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Saturday, September 5, 2015

I'm not finished.

I'm not even really sure where to start with this, as I feel this confession is long overdue. I've been struggling with depression most of the summer. Really the entire summer, if I am being honest. And my entire adult life. And much of my childhood. 

I really hadn't realized how bad it had become until today. I had the longest run of seasonal depression in my life last winter. That hung around until about February. By May I was descending quickly once again. 

I knew that I needed to make some changes in my life. I struggle with change. I like the calmness of routine. I thrive on simple. Peaceful. Calm. 
Anything beyond that is chaos for me. 

I turned 40 this year and I thought this would be a year of amazing growth. And it has been. And it will continue to be. What I didn't consider was how painful growth is. How difficult it is to sit with the pain. 

I'm such a creature of habit. My routines are my sanity. They help me to feel in control when I feel like I can't control so many things in my life. 

As I opened up my refrigerator this afternoon I realized what a mess it was. There wasn't anything growing or crawling around. I found only one outdated product. It was just the spills, splatter, and general stickiness that comes along with a family of 6 when 5 of those members take for granted that one will always clean it up. 

As I started to scrub and organize the shelves I felt a sense of calm. Restoring routine and order in my life will be the key to me getting out of this hole before the holidays get here. 

After I cleaned the fridge I decided that cleaning the floor underneath it needed to happen. I hadn't cleaned underneath it yet this year. Something that I try to do at least once a quarter. It was awful. 

As I stood there considering the best way to tackle this mess I started to tear up. THIS is how bad it had gotten. I am so depressed that I can't even muster the motivation to complete my daily routines around the house anymore. 

This is when the anger set it. How does someone get this depressed and no one had cause for concern? How did my husband not see it? How could he not see that I wasn't myself? That I needed help! The disconnect blows my mind. 
I don't know how to live like that. There have been days when I just didn't want to live anymore. I didn't want to talk about it. I just wanted to fade away. 

I opened up my Zone cleaning checklist and pulled out the Kitchen week. I decided that I would work all day to get the kitchen back in order. And I did. And I feel a little bit better. 

As I opened each cabinet I found tears welling up in my eyes. Years and years of broken promises and bad memories swelled up in my throat as I looked at the glass jar that once contained Popsicle sticks with "date night suggestions" written on them. A Mother's Day gift. We never went on a single one of those dates. 

And I have no one to blame for this sadness. No one but myself. I choose to live every minute of every day of my life up to this point. I had other choices to make. In the end I made a lot of poor choices. The choice to stay in a failing marriage every time my gut told me it was time to go. The choice to go back when my heart pleaded with me not to. 

Today I am faced with another choice to make. My heart says this season of my life is over. It is time for me to stand on my own two feet and take care of myself. It is time for me to stop looking to others for happiness. It is time for me to love myself.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I'm scared to death, and that is a wonderful feeling. Because I can actually feel. I'm not numb. 

I don't know how this will all play out. I'm sure that it will be a long journey finding myself and becoming whole. 

I just don't want to die when I feel so unfinished. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Organizing Your Childs School/Sports Photos

My first born child just graduated. I've taken a week to let that sink in. The last minute frenzy to gather up all of his memories and display them for his graduation open house was overwhelming. I consider myself to be a very organized woman! I have the kids school papers and photos organized and together but the open house process definitely gave me a new found motivation to better store these items!

I spent all school year pinning ideas for open house decor, themed props, and menu planning. It never occurred to me to take care of getting our sons memories in better order first!

I am going to work on a series of blogs to share what I am doing to prepare for the next 3 graduates instead of waiting until the week before graduation!

DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to be the first person to ever think of these ideas. I am sure that there are many on the internet who have similar ideas. Some may be more elaborate than my own. I don't have time to scrapbook or do anything extra creative. Maybe in future years but for now this mom is just trying to keep it simple, manageable...DOABLE!

I hope that you enjoy the simple solutions that I will share, and I'd love to hear some of your suggestions too! Let's help each other get organized and make these special occasions more enjoyable and less stressful! I think that this will also be a great way to have these memories ready to pass onto our children when they are settled and ready to collect these memories!

The first thing I want to do is get the kids school pictures out of photo albums (and by photo albums I mean the envelope that they delivered them in), and into individual binders. This is a great display item for your open house, and also makes it easier to pass down photos to each child when they get older!

I purchased an inexpensive 1/2 inch binder and some sheet protectors. I bought the Avery Secure Top (model 76000) because I like that the photos will not slide out of the top so easily.

I opened up Word on my laptop,created a blank document, and typed up the grade and years for each grade of school on the top of page, and printed these pages out. These pages will hold the school picture for each year. I did this because I only buy the basic school picture package with two 3.5 X 5 prints and some wallets. We don't display 8X10 photos so I stopped buying them years ago. These pages give me a marker to easily indicate what grade and years the school photos are from. If you have 8X10 prints for your album you may want to skip this step and find another way to mark the grade/date for your photos.

I also HIGHLY recommend that you write GENTLY on the back of the photo with the school grade, age, and/or year. Apparently I stopped doing this for a few years and we had to reference the year book...couldn't quite tell what order a few years went in for my oldest!

Once you have the pages placed in order inside of your sheet protectors start adding the photos that you already have...unless your little one hasn't started school yet! My youngest is in 3rd grade so I didn't have too much to catch up on for his. I added classroom photos and team/sport photos too. I figured it would be easier to have them all together.

Lastly I made a cover for the binder. You could get more creative than I have but I just created a word document and typed out the Kindergarten through Senior year, and will add the childs name and school years to it.

Now you have a binder that is ready to go, with all of the years marked ahead, and each year you simply have to add the school photo and any sport/team photos to the binder as you receive them, or as you decide to stop displaying them in your home.

It took me less than 15 minutes to put this together and it will be ready for display when graduation day comes with no additional work needed. Unless you have a very active child and may need to add more sheet protectors for sport/team/band photos along the way as they grow up!

Happy Simplifying!