Addiction

8.07.2014


I am the sibling of an addict. And while it is not my place to tell his story, I have my own story to tell.

It is something I think about every day. Several times a day.

It is tiring, absolutely exhausting, when your sibling is an addict. You feel powerless. You ARE powerless. You can do a million things…love them, support them, preach to them…none of it makes a goddamn difference. It just plain sucks. All I can do is control how I react to him.

So many times I think back to our childhood and think, what drove him to make these choices? And not just try them, but try it all. And not stop. And all I can do to keep myself from going insane is tell myself, despite what he spews at us, it that my family did not cause this, my family cannot control this, and my family cannot cure this. *deep breath* And hope that someday, he will step up and take responsibility for himself.

If I could get through to him and he’d actually listen to what I have to say, I’d want him to know that I do support him, but that doesn’t mean I support or approve of his choices. It doesn’t mean I agree with the choices he makes. I love him. He’s my brother. But he’s killing me. And if that’s my inner turmoil, I cannot imagine how my parents feel. Not that he cares. Because addiction is a selfish disease.

He’s high maintainance. He drains my parents of their finances and their energy and it kills me that he thinks nothing of it….that he feels entitled to it. So I sit here, quietly, trying never to rock the boat and ask more of them than they can give. I try not to be bitter about it, but as my words show, its there.

And while he may have quit the terrible awful addiction (and traded it in for lesser drugs), until he repairs his relationships with us, we will forever live in this state of turmoil.

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Twinning

8.05.2014

Twin-relationships

It was May of 2003 when I found out that I was pregnant with twins. My husband and I were at the OB’s office and she did an ultrasound at 7 weeks and immediately found them. Ultrasounds are so fuzzy and you never quite know what you’re looking at early in the game. But I will always remember her saying, “there’s the baby….and there’s the other baby.” I think I stopped breathing for almost a minute. I know I started crying. I was like, “what?!” She said, “Its twins, sweetie.” and went on to explain that twin A was measuring a bit smaller than twin B and what that could mean and that we’d have to watch it and I would come back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound. My husband, he was ecstatic. He immediately said, “I’ve always wanted to be a twin!” (or something like that). Me? I was freaking the hell out. The thoughts going through my head ranged from, “holy crap!” to “I have a 13 month old at home. How the hell am I going to do twins?!?!” to “How the hell can my body carry two babies??!!” to “How can we afford daycare??” to “Please let Baby A thrive. Please. Please.” Never once, not for a second, did I ever have thoughts like these parents. Sure, there have been times that it was difficult. Or more than difficult. But I’d not change it for the world.

twin-bonds

When I was pregnant, I read all about this amazing bond that twins shared.
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For a short while, I joined a local twins club and I heard stories about these bonds. I heard all about the special language that twins shared, often referred to as “twinease”. But honestly, my twins, who are brother and sister, are really nothing more than siblings who happened to share my uterus at the same time (and fought over the space!). They have a love/hate relationship and it borders more on the, “you annoy the hell out of me just by breathing wrong.” Early on, I separated them in school, based on a teacher’s recommendation (a parent of twins herself) who said that she noticed that my daughter had the stronger personality and tended to speak for and mother her brother and that, in her professional opinion, would do better being apart from her. There are some times when I wonder if that hindered their relationship, but hindsight is 20/20. They live together and its good for them to have their own friends outside the house, right?

twins-special-bond

There are brief moments that they get along. And when I see that, I hope that its a glimpse into the future. A time that they’ll always have each other’s backs as teens and adults. I can only hope that someday, they share some kind of wonderful bond that I always dreamed of having with a sibling.

twins-unique-bond

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recognizing success

7.24.2014

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Recently, my husband officially became a partner at the firm he works for after 10 years of working there. And by officially, I mean that we had to take out a loan larger than our mortgage to do this, purchase our own health + dental insurance, and purchase an insurance policy so no one sues us. Funny how that works, huh? To mark the occasion, I threw him a small surprise party to celebrate his success and to thank those people that have helped get him there, those who have supported us along this journey, and those who have helped ensured my sanity these past 10 years.

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I tried to keep it as simple as possible, given that I was incredibly busy. I took a gamble and held the party at The Landing, an outdoor beer garden at our pool. I wasn’t able to reserve it, but it opened at 3pm and I had Alyson meet me there a bit after 2 to set up, so I was hoping we’d be good. And we were. And t saved me from the stress of cleaning my house. Having it there gave me built in kid-entertainment – the pool, the playground, a volleyball court, hiking trails, and live music.

