Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 1080: Forget It

Okay, so you may or may not have missed me.  It's been a busy Christmas break and there hasn't been a lot of time for blogging.

Plus, when I have several days to catch up, I tend to put it off even more as it becomes a bit of a task and not as enjoyable.

For the sake of resuming, I decided to just skip all of the catch up and begin again today.  Things have been going well.  To sum them up:  I'm happy.  Life still feels very fresh and new.  I recently wrote in my journal that I feel more in love with everything and everyone in it.  I think that's the best way to put things briefly.

I'm still wearing a boot.  It's still not my favorite.  But, it's okay.  I got to lift weights with HH yesterday.  Way more fun than lifting weights by myself (basically the only form of exercise I can do right now).  And now we're both enjoying our sore muscles today.  Particularly the triceps.  And this makes me happy.

The kids have been great to have home.  Darling A loves all of the attention.  I used to feel bad for children born later in big(ish) families because I know I have less and less time as a mom.  But, she is so lucky!  She is doted on by everyone and soaks it all up.

And I love watching them love on her.  It's a beautiful beautiful thing as their mama.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 1079: I Wouldn't Change A Thing

Today was so beautiful.

I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago, my therapist had me write down what a perfect Christmas would look like for me.  And that helped me realize how unattainable my previous Christmas-Day-Expectations were.  So, I revised.

And I got great results.

It turns out that deciding to go with mainly just "family gifts", rather than individual, was an inspired idea.  The kids still had a great time unwrapping and were still super excited about them.  And when the unwrapping was all over, instead of separating out to play with their own new toys, we converged together and read books, played games, and even watched a movie.  I don't think I heard the phrase, "That's mine!" even once!  

Although, I think I did hear, "No, that's for everyone!" a time, or two.  With 5 and 2-year old boys, I think that's inevitable.

This little sweetheart is still exhausted from our weekend road trip.  She's slept almost the whole time since we got home!  I enjoyed some Christmas morning snuggles with her during breakfast.

We delivered some cinnamon rolls to a few friends and then went caroling with friends at a retirement center.  It was great!

And then we had a spontaneous game night with some friends.  It was so fun!

So, reflecting back on it, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change anything about today.  And that right there is pretty huge.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 1078: Where Are You Christmas?

Little M came into my room this morning and asked, "When Dad gets out of the shower can we unwrap presents?"

I was a little confused, but in a couple of moments, I realized that he was even more confused.  Poor guy!  He thought it was Christmas Day!

It was a little sad, but I had a hard time stifling a laugh about it at the same time.

It was kind of a busy day, trying to get unpacked and get everything ready for our big Christmas Eve dinner--not to mention the big day tomorrow!

I kind of overdid things, as far as my foot was concerned.  Fortunately, HH came home early from work and after I finished all of the grocery shopping, he stepped in and stepped up once again.  He made our traditional Christmas Eve clam chowder, while I made the cinnamon rolls for tomorrow's breakfast.  Something I've never done while sitting, but it turned out to be okay.

And the soup was delicious!  Even if we almost forgot to add the clams!

Then it was time to read the Nativity story while the kids acted it out, and I'll be honest, I was a little at the end of my rope by this time and not as much in the Christmas Spirit as I would have liked to have been.  But, we made it through.  Had some spiritual moments and I was in a better mood by the end of it.

Then the kids opened their Christmas jammies and promptly put them on.

This always helps speed up the process of getting them to bed.

A little.

Anyway, I'm definitely feeling the Christmas Spirit now and I'm so excited for tomorrow morning!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 1077: Influence

This morning we headed home.  We stopped along the way to attend church.  I must admit, I wasn't super supportive when HH suggested we do this.  I love going to church when we're home, but packing all of the extra clothes, getting the kids ready, and finding a distant meeting house was more hassle than I wanted to deal with--especially, since I knew I'd be eager to get home anyway.

But, as I sat there listening to the beautiful music of their Christmas program, I was so grateful for the man I married and his influence for good for me and our children.

The rest of the drive home was relatively uneventful.  The roads were much clearer and we made pretty good time.

And it's really nice to be home again.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 1076: Filling Up

When you only see your family once in a year and a half, you have to really take advantage of the time together and soak it all in.

So, today was a full day.

We started off at my aunt's home with yummy food and great company.  And we all had a great time catching up and getting to know those we don't see often enough.

I think Little M started calling her his "one true love".  Too bad they're cousins.  They had such a great time together, though, and were so fun to watch.  She's pulling him in a wagon here--that's a devoted cousin!

And I was delighted to get to spend more time with this sweet little niece.  She was super sleepy and really enjoying a little baby toy I had.

For some reason I didn't get many pictures of my sister and her family.  I'm especially sad about no pictures of her sweet sweet little baby!  It was so great to get to hold him.  He's tiny and squishy and perfect.

Later in the day we went to visit both of my grandparents again.  My grandma was back in their apartment, having mostly recovered from her recent illness.  So, we visited with her for a bit and then headed over to see my grandpa at the rehab facility.  We got to spend more time talking with him.  The kids sang a bunch of Christmas carols.  We tried to take turns in his room so we wouldn't overwhelm him with all of the chaos.  So, I got to have a really nice visit with my brother (during which I'm pretty sure I wowed him with my amazing lack of knowledge regarding geography and current events).  He's just really fun to talk with.  I love my brother.  And then we headed back in to say good bye to my grandpa and got to hear some spontaneous story telling from him.  He has a seriously dry sense of humor.  It's so funny!

All in all a great day.  It went by too quickly though and I'm sad this trip is basically over.  But, we all need to get home so we can get some sleep.  The only problem with soaking up all the family time possible is that it leaves little room for rest.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 1075: Been A Long Time

HH is a singer.  He has a great bass voice.  I count it a huge blessing in my life that I get to hear it.

That being said, the man is always singing.  He'll get one line of one song in his head and sing it over and over and over.

