In which Bodhi shows how terrible a protector he is.

Bodhi and I had a close encounter with a frog last night… IN THE KITCHEN, you guys! I opened the sliding glass door to let him out, and instead of going out, he jumped backward and got all stressed out and curious. I looked over, and there was a large-ish toad which had hopped into the doorway. Now, I have relaxed A LOT about critters since moving to Texas. But a toad in my kitchen is crossing a line.

I shrieked exclaimed “oh sweet Jesus!”, which is apparently not as unusual for me as I thought, because Josh did not feel compelled to leave the office to investigate the reason for my outburst. After a moment of panic, and being nervous about it coming further into the house, I encouraged Bodhi to “get it”. I really just wanted him to chase it away but I’m glad he didn’t, because afterward I realized if he’d managed to catch the thing, my night could have gotten a lot worse, very quickly. Realizing that my husband didn’t seem to be coming to save me, I decided to just try shutting the door, and prayed that it would hop back out toward the night instead of into my bright kitchen. It did in fact choose to return to its habitat rather than explore my home, for which I was incredibly grateful! And my “big bad dog” is such a darn pansy that he wouldn’t go outside for another ten minutes. Thanks, Bodhi. You make me feel so safe.

(Disclaimer:: it’s possible that Bodhi would be a fine protector if he felt I were truly in danger. I guess he doesn’t deem a huge toad in the kitchen to be a legit threat. We clearly need to have a talk.)

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Finding the Calm

I have been horribly lax about getting out of the house on my own lately.  Not for lack of Josh encouraging me to go, but between busy schedules and not feeling well and feeling like I should stay home and spend time with the family and/or clean… I just haven’t done it.  The effects of this haven’t been evident all-at-once, but are more of a slow-creeping issue.  It’s like when you’re watching the airplane safety video before a flight, and they say in the event of an emergency, to put on your own mask first before helping your child or anyone else.  Sure, you can put off putting on your own mask, and you may be able to help, but if you wait too long, you’re going to do some damage to yourself, and be no good to anyone. I can put off taking time for myself, but after a bit I find myself not being the kind of wife/mom/person I want to be.  For me, this often manifests as a shortened “fuse” and a growing sense of being overwhelmed.  Which is funny, because I get so overwhelmed that I feel like I can’t leave, but in reality, if I just left, I’d feel a whole lot better.  Rational Jillian knows this very well.  Emotional basket-case Jillian? She doesn’t listen to Rational Jillian often enough.

Because I’ve been having a hard time getting out of the house, I’ve been focusing on at least finding some moments of peace in each day.  And I quite like how it’s going.  For one, I try (I’ve been failing at this lately due to some awful headache issues) to wake up at 5 each morning to read my Bible while I have my coffee.  It’s nice and quiet, and I still have time to get some chores done before the boys get up for the day.  I find that I feel a lot more centered when I’m able to have that quiet time.

Another routine I’ve just recently begun is tea time during the boys’ morning snack time.  They didn’t use to have a morning snack, but I realized that they were getting super cranky each morning at about 10, so I gave it a try.  Lo and behold, Liam and Brendan (much like their mother) get very cranky when they’re hungry.  Having that short time where they’re a bit more chilled out and eating their snack opened up a perfect window for me to grab a little bit of peace.  It’s not long, and honestly, it’s not always actually peaceful… but it’s a little routine that I’ve become pretty attached to.  And, thanks to Pinterest (I can’t remember which of my friends I re-pinned it from, but I am so grateful!) I have a lovely and relatively quick drink to make during that time.  It’s called a London Fog Tea Latte.  And it’s delicious.

You can find the recipe for it if you click the link.  It’s basically Earl Grey tea, a little bit of lavender, steamed milk, sugar, and vanilla extract.  I cut the sugar down to two teaspoons and find it to be just right.  Because my kettle broke, I just heat the water for the tea in a pan on the stove.  It actually works out perfectly because while the tea is steeping, I put the milk into the hot pan and set it back onto the off, but still warm burner.  In the time it takes for the tea to be ready, the milk is the perfect temperature.  While I can’t say for certain that the robot tea infuser improves the taste… it definitely makes it a little more fun!

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I’m probably overthinking this.

“When you forgive someone, you stop feeling angry at them.”  

This one sentence, from an entirely unexpected source, stopped my brain in its tracks this morning.  It’s how Liam’s “Endless Alphabet” game defined the word forgive.  (As an only-slightly-related aside, the app is fantastic. Educational and super cute. Keeps Liam’s attention for long periods of time. As in, I can get a shower without anything being destroyed.)

