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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Run, Baby, Run!

Today I ran my first mile since before my pregnancy with Gabriel (now I'm making up for it with a bowl of ice cream, but let's just ignore that small fact)! Back in the day my first mile was just a warm up, a mandatory step before miles 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Today it was a feat.

Aaron and I had promised Aiden a trip to Montreat park after his nap and decided we'd get a work out while we were at it and stop at the Montreat gate so we could run to and from the park. Well, actually I decided that and didn't really give Aaron a choice. I told him he'd be happy in the end. He just gave me a look that said "Right." He knew he'd be the one pushing the double stroller. When we got to the gate, loaded the boys in the stroller, and started to walk in that muggy heat, I suddenly realized there was no way I was going to make it a whole mile up hill to the park. I decided instead that we should walk up and run back. Baby steps. Aaron didn't complain. He was, after all, the one pushing the double stroller.

After an hour at the park, playing in the creek and swinging on the swings ("Daddy, you swing with me? Mommy, you go sit down.") it was time to run. Ok, so ever since I took an interest in running 8 years ago, I always imagined that once I got married I would also be gaining a life long running partner. A two-in-one type deal. Well, it appeared quite early on with Aaron that that was not going to be the case. I tried running with him once in college and the guy could not keep a pace. He'd bolt forward, jumping off rocks and small walls along the path (I imagine he was probably yelling "Par-core!" in his mind), then he'd slow down to my pace and make some smart-aleck comment about my speed before racing ahead again. I tried to get him to run with me again once we were married, but despite the fact that he could run for hours in a soccer game or ride his bike for 10+ miles on mountainous trails, he could not stand the thought of running simply to run. I almost forgot about all this until we started to run today. "Let's keep a slow pace," I said as we started to jog. But it wasn't more than 30 seconds before he was racing down ahead of me. He did have the weight of the stroller pulling him forward and Aiden yelling, "Faster! Faster!" but I could tell even that was not completely to blame. I could barely keep up with him and then he'd stop abruptly to look at something. I'd pass him and then he'd zoom right past me again, lifting the stroller's back tires to avoid rocks and curbs (although if Gabriel was older I am sure he would have tried to do ollies off them). At first I tried to keep pace with him, but after awhile of his stop-go routine, I decided to keep my own. Oh, by the way, my pace? S-l-o-w. I actually almost felt like I was moving in slow motion. Even so I felt like I was dying. To be fair, I did just have a baby not even three months ago, and it's awfully hard to run with next to no abdominal muscles. At first I thought perhaps my organs were going to fall out, but then I got those horrible side cramps and I no longer noticed my organs bouncing around my loose stomach.

All in all I'd say it was a successful first run. Oh and I beat Aaron to the gate despite his speed, all that stopping to stare at random things gave my slow but consistent pace an advantage. However, in his defense, he was pushing the double stroller.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Good Days

You know, I really wasn't so sure I would love having two kids as much as I do. But I do. It's cool to see my toddler learn how to share my attention, and even more so how he enjoys showering his little brother with his sweet smiles and kisses as much I do. I love how chill Gabriel is, taking in the world, completely content with the lot God has given him. I also love how it has stretched me (not in the literally sense-- that part sucks), challenged me, and only promises to continue doing so. I have often felt selfish with my love. Realizing how much I can love yet another human being has forced me to look at the world in a new light. Maybe there is enough to go around? Maybe I can love more? Maybe being stingy with my love is unnecessary after all? I'm not just starting to think so, I am being forced to learn so. Every day. I like how this is changing me.

On another note. I can still be a b**** some times (yes, yes I am still human). And there are plenty of times in the day I feel unfair for how I treat my boys differently. All I have for Gabriel are sweet nothings as I kiss his little toes for the millionth time. Aiden still gets plenty of kisses, but he also get's my stern voice, my annoyed voice, and wacks on the tush to top it all. I know the score will even out in time. Soon enough Gabriel won't be my perfect little baby any more and will require discipline as well. At the moment it doesn't seem possible, but I know it will come. I remember when Aiden hit that point. It was like a slap in the face. I'm sure this time it will be easier to accept and hopefully I'll be more ready for it. If before I had kids you would have asked me what I thought the hardest part about parenting would be for me, I would have said discipline. That's one thing I guessed right. Consistency. The most important aspect of discipline and the hardest part to implement! But practice makes perfect (or maybe just close to perfect), and toddlers give you plenty of chances for practice. Mm hmm.

