Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the moment i realized his bachelor's degree wasn't just a waste of time.

hi.

let me paint a picture for you.

you're driving along, in the middle of nowhere, arizona.

listening to some good tunes, enjoying the road trip with your husband and two kiddos. the A/C is blowing your hair in a fantastic supermodel head-shot kind of way. you've just enjoyed some chocolate and a swig from your water bottle. you lean your head back against your seat, close your eyes and are letting the lyrics of a familiar tune take you away...

when suddenly
from the backseat, your 5 year old says,

"mom! i need to go poop!"

your head snaps up from its resting place and whips around to survey the situation.

"well buddy," you say calmly and with a twinge of hope in your voice, "we'll get off at the next exit. you're going to need to hold it for a minute or two."

and you hear the unfortunate reply,

"but i caaaaan't!"

quickly losing the twinge of hope, you then attempt the firm, there-is-no-other-option-so-you'd-better-just-hold-it-voice {also at the same time trying to channel a motivational speaker},

"HEY. you can do this, buddy. tell your body to listen to you. you are in control. mind over matter. we'll get there as soon as we can. come on, give it a try."

and you watch as your son squeezes his eyes shut in concentration. only to see a second later those same eyes pop back open as his rear end starts to raise off of his chair.

"it's not WORKING! my body is telling me that it needs to go poop NOW."

you and your husband steal worried glances at each other and realize the situation is dire.

so,

you see a small clearing off of the shoulder of the road.

your husband veers off immediately, tires screeching, and stops the car.

"what are we going to do?" you whisper with urgency in your voice. "hold his arms while he squats?"

and you can tell with the look that your husband gives you that there is no way he will volunteer for this job and you are going to be stuck with it.

not pleasant.

however, just in the nick of time, you are saved.

see, up until this point in your almost-8 year marriage, you have wondered when your husband's BA degree in recreation was ever going to serve useful in your combined life together. granted, he can roll up a sleeping bag quicker and tighter than most. he can recognize a poison oak rash from a mile away. he knows how to fashion a tourniquet out of twigs and twine and could probably survive several days if he were thrown to a barren wasteland bear grylls-style, partaking on only grubs, cactus meat and some random snake venom.

however, this was the time that...to reiterate...the degree became useful. to you.

your wilderness-savvy husband jumps out of the car and begins scouring the desert ground. you jump out and run around to rescue the 5 year old who now has beads of sweat forming on his forehead and is arching his back in an awkward position and lifting the edges of his t-shirt up and out of the way as if to say, watch out! this baby's going to blow!

you glance back at your fearless leader, wondering what in the world he is thinking and why in the world he is wasting so much time thinking it, when he yells out,

"this'll work!"

and you see that he's holding up two 3 foot sticks.

you might say that you roll your eyes in disappointment at his obvious fail. you realize that you're going to have to muster up the courage to do the hold-and-squat for your son without letting him see you dry heave when you see your husband then walk around to the trunk of the car and pull out the potty seat you have had in the back since this little adventure.

and suddenly you get it!

he is going to save the day!

you see this knight in bearded armor go behind a bush and start to dig a hole with one stick, then lay each stick down on both sides of the hole, and place the potty seat on top of the sticks.

then he turns around and with a triumphant grin says,

"wha-lah!"

and you don't care that his beard is now so long that it's starting to develop some serious curl, or that it's a thousand degrees outside, or that there is major dust in your eyes from the oncoming traffic breezing past you, or that your son still hasn't relieved himself.

you just want to make out with this miracle of a man standing before you.

and you stare at him with such admiration in your eyes that you're ready to renew your vows right there on the spot,

when you're quickly brought back to reality.

"MOM! its coming OUT!"

and you run to the strader-made porta potty and help get the little fella into the "go" position.

then, because you are an awesome mom, you take a picture.



or two.




until you're informed that he "needs his privacy" even though there is clearly none to be had. so you walk away.


meanwhile, these hooligans



decide to make the most of their time out of the car



and walk to the few surviving flowers in this climate to take pictures.








you join them for a minute, when you are called to return to duty to help "wipe" {a job no one wants to do}

and because you have been made acutely aware of the silver-dollar-sized black beetles



that seem to like the flowers as much as your daughter, you gratefully skip over to your son to assist him.

once it's all over with,

you are rewarded with a flower for being the best mom in all the world




and you smile.





and then plant on the mouth of your bearded wonder who put his degree to use today,

a reward of his very own.



