Monday, December 15, 2014

Repeat the Sounding Joy

     I am struggling this Christmas. Not because it's stressful, because it isn't. Not because we are running out of money, because we're not. Not because anything is getting in the way at at all...but because it's hitting me that I have an obligation to my children to teach them how to do Christmas RIGHT. And I'm finding that I'm doing that part wrong.
     When I look under the tree at all the gifts already there, I feel really proud. I'm proud that I have built the kind of life that affords a Christmas tree with mountains of presents under it because giving truly IS better than receiving. But in the very act of giving, and getting the point myself, I am sending the wrong message to my boys. And yet, it's like a reflex to reach for the iPad and log onto Amazon every. single. time. Harrison sees a commercial for something and says, "Can I have that toy, Mommy?" He will not be disappointed at all this Christmas, and that's great and all...but right now, his idea of Christmas centers around the presents he will get on Christmas morning. Don't get me wrong, I know that part is pee-your-pants exciting. But what about magic?
     I think back to my favorite Christmases as a kid, and my warm fuzzies in no way are centered around an amazing toy, but from the feelings of warmth and anticipation and happiness and togetherness. The beauty of Christmas lights, the sounds of a choir singing Christmas carols, the way the house smelled with the tree and candles mingling in our living room. Baking cookies for Santa, staring at my grandmother's nativity scene for hours and imagining what it was like to be there. Wishing for snow. But here I am flooding my kids with "stuff" and patting myself on the back for being such a great giver of things and just flat-out setting them up for disappointing Christmases in the future.
     As an adult, with a faded imagination and sense of wonder, how are we supposed to know how to create magic anymore? That is the gift I want to give my kids, not a sense of entitlement and far-fetched expectations and a longer Christmas list each year. I know that some of you parents have a system for not spoiling your kids at Christmas - I haven't found mine yet, but I'm looking for ideas. Because I have two really good, sweet little boys and I want to keep them that way. They deserve all the fun that money can buy, but it doesn't mean they should have it. So where do I draw the line?
     I did not know parenting choices would be difficult, I just pictured it all pretty black and white and easy to decide and it's NOT. Lots of reality checks these past 4 years. I did not count on Christmas being difficult or tricky to navigate. I pictured it to be the most fun of all and it really has been so far, but now that the babies are getting attitudes and mastering the eye roll and turning into actual people...I need guidance. How do I wrap them in the glow of holiday spirit without making it about a toy store free-for-all in their own living room?

