Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are you doing?

8:23 AM
Not the best start this morning.  Baby got me up at 4 ish and then again at 5.  Topped off breast feeding Lexi just now at 8 so I could go for a walk with friends after dropping Tristan off at school.  First interaction with my 7 year old Tristan was not the most patient and loving when I discovered he'd not done his homework last night and now I've got to help him do some before we leave in 15 minutes!  Being rushed is definitely not something I like.  Once I gave into the fact that he was not going to finish it, I felt much better and was able to be more loving and patient with him.

Not sure how long the baby will let me type, but have quick second.  Went on an hour walk today with Amy and Melanie.  That was fun!

Baby just went down for a nap.  I went to the store to get ingredients for my new recipe Olive Garden Manicotti Formaggio with Shrimp.  Wait, baby still fussing....  gotta go. 

Update - That recipe turned our good but had wayyyy too much fat for my taste.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken & Potato Florentine Soup!

Kelly (my husband) just called after getting a text from me needing two additional ingredients for my chicken and potato florentine soup!  The whole house smells wonderful.  I got the idea to make this soup from the Olive Garden commercial; it looked yummy.  Due to my life circumstances of having no extra money for anything every month, I'm essentially not able to keep up with my bills and have tapped all our savings at this point, I knew in order to eat this delicous soup, I'd have to make it myself. 

I plan to enjoy this soup with the leftover homemade Lion House rolls I made last night. 

Catriona is on the computer and just set the table for dinner, and Tristan plays outside while Lexi is doing what she does best; girgling on the floor.  She breastfed at 4:00 so I'm sure she'll be hungry a little later. 

Yea!  He's home.  Bon Appetit!Chicken and Potato Florentine Soup (Olive Garden). Photo by TLC-MO

The Perge - 500 Pound Shred Pile


Last night it was tough to sleep because Kelly woke me up coughing.  Then, the baby woke me up to eat at 6:30 AM.  I had funny dream that Kelly had cloned himself and that I caught him when he took Catriona to seminary and, in my dream, was still in bed.  After feeding Lexi, I went back to bed and got back up at 8:00 AM to be rushed in getting Tristan ready for school.  After dropping him off at school, I relunctantly went on a walk with Lexi with the goal of getting 30 minutes of light exercise in before I got on with my day.  The weather that simply beautiful; I love this time of year. 

2:00 PM
So here I am again alone with my thoughts, a pile of work to do, and no desire to do it.  Earlier, after I got myself showered and Lexi a much needed bath, I found it was next to impossible to get anything done at my desk with my baby awake, but she seemed to be thoroughly entertained watching me clean.  So, I starting working on my 500 pound shred pile.  My goal is to get together 500 pounds of paper that can be shredded from our old family files no longer needed as well as anything prior to 2006 for Youth Quest.  This will allow me to hire a truck to come out and shred my stuff up to 500 pounds for about 100 bucks.  I think I have about 180 pounds so far.  Going through the stuff brings back tons of memories so its an emotionally exhausting task.  Anyway, doing that was no good for Lexi as she started fussing so I put on her on the floor and checked to see if vacuuming would keep her entertained.  She loved watching me vacuum so I vacuumed the family room, entry, dining room, and the office.  Now she's napping at the moment.  I suppose I should try to get some work done, but I just don't want to.  I problem is that most of my work requires me to have money to pay bills, complete work, etc. and I don't have any money to pay bills, complete work, etc. so I'm kind of stuck. 

