Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I really wasn't sure if I wanted to publish this post since the majority of my 20 or so readers are friends of mine and only a few really know of the struggles I've had (most prominently) in the last few years. However, as a "public service" message and in an effort to be forthright and honest with you all, I decided to go for it. Today will be anything but Wordless...

For years I battled issues in my head that made me feel like I was losing my grip. I felt unfocused, overwhelmed with even the simplest of things, and generally unhappy with a life that had all the makings for true bliss. In December of 2006, I decided I needed to talk to someone about it. It had begun to creep into my job as a Mom and I was not having it. I found myself getting easily frustrated, being short tempered, and losing my patience at the drop of a hat. I couldn't focus at work, felt like a miserable failure at home and lacked the motivation to just DO what I knew needed to be done (be it dishes, laundry, shopping, working out, or simply putting down that cookie that I knew was making and keeping me fat).

The day I made the phone call to EAP (Employee Assistance Program, a counseling service offered to employees of the company I worked for), I remember telling the woman on the other end of the phone that I just wanted to be a better Mom, wife, and employee. I was struggling in all areas. And I finally realized that I needed real help.

The verdict? Depression and Anxiety.

I waiver between thinking I'm a player in yet another all-too-often-diagnosed "trendy" illness of the moment and thinking "Yes, of course!". Looking back now it makes sense. Even still, some days I don't feel like I deserve the diagnosis. Like to be depressed I would have to have led a rough life or traveled a difficult road and since I haven't, I somehow haven't earned the right to "suffer" from depression. After all, what do I have to be depressed about? I grew up with the Cleavers, I have a great family, a roof over my head, a job that pays the bills and then some, two BEAUTIFUL and HEALTHY children. I just need to get over it. Change my perspective. Look on the bright side and focus on my blessings. Right? Shouldn't it just be that simple?

I wish.

Fast forward to today. I have been in and out of counseling, tried various medicinal supports, and have both good days and bad days.

Do I still struggle? Yes. Often.

Have I learned ways to cope? Yes. Many.

Does that make it easier? Yes. Sometimes.

It's hard to accept that this is my life. It's difficult to admit that I may always have to "deal" with this on some level. It's definitely not the worst hand life could have dealt me but it has its moments. I don't know if there's a stigma in society about it. I honestly never thought about it until just now. I guess (for once in my life!) I don't care if there is. This is who I am and what I live with.  I do the best I can.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm beyond frustrated lately.  My mind works 23 1/2 hours a day, running full speed ahead.  Random thoughts churn about, sometimes forming coherent ideas, other times bouncing from side to side making little sense at all.  The 45 minute commute to/from work has been good thinking time for me.  The day unfolds before me as I plan, dream, or unwind.  I often "write" stories in my head.  Opening sentences form and blog titles create themselves in my mind's eye.  Disjointed thoughts and ideas start to weave into profound statements.

Then I get home.

Hours later, I sit in front of the computer as peace settles into my home...and I have nothing.

I'm blank.  No profound explanations, no stories of grandeur.  I can't even remember general concepts about what made perfect sense to me just hours before.  My brain is fried.  My energy is sapped.  And just as I finally have a moment to express myself, to do what fills me up and makes me feel good, I've realized it's all been given away.  My rationing is weak and I have nothing left at this hour.

And so I shall call it a day.

Goodnight dear friends.

Until tomorrow brings fresh ideas and clear thinking...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friendship Friday...Part One

I had an interesting conversation with Heidi the other night about friendship that really got me thinking.  My brain churned about this all night and I had hoped to write a whole reflective post about friendship yesterday.  However, I'm finding that I can't quite get my thoughts out on paper coherently and say what I want in a meaningful way.  I'm struggling with how to define friendship.  What does it mean to be a friend?  How does friendship differ from friend to friend?  Am I the best friend I can be?  I would definitely consider myself to be inherently blessed in the friend department.   But how did I get so lucky?  And should this excessive luck concern me that the bottom could fall out at any time?

So instead of getting too deep and rambling on too much about my conflicting philosophical thoughts, I thought I'd start small.  Take a small bite out of this topic.  Then at least I'd be starting somewhere to try and sort things out through a series of posts that hopefully will bring some clarity to what I'm trying to express in the end.

So, I found this quote on the internet and it rings very true. 

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.
~Author Unknown

Friendship isn't about being big, or noticeable, or stealing the spotlight.  It's just there - constantly providing support and gentle encouragement from behind the scenes.  It's not about the grand gestures or the profound statements, it's the small and subtle actions that steal the show. 

But just as with any relationship, I think true friendship requires work.  Constant dilligence to keep things fed and nourished and fresh.  The great thing about true friends is that any efforts made on behalf of the friendship don't feel like work at all.  Friendship is very rewarding and incredibly worth the investment you make. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Operation NICE

I don't generally double post but I stumbled upon this just now and am so enamored with the concept that I am sharing...It's a website called Operation NICE and it encourages us to be proactively nice to people every day.  I think it's a little sad that as a society we need an OPERATION to encourage behavior that I believe should just be natural and automatic, but for most people it's not so I'll support whatever works. I am a firm believer of treating people the way  you want to be treated so I hope I do this a little in my every day life already, but we all need reminders and this is a perfect one! 

So do me a favor and stop over to the Operation NICE website, check it out, participate in a challenge, find some inspiration, and then pay it forward.  Do something NICE for someone you know, someone you just met, or a complete stranger.  It might just make their day and who knows...maybe you'll feel a little happier having been nice today.  Either way, the world just may be one step closer to being a more pleasant place to be.

It's the Little Things...Before and After

As many of you know, I have been taking a Photoshop class with my good friend, Heidi.  It's been a fantastic opportunity to learn a program I think will be instrumental in my future success as a "good" photographer.  I'll be honest though, for the first couple weeks we struggled.  There wasn't a lot of concrete knowledge being shared and with computer issues and odd teaching styles, we weren't really doing anything we were talking about.  In the last couple weeks that has changed, however.  Finally, this week we learned some basic touch up skills that will prove to be fantastic in my photography moving forward.  You know the take a great picture but the shadows are a little dark, or there's a misplaced item in the background that's horribly distracting the real focus of the photo.  Those little things that "ruin" an otherwise fantastic shot.  So, last night in Photoshop class we finally got hands on with some tools that make all these minor blips practically a thing of the past!!!  It's a little thing that makes a BIG difference!  So, for today's It's The Little Things Thursday, I thought I'd share a few examples of how a little thing (healing, cloning, and burn and dodge tools) can make a HUGE improvement to some (otherwise) great photos!  

Keep in mind that I'm VERY new (with less than 12 hours of experience under my belt) at these skills so my teacher warned me not to go public with my teachings yet until I had time to hone my abilities.  But as you know, I'm a rebel and he likes to yell at me anyway, so what's different here?!?

 BEFORE : my precious sleeping babe with an obnoxious dog hair obstructing his sweet face...


AFTER - Voila!  No dog hair to be seen!  And a brightened and smoothed out his face a little...

BEFORE - my Wordless Wednesday (seen here) from yesterday...the helmet was casting a precarious shadow right over his eyes where his concentration is so keen...

And AFTER - I used the "dodge tool" to brighten up the light under his helmet and make his eyes a little more noticeable...This is one of those things that can be easily overdone, but I think for a first attempt it was an improvement...

Anyway, I just wanted to share these fabulous tricks I'm learning!!  Just think of how fabulous I can make my pictures now!!   Stop over to Starts at Eight to share your little things that make this journey through life fun and exciting!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...October 19, 2010

FOR TODAY...October 19, 2010
Outside my window...darkness.  I'm getting to this a little later than usual so it's well past sunset.

I am thinking...that the hotdogs we ate for dinner were a bad idea.  They're haunting me right now so I'm feeling guilty about even eating them.  It's payback. 

I am thankful for...the health of my children.  After Alex's 2-year-check up he got blood work taken and his lead levels came back normal.  It turns out he's anemic and needs iron supplements to boost his levels up but that's minor compared to a lot of things.  We'll pump him up on Iron and get his blood taken again in January to see how he's faring.  He seems to have kicked his ear infection after all and Nate hasn't come down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease since notice of his "exposure" at school came home last week.  So far, so good!!

From the kitchen...I had big plans to do Halloween cut out cookies with the boys tonight but we didn't get to them.  Instead the boys got ridiculously filthy outside with Daddy and the tractor.  Maybe next week?

I am big fluffy robe and comfy jammies.  I've been so chilled at night so the big blankets have come out.  There's nothing better than cuddling up under a big fuzzy blanket on a cool Fall night!
I am remembering...a long list of must haves and to dos for tomorrow.  Let's hope it's a clear thinking, productive day!

I am creating...a plan for a play space in the basement.  I'd like to set something up downstairs so the boys can play while I craft down there and there's plenty of space to utilize.  This winter, when we're cooped up inside all the time, we'll appreciate the extra space for them to romp.

I am go check on the boys and call it a night here shortly.  I had a rough night with Alex last night - up frequently, sleeping restlessly, needing me a lot.  So I hope to get some sleep caught up on tonight.

I am find a train table and trains for Alex for Christmas.  We spent 12 hours at Heidi's house over the weekend while Joey did my computer overhaul and Alex was mesmorized by their train table/set.  He spent HOURS just setting up the tracks and driving the trains around.  He even turned down food to "pay fains" (play trains) - that's big for him!

I am hearing...a biography on Colonel Sanders' life on the television.  Of course Dave turned the TV on and then fell asleep, so by midnight I should be thoroughly sucked into a rerun episode of Scrubs while he snores away next to me, oblivious to the torture he's created.  Thanks, honey. 
Pondering these words..."There's no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather" and "a body will rust out faster than it wears out" - Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC fame.  He was a very optimistic and cheery old country boy.

Around the house...laundry has taken over.  I seem to be able to keep up on washing and drying it, but the folding, sorting, and putting away part has won.  I have a whole room devoted to my laundry piles right now. 
On my mind...not much, actually.  It's been a busy week already and stands to be a busy weekend so there's lots running through my mind, but nothing of profound nature that can easily be shared here.
Noticing that...these questions have gotten hard the last couple weeks.  I'm dry.  Lacking anything clever or inspirational to write.  Perhaps I should take a break from SWD until I have something of substance to say.

One of my favorite things...I love the "quiet time" I've recently established just before bedtime with the boys.  he lights and TV go off and Nate, Alex and I will snuggle up on the couch after teeth are brushed and settle down.  Alex usually requests that I sing songs and Nate will tell stories or ask that I tell them one.  It's fantastical.  The stories that he comes up with are awesome.  I love his imagination!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Photoshop class, a much overdo visit with my sister, Zoo Boo with Tiffany & Brie, Stokoe Farms for pumpkin picking fun, and hopefully a visit to my mother.  It's been forever since I've seen her. 

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Nate 2010 Pre-K
Nate had his first school photos taken...I was very pleased with how they came out.  They managed to get a "real" smile out of him so I am happy!!  He looks so grown up and handsome!  *sniff*  My Bug is growing up!

Check out Simple Woman's Daybook to read more daybook entries.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Friday Thoughts

I've been struggling to come up with anything profound to share here lately.  I tend to meander through life constantly telling stories in my head, making up stories for things I see throughout the day, and yet I have been unable to concoct anything worthy of sharing.  My thoughts and ideas and stories are there, I just have not been able to process them and spit them out in a form that makes any sense.  So, tonight I decided to just sit down and write.  Write whatever comes to mind, whatever I'm thinking at the time, in some desperate effort to unclog the dam that is blocking up my head.

I'm sitting here, in a dark, quiet living room listening to the chilly Autumn wind whistling outside.  Even the weight of my fuzzy robe isn't keeping me warm against that bitter breeze.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say there must be a winter blizzard blowing out there.  Thank goodness it's only Fall, though.  In the quiet darkness of this room, I also hear the opposing warmth of my 4-year-old breathing heavily while he snoozes, "camping out" in my sleeping bag on the living room floor.  I like impromptu nights like tonight.  Nate doesn't have school tomorrow so I feel a little less stressed about him getting to bed on time and getting his "Zzzz's" so I told him we could have a camp out in the living room tonight, complete with sleeping bags, hot cocoa, stories around the "campfire" (flashlight) and a later than average bedtime.  I had to finally tell him to stop talking, er, rambling in order for him to fall asleep, but the peace in the house right now is beautiful.

I'm glad it's Friday.  We had a "team assessment" day at work today that I won't mention too much about here, but to say that I was happy with how it went.  I was in high anxiety alert about it last night, not knowing what to expect or what would come of it, but it turned out to be what I believe was "a healthy and productive dialogue".  *breathe sigh of relief here*

This weekend is full of fun stuff on the calendar.  Tomorrow I'll be taking the boys to Darien Lake for their festive Fright Fest celebration.  Nate gets to wear his firefighter costume (since his Army guy uniform isn't quite finished being sown by Grandma) and Alex will make the cutest spider you ever did see.

Sunday I have plans to take the boys over to Heidi's where her computer genius husband will be administering a complete overhaulin' of my current photo storage habits issues.  I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am about this.  Oh, the possibilities!  To think in a few short days I could possibly have all of my precious photos a.) in one place!!! b.) safely backed up, and c.) residing off-site to prevent total loss should some unforeseeable tragedy strike.  It makes me giddy with excitement!  I'm not sure Joey knows quite what he's gotten himself into, but I am forever grateful to him for agreeing to take this challenge on!!  I will be transporting my laptop, two computer towers, two external hard drives, various computer components, disks, software, etc. bright and early on Sunday morning and hoping that this process is quick (!) and painless for all involved (especially Joey!).  Thanks again, Ciravolas for all the wonderful things you are to/do for my family!!!

And now I'm tired.  So, with that, I will bid you adieu and hope tomorrow brings a clear head and fresh thinking.  Perhaps I'll have something more meaningful to share then...Thanks for listening!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's The Little Things...Family

Tonight's "little thing" to celebrate this journey of motherhood extends to an oft unmentioned member of our family.  But it's important to mention.  We got a visit tonight from my oldest stepson, Adam.  He stopped by after work and hung out with us while Dave barbecued some dinner and the boys played outside.

I know this doesn't sound like much, but it's huge.  Nathaniel and Alex simply adore their big brother(s) and we've gone through periods in the past where Adam and Nick were more like strangers than brothers to them.  Now, at a time (especially to Nate) when their big brothers are so very much their heros, I think it's very important to have this bond.   I love the relationship that they are able to build during these times.  At 26, I know Adam has "better" things to be doing than hanging around with his family.  But seeing the joy on my little ones' faces when they can share the important things in their life with their big brother warms my heart.  I am very thankful for these evenings.

Overall it was a very nice visit - one that I hope we can re-do again very soon.  Adam has grown up to be a wonderful young man and his father and I are very proud of him!  I look forward to his being a positive role model to his baby brothers!

If you stop long enough to focus on the little things in life, it truly does make all the other stuff totally worth it!  Stop over at Starts at Eight to share your "little things"!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...October 12, 2010

FOR TODAY...October 12, 2010

Outside my window...the sun is shining brightly!!  It's a beautiful Fall day!

I am thinking...about some opportunities that have presented themselves recently.  So many factors to consider, so appealing. 

I am thankful friends and family.  They keep me sane, busy, and are always there when I need them for everything from sleep advice for my 2-year-old, to commiseration about my weight loss struggles, and/or a sounding board for my venting needs.

From the  I'm on dinner break today and Dave's been busy with several outdoor projects this week so he's staging a sit-in and has opted for pizza.  I am definitely ok with that. 

I am pick up Alex's antibiotic refill at Wegman's tonight on my way home.  It's not my usual route so I'll have to make a concerted effort not to forget to come home that way.

I am creating...a business plan.  More on that to come. 

I am be busy at work the rest of the week so I should get ahead while I can. 

I am hoping...that Alex's 2-year check up goes well tomorrow.  There's some concern about how little he is and we've been struggling with sleep issues for a while now so I'd like to get some answers.  I also hope his ear infection is gone since he'll have been on his antibiotic for a week by tomorrow.

I am hearing...noise.  I've become very intolerant and sensitive to noise.  Particularly lots of conflicting noise.  I find it impossible to concentrate, think, even function at times if there's too much chaos going on around me.

Around the house...Dave has been busy.  He's been cleaning out the garage and rearranging things into the basement so I can work from there this winter to settle/organize.

On my mind...Alex's sleeping troubles.  He's been giving us such a hard time going to bed for months now.  I feel like I've tried everything and nothing works unless he's physically touching me.  I'm at a total loss.  He used to be the kid you could lay down, walk away from and he'd sleep 12 straight hours without a peep.  Now getting him to sleep is one thing, keeping him asleep isn't usually a problem, but he gets up so early and is obviously tired because he's cranky.

Noticing that...I tend to answer these questions the same from week to week.  I should spice it up a little.  Come up with something different.  Ask myself new/different questions, perhaps?

One of my favorite fluffy robe, comfy pants, soft blanket and warm socks.  That's the best part about the evenings getting colder.  I love cuddling up!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  2-year check up for Alex, Zoo Boo and/or Fright Fest, computer overhaulin' (!), Photoshop class.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Nate at the Farmington FD Open House this past weekend.  This boy, Ryan, was a wealth of information.  He gave Nate a personal tour of the Forestry truck and was quite the little mentor to my little firefighter-to-be.

Be sure to check out other Simple Woman's Daybook entries at Simple Woman's Daybook!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten on Ten : 10.10.10

Today was a busy day...throw in there that it's the 10th of the month (which means 10 on 10, people!) and you've got yourself one crazy day!  What better way to document a special (once in a lifetime!) day like the 10th day of the 10th month in the 10th year than by taking a photo every hour for 10 hours?!?!  Sounds like my kind of challenge!  So here you have "lazy" Sunday, in pictures:

Make sure you stop over to Ten on Ten to check out what other people captured on this monumental day!!  Thanks for stopping in to catch a glimpse of our day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...October 5, 2010

FOR TODAY...October 5, 2010

Outside my window...rain.  What else? 

I am thinking...about how to find the motivation to jump start my weight watchers endeavor.  I need to spend more time meal planning, weighing, measuring, etc.  It takes more time than I have but those little convenient things I grab may be low in points but add up fast!

I am thankful for...two happy healthy boys.  Alex came down with his first ear infection and the doctor was saying how shocked she was that he'd made it 2 years without having been on an antibiotic!  We've been very lucky with both of the boys and their infrequent need for medication and/or sick doctor visits.  Don't get me wrong, we've been there plenty, I just think it could be a lot worse.  Our family tends to get the more obscure things like Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, or Whooping Cough.

From the kitchen...nothing today.  I want to boil up some eggs for lunches for the rest of the week but might not get to that today.

I am wearing...warm sweater, socks, hovering over my space heater since it's (always) so cold here!

I am give Alex his amoxicillin twice a day for the next 9.5 days.  He got his first dose at dinner last night and Daddy was in charge of his breakfast dose so it's gone well so far.  I want him to feel better so he'll get back to sleeping well and not be so crabby!

I am creating...a plan to get some photo projects off the ground.  I have started organizing some of my pictures to get some "samples" created of notecards and journals, etc. that I can sell on Etsy.
I am see A Chorus Line at the RBTL tonight.  It's the first show in our season pass for this year.  Nancy and I have been doing this for 5 (?) seasons now and I look very forward to the time dedicated to spending with just HER.  We don't see each other very often these days so this allotted time is fantastic!  We usually grab dinner (Applebee's tonight so I can take advantage of their Weight Watchers friendly menu!) and make a night of it.  Thankfully, my Mom has agreed to watch the boys tonight so that I can take advantage of this opportunity, otherwise I'd be in trouble! 

I am hoping...this evening works out well timing-wise.  It's the first time doing our season tickets with us living so far away so it's taken some finagling and I have to bounce the kids home late tonight so I hope it goes smoothly.  It's not as much fun to go out and have a good adult time when I know I'm messing up my boys schedule, routine, etc.  I know they'll love hanging out with Geema, but I hope they don't give her a hard time!! 

I am hearing...noise.  I feel surrounded by noise.  Talking.  Rustling.  Clanging.  I long for peace and quiet.
Pondering these words...Robert Mapplethorpe once said, "If I am at a party, I want to be at the party. Too many photographers use the camera to avoid participating in things. They become professional observers." and it struck me because it's so true.  I do this from time to time.  I use the camera as an excuse NOT to participate, not to engage, not to converse, without meaning to.  Especially in uncomfortable situations or among people I don't know.  When I consciously decide NOT to bring my camera to an event I almost feel guilty because I figure that's what people expect from photograph their event and somehow by not doing so I'm letting them down.  In reality sometimes I really DO just want to be there.  Plus there are certain circumstances under which it's nearly impossible for me to play photographer and Mom so I just choose the role I'm more suited for.  

Around the house...ball crawl balls are everywhere!  Auntie Pam bought Alex a ball crawl for his birthday because he loves (throwing, catching, holding, playing with, bouncing) balls so much!  He loves it and will jump in head first and giggle with glee until the cows come home (whatever that actually means), but there are balls everywhere!  Luckily he likes to play the "clean up" game still so that helps!

On my mind...time management.  How best to balance everything I want/need to do in life.  It just seems like there are never enough hours in the day.  Other people manage so what am I doing wrong?
Noticing that...I'm getting more and more forgetful.  I even forget things I've just said, or just written.  If there's a test for early Alzheimer's, I think I need it.  I can explain it away with the usual "I have a lot going on, I'm bound to forget something" excuses, but that doesn't cut it anymore.  The airhead description isn't explaining it anymore, either. 

One of my favorite things...fresh seasonal apples.  I love the Fall season and all that comes with it...cooler temperatures, fresh in-season apples, fall leaves to jump in, the colors, the ability to wear cozy layers, the motivation to snuggle up and hunker down.  Love it!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Photoshop class with Heidi, Lunch with Leah to celebrate her turning the big 3-0, Giving blood, whatever else the week brings!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

I love this boy with all of my being.  The happiness he brings to me is immeasurable. There's something about this particular photo that just screams pure, NATE, to me.  The mischief in his eyes, the charming smirk, the joy in his expression that looks like he just told you a fart joke.  I sure do love this Bug.