Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Out of Sorts

I feel so out of whack theses days.  I don't even know where to start.   As I logged into Blogger to type an update to this current pregnancy, I tried to look through the blogs I "follow" (and I use that word liberally since I can't tell you the last time I actually had the time to read things that weren't related to either a near 2 year old or 5 year olds) and I realized that I'm just so disconnected.  I haven't even been to this space in a year until two posts ago, and even before that, I was a pretty light poster.  Which, when you look at the years before and take into effect that I'm supposed to be writer, is sad.

But back to the disconnected feeling. 

I wanted to click on the blogs of the folks I once thought I knew, these women that I used to pray for and talk to regularly, who made up a core group of understanding friends, and I realized that I don't know most of them anymore.  I've kept up with some, and I'm grateful for the modern technology and texting plans that have allowed that to happen even with all the crazy in my life, but for the most part, I don't know what is going on in their lives.  Reading an update would leave ,me with more questions than answers, and that, I think, is a pretty good overview of my life these days.

Most days, I feel like who I am is hidden- I cant say gone because then I'm afraid I might not know where she went or how to get her back.  The days feed into one another and the weeks go by without any rhyme or reason.  The last few I've been able to keep up with because each Monday flips me into a new week of pregnancy.  I keep up with the months because they bring me closer to Michael being aged in years instead of months.  But, for the most part, it's just MoTuWeThFrSaSuWhereAreWeAgain.

Homeschooling is tough stuff....Not for the faint of heart.  It's been clear since we started hardcore last summer, but I think pregnancy has put it into even more perspective.  When I was pregnant with Michael, Bobby and Maya were in preschool two mornings a week.  They visited my in-laws one day a week, and I was able to just sleep when I needed to and rest during the day.  They also took three hour afternoon naps, which meant I had another slot to rest (and a spot on the two days where they were home all day).  After Michael was born, they were in camp three mornings a week, visited their grandparents one day a week, and Peter was home for the day during the week where we were all together.  Then, they were in school five mornings a week while I was home with a baby who still nursed and napped much of the morning, so I was able to nap right along with him until my life got back on track hormonally and I wasn't so tired. 

Now, I'm so utterly exhausted all the time.  Trying to balance schooling, playgroup, weekly field trips, plus the nights I teach and have other obligations, like music and scouts, I'm a walking zombie at times.  Pregnancy really slapped me upside the head this time and it's harder than Michael's and, honestly, harder than I anticipated.  And that just adds to the unexpected stress that homeschooling had already leveled at me.

I'll be honest and, hey, maybe I'm in the minority of homeschooling parents, but I absolutely despise it.  I think it's a great thing in general and, truly, it is the right choice for our kids.  It's amazing to see them "get" things and to see how we are able to really tailor every single subject into their needs and enjoyments.  But the ground work that goes into it...  The dealing with the autistic outbursts and trying to judge exactly what is too much/too little/the right tool/the wrong tool and making sure things are put in play as they have to be to stop said meltdown.  Some days, I don't even know what I've done right or wrong to create the outcome and the stress from that alone...  I'm lucky that I know a homeschool mom who is a similar situation so I don't feel crazy or like it's just me, but that doesn't make it harder.

And the kids are smart.... Like really smart.  So trying to keep up with them without pushing them too far or not pushing them hard enough.  Sheesh.  We finished our kindergarten curriculum in six months in about 90 minutes, four days a week.  They have different strengths and weaknesses and Bobby was ahead of Maya in some subjects while she was ahead of him in others, but by January, we had busted out the few first grade books we hadn't already opened.   Based on their current activities, we'll be done around Michael's birthday in July, give our take a week.  Which means August brings us a second grade curriculum.  I'm sure, with an October baby, things will slow down for us, and I don't plan on buying the third grade curriculum with the idea that we would get into it early.  I could always order it if need be, but my thought is that with the types of work in second grade, we will slow it down.  But still, that's a workload... And second grade means Sacramental prep, so that's more activities and more to do in a schedule that already seems crazed.

I'm trying not to stress about it...  Clearly failing in that way, but I tell myself that things will be fine.  People homeschool with babies, multiple aged/leveled children, different needs, etc.  We can do it... Right?  Of course we can.

