- What is your favorite color? Purple
- What is your favorite toy? American Girl Dolls/Kitchen
- What is your favorite fruit? cherries
- What is your favorite TV show? Just Add Magic
- What do you like to eat for lunch? salami and cheese
- What is your favorite outfit? dress
- What is your favorite sport? soccer
- What is your favorite snack? cookies
- What is your favorite animal? lion or fox or owl...I like them all except bugs
- What is your favorite song? Tell Your Heart to Beat Again
- What is your favorite book? Upside Down Magic
- Who is your best friend? [H] and [K] and [Monster]
- What is your favorite cereal? None
- What do you like to play outside? Play like I'm a warrior
- What is your favorite drink? Root beer
- What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
- What do you sleep with every night? My blanky and Max or BunBun
- What is your favorite breakfast? cinnamon rolls
- What do you want for your birthday dinner? Panera
- What do you want to be when you grow up? a marine biologist and a teacher
My Sweet Baby Boo,
Where have 9 years gone? You are becoming such a beautiful young lady, yet it feels like just yesterday you were my precious baby.
We are so proud of the young lady you are becoming. You have such passion for all you do. You put your heart and soul into all that you try. You're developing your skills at the things you love to do, like soccer, dance and baseball. We can see your progression and it amazes us. We love how you seamlessly transition from graceful ballerina to tough-as-nails soccer player in a 5 minute time span!
You have had some hard times this year. Through those, though, you have learned to be who you are. You have discovered that your tender heart and compassion shine through and others do see it and have faith in it. You are learning to be who you are, no matter what other people think. You are broadening your circle of friends and learning that it's OK that you have friends who aren't friends with each other.
You are also working on trying new things. You have always been our child who is willing to try pretty much anything, other than food. You're now expanding and trying all sorts of new things, including new foods! This year, you have joined clubs for the sake of trying new things and have discovered you like them. You are in Run Club and having a great time. You enjoy learning about gardening in Garden Club. You have taken a step out of your comfort zone and are working hard at Science Olympiad.
You have learned and tried so much this past year. I can't wait to see what this next year brings. The first new endeavour will be a new baseball league. You may love it or it may not be for you, but either way, you shine.
Keep being you, my sweet Sunshine.
I love you. Always.
This past year, Sunshine has decided that she loves to cook. For Christmas, she and one of her best friend's received the same cookbook so that they could cook together. Aside from those recipes, we've looked at a lot of recipes on Pinterest that we plan on trying this year (feel free to follow me on Pinterest for more recipes!). We've picked out top 5 out of each of my food/drink boards to try.
Chicken (this gets its own category since it's almost all the meat we eat)
Food (everything not chicken or Mexican)
I'm hoping we get to try all of these, plus more, this year. I'm also hoping that my daughter's new found love of cooking will lead her to actually eating more things. High hopes!
When stuck in a traffic jam on 1-95 in South Carolina, our family decided to come up with New Year's resolutions and hopes for 2018. We also came up with a to do list of things that NEED to be accomplished this year. I figure that if I post these things here, we'll be more likely to finish them!
First up, New Year's "Resolutions". I use that term loosely since Sunshine isn't positive what resolutions are. :
Sunshine: Stop hurting with my words. Invent more. Stop fighting with my brother. Focus more. Draw more. Drink more water. Practice dance. Cook more.
Monster: Stop hurting my family by not paying attention. Stop hurting with my words. Drink more water. Get in better shape.
Husband: Stop hurting with words. Help children to learn to be more responsible.
Me: Bake more with kids. Exercise more (with kids). Drink more water. Read more.
And, our To Do List (because everyone wants to know the boring stuff we have to get done):
When you're a mom, you're always the mom. Even on vacation, the mom doesn't get a break. Please don't get me wrong, I love my vacations. I love being able to work outside in December. I love being able to read a book or two. I love being able to just walk to the beach whenever I feel like. Vacation is essential to my existence. But, I'm never "off duty". Even on vacation, I'm the mom. I have to parent my children. I have to wash dishes. I have to do laundry. I have to clean up. That's just how it is. I accept it, but I don't always like it.
Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe you've always had the luxury of having family with you on vacation to watch your kids. Maybe you only stay at hotels where people clean up after you. We choose not to stay at a hotel where we have to share a pool and eat out every meal. We have no one to watch our kids, on vacation or not. Therefore, there's actually still work to do on vacation.
This is a picture of how my family left the kitchen.
Where is my family you ask? Why, they are in the hot tub, of course. Even though dads still need to parent on vacations, they seem to have a lot more free time than moms.
So, while they were all in the hot tub, I got to clean up.
I don't mind. Really, I don't. I just found it funny that moms never truly get a vacation. I rely on Husband to help parent, but everything else is on me, all the time. Is it any wonder I'm always stressed?!?!
2017 has been a rough year for me emotionally. We got a new dog. Monster started middle school. Husband started a new job. Sunshine is having issues with people at school. These things are normal parts of life, but then my anxiety gets thrown in. To look at me and talk to me, you would never know that 2017 has been almost unbearable for me. In fact, no one would know because this is the first time I've even mentioned it. I've tried telling Husband a little of it, but he gets annoyed with me and then I shut down.
2017 has been a year of self loathing. I'm not talking about a normal person being upset or annoyed with something about themselves, but more like I want to crawl into a hole and never come out. Every day is a struggle just to get out of bed. I'm sick of people saying that if I don't like something about myself, I can change it. I know that, but it also takes money and time, of which I have neither. Husband keeps saying that I need to do more for myself. That would be great if I had anyone to run my kids around, or someone to make meals, or do laundry. By the time Husband gets home, I've already shut down and I don't want to do anything. It's actually more than just not wanting to do anything. That sounds lazy. I'm not lazy. It's more o being so mentally drained and hurt and unsure that the thought of even trying to leave the house after husband gets home stresses me out.
Every last decision I make is one that I question and second guess. It doesn't help that I get strife from my family for the majority of my decisions. My anxiety started to take over toward the beginning of the year and I have just shut down. I am not doing fine and have not been doing fine for a long time.
Why am I bringing this up? I mean, nothing is going to change. No one can help. This is just how it is. I'm bringing it up so that people can better understand why I've pretty much fallen off the face of the Earth this past year. It's not that I don't want to be around. It's not that I don't want to be part of things. It's not that am antisocial (OK, I'm a little antisocial). It's that I'm emotionally drained and I have nothing else to give. No, I'm not burnt out, like my mom keeps saying. In fact, staying busy does more help than harm. It's when I have time that I start to hate myself. When there is down time, I start to question every decision I've ever made (if you have anxiety, you can understand this one). It spirals from there. This is not something one just snaps out of. I work hard at it every day. I will continue to work hard at it. Every day, I will get out of bed and do what needs to be done, but not much more than that. I can't. I just can't.
I'm hoping 2018 will be better. I'm trying to formulate a plan to work through this. January through March, we have more free time on weekends, so maybe I'll be able to figure this out. Maybe I'll be able to get back on track. Maybe not. Either way, I'm not asking for anyone to do anything for me. I'm just asking for grace and understanding.
There have been studies done linking social media to depression and suicide. There are many studies on these topics and each time a new one comes out, all I can think is, "Duh!". After I get off of Facebook or Instagram, I feel worse about myself. I truly hate social media. I am on it to keep up with certain friends who live far away, but the rest, I could do without. Social media is a place where everyone comes to brag and portray their lives as the best thing in the world, or, it's a place where they come to get sympathy for how much their lives suck. Either way, it makes me feel horrible every time I get on.
No one ever wants to post about the hard stuff. Why? Hard stuff is what we need support with. No one needs support when their lives are hunky dory. Every time I feel crappy looking at people's posts, I remember this. I have a "friend" that I'm pretty sure is going through a divorce, but there's not single negative thing posted. I get not wanting the world know your business, but then, maybe you shouldn't post things. I rarely, post anything personal. The last thing I posted was that if you drop you dog off on the freeway, there is a special place in hell for you. Not super personal there. In fact, I didn't even post WHERE this was in reference to.
