Birthdays Are Exhausting!!!

This weekend we had a little birthday party for Hunter to celebrate becoming our little twonager.  An hour or so into the party I had a little chuckle to myself as I looked around and saw friends that we used to drink a lot with or have parties with but now everyone was drinking wine and beer responsibly and pretending to be super interested in a 2 year old’s birthday gifts and singing happy birthday to the kid who had no real clue what was going on.  It is pretty neat to see the transition though.  Everyone loves the snot out of the little dude and all made the big trek to our small town to come and see and celebrate our little monster.  All in all, it turned out well.  We did snack foods for everyone instead of whipping up the gourmet burgers that we did last year.  There was lots of wine and beer because what’s a kid party without booze for the adults?  Our house was crowded with lots of great people!  It was the first time some of our guests have been in our new house so I worked hard to get it de-cluttered as best as possible.  Of course I shut the door to the room where I shoved everything out of view!  Isn’t that how these things work?

One thing that I noticed is that when you host in your own home, a lot of people’s true colours come out in regards to offering help.  Some people take the invite of being a guest quite literally and will come, eat, drink and then leave.  Others will offer help days before coming.  And some will offer to help with anything once they arrive.  I am so thankful to the people who offered up their help even when it wasn’t needed later on in the party.  I am even more thankful for the people who helped entertain the birthday boy so I could set up/clean up/eat/socialize for a little bit.  The people I am not thankful for are my husband’s parents.  Oh.my.god did I ever want to strangle them the whole weekend.  I could probably rant about this for days, but, long story short, they came, they refused to pay for a hotel room and our guest room isn’t set up with a bed for guests, so we kindly moved our large trailer to the campground that is a 2 minute walk from our house and set them up there for the weekend.  They basically then spent the weekend free-loading off of us…as usual.  We are ok paying for at least one meal when they come.  But for everything else, we hope that they at least will offer to help cover the cost of additional meals.  They did not.  And my husband isn’t about to say anything to them about it either.  When it came to the party, they were the ones who take the word “guest” quite literally.  My mom and I were busting our butts in the kitchen, setting up minimal decorations, doing a quick cleaning sweep of the house before people arrived.  What did his parents do?  They sat on our back deck staring at their phones.  Not once did either of them come inside to offer help.  I was unloading my truck with bags of food, boxes of alcohol, and a bunch of other stuff, and his dad actually walked by me struggling to carry five bags of groceries at once and he didn’t even offer to help me bring them in.  Didn’t even ask if there was anything else he could grab from the truck.  Once the food was out on the table, they sat around the table and stuffed their faces and tortured….I mean…chatted with a couple other people.  When it came to gift opening time, they sat well behind their grandson and pretended to fake interest.  They didn’t get him a birthday gift at all.  I know that we told people not to get him gifts and instead we wanted to collect donations for two charities that are close to our hearts.  Of course a few people couldn’t resist getting him a little something and we got two donations to the charities, which is awesome.  But they did neither.  Which is so bizarre to me because I pretty much have to reign my parents in when it comes to gift giving for Hunter.  Hunter will likely be my in-laws only grandchild, so I find it bizarre that the naturally desire to spoil him isn’t there.  I don’t mean by buying him things as love is clearly not measured by the amount of gifts received.  But just by the general desire to spend as much time with him as possible when they come visit him.  On Saturday morning we went to a popular breakfast place that is on a farm and it has a big playground.  While we waited for our food, I took him over to the playground and he played like mad for about 25 minutes.  Instead of coming and trying to engage with him, they sat at the picnic table about 100m away and barely even glanced in his direction.  It’s SO BIZARRE to me!!!!  So, anyway, when the party started winding down and I was working in the kitchen tidying up the huge mess, they came up to me and told me they were exhausted (from what?  Who knows) and were going to go to the trailer for a nap.  They didn’t offer to help pick up plates from around the house.  They didn’t offer to wash some dishes.  Nothing.  They left me to deal with it all myself until my mom swooped in to help.  It was more important for them to get their nap.  Meanwhile I was so fucking exhausted that I just looked at them and grunted out “that’s fine.” And turned away.  He then said that they weren’t sure what their plans are for the evening.  So all I said, from over my shoulder, was that we would be at home trying to clean up.  They must have got the hint from me as they did not try to come back over later in the evening to hang out.  All I have to say about that is halle-fucking-lujah.  Eddie went to bed at 8:50 because apparently he was so exhausted from doing not much too, so I got to enjoy some quiet time, unwinding, on the couch watching Netflix.  He saved his own ass by letting me sleep in the next day.