Here's a snapshot of our kids:
Preston has been at USU now for a little over a month.  He's doing wonderfully there and makes me smile when he posts stuff about his adventures at USU from his football games to his chinese class.
It brings a smile to my face when I think of him engaged in wholesome recreational activities, and classes that are expanding his wonderful mind.  I've been really proud of Preston lately.  He's striving for a great life, he's working hard, and he's holding to his values which I know his tough these days in college.  I miss Preston almost every day.  Last year, he came home early from school almost every day due to him having taken so many AP classes that he was on track to graduate high school with only half day of school his senior year.  This allowed him a lot of free time to work and save for college and his hobbies.  His hobbies at this time are that he's a DJ known as DJ PNasty, he still enjoys the outdoors like nobodys business, and he's preparing himself to study abroad some day.  The prayer in  my heart still remains that Preston will choose to remain worthy to have the option of serving a mission this summer after he's completed a year of college.  He'd be a wonderful missionary.  I've heard that missions are hard these days because kids are not used to hard work and disappointment.  My Preston is not afraid of hard work, and he's had his share of many disappointments the past few years.  At this moment in time, I could be more proud of my Preston!

Catriona last weekend whipped up a homemade bag featuring the popular characters on a TV show called Adventure Time; her favorite show at this time.  The theme of the birthday party sleeover was adventure time and I was just so impressed at her thoughtfulness.  She's always been a supurb gift maker.  The bag is lined inside with fabric she designed.  She's supurb at getting up every morning for
 early morning seminary, and is my little angel in helping me keep the house clean.  Catriona is such a gift in my life and I'm truly privileged to have her.  She has just started 9th grade which is at Jordan High School.  Her biggest frustration was that she didn't get into Art this year and has to take Chorus instead.  With her talents, she'll need to wait until her sophomore year to show off all her talents with art in school.  For Cat's birthday, I gave her make-up and she's been playing with different eye make-up.  She's looks beautiful every day she goes to school and has a natural talent in application of her make-up.  Most day of the week, she's out in the "circle" in-line skating.  While I was pregnant, she decided to keep my skates in good use and now enjoys them on a regular basis.  I told her she could just have them because she is putting them to such good use. 

Tristan enjoys watching a caterpillar growing into a butterfly and showed me yesterday how it is moving in its crysallis.  I never knew that they can still move all bundled up like that.   Tristan reminds me every day what its like to be 7!  This summer, after many days of screen time while I survived a summer breast feeding Lexi, we've been going through a kind of detox this fall.  In response, Tristan has rediscovered the lost fort in the back yard forest, has taken up basketball, has been collecting rocks and gems, is obsessed with shart teeth, and has been working on an advanced puzzle.  He loves birds and likes to copy the names of the birds on paper from his dad's bird book.  Tristan loves crunching numbers.  He enjoys riding his bike and going for long walks with his neighbor Diane and her dog Max.  Tristan embodies what it is to be a child.  He's loving and forgiving, has endless energy, and has a sensivity about him that warms my heart.  I love my little Tristan and tell him often that he's my favorite little boy.  Recently, Tristan has been reaching out to the kids in the neighborhood and will be seen playing frisbee and basketball with them.  Tristan has a big heart and wants to please.  He's my little ball of love.

Little Lexi will be five months young tomorrow.  She's my little lap baby and I can count the hours on one hand I've spent away from her since I gave birth to her five months ago.  She's my little bunny, my lovey, my baby boo, my little Junebug, my Lexi Junebug.  She's so beautiful!  I marvel at how beautiful her skin is.  My whole day changes when she shows me her new toothy grin.  She got her first tooth on 9/17 at just 4.5 months.  My baby girl.  Every day Lexi reminds me that my purpose in life right now; to be a mommy.  I love being a mom right now.  Some days are hard, but the spectrum of experience I'm gaining with my children ranging in age from 0-18 gives me such a rich and full life with great moments of joy.  I have very little desire at this time to be Executive Director of Youth Quest at this moment in time.  Perhaps this will change, but today, at this moment, I'm complete as a mom of these beautiful children.  Some of my favorite things about Lexi besides her smile.  When she falls asleep when I'm nursing her and listening to her sweet, soft breath.  I love when she stands with help.  Lexi loves to stand and sit straight up to see the world around her.  She's taking in so much information and its a joy to watch and be a witness to all her "firsts".  What a special privilege I have to be her mommy full-time today.

