Sunday, December 31, 2017

You Can’t Find The Fighter, But I See It In You So We Gonna Walk It Out

The title of this post was taken from the song Rise Up by Andra Day.

     As I'm sitting here typing this Sebastian is sleeping after slurping down dinner, he had his wisdom teeth removed last week. Mason is playing zombie cat with Blake. I don't even know where they come up with this stuff, but I love that my 11 year old is playing with the almost 3 year old. Jaxon is sick and sitting next to me watching cartoons. Tyler is at the store with John. I'm just taking it all in and reflecting on the year.
     2017 - We've had our ups and downs. It's been a year of struggle mixed with moments of enlightenment. Things came to a turning point for me the day before Thanksgiving. We were all out of school for break and I had a pretty bad panic attack. I was at home with the kids and it kind of came out of nowhere. I don't like to talk about my anxiety. In our society there is such a stigma around the discussion of mental health and those that suffer from it. My anxiety is a part of who I am and I'm able to function with it, but the potential for having more peace in my life is great and that's what I'm working on. Anyway, I had been looking for a therapist for about a month and just hadn't gotten up the courage to call one. That day I did. Honestly, it was the day before Thanksgiving and I really didn't think anyone would answer the phone. Imagine my surprise when not only did someone answer but they had an appointment open for later that afternoon. I forced myself to go. It was the single best thing I've done for myself this year. I saw a therapist after Mike passed away, but I don't think we were a good fit and so I was skeptical about this one. The doctor I found is freaking amazing. I'm still dealing with my grief over losing Mike along with the generalized anxiety that developed after he passed. So, I'm seeing my therapist regularly as part of my self care routine. This alone has given me the courage to work on other parts of my life. I've started meditating each morning. A dear friend had been telling me about how it has helped her stay centered, but I didn't get it until recently. Now it's just a part of my daily routine. I'm ending this year on a very good note full of hope and plans for a wonderful new year.
     2018 - I'm not making new years resolutions this year. Instead I'm focusing on habits I've already started and adding new ones as I feel I'm ready. My focus word for this coming year is Present. I want to live more in the present and not worry about the past or the future. Sebastian will graduate and go on to college this year and while I need to plan and make arrangements I want to enjoy it and live in the moment. I'll continue building on self care even when it's boring self care. I have long term goals for myself, but now I'm focusing on the steps that will get me there and not changing everything all at once.
     Tonight we ring in the new year without any fan fare. Just my small family doing what we do. I'm wishing all my friends and family the very best in the coming year. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Who I am, who I’m not, who I want to be

The title of this post was taken from the song You Found Me by The Fray.

Things I've said to my kids this week.

"Get the magnet out of your nose!"

"Get your finger out of your nose!"

"We don't eat boogers!"

"Why do you smell like spoiled milk?"

"I'm your mother not your maid!"

"No that grade is not okay. No, I don't care what your excuse is."

"Stop wiping your snot on my shirt!"

"Put the chormebook away!"

"You can't leave that blank. Colleges ask these questions for a reason, and no I'm not doing it for you."

"When you get a job and make your own money you can buy those things."

"I don't ever let you do anything or have any fun? I don't provide for you? Fine, if you don't need me and all the things you have you can go sleep naked in the road."

"We don't kick our friends."

"Stop licking your shoe."

"Don't use your shirt as a tissue."

"If you don't put down that phone it will be mine!"

"I don't have the money for that."

"For the love! If one more child touches me, pulls on me, or attempts to wipe something on me I will lose it!"

"We are not stopping for donuts you are pre-diabetic!"

"We did not just have this for dinner I haven't made it in a month."

"I can go to the bathroom by myself."

"You do like this you eat it all the time!"

"Use your napkin not your shirt!"

"Don't drink your bath water!"

"Don't stick your fingers in the dog's ears!"

"Stop telling me you've pooped when you haven't!"

"Stop dancing around and just go to the bathroom."

"Get your hands out of your pants."

