Life of Liz

Archive for the ‘The Countdown begins’ Category

Out with the OLD in with the NEW

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Submission ... Oh My!, The Countdown begins on January 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

Things I learned in 2012 

spoon

  • Wooden spoons – not just for cooking!
  • Red Pill – not a decongestant!
    manosphere
  • Manosphere – don’t believe everything you BELIEVE!
  • 90 – Is the new 60 (proof – GRANDMA!)
  • De-Escalation warfare – or ways I’ve learned to not incite my volatile 17 year old daughter during an argument.  Thanks Dr. Phil for drilling into my head “ask yourself, ‘what is their payout’ cause there is always a payout”dr phil
  • Medicare is very confusing and has a lot of odd options – how Grandma managed to have coverage for the past 20 years is a miracle!

Goals for 2013

  • GOD:

*Set aside time everyday to hear God’s voice – quiet, me time.  The most logical time would be getting up 30 minutes early.

*Do the homework required for my weekly Women’s group Bible Study.

*Pray for wisdom for Henry to lead our family.

  • HEALTH:

Work out 2-3 times a week, every week.  I currently do not work out in any fashion and have been blessed with very good genes.  BUT – with the additional stress of Grandma and staring down 50 in >5 years the time is NOW.  Henry’s company provides a free health club, the youngest is in kindergarten until 11:45, so there is really NO reason this can’t happen.  Feel free to motivate, harass and or shame as desired J

  • MARRIAGE:

My submission – sometimes it feels like 2 steps forward, one step back in my ability to be the wife and ‘helpmate’ I desire to be.  I’d like the upcoming year to see me more aware of my decisions and become more consistent in my actions, words and reactions to Henry.

  • MOTHERHOOD:

*Spend more time outside with my youngest after kinder pick up – this includes setting up play dates.  Note, I was very active when my oldest were young – but I now suffer from a ‘been there, done that’ mentality that needs to change!

*Take the youngest to the zoo, the aquarium, local working farm, China Town and ride the ferry to the Wharf and the beach.  Actively engage while enjoying these events and try to ‘see’ through their eyes. Surely I can commit to 6 activities over a 12 month period, right?

*Create a “me and mommy” reoccurring DATE with my 5th daughter

*Attend a weekend retreat with my 17 year old daughter

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12 Hours before Xmas and my true love gave to me, “wait… that’s not on my list”

In Authentic Life, Christmas, PMS aka Menopause aka Bad Days, The Countdown begins on December 19, 2012 at 7:46 am

bambam, Wham, KOWABUNGA!!       wham

That is the sound of my pride hitting the wall as my dear Henry reminds me yet again that I cannot do it all.

… “You are not Super Woman” (what, wait, really?)

… “You are not Santa’s only elf” (how dare he!)

And evidently “I am not expected to be Martha Stewart” either!   (I wonder if Martha ever found herself here as she cranked out craft after craft.)

Why, oh why can I only hear him clearly in a certain compromising position as he swiftly reminds me “yes, VirginiaLiz; I am in charge here” lol?

BUT as I sit here listening to “you better not pout, you better not cry, you better not fuss I am telling you why; Santa Claus is coming to town” for the 10th time this morning and now that I am thinking a little clearer (thanks Mr. Grinch )Henry) and I am ready to tackle my day I felt inspired to give my own version of a beloved classic.

I know some of these things could sound frivolous and aren’t in the spirit of the real reason for the season … but just trying to keep it real and hope other moms can relate!  I like to call this new version …

Liz’s 12 hour before Xmas …

12 Xmas Cards needing to be addressed

11 Office gifts to wrap for Hubby

10 Xmas Eve PJ’s to color coordinate

9 Santa gifts left to buy

8 times the little’s have asked to update the Advent Calendar (today)

7 errands Grandma must run today

6 batches of cookies left to bake

AND 5 kids that are sick and needed the DOCTOR ….

FOUR times I’ve scheduled and cancelled a Mani-Pedi

THREE school concerts I’ll attend before Friday

TWO dinners in need of groceries (Xmas Eve and Xmas Day)

and

ONE House that needs a good cleaning

And with that I am off to Toys R Us, Target and if time permits that place I’ve tried hard to avoid … the MALL.  Wish me luck.   By the way … now that I’ve had my fun I am free to remind myself … jesus

Reaching your personal ‘Pitch Count’

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Red Pill, The Countdown begins on December 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

It is less than 2 weeks away.  13 days to be exact.  Am I ready? Is our home ready?  Kiddos ready?  Yep, those are the millionmillion dollar questions.  I did grab a ‘glimpse’ of a paradigm shift the other day.  It was as I drove through a predominately Asian area and noticed several Grandma Types pushing strollers and watching kids play at the park and I remembered how common it is for Grandma Types to live with their kids and assimilate into their household.  And it’s not a huge deal; it is expected and common in the Asian culture.  It started me thinking that I am over thinking things.  I am going to try and spend some quiet time exploring ‘why’ I am so anxiety ridden about the ‘what if’s’ of my Grandma’s move in.  I already have an idea of where that is going to lead (selfishness, fear of not meeting my own expectations) but instead of shying away I am going to try and pro-actively peel back some layers of Liz!

