“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
As you can see, blogging has not been on my list of things to do for quite some time. And in all honesty, it still really isn't very high on my list of things to do. But this year's Halloween was too cute not to document.
Halloween festivities began the Saturday before Halloween. Our ward had its annual Harvest Festival and two superheroes flew in just in time to make an appearance.
-throwing lightning bolts
-ability to fly
-ability to fly
Not pictured: Super Mom
Super Powers: functioning on no sleep, making t-shirt capes, super-human strength (as evidenced by hauling a stroller up and down subway steps)
On October 1st, I made the mistake of telling Blake that Halloween was this month. He was pretty disappointed when he woke up every morning only to find out it wasn't Halloween yet. Finally October 31st arrived and our day was filled with tons of Halloween fun!
We walked home with enough to candy to last us a few weeks.
And the boys were asleep by 8pm. Perfect ending to a great Halloween!
This little puzzle has quite a bit of history. Well, it's not a little puzzle. It's 1,000 pieces and if you're like me and aren't really into putting puzzles together, that's about 975 pieces too many.
But Evan likes putting puzzles together and the first time we encountered this puzzle we were dating. Do you know how much time it takes to put together a 1,000 piece puzzle when you aren't living with the person with which you are putting the puzzle together? Do you see where I'm going with this? 1,000 piece puzzle = lots of hanging out with my cute boyfriend because, ya know, we've got to finish this puzzle. (But let's be honest. Evan didn't need to be persuaded to hang out with me. I'm quite the catch...)
So we embarked on the journey to complete Whistle Stop Dreams. Evan probably put together about 75% of this puzzle and I was completely content with my 25%. When it was finished, we glued it together. And that was it. I admit I did think it would be cute in a little boy's room. But because Evan and I were not yet engaged and talking about my future children with my current boyfriend seemed a little awkward, nothing really came of this puzzle. Until I left it in my apartment when I moved out to move into our first married apartment.
When I went back to my old apartment to inquire about a black trash bag that was in reality the home of this puzzle, the new tenants said they had not seen it. What really happened was the new tenants saw a black trash bag, thought it was trash, and threw it away. Natch.
So Whistle Stop Dreams was just that: a dream.
Fast forward 5 years. We have a 3 year old son who loves trains. And that puzzle that I thought would look cute in a little boy's room? Evan decided he was willing to buy it and put it together again. And this time he put the entire thing together by himself. In 3 days.
Evan finally got around to gluing it together. But this time the humidity was what was going to dash our dream of hanging this above Blake's bed. Evan had glued the front of the puzzle and flipped it over to glue the back when he noticed that the newspaper the puzzle was laying on was now stuck to the front of the puzzle. Even though he had let the puzzle dry for the allotted time, the humidity didn't allow the glue to fully dry.
Whistle Stop Dreams was quickly turning into a nightmare.
We had a few options:
-Buy a new puzzle and put it together again.
-Let go of our Whistle Stop Dream and throw it away.
-Try to somehow remove the stuck on newspaper without damaging the puzzle.
-Try to color over the newspaper with colored pencils so it matched the puzzle underneath.
The last one sounds crazy, right? I thought so, too. But that's exactly what I did. I summoned my inner artist and colored over the newspaper patches. And it actually worked. If you inspect the puzzle closely you can find a few of the retouched areas. But from a normal viewing distance, no one is the wiser. (Well, except the people who read this blog...)
Whistle Stop Dreams is now hanging nicely above Blake's bed. And I was right. It does look cute in our little boys' room.
