Just Breathe

It’s been a strange spring.

Our normal business was punctuated by some interesting events – don’t worry, all is well. But in my typical style, I pushed and pushed to get through and found myself sicker than I had been in a long time. After some steroids and strong antibiotics, I was still feeling just crummy. I realized that I had been ignoring that voice saying slow down for so long, my body was physically forcing me to do so.

I gave in and decided it was time to be quiet. To give into that voice and just sit still. And the more I listened, I felt the need to push push push melt away.

I’ll need that drive back soon. But for today, I’m just going to enjoy some quiet and breathe.

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Dog Show

The lady that we normally ask to board the Mac Attack is gearing up for her first baby so was unavailable. I decided I would just keep life easy and board Mac at a fancy pants place near our house. We took Bear and Travis there a hundred years ago, but that was back when it was just a nicer place than the vet’s office. I learned while booking his “reservation” that things have changed a bit…

“Thank you for calling, how can I help you?”

“Hi, yes, I just need to board our dog for a few days?”

“Of course. I show we have a reservation available for your fur baby that weekend.”

“Huh. Fur baby. Interesting. Ok, what is the daily rate?”

“Well that depends on the room. What size room were you looking for?”

“Ummm, what are my options?”

“Well based on his size, I would not go smaller than a medium room. We also have a large room that is about two feet larger in each direction. And then we have a suite that has a bed in it and interior lighting. Then a junior suite that has a full size bed along with some other comforts of home. And lastly we have the large suite that has 24 hour access to a private yard along with the bed, bedding and other comforts of the smaller suites.”

“…….”

“Are you still there??”

“Wow. Yes. Here. Ok. Well I think I’m probably looking at the medium room. Unless there’s a dorm option. Then he would prefer that.”

Dorm option?”

“Yes. Like if he could share a really tiny room with a dog he didn’t know but they would become fast friends because they’re sharing a small space. I think we’re in that category, he’s a social guy. But if that’s not an option, then I think we’ll go with medium.”

“Excellent. Then you’ll need to bring his food and feeding instructions. And you’re welcome to bring water as well.”

“Wait, you don’t give him water?”

“No, no. We do. But if you would prefer to bring water from home – so that he’s more comfortable – you’re welcome to.”

“Interesting. My preschooler isn’t even allowed to bring a water bottle to school….well, since Mac is just as happy to drink out of the toilet – any toilet – as a bowl, we’ll stick with whatever you have.”

“Great. Is there anything else I can book for you?”

“Yes, I’d like to have him groomed the day we pick him up.”

“Oh of course. We’ll be able to book that along with the social engagements you would like when you drop him off.”

“Super. We’ll talk then. I’ll make sure that I fully understand Mac’s expectations prior to then.”

“That’s usually the best plan. See you soon!”

“Gurl. As long as they’re cool with this? I’m down.”

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Oh, Hey There

I’ve written this post in my head several times. And the list about where I’ve been and what we’ve been doing keeps getting longer and longer and longer. It’s been a whole new level of nutty around here – but as usual, it’s a good nutty!

More to come on all of the below, but in case it takes me another month to get back to blog, he’s a taste of what we’ve been up to…

First – we moved. No really. I can hardly believe it myself. I was convinced that when we started our remodel, we were going to be able to live in the house – or at least do it in phases. Then reality hit and it became clear that we had to move everything out of the house. Like everything. I think I was still telling myself that it wasn’t REALLY everything as I was moving each room. Thankfully it all got done and we are now settled in to the parent’s house while they are away for the summer. And fingers crossed we’ll be move in ready by the time they are ready to head South or things are going to get a liiiitttle squishy around here….don’t worry Noni, Baylor said she’ll share a bed with you.

The remodel is in full swing with sledgehammers flying. Even though it’s the beginning and there’s more undone than done, I can see it. I can see what it will look like, and it’s going to be awesome. And because “we” (oh yeah, I put quotes there, PW) are project managing it, it’s been busy with decisions, scheduling and lots of running around to find what we want and at the best prices. It’s nutty. But it will be worth it. If we don’t go broke in the process. Any time we get an unexpected expense (which we knew were coming!), I read the kids an extra book because they’re going to need college scholarships. Kidding. Kind of.

Let’s see…what else? Oh! Baylor graduated kindergarten! As I watched her walk across the stage and get her diploma, I was filled with gratitude. We are so lucky that we listened to our collective guts and that there was a space available for her at this school. It’s such an amazing community of funny,  kind, fun loving people. From the staff, to the teachers to the parents. What an amazing year it’s been!

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And that same little face turned SEVEN yesterday. Seven! Where do the years go? Although I have to say, I think this was my favorite birthday so far. She was incredibly spoiled by all her family members – including new golf clubs. And my sweet pokie little puppy’s speed aligns perfectly with the speed of golf. Look out, Annika Sorenstam.

