I don’t have the words

I’ve been thinking of this blog post for days and I don’t have it. I’m a jumble of thoughts and emotions, good, bad, angry, grateful, and everything in-between. I can’t untangle it all. 

I’ve had my heart yanked out of my chest and then it was danced upon by multiple people. Then someone stuck a knife in my back, twisted, and pushed it in further. Then I got kicked in the gut. 

I lost so much this year. People I loved. I learned that I can love people but they aren’t necessarily going to love me. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t always chase those that I love. Sometimes I should just let them walk away. 

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m trying to emphasize a depth of pain – a deep pain that I haven’t previously ever experienced. Like on a pain chart, except it was about a 45 on a scale of 1-10.

I’ve learned that the people I thought would be there for me when I needed them weren’t, but support came from a few unexpected places too.

I’m working on forgiveness. For my own sake more than others. It hurts. 

I’ve learned hard truths: I’m vulnerable; I’m wrong sometimes; I’m a better mom than I am a wife or girlfriend; I’m demanding; I have high expectations. These aren’t good things but knowing them is half the battle. (As they say).

I’ve learned that I’m strong – even stronger than I thought. 

I’ve learned some good things too. I’ve learned I can love harder, deeper & more than I thought possible. I’ve learned that loving is worth it – even if I’m not loved back. 

I feel like I’m searching for a missing piece. That I still have a gaping wound in my side and I’m trying to patch it up. It makes me hurt, weak, emotional. 

Sometimes I say or do the wrong thing based on an emotional response. If I have done that to you then I apologize. I’m trying to figure out how to be strong 95% of the time but I think I’m only at about 60% these days. 

I’m stronger when I feel loved. I have tried to love so much this year. I’ve tried to make love my tonic – thinking if I give love I’ll get love in return. Doesn’t always work that way, does it? 

So, you see, I don’t have the magic words. This year doesn’t fit in a box. It was full of extremes. Death, heartache, pain. It was full of new adventures – new job, new travels. 

I’m just going to keep trying. I’m going to be the best person I know how to be. I’m going to love my boys fiercely. I’m going to do my job as well as I know how. I’m going to try to be the badass I’ve been told I am. 

And I’ll hold out hope that maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will eventually love me fiercely too. 

Thank God for the new year, my sweet lovelies. You keep doing you, I’ll keep doing me. Be kind to each and every one of us. Spread kindness like glitter. 

Happy New Year! Bring on 2016, for heaven’s sake!

Xoxo,

Stef 

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Busy work

Oh boy. Guys, I’m beat.

I was in California for 8 days, 6 of those days for work. A delayed flight got me home at 2 am Monday night, but then my Autistic dude didn’t sleep all night at his dad’s so I got to hang out with him the next day. No napping for either of us! Work & errands beckoned because my oldest had a choir concert that evening and had grown out of his pants & shoes. So I have been sprinting ever since – between the choir concert, soccer practice, Disney on Ice, the Boise vs. Fresno football game, and the last soccer game of the season, not to mention going to work every day, this worn out girl has had very little downtime!

No surprise I came home from the soccer game today, made lunch for the kiddos, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Zzzzzzzzzz.

So, since I can’t form any coherent thoughts at this point, I’ll show you a few pics from the last week – from my high school (go Bullpups!), sunrise on my Amtrak ride, my 6 hour time killer at the OAK airport, and some fun stuff with the boys after I got back.

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Emotionally, if you’re wondering, I’m tired, sad, content, lonely, mad, frustrated, thankful, grateful, and occasionally happy. You didn’t think it would be simple, did you?

All my love, light & hope,

Stef

#handmadechristmas

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, before I had kids,  I enjoyed crafting. The process of deciding on a project, getting the supplies and then putting it all together for a purpose. So fun. I loved thinking, “wow, look what I made with my own two hands.” Then I got married, had kids, and time for crafting was non-existent. Such is life.

