Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fear of (Over-)Commitment

There is a fine line between doing nothing or very little, and doing more than you should. Yes, my friends, I'm speaking of commitment. Commitment to self, family, being of service to the community, and the much-needed social outlets.

There was a time I was very absorbed in "self". Everything I did was about myself in one way or another. I was surrounded by people, yet I felt lonely and aimless. At the time, I was working for the best company ever, Burlington Resources. They sent out an email soliciting people to volunteer to work in the kitchen tent at a charitable event for CASA (a child advocate organization). So I dragged Vanessa out that morning and we assembled chicken sandwiches for the participants. Vanessa and I had such a great time together and I felt a part of something larger than myself. I learned more about CASA's mission and was touched that I could be involved in something that would benefit that organization.

So I caught the bug. I joined our Community Relations committee at BR and served for 2 years, the normal commitment. We had a cause every month and I participated in those causes, especially the SPCA fundraiser, which was very close to my heart. I did fun runs, pancake breakfasts, bake sales, and bowling for dollars. I loved it all.

When I began to stay home with Ben, I learned about the Pregnancy Help Center of Katy through my church, The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch. I connected with them and trained to be a counselor. I only got to see these young women in crisis for a short time before I became pregnant with Rex and had to leave my post there. I was sad, but it was a big commitment and was overwhelming at the time. It's still a cause close to my heart and we did their fun run a couple of years ago, The Walk for Life. They didn't have one in 2009, so we couldn't participate in it then.

I'm chairing a meeting for the month of January on Saturday mornings. I try to make the God Meeting at West Houston Community Center on Sunday mornings at 10, which means I need to leave that meeting right after the sharing to make it to church on time. I had previously been unable to go to church with Mike because Rex naps smack in the middle of the 10:05 service, so we switched to the 11:25 service. Mike has to take the boys on his own and drop them off at Sunday school. I pick them up after the service.

I go to meetings on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. The first Wednesday of the month, I go to dinner with a special group of women. The second Saturday night of the month, I have a bunco game with 11 special gals. The third Wednesday of the month, I have a book club I've recently joined and I believe we'll be reading a book a month. I've committed to start going to Granbury to help take care of my parents once a month. I can't make it in January due to my chairing commitment. I'm also taking over my parents' finances, as my father is having to take care of my step-mother more and more and is overwhelmed. And then there's the occasional commitment at Ben's pre-school. I enjoy helping out there when I can, but it's been hard since Rex is so young and has to go with me everywhere.

Oh, and did I mention I'm a full-time at-home wife and mom? That's the most important job I have and I have to do it well.

I'm not even mentioning my most important commitment (other than being a good mom, but this is inter-woven into it's effectiveness), which is working with another person just like me to make strides in my recovery. Lots of reading, writing, and reflecting. "Into Action".

Today during the service, our pastor spoke of opportunities to be of service at the church. I was scanning the list of positions needed and trying to figure out how I could fit it into our already insane Sunday morning. It couldn't be done. I felt terrible. Guilty. From the outside looking in, I felt that I may appear selfish or lazy. I had to remind myself that I'm already spread so thin and I'm not the only person in our community who can be of service. Man, I can be really self-centered sometimes. Like I'm the only one who can save the world! I did sign up to attend a luncheon to explore a new ministry for the broken-hearted called Merimnao. Recovery from addiction was mentioned as one of the potential areas of ministry. My ears perked up. Now how can I walk away from an offer to be of service like that? So I'll be checking that out next Sunday. Being broken-hearted is something I know too much about, although I've led a charmed life compared to many people.

So there it is. I'm possibly over-committed and it scares me. Because when I do too many things, I don't do each one of those things to the best of my ability. It's stressful, I can get resentments, I can get nit-picky and irritable. Nobody wants that. Just ask Mike.

But on the other hand, being of service gets me out of myself and gives me the greatest gift: Gratitude.

