Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pushing My Limits

I've always been afraid to fail. I think everyone has varying degrees of this fear. It's not uncommon, by any means.

Last Sunday at church we spoke about detours. We've all had them in life... You're chugging along going one way and all of a sudden some life event comes along and you're sent spiraling down a different path. Some are chosen and some are not. Some detours you want to be on and some are downright awful.  It was a really good subject for me, as I feel like I've been on a giant detour for the past two years.

We expanded on the topic last week in our Journey group and one of the attendees said something that flipped a switch for me. She said that she was going to college and ended up dropping out and getting married. She knew that she was supposed to be a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom and be the office manager of her husband's business. She knew that was what was going to end up happening, but she wanted that degree. She enrolled back in college and halfway through the semester she was pregnant. She said after a lot of soul searching she realized that she wanted the degree not because she was going to necessarily use it, but because she wanted to have it. There was pride in it. She wanted the degree for the title.

Obviously, not everyone is called to be a stay at home mom. We all know the moms that work who wish they were home and others who stay at home that wish they were working. We know moms that should work who do work and moms that should stay at home who do stay at home. I know many moms that need or want to work and stay at they find a way to do both.

If you've been a long time reader you know that I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom. It's been very hard for me to let that go. After I heard her story though, something nudged in my brain. I just had this light bulb moment that said that I'm not a stay at home mom because of my fear. Staying at home for me would be staying in safety. My fear of failure was a partial motivator in my desire to stay at home. 

Remember, this is just for me. It has nothing to do with any other woman out there or their reasons for doing what they do/don't do.

My epiphany also clarified that my fear of failure was not the only factor. I also have a grand fear of success. Deep down in my introvert soul I have always wanted big things. I've always wanted to be a well known author. I've always wanted to write children's books and fiction novels. I have always wanted to run a small business that grows into a BIG business. I have absolutely always wanted to be in politics. I've dreamed of starting local and moving up the ranks.

But when asked, I always said I wanted to be a stay at home mom. For me it was easier, safer, than explaining that I want big, big things and I'm scared I'll never get them. I'm afraid of failure and I'm afraid of success.

More than that, I worried that the reason that I wanted these things was because I wanted recognition. It was my desire to be noticed. To be well known. To take something small and make it big. To run public office. To achieve any of those things you must be noticed... For someone who goes through life largely unnoticed, saying that these were desires I had made me feel ridiculous.

A more important question would have been - what are my motives behind wanting to achieve those goals?

I always wanted to write children's books because books saved me as a kid. Books kept me company, kept me safe. There were times that things were so bad in my house that I would hide in the back of my closet in my safe place and the books I read would take me far away from my reality. If I wrote only one book and only one kid read it and felt that way, I would consider myself successful.

I love small business. I love seeing the little guy succeed and I believe that you have can have a big business that feels small. That cares about its community and provides more than just goods or services. Big business does not have to feel as corporate as it often does. I want to employ good people, sell or provide quality items and be a benefit to a city and it's people.

We need honesty in politics. We need normal people that have good heads on their shoulders and good business practices in government. We need someone to remind people that the government shouldn't be helping the sick and down-trodden but the PEOPLE should be. We should be rallying up our neighbors that are worse off than ours, not callings for the government to do it. A lot of people make the government care so they don't have too. Not to mention we need ethical people back in government.

My intentions for having these goals are good, but because they put me in the limelight, I felt like it was self-serving to want them. Who says I'm the right person to do any of it? Plus, how could I possibly succeed in any of those areas?

I've held myself back by the things I've decided I can't do without even trying to test my limits. 

Sure, there is the unknown in parenting and child-rearing and running a business or brand can be a baby on its own. Both avenues have uncertainty and scary parts. I'm not discounting that at all. But for me, staying home would be safer that attempting to reach any of those goals and failing OR succeeding.

Last week when I heard her story, I realized that my detour is definitely about growth. I've experienced so much in the past two years and I am so far from any type of comfort zone. I feel so lost and unsure of myself. I enrolled in this program knowing that I only had half of the money to pay for it, but sure that I'd figure it out. Beyond that... just the fact that I enrolled in this program, that I'm striving to move up in school business, that I've decided to pursue being a CBO at a school district - it's SO FAR from anything I thought I could do.

