Friday, January 30, 2015

Attention seeking..what I am learning from Willow

As many of you know we have a new yellow lab named Willow, she is very cute and smart.  We waited and discussed getting a dog for at least five years, now that we have the space and a seven year old son that I was sure would want to care for the dog it sounded like a great idea.  Sure I knew I would have my moments and of course my husband said the same thing he had said for the last five years - "are you sure, this is a big commitment".    I had visions of sitting on the back porch sipping tea while this beautiful stretched out labrador laid on the patio next to the lounger enjoying the water features - I think I must have seen that in a Frontgate magazine somewhere....I am sure of it.   How hard could it be, the dog gets on your nerves, you put them in the backyard, feed them twice a day, and that is it, friend for life right.   I wonder if I could sue Frontgate for false advertising.....  We have the lounger and have the puppy but I am not having that experience they are selling.

Our puppy is very sweet and even trained - many, many, many weeks of trained - but what I have come to realize is my expectations were completely misaligned with reality, not a new problem.  She has taught me the black and white of attention seeking, there are many ways to get attention - any kind of attention negative or positive, she honestly does not care she would rather be shocked, tapped with a stick and beat with a shoe simultaneously then not have our undivided attention.   The experience really has made me an expert in recognizing this behavior in others including my son so much clearer, I can spot attention seeking anywhere now.  I was always skeptical to believe that there was such a thing that someone or something would do something wrong just for attention.  

For example, she knows that shoes, pillows, towels and books are off limits yet if I am not doing exactly what she wants me to do she will seek out the best pair of shoes or the best pillow in the house and run around in circles until our household looks like a three ring circus - she knows very well that this will be followed by an unpleasant exercise of being tapped with the shoe and harsh sounding words or even worse she will be zapped with the shock collar - the trainer was very clear you can talk to your dog all you want, she really does not understand you, do not waste your time - when you have a 60lb dog running around with your favorite leather shoe or silk pillow and five people chasing behind it yelling "drop, drop, drop" and "where is the damn remote to the shock collar", "why are your shoes not in mud room?", "dxxx dog drop the shoe", it really does zap your energy level.

So we had a brilliant idea, she has too much energy, we will get her on a routine (walks, play time,etc.), take her to doggie day care, and we will install a dog run in the backyard, her very own sanctuary, she will be so happy and our shoes will be protected.  Well we now spend countless hours driving her to and from daycare, standing in the backyard throwing a frisbee while dirty dishes sit on the kitchen counter and well the quote for that came in for the dog run and now that has been placed in the "to think about" column, we all know that column - when you were young if your parents said "let me think about it", you knew that meant you had to go back to drawing board and come up with another way to pitch whatever it was you wanted at that moment in time.

I have witnessed the same behavior in my professional life as well, I promise I have seen it, you can act professional for weeks trying to get something done or approved,  everyone will sit there in countless meetings going ummm, ahhh, well what if and then finally you have a late night, you go into the discussion a little cranky , you raise your voice, you throw a grown up version of a temper tantrum and then the ball gets moving but you had to create a fire drill before anyone would get off their behinds and do anything.   We all know children behave this way, I am guessing as wives we can all remember that one moment where you lost it because your husband didn't do something and for whatever reason the escalation in emotion gets things going.      Same thing the dog does, she circles around for ten minutes waiting for your to play, pet, acknowledge and then comes out the leather shoe
and well you are up faster than you can imagine....

My question is "Why?"

Friday, January 23, 2015

Today's Epiphany and more about the dishes

Had an epiphany today and not quite sure who to share it with so I will write about it instead, everyone is so busy these days, the circle of thoughts that go through my mind, well that is where they usually end up staying.  

I am sitting here with my son waiting for my husband to return from a weeklong business trip, so happy that it is Friday!  All my son wants to talk about is what is occurring on Wheel of Fortune, his new 6:27pm interest.  He gives me the play by play, I wonder if Wheel of Fortune needs a sports caster?   Okay back to my epiphany.....I spend most days in the car for way too long doing the same circle to and from wherever and way too much quiet time to overanalyze everything!   I went to a wonderful women's networking event today, it was very nice to get out and listen to what others are doing in the world.  I do not think I have ever been in a room with that many coaches - life coaches, image coaches, relationship coaches, marketing coaches and the list continues.  It was fascinating to see that many enthusiastic people making a "a purpose for their passion" to help others. (PforP is AmyK's but I love that phrase)

As I listened, my thoughts immediately went into business consultant mode, I started analyzing every business venture in the room - the circle of questions - how would you make money doing that? how much would you make? how much time does it take? how would you price that? where would you find clients? how could you tap into that market and sell it the most efficiently?  what does the growth plan look like, is there a growth plan or is it always an individual thing?  Really this is how I think and it can be exhausting......

