the quiet time

i dont have a zenny candle burning
i am not drinking a warm mug of tea or coffee
i am super comfy on the couch. 


i got up early this morning to run and since there was a sprinkling of precipitation, i just could not go outside and do that.  i am a complete fair weather runner, always have been, and running in the dark and rain, well i just dont do it.  i need to have really good conditions. 

so i am taking that time to sit and listen to the rain hit the side of the house, the splashing sound when the cars fly by, which they do a 5:34am and my favorite, the birds tweeting waking up the sun. im hoping the sun comes here soon or maybe it is just going to be a rainy day.  

either way i am thrilled!  i am up early, showered and taking some quiet time.  i am hopeful in 20 years i will be able to do this often, and if all goes as it is in my master plan, it will be waves i hear crashing in the background not splashing cars, but for now this is one of those things i wont take for granted.

generally, i just dont wake up well, i am a snoozer, i love to hit snooze and the next thing i know i am running behind in time, so rushing people and myself along.  

i also do not get many moments where i can just sit here on the couch and listen and be. it is pretty much never that there isnt a person here with me on the couch, or dancing around in the kitchen or heck, even yelling from their bedroom.  most often someone is telling me what is needed, where i am supposed to go, or what it is they would like to do. 

i highly recommend this, waking early and taking in the day. it needs to  something i do more mornings.  wake early and relish in the morning, the morning waking up with me.  

upstairs the people are beginning to stir, alarms are starting to go off, sleepy, shuffling steps are being taken.  sleepy chewy is looking at me like, it is time.   i am hearing the mumbled annoyance in voices that will lead to raised voices to ‘get up!’ and then even louder ‘i am!’ 

today i am grateful for this morning, i was able to sneak down the stairs and have an early morning chat with Alexa:
‘Alexa, hallway light 50%’
     ‘ok, hallway light 50%’
‘Alexa, level 2’…jeeze why does she yell at me so early!  dont wake the people! 
‘Alexa, play quiet music.’
     she responds in a whisper, ‘here is mellow folk, from amazon music’.
‘thanks, Alexa’. 

she never gets the thanks, Alexa, since i am saying Alexa second, i hope she  knows i am thankful.  

 

Road Tripping

Wow… we just pulled in from a great, warm sun filled vacation.  The last days unexpected twist was the road trip part of it all.  I watched airfare for the past month, looking at every combo of days and cities and for the number of people to fly, well it was just not in the trying to pay off everything budget.  I really did not want to give up my week in the sun, so grateful for the generous company I work for we had the house in Naples for 7 sunny days pool/beach side was what I very, very much needed.  More on that  in a later post, this post is all about road tripping with 4 kids and how to make it manageable.

This wasn’t our first OH -> FL trek. We have driven there multiple times to Disney, but we were going a bit further this time, Naples, so adding another 3-4 hours on the trip.  Also, in previous trips the kids were smaller, not just in age, but in height.  We have driven to Hilton Head several times, but 12 hours is a lot more doable than 22, but like I said, I was determined to get to the sun.

Here are some tips when traveling with big and little kids, since it is a mix in my car: get on the road when they can sleep.  Not everyone agrees with this one, but it works great for us.  they are excited to go, happy to wake up in the middle of the night and shuffle into the car.  I always have great intentions to be packed and ready to get sleep and then start the trek, but well, my intentions are always good.  Either way, the plan is usually to leave about 3am and it ends up being 4.  I drive first, pop headphones in and tune into a podcast, this trip I was getting caught up on this one, started this one and this one I just love! 🙂

I get us about 5 hours in, just into West Virginia and watch the sun come up over the hills, we then need gas and make the switch.  It works well and we are well into the journey by the time any kids are stirring.  Any other driver switches are done on the fly, usually at a gas station while filling up or just pulling off an exit, a quick run around the car, and back onto the freeway.  It is like we are a well versed pit crew.

stop for 1 meal –  like get out of the car and stretch those legs.  Most times we are blasting right through, this trip was a bit different on the way down, we were heading to North Carolina to check out all of the One Tree Hill spots, so we were just plowing through to get there.

On the way out we ate on the go, in the car.  I loaded up on Spark for the second half of my driving and we blasted through.  On the way home we did it a bit different, drove all night, again, blasting through, so we did do the early morning stop for breakfast at Bob Evans.  Everyone slept on and off through the night and was stirring with about  4 hours to go in the trip, so it was a perfect time for a breakfast break.

put the bigger kids in the way back –  I love my car, and one of the things I love is the 2 captains seats in the middle row that allows for an aisle down the middle.  The 2 big kids, which now means they are taller in height too, head straight for the back.  They switch on and off stretching their legs down the middle and falling into a nook in the floor, but it works for them back there.  Yes, there is always the argument of someone’s feet coming up into the front 2 seats to the younger kids,  J is mad at someone for touching her arm rest with their foot, but overall, having the 2 bigger ones in the back works best.