********

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming....



to write a note
to paul, the concierge at our hotel.




dear paul,

you may think that your poofy hair
makes up for the fact

that we reserved and paid for
a king-sized bed

when instead you informed us
that "someone" made a mistake

and all that you had left was a room
with two double beds.

you also may think that giving us a 50% off coupon for breakfast tomorrow
might make you less of a douche

but

unfortunately for you,
it does not.

and,

your snide comment
made with your condescending eyebrows

when i explained to you that
it was our first night alone in over 5 years

and we probably wouldn't have another night away
for 5 years from now

and that a king-sized bed
is a luxury to us,

your snotty-toned reply was
"just push your beds together then. call it a superbed."

was not appreciated.

however,

we straders know how to make lemonade
out of your lemon-esque rudeness

and decided to take your advice.

so we present to you,

the superbed.



and paul, the adventures that ensued
you can take complete credit for.












thank you for your fabulous idea
though we must admit

that we still don't like you very much.

love,

L&B



p.s. just try that insensitive tone on us again and i will karate chop you like this



right on your poofy-haired head.




{i am taking a pause from the lies that bind us series while we are on a vacation in utah for a week. but rest assured, it will be finished.}

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the lies that bind us. {part 2.}



look at how good i am with the follow-through on this-to-be continued story!


you don't need to give me a pat on the back, i have just done that for myself. but thank you kindly for the offer.

{here's part 1 if you don't want to scroll down.}

so where were we? ah, yes....



there i was, 2 weeks before delivery time. experiencing nightly anxiety attacks about the upcoming prideandjoy that was about to spring forth.

after convincing myself that ben was going to make it all better for me, one day i got to hear these amazing words tumble from his mouth,

"i was offered a full-time, overnight graveyard job on the weekends. i think i'm going to take it."

and that, my friends, was when the protective walls i had built to shut out the panic attacks came crumbling down.

now, before you get all "what is the big deal here?" on me, let me just explain.

when ben and i had talked about him going to grad school, the adviser that was assigned to him told him that it was not a good idea to work while attending school. she said that the school highly recommended not doing it, because school in and of itself is full-time and extremely stressful. we made the decision that we were going to prioritize school, and we would have to live off of student loans.

but for those who have experienced the student life, you also know that it is extremely expensive. ben also picked an even more extremely expensive school to attend, for the basic reason that he would be able to finish it 2 years earlier than most programs. so we were entering into double the amount of student debt that most psychology Phd students were accruing.

also, because he was attending a private school, pell grants and stipends for living expenses were not offered. {to give you a breakdown: the student loan that we were given was for $33,000/yr. ben's school is $27,000/yr. that doesn't include books, or the extra prerequisites that he was taking to catch up for not getting his BA in psychology. so when it came down to it, we were actually in the hole the first 2 semesters.}

to top off all of this awesomness, the economy went kaput! about 1 month after he started school. so the grad plus loans we had applied for were suddenly cut in half. half! we were shocked, and completely broke.

since i was pregnant, we decided that we didn't really have much choice except to have ben look for a job and try to do both school and work.

however.

my understanding was that he was going to try to find something part-time that was during the day, in-between his classes and that he would be home to study at night.

i didn't have a car by this point in the game, and when he said that he was going to accept this full-time, overnight graveyard job, my analytical mind went to here:

1) he is going to be gone now not only almost all day, every day, but now every night and weekend too. and when he was home, he would need to be asleep. after talking through his schedule if he accepted the job, there was going to actually be about 24 hours twice a week where i was basically not going to be seeing him at all.

2) because of his crazy schedule & random locations, i knew that me pulling caleb & the newborn out of bed to take him to work at 10pm and then pick him up at 7am to drive him home and then back to class would not work. so i was going to be on my own, without a car, for 90% of the week.

3) we have no family close by. by this point i had a few friends, but knowing myself i knew that i would probably not have the gumption to ask for help from them if i needed it.

4) keep in mind that i was seriously anticipating a difficult newborn. sleepless nights, doctors appointments, and crying crying crying.

so, i did what any hormonal woman being told that her protective blanket is being ripped off of her would do....

i panicked.

now when i panic, i don't get weepy and high-strung or clingy and emotional,

i go into what ben kindly calls "business tone" and just speak really firmly and become rigid in my opinions.

"this isn't a good idea. i don't like it. i don't agree with it. you can't do it." i said, with my jaw set.

"what? why? we're insanely poor & we need the money." he answered, surprised that i was completely on the defense about a solution he had offered for our desperate situation.

"because," i answered. and since i couldn't bare to speak up about the anxiety i was feeling in my head about how i feared the thought of being left with a shrieking newborn all on my own, i tried different avenues to bring him to my side.

