Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Alcoholism and bullet points

Let me preface all of this by assuring you guys that Cory does way more than his fair share of housework and parenting. He's the one that bathes the kids every other night 99% of the time and thank god because that's probably my least favorite thing in the world to do. 

I heard an interesting story on NPR the other day while driving to one of my 2.5 jobs (I don't really count photography as a full legit job most days) that most definitely hit home.

In short? Alcoholism among women, especially mothers, is a pretty serious issue right now. The woman being interviewed discussed the stress associated with working a day job and transitioning to mom mode when she gets home. Dinner, homework, baths, laundry, dishes....
Add, as we can in so many of our lives, financial stress on top of that and pass the booze please.

Sometimes I do this thing where I jokingly tell someone something that's totally true. Like when I told friends that if we could afford it I'd drink myself into a drunken stupor every single night. "I like the way it makes me feel. It makes me all warm and tingly inside...I can finally let go and just relax."

Every night when Cory leaves for work I wish I had something to drink. If I had access to it could I just drink a glass or two of wine or would it just progress from there? I have no idea. But I do know that alcoholism is a pretty serious issue in my family so ya know..it's in my genes and all that.

It's just something I haven't been able to shake from my mind since hearing it..that story. It's like we have an epidemic of exhausted parents running in circles trying to keep everything afloat yet feel like we're drowning way too often, hence the alcohol.

The solution? I have no idea. Except socialism. I'll take socialism..redistributing the wealth and all that. And I'm only sorta joking.

Bullet points:

I'm watching "Today" and they're doing a story on items in the grocery store geared toward men. "Powerful Yogurt" with the tag line "Find your abs!" And I just wanted to say that I'm offended for you, male friends. They've said the word "manfluence" at least a dozen times and seriously why am I watching this shit?

Eisley started following me on twitter. I have no idea why and know only two things about them: I want the adorable girl's house, wardrobe and body to go with the wardrobe. And two: adorable girl sounds like the chick from Sixpence.  

I've started watching "American Horror Story Coven" and even though I'm a 33 year old woman with 3 children I'm terrified that my mother will find out and haul me off to be delivered of the evil within.

The last book in the Divergent series came out and why didn't I know that was happening??? Why is Samuel L. Jackson doing commercials for a credit card? Why won't my hair grow faster?

Kanye & Kim got engaged and my only feeling about it all is that I'm desperately hoping Kelly Oxford graces us with something brilliant to say about the issue.

I've been listening to basically nothing but Katy Perry for two days and I'm not sorry because I owe the universe nothing. And speaking of Katy Perry watching this and crying is what almost made the kids late for school this morning.

What almost made them late yesterday? Drama over pajama day and so. much. sobbing from this kid...

Life is good
Life is beautiful
Life is stressful

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Good night

The house feels crisp and cool tonight. I'm basking in the kind of comfort that only a good quilt and mug of hot tea can bring and am thinking about a hot shower before bed.

I've been a big ball of emotions for the past few days. It's a yarn ball...the kind you want to unravel yet find nothing but layer upon layer of absolute mess the longer you work with it.

I gave my PLP (that's platonic life partner, guys) some terrific advice yesterday when she was feeling overwhelmed. "You have to let something go," I said. That's some solid advice...advice I have yet to take for myself.

But on the days when I feel well rested I find myself thriving on the chaos. It's one of the things I got from my mom that I don't necessarily count as something horrible to have...the longing for craziness in my life. If it weren't for it I probably wouldn't have three children that call me mommy.

Wonderful, silly, ridiculous children

with their freckles, dimples, stickiness and down right glorious giggles.

It's funny how you can feel overwhelmed and like you just can't stand any more then Katy Perry comes on your television and it all feels not just okay but....right? It's the Katy effect.......better than paying money out of pocket for therapy. Katy Perry in leopard print. Emotional healing.

Then there's community and having places where you can go to feel whole. And it doesn't matter if you find yourself sitting alone surrounded by dozens of people having their conversations, filling the air with laughter. Because you have your giant mug of warm caffeine and know that sometimes being alone by yourself is really all that you need.

I was asked by someone today if I could pinpoint the thing that people got from them. And I think I finally have an answer.

Just. You.

