Friday, September 25, 2009

The Chuck E Cheese Debacle and the Unexpected

On Friday evening, Mallory was invited to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party. At first, she said she didn't want to go because of "The Mouse." If any of you have had experience with Chuck E Cheese, or have children who are fearful of humans dressed as characters, you know what I'm talking about. The human sized automated rat that helps some children celebrate their birthday and puts the fear of God into others and they run screaming in the other direction. Riley talked Mallory into going to the party because we had leftover tokens from our last visit and she wanted to use them. When other schools started in early August, we visited Chuck E Cheese and were basically alone in the place, and it was fabulous for a mom who hates all of the noise and people and my children who feel the same way but don't understand that about themselves yet.

Zoom forward to Friday night, lots of people, lots of noise, we walk in the door, and get our security stamps. Mallory proceeds to run off from me and I realize she is "freaking out." I try to get us to the party table and did after I picked the four year old and put her on my hip (and my back is hurting now...) After about five minutes of continued strife, I try to take us back out to the token game area. Riley thinks we are leaving for good and proceeds to bite Mallory on the leg, but doesn't sink her teeth into it. Mallory is still wigging out. I explain to Riley that we were not leaving I was trying to head towards the games as Mallory continues to express her discontentment with staying. After realizing that this is not going to work at all, we leave for real. Riley is not happy and proceeds to pitch more fits, and punishments are handed out. Mallory gets really quiet and is just looking out the window. It is a sad scene in the Golightly van.

Zoom forward to Tuesday night at the homework table. Riley has finished her homework and I have asked her to help me encourage Mallory to work on her scissor skills and writing with a pencil.  But this go round, Mallory is so excited and Riley is cheering her own big time. "I wrote an L" she would say and we would all cheer. After a few minutes of this, Mallory turns to Riley and says something about Chuck E Cheese and then says "I'm sorry we left the party."

Zoom to verklempt me, who thinks this is the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer is over...

Well, it is here, I made it through the summer, Mallory is now in preschool full time finally as of yesterday, on September 17th!! Full time means 9 to 1 (and that is making her stay for lunch bunch) and some days extended until 2. I feel guilty for having her stay but extended means she gets to go back out on the playground if the weather is good. But we made it through the summer. I was worried about making it through intact. I am almost intact.

I am worn out though. All of the house business was draining. It was a wonderful process to get the house ready for sale and sell it but I don't think I have processed the letdown that although we made the best choice, we are staying put. I had been gearing up for something else and now, a completely different direction. That is what life if all about though. Riding the roller coaster.

I haven't been practicing regular yoga, or getting regular cardio and I know that has something to do with my malaise. There was at least 3 weeks where I did nothing but working on the house which was physical but not the once a week yoga that I promised myself. I'm ready for the regular exercise to give me some sort of a routine again. I got on the treadmill yesterday and it really felt good. I'm needing a routine, period. Mallory is at a new program at the same location we have been going tp and I'm learning the ropes for that one. Riley is now getting settled in her brand new school building and I've adjusted to BIG carpool at 3 pm.

I wasn't even able to go to my therapy on a regular basis. I hadn't been there in 6 weeks. I'm slowly gaining insight on my issues relating to food, weight and I am still working on that. (I read an article in More magazine about Sela Ward and she spoke of her ongoing therapy habits, I knew there was a reason I liked her, other than the fact that she was a Chi O!) I haven't had much adult time at all, and I know I need it. I am SO needing some adult time. I am beginning to send out my emails of who I can have lunch with starting next week.

I am beginning to get the groove of the stay at home mom, taking care of kids, schedule. The ebb and flow of the year. There is the summer, and not having to worry about getting out of the door by a certain time but keeping the kids occupied, managing the fighting, and everybody having a little fun but not too much. Then the school year kicks in, new grade, teacher, activities. There are opportunities to volunteer here there and yonder. The church "school year" also kicks in and there are opportunities there as well. The holidays will kick in, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas, which means a LOT of work, activities at school, church, & elsewhere, presents and parties. There is a lull in January and February and then starts the spring demands of Easter parties and vacation, dance recitals, and a plethora of end of school year activities. That is the flow, I was beginning to grasp it last year.

Okay, I am recombobulating now. It's time to get into the school year groove, finally. This will be my last year of going to two different schools. Mallory should be starting Dunham next Fall and the Open House for that is at the end of this month. There always seems to be something and I'm rolling. Yoga is this morning, yeah and Ommmmm! I don't really want to go but I know I NEED to go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Staging - Before and After

In getting the house ready for market (NOT), I employed a wonderful stager named Cindy Smith. She helped me with vision and thinking out of the box. I have always wanted some assistance in this and although we are not moving, we still have the wonderful after affects of a new less cluttered vision. I apologize in advance because I can't line the pictures up exactly as I would like them but I think you get the idea. The house does not look like this anymore...for one brief week or so, it was spotless. I have to relive that wonderful week of neatness in pictures. I wish I would have videoed it!!! The children want their "little table" and the mini-trampoline back.

In the kitchen, our toy armoire as I call it. I don't know what the actual name for this piece of furniture is but the now darkened windows still holds toys and craft items.

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom Before and After - but you can't see the precious black & white rug or black and white hand towels and I just can't take or upload any more pictures right now.