Even with all of the parental challenges combined, there are days when the stars align and it all seems to pay off. Like when you get your toddler to eat raw spinach with out spitting it out, or when you catch him willingly sharing toys with a friend, and especially when he uses his manners you've worked so freakin' hard to teach! You feel like you may have conquered the world. Oh and when your infant sleeps 8 hours straight through the night? The world stands no chance. Bring it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Gym: Getting Sexy Back

So the time has come to start intentionally getting back into shape. As a belated anniversary gift, my husband and I got a membership to the gym. There's nothing like getting sexy back to spark some romance into a relationship. Of course, as of now we're both still out of shape, and there's nothing sexy about my bright red tomato face and post-pregnancy rear squeezed into yoga pants, but we can only hope that this too shall pass. The best thing about the gym though? Childcare! We get an hour and a half each day if we want, leaving us with no excuse to not go! Thank you Cheshire for that extra motivation.

I had been feeling pretty good about myself with my steady weight loss, but that was before I tried on a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans. Bad idea. Let's just say my overly expressive "muffin top" was the least of my concerns. After that I made another poor decision to try on my pre-pregnancy work out clothes. I mean, they're stretchy, right? Ha. Reluctantly I reclaimed my pregnancy yoga pants and headed to the gym. 

There's nothing like a gym to remind you how out of shape you really are. Fah-lump, fah-lump, fah-lump.... If the way my body feels on a treadmill made a sound, that would be it. Everything bounces. Really. Reminds me of the time I was 14 and doing jumping jacks when my cousin walked in and started to laugh. "Your stomach moves more than your boobs!" he said, still laughing his head off. Of course now with these breastfeeding boobies, it doesn't matter how much my stomach moves, they will always move more. Take that!

Gyms intimidate me even when I'm in shape, so making myself go in my saggy, enlarged, cellulite covered state is quite the hurdle. What with all those beautifully toned people who stare at you as you sloth by, using their eyes to say things like, Why are you here, you hopeless sack of flesh? I've decided the only way to make myself do it is to go every day until I am no longer uncomfortable. I'm not sure how well that theory is working, but with all those mirrors I must say I am more motivated than ever to get my body back. I wish I could go back in time to my 21 year old self and slap me in the face! Really that's what I deserved for judging my body so harshly. If only I knew how good I had it. If only.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Red means STOP!

I have recently acquired a miniature back seat driver. My very own two (soon to be three) year old. Ah yes, Aiden has discovered the magical powers of traffic lights. His knew found knowledge of these profound laws of the road have inspired him to educate any who dare to sit in the driver's seat. "RED MEANS STOP!" he screams the second he sees a red light approaching. He repeats this command until I come to a complete stop (even if I am still several hundred feet away from it). And heaven forbid I hesitate for even a second when the light turns green. "GREEN MEANS GO, MOMMY! GREEN MEANS GO!" he yells at the top of his lungs. Let me tell ya, it's really added an extra little something to my every day driving experience.

Sometimes his toddler antics are really quite adorable. Other times, they hit nerves. The funny thing is that the very thing that is cute one day can be absolutely intolerable on another day. Or even at a different point in the same day. For example, when we're on a fun family outing, say to the play ground, Aiden making sure we are aware of the lights is rather amusing. We laugh and play the game back with him, and secretly wonder how we got so lucky to have such a great kid. But then let's say we're driving in traffic after a stressful event. The air is tense. Gabriel is crying in the back seat. I gasp because the idiots in front of us slam on their breaks when passing a police car (despite the fact that they are driving the speed limit). My gasp scares Aaron, which frustrates him (he is, after all, in control of the situation-- why must I doubt?). I then get annoyed with Aaron for being annoyed with me for something I can't help. Some jerk cuts us off. I gasp again. "RED MEANS STOP!" Aiden manages to yell twice before Aaron makes it to the red light. Ahead of us are ten more intersections. Ten more lights. Ten more "RED MEANS STOP!" or "GREEN MEANS GO!" And those are the times when your left eye begins to twitch, your shoulders creep up to your ears, and it takes everything in you not to jump out of a moving vehicle.

Such is life with a toddler.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Content... Maybe?

