Dr. Who

One of the items from my birthday list was to let Al pick a TV show that he watches without me… and I would agree to watch it.  Let me tell you, he was excited about this.  He watches, like, a dozen shows that are either about Marvel characters or they’re British shows.  He watches at least two shows about Sherlock Holmes.  I don’t get it.  But, anyway.  After weeks of deliberation, he chose Dr. Who.

Now, apparently, I have to start with the first episode from 2005 and work my way forward.  *sigh*  I watched the first one and was very disappointed.  It was cheesy and looked like something out of the ’80s.  I dreaded the second one.   That one was slightly better, and the third was a little better than that.  It’s still cheesy.  It still looks like something out of the ’80s.  But… it’s okay.  I don’t hate it.  I wouldn’t choose to watch this myself, but… Al really likes it… and that’s kind of the point.

I’ll keep watching…. 10+ years’ worth of these things, I guess.  We’ll see how it goes.🙂

By txnoumena

The New Birthday List!

In case you’re new here, you should know… I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  I make “birthday lists”… It’s a list of things I want to accomplish before my next birthday.

So here you have it… 38 things I plan to accomplish before I turn 38.

Establish ‘dates’ with the boys.  I know a few people who do this with their kids and I think it’s a great idea.  I know the boys benefit from some one-on-one time with each of us (Al and me)…. so Al and I agreed to try to setup some time to give them that.

Read a book at the same time as Al so we can talk about it.  It could help get us away from talking about just work and the kids. lol

Host a family dinner.  Al and I have been talking about doing this for a long time.  Things keep getting in the way.  I want to host a family dinner at our house.  It’ll be entirely vegetarian.

Take the kids roller skating.  A friend of mine posted pictures recently from taking her kids roller skating and it looked like they had such a good time.  I think the boys would love this.

Pick one of Al’s shows and watch it with him.  Al watches a dozen or so TV shows that I won’t watch (mostly Marvel type shows).  He loves these shows… so I decided I will try one.  I will watch it, despite my previous objections.  I want to try to be more involved in the things he likes.

Take kids to a sporting event.  A hockey game, a baseball game, a soccer game… whatever.  We have several sports teams here in Austin.  Al and I used to like going to these… I want to take a shot at introducing the boys to it.

Send three care packages, for no reason.  I know I love it when my friends send me random gifts for no reason.  I will pay it forward.🙂

Go out (without kids) with friends five times.  This doesn’t sound a lot, but it takes a real effort on my part to let go of the guilt of enjoying myself without the boys… but it’s good for my mental health.  Also, I miss Arianna.🙂

Have a quilt made with the boys’ baby clothes.  I have two giant plastic tubs full of clothes that the boys have outgrown.  We’re not going to have another baby, but I’m not able to part with all of those clothes.  There are places that will make quilts out of old baby clothes (or tshirts or whatever).  I want to do that.

Learn the words to two more lullabies: one English and one Spanish.  The boys love it when I sing to them at bedtime (despite my complete lack of talent).  But they like variety.  Our nanny knows a million songs and the boys love that.  I want to make an effort to learn at least two more.  One should be in Spanish because I want them to know that I think it’s important that our whole family keep practicing that skill.

Redecorate Cody’s room.  Cody’s room is decorated with planes and cars.  Those are things *I* liked for him.  He’s old enough now where he has very distinct interests of his own.  He wants it to be decorated with planets/space and “math”… hehe.  So I will make that happen.

Decorate our bedroom.  We’ve been in this house almost four years, and our bedroom still looks like we just  moved in.  I want to make it more inviting.  Especially now that I work from our bedroom… it should be a place that makes me happy.

Clean out the office.  Our office (where Al works) is the room where we put everything we don’t know what to do with.  It’s a mess.  It’s got piles and piles of … stuff.  If nothing else, I need to go through it and purge all the junk.  Organizing things would be a bonus.

Update the photos on the staircase.  The boys grow so fast.  I need to update the pictures on the staircase wall with more current pictures.

Get car detailed.  My car is in desperate need of a deep clean.  This will make me happy.

Build a fire in the fireplace.  I love sitting in front of a fireplace when it’s cold.  We’ve never built a fire in this house.  Carter’s never seen a fire in our fireplace and Cody doesn’t remember the old house.  When it gets cold again, I should do this.

Take a vacation.  Last year’s vacation with the kids was such a success… I want to keep that going.  Maybe we’ll try to take them on a plane this year…

Get a massage.  For me.  Just because.  Damnit.

Take a kickboxing class.  This sounds like a really fun thing.  Exercise + beating the shit out of something?  Awesome.

Stop drinking caffeine with dinner.  I drink way too much iced tea.  And I don’t sleep well, as it is.  I should try to drink less caffeine in the evening.

Take one step toward being vegan. One week, minimum.  We tried some vegan cheese.  It was gross.  But I think we could cut out cow’s milk and replace it with soy/almond/something.  Maybe I’ll try another brand of vegan cheese.  Or get egg substitutes.  One step.  That’s all I’m asking here.

