I Am A Serious Sleeper

I love sleep.  I really do.  It is my chance to reset, rest my brain, be still.  Being still is a challenge for me….

I sleep like a rock.  I fall asleep fast.  I sleep hard.  I can sleep anywhere – lights, noise, whatever…. most of the time at least (I will tell you about the things that do wake me in the middle of the night, and I am not very gracious when I am woken up)!

Last night, after work I ran all over town to take care this volunteer gig, and then another… When we finally sat down, ate leftovers for dinner, and watched TV – I was DONE.  We watched one recorded show and then decided it was an early bed night.  We don’t have the kids on most Wednesday through Friday nights… so I didn’t need to stay awake to adult!  By 9 pm, I was tucked into bed to read for a bit.  Half a page later (and before Jerritt ever walked into the room), I was OUT! I slept solidly through until my alarm started at 3:30 this morning.  I hit snooze at least 3 times before I could convince myself to start the day….  I need to be getting my ass up and going to the gym – but we will talk about that some other time!

My life is crazy busy – by my own design.  I hustle hard. I love my job, but going to work is work.  I am helping start a non-profit travel baseball team for one kid.  I do what I can to support soccer for the other.  I volunteer at school (it is our last year in elementary).  I take pictures at every event.  I do yearbook.  I help drive kids to practices, art class… wherever.  Fundraisers – for different things – ALL YEAR LONG! I do the grocery and other shopping.  I cook meals – for at least half the week (thank goodness for kid-less nights & leftovers).  I fold and put away laundry (Jerritt usually helps get it washed and dried).  The family helps me keep the house clean.  I am trying to figure out how to get stared with my advanced education….. I have a million things going on in my head at any given time – so when I am done, I am done.  And just like that – I am able to turn it off & get the rest that I need.  Pretty sure if I didn’t, I would die.

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I think in addition to just being tired from all the crazy – I sleep well, because I am pretty darn content with my life.  I don’t stress over things that aren’t perfect.  I let things go and know that things will work out – one way or another & I have great people around me to help me through any challenges.  I’ve learned over the years that you aren’t going to “fix” anything by letting it keep you awake at night.  Being over tired leads to more stress.  More stress leads to more sleeplessness…  It is a viscous cycle, and if you are in it, you have to find your way out!

I have had insomnia before.  It sucks.  I am glad it only happens once in a great while, and I feel sorry for those who suffer from it for long periods of time.  Jerritt has a hard time falling asleep – so I am sure I drive him crazy.  Luckily for him, losing 100 pounds mean I snore a lot less!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I spend a lot of late nights working all all the extra in my life (and still have get my ass up for work). Don’t even talk to me about sleep around holidays or special occasions…. I’m the mom who will stay up all night to make sure Christmas morning is perfect – and usually the first one awake (damn it – wake up and appreciate all the hard work I did to create magic)!!! And I can (usually) stay awake in social situations. Occasionally I will stay awake watching something good on TV, or finish a really good book.

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But USUALLY,  if I am sitting still, and especially there if our dog is snuggled up next to me – most of the time I am going to fall asleep.  It can be the most interesting thing in the world playing out in front of me, and I will crash out.  As soon as I stop working on one thing or another, I am gone.  It is kind of ridiculous, and totally awesome at the same time.

You can have full on conversations with me in my sleep.  I will have no clue.  I can sleep sitting up.  I can lay on the ground or couch and not complain.  I can usually sleep through the kids getting up at night – Kevin can be a sleepwalker…. and why we put a hotel lock on our front door when he was little.  I can sleep through whatever action movie or wrestling Jerritt puts on the tv in our room.  We have a huge, comfy sleep number, dual adjustable bed.  It is amazing.  Pair that with a lovely diffuser and some amazing essential oils – and there is no way not to sleep….

EXCEPT – I literally sleep on the very edge of the above mentioned large and comfy bed.  The VERY EDGE.  I hold on to my blankets for dear life, so I don’t freeze – thankful I don’t roll off.  While I do fight Jerritt for the covers, it is not him who puts me to the edge of the bed…. It is the damn dog that we love so much!

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This pup loves him some snuggles… his sleep number is 35, by the way.

Cooper looks pretty small.  He shouldn’t take up much room, right?!? Apparently, my sleep number works so well for him, he has decided it is his side of the bed.  This dog LOVES to sleep under the covers (usually with his head on my pillow – ridiculous, I know).  He stretches out as long as he possibly can, his back right up against mine, and his legs out to the other side.  I am convinced he is trying to push me off, but he just hasn’t succeeded yet.  I can’t even move to push him over!  He has me stuck unless I get out of bed and pick him up and move him…. And then he will growl at me!  I wish I was kidding.  I have woken up to cuss at the cute little shit more than once – as my back was completely cramped up and I was freezing with no blankets….  It is a good thing he is cute, because the nights his shenanigans keep me awake, I am not a happy camper.