Before I moved to Idaho and and before I met my husband, I had a teeny, tiny adorable apartment in my hometown in California. The building was a house in an old, beautiful section of town that had been renovated to hold three apartments. I loved it. It had a laundry room in the apartment but I didn’t have a washer & dryer so I instead put all my craft supplies there. I had a dresser (that I had painted and stamped all over) that kept my stuff: one drawer for my paints, another for my stamps & brushes, etc. I didn’t crochet, knit or sew, and I still don’t, but I would love to learn! Paint was my preferred tool then, but I have developed a deep love & admiration for my glue gun since that time.

But then I sold most of my stuff and moved to Idaho and my crafting fell by the wayside.  I did some things over the next few years – I made my bridal veil, I decorated Christmas trays one year when we were broke & barely getting by, and occasionally I would paint a yard sale find, but no big projects.

Then, flash forward about 7 years after my youngest was born, and I couldn’t remember what a personal hobby was much less recognize what *I* wanted to do. The kids had gotten older, a little more independent, and they didn’t need mom every second of every waking hour. It was in this time that I realized I had forgotten some of the integral parts that made me who I am, or who I was, before I became a mom-monster. Something had to be done.

So, first, I started reading blogs. That’s how I found my friend, Joni, who I am constantly in awe of for her incredible crafty talents (forgive her lack of new posts – she’s a mom of wee ones again, but she does post a lot of crafts on Instagram). She had a lot to do with pushing me towards being crafty again (whether she knows it or not).

This was my progression:

  • I liked writing so I thought I would give that a try (and here you are – still working on that one).
  • Then I played around with jewelry. I like simple beading but don’t have the patience to make the really intricate stuff.
  • Then I started playing with felt. So pretty, so versatile. I’m still crushing on it big time.

I jumped into felt in a huge way and decided I was going to do almost an entirely handmade Christmas this year. Every moment thereafter was about making ALL THE THINGS I could with felt. I’m not an expert by any means, but I got better the more I played with it and I just loved the process if creating something for someone in particular. I customized according to what I thought fit them, their style and their personalities best.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I have made in the last 2 months. There were quite a lot I didn’t get pictures of in my rush to finish and mail packages. Others I photographed and later embellished and mailed without re-snapping a pic. But I think you’ll get the idea.

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For my niece and her first solo apartment (this one is still my husband’s favorite)
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This ended up going to one of my sons’ teachers. My son loved it and chose it for her. I really just wanted to make something with a rainbow.
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For my in-laws. Love.
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For my mom & stepdad. It looks a little lopsided in the pic because of the way I had the wreath turned, but I think in real life it’s straight. I hope. Eek.
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Ornaments! This one was for my niece and I made one, with their initials, for her, her husband and three kids, and my nephew, his wife, and daughter. I hope they liked them! I meant to write my name and the date though and totally forgot before I mailed them.
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For my dad & stepmom. My stepmom really likes gold, silver and pretty, shiny things so I tailored this for her specifically.
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For my brother & sister-in-law. Simple and beautiful.
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BOISE STATE BRONCOS!! I had an idea to make a wreath with BSU colors and I loved it. I had a choice of BSU fans to give it to and I choose my boss and his wife. I’m told she’s putting it in her classroom. 🙂
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For my sister-in-law, Susan. Susan is going through cancer treatment right now and I thought this tote bag would be great for her trips to the hospital. Her favorite color is purple, and her next round of chemo starts on Monday. (Pray for her, please).
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This was for my Grammy. I actually embellished it quite a lot after this pic was taken. I add more roses to the sides to balance it more and a few more shiny little “ornament” balls. I adore my Grammy.
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Hey, that’s me! And one of the first pins I made. I think i gave that one to my mom – but I honestly don’t remember!
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My niece. Isn’t she adorable? She was totally cool with wearing this hat too. She’s the daughter of my sister-in-law with cancer. Love you, little girl baby.

Pins, wreaths, ornaments, hair accessories – I loved making it all. I’m having so much fun doing this that I think I’m going to continue past Christmas and make MORE THINGS. I’m carving out a crafting corner in my house as a permanent residence for this on-going project and I couldn’t be more excited. The boys even had the idea to get me craft supplies for Christmas because they are enjoying the things I’m making as well.