Part of the networking event is to introduce yourself, explain what you do, what you need and what you have done for someone else lately - I liked the format and you only had 60 seconds which was great because I did not want anyone to sell me anything.  Before we sat down to lunch the usual mingle social introductions occurred and everyone wanted to know "what is my business and if I have a business card". Well I did not think to bring cards with me, what would they say -

"over analytical stay at home wife/mom that doesn't clean, sends her dog to doggie day care, forgets to take care of the dry cleaning and rarely has time to cook"

I guess I could have brought my old business cards and received the instant looks of -

"uh? what is that? but it says Director so you must be smart and ambitious..."

So of course my answers were always way longer than necessary and I felt the need to explain what I used to do at work, that I recently moved here and I am officially on a family break which involves taking care of the house, my son, my husband and helping my parents out.

My epiphany on the drive home was, this is why I must be so tired mentally, my brain is so used to analyzing a process/system or person, making a list of challenges / improvements, managing the improvements to completion and then moving on to the next thing that needs an overhaul or tweak that I am physically not able to quiet the mindful can be exhausting!  

In my current journey to take a family break and get all those things you think about getting done when you are working and have no time to complete, my mind never stops.  Thoughts I struggle with daily is the need to work toward a tangible  goal or accomplishment to feel satisfied - so this is embarrassing but I sometimes make up little mini daily goals to make this sometimes extremely boring job a little more motivating and interesting - a mini goal in my new life would be "get all the dishes in the dishwasher before husband gets homes...", "play with the dog for two 20 minute intervals", "get two pictures hung or three boxes opened", "pack a box to donate" and I rarely accomplish these goals but no one really cares so it is up to me to hold myself accountable and we all know how self accountable goals go...

Believe me there is no amount of over analytical thinking that can revolutionize getting dishes in the dishwasher - as I walk past the dirty dishes in the sink, my consultant mind kicks on and I start to think of my options -

  • Option 1 - I can outsource this task, Challenge - what time would this person need to come so that the most dishes would be dirty, who is going to come daily for a ten minute task, how much will they charge me, who is going to pay for this.
  • Option 2 - I can use paper plates, Challenge - that is just so bad for the environment, requires too much storage space, what a waste of money.
  • Option 3 - Go out to eat, Challenge - are there any healthy restaurants near by? who will take care of the dog while we are out all the time, what is the cost comparison to cooking each night
  • Option 4 - start a daily routine / schedule I must follow.  Challenge - No routines / schedules in real life, they just do not work because real life kicks in and well another unsuccessful day passes by and I think "what the hell did I do all day"

I sound as though I am beating myself up, do not get me wrong I am very happy and confident about the decision to take a career break and dedicate my time to keeping our family organized, fed and whatever else it is I am doing despite learning that I am terrible at cleaning, laundry and dishes.  I am very happy not trying to juggle eighteen things at once and worrying about some self induced problem or a deadline at work.

But I cannot help but wonder does everyone think like this all day????

Should I rename this blog - all about the dishes since they seem to make their way into every entry.....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Morning life, mommy guilt...Yes it has been that long!

It really has been that long (four years) since I have written a blog entry, I cannot promise that I will get back to this writing thing on any kind of religious schedule but felt like sharing today so here goes! I hope you are all well and hopefully I will be inspired to write about the highlights of the last four years they have been amazing, frustrating, sad, happy and wonderful all at the same time!

Despite being awaken at 5:35am by an unsolicited text message from one of my husband’s colleagues, I already feel as though I will be behind schedule rushing through the morning to arrive to school drop off on time.

 I must digress enough to say that the cell phone that lives at our bedside each night is now damaged with dangerous shards of glass on it’s touchscreen surface from an unfortunate drop to the ground yesterday and is now being used through a Ziploc bag, my husband refuses to believe that being addicted to technology is possible – should I take a picture of him using his phone wrapped in a Ziploc bag as evidence later in life? The audio is obviously still working fine!

 “Ugh - Why is that light from another room on and shining brightly in my face?, Oh yes it is the trail that was left as my husband made his way into the other room, rather than feel annoyed, I will remain positive and get up and turn it off. There that is better, I will cozy back into the covers for a good thirty more minutes of sleep in the darkness of the morning, oh but I must wake by 6:15am to get my son going. I really should set an alarm so I can relax… but my phone is four rooms away and that requires way too much effort – okay I think I am back to sleep. “What time it is? – 6:05am – should I just get up now or go back to sleep?

