The Coffee Table

Dear Diary,
To say that these last two weeks have been tough would be an understatement. Two Mondays ago, my grandpa predicted that he would not last the next week. One week later, he was gone. I got the phone call I was dreading and knew instantly what was going to come of it. I answered the phone and heard, “He’s gone.” My heart hurt. Physically. I got off the phone and my stomach lurched as the sobs took over. I hate crying, I’m what you’d call an “ugly crier.” I hate sobbing even more. But my body didn’t care, it sat there betraying me and just sobbed. For a good 10 minutes. Then suddenly, I stopped and just sat. It was like I couldn’t cry anymore after that. I was inexpressibly sad, my heart hurt and I felt his absence very keenly. But I couldn’t cry. Then I was doubting myself a bit, wondering if I was actually processing it at all because I wasn’t crying. Then I was mad because I felt he deserved more tears than I was able to put out. Then I felt silly because that made no logical sense. Logic. It all goes out the window in times like that.
I continued through the day, quietly, calmly, not letting myself think too much about the fact that my Papaw was gone. Of course, I was confident that he was “gone” to Heaven and that I will see him again one day when I die, but for the here and now which suddenly felt both too short and far too long, he would be absent.
The night before he died, I had just gotten a new coffee table which needed a few coats of polyurethane on the top of it. As I sat putting on coat after coat through the night, it suddenly occurred to me: Papaw wasn’t going to see my new coffee table. I suddenly got the urge to text a photo to my mom so she could show him. Then logic kicked in and I realized how silly that sounded, so I just kept on with my task. It felt strange to think of the changes and life going on without him. Every day things. Moving, new furniture, different hairstyles, new dresses. He won’t see them. That blew my mind in an unexpected way. It was just a coffee table.
I’m doing okay for now. That changes more often than I’d like to admit. I’m completely unmotivated to do anything but sleep. I don’t have a choice but to carry on. I find comfort in doing things, so I keep on, whether I feel motivated or not. My crisis response job has been helpful for me in being able to focus on something other than myself. My kids are taking things in their own way, processing things at different speeds. Jadon is having the hardest time. He’s angry, frustrated, and doesn’t know what to do. He’s acting out at school and I’m trying not to take that personally. I’m trying to see his issues as a representation of hurt rather than malice. It just feels disrespectful of him to be acting this way. Doesn’t he get it? Can’t he show some respect? I know that’s selfish of me though. I can’t make this all about me, as much as I want to. He’s hurting too. I am trying to encourage him to pull people in instead of pushing them away. To talk about his feelings instead of masking them.
My patience tank is running on fumes, and I just want to push “pause” and take a minute. Grieving sucks. Life will go on no matter how hard I kick against it. The new things will keep on coming, the world will keep spinning. I just need to adjust and readjust. After all, it’s just a coffee table.

Till Next Time,
Ash

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What’s Happening??

Dear Diary,

Lately, my daughter Betsy has been obsessed with, “Beauty & The Beast.” She first watched it several weeks ago at my mom’s house. Towards the end of the movie, there’s a scene where the Beast dies and Belle is telling him she loves him and crying. As we watch Betsy watching this, we can see her tearing up. deathWith tears, actual tears. I was so amused and touched that she was so moved by one of my favorite movies of all time. Then she kept asking, “What’s happening? What’s happening?” We would explain to her what was happening and encourage her to hang in there, because it was about to get good! She kept watching, still asking, “What’s happening, mom? What’s happening?” Then as Belle collapses on top of the end of all her hopes and dreams of true love, this happens. beautifulWhen this scene started, with all the lights shooting down and magical things happening, Betsy gasped and said, “BEAUTIFUL!” Over and over. “It’s BEAUTIFUL!”  She kept saying this throughout the entire ending, and once they were dancing happily ever after, she immediately asked to watch it again. End-of-Beauty-and-the-Beast

So we obliged. Because really, how do you resist all of that cuteness??

Ever since that first time she watched it, every time, she goes on that roller-coaster of emotions. She now knows the songs, lines and story by heart. She sings along with every song, and recites the lines. She tells you what’s going to happen. Then that scene hits and it’s like she gets an attack of amnesia. She always ALWAYS cries, she always forgets what’s going to happen. She comes to me very worried and asks, “What’s happening, Mommy? What’s happening??” Then she sits breathlessly waiting as I remind her to “just watch and see” and every time, she exclaims, “Beautiful! Beautiful!” and is so surprised to see that (yet again) the Beast transforms into Belle’s prince and they dance and dance and everyone is happy.

