Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

Be you. We will get through this.

We’re in this together. It’s okay to feel exactly the way you are feeling. Every reaction is a normal reaction. We have not seen this kind of thing before so lets not assume that any of us knows how to handle it.
#mentalhealth #behere #doyourbest #alwaystogether #keeptrying #doyou #beyou #lifelessons #everydayisnew #saywhatyoufeel #inthistogether #healingtogether #lifecoach #letmehelp #professionalscribble #towhomitmayconcern
Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

Lockdown, family; adventure

Handling children during lockdown is rough, feels like life is going in circles. Don’t know what day it is.There’s no routine. We try to maintain some kind of system so the boys know that morning happened, and night came. The in-between is a bit fuzzy. I try not to guide their activities too much. This is an excellent opportunity for them to expand on what they already know about their surroundings.

We do have to recognize that there are very many ways to raise children. There are so many ways to create healthy and happy minds. My idea of what I want my child to be may not be the same as you when I go forward and express my opinion that does not mean that I’m disrespecting yours. Right now, this is for those you agree with me, for those who want to move forward with the way some of us are trying to spend our days with our children in quarantine. Here it comes.

I’m about to reveal something that will put me in the most uncool mom’s list, but I have got to speak my truth. While there’s a lot of buzz about everyone parenting their way these days, it appears there are a few things one cannot do as a parent. If you do, you are automatically cast out of the ’laid back cool mom’ club. I never applied to that club, to begin with, so I think I’m safe.

My kids are not watching a lot of TV. On regular days they would go weeks without technological entertainment. It feels as though this is a negative thing to say nowadays. I understand where most people are coming from. Parents are judged for letting their kids watch tv, so they’re on the offense most times. The parents who try to keep their kids away from tv are deemed pretentious because all the other parents feel attacked even when people like me are just voicing our opinions.

You have researched and chosen by your children. I have done the same. I don’t think it’s okay for either one of us to make the other one feel inadequate about our choices as parents.

Anyways, the point I was trying to make is that I thought I would not be able to accomplish this while stuck in the house. I’ll admit, they’re watching more than I’d like them to. However, I did think I was going to want to plop them in front of the TV every chance I got.

That has not been the case.

The world has been different outside and inside, as well. By no means has it been easy. Riding the bike and finding joy in little things has become a standard in our house.

When designing activities for them, I try to remember what we did when we were young.

No one made a schedule for our fun time. Being told how to have fun and how to spend every minute of every day must be suffocating.

We had the freedom to explore, and we had the privilege to learn from our own experiences. They are finding out what activities they enjoy—discovering new things about themselves. Every day is a new adventure for all of us. Not always in a good way, I’ll admit.

I give them tasks and ideas that they have never considered before.  Sometimes it’s a complete miss. Sometimes we discover a new talent or an interest.

They have been using their imagination to draw and make unbelievable stuff; Not that reality isn’t incredible enough right now.

What would the world look like if all the trees were gone?

How would you feel if you could never have milk again? Surprisingly enough, this topic got two whole paragraphs. You can substitute milk for any other food or item they care about. The idea is to make them think about a different world. Imagine what isn’t or what could be.

Of course, the everyday activities, the routine, the homework, all of that will go on. These are some things to keep their mind occupied and stimulated without that which should not be named because the second it is named, it is impossible to make them forget about it.

Kids don’t always want to be running around.

If they want to have lazy hours,  these are situations we are likely to put something on for them or hand them a device. Find lighter activities that don’t use so much brain and physical effort, for example, gather a bunch of branches, sticks, legos, recycled paper, cardboard turns it into a maze. They can sit on the floor next to you and use marble to play while you work or even watch tv in secret on your phone without them ever finding out.

I don’t like to have the children in my room too much, which is extremely hard to accomplish these days. The best solution that I’ve found is to go to the part of the house that I want them to be in; That will become their activity center,  they will get used to going there when working on projects, which in turn will be easier for you to move away from that area and get some time away from the kids.

Time away for us is, of course, extremely important.

After all, this is another benefit of the devices and tv, that they leave us alone.

