Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 1158: Endorphin High

So, for several reasons (but mainly, still trying to get Darling A on a better schedule), I decided to go to the early morning Boot Camp today, from 5:30-6:30.  Baby B helped make sure I got there on time by waking me up at 4 to assist him in a search for Chunk Sheet.  Fortunately, it didn't take long to locate the sheet.  Unfortunately, I never fell back asleep.

I kept waiting for it to hit me all day, but it never did.

Instead, I just stayed in a really awesome mood pretty much all day.  The class was tough, but fun.  There were about 60 people there--insane, really.  And apparently, they are all regulars because several of them singled me out as the new person.  In a good, welcoming way.  And it just felt kind of really nice to be up and at the world bright and early.  Definitely assisted by the fact that warm weather has finally struck and it was a beautiful morning.

The kids and I joined up with a bunch of friend for a picnic at the park, although, our picnic was kind of messed up by Darling A.  She was apparently quite stoked about finally being able to take her morning nap at her own leisure and slept from about 8:45-noon.  Awesome for her.  Sad for the kids planning on meeting up with their friends at 11:30.  But, they still got in plenty of play time in the sunshine.

And the rest of the day just continued to be a happy one for me.

I happened to read "Be Anxiously Engaged", by Elder M. Russell Ballard.  It explains exactly why I've been feeling so great lately.  I was especially struck by this paragraph:

When our hearts are no longer set upon the things of this world, we will no longer aspire to the honors of men or seek only to gratify our pride (see D&C 121:35–37). Rather, we take on the Christlike qualities that Jesus taught:
    We are gentle and meek and long-suffering (see D&C 121:41).
    We are kind, without hypocrisy or guile (see D&C 121:42).
    We feel charity toward all men (see D&C 121:45).
    Our thoughts are always virtuous (see D&C 121:45).
    We no longer desire to do evil (see Mosiah 5:2).
    The Holy Ghost is our constant companion, and the doctrines of the priesthood distill upon our souls as the dews from heaven (see D&C 121:45–46).

And then this:

Now, brothers and sisters, I’m not encouraging religious zealotry or fanaticism. Quite the contrary! I’m simply suggesting that we take the next logical step in our complete conversion to the gospel of Christ by assimilating its doctrines deep within our hearts and our souls so we will act and live consistently—and with integrity—what we profess to believe.
This integrity simplifies our lives and amplifies our sensitivities to the Spirit and to the needs of others. It brings joy into our lives and peace to our souls—the kind of joy and peace that comes to us as we repent of our sins and follow the Savior by keeping His commandments.

If you have time, I highly recommend reading (or listening to) the entire talk.  It is such a great way to have joy!

Life feels so fabulous right now.  I'm loving it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 1157: More Time

I already posted about rearranging my schedule to be more accommodating of Darling A's.  I had no idea what a difference it would make in my life.  For the better.  I feel like I have so much more time now.  Although, with trying to really let people into my life, it hasn't been hard to fill.

Today was really great though.  While Darling A napped after we returned home from the gym, Baby B and I spent some fun time together.  We even turned on some Disney songs and danced in the kitchen.  It was so fun and so special to giggle and twirl together.

Then, a friend picked him up for a play date at her house--just as Darling A was waking up.  So, she and I got to spend some one on one time together as well.  It was so fun.  She was excited to have my undivided attention, even though she was just eating, as it seems she spends most of her time.  And then she had a great time trying to crawl under and around my legs over and over again while I had a nice chat with my sister.

And I made Asian Lettuce wraps for dinner for the first time ever.  They were not nearly as much work as I'd always thought and they were SO yummy!  And I am kind of proud of myself.  Again.

Day 1156: Taco Bar

Today was a crazy busy day.  But, it was a good day.  And I'm really proud.  It's the kind of day where I could have totally lost it and turned myself over to stress.  Instead, I kept a prayer in my heart and a smile on my face and everything went really well.  And I was happy instead of stressed.

Did I mention that I'm really proud of myself?

Tonight we had a friend, her son, and the missionaries over for dinner.  Taco bar, per her suggestion.  It was really fun.  Except that HH could barely make his own tacos (he did makes his own, though--very much to his credit), so that left me to make tacos for all of my children.  By the time I finished with the first round of them (including cleaning up two messes Baby B had made with his), they were gobbled and ready for another round.  Thankfully, my friend was able to help keep a demanding little Darling A happy.

And eventually, everyone (including me) was fed and happy.  And eating cookies.  I'm not going to lie--I think I make super delicious chocolate chip cookies.