Ride my bike.  It’ll be good exercise and start getting me into shape for when the kids want to take bike rides.  Right now, I can just barely keep up with Cody on his tricycle when I walk…. this is coming sooner, rather than later.

Get plants. Teach boys to help me with them.  I am horrible with plants.  I’ve killed “unkillable” plants.  But having plants around is good for you.  And having the boys help me care for them will teach them good life skills, too.  We’ll learn together.

Get lasik surgery.  My eyesight seems to have leveled out the last few years and I’m sick and tired of forgetting my glasses when I need them.

Improve flexibility (vague, I know).  I want to work on pilates, yoga, stretching, etc.  I want to just make this a habit and make improvements in this area.  I’ll decide, as I go along, what constitutes “complete” for this one.

Do something scary that Al wants to do. ie. zip lining, hang gliding, etc.  It’s good to do something scary, every now and again.

Start a collection.  I read that this is good for being more ‘zen.’  I have no idea what I’d collect.  Maybe rocks that the kids give me.  hehe.  Something.  I’ll come up with something.

Get some dressier clothes.  If I had to go to a wedding, funeral, or job interview tomorrow, I’d be screwed.  I work from home.  I have two young kids.  I don’t have nice clothes.  I’d like a few pieces, at least.

Go star gazing.  This is something Al and I both love.  I remember laying on the ground at Big Bend National Park with him, just looking at the stars and talking.  Well, there are a handful of places we could go in the Austin area for this…we just need to plan well for an extra long date night or something.

Make Dad’s potato candy.  When I was a kid, my Dad made this candy made out of potatoes, a TON of sugar, and peanut butter.  It was soooo good.  I’d rather he be here to make it, but… since that’s not an option, I’ll take a shot at it.  It’ll be a good opportunity to talk to the kids about Dad, too.

Finish scrap (knit) blanket.  I started knitting a blanket from my scrap stash.  It’s a bunch of random sized pieces that I’ll sew together in the end.  But we all know how I am about finishing projects like this….

Make vegan smores.  Making smores is something every kid should do.  But marshmallows aren’t vegetarian.  They make vegan ones.  And Mom sometimes builds fires outside at her house.  We should get those two things together.

Create a font of my handwriting.  I read this on someone else’s list and thought it sounded cool.

Catalog personal items for after my death.  Little things that aren’t in the will… like, the diamond ring from my Mom… my Dad’s whiskey flask, etc.

Finish my ‘Wreck’ journal.  One of the items I didn’t complete from last year’s list.  I like my Wreck journal because it pushes me to be more creative than I normally am.

Learn to crochet (enough to do a border on a blanket).  This shouldn’t be hard, right?

Write a piece of poetry.  I was talking to Cody the other day about the goals I had for my life, when I was younger.  I told him that I used to love writing poetry.  I even found my portfolio from a college class I took on it.  And I wondered why I stopped writing.  I don’t know.  I should write more.

Write a blog post for every completed item.  I want to blog more, but leaving it up to just random inspiration doesn’t seem to be working.  So I aim to blog about everything I complete on this list.

By txnoumena

37×37 Wrap-Up

Since my birthday is right around the corner (this week), let’s see how I did on this year’s birthday list.  Terrible, actually.  *sigh*

