Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Family Dynamics

I’m not happy with our current family dynamic; I’ve said this before. Last night something happened that just about broke my heart.

First though: in the past, Sophie would always ask, “Do we have Ethan tonight?” And she would look forward to Tuesdays because of it. Then Ethan turned into a tween and got all wrapped up in his friends and his phone and then she was asking to have her BFF over on Tuesday even though we had Ethan because “He’s just going to sit on his phone anyway.” And that was sad. Last night we had Ethan and Sophie was once again excited to see him and it was also the first day since Saturday, when she got her bottom braces on, that she was energetic and not in so much pain. She asked Ethan if he wanted to play with her – I was at the computer trying to finish up a work assignment that I HAD to get done that day (I’m swamped in July) – and she suggested about a billion things. Playing cards. Playing a board game. Playing basketball outside. To each thing he either said “No” or “Nah” or worst of all, had his head in his phone and ignored Sophie completely, giving her no answer at all. Jeff was at CVS during this time. Sophie kept trying to suggest things she thought Ethan would be willing to do – ie it’s not like she suggested they play American Girl Dolls.
Sophie: Do you want to play Xbox Kinect?
Ethan: Xbox Kinect is so 1990.
Sophie: Well Ethan, we will only get to see each other this one time this week, don’t you want to do something?
Ethan: We see each other all the time.
And it went on like that and I guess it made me sadder that she WANTED so much to play with him and he was just so obviously, blatantly NOT INTERESTED. And they are the same age for goodness sakes. And it was making me sad and then I felt guilty because I was working and couldn’t play with her.

In the end, Ethan decided to ignore Sophie and go downstairs to play video games by himself. When Jeff came back from the store, he suggested they play video games together and Ethan was like, “she can’t play my video games – there’s cussing and killing all over the place.” Which may be another issue altogether. But it’s not my issue because I can’t do shit about it.
Then our neighbor friends came over with their kids Adam and Morgan – the ones we met up with in Kentucky Lake – to jump on the 15’ trampoline my parents gave the kids – and all the sudden we had people over! Which almost never happens and Ethan popped upstairs and all of the sudden he was energetic and he DID want to play on the trampoline after all (even though Sophie had suggested that earlier and it received a big fat no).

So Matt took the girls for a golf cart ride while Ashley and I supervised the boys on the trampoline and then we switched. And then I heard a lot of “No, stop it! Knock it off!” like repeatedly and I told Jeff, see what they are doing, I keep hearing Sophie shouting. So he yelled at the boys.

We hung out for a while, the kids got all sweaty while the parents hung out on the deck, Matt entertaining us with stories, me and Ashley chatting girl talk when the boys were on their ride, and it was fun.

I was talking to Ashley about how her kids get along – they are in 3rd grade and 8th grade and she said they mostly do but not always – and I was telling her how Ethan always has his head in his phone and she thinks it’s because of his mom. (They knew Marcy well. Didn’t like her much, but knew her well). Ashley works PT at a sandwich shop that Marcy frequents and Ashley said Marcy is Always, ALWAYS on her phone. Constantly.

In the end, while we were laying in bed, Sophie told me that Ethan was being mean and the boys were playing this leg kicking game called ‘dead leg’ and basically Sophie told him to stop 8 billion times and he wouldn’t and he kicked her in the back of her leg and she said it hurt and finally she kicked him back just the same and he said it hurt. I told Jeff later and he said, “Well tell her to get us then.” But I was like, “Well, I’d rather them just work it out on their own.” Sophie needs to take lessons from Morgan who is small but mighty. Growing up with a big brother, she knows how to put him in his place when he gets out of hand and she’s not afraid to do so. That girl is pretty bad-ass, actually.

Love Birds

This past April, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. And the other night I witnessed just how much they still love each other. We went to see the Music Man at the Muny (St. Louis’ outdoor theater in Forest Park) and we were sitting behind my parents. On this one love song, where the main characters are saying stuff like, “I never heard the birds chirping before I met you” and “I never saw the sky so blue until I met you” and all kinds of sappy stuff (I’m too lazy to look up the lyrics), Tom, who had his arm around Grandma the entire time anyway, leans over and whispers something in her ear. In typical Sophie fashion – meaning, nothing gets by that girl – she nudged me and nodded toward them and gave a big smile. I acknowledged that I caught that too and smiled as well. It was SO CUTE! It was the first time I saw Sophie smile big that whole day, as she had just gotten her bottom braces on which were giving her a lot of pain. But in that moment, she couldn’t help herself and neither could I.
I remember when I first fell in love with Jeff – it was wonderful because I had thought I would never, ever be able to fall in love again. And my friend Kim said to me, “Isn’t the sky bluer? The grass greener? The sunshine warmer?” And I was like, Yes, Yes, Yes exactly, how did you know? And she was like, I’ve been there, dude.

