Tuesday really is my least favorite day of the week.

Happy Tuesday!  I have had so much going on, I don’t even know where to start.  So I guess I’ll make this a catch-up post and maybe that will get all the things swirling around in my brain to stop, well, swirling.  I’ve heard exercise can really help with that, but seeing as how I’ve worked out EVERY DAMN DAY for the last nine days, I’m not sure it’s true.  Or maybe it would be so much worse if I hadn’t?!

Sometimes I don’t know how I have so much going on, when I don’t even have a job.  Maybe that’s why.  I know, I know… never say a stay at home mom doesn’t have a lot going on.  You’d think I would know that by now, being that I have a near 20-month old.  If I was bored to tears everyday, I’d have gotten a job by now.  But I digress.

Back to the marathon workout routine: my friend in Japan (Hi, Amber [she sneakily got ahold of my blog website even though I haven’t shared it with anyone, so I know she’s now reading this]) got me into following this fitness expert on Instagram, who is hosting a free 14-day challenge to follow her 20 minute workouts everyday for 14 days.  Then she will draw a winner and give them $1000 for completing the challenge.  Now, I’ve never won anything in my life, and I’m not about to starting believing I could win this one, but the challenge was FREE, which is my favorite thing in the world… Plus, I’ve been needing a different approach to working out, just to shake things up… Plus, it’s 20 minutes a day, which means I can workout, shower, and still lay around OR be productive during nap time.  Basically, it works perfectly with my schedule.  So Amber and I keep each other accountable everyday via Facebook messenger, and I’ve made it through day 9 so far!  If you want to look into it, go to http://www.loriharder.com.  She hosts these freebies every so often.

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What I think I look like while working out…..

I have combined this with focusing on what I’m eating the last two weeks.  My jeans were starting to feel a bit tight, and I went to the doctor two weeks ago and was a little surprised to see the number on the scale when they weighed me, so I decided I need to reign in my eating… Namely, my sweet tooth.  I can eat sugar like a champ, and I LOVE candy.  Always have, and I’m sure I always will.  So I have been eating pretty clean, and the only “sweet” things I’ve allowed myself are Kashi cookies, yogurt, and the occasional small handful of dark cacao chips.  I gave myself a break over the weekend because I firmly believe one can not deprive themselves of all the good things in life, so on Saturday I shared a bowl of popcorn with my husband while we watched a movie, and Sunday night I was too tired from experimenting with more macarons to then cook dinner, so we ordered pizza.  But on Monday I was back on track (although I did sample one of my new macarons, you know… for science).  Wednesday I will have to take a break from the clean eating because it is my husband’s birthday, and he has requested my grandma’s baked zitti for dinner…and chocolate cake.  There’s basically no hope for me tomorrow.

Claire is teething yet again, and the last few months have led me to believe that the “Terrible Two’s,” which I’ve been told can come at any time during the second year of life, not necessarily when they are actually two, are just a result of never ending teething.  Wouldn’t you be grumpy if you constantly had these huge mounds of pointy teeth poking their way through your flesh?  The poor dear seems to be grumpy every other day, constantly chewing on her fingers, and fussing for no discernible reason.  I’m trying my hardest to be patient but sometimes the fussing just makes you want to lock yourself in a padded room.  What’s worse is that we seem to have lost the amber necklace we have her wear when we have no more tricks up our sleeves.  I’m not entirely sure they work, but it’s my last resort, and now I don’t have a last resort.  So if you need me, I’ll be scaling the walls of my house by my fingernails.

And lastly, we are giving back our Volkswagen to the dealership today.  We bought our beloved Jetta wagon in 2015 when I was quite pregnant, thinking it would be a good family car…. Which it was, until the VW diesel emissions scandal broke and we learned we would have to give back our car eventually.  Well, today is that day, and I’m a little bummed about it.  Yes, they are going to give us a check for basically what we paid for it almost two years ago, and yes, we’ve already purchased a new vehicle, but it has been a stressful situation and we are a little bitter for having to go through this process.  It will feel good to finally give it back and move on, as it was just one other ball of stress from the last six months of moving and settling and hemorrhaging money.  So, goodbye, faithful car.  I hope wherever you end up (probably somewhere like Africa or Asia or India) is full adventure.

