Friday, August 31, 2012

Taking Care of Mom: Q&A

  I'm always surprised by the blog posts I get responses too.  They are never the posts I think will stir up questions.  But I got a bombardment of interest on my post Taking Care of Mom! (click on words to read it, in case you missed it)

Which surprised me, honestly.  I always assume people know these things already.  But I guess I was wrong.  So I want to take a minute to expound on a few of the details I wrote about.

1. Breakfast...Ideas?

Here are a few things we eat at our house before running out the door.  The kids like to eat pancakes so I interchange recipes of pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, chocolate chip, maple syrup, etc.  I like to put peanut butter or real butter on top to help them get a good dose of fat for the day.  This is usually followed by real, organic maple syrup.  I follow this up with yogurt, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or sausage/bacon.  Keep in mind, I make all of this ahead of time.  I will cook up the eggs, oatmeal, sausage or hamburger patties, bacon, pancakes, and or GF breads at the beginning of the week (or whenever I get a chance) and either freeze or refrigerate it.  I capitalize on when my oven is on for baking.  If I'm whipping up something for supper that requires me to be at the stove top...then I will quickly cook some other foods that I will need for snacks or meals at another time.  We usually have some type of fruit too.  Bananas are good in the mornings for energy. We also do lots of berries.  Try to include lots of protein and less carbs (Yes, I know this is backwards from what Kellogg and Nabisco promote)...but you do not want to send your child off to school or start your workday with a tryptophan-induced carb overdose!  Fruit smoothies are another good idea.  Several days a week I make a smoothie consisting of: 1 banana, some berries, 6 oz. of yogurt or kefir, 1 scoop or whey protein, 1/3 c. of nuts, and some ice.  I eat this post-workout and it is satisfying and filling. 
Scrambled eggs and Sausage or Hamburger Patties
Gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes

2. Exercise...

What to do?  Lift heavy things isn't a very specific direction, sorry.  Here's what I recommend.  Use what you have around the house and do something different everyday.  You never get bored and you don't have to spend much money.  If you have a child that weighs less than 50 lbs., throw him/her over your shoulder, across your back, or piggy-back style and run/walk across the length of your property 2-3 times.  Rest as you need too.  If you want to add to it.  Sit down and stand-up from a chair or bench with the child on your back in between running sets across your yard.  If your children are all grown up...fill a duffle bag full of clothes, towels, sheets, shoes, etc. to add weight and throw it across your shoulder and take off!  Bags of unopened dog food are good, feed sacks, salt bags, etc. all make good substitutions as well. Do this one day.  Then, pick the bag up off the floor, throw it over your shoulder, then throw it back down on the floor 10-50 times in a row.  You'll be breathing hard after, trust me!  This can be one day's activity.  Finally, fill 2 buckets full of water and carry them across your yard or down your street as far as you can without dropping them.  Then rest and return.  Do this one day a week.  Use your body weight to make up one day's activity.  Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, sit-ups, back extensions, wheelbarrow walks, crab walks, downward dog's, walking lunges...

Then 2-3 days a week, whenever you are out and about.  Practice walking as fast as you can.  Or running as fast as you can.  I dare you to sprint from the parking lot where you parked your car into the store entrance.  Time yourself...beat that time next trip.  If you have stairs in your building--time yourself sprinting to the top and back down every so many days.  Keep track of how your time improves.  Race your kids to the mailbox or to roll the trash dumpster inside.  Race your kids to school or on the return home. 

I hope this addresses a few of the questions I had about these particular subjects.  I'll attempt to address more later on.
Have a happy Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some Up's and Down's

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you life has been good lately.  Honestly, it was going pretty smoothly until a few weeks ago when I made the mistake of telling someone who asked how we were doing, that things were actually going really good.  That we were in a good place.   "ERrrr.k..."  Back it up, right there should have been when I stopped.  But as soon as the words spilled out of my mouth, our lives took a 360 degree turn for the worse.  

For starters, Autum is cutting both of her bottom 2-year molars.  This equates to little sleep, LOTS of whining and crying, a drooling deluxe, wanting to be held 24/7, cranky, little chubby wubby.

