Thursday, March 22, 2018

Music

Scott and I made a commitment to each other last fall when we finished our most recent shows that we would do a full 12 months without performing. We've both accepted the occasional one to two night performing opportunity in the recent past but nothing with multiple nights a week of rehearsal for weeks or months. While I've missed performing and have struggled with the temptation to audition for some favorite shows/ roles...I've held strong thus far.

In the interim, I've really found myself enjoying being the listener again. I'm listening to more of my Pandora radio stations. I'm seeking out new music. I'm more in tune with the music that others are sharing and I have to say...I'm really enjoying that. I've found myself craving new music like a drug and this new song is one I've heard before but keeps coming to mind over and over.

Anchor by Mindy Gledhill
When all the world is spinning 'round 
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down
I am nearly world renowned
As a restless soul who always skips town
But I look for you to come around
And anchor me back down
There are those who think that I'm strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn't have me any other way
When people pin me as a clown
You behave as though I'm wearing a crown
When I'm lost, I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down
There are those who think that I'm strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn't have me any other way
When all the world is spinning 'round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

It feels like this year long sabbatical from performing may afford me the opportunity to focus on some things I've wanted to do for a while- more recording at home, more music with Patch, building my "book", sending in an official application to TMG (a talent agency). All of these things take time...time that I have more of since I'm not doing any big shows.

Here is my commitment: by the end of April, I will put my reel together and I will record this song. 

This song really speaks to me. I'm a pretty free spirit. A friend of mine gave me the book "Star Girl" to read in high school and I kept thinking - this story is about me! This strange girl who doesn't give a d@#m what other people think but kind of does and just lives her awesome life. What/ who are the anchors in my life? My boys. Everything I do, I do for them. The most selfish thing I do is theater because it takes so much time away from them. It's been nice to have my anchors helping me and loving me through all my crazy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

On Motherhood and Life's Challenges

Patrick is now 3. I find myself needing to get him out of the house once a day. It doesn't matter where we go- the store, the library, or even the car wash all provide a reprieve from the cabin fever that has truly set in. As a 3 year old, Patch is flexing his metaphorical muscles as an independent human and his actual muscles as he is now capable of injuring me if things get out of hand.

A few weeks ago, on President's Day weekend, we spent time at Lava Hot Springs with Scott's family. Just days before we left, Scott made the scary decision to leave his job at Onset Financial after working for them for about 6 months. I was giving him some time to work on job applications and figure out what is next so, Patrick and I headed over to a new "bouncy place" to meet up with Mary and Caro before leaving for the weekend in Lava. We had a blast expelling some energy and I purchased a punch pass for 10 visits to the jump place- $5/kid and parents are free (whaaaaa? GREAT deal) Anyway, we had a lovely time. Patrick loves his friends Scarlett and Lucely (how he pronounces Lucy) and James and Olyvia.


We slid down the slide all together several times and had a splendid time of bouncing on the huge inflatable pillow at the center of the gym. Anyway, we were about ready to leave and walked over to put on our shoes and coats when Patrick insisted I give him his new Thomas the train toy that he had just gotten from Kathie. He demanded and I insisted that he ask me nicely. That sent him into a spiral that included him hitting me for the toy and writhing away when I tried to put on his shoes. The whole thing escalated to me walking out the door with him holding onto my leg as I dragged him across the floor. Knowing that I couldn't do that out in the parking lot, I carried him out of the place fireman style and could feel the other moms there cheering me on like "you got this girl!" "we've all been there!" It was rough. When we got out to the car, he kept insisting on getting that toy and I kept insisting that he ask me nicely which he didn't want to do. I buckled him in his seat, him fighting me the whole time, and he immediately unbuckled. I figured...we're in the parking lot, here is a teaching moment. I began to back out. He knows that not being buckled in a moving car is dangerous and that he can't unbuckle his seatbelt until mom takes out the keys. Well, he was very concerned when I started driving. So concerned that he began screaming at me to stop the car, hopped up to the front and grabbed my face scratching me along the cheek. He drew blood and I was losing my patience with this particular tantrum. I kept my cool really well until that happened. I yelled at him to sit down and calm down saying that this behavior was unacceptable. I would not be giving back the Thomas until he learned to ask me nicely and treat me nicely. I buckled him back in before we got on the main road and drowned out his tantrum until we got home using some music.

