Not long ago, I bought a slate heart to hang on the wall. I had no plans on doing so, but sometimes you go to JoAnne’s for very specific heart shaped supplies and then you soon realize that it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and you’re an idiot.
So a heart-shaped slab of slate it is.
I thought of all the bad words I could write on it.
But before any questionable language could be written with the (not at all cheap) chalk pens, it served its purpose for our Disney game night. Our Villaintines Party, if you will.
But after Valentine’s/Villaintine’s Day weekend, all bets were off.
Then, it became something else entirely.
I’ve raised my children the way I was raised: we speak movie quotes fluently. And so the great movie quote heart of sarcasm, wit and, sometimes, inspiration came to be.
Sometimes it was all three.
I’d like to think that we all pay attention to these in some way or another. I’d like to think the we all get the subtle hint of: You can do this. Don’t give up. With a heavy dose of twin-eating sarcasm, of course.
Okay, but mostly the not giving up part and that they’re totally badass part:
I guess I just hope that they see the quotes and they know that I’m paying attention. Being a kid/teenager/person is hard.
These kids of mine do a bang up job of it. They almost make it look easy.
I need to remember to tell them that I know that it isn’t and how proud of them I am.
I broke my website recently. I’m not going to get into the idiotic (I am an idiot) details, but I accidentally executed a broken blog perfectly. It was the internet equivalent of a PERFECT triple back flip into a cactus garden. Actually, it was probably an accidental backflip off a trampoline into a cactus garden but now we’ve gone to a weird place and I need to stop with the analogies and bad imagery.
All that aside, I really didn’t notice that I broke my blog because I hadn’t really done much with it the past few weeks. So I’m an idiot who doesn’t even know she’s an idiot. Or something.
Wait. I think most idiots probably don’t know they’re idiots.
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (and maybe ever-so-slightly broken) right now myself. I hate when summer is over. Even though summer is so damn hard. I always hate when the girls go back to school and I feel like I have nothing to show for it. (I know that I do. A little bit. But it feels like I don’t.) I miss those girls of mine. I have guilt and regret for all that we didn’t get to do.
This was the last summer before senior year and all things college.
I didn’t cry on the first day of school. Either day. I’m pretty sure you all were expecting that I would. There’s so much going on in the world lately, especially last week, I think I was a little numb. But I’ve got a 7th grader and a senior in high school and I couldn’t be more proud. Or more excited for the both of them.
Ramona started school a few weeks ago. She loves her teachers. (I love her teachers!) We’ve had a pretty good transition back into a homework routine. Not perfect, but really good. She LOVES her Language Arts teacher. His master’s thesis was on Mine Craft so I feel like he teaches on their level somehow. At any rate, my cute Ramona has never been this excited about reading and Language Arts anything. She (secretly) stayed up to late reading last night. I know! She also worked super hard and made it on the school volleyball team. I’m beaming. Annoyingly beaming!
Beezus started her senior year excited about getting all the teachers she really wanted. With a jam-packed, kinda hard, class schedule, I was so happy that getting the exact teachers she wanted could be such a fabulous bonus. She decided to take this year off water polo so she can focus on schoolwork and competitive softball, which is so good for her. She was one of the Senior Mentors for incoming freshman and she was pretty freaking adorable about it.
Even if I’m sad for summer to be over, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.
Did I tell you my sister and her family moved back to California? Nevada, Montana and Utah had possession of them for far too long. The moved back to where they belong a few months ago and it’s been pretty rad. For all of us. The five of us (and my parents) have never lived so close in proximity (as adults) before this past year. I always love getting together with my family, but holy crap it’s nice to have everyone around. We are so loud, we scare people away but we’re so freaking funny and awesome the people we scare away come back for more. But I have to tell you…having more moments with these weirdos makes life rad.
I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still feel like there is too much on my plate, but at least I can carry it without falling in a black hold of yuck. Although, being on the other side of things, I can see how much I forgot about or had to put off while so very buried. (*cough* Broken blog *cough*) Wading through those (forgotten/ignored) tasks is pretty overwhelming, but I’m getting there. I mean, there are actually days when I can breathe normally. Progress! But yeah…if it takes me a long time to get back to you (or if I have forgotten to get back to you at all) I’m really and truly sorry. I’d offer to bake you something as a peace offering, but 1) I don’t have time for that and 2) At this point in time, I’m so distracted it would probably taste terrible. But I still love you. I promise. No really. I’m hugging you from here.
