How do you deal with stress?

I think for the past couple of months there’s been an elevated level of stress around our house, and it’s interesting to see how we deal it.

2004

I do a few different things depending on how stressed I am. I will clean like crazy, but that’s usually if I’m pissed off and stressed at the same time. This also coincides with uber organizing, purging, and moving furniture around. Sometimes I will also go running. This usually happens when I’m stressed because I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have found a new station on Pandora: Running (Radio Mix) Radio, and so far I’m loving it. I also downloaded a new app to my iPhone: Gipis, which is my training app for my upcoming half marathon in 7 weeks. It’s great because it “recalculates” if you miss a day or run faster or slower than what it is telling you to do. I usually have an “I don’t want to go running” attitude when I’m first getting ready to go, but when I’m done, I feel so much better. I pray a lot when I run, and I play out different solutions to problems in my head. Lastly, I will lose myself in a book. Typically this happens when I’m feeling stressed and depressed. I also have to read something inspiring or christian themed in order to feel hopeful and “better” at the end of the book. Those are my go-to remedies.

2005

My husband deals with stress totally different than I do. Ok, he does definitely clean a lot more when stressed. He also points out everything that’s wrong/filthy/cluttered while he’s doing it. This is not a good time to engage him in a conversation or try to defend anything he is saying. He is a stress eater as well. The crazy amount of snacks that appear in our house is usually directly correlated to his level of stress. 🙂 He also tends to yell…A. LOT. when he’s stressed. Usually I can hold my tongue when he does it to me, and I walk away. Mostly because I know if I yell back, it’s gonna get ugly fast and really really nasty things can be said. Sometimes I just can’t take it, and I let him know exactly how I feel about his yelling and what it does to me. This would be MUCH more effective if I did it when we were both calm, but alas, that’s not always the case. Now some of this stuff is related to his PTSD, which just sucks but that’s a whole different post. Now that our youngest is getting older, it’s super important to me that he is getting the best example to follow in what a good marriage looks like. Not that the other kids aren’t important, but my 3 kids aren’t with us all the time (my oldest has moved out and the other 2 are with us every 2 weeks for 2 weeks) and my stepson works quite a bit and basically lives in his room. And not for nothing, but I HATE it when there is a disagreement in our house; especially if it’s between my husband and I. I literally feel like my whole world is off-balance when it happens.

2006

I know like everything else, this too shall pass. Sometimes I think it’s easier if I’m the one stressed out and not him, but I’m sure he would disagree. I also think it’s about time to start planning a vacation, but this whole pool debacle has slowed us down in that area too. Ce la vie. The good news, and something I have to remember to focus on, is that we are healthy, our love is strong, and we’ll weather this storm like we have all the others. How do you deal with stress?

2015 is OUTTA here!

This has been one heck of an interesting year to say the least. I knew it would have some great highlights, but I had no idea it would go in the direction it did. This is what I was hoping for in 2015, let’s see how I did:

* pay off more debt CHECK and DOUBLE CHECK. We did great with this one!

* find an online adjunct teaching position Nope, nada, zilch. I’ve applied for every opening I can find.

* attend graduation in April That was awesome!! We made it a family vacation trip and got to see family in Colorado too. This was a true highlight of my year.

* get promoted to principal Booooooooooooo! Nope. I was passed over for this one. But…it might be ok after all.

* read more novels Well this one was a gimme. I should really keep track of how many I read in a year, but I would guess it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-100.

* lose some weight Man did I conquer this one. I lost 27 pounds this year!

* work on the outside of our house (fence, landscaping, pool ?) Well the fence is in, the landscaping is better, and the pool is still in a work in progress. That’s like a half a point for this one.

* protect our marriage and keep it strong I think our marriage is just as strong as ever. We certainly have our challenges, but who doesn’t. No major hits to our marriage this year, and I’d like for that to continue please.

* get a motorcycle CHECK! We bought our motorcycle in Feb/March of this year, and even though we haven’t been able to ride it as much as we’d like, it has been a perfect investment for us.