There's a fair amount of my homeschool stress that is of my own making.  I have my own ideas about it is should go, how I want it to go, etc.  and those ideas don't usually (always? ever?) mesh with the kids and their ideas or needs.  Which makes it tough.  Since deciding to really play off their interests and desires, it has gotten easier in the application but not in the stress levels of Mama's end.

Part of the out-of-sorts comes from selfishness, too, I think.  I know what life was like before having kids and I know how much time I was able to give to my own interests.  Now, with a hectic family life, there is only so much time to go around and someone has to get shortchanged.  Daily, I feel like that is me; after all, who else can it be?  (I think my relationship with Peter gets shortchanged too, truth me told.)  I teach a few classes a week, and that money keeps us going on field trips and enjoying those days out.  I have GS stuff, which Maya loves and, while it's a lot of work, I enjoy spending that time with her and the Troop.  I'm active in church, which is a nonnegotiable and, now that Maya is in the children's choir, that's another layer.  There will be cross country again in the fall.  It keeps for busy days and nights and weekends that are rarely "free".  It doesn't leave much time for personal running, which is my version of Xanax, or writing, which is my place of inner peace.

I remember that royalty checks used to give me a sense of pride and accomplishment; now, they make me sad.  They are a reminder of what was, and of what I can't seem to make time for.   I've tried.... what feels like a hundred different ways.... I've tried to make the time to dedicate to my craft, and I just cant.  I need more than the "take an hour" here or there.  It's something non-writers don't really understand, I guess.  Nonfiction writing was easier because I could pick up research and lay it out, then take time to pull it together when I had time to spare.  Fiction doesn't work that way; at least it doesn't for me.  Even when it is part time writing, it's hours- not minutes- that I need to be able to spare.  Otherwise, it's not a promoter of peace, it's just another cause of stress.

But there's no time.  Even now, to write and get this out, I'm taking time away from something else that "needs" to be done, that I'll have to rush through, that wont be done "right" in order to just get done.  It's exhausting.  I'm exhausted. 

I'm so done most moments of every day.  And that just leads to more trouble.

I'm not the mother I thought I'd be.  There's more yelling, less laughing, not enough fun, and too much stress.  I spend a part of at least every other day (and sometimes days in a row) hiding for a few moments to just let it out with some tears while it sounds like the house is falling down around me.  When Peter gets home, it's no better, it's just different.  Then there's me running from one place to another to do something for someone else, there's making dinner, doing laundry, trying to spend a moment decompressing from the crazy before to prepare for the crazy that is coming. 

I'll rest when I'm dead, right?  Kids are only young once.... This too shall pass... The minutes are long but the years are short....  It was yesterday that Michael was born, let alone that the twins were born- I know that time goes by so quickly.  That doesn't make the sense of tired and the stress that feels so heavy go away.

I've heard that the first few years of taking on homeschooling can be the hardest and I'm hoping that is what this is.  Three kids, five and under... the stress and hormones of another pregnancy... the schooling and just typical household worries.... 

But I would love to feel a sense of balance return.  Even my 108 Sun Salutations at my Equinox yoga class wasn't able to accomplish that.

PG Update: 11w2d

Dr. B's office just called...  Apparently, there wasn't enough fetal DNA present in the sample they pulled.  So, I get to go back to tomorrow to have more tubes of blood pulled.  Bummer :(

I'm not a needle fan and, honestly, the idea that the baby is ill hasn't freaked me out... I'm actually more nervous of having to explain to Maya that we wont have the gender results for two more weeks!  That kid asks me several times a day if the doctor has told me the baby is a girl, LOL!

In related pregnancy news, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that (fingers crossed) the nausea and vomiting has decided to exit stage right.  Unfortunately, that was replaced (at least yesterday and this morning) with a headache.  After a good night's sleep, where I slept in this morning, I feel better, so I'm hoping it was part sleep depravation/part hormones.

So let's hope that, tomorrow, they get enough blood to complete the test and that my next appointment is April 9th.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Updating... Over a Year Later

It's been a year since I've blogged.
September 2014  (c) Erica Colvin Photography

I didn't intend for that to happen, of course; life just got in the way.  I'd love to find time to write, both for publication and for this little space, but...  Time.  I just don't have enough time.

