Monday, August 31, 2009

Time for Me to Fly

I am kicking myself. How I let the school year start this way I just don't know. I keep thinking that it's ME who is creating this crazy, constantly busy life. I keep thinking that it's ME who is cramming our lives full of activities and commitments. I keep thinking it's ME who has done this to myself. To all of us.

Yes, I am partly to blame. I cannot help wanting to be involved in every child's classroom. I cannot help wanting to be social and to hang with my closest girlfriends...confiding in them, crying with them, being encouragers to them...and letting them encourage me. I cannot help wanting to work out feverishly so that I do not drown in Town Lake next Monday at the Austin Triathlon. I cannot help wanting to buy the perfect gift for a teacher. I cannot help wanting to give, give, give to others.

But, all of these wonderful and fulfilling things take time. And, that's the one thing I haven't been giving myself (besides the exercising, but like I said, I'm doing that more for survival than for health-related reasons). I have been giving and giving and giving. To others. And sadly neglecting myself.

I emailed a friend yesterday telling her I'm having a mini-breakdown. Not a full-blown-need-to-be-committed kind of breakdown. But a breakdown nonetheless. I have got to create time for myself. Every. Single. Day.

Yesterday I snuck away to a private room in the house to read and write a letter (yes, I still love sending...and receiving... handwritten notes!). I sat in the glider rocker I used to nurse my children in...and I stared off into space. I snoozed a little. I read some more.

I was only in the room for about 30 minutes. But it was heaven.

The thing is that my mini-retreat was possible because my husband was home to entertain children and tend to their needs. When I told him what I was doing...he looked at me kind of funny...but he didn't question it. I think he understood when I emerged from my little silent sanctuary a little less harried and stressed.

When he's NOT here...which is about 80 percent of the time...gone regularly 6 nights a month...travels a lot during the am I supposed to carve out that time just for me? At 4:30 am when my youngest senses the moment I awaken? At 8pm when all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep but still have dishes to do, lunches to make, papers to sign, laundry to fold, and an endless list of "to-dos" that weigh me down?

Don't get me wrong. I'm so incredibly grateful for my husband's job and his job security. Especially during these incredibly rough times. But I don't believe that job security means peace and serenity in one's lives...or the lives of their families.

Yes, I have 3 days a week to myself...when all the kids are in school. But, it seems as though most of that time is spent tending to the household chores, preparing dinner, or running family-related errands.

I know from experience that I need my alone time. I desire it. I crave it. I need it. I also know that I need to become more selfish in acquiring some of that time I designate just for me. Thanks to the amazing Brene....I know longer feel selfish about making time just for me. She's helped me realize that it's necessary. That it's okay. That in order to pour out the love and attention on everyone else, I need to fill myself up first.

It's time for me to fly. And stop feeling weighed down by little stuff that doesn't need to be weighing me down.

So. I've moved me to the top of my to-do list. I will undoubtedly give and give and give to my family and friends because that is my nature. But I'm going to try and say "no" to more invitations and requests that are small and not life-dependent---and that do not fill up my soul. Even if friends are the ones asking me.

Because my real, true friends will understand when I say no.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A, B, C and 1, 2, 3

Back to school and back to waking up early. Ugh. So early. It's only Tuesday and Deven is already exhibiting signs of sheer exhaustion. It's gonna take awhile til we're all accustomed to the routines and the schedules. But, so far so good. According to Priya and Deven...first and second grade are "awesome." Priya especially loves the class pet...Mr. Froggie. Yes, a real, live frog. And you get to feed the frog crickets if you have good behavior. Cool.

Not to be left out...Trevor squeezes in for a picture on the older kids' first day of school. He stays home with me Mondays and Fridays. And, boy, does he ever enjoy his "mommy" time. I hope he does. Because it's his last year of preschool. I'm gonna soak in every last moment we have to share together alone. He's so much fun to hang out with. As my dad would say...he's a real hoot.

Today was Trevor's first day of preschool. Not a tear. Not a moment of anxiety. He said he "loved" school. And his teachers. And his teachers said that in all their years of teaching they have never, ever had such a wonderful "first day of school" class.