It amazes me sometimes how much like her I get with  my life. I have a lot of amazing, good times, but when the bad times hit, how quickly I forget, every. Single. Time. How faithful my God is to pull me out and set my feet on a solid place to stand. I know how the story ends, I know what’s going to happen in the end, and yet every time, I turn to God asking with tears and worry, “What’s happening?” Every time, I can hear Him saying, “Just wait, it’s going to get good!” Then I watch that play out and marvel at how beautiful the ending was. Every. Time. The Psalm of David comes to mind when I think of this,

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:1-2

I love that hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” I sing it often because it reminds me of God’s faithfulness. Yes, the hard times will happen, yes, life is gonna suck- a lot. But God is faithful.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

So even when I’m at my lowest, asking over and over, “What’s happening?” I need to remember that His faithfulness is great, regardless of my faithlessness.

Till Next Time,
Ash

My Kids Are Blogging Now…WHAT?

Dear Diary,

As unfaithful to you as I’ve been this year, I’m about to become very consistent whether I like it or not! My two oldest have started blogging.

This all began because I’m trying to get Jadon to write more. He is not a fan, so I thought some blogging where he could get positive feedback, would be great for him. If you’d like to read and subscribe to his blog, it’s http://www.jadonkrupnik.wordpress.com
Lilly, not to be outdone, asked to start a fashion blog. She wants a place to talk about what inspires her, and what fashion tips she has. You can be inspired here: http://www.lillylovesfashion.wordpress.com

Enjoy these, friends and make sure to leave a comment for them. They get just giddy when people leave them some love.

Till Next Time,
Ash

Aww …Coconuts.

Dear Diary,

So today, Matthew sat at the table drinking coconut milk for the first time. He usually drinks almond milk, but we were out so he deemed the coconut milk a suitable replacement. After a few sips, he looked disgusted and said rather loudly and matter-of-factly, “Mom, this milk tastes like fart.” Well, I guess that’s that. No more coconut milk for him.

We are getting ready to head off to Disney World next weekend. The kids have never been on a plane, so we’ve been talking about the “rules” and “expectations” for the trip, so they know what to expect. I’m thinking of getting Matthew a little flip book notebook so we can draw pictures so he’ll know what to expect. The more prep for him, the better. Today, we practiced getting shoes off and on quickly to go thru security at the airport. I wondered what it must be like for these little humans growing up in a world where no one trusts anyone else.

We’ve resumed filming for “The Little Blue House At The End of The Street.” We’ve had a ton of people asking us when we would be back, so…here we are! The newest episode will be published tomorrow night. Check back tomorrow night for a link!

Till Next Time,
Ashley

The Hulk

Dear Diary,

Lately I’ve been living with The Hulk.

His real name is Matthew.

Our insurance stopped covering his old asthma medication so we had to switch him to new stuff. *cue intense roid rage*

It’s been rough. He goes from 0-raging in about .5 seconds. Poor guy has no idea what’s happening to him which only makes him more upset. I keep trying my best to explain that it’s the meds and he’s not a bad kid. I have to stay perfectly calm and extremely quiet until it stops. It usually goes like this:

Something happens that upsets him. Yesterday it was his shirt. He couldn’t get it on quickly enough. I offered to help…

*cue rage*

Thrashing and screaming and crying.

Me: Matthew, can I help? What can I do?

Matthew: NO!!!! NO NO NO NO!!!

Me: Okay buddy, it’s okay, I’m here. You’re gonna be okay. Remember buddy, it’s the medicine in your body mkaing you feel mad. Can you hold my hand?

Matthew: NO! I HATE THIS! I HATE YOU! YOU’RE MEAN!

Me: It’s okay buddy, you’re safe. Come sit with me and I’ll rub your back.

Matthew: DON’T TOUCH ME! LEAVE ME ALONE!

Me: Okay, I’m just going to sit here, will you please let me know how I can help you?

Matthew: NO!

Me: Bud, come sit here on my lap, I just want to talk to you, that’s all.

