This picture sums it up in a nut shell! Every time I see it I get a chuckle because I have felt this way so many times over this last winter... If you want more of the nut shell keep reading.
It's been so long I don't even know where to begin. I guess I have to back up to February when I fell off the face of the blogging world. I developed a funk. A bad funk to be exact that started in December 2010 and it rendered me back in therapy. After a handful of appointments, Nancy Kingma, (She's the same therapist I saw for 19 months after Elise past away.) recommended that I start taking an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety (PRN), and sleep aide while I started sorting through the things getting me all out of sorts. After some thought and feeling completely desperate and overwhelmed with life, I agreed to her suggestion. BUT only for the short term while I put some of my emotional chaos back in order. Quite frankly, I was running myself thin during the winter months and I just wanted to turn my thoughts off and sleep which was something that was increasingly becoming a challenge. Lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster under the best of circumstances and mine were not the best.
The Christmas season is suppose to be such a joyful time filled with family, love, cooking, baking, crafting, decorating, shopping, and gift giving. For myself it was also a stressful time. I was very focused on my father's absence and the ache in my heart this past season and found it overwhelming and emotionally daunting. I survived the holidays by a thread. If it were not for Rob and Ava, Lord only knows where I would be! I am so thankful to have the two of them in my life pulling me along when all I want to do is stick my heels in the sand.
Speaking of Rob and Ava... Rob's work was in a big lull this winter and I was working as many hours as I possibly could along with taking call shifts to keep our household a float. For those of you who know how stressful that can be on families you will surly understand that part of the funk. So many stressors for both the one working and the one not working to deal with during a season when gift giving is at an all time high. The winter doldrums with no extra fun money is truly no fun. But summer is here and we survived. Rob is working lots of hours and I am down to working four days a week with some call shifts. He has had a handful of job interviews but is still looking for a good fit which is easier said than done due to the economy. With lots of prayers I know something is bound to turn up for him. Anyone would be lucky to have him as a part of their team.
Ava Elise... now there is another story. Shall I say strong-willed? Can you use the word delightful and exhausting in the same sentence? She is truly a wonderful child and is the bounce in my step most minutes out of my days. She is also sometimes a challenge beyond challenge. I frequently wonder if I might be failing her as a mom or that Rob and I need Nanny 911 to show up and set us straight on the days we are way off track. Someday, I hope and pray I will figure her out and I will get it right or mostly right. I am currently waiting for a book to arrive called, "Making Children Mind without Loosing Yours" by Kevin Leman. Parenting truly feels like animal training at times and I don't do pets well!
Our biggest issues are SLEEP, her dinner eating habits, and weaning her from her pacifier. If someone would have told me prior to having children... that a tired kid would not sleep and a hungry kid would not eat I would have never believed them. BUT having a child... I can assure you nothing could be more true or more frustrating.
Ava needs very little sleep to be happy. She never has right from the start. I am guessing at two years of age she might never sleep through the night. This lovely trait comes from her father's side of the family. As a result, she may grow up as an only child! Seriously, I have read a handful of parenting books and this child is not your average cookie cutter kid. She has not gotten the memo that she does not live in a democracy. She should do as we say, right? Somewhere along the way things in the sleep department really went off coarse and I am linking it partially to her eating habits, my putting her to bed since birth, and her personality in general. She is a picky, picky, picky eater and refuses to try new foods. I know Rob and I are not asking the world of her with what we put on her plate. But I am here to tell you a child who doesn't eat dinner no matter how much ranch dressing you coat it in is a challenge. There are two things that come from not eating dinner. One being the delayed bedtime routine of begging for food at 9pm. Or two being, waking up in the night pleading for milk and crackers. Both result in a tired, crabby, and frustrated momma.
Then there is her pacifier a.k.a. her NUK. She loves it and is in no way shape or form ready to give it up on her own accord. It drives Rob and I crazy. One would think this is an easy solution. STOP giving it to her. I will just say on the strong-willed child this is easier said than done. Rob and I have worked it to bedtime only but that has been no easy feet. Her begging for it this week has improved during the daytime but it is an ongoing battle. She wakes up looking for it in the night and has always fallen asleep with it. This means it's major drama if it's not within arms reach during the night. Since her sleep routine is a mess I am being lenient on her for the time being as long as it is only in her bed and the whining about it is minimal. I am so thankful this soothing method is not her thumb and I can (and WILL) take it away shortly in the months to come. I am learning the hard way with her that sometimes despite my exhaustion, the path of least resistance... results in the most resistance!
