Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thrifty Gems.

Thrift store find today! Been wanting one of these wristlets for going out with the hubster. It's perfect. LOVE the blue.
Also happened to find this little gem:
It's a cuff bracelet that is wired with all these beautiful shells. Looks homemade. I LOVE it. Plus the cuff easily bends and shapes to my wrist, something I am a little picky about. Bracelets have to fit, just like jeans or shoes.
These two pieces fit me perfectly. Now onto planning a night out to use them!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On The Work/Life Balance

I was recently asked to participate in a  'Motivated Mommy' thing at work. Isn’t that just the cutest little lable? Motivated Mommy. It's jus' cute!
I was asked for a picture of what makes me ‘tick’ outside of work and how I try to find balance between it all: work, life, hobbies.
Balance? BALANCE???????
The last time I felt balanced I was six and walked across the balance beam at gymnastics without falling off.
But life? Modern life in America for a young, even motivated, mommy? You feel like a woozed up mummy back from the dead running off of caffeine and five hour energy drinks running here, running there, until it’s nine o’clock and the kids are finally in their beds (although probably not quiet, that’s not till around 9:45PM) and you fall exhausted on the couch. Pretty soon your mouth is wide open and the spittle of drool coming out the side of it wakes you up, and good thing too because there are lunches to be made, dinner to be cleaned up, and coffee to prepare for the morning when we get to start this, ALL. OVER. AGAIN.
Not so much. I'm happy with functioning.
One thing I will say is that I have laid my pride down, I have realized I am not super woman or Martha Stewart or hell, I’m not even my own mother. I cannot do it all on my own.
And if there is any semblance of balance in my life, it is because I ask for help on a regular basis. This was hard at first, especially letting go of the reigns and letting someone else clean my house- but, that only lasted for about two seconds until I came home and the house was all sparkly. Yeah, I got over that real quick.

I don’t hesitate to ask any grandma or grandpa (does not have to be related; heck, I don’t even have to know them so long as they look trustworthy) to watch my children so I can go out on the town on a Friday or Saturday night and forgot about all my worries and cares of the week. It's amazing what a little beer and good music will do.

Mostly though the only reason this life of mine works is that I do it with a man who is an amazing partner in this crazy life of ours. He works like an animal and operates on a regular basis on very little sleep so he can do things like take and pick up Ethan from school. Every week we sit down with our little iphones and go over the schedule for the week: who’s picking up who when, what appointments and errands we have going on, what overtime he's working, who’s going to water the plants. I hate to brag but Joey is not the stereotypical man dipicted in every sitcom on TV.
I never feel like he’s “helping” me with the house and boys-He takes it on as much as his duties as mine, being the female. In fact, he’s better at so much of it than I am, including getting the boys to bed without WWIII happening, cooking meat (I hate cooking meat), and staying up on the laundry. If there is any one indicator as to why this life of mine functions, it’s him. A supportive, motivated, hardworking and devoted hubby and dad. He’s the bomb.
Vacations are also an absolute must. Sometimes even one day off is enough motivation to push through until you get it. It’s a silly little carrot, but it’s there anyway, calling for you: “Com’on! You can get here! Just think, sleeping in and endless coffee till 11:30am!!”
It’s small, but completely motivating.
But really, the reason I do all that I do is because I want to. I like to stay busy, even if it means passing out on my couch every night, waking up to my own drool.
It’s a crazy, exhausting, wonderful life. I wouldn’t call it balanced-I’d call it functioning and IF we've had our naps and are well fed, it can even cross over into...hold your breath...yes, fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Fall has ascended on this little house of mine, if not truly in the weather (it's still in the 90's!) then at least in its decorations.

I love this fall wreath. It's so full of sticks and leaves, reminds me of a walk in Ranch San Rafael park in the peak of fall.
I bought artificial pumpkins this year so that I don't have to buy ten real pumpkins every year only to have them rot. That way we can just buy two real ones for the boys at the pumpkin patch. 

I love how my greys go with all the seasons-my oranges and yellows in the fall, reds, greens and whites at Christmas time, and blues, turquoise, and yellows in the Spring and Summer.

The sign "Happy Fall!" is from an old sign I had that I wasn't using anymore. I bought some of that chalkboard paint, painted over the other sign, and now have a sign I can use to say anything I want! The boys helped me make this one, which is fun for them too.

This couch is the most comfortable, soft couch you will ever find. The whole thing is filled with down feathers! I fall asleep on it every night. No joke.
There he was at the store...I had to take him home.

 My new table! Leaf is stored inside so when we have friends over it can sit eight. Comes in handy these days with all my friends multiplying like cockatoos.

