Monday, November 12, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge- ep. 3 (vlog)

If you are interested in the two books I talked about, you can find them here! I'm about half way through each one, so I haven't officially started, but I'm already working on a menu for our next cycle, which will be November 21-December 7. And yes, I know there are Kindle versions but this is the kind of thing you really need to have the actual book to look through. 
   
Lucy working out with me this morning

I talked about sugar and carbs being kind of a struggle for me, but my next issue? I need quick meals. My go to is usually a sandwich, but carb city, so what else can I eat? I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is a protein bar and I've tried 3 and jesus- it's like chewing on a chunk of cardboard. Is there any out there that taste sugary and delicious? If there is, you have to show me the way because for how expensive you are, you'd think they'd be tasty. 

I have to tell you something kind of funny that happened last week. I think all of my long time readers know I have an issue with vegetables. I really, REALLY don't like them and it's such a bummer because I know if I liked vegetables I'd be in a better dietary boat than I'm in now. BUT. I really try hard to convince my kids these are good. For the most part, Penelope and Lucy have no issues. Lucy will eat anything you give her and Penelope really likes green beans and peas so already she's leaps and bounds beyond me. 

Every day when she comes home I make a point of asking her what she had for lunch at school. (They provide a free breakfast and lunch for all the kids and they work on table manners and all that so meals are a learning opportunity, too.) Most days she tells me they had soup (when really, they only have soup once a week or so). One day last week she was kind of incredulous because her teacher made her eat LEAVES. Obviously I'm thinking we skipped the lunch conversation and a kid made her eat a leaf outside or something. Nope- it was definitely her teacher and it was definitely a leaf. 

I looked on the lunch calendar to just see what she's talking about. 

You guys. 

They had salad. 

Penelope calls salad LEAVES. 

*cue hysterical laughter*

She then tells me it had a tomato on it but she really doesn't want to eat leaves. 

Me either, baby. ME EITHER. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Then it hits you.

I can't even remember when it was that I was at the psychiatrist last to have my medications adjusted. It wasn't that long ago. But I know he increased my Trileptal and says I should take so much in the morning and then half of that at night before bed. Keep my Wellbutrin the same (highest dose available) and I don't know, it works I guess. I do know the Trileptal kind of evens me out, if that makes sense. I don't feel angry and ready to throw things all of a sudden, so I guess that's improvement.

Just a few weeks ago the slightest annoyance would send me from 0 to 60 just like that and I would lose it. Someone spills milk? I'm done, I'm throwing their plate and literally anything not bolted to the floor, and leaving the room. I legitimately had no control over it. It would happen so fast that I couldn't even process what I had done until I was cleaning it up and everyone was crying.

Sometimes I think the memory loss is the worst part of my brain injury but for the most part, not being able to control my emotions has been the hardest. Not just because I don't have control but because that affects other people around me. It's no longer MY problem, it becomes a family problem.

So we increased my medication. He said I would know when I'm on too much if I start having seizures, that's basically the sign that you know you need to back off on dosage. Fortunately (knock on wood) I haven't had seizures. So that's nice. But for the first time in kind of awhile, a few months at least, I had a really horrible day.

On Friday I kind of started felt this depression setting in. It's really strange, it's almost like an illness just starting. Sometimes that's what it feels like. Friday night I started feeling unwell and just down. I was kind of annoyed with a few things but I figured I would just go to bed before my mood soured any further. On Saturday I woke up and right away I knew the day was going to be crap. Matt had gone to work, Olivia and Jackson were spending the night at Grandma's so that meant I was on my own for all of the morning chores plus Penelope and Lucy's neediness. And that's all fine, I know I can get through a morning like that. I don't like it, but I can do it.

By the time we got to lunch time I was just a mess barely keeping it together. It's this constant barrage of why I'm a terrible mom, and a terrible person, all the reasons my life is awful, reasons I should kill myself, ways to do it, and it does not stop. I think that's what people don't understand about suicidal thoughts: it's not a matter of "thinking negative things" or "think about good things" because it's like a recording you cannot shut off on a continuous loop in your head. It gets louder and louder, so then I get more and more irritable and I cry, and it's really difficult to go through the day like this. So by 3 p.m. I was done.

I just cried.