And over.

So, the same line of the same song is always in my head.  And thus, I count it a true triumph any time I get a song in his head.

And, I know he'll be singing as soon as he reads that title.


Of course, I could have also used "It's The End of the World"... but, the world did not come to an end today--surprise.

Today we drove for a long time.  On sort of dangerous roads.  We thought the freeway would be totally clear by today, but not so.  There were so many cars lining both sides and all along the middle section--it was crazy!  HH estimates that we passed at least 50.  Most were empty and probably happened the day before.  But, we saw a couple people slide off the road right in front of us.

The worst were a couple of really sliced up semis.  Scary to imagine what must have happened to the passengers inside.

So, we were really grateful when the roads cleared up and we could make the rest of our journey in safety.

The kids were great.  Especially, Darling A.  She never ceases to amaze me with her happy demeanor.  It made up for the THREE blowouts she had today.  Three!

And finally, we rolled into Fort Collins, CO for a quick weekend of family overload.

First stop was at the rehab center to see my grandparents.  This wasn't a celebrity type of rehab facility.  They both were recently quite ill and are on the mend.  It was great to see them, but sad to see how much they've declined since our last visit.  Especially my grandpa.  But, also makes me grateful that I had the opportunity to see them at all.

Also there were my older brother and his family, whom I haven't seen in year and a half, including one darling little baby girl who turns a year next week who I got to meet for the very first time tonight!  She's beautiful and even let me hold her a couple of times!

And my younger sister was there as well.  Along with her family, including her brand new (2 months) baby boy.  He's so sweet and snuggly!

And my parents.  It's been less than a year and a half since I last saw them and they didn't have any new babies for me to hold, but I still love them.

After a quick visit with the grandparents (didn't want to wear them out with all of our chaos) and dinner, we headed to the hotel and HH was kind enough to stay in our room to put Baby B to bed (the older two had a sleep over with their cousins in Grandma and Grandpa's room), so I could go visit with my family.

It's always a joy to see my siblings interact with my babies.  Darling A and my brother had a nice bonding session, as you can see from his smile here (which, I realize, is actually aimed at his beautiful daughter).  Darling A kept trying to eat his socks and her cousin thought the best way to become acquainted was to repeatedly, playfully slap Darling A in the head.

I was so alarmed by this that I sat back and took a bunch of photos as it happened.

Finally, it was late and we had to call it a night.  But, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up and chatting and laughing with them, and my sister and brother-in-law who eventually joined us after trying to get their poor, sick little toddler to sleep.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 1074: Free Day

We had a snow day today.  It was pretty unexpected, so all the more fun.

And HH decided to take the day off, so that made it even better!

It was especially nice because it meant that I got to go to Darling A's 6-month check up without anyone else in tow.  And while I was there, HH ran a couple errands with the kids, so I got to stay off of my feet.  My foot really appreciates that.

After we got home, we didn't see Little M and Sweet P for the rest of the day.  They went out to play in the snow with the neighbors and played and played and played.  Poor Little M looked so tired at dinner tonight!

So, it was a little bit of a weird day, but mostly nice.

And maybe, just maybe, it will stick around long enough so Sweet P can have the white Christmas she's been so desperately hoping for!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 1073: Warm Legs

Well, I don't know if it was the swim, or not.  But, something I did really upset my foot and I was awake for a couple hours last night from the pain.


Fortunately, I still had a pretty great day regardless of the pain.

The best part was getting some leg warmers for Darling A, first thing this morning.  It was a busy day so I don't have photos, but she looks positively adorable!  They seriously make me so happy.  I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I'm sure it's at least partly due to the fact that they still manage to show off each of her perfect thigh rolls--so great!

And then a fun evening just chatting with my HH.

I love my HH.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 1072: Wrought Iron and Toilet Paper Rolls

Bet you never thought there'd be a connection between those two items.  But there is:

Toilet Paper Rolls

Wrought Iron

Sort of.

Once it's hanging on the wall, you won't be able to tell the difference.  I'm hoping.

I made that, in case you were wondering.

I know--two crafts in less than two weeks!  I'm amazing!

I've been saving up the toilet paper rolls for months for this one.  And now that I have to stay off of my feet as much as possible, it seemed like the perfect time.  It was a pretty quick and easy task.  I actually pieced it all together while nursing.  That's how easy it was!

And I'm pretty proud of it.  And since we have toilet paper rolls as a result of other needs (ahem) and the spray paint was from a craft years ago, this technically cost me nothing!  Sweet!

Also, I swam this morning.  My podiatrist wasn't sure that would be okay because the kicking motion might bother my fracture.  As long as I didn't really kick with my right leg, I was fine.  I swam for almost 30 minutes!  It was so fun and so great and a relief to know that I can still get in some form of exercise over the next few weeks.

And what a reminder about how much of a workout swimming really is!

Multiple people have reached out since I began posting about my therapy with questions, support, encouragement, and kind words.  Thank you to all of you.  I really appreciate the support system you provide for me here.  I appreciate those who let me know they are benefiting from my (sometimes painful and challenging) honesty here.  I appreciate knowing that I'm not alone.

Thank you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 1071: A Perfect Christmas

A couple weeks ago, my therapist and I briefly discussed Christmas.  I told him that I always get depressed in January from post-Christmas disappointment.  It's a two-part problem.  1.  I always get so bogged down in the getting ready part that I never actually take the time to soak in the joys of the season; and 2.  I always want Christmas to be something special and it never lives up to my expectations.

So, he told me to go home and write down what a "perfect Christmas" would look like, as though it were January and I was looking back.  What would I need to feel satisfied with my Christmas season?

So, I did.  And I realized a huge part of my problem--I had it in my mind that everything should be different in the month of December.  We should all be so focused on Christ and love in our family that we become the perfect family.  Just for the month of December there should be no fighting, no anger, just love and kindness between us all.