But look at me. I'm doing it.

I've had this war going on inside me for the past two years... Part of me is travelling this path kicking and screaming, with a hefty amount of skepticism, resentfulness and sadness.... but part of me is excited to see where my detour leads me. The part of me that I keep hidden, the part that wants to be successful and make a difference, it's rejoicing... anticipating some fresh air and maybe even a little sunlight.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I dropped an F-bomb right before Journey Group...

Wednesday evening was our first small group, which our church (it's weird to say type that) lovingly calls Journey groups. Makes sense. They encourage their rather large congregation to break off and get to know each other and walk through life together.

Bryan and I have been attempting this thing called attending church. Bryan is all for it and I'm on the fence. Considering that out of the four weeks we've gone, I made us late to three of them. Last week, I'll have you know, that I was ready a half hour before church began. So you know, I'm amazing. It only took Bryan and I getting into four fights about it before we collectively decided that while he got to sleep in (like every other day) I get to wake up at my normal time (too early) so that I can get ready in peace.

So last week I got to sleep in a whole zero days. Add in a rather frustrating project on charter school petitions which meant lots of late nights. Dumb.

Back to Journey Group. Let me set the scene by going back to Sunday. Sunday we went to church but while we were there, I started not to feel so good. Like... not at all good. When I got home, I got straight in bed and ended up with some weird stomach flu/virus thing that made me not eat for more than 24 hours. I felt absolutely terrible. I missed work on Monday and I've just been thrown off my game all week. Food is not a friend, you get what I mean?

Bryan hasn't been feeling so hot either so we're just amazing to be around. I told Bryan on Tuesday evening what was for dinner on Wednesday AND THEN reminded him in the morning to take out some tilapia from the freezer. How irritated was I when I got home and was told that we would not be cooking dinner because there wasn't "time". Frying up some fish, microwaving some green beans and there wasn't time?????

I decided not to pursue a fight because I am extremely mature and decided we'd pick something up. Bryan had been in charge of figuring out the details of our group because he is familiar with the people who are hosting it. Do you know what he didn't do? Figure out the time, place or phone number of the hosts. We had zero information about where we were going.

Add another layer of irritation.

I keep pushing Bryan to help me figure it out and get Shepherd ready so we can get out the door to grab food and he's about as helpful as a bump on a log. In complete frustration I call HIS MOTHER and she gets me the information which..... sigh. It is now 5:56pm and we're pretty sure the group starts at 6:30. I'm like hustling to get everything together and we leave.

We had a hard time deciding where to go. I wanted to go to a Subway that was close to where the house was. Bryan decided to go to Port of Subs which was farther away from the house. We go in and there is a line. When I go up to order I ask Bryan what he wants and he says he doesn't want anything.

I'm so sorry, but I almost lost my SHIT right there. Like, we started whispering back and forth to each other in that way that married couples do when they are pissed at each other in public... You've either seen it or done it. No judgement.

I inhale my sandwich and we arrive right before 6:30....................................except there are no cars. We got there a half hour early. Group starts at SEVEN. As I was getting the diaper bag out of the car I made some comment that most definitely had the f-word in it. I just ate food in .2 seconds when my stomach has been completely ridiculous all week. I paid for that all evening/night long.

As the host is doing last minute house cleaning and dishes and getting coffee set up, she's also making small talk with her lame guests that showed up thirty minutes early.

It was all good. It's par for the course for most people trying to get to church, something always goes wrong. I am never more of a heinous biotch than I am on Sunday mornings. We will all face adversity when we are trying to breathe something good into our lives.

That adversity may cause us to utter a few cuss words or bicker with our significant others, but the end result is worth the struggle. Soon there will be less and less of the adversity and the joy of attending, creating new relationships and strengthening others is worth it. A routine will be formed and the struggle you faced trying to better your life will be a distant memory.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Babies and Old Friends

What. A. Weekend.

Friday afternoon I left work an hour early because my best friend Colleen had her baby. I almost missed it because she had the fastest labor ever. I'm so proud of her and Jordan. They are great parents.

Benjamin was born at 4:24pm and after all the family and everything, I got to meet him around 7:15! I felt so lucky to be one of the first people to hold sweet Benjamin and congratulate his parents. I went in at the same time as his Godmother, Hanna, who was over the moon to meet her Godson! So precious.

