So, I’m talking to my cat…

 

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I worry.

A lot.  I worry about everything.  My kids.  My family.  The new condo building going up down the street from the elementary school.  Politics.  Whether or not my children actually remember their manners when they are away from me.  (!!!)  Bless their hearts we try hard.  And sometimes I worry about myself.

I asked my cat to brush his teeth the other morning and I swear, I thought that was the end.  I was sure my mind was going.  You see, I am always trying new organizational techniques to try to find something that will help us get out the door, teach good habits and keep the children up with their chores, activities and homework.  Plus – we have 1 ASD child and one 5-year-old, just to mix it up good.  We’ve tried charts with stars, time outs (Who does this work for??  My children think its fun!), checklists and good ol’fashioned hollering.  I think I have found something that seems to work for me though (for now)…. I made the children little schedule sheets for morning, afternoon and bedtime.  They are all different according to responsibilities and age.  They change every week, so that the chores change and on days where the children have activities after school the times are more like “guidelines”.

Example:  

A’s Afternoon Schedule

4:00 PM Snack, Homework, Put away laundry,
Shower

6:00 PM Dinner

6:30 PM chore: Take Recycling Out

7:00 PM Freetime

They have to follow each sheet before any free time of any kind and I only give 1 reminder with a 10-minute time allowance to fix their chore, homework, etc.  If the timer goes off, they then choose one of two possible consequences for their infraction.  Now that I’m writing it out it sounds a  little complicated, but really its very simple and it has cut down on my shouting at the children to do every little thing.  The timer does most of the work.  It either goes off and the work is done.  Or it goes off and the child chooses their consequence.  (I don’t give a consequence if they’re working on it when the timer goes off.)  Anyway.  It was day 2 of our new chore/work system and was going pretty well and I was giving Mr. M a first reminder about brushing his teeth and I just couldn’t find him.  The children run all over the house in the morning like little chickens and I dunno, I looked and the first face that I saw at about the height where Mr. M would be was George, our cat, so I said, “Go brush your teeth!”.  George glared at me in disgust and curled up again on his chair in the kitchen.

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G was there!  It was odd.  He said, “I don’t think that’s something cats do honey”.  I thought well, that was it.  It was a nice run, but the marbles are ready to roll.  I’m a few colors short of a crayon box.  Since then, I’ve made up with George and we’ve discussed how I shouldn’t expect him to brush his teeth and he wanted to know if he could have more canned food.  I said no.  (Ok, maybe he didn’t say that – but he was thinking it.  I could tell.)  I’ve chalked my missing marbles up to a lack of coffee and not getting out of bed earlier.  A constant problem for me.  Oy vey.  I’ve even had my doctor tell me that my “disorganized brain” is due to being with several young children all day, every day and that over time, as they get older, my brain processes should return (hopefully) to normal.  There is actually a medical term for it, I can’t remember it at the moment.  (Ha!)  There really is though.  Its an inability to go completely from one thought to the next because of constant  and repetitive interruption.  I have actually gotten better, but obviously, re: my conversations with George the cat, not back to normal.  In the meantime, it helps to have an understanding pet.

Be Fierce.  Organize those children!  Holler at the babies less!  Talk to your pets!

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

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Shopping Shenanigans

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Oh groceries.  How I love thee!  So much excitement over a newly opened canister of coffee!  New yogurt flavors, new applesauce containers.  Yum!!  So much fluster over those flipping plastic bags that seem to procreate on their own…  O.o  “They have babies!”, my stepsister-in-law says.  They do accumulate.  I’ve tried several “styles” of shopping lately trying to solve various obstacles I’ve found myself up against.

For a while money was my biggest obstacle with groceries.  For a couple of years we were on such a slim budget that I created an excel sheet pricing grid and kept up with sales and pricing to the penny.  It was tedious!  Also weirdly fun in a way?  As a result, I still am able to tell you where the best prices on various items are within a few miles of my home.  It helped and amazingly, we got by.  ( I never did figure out how to do some of the awesome couponing I’ve heard about.  What’s it called?  Super-couponing?  Supreme couponing?  Something like that.)

