The Story of My Broken Ankle

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I think that I may have cursed myself in the last Sunday Intentions post I wrote. I was so optistimic about finally getting my life back in order, walking 10K steps a day no matter what, and getting in better shape overall both mentally and physically. Then Monday morning I broke my ankle and proceeded to have the worst week of my life, beginning a whole new chapter of my future centered around recovery and recovery only.

So on Monday, February 26th, the temperatures were rising and it looked like a pretty nice week. Annie and I walked the boys to school and continued on for about another two miles all around town. There were icy spots everywhere, but I was being extremely careful. I walked on the grass every time the sidewalk looked even a tiny bit slippery. I never took out my phone so I could stay completely focused on the steps in front of me. Then, about two blocks from home – on a hill – I slipped and fell anyway. I was on the grass next to a huge area of treacherous ice and still managed to slip on ice I apparently wasn’t aware was there. I twisted to try and catch myself and literally heard my bones snap as I fell to the ground.

I think for the first few seconds I was in total shock. It was an absolutely blinding pain and I had no idea what to do. I took out my phone and messaged Greg that I thought I broke my ankle. He said “seriously?” I said yes. And then the first passerby stopped his truck to come and see if I was okay, so I never responded to anything else Greg sent or when he called. Everyone kept asking who they could call to help me and I couldn’t think of anyone that could get there in a few minutes to drive me to the hospital. Greg was 50 minutes away at work. My mom would have been 30 minutes. After only two or three minutes, there were at least six strangers that had stopped their cars or came out of houses to see how they could assist. I just kept saying over and over again, “I think I broke my ankle!” I was still holding on to Annie and she was kind of going into panic mode too, not sure what to do. Someone called the ambulance and the next problem became what to do with Annie since I couldn’t take her to the ER with me. I called a friend whose house was in sight, but she wasn’t home. Then I called my neighbor and she was thankfully able to rush over and get Annie. In the moment, that was really my biggest concern.

Getting from the ground into the ambulance was a nightmare. I couldn’t move myself AT ALL. I almost passed out when I looked down at my ankle and realized it was facing the wrong direction. I was laying in the middle of all that ice, soaked because it was melting, and nobody had any kind of foothold to help me up. All the strangers ended up sliding a blanket under me and pulling my body further down the hill until the EMT could get his feet on solid ground and basically had to completely lift me up – not an easy feat. This whole time I was in the worst pain of my life, but also panicking that maybe I was making too big of a deal out of this? Did I really need an ambulance? I knew there was no way I was getting up and moving into anyone’s car, but it also seemed so unnecessary. And the expense! The EMT had my phone and he finally handed it back to me once they had me situated in the ambulance. So I finally answered Greg’s call, like twenty minutes after I first told him I was broken. He immediately left work, leaving his mom stranded because they carpool in her car, and managed to get to the ER about the same time I did. I had no idea I’d spend so much time in the ambulance before we even moved.

It took so long because they were taking my vitals and trying to put in an IV to give me morphine. My blood pressure was around 190/120. I was probably a little bit going into shock. They kept covering me in blankets, but I was also SO HOT. I also just felt disgusting because I hadn’t showered yet that day. I was wearing sweatpants, but only my pajama shirt. They tried to get an IV into both hand veins and failed. Finally gave up and put a shot of something else into my shoulder. And we finally drove the few miles over to the hospital.

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At the ER, the nurses’ first order of business was getting me out of my clothes because they were soaked with icy water. Then they came in to take x-rays right away which felt like it was going to kill me. Even the tiniest minimal amount of movement sent shockwaves of pain through my body. This was my first broken bone and I had no idea it could hurt so completely. The verdict came pretty quickly that I dislocated my ankle (the reason it was facing way too far to the right) and broke at least three bones. They gave me something to put me to sleep for just a few minutes while they manipulated the foot back into the right position. Sometime during my x-rays, Greg showed up and that’s when I started losing it. I didn’t even cry or anything before that. In all the flurry and panic all I could think about is how completely my life just changed. Everything I hoped to accomplish in the next few months to even years of my life was ripped away from me with one stupid misstep on an icy path.

The good news is that everything at the ER went pretty quickly. My last experience there a few years ago was not so great because I kept getting pushed aside for more important cases. Maybe this time I was the most important. But we were back home with a splint and array of pain pills only two hours after the fall even happened. I proceeded to cry or sleep for the rest of the day, just mourning my foreseeable future and all that I’ve been looking forward to.

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On Tuesday morning right away I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon’s office. The verdict there was that I’d need surgery, and as soon as possible. I was terrified that a surgery outcome was the worst possible thing that could happen, but he did a good job of convincing us this was a much better option in the long run. I’d get a plate and screws into the broken bones immediately setting them which would lead to a shorter recovery time. And better long term flexibility in my ankle. Because I wasn’t as swollen as expected and I didn’t have any skin blistering, surgery was scheduled for Wednesday at noon. Everything was happening so quickly!

On Wednesday we made our way back to the hospital to get checked in. Those few hours before it happened felt like forever. The nurses continued to have a really hard time finding workable veins for an IV. When one of them was digging around in my wrist it literally felt like she was chopping my hand off. It took all I had not to scream out. The doctor told me that because my ankle is in so much pain, my brain is kind of cutting that pain off and letting me feel all over pains so much more severely. I’d definitely say that’s been the case! In the end the anesthesiologist put the IV in back in the same place it was in the ER (which is apparently not something they like to do) and during surgery he moved it into my other arm. So basically my hands and wrists and arms are covered in holes and bruises.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk about my options for going under. He said the best option for pain management after surgery would be to give me a nerve block. So that’s what we decided to do and he put massive needles into my thigh and behind my knee, using an ultrasound machine to find the right nerves. Long story short on that – it didn’t work. So I was just given a general anesthetic and woke up in a complete panic attack after surgery because it hurt SO DANG BAD.

They said the surgery would be about an hour and a half, but ended up being two hours longer than that. So Greg was getting pretty worried out in the waiting room. But it sounds like everything went about as well as it could. I was just in horrible pain and in the recovery room until close to 8pm. The worst part is that I was pumped so full of fluids that I felt like my bladder was going to explode multiple times while I was still laying there. So I had to have Greg and two nurses help me get out of bed and pee in a portable commode. Hospital experiences are just so humiliating and confusing and I just wanted to go home.

The rest of the week was just trying to deal with all the random side effects of a broken ankle surgery that I never would have guessed would happen. The first night was the worst because I was having horrible muscle spasms in my thigh and hip. I thought it was from having my leg propped up so much, which is NOT comfortable in any way. The nurse told me the next day it was probably a result of the tourniquet being on my leg during the surgery.  I’ve also had horrible numbness and tingling in my feet. I was super constipated from the pain pills and Greg was feeding me two different recommended laxatives all week that must have built up and kicked in on Friday night, leading me to rush to the bathroom as fast as possible at least every hour. The anti-nausea meds they gave me with the pain pills ran out and by Saturday I started feeling really sick. I thought it was from the laxatives, but it only got worse every day. My hips have been so sore from hopping around the house and pulling myself up backwards to go upstairs. I have never felt so completely run down, filled with pain, out of control, and helpless in my life. My c-section recoveries were bad, but at least I had the joy of a new baby to ease the pain. This just feels so bleak.

