marriage tip.

This morning on the bus my mom called me and asked if Husband and I would be willing to come to my grandma’s house on Sunday. She was having a ‘summer party’; I couldn’t think of a reason why not and so told her yes, of course we’d come. Since my extended family hasn’t met since Easter we’d also be doing a mega birthday party for everyone who has a birthday in the summer (including Husband).

When I got to work, I had about 15 minutes to kill, so I called Husband and let him know where we’d be on Sunday. I thought he’d be okay with it since the only plans we had this weekend were his bike ride on Saturday and a trip to the zoo on Monday.

Oh, party people everywhere … his bike ride is on Sunday. And it is a morning to night ride.

What ensued after this was a fight of epic proportions, if such a fight can occur over the phone, battling the great family vs. bike ride debate. There was a lot of swearing and a lot of my opinion (we rarely see my extended family, he has three other bike rides this month) and his opinion (he simply did not want TO GO, I don’t support his biking).

In the end, he huffed, “FINE! I won’t go on the ride!”, shot off an explicative, and hung up.

I did not feel victorious.

I talked to my coworker about this and asked what she thought of the situation. First off, she told me that I was right, especially since he’s gone on numerous rides this summer and would be going on three more very soon. Family is always a priority (especially once I explained that we hadn’t been to an extended family gathering since Thanksgiving). Second, she pointed out to me that Husband had probably been simply looking forward to the ride and was upset to give it up, even if he knew deep down the party was more important. She told me not to gloat about “winning”.

Instead, she told me to go get a thank you card and write him a note, saying how much I appreciated him willing to give up his ride, how thoughtful and generous it was, and how I knew it was hard for him to do that. She also told me to write about how I DO support his biking (since that seemed to be an issue with him) and write down why I think his biking is so great (it keeps him healthy, it makes him happy, he gets to take new adventures).

So I did this. I made sure I wrote in there that I loved him, that I loved how honest we could be with each other, that he was an exceptional husband for giving up something he really wanted to do to make me happy. I stressed the last part, adding that I didn’t know many people who would be willing to do that. I stressed this because after his divorce, Husband went to therapy because he felt he needed to learn how to be a better person, boyfriend, husband, dad. I wanted him to know that giving up this ride proved that he was a really great husband.

I gave it to him when I got home and he simply said, ‘That card meant a lot. Thank you for writing it.’ We hugged and made up, and he’s going to go for a ride by himself sometime over the weekend.

I wrote about this because I think it’s a great marriage action. Fights are hard and can be dirty; if they’re about something personal enough, everyone gets hurt. It’s easy to turn a fight into tunnel vision about getting my way. This exercise allows the person who ‘won’ (when a compromise can’t be reached) to acknowledge and thank their spouse for being gracious enough to make a change. You’re not saying ‘thanks for caving’ or ‘thanks for seeing how right I was’. You’re saying, ‘Thanks for doing such and such for me. It shows how much you love me, and it makes me love you more.’



Two posts in a day … because I said so.

I have really perfected the art of distracting myself. Of filling my time with books and Netflix and Husband snuggling, with writing out checks and prepping for work and shopping at new grocery stores.

But the tide eventually comes in.

Tonight, we were laying in bed watching Grey’s Anatomy and for a minute the world fell out of focus and I thought, Husband is losing his job and he has no replacement job. The tears sprang to my eyes so fast I couldn’t think of them, and then I shook my head a little and focused on the subtitles.

I read in an article that we all think we are dealing with the hardest hard, and we judge others by saying we are going through something harder. The author of the article said, ‘That is OK, because for you, it is the hardest.’ And you know what? That is okay. I can feel that what we are experiencing is harder than what anyone else is experiencing because … for us, in this place and time, this is HARD. Devastating, and worrisome, and stressful.

My coteacher was snappy a few days ago, and in the middle of the day she just sighed and said, ‘I’m sorry. Today was his first day without his job, and I can’t sleep at night because of the worry.’ And I looked at her and gestured to myself and said, ‘Bring it on. I totally get it. Do what you have to do.’ Right now our hardest hard overlaps, and I said it before and will say it again, I am immensely grateful that I have someone who is going through this struggle with me.

days off.