So, I the question is, why is it so surprising that this new generation of people, who have never been without digital cameras (let's not get into everyone suddenly thinking they are a photographer...I say this as an old school photographer who can actually develop her own film and print her own photos), smartphones, the internet, social media, and online schooling, have trouble with depression and relating to people in real life? Have you looked around when you have gone out to dinner? How many people are actually talking to each other and not on their phones? People are more concerned about appearances than connections. "Look at how much fun I'm having. Don't you wish you were me?" As a person who suffers from anxiety, these things suck. The logical part of my brain knows these people's lives are perfect, but the anxiety in me tells me that everyone's lives are better than mine. I see people camping with their kids and think how my kids need to be camping. I hate camping. I would be miserable. I have no desire to camp, but look at how great these people's lives are. If I have trouble processing these things, I can't even imagine what it would be like for kids, who have yet to go through the emotional changes they need to in order to logically process this sort of information. With no life experiences, these kids have no idea how to get along in the world unless they see it posted somewhere.
There is more stress on children now than ever before. Why? Because now everyone is keeping up the Joneses. "This person just posted that their two year is doing this, so my two year must need to do this as well." And it continues throughout that child's life. I fully admit, I'm guilty of this, to a point. My child is not going to be in every single activity they can be in just because someone else's child is. If we would like to play that game, I'll happily post both my gifted children's test scores for you. Actually, that's not true. It's something I would never do because I won't play that game. I digress...how can we expect kids to grow up to be decent humans if they don't ever have to actually interact with anyone? When a girl is mad at her best friend, instead of having it out, face to face, or even on the phone, it's text messaging or posting mean things on social media. To take it a step further, reputations can be destroyed by angry teenagers on social media. Did no one ever think that maybe all this technology isn't the best thing to put in the hands of children whose brains have not yet fully developed and who are going through intense hormonal changes?
Technology is changing so fast that no one thought through the consequences. Yes, there are so many wonderful, wonderful advances with technology that make life so much easier. Heck, we're slowly developing a "smart" house. I simply ask Google to do something, and it's done. Lights on or off, thermostat up or down, playing music, watching TV, and even finding my phone have become things I simply ask a machine to do. The thing is, people have forgotten to be careful. Know what your kids are doing. Know what your kids are watching. My daughter is not allowed to watch YouTube videos. My son is only allowed to follow certain people on Instagram and may not add anyone without permission. More so, we monitor it. I take my kids' phone and read everything. I am around when they are on electronics. My son, who has a lot of work to do for school on the computer, has limited access to websites and needs to ask permission for any new website he is trying to get to, and this included Google searches. I'm also lucky because I have a husband who knows how to do all the technological stuff. I am not the savvy. More importantly though, we need to not only monitor what kids are doing, but we need to interact with them. We need to demonstrate how decent human beings act. We need to speak with our children. We need to let them know that what they see on social media is not the real world. We need to point out that everyone has problems that they are working through. Life is so hard, but we keep making it harder for our kids by trying to show them only the good. We all want to shelter our children, but doing that only makes them have unrealistic expectations.
Be kind. On social media and in the real world. Take time to make real connections instead of digital ones. Be proud of your messy hard life.
We have a mouse in our basement. Not a big deal. We had a mouse once before. We caught it in one night. This mouse is different. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's that we now have a ton of kid stuff downstairs or that it got into our dog food, but whatever it is, I'm not handling it well. Neither is Husband. Apparently, as a child, there was such a mouse problem in his house, that it has traumatized him for all eternity. So, unfortunately for our children, instead of only having one crazy parent, they have two for this situation and it hasn't played out well. Monster was in tears no less than twice on Monday because of the mouse. Not really directly because of the mouse, but more indirectly.
