The only other time in my life when my body has been this tired and confused were those first few days after bringing home a new baby. I have no concept of time, no memory of eating, I haven’t slept for longer than 3 hours at a time and my head feels all cold and floaty, like I’m just awake enough to remember to keep breathing.

An opportunity came to me through the dozens of various connections I’ve made in this life and that opportunity had me in Madrid, Spain for the last five days. Until last week I had never been to Europe, traveled overseas or been completely immersed in another country. Sure, I’ve made day stops on Caribbean islands and have spent a few wild nights in Canada, but nothing like this.

No filter. Also, never coming back. Sorry, Indiana.

The dozen years I spent learning Spanish in school seemed to just *poof* leave my brain when it came time for lunch on the first day, I must have looked so frazzled the server brought me a giant glass of wine with a look that said “Oh, honey. You look like you NEED this.” (Only in Spanish.)

It’s very isolating to be in a whole new place by yourself, a place where you barely speak the language and around every corner is something you’d never thought you’d see in your lifetime. I know, *EYEROLL* it’s so hard traveling to Europe, Casey. Cry me a really pretty European river lined with little tables and blossoming trees. Gross.

I’m just having one of those moments, I’m so thankful and grateful and happy and pleased with myself that I finally found something I’m really good at.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to sleep for a week.

I have no idea how people travel to Europe with kids — I can assure you that if mine had been with me this weekend I would have lost one.

 

 

 

 

Early Saturday morning I was sideswiped on the freeway and sent spinning into the center median of I-70.

Whoever hit me simply drove off, they didn’t even slow down.

After getting a clear look at the damage on my car today there’s no way they could have been unaware of hitting me. (Also, if you’re in Indy, it was a light silver SUV of some sort that hit me, the damage would be on their driver’s side front fender, there would most certainly be dark purple paint from my car.)

It’s amazing how many thoughts go through your head in such an intense moment, I almost wish someone had been in the car with me to marvel at how under control I kept things, not over correcting out of the spin and keeping the car relatively under control. Once I stopped against the wall and knew I wasn’t hurt, I calmly went for my phone, called 911 and reported what had happened. I even used manners and knew enough about my surroundings that officers made it to me in less than 5 minutes after I crashed.

Sadly once the official stuff was taken care of is when I lost it. (Which is to say I called Cody and left him a sobbing and shaky message.) Even the officer that reported to the scene asked several times if I really was okay from all the shaking. It was easy enough, cleaning it all up, getting the report taken care of and continuing on my way. But in the aftermath, the quiet that happened once I was truly safe, that’s when the reality of what had happened sunk in.

It could have been so much worse, whoever hit me could have killed me.

I could have hit another car, or been hit by another car who couldn’t avoid me and if you’ve ever been on I-70 you’ll know how lucky I am there were no semis around me.

I figured I was over thinking things, people get in accidents all the time. It wasn’t until I posted something about it to Facebook that I got several private messages from people who had been on the receiving end of a hit and run, all confirming that it’s something that truly does mess with you on some strange indescribable level. (Translation: Good! I’m not crazy!)

Insurance has been a joke to deal with. I have nothing nice to say about auto insurance right now.

Some people have taken it personally that I didn’t wake them at 4 am to tell them I had been in an accident. I really am physically fine, and it’s not as though anyone could have done anything for me that I didn’t or couldn’t have taken care of myself. The mental stuff will require a bit more, I just hate that I now know what it feels like to be hit, to spin out of control and slam into a wall. I know what it all sounds like, which is one of the reasons I don’t watch the news or violent TV shows — I simply don’t want to know what violence and terror look or sound like.

I sleep much better at night not knowing, thank you very much.

Hope you’re all doing well, the compassion and care you’ve shown me over the last few weeks hasn’t gone unnoticed, I’m incredibly grateful for it, for you. Even if I haven’t been able to adequately respond, I’m so thankful you’re around.

It’s a very strange thing to have really big emotions.

When you’re young they’re looked upon as a flaw or weakness, and it continues that way until you’re grown — unless you learn how to use them.

