Time for Thanks

Days don’t always go as easily as we would like.  I’ve had more than a few of those lately and I am profoundly tempted to come here and whine my little heart out, but I think today needs something a little different–thanks instead of whine.

We are truly having an amazingly beautiful fall.

2014-10-05 15.07.44 2014-10-05 15.10.06 2014-10-16 18.02.24 2014-10-16 18.03.29 2014-10-16 18.08.00

 

Monday night we had some dear friends over to enjoy dinner with us before they  head to their missionary post in Bangladesh.  We are going to miss them.  But we are so proud and excited to see them head to fulfill what the Lord has called them to.  We are supremely honored to love them near and far.  And so thankful for new technology that will help us stay in touch.

2014-10-20 17.56.05

I got a mental health day yesterday.  Don’t all teachers need that? ;)  I had a doctor appointment that I could not take the girls too.  Hubby took a day to be the substitute teacher.  I wanted to feel cool so I wrote out 2 pages of instructions.  I went to my appointment while they tackled the first subject, then I took my proofreading project to Starbucks and used a gift card to get one of the fun drinks, without coffee (yes, you can do that) and sat and read.  I felt so cool.  Next I came home and took the opportunity to run on the treadmill (yup, I am up to a mile at a time!!!).  We ended our day with a couple laps around the block as a family.

2014-10-22 09.15.47 2014-10-22 09.15.38

 

Seriously, I felt really cool writing up the lesson plans and notes for hubby.  And he noticed some things that we could do to better support one of the girls’ learning.

And, I am beyond excited that something clicked in my brain this weekend and I am back to craving exercise.  Truly craving it.

(I don’t know what that weird dot is on my nose)

2014-10-19 19.31.51

As I said in the beginning, there have been some challenges lately.  And some of them have rocked me to the core, but for today, I needed to pass on a little thanks.

I hope your fall is treating you well and showing you lots of beauty.

Angst or Photos

Part of me wants to tell you about the spiral into depression that has become a free fall.  I’d like to believe, admitting to it and talking about it would make it go away.  But it won’t.  It will just remind you this is the depressed girls’ blog.

I won’t tell you how my mind is telling me I can’t do another round of this battle.  I won’t tell you how I had to really think about my answer when my therapist asked me if I was having suicidal thoughts.  I won’t tell  you how heavy tomorrow already feels.

Instead, I will show you my cute kids.  God gave them to me for many reasons, but most of all so you wouldn’t have to sit here and read post after post from the depressed girl.

2014-10-11 10.37.28 2014-10-11 10.48.15 2014-10-12 09.10.59 2014-10-12 15.56.45 2014-10-15 17.42.17

Aren’t you glad I chose photos over angst?

 

 

My Complex

True story–I have a big fat inferiority complex.  Big.  Fat.  Huge.

I always have.  With some pretty good reason.  The list of what I am NOT good at, is much, much longer than the things I can do well.

And it goes way back.

I was 7 before I could ride my bike without training wheels.  The very last of my friends to do so.  When I tried walking on stilts, they just came down on  my head as I fell.  I think my dad spent more time explaining how to push them away from me so I wouldn’t get clobbered, when I fell.  I discovered I was afraid of heights when my cousin and I took our first gymnastics class.  I felt sick through ever lesson.  She was skilled enough to go on and compete if our area had such a team for her to join.  Monkey bars?  Are you kidding me?  I never got past the first bar before I dropped to the ground.  A yo-yo went down but never came back up for me.  Never.  Draw?  No way.  I disproved my art teacher’s theory that everyone can draw, they just have to focus so the right side of the brain could take over.  That pretty book holder I made in shop class?  My instructor did it.  I think I put the stain on.  Maybe.

When other kids understood fashion or being laid back and just laughing?  I was frumpy and serious.  While the other girls rocked mini-skirts, a girl laughed at me for having the ugliest, fattest knee she had ever seen.  At the school dances, I sent my time in the bathroom, calming down the girls who were crying so they could go back out and have fun–while I stayed in the  bathroom miserable.

