Such a Year is 2016

I’ve been in a reflective mood these past few weeks. This year has been something else and I’ve still been trying to wrap my mind around it. So, in the spirit of introspection, I’ve been trying to figure where I’ve been and where I want to go.

introspection

From a career, or day job, perspective, I worked a major project for most of the last year that went live early this year. The project was very successful and it established me as an expert in my area which, as my father rightly put it, is a double-edged sword. There are days I can hardly do my job for people wanting to tap into my expertise. Not to mention there have been headcount changes and increased responsibilities. I am finally reaching a place where I can feel like I am no longer excessively behind, but it has been stressful. My eagerness to head into work every day has dimmed to an extent.

Also new this year, all of the kids are officially in school as of this August. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time. It means a different chapter in our lives, but it also means there is more maturity in all the children to an extent. This is my one year where everyone is in the same school before Kidlet One heads to junior high next year. But Kindergarten is a busy time so it requires more time commitment. So this often keeps me on my toes.

At some point, I can only guess it was the stress and exhaustion, I inexplicably gained 20 pounds and experienced fatigue so deep I could barely function.My creative well dried up and the thought of writing anything was just overwhelming. I was in a cesspool of unhappiness.

After a few months, I decided I could no longer live like that. I spent some time outside, taking advantage of our unseasonably warm weather. I started on the ketogenic diet, and after a few starts and stops, I can successfully say I am now losing weight and have loads more energy to get through the day.

And while my creative well is not quite flowing anew, it does contain a few droplets. I figured rambling along on some blog posts with regularity might be just what the inner creative ordered. I have a few things to go about over the next few weeks, and my goal is to get back to writing fiction again with some consistency.

Look for more in the coming days and I am excited to be back!

These Days

Things have been really busy around these parts the last few months. I’m still trying to get a grip on things and smooth out life a little. I’ve found it a little annoying lately that something always has to go wrong on the weekends.
This last weekend, for example, I wanted to get a lot of cleaning done because we are having the birthday party for the youngest next weekend. My back has decided that now is an awesome time to hurt. Lots. So it limits what I can accomplish at a time.
I’m also trying to get so many things done that I can’t figure out where to start and what to tackle first. The biggest thing there is to just pick something and go after it. So, I am thinking that I might test a few freezer cooking recipes to see if we like them before I make several of them to feed us. Soccer season is fast approaching. I definitely report back what we’ve tried and how it works for us.
What’s going on with you?

Overwhelmed

That pretty much sums up how I’m feeling these days. There are so many things I need to do that I feel conflicted. There’s unpacking, regular housework, eat better, exercise more, write for the blog, work on the novel, spend time with the kids, spend time with the husband. There’s just more to do than there is me or hours in the day. I’m trying to figure out how to balance it all. And get ahead or at least break even.
Late last year, I was part of the launch team for Crystal Paine’s Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I have a hard copy of it sitting in the kitchen next to the cookbooks. Perhaps it’s time to dust it off and work through it again. My biggest thing is the exhaustion and lack of energy when I get home from work. I manage to cook dinner and feed everyone, but then I just want to be done. I want to rest and unwind for a little bit. Let my brain relax. Ideas flow better. Most often, something with the kids keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep, and I know that will end one day, but I still have manage today.
I know I would be less exhausted if I exercised more, and I know that I would be happier if I spent more time on creative endeavors, but I have to figure out how to prioritize so I can “have it all”. Not to mention that I need to work on this house so we can live happily. So where do I start? How to I decide which is the highest priority? How long do I sacrifice myself for the good of the rest of the family?
From past experience, I know that I am terrible at keeping schedules. Something always comes up with the kids that blows my plans out of the water. Then I completely fail to return to the schedule. Maybe a need a gentle shove or nudge from someone, I don’t know. I just know that it hasn’t worked well for me in the past.
So I am left feeling like I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t work full time, but I am the breadwinner, so we need my income. Especially since we will have to start paying for daycare in August.
What do you do to balance all of your life obligations? How do you beat the stress and fatigue of daily life?

Chaos Uncontrolled

Last week, I was on vacation. It was the first full week the kids have all been out of school. And it was insane. I had all these big plans for what I wanted to get done. Very little of that happened.

I am totally ready for a break from them and some peace and quiet. That never happened. I almost look forward to returning to work. This is not the kind of chaos I want for our house. It has a very negative energy and nobody is happy. I am hoping balance returns soon.

