Autumn Time Changes

Well Autumn has arrived in my neck of the woods and I am loving it. It is by far my favorite season. With the Fall breeze, the changing leaves, and the hustle and bustle of life  sets in.

It’s been a great while since I have posted last, as I have allowed life to get in the way and my time management skills. I have lacked slotting in time to focus on writing that isn’t part of my scholarly work. Graduate school is going well thus-far and my biggest obstacle is making quiet time for me to truly focus on my work and put all that I know I am capable into it. I am four weeks in to a twelve week quarter though and so far, so good.

The children are growing up faster than I would like to admit. LM is nearly three and has hit the chaos that goes with that age frame. We have frequent episodes of dramatics, yelling, screaming, overwhelming (for us both) times and she is still being stubborn on potty use but is still working on it. On the flip side to the CRAZY threes (seriously twos have nothing on threes) she is making huge developmental strides. LM’s newest fascination is dressing herself, she loves to change a million times a day all by herself. It isn’t always right side in, or on just right but the concept is growing every day and I am very proud of that fact. She also is attending a play-school taught by a friend of mine twice a week. She is able to play with her friends and do some learning and activities, it has been fantastic for her and she absolutely LOVES it. Her conversational skills are also quite amusing – she is totally 2 1/2 going on 15.

MM is almost 8 months old, which is hard to believe. He has two bottom teeth and is working hard to get the top two to pop in as well. He crawls like a madman and regularly gets mad that he can’t walk like LM can. He wants to get around so badly and do everything. He is still quite the chunk and has a huge amount of personality. He also is still his daddy’s little clone.

I fill my days with child rearing, school work, and spending time with my best friend who is staying with me at the moment. My days are often overwhelming and I find myself needing to take more time to rest and reevaluate than I have in years past. I feel myself reflecting on things differently than I have at previous stages of my life.

As the Autumn air fills my lungs I remember the big things and the little things I must accomplish. I acknowledge the feelings I have for everything going on in my life right now and I center myself in the acceptance of my abilities and the focus of my mood. This journey we are embarking on will not be easy, but it is more than possible.

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Be Gentle

From a young age children are taught to be gentle with others. To respect feelings, challenges, personalities, struggles, and everything else that make up the individuality of all other beings. We remind children to share their toys, to be kind to others, and to behave. We give children a set of rules and standards to live by. We do our best to make them “good kids,” and yet more and more we see the dark struggle of humanity around us.

Woven into the regular stories of crime, hate, war, poverty, politics, and economic statuses there are the many stories of death. Stories of death at the hands of others, and more and more commonly death at the hands of oneself. The rates of depression amongst people have grown as the years have gone by. A “silent killer” I have heard many call it; a “secret disease”. The shame and solitude around depression as well as its  many causes have been a sensitive and taboo subject for a great many years.

The recent passing of renowned comedian and actor Robin Williams who suffered from depression for most of his life has brought more light to the subjects of depression and suicide than has been shone on it in a few years. It is sad to think it takes a tragedy to open those communication channels. Reflecting on Robin’s passing stirred many thoughts and emotions in my mind and I began to think about somethings my dear friend and I have discussed at length over the last few months, especially in those moments where our own anxieties and depressive moments have kicked in.

We are always told to be kind to others, to be gentle with others, but why so often do we neglect ourselves? We forget to remind ourselves and one another that we must ALWAYS be gentle with ourselves. We must respect our own individual needs as beings first and foremost, whatever your role in the world is. If we are not gentle with ourselves, if we can’t fulfill ourselves respectfully, we can’t ever be there for others, and that includes being there for our children and our spouse, being present and fully active in our marriages and relationships with others.

Remind your own self to be gentle and others you may see struggling to be gentle to themselves as well. This concept is hard, but find a way that works for you – to bring that into focus each and every day, throughout the day. That constant reminder when things start to get bumpy to just, ‘be gentle’.

For my best friend and I this struggle is daily and sometimes hourly and with us being many hundreds of miles and many states apart we can’t always be right there for each other when that road turns a bit rocky, so this week while she was out visiting me we designed this tattoo together which we both had placed on our forearms. The constant reminder to be gentle with ourselves. The constant reminder of the love another person holds for me despite all my struggles. The constant reminder that we are enough, we are capable, we are strong even when we are weak, and we can do it all if we just remember to have love for ourselves as well.

be gentle

Depression has a way of stealing  fulfillment, joy, and love in all the worst ways, leaving you feeling isolated and alone. It is hard to pick yourself up some days and to keep trucking along. It’s easy to feel hopeless and abandoned and like you have no one to turn to. So in those moments of hate. Of self doubt, destruction, insecurity, fear, and any other emotion, remember that you are always worth it, you always matter, and even if no one else in the world will, remember to BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.

Officially Official

Since I graduated college 3 years ago with my B.S. in Psychology, I have always thought about doing more, about the possibility of continuing on, but when babies, family, military, and moving came up it was pushed to the back burner.

