Taking a Mom Vacation

Part of doing this adventure challenge is because I feel a little lost in my own life; like I’m going through the motions. I’ve been so busy doing for everyone else I have sort of lost myself along the way.

I decided I needed to remedy that. I had an entire day to do nothing. I fought the guilt that I think probably  most mothers struggle with at some point. I went to my art studio, cranked the music, took chocolates, trail running magazines, my computer, and kicked off my shoes. I caught up on some of my magazine reading. I painted until I wanted a break. I ate dark chocolate covered sea salted caramels, and just relished in being able to do nothing for anyone.

This Mom Vacation wasn’t long, but it was enough. I instantly woke the next day feeling like I found a little part of myself again. I wore a smile and felt like I recognized myself again. I looked forward to what the day had to offer.

It changed my perspective so much that I decided I need more “me” time. This should be a lot easier to accomplish now that my son has started back to school. Let the fun begin!

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Play in a Waterfall

I spent a great deal of time last year finding new trails and exploring them. This was a great way to see some of the country side while traveling. I’ve been exploring more trails in the Kansas City area. I always come back to my favorite, which is at the Parkville Nature Sanctuary.

I decided to make a morning of it and take my son. He loves water as much as I do and once I get him there we always have fun. We hiked around, played in the waterfall, and made “boats” out of fallen leaves and floated them down the stream. I even caught myself singing out loud out of sheer happiness to be in nature. It was only when a hiker on the trail came up behind that I realized I was even doing it. It is the best to get lost in the moment!!

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Surviving Legoland with 3 Children

Because I am such an experience focused person I try to give my child experiences instead of things whenever possible. For his birthday, I told him he could take on person to Legoland (his favorite place on earth). He chose his cousin.

Again, this is a special occasion so it isn’t much of a reach for me as far as an adventure goes. However, let me explain one thing. I’m not crazy about children. I like my own. I even like my nieces. But, I’m not the woman that children run up to and hugs. Chuck E. Cheese seems like hell on earth to me. Not only is full of hyper screaming children running everywhere, but every possible light and noise have been thrown in. This puts me (who happens to be an empath and super sensitive to my surroundings) in near fetal position in the corner rocking myself. 11825228_10205982601377251_2056712681800563509_n

My Legoland adventure grew to taking both of my nieces (ages 6 and 2) and my son in the car. That means 3 car seats. I have some serious respect for mothers with more than one child. I found myself yelling things like “stop touching each other” and “we are in an enclosed space, no one needs to scream”. I heard my mother coming right out of my mouth. The real adventure started when we got to Legoland and stood in line for an hour because the computers shut down. I’m not the most patient person in the world, which is something I have in common with the children. I was starting to wonder who would melt down first, me or the children.

We finally made it in with no casualties, but apparently it was “everyone in the city should bring your child” day. I have been several times. After all, this is my sons favorite place on earth. I couldn’t take a step without tripping over a child. The real adventure was trying to keep track of 3 children in a world of chaos. I was quite happy with myself when I managed to return home with all 3 in tow thoroughly wore out. No child lost, none broken, and I didn’t have to find a corner to hide in. I survived this adventure!!

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Water Balloon Birthday Party

It’s not reaching far for this one because it’s a special occasion. My kiddo is turning 7. To be honest, I’ve been horrible at doing the big birthday parties. His birthday is in August and generally when everyone from his school is on vacation (or at least that’s the excuse I use). So his birthdays usually end up with all my adult friends dressing up like a pirate or a super hero (depending on the theme) and showing up for a cook out where he is the center of attention. This year I gave in to the parental pressure and had a kids birthday party for him.

I went with the safe bet and emailed everyone from his class and boy scout troop (because I had all the parent emails). Several responded, so I planned a  water balloon party in the park. I figured this way we could beat the heat. I spent the evening before blowing up 500 water balloons. Thank God I had help! My kiddo was a trooper and gave himself a blister blowing them up.