  • Post 150 blog entries on noumena ( 10 / 150 )
    • Yea, okay, so this one was terrible.  I have a plan to improve it for next year.  To make it more … do-able.
  • Perform 37 acts of kindness. 
    • To be honest, I stopped counting these.  It’s no fun doing random kind things if it’s just something to check off my list.  I did a bunch of these.  More than last year…. and that was kind of the point.
  • Complete this bucket list of things to do with the kids:
    1. Sweet Berry Farm
    2. library story time
    3. grow a plant
    4. mentos in Coke
    5. Pflugerville lake beach
    6. bubbles at Arbor
    7. visit some caverns
    8. fly a kite
    9. Touch a Truck
      • I did all of these.  We had a lot of fun.
  • Agree to something I initially reject
    • I don’t remember now what this was, but I did do it.
  • Make time for my hobbies.
    • Knit – 50 times
    • Color – 20 times
    • Play the piano – 35 times ( 10 / 35 )
      • I’m happy with this one.  I spent a lot more time doing things I wanted.  Sure, I still don’t play the piano as often as I want… but… baby steps.
  • Make a quote book.
    • I actually bought a physical journal (off of Etsy) and wrote all of the random quotes I had stashed everywhere (on Pinterest, on a random website, on sticky notes around the office, etc).  I love it.  I keep it on my desk so I’ll keep adding to it.
  • Make an emergency car kit.
    • I would really like these to have more stuff in them, but I have a respectable start.  One in my car, and one in Al’s.
  • Have a working flashlight in every room in the house.
    • I had to hide them.  The boys like to play with flashlights and Al never remembers to put them away.  But I have five or six stashed around the house.
  • Do 15 minutes of pilates/yoga for at least 90 days.
    • Yea, I didn’t do this one.  But I have started a plan for getting back into it regularly… so… technically not done before my birthday, but it’ll get done.
  • Do the “100 Happy Days” project again.
    • I love this project.  I plan to start it up again on my birthday.
  • Read 7 books.  ( 5 / 7 )
    1. two easy reads
    2. one classic
    3. two from a modern ‘best’ list
    4. one recommendation from a friend
    5. one that is currently on the shelf
      • So the thing with me and books…. I get obsessed when I’m into a book.  I stay up too late reading, I steal away from the family to get through a page… I get emotionally invested in the characters… that I have to take a bit of a break between books.  Almost like recovering from a break-up.  I did read some great books this year and I’m in the middle of another one right now… so I’m happy with this task.
  • Be able to do some (somewhat difficult) yoga pose or ballet maneuver.
    • Didn’t do this because I didn’t do my 15 minutes/day of pilates or yoga.  I do want to be more flexible and I’ve started a routine to get there.
  • Catalog personal items for after my death.
    • This will go on next year’s list.
  • Finish my ‘Wreck’ journal.
    • This one, too.
  • Finish the kids’ memory scrapbook.
    • Let’s face it, I’m not a scrapbook kind of girl.  I’m sad that someday, I won’t be able to show my boys a creative, decorated book of all the cute things they did when they were younger.  But… they got a geek mom.  Not a scrapbook mom.
  • Run a 5k already.
    • I am so lazy.  Well, not entirely true.  I fixed some health issues that were causing me problems in this area and I’m back to running on the treadmill several days a week.  Eh.  You do what you can.
  • Take a vacation.
    • We took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas.  We had a great time.  It went a lot better than I expected.  So maybe this next year, we’ll try to leave Texas.
  • Take coursera class in something interesting.
    • I still love this idea, but… it’s free, which sort of removes the kick in the ass I need to keep up with it.  Maybe I’ll try again later, but I quit the two classes I’ve started.  So this one doesn’t look good.
  • Take more pictures of Al and me.
    • It’s helped that we’ve been better at date nights… because that’s where at least half of the pics of us have come from this year.  I’m glad we have more pictures of us.  Even if they’re just pictures of us goofing off.
  • Finish Spanish section of Duolingo.
    • I didn’t finish it.  But I did make some significant progress and I have a schedule now, so I work on it regularly.  It’s going to take me awhile to finish, but I don’t think I’ll just forget it or blow it off.  I’m comfortable that this one will eventually be completed.
  • Wear a dress/skirt once a week for eight weeks.
    • This sort of slowed down once it got colder… but I’m sure I’ll start again with the warmer weather.
  • Go out with three new friends. ( 1 / 3 )
    • But meeting new people is hard.  And I’m a hermit.  *sigh*  I’ll continue to work on this one.
  • Attempt a certification exam.
    • As of this writing (03/05), I still plan to finish this before my birthday.
  • Comment on 30 blogs. ( 1 / 30 )
    • I like the idea of this one… but the execution was a lot harder than I expected.  Takes more time and thought than I had planned.  I just didn’t get around to doing it.
  • Make time for date nights.
    • I’m really proud of us for this one.  We exceeded my goal number of dates.  We’re doing better at making this a priority.
  • Learn how to tie a tie.
    • Cody has to wear a tie once a week for school.  I watched a YouTube video (a million times) of how to do it.  I did it… sort of.  But I was horrible at it.  So Al ties them, usually.  I’ll keep working on this one.
  • Finish the downstairs playroom.
    • While this one isn’t technically “completed,” all I have left to do is buy curtains for the one remaining window.  So many other things have taken priority over doing that… but everything else is done.  Bought a couch, rearranged, etc.
  • Own something from Tiffany’s.
    • Eh.  Someday.
  • Get new pillows.
    • Nothing exciting to say about this one.  New pillows.  Yay!
  • Make contact cards.
    • And I’ve given out exactly:  2.
  • Ride my bike.
    • I think this will go on next year’s list, too.  I want to do this one.
  • Camp out with the boys (even if it’s in the playroom).
    • My MIL got the boys a good sized tent for the play room.  One night, I put it up in the playroom, filled it with blankets and pillows (and a spare toddler sized mattress), and the two of us spent the night in it.
  • Learn how to do something cool in Javascript.
    • Never really got around to it.  Al did, though.  He’s a badass.
  • Play video games with Al 50 times. ( 19 / 50 )
    • So, not 50 times, but we do this a lot more often.  Honestly, we need another good game.  We finished the Mario game we were playing and then everything else has been “eh.”  Mario Kart is what we usually play, but we need something else that’s good.  Smash Bros was a bust because he always kicks my ass.🙂
  • Be able to say ‘hello’ in 10 languages. 
    • Spanish: hola; French: bonjour; Hungarian: szia; Japanese: konnichiwa; Italian: ciao; Portuguese: ola; Mandarin: nǐ hǎo; German: guten tag; Hawaiian: aloha; Hindi: namaste
  • Try going plant-based (vegan) for a week.
    • We tried some vegan cheese and it was nasty.  We thought it might be easier to do this in steps.  ie. switch our milk first.  Then try to cut something else out.  Anyway, a version of this will be on next year’s list.
  • Watch five movies.
    • Al and I are doing better at this one, too.  We used to watch movies together all of the time (we met while working at a movie theater)… we had missed doing this.  Now, we pick certain weekend nights when I’m willing to lose a little sleep and we stay up for a movie.  It’s been nice.
By txnoumena


Our routine has changed a lot lately.  I thought we were busy before…. ha!  Here is a somewhat typical day for us.