"No, I don't know where you left your fundraiser."

"I'll pay you $20 not to participate in the fundraiser."

"No, you can't play with your magnets because you were spitting out your milk at lunch."

"For the love! Get your hands out of your pants!"

"Do you want me to talk to your coach? I cry when I get anxious too."

"Come tell me about that A you got on your math test."

"You were working hard at soccer tonight. I'm proud of you."

"Let's read one story together and then make one up ourselves."

"I do think your dad sees all the things you are doing."

"Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed it helps me to make a list. Do you want me to help you make a list?"

"Sweetie, what hurts? Your fever is 102."

"Come snuggle me."

"Do you know how much I love you?"

"You may be almost 18 but you will always be my baby."

"You know you love my jokes."

"I didn't wake you because I knew how tired you were."

"I made your favorite dinner because I knew you had a rough day."

"Let's pretend the floor is lava!"

"I believe in you and everything you want to do with your life."

"Never sell yourself short. I raised you better than that."

"Tomorrow is a new day."

"Good luck! I know how hard you've worked on learning your routine."

"Okay, tell me about your game. I just don't understand it."

"Call me if you need me...or just call me if you want to talk."

"Always remember who you are."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sometimes When I'm Alone, I Wonder Aloud, If You're Watching Over Me

The title of this post was taken from the song Cemetery Gates by Pantera.

     This is how I feel most of the time. Maybe I have moments when I start to untangle the mess of emotions, worries, stress, and anxiety, but mostly this is how I feel on the inside no matter what things look like on the outside. Sometimes I can shove this messy ball into a box and sit on it for awhile, but I know it's always there.
     Monday was Sebastian's girlfriends birthday.  Megan is an amazing young lady and I love her dearly. As I sat at dinner with her family and friends, I had the chance to talk to her aunt's mother-in-law. She is a dear older lady that just took in the moments as they went by that night.  She told me about working as a nurse and how later in life she went back to school and became a minister. She told me about the Bible study group she led each week. We talked about family history and she related some of her genealogy. For one very brief moment she mentioned her late husband. She didn't dwell on the topic but I suddenly became very emotional. I often get angry when I think about all the time I didn't have with Mike. Like losing him at such a young age somehow makes my grief greater than anyone else's. How difficult it must have been to lose her husband when they had been together for so long. For those few hours we sat across from each other I felt drawn to this lady. Maybe I'm hoping I can be as strong as she is when I'm her age.
     Today, as I was driving to another school I put in a cd. The only cds I have in the car are the ones Mike had in his car when he passed away. I put in Pantara and the song Cemetery Gates came on. I instantly remembered why I don't play his music much any more. I started to cry because I could picture him singing along to the song. How many times had I watched him sing this song as he drove, cleaned house, or worked on the lawn. I turned it off and pulled myself together, but the weight of the memory has stuck with me all day. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

But I Can't Seem To Find The Time.

     The title of this post was taken from the song For The First Time by The Script.

     Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Trying to juggle work and family is normally something I feel like I do an okay job at, but yesterday just seemed like an epic fail. I went to work at 6:30 and Tyler babysat the little boys because the Y was closed today. No worries, I'm paying her. Mason had 6th grade orientation from 12 - 1:30 and Sebastian's was from 12 - 1:45 and I had meetings before and during those times. Sebastian brought Mason for his orientation and I knew I could stay until 12:50. I thought no problem I can get most of it in and Sebastian will stay with him for the rest. It was a decent plan except his orientation started 20 minutes late. I met Mason's homeroom teacher, but Sebastian had to help him with his locker and meeting his other teachers. I knew Sebastian could handle his orientation by himself but it sucked not to be there. However a dear friend took these pictures and sent them to me. I cried just a little as I sat in my meeting.

Sebastian adding his handprints to the senior wall. I'm seriously crying as I type this.


Sebastian and Megan (his girlfriend). I absolutely love her!

Such wonderful kiddos.

