Tuesday, February 28, 2012


...... I feel like I have this whole motherhood thing down pat.

This afternoon the kids and I were playing outside when Anna declared that she needed to run into the house to get something.

It took her forever to come back out.

I went in to check on her and this is what I found....

Anna had noticed that there were some dirty dishes from their afternoon snack and took it upon herself to pull up a chair, fill the sink with soapy water and start to cleaning.

I was shocked when she said, "Hello Mommy!  I'm cleaning for you!" as I walked in the back door.

She actually cleaned all the dishes, dried them and put them away.

Warm Tuesday Ramblings

As I sit here watching Anna "cook" me some dinner on her little play kitchen, the sun shinning through the windows warming my arms, I am getting rather excited about the spring

I love the excitement of waking up to sunshine!

I can always find SOMETHING to do outside.

Manual labor outside is my favorite.

I could seriously spend all day outside cutting trees and picking up limbs and be so so so happy.

I have had to force Roger to let ME be the one to tend to the yard.

I love cutting grass!

This spring our front and back porch need some tender love and care.
The front porch is peeling really bad and the back porch looks VERY thirsty.

I keep looking out the window, anxiously awaiting the day that I get to start the prep work.

We have a few more trees to cut down in the back yard.

When we moved in there was a small growth forest in the back.

Totally not kidding.

We have cut so many trees down and there are still more to cut.

Our back yard needs some major landscape.

I have no clue how to go about landscaping but I'm hoping to learn a little bit this year.

For starters I need to goggle GRASS.  Our back yard consists of weeds, mud and old rotten walnuts. 

I'm pretty excited about all the possibilities!

It is going to be a slow process but a process that I will thoroughly enjoy.

I know we don;t live on a farm and it will be a long time before we do, but every time I walk out our kitchen door to check on the kids playing in the yard, I feel as if we do. 

I love this old house!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Suitcase Full of Stories

Nothing prepares you for those two pink lines. They appeared as soon as my urine hit the stick. I thought I would at least get three minutes to wait it out. The instructions promised three agonizing minutes, right? I heard my husband of six months walking towards the bathroom, I locked the door, “Go away.” When I didn't respond to his knocking he got the picture, we were going to have a baby.

It was November 2004, our sophomore year of college. In May of that year I had gone ahead and married my childhood friend, Roger, whom I met in the fourth grade, became best friends with and at fifteen started dating. There we sat, just six months later, with a bathroom door between us, scared shitless because of two pink lines. When I finally emerged from my cave of sorrows I was welcomed into a candle lit room by a tearful husband who embraced me with the words “we can do this. It's going to be ok.”

One of the promises that Roger and I made to one another when we decided to get married young, was that we wouldn't become that newly married couple that locks themselves away from the world. We both still wanted to have active college lives. He was a part of a local fraternity on campus and I was a member of a small sorority. But now we were getting ready to throw a baby in the mix. Forget our social lives, would we even be able to graduate?

The summer of 2005 was sticky hot. I was great with child. Class was set to start back in Mid August. With each stretch mark came a new anxiety. How would our lives change when this little person inside my womb was placed in our arms?

At that time we were living in a small house behind Roger's fraternity house, that the college owned. It was a small, thin house. . It was falling down around us. From the outside the house appeared to be condemned, but inside those old windows, under that leaking roof, lived a young couple anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child.

One evening we ordered a pizza without explaining on the phone that the delivery guy would need to come around to the back door. Our porch had fallen off of the front. We had informed the college of the porch's condition. They only came and removed it; leaving caution tape in it's place. When the door bell rang we opened the front door to find a very confused looking delivery guy standing in the hole that used to be our front porch. “Man, I thought someone was playing a prank on me.”

On another night I walked back from the library with books on my back and an infant strapped to my chest. At the back door I was met by a family of racoons. They hissed at me and I had to wait until they left before I could get in the house. Those things are mean. We later found out that they had taken up residents in our attic. At night we would hear them falling between the walls. When cooking dinner we could see their little paws poking through the light fixtures in the kitchen.