Penelope is having a meltdown over Lego's, Lucy is upset because Penelope tried to take her Lego's, Matt is either not doing enough to settle this or he flies off the handle, there is no in between, so I get frustrated because WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE GOOD PARENT?! At this point I feel like I shouldn't have to tell someone how to handle conflicts like this without being a jerk and then I feel like I can't have a meltdown because he can't just handle our life. Then I'm angry because it feels like he's being selfish. I should be able to weather the storm of a suicidal day and go through my self affirmation rituals so I don't fly off the handle but I can't because yet again.... it's me having to pick up slack. Then I start thinking, why am I the only one who took parenting classes to be a better parent? Why can't he do that crap? Why am I the only one who goes to conferences, schedules doctor appointments, handles after school activities, keep on top of grades and homework and what the kids are each doing every day, then making the meals, planning the meals, maintaining a house, and RAGE.

I feel like I'm at my boiling point. Thank god I have therapy this week because that always gets me off the ledge.

I went to bed just feeling so sad, and so defeated, and I feel so angry that people assume I'm doing alright. I look alright, I can hold a conversation (mostly), I'm trying to keep up with responsibilities but a lot of days I can only pick one thing and that's what I do and everything else falls through the crack, and I cry a lot. I cry every single day and it is so exhausting convincing people I'm OK when I'm very much not. But I know people are sick of hearing it, and I know nobody really cares about my trauma and how it has irrevocably messed me up and that won't get better so I'm trying to cope, and I'm angry because I feel alone. I have family around me but nobody else is really checking in with me anymore, or the ones who do don't really want to hear how it is because they're helpless. I get it. I really do. So I have all of this, plus the continuous loop of reasons and rationalizing why I should kill myself going in my head every day and it is so loud. I'm trying so hard and every day feels like an actual war.

So Saturday was a bad day. It's a bad day, not a bad life. I'm trying.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge (ep 2)

Let's get started! 

Now, I mentioned I'm doing the Gobble Gallop Tough Turkey 1 miler and I fully intend to dress up. Life is too short to not own a turkey hat, as far as I'm concerned. I just don't know which one I should get: 
   
In my hunt for a suitable hat, I found turkey socks that I absolutely NEED. 
I am actually pretty excited and I'm going to try to get it done faster than 30 minutes. It took me an hour to do 3.1 miles so I'm really optimistic about this. 

I wanted to share a thing or two each week that I found to be inspirational or even motivational. I'm really going with the idea that happy and positive things are going to lead to good results, and you can tell I'm really grasping at bottom barrel, right? I'm not quite at the point where I have a motivational Pinterest board but don't assume I won't get there when I hit a rut. Ha! 

But this week I've really enjoyed listening to the 300 Pounds and Running podcast. I actually stumbled onto it by accident and since then, I have seen it referenced quite a bit, so it's definitely popular. I know I have a lot of friends who always say, "Oh I can't run" and I know I was definitely in that camp. Until I started doing it and then I can't say I enjoyed it, but I definitely felt like I had accomplished something. My issue has always been coming in dead last and feeling like somehow my accomplishment wasn't good enough because I'm last. I'm definitely not in the boat where I'm thrilled coming in last, but I'm trying to learn grace and how to give myself grace. 

It's a work in progress. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Florence & the Machine. Epic.

I'm going to apologize for lack of pictures, and the crappiest quality of the two I took. I only had my phone, which was almost dead, so I couldn't go hog wild on capturing memories and all that. 

But a couple of weeks ago my friend Tammy and I had tickets to see Florence & the Machine. I hadn't seen them before but I've always heard really good things about their live shows so when cheap tickets became available, I went for it. 

LUCKILY FOR US, we happened to be in the right nosebleed section because they moved all of us to much better seats fairly close to the stage. 
 I mean, these seats were a lot more money and our original seats were like... top row of the highest set of bleachers. Ha! So that was a pretty cool surprise! It was at the Target Center in Minneapolis, which was completely re-done, and I hadn't been in the new and improved version. I have a go-to restaurant at every venue I see concerts at so I just plan to eat there. Except my go-to for Target Center? Closed. Gone. Adios. 

You know what I ate for dinner? 

