Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Belonging, part 2, Showing Up

I'm home with a sick B today. He is watching his second movie on the ipad----which is the only way I"m getting any work done since he is feeling better & quite chatty once the medicine brought his fever down. The good side---I had already taken the day off to chaperone his class trip to the zoo. The bad side---well, yeah. We were both looking really forward to it (I was SO interested to see the dynamic with the kids that I only hear hints of from him), and he bounded out of bed saying "I'm fine" but we could barely here him through the croaking, stuffy  nose and constant cough, and his fever was 101.4 so back to bed it was.

A highlight of the past weekend was the fundraiser for B's school which was on Saturday night. We got a sitter, I got to wear a fun dress & jewelry, and drink unlimited wine, eat salted caramel cookies,  dance to cheesy pop music, and participate in a silent auction, which I always more fun then I remember. We went home with everything I was bidding on, but that was not the real win. 

I realized during the event that I really knew a LOT of people there! No we didn't come with a big group of friends, and there were some awkward moments when G & I realized we were sort of alone, but most of the time we were chatting and mingling. I knew several people from my workout class at the Y, a couple of ladies from the new neighborhood barre studio I had been to twice, people I had exchanged multiple items with on BuyNothing, some women from my neighborhood book group, other parents & PTA members, and owners of local businesses we frequent.

Last week we had our monthly book club meeting, and I realize how comfortable I feel with this crowd, whereas the first meeting 9 months ago I was awkward and quiet, this time we were all laughing, pouring wine, and closed out the diner. I went to the gym twice & the barre studio once, and I chatted with several people. I finally got (after many texts on my part) a lunch with a best friend. I stayed after clinic to have a long chat about some ongoing work-place issues with a couple of co-workers, and got some good perspective to take to my meeting later that week.

I was talking to G about this topic in the week---he was mentioning how he wanted to make more friends, that aside from work he didn't hang out with many people, and I told him that he just had to start joining things (so he is going to assistant coach the T-ball team L is starting next month).  I just started going to things, and going again and again, and over time, people go from strangers to acquaintances to friends. While I still wish I had more people I could consider close friends, I have to think of friendship during this phase of adulthood as a long game. I just have to keep showing up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Lots of bullets since its been a while...
  • Snow day today! It really did snow overnight, but now its raining, and the whole thing is the consistency of a slushy. No sledding or snow-men making in our future. 
  • OMG our dog has some GI illness and its terrible. She thinks rugs=grass=good place to "go". We threw away some bath mats and will need to replace our living room rug. She doesn't bark so we have to be looking at her all day/night to notice her subtle clues, which is obviously not possible. 
  • I tried Trunk Club. I was initially disappointed because the one item I LOVED was way way too $$$ to justify ($250 for a pair of designer jeans, they were magical, really, but not worth the price of a plane ticket!), but I tried things on again and showed them to G and stuff grew on me. I ended up keeping:  a cute date-night top that is crisp striped cotton with bell sleeves and the "cold shoulder" look (way way cuter than it sounds), white jean jacket, one-button black blazer (I can never find blazers that fit so I don't own any), and a striped tank. It is NOT budget-friendly, but I definitely got interesting and well-made things I'd never pick on my own. Way better than StitchFix, which is somewhat cheaper but has crappy quality generic clothing.
  • We are still seeing the family therapist and getting a lot of good insight into B's diagnosis and what we need to accept about him vs. work on. That is huge. HUGE. Its so awesome to hear "well, kids with ASD are very rigid about food, B's actually doing way better than most. that's probably not the battle you want to fight", etc...  I promise I'll do a whole post about what we've learned someday soon.
  • I got elected Secretary of our HSA (home school association, like PTA). I did run unopposed... Our main goal for the remainder of the year is to streamline the process for getting clearance for volunteering at the school and circulating volunteer opportunities to parents. I think a lot of people want to help, but don't know how. I know I was in that boat, but not everyone is going to jump into the deep end and join the HSA board to figure it out!
  • I read Trevor Noah's autobiography "Born a Crime" which was really really interesting, for book club. Highly recommend. I learned so much about South Africa that I shamefully  never knew. I borrowed the book from someone, but I probably should've listened to the audiobook,  I was reading it aloud in my head in his adorable accent the whole time.
  • DST threw us for a loop, especially B and me, the two of us that have trouble falling asleep at the best of times. 
  • I went to one of those "paint with wine" places for a local doctor-mom meet up and it was surprisingly fun! My painting turned out really cute (my children were super impressed) and it was better to have an activity instead of awkward mingling with me standing near the food/drink table and eating/drinking too much out of nervousness. I really liked some of the women I met, too. I think we were a self-selected bunch of city-living, laid-back types. I'd love to do it again.
  • I am not succeeding in losing the p@xil-weight, even with the major changes I made: no snacks during the day, no eating after dinner, no alcohol Sun-Thurs. It did prevent FURTHER weight gain, but its not coming off. Ten pounds directly on my abdomen is super annoying because even my freaking pajama pants feel tight, not to mention anything else! I may seriously have to restart low carb because I'm not ready to stop the p@xil yet. I don't want to lose another summer.  Anyways the psychiatrist is on maternity leave.
  • We had a $200 gift certificate to a restaurant group (from a school fundraiser silent auction) that expired Saturday night that we'd forgotten about so we had a super-indulgent Saturday evening dinner with the kids. We tried multiple small plates & drinks, sitting in this dark lounge area in the back so that the kids could do their own thing. 
  • I registered L for KG last week. OMG! How is this possible? And yet, I'm also super excited for having both kids at the same place again. It'll really streamline our morning and evening routines and give both of us a break (right now, I do drop-off/pick-up of B, and G takes & brings home L)
  • I got sucked back into FB and its no good. Too much scrolling. I can't leave completely because there really are a lot of things I'm a part of that really enhance my life (my workout class updates, book club, a political activism group my friend founded, the local doctor-mom group that hosted the event, buy nothing, school friend-of group that does events/fundraisers) that are unfortunately ONLY on FB. But I need to figure out a system whereby I can keep track of events & news re: those groups without getting sucked into scrolling mindlessly and getting sucked into the rabbit-hole of clicking links.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Families