The process of making and giving these presents was so rewarding for me. It helped me to recognize my talents – other than working & mothering – and that I can be creative in this realm too. Special thanks has to go to Pinterest, though, for all the wonderful design ideas. I can’t wait to play around and create new designs! And if you normally get gifts from me you can pretty much assume, going forward, they will be along these lines so I hope you like them. 😉

Happy crafting!

XOXO,

Stef

Seattle. Oh My Word.

We don’t take a lot of vacations. I’d love to – but it’s just not something we do. Typically we go to California to visit my family for a week every summer, broil in the hot CenCal sun, and lay around the pool for days on end. Then we come home. This year, though, I was DETERMINED to go somewhere.

Not just anywhere though. Seattle.

Seattle on a Fall morning

I’ve never been to Seattle! (I’ve been to the airport – that doesn’t count).

You see – I’ve always thought Seattle seemed cool. This mecca of crunchy, real people living a REAL life – a life not based on materialistic needs or desires, but REAL. The kind of culture that would encourage the grunge rock culture that sprouted there so many years ago. I’ve had too many years of watching movies like “Singles” and, one of my personal, secret, favorites, “Girl.”

So it turns out Seattle is just a city after all. I mean, a really cool city with a nice vibe, cool people, and awesome sites – but just a city after all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The other reason I really wanted to go to Seattle was KING TUT!! I’ve wanted to see this traveling exhibit for years but it seems I have always just  missed the opportunity in cities I’ve visited. And this was the last chance; Tut is going back home to Egypt in January. (Not that Tut was really there – just his stuff).

Scheduling this trip was a bit of a nightmare between work, the kids’ school schedules (which are different – one in mod year round and the other traditional) and my husband’s acting commitments (which are varied and timed randomly). So months ago I decided to go in November – after my husband’s current play ends, before his Christmas commitments begin, and while my oldest is on track break. That meant pulling my little bubba out of school for a few days, which I typically don’t do, but it was worth it. Okay – that’s the backstory.

We set out on Nov 7, (later than we would have liked because I stupidly planned to take this trip the day after the election and didn’t even think about how crazy glued to the tv and election results I would be!), and our plan was to drive to Seattle and get there in the evening. (It’s about an 8 hour drive from Boise). But the boys, as you can imagine, had to stop quite often. I joked that it was our driving tour of rest stops in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

Rest stop in Oregon.
Washington countryside

We had also decided to stop in Roslyn, Washington – a tiny town that’s about 1.5 hours from Seattle and fairly close to our route. Have you heard of Roslyn? Can you imagine why we might go there? Well, my husband graduated from high school in the late 80’s and in the early 90’s he was in college and watching tv and fell in LOVE with a show called Northern Exposure. I never really watched it until he and I got together and then we used to watch the reruns on some cable channel 10 years ago. And I fell in love with it too. The show is set in a town called Cicely, Alaska, but was filmed in Roslyn, WA. My husband had always wanted to go there.

We got to Roslyn later than we would have liked, but it was still so awesome to be there. We took a pic at the Roslyn Cafe sign (which is in the opening credits of Northern Exposure) and we visited the building that had been Dr. Fleischmann’s office, and peered in the windows of The Brick, and we ate pizza at Village Pizza (which was so good, btw, and they provide honey for eating with the crust of the pizza. Like a dessert. Crazy, but good!). Then we hit the road again and finally got to Seattle.

Day 1 – The Pacific Science Center. Such an awesome place. We had tickets for one of the King Tut IMAX movies and then for the exhibit itself, but in-between we got to check out a lot of cool things – their tropical butterfly exhibit, the animatronic dinosaurs, the fun water toys, etc. The King Tut exhibit wasn’t as fun, for me, as I had hoped. My little bubba, who usually digs all things Egyptian, just wasn’t into the exhibit or the historical data filling our ears from the audio tour. My older dude, on the other hand, totally dug it all. He made my husband listen to every piece of info and look at every single display. My bubba dragged me through the exhibit quickly and I missed so much. In hindsight, we should have traded kids – but I had lost sight of my other two and thought they had gone ahead. *sigh* It was not what I had wanted, but it was fine. I still got to see a lot. We walked all around the Seattle Center, saw the very cool looking EMP museum (music project – too bad we didn’t have time to go there!), checked out the International Fountain (water done to music! Like at the Bellagio in Vegas), had lunch, and then collapsed in our hotel room for a couple hours to build up our strength again.

