Sleep Deprived

Does anyone have some magical remedy for the inability to sleep? If so, can you pass it along? I think I am functioning on about 3 hours of sleep right now.  I believe I have said this before, but I am one of those people whose body requires 8-10 hours of sleep.  I always have.  I was the college kid who went to bed at 9:00 every night because I knew I couldn’t function without sleep.  In the last 5 years or so, I suddenly cannot sleep.  I can’t fall asleep, and I wake up and then can’t go back to sleep.  It is really killing my brain and contributing to my migraines.  I wish I knew what was causing it. I typically go to bed between 10 and 10:30 these days, but I just lay there tossing and turning for hours on end until I finally fall asleep. I hate it because I feel like every time I move around I am waking up my husband.  Last night, I am fairly certain that I fell asleep sometime after midnight as that is the last time I remember seeing while staring at the clock.  Then, a storm rolled through at 2:00 and the booming thunder woke me back up.  I dozed off and on for a few minutes at a time for the rest of the night.  I, of course, then got up with a migraine this morning.  I get out of bed most mornings feeling like I have been run over by a big truck.  body needs sleep.  My brain needs sleep.   

I have talked about my inability to fall asleep and stay asleep repeatedly with my doctors over the years and no one seems to have any answers or remedies for me.  Most of them are surprised that my migraine medicine doesn’t make me sleepy as that is an extremely common side effect, which is why I take it per their direction at night. Sometimes I wonder if it has the opposite effect on me, but I have been taking it way longer than I have had the sleep problems.  I am certainly not willing to stop taking it either.  Even though I still get migraines, they are nowhere near as extreme or as frequent as they are when I am off the meds. Some doctors have thought that my sleep problems were related to stress, but these days I am less stressed than I have ever been. If anything, I was way more stressed when I was working full time, staying up later, and getting up earlier. I guess maybe I was just more exhausted back then that sleep came easier.  I don’t know.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Should I go back to running myself ragged so that I fall asleep from mental and physical exhaustion or continue to live a less stressed life and not sleep? I’m not really a fan of either option.  Now that I am thinking about it, it really has been since I stopped teaching that the sleep problems have started.  I just don’t understand that.  

I have tried multiple things including essential oils, blue light blocking glasses, reading, and so many other things.  Nothing seems to work.  There have even been times when I have taken Tylenol PM, and I still can’t sleep.  We also keep the house pretty cool at night and run a fan year-round because sometimes I get super hot when I am asleep and wake up sweating.  It is just so crazy to me that my body craves sleep so badly, yet it doesn’t come easily.  I think I got more sleep when I had infants than I do now!  Clearly I have chronic insomnia (you know how I love diagnosing myself). Seriously, a quick appointment with “Dr. Google” confirms my diagnosis. I have ALL of the symptoms.

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night-CHECK
  • Waking up during the night-CHECK
  • Waking up too early-CHECK
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep-CHECK
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness-CHECK
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety-CHECK
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering-CHECK,CHECK, CHECK
  • Ongoing worries about sleep-CHECK

I just want to know how to fix it, preferably without adding any medications or taking any away. I’ve tried all the things that “Dr. Google” suggests, so now what? Maybe I need to see a sleep specialist.  Do those even exist? I feel like they do. I’m getting pretty desperate at this point. I just need sleep! 

Anchored and Sleep Deprived,

Allergic to the Sun???

To add to all of my weird aliments and crazy, strange allergies to the most random things, I now believe that I am allergic to the sun or maybe heat.  It’s hard to say.  It started about a month or so ago with a random rash on my hands.  One hand was worse than the other and it seemed to come and go.  It wasn’t like hives, though.  It was large red spots that seemed to spread out over my hands, fingers, and wrists (see pictures above). I had not been in the sun with this one, but I did notice it was worse after showering. Maybe I am now allergic to water too! Who knows?  I showed it to my doctor at my last appointment, and she thought it looked like an autoimmune rash and tested me for a ton of things that of course all came back negative.  This is actually the second time I have been tested for an autoimmune disorder in the last year because of a weird rash.  The first time (see above), I had these dark red marks all around my ankles.  My doctor said it looked vascular, which is why she thought autoimmune then too.  Anyway, when I went to the beach with my friends a little over a week ago, I got another weird rash. Within 5 minutes of being on the beach it appeared all over the lower part of my legs.  It looked partly like hives and partly not.  It is hard to describe, but it isn’t like the normal hives I get when I have allergic reactions to medicines.  There were larger red spots and then tiny dark red spots that almost looked like razor burn but not exactly.  I had not shaved that morning before going either.  Anyway, it was weird.  It started out on the lower half of my legs and then slowly moved up my leg until it was covering the whole leg on both legs by the second day we were there.  My friend likes to say that the rash was caused by COVID and that I was the original source of the virus that spread to the rest of the world.  She’s so funny, isn’t she?!?!? <insert eye roll> The rash stayed there for several days after I got back home before fading away.  I can only assume that it was either from the sun or the heat because I was not using a new sunscreen or any new lotions. Some of my friends thought that it might be a sun sensitivity caused by some of my medications, but I don’t think that it is either.  I have been on the same medications for years with no issues, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t a side effect of anything that I take anyway.  All I know what that I was walking around looking like I had some contagious disease.  I’m glad that we couldn’t go anywhere in public for anyone else to see.  