I know I have posted a rant or two about his parents in the past.  And I don’t know why I’m always somewhat surprised by their behaviour or why I even ever expect them to change.  In March they talked about starting to facetime Hunter so he will remember them, like he does with my family who all make an effort.  Do you think they have tried facetiming once in the 5 months since they made that promise?  No.  And then they have the balls to tell me that we should bring him to their town and they can take care of him for a couple days while we get some alone time.  Not frigging likely!!!  While Hunter does eventually warm up to them, I don’t trust them for anything more than an hour being alone with him.  Neither does Eddie!  I want Hunter to have a great relationship with both sides of his family, but, the way it’s looking, he’s going to grow up with a much stronger preference to my side of the family than Eddie’s.  It will be really interesting to see how that dynamic works as he grows older.  Whether he will start to see how odd his grandparents on this dad’s side are.  Or maybe, some day, they will start to step up a little bit more.  I don’t really know.  I just don’t want them to become the grandparents that Hunter kicks and screams over having to go and visit once he’s older.  The future is going to be interesting…that’s for sure.

The Sweetest Boy Turns 2

hunterToday at 8:05 pm my little baby officially turns 2 years old.  My struggle to accept that he was turning 1 a year ago is even bigger today.  Is it going to get worse and worse as each year?  Am I going to want to run and hide and pretend that my little boy isn’t growing up?  Going off of my friends who have older kids and their experiences….I’m going to guess that yes, every year I will be traumatized by the fact that my child is getting older.  A simple fact of life, but one that is very hard to stomach.

It’s really interesting watching Hunter grow up.  On some days I look at him and all I see is my little baby.  But then there are other days where I’m floored at how grown up he looks.  I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that he actually uses real words now!  The kid can say “statue” but he can’t say “dog” for crying out loud!  But I still love that a lot of his words are ones he’s made up for certain things.  It shows that he’s still my little baby.  My sweet little boy has started giving random hugs, even when not asked for them.  Or he will come racing up to me with his lips puckered, ready to plant a kiss on whatever part of my body his face happens to connect with first.  Cue the heart exploding all over the place.  Last weekend when my parents and sister were over, he was headed off to bed and we asked him if he wanted to say goodnight to everyone.  He then went around the group and gave everyone a hug and a kiss goodnight.  How is my heart still in one piece when it feels like it’s exploding with every sweet little thing he does as he grows older?!!

The last 2 years haven’t been easy.  At no stage in my life has my body ever experienced such intense anxious moments.  My blood pressure has shot through the roof more often in one week than it has in an entire year.  I have been tested so many times it’s crazy.  As a naturally impatient person, I have had to fast learn about taking deep breaths and remaining patient even when I want to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum right along next to him.  I have had to learn what it truly feels like to get through every single day while feeling totally worn out.  I have needed to figure out how to push aside tough moments at work so I can be in the right mood for my goofy toddler.  I have learned that even if I’m sick or injured, parenthood doesn’t get to take a break….that I have to find a way to push through or work around the situation in order to still keep my child alive.  God, what I wouldn’t give to get sick and be able to spend the entire day in bed or on the couch, not have to deal with anyone for the entire day…including the evening!!  I have learned that any test for our relationship that we had before, was nothing in comparison to how having a child has tested our marriage now.  I swear there have been so many times where I have thought I could use a break from my husband.  2 years in and we are still figuring out so much.  Sometimes we are a team and sometimes we are each other’s enemy.  But somehow we always find common ground and keep pushing forward.   It isn’t perfect by any means…but we’re figuring it out.  I have learned that some days I want to throw my hands in the air and yell “I QUIT”.  But I can’t quit this job like it’s my paid job.  I can’t say that it’s not making me happy so I’m going to try to find a new job.  I’m stuck in it through thick and thin….I’m always expected to be there.  I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was.  I have endured so much in the past 2 years and 9 months that I sometimes wonder how I’m still standing.

And what has gotten me through all of those challenging times?  Moments like when my husband lets me sleep in on a weekend and I come downstairs and my little boy looks up at me and yells “mamaaaaa” while his little feet dance beneath him in excitement.  It’s the moments where he tells me to sit down on the ground and then he tucks himself in on my crossed legs and seems to perfectly in that space.  It’s when he’s standing and watching Paw Patrol and his little chubby hand will just reach over, without him looking, and pat around until he finds my hand to hold for a few brief moments.  It’s sneaking into his room when he’s asleep and taking in his adorable sleeping face.  It’s the moments where he’s upset and I sit and talk it out with him and when I ask him if he understands mommy, he nods his head yes and then rests his head on my shoulder as though he needs to do it to get through the tough moment.  It’s seeing how much my family loves the crap out of the little dude.  It’s seeing my sister, who hates kids, becoming the person who would take on the whole world for her nephew.  It’s seeing the bond growing between my husband and Hunter.  It’s a slow one, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that one day mama will no longer be the #1.  It’s the moments where he gets so excited, all he can do is dance around like a crazy lunatic.  So many moments that can make the toughest times disappear in a flash.

