Friday, May 30, 2008

Here We Go Again

I went to the doctor yesterday as a follow up for my little ER visit on Monday. Thankfully my heart is very strong (bp 94/60) and my lungs are clear. There is no biological reason for having a respiratory emergency and resultant heart attack type symptoms. All of the tests in the hospital (x-ray, ekg, bloodwork) pointed towards a very healthy, young (!) person.

However.

It seems that my two constant companions Fatigue and Anxiety have decided that they are going to try to kill me. Thinking back, this all makes sense. I had actually gone on that bike ride because I was so tired and I thought maybe I just needed some exercise and fresh air. What my mind thought, my body revolted against. Then, since I couldn't breathe I panicked - making my chest tight and everything that much worse.

Makes perfect sense to me. Why, then, does my chest still get tight? Why is it hard to breathe? Why does this all seem to hit me around 6:30 in the morning and the mysteriously dissipate around 2:00 in the afternoon?

Well, I need to make some changes, that's for sure. I know I need to take a step down on my exercising and decide that I don't need to kill myself every time I go out for a run. I need to stop stressing over the laundry, the dishes, and the dirty floor...(haven't we heard this before)... where's that blog entry from six months ago...

Last time it was my back that was so far out of whack I had to go and have it adjusted while I cried. Oh man that hurt. The time before that it was a headache that I had for a week that I was sure was going to kill me.

Every freaking time I go to the doctor I get the same stinking diagnosis. Fatigue and Anxiety. My doctor isn't a pill pusher which is fine 'cause I'm not a pill popper. He won't perscribe much for anxiety other than obvious lifestyle changes. These little physical breakdowns are getting closer together and are getting more severe.

What do I do? Where do I make the changes. Well, I think I have decided that alot of this lies with me and my perception of the things in my daily life. I am guilty of being my own worse critic and never letting myself "off the hook" when I do something wrong. In my mind there is no excuse. For anything. At any time.

I have to change my thinking. A little at a time. Today I will start with, ummm...hmm...I will start with not freaking out about how short the weekend will be. Maybe I need to start with a little less planning and a little more living in the moment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shut Up and Keep Going

I just wish my body was as strong as my will. Ask my husband and he will testify that NO person ever was that strong or ever will be.

I am a combo of the worst kind. Prideful, willful, stubborn, strong and smart. When I was in my teens and twenties I did terrible things to my body with cigarettes, drugs and booze. I did that like I do everything...with a vengance.

I could go into some boring diatribe about what a badass I used to be, but that would serve no purpose here. Suffice it to say that since I turned the energy around, I feel like I can pretty much do anything (in God's will) that I put my mind to.

I have found that fitness is an awesome, time consuming, diversionary, extracarricular activity. When I finally figured out that not everything that I found enjoyable had to be bad for me I was thrilled! I also have figured out one thing along with it.

I can't be the best.

I do not have the word "can't" in my vocabulary. I do not operate well within limitations. I truly don't understand why I cannot run an 8 minute mile, why I cannot force my body to ride a bike 15 miles at a shot, why I cannot just work hard, train hard, and be a freakin' physical badass!

I'm frustrated. I had some sort of respiratory attack while riding my bike on Monday morning and ended up in the hospital. I couldn't catch my breath and had all the symptoms of a heart attack. I was alone on the trail, I was scared.

I started making deals...

One of those deals was to start dealing with this will of mine. I guess I can't just keep pushing my body around like this. I trained, by the book, for a half marathon and never lost one stinking ounce of weight or got one stinking second faster. At some point I have to accept that this is the way God wants me to be and be happy.

I guess I'm not done dealing with this pride thing either. I would never hold anyone else to the standard that I hold myself to. I have a constant inner dialogue that is a cynical, criticizing slave driver for whom nothing is ever good enough.

For the past few weeks I have felt far away from God. I have felt badly that I don't get my Bible read on a daily basis and that my prayers are often fragmented with other friviouls thoughts about my daily life. I forget to pray with the kids at meals and most of the time by the time I get them to bed, I'm to chicken to go back in there to pray. I can't even have a relationship with God "perfectly".

So I guess if I think I'm such hot stuff that I can do it all by myslef, God will just let me. Afterall, he's always here - it's me that moves

Monday, May 26, 2008

Farewell to My Pump

Yesterday I packed up my breastpump, all the assecories and Baby Susan's bottles, nipples, drop in's, drying rack, etc. I took it all downstairs and put it away in a safe place. My husband wondered if I wanted it put in a garbage bag or some other bag to protect it from dust etc.

