I think, just maybe, I’m back. Maybe.

I completely understand the appeal to blogging for moms.  I finnnnally get the whole “mommy blogger” scene.

MOMS NEVER HAVE ANY TIME ALONE.

And yeah, okay, I totally understood that from the very beginning.  I mean, kids are living things that need you’re attention.  And that they take more effort to grow than plants.  And you can’t really just leave them all day long like you can a dog.

But man I just had no idea how much non-existent “me” time I get.  Sometimes, on my way home from work, I take a quick pit stop at Sonic and stay there long enough to finish my drink.  And that 20 seconds (because as soon as I get it, I start missing those tiny people who won’t leave me alone and I guzzle it down) is about all I get. Sometimes.  Because two tiny people means all the Sonic slush money goes to buying them things to keep them alive. Like shoes.  And underwear.  Because someone keeps peeing in all the clean ones…

But the internet sure does make it easier to have space to yourself.  A little tiny corner of the world where you get to decorate it and not have anyone tell you he doesn’t like flowers, or have matchbox car wheels drug through the paint before it’s dried.  A small little place that doesn’t know that you’re currently wearing clothes that have lived on the floor for the last week because all those dirty, tiny underwears take precedence in the washing machine than your shirt.  Even if it does have some sort of smear from one of those petite hands that stay dirty all.day.long even though you haven’t fed it anything in hoursss.

I totally get it.
MOMS.  YOU ROCK.

But that’s not why I’m back.  I’m not back here stringing words together because I just want a little bit of time to call my own.  I’m not sitting at the library once a week while the husband sits at home playing with our children so that I can play around with my very own toy that is kept far, far away from grubby little hands (that apparently stick playdough in the headphone outlet).

NO.

I’m here because in January 2015 I said YES to God.  I told him I wanted him to MOVE me out of the position I was STUCK in and into the position HE wanted me in.  I was finished with making excuses.  I was tired of where I was at mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  I needed some action verbing in my life.

So I said YES to a new job.  I said YES to a new house.  I said YES to scheduling, routines, and hard work.  I bought an actual erasable wall calendar so that we could schedule all our work times–and I hate those things.  The husband and I say YES to financial peace and financial discipline every Thursday night when we sit down to budget our money.  I say YES to my kids every time I say no to social media, tv, or other escapisms.

And God has moved.  He has moved me into an area of life I had no idea I could be a part of.  An area of life in which I thought would never have space for me.

But in this season of saying yes, and doing the hard work, and keeping up with the moving and not getting stuck, I have been prompted to say YES, once again, to this tiny little corner all to myself on the internet.

And I have no idea what it’s going to be

I know what it will not be.  I know it will definitely not be a place for me to get stagnant in.  It will not be a place where I fall into the trap of comparison.  It will not be a place for me to escape to.

This is simply a place I’ve said YES to.  For the time being at least.

And I make no promises about what you might fin

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Writings elsewhere

I’ve been having the urge to write, write, and write some more. And then my spacebar broke and now I have to specifically touch the little round sensor button to put in spaces.  So my 95wpm just slowed to about 30wpm.  womp womp

So instead of my own writing, I’ll share some others with you:

via

An interesting read on “productivity porn.”

On how you don’t have to quit the internet.  (A relief for me, I might add.)

Two things we must stop saying about adoption. Actually, all his posts are excellent.

A TEDtalk on anxiety in parenting.

A day in the life of homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way.  A topic on my heart and mind recently.

A peer review of Jon Green’s Looking for Alaska. I personally think he gives the book too much credit, but it’s by far the least gushiest “I love everything Green because of TFIOS” review out there.

Weekending — A very intense craving for Fall

In an effort to practice more writing and less blogging (and to try to work up to that 1000 words a day goal that I wrote about and subsequently ignored) I’m going to start posting a writer’s style weekend recap on Mondays.  A post where I talk about my weekend at great length with lots of details on specific feelings and such, and less of a bulleted run-down with pictures in-between.  So, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But at the very least, I hope you appreciate it.

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Walking along the hot sand yesterday, a bag of beach toys in one hand, the hand of a daughter in the other, I couldn’t help but wish so suddenly for fall.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was just 80 degrees–which up here could mean a hot, summer’s day or a cool, crisp fall afternoon–and I just wanted to be out of shorts and into jeans with a soft scarf wrapped around my neck. 

I’ve never craved fall before.  I anxiously await the heat.  I sit around enjoying the throes of summer.  I relish each bead of sweat the falls down my forehead.

But now?
Now I want fall. 