"what about your school? how are you going to function being sleep deprived? you can't get lower than a B or you fail the class and you'll have to re-take it. what about caleb? he needs his dad. what about your church calling? you're going to miss every sunday & will have to ask to be released. what about the new baby? you won't even know her. you'll miss all of those sweet moments in those first few months. they grow up fast, you know," i said all in one breath.

"i know, and those are good reasons, but i just don't know what else to do. we have no money, and i haven't been offered a daytime job yet. i can do my homework while i work, so that's a plus. we've been praying and praying for help and this is what has come up," ben replied gently.

deep down, i knew he was right. but i just couldn't do it. not on my own, not without him. i wasn't strong enough, i told myself.

"no! NO. i don't feel good about it. please don't do it. please. just trust me, something else will come up, i just know it," i began pleading.

and because he is ben, and loves me, and knows that i normally don't say "no" unless i feel strongly about something....he turned down the job.

i gave him a big hug and kiss, thanked him, took a deep breath and pulled back the security blanket to cover myself up.



6 weeks later.



leah was a little over a month old, and had proven herself to not be as difficult as caleb....but she was also no picnic. i know people say "all babies cry" and i get that. i'm no idiot, here. i don't expect newborns to just coo and squeak around when they want something or are upset.

however, our "little sweet pie" as caleb called her... was colicky. and there is a difference between a colicky child and one who cries like a normal baby should. i'm talking daily 10 hours of screaming with about four 20-minute naps during that time. her stomach growled constantly right after eating and we could tell that she wasn't just "crying like all babies cry" but there was something else.

{i wrote about it in the 2 week curse, exorcisms and stung guns, and losing the desire.}

gripe water and gas drops provided minimal relief. we swaddled, bathed, rocked, shushed, all of it. nothing really worked though. so we just hunkered down, and dealt with the situation.

i was so glad that ben was there with me through this and knew, just knew that the only way i was getting through it was with him.

not like i was doing great, by any means. but i was surviving. and even though this was hard, it was much easier than the first go-round we had with caleb.

it was at just this time, 6 weeks after the original conversation, that the bomb dropped again.

ben came to me and said,

"you remember that job that i turned down a couple of months ago? well they called me again and asked if i would re-consider taking the job. i know your concerns but now we're 6 weeks past that time and nothing else has come open as far as financial security. i feel strongly that i need to take it, and provide for our family."

i remember this night vividly.

because it was the night that set me up for what was going to be a long few months of my life. a few months that would cause me to spiral down, down down a sad path that i couldn't break free from until this january. it's what led me to seek help outside of myself and come to a more true place of honesty of discovering who i really was, and why i did the things that i did.

and most importantly, how to change what was broken inside to become better.

but that night, as ben and i discussed and re-discussed our differing opinions about taking the job, we came to a place where we just couldn't find common ground about the decision. ben and i have never been "fighters" in our marriage. we don't yell or call names or say cruel things, and before this night i couldn't even remember a time that we had left a situation still upset with each other. we just always seemed to be able to work out whatever it was, and end peacefully with no grudges or hurt feelings.

however, this time around, something was different. i was different.

you see, 6 weeks before this as i lay awake during those nights full of anxious thoughts, i had started on a very destructive pattern.

i had lied to myself.

and even worse, i truly believed the lie.

saying to myself the words "i. can. not. do. this. alone." was a complete lie. it was me being fearful and not wanting to go through what i had built up in my head that would be an absolutely overwhelming situation.

i was setting myself up for failure. telling myself that i was incompetent and not strong enough. i was afraid, and was so enveloped in that fear that i convinced myself that i was completely inadequate.

but the truth is, i could have done it. even on my own, without ben. because i was leaving out an important fact:

i am not, and never have been, alone.

i know that there is a God in heaven. i know that he knows who i am, and is mindful of me in every situation i am placed. i know that he loves me individually, and that he is with me.

and during those sleepless nights i had forgotten what i knew. what i have known for many years. and the fear crept around my heart and took a hold of it and lied and was so convincing that my faith began to tremble and wither.

the seeds had been planted.

meanwhile, as the 6 weeks were passing, i was still convincing myself that i could not have made it this far without ben. and even though i know now that that isn't true, i didn't then.

that night as ben and i went around and around the subject of taking the job, we finally reached a conclusion.

i told him that i didn't agree with his decision, but that i knew what he was trying to do was the right thing, and i would support him as he accepted the job.

but.

i lied to him too.

deep down, i knew i didn't support him. i knew that i wouldn't be able to play the role of "the happy wife" who is stuck at home all week long by herself and a screaming baby, and a 4 year old who was adjusting to not only a new sister...but a screaming new sister.

and that was when the biggest lie of all popped into my head, and i couldn't get it to leave.

