Ups and Downs

I am tired.  I am really tired.  Not just the “I said yes too many times tired”, or “the list is too long tired”, or “the when will I ever get caught up tired”; but the my daughter kept waking me up every 15 minutes since 2:30am tired.  Combine all of those states of tiredness, and you have my mindset today.  I am trying to stay calm and happy, and just get through it, but grumpiness took over this morning.

After saying good-bye to my dad (I miss him so much!), getting Scott to work, and running to the store for the necessities for today, I started cleaning.  I admit, when I clean, I get grumpy.  I curse the family and their dirty ways.  I curse the pee all over the bathroom floor AGAIN (Am I the ONLY one who sees it?).  I silent curse everything.  Then I curse myself for being ungrateful for a house of joy and happiness.  I curse myself for being grumpy because I am busy because God is blessing me with work, passion, and opportunities.  I should have turned on music, because when I clean with music, no one gets cursed.

Anyway, as I was scrubbing, the dumbest thing happened.  My cell phone fell out of my pocket and landed on my toes.  For some reason it HURT, I mean HURT, and now, hours later, it STILL HURTS.  Seriously, a CELL PHONE.  How?  Anyway, I cried out in pain because it hurt so bad.  However, my kids didn’t come to see if I was OK.  From another room, I hear, “Mom, what happened?”  However, finding out if I was OK, was not as important as the book he was reading.

Really?  I haven’t taught my kids to drop everything when they hear a scream???  Is that something that is taught?  Are my kids becoming good people???  Feeling like a terrible mom, and so alone, I finish the housework and move on to the next item on my list.

My son, comes to me with his money.  He wants to earn more today.  “I will clean the bathroom, fold the towels, and wipe down the toilet for you,”  he offered.

“Well, I already cleaned the bathroom and toilet today, so you can’t do those things.  However, I am sure we will find some chores for you to do this weekend,” I offered.

“Oh, OK.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later, he returns with a dollar.  “Here, this is for you,” he said.

“Why?  Keep your money.”

“Well, you cleaned the bathroom, so someone should give you money.  Thank you.”

That one tiny gesture was bigger to me than pee on the floor, ignored cries, and all of the other failings I feel each day as a mom.  I am not perfect, and I am not doing this mothering thing well most of the time, however, every once in a great while I get a sign that maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.


Our Reset

Earlier today, my mom sent me a text picture of Ana laying in the leaves.  First I smiled and then I cried.  Yes, I cried over a beautiful picture of my daughter.  I cried because I miss her.  I miss my son.  I don’t know when I spent quality time with them last.  I see them everyday in between school, chores, homework, and activities.  Our conversations are quickly about school and our days, then they move to cleaning up messes, getting ready for the next thing, eating, and their chores.  I have missed my son’s flag football games, and he only made it to 4 out of 6.  We don’t miss sports, we commit.  However, our commitments are lacking this fall.

Somehow, we became the family we never wanted to be.  We are busy, and not the productive kind either.  It starts with one yes, then another, and another…. before you know it, you are scheduling things on top of other things, and letting someone down.  UGH!  I am about to scream….instead I cry.  I cry because where is our pause?  Where did fall go?  Our treeless yard is full of beautiful colored leaves, but where is our leaf pile?  Where are the memories of sitting in a pile of leaves and throwing them in the air?  Where are the squeals and the laughter?  Where are our visits to the pumpkin patch or apple picking?  Where did we go?

Starting on Monday, our family schedule is being reset.  We will go trick or treating together, we will enjoy Halloween.  In November, there will be cuddles on the couch, piles of leaves, laughter and time together.  We, as a family, are pulling out of all extra curricular activities  with very few exceptions.

In November, I am giving my family the gift of time.  I am giving them my 100%.  I will be present and happy.  I promise this to them.  Life is too short to waste it being over-scheduled and busy.  It’s time to pause, to laugh, to enjoy each other. That is what our life is all about.

I will not forfeit another season.  It is time to say No.

Be Gone, Double Chin!