It was rough.

I needed a cleansing shower when we got home. I also needed to show my normally very sweet boy some serious love when we got home. We talked about what had happened and both apologized to each other. 

*****

I have a set of china tea cups that my grandmother collected and passed down to me. They hang in my kitchen on the wall and are a delightful reminder of my grandmother who was a nearly perfect woman. A few years ago as I was putting Christmas decorations away, I temporarily hung my advent calendar on one of the tea cup hooks. As I went to put the advent calendar away, I neglected to use two hands and the string caught on the saucer and it came tumbling to the ground and shattered into about 5 different pieces. I grabbed some super glue and managed to piece the thing together without a single chip missing. What luck I thought.

About two years later, Patrick was just an infant and I was grabbing his car seat, my diaper bag, my computer bag, and him to head out the door. I was in a rush to get to work on time and whipped his blanket up in the air along that same wall beneath the tea cups. Somehow, that blanket caught the SAME. SAUCER. in just the right way and again, it came crashing to the ground; this time breaking into even more pieces. I gathered up all the pieces I could find and glued them together again. 

There's now a small chip in the plate but, I hide it well behind the cup that hangs just in front. I think it looks pretty good for all that it's been through.

I feel a little bit like my saucer. I'm valuable, delicate, and beautiful. I have meaning for my family and friends. I'm so far from perfect as a mother (and wife, daughter, sister, and friend) but luckily, my son and everyone else seems to love me and keep me around anyway. I make mistakes and I apologize. I try to be open to corrections and critiques. Life has been challenging me a great deal over the last couple of years. I have some cracks and a tiny bit of me is missing because of my sweet baby that we lost in November. As life has challenged me and I've pieced myself back together I realize that perhaps I'm even more beautiful now. Now that I'm more than just valuable, delicate, and beautiful. I have stories to tell. Like my plate, if you walk by me, you won't likely be able to tell but upon closer inspection, you may see my cracks and chips and you'll know that I too have fallen and shattered and yet, I have managed to put the pieces together again....and again.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Poem

On quiet mornings
I rise early all alone
The house is silent
The only light, my phone

I walk down the stairs
I try my best to sneak
my boys are sleeping
can't let these floors squeak

I love these quiet mornings
I make myself some tea
I adventure off to China
And the kiddos that I teach 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Waiting Place

We read books to Patrick every night before bed. One that we read a lot is "Oh the Places You'll Go" and in it, the boy winds up in "the waiting place". The book describes many of the different kinds of waiting that happen here's some of my waiting story:

Today I'm in the waiting place. Waiting for my cycle to return so that we can start trying for another baby. Waiting to hear back after my interview at Chase Bank. Waiting to hear back after my interview at Zion's Bank. Waiting to figure out if I really can increase our Airbnb monthly earnings. Waiting waiting. I have a particularly bad cold right now that I'm waiting to go away. We were all sick over Christmas. Now we're sick again. I suppose that's part of having a toddler and going places with lots of children on a regular basis (Sea Quest Aquarium, Get Air Bounce place, Jungle Jims, McDonalds play place...all in the last 30 days).

Here's a bit of an update from after the miscarriage and through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shortly after I finished my blog post things started to happen. It took an hour for the contractions and bleeding to start and by about 7:30 PM I had passed the whole pregnancy- placenta and embryo. I didn't dig around too much to find the fetus or anything though, some people have done that. I did pick it up out of the toilet and held it/ looked at it. It was very painful, as promised, but not as painful as full term labor. It was definitely more painful than I expected though. My parents took Patrick for me so that I could have some time to myself and then when Scott got home we had time just the two of us. There was some waiting involved and Scott distracted me with watching some Game of Thrones. I also got a lovely edible arrangement from some dear friends who happened to know that I was pregnant. There was some tasty fruit- chocolate covered pineapple, bananas, and strawberries. The pineapple pieces were in the shape of doves. I was feeling a little angry at the universe so, I bit the heads off the doves. Bonnie and Steve had my parents pick up a flower arrangement for me. Leslie purchased me a beautiful stone that brings healing and fertility. Gosh, I'm surrounded by people that love me. I told a few too many people that I was pregnant but, at the end of the day, it was nice to have a support system when I broke the news that I wasn't pregnant anymore.

