Dreams…

I am a bookish sort of girl. My daughters both love literature and reading, which is something that warms my heart immensely. As I have grown older, I find that I have less and less time to read, which makes me a little sad. I hope that this does not happen to either of them…

Being a lover of books, I have always had a deep appreciation for the classics. I also enjoy poetry. Ralph Waldo Emerson is the person I most quote and the one whose words deeply stir my soul. These random announcements paint the picture for you to better understand why visiting Concord Massachusetts has been on the top of my wish list since I was in late middle school. Several years ago I had the privilege of facilitating a Mother/Daughter book club, for a year, inspired by the Mother Daughter Book club series written by Heather Vogel Frederick.  It was while reading about these fiction girls that my youngest’s dream to one day visit Concord was born. Every year as the leaves have turned, we would dream up our someday, and then yesterday the day was finally here…

We have, in our family, this thing we call The Niagara Falls complex. We used to live in Niagara Falls, NY and every time someone visited, the FIRST thing they wanted to do was visit Niagara. Every single time that guest state Oh, I thought it would be much different. That’s really it? Both Chw and I totally understood because the very first time we saw it, we felt exactly the same way.

Concord was definitely just like that. In fact, there is serious consideration being taken in renaming it the Concord Complex all together. And the reality is, it wasn’t some romanticized disillusionment. No, it is truly just Concord. Granted, we had imagine quaint little tea and coffee shops, small book stores and boutiques, perhaps even a few literary themed restaurants. Have you ever looked up Concord on Yelp? I can tell you it is one hundred percent accurate. The 2-3 actual restaurants that it has, (for the record, I do not consider a food counter a restaurant) had insane waits because, well, they were the only restaurants… They also had less than wonderful reviews, which I guess is irrelevant when hoards of people wait to go in. And the people. So. Many. People. And here’s the interesting part, the volume of people were ALL centered around the shops and restaurants. The streets around the shops were jam-packed and every single bench, rock and many curbs were filled with people eating out of paper bags and styrofoam containers. We had saved lunch for Concord, thinking it would be a nice treat. Instead we stood in LINE at three counters, (because an actual restaurant was out of the question) only to admit we were losing precious time and wound up at a pizza counter with the only decent yelp rating we’d seen, on the other side of town. The parts of Concord we were interested in were pretty empty. The unfortunate reality about the parts of Concord we were anxious to see were the “attraction” ticket prices. Orchard House, Emerson’s home and Wayside were $10 EACH, per person. That is just under $100 to walk through three houses… Yeah. It’s a bit exploitive and super sad. We did end our Concord visit at Sleep Hollow Cemetery, which was really lovely…

I guess that’s the thing about building up anticipation, dreams or what have you… You run the risk of disappointment when the real world does not quite meet up to those standards. In the Concord of my imagination it is peaceful and kind, poetic and spending an afternoon there is best when connecting with others, and leisurely. One thing I can admit, New England in the fall is absolutely not part of the Niagara Falls/Concord Complex. It is breathtaking and inspiring and I could happily stay here forever.

I’m ok, you’re ok…

photo-1438979315413-de5df30042a1There is a virus, or exhaustion, (or perhaps a virus by exhaustion) making its way through our house, this week. We’ve each got a touch of it, somehow. These are the sort of things which don’t seem to fit into the to-do lists and planners, thus leading to frustration. Yesterday, (which I’ll get more to in a bit) found me waking with a massive headache, 2 hours AFTER I wanted to wake. Sleep had been rocky up until about 3 hours before I actually got up, so that was pretty awesome. I had half an hour to dress and head to a class I am taking, led in video sessions, by Shauna Niequist. Also factor in the emotional and defiant teen, who has been a bit of a struggle this week, and it made for not the best half hour. I showed up, to the class, barely dressed, without make up and crowned with crazy, curly hair. Who knew it would be a class filled with gorgeous, fit, SAHM’s, all so put together I double checked to see if I had walked into a magazine spread shoot.

I made it through the class and breakout session somewhat managed. Yay me. On my way home I had to stop by the supermarket for a cake. See, yesterday was our Family Anniversary with Gen. For those of you not familiar with adoption stuff, it would mark the day (13 years ago) that Gen came into our family. We do something special to mark the occasion every year, usually on the weekend. Even so, Gen and I had decided we would have a little cake or something to mark the day of. So, off I went to buy a tiny cake. And crusty bread, to go with dinner. And bananas, because the other day they were all not the best looking. And Ice Cream, to go with the cake of course. And $70 later, my quick trip for a cake added to my frustration.

Upon getting home, the awesome dynamics of the day, the hormones, the defiance and my headache all meshed together quite lovely, leading me to abandon everything on my agenda and crawl into bed. (Now, the night before I had another class, with my husband. And I was making a delicious dinner for him and his coworker before hand. And that all went downhill rather quickly causing me to melt down into fits of sobs and why me’s… It was incredibly attractive, I’m sure. Yesterday honestly felt more like a continuation of Tuesday and the same sorts of things.) I made a new recipe last night, which the family loved but I just couldn’t stand the taste. When the cake, later, also sat on my palette flavorless I had to admit I’m headed towards needing to take sick leave, only- PLOT TWIST- no sick leave here! So, I kept trucking. I cleaned the kitchen while the family vegged. I woke up early to take care of other sickies, make tea and distribute meds. Nothing major, except that after three days of what feels like minimal rest, I’m feeling achy and done.