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On top of it all I’ve just been an emotional wreck. Greg has been amazing. His boss gave him permission to work at home as long as he needs to to help me out. But he also needs to do EVERYTHING else. He’s doing so much. And I just keep losing it. I joined a facebook support group of people with broken feet/ankles/legs. It’s been an encouraging resource, but also given me a lot more to worry about. It sounds like the majority of people have years of recovery before they feel normal. I don’t want to give up years of my life to this! I don’t want to gain any more weight because I can’t go anywhere else on my own. I’m devastated that I can’t even take Annie out to the bathroom, let alone bring her to the dog park or on walks for who knows how long. She’s so confused and still comes to me when she wants something and I can’t do a thing for her! Greg has been trying to get her a little exercise, but he’s also dealing with everything else. Including the boys who have NOT made this time easy. Caden’s been very helpful to ME, constantly asking if I need anything. But Shepard has been a nightmare and Caden spends just as much time screaming at Greg about all the things he’s not doing right. It’s so hard to just lay there and not be able to help in any way.

I’m trying not to dwell too deeply on it because it’s so depressing. But I missed the Vintage Shop Hop on Friday, obviously. I had to cancel my trip to DC in April to visit my best friend Dianne. It was the only vacation I had scheduled for the year and I was SO looking forward to. Fortunately, Southwest lets you cancel flights as long as they get to keep your money for a future flight. So I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to reschedule around my birthday. But it’s devastating that I can’t go when I wanted to go. I’m worried about Easter and how I’m going to fill everyone’s baskets with cute and special things when I can’t go to any stores. It’s my right ankle that’s broken, so I have no idea when I’ll be able to drive again. I won’t be able to take the boys out or do anything with them over Spring Break at the end of the month. I might not even be able to walk without assistance by the time the farmer’s market starts up again. I don’t know when I’ll be able to take a little trip or go on a date or even be capable of doing anything by myself out of the house again. It’s horribly depressing. Especially with summer just a few months away. I want to be optimistic, but it’s hard not to only see the things I’m going to miss out on.  I don’t even know when I’ll be able to sew again. I can probably figure out how to work the sewing machine pedal with my left foot, but I still feel so fuzzy and out of it all the time. It’s been rough.

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I had my first post op appointment yesterday afternoon. It was hard to feel positive because I felt SO SICK while I was there. Fortunately, he gave me a refill of the anti-nausea meds which really helps. But from what he said, everything looks really good. The surgery went well, the incision looks good (supposedly!). I’ll get my staples out next week and I might even be able to start physical therapy the next week. So in theory, it might be a smooth road ahead. But I don’t want to get my hopes up either.

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I also switched over from the splint to the boot. No cast necessary. I’m not sure how I feel about the boot yet because it feels like it weighs thirty extra pounds. It was so hard finding a comfortable position last night to sleep. But I’m also allowed to take it off to ice directly on my foot, which feels really good. And it’s also giving me a little more stability to do things like sit upright at my actual computer for the first time in nine days and write this. My ankle definitely still hurts quite a bit, but I feel like the combination of all the random side effects and other sore muscles have been ten times worse than the ankle itself.

So that’s my story! We’ve had some wonderful help with people bringing over meals, so Greg hasn’t had to go to any stores or cook anything himself yet. It’s been great having him home because I don’t think I could manage on my own yet. Though I’m worried about him not being at work. He’s hoping to go in tomorrow while my mom comes over to babysit me. And I expect he’ll start going back regularly after my next post op on Monday. Hopefully by then I’ll feel good enough to be a bit more helpful. It’s hard to contribute to anything when I can barely move and also feel like I might throw up at any second. My mom brought over a shower chair, walker, and leg bag to wear when showering right away that first day which has been a lifesaver. I’d die if I had to go this long without showering. I’ve managed to crawl my way up the stairs almost every day to get clean which does a lot in boosting my mood. I have a couple things to look forward to in the next few days, so I’m not just stewing in depression. Every day is getting a little better. It’s just a journey. A journey I wish I didn’t have to take. But that’s life.

11 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

Today I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and a bunch of other bloggers, sharing a list of things that are saving my life right now. Winter in Wisconsin is long, bitter cold, and pretty dreary. When I heard about this link up challenge earlier in the week I knew I definitely wanted to participate with my own list.

So in no particular order,  here are all the random little things that are saving my life right now!

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1. My Cozy Reading Corner

As you can tell from a huge portion of my instagram pictures, I’m obsessed with this beautiful space in my house. I selfishly created it entirely for myself. It’s the one nook of the house that is almost always clean and tidy. It’s welcoming, it’s comfortable, it’s decorated in my favorite colors with lots of candles and twinkle lights. It’s my favorite place to read and chill out when I need some self care.

2. My Space Heater

It’s been COLD this winter. And it costs a lot to truly heat an old house. And we were without a working furnace for two and a half days in subzero temps a few weeks ago. My space heater that I literally carry with me from room to room has been a lifesaver!

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3. Books

Books are the love of my life. 🙂 I love to actually read, obviously. But I also love to read ABOUT books. I love Tuesdays when I can check out all the newly released books. I love listening to podcasts about books. I love going to bookstores and just browsing through them. I love collecting the huge amount of book emails I get, saving them for a day when I know I need a break from life and can just hunt through each email, adding more and more books to my To Be Read lists. Books are the best.

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4. Annie

She’s about the best companion a girl could ask for! I love having her present with me all day long. It warms my heart when I realize she’s in the same room as me about 99% of the time. She’s not super needy, she’s not super cuddly, but she wants to be near me at all times and it makes me happy. It’s because of her that I also spend WAY more time outside and enjoying fresh air more than I ever have before.

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5. Nap Time

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I take a nap probably six out of seven days a week. To be fair, I usually wake up around 4:30 and often start working at 5am. By noon my brain is pretty much shot. I thought that becoming a coffee drinker would eliminate this problem, but I still find myself pretty tired. By evening when I need to be my best self for my family, I’m often a nightmare to live with. So I’m starting to view my naps as a blessing and essential part of my life if I want to be happy and whole. My cats LOVE their daily cuddle time with me and it forces me to actually take a break from everything every afternoon.

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6. Bullet Journaling

I promise not to become one of those insane bullet journalers that only want to talk about bullet journaling. But it’s so exciting to me to finally find a system that legitimately works for me. I’ve tried so many planners over the years, trying to find some sort of balance between paper and digital. Bullet journaling has become my answer. It’s also become an awesome little creative outlet that I spend 5-10 minutes working on every morning and night. It’s given me a way to journal again, without spending too much time on it and hurting my hand. It’s also given me an excuse to buy stickers for the first time in 25 years. 🙂

7. Chapstick, Lip Balms, and More

I’ve been obsessed with chapsticks for as long as I can remember. I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for new brands and flavors. I seriously check out the lip balm section of every store I go into, always. I have seven different kinds on my computer desk right now. I have five different kinds on my writing desk. I have two in my purse. I have an entire drawer full in my bedroom. They’re useful and effective, but they’re also a fun little splurge of beauty goodness  that rarely costs more than a few dollars. I couldn’t live without them.

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8. Weekly Date Night

We’re very fortunate that our kids have all their grandparents living within 20 minutes of us. Greg’s parents take the boys for an evening almost every single week. More often than not, Greg and I just stay home, eat together, and then split to do our own things or watch tv together. It’s usually not terribly exciting, but it’s something I count on and look forward to every week. A night to make something for dinner that I know nobody is going to complain about. A night to actually talk to Greg and not be interrupted a million times. And sometimes an actual date out of the house on a weekday for no reason at all. It’s fantastic and something that I know not many people are fortunate enough to have.