Then throw on top of that...the stomach virus....AGAIN.  In 1 month.   And this time it came back with a vengeance.  It slowly seeped its way through our family...knocking off one person at a time.  First Blake.  Then me.  Then Leah.  Then Autum.  Then Blake again.  Then Autum again.  And so spare you the details I'll state you the facts.  We have gone through 3, large boxes of diapers in 2 1/2 weeks.  We have cleared out 1, 400 count large box of wipes.  I have literally thrown some outfits away...ones I considered "too far gone."  Our washing machine motor has not cooled down.  I have gone through an entire bottle of mop solution.  Clorox solution.  Wet wipes.  Hand sanitizer.  Hand soap.  

We just cannot shake this thing...I thought we were through it by today.  Everyone woke up with no mess.  I have gotten almost fearful of peeking over the side of the kid's cribs each morning, for fear of what I'll smell and see!  So we loaded up and headed to the Y and to the park afterward.  We made it through the Y...and everyone exploded everywhere at the park.  I mean exploded from all ends.  I threw away another outfit today at the park.  Just to give you an idea.  Then I had to water down the sidewalk with another mom's water jug, just to clear the pathway for kids to be able to walk and play.  

I missed taking Leah into her first day of first grade, because quite honestly I would have needed to wear an adult diaper, to feel safe getting out of my van for that long.  Both babies were wrapped up in towels in their car seats, looking very green around the gills.  So we sat in the driveway of the school, while it poured down rain, as she ran inside.  I sent her off, very disheartened and fearful.  While I was feeling completely helpless and completely exhausted.  Not exactly a picture-perfect, first day of school excitement, kind of day for us.  I did manage to at least snap a picture or two.  This one will be for the memory books, I tell ya!

This has only added stress to the already stressful way of life, for some reason, it has been lately.  Jerad and I are finding it hard to get time together.  Without one of us falling asleep mid-sentence.  We are starting to fall into the trap of 'wishing for the way things were before.'  No kids.  No responsibility.  No stress.  And complete frustration.  It's just tough.  Life is tough with 3 little's.  You are tied down.  It's difficult to find a sitter who wants to take on 3 kids for one bedtime.  Or at all for that matter.  It's expensive to eat out.  It's messy.  It takes a lot of prep.  And a lot of patience.

And to top it all off. I hosted our 5th Annual Triple Threat Youth Triathlon this past weekend.  I begin preparing for this event in the spring.  It takes a lot of my time.  Time I donate.  To provide a service for the community.  Well, it hasn't rained all summer and it poured, and poured, and poured Friday all night, Saturday all day.  So only half the participant's showed up, only half paid, and we were only able to do 2/3 of the events.  So it was a hard pill to swallow after so much work preparing for it.  But we managed with what we had.  We needed the rain worse, I would guess.

Ahhhh, anyway.  Just a post about the reality of life setting in right now.  It's not always roses.  It's not always easy.  But we do it.  We live it.  But God always promises to be with us.  Our saving grace.  Our hope.  Our Savior.

And trust me, He's heard a lot from me lately.  Something to the tune of "Dear Lord, NOT another mess!"

But I won't leave you in complete Debbie Downer mode. 

Here are a few of the funny highlights from this week...or at least what I've overheard..

Leah is wrestling with Jerad in the living room while I am in the kitchen cooking and I overhear this conversation...*Laughing* "Daddy, daddy...stop...stop...timeout!"
      "Leah, there are no timeouts in wrestling..."
"Pleeease, stop!" *giggle, giggle*
      "Okay, what is it?"
"We can keep doing this, dad, but pleeeease, pleeeease don't break my heart...I really need that to work.....(silence) Okay, I'm back in!  Rraaawwrr!"

Autum and Blake are playing in the front room with their toys.  Then I hear this...
"Bobby, Bobby....noooo!  Baad.....baad Bobby!"
*Loud banging as toys are being throws against the wall*  Blake laughing in his best PeeWee Herman sound.
   ...I've heard this on several occasions now and have come to the conclusion that Autum is now referring to Blake as "Bobby!"

Autum goes and gets Jerad's boots for him before work one day...she stands in front of him, sucking on her pacifier, watching him put them on.   Jerad gives her a hug and smiles.
Then Autum says: "Dada...dank ewww Autum?"  (thank you Autum)
So now whenever she does anything she says "dank eeww Autum?"