I actually had a virtual visit with my doctor this morning and showed her the pictures of my legs from the beach.  She is just as baffled as I am and has referred me back to my dermatologist to take have her take look.  I’m thinking that I may need to see an allergist as well. I have never had any type of allergy testing done, surprisingly.  Most of the things that I know I am allergic to are medicines, and those give me very obvious hives.   I did develop an allergy to adhesives a few years ago and cannot use Band-Aids or paper tape for any length of time without breaking out with a localized rash that makes me want to claw my skin off.  You don’t know how unfortunate that is until you have to have things cut out of your skin all the time and have to have bandages to keep those spots protected until they heal.  I won’t even get into all that today because it’s a lot.  Then, we all know the fiasco from a little over a year ago when I suddenly became allergic to some brands of hair dye and my head was on fire for days.  I guess my skin and body are just super sensitive to things. I have no idea! I wish I knew the causes and how to prevent these crazy reactions. Why must I have the most random things? It really is quite comical to sit around wondering what strange thing is going to happen to me next! Every doctor I have ever had says that I am a unique case and that they like trying to figure me out.  I guess I will just continue to be their test subject. Maybe I should donate my body to science when I am gone.  Haha!

Anchored,

Full Speed Ahead

Wow! June came sailing in with a bang for us.  We went from zero to sixty is just a few short days. To have had practically nothing on my calendar for the past 3 months, I have to say that my June has filled up pretty quickly.  We’ve got things like doctor appointments, hair appointments, remodeling, trips, and cheer starting back up all at once. It is crazy to think about how we went from the insanity that our lives were at the start of 2020 to the absolute standstill of the past 3 months.   I had hoped that we would slowly ease back into life and that things would not get to the level of insanity that we have been living for years.  Things haven’t fully opened yet, we are not even two weeks into phase 1 of the reopening, and we are already full speed ahead.  I should have known better than to think we would ease back into life.   That is just not how we operate in our family.  The past 3 months was a very much needed break from the extreme chaos, but I am ready to get moving again.  I am praying that full chaos mode doesn’t completely return, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.  

This week marked the end of the incredibly insane 2019-2020 school year for my kiddos.  Yesterday was their last day.  While I know the school year was extremely challenging for many and certainly wasn’t ideal, I think our school system did the best they could under the circumstances.  One of my children did better than the other with the situation, but that is just a reflection of their personalities and learning styles.  Overall, though, I think they both did ok considering how drastic everything changed.  I hope things look different in the fall, but at this point, no one really knows what it going to happen.  Today I am taking my oldest for an SAT evaluation so that we can get her started in an SAT prep course over the summer.  She isn’t too happy about taking a 4-hour test on her first day of summer break, but I am certain this will help set her up for taking the SAT next year.  It is crazy that we are having to thing about SATs and college already.  

Tomorrow marks a day I have been waiting on for weeks.  I finally get to go have my hair done, and I am soooo excited.  It should be interesting to see how it all works with wearing a mask while they try to color and then wash and cut my hair.  I can just see it getting in the way or getting dye all over it.  Honestly, I could care less, though.  I just can’t wait to get the weight off my head.  This thick hair has got to go! 