* continue good health for my family All is well in this department. No massive catastrophes to anyone’s health, and other than pre-K being not very kind to our youngest with constant colds, all is well.

For those of you keeping score that’s 7.5 out of 10. Not bad! In addition, my oldest graduated from high school, I am trying to commission into the Navy Reserves and started that process this year, my husband got moved back to a day shift, and I won another international award for my online course building. 2015 was pretty darn good to me and to our family.

What’s in store for 2016?? Well, here are my goals:

*get selected to commission into the Navy

*watch my stepson graduate and enlist in the military

*my daughter become dual enrolled and begin earning her college degree and her high school diploma simultaneously

*get that pool

*stay out of major credit card debt

*pay down the motorcycle

*pray deliberately for my husband/marriage/family daily and seek God’s will not mine

*maintain my weight and fitness

*run a half marathon

*take a vacation with just my husband

If all of this gets accomplished, I would say 2016 will be just as good if not better than 2015. What are your goals for this year?

The break is on!

As of today at 3:00pm, I will be officially on Winter Break! I haven’t had any time off since April, and believe me, I am looking forward to a couple of weeks off. I’m pretty sure every student, teacher, and principal around me has already checked out and is just counting down the minutes to the last bell today.

My littlest guy is having his holiday party, and my dad (who is a professional Santa) is going to be stopping by this morning to deliver presents and listen to the wishes of all of the students. Watching all of their little faces light up is always such a treat, and I’m glad I get to be a part of it this year with his class.

Overall, I’m just having a hard time getting into the whole Christmas spirit. Where I’m at, the weather has been freakishly warm for December, my stepson arrived back from his visit with his mom with some usual shenanigans, the transition to a day shift has been hard on my husband’s sleep schedule so that has resulted in fewer hours together and more conversation through phone and text…plus he’s trying to finish the renovation of his parents’ guest bathroom before Christmas, and I’ve been just running from concert to concert to work thing to party. I’m hoping that after today things will start to feel more Christmasy. It’s supposed to cool off a bit this weekend, I get to do some baking on Monday with my mom, and of course, Christmas is in 7 days.

Oh and I am down to 30 days left. 30 days until I find out if I got in. 30 long days that I should probably be running a mile and half at least 5 days a week. Hmmm….

Made it!

Whew! I have officially made it through the craziest part of the season. This past week I: Attended 3 Christmas concerts, had our going away send off party for my current boss and welcomed our new one, interviewed 3 candidates for an online math position and hired 1, went to a party for an organization I am in, got my hair done (Hallelujah!), attended the high school showcase for my district, and got my stepson son on a plane to visit his mom…and a partridge in a pear tree.

This week isn’t nearly as jam packed. I have a couple of meetings at work, my work Christmas party, and picking up my stepson on Thursday from the airport. I’m so excited to have my evenings free and be able to enjoy my youngest and my gorgeous husband. I don’t typically get these two amazing males in my life all to my self, so I want to make the most of it. This is also my husband’s short week, so we should be able to have a couple nights when we aren’t completely exhausted and ready to be in bed by 8pm (Ok that might be an exaggeration…maybe). LOL!

I’m having my mom and sister over next week to make Puppy Chow aka Muddy Buddies, so that’ll be fun. I’ve even managed to get most of the Christmas menu planned with my family. Woohoo! My husband has to work Christmas day (4am-5pm ish), so I’m trying to figure out a way to make Christmas Eve (when he is off) special, have him still involved on Christmas day morning (Facetime?), and make sure my husband and kids know they are the most important people in my life. We aren’t really a family that has gifts as a love language, so buying the most expensive and outrageous gift isn’t the way to anyone’s heart around here. Now food…food is another matter entirely! I will be making a lot of Chocolate Chip cookies for sure (my husband’s favorite!), and I always let my kids go through my recipe book and choose something new to make every year (we’ve only had 1 that turned out a total disappointment).

This week is also the last week of school until our winter break, so thankfully, that means having only my youngest at home is not studying for tests or wrapping up last minute projects, but rather, holiday parties and letters to Santa. Oh how I miss being 4.