A half order of nachos. Like the worst nachos I had ever had. And a bottle of water. Cost? $21. 
 Oh well. So we got our super awesome seats and took a quick picture. Clearly the people behind us weren't the happiest ever. The people in front of us were really nice, two older couples, all of them doctors. Real friendly. 
I hadn't looked beforehand to see who was opening and really it's no big deal because I enjoy watching the opening band anyways- I've found a lot of new and great artists that way.

This concert?

Perfume Genius was the artist.

It was HORRIBLE. Tammy reminded me we once saw and opening band that literally only played bells and that wasn't as bad as Perfume Genius. IT was like.... really bad performance art? I honestly don't know how to even describe it and it went on FOREVER, then suddenly he walked off the stage and was done. It was the most bizarre opening set I think I've ever seen. 
But then Florence came on and you guys- the rest of Florence & the Machine all come out like a beautiful parade, flowing down these wooden stairs... and then Florence comes floating down and starts the show with June, and honest to god- it felt like a religious moment. I am not even ashamed to tell you I completely cried during that song because it's one of my favorites off their new album.

The set wasn't terribly long but decent, she played all of the fan favorites of course. I didn't stay for the encore because I wanted to try to get out ahead of the crowd because I'm always so worried about getting lost or disoriented in an unfamiliar place and people, so yeah. I missed that.

I'm not very hippie like so when it got to the point where she wanted you to hold hands with everyone, give strangers hugs, etc that is a little beyond my comfort zone. I did really appreciate when she told everyone to put down their phones at least for a few songs, that was just really nice. Maybe my favorite part of seeing her live is she has this meek, almost child like speaking voice and then she sings and it's this power house, can take the wind from your chest and it's just so unexpected, maybe that's the charm of this group.

Overall this was a pretty amazing concert and I would 100% see her again. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge, ep. 1 (vlog included!)

Someone said that if I'm going to start this and really put it out there, I should mention how I got so chunky, because it wasn't by poor diet and total laziness. Some of it was, certainly, but the majority of it has come from having a fourth baby and dying twice while doing so. If you are new here and you have no idea what I'm talking about, or what an Amniotic Fluid Embolism is, please click that link and catch up.

Anyhoodles.

So I'm officially starting a Weight Loss Challenge. I'm posting pictures, I'm vlogging, it's the real deal this time. I did it years ago, it worked and I lost a lot of weight, and it's not just being accountable to one person, but many.

I had a friend preview this, someone who hasn't seen me in person in a long time and she said I look and sound different. I don't really feel like I do, but I also don't watch myself on video regularly, so there's that. 
Right now, at this very second (I'm lying, this was yesterday at 2 in the afternoon but it has not changed), I am 211.4. I'm only 5'3 so I am REALLY over my BMI and though I think the BMI is kind of nutty, I'm very close to being able to do a weight loss surgery, something I don't ever want to do. I really want to work at this because I know that I can. It's going to be slow, but it can be done. 
I am going to take actual measurements this weekend (trust me, they won't go down by then) and share them on my Monday post. 
Obviously my biggest insecurity area is my stomach, complete mid-section. It seems to change daily- some days it's not actually so bad and I feel OK. Other days it seems to expand and instead of looking 3-4 months pregnant, I look around 5 months pregnant. I know my thighs and waist are larger, my arms are larger, but those things don't feel so important anymore. But my midsection makes me nervous because my Grandma died of bile duct cancer which could have been found sooner had she lost weight sooner. I have a LOT of abdominal issues right now and I'm so paranoid I have something really wrong with me. I probably don't but I'm always thinking what if
It was a sobering moment taking these photos. I almost didn't do it but I'm in a Facebook group that is to motivate you to do better for yourself and everyone says they wish they had true "beginning" photos to really see how far they came. That's why I did it. 

I'm realistic and know that I won't have a flat stomach. From the belly button down, like way down I have a pretty gnarly vertical scar from my emergency c-section, and then being re-opened to find where I was hemorrhaging. I always say that area is dead because I don't have a lot of feeling there and the muscles are completely shot. Basically, I won't ever be a Victoria Secret model. And that's OK! I really just have a goal of size 12 pants, being able to go upstairs and down without using an inhaler, and doing active stuff with my kids again like hikes and adventures. Thankfully, at age 36 I'm completely over wanting to be attractive by what society says is pretty and I'm moving into aging gracefully. (That alone is really very freeing, you guys. I promise.) 