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

     I am feeling heavy-hearted today, and it comes from a number of recent events, plus a small case of the Mondays, some stress and just a not-so-great mood in general.  I am not ready for the world to change, but it already has without my consent and I can't do anything about it. I can only change my own. I am contemplating how to do that and haven't decided yet.
     Right now, I miss having conversations. The kind that happen in person, where you sit across the table from someone you haven't laid eyes on in a few weeks, and therefore have a lot of catching up and laughing and consoling and sharing to do, because in those few weeks, you've been so focused on your own life, you haven't had a chance to catch up on theirs. I miss photo albums on coffee tables that you flip through at a party or a family holiday and marvel at how much everyone has changed, how much they've done, how big the kids have gotten since you last saw them a few months ago. I miss running into people I haven't seen in years and getting to stop in the grocery store aisle and be surprised by where they are now and what they've been up to, without already knowing. Or without having been offended by that person's political rant a week ago, despite not having seen them in years, and so instead when seeing them at the grocery store, quickly turning and ducking my head while escaping to another aisle. I miss wondering about people and missing them.  I miss feeling like I really and truly like a few people, mainly because I DON'T know everything there is to know about them, and am blissfully ignorant to every single thought they have ever had. I miss being completely tuned out to the private thoughts of the human race, and the romance of only sharing myself completely with one person, maybe two if you count a best friend. I miss my comments to a friend being just between me and that friend and not open to criticism from an eavesdropping stranger.
     I want to watch my friends' kids grow up during play dates and birthday parties, not online every single day. I want to write letters, even if they end up being emails, and I want to have a network of 50 people or less. I want to make my own parenting choices and not consult 300 people ranging from "best friend" to "I've never met you" and then just be ok with that choice and not need anyone's approval. I want to listen to my gut when it comes to choosing a paint color and do what makes ME happy. I want to "visit" my family and go on walks that no one knows about and eat food without making the calorie count public and just pay attention to my kids when they take a bath, because sitting on the floor reading about YOUR kid's bath might make me miss something.  I want to walk through a hall, a room, a store, ANYWHERE and make eye contact with all the people I pass because everyone is looking where they are going and paying attention to where they are in that moment.
     It all just seems so selfish and narcissistic and it makes me sad and uncomfortable and I am so guilty of it I could scream. Seeing all of these things every day has an effect on people. Where once, you didn't care what other people were doing with their time unless you were close to them, now we all care about what EVERYONE is doing, regardless of our connection to them. It's so impersonal and it's so much of everyone you ever knew at once, that to me, it just feels even more lonely.
     And let's talk about safety. Is it a good idea when someone is a garage sale group asks for recommendations on a new daycare and you tell them yours is the BEST? Now some stranger knows where your kid goes to daycare, and there's probably a picture of them right there next to you on your profile pic, and now, in addition to letting everyone know how great I think my daycare is, I've compromised my son's safety too. It's great that we exercise, and I think everyone should do it and be supported and applauded. But is it a good idea to offer up your run route as proof? Women are disappearing left and right. And we think that we only posted it to our own page, which is just SO private, because we've made it a point to only "friend" people we know, but raise your hand if you went to high school with a rapist? You didn't? How do you know? And what about the person who hit "like" on that run route and now it's showing up in her news feed and not just yours? Who are all of HER friends? And you sure do look amazing in your profile pic, who would post one otherwise? So other people are bound to think so too. It's fun to go on vacation, I get it, but we post what days we are leaving, where we are going, and two days earlier, "checked-in" at our own house for movie night with the fam and published a map for anyone to use who needs a good place to ransack. Maybe that's all far-fetched and maybe it's not. It's just on my mind lately and I have to wonder if all of this information is a good thing.  To me, right now, it just doesn't feel like it at all.
     So what do I do? Quit the internet? Lose contact with some people that I'm so happy I got back in touch with? Facebook is not without its merits.  When used for what it was intended for. But it's changing things, and not necessarily for the better.  But what do I do when I feel so attached to it? Maybe just some stricter self-policing and designated "offline" times? I guess that could work, but it's a slippery slope...
     The fact is, I don't want to know your thoughts on politics unless it's in a forum I agreed upon, knowing that is what I would be getting into. I don't want to know what you forgot at home today or what song you heard on the radio that you just LOVE, or answer your question about where you should eat tonight. I want some mystery and some valid reasons for getting together in person. I don't want to feel an urge to share any part of my day unless it was completely significant, and even then, how many people are going to see it who also think it is significant? I don't want to have to "adjust the settings" on every person I know so I am fed only the information I want, and I don't want to offend people when I decide to unfriend them, when it's not because I don't like them, it's because we haven't talked in TWENTY YEARS and I wouldn't want to make the time to stop and chat if I ran into you now. That should not be offensive, it's just LIFE. I don't want some social networking site to be the place where all of my precious and most treasured photographs are stored - they should be in albums in my home for people to look through at my parties that I have so I can catch up with my friends I haven't seen in a while.
    So while it sounds like I just want to call it a day and go back to the old-fashioned way of being a human, I know that without everyone I know feeling the same way, I would be cutting myself off from a large number of potential friendships, there would be no way for some people to contact me, because while I do check my email everyday, theirs is just for junk, etc.  I know I would be the last to know when anyone gets pregnant or married or moves into or out of town, and I don't know if I'm ready to miss everything. I guess I just wish some things had never changed to begin with, so I wouldn't be sitting here battling an addiction, in a sense.
    I can tell what I am leaning towards and just need to talk myself into it. I have to believe that those of you who are true friends, will remain true friends - maybe we could even talk more. And those who are not, or that I've never met, or that I was just never close to - know that I wish you well.  Relationships should require some amount of effort, that's what makes them worth it, right?  We shall see.  I don't have an answer just yet.  I know my children are going to grow up in this world and I would love to be able to point them in the direction of "less is more" when it comes to revealing everything, but at the same time, I really love to show off how adorable they are.  So I'm at a crossroads.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How Can I Keep From Singing?

