Adjusting to the new

I finished my first full week at my new job! Honestly, I’ll be happy when the new job is old habit and the routine is “normal” to me. Everyone says change is hard and I won’t discount that. But, something tells me that spending 10 1/2 years at a job makes this change a little harder than someone who has considerably less time in. Or stays at the same company. 

I thought I’d probably spend the first couple of weeks too busy to fully realize the life change. And maybe enjoying the one job thing so much that I wasn’t thinking about the old. {That’s my style. Deny & ignore.} I have a lot of work to do in the new job so I didn’t expect the first few days to be so hard. Mentally hard. I thought I’d be blissfully ignorant of my major life change. Monday came around and it was so quiet. Not that my team was loud, but I was missing the sound of voices. I used to have a lot of meetings too, which made it hard to get anything done but it filled the quiet air. I hear people but it’s the public or people unlocking their office doors. It’s different when you have no connection to what people are saying. It’s not comforting noise like in a workplace. Basically, I’m going to know every pop song lyric for the rest of time. And I might become that girl in her office singing…OR TALKING TO HERSELF! 

It’s so intriguing to me how a job can mess with your core. How it can make you crave personal contact so much. How it made me view all areas of my life with a gloomy perspective. Then again, I’m a pretty social person who was used to being so busy I barely had time to think. {Which only intensified once I had two job responsibilities.} I’m not used to a wide open schedule. I have a few deadlines next week and I was feeling that familiar anxiety as I contemplated bringing the work home. Until I looked at my calendar for Monday and realized I have one meeting at the end of the day. That means I get to spend the work days getting things done! {Maybe this change won’t be so hard…}

Something clicked on Wednesday and I found my groove again. It was glorious! My mood was sunshiny and bright and I was happy in all areas of my life. I am struggling with the fact that one area can touch so many others and impact my life. I didn’t realize that being able to do things that I was used to would bring my confidence back. Like sending out a message to my softball team about a tournament or coordinating a girls weekend to Kansas City. Things that Kyley does and Kyley can still do. It may be from a different office and email address, but I’m still me. This seems like basic stuff, but my brain has been SO full this summer that those things were always last priority and usually last minute. I enjoy being the organizer and I was finally able to get back to my pre-chaotic planner self! 

We joke at our house that Bryan is a total Type A personality and needs to feel control in all situations. The truth is I do too. I just go about it differently. Mine doesn’t look the same as his so it’s not as obvious. I have certain areas I don’t need to control so it looks like I’m a free spirit. I’m not. {Or I am if you compare me to an engineer! 😉} 

I’ve struggled with my transition because I don’t know EXACTLY what it looks like. It was a cloudy image of something I couldn’t touch. I drove to the right office every day, and it’s starting to feel more like my place, but it’s still not my normal. I know it’ll come, but I want to fast-forward through all those feelings and get there right now! Because it’s unsettling to be in a new situation. And I like to be in control of my mind. 

A sense of peace has come over me this weekend. I’m not spending my Sunday feeling anxious because I’ve already done that first full week. I’ve already had my first board meeting and a lot of other firsts. Now it’s just getting into my groove. Getting used to scheduling meetings via phone or email instead of an Outlook calendar. Not being able to chat with someone via messenger because I’m not part of a company. And parking in really small public parking spaces. 

Five or six weeks ago I wasn’t sure what any of this was going to look like. I was terrified and felt like I was losing control of my life quickly. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I have a better idea now. Time heals, even when you don’t think it actually will. This has definitely been an exercise is patience and faith. I know I could and should have done a million things differently, but I’ve never done things the easy way. This is my journey and I wouldn’t change any of the struggles and pains. If it weren’t for half of my struggles, I wouldn’t have realized how amazing my friends really are. When you’re in a crisis situation, you see how much your friends hold you up when you need them. 

Here’s to week two! 

Struggles with being and doing it all

On the eve of Maximus’ 6th birthday I’m left feeling a little deflated. My feet feel like dead weight kind of deflated. I spent the day vacuuming, sorting toys, organizing toys, and putting all things kid away. In between that I stopped to have a beer and buy party supplies. {The beer was extra delicious!} I haven’t planned a single thing for this party, but that’s the season of life I’m in right now. Maximus changed his mind twice on his cake, from Lego to Batman. And that means I’m not baking a cake this year. I’m too exhausted with life to feel bad about it. I’m looking at it as one less thing I have to do. 

