I’ve had a lot going through my mind the last few weeks and I’m to the point where I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t get some of it out, even if nobody reads this or nobody cares.

Life has been HARD lately. Very hard. We have been having some major difficulties with Caden and I feel like it’s tearing us all apart. I’m on the fence about if I should keep these battles private or if I should share them and perhaps find some support in other people that might be going through the same battles. The problem is that I feel like when I do start to share, the majority of people think I must be exaggerating or start to attack me for daring to say something negative about my child. People don’t believe me and I think that’s one of the hardest things to deal with.

The truth is, Caden has become a very angry and very violent child. He’s not like this at school, he’s not usually like this around strangers or extended family. But at home? It’s a completely different story. Caden hits, kicks, pinches, spits, bites, and throws things at me on a daily basis. Usually many, many, MANY times a day.  He does the same to Greg and the worst part – he does the same to Shepard. The other day Caden was hitting me with an umbrella. His newest thing is throwing objects at me, most often – kitchen chairs. He’s five years old. And he’s throwing kitchen chairs at me. I am devastated by what this is putting everybody through and I’m terrified of what he’s going to be like when he’s older if he continues on this path.

We shared some of our concerns with Caden’s pediatrician last month and she strongly suggested we start seeing a therapist to help Caden deal with his anger. For the last few weeks we’ve been going to a therapist now and though she seems to have some great ideas, Caden’s behavior has amplified considerably with the changes we’ve made. It’s getting harder and harder to see the good things in him when he spends so much of his day screaming at and attacking me. I feel very hopeless and very alone.

I love Caden and I always will. But we’ve had so many emotional struggles during his short life. We’ve struggled – and still struggle with – his speech apraxia and inability to be understood by most people, at least the first and second time he repeats himself. I know he must be hurting too in ways I probably can’t understand. He’s frustrated and feels like the only time he can let that go is in the safety of his own home. But…he’s hurting us. Physically, emotionally, deeply. I just wish it didn’t have to be this way. 

My Birthday Celebrations

Well, it happened – I’m 29. One more year until I’m “old.” Actually, while that number 29 really bothered me when Greg hit it five months ago, it doesn’t really bug me anymore. I’m actually kind of looking forward to my 30’s because our kids will be older and we’ll have more freedom than we had in our 20’s with the constant demands of babies and toddlers. Anyway – I’m 29!

Greg started the celebration early when he brought me this beautiful bouquet of flowers on Friday night. I was bummed all day because Shepard was sick and the weather was horrible and we couldn’t follow through on any of the fun plans I had made. The flowers were a sweet pick me up.

On Saturday, my parents took the boys for most of the day so Greg and I could go on a birthday date. We had lunch at HuHot. I haven’t been there since Caden was a baby and thought it might be a good change from the usual chicken sandwiches I order at every restaurant I’ve ever been to. I’m so glad we went there – it was amazing! I had one of the best meals of my whole life following one of their recipe cards. I’m ready to go back NOW. After lunch we shopped around at some of my favorite stores and then headed back to my parents’ for a celebration.

Shepard was still really sick on Saturday. He definitely has a knack for getting sick on birthdays and holidays. I was thinking about it and this year he had a flu of some sort on Valentine’s Day, his birthday, Easter, our anniversary, my sisters-in-law’s birthday, and now my birthday.

My mom made me a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake.

We told him he couldn’t blow on the cake, but of course he did anyway.

My parents gave me this clock I kept eying up at Cranberry Fest last weekend. I love it!

And a postage scale! I’m almost getting as bad as Greg who asks for batteries for his birthday. I was excited, though, as I’ve been mailing out a lot of packages lately!

Caden couldn’t believe there was nothing else in the box.

Fabric! And an awesome basket! I’ve been obsessed with aged looking wire baskets lately, even though I have no idea what to do with them. I’m also TOTALLY addicted to fabric, so I was pretty excited to see a whole basket of new ones my mom picked out for me!

This one was my favorite. So simple and pretty!

While they were there on Saturday, the boys painted some pots and planted me some succulents! They’re so cute! I’m trying to figure out where I can keep them inside so they don’t die right away.

Anyway, Saturday was really nice. 🙂 After sitting at home with a sick kid for a few days it was great to get out and enjoy life a little more for a few hours. I love the cuddle time I get when my kids are sick, but they are SO cranky. It’s exhausting.

On Friday night my Heartstring Annie facebook page hit 100 likes, so I decided to do a giveaway! My last month and a half have been really successful and I’m excited to see where this business will go as I begin to have more time to put into it in the next few years. I wanted to reward the people who have been with me from the start, though, by doing this giveaway. I made three prizes. This witch was the “grand” prize. I found out later that the woman who won it also had a birthday yesterday! Pretty amazing. 🙂

Pumpkin tower for prize number two.

