Blue Hair and Fourth of July Fun!

I made a big decision recently. That decision was that I was going to dye my hair a fun color for once. No more boring blonde.

I made the mistake of underestimating how much color I needed to cover my whole head, and the beauty supply shop was closed! Thankfully I had some leftover blue hair color from when I did a tiny strip of blue in my bangs a year or so ago,so I have two shades of blue in my hair, but I’m actually liking how it turned out.

This year has been a little different for us because we’re usually in Pagosa Springs camping for the fourth of July. We thought we’d try to change things up and go later this year. Instead of going out and fighting the crowds to see a fireworks display, we opted to stay home and enjoy good food and time with the family.

 

 

Chugging Along on My Book Writing Journey

pexels-photo-891674.jpegThis last weekend was a pretty busy one. I wished that I had more time to write and maybe begin to illustrate for my book, but life got in the way. I managed to write a couple of short stories and came up with more topics that I can write stories about, so it hasn’t been totally wasted time as far as the book is concerned.

This whole thing has been good for me because it’s the first time that I don’t feel compelled to rush through things to get a complete product. I really want this book to stand a chance at being successful, so i’m making it about the journey instead of the destination. Once the book is finished, that’s it. It’s out there and there’s no changing it.

It’s funny how this book has been evolving along the way. My original idea was to make it almost exclusively about my marriage and why I think my husband and I have lasted as long as we have from such a young, clueless age. It would have been about humor and how important it is in life, but especially in marriage. The book has had other plans for itself it seems. I’m now writing more about all the funny experiences that I’ve had in my life that lend themselves well to cartoon illustrations. When I started thinking about it and when family members started to remind me of stories that I’d forgotten about, I realized that it was the perfect content for this book. So that’s what it has become. A humorous book about my life. The thing I have going for me is that no one besides me has lived my life.

The biggest challenge now is remembering all the stories I have to tell, but that’s what friends and family are for. No writer/illustrator is an island.

Interested in seeing excerpts and illustrations from my book before it’s published? Check out the Facebook page for it: https://www.facebook.com/thisisfinewerefine/

Good Luck and Stuff: Writing and Illustrating a Book

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(Book cover draft for my upcoming book “This is Fine. We’re Fine.”)

I’ve been creating comics about my life and about other things I find funny for about 3 years now. I started out drawing comics on paper and scanning them (yuck). Now I use a tablet and illustration software (yay!). Like most artists, it’s taken me a long time to find my style. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to art, which is simultaneously awesome and intimidating. Not that I can compare myself to Picasso, but I feel like i’m going through the same sort of thing that he did. I began my artistic career doing very realistic work. Horses in particular have always been some of my favorite things to paint. Now i’m primarily a comic artist, drawing pretty unrealistic things for the sake of comedy. Obviously Picasso didn’t draw comics so much as he painted whatever the hell he wanted to because he didn’t like being told how to create art (go, Picasso!), but you see my point. This is not where I started.

So now I’ve decided to throw myself into the deep end of the pool by attempting to write and illustrate a book. It isn’t so much that I think the whole world will love what I create and I’ll become famous, but that I believe humor has great power to change people and brighten their day, and I have the power to do that through something as simple as a book.

This is going to take me a lot more time than I’m accustomed to taking on a project. I am impatient and work fast, and I wont be able to do that with this book. Writing and drawing with quality takes time, so that’s what I’m going to give this project. Fingers crossed that I come out of this feeling like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to, even if only two people (probably my parents) buy the book. Wish me luck and stuff.

 

Sex (or Something Like it)

Imagine you’re in the middle of getting it on when you hear someone banging on your bedroom door. Turns out your toddler really needed a drink of water 15 minutes after you put them to bed. You rush to put clothes on (hopefully not inside out), get your unsuspecting kid a drink and put them back into bed. You run back to your room where your spouse is waiting for you. You close and lock the door, strip back down again and attempt to pick up where you left off. Now you hear the voice of your toddler again, but this time it’s coming from their room. You try to ignore them, but they get louder and louder. You angrily put some clothes back on and quickly walk to your child’s room to ask them what on earth they need now. They inform you that you forgot to tuck them back in and kiss them goodnight. You’re frustrated, but to avoid further delays you’re obliging. Now you’ve done your parental duty, so you rush back to your room. Your spouse is still waiting patiently for you and you try for round three. Things seem to be going well. So well in fact that you’ve now attracted the attention of your curious dog, who until now was asleep on the floor at the foot of your bed. All of a sudden you feel a cold, wet nose on your ass and that makes you jump. You shove your confused dog off of the bed. You try desperately to regain your sexual momentum, but no dice. The mood has been wrecked. Your spouse is exhausted. You’re exhausted. You’ll just have to try again some other time. Welcome to married life.