I’m still trying to figure out how to use mine.

Creativity seems to be the best outlet for them, photography — having my camera in my hand is equal to holding onto something steady and solid. It can say things I can’t and see things I can’t describe.

Writing is the same way. Being able to write has saved me countless times.

I’ve been hesitant to talk about the inevitable breakdown I’m facing for a number of different reasons. It’s not due to anything major (at least I don’t think so) but the safety I’ve felt in my medication and treatment for the last several years is beginning to slip. I’m noticing things are getting harder to deal with. Thought patterns are messier. Emotions are getting bigger, harder to handle. I’ve learned from breakdowns in the past that beauty springs up through them eventually, but the pain in the process — as well as the fear of dealing with the pain when it comes — it’s nearly crippling.

Many of you have been checking up on me, thank you.

I don’t know how this part of my story will end, but I’ll keep telling it until I do.

 

Hey. So I’m just going to go ahead and get it all out about today.

Vomit. Vomit and poop for the last 48 hours from everyone but me. (SO FAR.)

When there are three people suffering from this kind of sick and only one of the three is self sufficient that leaves me with the assist. Now, to be fair, the bigger one is somewhat self-cleaning, but seeing her poor little face with tears because she feels so damn awful and there isn’t a thing I can do for her — that’s a different story. She’s been pretty low key, she’s napped a lot and stayed pretty quiet and non-demanding.

This is why we rescue pets.

THE LITTLE ONE ON THE OTHER HAND. She plays this twisted game of “I’M FINE!” all day long then when night comes she turns exorcist on me. During the day I’m required to wrangle a very nosy two year old away from two very sick people who want nothing to do with the human race, hearing any sound or being touched ever again. During the night, it’s all about washing vomit out of hair at midnight and changing sheets while simultaneously keeping the cats FROM LICKING VOMIT.

I’ve had to consider every single thing I’ve prepared over the last 48 hours based on what it would be like when it comes back out. I will say this, two hyperemesis pregnancies have made a vomit master. Just last week I was overwhelmed with the feeling that all I do all day is feed people and as soon as they’re done with one meal they’re wondering what the next one will be. Lately no one wants to eat anything which makes *that* part of my job super easy.

Silver linings.

I had the chance to sneak away to the gym today and the treadmill warned me about halfway through my run that my heart rate may be too high and I should take it easy. I can say I have never reached maximum capacity on a treadmill before, I sort of felt like a boss. It may have been the first time ever I actually enjoyed working out, normally I do it just so I don’t die unhealthy — but today felt really cathartic.

I had to take Vivi with me to the pharmacy where she bolted down the feminine care aisle, spread out her arms and shouted “LOOK MOM, YOUR DIAPERS!” then as I paid for my one thousandth prescription for Zofran ,Vivi figured out how the snaps on her shirt worked and was half naked by the time I turned around.

I plunked both little girls in the tub before bedtime because everyone had worked up a funk over the course of the day and without me even asking they took turns washing each others hair, my heart may have exploded a little bit. Moments later Vivi asked to see everyone’s nibbles (nipples) and demanded I take out my ‘udders’ so she could see mine.

I politely declined.

Have you seen this video? The company can basically have all my money (and it already has a lot) and tears because dear sweet heavens.

Hey there, lost my mind today when my lunch was interrupted several times by someone who claimed they didn’t know how to wash strawberries and then again by someone who kept making demands of said strawberries. I feel I should also mention I was hiding in the kitchen to eat my lunch so the circling vultures wouldn’t move in on what I had made myself rendering me lunchless.

I’m in this stage of life where I don’t get to just sit down and eat, I get to serve everyone else, cut big things into small bites for some people and make sure everyone has a drink, enough sauce, the right utensil and if something gets spilled I’m usually the one closest to the towels. It’s okay, it really is. I can still remember the last time my dad ever cut my French toast for me, I wonder if he remembers it too? If he remembers that transition to me not needing him for stuff like that anymore.

