Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thankful for...

I feel impressed to share my thankful thoughts with you this afternoon.  Be kind gentle readers, be kind.

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Washing machines.  Washing machines that can just be here and sit and wait to be used at random moments.  For example when your child throws up all over everything.  And I mean everything.  Crib, hitting all bedding, himself, the floor and a little bit of me.

2.  My husband who forgot his lunch and happened to walk in the door to get said lunch at exactly the right moment so he could take the child off of my hands and I could clean up the horror that was without interruption.

3.  Chocolate cake, two pieces, as a reward for making it through said ordeal because of all the vomit experiences I've had thus far with my child, none have been this big or this... everywhere.

Now, lest you should feel sorry for me and this situation, a little background.

This morning. 
Breakfast dishes.
Item, 1 sippy cup of orange juice that I could not get the lid off of. 

I handed it to David so he could use his superior strength.  Even he had a hard time, but eventually got the lid off.  I took it, dumped it out and noticed... a smell.  A rather rank smell.  One could even say a little fermented smell.  Upon further investigation, I found out that the sippy cup that I had taken from the fridge this morning with the OJ in it and given to my son to drink for breakfast had actually been left out the day before.  But rather than making it to the kitchen sink, it got put back in the fridge in a moment of distraction.  I've changed the names to protect the guilty so I shall call this culprit Shcmavid.

Yes my friends.  My son was sick this morning and vomited all over everything (after his nap so it was nice and half digested) because his parents had him drink fermented orange juice.

So on to things that you should be thankful for!

1.  I have taken the parent of the year award already so all ya'll are off the hook!

Have a fabulous Tuesday and may your orange juice be fresh.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The view from here

Things are a little quiet around here today.

Something about the hush of newly fallen snow and cul-de-sacs that are the last on the plowing list.
David is home today because he can't get out.

The reminder of Christmas lights to be taken down in the Spring.

Ben has found his belly button... among other things. Oh, and socks.  Both go on, but sometime during the day one gets pulled of and is usually found somewhere in his room soaked through because it's spent an unknown time in his mouth.
Just don't know about this boy.

Happy Monday my friends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On the Elite

There are quite a few things that I learned last year about myself.  My surprising ability to deal with change and a new little person in the house.  The need to go with the flow sometimes rather than stick to the schedule which has always been a problem for me.  I found out that I have a voice and a valid opinion that I can share.  I found that I can disagree with people and not be cut off from their society.  I found out that it's okay for me to question things that have "always been" because sometimes they don't really matter.

Yes, last year was a  year of learning for me.  But it didn't stop with the above.  I learned some not so nice things about myself too.  I learned that I may have some control issues and that I'm not always the nicest person.  And let's face it, I knew that already but just hadn't been confronted by it quite so much.  But perhaps... well not perhaps, hands down the most surprising thing I learned last year was that I was part of an "elite group".  And not "elite" as in special skills Avengers type elite because that would just be cool, but elite as in exclusionary of others.  Better than.  Snobby.

I was told this by a good friend and if my jaw didn't drop for real it was certainly hitting the floor internally.  I couldn't believe it!  Still don't.  Elite?  Me?  I didn't quite know what to think.  I was caught somewhere between "in what lifetime am I part of the popular crowd" and "how did this happen and I not know it" with a good deal of "what the crap!" mixed in.   Was I to be offended or flattered?

I chose to ignore it.  For a long long time.  Every once in awhile it would randomly pop into my mind and I would be baffled all over again.  Especially because of the way this "elite" group came about.  It was largely put together? fell together? came together? out of a need for group therapy.  Seriously. In fact I was in the middle of my pregnancy from hell and the only thing that was keeping me together was a weekly outing with some of my favorite peeps.  During these outings the kids would play and the women would talk and I would feel a little less trapped in my own disturbingly depressing thoughts.  (I had some serious hormonal depression going on in the first few months of my pregnancy... like call the dr. my wife is a puddle of nothing on the floor of the bathroom type serious.  People were scared for me. I was scared for me. And for good reason.  I owe a lot to a good therapist and equally good but-safe-for-the-baby drugs.)  So this weekly visit was saving me.  Then it stopped.  School started and the visits stopped.  I didn't want it to stop and I mentioned it to one of the group.  And then she had a marvelous idea.  A brilliant idea!  Those who could (as in didn't have jobs to get back to or no children at home requiring all their attention) could still meet.  Just not in the same place, but perhaps inside with a nice cup of salted caramel hot cocoa to sweeten the deal.  And so it began.

