A Snap Shot of Life on the Extra Board.

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Photo Credit: Ales Krivec

This super-short is in response to a writing prompt that is very dear to my heart. You can find the original post at What Inspires Your Writing?

Twelve hours had come way too slow. He had been stopped in the middle of nowhere with no one else but the engineer for ten hours of the day. Not moving. Just waiting for dispatch to give them a green light. Instead they will deadhead in a van with a sketchy driver to their destination: a dirty hotel without consistent wifi. Bored and tired, he was ready for the day to be over.

Ten hours had come way too fast. She really felt she could use a few more hours in the day. By the time dinner for the kids was finished, hers was cold. She did the dishes while she ate, with the baby chatting in her high chair and son playing Mouse Trap upstairs. Bottles washed, diaper bag and back pack ready for the next day. Her own lunch prepped and ready to grab for the morning, she takes a few more minutes to clean up the living room before scooping up the baby and carrying dirty clothes with her upstairs. Then baths, PJs, teeth brushed, stories told, milk refilled, bedtime snack given, cuddling the babe back to sleep, more milk, and finally she is able to take off her shoes and work clothes. Laying in bed, she keeps the TV on for light and mindlessly looks at her phone until sleep arrives. She can hardly make it to 9pm, exhausted. 12am a little boy appears and snuggles until she is able to wake up enough to return him to bed and fulfill his requests. 2am a sleepy girl cries for milk. Twenty minutes to satisfy her hunger and then back to bed. She glances at the clock. 3 more hours until her alarm goes off. She doesn’t even know what day it is.

 

 

Hold the Phone, I am an Author!!

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OMG Mom, You’re AMAZING!!

My writing and novel are being show cased!! Please hop over to What Inspires Your Writing to check it out!! Follow the links to my novel and make it #1 on the charts (I’m currently #2!!)

 

The Up Hill

 

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The thing about depression is there is no black and white. No yes or no. It’s a journey. Some days the going is hard and other days just treading water is a success.

5 days shy of 8 months and I finally feel like things are on the up for me. You see, getting better does not really start at getting help. Some times it gets significantly worse after that. Getting help is like clawing at the sides of the hole you are in to slow down the rate at which you are falling. You are either going find something that saves you, or you’ll hit the bottom. And for some, that is the only time they are able to climb out.

For me, I did not quite get to the bottom. I am adult enough to know that things could have been far worse. For me, reaching out meant a small dose of medication, counseling and a ton of support from the people around me. I am not embarrassed about postpartum depression. I have a ton of friends that are pregnant. If they start having symptoms, they know exactly who to talk to.

My PPD was not a disconnect from my children. It was different. It was not even triggered by pregnancy and birth, but exasperated due to the hormone changes that go along with it. I’m depressed because I hate the way I look after these beautiful creations clawed their way out of me like Ace Ventura out of a rhino butt..

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I am sad because I will never be 20 again. I will probably NEVER fit any of those jeans in the blue tote in my basement. And I will NEVER reach my fitness goal of wearing my old bras again either.. I have so many cute ones, this in itself is depressing. You can tell me I am ridiculous and to go easy on myself because I just had a baby. But when have you ever known me to go easy on myself? It’s one of my quirks and everyone secretly loves me for it. If I was not so hard on myself, people would not get paid, and my son would smell like farts. All.The.Time. So you are welcome for me holding myself to high standards.

Back to what I was saying. I am glad you think I am beautiful. My husband is still attracted to me after this transformation, but I am not attracted to me. Nope. I struggle with the state of things. I know how to fix them, but I have not been able to sleep because babe wakes up at least every two hours to nurse, I work full time and I solo parent a lot of the time.

And I have been so tired that I would cry when my alarm went off. It was bad.

This week has actually felt like I consistently kept my head above water. I was even faced with something that would have completely derailed me, but it did not. In the past and with everything I have been through, I thought I was pretty resilient, and I guess I still am. I did not stop fighting to be happy. I knew that if I was unhappy, my children would be effected. My marriage had already taken a huge hit. But I made it through. We made it through. I could not have done it with out them.