Being Hunter’s mom is one of the hardest things I will likely ever do in my life.  I have years that I have to commit to, to continue trying to raise a boy who will do great things with his life and, at the same time, become a kind individual.  I also have years ahead of me where I know that my heart is going to hurt because he will become more independent and not need his mama around all the time.  I actually recently cried about this.  The teenage years scare the shit out of me because I know that I am going to look at this grown up child that wants nothing to do with me and still be able to remember my sweet little round bellied toddler who wanted nothing more than his mama to come and play with his choo-choos.  I’m already tearing up thinking about it.  I can only hope that he is a teenager, like I was, who had no issue spending time with my parents.  The future is hard to think about for so many reasons.  I just pray that my little boy will always keep some element of the sweet kindness he has now at 2 years old.

Now that I’m starting to feel weepy over all of this, I need to go eat my emotions for a little while.

Life Through the Eyes of a 2 Year Old

I’ve been watching my soon-to-be 2 year old son a lot lately.  Ok….I watch him every day obviously, but lately I’ve been watching his antics and really thinking about him and his life.  Which then gets me thinking about adult life and how different it is.  You see memes out there on the internet all the time about how adult-ing sucks and how it was all a joke growing up wishing we could be grown ups.

For me it isn’t about the bills, the stress, the work, the responsibility that makes the adult-ing part of life a little crappy.  Those things are crappy in their own right, but it’s a few other things that I’ve noticed and pieced together after watching my son play.

The first time the realization hit me was when I was getting him ready for his bath one night.  He was standing beside the filling up bath tub, doing his happy dance that he always does when he knows he’s about to get to play in water.  He always dances and tugs at his clothes wanting me to take them off so he can go in.  This one night in particular, once he was naked, he ran out of the bathroom squealing with happiness.  He stood outside the bathroom door with the biggest grin on his face and then ran off to get some toys to toss into the bath tub water.  I followed after him and watched him as his naked little body stood over his toy box, looking for the best toy for the job.  He didn’t care that he was completely naked and on display.  He didn’t feel any kind of embarrassment for his round belly and dimpled bum.  He was simply focused on the task at hand despite his lack of clothing.  While watching him it made me sad to think that one day he’s not going to feel this kind of joy about being naked.  That at some point society is going to tell him that his body isn’t good enough and that he should be ashamed of having even his torso exposed if it isn’t perfect looking.  Of course we will do everything we can to encourage a very healthy body image for him and we will teach him that all people are beautiful despite their size or appearance.  But there is no way that we will ever be able to protect him 100% from the harsh judgement of the outside world.  Especially this day in age where social media can destroy someone’s soul in just a matter of a few strong words from a stranger.  It is inevitable that Hunter will likely have a gap between his two front teeth.  He has it now, his dad has it, it’s in the genetic makeup of their mouths that makes it so there will be a gap.  I’m terrified knowing that one day, one mean child is going to make fun of him for it and that will be the start of one of the insecurities that may plague him for life.  Braces may not even be an option to fix this gap.  I love my husband’s gap in his teeth.  It gives him character and it’s one of the things that I noticed about him when I was online dating.  But for him that gap was something that he wished he never had.  It provided him with a lifetime of insecurity.  I was one of the first people to ever tell him that it’s part of what drew me in to him.  So I can only hope that it will be another sweet child that will tell Hunter that his gap is cute or gives him character to help boost his esteem over that.  Now, being buck naked is only appropriate in certain places like at home or on nudist beaches, but confidence in wearing a bathing suit, or taking your shirt off when out for a hot run because the breeze on bare skin is nicer than a sweaty, sticky shirt, those are important things that get lost once we hit a certain age.  Suddenly that extra jiggle in our stomach is something to be ashamed about.  Something that people whisper to others about or say they are grossed out by when they see a woman without a perfect body wearing a bikini.  I am victim of this.  I hate wearing shorts and bathing suits because my body isn’t at a place that makes me happy.  But I know a big part of me not being happy about it is me also being concerned about what other people will think about my less than perfect body.  I’m going to have a challenge for the rest of my life trying to teach my son about body image and beauty beyond appearance.  I grew up in a house where my mom didn’t do much to encourage positive body image.  She always hated what she saw in herself, she complained about it often and, to this day, despite losing a bunch of weight, she still complains about the same things she complained about 20+ years ago.  If I have issues with my image, I don’t want Hunter to know that.  I only want him seeing his mom trying to take care of herself by eating well and exercising but also not living a life of restriction when it comes to food.  Because food should be enjoyed and there should never be feelings of shame for choosing to indulge on occasion.  I want to be able to remind him, when he’s going through a tougher time as his body changes, that he was once a little boy who loved to run around naked, poke his belly and giggle and not have a care in the world.