This morning I sit in bed, cup of tea (Wonder Woman cup, no less) with my laptop, two classes of homework and my planner all spread out before me. Laundry will not be put away today. I will only get dressed, in yoga pants, when it is time to go take Gen to work and pick up last-minute ingredients for homemade chicken noodle soup. Here’s the thing though, guilt is weighing on me worse than any 3-4 day headache, back pain or muscle ache. Why haven’t I done this or that, which has been shuffled on my to-do list daily. Why is this basket of unfolded laundry sitting here? What is wrong with me, I never had unfolded laundry! Why can’t I simply take care of these things, there isn’t that much! Why have I managed to watch a collective two hours of The Mindy Project on Hulu?  I have friends who work real, actual paycheck jobs and take care of the house and parent the kids and make it work. What is my issue this week?  Truth? There will always be someone who seems to have their stuff together, someone who manages to juggle it all flawless without a strand of hair out-of-place. I think that up until everything fell apart last fall, I seemed to be that person to a few. It’s not that they were wrong, and it isn’t that I was wrong. It is simply that we can’t compare because we all have different shoes, with different tread and walk on different surfaces of life. Who cares if this girl seems to have it all together, and who cares if that girl clearly doesn’t. Let’s not compare and not compete. Let’s acknowledge that in our genuine authenticness we are women and we are beautiful. What makes us beautiful is not our perfect hair, or flawless skin or our airbrushed appearance makeup application. Each of those things can be nice, but none of them equal beauty. When we are stressed, or tired, or alone- there is no amount of product or shopping which will make us look stunning. We wear this in our posture, in our face and in our reactions toward others. Womanhood is beauty. Period. Womanhood is also meant to be sisterhood, which means we are a community of women knit together to help one another, share burdens and love and make it work because one woman’s success truly is another’s.

I am tired. My head hurts. I don’t feel well at all. My back is killing me and I just feel worn out. There is nothing wrong with me, as woman/wife/mother/writer authentically stating this. We think there is, because it has been heavily implied that we need to appear as though our crap is together 24/7. If we don’t, (and even when we do) we run the great big risk of internet trolls trashing on our photos/posts/tweets. Let the haters hate, it very well may be the only skill they have. This applies to the ones hiding on the internet as well as the snooty women we cross paths with out in the world. I am a woman, with this one shot at life, I think I’ve decided to do it authentically. Behind on laundry, to-do list ignored, fifty loads of dishes per day and my house looking lived in while I plant myself in bed for an hour to watch Catfish– this is authentically me, from time to time. And that is ok…

Hello, August…

photo-1460400408855-36abd76648b9

I’ve been back in Michigan for a little over two months and after moving, and moving, and sitting on the brink of moving again, I’m finally starting to find a normal feeling. Everything still feels fragile and a bit surreal, but I’m attempting to move forward-one foot in front of the other- and here’s my hopes for this month we call August.

Home~

upcycling a serving tray

Being inside less and outside more

downsizing to a capsule wardrobe

experimenting more with essential oils

 

Health~

get back to a good work-out routine

swim, swim, swim

yoga, at least once a week

bike rides

Savor~

quality time with my husband and kids (when possible)

me time

evening walks

reading, poolside

Connect~

counseling

handwritten letters

remembering birthdays

attending a book club

going on a photography adventure

Kitchen~

focussing on fresh & locally sourced meals

loads & loads of sun tea

grilled fish with fresh herbs

scones with lemon curd & Devonshire cream

homemade ice cream

Read~

Present Over Perfect

Kisses from Katie

Where’d you go, Bernadette

The Jesus Centered Life

Watching~

Season 7 of the Good Wife

Season 3 of Parks & Rec

Suicide Squad

Ben Hur

What I learned in 2014…

IMG_0377As we pull up to the end of what has become one of the worst, (if not THE WORST) years in my 38 years of life, I thought I’d take a moment to share the lessons I’ve learned over these twelve months. I’ll be linking up over at Emily P. Freeman’s blog Chatting at the Sky.

– Being at your daughter’s wedding is a roller coaster of emotions that I don’t think any mother can really be prepared for. {at least this one wasn’t}

– I’m pretty ok with being a grandma at 38 to my daughter’s awesome new sons.

– Just because a large majority of people believe something is the easy way out does not make it so.

– Wearing a swimming suit, in a pool, that is now several sizes too big for you is inadvisable. (VERY, VERY inadvisable.)

– also inadvisable, when you have finicky hair like mine, is changing shampoos when you have one you really love. Big, BIG mistake…

– That my people are my everything, and when something scary, tragic, devastating or sad happens to one of them it may as well happen to me.

– A champagne massage is possibly how I want to celebrate every single milestone ever. Heaven.

– I suddenly hate cheese. And anything that has recently associated with cheese. And yogurt…

– That I have a STRONG dislike of granite countertops.