On Sunday night I was thinking about our weekend, mostly glad it was behind us. The kids were SO very challenging and I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, and I lost my patience with them and had it out with my husband. Yet...it was also the kind of weekend that would make others jealous if I decided to upload pictures & quotes to f@cebook. We spent lots of time outside in beautiful weather, got in some awesome exercise, had social activities, productive days at home, and cozy family times. My takeaway from this mental exercise is basically that the activities you do are only a small part of how enjoyable you find any particular stretch of time. The majority of it is all in the attitude---of yourself and those around you.

G and I are in a rough patch, mostly over parenting techniques. The same thing we've been disagreeing on for years, on and off. When the kids are particularly challenging, it brews back up. In short, B is not the only one in our family who may need some help managing big angry feelings. I honestly don't think we can make much headway with B until we get ourselves under control. G needs to a) acknowledge the problem, b) accept help/advice and c) do the hard work of making changes---the trying and failing and re-routing and trying again and failing again etc... maybe forever. 

Its weird to me when people are not introspective and don't spend time daily on self-reflection. Those practices are so ingrained in me, I think they are a fundamental part of my personality. I think (about myself) therefore I am (myself).  I told G to consider setting aside some time each day to THINK. He's constantly got his headphones on, with music, podcasts, etc.. I'd go nuts without some time to process each day and formally or informally work through issues, decide on courses of action, rearrange priorities, talk myself off the ledge or back onto the wagon. I do it in my head, in my journal, here on this blog...I just need to work things out and get my head straight so I can be my best.

Can people learn to self-reflect? Is it something you can "pick up" if you've never been in the habit? Or do certain people require OTHER PEOPLE to work things through (friends/spouse/therapist)? Or rely on tools to remind them or force them to think through certain things (is there an app for that)? How else do people change their behaviors/improve themselves?