"if ben loved you as much as he says he does, he wouldn't take this job. he would know how hard this is going to be on you and he would realize that, if he loved you enough."


of course i didn't voice these thoughts out loud to him.

i went to sleep, pretending that i was okay with the decision we had come to. but like a self-centered, dejected child i mentally dug my feet into the ground, folded my arms across my chest.



and carried on, believing the lies.




to be continued:



the lies that bind us, part 3.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

the lies that bind us. {part 1}



yes, yes, i know.


from the title of this you should probably be snorting a little juice out of your nose thinking of the "part 1" portion of it. seeing as how i never ....actually....finished...this series...of stories. however, i will eventually finish it. girl scout's honor. pinkie swear. cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. and all of that.


however.


i've been alluding to some deep-thoughts postings coming up and this is one i have been thinking of writing for almost 6 months now.

buckle up, friends!

my thoughts about this started rolling around my head in january, but then i put them aside. i couldn't figure out how to write them down coherently. i would talk about it with ben and he was always great about helping me to express myself. {i love the therapist in him.}

then in march, i had been reading a blog called "the extraordinary ordinary" for several months, and in a post she was able to express much of what i had explained to ben but wasn't able to put into words yet.

sometimes blogging can be a complete waste of time, a way to avoid all that i should be doing. i zone out and read about people i have never {and most likely will never} meet in real life. and then bam! it's two hours later and the abandoned laundry and treadmill are still staring at me, untouched.

but then there are times when blogging is exactly what i needed. and that day in march was just that. i connected with a stranger's words, and her thoughts resonated with my own.

i still don't know her personally, but heather shares her story on her blog. she is a mother and wife. she is a writer, and a great photographer. she is also a recovering alcoholic and has been brave enough to share her struggle with addiction to the blog world. she and i have different details in our stories {don't go alerting the masses that i'm an alcoholic because i've never tasted a drop of alcohol so far in my 29 years. just letting you know before your thoughts start getting wild.} but the running themes were the same.

there are times when i am afraid of getting too personal on my blog, of opening up to who-knows-who is going to read this. but when i read what heather wrote her bravery helped erase my own fears that sometimes opening up can be such a good thing. that someday, someone might stumble upon this post and get it. and it will help them, like she helped me.

aside from becoming vulnerable, my other concern about writing this was the religious/spiritual aspect that i thought might cloud or overshadow what was at the heart of this.

when we worked at the group home i started a
spiritual blog to keep myself sane during some difficult and dark times that year. there was a purpose in separating the group home side of my life and the spiritual side of my life, and i think at the time it was to give myself a sanctuary from the reality we were in. a separate place to go.

but with this posting, even though i am going to be connecting my religious and spiritual beliefs, i decided that i don't really want to separate it into that blog. not sure why, just don't.

so.


here is my story.


where i can most accurately remembering it beginning...i was 9 months pregnant, two weeks away from giving birth to miss leah. i was extremely anxious about labor and who-knows-what that would entail. but i was actually more nervous about what was going to come after the labor. i was extremely fearful of the newborn baby that was about to enter my life. thoughts of my first newborn experience would come flooding back night after night, keeping me awake.

though i knew that caleb's issues stemmed from a fluke {"single umbilical artery"} that formed within the first few days of becoming pregnant with him, and that there was nothing i could have done to prevent this, and that it wasn't genetic....my anxious thoughts kept asking questions to defeat these facts.

what if they were wrong? what if it is genetic? what if we have to go through the same two years that we went through the first time? what if that experience was just a prep-job for what's to come?

what if this time it's worse???

with caleb it wasn't just about the constant screaming, and the seizures, the gestational problems, the repeated trips to the hospitals, and the meetings with one specialist after another who is searching for the same answers to the same questions.

what i feared most, as i would lay down and stare at my big belly, was myself. my strength, my abilities and my faith.

these thoughts of self-doubt consumed me.

was i strong enough to do this again, if it is the situation i'm presented? have i gotten enough space from the trauma to have re-built my faith in God and in myself?

and in the middle of the night, when my inadequacies and doubt were so acute, i came to the conclusion that i was pretty darn sure that i wasn't strong enough.