Going to college with a baby was challenging, but we did our best to have fun with it. Our little boy became our side kick and a bonafide member of the campus community. We were embraced and loved by professors who would rock our infant son during lectures, cafeteria workers that found an old high chair for him to sit in, and fraternity brothers who insisted that the baby be stripped down to his diaper to participate in a fraternity boxer run.

When we walked across the campus lawn to receive our rolled up bachelors degrees our two year old son watched from his grandparents' arms. We didn't feel as If we had missed out on college life at all. We had a whole suitcase full of interesting stories and forever friendships, not only for ourselves but for our little boy who graduated himself that day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Silent Simple Contentment

Paul didn't have school this morning.  It was SUPER nice not having to get up really early to get 2 children and myself ready and out the door at an ungodly hour. 
 We got to sleep in until 7:30!!!!  
well, that was after I demanded that they both go back to bed after waking up at 6am.
Paul had gotten scared, ran down the stairs yelling and woke his sister up.

 Poor Roger still had to get up super early though.  He has class all the way in Georgetown (2 hours away) twice a week.  It sucks.  The gas prices are a pain in the BUTT. 
I hate that he has to spend 8 hours a week driving to and from class.

This morning the kids were super! 
Roger and I managed to get them both to bed on time last night so they were both well rested and ready to play, sort of kind of, nicely together.  
Let's be honest, they're siblings, they fight all the time, over little stupid things.
This morning however, the arguments didn't get too massive and they managed to end them among themselves, not running to me every five seconds.
They did manage to put a hole in the wall upstairs.  But that's for another blog post. 
Short version, they were pretending to be builders.
Lord Have Mercy.

I spent the morning doing the usual: straitening up, making the beds, washing the dishes, cleaning up after breakfast and bathing myself.  
I had the kids help me with the meal planning since THEY NEVER WANT TO EAT ANYTHING I MAKE THEM. 
We worked together making a massive grocery list, then went shopping.   

Grocery shopping with 2 very opinionated and hyper children can be a bit of a challenge but I had my game face on, my momma shoes laced up and a plan.  
I made the shopping a game for the kids.."who can find the green pepper?  Ok, great!  do you see tomato sauce?  Paul, see if you can pick up the gallon of milk. boy oh boy, you are STRONG! Anna, can you grab me some cheese?"

It got a little nuts when Anna decided that it would be HILARIOUS if she took the cart from me and took off running down the aisle.   No worries, I can run faster than she can, for now.  Paul thought it was so hysterical that his little sister took off running with the grocery cart, that he threw himself in the floor laughing.  
In the end I had to laugh too, after apologizing to the woman that Anna plowed over with the grocery cart. 
I hope she didn't know who I was. 
She might spread rumors like "oh my goodness, did you hear, the pastor's Daughter ran me over with a grocery cart. Yes she sure did. And that wife of his, she just laughed and laughed. I'm telling you now, I am never stepping foot in THAT church." 

After unloading the groceries from the car and putting them away, the kids and I decided it was too pretty of a day to spend in doors.  
We packed up and headed to the Zoo! 

We have a family membership there since it is so close.  
The zoo always makes for a wonderful spontaneous adventure.  

We grabbed some hamburgers to eat on the way.

The Zoo was fabulous!  
I love going during random times, like in the middle of February, when there is NO ONE there.  
We walked along slowly enjoying the peacefulness of the day, laughing at the crazy polar bear cube, soaking up the sun.  
The best part of the day was when my daughter looked up at me, smiling really big, and said "mom, you are so precious!"   
Paul and Anna get so excited about going to the Zoo, our Zoo, and checking up on our animals.  
Paul and I enjoy daydreaming about being Zoo Keepers.

Now we are home, Roger still hasn't made it back from class yet, the kids are in that good and tired state. I have dinner on the stove.  
This day has been full of those moments that I wish I could capture. 
Those rare moments that are so full of silent simple contentment.  

A day for which I can't help but be grateful!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It. Is. Chemical

I write this post in clarity, knowing that this is a hard thing for people to talk about while they are in the midst of it and a tough topic to even bring up in the company of friends, let alone through a blog post. But I feel the need to make my situation public so that I will then be forced to do something about it.  For years I have tried, with little results, to use specific coping skills that I have picked up along the way, trying desperately to avoid the inevitable.

