Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year In Review

If I were to pick one word to describe 2012, it would be....sucktastic....lets go with "challenging." Areas of concern were uprooting my life, lack of a job, and worrying about my child.

When I was little, my grandmother had a children's book that was titled "Fortunately".  The book went something like this:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane. 
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

2012 could be described in this manner.

Fortunately, the Mister was offered his dream job.
Unfortunately, the dream job was located 3000 miles from our family and friends.  

We have made a friend or two.  This was a long, lonely year, for the most part.  Things are looking up: I have a circle of mom friends that are pretty cool, and Princess and Greg have some buddies from school.  Sadly, Peter's good buddy from school just moved, so....we will work on that in 2013.

Fortunately, I am ready to go back to work.
Unfortunately, I had a midlife crisis this summer over my lack of career. 

I turned 38 this year, and my birthday coincided with a meltdown of epic proportions.  I felt quite sorry for myself about my lack of a career and the lack of accomplishment in my life.  It was a hell of a pity party up in here. The fact that I was contemplating all this during a time immediately after uprooting my entire life and when I had no local friends or people to talk to mayyyy have contributed to the hysteria.

I am still on the fence about my lack of a job, a career, and any sort of external accomplishments.  I like gold stars, I like recognition, and I like people thinking that I am reasonably intelligent.  Those things are in short supply in the SAHM world.  Yes, having three kids in four years and not losing your mind is an accomplishment, but at 18 I was full of myself and how smart I was and how I would be a fabulously smart person doing fabulously smart things at 40....and that isn't quite what happened.

I hate writing on this topic--it is so tangled with people's entrenched opinions about what constitutes being a good mother.  I don't regret staying home with my kids for the past four years; I've enjoyed them and I feel it was the right move for me at the time.  And now the right move for me is to go back to work.

This is high on my list of things to accomplish next year.  Whether it be full time or part time, I need more interaction with the outside world, I need more intellectual challenge, and I need to do something that is not about my kids.

And then there was the Big Thing I Don't Blog About. My child was diagnosed with a special needs issue at the end of 2011, and that has been a huge part of 2012.

Fortunately, we live near an excellent medical center and school that deals with this specific issue.
Unfortunately, there is a waiting list and it is expensive.
Fortunately, there are a number of therapies that can help treat this issue.
Unfortunately, none of them are covered by insurance.

I have debated many, many times about whether or not to blog on this, even in such a brief way. I would love to--I could write REAMS on this issue.  I have decided largely no, I won't blog about it, because it is disclosing medical information about someone else who isn't old enough to make a decision for themselves, and my children are entitled to privacy.  So I won't tell you which child or what specific issue. But I will talk a wee bit about my feelings on the matter.

We got our diagnosis last year right after Thanksgiving.  At the time, we were living with rats, the Mister was interviewing for jobs in four different states across the country, I knew something was not right with my child, and I felt as if the ground were caving in under me. Last year's end-of-year post noted that I was not able to make resolutions because I was trying to keep my head above water and was not in a place of growth.  That feeling persisted for quite a while.

Getting a special needs diagnosis is just a label. Your kid is still the same kid that you love.  But its also an unmooring, a casting off from the shores of What I Expected and sailing your boat into unknown waters.  It is an acknowledgement of "oh crap, things are not the rosy, perfect picture I had hoped and dreamed."  At best, it can be a benefit; now you have a direction, an idea where to start researching and finding help.  It is a "thank goodness someone is finally listening to my concerns". At worst it is a paralyzing fear of "oh SHITE I am overwhelmed and I have no flipping idea what to do."

For me, much of 2012 was spent in the latter "oh shite" category.  I read and I researched and I read and we visited doctors and more doctors.  Worrying about this issue in addition to remaking my entire life has been kind of stressful.  2012 has been accompanied by an ever-present low thrum of anxiety that I can't get away from.

Fortunately, things are looking up.

We have plans in place and doctor appointments and therapy appointments and evaluations and a hope that 2013 will be better.  I am hopeful that we will get this thing figured out and this will all be a non-issue eventually.

Even if it isn't, having a hopeful attitude feels better than the swirling-around-the-drain feeling I have had for the past year.

I like things settled and predictable. 2012 was not settled in the least.  It felt like someone had picked up the box containing my life and shook it up like a snowglobe.  New things are coming together.  Good things are coming together.  It is the building the new good things and clearing the wreckage of old stuff that is the difficult part.

