Fall is Here

Fall is here.  I know it with every fiber of my being.  I know it NOT because of the pumpkin spice latte M&Ms headed to my grocery store.  I know it NOT because of the calendar–it still says summertime.  The cooler weather hints at fall, but the proof is in my brain.

My mind is racing most of the time.  I am having a hard time controlling my thoughts and my moods.  I want to run away from my life, from me.

It’s happening again.

It’s fall.

Every year at this time, since the very first fall after Patrice was born, I descend into the dark pit of depression.  It’s a little early this year, but it definitely is the fall round of mental torture.

I used to love fall.  I love the color of the leaves, the opportunity to bake and cook more.  I love the decorations.  I love the cooler temperatures.

But my mind makes it hard to enjoy all of those things.  It is too busy thinking over the years that have passed.  It is too busy telling me I am a horrible mother and I need to run away.  It is too busy torturing me.

This year, I recognized what was happening a little sooner so have kicked up my exercise a notch, reaching out to others, reading my Bible, giving myself space.

I am doing what I can to reclaim my season, to reclaim my fall.

Very Tricky

Being 9 is very tricky!!!

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Preparations Underway

True story?  I don’t know if I already wrote this post.  But I thought it was time to share our homeschooling plans for the year.  I am just about done putting together several binders for the girls to work from.

We are doing a lot of projects called lapbooks.  In lapbooks you use file folders to arrange information using booklets, wheels, glued in facts, whatever it takes to help the information to stick.

We will be doing these lapbooks for American History, Science, and Art.  It is a nice blend of facts and hands on work.

Caitlyn and Sue will continue with handwriting, hopefully cursive for both.  Patrice will start with printing.  We will also continue with Explode the Code for phonics and Fred for math with Sue and Patrice.  Caitlyn will be working with Teaching Textbooks for math.

Patrice will begin with learning the last few of her letters, Bob books, and then Life of Fred early readers.  Sue, Caitlyn, and I will chose their books based on level and interest.  Right now Caitlyn is working on the Cupcake Diaries and Sue the Critter Club.  We picked them up at Costco today.  Quietest trip ever through the store as they had their noses buried in the books.  I kept having to tell Sue to be careful or she would get clobbered by another shopper, but honestly, I was more than willing to keep my eyes open for her if it kept her reading!!!

We will also continue with our beloved co-op where I will be teaching for the first time–Heroes of the Faith.  Caitlyn will be in the 4-6 grade group, Sue the 1-3 grade and Patrice Kindergarten.

I am very excited about our coming year.

What do you look forward to with your kids?  What do you like to see them learning/excelling in?


Five Years Gone

Patrice is 5 today.  Five.

In some ways that makes me 5 as well.  Five years ago mental illness invaded me first as baby blues, then postpartum depression and anxiety with a psychotic episode.  And it never went away.

My therapist said I should look at all the good times during those 5 years.  And I try, and succeed, pretty often.  But every good time was against the landscape of mental illness.  Me trying to cope.  Me trying to learn to live.  Me trying to live.

Patrice has grown from a little baby.

all three girls 2010 Leah at park 2010To an amazing 5 year old who loves fiercely, can add up to 5, can’t wait to learn to read, crazy cute and oh so funny.  Amazing.

2015-08-07 11.39.05The years have been sweet.  The years have been hard.  But we are here to celebrate them together.  My Patrice and I.

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Happy Ninth Birthday

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What I Am Proud Of

I was reading my friend Kim’s blog today and she was writing about what she is proud of. She is an amazing woman of whom I am proud to call my friend.  I loved her post so much I thought I would write one.

I am proud of my three girls–two of whom are in time out right now–

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I am proud of my blogging here and at Project Semicolon.  I was even featured on Postpartum Progress this week.

I am proud of my homeschooling.  Thanks to some great friends, I feel good about the curriculum I have put together for next year.

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I am proud that as a high-schooler I went National competition for DECA.

I am proud of the time I spent on short term missions trips.  I am praying the day will come when I can go again.

These are a few of the things that make me happy–what makes you happy, what makes you proud?

Flopping Fish

I look at myself and I see a fish.  A fish that has been pulled out of the water and is now flopping every which way on the pier.  This way and that.  Struggling to find a comfortable spot.

The last 5 years have been hard.  Patrice will be 5 August 7.  So, that is when my postpartum depression started, but the struggle came a month before when Patrice did some flopping around of her own.  I was on a crazy roller coaster of emotions as she moved in and out of breech for the last 5 weeks.