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9. Podcasts

Podcasts make every mundane task SO much more bearable. Laundry, cooking, dishes, showers, walking, long drives, sitting at the sewing machine. I had no idea what I was missing out on until I joined the podcasting world a year and a half ago. Now I really don’t know what I’d do without that form of entertainment.

10. Self Care

I am all about the self care movement right now. I firmly believe that if I take better care of myself I am going to be much more equipped to take care of those around me. I love looking at self care from a mental perspective, but in the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with some physical things too. 30 straight days of yoga, new skincare routines, an evening bath, etc. It’s FUN to take care of yourself. And it’s not selfish or self indulgent. It’s essential and completely worthwhile.

11. Chipotle Bowls

So once a week I have a big errand day in Madison. I try to do all of my out of town shopping in one day so I’m not wasting time multiple times a week. But going to store after store takes a lot of time and energy. I’m usually STARVING and fell into the habit of getting fast food that I’d scarf down on my drive home every week. But then I discovered just how good Chipotle Bowls are (versus hard shell tacos, which I’ve always gotten in the past, but clearly do not travel well!). I’m not sure I could argue a bowl from Chipotle is any healthier than fast food, but it feels like it is! It also teaches me a little discipline to shop as quickly as possible (sticking to my list!!) and then wait until I actually get home and put groceries away before I can sit down and truly enjoy and appreciate a well earned lunch.

I’d love to hear what’s saving your life right now!

So Many Things

Today is one of those days where the battle is REAL trying to figure out where and how to split my time. There are just SO. MANY. THINGS. to do. Necessary things, fun things, work things, family things, food things. It’s exhausting. And so overwhelming.

I thought today was strictly going to be a workday. The one day this week I didn’t have anything else going on and thought I’d be able to focus and power through. Well. We ended up keeping the boys home from school. They’re not sick. But everyone at school is sick. Caden had seven kids out yesterday. That’s a lot! His teacher sent an email out saying she planned to do a deep clean of the classroom – over the weekend. The boys are going to the Dells this weekend and it just didn’t seem worth it to send them back to school in a cesspool of germs. (There’s no school tomorrow.) Especially since she said so many kids were out she wasn’t even continuing her lesson plans for the week. Anyway, I think it was probably the right decision in this situation. But it definitely made my day a whole lot more chaotic.

Just trying to balance out my own lists while constantly arguing and negotiating video game terms with them all day long has been such a drain. I did get four sporadic hours of work in. I fed them lunch and made a nice dinner. We went to the dog park for about an hour. What I didn’t do – fold the baskets and baskets of laundry that just get bigger every day. I didn’t wrap up a doll order and bring it to the post office. I didn’t make the dessert I wanted to make. I haven’t done my daily yoga video yet. I haven’t decorated the house for Valentine’s Day like I’ve wanted to do all week. I haven’t read any of my nonfiction books I’m supposed to be chipping away at every day. I haven’t practiced any sort of self care. There’s just always SO MANY THINGS!

I have a friend who posted on facebook a while ago about how bored she is all the time. Honestly, the statement made me really angry. Bored?! Seriously?! The one thing I NEVER am is bored. I have a mile long list of things that I need to be doing all the time. I have an even longer list of things I want to be doing when I can take a break from things that need doing. And even though all the mundane tasks can BE boring, that’s what podcasts and music are for! It blows my mind that anyone can actually be bored. Though perhaps it’s also a quality that I’m slightly jealous of. If I wasn’t CONSTANTLY thinking of all the stuff I don’t have enough time to do, maybe I’d be a happier person.

Anyway, I just needed to vent about that for a few minutes. (Self care – check!) I wish I were so much better about letting things go. I’m thankful for all the creative and fun things I want to do. I’m glad I’m never bored. But I also wish finding a balance didn’t always seem to come at such a high price. Some days it feels like no matter what, I lose.

Ramblings on Creative Pursuits

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately. I’m reading the book Big Magic where the author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about catching your creative passion or idea before it passes you by. Whenever I sit down to read a chapter, writing is the creative pursuit that comes to mind. When I spend six hours a day sitting at my work table sewing, I’m constantly coming back to thoughts of what I could be writing in that time. Whenever I’m tired and overwhelmed, writing is what I want to do. Usually in the form of an email to my best friend across the country, but often just because it’s the best outlet for me to get out everything inside me. At the end of the day when I’m evaluating what I did well or poorly, I’m often frustrated that I didn’t have time to write anything. Writing is what I keep circling back to. Writing is that dream that’s constantly swirling around my brain. Writing feels like what I’m meant to be doing.

So why am I sewing? Why am I using this rare freedom that I have at this time in my life to spend six hours a day watching tv and mindlessly sewing doll parts together? Money is probably the main reason. It’s very exciting that I found something enjoyable to do – at home – that will bring me a small income and a ton of flexibility. It allows me to still be home with my kids in summer and breaks and whenever else they might need me. It brings in enough money that I can buy myself extra things or splurge on bigger gifts for people. It also brings in money that I can use to take guilt free and desperately needed little trips by myself once or twice a year. Selling dolls legitimizes my purpose in staying home and not going out and finding a “real” career.

I DO love making dolls. But I also feel so held up by my shortcomings. I’m one person. I can only make so many dolls a year. And now that I’m genuinely trying to cut out my night and weekend hours, I’m guessing my doll production might be cut by as much as half. There’s a very definite limit to how much I can create and how much income I can cultivate in doing this. It’s not the kind of business where I can bring in another person to help me. This is a one woman show, all the way. And it’s frustrating. I’m doing well! I have a large customer base and I often sell out of new dolls I list within a few days. Which is great! But it also makes me feel like I’m constantly behind and there’s just no way I’ll EVER catch up. When I have this bottomless pit of urgency and failure to keep up, it makes me wonder if I should even be doing this at all. Is it a life giving pursuit if I always feel behind and like I’m letting people down?

I think I’m a pretty talented doll maker. I don’t take shortcuts, I don’t put out anything less than my best work. I’m proud of my creations and I have such joy when I finish them and people actually want to buy them. I don’t think it’s something I can give up. So I need to find a way to blend them all together in a way that makes me feel complete and fills my soul. I need to carve out more room for writing and fulfilling that part of me that I desperately want to satisfy. It’s probably going to mean even less time a day to work on my dolls. And I NEED to be okay with that. Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. And that scares me. Because saying that out loud and then openly letting my words by judged is terrifying. I might not be good enough. I’m out of practice. I don’t have any worthwhile topics to write about, unless it’s directly related to my life and just the random jumble of emotions I constantly feel. I feel like I have SO MANY words inside of me, but no direction in which to mold them. I can’t change my life to revolve around writing when I don’t have a plan.

So. For now… I’m going to be blogging more. It might be a lot of rambling posts like this one. But I want to challenge myself to just start. Start where I am and write, write, write. This is probably my safest space because I don’t have much of an audience! My words will be out there, but also relatively secure. I can say whatever I want and get the peace that comes with putting my thoughts to the page. It’s a start. I don’t want this creative passion to pass me by because I’ve ignored it for so long. It came back to me and I’m not going to let it go this time.

2018: Celebrating a New Year

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Happy New Year!

Last night we celebrated the way we always do – staying home with food and movies. We had a big taco feast followed by a creme brulee tart for dessert. As a family we watched Captain Underpants, Boss Baby, and a bunch of Netflix countdown videos as we ate popcorn and drank sparkling juice. The boys went to bed around nine and Greg and I finished the evening watching Logan Lucky and half of Battle of the Sexes. He drank a beer, I drank some of the amazing ice wine I found at Costco last week. It was about the least exciting celebration ever, but at least we were together. And hey! I actually made it to midnight. I NEVER make it to midnight.