At this point, I think I'm just going to have to re-evaluate and see how things go this month and maybe the next. I may have to let some things go. I need to make some choices. But oh, what a wonderful problem to have. : )

Somehow I feel better having blogged about this. Maybe I feel vindicated, seeing all that is going on in our lives. It's a lot. All pieces of this beautiful life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, my friends! Okay, so yeah. When I said "We're Baaaack!" last time, I guess I didn't mean it. I'm going to try to get better about blogging, but no promises. There's so much on my plate lately, it's a bit overwhelming...

Still! I think I can suck it up for one night, right?

Rexy is almost 11 months old. I cannot believe how much he's grown, yet his first year has seemed to go by slower than my previous two children's first years. He is, by far, my most challenging child. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's an exhausting thing, but not always bad. He's just a busy boy who is not as mobile as he would like to be. He is still not crawling in the conventional fashion (prefers to army crawl), but he's pulling up on anything that stands still and is quite vocal about not getting to do things as he sees fit. He is something else. Energy for miles, smiles for all, unbridled anger, and the appetite of a 17 year old athlete. Joy!

Ben is 4 now and is such a sweet, sensitive boy. He also has such a wonderful, dry sense of humor and a vocabulary that knocks us over every other day. He says the darndest things, as the saying goes. He has adjusted to Rex being around, but is now having to stake a claim on his things and play area. Ben LOVES floor puzzles and puts them together daily. Guess what? Rex loves floor puzzles too! He regularly army-crawls over to Ben's puzzles and it's like watching Jaws approach. I'm serious, you can almost hear that horrifying music as the tension builds. Ben is learning to tell Rex "no" and I'm learning to be more sympathetic with the plight of having a little brother who infant. It's not easy for Ben, but he is learning patience and is still so loving with Rex. It's actually pretty amazing to see.

Vanessa is doing well in NYC. She is working as an assistant for a photographer and really enjoys the people with whom she works. It sounds like a quaint, familial environment and she is really happy with her job. Other than that, it sounds like she's living the New York life. She was down visiting for a week for Christmas and we had a wonderful time with the family. When she's home, there is a certain energy in the house and all feels complete, at least for me. When she leaves, part of my heart goes with her. There is nothing so hard for me as letting go of my first child. She is on her journey now and much as I miss her, I know it is time for her to grow, learn, and live. Still, I do miss her and as I write this, the tears are falling. Boy, I miss my baby girl.

Mike had a great year at work. He is still with HCA and is so blessed to work on a team with people he really loves. They're like a little family, much like what I had working with Chris and Wes at Burlington Resources. It's such a rare and wonderful dynamic to have. He is so fortunate. And I'm blessed to have him. He is an amazing husband and father.

Personally, I expect quite a bit of personal growth this year. I'm making changes, learning, and growing myself. It's not always easy and sometimes it's downright painful. But when I look back after I get through the trials, there's always so much progress. And that's the deal, right? Progress, not perfection. Sing on, sister.

For anyone who reads this, and even for those who don't, I wish all of you a peaceful, prosperous new year full of love and self-discovery. It's easy for me to look ahead and worry about something that hasn't happened yet and may never happen. But all I have is today and it's so easy to live just one day at a time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We're Baaaack!

Well, it looks like our blog went the way of the nice weather during the dog days of summer. I'm sure there are people out there who hang on my every word and for those people, I'm sure this has been a torturous summer. My apologies!

Today was Ben's first day of pre-school. He is in the Young 4's class at school and is once again a Dolphin. My friend, Jessica, is his lead teacher and the assistant teacher is Miss Jill. He is really enjoying them so far! I look so forward to watching him learn and grow this year. These pre-school years are so precious to me. Rex will start in the fall of 2010 if all goes well.

Rexy is growing like a weed. He's 7 months old and just as cute as a button. I'm beginning to see a temper on him though. He has no reservations about voicing his displeasure at some of my shenanigans, such as trying to cook dinner or trot off to the powder room without him. The nerve of some mothers. We're working on his attitude, but what can you really do with an infant? Not much, I'm learning.

