Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Embarrassed at Myself

 It's 12:54pm and I'm wishing it was bed time.

Of all that has happened so far today, it's the generous outpouring and the near collision with the reckless driver at the grade school that has me thinking.

We live in a low-income neighborhood.  About half of our neighbors are home owners, with the other half being high turnover rentals and a couple of crazy college houses on the block to make life interesting.  Our grade school has an 87% qualification for free/reduced lunches. I sometimes feel badly.  We drive a very old car, I coupon and cook from scratch.  We wait til the last possible moment to hit the thrift store when the seasons change because money is just always that tight.  Christmas is quite stressful, car insurance is due that month also, so - you know.

I get jealous, though I know I should not, of our peers that seem to do so much better.  We have more children, less education and at least as much debt than many people we know.  We are working on the debt thing and doing well, it just takes time.  It's very disheartening to work and work and never have anything except the necessities.

And just as that pity party really got going full throttle, I see one of them.  The guy that wears winter weather gear in summer to keep it from being stolen.  The "Duck Dynasty" looking guy on the corner with a small cardboard sign that says NEED FOOD.  The woman that walks her young child to school in every kind of weather because they don't have a car.  She speaks little English.  Did she come here alone with her son to get away from a terrible life?

I see them and it makes me cry.  I cry because I'm EMBARRASSED.  How could I feel sorry for myself living in a low income neighborhood, when I'm wearing $150 running shoes?  Okay, yes, I had to buy them used from eBay for $50 - but I have a computer at home, a job to save money from and a checking account with which to even do that.  How could I feel sorry for myself when I have a loving husband, a safe and warm house, food to eat, and clothing to wear.  I'm such a spoiled, rotten, ungrateful brat sometimes.  I can't even stand myself.

Just as everything sanctioned by God, this is FOR MY GOOD.  And - for our children's good.

Our school is 63% minority.  Yep, our little white kids are the minority precentage.  I went to school in a very white, middle class neighborhood and was sort of scared of other races.  Our kids don't even see colors of skin.  It's absolutely beautiful.  Had I ever come home with a non-white boyfriend, my Dad would have killed me.  Our kids will never know that bias.  They are free to choose friends based on mutual interest and, hopefully, love of Christ!  What a wonderful world that opens to them.

I'm rambling a bit now - but I'm just so glad to have been slapped around a little.  I still get jealous of others' seemingly easy time of things.  I guess God just knows that I have enough faith in Him that I can handle this.  It's a dubious honor.  Sort of like when you are really good at doing something distasteful at work that nobody else wants to do.  And...then that's your job from then on.  Yeah.  That's what having a large family on a small income is like.

Only with a much better Boss.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Failing Upward

The longer that I am a Mother, the more I realize that I don't know anything.

My skin gets a little tougher and I'm not as easily rattled, but I am no closer to knowing how to figure out my kids.

One thing I do know, is that they need even more attention as they grow older.  You would think that a two-year-old is at the pinnacle of need.  They need to be diapered, dressed, bathed and fed all by your hands.  They no longer sleep 20 hours per day and that afternoon nap is all you get for a break.  Food must be cut in to appropriate sized pieces, gates must be secured, doors latched and bodies of water observed with hawk-like attentiveness.

I always felt like things would get easier when the kids got older.  Don't get me wrong, it's really nice to have all four of them able to feed, dress, wash and toilet independently.  What I'm finding is that parenting is way more than my physical time investment.  Even after the day is done, as they get older, I think and plan my life around their doings and issues.
Not a fan of this sentiment.  (source)
Simply having three of them in three different schools is enough.  I feel like I am failing more and more as we are not even near the end of 1st Semester and I have already faltered on enforcing AWANA studies and we can't seem to get out the door without forgetting something, having to rush or not eating.  I need to get better about having them gather things at night!

Maybe feeling like a failure in parenting is a good sign.  If I was confident that David and I had it all together, then we might really be in trouble.  This principle is also how I know that I'm not really insane yet.  I know that I'm potentially not right in the head, and thereby I'm okay.

Right?  Right.

