Monday, December 28, 2009

Long time, no post.

I'm up right now, alone. Everyone else has given up their insomniatic ways. For a while, I joined them. But, being 27 weeks pregnant has its way of making that insomnia creep back up on you!

I'm listening to eggs tap-tap-tapping as they boil in the pan. I'm suddenly craving sweets, so am trying to up my protein intake. Needing protein makes sense to me, since my morning sickness returned about 2 weeks ago. Meat is pretty unappealing, so are a lot of eggs (egg salad sounds good, though), and one can only eat so many PB&Js before those become nauseating, too!

This pregnancy has brought a LOT of depression with it. I am assuming it has a lot to do with everything that has happened in the six (AH!) months since I've updated. There are a laundry list of bad things that have happened. But to list them would undermine the GOOD things that happened as well. Getting to see good friends. Playing in autumn leaves. Feeling baby kicks. Seeing my oldest's face light up when she feels the baby kick. A two year old hugging and kissing my belly and singing to her little sister (yes, we're getting blessed with another girl!). That same two year old, when NOT feeling baby kick, pushing on my belly yelling "WAKEY! WAKEY!" Embraces from those I love.

I've had to come to terms with giving up on massage school. At least for now, it's the right thing to do. I have lost my desire to fight. Maybe, after my wrist gets fixed (via surgery or other means), I will feel that pull on my heart again. Lord knows massage is still a big part of me. But I feel God bringing me to nursing school. I'm going to go talk to a local LPN program about enrolling. This is scary. Nursing has help appeal with me, but its always been scary, something I am not passionate about. To a certain extent, I'm still not. But I feel that that this is where God wants me. Out of my comfort zone. So I'm jumping off this cliff with my eyes closed and my heart full of prayers and faith and praying it goes well!

I am giving my two weeks notice at my part-time job tomorrow. I am in my third trimester and am finding myself needed to nest and be close to my family as much as possible. So I am looking forward to 2.5-3 months of crocheting, washing diapers, renovating the bathroom to put in our deeper bathtub before the birth, painting and decorating the house. All the wonderfully typical nesting things.

I am prayerfully trying to learn to become more present in my surroundings. I am always worrying over something, or dreaming of the future rather than learning to be happy in the present and in the moment I am in. I blame where I live for my unhappiness, and have my entire life. I've spent 20 years making plans to get out of this place. I am. And God has a reason for me still being here. My job is to learn that reason and learn to be happy in Him no matter where I am physically.

It's why a lot of my nesting involves fixing the house up. I've been reluctant to do so because of my desire to get out of here. But having a home I feel cozy in makes me happy. So I am putting up pictures, decorating, and making this house a HOME. This excites me.

There is a turning point in our family. I feel it coming up. And I am not scared about it. I feel God's hand in it all. This excites me. It energizes me, and makes me feel like I can handle ANYTHING. I am interested to see what the future holds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life, like always, is rapid, fast-paced, and hectic. And I am learning to love each minute of it for what it is, not what I would like it to be.

Friday my parents' 31 year marriage officially came to an end. It had been over since December of last year, on their 31 year anniversary to be exact. I am grateful that the process is behind our family, and hopeful that I can start rebuilding my relationship with my parents as individuals instead of as a part of our family unit. Especially my dad. My mother and I have always been extremely close. My dad worked nights and wasn't around when he was home, so in many ways my life was similar to that of a child raised by a single mother.

My dad and I have had a strained relationship for most of my life. We never spent quality time together when I was growing up, and it was like living in the house with a stranger most of the time. I have, however, always respected the fact that he worked so hard to provide a good home life for our family. And when my mom's parents were dying, my dad was right there at their bedsides helping to care for them. I will always, always have tremendous respect for him for that. To use a popular term, he really "manned up" at that time. Then there are things about him that I cannot respect. But, there is always love there. And I feel that as sad as divorce is, it will give him and I a chance to start our father/daughter relationship over. I hope it will.

Last week I also was seen for my wrist. The pain was getting worse, and especially the numbness in my last two fingers. There are times where the pain is absolutely unbearable. Times that makes this natural-birthing mama want a wrist epidural if such a thing were to exist! My orthopedic doctor has me wearing a cast-like splint to bed for a couple of weeks to see if it helps release a nerve. If that doesn't work we'll look at other treatment options, up to and possibly including surgery.

Of course, with this going on, I haven't been able to do massages. And I was scheduled to start a hands-on massage class July 6th. One that included learning a 90 minute massage. If trying to give my husband a simple Swedish back massage can reduce me to tears, a 90 minute full body massage will definitely leave me doubled over in pain. So, with lots of prayers, lots of trepidation, and a giant leap of faith I made the painful decision to leave massage school. Whether this is a permanent thing or not is something that is only known by the Savior, and will be revealed to me when the time is right.

Now that I am not in massage school, I needed to figure out what I was going to do. I got my job back at the portrait studio. The studio location that I was originally at and that I adore working at. I am planning on beginning classes for a nursing program in the fall. I'd always intended on becoming a midwife sometime after massage school, so that just got moved up.

Things are changing, and I'm not usually good with changes. There has been a lot of prayer and a lot of faith going on to get me here. Now it's just waiting to see what these changes mean in the long term.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A hodge-podge of topics

Things are finally getting back to normal following the miscarriage. I say finally, because it hasn't just been grieving and coping that's been going on. At the same time I was miscarrying, I had a major sinus infection that landed me in the ER needing IV fluids for dehydration.

