Success and Failure

Failure: My May totally fell apart and I dissolved into existing instead of living. I didn’t do the things that I had committed to doing. But I’m also moving on.

Success: For the last week (or more), I have been getting myself put together- doing my hair and make-up almost everyday. Everyday for the past four days. It’s a small accomplishment, but it’s huge for me. I’ve been discouraged about my body, my appearance, and my image. They seem trite, but it means a lot for me to look myself in the eyes in any passing mirror and enjoy the work I’ve done, even if it’s just hair and make-up. Wardrobe is next; it’s already begun. I’m tired of being defined by t-shirts and baggy pants. I’m better than that. So, I’ve purchased a few dresses and I love wearing them. I feel fresh, fun, and feminine. Couldn’t ask for more. All of this focusing on my outside has improved my ability to see my insides. I’m valuable. So valuable, in fact, that someone chose to die- just for me. And that blows my mind and makes me happy in ways I find hard to express. So, I’m making other changes to make this physical body stronger and better able to serve my Lord. I’m making one small change everyday to be healthier. Some days that change has been a salad for lunch instead of pizza. Yesterday, all I found that I could muster was to put the ice cream back in the freezer without taking one more bite. It’s a process. I’d love to add exercise into my day, but I’m NOT a morning person and can’t fathom battling the early morning AND the exercise- it’s just a recipe for disaster. I’m hoping to exercise first thing in the morning, no matter what time that is. It’ll probably be around 11, after getting the kids up and fed and taking care of the little things, but then I want to spend 30 minutes moving. Maybe, I’ll take the kids for a walk. That’s my next step anyway.

So, I’m having little successes in my little world. Most days, I feel like I’m drowning, especially when I look backwards. So, like Dory, in possibly the best Disney line ever, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” Ignore the nay-sayers, even when they speak in my voice. Success breeds success. Or so I’m told.

Thankful

 

 

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One of the things not part of my challenge that I’ve always wanted to do is to take pictures every day for a month. I don’t know if I’ll make it everyday, but I’m really going to try. By goal is to post something for which I’m thankful each day. Today, we had the most awesome looking storm come through. It didn’t do any damage, I’m not even sure that it did more than sprinkle, but I love seeing the beauty and splendor of the Lord especially in the sky. The first picture is a view of our backyard (and neighbor’s barn- oh, how I love their old barn!) and the next one is from our front yard, where we witnessed the dancing sun through the clouds. It is always uplifting.
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May Challenge

After last post’s depression settled in, things got worse. :) Well, they did for me, anyway. Eric is going out of town for a month! He is going to be traveling and installing internet in the homes in Montana, Wyoming, and Washington, which means that yours truly will become a single mom, albeit temporarily, in 32 hours. The feelings of being trapped, the depression I’ve been battling (or allowing to flood over me), the lack of control, the stress of our home life are all going to dramatically change when that timer goes off. So, I’m trying to be proactive. In the past, when Eric left (in his Army days, this was a frequent thing), I would shop myself silly since you get paid well to be separated from your loved ones for a period of time. Even more if that soldier is in a combat zone. Sure, you’re being paid to deal with the extra stress that those situations entail, but nobody ever joined the military without knowing that it was a fighting thing. Anyway, ramble over. Going crazy with a credit card is just not an option this time. And sinking into the mire isn’t either.

What I’m trying to say is that I have a new desire for change. I’m already being thrust into singleness for now, I think it should make me stronger. So, some goals I’m setting for myself for the month of May:

1. Eat Paleo (ish): I have been wanting to go Paleo for a long time now (over 6 months from my first attempt) but the thing is, my self-control is supremely weak. I’ve come up with a way that might bolster my courage and self control for the month of May. One of the problems I have with Paleo is all of those foreign foods. Realistically, I’d be replacing 90-95% of my current diet. That kind of exchange is just going to make me crazy! My plan is to start with a Paleo foundation (meat, vegetable, vegetable, fat- I made that up), but after consuming even a small portion of my prescribed Paleo plan, I’m giving myself the liberty to consume whatever standard fare I’m coming up with for my arrows. I’m hoping to combat the feeling of deprivation you get instantly from telling yourself you “can’t” have something. Because I can have whatever I want. But I don’t want to have whatever I can have. I have to find that inner drive that tells me I’m better than the tootsie roll on the counter or the ice cream in the freezer. I’m hoping this works for a couple of weeks and then I can begin a true Whole30 within a few months, having built up a arsenal of yummy foods.