I am forever searching for contentedness. If that's a word. I am 24 years old, married, with two kids, and I'm only just starting to feel like a real adult. For the last three years I've felt as though I'm just playing "grown up", that I'd wake up one day and find to my relief that I am still 12 years old-- my only real concern being, when would my boobs ever grow? Only I really wouldn't want to go back. Even in my "carefree" days I was always searching for contentment. I finally feel like I may be making some progress. I'm giving myself some slack. A little anyway. I'm trying my best to let go of the reigns and trust that God's got my back.

I haven't really spent much time in the word since Gabriel was born. Instead of writhing in guilt like I normally would, I decided to enjoy a little break from deep thinking. To be honest, I'm still not sure if I should be writhing in guilt or not, but I'm taking my chances. Not that I am ignoring God. We still have quiet conversations, and He is still a part of my every day. For the longest time I felt like me and God had a deal. My end was to read His word and pray and try to be good. His end was to in return take good care of me and make me a better person. The problem with this deal was, God didn't hold His end of it. I'm not entirely sure He even agreed to it to begin with. In fact, I'm pretty positive He didn't. When I failed at my end,  He still took care of me. And sometimes even when I held my end, I didn't feel taken care of. And I sure as heck didn't feel like a better person for the most part. This left me feeling rather precarious. My mortal soul was in my hands and I didn't feel strong enough for that burden. Yes, yes, grace, love, forgiveness. I know all the right lingo. But deep down I pretty much felt like it was all up to me. Something new is happening now. And I think I might like it. 

After I found out I was pregnant with Aiden, a lot changed. I was 21, a junior in college, and Aaron and I weren't planning on getting married for another year. I had a lot of support, but I also felt very judged-- mostly by the people claiming to live by grace. It stung and I had trouble fighting all the doubt that filled my mind. Aaron and I got married and started our "adult" lives together, but we didn't quite fit. We didn't fit in with the college kids anymore, who were our age, but we also didn't fit with the family crowd. Most of all we felt we didn't fit in the Church. A little snipit from a journal entry of mine during that time: "I find myself reading books that speak about rebuilding the fallen church and transforming the complacent Christian life and they spark something in me that longs to be an active part of Christ's body, the Church. But what do you do when the church doesn't seem to have room for you?" I was starving and it felt like the church was dangling a little piece of meat out in front of me, pulling it away every time I reached for it. At one of my worst points, I wrote:

"How in just a few short days do I go from a "seize the day" mentality to questioning the very purpose of my life? I think it's slowly been dawning on me that my past dreams and goals for my life are never going to be. I'm ok with dreams and goals changing, but no matter what I feel like doing with my life I feel like I am destined to never reach it. I know it's early on to be losing hope on life, and I still do have hope, but I feel it slipping out of my hands each day. I want to live for God, but my disgust for Christianity distracts me from that desire. I love Aaron, but the stress of living seems to slowly be sucking the passion out of our love for each other. I love Aiden and all I want to do is be the best mom I can be for him, but the mundane routines of each day, week, month are slowly draining me of any passion for life. Right now I feel like my purpose in life is to take care of Aiden, keep the house clean, and not spend too much money. Maybe because these are my purpose I am losing the identity I thought I once had. Maybe this is why I freak out when the house is messy, feel guilty when I want a break from Aiden, and feel like a failure when I spend more than $30 dollars on groceries. I wish I could find passion for life again. I can not live a life without passion. That is the only thing I know for sure. I know death is not the answer, so I guess I have to fight back and keep searching. But how do I do that when I am so drained, so tired, so lost in this haze of anger? I am angry all the time. I don't trust anyone-- not even myself. I feel a deep desire for something more and then a pang of convincing fear that I will never find it. That I will lose myself to impassivity, self-doubt, and hate. Lord, I want to cry out to you but something keeps telling me you will never answer! I may physically be here for a life time, but my soul feels like it is dying."

