unofficial end of the summer = begin again

i am a summer gal.

i love the heat

i love the humidity

i love the long days

i love the kids home

i love wearing white pants

so when people refer to Labor Day as the end of summer, it kind of bums me out.  this summer has been different though, hard, good came out of it, but different.

this summer i battled, battled within my head, battled to be productive, battled with my words, battled to get out of bed. so to what some may call the end of summer, to me feels like a time to begin again.

 

this summer i got through with my people.  my closest friends.

what time are we running in the morning?

do you want to do the bleachers?

want to go to try a new church?

lets get pizza!

i am praying for you.

want to go to yoga?

agenda?

you are awesome!

these messages may have come in because they knew i was struggling, or maybe they didn’t because i didnt talk much about it, but they came in.  they came in exactly when i needed them.  like my previous post, that is not coincidence.

my people, my friends, my closest pals, they show up.

when you are in that space, that space where you can teeter from moving forward or falling into a rut, your people make a huge difference.  when moving forward is hard, challenging, stressful, someone just being simple and looking to do the norm, the same accountability i would hold others to, that kept me moving forward.  i may not have been as aggressive as summers past, but it was forward.

this summer has been different.  i stripped everything away.  at my lowest, it was just me home alone in a pit of despair, it felt like the walls were falling in, the pressure of a 10k kettle bell sitting on my chest.  i didnt really know what to do, so i did nothing.

for the past month, i have done nothing.  nothing extra that is. nothing that felt like i ‘had’ to do it or a chore.  i didn’t do much laundry, minimal cleaning, no planning, no parties, no gatherings.  i didn’t arrange or schedule weekend activities and my evenings did not have events or commitments.  often times on the weekend afternoons i took a nap, i laid in the afternoon sun and read a book. some mornings i would walk, instead of run. i fell into shavasana a bit early and stayed in childs pose a little longer. i lite white candles and wrote words with a pen on paper, the best kind. i typed more words too. i prayed, i prayed to whomever, talked to angels, learned how to be open to miracles and practiced being more mindful with my thoughts.  right now i am sitting out in the summer afternoon shade on my back patio, listening to the boys laugh and chat in the pool, not feeling like i need to go change the laundry that is piled outside the laundry room. this last month of nothing, nothing that i did not want to do has healed me.

with the unofficial ‘end’ of the summer, i am looking forward to continuing to move forward, with caution of course, but feeling renewed.  i can move forward, even when i think the anxiety hanging above me will weigh me down, it wont.  i will get through it.  i may still go to bed early and continue to try to rise before the sun comes up to appreciate the day.  my appreciation is higher, my time more guarded and my people closer to me.  my circle is smaller, smaller but tighter and i love that!

i love that relationships move through and sit in your space and stay for the time needed.  some longer, some shorter but all leaving an imprint and lesson.  i have gained so much in the past several months, gained so much from the relationships that have moved on and the new ones being rooted.  i am so very grateful for each of them.

this week the forecast is 75+ each day and most likely 85+% humidity, so guess what, summer really isnt gone.  i plan on wearing white jeans tomorrow, the day after labor day, thats right, i’m still crazy, and enjoying the humidity on my morning runs. i’m not letting the first monday of september determine when my summer ends, but i am allowing it to give me the go ahead to begin, again.

 

disclaimer: 🙂 im not an expert, i dont know the super scary side of mental illness or pretend to, so while i understand this is different for everyone, this is how i felt.  i am thankful it was not worse, i am thankful for the tools that were in my tool bag but also understand and respect not everyone has those same tools or even has access to them.  this is my story

0615 just a date

all those years ago today date was just a date, then about 1995 all of that changed, bob was born.

so i actually dont know  if 6/15 was the real date, it may have been written on her papers, i vaguely remember that, but it was the day i celebrated her birth, and it was near the date, so it counts.

dogs give this gift, the gift of unconditional love.
you feed them
you snggle them
you scratch them
you love them

but none of that can compare to the unconditional love they always give back, and that is just what bob gave to me.

bob came to me in a time i desperately needed something to be just mine.  i was so in limbo, in a period of my life where i just had no clue what the hell i was going to do.   i had zero direction, no mentors, wasnt accomplishing much, didnt have any goals, heck, i didnt even know what goal setting was!  i dont regret those years, they were extremely fun, and drunk, but fun, and shaped me along with several more years of that.  looking back on it now i dont regret it.  could i have done it different, of course, but i do not regret it.

i was getting a dog, and naming it bob.  that was my direction.  i found her in the paper, you remember, that black and white thing they used to print daily and would end up on your doorstep! she was $375 which to me and my budget equated about $375,000.00, but i scounged it together somehow.  My friend Chris Tindera and I drove the 60 minutes to Ashland and rolled home minutes later with the cutest little ball of wrinkles on my lap.

