Posts Tagged With: family

grateful for joy and sadness

Thing 2 and Boyfriend M were here last weekend.

Thing 1 was thrilled to see her sister!
Baby K was excited to spend time with her Auntie!
Loads of peek-a-boo, story reading, block building, and media table play. (dried beans are excellent for sensory play)

Friday saw us at 2 Silos.
Even though it was chilly, the sun came out and we enjoyed our beers.

Saturday Thing C and Thing G came over.
We played Bye Felica, Uno, and Phase 10, and had burgers and dogs for dinner.
YBW and I had all the joy at all of our kids in the same place at once.

Thing 2 went through my shoes and took home four pair. (less things for me to move)

Thing 1 drove her sister and Boyfriend M to the airport Sunday afternoon.
Baby K cried when they drove out of the driveway.
So did her Birdie.
A LOT!

I was making leftovers for my lunch Monday and asked Thing 1 when we made that particular meal.
She told me it was Wednesday, because “they came on Thursday. As short as they were here, it felt like an eternity.”
She’s right. They weren’t here all that long, but it felt good and long.

I’m sad they’re gone, but chock a block full of joy and gratitude they were here.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

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feeling hopeful at the end of the second month

I’m beginning to feel more at home in my own skin.
In my own home.

The first year of teaching is often called survival year.
The first year of anything could probably be called survival year.
This is the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.
Of a survival year.
During a global pandemic.

All the changes came so hard and fast. And came during the strangest possible time.
Pandemic kept us cooped up for safety. And just when that started to feel unbearable, three more people and three dogs joined this household.
Initially it was exciting and new.
Then it was all about getting settled.
Then simple logistics of cohabitating.
How do we make this work? Two small families creating one big family…how can we be both?

Expectations are being ironed out.
Anybody else hear Hamilton in their head?

“I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation.”

Just me? OK…
Anyway, we’re beginning to managing expectations. We’re learning how to navigate each other’s personal language. We’re asking what did that mean when you/she/he said that? We’re figuring out how to cohabitate successfully.

I’m used to being alone the majority of my time.
Now I’m never alone.
My daughter is used to being in charge of her own environment.
Now her environment is not her own.
YBW continues his routine of going to work each day.
Now he supports more people.
Husband N is becoming more and more anxious about finding a job.
YBW and I agree he needs gainful employment, we want him to make the best possible choice instead of taking any job because it’s a job.
Baby K alternates between being so delightful it nearly kills us, and being a tiny terrorist demon bent on destruction. (as a toddler do)

And doesn’t even include the chaos of construction in the house.
YBW and I have no access to our own bathroom. And trying to make due with the bare minimum in the hall bathroom is taking it’s toll on me.
I know I’m feeling the stress.
I am acutely aware everybody experiences me feeling the stress.
I do my best to make sure to explain myself and/or apologize if I’m irritable or querulous. (more than normal)

It’s simply too much all at once and my adaption rate is lagging.
To combat this, I am actively carving out time for myself.
I’m reading again. That simple act sparked a change in me. Shifted me from the back of my brain back to the front. My brain moved out of survival mode and into all the good stuff.
I’m so much better off for it. (so is everyone else)
I’m engaged in a mindful way, not simply navigating fight or flight.
I will work as hard as I can to remain here in this healthy brain space.

I will learn to balance my needs with my wants when they’re at odds.
I want to spend every possible moment with Baby K.
I need some quiet time for myself.
Every time I think I’m on it, I fall. Honestly, she’s hard to resist…
But then I remember we’re at the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.

And I offer myself empathy and understanding.
Which, if I’m being honest, I never do.
My personal expectations are residual from my childhood, keep my head down and do the hard work and don’t complain about it. I received no empathy or understanding. I was expected to do what I was told without question.
I end up expecting myself to manage all ‘the things’ and be resigned to do so without complaint.
When triggered, we all go to the place we ‘know’.
So, if I offer myself some grace, it can be a place where I can stop and breathe. I can bask in that grace and encourage understanding for myself. I can stop the triggers, and in doing so I can find balance.
I can manage my own expectations.
I can take the time I need.
I can take the time I want.
I can feel strong and grateful instead of anxious and overwhelmed.