Well now that does feel a bit better.  Now say a little prayer that my sweetie takes a three hour nap.

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When you’re a mom, freedom never feels totally “free.”

So here I am… a fresh latte next to me… The sounds and smells of a bustling Starbucks infiltrating my senses.  Just me and my laptop.  I feel like I’m missing a limb.  Why?

I did a very difficult thing today.  I dropped my sweet baby girl off at “Mother’s Morning Out.”  They have her until noon if I want- the possibilities of what to do with my time are endless, so naturally I will probably just sit here at Starbucks and think about all the things I could do with my time, without actually getting up out of my chair.  I’m literally paralyzed with freedom and choices.

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Is is normal to want to call the nursery every 5 minutes to see if she’s ok?  I’ve blogged a lot about how attached to me and shy Claire is.  That is part of the reason why I finally decided to give this program a try- not only does Claire need to learn to be taken care of by people other than myself, and not only does she need some independent socialization time, but also… mama needs a break.

I went back and forth all last night about whether I would go through with it.  She’s still my little baby, it’s okay if she’s attached to me!  Which for the record, it totally is ok.  I selfishly love that she wants and needs me above all else.  But lately it’s gotten intense and because my husband works such long damn hours, I don’t get a ton of help until dinner time, so I really need a little bit of time to myself.  I’ve been assured it’s a healthy thing to need for oneself.  Currently it just feels like mom guilt.

So, after getting a pep talk from my best friend (all the way from Japan, might I add), I decided to not think too much about it and got us out the door by 8:45 and drove to the church.  The facility is excellent and full of happy little kids, which put me more at ease.  The women running the baby room were extremely nice and not worried at all about dealing with separation anxiety (I warned them several times it might be rough).  They had an electronic check-in system where they print you a ticket and will not let anyone pick their child up unless they have the matching ticket (which also was very reassuring).  I had been explaining to Claire all morning that she was going to go “play with other babies” and that mommy was going to leave but then she’d “be right back,” to which she’d reply “be right back.”  She’s very smart for her age so I thought she would in some way understand what I was explaining.  So then I snuck out while she was being distracted by one of the caregivers.  I waited out of sight in the hall to hear if she would be okay, and when I didn’t hear any crying after a minute or so, I decided I should leave because if she did melt down, it would be even harder for me.

So I walked out, sat in my car… And called my mom for reassurance.  I’m such a cliché.

I’m also in no way the kind of mom I always told myself I would be – you know, the career mom who sacrifices nothing about herself to accommodate her children.  HA!  How stupid I was.  Now that I have a daughter, not only do I know that working moms sacrifice just as much as stay at home moms, but I also learned that I’m a total softie, an emotional blob when it comes to babies and children, and I would sacrifice everything if it were in the best interest of my child.

Which is why it was hard to drop Claire off this morning.  I knew it would be hard for her and she would probably cry (and I might too), but I also knew it would be good for both of us for different reasons.  And it would only be a couple of hours, one day a week or so, and if we both hated it I wouldn’t have to do it again… Although let’s be real, I hope she does great so that I feel like I have a resource at my disposal when I need a break, have appointments, etc.

So now that this if off my chest, I hope this caffeine fuels me enough to get me out of this Starbucks and do something with the next two hours.

If the coffee doesn’t get me out of here, the sound of the man next to me who keeps sniffing back a nose full of snot probably will.  So gross.

I’m a mess, and I’m ok with it.

Once upon a time, I prided myself on not being emotional.  Not even seeing “Titanic” or “The Notebook” in theatres could make me shed a tear.  I had an iron lock on blubbering: I was tough and confident, and nothing could bring me down.

That was because nothing hard had ever happened to me.

Until it did.

I don’t need to give you a laundry list of difficult crap that I’ve been through, because we all have our problems, but I chalk it up to my parents’ very difficult divorce, a brother fighting a war and coming back not so okay, long distance relationships where my fiancé was deployed to the middle east, and a bunch of other crap I don’t care to divulge.  It’s life.  Like I said, we all have hard stuff and mine is not exceptional.

However, these experiences tapped into my lock on my emotional self, and let’s just say the tears flowed more freely after my late adolescence.  I could have a good cry at a sappy movie with the rest of them.