Matthew: OKAY FINE! *comes over and plops down hard onto my lap, fists and jaw clenched*

Me: Shhh it’s okay buddy, you’re okay.

At this point, I try to rub his back and talk softly about something else to distract him. I can’t raise my voice above an almost whisper without triggering him again. Eventually, he takes a deep breath with me and lets it out slowly. At which point I suggest another activity. Yesterday, it was, “Let’s go lay down on my bed so I can rub your back.” Which is met with a grunt and huff. But we laid there yesterday, him with his back to me and me fighting back tears and rubbing his back and whispering “I love you”s  to his sweet little head. Eventually, he rolled over, thumb in his mouth, tears in his eyes and mumbled, “I love you too, Mom. I’m sorry.” and threw his arm up over my neck where he left it in a long snuggly hug. I softly reassured him that I loved him no matter what and that he did a good job letting me help him to calm down, reminding him (again) that he would start to feel better in a few more days (we hope) and that the meds were what was making him so angry. There he lay, docile as could be with the sweetest expression on his face and it was hard to imagine that just minutes before that, he had nearly torn the curtains off the window and kicked a hole in his door. He stays super calm like this for about 10 minutes nearly asleep and then a switch goes off in his head. He sits up and as though nothing had happened, says something like, “I’m gonna go play legos now, Mom. Love you!” and bounces off in his usual way leaving me reeling and trying to collect myself emotionally. All I could think yesterday was that I was so thankful that I was still bigger than him and thankful that in all his rage, he’s never actually tried to hurt anyone. I remember when Jadon was that age going through similar things. He’s since learned to better control his outbursts and communicate when he needs to remove himself from the situation and calm himself down. I’m so proud of his progress, I often forget the long and hard road we took getting him to that point. Someday, it will get better. But for now, we live and function day to day, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute. The next time Matthew started raging, it was in the middle of the hallway, so there we sat until he had calmed down. That time, I suggested again to go lay on my bed and was met with a growl. So I suggested a shower with his bath toys. He shook his head. Then I kept hugging him and kissing his head and once again, suggested that he take a shower and sit and play with his bath toys. He turned and gave me a little smile before nodding and jumping up to get his toys. It’s hard when mainstay solutions suddenly don’t work anymore.

But we are managing.

Tim has finals coming up in the next two weeks, so things get crazy from here till my birthday. But soon after, we are of to Disney World and so excited for a break in the madness. For now, I’m keeping my head above water (mostly) and trying to remember that I am Matthew’s mommy for a reason. Me. God chose me. So I can do it. And knowing that helps.

 

Till Next Time,
Ash

“My Little Shorts”

Dear Diary,

 

I’ve always loved writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do. With 4 kids, I just don’t have much time for such things very often. So I’m starting a new little spot to jot down my little stories about nothing at all. They don’t mean anything, it’s more for me than anyone else. I like to have them all in the same place. So here’s the address if you want to read them: My Little Shorts

Read if you wish, and leave some feedback if you like.

 

Till Next Time,

Ash

A “Cold” Wind Blows

Dear Diary,

Saturday as I sat in the warm sunshine watching my kids play soccer, enjoying the cool breeze flutter across my skin and lift bits of my hair, a little piece inside me was filled with dread. “Allergies are coming.” I thought ominously. And sure enough, 48 hours later, the sore throat and sniffles hit for both Jadon and I. It’s been growing worse over today. Jadon, of course, is having a harder time and it’s aggravating his asthma. I’m trying to keep it together, but he had to miss his acting class, school, and his youth group today. It makes me so frustrated when he misses out on this stuff that he so badly wants to do because he has asthma. I pray constantly that he will grow out of it someday and shudder to think that he will never be able to live life without having to experience the fear that comes with not being able to breathe.

Well, today’s is a short one because I’m going to get back to my Grey’s Anatomy marathon and box of tissues. *sniffle*cough* Here’s to hoping this passes for all of us soon.

