I Feel Weird Today


I woke up feeling weird today.

Wrong, off.

This tightness in my shoulders–I press down to release it but it lingers.

This feeling in my stomach–the discomfort, it only grows.

Everything is a little too much right now.  I want to hide, to retreat to my cave, to numb myself and pass the day in nothingness, holding to the hope that tomorrow will be different.

To write these thoughts, it feels melodramatic–like the lyrics I penned on the edges of my notes as an angsty, attention-seeking teen.

Things aren’t really that bad–just uncomfortable.  And like any good 21st century American, I am an expert at avoiding discomfort and not at all good at abiding it.

I cannot hide.

After a quarter-century here, I know this.

But it is so







6 Years


He left today.  I cried.

I didn’t think I would, but I did.

It’s not like we’ve never been apart before.  I know how to be alone.  I’m good at taking up a king-sized bed all by myself.  But he’s never been gone for more than a couple of weeks.

This is going to be more than a couple of weeks.  It hit me this morning, as I was watching him leave.  I think I’ll settle in, and it will hit me again in a month, when I realize he’s not coming home (yet).  Not for a while.

I can’t pretend to understand what military wives go through.  They have it so much worse.  Silas will most likely be able to come home for a weekend in October after I have the baby.  After that, I’m not sure if we’ll see him again until May.  It’s possible, but I don’t want to get my hopes up.  Dashed expectations are what fuel the fire of misery binges.

Today marks six years of marriage.  That’s decent, right?  Neither of us is particularly inclined to romance or sentimentality, but I was thinking about all the “milestones” we’ve hit over the past several years, all of the “if we can just get through”s.  All the times I thought things would get better, easier, after:

-I graduated massage therapy school

-I had the baby

-Silas passed the MCAT

-I had the other baby

-Silas graduated college

-podiatry school applications were in

-pod school interviews were done

-the first (“hardest”–HA) year of pod school was complete

-Silas passed part one of the board exams

-second year of pod school…third year…


Every single time we hit one of those, we thought, “Whew!  I’m so glad that’s over!”  As if the mountain was behind us.  (Spoiler alert: THE MOUNTAIN IS NEVER BEHIND YOU.)

And now he’s embarking on his 4th and final year, traveling around the country doing month-long audition rotations.  After this, things will get easier, right?  Ah, but then there is boards part 2, residency applications and interviews, residency itself (3 more years, baby!), finding a job, getting settled in his career….

So I guess things never get easier, not permanently at least.  They definitely get different–that, you can count on.

So for traveling this long and winding road with me, for trekking up and down all of those damn mountains, for going through hell and back and not giving up every time the next gigantic peak emerged in front of us; and for being the husband and father and man that we always need…

I love you, Silas.

Happy anniversary.




Making Lemonade…Not One of My Talents


So…pregnancy has me a little bummed right now.

Or maybe it’s the fact that the boys have fevers and I haven’t really left the house in three days.

Photo on 4-18-14 at 10.07 AM

And missing several doses of meds probably contributed.  (Silas pointed out that I was probably throwing up my medicine a few times a week, so I switched to taking it at night, but then I kept forgetting it…)

I just feel…out of it.  Melancholy.  And my self-esteem has taken a hit, since I’m in that uncomfortable and awkward “don’t really look pregnant but have gained ten pounds anyway and everything fits weird” period.  Also I don’t have any bras that fit, and that’s never fun.  (I’m employing the old “sports bra strapped on over a regular bra” trick today.)

My face keeps breaking out and I re-dyed my hair yesterday since it had faded a lot…but it’s too dark.


And Silas is leaving in less than 10 days and the thought of it is looming in my mind like a dark cloud of impending loneliness.

I know, I know.  Buck up and put the tiny violin back in its case, Heather.  Make lemonade.  Find the silver lining.

I do recognize that everything is just fine, and that my body image problems are mostly in my head.  It’s extremely normal to feel a little down in pregnancy–your body is changing in unfamiliar ways that are (mostly) out of your control.  And the boys will be better soon and my melancholy mood will fade away.

So, pity party over.  I’m taking down the streamers and popping all the pity balloons.  It’s the (freakin) weekend!  Cheering up is inevitable.



This was a terrible Friday post, sorry to be such a downer.  Read this if you need some awesome in your life.



Just to Feel

Photo on 4-16-14 at 10.52 AM

No one likes crying.

It’s uncomfortable and humiliating, especially for those of us that are ugly-criers.  The first time I heard the expression, “have a good cry”, I thought it was complete bullshit.  Crying sucks.  We spend a good deal of our lives learning to hold our emotions in, to fight back the tears, because public emotional displays are awkward and make everyone uncomfortable.  (God forbid we be uncomfortable.)