Then a week or so later we all wound up sick. Well, the girls and I at least. We had sore throats and coughs. My husband wound up unscathed until that weekend, when the girls and I were feeling better. Suddenly he was sick. Just very achy. He wound up coming home from work almost immediately, unable to do his job from being sore and coughing. He's been under the weather this entire past week, but Friday wound up feeling much better. Then Saturday came. He'd slept all day (works overnight). Then when I woke him to get ready for work he was coughing severely, very sore, and his fever was back after a 3-4 day period without one. Just looking at him you could tell he was 'off' so we called my mom to come sit with the girls and headed to the ER. Which is where I was wishing I'd woken him up a bit earlier, as we got poor treatment from the triage nurse since it wasn't technically an emergency that brought us in, combined with the fact that DH currently has no primary doctor. He woke up after the urgent care places had closed or we would have been there! Thankfully even though it was the weekend they weren't busy and the doctor and nurse in the actual treatment room were very nice. He has sever bronchitis and the antibiotics and inhaler are working well. He woke up this morning and was like a new person. Still not 100%, but on the way to getting there.

I'm back in school. This term, which is six weeks for our program, is very hectic. Normally as a full-time student I would have two classes. One on Mondays and Wednesdays, and one on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This term to make up my exercise training (which I left due to the miscarriage), I am taking two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to my Monday/Wednesday class. It is very stressful, as I'm gone pretty much all day on those days. I have to leave home by 1, which will be by noon during the upcoming College World Series, and then have exercise class from 1:30pm-5pm. I leave the gym at 5 and find something to eat. I've been just grabbing whatever I can. Which is not a good option and usually leaves me feeling bad because whatever I can grab is generally junk food! Then I'm in class again from 6pm-9:30pm. I get home at 10pm, just in time to get the girls ready for bed, if they aren't already asleep. I hate missing out on so much of their week, but there are only four more weeks of this, which means 8 days. I am trying to handle it as best as I can.

The most exciting part of the hectic schedule is that my exercise training class has turned me into a (wannabe) runner. I love the feeling I get at the gym, and love going there. But I know that I can't afford a gym membership or the gas to drive to the gyms I can afford! So I needed to find a workout that I can do at home and is cheap with little equipment since our tiny house is full. Running came to mind immediately. I do have a treadmill that I inherited from my grandpa in our garage. It is in great condition and works well, despite being a bit older. So when the weather isn't great I can use it. Otherwise I've taken to running around our small town. It is nice not having to worry about running after dark. Which is when I prefer to run becaue I'm not a fan of summer heat! I'm working on building my endurance, only being able to run short distances right now. But I run as far as I can then walk, then run again when I can. Sometimes I take the kids, sometimes I leave them home if there is someone here. My plan is to switch to running in the early morning with our lab after my husband gets home from work. I get exercise, the dog gets her exercise which will hopefully keep her calm the rest of the day, and everyone is happy. It's a great feeling to know your body is getting stronger and to feel that happening!

The more I run, the more amazed I am at the body God has given us. And the more ashamed I am for having gone so long not even caring the slightest bit about taking care of this body. I've only got the one, after all! With that in mind I'm definitely making a bigger effort to live out the practices I know I need to. Limiting refined foods, eating more at home. Eating more local foods, fresh foods especially. Working out. Not to look good, not to push myself (even though they are HUGE motivators for me!), but simply to live. When I exercise, when I eat right I feel a difference in my body. And a good difference!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Praise you in this storm...

Baby number 3 was not meant to be. At least not at this time. I found out last Monday that I was having another miscarriage. While I wish I could change the outcome, I have accepted what is happening. I am coming to this loss with much greater faith in God than I have past losses. Miscarriage is a part of my life. It is not a happy part, nor is it a celebrated part. But, it is there and I accept it. My husband and I have both decided that our family is up to God. And, while I plan on making changes to help improve my fertility, we know that by leaving this in His hands we open ourselves up not only to more children if He so desires, but to more losses as well. We learn from each of those losses. Learn to appreciate our children even when they are driving up crazy. We learn to see our family as the blessing that it is. And we learn a lot about ourselves as parents. It opens us up to really examine ourselves and see where we need to change.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sweet Surprise!

Last week my husband and I found out we are expecting baby #3!!! This came as a bit of a shock, but a very welcome, very happy one. We're happy and confident- I have experienced none of the same hormone issues as I did when we had our miscarriages. I've also gotten a hefty dose of morning sickness, which while unpleasant, leads me to believe this baby is around for the long haul. Good thing we went for the minivan over a sedan when we bought a vehicle two months ago! :)

We're excited to have a birth in our new home. And I find that this time I'm much more relaxed, even though I'm not very far along. We have very little to buy; maybe a new double stroller, a few diapers (we have most of what we need, just adding in some new brands we've discovered), and preferrably a new bathtub before the birth! I'd like one like in my mom's house- it was perfect for birthing in. We have slings, we have a carseat, we have a trundle bed for our oldest so she can still be in our room but the baby and the youngest can be in bed with us.

Thankfully, I'm in my exercise training class. I'm looking forward to seeing the positive effects of staying fit and active during pregnancy. I've been pretty sedentary in the past two pregnancies due to hyperemesis with the first and pubic symphsis disorder in the second. Staying consistent with chiropractor visits and my cravings for veggies should be enough to make labor and all even easier this time around!

I'm currently at 5 weeks, and am due in December.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My personal challenge!

I decided to weigh myself on Thursday before my exercise training class. Big mistake! Or great idea since it's motivating. I weigh the same as I did when I graduate high school/got married. Its my heaviest weight ever. Back then, I had a reasonable excuse. I was working my butt off to graduate while running my mom's home daycare and coping with the fatal illnesses and subsequent deaths of both my grandparents. Yep, I can forgive myself for not thinking about what I was eating at the time. Heck, it was such a stressful time that I still have very few memories of an entire six month period! Including my own wedding!!!