     First of all, I just want to ask that you take the time to read what I have written here in it's entirety.  I know you're going to roll your eyes sky high at the first mention of the "p-word", but I trust that you are reading my blog right now because you are interested in what I have to say, like my delivery, like ME...something to that effect.  So please have faith that this will be worth it.  I just want to make you think. You can roll your eyes at the end if you want to. 
     I mentioned in my last post that I am doing some things for me lately, or trying to, at the very least.  Plexus is one of those things, but I hate to say that it's for me, because technically, the enjoyment I get from it is because of what I get to do for others.  I have been doing this for a few months now, and have noticed that I hear the same things over and over again.  It's out of skepticism, I know, but where is the skepticism coming from? Maybe I feel like I've addressed anything you might be concerned about in my Facebook posts, but to you, maybe I haven't.  
     Let me start by saying that I have a full time job. P has a full time job.  We make a very stable income, have everything we need, and do many of the things we want.  I am not in this for the money.  After joining Plexus for the sole benefit of getting to buy my products for a lower cost, my sponsor added me to several Facebook groups and sent me a pile of information.  That is where my education started, which led me to my passion that I have for this company and it's purpose.  So knowing what I know, and seeing what I've seen - I just find people's skepticism unfounded.  So let me try to help. 
     The top reason I've encountered that keeps people from trying Plexus is the cost. It was my first fear too, but then I thought about it, and realized that if it worked, it would be totally worth it, so I just went for it.  Not everyone is going to be convinced so easily, so let me ask you - if you had to cut your budget today by a little under $100 per month, what would be the first thing to go? When I had each of my kids, I sat down to rework our budget, and when I had to look at what we could cut out, the first things I came up with each time were entertainment and food.  Not food to live, but food to make me happy.  You know, Starbucks, trips to the vending machine at work, the occasional (or not so occasional) meal from a drive-thru because I didn't feel like cooking.  Going out to eat for lunch just because a co-worker mentioned wanting to and I couldn't get the thought out of my head. Not to mention all the stops on the way to work for P's energy drink. With a family of three, one of those being a baby who ate very little, we were spending around $800-1000 per month on food/groceries/snacks/beverages.  So you can see how that was where I found my $100, right? Aren't most of us spending money somewhere that isn't necessary? And if you really think about it...isn't it pretty likely it's going towards something that's affecting your health in a negative way? The guy behind me at work drinks a 12 pack of soda per day. There's your Plexus. A woman I know who takes countless smoke breaks and drives through McDonald's every single morning for breakfast tells me she could never afford it. There's your Plexus. A drive thru meal for one person, three times per week, is not all that unheard of, is it? There's your Plexus. One energy drink per day, one Starbucks drink per day...are you getting the idea? And if you are already cutting back on those things, what are you spending frivolously? Do you treat yourself to scratch offs and lottery tickets twice a week? Do you pay for a Netflix account you never get around to using, or buy Groupons that you forget about? Just put some thought into where you are spending your money, and see what you find.  Now ask yourself, if Plexus really does work, wouldn't it be so much better to spend your money on than anything I just mentioned? 
     Skeptic excuse #2.  This one kills my soul, because it's by far the most ridiculous, however, it's a pretty common thought.  "It doesn't sit well with me to pay X amount of dollars for something to a company that can turn around hand checks to it's employees for $50,000.  They must be marking it up so much."  First of all, have you ever shopped in a store before? Think about it for a minute, if you need to, I'll wait........ok, are you done? What did you come up with? you have shopped in a store before? And did that "sit well" with you? You know the commercial you watched for that store that had a fairly big-name celebrity spouting off a couple of one-liners over the course of 30 seconds? Do you think that celebrity took home just a $50,000 paycheck?  That item you picked up off the shelf at the grocery store and tossed into your basket - did you ask yourself how much it was marked up before deciding if you really need it?  Because let me assure you - you DO NOT want to know what that item cost the company that produced it. Or what it cost the company who bought it from the company that produced it, so that they can put it on their shelves to sell it.  I don't know if you caught that, but that's two mark-ups. I've worked in retail for a while, with quite a large variety of products, and unless you handmade everything in your house from things you scavenged off your own land, you are surrounded by things that you paid anywhere from 30-90% higher than what it cost to produce. You may pat yourself on the back and think, "Oh, but I'm a bargain shopper!".  Well congrats to you for the savings (which might cover your Plexus), but you still put a pretty large wad of cash in someone else's pocket by paying for it.  No matter how much you saved, someone made money.  So what is the difference between all of that and Plexus?  How about the fact that those companies provide only a couple of handfuls of people the opportunity to live their financial dreams, through working 40-60 hours a week in an office with a dress code, and the rest of their employees work equally as hard, following the same dress code, working in the same office, sitting in the same traffic to make enough to live paycheck to paycheck, and for almost all of them, it will remain somewhat the same.  Plexus gives everyone the opportunity to make as much money as they want, work the hours that they want, become as financially successful as the CEO of the company, or just make some extra money for fun, if that's what they want to do.  Plexus marks up their product in the same way any other product is marked up, only they offer you chance to get it all back and then some.  And yes, that applies to even you. So if you think it doesn't make financial sense to buy from a company that pays it's sales-force well, then don't buy from them.  Sell for them instead and see if you like it better after that. 
     Skeptic excuse #3."What if it doesn't work? It can't do everything people say it can do." Do you think your news feed is bombarded with Plexus posts because it doesn't work??? This company did not pop-up 6 months ago, it has been around for years and has grown exponentially.  Don't you think if it didn't work, people would have caught on to that by now?  If you keep NOT trying Plexus because you think it MIGHT not work, the only person standing in your way is you.  Plexus has a 60 day money back guarantee because they know it works.  If it didn't they would be bankrupt right now. You can literally try whatever you want to for 60 days and then, if you really, really feel just as run down and awful as usual, they'll just send your money right back to you...that's free, for those who are math-challenged.  
     As far as what it says it can do, the company stands behind the things their products were designed to do. Lose weight, assist with leveling blood sugars and cholesterol, provide natural energy, oxygenate and energize your body, cleanse your system, deliver vitamins to your system with a better absorbency rate than your OTC vitamin, help with pain relief, etc.  It's what the people who use Plexus testify to that makes it even more amazing.  There are thousands upon thousands of actual, normal human beings out there whose lives have turned around, whose health has changed completely with the help of Plexus products.  You do not have to look too hard to find them, if you want to read about it.  So if you have seen the Plexus posts, and any of the above has run through your head and quieted the voice inside you that wants you to try it, how do you feel about it now?  And let me as you this? If you had heard from a commercial on TV and several of your friends that there was a product that really worked, sitting on the shelves at GNC or Walmart, would you really think twice about trying it?  I AM MORE TRUSTWORTHY THAN A GIANT RETAIN CHAIN. They do not care about your health, they care about their SALES. You do know that, don't you?
     When I first started reading the testimonies of Plexus users, I immediately began to think of my friends and family who could benefit. Almost none of them need to lose weight, and yet, I can think of reasons for almost all of them to try it.  If you heard about something that was providing relief to people who suffer from something someone close to you also suffers from, would you keep that information from them?  Or would you say, "Hey, I've heard this could help, why not try it? If it doesn't work, it's free." Would you feel better about doing that if it came from Walmart? Or maybe you just want to stick to what the doctor is prescribing because it's not working all the time, but sometimes it does, and the side effects are manageable, and yes, it's super expensive, but that's just life so....Also, everyone knows insurance companies are 100% trustworthy and it for the good of the people.  That's why they approve everyone's treatment plans and claims and allow them to try whatever it takes so that they may live and never, ever, ever allow anyone to die unnecessarily, which would just lead to John Grisham writing a book and a big movie deal, etc, etc.  So if you want to put all your eggs in the un-natural, chemical laced, side-effect ridden basket of money-suck, that is totally up to you.  But WHAT IF there was something else?  What if Plexus works?  What if you are pre-diabetic and you try Plexus and you never make it to "diabetic"? What if you are in pain every day, and could take something natural every day, not suffer any weight gain or sluggishness or mental cloudiness from it, and could just live pain free?  What if you want so badly to lose weight, but you just don't have the energy to do anything about exercising because you feel exhausted morning noon and night, and your cravings just keep getting best of you, and Plexus took care of all of that?  What if the everyday little annoyances you are living with like bloating, allergies, brain fog, weight gain, skin problems, were not just something you have to live with, but are caused by something in your gut that Plexus can help with?  WHAT IF?  And why wouldn't you want to find out??????
     Do you know understand, on any level, the passion I have for these products? Can you understand what motivates me and keeps me posting every day and talking to people every day, and jump way, WAY out of my comfort zone to share something that I really and truly believe in?  This is not a sales pitch.  This is my call to action.  I want you to think about everything I said and argue with me if you want to, I welcome it.  I want you to ask yourself who in your life could benefit from this non-risk, even if you don't want to try it yourself?  I want you to change the way you see my posts, and be happy for me, and for the people I am bringing along with me.  If you still want to roll your eyes, and I don't see how you could, go right ahead. I am not pushing statement necklaces or silicone muffin tins here.  I don't want you to share my passion for lip gloss and fancy flip flops...there is a place and customer for all of those things, but THIS is the thing that I am passionate about, and I want to inspire passion for it in everyone that I can, because your health is everything.  It's absolutely everything.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hey Me, Hey Mama