The next moment happened yesterday when I finally got my act together and pulled out Hunter’s arts and crafts bin.  Eddie was painting the front entrance walls to our house so of course Hunter wanted his “yellow” which means crayons or paint brushes.  He actually wanted to help his dad paint the walls, but he settled on me setting up his paints and painting on paper instead.  He had a great time drawing cars that looked nothing like cars and sticking his Paw Patrol stickers on each masterpiece that he created.  A while ago I bought some pipe cleaners that someone had recommended as a fun tool for toddlers to play with and create with.  I realize he’s too young to truly be able to create with them, but we still opened up the package and he flung a bunch around while I used what minimal crafting skills I have and I made him his own little crown.  I managed to get this picture of him wearing it.

hunter

 

I will be real and say that the “crown” looks like shit and mom clearly has a lot of learning to do to get my crafting skills up to sub-par level.  But what I can’t help but notice is the smile on his face.  The smile is so happy that his eyes are squinty.  He has so much joy in his little heart from wearing that pipe cleaner crown and he doesn’t give a crap about how silly he looks in it.  To him, the crown might as well of been made of pure gold and diamonds.  It was like the highlight of his day and he kept taking it off to look at it and then carefully put it back on again.  He ran around the house in it and showed it to his dad proudly.  He absolutely was 100% was over the moon about the crown.  As I look at the picture today, my heart can’t help but feel like it’s going to explode with happiness when I see such simple joy coming out of my little boy.  It makes me so incredibly happy that he’s at a stage in life where he doesn’t care what a single person thinks about him.  He doesn’t know that something like this would be deemed “silly” if it was an adult wearing it.  His spirit is truly free because of this crown.  He didn’t take it off in embarrassed shame because it’s not “cool” to have something like that on.  He didn’t say “no” when I excitedly told him I’m going to make him a crown.  He eagerly watched, and tried to help, as I wrapped those pipe cleaners around and made the goofiest crown ever.  Life hasn’t beaten him down to the point where something so simple keeps him from getting so much joy.  He’s only 2 years old and everything about the world is exciting and fun to him.  I wish I could have that same exuberance about life.  In fact, there is a lot that I can learn from watching the way my son responds to the world.  The way he reacts with unencumbered happiness can teach me that sometimes I just need to let things go and appreciate what IS good and let go of some of the negative things that can sometimes outweigh the positives.  If we can’t find extreme happiness in something as simple as a lopsided pipe cleaner crown, then it can be a long and boring life.  So I’m now going to try to go through life and remind myself of my new “pipe cleaner crown mantra”.  I will remember the above picture and realign my focus and find the positives.

 

The things we can learn from a 2 year old.  It’s pretty incredible.

Sleepy Dreamer

I have always been a very vivid dreamer when I sleep.  After talking with other people about my dreams I would often get the question “How do you remember so many details from your dream?  Once I’m awake I can’t remember if I had any dreams at all.”  Meanwhile I’m describing my dream right down to the finer details of it.  Awhile ago I did some reading on dreaming and found that there is actually a fair amount of research out there that has looked into why there are people like me, who remember their dreams so well, and people, like the others, who don’t remember much at all.  It turns out that people who are “high dream recallers” have stronger spontaneous brain activity in an area of the brain involved in attention orienting toward external stimuli.  Yes, I did just google that again to get the right wording.  Basically it’s related to brain activity.  High dream recallers are often people who wake up frequently during the night as, in order to remember a dream, the brain must be asleep as well as awake.  So this all connects to the fact that I wake up about 4-5 times a night.  Usually I fall back asleep relatively quickly but sometimes I lie awake for a little while and think about the dream I Just woke up from.  I love that I remember my dreams, but I wish it didn’t mean I’m one of the unfortunate few who loses sleep because of this ability.

The last few nights I’ve had some dreams that have made me stressed out while I sleep.  I have two that I can recall vividly about losing something important.  One night it was about losing my desk phone at work.  An item that I spend a LOT of time on during the work day.   It’s one of the areas of my job that I don’t love.  If I could avoid talking to city residents on the phone every day I would be extremely happy.  But in my dream I was really anxious about losing my phone and I was running around the building, panicking about getting in trouble for misplacing it.  Last night’s dream was about me not being able to find my passport but we had to be at the airport in 20 minutes.  It is not like me to ever lose my passport or at least not have it ready to go WELL ahead of time.  But in my dream I was pulling my entire house apart trying to find it.  The weird part was that my house, which is never magazine picturesque but is usually not a shit show of a mess, in my dream it was a mess.  I can remember pulling our bed away from the wall and there being a huge, disgusting amount of things that had fallen behind it or under it and I was shoving my way through it all looking for the passport.  The only things I know are under our bed right now are a few of Hunter’s small toy cars because he likes to drive them along our headboard and occasionally they drop down between the mattress and headboard and they are gone for good.  Or at least until we move our bed again because it is so low to the ground that I can’t even slide a hand under it to reach the cars.  So to have such a gong show of a mess everywhere I was searching was really interesting.  In my dream I can remember Eddie telling me that we are just flying through Canada so I don’t need my passport and to just give up searching until we get home later.  I told him that it wasn’t about that, it was about me needing to know for sure that my passport was safe and secure.

