Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Animated Life

I  finally saw "Frozen" this morning, it's out on i tunes and Amazon streaming for those who can't wait until it comes out on DVD in two weeks.


I saw it at 7am, as I sat n the couch wrapped in a blanket with Romy, we both are sick.
Bleah.
Parker and Greyson are sick too, and while Matt has a tickle in his throat, he and Zane won't succumb to this, because they are manly men. 
They drive manly cars and lift heavy things and eat nachos and stuff.

It was a cute movie, and Romy was completely shocked by the fact that I have not seen Brave or Tangled yet. I expect there will be more uploading of movies before this illness leaves.

Did you know I kind of hate cartoons?
I really, really, really don't enjoy them. My kids watched plenty of them growing up. The 90's mix tape I would make includes songs from Blue's Clues, the Rugrats, The Power Ragers, Dora the Explorer, Boobah, Pokemon and Bananas in Pajamas. Oh, and let's not forget Barney. Parker and Greyson were especially obsessed with Barney. Zane was a Telletubbies man. Romy loved Hey Arnold and the Power Puff Girls.



One of the fun things about having a child who is on the spectrum is that when they like a show or character, they get a little obsessed with it and nothing else will do.
 We watched the same Barney's Great Adventure DVD at least a thousand times for a year.


 Every trip in the car, every morning, every evening--every single day...Barney and those pesky kids went searching for that magic egg.
 He had the soundtrack and would listen to it on his CD player- on repeat- every night.
He had four Barney dolls. He had a giant plastic rainbow egg from the movie.  He had a Baby Bop and wore Barney sneakers and slept in Barney bedding. 
Life was a Purple Hell.



When Romy was born, I never even let her see a single episode of Barney- just to be safe.

Anyway-- I am doing a little better than I was when I posted last week.
It's not enough to just say "Well, I'm depressed...what's on TV?"
 I posted about it so that I could hold myself more accountable to DO something about it.
So what have I done?
To start--my anti-depressant levels were adjusted and I can feel a difference. I'm not paralyzed by my emotions- I'm not moving mountains or anything, but I'm not paralyzed right now.
We bought a treadmill, so I can start getting some running done without that whole freezing to death thing happening.
 It came yesterday and Greyson put it together.
 His ability to put anything together makes up for that whole Barney Phase.


I dragged myself to the dentist and kept going even when one appointment turned into six appointments.
I am cutting back on some of my church obligations.
I baked cookies- just for my family-- this week, something I haven't done since the holidays.
I am cleaning my house again. 
My kids came up with a new chore chart/system that is a big improvement from the one we had before. It makes them more accountable for completing their chores and they answer more to each other now. 

I am also taking the breaks I need and being creative with the sewing machine that Matt got me for Christmas. I'm halfway through a quilt that I'm making for my Dad and I've been embroidering on everything I can get my hands on.

My poor nieces and nephews are going to have so much crap with their names on it by the time the year is over. There is going to be a whole aisle at the D.I. in American Fork for Crap Auntie Chris Made.
I don't care, just don't tell me when you throw it out, let me believe it made their day so I can keep justifying the time I spend with my machine. 
The creative outlet is good for my soul.





 Baby Burp Rags- flannel on top, terry cloth on back





That's what I need to do- just work on feeling better.
Later today, I guess I'll make some hot cocoa and watch Brave with Romy.
 Even a dumb cartoon is good when you can spend time with those you love.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Well, There's THAT



I have a great life- a wonderful life.
I have seven healthy, usually happy kids who always text me back unless I'm asking about homework.

I have a husband  who gets it- and who gets me. He's brilliant, funny, strong, good and totally my type. Every day I can't believe I snagged this guy. 

I have some good relationships that trudge with me through hard times and run with me in the sunshine.

I have a father who loves me and who is an example to me of not allowing the worst days we've had in life choose the path we lead forever. 

 I know God loves me. I know The Savior gave his life for us all, and he'd have done it, even if it was just me, even if I never figure out what the right thing to do is.  I know Joseph Smith saw and talked with God. I do not doubt the truth and the promise the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brings into my life. I screw up a lot, often willfully, but I know the church is true. I know I want to be where this path leads.

I have a great ward- a ward that is family.

 I have a family that I love, even though adulthood has brought estrangement and walls in many of us. I have a hope that one day, we will figure it out and just heal.  I think each one of my siblings and siblings- in- law is absolutely, 100% doing the very best they can, that they are good parents and they are showing courage that amazes me. I love my nieces and nephews so much I could eat them up, I miss them terribly. I love being an Auntie.

Financially, we were able to stop the bleeding. Now we just need to resist the temptation to pick at the wound.  (Wow- gross analogy.) 

My cars all run, my house is warm and dry and my life is really good.

And I am depressed.

