Thursday, December 31, 2015

fight song

hello old friend.

it's new years eve day, and I'm feeling compelled to reflect, revive and replenish my soul.  writing, blogging, has always been a reflective tool, something so good for my sanity.  I've missed it.  I've been gone intentionally.  kinda.  may and june just got busy {as it does every year!}.  july was a lot of nothingness.  and then some serious shit went down.  stuff that I still can't talk about {I'm super cryptic, I know.  I don't mean to be.}.  let's put it this way.  if our family could make it through july, august and september in one piece and we're still standing, together, on the other side of it, then we can get through anything.  it was hard not being able to write about what was hitting us hardest, so it was intentional that I stayed away.  if I can't be vulnerable here, then it's best to stay away.  in doing that, however, I have found that I've also been inadvertently distancing myself from friends as we lean in as a family.  this I don't like.  I'm weary of digging in deep.  does that make sense?  so bear with me as I stay on the surface today.

on the flip side, because I am a believer in redemption and an eternal optimist, there has been a lot of positives in my life as of late.  nate has made a fairly smooth transition into jr high.  grade fricken' seven!!  this is a huge plus.  it was a big stressor for me this fall.  not for him.  oh no.  he just breezed through his first few months of jr high with no stress at all!  and ty, my chronic non-sleeper, has been a rock star for the last few months.  better sleep, better attitude, better mental health.  a significant win.  john and I got away together in november.  much needed and much overdue.  this year is ending in a good, good place.

a lot of prelude for what I was really wanting to write about today.  ha!

new years eve.  time for some reflection on my word/s for 2015.  gratitude and generosity.  I wrote 365 days ago, that it's difficult for anxiety and gratitude to exist in the same place.  one year later, this truth is alive for me.  this word, these words, have are the reason I'm standing on the other side.  this I know.  I am grateful for family.  grateful for the life I get to live.  grateful for the person I've become over the last year, because she's not the same person.  this is good.  in everything give thanks.

so I have a word picked for 2016.  I'll share that with y'all tomorrow!

in the meantime, this has been our theme song for the last while.  we blast it, sing it and live it.

this is my fight song
take back my life song
prove I'm alright song
my power's turned on
starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
and I don't really care if nobody else believes
'cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Monday, May 18, 2015

it will come back

first of all, I need to send out a big thank you.  I don't write for anyone specifically and for everyone in general.  mainly I write for me.  it's a part of taking care of my own mental wellness.  needless to say, I don't write for likes, shares or comments.  but it was really kind to see my blog traffic increase and the amount of support I experienced {on fb, specifically}, in regards to my last post.  I would hope that I always write from a place of vulnerability and authenticity, but I know that's not always the truth.  somedays I just write to get touches on the ball and not worry so much about kicking it through the goal net.  anyways, this is my thank you.  thank you for supporting me.  encouraging me. loving on me.  especially through a very raw post.

so it's monday.  the monday of a four-day long weekend.  and as a family, we've succeeded in doing nothing and not hating each other.  we revolve in a world of go.  soccer four nights a week.  hockey one to two nights a week.  and a husband that works five nights a week.  sometimes just pulling the plug on activities for a few days {okay, there were none scheduled!!}, makes all the difference in the world.  movies.  playing outside with friends.  swimming with cousins.  playing with other cousins.  street hockey with friends.  a lot of coffee.  and a lot of nothing.  part of me feels guilty that I accomplished nothing.  but maybe in not feeling stressed about getting anything done, I accomplished something bigger:  rest.

I suck at rest.  pressing pause.  taking a deep breath.  I really do.

and then I wonder why I'm exhausted all the time.  and always in fight mode.

well, perhaps this needs to change.  lower the expectations when I have a few moments in the margin.  be okay with that pile of papers on the counter.  not fret if the boys laundry is all where it's suppose to be.  take care of me.  and then be better at taking care of them.

it always cycles back to that principle.  taking care of me.  filling my jar.  so ultimately, I can care for others.  give to others.  be there for others.  because really, that is my joy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

did you hear the rain?


we try not to tiptoe around it.  we try not to cave to it.  we try not to fuel it's fire.

but I do.  I bow to its power.  I let it run free.

and then some days we talk.  we hash it out.   and love on each other.

these days.  these days I get to carry the burden.  these days he trusts me.  calls me mama.  knows that I would take this dragon that lives and breaths and fight it everyday if that would help.

alas, it's ultimately his battle.


the dragon.

today, I tiptoed.  I snuck up behind it.  I hugged it fiercely, when it wanted to roar.  I won.  it slowly quieted.  tonight it's letting my sweet son sleep.  tonight I loved the heck out of it.  and tonight I won.

