FTWM to SAHM vlog series: Fears

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hi!  Eek! first real vlog in the series and I'm discussing my fears before making the transition into a stay-at-home-Mum from the working/paycheck world.

The video is longer than last week because I like ramble on.  hah.  I edited it down a little and kept the actual vlog to under 20 minutes. (it's the outtakes that takes it up and over!)  I also broke down the sections so that if you couldn't watch it all at once, then it'd be easy to find your place again later if you wanted to come back and watch.  (Honestly, if anyone watches the whole entire thing I think I'd be shocked to say the least! hah)

-- Can I also just do a quick confirmation that this whole video about fears and worries can be lumped into the #firstworldproblems category of life.  I know this, I'm confirming I know this.  I have been so lucky in life both in my good fortune and in the opportunities for choices. This is just me telling my own story and I fully recognize that the life that I live is a blessed one --

Big thank you to my sweet friend Sara who sent me her HD webcam that she was no longer using to help bring some technological update to my vlog series (love ya, momma!) and also to all of you who provided feedback about my intro and for supporting me and all of my 'um'ing and bizarreness on camera.  You guys are the best.

For some additional support to this week's vlog about fears and worries in Sahmhood:

Good Mothers from Scary Mommy Blog

Being a Stay-at-home-parent is a luxury for your spouse

Video:  Shh!  My mommy is sleeping

Video:  The Mother 'Hood Official

I'm planning next week on focusing on schedules from my perspective as the Mum.  Discussing things like my own way of planning, keeping myself on 'task,' and meal planning!

As always, feedback is welcome and if you have something you'd like me to discuss - let me know and I'll do my best to provide my insight:)

the value of my own creativity

Monday, February 23, 2015

We are deep into our second month of the year and I am continuing to work towards the completion of my 100 small things.  This past month, I have been attempting to tackle No. 79 Take an Online Writing Course by participating in the Write Yourself Alive course with Andrea Balt and Tyler Knott Gregson.

The course has been a good learning experience for me in two main ways.  First, I have really been stretching my abilities into different kinds of writing and creativity than I have in the past, or at least been comfortable with trying in the past.  Specifically poetry.  I actually claimed for a long time (up until about the last 9 years) that I didn't 'get poetry.' It seemed so abstract and odd to me; turns out I just hadn't been reading poetry that spoke to me.  And then I was introduced to Billy Collins and fell in literary love with his words (especially his An Introduction to Poetry) and have been interested in poetry ever since.

One day of the course we were encouraged to write a poem and this is what I wrote (cabin fever and three little kids were my inspiration).

I even tried out for the first time ever Black Out Poetry which I found to be quite challenging but exhilarating too.  I grabbed the closest thing to me which turned out to be a World Vision magazine, and got to blacking out portions of the type.  I have always thought it would be a relatively easy thing to do, but it turned out I was really flexing my mind and creative limits.  Black Out Poetry is something I'll definitely consider trying again when I'm feeling stuck in creativity.

My Black Out Poem:

We were community
Vision of perfect
When addressing fear
I am not mature
In a place I've never been before
We never imagine the suffering
Now it takes something rare to be happy
Clean changed to dirty
In fact, 
so many have to sit on the floor

The second thing I'm learning during this writing course is that I do not.  DO NOT. make the time for my creative self.  I don't and I really wish I did (and know I should) but like lots of Mums I guess, I continually find myself the last in line by default.  There are babies to tend to, pets to feed, laundry to be done, rooms that need picked up, a husband I want to spend time with, bills that need paid, food that needs prepared...and I generally find myself exchanging the time it would take to shower (let alone write!) for taking care of someone (or something) else.

The course is 30 days and if I'm being honest, I've completed about a third of the day's writing assignments.  ugh.  I've printed all the information in hopes that even after the course officially ends online, I'll complete the writing questions and continue to learn how to make time for my own creative soul.  I've logged on a few times to share my writing - because I know this is truly the aspect of the course that is probably most beneficial; to get the chance to read and share work with like-minded people.  But I know I could be more committed - I want to be more committed (!) but it is a fault of mine that somehow the weight of it doesn't feel equal to the weight of my other responsibilities (which is not true, but Moms).

This past week we were asked to reflect on our kids (or important people in our lives) that we could give a one page message of advice of lessons we've learned in life.  Here's what poured out of me:

My most repeated affirmation during the course has been, "I have a creative soul and it is valuable." I am refusing to cross this task officially off my 100 small things list until I have completed each day's worth of writing assignment.  So until then, I'll keep marching along and figuring out how to get my heart and mind on the same page for my creative affirmation.


Transition from FTWM to SAHM Vlog Series: Intro

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Well here's a good laugh for the day!

I was inspired by my sweet friend, Haley (hi, Haley!) to do a post or two about my transition from a full-time working mom to a stay at home mom as she is currently getting ready to take the leap.  She emailed me a week or so ago with questions about budgets and tips & tricks for hard days, and how to feel confident in at-home educational activities, etc.  Love her so much for even considering me as a reliable source!!  And also for supplying great blog content that might help other moms too that are thinking about (or hoping in the future) to make the sometimes scary transition to SAHM.