I cried, I prayed, I sang, I played music to her.  I even put clothespins on my baby toes.  Don’t ask, it didn’t work.

Thankfully she decided head down was a nice position and she was born without much trouble–besides the cord being wrapped around her neck, but my midwife quickly took care of that.

She came.  She was beautiful.  Our family was perfect.

I was anything but.

Five years later I live with a handful of pills three times a day to control the Bipolar Disorder II that came after the postpartum depression and anxiety.

But the last weeks have been good.  I came out of my last depression May 14.  That makes this good stretch 2 months long.  I haven’t had that much since Patrice started flopping in my belly.  I have days that are harder than others, today being one, but overall, I am in a great place.

So why the flopping fish?  I can’t find a comfortable spot in the good.  I feel like I am continually flopping around trying to settle in and enjoy; every blip unsettles me.  I am sure this is the day the darkness or the mania will come.  But, thankfully, it hasn’t been that day yet.  And yet, I find myself questioning every moment, every feeling.

Will I ever be comfortable here?  I want to be, but I have no idea how to relax my brain after all these years.  My mind has betrayed me so many times I don’t trust it in anyway.

But I breathe.  I look for comfort.  I look for that peace.  I reflect on the two months.  I work to rest my soul, to nurture myself, to heal during this time.

I have no confidence this will last forever, but I am hoping to stop flopping long enough to enjoy it!

In A Good Place

Join me over at Project Semicolon where I am sharing about, after 5 long years, being in a good place.  Click here to go to the piece.

Sitting With His Love

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
My legs work and my husband can still make my heart go pitter patter, but I can’t necessarily receive his love like I did before.  My mind tells me I am not worthy of his love.  My mind says he doesn’t mean what he says when his lips say “I love you.”  My mind screams how could anyone love the mess you are?  He would be so much better off without you.

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

But he does say “I love you” in a million ways.  He says it when he sends me upstairs to get a break from mommying.  He says it when he takes the girls for a bike ride so I can just sit with my thoughts.  He says it as he allows me hours to exercise when he might want to relax too.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are
He shows me his love by taking me in his arms as I sob out how much my mind hurts, how much my soul hurts.  He shows his love by reminding me how much he wants me to fight to stay alive and how he’ll always be here to walk in the darkness with me.

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are…

I do find his love right where I am.  Sitting in the darkness.  Sitting in the light.  I have his love no matter where I am.
* “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran from AZ Lyrics


Two Lawns Done

I think too much.  It’s just that.  Plain and simple.  I honestly think it is part of the reason mental illness found a home between my ears.  I stew in my thoughts.  I often can’t let them go.  And things have meaning to me, a lot of meaning.

Take, for instance, mowing the lawn.  Yup.  It is a hot and sweaty job that makes me feel liberated and empowered.

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I tried to mow the lawn for my dad when I was a little girl.  He had this old riding lawn mower.  And at probably 12 or so he let me try to do the lawn.

He wasn’t impressed.

After two attempts, he declared it looked like a racetrack and said I couldn’t mow it anymore.

I learned I was no good at it and that was that.

Another thing I wasn’t good at.

I tried to brush it off, but damn.  I took that thought deep.  I was no good at it.

Then I met the hubby.  We each had our own houses when we met (obviously) and I had this little teeny tiny lawn to mow.  I was paying someone but hubby had an extra mower and taught me how to start it, run it, and mow my postage stamp.

It was liberating.  I loved heading out there to mow my little spot.  I could do it.  I didn’t need someone else for this task.

Once we got married, me mowing the lawn took a backseat as three kids came in four years.  I was nursing one baby or another for 5 years, so I was kind of needed in the house.

Now, they are older and I am back outside part of the time.

I have joyfully taken on the job of mowing the lawn again.

Today, I mowed TWO lawns, while hubby cleaned the kitchen 😉 and then came out and did the trimming of the lawns.

I did it.  I did a task I had been told, and told myself, that I couldn’t do.  And that folks, is empowering.  I feel like a million sweaty bucks.

I love my dad deeply and the anniversary of his death is coming up Tuesday.  You’ll read a nice post about how much I love him, and I do, but right now, if he were here, I would choose the ever mature action of sticking my tongue out at him and saying, “I did it!  So THERE!”