I haven’t had a night terror since I’ve last written. I go to bed worried every night, but I haven’t had a night terror. So that’s something.

Today I got a day off work, just cause I helped out last week and let my coteacher take one. I’ve been up since 7:15 anyway. I’ve already done two loads of laundry and the third one is in the dryer. I’ve put away clothes and towels, cleaned the tub and toilet, run a load through the dishwasher, and done a cleaning sweep through the apartment. I’ve even taken a shower.

It’s 11:00 in the morning. I’m making myself some lunch, keeping Grey’s Anatomy playing in the background, and I’m researching books for my niece’s birthday present.

It’s so funny. I look forward to and think about days off, and then when they happen I get a million things done in the morning and then just … am for the rest of the day. I remind myself how I could never stay at home all day, every day.

It was the same during the summer when I was in school. I yearned for it all year round, and then when the summer actually came, I did little. I don’t think I’ve ever been one to enjoy endless free time. As I sit here, I glance at the clock and know that my kids are getting changed and ready for lunch. I miss them.

Guh. The baby fever has been getting me lately. We went to Target for odds and ends last night and I passed by the wall of baby onesies and … and guh. My coteacher asked me last week if Husband and I were trying for a baby. I told her no, but the fever inside me whispered I wish …

So I go online and look at more baby stuff and think about what projects I’ll do with my toddler someday and if my kid will know his or her shapes like some of my toddlers do.

in the night.

Last night I had a completely terrifying and disorienting night terror. I “woke up” to find myself sitting on the edge of the bed, screaming my lungs out with my pillow and the sheets on the floor and Husband holding me from behind so I would stop flailing my arms. Once I was fully awake, I went in the bathroom and cried for about fifteen minutes. I slept fitfully for the rest of the night because I was so afraid it was going to happen again.

Night terrors are essentially a form of sleep walking in which you have hallucinations and move around doing things without actually being awake. For me, mine usually involve terrifying things that I ‘see’ around the room, and I essentially scream and thrash and throw things until Husband pins me down/wakes me up. The one time I researched anything about night terrors, the article talked about them in smaller children (like eight). The article acted like this was the only time in their life people got night terrors. It didn’t have any solution or reason for them.

At the time when I researched it, I was living in the Lockport house with my sisters and I was getting them a couple times of month, but they were pretty tame. I would not scream, but get out of the room, wake up, turn around and go back to bed. Sometimes just sitting up would be enough to jolt me, and then I would lay back down. I mostly joked about them because they were so tame.

I only had night terrors twice before that (an adult both times), and the one time my mom found me I was hunkered in the corner of the living room crying and screaming I wouldn’t go back to bed.

However, ever since I’ve been living with Husband the number and intensity of the night terrors have increased. Within the past few months I’ve had them about twice a week. I have theories as to why this is, but I’m still not completely sure. I think it’s because I had a lot more on my mind now, as married and a fully job holding adult, and it’s very stressful. I notice that they occur (like last night) for the most part within the first half hour of my sleep.

I have also been prone to crying a lot lately. I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and the patients (not the doctors and their silly drama) with their worries and their strength and their attempt to repair family relationships have me crying almost every day. Let me make this clear: I DO NOT CRY. I do not cry unless it’s that time of the month where my uterus lining is leaving my body. But for the past month I have been crying on an almost regular basis thanks to this show.

I also cried when I took Husband to the ER. We were walking through the waiting lobby of the hospital and it brought back a lot of memories of his grandma dying (EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS A COMPLETELY HOSPITAL IN ANOTHER COUNTY!) and I started crying. Husband had to calm me down.

Oh, and then yesterday when we were at my parents there was a letter on the table from an oncology department pretty much begging my dad to make a follow up appointment, that they had been calling him. Husband thinks it was about him getting checked in general (because he’s over 50 and prostate cancer and all that), but it really freaked me out. Like tearing up in the kitchen of their house and taking deep breaths kind of freaked out. I didn’t mention it to my parents though, because if it was important I trust them to tell us. Plus we are keeping our own secret so I am more inclined to being respectful of people’s secrets.

I think I’m going to look up a gyno with my insurance today and see if I can schedule an appointment. I’m 25 and I’ve never had a pap smear or anything and I’d like to talk to someone about this sudden onslaught of tears (like seriously, I was semi crying the entire time I wrote this), the night terrors, and my wonky period and if that’s anything I need to worry about.