She was with me constantly, when i did get a ‘job’ she went with me, my first house purchase was based on the yard and space for her, she walked me down the aisle at my wedding, she was an ice sculpture at the reception and she prepped me for the greatest journey of my life, becoming a mom.

when i was pregnant with grace i used to worry, worry i could never love my baby as much as i loved bob. (dont worry, i quickly learned i could).  bob adapted so perfectly to life with a baby, and grace become her baby to love and protect.

when i lost bob a piece of my heart was torn from my chest, never to return.  thankfully, she filled that same heart i was able to move on, after days in bed sobbing.  yes…i spent days in bed sobbing over the loss of my dog. the guilt of her life being cut short will always be with me, haunting me, but the joy of her dog years pushes the guilt away too.

we still talk about bob.  my kids still joke i love bob more than them.  there are still pictures of her around the house, a little cement replica of her in the flower bed. 0615 is a date to most people, but to me it is a daily reminder of the unconditional love that was given to me.  the love that gave me a purpose.  dog years that i am forever grateful i had.

xoxoxoxoxox

the boy, his arm and the guilt.

the boy has been bouncing on the trampoline for years.  since he was a small chubby little guy.

 

he has always gone out there on his own and would just jump, up and down on his own for the longest time.  it has always been like he goes in a zone, time in his own head, scheming and imagining.  it would calm him, it has always been his go to when he got shooed outside.

well, yesterday was the day that came to an end, snap.
the boy broke his arm.

yes, it was bound to happen
yes, trampolines are an accident waiting to happen
no, there is not a net around it
yes, i am an awful mom

so now that we have gotten that out of the way.

it went down like this, the first day of summer break, the boy got shooed outside and off fortnite. jumping away he goes, and attempts the cardinal trampoline sin, a flip.  doesn’t land the flip and snap, just like a pencil snapping as he would describe it.

Clean break of both bones in his forearm.

where am i? work.
i get a picture message of the snapped S shaped arm, ummmm so gross!  i will spare you posting it here. gross, and not what you want to see pop up on your message from your kid.  him laying his head on the table with his S shaped arm = mild heart attack.

at that exact moment i was out and about running errands, not in my car i might add.  so i need to get back to work.

this is when it went by really fast.
I am: 
trying to pull over to try to talk to him
he is in route to the er
i am calling the ortho office
sending a picture of the insurance card
my boy is in pain and i am not able to get right to him.

by the time i get back to work and i can get to my car to make the 30 minute drive to the hospital, the boy is being numbed up and are ready to cast him.
so no point in me racing there, he is on his way home with a quarter pounder.

i finish up my work, head to drug mart to get him some necessities and head home.
i walk in the door, he comes right up to me before i am in and just hugs me.  he is a wreck!  my boy is so upset…queue the mom guilt, like a water pipe just burst and the mom guilt is shooting directly at me.  my boy is so stinking mad at himself for this injury.  he had big plans this summer.

The numbing is wearing off, he is in pain and he is beating himself up.
I am beating myself up
+
I have allowed the trampoline all these years
=

I am the worst mom in the world 

I wasn’t there when it happened, I wasn’t there to take him to the hospital, I wasn’t there to have him squeeze my hand when it hurt, I wasn’t there when they gave him the Novocaine shots, I wasn’t there when they showed the xray, I wasn’t there to tell him it was going to be ok, I wasn’t there when he picked his cast color, I wasn’t there when they casted it, I wasn’t there to make the follow up appointment, I wasn’t there to get him the quarter pounder meal after (that is probably a good thing).

yes, it is dangerous, honestly my whole back yard/home is a danger zone.
we have:
a climber set
an above ground pool
scooters
basketball hoop
bikes
slip and slides
sprinklers
pogo sticks
the list goes on and on.

Every single time they walk out that door to play, an accident can happen.  I cant switch my mindset to wrapping them in a bubble and sending them off, unless they are those fun bubble balls you slam into each other in!

Accidents are always going to happen, I just have to
pray
pray
pray
and have faith that they have been raised well enough to make decisions that can keep them safe as possible.  Yes, a flip on the trampoline is a dumb decision. the rule is no flips.  An accident happened, it could have been worse, it could have been better.  Either way I cant lock him up.  I want him to live, I want him to do his thing, get dirty, take risks (not crazy risks, but some risks) and he learned from this risk.  So I will take a broken bone and the lesson he learned.  I don’t have to punish him, he is doing that to himself.  A great lesson in choices, because he is going to be making choices for the rest of his years.

As for me, the guilt is going away, it wasn’t like he drove himself to the hospital, he was in good hands with his dad, who is calm, calm, calm in these situations.  There is a reason I wasn’t there, because I most likely would have yaked, cried and been a wreck.  That being said, the mom guilt is still strong and hopefully in 25 years, when they are grown and visiting me at my beach house, (because that is the only way I will get them to visit me) this will be a mom guilt story i will be crying tears of laughter from.

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.

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