I am happy to say that I can now see that God was working in my heart even then. I can laugh now as I read my journal entries, joking about how I sound like an emo kid. But even though there were no tear stains in that journal, I can still feel the pain I had then and thank God he brought me through. I still have my bad days, sometimes weeks, but I am learning to rest in the truth of His faithfulness. Rest. I like the sound of that. Physically, I am exhausted. Despite the fact that I am sleeping better than I did my entire pregnancy, I feel like I could drop if I gave myself a moment to shut my eyes. But as far as my heart goes, I feel rested for the first time in a really long time. Maybe this won't last forever, few things do. But I have to admit I'm thankful for it regardless! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Long Story Short... But Not Really. (Part Two)


Dark, luminous clouds hung low over the large mountain we were slowly making our way over. A crack of lightening. Then two. I looked at my dash board to see the temperature gauge rising toward the red. Really?! I thought exasperatingly. It was the one section of the drive with miles and miles of nothing but the shoulder of the highway to pull onto. Reluctantly, I pulled over and turned off the car. I had not expected it to overheat so quickly, thinking I would at least make it to I-26. I looked at my phone. No reception. Why is this happening?! I asked no one in particular. As I stepped out of the car, the rain began to fall. Ok, now take a moment to imagine this. There I was, alone (not one car passed me the entire time), two kids-- one crying, the other yelling "DON'T WORRY GABRIEL!!"-- no reception, one weak little arm holding up the hood (it got very heavy after awhile) while the other fumbled clumsily with the hot cap (that will shoot up at you if you're not careful). Meanwhile, the scariest lightening storm I'd ever seen was taking place right over me. Being evening, in the mountains, with a storm, it was quite dark out and I could barely see where I was pouring the water. I just hoped that at least most of it was making it's way into my radiator (unfortunately, I had no funnel). As I poured, I let myself cry for just a moment. I knew I would accomplish nothing by breaking down (no pun intended), but I was pretty terrified. I have always owned old cars, and I've been in many a sketchy situation because of that, but Aaron has always been with me. Being alone, with two little ones to look out for, paints a very different picture. Alas, 15 very frightening minutes later, I started the car and hoped to at least make it to a gas station.

We did in fact make it to a gas station after driving in blinding rain, too afraid to pull over for fear of over heating again (this time without water in my trunk), or getting hit by someone (you really couldn't see a thing in that rain). The whole drive morbid headlines flashed in my head. "WOMAN AND TWO SONS FOUND DEAD IN DITCH" was one of them. By the time we made it to the gas station it was almost 10:00 p.m. and all three of us were tired and emotional. I took the boys out of the car and ran through the rain as fast as we could into the gas station. Lugging Gabriel in his car seat and trying to keep Aiden close, I was feeling rather fragile and quite vulnerable at this point. I caught the cashier giving me concerned looks as I searched for coolant in my frazzled state. He was a rough looking character covered in tattoos and piercings, with bleached hair and chipped teeth.
"How are you doing, ma'am?" He asked, as I dug through my purse for my wallet to pay. Instead of the generic, "I'm fine, and you?" that should have followed, tears welled up in my eyes and I began to cry. He seemed genuinely concerned and asked if everything was ok. I told him I simply had a bad day and then was having car trouble. He nodded and proceeded to tell me he was having a bad day too. His son was in the hospital and he couldn't be there. It was the son he didn't get to see very much. Even though he was paying $700 a week, the boy's mother would not allow him to visit often. He then offered to get someone to cover for him so he could help me. "No, no, I'm fine." I said politely, hoping he would insist. He didn't. Needless to say, I left feeling much more sorry for him than myself. At least my crappy situation would be over soon.

I only made it about 20 minutes before the car over heated again. I have to admit, I could have called AAA at this point, but as long as I was making it to gas stations I didn't want to wait an hour for a tow truck only to have to ride next to a complete stranger as my infant screamed in the back seat. Plus I was only about 20 more minutes from home. I pulled into the gas station, and a sweet girl who worked there brought me a bucket of water out to my car so that I didn't have to unload the boys again. After she returned to her post and I stood there wondering how I was going to manage pouring a bucket of water with one hand (remember I was having to hold the hood up with my other) another tattooed, pierced, and bleached haired gentleman approached me and offered to help. That time, I graciously accepted.
"Wow, you've done this before!" He said while holding the hood for me, sounding quite impressed with my ability to pour the water right into the small opening. I just smiled. Yes, yes I had. He then told me that I should pour black pepper into my radiator. That it would block that crack right up. Good as new. Old farmer's trick, he said. I thanked him and we went on our merry way. That time sure I would make it home before over heating again.

