Monday, October 31, 2011

Challenge of the Day

Porter from a young age {ie: the first time he went trick-or-treating} exhibited this really interesting, way-too-mature-for-his-young-self characteristic.....he's a candy snob. We're talking walk up to the door, look around in the bowl, and would rather walk away empty-handed than with a handful of sub-par candy.  Now I'll have you know that for a child this is not a learned skill....either you got it or you don't. And Porter's still got it.

With this being said a new Halloween challenge has arisen...have your bowl be such that NO child walks away empty-handed.

No crap candy.......BRING ON THE GOODS!

Friday, October 28, 2011

In case you need a laugh....

......take your pick.

-I bent down to pick up Kaia's car seat, threw my arm under the bar, went to stand up........but somehow just got dropped. And went down. On my bum. And then kinda rolled back. All in slow motion. Oh why yes, thanks for asking.... of course I was in public.

-I took the kids for frozen yogurt. They yogurted and topped and we went to pay and I pulled my $20 $2 out of my pocket..........awkward.  I mean are they really going to throw away the yogurt that only we can consume? We had an uncomfortable 2 seconds of eye contact as we looked for the next step. {I don't know how that $3 hid itself in my stroller but thank you.}

-There's this crazy lady that walks around our town with a baby in a Bjorn, one in a stroller, and usually a couple more walking alongside. She gets quite a few "looks". Well, yesterday the smallest boy took off across the street at a semi-busy 4 way stop with no adult in tow. A policeman came out of the woodwork and swooped him up before a car could run him over.............. You already know where this is going. Imagine the death looks I was getting now that they thought the crazy lady couldn't even take care of all her dang kids. As if I wasn't already humiliated....

-Dallin came home from his friend's house telling me about a little tiff- how he got an interception, and how "Harrison was complaining like hell."  I had Dallin B on the phone with his dad in about 2.2.  "No no no, Dallin...verBAtim. You tell your Daddy VERBATIM how the story goes." {"Mom, Dad won't stop laughing...."}

And that's a wrap. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

♥ to ♥

I was thinking this week about being a mom and three specific incidents came to my mind.

I remember being in my last semester of college when I heard about "Teach For America", a program designed to offer the teacher a way to get credentialed while being paid. The assigned classroom was usually in the inner-city somewhere like a reservation. I had opted out of a teaching degree because I wanted to graduate at the same time as Yosh and as soon as I gained a focused career path, it always involved working with at-risk youth. So my heart spiked at this opportunity. I gathered a little information and started the initial application process before it all came to a halt. I was very pregnant. As appealing as this job was, we had decided I would stay at home with the baby. And as much as I tried to talk myself into it, I knew I didn't have the personality to fully commit myself to both, nor did I truly want to. I remember being in the bathroom at the JKHB, and, alongside a little disappointment, I felt with surety that it was my calling to be at home. 

Fast forward a couple babies later, might as well have been a lifetime later. The kids were at home with a baby-sitter and I was out running errands. I walked into Staples, checked off my list, and went to pay. As I stood in line, I looked admiringly at the cashier. "I bet......she looooves her job," I thought. I imagined her getting in her car everyday, the music blaring, sun pouring in through the sunroof, probably sipping on a sodie, driving to work to hang out with her co-workers/friends. "Yep, she must. This would be sooo fun." I tried bringing myself back to really, "Come on, Gay, this is Staples. She can't possibly love her job." {Not knocking STAPLES, you get the point though.} I tried my hardest to infuse reality and talk myself out of this conclusion but I just wasn't buying it. Point-blank...she must love her job and I was jealous. I wanted to be a Staples cashier.

This third incident occurred while I was driving in my car, once again with two kids at home, and I was feeling pretty miserable. If I remember correctly, Yosh got a phone call that went something like this, in a whisper, "I hate my job.....I wanna quit." I don't remember how the rest of the phone call went, but I drove around for awhile because I didn't want to go home to reality. I needed a brief run-away. And somewhere in that drive, a seed was planted that has overtime blossomed. The thought that has become my roots and anchor is this.... I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. I'm not one because I have to be, or because my religion suggests that as an ideal route, or because my husband wants me to be. I chose it. And I continue to choose it every time I'm tempted to be something other than that. In all honesty, it seems very sexy to be a little something professional, have a career of my own and succeed at it {which- quick news flash- I would never succeed at. That'll be a great post job history and so-called work ethic...}. And sometimes I've even tried to ignore what I know to be right for me and chase sexy but no matter how I try to tip-toe around it, I know what I want and I know what is right for me. "The grass is greener on the other side" sometimes sends me for a walk, but I always get pulled right back to my side of the fence, which is why I'm currently trying to refund my way out of a business venture I invested in.  I have found not only freedom in knowing the choice was mine to choose, but also empowerment, and this derived strength has pulled me out of many a black corners and served as an anchor during the storms.