I feel indescribable love and joy having my daughter and her family here.
Now I’m working on making it comfortable.
For me.
For my husband.
For Thing 1 and Husband N.
For Baby K.
Though, let’s be honest, she’s in high cotton as the tiny princess in this multigenerational household.

At the end of the second month, I feel tired. But more than that, I feel hopeful.

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thoughts that hatch in the middle of the night

It’s the middle of the night and I’ve been up for hours. Thoughts swim around in my brain. Angry little fish bumping into each other but never giving way to get anywhere.
I don’t write. Not even in my journal.
I don’t read.
I barely even scroll instagram.

I want to do these things. I just don’t.
You may find yourself wondering, mais pourquoi pas? (You also may find yourself having no fucks to give. Either way, we’re cool.)
I don’t know why.
I do know I’m not behaving in my normal way and that has everything to do with it.
I do know I’m feeling the pressure of getting ready to leave one house and get settled into another.

I find it difficult to just be.
There are more people in the house. Two of which I am especially eager to spend time with after being apart for so long. But I’m used to being alone more than I’m with other humans.
This situation is tricky but can be managed.
I need to take time for myself. I need to read and write. I need to journal. I need to organize and prioritize. I need to rest.
But damn if I don’t want to spend as much time as possible with the mad little toddler running around my house!

Thing 1 and I talked a little bit about this Wednesday morning. She’s used to being more quiet too. She’s got the mental load for her little family with the curious situation of being in someone else’s house. She’s constantly aware of what Baby K or the dogs are and what they’re doing. She’s adapting to being an adult while living with her mother. It’s easy to fall into old patterns.

I’m tired of feeding five adults and a toddler.
If I don’t feel like feeding YBW and myself, it’s no big. But now all these other people are depending on being fed. Now, Husband N is quick to ask if he can help do anything, and follows detailed directions well. And Thing 1 does cook occasionally, but for the most part I’m doing the heavy lifting.
This needs to stop.
Thing 1 and I will make a meal plan and create a schedule of who cooks when and that will solve this situation.
We’re both game, we just haven’t done it yet.

Thing G will move to his mother’s over the next ten days. (She lives five minutes away so it’s not going to be a ‘great big move’ it’s just him shuttling his stuff over there.)
This makes YBW sad.
I feel his sadness.
I also feel a bit of relief. Thing G is one thing I can stop actively concerning myself with in this time when I have so many things on my plate. I can slip him off the plate knowing he’s safe and well loved at his mom’s and give myself that small sense of one less thing to pay attention to.

Baby K is exhausting.
Parenting is a young person’s game. That’s why grandparents are a bit older. Forty nine years and sixteen months are not always the perfect combination. But I cannot express my love, joy, and gratitude that I have this opportunity to be with her. To watch her learn and grow. To experience her sense of humor. To build a strong relationship with her.
I understand how truly blessed I am to be involved in her daily life no matter how tired I get.
She’s nearly mastered coming down the stairs in a safe way! And not only do I get to witness that, I’m helping her learn how to do it!

I miss YBW.
We’re never alone anymore. Which is simply the way it is, but I didn’t realize how it would feel.
I suggested we do a ‘date night’ even if we don’t go out, just plan to be together.

We’ve offered to look after Baby K so her parents can spend time together.
It would do them some good to just be.

It’s been just over a month. Literally, less than forty days. We’re still in survival and adjustment mode. I mean, good God, how could we not be? But survival mode simply isn’t sustainable.
Now’s the time to get our selves organized. Our routines. How we choose to be in this house together as one big family. How we choose to be in this house together as two small families.
I know we can do this.
I know we’re all willing to do this.
I think we’re all at a place where we kind of know we need to tweak it.
All it takes is open and honest communication and a willingness to be flexible.

You know, I’m feeling better already just from writing about it.
Of course, I’m still not ready to sleep…
Maybe I’ll take a nap with Baby K later today?

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Monday thoughts

My brain feels like it is chock full of mush. Something between the texture of cream of wheat and raw pizza dough.
It could be because that storm is headed this way.
It could be because I still don’t feel rested.