I am grateful for my friends that help me look out for my kids, the friends that help pick up my slack. Thanks Lynette for taking these.  I did managed to leave work in time to pick up Tyler for her sophomore orientation, but we had to take the little boys with us. The same little boys that hadn't napped. They were absolutely wild while we tried to walk around the school and meet her teachers. Tyler wanted to get her chrome book, but the line was so long and I had a training to get to and we just couldn't wait. She was so sweet and didn't fuss but I knew she would have wanted to stay and I knew she didn't get as much time to walk around as she would have liked. I picked up dinner and left to drive an hour and twenty minutes to a training. It was absolutely wonderful but I didn't walk back into the house until around 10:30 last night. Throughout all the chaos today, all that I asked of my kids, and the small sacrifices they made not once did they complain. The fact they didn't complain sort of makes me feel even worse. Have they become so accustomed to mom just not always being there that they don't bother to complain? In the end everything got done. Maybe not the way I had envisioned, but it got done. Hopefully that's all the kids will ever remember. 
      I'm hoping today goes just a little smoother for me. I'm hoping I can cut myself some slack and remember that time with my kids isn't always quantity it's quality. At one point yesterday as I was feeling pretty down and I pulled out my phone and flipped through a few recent pictures of the kids. It made me feel a little better. Hoping today will be easier.

Blake lined up some of his stuffed animals on the chairs and then picked a book to read to them.         I absolutely love this picture. It was such a cute moment.

We took the kids to the Jackson River Trail for a walk the other day. They enjoyed it. Sebastian was at work and didn't get to join us. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

If We're Gonna Stand, We Stand As Giants. If We're Gonna Walk, We Walk As Lions.

    The title of this post was taken from the song Lions by Skillet.

     July was such a busy month. I don't even know where it went. I went back to work on Monday, but I was in the school off and on before that just trying to organize things. Last week I think everything caught up to me and I got sick. I ran a fever for a few days and then I think it just turned into a cold, but for several days I was miserable. Blake is always the first child up for the day and we have a routine. I get him up and we sit on the couch under his favorite blanket for 10-15 minutes and watch cartoons. Then I fix him breakfast and he plays. We do this every single morning. He's a bit of a mommas boy. Anyway, when I was sick I didn't want to hold him because I didn't want him to get sick. He really didn't understand this and he cried and cried while yelling "snuggle mommy, snuggle mommy". It was pitiful. I tried to get him to sit next to me, but that wasn't good enough. He had to sit in my lap, under his favorite blanket. It was a long couple of days.

My poor child.

Anyway, teachers are officially back and Jaxon and Blake have been at the Y this week. They absolutely love it. Blake takes off running into his class and doesn't even look back. I've had a ton to do, but the first two days I worked really hard on unpacking and organizing my office. 

The kids start back next Wednesday. I love school starting and having a routine, but with it comes a lot of extras and an even crazier schedule. Tyler missed color guard practice yesterday because we both just forgot. Hopefully things will fall into place soon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Got To See What Tomorrow Brings

     The title of this post was taken from the song Sing by My Chemical Romance.

     Sebastian had his senior pictures for the yearbook taken today. I didn't expect to get emotional about it but looking at him in his fake tux made my eyes leak. I snapped a quick picture before he sat down. He's such a handsome young man. 

Taken July 24, 2017

Several months ago I had a meeting at the school board office with the superintendent. As I sat in the waiting area I noticed old yearbooks on a bookshelf. I quickly picked up the ones from when Mike was in school and I snapped a picture of each with my phone. Here is Mike's senior picture. It was taken in 1994. Okay, for those that don't know he got kicked out of AHS that year and did a repeat senior year at Covington High School. This is his first senior year picture from Alleghany. I'll have to try and find the other one as well. I can't believe how much Sebastian looks like his dad. I can't wait to get the actual pictures.

Taken in August 1994

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It's Only Been A Moment It's Only Been A Lifetime, But Tonight You're A Stranger Or Some Silhouette

The title of this post was taken from the song Silhouette by Aquilo.

