Monday, May 21, 2018

Mother's Day... wasn't the worst

I have kind of a love hate relationship with Mother's Day. On one hand I love getting presents and the other I hate that we have a forced day to recognize mothers. It's one of those things that if you need a day on the calendar to recognize what I do each and every day, then you're doing it wrong. We almost never do anything, and I end up doing laundry and cooking, but my family wants the praise that they did something for me. 

See? It's not worth it. 

So I woke up with low expectations. I told Olivia to not bother with breakfast in bed because I eat cereal and I don't want to eat it in my room. I hate eating in my room. And nobody gets my cereal to milk ratio right so no, please don't ruin my one guaranteed meal of the day, thankyouverymuch

But my kids had presents, Olivia made me a pillow (which is precariously taped together because her "stitching" is falling apart) and a book with coloring pages she ripped out of her coloring book. Jackson made me a .... Picasso mask in art class? I think that's what he called it. It's collecting dust on my bookshelf next to Olivia's cat she made a few years ago. Matt got me the cookbook I wanted and a new fancy wallet. It was nice. The cookbook is already being used and of course I'm using my wallet. It was nice that he looked at things I took pictures of in my phone so I wouldn't forget about them. At least he tried this year. 

We went out to lunch, our weekend usual, and that was nice. We ended up going to a sit down restaurant versus a fast food place so it was a nice change. 
 I couldn't get a picture with all four kids so I opted for one with each of them. Lucy's hair looked like this all day, even at the restaurant, because she very much did not want to play beauty shop (which is how we trick her and Penelope into doing their hair every day). 
 Penelope after her bath, smelling all fresh and delicious. Clearly not ready for bed. 
 Olivia after she tripped over her own feet in the dining room. 
And Jackson after his shower. He's big into doing his hair lately so I had to tell him to never ever part his hair down the middle like this again. He looks like Alfalfa. 

Overall it was a pretty alright day. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Concerts and sing alongs

With the end of the school year around the corner, that means it's time for band concerts and sing along at school. 

First up was Olivia's band concert. 
 She's next to the girl in the red skirt. 
 She decided to wear a pretty dress with her Converse. Which apparently is the trend so what do I know. 

They did such a great job and it's been pretty interesting to see how far they've come in just a few months, really. She's going to do flute again next year but thankfully she doesn't sound so bad anymore so I don't mind. I'm surprised at how diligent she's been with practicing, she takes it pretty damn seriously. 
 She was practically beaming after her concert. I can always find her because of her bright pink folder! 

Last week was Jackson's sing along at school and I ended up going by myself. 
 I found his artwork on the wall and I kind of want to frame this, he did such a great job. 
 Is he not a little stud? He definitely is. I'm also grateful he's still short because that means he's in the front row and super easy to find. 
My anxiety got the best of me and I had to leave right after his class was done. They did three songs and were in the middle of the program, and since there wasn't an all school sing a long at the very end like usual I didn't feel awful leaving. I practically ran out of the building and took big gulps of air when I got outside, like I was just in a smoky building. Unreal. I hate that anxiety and panic feel like they take over my life sometimes. 

Now it feels like this school year is really almost done. Next year will be Jackson's last year at elementary school and Olivia will be in the middle of her middle school years. It feels like time is flying by faster than before, probably because days slip past me now. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It's been one of those days. Or week. Whatever.

I hate the unpredictability of depression. I wish I could predict when I'd be having some bad days and when I'd have some good ones, maybe then I'd feel more productive in life. But none of that happens and I find myself in days and weeks where I just can't care. Here's some of what I'm too tired to care about:

  • I'm waiting for my MRI results of my abdomen. I haven't written about it because I don't want to put the possibilities out into the world until I know what I'm actually dealing with. I'm hoping it's minor and stupid but it could be the opposite of that so I wait. I'm assuming that because it's been almost a week since my MRI that it can't be that bad otherwise they would have called right away. Right? 
  • I am 75% sure that Penelope is going to Head Start/preschool in the fall. Old Sara would feel like a terrible mother for being almost gleeful at sending a child away during the day, and she cried when the big kids went to 4 year old kindergarten for half days. I felt terrible at that but this... I'm nothing if not honest and Penelope is a LOT. She's just a whole lot to handle even on her best days and I'm desperately hoping that preschool will tame the beast, so to speak. I don't know if it's half or full days, I know next to nothing about it other than we qualify and it's just paperwork stuff now. 
  • I'm really tired of feeding my family. Their need to eat meals every day is exhausting me. I'm sick of planning the meals, shopping for the meals, cooking the meals, and cleaning up after the meals. I do all of this for everyone to complain about the meals and I just... I can't care anymore. In fact I don't actually care but I'm going through the motions and I eat nothing. 
  • I can measure my depression in the amount of books I read. When I'm doing well I can fly through books easily but when I'm not I struggle to sit still for any length of time to read. I'm currently in the beginning of two books but I just can't get any further it seems. I hate it. 
  • I am losing patience with people who try to relate their depression to mine. I just want to say they have no idea and need to shut the hell up but I don't because I also don't have the energy to fight back. 
  • I had a nice Mother's Day. Matt got me a wallet to match the fancy purse I bought in a mental health breakdown and I couldn't return and a cookbook. Probably because I was bitching about the meal situation mentioned above. We went out for lunch, we grilled for dinner, and meh. It was fine. 
  • The weather is killing me. One day it's blistering hot and the next it's so cold I wish I owned a jacket that fit me. 
  • I've become paranoid to fill out forms and documents, I'm certain I'm going to miss something or get information really wrong and not catch it or realize it. It's debilitating. I'm constantly certain I've done something wrong, forgotten something, screwed something up beyond fixing, and it's really an awful feeling. 
So those are just a few things rattling around in my head. There are more but I won't put them out there and depress you, too. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Review: Starry Eyes

