Legos & Work & Life

by Beth Anne on May 25, 2014

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Harry is the master of Legos. He’s putting together 200+ piece sets alone & it’s just amazing to watch. Like one day, we were worried he wasn’t going to point on time & now he’s building a freaking Lego camper, complete with coffee mugs, little tables, & a canoe.

I’ve decided after watching him that everyone falls into 1 of 3 Lego categories:

  • People who prefer to buy Lego sets & follow directions
  • People who prefer to free-build with a bucket of random Legos
  • People who don’t give a shit about Legos

Harry falls into Group 1 & I fall into Group 2, but I think that’s the perfect balance so he can build the trucks & I can design the houses. It’s something that I never mind doing with him & most mornings before work & daycare, we’re in our pajamas building.

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On Wednesday, our boss gave us the afternoon off to swim & party at his pool.

It’s been over 9 months & I still want to pinch myself. The work I do is fun & creative & challenging. When I first started at Ignite, the hardest part was being surrounded by people 9 hours every day. There was no break from conversation or laughter & for someone who spent 18 months working alone in a cubicle, it was a culture shock. I spent most of my evenings in the first few months running in the lights-off “getaway room” at the gym & then turning down every invitation for dinner or play dates. I felt so burnt out.

Now it’s simply my new normal & it’s hard to believe that a place like Ignite exists, where I’m a person as much as an employee & leggings are more acceptable than suits.

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10251280_622916277794144_253226239_nWe discovered through x-rays that Tuck has severe hip dysplasia in one hip, the beginnings in another, & arthritis in both hips + knees. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when they had to sedate her for x-rays due to pain & then bring me in the back room, where I stared at the foggy black & grey films. The doctor showed the tiny bits of bone chipped off into her muscles from the bone-on-bone grinding & handed 2 prescription bottles.

“Long run, what are her options?” I asked & the vet simply stared at me sympathetically.

Our life with Tuck changed that day, starting with medication & realizing that she’ll never use the long back steps again. Instead, she’s leash-walked out the front door & for the first month, we carried her up & down the inside steps every night & morning.

It was heart breaking those first few weeks, desperate for her to feel better. We wondered if a life on pain killers was a real life, without walks & running & things she enjoys. It was a very isolating experience for me & Doug, knowing that any decision we made would be met with judgment.

We are thankful that the NSAIDs have done beautiful work on her pain level – she’s off the daily pain killers & can now climb the stairs by herself, although we only allow it once per day. Her days of runs with me & chasing rabbits in the back yard are over, but she seems pretty content with her new, quieter life.

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10369496_569147683199452_1216687991_nI started the week running 2.5 miles at 12’11” pace. A month ago, I hurt myself with shin splints & cramps, limping for 2 days & taking an entire week off from the treadmill. I’m not entirely sure what happened, except I think I had a hard day & pushed through it with a funky gait & then BAM! legs screaming. It’s been a slow build up since then, increasing by only 20% each week & on Monday, I felt I could keep going but stopped myself.

I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or incredibly, fearfully dumb to hold myself back, but the point is that I’m only .60 from running a 5K without dying. Which is perfect, considering my first 5K is scheduled for late June.

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Right now the boys are still sleeping upstairs & my coffee is hot & I’m 20 pages in to my first summer book. (Lone Survivor, not an affiliate link, on loan from a friend. Anyone read it?)

It’s funny how life seems boring but then I stop & realize these little things are my life. & it’s pretty fantastic.

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Lately with Tuck.

by Beth Anne on May 1, 2014

tuckerIt started this winter, our girl looking stiff as she stood up after a nap on the floor.

We noticed she didn’t hop up on the couch or bed with ease anymore & so we started her on glucosamine pills every morning. Two pills that she took happily, thinking they were treats & oblivious to us watching her hips with care. The cold nights seemed to be the worst & we bought her a dog bed for the first time in 8 years & covered her with blankets. She was stiff at night but comfortable & chased a ball in the backyard on the pretty days.

Then four weeks ago, she didn’t greet me at the door & her back feet touched when she hobbled over when I called her name. I took her to the vet immediately – it was a Friday afternoon & I lifted her 55 lbs into the car & she yelped from pain. The vet looked her over, tested her legs & couldn’t find damage but confirmed what we’ve known for several months – arthritis. We left with big pills that combined an anti-inflammatory & pain med. For 2 weeks she was better & when the pills finished, per the vet, we waited to see if the pain would return. For 2 more weeks she seemed fine & we wondered if the diagnosis was wrong, if maybe she had sprained something before & now it was all better.

Yesterday she woke us at 5:30 am crying at the foot of the stairs. I poured a cup of coffee & sat with her & we waited for the meds to kick in. Last night, Doug carried her up the stairs for bed & the worry showed on both our faces. She spent the night whimpering.

This morning I took her down the 4 stairs to our front yard & when we headed back to the house, she screamed in pain up all 4 stairs. I sank to my knees beside her & cried & Harry stood at the door wondering what is wrong, is Tucker okay, why did she make that noise?

She has her medication & is finally resting quietly & I’m sitting here with her on a Friday morning because nobody should be left alone when they’re hurting, even a dog. She’s only 8 years old & that keeps going through my mind as I ruffle the red fur on her neck. She’s only 8 years old but when we got her, all we had was a marriage license & a hand-me-down plaid couch. She’s only 8 years old but that’s 8 years with her at the foot of our bed & 8 years of her little face peeking out of the windows when we pull into the driveway.

She’s only 8 years old & she’s not just a dog.

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Courtney.

by Beth Anne on April 27, 2014

“Kim? Kim, it’s Beth Anne. What happened?”