Saying YES to summer hasn’t looked like I thought it would. More pool time, like I promised. We’ve been good at that. We haven’t done quite as many Campfire Wednesdays as we hoped but we’re working on it. We seem to be spending A LOT more time with one another, which is so rad I can’t even begin to tell you. But…I have become really attached to my own back yard.
I’ve never been known for my green thumb or even wanting to have a green thumb. But this suburban orchard I’ve inherited has been both overwhelming and so damn good for my soul. But did I mention it’s a little overwhelming? Oh good. Because it is a little overwhelming at times.
Apricots and plums are coming out of our ears. I’m not mad about it. But I’m learning a lot this time around since it’s our first season with all of this…abundance. There are things that I’ll do SO different next year. We also know a little bit more about trimming down the right way and parsing down the fruit so it’s even better quality. The fruit is delicious. But I think with even more TLC and knowhow, we’ll have better success with ALL of this!
I almost can’t even explain the joy I have had going out in the backyard in the morning to pull fruit from the trees in our yard. Or sharing our abundance of apricots and plums. I’ve never really experienced it in this way. I mean, I’ve never had my own suburban orchard. So there’s that.
* * * *
Last week, after a particularly frustrating day, I came home from work in a pretty foul mood. I was so relieved to be home. Even if I did announce as I walked in that I wasn’t cooking dinner. (It happens.) (I’m just not going to talk about the frequency that it happens.) With leftovers from the previous days and hosting family, I got it in my head that a fancy cheese plate was the only answer. Sure, I could’ve just dumped all the packages and ingredients on the counter, but taking the few minutes to make something nice for myself was a luxury that made all the difference in the world.
The four of us found our way out to the backyard with the “fancy” cheese plate and any leftovers we could find and had the most delicious and relaxing evening you could imagine. It soothed the soul after a crummy day. The kids read or we talked or listened to music. Sarah stopped by with jam (that will literally knock your socks off) made from our suburban orchard fruit! (No really. You have to try this)
We sat there laughing and talking. We maybe finished a bottle of wine. I was so bummed when it got too dark, I wanted to stay out there all night long.
But it was the perfect lesson to saying yes to summer more. It doesn’t have to be a “fancy” cheese plate. (Although, three nights in a row last week, I just couldn’t say no to them.) It made a world of difference that I just took a few minutes to make it special. It was enjoying my own backyard and being (SO!) grateful for what I have and for the amazing people in my life. THAT is what makes summer so magical. And if I can take those few minutes as often as I can, this summer is already winning it all.
(Yes. We are totally going to keep talking about the apricot pepper jam that Sarah made with the apricots. I have put it on EVERYTHING. Just thinking about it now makes me so happy. Stay tuned, folks.)
A couple months ago, as we neared warmer temperatures and our pool being open for business, I realized just how much I didn’t use our pool last summer. Moving to a new home is not easy, and the summer months are crazy busy for me, but I was really surprised that I hadn’t even attempted to swim more. I suppose it was “one more thing” for me to worry about. I mean, sometimes changing into a swimsuit is more work than just taking care of the laundry or doing the dishes. While I do know this has a lot to do with how I feel about myself IN a swimsuit, it still felt like an item on the to-do list that I just couldn’t seem to tackle. It made me a little sad that I had missed out on that part of summer.
I have NEVER been comfortable in bathing suit situations. Even as a stick-thin kid, I was bony and awkward and, let’s be honest, never filled out a swimsuit in all the right places. (I still don’t. Go figure.) I was self-conscious and horribly shy about my body. Two kids, SEVERAL pounds and many years later, I have even more swimsuit issues than before. I became really good at avoiding reasons to wear a bathing suit.
By some miracle, or a crazy smoke and mirrors trick, I have raised two confident daughters. At least for the most part, I’ve never heard or seen them be worried about what they look like in a swimsuit. Sure, they are athletic and have great figures, but they could’ve easily fallen into the same trap I did. I am so grateful that they can be confident in their own skin.