While other kids were playing sports, I was being put on the B team and benched. When they went to games on Saturday, I went to a recombiant DNA workshop that I had qualified for, but honestly had no idea what I was doing.  Or I was spending part of my summer at a leadership conference where I found out I was the class idiot.  Every darn kid there was uber intelligent.  Like, make up your own language to use with your friends because you were bored, intelligent.  I literally walked in to the program to learn that I was the ONLY one not in a gifted program.

Let’s not even talk about how having Multiple Sclerosis in high school made me a weirdo.  As if I needed help.

College was better.  Not perfect, but better.

Marriage has been a challenge.  My hubby is a better cook than I.  He has skills that allow him to make things, real, tangible things.  He is nicer than I am.  He is calmer than I.  But the one that really shows me up?  Caitlyn.  She yo-yos, rainbow looms, climbs monkey bars and trees like a boss.  I look at her often and see again what a failure I am.  That little girl can do anything, absolutely, anything she puts her mind to.

2014-07-03 20.10.12

And her ever classy mother is jealous of her own kid.

I always wanted to be good at one thing.  Just one thing.  I never was.  I never am.

It is very safe to say I harbor a lot of resentment.  Not against Caitlyn, but against myself and much of my life.

Sigh.

Big Old Flop

We had a bunch of bananas that needed to become bread last night.  I asked hubby to pick up some banana yogurt so I could make my typical yummy bread.  He said, “oh, there has to be a recipe in one of your mom’s old cookbooks that is good.”

So I found this book:

2014-10-12 19.41.24

 

And found this recipe:

2014-10-12 18.21.06 2014-10-12 18.26.24

 

I started mixing and mashing.  I thought, wow, this will be a fun one to show on my blog and Pinterest.

2014-10-12 18.26.16 2014-10-12 18.26.27

We had so many bananas to use up that I did a double batch and put it in a 9×13 pan.

2014-10-13 21.40.32

Thing is, I’m pretty sure the second half will be in the pan forever, or until I feel like scraping it into the garbage disposal.  It is so dry.  My family normally inhales my zucchini and banana breads.  No one has touched this all day.

So, I took the pictures, and I shared them with you.  I showed you my mom’s awesome cookbook from my growing up years, but I can’t recommend you actually make this exact recipe.  This trip down memory lane just did not pan out.

 

 

World Mental Health Day

I speak up, I speak out.

Some days it makes me feel better about the battle I fight.

Other days, it’s something I say by rote.  Saying I will use my struggles to help others.

Some days I want to just shut up.  I want to quit speaking out.  I want to just worry about myself and no one else.

But, I can’t.  One of the big lies of life is that it is all about me.  It isn’t.  It is about all of us.  It is about helping, sharing, walking with each other.

So I speak up today, and every day.

Life is worth living.

You are worth more than your diagnosis.

You are worth fighting for.

Choose a semi colon, a pause in life, instead of a period, the end of your life.

2014-10-10 12.46.35

Today and always

Spring Cleaning is for the Birds

Here is a deep, world changing thought for you…I have realized that even though people say they need to do spring cleaning, I do my best cleaning in the fall!

Hubby and I have been married 10 years later this month.  We have lived in this house just shy of 7 of those years.  As I think most couples do, we have a stack of boxes that never, ever get touched.

Until Tuesday.

I started out to clean a small area, then grabbed a few other things and then was drawn to the 11 boxes of life in the corner.  I sorted and sorted.  My legs hurt.  My back hurt.  It was a long project.  But I did them all.  Some of what I found in those boxes is still there, but much has been thrown away or rehomed.

Long ago, I did scrapbooking.  I was never exceptionally good at it, but I did a few books.  I have one for our wedding, one for our honeymoon, one for my trip to Australia, and one for a friend.  It is a book of her very young boys.  They are now in High School.  Boy, did I ever have the supplies.  Paper and stickers, and embellishments.  Punches, adhesives, and many empty books I never touched.

A friend of mine hit the jackpot.  I purged it all.  I kept my cutting tools, but otherwise it is all gone.  It feels good.  One craft out there is no longer haunting me.  I am free to continue doing my scrapbooking via printed photo books.