I have found some classes on puppetry or origami or both; my boys love them, kind of like a two in one project. First, you make it; then, you get to play with it. You can find age appropriate classes for either one. Come to think of it. You can find many other courses to teach just about anything. The kids can be near you, not talking to you, not asking for help, and still completing a project. Just amazing.

I also have them read short stories then continue the story from their own imagination.

Make background stories for different toys and objects. Making stories for objects lying around the house is a bit more interesting because it makes them think harder, get more creative. Find objects from the living room or the bedroom, such as a talking sofa that is tired of carrying people’s burdens or a refrigerator that’s saddened by the insane amounts of spoiled food.

Give these a try, tell me what you think. How well do these work?

Just as adults, children of any age are fearful and anxious as well. They have questions they don’t know how to ask. I have noticed that mine are much more clingy. Even though both their parents are home, they seem to want us around all the time.

At a younger age, it’s difficult to put the uncertainty and confusion into words for children, so maybe it is better just to let them get used to the new environment gradually. Try not to put too much pressure on them by heavy routines and schedules.

We have been having some amusing conversations about what’s going on in the world with the kids, which I would love to share with all of you.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

The Only Valentine’s Day That Mattered

I’ve never been much for the mushiness of Valentine’s Day or any day. It’s a commercial day. Lots and lots of people who want to make money will do just that; they will find a way to make money off of you and me. They will make money off of our broken hearts. They will abuse our misery. Or, they will get in on our happiness, but not because they’re happy for us. No sir, that is not the case. They will do that because they know we will fall for their terrible, miserable plots to sell us all those flowers, chocolates, and gifts. We fall for it. Well, I’ve always been too smart for all of that. I’ve always been too good for love. Yep! I know it.

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

Until one day, I realized that was not what was going on. Valentine’s Day or any other day has to be what we make of it. Every day can be simple. Beautiful, unique. This is not one of those heartfelt stories where I become a believer in Saint Valentine, and everyone lived happily ever after. Nevertheless, it is one of those stories that made me believe in the more unaffected side of life.

As I mentioned, earlier Valentine’s Day has always been just another day for me for as far back as I can remember (and still is). One random day there was a knock on our door; This was after my husband, and I had been married for a few years. No one knocks on doors without calling first, so this took us by surprise. We opened the door; there stood one of my uncles and his wife. We have a HUGE family. We were not that close to them. They didn’t have any of their kids that lived nearby, so it was just the two of them.

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

We were shocked to see them at the door. As we invited them in, they pushed a tiny box of decorated home-made chocolate cake towards us. We didn’t know what to make of it before either one of us could ask, they spoke, “Happy Valentine’s Day. We just wanted to show our close family and friends how much we love them, so we baked them these mini cakes. We hope you like chocolate. We can’t stay long because we have to cover a lot of homes.” With that, they turned around and left.

That was the only Valentine’s Day that has ever mattered.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

Not An Apology

You know what I want to do today, my friends? I want to apologize. I want to apologize for sitting a tiny bit to my side that made you feel like I was turning away from you. I want to apologize for continually moving around, which gave you the impression that I wasn’t interested in what we were talking about. I also want to apologize for not maintaining eye contact for too long. There are so many other little quirks that I could go on apologizing for. Such as, me always playing with my hands. I know it’s annoying to watch, probably, most definitely. I know it is. I will probably never sit next to you on the floor. I will find a seat close by and lean over to talk to you. This will seem rude and will be uncomfortable. However, that’s just how hanging out with me will go.

I can’t keep looking in one direction for too long; I start to get anxious. The kind of anxious they write in textbooks about.

I will make plans or accept your invitation then cancel on you the day of without any notice. Even though you might have seen me somewhere the day before and probably looked fine. My excuse that I am too sick even to walk will probably sound just like an excuse. Hard to believe. It’s not.

Nevertheless, I use it so much that even I try to come up with other random things to say when canceling plans because I’m sick. I wouldn’t believe anyone else. Why should you have to. I am sorry for putting you in that spot; I am sorry for being the one you always bail.