Over time, our budget somewhat smoothed out and just in time, I hit a new obstacle, my anxiety disorder.  As mentioned in previous posts, due to “life” I was off of my anxiety medication for a period of time and eventually decided I didn’t need it anymore.  (I was mistaken.)  Very very gradually, my anxiety increased to the point where I would have occasional panic attacks while out shopping with my children in tow.  It was not fun.  I one time had to leave a shopping cart full at Target and dash out of the store (once the dizziness had passed and I was able to safely leave).  Thinking back, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to be driving home, but well, there I was.  So – for this issue it was medication that solved most of my problems and I began to find stores that for whatever reason, I felt more “comfortable” in.  I began to steer clear of traditional grocery stores, but instead would hit big box stores and bulk stores.

As my children got older, it became a little harder for me to put them ALL in the cart when I was shopping and around this same time we got a diagnosis for M and we began to learn what some of his triggers were for his difficult behavior.  Some of them are: buzzing and yellow overhead lights, echoing sounds from a  warehouse-type of building and the motion and low rumble of many conversations at one time.  I learned where I could and could not shop very easily.  There are probably 2 brands of grocery stores that I simply do not take M inside of because I think it is actually rather hurtful for him.  We just don’t go there.  There are also probably 2 stores that he can handle for a short few minutes that I can bring him, and my other two children of course, in and grab a few necessities when I need to.  Honestly, this wasn’t that big of a deal for me.  Some people like red apples, some like green – whatever floats your boat.  I feel lucky that I live in an area with a variety of groceries stores to choose from.  Truly, its helpful.  But then the growing started.

Oh the growth spurts.  My stars but my children can eat.  As many of you probably know of children they will eat you out of house and home while growing and then seemingly be not so peckish for a few days off and on until they start those mad growth spurts again.  My mother-in-law had been measuring the children for clothes that she makes them and while we were visiting over the summer, we compared some of the charts.  The boys had grown almost 3 inches taller in the span of 6 months and Miss S was not far behind.  Their arms were much longer (no wonder that new shirt I got Mr A lasted only a couple of weeks).  Their feet were bigger.  They were bigger!  I digress.  So, we were flying through our groceries and I was constantly trying to figure out how to fill the pantry while managing our schedule and over-stimulated and wiggly children in the store.  And then I re-discovered Peapod.

I used Peapod briefly a very long time ago when it first was offered in our area, but now, now I felt like I really needed the assistance with getting the food into the house.  As I mentioned, I previously was shopping at some bulk grocery stores and big box stores.  (Target is a favorite.) This was lovely, but then often, I wouldn’t actually be able to get the groceries out of the truck and into the house with any timely manner and sometimes because I just couldn’t lift it.  I began to bring in the perishables and then leave the rest for when I could manage it.  It was frustrating.  It was inconvenient.  I needed to fix this weirdness.  I began ordering Peapod again and oh the happiness of being able to just open the door and have my groceries come all the way into my kitchen was amazing.  I heart grocery delivery so much I got the “pod pass”.  Did you ever hear of such a thing?  You basically pay for all of your shipping for 6 months so then you have free (or discounted shipping) for your orders.  Amaze!!  (I know, I know, I’ve been watching too many Barbie cartoons with Miss S.)  Still.  There were a few things I could not get from Peapod.  Hmmm…. Amazon?  We’ve been Amazon prime members for a while now and I highly recommend it.  Especially for the holidays.  Ok, this sort of filled that gap, but there were still a few things missing…. And then…..Amazon Prime Now.

Crazy bananas.  You just download this little app on your phone and you can order a gillion (ok, not a gillion, but a lot) items to arrive to your house in 2 hours for FREE, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.  Yeah.  I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.  ::::::::::::::::

This will change my life.  Oh!  Oh!  And…. they will take away the silly plastic bags to have them recycled!  Woot!  Save the planet – check!