Part of me thinks that the passport chaos of a dream is relating to the fact that currently in the province I live in there are massive, massive wildfires going on.  Thankfully they aren’t where I live, but they have affected my life as my grandparents were evacuated from their town.  They were recently allowed to return as the fires moved away from their home, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of my beautiful province isn’t being seriously affected by it.  Currently the smoke from the fires is blowing into the lower half of the province and our air is thick with an orange colour.  I think that somehow my mind has connected the smoke with the fear that one day we could be given evacuation orders from our home due to a fire.  And, depending on the amount of time given, we could have a matter of minutes to pack what we can into bags and get out.  Hence the passport panicked dream.  I had a short timeframe in order to get an important item and I was panicking because I felt it was something I needed urgently.

I also decided to go and look at some dream interpretation websites to see what they say about reoccurring dreams about losing something.  This is what one site had to say:

dream

There are aspects of it that I can relate to.  The part about feeling loss of identity, wondering where they are going in life, who they are in the present situation or what value they have is what resonates to me a little.  When I first saw it I thought “nah, that’s not me”, but upon further thought about how life has been these last few months with losing favourite coworkers, now losing good friends who are moving away from the city to places much, much further away, to my parents buying a retirement home that is really far away from where they currently live and where I currently live, to my sister buying a home on the same island where my parents are going to one day end up, ultimately meaning my entire family (brother included) will one day all be on an island that is about a 3+ hour trip away from me.  My heart has been hurting a lot about all of this transition.  Everyone who I’m close with are preparing to some day, in the near future, uproot their lives and take themselves further away from me.  I have spent a lot of time trying to avoid all of it.  I don’t join in on my friend’s excitement over moving to somewhere that is more affordable for their families.  It’s greedy but I just can’t find any excitement in it.  I have told them both that it sucks, but it is what it is and if they are excited about it then that’s all that matters.  I haven’t talked to my parents about their retirement house purchase, in fact, the last discussion we had about it was my dad saying they made an offer on it.  They haven’t told me straight up that they have bought it.  My little upset outburst at my mom has likely made them realize that I’m not happy about this and it’s best to just not bring it up again.  Which isn’t exactly the right way to go either.  I think I deserve to actually know what the F is going on.  I also have barely acknowledged my sister’s house purchase.  That’s the one that made my heart hurt the most.  Right now we live close enough that we can make weekend plans if we want.  I can bring her nephew to her for visits or we can convene at my parent’s place and she can see him.  I know we don’t do it often enough, but at least the ability is there.  She has no intention to go live in their house right away.  But people don’t buy houses just to keep paying rent on a small apartment while someone else lives in their house.  The writing is on the wall that they will go over there soon enough.  I didn’t really care when my brother moved to the island, because he’s not my twin sister.  It’s just a whole different situation there.  And the fact of the matter is, it’s not cheap to visit the island.  It’s currently about $200 to take the ferry to and from the island.  Plus fuel, plus drive time.  Walking on to the ferry isn’t an option to reduce costs because with a toddler comes a shit load of stuff that needs to be brought too.  Anyway.  I’m just really bummed about it all and I feel like slowly I’m going to see the departure of everyone I know as they head out of the unaffordable city limits and choose downs further away.  Leaving me with nobody around.  My husband keeps telling me to try to make some friends in our new town, but it isn’t that easy.  When is there time to go on friend dates when I work full time and am raising a toddler, trying to maintain a marriage, trying to keep my own fitness up.  Where is the time and energy to work to get new friends when I often struggle to stay in touch with my existing friends?  It isn’t as easy for me as it is for him.  But that’s a whole other “woah is me” post.

So with all of this change coming flying at me at high speed in the last month, it only makes sense that I’m having dreams about losing things and it connecting to feeling a little lost myself in life right now.  I don’t know what the answer to this is as I can’t change what others have decided to do.  I can’t change how our life is at the moment as my husband’s job and success is based on being in this city.  Leaving will likely never happen.  So it’s likely going to be a lifetime of seeing people leave while we stay put.  Somehow I have to wrap my head around it and get less emotional about it when everyone comes to me with their “exciting news” about buying a home in a town 5 hours away.

Well…now that I’ve bummed myself out this morning, I should go and get some work done.

 

Major First World Problem

I’m stuck!!  Indecisive me has struck again.

I currently have five tattoos.  They all range in size from super tiny on the inside of my wrist, to a larger one going up my ribcage.  Almost all can be covered with long sleeves and long pants if needed.  I love almost all of them.  Just one I would want to get covered over as it was trendy at the time and now that I live back in Canada, it feels silly to have a maple leaf tattoo.  Even if it is a cool looking design of a maple leaf.  I don’t regret it though.  I got it when I thought I was going to be living in New Zealand forever, and coming back to Canada didn’t seem in the cards.  I don’t regret a single tattoo that I’ve got.  I know not all who get inked are that lucky.