Anyway, like most of the world, I’ve spent the last week contemplating the ups and downs of the last year and what I would like to do differently in my life and approach to 2018. I re-read my resolutions from last year and realized that I basically feel exactly the same way as I did a year ago. If anything, I’m even more of a slave to my to do lists. The frustrating thing is that I’m completely aware of it and still struggle day after day to just let some things go. I so often link my worth to how many things I accomplished in a day. I set impossible standards for myself and am constantly wracked with guilt and disappointment in what I wasn’t able to check off my list by the end of the night. And quite honestly – I’m sick of living this way.

In the midst of trying to just DO all the time, I’ve really lost sight of what’s truly important in life. Family, love, laughter, joy, contentment, connection, dreams, acceptance, and simple happiness. I somehow want to find my way back to all of that this year. I want to live by my the words of my current favorite book and choose ONLY LOVE TODAY. Again and again and again. That is what matters. I only have this one life and I want to make it count. For me. For my joy. For my acceptance. That will be my focus this year.

Personal

  1. Practice Self Care. 
    I want to learn how to love myself this year. I have a lot of self hatred, especially with how I look. And sometimes with aspects of my personality and how I treat other people. I’d like to take a journey this year in finding things that make me happy. Looking for joy in little moments. Being completely in tune to what I actually need to loosen the stress and smile more. Let go of the to do list slavery. Show gratitude for the best parts of myself. Learn to accept and even love the parts of me I sometimes can’t stand. This is all so much easier said than done. But I think it’ll be my highest priority for the year. And also my hardest.
  2. Take Better Care of Myself. 
    My first goal is to take care of myself emotionally and mentally and my second goal is to take care of myself physically. I would love to lose some weight. I need to lose some weight. But I’m not going to give myself a number or even any extreme pressure to do it. I do want to start making better decisions. Remember that the food I put in my mouth not only affects my size, but also my blood and my heart and my ability to live (or not live) a long and healthy life. I want to move more too. If it ever stops being negative temperatures, I need to get back into taking long daily walks. Preferably in the morning, but at night if necessary. I’d also like to find some sort of online exercise program that I’ll actually enjoy and stick with. Especially on these cold winter days when spending long hours outside just isn’t possible.
  3. Be Happy With What I Have.
    I think this became a real problem last year. I always want more. Whenever I found myself stressed out and overwhelmed with life I’d often go to my computer to at least window shop on amazon and other various websites. Shopping shouldn’t be my solution to anything, but especially emotional turmoil. Though I will say that going to thrift stores and antique shops is an active way that I DO give myself self care. But shopping just for the sake of shopping, because I’ve had a bad day? I need to cut myself off. I don’t need more books. I don’t need more clothes. I don’t need more clutter. Whenever the urge to mindlessly shop hits, I want to stop and take stock in what I already have. I think this is a weird habit that maybe only people with the same love language can understand. Gift giving (and receiving) is my love language. And in many circumstances, especially around my birthday and other holidays, I like to shop for myself. I like to give myself gifts because it does fill me up, even if it sounds to people with all other love languages like a ridiculous excuse. That’s how my love tank works, though. I just need to cut back.

RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Get My Family Back.
    I feel like I’ve lost them this last year. Or…they’ve left me behind? You know how in most families the mom is the glue that holds everyone together? That’s not really the dynamic in our household. Yes, I do all the organizing and shopping and cooking and school things- all the behind the scenes stuff that makes a household run relatively smoothly. But I’m not there. I’m not actively present for so many little life moments. Part of the reason is because I just don’t feel like I fit in with them. They love video games. They love Legos. They love complicated board games that always end in screaming and tears. I don’t want to sit in a room with them and watch them play video games all night when there is ALWAYS a huge running list in my head of other things I want to do. Another reason I’ve lost them is that I’ve honestly just stopped trying. The truth, which I should stop using as an excuse, is that Caden never wants to do ANYTHING. I love getting out of the house with my kids and even the tiniest request is always, always, always met with extreme outrage from him. I got really sick of fighting it. If he doesn’t want to do things with me, then what’s the point of fighting it out? It’s SO MUCH EASIER to just drop it. Walk away. Go live on my side of the house where I can at least spend my time doing something productive, even if it’s not the connecting activity I was hoping for. But it finally occurred to me the other day that I’m still the mom. I’m not allowed to give up on my kids. I try so hard to almost never push him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. But it’s come at the cost of me feeling emotionally empty with my own family. Empty and a more than a little resentful because it feels like they’re not letting me live the life I really want to live. They don’t need me anymore. They certainly don’t want me. Daddy is their everything. But it’s time to do a little fighting back and not give up.
  2. Prioritize Marriage.
    I was looking through all my instagram pictures last night trying to pick out the best memories of the year. One of those was a picture of Greg and I when we cut out of someplace we were supposed to be to do something for ourselves. It was definitely met with a little outrage, but for once we didn’t care. We have to stop letting our need to please other people always make our own relationship slide to the back burner. We also need to stop letting our kids rule the roost. I just want to approach our relationship as being one of my highest priorities this year. Because it’s not, for either of us.
  3. Make Friendships Important.
    It’s so easy to let this slide in the craziness of family life. You begin falling into the trap thinking that you don’t actually need friends because your life is so full and busy with your family. And the reality is that making time for friends is HARD WORK. No matter how much fun you had the last time you were together, it’s still so hard to get out the door the next time something comes up. But it’s important. It really, really is. And even though I know it’s going to require ME to make the effort, I’m not going to give up this year. I need my friends. And I’d like to hope that they might need me a little too.

WORK

  1. Set Work Hours – It’s just a job!
    This is a really hard for one for me. Without the clearly defined boundary of leaving my house to go to an office, I am surrounded by and often consumed by work all the time. I often think of it and act like it’s my entire life. Especially when I’m in the middle of a big batch of dolls. Setting it aside for anything feels like a huge loss to my productivity. But working from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed does NOTHING for my personal happiness. It burns me out, stresses me out, and makes me feel extremely resentful of everything I’m missing out on. The ridiculous thing is that I put all of this on myself! I have no clock to punch and no boss to demand more of me. It’s just me. I have the freedom and because of that I feel like I owe it to everyone to put in my absolute best effort every waking minute. But I don’t want to live like that anymore! So set work hours it is. Preferably – just when my kids are at school! I’d really like to end at 3pm when I go to pick them up every day. And maybe a little bit more until dinnertime if they’re busy doing other things. But I really want to limit myself to only working one evening per week and one weekend per month – and only if I absolutely feel like it’s completely necessary. It’s just a job. And I’ll have a much richer life and a lot more joy if I start treating it like it’s not the be all and end all of my existence.
  2. Give Myself Grace.
    Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m just one person in an actively creative and artistic career. If I want to do my best and maintain a level of care and precision in my dollmaking, I can’t produce hundreds of dolls a month. Yes, the income from a hundred dolls a month would be incredible! But it’s just not going to happen. I also need to remember that there are a few months of the year (May, September, December) that are just SO busy with actual life events, it’s really hard to keep up with sewing. I want my life to be my priority. And I want to give myself the grace to let up a little in those months. Take breaks when I need them. I DO have this freedom and I should let it GIVE me freedom to do what I need instead of letting it restrict me to feeling like I’m never doing enough, the way it has this last year.
  3. Work in Smaller Batches.
    I also need to remember that this is actually a business and I’d like it to continue being successful! And while I can’t produce hundreds of dolls a month, I can do my best to continually produce my best work. And my best work is often done when I only make a couple of dolls at a time. I get excited about all the details and really make my most precious dolls when I’m not struggling to get through a never ending pile of arms and legs. It’s also a lot better for business to be releasing new dolls every few days instead of every few weeks. When people are always watching for something new they get a lot more excited and immediately purchase those new dolls. It often feels counterproductive to make three dolls vs. twelve, but it’s worth it in the long run. For business and for my own wellbeing!

