2017 - A Comprehensive Emotional Summary

Wowza. This year was a doozy. Even sitting down to write this is extremely difficult for me. I am someone who likes to just try to forget about things and move on and pretend things didn’t happen. I don’t think you could get any more extreme as far as the up and down rollercoaster that 2017 was for me.  First, as most of you already know, I went through the painful process of divorce. It isn’t something I talk about on here out of respect for my ex-husband and his family, but it was an event that undoubtedly changed me and my perspective on life. You could say I spent almost the entire year feeling like a failure for one reason or another.  On top of the normal ‘mom guilt’ most of us experience on a day to day basis, I failed the one other main title that had been assigned to me: wife. It has been by feeling like a failure at these two tasks that I have discovered I have largely ignored myself and what my needs actually are for quite some time. I spent the better half of the year trying to focus on what makes my soul dance and explore how I can be a better person, so that I can be a better mom.  I am just going to give you a recap.

January: took kids to Hawaii and got to watch them in the wonder of beach life. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to give our children experiences like this, as I know most aren’t able to.

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February: Spent some time in my hometown honoring my old high school basketball coach for being awesome and winning an astronomical amount of games. Got to see some people from my past that I hadn’t had the chance to catch up with in forever. Insert love emoji.

March: Separated from my husband and moved to a neighboring city.  Into a townhouse.  From our house in the mountains.  Can you say culture shock.  Also took the girls on their first longish hike by myself.  Learned my lesson as far as forgetting the baby pack.

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April:  My youngest turned 3. I also met one of my very best childhood friends in Las Vegas for a girls weekend. Came down with strep throat on the first day. Typical. I feel like I put on my big girl panties and made the best of it, including successful location of a cupcake ATM and yelling at a British man to wait his turn.

May: Found a house to move into from the townhouse with a yard (a step up). The girls and I spent a lot of time outside, as it was a pretty warm early spring.

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June: Jumped into hiking mode, especially with my cousin Amanda and the girls. Went to Denver to visit my dear friends Kayla and Lindsay and had quite possibly the most fun in the world that involved a closet full of teddy bears and late night pool sneaking. Celebrated the bestie’s birthday with a surprise day date (Baby’s Day Out).

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July: Took a road trip to Bend, Oregon with a special guy. Snuck into a Matisyahu concert by climbing a small rock wall and spending a suspicious amount of time in a porta-potty. Legitimately went to another concert. Got us lost on our mountain bikes in the woods and almost died of heat stroke riding back to the car on a mountain road that had to have been a 90% grade. So many breweries.

August: Spent time with younger sister and family at the fair.  This is, in a way, equivalent to a hot hell.  Parents, you know what I mean. But I am so thankful we got that time with them. Also went on a tent camping trip to Twin Lakes. Watched the biggest leach in the world being pulled off of a child. Addie started Kindergarten (CAN I GET A WOOT WOOT).

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September: Trips to the museum, and last minute fall hiking trips.  This is when I realize I positively can not continue commuting to the town where we work and go to school and I am tired of waking up at 430 AM.

October: Find the perfect home to purchase back in our sleepy little town. Move (for the last time I swear). This is where I learn I will never again NOT hire movers. Halloween = fairies.

November: Begin home renovations - painting.  Forever.  I will do this the rest of my life.  Spent some time at Chico Hot Springs with a good friend. Went Christmas tree hunting for the tree that would end up making the tree hall of fame for worst, driest, messiest, biggest nightmare of a tree in the history of trees.

ignore the fact that I am wearing two hats - including the ugly orange one. hunting season.

ignore the fact that I am wearing two hats - including the ugly orange one. hunting season.

December: Christmas. Need I say more? But really, got back on the slopes. Also hosted a work Christmas party in which I learned way too much about the folks I work with.

It wasn’t until I took the time to list all of this out that I realized that last year was not as big of a failure as I thought it was at the time. I have said this before, but the thing I am most thankful for are my kids and the ability to continue to cultivate relationships that I didn’t really know existed. I am surrounded by so much love and fun and super awesome people. I am lucky to call you all my own. I am also lucky to have the relationship I have with my kids’ father. It makes life much more pleasant than it could potentially be. I also look forward to this year as a continuation of discovering the ‘new’ and flourishing in the already known.

