Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Virtual Makeover Time!

Funny that my last blog was years ago and it was counting down the days until we moved from Texas. Let's quickly update- in 2016 I left. I left Texas, I left my husband, I left my friends, and my business, Deklan's soccer field....I just disappeared. In short, I perceived there was a dangerous environment for my kids and I lacked family support and resources to deal so I ran home to California. It was NOT a cowardly thing to do. It was the most difficult decision I ever had to make and I firmly believe that it was the best possible option. I've heard a lot of bad stuff in my time as a therapist, but this was my catastrophic limit.
So for the last year, we have floated from a trailer to family's homes, to a one bedroom apartment where I slept on the floor, and finally after about 7 months- we nested in a four bedroom house with a pool. After 2 months here, I found a wonderful housemate that gives me all the benefits of having a two-parent household, with no marital liability. I remember the day I broke down and needed to cry and my housemate fed the kids dinner while I laid on MY bed in MY room and got it out. I realized how blessed I really was in that moment. Just a month or so before, I would've been laying on my floor, in the living room, with kids bouncing on my skull as I hid my tears.

My kids still FaceTime their dad everyday (he could not leave Texas, since he is military), and they soak him up when he is here to visit. Somehow it's always timed well with birthdays and daddy & me events, etc. They seem to have adjusted well, and most of all, I feel like they are safe and well supported by both sides of the family.

I have succeeded in my career world by using my experiences to help other military families going through hard stuff. I've opened a private practice office here in California, and I now have licenses in Nevada and Texas as well. People can can (and sometime prefer!) to call in or video chat sessions rather than go in to an office  once a week. I still want to use this blog to map out life for my children, but I also want to start sharing tips and life lessons I've found helpful in this personal journey as well. So, from now on, it will be called- CalaFamily Therapy Blog and requests are welcome!

The most satisfying thing to me is to take my struggles and turn them around into something that could potentially spare someone else. "No pain is completely in vain."

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I'm a Bamboo Seed


3 years and 3 mos. till we move away from Texas...