I guess this picture is what she meant by giving her a headache.. :)
Leah has started first grade now and goes to school all day.  The school day begins at 8 am. So this requires me to wake her earlier than her normal sleep-in time of 7:30 am.  After the 2nd or 3rd day, I hear this on our walk home from school...
"Mom, I need you to know that you are just giving me a headache these days, from waking me up so early!"
--Hmmmm, no idea where she's heard that line before...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Adoption & Bon Bon's..Part 2

I want to continue this series from this post.  The post I wrote back in December.  I want to continue it on now, as I have a little more time under my belt.  And I am inspired to write this, based on this post.

  *BUT, I first want to post a disclaimer to this post by saying that God commands us to adopt and if he lays it on our hearts to do so, we should, it is truly His handiwork that allows a woman to love a child that she did not form in her own womb with the same love, and--that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

With that same token, adoption is not for sissies.  Plain and simple.

My intent here is not to discourage you from adopting.  That is the last thing I want.  One of the main purposes of this blog is to help you see the real, raw truth of raising a family after adoption...which includes the funny, cutesie, frustrating, and hard things.  Plus this is the closest thing my kids will have to a scrapbook or a finished baby book...

So, this is what I want to say.  The easiest part of adopting is choosing a little face on the 'available children' page of your agency listings.  Honestly. 

Blake's first orphan listing picture.
After that, you pray, fast, pray some more, seek out guidance from friends/family, pray, attempt to consider the reality of adopting a child (let alone with special needs), pray, check financials, see if you are a match to that child's country or agency, pray, and then....commit.

From here on out, it's just tough.  First of all, in adoption there are NO guarantees.  You may fall in love with a child, feel that God has laid him or her on your heart, and then the child is swooped up by another family, becomes unavailable for adoption, or you do not meet the qualifications for his/her country, or his/her country stops adoptions altogether, indefinitely.  But sometimes, it can lead to stories like this one...Rise. And have a happy ending.

In complete honesty, I don't believe all families are called to adopt.  Truly.  I believe lots of families feel compelled to do something when faced with the truth and reality of how many orphans live and are treated in other countries (and even in the US).  I think their hearts are moved and touched and softened, which is great.  But I think sometimes this emotion is confused with God's leading.  And eventually we tag our desires with God's desires, and set ourselves up for disappointment and heartache in the end.  I believe we should all be doing something to help with the orphan crisis, but that doesn't mean bringing a baby home.  It can mean hosting fundraisers, donating money, praying, encouraging a family in the mid-adoption process, it can be advocating on FB for the children who are seeking families.  Many things.  So discernment is a HUGE piece that I think should be taken very seriously in the initial fasting and praying period.  And then revisit this discernment piece throughout the adoption, because doing God's will is first and foremost...don't let your desires get in the way of what God may have planned otherwise. 

I mentioned financials earlier.  Phew!  That is one of the biggest obstacles that most families face going into adoption.  Money is the make or break point for many families.  As it is very important and crucial in the rescuing of your child.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't go into this process assuming and resting on the assurance that God will provide all the money you need to adopt.  Let me explain.  There are some families, who, yes, seem to get all the money they need in a short amount of time, without having to move a finger.  But, this is not the case for most.  Fundraising and advocating go hand-in-hand in this process.  And fundraising should be something you start working on right from the beginning.  Making people aware of the need.  Of what the money is for. And how you plan to get it.  I think its fair for donors to have all the answers before writing out checks to your cause.  And I think you should be fair in your explanation.  As well as in how much you really need.  Understand now, that adoption may require you to leave your bio kids behind to save on costs.  Understand that you may have to stay in country longer, to save on costs.  Understand that you may have to give up a lot of your 'extras' to save on costs.  You may have to sell things, downsize things, cancel things, to save the money you need.  And its humbling and its tough, but its the only way.  You have to be willing to ask, to put in the time, to brainstorm, to enact, and to live on the bare minimum's for a while.  Not sit on the couch and eat bon bon's and hope God "works his magic."

Also, grow some thick skin and a strong backbone.  People aren't always nice.  They don't always understand.  They aren't always willing to try to listen and understand.  They won't help you out.  They will destroy your efforts.  And they won't go away. And sometimes they are family members, close friends, or people you work with everyday.  This is when you pray for those who persecute you...through clenched teeth...

This is just the second part in this series, that I want you make you aware of and be completely honest with you about, in the initial stages of adoption.  I'll get into the challenge you may face, more, further on down the adoption road, in the next part.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Taking Care of Mom!