I loved it from the beginning.  I was still working at the time but mostly from home and the outing was just the motivation I needed to get through my life.  I lived for Tuesday mornings.  At first it was just me and one other and it was nice.  Nice because our friendship that began years before with game nights and attempts at knitting had been put on the back burner due to Book Club and craft nights and now it could flourish again.  Nice because we got to connect again, really connect.  And for those of you who know me, I 'm not much of a conversationalist in large groups.  In fact the first couple of large group outings that David and I attended as a couple, he kept on asking if I was alright.  He, being used to my one on one never stop talking persona, was baffled by this quiet girl who sat in the corner and didn't say much.  I was perfectly content that way and was having a great time.  He spent the time worrying that I wasn't enjoying myself.   But small groups are truly my cup of tea... or hot chocolate as the case may be.

Two shortly became three as pre-school fell on Tuesday for one other woman.  Tuesday mornings were for us.  These women literally saved me during this time.  Their advice and laughter and understanding hearts were exactly what I needed.  And since we all needed therapy on some level (I kid not) we got along swimmingly!  We all benefited from it. 

Now do you understand my bewilderment?  Elite.  Us?  How about broken.  Or dysfunctionally functional.  Or special cases.  If you would have heard our conversations you might wonder!

Friendship takes effort.  It takes effort to maintain. I used to think that wasn't the case.  I thought that true friendship, true friends wouldn't hurt each other.  It would all be smiles and sunshine and everybody agreeing on everything together.  And then I grew up.  I realized a few things.  To be friends you don't always have to agree on everything.  In fact it would be a little scary if you did always agree on things.   I don't always get along with David and he's the love of my life.  So what does that mean for friendship?

For me it means that at the end of the day, no matter what the discussion or disagreement is, I still want to be friends with my friends.  It means that we can get through "altercations" and be stronger friends with a deeper appreciation for each other for having made it through.  It means really getting to know someone, warts and all and them knowing you, warts and all, and feeling nothing but kindness and love mixed with a healthy dose of laughter.

I am sad that we were labeled as "elite" because we're not.  I'm sad that people chose to be offended or hurt or excluded but never asked about it.  I'm sad that things were assumed and not true. 

However, I would not change this "elite" friendship for anything.  Who else is going to laugh at my wildly inappropriate 13-year old boy humor?  It certainly isn't David!

Happy Wednesday ya'll!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Find something beautiful...

"You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight."
-Elizabeth Gilbert "Eat, Pray, Love"
I love this quote.  Perhaps it's just the cabin fever speaking, but this one spoke to my soul.  The need to find something beautiful.  The idea that we deserve to find something beautiful.
I've been thinking a lot about expectations and duty and work.  I've been thinking about how to find and recognize those beautiful things that are a part of my life.  And I've realized something.  If I don't slow down and give myself a break, I never will see the beautiful parts.
I sometimes get ridiculously ambitious.  My plan for January was to declutter my entire house, finish the quilt for my bedroom, make a quiet book for Ben, take piano lessons, cook dinner each night, exercise at least 4 times a week, write in my journal daily, finish my kitchen cabinets, spend quality time playing with Ben, and make several wall hangings of quotes I love.
So far I've decluttered by putting the Christmas decorations away, thinning out my very large pile of dishcloths, and giving some books to the DI.  The rest has just been clutter-rearranged.  What was once taking up space on the kitchen table is now taking up space on my dresser and piano and some other flat surfaces.  My cabinets are on hold pending the trim getting in at Lowe's sometime in the next month or two.  The rest is just kind of there, laughing at me.
I don't know what's more crazy, the fact that I actually put all those things on my to do list, or that I actually thought I could do it and take care of my little family.  Either way, the list is not going to get done and really I'm okay with that.  I'm okay because in this crazy time of January/Winter survival it's more important than ever to "find something beautiful... no matter how slight."
These days are going by rather quickly.  Though sometimes it doesn't feel that way, each time I look at the calendar I'm surprised at how close February is. How do I really want to spend my time?  What are my priorities?  And at what expense am I willing to get things done? 
Sometimes I forget that I am the one that sets the deadlines here, so I am the one who can change them.  Perhaps my January list should be extended a bit. Perhaps it should read January - July.  Sounds more doable doesn't it?  And it gives me time.  The time that I need, that my soul needs to find the beauty in life.
Today it came in the form of my son.  My curious and slightly mischievous son.  The one who decided to tackle my head (stuffed animal style) as I lay on the floor with him showing him how to play with the cars.  The one whose giggles are contagious and make me want to do anything to hear more of them.  The one who is growing too fast for me.  The one that I don't want to miss.  That is my kind of beauty.
What's beautiful in your life today?