As a vague idea in my mind, it seemed like a great and reasonable Christmas wish.  Once I formulated it into words, however, I saw just how flawed it really is.

So, I set my sights a little lower.  What I really want is for my kids to truly "get" Christmas.  What it's really about.  And to feel the magic of the season.  Not necessarily the magic of Santa, but the magic of a world where brotherly kindness reigns and where we think of others before ourselves.  You know--Peace on earth and goodwill to men.

The next step was to recognize that this won't actually be accomplished in just one year.  It's something I can build on each year (and preferably, all year).

So, for this year, I determined to just make extra moments to share in a bit of Christmas spirit with the kids.  I'm reading A Christmas Carol with them.  It's a bit hefty for young listeners, but they seem to be enjoying it.  We're going to watch the movie together too (Mickey's version, of course!) and I think that will help fill in all the gaps.

I got them a giant Christmas-themed coloring book, similar to one my mom had for us that I loved coloring in each year.

And we've watched some wonderful short videos done by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well.  This one here is one of my favorites.  You can go here to see clips of that video along with a beautiful rendition of O Come Emmanuel.

It's been nice.

And tonight, I got a little bit of my unrealistic dream of having perfect love and harmony in our home for a few minutes.  The boys were playing together without any fighting (NEVER happens!) and had us all laughing.  The feeling of peace and love was so strong and wonderful.  I loved that moment.

And I just had to share this sweet pic of my bathing beauty.  My children have all been blessed with beautiful eyes.  I love it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 1070: Turn Up The Heat

This is a long one.  And painfully honest.  You don't have to read it.

I didn't post yesterday.

And I'm not going to.

It's not that the entire day was that bad.  I spent it much like Thursday--cycling through a whole range of emotions over and over again, with bits of Friday's experience thrown in as well, where I would think about the tragedy and just cry.

But, mostly, I was trying desperately to stay on top of my own struggle.

I've had a lot of feelings and impressions and it's difficult to put them into words properly.

Basically, I feel that the heat has been turned up in the refiner's fire.  Just when I start to feel pretty confident in a few of the most important areas of my life, circumstances string together in just the right way to test me in those very areas.

I've recently been reflecting (and patting myself on the back) quite a bit on what a great relationship HH and I have.  We really do.  But, there is a certain set of circumstances where the great communication and selflessness we share with each other crumbles.  Fairly quickly.

We're in the midst of that very set of circumstances.  And everything came to a head last night.

Hold that thought for a moment.

I've also been pretty pleased with my progress here in battling depression.  I felt like I had a lot of thins sorted out and that I was kind of permanently above a certain threshold.

It feels so shallow in light of the Connecticut tragedy, but the truth is, I've been really challenged by the prospect of not being able to exercise for three weeks.  I believe I've already fessed up to having an exercise addiction.  I thought I was doing a good job of keeping it in moderation, now I'm not so sure.  I've struggled with all of these panicky thoughts related to the issue and it's been a struggle.

Add that to the ongoing sleep deprivation and then the crumbling of the idea of being in a near-perfect relationship.  All of this was swirling around all day leading to this final breaking moment.  And then a complete collapse.

I sunk and I sunk fast.

And I quit.

None of my new thought patterns or techniques for challenging negative thoughts and beliefs worked.  Because none of them mattered to me any more.  Dare I say, it was almost as if I was embracing the old depression?  It just felt easier in some ways.  Which sounds a little crazy, I know.  Especially, in light of how fantastic my recent happiness has been.  But, it did feel easier.  It's familiar.  And giving into it means I don't have to fight.  And when I feel so down, I don't feel like fighting any more.

And so, I was done.

I know--I know you're probably thinking about all of the recent "breakthroughs" I've shared here.  All of my new mantras.  All of my new found hope and joy.

I thought of those things too.  And then I pushed them out.  Telling myself that it wasn't to be.  It was a wasted effort.

Because, I quit.

There was a part of me so hurt and disappointed that the rest of me was thinking and feeling this way, but that only added to the awfulness of it all.

And it happened so fast!

In a last ditch effort, I got out of bed to write in my journal.  The hurt and disappointed part of me knew that if I could sort through all of my thoughts, I could find that hope that felt so completely and well, hopelessly, lost.

HH stopped me then.  He was aware of the problem between us (both share in the responsibility there) and thought that if we could talk it out, everything would be fine.  He had no idea how far I'd fallen.  Talking things out was good.  We may have finally solved yet another recurring source of conflict between us.  It's not one that arises very often, but like I said in the beginning, it's one that always causes a problem when it does.  And in the light of today (even though we came to an understanding last night, I was still to tired, hurt, and depressed to really have faith in a positive outcome), I can see the blessing here.

In the refiner's fire for our marriage, we're that much closer to ridding ourselves of one more "impurity".    Making us that much stronger.  And I know that it has been our struggles, far more than the things that come easy, that have made our relationship as strong and amazing as it is.  But, the heat never feels good in the moment of purification.

And going back to last night, I still felt completely hopeless and awful inside.

Sleep is always restless and elusive on nights like that.  So, I was awake a little after 5 this morning contemplating and wallowing in the yuckiness of last night.  I knew I needed sleep, so I tried in vain to get it.  Then fed Darling A when she woke up a little bit later.  Tried again to sleep and eventually gave up and decided to write in my journal after all.

I'll be honest, even in the midst of my devastation, I sort of expected that cheerful optimism to pop out again in my writing.  It's been a powerful force during my transformation thus far.  But, this morning, it was gone, with my hope.  I wrote a horribly honest, raw, and depressing entry.  I kept waiting for things to make sense.  For my mantras to pull me through.  For my reminders written and posted all over my house to matter.  For something, anything to be enough to bring the light of hope back.

But, it didn't come.