Front Yard

 

Here is a pic of our front yard. My brother was playing with the kidlets. I was standing in the driveway. Still lots of things to clean up/fix, but all that room for playing is awesome.

A shout-out to some interesting things:

My online friend AJ Clarkson was nominated for a PARSEC award for her audio drama Fortuna. She just launched her blog, ClarksonPunk.

My other friend Joshua Roots has a new book, Summoned Chaos, coming out soon. The first one, Undead Chaos, was pretty entertaining.

And to round things out, a snippet from Abigail Quinn #2:

My mother’s face filled the mirror as she waved furiously. Only my mother. When technology wouldn’t let her in, she used all sorts of magical means.

“Mom, can you turn for a minute while I get my robe, please?”

“Oh, of course.”

She promptly moved out of sight, and I grabbed my robe from the hook by the door. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I said, “Okay, Mom, I’m ready to talk now.”

A little white lie never hurt anything. I needed a pot of coffee and a hot shower to deal with her on a good day.

Ramping Up Writing

As I said in my last post about all of our changes, I’ve been working to stretch myself when it comes to writing this year. The SSSFFSS was a big deal for me. I’ve never been one to really share my work and then I opened the door by writing something to specifically give to someone else.

It was writing from a prompt, which I have found to really enjoy writing from. A little idea sparks a big idea and so on. However, this prompt was wide open, which made me nervous at first. Especially since I had to try to be humorous. But, after my initial freak out, I got that little spark and a story was born. The giftee gave good feedback and the world Abigail Quinn lives in was born.

Since then, I’ve started another story featuring Abby Quinn. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet, but this world and this character is pretty fun, so I am enjoying it. It’s relatively lighthearted, and I intend it to be mostly funny. Perhaps it will go deeper. I’m only at the beginning, so I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I find I write better that way.

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, and as is typical for every NaNo I’ve ever touched, I failed miserably after real life stomped all over my plans. We had every member of the house come down with a stomach bug one weekend and another, I had a hip flare and that left me unable to function. Luckily, my husband stepped up and was teh awesomez.

Now, I’m trying to figure out the way to get more writing time in schedule. Things have been a little hectic lately and competing priorities make things hard. Once I get a little farther into this story, I look forward to working on it more.

What have you been working on lately and what struggles have you faced?

The Difference of a Year

I’m struck this morning by how different my life last year was compared to my life this year. For a significant portion of last year, I worried that my marriage might be ending. I was hurting a lot both emotionally and physically, and toward the end of the year, beginning the journey to figure out what was wrong with my hips.

For most of 2012, I was unwinding. I had taken a new job after leaving the one that had made me horribly miserable for most of the prior five years. My new job was a leap of faith because it was not a permanent position. But, slowly, I was feeling like myself.

But my marriage was still rocky. Then, I am not sure what happened. Late last year, my husband started participating in our family more. And what a difference it makes. He does more with the kids. He helps more with family chores. We talk more, opening ourselves up to each other more than we have in years.

The change in our house has been amazing. And it has continued for much of this year. I don’t feel like I am parenting solo most of the team and instead feel like we are a real family team.

We are also taking some big strides that would have been hard to do without us working together. Like buying our first house. We still have areas where we can improve, but I feel like we are moving forward this year and it’s awesome.

What has change for you over the last year?

Summer Fun, Special Projects, and Fall Sports

So our summer flew by. Busy days going places, doing things. I wanted the kids to have fun and I think we did.

School started about a month ago. Oldest Kidlet (OD) is now in second grade. Middle Kidlet (MK) is in her last year of preschool, and Littlest Kidlet (LK) has started his first year of preschool. So we are busy doing all of that.

Then I took on a two month special project that started in August for work. While a good move for my career, it’s been eating up most of my time at work and some of my personal time. Luckily, I was able to complete it successfully.

Just in the knick of time for fall sports to begin. OK is doing both soccer and cheerleading. MK is doing soccer. LK just runs around like a little demon. These are all recreational, so they are not super intense, but we are busy and this is where I am super thankful for the Cozi web calendar and app because I can see at a glance what is going on when.

However, I am writing more than I was before. NaNoWriMo is coming up and I’m trying to decide what to do for it. I have arranged for some time off during November since I can do that at New Job. Hunter Husband seems to be more understanding this year as well, so that helps too.

Over the last few months, I’ve encountered so many things where I think, “That would be good to discuss on the blog,” and then I never do, so I am going to attempt to do that a little more often.

What does everyone else have going on during this fall season?