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Little Bubba, the sun & the International Fountain

Later that evening we took the monorail from the Pacific Science Center to the downtown area and ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Cliché, I know, but my husband is a music groupie and he really wanted to see all the stuff they had on display. The food was really good too, and it was loud enough that I didn’t have to worry about my boys making a ruckus. (Not like that’s ever happened. No, never.)

Day 2 – Hit the monorail again and met up with some wonderful cousins, and their baby, down at Pike’s Place Market. How cool is that place? So fun. I wish we had been able to explore it more – but with two kids and the bustle of the market it was a little hectic. I was happy to (oddly) take the elevator down many floors to then walk to the aquarium along the waterfront. The aquarium was super cool. So fun to see all the sea animals and the boys had a blast. Then we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, walked around, had lunch, and ferried back. That place is so cute, so neat. I would totally live there. But it’s an island so the whole driving your car on a boat to get to your island thing just seems weird. What do you mean I can’t drive to the mainland any time I want? So weird.

The boys on the ferry. So fun.
Sensory break on Bainbridge Island

Then we went to another cousin’s house for a dinner and birthday party and lots of socializing. So fun. We were so very exhausted at that point, though, I don’t think we were our best selves. The boys surprisingly held it together rather well. I was shocked. Oh – we were served squash enchiladas and I seriously need to get the recipe. So yum!

Day 3 – one last touristy thing, and something we had been wavering on: The Space Needle. It’s around $50 for 4 of us to go to the top. Was it going to be worth it? Really? That $50 could be spent better elsewhere – like what about the big ferris wheel thing (like the London Eye)? But the kids were adamant. They wanted to go to the top of The Space Needle. Okay, okay, we said, we’ll remember this always. The view at the top was spectacular. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear day and we could see so much; in that case, it was worth it. But 5 minutes my oldest said, “Mom, you were right – this is boring. Can we go down now?”  I do think it was worth it though – just for the memory.

The Space Needle. Duh.
Us.
My dudes

Then we hopped in the car and headed to Tacoma! We met some wonderful friends for lunch – friends from Boise who had just moved to Tacoma a couple months prior – so it was super awesome to see them again. Then we hopped in the car and headed to Portland.

Gorgeous PNW sunset

Though I had planned this trip many, many months in advance it just happened to work out that my niece, who lived in Portland, ended up having a baby in October. So – perfect timing for me to see her, the new baby, and her husband and 2 other kids, before they moved to Cali the following week. We got to Portland around 6 pm, checked into our hotel in downtown Vancouver, WA, and then went to meet my sister in law & her two sons at Big Al’s for food and fun. I had never been to Big Al’s (though we have a new one near our home) but it was fun – loud, crazy and a bit hectic, especially for my Autie boy who had already endured quite a lot of change in a short span of time. Went back to my sis-in-law’s house, did some laundry, hung out. Good times.

Outside our hotel in downtown Vancouver, WA
Siblings

Day 4 – had planned to go to church in Vancouver, WA, but found we were too exhausted to move. Slept in and didn’t get to breakfast until nearly noon. Came back to the hotel and actually napped for a bit. (Hubby & I did and the boys just played quietly with electronics, of course). Then my sis-in-law picked us up and we met my niece & family, and my other niece, at a huge playplace for kids. (Because 4 busy kids need something to do on rainy Sunday afternoons). We had pizza, visited, and I held my newest grand-niece for hours.