HOBBIES

  1. Read, read, read!
    Reading is my favorite thing ever. But lately when I’m stressed I find myself reaching for my phone to mindlessly scroll instead of picking up my kindle which is also always within reach. Books are going to enrich my life a whole lot more than my phone. I mostly read for entertainment and escape, but this year I’d like to put a little more emphasis on the nonfiction books that could uplift and change my heart. I have so many of them already in my possession, it’s time to crack them open!
  2. Write, write, write!
    I’m really loving having this blog as an outlet for a different form of creativity. For awhile I was hoping that it might grow into something more. But I’m realizing that’s probably a whole lot harder than I expected. And that’s okay. I’m making a small, but valuable income making dolls. And I love doing that. I don’t need to make money writing. It’s worth it for me to just have the availability to pour out my words on a page. Even though I’m pretty sure the only people that read this are my mom, my mother-in-law, my neighbor, and my best friend. (Hello, and thank you!) But that’s okay. It’s more about what writing can do for ME. I love it and I’m not going to stop.
  3. Bullet Journal!
    Because I apparently don’t have enough creative outlets in my life already, I decided to try out bullet journaling again this year. And I’m super excited about it! I’ve found ways to integrate actual journaling, habit tracking, and lists galore so it’s more than just writing down my daily to dos. I don’t want to get ahead of myself the way I did last time I tried this out a few years ago. But I’ve invested in some fun stencils and washi tape to really make the book more of a fun and artistic expression that I guess I can’t find in sewing or writing!

Well, I think that’s it! Longest New Year’s resolution list ever. You’ll be happy to know that in the middle of writing, Caden came up and asked me to play a board game with him. I immediately stopped and we played. Progress already, on day one!

What I’m Thankful For in 2017

Well, I wanted to write a long, beautiful, elaborate post about everything that I’m thankful for. But honestly, nothing is going the way it was supposed to go this week. Shepard is having a variety of mysterious ailments, Greg and Caden have colds, Annie has way too much destructive energy and the dog park is closed, I haven’t had any time to work or get even half the things done I wanted to in the last few days, and everything I do is taking a million times longer than it should. I’m tired, I’m physically drained, and I’m a little bit crabby. I’m still thankful for a lot of wonderful blessings in my life, but I’ll try and keep them short and sweet!!

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Greg

He is my partner for life. A better dad to our kids than I ever could have asked for. He works really hard. He does a lot of the cleaning and most of the dishes and all of the yard work. He’s supportive of everything I ever want to do. He puts up with my emotional breakdowns over and over again. He balances me out in many ways. He likes to just stay home and watch tv as much as I do. He loves helping with homework. He empties all the things out of the fridge that make me want to gag. He’s pretty selfless. He makes me laugh. And he loves our family unconditionally.

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Caden

He is my first born and the one who taught me how intensely one can love. He is super smart and has an amazing mathematical mind. He lets Shepard tag along with him and his friends – always. He loves to read. He loves our pets and always wants to be near them. He challenges us as parents, but also helps us grow. He can be very sweet. He’s happiest when someone is simply sitting right up next to him.

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Shepard

He’s forever my sweet baby and the one who brought an immense amount of joy to our entire family. He is always up for an adventure and trying new things. He’s kind and generous and loves to make gifts for people. He is excited and eager to help with any project. He’s shy when you first meet him and a total goofball when you get to know him. He makes me laugh and smile more than anyone else.

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Annie

She is my most loyal companion. She has made my life a bit more complicated, but a lot more full. She’s my lone female ally in our family of boys. She is so incredibly excited just to do anything with me. She’s a riot to watch at the dog park. She is my best exercising partner. She’s the dog of my own I’ve dreamed of having my entire life.

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Rory

He’s still my all time favorite kitty. Before Annie came along, he was at my side almost every waking minute of the day. After seven months of mostly hiding in the basement, that’s starting to become our reality again. His favorite thing is to sit on my books when I’m trying to read in the morning and cuddle into my left arm under the sheets if I take a nap in the afternoon. He loves to snuggle with us when we watch tv at night and it makes me so happy that he still wants to be near us even though we betrayed him by getting a dog.

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Jack

He’s always in my way when I’m working. Which is a huge nuisance, but one I’m sure I’ll miss when he’s gone. His health is starting to decline, which has made me appreciate him more in the last few months. His favorite companions are Caden and Shepard and I love to see him snuggling with them in bed at night. He’s always been good with kids. He likes to cuddle with me too, if nobody else is around to witness it.

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Extended Family

I’m so glad that we live only twenty minutes away from our parents and they get to be a huge part of their grandchildrens’ lives. I love the fact that Timmy and Brittany moved back to Wisconsin and we get to see them every few weeks instead of once a year. I’m thankful for our other siblings and their significant others and that everybody wants to stay close, despite the distance that sometimes come between us. And I’m happiest that my kids are constantly surrounded by so many adults that love and support them.

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Hudson

Our first nephew! The boys’ first FIRST cousin. He’s such a delight and I’m SO thankful that he exists and that we get to see him on a regular basis. Caden absolutely adores him.

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Good Friends

Life can be tough and I’m glad I don’t have to go through it alone. I’m especially thankful for my best friend Dianne and that she puts up with my crazy long winded emails I write her every single day. I’m also very thankful for my friends Laura and Michelle and that they make the effort every month to keep our friendship strong, even though varying circumstances have kept us from seeing each other more often lately. I’m grateful for all the other friends that are also in my life.

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Heartstring Annie

All my internal crises about what I should really be doing with my life notwithstanding, I’m so glad I created this business four years ago. It’s given me a way to be myself again. More than just a mom. I get to be creative, I get to make other people happy, and I get to make a little bit of money. It also gives me an excuse to keep staying home, even though my kids are in school full time.

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Everyday Crumbs

This blog has given my mind the creative outlet I didn’t know I needed until last year. It’s helped me rediscover how much I absolutely love writing. I don’t get to spend as much time working on it as I would like, but it still exists and is always waiting for me. It’s a bit of a passion project that fulfills me in a way that sewing never will.

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Our Home

We’ve been here for 18 months and I never want to leave. It’s already evolved in so many ways to accommodate our family. I love being here all day, every day. I love my huge sewing room. I love my cozy reading area in front of the candle fireplace. I love just about everything about it. It was made for us.

And a few other random things I’m thankful for:

  • The dog park. I don’t think I could survive having a dog without it. The fact that it’s so big and beautiful makes it so much more of a blessing in my life.
  • Walking to school. I love the necessary exercise it gives us twice a day. Plus it’s pretty awesome being able to send one kid to school on his own, if one is home sick.
  • Books, books, books. When I’m not reading a book I’m reading about books. I could not survive without them. Literally.
  • That Greg finally figured out what smelled so bad in the fridge the last few days. It was cauliflower. That he discovered by taste, rather than smell.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

My First Experience with #ONEDAYHH 2017

Last year on November 9th, about halfway through the day, I started seeing people tagging photos with the hashtag #ONEDAYHH. I quickly realized that it was part of a worldwide instagram photo project started by Laura Tremaine (at her former blog Hollywood Housewife). All day long on November 9th each year, people are invited to post random photos of their lives. As the day goes on, you start looking at all the photos using the hashtag and realize how small the world really is. I was fascinated by the project, but it was too late in the day to do anything about it. Plus it felt pretty pointless since my instagram account is private. But this year, when I started seeing people talking about it a few weeks ago, I got super excited! My @everydaycrumbs instagram account is public, so it was the perfect space for me to join the photo movement with my own everyday moments.