1:42am – Woke up to the monitor.  Carter was fussing.  Went upstairs and settled him back down.  Also checked on Cody.  Went back downstairs and got back in bed

4:32am – Woke up to the monitor.  Carter was fussing, but stopped before I got out of bed. Woo!  Back to sleep.

5:09am – Woke up to the monitor.  Carter again.  I sent Al up this time and rolled over and fell back asleep.

5:30am – Alarm went off.  Still not used to this ungodly hour.  Wished I could take a minute to read The Skimm, but knew I didn’t have time.  Got up, brushed teeth, showered, quickly did my make up and tried to straightened my hair as fast as I could.

6:00am – Cody’s internal clock has adjusted to the new routine faster than mine.  At 6am on the nose, he started calling for me in his monitor.  I looked at the remaining curls in my hair, sighed, and turned off the flat iron.  I ran upstairs and said good morning to my son.  Got Cody dressed and his teeth brushed.  I put my watch on him and drew a pink heart on the inside of his right wrist …to remind him that Mommy loves him, whenever he gets sad.  Got him downstairs to start making breakfast.

6:16am – As soon as we got downstairs, Carter woke up.  Al was still in the shower, so Cody and I headed back upstairs.  Gave Carter some snuggles and started getting him changed.  For some reason, he was adamant that he did not want his diaper changed this morning, so he was screaming bloody murder and twisting all over the changing table.

6:30am – Al walked in and took over with Carter.  Carter was immediately soothed and happy.  WTF.  Cody and I headed back downstairs.  I prepared the kids’ breakfasts and finished packing up Cody’s lunch and his backpack.  We cleaned everyone up, got shoes on, and packed everything into the car.

7:02am – Everyone was in the car and we were pulling out of the neighborhood.

7:04am – We hit traffic and began our slow, slow crawl down Mopac.

7:51am – Arrived at Cody’s school.  Or, a block or two from his school, where we could find a parking spot.  We got everyone out of the car and took a short walk to the school.  Since we were so late this morning, we headed straight to Cody’s classroom.  We put his stuff in his cubby and I talked with him for a minute about his nerves.  We all did hugs and kisses and I walked away, leaving my poor son to wipe away his own tears.  Not a great moment for Mom.

8:05am – We made our way back to the car and started heading home.  No traffic northbound, so it was a quick and easy drive.

8:28am – We made great time and since I didn’t get breakfast this morning… we stopped at the Starbucks that is on the edge of our neighborhood.  Al and I got something to help us through the morning and then we headed home.

8:36am – We arrived home.  We’ve unpacked the car.  We took shoes off a little one.  I ran upstairs to login to work.  I took a break at one point to fold the towels that were in the dryer and throw another load of clothes in the washer.

12:25pm – We left for lunch.  Decided to leave a little early and take a few minutes to eat before we go pick Cody up.  Even though I’ll need to make up some time later in the week, Al and I both have 2pm meetings today… so if we didn’t eat now, we wouldn’t get to eat for awhile.  We drove to the Freebirds down the street and had some yummy burritos.

12:52pm – Left Freebirds to drive down to Cody’s school.  We found a parking spot closer to the school, so we had a few minutes to chat with some of the other pre-K parents before the bell rang.  Making small talk is not my strong suit.

1:30pm – As soon as the bell rang, we were standing at the door of his classroom.  They were finishing up a cute song about the days of the week.  After that, Cody came running over to show me the scented stickers he got that day.  Then, while he went to go get his backpack from his cubby, Al and I talked to his teacher.  I noticed that he had rewritten his name on the dry erase circles at the table.  His teacher said, “Yea, it got erased this morning, so he made sure we rewrote it.”  I laughed and said, “He’s a little Type-A like his Momma.”  She laughed and said, “He *does* remind me if I forget to do something or if I do it in a different order.”  I was proud and amused.  Then she pointed out that he got the “Student of the Day” sticker because he read a book to her.  She commented on what a good reader he is.  That was pretty cool.  We made our way back to the car and drove home.

2:02pm – We brought everything into the house and I ran upstairs to get on my call.  Fortunately, I was the second presenter on the meeting and not the first.  Spent the afternoon working.  It was mostly uneventful.  Only a few minor beatings were necessary.  Took a break to move laundry.  Party animal right here.