He remembers how important that thing was to me.

This time around I was going to succeed with the whole breast feeding thing. I vowed to ask for help, purchase the appropriate supplies, and do what it took to nurse my third baby beyond that first two weeks.

And because God is good and I am the most stubborn woman on the planet, I did.
I took 12 weeks maternity leave. It was largely unpaid (I had a small insurance policy that covered my health insurance and taxes while I was gone) but worth every dollar we put on our credit card because of it. Baby was 4 weeks early, milk was slow to come in, I had a uterine infection and mastitis 4 times so I ended up needing that extra time.

When I returned to work, my discretely packaged pump went with me. Closing my door to pump every three hours in an office full of men was a challange. My boss actually used his key to gain entry on the second day (after I had just told him what I was going in there to do). I made a humerous clip art sign showing a crying baby riding a cow to put on my door from then on. I guess "Please do not disturb" wasn't clear enough.

For nine months, I hauled that thing back and forth to work. Three times a day faded to two, then finally just once. I looked at that black bag with contempt, disdain, fatigue and at times as sweet salvation.

And now, two weeks before her first birthday - Susan seems only marginally still interested in nursing just before bed. She has 4 pearly white teeth (two on the bottom and two on the top) and I am just fine with her preference for the sippy cup.

If I was a Mom that could be at home with my baby I would probably feel more apprehension to weaning. Nursing her (finally) became easy and quick and a great time to force myself to slow down. Not much multitasking can be done while feeding the baby.

For once in my life I am leaving this experience without a shred of guilt. There is no voice in my head saying "you could have done more". I feel genuinely good about the whole thing. For once I was not swayed by social pressures, well-meaning family members or socio-econimic limitations.

So, goodbye to my pump. May it rest in peace until the next time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Slobber

Well, I'm going to break my tradition of excellence in blogging and go for a topic that makes my 4th graders gaffaw...slobber.

Sometimes when little kids sleep, they drool a little and they wake up with it all sort of dried to thier face. A chalky white line outlines where the slobber ebbed and flowed with the deep respiration of sleep.

It's kind of cute, really. The wake up and use the back of thier hand to wipe it away, mash a fist in each eye and stumble out of thier room anxious to meet the day.

I've been short on sleep lately. Okay, for a couple of years now, but that's not the point. The point is when I do sleep, I sleep HARD. I normally begin snoring right before my head hits the pillow and when the alarm goes off it scares me so bad that I'm out of bed before I know what happened.

The other day when the alarm went off I realized that I had been sleeping face first in my pillow, arms down at my sides with my mouth hanging wide open and drooling like a champ. I'm not talking the cute little slobbers of a kid, but a river of saliva cascading down my face.
I honestly thought that I had been sweating profusely or that the glass of water next to my bed had upset and soaked me.

How sexy is that? Dang, I really miss my husband now that we work opposite shifts, but at that moment in time I was grateful for the inky black of 5am and the near comatose state of my beloved.

Maybe I was eating something really yummy in my dream. Or cooking something, or, or, I don't know maybe I was at the dentist.

Who knows. Yawn...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thank You

So I'm going down the aisle at the grocery store after work yesterday, pushing little baby Susan right along. She was fussy, her top two teeth are coming in and she has recently realized that being strapped in = not being able to get away and that makes her mad.

Anyway, we have our little ritual. We bring in our green reusable grocery bag (purchased at the store for .99 and boy are they ever big!) she holds that and tries to put it on her head while I hold the list and grab what we need for dinner. When I'm done with the list, she is usually done playing with the bag and I give her the list to "play" with (maim, chew, destroy, eat).

She was really being quite patient yesterday. For someone who isn't yet a year old, she really seems to understand what we are saying when we talk to her. She had reached for the list several times, and I had told her to just wait and made an appropriately funny face and sound effect.

When I was finally done with the list I gave it to her. Much to her delight it was a sticky note! She had fun opening and closing it a couple of times until disaster struck.

She dropped it.

Reflexively, I stooped to pick it up. As I handed it to her, she reached out that pudgy little hand, looked right at me and said "He Hoo" to the tune of a sing-songy "Thank You!" It was so clear that I just stopped dead and gave her a big grin, a little head rub and a "Good Job!"