But it was nothing – I mean NOTHING – compared to becoming a mommy.  Oh my goodness, one smile from my infant daughter had me blubbering like a fool.  I remember, when Claire was very teeny, watching commercials about puppy chow and bursting into tears (hello, breastfeeding and fluctuating hormones).  Ok so maybe that was due to postpartum craziness, but these days I have no excuse, as my hormones seem to be back in a normal rhythm and I am no longer breastfeeding.

So what’s my excuse now, when I take Claire to story time at the library, and watch her get up the courage to walk away from me and dance while waving her arms in the air, and I choke back sobs?  Or when I am playing music in the kitchen and she starts to wiggle her hips like I taught her and smile up at me while she dances? And why do I cry when I turn on “Daniel Tiger” for her and watch lessons about how to be a good friend, and how being with family means you are safe? Or when I open the car door to get her out of her seat and she just looks at me and says, “hi mommy” with a smile.

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I can’t help but hold back sobs (and sometimes I even fall short of that) at the pure innocence of it all.  They are the most beautiful, ordinary moments of my daily, boring life, and yet I know I will remember them forever.

Challenges and hardship can often make us into better and more rounded people.  I am glad I am not a “rock” of emotional strength anymore.  I want to cry happy, ugly tears at my daughter’s innocence.  It is the greatest blessing of my life.

Pump the brakes.

That moment when you’re flustered as Hell, crying a little on the inside and completely exhausted…And then your husband walks in the door and without hesitating asks what I would like for him to cook for dinner.

Yeah, he’s a keeper.

Eighteen months is an exhausting age.  I’m just now figuring this out.  Claire is so busy, so full of words, so interested in the world that she tries to do everything all at once.  And asks for things nonstop, because she can.  And throws mini tantrums when she can’t have what she is communicating.  I swear I sit on the couch for maybe five minutes and then I’m up chasing her around, cleaning something, fixing something, sweeping up something, changing a diaper.  It never ends.

So my plan of attack has been to get us up and out of the house as much as possible.  I take her to story time at the library, we run errands, and she has Kindermusik class once per week.  We go to the park, we have appointments, we go to the store and window shop just because.  And in truth I think I’ve been over doing it.  I’ve also had a bunch of doctor and dentist appointments on my end because I’m getting established with a new doctor, had to do some routine testing, had a couple cavities filled (story of my life), and then came down with an ear infection of all things.  I’ve been exhausted, grumpy and not very patient lately, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So today Claire and I stayed home.  I didn’t go to the store or run errands, we didn’t go to the park, I didn’t have any appointments or obligations.  I was able to actually get some things cleaned and organized, play in the backyard with Claire, and take care of some lingering phone calls and emails.  I really needed today, and I know I will be more ready to take Claire around town tomorrow for music class and to make a nice dinner for a friend coming from out of town, and do a workout, etc.  But I had to stop stretching myself so thin.  It’s all about the eternal quest for balance, am I right?

I read a blog a while ago (forgive me for not being able to find it) whose sentiment stuck with me.  The author is a stay at home mom also, and the message of her post was about gentleness.  Gentleness for mommas who spend their days raising their babies.  Don’t expect so much of yourself, do what you need to but don’t make yourself crazy… Some days you just can’t do more and that’s ok.  And that has resonated with me ever since, because I am a type-A, motivated and hard-working person.  Yes, I stay home with my daughter and spend a lot of time reading books and playing with her, but I also have to feel like I’m constantly productive.  And on days (weeks) when Claire demands so much of me, I have to learn to give myself license to slow down and be gentle with myself, so that I can be gentle with my daughter.

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Stop and smell the… Lavender (my personal favorite)

So thank you to my husband for coming home to a frazzled, disheveled wife and seeing that she needed him to take control of things for the evening.  I realized I needed to slow down just a little, and because of that, Claire is happier and more relaxed today too, which makes my job a lot easier.  Instead of running from this store to that appointment, we sat on our back patio and played with sidewalk chalk, and snuggled on the couch and watched “Sesame Street.”

And today I am totally okay with doing that and nothing else.

