Outlet Needed, Desperately

My mind has been a total mess lately. I constantly feel filled to the brim with words and emotions that are desperate to get out. Instead they are trapped inside making me feel crazy and overwhelmed and oftentimes very alone. I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting back into blogging for about a month now. It seemed an easy decision to make, but I couldn’t get around the logistics. The Everyday Crumbs was a big part of my creative process in years past, but with such a big gap since my last post perhaps it made more sense to start anew? In the end, urgency won over the mild desire to start with a fresh page. I need to write. And it seems like such a waste to just let go of all my previous posts on here. It’s a lot of my history, a lot of my struggles and joys as a young mom. I want to hold on to that, and leave it up here in case anybody else can learn something from the battles I’ve fought. Or maybe just look at all the pictures of my adorable kids. ☚

A Reintroduction

With that being said, I feel like I should reintroduce myself. Who I am now versus who I was a few years ago. So, my name is Amy. ☚I turned 32 last month, a birthday that didn’t really phase me the way 30 and 31 did. I’m good with getting slightly older. I’m married to Greg. We celebrated our 10th anniversary this past May with a cross country trip to Charleston. We’ll be celebrating 17 years as a couple this January! We have two kids that keep us constantly, shall we say…challenged. Caden turned 8 in September and is in second grade. He’s a very active kid, a good big brother, a total homebody, and he loves video games and reading. It’s been a joy watching him grow in recent years, but we still have many, many struggles. More on that another day! Shepard is 5 and in kindergarten. He continues to light up our lives and give our rather serious little family a lot of much needed laughter. But he can also be the absolute most stubborn little person in the world. Shepard loves to do just about everything, especially when he can jump in and help with projects the people around him are working on. We also have two kitties, Jack and Rory, who have been part of our family for 11 years now.

This fall has begun a weird and hard to define chapter in my life. I’m still a “stay at home mom,” though both of my kids are in school full time. I have a business sewing primitive dolls, bears, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ve been doing this for over three years and have been anxiously waiting to start working on it full time once the boys were in school. The past few months have showed me that working at home full time is a lot more challenging than I ever expected! I’m easily distracted and can never stop thinking about everything else that needs to be done around the house. But I’m working on it! I love what I do and that I found this creative passion that allows me to continue to stay home for when my kids need me, but still bring in a little extra money.

My other hobbies and interests include reading, baking, walking, listening to podcasts, and setting up our house. We bought our first house in six years this past May and it’s been amazing living in a permanent location that I can decorate and rearrange to perfection. I love, love, LOVE to read. I read in all my spare time and whenever I allow myself a break from cleaning and sewing. Baking has always been a source of immense joy, though I try to keep it to a minimum because while everybody enjoys a good treat, their waistlines don’t and they’re not afraid to tell me that! And finally my newest obsessions – walking and podcasts, always simultaneously. Since moving into town I’ve been taking 2-5 mile walks almost every day and I absolutely love it. And podcasts have opened up this whole new world of information and entertainment that I seriously cannot get enough of. I listen to them all day long and it’s awesome. 

I’m hoping this blog will turn into the creative outlet I really need to clear my mind, get my head on a page, and move forward with my life in a positive direction. I want to continue to share pictures from my family life and celebrations throughout the year. I also want to write in greater depth the things I struggle with on a regular basis. I’d like to occasionally post about awesome recipes I find. And I’d love to share more about my sewing, the books I’ve been reading, and the best podcasts I’ve been listening to. I have a lot to say and not a lot of opportunity to say things out loud. Even if nobody reads this, at least it’s out of my head and that’s all that matters. Enjoy!

15 Years and Other Ramblings

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Last Saturday Greg and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary of being together. Do most people still celebrate the date they met and were sort of together forever after? Probably not, but January 17th was such a big date to us in the six years we were a couple before getting marriage that we didn’t want to let it go. In many ways this anniversary has always felt a little more special to me than our wedding anniversary because it marks such a major change in my life. Plus it’s always a lot more fun to celebrate in the middle of January when nothing else is going on rather than the end of May during Memorial weekend and the end days of school when we’re too busy to focus on our special date.