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Speaking of middle of the night shenanigans….  Jerritt.  When he does sleep, he also sleeps pretty hard.  He is one of those that will roll over and take ALL the blankets with him.  Ugh.  But that isn’t even the worst part.  He freaking steals my pillow!!!  Right out from under my fucking head!  I instantly wake up – so mad!  Sometimes I can grab it before he can pull it all the way out from under me.  Sometimes he steals it and throws it on the ground on the other side of the bed!  One night, I grabbed it back so fast – I knocked over my lamp, diffuser, oil stash…. the whole thing went flying.  And then… in the morning he asks me how I slept….. I get sooooo mad!  He has NO RECOLLECTION of torturing me the night before. I want to punch him so hard when this happens – I really do.  I am not a violent person, but this about pushes me over the edge.  Oh, and did I mention that he sometimes sleeps diagonally across the bed?!? Its a good thing I love him, because some nights I feel like killing him…

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These two often need a nap to recover from their middle of the night torment….

I am so crabby when my precious sleep gets interrupted.  It is very much not like me.  But damn it – leave me alone when I am sleeping!  This is a tiring season in life.  We have so much good going on, and not enough hours in the day to make it happen.  At some point this season will end, and I can catch up on sleep then….

For now, I will keep attempting to sleep hard when I get the chance!   I’m thankful the boys are reaching the age of sleeping in (not that our schedules allow us to enjoy it), but hey – there are occasions!  I will take the elusive lazy weekend days that we spend in bed and order food in.  Make every restful minute count!

#CrazyAsAMother #TiredAsAMother #CoopersSleepNumberIs35 #LeaveMyPillowAlone #IfYouLoveMeLetMeSleep

 

I Love My Tribe

We aren’t your average family.  And I love it. It works for us.  People comment all the time, in awe that we all get a long so well….  Jerritt and I have been together almost 5 years.  We own a home that we love.  We have the kids with us half of each week, and every other weekend.  We have 3 dogs and 2 cats.  We are crazy busy with sports, school, work, volunteering…. but we try as often as we can to spend time as a family.

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Last year’s Family Photo – taken by the wonderful Patty of Patty Schmidt Photography!

Fourteen years ago – today, I married one of my best friends.  I really did.  About 6 years ago, we separated and eventually divorced – but we are still the best of friends.  We are still family.  And even if the marriage didn’t work – we grew up together, we are raising our boys as a team, and have never lost sight of being a family.

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In addition to having Jerritt & Rich by my side, raising these pre-teen monsters we call our boys – we have my mom, my sister, my nephew and my brother – not to mention Rich’s girlfriend Kim and her son…. All of us come together to celebrate holidays, to get the kids to and from sports, school, scouts, band, special events. We are their cheering section.  We are their coaches. We are their guidance counselors.  We discuss rewards, discipline & punishment – we make sure we are all on the same page.  We talk about all the big stuff.  We laugh about all the embarrassing and awkward stuff that comes with raising 10 year old boys.  This is my village, my tribe – I couldn’t be the mom that I am, without them.

Like any true family, we drive each other crazy.  We annoy each other.  We get sick of each other.  But…. we laugh (a lot).  We know that no matter what – we will be there to support each other.  We respect each other. We do family dinners.  We do game nights.  We go on adventures.  We love each other loud and proud.   We have zero cares how the rest of the world views our very functional, perfectly imperfect family.

It doesn’t matter if people think we are strange.  I didn’t plan to get married and divorced, and to have this blended family – but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  Our boys sure are loved. They are lucky to have so many people who are invested in their happiness and growth.

Can I also point out, that we have some amazing, close family friends that are a huge part of what makes life so good….  Seriously, the “tribe” is not complete without them.

Don’t let anyone tell you what your family should look like.  You get to choose your tribe, and they should make your burdens less, and your joy more.  When the world is falling down around you, make sure you have the right folks surrounding you to help build you back up. 

The View From My Soapbox

I don’t do drama.  I really, truly, honestly don’t.  I am easy going, but honest.  I don’t sweat the small stuff.  I don’t hold grudges.  I don’t say anything behind your back that I won’t say to you directly.  I go with the flow, never losing sight of who I am and what really matters.

Sometimes, it is my fatal flaw.  It drives Jerritt crazy sometimes, because it seems like I don’t care – which is the furthest thing from the truth.  I care too much, about too much – but I do my damn best to not let other people control my happiness.