This is my flower garden for next year. It'll be so pretty up there.

And...we just painted the outside of the house. Remodel complete!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Remodel has Come to a Close. Swimming. And Procreating.

I’ve gone through quite a metamorphosis since January, 2011. God told me this was going to happen and it did. It was the year of the remodel, inside my house and inside my heart.
I like what has happened.
It’s prettier, more comfortable. And if my home is not more secure, my heart is for sure.
What I am finding in my relationship to God is I care less and less about all the “shoulds” and the “have to’s” and the rules, and more about the refuge and stronghold He is to me. The thought of ‘spending time’ with God because I ‘have to’ or I ‘should’ is ridiculous. I desire it, desire His promises. In fact, in seasons of intense crappyness, His words, His nearness, is how I take the first step out of bed in the morning- ‘I am with you. I am for you. I will never forsake you.’ –And in we go to the kitchen to prepare the coffee.
It’s like a little birdie learning how to fly, how to let go of all of the strings and expectations that have tied me down for so long-strings that originally were a strong sense of security, but as I grew older grew very tight and restricting. It’s like every expectation I let go of is a snip of another tether, getting me closer and closer to exploding into the sky, into the wide expanse of endless freedom.
Paradoxically, for the first time in my life in the midst of all this new found freedom I feel real security in my life as a wife, mother, and Christian woman.
 I realize my marriage is as good as I make it. Or as Bieber says, the grass is green where you water it.
I realize I am never going to be a perfect mama, but that as I pray and lay down my impatience and selfishness, God is faithful to give me grace. Over and over and over. That He meets me right in my place of need, and in Him I am exactly the mama He wanted for Ethan and Noah.
I realize my life is less about “finding” that perfect place (it doesn't exist), and more about being thankful for what I have. Appreciating my amazingly beautiful husband and sons, my extended family, other women who are tromping through this life as I am who I am blessed to call friends.  Learning not to take these precious things for granted.
Ethan is six and a half now. His toothy grin is enough to melt my heart. Sometimes I’m afraid we put too much pressure on him, but I think that’s my own emotional insecurities surfacing- he’s a tremendous helper with Noah, especially in the morning. They get up together, much too early, and Ethan gets them both breakfast and usually can manage to get himself and Noah dressed with minor help from a tired and usually grumpy mama. A mama who needs time with Jesus, literally.
 He has a list of things he has to do before he can turn on a movie in the morning, which by the way has made our mornings seamlessly smooth:
Get dressed
Eat breakfast
Put breakfast away
Make bed
Clean room
Put lunch in backpack and shoes by the door.
If  Noah is going to school, Ethan has to help his brother do these things too. The movie motivates them and then keeps them quiet and occupied until it’s time to go. Usually it spares me at least 15 minutes to talk with God. It’s the most beautiful thing in my life right now. Can I get an AMEN for NETFLIX!
Noah is at that age where if I am not wanting to pull my hair out (OK, or shoot myself) I just can’t get enough of the smell of his skin, his light, whispy blind hair. In the early mornings especially, walking down the hall in his undies, his knees slightly bowed, dragging his light blue blankie. “Hold me Mama.” I could just eat him.
I am ready for fall. More and more each year I love this time of year: the cooler mornings, the trees transitioning to their reds and yellows and oranges, and of course pumpkins.  Actually I could go on and on: the hot chai, the scarves, the boots, the hats, the pea coats, the crunchyness of the leaves under foot, trying to bake an apple pie, apples everywhere, candles. The only reason I don’t love this season as much as summer is summer precedes it, whereas winter (we don’t have spring) precedes summer. So summer is a little bit more anticipated. OK OK by the time May rolls around I am a walking SAD mess, and will probably go back on medication to get through those three horrible months (February, March, and April). It’s like their coldness seeps into my heart and almost kills it, every single year.
Work is going well, although I hate getting picked up on by OLD (we are talking grandpas) at starbucks wondering if I am “doing my homework”. Really? In these heels? Last I saw college people wore jeans and hoodies.  And I’m sure those young, dewy people don’t have that  wrinkle line around their lips or the darks bags under their eyes of absolute exhaustion from making sure two loud, needy and desperate little boys don’t kill themselves and have food, water and fresh undies on a daily basis. Last time I spoke with a college person, she was “so stressed” about having to work as the check in girl at the gym ON TOP of having to study for finals. O god forbid we have two things on our plates! Plus she had a boyfriend, and we all know how time consuming they can be! What with all the dates and free time together.All we need is a nice nap on mom and dad’s couch and a forty dollar hand out for gas and maybe we’ll be able to breath again!
  I’d say I guess I’m happy they think I am young and in college except I don’t think they could tell the difference between a girl between the ages of 14 and 44.
You know another thing that has really hit me this year? Is how hard you have to work to make it. How so much of life is getting up, doing the grind, appreciating the times of relax you get, but mostly WORK. It’s stuff I’d rather not be doing, mostly because I am a lazy ass, but it’stuff that’s worth doing because it’s building a life together with Joey, the love God has given me, our children, the little loves God has given me. It feels so good to build this life with Joey and the boys. I see it. I see the trees we’ve planted growing taller than we are, I see our bonds of commitment and love holding each other through the hard times, and the refuge of our home and being together. Like I said earlier, I feel secure in this life of mine for the first time. I used to think my life felt like a tip of a needle, and that at any moment it could fall this way or that and crash.
I don’t feel that way any more. I know that it takes work, but that God is there, and He is good. He is near. Instead of feeling like I am balancing on the tip of a falling needle, I feel strong and grounded, sure footed. “The Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19.
The weekend is here. Thank goodness, two days of my loves. We take the boys to swim lessons. Lessons to which I first opposed. They are expensive, and I didn’t need lessons to learn how to swim. Granted, I swim like I’m drowning, but I manage. Joey insisted, said he’d work overtime every week to give them to they boys, bless his soul! I said whatever.
I went for the first time last week and almost cried watching the boys interact with the obviously amazing instructors. They jumped and played and SWAM in the water with their heads’ UNDER the water. You wouldn’t think this would be that big of a deal, but just wait till you have children of your own who scream like you have just released a swarm of angry bees at them in the bathtub when you go to rinse Johnson and Johnson out of their hair. Tear free? The shampoo maybe. The water itself? Like death, like the little trickle in their eyes is a dagger to their very heart. I’m surprised Social Services has not come  knocking, mid bath. Their screams can be heard up to nine housed down the road. We’ve tested it.
So empathize with me as I sat there last week behind the parent glass at the pool, dumbfounded and then trying hard to keep from crying as I watched them participate in the water like kids are accustomed to do: kicking, laughing, splashing. Getting water in their eyes and…hold your breath….
Not screaming!
I have to hand it to my husband. He does have some good ideas when it comes to the boys, even if much of the time he has to work around their cheap ass mama who still hates to swim with her head under the water.