So on Monday... I'll check in again. Every Monday I'll get an updated post for you. If you have weight to lose, or maybe you just want to get more fit and feel better, FOLLOW ALONG! If you follow me on the Facebook page for this blog, I will maybe post daily thoughts and struggles. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Burch Barn, always worth the drive

I can't believe I almost forgot to post about our trip to Burch Barn! We've gone to this place for three years now and it's about an hour away from where we live. I had heard about it on Facebook and then had a LOT of friends raving about it, so we went the first time when Penelope was just real little. It's grown steadily each year with more and more people driving to it, but the things they offer there get bigger every year. We look forward to our trip every year, even Olivia and Jackson talk about it. 

This year we were lucky because the weekend we could go it was 51 degrees, and that's crazy for October and as we guessed, it was pretty busy. We usually go out for lunch and then start driving so the little girls nap on our way there. That gives us a couple of hours there before they close. 
 Penelope was kind of grumpy that day but she perked up at the petting zoo. She was busy picking up corn on the ground to make sure all of the goats, cow, and pigs were adequately fed. Even Lucy really loved the goats, which kept trying to lick her. 
 They have this big corn pit to play in and Lucy would have stayed in there all day. 
 Penelope wanted no part of it even though every other year she's rolling around everywhere. 
 Quick picture of Matt and I. 
 They had these little tractor peddle cars and a little track for them to go on. Lucy was totally thrilled to be pushed around since her legs were too short to peddle. 
 Penelope literally sat like this and whined because she wasn't moving. Didn't want to peddle at all, just thought it should move because she's on it. 

So that was fun. 
 They had these home made tire swings and Lucy had the time of her life swinging on those. Penelope.. not so much. She cried because hers was spinning. 
 Olivia and Jackson mostly did their own thing like the big slides and the corn maze so we hardly saw them. At one point Matt and I heard their laughs, clear across the place, and wandered over to see what was going on. There they were, both of them, in this hamster wheel thing trying to roll it across. Now, when we came in I saw a small baby, maybe just shy of one, rolling along just fine on its own. It took TWO of my kids to roll it. And there they are, laughing hysterically, falling on their faces, falling out of the wheel, Olivia banging her head on the side.... they were a mess. 
 I convinced them to stop embarrassing all of us and go play chess. 

So that's what they did. They played like 3 or 4 games and people were giving them suggestions. Then one kid took Olivia's place to play Jackson, and Jackson promptly lost in about five moves.
 I did manage to take some good selfies with all of the kids, though!
 This was supposed to be just Olivia and I but Penelope popped it at the right moment. 
 Jackson said he wants this one framed for his room. 
 Lucy wanted a picture with her mini-donut. Matt stood in line for awhile to get these and they did not disappoint. 
A very nice woman offered to take our picture with my phone by the side. She took five and this was the best one. I'm not even kidding. So much for Christmas card contender. HA!

On the ride back everyone fell asleep and it was nice. It ended up being a really great day for it and I'm glad we got to go. 

Hopefully I'll share a couple of trick or treat photos with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Willy Wonka Chocolate Library and a Scarium.

We had a lot of pre-Halloween fun this weekend and I am completely people'd out if I'm being honest. We were going to go to a Halloween carnival Sunday evening and no. I just couldn't do it. 

At least I'm learning to say no when I hit my limit. 

On Saturday we went to our local library which hosts a little trick or treat event for kids. We've gone every year it's been happening and it's a fun event. This year the library got a bit of a makeover so the entrance and exit of the event was kind of a nightmare. I really hope that next year they think of a better way to do it. It always has a theme and this year it was Willy Wonka and they do SUCH a good job with the decorations and characters!
 I didn't get many pictures in there because I wanted to keep the line moving since it was so congested but I snapped this one as soon as you enter the room. The girls were pretty much in awe over it and kept pointing different things out. 
 They got a bunch of candy which they ate all of before nap time. 

So that was fun. 
 Our happy little pineapple. 
 And our beautiful little Elsa. 

I ended up taking a four hour nap on Saturday because I wasn't feeling well and when I woke up I felt like I got hit by the flu. Which doesn't mean I have the flu, it could be my endocrine issues or my auto-immune issues all of which have symptoms that mimic the flu so that's always fun... trying to decipher what I need to do. 