 I think it's probably every mother's desire to be the perfect mom.  Maybe if not perfect (for those geniuses who go into it knowing that's not attainable) then at least be the best mom they can be.  So we spend the pregnant months reading everything we can get our hands on, deciding what our plans are for raising the perfect child as the perfect mother in our new perfect existence. Then the baby is born, and our plan becomes revised, but we try really hard to salvage as much of it as we can.  We work so hard on breastfeeding that there are actual wounds (sometimes with blood!) involved. We cloth diaper because it's the best thing for the environment, the best thing for baby, so's the BEST.  We spend countless hours researching new blends of baby food, shopping for only organic produce, and then standing in the kitchen all day steaming and pureeing and scooping and freezing.  After $95 and seven hours, we stand proudly in front of the freezer admiring the twenty jars of baby food we just made that might last the week if we're lucky.  "I did baby is going to love ALL vegetables and snack on cucumbers and crave only healthy food." Pleaaase... So worth it.  We spend triple the amount of normal household products on all-natural, chemical-free "safe" cleaning sprays and liquids, scrubbing the bathtub with pride, knowing our bathtub won't be setting the stage for cancer when our babies hit their 40's.  Our good night's sleep gets sacrificed so baby can get a good night's sleep on our chest. Because baby has a big day tomorrow and needs his rest.  Me? I just have work, and work doesn't matter.  We spend our lunch hours attached to a breast pump, reading magazines about babies, and planning fun things for the weekend that will keep baby happy and entertained (but also educated, because it's never too early, right?)  Our laundry sits in a corner unattended while we painstakingly fold each one-sie just so and place it lovingly on top of a perfect stack in a well organized drawer, because baby needs to look nice, and know the importance of organization.  The Fresh Beat Band plays through the car speakers because baby likes them, and the TV is a constant parade of goofy characters that make baby laugh (or think...or learn math).  And at the end of the day, after finally settling in with a good book you just added to your Kindle App, a very small someone sees the iPad in your hands and demands their turn, and you happily hand it over.  Because this is what perfect moms do.  Right? 
     I'm starting to second guess all of this.  Well, not all of it. My chemical-free house and the food I feed my kiddos is always going to be high on my list, but the way my kids have been the sun, and I the planet that revolves around them...a moonless planet, I should clarify, because no one is hovering around me, is starting to feel a little tiresome, and I'm not seeing the reward in it.  My kids aren't light years ahead of every kid on the planet, they aren't craving healthy foods and snacks, or brushing their teeth every day without a fight.  H still poops his pants about once a week and he's over three years old.  For all the effort I have given, and for all the sacrifices I have made, my kids are still perfectly imperfect, and while I would not change a single thing about them (except for maybe sleeping habits and cleanliness), I feel we could have achieved this level of happiness and contentment without me having to lose myself completely.  It's no one's fault but mine, so I'm not pointing any fingers.  But I really no longer believe that the key to successful parenting is for me to be in last place all the time.  
     How are my children supposed to benefit from never seeing their mom as a person and not just "mom".  Who is going to teach them how to seek out dreams and goals if I set all of mine aside?  How will they know what to look for in a wife, if the only thing I am to P is the other parent in the house?  When are they going to become interesting, thoughtful people who have intelligent conversations if no one in the house is talking about anything other than what's for dinner and who wants to go to the park?  I am their mother, first and foremost.  That isn't going to change.  But I'm not being the best version of myself if that's the only thing I am. 
     I am attempting, these last few months, to climb out of my mom shell and do things for myself.  It is a struggle, because it means sometimes, I have to choose to be away from my family and before, I just haven't seen that as ok.  It meant I wasn't making them a priority. I see now that I actually am making them a priority by taking time for myself, doing things without them that only I want to do.  I am bettering myself, and devoting time to me so that when I am in their presence, I can stay sane and happy.  It is not the easiest thing for me, I've been a closed-off person for as long as I can remember, and I am only, at best, on the outskirts of everyone else's groups of friends. But even walking into a party in which I don't have a BFF waiting for me to make it all comfortable and easy is a big step for me.  I am reading books again, and going for runs, and taking up things that have nothing to do with my family, like the Susan G Komen 3 Day, and Plexus.  It's a start. There are other areas of my life that need desperate attention as well, but that's for another day. 
     My goal is to be able to look at myself honestly one day soon, and not see myself as the helicopter mom.  I want H to run over to a group of friends and forget all about me without me having to walk him over there and do the talking for him for the first five minutes.  I want my boys to play on the playground together while I just watch and enjoy their giggles instead of navigating jungle gyms one step behind them, trying to prevent every bump and bruise.  I want D to fall asleep in his bed, by himself, instead of having to look up every few minutes just to make sure one of us is still standing there.  I want them to need me and they will for a long time, but I want them figure things out for themselves when they can, and really experience all the scrapes and cuts and freedoms and carelessness of being a child.  I hope they can see me as more than just their mother someday, to know who I really am, and see the parts of me that existed long before they came along, because I was someone before them.  They may be the turning point in my life, but I was definitely not worthless before they came along, and in order to do that, I have to give my old self a voice again and find a way to balance being her, with the added role of being a (perfect) mom.  Just kidding about the perfect part ;) 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hurt Like Mine