:::doing the happy dance::::  Silly shopping shenanigans….I got it down.

Be Fierce.  #saneshopper

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

You’re Never Too Old To Miss Your Mom

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I miss my mom.  Or at least I think I miss my mom.  She passed away a few years ago – 7 actually.  Wow.  I’ve been feeling like I’m missing something lately and I think that is what it is.  I also tend to feel blue around my mother’s birthday which is coming up this week.  I’ve heard this is common among people who have lost a parent, that you can almost sense when their birthday is by how you feel.  Its a particular feeling of being sad that you can’t quite put your finger on.  There isn’t really a remedy, and after a day or so you look at a calendar and realize your parent’s birthday is coming up.  Its an odd feeling.  My mother really didn’t make a big deal of her birthday before she passed, but boy I know when it is now.  The past few years, we have had a sort of “rememberance dinner” where we share memories and tell the children what she was like and we may show pictures, etc. I am planning to do that again this year.  Usually on our “big” summer trip I visit her gravesite, but I was unable to do that this year.  There was a terrible rain storm while we were on the way north and we just couldn’t spare the time with traffic and weather combined.  One thing that I really do miss is talking with my mom.  We used to chat almost daily.  It has become, thankfully, rose colored in my memory, but I do remember how frustrated she could make me over the phone.  Our personalities were so different and we (very) often clashed horribly.  We had terrible communication made worse by physical distance and cloud of emotional memories and expectation of one another.  Still that emptiness that she left remains.  I don’t suppose it really ever goes away.  I don’t always feel this melancholy about it, but a few times a year, it does hit me.  As I’ve gotten older, I have realized that without any siblings to help me remember places, holidays or events from when I was young, the memories that I have will die with me, unless I pass them on to my children.  Unfortunately I’ve also found it very difficult to recall some things.  DH has suggested I start writing down what I can remember, which I probably should.  I don’t really have a “best friend” that I can talk to right now, DH is pretty much it.  I have many many good acquaintances and a small, very cherished handful of friends.  Most of my friends are busy with their children during the summer or you know, they work outside the home.  Its just felt a bit lonely here lately as I haven’t even been seeing many of my acquaintances regularly without the rigorous schedule of the school year in place.   This too shall pass as they say.

Be fierce.  Cherish your memories!

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Personal Madness

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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Image from Sir John Tenniel.

Good heavens.  And then the crazies came.  I noticed something hmmm….. maybe a year ago.  I would go through periods of time where I swear I just felt out of control.  Like I was losing my mind.  I had no patience for my children, or anyone else for that matter.  I once just lost it at one of M’s teachers at the school (sorry about that!), and I even put a policeman in his place (on two separate occasions!) while running errands, but poor G probably bears the brunt of this seemingly random madness.  Eventually over time I noticed other things too.  Sometimes I would get very very cold.  For days I would be just so very cold.  Often I felt like I had the flu, yet I was just starving.  I got headaches.  I was actually so concerned at one point I went to the doctor!  Yeah, I had PMS.  The thing is, I just had never had ANY of these kinds of symptoms before, especially all at once and certainly not this severe, ever.  Whatever hormonal changes I went through after having my third child, it was certainly a doozie.   So, now, I have my “normal” madness riddled with anxiety and whatever else and then my “extra-madness” that I’ve had to literally put on a calendar so I don’t think I’m losing my mind every 4 weeks.  Somehow I sort of forget about this madness, until I remember, if that makes sense.  I am *fantastic* at forgetting unpleasant events, people, places, etc.  I just literally somehow wipe it from my mind and will literally be unable to recall certain people or events.  Now from what I understand from my therapist, the memories of the unpleasant things are not actually gone, just buried.  Which is where my anxiety stems from.  More than anything, this is all just a nuisance.  I’ll be going along trying to deal with all of my regular stresses such as getting the children through their school projects, to and from play dates and dinner and chores done again and again, only being extremely grumpy and chilly and achey.  Yay!  O.O  I will say that the calendar thing has helped.  Drinking water helps.  Having blankets close by helps.  Exercise helps.  Sending G out for chocolate with no questions asked helps.  He has sworn not to ask for fear of losing an eyeball.  Not two eyeballs though, because then he could not help with the mons-ners.  (Entirely his fear, not my threat, pinky swear!)  Oh, where was I?  Yes, the doctor.  So I did go to the doctor and he actually gave me a medication to take when I felt like I was… um, off center?  I actually laughed in the office, but he assured me that it was better to take something for it than to go around feeling all out of control, especially when I have a lot on my plate.  Its just not safe.  I know there are so many people out there who are anti-medication and aside from vaccinations (my word, the insanity – different post), I respect that.  Maybe its not for everyone, but certainly, if there is something that is going to make *me* feel better, I want it!  One of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Melton, who I refer to often, has this to say about taking your doctor-prescribed meds, “Jesus loves me this I know, for He gave me Lexapro”.  She is a wonderful faith-loving, people-positive writer and is such an inspiration to me.  Her blog and her charity are all about spreading the love around our communities and that is what I try to focus on too.  “Do your circle”.  Remember that post?  Love your community!  Love your family!  I digress….  So, yes, my meds do help me to feel more sane when I am off-center and then even when I am more (heaven help me) off-center.  I figure this.  Everyone probably has some madness in their lives, they just don’t go around showing it all off all the time.  Now sometimes, sometimes you can’t help it when your madness is showing and you just have to shrug and say, “hey, its just me”.  I’m not saying we all have to go out and be all buddies with the mad mad people of the world, I’m just voting for understanding and forgiveness.  Maybe their madness is showing a little?