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad timing that today I feel like I finally have the words to describe my struggles this summer. It’s a mix between being tired of doing It All and wanting some kind of recognition for doing It All. I know I’m not alone in any of this and having small kids only makes it all seem more crazy. But half the time I want recognition that I do a crap ton of stuff. That not everyone can do as much as me. {As I’m writing this I’m realizing that I need to tell my friends they are awesome. I can think of a lot of people who fit this description and I need to build them up.} Most days it feels like no one in my house can pick anything up. It’s utterly exhausting to just look around at all the things I pick up day-after-day. I’m trying really hard to raise boys who clean up after themselves but most days it seems like I’m talking to myself. {Please, no suggestions on how to have kids help around the house…} We make one good step forward and then someone {Quinten} is spreading tooth paste all over the bathroom like an animal. 

Clothes, toys, papers from daycare, and shoes. Every where. Every room I go into has something that belongs to a little person. All surfaces are constantly covered in things that belong plus random clutter. It’s like constant visual noise and it hurts my brain some days. I used to escape by watching shows at night. This summer I’ve found my escape to be my bed. For the most part, it’s a kid-free zone. 

It feels like the weight of all my responsibilities is finally getting to me. I’ve had plenty of pity parties over the past six years. Most of them have been about missing my freedom. Missing the carefree lifestyle and missing my individual identity. This feels different. It’s like I want a break from all of them. It’s a lot of hard work being a mom, wife, employee, boss, and volunteer. It’s really hard to be on from the moment you wake up until the second your mind finally shuts down at night. 

The things I can beat myself up about the most seem to be the ones that I want to escape from the most. Parenting and all the wife duties of taking care of our home. I should do more and be more. Yet, I find myself wanting to do nothing. I want to escape. On our girls trip, I so creatively coined the term “not adulting.” It’s been overused all spring and summer. It’s code for, I need a break from all of this so can we please go out for a drink {or 4}. 

I feel like I’m in Groundhog’s Day. Except it’s pleading with small children about the same things, picking up the same toys, washing the same clothes, making the same foods, putting the same dishes away EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, and doing the same bedtime routine every night. Even our weekly activities are the same – softball nights or band practice night. It’s so routine that I never know what day of the week it is. They all look the same. 

I’ve never felt like I needed spontaneity in my life but this routine and constant responsibilities seem to be doing me in right now. It’s a season, I know it is. That doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not even finding comfort in my friends who send out cries of non-adulting pleas. No solidarity pledge from me. Unless we’re escaping for a night, it’s not doing either of us good to know we both need out. It can be a suffocating feeling. And when I feel suffocated, I disengage with life. I solely exist in bodily form but can’t be expected to engage in meaningful conversation or do much but be there. 

I know I’m not more special than the next struggling mom. I’m not writing this to say I am. I’m writing this because I’m sure there are many who can relate to this feeling. I don’t know how to solve it. While the snaps from friends that say this sucks don’t help, I think our conversations do. There is comfort in talking with someone about the struggles. When people connect about struggling with all the parent responsibilities, it makes us feel less like we’re failing. Makes us feel more normal and ok with this phase. As long as we know everyone finds this hard, then we’ll make it through. Plus, find yourself a tribe who can not adult with you. Preferrably one who can help you have the best time of your life on those days or nights that you can escape! And added bonus if you can pretend to not adult while the kids run around and you drink an adult beverage. 

Saying goodbye to naptimes

Life is always changing, especially with small children in the house. I still remember the realization {and sadness} that one of my children was dropping his nap. It was a rough transition for me. That was MY time and then he was invading it, loudly. In an effort to make sure the little one slept, we let Maximus stay in the living room. {One too many ruined naps because he couldn’t be quiet.} 

MY time used to be anything I wanted it to be…naps, catching up on shows, eating junk food…ok those were about the only things I used to do. But it was glorious! Now that time looks a lot different. We recently implemented iPad WITH HEADPHONES. It’s a lifesaver for me. Maximus can watch Axel and Family Fun as much as he wants and I can have quiet time. It’s a big improvement over annoying cartoons. 

By the time naptime comes around I am ready for a break. My heels usually hurt from spending the morning going and standing in my kitchen. {I know, poor weak office worker. It’s really a thing.}  

BRB. Quinten just woke up. A two-hour nap is pretty amazing lately. He is a SIGHT. Blonde hair going EVERY direction. And now the iPad volume is back. But I didn’t even have to remind him to let his brother watch, which is a miracle in itself. We’re struggling with sharing and including our brother in things. Huh. Peppa Pig Santa. Ok then. 