I wish I wasn’t speaking out of experience, but I am. It’s the sad truth about how few and far between good opportunities to have sex are when you’re the parents of young kids. It’s like they have some kind of evil radar system that goes off in their little brains if their parents think about trying to have sex. It definitely makes things challenging. So is there hope? Sort of. To make uninterrupted sex work in a house with kids, you either have to get creative with your timing, or you have to put a lock on your bedroom door. A combination of both is recommended.

I personally think it’s more difficult to have sex once you have older kids in the house because there’s a chance that they know what you’re doing, which begins a vicious cycle of psychological warfare for you. When your kids are little, they have no idea what’s happening. They are blissfully unaware. For example, our oldest son waltzed into our room once while my husband and I were “enjoying each other’s company” under the sheets. Apparently we forgot to lock the door. He was only about 3 at the time. He had no idea what we were doing and he didn’t bother asking. He just needed to say hi and then he was back to whatever he had previously been up to. Those were the good old days.

Housework

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I know that I should be better about housework, but I’m not. I’m pretty terrible at it actually. My poor husband rarely gets to come home to a spotless house. The problem is that I’m a creatively driven person. That basically means that when I get an idea in my head, I have to execute that idea. It could be as small as putting an entry in my journal, or making a vlog or blog, or creating art, or coming up with new ways to improve my business. It could be any combination of those sorts of things. Whatever the inspired task that I give myself is, it trumps housework. It trumps housework every time.

Thankfully for me, I have a husband that tolerates my lack of interest in housework. He doesn’t necessarily love it, but he tolerates it. I think that as long as he comes home to his family and we’re all healthy and happy, and there’s a plan in the works for dinner, he’s a happy dude. One of the many reasons that I love him so much.

Growing up my mom and dad kept our house pretty clean. My room and my brother’s rooms and our bathroom might have been a different story, but I remember my mom being good about cleaning pretty regularly. The point is that I don’t come by my lack of affection for housework honestly. It’s just something that I have never made my priority. I almost need to throw a party once a month to force me to clean. That isn’t going to happen, but it’s a thought. I clean a little here and there and when we have guests over I clean as much as I can. I both envy and pity the people who have a beautiful, spotless house. I envy them because, who doesn’t love a nice, clean house? I pity them because I know how much time and effort it takes to keep a house perfectly clean.

My husband and I joke that we could have a clean house, or dogs and kids. We chose dogs and kids. Also, I’m bad at cleaning which doesn’t help.

I Yelled at My Kids Today

This morning I yelled at my kids. I didn’t scream at them or beat them, but I yelled at them. Why? Because they weren’t listening. Most moms deal with this problem. You try to ask your kids to do or to stop doing something as nicely as you can. They don’t listen, so you ask again. Still nothing. So finally you get so frustrated that you start yelling at them to do (or stop doing) what you asked. I really hate when it gets to that point.

In my kid’s case, today was one of those mornings that we were going to be late to school if they didn’t hustle and finish getting ready for the day. Instead of doing that, they chose to bicker and mess around with each other. My oldest son was the main subject of my yelling. You see, he’s eleven, and in my opinion he’s old enough to know that when I tell him he needs to stop harassing his brother and get ready for school, I mean it. We just expect more from him because frankly he’s old enough to know better. Because of this our oldest tends to feel picked on, and he’s probably right. He does tend to get the brunt of our frustration. There are times when I feel like we should ease up on him, and then he goes and does something he knows he shouldn’t do, so we have to get after him again. It’s kind of a vicious cycle.

When I dropped my kids off at school finally this morning my son said, “Bye.” in a less than enthusiastic voice. I was feeling the same way, so I said, “Bye.” instead of my usual, cheerful “Have a good day at school, buddy! Love you!”. As soon as I said it I knew I couldn’t leave things like that, so I told him I loved him and he said “I love you too.”

No matter how upset he makes me, I just never want him to go to school without knowing that despite how our day starts, I love him. There’s no guarantee that when I drop him off at school I’ll see him again. The world can be a dangerous place, so no matter how angry your kids make you, tell them you love them. You’ll never regret telling your kids that you love them, but you would greatly regret not telling them if you ever lost them unexpectedly.

Look to the Future: A Letter To Stressed Moms

pexels-photo-568027.jpegHi Momma Bear,

If you have young kids, I bet today you got thrown up on, or pooped on, or peed on, or had a booger rubbed on you. You probably had to deal with a meltdown (or three). That coffee you had likely wasn’t enough to get you through the kind of day that awaited you. You aren’t sleeping well. Your nerves are shot. Your sex life and social life are suffering. Your hair is going on who knows how many days without being washed. You never understood how anyone could want to kill their own child until the first time your child drove you to near insanity with their refusal to nap when you desperately needed some time to decompress. Maybe you’re the mom of an uptight, hormonal teenager who makes poor life choices and thinks you’re an idiot. It isn’t just you, sister. I think it’s safe to say that basically every (normal) mother has been or is there.