So, I've written all about how we have healed Blake's skin condition, constipation, and other lovely related issues by addressing his 'gut' health.  I've shared how he is just thriving, gaining weight (finally!), and really on the move.  His immune system is getting stronger and his overall complexion is night and day compared to 7 months ago...all because we are healing him from the inside-->out. area I've neglected to talk 'health' issues with, own!  And every other momma's out there.  Unfortunately, our own health gets put on the back burner while everyone else's is pushed to the front...and according to every middle-age and older female I've worked with "DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!"  Because it's an uphill battle that is difficult and forever long
 when you finally address your own health matters, or when you are forced to because of illness or disease. it goes. 

My top 10 list of what to do or not to do to take care of yourself...
1) Eat breakfast...even if its a bite of banana and a scoop of peanut butter out of the jar (keep it to every other bite of banana, calories could rack up if you double-dip between bites..)

2) Drink, drink, drink.  Water, Water, Water.  Less coffee, less soda,  less coffee, less soda, less coffee, less soda.  Coffee and soda are very acidic and over time that amount of acidity wears and tears on your stomach lining...which equates to an 'off' pH balance...

Symptoms of Acidosis
In addition, acid gets stored in the fat cells, and sometimes the body produces more fat cells to pull the acidic toxins from your internal organs...and fat is the last thing most of us momma's want to store.

3) Exercise.  This one is tricky because most women I know assume that walking, jogging, and cardio is the way to go to improve one's health.  It is if you are training for an endurance event.  But when you are a stressed out mom, with little time, with a less than desirable diet, carrying around more body weight than you would like...or even not--long 'bouts of cardio is the LAST THING you want to do.  Sounds crazy, I know!  Because it goes against most traditional methods of weight loss training we know.  BUT it is not good.  Your body just cannot handle it, and these cardio sessions will only promote more fatigue, less energy, and quicker burnout.  What you need to do is lift heavy things and/or  walk/jog/swim fast for a few short minutes.  Hormone change is the only way fat loss occurs.  You want insulin down/glucagon and gH hormones up.  That is how fat is burned.  Lifting heavy weights, bags, kids, etc. several times a week in any sort of pattern will boost those fat-burning hormones up and stifle the insulin.  So get off the treadmill, NOW.  Go throw your kids around, put them on your back and carry them through the yard or around the park.  Cardio is not a great choice for health benefits as a stressed-out mom.
** I have given up all long-running for the past 4 months.  This has been after years of running long distances for my 'health'..and let me tell you, it has made a HUGE difference on my body composition, my energy levels, and my overall health.  Take it from me, you will feel better.  You will get stronger.  You will be fitter.

4) Socialize.  Give the kids up.  It is okay.  Budget the childcare in or offer to trade with a neighboring mom.  Get out of the house.  It is re-energizing.  We were made to need each other.  We have a sense of belonging that needs filled every once in a while.  A sense that is not filled through FB messaging.  Get over the guilt of doing it and get out.  Non-work related outing.  Simply fun.  Find a community that you can relate too, talk with, be real with, and that can support you.  For me this has become my Sunday School class and my CrossFit friends at the gym, as well as some fellow adoptive moms.

5) Sleep.  I know full-well that this is a tough one.  But we have finally decided that Sundays are a day of rest.  Created for that very purpose.  And so we all lie down to nap on Sundays.  I cannot guarantee a full night's sleep any night of the week, as many of you can relate too, so sleep when you can.  The advice you receive as a mother of a newborn is very applicable to a mother of toddlers and teenagers.  Sleep is another contributor to hormones issues that effect mood, weight gain/loss, and emotions.  So make it a priority.  Shut the TV off, stay off the computer late at night, turn off the phone--all things that stimulate endorphins to keep you up.  Set a bedtime and stick with it, routine is crucial to good sleep as well.  Also consider taking your calcium/magnesium supplements at night, because they help stimulate rest and a slowing down of the body.

6) Don't take on any big projects.  Honestly, been there, done that. =STRESS.  Mean, grouchy, impatient, momma is what that equates too.  Trying to do other things while your kids are at home, needing your attention, getting into things, crying, pooping, breaking things, learning to read, coloring on the walls, hiding your shoes, eating your toothpaste, throwing all the rolls of toilet paper in the toilet, asking you 1000 questions about life...yes, these are the typical happenings that can send a momma over the edge in a millisecond flat.  Things that typically, on their own, wouldn't send you through the roof, but when paired with trying to run a business from home, balance a checkbook, answer phone calls or emails, and just being available...can make a woman crazy!  And when that happens, everyone goes crazy!