But alas, I have reached that breaking point, that ultimate low that tends to come and go every month, and this time I have had enough, I just can't stand to go on living life fighting to come up for air, with that overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

My husband has finally convinced me, yes ME, the chick who is pursuing a career in pastoral counseling, the girl who has a BA degree in psychology and worked 2 years in a state run psychiatric facility, to seek professional help.  I guess it gets the best of us, that awfulness called anxiety and depression.

 I have tried therapist after therapist and even couples therapy, but nothing has really helped.   I have tried all kinds of coping skills like limiting caffeine, running, vitamin supplements, meditation/prayer, journalling.........   but nothing seems to really help during that very low low point that comes every single month, for 2 whole weeks.  It is exhausting, frustrating and numbing.

So, here I sit, with my husband by my side (he is literally sitting right beside me as I type this) making this struggle public, putting a face to this awful condition of anxiety and depression, telling you all who take time out of your day to read this, that I have finally decided to get help.  Go figure, the girl who believes so much in anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressiants to help others, has been so apprehensive to try them on herself. I guess I have just been hoping this whole time that I could take control of this condition on my own, but I can't, it's chemical.  It. Is. Chemical.  

I am so nervous about what THIS means, this decision to go public with something so private, this decision to step into a psychiatric office, this decision to take medicine for something I have been struggling with for so long.  A part of me feels like a failure. Somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like a failure if I "give up" and take medicine for this condition.

While explaining this sense of failure to my husband (he is such a wonderful person), he grabbed me by both shoulders and gave me a light playful shake.... 
"Jessica, you have an iron deficiency right?  and a vitamin D deficiency right?  And you take medicine for both of those things right?  To help you feel better, right?  And they make you feel better, am I right?   Does that make you a failure if you are low in iron and have to take an iron pill?  NO!  No, it doesn't.  So, how is this any different?  You have a chemical imbalance and there is medicine to HELP YOU with that. To HELP YOU Jessica."

There ya go, I have finally decided to look into finding me a psychiatrist. I am making this public so that I won't chicken out when I start feeling better in a few days.  That's how depression goes, it comes in waves, around the same time of the month, then slowly, after about 2 weeks, slips away, leaving me EXTREMELY HAPPY yet confused.   It's only during the end of the depressive episode that I have enough pain and enough clarity to know that THIS isn't normal. During my happy days I forget how awful the awfulness was and is, and during the really low points I don't have enough clarity to really KNOW what is going on.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oh no you didn't

This afternoon the kids were exhibiting some MAJOR cabin fever so I decided to take them up to the park to run off some steam, even though it was FREEZING outside.  I figured about 15min in the chilly air would do them good, do me good too.

Right before we were getting ready to leave the park, a little before dusk, three teenagers walked into the play area.  It always gets on my nerves when teenagers claim the city park as their hang out because inevitable something gets broken.

My plans for the evening were to drop the kids off at church with Roger, where they were having a big pot luck, and head to the fitness center.  I gotta get the alone time when I can so I was super excited about getting 2 whole hours of guilt free gym time. ( I LOVE THE GYM).   As I was walking Anna into church I noticed that she didn't have her little fur real pet dog that she had carried to the park.  "oh no, she must have left it at the park."  I didn't mention it to her and instead, once I handed the kids off to Roger,  immediately drove back to the park to get it.

When I pulled up I noticed 3 teenage boys standing in a circle kicking something.  My heart sunk.  I parked the car illegally, jumped out and began to run as fast as I could towards the teenagers.  They of course took off running, leaving my precious little girls toy, broken on the cold, wet, mulch.  I was EXTREMELY MAD.

 I grabbed the little play dog that Anna loves so much, that was now very much broken and took off running after the boys.  You just don't mess with a pissed off mom.

As I ran I yelled mom lessons towards them.  Once I caught up with them under the picnic shelter I gave them a good ol' fashion pissed off Momma scolding.

In retrospect maybe it wasn't such a good idea to chase teenage boys through a dark park, alone.  Three of them, one of me.

When I got to the gym I went strong for 50 min and had to force myself off of the treadmill. I was that worked up about annoying, inconsiderate people. I'm just so incredibly tired of having to deal with them at the moment.  I guess I took a little of my frustration from having our house broken into and our pipes stolen, out on the boys.  Walking up to find them standing in a circle kicking my daughters favorite toy, breaking it, was my tipping point.