It's been a month and I just barely finished bleeding a couple of weeks ago.  I've had to go in weekly to do blood draws to make sure my HCG levels are dropping like they should. That's been super fun. I also got to do an ultrasound a week after the miscarriage which, because we had to change health insurance when I left Banner Bank and we were only covered for 1 month with Scott's employer, we were not even close to the deductible (imaging is not often fully covered by health insurance) so, that was basically $800 that month for insurance and $600 for the ultrasound imaging. Fan. Tastic.

Back to the good news, I'm not bleeding anymore. This means, my cycle can return any time. Yehaw. Or, I could potentially get pregnant again.

In spite of sickness, we've had a good start to the new year. There's been lots of fun things for our family and things are going well for Scott at work. He's booked two deals and literally all of his teammates that were hired at the same time as him are now gone. YIKES. We're contemplating him doing online university schooling to get a second degree. The thought is that we'll move out of our house, rent it out, and I'll keep working for VIPKID to cover expenses in the interim. The other part of that thought is that we'll move further east so that the time difference between me and the kids I teach is smaller and I could potentially work more hours. Living expenses in Chile could be pretty reasonable so, we're contemplating it. No serious plans yet.

I'm making decent progress on my new years goals:
1: make the bed every day
2: read one book a month (I've already read 3.5)
3: have more friends over/ entertain more
4: travel

Waiting is not easy but, that's part of life.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What to Expect When You're Expecting...your miscarriage.

My heart is extremely heavy today. I went in for my 12 week OB appointment this morning and my midwife struggled to find the heartbeat. Not too concerning at first since she's new to the office and the equipment is different from what she's used to. We moved rooms to where there was a nicer ultrasound machine. Still nothing. She said a version of the dreaded words "there is no heartbeat"...her version was "I'm not seeing what I want to see" and then later "it's not looking good". She offered to send me to get a scan at a fancy imaging center. I was self paying today because my new insurance (due to the switch to Scott's employers insurance since the loss of my job) isn't covered by my regular OB office. I didn't realize that until today. Something told me to get in there, self pay, and just get seen. I had some spotting since November 8th. I had an ultrasound on Friday the 10th and there was still a heartbeat. Today, nothing. Anyway, I didn't want to pay even more to get another ultrasound if someone else at the office could just take a second look and confirm what my midwife saw. An OB came in and she confirmed. The baby was measuring 8 weeks and a few days and didn't have a heartbeat. I cried. We hugged. It was like they were no longer my doctors. They were my sisters in this pain that is all too common. The pain of carrying a child for a short time and then losing it. It's strange to think that I will probably never see those women again because now they're out of my network. We shared such an impactful moment. I will never forget their faces or the way they embraced me, a complete stranger and their patient. It was so beautifully compassionate and it breaks my heart to think of how many times they have that conversation. How many times the women who miscarry leave their office with red faces and tear streaks running through their makeup. Today I joined a sisterhood of women with angel babies.

My baby didn't have a gender. It hardly had organs at all. BUT, it did have a heart beat. I saw it twice. I started to let myself imagine Patrick holding the baby on a summer morning in June (when the baby was due). He will make such a good big brother when the time comes and we are still so very blessed to have him.