For Mother’s Day my husband (and I guess Hunter too) agreed to put a certain amount of $$ towards me getting my next tattoo.  Something I’ve been talking about for years but haven’t pulled the trigger on.  My sister and I decided that we were going to go and get, yet another one, together and we found an artist who is extremely talented.  We came up with the design we wanted as well.  My sister has had to temporarily pull the plug on taking part in the inking, so I forged ahead on my own when I saw that the artist we wanted has opened his books up and is taking appointments for the end of September.  I messaged him and am in the process of confirming a date and time that works for both of us.  I’m really excited.  Except….

Now I’m suddenly second guessing the design that we have been talking about for a long time.  We both agreed that we wanted a Pohutukawa flower.  The Pohutukawa is a tree that is native to New Zealand and every Christmas it blooms into vibrant, beautiful red flowers.  This tree became a symbol of Christmas for our family and almost every year my mom and I would go out after dark and snip some of the flowers off of the trees by the rugby field and use the flowers  to decorate our table on Christmas day.  I can remember laughing hysterically as we thought we were so covert doing it in the dark, but we clearly were not the best thieves ever.

Real Pohutukawa Tree – for reference

Pohutukawa tree

After searching long and hard for a Pohutukawa inspired art that we thought would be perfect for a tattoo.  There are a lot of not-so-great tattoos out there with this particular flower on it.  We had started to lose steam on finding something until we came across the first doodle.  The second one kind of gives an idea of it more “detailed”:

 

We both love the layout of the flowers and leaves and thought this could definitely be brought into real life in the form of a tattoo, with obviously a lot more detailing.  We had agreed that we wanted to do black and white tattoo instead of the red as we are planning to put the tattoo on our upper inside arm, and if there is a bright random splash of red there people might think that we are bleeding from our armpit or something!  Plus, for both of us, all of our ink is black and white.  So it would be a bit weird suddenly putting a colour piece in the mix.  This picture was a good base to start with.  I’ve been excited about it for awhile.

But now that I actually have the appointment looming ahead of me, I’m second guessing the Pohutukawa flower and have started thinking about a New Zealand Fantail bird.  I loved these birds when I lived in the country.  There was something so neat to watch them fly.  They would gracefully hover in the air while their long beautiful wings slowly flapped as they would stop and just seem to float.  They are beautiful, beautiful birds.  I didn’t think about them seriously until I saw this picture:

fantail

I obviously don’t want that location and that huge, but I love the placement of the two birds together.  Everything about the style of the tattoo I think is beautiful.  I think, on a smaller scale and placed on the inside upper arm it could be a very pretty tattoo.  I know the artist I picked does amazing detailed work and he would be able to do two gorgeous Fantails.

I’m so torn now.  Either way I’m getting something done….but I just don’t know what direction I want to go in.  My heart is saying Pohutukawa given my memories connected to it.  But my head is saying “but the Fantail is so cool and beautiful too!”  I know a big part of it is that, in my research, I haven’t come across an actual Pohutukawa tattoo I have liked a lot.  So I’m hesitant to believe that he will be able to achieve what I’m after given that nobody else seems to have been able to.  Plus, am I taking away from the impact of the tattoo by choosing to do it black and white?  Will it lose its impressiveness by taking the vibrant red out of it?  Do I try to find a way to incorporate both ideas into one?  I don’t think that would work as the surface I want the tattoo to be on isn’t big enough for such a tattoo piece.  I would have to go bigger for it to work and stay detailed.  Smaller would lose all the detailing.  And I have my heart set on the current location picked.  I asked my husband what I should do and he was useless and said both ideas are really cool.  Thanks for the help dear husband.

So that’s where I’m at.  Taking the time out of my day to hash it all out in a blog post, hoping that I will be able to get a clearer idea of what I’m after.  It hasn’t helped at all!!!  Total first world problem going on here.

Eye Opening Convo With the Hubby

During our dinner date the other night we naturally started talking about my husband’s job.  Currently his world is taking off into great places with his job and starting his own company was one of the best things he could have done for himself.  It’s really great and I’m proud of him.  With his job comes a fair amount of social networking.  He wouldn’t be where he is right now without the years of networking that he has been doing.  I won’t lie, there were times in the months after Hunter was born that I held a fair amount of resentment towards him for the amount of events he was going to, leaving me solo parenting at home.  There became quite a few times where I was struggling to be able to tell what he was doing that was for his career or if it was just social time with friends.  It led to some tense moments between us and a fair amount of annoyed text messages I sent to friends about how I felt I was carrying the load of the house and child all on my own two shoulders.  It didn’t help that around this time Hunter was also going through a massive and weird “daddy is absolutely terrifying” phase and no matter how hard Eddie tried, if I was around, Hunter would not go anywhere near him without screaming and crying.  Our relationship struggled a little because I was always exhausted and doing everything, while he worked or was networking.  I know that basically the last two years have been crazy for us.  New baby, moved to a new town and had a townhouse that we were renovating slowly, got a puppy, then deciding to sell the townhouse and the mad sprint for 3 months to finish all renovations in order to put it on the market, deciding to keep the townhouse and find renters to live in it, move into a new house and deal with a plethora of deficiency issues and a resistant developer not fixing them, then Eddie fractured his vertebrae which put him out of commission for any ability to assist with child care unless it involved sitting and no lifting, then he quit his job to become self-employed/business owner.  And that is where we are at now.  Our marriage isn’t the same as it was before having a baby.  It struggles a lot as we work through finding matching parenting styles and managing expectations of one another.  I often will go into quiet annoyed mode and he will have no clue that I’m upset about something because it’s just easier for me to push it aside and deal with it later.  But often “later” is when it turns into a bigger explosion and we have an argument.  Not the right way to deal with things.  We will get there.  As I read somewhere once, we are just in one of the phases of parenthood combined with marriage.  It’s basically us surviving and knowing we love one another but often wanting to strangle each other.