But now? Now there's no excuse. I was 20 pounds lighter than this when I got pregnant with my youngest. And I had gotten down to just five pounds over that after she was born. So, I've gained 15 pounds! NOT good. I'm giving myself a reasonable goal. I would prefer to lose it all by my oldest's birthday at the end of June, but will be happy enough if I lose it by my birthday in mid-July.

To help aid me in this goal, I am personally challenging myself to complete 30 workouts in 30 days. I've decided that any activity that gets my heartrate up and helps me break a sweat for at least 30 minutes counts. This includes workout DVDs, walks with the girls, my gym time for school, even doing basics like jumping jacks, crunches, lunges, etc. But for my own personal sanity of keeping track, it has to be 30 consecutive minutes. This is a biggie for me. If I tried to keep track of 3 ten minute bursts of activity, I'd wind up cheating without meaning to.

Along with 30 workouts, I'm also challenging myself to have 30 green smoothies in 30 days. I've been a longtime reader of Sara's blog, and have heard her preach the green smoothie gospel. And I've tried to get on board, making green smoothies in the past. I love the taste, and feel better when I'm drinking them. I finally have a good blender, too. That definitely helps! My little ones loving them helps too!

Of course, most people get fit for themselves. And that's a big factor for me. I want to feel better, to look better. But, my biggest motivator is to set a good example for my kids. I want them to have a mom who they see enjoying being active and enjoying eating healthy foods. I hate that right now I'm giving them healthy food while I nosh away on...let's face it, CRAP! That is not who I want to be. I'm a young mom, it's time I start feeling like one!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

God is in the...cardio!?!?!

I am currently enrolled in an Exercise Training course through my school. This is a required course, and involves around 2-2.5 hours in a local gym twice a week. The breakdown winds up being 30 minutes cardio, around and hour and a half weight training (working in pairs, so it takes longer), and 30 minutes hydro work (hot tub/pool exercise/steam room). I barely made it out of the first class, our pre-fitness test, alive. However, I wasn't quite as sore afterwards as I had expected.

I finished the second class tonight. It was wonderful! I love exercising, but have always lacked the motivation to get started. So, being "forced" to do it is really great for me. Its also some time where I really get to just dive inside of myself. As a busy mom, I so rarely get that opportunity.

Tonight I was on the elliptical machine (oh, how I love those things!), and was planning on listening to my mp3 player. The battery died after one song. I saw Michael J. Fox on CNN so instantly tried to plug in to hear his interview (my dad has Parkinson's, so I am always interested when MJF is on TV speaking about new research, etc). My receiver on the machine was very static-y and giving me a headache as I tried to listen. So, I found myself doing something I so rarely do.

I unplugged. I had no cell phone, no internet, no TV. Nothing around me for 30 glorious minutes. I just listened to myself. And I found myself reflecting on the Holy Week. The gift of salvation. The pain Christ endured to pay for MY sins. For all of our sins. I prayed a little. But mostly? Mostly I just worked out in peaceful silence, basking in His peaceful presence.

I realize that this is always there for me. He is always there for me. But I've decided that rather than always listening to my exercise playlist (I am going to be working out 7 days/week), I am downloading some bible passages and lessons to listen to. Its one of the rare peaceful moments I get, and I'm going to enjoy getting closer to the Father during that time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I began classes back at school today. Man did it feel good to get back there! I am in Pathology on Mondays and Wednesday, with one of my favorite teachers. My Tues/Thurs class is the one that scares me. Exercise training. Yikes! I've been doing a couple of workout videos here at home, and endurance is not my strong suit. So I have no idea what to expect tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well. I need to call the doctor's office and get an inhaler before I go to class.

I am going to have to work harder to eat at home with my schedule so full. I have class Mon-Thurs from 6pm-10pm. Tuesdays from 2-11pm I also have my friend's little boy. Wed, Thurs, and Fri my husband is home during the day, which means we are usually working on something around the house or just hanging out as a family. Fridays I have my friend's son from 2-7:30pm and on Saturday from 7:30am-3:30pm.

I am not worrying about it as much this week, since I am finishing up my last week at the portrait studio as well. So things are extra crazy. I am looking up slow cooker recipes. Both for breakfast and supper. That way Kelton can have breakfast when he gets home, even if we aren't up yet. That is, if he'll eat what I make! He's the pickiest eater of us all. I have steel cut oats and know I've seen some recipes to make them in the slow cooker. Roasts are a huge family favorite as well.

I am getting impatient that I haven't gotten a reply from the city about keeping chickens. I'm almost to the point of taking their lack of interest as permission! I mean, they apparently don't care enough to fire off a quick "No! Don't do it" email. I plan on checking to see if the library has a copy of city code on file, and maybe giving one more call to city hall. Otherwise, I think once the weather is warmer and we've found a doghouse, we'll be in the backyard building a coop!

Speaking of weather- I am so ready for it to warm up! I love autumn, but not winter weather. And certainly not in April!!! Spring, where are you? Please hurry up and arrive; there are lots of us here in the Omaha area who are looking forward to getting out in the great outdoors and ejoying nature. And not risking hypothermia to do so. kthnxbai!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lately, I feel like I've been completely torn between the world I live in and the world I desire to live in. A world that is simple, a world from long ago. I am sitting here, watching a DVD on my laptop, writing in this blog while an oil lamp (homemade with a wick, mason jar, and oil) lights the living room. What an odd picture!