It turned out to e a great party and we had a lot of fun. Some how I turned out to be a target and ended up drenched. Fortunately I have no pictures of this because cameras were not safe. However, I believe having my first kid birthday party and blowing up 500 water balloons qualifies for an adventure.

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Live Painting

I was asked to be part of a live competition. The competition was to take a refrigerator that had been turned in for recycle and paint the outside of it to bring awareness to the program. This was during First Fridays which is when the Crossroads in Kansas City fills full of people to see art in the galleries and shops.

Three artists were asked. I happened to be one of them. This is so far outside of my comfort zone. I don’t paint live and I’ve never painted a refrigerator. Of course I said yes. I do believe that doing things outside of our comfort zone is when we start really growing.

Once I gave my answer I started sweating it. I brainstormed some ideas and came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Then I got called to go help my mom (she had reconstructive knee surgery). Before I realized it, the event had snuck up on me and I wasn’t really prepared with more than an idea.

I began to do what most good artist I know do, and that is panic at the last minute. The night before I completely changed my mind on what I was going to do. I second guessed myself and decided it wasn’t good enough. After all, I know the work of the other two artist and they are good. I just don’t want to be laughed off the stage. Some tears were shed and some tantrums thrown.

Then my trusty knowing partner said, “why don’t you just do what you do”. Huh. There’s an idea. Make it simple. Paint what I’m known for? That just seems to easy.

So the next day in the melting heat I hopped on stage with my fellow artists. We were each given a fridge and an hour and 1/2 to complete our project. I decided that a recycled fridge needed one more life. Not only did I paint it, I also turned it into a mobile library.

I didn’t win (and I didn’t expect to), but I wasn’t laughed off the stage. I felt some serious growing pains and think I have painting live out of my blood for awhile.

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Dropping the Ball(s)

Here is the face of a very tired, water-soaked mama who has shed many frustrated tears this week, dropped a whole lot of balls, said screw it and got everything store bought,11863246_10205976941755764_2268724067187103685_n pulled off a live painting event and a 7-year olds birthday party this weekend. I take on too much, get bitchy when I’m overwhelmed, and struggle with knowing my limits. I’m eternally a work in progress #notperfect #beingreal #thisisme

This is a post I put on facebook this week. I shared it because I feel like so many of us get caught up on being Superwoman/Superman. I mean, I should be able to juggle motherhood, a healthy relationship, my job, and every little thing that is thrown at me, right? I have been so busy doing for everyone else lately that I feel empty. Seriously, for a week I have cried. I’m not telling you this for pity. I’m telling you because we’re all human. I’m flying around 100 miles per hour half the time. I try to run my art studio and make it profitable. I’m living my passion but working my butt off.

I want and struggle to be a good mother. Recently my son made a comment about how I’m always working and on my computer. I have decided that I will no longer work when he’s out of school. I won’t lie, this is tough for me. So far I’m managing to hold my promise to myself. I always have something I can be working on. There never seems to be enough hours in the day.

I have a partner that is amazingly patient. I don’t give him enough credit or attention. I hold constant guilt for this.

I dropped everything when a family member needed help. That’s what I do. Usually though, it means at the cost of everything on my plate.

I over commit. It’s one of those lessons I never seem to learn. I do it over and over again. This weekend was a perfect example (and a breaking point). I signed my family up for a color run 5k race over a month ago. Then I decided that my sons birthday party needed to be on the weekend instead of during the week so I booked that for Sunday. Let’s throw in a water balloon party so I would need at least 500 water balloons blown up. Easiest way to do that, let’s plan an adult party on Saturday to recruit help. I then absently signed up to be part of a friends art project (because really, it’s only 30 minutes, right?!). Now for good measure, I am asked to do a very public event that could give some attention to my art career. Of course I accepted. Now throw in a hurt relative the week before and no time to plan or prep. Oh, and of course, that Groupon for yoga class is about to expire so I better go ahead and squeeze that in.