I’ve been struggling lately with knowing for sure whether I’ve actually forgiven, or if I’m working on forgiving, or if I’m holding on to grudges and thereby being unforgiving.  Where is that line?  There is of course, a very obvious kind unforgiveness.  But what of the random flashes of anger that crop up long after a deeply-felt wrong?  Or the lingering occasional sadness that hurts can bring?  Where is the line between having (and processing) feelings, and being unforgiving?

So when I was walking past Liam and hear the iPad chirp “When you forgive someone, you stop feeling angry at them”, it gave me pause.  And I have to say that at first I was thinking I didn’t agree.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m not faulting a toddler’s game for its definition of the word.  I think that for a two-year-old, that’s a fine and understandable way to explain it.  But for me, that definition gave me a thought to latch on to, and it gave me a little insight on why I’ve been struggling with the concept of forgiveness.

I think where it begins, for me, is being able to separate “anger” from “hurt”.  And if I can make that distinction, then I have a better benchmark for how I’m doing with my forgiveness.

Forgiveness isn’t always just “not feeling angry”.  I think that it sometimes needs to go beyond what we are “feeling”.  It can be that we don’t let our feelings determine our actions.  It can mean that I will continue to treat you with love and respect even though I feel hurt. It is choosing to move past and let go of things, even if a wrong hasn’t been (or can’t be) righted, or perhaps it hasn’t even been acknowledged.

As someone who can tend to be… too hard on myself, I’ve come to this realization:  just because I still feel sad, or hurt, doesn’t mean that I’m holding on to unforgiveness.  It means that I’m human.  And, *gasp*, I have feelings. That sometimes get hurt.  And that’s okay.  It’s what I choose to do with those feelings that makes the difference.

Disclaimer: “This morning” was a few mornings ago now.  I’ve been wrestling with this post, and actually managed to change my own mind in the process.  So, hooray for self-therapy and clarity via blogging.  Who knew a toddler’s game could spark so much thought?

 

On blooming where you’re planted.

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

There is so much I hate about this phrase.  For starters? I’m a terrible gardener.  We’re talking major black-thumb, “look at a plant wrong and it’ll die” status over here.  So plant metaphors just don’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Second? I. Hate. Change.  I can get comfortable, sure. I can adapt, yes.  But once I really do get settled somewhere?  You’d better have a VERY good offer to get me to leave.  

I’ve moved a lot in my life.  Several times with my whole family, and then at the ripe old age of 20 when I married Josh.  So, basically most of my moves occurred with my whole support system.  And moving to be with Josh?  That was change I liked.  It meant getting to be with the man I love, and let’s be honest, it didn’t hurt that Colorado is amazing.  

I’ve been fighting this Texas thing pretty hard though.  It’s no secret that I don’t like it here.  (Seriously, just ask.  I’ll tell you. Maybe I’ll say it more nicely if I don’t know you that well, but the gist is, “this is a hell-hole”.)  I think that if we were going to be here for any actual length of time, I’d put in more effort to liking it.  But at this point we’ve only got 12 (closer to 11, not that I’m counting) more months here.  So I figure there’s no point settling in when we’re just leaving again so soon.  

On the flip side though?  I’m realizing that it’s definitely not the healthiest thing to just try to get through this year on my own.  It makes me cranky.  

So, it’s time for some strategery.  First up: actually attend some of the FRG events.  Lunch drops are easy (potluck lunch with the students in the classroom), but other events?  Anyone who knows me knows that groups of people I don’t know are definitely not my favorite scene.  So, I’m going to try to make it to a play group this month.  (Probably at the Splash Pad, which barely counts but hey, I’m in charge here!) 

Next on the list? I tried to join a MOPS group, but they’re full right now, so I’m on the wait list.  If I’m feeling extra sassy one day I might try the ladies’ bible study at my church… but let’s not hold our breath on that one.   

So, long story short, I have a black thumb and am cranky about change but I’m trying to “bloom” because it’s better than just being cranky for 12(ish) months.  I guess. 

Saturday Night Sanity

There is something about being home with two small children all day, every day that will make you feel like you’ve lost your damn mind. There are only so many toys to play with, activities to do, and TV shows that a two year old can watch. And, as any two year old is wont to do, the “naughty” things are obviously WAY MORE FUN, MOM. (As he is “sweeping” with the broom and knocking things off the counters / hitting me with the handle unintentionally, Liam looks at me and says “I bein’ naughty.” In case I hadn’t noticed.) Exhausting.