The other day I was reading, late at night, and the scene I was on stirred up something inside me that hurt.  A lot.  I closed the book and lay there, staring into the dark, with a sharp ache in my chest and tears in my eyes.  And then I gave in.

I cried and cried, just feeling the pain and the hurt and whatever else was buried in there, and I didn’t even attempt to wipe the warm tears that washed over my face and soaked into my pillow.  I just experienced it.  The ache in my chest grew and I felt the sharp stabbing in my stomach.  I cried harder and harder, as all of these emotions that I didn’t really understand overcame me.

And then, after a while, I was done.

The aching didn’t consume me.  I didn’t cry forever.  It faded eventually, and I was just okay.  Sad, emotionally worn, a little empty–but okay.

I dried the wetness on my face, picked my book back up, and continued reading until I fell asleep.

Sometimes it’s good just to feel.


Confessions from My [Third] Second Trimester


[first confession: this picture is actually from the first trimester.]

My first pregnancy (and the second pregnancy that followed in quick succession), I wore my normal padded, underwire bras through the entire duration of gestation and nursing (fun fact: I have never owned or worn a nursing bra.)  This time?  I haven’t worn real bra with things like hooks and clasps and underwire and separate cups for weeks.  Months, maybe.  Sports bras all the way–bring on the sexy uniboob.

I busted out the maternity clothes at 8 weeks.  I am so over squeezing into my old clothes for the sake of pride–this time, absolute and uninterrupted comfort is prioridad numero uno.

Here’s a basic summary of my diet for the first couple of months.





IMG_20140309_114850[and let’s just take a minute to acknowledge the sahara desert that is my skin.]

Not pictured: boxes and boxes (and boxes) of Cheez-Its.  My snack of choice.

Around week 12, I was getting super smug that I hadn’t yet gained any weight.  And then the universe was like “JOKE’S ON YOU!” because I then proceeded to gain 6 pounds in one week.  Pride goeth before the pounds.

I got an ultrasound at my first appointment and I cried.  Of course, I was already crying because I had to have a pelvic exam, and those little bastards always induce anxiety attacks. (2 children and 2 IUDs later, you’d think I’d be used to it.  But something about that exam table and the stirrups and the nakedness just freaks the absolute hell out of me.) But when I looked up and saw the fuzzy, black and white images of the wee little babe inhabiting my womb, the hyperventilating and shaking and panic-sobs turned into a much calmer and happier kind of weeping.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I promised myself I would actually exercise consistently this time.  I did yoga every day…for like 9 days straight.  On the other hand, I have been very faithful to my daily afternoon nap.

My first pregnancy, I followed all the “rules”, did all the research, spent hours and hours poring over books and websites.  I’m not knocking that, because it’s an essential part of the first time experience.  (Plus, it’s so fun to actually have a legitimate reason to be on all the baby websites, after all the months you’ve spent secretly looking at them anyway.)

This time, I eat sushi and Brie and raw eggs and lunch meat and basically whatever the hell strikes my fancy. I don’t worry as much about all the cramping or the random, weird symptoms that crop up.  I’ve been through labor and delivery twice, so while I know it’s the farthest thing from a picnic that you could possibly come up with, I at least know what to expect and have concrete proof that I’ve survived it before.  I am in no way an expert and this baby is likely to throw me for a loop, as babies are wont to do, but overall I am just less worried.  And that is nice.

And even though this one was a huge surprise and even though the timing couldn’t have been much less ideal…

I am so excited.




[Tesla, 1 week old]

I hope this one’s cute, too.








So I Should Probably Mention


14.5 (…ish) weeks, due date sometime in the first week of October (there’s been some confusion because I’m measuring a little big–shocker–hopefully the next ultrasound will clear it up).

We were very (!) surprised when we found out back in February, but are thrilled in spite of the seemingly less-than-ideal timing (Silas leaves for 4th year rotations in a few weeks, and none of his rotations are in this state.  So there’s that).

This pregnancy has been vastly different from my last two.  Tesla and Desmond think it’s a girl and have suggested the name Garter*.

They also think the baby is going to crawl out of my mouth when it gets bigger.  There are obviously a few gaping holes in their knowledge of functional anatomy.

So!  The adventure begins.  (Again.)



*Garter is not currently in the running for names.




So This is Anxiety


I’m lying there, tucked in bed, soft pillow, eyes open.  The exhaustion that led me to collapse here is gone, evaporated, replaced by a palpable heartbeat—fast, hard–and that now-familiar mixture of nausea and nervousness roiling in my stomach.


Boxes are unpacked, the house is not yet in order.  Things aren’t right–too loud, too bright, too much stuff.  There’s stuff, needless stuff, in my space, and I need it gone.  I need to purge, need to throw things away.  I want to get rid of everything.

“Heather, we need the extra carseats.  We can keep them in the closet or something.”

“No!  I don’t want them, we don’t need them, we have to get them out, they’re taking up too much space, I want it empty, throw them away…”

I’m crying.