I think it's great that you are trying to help the environment. Personally, I feel like I help the environment a lot because I do not own a car and use public transportation everywhere I go. I also use reusable water bottles, and only do laundry once a week. I do let the water run when I brush my teeth, so I could improve on that. But I want you to think for a moment. You see me approaching you and I have an infant strapped to my chest, a 3 year old holding onto my hand, and a stroller filled with Target bags because I bought way too much stuff and am now tasked with getting it all home. Please do not try to talk to me. It's not your fault I bought too much stuff. That's on me. But I am in no position to have any sort of intelligent conversation with you. My main goal is to get my children and my belongings onto a train that will take us home as quickly as possible. That's what I'm focused on. I cannot stray from this focus. If my attention is diverted for even a second, before I know it I will have a screaming baby and a tantruming 3 year old. I gotta keep these kids happy and sane for the next 30 minutes while we get home. Yes, I think everyone should be environmentally conscience. I think everyone could do more to help the planet. But right now you can just get out of my way and not be offended when all I can muster is a frown smile and shaking my head "no" as I pass you by. I promise I'll pick up some litter at the playground. And I'll teach my kids to be kind to the earth. But right now I just need to catch the next train home.
leave me alone
Dear dog owners,
Please pick up your dog's feces. Yep, it's gross. That's one of the main reasons I think I'll never have a dog. I can't deal with more poop. Especially dog poop. I wish I was brave enough to stop you and ask you to pick it up when you just walk away from your dog's business. But I'm not. So be a nice person and pick it up so we don't have to play "dodge the poop" on our way home.
tired of poop
Dear overly affectionate teenagers,
I know. You're "in love". But no one wants to see it. And I really don't enjoy trying to explain to my 3 year old what you're doing. So show some class.
wanting you to get a room but think that would be highly inappropriate for someone your age
Update: I wrote this post a few days before I went to my
doctor to ask for a prescription for Zoloft. And boy has it made a
difference. I feel like my old self again. I still have bad days. I
still have days when I feel a little hopeless or frustrated with life.
But it's not like it was pre-Zoloft. Oh, and another positive side
effect of Zoloft: I have a lot less mommy guilt than I used to. We're
eating lunch in our pj's? Who cares! The house isn't spotless? Meh I'll
do it tomorrow. I stay in Blake's room for quiet time so he can play
while I nap? Yep. I'm finally starting to realize that my children won't
always have such an open schedule. Much sooner than I realize, our days
will be largely shaped by dropping off and picking up from
school/tee-ball practice, etc. So I'm learning to enjoy the time I have
with them now. So thank you, Zoloft. You brought back normal Whitney.
I was kind of hoping that once Trevor was born my hormones would stabilize and I would feel like my old self again. Normal.
But I'm realizing as time passes I don't think I know what normal is anymore. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel on a regular, mundane, not going to do anything exciting kind of day.
Because most days I feel...blah.
I can actually remember when I started feeling this way. It was after Blake was born. Motherhood kind of threw me for a loop. Not only was I learning how to care for a human being, but Evan started a job out here which left me learning how to live life without my husband around. It was weird. I think I had postpartum depression, but I just chalked it up to being stressed out and husband-less. I figured things would get better with time.
And they did. As dark as some of the days were with a newborn, I look back fondly on the time when it was just Blake and me. He'd sleep in bed with me, we'd lounge around the house and occasionally venture outside. Then I returned to work for the last week of school and began packing up our life so we could join Evan out here. I was excited to be a little family again. I had something to take my mind off the feeling blah thing.
But then I got here. And life was...hard. I am not a city girl. I've never had aspirations to be a city girl. I am suburban to my core. In fact, I think this place is turning me into a country girl. Some days I wouldn't mind living in a place where my closest neighbor is a mile down the road.
So my adjustment to living in Brooklyn wasn't a smooth one. In fact, sometimes I feel like I'm still not adjusted. And frankly I don't ever want to adjust to living here. I don't want this place to ever be normal to me. I'm biding my time, chalking it all up to experience, waiting to move on.
So I went from what I remember as feeling normal, to having a baby and reeling from that, to moving to Brooklyn and reeling from that, throw in some brief stretches of contentment, to this. The not-so-normal, can't-get-back-to-normal Whitney. And I've been blaming it on Brooklyn.
But, lately I've wondered, "What if it isn't all Brooklyn's fault? What if I will always feel like this? What if this is my new normal?" Overwhelmed, stressed, unmotivated. Hopeless.