No one has a life that's identical to someone else's and it's really beautifully poetic when you stop to think about it. Some lives run parallel at times, but then we all verge onto our own paths until they meet up again.

We've all had different experiences that have taught us different lessons. Even the same experience can teach two people something completely different. And those lessons don't only benefit us but those around us if we're willing to open up and share every once in a while.

Sometimes it's a funny story. Sometimes it's a story that moves someone to tears. Sometimes it's nothing but staying completely silent and a furrow of the brow to show concern. That happens to be one I'm really skilled at. I've never been much for words but have mastered the furrowed brow.

The thing my brain is trying to tell you while I'm up way past what should be my bedtime is that we all have wisdom and good things to give. And it doesn't always have to be obvious does it? My favorite grocery store here is one filled with fancy cheese and a truly magnificent bakery. Their prices are somewhere between Crest and Whole Foods...a nice almost comfortable middle ground I can venture to when longing to be spoiled. It's the smiles. Everyone there is always smiling. They talk to my kids...they talk to Cory about his Doctor Who shirt...they have halfway decent sushi that won't land you on a toilet for hours on end. Those people in that grocery store? Sometimes they make my day.

And that's what they have to give. Just themselves.

Now I give you picture dump for posterity from our weekend in my favorite town last weekend. It was beautiful and I, once again, was energized by the craziness of it all.


Sleep well, friends. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hitting pause with my reader

I read a really eye opening quote recently that's been on repeat in my head all day.

"The days are long but the years are short." Apparently it's from this book which I obviously need to read.

Run here..run there... hurry hurry hurry. My word for 2013 was supposed to be pause and I still haven't learned where the damn button is hidden in my life. And it leaves me wondering whether any of this will even register as memories ten years from now when my children are all teenagers preparing for a life completely separate from mine.

I've had conversations with a few people recently about society's big rush when it comes to educating our kids. We want them reading fluently by the time third grade is done. Sight words are being sent home in kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN, you guys. When 5 year olds should be coloring and eating glue we're forcing them to memorize words in preparation for reading.

There are some fascinating documentaries on Netflix right now full of tragic stories of parents desperately working to get their toddlers enrolled in the most prestigious pre-schools in hopes of an ivy league future.  It's seriously like that horrible pre-school in "Daddy Day Care" with Anjelica Huston in her severe kitten heels. This shit's real, you guys...

Really though, what's the hurry?

It was a constant battle when Elliott was in kindergarten.

He needs to memorize these sight words.
Why doesn't he know his sight words?
Are you drilling him on his sight words?
He's behind on his sight words.

Truth: I never drilled him on those stupid sight words. He's proven to me that his memory is more than adequate with his Doctor Who knowledge. The 10th Doctor's timeline? He can give you a run down from Rose to Donna and back again. Amy and Rory Pond? Their whole life story's in that tiny head too.

The kid just wasn't ready to read. And guess what?

I.didn't.panic. Because I was the exact same way.

She's not reading yet. Why isn't she reading? Shouldn't she be reading by now? The story I'm told is that one day nearing the end of first grade I picked up a fucking book and started reading...and basically haven't stopped since.

Sometimes that puzzle piece just has to fall into place. And if the piece is still floating around somewhere else it really is gonna be okay. Because guess what....

the piece finally found its groove and fit right in.

So when I'm being told that his handwriting needs work...that he shouldn't be mixing capital and lowercase letters....that he can't be writing his name in cursive until his printing is better....

well, I deal with the public school system that I appreciate so damn much and never take for granted the exact same way I do my mom.

Nod. Smile. Agree. And let Elliott write the way Elliott wants to. At school he can write in print with the appropriate dotted i's and crossed t's. 

But here at home Elliott will still look like ELLiott because that's the way his tiny little left brained mind sees it and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

So if you were to peek into my living room right now you'd see that I hit pause. There are banana peels scattered here and there, blankets covering the couch and books a plenty. My kids are almost as sticky as my kitchen floor and dinner was far from perfect nutrition. 

And in spite of it all I feel at peace because tonight Elliott will read me another story at bedtime and I'll be reminded that we are, in fact, doing this whole parenting thing the right way at least a good three-quarters of the time. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stormy weather

Stormy days always make me feel a tad bit uneasy. There's something unsettling about it being dark at 2:30 in the afternoon. I go around my house flipping on all the lights, turning something on to fill the place with noise...