And I did!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Long Story Short... But Not Really. (Part One)

Aiden, Gabriel, and I just returned from a visit that went much longer than planned. Aaron and his business partner, Rodney, had gone down to Greenville, SC for a three day tree removal job last Thursday. By Friday I was calling to see if I could join them. They were staying with Rodney's girlfriend who had previously invited us down to visit the Greenville zoo. Saturday morning (almost noon by the time I was packed, nursed Gabriel, changed diapers, potty break, snacks ready, etc.) we started what was supposed to be the easiest drive imaginable as far as long distance with two young children go. Just an hour and half and I would be at Hope's door. Yes. Well. As luck would have it, my radiator cracked and my car started to overheat just as I was getting back on the highway after getting some food and gas. I immediately pulled over and turned off my car, unsure what to do, but knowing I did not want the engine head to crack. The noon sun was blaring. It was hot. I sat there for a second trying to think of what to do, while calling Aaron-- only to get his voicemail. Just as Gabriel was starting to cry and I was beginning to panic (just a bit) a state trooper came flying by. I reached my arm out the window as fast as I could and waved, hoping to catch his attention. I did. Only it was a her. Much to my relief she slammed on her breaks and reversed so that our windows were aligned.
"Can I help you?" she said, her short hair jelled and spiked, sounding a little annoyed. "I'm on my way to a wreck."
"Um, yeah. I uh. My car. It over heated. I have kids... I'm not sure what to do." I stammered. I try to be confident in those situations, but whether I actually am or not, I end up stumbling over my words. Sometimes I think it makes people more annoyed with me (waitresses), but thankfully this state trooper took pity on me. I turned on my engine, windows down, blasted the heat and followed her back down the on ramp as she stopped traffic so I could safely make it to the Huddle House parking lot.
"Do you have someone you can call?" she asked, while getting ready to drive off.
"Yes. Thank you!" I answered automatically. Only to realize, while staring at her tail lights disappearing round the corner, that I really didn't. I tried Aaron one more time. No answer.
I took the boys and my dog Gypsy out of the car and sat them down next to Gabriel's car seat in the shade. I gave Aiden his happy meal toy-- a doll head with long hair and a comb. I had specifically said "boy", but the toy was simply another little detail that fit perfectly with how the rest of the day was going. (Later on when Aiden was bored, he asked me for his "girl toy" and used it as a crash test for his plane). I looked in my trunk and found some coolant. This should work. I thought. I had seen Aaron fill it once before, and thought maybe I might know what I was doing. As I lifted the hood, and remembered there was no hood stand on this car, and tried to fumble the incredibly hot cap off while holding the hood over my head, while also trying to keep an eye on my kids and dog, two men approached me and offered to help. They didn't know what they were doing either, but they insisted on taking over. I thanked them, happy to have my hands free for my children should they need me, and gave them directions on how I thought might be the right way to do it. Thankfully, Aaron called back shortly and gave me clearer directions. I had been right, but the men were doubting me, and it helped to have a male voice backing me up. Silly men. But they were sweet and I was happy to have someone to help me.
Once everything was set and the car cooled, we piled back in and continued our journey. Not three miles ahead we hit traffic. Hard. Yeah, that wreck the state trooper was talking about? There it was. With Aiden fussing, Gabriel crying, and me being scared the car would over heat again and we'd be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the heat of the day, I began to pray fervently that the next exit would be close. It took awhile to get there, but it was. And there was a McDonalds with a shady parking lot. Leaving Gypsy in the car in the cool of the shade, we headed into McDonalds. As I sat there nursing Gabriel, sipping my pineapple-mango smoothie, and watching Aiden play, I had never been so thankful for how abundant McDonalds are in this country. Then suddenly, Aiden came walking awkwardly toward me with uncomfortable look on his face, his hand holding the back of his shorts.
"Mommy!" he half whined, half shrieked. "Mommy I have to go to the bafroom!"
How I would have killed for an extra set of hands in that moment. Pulling Gabriel off the teet as fast as I could, I gathered our things and made a mad dash for the restroom, dragging Aiden behind me. I felt frantic, like an amateur clown juggling way too many large items. I thought for sure my frazzled state could be nothing but painfully obvious-- hair flying, dropping things, yelling at Aiden to hurry and please hold it, but no one seemed to notice. No one wanted to move out of the way. In fact it seemed as though they were getting in my way on purpose. They wanted my son to poop his pants! They wanted me to lose my mind and dislocate a shoulder in the process! Finally, we made it. The toilets were gross and I had to painstakingly hold Aiden above the seat (he is heavy by the way) for what seemed like an hour as he pointed out the patterns on the wall, talked about the door, and the door knob. I had to keep reminding him that he was pooping, and he should focus on that. "Focus!" I said  rather harshly at one point, only for Aiden to respond with, "No mommy! No focus!" emphasizing "focus" the same way I had. Oh the stubbornness of a two year old. Eventually we made it out of the bathroom. I finished nursing Gabriel and we headed back to the car.
We almost made it the rest of the way without having to stop, but Aiden had another bathroom emergency when we were about 20 minutes away. The CVS employee at the register directed me toward the bathroom on the opposite end of the store, only for me to find that it was locked and you needed a code to unlock it. After tracking down another employee and getting the code, we luckily made it to the toilet before Aiden wet his pants. Three hours from the time we left home, we finally, finally, made it to Hope's house!

