Two weeks ago the kids and I boarded a plane unsure of what life was going to hold. Now two weeks in I can tell you we are surviving and making great strides in becoming settled and also preparing for the looming school year. Don’t let my “were surviving” fool you, a lot of things are different in Arizona then back in Pennsylvania.
Let’s just get it out in the open – the H.E.A.T. – yes it is Arizona and it is hot. Temperatures have been anywhere from 110-120 and yes it’s HOT! The heat is totally different though, in PA as soon as you walk out of the house you get drenched with sweat from the humidity but here instead of getting sweaty you can feel the sun on your skin hence why on the 100+ degree days you stay inside, go to a park under a canopy or stay in a pool and don’t get out.
Grocery shopping is different too, they don’t believe taco kits should come with soft shells so now I have to buy a shaker of taco seasoning and a package of shells separately. Grocery stores also don’t carry Italian sandwich bread in their bread aisles which is all we use in our house so this was a major issue but finally I found some at Walmart and all is good on the bread front again.
Street signs. In Pennsylvania we were used to seeing signs for Bethlehem, Allentown, Harrisburg, Quakertown and Philadelphia. In Arizona we see signs for Phoenix, Tucson and the one I still can’t believe I see is Los Angeles! It’s so unreal to me because I just never imagined I’d ever see a sign for L.A.
You also have to be conscious of things like – will my electric bill skyrocket if I do laundry between 12pm and 7pm on a weekeday? The answer to that question is yes since electricity is triple the price during those hours (in the summer months). So you adjust and do laundry first thing in the morning, late at night or save it for the weekend!
I don’t want this to be seen as one big complaint because it’s not. So far I have loved being in Arizona, heat and all. I of course wish my family was here but thanks to technology texting, Facebook and FaceTime is making it easy to communicate with our family and friends. One of my favorite things is the amazing mountain views when I’m driving. They are so spectacular I don’t think looking down the palm tree lined road to the mountains in the distance will ever get old.
In two weeks I’ve accomplished a lot. My Arizona drivers license is on its way, Brayden is registered for kindergarten, Makayla is registered for preschool, we took care of finding a new bank and the boxes are starting to disappear from our house. There is still a lot to do especially with the school year only starting in a mere 40 days. This life change hasn’t been easy but taking it one day at a time seems to work best.
This is currently my view…
If you can’t tell I’m sitting in the corner of my sons room with my Starbucks with only one sip left sitting to my right. This is just a very tiny glimpse of my life, my disaster, my stress. I’ve got an overflowing laundry basket full of stuffed animals (we’ve already filled two trash bags and donated them), I have another (my 4th) bag from ThredUP that I’m packing and will ship off next week, Bray has trains (which he hasn’t touched in months) scattered on the floor, I have clean laundry in piles from vacation I can’t bring myself to put away because I need to be packed for an unknown amount of days in just 5 short days and well I’m done. I don’t want to sort anymore. I don’t want to take things out to put them back because I can’t pack myself. I don’t want piles of – donate – sell – trash – laying around. I don’t want to finish going through boxes in the basement. I don’t want to coordinate roofers, drywallers and property management companies. I don’t want to go through Toys for the fourth time and I definitely don’t want to be in this move any longer.
It’s coming quick with only 11 days and 56 minutes until the kids and I arrive at the airport to start a new chapter, one I’m not sure the three of us are ready for. Regardless it’s coming and I try to remind myself at some point these trash bags and boxes won’t be my life. Until then it will be Starbucks, take out and plenty more trash bags for me. I never expected this move to be easy but I definitely didn’t expect it to be this hard but when you’re alone in a situation like this how can it be anything but hard? My exhaustion and lack of motivation will have to step aside because time keeps ticking and these things don’t take care of themselves.
Happy Fri-yay everyone,
It’s hard to believe that last night my baby boy graduated preschool closing this chapter of his life. I am so proud of how hard he’s worked and the determination he’s shown, especially in the last few months where he really worked on the areas he was struggling most. He’s a social butterfly and will play with any child which is a quality that puts me at ease as we get ready to move. His love for learning is amazing and the way he absorbs information like a sponge is so impressive. I’m serious the facts he remembers during different class topics and lessons blows me away heck half the time he’s teaching me new things!
As proud as I am I couldn’t let the opportunity to celebrate his achievements pass me by, yes even at this age I believe it is important to show your children just how proud you are. Let’s be clear though it wasn’t a blow out type of celebration. Who doesn’t love a beautifully decorated cake with balloons and plates matching the occasion?
