Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting Out There

My pity party is over. For the moment. I'm going to try to avoid them going forward.

We had a good weekend. And we were here, in Macon, the entire time. (Shock).

Husband found out about free yoga in the park on Saturday mornings and he decided I should go. I was reluctant. I made excuse after excuse: It's going to be too cold. The boys won't play in the park with you while I'm doing yoga within their line of vision. I won't be in the mood.  Keep in mind two things: 1. I LOVE yoga. 2. The reason I don't go often is that it is costly and the boys need to be watched while I'm away. Soooooo, yea, this should've been a no-brainer.  But I was nervous. I'd be walking into a group of people I'd never met and the what-ifs started.  Thankfully husband was a little insistent and Saturday morning I found myself dressed and being driven to the park, yoga mat in hand.

And you know what?  I LOVED it. I didn't actually talk to anyone, so there were no new friends made.  But I went and I had fun and I stretched my body and I breathed.  And my soul was better for it.

I then had a sort of ah ha moment: I need to stop being so afraid of getting out there.  If I'm going to make this place my home, I need to jump in. With both feet. It is hard, yes. But if I just sit inside this house all day, every day, I will never find my place here.  This is not mind-blowing stuff, but it did sort of smack me upside the head when I finally admitted to myself that I was just afraid of trying to make friends and do new things.

After yoga, the boys and I walked up to Mercer Village and had brunch in a cute little cafe/juice bar. And it was great.

Then on Sunday morning we went to church. I wasn't too jazzed about the idea. I have very mixed feelings about organized religion, especially down here in the Bible belt.  I find most Christians to not practice what they preach, and then I simple disagree with what the others believe.  So yea, church isn't something I love going to.  But here it seems that most people's social lives are connected to their church, so we thought we'd try to find a church to make some friends and meet more people.

In Atlanta we went to a Lutheran church, but the one here seemed to be small and we're not really looking for the small church thing seeing as how our motivation for going is to meet people.  BUT, we both refuse to go to a church that holds certain beliefs because, well, they're in deep contrast to what we fundamentally believe, so that knocks out a lot of deep South churches.  So we landed on an Episcopal church downtown. And they even had a family service at 9am, which meant I didn't have to worry about two loud children bothering others as they tried to pray.

The church was beautiful and we were welcomed by the clergy as we walked in.  The service had some similarities to a Lutheran service, so it wasn't completely foreign. But there was a lot of Bible references (I know, I know) and the word "dead" or "death" was mentioned many times which made me uncomfortable with Lukas sitting next to me - I'm not prepared for those questions from him yet! And the hymns were totally new to me. But it was on the short side (45 minutes), the sermon was directed at the children (be thankful for what you have/don't complain) and the message was one we've been able to continue talking about with Lukas.  The only off-putting thing was that there were maybe 30 people in the congregation.  Small is not what were going for, remember?  Womp womp.

But after the service, as we're about to leave, this guy, Brian, ran up to us and said he just wanted to come introduce himself because he'd never seen us before.  Well, long story-short, we ended up speaking to him and his wife for over thirty minutes - turns out he brews beer (like the husband) and they have two boys as well (albeit, they're in elementary school so it's not like they'd be friends).  And I was introduced to another women who happens to live about ten houses down from us on the same side of the road!  They also confirmed that the church is actually much bigger - most people just go to the later, traditional service.  They invited us to Sunday school, but that would've been a bit much for me, so we declined.  But all in all, they were so kind and welcoming and the guy even gave the hubs his number and said to call him so they could grab a beer sometime, even if we never come back to the church.  It was so nice to actually talk to people.

And so the lesson was loud and clear again; You have to get out there!  And it is not enough to just get out there, you have to make the EFFORT when you are there.  You have to talk to people.  Say hello. You may not meet your new best friend, but you might be surprised and start to feel a little more confident in your ability to make friends.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mommy Failure

We're still in a major adjustment period.  That's what I've decided I'm calling this time where I feel like I'm drowning and have to work at putting forth a positive attitude. I'm failing at the positive thing most days. Somehow it helps me to know that I'm trying.  Like as long as I continue to be aware that I should be happy and blessed and positive, then eventually I'll feel those things and this negative 'tude I have floating around in my head will disappear.