2008 Schofield Snapshot in Time!

The year is coming to a close so I wanted to write about what went on this year in our home. I feel as though I've been hiding in a cave socially only coming out to communicate with people outside my family here and there. This is partially due to the necessity of adjusting to the overwhelming change in our lives this year as compared to the past six years, but also due to the fact that all I seem to have to give only reaches my immediate family and work this year. Due to this, I've felt a bit disconnected with the outside world. People I love outside of my immediate family are still in my heart and thoughts often, and I truly missed that "connection" that comes from face to face interaction and phone conversation. Thankfully, I've been blessed with perspective and wisdom (except when I have PMS...seriously) that it's just a season, and that times will come when I have the opportunity, time, and resources to reach out a bit more. I think next year will be similar to this year, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for the joys but also the isolation that comes from living in your own little micro world of family and work. I've really enjoyed all the Christmas updates of what's going on in others' lives! It's given me a sense of connection which I've really longed for this year. Overall, I'm overcome with emotions of joy, humility, and gratitude when I think of how immensely my life has been blessed! When I attempt to say my prayers and thank my Heavenly Father for all I've been blessed with, I get overwhelmed because there are just too many things to thank Him for. There are thousands of blessings I have the privilege of taking for granted every day from the beautiful view of the woods in my back yard with frequent visitors (birds and squirrels) to the deep gratitude I felt when I attended Preston and Catriona's well child check-up this year. Any illnesses -no, any allergies-no, any hospital stays-no, any medications-no, the list just went on and on. Perfectly healthy children! I've had perfectly healthy children for the past 14 years! Some days I'm profoundly grateful for this, and other days I just have the privilege of taking it for granted.

So, that being said, here's an update on each of us in the Schofield Bubble.

Preston - Preston is in the middle of his 9th grade year at Jordan High School. He's been my heart break this year as I'm just now dealing with the fact that my baby is in high school. It's hard to describe how hard mentally it can be so see your baby become a teenager. It's as though I've kept him on this little island for the last 14 years, and now I'm sending him out in a boat by himself every day to learn to fish and just hoping that he won't get overcome by a shark or by inclement weather. I suppose this is excellent preparation for the ultimate "send off" which is coming in just a few short years. Preston's chosen to go on a mission which I'm so proud of him for doing. He's already got around $350 saved - almost one month down - 23 to go. He's well liked at school among his friends and teachers. He's got a very charismatic personality which is a big attractor more so of girls than guy friends. He doesn't talk on the phone much, but prefers socializing at church activities and on Facebook online. He's loyal and loving and has a very tender side which he sometimes tries to hide around his family. He moved into "Attica" a few months ago which he now loves. It's his little cave to hide in, well mostly sleep in, when he doesn't want to do homework, doesn't want to hear his mom nag him to do homework and chores, and just wants to get away from it all. He's made some real efforts lately to love his sister Catriona this year which has been touch and go. Sometimes he'll over hug her which he's discovered she hates, and other times he'll say a sincere thank you which is gracefully accepted. He's an awesome big brother to Tristan when he throws him on his back and runs around the house with him, puts together beads with him, and plays outside with him. His favorite hobbies are playing Rock Band on the Wii - his favorite instrument is the drum. He has taken electric guitar lessons every month from his fantastic guitar teacher - Mike and continues to learn the fundamentals of guitar. Preston makes A's and B's in school, and is an excellent test taker. He's grown a lot this year academically in having to learn not to procrastinate on assignments, to turn in homework on time, and how to stay organized. Sometimes he prefers to in-line skate outside rather than study and complete homework but he always seems to "bring it" by the end of the quarter. I'm really looking forward to watch Preston excel in school over the next few years. Preston's outside hobbies include gardening which recently he made an indoor garden for his room. He loves mountain biking although he can't ride his bike lately because it got ruined from popping wheelies...oops. So, he's been burning up his wheels on his in-line skates this year. If you're driving home in our neighborhood, you just might get passed by Preston whizzing by on his skates. He's fearless on those skates! Many days this year Preston told me to strap on my skates and ride all the streets in our neighborhood. I've really enjoyed this time with him.