And then we had a discussion about trials and how they can be a blessing in our lives by helping strengthen our relationship with God.  And it was really nice to chat about things that really matter.

And then everyone left, we put kids in bed, cleaned up, and I got to have a nice chat with my mama for her birthday today.  She's 29, in case you were wondering.

Today was a really good day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 1155: Settling In

Quick, knock on wood.  Life is starting to feel kind of normal.  I mean, whatever "normal" is for us now.

But, it's been good.  Today was pretty casual.  In a good way.  We went through our normal routine and even had some friends over.  It was fun.  And nice for the kids to have someone to hang out with.  Me, too.

Anyway, so life is good.  I'm happy.  Still working on connecting with people.  I'm supposed to get comfortable with asking for help--in particular, when I'm dealing with depression.  Yuck.  Getting comfortable with that idea could take some time.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get there before the next bout of depression actually does hit.  And then, maybe it will make a difference.

Here's for holding onto hope. (:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 1154: Little Talks

So, I had another therapy appointment today.  And it was really good.  Which is kind of crazy.  But exciting, too.  It's kind of hard to explain.  We discussed my difficulty connecting with anyone more.  And as we were talking, even though I had told him the complete opposite last time we talked, I remembered multiple instances where I had been deeply hurt and disappointed by different people.  And I remembered how strongly it had affected me each time.  But, it was so long ago, and the circumstances seem so silly in retrospect, I had forgotten that I had made up my mind at the time to just stop relying on other people.  And I had no idea it had perpetuated so long and so deep.

Kinda sounds like your stereotypical psychoanalyzing, right?  It all stems from some traumatic event during my adolescence.  Ha.  So, it kind of makes me feel silly to share it.  But, it is true.

We got into a bunch of other stuff, too.  I'm starting to figure out what makes me tick.  It still kind of bugs me that I can't always figure myself out.  And then, even when I do, that I can't automatically make myself change to believing what I know I should believe.  If that makes sense...

Anyway, as I drove home and thought and processed more of all of this, I realized that there are at least a few people that I do need to talk to directly about my issues.  So, I had one of these chats with one of my good friends today.  I'm not going to lie--it was totally awkward.  At least, for me.  She seemed just totally ready to help in whatever way she could.  Which is why she's so awesome.  I still just felt awkward.  I hate talking about "real" stuff with my friends, apparently.  But, as soon as it was out, things were immediately much better.

I've always thought of myself as a super honest person.  But, I am seeing now that, in my own way, I've been living this huge lie.  And as I'm forcing myself to be more honest with myself, in therapy, and with those closest to me it's making this huge difference.

I've felt so much... lighter?  I don't know for sure the best word to use here, but I think that fits as well as anything.  I've just felt better today.  Things were easier to bear.  Joy was easier to recognize.   So, I know I'm definitely on the right track.  Just no idea how long I'll have to be on it before all of this will come natural and I won't have to have someone else help me figure these things out and it won't be so hard to fix them as I do figure it out.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 1153: Cloves in The Beef Stew

I know, I thought it sounded weird, too.  But, it actually ended up being pretty tasty.

Which was good because we sort of had some last minute dinner guests.  By my own doing, of course. It was a super fun night.  And fun to share it with friends.

All in all, it was a pretty good day.  Baby B didn't run off at all--not when we were getting in the car to go to church, nor when we were rounding everyone up to get back into the car to come home from church.  So, that was a huge bonus for the day.

And the van stopped sliding just before we were out on the open road, so I didn't get us all killed on the way to church.

Like I said, all in all, it was a pretty good day.

But, I am sooooo ready for the early Spring that groundhog promised us.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 1152: Shwarma

I'm not sure if I spelled that right.  It's something HH ate while serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia.  And he's been craving it for a while now.  He found a restaurant that serves it and has been super antsy to go.

Tonight was the night.

In preparation, I got my hair done.

Actually, I've been wanting to get it cut for a few weeks now, but kept forgetting to set up an appointment.  So, when he scheduled a date with me, I decided I should get my hair cut the same day.  Let's be honest, it always looks better when my stylist does it and I like to look my best on our dates.

I forgot to take a picture, but I did make this exact statement after coming home and really giving the new style a good look in the mirror, "I think I might actually love my hair."  That's a big deal coming from me.  It's not all that different from my previous style.  It's based on these photos, but I forgot to bring it in, so it's a little different.  But, I am really happy with it.

Our date was, umm.... interesting.

And by "interesting", I mean, totally awkward.  It was a pretty small restaurant.  And we sort of stuck out like a sore thumb.  HH had his back to the majority of the (small) crowd there.  So, he couldn't see that everyone was kind of staring at us.  Or, me.  At least, that's how it seemed.  And not in a "Wow, look how pretty her hair is" kind of way.