– That I will probably never be the daughter my mother wants me to be, that she will hate everything I enjoy and there is nothing I can do to control that.

– Likewise, I will likely never the person my kids want me to be. I’m trying to be ok with this too…

– no amount of passion, love or effort guarantees results/success.

– chasing people is only fun and affective when you’re under the age of 9, and on a playground.

– Being a writer is hard. Way harder than I perceived in 2013 and DEFINITELY more so than 2012.

– Podcasting is awesome.

– Churches in the area we live in now are seriously different from the other 8 states I’ve lived, and not different in a good way. It’s a major disappointment that our family is trying to reconcile with.

– I’ve grown to dislike moving, but worse is this 5 month purgatory of moving to who-knows-where…

– Friends can say some mean, crappy and insensitive things. Some friends say they’ll be there and never show up at all, (see: Chasing people above) but people are human and flawed. That’s ok. Step back, reevaluate. Some relationships are worth sticking it out, some are worth cutting them go…

– game nights are the best. Like mini-vacations, leaving your worries behind for a bit.

– I like less tv than ever. Sitting there too long drives me crazy.

– Newark New Jersey is like a completely different world than NYC, despite their close proximity.

– eloquently penned (& pinned) quotes and sayings on Pinterest are not always based in truth or healthy, even when if they may stir your heart to read.

– Some people live really nasty, and are completely unaware. We’ve walked through so many homes with our realtor that were absolute disgusting…

– lastly, I don’t need a fancy house or fancy stuff. I just want a home that is warm, peaceful and has a yard for my dogs, room enough for the bed I share with my husband and a room big enough for our dining room table to hold all our family…

A tale of woe, for these two souls…

Once upon a time, after an unnaturally stress filled year, a couple had the opportunity to spend 5 kid (iow-teen) free weeks at home. They made plans which included picnics, bike rides and adventures. There was a sparkle in their eyes at the thought of how fun this adventuring could be.

To kick off the festive five-week empty nest preview, she accompanied him on a business trip to Chicago. Before hand they planned out local, unique restaurants and things to do, complete with a weekend trip into the city and a fancy hotel booked for a steal where they would take in a jazz club, good food, Taste of Chicago and finally visit Millenium Park.

The first day they stumbled upon the most incredible movie theater ever, and for movie lovers such as themselves, this was a true find…

IMG_1443IMG_1441

IMG_1449IMG_1455IMG_1456IMG_1461
The second full day of the business trip, he (who never gets sick) did in fact do just that. They managed an amazing dinner (perhaps one of their best) but this was to be the last good moment, and for him it was only partly good…  IMG_1472IMG_1473IMG_1478IMG_1479IMG_1480

With each passing day he grew more and more miserable. By the time the weekend came, she offered they just go home but he refused to let their non-refundable city hotel go to waste. While it was beautiful, it wasn’t worth the stress driving into Chicago to sit in a hotel and then leave the next morning…IMG_1568IMG_1571IMG_1572IMG_1576IMG_1589IMG_1596IMG_1604IMG_1624IMG_1633IMG_1627IMG_1636IMG_1638

No Taste, no Park, no club. Just one short walk, a local italian dinner and then their stunning view until room service breakfast…  And a foggy, rainy Sears tower view from our room… Loved this view.

IMG_1642

IMG_1640

With the first week behind them, he started to feel better and they realized that they still had four weeks of adventures (though, a significantly smaller budget.) Then, at a routine allergy medication appointment, she mentioned to her doctor that she’d had an increase in headaches. A few tests conclude a raging sinus infection. A prescription of a strong antibiotic is handed out and all should be fine, but it isn’t…

Within two days, she is experiencing a misery she has never experienced before. She’s always gotten fairly sick on this particular antibiotic, but this sensation is new and fiery. She returns to learn she has a raging infection (non-sinus) and is prescribed a little pink pill that should take care of it. (The doctor says sometimes the antibiotic can cause these awful girl-infections… she is mortified.)

The pink pill (which fights the infection, which was caused by the antibiotic which makes her very sick to her stomach, which is fighting the sinus infection she didn’t even know she had) causes debilitating headaches. Three days after beginning the pink pill (and 8 days after beginning the antibiotic) she wakes up with no voice. (this is the middle of week 3 of their 5, of which they have had one good evening) As thursday progresses into Friday, then into Saturday and eventually Sunday, she grows significantly worse. Monday morning she has a meeting she’s been waiting months for, which she refuses to miss, so she attends. Apologies for her voice and now awful sounding cough are plenty. Nearly everyone she encounters tells her she should see a doctor. Thankfully, she has an appointment at 3. (two weeks after the allergy appointment that ruined everything.)

Pneumonia. It is now Pneumonia. And the other infection hasn’t gone away, and apparently they’ve determined she might be, allergic to this antibiotic and it stripped me of all of my good bacteria causing me her to develop, oh, everything…

(One and a half weeks left, and it has been nothing like they, (ok, let’s face it… WE had hoped/planned/thought… BUT it hasn’t been awful either. Sick or not, I adore my husband and love anytime I get to spend with him. I don’t like the guilt for how long I’ve been miserable.)