2. Exercise daily- The most movement I get these days is to walk to the mailbox. I bought P90X last year and successfully used 3 days of the program (Whoopee), but I was so terribly sore that I just couldn’t bear to do another minute. This time around, I’m not planning on doing the full workout, for starters- they are just too long for a newbie. I’m going to schedule 45 minutes into my morning for exercise and get done what I can. I’m also not going to be using weights or resistance bands. I’m pretty sure I can get an effective workout with my own body weight. Maybe after 30 days, I’ll break out the resistance bands I bought just for this program, but probably not- the weights were easier to use.

3. Blog/Journal nightly- I love writing, I love blogging. I don’t think I really have anything super interesting to say, so I doubt I’ll ever get any followers, but eh, that’s okay. I’m doing this for me anyway. I’m going to need to process down from my day anyway. I expect that requiring myself to sit at the computer will be all this takes. I do enjoy writing after all.

4. Clean!- A major stressor in our house is the lack of cleanliness on my part and on the part of the kids. It leads to a lot of frustration and angry voices around here. And, even if I were permanently single, I’d need to get this done. However, without Eric imposing any of his standards on me, I’d like to see if I can make some successful progress in this area. Related specific goals are to do dishes nightly (perhaps right before I blog!), participate in FlyLady’s zone rotation (I’ll just be decluttering/cleaning whatever I can for 15 MINUTES ONLY), and the kids and I will continue to work on establishing our morning and evening routines. They truly are sanity savers…and I’m going to need all the spare sanity that I can get!

5. Homeschool according to the plan- Another big challenge already on my plate is the homeschooling that we are struggling to “get done” every day. I know that it’s not always about just doing the lessons, sometimes there is more organic learning going on, but at my house, creating fictional things in Minecraft is about the extent of our “unschooling” time. I have great goals in this area of my life, but first, I need one last attempt to stay on task. If I can’t make reasonable progress in my homeschool this month (90% success or better) then we need to seriously consider sending the kids to public school next year (and every year after that, because I can’t do this every other year nonsense) This is a high-stakes month for me.

6. Tech-time limits- I think this might become the integral part that allows me to keep the homeschooling ball rolling. I will allow my children 60 minutes of “tech-time” to spend as they choose, so long as they do their schoolwork efficiently and without whining. I won’t spank or yell, I will withdraw 10 minutes of tech-time for each infraction after their first warning. I expect it to be very difficult those first few days. The biggest concern I have is what I’m going to do with Andrew, whose life seems to revolve around Team Umizoomi most mornings. I don’t have enough toddler activities to entertain him without that electronic babysitter. I’m googling preschool activities like crazy. Most of them require too much work.

There are more, I also want to get outside (a necessary thing if I want a vegetable garden to grow), and I want to create something regularly. I’ve got plans to start on my quilt and I’m dreaming of a summer wardrobe. But I’ll save that for another post. I think this month is my last ditch effort to improve my life without the aid of pharmaceuticals. I need to fight this depression, but it just latches on so tightly that cutting it out can be painful at times. It’s not cancer. I keep reminding myself that it could be worse. I could have just lost my daughter to a horrifically speedy growth that couldn’t be cut out. And I remember to play with my children, smile like I mean it, and know that today is the only day I’ve been given. Lord, grant me the strength…