At any rate, we’ve officially been together for half of our lives. Crazy! I barely remember life before that. It’s always amazed me that the thing that most attracted me to Greg when we first met was how well he interacted with a child. We were working at a fundraiser together and while we were sitting there this little boy kept throwing a ball in our general direction. Every single time Greg would get up and throw it back to him, clearly enjoying himself. Who would have thought that hour in time would so clearly portray our future together. Greg is and has been an amazing dad from the second he became one. I feel so blessed that found each other that day and have been committed to each other ever since. I look forward to still celebrating this day fifty years from now. 🙂

So. On to my “other ramblings.” I am SO fed up with my cpap machine and sleep in general. I used to love that moment every night when I was ready to put my kindle down and know that I’d fall asleep immediately and wake up at 5:00 feeling fully recharged. According to my doctor, at least, that great sleep I always thought I had at night was a lie. With the mild sleep apnea I was having over 40 “episodes” an hour of partially waking up, resulting in my extreme fatigue during the day. Since being on my machine I’ve been averaging about 1.4 per hour which is obviously a significant improvement. Then why does it now feel so hard to sleep?? Why do I wake up feeling so groggy and exhausted? While I’m used to this feeling the majority of the day, I never had it in the mornings.

I’m technically on a three month trial with the machine and am supposed to be putting my absolute best effort into using it so I’ll know beyond a doubt if it helped or not. In the past three weeks I feel like I’ve really tried but I’ve only totally slept through the night once in that time. I’ve been restless, had a hard time falling asleep, had a hard time staying asleep, and most nights I wake up around 2 or 3 and take it off because it feels like too much effort to try and fall back to sleep with it on. The last two nights have suddenly felt like the first few nights where it’s suffocating me and I’m going to die if I don’t take the mask off. The whole thing is just so frustrating!! But…on the other hand…while not actually feeling any better, I HAVE been a lot more active and productive during the day. I’ve been doing so much more, having more willpower, and pushing myself harder than I have in a long time. Is that the result of a better sleep quality, despite how awful it’s felt? I wish I knew. Clearly I’ll continue using it because I want to know if after three months I really do feel better or not. But I hate it. I dread bedtime so much knowing that my exhaustion will continue to fight me through the night with no relief in sight.

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Welcome Back

Well, guys. It’s been awhile. I pretty much gave up blogging this past year. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I was just way too busy trying to make Heartstring Annie a success. There are only so many quiet hours a night to get something done and sewing always won out. And overall, I think it was mostly worth it. Until I began feeling incredibly burnt out, too tired for anything, and basically just very unhappy. These last four months especially, since school started, have been really rough for me. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about my long lost blog for a few weeks now and decided it was worth giving it another shot. Mostly just for my own cathartic purposes, not really for the entertainment of others. Unless you’re interested of course, then have at it. 🙂 

My relationship with Caden hasn’t changed much. I went through some major sadness over him starting kindergarten. Not so much because I was going to miss him. But because I felt like my time to truly mother him was over and I failed. Completely. I tried to cheer myself up with the fact that at least since we’re not with each other every minute of the day anymore, maybe the time we do spend together will be worth more. We’ll connect better. And…it’s not happening. He’s so crabby after school. The only thing he wants from me is a snack and to leave him alone to watch tv or play (fight) with Shepard. He doesn’t want to answer any of my questions, he has no interest in actually doing anything with me. And once Greg gets home I may as well be invisible. So things are rough. I can’t decide if it’s just because he’s overly tired or what, but he’s so upset about everything all the time. It worries me so much that he’s six years old and his overruling emotion seems to be anger. It scares me how much I look at him and see myself. But myself NOW. Just like me he feels everything so deeply, expresses himself out of anger without thinking, and seems to deeply regret it, but not know how to deal with that other than self loathing. Which only turns into more anger directed at everyone else. I feel like I ruined him not only because I failed at being a good mom, I also managed to pass on all my bad mental attitudes. I love him, but he makes it so hard some days.