Vanessa is coming home in October to go to the Heart2Heart conference with me. I can't wait! She was home in August for my birthday and we spent a wonderful week together with the boys (including Mike!). We hit all the required restaurants and made most requested home cooked meals. We watched movies and bonded. It was so special. I miss my girl and this may be the last year that she will have this kind of flexibility while she's living in NYC.

Okay, off to finish my wifely-motherly tasks while Rex takes a brief nap. I'll try to post more often now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All is Quiet on the Western Front

I've missed a few days, so forgive me. Things have been jumping around here and it's been fun, if stressful at times.

Today, Ben had swim lessons at the Y. I've made the mistake the last few days and took Rex to the lesson with us. It's been so hot, it was just unbearable to try to keep him entertained while we waited for Ben. So today, I took Rex to ChildWatch and dropped him off to play while Ben and I went to the pool for his lesson. Genius! I got to watch Ben learn and Rex got undivided attention in the air-conditioned nursery.

After Ben's lesson, we got Ben changed into some warm, dry clothes and he and I went to the lobby and he had a snack and I had coffee and read the paper. Deirdre, a friend I don't see often enough, walked up and we got to chat for a while about the highs and lows of motherhood. How wonderful to share some of my thoughts and feelings from the last several days with someone who understands. It's so easy to think of yourself as a bad mother until you realize that what you're feeling is perfectly normal. Best of all, anything difficult that's happening is usually temporary and it will pass.

Since we got home, Rex has gone down for his nap and Ben is playing quietly in his room. I'm pretty exhausted after a not-so-great night's sleep, so it's nice to just sit here and blog before I move on to the next task. All is quiet right now. And at this moment, life is beautiful.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We started out the day going to the cleaners, then to Cool Cuts for Kids for a haircut for Ben. He loves playing with the trains they have set up in the play area!
He was having a little too much fun
Miss Leona gave him a snazzy new cut!
All smiles in the cool car
After the haircut and a trip to Starbuck's, we donated some items at Katy Christian Ministries. Hasta la vista to some of the clutter!
I was wracking my brain, trying to think of something new and different to do with the boys. I really didn't want to go to the mall...again. Then it dawned on me--the library! It's educational, fun, somewhat relaxing...perfect! So we headed over to our local branch over by La Centerra. I got a library card in short order and we went to the children's area. They have a really neat area with rocking chairs, tables, and toys for the kids. Ben browsed lots of books and chose one to check out.
Ben reading the latest issue of Nick Jr.
Rex and I perusing Nick Jr. after Ben "read" it
After the library, we headed to WalMart to pick up some odds and ends, then hit up McDonald's for a happy meal for Ben and Whataburger for a happy meal for me.
When we got home, the boys napped while I worked around the house. We had a pleasant evening after Mike got home and now everyone's in bed, but me.
Mike is off Friday and I'm looking so forward to a nice, long weekend with he and the boys. Burgers, steaks, brats, and hot dogs are on the menu. Should be a great 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I'm way behind on blogging! We've had a busy last few days and I've been a bit more tired than usual, so I've slipped. I'll try to encapsulate Friday - today:

Friday, Ben, Rex, and I went to, you guessed it, Katy Mills mall:Let's roll!
We all rode the new train they have around the mall. Ben LOVES trains.

Did I mention Ben loves trains?
Friday evening, we had the pleasure of having dinner with our friend, Keli and her son Braden, who is Ben's age. Ben and Braden played in the sandbox at Victor's Mexican restaurant and Keli got to give Rex a cuddle and we all ate to our hearts content! I regret, there are no pictures of the boys or of my delicious chimichanga. :(
Saturday, we went to one of Ben's friend's birthday party. Ella and her parents hosted a splendid affair. Mike and Ben took part in swimming in the pool and we all noshed on burgers, hot dogs, and other yummy stuff. It was a great time.
Saturday evening, I went to my friend, Holly's baby shower. Another friend, Elaine, hosted us and it was an absolutely beautiful shower. The Barefoot Contessa has nothing on Elaine! Turkey breast, sausage, pasta salad, and field greens were on the menu, as well as some fantastic appetizers and cupcakes from Ooo La La Bakery that were as big as my head.
Cupcakes!!! There were Bunny Boo (carrot cake), German Chocolate, Strawberry, Velvet Elvis (red velvet cake), & some kind of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate concoction that sounds like something I'd like as my last meal. Elaine made the cupcake stand out of platters and bowls. Beautiful!