Selfishness is tough.  Everything is ME oriented.  Everywhere I turn I am encouraged to think about myself, how I am affected.  And being an admittedly private and introverted person ME Mentality fits in easily. It is true, having Grandma in our home is going to cause me to stretch outside of my comfort zone if for no other reason than she will be IN our home day in and day out.  I haven’t been stretched in this way for a long time and its challenging for me to embrace what I know is going to be an uncomfortable process.  I am frequently disappointed with how often I slip into ME Mentality.  Why don’t I dwell on the obvious … Grandma is a 90 year old lady who is moving across the country; she is giving up her independence and entering a brand new phase in her life.  Think about it … you are 90; you’ve lived in the same area for most of your LIFE; you own a car and drive; you live in your own apartment, cook your own food, and pay your own bills.  BUT now you are moving 2000 miles away and changing 100% of your daily activities.  Putting it that way, why am I whining?  Yep, selfishness.  At my core I am all about LIZ – is God using this situation to stretch me, make me uncomfortable in order to work out some of the ME Mentality?   That is the first part of what I will ponder in my quiet time.

hair_1And then PERFECTIONISM raises her pretty (perfectly styled, colored and highlighted) head and whispers in my ear … it’s your job to make sure everything (Yep, everything) is planned, scheduled and orchestrated in a way that would make both Martha Stewart and Social Sally take a breath.  Grandma’s living space has to be perfect.  Grandma’s social calendar and introduction to the Sr. Center needs to be scheduled.  How Grandma will fit into our everyday life needs to be orchestrated.  And this is my struggle; all of the above are easy enough to accomplish – but when your own level of expectation is unattainable … failure is easy.  My controlling nature lends itself to owning (taking responsibility for) the expectations of others … does that make sense?  Grandma is happy to have an area to be her own within our house – it is LIZ that needs that area to be Martha quality and conveys the message “you are welcome in our home”.  Grandma is likely ok causally dropping into the Sr. Center – it is LIZ that needs to be assured that is it orchestrated so she has a grand time with her new BFF’s.   I will need to remember that I can’t control how Grandma adjusts to her new space, or whether she embraces the ladies at the Sr. Center.  Yep, control and failure.  This is the 2nd part of my quiet time focus.

And the countdown continues … The weekend was not the best for Henry and me.  In fact, it was pretty *yuck*.  He is stressed about money.  I am stressed about Christmas.  It took me the better part of a ruined Saturday to remember a few key things I’ve been reprogramming my mind to believe.  Henry is a MAN and I am NOT.  Seems simply but when Henry is stressed, he internalizes and works things out in his head.  On Saturday I took this personal and reacted accordingly.  Also, as a MAN (again, which I am NOT) there are times that Henry just wants to do MAN things – and on Saturday that meant cleaning out junk from the garage.  Mind you this wasn’t on MY very busy list – and again I reacted as such.

It is a learning curve – this submissive wife thing!  Equally daunting is keeping my commitment to thoughtfully review (via RED PILL glasses) the blips in our relationship to ensure what I am seeing is ACTUAL and not a hold back from yesteryear (a society that disregards the important differences between men and women).

Pitch count is the number of pitches thrown by a pitcher in a game. The pitcher wants to keep the pitch count low to avoid overuse that could lead to injury.pitcher

We were finally able to connect on Sunday night but we lost all of Saturday and some of Sunday.   Henry said something last night that is worth sharing.  When we got to the point of spanking, I gently asked him why he had not initiated a spanking on Saturday (because in my FEMALE brain, that would have been a quick fix).  He gave me a very MANly analogy from baseball, “pitch count”.  To Henry, since I had a fairly strong reminder on Thursday morning he thought Saturday was too soon for me to pitch again.  Now mind you, he was no longer concerned with my pitch count on Sunday night!  Nope, we talked, I apologized,
he explained and then he reminded me who was the leader in our marriage.  And since it was bedtime anyhow, and because HE felt so inclined, we ended the night in an explosive way, hint hint!