Then I took it away from her and tried it again - no show. She was a little miffed at me for taking it...it's just that I was the only one that heard it and I wanted just for someone, anyone to hear it too to be able to corroborate my story!

We say please and thank you to her often. When she is getting excited and wants something very badly, her siblings and Daddy and I tell her to say please and when we hand it to her we say that sing-songy Thank you. That little squirt!

Well, at least one of the kids is listening to us!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Run Because I Care

Being a parent is alot like being an attention buffet. The kids can just walk into the room, grab a plate and get some attention anytime day or night. It's really cheap for them, always available and someone else cleans up thier mess.

While they are munching on your attention, things are happening in the background. You're thinking about what your going to make for dinner, that the baby needs diapers, the grass needs mowing, and whatever happened to that project you were working on making kitchen curtains...

From the time you get up until you go to bed (and if you're like me, while you're asleep too!) you have your attention divided. Proverbs 31 says a ton of good stuff about how to be a wife of noble character. One thing I noticed was in verse 15 is that it talks about her getting up before everyone to plan her day.

While I don't think that I will start getting up any earlier to plan my day, I do see that this points to the importance of time alone. The demands on my attention are great and constant. Even when there aren't children around, I'm thinking about them and how to care for them. There's always an inner dialogue figuring things out.

This is why I run. I get to run away. I get to do nothing but put one foot in front of the other. I don't have to be graceful or cordinated, patient or nurturing. No one can walk up and serve themselves to my attention. No one can ask me what's for dinner or whether I fixed thier favorite pants yet. All I have to do is run and breathe.

I love it. It's an instant stress reliever. I come back feeling like a better Mommy, a better Wife and all over better person. I care about my family, thier health, wellness and peace of mind. And to keep all that intact, I need to be sane.

So I run, I run away.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Musings of a Bored AP Clerk

I was sitting at my desk today and it occured to me that I could do the bulk of my job anywhere at anytime with not much difficulty. My job has gone through a significant metamorphasis in the last year. Used to be that I did alot of customer service stuff, greeting people, talking on the phone, you know.

But ever since I returned from maternity leave last fall, my job has become more about accounting. I do the data entry for payroll and enter process and maintain accounts recievable. I also still have some periphery duties in customer service but it's mostly because I'm the only one who's been there long enough to just know a little bit about everything.

Man, I would love to work from home. It would be different, and a challange to be sure, but I could adjust. I would need to have set hours of course, just like any job. But not having to get dressed and leave for work every day at 6:30 would be great. And then you factor in transportations and how ours has been in the shop more than not lately and that's another bonus!

A girl has to dream...

I went out and stimulated the economy today by purchasing a new stove at The Home Depot. I am so excited!! Ours is a real class A piece of crap. It had been suggested that I call a service man out to look at it - but that stove is at LEAST 20 years old and a service call is going to cost me $75 or more. I think a brand new Maytag on sale for $349 is a much more economical choice.

Remember when Michael and Kumar went Office Space on the fax machine...oh yeah...I'm a gangsta...

On a better note, I made some really great Chocolate muffins tonight that you would never know where good for you. Slipped that whole wheat flour and flax seed right in there. Ha! Gotta get your fiber, folks! I got out my clothes from last summer (post baby) and they still fit - so since I'm done training for a marathon and nearly done (crossing fingers) nursing that baby, it's time to boogy this booty back off.

I bet kicking the coil out of that stove would burn some calories.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Too Busy for Friends

I've been thinking lately about what happens when you are to busy for friends. I am embarrassed to say that a friend called me two weeks ago and I haven't called her back yet. I think about her, I read her blog and check her "space" but I haven't made time to call her.

Sad, really. I miss my friends, I really do. I think about them all the time. D has a teenaged daughter that I'm interested in how she's doing and a little guy getting ready to enter Kindergarten in the fall. A is pregnant with baby number two and actually called me earlier...I missed the call - I was folding laundry in the other room.

Why am I blogging rather than calling a friend. Well, it's simple really. I am seated at the dining room table on the laptop. The baby is in the highchair to my right finishing up some finger food. My 6 year old is seated to my left doing her best to finish her dinner to secure a treat later. Directly ahead of me is my 9 year old who is playing some sort of battle game and telling me about school today.

