Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest Post Alert : Fall Into Great Things

I tried to be inspirational and did a guest post over at A Slocum Story today.

I wrote about marriage. I felt rushed and after it got lengthy and made up about a three-page word document, I started to slice out whole paragraphs and make it a manageable length. So, it's over there if you have any desire to read about how I let myself fall into great things and one of those things is/was my marriage.

Also, I love talking about marriage. If you ever want to talk about marriage, let's talk! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


For once, I just want to reach out, stretch my arms as far as they'll go, and feel a friend standing there.

In this journey through life, I know I have to be there for others. And sometimes you have to take the initiative to keep a friendship floating, but it's exhausting, and I'm tired. And I just want a friend who has the time to support me, and give me advice when I ask, and to spend time with, sharing dumb secrets about whatever.

To talk to and get a response from, nearly any response at all. Without feeling like I'm begging for attention...

Friends are hard.

Does anyone else feel that way?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Re-appearing Act

I feel a pull to write almost daily. I like to write in my journal. I like to write emails to professors, my lab manager, and sometimes friends. I write status updates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever seems interesting at the moment. I write papers for class. I take notes and write questions in the margins. I mark up books that I have to read, and want to read, and I take notes upon notes about the things that interest me.

But I've always wondered how to funnel it all into one place. Or differentiate between what belongs where?

I just don't know. Maybe it all belongs here. And I'm still working that idea out in my head on top of those papers and updates and emails and my journal. There's just so much STUFF to write, and I want to write it all.

And I need to force myself to find the time for that writing that pulls at me. Here I come, planner. You're about to be filled with writing dates with my computer!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Second Family

High school was a rough time for me. My immediate family changed in strange, unpleasant ways and I found it hard to connect with my own blood. My siblings and I got older. We left my stepfather. My brother moved out. And my mother had to focus her energy on working to support our family as a single parent again. It was a confusing and painful time.

But there was a positive constant. My best friend Dan, and his family took care of me when I didn't want to go home. They fed me, supported me, cheered for me, and hoped for me, when I couldn't hope for myself. They were intense, loving people who taught me how to use a Mac, employed me to catalog their library in the basement because I loved books too much, and let me join them on trips out of town whenever I needed/wanted. Their love and warmth is such a beautiful memory for me.

And I got to see them yesterday after not really talking to them for months because life happens at speeds beyond measure. It was relaxing to talk to those people who gave me a home away from home when I needed it. Who loved me when they didn't have to.

Something that I didn't quite understand in our conversation at the time was when Dan's mom asked me hesitantly, Are you happy? I had told her a bit about what is currently good in my life: my supportive husband, that little boy I love so much, and school, always fascinating me when I can sit back and breathe and think about how much I'm learning. I told her about what is currently hard in my life: issues with parenting and siblings, with correcting my son who will stand in the middle of the room and scream if things aren't going his way, issues with communication and sometimes wanting to stay in a hotel for a night, just so I'm not woken up by elbows and knees crashing into my rib cage. Or dog shit on the floor because the dogs ate something they shouldn't have when I wasn't looking.

And yet, after telling her all these things and more, she asked if I was happy. I answered "yeah, of course" but I was still confused. Her voice was so quiet when she asked.

Today, it seems more obvious why she would ask me if I was happy. Because I wasn't before. 

I wasn't happy before I moved to Lansing a little over five years ago. Now, I've spent years going to college. I got married to a really great, supportive man. I adopted a little boy who makes my heart burst with happiness when he isn't being a little butthead!

Yet, I never made it a point to tell them how much things have changed since high school and how happy my life makes me, when I look past the bad. I haven't connected with them like I did yesterday. I haven't made it a point to call, or text, or email besides when major life events like my wedding warrants communication. I haven't sent more than a Christmas card each year, and a "tell your mom I said hi!" every few months home to them. And I need to. I need to put more effort into staying in touch from afar, not just when I have the time to visit.

Because no matter where I go, and what I'm doing, they're still there in the town where I grew up, in those cozy homes where I felt loved, hollering a hello from the living room because they recognize my voice, even if they weren't expecting me to visit. Making me purple potatoes and asparagus, hamburgers covered in onions, asking several times if I need mustard sauce or ketchup or sour cream, and whether I want fresh pineapple, or chocolate ice cream, or some of the beautiful cake they made. No judgement on any level. Just love, love, love. Handing me a book with a touching note written in the cover. Embracing me in warm, calming hugs that make me feel whole. Asking if I'm still writing and showing me pictures they treasure from our years in high school, when Dan was my best friend, and they were my second family.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parenting Confessions, Part 1

My Confession:
I thought having a family would be the easiest thing ever. I thought everything just fell into place and it was barely work, let alone hard work. How absolutely ridiculous!