It's still terribly unsettling for me to not have the kids here with me during the day but I'm learning to cope and be alone again.

Tomorrow I start a second job. (Third if you count the random weekend photo shoots)
It's just all part of trying desperately to stay afloat.
I won't lie..the past few months have been some of the most difficult we've had financially but most days I'm able to camouflage the stress with massive amounts of love and optimism.
Some moments are more difficult though and we find ourselves feeling crushed under the pressure.

Everything will be okay..it really will...

There are just those raw feelings that float to the surface without me even knowing they're coming.
Feelings of jealousy, anger, frustration and..well..lots of anger.

During those times I find it safest to hunker down like you're waiting for a storm to pass.
I grab mini candy bars, (hi, stress eating leading to no more weight loss) make hot tea and begin the tedious task of distracting myself with whatever will work at that moment..a book, a movie, cleaning the bathroom again..

Once the storm's passed through the air will smell amazing and the sun will feel so warm on my skin.
I'm ready...

Oh and by the way...

Happy birthday, Hermione.

Monday, September 16, 2013

107 days

My heart has been heavy today. Time spent with friends this evening helped to lighten the load a bit, but overall I just feel like there's been a heavy cloud hanging over my head everywhere I go.

I typed out a few thoughts that were rolling around in my head, read over them once..twice..three times...then deleted them all. None of them felt right. They were sincere but felt forced.

But here's the gist of it with me being a bit more real.. life fucking sucks sometimes, you guys.

Let's not sugar coat it by uttering nonsense phrases like "things'll get better" or "that which doesn't kill us blah blah blah".

And not to get all stupid on you, but The Doctor really did say it best.

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."

Bonus material: because I happen to think that my Elliott happens to be a better 11th doctor than Matt Smith himself and this picture makes me smile...

It's September 16, friends. There are only 107 more days to go til 2014 greets us.

Just another day, yes, but since we humans seem to measure everything in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years it just makes sense that we think of the passing of 365 days as a new beginning.

It gives us something to look forward to. It's a time for renewal and changes, even if those changes are silly resolutions that only last a week. They still gives us brief glimpses into what could be, and sometimes that's all we need to feel whole.

I'm counting the days...

And I'll end these nonsense thoughts with something for those of us who are still reeling from last night's episode. Flashbacks to happier times..

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wibbly Wobbly, that's all

I volunteered to help with the moon bounce at the kids' festival thing at school tomorrow and I'm not really sure where my life is headed or how I wound up doing such a thing or why I don't have chickens yet providing me with fresh eggs so I'll never run out again since the boys want them for breakfast every morning with the strawberries and pancakes which I still need to go for..the strawberries that is...and while I'm there I'll need to get more skim milk because I'm convinced that the whole milk I've been having with my cereal for the last two days has made me gain another six pounds minimum but at least I'm still better off than when I started all this mess but I should really join a gym soon if money ever works itself out because it'll be a nice break outside of the house if only my ankle would cooperate and I still really wish I could get it looked at since it still hurts in that one spot but oh well that's life without healthcare til Obamacare works itself out and I can go to the doctor without spending a massive amount of money so I'll have more to spend on important things like those strawberries I need or the new bras I'm desperately needing or getting the screen replaced on my phone or more coffee since I'm out yet again but at least I have a husband who loves me and doesn't think that doing housework is beyond his masculine abilities or will make his dick fall off.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a tiny peek into my brain on a Thursday night at 9:20pm.

But since we're already well on our way to lunacy and my suspicions of adult onset ADD... Look! New pretty shoes! (Thanks, Beca) Do you guys know Beca? You should get to know her and give her all your money so she can send you pretty things in the mail.

Seriously though, you guys. My brain is a constant stream of mish mash thoughts that are never organized. It's basically in direct correlation with the rest of my life at the moment.

Straight. Up. Chaos.

and here I am

on my couch

with the holy fuck I'm stressed playlist attempting to soothe me

and no moscato to be found, not a simple damn drop

But I have a comfy bed and soft pillows beckoning me like lost lovers. There's even a scalding hot shower wishing I would join it for just a few minutes to soothe my exhausted body.