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Shifting my focus

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When I had M, my first little mons-ner (above), he was such an adorable peanut.  The softest skin, the bluest blue eyes, long skinny spindly legs.  I called him my little tadpole with those legs.  In fact, he still has very blue eyes and long skinny legs, in many ways, he is very much the same.  I still remember the very first time he smiled at me and looked me in the eyes – its the same smile he has now.  He has my eyes, and I remember being so in awe that I saw my own eyes looking back at me!  How shocking that was!  My world suddenly changed and nothing was about me anymore.  Eventually, we had our roly-poly blue-eyed second little boy, A, and then our vibrant Miss. S.  Now, my world is constant motion revolving around my 3 little mons-ners. I simply didn’t care anymore about going out with friends, seeing big movies, having the newest must-have electronic toy.  I cared about baby classes and diaper bags and which diaper cream would be best.   I could not have been happier about that.  Now, however, because in my world, everything is still about them, I find it difficult to fit in all the things that keep me going:  doctor’s appointments, hair cuts, um, lunch.  I finally pulled out the calendar and the phone and got to making some appointments all at once for myself this past week to get them out of the way for the year.  Friday was my optometrist appointment to get a quick exam and new glasses.  I had to fit the appointment in between 2 school schedules and swimming lessons – no problem.  I arrived at 11 AM, had the eye exam, pressure test and went to pick out frames.  The doctor came back to find me to re-do the pressure test.  No problem.  One more pressure test and back to looking at frames.  They really didn’t have the darker pink color of frames that I was looking for so I settled on purple.  The sales person was beginning to get irritated with me because I kept leaving…. to have an additional pressure test.  After the 3rd or 4th pressure test the doctor pulled me back into the examination room for a consultation.  Now I was nervous.  My eye pressure was elevated and he suggested I see an ophthalmologist soon.  “Absolutely”, I said, “I will make an appointment on Monday”.  “No, I mean you need to see someone today”.  Oh.  Um, ok.  He gave me a card for a referral and wrote some notes for the new doctor that I would be seeing and sent me back over to look at the frames.  Again.  At this point, I did’t give a flip about the frames.  What good were frames if I wouldn’t be able to see out of them in the first place?  I picked up the purple frames that I had casually looked at once before, paid with the wrong bank account (sorry honey!  I was very scattered!), and left, an hour and a half after I had arrived.  I called the ophthalmologist’s office on the way home and got a harried receptionist who obviously needed a lunch break or something and didn’t want to be on the phone right then.  After hearing that i would be a new patient, she really didn’t want to talk to me because that would mean more paperwork (I’m guessing?) for her and booking my appointment.  She said they didn’t have any availability for a few weeks and asked if the referring doctor had given me any further information on my contact sheet.  I read her the list of numbers in reference to my eye pressure and said that I couldn’t make out the rest of the handwriting.  She put me on hold.  When she came back on the line, she asked if I could come in at 3:45 PM that same afternoon.  I hesitantly said, “sure”, and tried to mentally figure out how to work everyone else’s schedule around mine.  Now I was really nervous.  My stomach was in knots.  Thankfully DH was home for the weekend and we swapped mons-ner duties.  Later that afternoon I was in the ophthalmologist’s office having test after test after test on my eyeballs.  I was actually tired from seeing so many flickering lights.  I should probably point out that up to this point, I had only been wearing “driving glasses” for a couple of years and have never had much of any trouble with my eyes whatsoever.  After all the testing, the doctor sat me down and said, “You have a really good optometrist.  It is very unusual to catch something like this so early.  You have glaucoma with pigment dispersion syndrome”.  What??  I have what?  And suddenly, just like that, while I was sitting in that blue chair, my world turned inside out and now my focus was completely on me for a moment instead of the mons-ners.  It had been a really long time since I mentally focused so much on myself.  The doctor gave me a bunch of literature and a prescription for some trial medication to start and tried to reassure me that I would be fine, not to panic, that I had caught this very early.  The trick was, I would have to be extremely vigilant with my treatments and medications because any further damage would just add to the permanent damage that was already done.  :::deep breath here::::  Ok.  ok.