Now although I love being a stay-at-home mom, I'm not necessarily advocating for stay-at-home moms; I'm advocating for being pro-active in making a decision and then owning it. The shared experience happened to be my vehicle for learning this principle. This lesson has enabled me to apply the same principle to many other facets of my life. So just my thoughts for the day...wherever you are in life, no matter how different your path may be from mine, a common factor across the board is that the path is sometimes hard and dissatisfying. A small key for navigating the turbulence is owning your position. Once you come to terms with that, you can choose to continue in the same route or make changes. You can taste the liberation and often times that feeling of freedom gives you all the power you need to push through.

Suerte, my friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just three things.......

1) This is what Tuesday mornings at our house look like:

2) What is proper communication etiquette for blogging? Do I answer in my comment section? In theirs? Personal email? Do I not answer? I'm all about wanting to continue the conversation but don't know how.

3)The letter verification deals. Seriously? Can we make them any harder to read? To buy concert tickets, I need to solve an unreadable puzzle. To post a listing on craigslist, it's as if they're taunting me..."type this if you can." I mean, it's ridiculous the jumble they want me to turn into coherent letters. Killing me, killing me. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mama got Brave

...and walked my booty into a craft store. I kinda felt like a stranger in my own world but I quickly adapted. I focused, remembered why I was there- there was some vision in my head that could only be recreated by my hands. Hence the walk into foreign territory.

My mission was to do away with this look we've been sporting the last 3 years:
I needed color. I needed pattern. I wanted my sunshines pictured right along the words that described them.

And this is what we came up with:
(excuse the loft- at some point it will get completed. actually it probably won't but maybe. and if you're wondering if i like Subway art or whatever it's called....well, I think you have your answer.)

And all this only cost me 2 holes in the wall. Talk about making a husband happy. (Truth be told, don't know if I've let him in on that secret yet. Maybe I'll wait til I can use it to my advantage....) Now because of using those damage free hanging deals, I feel like it was a bit tricky to get the symmetry perfect so I've been trying to look at it through semi-blind eyes but have mainly been failing in that attempt. Holes or perfection? Delicate balance.

In other news, I didn't kill myself hanging the top right yellow frame even though I considered that a very real possibility as I balanced myself on a 3 ft high laundry basket that slightly hung over the allotted stair and would have needed nothing more that a bit extra weight shifted left or right to send me flying down the stairs. And as my mind envisioned it, I would be landing on my tailbone with my legs somehow over my head in an inverted somersault when this all went down. But yet, I still decided I must do this NOW. I was not willing to wait for a taller human being to help me out. And the risk paid off as I am here to tell the story- with an increased distrust in my decision making skillies.

Now I'll have you know that I've found myself in that same JoAnn's a few more times since. And to top that? I even busted out the iron {that my sister didn't think I owned} to do this project. Not a chance there will be wrinkled frames hanging on my wall except for one straggler, find it if you can! Tell you what, I'm a new woman with these synced up nap times 2x a week while the big kids are at school!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just a few Randoms....

~What is it about being a girl- actually a lady now- and that time of the month and headaches? Let's not remind me of the 5 pm headache for the last 8 days.

~I was feeling all mature when last Sunday after church I walked my tooshie right up to Yosh and told him I needed a couple of hours to myself, that I would be leaving. I didn't pout, I didn't act all mad and storm out, I just used my big girl words. It went over well.

~And while on the subject, did patience always plummet once a month? I'll be thinking my day is going well and all of a sudden I find myself ready to blow a gasket. I guess I'd forgotten.

~But I forget many things. I have no memory. I used to always laugh when my mom would exasperatedly tell me, "Gabey, I've got Alzheimers." I would remind her she was only 50 and that was impossible. Now I find myself calling her asking for tips...."Mom, how in the world did you make it to 50 before the big A word kicked in? I don't think I can last that long...." It's hopeless.

