Monday, October 22, 2012


For what seems like the past 2-3 weeks, Raegan has been on somewhat of a self-imposed hunger strike.  I can admit, there have been a few meals sprinkled in where I might not have been on the top of my culinary game (spagetti-o's the night of parent-teacher conferences being one such example).  However, our current situation being what it is with getting ready for the move and all, family 'meal' time has morphed into an ambiguous time where we're not always eating the same thing, or even eating at the same time.  While that fact alone goes against everything I value about family meals, the irony is that this *should* be to the advantage of our oh-so-sudden picky 18-month old eater.  She's got a meal ticket (pun intended) to eat pretty much whatever she'd like for her meals.  Yet, as far as I can see (or remember), she hasn't taken advantage of it.

If I were a more 'with it' mommy, I'd actually pay closer attention to what she has been consuming.  I'd have an assortment of colorful and healthy snacks and options at meals, all of which serve a vital purpose in her growth and development.

But let's face it.  'With it' isn't quite the adjective I'd use to describe my current status.  I've been flying solo for the past week, and the week prior to that I was in my own selfish space of preparing to say goodbye to my class and putting an indefinite pause on the career I've wanted to have since I was 5 years old.  A rainbow of veggies and fruit, cut into cute shapes accompanied by flavorful (yet healthy!) dips to encourage tasting was (and is) not at the top of my list.  [In fact, if you looked at my 'list', you'd need to hire a cryptoanalyst to decipher the conglomeration of random letters, cross-outs, and chicken-scratch scribbles that are scattered about on the page(s), Jackson Pollock-style]

What I'm seeking right now, is sustenance.  I'm fairly certain Raegan is, as well, based on the random bites of food she partook in throughout our weekend in Texas, and today, as well.  Her sustenance has taken the shape of cheese sticks, applesauce, buttered noodles, scrambled eggs, grapes, pears, Goldfish crackers, and a variety of fried foods.  Although this list is kind of long for a person whom I noted as being on a 'hunger strike', the trouble comes when she has to take more than one bite of any food (on the list, or off).  Her emphatic nod when you offer her something to eat gives anyone great hope that this time might be 'the time' she decides to actually eat.  But, alas, she reverts back to her ornery look of smug delight, and equally emphatic shake of the head, knowing she has once again tricked you.

Raegan relies on cup after cup after cup of milk, to counterbalance her lack of anything else with nutritional value.  She's sustaining life (how, I can't quite figure), as the definition of sustenance describes.

Sustenance: Something, especially food, that sustains life or health.

Milk is apparently her magical sustenance, in her own toddler world.

But what is my 'milk'?  For about as much time as Raegan's been avoiding food, I've found my appetite voluntarily weaning.  My jeans are looser (bonus...however in an un-healthy way), my cupboards and refrigerator still house the food I had originally planned to prepare for the last few meals in our home, and I have had days when it is lunch time before I realize that I have yet to eat anything (such a bad habit, I know!).

So, how am I sustaining my life and/or health?  Well, if I reflect on what the past few weeks have been like, I see a large fog interlaced with negativity.  I don't mean to be so negative, but feelings of overwhelmed helplessness, coupled with three little munchkins who crave attention and add in an out-of-town can be a little much, even for a seasoned vet.

Currently, I think the 'something' that is keeping me going is knowing that soon enough, things will be settled down and we'll be in our new 'home state', all together and getting acclimated to Big Texas livin'.  The 'something' is knowing that soon enough life will be back into my zone of normalcy, a place where I function at a much higher level (and with a lot less complaints).  The 'something' is also knowing that my health--mental and physical--will soon be improved as I incorporate some yummy southern cooking into my repertoire (in moderation, of course!).  The 'something' will be the health of my relationship improving as we're reunited in the same state, functioning on the same playing field, and sharing the same daily experiences.  The stresses of this huge change have inadvertently caused a disconnect that I'm eager to begin working on.

I find myself seeking out sustenance in things other than food (thank goodness--can't afford a new wardrobe if I don't have a job!), but in things like hanging out with my kids when we have nothing much to do except enjoy each other; spending time with friends; writing (blogging); baking (doesn't work when I'm not hungry, though); or reading.

