Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"This is Hard and I Hate It."

14 years ago I wanted a pet, but I was traveling too much to take care of a dog. So I got a cat. I went to a local shelter, picked out a small black cat and paid the money to take her home that day. She was about 6 months old and had just had a litter of kittens. BUT she was given to the shelter without those kittens, and still physically in recovery from delivering them. I was single at the time. The two of us watched a lot of daytime television. She loved "Who's the Daddy?" shows because she hoped to one day find that jerk who walked out on her.

Then I got married and we moved to a quiet house next to a lake. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and often left dead birds, squirrels, or chip monks, (once it was two semi-live baby geese) on my bed as presents. Then I got divorced and we moved into a small apartment. Then we drove her to Montana [OMG you guys you should read this] and I got married again. Then we had a baby and moved back to a house in the suburbs. Then we had another baby, and then she got sick.

And now she's in a box in the backyard.

And between every single word of our short summary of 14 years is a lot of love. And snuggling. And cat puke. And litter boxes. And fur. So. Much. Fur. Stephan constantly threatened to shave her. It's incredibly hard to put into words what losing a pet is like. Because it's pretty much something you own. But it's something alive. It's not a person, but you take care of all of its needs, and it connects to you without words. And if it's not your pet, it's just an animal. We lost our other cat a few years ago, but I never felt like he was "mine". So it was sad, but very different. A long time ago we lost our family dog. Again, not "mine" so not devastating.

Pets have been dying lately. And it's hard to know how to be supportive or to know if anything you say will make it better. I'm pretty sure nothing really does at first. You just sit in the suck. And don't do laundry because the litter box is still down there and laundry can wait a day or two.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Across 5 Septembers

Does September always suck for me? I'm starting to feel like this month is my achilles heel. So I dove through the blog archives to find out. Let's review:

September 2010: We were infested with fleas. Sawyer was about to turn 1. Life sucked and I lost it on an hourly basis over everything.

September 2011: Stephan started Nurse Practitioner school. That was a bucket of suck. We swore a lot that month.

September 2012: Diagnosed with bipolar 2. Eff September.

September 2013: Almost gave up on having a second baby. Totally disorganized brain. I'd quit therapy completely and bailed on all of my wonderful self-care. Generally not doing well.

September 2014: Had a baby! Life was actually great that year (except for the 6+ hours of colic every night that went on for 8 weeks, and the sleep deprivation that messed with the mental illness).

So..... huh. 3/5 were terrible. 1 was border line, and the last one doesn't count because I created a human. I'm not trusting this month. The odds are against it. Oh, 2015? I'm headed back to therapy, with a high probability for meds. "Winging it" apparently isn't the best treatment plan for anything.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day Care Week #1

So many thoughts. This week was amazing. It really did unlock some weird part of my energy-level that sucked the most out of every day. Every morning I woke up to the alarm (?!) and got myself ready first thing. Fed and dressed the baby and the two of us opened the drapes and the door to the day care room at 7:45. Stephan was in charge of getting Sawyer out of bed and ready for the day- a job I'll have starting next Thursday when he's in school full time.

BUT it's been amazing to have a segmented day- and a list of chores that get finished at specific times. About 20 minutes of meal/lunch/snack planning per week.... and another 20 minutes of project/song/art planning sets up the week to run on auto pilot. There have also been surprises!!

~ We found some bubbles. Day over.

~ Chalk is too messy for causal use.

~ My washing machine takes 40 minutes per load.

~ One art project, one large-motor activity, and one song is often TOO MUCH for a 9 hour day.

~ We eat something every 2 hours, which burns 30-45 minutes at a time.

~ Girls sit still. Often.

~ Someone else's kid is fascinating.

Some other things that have been surprises are not so great:
+ It's tough to wake up at work.
+ When there's no time for makeup I feel different.
+ Being 30 minutes late with a meal melts everyone down.
+ Three kids eat a LOT of fruit in 4 days.
+ I'm tired.

So it's good that it's Thursday night, the dishwasher is running, the laundry is working its magic, I've got an iced drink in front of me, and tomorrow I sleep in a little. In a few months we add one (and then two) infants. So it's good that we are getting the routine set up with the bigger kids now. All in all, daycare might be the best thing I never thought I needed. Some people get their energy from being in groups, or being alone... I think I might get mine from following a daily schedule.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day Care Day #2

At some point last week I realized that I would be learning a lot from the kids I would be watching. Before our first official start, I learned that the children would NOT be spending the whole day in the "day care room." Little Girl (LG) took a complete tour of my house, dirty laundry and everything, within the first hour. Areas I had planned to be off limits (really, everywhere, so I didn't have to clean my house every day) were explored, and declared fit for playing in.

Lesson #2 was about scheduling. My pretend "9am art class, 10am snack time" turns out to be completely fluid, within a 20 minute grace period.

Lesson #3 is buy more coffee. We ran out this morning and my heart sank in a way I was not expecting.

Lesson #4, screen the art supplies before letting them near the kids. We accidentally played with non-washable markers today. LG's favorite color is purple. So..... the kid looks totally bruised across her hands and arms. Sigh. Her dad says it's no big deal. But the hand-print on my wall may disagree.