Another exciting event that has been added to my June calendar is my annual girls’ beach trip with my besties.  We usually go in May just after Mother’s Day every year, but it got canceled this year due to the virus.  There was a time when we thought we were going to have to miss it this year, but we were wrong! I could not be happier that we have been able to reschedule for later this month.  I am counting down the days.  That trip every year is a non-negotiable for me.  No matter what is going on in our crazy schedule, we make it so I can go.  This year is no different. It is cheer tryout weekend for my girls, but my husband has agreed to handle it all so I can go.   The beach trip is my time yearly to recharge, and I think I need it this year more than ever.  It is also often the only time I get to see some of my besties each year, too.  I don’t even know how many years the 9 of us have been doing this yearly beach trip, but it has to be close to 10 years.  We always kid that we will be little old ladies hobbling down to the beach years from now.  

If you have been following me for a while, you know that we have been slowly doing some remodeling in our new house.  We have already redone the hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets and a few other odds and ends.  This week we started the renovation of our fireplace that has been a sore sight for me.  I hated the ugly 1980’s green marble and gold trim from the moment we first looked at this house.  The remodel started on Monday and the green is officially GONE! New tile is going in today and I cannot wait to show you all the transformation.  It looks nothing like the outdated eye sore that was there before, and they aren’t even done.  

The final exciting thing that is filling up my June is that next week, both girls will be able to get back in the gym once a week.  I cannot tell you how excited they are to get back at it.  While they have made the best of their virtual workouts, I know they would much rather be in the gym in person with their coaches. It won’t look exactly the same as there is going to be no contact tumbling but anything is better than what they have been doing.  

Who knows what else is going to be added to out June calendar, but I am happy that things are somewhat getting back to normal around here. We are ready and it’s full speed ahead!

Anchored and Rambling,

Hair Talk, AGAIN!

Has it occurred to anyone besides me the unfairness of men’s hair vs women’s in the midst of this pandemic?  My husband was able to order a hair clipper (or whatever the proper term for them is) not long into the shutdown.  He then had me watch YouTube videos on how to use them and eventually insisted that I cut his hair.  As I mentioned before, I was a nervous wreck the first time, but I did it. It turned out alright, I guess.  I have since cut his hair a second time, which was a little easier but still not something I was comfortable with.  Fortunately, the worst-case scenario if I screw it up is that he can buzz his hair and move on. I have seen so many photos of men who have done just that to get through the last few months.  While it may not be the most ideal hair cut to shave most of it or all of it off, this is an option that is acceptable for men.  

Women on the other hand are not as simple when it comes to hair. I would never dream of having my husband cut my hair like I did for him no matter how many YouTube videos he watched!   Most of us would never even imagine cutting all of our hair off or giving ourselves a buzz cut. That is just not acceptable for most women. For women with cancer, losing their hair is one of the hardest parts of chemo.  That is because hair for women is a part of our identity.  It is sad that society puts so much weight into hair, but it is an unfortunate part of our reality as women.  Our hair and how it looks tells a lot about us.  It often gives people their first real impression of who we are. No matter what your hair says about you normally, it is likely screaming right now to have something done to it. We have all be stuck in the same boat with not being able to go to a salon for months, and I know many who are looking forward to that changing soon.

Color is another difference in both men and women when it comes to hair.  No one really thinks much of men going grey.  That is accepted and often considered a source of attraction and maturity.  On the other hand, as soon as a woman starts to go grey, she starts freaking out because grey hair is viewed as a sign of aging in women.  Consequently, it is something most of us try to hide. It is certainly a double standard, but it is reality. Some women are comfortable with coloring their own hair at home, butI don’t think I could ever attempt to do it myself. I would likely screw it up and ruin my hair.  

Most women that I know obsess over their hair and finding the color and style that best suits them.  Not being able to get our hair done has been one of the hardest parts of the pandemic shut down for many of us, including me.  I am one of those people that always has to have perfectly styled hair.  It is just my nature and a part of who I am.  As someone who prefers to have my hair cut every 4 weeks and colored every 8 weeks, not having anything done to my hair in over 13 weeks is making me crazy.  I am way overdue for a cut, and there is more grey hair showing than I care to admit.   I have shared many times before that I have extremely thick hair that grows crazy fast, which is why I prefer to not push it past 8 weeks between cuts. My hair is currently so big that it looks like a bush! Even my husband commented on how big it was the other night.  It’s not frizz. It’s just really big and poofy because it is so thick.  I need it thinned out even more than I need the length cut.  On the days like today when I wash and dry my hair, it is massive! I have to flat iron it as much as possible. I swear it grows throughout the day too.  I will flatten it in the mornings and then by the afternoon, it is massive again!  I watch all these hair videos that pop up in my social media all the time, and the person doing the demonstration is always talking about ways to get more volume to your hair.  I sit there in disbelief hoping someone will one day do a tutorial on how to get rid of volume. The point is, I NEED to get my hair done soon! 

