Thursday, April 28, 2011

My friend died yesterday

The circumstances surrounding his death are heartbreaking.

He leaves behind a wife and three young children.

I feel as if I should say more, and perhaps I will at a later date.

But right now... I just desire to be... quiet.

I only ask that you please pray for his family. They most certainly need comfort at this time.

Till next time.

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"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."    -- Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FireGirl is growing up way too fast


And this has been causing me some anxiety lately.

Not sure "anxiety" is exactly the right word. Mental duress? ha!

I bounce back & forth between thinking this is normal mommy feelings, and this is completely unreasonable.

I just can't believe how big she is. How grown up she's getting. She's not a baby anymore. She's a little girl. In some ways she's a big girl.

Of course she'll always be MY baby. Forever and ever and always. Even when she's grown.

Of course, me being me, I try to figure out WHY I'm feeling this way. Usually when I'm on the this-is-completely-unreasonable end of things.

Let's see...

She starts her new preschool in five weeks. She'll go three days a week. Full days.

That seems more like "real" school. So that probably has something to do with it. Right?

And it just seems like she's developing really quickly here lately.

Her speech continues to move ahead at lightening speed. It's clearer & clearer every day. Phrases getting longer & longer.

She picks up on things so darn quickly. Always has, really. But now that she can talk & communicate with us, it's just so incredibly obvious how fast she's learning.

She's so polite. Says "please" and "thank you" like such a little lady.

She's a great nurturer. You should see her with her dolls. And her stuffed animals. And the infants at the sitter's. Her sitter says she's a great helper, and one of her favorite things to do is help with the babies. I've seen it with my own eyes.

I think seeing MY baby take care of HER babies just reinforces to me how big she really is, you know?

And she's growing physically. Again.

Honestly, it's not such a big deal at this point, but I really do hope her height slows down before too long. For her sake. Let's face it, in our society a very tall girl just has a harder time. Same with very short boys. It's not right, but it's how it is.

That being said, at two-and-a-half years of age, some of her 3T shirts are just starting to show her belly. Which means the rest of the 3T shirts are soon to follow. So we have begun buying 4T shirts. For our 2 year old. Hrmph.

And if my hunch is correct, her body is gearing up for another growth spurt in the near future. {{sigh}}

And those of you that have been following my blog for even a short while know of the... discussion... between FireMan and I regarding having more children.

As much as I'm trying to hold out hope, I think there's a part of me that is giving up.

No more babies.

Which means that my baby, my ONLY baby, isn't even a baby anymore.

And the thought of that, the thought of not having a baby anymore, of not having a baby in our house ever again... yeah... since I'm starting to cry as I write this, I'm gonna go with that being the root of my "mental duress".

Oh, it's not fair.

And I try to tell myself I'm being silly, I'm being stupid, I'm being selfish.

Because I am sooooooooooooooo blessed. So very, very blessed. And I know that.

Please, I don't want anyone to think for a second that I take FireGirl for granted, that I don't appreciate her for how amazing she is, for what an enormous blessing she is in my life.

I know I am blessed to have her, to have even one baby, to have my FireGirl.

But... oh, I really didn't intend this post to turn out this way. It was supposed to be all about my anxiety about her growing up. And then I started rambling. Oh.

I'm gonna leave this post as is. Because it's honest. Raw & honest. Unedited. Who I am at this moment. What I'm dealing with right now.

But I am going to stop this post here. Even though it somehow seems unfinished. I just think it's better that I end it here than keep rambling.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blog Update / FYI

I previously had seven separate blogs on here. Now I have two.

The posts from the other five are not lost, I have imported them all into this one.

Couple of reasons:

#1 - it got kinda difficult to keep up with seven different blogs, and to post to each of them with any sort of regularity.

#2 (and the biggest reason) - even though I started each of the others because they represented a different part of me, or something I was doing, it felt weird to have that separated from my main blog. Because it all meshes together to create who I am. It just feels better to have them all in here, and to just write about everything in my life in one blog, just as everything in my life happens... in one life.

The one other blog I kept separate I did so for a reason, which I will touch on in a future post.

So, I do need to do a little bit of cleanup on this blog, like where maybe I link to the other blogs, etc. I hate that those are now broken links. But, at least I'm all "together" now, right?

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea


The other day FireGirl sneezed, about three feet away from me, and somehow a little ick managed to land... in my eye! Gross, I know. And now I think I might have a itty bitty infection in that eye. I flushed it with saline solution right away, but by that night it was irritated, and by the next day it kept getting red and hurting. I haven't worn my contacts in three days. Ick.

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And that was my last pair of disposable contacts. And I'd just put them in the day before. I thought I have another four or so weeks to order more. Guess not.

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I need sleep.

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The past two weeks have been good, but very busy. And this weekend is busy as well. I need a rest!

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I still don't have an official boss. My old boss will still be my boss "officially", and in the system, even though he's rotating to a different department (how does that make sense?) but practically speaking, I don't have a boss. I keep asking, and no one will tell me. So I think I'm just gonna start doing whatever I want and see what happens. Whaddya think? Ha!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Fat Butt



Well, I had my checkup last week.

My doctor is very happy with my progress. A little too happy for my taste.

I was down another 10 lbs, for a total of 38 lbs since November.
I was below my pre-pregnancy weight (by 1 lb, but still) for the first time in over three years.

He's so freakin' pleased with my progress that he wants me to go one more month on the aggressive drug therapy, and then stop everything but the maintenance medication, that will regulate my insulin (hopefully) forever and ever.

I'll go back in two months instead of one, giving me one month on the meds, and one month off, so he can see how I'm doing.

Assuming everything is going well, my next appointment after that won't be for several months (3 or 6, I don't remember), and I'll do bloodwork before that one, to see how my levels are maintaining.

I know, I should be happy, right?
The drug therapy worked fabulously well, he said I did more than my part, because he still maintains that I lost about double the amount of weight that most of his patients do, which is why he's so confident that I will do well once we stop the therapy.

And I am happy. I'm happy with how the meds worked, as I was tremendously skeptical when we started. I was hopeful, sure, but I really didn't think I'd see this great of results, and if I did I definitely didn't think I'd see results this quickly.

And I'm proud. Because I have worked to modify my eating habits along with taking my meds, and the proof that I'm doing so is not only in my weight loss, but in my blood work as well.

But I'm scared.

I don't feel ready to have the safety net taken away from me just yet. I'm scared to do this on my own, without the meds, without the doctor monitoring me.

Oh sure, he said if my bloodwork in a few months showed problems, or if my weight suddenly spiked, or if I noticed some of the physical markers (bloated face, upper abdomen, etc) that I had before I can come back in and we can maybe go back on.

But then that, I think, would feel like a failure, you know?

