How quickly summer ends…

I am the crazy person that wishes summer away. It has nothing to do with the heat or the humidity. My job in the summer gets incessantly harder. When I say harder, like quadruple the amount of work and liability.

I have been in the aquatics industry my whole life and summer to me means working on holidays, opening outdoor pools, seeing an insane amount of campers daily, managing over 100 staff and teaching countless hours of swimming lessons. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all of this! Truly, I do. However, it still doesn’t make it easy. So, I count down the days until it all ends. When I get to week 8 of camp I do a little dance in my head. Ok fine, a big fucking dance. However, this year, well this year was quite the opposite. I didn’t want the summer to end.

I didn’t wish any part of summer away. Not one single day. I couldn’t. My life was drastically changing and I didn’t want to accept it. After this summer, my baby girl was headed off to kindergarten and I wasn’t ready. At all.

I have been fortunate enough, for the last four years to have Harper attend the ELC located in the same building as where I work. Every day we commuted together; to and from work/school and it was the greatest. We listened to Sesame Street: The Best of Elmo on repeat; insane amounts of repeat. I would look back in the mirror and see that sassy toddler dancing and jamming out and I never got sick of those 15 songs on constant repeat; ever. We would get to the J and she would see the wacky-wobbly air-filled tubes on the top of the building that sway in the wind and she’d get so excited. When she was one, she called them “the woahs” because she would point and just say, “woah”. The name stuck and we had to say our last goodbye to the woahs this summer. This is the stuff I am going to miss.

In those early years, I would see her teachers and the happy toddlers holding onto that colorful rope and I’d have to hide. I became very good at jumping behind poles or into storage closets so Harper wouldn’t see me and get sad. As the years went on, I could pass her in the halls and get a hug and a kiss without breaking our stride. I would continue on walking to my meeting and she would continue on walking with her class to her next activity. This is the stuff I am going to miss.

Due to her giant personality, her sassy demeanor and her love for people; she knew everyone at the J. She would walk up to anyone and introduce herself and if she really liked you, she would stretch out her hand and walk with you into the building. She would walk by the door to our facilities director and give it a kiss every morning. Continuing down the hall she would see my boss Will (or Wheel when she was two years old) and give him a high-five and take off running to see if her Aunt Audrey was in her office for a snuggle and to play doctor with the printer who moonlighted as an x-ray machine. This is the stuff I am going to miss.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching her grow up. I love her gazillion questions and her stories. I love seeing her make memories and live her childhood. I do just wish I can keep that toddler twinkle or even that baby stare for just a little while longer. Just keep that innocence a little bit longer. I would not however in a million years want to repeat age three. Never in a million fucking years would I ever repeat the threenager years. EVER. That was absolutely god awful.

Tomorrow, my baby, wakes up a kindergartner. It seems like yesterday that I was just packing for her first day at the ELC and now four years have gone by. I know she is ready. She is more than ready and I am so excited for her. I just can’t get the thought about how hard it will be to let go of her hand and let her fly on her own for the first time.

All of my firsts I have done with Harper. I think that is why I get so choked up just thinking about kindergarten. It will definitely be bittersweet, full of happiness for her and sadness for me. She is strong and sassy, and I am so impressed as I watch her meet new challenges with determination and grace. What an amazing person she is and will continue to be.

So here we are, at this starting line called kindergarten. Where it all begins. If anyone needs me, I will be in the really bright blue Jeep crying my fucking eyes out.

And for the record…. to any school my children attend, I will NEVER be a PTA room parent. Ain’t nobody got time for that, or at least I don’t! Unless of course, I can bring all of the paper goods!

#yearofcalm

I ended 2017 with a blog about my intentions for the New Year and a quote from my pal Buddha which said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” I can’t believe it has been over 5 months since I wrote my last blog. I certainly have had my hands full. Not only that, I was struggling with what I wanted to write about. Yup, for five whole months. Talk about a writer’s block. Truth is, I have been going back and forth regarding the topic I am writing about today. It is a topic that I am open about as much as I can be. It is raw, real and hard to write about because of those very factors.

For me, panic attacks have become a new normal. I wish it wasn’t always this way, but sadly, it is. I have been getting panic attacks for over a decade. In the beginning, I just figured I was an overly anxious person who worried about ‘things’. Then those ‘things’ just kept piling up and made me worry more frequently. I could take the smallest feeling of getting a headache and basically convince myself within minutes that it was a tumor and that I was going to die. Nice, huh?

As I sit here writing this and periodically reread my grammar, I can’t help but pause and think how absolutely crazy and insane this all sounds. I mean, how a person can go from a minor ache or pain to literally within seconds feel like the world is caving in on them with their heart racing so fast and thousands of thoughts swirling all around their head seems quite nuts. With my panic attacks, they are mostly associated with something physical. Once the physical sensation happens (a headache, some twitch, a localized pain) it is over. Legit, game over. Game, set, match, OVER. My mind is now fully in control and good luck to me over the next 2 long and grueling hours. You read that correctly, sometimes it takes me 2 hours to fully get rid of my panic attacks.