Yesterday, Ana hijacked Scott’s iPad and took countless photos of herself in Photobooth.  Upon discovering this, I did what any good mom would do, I jumped in and played around with her.  It was so fun and silly!  We laughed, and I think Ana’s side almost split open a few times.  I almost wet my pants. 🙂  It felt amazing to laugh and laugh with my little girl.

However, that amazing moment isn’t what this blog is about.  As we were fooling around, I noticed something, my double chin is gone.  I mean, that I had to drop my chin way to my neck to even get a semblance of one.  Even in college, when I was at my lightest (which is 20 pounds less than I am now), I had a double chin.  It has been around since I hit puberty, and I completely thought no matter what I looked like, I would always have one.

“You have a round face.  Some of us just have that full look.” Are phrases that I heard years ago when I complained about my double chin.  I stopped whining about it, well because, what’s the point.  My double chin was on my “When I win the lottery I am getting plastic surgery” list.  Well, I am not saying I will never get plastic surgery, but it definitely won’t be to remove my double chin.

I hope you don’t think that I am bragging or anything, well I guess I am kind of bragging….  It’s just that for years and years I gained weight steadily, despite hours and hours of efforts.  I have shed countless tears and hated my reflection period.  I felt like the real me, was lost.  A few short months ago, I feared that I would be overweight, or possibly obese for the rest of my life.  At 33 that is a terrible feeling.  I desperately wanted to be found; to look like the face I wanted to see in the mirror.  I have worked hard for this weight loss. And lately have been taking insane measures to get to my goal size and I can’t wait to get my free t-shirt!  I have given up my vices, and my favorite foods forever.  (Now, I might even have to give up cheese and dairy because my body is not responding well to cow’s milk products any more.) I don’t care, well I do care, but I accept it.

I have given up so much, including my double chin.  Everything is, and continues to be worth it.

(No need to comment, this post is written 100% for me.)

Shame on you!

So, only days and days after the really funny moms started a mom shaming campaign, I finally was inspired to join. (Click here for the other shaming posters). Basically, a bunch of blogging moms from our atomic reach tribe, Blogging While Mom, are admitting our sins and shaming ourselves for the whole world to see.  I am sure it was inspired by this dad’s story and the public out cry because of it.  I see it as funny, and I understand that others don’t, but whatever.

Anyway, this week, after thinking really hard, I started feeling like, “Whoa, my mom sins aren’t that bad.”  Or “I don’t lie to my kids, yay me!”  I was just about to give myself a nonexistent You are an Awesome Mom award when this happened:

After school, I emptied the kids’ backpacks full of worksheets and projects from school this week. After oo-ing and ah-ing over each little star, (they were watching a movie, but I am sure they could feel my pride in them,) I did what I always do with their school papers: Buried them deep into the recycling bin.  I continued on with my day.

Later, Ana, seeing that her backpack was opened, said, “Mom, what did you do with all my papers from school.”

(Knowing that she wanted to keep each one, and they would then end up all over her room, creating another fire hazard, until they were ripped to shreds, and then I would have to ask her a million times to pick up her room, where she would cry and whine about hard it is, until all fun activities were threatened, and her room would finally get somewhat clean, and those precious papers of today would end up in the recycling bin in a few short days…) I said, “Hmmmmm, I laid them somewhere.  Where have you looked?”  We then looked around for a total of 2 minutes when something shiny caught her eye and said papers were forgotten.

See, I don’t lie to my kids, but that doesn’t mean I am completely honest either!

What are your sins as a mom?  Come on share them, we ALL have MANY!

Check out these funny moms on Facebook.  Click “Like” (on Facebook) if you like to laugh! You can also “Pin” the Top 35 Most Pinteresting Moms too! (And the shame continues…)

Hurry, Hurry, Come on, Let’s Go

“Come on, let’s go, we’re in a hurry, we have [this, this, and this] to do before that [unimportant event that for some reason we can’t miss]!”  It seems like I am saying this to my family everyday.  I hate it, I hate it with a passion.  I hate that my alarm goes off around 5, I do a workout or two, rush the kids out the door, to drop everyone off at their places, and then barely make it to school on time.  Then, after school, I rush to pick up the kids so we can run home, have a snack, do some homework before we fly out the door again.  Sometimes we make it home before 6, and others we get home around 8.