I'm not sorry for what I said to them though.  nope, I'm sure not. And I am not sorry for chasing them like a crazy woman through the park.  They NEEDED a little momma scolding.  

Genetics, Bison and Long Haired Hippies

My Mother-in-Law claims that Paul is very much like Roger was when he was a small child.
My Mother, although she didn't meet Roger until he was in the 4th grade, agrees.
Paul is NOTHING like me, that's Anna.

I have been told that as a child my husband was quite an insightful little boy, that he loved learning and spent hours and hours sitting in the middle of his room playing with legos.
That description of my Husband sounds so much like our son.
Paul is a little carbon copy of Roger.
(Minus his love of sports and athletic ability. He gets THAT from me.)

This morning Paul came running down the steps with so much enthusiasm, "Mom! Did you know the America Bison is near extinction?"   He then went on to explain the reason for this and what we humans are doing and need to be doing to help the Bison.

Everyday with my son is like this.
He is always walking around stating some sort of fact that he has picked up from somewhere.
My Mom got him this Leap Frog map that has a pen that goes along with it. When you touch the pen to the map, the pen talks, telling you about that specific region.  
He adores it!
I am amazed at how much information he has been able to retain.

While I was blow drying his hair this afternoon he asked me if he could grow his hair long.
I laughed a bit.
You see, Roger spent the majority of his life with long hair.
It's just been in the past few years that Roger has cut his hair and kept it short.

I told Paul that if he really wanted to that I would allow him to grow it out.

Genetics, they are so funny aren't they?

Ps: last night I fell asleep at the dinner table.....

.....and my lovely husband snapped this picture before waking me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All you can do is laugh....

...... when things in life get so ridiculously CRAZY.  
And I do mean CRAZY.  Not crazy HA HA but like CRAZY "oh my gosh seriously?" 

This morning before heading off to work (I worked my first full day as a substitute) the dog threw up a BIG ol' ball of something in the middle of the floor.

When I got into the car, ready to pull out, I noticed that we were just about out of gas. And I do mean out of gas.  The needle was BELOW the red mark.

Roger dropped Paul off on his way out of town so all I had to do before work was drop Anna off at the sitters, oh and swing by the nearest gas station.
When I got to the gas station the card reader WOULD NOT WORK.
I scanned and scanned and scanned until I finally gave up,  having to pay inside the gas station.

This afternoon as I was talking to a good friend on the phone, Anna came over and sat down in my lap.
All of a sudden she screamed out "I POOPED ON MYSELF."
I looked down to a massive mess of diarrhea all over the back side of Anna and all down my arm.
Don't worry, I'm used to the whole poop thing by now, 6 years of parenthood plus 2 years working in a mental hospital, humm yeah, I can deal with poo.
So, I calmly got off of the phone, shewed away the dog who thought... "HEAVEN!!!" and started to cleaning.

Thankfully Anna made it to the toilet for the next explosion but in doing so clogged the toilet up.
So, there I was, Anna in the bathtub getting cleaned up, me bent over the toilet, plunger in hand, Paul standing at the bathroom door holding onto the dog for dear life, when the door bell rings.

I started to laugh sooooo hard.

It ended up being one of our good friends from church bringing us over a bread starter that we had asked for.  In the back of my mind I was thinking "bless you!  bless you!!"  I LOVE the amish friendship bread!!!   However, he probably just saw a crazy looking smiling mother,  with a dog in her hand, a child yelling from the bathroom and was wondering why he smelt the nasty sent of fresh preschool poo.   

This afternoon was so comical that I was pretty chill.  Chill as if I had been smoking some good weed.  Although, I have never smoked MJ before. 
I can only imagine that the feeling that I had at that moment was similar to the effect of MJ.  
I was laughing, I smelled bad and all I wanted to do was EAT some amish friendship bread.

While Anna soaked in the tub I took the dog out to pee.
When I returned I found a bathroom COVERED in lavender baby shampoo.


Anna is old enough to know better, but STILL if I forget to take the soap out of the bath, away from her, she pours it EVERYWHERE.