These are my random thoughts today:

We’re starting to get the hang of life around here. All these humans and canines in one place. We’re finding our way at becoming members of one household.
Baby K alternates from ‘most adorable baby on the planet’ to ‘face slapping and scratching demon baby’ in a way that is perplexing but makes a kind of sense. She is trying to get nine-hundred-seventy-three-thousand teeth all at once, but damn! Of course then she’s all lovey and snuggly and sings songs with you and you forget she was demonish.
Never a dull moment in life with a toddler.

August is here, and I’d normally be gearing up for going back to school. Only that’s not a thing this year. So disappointing.
I’ve contracted with a family to essentially tutor their daughter as they navigate online school. At least I’ll be able to work a little. I like the idea of working with kids to facilitate their learning. I’m hoping to schedule with (up to) five kids scheduled twice a week.

I have this concept that time is on my side when it comes to design plans for the new house and preparing this house for sale. In reality, it probably isn’t.
We’re about to schedule the ‘low voltage’ appointment to decide where all the extra normal and fancy electric stuff will be. Within another sixty days, we’ll do the appointment I’m most enthusiastic about, deciding things for the kitchen and bathrooms.
The house is scheduled for summer 2021 delivery.
In this house, we need new flooring on the first and second floors, and some rooms painted. We have to ‘unpersonalize’ by removing all our family photos etc. Our bathroom must be updated, and possibly the bathroom YBW’s sons use(d). Thing 1’s family can’t move until Husband N has a job and they can purchase their own home. Thing G is supposed to be moving to his mother’s ‘by the end of the calendar year’. Sooner than later would be good at this point because construction can’t take place conveniently with five adults and a baby sharing two bathrooms.

My brain isn’t working the way I’d like it to. I’m having so much more aphasia of late. Some migraine aura but no pain. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not really doing things to promote brain health, or because I’m so damn tired.
I know I have to find balance in figuring how to make time for myself while engaging my fam. I’m working on it.
I think naps may become part of my days until I finally feel rested.

It occurs to me these thoughts are so very Monday.
Even though I feel off kilter, I am filled with love and gratitude. I am hopeful.
When I begin to feel better, that hope, gratitude, and love will fuel me living my intention and nothing can stop me!

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one week in

One week in and we’re (mostly) settled.
Baby K’s room is organized and furnished.
Seven large (reusable) shopping bags of food and one cooler of frozen food found a place in our cabinets and freezers.
Dog beds, food, treats, leashes and harnesses organized.
Thing 1 and Husband N haven’t yet organized their clothes in their room, or been able to put some things away. But they have comfy pillows upon which to lay their heads. And yesterday, I (think) I fixed the shower curtain rod so it won’t fall down randomly in the middle of the night.
We’ve got new magnetic cabinet locks in the kitchen, and gates at the stairs. We say, “Off!” more than we ever have before, but the giant puppy is learning he can’t express his love by climbing up the front of us. And even though dogs aren’t my chosen animal, he and I are becoming especially close.

I’m joyful to be around my daughter and her family!
I am also exhausted!
I don’t know if it’s that I’ve forgotten how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, or if I just blocked it! Of course, when my babies were babies I was twenty years younger.
Baby K keeps us on our toes.
I’m having a hard time not wanting to spend all my time with her.
In the past, if they were here, it was for a limited time and I had to get as much time in as possible. Now, they’re here all the time. I’m beginning to realize I can pace myself.

Thing 1 and I ran to Target yesterday. With the exception of the drive here, a pediatrician and vet visit, it’s the first time she’s been out in the world since they left here in March. She didn’t quite know what to do with herself!

I’m working to remember that my life is different than it was a mere week ago. I’m working to remember that I’m separate from my daughter and granddaughter. That I can do my me things while they do theirs.
That said, I’m currently watching Baby K, clad only in a diaper, go through a stack of CDs while her mama tells her, “No ma’am.” and is guiding her to put them back in the bag from where they came.
I’m amused.
I’m joyful.
I’m doing my me thing while still enjoying being with my daughter and her family.