~I played some school yard game called "Cheeseball" with the boys for a good 15 minutes yesterday. I was no closer to understanding the game at the end of the 15 minutes than I was at the beginning.

~Other signs of aging: Yosh got very excited today when he saw me wearing lace....on my socks.

~I got very excited this weekend when 2 out of the 3 boys opted out of dressing up for the first Halloween party of the season. Next weekend I will find the energy, my friends. Do not fret, we will celebrate Halloween in style.
The Princess is always ready for a party.

~Yosh called me out for too many sugar cereals in the house. And not enough fresh produce. You know things are needing reeled in when Yosh feels the need to step in. (I think I was hovered in a corner with my bowl of Reeses Puffs as I received my scolding.)

Can I confess something? I like the texture these randoms add to life. This is what keeps the boring away. And I've never fared very well with boring.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Cuss like a First Grader

One of the perks of having a first grader is you always stay up to date on the lingo. The other day Dallin came out in a new basketball outfit and Porter told him he looked hot. Dallin proceeded to inform him, "Porter, you don't say hot for a boy. You say 'sick'. K, you look sick." Porter lapped up the lesson like the hungry little brother he is.

The other day I learned of a new naughty word on the market. Once again, courtesy of our first grader.
DB: "Mom, did you know peanut butter is a bad word?"
Me: "It is?"
DB: "Yea, it is. Okay cuz 'pee'- you know, like you gotta take a pee. Then 'nuts'. You know what those are, right Mom? You know, your privates. Ok, and 'butt'. Then, -er. See, it's a bad word." 

And all I could think about... "my son is talking to me openly about n-u-t-s? He still doesn't know that could be a little bit weird? This is good. I don't think I gave the secret away. Keep a straight face. Hopefully we can keep this open communication going a few more years...."

(PS I'm supposed to be at the gym right now. Instead I'm at the computer in defeat, I have a half-dressed 2 yr old recooping in front of a show after way too much crying and it's only 9:30 am, and a beautifully dressed pumpkin princess rolling around on the ground waiting patiently for her big brother to pull it together. Where's my Diet Coke?........)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heart to Heart

While walking through school the other day (may I take a moment to bask and add...hand in hand):

Porter's gym coach in passing: "Poooorrrrrrrrrrter, what's up?"
Porter: Weirdish smile, kinda looks away.
Me, whispering: "Porter, don't you wanna say hi to him?"
Porter: "Uh, hi."
(Gym coach has now passed.)
Me: "Porter, why does it make you shy when he says hi to you?"
Porter: "I just don't know what "What's up" means."

This is the sweet boy we're talking about. Our Porter Pistol Pope Hansen. We really struggled with the decision of what to do with Porter this year, school-wise. He's a late birthday which meant he could do another year of pre-school or start Kindergarten. I lost many a nights sleep over this decision starting April '10. I made decisions. I went back on decisions. I lost money because of going back on those decisions. I was sure. Then I wasn't sure. Many times I tried to convince myself I was at peace. But I wasn't. I followed my heart and kept trying until it led me to the path that just felt right. (wait, was that path suggested by my husband? posible.)

He's enrolled in Kindy and we couldn't have a better match of a teacher. As evidenced by one of his morning greetings:

That's right....a surf report. Just in case you missed the morning news.

He's a rebel in the most awesomely, school way. He starts the day in Converse and changes to flip flops at the first given chance. He only returns to his Converse for any needed trip to the office. And he gives surf reports. He is an obvious endorser of individuality and we were concerned about our individual child. Enough said.

What's the lesson learned from all this? Patience. Learning what it feels like to make the right decision. While in the process, I always question it. I always want to give in and compromise peace for "now" and doubt that the perfect solution will present itself. I think, "Will there ever come a point where my mind and heart will sync up?" Often times it feels like that won't happen, that I've exhausted all my options and still there's no peace to be found. But if I don't give in, they- the mind and the heart- almost always catch up to each other. Sometimes a unique option arises; sometimes it just requires time to mold me a new set of eyes for one of the original choices. Just as was the case with the Pistol.

And what amazes me is it's the same process whether picking a school for your child or furniture  for your backyard. In the last month, I've almost bought many sub-desired pieces to have the decision done with and out of the way. But had I given in to mediocrity, I would have missed out on these beauties:

its a winner

And I do NOT like missing out. I'm in looooooooooove!

