Quiet Nights

So tonight is one of those nights where my husband is working late and won’t be home until after I hit the sack. These nights are very reminiscent of deployment evenings – having to make dinner for everyone, entertain, supervise and put the kids to bed by myself and do all the nightly chores solo…but after all that’s done, I usually have a good hour of solid “me” time and it’s absolutely peaceful and wonderful.

For this tour, nights like these are a rarity, so I’m very much appreciating the silence and peace.

The Disney trip went pretty well, although I know I hit a point almost every day where I became a little too overwhelmed and over-stimulated. At those points, I tended to shut down mentally, get a little short-tempered or really quiet. I got asked “Are you okay?” quite a bit. But it was an awesome trip. I feel incredibly blessed that the military threw us into a parallel path with an awesome family that has become part of our own and that we get along so well with.

That’s about all I have tonight – just appreciation for some silent “me” time and a quick look-back at last week’s vacay. Toodles!

The Force Failed Me

I am one of the very unlucky 1.7% of Fitbit Force users who developed a skin rash from wearing it.  I’m about to return mine under the voluntary recall, but the whole experience is bumming me out quite a bit. 

I LOVE activity trackers.  I had the Nike FuelBand (first gen) for around one and a half years, but had many issues with it between the band not clasping properly, replacing it due to a faulty screen display, and through to having my replacement band completely die on me just outside of the warranty period.  This last issue happened last November, so with all the problems I’d had with Nike, I decided to do some research and find a good tracker that would work for me.

The Fitbit Force was a near-perfect fit for me and I convinced my husband to get it for me at Christmas.  The only thing I really missed was the awesome and motivating features of goal-setting and challenges that the Nike FuelBand was great at; but with the added sleep tracker, the vibrating alarm, and the real metrics (rather than invented points), I felt that the Force was a really good trade-off.  And in the two months I wore it, the band kept me motivated to move more.  I got out for more walks, and I loved tracking my sleep measurements and benchmarking myself against the other-user stats.  However, a week after they issued the recall, I noticed the tell-tale signs of dermatitis on my wrist where the metal part of the Force sat. 

So now, I find myself listless.  I’ve worn an activity tracker almost non-stop for nearly two years now, and while I know I can still get out there and exercise and that I don’t need a wrist-band to tell me what I’m doing and whether I’m being active enough or not, I’m really missing the fun and motivation that these toys brought to my life.

The only debate for me now centers around my own impatience.  Do I buy the known, sub-par Nike FuelBand SE because I want SOMETHING to track my activity, or do I patiently wait for Fitbit to get its act together to release the “new and improved” activity tracker at some unknown time in the future with even more nifty features than the Force had (the only thing the company says is that it will be released “soon” … I hate that word :-P)?  I’m completely torn on this issue, and it’s getting me down today.

Coffee and Classical Music

This morning has me searching the internet for a white unicorn, it seems.  I’m taking on the challenge full-force and I’m getting paid to do it, which is nice, but I get the feeling that this one may take me a while.  And as in most searches, I’ve been getting side-tracked.  However, I’m working through the challenge with the soothing mix of good coffee and calming classical music via Pandora.  It almost feels as if I’m in a coffee shop, only without the noise or presence of other humans.

One thing about working from my home office is the isolation that I get and feel on a daily basis.  Most days, my only company is my ridiculously fluffy, (and sometimes overly cuddly) white cat.  He’s not so much the conversationalist.  When I get frustrated, I rail at the walls.  When I can’t stand the silence, I play music to suit my mood.  When I can’t stand the noise, I work in silence.

The whole situation has a freedom of sorts, but it really is not for everyone.  It’s a LOT of one-on-one time with myself, and I go a little stir crazy nearly every week spending 98% of my time in my house.  I find it to be a moral imperative to escape – even for mundane errands like grocery shopping – on the weekends.  I also find myself getting overwhelmed much more quickly in social situations lately – like I need to get away from being around so many people.

In a week or so, the family and I are traveling to a major theme park with another family to do a week-long vacation of stimulation and fun.  I’m slightly apprehensive about the whole trip, though I’ve yet to admit it out loud to anyone.  I’m curious to see how I do being constantly surrounded by infinitely more humans for a whole week than I have been over the past year.  I guess I’ll just have to seek out and enjoy any quiet time I can find in the chaos.

I Love My Job, But…

There are days when I encounter so many problems in reviewing other people’s work that I feel like banging my head against a brick wall.  I don’t know why.  It certainly would not be productive or beneficial for me to do so.  And I do not understand why I feel the need to inflict physical pain on myself, unless it’s a ploy to distract me from the mental pain the review causes.  Who knows…

My Project

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I am not a hoarder.  I am the first one to purge almost anything when I see the house getting cluttered with it.  I only have one exception to this rule.  It is the one thing I collect, and I have taken it into my head to organize my collection that has been getting more and more expansive every year. 

I keep cards.  All cards.  All thank you notes.  Any note I get from friends and relatives.  I’ve been doing it for YEARS.  My collection spans multiple tubs, and I recently found a Pinterest suggestion on organizing them.  It is time. 

So over the past few days, I’ve been sorting through hundreds and hundreds of cards, placing them in piles by holiday.  It’s been somewhat lucrative in that I’ve already found $15 in hidden/forgotten cash.  I’ve also found some touching notes from parents of old friends and it’s giving me a massive trip down memory lane now that I’m getting to the older stuff.

I’m not quite done yet, and there’s one entire major holiday (my wedding) where all the cards have been placed somewhere separately that I have not yet located, but I am determined to organize the chaos of correspondence collection.  So here’s to eventual success…

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Lent

I am giving up negative thoughts/criticisms for Lent and am taking up a quest to write more – every day if possible.  Ideally, I should keep a prayer journal or something, but for now, I’ll just work on writing more.

My Working Mother Confessions

I love being a working mother.

Most of the time, I do not miss my kids when I am at work.  I savor the adult/”me” time that comes with having a career.*  I have zero guilt about feeling this way.  As much as I love my kids, they are not the be-all and end-all of who I am.

Even though a good portion of my paycheck goes towards child care, I like bringing income into my family.  I had my job and was able to become very well established in my career field prior to having children.  I’m eternally grateful that I never had to give up all the time and effort I put into getting where I am in my working life by switching to being nothing but a caregiver.  I like making my own money and I like the security of being a dual-income family.

I would hate my life if I were a stay-at-home mom.  I’ve tried it in a few, 2-3 month long increments (moving, maternity leave), and every time I’ve done it, I’ve been miserable.  It also negatively affected my marriage.  I am NOT a stay-at-home mom.

Consequently, my children will attend some sort of public and/or private schooling when they get to that age.  Homeschooling is not for me.  I also acknowledge that I pay taxes for that sort of stuff.  I might as well get my money’s worth.

I like having my kids in daycare.  They may get a little more sick in the first few years, but I believe that it will help their immune systems for the future.  I also love the fact that they are able to socialize and learn new things they would never be able to fully experience if they were at home all day, every day.  I like that they have peers starting at a young age and can learn about friendships from baby-hood.  I love that pre-school isn’t a huge shift in routine for them – it’s just going to the same “school” that they’ve been going to for as long as they can remember.  I love the fact that I do not have to be their only source of creative prompting – they have many teachers’ crafty ideas and games to experience every day.

In short, working motherhood works very well for me.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I will fight tooth and nail to keep my career alive, and I hope to be a working mother until I retire.

*Today is an exception.  I am actually missing my kids this afternoon, but I’m glad it’s Friday and that I’m coming up on a weekend of being smothered in love, whining, fights, and playtime.