There are some weeks where the scheduling doesn’t work out and I don’t get to have the car at all. There’s no outing to break the monotony of “Nope, don’t touch that – Be kind to your brother – stop it. Now. – NO!” Those weeks (like this week) are the hardest. Introvert though I may be, sometimes it’s nice to talk to someone who is, you know, not two. Bonus points if I’m not related to them and/or its a face-to-face conversation. And being home with two kids constantly isn’t the kind of “alone” that recharges an introvert, I’ve discovered.

Enter my sanity-saving Saturday nights, courtesy of my wonderful and kind husband. He insists that I get out of the house after dinner on Saturday nights. He does bedtime with the boys, and I get some blissful time without children attached to my legs. Sometimes I use the time to run some errands. Others, I wander and maybe even buy myself something fun. Or, possibly my favorite, sometimes I go to my happy place (yes, Starbucks. Judge away.) and I read a book, and drink terribly high-point (oh, hey, diet. I’m gonna ignore you for a couple hours and consume what should be my daily allowance for food in one drink alone. Brb.) lattes, and I bask in the feeling like a person again. Not just a mom/wife/cleaning lady… but a person. Who likes books. And has a brain that sometimes produces intelligent thoughts. It is indescribably refreshing, and exactly what I need to face another week of “work”.

So thank goodness for my wonderful husband who recognizes that a few hours alone are what the doctor ordered (or, at least, the {future} PA ordered) to bring me back from my trip on the crazy train.

A disclaimer:
Lest you think that I am drowning in my vale of tears, I definitely find joy and hilarity in both the boys several times a day. It’s just the long-haul that is occasionally overwhelming and makes me feel…blah.

Evidence of said joy-finding::

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Because how dang cute is that?! Liam played his guitar and sang to Brendan, who was a willing and captive audience, and generous with his applause. Melt.

Disclaimer #2::
This is my first attempt at a blog post written and published from my iPad, so let’s hope that it works?

“If you can’t say something nice…”

Whelp.  Here we are.  I’ve had several thoughts / posts rattling around my brain of late, but right alongside them there’s been so much negativity.  The transition from Colorado, friends, job, etc. to Texas, stay at home mom with no car and no friends has been even harder than I anticipated.  And it has made me cranky folks.  So I’ve been taking my advice from Thumper’s mama:

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But!  I really think that the mental outlet of writing could be good for me.  So, we’re focusing on the positives.

Usually on Friday nights, Josh gets home about 6:30 (his normal time on a weeknight) and then we do dinner, put the boys to bed, and then instead of him going off to study like he would Monday – Thursday, we sit down and watch Hell’s Kitchen.  It’s a welcome break for both of us, and we really look forward to it.  Today though, Josh was fried from his week, and the boys and I were also needing to get out of the house.  So, we picked up Jimmy Johns (yummm!) and then went to a park to eat and let Liam play.  It was such a nice evening!  We got home just in time to put the boys to bed and watch Gordon Ramsay yell at people.  A great night, if I do say so myself.  Liam would agree, I’m sure.  And here are the pictures to prove it:

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Enjoying the heck out of his pickle; he wouldn’t even look at the sandwich.

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He LOVES the slide

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He rocked that ladder!

Once more, with feeling!

Today is Josh’s first day of actual class.  Last week was just inprocessing, meeting faculty, and several lectures per day about “if you don’t study, you will FAIL”.

This was Josh’s response to the lectures. Because anyone who thinks they can not study and pass PA school is clearly too dumb to have been accepted to said school.

It’s kind of hard to believe we’re already here.  It feels like it’s been such a long time coming, but somehow also came too quickly.  I’m not sure I’m ready for everything that’s about to be thrown at me.  For the next 16 (really the next 30ish) months, I’m the one who has to keep it all together, mostly by myself. So hooray for that.

Last night was the first taste of how things are going to be — after the boys went to bed, Josh went into his office to start pre-reading and I was alone all night.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I usually love some alone time.  I’m very much an introvert, and need time alone to recharge a bit.  But thinking about that being how things will be for the next 16 months?  Depressing.  I definitely had my cranky pants on, we’ll leave it at that.

This morning though, I woke up and told myself to just get it together.  This is life, this is what we’re committed to right now.  And dang it, I am going to ROCK it.  It’s going to suck, don’t get me wrong, but it’s only 16 months.  For perspective, we’ve already been in this forsaken hell-hole for one month. And that flew by.  We’ve got this.  (More on my feelings about Texas in a later post, I’m sure.)

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So, yeah.  This is me, putting on my big-girl-panties and sucking it up.  For today.  Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s an almost-2 year old down the hall alternately hollering “mommy…. daddy… mommy… daddy…” who is about to (scratch that, just did) wake his brother.