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Hugging it Out

This one. Man. He’s been our most challenging one FOR SURE. We had the Terrible Twos that lasted from age Two to age 5 and 2’ish months. Then we entered the period of life I like to call “Normal Insane Boy” where he was by NO MEANS “easy” but he wasn’t spitting in my face in hotel hallways or kicking me as I carried him screaming out of school assemblies.

So: NORMAL INSANE BOY. Not: DEMON FROM PRESCHOOL HELL.

But the funny thing is he is – by far – the sweetest of my kids. And I mean that in the Hallmark definition of the word. He’s just sweet. He loves to cuddle, to snuggle, to give kisses and be loved. He adores babies and pets and has had to “disciplined” for giving too many hugs as teachers like to avoid the passing of the germs.

So it’s always been an funny dichotomy. The one I could trust to hug me when I needed it was also the one who would spit in my face if I told him he could watch TV.

But! We’ve been in “NORMAL” for over a year now so it’s more likely that he’ll break a dish kicking soccer ball in the house than he’ll kick me in the shins for no reason. YAY! for Normal!

But lately we’re back to some of our old anger issues. That was the one we dealt with the most during the Terror Years. Because – obviously – it was anger motivating him to hit/kick/spit on me…so that was what we talked about the most. What to do when we feel that anger.

And while he’s not gone back to that behavior – he still has some tantrums that are rooted in anger. So I’m dusting off some of my old calming techniques and reminders to help him cope with the feeling as it comes to him.


Take a deep breath.
It’s okay to be angry.
It’s NOT okay to take that anger out on people or objects or pets.
Are you able to talk about what makes you angry?
If you can’t yet. Take some more breaths.
Now can you tell me? Why are you angry?
Do you know what makes me angry sometimes?
(Insert random thing that gives me Rage Blackouts here. He likes to know it’s not just him.)
Do you need to squeeze a pillow or scream?
Do you need a hug?

That last part. That was the one that helped the most during the terror years. So much so that now, when he’s really having a bad day, he’ll come to me and just ask for a hug and I will oblige no matter what. I can’t remember who suggested it (I got a lot of personal stories during the Terror Years and I tried everything from all of them) but I often reminded him that if he needed attention he could just ask for it. I’d love to give him hugs if he asked. So he started doing that and it’s the callback item that he returns to the most.

Yesterday he was having an emotional day. Sometimes he wakes up with foot cramps and when his sleep is disrupted his mood worsens (like me) and he cries with very mild stimuli. Yesterday was one of those days and several times he said to me weepily, “Can I just have a hug?”

I’m glad he still feels comfortable doing that. His sister has even started it. I want them to always ask for a hug if they need it because that was what calmed me the most in my anxiety growing up – a hug from my Dad. It’s what I miss the now that he’s gone. I hope the hugs will always be a Go To when they’re facing stress.

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Washi Tape Makes Everything Better

Some days my bullet journal is filled with roughly scribbled notes piled on to the day before with arrows and lines and illegible addendums because I haven’t taken the time to go through the prior day’s notes and just barely making time to sort out the current day’s tasks.

But then…other days…I take time in the morning to create the Page For The Day. I go through the previous days to see what I didn’t actually complete and add it to the current day. Then I make sure I have everything from the current day listed as referenced from my monthly calendar, or maybe a soccer schedule, or a library volunteer page. I organize between LIFE and WORK if there’s a lot for both. I decorate the day with Washi tape and use colored inks.

These days always go SO MUCH BETTER because just LOOKING at the page makes me happy. I see the pretty colors and the tape and I want to keep it open all day so it therefore stays in my line of sight so I’m less likely to neglect things on the list.

This is the part of the bullet journal process that stimulates my creative side. I’m not an artist. But I like making pretty things. And every day is a blank page to make pretty. I can’t do this with a pre-printed daily planner but with a Moleskine? I can do whatever I want/need to make my day pretty. No matter how many things I’m trying to cram into it.

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I Survived A Group Ride!