Our governor had started with phase 1 of reopening the state for everyone except for those of us in the northern tip of the state back on May 15.  Our numbers here had not supported the reopening then.  This week the governor officially announced that we could begin phase 1 here starting tomorrow.  Following that announcement, I got the best call yesterday! It was from my hair stylist letting me know that they would be opening back up tomorrow with restrictions.  While some may think that I shouldn’t, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment.  Her first available appointment wasn’t for a couple of weeks, which is evidence that others have been scheduling them too.  Yes, I know that getting my hair done is a risk, but it is one I am willing to take at this point.  I have faith in the precautions that they are taking, and we will all be wearing masks.  We can’t all live inside in fear forever, and we have to get back to normal at some point.  For the most part, we will continue to stay home for now, but I think we will start to venture out little by little. This will be my first dip into the world again, and I cannot wait!  

Anchored,

New School Guidelines

Source of Graphic Unknown

I don’t know if you all have seen the new guidelines that were released this week by the CDC for reopening schools.  The above image started floating around on social media yesterday afternoon and into the evening.  I wasn’t sure if it was an accurate depiction of what the CDC was recommending or who created it, so I did a little digging on the CDC website myself.  While some of these things listed in this image are in accordance with the guidelines, this image doesn’t give the full story.  I highly recommend that you read what is on the website versus just going on this image alone. One thing that this graphic doesn’t state is that the actual CDC guidelines say, “when feasible.”  It seems to me that they are aware that some of these will be difficult for schools to implement, but this is still what they recommend. The very first paragraph of the guideline states, “Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.” 

Now, let’s get real.  As an educator to my core, I have to give my thoughts on all this. While I understand the importance of trying to follow these guidelines to keep everyone safe, they really are all completely unrealistic, not feasible, not practical, and not acceptable.  As a former teacher of 17 years, I can’t imagine for the life of me how schools would be able to follow the majority of these recommendations.  I know (as stated) these are only guidelines and not requirements at this point, but I just don’t see how schools will be able to open if this becomes what is expected when school resumes in the fall.  Have the members of the CDC that created these guidelines ever stepped foot into a public school?

Let’s take a look at a few of these and talk about why they are not realistic or even “feasible.” 

Cloth Face Coverings

“Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings.  Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently.”

Good luck with that one!  At least they recognize that this will be difficult for younger students.  I can promise you that preschoolers and most elementary students are not going to be able to keep a mask on all day without messing with it or constantly touching their faces. I honestly don’t even think my own middle and high school kids can do it. Teachers will be telling students to wash their hands all day instead of actually teaching. As a former special education teacher, many of my students had significant sensory issues and would not at all be able to wear a mask.  Plus, there are many people that don’t have access or the means to buy cloth face masks. Is the school system going to provide them if this becomes an expectation?

Modified Layouts

“Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.  Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.”

This is a big one. There is absolutely no physical way that desks can be 6 feet apart.  There is not enough space in the classroom, enough classrooms, or enough teachers to make this happen.  Some schools have thousands of students.  Class sizes would have to be reduced to no more than 8-10 students to maintain 6 feet. While a reduced class size is a dream scenario for teachers, it isn’t physically possible because it would mean more classrooms and teachers are needed to be able to educate all students.  There is already a teacher shortage, and there is not enough money to build more classrooms or add enough trailers behind the buildings to accommodate this recommendation.  This also limits how teachers instruct and best practices for learning.  Group projects and hands-on learning will be nearly impossible. Teaching as we know it will be completely different and not allow for differentiated instruction.

“Create distance between children on school buses (g., seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.”

This is another one that is physically impossible due to a lack of bus drivers and buses.  School systems barely have enough buses and drivers to accommodate all students when they are packed in 3 to a seat in some areas.  There is no way they will have enough drivers and buses to meet these guidelines.  It would take the buses and drivers all day going back and forth to get all students to school.  This will also increase the cost for gas to do multiple runs, which school systems don’t have the money for.

Communal Spaces

“Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.  Have children bring their own meals as feasible or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.”

They are suggesting that schools not utilize the cafeteria and instead have students eat in the classroom.  While that is possible with bagged/prepackaged lunches or lunches from home (as suggested), it means that teachers will not get a break from their students at all.  They would have to remain with their students during lunch.  In many states it is the law that teachers get a 30-minute, duty-free lunch.  In addition, if schools were to close communal spaces like playgrounds and gymnasiums, it would mean that there will be no recess or physical education. Students NEED those things. They need opportunities for physical activity, especially at the elementary level. I just don’t see this as being a possible action. There is not enough staff or time to effectively clean and disinfect equipment if schools were to have these cafeterias and gyms open and stagger use. 