And Shepard. My ray of sunshine – most of the time. He’s developed quite a bit of his own attitude these past few months. He is about the most stubborn child on earth when he sets his mind against doing something. Of course it’s always at the worst possible moments too. For example this morning, while we were running late for school, he decided that he absolutely was not going to get his winter clothes on by himself. He always manages to find the worst times to throw these stubborn fits. But the rest of the time he’s still a pretty happy little guy. Whereas Caden has so much of my personality, Shepard has so much of Greg’s. Both such comedians. Usually very easygoing and happy. My favorite thing about Shepard, which I’m trying so hard to always see as a good thing, is how helpful he wants to be. Especially in the kitchen. He wants to help me with EVERYTHING. Literally, everything. And even though it takes a lot longer, it’s always a whole lot messier, I let him help. His desire to be by my side will probably not last long and I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Things with me personally have not been that great. Like I said before, I started getting very burnt out this fall. I pretty much gave up on sewing and trying to keep up with Heartstring Annie in the way I wanted. My biggest problem has been total exhaustion. I am so tired every day that I cannot function through the afternoon without a nap. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve had a nap every afternoon for a year and a half now. And I’m still dead tired, no motivation to do anything, pretty much ever. I finally decided to do something about it in October and went to see a doctor. She did a huge number of blood tests and everything came back looking normal. Which lead to me a sleep study – one of the worst nights of my life. The sleep study revealed that I have very mild sleep apnea, but I didn’t qualify for a cpap machine so I better just get used to feeling this way. Which was pretty devastating news since I was already at my rope’s end. But a few weeks later my doctor pulled through and managed to convince the insurance company to give me a three month trial with a cpap machine. I was so excited – until I tried it. It’s been a week and a half now and though it’s getting easier, it’s definitely not easy. The first few days I felt like it was trying to kill me. Forcing air into me with no way to let the air out, essentially drowning me. At least that’s how it’s felt. Finally in the last couple of days I’ve been able to keep it in most of the night, but I wake up so often. I feel more tired than ever and have little hope it’ll ever actually make me feel better.

I feel like the lack of energy is making all my other problems feel so much worse than they are. But…it’s been a very trying couple of months. I’m usually okay most days. But I have other days that feel like such a battle just to get through them in one piece. This is such a lonely season of life. I’m alone almost all the time. I mean, I have Shepard with me all but the four hours a week he’s in preschool. But he’s three. Greg gets home at night and spends every minute with the boys until they go to bed and then just wants a break by himself. Which is totally understandable. He’s an amazing dad, but every night I end up feeling like such an outsider. The three of them are all so obsessed with video games and legos and there just doesn’t seem to be a place for me, other than the provider of meals. This school year has also opened up a lot of new friendships for me and while I totally appreciate that I have them, I also feel like it’s almost worse because these people have been placed in my life but I can never really see them. I’m struggling to figure out how friendship truly works without more than a two minute conversation a day. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I just can’t figure out how to hang out and connect with people because everyone is so busy with their own families. And while I obviously have a family too, I’m NOT busy. I’m never busy! I spend pretty much every night in my room reading or watching tv wishing I could at least occasionally go out to dinner with somebody the way life used to be before everyone had kids. I’m available almost every weekend wishing I could invite somebody to something – anything! – but sure that everyone else is surely too busy for me, for the kind of friendship I miss so much. So in the end I try to make do by getting out on my own. It helps me preserve my sanity, but obviously doesn’t fill the gap of friendship.

Anyway, that’s where I am in life right now. It sounds really depressing! But I’m trying to make things better. Getting that cpap machine was my first step. With better quality sleep I will hopefully have a foundation for everything else. I have a lot of other minor steps I’m starting to take to get control of my life again too. I’m sewing again and actually enjoying it. I’m hoping to get the business going at a pretty good speed, but without pushing myself too far. I’ve also been pouring over new cookbooks and blogs trying to find different foods and recipes that make me actually excited to get in the kitchen three times a day. I want the meals I prepare to be fun and a blessing instead of stressful and burdensome. And finally I’m trying to just be aware of what I need and when I need it. Taking more time and effort to actually connect with the people in my life instead of always hiding inside myself. Not sewing at all for a day if I don’t honestly feel the desire to do so. At any rate…it’s a start. I’m hoping 2015 will be a whole lot better than the last year.

New Years Resolution

As usual, I have spent the last week contemplating what I’ve done in the past year and where I’d like to be a year from now. I was re-reading what I wrote last year at this time and realized I did a pretty bad job following through on most of what I had hoped to accomplish. In fact, I can probably say that I failed miserably with all of my resolutions. I did not forgive my children very easily, I did not accept them for who they were, I was not healthier – in fact I was probably the least healthy I’ve ever been. I did not look for or find much joy in my life. I wasn’t a very good friend, instead retreating even further into isolation. And I didn’t save any money. Yeah, I definitely failed with all of that.

The tangible goals I set for myself went a little better. Learning how to make Annie’s was my main goal. I definitely succeeded on that one! It took me until the middle of April to start, but once I figured out what to do, I had a blast. I started Heartstring Annie and actually feel like I was pretty successful with it by the last four months of the year. Sales have been pretty good considering the amount of time I’m able to put into it right now.

