Monday, January 30, 2012


I entered 2012 with a real feeling of clarity. For the first time in over 2 years, I feel like I can move past survival mode. The boys are growing up and older, and I no longer feel like life is dictated by their schedule. Well, I mean, we're still staunch sleep schedulers but I feel like I can see beyond diapers, bottles, naps, and meeting every need.

So, I thought this year would be all about the other parts of life I'd left behind. I joined a gym after thinking about it for a long time...truly committed in my mind. I pinned a ton of healthy recipes and snack ideas because this was the year we would stop eating so much fast food. I also took a trip to IKEA because I realized we wouldn't be moving anytime soon and it was time to put OUR stamp on this adorable house we live in. Not only did I purchase things for the top of my kitchen cabinets (long time unfinished project) but I bought enough frames for a gallery wall....which means I'm going to actually print and display some of the thousands of photos from the last three years! Finally, I purchased several accessories and cute clothes for the body I have now to feel better about myself as I work and eat for the body I want.

Guess what? I have a gym contract for 12 months and I've been 7 of the last 30 days. I've thrown out zucchini, broccoli, apples and several other things I bought for healthy eating because I didn't use them before they went bad. But the Magic Shell topping I bought for ice cream last week is already gone. My IKEA pile remains in a lovely pile in my bedroom. Pictures remain on the computer.

But, I'm caught up on my DVR...and I added "Downton Abbey" to my viewing list so I'm really making strides on adding MORE TV to my life .

What I'm realizing is that just because I'm not in survival mode, just because I feel like I have more energy and can appreciate beautiful things beyond just precious baby smiles and toddler milestones, doesn't mean I can do it all right away. I still have every intention of making this the year I find myself again, but I'm going to have to go in stages.

Last year the only thing I challenged myself to do was create a mom journal - a short daily planner where I wrote a few sentences each day about the "little things" I loved and wanted to remember. Not the big things...but our activities, the precious things the boys said as they discovered their vocabulary, even the rough times. Guess what? I completed that. 365 days of entries that I wrote each night. I didn't miss a day, and I loved it. I find myself thinking all day about what I'll write and remembering those little things. It's better than a blog, and I've kept it up all this year, too. Oh, the power of one small change...

Anyway, I'll keep you updated on when/if things change. I do know that I've got to do the gym thing because if nothing else, I'm paying for it. I also like it because it's MY thing. It's not something I do with a friend, or even with John. It's just my place. And I have convinced John to paint our room/bathroom at some point so house changes may take a while but there's a plan in place.

There's also the budgeting, saving money, and going to church/getting more involved thing that always weighs on my mind.

But I am a darn good mom, and I'm darn good at my job, and I keep a clean house. So I celebrate the things I'm good at...just seeing the potential for so much more!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You can go home again...

Through a random series of events this week, I found out that Owen's teacher actually lives in the house I grew up in. I happen to be friends with her on Facebook so once I found out she lived there, I immediately went looking through some of her pictures. To see her sweet family living in our was so exciting! But it also made me so nostalgic.

We moved into that house when I was in 6th grade and lived there until my sophomore year of college. Those are the most impressionable years for anyone, so anytime I think about that house I'm flooded with memories. Searching through those pictures brought terrific and terrible memories for me all at once.

...that was my room, there, the one where I covered the walls with so many pictures of Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar that it looked like wallpaper. Where I laid on the floor in front of my boombox waiting for my favorite songs to come on KJ103 to press record for a mixtape.
...that was my sister's room, where we sponge-painted horses on the wall and where the Commodore 64 lived that I played Concentration on for hours.
...that was the loft where our Barbie dollhouse sat, the one I played with for far too long with my best friend from around the corner. It's where we went for slumber parties for privacy, where we tortured our mom by walking on the banister like a balance beam far above the living room below.
...that was the fireplace where my prom pictures were taken, where our stockings were hung each Christmas, where our family gathered for photos at my graduation party. That's where the painting hung that my grandmother made before I was born.
...that backyard housed a trampoline when I lived there, where a majority of my Sweet 16 party (my first co-ed party) was held. I still remember the laughs and fun of that night.
...that kitchen is where my mom would make crockpot chicken noodle soup once a week my senior year for my group of friends since we had off-campus lunch.
...that living room held more youth group devos and slumber parties than you can imagine; it's also where the TV trays would be set up every Thursday night while the three of us watched "Friends" and "ER" together, never missing an episode.
...that driveway, well, that driveway was the same driveway John pulled into to take me on our first (disastrous) date. And 7 dates later it's where he first kissed me.

...that hallway was where my sister and I slept on the floor the night my parents came home and closed their bedroom door, not to open it again until late the next morning. When everything changed. When our house was suddenly one person less.
...that's the spot in my mom's bathroom where we held our precious cat as he took his last breaths, the cat that had been around longer than me. And that backyard, up at the top, is where he's buried.
...that's my parent's room, my mom's room, where my sister and I piled into her bed every night for two solid years after the divorce. We were even fearful of sleepovers, because that bed was where we felt the most safety and comfort.

Christmases and birthdays, baby showers for friends, choir parties, and random moments of teenage all floods me when I look at those pictures. More happy than sad, thankfully. But overwhelming in any case. I loved that house. It was the last place I really had a room. Once we moved from that house, which was far too large for a single mom and her younger child after I'd left for college, I didn't really have a room again. Probably a good thing, since it made it easy to never move back in! But there are times I wish we still had my childhood home.

I do know, however, that HOME is where family is. And I'm as comfortable in my mom's 2-bedroom condo as I would be in that old house. But it's also nice to know that a wonderful young family is building memories for their kids just like mine in those same rooms and hallways. It's nice to see how well it's being taken care of. It's nice to know that if I wanted to, I could go back for just a minute (she invited me!).

When we put it all together, she laughed and said "so YOU are the "JBP" that carved your initials into our banister?". No, JBP is my sister. But the JRP that's on the windowsill in your son's room...that's me. I knew I would miss that house, and I wanted the strangers moving in after us to know that someone made their memories there. That the house was loved.