So... I'm just scared. Anxious to do this on my own.

I'm hoping to continue losing weight, even off the aggressive meds. He told me way back when that once my insulin got regulated I should be able to lose weight "like a normal person", so... I'm hopeful. Still skeptical (sorry, but a long history of difficulty isn't going away overnight), but hopeful.

As of my appointment last week I had reached my first goal: my pre-pregnancy weight.

I have 13 more lbs to my next goal: my wedding weight.
See, even though we started "trying" shortly after getting married, when I went off birth control, I put on 14 lbs in six weeks. My OB had assured me it was hormone fluctuations and would go away on its own in another 6 - 8 weeks, but... when you get pregnant on your 2nd cycle trying...

So, 13 lbs to my wedding weight. I have another couple of goals past that. But that one... that would be HUGE. No pun intended.

Thanks for checking in! And please keep me in your thoughts as I tackle this "on my own"!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I blog

I don't really remember why I started blogging. I think I just thought it would be a way to write down my thoughts.

But now... now I know why I blog.

I blog because you read me. You read what I write. Sometimes you comment on it. But mostly, you read it.

I mean, I still enjoy writing my thoughts down. Writing is enjoyable to me. But would I have kept up my blog for as long as I have without my readers? Probably not.

You think what I have to say is worth reading, worth paying attention to. That... is crazy to me.

My readership keeps growing, and I now get more hits per month than I ever though possible. Oh, I know it's not a lot compared to some of the big time bloggers, but it's a lot to me.

Honestly, even if only half of those who hit on my blog stay to actually read it, that's still a a lot. To me.

And it means a lot. To me.

See, if I'm being honest, I don't really feel heard in my "real" life.

Being the only administrative person in my entire division at work, an engineering division, I pretty much work alone, quietly in my cubicle in a corner of the office.
Oh, I keep the place running. I have a reputation for "knowing everything" and being able to "do anything", which is nice, but it's a rare occasion when anyone actually stops and talks to me. Really talks to me.

You see, not only do the rest of them work on engineering projects together, they travel together. And if you've ever travelled with others, that tends to build a rapport in & of itself. So they are all pretty tight-knit, travelling together, working on projects together.

And while they go out to various locations world wide, I stay here at my desk in Kentucky, by myself, plugging away at my tasks, keeping the office running.

And I used to be on water rescue. But after over two years of repeatedly (as in, at every detail) telling the officers that I was willing to do whatever they needed, just tell me what to do, I'm good at taking orders... after two years, I could still barely tie up a boat. They overlooked me in favor of... just about anyone else, it seemed.

When I got pregnant I settled into a more administrative role, or so I thought. Met with some of the officers, took meticulous notes about what they wanted me to accomplish. And did so. Or so I thought.
Was told that I hadn't done anything they'd asked. Reviewed my notes, and tried to show them that I'd done everything they'd asked. But they wouldn't listen.
I'm confident that I did what they had asked of me, and done it very well. Why? Because it was the same sort of things I do at work, which by all accounts, I do very well. Not to toot my own horn, but the phrase "walk on water" has been used in my reviews more than once. People may not talk to me, but I'm darn good at what I do.

It was almost as if they had it in their head from the beginning that I was useless to them, and so just never even heard me, wrote me off from the beginning.

Until I finally left.

And yes, even my beloved FireMan. He does this... thing. I will tell him something, or suggest something to him. And he'll either have very little reaction, or maybe a negative reaction. And then a few days will go by, or a week, or even two, and he'll be telling me about his day at the firehouse, and he'll say, "So-and-so said _______ " and he'll repeat the exact same thing I had told him previously!

And he says it in this tone of voice that says it's the very first time he's heard it, as if it's a very interesting tidbit of information (whereas I got very little reaction), or a positively accepted piece of advice (whereas I got a negative reaction).

You know why he acts as though it's the very first time he's heard it?

Because it is.

Because he doesn't even hear me.

No one does, I sometimes think.

But you do, my lovely blog readers. You read me, you hear me.

And sometimes, when my (pitiful) little self feels like no one hears her, she comes on here and checks her stats. And feels just a wee bit better about herself.

Because someone hears her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weirdest Night Ever

I swear last night was the weirdest night ever. Things kept happening, one after the other, and I ended up getting all of three hours of sleep.

Oh, nothing hugely major, just a series of oddities.

It all started around 10pm.

First, Tootsie wouldn't finish her canned dog food. Our totally food-motivated, piggy of a dog, who has never turned down any sort of food, wouldn't finish the yummy canned food. You know, the stuff we use to give her the heartworm treatment. Great. I have to use my puppy persuasion powers to convince her to finish it. That really should have been my first sign.

Next, we had bad storms, and about as soon as the rain starts I see a loud flash at the same time I hear a boom and am pretty sure one of our trees got hit by lightening. But it's really dark out. I don't see any fire, so... guess we'll wait till morning to see.

Then, Tucker comes running in from the laundry room with a mouse (he's become quite the good mouser). It's still alive. I tell him to go to his room, because I don't want him letting a live mouse out on the floor of the house. He doesn't (I guess I should explain that normally he will go in "his" room [the spare room - where he's fed & the litter box is] if he's told). I proceed to chase him around the house for 5 - 10 minutes, with a mouse in his mouth, until I finally get him in his room.

The noises that proceeded out of that room were... interesting. The sound of my cat howling, screeching, as things are being knocked over. It seems the mouse might be fighting back.
I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of that little mouse getting in a good bite or two. And in case you haven't had the pleasure... a mouse bite hurts. Like the dickens. Don't let their size fool ya.
But I figured Tucker could handle himself with a little mouse, so left them alone, and the noises quieted down, and in no time he was crying to be let out of the room.

After he comes out, I go in to survey the damage, and there's the little mousie. Poor thing. I use a sock to pick it up by it's tail and put it in a cardboard box before throwing it outside. As I'm carrying it out, it strikes me that it's a female. And seems to be more the type of mouse that you buy as a pet than you find in the wild. Which I find interesting.

And right now I'm chuckling a little on the inside because some of you are probably wondering how in the world I can tell it's a female, or how I must be crazy because all mice are the same, right? ha! Little known facts about Jodi... perhaps I shall write a follow-up post.

Anywho... in the course of the night I also killed three wolf spiders. Which is less weird than it used to be, but I still don't like and the sight of them still makes my heart jump. Mostly because they have this freaky habit of showing up out of nowhere.

So... in the midst of all this I'm doing chores: laundry, dishes, etc.