Until I remembered one of the small reminders--remember to use the Atonement (of Jesus Christ) at the beginning of the struggle (rather than after struggling on my own for a long time first).  But, how to go about doing this?  I wasn't quite sure.

And so, I prayed.  A simple prayer.  Letting the Lord know that I felt completely at a loss, but I wanted to have that desire to try and be better again.  That I knew that somehow, in a way I cannot comprehend, He can and has made everything in my life right.  I didn't know how to access that healing grace, but I knew that through His infinite power and wisdom, He could grant it to me.

I was without hope, but I had just enough faith.  And honestly, I kind of expected it to be this instantaneous relief.

It wasn't.

I felt a tiny bit better as the Spirit whispered to me that I was finally heading in the right direction.  But, I was a long way off yet.  So, I read my scriptures.  I love the Book of Mormon.  But, the chapter I happened to be on today was about a war and I didn't really find anything there to soothe my soul.  So, I turned to my lesson manual and was not at all surprised to see how fitting today's lesson was in light of current events: Righteous Living in Perilous Times.  I know there was no mistake in the Lord's timing with that.

And as I read, I also knew that there was no mistake in all of the interruptions all week that meant that I had been unable to read the majority of the lesson until this morning.  It was precisely what I needed this morning, and would not have affected me the same had I read it any earlier.

And it was in this simple last bit of a sentence where my healing began, "...the price of peace and happiness is righteousness."

That is it.  All the Lord requires of me in order to provide me with peace and happiness is my righteous living.

Thankfully, he didn't say "perfection."  Because, I'm a long way from there.  But I am striving to live righteously.  And the Holy Ghost instantly confirmed this with a warmth in my heart.  And let me know that I do qualify for that peace and happiness.

It still took the better part of the morning for me to be able to let go of all the hurt, anger, fear, disappointment, and darkness.  But, gradually, I did.  And the more I let it, the more the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ healed my heart.  I don't know how to explain it.  I only know that it was only through His grace that all of that darkness was replaced with light and as I write this tonight, I feel once again, peace and happiness.

And going back to the refiner's fire--this was a personal purification.  It was horribly painful.  I thought I wouldn't survive it.  But, the Lord knew not only that I could, but that I would.  And He knows that of all the lessons I'm learning, this one is the most important.  Because when all else fails, the Savior will never fail.

John 16:33--“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 1069: 180

HH woke me up when he got home from basketball to announce that he had sprained his ankle, which was evident by his loudly hopping around on one foot as he got ready for bed.

I'll be honest, my initial thoughts were not sympathetic.

Whenever I am truly sick, or injured and prepared to actually take it easy, HH has the uncanny habit of getting severely sick or injured as well, within a day or two.  Now, we know that HH is pretty selfless and caring, so clearly this is not intentional, but I was struggling with feelings of anger and frustration when I got out of bed this morning.  I kept reminding myself that this wasn't his fault and I know he loves me and that my Heavenly Father loves me and that this is all temporary and somehow everything will be okay, but then I would remember that I am supposed to stay off of my foot as much as possible and wonder how on earth this would work now that HH couldn't take over for me.  

So, I only had marginal success in my efforts to think more positively.

Still, there was some success and I was able to get to the point where I wasn't angry with HH, so that is progress.

Then the kids woke up early and woke up Darling A in the process.  Awesome.  Now, I had a husband needing my help in finding ice packs and ibuprofen and a ride to work (fortunately, one of our neighbors works with him), two kids to get ready for school, one needy toddler, and a chubby little baby to balance on one hip through it all.  And 40 minutes to get it all done.

And I cried.

Not my best, or my strongest moment.

But, have I shared one of my newer mantras with you?  Setbacks are only setbacks.

It's okay to get down and discouraged on occasion.  That is a normal part of the human existence.  It doesn't mean I have to sink back into a bottomless depressed abyss.  So, I let myself cry for a minute, then got up and got to it.

All morning I battled thoughts of discouragement.  I'd work my way through them and be feeling optimistic, only to have them return and smack me in the face again.

And then I got on my computer and comments began popping up from my friends in New England about the tragedy in Connecticut.

And everything changed.

Suddenly, my foot and my boot were the furthest thing from my mind.  I just held Baby B and Darling A close and fought back the urge to drive to the elementary school to pick up the other two and wrap them all safely in my arms.

This simple moment of Darling A finishing her first ever jar of sweet potatoes made me cry.  Just thinking of those poor small children and the parents who will never hold them again in this life made my heart hurt so much.

When the older two were finally home, we had a quiet discussion about what happened, I hugged them tightly for a long long time, we did violin practice and then we pulled out a puzzle to work on together.  I just wanted to be close and to love them.

My heart is breaking for all of the children and families affected.  I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to have another day to work on being a better mama for my own children and to make sure they know beyond a doubt that above all else, they are loved.  I know that every day I get to do that is a gift, but today I feel it so much more poignantly.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 1068: Give 'Em The Boot

Today was interesting...

It started off with this reflection recorded in my journal:

"My life is definitely not perfect after all of this, but I am just loving it so much more.  I can bear the imperfections without getting weighed down by them because I know that they are temporary.  Every part of my life feels different because I am able to truly appreciate things now without the depression interfering, or blocking some (or all) of the joy and amazingness.

"I'm guessing at least some of this will fade with time as this happiness becomes my new normal.  But for now I am loving the feeling of truly experiencing all of the many blessings in my life for the first time.  I find myself thinking about this all of the time.  I just can't get over it.

"Even if some of that fades as the newness fades, I know that I need to avoid complacency like the plague.  This morning I woke up thinking about the two talks given in General Conference (The First Great Commandment, Being A More Christian Christian) describing the scene shortly after the Savior's Resurrection when the Apostles went back to fishing (St. John 21).  Jesus appears to them and reminds them that they have a greater calling than to fish.  The message I got from those talks is that it is not okay to just do "enough".  It's time to step up.  To feed the sheep, including myself.