Entire too long blog posts lately, but I need the release.

sick with fever.

I’m sitting on the bathroom floor at 1:00 in the morning.

My dad has been working on our car all week, so we’re taking the train down to my hometown tomorrow midday. Which means I should be getting to sleep soon … mostly because I first wrote ‘getting to work soon’ and it took me about five minutes to realize what I typed.

But I have been up for the past two hours instead, thinking about my day at the other center today in a two’s room. The most boring room ever. And I don’t mean the actual room was boring. I meant the kids were so well behaved and capable of playing independently that I thought I was in a Montessori class. I had to interfere only a couple times, and that was mostly because I wanted better word choice from the kid, not that they actually needed help.

I watched two year olds clean up by themselves without complaining … at all.

I watched a teacher scold a two year old for screaming (in good fun) … outside on the playground.

I watched a two year old define the word ‘tardy’ for his teacher.

I watched sixteen two year olds sit on a rug five times through out the day to look at books for about fifteen minutes each time.

I watched a two year old request to hear ‘We Are Young’ followed by ‘Call Me Maybe’.

I watched ten two year olds play in dead silence (okay, there was pretty much dead silence throughout the day) while my coteacher sat and ate chips -n- salsa.

I did not watch a two year old receive a hug, a snuggle, a tickle, a lap sitting, a high five, or even a soothing naptime pat from their teachers. (I was actually told NOT to help them go to bed at naptime.)

This keeps me up at night because I realized … I totally miss my normal, crazy, emotional kids. I admit I was thinking of (and was even offered the opportunity today) to transfer to this center. And I realized, I cannot. I cannot leave my hugs and kisses and snuggles and dancing and tickles and fights for my lap and giggles and jokes and ‘Mama’. Also … my center is full of diversity. And this may sound … whatever, but the center I went to today is 10% biracial children and 90% white. I miss the variety.

And as I discussed all this with Husband, and how not child-like and open and imaginative and creative these children were, the baby fever inside me opened a sleepy eye, yawned, and shook itself awake. Long enough for me to baby item vomit all over Pinterest and rant to Husband about how MY child is going to play and scream outside and play with others as well as independently and may not know what tardy means at the age of two but WILL have friends of all colors.

Now I am on the bathroom floor, writing this, blinking my eyes for moisture, and awaiting Monday more than ever before.

Because I sat with a barely two year old on my lap today, as she laughed with me and high fived me and let me read her stories and fix her hair with a big, goofy smile. She barely knew me but I could tell in her face and the way she consistently ran to me for more high fives that she was falling in love with me. And then her teacher told me that she was “OK, a hot mess, but once she gets older and talks more she will be better. She will be good.” What? Why is she not good now? How could she get better than she was right then?

I’ve been thinking for a few months now that I want the ‘easy way’. I want a day care with lots of toys and quiet, behaved children and rich parents who were ‘involved’ … but now I see I would die of boredom in a perfect, easy place. Much like the way I was slowly dying in an English classroom killing Shakespeare and great literature in an attempt to make students understand facts for a test. I was told I could not listen to what they had to say, to what they thought, and I could not effectively teach if I was not following a certain approach.

I take more joy now in teaching toddlers/infants because although there are some rules, they are flexible, and are open to creativity, and demand exploration.

Oh, 1:30 AM bathroom musings. How rereading The Fault In Our Stars has nudged the writer, thinker, and dreamer in me. Quotes from the book to come.

(( If you got this far … congrats and thank you. ))

down the road.

I spent the past three days discussing this post in my head, writing a thousand opening sentences and a million support sentences for those thousand.

I have been waning back and forth between worrying worrying worrying about Husband losing his job, and trying to ignore things until something actually happens.

And even though it jacks up the worry, and sets my heart skipping, I listen to him as he talks about the work slipping away, about the unanswered resumes he’s sent.

The good (and yet terrible) news is that my coteacher’s husband lost his job recently. So we have been sharing our hopes and fears, and it is quite the bonding experience. I enjoy feeling free to tell someone about it, especially since we haven’t told our families yet. We aren’t telling them until Husband finds a new job.