On top of all of this craziness, this craziness that I am amazed at how well I have been able to handle, I have had in the back of my mind what Roger and I discovered yesterday.
Oh, yesterday, Monday, how I hate thee.

Yesterday Roger went to our other house, the house that we are trying to sell, the house that we have been trying to sell for 2 years now,  to check on it.  Roger decided to go over after class since he was already in that area.  The house that we are trying to sell is a 4 hour round trip from the house that we currently live in, and yes, own.  Because of that, we try to check on it any time we are in the area.  
(YAY 2 house PAYMENT!! ) 

When Roger got to the house he found that there was no water.  Assuming that he had shut it off before we left, he climbed under the house to look for the switch and that is when he noticed the awful, terribleness and the day turned into an awful, no good, VERY bad day. 

Someone had broken into our home and had cut out ALL of our pipes.

Roger couldn't find the water valve because the water valve had been stolen, along with all the copper pipes.


And apparently our air conditioner had been cut up. Looks as if they were in the process of stealing that but got scared away.


Of coarse he called the police, had a report filed and contacted our insurance company, all before driving the 2 hours back home to tell me.

My first reaction was... SERIOUSLY... then it was a tad bit of anger, and a WHOLE LOT of discouragement followed. We stood in the kitchen, Roger and I, holding one another, as we both cried so hard our bodies shook.
Now what?

When I was a little girl I always had this dream of building a house in the corner of the family farm, way back in the back near the fence line, where this beautiful old tree sits.  I used to drive the tractor back there, Papal's old red tractor,  park it, and day dream about having a little family of my own.  I knew living there on the farm would give me the security that my family would be near by.  They all live either really close to the farm or right on the farm.
I envisioned my children having the same adventurous upbringing that I had.
I envisioned them exploring the same fields, hills and trees that I did.
 I would watch them from my front porch, near the fence line, right beside that old beautiful tree, surrounded by family.

Clearly that didn't happen.  I fell in love, got married and moved away.

It's when things like this, getting my pipes stolen, happen, that I learn that no matter how far away I move, my family will always be there for me. 
When my cousins and uncles found out about what happened they were immediately offering up their labor skills.  Offering to drive all the way up here to fix our house themselves 


So, in the next few days, my family pack will be descending upon our home in a labor of love, to replace our stolen pipes!

I just LOVE my massive family!

Roger and I could not be more grateful!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Too Shall Pass?

There is one of me and 2 of them.  
I am exhausted.  I am totally burnt out at the moment.  
I'm to that burnt out point where their cute little voices are annoying the heck out of me.  
I actually told Anna no when she asked me to play Cinderella with here.  I usually agree to be the evil step mother and give her crazy chores to do around the house, speaking to her in a over the top mean voice, but I just can't muster up the energy this afternoon to play that part.

She decided to play it anyway.

Like every single mother in the world, I am sure I'm not alone in feeling guilty for comparing my children's voices to ice picks stabbing into my brain.   "hey mommy. hey mommy. hey mommy."  followed by a long sentence about how the other sibling it bothering them, is driving me nuts.   Right now, as I type this, they are standing behind my chair playing imaginative play VERY LOUDLY.  They are pretended they are dog catches. I am the dog.   The super tired, really annoyed dog, that doesn't want to be caught.

They just got tired of pretending that I am the dog and are now chasing the real dog (Jimmy) through the house.  The noise level is deafening.  I just asked them, from my perch on the couch, to stop.  

I try to go other places in the house to find some peace but, being my biggest fans, they follow me, insisting that they be within an arms reach of me.  I thought at 6 and almost 4 years of age that this baby tendency would go away.  So far, it hasn't and it is so annoying at times. 

The dog is even in on it.

Last night when we got home I was so beat up from the yelling and screaming from P and A that I locked myself in the bathroom.  I poured myself a hot bubble bath, using the lavender baby shampoo for my bubbles of course, placed a folded towel behind my head and fell asleep in the nice hot water.   Roger, finding me passed out in the tub, took the hint and put the kids to bed all by himself.

This too shall pass?

I am an introverted person.  I thrive on alone time.  Often my days are full of nonstop childhood chatter. After days and days and DAYS of that, I start to completely loose my mind and fantasize about running away.  Just running out the door with my tooth brush, knitting supplies and a few of my favorite books. 