I have tossed and turned about the practicality of continuing on with my education and finally set back and realized how badly I wanted to have something to focus on, to pursue, to do every day that actually used and challenged my mind. So, I applied for a M.S. program.

Today I received this letter:

I am beyond excited and also very nervous about what it means for the future. I know that with SCM being gone it will be some juggling and intensity but I am anxious for the challenge and cannot wait to see what the future holds by accomplishing this! It is going to be a wild ride!!!

I am so grateful for SCM for encouraging me and supporting me in wanting to take this on, especially with two littles and him not being here. 

Through Generations

For many knowing their grandparents growing up wasn’t super common, for even more knowing their great grandparents was unfathomable, but for me, not only have I known my great grandparents I have been blessed to have them into my adult years. My great grandparents have always meant the world to me and as some of the most amazing individuals I know. I valued every time I was able to take the 6 hour trip to see them. Every phone call I would receive from them warmed my heart and touched my soul beyond words. As wonderful as my parents and grandparents are the ability to grow up with my great grandparents is truly one of the most touching things in my life.

At 19 just a few short months after my beautiful birth daughter was born I received a call I was not ready for, a call that shattered my whole word. At 88 years old, my great grandmother had shockingly passed away. I had spoken to her just days before, and had actually set up to call her that very morning. I was crushed that I never was able to say goodbye, that she would never be able to meet my soon to be husband SCM, or my children. I was crushed to know I would never again play a game of Rummy with the wonderful women who taught me the game. I had a hole in my being.

Watching my great grandpa struggle with the loneliness of losing his love hurt me even more but despite begging he vowed to not leave his home, their home. Living completely on his own and more spry than men a quarter his age he continued on, making goals through his sorrow. In July of 2010 he did me the incredible honor of walking me, alongside my father, down the aisle as I married SCM. It was an amazing moment for me, a true blessing.

8 weeks after LM was born he was able to meet his very first great great grandchild and the moment he held her I bawled like baby. I thought about my great grandmother and how much she would have loved to meet LM, whose middle name is the same as hers. I thought about how truly blessed and lucky we were in that moment for him to be able to meet LM.

Throughout the last nearly 5 years since my great grandmother has passed we have made that 6 hour trip to visit great grandpa many times and each time have valued it beyond belief. At 94 he was climbing his roof to clear leaves, living on his own, driving, gardening, and being a general badass. Nothing was stopping him. A week before his 95th birthday, a month ago, as we prepared to travel to see him, I received another unexpected phone call, he had had a stroke and things weren’t looking good.

The intense emotions that passed over me when I heard those words brought me to my knees. MM was 3 months old and hadn’t met him yet, I hadn’t talked to him in a week, our plans for going down to his birthday this year had started to unravel due to Army orders for SCM, and now, very suddenly, he was in poor health. I cried for days and tried to formulate a million different plans to be able to be down with him. Finally it was decided that my grandparents would bring him back to live with them so that they could care for him since he no longer could live on his own. They live half the distance, a mere 3 hours away from me.

This last week we loaded up and took the drive to my grandparents house. The moment I laid eyes on my great grandpa it took a lot to not burst into tears. I had been so afraid something was going to happen to him before we were able to see him. Much smaller, more tired than I have ever seen him it pained me to see the struggles he was facing. We stayed for the week and were able to visit and relax together. He was able to meet his second great great grandchild which he thought was pretty extraordinary and so did I. He was able to play and hold both MM and LM and I was able to remind him again just how very much he means to me.

I know that my great grandpa is not going to be around much longer, I can see it in his eyes and I know that he is starting to be ready to be with great grandma again. It breaks my heart to think of a world without him as well, and it breaks my heart to see him struggle so. I don’t know what I am going to do when that inevitable phone call comes, but I do know that in this time I have now where he is closer I will be there every moment I can. I want to spend time with him and I want the kids to spend time with him because I want them to be able to know the truly amazing and wonderful man that he is and that I have been beyond blessed to know throughout all my nearly 25 years on this earth and counting.

 

Holding his Great Great Grandchildren. Not many are able to say they have done that. ❤

This week could not have meant more to me and couldn’t have been better. Our generations may be vastly different but the knowledge to be learnt from him, the love to be gleaned and given, the stories and memories to have, they are beyond measure. This week I have remembered just how truly blessed I am. I know that when God does call upon great grandpa to leave this earth and be with his bride, which I hope is many many more years from now, I will be secure at least in those memories and those moments that have made my life ever so rich and blessed for he truly is an amazing man.

A truly amazing man, my great grandpa Jess.

 

Been Awhile

Well, I sure dropped off the face of the planet didn’t I? Things have been crazy and chaotic and I just haven’t sat down and dedicated the time to blogging every day or a least a few times a week like I should. Hoping to be able to turn that around.