{bad time to be doing this sort of self-evaluation check, yes? yes. maybe i should have thought through this one 9 months prior, yes? yes. timing has never been one of my strengths.}

in fact, the more nights that i lay awake focusing on my fear of my inadequacies, the more heightened they became. i got to the point that i convinced myself that i could not. do. this.

but,

since i was already there...and didn't really have a choice in whether or not i was going to do it, i decided to accept my choice of becoming pregnant, and change my frame of mind.

i was able to change my way of thinking from i. can. not. do. this.

to,

i. can. not. do. this. alone.

i practiced deep breathing, and focused all of my energies on the one person i knew that i could rely on. {i know who you probably think i'm going to say, but i'm not.}

ben.

ben, the rock i had leaned on during those horrible days and nights with caleb. the one who was able to handle all of caleb's seizures with a calm voice and understanding that what was happening was beyond our control. who knew exactly what i was feeling and had the same amount of unconditional love that i had for our child. i trusted him as much as i trusted myself.

ben would be there. ben would support me. ben would provide relief when i was at my breaking point. ben would pick up the slack, wipe my tears and talk me through this. ben. ben. ben.

and that is how i would eventually fall asleep on those sleepless nights, by affirming myself that "together we could do anything."

ben did not know most of this, he probably knew about 10%. he had no idea how much stock i was putting in him, and how it had turned from a desire to go through this with him into a need to do this with him. as far as i was concerned, there was no other option.

my dependent voice that was screeching that i could only succeed with ben's help, had quickly changed from being the waterboy on the sidelines to the captain of the football team. and the entire team was desperately clinging to the words offered by their fearless leader that victory over their inadequacies and shortcomings could be achieved.

and this voice told me that aside from the time ben would spend in class and doing homework, he would be there by my side. and i believed it.




however, the powers that be had other plans in store for us both.



to be continued.


{while i was pregnant i wrote a little about this anxiety here, but kept at bay from any readers just how extreme things were getting.}




Friday, July 16, 2010

nap face. bed head.




trick question.....




who has which one??

(if you guessed us both you win a prize.
the prize of being able to spot two rough-looking gals.
congrats, you are a super-talented, amazing human being.)


after finally getting completely un-packed yesterday,
i am re-packing today,
to join my best friend andrea
for another weekend away!

i'm seriously excited
and feel really lucky
to have such thoughtful people in my life,
who make me feel so loved.

and a big ol' shout out to
this handsome devil




{the one on the left, not the right.
though today,
the one on the right fits the "devil" title quite nicely.

3 molars down, one more to go.}

who is taking on the full-time parent role
yet again
to make it all possible.

i love you bennigans!

have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

on the fence.




i am about 99% sure that this posting will display to any readers out there just what a loon i am, and how much i don't have everything together.


i was thinking tonight about how much of a waffler i am. waffler, is that a word? well anyway, i waffle. go back and forth. change my mind. {type A people would describe this as flaky...which i would agree with wholeheartedly when i am in my type A kind of mood, however i seem to flit in and out of that pretty quickly too. so who am i to judge the flakes? i'm a flaky flake, which is probably the worst kind. if you are one, at least own it, right? jump in with both feet in the flaky ocean water. don't dip your toes in at the edge just to squeal and jump back out again.}

if you couldn't tell by now, tonight i'm going to be all over the place. and no, i'm not under the influence of anything. thank you for asking.

i think what started this waffley-ness of a thought pattern was coming home from something i have not had in a long time.

3 days completely responsibility free.

on my own.

well, not on my own technically, but without my two little people and one big person whom i am lovingly and willingly tied down to for the majority of my time.

i joined some friends in utah this last weekend in hopes of going to the lilith fair concert....only to find that those in charge of this said concert had to cancel just a week before it was taking place due to lack of ticket sales. {to which i will pause to add my two cents. did you really think that adding ke$ha & rihanna to the list of lilith fair veterans was the best idea? for the record, i am pretty leery of anyone who has to put a symbol in place of a letter to up their popularity. like that symbol is compensating for something, making up for-- yes, i am saying it--talent. oh, snap! ke$ha fans (or is it ke$ha f@ns?? oh my gosh i am funny.) get your asteriks and pound sign pitchforks up! she's not quite lilith speed, peeps. let's keep it real here.}

is anybody still with me? i'm a little off my rocker, but quite enjoying myself.

back to the subject, i was pretty bugged that the concert was canceled last-minute when i already had flight plans.

luckily my fabulous friend and her amazing concert-style-living knew that there was talent still to be seen with or without the lilith fair, and we went to the brandi carlile concert. holy smokes was it amazing! that woman has chops and talent oozing from her pores. {no symbol-in-place-of-letters in her name, is there? yeah.}

i love a good concert. outdoors, not in arizona heat, sitting on blankets. it was so much fun.

i spent 3 days eating when i wanted to eat, sleeping when i wanted to sleep, and being completely irresponsible. within limits, you know.