Dear Kids,

      Ugh, I'm so disappointed with myself. It's been a VERY difficult 9/10 months here and it's rubbing off on you. So lets see- mommy and daddy are in therapy, we don't seem to have a consistent money saving situation buckled down yet (we could but we keep self soothing with trips and stuff...), I tried becoming vegetarian a couple of months ago (I sometimes fall off the wagon regretfully), I HATE my job and I can't seem to communicate with people around here. Here are a few examples of my everyday experience:  I ordered a salad with no meat, it came back with bacon. I ordered a deep dish pizza- it came regular, I ordered an apple walnut salad and there were no apples. I threw the salad in a fit of rage across the parking lot and walked off to cry, then you both saw me and started crying too. It's that kind of stuff that makes me really upset. Daddy and I are both trying to build better coping skills, but it's just so hard to shake this constant frustration and I do not want you learning this from us. I've started seeing a psychiatrist also and I've tried a few different anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds. Ambien has helped a lot in allowing me to sleep. I noticed that I have gotten less "screamy" and when Deklan throws a major fit, I've been trying less yelling/timeouts--more holding him. He gets vegry defensive of "his" things. Maybe that's just being 3. Today you guys were sharing cereal. There was D's plate, Q's plate, and a share plate. Q was eating off both plates because she's a baby and she's just going to eat. Deklan, you were freaking out about her eating your cereal. You'd crumble and cry or hit or push. I held you and told you, "It is ok! She eats your cereal and then what? Just ask me for more. There's more! I will give you everything Quinn gets and you don't have to stress about this! I'm your mom and I will take care of you." I notice that Deklan especially picks up on and reacts to things like he sees me do. The other day Ms. Kasey (daycare) said Deklan threw a toy across the kitchen because her daughter wasn't sharing or listening to him he felt like. oops. That sounds an awful lot like me throwing my salad, doesn't it? I'm just so out of ideas. I hate being misunderstood and I can't even seem to order a pizza here. My British and my Indian friend understand this. I don't have an accent like they do, but I do express myself differently (less aggressively, I think) and people just look at me with a blank stare. Someone told me once I sound "educated". It reminds me of when I was new to high school and I said the word "accelerate" in a sentence. A girl listening to me said, "What? What does that even mean? You use big words..." I guess I felt self conscious so I tried to dumb down to fit in. What a mistake. I will not do that here. All I want is to get my hours for licensure and move away. This town does not appreciate my type of work, and it's very hard to get supervision here. I used to love my job, but now every day is a struggle and not because of the clients- its the environment, it's a difference of ethics and of ideology. I don't know what to do, but I wish I had a mom here to hold me and say, "It's ok! You do not need to stress about this! This will all work out..." In the mean time, I don't want to miss out on you two, I don't want to be a bad example for you. I don't want to look back and think- why did I waste so much time being angry? Quinn climbed out of her high chair today (which breaks down into a small table and chairs- we rarely use it as a high chair), Anyway, she fell down, which is also unusual because she is so clever. She climbs down from heights. I was mopping the floor on the other side of the table and I just happened not to see her do this. I picked her up and held her. She seemed fine and did not cry much. Her head looked fine. Then she threw up. I caught it in my hands and put her in the bath. She played gingerly but seemed ok. Then I wrapped her in a towel and we read a story to Deklan before nap. She listened and sat in my lap and then afterward fell asleep. Being the anxious mom I am, I texted my nurse friend and started googling concussions and stuff. I told Joel of my guilt and I refused to let her nap in the crib. I held her with my hand on her tummy to feel her breathe even though my gut was telling me that she's really just fine. Even the omniscient Google told me so. Still, I thought- I really need to stop focusing on clean floors and getting hours or saving money for the allusive beach home.... THIS THIS is what life is about!!! My babies. Teaching them. Providing for them. Being a good example for them. Right NOW! now. now.  I think I really do have depression and certainly anxiety, but know that I am doing everything in my power to turn this around. Please be forgiving of me, sweethearts. Life does work like I thought it would; It doesn't look like I think it should, but I'll tell you what my father said about me once- I am tenacious. I will not stop trying even when I feel like hope is gone, things are ruined, I need a rest. Nothing dead or alive will ever get between me and my children, and I will always take care of you. Maybe this is my season for germination, or maybe there's some big cosmic life lesson or destiny brewing, but this is not the end.
I love you both more than these letters ever could express. Hang in there with me. I'm still growing up, too.
      And another thing I gleemed over in just the example of today- I drove across town to see my friends for a few minutes before picking up Deks just because I gave my word. Then I picked up Deklan and since he'd been mentioning that he wanted to slide on the way to and from school, and watching the older kids play at recess when we leave Pre-K, I decided we should take time to stop at the park on the way home. Then, I found a stray dog and took it home, posted about it, and walked it to find the owner... I am a nice person. I do practice selflessness and I have a sense for doing what's right just because that's what a person should do (not because I think I'll get kindness back or karma or credit...). Somehow, I'm just focusing on the "bad" right now and feeling shaken in my purpose. I pray you pick up on my good qualities, too.


I share this story with all my clients:
Chinese Bamboo Tree

I like the story of the Chinese bamboo tree: You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year, and nothing happens. 

The second year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. 

The third year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. How discouraging this becomes! 

The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then---take note. Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS! 

Life is much akin to the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree. 

It is often discouraging. We seemingly do things right, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged and are persistent, things will happen. Finally we begin to receive the rewards. 

I am now receiving the rewards of seeds that were planted 5 years ago. You are as well. Are you getting the results you want? If not, begin today to sow the seeds of what you want 5 years from now. 

Remember, if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get the results you've always gotten. 

By Dan Miller 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Birthday Fish Come True!