Catriona - I think the best way to describe Catriona this year would be to describe what life would be like without her in our home. Without her in our home, who would offer everyone in the family a grilled cheese sandwich on a regular basis? Who would keep the spirit of Christmas alive by reminding us about the traditions of our Annual Schofield Fireside, the Christmas tree, the ornament giving tradition at Thanksgiving, and about the joy that comes from giving? Who would make chocolate milk every day and ask if they'd like a cup made for them? Catriona mostly spreads joy, quality time, and high quality living in our home. Since I re-arranged my office desk to have a view of our front yard I often get to see Catriona running home from the school bus. She can also be seen in the cul-de-sac on her in-line skates improving her skating skills. Catriona is a stellar student in school. Many teachers over the years have commented on her enthusiasm for learning. I still remember the day when one teacher talked of a writing activity using the analogy of the parts of a sandwich as the kids built their paper sandwiches to enhance their skills in effective and complete writing. She commented on how genuinely excited Catriona was to do the activity and said, "she's just the kind of student that makes you love being a teacher". At home it's not much different. Catriona aims to please and most the time hits the mark except when she's aiming to annoy which she also knows how to do very well. Two nights ago during a game of Rummikub, she laughed and laughed until we all said "enough". Catriona's hobbies this year have been in-line skating, discovering the forest and making forts back there, training Bits - her rabbit, taking guitar lessons every week, setting up sleep overs and learning to entertain her friends, learning to draw horses, and learning to be a fantastic babysitter. Catriona is very sensitive to how others are feeling and will often show her most beautiful attributes to her personality when she sees a family member in need. Yesterday, while her brother laid sick on the couch, she cheered him up by entertaining him. When she sees I'm overstretched with work, she'll make up the difference by making dinner at times, tidying up the downstairs, or keep up with her responsibilities to lighten my load. What a blessing Catriona is for our family. This year many will often comment on how beautiful she is making envious remarks of her two foot long blond hair and beautiful face, but it's her spirit inside that continues to humble me in gratitude that I've been blessed to be her mother all these years. By being around her, I'm surrounded by service, compassion, caring, and an appreciation of all things beautiful.

Tristan - a.k.a. Trouble, Baby Sweet Pea, My Little Mooka, etc. Favorite sayings to him - "you've got the cutest little toes", "you know your mommy loves you", "your the sweetest little baby in the whole wide world". Now when I say the last one, she says, "no mommy, I'm a big boy", so I say "okay, your the sweetest big boy in the whole wide world" and then frown because it just doesn't have the same effect on me when I say it that way. Tristan is my toddler boy version of me. He's giving back all I ever did to cause hardship to my older sister Liz, mom and dad, and other siblings growing up. He's such a loving little boy. He'll spontaneously say, "mom, I love you" in a way that makes my heart just melt. When his aunt Liz and grandma Kunz came to visit, he stole their hearts with his "stop" comment said in a flirtatiously and slowly. He's often picking up on comments of his brother Preston and sister Catriona and when he says them - it is, for lack of a better word, so adorable. He's our little toe head. He's a little albino baby with the lightest hair, skin, and gray/blue eyes. Preston and Catriona are blessed with beautiful olive skin and can't understand when their Dad lathers Tristan up after each bath with a 1/4" of lotion to keep his skin healthy. When I want to remember Tristan as a 3 year old, I need to think of string cheese, him jumping out of the bathtub and running away from the towel down the hall to escape, locking down the house to keep him from running down the street, that little smirky/mischievous smile, "mommy, I love you", "no thanks" when he didn't want to take Tylenol when he had a fever, riding on his tricycle so fast the pedals were just always in the way, learning to sing "I love to see the temple", night tuck-ins where he'd spontaneously hug me and not want to let go, and the run into my arms hug/love he gives me every morning when he's dropped off at Triangle Preschool.

