the boys

the boys

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The zone

I have an amazing body. Wow. How's that for an opening statement? What if I just left it at that? My body is amazing. I'm out, peeps!

Just kidding. I don't mean an amazing physique. I mean that my body has an amazing ability to withstand trauma and stress. Many, many years of intense training (gymnastics) has made my body strong and my mind even stronger. I was very much a mental competitor and I don't mean like "going mental" but more like I can force my mind to control my body and go on autopilot. I can get into the zone.

So maybe it's my mind that is amazing. Or a combination of both. I'm not what you would call booksmart. Studying: not really my thing. My sisters are both super smart. I was the dumb jock. Well that's exaggerating, but I will say that even my Greatgrandmother gave us all some crossword puzzle books one year and specifically told my older sister to keep the hard ones becuase she is smarter. Seriously. She did. And my little sister's smarts bypassed me when she was about 10 (and I was 15). It's cool. We all have our strengths. School-not one of mine. I was too busy bouncing off the walls. Literally. Or reading "outside reading" books. I actually got in trouble in college for reading a regular book instead of a textbook on the bus on our way to a competition. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up!

Anyway, my mind is strong, if nothing else. In 1999, I had a pacemaker implanted for a very serious heart condition. After the surgery, I learned that I had been mentally controlling my heart rate and blood pressure for many years and only on about 4 occassions it actually got the better of me. I could get through the toughest of competitions with little to no trouble with straight mental strength. Then I would let my mind and body go into rest mode and within about an hour after the competition I would get violently ill. I have a really great blog drafted about my journey to Pacemaker-ville, but it's not quite perfected yet.

My point, and I know it's been a long one, is that in the last month or so my mind and body have been under stress but I've been in the zone. With my husband gone a good bit of the time for work and school, two young children, and our busy "season" in full swing at work, I've had no choice but to go into the zone. It's not a concious thing. In fact, I didn't even realize it until Friday night.

The only way I usually know that I have been in the zone is to recognize when I'm not in it. Does that even make sense? I'll try to explain. On Friday night after a particularly intense week...heck, an intense month really...I knew that Jeremy was going to be home after work to help with the kids, etc. And so I got a massive headache. I seem to be getting them more lately than I ever have. I'm not usually one to get them so I've been paying attention to see if there is some sort of pattern. And it seems that I only get them when he is going to be home to help or someone else is availble to help me with my life duties/taking care of the kids. I had one when I was going to my mom's ealier this month and another one when the kids were with my in-laws overnnight.

It's true. I've proved it to myself time and time again that my mind will not allow my body to get sick (usually) when I have responsibilities. But as soon as there is help on the horizon or I can have some downtime , my body gives way. And it wasn't particularly dramatic on Friday night as this blog might make it seem, but I was certainly reminded me of my experiences over the years as my body goes into autopilot and my mind pushes my body through whatever difficulties are present.

I'm not writing this to whine about stress or parenting duties or anything. Really I am not. As my blog title notes, this is my 30's. This is what I signed up for with a full time job, children, and a husband in the fire service. As I often say "it is what it is." I wouldn't change it for the world. Every woman in my same general life situation is under similar stresses and handle that stress in their own way. I was just struck by my realization on Friday night that I've been in the zone without noticing it.

Thanks Jeremy for taking over on Friday. I clearly needed the mini-break! Refreshed now and ready to start the week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My pink megaphone

I was listening to a Christian radio station today and one of the guests had this great analogy about the difference between men and women. I didn't catch his name or even think to write down which radio station because I was travelling in between meetings so if anyone heard it and can give credit to him, feel free to post a comment with his info. Here's the gist of what he said:

Women see the world through pink glasses, hear the world through pink hearing aides, and talk to the world through a pink megaphone. On the flip side, men see through blue glasses, hear through blue hearing aides, and speak through blue megaphones. We literally see, hear, and speak in different languages and a healthy marriage (or relationship) is all about learning to communicate effectively with each other.

another fun little point he made: When a woman says she has nothing to wear she means that she has nothing NEW to wear. When a man says he has nothing to wear he means he has nothing CLEAN to wear.

None of this is meant to be sexist or stereotyping genders at all...just some reflections on the difference between men and women. It was fun to listen to and find myself saying "oh, yup! that happens to me." :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whose soul will I meet?

So here's the thing and I'll go ahead and put it out there before I start into this...what I'm about to write will probably make me seem very selfish and self-serving. I'm not even sure that's inaccurate. I often joke about my "it's all about me" attitude. I'm acutely aware of my faults, sometimes perhaps too much so.

With that said, I've never really been into the whole "saving the world" concept. I have always thought that there is so much need here, in our own backyards, that it is hard for me to expand my thoughts outside of the USA. I'm sort of narrow-minded in that way. I haven't traveled overseas a lot so my perspective pretty much ends with the poverty and struggles that I see in the families that I work with each and every day. Don't get me wrong. I recognize that the need is far greater in many underdeveloped countries than even the poorest places in America. But my willingness to help people outside of an arm's length has been little to none.