While almost every few days there is guaranteed annoyance with him, I noticed a while ago that there was a change in him.  He was around more often than before.  He was going to events but coming home earlier.  Hunter and I would arrive home from daycare/work and he would already be home.  I dismissed this and figured that it was just because he’s doing most of his work from home now so of course he’s around more.  Don’t get me wrong, I often have to tell him that when we come home for the evening that for the first little bit, while Hunter is awake, he should get off of his computer and come hang out with us.  Something he’s improving on.  But the important part is that he’s around more.  We were talking about this during our dinner date the other night (a point I veered away from a bit in the first bit of my writing here) and he said that it was when we were in Hawaii that he realized change needed to happen.  If anyone remembers the post that I wrote about our family trip to Hawaii, Eddie could barely help with anything child related because his back was still an issue and the above mentioned major fear Hunter seemed to have of his dad.  There were times where I thought he could try a little harder and he should have, but after talking about it with him he explained that his heart was crushed on that trip when he saw that his son would go to everyone else eagerly….except him.  He said that he knows he should have tried to step up more but he was at a loss on what he could do.  He said that every time he tried, it would be shut down right away by his son wailing and scrambling to get out of his arms.  He said he hit a point where he gave up.  He said he knew that wasn’t the right route to go and he should have talked to me about it instead of retreating into himself.  He said that he saw me struggling to enjoy myself because ALL the parenting was being put on me and he was completely greedy by sitting firmly in his pity party to recognize that he should have tried to help more, even if it was just preparing food and bags when we were leaving the house.  He should have helped.  I explained to him that the trip would have likely been much different if he had been able to recognize it then.  He apologized profusely over it.  Truthfully, even now that it’s July and our trip was back in March, I do hold resentment towards the fact that he actually got a bit of a vacation while we were in Hawaii, whereas I didn’t.  And, even with his apology, I likely will always hold some resentment that he didn’t try harder for me.  But I will get over it.

So after he explained where his head was at on that trip, he then went on to say how the trip made him realize that he needed to make changes at home.  He needed to be around his son more and commit to less work related functions.  I asked him if he felt like the reason Hunter was the way he was with him in Hawaii was because he wasn’t around that much in the two months leading up to Hawaii and he said that he felt it played a strong part in it.  Because of his back injury he was “off duty” for doing any daycare drop offs and pick-ups for about a month and a half.  So he filled that time with work.  Sometimes leaving for work before Hunter was up and not coming home until just after Hunter was in bed for the night.  He would go two days without seeing Hunter awake on a regular basis.  He found himself so focused on getting his company set up and running that he didn’t realize that he was sacrificing his relationship with his son for that.  But in Hawaii, seeing his child go running to his Aunt instead of his father when he was upset was a huge eye opener for him and the change had to happen.  He needed to re-set their relationship.  This was all stuff that I saw and thought of myself, and I would occasionally try to subtly bring it up with him, but he would immediately get defensive about it.  So I decided to just leave it alone and let him figure it out himself.  And I am so glad that he did.  4 of the 5 days of the week he is home before Hunter and I arrive.  He is now coming out to the truck to help unload Hunter so I can handle all the bags.  Then the two of them spend time outside playing while I attempt to do a couple things inside.  Or else we all just hang outside together for awhile, not worrying that dinner time is being pushed further back.  On weekends he helps lighten my load by doing the cooking, taking initiative and letting me sleep in, taking Hunter outside if I need to do things inside.  He told me that if he wanted to right now he could easily fill every night of the week with networking events and that he turns down more than I even know about.  All because he realized the balance between spending time with his son and wife vs. working constantly.  He still has some way to go with this, and I have to learn to say on weekends that I’m going to take an hour or so to myself so he’s on duty.  But we are getting there.  It’s not without its struggles or difficult times, but we will get there.  Having such a career driven husband is a challenge in itself but as long as we are both working towards the same goal for our relationship and son then I think we will be ok.