Day 5 – Going home day. But still fun to be had. My sis-in-law picked me up and we went to my niece’s aesthetician school for facials. So fun. Such pampering. Loved it! Hurried back to the hotel, said goodbye to sis-in-law, grabbed the boys and jumped in the car. We were racing to make it to The Dalles, an oddly named town in Oregon, to meet my wonderful Aunt & Uncle who live in the middle of nowhere, WA, and were driving into The Dalles to meet us. I was also frantically checking the weather reports because it looked like we would be driving into a snowstorm on the way home. We had a lovely lunch and catch-up at Spooky’s, then drove off to buy some chains for the car (just in case) and headed down the road.

The mists of Oregon.

Just past Pendleton, OR, we started to hit snow and it didn’t let up for nearly the 3-4 more hours it took to get home. I white-knuckled it in the passenger seat while the hubby drove, thankfully. I’m not a fan of driving in snow. Home, safe and exhausted, right around midnight. Amen.

My bubba was originally supposed to go to school the next day, and myself to work, but I could hardly rouse him the next morning so I let him sleep. Turns out he was getting sick, as was made apparent to us that evening when he started vomiting everywhere. Thus began a 10 day trial where all 4 of us endured the same ailment at different times. Thankfully ending just in time for Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving I was so very thankful for my happy and healthy little family, for the trip we had together and the memories we had made. I’ll never forget the good from this trip, but I’ve already forgotten the exhaustion, the meltdowns, and the travel disorientation. Thank goodness for good memories.

And now – let’s look towards Christmas!

Lots of love,

Stef

I Have Nothing to Say

That’s not the same as having nothing good to say, you understand. If I had nothing good to say I would say nothing at all. Or, as Olympia Dukakis once said, if I had nothing good to say then I would go sit by her.  (If you were born after 1990 then Google it. And stop using the term “yolo”).

I have nothing important to say. I can’t do justice to it all, you see.

First, though, my apologies for the delay in posting. I suck. Things have been busy and that’s my only excuse. We’ve gone through baseball season, I’ve had clients visit from Brazil, my kids have both finished their school year, my husband has been working various unusual jobs, and what else?? There have been school awards and school picnics, Father’s Day, 4th of July, end of quarter at work, the boys went on a mini-vacation with their grandparents and I got in a fender-bender. Rear-ended in the car we’re trying to sell, of course. Such is life.

Oh, and Magic Mike happened. Hellllloooo Channing Tatum.

 

You’re welcome.

 

So amid all this moderately controlled chaos there’s been other things – other things that put this routine disarray into perspective. Friends and relatives have lost friends and relatives. Children fighting cancer have lost their brave battles. High school friends have wept and agonized and hurt beyond measure over their dear son’s hospital bed wondering what if? What if? What if the accident had been a little different? What if he hadn’t been found so quickly? What if we had to wake up without him in the world?

Life has a way of helping us see the world more clearly. When we get into our own heads too much, when we can’t see beyond the pain or confusion within our own arm’s length, we get cosmically (or karmically?) pounded on the head until we see reason. Until we see and understand the world as a whole again, and understand our place in it.

We will have pain. We will have loss. We will have challenges. We will gain insight and perspective and a greater appreciation for every beautiful thing from every challenge we get through.

So, you see, I have nothing to say. The world is too beautiful for me to dwell on my own moderate injustices. My time is better spent being thankful for my myriad of blessings:

 

My baseball boy.

Cowboy dads.

 

Mommy & Boy time.

 

Dads & daughters.

Grandpas & grandsons.

 

Grandpas, grandsons & trains.

Fireworks & sons.

Amen.

 

With love,

Stef, xoxo

 

 

#myweekininstagram

My mom & stepdad are visiting.

I took the week off of work.

These are two things that instantly make my life exponentially better.

Nothing but fun this week!

We started the week off with this one’s 10th birthday:

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That kid’s face kills me. I just love being his mother.

And, of course, we had a 10th birthday bash, complete with a bounce house:

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Fun was had by all.

Then it was time for some mom & daughter bonding time over mani/pedis:

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And I noticed my peonies are getting ready to bloom:

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I made the most scrumptious lemon bars ever:

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And I may have drank a little red wine:

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And watched a little soccer (or a lot of soccer):

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Unfortunately only from the car on Thursday because I developed an awful cold & cough mid-week and couldn’t be out there on the field like I normally am at my little guy’s practices.