I’ve had a deep love for photography since I got my first camera around age eight or nine. Since having kids, I’ve been even more obsessed with recording the little bits of life that might not mean anything to anyone else, but they mean everything to me. I’m often a little bit embarrassed by how many photos I take every day. I’m very self conscious about it when I’m with friends and rarely take my phone out. (Though they should just be happy I’m no longer toting my DSLR everywhere!) But then I remind myself that this is what matters. This is my life. I don’t think I’ll ever look back on it and wish I hadn’t taken so many photos. What if something happens to one of my children? What if one of my pets dies tomorrow? I’ll never regret how many photos I took of them. Anyway – all that to say, I really loved this project! I probably went a bit overboard. Many people I saw only took a handful of photos throughout the day. But I really wanted to give a full and complete picture of what a day in my life is like. The only abnormal part of this particular day is that I saw friends – twice! Even going back and adding timestamps to the photos, I’m wishing I had taken more. I also wish I had added full explanations for each photo on instagram. Next year!!

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I usually get up around 4:45 to 5, naturally. I don’t usually shower immediately, but I had a busy morning ahead.

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Rory came up to me with a needle sticking out of his mouth. I pulled out the attached string while he gagged. I’m not sure where he got it because I usually keep all needles with attached string pretty well locked up.

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Trying to have a quiet time reading my favorite sort of like a devotional book. I love that Rory has been out of the basement this past week, but it’s driving me a little crazy how he’s ALWAYS in my way now.

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I usually try to fit some work in while listening to an inspirational podcast before I’m officially on mom mode at 6:30.

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While they wait, because they know they don’t get to go outside to go potty or eat breakfast until the clock hits half past six!

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Potty time.

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One of my least favorite parts of the day. And they both had cold lunch all week long.

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I was ahead of things and actually got to eat breakfast before school! This homemade haphazard granola is amazing.

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I was getting dressed and heard whimpering and hissing. Rory has reclaimed the upstairs as his domain and wouldn’t let Annie up.

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Shepard was all about this photo project and then got grumpy. So I posted the picture where he wasn’t actively glaring at me.

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At the dog park, trying to get Annie to wear off some energy. It was SO COLD. I’m not ready for winter.

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We were the only people there and she was having a blast.

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Quick tidying up!

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My friend Katy and her little daughter came over for caramel lattes. I was distracted trying to keep Annie from being obnoxious and then too self conscious about asking Katy to take a picture with me. But…she was there!

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Back to work, taking more photos of the Christmas dolls I made earlier this week, trying to drum up more interest at Heartstring Annie. It didn’t work.

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Cutting dresses for some tree topper Annies I’m working on.

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I hate figuring out lunch for myself. Most days I just kind of snack all day. But when I actually take the time to make something (quesadillas), I like to sit at the table and watch part of a show.

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Nap time! It was a pretty intensely busy morning and I needed the break. Rory joined me. He used to nap with me all the time. Then we got Annie and he spent seven months in hiding. Now he’s back!

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In that seven months, Jack napped with me. But now Rory fights him off. 🙁 I found him napping in Shepard’s room when I got up.

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Back to work for a little bit. I wish I was better at finding solid chunks of time to work. But there’s always so many other things to do!

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Probably the building I frequent the most in my life right now! Which is a good thing!

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Not so thrilled to be greeted with a photo.

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He can running out yelling, “Take my picture!” I like that he’s interested enough in what I’m doing to remember throughout the whole day that I was doing this photo challenge.

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On these really cold days I sometimes drive to pick up the boys. And pretty much every single time they ditch the quick and warm drive home to walk with their friend instead. It doesn’t make me too happy to stand outside for half an hour for the sole purpose of giving Shepard’s teacher the nod to let her know a responsible person is picking him up.

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Chilling out, waiting for the easy dinner to be done in the oven.

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Normally if I’m going out I let Greg fend for himself, but Caden needed to bring in dinner’s packaging for homework, so I made a quick meal for them with packaging he could easily bring in.

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Looked over and saw Annie cuddling with the pig we bought her on Monday. She loves that thing!

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I’m really terrible at making any sort of cooked vegetables. Except roasted broccoli because that’s the only cooked vegetable I genuinely love. But the other day Caden was raving about the carrots in a soup he had at a restaurant. So I picked up a package of steamable carrots and then mixed them with some melted butter and brown sugar. Caden ate almost the entire bag’s worth himself and said over and over again he wants me to make them every day! I loathe cooked carrots.

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The not typical part of my day! I went to a winery/restaurant with my friends to celebrate Laura’s birthday. It was a unique experience! I really liked the wine I had – their sweetest, of course.

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A table never opened up, so some older women took pity on us and asked us to join them. Not exactly the evening we were expecting, but they were fun! I had this sweet chili flatbread pizza.

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Back at home. Rory’s ready for tv watching. This is where I wish I had taken a photo next because we watch tv together pretty much every single night, without fail. But the light was off and my phone was on the other side of the room, so I didn’t do it.

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I also wish I had taken a picture of the boys sleeping. Every night I lay in bed with Shepard for about ten minutes talking about things and scratching his back. Caden’s always reading and has no interest in answering my questions, though I occasionally read with him. But they were both sleeping when I got home. Anyway, this ended up my night! Reading in bed – ALWAYS.

I had so much fun recording my day in this way! Next year I’ll have to give some warning so you can join me!

Midweek Musings: I hate being the bad guy.

I hate when my schedule is thrown off by something unexpected. I don’t usually deal with it well. I’m very protective of my time – especially in the daytime hours. I’m driven by my to do lists and a basic agenda I set for myself the day before. I like to plan everything. And I try my hardest to stick with it. Especially on days like today, knowing it’s my last home alone day until Tuesday, thanks to an early release Friday, a busy weekend, and no school Monday. I value these hours in a quiet house alone so much. They fill me up and help me get through the busier, crazier, surrounded by people days.

So what messes with my plans more than anything? A kid home sick. Caden woke us up in the middle of the night because his stomach hurt. In the morning he said that it still hurt. But he did not have a fever, he never threw up, he didn’t have diarrhea, he was interacting on a pretty normal morning level, and he ate a big bowl of crackers. While I did believe that he didn’t feel great, I also thought he was fine to go to school. He has a very strong track record of feeling sick in the morning so I let him stay home, and an hour later he magically feels fine. And I ALWAYS regret letting him stay because he thinks he’s gotten away with something and I get upset that it’s messed up my day for no valid reason. If he were truly sick? Then that’s fine. Obviously he should be home if he’s actually throwing up or whatever. But with him – he almost never, ever genuinely gets sick.

Anyway, I told him that he had to go to school and he ran up to his room, covered himself with blankets, and just laid there crying, refusing to get dressed. So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. We have a tenuous relationship sometimes, and I don’t want to be the person he’s supposed to trust the most – actually being the person who never believes him. Plus, I didn’t really know how to force a strong and defiant nine year old to get dressed and get all the way to school. So he stayed home.