Which is why I hope to remember this lesson~
Be patient.
Have faith.
You've been here before.
Your mind won't fail you.
But neither will your heart.
Wait til they find each other. 
Then revel in the peace.
You'll never regret the wait.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words....

then this is a long ole novel I'm never gonna get through.

Aaahhhhh so many pictures....where to begin and then what do I do with them?!!!
For now, I'll just focus on a couple.

{For the love of TOMS}

How come there seems to be a dominating face here?  Hmmmmmm.

Family pics. Take your best shot. To capture the story of us. Right here. 
Right now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mama got brave today

..........I laced up four times last week

........... and worked out {0 times}.

In all this getting dressed in exercise clothes, I went ahead and continued the trend on Friday night.
You would of never guessed, huh?

Only one question begs to be answered with the multi-use of the leggings....
The under-roos. Not a chance they're getting invited on my 5-mile run.
But what about a Friday night out? It's debatable.....
Same leggings, completely different rules. 

Steve Madden, you had me at orange stitch.
I'm fallen.

(Yosh, sorry you look drunk in above pic, but it was a one shot deal.)

We had a hot Friday night out watching Jack and White perform. Love that girl and admire her work ethic. It was fun to see her new partner in crime. Must say, they seemed like a good fit- I think she's found her niche. I loved kicking back and listening to the music but....CONFESSION.... I couldn't help but think, "Wow, us white folk are boring."  It was some sweet music that made you just want to groove. Yet, I looked around and all I saw was gentle head bobs and a little tappin of the foot. Now don't you for one second
think I was doing anything more than that myself, sitting with my legs crossed all nice and proper. But in my head, I was dreaming of lettin loose.

Hope yours was an enjoyable weekend with more letting loose than me. 
Cha cha now ya'll!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

it's a Secret.....

....that I'm hesitant to share with you. It has to do with baking. I'm a good baker, not great. This one simple addition to my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe elevates them- hence, me- from goodness to greatness. And just for one small minute I would like to revel in the fact that I'm a better baker than you. Which is why I hesitate to share.

But obviously I'm going to since I reeled you in this turning back.

The secret comes from three small words.....

Fleur de Sel

My recipe of choice for Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (*I used butter flavored crisco)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

(I roll into a ball and then gently pat the dough down, forming a flat surface)

*****sprinkle Fluer de Sel on dropped cookie dough*****

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

(it's the Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies with the couple changes I made)

But it comes with a warning....bake at your own risk. Haters will ensue after you knock them off their baking pedestal.

I must go now. A fresh batch just got out of the oven.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back on the wagon.....

....(is that how the saying goes?)

It's been a long time, but I finally participated in a DIY project...

How to Make it:

1)Buy a $45 necklace two years in advance.
2)Like the concept but don't really like the necklace but wear it every now and then out of guilt for your more-than-you-would-normally-spend-on-a-necklace purchase.
3)Two years later buy a delicate gold chain with a key-lock charm and wear it almost every day.
4)Have your stomach drop to the ground as you watch your charm fall down the drain.
5)Feel sorry for yourself for a few weeks.
6)Bust out the pliers and finally get the nerve to cut other chain, which is the only way to remove the peace charms.
7)Put charms onto chain. When they won't shimmy their way through, find some dental floss. Thread the chain and use that to pull the charms through. (Can you tell I'm super proud of that step? Had to get all MacGyver-esque.)

Finished product created. One DIY project and $85 later, you have a one-a-kind necklace.

I think I'm going to save myself some money and just go shopping this weekend.......

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heart to Heart

Within 15 seconds of dropping the big, heavy umbrella base on my toes, I already was 1)nauseous bc of the blood I saw, 2)mad I wouldn't be able to wear my new boots that night, and 3)devastated that I wouldn't be able to run 8 days later in the Manhattan Beach 10k, the only 10k I'm absolutely committed to running in for the rest of my life. I let the injury run it's course and endured the pain (yes, it was painful even if it only was a toe or two) but couldn't squash the desire to run that dang 10k.