     Well looky here, I've been inspired to write again.  And it may take the turn of a rant, but sometimes that's just the way it goes.  You need to be passionate about something to fill up a bunch of paragraphs, right?  

     I got an email last night.  An unexpected, pointless, out-of-nowhere one-liner from my ex-fiance.  You know, calling him that just turns my stomach because he has no right to be put on the same level as Mr. Current (and final) Fiance.  So he says to me, he says, "You gotta check out the new Black Keys Album."  Oh really? You interrupted my really wonderful, normal life to drop that nugget on me?  Let me tell you something about the Black Keys, sir. I was listening to them long before you came along and sent my life on a downward spiral, and you did not know who they were until I began to enlighten you on many, many, many things that your tiny little existence filled with wasted space and thoughts had not even come close to discovering.  "You gotta check out the new Black Keys album." Because I must be reminded.  After no contact for several consecutive, glorious years, he needs to pop up out of nowhere and fill me in on something very publicly promoted.  What irks me is that it is my own fault this gets under my skin. It is my reaction that, yes, HE caused, that is now getting on my own nerves because I am allowing myself to be bothered by someone so incredibly unworthy of moment in my brain. So I'm turning it positive. Take that, ya giant parking lot-sized 1-inch deep puddle.  (I'm saying he's shallow, in case you're dumb). 

     Once upon a time I was at the heaviest weight I had been in my life, when suddenly one month, I dropped 10 pounds, seemingly for no reason.  I was excited about it, but also somewhat concerned because 10 pounds do not just fall off of your body for no reason, and I was not giving them any healthy reason to.  I decided to start eating better and working out.  A couple of months later, I was laid off, so I had time to fill, and spent more and more time hiking the trails at the nature preserve near my house.  My weight loss increased to 18 pounds.  I was happy, and I had found something I loved doing, and I loved the feeling of my muscles getting harder, my clothes fitting more loosely, and just looking in the mirror and not hating what I saw.  It was around this time, I met DA. (I'll protect his name because he tends to internet stalk and I wouldn't want him to know who I'm talking about - that would just be rude).  DA seemed to share my recent experience of dropping a significant amount of weight, and my passion for hiking.  He even suggested we start running as well.  And so we did - every single day, for hours at a time.  In the heat of August in Texas, we would arm ourselves with a giant bottle of water, run and hike until we were drenched, and my weight continued to come off, although more slowly as I built muscle.  He wasn't the most exciting person I'd ever met, but it was nice to be with someone who was willing to move, which I was not used to. Over the next few months, we continued our routine, but then I found a job, and long daily hikes were no longer an option. I ran on my own after work, but we were not eating so well and I wasn't getting much sleep, so the weight loss hit a plateau.  

     Now THIS part is just the highlight of my life. We stayed up way too late one night and drank way too much, and found ourselves arguing.  Then fighting.  Over what, who knows? I probably didn't like the same song as him or something earth-shattering.  It ended (or started, however you want to look at it) when I stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind me. But not before I heard something that stopped my heart.  I could not have just heard that.  I opened the door, and quietly asked, "What did you just say?" He said, "I said, you're a fat ass."  I waited for the part where he says he didn't mean to say that, and he's sorry, but instead, he just kept going.  He told me I was fat and that he couldn't understand why I had been running all this time and stopped losing weight.  He told me the whole reason he went running and hiking with me all those months was to help me get in better shape because he was embarrassed to be dating a fat chick. My heart broke.  Not because it was him. He didn't matter to me that much.  But because I felt like a total fool for believing someone else was seeing in me what I saw in myself.  Improvement.  Beauty. Strength.  And because he had just stolen from me.  He stole running.  