Authentic life … part 1

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Punishment, The Countdown begins on November 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

Authentic life … part 1

Thanksgiving — Tuesday night brought a sense of ‘the calm before the storm’.  Henry’s mom arrived, followed by our oldest (Elizabeth).  Thanksgiving marks the first time since we’ve been a Dd couple that we’ve had relatives visit and stay with us.  It was just about 7 months ago, right before we started our new dynamic that I had a very public meltdown in front of not only his mother, but also my parents, my grandma, my sister, his sister and his mom’s best friends.  Henry thought it might be beneficial to write about that event as a way to discourage any type of repeats this week.

Let me set the stage … when our oldest left for college last year it was so much harder than I would have anticipated.  Jump ahead to our 2nd daughter’s (Gracie) high school graduation (which is the event that brought all of the relatives to our house).   Gracie would be reporting to her university 2 days after the ceremony and SHE was not handling it well at all.  She was equally Impossible, Rebellious, Pouty and Heartbroken during the preceding 6 weeks.   Truthfully, she was acting the part of an out of control 2 year old who had been denied the longed for piece of candy.  Enter the above mentioned 8 relatives into our home and what ensued was not our family’s finest hour.  In fact, over the course of the 4 days we spent together … The F word was used.  A plate was broken.  Doors were slammed.  Gracie got drunk and needed to be driven home (and NO we do not permit our kids –all under 21– to drink).  None of this was done behind closed doors. By the time we dropped Gracie off at her dorm room 2 days later, I actually was somewhat relieved!  (Ha, that lasted about 60 second).

It was just a few weeks after the ‘event’ that H and I got serious about our relationship.  We’ve joked a few times about how different and/or sore I would have been if we would have been a couple back then.

So much has changed in the last 6 months.  Thankfully …

I love Thanksgiving.  Correction, I love the imaginary Thanksgiving that is never achieved.

When I was growing up my mom demanded everyone is our home support her vision of the perfect holiday.  She would not permit anyone to actually help her.  No, she would instead require her kids to be on standby – typically that meant sitting and watching her in her efforts.  This also meant you could not be in the TV room or in your bedroom.  You couldn’t go outside and ride your bike or play tag. I ended up dreading Thanksgiving and vowed to make changes when I controlled the dinner with MY family.

And control things I did!  As a young mom I was eager to have my girls help with the preparation and happy to engage Henry into his share of the workload.  I can’t say it was any better than my own childhood – but it was different.  Instead of demanding my family stand at attention as my mom had done, I put my family to work and then followed behind them and re-did their tasks.  By the time we sat down to dinner I am sure all of my workers felt as though they were rode hard and put away wet!

I had a paradigm shift last year when Elizabeth came home for Thanksgiving after being at school for 3 months.  Suddenly it was more important to me that she enjoy her day with us and not so much about the appearance of a perfect event.  It was a lovely day and she commented several times how much she enjoyed herself.

Here is a bird’s eye view of the contrast:

Past:  8:00 am Thanksgiving morning … Henry would have been jolted out of bed by my demands of “I need help”

Today: I greeted Henry with a cup of coffee and then had a very pleasant conversation with my mother in law as we scoured the Black Friday advertisements.

 

Past: I would have insisted the TV be tuned into the Macy’s Parade because that would help create the Thanksgiving scene in my head of what a happy family would do; the kids would complain, Henry would make “football is on” overtures and no one would be in the family room.

Today:  I made no mention of what should be on TV … but glanced into the family room to see 3 kids enjoying the Macy’s Parade and overheard Henry say “10 more minutes and we switch to football”

Past:  Turkey time = A stressed out Mom with a brood of stressed out kids and a husband walking on eggshells. 

Today:  Tranquility and anticipation of a relaxing meal shared with family.

Next up … Authentic life part 2 ….presenting the appearance of success while the truth of failure lurked beneath the surface.  

28 days …

In Out of the Comfort Zone, The Countdown begins on November 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Grandma will move into our house in 28 days and I am feeling increasingly overwhelmed, when I ran across this little gentle reminder… and then heard my 6 year old happily singing a song from vacation bible school this past summer “You Can Trust God”… now it is stuck in my head too!  I plan to refer to both of the above links often.

That said …  At the moment our house is 100% disorganized and I am having a very difficult time prioritizing.  It doesn’t help that Henry has worked until the wee hours of the morning all week, after working all weekend and is looking at working the upcoming weekend as well.  And by ‘weekend’ I mean 9 in the morning until the 2-3 am.  Blah!  There are things that can only be done by him—so part of the reason I can’t get my list going is because I can’t do several of the big open items.  It also doesn’t help that our school district has picked this week to call ‘conference’ week which is really just an excuse to torture parents with ‘minimum’ day schedules.  Oh yes, they still arrive at school by 8:15 – but then the kinder is out at 11:35 and the 1st grader out at 12:31 … but the middle schoolers stay on regular schedule, which means another trip to the same area at 3:06!  It is hard to get in a groove of cleaning and organizing stuff when you are constantly jumping back into the car … ya know?