For me not only was it a celebration of his achievements but also a celebration of his life. Does that sound morbid? Well I apologize if it does to you but for me every milestone Brayden gets to hit is a celebration of his life and now I’m sure your asking yourself why. When Brayden was diagnosed with his heart defect I still had plenty of time left in my pregnancy to think. What a lot of people don’t know is that in those last 15 weeks of my pregnancy I had a lot of dark times. There were songs on the radio that instantly triggered me to cry. There were days where my brain acted as a tv screen playing reruns of the most devastating episodes of Greys Anatomy, you know the episodes where the patients don’t make it? And even though his diagnosis had a high rate of successful outcomes it was hard not to fall into the slump of what-ifs. And for the record continuing to here “it’s all going to be okay” and “he will be just fine” are really not comforting after about the tenth time. Fast forward 5 and a half years and here I am out of the dark slump I once found myself in being able to look at the little boy who I once couldn’t think about without crying sad scared tears thrive and bring me to the happiest proud tears I could ever imagine. These emotions I have during these celebrations are so much more then just the event, they are the overwhelming emotions of “we did it, look how far we’ve come together after all we’ve been through” because not so long ago I really believed I would never get to share these moments with him.
So when you see the pictures of the pretty cakes and the balloons and decorations it is not to make anyone feel less about how they celebrate it’s just that these celebrations are everything to me because I’ve been given time with my child I never thought I’d have and I intend to make every part of this time -his life- a memorable celebration.
Take the time now to celebrate anything and everything because time goes fast and these moments will be gone before you know it.
In every journey there’s a low. I mean how can you expect there to not be since nothing in life is perfect. Every new adventure has its downright unforgiving moments. Yesterday morning was my low.
Our Sunday morning started off better then most I made chocolate chip pancakes and we sat down and ate together at the table which hasn’t happened lately (mom fail). The kids went and played while I folded and put away all the laundry and cleaned both the bathrooms. I got a nice hot shower with only one little visitor and without any fighting the kids got ready and packed up. Shockingly enough I even had time to grab my morning frappucino from Starbucks and no not the unicorn one.
The soccer field parking lot was full when we got there but without hesitation I backed into a spot between two cars like a pro, you should understand I never back in to spots so go me! We got to the field and set up our chairs while Bray practiced and then the game started. This soccer season is frustrating for Bray and I because well to put it frankly his team sucks. I know I know they are 5 and 6 but I swear half of them don’t know which way the ball should be going and the other half just stand there and don’t even try. Regardless we made it 50 mins into the game before Bray ran off the field to me telling me he had blood on his finger, well he didn’t in fact there wasn’t anything wrong at all. So then it began, he refused to go back on the field so he got the ultimatum; go on the field, go to the bench or we were leaving. This confrontation of course resulted in tears for him and me feeling embarrassed and like a failure because this was the second crying incident from my kids at the field. Thirty minutes prior to this Makayla had a meltdown resulting in tears and drama all because I wanted her to sit in the new chair she picked out instead of my lap.
In these moments how can you win? You have two choices 1. Let them have their meltdown and ignore it or 2. Fight with them making the issue worse. Problem is regardless what you do their is a scene made on the behalf of your children and everyone around you is judging your parenting. For me it’s hard because there’s a lot going on in my kids lives. We have just hit 6 weeks of Daddy being in Arizona and yes he has gotten to visit briefly twice but those visits are never long enough for the kids. In 6 weeks we have gone from a structured house with 2 parents to a divided house with one parent having to be the good guy and bad guy and getting few chances to really have a conversation with the other parent. It’s hard. It’s hard for me so I know it’s hard for them. In no way did I expect this to be easy but how did we get to this point? Where/when did I start failing my kids? Yes I cried on the way home from soccer because I couldn’t believe what just happened they were basically telling me something was wrong, actions speak louder then words.
How do you come back from the low? I made the kids lunch and put them down for naps and then I sat outside and thought about what’s been going on since dads last visit home, what adjustments I could make, how I could make the next 54 days easier on them. Do I have all the answers, no. What I did have was an ice cream date last night with my kids to end what started as an enjoyable turned to disaster turned to minor heartbreak kind of day.
And yes today was better 🙂
Last night, well really early this morning, laying in bed trying to fall asleep mommy guilt started to set in. I had cleaned the house did all the laundry laid out their clothes for the next three days and even somehow managed to pack myself and although everything was done to make my trip away easier for them I still felt guilty. Why mommy guilt? Well for starters Makayla is 3 years old and I’m pretty sure our time apart has only ever consisted of one night away from each other. She’s my sidekick, my extra arms, sometimes a pain in my ass but nonetheless my baby. For Bray it’s different. We’ve spent time apart I think really just Jay and I’s honeymoon but he’s also older now and I know if he needs something or something is out of routine he won’t be afraid to voice it, a comforting feeling. But then there’s his soccer game, the first game of the new season this weekend and as the involved mom I always try to be my heart is breaking I can’t be there but again all of his stuff is laid out and the latest email about our weather conditions and instructions has been emailed to the family member caring for them so really everything is taken care of and his Grammy will be there too so his support system is in place.