From Baby K’s room at the opposite end of the hall from mine, I just heard Thing 1 tell Baby K, “Come here and let’s get dressed. I’m tired of you being a diaper baby.”
I giggled.
Exhausting or not, why would I want to miss that?

Humans are so much more adaptable than we realize.
We get all complacent. Inertia keeps us stuck in our ruts.
But when presented with an opportunity to adapt (for the most part) we’re super capable!

One week in and I’m realizing how truly blessed I am to be with my granddaughter.
One week in and I’m realizing how exhausting it is to have a toddler in the house.
One week in and I’m realizing my daughter is a grown woman and mother and doesn’t need me to actively mother her.
One week in and I’m realizing balance is the thing that will keep us going.


We got this!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

in case you’re wondering

Thing 2’s covid results are not yet back.
She’s having moments of feeling puny, but not super sick.
There is some general malaise in the household, but they’re still eating healthy food and enjoying each other’s company.

I got this photo Tuesday afternoon.

I got a hilarious little video of Housemate A full on squealing with joy at the big ass box of Twizzlers I sent for him.

My worrying is at a minimum(ish). I mean, I’ve already accepted that she’s sick.
Though I do keep seeing things about the most random symptoms, and surprising lack of fever, as well as possible lasting effects. That gives me pause. But I know I can’t protect her, all I can do is love her. She’s got to get through this the best way she can.

In other news:
Less than two weeks and Thing 1’s family will be here full time!

The county proposed four plans for starting school. None of them are ideal. Some of them are doable. Now we wait…
I worry about how this virus is actually impacting children.
How it will impact adults at school.
I’m sure I’ll be called in to sub, but should I go? What will I bring home to Baby K?
I worry for kids. I worry for parents. I worry for teachers.

LA wrote about becoming friends with her planner again. I’m still firmly in the land of ‘absolute worst purchase of 2019’. But, it can’t hurt to consider a different viewpoint. I can write anything I’m planning in my planner.
For example:
Thing 2’s Birthday Saturday. (jk, it’s already in there)
Watch Hamilton…again.
Delivery of new knives.
Buy produce.
Choose more tunes for Tuesday.
Clean the kitchen…again.
Finish season four of Drunk History.
Porchlife with the Garcia’s up the street (appropriately social distanced, of course).
Buy more wine…again.
Watch Kipo with Thing G.
Pick up prepaid books at Bards Alley.
Take a nap.
Finish reading Shakespeare for Squirrels.
Put gas in the car.
Celebrate Nora’s birthday.
Call Sally.
Renew Southern Living.
Go to GA to get chubby dog and granddaughter.

Look at me making it work!
Thanks for the inspiration, LA.
I’ll keep y’all posted on Thing 2.

Now I’m going to switch the laundry and probably clean the kitchen.
How thrilling!

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the view from here

The last two days, I feel like I’ve been in seriously great Momma mode!
Y’all, I’m so blessed to be my daughters mother. They are incredible women, and my love for them is unconditional and limitless!

Yesterday Thing 2 and I talked for a while for the first time since my birthday. I assisted her in some important decision making, and provided over all Momma love and support. That girl is made of some seriously sturdy stuff, but sometimes needs help remembering. It’s hard when you feel like you have to do everything on your own. Being reminded you have loving, supportive people in your corner helps get you out of your head and provides a fresh perspective on everything.

This morning Thing 1 was feeling a bit overwhelmed by her own great and arduous task of packing her house. I asked if she was needing assistance planning or simply needed to be heard. She was all about the help.
So I suggested she start with a list (I mean of course I did, I’m the freaking List Lady after all!). I suggested she plan out what needs to be packed and then create a timeline.
Of course Baby K is like, WTF mommy? when Thing 1 is trying to pack instead of playing. I know that’s hard for both of them.
But I was struck with an idea!
What if Thing 1 actively packed for only twenty minutes each hour!?! She may not feel like she’s accomplishing much, or even finish packing one box, but she might feel less overwhelmed, and Baby K won’t get her diapie in a twist at being ‘ignored’.
Set a timer! Crank the music! Make a game of it! Baby K will love that, and Thing 1 can get things done without too much stress.
And, if she does her twenty minutes at the top of each hour, they have that last forty minutes to play together!