That being said….. If you deliver drama to my doorstep, and worse – drag those closest to me down in drama – I will stand my ground,  say my piece and make sure that you understand EXACTLY where I am coming from.  I am not intentionally hurtful or mean.  But I will go momma-bear on ya, if the situation calls for it.

Today’s shitshow was sponsored by 33 year old drama.  I wish I was kidding, but seriously….. This is going to be a long one, because it has been made clear to me that certain people NEED to hear certain things, so that maybe we can let go and move on. It takes a lot to get me fired up and on a rant…. but here you go:

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This is totally lame.  As you all know, my dad is sick.  He isn’t doing well at all.  He has been in the hospital since June, but he has been in and out of the hospital for the past 10 years.  I have been posting about him, when there is something to share – because I know that he lost contact with a lot of folks over the years, and people do care.  Including his siblings and my cousins and other friends and family.  I am an open book!!!  I share what I can, when I can – I am not hiding anything, I am not keeping anyone from reaching out or asking questions.  My siblings and I would be happy to have anyone visit or call my dad.  Our Aunt and Uncles have the code to call and get updates direct from dad’s care team – or they can talk to him.  I made the plea to his siblings to set aside the old drama that has kept them apart, and show up – because even now I am not sure how much more that guy can take, and love is supposed to show up.  But I am choosing to share, NOT Pops.  He would likely be pissed off at me for it – but what else is new (it is my special talent).

You are welcome to come, but check your fucking drama at the door.  There is no room for it here.  Not in my life.  Not in his.  Not anywhere near me.  Certainly don’t call me out on Facebook and act like the victim.

Before I give whole long stupid history, I want to tell you what caused me to climb up on my soapbox tonight.

My aunt tagged my sister, brother and I in a post on Facebook – basically calling us out because we haven’t updated about my dad lately and it is hard for “her” to keep updated and his friends and family members “would really like to know”.  Now, here is the thing…. she knows she was stirring the pot, because she already had a conversation with a distant “family member” because she knew she would “be attacked for it”.

So, I did NOT attack.  I responded.  There is no update.  We are dealing with the same stuff.  He is still in the same hospital – with the same phone number and code that they all have.  He is confused.  He has good days and bad.  Communication is still hard.  There are days where he is angry and violent.  There are days where he seems better.  Every day we deal with the guilt of not being able to do more.  Every time we see him we deal with the heart ache for how far gone he is from the dad we know and love.  We don’t know if we will ever get him back all the way.  He doesn’t remember the big picture, so we have to continuously break the bad news to him about his current situation.  Y’all, this is not easy.  This is not pleasant.  This is hard, scary and horrible and sorry if I don’t want to continue to post the same helpless, hopeless thing over and over again.

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Early in this hospital stay, my aunt came and visited with him.  We were grateful that she was able to put things aside (for the moment) and spend time with him.  When he started to communicate he told her to fuck off.  So she left.  She hasn’t come back.  We were sorry for that.  We told her we hoped she would come back and try again – because we do, no matter how bad it was the time before.  Getting hurt feelings from being treated poorly by the illness, isn’t going to help him – so we square our shoulders and keep going back and hope beyond anything else that we will see some glimmer of the man he really is.

This little Facebook post alone wouldn’t set me off (the comments though…..).  No.  It was the messages that we had previously gotten, taking digs at us for “having fun” with our kids, but not providing an update on how he is doing.  Another time (I was at a freaking wedding), she was telling us about a friend of a friend who knows something about a  nursing home, that maybe she can help our dad – but “why are you guys ignoring me”…..

Okay.  This is where I start to nut up a little. Our dad being sick is horrible and tragic.  The ONLY victim in this our dad.  He is the only one really suffering, so please don’t tell me how hard this is for you.  Every single member of his family has been invited to step up and help and heal.  If you are not hearing what you want to hear, when you want to hear it, how you want to hear it – that is on you, not me.   Pick up the phone.  Get in your car. Show up.

Let’s take it back now.  My dad has made a lot of mistakes.  He hasn’t been proud of the things that are in his past, but we have made the best life we can.  We have learned, we have gown, and we have moved on.

My dad and his siblings stopped talking much when my Grandpa Bob & Grandma Norma passed away.  It was hard on them.  It was hard on us.  It was devastating. Rather than leaning on each other, they let all the little stuff become big stuff, and it drove wedges between them.  I was 7, and even I could see what was happening.  My aunt is worried about what we think she did wrong all those years ago, but she will be disappointed to learn that I don’t blame her.  They were all adults and they all made their choices.