So as I sit here and try to eat this oversized greasy slice of pizza waiting for my plane my heart still breaks. Being a stay at home mom is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing that I get to be with them everyday watching them grow, helping them when they need it and helping shape them into the little human beings they are becoming. A curse because being with them everyday is my place so when separation which should be extremely exciting for me because breaks like this are as often as seeing snow in the town we are moving to in Arizona I should be ecstatic. Not sure it helps that Bray followed me around all morning like a lost puppy instead of his usual routine of going downstairs and playing with his cars or on the iPad.
Regardless of my feelings and anxiety about the kids I am excited to see my husband and the town I am uprooting mine and the kids lives to live in.
So here’s to new adventures🍻
So it’s Saturday night which meant a movie and pizza for the kids and I. It’s unbelievable that with all the DVD’s we own, Netflix and On Demand the kids (and I) could not come to an agreement on a movie. Like seriously 20 minutes of back and forth because Brayden wanted to watch Hop and Makayla wanted to watch every Disney Princess movie we own. Finally as I was 2 seconds short of saying “forget it no movie” I went into the kids DVD bin and found The Peanuts Movie still wrapped in cellophane from Christmas. Finally we had an agreement and better yet it was a movie none of us had seen.
With our pizza and drinks on the coffee table we started the movie and to be honest about 10 minutes in I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end. I am happy to say it did get better. Brayden (5) sat through the whole thing while Makayla (2) was watching while bouncing around on the couch and demanding more pink lemonade. After awhile we made it to the part where Charlie Brown sees his crush practicing dancing in her window and to impress her he goes home to learn how to dance for the winter dance at school. The kids enjoyed the dancing but they really enjoyed the song. Then the winter dance scene finally comes on and the song plays again, “Better When I’m Dancin'” by Meghan Trainor. It is really upbeat and catchy and the kids loved it, Makayla was even up dancing!
As the movie continues you see all the disappointments Charlie Brown goes through it’s like nothing ever goes his way but then finally at the end of the movie he has success; he flies the kite and talks to his crush. Now as a Mom I’m thinking “aww what a cute ending he finally talked to his little girlfriend and we seriously need to download this song for the car!” So the kids and I went on iTunes and downloaded the song, the kids danced for a little bit and we headed upstairs for bed. As I got Brayden’s toothbrush out I asked if he liked the movie and his response caught me off guard:
Brayden – “I did! Charlie Brown never gave up!”
Me – “Wow bud your right he didn’t give up, can you tell me what he didn’t give up at?”
Brayden – “Talking to that girl and he flew the kite.” (5 second pause) “I’m like him I don’t give up.”
Me (with a happy heart) – “You’re right you have never given up.”
We exchanged big smiles and I went about brushing his teeth. You don’t realize just what your 5 year old picks up on until moments like this. For those who don’t know Brayden’s story he has been through a lot. He had heart surgery at 5 months old. A second unheart related surgery at 15 months old. He’s struggled with medical issues from his heart during the winters and this past December had oral surgery. So yes at a mere 5 years of age him recognizing that he doesn’t give up is HUGE for me as a mother. He has been a fighter from the beginning and he is where I have gotten my strength on my weakest days. (I will be writing more on Brayden in the next few weeks during congenital heart defect awareness week.)
So lesson learned don’t underestimate your 5 year old, they may drive you crazy and make you want to pull all of your hair out but they are paying attention. They are paying attention to the journey they are on and all that’s going on around them.
And if you’re ever having one of those rough mommy days listen to this song it’s a good pick me up and bound to get you dancing 🙂
Better When I’m Dancin’ – Meghan Trainor
As I sat on the couch verbally pondering over my next post my husband, who is watching the 76ers basketball game, said “trust the process.” After a slight chuckle because it’s the teams motto since they are rebuilding I actually took it into consideration. What does this phrase actually mean? Can it be applied to everyday momhood or more broadly life?
So here’s what I’ve come up with, trusting the process is = to a firm belief in the steps you take to get to an end. Stop and think about that for a second. Are you currently trusting the process?
Yesterday I went and signed my first born up for kindergarten (which I’m still trying to recover from, how can my baby be old enough already!) but the process to get to that final school choice wasn’t easy. All my life I expected my children would go to public school just like I had, but when my husband and I realized what our public elementary school would be we suddenly realized that was not an option and so the process began. Between Googling to find private schools in our area, talking to people who’ve grown up here, and deciding which schools to visit the process was stressful, after all this was going to determine my children’s future. Regardless of the stress I had to believe as a mother that the steps I was taking and the decisions I was making were best for our family. Now at the end of the process I am happy with the decision I’ve made and my son is excited to start kindergarten in the fall.
The more I think about it this concept is common in everyday life. Some days I wake up and the end for me is to just literally make it to the end of the day thanks to my crazy munchkins but some days there are definitely things I want to accomplish and so I make a list of things to do that I believe will get me to those accomplishments, most days it works. So tomorrow morning when you wake up think about what your goal for the day is and what you can do to make that happen. Trust yourself and follow those steps and you may just find happiness at the end of the day because who doesn’t love success?!
And as I finish writing this post the Sixers scored the winning basket with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. I guess they are trusting the process 🙂