So it brings me to church this morning when a visiting Priest from the Order of Friar Servants of Mary gave the sermon. One point that he made really stuck with me. He made no attempt to hide his purpose in visiting our massive church. Begging. He was there to ask for prayers, support, and financial donations for his Order as they travel to Africa for missionary work. He described what all they will be doing in Africa: "provide primary health care centers for AIDS victims, assistance with adequate housing, as well as to support an improved water system and aid in the elimination of malaria" as quoted in last week's church bulletin.

While he was an excellent speaker, I didn't find myself too awful engaged until he made this point. As I've been doing lately, I whipped the notebook out of my purse to start taking some scribbled notes to blog about later.

Paraphrased: Some of you might be sitting out there today wondering why you should help and pray for others whom you will likely never meet. It's true. You will probably never know any of the people that benefit from your donations today. You will not know them. In this life. But in the next life [as a soul in heaven], when a soul comes up to you and extends a hand in the name of the Lord, you will know them.

Now, to some, that might not seem like anything earth shattering, but somehow it put it in a different perspective for me. We are all God's people. I know this, but I think I often forget the vastness of our family. Whose soul will I meet in heaven and what impact will I have had on him/her?

He went on to say that God remembers every single act of your love, prayer, and kindness in His name, both public and private. A wonderful thought to carry me through this week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

O'Brien dictation 8/20/10

Nearly 10 years of social work has helped me to perfect my skills in documenting events. Parent/child visitations. Court hearings. Worker/child visits. Family Support Team meetings. I feel as though today was worth dictating. It's thorough i.e. long (shout out to Mawby), but I figured what the heck.

Started off with a half day of work. Sounds good. A nice way to end my week. I made a quick stop by my new favorite store, Lifeway Christian bookstore. Sidebar: everyone should expect xmas gifts from there because I LOVE it and find more cool things every time I go. Sidebar part two: well, not "everyone" reading this blog should expect a gift but if you do get one it's likely to come from Lifeway :)

Anywho, so I exchanged a gift that I had bought the week before because the first one broke. The sweetest lady checked me out today and last week. She has a kind heart. I could tell right away. She welcomed me to the store as I walked in and called me sweetie the entire time I was shopping. Perfect job for her except I get the feeling she doesn't actually know how to do the job. It took her about 10 minutes to complete my exchange. A computer "malfunction" which was later determined to be her failure to push the "finalize transaction" button on the computer. All the while she is chastising the computer and calling it (in the sweetest voice) Satan and Spawn of Satan. I think she's better off working the floor and greeting customers. I highly suspect she and technology don't mesh well.

So I picked the boys up and decided to run a few more errands before taking them home for a nap. I'm thinkin' its going to wear them out so I can get some work done while they sleep. That plan was successful for Leo (slept 3 hours). Not so much for Justin a/k/a Mr. Sassypants. After 90 minutes of fighting sleep which entailed removing every light, music, toy, and stuffed animal from his room, I gave in and let him get up. Now don't be fooled. He was tired. He has just developed some adverse reaction to napping in our home. But rest assured that every day when I arrive at Ellan's (daycare) to pick him up the first thing he says to me is "I didn't talk on my cot (at naptime)." Oh well, really pat yourself on the back there kiddo! That was about 15 months ago when you got in trouble for it at Ellan's and still it's his pride and joy everyday. I live for the days when we arrive AT Ellan's and he can report staying in bed. I digress.

So he was allowed to get up from nap. As he came down the steps I told him that because he did not stay in bed for a nap his consequence was "no special treats (food) and no Scooby Doo." Sure, no problem. For about 5 seconds. Until he saw the chocolate chip cookies sitting by my chair. So he walks over to me all sweet-like. Actually buttering me up by telling me he loves me. He asked for a cookie. I denied. He pouted for a minute (and this is the BEST part) and says "can I just get close to them and smell them?" I about died laughing!!! And I let him smell them and even let him put one finger on them like he asked. But he didn't get a cookie.

So the afternoon moves on. He is nearly delirious with lack of sleep. Wavering back and forth from sassy to hilariously uncontrolled laughter to zoning out. I'm pretty sure he was pestering me just to keep himself awake because if he sat down too long he almost fell asleep. Meanwhile, my laptop caught a virus. I called Jeremy at work for advice and he does the big 1, 2, 3 freak out on me over the phone because there isn't a "run" button when I push start. Well, sorry buddy! Talk to Dell but I'm here to tell you that there is no run button. I have Jeremy on the phone in full crisis mode over the computer and Justin trying to run a motorcycle over my face. It wasn't pretty. For the sake of our marriage, we ended our phone call. The laptop took a backseat to Sassy McSasserson. And don't worry folks, Jeremy is much better at managing medical crisis than he is home crisis. Grandview residents can rest safely. He calls back about 20 minutes later and tries to advise me again minus the frustration. It was minimally successful and we still chose to put off any sort of efforts to fix the computer with him instructing me over the phone.