I can do all this and type. I always have that "inner dialogue" going on anyway, so why not let it out? My brain works hyper time all the time. Ever see the movie "Real Genius"? I'm that chick that never sleeps because she's hyperkinetic - only I have to sleep and I'm really not a genius.
So I feel bad. The most I get for conversation time is a brief 5 or 10 minutes on the phone before the bottom drops out and somebody is crying. Anybody who emails, texts or blogs I have a connection with. Anybody who doesn't, I don't.

I have a friend that says that she is to busy to get on the internet. She stays home and has one 16 month old. Now, I can see money being short, sanity for sure - but time? I guess sometimes I feel like my friends with a little more time ont thier hands would call me once in a while.
Maybe I'm confused, maybe I'm just whining, maybe I'm crazy. Okay, I'm sure I'm crazy. While my online friends are nice, I miss the real ones.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Every Day is Mother's Day

Bright and early at 6:30 this morning, I heard my pretty little baby singing to her teddy bear and kicking the bars of her crib. She was awake and ready to get up. When you're eleven months old, it doesn't matter what else only that you're awake and it's light outside. It's Sunday and I wish I'd had more sleep. But since it is Sunday and I should make something yummy like pancakes since my sister is here from KC I guess I better get up.

Just like every other Sunday on record, I was the last one ready today. Seems like there's always somebody else in there or a baby that needs to be fed, or something going on. I didn't get in the shower till 30 minutes before we had to leave for church. Needless to say - we were late again.

My Mom was already there at the church. She had driven 100 miles to join us for worship today to see our youngest dedicated. We slid in there just in time. The dedication was nice and our Pastor delivered a really great message about Moms and sacrifice and perserverance. I even got to hear most of it after David took the baby out because she was howling and we didn't take the neighbor girl today so I didn't have to break the girls up once.

After church, my sister and Mom joined us for lunch. I grilled chicken breasts and got out a pasta salad I made last night. I had calculated the points for each component on the plate for my Mom and Sis and I since were all trying to cut a few pounds.

After that I tried to clean up the place a bit and made David's lunch since he had to work tonight. My brother and sister in law stopped by later and staye thier obligatory 30 minutes to say that they did. I had wanted to have a Mother's Day dinner today (cooked by me at my house - just show up and smile) but they and Dave's folks had other things to do, so I didn't.

Today was essentially the same as any other Sunday. A little more stressful (house issues with my Bro) and a little more work, but all in all the same. I got a really nice card and snow globe to commemorate this day on this year and my husband told me Happy Mother's Day.

I am not a demanding woman. I don't have a taste for fine clothes or expensive jewelry. David bought me a bottle of my favorite perfume 2 years ago and I still have some left. Jeans are a staple in my wardrobe and I like to play outside. If you were to ask me what I would like for Mother's Day I could only think of one thing:

Peace. One entire morning or afternoon of peace. I don't require being alone, I just don't really want to be talked to. I would be perfectly okay with being locked in my bedroom. I could even take a nap!

Oh well...I'll ask for it next year.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Getting What I Don't Deserve

Ever hear someone say "Take the rest of the day off, you deserve it." "Or, you've worked hard, take a load off, you deserve it." Or maybe, "Indulge yourself, you deserve it." Just snap on the television and you're bound to hear one or a variation of these in short order.

With Mother's Day on Sunday, I've heard things like "treat Mom like she deserves to be treated" and such. Of course these are commercials from places that will tell you anything to sell you something. Even if your Mom was kind of crappy, they have a card or bouquet to celebrate it.

I've been thinking about this because I have someone new in my life who is highly complimentary to me. She's a really neat lady, a Mom, Wife and beautiful young woman. I can't for the life of me understand why she thinks I'm so neat. Sounds like she's been around some really lost and mean people in her life, so maybe just the fact that I don't yell at her is a plus. Whatever it is, she gives me praise I feel I don't deserve.

I haven't cured cancer or won a gold medal. I don't have a prestigious job and have never had a building named after me. Sometimes I mess up and alot of times I can't keep from saying what I shouldn't. I have lied, stolen from my mother, cheated, ran away, and spent alot of my young adulthood trying to slowly kill myself.