     I renewed my teaching license five years ago in 2012. I remember then wondering what my life would look like in five years when I had to renew it again. I never would have guessed that I would be remarried and have two more adorable kids. I wouldn't have guessed that I would go back to school and be a BCBA. I don't know where I pictured myself, but it isn't where I am right now. I love my life even if it's not what I could have pictured. I wonder what my life will look like in five years when I have to renew it again. It will be 2022 then and I can't even begin to imagine.
     The 2016-2017 school year has ended and we are quickly approaching a new school year. Sebastian will be a senior, what?!, I can't even believe it. Tyler will be a sophomore, Mason will be in 6th grade, Jaxon will be in the IPop class, and Blake will start at the Y. So much change and so much will happen this year. I am making a change as well. I accepted the job as behavior analyst for our district. This is super super scary for me. My classroom is my safe space. I can go in my room at the start of the day, close the door, and most of the time if I don't want to I don't have to come out until the end of the day. I know my students. They are predictable in an unpredictable manner. I've spent years building relationships with them and now I'm stepping away and allowing someone else to come in and take over. I worry how much I'll be able to let go. My assistants know me, they know what I want before I even open my mouth. We are like a well oiled machine. This will be a change, not a bad change but a change nonetheless. This new job will force me to interact more with adults and adults can be scary :). 

My name next to my classroom. The classroom I've called home for 5 years.

 I cried as I walked out of my classroom on the last day. I still get to work with those students just not in the same capacity. Change is so hard for me though. On another note I'll have an office next year. What?! I'm not an office kind of person. I'm a play on the floor with my students kind of person. What's that quote "There's nothing permanent except change." or something like that. Here's to the last few weeks of summer break. I'm going to do my best to post more this year. I want to document Sebastian's senior year and all the funny things that happen in our day to day lives. I could write a book with just the funny things Jaxon says. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

But My Words Like Silent Raindrops Fell

The title of this post was taken from the song The Sound Of Silence by Disturbed.

My Dearest Mike,    
     April 14th marks six years. Six years since I've seen you, heard your voice, or held your warm hand in mine. There are still so many things I want to tell you. So many things I want to share. So many questions. Why don't I ever feel like I have the answers I need? I cycle through so many emotions from moment to moment and nothing makes sense. I keep thinking about our early years together. I was 16 when we first met and barely 18 when we married. I had never met anyone like you and I wanted to be your everything because you were mine. As our relationship progressed and we got married we grew up together. We had no idea what we were doing, but most of the time we knew we would make it through together. And then one day 15 years later I was alone. My everything was gone. We had plenty of ups and downs through the years, but my constant companion through it all was just gone. I still feel your loss so deeply. Sometimes I yell at you. I yell at you for leaving me, for leaving us. It's completely irrational, I know it is. You wouldn't want this for me and I cry over that as well. You would be so mad at me for not dealing with this better. I've written this stupid post nine times and I still feel like nothing I say matches the whirlwind of emotions I'm feeling inside. Please watch over us. The kids miss you. We talk about you all the time because I'm determined they will never forget. Sebastian is a carbon copy of you and sometimes when he hugs me it's almost as if you were there...I can't do this tonight. I'll just go cry myself to sleep.

Fall of 1996

Fall of 1997

Fall of 2009

Fall of 2010

Fall of 2011

Fall of 2012

Fall of 2013

Fall of 2014

Fall of 2015

Fall of 2016

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Welcome To A New Kind Of Tension. All Across The Alienation.

The title of this post was taken from the song American Idiot by Green Day.