My mom and Jordan's mom were best friends when we were younger and Jordan is like family to me. We were really close as kids and most of my 'cousin' memories are with him. I would follow him around their dairy and he taught me how to drive a golf cart. We would play and climb in the cotton and when were really young, we'd play power rangers and cops and robbers. We'd get together almost every Saturday as kids and get donuts and play. Best memories ever!

Many of you know that Colleen and I became very close before and during I was pregnant and she has been very important to my overall sanity my first year and a half of marriage. What you may not know is that her Dad was my Dad's best man when my mom and dad got hitched! Our families have known each other for a long, long time but we never really ran in the same circles.

How lucky am I that Colleen and I became close and that her husband and I have been family forever! And now, a new layer, knowing Benjamin and envisioning our boys playing cops and robbers together and eating donuts. I'm so honored to be a part of their life and I can't wait for our boys to drive us nuts and cause all kinds of mayhem.

Speaking of Hanna, Saturday morning was her bridal shower! We got to spend some girl time together and eat really yummy food. My hair was actually really pretty and curly that day but I just look awful in general in this picture. Ugh! Hopefully Colleen's mom, who snapped a picture of us, took a better one. Cause mine is rough. Eeek.

Sunday, we...wait for it... went to church! Whaaaat. Yeah, we're going to church again. Apparently. Hopefully it sticks. I enjoyed being there and Shepherd loved his class. :)

After church we put Shepherd down for his nap and I put the finishing touches on a homework assignment that was due. We watched TV, took naps... it was a really nice afternoon. Then we met up with my childhood friend, Ryan, for some pizza and beer.

 Ryan and I have been friends since fourth grade and I adore him. He's a great person and it was nice to see him in the flesh. Right now, he's stationed in Louisiana and his last visit we didn't get to see each other. The last time I saw him was summer in 2009.

Crazy. This is a picture we took at the fair in 2009! I can't believe it had been five years. Jeesh. It was great to see him interact with Shepherd and chat with Bryan. There isn't really a better feeling that when one of your best friends gets to know the people you love most in the world... ya know?

Bryan and I ended Sunday with a really good discussion about life. We have a lot of moving parts these days and it was nice to talk about whats going on and where we are headed. More on that in another blog. :)

Hope ya'll had a great weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2014

KJUG Free Summer Concert Series: Scotty McCreery

I haven't watched American Idol for a few years now, but I've managed to stay in the "know" of who's who on the show. To be perfectly honest, I'm in a weird rap/rock music phase and although country is near and dear to my heart, I've been by-passing the country stations for quite some time now.

When Bryan asked if I wanted to go see Scotty McCreery I was pretty meh. about it. With work and school I just couldn't muster up the get-up-and-go but he insisted. He had been stuck in the house and needed to be around adults out in public. So off we went. 

It was packed. Like... Sardines in a can packed. 

This is not even remotely close to the entire crowd, either. We sat with Rick in a spot he had saved from earlier in the day by the tree to the very right. Most of the time we couldn't see Scotty, even though we were close. Most of the people stood right in the front which pretty much blocked anyone else from seeing anything at all. I shot up to take a few photos and then sat right back down so others could do the same. The lady with the Sons of Anarchy shirt ended up putting her child on her husbands shoulders which blocked the view even further. 

Not what I would classify as good concert-in-a-park etiquette but whatever. 

Papa ended up sitting and playing with Shepherd for most of the time which seemed to be perfectly fine with both of them. Two peas in a pod, those two. Papa got extra points for helping him eat his applesauce pouch. The weather was REALLY nice that night which was great considering we've been having some cloud cover and humidity. The humidity makes our 100+ degree days impossible to deal with. I think everyone there appreciated the cooler night and tried to make the best of it. There was even a nice breeze but everyone was still sweating from being so close together.

The concert was only for an hour or so. We left a few songs before it ended so that we didn't have to deal with the crowds and could get Shepherd down at his normal bedtime. Although I'm not sure it was worth all the effort, it was a nice night and I enjoyed Scotty. He had a great personality and was engaging with the crowd. He also doesn't sing every song in that super deep register of his and he busted out a few classics from Johnny Cash, Elvis and a few others that I can't remember. I was pleasantly surprised. 

