Friday, December 27, 2013

Ballin' on a budget

Spending some time on this last Friday of 2013 thinking about some ways to get better organized before school starts back up. With Jake working all hours of the week, me being in nursing school and starting my new job at the hospital and the kids being in school and daycare... well, I may die if we don't get better at organization. Maybe it is my OCD, maybe it is just the inability to function any longer in what I affectionately refer to as my organized chaos. Either way, I am going to schedule every detail of our lives that I possibly can, to make the crazy, unscheduled parts slightly more bearable.

My first go-to when trying to figure out how to do something new is not the wonderful critical thinking skills I keep locked away in the back of my brain. It is Google. Google knows everything. I mean seriously, you can Google anything and you will get a billion responses. I love Google and Google loves me and if I could, I would marry it. That being said, Google has not come through for me this time. There are simply not a lot of resources out there when you Google things like "Large family organization," or "Meals for large families on a budget."

I would think that in this day in age where I can sit and type this ridiculous blog of mine, there would be some other crazy lady out there with a litter of kids doing the same thing. The only things I can find are from women who either a.) have waaaaaay more money than I do and live in a furniture catalog/movie set or b.) Have many children, but only blog about homeschooling and feeding the chickens. Nothing wrong with either of those things, they just don't apply here.

The meal planning blogs I find are all filled with ideas for things like 'Salmon Salad with Parsley and Capers' or 'Spinach Infused Penne Pasta with Ricotta Cheese.' Sure they're probably decent and healthy options, but what kid is really going to eat that crap? and I don't even know what the hell a Caper is. Can I buy them at Aldi, because if I can't, it ain't gonna happen.

I need some direction on how to be a real life, ballin' on a budget, inner city mom of 5 picky ass kiddos.

So, I guess I will create my own. I am going to unlock my critical thinking box, bring it to the front of my brain, and let it loose. Today I am working on a menu plan and I hope to find the time to share my findings and ideas here on my blog so that other real life, middle class, working moms can have a good search return when they go to Google.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Well, it's December and you know what that means... time for my annual "I'm a grinch, I hate the holidays" blog post. Aren't you excited?

Thanksgiving was really good this year. I only had brief moments of wanting to kill myself. Much better than the usual 28 hours. You know, because the 4 hours leading up to the impending doom of turkey day are also plain awful. I don't know. Just roll with it.

Here is my problem. I grew up hating holidays. When I say grew up, I mean like age 12 and up. Could have been sooner, but when you're 8 all you care about is presents and candy, so it probably wasn't that bad yet. Year after year was just torture. Listening to my parents complain and argue. Visiting people I hadn't seen since the last time we ate ham together and they made judgmental comments that weren't meant to offend but always did. Driving through snow and cold and sitting in a corner for hours because I never felt like I belonged with these people. I hate the pressure of the holidays. Buying gifts for people you barely know. Being forced to open gifts in front of everyone and pretending to like their presents to you, but you actually don't. Okay, not always, but don't act like its never happened to you. When I got married it got so much better. I was not forced to spend the holidays as grumpy as my family always was. I was not forced to drive anywhere. I was not forced to do anything. Yet, here I sit, still as grumpy as ever. It was ingrained in me. It is a hard thing to change the way you've been for 28 years.

I know I am 29, I don't count the first year. Seriously, how grumpy can a baby be?

It is also a hard time for me to be happy. Everyone surrounded by loved ones, going on and on about family. I have a great family, but the supposed-to-be happiness only serves as a reminder of what I don't have. Poor me. I know. 

Now that I have kids and a family of my own, I know I have to stop this craziness. I have a chance for all new traditions and memories and experiences. Of course, I exaggerate a little when I talk about being a grinch. It isn't like I walk around sulking the entire month of December, but inside me the feeling are still there. I don't enjoy the holidays the way you're supposed to. I just go through the motions. I am happy when my kids are happy. I have found new ways to make them enjoy the holidays and that is a lot of fun. I am slowly, slowly getting there. 