Think it's gonna be a fabulous year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You've Got a Friend

Please don't faint. Two posts in one week. I know...shocking. But today was too special not to post about it.

Priya got a new 'do yesterday. This is not the first time she's "bobbed" her hair right before school started, but it's the first time I've taken her to my fab stylist, Tonie. Priya loved the shampoo the most. And having her hair flat-ironed. I do believe our early morning hair routine just got a little more complicated. A simple brushing just won't do.

My friend Lisa and I met back in 1999 when she and I returned to nursing school to get our Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At the time she only had her 2 year old son. Animesh and I had no children at all.

Lisa and I hit it off right away. It was one of those "kindred spirit" experiences. When I had Priya, our first-born, she was there to share in the joy. What was even more special is that when Priya was born, Lisa was due to deliver her own daughter just a few months later.

Here are Priya and Brooke...illustrating that famous baby "parallel play" at not even a year old...

Lisa's daughter, Brooke, and Priya became friends because their mommies were friends. But, the interesting thing is that I believe they would be friends even if Lisa and I were NOT so close.

Today we had a wonderful "girls day out" in preparation of the first day of school Monday. Lunch, manis and pedis, and ice cream. Perfect. We had the most wonderful time. Especially since we were with the most wonderful of friends. The kind of friends we can pick up right where we left off...even if it's been a few months.

I don't ever remember being pampered like this at almost 8 years old....boy, how times have changed.

Lisa and I have been through a lot together in the 10 years we've been friends. And I feel so blessed to have her in my life for all that we'll experience together in the future.

There's a good chance that Priya and Brooke might develop that same kind of friendship, too. How awesome that would be.

"Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart."

--Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, August 17, 2009

We Are Family

Hi. Been awhile since I've been here...the last 3 weeks have been filled with time spent with family. Two weeks with my family here in town. One week with Animesh's family in Dallas. Family, family, family. And while family can certainly drive you up a wall at times---in my older, wiser years I'm realizing how just how important it is to make the time to spend with extended family. To bond, chill, and just be. Because it's really, really important for my children.'s important for all of us.

Time spent with my family was also time spent without my camera. We did have a professional family photo shoot, so when Melody is finished with our gallery I'll have more to share with you. My sister and I bonded more than we have before. Our kids (a.k.a. "The Cousins") had a phenomenal time laughing, playing, swimming, eating, and, yes, occasionally bickering. But, I wouldn't change a minute of it. It was awesome.

Last week we drove to Dallas to spend time with my inlaws. I drove the kids by myself...and Animesh joined us for the weekend so we could attend a family Indian wedding reception Saturday night. For the first time ever I truly enjoyed the visit. My in-laws and the kids entertained each other incessantly. I got lots of mommy time to visit my dear, dear friend, Amanda, in a nearby town and to get a manicure. My in-laws...who traditionally sleep till noon...even woke up early to feed the kids so I could go for my morning runs (another triathlon awaits me on Labor Day). It was a fun week. So much so that I don't think we'll wait another year before returning.

Pics from our Dallas adventure.....

The kids swim with "Dadu" (a.k.a. "crazy grandpa").
He really is so incredibly youthful at heart.
Even at nearly 70 years old.

My absolutely wonderful, dear, awesome friend, Amanda.
She lives near Dallas. And I miss her.
We had a great visit.
Here's our self-portrait
(because you know how much I love a self-portrait).

All dressed up with someplace to go.
The Indian princess...and her mommy, Honorary Indian.

Handsome boys.

Our beautiful girl. Love that smile.

Grandma and granddaughter.

So much fun with cousins....

...and more cousins.

School begins one week from today. I thought I was ready. But, now that it's almost here...I have mixed emotions. I will miss having the 3 little Indians around all day long. Sure, I undoubtedly will find things to keep me busy, but early wake-up calls, schedules, routines, and activities will take some getting used to after the laziness of summer.

