Some Days

I never succeeded in Project 365. Time and time again I failed miserably after a few weeks. I didn’t want to get out my camera, find a real subject, and click away. I didn’t want to work at it every day. But the thing is: I take pictures nearly every day anyway.

On my phone.

So, a picture a day, on Instagram, seemed like a reasonable thing for me to try to do.

And I figure I should share some of those shots here every once in a while.

These boys. (Jan 1)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Snack time. (Jan 7 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Photo booth fun. (Jan 11)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Good morning, sleepyhead. (Jan 14)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Hair is getting long again. Whee! (Jan 17 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on


I think this is a goal I’ll be able to manage reasonably well. I have no doubt I’ll miss a few days here and there, but it will be nice to look back and have something from most days of 2015.

Instagram

We Just Were

For as long as I can remember, weekends have stressed me out. This is particularly true of Sundays, and any friends (especially poor Zach) can attest to that fact. Fridays felt great, but by Saturday and especially by Sunday, I was a walking, talking, annoying, frustrated human being. There is so much to do I thought every second of every minute of Sunday (and even parts of Saturday). I would tell myself to stop, there isn’t that much to do, our house isn’t that dirty, and maybe you can do some laundry during the week (even though you’ll be totally wiped from work and cooking and cleaning and okay…it’ll never get done that way)?

But I’ve always had this sense that people are relaxed during the weekend. That people are able to unwind the tightly wound knot we all put ourselves into every week. Mostly, it seemed to me that weekends are designed so that you don’t stress out. That in between school or work lived these days designed to help you not worry about school or work. I mean, aren’t weekends supposed to be this magical two-day period wherein everyone takes a deep breath and sits down? (Surely, thinking that life could be relaxing while also being totally maintained is one of the reasons I got so stressed out.)

Instead of this ideal I had created in my head of drinking tea while the house is somehow put together on it’s own, weekends were a flurry of activity and of Hurry-Up-And-Get-Ready-For-The-Week. During school, I studied, did homework, and prepared for the week. When I worked, I did errands, chores, and prepared for the week. I never relaxed. I never did, well, nothing. I never took a deep breath and sat down.

Rock Hunting

Last weekend was our last bit of vacation after a lovely break, where both Alex and Zach were off for a solid two weeks. We watched movies, celebrated holidays, and had a generally amazing time. The time was coming to a close, though, as Zach was going back to work on Monday while Alex was heading back to school. I knew that this would be the first week of my new job, my new life as a stay at home mom.

I felt anxious all day Sunday. There is so much laundry to do. Where is Alex’s lunchbox? We have no food in the house. What will I make for dinner tomorrow? Oh no, what will everyone pack for lunch? The house is a mess. The Christmas tree is still up! and on and on and on. I tried to take a deep breath and sit down.

But how do you take a deep breath and sit down when your house is a mess and there’s no food in your refrigerator? When you are ready to start your family back on track to healthy meals and regular exercise, and all you can do is order food? When you want to make sure you have clean clothes and that your son has his favorite sweater to wear for the first week back? How do you take a deep breath and sit down when there is so much to do?

Fortunately, it was an unseasonably warm day, so Alex helped me take a deep breath and sit down: he wanted to go on a rock hunt.

Rock Hunting

I let the thoughts leave my mind as I took a deep breath and reminded myself that my new life meant I could do laundry and grocery shop any time. We walked outside. We strolled up our street, looking for rocks on the sidewalk, slowly peering behind trees, and then strolled back down the street, making sure to check around every possible corner. We weren’t running errands, we weren’t doing chores, we weren’t doing anything that would prepare for everyone’s first week back after a long vacation.

We just were.

Rock Hunting

I Get It

I get it.

It’s weird. It’s weird that I would become a stay at home mom when my only child is in school full time. It’s weird that I would “abandon” my “career” (something I do not believe is true for many reasons) when my kid doesn’t need me all the time.

I get it.

It doesn’t make sense to leave a fulfilling job in order to not send my son to after school care. It seems strange that I would make the decision to not work, to not show the world that you can be a successful mother and work (something that I strongly believe is true), to resign a perfectly good position in order to volunteer at school, be there on sick days, and to make snow angels on snow days.

I do get it. It is weird.

But this is it. This is what we are doing.

It doesn’t feel real yet. But I know that starting next week, when Zach goes back to work and Alex goes back to school, it will sink in. This is not an extended vacation. This isn’t some amazing luck of the draw where I actually got some time off during the holidays. This is it.