Fast forward 7 or 8 years…..  My parents had divorced.  My dad had a drinking problem.  He went to recovery for the first time.  During that process, he had to come to terms with a lot of old feelings and fears.  He HAD to face the fact that his dad very likely had a drinking problem.  That was more difficult than you can imagine.  His dad was gone.  He loved and revered that man – and he did not want to admit there was a problem, that he wasn’t perfect.  But he did what he needed to do to heal and get sober.  None of his siblings were a part of this process.  None could agree that their dad wasn’t perfect.

Not too long after his new found sobriety, my cousin Jenny was getting married.  We wanted to go, but there were some things that kept us from going.  Our life was busy, as it can be with 3 teenagers; but there was also fear of how it would be to be at a family function.  The Russell Family gatherings always had beer.  There was always laughs and funny stories.  We always enjoyed being with the family and we had so many great times with all the cousins.  But, my dad didn’t know how he would be able to handle being there, with beer and his brothers & sister – and not being able to drink.  And not being able to address the fact that it may be a problem.  My dad not only had to face the fact that the man he adored wasn’t perfect – but that he, himself was far from perfect.  Rather than ANYONE trying to understand the big picture, everyone made assumptions.

Battle lines were drawn, and hate was strewn, and for years we were pretty much extracted from the Russell Family.  My dad was in a bad spot, and he was too proud to share the whole story.  No one seemed to care enough to bridge the gap.  I was 15. What was I supposed to do?

In the years that followed, my dad had more struggles.  He had an unhealthy second marriage.  He had a horrible addiction to prescription pain killers, that put him in a really dark place.  Marriage ended, he turned back to drinking.  Now, to be crystal clear, I am telling you all this, so that you have a small understanding of how we got to where we are today.  I am not a victim, don’t feel sorry for me.  During these dark days – he came and went from our lives.  I got called by the DEA to testify about the prescription drugs.  I would get calls that he was going to kill himself, that we need to come get his stuff.  He cut himself off from my sister, and I think he has always tried to protect my brother.  But they went through this with me and we stayed strong.  There is a lot more in these years that I would be happy to share another time – but clearly, he has been fighting demons for some time.  During all this time, he not only further distanced himself from the family, but most of his friends.  But WE have been here the whole time.  Including my mom (his ex wife)…. We have always been here to pick up the pieces and do our best by him.  It was HIS choice who to have in his life.

Shortly after my boys were born, he got sober again.  It was the only way he was going to get to be a part of his grandson’s life.  He had met Trevor, but didn’t have a real connection.  He needed to get his life together to be a part of theirs. I am proud to say he has been sober for about 10 years.

He has lived his sober years at Sun Street Center in Salinas, where he got sober.  He worked there and helped with the programs, and they helped keep him on the right path.  We spent time with him in Salinas, or would bring him to Hollister for holidays, weekends of kids sports, and just to hang out.  During these sober years, health problems seem to be compounding.

We have been by his side through countless seizures.  We have been in the emergency rooms with him more times than I can recall.  We worry and ask the doctors as many questions as we can – because it seemed to be getting worse and worse.  We have gotten calls that he has pulled out his IV and walked out of the hospital.  We have driven down to Salinas and searched for him.  We have had days after seizures where we couldn’t reach him, and we would have to go down and have someone help us unlock his doors so we could take him in for care.  I have driven him to the hospital without him knowing who I am.  We have sat by his side when he doesn’t know where he his, or what is happening – and seen him bounce back to “normal”.

All this time (even to this day), he is in charge of his care.  We have no legal control over his medical or other decisions.  We have more questions than answers.  We don’t know what will happen next.  So please, explain to me how any of this leads to other people creating drama…..  

Obviously I have skimmed over a lot – I could write a book with all that we have helped our dad through.  But, we love him.  He is our dad.  We are his family.  His choices made his inner circle small – and we have tried to invite people to try and work their way back in.  But, it is not MY responsibility – or that of Michelle or Adam, to make anyone feel better about their lack of space in his life.

As an adult, you have the POWER to make choices and NOT be a victim of life.  Don’t post something to garner attention or sympathy for yourself and drag me into it, please.  Do what you want, whatever makes you feel good.  But don’t try to take me down that path.

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It makes me sad.  I am sorry if you have a hard time.  It certainly isn’t a walk in the park for us.  We had managed to build relationships with our cousins and even some of our Aunts and Uncles through Facebook.  We have even connected in person from time to time.  I LOVE being part of a big family.  I LOVE sharing in their lives.  But I accept that I cannot heal the relationships between them.  That is their job, not mine.  I fear that this latest drama will lead to another freeze out, and my kids will never really know anything of the Russell Family.  We don’t have pictures. We don’t have history.  And we surely aren’t going to get them from our dad.  But, the keepers of the Russell & Roux family histories will likely freeze me out for not meeting their expectations.

