It's November. And I'm all thankful and junk. I mean I AM thankful. For lots of things. I'm doing the daily list of gratitude and all that. But today, I want to share a different list with you. And don't act like I'm the only one who has this list. Here's my list of what I'm not thankful for:

Bad Children on Planes

I jumped on a 6 hour flight and had two kids behind me (possibly twins) kicking my seat the entire time. Oh and they were also screaming and yelling loving words such as "STUPID" and "IDIOT". They couldn't have been more than 6. The nanny did not have them under control. At. All. The parents were living it up in first class while I endured the kicking and yelling. I have choice words for those parents but then again, I don't want to be Judgy McJudgerton.

Random Allergic Reactions

I was in Seattle last week (more deets on that later) and lo and behold, I end up waking up to arms and legs that look like I possibly slept snuggled up to a beehive. Not. Cool. I might've resembled an addict as I scratched my arms though the only fix I wanted was a technology fix from my new Surface Pro.

Doctors Offices that Don't Understand My Urgency

I get back from Seattle still itchy only to call the doctor and be told too bad so sad. There was a time when I used to call and Mary would answer the phone. I love Mary. Mary knew who I was and if I called with an issue that had to be seen right away, Mary would try her best to fit me in. Even if I had to wait. I finally got an appointment for Friday only to wake up late. And since I was going to be more than 15 minutes late (I called to let them know), they cancelled my appointment. Can we talk about how many times I've waited for 45 minutes to see the doctor?

Monsters Inside Me

Have you guys seen that show? I think it's on Discovery or something. One of the first episodes they showed was about a parasite that can live in your eye. It's called ocular toxoplasmosis. I was diagnosed with this little gem way back in 2003, I think. I noticed I went to read a book and got a blurry spot smack dab in the middle of the page. And it wasn't my contact.

Turns out that this is what you get from cat poop OR from under cooked pork or unclean salads. One in 3 of us have it and it's dormant. Mine woke up that day and has woken up a couple of times since. It wakes up when I am super duper stressed and my immune system isn't as strong as it should be. I need to go on a round of antibiotics for it. But of course, the retinal specialist is currently booked til January though I have a tentative appointment for two weeks from now. By then, I might be unable to see out of my right eye but, who cares, right? See previous rant about doctors.


So I'm pretty sure all of my health issues are related to stress. I could save the time and money and do a self diagnosis but, what fun would that be?

I realize that in order for me to be healthy and happy, I have got to let go of some things. And that's okay. I can't keep going 100 miles an hour and think it's not affecting me. I need rest, I need a day off. So I am starting to say no to things.

In the coming months, I will be saying no to more. I have decided that I will take off the first term of the new year. And I will have to let my type A personality chill because I won't finish my degree in 2014. A blog, a business, a household, school, volunteer activities and a child? That's a lot to handle. While I have better tools today to help me manage what I do, I realize that I will be good to no one if I'm burned out and sick.

Say Yes_Coelho

In Conclusion

So while I'm unthankful for all of these things, I am VERY THANKFUL for the constant blessings I've been given, the opportunities that come my way and I'm thankful that I have grown enough to be okay with saying no and with understanding that I can't do it all, all the time. I was reminded this week that in order for me to take care of those I love, I have to take care of myself. That's a non-negotiable from this point forth.

What's on your list? Tell me, tell me, tell me.

Piling Up

These last few weeks have been difficult to say the least.  The emotional roller coaster that came with mother's day has left me exhausted.  Add everything else to that and you get things piling up.

I know there are plenty of other things I can write on that pile.  We are all so overwhelmed at times that it's hard to figure out which way is up.  The funny thing is that for me, this is my first experience with truly not feeling like I have control.  And I'm struggling.

I'm struggling with how hard it is to sneak homework in and how much I dislike asking for help.  I struggle with not being able to write and with trying to figure out how I'm going to make  a living.  I struggle with overcommitting myself to things/causes that I love and then feeling disappointed in myself that I can't deliver.

And every day, I struggle with pushing that pile out from in front of me and just taking it one thing at a time.

Because ultimately, that's all we can do.  I tend to get wrapped around the axle a lot.  Especially when I look at my pile.  I have to remember to REST because right now, I'm overtired and I realize that lack of sleep adds to my distress level.

It's all about trying to find peace. Bearing down and just doing it, whatever it might be.  It's about being okay with saying no and learning to walk away temporarily from things that are not a current priority in my life.  About not having to explain myself or what's on my pile.

And it's about keeping the positivity.  I don't have all of the answers but I know that I have to be easier on myself.  And I have to keep praying because ultimately, my faith will carry me through.

What do you do when things start piling up?

I'm pouring my heart out with my girl Shell at Things I Can't Say. Check her out.

Don't forget to join me on Thursday 5/17 for a Live Chat with author Trudy Ludwig at 9 p.m. EST...