I hope you enjoyed this post full of incomplete sentences and slight nonsense.  Have a great week!

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4 Lessons From My Kid - in honor of a birthday

My oldest munchkin is 6 today. I know all parents say “oh it seems like just yesterday” bla bla bla. But it’s true.  It seems like just yesterday I was rocking myself (yes myself, in a zombie-like trance) to sleep with her on my chest in the rickety old green corner rocking chair. Both of my kids have taught me lessons that are almost unfathomable if I compare my current life to my pre-kid life.

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* I am capable of loving constantly and consistently with no interruption.  Never in my existence have I been so totally entranced with anything or anyone as I am my two children.  They have shown me how to love them, but how to love others more also. People say to find someone who brings out the soul in you.  These two do it for me. *

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* I am capable of BEING loved. This is a big one for me right now. Even in my darkest, most lonely moments, those little monkeys are there for me. Always concerned if I am upset, or relishing my company during more delightful times.  Although they are little, they have inadvertently shown me a support system that can not be compared to anything else. *

* I don’t know as much as I think I do.  My oldest, especially, has such a different way of looking at the world.  She sees things through rainbow colored glasses and quickly teaches me alternate views of the world. From discussing what the smallest ‘thing’ on the Earth is, to discussions about homeless people, there are not many dull moments. Her perception is fascinating to me. *

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* Don’t sweat the small stuff. I also don’t care how cliche this sounds. There was a time when my house was perfect, the laundry was done, and everything appeared very ‘put together’. That era is gone. And I am a lot happier person for it. I used to spend so much of my time on these things that didn’t matter and I WAS known to cry over a glass of spilled milk. What a waste of time. My days are much better spent playing and snuggling and telling bedtime stories. I can tell you what I HAVE cried over lately - the fact that they won’t want to snuggle me soon.*

Today we will eat cake, open more presents (excessive), and wear unicorn party hats. And it's going to be epic.

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Kid Christmas Program - You Are Dead to Me

So I just went to my daughter’s Christmas program.  She is in Kindergarten and I was super excited to see her all dolled up in reindeer antlers with a handful of jingle bells, belting our favorites at the top of her lungs.  And then the strangest thing……. She didn’t sing any favorites.  Or any songs I had ever even heard of.  The picture below is a horrible picture.  The lights were off, and my attempt to blur out the children who do not wish to be famous created a grainy work of art.  Interestingly, they ARE wearing Santa hats, however not performing anything mildly pertaining the old man (from what I recall, but I could have just been distraught). Do you remember that part in the movie “Love Actually” where the mom is shocked by the fact that the kid lands the part in the nativity play as the ‘first lobster’? Equivalent feeling here.  

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I am troubled by this for a few reasons.  Let me preface by saying, that I DO whole heartedly appreciate the school staff taking the time to do music with these little people and that despite my humble opinion, it was still painfully adorable. In addition, the kiddos did a great job following instruction and doing what it appears as though they were supposed to be doing (but how would I know). However, I am troubled first because I have to wonder was this intentional as to not ‘offend’ anyone by ‘Christmas’ music? I mean honestly, what is this world coming to?!!  One of the songs was something like “Merry Christmas to you from the Red, White, and Blue”.  They waved tiny American flags in the air (instead of jingle bells).  It felt more like a tribute to Independence Day and I waited patiently for the fireworks to start blowing up from the sidelines of the gymnasium.  Literally, nothing had to do with anything Christmas-y.  I sincerely hope that this is not the case.  That we are not THIS terrified of saying and doing the ‘wrong’ thing.  Secondly, I am bothered because now this is what my kid thinks is normal.  This is not normal people.  It is a lapse in tradition. Last I checked, nobody ever died from belting out Frosty the Snowman. I just wanted to see and hear her sing Jingle Bells while flailing some freaking bells around in her hand.  Is that so much to ask?  I hope this is not the current 'trend' and that maybe it was a fluke. Next year we will get back on track, right?  Right.  I hope you all have the merriest Christmas.  Surrounded by ones you love, worshiping Jesus, throwing bells in the air, and smothering one another in anything else that might be perceived as offensive.

