Monday, April 30, 2012

Climbing Back to Earth

Hey old friends. And any of you having your birthdays today, hey very old friends. I've about dropped off the face of the earth, but I'm climbing my way back in. It's not pleasant down there. What's new with me? Funny you should ask, lets talk about me.

Josh has been traveling almost every week since August. 1-2 trips sometimes, sometimes it's been 4-6 day trips. Last week he was gone a few days, came home for literally 24 hours and was off again. I think he's only been home for three solid weeks since August including the week of Christmas, and then I'm not sure where else, but I'm pretty sure there were two more somewhere. While Josh was traveling, I lounged by the tv and ate bon bons.

Of course all three of my kids got sick, and naturally I did too. We're talking months here, not a passing cold. But we had those too, those were sort of permanent. We also had a broken arm in there, bronchitis x2, ear infections, some lung infection, sinus infection, a rash that covered Rhett's whole body (ended up being severe eczema, thankfully not ring worm as I suspected), flu (multiple kids), 4 cut molars and I completely lost my voice, well, I had a super quiet whisper, but you should try to get your kids attention with a tiny whisper. I had to clap my hands to get their attention. All heck broke loose the week I lost my voice and I decided it was a blessing for everyone I didn't have a great capacity. Oh, and I was still nursing Rhett during the night (I know, but he slept in that way and I didn't want to end the nursing and he wouldn't do it during the day). A regular night would include me getting up at least once with one of my sick kids or for myself to find cough meds.  I was tired. Kids and I were falling apart.

There were other elements that made it tough, but don't you hate it that some of the toughest things you deal with are on the more confidential side? Anyway, there was a lot going on. After a monumental break down after Rhett cried for almost 6 hours straight with me hiding under my covers doing the same, all while I was supposed to be packing for a family road trip down to Vegas that day. I was just paralyzed from all the crying. I finally let all the emotions from the past several months pour out. I usually find that it's hard for me to cry any more. The past many years I often wish I could get a good cry out, but it's like my tear ducts just dried up after the first few years of marriage. So this cry was a long time coming!

I had some serious talks with J-man to reevaluate things. I'm ever impressed with the single parent and I can tell you one thing, I am not cut out to be one.  I also told some friends about my breakdown because I was sort of crying out for help. I was feeling like I was losing interest in things I normally enjoyed. I was just so tired, all the ways, that I had no energy to pursue things I used to enjoy, everything felt like work.

We prayed and fasted and I am feeling much better. I reviewed the book, "Geography of Bliss" for a book club and while I didn't really like the book and I couldn't stand listening to the whiny author reading it (audio), I found it really helpful to do some happiness research for the discussion. I realized that I've taken on a more "realistic" view of life instead of the always "glass half full" I was accustomed to for so long. I decided right then and there, or here since it was on the computer, that I can simply choose to be happier. I can choose to be more grateful for the little things, I can choose to look at my day as great instead of good. I mean really, it makes a difference and it's SO much more fun! I think for a while I felt like I had such a marvelously easy and delicious life if I told Josh how awesome my days were and didn't want him to feel bad, so I'd give him the good and the bad and not trump it up too much. Well not any more, it's no secret there are hard times, so I think we'd both be better off really enjoying the good. We've both been working on being more optimistic and it's been so great! Then my sister came to visit, which was awesome and I also got to see Mandy and Carrie, two of my dearest friends from high school, and considering that was in Ohio, it's a big deal any time I see friends from the past.


The past few days have been a mix of some of the best and worst days. Awesome fun two days with the kids Friday with friends and outings and Saturday I ran 10 miles on the treadmill at the Y and was SO proud of myself, and it was my fastest pace in years. Then their was a fun kids party outside after and we all got henna done on our hands. Josh was home for an afternoon and it was just a great day.

Then Sunday came and Josh left and the kids continued their streak of getting into food and treats and hiding them throughout the house made for a frustrating evening. And nail polish. And make up (the last two while I was on the phone crying to my parents about everything else that had happened). I can't even explain the amount of things they got into. I did a clean sweep on their toys and left them a couple of dolls to play with. I'm sick of fighting them to clean up. I felt so good afterwards!

Anyway, new method today of putting pepper on tongues for any time they sneak food. After their reactions I thought it may work. It didn't, found graham crackers and applesauce in their bed. I thought they were just playing nicely under their fort, I didn't know what they had under it. I can't wait until they try to hide things as teenagers...I decided a new trick for tomorrow. All they will get to eat are graham crackers. It is going to be SO hard for me to stick to this, but we'll try it. Wish me luck! BTW, this is only something I'm really tired of because EVERY day they get into things, hide it in their new swing set (they can't totally be seen from the house now), in all the rooms, crumbs everywhere, things spilled, rotting, etc., and not hungry for dinner. And they're flat out being disobedient and lying endlessly about it.