"When I look back, I will realize I only had a short time on this earth.  I need to use it to be constantly and consistently drawing closer to the Lord, so that will be the natural place for me to belong when this life ends.  I don't have time for complacency.  And even though complacency is what I slip into because it is easy--even if I have worked hard to reach the point where I then become complacent--I am becoming more and more convinced that complacency kills joy.  We are meant to be striving for improvement always.  That is what our spirits yearn for.  It is in the daily seeking to draw nearer to the Lord by nourishing myself and then building up the Kingdom where true joy lies.


That was for me.  Because it is a lesson I have to keep relearning.

For example, after writing that and doing my scripture study, I got the kids ready and off to school then headed to the podiatrist.  It took him about 30 seconds to diagnose, an x-ray to confirm, and then he gifted me with this:

Stress fracture.  I was actually super happy to hear this.  Fractures are totally healable.

But, I'll be honest, as the day wore on, I struggled a bit.  It is inconvenient to say the least.  And, for whatever reason, the pain of it is now bothering me a lot more than it was prior to the boot.  So, I'm frustrated.  But, grateful for the thoughts I had this morning and the opportunity I had to record them before I forgot them an hour later!

Tonight I witnessed three "shooting stars" as part of the meteor shower.  And I was reminded that there is a Heavenly Father above and He loves us so much that he has created this amazing universe with so much beauty for us to enjoy.

Took the kids out to see and they each saw one.  It was fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 1067: Returning Favors

I got to watch my friend's son today.  The friend who watches Baby B for me each week, so I can have a peaceful therapy appointment.  It's beyond nice to return the favor a bit.

And it's even better than that.  Confession time:  for the past several years, I've struggled to watch other peoples' children.  Nothing wrong with the children, it just was a struggle for me... I'm not entirely sure why.  I've been discovering that a part of my problem has been that the Pass vs. Fail mentality was such a big deal that anything that disrupted my routine would cause an automatic failure.  So, I think that is the source of the problem.  But, I was unaware of that until recently when I realized it was no longer the case.

And it's been such a relief!  I thought something was horribly wrong with me and that I was just incapable of loving any children besides my own.

Thankfully, I now genuinely enjoy watching my friends' children.  Both because it gives me an opportunity to give back to my many generous friends and because their kids are just sweet and fun.

I am constantly being amazed at how every aspect of my life is being changed as a result of my new thought processes.

This afternoon HH informed me that he passed his CMA exam.  He's already a CPA, so the CMA just makes him that much cooler.  (c:  Seriously though, I am so proud of him.  And grateful for all of the time he put into studying for that exam.  And grateful that it was enough so he could pass it and not have to study for it again!  We went to Red Robin for dinner to celebrate that and Little M making it into the Reading Group #2 at school.

On the way we stopped in at the chiropractor.  The kids were telling him all about our new Elf on The Shelf.  He has a couple at his house, too, so they got into quite the discussion.  The best part was when Sweet P and Little M expressed their concern that "our elf might mate with our neighbors elf because she's a girl!"

Oh, that was fun.

I love my children.

I went to book club with my friends tonight, too.  I think I might have mentioned a time or two just how amazing my friends are.

Good day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 1066: Graduating?

Well, Darling A did not sleep well at all.

HH and I tag-teamed it through the night.  She only wanted to sleep while being held.  Oh, she's such a sweetheart and it was so sad.  (In case you didn't pick up on that last night).

Normally, that kind of a night would have been a breaking point for me and I would think, "I can't do this!  I'm not going to be able to survive it!"

But, throughout the night and this morning, I found it pretty easy to remember that this is only temporary.  Chances are, she'll sleep much better tonight because she's so tired and I'll be able to begin catching up my sleep as well.  Plus, I'm only going to be able to snuggle a sick baby for a limited amount of time.  It's just not the same when they get bigger.

So, everything is okay.

So, I had my appointment today.  About halfway through, I began thinking, I've just been talking this whole time about the successes I've had over the past week.  It was more like talking to a friend--granted, a friend who is a really good listener and never has anything to say about themselves--than to a therapist.  He did interject a bit, sometimes to ask how certain things made me feel, but always to tell me he was really impressed with how I handled each situation.

Speaking of, I need to interrupt for a moment and tell you that today I'm feeling a little embarrassed about last Thursday's post.  I still haven't been to see my podiatrist, but I'm sure I totally overreacted and that everything is not nearly so serious.

And even if it is, I am coming to peace with various reasons why it can be okay if running is no longer a part of my future.  Although, this afternoon and evening my foot has finally started feeling better.  I think all of the swelling is gone, and there have been moments where it hasn't been hurting at all!  So, maybe I just needed to freak out a bit.

Anyway, back to my appointment--he began to give me a homework assignment for the upcoming week (writing down all of the things I've gained through my experience with depression), but I had to tell him that, actually, I'd already done that.  And then there was no follow up homework assignment to that.

In fact, he told me that he thought it was time to start phasing out the therapy sessions.

And now I'm struggling to put into words how that made me feel.

To put it really simply, let's just say, happy.

And then we scheduled my next appointment for next year.  Yeah.  You read that right.  I'm just a little apprehensive because the next few weeks have all kind of crazy busyness and potential for stress (and we've got way more than Christmas going on, here).  But, I think I'll be alright.

Here's to finishing the year strong and happy and at peace.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 1065: So Sad

Darling A slept until 5:30 this morning.

That would have been awesome.

Unfortunately, Z was up all night barking at the back door.


Z might not be staying with us much longer.

I wish...

Thanks to her, I lost a total of 2 1/2 hours of sleep last night.  I finally fell back to sleep about 15 minutes before Darling A woke up.


So, I'm a little tired today.  So unusual for me, I know.