Sunshine started spiralling and the mouse was the trigger. Monday was sort of a rough day for her anyway, so then coming home to two parents freaking out, just pushed her right over the edge. Husband came down after tucking her in and told me that I needed to go back up there and talk her down. He said, "She's spiralling and I can't handle it". It broke my heart because she's me. Thank God I have friends who get me and don't judge. Because of this mouse, I had to call up a friend and have her come over just to watch me take out a bag of dog food. Seriously. I couldn't do it on my own. I got cold sweats every time I went near the bag. She came over and I got the bag, with the huge mouse hole, and took it to the the outside trash. She didn't think I was nuts. She understood. I told Husband I had to have her come over and he didn't get it, especially when I told him that I did myself. He assumed I had her come over to grab the bag for me. The thing about anxiety is, sometimes, you just need to have someone there to support you. Yes, it would have been easier for someone else to do it for me, but I had to do it myself, but couldn't do it alone. So, when Husband said I needed to go deal with Sunshine, I knew what I had to do and it made me sad that he didn't know how to help her. She needed to work through everything on her own. She did not want someone to keep saying it would be OK. Not once did I tell her that. We talked about what would happen if this or that came up. She already knew it all, she just needed reassurance.
This mouse has turned our household into a group of nervous, anxious people (I'm like that always, but more so now). It's taken it's toll on everyone. We have spent 3 days now pulling the basement apart to try to figure out where this sucker is hiding. We have 6 traps and I'm going out to buy more today. The mouse is taunting us by pooping on freshly cleaned off shelves. If anyone who knew me would walk into my house today, they would instantly know something is wrong. My anxiety over this mouse has caused me to shut down. The house is horrible, and I'm not exaggerating. My kids haven't eaten a decent meal since Saturday. A mouse in the house doesn't seem like much, but when it gets your anxiety spiralling, everything else spirals with it. Three of us are spiralling. If we don't catch this mouse soon, everyone in this family is going to be pushed so far over the edge that we can't get back to "normal".
There's also a toad in the garage, but he's another story...
I used to be a Pinterest mom. Seriously. I was the mom people hated. I made cutesy Valentine's, painted like Michael Angelo, made bath paints, did a multitude of science experiments, made numerous Christmas and other holiday decorations, hundreds of fun, educational activities, etc. I always thought that when the kids got older, I would have even more time to craft and do exciting projects with them. I was wrong. I went from being a Pinterest Mom to an Amazon Prime Mom. If I can't get it in two days, it's just not happening.
I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I do know how. Being new to the mom thing, I assumed that when my children grew up, I would have more time. That was just naive. The older the kids got, the more activities they became involved in. That means, less time I have with them and less time I have at home. Currently, our schedule consists of activities 5 out of 7 days of the week. Monday-Thursday, I am running kids around from 2:30-8:30. Saturdays, we're booked until noon. That leaves little time to make fun crafts. That leaves little time to do fun science experiments. That leaves little time to make holiday decorations...heck, there's barely time to decorate with what we have! The time we have is used to sit down and eat dinner together. It's used to have family game time. It's used to do homework or read. We're choosing to spend our time doing things other than making crafts.
When Sunshine started school full time, people asked me, "What are you going to do with all your free time?" That first year, I would respond that was going to get my life in order. Three years later, I still haven't gotten my life together. Why? There's no time. I thought for sure I'd be able to do so much while the kids were in school. For the most part, I can. However, I do all the things that I used to do with kids. I grocery shop. I clean. I do laundry. I bake. Then, the kids get home from school and I'm running. I no longer have time to grocery shop, clean, do laundry, or bake after the kids get home from school, which means if I don't do those things while the kids are in school, we go hungry and naked. Or, I don't sleep and, believe me, you don't want me to give up my sleep.