And that's so much more than so many people have right now.. so I'm choosing to be grateful and repeating my mantra.

Things aren't broken, just a little wobbly.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hold on

Today while at the post office I stuck my hand down in my bag (otherwise known as the black hole of death & doom) and something definitely stabbed me right under the fingernail of my right pointer finger. Is that the right way to say that? Pointer finger? Regardless I just wanted to let you guys know that it hurts like fuck to type right now and I'm enduring the pain just for you. Surely a smart woman would find what poked them in the first place and remove it so it wouldn't happen again, but I'm most definitely not a smart woman...

I've been thinking a lot about jealously lately and how it can have a direct effect on our happiness. I could also say comparison...which usually leads to jealousy.

Over the last few years I've spent so much time looking at other photographers' work wondering what they were doing that I should be doing as well. Should I follow the editing trends? Do I need those expensive florabella actions everyone else is running? I need to find a brick wall with peeling paint to put my brides in front of. And I have GOT to book a wedding for a bride that'll wear fun colored tights or wear her hair in a big messy bun/beehive!

And the thing is that I'm not them. I'm just not. I never have been and never will be. And I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's okay.

Being raised the way I was individuality was something that was frowned upon and never encouraged. The very first time hair dye touched my head was during a visit with my sister. I was 14 and miles away from home. My loving sister did everything she could to free me from the box I'd been put in. She put those bleach blonde streaks in the front of my hair. She gave me my first alcoholic beverage...amaretto sour, heavy on the sour..light on the amaretto. My first date? Definitely arranged by her. (Total disaster by the way.) First tattoo? Oh yea...she paid for it and everything. Second tattoo? Yep. Her fault, mom.

Those visits with her were my only glimpse into a life outside of church three times a week and nothing but "The Lawrence Welk Show" or TBN on a television. I will never forget the magic of Carey Elwes in "Robin Hood Men in Tights" or the first time I saw a for real gay couple in real life.

There was so much constant pressure to be the good girl at home. I couldn't disappoint anyone...that was just not an option. And I'm still living that life when it comes to certain members of my family.

Inside I'm still that 16 year old girl who was terrified her mother would find out that she snuck out of her friend's house that one night to go down to the lake and be ignored by every boy there. I'm still hiding in my bedroom watching Buffy with the volume turned down as low as possible..my finger hovering over the last channel button on my remote that would take me to something less demonic in case she walked into the room. Knock? She never knocked. Knocking just isn't what good Christian mothers do.

That fear of disappointing anyone has carried over into adulthood for me. Constantly lying to keep the girl good persona is an unfortunate byproduct of me being absolutely terrified of ever letting anyone down.

I can be honest here and it feels so good. Pouring my thoughts out to a keyboard can be so therapeutic at times. Maybe someone will read it..maybe someone won't. But even if they don't it's there for me. I can look back here to remind myself that there are happy moments..there are stressful moments..there are angry moments..but they're all my moments. And those moments all rolled up into one big ball are what make me who I am.

So here's me choosing not to lie. Here's me allowing myself to be an open book. Aren't there enough fluffy clouds and bows in the blogging world already? The crafts and pretty peachy pictures are out there for all of us to enjoy. It's a gap that doesn't need to be filled any more. That page has been colored...it's time for me to write my own.

So anyway...
First step towards honesty...

I don't enjoy photography as a way to make a living any more. I haven't for quite some time and a lot of you know that.

Before anyone sees this and feels the need to take this personally I have to say that that's so not the case. It doesn't have much at all to do with the people. Honestly it doesn't. Yea I have the overbearing mom sometimes that insists on things being a certain way. And the fact that I never know what my financial status will be month to month can be irritating.

Here's why I don't enjoy it any more, in the simplest way I can think to put it.

1. It's lonely. I leave my family to go hang out with other families...sometimes I know them, most of the time I don't...and I don't get the great face to face co-worker experience I'd get at any other job. I drive there alone, make small talk while clicking the button, then drive home alone and it's just down right exhausting mentally.