I have a pretty normal suburban life. House, dogs, kids, etc. We have the flat screen TV and the PS3, computers, mp3 players, the works. But while I enjoy the luxuries I have, I strive for simpler times. I enjoy things like baking my own bread, hanging laundry on the line (not doing dishes; I am looking forward to the dishwasher getting installed!). I look forward to expanding this into learning to sew so I can make things we need around the house. Growing our own food, raising chickens, and reducing our dependence on commercial products are all things I strive to do. I have given up commercial body soaps and shampoos/conditioners. I am planting a garden, though it's survival is still questionable as my thumb has proven to be more black than green in the past!

I've started reading my bible again. Oh, does it feel great to get back into the Word of God! It's amazing how when I am right with God, the rest of life seems to fall into place a little better. I feel a little lighter. My burdens aren't necessarily gone, but I am comforted knowing they are not mine alone and that I have a Savior watching over me. And I feel that He is a part of the changes I desire. That He is calling our family to living with a goal of simplicity and sustainability.

And while I would ultimately love the idea of an off-grid life. I know that's not necessarily what my husband wants. So while spending time with the Lord, and I relearning all the things the pastor discussed with us before we were married. That marriage includes the marrying of dreams and plans. And that, while my dreams are relevant, ultimately it is Kelton's decision the direction our family heads. While this doesn't play well to my incredibly large stubborn streak, it has been a relief. I tend to feel that ALL of the responsibility in the world is mine, and bear full weight of any burdens. Knowing that God Himself has said that no, it isn't that way, gives me permission to relax and defer to the head of the household.

That was something I struggled with when we were getting married. The idea of submission. I looked at it as caving in. Constantly fufilling the whims and desires of the husband while mine were on a backburner. How wrong I was! In reality, we have a very equal marriage. At least in my opinion. We work together to make all the decisions in the house. It just happens to be that if there is an area we cannot come to a compromise on (and I can only think of one in the almost six years of marriage), that the ultimate decision rests with Kelton. As much as I submit to him, he respects me and looks to me to help make the decisions that affect our family. Most of the parenting decisions have been solely mine; or at least doing the research that has gone into those decisions. The daily running of the household is my responsibility as well. But I know if I need his help, he is there to provide assistance and guidance.

Not really sure where I'm going with this, just wanted to share some recent discoveries.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A completely health/wellness focused post...

I got Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease workout DVD from NetFlix and finally started to use it. OMG is it hard to do!!! I got through the warm-up (intro warm-up, and the warm-up routine without instruction) and ALMOST through the entire first routine. And I am breathless. I suck at most of the moves, but I'm working on it. Most of the moves were things we did in the African tribal dancing thing at the success strategies seminar at school. It's a lot less embarrassing when you're not surrounded by 30 strangers. And, no, this doesn't mean I'm going to reconsider careers and become a stripper! I just needed a fun dance video to keep me motivated, and one that uses lots of stretching and hip movements is actually good for keeping my legs and core strong for massage.

I don't have a goal weight in mind. At all. I'd love to fit into my size 4 Old Navy jeans again (where I was at when I got pregnant with Reese), and be more toned overall. Mainly because I'm running out of jeans that fit that aren't getting holes in them! LOL But, honestly, I don't care if my weight/clothing size ever moves as long as I am healthier. I'm working on eating healthier, choosing lean proteins (must remember that Bakers sells buffalo meat!), and eating more veggies. I bought a TON of produce last night. Lots of grapes and strawberries, and oranges, and apples. Of course the girls have pretty much plowed through all but two of a 3lb $4 bag of organic apples in less than 24 hours (that's another story). And my cheese habit is coming to an end.

Since I stopped eating so much cheese (I have it on the occasional pizza or burritos, but try to limit it), and began cooking less and less with cow's milk, I feel so much better! I'm not as congested (big bonus when healing a nose ring, btw), and I feel like I'm slowly coming out of my "fog". I'm trying to learn about alternative milks. Goat's milk seems like a good alternative for the girls...but I can't bring myself to try it. I've used Rice milk in cooking and liked the results. I'm also VERY SLOWLY switching my Dr. Pepper for Diet Cherry 7-Up. Which still has red #40 and aspartame, which is horrible. But its a baby step (no caffeine, HFCS, or mondo-calories). After I am used to that I can switch to a sparkling juice, and then to just water. I drink mostly water anyway, this is just a treat.

So yeah. I'm not counting calories, I'm not obessing over anything. I'm a pretty uptight person, but my weight/body is one area where I just really don't stress. It seems so...pointless. I have bad days where I notice dimples on my thighs, or the extra pudge on my belly and it brings me down. But over all, I'm appreciative of my body. Too much so to belittle it. It's carried, birthed, and nourished the two loves of my life. It's put up with my crap all these years (senior year dinners consisted of pan-fried steak and 3-6 smirnoffs...every single night), and it still takes care of me. I can't complain. Any problems I have with it are my own. And getting mad or upset or defeated about the situation won't help a bit. In fact, they're discouraging and they'll only make it worse.

So I'll eat right (for the most part, of course). I'll exercise. And if I look the way I want to, great! If I stay looking this way, that's fine, too. Because at least I'm making myself healthier. And the goal is, and always should be, feeling and being healthier. Health isn't a number on a scale, or a clothing size. It's feeling better, having a stronger muscular and skeletal system, a stronger immune system, and stronger mental well being. It's being aligned, physically and spiritually. And that; that is what I strive for.

Sleep is a big part of this. And sleeping. Wonderful, amazing sleeping! I took three of the Ambien they gave me. That's all. And then I started sleeping longer stretches on my own. Still not going to bed until way too late. And that still happens sometimes. It's 2:30 right now and I am tired. As soon as I'm done writing I'm throwing diapers in the dryer and heading to bed. I'm getting tired on my own. If my body needs to sleep, it's giving me signals that it needs to sleep. That didn't happen before. I'm still working on getting in bed earlier, and getting up earlier. Especially since starting on the 6th, school begins for me each day at 9. (Of course I get home just in time for naptime, too!) So I may take some more Ambien over the next couple of weeks to get myself going to bed earlier.