it's ultimately his battle.

for now, I fight beside him.  it's part of him.  the son I love.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

blame it on me

I always feel like I need to start with an apology.  a reason for ditching.  for ignoring my faithful reader {okay, so maybe there are more than one of you!!!}.  honestly, I think part of me has been avoiding writing.  avoiding dealing with my shit.  avoiding the honesty chat that I should probably be having with myself.  alas.  I'm here now.  ready to chat.

only tonight, I think I have a purpose.  and it has very little to do with me, I think.  or maybe that's the complete opposite of the truth.

so tomorrow marks that beginning of mental health week, here in the great white north.  the canadian mental health association has done this week for the last 60 some years.  this year, the focus is on boys and men.  their slogan?  let's get loud about mental health.  #getloud

so just over two weeks ago, a colleague of mine lost his son to suicide.  this shit breaks people.  and it hit me hard.  I too, am a parent of two boys.  I too, know my youngest does not have an easy path when it comes to his mental wellness.  I too.  I too.  this grief runs deep.  am I doing enough, is the refrain that plays in my head.   so, in part to live my talk and in part to honour my friends, my colleagues, the students who step foot in my office, my family and my own two kids, this week I'll be modelling mental wellness and I'll be getting loud about it.

self care.  I'm good at this in a lot of ways, but really on the surface.  I need to care for my soul.  the well that flows so I can give.  so yes, I take time for myself.  I refresh in the rare solitude of my weekend.  but I avoid those things that really care for my soul.  writing.  walking.  playing music.  these things.  these are the things that really are my self care.

this week, this week is about these things.  getting loud for d.  getting loud for my sweet t.  getting loud for all the boys and men {plus all the girls!} I know who suffer with mental illness.  and in the same breath, it's about practicing mental wellness.  and about putting my actions where my words are.

it's going to be a full week of blogging, kids.

Monday, February 16, 2015

to be alone

a lazy weekend.  kids in motion with friends and sleep overs.  big dumps of snow.  no sports.   cleaning off the pvr.  a bit of rest in the middle of the crazy.

two more weeks at this intensity.  in two weeks, hockey is in play-off mode, soccer slows down just a tad and school.  well school starts to ramp up.  I guess I can't really win!

so, in honour of the long weekend, a few of my {current} favourite things!

1.  so I was at the eye doctor's this weekend.  looks like I need reading glasses.  or bifocals.  or something else that makes me feel old.  grrrr.  so I'm looking for reading glasses that don't look like old lady librarian glasses.  I like these.

2.  hozier.  he's running things on my playlist lately.  take me to church is good.  the rest is even better.  TRUST. ME.  

3.  gotham.  for freakin' real.  I'm not even the biggest batman fan, but this.  this I like.  it's dark, slightly creepy and all sorts of fun.  and common.  it's ryan and marissa all over again.  okay, well without the warm OC sun and without marissa.  HA!  I really like ben mckenzie as james gordon.  and the frickin' penguin is all sorts of icky and lovely.  okay.  enough gushing.

4.  speaking of tv, how to get away with murder.  I am a complete sucker for crime shows.  mysteries make me happy - in book and in television form.  this show is smart.  slow moving.  back and forth.  it's a long running story arch, if you like that kind of thing.  I do.  

5.  I bet my life by imagine dragons.  I'm really loving this song.  ty and I have been plunking it out on the piano lately.  I'm a fan of a three chord song!!  good times!

6.  avocados.  no, guacamole.  I'm obsessed.  I eat guac with EVERYTHING.  and this is my new favourite, mainly because I don't have time to make it every second day.  and winter in canada?  well lets just say that the avocados aren't very great after they make the big trek north.  this does the trick every time!!

7.  I thought I could make it to 10 favourite things, but I think I'm stopping here.  but, I want to give a big shout-out to all my friends who've taken my kids in the last while.  I've been tired and sick for the last while and you've really kicked it up a notch.  you're my favourite favourite!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

it will come back pt. 2

if you need the back story, go here.

so I got a call from a friend of mine this week.  she invited my kid to go to an overnight family camp with herself and a couple of her kids.  this is a camp that I know and love.  he said yes immediately.   they were leaving friday night.  home sunday.  thursday night was melt down central.  full on panic.  he stayed up too late the night before and had just worked his butt off at a two hour hockey practice.  the makings of a perfect storm.

"mom, I just want you to come too", "don't make me go", and "I just feel so anxious".  that was the first time he really identified his feelings.  the first time he put words to how he feels.  when you can read between the yelling, fighting, and icky tantrum, that is at the root of his issues.  I feel so anxious.