On Sunday we went to Scarium at the Aquarium. I've always wanted to take Olivia and Jackson to this but never did because I mostly forgot about it. But this year I have been looking for things to do with Penelope and Lucy to get them more used to being out of the house because I haven't been doing a good job with that. Those two are actually quite sheltered. 
 I know they've been to the aquarium once before but they were both pretty little so didn't understand how cool this place was. This time they were AMAZED. So much so that I'm thinking we need to get a membership for next year. 
 We went to all of the touch pools and their favorites were the jelly fish and the sturgeon (who are oddly friendly and really like belly rubs which is totally strange). They spent a lot of time looking at the animals and the fish. They went to all of the trick or treat stations, and all but 4 handed out non-candy treats, which was really nice. They got fruit snacks, juice box, tootsie roll, and a sucker, but then they got necklaces, rings, tattoos, stickers, notebooks, all kind of cool stuff kids like collecting. So that was really nice especially if you have an allergy prone child and trick or treating isn't fun for them. 
We spent about an hour there and of course nobody wanted to cooperate for a picture. But they also played some games which really surprised me because they normally shy from that. Matt mentioned that this year we haven't really used the stroller so much for them and I hadn't even thought of that. This definitely wasn't stroller friendly with so many people, but it's weird to think that (once again) we're coming to the age where we don't need that stuff anymore. 

I feel so much more reluctant to get rid of it because I know that this is really it. I mean, when Olivia and Jackson were that age it was like, cool- it's gone, but you know, we're young enough to know that MAYBE it could happen. Then it did happen (twice) and I'm having to go through all of those emotions again. It kind of feels cruel in a way. On the other hand, I'm so mentally and emotionally done with this needy stage that I just want to rush through it... then I feel awful knowing I'll never get these days back. 

Sigh. 

Heavy stuff to think about. 

But that's basically how we've been celebrating Halloween. Tomorrow we go trick or treating and I hope to get a couple of pictures at least!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Boo at the Zoo 2018

As indifferent as I am about Halloween, I feel like we do a LOT of Halloween activities every year. Mostly so I can justify the expense of the costumes, even more so when I'm buying four of them every year. I thought maybe this would be the year Olivia is over it (she's 13 now) but nope- she's all about it. She has plans to trick or treat with a friend but they don't want to walk about with Penelope and Lucy (Jackson is opting to go with Olivia and her friend), which is kind of bittersweet if I'm being honest. More on that on another day. 

One of the favorite things is Boo at the Zoo. We've gone every year since Olivia's first Halloween when she was just shy of two months old. (Yeah, we brought her. She had a pumpkin hat and she slept most of it.) Some years it's really gorgeous, sunny, warmish fall weather and then other years it's cold, windy, drizzling... like this year! It's held on two different Saturdays in October so you can gamble on the weather. If it's crappy the first weekend you can try to hold out and hope for better weather the next weekend. This year I wanted to go the first weekend because it was so nice out but Matt was working and of COURSE the second weekend was awful weather. I'm so grateful we got there right as it was opening because we were able to get around (most) of the zoo in 47 minutes and leave. 

I was freezing and the kids were all completely over the wind. 
 Lucy is a pineapple this year. I feel like this is probably my last year (ever) of choice of costume so when I saw this online I absolutely HAD to get it. Surprisingly, she loves it and has no qualms about putting it on. 
 I can't remember if she's actually been to the zoo yet but she was all about it. She loved the bugs the best, but she really liked looking at each exhibit carefully. She so respectful and kind of the animals, sure to not be loud and rambunctious around the exhibits. Penelope on the other hand.... let's just say when you think of "which one of these is not like the others", Penelope should be the one that comes to mind immediately. 
 Penelope pretty much hung with Olivia the whole time and Jackson ran into a lot of things. 
 The BEST was this table. Penelope is dressed as Elsa and everyone got that right away. Olivia is actually a fawn, she knew she wanted to be that months ago and this was the only non-slutty fawn costume I could find. Anyways, people apparently had a hard time with that. This guy (can't really see him) was like, "Oh there's Elsa! Oh, so you must be... that reindeer? What's his name? SVEN! You're Sven!"

I swear to god I should have gotten a picture of Olivia's face because she was not pleased. Meanwhile Jackson and I are laughing so hard. We keep calling her Sven for fun now. 

