Working backwards

I am going to be updating the blog. That will involve posting lots of pictures along side short posts regarding the events since we moved back to NY.

I would like to say upfront, I love being back here so that I can care for my family and friends. I do miss all the luxuries I had available to me in Iowa and the very close friends and connections I made there.
The transition back has been fairly easy but reconnecting with old friends is a challenge since many folks here just don’t have the same vibes I do. Never did, so its not a surprise to me. I just with that was a little easier and folks would actually take some time to welcome us back and make an effort to connect, rather than me always reaching out. It gets tiresome.

I love being near mom and dad. I even visited my brother. That is a rarity and one I enjoyed very much. Lots of doctors appointments between us all that keep me busy alongside the schoolwork I prepare for T. and R.&J.

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I am fortunate enough to live back on five acres of land with a decent barn. I am building my homesteading skills back up by raising meat rabbits and meat chickens. After fencing gets funded, I will start meat goats. I have enjoyed getting dirty, wet and sweaty again. I know that sounds strange but I have lived an alternate life these past five years and it is a relief to get back into the activities I thrive in doing.

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Fiona, our Saint Bernard finally passed away back in June of 2014, since then I have filled that void with a teacup yorkie, Precious, and two chihuahuas, Minnie( build like a tank) and Carly ( long hair carebear).
They have been expensive to keep and maintain but they are loveable critters.collage_20150112074737227_20150112075035543

PM – Balancing Act

Lately, an issue has made itself known to me in several manners. Enough touchpoints have reached me that I feel compelled to invest some thought and explore it within my own life. The particular issue is regarding the balance between parenthood, specifically motherhood, and being able to keep yourself a priority without guilt.
I myself have battled this from the moment I became pregnant. My impression of the perfect mother began instantly to impair my judgment.  Being very young to begin with I had barely begun to develop a sense of self.  I felt that I had to create an image of a strong, independent, and knowledgeable mother.  Even though I was none of those things.  I didn’t ask for help when I clearly needed it due to this facade that I felt I had to put on for show.

Some things I did right and other things I certainly failed at, but the perspectives of my actions were always tainted with serious errors.  My self-esteem was constantly compromised and I missed out on really being present.

I have not found the answer to this dilemma but I am a work in progress.  I do realize that I am not alone in this struggle.  I do realize that there is no such thing as perfect.  I do realize that I must schedule me-time into my days, just as I schedule play time for the kids.  Now, I know the sayings that are being thrown around by a lot of people now a days… “If you don’t care for yourself, you can’t care for others.” “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others.” “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put your child’s mask on.” and so on and so on and so on, but in reality that is not always possible.

I do know the consequences for not making yourself a priority, from personal experience.  You regret choices, resent your family, become jealous of those you feel have it easier than you, become ungrateful, lose mindfulness, lose your dreams, and get completely lost in everyone else’s needs rather than your own.  This is not a fun path.  I enter it several times a year without even knowing.  It is so simple to lose yourself and get so wrapped up in what you think is “life”.  Then, it hits you like a brick wall.  You never know where the insight comes from…a friend pointing out an activity you would never have let pass by if you were paying attention, or a bout of days in which uncontrollable spurts of crying occur seemingly over nothing.  It is like starting over from the beginning every time you lose track like that.

What is nice about all this, is that you can recover yourself and your priorities.  Not that it is easy or the same process for everyone, but it can be done, so there is hope; a light at the end of the tunnel.  I have to remember the activities that I enjoyed prior to children, what my dreams were and evaluate my needs and current desires.  After taking some time to figure that stuff out, I have to find actions that are in accordance with meeting my families needs and my own, without anyone sacrificing values.  It sounds simple doesn’t it. HA!!  It is not.  And like I said, sometimes it is truly not possible.  That is when it truly hurts… aches all the way down into your chest.  We do our best and sometimes our best is not enough.  ASK FOR HELP!!!

What!  Share my problems and inadequacies?!?  Show my vulnerabilities!?!  Are you crazy!?!

Yes. But that is besides the point.

We are so scared of being judged and criticized, that we rather suffer and be miserable.  I remember hearing “It takes a village”.  This doesn’t seem to apply to today’s society but I wish every day that it was a common understanding and standing practice.  Instead, we must create a village.  Not just for our children’s sake, but our own, as well.  Our family, friends, churches and other groups are our village.