BUT.

i came home yesterday and have been waffling ever since.

and i present to you, my compiled list so far of what i am flaky and on the fence about, in no particular order.

1) responsibility-free vacations.

pros: i stayed up until 2am, slept in until 10am. drove with the windows down and the music blasting. watched almost the entire season of "parenthood" on my laptop. took long showers, wore clothes without baby food smooshed on them. reconnected with lifelong friends, had meaningful conversations without 16 mos old/5 yr. old screeches in the background. finished an actual thought without interruptions. you get the idea.

cons: not only did i miss my kids and bearded husband like crazy, but i can't get back into the swing of life. the responsibilities are looming in front of me...unpack my suitcase, start up the laundry, scheduled dr's appointments, search for medical records, go back to the drawing board looking for a house to move into since we are now 6 weeks away from being homeless. {will get to that in a minute}

i realized today i was in full avoidance-mode. i took a nap, read to my kids, thought about all that i needed to do and didn't do any of it.

so was those 3 days off worth it?

well, i think so. let's just say ben shaved down his beard back to the scruff i adore in honor of my homecoming. that alone was worth it.

i just need to get my type-A game face on tomorrow and get crack-a-lackin' on the rest of it all.


2) moving.

pros: we are maxed out on space here in this 2 bedroom apartment that has served us well for the last couple of years. we've loved it, and have been comfortable and happy, but it's time to move on. the prospects of what could be are thrilling to me beyond measure. a neighborhood with other kids, a good school for caleb. less driving for ben. neighbors & friends for me who are under the age of 75? and space! we! need! space!

cons: finding the right combo of familyarea+price+notcrappyschooldistrict {hard to find here in AZ} + goodcommuteforben has been much trickier than i had imagined. apparently i spoke too soon when i announced to the facebook world that we were extremely excited to get a house we had fallen in love with. i guess putting down a big chunk of a deposit, being told by the management company that we had been approved, and signing a bunch of paperwork does not necessarily mean that you are in. how foolish we were to think all of that meant something....we won't make that mistake again.

so we're back to the drawing board in the search for what can get us through the next couple of years here. and i go back and forth about whether it is all worth it, or if i just need to suck it up and stay put.


3) therapy.

oh, i just realized that this might be the first time i've mentioned i'm seeing a therapist on my blog? {i remember why i thought i had already written about it....because of that big kahuna of a post that i am too flaky to post on here yet mentions it & i have read through that dang thing so many times i thought i had posted it. my B.}

so hi, my name is lynsey and i'm seeing a therapist.

go right ahead and judge, if you'd like. i am completely proud of this fact and feel no need to hide it. in fact, in my humble opinion i've always thought that everyone should see a therapist at one point or another. {and this was before i knew i was married to a future psychologist, and before i even thought about going to a therapist myself. so there!}

everybody, i don't care who you are....everybody has stuff. and i think we "deal with it" and "work through it" and "handle it" but to be honest, we don't always do the best job on our own. i guess my thinking is, what can it hurt?

for me, therapy has been therapeutic.

deep, huh? i know.

no really though, i love it. to have someone on the outside of my life, without preconceived notions and without the already-set opinions help me figure things out and develop more healthy habits? serve me up some of that with a side of garlic mashed potatoes. yes, please.

so why am i on the fence about therapy?

well.

pros: i love that therapy causes me to be completely honest about who i am. to dig deep, figure out what i'm really about. who i really want to be, and how to help me get there quicker than i could by doing it on my own. i hate that there is such a stigma about going to therapy and i guess that's why i don't really care who knows about it. let's blow the lid off this puppy! it's bringing more balance to my personal life, married life, and role as a mother. i'm changing negative thought patterns and realizing my potential. that's right, watch out world! one day i'm going to be magnificent.

cons: because hot diggity dog, therapy....if it's done correctly and honestly....is hard. it isn't just the layonmycouchandtellmeaboutyourchildhood stuff. it's looking at yourself from the inside out with a magnifying glass. talking it through, inspecting it all in detail and then deciding what to do with what has come up. change it, or accept and love it, or let it go.

so last week i changed from one-on-one therapy over to group therapy. with a bunch of other women that i can tell i'm going to like. BUT holy canoly, it's going to push me to my limits. you might be surprised to hear that i'm shy. yes! it's true! in a group of women that i don't know, i hold back, sit tight and try not to be noticed too much. if i have one person that is there with me it's a different story. i can let loose and be myself.

it's going to be hard for me to open up and admit my struggles and shortcomings and become vulnerable. but luckily, they will all be doing the same thing. and i think that's what will be so awesome about the group therapy setting, because we're fighting the feelings of inadequacy that "if they really knew me they wouldn't like me" and instead accepting each other for everything.

sound like fun to anyone else???

it is, actually. hard work like this is completely worth it.