I called DH and explained my diagnosis and well, went on with my evening appointments for the day.  When I did get home eventually around 10PM.  I was just emotionally exhausted.  It was a different kind of worry to be worried about myself instead of my mons-ners.  I need to be healthy and actively able to care for the mons-ners in order to do my job.  I was going to have to figure out how to organize myself to keep me going strong, and learn not to take that for granted.  Its new, so I’m working on it.  I have a medication schedule now as a visual reminder of what I took when, so that I don’t miss anything or accidentally cause fluctuation in my eye pressure.  As a parent, I think its natural to have a shift in focus so that children become the forefront of our lives.  As they grow older, I am learning, it is also important to shift a little of that focus back to ourselves so that we can stay strong for them.  It is a long road, after all.

Be Fierce.

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Would you go Paleo?

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I’ve been looking at doing the “Whole 30” eating plan.  The basic premise is that you eat exculsively Paleo for 30 days with no exceptions and then you can moderately ease into a less restrictive Paleo diet.  I’ve been thinking about it 1) becasuse I have got to do something to increase my energy level and 2) I have a couple of friends who have gone “Paleo” and they love it, although they say it takes some discipline to start.  On the Whole 30 site it says, “Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”  That’s true.  I feel like that can includes so much more in my life when I take a step back from my life “busy-ness” and look around me.  Little things can feel hard, when they disrupt our comfort.  Let’s take today for example…  I am AWFUL about getting all the tedious paperwork done for our vehicles on time.  I do it… just not on time.  I feel like that “maintenance” red light on the dashboard of my car is like a built-in back up just for me.  Its going to stay there staring at me, until I take the car in for an oil change.  Its like the car sticking its tongue out at me blowing raspberries.  So, I did that yesterday and no more red light.  Yay!  Today I took the car in for emissions testing and then to the Currency Exchange to get a current tax sticker for the car.  I cannot tell you how I dislike those shops.  They feel dirty inside.  You would think the atmosphere alone would be enough to make me send in my payment ahead of time so that I wouldn’t have to go there.  I believe that because I’m not confronted with it, I just put it out of my mind for as long as possible.  Eventually I have days like this, where I have a panic attack, lose my phone and phone cover, step on a bumblebee and then get a ticket for not having a wheel tax (??  seriously, its a thing) all in one day and I wish wish wish I had done all of my car paperwork early.  This year I’m making my wheel tax payment online.  *cheers for not having to go into a creepy building*  Anyway, my point.  All of those little things seemed so hard, but they weren’t actually hard.  I had just built them up in my head. Eating “clean” as in a Paleo plan has been built up so much, because it pretty different than what I am used to and I have convinced myself that its hard.  I’m so intrigued by it and I can’t even tell you why.  Is it because its called, “the Cave Man Diet”?  Is it because I have friends who are doing it?  Am I really that influenced by my peers?  (still?)  I have no idea.  In the meantime, I have gotten a book about it called the Paleo Manifesto by John Durant, and I’m trying to learn more about it sort of hoping it will cure my curiosity.  I don’t think I could drink my coffee black though.  I think I would have to switch to unsweetened hot tea.  As Momastery says, “we can do hard things”!!  (Even things that aren’t actually hard, but seem hard at the time.  You know what I mean.)