devices, just let them have them –  They do all pick movies and watch  together, but iPod’s, iPhone’s & iPads are in high demand during the travel.  Yes, I could be that mom that finds the fun travel games, license plate bingo etc, but honestly, that is going to end bad.  Someone is going to think they saw it first or it will get too competitive and a fight will break out.  We are on our way for quality family time, so I am totally on board for them to have their head in a device on the road.  It turns out they don’t use them the whole time, actually, they get bored with it as with everything else.  Chargers are key here, portable chargers that can be used to reload those batteries during movie time and chargers for every outlet,  keep those devices charged.  I cant tell you how many time in our 50+ hours in the car did I hear, I need to plug in.  Pull out all the cords, all the portable chargers you have picked up over the years and get them all in a big ziplock bag to keep handy and keep charging.  Rotate the devices and the chargers and don’t let the device with the GPS get low!

speaking of ziplock bags, keep some in the glove box –  Those mountain roads get curvy and if it is during the day and a kid is coloring, while expect the car sickness and puking to come soon after.  I learned this one the hard way years ago in Virginia which had me running into a Target in flip flops buying some new pj’s.  Keep those wipes and ziplock bags handy in case the car sickness strikes.  Nothing worse that a packed car that smells like puke.

my favorite part – there are more laughs than tears.  I love that they are having sibling road trip memories together, squished in together, sometimes actually snuggling, laughing and watching movies (usually a Disney movie!) together.

Looking that rear view mirror and seeing them together and knowing they have these memories, stories and treasures in their heart to tell years later fills my heart so stinking full!  I can picture it now, sitting on the outdoor patio, together, years later, they are in college probably one still high school, tears of laughter rolling down our faces as they tell the war stories of traveling 24+ hours in the car together.

get out in South Carolina – Just do it, it doesn’t matter if it is a rest stop, Starbucks or shopping plaza, getting out in South Carolina and taking in that amazing, fresh smelling, moss in the trees, salt water air is so so good for the soul, or at least mine.  Each and every time I have crossed into South Carolina a sense of peace falls over me and my heart feels full.  If you are heading that way, do yourself a favor and stop off for a breather in South Carolina.  It can be simply for just minutes, just take in that air.

A letter to all my pals.

 

Dear my dearest friends, every single one of you, extra special love for those I have hit it hard with,

I am retired from drinking and it is not about you.

I adore you, and I adore you for exactly the same reason I did 70 days ago!

I stopped drinking for several reasons and none of them are about you:
  • I had mom guilt
  • I woke up feeling remorse the next day
  • I didn’t want to wonder what I said the night before
  • I didn’t want to have to wonder who was mad at me the next day
  • I wanted to sleep better
  • I wanted to say I could do something, and stick with it
  • It was not serving any good in my life
  • I could go on and on

 

Note, these are all about me, not about you.  Because this is how I feel, and causes and effects from my drinking, not anyone else’s.
Look at it this way,  when I was drinking I drank wine, sangria and beer, vodka probably a shot or 2.   You may prefer whisky and vodka.  It just isn’t the same, just like I drank different drinks than you, my drinking had different affects that were not positive for me.   Because that was the cause and effect of my drinking, doesn’t mean it is yours.
What it 100% does not mean is I am thinking that about yours, it doesn’t mean that I am looking for your cause and effect.
In fact, that is the furthest thoughts from my mind.  My thoughts generally are on how I am staying on this path or how I am going to get through the remainder of the day and onto the next.  My thoughts don’t look to you being on it with me.  I am super comfortable navigating this alone, but also knowing that you are there with me, being just as you were prior.  That is what I want, I want all to remain around me the same, well the same as it can be.  I am still going to hang out with you, I am still going to have fun, I am still going to chair dance and sing along, laugh at the jokes, reflect on the remember when’s and plan ahead for the future.

 

Don’t feel like you have to tell me I am doing good, chances are I am not.  Honestly I am doing just as well as you.  Chances are there is something else completely out of balance somewhere else in my world.  I yell too much, I swear way too much and I am quite certain there is a bill somewhere I need to pay.
Me, not drinking, has no reflection on my relationship with you.  This is the one time I am keeping it all about me, I am not drinking and the reason I am not is all about me.

Did you second guess inviting me a year ago?  Do the same as you did then, for the same reasons.  If you did then, I am still going to be there now, doing the same with you, I will just be there on water with a splash of soda and cranberry.  I may throw a lime in there as well., that’s right, I will still get crazy!

Yes, I still want to be invited.  There is still the same chance I may not go, but yes, I want to be invited.  I will come to the event, stay as long as I want, and will leave just when I need to.  When I leave I will still make the rounds, tell you all good bye, plan for our next outing and roll on home.
I love you dearly, the things I wont do any longer are most likely things you never want to see again anyway.  I mean, really, dancing on the bar, taking off my shirt, roller skating wasted around the bar, loosing my car after a PTA meeting, diving across the floor, puking, passing out, those things you really don’t want to see again any way, so basically, I am doing you a favor! 🙂
In closing, just because I am retired from drinking, doesn’t mean I am retired from you.  I was really, really, really, good at drinking and going out on top!  Just like any good retired person, I am working on my next great adventure.
xoxoxox-
Liz

PS and then we went and podcasted about this too!  take a listen here.

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