Another funk contributor over the winter has been the news of my brother and sister-in-law's parting. I am not going into any more detail beyond saying their divorce will be final shortly and it has been difficult seeing them go through it. I love them dearly and I am slowly learning to adjust to this huge change within my immediate family. I have truly experienced enough loss in my life to last a lifetime! Thankfully, I am blessed with a strong connection to my brother and sister-in-LOVE (which I now call her...) and I am not and will not ever loose either of them in the literal sense, or so I pray.
Last but not least, work continues to be unpleasant. The organization has been hard at work weeding out all of our direct upper management. In the last two weeks we have lost three leaders (on top of ten staff members who have left in the last six months). Two of these individuals worked directly with us on a daily basis. We have management from Butterworth trying to help our department run the ship while no one is running the ship. Work politics are very dirty right now and no one is playing fair. We desperately need leadership in our department. Any would be nice but we hoping for GOOD! I can only be optimistic that while we are under stress and a lot of change at Blodgett some of the change will be good. In the mean time I just need to go and work, collect my paycheck, and try to tune out all the negativity.
Are you wondering what I'm doing beyond therapy and medication to be "ZEN" with all of this funk? Well, I am now feeling much better compared to say December and I am nearly medication free again! Whoot-Whoot... Thanks Nancy for all of your direction in therapy and for always having healthy food for thought and ways to cope with change to challenge me with. I just graduated to only needing appointments with her once every two months and in August if all is well she will close my file once again.
The biggest things I have been working on is filling my cup so to speak and doing things to try and re-charge my spirit. I started to read again at night after taking my Ambien as a way to relax and escape my daily ugliness. I have read a handful of books since December. Some of my favorites have been, Overcoming Life's Disappointments by Harold Kushner, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. I think The Help has been moved to my favorite book of all times! If you haven't read it you need to because it's delightfully entertaining. I am currently reading The Devil in The White City by Eric Larson and I am not a fan. I have struggled through the last 200 pages and now I am reading it out of spite. Minus my current read I have really enjoyed getting lost in books again and my goal is to read two a month which is very do-able.
I also have been running again. It helps my mood tremendously and it is something I just need to be doing for good heart health. I ran a 10K in May at the Fifth Third Riverbank Run. It was not my personal best time for a 10K but I ran it start to finish and I was happy just getting out there and running it in the rain with a friend. I am trying to exercise four times a week which seems reasonable. However, some weeks especially with a toddler who doesn't go to bed well, it's tough to do but I set the goals anyway. I figure any exercise is better than no exercise. I am tempted to sign myself up for a half marathon in September but I am not committed just yet.
Other good filling my cup medicine is spending time with my family and friends. Without all of your love and support I would really be a mess. I'm truly so thankful for the special people in my life. I wish I had so much more time to spend with you each and every day. I'd name names but I know you know who you are! xoxoxoxoxo... Like the song playing by Dave Barnes, "God Gave Me You..." Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs.
It feels like so much has happened in such a short time frame. I am behind a full three months worth of posts to Home Sweet Kolkman. That only snowballs what I was behind on before I dropped off the face of the earth. I know you will understand my need to cocoon inward and focus on feeling better and getting a handle on life in general. All of the above has really soaked up my free time. Then since Rob and I share our laptop and my child doesn't sleep my free time for blogging is less than minimal. Not to mention my new love of Pinterest, thanks to my sister-in-law, Ann! I will do my best to fill you in on Easter, Mother's Day, Ava's Birthday, My Dad's Memorial, Ava's Potty Training, Rob's Garden 2011, Home Improvements, My Cooking Adventures, and Take 3 of Ava's sleep training to name a few topics I'd love to share. I just thought you needed to know what I've been up to first. I will be working hard to fill you in when I can in the scheme of my crazy life. Please be patient I'm busy making lemonade.