A little bit later I finish folding a basket of clothes, which I do on the living room floor, and pull myself up on the couch. And then I feel something crawling on me. I look down to see... a TICK! An actual tick!
Of course, my initial reaction is to flick it off, which I do. So then I have to search the couch to find it. Which I did (thank God!). I picked it up with tweezers and put it in the sink, unsure of what to do next. I couldn't find the bug spray, and I just remembered being told they were really hard to kill. So I took a knife & cut it in half. Because you needed that visual, didn't you?

By this time it's nearly 1am, so I put in one final load of laundry and go to check on Jena.

She's fallen out of her bed.

That child has never fallen out  / off of any sleeping surface. She has slept in our bed, on various couches, etc. Last night? I found her on the floor. I go to pick her up, and she is soaked. And I mean, soaked.

The kid who for a couple months has been waking up with dry diapers, and whose diaper I changed in her bed before tucking her in last night, has peed thru her diaper, soaked her pajama pants & top (don't ask me how), and the comforter. I'm guessing the comforter must've somehow gotten underneath her, because her sheets where actually dry.

So I pick her up & put her back in bed, go get a new diaper, and some clean pj's, and come back in to completely change her. She sleeps thru the diaper change, but half-wakes up during the pj change and is not happy about it. But we manage. I fold her comforter so the dry side is up, and place it on the floor next to her bed, just in case, and go get a throw from the hall closet. She falls back to sleep almost instantly.

I finally get ready for bed, and crawl into bed around 1:45pm.

But... around 2:30am I'm awakened by the sound of all three dogs barking madly. And Buddy's bark is not friendly. I sit and listen. Usually this means a strange dog, or a deer, or whatever. Although it is a bit odd that they're all barking. And moving. Thru the yard. And not stopping.

I finally get up and look out our bedroom window.

There's a pickup truck in our yard!

Somebody has just driven right past mine (and Jena's) bedroom windows and is now driving thru our backyard!

What do I do? Jason is working, I'm home alone with a toddler, and someone is blatantly driving onto our property! Do I confront them? Call the cops? Call Jason?

I should have called the police. That would have been the smart thing. I have the direct line to dispatch saved in my cell phone, so I wouldn't even have to call 9-1-1. So that really would have been the smart thing.

But it's 2:30 in the morning, and I'm half asleep. So I'm brilliant enough to put on my shoes, put my cell phone in my pocket, and head out to confront whomever it is, who has now stopped, about an acre back, gotten out of their truck and is shining a flashlight deep into our acreage.

I "call" the dogs as soon as I get outside. I make a quiet clucking sound and they come running. Good dogs.

And then... the guy decides to turn on the flashing yellow lights and LED tail lights installed on his truck.

It's the freakin' electric company.

In the darkness I couldn't see the lights mounted on top, or the signage all over the truck. All I could see was a pickup truck driving thru our property.

Buddy still isn't happy, but now he's probably feeding some off of my tension / anxiety. He growls at the worker, and jumps on him as he approaches me, knocking the flashlight from his hand. I call Buddy back to me and hold him by his collar.

The worker explains that we have a transformer in the middle of our property that got struck by lightening (remember from earlier... aha!). He said "maybe" he should have called or knocked on the front door, but he was hoping to fix it and be gone before anyone knew he was there.

I muttered something about leaving him to do his job, and walked back to the house, with all three dogs in tow. I told them to "stay" on the back porch before going inside. I don't know if they did or not, but I never heard them bark again, until he left, about 45 minutes later. His truck drove by my bedroom window, followed by a chorus of barking dogs.

Now, I'm no expert by any means, and I do understand his good intentions, but personally, I would prefer being awakened by a phone call, or even a knock on the door, in the middle of the night, than to wake up to find someone "trespassing" on my property.
Not to mention the safety issues for himself. Three dogs chase his truck barking, two of those dogs are pretty big, and he gets out without attempting to notify the homeowners? Honestly, he was lucky. Buddy was in defense mode when I got there. And Buddy is not small.
And let's face it, we live out in the country. A lot of people have guns. Showing up on someone's property unannounced, when it's too dark for them to see your identification, and without your flashing lights running, well... it's just not the smartest decision. For your customer or for yourself.


So... off of my soapbox about customer service, and back to the conclusion of my weird night... I walk in the house, take my shoes off at the door, and proceed to walk thru the house barefoot, as I often do.

And somehow get a splinter in the bottom of my foot.

Seriously.

We have all tile or laminate flooring, all of which has been installed for months. Winter is over, so there's no longer any firewood inside.

How the heck do I get a splinter?!?

So I hobble into the bathroom, grab some tweezers (different ones than I used on the tick, thank goodness I have multiple pairs!), and spend the next five minutes or so digging a splinter out of the bottom of my foot.

Good times.

I crawl back into bed around 3am, and hear the electric company truck roll by around 3:15am.

My alarm goes off at 6am. But I somewhat successfully ignore it until 6:45am.

I wake up. I peek in on Jena as I walk out of our bedroom.... and find her on the floor. Again.

****

See. Nothing huge. Nothing major. Just a series of anomalies that added up to the weirdest night ever.

And a very sleepy Jodi.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Never Marry an Amazing Man

It comes with too many expectations that you will be amazing too.

FireMan is amazing. He really is. He is hard-working, generous, and will do anything for anybody.

I mean, c'mon... the man is a firefighter. His chosen profession is to run into burning buildings to save other people. He took a significant pay cut to put his life in danger to help others.

He's that guy.

He's incredible.

He also volunteers with the local water rescue as a rescue & recovery diver and EMT. And he's great at it. In fact, I contend that if you ever (God forbid) need someone to recover a corpse from a body of water, FireMan's your guy. He's the best at it.

Yes, it's a weird thing to be the best at, but he is. And him, again putting himself in danger, to recover a loved one so that a family can gain closure... well,  how awesome is that?

And then we started volunteering as divers for the Zoo. I stopped, because I didn't feel like I had the time, but he's continued.

And he tried out for Ski Patrol this past winter. And although he didn't make it this time around (it was kinda last minute and he did it on a whim), I have a feeling that's not the last we've heard of it.

Friends and family know FireMan as the type of guy that they can call whenever they need him. Car breaks down? Call FireMan. Sick and need help? Call FireMan. Need help with something on your house? Call FireMan.

He is reliable, dependable, great at what he does, generous, and always willing to help.

It's one of the things that attracted me to him to begin with.



Don't ever marry an amazing man.





Why? Because you're expected to be just as amazing. People who don't know me assume that I'm an EMT or firefighter. And they're surprised, and seemingly somewhat disappointed, to learn that I don't currently volunteer anywhere.

And when "they" need your husband? You're expected to just give him up, no questions asked, no complaints. Keep your mouth closed, and smile graciously, relishing in the knowledge that your husband is serving others.

Even if you had plans.

Even if you had something you wanted or needed done around the house.

Even if your daughter is asking for him.

Even if you're just lonely and missing him.