Monday, January 21, 2013


Dear Ben,
Today, or technically yesterday, you are 11 months old.  Please stop growing.  You keep on walking around with more and more confidence.  Your too long pants don't even make you hesitate anymore.  Even though I am enjoying you more and more, I still don't want you to grow up too fast...as you seem adamant on doing.

Dear David,
I'm so glad you have such a love of popcorn and even more glad that you clean out the popcorn machine after each use.  And thank you for doing the dishes today.  I'm not sure if I could have faced them without anger, or at least tears.

Dear Inversion,
You are dead to me.  Please stop showing yourself and go bug some other valley for awhile.  Or really just go away all together.  I think that would be best all the way around. 

Dear Sun,
I miss you.  The real you, the inversion free you.  Please come back.

Dear Furnace,
Thank you for working so well.  You make me never want to leave the house again.  At least not until the sun really shines.  Now if you could figure out a way to do the laundry.


Hope you all have a wonderful Monday.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Owning It

I woke up in an absolute horrid mood.  I had not slept well.  Ben was up a few times in the night.  I had, and still have some decisions to make.  Icky decisions about the future and my role in the family and running a household and making the most of the money and possibly making some of the money.  I wanted to stay in bed and hide from it all.

But I couldn't.  My brain just kept on... going.  So I stuck with the plan that was formulated last night during a happier time and got up, braved the cold and went to the gymn.

Today, this morning, I was a runner for just over 2 minutes.  The rest of the time I walked or ellipticalled (pretty sure I just made that word up) and I sweat buckets and loved it.  My face is still red from exertion and I don't care. Because I feel so much better!  I could work out some anxiety and read words from people that are much smarter than me.  My mind finally, almost effortlessly wrapped itself around some things that I really  needed to figure out.  One of them being the shame of exercise.

Yep, you heard me right, the shame of exercise.

I grew up feeling less than most of the time. Less than in talent, looks, popularity, etc.  I was deeply self-concious about anything I did to stand out. The more I blended into the crowd the better.  I always at in the back row if I could because then no one would be looking at me, judging me and all my extensive flaws.  Exercise, or any outward sign of trying to improve myself was just not something I could handle.  In fact the exercise I did get consisted of situps in the privacy of my own room and walks in the black of night that only living in the country can give you.  I'm certain that I would have died on the spot had anyone walked into my room when I was doing the situps.  I'm certain they would have laughed and mocked me for trying to be... pretty? fit? look like the popular girl?  Of course it was ridiculous and would have never happened, but the feelings were still there.

I don't know why this was.  I have tried and tried to figure it out.  I used to think it was tied to my parents somehow, but I can't find anything solid that would make sense.  I do remember some people being criticized because they were "too into" their bodies.  Some at the expense of their marriages.  But it really doesn't hold water now since I know that those marriages were doomed from the beginning.  Exercise became a way for one or the other to finally do something for themselves so they could feel good about something in life since the marriage and everything surrounding it was going to pot!