This is exactly the type of thing you can’t focus on when you’re a parent. Like when’s the last time I took a shower without someone asking me about my udders? When’s the last time I used the restroom without someone banging at the door for something? When’s the last time I talked to another grown up I’m not related to? When’s the last time I had an uninterrupted meal or conversation? While we’re at it, when’s the last time I shaved my legs? WAIT! Where did that chin hair come from?

It’s nice to raise these little people to independence, but sometimes the road to independence is paved with screaming frustration.

Like today.

This weekend I’m headed to New York City with my camera. I miss having my camera in my hand, I miss that excitement of having a memory card full of possibilities and going to bed at 2 am because I just can’t quite quit Lightroom just yet.

My hands have been full, literally and figuratively, being a mom.

The mom part of me is worn out, the wife part of me is grateful for a husband who supports what I love to do. The creative part of me is desperate to get out and make something beautiful and tangible that doesn’t hide under the table to poop or laugh when I take off my pants.

What is your thing? What is your escape? What brings you back to center and recharges your batteries for everything you have to face in life?

This is mine.

Self Portrait Chicago '08

(Side note, this photo is from 2008, before Vivi came out of my hips sideways and permanently altered my bone structure. Ah, memories.)

Cody’s been telling me all sorts of random facts about cats lately.

“Did you know that 80% of cats carry a bacteria that causes depression in humans?”

No, but I’m well aware husbands have a 100% chance of causing grumpiness in their wives.

“Did you know cats just think of us as big clumsy cats? Do you ever think Wink wonders why Percy doesn’t pick him up? Did you know cats never forgive?”

Buddies when it's cold.

*******

I was talking to a very trusted phone on the friend the other day when we came to the conclusion that sometimes parenting just isn’t worth it, but we keep doing it because sometimes isn’t all the time and most of the time it is worth it. We did wonder what it would be like to be parents who just didn’t care. Donuts for dinner! SURE! TV all night long with no bedtime? YOU BET! Teach you manners and responsibility? PFFT, that’s what society is for! We were both horrified by the idea of not doing the best we could and decided we’d better keep going with our shared end goal of not sending entitled and lazy buttheads out into the world, you’re welcome society.

But there are days.

Days when there are screaming fits and shrieks of terror because the world isn’t made of cheese and because you refuse to play “Roar” for the 14th time in a row on a long drive.

Days when it would be easier to say “FINE! EAT NOTHING BUT CHEESE AND WATCH CAILLOU! SEE IF I CARE!”

Today was one of those days, it’s as though Vivi noticed my renewed sense of worth and decided “Oh? You’ve got patience? LET ME TEST THAT FOR YOU M’KAY?” Rather than giving up and giving in to her, I made her take a nap, I don’t think anything else in the world could have made her more mad at me.

I used to scream and cry a lot when Addie would throw fits, because I didn’t know what I was doing and her anger scared me. The fits are easier the second time around, but then again they nearly killed me the first time so maybe that isn’t a very trustworthy statement.

Cats may not forgive, but kids are resilient and forgiving little creatures.

*******

Now we’re all going to watch this (again, if you’ve already seen it) and be glad the Internet exists despite the a**holes who lurk in its darkest corners.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Home Run Inn Pizza.

*******

I once saw a triangle with ‘sanity’ ‘clean house’ and ‘happy kids’ written at each corner. In the middle of the triangle it said PICK TWO.

I picked happy kids and sanity.

Proof of a day well spent playing and baking cakes. I can have a clean house when they move out.

I can have a clean house when the kids are gone.

For a long time I tried to make a meal from scratch 4 nights a week, allowing one night to eat out and two nights for leftovers. I enjoyed trying new recipes, but someone was always dissatisfied with what I had made and there came a point where I became so tired and fed up with trying to please everyone that I just gave up and made everyone eat cereal for dinner for a week. Between Cody training for a marathon, Addie’s gymnastics and the guilt I felt for feeding everyone cereal instead of an exciting variety of spices and flavors a downward dinnertime spiral began. Cody stepped in to help, which meant a lot of breakfast for dinner and spaghetti. Pinterest and Instagram only compounded my guilt after seeing the marvelous meals others were preparing for their families, meals their children would willingly eat that covered the full spectrum of food groups. My poor kids, would they never know the joy of curried chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts lovingly prepared from scratch by their mother?