If you marry an amazing man, you're expected to be amazing too. You can't just be the normal wife, nagging because her husband worked late.

After all, he's not just working, he's helping others.

It's a lot of pressure.

And when it boils over, and you tell your husband you need him to cut back so he can be home more, you actually end up feeling bad, feeling guilty.

You feel guilty for wanting to be with your own husband.

Because it's not like he's out at the bar or the strip club. He's out helping others.

And you asking him to cut down on doing that "just" to be with you? Well, that seems... selfish.

Because as the wife of an amazing man, you're supposed to be amazing too. You're supposed to generously & supportively give up your husband, quietly live the life of the single mom all the nights that he's gone, and do what you need to do so that he can do what he does best... help others.

Even when you don't want to. Even when you're tired. Or sick.

Or lonely and just want your husband back.

Or just want someone else to help with your child that night.

Or just don't know what to say anymore when your daughter asks where daddy is this time.

Or just want your husband back.

That is your sacrifice, your generosity, your amazingness - supporting him and willingly & happily going without him so that he can help others.

When he is amazing, when he is generous, helpful, hard-working, and will do anything for anybody...

You have to be amazing too. You don't really get a choice here.

You have to be generous, and supportive of him - because he's amazing.

And to be anything less would be seen as selfish.



So, my advice to all you single ladies?

Never marry an amazing man.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

I hit the top of my head really hard the other day on the corner of our bar top. It hurt really badly. And bled.

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FireMan got in trouble for not showing me enough sympathy when I hit my head. It's not often I hurt myself so badly I cry. In my family I have a reputation for high pain tolerance. So... I was hurt pretty badly. And got zero symapthy and a couple of chuckles from him. I was not happy. He got a pretty irritable wife for the rest of the day. Of course the off & on headache didn't help my irritability either, but still. I wanted sympathy & tenderness. Jerk.

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I've noticed that of the blogs I follow, the ones at the beginning of the alphabet don't update as frequently as those at the end. Interesting...

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Have you ever had someone do something, and feel like they did it intentionally to hurt you, and then... you realize that no, they probably just didn't even think of you at all when they did it? that most likely you didn't even cross their mind, not even a little bit?

And somehow, that hurts more?

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I like working at an international company. It's kinda neat that the mix of cultures and languages I experience at work isn't even novel to me anymore. But it's still cool.

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Speaking of work, I have a new boss, they just can't decide who it will be yet. Ha! My immediate supervisor is rotating to another group (after less than six months in this position), and the powers-that-be can't decide if I will still report to him (which really makes no sense), report to the assistant manager rotating into his position, or just report directly to my manager.

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I hope this post showed up as planned. I scheduled it, because I'm hanging out with my sister today, who is in town from Iowa. Weeeeeeee!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me.

When my college sweetheart left me unexpectedly, after four years of a committed relationship, I was, needless to say, heartbroken. Devestated, really.

And depressed, for a really long time.

One night, about a year after the breakup (yes, I was depressed for that long), my dad told me I needed to drive down to the ex's apartment, get on my knees, and beg him to take me back.

I told him 'no'.

There would be no begging. In fact, there would be no asking even. To this day, I don't know exactly why he left me. I have theories, some stronger than others, but he never told me why. So yes, while I begged him to tell me why he left, I never asked him to take me back.

Why?

Because I didn't want to be with someone who didn't want to be with me. As much as I loved him, as much as my heart ached, and my world was turned upside down, and as much as I did want to be with him... I didn't want to be with someone who didn't want to be with me.

And that's what I told my dad that night.

I stand by it.

I've wondered, sometimes, what would have happened if I had driven down there and begged. Knowing my luck he wouldn't have even been home, ha!

But seriously, I stand by that phrase. To this day,
I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me.

This phrase comes to mind at times still, not always relationship related.

Well, I guess they're all "relationships" of some sort, aren't they?

But it comes to mind with friendships, with work, with family, with volunteer activities, with all kinds of relationships...

I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me.

Whether they actually say it to my face, or more often show me thru their actions, it's just not a position I want to be in. No matter how much I might love someone, no matter how much I might value their friendship, or the job, or the activity, or the relationship... if they don't value me just as much, if they don't choose me as highly as I choose them, then... well...

I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me.

I've ended friendships over it. Well, just stopped trying really. They made it obvious that they weren't interested in putting in the effort, that my friendship with them wasn't worth the effort that I thought theirs was to me. And so...

I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me.

I've quit volunteer organizations over it. You know, after over two years of repeatedly telling the leaders that you are more than willing to work if they will just give you a little direction, and instead they overlook you time and time again, never giving you instruction, leaving you standing there over and over again, feeling useless, doing nothing. I value the work they do for the community, but they didn't value the work I could do for them.

I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me.

Don't get me wrong. I know we all have extenuating circumstances at times that prevent us from being as attentive to our loved ones as we want to be. But when a repeated pattern of actions emerges that shows me that you just don't really want to be with me, that you have "better" places to be, "better" things to do, "better" ways to spend your time, well, as much as it might break my heart, as much as it might devestate me...

I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me.

I think it's because deep down, I really believe that there are people out there who do want to be with me, organizations who recognize what I can do for them, people who would choose me, value me, heck - maybe even who can't get enough of me. And you know what?

I want to be with those who want to be with me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coping with Jason being gone so much

So... on one of the message boards I frequent it looks like I finally got something right. Quite frankly, I know I tend to be a bit... unorthodox? in some of my thoughts / advice, so I tend to get flamed more than I get agreed with. At least on those boards. Which is why I don't post as often as I used to.

But last week someone posted with how to cope as a working mother with a husband who is gone a lot, and my response got quoted in almost every subsequent reply, not to flame me, but to agree with me! I was shocked!

And so, since apparently in this case people actually think I know what I'm talking about, I decided to re-post that advice here on my blog, and go ahead and expound on it as well.

******************

As a fire wife, one of the struggles is being home alone. A lot. Feeling like a single mom. A lot.

In fact, I have a whole new respect for single moms. And for military wives / moms. Because I know how hard it is with as much as Jason is gone, and I can't imagine being on my own all the time, or until he came home on leave.

It's important that you voice your frustrations to him. Not in a I'm-pissed-at-you-way, but in a I'm-frustrated-and-I'm-struggling-way.
He needs to know what you're going thru.

This is also a good time to ask him what his frustrations are with his schedule. Like missing out on kids' milestones, not playing with them as much, not enough date nights with you, etc.

It's important that the two of you at least try to understand where both of you are coming from, because you are both in very different positions.

You're not in the normal two-income family, where both parents leave in the morning, and both parents come home every night, Monday thru Friday.

He's spending nights away from home, having dinner, spending time, and sleeping with other people, while you take care of the kids and the house by yourself after putting in a full day of work.