It takes extreme trust in your village to reach out and allow them to know ALL of you, not just the show you put on.  This is a big leap for many mothers and the fear of the fall out or unknown can be crippling.  There may be judgment or criticism.  We must accept that fact.  We also need to realize that usually by sharing our challenges, we allow others to find space to share.  This has a surprising affect.  Support.

Very quickly, it will be clear which of those people in your village have the ability to be of immediate help.  Don’t discount the ones who shy away or even openly criticize.  You don’t know their story.  Those that stand with you are offering a part of their life to be joined with yours.  This is not something you turn away from due to pride or worry of being in debt to others.  It is offered with love and compassion.  Not pity.  Not ulterior motives.  Accept this help and love with grace and humility.

We all need help at various times in our life.  Sometimes we are the one receiving the help and other times we are the one offering the help.  Think about all the times you have offered a hand to a friend; at any point did you feel the need to judge or hurt them?  Feeling as though you were useful and able to make a difference in someone else’s life is such a lovely uplifting experience.  It is a rare gift to be in a position to really show your thankfulness for friends in your life.  Being helpful is one of the most satisfying ways to show appreciation of the ones you love.

Allow your village the opportunity to feel this gift of giving.  ASK FOR HELP!!!  Show your soft underbelly.

As for my personal journey I am currently evaluating my interests, needs, and desires.  I am attempting to make me-time by joining a local gym for woman,  calling various organizations in search of help with T., and reading a book called, “Living the Posh Mom Life” which doesn’t always apply to my situation but has given me some inspiration to maintain ME as a priority and lose the guilt.  So, like I said, I am a work in progress.  I still have trouble asking for help, but I am getting better at it.  I try to be very aware of my interactions with other moms.  No matter the situation, no one is going through something worse than any other.  It is just different.  We must support each other and share with each other.  Our challenges will be at various times, giving us ample opportunities to help and support one another.  ….if we allow it.

Our first holiday in Iowa

Since we aren’t really totally unpacked or recovered from the rather expensive move and house sale prep, I had decided we were not going to be having any celebrations for our Winter Solstice.  It was a rather strong internal struggle to have to put our Advent activities and our Solstice stories aside and to keep our tree and decorations in storage.  I really begin my winters inner work through this process and this year, my shift inwards has been skipped over and I am not sure when I will settle into winter work.  As for now, I must work outwardly and get my house in order.

The Solstice passed by with my chin held high and no observations enacted.  But T. has always been a strong believer in Father Winter and Santa and he expressed serious faith that they were going to find us, even though we moved.  My guilt became rather overwhelming that I had not put anything together for the boys to celebrate and keep the faith alive.  Our relationship with the boys, as of late, has been purely argumentative and cynical.  I began to rationalize gift giving, with thoughts that it might bring some kind of hope or at least not make things worse and crushing all spirit left in them.  So, knowing that B. needed a laptop, that was my first priority.  For T.  I was really torn.  I really wanted to give him something in equivalency to specialness and surprise, but not a laptop.  I also wanted to find him something that would help pacify him when out and about.  I know that sounds horrible and I really feel it is, but I am desperate now a days to survive each day through the explosions and such.  I did it!  I got T. a Nintendo DS lite.  He loves it and I am determined to find out how to make it really useful rather than just a play thing for the game cards.  Apparently there are all sorts of things you can do with this little machine, I just have to find out how and what.

(To make the scene clearer, we went out shopping and had to run a quick errand at Best Buy.  This was two days prior to Christmas.  I wasn’t thinking about holidays at this point and didn’t realize that this store wasn’t going to be as simple to maneuver around in as in the Hole Depot we had been to prior that day.  After what seemed forever, hemming and hawing over whether I should go ahead and purchase these spontaneous gifts for the boys, we had a hard time getting service, then the laptop we had asked for was out of stock, then we saw the one and only line.  It wrapped around the front of the store , down the furthest isle, then almost all the way to the back of the store.  We strolled outta of there with no purchases and a little frustrated.  I simply saw it as a sign of my stupidity and that it was not meant to be this year.  Wednesday(i think) S. went out and purchased all the items we picked out by himself.  I was surprised, pleasantly so. )

I have let the boys have total free access to their new electronics since opening them on Christmas, but that will soon slow down and become more monitored.  My guilt has not been totally subverted since I did end up giving them items I normally would not condone for children, but I am trying to meet my needs and the children’s needs with a more open mind and more hope and trust in the boys.  This is hard for me considering it’s me and they are they.  LOL  😛  Anyway, it was good to see them happy upon waking to gifts wrapped upon the couch laid out for them.  No Chocolate or candy, just some gum, DVD’s, B.’s Laptop and a pc game and T.’s DS and two games.