Identifying Small Groups and Keeping Them Together (Cohorting)

“Ensure that student and staff groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff (all day for young children, and as much as possible for older children). Limit mixing between groups if possible.”

This is probably the one that would negatively impact the schools the most. While it is more feasible in elementary schools to keep students with one teacher all day long, it would mean that specialist that teach subjects like art, physical education, and music won’t have jobs.  To expect elementary age students in particular to stay in one room all day long without any physical activity at all is setting them up for failure.  Their little developing brains need those breaks. 

I honestly do not see how it would even be possible in the middle and high schools.  Teachers are not equipped or certified to teach all subjects at these levels if students were to stay with one teacher.  It is not realistic to think a high school Science teacher can teach English, Calculus, World History, Foreign Language, and Elective Classes!  If systems instead tried to create cohorts that travel together between teachers to limit exposure to other students, I believe it will be difficult to find enough groups of students that are all taking the exact same 7 courses. I can see this being a scheduling nightmare, as well as, limiting the amount and variety of courses offered to students. 

As you can see if you read the whole document on the CDC website, there are even more recommendations on the list than the few I just briefly covered.  There are many more reasons why the majority of these recommendations are completely unrealistic and not at all “feasible.” I have only given a few that popped into my head right away when I read the guidelines. If these guidelines do eventually become necessary requirements to keep people safe, I don’t see how students will ever be able to go back to school.  Online learning will have to become the norm.  I really am all for keeping everyone safe and healthy, but I am also all for being realistic.  No one really knows how this is all going to play out, but the one thing I do know is that the education system is going to be forever changed.  

Anchored,

My Life in Music

I was challenged by one of my friends in one of those Facebook challenge things to post 20 albums that have affected my life or have shaped my taste in music.  I don’t often participate in these kinds of things, but this one got me thinking back over my life.  Instead of posting album covers for the next 20 days on my personal Facebook page, I thought I would share them all here.  As I look back over my life, there are so many songs that come to mind that I loved or that remind me of a specific time in my life.  As you will see from the list below, my taste in music is kind of all over the place.  Being from the south, I grew up on country music as that was what my parents always listened to.  There was a time in my youth, though, that I tried to rebel against their taste in music and listened to more pop music. I even tried to say that I hated country music and would die when my parents would put it on in the car.  However, if you were to ask me today what my favorite genre of music is, it would most definitely be country mixed in with a little contemporary Christian music.  

When I met my husband, I was pretty much back to being a country girl, but he had the total opposite taste in music than I did.  He has opened my eyes to a lot of music over the years that I may have never listened to if it hadn’t been for his influence. However, I will also say that a large majority of the music he listens to, I really hate. The rap, alternative, and heavy metal music, as well as some of the newer pop music that he loves gives me a headache or gets on my nervous tremendously.  On the flip side, he can’t stand to listen to what he calls my “Jesus music.” He is much more a traditional hymn kind of guy.  While he did turn me on to some of my now favorite bands like Sister Hazel and Counting Crows, I was able to turn him into a country music fan.  When we were dating and first married, he used to love playing this game with me where he would say that he would give me a dollar if I could tell him who was singing a particular song on the radio.  Of course, I very rarely got it right since I didn’t grow up listening to the same music.  However, it definitely made me more aware of songs and artists in ways I had never thought of before.  I used to just like songs and not really care, or sometimes even know, who sang it.  That wasn’t as important to me as it was to him.  Now I do pay more attention to particular artists and styles of music.  I would say that we have complimented each other musically pretty well over the years.  

I am not going to give you a reason why I have chosen each of the albums below other than to just simply say that they all remind me of a specific time in my life that was important to me and who I am.  I know that some of these may surprise you and some may not.  Some may even date me, but that is ok.  I actually thought it would be hard to find 20, but I ended up with more than that and am going with 22. It was really cool to think back about some of the songs from these albums and what was going on in my life when I was listening to them on repeat. I do think this is a good representation of where I came from and where I am now, though. Here are the 22 albums that have played throughout my life.

Anchored,

Do Dreams Have Meaning?