Dear Quinn,
            Yesterday you turned 1! I'm feeling  a little sad because you're such an easy baby, I almost wish you'd just stay just like you are for a little longer. You are walking like a champ now. You've started to sign "Please" and you say Thank you- That always makes me so proud that gratitude is part of my children's basic vocabulary. Also, you brush your four little teeth and eat at kid table without a highchair. Partly the decision to do this is because you always stand on your chair.
           I usually send you to Ms. Kasey's for daycare but last week she was on vacation so you both went to the day care on base. You got 3 accident reports! 1 for each day you were there!!! A part of me was irritated that maybe they weren't being careful with you, but the other part of me knows you are quite the daredevil. Apparently they came from trying to hold your milk and get up from the table and climbing on chairs.
         So on your official day we played it low key since we already had a big party in CA. We had Ms. Kasey's kids over and you guys played in the kiddie pool, then played play doh, read a story and had lunch. You were pretty sleepy, but you caught a second wind when all the kids went to play in Deklan's room. I even caught you giving Carlos kisses! Too young girl! I know you'll have boys lining up out the door someday, but honestly, they'll all be crap---wait till you're almost 30 and they have real jobs, 401k, and ambitions. Studies show the closer you marry to 30, the longer your relationship may last. Don't get too caught up in someone in the meantime.
         Your Daddy came home early and we all got to hang out together all day. We ate lasagna and macaroons instead of cake, and then we opened presents. We got you lots of Hello Kitty figures and a cup and lunchbox. Also your first little pack of hair clips and a few books. We also went to the pet store (you LOVE animals) and got you a beta fish named Sushi! Grammy sent you a purse and Aunt Jaime and Daniel Family sent coloring books and socks and tattoos and stickers! You looked pretty pleased with all your loot and you didn't mind sharing with Deklan. You are  pretty patient with him as he insists on showing you how everything works. Grow up slow my darling girl. I love you.
mom & dad

     P.S. Daddy is totally gaga over you and all your girly stuff. I know he is inclined to spoil you and he is not sure how to always harness that lol. He's in for some trouble when you start to talk.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Deklan!

June 2, 2015

Dearest "Baby" Deks-

     You woke up this morning berated with questions: Are you awake? Do you know what today is? How old are you, now? "I'm turning three!" you recited, as practiced for many days now. "No Deklan, you ARE three! You've turned!"

    We had a busy morning baking cupcakes together and practicing blowing out your birthday candles. Then, I had to go to work for a few hours, which you really seemed to hate although all you did while I was gone was eat and take a nap. I worked 4 hours. Then once I picked up you and Quinn we carried on your celebration. You Played in the sandbox with the little girls next door. Then in the play yard of Chick-Fil-A (note to self- I hate that place) while we ate. Then we came home and you serenaded us with songs of Humpty Dumpty and insisted we change your name to that. Finally you opened up a few gifts- mainly from us was "Snap Circuits" and you played with Daddy while I got Quinn ready for bed. I think you had a pretty good day. You're so happy, lighthearted, and grateful. You always say things like "Oh wow! Thank you!" That always makes me feel so good. You say it over the littlest stuff, too, like if I throw your favorite blankie into your room at bedtime because I see you forgot it on the couch I'll hear a tired little "thank you." come from the darkness. We are going to have a Puppy Party for you on Saturday and I'm trying out this whole "no gifts, donations instead" (to the animal shelter in this case). I hope you don't mind. I just really think you have a ton of stuff and you've still received several gifts. More than things, I just want you to be a giver. I want you to learn service and how it feels to have purpose and to help others in need. I'm sure you'll learn these  things regardless  but now's my chance to try! You are 3, and you require very little in life. You were excited that Grammy send you a pack of stickers. I love that about you. Also, my dad and I can be terrible people to give gifts to. I feel like I have certainly been less than grateful in my life and typically, like my father, I will return things based on utility and buy my own stuff because I just don't want to wait. My motto: Get me what I  asked for, not what you THINK I'd like. That's not a very kind message though because sometimes people want to share with me more than just a thing, its a feeling or a sentiment they are trying to express through the thing, and here I've gone and blown it with my silly expectations. There always was and still is a lot of pressure about what to get Dad for any holiday- so now I've settled on money. It feels bland, but its what he wants...

     Quinn started walking up and down the hallway with only slight assistance from a wagon handle today! I think she might've been feeling a bit competitive with you. You guys are so funny. You fight over me and toys and you wrestle each other on the ground. Typically, the object of your affections is the real loser because you both get a knee and now I'm chained to the couch, or the toy ends up broken or taken away and now no one can have it...

Well, next up is Quinny's 1st Birthday! To be a party shared in California with cousin Jake and Deks (again). We will try to do something special on your actual day though Quinn- just for you, my sweetness. (BTW I call you that because my favorite song is by Jimmy Eat World "The Middle", and another song I like of their's is called "Sweetness").