Kelly - Kelly's career has totally taken a right hand turn this year. After our company was chopped in half in 2007, Kelly decided to go back and become a licensed physician in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After planning to rank Duke and UNC as the only schools he wanted to match with and meeting with the director of Psychiatry last year to inform her of his plans, he was admitted on the spot and told that he just needed to pass his boards. He successfully passed his boards last fall after six years away from formally practicing medicine which still astounds me and started as a Resident Psychiatrist in January. It's now December and he's completed his internship year! Words can't even begin to describe how much joy it's brought me to see how competent, skilled, and compassionate Kelly has been as a Psychiatrist. His scores are top of his class and his maturity well beyond that of the other residents after all his years as Clinical Director for Youth Quest. It's been a joy to hear him tell of the veterans, hospital patients, and inpatient lives he's been able to serve this year. Last fall we sat down with our children and talked of how our lives would be different this year. It was hard for Preston to adjust to his Dad being less available, and Catriona often wanted to keep up with when he'd be on call and when he would be home. Kelly left his little buddy Tristan who started to ask "where's daddy" more often and Kelly made a frown when he called for mom at times loved rather than him when he was home. Kelly receives top marks from his wife for his ability to leave work at work this year. When he gets home, he hangs up his white coat and has been completely there for us all year. This is one gift he's given that's been one of those things taken for granted. When he's home, you'll often see him bird watching with the kids, outside keeping up his tropical gardens, giving guidance and discipline to Preston and Catriona, reading books every night he's home to them, giving Tristan baths and putting 1/4" of lotion on him, making sure we read a few verses of scripture each night and said family prayer, and getting angry at the kids if they weren't in bed on time telling them that they were stealing quality time his wife needed. Thank you so much Kelly for coming through for our family and working to get us back on solid ground. I love you. Kelly's hobbies this year have been helping the kids take care of the reptiles, maintaining a tropical garden, backyard birding, building an entire attic, hundreds of back rubs to his wife, being a home teacher, and being an assistant scout master at church. My name for Kelly this year is "Dr. McDreamy" because he's just the whole package. What you see is what you get with Kelly. He's truly a wonderful husband and father.

Emily - I'll let Kelly write this part. Here goes.

Emily is the model of perseverance... she has worked incredibly hard this year continuing to nurture Youth Quest through its trials and feeling as if I left her to hold the fort while I go elsewhere. She continues to extend her passion and compassion into serving the clients and staff that we have the privilege to try to have an impact on. She wonderfully gets our kids ready each morning, leaving at 5:45 with Preston to seminary, then sends Cat and Tristan on their way. She somehow finds time to take care of herself by working out and has found a new passion this year in roller blading; ripping it up along side Preston when he is home. Catriona tags along, but doesn't quite have the perseverance for it yet. Emily ran in yet another sprint triathlon this year, but unfortunately Preston and I weren't able to make it to watch her cross the finish line again. She literally does carry a large burden of our family on her shoulders this year and I've missed her and the kids while at the hospital. I have loved the exciting work I've done at the various locations, but I've missed her and the kids. It's a wonderful feeling to know that when I'm gone, my kids are getting her. I often return home to a delicious dinner and lately over the last few months, she's been in a cooking and baking mood; which we've all enjoyed, most of all me!!! She really enjoys our little "beach home" as she calls it and would frequently spend some weekends out there even if my work didn't allow me to be there. She loves to play in our warm ocean and is like a fish when she goes out alone or with Preston. They even jumped in the kayak once and tried to catch up with some dolphins we saw; they got away, but they had fun trying. I'm just really blessed to have a wife and mother as strong as her to hold our home together and wish there was some small way for me to accurately portray how important she is to me and our family. Thanks Emily.

Spending Less than Made

Today I'm really thinking about spending less than I make. I'm in a frame mind where I'm in tuned to the fact that I likely spend more than I make at this point, eat more than I need, don't spend my time as wisely as I could. I'm eager to change, but all too aware of the fact that habits truly are hard to break.