5:30pm – Work day was over.  I walked out in the playroom, kissed Al and the kids, and headed downstairs to make dinner.  I hate that this new schedule took away the 30 minutes I got with the kids between work and dinner, but I keep reminding myself that it allows me to take Cody to school in the morning.  Dinner tonight:  black bean and kale enchiladas.  No one really likes them except me.  I made the kids cheese enchiladas and put some of the black bean/kale mixture on the side.  They have to eat a few bites of it.  I baked the kids’ enchiladas and prepared Al’s and mine, to bake later.  While I was preparing dinner, I also prepared as much of Cody’s lunch for the next day that I can.

6:00pm – I called everyone in for dinner.  Neither kid ate much, but there really wasn’t a lot of fussing over it.  I guess no one was hungry.  The kids got down from the table early tonight.  Cody went to do his chores and Carter had a meltdown over something or another.  After Cody finished his chores, I had to talk him in off a ledge about going to school in the morning.

6:40pm – We took the kids upstairs for their bath.  Both were freaking out, misbehaving, throwing fits.  Bath time was frustrating.  Al and I switch off, each night, which kid we do bedtime with.  Wednesday was my night with Cody.  He finally calmed down by 7:15pm.  We read some stories (he read a new book that I’ve never heard him read before).  We sang songs.  We did our funny little “night-night” routine and he was out pretty quick.

8:00pm – I went downstairs and put our dinner in the oven.  I put away the laundry that was in the dryer.  I prepared for Thursday morning’s breakfast.  I was exhausted.

8:30pm – Our dinner was ready.  Al and I got to eat, relax, watch TV, and talk about our day.  Al ate the enchiladas and thanked me for cooking, even though I know they’re not his favorite.  He’s a good man.🙂

10:05pm – I finally got up and got ready for bed.  Thursday promised to be another long day.

By txnoumena

The first two days

Cody wore my watch to school today.

He’s clever enough to be able to do the math to help him figure out how long until a certain time.  (Seriously, kid comes to me the other day and says, “It’s 6:34.  I’ve got about 30 minutes until bath time, right?”  WTF, man.  You’re three.  How did you know that?)  So anyway, the only clock in his class room is an “analog” one, but there aren’t even any numbers on it.  There are birds where the numbers are. So yesterday, I told him to just ask his teacher if he wanted to know what time it was.  Then he could know how long until lunch, how long until I come get him, etc.  Apparently, he asked her the time about a million times.  Like, held up classroom activities over it.  So I bought him a watch on Amazon, but it won’t be here for a few days… so he wore my Garmin Vivofit to pre-K today.  Turns out, since my wrists are so small, anyway, it fits him quite well.

Today, when I picked him up, his teacher was very grateful I got him a watch. LOL

He did great at school.  Yesterday, he was really excited about going.  He was in a good mood, was pretty relaxed.  He didn’t eat much breakfast, but I don’t think anyone else but me noticed.  He was smiling and laughing.  He got upset right around the time Al and I had to leave. He was more grumpy than hysterical, though, and I knew he’d be okay. When we got there to pick him up after school, he didn’t even get up from the table. He just smiled and said, “Hey Mom!”

This morning was a bit more of the same. He was happy and calm, but he could tell we were about to leave and he started to cry. I hugged him, promised that I loved him and would be back soon, and reminded him that he was going to have a great day. I told him I had to go, and we walked out. I hated doing that. I wanted to hold him and reassure him… but I knew the sooner I left, the sooner he’d relax and start to have fun.

When I arrived at school this afternoon, he was excited to see me, but it wasn’t like he was desperately waiting for me. He was so calm. Happy. Like I was picking him up from a party.

The past two days have proven to me that Al and I made the right decision, sending him to school. We knew he wasn’t being challenged enough at home. We knew he’d be happier if he was constantly learning new things and being put in new situations. It’s like he’s grown six months in two days. He’s noticeably more confident. He’s got more energy. He misbehaves less at home. He insists on doing more things on his own. Just in two days.

… and the teachers don’t even know yet what he’s capable of. The first two weeks of school (since he’s in pre-K) are for getting comfortable and learning rules/procedures. After that, the teachers start assessing his skills. I can’t wait for that part. I mean, the look on his face after he reads a new book at home is really very awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing him after a whole day of realizing what he can accomplish at school.

I’m so proud of this kid.

By txnoumena

noumena of Caryn

Every so often, I go through this internal struggle.  It’s the same struggle I would imagine most people who keep a blog about their personal life go through… how much of “the real me” to share.  How politically correct should I be?  How much bullshit to tolerate before I start banning/blocking/unfriending people.  I am going through it again.

I named this site ‘noumena’ for a reason.  ‘Noumenon’ (the plural is ‘noumena’) is from Kantian philosophy… It’s the idea that there is a thing in itself, ‘as distinct from a thing as it is knowable by the senses.’  So… a truth.  Regardless of how you perceive it. I have always loved that idea.  Mostly about people.  That there is a truth to people.  That I am a certain way, even if you don’t see me that way.  That I am not defined by what other people think I am.