December Goals

Well since November went so well, I guess I will go ahead and try for December too! Here are my goals for this month:

  1. Get my hair done. Honestly this is going to be an easy one since I already have the appointment scheduled, but oh well.
  2. Successfully participate in all of the holiday parties, concerts, and gatherings for school/work without getting ill or saying something that I shouldn’t. Seriously not sure about achieving this one, but it could happen. 
  3. Host Christmas at our house. Ok so obviously we’re hosting, but now that my husband got to go to a day shift for work, it’s really just me hosting. And while that sucks, at least he’ll be home around 5pm. It could be so so so so much worse.
  4. Do something fun, relaxing, and enjoyable during the holiday break. I will have basically 4 days of only 1 child, then about a week with only 2 kids. I’m hoping to be able seize the opportunity to do something special with just our youngest before chaos ensues. Sometimes I think he gets the short end of the stick being the youngest of 5…but then again…sometimes I don’t believe that at all. LOL! 

 

That’s it. Here’s to a month of peace and joy in our home and yours. May your Christmas be a time of blessings and remembrance of the reason for the season.

College Football…a different animal

This past Saturday I took my youngest little guy and my daughter to their first college football game. My parents, who are season ticket holders, picked us up SUPER early (thank God dad offered to make that drive!), and we met up with my brother and his wife, who are students there. We did some token tailgating before the game and then we headed over to the pre-game festivities. We went through the school store at the stadium and got a t-shirt for my son and a hoodie for my daughter, and then we headed in to the stadium.

Yes that’s right kids. We went to the FSU game. It was senior night. It was also a blowout. 😀 This was a test for my youngest and a much-anticipated experience for my daughter. We are hoping to be able to take our little guy to a Buffalo Bills game, but we weren’t sure he could handle it. I’ve taken him to a couple of high school football games, and this would tell the tale. He did great. Other than not wanting to eat the pretzel or the nacho chips, he was good. I saved the day when he got the Dippin’ Dots in an FSU helmet. Go Mom Points!! I would be good with taking him to an NFL game now. YAY!!!

My daugher very much wants to go to FSU. She has said this since she was in middle school. Now that she is halfway through her Sophomore year, it’s time she got serious about finding out the entrance criteria and making it happen. She asked my brother and his wife a lot of questions about the building on campus and class sizes and whatever else she could think of. She critiqued the Pom squad and the cheerleaders, and decided she could do either one of those teams. All in all, it was a great experience for both of them.

I went to ALL of the home football games when I was in college (not as FSU), but my school was much smaller than FSU, so it had all the same elements magnified 100 times. It was great. The stadium was great. The game was great. However, I think I must just have this look about me that says, “Hey drunk guy, make sure you sit by me and talk to me through the whole game”. It literally happens to me every game I go to, and apparently college football is no exception. This guy, who was barely 21, sat in front of us and then turned around and blabbed…the. entire. game. I tried ignoring him. I tried joking he was being annoying. I even missed all of halftime and the start of the 3rd quarter thanks to waiting in line for Dippin Dots. Alas, he didn’t take the hint. He left with his 2 sober friends with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

College football is a different sort of animal. The rules are different, there is a band, and there’s lots more chanting and singing. I still prefer Buffalo games, but it was fun. Speaking of Buffalo…it is ON tonight! #CircleTheWagons #BeatThePatriots #GoBills!!!! And if the game has the same result as this one, it’s gonna be a great night:

Vacation is over

My lucky husband has been off for the past 2 weeks. That means it has been 2 glorious weeks of sleeping together in the same bed every single night and not worrying that my beloved won’t come home to me. Two weeks of “honey-do” projects getting done (hanging the mirror in the master bathroom, digging out the mulch around 4 trees and replacing with rock that had to be dug out of the neighbor’s backyard…thank you neighbor!, moving the A/C unit, digging a trench for said move of the A/C unit, decorating and undecorating for Halloween, and moving bushes from the backyard to the frontyard). Two weeks of really good meals (I gained 3 pounds while he was off!!), and two weeks of being pretty darn lazy just enjoying each other. All of that has come to an end, and of course, it ended in true bang-up fashion.