Then one week, I don’t remember exactly when, I realized there’s exactly one thing I do not care about when it comes to dinnertime.

[Read more...]

To anyone who has never truly experienced humid cold, bless.

Growing up in Utah where it would snow two feet overnight and one was still expected to make to school on time, the way Indiana reacts to weather has always amused me. Two hour delays and school cancellations for a few inches of snow. ADORABLE. In fact, Addie hasn’t had a full day of school since January began, if school hasn’t been cancelled (7th day cancelled today!) she’s been on a two hour delay, meaning instead of being dark and freezing cold outside, it’s light and freezing cold outside.

These are Addie's siren songs. #NoFilter

I’ve heard a lot of debate about why these school cancellations happen (also! church has been cancelled for two of the four Sundays in January so far as well.) Some say it’s because Hoosiers simply aren’t outfitted and prepared for this kind of weather, or that the more impoverished areas of the city can’t afford proper warm clothing. (Which is even more silly because chances are keeping kids home keeps working parents home or working parents paying for daycare or even kids home alone because their parents simply cannot miss work, on top of that many kids rely on the schools for their only meals in a day. Clearly keeping them home makes perfect sense.) It’s not like it doesn’t snow here, or get cold, because it does — and the same coat you use for that weather can be used for this weather, just put a few more layers underneath and don’t stay outside for long.

Even the government is shut down today.

Because it’s cold.

Not because it’s snowing, not because there’s already several feet of snow on the ground or because it’s a terribly blustery day. Nope, it’s just cold. The sun is shining, the roads are clear and it’s cold.

Show me a weather map and I could point to a dozen places that are colder and more weather affected than Indiana who are still doing business as usual.

Perhaps it’s just the Utahn in me who grew up knowing that life goes on no matter how much it snows? Perhaps it’s the mom in me who is tired of keeping two little girls entertained?

I wore them out. FIST PUMP.

Cody has found me crying in the closet twice, I’ve painted a dozen My Little Ponies (I’m getting quite good), I’ve eaten a hundred plastic and felt food meals served up by Vivi, I’ve read every book we own, watched every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ever produced by Disney Junior, I’ve not only made entire cities out of Play-Doh — I actually cleaned and detailed all of our Play-Doh gear, using toothpicks to shove the dried bits out of every nook and cranny of every plastic rolling, cutting, squishing and shaping device. Later I will take a razor, a pair of scissors and a serious attitude to the brush of my vacuum which currently looks like a long thin tribble and I will lie in the middle of the floor in a patch of sunshine wishing I were anywhere where I could go outside with less than eight layers of clothing.

Perhaps it is that there is no end in sight, just cold for days and days and days and being indoors for days and days and days and not being able to go outside for longer than 10 minutes without feeling my nose hairs freeze and crack off.

Even the cats are sick of us, they have both found places to hide where we can’t find them all day. Only at night do they come out to borrow our body heat through the night.

Yes gentlemen, you have my attention?

Knowing my luck a whole school bus of kittens and puppies will freeze today and all the firefighters who try to rescue them will lose their noses and fingers to frostbite in an attempt to save them and I will be seen as a terribly grumpy and inhumane person. (Bitter Betty (hi, me) is going to take this moment to eat her words since there have been deaths related to all this cold. Apparently 5 people died while shoveling snow (which, don’t bother, it’s too windy anyway and no one’s going anywhere) and several have been homeless people who have either refused or not made it to shelter in time. Other deaths are from traffic accidents, not necessarily related to the cold, but still, they happened while it was cold. So while I am still grumpy about being so cold, be safe. A list of emergency shelters in Indianapolis can be found here.)

Where are you at? How’s the weather been for you? My friend Ami has been making her chickens hot oatmeal and baked potatoes, I don’t even make my kids hot oatmeal and baked potatoes.