Archive for the ‘The Fam’ Category

Great Weekend

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

We had a nice family-centric weekend. I love when that happens.

Yesterday was a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. My mom arranged for it to be held in the gymnasium of their church. Mom and I had a good time running around getting all of the stuff before the party and being as clandestine as possible. We could have done a better job at the latter, though, because my dad had a slight suspicion about the party when he drove to the church. Oh well, he had no idea up until that moment, so that was good. The party was great, and that’s all that really matters.

Here are some photos – click through to see the full set on Flickr.

Dad's Party Mosaic

Today we spent some time cleaning the inside of the house – but not too much. We spent the majority of our efforts raking and bagging leaves. All told, we ended up with 12 yard-size bags of leaves and we’ve still got two trees with quite a few leaves left on them. It’s going to be so nice to not track in 50 million leaves when we come in the house – at least for a little while.

While the kids recuperated from doing manual labor, Rob and I took Grace to a local dog park that recently opened. I’d been following the news about the park’s progress and have wanted to go for a little while now, so I was quite excited to be taking the trip. The park is about 5 miles from our house which is pretty awesome.

Grace had the best time at the park. She ran in and greeted all of the people before even acknowledging any of the dogs when we first got there. That cracked me up. It was fun to watch her interact with the other dogs once she got going, though. Turns out Grace is quite the peacemaker. Every time there was even a hint of a scuffle, Grace came running through, right smack in the middle of the crowd of dogs, tail wagging, tongue hanging, with a huge grin on her goofy face.

We’ve heard narry a peep out of Grace since coming home and it’s been over 4 hours now. She is completely wiped out. Rob and I are enjoying her tiredness; it’s like when infants and toddlers go down for a nap and parents breathe a sigh of relief. The silence and stillness is a welcome change.

And now – it’s time for some Eagles football! Kickoff is right this second. My parents are at the game, so hopefully the birds don’t disappoint.

Getting Old with Mom

Friday, October 31st, 2008

I’m listening to the audiobook “Water For Elephants” now. It has me completely captivated. The story is told as a series of memories from the point of view of Jacob Jankowski, the lead character. When the story begins, Jankowski is either 90 or 93 (he can’t remember) years old and living in a nursing home.

As Jacob describes some events that unfold in the nursing home, my heart breaks. I immediately think forward to when my parents will be his age. What will their lives be like when they’re elderly? Will they want to live in a nursing home? Or would they rather live with their children? Thinking about them being taken care of by strangers fills me with sorrow and dread. Unless that’s their express interest, there’s no way I can let that happen.

I also started imagining what daily life would be like if my mom came to live with us. For some reason, I don’t picture my dad in these future projections. Mostly since his health isn’t the greatest; he’s a compulsive overeater whose body is showing all of the signs of a lifetime of excess food: Diabetes Type 2, heart problems, etc. That’s another story, for another day, though, and not all that relevant to the point of my little story here.

Envisioning my mom and I living together as older women actually brought a smile to my face. We’ve not always had the best relationship – especially through my teens and twenties – but today she’s someone I feel a need to connect with on a regular basis. When I don’t talk to her for a few days, I start missing her. I think we would actually have a good time together in our twilight years. Of course, a lot would depend upon her attitude. She tends to get depressed when she doesn’t feel good physically. She also has a lot of back problems. For my little daydream, though, we’re sitting around the kitchen table sipping on hot tea and enjoying our moments together.

Of course, I know I’m projecting into the future (just a little, hmm?), but I think it’s good to come to terms with these types of things with oneself. Knowing where I stand on this issue for my family gives me a sense of peace. Just as a side note – I don’t hold any opinions or judgments about anyone else and their family situation. I know that everyone has to do what works best for them.

With all this being said, I still hope we have many, many years before any of this comes to fruition. I’m looking forward to having a long and rewarding relationship with my mom (and dad!), but I’m also wise enough to know I need to just enjoy the time I have with them today. Speaking of which, my mom is pinging me on instant messaging now. Time to go.

No More Mrs. Nice Mommy

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

I’m so over both of my kids.

Rob and I have had an ongoing disagreement for months (years?) about this one issue and I think it’s taken him being away for a week for me to see things his way. Rob insists that the boys do not do enough around the house as far as cleaning up after themselves, lending a helping hand and pitching in when needed. I’ve maintained that they are only kids once and that as a kid I was messy and self-centered, etc., too.