What Matters Most

I have had a hellacious four weeks. I won't bore you with all of the juicy details behind the statement but, suffice it to say, that with everything else that's gone on this year it's the holy grace of God that sustains me! Today was especially hard. I'm up against deadlines and then all hell broke lose on something I was working on and I hate it when that happens.  I couldn't wait to get in the car to have a good cry.  Because on top of "regular" life, I have mami moments that knock me off my feet on a pretty regular basis.  I didn't get a chance to cry on the drive (because not even my tears are following my schedule!).  I got home after spending a  little time over at dad's with the frog princess just in time to put her to bed. I wasn't happy at this total lack of QT.  More and more I am realizing how little time I have with my baby girl.  And in all honesty, it breaks my heart.

We go through our routine.  The milk, the short giggles on the bed while she attempts to run away from me.  I say our prayers, I pick her up, we say goodnight to the fairies in her room and when I set her down in her crib and go to walk out, she starts crying.  Outside of the door, the guilt washes over me.  I start to think.  My poor baby girl! How little time I spent with her today. How complicated life seems with all of the stresses of work, with all of the time away from home, with the time I spend working at home, etc. Two minutes after setting her down, when she starts calling mama as she's crying, I can't take it and I go to pick her up.

We go to my bed where I hold her and she stops crying.  Enter mami tears previously scheduled for the babyless portion of my drive. The frog princess, keenly in-tuned with me sits and looks at me.  As I cry I apologize.  For not having spent enough time with her today.  For not being able to stay home with her, for forgetting to pack the right amount of clothes to take with her to the caregiver this week, for having to put her to bed immediately after coming home.  At one point, she reaches out and pats me on the arm.  A move she started doing less than 24 hours after mami passed away.  She then reaches out to hug me and keep me close.  This act, of course, makes me cry even harder.  She grabs her burp cloth and blots my eyes and welcomes me to take it.  She gives me a DVD cover that was on the bed.  She even gives me Clifford.  All the while she is jabbering away, calmly. Obvious to me, explaining something.  With a serene look on her face that reminds me of mom.  She talks and pats and hugs me.  I imagine she's telling me the secret to happiness.  The inevitability of life.  The total stupidity behind worrying.  Because all that matters is this moment.

My daughter, normally asleep at that time, cried in her crib until I came to get her.  I went into her room fully expecting to do what I am supposed to do, what I feel I was born to do: comfort her during her time of need.  Instead, she reminded me of what matters.  And she provided me with a level of comfort no one else could.  With her simple jibberish and her powerful touch she gave me the peace that I'd been missing all day.  When she felt like I was okay, she put her head down and invited me to lie next to her as we often do. She imparted a little more wisdom on her mami then sat up and picked up her things (burp cloth and Clifford).  This is my sign that she is ready to go in her crib.  We went back through our routine. Saying goodnight to the fairies, hugs and kisses and I love you's.  I put her down in the crib and she quietly looked at me as I walked out, stopped at the door, told her I loved her one last time and wished her a good night.  I already can't wait for our quiet time in the morning.

Remembering what matters most...

Photo credit: Andree Mora (A Love of Light)

Monday Series: Your Last Day

If today was the last day of your life, what would you do? What would you expend your energy on? What would you not care about?  How differently would you treat others? How differently would you treat yourself? In the midst of an all-out stress fit, all these thoughts came to me after an exhausting evening of working followed by missing mami followed by crying.  If today was my last day on earth, I'd be pissed that I spent so much time stressing about shit that won't matter on my death bed.  This does not mean that I shouldn't care about my job, that I should give less than the 110% I'm used to giving.  I'd like to think that the change in attitude will help me be better.  A better employee, a better partner, a better mother, a better friend.

This closely relates to priorities which I wrote about in my last blog as well as the insanity that life sometimes bring with it (that I wrote about last Monday).  I'm calling it the Monday series because I think that at the beginning of the week, the stress level sometimes ramps up to the point where we forget all of the good thoughts and intentions that we had prior to starting the day.  How do we prevent that from happening?  I think that it comes with developing a habit.  A routine of actions put forth in advance so that when we get to that point where we are completely overwhelmed, we can take a step back and get a little perspective.

I write this blog more for myself than anyone else.  The last 3 days have brought with it a lot of hectic "SHIT!" moments in my life.  It has affected my health, certainly my mood and my psyche.  I am exhausted.  In every aspect of the word.  It's time to reset and when situations come up in my life, continually ask the question: if today was my last day, would my time have been well spent?

What would your answer be?

The Correlation Between Diapers and Wine

...there is one, you know. Let me tell you how. Last night I rush over after work to pick up the frog princess who is out of diapers. Now, normally "out of diapers" for means that there's a half dozen in her bag and at least 3 in my house and at my parents (where the nanny watches her). Well, this week, out of diapers meant, I may have 2 at home and one in the bag. So off I go to CVS, too close to her bedtime for me to be comfortable.

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