Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All Moved - With Pics to Boot.

Well hello there!  Long time no see.

Yes, we have moved. So glad you asked. We have been residing in our "new" house for almost 2 full weeks now.  Nope, we're still in lots of boxes, but things are definitely coming along.  We had lots of help getting moved from wonderful friends and family - which we are so thankful for.  

While our house still has a lot to be done in order to be finished, I have taken some current photos as it is. So consider those the "after" photos for now, at least.  We still need to add base boards, new interior doors, window wraps, crown molding around the kitchen cabinets, and also in the living room.  We also haven't done anything much other than painting with the bathrooms.  Those will eventually get new flooring and hardware, but later...

Will has asked me to make him a "Honey Do" list and in what order I would like things done.  First item of business is to get my music studio put together.  I've been without a computer for almost 3 weeks now.  He was kind enough to at least get my computer set up last night (hence me being able to write this blog), but the rest of my studio equipment is not set up yet.  Still on the list.

Without further adieu, here are some photos of our new house.  They are all of the downstairs, because the upstairs is still in messy crazy boxes and not very picturesque.  So once we get the upstairs more organized I will take some photos of that as well.

Enjoy...(we are.)

  We have a microwave that matches the stove, but it hasn't been installed yet....

Those are pretty much all of the Before/After photos I have for now.  Below are just some random photos of progress over the past couple of months....as well as some more of the "After" photos....

A cozy little one on our bed....

Granite installation...

Composite Sink - supposed to be virtually indestructable

 Working on the stairs...

It feels SOOOOOO good to be living under the same roof again. Ahhhh.

P.S. UTAH friends, we'll be there this September as Will is running the Wasatch 100 Sept 7 -8th.  Come see me perform a concert on Wed, Sept 5th 7:30. Only 30 seats available - get tix now. http://store.michelemclaughlin.com/September_5th_at_7:30pm_featuring_Jennifer_Thomas_and_Michele_McLaughlin_(Concert_Tickets)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Won't Lie, It's Been Hard.

Well I thought I would post an actual blog about our lives aside from our house project.  Yes, we have indeed still been carrying on and living despite the fact that we are all-consumed by flooring, cabinetry, appliances, and more.

It hasn't been easy.  Maybe I fake it, but most often I just stay in my house so nobody sees my stress! Haha.  My parents do, bless their hearts.  

Since Will started his job last July, he started commuting so many hours every day that we hardly ever saw him anymore.  I'm not exaggerating when I say he would get up at 4:45 a.m. to leave by 5:30 a.m., catch a bus at 5:45 that dropped him off in downtown Seattle, only to catch a different bus to take him over to the Eastside.  Then he would work a 10 - 11 hour day at work, with no lunch break.  Then catch a 5pm bus which took him so far, and then connect with another. If he missed any of his connections he would have to either wait an hour for another bus or take the train.  He would usually get home between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. each night.  The boys would already be in bed and then both of us would stay up until midnight just trying to get things done that niether of us were able to do during the day due to his long working hours/commute, and me being a single parent all day every day.

Those were the easier months.

Then we bought a house that would need a lot of stuff done to it.  Starting the day after we finally closed on the house, Will started to spend multiples days down at the house working on it.  Then it turned into him staying down there ALL week long, and only coming home on the weekends.  Once Christmas was over, he started just basically living down there ALL the time.  He really thought of it as our home from now on, and we were the ones living away.  I have brought the boys down there at least once a week or once every other week to help paint or go to Home Depot and make decisions on stuff.  We have spent many nights "camped out" at the house just to be together.  

So I have been a single parent for...well, if you want to count from when he got his job, it's been about 8 months.  The last 3 of those have been pretty much 100% single parenthood as in Will doesn't live with us anymore. Not even on weekends.  

I won't lie to you, it has been hard.  There have been many days where I have felt so overwhelmed that I felt like I couldn't do anything, because everything seemed so overwhelming I just didn't know where to start.  I have often felt like a totally bad mom because my kids hadn't had a bath in 3 days, or had pancakes for dinner 2 nights in a row, or the house was a complete pigsty.  Just when I would get caught up on one thing, something else had to give and suffer.  I have felt lonely quite often, and have lately dropped in on my parents more times than they were probably anticipating just to either have a few moments where someone else was entertaining my kids, or just so that I could have some conversation and be with other people.  I have only slept about 3-4 hours every night because I don't sleep well without Will there, and so I stay up late working on projects or watching movies...only to get up early the next morning when the boys would wake up and try to endure another day of single parenthood.  That wasn't always simply because I don't sleep well, but because it is my only time of the day to actually get something done for me.  I haven't worked on my album since before Christmas.  I feel like Facebook is my main social life lately.  And the neighbors are probably wondering if we got a divorce.