Till Next Time,
Ash

Hiatus From Things

Dear Diary,

Lately I have been trying to simplify. At the point I’m at in my life, there are some things and people that I need to put on hold for awhile. I’m holding onto bare minimum essentials, changing things up, and generally just needing some peace. Tonight will be my last night on Facebook for awhile. I’ll miss certain things about it. I’ve enjoyed watching everyone grow up, get married, have babies and celebrate life. I also enjoy the platform it provides me to encourage others who may be having a rough time. But now it’s time to focus on the things closest to me: my husband, my children and my family. Pretty much everything else is getting put on the back burner for awhile. I need a break. I’m drained and I’m tapping out for this round.
This time that Tim has in school simultaneously seems short and long. I know in hindsight it will seem like no time at all, but for now, while he’s there, life is happening. Now. Life is happening now. I’ve learned from past mistakes that when life gets hectic, spending time on social media, or away from home takes a toll on my marriage and my kids. So I’m not making the same mistakes again. I’m batting down the hatches and riding this out from the comfort and safety of home. Of course, I will not be a recluse, but I’m learning to love being in the home. In my place. No, this isn’t a sexist 1950s cliche. This is me- realizing, understanding, and embracing the role that God has called me to: in my home. Taking care of my children, teaching them, caring for my house, and yes, doing the darn laundry. If you know anything about me, you know what a struggle it is for me some days to enjoy my role as “stay-at-home.” It’s tough for me to watch other women who seem to “have it all” balancing a career they love, and children. That’s great for them, but I know it’s not what I’m meant to do right now. I need to remember that I keep trying to compare apples and oranges. Every family is different, every child is different and I’m doing what’s best for mine and that gives me comfort when I feel anxious and restless staying at home. Plus, who ever said, “Stay-at-home” means you actually have to stay at home all day? I plan to get out more. It would seem my decision comes a little late in the year as our days and hours of nice weather get fewer and fewer. But I don’t want my kids to look back on the period Tim was in school as remembering that Mom was boring, depressed, anti-social and a recluse. So I will be working on my relationships with my family, and enjoying all the good that will come of that.

I’m not sure when I’ll be returning to Facebook. I’ll still be on Instagram: ashleykrupnik and I will still be writing here in my diary.

Other than that, I’m taking a break. Adieu loves!

Till Next Time,
Ash

So…this is…awkward.

Dear Diary,

So much has changed since I last wrote. I’m not sure whether I stopped writing because I had nothing to say, or because I had too much to say and didn’t want to. I miss blogging though, and I’d like to start back up again. Sitting here staring the WordPress interface feels comfortable and familiar like an old friend you meet up with after a long time, yet there’s that awkwardness of knowing that so much has happened since your last meeting, that to rehash all of it would take too long… so you just sit there politely sipping your coffee and hoping the other person breaks the uncomfortable silence.

Either way, I’ve missed the catharsis that comes with blogging, so like it or not, I’m going to force myself back into it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write over the last year, only to type out something that felt forced and redundant, and then to hit the backspace button until it had all disappeared.

Lately I’ve not been enjoying this “being a grown-up” business. I wake up some mornings and think, “I can’t adult. Please don’t make me adult AGAIN. I adulted yesterday!” I’d always looked at the adults in my life with a sense of confidence that once day, I would be taller, more stylish, more confident and with more money and time. I find myself taller, and most days not as stylish (unless yoga pants and old t-shirts are all the rage) feeling like I have NO idea what I’m doing, and always feeling like money and time are a scarce commodity. I feel like I should know what I’m doing by now, but every day feels like one big experiment in which the only constant is the lack of consistency. Am I the only one? Regardless, I press on. I hold my head up, slap on some lipstick and smile like I’ve got it all under control. I keep my plates spinning and the pins juggling and when I drop one, I act like I meant to drop it as I scramble to toss it back into rotation. Things are happening quickly and most days I feel as though this marathon called life is done at more of a sprint, and less of a leisurely jog as I would like. Of course, being a grown-up certainly has it’s perks. When I find out what those are, I’ll let you know 😉

Well, I realize that this post has a sad melancholy feel to it, but it’s what’s on my heart. Tomorrow’s will be sunnier. But for now, this reluctant grown-up has these things called responsibilities to attend to. Thankfully, four of them are pretty darn amazing and they call me, “Mommy.” Maybe adulting isn’t so bad.

Till Next Time,
Ash

Wifely Husbandry

Dear Diary,

Such a long while since I’ve last written. My baby, Elizabeth Rose was born happy and healthy on September 30th at 10:16pm. She’s a dream baby and such a little sweetheart. I’ll have to write more on her later.