But, I'm incredibly satisfied now with the sleep I'm getting. I didn't realize just what a difference it would make. I honestly feel like I'm leading a completely different life than I did a month to six weeks ago. Night and day. Life is just easier. I'm even contemplating taking on things like leading a local Friends of Iowa Midwives chapter- something I would LOVE to do, but could have never even thought of before!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sleep, wonderful sleep!

It's been a week since I went to the doctor and got my prescription for Ambien. She gave me 4 sample pills and the script for 30 more. I have taken three of them, and nyquil one night since two days later I came down with a bad cough. But, I've been sleeping. Sleeping well, in fact.

My skin is looking better, my mental clarity is returning, and overall I'm functioning better. Well, except for having the cough. But even being sick, I can tell my body is handling it better than usual. I got my nose pierced on Feb. 13th, and normally my body gets very angry when I get cartilage piercings. This one is healing great with none of the issues I had when I'd previously had it pierced (at a different high stress, little sleep time in my life).

I find even on the nights I don't take the medicine (I'm not the greatest at remembering pills), I fall asleep easier. I don't dread going to sleep anymore, and because I'm well rested I'm not as axious during the day, which makes it harder to sleep.

I started back to work at the portrait studio last Sunday. A different studio, but same company. I've been told I have to get my average sales up (I avereaged $67/sale over 3 sales; they expect $100/sale average), but that I am doing well. It didn't help that one of those sales involved an uncooperative 2 year old that punched me in the arm! I have the bruise to prove it- he was strong! Hopefully tomorrow night and this Sunday will go better for me. It's nice being back in the studio, though. I missed working with a 'real' camera. My Sony Cybershot just does not cut it after I've worked on a quality DSLR.

The only thing about work that I dislike, is, well, working. That sounds awful, doesn't it? I love my job, I find it very fufilling. But I already watch a friend's son during the week. And even though I'm working at most 8 hours a week, it just feels like yet another obligation. The babywearing group is having a mom's night in next Friday and I thought I had the night off, but just got told I may have to work it, and won't know until that morning. So I can't make definitive plans one way or the other. But, this is only temporary. Once my old co-worker gets full-time hours and I start watching her son, I'm leaving Sear's and will be at home with the girls (and my friends son's) full-time!

We're putting the girls back into the larger of the two non-master bedrooms. We had moved their beds to the smaller room so the larger could be a toyroom. But we're cutting out so many toys that it doesn't make sense anymore. So the smaller room will be my sewing and massage room and the bigger room will be a combined toy/bedroom. I'm getting a bookshelf for the toys. We have containers for different kinds of toys, and if they have more than will fit in the container, they have to downsize. But my oldest has discovered that if you downsize your beanie babies Mama will do fun things like make beanbag balls for you. She just won't tell you where the stuffing for the balls came from. ;)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The sick house...

that's where it feels like I'm living. We've all got various coughs, colds, sniffles, etc. And the baby has a raging, open, blister-y diaper rash from the combo of teething (bottom molars) and being sick. I'm trying to get as much garlic and vitamin C into all of us, and unfortunately the baby will be going into disposable diapers for a spell to allow us to use some stronger rash creams. Our dryer is broken right now anyway, it's too cold to hang things outside, and we can't keep up with her if we try to let things hang dry inside.

My husband acts worse than the kids when he is sick and is the one least likely to take a proactive step to get better. It's frustrating.

I caved in this week and went to see a doctor. It's been well over six months, probably closer to a year or so since I've slept longer than 3 hours at a time. I've been mentally and physically rundown so long that I don't remember what it feels like to be rested. The doctor gave me some AmbienCR to help get myself back on a better schedule. Three days later and I feel like a different person. Well, I would if I weren't sick, that is! I'm remembering things I was supposed to do long ago and never did. I feel horrible about some of them, too, and am spending this week righting those wrongs. Its like I'm coming out of a huge fog. And thankfully I am getting tired on my own now, so I am going to start weaning off of the Ambien. I'm hoping this allows me to be the woman I've been trying (and failing) to be.

In an effort to cut out as much refined sugar as possible, I picked up some Agave nectar from a local grocery store. I've never used it, but hoping it tastes good. I'm also trying Rice Milk for the first time in my effort to cut out dairy (but cheese is so good!!!! It's my one downfall in the dairy section) and soy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grr to the Argh

Sorry, had to throw a little Whedonism in there. It just fits.

I am so tense lately. Tense to the point where I feel like I'm going to lose it. Since about the age of 18 I've been a pretty high strung person. It used to be that I fed on the nervous energy; it helped me stay on my game, so to speak. Now, not so much. It seems when I get anxious or tense, I shut down. Emotionally and physically. I find myself snapping at people around me. I know what I need to do, but I find myself unable to muster up the energy it takes to do it. I'm very listless, and I'm unsure of how to fix it.

It's been this way for a long time. Around a year now. At first, I just thought it was post-partum depression. Now? I think it's something more. I have a period of feeling great. I have energy, I sleep well, I have it together. I had a lot of that this spring, and a bit over the summer. But then I feel depressed and hopeless, really. I've tried upping my intake of fish oil to no avail. Part of me is considering going to the doctor, but the thought detests me. All a doctor does is give you a pill. A pill that doesn't make you feel better, it makes you unable to feel. Yes, I'll sleep. And that's probably all I need, is sleep.