And guess what? By the time I got back from walking Shepard to school, Caden appeared fine. Totally fine. I couldn’t help being angry. But I also tried to reign it in. I figure everybody needs a mental health day every once in awhile. I know I certainly do. I told him he couldn’t watch tv or play video games. I was hoping that a total day of boredom might make him listen to me next time I think he’s good enough to go to school.

The first few hours were fine. He was reading in his room and I was working. Then he came down and watched me edit all my doll photos and list everything, asking me tons of questions. It was sweet that he was showing an interest in what I do. But then he got bored. And angry. He wanted to have candy after he ate his lunch. He wanted to play video games. He wanted to type things on my laptop. And every time I said no he’d run away crying. And with every episode I just felt worse and worse. I hate being the bad guy. And I don’t want to punish him because he felt sick this morning. But also? I’m the parent and I KNEW BETTER. I know how much crappy food he ate yesterday. I knew he wasn’t sick sick.

He wanted to play games once Shepard got home and I’m sticking with my original no. Which believe me, is not going over well. Now I’m the one who wants to run crying to my bed to be buried in blankets. I hate being the bad guy. I hate being the reason my child is upset. I hate feeling conflicted because I never know if I’m doing the right thing or not.

It’s just been a crappy day all around. I was planning to finally take Annie on a really long walk this morning. The only one we’d have this whole week. Didn’t happen. I thought I’d be done with my batch of dolls by ten at the latest, but it was closer to noon. Then I still had to make us lunch, eat, shower. I wanted to write a different blog post this afternoon. And now I’m just venting instead.

I hate being the bad guy.

On Friendship: Lamenting the past, trying to embrace the future

I used to have a lot of friends. Just a couple of years ago, I felt like I belonged in a pretty strong group of friends. We all had kids the same ages. We were all stay at home moms. We met often for playdates and park visits. When we didn’t have something extra planned, we still saw each other multiple times a day at school drop offs and pick ups. Our kids were in sports together, we met at each other’s houses for coffee, we had girls’ nights at a local bar. I felt part of something and so grateful to have those women in my life.

Fast forward a small handful of years and I feel like I’ve lost almost all of that. The couple of people I felt closest to started pairing off and I became the third wheel that was eventually left behind. A lot of my friends had another round of babies, which also made me feel excluded – not only because I wasn’t going to have any more, but because I didn’t want to. Some friends started full time jobs, some friends moved their kids to different schools. My kids both became full time students and I entered that weird and misunderstood arena of “work at home mom.” I don’t have kids around during the day to schedule play dates that benefit me more than anything. The richness of my friendship circle changed so drastically in such a short time that some days I have a really hard time dealing with it.

I still see many of those original friends every single day when I pick up my kids. But it’s different. It’s distant. It’s full of small talk and amiable hello’s that bring nothing to my desire for true and meaningful and real friendships. It’s awkward and lonely and so many days I’d prefer to stay at home in my hideout just to avoid another round of shallow nothingness.

I’m not sure if I’m the one to blame for what I’ve lost. Sometimes I wonder if my parenting style alone is something that’s kind of launched me away from the group. I love my kids. But I’m not a helicopter parent. I don’t rush to their side if they fall down. I don’t really care if they’re rolling around in the mud and destroying their clothes. I don’t try to monitor their relationships and watch everything they’re doing at all times. I’ve never been one to get down on the floor and play at their level. And I’m terrible at interacting with kids that aren’t my own. I like that my kids can get hurt and brush it off two seconds later, without needing to run to me for comfort. I like that they’re not super sensitive and having their feelings hurt a million times a day by what other people might say to them. But I think I’m in the minority. And perhaps I’m judged for it.

I’m also just really bad at being myself with people. Or maybe the problem is that I’m too much myself and that scares people off. I’ve written about it before, but I had a mishap with a friend a few years ago that really put me on edge about how much I share with people. Every conversation I have with her I feel like I’m being judged and looked down on. I’m terrified of being honest about anything, because my honesty isn’t always positive. And that’s a problem with her. I like to be honest about what I’m going through, what my life is really like. Which is why I love to write because writing makes honesty easy. But in person? People aren’t usually ready for that kind of vulnerability. Not in a casual after school conversation at least. And when that’s the only time I ever get to interact with people, it leaves me with nothing worthwhile to say.

I think I’m also just really bad at interacting in general! I’m home alone all day every day. I’ve lost the ability to have conversations with people. I’ve always been shy and I hate being the center of attention in a group. If I see two friends talking, there’s very little chance I’ll go and interrupt them. And when I see someone else alone, I’m even more scared to make the initial contact. I’m guessing having a child attached to me is what gave me the courage to find friends a few years ago in the first place. But without that buffer, I don’t know what to say. I’m a socially awkward mess. Which makes me retreat. Which comes off as stuck up or standoffish or uninterested. Which isn’t the case! I just don’t know how to be functional female friend anymore.

In the last year, hoping to move my closest friendships to a deeper level, I’ve really just focused on feeding those few people that I had the most connection with. Without realizing it, I kind of dropped the ability to hold on to the rest. But things have been good with the few. We don’t see each other as often as I’d like, but we do make an effort. Circumstances have recently changed which has made it even harder. They’ve made life changes which were right for them and their families. But selfishly, I hate how hard it’s been on me. So hard. Because now that I don’t see either of them on a daily basis – or even a weekly basis – I’m realizing how much I’ve lost in the last few years. How many people I used to be close to that now would really rather have nothing to do with me. And it’s a lonely place to be.

With all that behind me, I’m trying to figure out how to get my friends back. Maybe not even the friends of the past. I’m completely open to finding new friends, though it seems so hard when I’m sitting in a house by myself working day in and day out! I’m trying to reconfigure how to make friendships work when we all have families, we all have some type of job, we’re all incredibly busy. But I desperately, desperately don’t want to let the hope of true friendship go.

I feel like consistency is the key in all relationships. If you don’t SEE each other, how can you be close? If you’re not living life together, how can you be the best of friends? If you’re not vulnerable and open, what’s the point? I crave those relationships in my life. I know there are so many things I could do to make them happen. Or at least start them blooming. I could ask people over for coffee. I could plan a monthly girls’ night the way we used to do, open to anybody that needed it. I could schedule afternoon playdates. Dog park meetups for our kids AND dogs. I could ask someone if they’re interested in taking a walk with me once a week. The list of possibilities is endless. The problem is actually doing it. Taking that leap of faith even though it means risking rejection. I hate nothing more than rejection. It hurts me to my core, even if someone has a very logical reason for saying no. With every no, it stops me from asking the next ten times I think about it. It’s so easy to give up and hole away. I don’t want to be that annoying person that tries to tear people away from their families. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want people feeling obligated to spend time with me because I ask so many times. And so, I don’t. But I wish I did.

I know there is hope for me. There is hope for everyone. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who is missing this in my life. But I can’t be. Right?? Even though my friendship numbers have greatly diminished over the years, they’re still important to me. And I want to treat them with as much importance as I used to. And I want to be open to making more friends. Maybe people I didn’t have a lot in common with a few years ago, but can align more closely with who I am today. And I don’t want to just sit around waiting for people to come to me because experience shows that doesn’t really happen. It’s time to open up, take a few risks, and make my friendships strong again.

 

Saturday Reflections: Birthday Week

Birthday week has come to an end! It was kind of an odd week. I was feeling a lot of anxiety about already being at the end of a two week sewing break (because of Caden’s parties!), but at the same time wanting to spend the week relaxing, reading, fun shopping, and just plain doing whatever I felt like doing. I felt like I earned the break, but was also frustrated by how few sales I’ve been getting lately – because I haven’t been sewing! It was a Catch-22 kind of week full of mental battles that really just left me stressed out and exhausted. BUT there was a lot of fun stuff thrown in too!