We had a blast in Greenville. Hope's parents graciously opened their beautiful home to us, turning a work trip into a mini-vacation. While the guys worked 12 hour days in the thick, hot South Carolinian heat, we went to Greenville Zoo, the children's museum, and ate gelato. At each day's end we would all meet for a big family dinner, sit on the porch sipping sweet tea over conversation, and sweat that sweet summer evening sweat till the late night. We were only going to be there two days, but the three day job turned into a four day, then five day, then six... I was trying to wait for Aaron so we could drive home together, but the job just kept dragging on and on! After my drive down, the last thing I wanted to do was drive home alone. I dreaded the thought of my car overheating again, leaving me and the boys stranded somewhere, but by day five, with no end in sight, I knew we needed to head home.

The day didn't start off so well. I lost my phone in the abyss of my purse (it's like a separate world in there). Thinking I had left it at Hope's house, I drove over there to check. My car overheated on the way, barely making it to her driveway. My phone was no where to be found (because it was in my purse on silent). As I nursed Gabriel and wondered what to do next, Aiden spooked Rodney's old crotchety dog, Opie, by tripping next to him, who in turn lashed out and bit Aiden in the chest. I was furious to say the least. I was there alone, couldn't find my phone, my son crying, my car overheated, and we were supposed to be driving home. I started to get the feeling like heading home was not the best idea. But by that point, with the car loaded and my mind set (and not interested in staying in a house with the dog who just bit my son), I also felt like I didn't have any other choice. I decided I would only stay another night if I couldn't find my phone. While dumping the contents of my purse out in search for a diaper, I found it.

The dread of driving home only grew as I kissed Aaron good bye after he filled the radiator with more coolant and stocked my trunk with jugs of water. Just let us make it home safely, Lord. I prayed as I drove away.

To be continued...

Friday, July 1, 2011

In the Blur...

Most days I feel like I'm just trying to keep up. I constantly find myself trying to figure out how to "get ahead", but I don't even know that that's possible. Some days I find myself thinking, "Hey, I've got this. This isn't as hard as I thought." Other days, I feel like I won't even make it to lunch. I feel bad for how often I get frustrated with my toddler, simply for being a toddler. He doddles. He dotes. The fact that we may be in a hurry doesn't ever cross his mind. And honestly, there rarely is a reason to be in a hurry except for my own silly idea that things should happen faster. 

Some days I feel much too young to be responsible for raising two small children. Does anyone ever completely feel ready for that responsibility? I think I would be a much different person if not for my boys. Most days I like to think they've made me better. Some days I can't get past the fear that I'll make them worse. Being a mother is such a frightening role sometimes. You hold so much influence over who your child becomes. Half the time I feel the role is much too great for someone like me. The other half I feel like I am "just a mom" and why am I not capable of more? The world plays a dirty game with a mother's head. 

I keep feeling like I need to get my life in order. Have a schedule. Be productive. But honestly, I'm not sure what that looks like for me right now. So I haven't figured out how to do it yet.

If you have not read "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua, then you should. Her triumphs and failures are both encouraging and amusing. I find myself wanting to be just like her and nothing like her at the same time. Mostly, she's a fantastic writer and through her story she truly captures the essence of every mother's battle (Chinese or not).