I had no idea in that moment if I made the right choice or the wrong choice, but I made a choice.  I told him that he had to go.  he had said yes to his friends.  he couldn't go back on his word.  he was not happy with me.  he threw and broke the screen on his iPad.  his feelings are real.  I pushed them into a place of great discontent.  ten minutes later, his friend called.  they talked.  he was all smiles again.  reassured.

over the last few months, we've been working with the mental health clinic to get on the same page as parents.  just john and I go.  we try different strategies.  we want him to learn some self-regulation.  to gain control of this.  we want him in his own bed.  we want him sleeping at a decent time.  we've compromised.  we've tried a ton of things.  some work, some don't.  essential oils.  relaxation techniques.  a bedtime routine.  and we've seen a lot of progress.  he sleeps in a little cot next to our bed.  1030 is now a late night.  he told me he loved me.  once.  he cuddles.  he smiles.  and we've had one bed time tantrum in the last six weeks.

so friday after school he walked home with his friend.  they were planning to come by our house to pick up his stuff and say good bye.  he walks in the house and runs upstairs, asking me to come with him because he wants to talk to me.  we get upstairs and he bursts into tears.  no tantrum.  all tears.  all panic on his face.  "mom, I need you to come with me.  I don't think I can do this.  I feel so anxious."  so much raw honesty in his words.  usually it's about anger.  with him.  friday it was real.  real pain for my little boy.  I held him.  wiped his tears.  told him I believed in him.  told him that I loved him, had packed his blankets and special pillow and a ton of valentine's candy.  told him that he could call me at any time and that I would come and get him.  then I carried him downstairs.  and he left.

one phone call on friday night.  he wanted to be picked up in the morning.  I asked him to call me in the morning.  I prayed with him.  phone call in the morning.  "don't come.  I'm having fun."

I don't know if I'm doing this right.  I don't know if I'm honouring my kid and his mental health.  I don't have a clue what I'm doing.  something in my gut told me to push him on this weekend.  in return, I got his iPad fixed.  I want him to become a person who is in control.  who has choices.  who feels empowered.  this thing.  this anxiety.  it's not going away.  it's his gig.  for the next couple of years I have to help him manage.  and there's an ebb and flow to that management.  I'm going to mess up.  but in that, we all get to learn.  if the stigma around mental illness needs to stop, then it needs to stop with me.  my family.  my kid.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

it will come back

so I've really hesitated with this post for some time now.  but its content has been eating away at me, like it's time.  so sometimes I just need to trust my gut and believe that the time is right.

I share a lot of personal stuff on my blog, and I have waded into some of my parenting struggles, but for the most part, the things I post about my kids are usually fun.  and honestly, they're getting to the age where they don't want all their stuff out there.  and it's nice posting fun pictures, making my family look sweet and happy and lovely all the time.  it's easy to make my sports-loving, super cute boys look good in social media.  for our family to look happy.

for the most part, we are happy.  we laugh hard, we fight loudly.  but I am a mom of a little boy that struggles with anxiety.


mental health.

my kid.

this past summer there were a lot of fights over bed time.  but I don't work in the summer, so late nights and late, lazy mornings were okay.  and he was still sleeping in his own bed this summer.  for the most part.  but, when dad works 5 nights a week, sometimes everyone just crashes in our king sized bed and we call it a night.  then school started.  my first born easily adjusts to change.  a few early mornings corrects his schedule and he's super happy to be up in the mornings.  my second born, not so much.  throughout the month of september, I think I was considering midnight an early night.  1230.  1.  130.  the melatonin that we had been using for the last couple of years had stopped working.  the cycle of lack of sleep for both of us, was leading to some pretty rotten parenting.  I work a job that requires me to be on my game.  especially in september.  pretty sure I was sucking at all my jobs in september.  and every single night there was a fight.  the overtired kid battling his overtired mother for power.  and he was winning.  every night.  I'm an educator.  I'm smarter than this, right?

then he said that he hated his life and just wanted to die.  and a part of me died a bit inside.  my baby. my hockey-playing-music-loving-cutest-face-ever 9 year old wants to die.  how do you hear that as a mom and be okay?  I totally wasn't okay.  we weren't.

when asked one sunday morning, "how are you doing?" by a trusted friend, I decided to answer with something other than "fine", as I broke down and told him of my sheer exhaustion.  and the words.  the words my kid had said out loud.  he told me how they went through something similar with their son and told me that it was okay to get some help.  so I did.  I went and had a breakdown in my doctor's office.