I genuinely hope that hurt feelings can be put aside.  But I can’t lose sleep over it.  I don’t do drama, but I won’t stand to be personally attacked when “family and close friends” don’t have any clue what we are dealing with.  I am an open book – if you have an issue, I ask that you act like the adult you are and deal with it.  I choose to surround myself with true friends that focus on building each other up, not tearing people down.  They say your vibe attracts your tribe – that seems to ring true based on the strangers (who are somehow “related” to us – though I have NEVER heard their names) making snarky remarks about something they can’t begin to understand.

So yeah.  I am completely pissed that I got dragged into this drama today.  But you know what – I won’t hold a grudge.  I’ve said my piece, I’m hopping off my soapbox, and I will set fire and walk away.  Whatever it is about our life struggles that make you feel like you are somehow being targeted – I suggest you reflect and revise your approach, because clearly this drama did absolutely nothing to help ANYONE, least of all my Pops.

If you really want to move forward and heal, you have to ditch the baggage. You can’t “fix” the past, so let it go and choose your happy. I have a place in my heart for ALL my family, but a place in my life for only those that want to be here.

#ThatISAllIHaveToSayAboutThat #AtLeastForNow #FamilyIsAChoice #NoDramaMama #CrazyAsAMother #PerfectlyImperfect #BuckleUpButterCup

 

 

 

 

 

 

WTF is Wrong With People?!?

Seriously…..

This is not the world I want my kids to grow up in. I don’t want to be afraid to go to major cities or fun events – concerts, sporting events, festivals. I don’t want to live in a world where a mass casualty tragedy strikes, and people are worried about how many likes the President got on his tweet (vs the former President).

People…. it is time to pull your head out of your asses and try to make a difference!

There are people who lost loved ones. There are people who don’t yet know if their loved ones are okay. There are hundreds of people who are injured physically. There are people who will never get over the fear emotionally. There are kids who will see the news and not understand what happened – as a parent, I don’t understand how to explain it!

How do you explain to your children that we live in a world where people feel that they can (or even should) use violence to solve their problems or send a message?!? I don’t understand what drives people to this. How do their loved ones not see it coming? How do we stop it?

I don’t want to hear arguments about terrorism. Or gun laws. This wasn’t some poor misguided child. His race or where he lived does not mean he was not a terrorist. For all we know he owned his arsenal legally. Putting more restrictions on guns, or bans on traveling is not going to fix whatever is plaguing this country or the world….

I know it is easy to feel helpless. Trust me, the idea of hiding out in a fort, or heading to some remote corner of the world to shelter my kids…. it has a lot of appeal! But it won’t help anything.

So…. here is my plan:

  • Talk to my kids. Not just about this latest tragedy. But EVERY CHANCE I GET!!! Even if it seems trivial, even if they want to talk about hard stuff. I want my kids to know they can talk to me (us) about ANYTHING!
  • Wake up each morning, and live each day with purpose. Clearly things can change in a minute & you don’t always get more time. So be the best you, starting right now!
  • Be kind. Be honest. Love with all that you have.

Fight for things that matter folks. Be angry, scared, passionate about the tragic news that floods us every day. Do not waste time spreading hate.

So suck it up, buttercup…. change starts in your own hearts & homes.

#CrazyAsAMother #ScaryWorld #BeTheChange #PrayForHumanity #MommaBearMode

I Failed….

What part of “I want a relaxing Sunday afternoon” is hard to understand?

As usual, our weekend was jam packed with sports, projects around the house, laundry (always laundry), meal planning, grocery shopping…. you know – life. I woke up with a bit of a headache, and decided that after we got home from the soccer game, I was going to take it easy. Sit on the couch, watch some movies… take it easy, because I can, right?!?

I woke up. Made breakfast (and also bacon for part of Nate’s lunch wraps). Got dressed. Picked up my mom. Drove to Aptos to watch Kevin play soccer – it was a great game! Drove back. Dropped off momma. Got home. Took some delicious homemade pumpkin cookies to some of our favorite friends/neighbors… because that’s what we do. Chatted with them about an upcoming school function. Came home. Said I wasn’t making lunch, because I was ready to relax (hahahahaha)……

Relaxing started with putting away laundry. Then I cooked chicken strips for Nate’s lunches this week. I sat down for 25 minutes while they baked, having popcorn and watching the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie with Kevin. Chopped up the chicken for the lunch wraps. Made breakfasts for Jerritt for the week – egg cups, with sausage, peppers, spinach and cheese. Sat down for 15 minutes. Sent a group text to remind Nate’s baseball team about practice tomorrow. Made sure homework was done. Started making homemade lasagna for dinner. Sat for about 40 minutes while it baked….. made a salad, served dinner, cleaned up dinner. Made sure we had a plan for what we are wearing for picture day this week. Did dishes. And FINALLY sat down.