The plight of staying home

The truth is, I’m struggling lately.  Not with accepting our new home, or dealing with the emotional trauma of moving across the country (although yes I am still working on accepting these things as well).  I’ve been having a bit of an existential crisis lately, and I’m just not sure what I’m doing with my life these days.

I know, I know.  I’m a mommy, and that’s no small feat and it’s certainly not “nothing.”  But I’ve been asking myself for some time now whether that’s all I want to be doing right now.  And I’m still not sure.  Some days, I feel so happy to be home with my daughter, soaking in every moment with her, developing that bond that I’ve always wanted to have with a little girl of my very own.  I am so blessed to even have the option to be able to stay home with her.

But on other days – not as often, but still with some frequency – I feel like I need more.  I need mental stimulation, I need to be working toward some goal, and I wouldn’t mind some extra money in my family’s bank account.  But the very thought of finding a job, and the routine that would necessarily follow that – waking Claire up super early, getting her fed and out of the house, dropping her at daycare where she would have to vie for attention with a room full of other toddlers, and then only seeing her for a few hours in a day after work before she goes to bed – scares me, a lot.  I know TONS of moms who do it every day, and I know it’s totally possible and sometimes scary and hard things are worth it, but I don’t know if I want that something more that much.

And I don’t know how to figure it out.  Part time work maybe?  Or do I just need to utilize a babysitter more often?  How do I achieve that balance in my life where I feel like I have time to myself or where I’m thinking about something other than my daughter, even for just a little bit?  Does anyone ever feel like they’ve achieved that balance?

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On that note, my husband and I did have a triumphant moment last night.  We haven’t found a steady babysitter since we moved here, and I’ve never had anyone but a grandma put her to bed while Sean and I went out for a date night.  A couple of weeks ago we met some neighbors on our street who are former military and have a sixteen year-old daughter.  Long story short, we met their daughter who is sweet as can be, they invited us out to a honky-tonk bar for live music and drinks (when in Rome, right?), and I was so flustered and in such desperate need for a break that I decided I just had to go for it and hope Claire behaved for a babysitter.  And guess what?  We did it!  Claire played with her sitter and went to bed relatively easily, we had a great time with our new friends, and I had a few too many drinks which was exactly what I needed after a very busy week.  And the best part is we now have a babysitter two houses down from us and we have decided a once per month date night is in our future.  That’s definitely a step in the right direction…

Sometimes I think (hell, I know) I take life too seriously.  I worry over everything.  Am I interactive enough with Claire?  Is she learning everything she should be at her age?  Does she know how much I love her?  I take her routine too seriously and I never embrace chaos.  Chaos is my enemy.  But as I’m learning how to be a mom and accepting what my life has become these days, I feel like I want and need more chaos in my life.  More than that, I want to not be ruled by fear of everything that could happen.  I need to do right by myself and let Claire figure out how to be away from me from time to time because it’s good for her and it’s very good for me.  Sean and I hadn’t had a date night in ages because finding a sitter and hoping Claire doesn’t freak out while we’re gone and worrying over if she’ll go to bed ok without us literally scared me away from even trying.  But I have to try.  I have to go for things because otherwise I get in a rut and I’m unhappy and dying for a break that I won’t allow myself to have.  I have done and been through some seriously difficult things in my life…More than I even care to list here.  So why is allowing myself to be away from my daughter every so often feel like one of the hardest??  Life is so weird.

So if you need me, I’ll be browsing the job ads and trying to decide what I really want for myself… More of a regular break from the daily grind?  Some sort of job where I can use my talents and skills more frequently?

How do YOU get yourself out of a rut?  I’d love to know, especially from moms who are home with their littles all day.

I’m pretty sure I’ve failed as a mother today.

Days like this always seem to come out of nowhere, have you noticed that?  After Claire went to bed last night, my husband and I were talking about how good she had been all day.  Pleasant, happy, charming, playful, and ate up all her dinner.  I woke up this morning, got my shower, and came out of the bathroom to the sounds of her crying on the monitor.  I should have known then that it was going to be a day.  She almost never cries when she wakes up anymore.  She will spend anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes babbling away happily in the morning before she gets a little fussy and I go and get her up.  And yeah, my kid likes to sleep in.  Usually I don’t get her up until around 8am.  This morning she was crying in bed at 7:30… Not complaining because I know plenty of kids who are bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am, but it’s fair to say this is unusual for Claire.