This one was a surprise book that showed up in my mailbox for review and it looked promising. I hate that it has taken me so long to read. You'll also notice this is my second post for today but it's only because I legitimately couldn't wait for later in the week to share this book.

Starry Eyes - Jenn Bennett

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

Zorie and Lennon, you guys. YOU GUYS. I loved this book to the moon and back. Pun absolutely-freaking intended. At first I wasn't a Zorie fan because it's like she's TOO type A. Too perfectionist, too much of an over the top, organized planner otherwise she actually breaks out in hives. While I'm some of those things, I can also go with the flow, something Zorie can't really do.

Cue glamping trip which goes to hell because as it turns out, for all her planning, she picks really terrible friends who would ditch her in the wilderness.


With Lennon.

Lennon, her former best friend/experimental boyfriend that never really took off. There's drama between the families and that was interesting but I'm not going to focus on it because the heart of the story is Lennon and Zorie and them finding their way back to each other while in the wilderness of California. Now, I cannot imagine being a teenager on the trip they are on and that alone makes ME break out in hives but I absolutely loved this book. I hadn't read anything by this author before (I am maybe one of the only people who hasn't read Alex, Approximately) but I will be putting her on my wish list because this was great. She doesn't shy from teenage angst and feelings, the awkwardness of first love, teenage sex, and issues that teenagers face all while showing that they CAN be responsible and make it out in the world just fine without parents hovering over them every second.

This is a YA book so if that isn't your jam, you likely won't love it but I did because I not-so-secretly love YA books. If you're looking for a book for your teen, this would be a great one. Yes, there is teenage sex but it's sweet and responsible and it isn't exploitative at all. It's really perfect and I would be fully OK letting my daughter read this.


Easter and birthdays

I realized when doing a phone dump of photos I am grossly behind in updating you on the kids. I'll try to catch up because I need to get stuff off my phone before I forget what they were from. 

So for Easter we had a nice little day. The bunny came and brought the kids way too much stuff but it was fun. 
Lucy got a little tea cart and Penelope got a cleaning cart and they have been playing with them quite a bit.  
Penelope was more excited about candy, to be honest.  
The bunny always brings outside stuff for the kids and I struggled on what to do for the big kids. The littles got chalk and bubbles but the bigs don't want that kind of stuff. I ended up getting them spray paint chalk for the sidewalk, a movie, and pogo sticks. I wasn't sure how pogo sticks would go over but they were on sale on Amazon one day and I took it as a sign. Let's just say Jackson has no pogo skills whereas Olivia does, surprisingly. They have been having a ton of fun with those and so far, has not hit the vehicles. 

Then Jackson's birthday was soon after and again, what do you get this kid? He has a million Legos so  we all had a hard time. 
 My inlaws got him a three month subscription to Kiwi Crate and so far he's gotten two of them and LOVES IT. I am going to have to continue his subscription because he really enjoys putting the machines together and getting some mail every month. 
It's hard to believe my boy is ten now and that he used to be my baby. He's still my baby in a lot of ways but it's hard to ignore him getting older. He informed me he wants to be a hair dresser someday but he also wants to build things so he's not sure where that will take him. He's going to do tennis again in the summer and I just love this little boy. Easily the kindest boy I have ever met. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Arrangement

Once upon a time I considered asking Matt what his thoughts about open marriage were. It wasn't that I was unhappy, I was just unfulfilled. Things got stagnant but I knew I didn't want to get a divorce. In hindsight, I'm so glad I didn't and that we didn't go that route but that was the reason I wanted to read this one.
The Arrangement - Sarah Dunn

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They've got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It's the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school's "hot lunch," dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, "chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife's version of chopping wood."

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they've made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There's a part of her, though – the part that worries she's become too comfortable being invisible-that's intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she's known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy – "real life," or the "experiment?"

I'm going to start off by telling you I'm rating this one three out of five stars and I didn't do that lightly. Not that that is a bad rating but I'm noticing people see three stars and wonder WTF is wrong with the book. There isn't anything wrong, I just feel like while it got a lot of things right, there were a few missteps along the way that were too much for me to overlook to give it a higher rating.