I have no reason to be depressed, but I am so depressed that yesterday my doctor told me that if something drastic didn't change in my life, I was headed for ruin. As she talked to me and I said "I'm doing fine, I really am, it's just hard in the winter." She said in her blunt native New Jersey way: "You are not fine. You have gained 50 pounds in six months. You are wringing your hands as we speak and you look like you are about to break. You are not eating right, you are not exercising, you are not leaving your house, you are not cleaning your house, you are snapping at your family, you are not taking care of yourself, you are not fine. I care about you and you are not even close to fine."

I looked at her with a blank face and said "Well, I'll work on it and I'll get fine. It's okay."
She said "Fine is the next step, but you have many steps ahead of you. We need to get you better. When I met you, you were happy and healthy and I only met you a year ago."

We talked about WHY I am struggling and I really don't have an answer, only that I feel super guilty that I don't have an answer. 
 We worked out some things to do, and I have to see her in a couple of weeks because the awesome thing about how my depression manifests itself is that I get so much anxiety, when I need to make the call to do the thing that will help me, I freeze and start at my phone and I cannot move forward. I hate the phone, I really do. Cell phones were not something that helped my life, they make it harder, but I'm too much of a helicopter parent to not have one. 
So, frequent visits with my doctor need to happen, as a push to get me to follow through with .....well with anything. 

So here I am.
 Awesome life.
 Great relationships.
 Faith. Love. Safety.

And  I feel like I'm wrapped up in a spider web all of the time.

I think saying it out loud is something I need to do. It gives me accountability and means I am not putting off beginning to try and get out of this stupid pit any longer. This pit that makes no sense and I haven't been able to outrun and find my way out of with some positive thoughts and prayer.  

So...

I am not fine right now.

That doesn't mean I'm scary or crazy or need pity.
 It doesn't mean I am needy, or that I'm dumb or lazy.
It doesn't mean I am a sinner or a bad person.
I didn't do something to earn this, it isn't karma, it's chemicals and the lifestyle choices I made to try and deal with those chemicals- choices that didn't work and when things don't work, the depression gets worse. 

It means, I have a problem and I want to and need to solve it. 
It doesn't mean I'm bad, it just means, I'm not fine right now.


In the meantime, I'm going to still be lousy at returning phone calls and emails. I'm going to flake out on things that shouldn't be so hard to do. I'm going to let myself put a higher priority on doing the things I do when I am happy and work a little every day towards functioning like a normal person. I'm going to work on losing weight, without turning to some extreme diet, I'm just going to try and move more, eat less and drink--gag--water instead of so much Diet Coke. 
(Don't email me about the health dangers of Diet Coke,  I do not care.)

I have a really great life.
 I have more blessings that I can count and I have faith that everything is going to be okay. 
And I am struggling with severe depression right now.
It's a fault in my chemicals, not in my character.


I said it. 
I said it and it's a not a secret. 
It's not a secret and now, I can give myself permission to work on it and to take some time working on myself. 
 Unless I find cake in the house. If I find cake, all bets are off until tomorrow. 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Gross and Nauseating Love

I love Valentine's Day.


Halloween...eh, I could take it or leave it. I have never cared for Easter and I think St. Patrick's Day is absolutely stupid. I typically boycott all 4th of July festivities and don't get me started on Thanksgiving. I do Thanksgiving because someone has to cook, but I don't like any of the food until we get to the pie round. 
But Valentine's Day.....oh, be still my beating heart.


As a kid, I'd obsessively choose which paper Valentines went to each kid in the class, making sure that none of the boys got too strong of a message from both the card and the two, tiny conversation hearts that went in each envelope. Before sealing them, I'd fold and unfold them, imagining the response of each recipient, making sure that the Valentine I gave them wasn't going to cause any undue drama and would leave each classmate knowing that I cared about them- even the kids who were mean to me. I was giving them a hope that one day, when they stopped sucking, we could enjoy a friendship that included them being recipients from the first tier of the Smurf Valentines, the ones that expressed such sentiment, such warmth, that it solidified all of my most precious relationships. I was never going to be that kid who just wrote "from Chrissy" and let the tiny envelopes of importance be determined by fate.I cringed when I got home and saw kids who did that and wondered how their hearts could be so cold, so damaged. 
 Even as a kid- Valentine's Day was serious stuff. 

I did it every year, little OCD me and my cereal box 'mailbox" decorated with tinfoil and paper hearts. 
It's a wonder I didn't go out of my mind.


I met Matt 8 years ago, just before Valentine's Day.
 It helps that I am always going back to that season where he swept me off my feet and we knew that we were going to be each other's big dumb forever.  


We'd both been kicked in the gut pretty hard by our former spouses and had learned some pretty rough life lessons about trust. We had broken places and yet, in the cracks of those broken places, there was hope. We took some of those 'never again' vows and made space for what was going to fill them. Before we ever met, we had each decided that we deserved to be loved unconditionally- or we did not want to be loved at all. We deserved spouses who were faithful to their marriage vows- or there would be no vows. We deserved to be with a person who thought we were funny, smart and good-looking, even if we were actually stupid, geeky and our jokes are terrible.  We deserved to be happy and to have an eternal marriage that would last. We deserved to be in love and it was okay if we never found that, we simply were never going to settle for marriages where we were not loved and where we were treated in the piss poor way our former spouses had treated us. 