No fever, no runny nose, no telltale signs of being ill.  I’m guessing it’s teething, as she has a few incoming teeth, but even that wasn’t obvious.  She was just pissed off.  Cried over having to wait for me to make her pancakes, cried over the Cheerios I gave her while she waited, cried at the fact that I was trying to address an envelope to stick in the mail while she ate said pancakes.  God forbid I don’t give her my full attention while she eats her breakfast.

Now here comes the part where I failed today (as a sidenote, I am in major PMS mode, so my level of patience is at an all-time low right now.  I’m not in a bad mood per se, but I’m also not feeling like a saint at the moment).  I couldn’t take all the crying, as Claire continued throwing a fit after I let her out of her highchair.  So I went into our spare bedroom, closed the door and sat on the floor; I needed a time out.  Claire is yelling “mommy!” “mommy!” throughout the house, and after about two minutes I open the door and let her come in.  She sits in my lap and snuggles me for a minute, and my heart melts and I feel instant guilt.

Until she throws tantrum #376 about fifteen minutes later.  As soon as I’ve gotten myself put together enough for the day, with an almost-toddler at my heels incessantly pulling at me and fussing while I do my best to ignore it, I decide we should go for a walk.  As I get Claire changed and out of her pajamas, fill up her little snack cup, get the dog’s collar and leash on, my dear child follows me around the house screaming and crying at me.  I can’t take another minute of it again, so I go into the laundry room, shut the door and sit on the floor.  Mommy needs another time out.  While I take deep breaths and try to count to one thousand (I made it to 11 I think?), I hear “momma!” “mommy!” “momma!” on the other side of the door.  Jiggle jiggle jiggle goes the handle.  I count to twenty.  Open the door.  See a very mad and upset baby looking at me.  I don’t say anything but walk through the baby gate, get the dog ready for the walk, get us all into the garage and we take off for the walk.  Claire doesn’t utter a single peep the entire time, so I keep walking.  And walking.  And walking.  And because I live in Florida, I start to get hot after a while and finally head home.

Luckily it is 75 degrees and sunny out today, so we played in the backyard until her nap and that also seemed to distract her from her crappy mood.  And I have to say, enjoying my back porch this morning helped to calm me down too:

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Now you might be thinking, that doesn’t really sound like a parenting failure to me, but believe me when I say inside I felt like an utter failure.  From pretty much the moment my daughter woke up, I wanted to bring her to her dad at work and take myself to the nearest day spa and pay for the most expensive mani/pedi I could get.  I keep envisioning handing her off to her father when he gets home so I could go shut and lock the bathroom door and take a bubble bath, or, you know, just lay on my bed staring at the ceiling and doing absolutely nothing.  I’ll be honest and say I wanted to scream a couple of times this morning, which made me feel like a monster.  Sometimes being a parent is just so, so hard.  And other times it’s the greatest gift, on days like yesterday when Claire was an absolute delight.  Ok, being a parent is always a gift (I still can say that even today), but it doesn’t always feel like it.  Let’s be real.  Today just feels like I need a solo vacation, with cocktails, spa sessions and absolutely no one that depends on me to feed them (that includes my husband).

So while I sit here typing this, eating my daughter’s Gold Fish crackers on my lovely back porch and praying Claire takes a three hour nap and sleeps off whatever funk she woke up in, I’m going to count to fifty (thousand) this time and push “restart” on the rest of my day.  If all else fails it is socially acceptable to start drinking in about four hours.

Major mommy breakthrough

 

Before I start, let’s just take a big collective deep breath in……..and out.  And another…..Here’s a little sunset photo I took this week to help.

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That’s better, isn’t it?  After being sick for three weeks, and whining about it plenty on here, my husband and I did something we hadn’t done in over a year and a half.  We got a hotel room, and had over 24 hours to ourselves.  It was heaven.  It was perfection.  It was a giant deep breath in…and out.