My panic attacks in the beginning were pretty low key. They used to come and go and I would be able to switch gears and get rid of them fairly quickly. My pregnancy with Camryn drastically changed the frequency and severity of my panic attacks. Over the course of my not-so-wonderful 9-month pregnancy with Cam, I miscarried Camryn’s twin, I had pneumonia, I had the stomach bug, I had to wear a heart monitor for a month due to increased stress levels, my skin burned in three spots from the gel of the heart monitor pads, I had an allergic reaction from the steroid cream I took for the burn that caused me to break out in a full body rash that made me scratch so much I bled and I got a stress fracture during my 8th month and had to be on crutches. YES, all of that shit truly happened. I was a fucking wreck for that entire pregnancy. All of this meant I had to go to the doctors, A LOT. Going to the doctors for me became a norm but for my brain it was a quick trip to panictown. At any moment where I had any sensation in my body, my brain immediately thought “great, here we go with another trip to the doctors”. I would think about my appointment from the minute I woke up until the second it happened. Not just think, obsess is a much better word for it. What will my tests results from my lab work say? Will my blood pressure be normal? Then I became obsessed with checking my heart rate. I used to do it roughly 50 times a day. I wish I could go back to the old days where going to the doctors wasn’t such a big deal, but for me, it is a huge deal.

So what brings all of these crazy ass panic attacks on? It wasn’t until while being pregnant with Camryn that I realized my trigger. It was stress. One would think that this would have been obvious, but to me, it never was. When I am overly stressed, this is how my body tells me that I need to take care of myself better. If I don’t comply, well, off to panictown I go. One way that I started to take care of myself was through meditating.  I began meditating during my pregnancy to the Calm app which was recommended by a friend. Folks, I am serious when I say this, STOP what you are doing and download this app. I used the free version for 10 months and finally bought it after I had Camryn. It was $60 for the entire year and the amount of information, knowledge and support this app has given me is priceless. As I wrote in my last post, I was going to meditate for 30 days. After those 30 days, I was hooked!

I wish that I could say that my go to technique is one specific item like meditating. Truth is, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. There are nights where I have to try four different techniques in order for me to get one to stick that pulls me back to normalcy. That doesn’t mean I have failed. It just means that I was a little deeper in the weeds and I needed to switch it up and use more of my tools. My advice when someone you know is having a panic attack is to listen to what they want to do. Sometimes I want to talk and other times I just want someone to talk to me. When I call my mom to talk me off of a ledge, she becomes a storyteller. She can talk to me about a hair elastic and I wouldn’t care. I just need to listen and get my mind off of what I currently am thinking about. Also, support them in any way you can. Perhaps you can offer to meditate with them or do deep breathing exercises. Panic attacks are real. They are scary and can often leave you feeling helpless. You won’t ever know what a true panic attack feels like unless you have experienced one yourself.  When I tell people that I suffer from panic attacks, most people think I am joking and can’t actually believe it. Just remember, everyone is struggling in life. Everyone has their own set of challenges. Try and recognize the symptoms when you can and be patient. If I could stop my anxiety, I would have done so by now.

So long, 2017

img_3765.jpgNormally I try not to make New Year’s resolutions because they are a waste of time. I always break them, no matter what. Whether it is a friendly bet with my friend or something actually at stake with my husband; I never follow through. However, this year I am trying something new.

Do I want to eat healthier in the New Year? Yes. Do I want to exercise more in the New Year? Yes. Do I want to be less stressed in the New Year? Do I want to swear less in the New Year? No, who the fuck wants to do that?! You get my point with these resolutions. So why is it so damn hard then to keep these resolutions if and when you make them?

For me, I set unrealistic expectations for myself. The only way these resolutions work is by changing your behavior and essentially rewiring your brain. Instead of trying to accomplish all of those goals above, I am choosing one. Only one goal, in hopes that the rest will also fall into place.

I am dedicating 2018 to me. Yes, you read that correctly. Dedicating it to me; the whole damn year. My hope is that not only will I benefit from it but my kids, husband, family, and friends benefit too. So you must be dying to know how I am dedicating 2018 to myself. Out of everything that I need to work on, I need to work on my inner self the most. I have decided to find my presence, settle my mind, and connect with my heart in the New Year.

