Friday, March 19, 2010

feeling human

So last week I went and got a pedicure after work. I slept in this morning until almost 10 since Isela woke up for almost an hour each time twice last night (very unusual for her). Today I got my hair cut. I'm going to get my brows done in a bit. Tonight I'm going out with my BFF since like 6th grade since she's visiting from the East Coast. I'm joining the YMCA that is soon opening near our house.

People. I almost feel human again!

What I love is that Dan hasn't even batted an eye as I do all of this. I didn't do the kid's laundry last weekend and it's now magically done. Well, not magically, it was done by Dan.

Goes to show that much of my guilt and expectations are self inflicted. I'm looking forward to making regular visits at the gym at the Y and doing more to keep up on my personal self-maintenance. It makes such a big difference in my mood and self image.

You all were right, taking care of oneself is just as important as taking care of everything and everybody else. Yay for feeling human again!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What brings you balance (or close to it)?

I'm loving hearing from all of you...tell me more!

Like I've said before, I'm always juggling at least two to three things at the same time...whether I like it or not. So now that I have more time, I have more time to juggle, not necessarily do things for myself. I'm feeling like it's just a fact of my current life, but the more I hear from you all the more I'm thinking I may need to put my foot down and get some *me* time.

So what is it that brings you balance...or close to it? Is it yoga? A drink with friends? A warm shower? Fifteen minutes locked away somewhere? What recharges your batteries? What keeps you from burning out? And most importantly, how do you keep the guilt at bay??

Share with me, share with us all...I'm sure many of us can use the ideas!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not quite "balance", but close enough.

When people hear that I work part-time, three days a week, I often hear that it must be a nice "balance". This is after all why I went part-time, right? To find some balance?

Well, I kept reminding myself of this when I found myself overwhelmed over the past few weeks. I reminded myself that I should be happy because I do finally have this elusive "balance", right? Or at least, I'm supposed to have it so I should start feeling "balanced" already, right? But I didn't, and then I would feel guilty, because I wasn't appropriately appreciating my new schedule and which then caused myself to feel even less "balanced".

A week or so ago at a playgroup, when this discussion of "balance" came up again is when I finally realized: Screw Balance. I'm tired of chasing it and being let down.

I didn't have it before kids. I especially won't have it after kids. It doesn't matter what my work schedule is or isn't like. Kids and Balance are just two things that don't go together. I may strive for it. I may get close to it. But I won't ever get it and I need to stop feeling guilty when I don't have it and I feel like I should.

This schedule may not have given me complete balance, but it did give me more time with my family. More time to clean the house. More time to work on the yard. More time to give to others. No, it did not give me more time to give myself. Am I totally OK with that? Not really. But it's all good because it did give me the new found absence of that feeling of dread come Sunday night.

I used to hate Sunday evenings because I would literally get depressed. Depressed that my weekend had come to an end and I was in fact working for the weekends. Now I actually kind of enjoy my "Sunday" nights (which are actually Monday nights). I like getting ready for the next three days, knowing my time at work will be busy, but a little less emotionally demanding. I like knowing my mind can wander away from things like naps, snacks and dog hair. Believe it or not, my three days midweek "working" are a little less work than my four days "off".

And that's OK. I enjoy my "Sunday" nights now and enjoy my "Friday" (actually Thursday) nights even more. It's nice to look forward to's not balance, but it's close enough. And I'm not going to feel even a little guilty about it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, I DID have my evenings back...

but yesterday I remembered that this weekend we spring forward. I was actually really looking forward to the time change, but now, not so much.

I'm hoping Joaquin won't go to bed any later than 7:30 or 8...but Isela will be a completely different story. Tonight she didn't go to bed until just after 8, so in time-change-land that is just after 9.


There goes my evenings.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why are you suddenly blogging again?!?!

Over the past year or so, Joaquin has gone on a few nap strikes and each one drove me batty. He would just refuse to nap, but then would be super insane until bed time. Yeah, he went to bed early, but the afternoon of hell totally didn't make it worth while...until now.

He started skipping naps again a few days a week in the past week or two, but now he's totally cool all afternoon...and then he goes to bed at like 6:30 or 7!!! And then wakes up at like 7 or 8!!!

I know, right?

So now I have my evenings back. Isela is still kind of all over the place with her schedule, but she won't go to bed any later than like 8 or so, so yeah...I have my evenings back!

Tonight they were both down by 7. Seven. SEVEN. (OK all you Friends addicts, where is that from ?)

If you're not a parent you have no idea how amazing this is. If you are a parent...holy crap, this is amazing.

Blogging was one thing I was really missing lately. Blogging is for me, for me to sort out my thoughts and feelings and also to help me remember. There is just so much to remember and if I don't take the time to get it all's just gone. So with this time, blogging is definitely one thing I'm going to get back to doing.

On a totally different subject, take a look at this uh-maz-ing lamp we got for the dining area...

the new lamp

front room

front room

I found it on craigslist but needed to get it rewired and it was totally worth it. This room is finally coming together. Other than getting more stuff on the walls, we're on the hunt for a couple of nice chairs to replace that green one and set up a little sitting area with a small table, maybe possibly a rug...although we're really diggin' the open floor space in this room.