I'm not constantly negative. I'm not about to jump off a bridge or anything. But I'm not feeling like I fit in here yet. I'm lacking friends and I'm struggling with the version of myself that I have become while on this sabbatical from work.  I think that is the biggest issue. I'm not the mom I thought I would be if I were a SAHM.

For almost 4 years I've felt guilt for working full-time and longed for more time with my children. I have that time now, and I end every day feeling like I totally, completely fucked up. I raise my voice more than I'd like to admit.  I don't have things planned for the kids to do. I turn the TV on I don't get them out and to the park on a regular basis.  I haven't met anyone for them to play with.  I'm not practicing Lukas' letters or doing hardly any educational activities with him. And it is all these things that I am not doing (or doing, when it comes to the yelling part), that make me feel like a shitty mom. I have this amazing opportunity to spend time with my boys and I feel like I am not making the most of it.

I know I am being harder on myself that I deserve. And I'm not giving myself recognition for all the things I am doing.  I'm cooking them good, healthy homecooked meals THREE times a day.  Something I've never done. And I'm cleaning up after those three meals (I've decided I spend half my day cooking or cleaning). I'm reading lots of books with them.  I'm giving lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles.  I'm saying lots of "I love yous".  I'm drawing with Lukas.  I'm rocking Julian before each nap.  I'm here.  My boys are with their momma.

I also know that it takes time to get settled in a new place and it takes time to form a routine and make friends. I just feel like we're moving at a snail's pace.  Lukas does start school in a week or so and I know that will help.  He does well with a routine. And he's excited to start school and meet new friends.  And Julian just rolls with the flow. I love seeing his silly smile and hearing his laugh all day long.  And my heart just melts when I feel his arms wrap around my legs when I'm standing in the kitchen cooking.

I do adore getting to spend more time with them.  I just wish I could get it together to make it more quality time.

So for all my working-mom friends, know that the grass is always greener.  Or as my old therapist used to say, the grass is always browner.

Ok, enough of my Debbie Downer for today.  It's the husband's birthday so my almost-4 year old and I are going to bake a cake.  From scratch.  Lord help us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No Sugarcoating Here

So I've slept under this roof for ten nights now.  And as our things finally find a place within this house, it is slooooowly becoming our home. But it's been hard.  I've been a bit of an emotional wreck at times.  This started a few weeks back, even before the actual move.

The morning we closed on the house I was happy.  I was excited.  A new start.  All the good was bubbling to the surface.  And then I drove home (i.e. to Atlanta) a few hours later to spend the weekend with my best girlfriends from law school to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a new baby boy.  He's my friend's first baby.  And I won't be in the same city anymore to just drop by on a whim and hold him.

A few hours into the evening I was hit with a panic attack. A slow wave of anxiety rolled in and it simply wouldn't leave. I was with friends I've known for 10 years.  People I love and trust. But I couldn't shake this awful feeling and pounding in my heart. As the minutes ticked away I kept trying to tell myself that I was fine.  I knew this was just anxiety, but I couldn't stop the feeling. Eventually, after midnight, I got in my car and drove to my parents so I could sleep in the same bed with my husband and wake up to my boys' smiling faces.  It is hard to admit that I couldn't shake it on my own.  That I needed my husband to make it all okay. But that night, that's what I needed.

Looking back, I think that night it hit me (maybe subconsciously if not consciously) that the signing of the papers to purchase the house meant we were really moving. And that the time was coming quickly.  It is one thing to anticipate a big change. It is quite another thing when it actually happens.

Thankfully that's been the only major anxiety I've had in the past month, but there have been bouts of sadness and tears.  I'm frustrated not knowing where anything is - a good park, the best coffee shop, a dry cleaners.  And it's hard going from working full time to staying-at-home with two small children.  I know that part is temporary and there have been many moments of joy in my current SAHM role and I love most days of it, but it's isolating. Many days the only adult I talk to is my husband when he gets home from work.  It is a massive change.  So much change at once.