After reaching out for some tips to FB- which produced no sympathy-, I got the buoying up I needed to commit to the run. So Saturday morning I got up bright and early, loaded up on the IB, wrapped those toesie wosies, and headed out to run for the first time in almost two weeks. The toes were numb enough when the race started and really only caused minimal discomfort. Turns out, they were the least of my concerns. My movement was all stiff from lack of activity. I kinda felt like a running mummy. My body was out of sorts- I kept breaking out in cold sweats, wondering, " I going to pass out?" So I walked. And then I ran again wondering, " I going to throw up?" My thought was right in sync with the man behind me bc in that instant he started barfing....right in stride with his running. Didn't even slow down, never missed a beat. I was shocked that people really do that. I've heard of people doing it and once a trainer even suggested that I run until I throw up. Uhhh....PASS. But never did I know people really did this. I learned that they do. Must be a special breed because I don't like pain or discomfort. Which is why you found me rolling around on the ground, writhing in pain for one FULL hour after breaking my toe. My husband was no where to be found, my personal nurse/Kady did the best she could over the phone after I literally crawled upstairs to call her, and my lifeline/Christy finally bailed me and the babies out 45 into the trauma. So no, I would not be passing out or throwing up to make it through this run even if I wanted to.

It never got that extreme and I finished, giving it my all. I crossed the finish line where Kady was waiting for me and all I could do was fall to the side and say, "I just wanna cry." Because I was physically wasted and to be honest, I was disappointed in my time. It was a respectable time. 54:37. But all that effort and pain and it produced what I considered to be only a decent time. Only decent because it wasn't my best ever time? Or because it wasn't the time I wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't been hurt? I don't know but it stung.

Now as much as I'm sure you all just loved hearing my sob story, I come with a point. That I'm a grown adult with 31 years under my belt and I struggled with accepting that my best isn't always the best. My self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, self-{fill in the blank} took a temporary blow. And I didn't even have anything riding on that run. In fact, I really didn't even think I was going to be able to run it.

The couple days following this little incident, I got to thinking. Because I'm a thinker and a self-conversator. And I mulled around these happenings in my head trying to pinpoint what was really bothering me. And all this thinking brought me to kids, to youth, to those formative years. And I felt my little heart having small pangs of momentary break as I realized the gravity of what we as parents, teachers, and mentors ask of them- the same thing that I had momentarily failed at.

The pressure they face, both external and internal, is present even at the tender age of 5 and 6. Life gives us only a small grace period from feeling those pressures and theirs has already expired. They're now onto character building reality. Hence the inundation of hammering into them to do their best and be proud of it. We're pushing the building of character versus social acceptance. We're doing our absolute best to ingrain in them a love for self and a confidence that comes within. And that realization is what really tugged on my heart strings...that we're asking them to love themselves. 
It's something I've spent a lot of time reflecting on lately- my own personal journey in this area of coming to love myself, especially the growth that has taken place these last couple of years. I couple that with the aspirations I have for my kids' journey and it brings mixed emotion. 
Because I know the reality of that journey, and believe me, a journey it is. Getting a glimpse of what it feels like to love myself more completely has left me with a desire that is alive and wild to give that self-love to my children. But the only way I can give it to them.... is by allowing them a lot of heartache and allowing them to take their own many falls, and in so doing gaining the tools to love themselves in the face of so-called failure, hurt and defeat. This produces something they will have earned and can call their own and become the possessor of this confidence and self-worth.
While I believe 100% in the process, it's a tough one and takes a lot of courage to stand by and allow our young ones to start on the path at such an early age.

My own personal fall didn't last long. I'm the bounce back girl and within 24 hours my ego was all mended, my pride was stuffed down deep into my back pocket again, and I recognized triumph. I fought against instinctual human nature and took out the "buts" and "should of's"- and was ready to genuinely be proud.

In my personal opinion, indisputable self-confidence is one of the major keys to success and happiness. Yet, it's one I've struggled with. But I so desperately want to help my kids instill this deep inside their souls. So, spill the beans. What's the secrets, how's it done? It really does take a village.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Picture me Rollin...

Remember when I was wah-wahing about getting this new ride? Well friends, lay your worries to rest because I've adjusted well. And it has nothing to do with the salesperson telling me it looked just like the Mercedes SUV. I would've thought it was a sales tactic....until my sis piped in with the same observation. So truth be told.....I bought a knock-off Mercedes. Anything to boost my ego. But my questions regarding "the" Mercedes:

-Can you smash a Razor in your trunk with only the push of a button?
-Can you cut back on quality family time by playing the Wii in the Mercedes?
-Can you smash your fingers in the door with the push of a button?

-Can your kids leave the doors open time and time again because they only have to push a button?
-Can you almost lose your whole head while loading groceries with only the push of a button, meanwhile turn around to see your cart on a full sprint through the parking lot?

I don't think so.