All this tension is making me really doubt myself as far as school is concerned. Massage has lots of health benefits. Reduced tension and anxiety, and relief from insomnia are just a few. I've been getting two massages a week for the past six weeks. And I've felt none of those benefits. If nothing else, my anxiety, tension, and insomnia have all gotten worse. Tenfold worse. How can I tell people they should be getting massages to ensure these benefits when I'm having a hard time believing them because of lack of personal experience? I can't even relax during a massage, let alone general relaxation. Its making me doubt myself and doubt my (future) profession. And the doubt is even worse. Because if I don't believe in the benefits of massage how can I be a massage therapist?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've been eating so badly lately. Not even bad foods, though that's definitely part of it. But not enough foods. In fact, one good, hearty meal a day has been pretty amazing the past week or so. Which of course leads me to finding myself rundown, shaky, weak, and having a general "icky" feeling at the end of the day. So I'm on a mission to start eating better meals. And more of them!

This led DH and I to the grocery store tonight where he bought me a yummy steak for dinner. I haven't been getting enough protein, obviously, and the steaks I love were on special. So we splurged on steaks tonight. While there I wanted to pick up some hamburger buns for lentil sloppy joes and a loaf of bread. Which is odd, since I haven't bought bread in months. But I wanted a loaf anyway. I wound up not getting any bread or buns.

Why, you ask?

Because EVERY SINGLE LOAF I looked at in Hy-Vee's bread aisle had high fructose corn syrup! I used to not care about it at all. But especially since finding out it has mercury in it, I am trying to eliminate it from everything in our house. And it's the one "health kick" thing that I have DH's full support in. Although we're both hypocritical and drink Dr. Pepper with it in there. That's being replaced with brewed iced tea slowly but surely, though. We looked at a ton of different brands, and sure enough, half way through the ingredient list there it was. So I'm schlepping it over to the bread machine before I pour myself into bed and setting it up to have a loaf ready in the morning.

I am working hard on organizing and simplifying our home. My bathroom is now spotless. It's also the laundry room. A week ago the floor in there was covered in laundry from one end to the other! Our living room looks a lot better, too. We're selling things; just this week we've gotten rid of our old Playstation and a stroller. The organizing is harder than the getting rid of things. I think some things I've gotten rid of have been simply for lack of the willpower to organize!

Our toyroom and the girls' room are the last two I'm tackling. They SCARE me, lol. Toys just overwhelm me. If it were up to me, they'd have bare basics, and nice simple wooden toys. Budget and over zealous grandparents, however, prevent this. We have plenty of toys, and plenty of storage for said toys. But when it comes to what should be grouped with what, and where those things should go, I find myself clueless. I really need help with organization. The toyroom is the most obvious...but please if you come to visit stay out of the kitchen cabinets, too. ;)

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I got fired last week. Not necessarily fired, but I no longer have a job. There weren't enoug hours for all of the employees. A sign of the times, I guess.

You would think that would make things easier at home. I only have home, family, and school to worry about now. You would most definitely be wrong. Our house has had me so stressed that I've come to the brink of losing it more than once. The amount of clutter and mess was overwhelming. And I'm working myself to the bone to change that. I worked for 2.5 hours last night before having a guest over to get the house presentable. And, I thought it was still a little messy, but it was definitely presentable. Only to have my guest tell me how much I needed to clean my house. A hard blow to take. Which had me fighting tears and a panic attack the rest of the night. It also sparked a nice fight with my husband about the state of our home. None of which was helping it get any more clean. I stayed up until 4 AM cleaning our bedroom. And now I've been up since 7:30 AM cleaning again. My husband helped me a bit this morning when he got home from work before heading to bed. It's not going to get all done today, but we're definitely on our way to having it nice and clean.

I'm diligently getting rid of items. While I would love to take the time to freecycle everything, that's just not possible right now. I've bagged the clothes for the clothing recycling center, but unfortunately everything else is being trashed. I absolutely believe in protecting our planet and being a good steward of the Eart, but right now my sanity has to come before that. I can't keep things around even for just a couple of extra days! Seeing the number of things in our house steadily decreasing is thrilling! My ultimate goal is a warm minimalist home. A minimalist home with more photos and personal momentos.

My biggest dilemma is the TV. I hate it! We have a flatscreen on the wall. I rarely watch TV. I watch maybe 4 hours a week and at least 3 of those hour its just on for noise. I let my oldest watch maybe an hour a day on average. I try to keep it off as much as I can. So when its off there's just a huge black rectangle on the wall. I could buy one of the "fishtank" dvds, and I even think I have a fireplace one around here somewhere. LOL But that's such an energy waste! I've thought about sewing up a cover for the TV from a beautiful fabric. A sort of fitted sheet-like thing to turn our TV into a piece of fabric art when not in use. I've also considered putting a small piece of black velcro on the corners of the TV and having one of my favorite pictures blown up to the appropriate size and mounted on cardboard that can be velcroed over the TV. I like this on most of all, since there are a few prints I've seen that I wished I could hang in place of the TV. Getting rid of the TV isn't an option, as DH is going nuts as it is without cable.

I wish I could have someone come into the house and just help me with a fresh set of eyes figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. Help me organize and sort things. Help me get things in order. I don't have the money to hire anyone, though. And I almost feel like I've made this mess and it's my responsibility to fix it. But when it is so overwhelming you just feel like it easier to give in.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sleeplessness and Home things

Sleeplessness has taken over my life recently. I've always been a night owl. Even after becoming a mother. But it's fit with our family's way of life, so it hasn't been an issue. But this week twice now I've been so unable to sleep I've wound up staying awake for ~24-30 hours. I had to miss school yesterday because I didn't trust myself to drive home afterwards, which would have been during my 28th hour of being up. I try to go to sleep, but I cannot shut off all the thoughts in my head. Even during a massage, I cannot relax or stop these constant thoughts. Thoughts about everything. Thoughts about nothing. Tonight I took some melatonin and drank sleepytime extra tea. I've also switched my normal calcium supplement to one with magnesium in it. Apparently it can help as well.