Trapped

I got online this evening to blog about the new diet that I’m going to try, only to realize that all I’ve ever posted was (insert new diet here) day 1. Ugh. I wish that surprised me, but it doesn’t. I’m a horrible dieter. In fact, the only area of success I’ve ever had was in gaining weight- which is pretty counter-productive at this point. I’m topping the scale higher than I’ve ever been (pregnancy included) and I’ve gotten to the point where my failures greet me every morning in the form of back fat, trouble standing, and low energy. There are so many diets that help you lose weight that it can just be confusing. One low-fat, one high-fat/low-starch. Glycemic-Index, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. My head is swimming from the blur of dieting and all their insisting that theirs is THE way. I’m so tired of their ways. I’m so stuck in the rut of promising to diet and then not dieting. I’ve made lists and goal sheets, I’ve planned meals and read recipes, I’ve even had my sister clean out my kitchen from all “forbidden foods.”

Many days, I entertain the idea of weight-loss surgery, except that I know it wouldn’t work. I’d get into the office and the doctor would say, “okay, prove you can stick to a diet: lose 10 pounds.” I’ll walk out of that office determined to do the right thing and I will end up losing nothing. What’s the missing link? Am I just trapped in this unhealthy cycle forever, like Sleeping Beauty having already pricked her finger or Snow White after the apple or Rapunzel in her tower- incapable of actually getting out, getting free? Am I waiting (unconscious) for Prince Charming to show up? That my diets have all failed because they weren’t the right prince. It wasn’t true love? I love these fairy tales, I’m not really one of those people who blames fairy tales for all of women’s woes today (quite the reverse, I assure you). Perhaps it is the mystical and mysterious depression that has settled into my body. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Maybe it’s just my insatiable desire for fast food and sweet stuff.

No matter what the problem, I want to deal with it intelligently and strongly. I want to stand, victorious, at the top of Mount Everest and look back at what I’ve done. Mostly, I just want to feel normal, moderately active, figure “flaws” that can actually be camouflaged by clothing instead of exacerbated by it. I want to feel pretty in a dress and sexy with nothing on at all. And don’t give me that crap about society’s standards being unhealthy. I’m not 120 trying to lose 5 pounds with D-sized breasts and hollow cheeks. I’m 240 pounds with DD sized breasts and a stomach that passed them up. My libido (what libido) [let's not even go there]. So, what’s going to work? What’s the magic pill that makes this all go away?

Did I mention that I homeschool? That my children are mired in my misery for every waking hour of their lives? Shouldn’t that motivate me? Shouldn’t the desire to stand victorious at the end be motivation enough? Why isn’t it enough? How do I fix this? I keep thinking about it and contemplating it and planning around it. But never doing it. Because doing it is hard. I’ve never done anything hard. Ever. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was finish delivering my (first) daughter naturally after 4 hours of pushing. The doctor was prepping the operating room for my c-section. I knew that was undesirable and somehow the determination and drive came over me. If I thought I had an extra 2 hours, I probably would have quit. As it was, I thought I could deliver her and I did. And though I’ve had three other (natural) deliveries since hers, I can’t really call them hard because I’ve only had to push less than 10 times for all three. Combined. It’s been a miracle, but not my miracle. Maybe it is just the feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m not good when I look at mountains from their base- in any area of my life, I just quit. If that’s the dishes, the laundry, the homeschooling, finances, or diet.

I wish I had a nice, fuzzy, upbeat ending, but I don’t. I’ve got nothing. And I feel helpless. And trapped.

Introducing Rebekah Leann


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Rebekah was born at 10:41pm on January 5, 2013. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches long.

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We had her at home as planned, which was good because I don’t think I would have made it to the hospital- I didn’t even know that I was in labor! Everything went well and we are so blessed to have this little girl in our lives.

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Failure to Thrive

Are you familiar with those useless, boring, obligatory doctor visits? I always hated them and felt that they were a complete waste of time. For the most part with the previous two children the visit was basically about getting vaccinations. Since I’m not especially thrilled with the vaccination process, but go along with it anyway, doctor visits take on somewhat of a negative view. I know that the idea is that if you see a doctor when you’re well, he might actually catch something BEFORE it becomes a big deal. I know that they aren’t there to evaluate my parenting style and choices and judge me. I know that it can be valuable, but in my experience, it’s been nothing but a waste of several hours waiting in a waiting room, then stripping your child bare to measure them, more waiting in a cold office (with your now undressed baby), and then a visit with a nurse, and a quick minute or two with the doctor, and the shots.