Back to my mini breakdown rant!  Henry’s mom is flying in from out of state on Tuesday.  She recently had surgery (she has stage 3 breast cancer) and the post op didn’t go so well … she has a ‘wound vac’ that drains to a bag that hangs around her neck.  Hmm, not sure what that requires from me … Our oldest daughter Elizabeth also flies home on Tuesday – same airport but 6 hours later so you know what that means?  Yep, 2 trips @ 2 hours each round trip!  Yippee!  Basketball daughter (Gracie) can’t come home for Thanksgiving but we are going to see her the day after – b/c it seems like a good time to drive 6-7 hours in a single day.

But here I sit, typing and gazing out at the state of disorder of my home.  I’ve managed to move around the bedrooms to accommodate Grandma and also to move both college daughters into a shared room – but the moves are only ½ way completed so stuff is everywhere!

How’s Liz?  Well I can’t say I’ve been overly supportive or submissive to Henry the last 7 days and while I feel internally guilty, especially when I know he has zero time to address my attitudes, I just can’t gather the internal fortitude it’ll take to ‘right my ship’.  In some ways I think I am self sabotaging in a couple different ways.  First by acting petulant I can create distance between H and myself which makes me ‘think’ I am doing it alone and I am free to become the controlling monster of yesteryear.  Second, I may be passive aggressively approaching the upcoming move-in by not effectively getting things done.  For instance, last night I sat on the couch flipping channels until after midnight, thinking several times that this may be the last time I am alone in my family room – so by not tackling the areas in the house that need focused attention I am left feeling frazzled and defeated.  So to sum up:  I have purposely created distance with my man (not that hard since he’s been home about 12 hrs out of the last 36!) and I am drowning in a sea of cr*p created by my need to make everything perfect for my Grandma’s move while at the same time secretly wishing she wasn’t moving into our house.  There!  I said it “secretly wishing she wasn’t moving into our house”. 

(Re-reading the above paragraphs makes my outlook sound pretty bleak.  Sorry!  I’ve actually had some good conversations with Grandma – which were truly needed b/c they went a long way towards reminding me that I enjoy Grandma’s personality and also how hard this must be for her.)

It just seems like too much is all me, with ZERO assistance or backup available to lend a hand.  In addition to what I’ve already painstakingly narrated above, I am also expected to figure out how to set up Grandma’s medical insurance in our state (which means leaning how Medicare and supplemental insurance works!).  I need to figure out how to add her to our car insurance (she will drive our Prius).  Henry wants her added to our cell phone plan – so need to do that too. And Elizabeth’s birthday is 2 days before Grandma moves in … gotta plan something there too.  OK, last thing because you guys are probably sick of my whining by this point but Xmas for 7 kids just doesn’t ‘happen’ so put that on the list too.

I do have a returning thought of “do I create these unbelievably tough scenarios because I am the only one that can do AB or C” or “is my control freak persona taking over?”  It would be easy to say “do what you can, the rest will figure itself out” but that is just not realistic.  My mom (Grandma’s daughter) is no help whatsoever.  None.  Once again I am the adult in our relationship.  Sometimes I think maybe the reason I am a control freak is b/c of a lack of ability and/or effort made by those that should be taking up some slack.  I mean, if my mom said “Liz, I’ll figure out the cell phone plan or the insurance(s)” I would say “Great!” – I have no need to make that one perfect!  I do need the house to be clean, organized and decorated for Thanksgiving.  I do need to plan a family celebration for Elizabeth’s birthday.  I do need to create Xmas for 7 kids.  And you know what else I needI need a firm hand to rebuke the low lying insubordination that I am dishing out towards Henry and I need help in righting this ship.  That’s the first time I’ve admitted my need for a spanking.  Just to not be the one in control for a brief amount of time; to not be the point person; to not be responsible for fulfilling the dreams, desires and expectations of a host of many.

I am not yet at the point of comfortably communicating my needs to Henry if for no other reason than I am loathe to put one more demand on his time.  He is very likely hanging on by a thin thread; functioning on 6 hours a sleep for 5 nights in a row and dealing with an internally aggravated, secretly passive aggressive pouty wife and a career driven, micromanaging feMALE boss who motivates with a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.  OK, I’ve used up the time between 1stgrade pick up and middle school pick up (successfully accomplishing very little) so I will close with this pic, which very appropriately sums up my thoughts ….

Sorry for the harsh language — sometimes it’s the quickest way to cut to the punch!

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