We had cocktails at sunset, with no mini me screaming for her goldfish and blueberries, asking to get down and run around like a drunk person, or demanding a bite of anything on my fork.  We just…..talked.  And sipped.  And ate unpasteurized meats and cheeses.  AND LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

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Champagne cocktails, and a water glass I seriously considered stealing. My conscience won out.
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#Charcuterie

You see, it was my first night away from Claire…ever.  Sean has had plenty (collectively he’s spent months away from her because of his job), but for me, I’d never spent more than 8 hours away from my baby.  And everyone asked me how I felt, and how it went, as if they were waiting for me to say that I had a nervous breakdown and demanded we drive home immediately.  Boy were they wrong!  I loved every second of it!  I had cocktails, wine, yummy food I didn’t have to share, a bubblebath, we went shopping and took our sweet time in whatever store we wanted.  It was magic!

Don’t get me wrong, we talked about Claire plenty, and I felt myself wishing I could check in on her at night, but after the last four months of moving hell, holidays away from home hell, being sick hell, I was SO READY for a break from reality.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  And did I ever relish my little sanity break.  A lingering cold couldn’t keep me down; I threw all my cold aid paraphernalia in a bag and hopped in the car.   And the best part?  By the time we got home the next afternoon, I was so excited to see my little nugget and felt more energized than I had in a very long time.  So, please forgive any griping I may have done about my mother-in-law coming to visit.

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Dessert and coffee. Which we took our sweet time eating, because we could. And I only had to share with my husband. Bliss.
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And breakfast room service. A total splurge, but when would we get this chance again? Worth it.  (I also refrained from stealing the water glasses again, somehow)

When I think about my friends in my hometown who still live there, along with their parents, and realize they can just drop their kids off with grandma on any random Saturday or date night, I turn green with envy.  Sure, we can hire a babysitter, but that obviously gets expensive.  And not practical for an overnight.  So now that we had this little retreat, I’m realizing that they will only come around every six months or so.  Next time I’m thinking several days away might be in order…. in Vegas?  A girl can dream.

I’m learning a valuable lesson in mommy guilt.  From day to day, I feel guilty if I don’t play with Claire enough if I have things to do, or that we didn’t read enough books together, or that I didn’t take her to any activities to engage her, etc.  I feel guilty that she doesn’t have many opportunities to socialize with other babies yet.  And when I put her down to bed, I think about how good of a sleeper she is and feel guilt about the cry it out method we used, which was hard (as they all are) but has produced the best sleeper a parent could ask for.  I reflect on the day and wonder what I could have done more of, or better, or different.  It’s exhausting.  But I’m getting tired of feeling that way, and so when this opportunity to get away came around, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to feel guilty about it.  She was happy at home with grandma, and Sean and I needed some time alone together.  And for once, I listened to my inner self and I enjoyed every damn second.  And guess what happened?  Claire was happy as a clam for her Nana and was happy to see us when we got home, but was completely unfazed from us being away from her.

Lesson learned: get out more.  For your own sanity!

 

It’s official: I’m a hermit.

I have a sneaking suspicion about my “new self” down here in the deep south… I think I’m becoming a recluse.  It’s January 20th.  Since arriving home on January 1st after a trip to Orlando with friends, my household (mainly me) has been sick on an off for three weeks.  I didn’t even want to talk about it, but yes, my husband and I are sick yet again.  It’s embarrassing at this point.  I heard that the cold and flu season this year is terrible, but now I can attest to it personally.  In all of the maladies I won’t describe here, I think I have left my house maybe 5 or 6 times in 20 days.  We are rapidly approaching recluse territory here.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but hear me out.  The scary part is I haven’t even really been that stir crazy.  Usually if I’m home too much I am scratching at the walls until I can escape, but not this time.  As I said before, where would I go?  Every time I leave my house I am reminded that I am in a new strange town, with little idea of where to go to just wander around, or when I do go outside, it stinks (literally).  I joked before I got here that I would just hole myself up inside my house and pretend I wasn’t living in Florida, and without consciously doing so, that’s what I’ve done!