It's exhausting.  I have been trying to be strong for my boys, but there are definitely moments where I am not proud of showing my emotions in front of them.  I want them to feel secure and like things are just normal. I know they are too young to realize that their Dad is not there and have it be an issue for them.  I mean yes, Preston is always asking where Papa is, but he is not worried.  I tell him that he is fixing the new house so that we can live there with him.

Every time Will and I do get to see each other, our hugs are longer, our kisses are more frequent, and we don't take each other for granted.  To be touched by someone else, to actually feel loved is amazing. I feel like I am constantly just giving, giving, giving of my energy, love, and physicality to my little boys only to receive reciprocation maybe 5% of the time back from them. Usually I would get that reciprocation from Will on a daily basis, but I haven't for months. It's exhausting to give and give and not feel like anyone is really taking care of me in return.  The moments where Preston has, out of no where, said "Thank you Mama" and I say "Thank you for what?" and he says "Thank you for my new shoes." (that we got him weeks ago) means a LOT to me.  And it totally make up for all the bad days.  Or when one of them randomly comes and gives me a hug, or when Preston cares enough to ask me "You happy, Mama?" because he can see I am upset and doesn't want me to be.  Those few scattered incidents here and there mean so much to me and really help to keep me going.

This whole experience has taught me a few things:

1.  I can see why families need BOTH a mother and a father. I understand that it's not always possible for everyone to have that, but I just know why it's important. I  honestly can say that I can't do both roles as hard as I try.  When we went to go visit Will a couple of weeks ago, I during part of that visit, I was able to go spend the evening with a girlfriend and when I got back he had complained about how undisciplined the boys were. He had a hard time with them getting into bed, and said he even gave Taylor his first spanking (light swat on the bum after asking him 20 times to stop doing something and Taylor completely ignored him and kept doing it).  I can't say I was too pleased with that, as I still consider Taylor too young for discipline. But Will had made a comment about how they just "do whatever they want and disobey".  I know that he's sort of out of practice with being a parent on a daily basis and so perhaps his patience is not as high as it normally is, but it kind of hurt my feelings a little.  I am trying my hardest to be everything for the boys - the mother, the father, the chef, the chauffer, the educator, the disciplinarian, the bedtime getting-readier, the bather, the laundry person, the maid, the goopy finger cleaner-upper, the poopy diaper changer, and more.  But I know I fall short, because it's so overwhelming to do it all myself and so I find that I have to just pick my battles.  No I don't always follow through on every discipline opportunity that I should, but if I got after them for every little thing I feel that is all I would be doing all day long. Will realized later that he knew it was because they needed a father in their lives, and they haven't had that for a long time.  We both yearn to have our responsibilities equaled out more.  Will wants to be a parent again.  I want to not be a parent 24/7 and actually be an adult too.  There is a big imbalance in our family right now, and I'm sure that is also a reason why the boys aren't as well behaved as they usually are either.  I think we are ALL a bit stressed.  (Don't get me wrong, the boys are well behaved, but they do have their moments).  And the things that really sucks about stress is when you're BOTH stressed out, it's sometimes hard to remember to make the other person feel appreciated and valued.  I often feel stressed about being the single parent and like I'm not appreciated enough for doing that, but in the midst of my own selfish woes there's Will who has been working his hiney off on our house and hardly sleeping at all and working a regular job as well and probably feel extremely under-appreciated.  

I can say that after we live under the same roof once again, there will be LOTS OF APPRECIATION going around all over the place!

2.  I have learned that I don't really deal super well in stressful situations.  I always thought that I did, which is the funny thing. But now having been enduring a lot of stress for months at a time, I know that I don't do that well.  I have learned things about myself that I am trying to improve and work on.  I know that when Will is present with us, I feel a huge load off my shoulders and the stress level comes down considerably.

3.  I have learned that grandparents are very helpful when they live close by. :) My parents are extremely busy people with their own jobs, lives, careers, and hobbies.  But when I am in need, they really try hard to be there for me.  One day, not too long ago, I called my dad and asked him if he would take the boys to the park for an hour just so that I could have some time to relax because I was on the brink of turning into a crazy woman.  He came over and took them for 2 hours and the boys had a blast.  I was so grateful.