We drove an hour north to Wingaersheek beach yesterday, the only beach we’ve found with white sand, tidepools, and miles of cool water that’s barely waist deep.  The only beach with sand that will make a proper castle because of its lack of rocks.  We climbed all over the big rocks close to the shoreline.  We waded with the minnows.  We packed our buckets full of sand and turned them upside down.  Littlest just kept pouring sand from one bucket into another.  Little clutched Daddy’s hand and waded out in the waters for hours.

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I would be lying if I said that I’m enjoying this season to the fullest.  I would be lying if I said that each time I look into my daughters’ faces I feel this quick tug on my heart.  I would be lying if I said that I was prepared to be right where I am.

I can truthfully say that I’m so glad I have these exact two daughters.  And that it makes me so happy to see them smile, to say a kind “Hello!” to strangers we pass, to hear them call me “Mom” or “Mama” or “Mommy.”  It makes me content to know they’re not leaving and that we’re done with this one part of the journey (even if legal guardianship is still to come). 

But I think I’m beginning to crave that moment all moms say they have of looking at their child for the first time and becoming instantly overwhelmed with joy and love.  I still have to practice that one.  In the midst of being angry or impatient I often have to remind myself that these are actually my children, no one is coming through that door to relieve me of my babysitting duties, and that if I want the rest of the afternoon to go well perhaps it’s my attitude I should change.

I’m beginning to crave that next season in motherhood when my brain automatically realizes that I am a mom and sees these two as my own children, instead of me having to work to get there.  I’m beginning to crave that next season in our marriage when we become more of a team rather than two people that live together.  I’m beginning to crave new beginnings–new move, new home, new family, new friendships. 

I’m craving an almost fresh start, where people stop asking me How’s it going? because they’ve assumed that I was the one who birthed these children 4 and 2 years ago, and why would they want to know how I’m doing?

I need that crisp air to dig itself in and encircle all of us and carry us away into a new season of parenting, marriage, and living.

Perhaps I’m giving too much credit to fall.  After all, it’s done little for me before except bring a work week.  I don’t like pumpkin flavored anything, I don’t care for hot chocolate or hot coffee, and I don’t routine pop in to Starbucks to see a changing menu.  But there’s something different about this fall.  I smell cooler air and new promises on the horizon.  Things I’m going to soak in as much as I would a beating hot sun.

And even if this fall brings more of the same pain, struggles, frustrations, and long-suffering as the rest of the year has, I’m going to trust that it’s for my own good.

Weekending–A New Project

In an effort to practice more writing and less blogging (and to try to work up to that 1000 words a day goal that I wrote about and subsequently ignored) I’m going to start posting a writer’s style weekend recap on Mondays.  A post where I talk about my weekend at great length with lots of details on specific feelings and such, and less of a bulleted run-down with pictures in-between.  So, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But at the very least, I hope you appreciate it.

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There’s something about the heat that spurs me to action.  I know, the opposite is true for most people.  But not me.  Rather than reaching out to me with it’s sultry, hot tendrils and pulling me under it’s long waves of exhaustion, it breathes almost a new spirit in me, rekindles a fire that was extinguished by a long, dreadfully cold winter.  And now that I’m in New England rather than Texas, the winters kill me more than they used to, and it takes the heat a long time to wake me up.

But wake me up it has, as the last few days have been mid-70s or higher.  A temperature that once had me covering my arms with long-sleeves or wishing for hot chocolate and a warm blanket now has me favoring projects over sleep, community over isolation, hard, laborious work over cozy, soft cuddles.  I wake up excited for what the day will bring, and I go to bed disappointed that the sun is finished for the day.

This past week was spent working in the yard.  We tore up the ground and dug a long trench to bury our TV cable.  We realized it didn’t take much effort for Foster Kiddos to dig it up to play with it, and the exposed cable was a problem needing remedy before Future Children arrive.  We enlisted the help of our friend and his daughter, a three year old who spent more time joyfully throwing dirt from the ground into her bucket and then back again.  After the dirt was broken up, replaced, and smoothed down again, after we dug up every last root left by plants planted by the people before us–plants who weren’t content to stay in their corner and insisted on taking root all throughout our tiny yard last year–after the promise of their return was dug up and dumped out, we went and bought some grass seed and some plants.  Mostly vegetables, some herbs, and all things that were already healthily growing.  My thought being that if they’re already flowering, then it’ll be harder to kill them.

I made myself a two-pallet garden and I now have my lettuce, tomatoes, onions, strawberries, herbs, and bell peppers in rows.  As much as I may love the heat, our grass seed and our veggies do not.  I often come home to find them half-wilted.  One spray of the garden hose and they perk up, but I’m afraid they’re not going to last too long.