Being a parent does automatically make you a badass.  But if you have to wear a headband or shirt that says so, it negates it.  Don't do it.  Also, wearing the word "ass" in any form on your shirt is a no-no as a parent.  Even if they can't read yet, this will make you look like you crawled out of the gutter, over the wrong side of the tracks and hung out with the escaped cons during your pregnancy.  Which might mean you really are a badass.  No, just a dumbass.  Never mind.

Really - if you like the Badass Mother Runner stuff - we can still be friends.  Just understand that this is my blog, with my opinions.  I am the last person to suck in my breath when someone says a curse word (I'm a virtual compendium of "been there, done that"), I just think it's kinda tacky.

Okay.  Now that I've lost the 4 readers that I had...gotta go.  Baby just pooped his whole outfit and puked on the floor.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ladies Retreat Weekend

Yesterday, I had David pick me up short from from a long run. :(  The weekend was very full and I, erroneously, thought that after all that I could run 8 miles with no problem.  Hmm.  I turned early on my route to shorten in because I was feeling tired.  Then as I neared the zoo (about 1.25mi from home) I called for a pick up.  I then saw this sign, which made me laugh and think of my little sister and her sharp wit.

Where does one get a sticker that even says that!?
Looking at my stats, I could see that I was barely trudging along.  I made it about 3.75 miles - so at least I burned off some weekend calories!

Our church's Ladies Retreat was Friday night through Saturday afternoon.  My husband took Friday off to do my job and I went up early in the afternoon to help set up. Several of the gals had arrived even earlier and had it mostly done.  Our theme this year was "From Pieces to Peace" so the table decorations were quilts and puzzle pieces...with Reese's thrown in for good measure.  We have a very talented group of gals on our planning committee!

The table centerpieces.
I am Emcee of the event, so I get to be a goofball with a microphone and do what my buddy Sylvana (the committee chair and all around planner extraordinaire) asks me to do.  She's pretty amazing and a tireless champion of Christ.  Good, good person.  Very cool.

Early arrivals to the retreat dining in the local coffee shop.
We have a talented team of women that lead the music, a professional speaker, a woman from the congregation that gives their testimony, snacks, games, prayer, group discussion...it's really wonderful!  It is, however, extremely emotional and void of sleep.  My roommate for the second year in a row was a real pleasure.  She is very easy going about light and temperature - and brings me my favorite candy!
Dark chocolate and peanut butter for breakfast?  Yes!
Our speaker was Lora Jones from Kansas.  She spoke on what questions are okay to ask God and how to live with a heart full of pain.  I wish everyone could hear her speak.  She concentrated on how to live with pain and that we need to let joy enter in.  She never eluded that one needs to "get over it" and even said that it's okay to admit that the pain is still there.  I really liked the visual aid she used as she spoke.  It began with a heart all broken up and she stuck the various pieces on while she spoke. 

Let joy in, let hope buffer the pain, have peace like a river.
So a great weekend, but very tiring.  I feel like I'm starting this week behind the 8 ball on rest.  My insomnia has evolved, now, into not being able to fall asleep for hours after I go to bed.  I take my Ambien and wait.  The pills DO allow me to sleep through the night...all 5-6 hours of it.  Unfortunately, my insurance has decided to only cover 10 pills per month, soooo we will have to see what happens.  At this point, I'm willing to pay for a month of it, outright, just to get another month's sleep.  I would really like to start doing yoga before bed, but it's hard to give up more time with my sweet husband.  Especially at the end of the day when most of the kids are in bed.

So it goes.  Life is all about choices.  

This coming Saturday is the Market to Market Relay.  Except for Sunday's busted long run, I'm feeling exceptionally fit and prepared.  Bring on the run - stop - run, van full of stinky boys, eating on the run, delirious Omaha to Lincoln via our legs, fun!  Somehow, I think that will be LESS tiring than 24 hours of heart wrenching emotional drive-by diarrhea at the Ladies Retreat.  