We found out last week that when he returns to his shift tonight, he will be moving to the other side of the city. That means he doesn’t have his own guys anymore, and he’s now the only sergeant on duty instead of having a 2nd sergeant to split responsibility with. Also, the other side of the city is MUCH larger and he isn’t as familiar with it. Not to mention, the reason he has to move over there is because one sergeant retired and the other just got in pretty big trouble. That just means it’s basically going to be a bunch of drama whores who he hasn’t been leading that he now gets to go deal with. *sigh* On top of that, he is supposed to be attending a Hostage Negotiations training for the next couple of weeks for a few hours each night. Now we’re just hoping he still gets to do that with this move.

Oh and the department voted in a new union while we was out, so it’ll be interesting to see how that impacts his job now. To put the icing on the cake, we sent our wedding rings out to be dipped in platinum (we do this every 6 months), and my engagement ring came back and promptly broke. I sent it back in last week week, got it back yesterday, and they still didn’t fix it correctly. Now I have to send it off again this afternoon. Yes, I’m pouting.

The good news is this is usually the crazy super fast portion of the year, and I’m certainly looking forward to all of the fun and festivities. 24 days until Thanksgiving, 53 days until Christmas, and 59 days until we ring in 2016. The best part of all is that I will get to celebrate every single on those events with my husband for the first time in 4 years! Especially since I’m not sure what 2016 will bring as far as the Navy or his job, I’m determined to enjoy this holiday season.

 

Graduation Announcement

It has happened. The graduation dates and times for this year’s high schools have been announced. Last year, my oldest graduated. He had big plans, and we really thought he was on his way to making things happen. And then they didn’t. Right now, he’s working for a lawn company for cash, living with mooching off his dad, and basically has no plan. I’m not sure what he’ll end up doing now.

This year, my stepson is set to graduate. He, like my oldest, has a plan. He wants to join the Army and go active duty. He, like my oldest, has no backup plan. There are some differences though. My oldest had the academic strength to make a backup plan with college. He also could have gone to Basic Training had he listened to me 6 months prior, but he didn’t. My oldest scored fairly well on the ASVAB and had no issues with any physical limitations. My stepson, on the other hand, is not doing well on any practice ASVAB tests. He has never been a great test-taker/academic student. He is an ESE (Exceptional Student Education) student with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) that gives him certain accomodation/modifications to his education. My stepson will never have to worry about his weight (he’s super skinny…ok maybe being underweight), and he runs really fast. He takes orders well as long as they aren’t complicated or multi-faceted. He’s a soldier’s soldier.

If he can get in. His recruiter gave him a website to study/practice on. His case manager at school has given him an ASVAB book to study with. He is scheduled to take the ASVAB at the end of this month. I am hoping and praying like crazy that he scores high enough to get in.

Regardless though…he has 228 days until Graduation.

My Boy and His Blanket

My kids have all been blanket babies. At some point during their infancy, they latch on to a particular blanket and don’t want to ever let it go. My oldest, 18, still sleeps with his blanket. He only took it to kindergarten the first couple of days, and then he decided it was just too big (it was a crib blanket). My daughter, 15, only wanted her blanket until she was about 3. Then she just became a little busy for it, and other than still loving to sleep with a blanket, she doesn’t need the blanket. My next kiddo, 11, never really attached to a specific blanket, but I think part of that is because his dad and I divorced when he was 4, so he was bouncing back and forth every two weeks for visits. Instead, he just has to have a soft blanket to sleep with. I’ve been told my step son loved his Winnie the Pooh blanket quite a bit. Now my youngest…well he’s a whole new level.