I made a promise to myself those couple months ago that I would get in the pool more this summer. Along the lines of saying YES more, getting myself IN (and around) the pool more was a big deal to me. Being in a habit of hating the summer deadlines, and not spending more time with kids, was hard on my happiness. I let it get in the way of the times that I DO have. And while I haven’t embraced my summer work load with open arms, saying yes to the pool has propelled me to a more “glass half-full” mentality. In the two weeks since our pool opened for the season, I have been in the pool more times than I was entirety of last summer. That’s huge. I don’t even have a real swimsuit because I knew if I waited for a suit that I liked, we’d be getting ready for Christmas with no pool-time to speak of.
I can’t help but document parts of this time that I’m having with my family. I’ve posted several pictures on Instagram out of sheer amazement that I’m making this happen. That WE, as a family, are making this happen. We laugh. We play. We lounge around relaxing. Things that we don’t usually have time for. We still don’t have time, I guess. Except for YES WE DO. We’re MAKING the time to be out there and I’m MAKING myself be a part of it, no matter what I look like in a swimming suit or what time I get home from work.
My husband doesn’t have any sisters – only a brother. So him growing up in a male majority household didn’t exactly prepare him for what life would be like with a wife and two daughters. Hell, even the dog is a girl. Or…was a girl. Whatever.
Sidenote: Here’s Paisley. It’s been awhile since she’s graced the pages of the blog.
When the girls were little, there were very few instances when being the only dude in the house was uncomfortable. Sure, there was a lot of pink and sparkles and Polly Pockets, but very rarely did he feel like the odd man out. Up until recently, it was pretty simple. Dare I say, he had it pretty damn easy. And really, he still does . NONE of us are prissy, drama attracted females. We’re pretty easy going.
Except when we’re not, of course. PMS is a tricky bitch.
Dealing with PMS-ing daughters and wife is hard enough. But I don’t think he was fully prepared to be quite so involved in ‘female’ conversations on a regular basis. Once Ramona joined the ranks of…well, the ranks of women who fight the monthly battle, he was doomed. Talk of feminine products and cramps and other such female maladies, my husband is now realizing what living with three women is about. If you’ve ever seen a sitcom that featured a dad and teenage daughters, you have a very good glimpse of what life is like for my husband. It’s difficult to see his little girls are grown up. And he really doesn’t know how to handle our frank conversations. He is severely outnumbered and is trying to find a way to rent out an apartment during certain times of the month.
The other day, Ramona had already made her way to bed but Beezus and I were watching a Buzzfeed spoof on Frozen. There was mention of the songwriters, who also happened to write songs for The Book of Mormon musical. One song in particular was referenced and I busted out laughing. My husband was trying to ignore us both as he searched for something on the computer but my child was understandably curious what I found so funny. (The song-name is Swahili. Her confusion was understandable.)
As I began to try to (delicately) explain this particular song, she mentioned that she wanted to see it. And, being the mother that I am, told her that she should wait until she’s older.
“Mom. I’ve seen Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I’m pretty sure I can handle it.”
“I know, I know…but just…”
“Mom. Please. I’m sure it’s not even as bad.”
At this point, my husband is trying desperately to ignore us both. I should also point out that while I am very protective of my kids, I am also pretty open with them. We have rules about bad words, but…we also talk about how they’re just words. However, even as a surprise to myself I found myself saying:
“Kid. That song? The lyrics are straight up saying ‘f*** you in the eye’” (Plus…other things.)
And I kid you not, without missing a beat or even caring that her dad was listening, my kid responds with:
“Yeah. And Priscilla shoots ping pong balls out of her vag.”
The two of us look at each other and immediately start laughing so hard, I nearly fell off my chair. Beezus had to hold onto the counter for support.
My husband? Well, my husband died twice from the shock of what his wife and teenage daughter just said. He came back to life only to pretend to keep his cool and just shake his head.
We knew better.
Which only made Beezus and I laugh harder.
I’m pretty sure my husband would’ve recovered a lot more successfully if he could’ve caught a break. But the next night, Ramona gave the entire explanation about periods and cramps and also dealing with all the things that are periods and cramps. All right as we were getting ready to sit down to dinner.
