Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Summer of Awesome! Or maybe just anxiety and yelling. It's too soon to say.

I hate crowds. Like...seriously hate them. I hate going places alone I've never been, being surrounded by people I don't know, having to put myself out there and do's basically my worst nightmare. Throw in three kids, two of which are go-go-go boys, and it's even worse.

There's no FKO this summer. Kathy is leaving (I'm not a fan of that decision) and the whole program is kind of up in the air as to whether or not it will continue at all. I got us on a waiting list at FBC's MDO program, but haven't heard anything. Plus, since it's Asher's last summer before he starts school, I figured, Hey, I'll keep them home and we'll do stuff! It'll be great!

I may have lost my damn mind.

Doing stuff means going places. Or planning things to do at home (which we all know is not going to happen). It means being in crowds. It means planning at least a little bit what we're doing.

I've spent the past couple of months going over websites for the museums, libraries, universities, theaters and more and creating a comprehensive calendar of EVERYTHING happening all summer long in Abilene for my kids' age range. Ok, not everything, but about 95% of everything.

It's exhausting. And that was just the writing it down part. I even bought a planner just for ease of keeping things straight and then spent a couple of hours over the past couple of days transferring everything into it.

The great thing is, there's tons to do. The Grace has art stuff every week, book readings once a month, random events throughout the summer. The library has about a dozen activities every single week at the three different locations. There's the CALF, various churchs' VBS's, the kids' movie series at the local theaters, the splash pads, the pools, the state park, the regular parks, the zoo, putt-putt golf, the museums...on and on it goes.

Plus there's the "Hey, let's just stay home because Mommy needs a mental health day."

I'm trying to plan 1-2 activities a day for us and so far, we've done ok. Monday we went to Chik-fil-A to play, then to Dollar Tree and Walmart to grab a couple things for Memorial Day weekend. Tuesday was the last day of FKO, so I got a last day to myself. I stayed home and vegged out. Wednesday we had plans but they all fell apart so we ended up at the Used Bookstore, which was great because who doesn't need more books? (Don't look at my shelves full of unread books) Today was the Grace for story time and playing in the morning and back in the evening for an art adventure. Tomorrow is a play date and possibly something else (maybe the library).

We're doing ok so far, but today I was feeling the strain of it.

I know my kids are good kids, I really do, but when I'm out in public with them, I get stressed out by their behavior and the fact that WE'RE IN PUBLIC PLACES AND WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT GET YOUR HANDS OFF THAT CHILD/OUT OF YOUR PANTS/AWAY FROM THAT OBJECT IF YOU HAVE TO PEE WE GO TO THE POTTY and so get snappy. I get anxious and angry and feel like everyone is watching me and judging me based on my kids (which they're totally not, they're trying to keep their own kids from climbing the walls...I mean, I don't judge them based on their kids(ok, some kids I totally do because wow.)) and that makes everything worse and it just spirals out of control. It sometimes takes a day or so to calm me down, and in the meantime there's still snappiness and fussing at people at home to contend with. There may or may not have been tears this morning in a search for shoes (Seriously, if he would just put them away when he gets home instead of kicking them off like a can-can dancer like I've been telling him to for six months he'd be able to find them).

It's so hard for me to go and do stuff with my kids and I know that I don't have to, but at the same time, I don't want them sitting around on the computer or watching tv all summer. I want them doing stuff and enjoying themselves. Most of what we have planned is either super cheap or totally free. If I had to pay more for what we're doing, we for sure wouldn't do it. (I'm cheap like that.) But they enjoy the library, they love the Grace's children's museum, they like story time and the splash pad and art projects. Everything on our list is things they either already enjoy or I'm about 90% sure they will. I just have to get my mind wrapped around the whole "leaving the house" thing.

Either way, it'll be an interesting summer.

The End of the World

In 2010, there were billboards all over Abilene claiming that the end of the world was coming on May 21, 2010. They were there for months. I can't remember the first time I saw them, but we were visiting about once a month or so that spring and so saw them regularly. Some guy had done some math involving the Bible or something and decided that was going to be the day the world ended.

For our family, the month and day were right, but the guy was off by one year.

Most people know, but I've made a few new acquaintances and friends over the past couple of years who don't know. May 21, 2009 was the day my dad died.

