2014 Planner

Planners, Puppy Dogs, and Walking

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

The battle to get organized is on….I have a monster master planner now.

When Jared and I were newlyweds, a local family was incredibly kind to us and I remember marveling how the mom of the family had it all “together” all the time. And I remember she had a moderately large binder she used to keep up with everything for the family. It wasn’t fancy and was homemade, rather than a commercial planner. I was just amazed that she could keep up with everything with her household of six people.

I tried to do this a couple of years ago, but I really was just too scattered to handle it at the time.  This go-round, the binder contains the following:

–Daily Planners
–Meal Planner and Ideas
–Blog Items
— Photo Items
–Kids’ Activities

Each section has several sub-sections….the calendar contains a gift-planning section, the meal section has room for brief recipes, the daily pages contain a section for a shopping list…it took a full day and a half to get the thing put together and then I ended up having to purchase an actual binder instead of re-using an old one as planned because I needed a full 2-inch binder rather than re-using the 1-inch binder I already had on hand. Luckily, that was the only real investment, and it was far cheaper than a commercial planner.

So far, so good.  I just never find any commercial planners that contain everything I need to keep up with my family’s stuff, along with my own needs. I’m sold on the make-your-own planner method.

So that’s it on the domestic front.  Besides this clown:

This girlie is just our little manipulative clown. That having been said, she is an excellent guard dog….she lets us know whenever she hears the slightest noise. At 3 am, that’s not the most welcome thing in the world. Last night was a short night thanks to Abby alerts over, well, nothing at all.

A health update…there is definitely a correlation between my moods and my blood pressure, but I think I may have mentioned that correlation before. My cardiologist wants me walking a full hour a day. AN. HOUR. A. DAY. I haven’t been that active in years, but I intend to follow through with it. I managed thirty minutes of stair-stepping yesterday morning and that gave me a good idea of how much work I have ahead of me to get back in shape. I’ll admit though…the endorphins from the exertion did set in and it reminded me what I love about exercising. I’m hoping that’s the ticket to getting rid of the rest of the weight I need to lose.

That’s all I have for now.


Baby, Blankets, Salt, and Rashes

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

This one is growing up….oh my.

I’m fixated for the moment on making crochet blankets. I haven’t finished a one, but I have several blankets started. I have this fantasy of giving them as Christmas presents, but we’re awful close to the end of the year to be making full blankets with that particular goal in mind.  Stay tuned for what happens.

I’m finally losing weight again.  I lost thirty pounds relatively quickly after Oliver was born, but I gained ten pounds back relatively quickly a few weeks ago. I upped my salt intake dramatically– I salt everything nowadays– and that seems to help. I’ve also started wearing my compression stockings religiously again. My blood pressure has been insanely low, but that seems to happen on the days that I haven’t gotten enough salt. The salt intake helps the swelling all over go down, too, thank goodness. I never thought salt deficiency would ever be something I’d need to worry about, but salt seems to help the postural tachycardia like none other.

We’re on day 2 with some weird rash on the big boys. They’re home from school because we’re just not certain it’s not contagious. They went on a hike in the woods on Monday, but the rash is still spreading even as I type this. They are covered from head to toe in calamine lotion! I hope for more answers later today, as I suspect we’ll make a second trip to the doctor’s office in as many days.

We’re on the cusp of a gigantic home overhaul, both belongings and organization-wise. I can’t wait for it to be done, but wait I shall.

That’s all I have for today.

Oliver 8_29

Acknowledging the Mommy Meltdown

Caroline Expressive, Family Life, photography Leave a Comment

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been only really taking pictures of bells and teapots. That is true. In fact, I really just took that photo above of Oliver for this post because I wanted something a little cheerier than the results of my recent artistic endeavors.

On the whole, it’s been a hard few weeks since the boys returned to school. I underestimated, fairly severely, how much I enjoyed having the big boys for company during the summer. To compound matters, my computer has been stuffed to the gills of photos to the extent that I’ve had to do some fairly drastic housekeeping to get it back up to working order, so I’ve halted my photography completely. It’s working again, and before that brief hiatus (which did actually affect my moods for the negative), I was taking photos mostly like this one:

Outside Bell

Not exactly the epitome of cheerfulness or happiness. I must have a dozen different okay shots of that bell and every single one, while maybe interesting to me, I doubt they are of interest to a single soul otherwise. In fact, I polished this bell so that it would be shinier and I think the earlier bell photos with the patina finish were actually more interesting:


I did manage to get a family photo taken a couple of weeks ago. I look really rough– I’d been not wearing my compression stockings and I get all puffy when I don’t wear them and I had bed-head hair– and the boys were not happy about the photo session because it took them away from their video game marathon:

So anyway, during the day, during the week, it’s just me and Oliver. The isolation is stifling and I have a hard time with self-discipline, getting myself to exercise like I know I should and house-cleaning, well forget it. I have, at least, been successfully crocheting a giant blanket (not the one previously featured– this one is a giant granny square), and I have some ideas for homemade Christmas presents. I haven’t been in-the-bed-depressed, at least. Mostly it’s the old “I should be working at a job” guilt trip I give myself that is giving me fits and that is a now old argument I have with myself. It really is dumb because there’s no reason for it. I know on many levels that contribute to the well-being of this household, end of story. But my brain is set on “self-worth in the toilet” mode seemingly permanently and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, my brain is going to tell me that I am worthless and nothing I do matters.

So when folks, whether it’s Jared or someone outside this household, commends me for staying home with Oliver, it goes in one ear and out the other. I can comprehend the value for Oliver, for me being the one to care for him, but it doesn’t take away that feeling that I should be making money to make things more comfortable for this family. And that feeling is one of the root causes that affects my rock-bottom self-esteem. Not getting out of the house doesn’t help, but I’ve found that if I get out of the house I am more prone to spending money and now that we are actually adhering to our budget, going to the coffee shop to hang out or whatever, just isn’t realistic or fun when I look at the big picture.

So there it is. The psychiatrist says the depression isn’t medication-worthy this go-round and he also said basically that the mental illness stigma has scarred me to the extent that I question everything about myself internally and that I need to get over it. He’s right, though– I feel judged both by myself and by others based on others’ perception of me because of my admittedly self-disclosed diagnosis (and some very public breakdowns). I feel judged to the extent that I don’t think I will ever, ever get over it. It affects my ability to be happy in my role as a mother who stays at home with my children. For that matter, it affects my ability to be happy in my role as human being.

But while there is an aspect affected by my relationship with my mental health, I think what is going on for my role in this household is happening for a lot of mommies in 2014…we are expected to be everything to our family with very little support from the community at large, with family spread wide and thin. There is no village to raise our children in these days, and I suspect that village will just continue to disintegrate, throughout my lifetime, anyway. That is a bleak perspective but it is mine and thus, it is true for me. I pray I am wrong.


Project: Overcoming Laziness, an Update

Caroline stream-of-consciousness

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.