I was both flattered and apparently wildly overly ambitious as I had a spark of inspiration to use this topic as my first dabble in video blogging.

this is a screenshot, haha.   Pressing Play here is not an option :)

yeesh, after yesterday's recording that spanned the course of the day with multiple children making their appearances in the videos and more distractions and stops then I can count...I'm thinking maybe I overshot my abilities.  lololololololol.

Check out my very first vlog below and please ignore the following things:
  • the cuts in takes as I was pulled into a "crisis" every few minutes (and by crisis I mean someone needed a drink or the tv channel needed changed)
  • the giant pile of junk that needs sorted behind me (Brandon commented while laughing later:  um, could you not have picked a nicer backdrop of our house?)
  • the fact that my exhaustion and exasperation becomes increasingly visible on my face as the video progresses (HAH)
  • that on a scale of 1 to 10, my laptop camera quality is a 2.5

But it's only the first one, right?  And maybe I'll get used to speaking on camera as they go on...?  Here's hoping for all of your sake!  This is why I write instead of youtube my thoughts.  Speaking is so less eloquent it's actually funny.  or shameful.  whatevs.

So come back for the first installment of the series next Wednesday to get some insightful information on my initial fears and worries when I was transitioning to a SAHM...or come back for the outtake reel (obviously), or maybe just because you can't look away from this trainwreck.  um, yeah, the last one makes the most sense.

thoughts, general concerns about my abilities both in parenting and vlogging?  HAH.  If you have specific ideas for things you'd like me to attempt to address about my life as a SAHM, please let me know in the comments or on facebook.  I'll do my best to speak to them...and also do my best to maybe fix my hair in the next video.  

AKT plus kids playdate winter 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My two best friends are the greatest.  If you've been here before, you'll recognize them from when I've written about them before (our 30 trip, weddings, baby showers).  When my kids are asked who Mumma's friends are they answer my sisters and Katie and Karpy. 

We are all mommas now and about an hour separate Kate and I while multiple states separate us from Karpy (PA vs. NC).  So out of sheer missing each other and our kids and in an effort to be the kind of moms that do brave things (like drive solo four hours with preschoolers for a weekend getaway)-we met up halfway in Fredricksburg, VA for a playdate!  (my two best friends that know me so well joked that I only wanted to do this seemingly rather daunting trip for blog post material - hahahah, they were only half right!)  And thus, we've started a (hopefully) bi-annual tradition of our AKT plus kids halfway meet up playdate.  (Can we please continue do this when our kids are teenagers?)

Since it was the dead of winter and we were traveling with six kids five and under - we stayed closed to the hotel for the weekend to create our fun.  We stayed at the Residence Inn and it had all the amenities we needed!  Indoor swimming pool, double bedroom suites, mini kitchen areas, kid-friendly tv channels, pull-out beds/forts.  It was perfect for our weekend.  Don't you worry, we hit up that indoor swimming pool with serious enthusiasm that weekend - four separate times in two days!

Since we stayed inside nearly the whole time, the kids were pleased as punch to basically exist in their jammies all weekend.  As were the Mums too...or at least the Mom version of coziness:  yoga pants and comfy sweater shirts

...and we certainly enjoyed a fair amount (read:  excessive) of snacking and eating ranging from free continental breakfast to ordering in Chinese and pizza, to snacking on  gooey chocolate date balls and consuming approximately the kids' weights in oreos.

With six kids under six, understandably we had a few meltdowns during the weekend.  Kids uninterested in their paparazzi mommas, food and snacks that weren't exactly what they wanted at that exact moment, or as we were heading out on Sunday morning when Gemmi cried for 30 minutes straight about 'leaving her friends.'

But it was mostly about playing, being silly, and making new memories with old friends. 

On Saturday night, the four littlest kids went to bed, while the 'late night crew' (and by 'late night:' it was 8:30pm) stayed up and giggled endlessly about nonsensical things.  The kids on a mix of punch-drunk exhaustion and being temporarily allowed to make up songs with the word 'poop' in them.  While the moms were giddy from mini bottles of champagne and glasses of wine.

I'll tell ya, we had so much fun that weekend four hours away from home in a hotel room in the dead of winter.  It was just like old times between the three of us - messy buns, a giddy wine buzz, and all.

...well, sort of just like old times

old times plus our favorite six little humans.

Dear Sophia, Greyson, Gemma, Charlie, Andrew, and Violet,

A happy life is 90% about who you spend it with.

Be like us and spend it with people
who listen to you to understand,
who make you laugh and smile,
and who encourages you to be YOU!

You guys are so lucky and you don't even know it yet.

We love you forever and ever,
even when you get so big,

your mummas
(Allison, Katie, and Tab)

akt fo lyfe.

Senior Night calls for a kid interview!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In honor of the Blue Jays Senior Night game tonight (and last home game of the season, whew!  that went fast!)  I interviewed the Blue Jays two biggest fans about our favorite team and coach.

What is your favorite part of basketball season?
Gemma:  Going with my Dad on the bus (with the players after away games)
Grey:  Going to practice and going to the locker room like the players.