So, I'm starting with my finances this evening. I'd like to see how much we spend, how much we make, how much tithing we owe, etc. I'll get back to you when I complete this homework assignment.

My mind and body have a cold!


Have you ever felt like you were at the summit and weren’t quite sure what the trip downhill would be like? Well this is where I’m at today. I’m in my sunroom enjoying the beauty of the day with rain pouring down outside. It’s quiet at the moment and my bare feet are playing with Lexi on the floor while she works to roll from back to front; she’s working on it at least. I think I’m a little numb today from all that’s transpired in the past few weeks. My brain is still in a fog and seems to have a cold too. I’m on day 12 of a cold that has lasted what seems like forever. I’ve not worked out since Saturday the 8th and that seems like an eternity for me. My weight sits at $2.09 which represents steady progress so far. I’d like to be a buck sixty or seventy one day, but that’s going to take patience and turning down a lot of goodies.

I’ve been pondering a lot lately the “how did I get here” question? Just last year I was considering merging my company, Youth Quest, with Thompsons and serving in some development position. Since they offered to pay me hardly what I’m worth and required me to turn over my company of 15 years, it was an easy decision. But, it was still a decision that was a fork in the road for me. Had I taken the position, I’d be forced to put Lexi in full-time daycare and would likely be busy working to meet quotas. Financially we’d still be struggling to make ends meet as our finances just haven’t been enough to cover our crazy expenses so my stress level would be high to say the least. On top of that would be the pressure to make the relationship work with Thompsons, as having it not work would have meant giving up my company. So, I chose the latter part. To keep my company open but have no ambitions to make it grow for a season, and become a full-time mother of an infant again. That decision was also partly made because the offer came to the table when I was already pregnant, and I knew that I’d be able to accomplish little this year with so many other stresses on my life right now.

Today what’s that like for me? Well, boring today. I really don’t want to clean my house because I still miss getting my cleaning crew to do it when I could afford it, so I sit in a home with much to do but no ability to get things done. The reality is that its hard for me to get anything done that I want to do. The thoughts swirl around my head of what I should get done, and I have the ability to get it done, but my brain can’t keep the attention long enough with the task to get that task done. That basically leaves me in a lurch because I’m not willing yet to stop breast feeding; the reason I can’t take the medication to help me focus. The question I sometimes ask is if its’ really better in the long run for Lexi and I to breastfeed and to stay in this fog and haze, or to stop breast feeding and get on with my life. I just feel like without the medication everything in my life is on hold. My career is on hold, my fitness success is on hold, having a clean house is on hold, getting my finances in order is on hold, and doing things right the first time is on hold. I’m just not thorough. I’m just unable to finish a thought. Yet, typing has always been a refuge for me. I can type like the dickens and can almost type faster than I can think. I’m thankful for my typing skills.

I tried calling my sister today, but she’s busy. I tried calling my mommy, but she didn’t answer. I had a thought today about doing something nice for Kelly tomorrow when he’s off early, but then I got overwhelmed by the steps to complete the task. Okay, so let me try to see if typing the steps will help me get this desire done tomorrow? #1 – look up the weather and see what the weather will be like tomorrow? Nope, an outdoor thing is off the table due to rain. Now, trying to think of something to do inside. Hmmm, thinking?

Okay, Lexi is starting to figure out that mommy isn’t giving her attention. So, that leaves me having to sum up.

#2 The library – travel section! We’ll meet at the public library tomorrow after lunch and plan our next vacation. Maybe?


My brain is a bit of a hot mess this morning as I find myself still recovering from a cold that came to visit me Saturday. I’m finding it hard to focus on anything of real lasting value at the moment. To help myself feel better, and give some much needed relief to my untreated nasal congestion, I’ve escaped to my beloved jetted bathtub for some reprieve. Lexi is also sick and seems to also be in some twilight yet awake zone so she’s stationed on my yoga mat on my bathroom floor with a few random things to keep her attention. With thoughts swirling in my mind and persistent, that I’ve parked my laptop on the side of my tub to get the thoughts in writing in hopes it will relieve some of the annoyance that comes with thoughts and nothing to do with them.