How wonderful that my parents still feel that way after all this time. Lucky ducks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A friend makes all the difference

I have been challenging myself to say “Yes” to invitations. I don’t get many invitations so this is not difficult. But! Last week, I received THREE invitations and I have not had depression or a temper tantrum since.
The first invitation was from my neighbor and Sophie’s BFF’s mom. They are moving to a different town (the town next to Jamie, actually), just a bit south of me (20min) which is where Renee teaches. She asked me to go to a party at her new neighbor’s house (Renee has been building a house [well her husband, who is an architect] ever since Sophie and I moved into Jeff’s house. It’s been a long road but this summer the house will actually be finished and I will cry, cry, cry. Even though we will still see them! Sophie won’t be able to just ‘pop’ over to Taylor’s on a whim though. But, their new house is only 4mi from Jamie’s, so…). Anyway, it was a party filled with food and wine and music and ladies with kids all around the same age as our kids, and they were all friendly and it was super nice and super fun. I was up past midnight that night; I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a pumpkin! The girls (Sophie & Taylor) ended up spending the night at TT’s (Jamie was out).

The second invitation was from a co-worker who normally works remotely but was in town for meetings; she invited me to dinner and it was very nice getting to know her better. (She is part of our management team).

The third invitation I kind of created myself (go me!). An old (local) friend revealed on Facebook that she was going through a divorce. I reached out to her. We chatted. We ended up meeting at the lake to walk and catch up and it was wonderful and I hope to do it again. I feel comfortable with her and like I can be my true self, which is important.  Unfortunately, this weekend she is away visiting her parents.

It’s not that my husband or Sophie aren’t “enough.” Jeffrey and I spend time together all the time and like to do many of the same things. Sophie is one of my favorite people to hang out with. But with my three BFFs being thousands of miles away on the West coast, and my other on the east, it is hard not to have a girl friend to grab a drink with, take a walk with, vent with, chat with. Besides, sometimes we all just need a hugJ

I gave up on two of my old friends locally I’m sorry to say. It turned out that I was the only one ever extending the invitations and my invitations were never accepted; they already had plans, family stuff, weddings to attend, trips to go on, etc. and after seriously a year of asking from time to time, I finally gave up. They haven’t contacted me since.

I’m hoping that when Sophie starts her new school I may be able to make some new mom friends, though I think this will be a bit difficult since you know, the kids are older. But I’m going to try! I’m not sure how, exactly, but I am. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I’m Not Brave Enough to do This

Have you heard of the semicolon project? If not, read this; it explains it well. I WANT to get the tattoo (current tattoos on my body: 0), but I’m not brave enough. Because I don’t want everyone to know I suffer from depression. And some people say oh tattoos are forever and this is just a fad. Maybe so. But the point is kind of to GET people to start talking about depression and mental illness and all of that. If I WERE to do it, though, it would look something like this:
Purple, of course.
There’s another tattoo I want to get – on the back of my neck. I want to do it in honor of Summar.
I want her first and middle name written in cursive around the top of the ribbon; I just need to get someone to design it for me and find a tattoo artist.
I didn’t tell Jeff about the first one; he would say it’s stupid and he wouldn’t get it.
But I did tell him about the second and he thinks I’ll regret getting a tattoo in general.
Which makes me want to do it more!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Only One of Us Has Freedom

You worked late and came home at 6pm.
“I want to go for a walk around the lake,” you said.
“Ooh, me too!” I exclaimed.
“How can you?” you said. You were referring to the fact that Sophie and her friend Lexi were over.
Well, right back at you, baby: HOW CAN YOU?
Therein lies the problem.
Then you tried to manipulate me and guilt trip me into feeling bad about it. “So I shouldn’t work late? You’re mad because I want to do something for my health??!”
I told you what a busy crazy week I have and I am on deadline. I worked for three hours on Saturday even, BEFORE I cleaned the entire house and did two loads of laundry. When I want to ‘do something for my health,’ I have to get up at the butt crack of dawn in order to make it happen. Why? Because I’m a PARENT. And evening time is kid time; evening time is family time.
But Ethan is not here, so you do not have to be a parent. You can do what you want.
And you do.
THAT is where I have the problem.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bucket List

So a friend I went to college with posted this picture on Facebook, with the caption, “It’s real and it’s spectacular,” because she’s a total hoot (Catch the Seinfeld reference? If not, click here to refresh your memory):
And I looked at that photo and my first thought was WOW WOW WOW. And now I am obsessed. I want to print out that photo, blow it up and hang it on my wall. Not because I’m obsessed with my friend but because THAT PHOTO SPEAKS TO ME. I took one look at it and thought to myself, “I HAVE to go there!”