4.  I have a greater appreciation for Will, and all he does for our family.  He is definitely missed not being here, and me having to take on all of his husband/father responsibilities makes me miss him even more.  I really don't like taking out the diaper pale garbage bag. :) Haha.  And I know he is working long hours on our house so that it will get done faster and sooner so we can be together again sooner, instead of dragging this project out for months and months.  I also know how much I need and rely on him as my best friend and lover.  Not having him here feels like an empty spot in my heart most of the time.  And sleeping alone in our bed stinks.  I'm always cold.

5.  Priesthood blessings are awesome and needed.  And I needed one a few weeks ago. My dad gave me one and it really helped. A lot.  Maybe not all at once, but as each day went by, I felt better and better. More clarity, more ability to cope and be strong, and control over my weaknesses more.

So anyway.  There you go.  I don't usually talk about my problems, and this isn't even all, but it's enough.  Something to look back and read once I start taking things for granted again someday. ;)

Aside from all the stress, we have still been living our lives. Here are a few things we've been up to...and then hopefully very soon we'll have before/after pics of our house. We're moving THIS Saturday (cue the Hallelujiah Chorus, please).

Last week my friend Donna came to visit from SLC. She was here for a Massage Therapy conference. I gave her a tour of West Seattle and we dined on magnificent seafood from Duke's Chowder House on Alki Beach.  It was a much needed break for me and a nice evening out with a friend. And the weather was GORGEOUS - sunny and 60 degrees.

 This is actually unedited straight from my smart phone's camera... it really was a perfect sunset, and then the full moon!!

Today, for Valentine's, I wasn't going to do anything but as the day went by I just couldn't not do something with the boys. So we made vday cookies and Preston made Valentine cards for Grandma and Grandpa - then we delivered them.  Will and I celebrated last Saturday night while I was down there painting with him. :)  We went to a cafe for dinner and had a nice evening in a total construction-zone of a house.

 I've been trying to get the house packed up. It's not going as fast as I would like, but it's slowly getting done.  Last time we moved, I didn't have two eager helpers who wanted to unpack everything.  I just had one, while the other was a tiny little thing that just laid there and went "googoo".

This past Sunday, I invited my friend Erika to be my date to the Grammy party for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Record Academy.  I've always received invitations for these events, but never went. This year I really want to network more and get my face out there, so I decided it would be smart to attend.

Our husbands watched the boys that night and from the pic them sent us on our cellphones, it looks like they had a fun time!


This was Erika and I making goofy faces at the Grammy party....

They had some stylists there doing "party hairdo's" and so I had my hair done....

This is me with Erik Ting.stad. He is a Grammy winner, and actually part of why I started composing.  He told me he'd love to do coffee sometime.  Or, for me, water or hot cocoa - ha ha.

I never did get to see what the back of my hair looked like at the party, so Erika snapped this of me after we got home....kind of cool.

And then this was me after I removed all hundred bobby pins and before I combed out the teasing and hairspray.  I'm pretty sure this is what my hair looked like in 1995.

Anyway.  The boys are doing well.  They love to play chase and hide-in-seek.  Taylor has been teething a lot lately though, and so he's been VERY clingy and whiny.  I love the snuggles but WOW I would love for him to get back to his normal self soon.  Preston is starting to earn allowance money by helping me clean the house.  It's the first time he's actually been obedient and motivated to clean, as before it was always a struggle and fight to get him to clean up his toys. But now that he knows he is earning money for a new toy, he has all sorts of motivation. :)

Taylor's words so far are:  Uh-oh, Bapa (Papa), Up, Uck (Milk), No, Mama, annnnnd that's pretty much it. But it's not to say he doesn't talk. He talks ALL THE TIME. He has his own little jabbery language.  I'm struggling to get him to each much lately. He is so picky.  He usually eats a couple bites and then he's done.  And not even plyers could pry his mouth open to even try to get food in there once he decides he's done.  Oh well.  If surviving on a diet of whole milk is what is going to get him through this phase, then fine.  At least he's getting some fat and calories.

As for Will, he's been just working all day at his job, then going to the new house in the evenings and working on fixing it up until the wee hours of the morning only to get up and do it all again the next day. I do know that he survives on one Papa Murphy's pizza that he buys on Tuesdays when they do their specials and he eats it throughout the week. I am looking forward to feeding that man properly when we finally move into the house.  He did get accepted into the Wasatch 100, so we'll be making a trip to UT in September.

That's all!