7) Pray.  Pray like you have never prayed before.  Unceasing prayers throughout the day.  Pray for your kids to eat their breakfast.  Pray for your child not to miss the bus. Pray for your husband to avoid that lustful temptation.  Pray for your kids to nap.  Pray for favor at the grocery store.  Pray for an ailing friend.  Rejoice with a healed friend.  Pray for your child's future.  Pray for his/her friends.  Pray for his/her teacher, principal, custodians, etc.  There's something about being in constant conversation with God, about maintaining His constant presence in your every action, breath, and word, that is calming.  A reminder that He is near.  He is listening.  You are not alone.

8) Take your multivitamins.  Take your vitamin C.  Adrenal fatigue is the number one problem that leads to illness for most stressed-out mommas and Vitamin C is crucial for recovery and protection.  Take some fish oil.  Protect the heart.  Joints. 

9) Don't just make your kids eat their veggies.  Load up on them too.  They help return the body to an alkaline state and therefore combat all the acidosis issues I posted above.  They are full of nutrients that protect brain health, vision, and overall wellness. 

10)  Put your spouse before your kids.  Pay attention to his mood.  His actions.  His needs.  He, afterall, is going through the same things you are, he just may compartmentalize them better.  Communicate.  Get out alone.  Respect him at all costs, especially in public or on FB.  Encourage him.  Never let your kids come between you.

So there you have it.  Things I'm working on.  Have realized are crucial to my health and hope you will learn from too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mystery of Me

For some reason, I think I am mysterious to people.  I always feel like people are surprised by me.  Whether it be something I say.  Do.  React to.  Have tagging along with me. I don't know.  It's weird.  I have a good sense of reading people and constantly finding myself trying to 'figure people out' upon our first introductions. 

So I always feel like when people first meet me, they make their assumptions, and then are completely thrown off by another detail they learn about me.  Or I can read all over their face the confusion they are having trying to 'figure me out.'

Let me explain...
Scenario 1-->
I go downstairs in the Y, get my oly shoes on, rack up my weights, get my game face on, push around some heavy weights, cool down, maybe exchange a few words with some fellow CrossFitters in the process.  Observe people watching me, thinking they are trying to figure out who I am (because I don't live there, so am not there consistently), how old I am, what I'm doing, etc.  Then I go upstairs, get ALL 3 KIDDOS out of Toddler time and proceed to walk out the door, and am met by blank stares as the same people I made eye contact with downstairs--who thought they had me figured out--see me walking out with my 3 children asking questions like "who needs to go potty?"

They are totally thrown off.

Scenario 2-->
I work out of the house 2 days a week.  I wear workout clothes nearly everyday, because that makes up the majority of my closet, and is what I'm most comfy in.  So, I like to 'dress up' my workout clothes, in a sort of funky, my style kind of way.  High-top converse sneakers, tall socks, crazy color wardrobe, matching shoes to hair clips, fun layers of shirts...etc.  Some might say I dress a bit elementary for my age.  But I really don't care.  It's how I let out my 'artsy' side.  So I show up to work dressed pretty crazy, then run various errands, may end up in conversation with various people I don't know, and am almost ALWAYS asked how old I am.  Evidently I look younger than I am (which I will NEVER complain about), act older than I am (for the most part) or maybe because I have older children or have more education than people assume at first glance, because I get so many insane guesses at my age.  I believe this is the number one question I get.

Scenario 3-->
Jerad and I go out, may have a drink or two.  I may get my groove on dancing the night away.  Having a blast.  And people ask me about our family.  They are good with Leah.  They are good with Autum.  Then they are completely confused by Blake.  By us choosing to adopt him, a child with special needs, that will require assistance from us, his entire life.  By our willingness to travel to get him.  By us going to Ukraine By us simply adopting him because God called us too.  When people pick their jaws up off the table, we can usually continue on in conversation.  Being a woman, I always assume we don't 'look' like the typical family that adopts a child with special needs (whatever that may look like), or we don't act like the typical family that adopts Internationally because God called us too.  Who knows?  But we are.  And we did.  And we still love to live life.