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Disclaimer for Future Friends

I am overly blessed with countless great friends. Most of these people already know the nature of my faults and I do not need to explain further.  This, however, is a disclaimer for future friendships. I have this one friend who has literally taken a shovel and dug me out of the deepest holes at the last minute so many times I think her arms must be getting terribly fatigued. See appendix A….

I am driving to work one dark morning and realize in the middle of the intersection in the adjacent town to where I am headed that there is no way I am going to make it in time to drop two kids off at two different places and make it to work by 8 oclock.  Not a big deal right? In most positions, I could waltz in, explain to my boss, 'hey sorry it was a rough morning', arrange my things at my desk five to ten minutes behind schedule and get on with my life.  Wrong.  Wrong when you are an opening pharmacist to arrive most days with an already formed line of crabby pants people waiting for drugs they NEED and a computer queue full of 80 prescriptions already set to fill that morning.  I instantly burst into tears realizing my vastly inappropriate estimate at driving time.  I call said friend (actually she is a saint).  Said friend asks where I am.  I tell her.  She says, you’re joking right.  I say, unfortunately no. She tells me not to worry that she will meet me at the store to take one of the kids. And adds that she also remembered to pack my oldest her peanut butter sandwich, as the previous night I panicked because I was out of bread. Strike two. Keep in mind this is all happening around 7 am and I haven’t even given myself a fair shot at failing yet. I showed up at the parking lot with hardly a minute to spare, still one kid in my possession, a mascara stained face and ready to start my ten hour shift at the den of love and happiness. Yes, I too am not sure why this one sticks around. Quite baffling.

One of the things I am most thankful for in my ‘new’ life is the opportunity to come to grips with relationships around me that I may have been letting fall to the wayside.  I have had an overwhelming presence of ‘good’ people around the past few months and had the chance to cultivate and nourish friendships with old and many new friends that have been my saving grace. My heart is very full.  

So, two things.  First, future friends: I will never have all my sh*t together.  It’s just the way it is.  What you see is what you get. I try really hard and I love hard. I am a disheveled, horribly unorganized mess most of the time and sometimes I need you to help me pick up the pieces. Period. That being said, I consider myself fairly present and intentional despite my chaos.  Life is an adventure.

Second: sometimes we are graced with the presence of those people that simply make us better.  And that is what a true friend is.  I may suck at a lot of things, but hopefully I bring something to the table, somehow.  I am lucky enough to have a handful of these friends that are pure rays of sunlight in my life (stole that one), and I am eternally grateful for you. If you need me, please ask because I am often oblivious and don’t always know. Even if only for a glass of wine, slice of pizza, and a rant. Mostly wine.  

These are just a few of my favorite people - if you are not pictured, it is because you need to come visit and bring me cake.

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The Quiet

Most mothers dream of it: nap time, alone time, bath time, time with a book.  Also known as quiet time. I did too, once.  I still enjoy the quiet occasionally.  However, being recently divorced the quiet has taken on a new kind of body.  The Quiet is its own person, a forceful existence that weighs heavily in every room as I wander around wondering what to do with myself.  It has been almost 9 months, and I am just now finding myself ‘okay’ with 20 minutes here and there alone with the Quiet.  

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I have my two girls every other week for one week increments.  For that week, we do fun stuff.  We swing, color everything with marker, tear up styrofoam (stereofoam to the layperson) and throw it all over the house, and blow bubbles.  On alternate weeks, I absorb myself with laundry and the aftermath.  And the Quiet.  The Quiet is a big fat, lurking jerk.  He reminds me of the absence of their giggles (also their fighting).  The Quiet reinforces the fact that I have no idea what to really do with my TV.  He is persistently exacerbating my ADHD as I love to indulge in piles of books but find myself bored after about ten pages.  The Quiet makes things possible you never thought possible, such as the toaster scaring the daylights out of you and being terrified of the dryer buzzer.

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It is now November, summer is long gone, just as I have found a way to calm down the Quiet and tame him.  If I am running, hiking, or biking, he can’t keep up with me and waits for me at the house (wimp).  I am getting better everyday.  We are improving our relationship and maybe someday we will be friends.  For now, I tolerate the screams of the Quiet and welcome any and all suggestions on how to mute him.  Cheers to ski season.

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