In our old town (still and forever to be referred to as “home”), we had the most adorable downtown area that looked like a little European village.  It had antique shops, cute boutiques, cafes, and the best pastry shop you’ll ever visit.  And adjacent to the main street was a park, a marina and a little trail that led to a grassy park by the bay.  This grassy park had a baby swing that I would take Claire to very often when I was feeling the walls closing in on us at home.  Our routine was to put her in the stroller, stop at a cafe and grab a coffee for myself (even when money is tight, I figure if all I purchase that day is a cup of coffee then I’m still being frugal.  My logic is sound.), walk the main street and peek in the windows, then make our way through the park and to the baby swing.  Sometimes I would lay a blanket down and bring some toys and let Claire crawl around and discover the grass and the leaves, or I’d take her down to the water and dip her toes in the water.  It was the best way to spend an afternoon together, and the best part was this idyllic spot was less than ten minutes from our house.

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Downtown at home, yes it really is this quaint.
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Posting these just makes my heart hurt!
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I took this picture on a day downtown with Claire; this is the boardwalk to the park.
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One of my favorite days at the park with Claire, 9 months. I will never forget this day.

That might be one of the things I miss most about home.  There is a similar kind of place in this town, the “historical district” that does have some shops and cafes, but it is not as quaint, is about 20 minutes from our house, and let’s not forget it’s hot and muggy out.  I much prefer air conditioning to this humidity, and my hair hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with this new climate.

And so we hibernate.  Perhaps I would be more adventurous if I haven’t been continuously knocked down several pegs by being constantly sick this month.  But I feel like it’s more than my weakened immune system.  My spirit isn’t even eager to leave my house because it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself either yet.  At least at home we are around the things that make us comfortable and that feel familiar; every time we step outside, we are thrown out of our comfort zone and sense of familiarity, and we just aren’t sure what to do with that.

For all my whining, I do know it will get better with time.  I do know we will get used to things.  And I do know now that it’s ok to give in to these feelings I have right now.  If I just need to hibernate for a while until I figure out what to do with myself, then I will.  I will eventually brave the 20 minute drive to the shops and cafes that make me happy, and I will learn of some spots to take Claire to when we just need to leave the house.  And maybe the silver lining to dealing with this flu (aside from an iron clad immune system, I’m hoping), is that it has forced me to be home and to think, and rest, and recover for a while.  Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.  My body needs to recover from illness, but I think my spirit was in need of recovery as well.  This move has been so hard on all of us.

I’m realizing that all of my posts so far have been like a weekly therapy session, when I really do have plans for projects, cooking and maybe even some weekly French lessons.  I hope anyone reading this stays tuned for those… Once I am fully recovered and have the energy, I have plans for this blog!  Aside from the free therapy sessions it offers me.  Do you have experience facing a big move in your life too?  How did you cope with it?  I would love some feedback!

Ch-ch-ch-changes 🎵

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My little southern transplant, taking a walk along the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s a weird Tuesday.  Yesterday was a holiday so my husband had the day off, and we got some things done around the house.  We finally cleared out and organized the spare bedroom (which we have been calling ‘The Room of Requirement,’ as everything we didn’t want to deal with since the move had been haphazardly piled on top of the bed), because my mother-in-law is arriving tomorrow night (joy).  My husband moved more crap from the garage to the handy dandy attic we didn’t know we had when we bought the place, so we are a little bit closer to parking both cars in the garage.  We bought a couple potted plants to decorate the back porch with, and Sean has started getting the hot tub in working condition so we might be able to enjoy it in the coming weeks.  Progress.

All these little things add up to helping us feel just a bit more settled.  Emphasis on just a bit.  Despite my insistence on being miserable still, I have had some chances to be social, including today when I met some other moms at the park.  Everyone seemed perfectly nice, but I haven’t met anyone here that I just connect with.  My friend Amber back in Washington was my best pal from the day we met at a work barbecue, and though she lives in Japan now and I live in the South, we message each other back and forth almost every day.  Friends like her are special and don’t come around super often, but I still hope to make one or two girlfriends I can just be regular old me around, without having to try too hard.

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My bestie, Amber (left).  How I miss her!