Things are going to be great. Alex is so excited to have more time with me. He’s looking forward to having days at home, having me around when he’s sick, and not having to go to after school every day. Zach is looking forward to is not having to do all the errands on the weekends, and having home cooked meals more regularly. I am looking forward to exercising, getting healthy, and feeling like I’m there for my family.

Two Thousand and Fifteen is going to be an amazing year.

Christmas 2014

What Christmas Means To Me

My birthday is a mere three days before Christmas. Anyone who has a birthday immediately before or after Christmas can tell you that it’s not ideal. People forget about you. People think combining salutations and gifts for birthdays and holidays is what one should do. But mostly it just means that it’s all a blur.

The holidays are stressful. Parties, presents, and traffic galore. You can’t go to a store without having at least one encounter with a rude person. At some point some man dressed as Santa will be ringing a large bell in your face insisting the money he’s demanding from you is going to a good cause. The grocery store will definitely be out of that one thing you need, and you’ll be lucky to find a place to park at the mall.

But at the end of every day, as I play my Christmas music, make peppermint bark, and sit by the tree, I am thrilled for this time.

Christmas 2014

And this time? This time was perfect.

This time I wasn’t going to bed and kicking people out of our house early, or waking up before the sun breaks over the horizon to get to work. I was just home. With my family.

And I was sick. I had a fever. Felt awful. Cold symptoms that have turned into a chest cold. Alex woke up with a fever on Monday (my birthday!) and got to experience his first sick day home with me. So it wasn’t perfect in the ways you would expect, but it was perfect because I saw it all. I got to experience it, even as I was chugging tea and slamming Advil.

Christmas 2014

What Christmas means to me? Family. I can deal with the fever (and not having to use paid time off). I can deal with rude people pushing me at the mall to get the purse I wasn’t even trying to grab. I can deal with the parties and traffic. I can deal with the blur that is my birthday, missed again his year because I was sick and miserable and was not going to waste the amazing dinner and night out Zach had planned on my sick self. I can deal with feeling stressed because this is the most wonderful time of the year.

We had our traditional pierogi dinner on Christmas Eve, passed down from Zach’s father. We shared pictures of our 75 pierogi with the other part of our family in New England that makes the same meal (and beat us by making well over 100). We had wine, I kept my distance from everyone because no one wants my sickness as a present, and we laughed. We ate cheese from a family member’s cheese store in Wisconsin, and FaceTimed with other family in sunny and warm Florida. We drank mimosas, ate lots of chocolate, and laughed some more. We sent text messages to other distant relatives, opened presents, and even played outside for a little while thanks to the unseasonably warm weather. We listened to music, played with Alex’s new toys, and laughed even more.

The Guys making pierogi.

Alex had a wonderful Christmas. Zach and I had a wonderful Christmas. (I didn’t have to work!) I got to spend every minute with my family, something I haven’t been able to do since Alex was a toddler and I went to nursing school. I got to listen to him play his harmonica for hours…and hours…and hours (thanks grandparents!).

I got to experience it. (And I only thought about how work was getting along without me a dozen times. That’s it!)

Christmas 2014

This was good. This was very, very, good.

Christmas Tree Shopping

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a Christmas Tree. A real, pine-smell-emitting, cut from the Earth, needle-dropping, Christmas tree.

“It’s so weird that we put a tree inside our house,” Alex admitted to me while we were decorating the tree last night.

It is weird, for sure, but it’s also lovely. It smells so wonderful and looks so pretty and makes me feel so warm. So peaceful, happy, loved, and Christmas-y.

Christmas Tree 2014

The last two years we have purchased our tree at a local farm, and this year Alex was lucky enough to get his own tree. He was quite insistent that he get a five foot tree, but, sorry kid!, no way.

Christmas Tree 2014

He loves his tree. His tiny little tree. His huggable, still delicious-smelling, needle-dropping, cut from the Earth, real Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree 2014

And So It Begins

He’s lost his two bottom teeth already, but the loss of the top front tooth seems so big to me. He will no longer look like a little boy. The fact that he kept his baby-teeth-filled-smile until he was seven (“and a quarter!”) made me happy.

It kept him little for a little while longer.

As these new big teeth grow in, we will get our first glimpse at the person he is going to become.

And so begins a long time of funny toothless pictures!

It’s going to be awesome.