Life is too short of trying to be the perfect mom. Every day is struggle just to keep my head above water. I don't need the additional stress of having to craft every last thing in my children's lives. That's why Amazon Prime was created. Prime is for when moms get real and realize they can't do it all. More accurately, when they realize they don't want to do it all. I would rather spend the time I have with my kids experiencing new things rather than crafting. Don't get me wrong, I still like to craft, to a point. That's what winters are for. When we're stuck at home, we need a creative outlet. We still do science experiments, but we reserve those for yucky days. I still bake several times a week. I'm still "that mom" who does a lot of fun, creative stuff with her kids. The difference is, the kids pass out store bought Valentine's. I don't make cuties snacks for class parties (but I am room mom). Every gift grandparents get is not handmade. Our ornaments for the Christmas tree are from Hallmark.
I still save a lot of ideas on Pinterest, but the genre has changed. I pin meal ideas. I pin dessert ideas. I pin books to read. I no longer pin cute crafts for March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb. I no longer pin science experiments since my kids have gotten so many science kits. Do I miss being that Pinterest mom? At times. But it's more about missing them being little and being home with me. Crafts were just a way to be together, and that's what I truly miss. We spend our free time being a family and doing what we all enjoy. That's much more important than if I get my ideas off Pinterest or if I order them on Prime.
Our family is starting a new chapter in our lives. Our oldest just started middle school. Our youngest is in 3rd grade. Husband started a new job. This past month has been one of adjustment in our lives.
Monster started middle school and he loves it. Everything about middle school is exciting for him. Changing classes keeps his attention. His classes are a little more challenging. He's not with the same people all day. Best yet, he likes his teachers! He's been making new friends as well as keeping connections with old friends. He and his best friend have lunch together. Middle school gives him more independence. He rides his bike to school on his own. He stops by a friend's house and then walks his bike the rest of the way to school with his friend. He is in choir and has signed up to be in Robotics. He is also applying to be a tutor at his elementary school. I love watching him as he blossoms into an independent young man. I also miss my baby.
Sunshine, on the other hand, is not having as great of a time at school as her brother. This year, she really does not like school. We thought it was going to be a great year. She is in class with one of her best friends. She is good at school. She has loved school since before she even started school. Unfortunately, this year got off to a bad start. There has been girl drama in her class, which started week one of school. This has set the tone for her for school so far. She has become far less secure in her abilities and has actually regressed in all subjects. She's still good at school, but she's no longer confident. We just keep trying to build her up at home and practice with her in hopes that it will make her more self-assured while at school. This is also the first year she has not had her brother at school with her. She misses him since they don't get much time together now. Before school, the two of them used to play every morning. Now, he's already off to school before she wakes up. After school, we are running from place to place. Three nights a week, he doesn't even get home until bedtime. Monster is her best friend, so it's difficult for her not to be with his as much.
Husband is enjoying his new job. He comes home saying he had a good day. I haven't hear that in 9 and a half years. This new job is better for him mentally as well as physically. He is no longer climbing on heavy machinery and having to do very hard physical labor. He is in an office the majority of the day. This, however, is the most difficult transition for me.
I love that Husband likes his new job. I believe that this switch was good for him. He was miserable, for years, at his old job. The problem, for me, is time. While he doesn't travel anymore, he still works long days. Shouldn't be much of a change from his past long days, but it is. He no longer can make his own schedule. That means I can't count on him to be home if I need him. On top of that, he works an hour away, so, if I was counting on him and traffic is bad, he still may not make it in time. This makes getting meals made and kids where they need to be very stressful for me. There is no one other than myself to get the kids where they need to go and I physically can not be in two places at once. Making it more difficult is that he now works some Saturdays as well. He's never worked Saturdays. Again, it makes it very hard because I have two children who need to be in two places at once. Monster is an amazing big brother because he gives up going to karate, which he loves to be there to cheer on his sister in soccer so that she has more than just me out there rooting for her. Having no one to count on starts to take a toll on your mental state after a while. I'm working on it and I fully support Husband with this job. This job is good for him, and that's what really matters.
If you see me running around, looking frazzled, it's because I'm in a transitioning phase. Eventually, it will get better. For now, be please just give me grace.