This week, though, I reached my breaking point. I think things have been exacerbated because I had to go away for two weekends in a row and Rob was gone the entire time (I’m also realizing just how much Rob does around here!). The kids did not help me out one little bit. Even their normal chores were ignored until they were told repeatedly to get them done. I’ve long been a fan (in theory, at least) of saying something once and then if it’s not done dishing out consequences. I haven’t been so good with following my own advice/beliefs this week. It’s been rough just trying to take care of everything I need to for myself – between work, physical therapy, and meetings, and going away twice, I’ve been pretty swamped. Throw in the pets, taking care of my food, packing, laundry, dishes, and keeping the house kept up all on my own with virtually no help from the kids (who, by the way were busy making more messes) and you’ve got one worn out, pissed off, frazzled Amy.

Something happened on Friday, though, that absolutely pushed me over the edge. I packed my suitcase for my trip and told the boys to do the same. Even though they were told to pack on Thursday, they both chose to do so on Friday. That was a battle I decided I didn’t want to fight. I figured if they didn’t have their bags packed by the time we needed to leave on Friday, they’d wear the same clothes all weekend. So. On Wednesday and Thursday I had the boys do their own laundry (I’m dealing with the after-effects of that tonight – but that’s another story) and Aric’s clothes were still mostly in the laundry room on Friday. There was a suitcase sitting on top of Grace’s kennel in the laundry room that I used to pack my stuff in. After I was all packed up, I took the suitcase and placed it in the front hallway close to the door.

When Aric finally decided to pack his bag, he came storming downstairs in a huff wanting to know why I used the suitcase in the laundry room. He had that particular suitcase ready to go for his stuff, he tells me. I guess his plan was to pack his bag directly in the laundry room. I let him know that he didn’t really need a suitcase to go to his grandmother’s house for 2 days, but he was pretty adamant. I knew there were other suitcases so if he wanted to use one of those, he was free to do so.

Not too long after his bag was packed, I told him and Connor to load up the car with their belongings. When I came upstairs I noticed my suitcase was no longer in the hallway. I was pleasantly surprised. Aric packed my suitcase, too?! That was definitely unexpected. I mentally patted myself on the back for raising such a courteous young man who knew how to take care of his mother while his father was gone even if he was mad at her.

We drove over to my parents’ house and I had the boys unload the car of their belongings. Once they were done, I went to check that they had everything and noticed there were no suitcases in the car at all. My suitcase was not there.

“Where’s my suitcase?,” I cried to both boys as they stood staring at me slack-jawed on the curb.

Both shrugged their shoulders and said, “I dunno,” as they walked into the house, my dad trailing behind them shaking his head.

So here I had a 3 hour trip ahead of me that just grew by another 30-45 minutes. Even better – it was now ominously close to rush hour. I left without saying goodbye. When I got back to the house, I found my suitcase thrown haphazardly on the laundry room floor. That little shit. I spent the weekend nursing a resentment against both of them. And for the first time ever, I was away from the boys overnight and I did not miss them. Not even a little bit.

I know Rob is feeling frustrated since he’s 2,500 miles away and can’t help me out. However, I bet he’s also almost grateful that I’m going through this pain because it’s propelling me to change. My views towards the boys and their lack of contribution to the household has done a complete 180… and my actions are right behind. No more Mrs. Nice Mommy. I’m also looking forward to being more on the same page as Rob with this. I hated that there was a chasm between us whenever this issue arose, but I honestly didn’t feel their behaviors were a problem. I guess I needed to deal with them on my own for a while to truly see.

My boys are good kids, don’t get me wrong, but they sure are self-centered, lazy, and slovenly. I don’t know if changing how I parent them will change them internally; I’m hoping that they can act themselves into right thinking where this is concerned by me forcing their hand with their actions. And if they don’t, at least there’s more peace between Rob and I – and less work!

Overwhelmed

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I hope to write a proper update tomorrow. Just wanted to stop in here real quick and state for the record that I’m overwhelmed. Rob is out of town for his new job (yay for the job! boo for being out of town for 12 days right off the bat!) and the timing is pretty sucktacular. I had to cancel my chiropractor appointments for the time being and will have to cancel my PT appointment for tomorrow, too. I have another commitment tomorrow night and I don’t want to work all day, come home for 30 minutes to wolf down some dinner then head to two appointments, not arriving home until after 9pm. I’m also going away this weekend and I’m trying not to stress about that. My parents will come pick the boys and Grace up on Friday and I know they’ll be taken care of, but I have to make sure all 4 of us have all the items we’ll need for the weekend some time this week.