The photo was taken at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. And you know how I get, right? One little spark of an idea and then I go insane researching. So I found this road trip article; one that shows how to travel from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park and well, I’m turning 40 next year and I feel I HAVE TO DO THIS!! Well, not in March. Because March would be miserable. But June! June sounds good. Yeah, the middle to end of June. Here is the route:

I don’t know why, but I just feel pulled to this location. Oh, the beauty!

Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been, and why?
What’s on YOUR bucket list?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I’ve felt the depression creeping in on me all week long, getting stronger by the day. Maybe it’s the fact that my best friend Summar has had some very sad news lately. Yes, I’m sure that has a lot to do with it as I can barely think or talk about it without tearing up. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m facing a weekend without Sophie – a long weekend without her – Thursday night through Sunday night (she’s going to her dad’s). Maybe it’s the fact that I’m sitting here at my desk eating my dinner by myself even though my family is home but Jeff is in our room watching the Cardinal’s game and Sophie is on the couch watching “her shows.” Maybe it’s the fact that I feel guilty and loser-ish for relying on Jeff so much for my social entertainment because I have no friends here. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel sad about the fact that I don’t have any outlet or option or anyone NEAR to turn to, someone who could give me a hug – except Sophie. Maybe it’s because this past weekend Jeff was at Ethan’s baseball tournament so I barely saw either one of them. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t get enough sleep last night due to Sophie’s late baseball game which turned into me not being able to run today. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve decided I’m no longer going to attend any of Ethan’s baseball games because a) he doesn’t notice or acknowledge that I’m there b)nor does he care c)it’s FUCKING HOTTER THAN HELL OUT THERE and d)not once has he (or has Jeff made him) attended or shown interest in attending any of Sophie’s softball games this summer. Maybe it’s the fact that Jeff hasn’t been home once this week because he’s had work-related networking fun stuff like golf tournaments, awards banquets, and Cardinals games.

I think it’s mainly because I just miss my best friend.

At least I have Sophie and Kiley.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Aging Parents

I’m worried about Tom (my step-dad). I found out this month that he has to have a heart valve replaced. This is done via surgery and while it’s not UNCOMMON, it’s not without risks. Especially for a man who turns 82 (!!) in July, and has already survived 6-bypass open heart surgery (in 2000) and prostate cancer (2005?). THANKFULLY, THANKFULLY they do NOT have to slice him open in order to do this. (Sometimes that is the case). I can tell that my parents are worried about it. I’m worried too. Especially after seeing him last night have to stop and rest in his chair before he was able to make it all the way across the softball field to get to where we were sitting for Sophie’s game. Same thing on the way back to the car. He gets winded very easily when walking, is fatigued most of the time (as you would be if your heart wasn’t up to par).

Of course, if I’m worried about Tom, I’m automatically worried about my mom. My mom who can’t drive. Tom who has to be in the hospital for a minimum of three days post-surgery for observation. Praying for no complications, no surprises. His surgery is scheduled for June 16. I took the day off, obviously. I already had scheduled that Friday off as well, which is great. Jamie is helping me with Sophie and will likely keep her through that Sunday evening, which was his scheduled weekend anyway which works out well as Sophie will not want to see Papa in hospital and I’m not sure I will want her to either – all those tubes and wires and machines and beeping – I can barely stand it myself. This will give me the free time I need to cart my mom back and forth between home and hospital. And to be there to support her, of course. And to go to the grocery store for her and to help her fix meals, or take her out to eat, and to ensure she is safe at home alone.