And in this house…
Yesterday afternoon, I opened one of the bins YBW and I pulled out of the utility room.
It was labeled with the names of my grandparents followed by the words family info.
So I was pretty much expecting all the genealogy stuff my mother complied in her lifetime. That was what I remembered putting in the bin after going through all the stuff my mother’s husband gave me five years ago.
But damn if I didn’t surprise myself!
In that bin was more so much more than the genealogy information.
Some random af stuff I didn’t know what to do with when I initially received it, but felt comfortable deciding yesterday.
Grandaddy’s harmonica.
My mom’s passport in which I too am in the photo as I was in her belly.
My grandmother’s hand written birth certificate.
And this (these?) gem(s).

I was able to divide and conquer everything, saving some things I want the girls to see before I dispose of them, and only had a small discard pile.
Of course now I have a stuffy headache from the mildew that clings to some of those items. It’s worth it.

Today I’m kind of being quiet. That is, not really doing much. Some writing. A bit of tidying. A bit of ridiculousness…
YBW is working from home this week so I went in there and said, You have a minute? He turned to give me his undivided attention.
Me: Wanna know how old I am?
YBW: Forty nine.
Me: Yeah, but not in chronological time.
YBW: …
Me: I think I need a neckchain for my reading glasses.
YBW: smiles but says nothing…
Me: If I’m wearing a pony or bun-bun I can’t put them on top of my head, they fall off.
YBW: serious face but silent…
Me: Is that ridiculous?
YBW: Not if me in my shorts and tee, and socks and slippers, and hoodie isn’t too ridiculous.
Me: I love everything about you.
YBW: Me too, baby.

Good Lord, we’re ridiculous!
At least each of us thinks this about the other.

This afternoon I’ll be focusing on organizing music, doing a bit of research on brain health and mental illness, and shopping for some stylish chains for my reading glasses.
Can you handle the excitement?

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whatcha think?

So, a person who was in YBW’s office has covid symptoms. *symptoms – not a diagnosis*
They found out Thursday morning about 10:15 and sent everyone home. I was shocked to find him home when I returned from the grocery store at noon.
Cleaners went in to do a deep clean and no one is allowed back in the office until Tuesday.

I asked if it was one of his coworkers. The answer is no.
They think it was an HVAC specialist who was in the office after hours.

So, yeah… that’s a thing.

YBW asked if he got sick would I want him to ‘move to the basement’ and stay put there for a few weeks.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about that.
I may have already been exposed, so is it actually helpful?
It’ll create more work for me if he moves downstairs, and that’s not at all helpful. I also wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care he might need.
On the other hand, it may help keep me healthy. And I’m all about being healthy, yo.
In the ten years we’ve been together, neither of us has ever been a contagious kind of sick.

I’m curious what y’all think.
How would you handle covid in your household? Would you separate if you could? Would you simply assume everyone had been infected and not change anything?
Any thoughts about what we might do?

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IWotB 2020 edition ~ day four

Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K are moving to our house in July.
They’ll live here for a few months until they find and move into their own house.

Though there will be three more humans and three dogs in our house, YBW and I are pretty excited to have unlimited access to Baby K! And I’m especially eager to spend more time with my daughter.

Baby K will move her things into my nest and that will become her room while they’re here in our house.
I’m in the process of transforming it from ‘Birdie’s Nest’ to ‘Baby K’s busy bee hive’.
I’m sad to disassemble my work space, but if it means she’ll be here, it’s worth it.

Here’s where I am in the process.

I’ll move the black shelves out, the chair and bench too.
The white shelves will stay as a place for Baby K’s things. Practical things like diapers and wipes on the upper part of the shelf, and books and toys on the lower part of the shelf. YBW and I are going to secure it to the wall to keep her safe.
I’ll hang and rehang the art higher up on the wall so she can’t reach it when she’s standing in her crib.

Would I normally celebrate International Week of the Birthday working like this?
Perhaps not. But after a chock full birthday, I’m looking forward to a bit of busy work then chilling.

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R. Eric Thomas

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