Tomorrow is Aric’s birthday. Thankfully we already had his party, but I still want to make his day special some how. I have a sign to put up so he’ll see that in the morning. Still need to do that.

Tonight I got home from work and Aric wanted to go out to eat. I already had plans to get to the grocery store – oh crap! I have chicken to go into the crock pot tonight that I forgot about until now! – so we went to dinner then the grocery store. By the time we got home, it was 7:30. I put the groceries away and then came down to the computer to write my weekly post on the Pure Amazing Race blog. Then I had to write an agenda for a committee I’m chairing at the Assembly I’m attending this weekend. And now I’m taking 2 minutes to write this. Why? It’s close to 10pm and I clearly have no time.

Calgon take me away!

The Medical Blog

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I’ve got more medical stuff to post about today. I hope this isn’t a sign of aging and is merely a product of my life circumstances right now. I’d hate to be one of those people who never has anything to say unless it’s complaining about medical issues. Somebody slap me if I start to go there.

With that being said… I went for my second PT appointment tonight. It was much needed after a stressful day. Hmm, maybe I need to write about that. Anyway, the visit started out with an application of heat which was pure bliss, then he moved onto the soft tissue massage which also felt great. Afterward, I sat up to do some neck exercises and then he had me stand to do some exercises with my arms/shoulders. When he saw how little range of motion I had in the left shoulder he was a little floored. We talked more about my calcific tendonitis and he said that I’ve got a frozen shoulder. WTF? I knew I was going to have to address the shoulder issue eventually, and he pressed me on that, but said that it would be best to wait right now. Once the neck is all cleared up, then we can go to the shoulder. He is afraid if we try to treat the shoulder right now that it will aggravate the neck. Plus, the car insurance is paying for the neck treatment, but the shoulder is a pre-existing condition so I don’t want to try to figure that out either.

Anyway – about the rest of my day. I woke up a bit late (note to self: double check alarm time) and then did my thing getting my food and self ready to get out the door by 7. On the drive in to work I take 3 phone calls from sponsees – usually the bright spot in my morning. Once I hang up with them, I either jam to the radio or listen to a book on CD so by the time I get to work I’m wide awake, in a great mood, and raring to go. Today, though, I got 2 more phone calls that messed my routine up a bit. The first one was from my friend who is going on retreat with me this weekend (ahhhhhh, retreat, oh how I need thee) to discuss the menu there. I’m a little stressed about that because we’re having the retreat at a different place this year and the person in charge of the menus eats a lot of things that I don’t, so she just doesn’t get it about making sure food is not marinated, cooked in oil or butter and that we need to have more starch choices for lunch besides bread. So, that was one stressor.

Then my mom called. She said, “We’re still at the hospital.” I was surprised because I didn’t know they had been to the hospital at all. It turns out she sent me an IM last night, but I didn’t turn my IM on so I never got it. My dad was in a lot of pain (he’s got kidney stones), so they went to the ER. Our phone call got cut off, so I went into work not knowing exactly what was going on. Thankfully my brother called a short while later to get me up to speed. The bottom line is – they tried to find the stone and take it out surgically today, but they couldn’t locate it. So they placed a stent in there and then also had to put him on a catheter for blood in the urine. He has to stay overnight for that issue; if it’s cleared up in the morning, he can go home. I feel bad for him.

Right after my brother called, Rob called. He starts his new job on Monday. In Montana. Okay, his job itself won’t be in Montana permanently, but he does have to fly out there to meet the people he’ll be working for, with, and those who will be working for him. He also has to travel to Texas and will most likely be gone 10 days. What a way to start!

Aric’s birthday is October 1st and I’ve already been feeling guilty because I will be away this weekend for retreat and next weekend for another assembly, so we were going to schedule his birthday party for next Sunday afternoon once I returned. Now, though, Rob will be gone, so I’m not sure what we’re going to do exactly. I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but this morning everything all together just felt so overwhelming. Oh! About Aric’s birthday: we got him the best birthday present ever. I’ll post about that in the next day or so, so stay tuned.

In other news, I got my hair cut the other day – she took about two inches off the length. I love that it’s more bouncy, but I’m seriously considering going even shorter. I want more of a bob, I think. Is that totally out of style? I also dyed my own hair last night – first time I’ve done that in a long time! Ever since I screwed up a dye job, I’ve been afraid to do it on my own, but I couldn’t get an appointment for over 2 weeks and I didn’t want to wait that long. The color looks pretty good, I think – very natural. I have the camera with me in my bag for work, but I just haven’t had the time to take a picture yet! Maybe tomorrow.