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Saturday, June 29, 2013


Earlier this week, I was summoned to Kayliana’s room.  Upon entering, I saw this adorable scene.  The kids, having spread out a blanket and set up the play tea-set, were waiting for me to join them.  I quickly sat down but then was chastised for my apparel.
“This is a FANCY tea party,” Zachary said with pinky pointing to the sky.  “You have to go put on a dress before you’re allowed to attend.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good boring

It’s official: we have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader.  Summer vacation commenced officially approximately nine hours ago.  And I’m already pooped.  (I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m entering this season with a cold.  Boo). Summer vacation is awesome and yet exhausting at the same time.  I love that most days we don’t HAVE to go anywhere.  I try to not overschedule us and what scheduling I do is almost all fun stuff: going to the gym (for me to do spin)/kids club for them, going to the beach, going to the zoo, having playdates, etc. But there’s still the usual: yardwork, dishes, cooking, laundry (the last three chores all inevidably pile up during the summer as I’d much rather be outside working and playing).  


I also think that I kind of rock summer in one respect: since the boys were very, very little I’ve had them do a little bit of “work time” nearly everyday.  That’s right; I basically have my kids do summer school.  But it’s at home; it’s just for an hour (two at the very most) and it keeps them from getting completely out of the learning/school habit.  This year, I’m extra glad that this is what the boys have always known, as Matthew REALLY needs the extra work.  While he did OK in school and had mostly fair grades, he’s definitely been struggling.  Things are just taking a little longer to click.  And it’s just going to get harder.  We actually have the most awesome of awesome situations set up though: a dear friend of mine in book club is a 4th grade teacher and will be tutoring him once a week.  SCORE!!!  I’m SO thankful that she was able to fit us in; I hope and pray that this will be a huge help.  Come fall, his current teacher scheduled a “Teacher Support Team” to meet.  This is the most amaze-tastic sounding situation EVER.  To my understanding it is an entire team – his teachers (past and present), the principal, the school psychologist and a couple of Special Ed/extra resource teachers – meeting for an hour to discuss Matthew (his test scores, strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, etc.) and how better to help him learn.  If they think that he needs further resources then he might have some testing done, but just the fact that they all meet for an hour to discuss the needs of one student blows my mind.  So with that plan and the tutoring this summer, I feel really good about all that we’re doing to help Matthew succeed in school.


Now, as to succeeding in life, in general and in the summer and in the Martin home…oye.  Here’s the deal: I’m tired.  I’m worn-down, frickin’ fatigued and kinda tapped out…and I think I’ve maybe, in some ways, been trying to catch up on sleep for the last year…and beyond.  Let me explain: I don’t understand me.  I don’t understand the me of a year ago.  How the hell did I do it?!!  I packed up an entire house, got a butt-ton of work done to that house, moved to this house and then, holy dooty! and then, last summer….what was I on?!  (Nothing…other than wine and the occasional stiffer drink).  But really, how did I do it?!  (I really don’t know.  I must’ve succeeded at avoiding any interaction with my children for like three months).


Last summer I unpacked (for the most part) and organized our shtuff. I painted the entire deck (which is a pretty darn big deck).  I painted the kitchen.  I painted the family room.  I painted the office.  I painted the entryway.  I painted the powder room.  I painted (one wall in) Matthew’s room. I painted (one wall in) Zachary’s room.  I painted all the walls in Kayliana’s room. I painted our master bedroom.  Holy CRAP. I got tired just TYPING that.  Seriously.  How?!  I’m TIRED.  And all this summer, really, my main goals are: paint the master bathroom (which IS a kind of freakishly large room) and sand and touch-up the deck and restain the deck railing (‘cuz I used the wrong stuff last year; darn it).  A bonus project would be building the raised vegetable garden beds for next spring and making a little stone patio and EXTRA bonus would be the firepit addition that is dearmed up in my head. 


But I’m tired.  I’m thoroughly beat.  I know I’ll be able to at least get the bathroom and deck done.  Fine.  OK, I can do that.  But the thought is still daunting, and yet it’s like an eighteenth of what I did last year.  Looking at the calendar for the months ahead, I already feel like it’s back-to-school/September.  While there’s not THAT much going on, there’s enough and it just makes me think that the summer is going to go SO freakin’ fast and be a whirlwind and there’s a lot I want to get done and yet…and yet…I’m so stinkin’ spent, worn to the bone, dog-gone it dog-gone tired!!  For no real good reason…or maybe….just maybe….