And when I'm this tired, sometimes anxiety sets in.  Just a general anxiety.  I start to feel all panicky, but struggle to place what exactly I'm panicked about.  That started this morning.  The good news is, in spite of my exhaustion, I was able to see the anxiety for what it was--just a product of my lack of sleep--and put it to rest.  It tried to pop back up a few times throughout the day, but I just repeated the process.

The other thing going on throughout the day was the decline of Darling A.  She was borderline feverish last night, but then was still so cheerful, we kind of dismissed it.  She still seemed all right this morning. But, after we got home from the morning's outings, she was just so sad.  And then I thought she was going to throw up and that was just so so SO sad.  But, she didn't.  She eventually calmed down and just fell asleep on my shoulder while I was talking to HH about how sad she was.

And then, tonight when I went to put her to bed, she actually did throw up.  We're not talking spit up here, folks.  We're talking the real deal.  We've never had a baby throw up so young and that was so so so so sooooooooooooo sad.  Oh, her cry after was so heartbreaking.  Poor little baby!

Not optimistic about the sleep anyone around here will be getting tonight...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 1064: Time Estimating

Whenever HH sets out to build something, or fix something, I ask him how long it's going to take and then I multiply whatever he says by at least 4.

Turns out the same rule applies to me when the sewing machine is involved.

I tried to finish the taggy blanket before church with no luck.

Church was really nice though.  I'm so grateful to be enjoying my Sundays again.

After we returned home and got everyone fed and settled, I headed back to the sewing machine to finish this up:

I'm pretty proud of it.

I love minky dot fabric for baby stuff!  So soft!

And Darling A is a fan, which is nice.

And in the afternoon I had a little mini battle with a "Should".  You know what I mean--"I really should..."  I sat down and thought it all out and determined that this was not a prompting from the Holy Spirit telling me I should do this, it was just my own guilt.  So, I let it go and moved on.

Honestly, I don't usually sew on the Sabbath, but today it was just the distraction I needed to not let the guilt pile on.  And, since it was relatively simple and a gift for my sweet little baby, I felt that it was a perfectly fine Sabbath activity.

This evening the kids and I Skyped with my mama (my dad was out of town, sadly).  Technology that we really ought to take advantage of more often.  It was so fun to visit with her and also to show my sweet happy baby off a bit.  One of the hardest things about living so far from family is not being able to show the grandparents just how cute their grand babies are at every stage!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 1063: A Project!

Darling A has reached the stage of being obsessed with the tags on her toys, so I searched in vain for the little taggy blanket a friend made for Baby B.  When I couldn't find it, I decided it was high time I did a little craft project and this one seemed simple enough.

And then I realized that Hobby Lobby was right next to the children's consignment store we were already planning on stopping in at this morning and for a moment all of the stars were in alignment.

And then HH announced that he'd forgotten it was the morning he'd signed us up to clean the church.


Yes, I went into it with a bad attitude.

But, then I reminded myself that it is the Lord's house and it should feel more like a privilege to clean it, so it is a better environment for others to worship Him in.  And I tried to make that more of my focus.

It helped that the other families we were cleaning with are our friends and are awesome.  The couple who arrived there first actually began with the bathrooms.  I mean, who does that?  Super people, if you ask me.

Anyway, it took less than two hours.  The kids weren't too ill behaved and Darling A even obliged by falling asleep while nursing and then staying asleep as I buckled her into her car seat (hasn't done that in months!) and remaining asleep until the rest of the cleaning was complete.

And I walked out feeling grateful for the opportunity and grateful for a husband who is willing to sign us up even though I'm always saying, "That responsibility should really be left for families with older children who can either help, or who have moved out."  I really hope our kids learn from his example in this case, and not mine.

The rest of the morning's errands went well.  The consignment shop was a total bust, but Hobby Lobby actually had a lovely piece of minky dot fabric in their remnants clearance shelf!  Exactly what I wanted for the taggy blanket.  I picked up the three teacher gifts I realized I needed after thinking I'd finished all of my Christmas shopping.  Now, I'm done!  And we even stopped in for a spontaneous donut at the local donut shop.

All before I met up with my friends to see a movie.  The movie was not my favorite, but hanging out with my friends was fabulous.  I love my friends.  I know, I never say that here.

And then the rest of the day went well.  Last night after we finally crawled into bed after getting some very wired and wound up children to sleep, I told HH that I really needed today to be a good day.  Thursday and Friday had been okay, but there were some really rough patches--mainly due to my fatigue and my worry over my foot.  I was worried about what a third day down in the grumps would do to me.

So, I'm grateful today was such a great day.  And I'm grateful it began with the opportunity to serve and ended with a bit of crafting (halfway done with the taggy blanket!).  Two great ways to lift my spirits.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 1062: Ho Ho Ho

At church on Sunday. I learned that 9 people had turned down the request to be Santa at the Christmas party.  My response?

HH will do it!  HH would LOVE to do it!

He's really so great at that sort of thing.  He loves kids and they love him.  And, honestly, everything is more fun when HH is involved.  So, he seemed a natural fit.

Except physically speaking, of course.

And to his credit, he really didn't take any convincing and was quite willing.

So, tonight was the party.  I knew the kids would not be fooled, so we told them beforehand so they wouldn't spoil it for any other child.  And I thought it was going to be awesome to get a fabulous picture of the kids with Santa, for once.

Ah, ha ha.  Joke's on me.  This is the best I got.

The first half of the party was a little stressful.  I was bringing potato casserole and a salad.  The afternoon/evening was too chaotic for Darling A to get a late nap in to help with her being out late, Baby B was having a not-so-good-day, the kids needed their costumes for the Nativity scene, and HH and I were both stressed, having thought the other person would have more time to help us with our own preparation for the party.

So, we showed up in less than the best of moods.  Baby B continued downhill and there weren't enough seats.

It was rough.  But, gradually, things worked themselves out.  Baby B and I enjoyed a quiet dinner on the floor.  Sounds bad, but really, I think a little alone time with me was exactly what he needed.  And the quiet time was good for me, too.