My midwife gave me two options. Since the baby measured 8 weeks and a few days, she said I could opt for a DNC (to have the fetus surgically removed- general anesthesia and everything) or I could take a pill, go into labor, and "release/ expel" the fetus on my own at home. Is it sad that the biggest thing going into my decision was cost? It's a little sad. But, the DNC did seem a bit involved for someone as early in their pregnancy as me. Pain, I can handle pain. So, I opted for the pill. It's a little cruel that I had to pick the pill up at the Costco pharmacy two days before Thanksgiving seeing as how EVERYONE and their dog was there today picking up food for their parties and making sure their prescriptions were filled before the long weekend. I waited for over an hour to get my meds and every person I talked to said something like "have you taken these drugs before" or "looks like you're having a procedure done" etc. after which I got the pleasure of explaining that "no, my unborn child died in my womb 4 weeks ago and this medicine will help it pass". I nearly ran to hide in the maze that is the toilet paper section to curl up in a ball and cry. Instead, I busied myself picking out Christmas presents and looking at a new laptop for me for teaching VIPKid.

Finally, at about 3:00 I was able to get home and take the medication. It's now 4:57 and the bleeding has started. The cramping is subtle. My midwife tells me that 1 in 4 women wind up in the ER (typically because of pain, not bleeding) and I'm preparing for labor. I have no idea what to expect. It will certainly be painful. Could it be more painful than natural delivery of a full term baby? I've done that before and I did quite well.

I just had a cramp that was a bit stronger. This feels a lot like the night before Patrick was born. Dull cramps that rose and fell like tides. These are smaller/ shorter though than with him. There's still more rise and fall than with period cramps though.

I knew by about 8 weeks that something was up with this pregnancy. I was not sick AT ALL. I read somewhere that was ok and normal so, I brushed it off. I started bleeding a couple of weeks later and again, read that was fairly common and if it wasn't bright red or a great quantity, probably nothing to worry about. Still, I called the office with each concern and was assured that it would probably be ok. After the bleeding started and they brought me in for that unscheduled ultrasound and I saw the heartbeat, I tried to calm the crap down. Another week and a half and here we are today. It's so very interesting how these things all happen. We are all so different. Our bodies are all so different but I think as mothers we all have that "intuition" where we know what's going on. I know I did.

What do I do now? Just wait I suppose.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Patience Is a Virtue

I often joke that patience is a virtue that I do not possess. I've joked that way for a long time but, the truth of the matter is that being a mother has tested and grown that virtue in me more over the last 2.5 years than in the previous 15, that is for sure. Sure, I've been patient for things in the past but GOOD. HEAVENS. Being a mother takes piles and piles and piles of patience.

And, let's get real for a second here: for all of Patrick's 2.5 years (save his first 3 months) I've been at work for at least 7 hours a day Monday through Thursday. I gave myself comfort in the fact that he usually spends 2-3 of those hours sleeping but still, I've spent a good portion of daytime hours not mothering. It's a strange realization. Since losing my job at Banner officially on October 6th I've been home with Patch MUCH more and, I've loved it. It has been super duper challenging but, I have loved it.

If I never raised my voice in anger at Patch again or put him in his crib a little less than gently for a time out again, I would feel like a pretty damn perfect mother. But that pesky patience thing is really difficult to cultivate. The good news is, I'm taking this post as an opportunity to get in writing my commitment to continue to improve on my patience as a mother.

I shall return and report soon :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stress Case

As of October 6th I am officially unemployed. I have 4 weeks of severance (taxed at 37%...thank you IRS) and I've applied for unemployment. I've interviewed for several jobs and things have gone well but, for some reason the doors feel like they're closing. I thought I had a great interview with Zion's Bank two weeks ago but got an email this morning telling me that other candidates have been selected for further consideration....not me. However, yesterday I got an offer from UCU but, they don't offer remote work opportunities. There may be an opportunity to get remote access but it sounds like that will be a struggle.

What do I do?

To add on top of all of this, I yelled at Patrick 3 times today. Once when he dumped Dinah's water bowl. Once when I was changing his diaper and he was kicking me and making it generally really difficult. Once when he refused to nap for the first 3 hours of his usual nap time.

I need to get up into the mountains to clear my head. While I realize that there are worse problems, this is tough stuff right now. I'll know more tomorrow.

May God guide me. Grant me patience. Grant me wisdom to make the best choices.