I mentioned recently that we had a strange/scary surge of cyclist/car accidents recently. It prompted me to write a Share The Road entry, mainly as the wife of a cyclist. Well, last night we had a solidarity ride/fundraiser event for two cyclists in our community that were hit recently. Because it was held at Redstone Arsenal, which is a secure location, we had to register in advance to get our names on an approved entry list. Last I heard, we had 200+ registered last night. And while I couldn’t see everyone because my husband and I started in the front of our line, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me all 200 showed up. It was AMAZING.

bikesEven though this was a solidarity ride, meaning the whole “speed” and “passing” thing shouldn’t have been too much of an issue, I was VERY nervous. I still do not like riding bikes. I do it on the Greenway, and when I do I enjoy it, but I hate group rides and I hate riding on roads. Part of this is because I’m still very new and not comfortable yet. BUT! Part of it is – THIS IS JUST ME. I am still a high-anxiety driver and I’ve been driving for 22 years. I still avoid dangerous roads and intersections and 90% of left turns AT ALL COSTS. So, while I do give a little bit of weight to the idea that more time on the bike will help, I don’t think I’ll ever been completely without anxiety on the bike because I’m not completely without anxiety in my car.

Donnie and I decided to stick with the middle distance group (sub-12 miles) and stick with the middle pace. They sent us out in groups and no one in our group seemed to want to go the “fastest” pace (which was still only supposed to be about 16 mph) so everyone left with the “middle” pace with Donnie and I kinda in the lead.

I ALMOST HAD A PANIC ATTACK WHEN WE STARTED.

But once we got going I did okay. I learned how to do turn signals this summer which was a HUGE improvement from last summer. I was very proud of myself. I signaled at every turn last night even though we had safety support blocking intersections and there were cyclists all around me also doing signals. My signal was not 100% necessary but I did it anyway! Because I’m a big girl bike rider!

All in all it went well. I signed up for my first Olympic Distance Triathlon next July so I really need to get more comfortable riding on the road between now and then – even if I’ll never be SUPER comfortable. I’m not even really confident I understand the mechanics of my bike still. I panic every time I have to shift gears, assuming the entire thing is going to fall apart in the middle of the road. (I also have panic attacks relating to car issues too, this is just me.) But I’m hoping this adventure of training for an Olympic Distance Triathlon will help me with some of my issues.

I’m just not ever going to LOVE cycling. The same part of me that hates driving is going to always hate cycling a little bit. And that’s okay. I know I’ll do a 100-mile run before I’ll ever do an Ironman or even a half-Ironman! I’d rather run for 24 hours than bike for 3 or more.

But, I am pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and that’s the only kind of progress that’s important right now!

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Rickshaw Bags Bullet Journal Folio Review

If you’re new to my life with Bullet Journals, read the first manifesto here and my addendum/change in technique here. Also – I have updated/prettier PDFs available for October/November/December here if you need calendar pages for your bullet journal.

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My Rickshaw Bags folio came in for my bullet journal! I designed it myself – so don’t disregard it if you think it’s the ugliest thing on the planet. There are about a million different color combinations and several fabric types to choose from if you hate mine!

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Long story short? I love it. I want 10 more of them. But since that’s silly I want to buy a bag from this company now. I just can’t decide which one I want. LOVE! TRUE LOVE!

Now…on to the details and the few minor complaints.

I will admit, I think my Fossil Kindle cover is prettier and sturdier as it’s that plastic covered canvas that Fossil makes a lot of their Keyper bags out of. Also, that cover is designed to protect a Kindle, not as much is needed to protect a Moleskin journal, no matter how priceless I think it is.

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BUT! I still think my Rickshaw Folio is pretty and sturdy! I’m just giving a thorough review here, people. Because I take my Bullet Journals very seriously. Compared to the cover I was using before? Not as pretty. Not as sturdy. But plenty pretty and sturdy to become the permanent home for my bullet journal.

Now the inside, on the other hand, is SO AWESOME and SOOOO MUCH BETTER!

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Inside the front cover there’s a pocket for an ID if you need it – which I doubt I will because I carry my bullet journal in my purse with my wallet. BUT! There’s also a spot for your phone and 1 or 2 pens which is genius because sometimes I do carry my bullet journal to ball games or swim practices without my purse! Rickshaw makes another Folio without the smartphone pocket, but I chose this one just for the portability reason.

There’s also a zipper pouch where I put my stamps, but if you were carrying this as your ENTIRE “thing” (as opposed to inside a bigger thing, like a purse) I would expect you to be able to put money in that pouch. I’m glad it’s there because there are the rare times I’d like to carry my bullet journal but not my purse, but it’s not something I sought out.