It is times like these when it really, REALLY sucks to be an only child. Because the burden is entirely on me. Don’t take that the wrong way. It comes out sounding selfish, like, “Oh Papa’s surgery puts a burden on me and my time.” That’s NOT how I mean it. I mean, there are no siblings to share in the duties of driving and praying and comforting and supporting. THAT’s what I’m trying to say. Then again, some people’s siblings wouldn’t be useful for that anyway; others would be extremely useful. Then again, even if I did have siblings, they might not live near my parents and would therefore be unable to help. Then again, look at Jeffrey and his 3 siblings: His mom has been living with his sister ever since his dad died (nearly 30 years ago), so the burden is mostly on her. Even though the other siblings (Jeff, his brother and other sister) try to take “Mom” out or stop by and visit, etc., she lives in only one of their homes.

There are a bunch of other things worrying me right now that I want to tell you about, but I want to preface it by saying in general I feel really good today and also I feel like this blog has become depressing, because I’ve been depressed. So, even though I feel great today (it’s still early yet though, LOL), I want to tell you what else is going on and when I list these things out to others, they usually say “Wow, you have a lot going on.” But my husband still doesn’t get why I’m always anxious and irritable. Why I can’t just “relax.”
This Thursday: Two things happening; one near, one far. Far: Summar is having an MRI to check for cancer in the brain. Near: Sophie has her second scoliosis check and has been complaining to Jamie about her back hurting.
This Friday: Sophie finds out what part she gets in her musical theater summer program of Peter Pan. She’s going for Peter Pan or a Lost Boy and despite her TOTAL FREAK OUT the night before the audition, she said she nailed it. Still, auditions are hard and she is competing against older, more experienced kids.
This Friday: Sophie gets her bottom braces on. That’s not really one of the things, though she’ll be cranky and irritable afterward. I just thought I’d mention it since we’re here.
Next Thursday: Tom’s surgery.

Other things:
--My friend Kim is about to have a baby and is SO READY. There have been enough complications for the doctor to put her on bed rest, so I just pray that everything turns out alright. It’s a boy, and her FOURTH child. (WOW)
--Nearly every morning I find a wild creature greeting me. A deer. A squirrel on my roof. A bunny rabbit in my front lawn. I take these as good omens. And I say, “Good morning, my friend!” to them. Because I’m weird. And nicer to animals than I am to people:)
--I can’t find a psychiatrist who has an appointment before August, who has good reviews. This is for another post. EXTREMELY frustrating.
--Sophie’s BFF across the street has been building a house a few towns away FOR YEARS (because they are doing it themselves) – and this summer they are really, truly going to move. It’s actually the town next to Jamie so it’s not super far, but no more impromptu, “I’m bored, let me see what Taylor is up to” and walk-across-the-street. We’ll have to plan and coordinate and drive and share pick up and drop off and…I think I’m going to cry just as much as Sophie.
--Sophie’s other BFF has been here two years and is now moving back to South Korea. I am so, so sad for Sophie. Thankfully with today’s technology, it’s easier to keep in touch with those afar. I hope they stay “pen pals” (or whatever the 2.0 equivalent of that is) for a long, long time.
--This weekend I caught up on sleep. I slept 12 hours Friday and 10 hours Saturday. I don’t think this makes me lazy. I think this proves that I am completely lacking in sleep during the week.
--I took a week off running because our vaca. in Kentucky Lake got me off schedule and then I just wanted to sleep, sleep sleep. Got back into it on Sunday though and feeling great about it.
--My “Wheat Belly” ‘diet’ is still working and I could talk about it until I’m blue in the face but I don’t think everyone (or maybe anyone) is interested so I’ll just say this: since cutting out processed food and only eating whole food, I’ve: lost 8 pounds, even while continuing to drink my wine; had virtually no sweet cravings (but if I do, I snack on Ghirardelli 86% cacao chocolate squares – a serving is 4 squares, so I break them up throughout the day, so I get to have sweet things 4x/day [if I want] instead of shoving 3 oreos down my throat at 10am [and then not being able to consume more, if I was worried about calories]); had virtually NO bloating; am not really hungry. I mean, I’m hungry enough to eat meals and yes I enjoy snacking on 100-calorie packs of roasted almonds, but after I DO eat a meal, I’m much more satisfied for a WHOLE helluva lot longer. I used to be able to barely make it until 11am to eat lunch. Now I look at the clock and it’s 1pm and I think, “Hmmm. I guess I should eat lunch now.”; I have more energy which means I rely less on coffee, which my GI system appreciates; virtually no sugar crashes (I have hypoglycemia); I’m learning to ‘cook’! The recipes are easy and yummy. I could go on and on…But I won’t:)

Kentucky Lake Fun