I look at our schedule and lives and wonder, “How did this happen?”  I hate to be busy. I love leisure, I love moderation, I love a slow-paced life.  How did I let our family get so busy?  I can answer that, by saying, “Yes,” to one small commitment at a time.  Just like a bunch of small changes can add up to a big change, well a bunch of small commitments add up to too many.

I look at our commitments, and wonder, “What can we put on hold?”:

Sporting events – Nope, we have two left for each kid, we just have to hold on to that.

MOPS – Nope, I need my Mommy interaction, especially now that I am working and Scott’s schedule is crazy.

Boy Scouts – Nope, Scott went to one parent meeting and came home a den leader.  (Stay tuned for a photo of him in his scouting uniform.  I can’t wait!)

Grad School – Uh, no.  Can’t quit that!

Blogging or Photography – Only if i want to sink into a deep depression again.  Sorry, can’t do that.  I have cut down on both, and my soul is aching for it.  I can’t give up my art, it’s too hard and makes me sad.

Working out – Can I give up eating and breathing too?

Community Service – What would Jesus do?  What kind of message does that send?

Housework and laundry – Well, something has to go.  I guess I will try to do that… 😉

I guess I will continue to give up sleep, and hold on tight for the next couple of weeks, praying that no one gets sick.

Anyway, there is no point to this writing.  I am facing a writer’s block at the moment.  This terrible schedule is getting in the way of my family stories.  It’s time to find the inspiration again, but first, I think I need to breathe.

How do you supermoms do it all?  I seem to fail every single time…At the end of the day, I am not Superwoman, so I may as well stop trying and just breathe. Breathe.  Breathe.


The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!

A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living

Technically, this is part 3 of my current weight loss story, but I felt the need for a new title.  First of all, I want to say, I am sharing MY story.  I am not recommending anything to anyone, nor I am claiming to be a gluten-free resource.  You can Google it, there is way too much information out there, and I am not qualified to decipher who is credible and who isn’t.

I also see a lot of people who are angry that gluten-free eating has become a diet fad, because for many it is a an allergy and they don’t have a choice.  I want to stress to anyone who is considering going gluten-free, that it takes a long time to rid your body of gluten and once you have it again, you start all over.  So you can’t just do the gluten-free thing off and on, it’s a long-term commitment and life style change.  And, it’s not a diet because it might not work for everyone.  I am certain I have an intolerance.  I didn’t just put on weight because of candy bars and laziness.  I have been struggling to find something that worked for my body for YEARS and YEARS.

“Why write about it then?” you might wonder.  Well, good question!  If you read part 1 or part 2, you understand that I have been struggling with my weight and thyroid for 11 years.  You also know that I was at an all time energy low, and I needed to find out what was going on for me.  I also THOUGHT I was eating a good diet. I tried to eat whole foods, whole grains, and avoid processed junk, but I still gained weight, despite my heavy working out.  I WAS AT THE END OF MY ROPE.  I had tried everything I knew how to do.  Maybe, someone out there is collecting information about weight loss.  Maybe someone is desperate and doing what I was doing and not seeing results.  Maybe, just maybe, my story will be another’s “Aha Moment!”  Or maybe I am WRITING THIS FOR ME.  So on days when I want Old Chicago’s deep dish pizza or Italian Nachos, I will go back and read what I went through and that will be enough to find a better alternative.

Instead of giving you my theories as to why I think gluten is bad for MY body, I want to tell you how I made gluten-free living work for me, my family, and our budget.  Once again, this is my story, but take from it what you want.  I am not giving advice or telling you to do anything.  I am just sharing.