I'm just a woman who is blessed beyond belief. I could never repay all that I have been blessed with and I sure as heck don't deserve it. While it feels good to be praised, I'm not used to it. I hope I never do get used to it, I hope it always feels like too much and like I don't deserve it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Children Are a Blessing

This morning I'm tired. Being a wife and a mom is a big honking job and alot of the time you're work goes unnoticed and outwardly unappreciated. Get over it.

Susan got up to eat about 4:30 this morning, so that last hour of sleep was abbreviated at best. I shuffled into the bathroom and turned on the shower. When I looked around a bit to get my eyes adjusted to the light I noticed a square of toilet paper over the opening to an empty kleenex box. I had intended to pitch that box when I saw that it was empty but forgot last night.

Mom Note: Whey the heck do you guys always use the last of things and refuse to throw the empty container away? How many times do I have to tell you...

I grab the square of toilet paper off of there and wad it up to throw it away, and as I look down to grab that empty box I see a small blue stuffed bunny smiling up at me. He was lovingly wrapped in several more squares of toilet paper and put "night night" in that empty tissue box. ***Sigh***

So, I carefully pulled one square of toilet paper off of the roll, laid it back over the sleeping bunny and left it just like I found it. I'm sure that the bunny's "mommy" would be very worried and upset if someone disturbed her slumber.

And here's what I heard:

"Good morning Mommy. We feel safe and sound because we know you are here to take care of us. You work hard for us and make sure we are clean and that we match. We have so much energy because you force us to eat whole grains and all our vegetables and we even love you anyway."

And somehow I have all the energy that I need to do whatever is required of me today. Thank you Lord for that precious little 6 year old girl and her stuffed bunny.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Divided Heart

Wow! What an absolutely spectacular day we had here in good old Nebraska yesteday! It was 80 degrees and sunshiney. Our children played out back with the hose in thier swimsuits.
It was so nice to be off at 2:00 and be able to come home, work in the yard have time to cook dinner, clean up and actually be able to talk to my kids. Alahnnah made me a sign that said "Mommy, you r a axpert at coocing. Love Alahnnah". I guess she really liked dinner!

So here's a verse that's on my mind today. Psalm 86:11

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

What I was looking at was the bit about the "undivided heart". God wants my heart to be for him and him alone. It's easy for me, being raised in a Judeo-Christian society, to not have any other gods before Him. But what about things that I elevate to godhood and come before him?

For me it's stuff like business. Doing this, going there, involved, participating, competing, training, busy busy busy. I always think "gee, I really need to have a quiet time every day to read my Bible" but I don't do it. I'm too busy! A few times a week I try to read before bed instead of whatever novel I'm reading. But let's face it, but the end of the day, I can't comprehend much!

There's another verse in Matthew 6:24 that talks about how you can't serve two masters. Ever had two bosses (or five like me?), you definitelly have your favorite. And you have to pick who to listen to all the time right? I go by who's the oldest in my situation because they are all related, but what about other stuff. Who do you pick to listen to?

What about God and money, or food, or shopping, or television, or cigarettes, or business? Wow, am I serving the god of business by not making time everyday to read my Bible?

Arg. I hate questions like this.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Dream Job

I had this really strange dream last night...I can hear my smarty-pants Husband saying "Really?"...I dream in living color and WEIRD nearly every night.

Anyway - I was dreaming that I was looking to get a job at a packing plant. I was walking accross the parking lot where everyone was getting off work and getting thier cars, motorcycles, prortable gas grills (see?) out of thier garages to drive home. I had to check in with this kindly old woman at a concession stand to get directions to HR.

When I got to HR I had to enter my info on the computer and make myself a temporary name badge just to walk in the place. All the people in the HR office were women with '80's hair, clothes and jewlry and they were all rushing around like they were just swamped. I was thinking "gee, I might miss my cushy office job if I work on the line, but I won't miss that stress".

I waited my turn and they called me into an office that opened up into a clearing where a Native American man in traditional clothing stood to interview me. I had to stand on a platform and as I got there a young boy was mowing the clearing with some sort of office equipment (I told you!). I tried to stand very still and there wasn't much talking.

Next thing I know, I'm in a production room with a bunch of tv monitors with the Inverviewer and he's looking at other interviews. He has this long, pink feathery thing in his hand and tells me that it is what he uses to measure people's true intentions. I felt very comfortable that I had told the truth, but realized from other times in my life where I had lied why he would need that.

Then my alarm went off...

At least I wasn't driving a house this time. They're hard to park!