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On the back cover there’s a clear pouch where I’m putting my stickers. NOW – full disclosure. While some of the stickers are what I use in my bullet journal (like the owls) – most of the stickers are now things I carry to give small children at soccer practice. Since I had my owl/bullet journal stickers with me all the time, I became the sticker lady and kids came to me for stickers. So…I bought some Frozen and Avengers stickers to give the kids now. Because I don’t want to share my bullet journal stickers, evidently.

The Very Minor Cons

Can’t Use Moleskin Pocket – Because of how you slide the Moleskine into the folio, back cover in, you lose the easy access to the pocket that Moleskine puts on the back cover. Now…do I really think that’s going to be a problem since the folio has plenty of storage in it? No. But I wish there was a way to have used it the other way just to not make that pocket useless.

However, I’ve decided that I’ll put things in that pocket that I want to keep with the bullet journal forever. So I can take the journal out and put that stuff in if I want, and won’t really need access to it again. NO BIG DEAL!

Just Barely Big Enough (Or possibly NOT big enough) for a Full Journal With Tabs + Smartphone + Pens – I put a LOT of crap in my Moleskine. I use it partly as a scrapbook to document my life as much as I use it to create order in my life. So, when it gets close to being full, like my current Moleskin is now, it’s VERY FULL. I put my current (almost full) Moleskin in with the phone and the pens and could barely zip it. It’s not as wide as my Fossil one so the tabs are already a bit of a squeeze. I may try to limit the tabs to top/bottom where there’s plenty of room. Also, as it gets full, I’ll be less and less able to put pens and a phone in the pouch and still get it closed.

However, since I rarely carry my bullet journal alone – this is not really going to be a problem. There’s only a few times a month, if that many, where I want to carry my bullet journal but NOT my purse. And those times it’s usually because I’m carrying a backpack so I’m putting my purse stuff into my backpack, so I’d still be fine.

BUT: If you want to often carry this as the ONLY thing you carry, then keep in mind that it will get cramped towards the end of the Moleskin. If you don’t add a lot of stuff to yours, it may not be a huge problem, because I put my new Moleskine in and it zipped fine. Just wanted to let you know that because some people fill theirs up even more than I do. (Google image search for “moleskin + full”) So! If you’re one of those people, just wanted to issue that one warning.

All in all? I’m beyond thrilled. I love a product that I can put in the “Ethical Purchase” category because I know it wasn’t produced in a factory with poor working conditions. I hope they start doing patterned fabric for the folios someday! I’d love to get one as funky as the Fossil Kindle cover I was using.

Now to decide when I can purchase a bag

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Quite Possibly The World’s Most Embarrassing Story.

I’m writing two entries today. This one and the one that was SUPPOSED to be published yesterday but I set the month to October instead of September so I’m going to set it to kick live later today. Today is September, right?

Nikki had an embarrassing moment at school yesterday. The kind of embarrassing moment that had her crying in the car on the way home, because she was trying to hold it in all day. The kind of embarrassing moment that was SO easy to imagine that I started crying with her! I told her all of my embarrassing moments (The one that made me want to die the most: Walking across a basketball court in a full gym before a game, with a boy who I had given my heart, and I tripped and fell in front of him and the rest of the gym. To this day it still gives me a tiny flicker of pain.) to try to explain to her that I REALLY understood how she felt. I knew that pain.

And then…later that night…when it was dark and stormy…

(It was not dark and stormy. I don’t know what happened there.)

I sat down to watch Grace Helbig’s latest video portion of her HYSTERICAL “Not Too Deep – With Grace Helbig” podcast and she interview Louise who I don’t know from her YouTube channel but I’ve seen on several collabs and she seems FANTASTIC. Well! One of the questions was about her most embarrassing moment and y’all? SHE WINS ALL OF THE PRIZES. (Fast forward to 3:00 if you just want to hear the embarrassing moment story.) Try to listen to the last bit while they’re both laughing, there’s a final tidbit at the very end that pushed me over the edge laughing hysterically.

Nikki was actually sitting next to me watching this and her face…her face was PRICELESS. Like, you could tell she was thinking: Okay. I’m still upset by what happened today but THIS GIRL WINS THE PRIZE. And we were both thinking, Dear God, Please don’t let anything like that ever happen to me, okay?

So. Bookmark the video. If anyone you ever know actually wants to die from embarrassment…IT COULD BE WORSE.

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