I look forward to Monday, when we begin to get back to schoolwork.  It’s been weeks since we have been able to focus on any school work and B. has some major catching up and T. too!!  We missed having out family close by as in NY, but we were able to phone family and friends.  It was very low key.  We cooked a lovely turkey for dinner.  I was a little nervous as to how it would come out, since I had not cooked one in this oven before.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Holiday Season!

Thanksgiving!

I am very fortunate.  I have a lot to give thanks for.  I have a family that loves me and supports me.  I can legally homeschool my children.  I have food on our table, with much to spare.  My family has clothes on their backs.  I am able to stay home with my children and meet their needs.  I have incredible friends who reach out to lend a hand or an open heart whenever I have need.  My man loves me so much he gives me chocolate regularly!  My man has a job.

This last one listed is such a blessing to us right now.  He was laid off in Oct. and he was so fortunate enough to have found himself torn between several available options all vying for him.  We aren’t quite their yet, but it makes me feel a lot better knowing that there is a job waiting upon our arrival in Iowa.  Making it to Iowa and surviving with no money until S.’s first paycheck will be interesting.  We purchase the hotel, transportation, meals and all that jazz while finding a new home, and then Steve receives reimbursement.  We don’t have the money upfront, so this should be very interesting.  This wasn’t how it worked when we moved to NY.  That was all taken care of by the company, but this one is very much do for yourself.  I don’t even get to go out to Iowa with Steve initially.  I have to stay behind with the boys, while packers come and real estate people interview.  I am so overwhelmed with all that needs to be taken care of prior to  move, that I am about catatonic.

We have painted for over 6 days straight, pretty much messing up every wall we came to. 😛  And prepared the biggest Thanksgiving Dinner for only 9 people.  😛  My dear friends the Rayne Family from Wild Acorn Farm, gave me a 30 pound piglet for my suckling pig dinner this year.  We also purchase(and I slaughtered and processed) an 18-20 lb turkey for dinner.  We had enough meat to feed over forty people!!  We had too many pies to count for dessert!  Too many sides to even recall!!  We had two tables set up for all this food and we still ran out of room.  We were very blessed by my Sister-in-law, Carrie, and her two boys, that joined us for Thanksgiving.  My parents were there, of course, as well.  My brother, David, is once again(4th time) in Iraq.  Knowing this was our last Thanksgiving or any kind of holiday in this house, I thought we gave it a pretty good send off.  Great food, fun conversation, and loving family.  Oh and don’t forget the Football.  Good games all around.

All this, while prepping the house for New Carpets coming in two days from then.  It was slightly crazy, but its done.  Now off to fix all the messes I made of the woodwork.  Doh!!!

Next!!

Births and Deaths

B.’s 14th birthday was coming up and after a brief discussion he opted to donate his funds for his party to our dear friends the Rayne family.  Not even a hour later I got a very upsetting phone call.  My ex-husband informed me that my sister-in-law, Sharon, had suddenly passed away.  After not being able to attend the funeral services last month for my nieces husband, I wasn’t going to let money stop me this time.  Sharon had been very ill from a really bad fall down a flight of stairs two years ago, that put her in a coma for three months after the incident.  She had never been the same from that point on and was practically unrecognizable.   She had a very hard life but always had a smile on her face.  She had finally found a great husband and her life was finally joyable on all aspects, then this happened.

I was close to her oldest son, Michael and worried for him greatly.  He is very sensitive and has gone down many wrong paths in his youth.  I wanted to be there to support him.  I may not be best friends with my ex-husband but this was his sister and that makes her my sister.  I was devastated.

As soon as I heard word as to when any services were taking place I headed out the door with not even enough gas and food money to get me there and back.  I was welcomed back in Brian’s home and he was overly generous and helped with expenses while I was there.  It was almost two weeks before all the services were completed before we returned home.