Do you have dreams? I’m not talking about the things you want for your life in the future.  I am talking about the real-life dreams while you are sleeping. I don’t have them every night, or at least, I don’t remember them every night if I do. It is just every now and then that I remember a dream vividly. When I do wake up remembering them, it is sometimes something really weird that doesn’t make any sense and has no relationship to anything I have seen or done in the days prior. Sometimes I am even conscious enough to know that it is a dream while I am dreaming it in those few moments before I wake up.  I can’t really explain it other than I feel like I am half awake and half asleep. I know it is a dream, but the dream keeps going in my head.  Does that even make sense? Am I crazy? I probably am, right?

I don’t think I really believe in the whole thing about dreams having some underlying meaning, but sometimes I wonder.  This topic came up today because I had a weird dream last night.  It involved snakes and alligators, more specifically a snake eating an alligator whole.  Now, I don’t know if that is even something that can really happen, but for some reason I dreamed about that last night. It was like I was observing this snake’s body take shape of the alligator as it swallowed it. It was so weird.  I have not watched or seen anything on TV about snakes or alligators nor have either come up in a conversation.  I dislike all animals and think of them as little as possible. It truly is so bizarre that I dreamed that last night.  It was also one of those dreams where I was aware that I was dreaming and was in that half-asleep, half-awake state. What does it all mean? Does it mean anything at all?

There are times that I dream things that are related to situations going on in my life, and those make sense to me.  I get why those things would come up in my subconsciousness in some form.  It is those times like last night when something comes out of nowhere that make me wonder if there is some underlying meaning or message to my dreams.  Again, I don’t think I really believe in the whole psychological aspect of dream decoding, but it does spark my curiosity. Just for fun, I googled the interpretations of dreams about snakes and alligators. Here is what one interpretation I found on Google says. Dreams about snakes typically symbolize fear or transformation.  They say it is a sign that you are afraid of something in your life or it’s a warning of changes that are coming.  Dreams about alligators typically symbolize a new beginning or changes coming as well, but it can also mean danger.  I couldn’t find an interpretation of what it meant when an alligator is eaten by a snake, though. Apparently, I’m the only one that has ever dreamed that. Ha ha! Maybe I am nuts! Anyway, I just have to improvise and try to put the meaning together myself.  My interpretation of the meaning of the two animals together in one dream is that I am fearful of some change (that could be dangerous) that is coming in my future. How did I do?  Do I really believe in any of this? The answer is no, but it is quite interesting.  I have no fears right now about anything nor do I know of any change or beginnings coming in my life.  Obviously, you could say that we have all gone through changes in the wake of this pandemic, but I don’t really see myself fearful of any of it.  If anything, I am more at the point of being annoyed with it all.  

What do you guys think? Do dreams really have an underlying meaning? Do you believe in any of it? I’ll be sure to update you all if my random interpretation of my dream turns out to be true.  I wouldn’t hold your breath, though!  

Anchored,

By the way, I also googled whether or not a snake can actually eat an alligator and found a disturbing video of that really happening on YouTube.  Apparently it really is a thing that can happen!

Oh, How I Long…

Onyx Necklace/Ellora Necklace/Radiant Necklace/Pear Drop Hoops/Top and Cardigan (Lularoe)

I am seriously struggling to think of things to write about these days.  We have been doing this quarantining/social distancing thing for 6 weeks now, which means my life has been pretty boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the slow pace for the most part. It is certainly something that we needed, and I hope we don’t go back to the insanely busy schedule we had before this all started.  There have definitely been those days when I have gone crazy from it all, though.  There is only so much binge watching, reading, and cooking that I can do before it becomes monotonous.  I have only left the house to make quick runs to the store for groceries, and there certainly isn’t anything exciting about that.  Everyone is wearing masks and trying to avoid others as they hurry down the aisles to get what they need and get out as fast as possible.  I need more to do than just the hectic run to the store. Today I am daydreaming about all the things I want to do when this is all over. 

I have decided that the first thing I want to do is to spend endless hours strolling through Target without my family.  It is my favorite store after all, and I think I am having Target withdrawal. I also love my family, but I really need some me time right about now.  Oh, how I long to try on new clothes and shoes and peruse through the home section.  Scrolling through things on their website just isn’t working for me anymore.  I need the real live thing. I need to touch and feel things at the store (without gloves on).  I honestly don’t even need to buy anything (although we all know that I will), I just want to look.  