The subject of my ranting and rhetoric today is me. A selfish topic maybe, but hey,…it’s my diary.

A few weeks ago, my family together, embarked on a journey of clean eating. Naturally, we’re trying to also begin a garden to grow our own food as well. (Tonight’s salad is brought to our table by OUR garden! So cool!) I’ve planted: lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, mint…and I’ve plans for many more things to be growing around our little house. Some days I feel like a pioneer woman, growing my own things, tending my little garden, buying freshly slaughtered chickens from a local farmer, buying eggs from the farmer up the road, local milk etc… I stood in front of my little garden the other day pondering all of this and mentally patting myself in the back. Suddenly my mental hand missed my back entirely and landed squarely on the back of my head. “This. This is my life.” I thought as I stood outside watering my garden in an oversized t-shirt and yoga pants which were soaked on the bottom from the limp hose sputtering and splashing in my hand. I ran a hand through my frizzy unkept hair and turned off the hose and shuffled inside. I laughed at the picture of myself and wondered what 17 year old Ashley would have thought of the 26 year old mother of 4 who, by appearances, must have “let herself go.” My subsequent chuckling turned into half-hearted crying for a minute as I sipped my coffee which was now cold. “Ahh motherhood,” I thought, “The time when you don’t ever get to drink a hot cup of coffee.” Sure, you get a sip when it’s piping hot at the beginning, but then it gets set down and forgotten while you’re chasing toddlers, feeding babies and cleaning up after the mysterious little elves who make messes behind you when you’re not looking. I thought of my childhood dream of being an actress. I had many dreams as a child. Every week it seemed, I was interested most passionately in a new venture. But my love of acting stayed. I had resigned myself to giving that up more and more with each new little arrival that joined our team. Sure, if I could, I’d drop it all and head to Hollywood or Broadway, taking my husband and kids along for the ride. But it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s not what would be best for the family. Most days, I’m okay with this. I embrace my role as wife and my calling as “Mommy.” Most days, I can find joy and fulfillment while wiping noses, changing diapers, picking up toys off the floor before Tim gets home, and tending my little garden.

My little garden.

Today, my thoughts went back to my little garden as I saw weeds growing around the pots containing my precious plant babies. I sighed as I thought, “Great, now I’m gonna have to start pulling weeds.” I hate pulling weeds. But the more I thought of it, the more I began to see my life and my role as a garden. I’m growing all sorts of little things in it. All the little things and “jobs” I do throughout the day, as well as my 4 children, are the little plants in my garden. (Some days I think I’ve overseeded) I carefully water and prune and feed all my plants. But lately, I’ve neglected the weeding. Gardens just aren’t as appealing or healthy when weeds are overrunning them. All this negativity and “poor me-I’ve-let-myself-go-because-I’m-not-a-famous-actress-or-really-not-even-an-actress-right-now-at-all-because-I-have-so-many-children-I-don’t-know-what-to-do…-oh-gosh-I’m-Mother-Hubbord.” All of that. And it’s silly. It’s a lack of perspective. If only I’d take the time daily to pull the weeds out of my garden, I’d daily see and be able to enjoy how lovely and full of life it really is.

So mommies….I see you. I get it. I’m right there with you. When you’ve done all you can do to gently parent your littles who insist of pushing all of your buttons at the same time, when you’ve literally wiped that nose a hundred times, when you just wanna pull your hair out from the whining, when sickness and car problems trump your “girls night”…..AGAIN, when you go to sleep exhausted and wake up just as tired, when you can’t remember the last time you sat down…or went to the bathroom, when you are expected to promptly and cheerfully fulfill all of the million requests made in whiny voices every day, when you think you’re going to lose it if you hear that tv show theme song ONE MORE TIME….. I get it. I’m right there with you. I understand. But, take a minute and get down in the dirt and pull out those weeds. Get the negativity out. Then step back and look at your garden again. Choose to see the life there, the fruit of your labor…literally haha. I’m still learning how to do this effectively and I hope I “get it” soon because I’d hate to get to harvest season only to regret how I let those weeds choke out my beautiful plants. Much love, Mamas. We can do this.

Well, this has been fun. I’ve missed writing, but now I’ve got to get back to disciplining one of my little plants who insists on throwing his ball against the wall inside the house.

 

Till Next Time,

Ashley