Yesterday, I took a FULL, had to take out a car seat, FULL Durango load of stuff to the Salvation Army.  There were kid toys, clothes, shoes, ceramic (creepy looking) dolls.  I hope they all find nice new homes.  I am so glad to have them out of mine.  I took 9 large bags/items out of my house!!!

Not everything found its way out of the house.  There were beautiful wedding pictures in there, photo albums from my childhood and school years.  I found my old clip book (samples a journalist presents to prospective clients or publishers), there was all the material and costumes for the clowning my mom and I used to do at various churches.

2014-10-07 23.41.46

And some of my baby clothes.  I was born 6 weeks early.  Unlike most babies, I did not gain all the weight I needed while in the hospital.  I still needed preemie clothes when I went home.  Unfortunately, you could not buy them.  A neighbor lady rescued my mom out of her quandary of how to dress me when I got home.  The neighbor went to the doll store and bought some outfits, she adjusted elastic and made them so a real baby could be comfortable.

2014-10-07 21.46.02 2014-10-07 21.44.45

It was fun to show them to my girls, Caitlyn cared, Sue didn’t, and it made me thankful that parents can now get clothes and care for their pre-term babies.

It feels awesome to have found some very precious pieces of my history, of hubby and my history together, and things to share with those who need them.

The family better watch out, I am now on the prowl to get rid of more.  Everything is fair game.

Do you do your big cleaning in the spring, just keep it up year round or do you find yourself cleaning your den before winter hibernation?

Old Love Rekindled

Many years ago I went to college.  Yes I did.  I thought, I’m going to teach elementary school.  That changed when I started my observation hours in the classroom.  Uh, no–that wasn’t going work.  Those kids made me insane.  And they were taller than I thought they would be…

Next thought, maybe high school.  Maybe they will be a little more mature, a little easier to guide.  Yes, you are allowed to laugh at me/with me.  That wasn’t going to work.

I must be meant to teach at the college level, I thought.  I was aware enough to know that took many more years of school which wasn’t an option.

Now what?  I loved writing and journalism and I REALLY liked reading and correcting other peoples’ writing–copy editing/proofreading.  I decided to pursue those interests.  I got an English and Technical Writing degree.  I went on to write for a couple newsletters as well as freelance writing.  Then I added many years of proofreading e-mails and materials for my bosses in the corporate world.

But the dream of becoming a proofreader got pushed into a dusty corner of my mind. Life filled with family, children, homeschooling.  All things I love.

But no proofreading.

Then recently, I started thinking about the proofreading dream again.  My lovely cousin I have mentioned often, e-mailed me and asked if I would help her on a project.  She needed someone(s) to proofread.

“Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

She mailed it to me.  I opened it.  I think the angels sang–”gloria.”  I started reading, marking away, settling in to really enjoy myself.  Seven pages in, I was in love.  Suddenly I remembered all those plans years ago to become a proofreader.

I got so excited I told my hubby.  “I love it!  It’s great.  I love the words, the paper and the red marks!!  I love it!!”  And he says, “why don’t you get into doing that?  It should be something you could do from home.”

That was last week and it keeps going around in my head.

I love that idea.  It’s one of the best he has ever come up with, but I have no idea how to proceed.  It’s been years since I did anything in the journalism world.  All of my contacts are gone.  Where to start?

I see a huge untapped market in self-publishing and e-books.  I have no idea how to pursue finding proofreading work there.  I know it is what I want to look into, but I don’t know how.

That is where you come in…do you know how I can get started?  Do you know people looking for proofreaders?  I would love any and all help!

 

Patrice Sleeping

From day one, I have had more time with Patrice than I had with her sisters.  Due to the degeneration of my mental health, I had a longer maternity leave with her.  I was off work a couple times due to my mental health, so was with her more, then I got laid off from my job when she was two.  I’ve had lots of time with her since.

Conversely, her sisters were in daycare at about 3 months old, I worked my typical hours, and then they were off to school and away from me for many hours a day.