     I didn't run for days.  I couldn't.  I couldn't make myself do the thing that he had just ripped all meaning from. I felt like if I did, I would be asking for his approval, which I had thought I already had.  Suddenly, it was something that belonged to him, was FOR him, and every time I took a step, I would feel his judgement. This is the part where I left him, right?  I tried.  I really wanted to, but at the same time, every ounce of self-esteem I had ever had was gone.  So as I drove down the highway with everything I owned in the back of my car, his mother called me.  She wanted to know what had happened because he had just shown up at her house, sat on the couch looking miserable, told her only that he had screwed up really bad and probably lost me.  I told her what he had said, and she talked me into staying.  She had put up with the same thing from his father.  It was terrible, but he didn't mean it, so she always stayed.  That's just what you do.  You love someone during the bad times too, and you stay.  So I stayed.  
     I could barely take a bite of food in front of this man for weeks.  I couldn't laugh, I didn't want his hands on me, he couldn't give me a compliment, both of us knowing that we wouldn't believe the words anyway.  It was horrible.  But I pushed through and kept at it and stayed, because that is what you do.  I ran again.  I didn't stop for long out of fear of gaining a single pound.  But I loathed it. I felt obligated to it.  I felt like I was being watched, even though he was usually gone when I ran.  I would run alone in the dark, through the empty streets of the brand new neighborhood and I would cry, but I wouldn't let myself stop running.  When I had to walk, I'd curse myself.  I overdid it sometimes and when I just needed a break, and felt like I wasn't allowed one, I would turn the treadmill in the living room on and let it run on its own while I rested on the couch.  Then I'd leave my run stats on so that when he got on the treadmill next, he would see that I had run, just like I said I did.  He is the worst person I have ever known. 

     For him to steal 5 minutes from me last night is inexcusable.  He took enough from me before, didn't he?  I had already planned to go for a run last night.  I'm getting back into it again, and it's been for me this time.  And for P, and for my kids.  But not so I can have their approval.  So I can be healthy, and energized, and so I can live a long, active life with them.  Yes, I want to look good for P, but he's never once complained at any point during my roller coaster ride with the scale these last few years.  Maybe I'd like to fish some compliments out of him, but he doesn't give them freely, and I'll know that when does, he means it.  And if it boosts my self esteem, great - he has my respect and my love and is my best friend, so he has the right to affect it.  So I ran anyway last night, and a couple of times my mind did drift to places it shouldn't go. I found myself feeling watched again, but I was able to push it out of my mind, and focus on the thing I am doing for myself.  

     So how am I turning that ridiculous little mind-game of an email into something positive?  I'm letting myself remember what I should never, ever forget.  That when I don't love myself enough, anything at all that is important to me can be stripped away at any moment.  If I let myself believe I am not worthy of something or someone, there are terrible things and people just waiting to pounce.  Miserable people want other people to be miserable.  It has taken a while, through several years of having babies, finding a rhythm, learning to be thrust into situations and a life I never got to decide if I was ready for, but I am finally finding myself again, loving who I am, realizing my potential and seeing that I have a lot to offer this world.  I don't have to be in perfect shape to be loved, or to love myself. But I want to be in perfect shape, that's my goal to pursue and no one else needs to give me permission.  I am so incredibly grateful for the life I have now, because I in no way thought I deserved it when started raining blessings on me every single day. The only person I'm not good enough for these days is God, and I know He loves me no matter what.  I am proud of who I am, I am proud of giving birth to two beautiful boys, stomach pooch be damned.  My kids are beautiful, and I know part of that came from me.  I am proud that I finally decided to love myself enough to walk away from a situation that tore me down every single day.  I wouldn't change the way I handled it at all.  The timing was perfect to set the stage for what was to come and I am light years wiser for having been through it.  

     My health is important to me again, more so than ever. It belongs to me now, and to the people that matter.  People who want me to be healthy so I can LIVE, not so I can look good on their arm.  And the funny thing is, DA was the ugly one all along.  Not wasting another thought.  

Can't wait to run tonight. 

P.S. The blog title is a Black Keys song, of course.  I just had to be ironic. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

I have to laugh after reading my last post.  Which I actually just hit "post" for, even though I wrote it last November, it looks like.  And that one was written a million years after the one before that.  That's life now. Blogging was something I did for me, and now showering is something I do for me.  So forgive me for skipping a shower today to finally post another blog.  It took me three tries to just log in, I couldn't remember what email address it's under, and then I was greeted with a picture of 9 month old Harrison and thought "Awwwww...I miss that little baby!"  

But hey, no worries!  I have a new one to play with!  Harrison got a little brother for Christmas last year, (early gift, 12/3) and his name is Declan and he is Harrison's total opposite.  Looks, personality, sleeping patterns, eating habits, you name it. Some days he is Harrison's best friend, and others, his biggest enemy. Like if Declan comes anywhere near a toy that Harrison has given any thought to in the past week.  "Nooooooo Deck-win!...Nooooo....Mommmyyyyyy!" *sigh*  I'm so tired.