The overriding theme has been that this experience here in North Carolina, now being 15 years, has been a ride I never could have possibly imagined in my wildest dreams. It’s been so full of experiences, I’m starting to forget large chunks of time which seems somewhat tragic in my book of life. Especially, in what I think are some truly awe inspiring and complicated chapters I’ve endured.

So, I’ll take today. This morning I awoke from another night sleeping with a cold and no cold medication. Since I’m still exclusively breast feeding, my best option has been an occasional ibuprophen to help my sinus congestion. Since Kelly’s now picked up the virus from me, I elected to sleep in Lexi’s room to avoid both my snoring and Kelly’s interrupting us throughout the night. This morning, Lexi awoke to eat around 7:00 AM, and then after saying goodbye to Kelly, I woke Tristan up and gave him his clothes for the day, then went down to make eggs. It’s amazing to think of how quickly we fall into patterns and routine with only a few days to set that pattern in place. Then, it’s like we go into a kind of auto drive and that sets the course for a big chunk of time.

On the way to school, I remembered that at 10:45 PM last night I remembered a last minute birthday party Tristan had been invited to at 4:00 that day that I was told about that morning. I had completely forgot about that wonderful invitation by the afternoon. I called my friend on my cell phone and apologized for “mommy brain”.

After driving Tristan to school, and getting home, I thought it would be a good time to go get the emissions inspection waiver needed for the Lexus to be legal to drive. This is something I haven’t been able to do because my routine I’ve worked so hard to establish has been to drop Tristan off at school and then go straight to the gym, or home to feed Lexi quickly and then to the gym. Lexi was asleep and since it has to be done between 8 and 10 in the morning, and working out isn’t on the agenda today, I went to start his car. The battery was dead, so ……

10:44 AM – Well the baby started fussing, so I had to stop mid-sentence and feed her. She’s napping now in my bed and I’ve gotten back in my tub and it’s not as warm now. So, that pretty much gave me the answer to my question of all the random thoughts? This is my life right now. I start something, then have to attend to baby, try to start again, but then attend to baby again. Having a newborn is a kind of nirvana experience in life forcing you out of every routine you’ve been used to. I don’t normally take a bath during this time of day, but then again, I don’t normally feed a newborn every two hours either and I rarely catch cold viruses.

11:00 AM – Bath didn’t seem soothing when I returned to it, so I’m out now and dressed. Well, if you count wearing oversized sweat pants and an American flag t-shirt. Baby is still asleep for the moment on my bed so I’m now sitting in my recliner so I can still hear her and continue purging my thoughts in a much more comfortable position.

Back to routines. Perhaps its good to have bouts of sickness and long periods where you nurse babies so you don’t get stuck in routines and can re-invent yourself. Perhaps its just life’s way of breaking up your routine. I really didn’t want to be sick this week. The weather this summer has been relentlessly hot in the 90’s it seems morning through night. This week has been the first time the weather is amiable. I was so excited to get outside. Oh, just a minute. I’ve been meaning to send an e-mail out on some listserv’s to see if anyone has a running bike I can borrow for a few months…. Good, been meaning to do that.

So how do I feel? The range of emotions I feel lately is almost overwhelming. I feel like my life has progressively gotten more complicated yet the day to day is quite routine. Professionally, I’m going through a bit of a slump. After I finished national accreditation and had a complete bust of a first season writing grants, I sort of checked out of my job. Yes, I’m still getting paid, but I’ve been unable and unwilling to be a leader for the company lately.

Why? Well the primary reason has been money, lack of direction, and lack of energy.

