It was a good break (for most of us) & a discussion of courtesy

Spring Break ended with bit of bang yesterday. It was a good break for most of us, except poor Jimmy. We had a good time with the birthday celebrations for Danny over the weekend. But those were some tired kids I dragged out of bed this morning.

Poor Jimmy ended up being sick for pretty much the entire break. He had some sort of flu that resulted in him basically just sleeping most of the time. So the poor guy was only able to have 1 sleepover and did not get to spend much time at all with his friends. And he is still not 100% today, but is going to school. I feel for him, there is nothing as bad as feeling like you blew a good time off. I wish I knew why he is so susceptible to illness, he is otherwise a super healthy, fit kid. But he just seems to catch anything and everything that comes his way.

Danny on the other hand had a very good break. He ended up with sleepovers 5 out of the 9 nights, either at our house or at someone else’s. He had a good birthday celebration and party. With lots of cool presents, including enough Lego to keep him going for quite a while.And the party was a lot of fun for everyone else, including breaking out the Wii and people playing some Dance games, filling up the living room with dancing. It was overall a very good break for Danny and Emily.

I didn’t get in the exercise I wanted. Had to spend some time in the mornings fighting the Black Dog to just get going. Saturday especially was rough, I leaned heavily on the headphones to try to maintain some sense of isolation while I got the house ready for the party. But that was primarily due to the toll of all those extra folks around the house, plus trying to get things done, and finally some disappointment. But I was able to use my tools and found a way to function and eventually got past it all.

Our Dungeons and Dragons game went well, down one kid. The boys had a good time though, and were able to do the smart thing for once. I do think it might be a good idea to seek out another player who can balance things a little better. Not sure how I will do that, but it is a thought in my mind.

Yeah, it was a good break overall, and now it is a roughly 2 month push to the end of the year and the extended break. I know there will be some obstacles on the way, some unplanned illnesses etc. But I think the kids can do it, and I know I can if I just take the time to care for myself and others. Continue reading

Resurfacing from an active, fun, productive extended weekend

The 3 day weekend is done, Spring Break has begun for the kids, and had an enjoyable time. Got some needed things done. I had a good time on my trip to Denver. And the first round of the April birthdays went well.

The first weekend of Spring Break was a fun one for the kids, even if it wasn’t everything that all the kids would have wanted. The little ones stayed at a friends house Friday night, Jimmy had a friend stay over Saturday night. There were multiple visits from friends at the house and to other houses. I would say that it was fun for them, now they get 3 days without parental ‘supervision’ during the day. Danny wished he could have done more sleepovers, and was a little disappointed by that, but overall he accepted what happened.

We got some things done. Kim had to have her battery replaced, so we were down to 1 car most of the weekend. But at least it was only the battery, and not something harder to fix (and more expensive.) Kim and I did some cleaning separately, and got the laundry all caught up and put away. The kids got their rooms picked up, not necessarily a thorough deep ‘Spring Cleaning’ but enough to keep the house from looking so bad. We got the kids to the eye Doctor for their yearly checkups, only Danny needs glasses and he does need a slightly stronger prescription.

There were a couple of birthday events for my nephew, which went well. I had a good time playing ball with the kids at the park for the first one. And the rest of the family had a good time playing miniature golf for the other event. Happy Birthday BamBam!

I enjoyed the game up in Denver. I got the alone time for the drive up and back, which is always good therapy for me. I enjoy driving alone, and distance does not sway me. And the game went very well, even if it was entirely devoted to just 1 fight. Now I should be back to the once a month schedule for that game, which is about right, I enjoy playing, but every 2 weeks is probably too much, and puts a strain on family if I am always gone on Kim’s days off.

I did manage to squeeze in a run on Saturday. But I realized that all the time off and irregular schedules have done their damage, so I will have to readjust the schedule. But I am still trying to get something done on that front.

Overall, everything is good. I am gradually accepting my life for what it is. Arranging things that I need to arrange to keep myself sane. Yeah, I would like to be in better shape, but my primary focus is on inner health at the moment, and I am almost at the point where I can take that focus and apply it to the other aspects of my life. Start to incorporate the body part of Mind, Body and Spirit.

Completing an inadvertent challenge, plus time for a breather

I am just successfully finishing off an unplanned challenge, and that makes me feel good. Spring break week for the kids, plus 2 3 day weekends for me means a chance to really catch my breath. Pondering parenting choices in an interesting way.