My folks are going to head home in a day or two and I will reluctantly resume my chaotic life as usual. Sad they are gone but thankful they came at all.

Oh, and they introduced us to a fun dice game called LCR, Left Center Right. I think this would make an awesome drinking game:

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That’s my week so far in Instagram. Part 2 may be following shortly!

Have a great weekend all,

Stef

Happy Earth Day my fellow Earthlings!

We went to church today (a relatively new thing for us as a family) and the message was all about the importance of taking care of the Earth we all live on because the eco-system is fragile, it’s breakable, and this is the only Earth we have. The church member speaking about Earth Day pointed out that the overall goal is not to allow our global temperature to increase 2 degrees.

Doesn’t sound like much, right?  She also informed us that a change of only 4 degrees in the opposite direction brought on the last Ice Age. Umm, yikes.

Another scary bit of info: the water run-off from the Himalayas is the primary drinking water source for 40% of the Earth’s inhabitants. The polar ice caps in the Himalayas are being hugely affected by global warming which could severely affect the drinking water to some of the poorest nations on Earth. Scary, scary stuff.

See, the thing is, I don’t want my children to inherit a bigger environmental mess from us. I don’t want them feeling like they are cleaning up the mess their parents’ generation left. How can we get things going in the right direction for them?

 

This photo was taken after church today. I’m quite sure that Earth Day was designed to be in Spring (in the U.S.), when everything is at it’s most beautiful.

 

In honor of Earth Day I have lifted this list of “6 Surprising Earth Day Statistics” from the Reader’s Digest. Here’s the link if you want to go to the full site: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/6-surprising-earth-day-statistics/#slideshow=slide1

 

Green Driving

Roughly 1.5 million hybrid cars and SUVs were sold in the U.S. from 2004 to 2009. Despite bumps caused by the recession, sales of fuel-efficient vehicles are on the rise.

1 in 50 adults traded in their vehicle for a more fuel-efficient hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicle in the past 6 months.

1 in 1.02 adults did not make the switch.

 

Turn Off the Lights
The energy-conscious are urged to switch off lights if they are going to be out of a room for longer than 5 minutes.

1 in 2.17 adults claim they always keep unneeded lights off or turn the lights off when leaving a room.

1 in 50 adults did not make the switch.

 

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling creates jobs, reduces pollution and energy use, and conserves national resources.

1 in 2.38 adults claim they always recycle.

1 in 20 admit they never recycle.

 

Trash Can
The average American produces 1,600 pounds of garbage a year.

1 in 3.7 adults claim they always reuse things instead of throwing them away or buying new items.

1 in 25 admit to never reusing things.

 

Running Water
The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day.

1 in 3.85 adults claim they always make an effort to use less water.

1 in 16.67 admit they never make an effort to conserve water.

 

Vampire Power (not the sparkly or Bon Temps variety)
The electricity used by appliances plugged in but not in use is estimated to account for 1% of global C02 emissions.

1 in 6.25 adults claim they always make an effort to unplug electrical appliances when not using them.

1 in 6.67admit they never make such an effort.

 

Now, go forth and make the world a better place, por favor.

xoxo,

Stef

5 Things

Whenever I start feeling pressured by ALL THE THINGS going on in my life I think of The Bangles and the “Time, time, time, see what’s become of me” quote from Hazy Shade of Winter (an awesome song). (Now, my husband will surely correct me and tell me that particular quote comes from Paul Simon. That’s fine. Except in my head I also hear the music so it’s The Bangles reference I’m making here).

So, due to the time, time, time issue I just have snippets for you today. Snippets of ALL THE THINGS swirling around in my over-crowded head just begging to be released. Each of these are unique and vary wildly from mostly unrelated to drastically unrelated. Each of these have been taking up residence in my head and banging at me from the inside and I MUST LET THEM OUT:

1. All soccer, all the time. The boys have both started soccer. 4 days a week. Their soccer practices overlap by 30 minutes and are at two different schools a few miles apart. The hubby and I are tag-teaming big-time. Please tell me this push towards socialization, athleticism, and confidence-building will all be worthwhile. Please.