Monday and Tuesday I did a lot of clean up and reading. I had to take the boys out of school early on Tuesday for a dentist appointment. For dinner we went to a fun library celebration with free pizza, popcorn, and desserts. And then I went to my first yoga class! I actually really enjoyed it. It was hard work and at one point I felt like my feet and ankles were about to break on me. There were only two people in the class, including me, so I felt the pressure to do everything perfectly. Which was good! But also left me pretty sore for the rest of the week. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and hopefully more people will join in.

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This was also Homecoming week. The dress up days were a little boring this year. They used to do five days of dress up with pajama day always being everyone’s favorite. No pajama day this year. 🙁 Wednesday was hat day. Only Shepard would cooperate. (Weekday mornings are now a battle because Caden wants to READ all morning instead of getting ready because READING is always a good thing and he can do it whenever he wants! :P)

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I spent my morning meandering around the antique mall. Every six months or so I like to go and hunt down treasures. Sometimes I’m looking for accessories to put with my dolls, but most of the time I’m on the hunt for well loved vintage teddies and dolls that need to be rescued! I actually found quite a few Raggedy Anns and Andys this time around, so I had to be picky. I ended up with these two teeny tiny dolls. The one on the right is about two inches tall.

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On Wednesday night, we had my first birthday celebration with Steve and Cindy at Pizza Ranch. I ate way too much! Cindy had bought me a piece of cheesecake and cupcakes for a special dessert too. Very thoughtful!

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Cindy, Shepard, and I harvested all of our gourds and mini pumpkins. We had so many! I was a little sad that I planted like twenty white pumpkin seeds and ended up with a whopping three white pumpkins. Those are my favorite.

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Presents! They gave me a new set of Pioneer Woman dishes to add to my growing collection. And a candle, earrings, spicy dressing, and some fun money that I think I’m going to use to either buy a bracelet I’ve been eyeing up, or a couple of books. I’m pretty book obsessed these days, but also have like a hundred sitting around the house I need to read (plus over 500 on my kindle!!). It was a really nice night!

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Thursday was jersey/team day.

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Thursday night I went to dinner with my friend Laura at Monk’s. I had a volcano monk-tini, which was a mango rum concoction. I also had my all time favorite chicken sandwich. It was a really great night of catching up. I really appreciate that she went out with me. I need more friend time in my life. It’s so easy to hide away when things get overwhelming and exhausting. But we still need each other.

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Friday was school spirit day.

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I spent the day with my mom, which is what I usually do on my actual birthday when it falls on a weekday. We went to Marshall’s, World Market, and spent a huge amount of time at Ulta and Sephora looking at makeup and perfume. We had a delicious lunch at Granite City. It was a little bit rushed since we had to drive so far and only had about three hours to fit everything in once we got there, but it was fun! We made it back to Columbus just in time for the Homecoming parade. They hold the parade at the end of the school day so all the kids can sit with their classes and watch. My mom sat with Shepard and I stood by Caden. Right when the parade started it also started raining. Terrible timing!

Friday night we had pizza for dinner, though I was still stuffed. And then we had a family movie night watching Princess Bride. I was worried I would think it was cheesy after not seeing it in so long. But I still liked it! The boys were distracted at the beginning, but then they got really into it too.

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And Saturday was my birthday! I slept till 6, which is the latest I’ve slept in about a month and a half. Without necessarily wanting to, I usually wake up between 3:45 and 4:15 every single morning. SO ANNOYING. Anyway, I got out of bed late enough that Greg took care of the boy’s breakfasts and getting Annie out.

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Shepard wanted to do presents right away, so one by one they ran to the other room and got me a present. Greg gave me a DNA test of Annie. I was shocked by the results!! I’ll have to do a full post on all the info they gave me soon. We were told by the humane society that she was a Shepherd mix, the vet guessed Australian Shepard mix. And that’s what she looks like, so that’s what I tell everyone. Lo and behold, ZERO DNA matches to anything in a Shepherd family. I’m not surprised by the Golden Retriever, just because she has longer hair like that. But the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute?! I guess that maybe explains her mostly black hair and her very strong desire to PULL, but I’m otherwise pretty shocked! It was an awesome gift, though. I like knowing for sure what she is and now I can obsess over it forever.

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Shepard and Greg built me a little family minifig display. I love it! Caden gave me some nice bluetooth headphones to wear around the house. I also got a new kindle case, instant read kitchen thermometer, cast iron melting pot, and my favorite tea in k-cup form.

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And Greg gave me a framed picture of the original Raggedy Ann patent. I love it!

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Cards. 🙂 I love Caden’s Annie picture and Shepard’s tree.

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We went to the dog park together in the morning. It really is amazing how much difference exercise makes in Annie’s personality. She was SO obnoxious and wild on Friday night and after Saturday’s dog park visit she was completely calm and sweet.

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For lunch I made some baked turkey sliders. I had plans to also serve an Asian salad and some chips and dip, but it was kind of a weird morning of everyone eating random things all morning long, so we just had sandwiches.

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I read and took a nap after lunch and then we went to my favorite pumpkin stand/farm. They have all their pumpkins set in their yard with like twenty different varieties of all shapes and sizes. It’s my favorite place to go every year because they have so many and they’re pretty cheap. Annoyingly, it was pouring rain by the time we went. The one thing I wanted to do! We haven’t had rain in about a month and of course it comes on my birthday with all of my outdoor plans. Very disappointing. We still got our pumpkins, but it was a race to get them as fast as possible, with no fun pictures to show for it.

After pumpkins, we dropped the boys at Noe’s for a sleepover. I felt a little bad ditching them for half of my birthday, but I felt like a date with Greg was more important this time around. We needed it.

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The plan was to walk around downtown Madison and feel like cool and trendy adults, maybe getting a cocktail somewhere, browsing stores, and dinner later. But the weather! It was super windy when we got there and by the time we walked to State Street it was pouring again. Without even realizing it until later, about a mile away from where we were walking a tornado touched down! We saw all the tree damage when we were driving home, but never heard a siren or anything. We were going in and out of stores and the rain was pouring almost perpendicularly. But a tornado in the sky we did not notice!

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We had dinner and drinks at Belair Cantina near the capital. While I knew ahead of time it wasn’t going to be a fancy place (not really our style), I also wasn’t expecting it to be quite so loud and crowded either. We were seated at a longer table with other people. And the longer we were there it got so loud we could barely hear each other and people waiting around the bar kept knocking into my chair. Not exactly a romantic date. Which wouldn’t have mattered if we did that sort of thing often, but we don’t. Kind of disappointing. But the food was good! I had a watermelon margarita with a spicy pollo taco, Korean beef taco, and fried avocado and bacon taco. All with different slaw/salsa/sauce toppings. We both really liked the things we ordered.

After dinner I was pretty sick of people. We contemplated going out for dessert too, but nothing was jumping out at me. So we just went home and watched the movie Gifted. And that was my birthday week!

Anyway, good week, lots of fun celebrations. And it’s not over yet! I still have a party with my family today, drinks with my friend tonight, and a breakfast date with my friend and goddaughter on Tuesday. I feel like I’m probably really annoying people on instagram and facebook with all my birthday posts. But…I don’t care. If I want to make my birthday week special for myself I’m going to do and not apologize. You can make your birthday weeks special too. 🙂