I did manage to take a little video. Shepherd was playing with the cane of Rick's girlfriends Moms and kept almost hitting her with it. She was very gracious about it but it made me panicky. You could tell he felt quite bad about it the first time it happened, but then did it again towards the end of the video. 

He's such a sweet boy. I adore him! All in all, I'm glad Bryan encouraged us to go. We had a good time and it was nice to be out with the community!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Value of A Moment

When I go through major life changes, I tend to get nostalgic for the past. Am I the only one who does that? Probably not. But it's a ritual of mine. I seek out memories that stir up those good emotions, feeling loved, safe, happy and I surround myself in them while continuing to charge forward into the unknown.

I have a few memories that I recall every time and one in particular reflects on time spent with my Vavo. My dad's mom spoke very little English. Half the time she did not understand what we were saying and would just shrug her shoulders and shake her head.

I think in that moment she was silently cursing my parents and the fact that they didn't teach us Portuguese. Maybe I'm just projecting.

Anyways, I miss her. I miss her pats on my shoulder. She was the only grandmother that was close to us as kids. She was at every function. I remember being young and going to stay with her on the weekends. I would always be upset that I had to "babysit" Vavo. But I'd get there and we'd watch shows and she'd give me her diabetic-friendly cookies. I'd heat us up dinner and ultimately fall asleep on her leather couch. She'd always put one of her stale smelling afghan blankets on me and go to bed. 

Those are precious moments now. Even though I would get mad at my parents as a kid, I had no way of knowing that I would recall those memories as an adult during times that I felt unsettled and apprehensive about my life. I think that is how it is with everything. Bryan and I have friends and family members going through specific life stages and we remember going through them ourselves. We see now the steps we took to create a bad situation and know what we should have done instead. To see people we love making some of those tell-tale choices is heartbreaking for us. We want to shake their shoulders and try to reason with them. Look at the big picture! You have no idea the mess you are making, we know, we've been there. 

Instead, we just wait and watch. Praying that they get through it the way we did. Praying we get through what we're going through now the way people before us did. It's all a cycle. In my old age (har har), I've learned that once these events pass you by, they are gone. You'll wish for them back. You'll want to hold on to that moment or recreate ones that you stupidly missed. 

I've only been on earth for (almost) 27 years. In that short time I have missed a lot of experiences because I was too busy focusing on something else. I'm trying not to do that even though I'm in a really busy season of life. I know that while I'm desperately attempting not to miss certain moments that I'll miss other ones. It's a hard balance to strike.

How do you decide what is worth all your attention and what isn't?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Recap: Bryan's 10 Year Class Reunion (+ Mini Quiche Recipe)

My weekend started on Thursday night when I went to dinner with my sister and her family. I got the sweetest video of Shepherd and my nephew Owen. They haven't been able to hang out for quite some time now and they missed each other. It was adorable:

On Friday after work, Shep and I went over to Colleen and Jordan's to hang out. I can't wait for Baby Brown to make his appearance and it's so cute to ask Shepherd where the baby is! He points right to Colleen's belly. It's adorable. 

Saturday, I woke up really early for whatever reason, so I decided to go hit up some yard sales while the boys slept. When I got home they woke up and we ran errands and just hung around the house. Saturday evening we went to Bryan's 10 year class reunion, which was small but fun! I got to catch up with Andrea about motherhood, babies and life in general, then made the rounds with everyone else. One of the highlights was when Amanda came up to me and said that I inspired her to start a blog! She and her boyfriend just bought a house in SLO and they are gutting it and starting over. I caught up on all the posts last night and I can't WAIT to see how it all comes together! 

Bryan and I also had a great discussion with Kara about music, journalism, social media/networking. It was really interesting. It is not often that someone from Hanford moves to New York and actually makes it. I've followed her writings on the Daily Beast over the years. Kara and I were on staff at the high school newspaper (so high brow) and now she's writing full-time. What a dream! 

Anyways, we skipped out right before 11 so we could get home to our boy. I wish more of the graduating class had attended, but luckily there were a lot of people that showed up that I haven't talked to in a long time so it worked out. 