the last five months have been a journey.  the kid was a complete nightmare when we went to the doctor together, crying at me that he just wanted to be a normal kid.  more so when we went to our first appointment at the mental health clinic.  "I just want to be a normal boy".  over and over.

since then, things have changed quite drastically in our house.  not perfect.  never perfect.  but definitely not september.

there is definitely a part two to this post {tomorrow, if I can get my head on straight}.  I just hear the echo of students past, dear friends, close family and now my second born in his words:  I just want to be normal.

mental illness sucks.  just like cancer sucks.  I don't understand it.  I don't like it.  but it's part of our reality.  I don't have a ton of answers, just a part of our story.  and if even knowing that you're not alone with this struggle, is what you need to hear today, it's true.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

and the one thing I have learned is this:  not talking about it doesn't make it better.  there is healing in words.

tomorrow.  part 2.  I promise.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

broken crown

how is it the end of January already?  it's been a bit hectic.  hockey, soccer, ski club, work, repeat.  its hectic, but it's a good life.  and in a month that could define a year, gratitude is my hustle.  I cannot complain.

that said, it's almost the end of January.  did I tell you all that I joined a diet bet at the start of January?  $35 of sheer dietary motivation.  I lost the first 8 or 9lbs really fast {damn post-christmas booze bloat!}, and then it's slowed down.  I was down 11lbs last monday, then the trip to medicine hat happened.  hockey tournaments rock and are awful at the same time!  this morning I was up 2.  and it's weigh in day tomorrow.  I totally feel like my body is going to let me down!  I've been super vigilant today, and drinking a ton of water, but THIS SUCKS!!!!  I was a winner.  now there's a threat of being a loser.  HA!

okay, so the bigger picture here, steady work on my weight.  on-going motivation.  eating food that loves me and is healing my body, not tearing it apart.  and 9lbs isn't anything to be ashamed about.  that's the size of most people's babies.  not awful, right?

so, I'm going to drink my water, stop with eating salt and pray to God that my body likes me tomorrow.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

wildest dreams

don't judge me.  'cause the 19 year old, wearing all black, doc marten lovin' me is sure passing judgement.  taylor swift's 1989 has been making the rounds on my play list lately.

week one back at work is almost done.  it's been pretty productive over all, but I couldn't figure out why I was so tired!  I've been eating right {day 7 of my whole30!}, drinking a crap load of water, getting to bed at a decent hour... then I did some research tonight.  apparently day 6 and 7 are the days where your body wants SLEEP.  who knew.

so this is what I've been thinking about this week and a question that I can't seem to find an answer to.  why is it that for me, starting is the hardest thing ever?  I suck in the motivation part, but once I get into some forward motion, the momentum can start to carry me.  funny.  I hadn't even planned to write about my whole adventure in eating good food tonight, but I guess that the path I'm going down.  except maybe that was all I had to say.  ha!  squirrel!

a couple of gratitude things that have surfaced in this week:
1.  ty's had a pretty solid sleeping week.  not a ton of attitude and he's been pleasant to be around.
2.  it's payday tomorrow.  our post-christmas budget sucks!
3.  I started a bit of a project at work this week and I was worried that there may be some negative reactions from students and parents.  I had a thank-you call this afternoon.
4.  I've been able to turn off work mode when I'm not at work.  this required breaking up with my work email on my phone.  it's broken and I'm not going to fix it.
5.  I found some solitude within the busy this week.  we had something every night this week and on tuesday, I sat in an empty hockey dressing room for almost 45 minutes.  alone.  by. my. self.  sometimes I need to just look for places to rest within the busy.

gratitude is more than just being grateful for my great life, but living out in a way that is contrary to my usual complaining.  does that make sense?

sorry.  I post that was ALL OVER THE PLACE tonight.  it's late.  the kid laying beside me is having problems falling asleep.  I'm exhausted.  day 8 tomorrow.  I wonder what that will hold?

Sunday, January 04, 2015

spirit in the sky

so it's back-to-work-after-two-weeks-off eve.  tomorrow we're all back at it, after two of the most restful weeks I've had in a long time.  

I've been thinking about why this has been and a couple of things come to mind.  first, we had no sports for 14 days.  I love watching my boys play in their respective sports, but honestly, it's a time sucker-upper.  take this afternoon for example.  a thirty minute drive to the rink to be there an hour before the game, an hour for the game and then 15-20 minutes post game {debrief and undress} and then thirty minutes back home.  over three hours.  knock a half hour off of soccer games.  and then most weekends have one or two of each sport.  no sports - no games or practices - was sweet bliss.

then, I've been really intentional with my rest.  a lot of nothingness.  sitting.  reading a novel.  watching tv.  going to the rink with the boys.  {okay, that's not nothing, but it's just plain fun!}

and maybe the most importantly, I've totally neglected work.  I've not checked my email.  I've not done any professional reading.  I've not even thought about school.  I used to be really, really good at this and lately I've not been.  this is a lesson I needed.  

taking care of myself is more than just buying a new pair of shoes.  it's being intentional and permissive.  giving myself permission to turn it all off and just rest.  be with my kids and my husband.  