At least I got to be there with my best friend.  So, we laughed our way through it.

And then we went to the grocery store.  And then we decided we were cold and tired, so we went home.

Not much of a date.

Except that it was with my best friend.  Whom I also happen to be very much in love with.

So, it was fabulous.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 1151: My Baby

We had a little play date today.  It was nice because Baby B loves to have his friends over and these two played really well together.  Until they both wanted the same book.  But, we survived. :)  And it was nice because his friend's mama is pregnant, so I was glad to be able to give her a little break.  And while they were playing so nicely, it was kind of a break for me too.  Win-win.

After she left, Baby B and I spent a long time making a puzzle together.  It has 24 pieces, so this meant that we did it about a hundred times.  But, it was fun just to spend some quiet time together and watch his skills grow.  And here him tell himself, "There I go!" every time he put two pieces together.

Baby B just wasn't in the mood to share any books with anyone today.
And tonight Darling A and I spent some bonding time on the floor.  Holding her is pretty painful with my back and I really miss enjoying our snuggle times.  But, it was fun to play together on the floor.  She is SO giggly and I love it!

And I know it's been a while since I've posted any Joyful Moments related to food--tonight I added parmesan crisps to this recipe.  And in that moment all was right with the world.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 1150: Linus Without His Blankie

It finally happened.

Baby B left his "chunk sheet" at the chiropractor's office last night.  And we didn't realize until the office was closed.  It was rough.  He was so sad.

But, reuniting the two of them this morning was really sweet.

It also made us realize that it is time to start sort of weaning him from chunk sheet.  At least, it's not allowed to leave his room any more.  Which means, it can no longer be my crutch for getting him to behave when we go to the gym, grocery store, bank, church, etc.

Be strong.

Speaking of strong, my back still hurts.  Which is sad.  But, I was able to do a really light run on the treadmill this morning.  I think that actually helped it a bit, but then I undid whatever good that did by coming home and vacuuming.


Oh well.  While I was stretching after the run, I bumped into a friend and one thing led to another and now I get to do a fitness consult for her tomorrow!  Super fun for me because I get to do something with what I studied in college and I just love doing these.  Unfortunately for her, she'll get what she pays for (nothing) because it's been a couple of years since college and I'm not certified.  But, I always jump at the chance to do this for a friend and it's been a little while since my last one.  So, I'm pretty pumped about that.

In other news, Baby B had Darling A seriously busting a gut tonight as I got her dressed in her pj's.  He is seriously the best at getting her to laugh that hard and it just melts my heart every time.  It is so stinkin' cute to watch!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 1149: Strange Places

So, things continue to go well.  It occurred to me at one point today that I have spent very little of the past couple of days trying to make other people think I'm awesome.

That sounds little weird.  But, it was really nice.  Turns out that trying to make other people think I'm awesome (regardless of what I think of myself) is really exhausting.

Also, I hurt my back.  Just a sprain/strain, but it kinda hurts pretty bad.  It got really really bad tonight, so HH took over with the final push in getting the kids to bed while I fed Darling A.

Let me interject here--I have been amazed at just how well he has handled this whole "post surgery" situation.  I would have gone absolutely crazy with the lack of ability, the need to be so dependent on someone else for a while, the constant pain, the process of getting back to normal, etc.  But, for the most part, he's been pretty stalwart.  Which is not to say that he hasn't struggled at all.  Because, completely understandably, it has been hard on him.

But, for a little while tonight as he took care of the kids and then me, he seemed totally back to himself. Downright chipper, if I may say.

And I think that was really nice for both of us to see.

He's so used to taking care of so much around here, no wonder the limitations from his surgery have been rough on him.

Of course, now that (fingers crossed) I'm getting better, he's just going to have to be okay to not take care of everything.  We are a team, after all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 1148: Letting Go Of My Time Table

For years, my workout routine has been paramount.  It has been the thing that the rest of the day is scheduled around.  This has not been an entirely bad things, as it has been a great help at fighting depression.  But, it has also made it difficult for me to get other things done.  Things like putting other people and things first.

Since hurting my foot and then being sick forever and then staying home for a while to help HH, my workout has had to take the back burner quite a bit.  Repeatedly.

And I learned a few things.  One, just how many more hours a day seems to have--and how I don't need to hold onto them nearly so tightly.  And two, that I can in fact, survive without my daily workout.  And it doesn't mean I'll instantly be out of shape.