I’ve had writer’s block for almost two weeks. I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t know how to say what I want. I have things that I want to talk about…to write about…to hash out and try and make sense of things that don’t always make sense. I want to start conversations and get the ball rolling. I want to be creative and wake up that side of my brain that seems to be sleeping away the rest of 2013.
We had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with family. We surprised the hell out of my mother in-law on Christmas Eve with visiting family from Mexico. I still get verklepmt when I think about how excited she was (and still is.) My sister came to town a few days ago, so we’ve been spending time with her and her family, too. We’ve gone to a hockey game, we’ve gone to Apple Hill…we’ve tried new things around town that we’ve never tried before. I’ve spent time with friends. I’ve enjoyed my family.
So maybe it’s not that I have true writer’s block. Maybe my energy has just been spent on being present and enjoying my loved ones.
Maybe sometimes you just need to realize that you’re where you need to be.
I’ve taken some time to think back on 2013. To say it’s been a big and busy year is a tremendous understatement.
I started Life of Jill.
I chopped off all my hair. Because of course.
Sarah and I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
Ramona turned 11.
I was a cast member of Listen to Your Mother – Sacramento.
Beezus went to prom.
I went to a couple of amazing conferences. Campfire Wednesday was the best thing to happen to summer.
We bought a house.
A Giants game where they lost, but we had a blast.
We met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences along the way.
Beezus turned 16.
Ramona started middle school.
My brother got married.
Paisley turned 1. Cap City Moms became a (softly launched) reality.
Celebrated 16 years of marriage.
College Visits? Ooph.
I enjoyed the hell out of my family and friends.
That’s not even all of it. Not even a little bit!
Yeah, there were stressful and hard times and sad times mixed in. But when I think about 2013, there were some pretty badass things that I’ll be celebrating tonight.
And maybe that’s where I get stuck.
I focus so much on the past. I am celebrating a fantastic year coming to an end. I think about all the good that happened. I am thinking about all the fun that was had and all the love that was shared. But for some reason, I get stuck on how great things were, and I have difficulty looking ahead. I prepare myself for disappointment in 2014 because 2013 was so rad? That’s a pretty piss-poor way to do things if you ask me.
I basically have about 15 hours to celebrate and enjoy the end of a very awesome 2013 and snap myself into realizing that 2014 could be even more. More fun. More family time. More awesome. IT COULD HAPPEN.
Instead of sitting here worrying about what could go wrong. I should focus on all that is so totally right.
Life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans, right? Well, sometimes you can’t even make plans because you’re stuck looking back at the past and trying to walk into the new year backwards.
So yes…I have 15 hours to celebrate an awesome year. But I also have 15 hours to turn myself around and start walking face forward and get ready for what an amazing year 2014 will be.
Nothing snaps you back to reality after a fun wedding weekend filled with family like a puking kid early (EARLY) Monday morning. We’ll all just sit here and be incredibly relieved that Pukeapalloosa 2013 didn’t ruin any wedding festivities. I mean, what else CAN you do?
(Nothing. You can do nothing about pukes.)
But you know what will make you feel better? Wedding dancing!
It’s not that I forget how much fun we have when we’re all together; I guess I just don’t really think about it when we can’t be in the same location. And then when we spent so much time together for the past week? Going back to normal life is a little bit of a bummer. Adding a sick kid on top of that is just adding insult to injury. (Although, look how cute they all are?)
But you know what? I love that we have so much fun together. I love that we added one more to our family. I love these people so much. I just do.
And I’m pretty excited to add another wonderful sister in-law that puts up with our really, really crazy family.
So yeah…I’m coming down off my family high. And I’m missing everyone already.
It’s just…well, it would be A LOT more fun cleaning and doing laundry (even yucky laundry) if they were here too.
So when I headed to Target for some organizational tools, I’m not sure that I expected the dry-erase calendar to be such a big hit. As I mentioned, three of us share a family calendar on our iPhones and you would think that this would be sufficient. I mean, I had to consult the electronic version of the family calendar to fill out this new calendar. And even as I’m filling it out for the current month, I kinda wondered if I had lost my ever-loving mind. Why was I doing double work for myself? My husband was skeptical. My children were non-interested. Had I missed my mark?