2. In relation to Soccer, my Autie boy is troubled. This is his first time playing an organized sport and if he’s not exceptional and perfect at all of it then his emotions are triggered and he wants none of it. His feet and hands aren’t as coordinated as he would like and he just can’t master that drop-kick and then he says, “No, I can’t do it! Can we go home now?” And he loudly and angrily throws a fit, in front of his teammates because he isn’t hampered by the need to conform like so many other kids. The coach doesn’t know how to deal with him. The teammates don’t know how to respond. I get embarrassed.  Then ashamed. I get down to his eye-level, I talk to him, I try to reason through it with him. I tell him he’s learning, like the other kids and continued practice is what will help him. He’s largely unresponsive. He says things like “I’m stupid! I hate you!” to himself and hits himself on the head. My poor boy. How do I build him up? How do I help him? What can I do?

3. How do you feel about your spirituality? Do you think about it much? Are you quiet and introverted about it? Or do you blast it out for all to share? I have always kept my spirituality to myself and, for the most part, my husband has as well. Now things are changing. My husband has embarked on a spiritual journey that is quite life-altering and he’s bringing the whole family along with him. After 26 years of not attending church he has had a change of heart; he has reconciled some of the bitterness from his past, and decided that being a follower of Christ does not necessarily mean that he has to be aligned with a bunch of judgmental hypocrites like the Crazy Christians. To that end, he has found a church he enjoys and the whole family attended with him for Easter. There are Lesbians! There is a female pastor that looks astonishingly like Kathy Bates! There is openness and acceptance of anybody, anywhere on their spiritual journey. I’m not used to being forced to contemplate my spirituality and beliefs as much as I have been lately. I’m not sure yet, but I think it could be a good thing. (I retain the right to change my opinion at any time.)

4. I think there comes a point in every person’s life when they have to come to terms with a hard truth or two. Their age, their health, their likeliness of ever becoming an astronaut, an Oscar winner, or a late-night TV show host. Whatever it is, the more personal, the more inextricably linked to self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-perception, the harder that truth is going to be to accept. I’m dealing with a few of those right now. It’s been a long time coming,  and it’s not like I didn’t know these things before – but facing them, head-on, is the hard part. For years it’s been a dance, a flirtation, jumping forward and facing the issue and then deftly twisting sideways, plugging my ears and sing-songing, “I can’t hear you!” Burying it deeply for as long as possible until, eventually, it’s triggered and raises up with a vengeance. It’s not going to flatten me this time. I’m not flinching. I’m going to walk straight up, smack the issue in the face and say, “NO.  YOU be MY bitch now!”

5. I’m straying outside of my normal comfort zone here, but stay with me. I’ve been on the periphery of these on-going discussions on abortion and Planned Parenthood and employer paid insurance coverage for birth control and, honestly, I’m sick to death of this subject. I am pro-life. I am also pro-choice. The two are not mutually exclusive. I am a mother. I love babies. I think they are a blessing and one of those things in life that is truly pure and angelic. I don’t want babies to die. I also don’t want mothers to die. Without mothers, we have no babies. Women bear the blessing and the burden of being the life-makers, but they can’t do it alone and it’s unconscionable for women to be attacked and demoralized for something that was, quite obviously, a joint endeavor. When a baby is conceived accidentally – whether by rape, stupidity or simply by accident – then a woman, and her partner for that matter, have the right to protect themselves and their futures. The woman, specifically, has a right to protect her health. In order to prevent unwanted pregnancies it is important that all women, rich and poor and in-between, have access to birth control. It’s important that organizations like Planned Parenthood are available to help women, ALL WOMEN, with their reproductive health via regular exams, cancer screenings, birth control and, yes, abortions when needed. It’s cheaper for insurances to cover birth control than it is for a woman to get an abortion or for a family to be on welfare. That’s how I see it. Now, if the rest of the U.S. would just get in line that would be great . . .