Then my sweet baby Leo woke up. And I could just curse myself for this: I told him we were going somewhere (Parkville Days to see the sites and ride the was such a GOOD plan). Why or why do I do these things to myself? Do I not REMEMBER that he will demand to leave immediately? That he has his father and grandfather's patience? Why or why do I do it? And so I try to rush around to get us ready while he is screaming "shoes" and "doodie" which actually means "hold me" as in carry me to the car. So mama's got the diaper bag packed. The stroller in the car. And the rain starts again. So we are back in the house. A quick dinner at home and then the rain breaks and I make another attempt at Parkville Days.

Justin is PUMPED! He's all: "I'm being good, mom. Look at me, mom. I'm following directions, mom!" SWEET!

So we make a quick stop at the bank down the street (which will be an important detail later) which is not our home bank but I haven't planned ahead, shocking I know, so I have to pay a ridiculous $6 fee just to get my own money. And so we are FINALLY off to Parkville, which is all of about 5 minutes from my house. As we pull into downtown Parkville and pull up right beside the all of the big rides it starts to rain again. Big ol' drops. So I'm kind of panicking. I'm thinking how am I going to explain to Justin that it just isn't going to happen tonight? Justin? Justin? I look back and he is dead asleep! It's 6:15 pm.

So I just circle the park and head home. I had to call my sister to debrief and she helped me to see that this was actually a successful venture. We met Leo's goal of leaving the house. He never understood where we were going in the first place. And Justin is asleep for what I THOUGHT was going to be for the rest of the night.

We make it home. Justin is in bed. Leo is playing with his glow worm which he has named "mommy" and putting "mommy" to bed under the blankets and pillows in the living room. Pretty sure "mommy" will suffocate under all of that, but it's not a battle I'm going to fight tonight.

Fast forward about 2 hours and I'm cleaning house. God clearly supports me being at home tonight and not fiddling around on the computer so I might as well put my time to good use. And then I hear Justin bawling and crying in his bed. I run up there and he was totally out of it. He gets up and goes potty and can barely stand up. I put him back to bed and he kept asking if we were there yet and if we are at the bank. I finally just had to tell him yes, were are at the bank. He eventually fell back asleep.

I put Leo to bed for his (hopefully) last night in the crib because his big boy bed arrives tomorrow! Every time I tell him he just asks "why?" Because I said so, son. Just because I said so. Get used to it.

Jeremy and I take a stab at a joint effort to fix the computer which is clearly a success, hence the blog! I told him that it was a Friday night miracle and he responded "yeah, you fixed it and I didn't yell at you."

All is well at the O'Briens.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Auction

The Mary Immaculate Catholic Church community is amazing. This past weekend they raised $18,500 through a silent and live auction! Just let that amount sink in for a minute. And while that amount alone might seem amazing, I think it is even more impressive when you learn that Mary Immaculate is a tiny little church in a town of about 1,800 people. The parish membership has all of about 30 families, but those families are do-ers! Movers and shakers, these folks!

Mary Immaculate is my childhood church and I love going back. In the fall/winter months there are several open spots in the pews, but the summer "lake" months usually have over 100 people crammed in on any given weekend. And I do mean crammed in. Standing in the aisles, pouring out the back doors. So much so that when the Spidle girls are in attendance my dad has to stand on guard at all times to make sure one of us doesn't pass out from the heat. You get the idea. I wish I had a picture to attach to this blog. The one attached is of my boys on the front steps this past Easter.

The auction itself was overwhelming, but in a good way. The dinner beforehand was perfect. Everyone pitched in. I think Patty and I cut 600 dinner rolls in half for the sandwiches and as usual my mom's efforts couldn't even be recorded in a single blog. Maybe they will get a blog all of their own. I'll just follow her around and log her every move. I digress. Back to the auction.

There was everything from little $2 dollar items to major pieces of furniture. My sister scored the DEAL of the night! She won a beautiful roll top desk/secretary for just $350. Going once, going twice, SOLD!! No one could believe she got it for such a steal. Especially when so many of the smaller items were going for that much and more.

The energy in the room was electric. It was so much fun to see my dad and Mark L. up at the front calling the bids. I could have just sat there and watched them all night. At times they were in pefect unison in their nearly matching island print shirts, gesturing from one bidder to the next, to the next, to the next! And loving every single minute of it. You could see it in their faces. Their excitement was contagious as evidenced by the nearly $10,000 that was raised from the silent auction alone.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Missy over to the side. Quietly and diligently entering all of the data into the computer to print up everyone's receipts. Those Liggits know how to run an auction! What a night!

Amen, Father Bob. Amen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

short and sweet

it's been a while since I've blogged. We have been so busy. And in the spirit of my goal for August I'm going to keep this short. My goal is to talk less and listen more. I'm shooting for one word answers (when appropriate). Yes. No. Thank You. I'm sorry. Ok.

I'm typically quite wordy so we'll see how this goes...