“ Finally it is 6:30am, I am upstairs to wake up my son, he is sleeping so soundly and looks amazingly comfortable in his fluffy blanket. His skin is so soft, I will gently wake him up so he is not startled. That stretch of his arms and the yawn reminds me of him as an infant, wow he is growing up way too fast…..I would love to enjoy this moment of peacefulness but the anxiety driven flurry of the morning routine is about to begin…… “Okay, you have to get up, it has been ten minutes of stretching, time is running out, remember we have to leave by 7:40am. Okay, I have to turn the light on – are you ready?” His voice turns to the dissatisfied and annoyed tone of “NOOOOO, I will only get up if you do not turn the light on!” Okay he is standing, do I pick his clothes out or do I let him exert independence and allow him to do it himself – knowing that option two will add twenty minutes to our routine. I will distract myself, head downstairs and focus on breakfast. If I am lucky I can hand something to my husband as he runs out the door.

Now breakfast is ready, husband could not wait so now I have made too much. It has been at least twenty minutes, where is my son. “Are you coming down? Breakfast is ready….” I hear a very calm – “Almost dressed…” My thoughts repeat, what on earth could you have been doing for this amount of time? He wobbles down the stairs, uncombed hair but clothes are on. “Yuuuummmmmyy Breakfast” Oh how I wish I can be this happy and calm each morning, my tea, just the way my grandmother taught me to make it - sugar and milk - yes that will help! I grab my tea, I sit down and decide relaxing works….I calmly watch the sunrise from the breakfast table while my son slowly enjoys his breakfast. Feeling of peace as we watch the blue sky, whimsical birds and the green trees outside.

Catch a glimpse of the clock, how did that happen, it is already 7:25am – here we go, next burst of pushing. “You need to go brush your teeth and comb your hair.” “Okay, in a minute” as he twirls around the living room, one look from me and he heads upstairs. I decide I am not going to remind him constantly, he can do this, I need to be patient. Ten minutes go by, where is he? “Are you ready?, we need to go?” I yell upstairs. “Yes, in a minute…” he yells downstairs.

He is finally down and in front of me, grabbing his shoes and socks. Remind myself to breathe and enjoy the moment. I am happy I have everything ready to grab and go, as we head toward the car – “I am thirsty”. Okay I should be a good mom and grab him some water. As he puts his seatbelt on, he drops the seatbelt in the water. Instant disappointment, he whines – “I need a new cup of water this one is now filled with germs” I know getting a new cup of water will be easier. Another learning moment for me and him – do I let him deal with life’s consequences or get him another glass. Ugh – I feel it – that switch of anger and frustration bubbling inside, it grabs me. I slam the car in park, I yell that “he is being a pain” and now I am inside refilling the glass due to instant fear he will be dehydrated all day.

We are all set to go – 7:47am. Hopefully there is no traffic. We head over lake on the bridge, I feel it looming, the mommy guilt of my frustration and yelling. I feel the need to apologize, so I do, he looks puzzled, he has clearly moved on emotionally and quite happy with his fresh water and watching the morning buzz.

We get to the school, he heads out of the car toward his classroom, distracted by the surrounding courtyard, he is not watching where he is going and bumps his head into pole as he approaches the classroom. I am trapped in the carpool lane and can only hope someone will help him, he disappears in the classroom and now I sit and wait back at home, with dirty breakfast dishes, unmade beds and moving boxes of unwanted papers and knick knacks, for 3:15pm to know he is okay. I am hoping that since my phone never rang, he is good.

Now this is the part of the day I am supposed to prioritize with productive positive energy - organizing, cooking, making beds and smiling happily through the freedom of not working, not having a schedule but pretending to have it all together - ha!   Maybe I should just sit, relax and have another cup of tea…..and look forward to hearing the highs and lows of my son and husband’s day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Once again I will start out by apologizing I have not written in a long time. Although I am not really sorry, I just feel obligated to say I am sorry! Some carry over from childhood where I try to please everyone....but anyway still trying to outgrow that one. I have been busy with normal life and any free moment I have, the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer honestly!

I am so glad it is spring time, despite the abnormal amount of pollen it is so refreshing. The winter flowers were very happy at Easter so I will post a few pics tonight and the shrubs from last year are super happy and look wonderful.

So this year, my husband and I decided we will plant our own annuals ourselves, to get some exercise and hopefully enjoyment out of it. We have only done the two smaller of our five annual beds but we were very proud of ourselves! Reminded me of when we had little projects to do around the house, actually had time and gave use something other than work to focus on and to be proud of.