Other than needing to help the kids and HH with their costumes at the exact same time and missing the entire Nativity production, the rest of the evening was a smashing success.  HH did a fabulous job.  The kids were all so happy.  He was cracking jokes and entertaining everyone in ear shot.  He didn't complain once about sweating buckets under the suit (and the jacket he'd layered on to try and add bulk to his less-than-Santa girth).  And more than one child walked away saying "That was the real Santa!"  Including one who had previously been told that it was, in fact, HH.

I love HH.  I love that I can volunteer him for things like this and know that not only will he do it, but that he'll do it happily and well.  I love that after an evening of snippy remarks to each other, I can say, "hey, I'm willing to clear the slate and start over, so we can have a good time if you are", and he will.  I love that I learned that move from him.

And I love that he's man enough to put on a wig that inspires his toddler to declare, "You look like a grill (girl), Daddy!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 1061: Oh, okay

It's time for a confession:  I seem to have damaged my foot.  It's been hurting since mid-to-late October.  I've been taking it easy, only ran a few times since my relay and not at all since Thanksgiving, pretending like it's not there and not causing pain every moment of every day (and night), and fully expecting it to heal any day.  But, this week it actually got worse.  Without me doing anything (besides going about my daily tasks of housecleaning and meal preparing) to aggravate it.  Sooooo not fair.

So, this morning started off well enough.  Me being happy and grateful for this long-lasting good mood wave I've been riding.  I stopped in at the chiropractor so he could adjust my foot.  It has worked with my previous foot injuries, so I've been having him treat this for a few weeks now.  I talked to him about the sudden increase in pain and he agreed that the top of my foot is indeed swollen and then casually mentioned that it was quite possibly a neuroma.

And that another of his clients recently had surgery to have just such a neuroma removed.


I'm a runner.

I happen to be vitally dependent on my feet.

Surgery = Death to Running.

Which is a huge part of who I am and what I have planned for both my short term and long term future.

I called HH and told him about the potential diagnosis.  He looked it up online and  read me the rundown.  Surgery is not the only (or most successful) treatment.  However, none of them were very optimistic sounding.  Running sounds like it will be out.  Vibram Five Fingers sound like they're out.  Cute suede boots sound like they'll be out.  Sexy snake skin heels sound like they'll be out.

Orthotics and big black supportive boots sound like they'll be in.

Boo.  Boo.  Boo hoo.

I tried really hard to keep my thoughts from traveling down that road all day.

It didn't help that I was very tired (Darling A had us up quite a bit the night before) and Baby B fell of the Happy Train as well.  There were a few other minor issues in there, too, and I was just sort of done.

HH and I had a bit of conflict tonight (mainly caused by the aforementioned fatigue for both of us) and even though we resolved things, I still just feel yucky and sad.

I'm trying really hard to find the most optimistic outcome here (I mean, I haven't even been to my podiatrist yet, so there is no official diagnosis!), but with it being something so near to my heart, it is a struggle.

The good news is, I know that the majority of today's pain and grumpies is a direct result of being so exhausted.  So, I'm going to bed super early and I fully expect to wake up in a much better mood in the morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 1060: Oh, Those Elephants

Had another good day again.  I've started to notice that I have a smile on my face most of the time, with no effort.  It's really nice and fun.

My mom sent a request to my siblings and I for experiences concerning hope to help her with a talk she's giving on Sunday.  As I did my scripture study this morning, I thought about that and then sent her the following in an email:

In Ether 2:25 the Lord tells the brother of Jared that He wants to prepare him for the trials they'll face in crossing the ocean  Then He asks, "What will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

Being "swallowed up in the depths of the sea" sounds a lot like depression, so I pondered what I would ask the Lord to provide me with so I may have light during those times.  And the reminder of the Atonement is the answer I came up with.  If I can remember (or be reminded) that I have that to rely on and cast my doubts, burdens, and fears on then I can have the light of hope--even when swallowed up in the depths of the sea.  

I'm learning that the light that hope provides is enough.  It doesn't remove all of the pain of the depression, but it is enough.  Enough to give me the strength, courage, and desire to keep trying and keep fighting because I have hope that through the Savior's Atonement, I can become better in every way.  And even if that doesn't all happen tomorrow, it's still okay because I have the hope that eventually, it will.  And the prospect of an eternity in which to develop, grow, and become perfect with the aid of my Father in Heaven is maybe one of the greatest sources of hope I can think of."

Just thought I should share that as it has been a very important part of the process I'm going through here.

In other news, my friends threw a White Elephant party (also known as Yankee Swap for you East Coasters) tonight.  We had a lot of fun.  I love my friends.  And I went home with two pretty glasses (and the promise of a very talented friend to etch a monogram into them) and a cute bracelet.  It wasn't a true White Elephant in which the gifts are basically funny junk.  Sadly, some of my friends aren't into that.  So, they were all gifts that people would actually want.

And the best news is that I left at 9:45 PM.  Not early enough to quite get to bed on time, but still several hours earlier than everyone else.  Besides the friend I gave a ride to, knowing she'd want to leave early as well.  So, I'm proud of myself for being disciplined for once.  It helped that I announced to everyone as soon as I showed up that I'd be leaving at 9:30.  Even though I'm sure they would have been happy to have me stay, it still gave me a little more to be accountable to.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 1059: For Really Real?

I did wake up in a much better mood this morning.  Hooray!

The day went well enough.  Nothing too crazy or eventful.  HH took the kids to violin tonight because the school was hosting a Skate Night at the local roller rink and it made a whole lot more sense for him to take them than me.

So, I took the younger two out for some errands and guess what?!  I'm all finished with Christmas shopping.  Finito.  Is that a word?  I don't know.  But I'm done and I'm a little in shock about that fact, but I am positively thrilled.

Now, I just have to wrap things up and get to the post office for the gifts that need to be shipped to family far away.