But you know what the big turning point was? Moving the baby to her own room and sleep training. I stopped nursing in the middle of the night. She protests adamantly in the beginning but no more than an hour of crying and falling asleep and crying again cycle. After one week, I am a brand new person. I could, and plan to, conquer the world. Now I can enjoy my coffee instead of survive on it. Maybe it is selfish of me not to want my baby close at night, and I have noticed that as I get older, I am less and less willing to compromise on things like sleep. Selfish? Fine. I will own that. But I am also getting back to a personal state of better health. Which is far more important to both of my children at this point.

So thank you darling. I know when you grow up and read what your mama wrote about you, you might not like it. But if we could help others by sharing our experiences, then I’d say we’re already a pretty darn good team.

 

via Daily Prompt: Better

5 Reasons YOU Should Be Crafting (Or Know Someone That Does)

Get your hands dirty

I have always been a quick learner, fairly crafty, and extremely cheap. So when I met my good friend Jasmine of The Jaybird’s Nest, I knew she was my people. Through the years she has taught me some very valuable things. Not only that, but she helps me raise my kids. For this, I am indebted to her forever. lol So let me tell you some fun things she has taught me about crafting.

  1. It’s a marketable skill. If you decide you are done working and ready to “stick it to the man”, you have a means by which to support yourself. Now I’m not a HUGE dooms day prepper, but let’s face it, if you can make things then you can trade things. People need clothes. If you can crochet, knit, or sew then BAM, you’re a valuable asset.
  1. Signs, Signs, and more SIGNS!!! Nothing boosts your mood like a well-placed snarky sign. The possibilities are endless. Christmas, Halloween, even spring!! They make me happy, they make you happy. Everyone needs more happy. PLUS you save a bazillion dollars on decorating your home. Find some ugly furniture with good bones at a yard sale, and wha-la! You can transform it to match your décor without dropping a few hundred dollars at ikea.
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Picture by The Jaybird’s Nest- Mass production underway.

  1. OMG kids are much cuter in something that was custom made for them. This should actually be its own post. I am fighting the urge to just not leave an explanation and flood the rest of this with adorable pictures of children and homemade stuffs.
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My Little Miss. Her shirt, the sheet, and the frame were made by The Jaybird’s Nest.

  1. Cheaper than therapy- Plus emotions BLECK! There is something about finishing a project that really teaches you a lot about yourself. Whether that “finish” means you return it to the trash where you got it, or it ends up as the beautiful piece you envisioned all along, you learn how much patience you have, how much coffee you can consume, and how long you can actually ignore your children whining about “She’s touching meeeee” Seriously, she can’t even crawl. Just scoot 5 more inches and you are safe from your octopus-banshee sister. Sheesh!

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  1. Supporting small business. For some crafters, your support could help them buy yet another pair of cleats because the ones they bought last week no longer fit. For others (like me) it saved me money on having to BUY you a Christmas present so that I could buy my guy another Stay Puft Marshmellow Man because he lost his at the doctor’s office.
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The Jay Bird’s Nest “Before”

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The Jaybird’s Nest “After”

I make things because I have a driving need to be creative as most crafters do. It is a healthy outlet, plus power tools make me feel… Powerful? lol And when that one project turns out so good, you want everyone to see it when they come over, there is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment. Or you could just be happy you finished something before starting a fifth project.

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I did this yesterday. It was the cushioned backing of an UGLY bench. Now it’s a beautiful photo board 😀

I asked my mister yesterday (while I was painting in the kitchen and MAYBE i got a little paint on the counter) if he was annoyed with my crafting. He said no, not at all, but he just wishes that I would finish my projects before starting them so I don’t have a dresser hanging out in the garage, taking up space for a couple of years before I ultimately abandon it anyway. But hey, you win some, you lose some.

Why do you craft???

My Perfect Work Space

My

I have not taken part in a flash fiction challenge in a long time. I have followed Kimberly Crawford since the beginning of my blog nearly two years ago. My first short story, The Last Piece,was from my first shot at one of her challenges. I am thankful that she continues to post these.

This week, we are challenged to write about our ideal work space. Deep in my heart this is where I want to be.

I write in the wee morning light. When everything slumbers. When the night animals tuck in their dark spaces to escape the day and the day animals roll sleepily where they had claimed as home the night before. When my children are snuggled so warm and peaceful and my husband’s feet are still warmed by the pup at the foot of our bed. The crickets have stopped and the birds have not started.