I have dreams for that yard.  Dreams conspired over hot chocolate and under warm blankets with the husband all throughout the winter.  Dreams that are finally be acted upon.  Though the space is tiny, I imagine growing food for our little family.  I imagine two little girls digging for worms, or rolling their trucks through the terrain’s tiny hills and barely-there mountains.  I imagine spending many a night under stars and outdoor lights talking about life and love while the kids and dog run under our feet.  I imagine sitting at a tiny table for two, or a picnic table built for four, with just the husband–he’ll drink coffee in a giant mug, I’ll sip lemonade from a straw–as we dream up more plans for our space, for each other, and for our children.

I imagine all the scenes as I walk out the front door and down the sidewalk to hook up our water hose and while I walk back into my house, through my living room, and out the back door where the water is already sputtering out of the hose, ready to be used.  (Our condo complex didn’t seem to think it was necessary to put a spigot in the actual backyard, so we go to great lengths to help the grass and plants grow.)  I imagine all these things while I press one thumb over the hose opening and spray the grass until it’s all thoroughly damp.  I continue to imagine it while I do the reverse process of turning the water off and putting the hose away.

Right now these hopes for our near future are just imaginations–dreams–that fleet away the second my attention is diverted by a barking dog or a yapping neighbor.  But I know, and you know, that dreams don’t have to stay lingering in the black hole of unseen space.  I know that I have a hope and a future, and that even if these particular dreams don’t come about exactly how I want them to, there will be dreams that will become living breathing things.  And for that, and the lettuce leaves that are perking up, for those things I am so very grateful.

Life Lately

On going Paleo:

So far, so good.  We’re concentrating on breakfasts and dinners at the moment, and I’m already tired of eating scrambled eggs, so I’m trying to find breakfasts that don’t use eggs at all.  I’m also trying to find Paleo snack foods, since I eat lunch at 11:00 and dinner isn’t until 6:00.  My handy-dandy book says that I shouldn’t be snacking, but I don’t know who can go a whole 7 hours without being hungry.  I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins and they were delicious.  Next up are these Banana Breakfast Cookies and this Grain-Free German Apple Pancake.

My biggest realization so far?  How much grains and dairy I actually eat.   I was deluded into thinking that I was actually eating semi-healthy, and it turns out I so was not.  So if anything, going Paleo for 75% of the day is forcing me to up my veggie intake by about 23o32489384%.

On Adoption:

Our homestudy was approved!  And we’ve been matched with a few different sibling groups!  So far nothing has worked out, but I’m hopeful that this will be the month*

*I know I say that every month, but it’s because it’s true.  I really hope today will be the day, this week will be the week, and this month will be the month.

On the job:

Seventh graders are hard work.  Really.  I mean, I didn’t think it’d be easy, but their raging hormones and the fact that I’m a substitute and not their “real teacher” is driving me up the wall.  Some days I want to cry because I feel like a failure, other days I shout for joy because I finally got one of the too-cool-for-school kids to actually show interest and participate in an activity.  Mostly though I feel like repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

On books:

I’ve been re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  I started with Mockingjay, I finished The Hunger Games yesterday, and I started Catching Fire today.  I also reread Insurgent because it was on my teacher’s desk and I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment.

On the weekends:

I’m wicked busy over here with a mountain of a to-do list of things that I just have to have ready before future children arrive on our doorstep.  Which could be any day.  My sweet, cute, nesting phase of getting the house prim and proper and cute so that my children will love it and us has become a Clean All The Things! marathon to get my mind off of the fact that we have no children and any day they will be here.

I hosted a wedding shower for a sweet, new friend a couple weekends ago, and of all the parties I’ve thrown I really think this was my best yet.  It was cute and simple and she absolutely loved it.  Also, you can find that tissue tassel banner in the shop.

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On the shop:

If you didn’t see today’s earlier announcement, new things are up in the shop.  And we’ll be participating in a giveaway today/tomorrow.  So watch out for it so you can win something fun!

On the blog:

I’m taking a much more lax approach at this blog.  No more worrying about when I’m posting or having all seven days filled or having stuff up by 8am.  No more trying to develop content or revolving my life around the blog or checking my stats daily or working at it like it’s a job.  Instead, I’m trying to just go with the flow, and when I want to write, I write.  When I want to do more of a blog, it’s more of a blog-like post.  And when I don’t want to look at this dashboard at all, I don’t.  It’s a win win for us all, I think.

Picking up where I left off.

manuscript

I’m no longer a blogger anymore.  At least, that’s what I’m trying not to be.  And as this is THE year to finally send something off, that means I need to do a lot more writing.