2. The work is never ending. Seriously. People have this preconceived notion so often that I just take the pictures, put them on my computer then send them back out. So not the case. There's editing to be done (because you don't want that little pimple there, or your bra strap is showing, so on and so forth) then the backing up of files...the burning of discs..the constant endless emailing..the blogging...the unsuccessful attempts at social networking.

3. It's taken all the joy I used to get from photography. Seriously. Browse my flickr for proof. Years ago I was uploading picture after picture. The last couple of years when I've been working so much more? They nearly stop all together. Taking my camera out and using it outside of work feels like, well, work. It used to be the thing that kept me sane..now it's the thing that makes me insane.

So 2013 will be the last year I do this. And I need you guys to hold me to it.
I'll do little things here and there for friends because those are the little things I love doing. But it'll be on a casual let's hang out, I'll snap some pictures and maybe you can buy me lunch basis.

One last wedding for friends in November then it'll all disappear. To be honest I'm more than a little excited about packing it all away and making it just a memory.

I'm ready to be Vanessa, the mom with the camera again. It's so cliche to say, but I need to find my center once again. I need to find that healthy head space and reconnect with that creative outlet that's pulled me out of some of the darkest times in my life.

It's a new beginning and I couldn't be more excited. And this blog? I'm really gonna try to come visit it more often. Because as you can tell from this post that started out as deep thoughts on me comparing myself to other photographers and turned into a bitch session about my upbringing proves, I have a lot of shit to work out and it just feels right to do it here.

So....see you soon I guess.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


then 5 months passed by after someone found the fast forward button to my life and barely gave me time to breathe through it all.

cory took a big life changing trip and got hired on as a staff member at the uco library. while on a lot of levels a good opportunity the hours aren't anywhere near as many as we need yet we manage to limp along as usual.
the kids started school. it's going beautifully.
i took on a new job for a wonderful new friend and am staring a second one in the face so we can stay afloat til better opportunities open up on the job front for cory.
i lost 42 pounds & am trying to keep up the momentum, despite the desire to go bake chocolate chip muffins right now & eat every single one of them.

and that barely scratches the surface.

i don't know if this is a permanent return to blogging or one more blip on the radar that will more than likely continue to appear once every few months....

but for now i'm considering it therapy.

my life consists of all these daily chores and routine things that i never assumed i would do, even after we had the kids. i never pictured myself as one of those moms who would be dropping her kids off at school with the masses. yet the further along i get in this whole crazy new life we've built the more i realize that being a conventional school mom is something i'm really good at.

i adore packing their lunches and slipping little notes inside, complete with my sloppy monsters drawn peeping out of corners.
i adore brushing faith's beautiful hair each morning and being so grateful that she still lets me do it.
the quiet mornings with just otto before i take him to afternoon pre-k are so precious.
and seeing them all holding hands, walking out to the car together to be picked up each day? that's the stuff i wouldn't give up for all the baked goods in the world.

i have to learn to be okay with letting go..with admitting that i couldn't do it all on my own. i worship the ground that every single person working in that school walks on. they're the mightiest of people with hearts of gold and the patience of saints doing the jobs that most of us will fully admit we could never do.

i have so many thoughts in my head tonight. a lot of them revolve around money...mostly just the stress that comes with not having enough.

but for the most part i feel at peace. the only sounds i hear are the air conditioners humming and the shower head dripping from the bathroom. i used to be the girl who needed constant noise...a tv, a radio....these days i crave quiet. and pie. always pie.

you few that read here help keep me sane and grounded. and for that i can't thank you enough. here's hoping i can find the headspace to have something to say more often.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

hi, tuesday

last weekend was a total whirlwind of wonderful.

the exhaustion, yet resistance to go to sleep because it would take away time with friends...it's a beautiful thing.

there are pictures from the weekend here, in case you haven't seen them on facebook yet.

we're all working on getting back to normal...
puppy training and snuggling

today i'm taking the kids to enroll them into public school for next year.

i'm filled with eager anticipation, looking forward to having time to take care of myself mixed with feelings of guilt and fear due to shipping my kids off to complete strangers.

i have control issues...and don't wanna let go. 

and i'm really really sleep deprived, guys. which directly effects my psyche and makes everything feel completely wacky and like a total shit storm. 