Where to start.  The kids are doing well.  Bobby and Maya began their full time homeschooling last June, after Catholic school let out for the summer. 
Sept. 2014 (c) Erica Colvin Photography
We bought our curriculum for kindergarten and first grade from Catholic Heritage, and we really like it.  It fits our lifestyle and, while I started off pretty Type A in my planning, we are in quite the "unschooling" mode as far as schedules, me lesson planning, etc, goes.  We use our books and have our field trips, but I don't do things in order (unless I need to, like math), and the kids direct where we go and, in a lot of ways, what we are learning.  And it works for them.  (For me?  Not usually, but it works for them and that's what is important.)  Maya finished up K in early January, and Bobby a few weeks after.  They are both in first grade now, and I anticipate our completion in July.  Which means second grade in the fall...  And making their First Reconciliation (Confession) and First Eucharist (Communion) next Spring.  I struggle to wrap my head around that one!

Sept. 2014 (c) Erica Colvin Photography
Maya is a Daisy Girl Scout and she loves it.  I'm her troop leader and, while it is a lot of work, I really enjoy having the time with her and seeing how much she loves it.  We meet at the Catholic school, so she knew many of the girls.  She also sings in the choir at our parish.

Sept. 2014 (c) Erica Colvin Photography
In the fall, Peter plans to start Boy Scouts with Bobby.  We have dear friends in both GS and BS, and I trust her opinion; while I'm nervous about BS for Bobby, she thinks he will do well and Peter wants to give it a go with him, so, we'll be dual scout parents next year.

Sept. 2014 (c) Erica Colvin Photography
Michael turns 2 in July and is growing like a weed.  He's my big boy!  He always wants to be right of thick of things with his big brother and sister.  As a result, he knows his ABCs (verbally and in ASL) and can count to 20 (verbally well to 10, in ASL all the way).  He talks in sign like crazy and his verbal skills are more advanced than the twins at his age.  He's a mama's boy (can't complain!) and I'm still nursing him (21 months on April 2).   He's a sweetheart, and I love to hear him singing.

Sept. 2014 (c) Erica Colvin Photography
The kids are the lights of my life.  Homeschooling is harder than I ever thought possible and, if I'm honest, it is not something I enjoy.  That being said, it is the right choice for them and we will do it until it is no longer the right choice.  I suppose I'm selfish at times because I want more me time, more time to run, more time to write, etc...  Homeschooling takes whatever time I have and it's a lot of work.  I often feel overwhelmed and without outlet.  But, again, it is what is right for our family so we work through the challenges.  The twins have asked to go to camp this summer, which I'm struggling with.  It's hard to let them go, even for a few hours (which we've done before) but especially for longer.  Maya begged to do an overnight GS camp (I couldn't do it!) and now is asking for an all day, GS camp for a week.  I'm looking into the same week for Bobby at a camp that specializes in special needs/autism, since he would be without her and I think he would struggle a little more than usual.  We'll see what happens!

We're well.  Peter is still a scientist, works hard, and is a great husband and father.  The kids countdown to their "Daddy time"! :)  We try to figure in a date here and there, but it is tough and, at times, I know we both feel disconnected.  We miss our "deck dates", where we would sit on the deck after the kids had gone to bed and just talk.  As the nice weather comes back, hopefully, we'll be able to do that again.

I'm still teaching several yoga classes a week, still coach youth cross country in the fall, and will be starting to train for spring races soon (yay for warmer weather!).  I miss running, and even with nursing, the weight I gained with Michael isn't easily melting off, which is more of an emotional struggle verses anything else.  I had an unexpected miscarriage in September (I was actually pregnant in the family picture above, but we had only just found out), and then, just as unexpectedly, found myself pregnant in February.  I'm 10w2d today and had my first OB appointment last Friday. 
9w4d ultrasound
So far, so good.  The baby had a heartbeat of 155bmp and implanted high.  Everything looked well, and I had blood drawn for the Materni21 screen, so in addition to the baby's chromosomal health, we will know the gender within two weeks.  While Peter and I are happy regardless, Maya is desperate and has been praying for a sister. :)  While my morning sickness (which is really 24 hour sickness!) hasn't been as bad as it was with Michael, it's still quite the pain.  Lots of puking and nausea.... lots of ginger.  But I'm still teaching and running, so that's great.  I'm in maternity clothes because I cant stand the pressure of real pants against my belly. 

Well, Michael is awake from his nap, so the 'free time' I'd found is now gone.  I'd like to say that I'll keep blogging, but we'll see.  At this point, I'm struggling to write in my pregnancy journal!