Still, I've downplayed the role of exercise in my life.  I've felt a need to justify it: it's the only way I can stay awake long enough to read a book/study; I do it because it helps my back feel better; it staves off depression; I ate way too much last night so I'm just making up for my lack of control.  I'm certainly not doing it to improve my body or feel better about myself as a whole, ya know cause only popular? fit? pretty? people do that.  I'm not really fit.  I'm not really pretty.  Messed up people!  Messed up.

There are a million reasons I could give, all of which have some degree of truth but none that really speak to my authentic self.  The deep down to the core dirty truth is that I exercise because I like it!  I like the way my body feels, all capable and stuff.  I love doing something for myself.  I love that my skin feels better in my clothes.  I love the side benefits of clearer skin and a clearer mind.  I love that I'm getting muscle tone in my arms (though I think that's mostly thanks to The Ben and his almost 20 lbs that spend a good deal of time in my arms). I honestly am a better person when I exercise.  I am a more patient and loving wife and mother.  I feel more balanced.  I feel... better.  Why on earth should I downplay that!

So today I am owning it a little at a time.  My sweat.  My red face.  My capabilities.  Myself.  I, Lora Sullivan, am an exerciser. 

What's something that you love and are not ashamed to claim?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Working it out

I've been the recipient of many things in my life.  Good and bad and everywhere in between.  And something has happened that was completely unanticipated.  Completely.

I'm not the nicest person in the world, but usually when I do something that is really wrong or offensive of just bad character all the way around, I will eventually swallow my pride and seek forgiveness for whatever was done.  Sometimes it is really hard, sometimes it's not so bad.  It's always a lesson though.  I don't really want to repeat the experience so I try harder to do better.

But sometimes... sometimes I am tired and cranky and full of stupid and I do something dumb.  Something hurtful.  Something wrong to someone I love.  And I know it right away.  Like immediately.  And rather than fixing it right then I tried to make a joke out of it.  And then it gets worse.  And the person is hurt and angry.  So I do what I should have in the first place and apologize.  And then?

I've been through this before.  The heavy heart, the pricking of the spirit telling me to make things right.  It's hard but doable.  After the pride is swallowed and the apology offered and sweet forgiveness is granted a wiser person emerges.  One who vows to never do "that" again.

But what if that forgiveness doesn't come?  Today I am faced with something that I really don't know what to do with.  My proffered apology has been thrown back in my face.  Twice.  In fact I was told in no uncertain terms that my apology was refused.  I believe the words were "I don't accept your apology".  I tried again later but was met with silence.  This person is obviously angry and hurt and I had no idea that my stupid dumb mistake would cut so deeply.  No idea.  None.

I've been thinking about it all day, trying to decide how to feel.  How to move on and get past this for myself.  My thoughts are typical "Well it's not my problem, I did my part. If they don't want to forgive me then it's all on them."  "I should just move on and get over it."  I've been telling myself that I should no longer feel bad about this.  I should let it go.  I should... should... should....

These things make sense to my head, but why does it feel like I'm hiding?  Like I'm hardening my heart in order to move on?  Like it doesn't matter if they forgive me or not?  Because the truth is that it does matter.  I have never had anyone withhold forgiveness on me before and I am surprised by how much it hurts.  I do care.  I want to be able to see this person again and be happy.  I want to heal whatever crazy relationship was there in the first place.  I don't want this person to suffer because of some stupid thoughtless mistake that I made.  I don't want it to be awkward when we see each other, and we will see each other.

I am not quite sure how to proceed.  I jump back and forth between acting like nothing happened and hoping it will all blow over to throwing myself at their feet begging for forgiveness.  I'm pretty sure the answer is really somewhere in between.  So I will ponder some more.  Go on with my life and have a little prayer in my heart that I'll know the answer when I see it.

Any of you been through this before?  How did you deal?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Being Thankful

I have a confession.  I kind of hate Facebook in November.  I hate the whole "Today I'm thankful for...."  Perhaps hate is too strong a word, more like strongly dislike.  It's always felt so... cliche? to me.  Too expected.  Too part of the season.  Too following the herd.  Too much for too little of a time.  Like there's one month that is set aside for being thankful and the rest of the time we can all go back to correcting grammar and ranting about politics.