And the shifting side to side is a neat story; I have sciatica in a few different discs in my spine. It’s a real son of a bitch. I might really want to keep the conversation going with you, but my back might just be tired of that posture I’m making and decide I need a new one. That might offend you, I get it, but there’s no other way. I have two options; I can tell you my sob story, or I change positions to relieve the pain and then start up a convo again in a few minutes so you know I wasn’t trying to ignore you when I turned away and hope for the best. Normally I don’t share my life with people unless it’s in writing. Why I do it here? That’s because I’m not the only one impacted by the little things happening around us every day.

Who knows who else might read this out there and think hey, me too. Or think yeah, I know someone like that. They’re a real pain in the ass, real party poopers. Maybe I should call and check up on them.

I know what everyone reading this is thinking, or at least some of you. Get some meds in you and stop whining. Stop whining? I have a legitimate reason to whine and I stop? So not going to happen. I am on every medicine imaginable. I’m as active as I can be with my limited joint movement and chronic pain.

That’s why I wanted to tell you that this is my medicated, exercising, healthy as can be, self. With all that said, I’m not changing and I want to apologize for that too.

No matter how much I write about it or talk about, in the end everything comes down to just one problem: if we cant see it, it must not exist. Since I don’t look sick I must be either exaggerating or straight out lying.

Well, I apologize for you not having enough faith in me to believe that I wouldn’t lie or exaggerate about such a condition. If you ever said you were in pain, physical, mental or emotional I would believe you.

Turns out this isn’t really an apology after all.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

Hey Kid

Listen kid; I love you. You are me, reincarnate. Nobody else could have made me feel this incompetent and challenge my every sense to this extent. Nobody. Nobody could love me this much either. This wholly and unconditionally. You make me hurt to the point that I cannot comprehend it myself sometimes. I’m on my knees. Literally on my knees. You’ve lost something under the sofa or the bed or some other place, apparently I’m the only one whose around that can do the bending, sitting, standing, or whatever seems to be the most painful task of the moment. Most of the times, I got you covered kid. Sometimes though, geez, hit the pause button, would ya?

Like I said, I love you more than existence itself, but you’re not very like-able all the damn time. For example, right now. What is the need to jump on your brother’s side of the bed while brushing your teeth? WHAT? Just WHAT? I don’t like it. He’s screaming to tell you that he will not sleep on his bed after you have sprinkled your teeth goo on it, and I’m screaming for you to get off the bed, and you’re just jumping away. So, I ask the question; which I have asked in our many conversations during evaluations of situations like these, “when you are getting so much positive attention, why look for negative attention?” I’m here, I’m talking to you, I’m spending time with you. So why turn it into me raising my voice or speaking in a negative tone? It’s better when we are ALL having fun. Isn’t it?”

We’re cut from the same cloth, you and I. I do get it. I am your mother, however. I also need you to stop it right this second and go brush your teeth in front of the sink, or your black-panther superhero doll disappears. Ah! That’s better.

Sometimes love and understanding is not enough.

My solace in all this, you can take care of yourself and then some. The world is not patient. The world will teach tough lessons. The toughest, harshest situation you have to deal with right now is me telling you playtime is over. The worst evil deed under your belt is breaking your brother’s lego plane, which he took hours making, and maybe throwing stuff at his too. Kid, the world will teach you some real evil tricks so I like that you can hold your own. I like that you can break shit when you’re angry. I also like that you can count to ten and then come ask for a hug when you know you need to calm down. I know I need to teach you the balance. I know we are far from it right now. We have to look into doing that without killing that spirit that makes you want to take out every single plate and bowl in the house and kiss it just because you’re in the mood.

Kissing stuff randomly is fun. Wouldn’t want that to be a thing you stop doing, even if that means every single dish has to be washed.

You know why I started writing this; it was because you told me that you wanted to lie down next to me. I asked you if you were done. Time to play so that I could get back to work. You responded with “I am your most important work, ill pay you in hugs and kisses.” I know it sounds adorable when you hear it, but when a child won’t leave your room and you have deadlines, not so much. You want me to yourself. Im realizing we need boundaries. Im realizing you need to understand that I’m always here for you but you need to start seeing me as an individual. I think that’s why sometimes I don’t like you. You are inching into my existence. You want to take over my life. That’s not your fault however, at some point in your life I gave you the message that that was how it was supposed to be. No more mister. There is a whole world for you with me in it. I shouldn’t be your whole world though.