He doesn't have a "weekend", as his shift includes Saturdays and Sundays. He'll work holidays too, leaving you to handle the celebrations alone.

This creates stress and frustrations for each of you, but you each have a different kind of frustration.
He has the frustration of not being there, and you have the frustration of being there alone. It's very different, so you must communicate.

****************

Being in a situation where your spouse is gone much of the time, well... it sucks. It just does.

As far as taking care of the children, and the house, (and this is the part I thought I was going to get flamed for, but almost everyone said I "hit the nail on the head"):

Things became much simpler for me when I just took Jason out of the equation, when it comes to taking care of the house and Jena.

You just do it yourself. If you need a sitter for some reason, you take care of arranging it, and you do what you need to do. You do all the daycare drop-offs and pick-ups, even if he's home. You plan on doing all of the housework, even if it's his off day. You handle all of the feedings, all of the baths. You feed all the pets, clean all of the poop (pet & baby - ha!).

Keep him in the loop on everything, but just accept it as what you have to do so he can do what he has to do.

This has really helped me / us. It doesn't make the actual work any easier, but it eases a lot of frustration because I don't feel I'm counting on him to do something that he's just not going to do.

And then when he does volunteer to take care of something, it's like a bonus. For everyone.

And that lowers everyone's stress level.

*******************

But you need to realize & accept that you can't do everything. Prioritize what's most important. Obviously taking care of your child(ren) is a must, but other housework, chores, etc.... prioritize, and do the top things first, even if they're inconvenient or unpleasant.

Give it some time & figure out what you can reasonably do in a day, a week, etc. Then talk to your husband and see if he can pick up some of the rest.

If that's just not a possibility, then your choices are paying someone to do it (ie. housework), or it just not getting done (ie. housework), or not getting done as frequently as you'd like (ie. housework).

Guess you can tell what doesn't get done at our house, huh?  (ie. housework - ha!)

And you both have to accept that. Because it's reality.

You can't beat yourself up because after working a full day outside the home, taking care of the kid(s) by yourself, and the putting another couple of hours of housework in before bed, you're still not "done".

He can't come home expecting a clean & tidy house, perfectly stocked cupboard, and dinner on the table after you've been working full days outside of the home, doing all (or the vast majority) of the childcare yourself, and all (or the vast majority) of the housework yourself.

It's not physically possible.

Oh, you might have a mountaintop moment once in a while, but it's unreasonable for either of you to expect things to be maintained at that level.

## side note - I determined my top priorities to be: laundry, grocery shopping, and doing the dishes. I figured if I could keep clean clothes on my family, food for them to eat, and clean dishes for them to eat off of, then I was doing pretty well. The rest I look at as bonus. ##

******************

As far as scheduling goes, we recently started keeping a shared Google Calendar, that I can access at work & home, and he can access on his Droid. This has helped immensely when it comes to scheduling even the little things.

I can see when is shifts are (because even though they are every 3rd day, like clockwork, I still cannot keep that straight in my head), when he has extra things to do, etc.
He can see when I've made plans and he needs to be home (after I've told / asked him, of course).
It's an easy, quick reference that we can both access at just about any time.

****************************

He's doing what he feels he needs to do to provide for his family financially, and even if he might be willing to look at another career path eventually, well, it's not going to happen overnight.

So you just have to come to terms within yourself with the reality of your situation, as it is at this moment, and deal with it in the best way you can.

You make it work. You do what you need to do, and you make it work for your family.

It's not fun. It's not glamourous. It sucks. And sometimes it really, really sucks.

But you do it. You make it work.

********************

And there it is. My advice on how to handle your husband being gone so much.

Honestly, it's a constant struggle for me as well. Which is probably why I've never bothered to offer my advice in blog-form before.

But apparently, according to said message board readers, I actually have some good experience in this area, and am doing something right, even if I feel like I'm still struggling.

Maybe the struggle is just part of the "it sucks", huh?

Thanks for reading! And hopefully this will help someone out there get a handle on things!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sex Begins in the Kitchen

This is something my therapist told me last summer (can you believe that was last year?!?), and the phrase comes to mind all the time.

Oh, yeah - we talked about sex too.

At this point, I don't remember exactly how this came up.

But the idea is that, especially for women, sex doesn't begin in the bedroom with the sex act, it starts the minute you wake up.

Okay, almost exclusively for women.

If I remember correctly (and it's been almost a year, and I have a bad memory, so...), she used the phrase "in the kitchen" to mean that for a woman, having her man do the dishes, or make her a meal, is some awesome foreplay.

That showing kindness, helping out, etc. - for a woman, those things are the foreplay. That for most women, it doesn't matter what you do once you get to the bedroom, if you haven't set the mood by your actions throughout the day, then she's probably not going to be in the mood.

And as I type this, I'm beginning to realize that my readers might take this to mean that FireMan is neglectful in this area.

Not really. I mean, sometimes, but what man isn't, right?

It's just a funny phrase, and I wanted to write about it.

Because I think about it all the time.

Like pretty much any time he irritates me, or doesn't empty the trash, or whatever, I'll think "huh - and I thought you wanted to have sex tonight..."

Because obviously if he wanted sex, he'd have emptied the trash, right?

Funny, huh?

So now you can say that about your man too.

Now... go tell him that sex begins in the kitchen. Seriously. Go. Now.

Maybe he'll do the dishes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I am not easily offended. Are you?

I touched on this in an earlier post, but this is something that certainly has been bothering me for a while.

It seems like if someone disagrees with something I've said, they take offense with me.

Now, to be clear, I have not said anything that is actually offensive, just something that they don't happen to agree with.

Could be religious / spiritual in nature, or political, or even just some random item, like, say my personal priorities, how I prioritize my work, or some random observation.

That's right, someone at work recently got personally offended, like really super-duper upset, like "can-we-talk-this-out-because-I-don't-want-it-to-affect-our-relationship" upset, because I prioritize my responsibilities differently than they do.
No really. They got that upset because I didn't adopt their priority system. Because I see things differently. Because I disagreed.

I did not berate them, insult them, humiliate them, etc. When they insisted I do it their way, I declined politely, and explained why. And this, to them, was horribly offensive and insulting.

But I really shouldn't have been surprised. I see it everywhere.

It's as if difference is no longer tolerated. In our society that supposedly focuses on celebrating differences, what they really mean is trying to make sure we're all exactly the same.

I am not at all offended when people disagree with me. They have every right to think it & to say their thoughts. Even though I disagree. But I am not offended. Not one tiny bit. As long as they are respectful, or even just neutral, in their delivery, then what is offensive about it?