I had this epiphany recently.  The past 9-12 months (with the exception of our anniversary trip to meet up with Kayliana in the ER for her dislocated elbow) have been, for the most part, uneventful.  We’ve been a (somewhat, sorta, as much as we can be) ‘normal’ middle class family with three children.  Our time was spent shuttling the kids to and from school and to and from various sports, friends, family, volunteer and church commitments.  We’ve been, by most people’s opinion: typical.  Normal.  It’s taken me SEVERAL months to realize that we’re finally ‘boring.’  But boring in a good way.  As someone recently put it: not boring, but STABLE. 


The thing is I DO want to be drama-free.  I WANT to be boring.  I WANT to just LIVE a ‘normal’ life.  But honestly, when the first eleven years of your life (meaning your combined, married life…obviously I’ve been alive for longer than eleven years – I’m not good at math, but I at least get that), anyway, when your eleven years have basically been filled with going from one MAJOR dramatic event to the next, it’s what you get used to; it’s what you know.  I need to get used to the new normal of boring or ‘stable,’ as it were.  Here’s our first eleven years of marriage in a nutshell.  Yes, there were some lulls in the massive life-events, but I STILL fight the constant feeling of just waiting for the next shoe to drop, so to speak. 


Year One: 2001-02 We graduated college, got married, started new jobs, and Mike had Cancer (yep, that was a doozy)

Year Two: 2002-03 Bought our first house, tried to get pregnant

Year Three: 2003-04 Mike had his tonsils out, had surgery/dislocated foot/cutches, got pregnant, Matthew was born! Year Four: 2004-05 Trained for and ran my first marathon, life with a baby

Year Five: 2005-06 Coordinators for Engaged Encounter, pregnant with Zachary – 7 weeks of hospital bedrest

Year Six: 2006-07 Dealing with Postparum Depression, coping with life with 2 kiddos, do therapy – LOVE it

Year Seven: 2007-08 Begin plans for co-chairing the National Engaged Encounter Convention

Year Eight: 2008-09 Begin massive adoption/homestudy process, boys are both in school at least part of the day, get more serious about my music business and teach quite a bit more

Year Nine: 2009-10 National Engaged Encounter Convention mania! AND our daughter Kayliana is born!

Year Ten: 2010-11 Finalize Kayliana’s adoption, begin thinking about moving, celebrate 10th wedding anniversary with a staycation (with clingy Kayli at home with us but the boys with my parents)

Year Eleven: 2011-12 Pack up, sell and move homes, spend our 11th Anniversary in the ER dealing with Kayli’s dislocated ‘nursemaid’ elbow, the boys start at a new school

Year Twelve: 2012-13 BE NORMAL!! (school, work, little league, exercise, eat, poop, sleep, live!)…