If these things are all basically inevitable, where is the silver lining? How do we (and our children) survive this? I think besides the obvious things like making time for yourself whenever possible, making time for you and your spouse/partner whenever possible, and knowing when to just put your screaming child somewhere safe and leave the room for a while to prevent losing it are extremely important things, but I think that a bigger answer is that you have to look to the future.

When I have been in the darkest place I could be as a mother, the thing that got me to keep my sanity is that I thought about how quickly this time will have come and gone. I think about how one day I will actually MISS the times my kids wouldn’t leave me alone for five seconds because they needed to ask me a million questions about why the sky is blue, or when they came home from school discouraged and needed emotional support. There’s going to be a day when I’ll regret the times that I was so tired and grumpy that I didn’t give my sons a hug or kiss before bed. Obviously You wont miss the days of babies crying all night, changing gross diapers, having to physically drag your toddler out of a store because they straight up had a meltdown in aisle 7, or being told you’re the worst parent ever because you said no to your teenager. The point is that we tend to live only in the here and now, and it’s when we can’t see beyond our difficult days that we suffer. Remember that no matter what, this is just a season of your life. You’ll wake up one day in the future (faster than you think) and your kids will have grown up. I’m willing to bet you’ll look back on those times with more fondness for the sweet memories than you will disdain for the difficult days. So grab a glass of wine (even boxed wine, i’m not judging), kiss and hug your kids no matter how annoying they’re being today and remember that you are not alone. Everything is going to be ok.

 

 

 

How to Juggle a Crazy Life

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Let me open this blog post by stating that I am not an expert. I’ve simply learned through trial and error how to juggle a busy life as a wife, mom, business owner, friend, equestrian, gardener, blogger, vlogger, (temporary) nanny, and more without losing my damn mind.

1.) If you have a family, family comes first. Whoever you consider family. There has to be balance between everything we do that fulfills us as individuals and what we do that keeps us connected as a family. Those relationships are what last when everything else has run it’s course.

2.) Make it a point to only take on projects and activities outside of work that fulfill you in some way. If you’re like so many people, your job takes up a lot of your time and whether you love your job or not, the time you have outside of work is very valuable. Fill it with things that make you happy. Volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue, work with a charity that’s near and dear to your heart, or teach on a subject that you have a lot of experience in. The list goes on.

3.) JUST SAY NO. This one is probably the most difficult, but it can be the most important. If you are asked to do something for someone that you just don’t feel good about doing, or that you really don’t have the time to do, just say no. There is no rule that says you have to say yes to everything everyone ever asks of you. This is part of why so many people live in constant stress. They never learned to say no. People are more understanding than we give them credit for. You’d be surprised at how infrequently the world falls to pieces because you said no to a request.

4.) Take care of yourself. This looks different for everyone, but in general you should just remember to do something nice for yourself from time to time. For some people that means indulging in a favorite sweet treat, or getting a massage, or going rock climbing, or going fishing. Whatever feeds your soul and refreshes you, make the time for that. No matter how small of a thing it is.

5.) Do something physical. I’m not talking about going to the gym (unless that’s your happy place). I’m talking about getting outside in the sunshine and doing an activity that you really enjoy. Maybe it’s going for walks around the neighborhood, or playing a sport, or taking your dog to the dog park, or gardening. Whatever you can find a little time for to keep your body moving and getting some fresh air in your lungs.

6.) Know when it’s time to move on from something. This is up there with saying no. There comes a time for a lot of the things we get invested in when we need to let go of it and move on to something else. For example, I started a small henna tattoo and face painting business back in 2011. It was fun while it lasted, but I got to a point when I knew it was time to move on from there. Letting go of that, which had clearly run it’s course for me, allowed me to find the next important thing in my life. Remember that change is good.

7.) Weigh the pros and cons of things. If you are thinking of taking on a new project, job, hobby, etc. weigh the good and bad things that go along with it. That will help to teach you what are things you can live with and what things are deal breakers. You’ll be surprised at how many things you will wisely reconsider with this tip.

8.) Write things down! Whether you are venting in a journal after a difficult day at work, or visualizing your future plans, writing things down can be very powerful in manifesting the things you want, or helping you work through things that are tough to deal with.

9.) Lastly, but possibly the most important thing to remember, LAUGH. If you aren’t laughing a little every day, you’re missing out. Laughter can change your whole day and remind you to not take things too seriously. Always remember to look for laughter throughout your day. These are a couple of books that my husband and I discovered that always make us laugh, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, and Emails from an Asshole: Real People Being Stupid

Sometimes the best answer to juggling a busy life is to just make it less busy by dropping some things that just aren’t serving you any longer. I hope that some of this advice will find it’s way into your thoughts and you can apply them to lower your stress levels and more effectively juggle your crazy life.