Honestly - religion, politics, economics, what-not - I don't really understand why people get offended, or feel disrespected, because others don't agree with them. To be offended or feel disrespected simply because we disagree, even on very important life topics? I just don't understand.
 
I've recently come to realize that I'm tired of censoring myself. Really am.

Yeah, some of you are probably thinking "what? you censor yourself?" Ha!

Yeah, I really do. There's so much that I haven't said for fear of hurting someone's feelings, or for being seen as "offensive"

Lately, it seems like I can't voice my opinions on anything without someone getting offended.

WHY?

Why are you offended?

So you don't agree with me? So what?!? Why is it offensive to you that I don't agree with you? Why is that disrespectful?
 
What I think is really funny is that the responses that I often get privately for something I've said publicly tend to state that I'm saying what everyone else is afraid to say. Why? Why are others afraid to say it? Ever heard of freedom of speech? I'm not saying anything hateful or hurtful, I'm simply stating my beliefs, or thoughts, or opinions. Heck, sometimes, stating statistics & facts and people have gotten up in arms.

If you find MY personal opinions & beliefs offensive to YOU, then I'm gonna suggest that you have your own issues that you need to deal with, and that maybe it's not my problem at all.

Here's one for you: why is it that it's okay for you to be offended & disrespected when I say what I think, but I'm supposed to listen to what you think and just & smile and be okay?
Why is that? Do I agree with you? No. So.... what? I can be offended with you then? Upset? Angry? Hurt?

No? I'm supposed to just listen to you and not & smile and maybechange my mind and agree with you?

Oh, c'mon! That's not realistic. Or fair. And you know it.
 
If I have truly disrespected you - hurled an insult your way, called you a name, cursed your existence - then fine, be offended.
Have I?
No.
What did I do?
I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.

Did I try to force you to think the same way? Did I hold a gun to your head? Drag you to my chosen place of worship? Pull you into a voting booth & force your hand to mark for my preferred candidates? As you to change your work method? Did I... even ASK that you believe what I believe or think what I think?
No.
So what did I do again?
I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.

Did I ask that you keep your mind open to what I believe / think? Maybe.

Have I suggested in the past that certain groups of people are closed minded because they won't even consider my point of view? Yes, but then again isn't that the definition of closed-minded?

So, wait, what did I do again?

I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.
 
And that offends you.

Wow.

I stated my personal beliefs and opinions.

And you find that disrespectful.

Wow.
 
All I can say is that I'm starting to realize that that reaction - the finding of everything that is contrary to you to be offensive or hurtful - that reaction is not my problem, is not my issue.

And I have realized that I need to make sure I raise my daughter to be the kind of person that respects the fact that everyone has different thoughts, opinions, and beliefs and can gracefully handle disagreements without taking everything so personally.

And that is all. For now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fragments



This weather has been such a tease lately. Just warm enough for FireGirl to think she can play outside all day. Just cold or rainy enough that I have to drag her inside after not-very-long. Torture for both of us.

************

FireGirl has a bad diaper rash. Again. None of her creams are working on it. Not even the prescription ones. She's had it about 2 weeks now, and it's a bad one. I'm trying one more over-the-counter ointment that we've never tried before, recommended on one of the moms' boards. If that doesn't work, I guess we'll be visiting the pediatrician.

**************

We delayed having our taxes done because our "tax lady"'s husband was in the hospital for over three weeks, so we were giving her a break. Finally got them done last week. We get a nice little refund, which we will be using most of to get an air conditioner (right now we have none) and a new furnace (which we will probably need in the next few years anyway). I guess it's cheaper if you get them both as a unit, so that's what we're doing. Fun, right?

***************

Oh, I meant to point out that we get a nice little refund if the government doesn't shut down. That would stink. Because it's supposed to hit 80 degrees here this week, and FireWife no likey the heat in a house with no A/C.

****************

My sister is coming to town next week. I'm taking a vacation day on Friday just to hang with her, and I can't wait!

****************

We have LOTS of mosquitos at our house already. Lots. Swarms. Kinda reminds me of when you see a swarm of gnats in the air during the summer, except when you get closer, they're mosquitos. And they're everywhere. They even get in the house. Makes me scared for summer.

*****************

I haven't felt great for about two weeks. Not bad, per se, just not great. Some stomach issues that I suffer thru, then get over, then get again. And an upper respitory infection. And I'm really tired all the time.

******************

Saw the doctor last week and she gave me an antibiotic for the upper respitory infection, and said the rest was probably just virus-related and I just need to wait it out. Ugh. Two weeks.
*******************

I just wanna feel all better.
Or "all, all better", as FireGirl would put it.
Tired of feeling icky and blah.

*******************

My daughter is awesome. Have I mentioned that?

*******************

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FireGirl Dances



FireGirl loves to dance. Loves it. Loves.

It all started back in December. I was flipping thru the channels and The Nutcracker (as in, the ballet) was on one of the PBS stations. And she told me to go back. She sat there and watched the ballet, entranced, for about an hour, before she got up and started mimicking the dancers.

Love.

So now she likes to watch dancing on television. Ballet and hip-hop appear to be her favorite. She does her best to mimic their moves.

And at random times she'll just find a way to play music, usually with one of her toys, and start dancing. And I'm her willingly captive audience.

Personally (not that I'm biased at all), I think she's awesome. The best little two-year-old dancer in the world as far as I'm concerned.

These are some pics from one of her living room performances.

 
{{ happy sigh }}

 
I wish these pictures captured even half of how amazing she is.

Love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Political Views

Random, I know, but because I like to think that ya'll care what I think about stuff, here are my political views:

So where do I stand on politics?

First of all, I don't claim any political party. I think the party system in our country has evolved into... a mess. Real issues, real character are lost in the midst of party politics and real messages are lost. So no, I don't really care what party a candidate belongs to. Doesn't matter to me one bit. I research each candidate individually, and make my decision based on that. Takes a lot more time, but I feel much better about my voting record that way. I go to bed with a clean conscience.

Secondly, I do tend to be very conservative. This is probably not a big surprise to anyone out there.

Thirdly, a party (or issue supporters) can win me over much more by presenting me with facts. Numbers. Statistics. Things that make sense. Emotional speeches & nifty catch-phrases make great campaign clips, but don't mean squat to me.

So I'm conservative. Does this mean I support the Tea Party?

Eh. I used to. I still support what they say they're about: fiscal responsibility. And I agree with their stance on most issues that I've come across.

But lately, at least for the two local chapters closest to me, they seem to have evolved their definition of "fiscal responsibility" to mean absolutely no increase in any taxes, regardless of whether or not the local government entity can show why the money is needed, how they've responsibly handled money in the past, etc.

The fact is that the vast majority of citizens, including those in the Tea Party, want & expect the government to provide certain services: fire service, police protection, water, sanitation, animal control, etc, etc, etc. And those things cost money, so somebody has to pay for it.