But see, I think there’s a line… I think you should be who you are and not really worry about what other people think… because, really… no matter what you do or what you say, someone is going to be offended or disappointed or angry or an asshole.  But… then again, you can’t just let your mouth run ahead of your brain.  Then you turn into Trump.  Being a total dick, just because you can, isn’t a great way to go through life either.  There’s a line.  None of us get it right all of the time.

On Facebook, I usually avoid controversial topics.  I have a lot of friends and family who do not agree on a lot of things.  Which is okay, but for some reason, people turn into bigger assholes on social media than they are in real life.  And I don’t need that drama.  I have unfriended and “demoted” friends and family on Facebook simply because we couldn’t find a way to play nice.  I hate that.  Unfriending your family?  That sucks.

But… I struggle with remaining silent sometimes, too.  The boys are always watching.  And maybe they don’t see me on Facebook or my blog, but… if I’m doing it there, I’m doing it in life.  I’m holding my tongue when people offend me.  When people say something wildly offensive.  When people are rude and hateful to others.  I don’t want the boys thinking that you should keep quiet when you see someone doing something wrong.  I want them to speak up.  I want them to stand up for right.  For goodness.  Yet, I don’t always do it because I’m afraid of offending someone or causing drama.  There’s something not right about that.

I joked with Al earlier, “There is a time and a place to be an asshole.”  I find myself … not good at walking closely to that line.  I’m either being a total pushover, or I’m a raging lunatic.  I suppose it’s good that I at least go back and forth.  It means I’m trying to find more balance.

I believe in “right” and “wrong.”  Outside of our perceptions.  I believe there is a “right” answer in every situation.  We may never know if we’ve hit it because those pesky perceptions will always add color to it.  But… I think we should always be striving toward it.  Otherwise… what’s the point?  Why not just live our lives being totally selfish?  I digress.

I’m going to try to take a step back toward the center a bit for awhile.  I think I’m going to hold my tongue a little less.  Unfriend (virtually and physically) people who can’t pull themselves away from hate and negativity.  I want to try to be a little bit more of the noumena of Caryn.  We’ll see how that goes, I suppose.

(PS.  I talked to Al about this while writing this entry, which led to a really fascinating philosophical discussion with him.  About the nature of people, morality, spirituality, etc.  Those are my absolute favorite conversations to have with him.  So… if nothing else good comes of this, I’ll have that.🙂 )

By txnoumena

I’m a mess

Guys, I’m having a hard time.

Cody starts pre-K in two weeks.  He’s so excited.  His little countdown (on the post-its I put on his nightstand) is down to 14 days.  I’m… a wreck.

So, let me clear this up.  Logical brain says, “This is the right thing for him.  We really can’t keep up with him, academically, anymore.  He needs school to stay challenged.  He’s ready.  He’s going to love it.  I know he will.  We spent a lot of time looking for the right school for him.  We found it.  This is going to be good.  Eventually.”  I get that.  Please don’t pat my head and tell me that I’m making the right choice.  I know I am.  I also understand that he has to go through some uncomfortable things as a part of growing up.  I know the experiences he’ll have will make him stronger.  I get all that.  I am not a dumbass.  It changes nothing.  It doesn’t make any of it easier.

ferris_wheelMy baby is … still a baby.  He will be starting school while he’s still three.  And before you tell me that a lot of kids start preschool at three, let me get out this rant:  he is not going to preschool.  It’s pre-K.  There is a difference.  “All pre-K programs have three characteristics in common. They are (1) governed by high program standards, (2) serve 4-year-olds or sometimes both 3- and 4-year–olds, and (3) focus on school readiness.” Preschools,  on the other hand, vary in their approach and focus, and serve a wider age range of children.  So my kid isn’t going to daycare here.  He’s going to *school*.  (Relax, I’m not saying your kid’s preschool is a daycare.  There are a lot of really great preschools out there.  I’m just saying that it’s not the same as a pre-K.)  This pre-K is at an elementary school.  The kindergarten and first grade classrooms are down the hall.

Cody is reserved.  He’s very much an “observe for awhile before speaking or making any sort of action” kind of kid.  Yea, he gets that from Al, not me.  He takes awhile to warm up to new places, new people, new experiences.  And in two weeks, we’re throwing all of those at him at once… and I’m going to walk out the door and tell him he has to work it out on his own.   I don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to relax enough to … be himself.  He also sometimes reverts to … I guess, acting like Carter, when he’s nervous or uncomfortable.  He does silly baby talk and pretends he doesn’t understand stuff that he most definitely understands.  I’m afraid they’re going to … I don’t know.  That they won’t see how wonderful and amazing he is.