In the last year of learning how to live with a surprise 4-year-old, it's come slowly but surely to me that parenting a 4-year-old isn't a natural shift. A baby, maybe. I've never had a baby so I have no knowledge of the shift one makes into parenting after a birth. But a 4-year-old is hard, tough-as-shit even. 
It's a huge change when you spend every evening sitting on the couch with your husband, watching visually gruesome television shows like Criminal Minds.

Suddenly, the most gruesome thing is a 4-year-old throwing a screaming tantrum in the middle of Target, or waving a pair of not safety scissors around (oh god, am I a terrible mother?) Forget those murderers lurking behind every bush. Suddenly, you have a 4-year-old out to get you. 

He's out to get your love. He's out to get your approval. And maybe to test your nerves, but only because he's out for attention. 

My son is out to steal my heart. He's out to challenge my knowledge (which is not near extensive enough to teach this little bigboy about everything I want him to know!) He's out for snuggles and candy and setting the tent up in the living room because he's never been camping and wants to look through the netted window and whisper about the stars. He's out to get as many Legos, Hotwheels and Batmans (Batmen?) as he can manage to get his grubby little 4-year-old fingers on.

And I want to give him all the things he's out for, but this past year, I've focused all my energy on surviving.

In the last year, we've struggled to get traction as a family. We've argued and yelled (dear lord, I hope the neighbors can't hear us!) and disagreed as parents in front of our son (bad move, mama!) We've failed to communicate. We've failed to learn because we thought we knew better. We've resisted nurturing our son when he seems to need it because our expectations were way out of proportion. And it's been hard. Like I said, we've struggled. 

But that's adopting a 4-year-old, I think. That's suddenly being a parent without the 9 month mental preparation. That's having the rug pulled out from under your feet by the best and most beautiful little guy in your life.

But it's time for my family to shift into a season where we are not just surviving, but thriving. This year is a big one. My son will be a Kindergartener in six months. And I'm a little late to the New Year motivation, but I'm okay with being late to the game, as long as I show up. 

It's time to be intentional with my family. To strengthen our routines, our relationships (parent-child, as well as husband-wife) and focus on our future, so I've started to read and read and learn. I just finished a book called Slow Family Living by Bernadette Noll that has tips on how to be more intentional in your family time by slowing down together, and I'd love to share what I've learned in another post, but for now, I just want to ask you some questions.

Question(s) For You: 
Do you make a conscious effort to live intentionally with your family? How do you strengthen your relationships and bonds? Or do you sit back and let things fall into place? Is it easy for you? What's your secret?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Here I Am!

It seems as though I took a year off of blogging. It's hard to believe it's been so long since I wrote, but it feels right again. It feels right to type into this big, intimidating white box, and put myself out in the world again. 

Maybe it's being a senior, at full-tilt anticipating my last two semesters of undergraduate studies. 
Maybe it's being a wife, three years in, and still finding new ways to love and appreciate my husband.
Maybe it's being a mother, who is still learning and exploring how families work. It's a tough gig, but I love it.

Maybe it's being terrified that once I finish my undergraduate coursework, I'm going to have to get a full-time job that I don't love. Maybe I want to give creating a handmade business another shot. Maybe it's what I really want when I'm being honest with myself, and thankfully, my husband 100% supports my re-entrance into the blogging world.

So here I am, standing before you, a whole year older than last time I wrote. A whole year to catch up on. 

So, for starters, is there anyone out there? If so, let's be friends!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today, Parenthood and Such

Tonight I am really appreciating movies/television series that weren't made by Disney or star Little Einsteins... Most days I want to watch Pineapple Express or Pitch Perfect or Twilight or Parks and Recreation without worrying about what my three-almost-four-year-old is going to pick up and repeat several times while standing in line at Target.

Lately he's been repeating "I choked! Hee-yuck!" from The Goofy Movie. And when he's saying it really fast at the checkout, it kind of sounds like he was choked... and then saying something weird that is really hard to understand if you don't know where he got it from... I don't know.

Maybe I'm focusing too much of my worrying-energy on this one little thing to try to push down other things that have been bothering me. I feel like since becoming a mama, some of my really good friends have ducked out of sight. I've noticed that seems to happen when I really need those people around for support because something big is happening in my life. However, I feel like them disappearing reveals who I should hold onto and who I should let go. Still, it's sad and bothersome and I wish people weren't like that. But they are sometimes.

I have other people though, who have been amazing. Who are trying to give me as much support as possible instead of just lecturing me about how to parent and telling me to take childhood development classes so I can "get" where my kid is coming from. Sheesh.

I don't know why my blog post is about all this. I didn't sign on here meaning to get super personal but I guess it's the best way to update anyone still reading.

To anyone still reading:
What's new?