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Project: Overcoming Laziness, an Update

Caroline stream-of-consciousness Leave a Comment

So, things are not perfect on the overcoming laziness front, but they are better.  As in, I can happily report that our foyer, as you can see from the photo, has finally been successfully assembled back to its original state.  Original, but better… we opted to put up some sentimental watercolors rather than the stock posters that decorated the wall last go-round.  Jared and I were busy this afternoon.

I also managed to get through a good portion of the old yoga routine I used to do and my heart rate was within a normal range at the end of it.  With the postural tachycardia, that’s no small feat but I know as part of treatment, exercise is an imperative.  Time to just do it.

The laundry is making progress such that it is not consuming all floor space, but resolving that issue will just take time.

In photography news, I’ve just been taking lots of photos around the house, mostly of tea pots and bells.  Nothing too exciting at the moment.

That’s all I have.

CarolineProject: Overcoming Laziness, an Update
Granny Squares

Granny Squares!

Caroline artsy, Expressive, happy, Home Sweet Home Leave a Comment

Yesterday, I spent my day making the yummy granny squares pictured above.  I have twenty-five and a half squares done thus far.  It’s moving surprisingly quickly, but the project did consume my day yesterday.

I’ve been inspired to start this blanket project by a post about a positively gorgeous blanket by Matt, as can be seen here: http://accordingtomatt.blogspot.com/2013/01/granny-square-blanketthe-sequel.html.  His is gorgeous and full a broad range of color.  Mine will only be fifteen colors (I’ve bought ten thus far).

I’m aiming for a twin-sized blanket as my first goal, but eventually I’d love to have a king-sized bedspread.  That’s a fairly ambitious goal and I am prepared for this to be a long-term project.  I’d love to have this done by the start of November.  Since the boys start school Monday, I will have a fair bit more free time on my hands during the day so hopefully that’s not an unrealistic goal.

Time to get going for the day.  More granny squares are waiting!

CarolineGranny Squares!
May Parallax Background

The Little Things of Summer 2014

Caroline children, Family Life, happy Leave a Comment

It’s gorgeous outside today.  The temperature is perfect, slightly cool and reminiscent of Fall, and wherever the mosquitoes are, they are not here at the moment.  Today is a day we need to spend some more time outside than usual, the boys and me.  I think it’s a “colorful park” kind of morning.

Today we will visit the classrooms and meet the teachers for this school year, for Porter and Liam.  This is a day we are all ready for; school supplies are purchased and ready to go and the hazy days of summer are getting more and more restless for the boys.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t restless for the routine that will start next week, too.  The boys are ready for it, as well.

I will remember this summer, though, as much more than the summer after Oliver was born.

  • It was the first summer I recognized how much my Porter is turning into an articulate person, how much he has grown into his “oldest of the family” role.
  • I took the time to cook at home much more than I have since Jared and I were newlyweds.
  • This is the summer of learning to live on a budget, and we’ve come so close to succeeding that it’s hard to believe how frugal we’ve been.  What’s more, it hasn’t felt like deprivation, either.
  • We didn’t stay pent up in the house all summer long but we also didn’t take extravagant day-trips either.  We managed several times to go to the “dinosaur museum” and the zoo (to which we have memberships) without even peeking in their gift shops and there were no fits about it, thankfully.
  • Oliver got used to being carried in his mei tai carrier, which means freedom from the infant car seat or stroller.
  • I’ve really gotten to appreciate Liam’s incredibly fun sense of humor and style.  He’s one hilarious kid.
  • Oliver sleeps through the night and has since late June, most nights.  It’s common for him to go 8-10 hours overnight at this point.
  • Unless I’ve lost track, the boys only went to daycare for one afternoon of the entire summer, when I had a doctor’s appointment.  And, we had a babysitter come out a handful of times while I did things around the house.  Other than that, it’s been me with the boys All.  Summer.  Long.  That’s the first time it’s happened since Porter was a baby.  They were with me last summer too, but we relied far heavier on daycare last summer.  I had many more not-so-great days last summer.
  • My therapy dog, Abby, really is a therapy dog.  She is the best dog we’ve ever had…she doesn’t get into anything unless a stray dryer sheet makes it into the living room, she’s completely house trained, she’s great with the kids (even Oliver)…this pup is in her bed at my feet at the kitchen table even as I type this.  She is slightly neurotic like me and barks for seemingly no reason sometimes, but she’s a real joy to have as part of our family.

I look at that list and all of a sudden I realize that there is so very much to be grateful for in this family.  While I’ve been plugging along lamenting and slightly depressed the last few days, we’re in the home stretch of a real triumph of a summer.  All that list of “little” things from summer 2014 aren’t really that little to my family.  They indicate stability that we all need.

With that stability, too, this list signifies that I’m on the verge of health in a way that I haven’t been in years and years.  The symptoms of illness are still there, but I’m learning to manage them in ways that I’ve never been able to do before.  I’ve still got a long road toward learning balance with my illness, but stopping to recognize all that I have been capable of doing recently helps me keep momentum to keep it all up.

One day at the time.  It’s all about the little things.