Five snippets. All different. All so very separate yet a part of me. A part of the river of thoughts flowing  through my brain and linked by all my experiences and knowledge. Always  pushing and pulling, turning and tumbling. It’s always a journey, sometimes unattainable, to find peace in my thoughts and in my heart. Sometimes easier than others. Love, support and encouragement helps and I’ve been trying hard to GIVE that to other people because I want it in return too. I need it.

This is where my favorite quote comes in:

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

I hope your battle isn’t flattening you. I love you. I appreciate you. I think you are doing your best at ALL THE THINGS and that’s all that you can do.

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends. May your heart be at peace.

-Stef

The best laid plans of moms and little men

Last Tuesday, I mean the Tuesday before last (though I can’t really believe it’s been THAT long) I had a plan. I had a party scheduled for that evening at my house. I had to go to the dentist, do a few hours of work, vote YES! for the school district levy, and then do the last minute cleaning and party prep. Totally do-able plan, right?

Except kids. Kids make do-able plans totally un-do-able.

My older dude is out of school for a 3 week spring break. This was day 2 of that break. A neighborhood kid from from his school was hanging out at the house. My little dude came home from school and they all three went outside to play. It was 4:30 and I was just getting my shoes and looking for a bra to put on so we could all go vote really quick. The party was scheduled at 6:30 and I still needed to shower so, you know, time was getting a little short.

Then I heard screaming.

I flew down the hall to the kitchen and my older dude’s friend was saying, “He’s hurt! He fell! He needs you!” and before we could run out the door he came in holding his chin, crying, screaming, with blood running down his arms. I knew that posture. I knew that look. I knew that feeling.

Flashback to 1980, the first day in our new house with a swimming pool. I said, “Just one more, mom,” as I stepped on the diving board, my foot slipped, and my chin hit the diving board. Hard. I got my first stitches ever that day. Flashback, again, to about 1989, and I’m rock-hopping at Dinkey Creek with my cousin and my foot slips on a wet rock and my chin connected with the rock. I walked back to our cabin and I just KNEW I had split my chin open again. I knew it.

And as I looked at my son and he tilted his head up for me to see the wound I just knew it. I mouthed to my husband “stitches” and he quickly gathered up the big dude in his arms and walked him to the car, amid hysterical screams and cries saying, “no, no, just give me a band-aid!” and he sat holding my almost 10 year old in the backseat all the way to the ER. Daddy-made seat belt, as it were (not safe, I know, but sometimes you do what you gotta do). I grabbed the little dude, my purse and a bra and hopped in the car to drive to our “usual” ER/Urgent care. (It’s not a full hospital but does have 24 hour ER care and, yes, we’ve been their multiple times).

I frantically called my stepmom – could she come over early and help do the final prep stuff for the party? The party that is in 2 hours? No, she had the days wrong and couldn’t come over tonight. I called my mom-in-law and she wasn’t feeling well enough to come either (and she’s having surgery next week so she gets a pass for these things!). By this time it’s 4:45ish. What to do, what to do? Well . . .  cancel the dang party.

So then – driving, texting at stoplights, updating my FB party invite, emailing co-workers frantically to tell them not to come! We won’t be there!- all the while my son is hysterical in the backseat, crying, begging to go home and just get a band-aid and insisting that it will “TOTALLY HEAL ON IT’S OWN!!!”

In the end – 1 very painful shot, 6 stitches, 3 hours in the ER and a tub of ice cream and a Red Box movie.

He was such a trooper. The shot was the worst part – for him and for ME – but once that part was done he just settled down and let the doctor stitch away. He later told his friend it was a “piece of cake.” That kid. Thank goodness kids are resilient.

So the party was cancelled. C’est la vie! There will always be parties. But when my boy is my age he’ll remember me holding his hand the entire time he was getting stitched – just like I remember my dad doing for me. Um, the second time.

And the party? I didn’t reschedule. The food wouldn’t have kept. So I took it all to my office the next day and my co-workers had a Tastefully Simple feast.

Priorities. Perspective. Stitches.

Take care, y’all,

Stef