While we seem to have figured out Maximus’ naptime, I haven’t quite figured it out for me. I could clean, workout, do laundry, read, write, or go grocery shopping. I’m not good at getting up early on weekends so I almost always need to get my workout in. Almost everything feels like a job or responsibility and when naptime comes around I just don’t wanna. Grocery shopping is the least ideal one because then I get zero rest all day. {Whoops, sounding like I can’t function without resting.} And cleaning sounds like the most adulting thing to do. Honestly, I usually am already doing laundry. I sit down on the couch to let it finish, the couch swallows me up, and I listen in annoyance as the dryer continuously fluffs as if it’s taunting me to get the clothes before they wrinkle. 

I make a lot of poor choices during naptime, but sometimes I have enough energy left to do a Body Pump workout. Mostly, I social media for an hour or so. {It’s 2016, it’s a verb now.} When I decide to close my eyes, an alarm must sound in Quinten’s room because he comes stumbling out shortly after. And then I’m annoyed again and feeling all sorts of helpless and poor me-like. 

What are you doing during quiet or nap time? 

While on Christmas break, naptimes have been between 1-3 hours. Once we get back into a routine, I expect him to drop down to an hour. It’s like these kids like to constantly make me adjust and change with them! Why can’t they realize that naps are awesome and that we should all do them for 2-4 hours every day?! So now I really need to use my time wisely. I think I’ll focus on writing and reading. Things I can do while being lazy and drinking lattes on the couch. I think that will be my creative focus for 2016. More reading and writing. Less adulting? Just kidding, more efficient adulting so I can enjoy my quiet time without being a lazy couch monster. 


Liebster Award

I’ve been trying to find the time and energy to start writing again. I’m a bit {kind of lot} overwhelmed with life right now so it’s been a little difficult. I logged in today to work on something I started a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise, I had a comment from Kelsi @ babiesfirstyear. She nominated me for the Liebster Award. I didn’t have any idea what it was, so I did a little research {IE, Google looking}. Thanks so much Kelsi for thinking of me and nominating me for this award!

From what I see, this award is passed around the blogging community to people with fewer than 200 followers as a way to tell others about the blogs you enjoy reading. It’s a way to get to know one another. So thank you, Kelsi! The rules are to post 11 facts about you and answer 11 questions that have been given. Then, of course, nominate others.

11 Facts About Me:

  • I hate winter but live in the Midwest.
  • Not surprisingly, I love summer. I could sit out in the sun and sweat for hours.
  • Most of my life I was shy, but I ended up in a leadership position managing people.
  • I have two energetic boys – 4 1/2 and 2.
  • I’m not a morning person.
  • I drive a minivan and am still not a minivan “person.”
  • We follow the Dave Ramsey way of life. We pay in cash and save our money if we want something.
  • We have a Beagle who is cute, cuddly, and annoying because he barks so much.
  • I’ve been on the Board of Directors for my local hospice home – Iowa River Hospice – for four years.
  • I’m the VP of the Board this year.
  • I’m serving as co-chair for a local benefit for the hospice home and American Cancer Society.

My 11 Questions to Answer:

1) “Kids say the darnest things.”  What is something your child has said recently that made you laugh. Maximus, age 4. “Mommy, how old is grandpa? Oh! Mommy, you and grandpa are the same age!”

2) What is your favorite vacation spot? Vacation isn’t really a thing in our house. However, I really did love our honeymoon to Cancun. My idea of a vacation is the sun and a book.

3) What object is closest to you on your right?  Could you use it to defend yourself? A hightop chair. Yup, could definitely use it to defend myself. It’s gotten my toes a few times and I can confirm that it’s a useful weapon.

4) If you had an hour to do anything you wanted, what would you do? I would take a nap.

5) What is your favorite blog post you have written?  Leave a link! Out of my current year, I pick one about struggling mama’s. I see you over there with your tired eyes and noisy toddler.

6) If you could have someone else do one household chore what would it be? Pick up the house every night – the toys and papers and SOCKS.

7) Would you rather live on a beach or in a city? Retiring {next week} to a beach would be Am-a-zing!

8) Where do all the socks go? Every room in the house. Or, at daycare, the register.

9) Do you enjoy reading books or watching movies more? Reading.

10) Be honest, when reading to your children, do you skip words? 99.8% of the time I read every word. There is only one or two books in the house that I despise.

11) How do you find time to blog? Since Maximus stopped going into his room for quiet time, I don’t.

I nominate:

Amanda @ Delightfully Balanced
Sara @ Vanneste Family Blog
Kara @ The Kinser Life
Megan @ The Ratnam Residence


Your 11 Questions to Answer:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What’s your nighttime routine?
  3. If you just answered what you do with children at bedtime, what’s YOUR nighttime routine?
  4. What’s your favorite season? Why?
  5. If you had a week off and unlimited funds, where would you go?
  6. What’s the last thing you did for yourself?
  7. What’s your favorite book?
  8. What advice would you give 21-year-old you?
  9. What’s your favorite recipe?
  10. Where do you want to be in 10 years?
  11. How do you find time to blog?

