, it's true--he does a lot and our days feel emptier without him around. Whether it's just letting the girls jump into his arms from the steps for hours on end to wear off energy, or, you know, doing all the weekly laundry---his presence is needed and enjoyed around here. So we miss him. We feel a void. Everyday life is better when he's around, even if I have to load the dishwasher a bit neater for his liking. Or, you know, shower my stinky body every so often.


We love him lots & can't wait for him to be home.

***


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