In the meantime, I've used this time away to my advantage. I have made amazing headway in both the girls' bedroom and in the toyroom. Organzing, cleaning, etc. Our kitchen and living room are looking better, too. And I've got paint colors picked out. Our living room and hallway are both a light blue. We're keeping that, but the accent wall extending from the living room into the kitchen will be a light orange. The rest of the kitchen will be a lighter orange/peach shade. The bathroom is going to be a nice, bright aqua. The girls' room will be a green shade. Our room will be a cream color (boring, I know!), and the toyroom yellow. A nice, warm, colorful house. Adding in shelves with pictures, and continuing to find a place for everything is making our house finally start to feel like home.

I especially noticed that while putting the toyroom together today. I am finding spots for all of the toys. And as I find those spots its starting to feel like an environment that's more conducive to playing and learning. I grew up in an organized house, but never got taught how it got that way. And as I'm learning these things, I realize how much of it is just common sense! But that's okay, I'm learning them and that's what counts!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lessons from my toddler.

My husband had the girls in their room playing earlier tonight. I didn't know it, but he'd fallen asleep. He hadn't had any sleep in around 30 hours, so I guess I should have anticipated it. All of a sudden, A-L, my 3 year old, came out. She had my black eyeliner drawn all around her eyes like a racoon. I got upset with her; she's drawn all over furniture with my make-up before and we'd made it clean that she was not to mess with mama's makeup. I led her into the bathroom to wash her face.

As we walked into the bathroom, I saw it. Blonde wisps of hair. From one end of the bathroom to the other. I looked at her again, looking past the eyeliner. Her beautiful bangs were gone! The hair on the side of her face was much shorter and jagged. One spot in the back is cut within an inch of her scalp. After I finished crying, I got her out of her room and talked to her. We managed to make a bob, but I'm taking her to the salon tomorrow to ask them what they can do to make it look best both now, and as it grows out.

This is the sixth or seventh time that she's cut her hair. We hide scissors, put them up high. It never fails, she will find a way to get them. I get so, so frustrated with her. I mean, she knows what she should do, why is it so hard for her to do it???

Then, it hit me. I am JUST like her. I am, as a daughter of the King, just like a defiant three year old! God gives me the 'rules', he loves me and has given me the tools I need to obey him. Yet, though I know I shouldn't do something, I still do it. Every time I curse, every time I get frustrated and yell at my toddler or snap at my husband or parents, I'm just like a three year old cutting her hair when mama has told her not to.

And just like I still love my daughter and will continue to try and guide her towards appropriate behavior, God will do the same for me. He will always love me, He will always give me the tools I need to live in a way that is pleasing to Him, and He will always forgive me my mistakes. So, even now, when I'm at a point where I feel so disconnected from Him and am struggling to find my way back to a place where I feel filled with His grace and His presence, I am reminded that I am always loved. And He will always be waiting for me to "put the scissors down" and run back into His arms. Amazing the lessons a defiant toddler can teach us when we're willing to listen.

Speaking of...I better go find another hiding spot for the scissors. I'm thinking the top of the fridge may just work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Massage School

I LOVE massage. Everything I learn makes me love it more. I've had plenty of aquaintances tell me I am only loving it now because I get two massages a week during my class times. And yes, I guess that can be seen as a perk. But, the bigger perk? I get to GIVE two massages a week. It's so much better giving them at school than here at home. The lights are dimmed, and there is such relaxing music playing. It makes for a wonderful atmosphere for massage.

When I give a massage, I find it to be more beneficial than when I get a massage. I feel somewhat good after a massage. But, I find it hard to truly relax and focus on healing and rejuvenation when getting a massage. Like most women, especially those of us who are wives and mothers, I find it unnerving when all the focus is on ME. I'm not used to it. And without fail, a few minutes into the massage I wind up thinking about a million and one things. Grocery lists, budgets, bills, cleaning, organizing, the kids, the dogs, and so on.

But when I give a massage? Then I am in my element. I am focusing on nurturing and healing someone else. My sole purpose in that 50 minutes is to do everything I can to make that person's day better. To rejuvenate and heal their mind, body, and spirit. As a natural born nurturer, this is what I am best at. And after I'm done, I realize that in doing my best to heal THEIR mind, body, and spirit, I've received just as much as I've given. Sometimes it seems like I've received more.

I leave class feeling energized. Lighter on my feet. I feel like there is nothing that can stop me. I get to relax and work out all while helping someone else.

This is definitely what God has called me to do. I'm not sure in what capacity I'll be a massage therapist. But a massage therapist I will be.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The unchanging spouse

This is something I struggle with. I have a deep-rooted desire to live a simpler life. One free of the burdens of loans and credit and the need for material things. My wonderful husband, however, doesn't necessarily have this same desire.

This issue has shown itself clearly the past couple of days. We recently got rid of our newish car and bought an old but reliable car. It needs some things done; new struts and shocks, and the passenger door has an airleak we need to fix. Everything else that's wrong with it is purely cosmetic. I call the car Ugly Betty quite affectionately. And while I hated giving up my newer prettier car, I've quickly grown to love this new-to-me car that has saved us from a large payment and costs 1/3 as much for insurance. Pretty close to the same gas mileage, too!