She doesn't think it's funny. 
So Olivia is a fawn, Penelope is Elsa, we have Lucy the pineapple, and Jackson is an octopus. He also knew he wanted to be an octopus months ago and would you believe that's a really hard costume to find? Everyone thought he was a squid though and he didn't like that. Overall though they all got a lot of compliments on their costumes. 

Also adorable? Lucy went trick or treating last year but she was only one so she didn't really get it. This year she can't say "trick or treat" but she holds her bucket out and smiles. Who wouldn't just give her all of their candy? She's adorable! Last year Penelope was all about saying "treat", knowing full well she wanted no part in a trick. This year.. she's gotten shy and doesn't say anything. She's pretty excited about candy though. Lucy takes one bite and throws it away. She's not really one for sweets but she wants to participate. Olivia and Jackson know the deal of course and the candy swap negotiations are always fun to listen to. Especially when I swoop in and take what I want and call it taxation. 

Never to young to learn about taxation. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

One step closer to the loony bin... or prison. Thanks, family.

Before I get into today's post, my latest post for Duluth Moms Blog is live! It's Meal Planning for Dummies and I think you'll like it. 

I know many moms are going to relate to this post because we've all been there. It happens to all of us. I know it used to bother me before but I was able to take this kind of thing in stride a little easier, but post AFE I give absolutely no craps and I'm just done. 

I'm physically, mentally, emotionally done with it. 

I am so close to losing it on my family and I don't even think they care. Maybe I have to go ballistic on them for them to get it? My poor psychiatrist always asks if I feel rage and I have to say every day. I always get the blank stare because he's not sure what to think about that but it's true. Every single day I am brought to the brink of rage and it's my family. It's not anyone else, it's the people who live in this house. 
 The recycling. We have a paper bag that we collect our recycling in and then when it's full, someone takes it out. As of late my family have given that up and they now leave it on the windowsill. I'm not sure who they think is going to take care of it, but it drives me crazy. The bag is RIGHT THERE. But you see, that makes the bag full and logically they'd have to take it out. Nobody wants to take it out so they do this creative bit and wonder why I get angry. 
 I don't actually eat a lot of food. If I eat once a day I'm doing pretty good. Sometimes all I want is a small bowl of cereal. But I can't even have that because everyone leaves the box open and it goes stale. It's so infuriating. 
 Alright, this was Lucy. Lucy colored on my brand new, expensive grown up lamps. I mean, if the light is on you can't see it but once you turn it off there it is. Thanks, Lucy. 
 This was no help from my family, this was ALL ME. I worked all weekend doing laundry, folding it, putting it away (or in people's rooms). I had to take a picture to document the fact that it happened. It actually happened. A family of six and an empty laundry basket. 

It didn't last long. Actually only until the morning when Olivia filled it. She filled it with stuff I told her to put away early in the week and I know damn well she hadn't worn. I swear to god that girl is going to send me to the brink because of her laundry. 
 Someone didn't even have the decency to put a new roll on top. I mean, I have no expectations a roll would be changed but you could at least get us halfway there with a roll on top. 

Not my family. 
I sweep my floors every day. I mop every other day. I am so physically exhausted from doing both of these things so frequently. It's not like I can skip it because I have this pile of dirt on my kitchen floor EVERY DAY. 

I tried to sweep it into a heart to boost morale. 

It didn't work. 

You guys. 

I'm not like I once was, I can't keep this up. I talk to people, explain how over it all I am and we're good for a day or two. Then people just stop and wait for me to lose it on them again. It's not a matter of just hiring someone, I literally cannot handle the stress of having someone in my house, touching my things. I just can't do it. I so badly want a one level home but the reality of that is that it isn't going to happen. I have to make what we've got work and I'm not kidding- I'm struggling. 

I am so, so grateful I have therapy on Monday. It feels like I haven't been there in forever and it's only been two weeks. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Things are shaking, bacon

I have a lot of stuff simmering on the proverbial stove right now and I'm a little overwhelmed. Considering I really burn a lot of stuff while for real cooking, I'm a little worried that me multi-tasking so many things right now is going to end badly all around. It's like my brain is refusing to acknowledge it isn't what it once was and is defiantly trying to prove otherwise. I sign up for things and start things without thinking any of it through and then later realize this is more than I can chew.

But.