I posted this chain post on Facebook yesterday when I came across it on my Newsfeed, and I thought I’d post it here too, because it really hit home for me right now.  Though I am blessed that my husband won’t be going anywhere while we live here, we did just come from what is considered “arduous sea duty,” meaning he was gone all. the. time.  So many of the other statements ring true: we sold the couch we had since we were first married because there was no place for it in this new house, I haven’t hung a lot of curtains because they just don’t “go” where they went in our old house, I have purchased a home, sold a car, fixed a toilet, and mowed the lawn while having an infant; I left so many good friends and a stable social life, and I basically did not want to move here, but I bucked myself up somehow and followed my husband because I love him and it was the right thing for our family.  And so here we are.  So many military wives have it so much harder than I do, and I have the utmost respect for them.  But I have to recognize that my situation is hard too, and though we are blessed with enough money and creature comforts, it’s so hard to move every three years and constantly reinvent yourself.  This move has been the hardest yet, I think because we have a baby now and I really feel the desire to be settled and to establish a real life, and also because I am 31 and no longer feel like moving all the freakin’ time is some “great big adventure” like they tell you it is.  I said in an older post that I am very aware that this move coincides with a new chapter of my life, and part of that means I am starting to really understand what I want in my life, what makes me happy, and what I truly need in order to have that happiness.  And while I continue to try and adapt to my new surroundings, I’m trying to justify with my inner self where my family needs to go from here.  Deep thoughts, I tell ya.

But without further ado, here is the sentiment that hits close to home right now.

“Lots of moving. Moving…moving…moving…far from home. Moving a car, a baby and a dog. Moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house. Moving curtains that won’t fit. Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours. Moving away from friends. Moving towards new friends. Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.
Often waiting. Waiting…waiting…waiting for housing. Waiting for orders. Waiting for deployments. Waiting for phone calls. Waiting for reunions. Waiting for the new curtains to arrive. Waiting for him to come home, for dinner…AGAIN!
They call her ‘Military Dependent’, but she knows better. She is fiercely in-dependent. She can balance a check book, handle the yard work, fix a noisy toilet, bury the family pet. She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts. She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move. All with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don’t welcome her. She reinvents her career with every PCS; locates a house in the desert, the Arctic, or the deep south. She learns to call them all ‘home’. She MAKES them all home.
Military wives are somewhat hasty. They leap into: decorating, leadership, volunteering, career alternatives, churches, and friendships. They don’t have 15 years to get to know people. Their roots are short but flexible. They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.
Military wives quickly learn to value each other. They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse network, accept offers of friendship and favors, and record addresses in pencil.
Military wives have a common bond: she has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique. He doesn’t have a ‘JOB’ he has a ‘MISSION’ that he can’t just decide to quit. He’s on-call for his country 24/7. But for her, he’s the most unreliable guy in town! His language is foreign: TDY PCS OPR SOS ACC BDU ACU BAR CIB TAD EPR. And so, a military wife is a translator for her family and his. She is the long-distance link to keep them informed; the glue that holds them together.
A military wife has her moments. She wants to wring his neck and refuse to move to Japan, but she pulls herself together. Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to the flag, a wedding picture, and she goes. She packs. She moves. She follows.
Why? What for? How come? You may think it is because she has lost her mind. But actually it is because she has lost her heart. It was stolen from her by a man who puts duty first, who longs to deploy, who salutes the flag, and whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her military husband, she will remain his military wife. And would have it no other way.”

 

Monday poetry

A little about this poem I just wrote, before I share it…

Every time I see Claire follow me around the house, dragging her treasured “papie” (blankie) and her morning milk, my heart lurches with love.  This tiny human, so cozy in her footie pajamas, ready for snuggles in the morning, is mine.  She loves me, because I am her mama.  And it is the greatest gift of my life, motherhood.  Impossibly difficult, frustrating and demanding as it can be, being her mama is the single greatest honor of my life.  And it sounds dramatic and almost cliché to make such statements, but I really do think it every single day.

I originally wanted to write a Haiku.  My friend Kate writes the most beautiful Haikus and I thought that would be a lovely, short and sweet sentiment.  But as evidenced by all the writing I just did leading up to the debut of the short poem you’re about to read, I’m just too wordy for a strict syllable-driven poem.  I digress.

 

Mornings with Mama

 

Softest blankie, sippy cups

Your feet in jammies,

Don’t grow up/

Eyes expectant, I know what for

“Elmo,” snuggles,

You implore/

I scoop you up

And hold you tight.

And think, “I love you,” with all my might/

My greatest gift, the honor is mine.

To be your Mama for all of time.