There is that of the catalysts for wanting more room. I really do use it. It's normally in the down position.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My baby turned 4

Mallory is now 4. She has been waiting for months for her birthday. Everyday she has been asking, "Is today my birthday?" and this started maybe back in June. This second child and baby of our family is four years old. Wow. Yes, time is flying, and I wrote about that before.

I went back and looked at her baby pictures and looking at pictures of babies or especially seeing a baby in person, takes me back almost immediately to a dark place. It doesn't matter how cute they are. Babies give me an immediate anxiety, and then I work through it in my head and then pretend that I love babies the way you are supposed to. I have the exact opposite reaction of most people. I DO have post traumatic stress from my postpartum depression. I see babies, I think, crying, sleep deprivation, more and more crying and that's not the baby. That was a little joke there, he he he. I'm thinking one day I will get to the point that I can joke about the experience but it so profoundly affected my life and how I parented in the beginning that it's still not funny and I still haven't worked my way through it.

I also have to accept that it was SEVEN years personality was maybe not that off from what it would have been had I not been in that dark, lonely, isolated pit of despair and maybe it didn't affect me as much as I thought it did. Or maybe I just have to let it go and move on. I bet that is what you are hoping for. I want to as well but these feelings are still here. It was traumatic I think especially in conjuction with the long struggle to get pregnant. I realized in looking back and talking to the social worker that I had the anxiety before I actually gave birth, and that is not uncommon either from what I learned.

Carrie Fisher wrote in her latest autobiography about coping with mental illness. She said something to the tune that people that have mental illness need to be patted on the back instead of shamed. Do you know how much harder one has to work to survive on a daily basis with mental illness than a person who does not??? But instead the person can't talk about it at all because it's taboo, and shameful. You can't be proud of it. I asked my therapist why I want to talk about it in public, and get applauded for what I made it through. She thought perhaps it's our western society, which wants to be recognized for everything we do. The superbowl champions, Olympians, the Oscars, the MTV VMA awards, all major recognition for their accomplishments. Kanye can't accept that someone else wins an award. I want a pat on the back for surviving PPD. Kanye and I need to get over it and move on.

But I digress, we had a fabulous time celebrating my beautiful wonderful baby daughter's birthday. Yet, she's not a baby anymore. The flashbacks can cease. She is a thriving, smart, active, funny breath of fresh air. I'm grateful for her and her sister however we got here. Happy 4th Birthday Mallory!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Change of Heart & Pocketbook!

The For Sale sign in the yard is gone. At first it was for the reason that would make sense, the house is under contract which it was, after two days of being on the market. Yes, there were buyers who saw the house on Sunday, after the listing Friday before last and made an offer. Now, the sign has stayed down for another reason, as in, we don't want to sell the house anymore. Yes, I actually said that. We are crazy, but it is one of the sanest things that George and I have ever done (as long as we get the signatures that we were told we would receive.)

George received news on Friday that made him believe his salary will go down this time next year. We sat down and did the math again, and it scared us to death. We can't do this, we really can't. We have two kids to educate at a wonderful but pricey private school, etc. We grew up as kids who did not travel and we have tasted traveling and we want to explore and expose our children to other parts of our country and world if possible.

Friday night, we are sitting at our newly cleaned off dining room table, and we add up the figures of everything in our expense column and what would be the new credit column and it made no sense for us to get a bit bigger house. The house we are in began to look quite fantastic. There is nothing like the idea of being house poor to make the one that you never quite liked the exterior of, to begin looking quite rosy. Now we had to let our realtor know, and in turn the couple whom we had a purchase agreement with. We must beg for mercy that they will let us out of this contract. We felt completely sick about this, and prayed that they will be an understanding couple (after all they understood when an overtired Mallory had a massive, crying, screaming meltdown that left them cowering in my master hallway while they were here for the inspection. They commented that they had raised young girls themselves intimating that it was not new territory for three year olds to throw tantrums)

George and I received the biggest lesson in appreciating what we have. We had bought into the desire to have more, a slightly nicer neighborhood with a pool, another bedroom and an office. There is nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you (aided by our own actions), to make you appreciate the floor. It doesn't matter that it was a buyer markets and the interest rates are so low. In the past, I had felt completely grateful for our house staying intact after Gustav. Nearly everyday I am reminded of the randomness of natural disaster as I drive by a house in an adjoining neighborhood that was destroyed by a tree during Gustav and once again I am feeling completely grateful for THIS house.

Yet we were the manufacturers of our own potential disaster. We were sick, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat and awaited hearing back from our realtor, whom I'm sure was not pleased in losing out on commissions on both houses. After waiting most of the day but what seemed like forever, we received a voice mail message that said the couple would let us out of the contract. I cried, and we were both so relieved. We feel awful that we let the couple down, and led our realtor astray but feel like we dodged a financial bullet.

The lesson that we learned is, it doesn't matter what we see others having, what matters is our bottom line, no comparisons. We would rather live under our means in THIS house. We would rather be able to travel, eat out and things like that than live house poor. The children really don't need a bigger house. All of the anxiety I had about putting them in an upstairs that they said they wanted, yet I knew at least one of them would change her mind, must have been trying to tell me something. I hadn't slept well for weeks, perhaps this was the reason. We will figure out how to share the space we have, think out of the box to make room for what we need. The outside of this house has never looked so good.