My voice caught on the phone with my college roommate, Kim. We hadn’t spoken on the phone in 8 years & she was the first person I called when I saw the update, that Courtney Sanford was gone. Ten years ago, Kim & I shared bunk beds in a 20×20 cinder block room on our sorority hall, where our “big sisters” helped us study & taught us to be ADPi’s.

Courtney was Kim’s big sister & with one Facebook message, she crossed the median on Business 85 & she was gone.

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I spent Thursday night on the phone with my sorority sisters, trying to understand. The person in the accident is never supposed to be someone you know, someone you wrapped your arms around, someone that made you laugh. But this time, it was.

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I saw her story shared on Facebook by my sisters, then by people that didn’t know Courtney. It was hard to see her crumpled red car every time I opened my laptop. I clicked to Buzzfeed & the girl I knew stared back at me in black & white as the top story. I refused to read the comments & I put my head in my hands & cried.

I felt violated that my friend was now public property even though I wished desperately for others to take the warning.

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I saw the “FAIL” over her face & a piece of my heart broke further. I remember Courtney outside of the accident, like the Facebook status & wreck happened to someone different, & yet the FAIL makes it impossible to separate my friend from the truth of the accident.

What happened is bullshit & Courtney would agree because she loved to call people on bullshit.

 

Courtney was beautiful & flawed & loved, just like all of us. She made a bad choice & paid with her life. Don’t post her story to mock her, but to raise awareness because we’ve all done what she did & maybe it wasn’t a Facebook status, but a text or grabbing a drink that rolled on the floor. I don’t care how many times you’ve done it successfully before – STOP NOW. You are human & distracted, just like Courtney.

People love you & would miss you, just like Courtney.

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As her family & friends & our Zeta Psi chapter grieve for her, please let this be a reminder that you are more precious than any Facebook status or text. Please put down the phone. It can always wait.

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It’s been over a month since my last post.

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I wish we could catch up in person, like how Liz & I chatted for an hour over lattes in Austin just two weeks ago. Pour a cup of coffee, maybe go for a walk, or sit in a backyard full of sunshine the way Shannon & I do while our boys run circles around us. I would ask you how life was – how are your kids? your husband? your house? are you looking at replacing an air conditioning unit like we are? how ready are you for the summer? have you planned vacation yet? I’d want to know all of these things about you, even the little stuff you think doesn’t matter, like if you’ve organized your junk drawer lately.

It’s funny how I want to know all of that about you (hence the 200+ blogs in my reader) but when it comes to sharing that part of myself, I think you won’t care. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I think about blogging, that someone else has already said it better & has the bandwidth to have the deeper thoughts.

But maybe you would like to hear about my dining room, which I painted a rich, lovely shade of green. It’s Pantone’s Online Lime but there’s nothing lime about it…just pure, deep green. We installed the first layer of chair rail (second fancy layer & boxes below to come!). I brought in the light blue & cream living room drapes from our first house & am searching for the perfect soft natural fiber rug to put under our feet.

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I also sewed white poms to our marigold curtains. Our living room is my most favorite place to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. Or sit under a blanket on a rainy Sunday afternoon like this one.

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In mid-February, I turned in my two-week notice to Babble & the absence of having to blog was the best rest for my burnt-out desire to write. I am so excited to just work for Ignite & only blog when I want. To go to work & come home & the evening is completely mine, no interruptions or writing at midnight to meet deadlines. Cutting the financial security blanket that Babble had been throughout the past two years was not something we took lightly & I emailed the editors with my heart in my throat, but it was the perfect move at the perfect time.

Now the days are getting longer & the air is getting warmer & I am already dreaming of the summer evenings at the pool, when we smell like sunscreen & chlorine for 3 months straight. I don’t want to miss any moment of our life but I still feel the need to write, to connect to a bigger world outside of my own.

So here I am, tapping at keys.

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Currently I Am…

by Beth Anne on January 20, 2014

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appreciating Doug’s TWO job offers last week!

reading The Boleyn Inheritance. I bought this book over a year ago after finishing The Other Boleyn Girl & never got around to reading it. So far, so okay.

listening the planes overhead & when it’s a clear day, they come a little more softly. I’ve always found them comforting & when I was a little girl, other girls dreamed of being teachers & doctors but I wanted to be a pilot.

tasting ham & cornbread stuffing. It’s my go-to simple comfort food.

learning to pause while I read to Harry, to point out letters, talk about their sounds, & continue his education outside the classroom. A natural teacher, I am not.

noticing the sunshine pouring through the windows.

anticipating a season of rest to come, long days at the pool, & evenings spent in the backyard.

working diligently, appreciatively, eagerly. Dare I admit how happy I am in my job?

making blueberry muffins in the afternoon.

watching Bones, Season 5.

accepting that I will always leave tissues in my pockets & Doug will always leave socks stuffed in couch cushions & we will be 80 years old & unchanged.

organizing a yard sale for this spring, the first I’ve ever done.

planning my home office in the small closet with the tiny window.

loving my gym’s Body Pump classes. Every Tuesday, every Thursday.

buying very little. The past few months have been a wonderful lesson in contentment.

finishing my second cup of coffee.

embracing the colder weather of the winter.

daring to cut my hair off, seven inches total.

Sometimes I need to run through these lists to jump the part of my brain that loves to write, that loves to sit in the quiet & just be until the words come. Little pieces to turn into long form, to weave into stories.

What are you up to these days? Holding onto those resolutions or does this post find you face-first in a bowl of peppermint ice cream? ::ahem, wipes evidence off own chin::

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