There is just one area of adjustment I'm working on....I feel weird rolling around blaring my 93.5 in the Odyssey. But when a little Snoop Dogg or Too Short or B.I.G. comes on, there is no choice but to blare. Zip your lips with the scolding por's my guilty indulgence. I should be a 17-year-old in the LBC sometime circa 1980. Instead you got a 30-something in the Palisades in 2011. Some how this might feel more appropriate in ......anything but a white minivan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mama got Brave

Last week was so fun I'm doing it agaaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnn!

Vertical+Horizontal?............. Who knows but I liked it! I held my head higher all day long, feeling all Blind Side-esque. And I would expect to feel no different considering this is the only blazer I own and it was purchased after I watched that movie and decided I was gonna be getting all sophisticated like Ms Sandra Bullock herself. And for someone a bit ghetto like myself, this blazer spills over with sophistication.

That determination was obviously short-lived as- in true Gay style {unable to complete anything including an outfit}- I paired it with the in-congruent flip flops.

PS Go blonde or go home. The next time I say I'm going "more natural", do me the favor of stopping me dead in my tracks. Muchas Gracias!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's a girl to do?

This baby lady of ours is just a growing up. I can hardly stand it. Except that each new stage has us just as enamored as the one before. I mean how can you resist a "clicking" baby? Ohhhh she'll be clickin. When she's happy, here comes the clicks. When she has something to say, it begins. If her clicking is at all representative of her talking....we'll have a chit-chatter on our hands... I can't wait!!  And I love when she's tired and I lay her down how she starts thumping her leg like a little rabbit . And how with the least bit of attention she turns on a smile that lights up all of L.A. I love her. And how she reaches for everything foot first and can stretch those legs of her out to make perfect 90 degree angles. It's amazing. (Don't worry, give me about 2 or 3 months and she'll hit the stage that starts driving me crazy and the gushing will finally stop. But until then, indulge me.)
The only thing leaving me dissatisfied with the whole baby thing right now is the fact that she's 100% on the bottle and my seasonal lady friends have deserted me, once again leaving me with a chest that resembles that of a 12-year old boy. I mean seriously...isn't that the least of keepsakes I could have after all the pregnancies and nursing I've been through? Huh uh. Apparently too much to ask. Word on the street is they're being held ransom until I decide whether or not I'm willing to buy them back..... What's a girl to do? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mama, No Stress Deeter out

I swear, he really said that to me. Like August 7, 2011 or something.

But I've been thinking about stress lately. And anxiety. And ya'll I've had a few light bulb moments.

I admit... I was emotionally dumping on a friend. She told me what she perceived the source of my anxiety to be: kids, a lot on my plate, and not having all the schedules jig-sawed together quite yet. I took that thought home, sat on it, analyzed it, re-analyzed it, and then just for good measure, re-re-analyzed it. After realizing that was a cause of stress but not anxiety- and for the first time being able to separate the two- I was able to troubleshoot my two main anxiety* sources:
(*my definition of anxiety goes something like this: those conversations you have in your head that make you feel like you're on a merry-go-round, often times creating more confusion as the ride continues and result in no solutions.)


Serious? This was actually good news...I thought my whole life was in distress, but I only have two areas. What a relief!
Now don't get nervous (or excited depending on your personality type!), I'm not airing any dirty laundry here. Neither one of these areas is in crisis. Which made me ask myself what I was doing differently in these areas of my life versus those that I wasn't feeling anxious in. (ie: being a mom which would seem to be a natural cause of anxiety.)

We've gotten in a good rhythm where our normal spending habits are within our means. I can take care of all our families' needs and lots of mama's wants without breaking the bank account. So why in the world is this a source of anxiety?

My marriage seems to fit inside very comfortable parameters as well. We still like each other, we still get good laughs out of each other, our kids are a top priority, we don't fight much, etc. I feel respected and valued and really think I got a good one when it comes to husbands. So, same question...why is there anxiety here?

I found the answer....I'm living without focus and a plan in these aspects of life.