Now, my husband has found out about the $7,500 credit/loan you can get on your taxes this year. Basically it's a 15 year interest free loan from the government. Hubby wants to go for it and use it to buy a newer car outright. A 2003 Subaru Outback Legacy, to be exact. He's a meanie and went for MY dream car in an effort to woo me to his side. And then use the remaining loan plus our normal refund to catch up on a couple of debts and do some small projects around the house.

Good idea, in theory, I guess. An interest free loan. Essentially it would give us a car payment of $500/year. Much, much better than what we were paying of course. And the car would have all wheel drive. With the snowstorms and thundersnows we've seen this year including more ice and the roads crews having less-than-stellar response time, this is a huge plus.

I'm just not sold. There will be more to pay for insurance since with such a nice car we'd definitely carry full coverage versus the liability we have now (no point in that when your deductible costs more than your car!). Plus there's the increased expense if something were to go wrong with the car. With Ugly Betty, we can find any part we'd need at our local junkyard. With newer cars this isn't true. Especially with Subarus, whose parts are not that easy to find in the first place. Hubby works at an auto parts store, he himself has used this against me in the past as a reason to NOT get a Subaru.

I feel the best option is to take whatever our refund would be without this $7,500 "credit" and be happy. Use it to pay our two largest, most essential bills off. Then live for a while with no monthly loan payments except our mortgage for a while. Use that time to build a savings. I figure Ugly Betty has a good two to five years left in her if we take good care of her. By that time, we'll have enough of a savings built up that we can easily pay for a car in cash. I'm tired of owing someone money. Even if that someone is charging no interest and is, essentially, the faceless entity known as the IRS. I mean why would you willingly be indebted to the IRS of all people???

Sometimes, I feel my desire for simplicity is something I'm left to deal with alone. At least in our family. I am fighting a losing battle in this house trying to get us away from consumerism. I can't even get us to go a week without eating out! How am I supposed to convince him that doing less, having less, and spending less are good things when I can't even convince him to wait until we get home to eat? Then, I realize that I am not him. I can do these things even without his support. So, we have a big ugly black box on our wall. It doesn't mean I have to turn it on. In fact, sometimes I forget its anything more than a big, black hole in the wall. So he eats out all the time. It doesn't mean I have to order something for myself. I can simply show him by example the life I want to lead.

But I am clueless on how to do this with this car situation. I can't show by example, because while it would be my car (as Ugly Betty is mine), it is our money. I can't completely veto his idea, that's not how our relationship works and I don't think its fair. But how do we compromise when the things we want are on totally different ends of the spectrum?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mama time and Choosing Simplicity

Tonight I went out with a friend. It was the first time in around a year or two that this friend and I had been out without kids or significant others. We saw 'Bride Wars' and went to have nachos at our favorite Mexican place. I've generally felt guilty in the past when I leave the kids to go out somewhere. Not tonight. Just hanging out with a friend, talking about our lives and remembering old stories was revitalizing to my spirit. I feel better now for having gone out tonight. And that translates into being a better mom for my kids.

In an effort to simplify our lives we got rid of our newer car and its several hundred dollar a month payment yesterday. We took less than two months of payments and bought a 13 year old junker. Not really a junker. It's an older sedan with 226k miles, though, so it has some issues. And cosmetically, the outside is a wreck with it's peeling paint and rust. But it's a sound car, and the work that needs done is stuff DH can easily do. And he can do it cheap since his part-time job is at a parts store and he gets a discount. It'll do for a couple years until we can buy a van with cash. While I'm not exactly happy about the change (I absolutely adored my car), the relief of knowing that we owe nothing on a vehicle is very liberating. I hate feeling enslaved to a vehicle payment.

To me, this choice was a perfect example of choosing simplicity. People ask me often what I mean when I say we are choosing a simple life. Living free from a car payment is one way of choosing a simpler life. Its one less bill to worry about paying, one less burden to carry financially. Choosing to live without cable TV is another way. By giving up cable, we've chosen to be more in the moment when we're spending time together. We play games with the kids, go for walks, take them to the zoo or to Bass Pro Shops (my girls love that store!), read books together, or do crafts with them. These are all ways to have fun together that involve actively engaging one another rather than being passively entertained in the same space. It also creates a simpler life because we don't always have the TV on for 'background noise'. This has made the house much more peaceful, which to me is a congruent with a simple life. It frees up time for us to do things like baking our own bread or crocheting or building furniture. It's all about small choices that are making a big impact in our lives. Things that help us be more in the moment, at peace with the world around us, and active participants in our environment.


I'm up late, which happens often in this house. Everyone else is asleep, I can even hear the dogs snoring away in the kitchen. Like usual, I find my mind racing with thoughts. I wish I weren't tired and unable to sleep. If I were more awake I could use these late nights to focus on spending time in prayer and devotion. I'm afraid if I tried to do such things now I'd fall asleep in the middle of it and wind up filled with frustration rather than faith.

Tonight the thoughts are all about decluttering and simplifying our home. We simply have way too many things. Especially toys. How many toys do two little girls really need? We have a large Little Tykes vanity that gets played with rarely. The only part about it that gets acknowledged is the mirror. So why do I keep this big, honking thing in the corner of the toyroom when I can just hang a mirror on the wall and have the same effect?

The only large toys I want to keep are the Train/Lego table and accessories, and an easel. Oh, and their table/chair set, but that's not really a toy as much as it is a work surface. Then some playsilks, their dolls (each has one cloth one and one "regular" one), wooden dollhouse and accessories, and stuffed animals. Oh, the stuffed animals. Most of my old Beanie Baby collection, and some others that have been added to the mix. I'd get rid of those, but they LOVE them. I've greatly reduced their numbers, however, to about 10% of what it once was.

A place for everything, and everything in it's place. That's the goal for 2009, folks.