I get my books from the library, both electronic and paper. I made that choice a long time ago in the interests of finances, if I paid for every book I read I would be broke. Which means that often I put things on hold. Well a week or so ago I had not one, not two, but three books all come available at the same time. And none of these books had the option to renew if I did not get them done on time. And while I do agree with a great line I saw the other day: ‘A library fine is a badge of honor’, I do try not to keep things too long, because I know other people are waiting for them like I did. That meant I had to crank through these books. Well I can proudly announce a week later, 2 books down, and decent progress on the third! This wasn’t a planned challenge, but I took it on, and am stomping it!

Today is the last day of school for a week (or Wednesday in Jimmy’s case as he has some kind of stomach issue.) And I had set things up so I have Monday and Friday off to bracket the week with 2 3 day weekends (couldn’t do the whole week.) But we all get to catch our breath for a week. I will only have to get up early for work 3 days. And while Kim doesn’t have any days off she does get a break from Scouting for a week. And on the days I do work I don’t have to worry about getting the kids up, getting them fed, clothed, lunches made and dropped off. I don’t have to worry as much about bed times, or things like that. So it is a break in many ways for me (it is nice having a teenager who can act as baby sitter when we are at work.)

(What comes next is a rant on parenting, some people might disagree, but these are my thoughts and opinions)

Continue reading

Turning the little things around #mentalhealth

I have written before about how I am (slowly) learning to let the little disruptions in life pass me by, roll with the punches as it were. If I sleep in a little, or a kid is sick, or there is a change in plans, don’t let that disrupt my inner being. Well today I want to talk about how I have begun to focus on changing little things, little things that make me feel better just bey doing them.

A couple of weeks ago I got fed up with how I looked. The scraggly unshaven look, the crazy, fly away thin hair. So I made a decision to commit to some small things. Cut my own hair short, and have a plan to just keep it that way, to be honest my hair is so thin now that it really doesn’t make that much of a difference in terms of keeping my head warm when it is cold, I have to wear a hat either way. Then I decided that it was time to just start shaving every day. Not for any real reason other than I just feel better clean shaven.

A few weeks ago I was looking to make lunch in the morning and there were no leftovers, so I made a sandwich. And decided that was a good solution and choice. The thing is Jimmy now eats so much that we rarely have a lot of leftovers anyway. Plus it is healthier for me to just have a sandwich and chips than a big meal of leftovers for lunch. So that is another little thing I have done: change what I am bringing to lunch. Not only is it healthier, but it also means I don’t stress as much about whether or not Jimmy leaves us any leftovers. And I also don’t get as bored with feeling like I am eating the same thing for every meal.

I have a Soda problem, there I admitted it, and admitting it is the first step (I know it is not on the same level as other things, but the verbiage does apply.) I know that I need to drink less soda. But I am so entrenched in the habit of drinking a Coke Zero to start my day that it will take some work to change. But over the last few weeks I have been changing that on work days, getting a cup of coffee instead, then having a soda later. That is becoming a habit, and feels a little better. And this week I have been trying to gradually replace the late in the morning/afternoon soda with water or ice tea. I know I will feel better if I can commit to this change long term.

Again, these are all little things. But just like a little disruption can throw me off, if I focus on it, a little change can make a difference too. It feels good to start each day clean shaven and presentable, and it feels better to have the small cup of coffee instead of the big soda. Plus, and this is big, these are all little things that I can be solely in control of, which helps my OCD, giving me some small feeling of control over something that is easy to control.

I survived, and even had some fun. the busy weekend

Made it through the busy weekend intact. All of the events went well, I even figured out how to have some fun doing it all. Also made some plans, and last we are ready for the upcoming spring break. And last, welcomed the warmer weather.

I approached the weekend with all those planned activities with some trepidation. Lots of active, social events. But I took each one on it’s own, and managed to find ways to enjoy each one. At the school dance I had fun playing a little basketball with the bigger kids, then watched the younger kids do their dances (even had to go out and do some of my own, as Kim was busy helping with the concessions.) These events have usually been a lot of fun over the years. But it has changed a lot, looking around the room it surprised me how few parents I knew, the school has grown and changed so much over the years that I just don’t have as much contact with the parents any more.

Saturday I got in most of the cleaning I wanted, with the help of the kids. We did some shopping, and then got ready for the wrestling team end of season party. Officially it was called a banquet, but it is hard to call an event at a swimming pool a banquet. Either way I had a good time in the pool, Emily is so close to swimming independence, which I really look forward to as then I will be able to really enjoy family swimming events. Jimmy enjoyed showing off his trophy, we all ate too much. And it was a good time overall.

The Scout events on Sunday went very well. We all ended up staying later than we planned, but in the end Emily sold nearly all of her existing stock of cookies. And Danny stuck it out, doing a good job of selling the discount cards, even if it ended up being 2 hours longer than planned. I found a way to have some fun with the event, helping sell the items.