When we first moved to CA, we were so excited to make money and live on a budget (we genuinely were excited to live on a budget cuz we're nerdy like that.) Yosh set me up with an excel sheet and throughout the month I entered our expenses and the spreadsheet automatically did the calculations telling me how much money we had left in each category to last us until the end of the month. I always knew exactly where we stood and how much money was left to spend. Can I tell you how liberated I felt when we started doing this? I would've thought the contrary, that a budget would imprison me, that it would be that voice you couldn't shut up yelling, "Nooooooo don't buy that." But it had quite the opposite effect. Every purchase I made was deliberate and guilt free. I loved it and swore I would always keep the habit up regardless of our circumstances. Well we've (ok, actually just me. Yosh uses to track everything but I've got nothing!) since got away from that practice and the anxiety has crept back in. I don't have a plan for spending and that leaves me feeling: a)like I'm bleeding money, b)irresponsible and c)indulgent. Because I haven't taken the time to make most of these choices ONE time at the beginning of the month, I'm having to confront them multiple times a week, on the spot, without a reference point. Hence the anxiety. Get back on a budget, Gay, and you'll be free!

Now onto marriage. I've never done this whole married thing before. I've never been in a committed relationship for the long haul, and then on top of that taken on a joint venture as huge as a family before. And in the same breath I would say navigating my way through marriage hasn't been as innate as other roles I've taken on (ie: once again, being a mom.) Because of this, I find myself having the same monologue, "Should he be doing that or should I be doing that? Should I tell him we're doing this or wait and see if he knows? I don't want him to get mad. But I do want this to get done. Am I being too demanding? Am I not asking enough of him? Do other couples have this problem? Are we normal? Is it just me? I probably need to change. But maybe he should change." And all of this takes place in a matter of 15 seconds. Believe me, I get just as nauseous in the moment as you just did from reading that. But here's the thing...we're novices in the marriage department! We're definitely doing ok at it and have our heads above water but I don't want an "ok" marriage, I want an AWESOME one, not kidding. I have to think there's a more efficient way to achieve this than him and I kind of guessing our way along the journey. So while I don't think I should have it all figured out, I do think a plan would line out some expectations for each of us, give us the tools to deal with whatever issues arise, and therefore lessen the anxiety. I've been telling myself to just buck up and get a few tips by going to a couple of counseling sessions or read a marriage book. Now I just need to do it!

My overall conclusion is that when I don't have a point of reference, I stumble. My personality needs it. Apparently, that's my security blanket. That reference point is what makes me feel successful in certain areas of my life and the absence of it leaves me feeling anxious. Also, pinpointing the causes stopped the leaking over into other areas of my life. My overall life already feels more in control. I feel more reassurance after figuring these two things out and I haven't even implemented my plans of attack!

Alrighty now, what is it that's stressing you out or making you anxious? Think about it, be honest with yourself and put it out there. Because on the other side of those issues is happiness, freedom, and calmness. We can figure this thing called life out, I promise you!!! Let's do it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mama got brave today

I wore mustard pants! And that made me feel brave. And awesome. Because I bought these pants a couple weeks back, hoping I'd have the nerve to rock them. I always kinda get a swift rush of reassurance when I get the ok from Cami's blog.  So here they are in all their glory and I must say...even mustard-colored pants have my number this season!

(shirt: Madewell, pants: Nordstroms BP, shoes: Nordstrom Rack)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lost in Translation- sometimes it's better

Oh the Brazilians came. And they are just as exotic as "Brazilian" sounds. Beautiful people who "adoro" everything. (No.....Les adoro a Uds.) I haven't seen my husband this happy in.......wait....ever? Whoa that's a little bit weird. Anyways I'm rarely on the other end of the language barrier issue and I'll tell you what, it was definitely a blast from the past to those first weeks as a missionary in Uruguay. The three of them talked a million miles a minute in Portuguese but when I was around they were ever so polite and we did the best we could without a common language. We fumbled around in a Portuguese/English/Spanish rotation and laughed when there was no sense that was going to be made of whatever was just said that we didn't understand. Comprende? 

But sometimes we did make sense of what we just misunderstood...and that was funny. Like when we were kicked back after eating way too much meat at the Churascaria. I asked Rafa if they do exercise at home cuz it only seemed appropriate to talk about how in the world we were gonna get off the extra 10 lbs we just put on. Rafa flashed me that beautiful Brazilian smile, politely said, "Yes," and in less than a millisecond was already staring her husband dead in the eye, begging for support. I quickly turned to mine as well. "She thinks I said something embarrassing," I whispered wide-eyed.  Support she got as Fogo offered an answer without skipping a beat, "Yes we make sex at home......and we make sex in your house!" Seal that in with a laugh and a wink and ain't nothing more to be said.  Oh yes, the Brazilians came!