for now i'm just taking deep breaths. deep breaths that will get me through the coming months, to some kind of consistency and ease of life. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

just happy

you know that bone crushing tired that you get sometimes?
i'm feeling it right now.
it's so heavy, and so real.
and actually kind of beautiful.

i have so much to be grateful for.

and rather than list to you the reasons why i have a nice layer of stress hidden underneath at all, i just wanted to share with you guys the fact that i'm so happy.

my children are magical. so is my husband.
and there's this guy.
napping, cuddling, growling in his sleep and fitting in rather nicely...knock on wood...about 8 hours in.

which means life will become even more beautiful.

and i can't shake the feeling that there's something amazing just on the horizon. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a real update on life things

i have yet to do a "this is what happened today" type update here.

but in abbreviated form, this is what's been happening in our lives...

cory got sick. really sick...about 10 weeks ago.
it's been a non-stop cycle of coughing til he pukes, wheezing, restless nights, and exhaustion.

things are complicated on that end because we, like so many, live without health insurance. and it's so fucking stupid. our cars and house are insured..but we can't afford to insure our bodies, which are so vitally important..obviously. wait, let me rephrase that. our bodies are insured in case of DEATH. but we can't afford to insure to keep our bodies healthy... i'd never really thought about it that way but wow..

one trip to the walk in clinic..two trips to the emergency room...
and we were finally able to get in today to see a pulmonologist. for locals...dr. hull at edmond ou medical center. the man and his staff were incredible.

the verdict? it started as pertussis which lead to bronchitis which lead to damage to his lungs. and for someone who has asthma? it's brutal.

we're on the right track to healing now.

meanwhile, on the job front...
he can't work at home depot right now. it's impossible.

the air quality there is ridiculous, and he spends his entire day walking miles back and forth mixed with good doses of heavy lifting.

so today we turned in the paperwork for a leave of absence that the doctor ordered. a minimum of 4 weeks...after not being able to go to work for the past 3 weeks.

and we'll be fine. really we will. there's still his part time gig at the library and a tiny nest egg in our savings account. and in all honesty i'm looking forward to spending more time with him. i feel like i haven't seen the man for months.

a healthy husband..that's what i want.

he also (drumroll) applied for graduation over the weekend.

this is the part where fireworks go off..right here.

i don't know that he'll ever NOT be a student, but a degree means he's that much closer to his dream of being a librarian. and i'm so proud. one last class this summer, and that huge weight will be lifted...

the kids?

april 1st i will be taking them to enroll into public school for next fall. it was a difficult decision to make but we know it's the right one.

faith lost a tooth the night before last night. the kid pulled it herself, while elliott is sitting with 4 loose teeth in his little mouth that he refuses to touch, wiggle, or even think about.

otto? my days with him go like this....
"that's too boring"
"it's not fair"
"what the heck?!"

me? i'm here...tired, happy, and floating along.

Monday, March 4, 2013

i'm special

i talked about it a little bit on our business blog, but elliott said something that totally kicked my ass the other day.

we try to spend time with each of the kids individually as much as possible, especially elliott. he just needs to be reminded of the love that surrounds him from time to time.

and here's the thing.
i say all of this today with a slight layer of guilt hidden under the surface.

i treated myself with our tax return, as i always do. two new bras, a pair of boots, a couple dresses, 30 ill-spent dollars at lush...the list could go on but i'm honestly too embarrassed to continue.

most of the items i want fall in my lap because my husband loves me. sometimes he loves me too much.

i despise spending money on myself. hate it really. cory's usually the one responsible for buying me new underwear because he can't stand to see me in thread bare awfulnesses. and he has to see me in it often since i only wear pants 15% of the time.

you guys, i won't even buy myself underwear. why do i do this to myself?

it's not because i don't want our money to be spent. because i have no problem with buying the kids things..or cory buying himself things. i just don't want money to be spent on me.

but rewinding back to my day with elliott...
while at the lego store he spotted a book on harry potter at the register. and if these children know anything they know of my love for the boy wizard. i've only spent the last several years trying to drill the story into their heads.

when he saw the book my baby insisted that i buy it for myself.
and me, being me, i kept refusing.
and he kept insisting.
we left the store without it, but not before spending $20 on legos for elliott.