First the lack of money. My career started to take a nose dive in 2007. What we termed the Hive Meltdown of 2007 sent our finances into a tailspin. With our income cut in half overnight, it was very difficult to budget or know if we had enough money or cash flow. Then the state decided to start shutting down all group homes so in the fall of 2009, I reluctantly decided to shut down the Quest; the second group home I’d invested a decade into building. The problem was that one client I was concerned would be adversely affected by the closure. So, to ease the transition I changed it over to a glorified therapeutic foster care and kept the couple on staff and the child in the home. Then that couple left in 2010 and I recruited a second couple. That December, that couple notified me that they were unexpectedly expecting twins. So, my plan to have this home operational with two clients suddenly would only work with one client. This didn’t work financially so it was time to completely shut down or recruit a new couple. The home already seemed to be a conflict of interest with me owning the same place I licensed the couples to work, so operation shut down took place. In November the couple left and the Quest sat vacant for the first time since we bought the home in 1998. All these changes took pieces of my pay until we reached an all time low in income at the beginning of 2011. With 10 years built up of “stuff” at the Quest in very poor condition, in the spring with Dad’s help we cleaned out the Quest and found a long term renter who moved in on April 27 2012.

Second, my lack of direction…or change of direction. With the huge blow to thousands of hours of work in putting together these group homes for troubled teens, I felt deflated and bruised and professionally spent. Professionally, I’ve been going through a very slow forgiveness process of having to come to terms with the reality that another person, an employee in my case, has the power to completely destroy over a decade of hard labor and work building a dream for troubled teens. I’m a fighter so I pursued national accreditation in hopes it would give me a new path, but that was accomplished and has helped with managed care now, but didn’t live up to all that was promised with it either. Then, my children started growing up and my husband decided to pursue medical residency. Where did that leave me? I needed to be here for the kids. The every day routine started to take priority over the five year program growth plan. I’ve found over the past five years that my place hasn’t been in building up a company, but just being at home. I’m always home. I can’t recall a day in Preston’s high school where he was able to come home early and me not be here. The very act of being her for my kids when they are this age has just felt right, and still feels right. It’s much more boring than the joy I find in hiring, teaching, and building up a company, but I’m building a family right now, and the way I see it is that I’ll have plenty of time later to build the company again. What I’ve learned hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s been put on hold until the wind changes again. Right now the wind is blowing east, but when the time is right, it will blow west and I’ll figure it out when it comes.

Finally, a lack of energy. I’m so tired lately I can’t begin to tell you. I can’t believe how exhausting it is to be financially overstretched. For the millions of people in the world who are living beyond their means their whole lives, it’s absolutely exhausting. It a nutshell, it has completely sucked the fun out of my life. It has taken up every last ounce of my emotional surplus and turned me into this person who is fighting depression and hopelessness on a daily basis. It has been exhausting on our marriage and for our children. It has been a trial that could only have been avoided if we sold our home, or abandoned it. We tried to sell our over budget home for residency, but were unsuccessful leaving us with an unbelievable burden of trying to pay the bills every month with money we just didn’t consistently have. We’ve been two months behind on our mortgage for over two years now. We were a few months behind on our investment beach condo until February when we fell more behind this year. Once the payments fell 60 days behind, it went into default 60+ days and the mortgage got sent to an attorney for foreclosure and I’ve not been able to make a payment since. Our credit cards are behind a few months, and I struggle every month to keep up with the day-to-day utility and grocery bills. Then, to add insult to injury, my vendors don’t pay me for months at a time so it’s always feast or famine and is extremely difficult to budget. Right now a vendor hasn’t paid me in three months and owes me over 10K sending us in another financial tailspin. I’ve done everything I can to try and stay out of the abyss of depression and hopelessness, and the only thing that’s kept me going and not applying for bankruptcy is that this will all be over in 3.5 months. Yes, only 3.5 months left out of 60 months of financial nightmare.

Most of my energy has been spent the past five years trying to keep an elephant balanced on a tiny ball platform. Getting Kelly through a five year residency and keeping our home and other investment homes has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever encountered financially. Just the sheer number of months I’ve had to figure out if we’d have enough to pay the bills, and coming up short during some months has been the most emotionally exhausting thing I’ve ever endured.