On the mommy front, we have now entered the three year old phase. A whole new ballgame, super fun because we can ride bikes, throw balls, and now join soccer lessons. However, I now understand why it is so easy to loose touch with your friends when they have children. The reality is children control your life! I am not complaining it has just taken me three years to adjust, and I am still not adjusted to the reality that I am no longer in control of my schedule. I remember working with mom's on projects way back when and I was always amazed at their ability to look at issues for what they were, small obstacles that would pass or change with time, no need to panic and have a fit (as I would always do). I so get it now. One minute Nicholas can be a mess, which translates to I am a mess and then the next he can be smiling. I am slowly learning to breathe when that little voice in me says, I am about to loose it. SLOWLY learning is the keyword here.

The book I have titled, "I was a good mom until I had children" sums up everything these days. Let's just say visions of me calmly talking to my child have been replaced with a constant, "Are you using your listening ears..", "Please don't touch that...", "I am going to count to three and if..." (I honestly wonder what will happen if I get to three, not sure yet but this one works everytime) An independent three year old and a bossy mom are not exactly always on the same wavelength. Thank God my husband is a patient person, otherwise our house would implode and we would be on the Saturday night news. I just have to keep reminding myself, "I am not 3 years old, therefore I do not have to respond as thougth I am 3"

So not much is going on here, Richard is in Key Largo for work (where I think I should be), Nicholas has been sick for a week and I am VERY ready for him to return to school tomorrow.

Hope all is well with everyone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can you believe???

Can you believe that my last post was in November? Well many of you will say yes, because many of you have sent me notes asking when I will be updating my blog again. Well our lives have been one whirlwind after another since November. I probably slowed down on the blog the moment I found out that we were requested to have my husband's team over for a holiday party in early December and yes I immediately panicked. I distinctly remember the conversation in July -

Me: "Honey, will you be wanting to have your team over for a holiday party this year?"
Him: "No, I don't think so"

Fast forward, late November,
Him: "Oh my team wants to have the holiday party here, can you make it happen?"
Me: "Oh sure, I love planning parties for forty people with no Christmas decorations on hand with three weeks notice. Let's ignore my other committments: twelve reindeer shirts to make for my son's preschool class, a job that seems to think December is a good month for deadlines, and a two year old - (smile real big)."

See the funny thing is even though we have been together twelve years, we have never really invested in Christmas Decorations. When we were in Houston I guess we were just lazy, in London, we came home for Christmas so no need, and when we moved here, we made sure we had stuff for the outside, a big lighted tree to put in the front window with no ornaments - so from the outside it looked great. We always head home to Texas in mid December so once again no need for decorations. So really when I was asked to accomplish the impossibe the big smile I described earlier was really, YEAH - I HAVE AN EXCUSE TO GO CRAZY. Any mention of budget and the response was well if I had time to bargain hunt then that may work but I only have three weeks....The party turned out wonderful. I love parties and I will never turn down an opportuntiy to plan a party! And the best treat of all - my husband agreed to put lights on the three VERY TALL holly trees out front of the house. (He finally agreed to doing this himself after I had a quote for some $950 to do this, that is crazy - who on earth would pay that?)

So the reindeer shirt was another good one, let's just say going to Michael's approximately 20 times within a three week time period was interesting. My design was totally flawed and had too many linear parts. They turned out cute and in the end the Christmas Parade was wonderful.

Then we were off to Texas for the holidays, great trip but call me if you wish to discuss details about the family - that is another blog entirely in and of itself!

We shipped all of Nicholas's gifts to NC and they arrived today. He was so excited to get his new toys to add to his already overflowing toy room. It needs a serious clean out but I discovered last night that this will need to occur when he is not looking. I picked up a toy that he has not touched in six months, made the mistake of saying "Nicholas I think I am going to give this away."

"NOOOOOOOOO, Nicholas wants to play with that." My son still speaks in the third person, which is so cute. And he has evidently inherited the pack rat gene from my mother.

Well I do have lots in my head to write about for future blogs but I am hungry, so Happy New Year and we will be speaking soon! Ali looks to be having fun in Bangkok or Cambodia so be sure to check her blog out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting back to Normal

Well we have officially been home for six days now. I am finally getting back into the grove. I really cannot understand how I travelled for six years non-stop and did not skip a beat. Now I travel and I feel like I need a month to recover. I have become very set in my routine and when it changes I panic, really weird feeling. It has been raining non-stop since Monday and it is getting cold. I really need to get my fireplace fixed, by fixed I mean I need it to have a remote control so I can turn it on and off. It has some really complicated contraption that requires six hands to actually turn it on, so that means we do not use it.