I love, LOVE my job, but if I don't learn this now, it will consume me.  it will be my end and my joy for the work I am so privileged to do, will be gone.  and that will devastate me.  so alas, I actually learned something this lovely Christmas break.  and for that, I'm grateful.

so gratitude jar by my bed.  using all my fitness apps {yay mfp and waterlogged}.  lunches all packed.  boys falling asleep on the couch.  it's time to get my hustle on tomorrow, after a good night's sleep!!

Friday, January 02, 2015

on this winters night

wow.  four days in a row of writing.  it's almost like I'm on vacation!  okay, well really tomorrow morning it's back to reality.  the t-man has a hockey game at 9am.  that means, in this crazy snow, leaving the house at 720am.  I'M NOT READY FOR EARLY MORNINGS!!!!  the natester also has a game tomorrow.  we're back in the swing of things, baby.

and I am on a pretty massive sugar detox.  {GIVE ME SOME CHOCOLATE!!!}  there is one way of eating that makes me feel like a million bucks and that's no dairy, no wheat and no sugar.  it's as hard as eff to stick to, but I sleep better and feel better when I eat smart.  and then there is the weight of two large thanksgiving turkeys that I gained over the last 11 months.  yeah, that shit needs to go.  I'm tired of my clothes not fitting.  sigh.  and really, I've let this define my mental health for the last long while.  it's time to exercise some grace and forgiveness towards myself.  and let it go.  {feel free to break into song now!}

I have a couple of things in my favour right now.

first, the momentum of motivation.  I have felt VERY unmotivated for the last six months.  I know that sometimes behaviour needs to change in order for attitude to come alongside, but this has been the biggest motivational drought that I've had in a long time.  about ten days ago, I woke up and just felt better.  I went and bought some skates {thanks for the great present, honey!!} and decided that I wanted to lace them up and get in the game.  literally and metaphorically.  I knew at the end of november already that I was in need of a full stop, but didn't realize how big this need was.  so instead of waiting for motivation to hit, I'm going to start changing my attitude AND my behaviour, in an effort to create my own motivation.

second, I've found some experts and I'm getting some help.  asking for help is so incredibly difficult for me.  in my head, it's a sign of weakness.  which is absolute crap.  so baby steps here.  I went on-line and signed up for a few different things and have begun to create a bit of a support network.  I need a positive voice when my voice can veer towards the negative.  so a 10 day do-over challenge, a gratitude jar, a diet-bet and a fairly rigorous plan to eat like a rock star are some steps to get support in place, while making significant changes.

third, three days without sugar BEFORE school is back in.  well, that's good for everyone {except my husband and kids who have to put up with me for the next couple of days!!!}.  it's worth it, I know it is, but why do I have the worst sugar cravings right after eating the healthiest salad ever??  sheesh.

fourth, starting things while I have a bit of time.  I have consciously avoided all school related activities: professional reading, checking emails, planning, checking get the idea.  I've exchanged my usual work-focused behaviours with new ones.  writing.  cooking.  listening to serial {OMG!!  I only have 4 more episodes to listen to!!!!}.  reading a novel.  skating and playing hockey with the boys.  watching all of this season's episodes of NCIS and blue bloods.  {gibbs and frank reagan and coach taylor.  I get a ridiculous amount of leadership training from watching these characters on tv.  don't tell me I watch too much...I'm calling it professional development!}

and all this for what?  I feel better today than I have in a really long time.  I need to keep this business of self-care going.  for my mental health.  for my physical health.  for my family.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


this year.  these words.

I know one thing to be true.  I cannot be grateful and anxious/stressed at the same time.  I mean I can, but it sure doesn't work very well.  if I'm living out gratitude on a daily basis, I am hoping that my stress over all the little things will start to decrease.  and then I want generosity to pour out of the gratitude.  I need it to.  and I need it to permeate my kids lives as well.  I'm pretty sure I've turned into a stressed out, complaining-all-the-time, miserable person in the last twelve months.  I don't like it.  so it's going to change.  right now.

and so I created a gratitude jar.  I want to fill it with all the little things.  the things that usually I pass over.  the things that really, when you add them up, are the moments that matter.

who do you want to become in 2015?