A Week in the Life: Balancing Obligations and Fun

Dear Friends,

If there is one piece of advice I could give you based on my life in recent weeks, it’s this–obligations are a part of life. They can’t be avoided. But to keep from losing your mind and getting overwhelmed, you need to balance them with spontaneity and fun.

Never underestimate the importance of finding time to do the things that bring you joy!

After a super chill weekend, I started out my week on a natural high, and to be honest that high has not faded all week! In fact, I think it’s less of a natural high, and more of a much-needed shift in perspective that is here to stay. I started out Monday with something simple – grocery shopping without meal planning or making a list – to break away from my routine. Routine and predictability can be major joy-killers, so it’s really good to throw something unexpected or out of the ordinary into the mix just to shake things up once in a while.

Tuesday was back to being busy, but in the best possible way. Hunter had his parent teacher conferences, where every teacher had wonderful things to say about him. His band director talked to me about getting Hunter to try out for all district band, because he believes he would stand a good chance of making it. Hunter wasn’t loving the idea of trying out, but I was able to not only talk him into it, but get him excited about it. Cue the constant sounds of the saxophone in my house every night until his tryout on November 6th!

As soon as we left conferences, since we were already near downtown at the Junior High, Hunter and I made a quick run down to the river front. The river flooded a week earlier and they closed the gates on the flood wall to keep the water from spilling into our downtown. So I was pretty excited to find out it was back open that day and I had to go down and drink it all in. I’m a water baby for sure, so being near the water = my happy place!

Snapseed

After the river I took Hunter home, then made a trip back downtown to meet friends at El Sol for dinner on their 5th anniversary celebration. I was on day two of my fantastic mood, and I was loving the socializing time. Craving it, even. I even enjoyed the parent teacher conferences and talking to all of the teachers…which is totally bizarre for me, because I’m not usually the social butterfly that loves talking to total strangers.

Tuesday was also the day that I discovered Headspace. I downloaded the app six days earlier after a YouTuber I follow talked about it. She does meditation as part of her daily routine and I was intrigued by it, so I downloaded the app with good intentions to give it a try. Well I finally did on Tuesday. Part of being overscheduled and over-obligated, is overthinking. All. The. Time. I thought meditation might help bring some focus, so I gave a short five-minute meditation a try.

Holy. Cats. I’m kicking myself for not doing this earlier! My mood was already good that day, but I couldn’t believe the difference just a five minute guided meditation made. The moment it was over and I took in my surroundings, it was like all of the fog had lifted. There were no distractions, no doubts, no worries, no what-if’s, no I-need-to’s. I reached a level of clarity I didn’t know was possible. I felt like I was meeting myself for the first time and could see who I was underneath all of the chaos of life around me.

Now that I’ve discovered what meditation can do, I’m making it a regular part of my life!

Wednesday was one of my favorite days of the week. The boys have SRE on Wednesdays, and I knew I needed to go to Hobby Lobby after I dropped them off to pick up some things to finish all three of my Halloween costumes (yes, three!). By the time I finished at Hobby Lobby I had less than an hour before I had to pick up my kids. Rather than driving home to sit by myself, I decided to swing by my favorite Italian restaurant downtown for a glass of wine!

I rarely go out for a drink unless I have a friend to go with me, but I did it twice in the last week and I have to say I’m loving it! I sat at the bar at Gabriel’s sipping a glass of wine and trying to absorb some more of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I challenge any of you to read that book without googling “what the hell am I reading right now” at the start of each section!

I got in a little bit of socializing and a lot of reading, then left to pick up the kids. When we got home, the only thing I had left to do with my night was get my lunch packed and my outfit ready for the morning. Logan went off to his room to start putting laundry away, and all of a sudden I heard music from the 1950’s cocktail party I had for my 30th birthday blaring from his room. Somehow he’d come across the CD a friend made me for that party and turned it on.

I don’t know what kind of person can hear Rock Around the Clock and not dance like a fool, but the boys and I ended up having a dance party in Logan’s bedroom! I danced until my abs hurt and I couldn’t breathe. The dog barked like a maniac at me jumping around like a spaz, with the sparkly headband I’d just finished making for Halloween still wrapped around my head. Hunter was in the shower when the party started, and he opened the door to see what the commotion was. He looked at us like we’d lost our marbles, then went off to put some clothes on and came back to jump in. Family memories were made, all videoed on Snapchat and saved to look back on years down the road.

Thursday I had Logan’s parent teacher conferences. Thursday was the day I learned just how different from each other my two boys are. Logan is still just slightly behind in his reading skills. But he is ahead of the curve in math, and way ahead in science. I think I kinda-sorta knew this, but it became reality on Thursday–I’m raising a STEM kid. And I have no idea how to relate to this! Hunter and I can relate well because we are the same–creative, artistic, musical, and linguistically strong. But math and science? I always despised them both!