Noah has turned three. And to let you in on how wonderful the threes are, here is how this morning went:
“Noah, it’s your BIRTHDAY today! YAY!”
And thus the threes have begun.
I believe most boys (I hesitate to use 'all'; I know there are exceptions) so most boys have varying degrees of autism starting at about two years old. I believe this autistic nature grows and blossoms (again, in varying degrees) until they are five. And then at five, if they are not truly autistic, they come back to the real world. At least that’s how it’s been with my one and only child I have experienced so far. Noah seems to be following suit beautifully. Four is when it gets really bad. Four is Foul. At four, you dig your heels in and just hang on, hang on for dear sweet life because everyday your four year old is going to be faced with decisions he doesn’t like and at four years old, screaming and biting and slamming his heels into the bedroom door so loudly it sounds like he just might kick it down, he can cause quite a ruckus.
 So we are in for the long haul. I can hardly think of it, it just makes me queasy-two more years of increasing autistic like behavior!YAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
At five years old with Ethan it was like a light switch. It was like all of a sudden it dawned on him no one else was kicking doors down when they didn’t get what they wanted. At five years old, my life with Ethan started functioning again at semi-normalness, or as normal as life can be with the littles around. We are almost there with Noah (730 days to go). God help and bless with many blessings the mama’s whose children are truly autistic and live with all sorts of unimaginable for years and years and years.
People like to ask me if we are “done”.
I think my instinctual response that wants to punch them in the face should be answer enough, but I just coolly say, “Ya, I think so.” And then blame it on the cost of college or something like that.
But really, really the answer is I do not want to go through ages 2, 3, and 4 ever again. And probably infant to 2 too, because not sleeping really sucks. Oh and I guess the pregnancy too because I am done with being fat and having a back ache for months on end. Not to mention monthly checks of my stuff.
By the time you are ready to have a baby you have spread your legs for so many tests and procedures it seems as natural as giving someone a hug when you greet them.
“Hello. Can I spread my legs for you? Oh? Wider? Sure. How’s that?”
Most people prefer the “college these days!” response.
I didn’t expect to stop procreating so soon. As a little girl, I always dreamed of a handful of children, three at least, definitely not two! I also wanted to marry royalty, play in the NFL, and be a badass lawyer like you see on TV, all dreams I’ve had to regretfully let go as I realize my natural limitations.
So two it is! One for each hand, as they say. 
It’s plenty enough for me.