And a cute bat for prize three. I had a lot of fun doing this and might have to do a giveaway for every new 100 likes! Actually selling items is great, but it’s always fun to give things away too. 🙂

I had some big plans for Sunday too, but Shepard was still pretty sick and nobody felt like doing much out of the house. We spent most of the day cleaning. The one thing I really wanted to do was get pumpkins, so we just went to the local place in town. Not as fun as a pumpkin patch, but they have a huge variety and the prices are good.

Shepard and I kept looking at the gigantic white ones.

Caden found his!


Shepard was so excited that the guy at the market gave him an apple.

I was most excited about their indian corn variety! I bought three and tied them up with a pretty ribbon and hung them on the wall.

Showing off.

I also spent a lot of time sewing on Sunday. I used that fabric from my mom and made these two little bears. I kept the green one and gave the cream one to her. They’re so cute!

Before I went to bed I made pumpkin scones for my birthday breakfast. This is officially my traditional birthday breakfast. They’re so good!!

Finally, Monday! My real birthday! It was a pretty laid back morning. Pretty much the only thing of interest we did was have this little photo shoot. I didn’t realize my pajama pants were going to be in the picture. 🙂

Shepard took this picture (with me holding the camera!).

Caden took this one.

After Caden went to school, Shepard and I met my mom at Ponderosa for lunch. Ponderosa is our once every couple of months treat. I’ve always loved their chicken wings more than any other. It was delicious! Afterward Shepard and I ran a few errands and went to pick Caden up. A pretty typical day!

The next few hours were a little chaotic! My mom and brother stopped by with more presents. My in-law’s stopped in with presents. They’ve been in Hawaii the last week and a half, so the boys were over the top excited to see everyone. I opened my presents, but I’m not posting any pictures because I look horrible in them. 🙁 I need to lose weight. A lot of weight. Anyway, not going to dwell on that in this post! The presents were great! 🙂

My brother and sister-in-law sent me this Edible Arrangement bouquet. Which worked out perfectly because I never had time to make myself a birthday dessert!

I love how it was mostly strawberries and pineapple. Delicious. The cute little pot it came in is great too!

Shepard was too busy taking pictures to be in the official ones. 🙂

And that was my birthday! The whole weekend of fun I had planned didn’t really go the way I expected, but it rarely does, right? Motherhood is all about adjusting and making the most of what you have. Anyway, thank you for everyone who made the day special. 🙂

Quick Update!

Once again – it’s been too long since I’ve written! Maybe I should stop apologizing and just write when I can and stop feeling guilty about it! I still enjoy writing and sharing bits and pieces of my life, but the simple truth is I just don’t have much time for it anymore. Rather than beating myself up over it, I’m just going to write when I can and be okay with that. So here goes.

I’ve had a couple of things on my mind that I just wanted to get out there really quick. First of all, I’m giving up on my 365 Day Photo Project. 🙁 I made it through June and then it just got too stressful. I’m disappointed in myself because it would have been really awesome to look back over my daily photos from the entire year, but I just couldn’t keep up. For one, I’ve been TERRIBLE about picking up my camera this summer. I’m pretty sure I’ve taken at least one phone picture a day, but it just gets too hard going back and emailing myself all the pictures that seem good enough. That’s not how I wanted to do this project, so I might as well just stop. Six months will have to be good enough.

I should probably save this for a post that I have more time to write, but I wanted to share that it’s been a really hard summer for me. I’ve been tired, depressed, overwhelmed, angry, stressed, and really just felt over my head in projects and responsibilities that I’m never going to be able to keep up with. I’ve been having some major struggles with Caden and dealing with motherhood in general. I’ve been mourning my lack of true relationships and feeling hopeless about ever changing that. I’ve been having an awful time keeping up with cleaning the house, making meals, and even doing the simplest household chores. About the only thing I have stayed on top of is my sewing goals because they make me happy. Overall, though…I’ve been a mess.

I’ve definitely reached the point where I realize things NEED to change. I can’t keep living like this. I’m really hoping that once school starts and we get back into a regular routine everything will get better. And as terrible as this sounds, I’m looking forward to a longer break from Caden every day. I love him so much, but he also pushes me so far beyond my limits on a daily basis. I think I need that step away from him every afternoon to learn how to appreciate him and give him what he needs so much more than when I have to deal with him 24 hours a day, day after day after day.

Anyway, maybe I’ll write more on this next week after my vacation! We’re leaving in a few hours to San Francisco! The boys are staying with grandparents while Greg and I go visit his sister and her boyfriend. I’m SO looking forward to spending a week as an adult. No mommy duties, no household duties, nothing to feel guilty about. I’m excited to spend time with Greg – as a couple, and not just as Mommy and Daddy, which seems to be all we are anymore. And I’m just thrilled to see a new city! I love traveling, but the last few years our trips seem to be more stressful than fun. A trip without kids should be much more enjoyable. I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco, so I’m glad my sister-in-law decided to move there to make this trip possible. 🙂 Anyway, Caden woke up during this last paragraph and my concentration is shot, so more…in a week!