Lesson #5. Just keep moving. I'm not sure if I'll have the energy to maintain the schedule of the last two days, but as I sit here after 8pm on Thursday evening, 90% of my house is totally clean. Because, apparently, I can have my own kids crawling around on a dingy, dog-hair-matted kitchen floor, but the minute I see LG trailing a tuft of fur I freak out and vacuum the whole place.

I had assumed the "give the work to the busiest person" theory was going to kick in. Maybe it already has. Laundry is put away. Dishes all done. Fridge full of food. I love the routine I've set up for the boys and me to get the day started and ended. Actually, I just love routine. And maybe I've created the day care so everyone around me will finally have to bow to my master plan. All of you? In bed by 8. Daycare starts at 7:30am!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Resting vs Slacking

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the fight of the century!!

In this corner, weighing in at a perfect 22 BMI, lean, mean, fighting-machine.... It's a well-deserved break in the middle of a busy afternoon, a seat on the couch with a tall glass of water and a short trashy television program, a glass of wine at the end of a jam-packed day, a slow walk in the middle of a 5 mile run, a day in bed fighting off an incoming viral attack, it's.....


And in this corner, edging right around the 24.8 BMI mark [just below "overweight], resembling, but not quite copying The Blerch... It's an extra serving of ice-cream after a large pizza dinner, a fourth hour of a marathon viewing of something socially irresponsible, an entire 20 oz soda WITH caffeine AND sugar, a slow walk in the middle of giving-up-on the 3 mile run, watching the laundry and dishes pile up because "I'm not the only one who lives in this house damnit!", it's......


Sometimes when these two go toe-to-tow (haha! see what I did there?) it gets messy and you can't see whose arms are whose. And it can be confusing and frustrating when resting feels like slacking off, and sometimes slacking off feels like resting when life is just toooooooo complicated. But it's a push and pull I think everyone wants to end up on the right side of. Obviously, if you've read this far, you know it's a distinction I've been working on for my entire life.

I don't think there is a set answer to it. Maybe there's an internet quiz about it. I'll go check and get back to you.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

And the Hits just Keep on Coming!!

To answer a few follow-up questions from my last post:

~The new career path (Ha! Melanie, I should just call you!!) is.... dah dah dah DAH!!! I'm starting a daycare in my home. For an entire year I've been trying to make the massage thing happen profitably while leaving Stephan's schedule to be his crazy schedule, and not wasting all my income on babysitting. While I still LOVE massage, and continue to study and experiment with bodywork, for an income it's been tough. Add to that the desire to spend as much time as I can with the new baby.... and Yay! We happen to have two neighbors expecting new babies this fall, and one of them already has a small one needing day care. So it will be a slow start, but I'm SO excited!! I've been spending the last month on websites, borrowing books, chatting up other daycare owners, and putting together the resources and knowledge base to make this a really fun and educational experience for everyone. Even more than "keeping them alive," I hope I actually can help the bigger ones to learn a little more about how the world works.

~Running is amazing!! I'm still in 2+ year old shoes and the aches and pains are mounting, but I've pulled in some 10 minute miles, and added some stroller-cross-training to the mix. With the Fitbit I've been watching my steps and really try to hit the 10,000 step goal every day. That has meant a LOT of walks to the grocery store (1.8 miles round trip!), to the park (0.8 round trip, but I can usually pace back and forth enough in an hour to get up to 2+ miles), and up and around the park district while swim lessons happen. Add to all that the diet tweaks (vegetarian-based!!) and I'm down 10 lbs since May!!!

Hopefully this year I can start sleeping more- that's a giant goal. We have a few more weeks to get the baby's schedule dialed in before kindergarden starts, and the rubber meets the road with the daycare. I remember working a full time job. It was busy, but stressful in the good "checking stuff off the list" kind of way. Cheers to that being the case in the next 10 months!!!!

(Sorry for the exclamation points. Maybe that sleeping thing isn't quite put together yet)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"That" Run

I went out for a run tonight, and it turned into "that" run.

It was that run that started as a 3 mile, but got an extra mile tacked on because it just felt so easy to do. The last 10 months (let's be honest, it's been since I got pregnant 18 months ago) have been hella crazy. I did not own my body, and a lot of things in life got tossed around. Stephan was finishing school, started a new job, this tiny roommate moved in and never slept... So many things in the last year and a half flew around the room like a bad scene from Poltergeist.

But today, this weekend, finally, things started to settle. Stephan found a groove at work. We got some really good news we've been waiting for about his school stuff. I figured out where I'm going professionally for the next few years. Sawyer started taking new classes that he totally loves, and is looking forward to kindergarden in the fall. My last cancer screening came back clean (7 years!! Yay!) The baby is sleeping.... somewhat... predictably... and I've actually started running 5 days a week again.

Today was the definition of "in the groove". Everything is settling down. Finally. We are all breathing much deeper than we have in a long, long, long time. And toward the end of the run this amazing song started to play. I love it. It embodied everything I was feeling.

Enjoy life!!