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Auggie boy wrapped up his time at his preschool and is off to school with Baylor next year! He’s super pumped about a uniform – no seriously. He “performed” in the gymnastics show and got his coveted blue ribbon. He’s actually pretty good – I think he’s got a few more years working on his cartwheel ahead of him.

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Peter and his Teal Tornados finished another great season. It was amazing to see how the team had improved from last year to this year. Next year he will have Baylor AND Auggie’s teams to coach – and Baylor’s team will be doing player pitch. I think he’s secretly really excited for the challenge.

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Oh! And Disneyland! Because things were nutty enough, we decided to take the kids to Disney over spring break. Which I foolishly thought since our spring break was so late, that it would be quiet. It was not. But it was Auggie’s first trip and it was very fun. I think we tried to pack too much into two days, but at least we’ll know for next time.

I swear he was having a good time despite what his face looks like….

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And last but not least, I’ve started to make good on my New Year’s resolution. It’s amazing what putting something out in the world will do! Not long after my post went up, a friend reached out about some content writing work. Then another. Then I finally started that freelance writing class I had put off for a year and it turned out to be a bust. But it enlightened me to realize that I really do like doing content writing. It seems that work keeps finding me, and when it does, I am always silently amazed and awed. It’s been hard, and yet really fulfilling which means it’s meant to be. I’ve got my website up – it’s rough so don’t get too critical. It’s a work in progress that I can keep my publications listed and hopefully keep it growing. Let me know what you think: www.bethwand.com. No really, let me know what you think (just don’t be mean!).

More to come – I miss this place!

 

Hello, 2016

I love new year’s. I love the excitement and the fun. And while I’m pretty sure our wild NYE parties are behind us, the alternative of banging on pots with the kids at “midnight”and making smores is pretty awesome.

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What will I be working on in 2016? Here’s a few ideas….

  • No Negative

Whenever I’m looking for inspiration to write, I read. It always gets my brain moving and thoughts flowing. And in this hectic life, I find the thing I read most are short articles and blogs. The problem is,  a few of the blogs I read, leave me irritated rather than inspired. At times I find the writers to be pretentious, judgy and shallow. I walk away feeling judged and annoyed. No mas. I’m clearing out my browsing history and saved pages. The only stuff going in now is the stuff that makes me want to write, uplifts and inspires.

  • Less noise

Ha! I know that’s funny to read with two kids and a dog running around. But I find my thoughts are scattered between schedules and to do lists and the news blaring in the background or a pod cast playing and FaceBook alerts chirping at me. It’s time to turn it all down. Waaay down. I don’t have a lot of quiet moments, but when I do, I need to not turn on the news, or radio or social media. Rather than filling up the quiet, I need to use the silence to clear my head and make way for creativity.

  • I’ll Do Me

I have really amazing friends. Like really amazing. And in addition to great friends, I think our little community is full of interesting, inspiring and quirky people. I have noticed that when I listen to a friend or acquaintance, etc. I find myself thinking of how I could be should be doing what they are doing. It’s some kind of odd self judgement. I’m great at making to do lists and checking them off. I’m not always great about sitting back and realizing what I’ve accomplished, of what I bring to the table. Peter is my biggest and best cheerleader and I think I finally got what he’s been saying for so long. So I’m going to keep listening, I’m just not going to feel the (self) pressure to take it to heart. I’m good at doing what I do and what I do every day has value and I need to remember that. My to do list for 2016 is big, I need all my attention here.

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Hello, Universe

When I started The Goon Room, I wrote to vent. I was a new stay at home mom and frankly, I was losing my mind. I didn’t see anyone writing about how hard this mother thing was and I needed to get my thoughts out in the hopes that someone would relate.

As the years went on, I wrote with the goal of turning The Goon Room into a source of income. I wanted to write and get paid to do it. I cautiously sought out sponsors and tried to write things I thought someone would want to sponsor. But when I looked back over past posts, I realized the blog had become this sweet record of our lives. It was the happy times, the rough times, pictures, tears, smiles and it was awesome. Who was going to pay me to write about myself? No one. And I realized I was happy with that.

Over the last year, I slowly began to seek out how to become a freelance writer. I talked with an acquaintance who is a mom blogger / freelance writer who gets published AND paid. She turned me to the woman who taught her the ins and outs of the writing world. Despite being in the middle of selling two houses, buying another and the endless end-of-the-school-year parties, graduations, and other hullabaloo, I reached out to the mentor and inquired about her online freelance writing course on getting published. She was incredibly sweet and got back to me immediately with three options on a course.

And then the aforementioned shenanigans got to me.