This difference, during the early days of my mental illness, really struck me.  I became terrified with the fact that God was giving me more time with her at a young age because she was going to be taken away from me.

I enjoyed the extra time, surrounded by fear and sadness at the coming loss of my daughter.

Life kept moving, and here we are at 4 years old and she is still with me.  And I love that little gift.  Her birth may have brought struggle and depression, but her life sure hasn’t.

She loves to give huggies and kissies.  She is a bundle of energy, but always comes back for a quick moment in my lap.  She herself put it best about a year ago, she said, “mommy, I’m pretty much always happy.”  And she is.

Don’t get me wrong, she is a very normal little girl.  She cries when corrected, she runs to her room when mad, and she can needle her sisters with a great deal of skill.

She has a passion that just draws me in.  I love to indulge her love of monkeys, her desire to do homework, drink nolk (milk), and be just a bit of a stinker.  Her eyes just dance when she is happy.

The fear of losing her is not as constant as it was after her birth, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it crosses my mind several times a week.  Is the Lord giving me this gift to comfort me later.  I know it is ridiculous, but it is there.  So, I hug her a bit tighter, cuddle her a bit longer, and just take every opportunity to love on her.

And watch her sleep.  Every night, I find myself for a moment or two, standing near her bed, hoping my footsteps don’t wake her.  I just stand there and watch her sleep, listen to her breathe.

My little Patrice, my capstone.

2014-10-02 23.57.18 2014-10-01 11.33.19

Flexibility is the Name of the Game

Thankfully one of the groups I am part of for Homeschooling posted a reminder yesterday for the trip to get pumpkins today.  I had completely forgotten.

The weather was beyond ideal for our foray into a wagon ride, picking pumpkins, and eating cider and donuts.

2014-10-01 11.42.12 2014-10-01 11.52.50 2014-10-01 11.56.12 2014-10-01 11.58.31 2014-10-01 11.02.50 2014-10-01 11.07.43 2014-10-01 11.08.47 2014-10-01 11.11.42 2014-10-01 11.33.19

And then it was time to head home for our book work for the day.

As we were driving Patrice said, “I wonder what happens when you go to the pumpkin patch and the zoo in the same day??

The day was gorgeous, sunny, perfection.  And I wanted to be the fun mom, so we found out!!!

We went to the zoo too.  And I am so glad we did.

2014-10-01 13.31.20 2014-10-01 13.48.34 2014-10-01 14.33.56

 

See that little fuzzy blob way in the distance to the right of the red ball and just to the left of the rock that sticks up?  That’s a giraffe.  That was born LAST NIGHT.  We saw it when it was just 18 hours old.  It is the first giraffe born at our zoo in 22 years.  And we saw it!!!

That wasn’t all.

We went to the kangaroo exhibit.  You walk into a large area that is decorated with cute Australian buildings and the wallabys and kangaroos are laying or hopping around.  And today one of the girls had a Joey in her pouch.  And we saw it!!!!!

Factoid for you:   The gestation of a kangaroo is only 30 days.  Baby kangaroos are the size of a lima bean when they are born.  They do not have eyes.  As soon as they are born they latch on and start eating, round the clock.  They hang out in the pouch about 4 months before they venture out.

It was so amazing.  I felt so blessed and lucky to be able to see the baby giraffe and joey.

It was fun, two field trips in a day, but rest assured tomorrow there will be some catch up to do…hope the girls are ready!

Funky Donkey Head

All of my girls are funny, all of them make laugh no matter how deep the pit I am in.  But one, one really shines through as my silly girl–Patrice.

Patrice loves to play and pretend (I get yelled at often for saying something to her because she was talking to Elmo, not me).  And she loves to play with words.  For weeks everybody was either a Funky Donkey or a Funky Donkey Head.  Now, everybody and everything is Banana Pants.

I love it.  And I love her posing for pictures.

2014-09-30 18.01.57 2014-09-30 18.02.10 2014-09-30 18.02.14 2014-09-30 18.13.55 2014-09-30 18.14.00

You are welcome for the big ole dose of cute!!