Things have to change and they are only going to change if I work at it. So there's that. Here's a few things I've got going on:

  • I'm still on the PTO of Jackson's school. I'm only the Secretary but I feel kind of lame for not signing up for as many things as I used to. I at least know in that area I'm fairly maxed out. 
  • I'm thinking about joining the PTSA at Olivia's school. I haven't said anything to Matt because I know he would give me stink eye but I feel like I have no idea what's going on at that school and with Jackson going next year I really want to have a clue. We'll see. The next meeting is tomorrow so... we'll see. I'll leave it at that. 
  • Olivia is in a LOT of dance this year. That's actually not a bad thing because it's getting me out of the house two nights a week, even if it is just me sitting alone on a bench, I'm forced to put on pants and go. I'm getting some reading done while I'm there so that's kind of nice too. 
  • I have been working a LOT on my book. I really am struggling with this because my train of thought is really over the place and I can't focus on any one thing. I start writing something and then I get an idea for something else, so I'll do that. Then I forget what I was doing in the first place and where I was trying to go with it. I have an outline kind of worked out (mostly), I have a format kind of worked out for it and I've got some things written. It feels like a scattered mess right now but I'm confident I can get it together. 
  • I've been writing articles to get ahead for my commitment to the Duluth Moms Blog. As things post there I'll share them here so you can stay up to date on that, too! 
  • I have something percolating in regards to a Weightloss Challenge. I know I mentioned this last week or the week before, but I'm trying to get my ideas down on paper and actually commit to it and then bring it to you first. I'm hoping for a November 1 start, give or take a couple of days. I really, REALLY have to get serious about this and I feel like if I go this route I'm kind of forced into it and that might be helpful for others. Stay tuned. 
  • We are battling illness in our house, everyone is a coughing, booger mess. Lucy has it coming out of her eyes, she's got an eczema flare up right now, Penelope coughs all night, Olivia and I are coughing until we can't breathe, so far the boys seem to be doing alright, thankfully. 
  • As we come into November I have a LOT of appointments coming up and I'm kind of nervous about them. I have my lists of questions and I guess I don't know what to expect. I also need to get my follow up MRI done for my liver lesion or my... I'm not sure. Something in my mid-section. I'm losing track of it all, to be honest. But I know I  needed a six month follow up to see if anything changed so that's got to happen before the end of the year. 
I guess I'm starting to feel really overwhelmed with life and I'm wondering how I ever thrived on this. I know I did because I see my old Facebook posts and read my old blogs and I'm really in awe of who I used to be. I could seemingly do it all and now I can manage getting dressed and maybe one other thing and I feel like I conquered the world. Before I was all over town, running errands, cleaning, volunteering, book reviews, my Etsy shop, and making things for the school by myself. It was nuts. I don't know, maybe it wasn't because I clearly loved it but man... it really makes me feel inadequate now, that's for sure. 

Anyways. 

The rest of this week I'll share pictures from Boo at the Zoo (kids were adorable) and our visit to the Burch Barn in Spooner, Wisconsin (kids were adorable and hilarious). I hope you're having a good week. We're at hump day and I always feel like if we got to this point we can slide to the end of the week. This weekend is already shaping up to be bananas too, but that's alright. At least we're doing something, I suppose. Glad to be alive and all that. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Book Review: What If It's Us

I just need it on the official record that this? This is book 105 for the year. I have OFFICIALLY finished my Goodreads challenge for the year.

Don't be afraid to bring me cake or a gift. I'll accept either. Or both. Surprise me.

What If It's Us - Becky Albertalli

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

I am almost afraid to admit the next couple of things: I don't like Broadway plays (or any theater really) and I'm usually not a fan of LGBTQ books. 

Please don't hate me. 

I have to be clear it's not that I don't support the LGBTQ community, I absolutely do and I will fight for equal rights until my last day. It's just that in a book... it's not my thing. Just like historical anything puts me to sleep, and Jodi Picoult makes me want to throw a book into the dump personally (and Nicholas Sparks- fight me), and some paranormal stuff is just TOO weird, it's not my thing. 

BUT.

I actually kind of really liked this book. I really connected with Arthur right away because he's just so awkward and weird, he's literally everything that comes to mind when you think of an obviously gay young man. He's only in the city for the summer and he's not taking to it like he thought he would and he's losing touch with his friends back home. One accepts him for all that he is and the other (a guy) doesn't really and Arthur struggles a little bit with that and doesn't think his preference on who he is attracted to should come in the way of a long established friendship. He's just completely dorky and I liked him.