Our little family of four is now complete, and even though Dex has been with us for almost a year, it feels like we are still working on settling into this whole work/life balance thing.  Some days are perfection, and some take every ounce of strength to get through, but every day is fulfilling and a gift.  I don't really know where I would be right now, had these beautiful boys not fallen into my lap, but it couldn't possibly be as fun.  I would be in better shape and my floors would be clean, but definitely not as fun.  Besides, I feel like the day might come when I actually have time to work out five days a week, sweep, mop, AND be a good it is possible to have it all, I'm sure.  Just not yet.  

So right now we are in a good place, the house is looking pretty good, only a couple of major projects we want to do, or the other option is to just pick up and move...I'm kind of for it, actually.  Peyton's in the same job and doing great things, and I just started a new one.  I'm 3 weeks in and I haven't done anything yet. all.  But I'm told I will have an avalanche of work soon, so that's something to look forward to during the holidays. Other than that, we have nothing going on.  No announcements to make, no more babies on the way (for once).  Hopefully this small amount of information will tide everyone over until next year, or the year after when I have a minute to write again.  I actually plan to write more from now on.  But hey, I also planned to be skinny by this past summer and that turned out to be a big bust.  (Real big).  So don't hold me to it.  

Hey guess what, I'm pregnant...

Yeah, so that's pretty old news at this point, since I'm due in December, but apparently I lost the blogging bug during this pregnancy.  What can I say?  Harrison is a toddler.  And that should pretty much explain it all.  My little man is quickly approaching his second birthday, but before that, he's getting a baby brother.  Two under two.  We're nuts.

This pregnancy has definitely not been the same as the first.  Mostly, I have not had the time on my hands to sit and reflect about what could be going wrong at any given point of the day, and so I don't spend the days between doctor visits thinking my baby has died and I'm going to be given the news at my next appointment. This poor kid.  Not being neurotic has made the last few months a lot more relaxing for me and those around me than I was with Harrison. But I also feel like I barely give this baby a second thought on some days.  He kicks and I'm like, "Hey, watch the the bladder..." and then start thinking about what's for dinner.  That is pretty much the thought that follows anything I do or say..."what's for dinner?"  I never knew I could be so hungry!  I'm already predicting Baby#2 will be 9lbs.  Any takers on that bet?  I could use the money on something nice for myself.  Yeah right.  Those days are far behind me.

In the meantime, we are somewhat trying to prepare Harrison for not being an only child (our first broken promise to him).  It's not like it's all that easy to have a really in-depth, informative conversation with a toddler who knows approximately sixty-five words.  So he can point to his tummy and say "bah-bee" and now thinks everyone has a baby in there, I'm sure.  He also recognizes what a baby actually is, so that's good.  Now whether or not he wants to share a house with one is anybody's guess.  We have moved him to his new big-boy room, complete with a twin bed, and brand new decorations.  He loves it.  I don't know how he's going to feel when someone else takes over his baby room, though.  I just need to focus on making his room ten times cooler than the nursery.  Since we (meaning me) are in nesting mode right now, we're also in the middle of turning the basement into a playroom/guestroom.  The basement is our previously-unused second living area, which has been home to all things homeless in our house until now, and it is one step down from the rest of the house, which is about as close to being a basement as you can get in Texas. Now, if people decide they really want/need to stay with us, they will have the pleasure of sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a room with no door or bathroom, and will be sharing space with a circus tent and a motion-sensor pony that could scare the pants off you in the middle of the night. I'll be testing that theory when #2 is here and waking up in the middle of the night, because we will heading straight for that room every time, in hopes that Harrison's sleep doesn't get disturbed.  I found out recently that Harrison really, really, really needs a good night's sleep.  Really.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hug Your Babies.

I was heavily drugged and not even a little bit clear-headed when Harrison was put in front of me for the first time, so I didn't have this explosion of emotion and love that everyone talks about when they see their baby for the first time.  I loved him, of course...I just didn't know how to form a word or a thought in that moment other than, "don't barf, don't barf."  And that was taking everything in me.  A few hours later when they woke me up and had him with them to hand to me for the first time, they didn't even give me a minute to wake up a little and hold him before it became all business.  This is how you nurse and you want to shove this here and do this right now and hold his head like this!!!  I really got robbed of those first moments.  I'm not bitter though.  Over the next couple of weeks, I really got to fall in love with Harrison and get to bond with him for the first time. I thought I couldn't love anyone more than I loved him right then.  I was so wrong. 

I love this boy more every day, and when I wake up every morning feeling like it couldn't even be possible to love him more, and then go turn on his lamp and watch him groggily roll over, sit up and reach for me with his eyes barely open...I just get knocked over with an even bigger dose of love than the day before.  The tiniest, most insignificant things make me so happy.  Watching him sit on the floor of the kitchen and eat a popsicle.  Watching him play for a minute when I pick him up from daycare, and he doesn't know I'm there yet.  When he eats his dinner and says, "Mmmmm!" after every bite.  When he gets home from school and immediately starts asking for the dog.  "Ah-yer?  Ah-yer?"  Which is the best prounounciation of Oliver I've ever heard, by the way.  The way he walks around hugging a stuffed animal and patting it on the back.  His dance moves.  I have to catch my breath sometimes when I think of him or watch him do something new.  He is far and away the best thing I have ever done and the reason my life now has life in it.  I want nothing more than the priviledge of watching him grow up into a happy, beautiful man.  