New Year’s Resolutions

The start of a new year always inspires people to evaluate their lives and think about what they’d like to change in the year ahead. For some reason a change in the calendar gives people a feeling of a fresh start and hope that things can be better than they’ve been in the past. While I don’t really feel like I’ve been given a fresh start at anything – my morning was certainly no different than any other – I have been giving a lot of thought lately to what I’d like to change about myself in 2013. Goals I’d like to work toward and attitudes I’d like to replace to become a happier and better person. It may be optimistic to expect all of these changes to happen, but I’m hoping if I work toward them little by little day by day I can end this next year filled with joy and proud of my efforts.

First I have five actual resolutions I’d like to adopt in my way of life this upcoming year.

LOVE, forgive, and accept my children for who they are.
I love my kids. I do. But they also drive me crazy. I’m frustrated with them way more often than I should be. I realized recently, though, that I’ve been holding them to a much higher standard than I could ever expect from a four and one year old. This next year I want to forgive them easily. I want to accept their weaknesses and encourage their strengths. And most importantly, I want to SHOW them my love. For whatever reason this has always been a big problem between Caden and I and I’d like to change it. He’s not very affectionate, he doesn’t ever say he loves me (in fact, he usually lists to me everyone he does love and makes sure to never include me), and I often find him just staring at me with completely emotionless looks. I can’t believe how hard he seems sometimes when he’s only four years old. Surely it must be in part, at least, my fault. My goal this year is to never give him doubt of my love for him. And hopefully that’ll help open him up more to me as well.

Be healthier.
Last year was the first year I actually made a true resolution to exercise five days a week. And amazingly, I kept it up for about nine straight months. Before this past year I’ve never made exercise a priority and was pretty proud of myself for being so disciplined. In August I added changes in my eating habits as well when I joined Weight Watchers. This past month and a half, however, I’ve completely lost all motivation for exercise or eating right. And I want to change that. I NEED to change that.

Look for joy in life.
This is a hard one for me. By nature, I’m not a very positive person. I spend much more of my life frustrated, disappointed, angry, and depressed than I ever am happy and hopeful. I let things bother me way too much. I take every slight personally and let it fester and hurt me way more than it should. I complain a lot. And I get angry way too easily. This is a time to change. I want to be happy. I want to laugh and smile. I want to stop letting what other people think of me rule my thoughts. I want joy.

Be a better friend.
Friendship has always been important to me, but I’ve kind of let it fall to the wayside the past few years. Life gets busy and finding time for friends has always been a pretty low priority. I’d like to change that and be more intentional in my friendships, keeping them strong before they have a chance to dissipate. I’d also like to make some new friends. I’m not sure how that will happen since I seem to have no outlets for meeting new people, but I guess I’ll have to try harder to find one. It’s time for friendship to become a higher priority.

Save more money.
This is a pretty simple one. I’d just like to start saving more than I spend. I love to shop – especially online – though I usually end up with a lot more clothes and things that I don’t actually need. This year I want “Save it!” to be the first thing that comes to mind whenever we have any money to spare.

The following are my more tangible goals that seem pretty reasonable and I think I might actually be able to achieve!

Learn to make Annie’s.
My Raggedy Ann obsession is no secret on here. 🙂 For the past few months I’ve been collecting various fabrics and objects with the intention of someday making my own Annie’s. My in-laws gave me a sewing machine for Christmas so now I have no excuse not to start!

Learn how to use my camera properly and take a picture every day.
I’ve said this before, but it’s totally ridiculous after how many photography classes I took in college and how long I’ve been in love with the hobby to not know how to use my digital camera manually. IT’S TIME TO START. I’ve also been reading about different 365 Photo Projects that people do at the start of a new year. I’d like to do that too, making sure I take at least one photo every single day of the year.

Go on a “real” date at least once a month.
There is no reason that Greg and I shouldn’t be able to leave our house and at least go out to dinner together one time a month. We have lots of family around to babysit. We even have one weekday every week when the grandparents take the boys for a few hours. Dates are important. Nurturing our relationship should be one of our highest priorities and with young kids it’s very easy to lose sight of that. This year we will change.

Read at least 110 books.
I love to read. But more and more this past year I found myself choosing tv or pointless internet surfing over a good book. My goal for 2012 was 100 books and I only managed 97. I’m mostly blaming those long months when I was suffering through the Game of Thrones books. I could have read six regular books in the time it took me to get through one of those! Next year reading is going to become more important again.

Write something every day.
Writing is another thing I used to be passionate about and make very little time for these days. I’d like to change that. It should be easy because I have two new quick journals sitting right on front of me on my desk (Q&A a Day and One Line a Day). But I’d also like to go back to regular journal writing. And writing in the journal type books I bought for my boys when I found out I was pregnant with them. And writing more here of course, too!

Well, it’s a mighty list, but I think I can do it. Happy New Year!