Understandably, May 21 is a hard day for us every year. We try to distract ourselves and think about other things, but every time I look at the clock, I remember what I was doing at that time on that day. I remember what I was feeling and what was going on around us and how other people responded, from the painter who got finished in record time to the people who got out of line for me at the gas station to the hospital person who took us to Dad. I remember Grandmother asking me not to go see his body and I remember holding his hand and hugging him one last time. (I have a bunch of these, there's a whole document titled "I Remember...")

Honestly, I'm not sure if May 21, 2009 or January 29, 2015 was the worst day of my life. On one, I lost my dad and on the other, I found out my baby daughter has an incredibly special heart. He's gone forever and she has something hard that she has to deal with her whole life and I can't change or fix either one. She's doing extremely well and is only slightly higher maintenance than a normal baby, but he's still gone forever. Both days suck.

I've processed Dad's death online a lot. There's notes on fb with my thoughts and feelings and a book I've had made with pictures and my family's eulogies and their own processing writings. Some of them I've read many times, some only once or twice. Turns out we Walkes are pretty good writers. And we all really loved John S. Walke.

So if I'm down or a little weepy around May 21, Father's Day, or June 24 (Dad's birthday), then that's probably why. It's a rough 34 days for me.

I know I've posted these pictures before, but they're my favorites. I think they show Dad's loving, comforting, protective, and goofy sides.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April was quiet

I know I know, I'm terrible about updating. We've been busy living life around here.

It's been the month of doctors' appointments: Eden had a regular check up (she's great, in the 50th percentile for height and weight), I had a regular dental cleaning that revealed me needing another crown, which is automatically two more visits, Austin had an eye exam where he was diagnosed with almost-terrible eye stuff going on, and I have an annual eye exam on Thursday. Plus stuff at church and regular life stuff, like friends' birthday parties and MOPS and FKO and of course bulk cooking. We've been comfortably busy.

There's really nothing new to report. Austin and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary today. We went out to dinner without kids on Friday and had Arrowhead deliver dinner tonight. Eden ate some of my green beans (she usually inhales them, but Austin's quinoa was far tastier to her tonight) and Elijah ate probably a good fourth of Austin's salmon. Sometimes I look at these kids and see myself in their faces or mannerisms or expressions or attitudes or preferences....and then they do crazy stuff like gobble down vegetables and salmon and I wonder where they came from. If you want to see a sappy post about Austin, you'll have to look here. Or check out some old notes on my facebook page. We're not sappy people, so I try to limit myself to once or twice a year so it doesn't lose it's potency.

On the family front, Asher is now registered for next fall at TLCA, the charter school a few blocks from the house. The first time he saw the school, he commented that the playground looked good. So....there's that. We bought a board game at a garage sale that involves flying and the person who flew most recently goes first. That's always Austin and Asher has decided he wants to fly in a plane just so he can go first in the game. Priorities.

Elijah is doing pretty great all around. He always wants to go where we're going and tag along with anything happening, so we usually let him. Gives him some one-on-one time that he's never really gotten, at least not like Asher and Eden have. Poor middle kid.

Eden is fabulous. Growing and walking and talking and trying to keep up with her brothers. She has opinions and preferences and attitude and its great. She's constantly got a runny nose from the seasonal junk floating around. Her next appointment is with the cardiologist in June, then she'll see her regular ped for her 18 month check up in July and the pediatric ophthalmologist in July for an annual eye exam to check how her eyes are developing with the ptosis. Fingers crossed that it's still fine.

Austin is still loving his job. He recently had to go out of town for a weekend for stuff with BEST and the kids didn't really have time to miss him, which was nice. He missed us since he had to suffer the silence and solitude of a hotel room in the evenings. Poor him.

I'm doing well, too, other than the crown. At least it didn't turn into a root canal like last time.

The boys like to play outside every day, even if it ends up being for five minutes. They ride their bikes on the patio and play on the seesaw and if they can find it, they write with chalk on the concrete. Eden decided to join them today. She did ok, wandering around with chalk in her fist.

So yes, we're all doing fine. Living, working, playing, growing. If this space isn't updated, it's because there's not much to report, or nothing that gets my writer juices flowing or that I think people are interested to read or comment about. It's nice being a little bit boring. It seems like we don't get much of that around here.