Today is April 19th.  The anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, in which nineteen young children and babies were killed.  When I think of how much I love my son, and how much he has given me in just one year, and then think of how it would feel to lose him like heart hurts for everyone who lost someone that day, but it's agony to think of the ones who lost their babies.  My heart goes out to them, because I know that even after all this time, they are still hurting...especially today.  

Lately, I am reminded more and more to never take for granted this gift I have been given, and I make it a point to thank God every night for my son and ask Him to watch over him and protect him.  I may still have some traces left in me of the selfish person I was before Harrison, but he has softened my heart and taught me what it means to love.  I pray I get to tell him that every day for many, many, many years to come.  

Monday, March 19, 2012


I was raised a certain way, to believe in certain things and how they should be, and while there are some things I outgrew or decided against as I became and grew into my own person, there are some things that stuck with me and still hold true for me.  I am currently in a situation that causes me to go against one of those beliefs, and it is becoming less and less comfortable for me as time passes.  But what do you do when one person believes one thing, and the one person believes another, and there isn't a "middle of the road"?  There isn't a compromise on this one.  It's just one person getting their way, while the other one doesn't.  

And how does this translate into my parenting?  How do I tell my son to never compromise his values, when that is exactly what I am doing?  I get this horrible pit in my stomach when I think about it. I don't know how to be anything other than myself...but pretending that things are ok that I don't think are ok is not me.  But complicating things definitely is, and so why should it come as a surprise that I find myself here now?  

I love my little boy more than I've ever loved another human being and there is nothing in this world I wouldn't do for him.  The last thing I want is for him to grow up using me as an example of how not to be, like I did with my parents.  People always tell me I turned out so great for coming from the situation that I did.  First of all, I'd like to just be told that I turned out great for once and leave it at that.  Not to have my successes be measured against my parents' failures.  And secondly, it's sad when someone has a decent life only because they made a decision to not be like their parents. God forbid I ever put my own son in that situation.  

Anyway, this is mostly me venting and definitely getting a little more personal than I like to, but welcome to my diary.  I had to be able to say it to someone

On a lighter note...maybe I'm not the best person on the planet, but my family sure is!  My aunt and three of my cousins came to visit this weekend and we had such a great time!  Especially Harrison, who absolutely adored the boys and was so sad to see them go.  There is nothing better than having a house full of people that leave a void behind when they go.  We miss them already.  My dad may be wasting a spot on this planet, but I definitely lucked out with the rest of my fam, they are truly my home.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Harrison's birthday came and went and unfortunatly, no party took place.  He ended up with a terrible cold and pink eye and gave the cold to both of us, and as of today, March 1st...we are still getting over it.  TERRIBLE cold.  It was the worst not having a party for him, although we did celebrate a little bit the night of the would-be party with some friends and family.  After H went to bed, of course.  Thankfully, he is now over it and soon,  I'm getting him a cake and balloons and we're singing "Happy Birthday" and he's wearing his birthday shirt.  I don't care if it's a month late, you don't miss your child's first birthday!

Last week, our little man transitioned to the next class at his daycare.  He spent a little more time in there each day.  It's been sort of a struggle because his very favorite teachers are no longer his all-day best friends and it's obvious he's a little sad about it.  He loves to play with the "big kids" but then he loves to go back to his room and cuddle with his teachers and run the show.  His new class has a daily routine, that includes naptime on a mat - which he thought was the dumbest idea ever at first, but he has now napped with them two or three times. He even got to go play on the playground outside and ride on the bouncy horse, and he sat still in his teacher's lap to listen during storytime.  No one wants to accept it right away, but he's definitely not a baby any more. So bittersweet.

The one thing about his growing up (too quickly) that is turning out to be so much fun, is feeding him table food for every meal.  Oh, and not buying formula or baby food has put a little cushion back in our bank account. Not complaining about that either! This past weekend, Harrison went out to breakfast and had his own plate of pancakes, then a turkey sandwhich for lunch, a few bites of cake (his first ever) at his friend Dillon's party, and chicken fingers with fries at dinner.  I think we were so excited about him eating with us that day that we forgot all about healthy.

Oh, and one more thing.  He took his first steps.  ON my birthday.  What a great kid!  He has taken many more since then.  It is his new favorite trick to show off.  So much so that when we would not allow him free run when we went out to dinner last night so that he could show all of his fans at the restaurant how talented he is, he decided we were idiots and threw a giant fit and dinner quickly became a "to-go" order.  He's so cute :)

As for me, I've decided, a year after giving birth, that it's time to get rid of the baby weight and get back to my fighting weight.  Getting prepared to chase a little boy around too.  It's going to require a lot of stamina and a smaller butt, so Peyton signed me up for a 5k in April and I've been training for that and supplementing with workouts with my favorite girl-body, Jillian Michaels. I told her I would be back, and I am!  But you know...last time I got in really good shape, I ended up pregnant.  Just saying...