These are only a few examples of people trying to 'figure me out.'  I may be over thinking things, but I always seem to get the same surprised look when people ask me questions about us.  :) I have always had a lot of interests, on all spectrums of the board, so I guess that is what my lifestyle portrays.  I love to paint and draw, but I love to workout, hard.  I love fashion and clothes, but I love to garden and be outdoors.  I love horses and hunting, and I love to dress up and go out dancing. 

Who knows? 
That's how God made me.
And I'm finally, at age 29 (almost 30), okay with that. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Resume'

Recently a friend of mine quit his health and fitness job, which has been his passion and interest for most of his professional career.  He is very gifted at teaching and encouraging others to believe in themselves to get stronger and healthier.  Well, he is now working a job for a gas company, something completely foreign to him (as far as I know) and completely unrelated to the health and fitness world. 

This has got me thinking...all I've known the past 10 years has been: Exercise.  Health.  Fitness.  I have not really strayed much beyond these themes.  I have caught myself wondering what type of job I would be able to do, other than what I'm doing now.  Somedays I feel so out of touch with the professional world, from spending the majority of my time with a 6, 2, and 1-year old.  I do work out of the house 2 days a week, but I hardly consider it work because I LOVE it so much!  Plus, its health-related.  So...Jerad and I were discussing what my job searching would look like, right now, if I had to go out and seek a new line of work...

Here's what he had to say:

1) NO bank jobs for you...math has never been a forte' for me, only if they need a custodian...then he almost retracted that answer after looking around our living room...

2) Ummm, nothing that requires super-organization skills...he still doesn't understand my current organization system...heck, I know where everything is, that's all that matters, right??

3) Find something that requires incredible multi-tasking've got that down!  This was spoken as I was cooking lunch for he and I, feeding the 2 little's, emptying the dishwasher, and folding clothes...just a typical day's work around here! :)

4) NO cubicles, tight spaces, and lots of sitting. Nope, no way.

5) Nothing that requires you to have to iron, or for that matter wear anything other than workout clothes!

Here's what I envision my resume' to look like:

- Can carry 2, 30 lb. squirming, screaming kids under each arm, in and out of the grocery store, at a near sprint.
- Can change 2 dirty diapers in under 1 minute.
- Can reason with any 6-year old out there.
- Can find any missing shoe or sock in any place.
- Can still hold a conversation with the person next to me in a van full of crying, screaming kids, without blinking an eye.
- Can understand 1 year-old jibberish from behind a pacifier.
- Can sprint home pushing a stroller, 1 mile from the park, in under 10 minutes!
- Knows how to remove any clothing stain.
- Can heal any 'ouchies' with one kiss.
- Can go up and down the big slide at the pool with 3 kids, for 2 hours straight.
- Has at least 10 children's books memorized.
- Can disguise any vegetable as something else.

- Natural child-birth, enough said.  Am ready for anything.

I honestly don't know what type of job I would pursue, if I had the option.

--I could not work in a restaurant business because if someone didn't eat all the food I prepared and served, they would find themselves doing extra dishes after dinner.

--I couldn't work in a sporting goods or apparel store because I'd never bring home a paycheck.  Probably wouldn't do well working in a shoe store either. :)

--I couldn't work at a daycare, that is pretty much what I do already.

--Sales? Nope. "This is what I'm you like it?  If not, that's okay...just thought I'd ask...thanks!"

--Hair stylist?  Nope. HATE hairspray.

--Veterinarian...maybe...but not a huge fan of cats.  Would bring home too many dogs and horses, though.

We had a good laugh about this conversation.  But it definitely got me thinking.  I'd be interested to know what types of jobs you all would be doing if weren't in the field you are now.

Jerad said he'd own a bait shop on a lake...clean bathrooms and beer are all you need to be successful! Hahaha.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Noah's Ark

We have a pop-up book at our house that is all about Noah's Ark.  The kids love to open the window flaps and make the sounds of the animal that is peering out of each window.  Autum's favorite is the monkey, she lifts the flap that covers the monkey's face, gets real big eyes, starts raising her arms in the air and makes an "ooh, ooh, aaah, aaahh" sound real loud, while scratching one arm pit at a time!  Blake mimics whatever she does...