Who is your favorite player?
Gemma:  Jake
Grey:  Drew and Billy and Dante....well, all of them, Mum!

Do you want to play basketball when you grow up?
Gemma:  Yea
Grey:  Yes!  and then when I get done with college, I want to be a coach too.  Like Dad.

Who do you think would win a basketball game: Daddy or the Blue Jays?
Gemma:  Blue Jays
Grey:  Daddy

You or the Blue Jays?
Gemma:  Me!
Grey:  Blue Jays

What is something Daddy says as a Coach?
Gemma:  Let's go Blue Jays!
Grey:  Jays on three, 1, 2, 3, JAYS!

What kind of coach do you think Daddy is?
Gemma:  a Happy Coach!
Grey:  He's an awesome coach because he teaches the team cool basketball moves.

Do Daddy's players listen to him?
Gemma:  Yes
Grey: (laughing)  um, No.

What's the coolest thing about basketball?
Gemma:  Playing basketball!
Grey:  All the cool moves, like when the player throws it up to the net and the other guy dunks it.  What's that called again, The Loopy Loop?  It's called an Alley-oop.  Oh yea, Alley-oop

What will you miss now that basketball season is ending?
Gemma:  The snacks
Grey:  I going to miss shooting hoops at practice.  I'm going to miss all the players too.  But they're invited to my birthday party, remember?

What do you want to tell the Blue Jays tonight for the game?
Gemma:  I'm Gemma, please can you bring me presents?  Thank you.
Grey:  I love you!  I hope you win today!  And I hope the other team doesn't win and you guys do.  So, can you please do the Alley Oop move?  Billy, you have to throw the ball to Charlie and then Charlie you pass to Drew and then Drew, you come over and dunk it...okay?  And here's what I have to say (deep voice):  Jays on three, 1, 2, 3 JAYS!!!!

Why I Blog

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Let's be honest, I started blogging back in 2008 because my wedding planning -which had occupied most of my brainpower up until that point- had come to an abrupt end following our actual wedding (woohoo!) And I had just finished reading Julie & Julia 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. And we were living three hours from our families in Erie, PA.  And we had little else occupying our days than work, trying out hole-in-the-wall pubs for their wings, and laughing at our sweet kitten Lola.  Blogging was a way for me to update our family about what was happening in our life and convert unused brainwaves into words.

And so it went for a long while; me just writing rambles in my brain about our regular life.  But then after some time in the blogosphere, I started writing about our 12 Months of Kindness and also writing some non-diary style posts and I started to see my little section of the internet as less of a journal and more of a collection of meaningful stories of my life and of me; who I am right in this moment.

In early 2012, two full months after posting it, my 25 Rules for Moms with Sons hit a tipping point (at this moment that one post of mine has been viewed 2,060,901 times:  un.believe.able.) and I experienced the bizarre feeling that happens when you suddenly realize people who don't know you in any capacity are now reading the linings of  your brain. It's both exhilarating and terrifying.

today, I blog for vastly different reasons and to a much larger audience (hello!!) than I ever could have imagined back in 2008 when I started in our little townhouse as a newlywed with hopes of becoming a mom someday.  Oh, sweet, little, clueless Tabitha, how I love to think of you sometimes worrying about how you'll spend up all the hours in a day.  lolololololololol. you're so adorable.

yep, current keyboard missing buttons thanks to toddlers.
today, I blog because I feel like I am part of a community, like I have discovered inspiring and incredible friends in other bloggers and readers.  I identify with these women; they are 'my friends' in whom my husband and sisters know them by name or back story.  They are a source of inspiration for me and of real connection.  A few weekend ago, I sat in my dark hotel room with my sleeping babies near by and openly wept for my instagram friend Beri and her son; their lives have been in my heart and on my mind for the past several weeks.  I see an update in my blog feed from Ashley, Shelly, Shellie, or Ellie and I feel actual delight that I get to read and learn more about my friends; like a new email from a friend in your inbox.

I blog because I can write about what I want to say so much better than I can actually say what I want to say (this, this, and this).  My brain thinks in paragraphs highlighted in quotation marks and setting references.  Ideas for blogs and scenes from my novel float and drift behind my eyes all day.  To not write would be to choose handcuffs.

I blog because it is a record of who I am in my life right now.  It tracks all the things that are bottled up in my brain that don't come out during my days filled with sippy cups, sticky toddler hands, and giggles.  Someday my kids will think I'm horrible!  The worst!  The very last person on the Earth who would understand what they're going through or be able to relate in any way.  Or worse (please no), for some tragic reason I won't be around - then on that day, maybe they can come here and read these words and get to know their mother.

It's been a weird and wonderful journey through blogging and I am so grateful to have found and stuck with it for all this time.  I'm still hanging around, despite my lack of posts in the past few weeks.  Winter and basketball season and sick kids and babies who refuse bottles have taken over my life...but I can see the end of the tunnel and I can't wait to be back to blogging as usual.  Thanks for sticking around.  I honestly appreciate you for spending any amount of your day with me and my thoughts.  thank you, thank you, thank you.