The D & D game went well overall. It was definitely as lethal as I expected it to be. And there were some attention issues that had to be dealt with. It really is an adjustment some times to go from the very game focused adult group to the kids, who would just as soon go out and play basketball, or chat about school. But in the end they all had a good time (as far as I know.)

And I was able to take some time in the evening after that to decompress, and relax so it all worked out. We also were able to get plans for Danny’s upcoming birthday party mapped out. And the nice weather made it all very nice, kept things calm when the kids had the option of playing outside. And most importantly everything went off pretty much as planned, with no real unplanned disruptions. Which is always a good thing.

We are all looking forward to next week, which is Spring Break for the kids. We don’t have any major events planned, but I do have some time off as well, and it will all end with a birthday party for Danny. And we all need that break and time off.

Definitely not a calm weekend plan

If it’s not one thing it’s another this weekend. On top of that the kids just cannot wait for Spring Break. And I found something new that I want to try with Danny. In the end it all remains to be seen how sane I am by Sunday night.

Friday night is the BV Spring Dance. Which means the little ones will be doing some choreographed dance events. I will be forced to cope with a crowd. And Kim will be helping out wherever she can. And I will be thankful that it is a Friday night so when we go home I can have sufficient time to unwind and recover. Of course that also means no sleepovers or unusual sleeping arrangements for the kids.

Saturday evening is the Wrestling Club banquet/swimming party. That means a crowd, but I will be swimming so I won’t have to be as social as normal because I can just focus on playing with the kids in the water (something I always enjoy.) But that also means another semi-late night and again no sleepovers. Before that I will be trying to get some needed cleaning and laundry done around the house on Saturday.

Sunday morning the little ones will be doing Scout selling events (cookies/Camp Cards) at the grocery store. Which I will be a part of because both kids need supervision. And then Sunday afternoon is D & D with the boys. Which I am looking forward to as it will be the end of a quest, and a bridge point for them. But still another social event, and makes for a busy day overall, meaning I will be wiped by the end of the day.

Whew, I am tired just writing all that up! But on the flip side the weather should be nice, and during the times that we are home there should be plenty of chances to get the kids out of the house.It is nice to have the weather finally changing, but it does mean the kids are ready for a break. Danny especially is really ready for Spring Break, he has even informed that the first night of Break he will be over at a friends house.

I was reading a blog today on a role playing site and read about the old Fantasy Fight book adventures. I never really got into these myself, I think it was a timing thing. The idea was that there was a story, and you start by creating a very basic character, and then as you read you make choices that then jump you to different places in the story. I probably would have really enjoyed those when I was younger, but they were not available until after I had ‘outgrown’ them. But the big thing is that they have some of these available as tablet Apps. So I bought some for my iPad, and will try to find some time with Danny to sit down and show them to him. Because this is something I think he would really enjoy if I can get him into it.

Yeah, it’s going to be one of those weekends. But at least I know it going in, and can mentally brace myself. And Kim will be there for all the events to provide her own support, it’s not like I have to handle it all alone, which is nice.

Fighting off the tides of disruption

Thought I would be clever and nice by changing my Alarm tone. Nice to Kim so it would not wake her on my running days. Turns out that I chose an alarm tone that was too soft and mellow, and as a result I just slept through it. Which caused me to wake up late. But I was able to get up, shower, get little ones fed, made lunches, and then to school on time. Even had time to pick up the kitchen a little because I chose to pick up breakfast instead. That’s right, my morning routine was disrupted, and rather than panic and let it get to me I just worked it out, adapted, and overcame the problem.

Then this morning my music at work just would not work. I went through a number of iPad restarts, and it just would not work. I have been having problems with it lately not showing storage correctly, and had downloaded the updated iOS last night, so I was afraid that I had totally screwed things up. But then I took a minute to check twitter, and lo and behold it is an Apple issue. Then I remembered that I still have Pandora, so I was able to turn to that for the morning, and use that as my alternative music source for the day. Again, not letting the external disruption get to my head and throw me off.

And yesterday I had contacted Costco to order new contacts, only to be told it was time for a new prescription. Which meant time to try and get an eye appointment. And initially I was told that the earliest appointment was 2 weeks out (I don’t have enough contacts to last that long.) But there was a cancellation that day if I could get in. Which meant that I used up my lunch hour for that purpose. But I got it done, and did not let the rest of my day go down the tubes just because I didn’t have my regular lunch time.

Of course all of those were just minor things, with obvious, simple solutions. But the late wake up especially was something that would have thrown me into an angry mess the rest of the day a year ago. I need that reminder from time to time that I am making progress. Even if it is a continuing issue, not so much a battle as an internal skirmish I fight each day, to keep these disruptions from affecting my overall mood. But I do owe myself a pat on the back for having handled these better. Yay, Go Me!