So in this book we primarily have Lucy and Owen, parents of a child on the spectrum that comes with a lot of challenges, they live in the 'burbs, they are the American Dream. They have chickens and debt, they have unfulfilled jobs and sex life. They are written to be all of us. After a rather intriguing night with another couple, they learn that they practice an open marriage and they call it their little arrangement. They seem happy and closer than ever but they have these side things going on, nothing overlaps and it's all alright. So Lucy gets to thinking and proposes it to Owen, who at first, is appalled. But then they come up with some hypothetical rules and suddenly their own arrangement is put forward.

Owen finds a side piece rather quickly is local nut job Izzy Radford, but Lucy takes her time and finally ends up with Ben. Things get out of hand for both of them and one of them breaks one of the rules- they fall in love. Everything comes to a head when one wants to go back to their normal life and end the arrangement and the other is contemplating leaving the marriage and staying with the side piece. Someone gets cancer, someone has a come to Jesus discussion about arrangements and it's a LOT of plot in one book.

Some things I want to quote from the book because I don't do that near enough. But this spoke to me on a woman to woman level:

"Your window?"
"The window wherein people other than the man I'm married to will be willing to have sex with me without, I don't know, being financially compensated in some way."

That's on page 27 so rather early on in the book but man, if that doesn't sum up my life I don't know what does. But there are others, two more that are "quotes" from (what I can find) someone named Constance Waverly, who is a fictional relationship expert of sorts.

On page 309, "What I find amazing is this: that two individuals who have zero genes in common can create a strong enough bond to stick together for a lifetime".  And page 334, "We all have a strong preference that life should be easy, comfortable, and pain-free, but that doesn't mean there's something wrong with life when it isn't those things. It's just life. It's just life adn it's not how you would prefer it to be, but that doesn't mean there's something wrong with it."

Both of those just stood out to me because they may be from a fictional person, but they sum up marriage and adulthood  in general.

Now, if the book was just Lucy and Owen and their arrangement gone awry, this would have been rated higher. Where the book fails for me are all of the other subplots going on. The teacher becoming a woman, Gordon and Kelly, Gordon and Simka (which was weird)Susan and Rowan, it's just too much and I felt like I was ping ponging all over the place waiting for some greater connection. Sure, it all kind of comes together in the end but not enough for me to rate it higher than 3.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The aftermath of suicide.

Recently I've learned of one person I know directly and one indirectly who chose suicide as a means to an end. Every time I hear of this I feel sad and sometimes, I feel relief for that person because I'd like to hope that whatever hurt them here in this realm is gone in the next and they are at peace. Finally.

Since my mental health journey began, I have struggled with my own suicidal thoughts and extensive counseling and copious medications have gotten me through to this point. It hasn't been easy and I'll be honest when I say people rally for you during a crisis but nobody wants to walk the dark walk of depression for you. And I get it. It's isolating, it's frustrating, it makes no sense, and it feels like you're going nowhere. Nobody really wants to know how you really are when they ask, "how are you?". Let's face it, when someone says, "I'm doing really awful but hey- I'm medicated.", you start to back away and look around for someone else to talk to. Nobody knows what to say and I think a lot of us recognize when someone is struggling but we choose to ignore it.

Then a person chooses suicide and suddenly we rally, because it's a crisis and it makes us feel good, and we say, "reach out to someone today", "be kind to someone today" and for what? For today? Because by the end of the week we'll still think of the person and feel sadness but we've gone back to our behaviors. Instead of reacting to a crisis we have to move our mentality to prevention. I'll be the first to tell you that, for me, the suicide prevention phone numbers are a joke. Hearing someone say, "we'd miss you", "you're loved", "I'm hear for you" didn't work either. For me I knew my journey began and ended with me and it was going to be me to pull myself out of the hole, nobody else. But it would have been nice for someone to give me a hug and validate my feelings. Because though you couldn't understand them, my feelings mean something and they are my truth, as distorted as they are.

I'm rambling. I guess I just feel frustrated that in the aftermath of suicide, everyone wants to rally and pretend that they had no clue. That they can't look back in hindsight and think... there wasn't one thing I could have done differently. The fact is there always is. You can always make time for people, you can always hold their hand. Offer support. Give them a hug. Take them to get counseling. Go with them. Call them nightly to check in. Don't let them retreat inside of themselves. It's hard WORK to walk with someone with depression, I know it is, but it has to be done. Not everyone can do it themselves.

I feel like I have a really unpopular opinion on suicide but I think that now comes from being on the edge myself. I know before I looked at suicide as a selfish solution and now it almost feels selfless, like I wouldn't be a burden anymore so really I'd be doing you all a favor. It's a very warped way of thinking and I can tell you it feels like waves of thought, it comes and it goes. But when it's here? It's awful. It's all consuming. It is a voice that doesn't shut off and it's a continual loop of all the reasons you shouldn't be here. So when I hear of someone who has chosen suicide, only a small part of me feels sad for everyone else, but a bigger part of me feels hope that they are finally at peace. I hope it's quiet wherever they are. I hope it's peaceful. I hope whatever troubled them here has disappeared and they can feel the happiness that eluded them here.