He’s also … well, he’s been taught manners.  And he hasn’t learned that, in life, there are gray areas.  He knows that he is supposed to wait his turn on the playscape.  If 600 rowdy kids are pushing past him to go down the slide first, he will simply stay at the top and wait until they all go.  He’ll wait his turn.  In his mind, “assertive” is “mean.”  (I know.  Some of you are reading this and wondering how this kid could possibly be mine.)  I’m afraid he’s going to get eaten alive on the playground.  I won’t be there to encourage him to take his turn or to make kids stop being assholes long enough for my kid to go down the slide.  I won’t be there to help him feel more comfortable about the situation.  He loves the playground.  I worry that this recess is going to be something he stresses over instead of something he looks forward to.

goofyI’m afraid he’s going to get made fun of.  I … remember elementary school.  I was different.  In addition to being one of the smartest kids in every class I was in (until middle school), I am also not your run-of-the-mill Christian who celebrates all the standard holidays.  I stood out.  All the time.  I wasn’t bullied or anything, but I got used to being “weird.”  Cody has a mixed-faith family.  He has no idea who Santa Claus is.  He’s vegetarian.  He has never heard of a hot dog.   Now add to that… he’ll be the youngest kid in the class (probably) AND the smartest (likely).  Seriously.  I have to look in 1st grade curriculum for stuff to work on with him.  I worry.  I worry that he won’t be able to tell people to get bent.  It took me until my adult years before I was comfortable with people thinking I was weird or mean or whatever.  I’m sad that he’s going to have to learn that people are assholes.  I’m not ready for him to develop thick skin or become jaded.

I’m a wreck.  I have been — literally — fighting off panic attacks lately.  I used to get them somewhat often when I was younger.  I haven’t really had but a handful since I married Al.  But … lately …  My head is all swirly.  My logical brain is having a war with my Momma emotions.  I don’t know which way is up.  I don’t know what is truth and what is crazy talk.  I’ve had a stomach ache pretty much non-stop for about a month now.  I am getting headaches, and I never get headaches.  I really, really, really want to drink.  Just to make everything slow down.  For just a few minutes.  (That is a bad idea for a number of reasons that we’ll save for another blog entry.)  I can’t seem to cry, though.  It seems stupid to cry over something that I know is a good decision.  Annoyingly, this is where my logical brain decides to take a stand.

I’ve been trying to run on the treadmill whenever I can get a break in.  I’ve found that the faster I run, the better I feel.  Turns out you can’t think about what’s stressing you out when you have to concentrate on breathing and not tripping.  I’ve also been doing some meditation before bed.  Which is really helping me sleep better.  But… if I blow you off… if I snap at you for something totally stupid…. or if I do something else ridiculous…. I ask that you cut me a little slack.  My life is about to change forever.  I’m about to have my parenting put to the test.  I’m going to have to trust someone else to take care of my firstborn.

Guys, this shit is hard.

By txnoumena


There’s this personality trait of mine I’ve been working on lately.  I tend toward wanting to do things all by myself.  It’s one part “But I am superhuman and can do it all,” one part “Let’s face it, I can do it better than you can, anyway,” and one giant part “This is my responsibility (at least, in my head) and I don’t want you to fuck it up.  This has my name on it.”

Here’s the thing:  I’m not superhuman.  It’s exhausting, trying to keep that shit up.  That’s actually the easy one to let go of.

I probably can do it better than you can.  Most of the time.  (Does that make me a self-centered pain in the ass?  No.  It makes me confident and assertive.)  But with age (and two kids and a new, fancy job title) comes some wisdom I didn’t have before.  That wisdom is two-fold.  The first part is something that is not news to me… I don’t know everything.  Sometimes, others will be able to do it better than I can.  The new found wisdom is that:  instead of seeing it as defeat, I can see it as an opportunity to learn to be better.  While it’s quite intimidating to surround myself with people who are better than I am at certain things… I have found that it’s also … really … invigorating to be around new ideas and this level of skill.  I forgot that sometimes a good ego-stomping is good for me.  It pushes me to be better.  Stronger.

The second part of this one is that… if I always do it for you, you will never learn.  And while my younger self used to think, “That’s your problem, not mine,” the Mom in me sees it very differently.  The Global Program Manager who needs good, strong people working with her sees it differently.  I need to let you try.  I can help guide you on how to improve… but I have to learn to hold my tongue and let you take a shot.  Either I’ll learn how to be a better leader/teacher when I help you fix your fuck ups… or you’ll surprise me and do well.  (And in time, it won’t surprise me anymore) Either way, I have to let that situation play itself out.  Sometimes, it gives me high blood pressure, but… it gets a little easier to do every time.

The responsibility thing is a lot harder for me.  There is something deeply ingrained in me that says that… if something is my responsibility, I am required to take care of it.  Don’t ask for help.  Don’t bitch and moan about it.  Stick it out until you finish it.  And on the off chance that I do accept a little help… you can bet your ass I’m going to double check your work and fix things before signing my name to it.  This makes sense to me.  It’s how you survive.  It’s how you excel.  You don’t get ahead by standing in someone’s shadow.  You work hard, you win.  You bust your ass, you succeed.  You sacrifice, you will be rewarded.  That’s how it goes, right?  Well… As my responsibility grows, we start circling back to “I’m not superhuman.”  I can’t manage all of this responsibility myself.  I have to trust other people to do their part.  I watch my boss… and she doesn’t do everything herself.  She trusts us to do our job.  And I’ve seen her stand up and take the heat for our mistakes.  I admire that.  I want to be more like that.   It’s scary, but… all good things are scary at the outset. :)  And while the kids are my (and Al’s) responsibility… as much as we want to, we can’t be solely responsible for their development for our entire lives.  We have to let other people play a part in that.  And if they fuck things up, we’ll have to do some course correction.