4) staying up late.


pros: because just look at this completely non-coherent posting! do you think this type of rambling magic involving the written word can happen during the middle of the day when my brain is intact? to that i say nay.

cons: the repercussions of my crack-of-dawn-rising children. tomorrow is swim class again where i can't be in a tired funk. leah is a swim-toy monger and tries to steal all of the other kids' toys any chance she can get. i've got to bring a sharp mind and quick reflexes in order to avoid the multiple apologies i will have to serve to the parents of the victims she snags the floatie rings and squeaky animals from.

5) writing posts like these where i don't make much sense and am extremely overly-opinionated.


pros: sometimes it feels good to not hold back, you know?

cons: not only am i 99% sure that anyone making it through this is going to think i'm a loon, but i'm also 99% sure that i will have writer's remorse.


however, i'll be too busy unpacking my suitcase, searching for new homes, having an anxiety attack thinking about talking in front of a group of strangers, fending off leah's grabby swim toy hands and trying to sneak in a nap somewhere in the middle of it all to be able to take it back.




so with that being said,

lyn$ey out.


***also, this picture isn't mine. i tried to find it again in order to give the real photographer credit, but can't. so if anyone can figure it out, let me know!

Friday, July 9, 2010

chubby cheeks


{i just love this picture.
someday she won't have these cheeks...
well, after looking at myself in the mirror this morning...
maybe she will.}




i'm so excited, i'm leaving in the morning on a little get-a-way....without my beautiful children or handsome husband.


should i feel guilty about this?

not yet.

i'm turning 30 in a couple of weeks, so.....

let's call this a little "self care" time while i contemplate the approaching decade.

{and the good news is, i'm not having a hard time about turning 30, maybe it hasn't hit me yet??
or maybe it's really not a big deal to me?? jury's still out.}



but i'm sure that even though i may not feel too guilty about taking some time that i tried to take a year ago,

i know i'm going to miss them.


have a great weekend!

{p.s. i'm about 3/4 of the way done with the big whopper i was referring to in this post. yee. to the. haw.}

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the girl in the brown dress




many many many many years ago... i was a little girl.

probably around the age of 3.


my favorite thing to wear,
was a chocolate brown dress.

it was fluffy and poofy, i remember i loved to twirl around in it.

{there are several pictures of me in this dress and if i can dig them out, i will scan them in.}


but my favorite thing about this dress


was that it had a tiny bell, hidden in one of the layers of fluffiness.


i remember always feeling like i had a secret that no one else knew about.

when i wore the dress i would find the bell,

and hold onto it just so i wouldn't forget it was there.

i thought the bell was magic,

and i felt special.

i loved the brown dress with the hidden bell.


many many many many many many many many years later

my sister came for a visit,


and brought with her
the brown dress.

it is still in fantastic condition...


but i laughed at how different my memory was


from the real thing.


it really is a cute dress,


even though it's old-fashioned


and not really my style now.




before she left,


my sister made me promise

to put miss leah in it
and do a photo shoot.

so a few weeks ago, i did.



















that dress must have some magic in it

because leah twirled for the first time,

and called herself "prit-ty."


i showed her the hidden bell


and she stared at it,

and jingled it
and then let go,

and lost it and couldn't find it again.


she yelled in frustration

as she searched through the layers


until i helped her


and once she found it,


she looked up and gave me this smile.






i don't know what to do with the dress now,

it's hanging in the closet.

i'm not sure that leah will ever wear it again. {unless she insists}

but i just don't think i can part with it.


it was my first memory of feeling beautiful.