I know. I know I will make friends.  I know the boys will make friends.  I know we will make a life here and I know I will be happy.  But this starting over part is rough.  It's scary to reach out to friends-of-friends and hope you make a connection. You second guess if the neighbor who came over with cinnamon rolls and offered you her phone number and said to call if you need anything really meant it. At this point, I know it won't hurt to try.  But it's still hard to put yourself out there.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The House: BEFORE Pictures

From the street.  We loved the Tudor style

Family room/den: The dark wood was screaming "paint me please!"
Sunroom which is now a playroom
Eat-in kitchen.  Please note the wallpaper.
Eat in kitchen looking into the kitchen.  First order of business was removing the cabinet obstructing the view into the kitchen.  It has made a HUGE difference.
Kitchen.  At least the countertops are granite.  Sort of makes up for the 11 inch deep cabinets.
Kitchen again.
Guest room.  They had changed the lovely blue carpet for white, but the brown walls still remained...
Downstairs bathroom wallpaper and fixture. She loved wallpaper. 
Formal Living room.  I wish this were a better picture so you could really grasp the impact of the red walls.
Formal dining.  Red walls again.
Bar.  The wallpaper still remains.  I'm thinking of keeping it.  #kidding
The bar light.  It will remain.  I actually love it. It's sort of kitsch.
Fireplace in the master.
Backyard - which is actually great.
Boys' bathroom tile.  Master bath tile. Parquet floors downstairs. Guest bath tile.

So she needs some love.  A facelift if you will.  We've already painted most of the house and taken down the wallpaper, which has made a HUGE difference.  We're thinking a full kitchen renovation is in order, but are not ready to tackle that just yet.  However, more more burnt dinner in my 1970s oven and we may get there.

It's a work in progress, but it's our home.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hello from South GA

I'm alive.  It's just been a whirlwind 6 weeks.  So let's backtrack and recap:

July 31st was my last day in the office and the boys' last day at Primrose.  August 1st we got on an airplane and flew to California for a week.  We visited with my brother and his girlfriend, Lara, my two amazing nephews, my 92 year old grandmother, my aunt and uncles and my cousins and their kiddos. It was a fantastic trip and we have lots of great memories!  The downside to the trip was Julian's inability to sleep away from home.  We were all tired but happy.

Mr. Cob flew back to Atlanta the following Thursday and then picked up the dog and they got in a car and headed North.  He met me and the boys in Chicago Friday afternoon (we flew - a 4 hour airplane ride alone with two small kids is about as far as I'd recommend)!  We then dropped Mr. Cob at his little brother's bachelor party (where we picked up Nana) and then drove to Michigan for a week at my in-laws.  Well, kind of "at" my in-laws.  They're currently renovating their house so it's not exactly livable/kid-friendly, so we rented a house a few doors down.  We had a lovely week on the lake - I even rented a Stand-up Paddle Board!  Auntie Al even joined us for a few days and we ended the trip with brunch with Mr. Cob's college friends and their kiddos.  And then we drove through the night and arrived back home at 3am.  

So that puts us in mid-August.  We had a week to just kind of chill at my parents house (they were still in Cali) and then we closed on our house in Macon on August 22nd around 10am and then at 11am we started some demo in the kitchen to remove the intrusive hanging cabinet.  I'm not sure why it was there in the first place.  Then we headed back to the ATL so I could spend the weekend with my law school girlfriends as we celebrated the upcoming birth of a new baby boy!

Mr. Cob moved to Macon on the 24th and started work on the 25th.  We had painters come in, take down a lot of wallpaper and paint almost all of the rooms in the house (it seriously needed a face-lift).  Half of our furniture arrived August 31st (our 6 year wedding anniversary!  Iron - Mr. Cob gave me an awesome Le Creuset wok!!!! My present to him was moving to Macon. I kid. #notreally). And then the rest of our furniture came 6 days ago, September 6th, which is when I finally moved in.  The kids came the next day. And here we are.

So we are officially Macon residents.  Hooray.