I have to say though, Andrew’s doctor has been completely pleasant. It’s still largely about waiting around, but I can easily blame that on our modern medical system rather than the doctor himself. Dr. Davidson is a soft-spoken man and, unlike other doctors I’ve seen, not prone to overly alarmist speeches. He makes a funny face when I’ve said something I think he disagrees with, but he calmly states his counterpoint or ignores it. I like that. He has reassured me a number of times that Andrew seems to be progressing fine developmentally, but starting around the six month mark, he began to express some concern about the lack of growth for both height and weight in Andrew. Still, he reassured me that he looked completely healthy. He brought us back in for a 7 month weight check and ran some standard lead tests seeing as we lived in an older home that had verifiable amounts of lead. Andrew made some progress for his weight check and the lead test came back normal.

Which is why I understood that he was really concerned when we discussed failure-to-thrive at Andrew’s 12 month check-up. Andrew still hasn’t gained weight. What used to be a healthy 50-75% baby has now dropped to 1%. He’s energetic and healthy, not prone to diarrhea or vomiting, has a good appetite, sleeps fine, walks, and screams to communicate a point. But he’s small and that is a concern. Really, seeing his growth chart really does it. So here it is:

Of course, like any parent, they begin to do research the minute they’re out of the doctor’s office. What I found is that failure to thrive (FTT) is really a symptom, not a disease. The causes are usually obvious: you’ve got a sick baby. In Andrew’s case that doesn’t apply which means that the odds are that his FTT is caused by… me. At least, that’s what the research seems to indicate to me. Sure, there are rare issues of growth hormone disorders and other endocrinological issues. There are many things that can still be causing it, but the research says that the odds are high that some “inorganic” reasons are to blame. As in, the parents are putting their child on a diet or some other form of abuse. Now I know that I’m not abusing my child nor withholding food from him. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that the doctor might be thinking it.

The good news is this has helped me view my parenting and habits from the outside in. You know how when you are having company come over, you suddenly see all the things that aren’t clean in your house that you’ve been living with anyway? (Please tell me that it’s not just me!) I decided to begin to track Andrew’s habits- everything from sleeping and eating, pooping and playing. Though I was almost done weaning him, I (thankfully) was able to get my milk supply going again and have been feeding him (more or less) on demand. He nurses three to five times a day and again once or twice at night. I began to weigh and measure his food intake and how he behaves after a meal. Just like using a food journal for yourself helps you to identify food patterns and weaknesses, tracking Andrew’s diet has helped me see where I’ve become lazy (from having older children) and respond accordingly.

The other good that has come of this is that I’ve had to look very carefully at what I’ve been eating. For one thing, Andrew almost always refuses food if we aren’t eating the same thing with him. The other big deal for me is that I feel judged because of my weight. I’m embarrassed by it and this leads me to feel like other people are judging me using my own yardstick. I feel like, in this case, the doctor must assume that Andrew eats nothing but junk, since clearly his mother has over-indulged regularly. Out of my deep desire to lose this weight (AGAIN!), I’m going back to my couch-to-5K workouts and then from there into a half-marathon training program (with an adjustment period to build my weekly mileage in between) Ideally, I’ll get pregnant in there somewhere (yes, we’re praying for more children), but developing good work-out habits is good for every pregnant woman. In addition, I’m planning on juicing/juice fasting to include some nutrients that I know I’m not eating enough of. I would really like to have some crazy-fast weight loss just so that I can look better and feel better right away but I know that I only have enough discipline for the minutest of changes.

I’m still praying that the doctor’s up at Children’s Hospital in Denver will find out that there’s nothing wrong with my little one, but I’m still determined to be thankful in all things. After all, Andrew was created in the image of the Father and is perfect just as he is.