#BeFierce  *Tell that car paperwork or hot tea who’s boss!

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

That really rare, really little, mom-fashion post

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I’ll admit it.  I have almost no fashion sense.  I have pretty much dressed the same since I was in high school.  Recently I sat staring with wonder when I heard a friend declare that she’s so upset that she missed the shoe sale because now she’s going to have to pay full price for her winter season boots and she feels so stupid.  :::Enter doe in headlights look here::::

I just have no response to that.  Oh.  Ok, sorry.  *shrugs*  Anyway.  Since I have been a SAHM, I have noticed there are varying types of fashion on the school grounds…..  there is the “work out mom” who is either on her way to or from a workout and so therefore in workout clothes, the “granola mom” with crunchy-nature-esque printed clothes often flowing and possibly made with 100 percent plant dye, the “all in black” mom who literally wears almost all black every day with hair sleeked back in a ponytail, “fashionista mom” dressed up in full makeup maybe for work, but maybe not, “office mom” obviously going to a corporate workplace and then a handful of us “jeans moms” who are sort of sweater and jeans types pretty much all the time.    I feel like I need one of those shows where they force you to throw out all of your clothes and make you go shopping.  Every now and then I have a cute picture of me in something, but most of the time, I see myself in pictures and think, ugh!  I have got to get rid of that piece of clothing!”.  I’m just not sure where I fall as far as fashion goes.  Occasionally when I get on a really big workout kick I fall into the “work out mom” slot……  otherwise I don’t really have a fashion type other than the sweater-jeans combo.  While I do wear make-up, I really have to be reminded to get my hair cut.  Plus, I have hair-cut phobia.  Is that a thing?  I think it might be.

I don’t fall into the “just had a baby” group anymore, but I do fall into the “omg, I’m so tired and/or busy I can’t get dressed” group.  Recently I’ve discovered getting through goals in 15-minute increments from the Fly Lady (online home care guru).  She claims that you can do almost anything in 15-minute increments and she’s kind of right.  So, after doing a little research here is what I have come up with for the spring.  If I can pull together a couple of outfits once a week – for 15 minutes, and mark it off my to-do list, hopefully this will help me feel like I’m more put together.  I’m not sure what I will look like, but if I feel better about myself I think that is the most important thing.  Sort of like little fashion goals. (oh no!  I need Fashion For Dummies!!  Do they have that??)

1) pull-on dresses – 1 piece and go!  I should be able to do this.

2) flat-front, higher-waisted, fitted jeans *no showing cracks or undies when bending over, *no “mom-jean”, pouffy fit + v-neck shirt.

3)  swapping out my sweatshirt/hoodie for a more structured light   jacket.  Maybe black, maybe navy.

And accessorize!  Honestly my sunglasses and winter coat can do a lot all by themselves.  Anyway, those are my fashion goals for the foreseeable future.  Not lofty, right?  Maybe I can keep from looking too tired and thrown together?  Do you have solutions for me??  Let me know!

 

#BeFierce  #MakeaFashionChange

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly