Valentine’s Day’s New Meaning

“Since we’re throwing a party on Valentine’s Day weekend, we don’t need to actually do anything for Valentine’s Days, do we?”

I stared at Jason and blinked. Was he kidding?? I blinked some more and then snarkily retorted, “Just read my blog post from last year!” He seemed taken back.

“What did it say?”

“Just read it….” I huffily ended the conversation, annoyed that he didn’t remember how hard I had worked to make last year’s Valentine’s Day special. After my knee jerk reaction of anger had cooled down a bit, I stopped to consider what Jason was asking me.

I considered where we were a year ago versus now. Last year, we were struggling so hard to make ANY time for each other between Jason’s switch shift job, my busy work schedule, and the schedules of three kids, one of them being a wonderful, yet demanding baby. Everything was a high priority except “us”.

Flashing forward to this Valentine’s Day, our lives had changed. Every day, we have been working to keep our relationship alive with texts saying “I love you” and small romantic gestures. Date nights have become a weekly event with dinners after the kids go down to sleep or sneaking out early for a movie. We’ve grown to understand that the firm foundation of our relationship was important for the happiness of the entire family.

20120214-210828.jpgSuddenly, pressuring my husband to come up with something for Valentine’s Day just didn’t seem as important. After all, it’s not just a holiday for us, but for the entire family.

When Jason sheepishly returned to me with his Valentine’s Day plans, throwing out dinner restaurants, movie ideas, back rubs or anything that would make me feel special, I smiled, grateful for the effort. “Why don’t we have a special dinner with the kids at home?”

Jason jumped with the idea, planning a lovely dinner of fondue for all of us. In between the rush of Mom’s work schedule and running to the gym, Dad’s writing projects and the boys sports schedule, we hadn’t had a nice family dinner in weeks. Finally, we got a chance to slow 20120214-210843.jpgdown and remind each other of all the reasons we love and care about each other. Ethan got to dance in his chair as he proudly cooked his fondue, Anthony talked endlessly about how awesome steak was (and did you know steak is made from beef?) while Keira exclaimed proudly to her family “big girl fork!” and “Look! Flowers for Mama!”

A noisy, bustling, family dinner over fancy food with the four people in the world I love most. What more could I ask for as a Valentine’s Day present?

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Resolutions into 2012

I’ve never been a fan of resolutions. With each new year, I was tired of making promises to myself and throwing them to the side before the ground even began to thaw.

However, 2011 gave me a new perspective on resolutions and focusing on what’s important. After facing our finances and post-partum depression head on during the year, I realized that ignoring the important things in life didn’t really make things better. Even if I never fully accomplished our goal for 2011 of getting every single credit card paid off, the successes we accomplished far outweighed the “failure” of not staying on task for the full year.

So, it appears I’m back on the Resolution Train. I’m giving myself the freedom to make my resolutions and get myself back on the right page, knowing that I may not accomplish all that I’ve set myself up for. But if make progress over how I’ve ended 2011, that’s an accomplishment itself.

Here we go! Let’s make some resolutions!

1. Health – My health has been on the backburner since I became a mother. I had been diagnosed with PCOS when I was in college. While I struggled with conceiving Keira for two years, managing this condition was one of the top focuses in order to get pregnant. Unfortunately, as fertility stopped becoming a focus for me and the choas of raising three children while holding a full time job took over, I ignored its management. I ignored the long term consequences of the depression, diabetes, and cardivascular issues that often come along with PCOS when it’s left untreated. 

My kids deserve better than that. They deserve to have a happy mom, free of worry of health complications. So, before anything else in my life, health will have to be a priority. Afterall, if I don’t have my health, there’s really nothing else I can focus on.

2. 30 before 30 – Right along with health is jumping back on tackling that darn baby weight. This October I will be turning the big 3-0. To start my 30s right, I’m promising myself to shed the last of the baby weight. And the newly-wed weight. And the college weight. 272 days to go. Countdown begins today!

3. Total Money Makeover – Jason and I have pledged to get back to tackling our debt, energized by the thought of how great it would be without the weight of debt pulling us down. It feels scary and difficult. But if we tackle just as much in 2012 as we did in 2011, our debt will be mostly wiped out. It’s time to be gazelle intense.

Hopefully throwing these resolutions out there will bring people with similar goals out of the woodwork. Hold me accountable. And if you have any resolutions you need help with, leave a comment so I can help hold you accountable as well. Let’s make 2012 a stepping stone to greener pastures.

Wordless Wednesday (Christmas Edition)

Finding Community

Since the moment that Jason and I started living together, we’ve been in constant go-mode, moving around the county, the country, and even a short stint for me living abroad. The boys have experienced their own upheavels, moving no less than 7 times before the age of 8. By the time that they had made friends in their current neighborhood or school, they’d be packed off to moved to another one.

So, when we settled into our current house 3 years ago, both of the boys proclaimed adamantly that we were NEVER MOVING! At first, the thought of not moving was difficult for me. Wanderlust strikes Jason and I frequently. When I changed jobs or the thought of living in Europe starts to entice us, we stop and remember the promise we made the boys. They need stability. No moving.

It took my recent work out craze to get me to finally appreciate what not moving would mean for us. As I ran into the gym for a new zumba class at the gym, I looked around at all the women getting their kicks and wiggles down. Some of them were moms I knew from the boys’ baseball team. Some were women closer to my age, trying to also work off their baby weight. I’d be seeing them at kindergarten as I walked Keira into her first day of school.

As we danced around the gym, I heard the women motivating each other, praising and laughing, smiling at me when we both knew the work out was insane. It was a community of people who were all supporting each other.

As I drove home from the gym, with a smile on my face, I began to realize the community I had been missing from all my years of moving about. I finally felt somethingI haven’t felt since I left for college at the age of 17:

Home.

Finally I appreciated the feeling of belonging. At last, we had stayed in one place long enough to create stability. I knew other moms and dads at school by their first name. We have formed friendships close enough that the kids call our friends “aunts” and “uncles”. I have walked through trying to conceive, pregnancy, infancy and now into toddlerhood with friends who have a daughter the same age as Keira. And when going for a walk, neighbors now come out to remark how big the boys are getting and how great they play with Keira.

I never had a chance to even stop and see what I was missing. In the throes of wanderlust, I’ve had amazing experiences. But it was the boys who gave me the present of slowing down and staying still long enough to realize what amazing experiences were awaiting me in my own backyard.

Wordless Wednesday – Family Outings




                           

Wordless Wednesday Sibling Love

Barely Balanced

Ever since the Deeds household relocated to Pennsylvania, going to the Renaissance Faire has also been a favorite pastime. The boys would get dressed up in their Renaissance gear and we’d make a day out of going to see the shows and enjoy the medieval food.

Whenever we’re visiting the faire, the boys’ favorite show has always been Barely Balanced, an acrobatic comedy show where the trio performs stunts of flexibility, standing on each other and doing ridiculous backbends. And if that’s not enough, sometimes there’s fire involved.

I have to admit that I also am very fond of this show, if not for the same reason that the boys are. While the boys get a thrill of seeing whether the performers fall or light each other on fire, I am always delighted when they end the show unscorched.
It gives me a sense of hope.

Each day as a parent feels like another day of barely balanced aerobics. Juggling the schedules of work, school, the kids’ sporting events, errands, chores around the house… And then to add to it the back bends of trying to fit some exercise in our exceedingly busy schedule.

Some days, as we’re looking at the to-do list a mile long of daily chores and house maintenance, I wonder how we’re going to make it through the day without at least pulling a muscle or setting ourselves on fire.

But somehow, every day we wake up in one piece. Whether we accomplished our to-do list and made it through our hectic schedule or whether we ended up sitting in our pajamas all day, exhausted with drool partly hanging out of our mouth… we dust ourselves off and get ready to put ourselves into yet another ridiculous position.

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