But, what a heck of a summer it's been.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hangin' Loose With Lots to Say

So I finally resolved myself to the fact that by the time I got around to editing and posting all of my favorite Hawaii pictures, well, the year would be 2020. I hit the ground running when we returned from Paradise, and more important things required my attention. Sadly, photo editing was not one of them. So that you can catch a glimpse of the fun we had, I'm gonna cheat and send you here. Melody did a wonderful job capturing our children's beautiful faces while we were on vacation with them, and I'm so thankful to her for printing this one out for me...making it one of the most prized souvenirs from the trip (aside from the coconut-chocolate-covered macadamia nuts). :-)

I'm also gonna send you here because I think this photographer captured my family at its best. We laughed and giggled and were completely at east with Tammy, and I'm so grateful for the wonderful shots she snapped while we frolicked and played (and Facebooked!) on Waikiki Beach during our shoot.

We had the best trip. Too much to share in a blog post. And, really, I wouldn't want to. I'll relive the memories in the gazillion pictures I took. And through the eyes of the children. They have better memories anyway.

I love this one of Melody and I. My arm was reaching so far out behind me with the camera that I thought my shoulder might be dislocated. And she was doing her creative thing with the camera on her shoulder. I thought our kayak shot turned out pretty cool.

My sister is visiting us from Idaho, and Tuesday through Thursday we enjoyed "hangin' loose" (favorite new Hawaii phrase) with her and my niece and nephew. Kristin has rearranged a lot of my house without spending a dime (THANK YOU!) and has showcased her gift that has sparked her new business. Check her out. Even if you don't live in Idaho she may be able to give you online consultations. Or she can come to your home the next time she's in town.

Kristin and her family are spending the weekend with her inlaws, so for us the last 2 days have been spent doing a whole lot of nothin'...but at the same time it has been 2 days of a whole lot of somethin's. The kids and I spent yesterday "hangin' loose" in our jammies, and it rocked. Today we ventured out only as far as the grocery store and Home Depot, and we couldn't wait to return home and put our jammies back on.

Since our vacation I've been more intentional about doing what I say I'm gonna do. Not just committments at church or elsewhere, but more specifically with my family. I want to be a wife and mother of her word, even if it means digging deep and doing something I said I was gonna do but didn't actually have the intention of following through. Or hoping that the kids would forget so as to let me off the hook. Because even though they may seem to forget...they always remember at some point.

Anyway, it's something small but I think it's rather huge in Deven's world...for 3 months he's been requesting that I bake a pumpkin pie ever since he spied a can of pumpkin in the pantry. I kept putting him off...especially today when the last thing I wanted to do was to bake a pumpkin pie...but at the grocery store I gave in to his pleading and bought the ingredients. To see this kid slowly and deliberately enjoy every single bite topped with whipped cream brought tears to my eyes. He thanked me repeatedly for making his favorite dessert. It was then that I realized it's not really about the pie...but the act of following through...that means so much. Who would have thought that baking a pumpkin pie would remind me of such an important life lesson?

My sister and her family will spend another week with us starting Monday, and we're all looking forward to fun in the sun, laughing, and "hangin' loose." To see the cousins (ages almost 8, 7, 6, 5, and 4) bond and play as if a year hasn't passed fills my heart with joy. Family really is what it's all about...even with all of our dysfunctionalities and quirks (c' know your family has them, too!).

I've got a hefty "to do" list to accomplish this Fall. Lots of projects and little annoying things. I am excited and slightly overwhelmed at the lengthiness of the list. But I know that once I start crossing them off the weight will feel less and less. Organization is something that makes me so happy. One of those things is to learn to play my playlist song. I've loved the Indigo Girls for years...but I have a new-found appreciation for their amazing guitar-esque ways. And I can always stand to be a little bit more "closer to fine." Can't you?

Side note: A beautiful young lady found me on Facebook. Turns out I was her church camp counselor 9 years ago. She now lives in Canada. And I barely remembered her when she "friended" me. But she remembered me...and she told me how much I had touched her life that week in June of 2000. Hmm. And to think I thought my time at Camp Gilmont was kind of a waste. I guess you never know when you may be impacting someone's life...either positively or negatively.

Kind of makes me want to keep planting those seeds of kindness. Ya never know...they could find their way back someday.