Totally nailed the relaxation thing, right?!?

And as Jerritt walked by, he asked if I uploaded pictures from this weekends soccer games so that I could send them to him…. seriously – I JUST SAT DOWN, GIMME A DANG MINUTE!

It only bothered me, because he succeeded with my afternoon plans, where I missed it by a mile! He laid in our comfy bed. Watched football. Napped. Yes, you read that correctly – he napped. Ugh!!!!

I’m not even the tiniest bit disappointed in my failed plans….. not one bit!

It’s all good. I wouldn’t trade my busy mom life for anything in the world. There will come a day, it will be here before you know it, where no one is playing sports, no one needs school lunches packed (I imagine I’ll still be feeding Jerritt though)…. all that busy will be gone and I will remember what it felt like to be needed. I will remember that while I didn’t get to take a nap and relax, I provided my family with love and filled their bellies with their favorite foods. I cheered them on at games. I bonded with families on the sidelines. I took time to be neighborly and enjoy a brief chat with friends that we love. I get to organize events, plan fundraisers, volunteer, be involved! I cram life into almost every available minute that I can. I can nap when I am old and no one needs me to to do it all…..

And I will miss it terribly.

Even as I write this, the kids are in bed – soon to be sleeping. I am uploading pictures (it’s taking forever…. if only everyone wasn’t streaming something on different televisions), and I’m writing this blog to let other moms know they aren’t alone! We suck at relaxing! But it’s a small price to pay for the lifetime investment you are putting into your kids’ lives.

I’ve got your back mommas! And I’ve got plenty of wine to share!

#CrazyAsAMother #MomLife #BestLife #MothaFreakinTired #UniformWashingIsMySport

Update on Pops

I haven’t posted much about my dad in the past few weeks… there isn’t much to report.  I guess it is really not good, or not bad – it just is.

He is still in the hospital.  He has had the piece of skull put back in place – with no additional complications (I guess).  He is still on a feeding tube, he is still being watched 24-7, because he still doesn’t like being in the hospital.

He is ANGRY.  He gets so frustrated, I am not sure if it is at us, or just in general…. He does not communicate clearly – and according to the Neurosurgeon, that may or may not get better.  We won’t really know what the new “baseline” is until a year from now.

He was eating soft foods before the surgery to repair the skull, but it seems we have taken a step back there again and they are back to using the tube.

When my brother and I were sitting in the lobby the day of his last surgery, I could over-hear a pass down with the security guards…. I heard the name Russell and Dad’s room number. Ugh.  I asked if there was a problem, and he assured me that sometimes they have to go and settle him down.  I felt compelled to apologize on my dad’s behalf, because normally he is a pretty easy going guy.

I am not sure who this new guy is, in a beat up version of Pop’s body. I am relatively confident he doesn’t like me too much, and that is okay.  There are flashes of clarity where I still see him, and I will hold on to those.

I have told him that he no longer has an apartment. I told him his next stop is a care facility.  I told him that his belongings are in my mom’s garage, waiting for the next step.  I’m not sure what he understood, what he remembers – but I put it out there. And yep – I pissed him off good that day.  He grew more and more agitated that I didn’t have his cowboy boots with me.  And then, to top it off, he was mad that he couldn’t go out and smoke a cigarette with my brother.  He didn’t understand that at this point it was already well over a month since he had a smoke, and he didn’t need it – and of course that he is a patient at the hospital, and it wasn’t going to happen….  He proceeded to try to get out of bed and walk out the door.  He cursed at the very nice nurse.  Gave me a “fuck you, I’ll talk to you however the fuck I want”…. to which I replied with “I love you anyways and I will see you soon.”

The  hospital is having a hard time placing him in a care facility  – most will take with a feeding tube, but not with the “confusion”, others will take with the “confusion” but not with the feeding tube.  He has both.  So he remains in their care.  And yet… there are still social workers who give me a hard time because I won’t bring him into our home…

I spoke to one of many doctors the day after his last surgery.  I asked if the “confusion” was dementia.  He said that they don’t like to call it dementia.  They refer to it as more of a delirium that comes with hospital stays.  I get it.  Sometimes people get confused when they have a hospital stay.  Pops has been there for over two months (if you count the brief stays the 3 weeks prior to this long one, it is more like 3 months).  At what point do you address the real issue and try to help?  Can they help? They have to do something different to break this cycle.  THEY HAVE TO.