If the government entity in question can show that they have been responsible with past funds, and can logically show why the increase is needed, or why a cut is not feasible at this time, then, in my opinion, it's not "fiscally responsible" to continue to oppose the taxes, it's actually unreasonable and irresponsible as the ultimate result will be a lack of service to the citizen.

And I voted for McCain, right?

Nope.

You're shocked, aren't you?

Well, don't get too excited. I didn't vote for President Obama either.

As mentioned earlier in my post, I researched all of the candidates (did you know there were over 12 candidates!) and selected the one I agreed with most. Yes, he was some virtually unknown soul who didn't really have a chance. But yes, I was able to sleep soundly that night knowing that I had cast my vote for the person that I believed to be the best candidate for President.

So... where do I stand again?

Well, I believe in upholding our Constitution. Including the 10th amendment, which limits the powers of the federal government.

Do I think some of our basic freedoms are in jeapardy? Yep.
Do I think this is new or is specific to President Obama? Nope.
I do think it has been getting progressively worse over the past few decades and yes, I really do think that if the American public doesn't start fighting back we will eventually become a Socialist country. Which is fine for Socialists, but I'd really rather not happen.
Yes, I'm being serious. Look up the definition of Socialism, logically think about recent developments in our government, and tell me what you think.

I believe elected officials are accountable to their public, and that (generally speaking) the public needs to begin holding them accountable, not just by whining when you don't get your way, but by making efforts to effect change by voting or other means.

So what do I do to effect change?

Good question. One I've been thinking a lot about lately. I've considered a few options, including running for local office, becoming more involved in various political organizations, etc. Honestly, I've yet to find... a good fit. Sometimes I think maybe I just need to jump in and do it (whatever it is), but I can't get over the nagging feeling that if I haven't found that good fit then just jumping in is going to end in disaster. So I continue to consider my options. And in the meantime, I vote. I educate myself, and I vote. And that is how I effect change.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Grocery Store

Brought to you courtesy of:



1. Do you make a list when you go grocery shopping?
YES. Okay, when I have time. I have an organized list in Excel, separated by categories, with columns to note if the item is on sale and if I have a coupon. The list is a must for big trips, but I will run to the store & pick up a few necessary items without a list, when needed.

2. Do you buy more groceries when you're hungry?
Only if I don't have my list with me.
But, yes. {{ hangs head in shame }}
Also, when I'm hormonal. I buy all kinds of yummy foods that sit in our fridge / cupboard forEVER until one of us finally eats it.

3. Coupons. Use 'em?
Absolutely.

4. Have you ever complained to the manager of your grocery store?
No.

5. Do you like to buy groceries at huge chain stores like WalMart? Or do you shop exclusively at food stores?
I heart Kroger.

6. How much time do you spend reading labels in the grocery store?
Little to none

7. Do you push your own grocery cart to the car and return it?
99% of the time I return it to the cart corrals, but now that I have FireGirl, I have been known to leave it at the car if the cart corral was too far away. Which is why as long as the weather's nice I now try to park next to the cart corrals, even if it's a longer walk into the store.

8. What is the one food item you always buy at the grocery store that you can't live without?
Milk & ice cream.
We go thru almost two gallons of white milk, and the occasional half-gallon of chocolate milk every week.
And FireMan is an ice cream fiend, which is apparently contagious. So ice cream is considered a grocery staple in our house.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Random Thoughts on Personal Beliefs

I realize this post is somewhat disjointed, and none of the thoughts are complete.

A lot of this has been stewing around in my mind for a while, and I decided to just go ahead and put it out there, as I have it now.

Subjects separated by a line of  "********"

*************************************
Sometimes, our beliefs are interpreted by others as being, in and of themselves, disrespectful. We are expected to change our beliefs to adapt to what our current society accepts as a satisfactory position. And often admonished if we don't.

But I think this is what separates the difference between beliefs, and thoughts or opinions.
My thoughts and opinions may change easily with new information.
My beliefs... well, it would take some absolute for me to change those.

I think a lot of people tend to confuse those things.
To that end, my stance on certain... subjects... has not, and I fully expect, will not change.

This is not to say that I'm not open to discussion. Just that thus far in my life experience, those who have wanted me to change my beliefs have yet to provide sufficient reason or proof for me to.

****************************************
God is real. He is everywhere and involved in everything. He does not need to be acknowledged in order to exist, much in the same way that the truth does not have to be believed to still be the truth. How much you choose to acknowledge Him is up to you, but it doesn't change the fact that He is there.

****************************************
Where I get upset is when people say or act like you must be less intelligent because your belief system is different than theirs.

There are, apparently, those out there that feel that if you believe in a higher being, then you must be some sort of uneducated idiot. Or a brainwashed crazy. I guess we can take our pick.

I'm sorry that they feel that way. But it also confuses me.

Because the vast majority of the world's religions believe in some higher being, or some divine inspiration, or some connection to the spiritual world.

Which means that apparently billions of us must be uneducated idiots. Or brainwashed crazies. Leaving only a relatively few (in light of the world population) intelligent people to remain as sane, level-headed decision makers.

Or at least this is how it seems that those people think & feel.

Saying that you believe differently than someone else is one thing, we all disagree about something, right? But saying that someone is stupid because you happen to disagree with what they believe is downright disrespectful.

************************************

I'm not trying to insert "my" God into anyone's life. I can't, because He's already there. I'm simply acknowledging that fact. I am not trying to convert anyone (although sometimes I wonder if I should be), I'm simply stating my belief that He is already there.

And yet, somehow, in our society today, simply stating your beliefs can be seen as harassing the people around you.
Not that you are attempting to convert, even asking anyone to attend services with you, or condemning someone for not believing the same.
This can be true even if you are being respectful, even if you are answering their questions about yourself, even if you simply wear a certain religious symbol or have it posted at your desk.

How is simply stating my beliefs disrespectful to anyone? And in our country, whatever happened to Freedom of Speech?

*******************************************
It is frustrating for religious people to be closed-minded due to their religious beliefs. This is one of the reasons I don't like the word "religion", as it pertains to myself. I have fought this since my early-20s, when I realized that I disagree with some of the teachings of the church I grew up in, and was challenged to figure out which of those teachings were truly based on biblical principles, and which were simply made of men, for whatever reason.

I fight this issue within my own family. I have lost friends over it. It has not been an easy road.

One of the best ways to challenge a Christian on their closed-minded views, is to ask them where in the Bible it says (fill in the blank). Their response will tell you a lot about them. In my experience, they will either:
    a) tell you,
    b) tell you they're sure it's in there, but not exactly sure where, and will take time to look it up, or
    c) get flustered and usually get louder.