But then I put it on the fridge. You know, the one area of the house that gets the most visibility. And?
My husband noticed that Beezus has the SAT’s in two weeks.
Beezus noticed a couple of events The Dude and I have where she needs to be sure and be home on time.
Ramona noticed that I didn’t forget about her upcoming events.
The girls saw when their dad was going to be out of town and how we would coordinate.
(I’d like to say that my husband will stop teasing me that he doesn’t know when my brother’s wedding is, but we’ll applaud the progress that we’ve made.)
We are visual people. We have to see and see it again and again to keep it in the forefront of our very busy brains. The calendar on the iPhones are awesome and SUPER necessary, but we needed to have a global view of what’s going on in our family. A constant, visual reminder of where we need to be, what’s going on, and who it involves. It’s color coded, so everyone has a better idea of how to coordinate busy schedules. We’re not just assuming the other family members knows what’s going on. We are all looking at this same calendar.
I’m not saying we’ve solved world hunger or cured cancer, but this is a big step for us.
And since I knew that I had to change the way I thought about things, I made some changes of my own. On the same day I bought the calendar, I also purchased a notebook cover that has a clip board on the front. Tease me if you want to, but this clip board makes me happy. I’ve created a to-do list that breaks out the different areas of my life and that is always on the top of the clip board. I also include a monthly calendar for reference, some paperwork of various tasks I need to tackle and some scheduling tools that I use for blogging and social media. On the inside cover, there’s a pocket if I need to stuff something in there. And then, of course, the notebook/pad of paper for notes, etc.
I love it.
I’m not going to win any awards for my organization, but it works. Or at least it works for now until I need to adjust and make changes because my life adjusts and makes changes. We all know that my life is constantly moving and growing, so my organization has to be just as flexible as I need to be to keep up with my crazy family. But I love that, for right now, it works. And it works well.
I’m trying to reorganize my life. That sounds a tad overdramatic, but it’s actually kind true. My life is busy and crazy, but it also changes quite a bit. Whatever system we try to use to keep us on track may not work after a few months because someone’s schedule changes or we have a new things added to the to-do list. And sometimes, we just need to press the reset button and figure our shit out.
Beezus, The Dude and I all use a shared (iCloud) calendar to try and organize some of the crazy. But there’s always something that can’t be tracked on that sort of device. I mean, I know it doesn’t make sense, but some tasks and reoccurring appointments that are easier to track on a visible calendar or white board where the entire family can see it.
After weeks like last week and this weekend, I faced today knowing that we needed to reassess our plan of attack. Our current system just isn’t working for our life right now. And while life may settle down in a few months (yeah right) we need a way to keep things more on track.
I also am still waiting for someone to figure out how to get more hours in a day. I still need sleep. But I need more time to accomplish all this.
After a trip to Target, I feel like I’ve made a good start. (Office supplies, FTW!) I’ve picked up a couple of supplies to (hopefully) help. I need to revisit daily tasks that need to be done as well as those tasks that need to be done weekly. (And a way to track/remind myself what needs to be done.) I need to figure out meal planning because we are only home in the evening one night a week right now. (I KNOW.) Life is super overwhelming right now because just keeping everything straight is next to impossible.
Last week I posted something on Facebook that I kinda felt bad about afterwards.
Not everyone makes the same choices as me. I get that. And sometimes I have a hard time when people say that I should do things this way or that. (Ok, I often have a hard time with that.) When your priorities and choices are different, your life will not make sense to anyone else. It just better make sense to you. All this craziness needs to be worth it in some way, shape or form. And life balance? Sometimes just doesn’t exist.
I spent pretty much the entire weekend watching my kid play softball. The same kid who also had homecoming Saturday night. And whose team made it to the championship game Sunday evening. She’s busy. And our weekend was busy supporting her. But I have no regrets that I was there and didn’t miss it.
Even if that means that today I’m faced with EVERYTHING that needs to be done.
So here’s to a little reorganization. It seems like a perfect time to re-think how we do things. Fall just feels like a natural time to make some changes, even if this is probably something I should’ve done a long time ago.