Work is calm and gratifying and so much fun. Currently, we are getting props from the temporary management, which is good for us. It’s mostly because we are being extremely cooperative, even though we’re some of the youngest in the building. That’s why tomorrow I’m heading out to another center to help out. I was going to be given the day off, but then the center needed me, so maybe next week.

A couple amazing things: engagement, pregnancy, another pregnancy, and my coworker with TWINS (TWINS! EEEP!) is doing wonderful. Also the vlogger that got scared off the Internet came back and it is awesome.

Anyway. Life right now consists of focusing on the positive, rereading The Fault In Our Stars for deeper understanding, and taking in Chicago.

Because I love the architecture and layout of this city so much so that I would drag Husband up up up the Sears Tower (forever the Sears Tower to me) on a clear blue sky day in order to gaze at it all.

just. gaze. in awe.

lay of the land.

feeling body positive lately.

lit conference – 2.

Some pictures, as promised.

I went to the cocktail reception tonight — the one where authors/editors would be attending. I was very proud of myself for going, and for staying a full hour. It was hard because … I was alone, and I was pretty much the only person there alone. A lot of people were grouped in twos and threes. Yesterday had a really good track record of talking to people around me, but tonight, people actually turned away from me when I went over by them. It was really disheartening and I’m not gonna lie, I felt like … is there something wrong with me? I was talking to this girl while we were waiting for our drinks, and it was a good conversation, but once she got her drink she walked away from me.

I felt pretty awful about myself.

Finally, this group of girls around a table invited me to join them. I could tell I was the oldest in the group because the girls just seemed pretty immature. They were giggling a lot and weren’t talking about anything intelligent — they were talking about knighting each other and what they post on Twitter. I tried to follow along but it was kinda weird. Anyway, the point is that John Green was a couple feet away from this group. Once they noticed him, the one girl said, ‘Who would you rather have out of the Vlogbrothers?’

Yes, you read that right. This girl was asking us whether we would ‘have’ John Green or his brother Hank. I could tell I’m 25 because I was appalled by this question. First of all, both these men have wives and one of them has a child. Second of all, one of them was only a few feet away!

I have this thing about authors … I think they’re real people. I don’t think they’re like celebrities, who are really out of touch, but regular people who happen to be kinda well known. People fantasize and talk about celebrities because the chance of you actually meeting them in real life is very very very very slim. But authors go on tours and you can actually meet them, and you read their tweets and it’s not about premieres and high end shopping, but going to the dentist and taking care of their kids. So I walked away from the group after this girl asked this question, because I was totally disgusted by her attitude that the real person a few feet away from her was just some ‘guy’ she could ‘have’.

I think this really got to me because a couple nights ago Husband went to Best Buy by himself to get a new phone. The girl who took care of him, he told me, talked to him excessively and when she called his new phone to make sure it worked, she handed him the phone afterwards and said, ‘Oh, look at that. Now my phone number’s in your phone.’ And smiled at him. HE WAS WEARING A WEDDING RING! When Husband and I were engaged, an ex girlfriend of his Facebook messaged him KNOWING HE WAS ENGAGED and told him she was dreaming of him and that she wanted to meet with him for coffee (he deleted the message and deFriended her).

So yeah, to hear this girl talk about John and Hank with such disregard for his personal life irked me. Call me crazy, but it irked me.

So I went over and talked to John Green instead. And it was awesome. Although I have to say this … everyone was being … such a fan … around him and Maureen Johnson. I mean this one girl was literally going on and on about one of Maureen’s characters to her, and people kept coming up to John and asking for autographs on books and such. I mean, the point of the reception was to be able to normally chat with the authors, not bombard them like crazy people. Also they had just gotten back from a two hour signing … do you think they REALLY want to keep signing stuff? I really thought since it was an 18+ event people would be able to hold a conversation, and that was not the case.

Honestly honestly honestly … when I went to the signing yesterday (I think I said this already?) my hands were shaking to talk to John and Maureen. Tonight, at the reception? I listened to Laini Taylor talk, stood by Maureen Johnson while she talked with people, and had a conversation with John Green and I was fine. Isn’t that weird? I thought I was going to go crazy with nerves and I didn’t. Pretty cool!