Currently, I'm reading a book called The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch.  I recently saw him featured on Rock Center with Brian Williams.  It's a peek into the world of a man who, unbeknownst to him, married his wife only to begin to 'let his guard down' and give way for his life as a man with Asperger's come to full fruition.  It's an interesting glimpse into how he worked to improve the lines of communication in his marriage so he and his wife could function as one cohesive unit and ultimately, (according to him), he can become a better husband.  While some of the idiosyncrasies of Asperger's result in some pretty unique situations for Mr. Finch, I'm finding that overall the book is providing some great little strategies and reminders for any couple to implement as they're navigating the tangled web of couple-dom (and of course, couple-dom with kids...soooo much different!). If anything else, Mr. Finch is hysterical.  I find myself giggling aloud at his descriptions of his own quirks.  It's giving me a dose of abnormalcy to remind me that our own compulsions, our own needs for sustenance to keep our health going strong don't have to 'look' a certain way.  While in Texas, I finished reading chapter 7--"When necessary, redefine perfection".  Eye opening.

So what if my daughter won't eat, and when she does it is primarily in only one of the food groups.  So what if the boxes of our stuff aren't packed exactly how I would have done it, but they all arrive in safely in Texas?  So what if my form of sustenance for now doesn't exactly qualify as 'food', but a few random 'somethings' that are keeping me trucking in this last week I'll be living in the house where we began our family, and where I learned to be a wife and mom?  My idea of 'perfect' is shifting, and for now, sustaining the life of my family (via the almighty cheese stick) is an okay move in my books!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Hi, my name is Erin, and I'm a quasi-hoarder.

(Hi, Erin)

Well, the 'process' of moving is officially underway.  I've met with the moving company and a realtor in the past 24 hours.  In another 24 hours, the kids and I are heading for Houston so we can spend our weekend house hunting.  Next week, the movers will come and pack us up, load it [all] onto a truck, and head toward TX.  The realtor I met with today had great things to say about our current home, and anticipates that it won't spend much time on the market (prayers for that to be a true statement are greatly appreciated!).  He did, however, give me a few pointers for things that will inevitably help it show better.  I already had anticipated what his list included...patching nail holes, touching up paint here and there, and [of course] de-cluttering.  With the movers coming in to 'do their thing' starting Wednesday, he's hopeful we can get photos taken on Tuesday to put it on the market (the sooner the better).

Stress level: high alert

Seven years in a house, three young kids, a conglomeration of memories from our own childhoods, and several beloved hobbies (read: a lot of 'stuff' to carry them out) all equates to a lot of stuff.  Emphasis on 'lot'.

Living here each day, using all of the 'stuff' on a daily basis, it's easy to allow the 'stuff' to blend in, to seem insignificant and second nature to the existence we've become accustomed.

Enter the movers.  Or the realtor.  As we walked room by room both yesterday and today, I became *glaringly* aware of the sheer volume of 'stuff' that we've accumulated and will need to transport to our new home in Texas.  I don't even know if 'glaringly aware' describes the feelings I was on the verge of embarrassed.

Crafting supplies, toys, scrapbooking accessories, baking pans and tools, garage contents--tools, tools, kids toys, and tools, a kitchen *full* of utensils and pots and plates...and then there's my closet.  Oy.  So.Much.Stuff.  All of which I've deemed as 'necessary'.  I know that life would go on if we didn't have it any longer, and I know that you 'can't take it with you'...but these things are what we've come to know as 'ours'...and we are having a hard time paring down any more than we already have.  Would I react the way that some of the troubled people featured on the hoarding shows do if their things are moved out of their home?  No.  But would I be happy about it?  Not at all.

Up until a week ago, I was a full time working mommy with three little kids, two dogs, and a husband with an odd schedule.  Housework was one of the tasks that fell by the wayside moreso than I'd like to admit.  We by no means live in squalor, but the standards I've set for myself have been coming up shy the more children I have!  I like to call our house 'lived in', a term that I've borrowed from a friend, and adopted for the look of our house.  Toys are inevitably strewn about in one [more often more than one] room, the dust bunnies gather beneath the bookshelf and my baking cabinet, children's books never quite find their way back to their spot nestled between Horton Hears a Who and There's a Wocket in my Pocket.  The endless cycle of dishes and laundry coupled with the long hours and demands of mommyhood have kept our home from being 'company ready'.

Both of the guys I met with reassured my frazzled and apologetic self that they've seen worse--a *lot* worse--and that the status of our home is completely 'normal'.

It still makes me feel anxious.  I have *so* much organizing, sorting, paint touch-ups, packing, and cleaning to do over the next few days...and my quasi-hoarding tendencies are facing me head on as I learn to embrace my new role as a stay at home mommy (who also happens to be preparing for a huge move!)

I know that things will sort themselves out and I'll look back on this time with a smidgen extra pride in the fact that I was able to stay [remotely] sane through the process, surrounded by not just our 'stuff', but our three sweet munchkins as well!