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It is so hard.  It hurts to see him like this.  The things he says and how he acts are shocking, even still.  His sister was coming to see him, after years of separation – but he told her to “get the hell out”…. hopefully she understands that it was probably not really him talking, and she comes back – but I can understand if she doesn’t.

We are frustrated and sad that our Pops is going through this, and we are learning to live with it – but I am very thankful that he is still here. Us kids will keep trying.  We will keep showing up.  We will keep pushing the hospital for answers, and for direction.  We will walk away when we need to, but we will always be back.  Because that is what you do when you love someone…. Love shows up.

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1 year, 100 pounds

A year ago today, I had gastric sleeve surgery.  I’m not going to lie, it was the best sorta-selfish decision that I have made in my life.  It probably saved my life.  So far I have lost 99-100 pounds (it bounces a bit) – and that weight was not only a lot to carry physically, but that kind of extra weight takes other tolls on you as well.  I still have about 40 more pounds I am working to lose, but I feel pretty great with the progress made so far.

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For those not familiar with the procedure – in the gastric sleeve surgery they basically go in and remove 80% of your stomach – the physical organ, not the fatty outer layers. This means that (after several weeks of liquid diet), I eat A LOT less.  I can only eat about 8-10 ounces at a time…  Now, if I don’t follow smart eating and listen to my body when I feel full, I can, over time, stretch my stomach out again.  I make sure to get lots of protein – I use a powder with 30 grams in my coffee each morning, I snack/lunch on nuts, cheese, lunch meat….  I try to get in as much protein as I can through my foods.  Dinner, I eat a little bit of whatever I make the family.  I stay away from bread – it tastes good (still), but it fills me up and leaves me hungry in a short period of time.  I take vitamins each day.  I eat some things I should probably stay away from.  I am not perfect, but I am different.  Oh, and one of the hardest habits to break – I can’t eat and drink at the same time.  It is harder than you think.

So yeah.  100 pounds.  It makes a big difference.  I have a lot more energy.  I have clearly had to clean out my closet a few times and get rid of the stuff that was too big.  Here is a fun fact – rapid weight loss leads to hair loss. My hair was so thin, and I was shedding like crazy!  I upped my vitamin intake with one for hair skill and nails – and it helped…. now I have a ton of baby hairs sticking up all over the place, driving me crazy, but it is a good sign.

Before the surgery, I didn’t realize how much extra weight I was carrying.  I was always the one behind the camera, not in front of it.  Every once in a while, someone would get a snapshot of me, and I would wonder how no one told me I look so bad.  I knew I had unhealthy eating habits.  I knew I needed to exercise more.  I knew what I was supposed to do, but I never could seem to make myself the priority to do it.  My nature is to take care of others.  I put everyone else first.  So when I say that my decision to have surgery was sorta-selfish, it is because for once I put myself first.

In reality, my choice to get healthy really benefits everyone I love.  I will be around a lot longer to continue to care for them, I have the strength and energy to do more for them, I am better at teaching the ones I love to make the better choices.  I am showing them that I think I am worth the effort to change into a better person.  I am helping them see that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

What you couldn’t see a year ago, is the shame, hurt and depression I carried under all that weight.  I clearly didn’t care enough about how I looked or how I felt.  I was ashamed of the fact that the weight showed that I didn’t care enough about myself at all.  My body hurt.  I am thankful I didn’t have more serious health problems – but it hurt to walk, I tired out way to easy, and I struggled to get a good nights sleep (snoring)…..  I hated buying bigger clothes, but I did. I piled them up and shoved the smaller sizes in the back, thinking I would wear then again “someday”.  And I put on a brave face and kept trudging through life, getting my enjoyment from taking care of others.  Avoiding the question of why I don’t care enough about me to take care of me.

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I didn’t know how much I was physically and emotionally hurting before the surgery.   I didn’t realize how much I missed restful sleep.  I had forgotten what it felt like to walk without pain.  I couldn’t remember how it felt to get dressed without fearing the clothes would be too tight, or not fit in a way that I was comfortable wearing.

I’m far from perfect.  I have a long road (the rest of my life) ahead of me.  I have not given up all my bad habits – I still enjoy Diet Pepsi (way too much), I need to drink more water, I need to exercise more regularly, and I need to find a way to get in more fruits and veggies.  As my 4oth birthday fast approaches, I am determined to make my next decade my best decade.