The second thing I am longing to do is something that most women are dying for about now.  I can’t wait until I can go to the salon and get my hair done.  That is another thing I need for a little me time.  It has only been about 7 weeks (thankfully I went just before everything shut down), but with how fast my hair grows and how thick it is, I need a hair cut fiercely.  Trust me when I say, I lose weight when I get my hair done.  That is how much hair I have!  Let’s not even talk about the grey hairs that are starting to show too.  Oh, how I long to have someone else wash my hair and massage my head.  There is no feeling better than getting your hair done.  It makes me feel so good and refreshed each time.  

The third thing I want to do is to go on a date night with my husband out to eat at a restaurant.  At this point, I don’t even care what restaurant it is as long it is not in my kitchen and I didn’t have to cook it. Since we moved here almost 2 years ago, we have been having a weekly date night while the girls are both at practice.  Before the quarantine, it was pretty much the only time we actually had time to really talk to each other.  I looked forward to it every week.  Now that we are home and he is only going to work every other day, we have tons of time to talk.  My longing for a date night isn’t really about getting time to talk as much as it is about dedicating time for just us and getting to eat a meal I didn’t prepare. Oh, how I long to sit in a booth with just the two of us. 

The final thing that I can’t wait for when this is all over is to see both of my girls getting to do the sports they love so much. I know that they both miss the discipline of it and the time with their friends.  Their coaches and teammates are like their family because they spend so much time together, and they are really missing them all.  Virtual workouts just aren’t the same.  I love watching them both.  I am amazed each time at all the things they can do.  Oh, how I long to sit on hard benches and have my hearing damaged! I’m not sure I ever thought I would say that! LOL! I just miss watching them perform and seeing all of their hard work pay off.  

Again, I do not long to be as busy as we used to be.  I like that this has forced us to slow down and give our bodies and minds a much needed break.  I love that we have gotten to spend time together that we were so lacking before.  I want to have more time together as a family more consistently when this is over, but I do want to be able to do the things we love doing as well.  I wish we could have the best of both worlds.  Maybe we can.  I pray that we can figure out how.  Until then, I am enjoying what we have now and longing for the things we don’t. 

Anchored,

Time Passes too Fast

On this day 16 years ago, I was awakened at 3:00 in the morning in what I suspected was labor.  I was 37 weeks pregnant with my first child.  Instead of waking my husband to tell him I thought I was having contractions, I got up and went to lie on the couch.  I wasn’t really sure they were contractions, but I knew something felt different.  I tried timing them but there seemed to be no regularity to what I was feeling.  When my husband got up a couple of hours later for work, I explained to him that I thought I was in labor.  He asked if I had been timing the contractions, and I explained that I had but that they were anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes apart.  Since I wasn’t doubling over in pain, he didn’t think I was really in labor.  We both decided to get up and get ready for work. I showered, got dressed, put on makeup, and did my hair all before deciding that maybe I shouldn’t go to work just in case I was actually in labor.  I had this fear of my water breaking while I was working with students, so my husband left for work and I stayed home.  All through the morning I continued to have those weird feelings but with no consistency.  Around 3:00 that afternoon I had this sudden feeling that something had popped inside me.  I immediately thought that it was my water breaking but quickly realized that I was hemorrhaging.  I immediately called my husband at work and then my doctor.  They told me to come into the office.  I waited for my husband to get home and then we went to the doctor’s office together.   When we got there and they took me back, I was still hemorrhaging a good bit.  I was dilated 4 cm, 100% effaced, and in active labor. They sent me straight to the hospital.  It was only a few short hours later in my hospital room that a nurse suddenly came running in my room, pushed a button on the wall, called for a doctor, and my room was quickly full of people telling me to turn this way and that, including getting on all fours without telling my what was going on.  Apparently, my baby was in distress. Her heart rate had dropped significantly, and they were moving me around to try to get it back up.   It was then that they decided it was time to get her out.  Using a vacuum and with me only pushing 3 times, I delivered a tiny little peanut weighing only 4 lbs. and 8 oz.  It turns out that the bleeding and that popping I felt was caused by a partial placental abruption.  Despite being so small and a little early, she was perfectly healthy.  She had a little bit of a hard time keeping her body temperature up at first but a short time under the warming lights and she was fine. 