So here is my youngest child, the one who inherited my stubbornness and my attitude, and I feel like I’m just starting to get to know him for the first time. His entire life he’s been an explorer. From the moment he started crawling he was into everything, all the time, trying to figure out what everything did. He’s my child who will destroy entire rooms building and experimenting with things. I always saw this as creativity, something I could relate to. But now I see it was his scientific mind taking over, trying to figure out how different materials and tools work and how he could put things together to make something useful.

I’m always interested in anything that can make me a better parent, and over this last year I’ve been feeling a little stuck with Logan. When he was younger, he was the child I felt I could connect to the most. His personality was the most like mine and I would call him my little mini-me. But the last 9-10 months there has been a bit of friction. Not that we aren’t getting along, but more like there is a disconnect between us. He even got upset with me once because Hunter and I talk more than he and I do.

I never really realized it until he brought it up, but he’s right. Hunter is into art and music, and likes a lot of the same music I do, so we’ve bonded quite a bit over it. Logan, on the other hand, isn’t that into music anymore. He doesn’t really have any favorite bands, and the only thing I’ve heard him listen to consistently is Chris Stapleton. He loves books and brings them home constantly, but he doesn’t really read much. He draws some and will do graffiti with Hunter, but he isn’t into it obsessively like Hunter is. And now I realize–we are an art, music and literature household, but Logan isn’t really an art, music and literature kid.

Which means my role as his mother just took a major turn. One that I didn’t expect, and one I’m not really sure how to deal with. I know very little of a math and science oriented mind, but I know that I am now going to have to do a whole lot of research and digging to understand how that sort of mind works, because I need to understand Logan in order to parent him in the way that is best for him.

So if any of you are strong in math and science…share your secrets!

Friday night, my mom came down to visit and spent the night with us. She came with the boys and me to the Broo Bash down at Ebb and Flow. Cue Halloween costume #1 – Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face!

 

Okay, so this one transpired based on the costume I’m wearing to work on Halloween. The outfit I needed for the work costume reminded me of Audrey’s dance outfit on Funny Face, and it also didn’t require any major hair and makeup styles so I could easily go home from work, put my hair in a ponytail with some side-swept bangs and tie a black ribbon around it, throw on some leggings and a black shirt with black flats, and I was set to go.

Lamb Flatbread, Pulled Pork, Key Lime Pie and beer flowed all around. My kiddos hit the water hard, mostly because they thought the bottles were cool. A few of my friends joined us and we ate, we talked, we laughed, Hunter and I sang, the boys made friends with the people who brought their dog, and I went home with a happy heart.

Saturday was probably my favorite day of the week. My mom and Logan were still asleep, so Logan and I snuck out to the farmer’s market. It was the last one of the season, so we had to get down there to check everything out and buy the best glazed donuts in the world for breakfast! We bumped into friends, listened to some music, Logan spent his hard-earned cash on some honey–I will never understand what drives that kid’s impulses–and we saw lots of pretty flowers and pumpkins.

When we got home, my mom and Hunter were both awake so we had donuts and coffee, and turned on the TV. I found out the night before that season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is coming out in just over a month, so it was time to watch season 1 over again for a refresher. I got my mom hooked on it and we ended up watching seven of the eight episodes in one long, lazy, pizza-filled binge session.

Saturday night was my friends Kristen and Tony’s annual Halloween party. It’s one of my favorite things about fall because I get to dress up and do fun makeup! This year I went as The Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass. I was going to buy a Styrofoam ball to cut in half and put in my hair to make it stand up and look heart-shaped, but I completely forgot. I ended up rolling up some brown dress socks and tying them in a knot around pigtails in my hair, then sweeping the rest of the loose hair up and over them, tying it into a little bun, then tucking it inside of itself and pinning it down. You couldn’t even see the socks, and my fine, thin hair stood up like it was being commanded by a queen!

 

These last couple of weeks have left me desperately wanting a DSLR camera, and I think I’m going to put that on my Christmas shopping list as a gift to myself. I’ve been wanting to capture everything lately, and my iPhone camera pretty much sucks. All of this technology, and Apple still hasn’t figured out how to make a superior camera! I have grainy, dark photos of this week’s shenanigans, videos of dance parties and pumpkin carving, and the quality really isn’t good enough to share.

I’ve been thinking about getting a good camera for almost a year now, and it’s time to stop thinking and start doing. In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve taken from this week, it’s that I need to put that into practice a lot more often. Think less, do more. Expect less, let life happen more. I feel a little more alive, more social, more energized and a whole lot happier than I have in a very long time. It was like the reset button was pressed last Sunday, and I got to start all over again.

I hope all of you had a wonderful week, too. If not…tomorrow is Monday and a brand new week will begin. Now, I’m off to spend some time outdoors with my kids and my mom on this beautiful Sunday!

Love,
Loren

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