Life was not all terrible this year. I found a good friend. I live in a place where the weather is fantastic (returning to NJ at a snowy Christmas reaffirmed my love of the weather in CA).  My husband made a happy and fulfilling career move.  The Mister and I weathered this challenging year together. I can't imagine what this year would have looked like without his love and support.  His love was the best part of this year. Good things happened this year.

I have big dreams for next year. I am building a new life in a new place.  I've done the hard part.  The foundations are in place, now its time to raise the barn, so to speak.  I am going to find a job this year. I am going to help my kid this year. I am going to get rid of the clutter left over from my old life (literally and figuratively; I have a massive purge of our belongings planned for this year).  I am opening the door to bad stuff out, good stuff in.

I can do this. I'm good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.  (Can you tell I'm feeling a little beat up by 2012?)

I'd tell 2013 to bring it on, but my triskaidekaphobia says I should politely ask 2013 to lay it on me gently, kindly, and with as much consideration of my tender feelings as possible.

Life is good. And getting better. I hope your 2013 is filled with love and happiness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

possibilities for a Princess bedroom

Princess has repeatedly told me how much she wants a princess bedroom, and she has found this picture in a ToysRUs catalogue to demonstrate how it should look:

via  I can't find a picture of the full room online, but it is a riot of Disney princess curtains, princess rug, princess chair, princess wallpaper, and crowned with that canopy bed.  *Shudder*

I am open to redecorating her room, since she seems to be supremely offended by the monkeys in her curtains (I doan wike da monkeys, Mama!).  But I'd prefer to avoid a heavily "themed" room.

I tend to like saturated, bright jewel tones, especially for kids rooms.  It seems like most "princess" stuff is pastel pink or lavender. (Blarg.)  Currently I am thinking of something along these lines:

The pink splatter painting is currently residing in Princess's bedroom already. Instead of a Disneyfied bed, I'd like to find a canopy like this one from Pottery Barn Kids (but hopefully way cheaper) to hang over the head of Princess's bed.  The pink duvet with dancing ladies on it seems fancy and princess-y without being too sickly pastel.  Lastly, Princess likes purple, so the darker purple curtains also help cut the sweetness factor.  One can hope, anyways; I feel like this room might be still a bit too sweet.

If you have an idea for a princess bedroom that does not involve a Disney character, I am all ears.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mullet boots and a uniform update

The dresses arrived and they are fantastic.  I have received many compliments on the uniform and lo, I am happy with the dress portion of the uniform.

The obi belts also arrived.  I have wanted these obi belts for years because I thought they might hide the never-goes-away tummy pooch my children have gifted me.  Lo, I was wrong.  The obi belt emphasizes and magnifies the tummy pooch, so if you are unable to bounce a quarter off your tummy you may want to avoid the obi belt.  

I also ordered one pair of Uggs and three pairs of wide-calf/wide-width boots from Zappos.  I had high hopes for these Ugg boots, but they were too narrow.  One pair of wide calf boots did not zip up over my (slender, delicate) calf.  One pair of wide-width boots sent a shooting electrical pain from my toes to my knees.  And the last pair of wide-calf boots could have fit two of my legs.  Lo, all four pairs went back to Zappos.  

Sunday I took my my mother in law and my daughter to Marshalls to look at lamps, and we detoured through the shoe department.  I tried on a few pairs of boots, despite being aware that this is generally an exercise in futility.  And LO!  BEHOLD!!!

My new boots.  You might notice that these boots are the boot equivalent of a mullet--business in the front, party in the back.  I believe the Mister described them as "heinously tacky."  My mother in law described them as "quirky."

But they fit! And they are comfortable! DID I MENTION THAT THEY FIT?? (Can you tell that I have a hard time finding shoes that fit?)  And I like them.  My boots say something about me.  They scream "I just moved here from New Jersey and I like listening to Bruce Springsteen and perhaps I have questionable taste."  But I'm keeping them anyways.

Unbelievably, I found a SECOND pair of boots that fit in the Marshalls shoe department!

Its a Festivus miracle! I have been attempting to hunt down the boots in black online, but can't find them in a 7.5.

So, if I can just find a pair of black boots, my uniform will be complete.