Where do we start? Let’s see, let’s start with my whole life being about watching the two of you sleep while I rush to finish this because the list of very important work I need to do in the morning is not more important than the cuddles you’re going to ask for super super early in the morning.

No. Let’s start with you bringing me down to my knees for your useless tasks. Yes, I think that’s a better place. I’ll take the cuddles for a little while longer.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

The New Decade

Hi folks, so I have about an hour left in this year, this decade of ours. By the time I get around to posting this, it will be a brand new decade. We will all have new faces, flying cars, and all those other fun things that always come with the new year.

My day started typically, as usually, kids came downstairs for their morning cuddles, the only thing I can handle before my coffee.

Then the afternoon was just utter chaos, even more than usual. My husband goes off to where ever he goes 2 to 3 times a month, and every time he packs, he rushes like he’s never been on a trip before. The whole house has to be on a standstill. We all, especially me, have to stop all other activities and pay full attention to his packing and his needs. So much for being a strong, independent male who can take care of himself, right? So, my biggest accomplishment today was putting that husband of mine on that plane. Well, he didn’t come back, so I’m hoping he’s on the plane. The second significant accomplishment of the day; getting the kids to bed before someone seriously got hurt. My feelings don’t count.

Finally, after finishing all the other work and jobs that can only be done after everyone goes to bed, I’m here sitting pouring out my thoughts while I wait for my pizza. I just realized I didn’t have dinner. I plain forgot. Now, I’m too tired and cold to get out of bed to make something or even warm something up. So pizza delivery it is. Being a mother plus wife who works is hard, but it has its little pleasures like when you allow yourself the hot pizza with the side of wings because you know you’re justified in not wanting to get out of bed. Always look at the bright side. Isn’t that what people say when they are trying to be positive about the future? This new year I will be more positive about life.

All in all, it was a normal day, which is about to get better with pizza. However, it seems it was not so normal. This is the cap on my 4th decade. You would think I would have learned a thing or two. You would think I would be making resolutions left and right.

You would think I would be thinking more of this.

Here we are, though. It’s night. Tomorrow it will be daylight, Another of many.

There will be no magic in the sky. My kids will come and get a cuddle and go for breakfast. Our day will go on. I might make gummy slime with them, so that’s something we didn’t do today. If we end up doing that, you will hear about it.

Photo Credit: Matt Hoffman

Where is the lesson? Here it is. We will not wake up to anything largely different. We will not wake up to a shinier sky. We will wake up to exactly who we are right now. The lesson is not in making promises and continuously looking ahead. I believe the lesson is in the now. Lesson is staying focused.

I’m not against making resolutions or changes in life because, of course, we have to keep bettering ourselves, and we do change whether we want to or like to or not. But timeline means nothing. I will evolve I need to, and I should wish to, however this decade, the past one, none of it means anything. I still feel like it’s the 90s because I rock to Pearl Jam on the regular. Judge me if you must, but does that mean it’s 20 years ago or…when even was “the 90s”?

I’m me. Growing, every day. Changing into different people, achieving strengths and goals that I never thought possible.

Nothing was sudden, though. A date on the calendar decided by someone else shouldn’t mean anything. You can decide on your date. First, determine who you are right now is terrific.

Because do you remember 5 years ago? Oh my GOD, that was a mess, right? And then that strange situation happened. Maybe 6 months earlier. You never thought you’d be here. You were strong, so brave. All of that in you and you underestimate yourself like you need to morph into something else completely to be better. You are ”better.” Believe that before, hold onto what it is.

The change, the promises will come, not this year, not this decade, not now but over your life because that’s what life is about. Life is about growth, subtle decisions.

So if you wake up tomorrow and your face looks the same and all those little flaws you’ve been keeping a tab on to fix next year are still there, and the sky is not golden, and there are no shooting stars or flying cars then count your blessings and be patient.