Yep, now insert me in pure panic mode, crying my eyes out because “what the hell did I commit to?” Why do I do this? I mean, sure, lay it out on a calendar, it all fits. What I forgot about was my kiddo and relationship who also need attention. To being called for help when someone needs it. Oh, and most importantly, there was no “me” time scheduled in. After many many tears, I realized that I am empty. I have given and I haven’t filled back up. I’m one of those people who needs to go find a quiet place in nature or a good book and a cup of coffee and have alone time to recharge. I’m going on a month without any alone time. And like that, I realize, I am the problem.

So my weekend played out like this. I spend all night Thursday in tears and changing my mind a million times about what I’m going to do for my live painting event. On Friday I drive around (with kiddo in tow) buying art materials and picking up race packets. I text everyone to let them know there is no Saturday night party because I don’t have time (and my deck still isn’t stained because that too has slipped through the cracks). 2 balls dropped. By Friday night I’m out of tears and ready to paint. My event goes well and I’m left totally exhausted.

Saturday morning I am exhausted from the night before and decide that no one has time for the race (1 ball dropped). Instead I grab breakfast and walk around in a daze making to-do lists. I deliver all my painting materials back to the art studio and run all over town again buying everything for the birthday party (which I originally planned on making). 1 ball dropped. I spend the rest of the evening on the deck filling up water balloons.

Sunday morning, woken super early by an excited little boy awaiting his birthday party. Helping a relative, running around like a mad woman filling up the car. Rushing to get to my friends art project (which I miss). Another ball dropped. 

We have a great birthday party with a store bought cake and pinata. The kids go through the water balloons in no time flat, and the saving grace is that there is a water park about 100 yards from where we are playing (no idea this was here). It was a great party.

I tell my brother I can’t drive 2 hours to get my niece and I come home and build games with my son. I zone out and talk my son into just watching a movie with mommy so I don’t have to think. Another ball dropped. Go ahead and throw in some guilt for not having more energy and wanting to go jump on the trampoline or making a special dinner to show my partner my gratitude for being such a tremendous help.

The moral is, I’m juggling too many damn balls. And the problem is, they all got put on my plate because I put them there. I don’t have to be superwoman. All week I have visions of solitude and a road trip with the windows down and the music loud and me singing at the top of my lungs. It will happen soon. Until then, I just need some time to set all my balls down and choose carefully about which ones I pick back up. I hate dropping balls. I hate more letting people down.  The biggest struggle I have; realizing that I can’t do everything. So I will work through  my guilt of wanting alone time to recharge and claim it for myself. I will make me a priority and then start prioritizing everything else in my life as well.

It is ok to say no. It is ok to know when to stop juggling. Remember, if it’s on your plate, you put it there.

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Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Last year I did a 100 day adventure challenge. I was traveling for work a lot and it was starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day. I decided I had to find some adventure every day to break up the routine.

This year, I have made an attempt to travel less. It’s hard on my family and makes return to “ordinary” life in small spurts quite difficult. What I’m finding though, is that ordinary life is even harder for me. I’m not really an “ordinary life” kind of girl. I didn’t day dream about wedding dresses or play house as a kid. I read maps and books. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to travel and be an astronaut. Instead, I began traveling the world and racing cars and became an artist.11027927_10205962468593944_2858724802591038074_n

Even though I have a life that resembles an ordinary life, I find it incredibly difficult. I don’t do well with routine. I know myself well enough to know that I need something to look forward to. If I’m not working towards something, I start to get stir crazy and very low. I’ve been struggling with this a lot. It’s not that I’m unhappy. I have no reason to be unhappy. I have a great life. I try to find joy in all the little things. I’m so grateful for every single person in my life. However, my life is enriched by experiences.

So, I’ve decided to start making the ordinary extraordinary. It doesn’t have to be grand or cost a lot of money. I just need something to break up my days. To make the present day stand out from the others. I’ll start with 30 days. Wanna join? Come along and find some adventures with me. Leave me your adventure in the comments. Maybe it’ll give me some ideas!

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