We are going to RUSSIA this week! WAHOO! Both of our parents are coming in and are trading off part way through. I'm going to tell them to put the kids through boot camp. No fun spoiling this time. I know that won't be what happens exactly, but at least they can try their hand at it. I'm looking into what we should do there, Josh has an itinerary (he served his mission in St. Petersburg) but I need to do some reading still. Right now I would consider my stress level to be at red. I have anxiety about all the reading and studying I haven't done in getting ready to go as I had hoped to do. My house has a million projects I was hoping to get done before our families came. My house is temporarily trashed with bags full of things to assist in my projects so I need to figure it out asap. I have a ton of errands to do before the fams come, returns, groceries, some things I need to get, etc. I am hoping this stress pushes me into high productivity mode. Right now it needs to push me into the kitchen to clean. I know this may seem like a waste of my time to be writing all this, but it's actually pretty therapeutic,

Q: Would you go to a Russian Banya? 


Erin C said...

I went to a Turkish Bath and it was an awesome experience, so yes, I wouldn't miss a Russian Banya.

joolee said...

oh afton, hang in there!!! you're one great mom! having Travis gone for a few months out of the year gives me somewhat of an idea what you're going through. have fun in Russia! (and yes, i'd go to a Russian looks amazing...)

Michelle Glauser said...

Poor Afton! Sounds like you are stressed to the max. Don't let vacation stress you out even more. There is time to research on the plane and when you get there and ask the info desk for a map. You rock and I admire you so much. I hope you have a great time.

Vanessa said...

Hey Afton! I wish I could give you a hug! Having your spouse unavailable all of the time can really put any sane person over the edge (I speak from experience :-) and I imagine the stress in that type of situation is intensified when you have kids and you're worried about them. I am glad you're going on vacation together. A little quality time together can really recharge your batteries, IMHO. Have a wonderful time together in Russia!


Amy said...

Yes, I'd go to a Russian Banya. I tried to go to a similar thing in Germany, but it didn't work out. So excited for you to get away!

Tristen said...

I hear you, our problems are similarly ridiculous yet real yet horrifying. I get it. I'm sure you've tried just putting locks on the cupboards? Sometimes with problems that i just can't solve with reason or punishment, I just have to solve practically and move on with life. Or move all of your food into one of the bedrooms (like a pantry) and lock the doors and only you have a key. Just temporarily. I'm sure that is a dumb idea, but sometimes i just give up on some of our fights and try to just give them some time to get out of the habit. Or tell them that if they sneak something that you will not be buying any more of it. so you steal Graham crackers and applesauce? Mom doesn't buy it again until all of the food sneaking is over. Or make food that is always allowed and make it readily accessible. Probably I would either lock it up or stop buying it if they are not following the proper rules of engagement... :) It's a funny problem when it's not your own kids and you aren't exhausted. Hang in there, it's hard work raising kids and I'm pretty sure some day when they are raising kids you are going to laugh when their kids are sneaking food too... ha ha ha... But not just the sneaking food, I'm in a bonkers stage too with my kids, i try my hardest to look at the bright side too. I regret the year plus I spent in postpartum depression/angst, I sort of feel like I missed a year of their lives flipping out about way too many things. I hope you find your way to "happy in the chaos" soon. I would be closer to that if I had a housekeeper, I think... ha ha. Hang in there!

KS said...

1. Wish I was there to help...
2. Love the graham cracker thing, can't wait to hear how it went ; )
3. Banya... do it! There was something like that in Morocco and I didn't do it and believe it or not I actually have thought about how I wished I had done it on several occasions... do it!!
4. The craziest part is, through all of this I bet you still looked like a hottie. Oh wait... I know you did ; )


Meghan and Tyler said...


You have no idea how much I miss you, hectic life and all!! I am sorry that things have been so tough! I admire you so much. You are always kind, happy, and willing to help others...even when your day is crazy! I have been meaning to call you for ages. Guess I'll have to call you after your Russian adventure! Have so much fun! I am excited that you get to spend so much time with your man. You guys definitely deserve it.

Don't worry about your girls. Maybe a change of scene with Grandparents will help things. Kait always seems to be better with the grandparents. Could be that they are just pushing your buttons (maybe?).

Love you guys! Give your kids hugs from us. Kait misses her Felicity!!

Alicia said...

Afton, I'm so proud of you for posting this. I actually got all emotional telling Christopher about everything you've been going through recently when we got off the phone the other I guess if you aren't able to cry it's because I stole all your tears and cried them for you. ;) Kidding.
I hope you are having the BEST BEST BEST time ever in Russia right now and that it is rejuvinating and invigorating (and filled with lots of potato pyrogees). I so so so wish we could have been there, more than I can express!!! Someday we'll have a long weekend or week to talk and it will be wonderful. This trip was just meant for us to do together, but life gets crazy and I'm glad at least you guys were able to go!
Anyway, I'm thinking of you. I know things are rough right now, there's no way around that. I know you are such a strong person, but everyone needs to step back and take a breath every now and then. I wish I could be there to take your kids to my house and feed them graham crackers on my turf so you could have a crumb-free moment and do something that feeds your soul - like paint a room or something - and I could take the crumbs. I guess just take a deep breath and know that this too shall pass...and if it doesn't...there's always France! =)
Love ya like a sista,