Ben is exactly the kind of kid I would expect to have lived in the city for awhile. He's a little bit jaded, has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, and he definitely doesn't believe the universe is out to help him. He's fresh out of a relationship that he thought was rock solid but definitely wasn't and so he's trying to figure out what's next. He's also realizing that once his best friend (who is totally OK with him being gay) gets into a relationship, that means he's kind of on his own for awhile... but he doesn't really know how to be alone, alone.

I feel like the first couple of chapters set the book up for a really great story... but fell just a bit short. While the romance itself was kind of cute and it felt like you were with Arthur through the book (it felt more like I was with Arthur than Ben, even though Ben has his own POV chapters... it just never felt like you were connected with Ben) and you just want things to work out. You feel dedicated to finding "box boy" with him and wanting the universe to work for them. I will say... Arthur has some stalker-like tendencies, which is creepy. I don't care who you are, some of his tactics to finding "box boy" are kind of weird. But this book is full of drama coming from parents, friends, miscommunication, the universe, cultural and religious differences, and it's weaved together like a good YA book should be.

Overall, I really liked it. Having never read anything else by Becky Albertalli or Adam Silvera (I know, guys- I know I'm behind in the times. Don't throw things at me.), I wasn't really sure what to expect of this. I know some people say there are mentions of their other books and of course I missed all of those because I was clueless, but if you are a fan of theirs, you have that to enjoy in this book as well. I'm going to give this one a solid 4 starts because I did find myself laughing throughout and for every one thing I didn't like, there were two things I did like to make up for it... which gives the book a good, angsty feel to it.
   

Monday, October 22, 2018

UMD Homecoming, can't feel my face

I can't remember if I talked about this but Olivia used to do the Just for Kix program here in Superior for the longest time and we took a lot of time to think about staying or changing this summer. Ultimately I left it to Olivia, because what do I know, and she wanted to try something a little harder. We ended up changing (at the last possible minute) to the Duluth program and so far, she's loving it. She's taking a LOT more classes this year (which is not cheap) and already her attitude about dance is totally different and she's practicing like crazy. Some of her friends ended up switching, too so that's been kind of a bonus. 

The other cool thing is they got to dance in the UMD Homecoming parade this fall and Olivia has wanted to do a parade so she was super excited about that. 
So we all loaded up and got her there on time! (This is us after dropping Liv off... and you can't see Matt because my arms are short for the selfie.. whoops!) It was completely freezing and I absolutely hate being outdoors for the most part so I wasn't loving this.  
Olivia and crew got to practice for a bit before they started. Olivia was talking about being cold and I brought out my own "back in my day" story about marching in the Christmas City of the North parade in basically a sequined bathing suit so wearing pants is a luxury! Not surprisingly, she was not impressed.  
 I was so impressed at how well they all did for only learning this in just a handful of class periods!
 Olivia and her friend Abby- friends since Kindergarten! Same age, totally different heights! HA! 
 While Olivia was off practicing we killed time by walking the parade route a few times and found a good spot to sit and watch. It dawned on me that morning that this was the first parade both Penelope and Lucy were able to actually watch and try to catch candy. I don't think Lucy has ever even been to a parade. They had no idea why they were sitting on a curb but once candy started getting thrown at them they were all about it. 
 It was kind of fun walking around the UMD campus because Jackson told me that's the school he really wants to go to, and he said Olivia wants to go to UW-Madison (#1 party school in the nation...awesome). 
 UMD cheerleaders and dancers are always super fun to watch, and they go to competitions often and it's well deserved. They are really good. 
 I didn't get any pictures of my own because they were running past me so a friend captured these of the girls and they look so good!
This one is maybe my favorite. 

They all did a really great job, especially considering it was the first parade for a lot of them. 

This year Olivia is doing kick, jazz, hip hop, ballet, and lyrical dancing. If there is a special session this spring I'm sure she'll want to do that, too. So far we're spread out over two days a week and I thought it would be a pain in the rear but it's actually not been that bad. I'm getting some reading done, some notes for the book done, meal planning, and burning brain cells trolling the internet for useless information. 

It's been nice to have quiet time back again.