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Alyson decorated my mason jars for me and we sent the kids off to pick flowers + weeds from the woods for them. To keep the food simple, from a local caterer, I ordered these bourbon BBQ meatball sliders served with carolina slaw on a pretzel roll. I supplemented with fruits, veggies that Norah and I picked out at the farmers market that morning, some cheeses and meats, and some giant pretzels from The Landing. I also picked up a few dozen macarons from the local French bakery and, per Norah’s request, a cookie cake for the kids (because macarons are small and $1 each and we had 45 people!) And of course, drinks…I provided open bar at The Landing to all our guests. Kinda nice that I didn’t have to worry about buying alcohol.

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Who knew that when these girls met years ago on a brief visit, they’d end up being besties.

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Trying to take a decent photo of us is next to impossible.

 

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The main reason for me holding the party when I did was so that I could include my in-laws from CA who were here for a visit.

 

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Proud of him. Proud of us. Thanks to everyone who came and who have supported us. And to my parents, who didn’t make it, but who have always helped out with my kids when I needed another set of hands because of Chris’s travel schedule.

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summertime…and the living is easy

7.14.2014

We recently returned from a little 5 day stint in some part of Michigan (what part, I do not exactly know. Mid-Eastern to North-Eastern, perhaps?)
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I call this ‘smoke on the water’. I am witty.

Buck the Destroyer got to experience a lake for the first time in his (almost) 2 years. He was not quite sure what to think of it. It took a lot of coaxing.
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I will tell you that he immensely enjoyed the freedom he had to roam. He is a bit of a pet-whore of sorts, and he was getting love from neighbors on both sides. And was being loved by one of the neighbor dogs quite often.
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The kids – my goodness – they had a blast. My kids got to try lots of new things, including karaoke (at a bar and at home) and go-karting on trails, and a long 5 hr canoe trip. Elliott took me for a spin – he’s a crazy (but surprisingly good) little driver!
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Mostly, it was just a lot of maxin’ and relaxin’ and plowing through books in the sun. What vacation is really about. Its great for the soul. I feel really lucky that we not only have good friends who will invite us to spend time with them and their families, but also that we have the opportunity to take the time to go on several little trips over the (oh-too-brief) summer break. I’ve always felt that its so important for kids to see their parents in a relaxed, chill, more carefree setting. Its a whole different family dynamic.

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How about you? Does your family do vacations or stay-cations? Little or big? Close or far?

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Moderation vs. Deprivation

7.11.2014


Let’s talk about these 2 little words:
cheat
bad

I posted this photo in my IG feed a week ago


I had gone out for ice cream at a local creamery with my kids. And ohmygod…this was seriously the best ice cream ever to touch my lips. So creamy. The tart of the lemon balanced perfectly with the perfume and slight sweet yet savory flavor of the cardamom. I am not a huge sweets person (salty is my thang), but if I was denying myself, I’d have missed this lovely experience.

After years of denying myself food and years of sugar-free, fat-free, meat-free, I’d rebound by going apeshit crazy and eating everything. And then I’d take control again and so goes the cycle. I’ve been everywhere from 92lbs to 140lbs. It took a toll on my muscles, my metabolism, and my heart, to name a few. It took many years and the birth of three children, but I have come to understand what it takes to truly be healthy. To truly have a beautiful relationship with food. To love the skin I am in.

Food should never be seen as the enemy, nor should any food completely be restricted (unless for medical reasons, of course). Sure, there are some foods that are better choices than others. But honestly…everything in moderation is the phrase to remember.

Like old Italian grandmothers, I love cooking for people – its my love language. I am not an emotional eater, but for me, food is something that, yes, is fuel, but should also be wonderful and beautiful and enjoyed….like a party in your mouth. I love to gather with my family or friends over a dinner table for hours with good food (and wine).

Food is fuel. When I eat whole, clean foods, I feel good. I have energy. But does that mean that I can’t indulge? Or that I should only indulge on Sundays? No…that’s just silly. As the years have taught me, that’s just setting myself up for failure. If I want a piece of chocolate, I will eat a small piece and get it out of my system and move on versus obsessing about it, dreaming about it, and ultimately binging on it. I take my kids out for ice cream, I will order some- regardless if I indulged in sweets or fries earlier in the week- because I want to model healthy behaviors…show them that I eat very healthy and make healthy meals, but that I also indulge in moderation at times, too. I don’t believe in “cheat” days. Moderation. Its all about moderation. Not deprivation. So eat the damn cookie.

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