Her response is still sitting in my in box.

I leave it there because it’s presence irritates the shit out of me. It’s a reminder, every day, that I didn’t follow up. That I didn’t take that next step to do what I want to do. That lack of time is always going to be an excuse. So why not now? I worry about not being able to make the time to be creative and or not having the time when I have the words to write – thus resulting in sub par work. That would be the worst. I don’t want to do a crappy job. I want to do a really really really good job. Which is why I’ve been putting it off.

And then, sometimes God says “yeah yeah, that’s nice. I’m handing you an opportunity and if you don’t take it, you might as well delete that damn email ’cause this isn’t happening”. (sometimes God swears, yes?).

Because I’m really good at putting our family’s needs and work’s needs and the house’s needs ahead of mine. Force feeding is often the only way I’m comfortable switching gears. And that pressure came in the form of another email. An email from a friend asking if I would be willing to do some work on a professional biography, etc for their family business. It was the perfect way to get my feet wet. And it’s been incredibly enjoyable and satisfying.

I write this now, a little scared to put it out there, but my displeasure with failure will hopefully hold me accountable, that I will return the mentor’s email. It will be my 2016 goal to type those words of explanation and apology and then dive into her class. I have been laying the ground work and the universe has decided it’s time so I will make it the time.

Here goes nothing.

Parental Punt

Some days, there just isn’t enough time for it all.

Normally, I can schedule my work time around the kid’s school hours and or nap time. In a perfect world, I pack it all in and I’m able to leave my desk and desk top sorted and to do list checked off ad the first sound of a waking child.

For the last 6 weeks, that has not been the case. In addition to a larger than usual work load, there are about 9 other plates spinning above my head perched precariously on little sticks. I look like a circus side show desperately trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. And when one of the plates is not spinning fast enough – or at all – the mom guilt kicks in. Big time.

And thus, the parental punt.

Yes they eat. They get baths. Their clothes are clean-ish. But they watch more cartoons than they should. Laundry sits longer than I’d like it to. We eat out too much or worse, there are way too many meals of quesadillas without a veggie in sight. I drop them off at the first minute they can be on campus per our tuition bracket and pick up at the last second. There is far too much wine consumed and too few hours slept.

But there is a light. I won’t always be the kicker. Soon there will be enough time, energy and daylight to run the ball in. At least, that’s what I tell myself to dissuade the mom guilt.  That and a few carrots on their plates should do the trick.

Jump On the Bandwagon

Phew. It is rough to be a parent these days. It’s always been a tough job, but given the current climate of social media and an invisible force that urges you to define your parenting style  – helicopter mom, baby wearer, breast feeder, anti vaxer, free range parent – the list is endless and yet well defined.

And if I’m being honest, I think it’s amazing that so many moms are talking, sharing, posting. I constantly question my parenting method, look for new skills and sigh with relief when I read that I’m not alone. It’s all good.

Except when it’s not.

That’s right. I’m jumping on the bandwagon of posts about vaccinating your kids.

My bottom line is this: get educated. Ask questions. See more than one doctor. Read articles, posts, journals. Do whatever you have to do to reach the conclusion that vaccinating your healthy child is the right decision. And I emphasize healthy. Because those not healthy kids are the other reason we need to vaccinate our children. Herd immunity is meant to protect those that aren’t healthy enough for vaccinations, those that can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, and those too young. Choosing not to vaccinate your children out of a fear of the vaccination is not an excuse. Fear is not an excuse.

If you’re still conflicted, then think over this scenario in your head. I was sitting with Auggie in the emergency room a few months ago. He had a horrible case of croup and was in severe distress. His sweet little chest caved inward with each gasp for air because he was sucking in so hard. At some point my brain flipped into survival mode. Gone were the emotions and my only focus was to get this kid some help and fast. I realized after the storm had passed how awful it had been. How horrible it is to have the thought his oxygen levels are ok so if they have to, they could do a tracheotomy and then he could breathe.

It is not a fun when the thought of having a hole cut into your child’s throat is comforting.

The one thought that popped into my head over and over was how I could have prevented him getting so sick. And while the answer for his condition was “nothing”, that would not be the case for whooping cough. I cannot imagine the guilt of watching my beautiful little boy not be able to breathe because of my decision not to vaccinate him.

Which is why we do vaccinate our kids. When Baylor was a baby, I talked extensively about vaccinations, vaccination schedules and risk with our pediatrician. And the bottom line for me was when she said “I totally understand your concern. I do constant research about vaccinations and as a mom and a doctor, I fully vaccinate my child and that’s why I require this schedule for my healthy patients”.

That was all I needed to hear to make the decision to prevent the preventable. There’s enough unknown with our kids. Being able to check life threatening illnesses off that list? I’m in.