I did okay with my other goals. I still haven’t learned to use my camera properly, but I did do the 365 Day project for HALF of the year. Then the Annie stuff took off and my camera fell far to the wayside. I didn’t read 110 books, but I read a lot of longer books than I usually read. I think my final total for the year was eighty-seven. 34,195 pages (I know this because I was having a competition with Greg and we had to use page count to be more accurate since he reads much longer books than me. I won. Five times more reading – hah!). The one date a month thing didn’t exactly work out. I forgot to actually think about it. And writing something every day – I tried. I had a couple of books to work through, but when day after day I was writing such negative and hopeless statements I decided to give up. I didn’t really want a reason to look back and remember this time in my life.

To be honest, 2013 was a really bad year for me. I was depressed, unhappy, angry, and just very sad. I’ve felt like a horrible mother, an inadequate wife, a bad friend, and overall a pretty worthless human being. I don’t want to dwell on this anymore because the year is over. Instead I want to look ahead to 2014 and hopefully a much happier year.

With that in mind, I only have one real resolution for the year:

Do whatever it takes to stop having so many bad days.

I want to smile and laugh a lot more this year. I want to be present in my life instead of always trying to hide away from it. I want to go to bed every night feeling good about how I spent my day rather than drowning in regret. I truly what to do whatever it takes to stop having bad day after bad day after bad day. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few days and I’ve come up with a list of things I can work on to make this happen. So not goals in themselves, but tools to help me achieve my overall goal.

  • Listen to my children. I blow them off SO often. Way too often. When Shepard carries a board game to me ten times in a day, I should probably take the hint and get on the floor and play it with him. When Caden asks me for months when I’m going to go to school with him like some of the other moms, I should do whatever I can to make that happen for him. It’s not really a mystery to find ways to make your kids happy. Listen. They’re pretty obvious about what they want.
  • Read more nonfiction. I used to make myself read a chapter or two of nonfiction every day. And by nonfiction I usually mean inspirational books that nurture my relationship with God, my husband, or my kids. This requirement of myself has been all but forgotten in the past year. I want to get back to it. There are so many books out there that could lift me up and help me to be a better person. Fiction is wonderful, but I don’t want to use all of my reading time simply escaping the real world.
  • Take better care of myself. Laying around doing nothing all day but stuff myself with unhealthy food isn’t doing much to help my mood or my body! I don’t have any drastic plans, but I want to simply make better choices this year. Exercise when a twenty minute gap in my schedule appears. Keep more fruits and vegetables stocked in the fridge where I can easily grab them when I start getting hungry. Move more. Try harder. Do what I can.
  • Be present. This is a big one for me. Instead of dealing with my problems I tend to just retreat inside myself, my computer, my books, etc. so I don’t have to think about things anymore. I want to stop that. I want to deal with that’s around me head on, even if it’s not going to be pleasant. I’d also like to just start enjoying the opportunities I do have, but often walk away from. I have a very bad habit of disappearing when Greg walks in the door at night because I’m so overwhelmed by my kid problems. I don’t want to do that anymore. At least not every single night. We have so many chances to bond and laugh as a whole family and I’d like to start taking advantage of that.
  • Stop unnecessary spending. I love online shopping. So many deals and it’s so easy to do. But the truth of the matter is that more than half of what I buy online I really do not need. It seems like a great idea at the time and usually by the time whatever I ordered arrives I regret wasting my money on yet another thing. This is the year I want to start asking myself every time a “good deal” comes up if it’s more important than buying a house. Because the answer is probably always going to be no. It’s been three and a half years now since we’ve owned a house and I’m starting to really miss it. I’ve reached the point where I really think we need more space, but there’s nothing we can do about that unless I stop spending money.
     
  • Dream more. Dreaming is something I’ve kind of given up on this past year because nothing I really wanted seemed possible, so why think about it, right? I don’t want that attitude anymore. I’d like to take a few minutes a day to think about my future and what I want out of it. Even if it’s unlikely to ever happen, I can still entertain the possibility. 

Well, I think this is a pretty simple resolution for the year. The tools I listed might not feel simple to implement all at once, but they are all doable. I can do this. I don’t want to have another miserable year. It’s the beginning of a new year, the perfect chance to step up and try harder at changing my life to the way I know it can be.

Struggling

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!

Muscles.

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!