I am happy to say upon my return, the grass has started to fill in again and looks like it is coming to life, that is of course the grass I can see past all the leaves. I decided to buy two new cast stone planters for the porch that will contain my winter plants, the lady of palms have to come inside for the winter. Well Richard had to help me get them out of the car yesterday, by help I mean he had to do it and I had to stand there and look important. They were so heavy they made it all the way out of the car onto the floor in the garage and there they sit waiting for someone to do something. Considering each one weighs more than me, that someone will not be me. I was really sad that I missed my favorite tree turning bright yellow and then dropping it's leaves while I was gone. Good thing the Japanese Maple has not turned bright red yet, that is amazing to watch.

This week Nicholas and I have had fun entertaining each other. Before I started working again, he and I would spend lots of time working on letters, colors and shapes - poor child I was determined he had to know his letters before he could speak. We have really managed to get out of the practice of doing these types of things together with our new schedule. This week we have spent quite a few nights looking at his picture books again and he is now in the mode of spelling out the letters to make the word that is in the picture. He seems to really like the word Yak and wanted the long haired goat in the book to be a yak and he wanted the camel to be yak but I had to explain that these were not Yak's. He is also really into the silliness of the Dr.Seuss books, he laughs so hard at half of the pages, it is absolutely the most fun thing be with him when he is laughing so hard he can hardly breath. When he was about 20 months he loved the book, "Hop on Pop" so much that he had memorized all the words and I had to hide it because if I read it one more time I was going to scream. Well tonight I found it and got it out, I was really sad to realize that he did not seem to remember the name of it. This is unusual for him, he remembers the name of every book he reads. But the good news is it did not take him long and he was laughing up a storm at that fact the the Cup was on the Pup and that Pat was sitting on a Cat and that Ned's hair was Red. Not sure what was funny but he was seriously enjoying this.

I am currently waiting for Richard to return from his day trip to Toronto, can you believe it is only a two hour trip to Canada - amazing. Last night we went to see "Men that Stare at Goats" or something like that, okay it was a really silly movie but kind of entertaining I guess. That was the first movie we had seen in a really long time, we are so lame, our big plan was to do dinner and a movie, but this was derailed because I had basically told my husband that if he did not get a flu shot, he was no longer allowed in the house. So he had to take a side trip on the way home from work to get that, I was on the phone when he got home deep in some very important conversation about preschool parties, we only made it through the movie and both of us decided we were too tired for dinner, so we came home.

Well I am looking forward to the weekend, I wonder what Ali is up to...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I am so behind....

I feel incredibly guilty because I have not been keeping everyone updated but it has been a busy few weeks. So let's see the last blog was about potty training day 1. Well Potty Training Day 2 through Day X went pretty well, we stayed inside and went to the potty every thirty minutes, so no accidents - Yeah Nicholas! He went to school for a few days wearing big boy pants and did pretty good.

Fast forward - blame it on me the horrible mom, we went on a trip to the mountains and convincing Richard that we must stop every thirty minutes for Nicholas to potty was not going to happen, so we are now back in pull ups. We have a trip planned to Texas next week so when we get back we will try again. Everyone loves to criticise the diaper industry for pushing products that prolong children's use of diapers, but I gotta give them kuddos on pull ups!

We went on a fabulous mountain trip last weekend to the smokies. It rained for the first few days and the last two days were absolutely perfect. My husband's father and step mother were with us. We rented a cabin, toured around the Great Smoky Mtn Park and it was great! We saw a cub and it's mother, a 14-point dear (which all the deer hunters of our trip were in awe of - me I just thought it was neat because they thought it was neat), some snow and ice and had a great fire at the cabin - wonderful.

A few months ago Richard and I decided that we would start this new phenomenon called "date night". I find this an interesting concept that really illustrates how ridiculous life has become. Anyway our date night is Wednesday night and we were both pleasantly surprised that it has been kind of fun and gives us a sense of a break leading up to the weekend. However, Richard is out of town this week so I went on date night with my friends. We had a great time, we saw the movie "Julie and Julia" which was really cute and ironically about a modern day woman blogging and a housewife trying to fill up her time with something she is interested in - how relevant is that?

Well I had a great time and I somehow managed to get through my day without eating dinner so it is 10:00pm and I need to do that so I will write more soon. A few people keep wanting to know if I will ever post pics of the landscaping - yes I will one day.