fast forward to our local science museum.
oh my word, you guys. they had quidditch goggles.
i tried oh so hard to talk elliott into getting them.
they're so amazing, elliott! you should get them!
he turned down the offer to get them for him, then started insisting that i get them for myself.
come on, mommy. you really like them. you should get them.

buying them for elliott would've been fine. buying them for myself? ridiculous.

and that's when it happened.

you never want to get anything for you, because you don't think you're special, mommy. but you're special.

shot to the heart, you guys.

so i'm here to tell you guys that dammit i'm special. and i'm really gonna try to treat myself like i'm special more often.

because the thing is...if i don't show my kids that i'm special how do i expect to build their self esteem?

to think that i could teach them to believe that they're special while constantly putting myself on a back burner and never doing small things for myself is just..well...it's stupid. and i may be a college drop out but i remember enough from those child psychology classes to know that this is an absolute essential part to raising confident children.

i have to learn to love myself.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


the last week has been spent working our asses off to re-do the boys' room. it was a successful project..with freshly painted walls, a super hero closet, a tardis door, and more awesomeness to come. i seriously spent a good hour yesterday painstakingly organizing all the books on their shelves.

the best part though? watching them go in & make a glorious mess after all that work. and this isn't me being my usual sarcastic self. total honesty here. seeing them enjoy all the hard work we put into it was one of the most gratifying things i've experienced in a while.

and even though they have the most amazing room two little boys obsessed with all things super hero and doctor who could have, they still ventured into our bed last night. not even the new lightsaber nightlight on their wall could comfort them the way we can.

in my head every night i tell myself that the second they come into our room i'll banish them back to theirs. our bed just simply isn't big enough. it isn't. but then otto came in last night carrying his giant teddy bear that's nearly as big as he is, complaining that he just couldn't sleep without me.

so i spent a good bulk of my night on the very edge of the bed with him breathing right onto the back of my neck and elliott somehow managing to kick me from the other side of the bed.

since i didn't spent much time sleeping, i did what i usually do during these late nights. i let my mind wander. and i came to an obvious conclusion. i think it's truly impossible to do something as important as raising children without wondering every day if you're fucking it all up. in fact, it may very well be the mark of a great parenting.

but in moments like last night i felt brave enough to re-assure myself that our kids are amazing people. whether that's thanks to their obviously superior genes or our hands off, let them be people parenting approach i may never know.

and i may be singing a different tune once adolescence hits. i've been enjoying "parenthood"..i know, always behind...and thoroughly enjoying it, despite the fact that it's made me completely terrified of raising teenagers. but i have to believe that doing our best to treat them respect thus far will pay off in the long run.

in all honesty i can't wait to see who they'll be at 13...16..21...

for now i'll live in the 57 hugs and kisses they give me a day and hope that they never ever get too big to keep giving them.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


mom. stay at home mom. housewife. these are the things that have defined me for the last year or so.

i get away occasionally on the weekends, usually to make 100 bucks here or there taking pictures to help out our bank account.

but beyond those titles there's not much left.

i've tried to make more of an effort when i do go out the last few weeks. wear a dress, put some make-up on...and it does make me feel better. but down underneath i still feel invisible.

identity. i'm vanessa. i used to love art history. not just enjoy it, but love it. and even though i'm not skilled at it, i do love to draw and paint.

one of the most thoughtful gifts cory ever gave me was a drawing kit while i was pregnant with otto.

it was about a week before he finally decided to come out of my body, and i had just come back from the hospital with an awful uti. and if you've never been a pregnant woman with a uti...thank whoever you recognize as your higher power because i kid you not, that pain was worse than any of the labor pains i experienced while giving birth.

for about 2 hours i forgot about all the shit around me, and existed in that piece of paper. 

yet here i am, having trouble finding that space again..the stolen moments of quiet.

trying to hide with a book or even watching tv in peace while folding laundry is interrupted by any of the following:
breaking up a fight
cutting an apple
opening a package of string cheese
wiping someone's butt
helping someone blow their nose
giving otto more cough medicine because his cough just.won't.go.away

it's supposed to snow again soon.

the constant days of cold are hard here. warm days can be spent with them outside, and me inside with the doors open..letting the sun in.

so i take comfort in warm coffee mugs filled with liquid gold topped with whipped cream, wishing for summer to show its face. 