I said something thoughtless a few days ago, and now it’s all I think about.  I know, in that small, logical part of my brain, that’s he’s likely forgotten it, but it plagues me every waking and sleeping moment.  I obsess about it for three full days, replaying the moment over and over in my mind and sliding deeper into the abyss of guilt and regret until I can’t take it anymore.  I have to get it out.  I confront him and apologize.  He doesn’t even remember the occurrence.


I’m driving on the freeway; I hate the freeway so much.  My kids are talking but I don’t hear them because there is a semi next to me, why is he driving next to me?  I’m going to hit him.  I’m going to veer into him, and I’m terrified.  I feel boxed in, he needs to move, we’re going to crash, I speed up to the sound of my fast, heavy, uneven breathing, and pass him.  Then I collapse into sobs.


My neighbor confronts me, we’ve been too loud.  The boys have been slamming the doors and it’s disturbing her.  She’s nice, but obviously irritated.  I smile and nod and apologize and promise to make things right.  She goes back inside and I feel sick.  I’ve never taken criticism well, and it hangs over me like a dark, thick, cloud for the next few days.  I lie awake at night and feel ill, replaying her words over and over in my mind.  I’m 25 years old and yet I still can’t stand to be censured, and in my mind I imagine how much our neighbors hate us and what they must think of me, and it gets worse and worse until it’s all I think about.


I wake up and feel immediately that everything is wrong.  The sound of my sweet boys talking is too loud and too sharp and it sets me on edge.  I clench and unclench my hands while I pace the house, my breath coming faster and faster, matching my frantic steps.  My bra is too tight, my pants are touching my legs in a way that grates on my senses.  A piece of hair touches my face and I think I might scream.


I walk into the kitchen and there is a plate in the sink and crumbs on the counter.  Things are out of place. Everything is dirty; always dirty.  Nothing is clean, nothing is right.  I won’t be okay until the messes are gone.


I’m sitting in the dark.  My whole body feels tight and strange, and I’m trying to control the quickly-increasing rate of my sharp, heavy, inhalations.  A small, warm body jumps onto the bed and crawls into my lap.  It starts to purr and the heaviness, the warmth, the lulling sound is comforting. Someone is there.  I feel a little better.


When wine and benzos (not together!) aren’t an option, a cat is a pretty close second.






Disclaimer:  Mom, everything is fine.






It’s Not Even 8:30 a.m.


…And I’m drowning in dishes and laundry, the kitchen floor is covered in a mixture of cat food, spilled water, and play dough crumbs, and I’ve already made one of my children cry.  I woke up with a massive headache and a vague sense of dread for the day ahead.

Lord help us.


And please let there be some optimism at the bottom of this mug.


How I Bring a Little Peace into Our Mornings


So, I’m a morning person.

I mean, I must be.  I crash hard in the afternoons and I’m definitely not a night owl.  So by process of elimination…

But that doesn’t mean that mornings are easy, and that I spring out of bed every day ready to greet the world.  Small people are begging for breakfast and I’m trying to brush my teeth and do my hair and makeup and remember to take my medication (I forgot for several days in a row…we’ll talk about how that went later), and even though we technically don’t have to be anywhere by a certain time, at least 2 out of 3 people are hungry and cranky, everyone under 5 is ridiculously hyper, rebounding off the couch and wrestling each other, and the mornings quickly descend into a state of chaos.

That just doesn’t work for me.

I’ve been trying desperately to bring a sense of peace, order, ritual to our mornings.  A little quiet time for us to calm down and connect makes a world of difference in everyone’s mood, and having a few moments of calm helps me tremendously to regroup and gear up for the day ahead.

So, without even more ado, my favorite easy-to-implement ideas for creating a peaceful mood:  candles and soft music.


I first read about the idea of using a candle at mealtimes in Simplicity Parenting.  It’s one of the easiest changes to try and it makes a noticeable difference.

There is something about the softness of candlelight that focuses attention without demanding it.  It invites a certain mood–it’s a whisper, not a shout.

The boys love the ritual of lighting a candle (and of course, they beg to the one to blow it out when the meal is over).

I also usually play soft piano or guitar music in the mornings (thank you a million times over to the creators of Pandora. Station suggestions: The Relaxation New Age Guitarist, Classical Guitar, Solo Piano, and New Age Solo Piano.)


Now, I will be the first to say that kids are kids.  They are just not programmed for long periods of quiet reflection.  I’m not going to tell you that our mornings are now oases of solitude and peace, and that all shouting, wrestling, and fighting has been done away with.

But they’re better.  And better is always good.



Do you have any morning rituals?  I love the idea of sipping a relaxing mug of tea in the morning but our climate just doesn’t make me yearn for hot drinks.  I do like me some iced coffee, though.