Sunday, I took Rex to church for the first time since he was dedicated on Mother's Day and he stayed in the nursery. He did really well and was happy to spend some time with the nice lady that was caring for the babies that morning.

That afternoon, we went to Saltgrass for a late birthday lunch with Mike's parents and sister to celebrate Mike's dad, John's birthday. After lunch we came back to our house and had cake!

Ben with PaPa singing Happy Birthday
PaPa & Ben after the blowing-out of the candles
Ben ate a HUGE piece of cake
After cake, Aunt Melissa & NaNa got into the Wii. Ben and Melissa played a mean game of tennis!
Monday, we went to Inflatable Zone with Kaitlyn and Valerie and let the kids go crazy.
Ben on the giant slide!
We went to Chik Fil A for lunch after Inflatable Zone and they had all kinds of fun activities for the kids. Valerie was trying to get Ben to pose for me, but she had to eventually restrain him and it turned into a laughing matter.

That afternoon, we came home and I'd had about enough of Rex's Ed Grimley impression. That hair just had to go. Part of me felt bad about cutting my baby's hair, but he seemed so happy after I did it. I don't think he liked his 3 inch comb-over anymore.
All smiles and a cooler head!

Today, we went to Chuck E Cheese and met up with my friend, Franky and her little boy, Dante, who is great buds with Ben. The boys ran around like little maniacs and had a ball while Franky and I caught up with each other and kept Rex entertained. It was a wonderful time and I had to ask myself why I waited so long to reach out and ask Franky to get together! She's a wonderful friend and I've missed her.

Both boys took good naps this afternoon and I got lots done around the house. Once Mike got home, I went to meet with some people, then went to the grocery store, so I don't have to drag the boys there tomorrow in the heat or, possibly the rain.
So that's it! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Go

I'm quite pleased with myself today! We got on the road by about 10 a.m. to run some errands. We went to Party City, Babies R Us, and Home Depot (Ben's favorite!).
After Home Depot, I was dreading going back home and trying to do anything at home to entertain the boys for the rest of the day. I called Donna and Selene to see if they wanted to hit up Rat Palace (code word for Chuck E Cheese), but they had gone to the beach. I decided to go ahead and take Ben back to the play area at Katy Mills mall. He really needed to have some fun. Ben: Ready to Roll! Nice back up shades, Buddy!
Ben on the back of the blue car at KMM
Hey, baby, goin' my way?
I have no words. And apparently, neither does Ben.
Collapsing with utter play area joy.
No pictures please. Can a kid eat a hot dog in peace?
Rex napped during lunch in the Covered Wagon of a stroller. Genius timing!
I'm learning to love The Covered Wagon
Ben got to ride the carousel twice in one week! He's such a big boy. He tried to get on his horse all by himself, but the nice man behind him helped him get up there while I stayed outside the gate with Rex in the stroller.
When we got home, Rex played in his jumperoo. For the longest time, he couldn't touch the ground, but he can now get a toe on the floor and is able to bounce like a maniac on that one toe! Go, Rexy, go! Show that jumperoo who's boss!
This is my project for tomorrow. This is our coffee table. This is unacceptable.
I put both boys down for a nap after we got home. They were just wiped out (thank you, God). I used the time to my advantage to make dinner, some shortcut spaghetti. Mike's on his way home and we've got lots to do tonight. So it'll be go, go, go after dinner. But at least dinner's already cooked for the most part!