Leave your link in my comments so we can all read your answers!

It’s ok, I’ve got your back.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve realized that I really enjoy being there for my friends. I know that seems silly to say out loud. It seems like one of those givens in life. Maybe it’s been a while since I was reminded that I have a purpose outside of my family and job. Being there for my friends makes me feel really good. And who doesn’t like to feel good about themselves?! In what is the craziest, most chaotic phase of my life, doing something and feeling good about it is a pretty big deal. My hands are in so many things right now that I have this cloud hanging over me. It feels like I’m doing an ok job at everything. Things get done but not the way I’d do it if I had an infinite number of free hours to think and plan.

I’m sitting in the bathroom watching Quinten hum a song and congratulate himself on a job well done. I’ve got a lot of great things in my life, but those great things are also causing me a lot of pain and work. It’s nice to be able to be there for someone else. To help them with something. Seems a little like another “thing to do,” but it’s just different. Maybe that’s a sign that I’ve been too busy and I need social interaction!

If Quinten has taught me anything lately, it’s that some days you have to congratulate yourself. Don’t wait for others to do it. Recognize when you’ve done something good and feel happy for yourself. Let your friends tell you thank you and know that they mean it. After all, only the special friends have your back.

{Creative Writing} The crisp fall air

The cool, crisp air brushed across my face as I walked briskly toward my car. The leaves crunched and rustled under my quickening footsteps. I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my keys. Quickly pushing the unlock button as I approached my black sedan. I put one foot on the running board and tossed my bags onto the passenger seat as I swung myself into the car. The wind picked up as I pulled the door shut. I shivered as the autumn air danced and moved with the stale, warm air of the car. I glanced around at the empty parking lot with a feeling of nostalgia.

I remembered like it was yesterday. The feeling of the sun on my cheeks as I slowly walked through that same parking lot. I was happier then. Especially on one particularly hot humid day. It was like any other day except it’s engrained in my memory. The way the sun bounced off the pavement into my eyes, the way the wind blew our hair into our eyes, our slow steady pace towards my car. We didn’t have anywhere to be. It was one of my favorite memories. We didn’t have a care in the world. We both left our stresses behind us in that big red brick building. We had the weekend ahead of us. She said something funny and I threw back my head and soaked in the sun. It went all the way to my toes. I remember thinking that some day I’d want to feel that exact way again. I knew I’d be in the depths of sinking. All too soon the world around me would be dark. I’d struggle to find the drive to put one foot in front of the other. I knew I’d muster up the courage, somehow I always did. I thought that next time it would be different. Next time, I told myself, I’ll think back to this happy memory. I’ll close my eyes and bring myself back to this place. I’ll feel the sun on my arms, the summer breeze on my legs, and the sound of my sandals as I walked across the pavement.

I blinked and I was back in that empty parking lot. There was an autumn glow of orange as the sun set behind the building. I put my keys in the ignition and slowly turned it on while methodically putting on my seat belt. It was all second-nature. I’d done it so many times over the past 15 years. I took one last glance around to make sure it was really gone. The building was locked and no one was around. I put my car in drive and watched in my rearview mirror as the big red brick building faded away into the distance.

I barely remember the drive home. Two stop signs and a stop light. My foot moved back and forth from the brake to the accelerator. There was a steady stream of traffic that seemed to know I was in a different place. The slow pace matched my heavy heart. Dread filled my chest and it became harder to breathe. I rolled the window down and felt the crisp air slap my face. It stung. My eyes watered and my breath caught in my throat. I instinctively turned the radio up. I don’t remember the song. It didn’t matter anyway. I needed a distraction. I needed something to pull me out of the deep valley of my soul. I needed something to give me the will to go on. I heard the distinctive sound of my phone ringing. I searched through my pocket and pulled it out to see her name in bold letters on my screen. I muted the radio and put her on speaker. “Hey!” I said with a mix of excitement and sorrow. “Hey, friend! I miss you!” That was all it took to pull me out of that dark place. Five little words helped me shake the cobwebs from my head. I rolled up the window and put a smile on my face. “I miss you too!” I said. “I was just thinking about that hot summer day last year when you were in town. We had so much fun that weekend!” She chuckled as I turned the car onto my street. I flicked the button on the garage door opener and pulled into my spot. I turned the car off and sat with the keys in my hand. I don’t know how long we talked. Maybe it was a long time or maybe it wasn’t. All that matters is that she pulled me out of the darkness once again. I got out of the car and open the door to my house, I was ready to face my family once again.