I start looking up how much old airstreams go for.

I always feel so awful for having these feelings even though I KNOW most parents experience these same thoughts off and on.  It is so taboo to talk about it though isn't it?  Especially in the company of those who are trying, without luck, to have a small child of their own.  For those who have yet to experience the child who decides it is a good idea to poop in the driveway(click), or the child who decorates the new flat screen TV with a sharpie, or the child that talks NONSTOP 24/7, I guess it would be easy to think children are always bundles of joy and to get mad when those whom have them start complaining about them.  

In all honesty, that's not the stuff that REALLY annoys me.  Those things kinda make me giggle. I realize kids do things while growing up that is a bit nuts so I went into this whole parenthood thing kind of expecting that, looking forward to that.   The thing that I was NOT prepared for is my brain having to constantly be on. Having to always have my eyes and ears WIDE open for the specific noises of my children. The demanding responsibility of raising 2 children so close in age.  The constant redirection. The work that I have to do in order to be able to simply go to the bathroom without a child standing at the door talking.   I guess I was a naive 20 year old?

Once again, I feel like such an awful person for even complaining about this.  Most of the time I am so incredibly grateful for their really loud little noises that fill our home. 

At the end of the week my senses become overwhelmed.  
I start feeling stuck.  A bird locked in a cage "GET ME OUT OF HERE."

This too shall pass?

Yes, this too shall pass. 

 I know that in a few years, when I am sitting by the hospital bed of a grieving family*, that I will look back on this precious time (and not so precious time) in my life that my one and only job was to be their mother and a supportive wife to their father.  That small little thought helps me get through the days when all I want to do is run away.

*I'll be heading back to seminary to work on my Master of Divinity in pastoral care and counseling in order to someday in the near future  work as a Pediatric Hospital Chaplain. 

This isn't the ONLY reason why I LOVE my husband.

While I was at the library he snuck over and put  flowers my car.
When I got home he had the wine waiting for me.

In the words of my late grandfather, "He's a good little feller, now isn't he!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


So I mentioned a few blogs back that I was searching for a job.  
A job other than the full time job that I currently have.  
A job other than tending to children, the laundry, the house, helping out at the church and making sure Roger has a sane spouse to bounce ideas off of.

For some reason I have decided to start a LOT of new things all at once.

For starters, we got a dog.  That's new.  It has been a bit of a transition.  It's kinda like taking care of a 3rd child except that I can put the little feller in a crate and LEAVE.  

Our church just started a Teen MOPS that I have been made codirector of.  My job is to lead the small groups and devotionals and help recruit speakers and of course, Teen Mothers in the community.

On top of those two new things, today was my first day of my actual paying job as a substitute teacher.
Oh yeah, did I tell ya I was hired on to be a sub?
I'll be working twice a week in the school system.
Today I got called into the elementary school.
Although I had more children to tend to than I usually do when I am home with Anna and Paul, it was MUCH EASIER than having to tend to Anna and Paul!
You're own children are always the hardest.

It was also less lonely.
When you're a SAHM you are the only one  tending to the children. In the school system you are surrounded by OTHER adults. For  some reason that small fact really helped make for a happier ME.

Subbing was such a delightful break from the full time mom job.
I enjoyed the change up from the same ol' same ol'
And I really enjoyed helping teach.
Kids are just so funny and most of the time, incredibly sweet!

I'm thinking all of this new stuff going on in my life is pretty awesome.  
  I get to live out all of my passions at once.
It just so happens that one of those passions I get payed the green stuff for doing it!
that's pretty sweet!
The other one I get to enjoy watching my children grow and the other one I get to meet some pretty awesome teen moms and hear their stories!

Oh, and did I mention, Roger is in his LAST semester of his 90hr masters degree program?!?
That not only means that we are planning a MASSIVE graduation party for him in May but that I start back to seminary NEXT August.
How strange is that?
Time sure does fly by doesn't it?
Before we know it we will BOTH  be licensed pastoral counselors!

I am so incredibly happy right now!

Life it just too sweet!

Now off to the gym while the kids are at church.
(sometimes the pastor's wife gets to skip wednesday night.   right?!?!)