I guess I’m learning to be better at rolling with mistakes…fixing things on the fly… instead of working so hard to avoid mistakes in the first place.  “On the fly” is not something I’m good at.  “Thorough preparation” is my thing.  But… my world is growing so quickly… that my go-to moves aren’t working as well as they used to.  So… I’m trying to adapt.

By txnoumena

Things I Learned At The Beach

We recently went to the Texas coast.  North Padre.  It was part of our family holiday celebration.  Each year, we do something we’ve never done before… and we’ve never taken a family trip.  Not since Carter was born.  I honestly didn’t expect it to go well.  The kids like their routine.  They like the familiar.  This was going to throw that all off.  But… I was pleasantly surprised.  It did go well.  It was relaxing.  It was fun.  It changed how I look at… a lot of things.

Cody responds well to logic.  If we talk to him about something, if we explain why something is okay and not worth being scared about.. that often works.  Not all of the time, but a lot of the time.  And Carter… well, he’s  young enough that he takes his cues from Cody.  If Cody is okay with the situation, Carter usually will be, too.   So we spent a lot of time, prior to the trip, talking to Cody about it.  We talked about what a beach was, how he’d get to play in the sand, how the ocean is different from a pool… We talked about the hotel and how he’d be sleeping in a different bed.  We talked about the car trip and … everything.  He seemed ready.  Then we took some special items from home (ie. the musical seahorse he always sleeps with, his favorite blanket, etc) and we got a suite with a kitchen so I could cook some of their familiar foods.  I wanted to try to go out to eat while we were there, too, to get them used to it… but we decided to cook some of the meals in the hotel.

Cody… was a champ.  He got a whole queen bed to himself.  And he LOVED it.  He shared a room with Carter, and (for the most part), they did fine with that.  They talked a little, sang to each other… but they also seemed to understand that their brother could be sleeping and they had to be quiet if they were awake and their brother was not.  We ate at restaurants and they both did great.  They tried new foods.  They sat in seats that weren’t their own.  They dealt with strangers being near by.  They played in sand.  They walked in the ocean.  They got salt water in their face and didn’t freak out.  They ran around the beach like they weren’t afraid.

… and it hit me.

This time with Cody… this time in his life where he’s scared and needs me all of the time to protect him from the world… it’s ending.  He needs some space to grow and be brave on his own.  He’s ready.  He wants it.  He’s excited about it.  I could squash that and force him to be scared and needy… or I could encourage him to be brave and strong and eager to learn about the world, without always having Momma holding his hand.  I want that for him.  I want him to learn confidence and how to handle situations without me fixing it for him.  But I’m scared.  I’m sad.  I didn’t know it was going to happen this fast.  I didn’t know the end was coming.  I worry that I haven’t done enough.  I worry that I wasted precious moments with my baby.  That I could have been better.  Given him more.  Prepared him more than I have.

I’m scared that the sweet little boy who loves to give his Momma kisses and sing silly songs as we rock in his rocking chair before bedtime… that I’m going to blink and he’s going to be too cool for me.  That he’s going to be “too big” for kisses and silly songs.  I’m afraid that it’s gone.  I’m done.  I’m not ready for it to be done.


The other thing I learned, which may seem to completely contradict everything I just said… is that…. it’s okay to take some risks.  To get us out of our element.  To let the schedule slide a bit.  To convince the boys to do new things.  Bedtime doesn’t have to be exactly 8pm.  He’ll sleep.  Lunch time can be pushed back a little, if we’re having fun and aren’t ready to go home.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to give up our schedule just yet… but we used it as more of a guideline than a rulebook for a few days…. and they did okay with it.  The world didn’t stop turning.  They still ate.  They still slept.  And it turns out, we had a lot more fun than if I had made us leave the beach at exactly 11:30 to go make lunch, you know?

I haven’t been on a vacation in… I don’t know how long …. where I didn’t have every day planned out, from sun up to sun down.  It was… glorious.  I wasn’t stressed out.  I wasn’t nervous.  I wasn’t… angry.  I had so much fun, just sitting on the beach, watching the kids pour sand into a bucket.  That was a bit of an eye opener for me.

I didn’t expect that trip to be so… big.  To shake my foundation.  I guess we’re all growing up a bit, huh?

(Please don’t give me the old pat-on-the-head, oh-you’re-so-cute, I-knew-this-the-whole-time kind of response.  If you know me, I mean really know me… you know this is hard for me to say.  Hard for me to accept.  Give me a little credit and don’t belittle it, okay? I need love and support.)

By txnoumena