Today we slept in and I ended up getting a migraine. I hate those dumb things. They are the worst! So it ate up most of my afternoon. When I woke up, I felt so weak and disoriented all I did was lay on the couch. Finally around 7pm I kicked into gear. I just knew that I had a busy week this week that I couldn't not get some grocery shopping and meal prep done. 

Bryan took a nap and Shepherd and I loaded up to go to the great Bullseye, Target. After spending way too much skrilla, yes I said skrilla, I called in a pizza at Boston House of Pizza in the parking lot and had just enough time to drop off the cold stuff in the fridge from Target and hit up the grocery store before walking over to grab the pizza. It was perfect. We got home, ate, and I started teriyaki chicken in the crock pot and made twelve mini quiches for breakfast in the mornings over the next few days. 

You know what is stupid? Photographing food. UGH. A food blogger, I am not. The quiches have a pie crust bottom, zucchini, spinach, bell pepper, ham, a little feta and a little cheddar cheese. I used the scalloped end of a biscuit cutter (that was about the size of a 1/4 measuring scoop wide) on the pie crust and put that in a muffin pan which was sprayed with baking spray. I fill scooped the veggie mixture in and topped with 9 eggs mixed with a bit of milk so that it was about 3/4 of the way full. Are you asking yourself why I specifically mentioned that I used a scalloped biscuit cutter on the pie crust? Well I'll tell you, because A. it's prettier and 2. I feel like the egg attaches better to the scalloped edges and it holds together better. Does it make sense? Maybe. If you aren't sold on the science behind it just refer to my first point. It's prettier. The second point is just a plus if its true. And I'm 99.4% positive I'm right. 

Anyways, I baked them for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I was going to cut up tomato but usually the simpler the better with these.  Once cooled, pop them in a ziplock bag and heat them in the oven, microwave or toaster oven (which is my preference because the crust gets crunchy again) in the morning before running out the door. Perfect, healthy breakfast. You're welcome. 

Life hack:  If you ever have some veggie/ham mixture left, save it and throw it on a salad with some strawberries, blue berries and Raspberry vinaigrette. YUM. Way to make two meals out of one. GO YOU!

I have class tonight and a group meeting tomorrow night and Wednesday is the first day of school at work! Not to mention homework. Eeek! Sometime this week I have to make it over to Visalia to pick up a bridal shower gift for the event on Saturday which I'm one two days late RSVPing for because I didn't read the entire invitation. I hate me. 

Hope you guys had a great weekend and a happy Monday! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Random Morning Blurbs + August Challenge!

I'm trying this new thing where I get up early. It's nice and quiet in the house and I have a few moments to think and still. 

I woke up early on Monday and went for a walk. I felt great all day! Then, on Monday night we walked to our local drugstore because Bryan wanted cookies. I also had my first online class for my program so it was a really long day.

Yesterday, I couldn't get out of bed. I just didn't have it in me to go for a walk, so I just got up early and started to curl my hair. Because... Why not? I figure, even if I don't get up to work out early, just getting up early extends my day and burns more calories. Winning.

School is gearing up again and I have a lot of last minute work to do. I can't believe how fast the summer passed. Probably because I was gone most of June.

Speaking of June... Did I ever post my Hawaii pictures? I honestly don't have any idea. I think I did. Maybe I didn't. I'll have to research that. I know I don't have very many. Maybe I should ask Bryan to do a guest post with all of his pictures from his computer. That would save me from having to actually rehash the trip and load images. Diabolical.

HEY! Speaking of things on the blog, I haven't done my August challenge. Let's just pretend that I had June and July challenges and that I did beautifully. Thank you.

August challenge is waking up early! Ya know...since I'm doing it anyway. It's not cheating it's winning strategically.

Yes. The challenge it so wake up early. There are no set parameters on what to do with said time. Just do something. Read a book, watch a show, workout, write on my blog or write in my journal. Just have a few moments in the day that are just mine before the baby wakes up or Bryan rolls out of bed.

The quiet is nice. Right now the only sounds I hear are my fingers tapping on the laptop and the whirring of the fan in the computer. Even the dogs who are prowling around in the backyard are silent.

There is beauty in the stillness before a day starts. The only thing that could make it better is if I could hear birds chirping and I had a cup of coffee in my hand.

Coffee makes everything better.