MM is official already 4 months old and quite the chunk. Nearly 17lbs already. LM is 2.5 years old already and quite the feisty little one. Her brother will soon catch up to her as she is only 27 lbs. SCM is home for now and we are soaking up the summer sun together while he continues to work on his degree and work at the local hospital.

Family 2014

 

So, there is the obligatory update to “get back into the swing” and real posts will follow in a much more timely manner than ever 4 months. 😀 Blessings to all.

Saying Goodbye

We are used to goodbyes in this household though they have always been just temporary.

When LM was 8 weeks old, one week younger than MM currently is, a small black undernourished four legged friend curled up next to her carrier to protect her, it was then that we knew that he would join our little family.

Harley had his quirks to be sure and his adjustment from shelter to home was anything but an easy transition, nonetheless, he brought multitudes of joy to our family and formed a remarkable bond with LM.

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We found at his first visit to the vet that he was a good 6 years older than the shelter had thought. We knew his age meant we might not have him for long but we never thought it would be only 2 1/2 years later that we would be saying goodbye to him.

In the last few months he had begun to go downhill in health quickly and I knew it would not be too long, last night however was the final event as he became totally unable to control himself and function, and so this afternoon I took him in and they put him to rest.

LM and I talked about it and though she doesn’t fully understand I hope it is not too hard on her. I have been bawling all day. With SCM away for work I’m saddened too that he wasn’t able to say his goodbyes. I know that he is at peace now and no longer suffering but it is still so hard.

So today our family says goodbye to our wonderful fur pet Harley, R.I.P

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Book Reading for the Ever Busy – The Kindle Paperwhite

I have been looking into “E-Readers” for months now trying to find one that fit everything I wanted and needed. With a desire to read more books, but a lifestyle that makes it impossible I was beginning to feel as if my brain was slowly dying from lack of stimulation.

Now, I love paper books but as a mom of two who constantly has her hands full and has a toddler who LOVES to “help”, I either don’t have the free hands to read a paper book, or I am trying to keep it from being too well loved and covered in water, food, or general baby drool. Constantly worrying about books getting damaged, not having the time to run out and browse a library for hours on end like I did in my youth (ahh the memories), and not having a clue what to actually read has taken my reading time down to a shameful amount. In fact, in 2013 I read a whopping THREE books. Yup, that is right THREE. That is beyond pathetic.

So, I began the  e-reader search. I have an IPad but it doesn’t allow me to read outdoors because of the glare, it’s also heavy and cumbersome, at home I have nearly dropped it on a nursing baby on more than one occasion. My Ipad also has so many other things on it that, I am not gonna lie, I get distracted doing everything else.

The first thing I did was look at what I wanted in an E-Reader.

  1. Something JUST for books. I wanted to be able to use it for reading and only reading.
  2. A reader that allows me to read indoors or outdoors in all lighting situations.
  3. A reader that is compatible with lending, free books, and a has a wide range of purchase options for books.
  4. A reader that was simple. Easy to find and download books. Easy to handle.
  5. Lightweight and easy to use with one hand –  because commonly that is all I have free.

After a great deal of searching I had opted not to go for the Nooks because I didn’t like how pricey it was to buy books and the limited range for where to get books from that it offered. I checked the Kindle and Kindle Fire but just wasn’t a fan. They did *TOO* much. I wanted basic. And that was when I saw something for the Kindle Paperwhite. The more I looked into the Paperwhite the more intrigued I was.

The Kindle Paperwhite is a black & white E-Reader that has adjustable lighting so that you can read inside, outside, bright lights, darkness, without extra strain on your eyes. It’s small and compact. I can easily fit it in my purse, hold it with one hand and read while I am nursing, and it has a battery life of  5-8  weeks. I also love that it saves my spot when I have to leave it or shut it quickly, no flipping to try to figure out where I was before mommyhood called. The Paperwhite like all Kindle devices runs from Amazon which is where you can purchase books, or if you have Prime you can be a part of the lending library where you can borrow thousands of titles for free. Another great place to find books is Book Basset, and online shop that posts a handful of books a day that you can get absolutely FREE! With WIFI capabilities the Paperwhite allows you to download books anywhere you have a connection. You can also plug it into your computer via USB and upload books directly if you prefer.

At a retail price of only $119 this new piece of technology has become an instant best friend to me. I am already deep into a brand new book that I can easily read with one hand, in the dark, at 3 am, while nursing a fussy newborn, and it doesn’t wake him or kill my eyes. I look forward to loading up even more books of all genres and being able to expand and stimulate my mind continually while balancing and juggling all the other aspects of my chaotic mommy and wife life.20140228-172935.jpg

Paper books will always hold a special place for me, there is nothing like the smell of an old book or going to the library to browse the days away, and there will always be real books in my home but for the day to day and the busy times, the Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect solution to all my book reading needs and a very good investment.

 

What are YOU reading right now?