     It's been a rough week. I absolutely cannot believe Trump was elected President and I held out a very small hope that something would change that before the inauguration this week. I don't want to talk about politics tonight. We are a nation divided. I am exhausted from debating or biting my tongue to keep from debating. I had an aunt, that I haven't talked to in 10 years attack a post I made on FB in regards to the nomination for Secretary of Education. I ended up deleting my posts because it was clear she wasn't looking for a debate. She was hell bent on being right and was trying to convince me just how wrong I was. I wish I had just deleted her comments. Instead I allowed her to wear me down. I've since deleted the FB app from my phone. I still get on from my computer, but I've significantly decreased the amount of time I spend on social media. In conjunction with that I've started tailoring my friends list and getting rid of people that I don't really know or talk to. It's a work in progress.
     This coming week will be the first full week of school since before Christmas. It's going to be a busy one. On Thursday Mason gets braces on his top teeth. I'm excited for him because I think the gaps in his front teeth bother him and it's going to be a process to get his teeth where they need to be. He will have to have an expander put in to widen his upper jaw. All of this will be done in stages, but we start on Thursday. Tomorrow would have been Mike's 41st birthday. It's still so hard for me to believe he is gone. We plan on getting helium balloons so the kids can write him notes and we will let them go outside. Maybe we will go out to dinner. Tyler asked if we could go to the cemetery, but it's supposed to rain really hard tomorrow so we will see. Thursday is also Blake's second birthday. I can't believe my little man will be two. He has the sweetest disposition about him and I love him so very much. 
I'll end with a two pictures from this week.

Sebastian will often get in the floor and let the little boys wrestle with him. They absolutely love it!

The other day Jaxon went upstairs, got in Tyler's closet, and put on one of her dresses :) I had to snap a picture.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tearing Off Pieces Of Myself Just For The Time It Buys Me

The title of this post was taken from the song When You Go by Jonathan  Coulton     

On December 31, 2010 Mike made the following Facebook post.

"These are your last hours of this year. Are they gonna waste or will you do something worthwhile with them? Think about it."

When I saw that on New Years Eve I lost it. I had already been struggling through the Holiday break and this had me balled up on the bathroom floor unable to do anything but cry. His words made me think about not just that night, but the years to come. In my head I changed his words just a little..."These are the best years of your life. Are they gonna waste or will you do something worthwhile with them? Think about it." While I've accomplished a lot in my life and I have a lot to be thankful for I still feel incomplete. What the heck am I doing and who the heck am I? I didn't make any New Year's resolutions, but I started some new habits that happen to coincide with the start of a new year. I started reading the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I work so hard at being who I think I need to be rather than who I am. I've traded my authentic self for approval of those around me. Anyway, I'm working on me. 
     Here are some of my favorite pictures from the last several weeks.

Me and my littles. 
This wasn't a good day, but it was a good moment. I captured a moment with an actual smile and only trace amounts of anxiety. 

Sebastian will make an incredible father one day. I love watching them run up to him and call him by name. The little boys struggle to say Sebastian so it always sounds like "mashun". 

Jaxon and Mason playing together. I love these moments. All to often I find myself reminding Mason that he is 10 and Jaxon is 3 and we don't treat our brothers like that, sigh. This makes those moments worth it.

Blake loves this hat. It's now missing an eye and the nose, but he wears it all the time.

Our baby sitter quit on us unexpectedly just before Christmas break. There was a disagreement about some of the things involving the kids and she quit. At the time I was hurt and very angry, but everything worked out and this picture is the outcome of everything. Jaxon is now in the preschool program at the Y, which is at the school I teach in. He comes to school with me and I pick him up right after school. On this day He played on an iPad while I got some work done. I am so glad I get to see him a little more. Blake is spending his days with my mom and they are both loving it!

There's that hat again. He liked being outside with us but he did not like getting snow on his shoes or his hands :)

We all went sledding at Megan's house and the kids had so much fun! I'll admit that it took a lot to talk myself into getting five kids and myself bundled up and out the door into the cold. I'm so glad we went because we made memories.

All five kiddos checking out the hill.

Jaxon was my little daredevil. He went down the hill over and over again and laughed the whole time. He even managed to carry his penguin sled back up. He stole my hat because his hood wouldn't stay up, and when I put it on his head he said "Mommy, this is the best!"