I know I haven't given you many pictures of the house, I've been meaning to, I promise, and hopefully I'll finally be able to at some point in the semi-near future. We shall see!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

talk about priorities

Yesterday Joaquin went to my parent's for most of the day. They try and snag him any chance they can get and as you know, we had a bunch of stuff to do. Well, today started out like any other day, totally mellow and no conflicts, but all of a sudden Joaquin started saying that he wanted to go back to Lita's (my mom's) house. He then proceeded to tell me that I'm boring and that he was going to go live with Lita. He packed his bag and begged for my car keys for so he can leave us. Dan told him he could take the truck.

running away edited

Dan seemed to think this was funny and when I was talking to my mom earlier she had told me that Joaquin had told her last night that he wanted to live there and that he wanted her to be his mommy. I know, I know...all kids say these things. I know, I know...I shouldn't take it personally. But I did. It crushed me.

The thing is, even though I'm now on a part-time schedule, I'm still feeling incredibly pulled too thin. I'm trying to do soooo much alllll the time. It seems like I am never doing less than two things at one time..and if I am trying to do just one thing, my mind is wandering all over the place to all the things I should be doing. The list of things I need to do are always running through my head, always.

I put so much of myself into all this stuff that "needs" to get done that I just go through the motions, getting them done as fast and efficiently as possible, not having much fun doing them and then not having much energy or time to simply have fun with my kids.

Joaquin loves going to hang out with my mom because all they do is play. I don't. I don't play with him. I just go through the day, crossing off the things on my list and not having any fun doing it. OK, maybe there is some fun, but not enough of it.

After some tears, facebook exchanges, words with my mom, Dan and Joaquin I realized that maybe I need to not worry so much about the house getting cleaned up every day, running that errand or two or starting that home improvement project or ten. Or if I do, maybe we need to make it a little bit more fun...for all of us.

So, I'm going to get my copy of Playful Parenting back in my hands and do some reading. I'm going to try and let go of some of my to-do list. I'm going to try and make the execution of the items that stay on my to-do list more fun, and if that's not possible, I'm going to make sure I leave some room for fun and smiles with my family somewhere in my day...

making music

drawing trees


Any suggestions on how to make this happen are of course always welcome!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

time to prioritize

It's been raining quite a bit around here lately, well quite a bit for San Diego, so we haven't been getting out into the yard as much as we would like. Not only have we not been getting out there, the rain has encouraged weeds to simply take over the property.

We had a few available hours today before the rain was supposed to hit, but there is just so much to do we didn't really even know where to start. So we ended up using most of today to take inventory of what we need to do, want to do and what we're going to do first.

Our first big project is going to clear out all of these weeds and plant something along that back fence, we're still not quite sure what. We need something to provide us with some sort of privacy from our neighbors, but that can also handle the small space and won't spew a ton of dead leaves into the pool.

more yard

more yard

Next, we're planning to take out all of these shrubs on either side of the patio and replace them with pavers. Yeah, the paver layout was set up for a flower bed of some sort, but we figure we have enough greenery all over this yard that we would rather make the patio larger. We'll just have to figure out how to add the pavers with out it looking all wonky.

more yard

more yard

Here we need to build something to hide this crawlspace and electricity meter while still keeping them accessible. This is not only an eyesore, but a tad bit dangerous come pool season. We're thinking some kind of removable bench, maybe with a hinged seat so the meter reader can just lift it? It would also be good for pool storage. We would also make it so that we can just lift the whole bench up and out of the way if we need to get to this crawlspace.

more yard

While we're at it, we would love to build something to hide this monstrosity of a pool motor.

more yard

We will also need to deal with all the weeds shooting up in between the'll only take like five gallons of white vinegar, right?

We're hoping to get all of the above done by the beginning of pool season and then we'll move onto the rest of the yard.

I was hoping to start a vegetable garden this spring, but I'm not so sure that's going to happen. We need to keep things prioritized to keep my head from exploding and this hill is going to take a crap ton of work.

There was a bouganvilla tree on the other side of this fence that was sooo huge it hung over the fence and took up a nice chunk of our space. The neighbors are selling so they cut down the tree and opened up all of this space which I think would be great for a veggie garden. The problem is, there is a bunch of wood, bricks and crazy amounts of dead bouganvilla leaves piled there. Also that random wrought iron fence is stuck there partially buried and wedged in with cinder blocks. I spent an hour or so clearing out a bunch of this stuff, but there is still sooo much to do to just ready the space for gardening.

more yard

This space will be awesome for relaxing in the shade, but again, there is lots to clear out and we will also need to do some leveling which will also mean some retaining walls.

more yard

And here is the rest. I picture a meandering garden with retaining walls made of broken concrete. This will give us some level areas to plant different gardens and I would love to even plant some fruit trees towards the top. This is going to take renting a Bobcat machine, lots of loads of broken concrete, figuring out a watering and drainage system and lots and lots of work. I figure this won't happen for a few years. *sigh*

more yard

So yeah, we have our work cut out for us. I didn't even take pictures of the front yard which also needs an insane amount of weeding! One thing at a time though. We'll start with the patio and pool deck and move on from there. I will just have to be OK with the fact that I may not have my veggie garden right away...or maybe I'll squeeze it in...maybe.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Budding Artist

We had an easel outside for Joaquin to paint, but with all the rain lately I dragged it inside and gave him a bunch of markers instead. Since then he has been drawing all the time and he's so excited about being able to actually make drawings rather than just scribbles. Well, they may still look like scribbles to you...but in my mama eyes they're fabulous works of art!

Portrait of his mama...
a portrait of mama
he told me that that scribble on top was my hair.

A pirate ship...
pirate ship

...and the pirate...

Of course he is experimenting with his artistry in places other than his easel...
happy face

He's even used the couch as a canvas...and Isela's face. Yeah. That was so not cute. We continue to try to redirect him to the easel or any acceptable piece of paper and he gets it, it's just a matter of him working with that impulse. At least he's not eating the markers anymore!