cory works so hard. and he's been so sick. 

and there are days like today, when i just don't know if i can get out of bed to fold yet another load of laundry, that make me feel like i need to get my shit together. force myself to climb out of the funk i've been in and be the woman he married, not the one he got stuck with.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

everything will be okay

i'm no good at big decisions.
i over think them til i've worked myself into a total awful frenzy.

we're facing two big decisions right now.
1. cory's future in school & career...
2. the kids' schooling...

and i'm finally coming to a place of peace. the thing is that things are never black and white, and i hate it. if there could just be one big answer to every major decision, yea, that'd be great.

pro's and con's help. making mental lists, then realizing that we have to take everyone in this house into account when making such decisions.

decisions in cory's schooling are still unclear, and i know we're both just so ready for some relief.
i know the light is there at the end of the tunnel..but digging our way to it & trying to decide which way to go when we hit a fork in the road is proving to be a pain in the ass.

and when it comes to the kids' schooling, the bottom line is that i'm failing.
i'm a kick ass mom. i'm a terrible homeschooling mom. and i need to realize this doesn't make me a total failure.
i need to know that i'm raising confident capable kids and that it's okay to cut the strings.
they can fly, i know they can. i just need to let them out of their cages and rediscover who i am.
i've spent the last 8 1/2 years of my life being nothing but mommy.
and i need to realize that having the desire to do something for me and no one else isn't selfish, but self preservation.

my mental health has been on a downward spiral lately, and it's essential for me to get well in order to re-establish some sanity and peace in our home.

i found my happy place today sitting on the floor or shower, scrubbing the walls.
sometimes cleaning is the only way i can find that place where everything seems clear again.
and the only problem with that scenario is the fact that once i've found that place the last thing i want to do is clean.
our bathroom is the cleanest it's been in years. the rest of the house? not so much.

it's okay..everything will be okay.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

from the couch

my throat has that awful feeling..the one that feels like someone's been grating sharp objects over it.

so i've spent the majority of the last two days laying in bed.

i'm not sick but damnit cory's been home from work so we're working on moving as little as possible together, trying to soak each other up.

he laughed at me when i told him i was gonna do a mini series of pictures today called "from the couch".

but i was totally serious. and i present to you...

from the couch

all taken within 10 minutes of each other.

try not to be too amazed....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

just things

this on repeat. all. day. long.

my life has been wrapped around books lately. reading them, learning about them, cory bringing a new one home every day from work. they're like a drug right now..helping me work through the haze.

i've been thinking a lot about bravery. mostly about how i lack it way too often. i can talk big in my private circles, but when it comes to the ones that really need to hear my heart i shrink away, terrified of the repercussions. because when it comes right down to it i can't stand to disappoint people.

restless..that's how i'm feeling.

restless for our new schedule to feel almost normal.
restless to get my w2 so i can file our tax return and get the shit fixed that needs to be fixed.
restless for warm weather so i can spend my days outside in the sun.
restless restless restless.

texting my sister every morning asking "are you guys alive?"
not being able to comfort her, hug her, get drunk with her..it hurts my heart.

be loud. it's so easy to say, right?
yet so hard to do.

me..the girl who has spent so much of her life hiding behind her hair.
then shaved off all her hair just to get a reaction.

i'm completely and totally confused most of the time.
there's this woman inside of me, screaming to get out.
then the other woman inside of me who's telling me to quiet down..don't rattle cages..don't rock boats...

and those are the thoughts heavy on my heart today.

now that they're shed i can focus on the now.

i've promised chocolate chip cookies today. i've promised baths & toenail cutting today..much to their dismay. i've promised myself time to breathe today.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


i haven't consciously chosen a word for every year. but it's funny how most spans of time can be summed up in a single word, isn't it?

i didn't realize it at the time, but the word for 2012 was busy.

i rarely took the time to just sit and be. for the last week i've thought that the word i would like to focus on for 2013 was change. but the last few days have given me a new hope.

and this hope is for the word pause to give me a big warm hug.

i need to hit pause in the busy of the every day. take time to breathe.

this week marks week 1 for 52 of now you.

a year of hitting pause, and a year of self discovery. those are my wishes for 2013.