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Next week I start a new career, that I am very excited about.  I am determined to continue on the path of self love and self improvement.  I will keep sharing my journey, and maybe some of what I share will help someone along the way.  I am an open book, and I even share the chapters of my life that maybe I shouldn’t read out loud…. But I would rather have people know that even if it looks like I am super-mom, with my shit together on the outside – that isn’t me.  I am crazy, full of love and mistakes – and finally to a point in my life where I am not afraid to forge my own path and be truly happy.  There will be bumps, dead ends, detours and adventures – but they will be mine.

If you have questions about the surgery, or anything, don’t be afraid to ask.  I have been able to share and help a couple of beautiful women, who have also decided to get the surgery done – and knowing that I can share what I have learned to help others is the best gift of all.

Be a little selfish.  Be true to you. Be happy.

#CrazyAsAMother #40IsTheNew30 #SharingIsCaring #OpenBookNewChapter

14 Days

2 short weeks before school starts!

With All Star Baseball, Pops in the hospital & me without a job, we didn't get much adventure this summer…. but I am so very grateful I had so much time with my boys!

We are working on our back to school sleep schedule – and trying to cram what we can into the next couple of weeks!

Today, Nate is off with friends to a water park…. so he was up and energized this morning!

8 am bubblegum bubbles

Kevin & I are hanging out – probably going for a swim…. he has soccer practice – because sports never stop. He was less than thrilled to be up at 7:30 am (and still lazing around)….

Not a morning person….

Tomorrow Nate & I will do some school shopping, visit Grandpa in the hospital, and back to swim (yay for some heat again this week). Wednesday both boys are headed to a water park with their Dad's girlfriend…. they may have scout family camp this weekend, maybe Monterey Bay aquarium next week – lots of fun things we are trying to cram in!

As for me – I am trying to get my shit together. I have opportunity to do some personal growth, I still need to find a job (another big interview next Monday), and I need to get on a fitness routine. So today, I am starting with getting my planner dusted off and making a list of things I need/want to get done this week. It feels as if each day, I have been making small decisions that are holding me back from making progress… not really giving up, but not fighting to change. I have begun to ask myself… what the hell are you waiting for?!?!

Today is a new day. It's a new week. We are starting a new month. Do big things! The only thing standing in your way is you & your choice to not change…..

Last Minute is My Jam….

I don't know why…. Every year we have a Relay For Life team. Every year, the night before the event, I am running around like a crazy person, doing all the last minute crap to make magic happen. EVERY FREAKIN YEAR!!!

It's not like we leave all the planning for the last minute (only some), but I seem to forget how long my cray ideas take!

So this is me, at 10 pm…. baking cookies to sell as a fundraiser, and trying out a mud mask that I made (with essential oils!), that we will give out as part of our Fresh Face Theme Lap at 5 am on Saturday….

I had to make sure the mask felt good, and that it comes clean with a couple of baby wipes – because we can't really give out warm washcloths to everyone…. AANNDD, I need to make sure the mask will stay wet in the containers – or if I have to whip these up in camp at 3 am – because, that is how I roll…

Oh well, still have a backdrop to finish painting, and gift certificates to print before I can sleep….

Hope to see you at Relay (if you are local)! Starts tomorrow at 6 pm!

#CrazyAsAMother #FeelsLikeChristmasPrep #MyFaceFeelsAwesomeThough

Summertime Vibes

This is the first year my kids have actually enjoyed sleeping in….. since I have had the rare "opportunity" to be home with them this summer, I have very much enjoyed this!

Nate had been at a Baseball Camp in Monterey this week, so he has been getting up and moving, but this kid….

It is 11 am, and he is still laying in bed! I guess it is good, I save a whole meal, if he doesn't wake up until lunch, but as much as I enjoy the quiet mornings…. we are going to have to start getting in back to school shape!

Next week we will start earlier bedtimes, not as much nighttime TV, and yep…. getting up early. I will need to stock up on coffee (for me) to get through the mornings with grumpy tweenagers…. I will need to find some diffuser mixes to help lighten the mood too!

Hopefully they will cherish sleeping in on weekends moving forward, you know, except when we have sports and stuff….

Alright, I need to go shower now – but my morning wasn't really lazy – I've gotten in some exercise, cleaned the boys shower (long story), and have been working on a couple projects.

We may get in some sunshine & pool time today – because summertime will be gone in the blink of an eye, and we are trying to enjoy every moment.

#CrazyAsAMother #BoyMom #TwinMom #LazySummerMornings