It took Matt and I two whole days to know we had found that in each other, once we met.

Truth be told, when that first date....I wasn't thinking he was my future husband. I was thinking about Valentine's Day.
 It was coming up and I really wanted to be sure I had a date for that night. I didn't really care WHO, I just needed that space on the calendar filled.  The guy I had been dating was not awesome and my alternate guy I often dated was very sweet to me, but dumb as a bag of hammers. His name was also "Chris" and he always, always wanted to make out. He had come over for New year's and he we had three people named Chris there, I was Sister Chris, Sunnie's ex was Brother Chris and my date....well, he was Slut Chris. I could have a fun time with Slut Chris, but I didn't want to have to spend the evening with a Tazer at arm's reach.


That evening of our first date,  when Matt and I knew we liked each other immediately, my little OCD brain started working.
 After dinner, we went back to my house for Diet Coke and kissing-- I mean scripture reading (oh shut up.. I was 35.) I found a way to bring up Valentine's Day and oh- so- subtly said to Matt "So, will you be my Valentine this year?" He said yes and then I said "No--really-- do you want to spend Valentine's Day together? Don't say yes if you're not 100% sure. I'm serious." 
He smiled and said "Of course." 

And we had a great Valentine's Day. 
We were so in love and everything was so new.
I included the girls in what had been a tradition with my kids- each Valentine's Eve, I leave them a special Valentine from Mom. I remember too many years feeling sad and alone and I wanted my kids to know that even if the person they hoped would give them some sign of cupid at least trying to make it happen- that someone adored them- even if it was just dumb old Mom.
Some years, those Valentines are mailed, but every year, I hit the Dollar Tree hard and do it. 




This year, Romy had a party.
So cute. 
I may have spread my Valentine's Day Love Disease.





Matt and I are celebrating on Monday, but we exchanged out gifts yesterday. He is always super romantic and I am so thankful for that. We're going to a Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera and having dinner in the city together. Be still be little black heart.
 I know he likes his gadgets and I gave him his and hers Fitbits.



We've both gained enough weight over the past year that we can't stand ourselves and all of the fad diets we attempted went under pretty quickly. This will help us to do the thing we have not yet tried-- to move more and eat less. 
So crazy it just might work.



I am lucky and blessed to have a life where every day is pretty close to Valentine's Day for me.
 I have great kids who know they are unconditionally loved and a husband who is constantly sweet to me and makes me feel so good about myself, who gets me and who I know loves me.
 I look at him, 8 years later and my heart still skips a beat and I can't believe he loves me.
 I love him so much and if you took away all of the flowers and the paper cards and the Dollar Tree trinkets, that love  would be more than enough for this girl who was born in Kansas City and grew up on a dairy farm to stay happily and madly in love with the boy from an Army Base in El Paso who spent his childhood looking out on the apple orchards in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. 
I love you, Matt. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cabin Fever in the Garden State


The kids have missed 8 days due to snow this year. 
We're expecting anywhere from 2 inches to 10 beginning tonight.
New Jersey does not do snow.
I had a friend, Christine, who warned me that when we moved to the East Coast, they go bonkers when the weather changes. I thought it would be nice to have a snow day here and there because when we lived in Utah, there were no snow days.
She tried to warn me, but I really could not have imagined that the entire East Coast goes into emergency mode this often when it snows.
 It's crazy.



If it is snowing, or going to be snowing during commuter hours, school gets cancelled and all of the trains run really late. Matt's office has people who come in not just from the city, but Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware and when those trains aren't running as they should, it makes for a nightmare. It's a pain in the butt as it is that Matt's commute is so long.15 miles takes an and hour and a half each way on good days, we were so spoiled before. Don't even get me started on the costs for the train....

I'm gearing up for another day of the kids being home. 
I love my children, but every snow day we take now, eats into either spring or summer break and I'd much rather have a longer vacation than a random day here and there where we can't do anything anyway.
We're all about to lose our minds.


Even the kids groaned when they saw the weather reports and Matt got that little wrinkle in his forehead that shows when he is stressed out. He can work from home, but it isn't ideal. 

Last week there was an ice storm.
Arizona girl here had never experienced an ice storm. 


Because we have a gravel drive and no garage, our family had to take an extra snow day when we got Zane's truck hopelessly stuck in the driveway. We couldn't 'rock' it out because Zane's truck was cheap and it dies every time you change gears, so we couldn't really get any momentum going to move it. We had to just wait until all of the ice melt started to work and then used a combination or pushing,  driving and swearing to fix the problem.
Street parking is pretty near impossible.




We also  laughed about how incompetent and helpless we were. How quickly we adapted to being East Coast snow weenies. 




I'm ready for my padded cell. 
I am even sick of hot cocoa and board games.

















Enough with the snow days already.





Also- I discovered this blog/tumbler a few months ago and every day, she posts something that makes me smile.
She's funny and doesn't make long posts about the weather or crafts. You'll like her.

http://amenalready.tumblr.com/