I know, for sure, it will be easier!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Running Solace

This week has been hard.  I had a shot of Lupron Depo on Friday of last week, and by Sunday the pain was ON.  It's actually gotten better since then, but I'm still experiencing a level of pain that ibuprofen cannot handle.  Now, I'm not crazy and I'm certainly not any tougher than anyone else, really - but I have continued to run.  It doesn't make it any worse, and in fact it makes my brain feel better.  I do have to lose a little sleep to get it done - but there is something wondrous about that quiet time in the early morning all to myself.

I have a couple of events coming up and am glad to be run focused again.  I really like triathlon, but my first love will always be running.  The Governor's Cup on October 19th marks the 7th anniversary of the first race  that I ever ran.  I did the 5k back then and ran it in 32:23.  I don't remember following a training plan but I do remember running around my neighborhood keeping time on my watch.  I had no idea how far I was running - all I knew was that I regretted all the years I spent smoking!  This year I am doing the 15k of that same event.  Seven years ago I couldn't even imagine running 9.3 miles.  Pretty cool how things change.

The week before that I will be running in the Market to Market Relay.  Our church has an 8-man team that was all dialed in and ready to run.  I had contacted the team Captain a couple of months ago and asked if there was a slot available, which there was not.  Two weeks ago, my buddy Aaron called and told me they had someone bow out.  I'm IN!  I kind of felt like when I was to sick to run Last Blast that I had built my fitness level up for nothing.  I guess it wasn't for nothing after all.  Been tuning up a little with completing three runs within 24 hours in addition to a long run of 8-10 miles on weekends.

I love running and planning to run.  I love comparing running shoes, talking to other runners, reading about it, charting courses, calculating nutrition needs.  Something about it just takes my mind off of regular life and struggles of health and money and kids.  When I can't sleep, I imagine that I'm running and it relaxes me.  I don't know why - but I guess it's good to have something like that.

It may sound kind of sick, but I'm excited to run again tonight.  I have to run on the treadmill in the mornings to be home for the kids, so when I get to run at night it's a treat!  Something about running twice in one day (and not dying!) that makes me feel super tough.  I probably won't feel so tough after my run tonight. And especially after I do hills tomorrow morning.  That what doesn't kill me...doesn't kill me!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fish Oil Experiment Results

During the month of September, I started taking 6g  fish oil per day.  I took 2 pills (2g) at each meal.  I didn't change much else - I noticed that my weight was creeping up, so I did cut out some treats.  September was a hard month with my health - and I missed most of my workouts in the 1st and 2nd weeks of the month.  My motivation for trying the fish oil was to see if I could cut some body fat.  I'm slightly less concerned about the number on the scale at this point.  I guess I will play the "genetics" card when it comes to that.  Sounds like BS, probably is.

I should probably note that I eat about 1700 calories per day, eat lots of whole grains, low fat dairy and fruit and veg - and drink plenty of water.  I was pretty pleased with my results - especially given that I had less than perfect adherence to my workout schedule.  I actually missed my "A" race of the Triathlon season due to illness.  Okay on to my findings:

Weight: -3 pounds
Hip Measurement: -1 inch
Waist Measurement: -.5 inch
Body Fat %: +.5%
Muscle Comp %: +.5%

I'm not entirely sure the body fat detection on my scale is accurate.  I get a wildly different reading if I step on it several times in a row.  For these purposes, I averaged several.  The weight reading is fairly consistent, so we will go with that one.  And...the tape measure never, never lies.  I have been trying to make those numbers change for over a year.  I'm really excited to see the scale move, and to shed an inch from my hips and 1/2 inch from my waist..!?!  Pretty exciting, indeed.

Another side benefit of the fish oil is the possibility that I will be able to wear contact lenses again.  It seems that my Optometrist never told me of the widespread recommendation of fish oil for chronic dry eye.  I tried drops and different lenses and even was recommended a prescription to take (to which I just conceded to be be-spectacled).  Nothing worked.  Now, after a month of taking a high dosage of fish oil, I wore my contact lenses for a few hours with no problems.  Definitely not the last word on the subject, but there is hope.

I will continue to take fish oil and hope to see the positive trend continue.  I have some work to do these next three months if I want to make my 2013 mileage goals.  I'm way ahead on cycling, slightly ahead on running and about 10% behind on swimming.  Anybody want to hit the pool?