So, I don’t know…I’m just kind of tired.   Honestly, I feel like I wimped out a bit this school year.  I kind of took a little bit of a break from my life (as much as possible) or at least I took a break from pushing myself SO hard.  Most mornings I slept until 6:45 or 7 instead of getting up at 5:30 to run or write.  I excercised while the boys were at school instead of actually getting the laundry put away and making dinner ahead of time and being all ‘super mom productive’ and stuff.  I did more ‘easy’ dinners and we did too much eating out.  But it was nice.  It was REALLY nice.  I don’t think after all the events that we’ve jam-packed into the last twelve years that I could’ve done another year of go, go, go.  I might’ve seriously lost it.  So, I need to cut myself some slack.  It’s OK to sleep until 7.  It’s OK to work out at 10:30am instead of 5:30am.  It’s OK to leave dirty dishes in the sink.  It’s OK to not expect so much from myself – especially this summer.  It’s OK – actually, it’s really, REALLY good – to be normal, stable, GOOD boring.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Let me use one word (OK, a hyphenated-combo word) to describe the last week and a half: bananas-fun.  Bananas because it was Ca-RAZY busy but it WAS ca-razy fun.  My dear friend Katherine was here Saturday-Tuesday last week with her nearly 4 year old pixie-perfect daughter Grace.  Katherine’s hubby Dan is in the Special Forces and while technically not deployed currently he’s in the Middle East for four months training a foreign country’s ‘special forces’ – sounds deployed to me!  Katherine and I have tried, since we became friends 12 years ago, to celebrate our (two days apart) birthdays together as often as possible. 
The thing that Katherine and I realized is that what we love most is really just being with each other – we don’t need fancy outings, fancy locations.  Granted, visiting her in Monterey a few years ago what with the beautiful ocean views, the dinner in Carmel with Clint Eastswood (sitting nearby), etc. WERE amazing times and fun memories, but when we reunite, we just want to go for a run and talk…and talk…and talk…and then drink wine and talk…and talk.  So, that’s basically what we did this visit.  We went for a long trail run on Sunday while the girls napped back at the house with Mike and the boys (who weren’t napping, just to clarify).  Our trail run ended up being longer than I’d planned due to the fact that we got completely lost in the labrynth of trails that we can reach from home. Next time maybe I’ll be wise and bring a map. 
On Monday, Katherine, Grace and Kayliana came to my preschool music classes.  It was so much fun to have them there and, I was very relieved, as Kayli did great in her first ever music class!  After naps, we put the girls in the double-jogger I borrowed from neighbors and we set out for another run.  I’m an awesome friend and made Katherine push the 90 pound load up all of our massive neighbhorhood hills (and that way, I was actually able to keep up with her). After dinner, Katherine and I plopped the girls in front of a movie and (with Mike watching them as well), went up to the golf course/club for a drink.  Thankfully the weather was perfection.  The views are amazing.  And before we knew it the sounds of a bag piper drifted towards our patio table.  Looking across the rolling hills, with a bag piper playing in the distance, we were able to forget for a moment that we were really just a few blocks from my house.  Tansported to Scotland were we!  Hey, for two moms that don’t get out a whole lot, we can dream, right?
Back to reality.  We had to say goodbye to Katherine and Grace the next morning, and we commenced yet another week of baseball madness.  We carried the high of the previous week’s success: Matthew’s first ever homerun!! into the playoff games of last week and this week.  We had baseball Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Friday night, we came home to a doubling of the amount of children in this house plus a dog (and Scout our bunny)!  We watched Jason’s & Rebecca’s three kiddos (Joshua – 9, Noah – 6 and Veronica -2) plus doggie Kahlua while they presented on their last Engaged Encounter retreat.  Miraculously the kids all did seriously awesome and had no major issues!  We even managed to take all six with us to the end-of-the-season baseball party on Saturday night and to Mass on Sunday morning!  Sunday afternoon, we ripped through the house cleaning it up for a surprise appreciation party for Jason and Rebecca.  Hmmm, and I’m wondering why I’ve been so oddly tired the last couple of days. 
Monday night’s baseball game was our last of the season.  We lost and were thus are out of the play-offs.  I have to say though it did end up being a great season.  While there were some additional stresses from assistant coaching, we could not have been handed a better group of boys and watching Matthew improve immensely and really learning to love the game has been SO exciting.  Matthew ended his season with a 1000 batting average at our last game and making a couple of seriously impressive defensive outs.  I’m sad that the official season is over and yet also glad that we’ll have a little moe time on our hands (until swim lessons start next week for the boys) and now we can just keep on playing and improving!  We’ve got pick-up games scheduled for every Sunday this summer with whomever from our team is in town, and Mike and Matthew plan on ‘conditioning/training’ for next year’s season.  Matthew will move up to ‘kid pitch’ and plans to be REALLY ready.  Yeeah!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

SO exciting!!

Exactly one year to the day from when we closed on this house and it officially became our home; I got the anniversary gift of magical-excitement-awesomeness: I saw a bear in the neighborhood!!  Honestly, for the last entire year, every single time I’m standing at the kitchen sink (which I’m pretty sure is the equivalent of ten hours a day), I look down into the ravine in the backyard and am yearning to catch a glimpse of something wonderful.  There are bears, bobcats, coyotes and deer in the area (just to name the big ones).  I’ve scored on a couple of occasions seeing a deer run through the ravine down below and thrice, we’ve had a couple come up into the backyard (and roam about 10 feet from the windows for our easy viewing pleasure).  I’ve heard the coyotes howling on the golf course, and I did see a small coyote up the street once when driving home from a late girl’s night with Rebecca.  But until yesterday the bear (or bobcat) sighting that I so desired eluded me.


Kayliana and I were in the car (phew!), driving up the big neighborhood hill.  We’d just passed the neighborhood park and had gone over one of the speed bumps (so we were going nice and slow-ish).  Maybe less than half a block ahead of us (at the next speed bump), a big black bear lumbered across the street and ran towards the storm drainage pond on our side of the road.  I squealed with excitement, “A BEAR, KAYLI! OH MY GOSH! A BEAR! YAY! A BEAR!  OH MY GOSH! SO EXCITING!!”  (The amount of my excitement and the high pitchedness of my shrieks might have alarmed Kayli a little bit).  I put the windows down and pulled over.  We watched the bear and it watched us for maybe 10 seconds before a bunch of dogs at nearby houses started barking like made and the bear turned and jogged off into the bushes and trees that connect back to the woods and eventually the state park.  When we got home Kayli told Mike, “We saw a bear! It went roar!”  (Not true.  But I like her story-telling skills).  I pretty much stayed on my bear-sighting high all day.


Oh. My. Gosh.  That was seriously SO very cool.  I nearly peed.