My wooden desk sits slightly shorter than most, but perfect for me. It’s old and worn and soft to the touch. The front ledge is rounded from generations of pen wielding arms pulled from left to right creating hand written letters, stories, poems. Parchment replaced by technology: a double screen, wireless keyboard and mouse. The sentiment remains the same.

My chair sometimes requires conscious balance. Leaning back is a guaranteed concussion, but the arm rests still serve their purpose. The cushion needed reupholstering when my grandmother was a child. The red, orange, yellow fibers are still vibrant nearest the wooden frame but the seat has a comfortable divot to accommodate my posture. Nothing comes close to this custom fit. I have purchased new chairs, but none offer the history and familiarity as this heirloom.

My coffee sits to the left of my keyboard. The steam carries the aroma of awakening and clarity. It brings me from the fog of sleep into the world that I have created on the screen. Sometimes the two intertwine in my dreams, other times I require the liquid motivation to bring back to the place where it started, like a conditional learning pattern. I keep a black pen near my journal on the right. The journal is made of recycled material and has rough, beige pages. My pen spills more ink than needed making my thoughts appear bold and important against the imperfect paper.

A picture frame proudly displays a collage of my family: two happy adults with their silly and adorable son and daughter. A fat beagle is never far from the subjects. I keep a calendar for literary reference and sometimes to remind me of where I am in time, if ever I get lost.

I do not keep a clock and hide one from my screens. My children are my alarm in this place. I have reached a state where they are no longer competing for my attention. My work is completed in the silence of the morning, not in the corporate bustle of obligation.

The nook of my writing space is an extension of the living room. Pushed against the wall underneath a wide window. It faces south, so the sun passes by as it makes its daily journey but never directly in. With them cracked even just an inch, the sound of the rushing creek engulfs the space. It is both strong and gentle. It ushers a breeze that carries the scent of the over-hanging cottonwoods and tall standing aspens. The smells of earth and coffee transport me to the place where my thoughts become someone else. Where primal fears fuel the adrenaline needed for survival. Where lust is mistaken for love. Where death is not the end that it was once perceived to be. The world is no longer confined to what is tangible, but is simply anything I am able to articulate.

Sometimes, I do not even right. Sometimes I hold my coffee with two hands, lean carefully back in my soft but unstable chair and I muse. I let my mind step out of the window and float amongst the leaves of the trees, fall to the water and chase the rapids between rocks. I think of other places and who I would find there. I put them in situations and create their reactions. I allow myself to feel emotions that belong to others and make note of their progression.

With sounds behind me, a giggle, a yawn, sometimes even a flush, bring me back to the world that I cherish above any other I could imagine. Where my calendar reminds me of how far I have come and the little people so excited for the day that they have woken up and are that much older. They look forward to the real adventure Mommy will take them on. For the journey that they will live and the emotions of situations that are their own.

Before leaving, I glance one more time at my space and thank God that it has given me the ability to give to my children what I had only dreamed of.

Just Jump

There was one time, I jumped out of an airplane. I had been on many before, even over a war zone when the turbulence was questionable to the pilot’s skill and flares shot out the back to ward off enemy fire. I would sometimes ask my fellow passengers if they would jump. Some looked at me wide-eyed and green-faced and shook their head no. Others would consider the question and without too much thought claim they would. I, however, had spend some time mulling the question over. I decided that if some one shoved a parachute in my arms, and had full confidence that I would live through the experience, I would absolutely do it. I think this is pretty consistent with most things in my life, though only a few where failure would mean certain death.

There is never a perfect time to have kids, buy a house, change jobs, get married. I mean sure, looking back everything fell into place, but at the time it was hard work and incredibly scary. I struggled and got hurt along the way, but every single thing in my life has placed my in the seat I am in (attached to this damn pump). Through all of these changes, one thing has remained consistent: my resilience. I never stopped looking up. I never kept trying for inner peace in the situation. I never let things consume me. And when it was hard to do on my own, I got help. I have been through some of the most horrible things. But I still smile and play with my baby girl when she wakes up, I still hug my son and tell him how handsome he is before school. I tell my husband how much I love him every single day. I come to work and put pride in every thing I do.

The other day I watched a video about Will Smith describing the time he jumped out of a plane. He said something like how complete and utter fear precedes unimaginable bliss. If you have children, those moments before that little person arrive are riddled with fear and anxiety. But the moment you hear that perfect sound of their cry, nothing ever comes close to the happiness and relief of that moment. Separated by milliseconds. Sometimes they are even all smashed together into one.