First up is 30 days of meditation to kickstart my year of calm. For all of those who know me, meditation doesn’t come easy for me, for many reasons. For starters, my brain and mind are constantly on. Always. Like on all the damn time with no hope of shutting off. Even when I am sleeping I will wake up in the middle of the night and need to write stuff down on the notepad on my nightstand or on my phone. Then I will be up for over four hours because why? Right, that mind not wanting to shut off thing. To silence my mind is the hardest thing I have ever done. And to be honest, I have yet to do it for more than a few minutes. I truly suck at it. Basically my mind is like a million browsers open on a computer. Constantly cycling, updating, and always on. It sucks, big time.

The other reason why I find meditation hard is because I tend to think of all of the things I “should” be doing while I am meditating. I “should” be cooking, cleaning, going to the gym, dropping the library books off, taking a shower, switching the laundry and so on and so on. Meditation doesn’t count as a priority so it is something I easily forget about or skip altogether. So from now on, meditation will now be in the “should” pile in 2018.

Meditation also takes patience. Now, I have a lot of patience for children and the elderly. Everyone in between, not so much. Same goes for meditation. I have no patience while I’m doing it. When all of the thoughts that come in my head during meditation, I then start to focus on how terrible I am at meditating because I can’t shut my thoughts off. Instead of doing what I should be doing and giving myself a break and trying to refocus, I quit. Instead of devoting my time to practicing, I quit. I should really listen to my yoga instructor more when she says that you can’t fail at meditating. There is no right or wrong way to do it and I will create my own way in 2018.

One of the things I chose to do a few months ago was write. This is how this blog came about that you are all so happily reading. For me, it is calming and so helpful to get my thoughts out on paper. This will continue to be part of my meditation and mindfulness practice in the New Year. Being in the moment with my thoughts while I frantically type or write them down is something that soothes my soul and really helps my anxiety. When you see me on my phone I’m not just scrolling through Facebook or buying shit off of Amazon. (Well, maybe Amazon was a stretch.) No, but really. I spend a lot of time jotting down notes and ideas for blogs or random quotes because it is a destresser for me.

I have a lot of work ahead of me in the New Year. Who knows, maybe by doing this 30 day challenge I will be more calm, more patient, sleep better, reduce my anxiety and be more present. That is my goal. Trying to live moment by moment because you never know how many moments you will have left.

On that note, for my last blog of 2017, I will leave you with this: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” –Buddha

Thanks big guy! So, 2018…. I’m coming for you! Namaste bitches!

Ode to the Man Cold

005CCBA5-5E15-47B5-B659-BB40393CA291I am pretty sure the worst thing to hear from your husband are the words that string this dreadful sentence together; I think I am sick. The moment I hear that I want to scream and run. Literally take the kids and run for the fucking hills. Not in fear of getting his illness. No, not for that reason at all. Simply because my 32 year old husband now turns in to my third child roughly age 6.

I am not sure what happens to their bodies when they get a cold. Does it go straight to their brain as well and they forget how to manage every day life? Perhaps. Whatever it is, the struggle is real. The realest of real.

Getting typical housework done while operating at 100% is difficult, forget while the man cold hits! My advice? Just use all of your finest paper goods so you don’t have to add more stress in your life by cleaning all of the mugs. Because you know; tea. We must have tea in 68 different mugs because why we can’t drink the same flavor tea out of the same mug is beyond me. I’m also starting to rethink why I have so many mugs in the first place. On a positive note, I have found that scalding hot tea holds up relatively fine in a paper cup for the most part.

In our house, we also mime during the man cold. Well, I don’t because I know how to use my words like an adult. Let me walk you through a little miming routine at our house. Pointing to body parts such as your throat symbolizes my throat hurts so badly. Holding your hand up to your mouth pretending to sip something symbolizes I really need some tea because, you know, my throat hurts so badly. And moaning simply means I’m dying. Straight up dying. All the while my active bitch face says I am fresh out of fucks.

Let’s talk about medicine for the man cold. Once it has hit our household, he will check the medicine cabinet and will never find anything. Why? Because the last time he had his man cold he finished the whole bottle. We all know there really isn’t much you take with a cold because, why? Say it with me now, because it is JUST a cold. I will then get asked, “can you go to CVS and get the orange stuff”. Boy do I wish he meant Sunny D, but no, just dayquil. That shit was so good. Anyway, I digress. Why his brain can’t remember simple words like dayquil is also something to ponder but in case your strapped for time, just blame it on the man cold brain.

I guess I shouldn’t stereotype ALL men and lump them in to this man cold bunch. But let’s face it, it is most. And by most, a lot. And by a lot, basically all.

Just so the record shows, I know I have made fun of my husband and most men but I do make the tea, I do get the orange stuff, I do get the sugar free cough drops (yes they need to be sugar free) and I do tuck him in at night. Sometimes a little too tight because I lost my patience with the man cold when I started dating men. I do all of this because I love him but I want him better for my own sanity, obviously.

I am looking forward to his vasectomy said no wife ever who has dealt with a man cold. Good thing this is waiting on deck for him.

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