Anyway, I love you both, my little chickens. It's a love/hate watching you grow up, but damn if you don't get funnier everyday!



Saturday, March 21, 2015

You've had a growth spurt, my little sprout!

March 21, 2015


       You're growing up so fast! You're 8 months old now and suddenly you've started to wave and clap. You have the best smile because you even tilt your little head and your eyes look twinkly! You have 2 teeth and you love food. I've even caught a glimpse of an angry streak when I try to take away something I fear you may choke on. I've been trying to help you sleep in your own bed, but you still only do for about half the night. You are just the sweetest. Part of me wants you to slow down and never stop being my baby, but the other half can't wait to see what's next. I think you have a "Dale Martin stare", which we share. When I was a kid, my dad would stare off while he ate, just deep in thought and I liked to watch him and wonder what he was thinking about in his big green eyes. I know that I do it too, though, and I think the answer is nothing. We think of nothing and just zone out and be in the moment. He used to stare at me, but really through me, and I caught you doing the same thing today, only out the window. What's going on in those big beautiful eyes? What does an 8 month old think about? I have a feeling you are going to be very deep and smart. You already seem like a smart woman, who knows what she wants and needs. I'm so proud that you are mine.
my little chickies

that smile...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just a small love note...

Feb 17,2015

Quinnywinny, Deks-Mex,

                  I just want you to know how much I love you. I am so anxious and I hate that. I want to just be in the moment with you both without worry that I'm not enough for you. I want to feel like I'm a good mom, instead of feeling the pressure constantly that if I don't teach you to potty or say please or roll over or crawl that you'll both turn out to be awful human beings. Isn't that silly? Those things just happen! You will learn those things, and I'm sorry I have never respected your timing. I haven't even when you both decided to be born late. I just want you both to know that I worry because I see your potential, and I worry because I have anxiety. It's not YOU. It's nothing you've done wrong or could do better. I love you both so much and I do take pride and awe in all that you know, and in the people I can already see in you. I only want to squeeze in the very best in all of life for you both. 



Monday, February 16, 2015

A day in our new life....

Kids: a warning to you---These pictures make our life seem wonderful, but it has not been easy. We are stressed out, unsettled, anxious, and irritable but looking at what we've done so far in Texas gives me hope that this won't turn out to be a waste of 4 years....

Mini-Updates: Deklan- you are just the WORST at potty training. I'm sorry, I blame myself because I may have rushed you, but you understand the concept. You have since you turned 2, and yet you refuse to go independently. You'd rather pee your pants, cry to us about it, then clean it up yourself- at least you have that part down. But why not just skip the mess altogether? It's a frustrating time for us, but you are adjusting. You've made a lot of new friends, you are sweet and so smart. You say funny things all the time and you can tell me your planets, geometric shapes, and name off a few coins even. You are my side kick- by my side always. You always look out for your sister, too. Wanting to feed and share with her, ALWAYS asking to hold her.

Quinn: Everyone comments on how sweet you are. I can't get out of a store without people stopping to tell me how beautiful my kids are. You are a FLIRT! You light up and smile all the time, You're easy. Rarely sick, cuddly, and fairly easy to soothe. You are almost crawling now, You babble a lot but all I understand is "Mama". You sleep in our bed- which we are growing tired of, but yet, you're my last baby so I hesitate slightly to let you go. You love food- pancakes, baby food, frozen mangoes... You laugh at your brother's humor and you like to jump and dance. I love how when I hold you, you kick your legs like you're riding a

MWF: We've been going to stroller strides where I sing and exercise for your entertainment.
Th: we go to storytime in the library
SS: we go on trips or at least eat eggs and bacon together- that's a pretty big deal.
Daddy always comes home for lunch, and that's nice, too. After 2 hour naps (no that's not a long time) and making meals and etc... our days are spent cuddling and playing, but you're both quickly outgrowing being at home and I think you both do well in a school or daycare setting.That being said- I don't plan to ever stop cuddling you both- it'll just be at a different time, and probably with less distractions.

I hope to get a job soon so we can save money for bigger trips like to New Orleans, Houston, Ireland, and Switzerland.... Someday... and I also dream of buying that home for you to connect with and always be able to find us and call your nest.