If this does not personify my message today, I don’t know what would. Thank you Kellie for letting me share this moment.

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This photo was taken by Jennifer Mason of Jennifer Mason Photography. The photo is of my friend Kellie and her brand new babe. (So many feels)

So if you’re on the fence of something incredibly scary and life changing I encourage you to take a chance for the better. (If you are on a literal fence and it’s a long way down, maybe you should reach out for some help like I did). Either way, change might be scary, but I think living the same day over and over is far worse.

 

Tug of War- The Daily Struggle of a Working Mom

I resent my breast pump. It talks to me the longer I sit in my office. Today its says F@#% You, F@#% You. Over and over and over again. Maybe subconsciously that’s what I want to say to it. My little Mini-Me just turned 7 months old and I really think I miss her more today than I did my first day back to work.

Four months ago (yes, American mothers must go back to work 3 months after birth for fear of reprimand or the loss of employment) I thought it would assist in my transition if I posted pictures of my two littles all over. It would be like they were always with me and I would not miss them as much. Geez-Louise was I wrong. I spend 55 hours a week wishing I was home with my family (that’s 8 hour days, unpaid lunches and an hour commute five days a week). My husband gets frustrated that I will switch vehicles in the middle of the week so I do not have to stop on my way to and from work to get gas. The sooner I get to work, the sooner I can come home.

Now here comes a new challenge my good friend just brought to my attention. My son’s preschool class is taking a field trip next Friday and a parent must be present for him to go. In order to ride the bus with him, I must pass a security check at the front office and attend an in-service class before next Friday. Now I have quite a few options here. I could come to work for 10 hours a day for 4 days then on one of those, leave to take the class, come back to work and finish ten hours. Then I would have to come to work after the field trip for how ever many hours I have left to make 40. I could send him with his little friend’s mama (who I am so incredibly thankful for) but it breaks my heart that I cannot be there. Or I could just take time off work and be S-O-L if something comes up that I HAVE to take time off for.

There have been a couple of times when I have surprised him and picked him up from school. The teachers are also surprised and make a big deal that I am there. But nothing beats my son screaming “MOMMY!!” at the top of his lungs and running to me. He hugs me and says “I’m so happy to see you.” It melts my heart.

Then there is my little Miss. In the morning for her last feeding before I get ready for work, I lay her in my bed and kiss her face at least a million times. Somehow she does not wake up, but some times she does. Then she smiles and coos and I hit snooze five times before giving her her favorite toy so she does not wake her daddy. By the time I finish getting ready and go back to check on her, she is sound asleep. Then I work all day and see her two or three hours before she’s asleep for the night. It almost does not bother me that she wakes up every two hours after midnight to eat. I spend that extra time with her even if it means an extra coffee at work.

On the weekends, I do not want to do a thing. I do not want to grocery shop. I do not want to play date. I don’t even want to really get dressed. Just stay in my night gown all day and nurse my little girl. I never pump milk on the weekends. It just takes away time with her. My son is so smart and loves to draw. Right now his favorite thing to draw is the GhostBuster’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, ghosts, and GhostBusters saving the day with their proton packs and traps. He’s so funny and creative.

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Something Strange In the Neighborhood…

 

So I come to work and surround myself with everything I love…

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New Born Pictures Above My Phone

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Photo Collage and the Most Adorable Screen Wallpaper EVER

 

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And Much Much More

This week I have decided two things. I either need to 1. Keep writing as much as I can everyday so that one day I might be able to hang out with the people I love most in the world. Or 2. Take some of these things down and focus more on the practical things in life like work and paying bills and giving my children every opportunity I never had growing up. I should be thankful that I have the luxury to work and actually miss my children. I’m lucky to have a network of other moms that support me and help me raise my children. You know who you are. I’m not a mushy person, but I love you ladies.

My internal need to stay busy, constantly engaged, and support my family is definitely the winner of my life right now. I don’t necessarily resent it, but it is hard. I hate leaving the house to go anywhere without my kids, even if it’s far easier to leave them home with my husband. I know the grass is always greener. I know I would hate being a stay at home mom and begin to look for things to fill my day possibly away from my kids. But today, right now. There is definitely somewhere I’d rather be…

*turns off the F@#% You machine*