But, I'm done!!!!

And get this--Baby B was awesome the whole trip.  He had a couple minor, almost-meltdowns, but was able to recover quickly before it ever became an issue.  Or, even drew the attention of another shopper.  He was so sweet and fun and helpful (and obedient!) and it was fabulous.

Life is good, People.  Life is good.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 1058: Thank Goodness For Mornings

Today was sort of a frenzied day.

The morning rush was just a bit more chaotic than usual and it just went on from there.  I was doing my best and handling things alright though.  It just was taking extra effort.

I had another therapy session this morning where I explained that I wanted to totally switch up the goals I'm working on there.  Don't worry, I'm still working on my kindness goals--it's just that I feel confident in my ability to work on those on my own.  After giving it some thought throughout the week, I came up with some goals a lot more applicable to the reason I'm there in the first place.  The first one is finally disciplining myself enough to go to bed at a reasonable time consistently.

I'm excited.

Anyway, the rest of the day continued on in the way of the morning.  I struggled through and was able to stay just above the line.  But then, I had a serious set back.  It's a long story, but we're having some conflict with some neighbors and it's weird because we've never actually spoken to them before.  We have no issue with them, but there has been a bit of a misunderstanding apparently.  I've been trying since yesterday afternoon to go over and explain that no offense was intended, but gotten a weird reception each time and never been able to talk to an adult at the home.  And after the third try tonight, I couldn't take it any more.  It was stressful every time I tried to go over and I had to kind of psych myself up and remind myself that everything was okay but it's scary talking to someone who doesn't know me and yet, is incredibly upset with me.

Long story a little less long--I wrote a note and sent HH over to try and talk to them one more time, or tape the note to the door.  HH ended up being able to talk with the husband over there and got everything sorted out and now, I think we probably should start being a little more social with them, so they'll just talk to us before getting upset the next time (hopefully, there won't be a next time!).

In the meantime of my frazzledness, Darling A was just kind of fussy and ornery tonight.

Not like her usual self at all.  AT. ALL.

I was struggling so much to stay okay that it took me a little while to really tune into this, rather than just be annoyed by it.  But, when I finally did, I noticed that she was staring with as much jealousy as a sweet little baby is capable of at my dinner each time it rose up to my mouth and went in.

So, we did this.  I was planning on waiting a couple more weeks until 6 months, but she clearly was ready.  She did great.  We didn't even get a really great picture because she pretty much took to it like an old pro.  She downed two servings (of only 2 or 3 tablespoons each, but still!).

And then, she was so giggly and happy.  I've never had a baby be that demanding of the first meal.  I love watching her little personality peep through.  So fun.  She seems to be taking after her mama more and more all the time.  A little demanding?  Check.  Super interested in food?  Check!

Anyway, I'm happy with myself for fighting so hard today.  But, I'm also so glad that it's almost bedtime and I can wake up tomorrow and start fresh.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 1057: Bigger

So, a month or so ago, the kids were given the opportunity to sign up to play with the local symphony orchestra tonight.  HH and I thought that sounded like a good idea, so we signed them up.

I thought it was just going to be a low key little performance where the orchestra accompanied them in a few pieces and then it was done.

Turns out, it was the other way around and the kids were a part of a much bigger concert including a shortened version of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", beautiful music by the symphony orchestra, and parts of the Nutcracker ballet performed.  With the kids playing their part in the middle.  A friend asked if I was nervous for them.  I think if I'd understood what they were a part of initially, I might have been, but since I only caught on gradually, it didn't occur to me.

And they did great.  There were probably over a thousand people in the audience (I'm really  not good at those sorts of estimates), but they didn't seem nervous at all.  And it was fun to here the guy sitting behind us comment on what a great tie Little M was wearing (the guy didn't know it was Little M, but he was on the front row and the guy said it right when he walked out.  And, I'll be honest, he did look pretty awesome in his tie).

The whole evening was really nice.  A beautiful concert and a great way to get into the Christmas season.  And now the kids are pretty dang proud of themselves.  Sweet P has been talking about it quite a bit since and how she must be famous since she played in such a big performance center where other famous people have played.

I love it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 1056: Musicians

It's recital time again!

We had the studio recital today.  It was very enjoyable.  Made all the more so by our sweet neighbors who showed up to support the kids and totally made their day.  They even gave Sweet P a rose.  We have great neighbors.

Love this dapper man and his style!

My pretty princess and her awesome instructor that she totally looks up to and admires!

In the past, I've gotten really caught up in them playing these pieces perfectly, and felt disappointed when they didn't.  But today (with more than a little help from their awesome instructor), I was able to just enjoy the experience with them and to focus on the things they did do REALLY well (i.e. keeping eyes on the violin the whole time, or fantastic bow circles) and just to hopefully, help boost their confidence and their desire to continue playing.

And I felt good about that.

Earlier in the day, we got to wish HH's mom a happy birthday and then set up to do "Face Time" on HH's new iphone with her during the recital.  So, she got to watch it live and that was pretty cool.  It makes me sad that we're out here on our own and our families (my kids included) miss out on those kinds of things.

After a quick dinner at home, we left the kids with a sitter (first time for Darling A with a teenage baby sitter!) and went to a friend's home to listen to her perform an hour's worth of beautiful Christmas songs on the piano.  And I got to sit next to HH and hold his hand the whole time.  It's now been 10 years that we've been holding hands, but I still love it!

She's very talented, so it was beautiful and it brought together people from various aspects of her life, so I was able to get to know a woman I had only briefly met about a year ago, but who has been a bit of an inspiration to me since (she's a mom of teenagers and recently completed a half Ironman) and she actually was surprised when I said something about being a stay-at-home mom because she said I didn't look old enough to have kids.  Her jaw dropped when she asked how many and I responded with, "Four."  I'm not going to lie--that was kind of nice to hear.