CarolineThe Little Things of Summer 2014
Mommy and Oliver

Resisting My Identity

Caroline stream-of-consciousness Leave a Comment

Yep, that’s what I’ve been doing for years now.  It’s not that I don’t identify as a wife and mother.  That’s not it, because I for sure recognize that those are my roles.  But for years now, I’ve been grasping for something else…something that’s become more and more ethereal in my life as the years go on: an identity apart from my family.  I will always be my own person, of course, but I’ve learned this summer that I do actually enjoy taking care of my family when I stop long enough to remember the joy in doing so.  I’ve learned to actually enjoy cooking for my family for the first time since those early days of our marriage when I cooked regularly for Jared.

I am not a perfect mom and I have no interest in being one.  The one takeaway I’ve learned in the past five years is that perfection is highly, highly overrated and boring.

But those boys who are upstairs right now building a fence for their “kids only” space….this baby smiling at me in the photo– the same one who’s slowly falling asleep beside me right now– these boys are here now and they’re kids only once.  Some day, as it should be, they will grow up and have lives independent of our family life.  Then I can find something outside this house to do.

But for today, there’s laundry and a sweet baby “talking” to me and a six-year old upstairs who still likes to hold my hand in parking lots (and a nearly eight-year old who is newly too-cool to hold Mom’s hand), and there’s a dear husband who’s walking this path called life with me.

Jared has been the one person who’s been here through the bad and good of it all.  He didn’t walk away when it would have been far, far easier to do so and nobody would have faulted him had he chosen to do so.  In fact, there are those who would have been relieved had Jared chosen to walk away from this marriage.  Instead, he’s chosen to hold me tighter and remind me daily that he will always truly accept me as I am.  For that I will be forever grateful.

I’ve been trying to put a label to my identity for a long, long, time.  But while labels generally are unnecessary, I’m proud to be wife and mom and for today, that is enough.

CarolineResisting My Identity
Foyer

Project: Overcoming Laziness

Caroline children, Family Life, Home Sweet Home Leave a Comment

I wasn’t always this lazy.  Once upon a time I managed to keep the house relatively tidy AND go to a full-time day job.  But the years haven’t always been kind, primarily health-wise, and laziness and depression have gotten far too intertwined for me.  I know I’m far too young to keep this level of inactivity permanently, especially as a mother of three boys.

This house is a perfect example.  We have been back in the house for nearly a year and there isn’t much on the walls, unless it’s a spot where we forgot to take down a nail.  The foyer, pictured here, is devoid of anything welcoming.  The mirror that used to hang over the foyer table is sitting precisely where I put it probably seven or eight months ago, on the far side of the table.  In fact, those shoes by the doorway?  They are still there from when we got back from the beach, the night we watched the fireworks on the lake.  That was nearly a MONTH ago.

There are perfectly logical reasons all this has happened and I’m done being hard on myself about it.  There’s no reason to wallow in pity, but it is time to change these habits.

The damage goes far beyond the lack of a neat home, too, and I am working on changing exercise habits now that I finally feel like I’m healing from the c-section.  I had no clue that a full recovery from that surgery would take six to nine months– that part I do wish I’d been better prepared for, in my mind at least.  And, Jared and I are actually communicating for the first time in what feels  like years… it’s good to feel that connection again.  Those stupid tattoos I got a few years ago?  I’m totally ready to have them removed even if it won’t happen for a long while due to cost issues.  I feel like my old self for the first time probably since Liam was born….though, being about forty-five pounds overweight, I feel like I’m wearing a fat suit.  Definitely time to work on that.

And those worries about the baby?  I should have known he was far too related to his big brothers for me to worry as much as I have.  Turns out that Oliver’s head circumference is in the 98th percentile….98th PERCENTILE.  And, he’s in the 95th percentile for length.  The doctor said his head was still wobbly because his neck muscles have to work harder than most kiddo’s have to work.  So she wasn’t surprised he was still wobbly, and that wobbly seems to get a lot better every day.  I know I’m biased but this kid is a cutie and I love seeing him smile:

Oliver Happy copy
I swear if I didn’t know better I’d think he was saying, “Mama,” already, particularly when he wants something.  And I’m not the only one: Jared has heard Oliver say, “Mama,” too, amongst the baby babble.  This one is ready to be on the go as soon as possible and when he’s not asleep he’s tossing or turning or sitting in my lap, practicing holding that head up.  Those favorite baby months of mine, when he can sit up by himself but not yet crawl, are just around the corner,  I know.  Since the doctor gave us the go-ahead to start baby food, Oliver took his first taste of applesauce last night….he didn’t think much of it at all, and I don’t think he swallowed much.

Big boys start school in a week and a half and we are all ready, especially the boys.  I didn’t think we’d keep them at home with me all summer, but here we are in the very last of the home stretch.  While there have been their fair share of video games, the boys managed to go to the beach and to go to a day-camp, as well as visiting Grandpa Keith and Grandma Robin and a day-trip to the zoo, so I think it’s been a far more productive and fun summer for them than the last one.  I hope the years continue to progress positively like that, even if we’re only taking baby steps.

CarolineProject: Overcoming Laziness