The one thing I have learned in my decades on this planet and that I’m positively sure of is that we will surely miss it when it is gone. Whatever it is, we will want it back. Cherish it.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

My Nonsense

Okay, so my life just took a shitty turn guys. You get to a point where you think you’ve lived through the drama, and that stuff doesn’t bother you. You tell it to bugger off. At this point in my life, I thought my job was to help other people with my drama-filled experienced. Here I am, though, completed kicked in the knees by my past and present. I’m sitting here thinking, “I have done this. I HAVE DONE THIS SO DAMN MANY TIMES.” This should not rattle me. This is new, though. In some weird, unknown way, this is new. This repeats on me, why? How? I’d like to think through no fault of my own, but it repeats continuously. Today, right now, it has a tanginess, and I cannot explain.

Today, this day. I never thought I would have to deal with this. I should have thought better. Known better. I don’t understand why this is even important. I am one of those people who take things. I don’t go around being emotional and illogical about issues. I think, and then I decide what my move will be. Today, I thought and then I decided I just don’t want to deal.

My entire life has been dealing with something like this. Y’all know what I’m talking about? I know you’ve been there.

When people won’t cut you a break, and you know they know they should. Yeah, that. I’m worn out by the drama that’s always been here and I’ve always been prepared for it.

I think its because I am not ready to hold my tongue, or my fists for that matter. Been doing that for far too long. Feels good to admit that.

Violence is bad kids.

Sidenote: a long time someone in Turkey gave me a crown made of roses and I pretended to be a princess for the rest of the day.

Thank you for listening to my nonsense.

Posted in Travel, Parenting, Lifestyle.

My Happy is not your Happy

My happy is not your happy. My shining sun is your rain pouring and cloudy skies all around. Doesn’t matter how much we like each other, or how well we get along. People are just different. You’ve heard that before haven’t you? You’ve felt that about people you are the closest to, you’ve felt the exact same feeling from the person you can’t stand. However, HOWEVER, you have chosen to think, “he or she I love so I’ll try to make it work. Same faults on another, unacceptable. “How dare you madame, insult me by disliking sunshine. It is a blessing from our lord and savior. I can never be in your company ever again”. Have you not yourself tried dancing in the rain for someone you love just to understand them? Not to turn away from the sunshine forever, but just so that person stays in your life? I know you have. That is the sign of a strong person. A brave person. Do that for those you don’t love. Do that for yourself sometime.

Would you ever let yourself? Forgive yourself? We do that. Make mistakes. Humans, all of us. Good or bad. Just people, flesh and blood. Moments’ decisions based on emotions. Not based on you or me, based only on personal needs and usually moments’ pleasures. Mistakes. Almost never about you or me. Then again sometimes it is about you or me.

I lost my tangent, we were talking about forgiving ourselves. Could you please?

I haven’t. How could have I done this? I could have lived better. Tried harder. People say, “but why didn’t you, why did you let them..” I can’t answer those questions so I wonder myself, how I could let this happen? What a miserable human being I have turned out to be. Right, so that’s the drama queen in me talking but sometimes those emotions are real too. I made myself miserable, and now what? I could blame the whole world but I had a choice, I had the option to walk away from all of it. I didn’t. Now what?

There’s the big question; now what? Could you forgive? Could you at least try? Would you even want to? That would make things harder, in a manner. That would make you even more accountable. Separate fiction from fact. You’d have to know exactly what you did to yourself. You’d have to own up before forgiving. You would also have to realize that most of it was done TO YOU. Most of it was not in your control. You would realize that fear is literally paralyzing. You would find out that when a loved ones’ life or emotions are on the line you give up. You quietly, willingly walk away from what you have longed for because hurting them sounds way worse. You might blame yourself later but at that moment, that’s the right move. Forgive yourself for caring. Forgive yourself for being scared. Forgive yourself for your humanity. Forgive yourself for wanting to know what peace looks like. In a slight moment, we make decisions because we want the voices in our heads to go away. Some scream it, some find quieter ways. Some of us find our guiding light late. We all find it eventually. Nobody is left alone.

It all starts with forgiveness, whether it’s HIS or your own. Start with FORGIVENESS!