I've nearly got the book memorized by now.  Enough so, that I can read the words out loud, but let my mind wander to other things.  The other night as we were reading I was thinking about how I feel like we've been on an Ark in the middle of a flood the past 8 least since Blake has arrived home.  We've been in locked down mode, of sorts, having very little interaction with other people, not getting out nearly as much, no trips/vacations, limited dates, and less spending.  This has occurred from our desires to protect Blake, to help him develop attachments to us as parents and his family, to ease his anxiety initially, and to ease him into his new life.  Our 40 days and 40 nights seemed a lot longer...and let me tell you...we are ready to get off of this Ark.  As we are starting to emerge from this cooped up Ark, though, I feel like we exiting this side of the boat, as completely different people. 

We have been changed through this time of seclusion.

 Honestly, I feel like we have had to grow up.  Really, we have had to communicate about the tough things that we never made time for before, because we were on-the-go.  And as a result, we are acting upon these new-found changes.  Personally, I feel this new freedom.  Freedom as in I truly now believe I can do all things through Christ Jesus our's no longer a verse I memorized and see quoted on the back of every church camp shirt.  I truly believe it.  No doubt.  I lived it out.  Felt it first-hand.  Now I know.

I'm still praying for discernment and wisdom in what my hands and feet will be to this new faith and hope...but I know for sure that change is coming as a result.  A change that involves doing more, wanting more, being more.  Doing more for other people, wanting more in our faith and walk with Christ, being more in this short-life on Earth.

In addition, also more in the respect of how we are going to live out our days on this Earth, however long they may be.  I have had a lot of time to look back on life and wish I had applied myself more fully to what I was a part of at that point in time.  I wish I hadn't been so lazy in my approach to sports in high school and college...wish I would have worked harder in the weight room and on the field...really worked at it.  I also wish I hadn't been so intimidated by college classes that held me up from pursuing my career dreams, these same classes that are staring me in the face today, that I still have not attended.  I have never really lived fully, I don't think.  Not in my mind, anyway. 

Not any longer.  No.  I have some goals in mind, that I plan to pursue fully.  To apply myself fully too, God gave me this body, this mind, this situation, this opportunity, this life...and I'm going to work to glorify Him by my efforts.  I know Jerad feels the same.  We are excited to what this may mean or look like in our future.  Only time will tell.

So be ready.  Change is on the way.  We may look and act differently than we did before.  But we have a purpose now. A new passion.  And we aren't holding back.

This adoption has provided us more than a new son to love. 

No, it has given us so much more.

The flood waters have subsided, the doors are open.  We are on dry land.  The world is new, fresh, and exciting. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mommy Guilt

This past week I have been overloaded with this sense of guilt.
Big. Fat. Ugly. Mommy. Guilt.
The kind that suffocates your every thought.

As I've let my mind wander to what I want to do when I grow up, I get all sorts of ideas.  Because I love to live large...with big ideas, that is.  (thank God for a husband who is grounded and more realistic) I think about the possibility of getting my Master's degree.... getting another Bachelor's in dietetics...or specializing more in my field of fitness.  I think about working more once the kids are in school.  Possibly expanding my business.  Opening another gym.  Or not.  Or doing something altogether different.  I think about training for the CrossFit Open that begins in February.  The possibility of qualifying for Regionals this year.  I think about all the time, sacrifice, and work I'm going to have to put into it...and can't wait!  Really!  I think about Jerad and I getting to travel some more. I think about getting out more, dates, playdates.  I dream of having friends again.  Doing more activities outside of our house, neighborhood, and town...with our kids.  I daydream about car trips with less screaming and diaper changes.  Of vacation memories.  Ski trips.  Camping.

Then it all comes back to me.
I'm here. 
And somedays I just don't want to be here, now.
Then I have an internal argument about my selfishness and my personal desires.
And never really come to a conclusion.

My history tells me that so far in my life nothing I have ever planned has worked as I thought it would.  Which is fine, I surrendered that to God a long time ago.   But my heart (or maybe head, not sure yet) says to keep pushing, keep going, keep striving, do more, be more.

And part of this is just my nature.  I'm a do'er!  I love to be challenged, busy, and moving.

And part of this is our culture...pushing, pushing, pushing...

So where's the line?  I realize my husband and my children are a priority.  I know my husband should come first.  Then my kids.  But where do I come in as a priority?  In a healthy way..

Or when is a good time to make myself a priority?  Once they are in school?  When they are young?  Now?  In 10 years?  When they are out of the house?

Hmmm...obviously have some more praying to do...for discernment and wisdom.  And also for contentment with life, as it is, right now.