As a Christian, this is probably the best way for reinforcing (or sometimes changing) my stance on certain issues: to be challenged like this.

***********************************

I have been openly ridiculed by non-believers. I have been poked fun of. I have had professors stand in front of courses and say that anyone who believes the Bible is an idiot (true story).

And it's not just me. I have seen Catholics poked fun of for the ash on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. I've watched people roll their eyes at Jews for making an attempt to keep kosher. And in recent years I think we've all had the displeasure of hearing a joke or two poking fun at Muslims. I've watched people stare rudely at Amish youth on their rumschpringe. Heard disparaging comments aimed at the Mennonites passing by. And the more I learn the more I think laws against polygamy are little more than the result of religious discrimination.

And these acts seem to be acceptable in our world today. How? Why?

How did it come to be that it is not acceptable for someone to make a statement of faith in public, not hurting anyone, but it is acceptable to poke fun or insult someone observing their religion?

How is that okay?

My experience anyway.

***************************

I don't give science a terrible lot of credit. Science changes constantly, and so I take all scientific "truths" with a grain of salt. Science has never successfully disproven the Bible, but rather consistently reinforces it. It seems like once every few months I'm reading some news story about how science has recently proven that something recorded in the Bible really could have happened, primarily from secular news sources.
So I can believe in a God who is constant, and has been constant since forever, or I can believe in science, which changes constantly.

I prefer the constant.

*****************************
Religion may sometimes appear to be all puppies and rainbows, but spirituality isn't.

For instance, I'm pretty sure my grandmother is burning in Hell as we speak. I mean, ultimately the only ones who know for sure are herself & God, but... I'm pretty sure she's in Hell. And yes, that was difficult for me to deal with when she died, and is still difficult to think about (which is why I usually don't).

******************************
As there is God, so there is Satan.

As there is Heaven, so there is Hell.

As there are angels, so there are demons.

As there are blessings, so there are trials.

*******************************

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'd Forgotten What I Knew

For the past few weeks I've managed to keep FireGirl & I on an actual, real schedule. Mostly. I've been more productive at work than I have been, literally, in years. I've felt better about my work self than I have in years {{ working moms insert golf clap }}
The fact is, when I put myself, really put myself into my work, I rock. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but yeah, I rock at my job.

But at the same time that I was having success at work, remembering how awesome I am at my job after all, how much I really do rock and all, FireGirl was hitting the Terrible Twos full force.

Cue working-mom-woes. Success in one area, and bam! it falls apart in another.

Anyway... FireGirl had become as defiant as all get-out. We'd been fighting several times daily, and let's face it, there is no reasoning with a toddler.
She started hitting me. And I mean hitting. No, really. Little devil.

We tried time outs. Talking to her. Reasoning with her. Taking away toys, books, etc. And it just got worse.

And worse.

And then she hit FireMan.

And then she hit Grandma.

We were at our wits' end.

The irony, of course, was that we are not against spanking as a form of discipline, and this was the first time our little angel was doing anything severe enough to warrant spanking as a disciplinary measure, but... we both agreed that spanking as a punishment for hitting just didn't make sense. Especially when the child is two-years-old and certainly would not understand the difference.

So... what to do?!?

Her behavior had gotten so out of control, so unlike herself, that my parents actually suggested that we consult a child psychologist. And remember, they have been around FireGirl more than anyone, so if anyone knows her besides us, they do.

That's how bad it had gotten.

We left FireGirl with them on a Friday so that FireMan & I could spend the weekend in Indianapolis at FDIC. This gave us a lot of time to talk about the situation, and me a lot of time to think about the situation.

And so I did some thinking. And then some more thinking.

In between the fire trucks and flashing lights and vendor booths, I thought about it.

On the drive home it hit me.

Something had to change.

Period.

And I'm the mommy, so I have to figure it out and be the catalyst for change.

Because something had to change.

And somewhere on that drive, I realized.

The schedule.

See... Our family doesn't normally operate on a schedule. Not really. We have certain routines that we do, but no real schedules.
Oh, sure, we have to go to work & church & preschool at certain times, but other than that... no set times for activities. Not really. Not at all.

Not even FireGirl.

When FireGirl was born... heck, when I was pregnant with FireGirl... people told us how our lives would operate on a different schedule, insisting that this tiny little being would have our lives timed down to the minute.

Yeah, things didn't exactly work out that way.

We've never had FireGirl on a schedule. Not even when she was a newborn. A routine, yes. A schedule, no.

It just doesn't work with our family. Especially with FireMan's alternating shifts and how that impacts the rest of our life. A daily schedule just isn't in the works for us.

Until recently.

Things have been really stressful at work, and I've ended up working real overtime for the first time since FireGirl was born. FireMan's business is taking off, and he's been putting in more hours there, plus they're starting to train new divers for Water Rescue, so he's busy with that as well. With all the added activity, it's been all but necessary for us to have a schedule so I can try to manage it all, so we can get it all done.

The schedule.

The schedule had to go.

Because the truth was, the only part of life truly benefiting from it was my work. I was more productive at work. My work self was doing well. But my home life was falling apart.

FireGirl & I were fighting constantly. She had managed to drag our fights out so long that the schedule that had begun with me getting more done at home now left me getting less done at home. The house was a disaster, we were both stressed out, her to the point of lashing out with hitting, and yes, the stress at home was beginning to affect my work. How ironic.

And so... this week... I threw out the schedule.

This week, I stopped and chatted with the babysitter for half an hour while FireGirl blew bubbles before leaving. Why not?
In that conversation, by the way, I found out that one of the other children hits their mother, and has done so in front of FireGirl. Interesting...

We've taken the long way home, past the horse farms, and alpacas, and chickens. Found a new horse farm to drive by and dream by. And when no one else is coming, I stop and we roll down our windows so FireGirl can talk to the horses. And watch. Oh, how she watches them.




We've been stopping and playing with the dogs before we ever go inside the house. Okay, she plays with the dogs while I make multiple trips carrying whatever number of loads I have that day inside. And then once I'm done we play with the dogs for a few minutes longer. Because... why not?

We eventually get our bath done, and our PJs, and snack, and this week she's gotten to bed no later than 30 minutes past her "scheduled" bedtime.

But with virtually no struggles, unlike the past few weeks.
Oh, sure, we've still had a couple of arguements.

She is two, after all. And I'm her mother, and although I'm tons of fun, we still have rules, so I still make her mad.

But no hitting.
For the first time it at least two weeks, the first day I threw away the schedule was also the first day of no hitting.

I like our life better this way. We like our life better this way.

And I need to remember what I knew.

What I knew from the beginning. What I knew about being a mom without anyone telling me. Despite what everyone was telling me.

I know my family. I know what works.

And for us, this works.
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