When my parents left, and dad later died, it left a hole. A hole that is often filled with hatred at certain times. Times that are supposed to be about family are always slightly ruined by my hole. I have filled that hole with many feelings, lots of prozac, and enough food to feed a small village, but there it stays. I suppose it always will. I mean, what kind of person gets over their mom just leaving them? I guess it is somewhat normal. I have been told that I have a family and I should be grateful for that, and not dwell on the past. Well, kind-hearted person who has never been abandoned, it isn't that easy. Some days I just want to have a mom. I want to be close to someone and call them when I have good news or call them when I am sad and need a friend. Hang out with them and go to lunch, or whatever else moms and daughters do. Some days I want a real relationship with people who share my blood and not some half-assed 'we-get-along-but-none-of-us-know-how-to-communicate,' because what the hell is communication?

I have been blessed by so many people in my life. My in-laws who would do anything in the world for us. Friends at church that I know would do the same. My "mom" Angie, who loves me unconditionally, and even lets me call her and cry when I need a friend. My friend Jessica who is like a sister to me. I don't know what I would do without her. My dearest Tricia. An unlikely friendship, yet the best I think I have ever had. A text at 3am always gets a response, because neither of us ever sleep. She always knows how to fix me in every way, because she's just that good. Or maybe because she's a lot like me. My husband and my kids. Love like I could never have imagined. What a cliche thing to say, but seriously. When you grow up feeling like a burden, you don't get to experience what unconditional love feels like. They have shown me the power of love in ways that I never thought were possible. These kids... wow. They wear me out every single day, but I make sure to always hold them tight and say I love you. I don't ever want them to wonder if I do. I know I have amazing people in my life. I am trying to get better at acknowledging them and that they are real and do love me for me. I am trying to fill my hole with new, happy memories and experiences. I am thankful for the people who are, mostly unknowingly, helping me to do that. And with that, maybe I will be a little less grinchy this year. We'll see.


Friday, October 11, 2013

It was a long summer...

Fall is here. My very favorite time of year. I am always so, so happy to see summer disappear. This year, that could not be more true. I will not embellish the details, but this was the longest summer of my life. Full of pain and heartache and lots of sunshine. I am glad to see it go.

Things are mostly getting back to normal around here. There are "those days" sometimes, but I have a feeling there will always be "those days." At least for a good while. I am happy that those days are turning more and more just into "those hours" or "those moments." Much improvement from "those weeks."

I know you don't follow. It's okay. Just know, in short, things are getting better.

I am learning to love myself. I am learning to take every day as a new day. I am learning to be content with what surrounds me. These things are so much harder than anything I am learning in school. Thankful there is no exam over my life. I would, without a doubt, fail.

Fall break is upon us, and so is Exam #2, in this hell we call nursing school. The semester is half way over. I have straight A's so far. Or whatever you call it when you're taking two classes. I feel like this is where I should enter things about all the hard work and effort I am putting into school. How much homework and studying I am doing. How stressful nursing school is or whatever. Whelp. Hate me all you want, I am doing exactly none of those things. I have yet to read an entire chapter of the book. I listen to lectures and take notes. That's about it. Even missed a couple of those. I have studied a combined total of about 8 hours this semester. For both classes. Maybe. Possible overestimation. Seriously. 

I never get to throw it in anyone's face or enjoy being smart. It's kind of a rotten thing to do, I guess. I get the "we hate you" look often, as though I can help that I naturally don't have to study, already have a medical degree, and have lots of experience with a weird family medical history. Whatever. I'll enjoy being able to do whatever I want all week, study a couple of hours on Thursday and still get the best grade in the class.

I think I am officially in a bitchy mood. Bring on the rest of Friday night.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It is real

I am positive there are people in the world that think depression isn't real. They think you can just "snap out of it." There are others who think it is all about them. "You can't possibly be unhappy for no reason at all, so you must hate me." Also, not even close.

A truly depressed person could literally have it all, look around, and be sad inside. Trust me, I know.

More than 19 million people suffer from clinical depression in the United States. That's 1 in 10. That statistic drops to 1 in 8 when we're talking about just women. 

I have suffered from depression and anxiety disorder since I was 15 years old. That's almost half of my life. I have attempted suicide once, thought about it much more. I have turned to drugs. I have turned to alcohol. I have seen several therapists and been on many medications. There have been so many times when I have told myself to just snap out of it. Mental illness is one of the hardest things to understand.

My anxiety has been under control pretty well for the last few years. I have learned techniques to cope and use music. I know what a panic attack is and can deal so much better. The depression, on the other hand, sneaks up when I am not looking and takes over. 