Now, I realize that it is not November right now.  And that this is not Facebook.  But for some reason I'm still not sure about, I chose Gratitude as my word this year.  When I chose it, it felt right.  I was hoping that the focus on gratitude would help me see the good around me.  That it would help me focus on the positive and not get so distracted by the negative.  And I admit, it seemed a bit of an easy one for me.  After all, when I chose it I was in a good mood and life was just grand.  I deserved a bit of an easy goal for this year right?

So what happened to me?  Well it got hard!  Things were going rather well for those first few days and then?  Then I let someone get to me and actually flipped them off!  With THE finger!  I don't think I've done that since high school, ya know when it was oh so attractive and all.  I apologized for it but my day was thrown off.  My expectations were not even close to being met and I had tried so very hard.  Someone or something had thrown off my groove!  And what went through my head that night as I thought about what I should be thankful for?  I'll tell ya.  "Gratitude schmatitude, what a craptastic day and a stupid word.  There's nothing to be thankful for today, it stunk! grumble grumble grumble."

Which means, that perhaps this little word of the year for me is not such a bad idea after all.  It is something that I really will have to work at.  It's not a free ride.

So I will be adding a page to this here blog.  A page of Gratitude.  A list, added to daily (I hope) of thinks that I truly am thankful for, no matter how terrible the day turned out.  A whole year of November.  Finding things to be thankful for because there really is always something, even if it's plumbing!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dear Yesterday,

Dear Yesterday,

You started out beautifully, with so much hope on the horizon.  Projects to be done, babies being born, surgeries done to alleviate pain.  You promised finished kitchen cabinets and time with family.  At least I thought that was what you were promising.

You turned out a bit different that I had hoped.  In some cases drastically.

The trimming for my cabinets was out of stock.  So instead of all cabinets being beautifully adorned, I have two.  But they give me hope for two weeks from now when a new shipment will be coming in.

The surgery went well but the pain was not alleviated, at least not yet.  But there is still hope.  Healing takes time and so do drug combinations.  You were the one that kept family away and I'm a bit irritated by that.

But the most disappointing and even heartbreaking thing was the baby. The sweetest little girl you ever did see that was born early in the morning.  Perfect. Sweet.  In the arms of people who have waited so very long to have her.  But yesterday you pulled a trick.  A mean one.  You let things happen? Made things happen? to send this sweet little one to Primary Children's with an unsure outcome.  She seized and no one knows why, at least not yet. Yesterday was supposed to be a time of recovery and joy and enjoyment of small and impossibly loud baby noises that would always be remembered.  Instead there is worry and wondering and breaking hearts. 

So Yesterday, do me a favor.  Please don't bleed over into today.  Let today be better.  Let today be full of miracles and hope once again.  Let questions be answered and pain be soothed.  Let people get on with their lives and the lives of their little ones.  Please let there be joy today.  Please.

In the meantime I will wait and worry and pray and hope and worry some more.  And Today, if you are reading this too, please influence others for good.  Let their prayers go up in behalf of those they do not know but so desperately need their care.  Please bring some miracles, great or small, just bring them.

Sincerely and with great hope,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome 2013

I have started this post about 5 times now and deleted everything.  I was trying to reflect on the past year and list all of the good in it.  The lessons, the surprises.  But I just couldn't do it.  Not because they weren't there, but I just could not wrap my head around them.  So I'm doing a different list.

The things that I will miss the most about 2012:

1.  11 am church.

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up. 

However, I am looking forward to this year a ridiculous amout!  I want to declutter my house and my life.  I want to stop putting off piano lessons and commit.  I want to break out my Christmas present and create (I got a jigsaw! not the puzzle, the actual saw and I am extremely excited to break it in).  I want to focus on the good in life because I seem to be weighed down too often with the things that maybe aren't so good. 

So.  My word of the year in all of it's glory is GRATITUDE.

It's the one that I feel in my soul right now.  The one that I neglect far too often.  The one that I perhaps need the most practice showing. 

So here's to the New Year!  Enjoy every single day.