In the meantime, I was able to reconnect with family that I had not seen in a very long time and the boys got to spend an enormous amount of time with their father.  Unprecedented really!  I even let my Ex take the boys hiking up Mount Washington, while I drove up with my car to prepare a filling lunch and relax a little.   The views were great!  We hadn’t been up there since Bradley was tiny.  Everyone had a nice time.

My dearest friend Lynnie had come out to MA to join me and the boys for few days before returning to her vacation in MA with her family.  I was overjoyed!! to see her.  It had been such a very long time and Brian, even let her stay with us while I was there.  I tell you, I am so blessed by these two.  I couldn’t ask for better, more supportive, loving, generous, thoughtful, friends.

My dear friend Kara, was having a birthday for her 4 yr old daughter.  I love this little girl, so I was fortunate enough to be back in MA for her special day.

Just to make things a little more tragic, Bradley’s birthday fell on the day of the Memorial service.  I couldn’t just let the day go by without having him feel special.  Well, not only was it special but he received a very special gift from Brian.  A little backstory:  While out in MA in July for our vacation Brian had been incredibly generous with his time and effort and helped fine tune Bradley’s guitar playing while using one of his electric guitars.  This day, Brian had gone out and purchased Bradley his very own electric guitar.  It was so incredibly special to have both Brian and Lynn to celebrate this day.  Lynn had given Bradley his acoustic guitar a couple years ago.  He was totally surprised and in awe!!  We had cake and ice cream and Bradley received money from Lynn, which was amazing for Bradley.   He thought he was rich!! 😉  I had given him tickets to his very first concert, to be held Oct. 1 in Ithaca.  “They Might Be Giants”  It was their first stop on the new concert tour.  Totally awesome!  It was small, but he made out and hopefully the mornings events of the day didn’t taint his special day.

Stress made me crazy and I really just felt catatonic but was forced to deal with many challenges, especially T. who was totally agitated the entire trip making things very hard on everyone.  It was an emotionally exhausting trip.  I am glad to be home.

 

My Fathers birthday and a nice surprise.

September 6th is my Fathers birthday.  My brother D., who lives in the same state but we rarely see decided he was going to join us for a little party. My brother is a fulltime Army Soldier.  Currently he is on his fourth tour in Iraq.  His battalion is the most sent out Army Squad in the country.  He has been in the Army since highschool, so we are kind of used to him being deployed for war missions a year at a time.

My family went to a neat Gluten Free Bakery downtown to see if they had any cakes and goodies that we would like to try.  It was nearing the end of the work day for them so we got our yummies discounted and we got a lot of them.  Pricey but oh soooo yummmers!

I picked up a little cake and some lovely flower cookies and decided that is what we would have for dessert after our birthday dinner at my folks.  It was an excellent day getting caught up with my brother and celebrating my dads birthday.  My brother even stopped by our house on the way out of town for a while, since he had never once seen my home.  I heard he liked it. 🙂  I got some nice pics of my parents with him, since it is so rare.

My Big Brother!

Squee!!!!

The first full day of vacation began with me calling a certain someone to surprise her that I was in town.  Surprises don’t work so well when the person you are calling is three times zones away.  It happens that Adrianne was on vacation, herself, in CA for 2 two weeks and I had called her at 5am there.  It figures!!  LOL

Well, She was home now and we were going to play.  I love this woman to pieces.  It kills me not to be with her, like we used to.  But when our kids are older we are pretty determined to be together again.   I met her manyn years ago when I was still with my husband.  She was part of the same coven.  I grew to love her better than a sister.  When I started dating after I left my husband she was a big part of my life.  S. and I love Adrianne and her support has been a treasure to me.  In times of strife with T. being hospitalized she even opened her home to myself and B. so that we might live closer to his ward, until he was stable.  She is incredible and fun and such a grounding spot for me.  It just isn’t a trip to MA without her.

 Today, we were going to Glouster Beach.  We first stopped for lunch at the Boston Market and then headed for the beach.  We were in intense conversation the whole time, catching up with eathother and just having a blast.

The beach was HUGE!!!!  I had never been.  I was astounded.  The water was much much warmer than Maines’.  It seemed like a miles walk from the water to our blankets.  We had such a great time.  The kids had such a great time.

Afterward we hung out at her home to catch up some more.  It was hard to walk out that door.  All I wanted to do was curl up in her lap and stay forever.  I knew that it was going to be a long time till I saw her again.