This year has been absolutely life changing. I have gotten to do some awesome things, and just the same I have done some really, really stupid things. I have broken hearts and lost credibility. I won't play the victim, because I am not, but it has been an emotional roller coaster and gigantic mess. I am trying to work through thoughts and heartache. Trying to rebuild and recover. It's just not that easy for me and I while I know that it is hard to understand. I just wish people would pick up a book or an internet article and try to.

Eventually you'll see me

When you're a wife and a mother you come last. You just do. It is the rule. It is stated right in that little instruction book you get at those milestones in your life. Oh... wait.

I am tired of being last, and I feel terrible about it. It turns out when you're a wife and a mother, you also feel guilty and selfish anytime you actually think about yourself. At least I do. Maybe I am just crazy.

I am tired of being last. I am tired of working all hours of the day taking care of everyone and everything only to be reminded that I don't actually work. I am tired of being ignored and smothered all at the same time. I am tired of being unappreciated. I am tired of being surrounded by humans and always feeling alone. Tired of being misunderstood. Most of all, I am just tired. Worn down to the nub.

I hear of mothers or fathers who have left and run away and I think to myself, "how awful," and then I think about how jealous I am. What a terrible feeling. Like you can never, ever get away. Like there is no end in sight. Like this life will never change and the only option is to abandon it. I, and most, could never do that, but who as a mother does not simply understand it?

The other option is to change it. I'm finding that change just feels like a band-aid that lasts a couple of weeks and then slowly peels away from the skin. It needs to feel like something more permanent. Something that will reconcile, and not just temporarily cover the problem.

A final consideration is just that I am the problem. I push people away. I'm indecisive and pessimistic. I want things I can't have, and I don't want things that are perfect for me. I work hard, and yet not hard enough. I am motivated and lazy. I am sad and lonely and have wonderful things in my life that others would kill for. It is no secret that I am fucked up in the head. Am I finally going to destroy the only thing that has ever been stable in my life. I guess it was bound to happen eventually. Patience and understanding can only get you so far. Eventually you'll see me. and you'll run like you should have before all the baggage.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Charlotte!


Two years ago today at 4:47am, I woke up in labor. Shortly after, my water broke, green was not a great sign for our plans. We hopped in the car to head to the hospital, and you tried to come in the passenger seat of our Honda. After the longest 10 minute walk of my life, you were born perfectly and posterior in a triage bed at 6:23am. You were 7 lbs 8 oz and 21 inches long. Perfect in every way!





Being my fifth birth, you'd think it would be routine, second nature, same old scene. Of course it wasn't. There is nothing more miraculous than that moment when you bring another part of you into the world. Just when you think you can't possibly love anyone else with the same passion you already give, there they are, and somehow you love them just the same.

I can't wait to watch you grow into the beautiful woman I know you will be. Happy 2nd Birthday to my beautiful, sweet, silly, loving Charlotte Johannah!



Monday, February 25, 2013

Week Seven

Gearing up for week seven of this hell we call nursing school. Spring break is next week Woot!

Unfortunately, they are rewarding us with our second exam on Friday. I guess all the more reason to be thankful for Spring Break to start. I will be spending so much time in the library this week I may need to have my mail forwarded. I'll keep you posted.

I have no plans for break and the kids' break is different. Good and bad... I will get semi peace and quiet while I am home, but I will have to get up every morning and take them to school... so win-lose? I am taking Sophia to the Chris Tomlin concert on Friday. She still doesn't know, I am very excited to see her face when we get there. I imagine I will be spending the rest of my "break" getting my house in tip top shape to sell. Yep. More on that later.

I am doing well in my classes. I am enjoying school a lot more than I make it sound. Is it a lot? Sure. Is it mostly BS we will never even use? Probably. Do I sometimes want to punch myself in the face while reading chapter after chapter of the most dull stuff you can imagine? Definitely.

I am having a hard time finding myself though. I feel like I am living in two separate worlds. College life and home life. Balancing the two is a challenge. Actually having people I like and want to spend time with... well that's an insane thought to me. Yes, I said people I like. I know it's hard to believe. Sometimes I feel like I missed the window of college life though, and have too many responsibilities. The other part of me is happy. Like give-up-the-Prozac-if-I-wasn't-a-nursing-student happy. So, I guess I will have to let it ride and see where the journey takes me. In the end, I am here for my family and future women and babies I will care for. Eye on the prize.