First of all, people have asked me over and over, “How do you afford the expensive food?”  Well, I will be the first to admit I hate to spend money on the junk of life.  I hate to buy groceries, gas, and household items.  They annoy me, but they are necessary.  Instead, I do my best with sales.  I make sure our family dinners have lots of meat and veggies in them.  I use salsa, GF soy sauce, cilantro, and ginger to add different flavors.  I also use BBQ sauce that is free of gluten and high fructose corn syrup.  The only GF specialty food I buy is my Udi’s bread and pizza crust.  I only eat one or two pieces of bread a day, and nothing more.  I have also learned what stores have the cheapest products.  For example, Trader Joe’s has very inexpensive brown rice pasta and gluten-free chicken broth.  Whole Foods has the best prices on almonds and cashews, which I lightly bake in my oven with traces of olive oil and sea salt.  Whenever I am near one of those stores, I try to stop by and pick up a small amount of their cheapest items, I rarely make a special trip to Omaha for just those items.  The rest of our groceries, I shop according to the sales, and we eat accordingly.  We have shopped like this for years and years.  I also am not a baker, so I am not supplementing my love of muffins or cakes with gluten-free options.  I am choosing not to eat them because they are not good for me.  However, if I had a huge craving for either I could easily go to our grocery stores freezer section and by frozen muffins, cookies, waffles, or really anything I could want.  I haven’t yet, but knowing the option is there, makes me NOT eating it MY choice.

“What do you eat?” is another popular question.  Well, I make stir fries with veggies and meat.  What I put in them varies.  I did learn from my Biggest Loser Cookbook about combining a cup of gf chicken broth, fresh cilantro, ginger, fresh garlic, and 1 tablespoon of gf soy sauce in a small food processor and them simmering my stir fry in it.  That adds a ton of good flavor to my stir fries.  (If I want a different flavor, I add different amounts of ginger, garlic, and cilantro.  Changing the amounts of those things makes a new flavor.)  I also make sure to eat MANY servings of protein and veggies each day.  I also try to eat my fruits in the morning, or at least before 3.  This time of year, an apple and peanut butter make my favorite snack.  I eat eggs for breakfast.  I also eat rice pasta, brown rice, and bread very sparingly.  When I do eat them, I eat just a little bit and try to have the gf bread as close to my workout as possible.  I will be the first to admit I am ready for a new cookbook with new ideas.

Some people have told me, “You are so lucky to have so much time for healthy cooking.”  Well, I don’t have as much as time as you think.  I am subbing, working out, and doing my grad school work, my husband works MANY hours, and I still have the mothering, wife, and family thing going on.  Plus, don’t forget about my photography addiction, and now blogging addiction.  However, I use my time wisely.  I let my crock pot cook for me A LOT. Okay, I admit, it cooks for me EVERY night.  I often cook all of my like meat at once, then I can quickly add it to my meal.  I cut all of my veggies as needed and cut up the whole bunch.  I wash all of my grapes at once, etc.  You all know these tricks, they have been around for ages, and I didn’t invent them.  I do little things each day to make our nights when we are running here, there, and everywhere easier.  McDonald’s is not an option, so I make sure we have things that are options for the whole family, and easy to make or reheat.

I could never give up pizza.” Yeah, me either, so I don’t.  I heard that Godfather’s has a take and bake GF pizza, but I haven’t tried it.  Instead, I quickly throw together my own pizza, as soon as I order for the family.  I eat two slices and put the rest in the fridge for another time.  The best thing about that is that I ALWAYS get my way on what kind of pizza I make and I don’t have to think about anyone else. I am really loving that option, honestly.

I really try to just eat the food that God put on the planet for our bodies.  If He made it, then I can have a taste.  If people made it, then I should avoid it.  

OK, I am sure that my eating habits are not that interesting, but I am writing all of this for two reasons.  One, when others ask what I am doing to lose weight, I have a few links to refer to, so I am not constantly rewriting the same tips and story over and over.  Two, these are LIFE changes, and I know for the long haul there will be tough times.  I HAVE to come back to these to remember why I gave it up in the first place.  I don’t ever want to go back to where I was earlier this year, EVER again.

I have a list of goals and some new things I want to try to keep moving in the healthy direction, but man, I am done writing about this stuff for now.  I will save it for another day.  If you have any questions about what or why I do, please ask!  I am not offended by people wanting to know.  I am not claiming to know anything other than what has worked for me.

Also, remember, I made all of these changes slowly and not all at once.  I am constantly growing, changing, and learning.  So, if you want to change your life, make a list of things you know you don’t like.  Pick one, and start today or tomorrow  but do it sooner than later. There is never the right time, and always an excuse.  We get this one life, shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it happy?

Thank you for reading!  I will return to my regular posts this weekend!