This morning I awoke again at 3:00 AM. Of course, I wasn’t in labor this time, but I think my body or my mind must have remembered that time 16 years ago.  As I lay awake so early this morning, I thought back over the last 16 years.  It is hard for me to believe that in just two short years she will be heading off to college (I hope). She has overcome a lot in her life…a 5 day hospital stay at 4 months of age where we discovered she had urinary reflux, 2 years straight on antibiotics, delayed motor skills, surgery at age 2 to correct the reflux, swallowing a penny at age 3, a learning disability, a couple of broken bones, and 4 moves, 5 different schools, and 3 different gyms. It may not seem like a lot to some, but each thing was a new challenge that she navigated with an unbelievable strength.  Although she makes me want to bang my head against the wall sometimes, I am surprised daily by her ability to roll with the punches.  I can tell you that she has handled our last move, the summer before her first year of high school, way better than I did when my family moved when I was the same age. I am so proud of her strength.  I see a lot of me in her sometimes, and then I see the complete opposite of me at other times.  I can say for sure that she is her own unique person, and she brings a lot of laughter wherever she goes whether it be with her or at her craziness. I am looking forward to seeing how she grows and changes over the next few years as she enters her adult life.  Lord, help us all! LOL!    

While this isn’t the sweet 16 we had planned for her, we will do our best to celebrate her today from home. I was able to get her a small cake and ordered a couple of presents that luckily made it in time. We will figure out something special to do for this milestone once we are able to celebrate with other family and friends. It is hard to think of her as a 16 year old, but I have loved every single moment of each of those years and can’t wait for all the memories to come.

Anchored,

Longing for the Crazy

You may have noticed that I have only posted once so far this week.  I have to admit that is due to our current situation.  When you are stuck at home social distancing and quarantining, your life can be pretty boring.  Unfortunately, that means that my creative juices are struggling.  I sat here on Tuesday staring at my computer for over an hour starting sentences and then erasing them before I finally gave up.  Sometimes I guess I just don’t feel it, and that is bound to happen more and more if things don’t change.  I need a little more excitement in my life to have something to write about.  I’ve lost count of what week of this we are on (or what day it is, honestly), but I am getting to the point of stir crazy as I am sure many of you are too.  It was so nice the first couple of weeks when this started.  We went from a crazy busy life where we barely had time to breathe to NOTHING.  The break was a welcomed change.  However, now we are all struggling a little with the drastic difference of our lives.  When you go from going nonstop to not going at all, you start to feel a little lost and out of place.  While I am enjoying the time together as a family and getting the much needed rest for all of us, I really am starting to miss our crazy life.  I miss watching my girls doing the sports they love. I miss the quiet of the house when they are at school and I’m the only one at home.   I miss having a structured schedule.  I miss going to Target and to restaurants.  I miss our old normal.  I know that I am going to regret those words as soon as all of this is over and the craziness is back.  Right now, though, I miss it.  

Just when I am starting to long for our hectic life, the time has come when we have to make the decisions to determine what our life will look like in the next year. Today we have been talking to both girls about continuing with their current sports.  It is that time of year when we have to make the decision whether or not to continue for the next year. We have to decide if the craziness of life is going to continue or not. Cheer tryouts are coming up next month (if allowed), and gymnastics commitments are due then too.  It is hard to say if this unusual break will have an effect on their decisions or not.  I think one of them is wavering, and it is ripping at my heartstrings.  This is when we have to truly listen to our children and what they desire.  Putting our own thoughts and desires as parents to the side is hard.  Allowing them to make their own decisions is so difficult, but these are decisions that they have to make on their own.  They are both old enough to choose what they want, and we have to trust that they will do what is best for them.  I refuse to push them to do something that takes up so much of their time, if their heart is not in it.  This is honestly the first time that I haven’t been certain of what their answers will be.  This may be one of the hardest parenting challenges we have faced.  Allowing them to make their own decisions even when you don’t think it is the right decision (or you think they may regret it) is extremely difficult, but it must be done. 

As I sit here longing for the old normal in the midst of our new normal and making decisions about the future, I am in awe of where my life is now.  Despite my wishes for this to all be over, I still am able to see the good in it. We are so lucky that we have the ability to stay home right now when so many can’t afford it or don’t have a choice.  We are lucky that our children are healthy and have the ability to make their own decisions about where they want their lives to go. We are lucky to have food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs.  In the middle of a pandemic, I am grateful for the opportunity to just be together as a family when so many can’t. We are truly blessed beyond measure, and I am so thankful for all that we have.  Even though I want the crazy back, I am grateful for the boring.  It gives me time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.  The only thing I know for sure is that wherever the “normal” takes us, we will go together as a strong unit.  We’ve got each other no matter what the future holds, and that makes the future look pretty bright to me. 

Anchored,