But you know what?  It’s hard to pick up from where I left off.  It’s hard to start editing a manuscript in which I can’t even remember the characters’ last names.  It’s hard to fix plot points when I can’t remember what the basis of the story is.

I thought about chucking everything into a drawer and starting over with something else, but years of hard work just don’t leave you alone that easily.  I can’t dismiss my characters because they’ve haunted me in this in-between time.

So now I’m re-reading the first draft.  And then I’ll re-read the second draft to figure out what I changed.  And then I’ll re-read the notes on each of those drafts to figure out what I was trying to do originally.  And then once I get the feel of what’s happening in this world again, chances are I’ll chuck it all in the bin and start retyping the story from scratch.

But at least it’s some sort of progress.

Why I’m quitting blogging, and what’s coming after.

I have no idea how to begin, so let’s just dive in, shall we.

I’ve been a blogger for about 10 years.  If you count MySpace.  If you don’t, then I’ve been a blogger for 6 years.  Mostly here, and some here, and some other embarrassing ones that were deleted or purposely not linked to.

But before that, I was a writer.

I wrote my first “chapter book” when I was 8 years old.  It was about a girl named April who had to move and how she felt about it.  In the next book, it was about a girl named Carol who’s parents dies.  I wrote my first mystery short story when I was 10, and I printed it out and gave it to all my friends.  Grades 6-9 were the journaling years, in which I blogged with a pen and paper.  Grade 10 up until junior year of college were the poetry years.  I don’t own a single note-taking spiral that doesn’t have at least 15-20 lyrics or poems written on it.  I wrote my first, full-length novel in a month my Freshman year of college.  I wrote my second my junior/senior year.  I started my third around the same time and am halfway through.  And after all that have come poems, memoirs, essays, and more.

Blogging was fun for me.  I don’t have many hobbies, and that’s what blogging was.  It was a way to get out the first 600 words or so before the good stuff hit.  You writers know what I’m talking about. I’d blog through a thought, event, or idea, hit publish, and immediately start in on the next major thing.

I left blogging in 2011 because I worked too much. In fact, I left writing all together from 2011-2013. All my creativity was zapped after spending four years of college writing and creating and then spending two years creating an entire primary school program from scratch.  You have no idea how much thought and creativity and energy and brainpower that goes into curriculum development, lesson planning, making crafts with students, coming up with hands-on lessons, etc. etc. etc.  You teachers know what I’m talking about.

About a month after quitting, all my energy came back–along with my creative brain.  And the poor husband watched as the entire house was ripped apart and put back together one DIY at a time.  I got back into the zone.  I realized I could do other creative things besides write.  I started blogging again.

But somewhere in that time off, blogging because super popular.  Bloggers became a thing. They got book deals.  They got paid sponsorships.  They got advertisers.  They got featured in magazines.  And because I never stopped reading the blogs, when I started this new one I actually went about doing it in a very serious, bloglike manner.

And, to be honest, I’m a terrible blogger.  I hate it.  I hate looking at my stats.  I hate feeling guilty when I don’t have “enough” posts.  I hate coming up with “content.”  I hate feeling jealous when other bloggers–the ones who can’t grammatically string together two sentences, or have way too many pictures to words ratio, or who don’t blog about anything interesting, or don’t blog anything that’s not sponsored–when they’re making money for the stupidity they’re putting on, I hate feeling jealous of it.  Because, probably, blogging is their hobby, too.  And it just so happens they’re better at marketing or branding themselves than I am.  And it just so happens that they started when things were picking up steam, and that’s when I left.  And it just so happens that they are, in fact, better bloggers.

And after praying on this, and sitting on this, and talking endlessly to a very patient man about this (that would be my husband), I realized that I’m so stinking tired of blogging.

I’m done.
I’m finished.
Caitlin Frost will never blog a day in her life again.

But what I will do is write.

So.  This blog will no longer be a blog.  It’s going back to a more writer’s format.  There will be more stories.  More short memoirs.  More thoughts on writing.  More #FridayReads.  More of me to get out those first hundred words so that I can start writing other things in between.

Sure, there will be more “blog-like” stuff.  I still have a really cool giveaway coming to you.  I will still be blogging about our adoption.  I have some tips to share.  But all these posts will center around the story I’m telling, not the products or the photos.  They’re going to be about what’s going on over here with the Frosts, me in particular, in how we live our lives and what we’re doing, and less about how stats and profits I could maybe but not likely make.

And from now on, I will no longer consider myself a blogger.
I will take back my other hat now, and consider myself a writer.