The Struggle Is Real

Getting older sucks.  In a lot of ways it’s not so bad.  But when it comes to my body….it sucks.

Back in when I was around 23 I did the same eating plan that I’m doing right now.  Weight just fell off of me and I didn’t even follow it to perfection either.  I didn’t eat a ton of treats, but I still allowed some flexibility usually on the weekends.  Even with those treats, my body still was dropping weight so long as I was following the eating plan the rest of the time.  Fast forward to now, 10 + years later and it just isn’t the same.  In the first week of doing this eating plan I lost 5 pounds.  I got cocky and thought to myself that maybe it would be as easy as it was back in my 20s.  Then week 2 hit and not a single pound was lost.  I gained a pound back despite still eating following the plan and exercising 4 of the 7 days of the week.  Then the weekend hit and there was some indulgence and I only ate one meal according to the eating plan.  Just one.  There was wine.  There was dessert on Saturday night.  There were some chips and a decent sized cookie on Sunday.  There was no exercise at all.  I stepped on the scale on Monday morning knowing that things weren’t going to look good, and there, flashing in front of me, was another 2 pounds gained.  So of those 5 pounds I lost, I gained back 3 of them in basically a span of 3 days.  What the fuck body???  How can you fail me so badly?!

It was a real eye opener seeing the number creeping back up on the scale.  Gone are the days where I could enjoy treats and not worry that I’m gaining weight.  Gone are the days where, if I really focused on eating well and exercising that the weight would come off easily.  Now I’m in the days where my body wants to cling to the fat like it’s a floatation device keeping it from drowning.  Like it needs this extra weight in order to do something functional with it.  I don’t want or need the weight.  I want it gone.

Before getting pregnant I didn’t have these issues.  Sure, I didn’t have the body I wanted, but I had a flatter stomach, my thighs didn’t make a whooshing sound when they rubbed together when I walked, I didn’t have back rolls.  In hindsight, my body was actually pretty good!   If only I could have appreciated it more then.  But, as much as I had hoped and prayed it would be, my body was not one of those ones that bounced back after baby.  I was left with wider hips, a bigger ass, thicker thighs and the worst part, a stomach that basically looks like it has a ball of fat and skin hanging off the front of it.  Pregnancy destroyed my body.  I know that everyone says that it’s battle scars from growing another human and all that shit.  And I’m ok with stretchmarks portraying that or even a little bit of loose skin hanging off of my belly.  But the rest is just awful and I now only wear loose fitting shirts to try to cover that “saggy ball of fat” that I’ve been left with after having Hunter.  It sucks.  I know I can shrink it down by being super diligent with eating and exercise, but it will never be the same again.  It is a hard pill to swallow.  Part of the reason I’m not interested in having another baby is because I already dislike my body so much right now, how can I possibly find any kind of way to like it after another baby destroys it some more?  I’m already bordering along “plus sized”, so how much more weight would I gain if I got pregnant again?  And how much harder would it be for me to work it off if I already struggle to work the current weight off?  I’ve explained this to my husband and of course he does all the right things saying he still thinks I’m beautiful and that my body grew a human and to be nicer on myself and blah blah blah.  But when I’ve had a lifetime of battles with my weight, I don’t want to willingly do something that is going to affect my weight even more drastically, and then change my lifestyle to make it even more challenging to eat well and exercise while dealing with a  toddler and a baby.  I get exhausted just thinking about it.  I’m allowed to think about myself and my own happiness and maybe some would call it greedy putting myself before, say, giving my son a sister or a brother to hang out with.  But why can’t I?  Every day I put my son and husband’s needs before mine, so why can’t controlling my own body be the one thing that I do for myself?

I know there is no magic pill, powder or shake that is going to help me move this weight.  That I’m going to have a lifetime of this endless weight battle as it’s in my genetics.  Right now I need to understand and drill into my head that I’m not going to get results by swaying off of my eating and exercise plan.  Yes, that one mocha will derail the rest of the efforts of the day.  Yes, having more than one treat on a weekend could throw everything off.  This needs to be an all or nothing type of deal.  I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation and balance, but that doesn’t help me at this stage when I’m trying desperately, harder than ever to make just a little bit of weight come off of my body.  I need to really buckle down and not let weekends destroy the hard work that I have done during the week.  Today I packed into my backpack my running shoes as well as my gym shoes.  Sitting all day at work is doing me no favours, so I’m going to take advantage of the good weather and on my lunchbreak toss on my running shoes and at least go for a 30 minute walk or depending on how I’m feeling, possibly a 30 minute run.  Then after work I will hit the gym for my weights workout.  I need to get moving more, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post.

It sucks knowing that the rest of my life is going to be in a constant cycle of trying to keep the weight off.  I love exercise and I love feeling good about myself, but sometimes I wish that my genetics weren’t this shitty and I could get away with a few weeks of not doing anything and not gain a bunch of weight.