My little guy REALLY loves his blanket. He’s literally had this blanket since the day he was born. It’s a light blue Buffalo Bills little blanket (I know you’re shocked right?!). I should add that all of my older kids either tolerated a pacifier or never needed it. My youngest, however, is a thumb sucker. I blame his pediatrician. No really. He’s the one that stuck my little guy’s thumb in his mouth at his 1 week appointment, and he’s had that thumb there ever since. It’s going to be so awful getting him to stop too…and YES, I KNOW he’s ruining the shape of his mouth. Anyway, you can be guaranteed that if my youngest son is resting, stressed, crying, in trouble, playing outside, going anywhere in the car, sleeping…ok pretty much every second, he has this little blanket with him.

We even tried to be smart and bought 3 of them when he was born. You know for loss, destruction, or when one needs to be washed. That idea never worked. He KNOWS when he doesn’t have HIS blanket, so we gave one away, and kept the other one. This year he started pre-Kindergarten. His teacher has somehow gotten him to put his blanket in his backpack when he arrives and keep it there until the end of the day when they have their “rest time”. Apparently, he doesn’t suck his thumb too much at school since they keep so busy too. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help break the habit. To be honest, I’m not really worried about it. He’s a smart, healthy, funny little boy, and if his blanket and thumb sucking keep him happy, then so be it.

That time he made me cry…

I have loved my husband since the first time he walked out to my car and almost kissed me. We have had our ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and lots of adventures. There have been times that he’s made me want to kill him and times he’s made me remember why I fell in love with him in the first place. Last night, he made me cry…lots of happy tears. Really it all started that morning…

Sundays are generally hectic when football season starts up. This Sunday was no exception. I had to get up a little bit early in order to exchange my two younger kids with their dad for his time with them. Then I finished getting ready for church and got my youngest ready to go. I woke up my husband on my way out the door so that he could meet me at church. I have to be there by 10:00 for Praise Team practice, but church doesn’t start until 10:45, so he usually meets us there to get a few more minutes of sleep. This particular Sunday, we had a guest pastor. He’s actually the brother of our Prase and Worship leader. Ya’ll to say he was great would be a huge understatement. I LOVED the way he presented the message and really broke it down for everyone. There was definitely something magical in the air that morning. Even while singing, we could just feel the Holy Spirit filling the place. Hallelujah!!

Anyway, the Cliff’s notes version of his sermon was that prayer is powerful and everyone should be bold enough to take the first step in praying and praising with the families, friends, etc. Alright so we go home, watch the Bills lose to the Patriots (oh the agony!), and then I start just observing my husband and our youngest. Our little guy asked his dad to color with him (he’s 4). Then he climbed up on the couch and snuggled up right next to daddy and played on his tablet. Pretty soon it was time for bed. Now usually I put him to bed, and I sing this one particular song that he loves, tell him goodnight and I love him, and that’s it. Last night, daddy put him to bed. He was in there for a bit, but I didn’t think too much of it. When my husband came out of our little guy’s bedroom, he was like, “so I prayed with my little buddy”. Cue waterworks.

Apparently, he had our little guy kneel on the floor next to his bed with him and repeated a prayer after daddy. Afterwards, he asked, “Why do we have to pray?” Wow a big question from such a little body. My husband explained the importance of talking to Jesus to our little boy, and the whole time he’s telling me the story, my eyes just keep filling up. I mean, look, I am so incredibly proud of my husband. I have been to numerous military and law enforcement events when he has been honored or singled out for a good job that I have teared up. I have gotten all teary when he’s held our youngest as a newborn and then when teaching him all sorts of things. When he’s had a moment with the 6th grader, and when he’s hugged our only girl…definite misty eye moments. But this was a whole new level.

I am so proud of my husband for taking his role as the spiritual leader of our house seriously. He has never been real bold in his prayer life. I know I’ve never heard him pray except for our dinner prayer that never changes. I can’t wait to see how this impacts our youngest…and really our whole family. I know tonight I’m going to ask our little guy what he wants to talk to Jesus about. I’m sure his response is going to be interesting. 🙂 I also know that I love and admire my husband more than ever. He truly is such a magnificent blessing from God, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be his wife.