Not all days are like that. In fact, most of them aren't like that. But the ones that are hit hard and make me wonder if I ever don't feel that way. And I can tell when those days are coming.
Take today for example: It was actually not freezing, low 50's in fact, so I packed up the boys (that's still so weird to say sometimes) and we headed to the playground. We spent several hours outside. And it was glorious. I even thought to myself, "Good. I'll be back to normal once it warms up and we can venture outside." But hours later, even after Blake gave me a good hour of quiet time and even hung out on my bed for another hour while I continued to relax, I felt those feelings creep in. Overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, hopeless. I often easily lose my patience with Blake during these times and my internal dialogue keeps repeating, "You're losing control. You're slipping back into it."
These hard days lead me to believe that maybe it's not all Brooklyn. Maybe it's motherhood. And that makes feeling like this even harder.
I have always wanted to be a mom. I knew I would work professionally during different periods of my life, but I loved coming home from school and having my mom around to talk to. I want to do that for my children. It made me feel safe and secure. I love my children. I would give my life for my children. I would not trade them for anything in the world.
But a lot about motherhood is hard. It can be lonely and isolating. And there's no one around to say, "You did this many dollars worth of hard work today. Nice job!" When I was working full-time there were expectations to be met, deadlines, evaluations, and direct deposit that quantified my worth and validated the long hours of preparation and teaching I did. And there are expectations with motherhood and even evaluations in the form of people giving you advice you didn't ask for or judging your parenting style. But it's different. I know I'm worth a lot more as a mother than I am as a teacher. But I don't have a pay stub to prove it. And as much as I wholeheartedly believe a good mother's contribution to the world outweighs that of anything else, sometimes I miss the feeling of contributing something tangible to our family. Well, except babies of course.
So where does this leave me? I don't know. What I do know is I don't want these feelings to be my new normal. But nothing I do seems to bring me back to my old self. Aspects of motherhood will be stressful and difficult no matter where I live. I do feel city life has special challenges that I wouldn't face elsewhere. And as much as I want to "bloom where I am planted" I've tried and tried a little more, always circling back to that blah feeling.
I know I'm struggling with postpartum depression. Before I even had Trevor I fully expected to be on some sort of medication to help me out of this. But it was surprisingly difficult to admit this struggle to myself. In fact, I didn't really think I had it until my doctor's reaction confirmed my inklings when I told him how I was feeling.
I have never judged someone for struggling with this, but to find myself in its grip leaves me feeling disappointed. Why can't I overcome it on my own? I know telling someone who has depression to just get over it is like telling someone with a broken leg to just get up and walk. I know this. But for some reason I find it hard to accept for myself. I'm guessing it's because, like I said, most days are relatively good. I feel kind of normal, or what a good normal has become for me here, but when the bad days cycle around I feel guilty, wondering why I can't pull myself out of it.
Normal. I remember what normal Whitney is like. I miss her. I'll get her back some day.
I wasn't really afraid that I wouldn't be able to love Trevor as much as I love Blake. I just wasn't sure how I was going to be able to show each child how much I loved them. It's kind of impossible to devote 100% of yourself to 2 things at the same time. There are times when I don't do a very good job of showing Blake how much he is loved. And of course there are times when Trevor and Blake both want to be held and I simply don't have enough arms to do that.
But I love both of these boys more than anything in this world. I love to hear them laugh together. I love it when Blake runs over to a fussy Trevor and gently calms him by saying, "Shhhh it's okay, Trevor. I'm here." I love when Trevor sneezes and I hear Blake say, "Bless you, Trevor!"
I hope they know how much they are loved. And I hope more than anything that they can be close all their lives. These 2 little boys make me so very tired. But they make me so very happy.
I've been to the BBG (that's what the cool kids call it) a few times since moving to Brooklyn, but I've never been able to see the cherry blossoms. I missed it by a few days last year and was so bummed. I vowed to not miss it this year. And it did not disappoint!
Rinka and Trevor. 2 weeks apart. So stinkin' cute!
The Cherry Blossom festival will definitely be a tradition each year!