Monday, July 5, 2010

on freedom.


i know there are a lot of people who disagree with the way this country is run.
{have some quite vocal friends out on the internet.}

but i have to say, i for one am extremely grateful for this country.

no matter who has been elected, i'm grateful for the freedom to elect.

no matter what negative things have been said about my religion, i am grateful for the freedom to worship how i choose.


no matter what others teach their children, i am grateful for the freedom to teach my children what
i believe.

i was given the freedom to live where i want to live, be who i want to be.

it's a country of opportunity, of hope.


and i am
so so grateful for those past & present who have continued to fight, defend and stand up for our freedom.

i'm in the primary presidency at our church and we decided to do a special patriotic sharing time yesterday for the kids and share some stories that integrated God and country.

i spoke about the
battle of valley forge, where george washington was seen kneeling down in prayer in the middle of a forest. pouring his heart out to his God, asking for strength for his soldiers who were tired and weak and losing a battle. and his prayer was heard, and the battle of which his soldiers were so outnumbered, was won.

then i read the account of francis scott key, who wrote "the star spangled banner." i read the words of he & his friend who sat up all night long, watching as their soldiers fought another country in a battle for freedom at fort mchenry. then as the sun started to rise, they waited anxiously to see which flag would be raised on the fort, indicating whether freedom had been won or lost. and when they saw the american flag through smoke and fire, francis scott key pulled out a scrap of paper to write a poem that depicted his gratitude.

as i read the words of that poem to the kids, i couldn't help but fight emotion. these are feelings that i don't understand....that i have never truly felt....because of those who were there, feeling them for me.

our country has flourished and grown and become bigger than anyone could have imagined back in the beginning.

if we forget what has been done for us i am afraid that our emotions can turn from gratitude to entitlement.

i hope we always remember, and never forget.


i am grateful for my freedom.

which in my opinion,
{that i gratefully have the freedom to share}


could not have been accomplished without God.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

regression.



binkie, bink, pacifier, pacey, nuk, plug.....

call it what you will.

neither of my children caught onto the "binkie movement." believe me, in those first 3 months of their colic & constant screaming, i tried. i fought the good fight of buying every brand of binkie i could find, and would try the trick of giving a couple of mylicon gas drops and-then-shove-the-binkie-in-as-fast-as-i-could technique to get them to latch on.

but when they just didn't want them, i decided to give up. i've seen many 4 year olds still sucking on a bink to make me not push the issue. let's be honest here friends, i judged.

also, many years ago we baby-sat overnight for some friends. the cutest baby girl who was a little over a year and easy as pie...until it came to staying asleep. over and over and over again she would wake up and cry, and ben or myself would stumble into her room to put her binkie back in her mouth and have her go right back to sleep.

finally ben's sleep deprivation couldn't take anymore. i woke up at 6am to find myself alone in the bed. wondering where he had wandered off to, i walked into the other bedroom to see poor ben asleep kneeling over the bed with his face resting on one arm and with his other arm stretched out, with one finger holding the binkie into place.

it was then that i vowed that my kids would never sleep with a binkie.

now, here's something awesome.

anytime i ever uttered those words, my kids will never...they ended up doing exactly what i so self-assuredly announced aloud as a not-yet parent that they would never do.

caleb was each of those my kids will never all bundled up into one little package. {thanks for the quick lesson in humility, buddy!}

oh my goodness i learned not to judge parents or their children.

anywho.

about 3 weeks ago i was cleaning out a whole bunch of stuff and leah was hanging out with me, making a mess of any attempt at organization i had. she found her old binkies, and popped one in her mouth. she walked around with it for almost an hour. i found it funny that she was now interested in it and thought i'd wait to see how long the fascination lasted.

well.

do these pictures give you any idea?







um, yeah.

ben thinks i am nuts and that it's ridiculous to still let her have it because he's worried that she's going to grow an attachment for it now, during a time when most parents are starting to wean their toddlers off of it.

but guess what?

i totally love it!

leah is not a lady of few words. she was an early talker and an even earlier shrieker. the girl loves to yell aggressively for no apparent reason whenever it strikes her fancy. sometimes it's cute, but more often than not it can be grating on the nerves and make phone conversations difficult. she yells at caleb if he's bothering her, or sometimes just looking at her wrong. she yells at the birds flying by outside the window and at her stuffed hippo whenever she feels the need.

so if there's a few minutes when i need a little bit of silence?

yep, i totally pop the binkie in her mouth. {i will give you the condensed version of my "mother of the year speech" later.} she is so funny because as soon as she's got the binkie she becomes all snugglie. she waddles over to her crib & snags her blankie and lays down on a "piwwow" {pillow} and is just quiet and content.

is this what i've been missing out on??? what was i thinking? binkies are magical! {only half-joking here.}

so yes i am letting my daughter regress a little bit back into her childhood. or infancy. or whatever.

i haven't let her take it to sleep, and we're still in a good place with the bink where she doesn't freak out if i take it out of her mouth.

so go on, judge me. i'm not ashamed.

but be careful what you say, karma comes back to bite!