And I think all of that was preparing me to make the changes I'm currently working on.  It's a lot easier to reach out and help (or, accept help) when I'm not insanely stressed about what the next minute requires.

It's also a good thing for Darling A.  I've been trying to help her get on a nap schedule that accommodates my workout schedule.  But, it hasn't worked out.  At all.  So, I've been accommodating hers the past little while.  With much more success.  We're all happier.

And I'm loving it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 1147: Changing

So, I must have been doing better than I thought last night because I woke up in a cautiously good mood.  And things improved from there.  Nice workout, great conversation with a friend, quick (and tantrum-free) stop at Trader Joe's, took advantage of an opportunity to do a small gesture of kindness for another friend, all in time for Darling A to get in a morning nap.  Then the kids played while I sat with them and checked some stuff off of my to-do list.

And I was feeling pretty good about myself and my attempts at changing my focus to be more outward.  It made the day really fun and pleasant.  And I felt a lot of peace.

Except, every now and then, I'd get a little stressed and overwhelmed.  But, less and less as the day wore on.

And then, we had a bit of a hectic afternoon/early evening and it wore on us a bit.

But, progress is still progress, right?  And today had a lot of progress, even if it's the one step forward, two steps back kind. (:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 1146: Germie Pancakes

Today's the big day.  This baby of mine turned 6 today.  We made green German pancakes (a.k.a. "germie pancakes", according to Baby B), in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Not bad, really.

It ended up being a pretty busy day.  I went from one thing to the next all day long.  I never really got a chance to relax--even at church, which is kind of odd.  That's never a good thing for me.  And then, Baby B went a little wild at church and I kind of reacted strongly.  And afterwards, I was really embarrassed about it.

And, as I'm quickly learning, being embarrassed is a big trigger for me.

So, I struggled through, trying to get back on top of things, so my Little M could keep enjoying his big day.  I think he was excited enough about everything that he didn't really notice.  I'm really grateful for that.

HH was keenly aware, however, since I took some of this out on him.  Not that he was totally guiltless himself, but he didn't really deserve my anger.  Fortunately, we talked it out and at least we are okay.  Even if I am not.  But, being stable with him is a huge help for me at times like this.

This whole "being honest" thing is a bit of a challenge.  But, I'm trying.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 1145: Here At Hogwarts

As I mentioned, we have a birthday coming up here and today was the day of the party.  We only do these every other year, so it's a big deal.

Well, I think when you're turning six, it would be a big deal anyway.

Remember the dry ice dress rehearsal?  I think it went over really really well.  Actually, the whole party went really well, as far as I could tell.

It was a fun and crazy morning.

And HH planned almost the whole thing.  It was really really nice.

This was the main thing I was responsible.  Well, main two things if you want to get technical--that sweet little smiling boy is a product of my womb, after all. (:  But that monstrosity in front of him was his request in lieu of a cake.  It is a giant ice cream sandwich.  Chocolate cookie on the bottom, regular on top, cookie dough ice cream in the middle, mini M&M's around the outside, per his specific request. Pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.  He was pretty happy about it as well.

After, we went out to lunch to continue the celebration.  Good times!

And then a friend called and asked me to do a favor, so my resolution to be a better friend and find more opportunities to serve was given a big boost.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 1144: Just One Me, Actually

I'm starting this post off with a cute picture.

Because it's a difficult post to type.

So, feel free to just look at the cute picture and forget the rest of the post.

I don't really know where to start...

So, after Monday's appointment, I kind of drove myself a little crazy.  I always just feel kind of yucky for a bit after therapy (not to mention, physically ill with nerves before each appointment!) For whatever reason, it was really bad after Monday's appointment.  Which is funny, because initially, I felt really good about that one!  I thought HH and I accomplished some really great stuff.  But, then I thought about somethings I had said and just got super embarrassed thinking about how crazy I must come off sitting next to HH in all his well-functioning normalcy, across from the therapist who clearly has it all figured out, which is why he's trying to help others, like me.  And I hate going to therapy.

This is the way I was thinking, at least.

And it lasted for a couple days and was making me crazy.  I couldn't turn it off.  I was totally obsessing about what my therapist was thinking about me and that in and of itself was making me crazy.  For a hundred different reasons--why should that even matter?

But, it did.

So, I did a ton of writing in my journal trying to sort things out.  It took multiple entries over a couple of days, but finally, Tuesday night, things started kind of piecing together.  I realized that the main component seemed to be that therapy was very embarrassing for me.  It was a little weird, actually.  Once I realized that the issue was that I was embarrassed, that helped.  And then, it was like these different parts of me and my history kind of started meshing together in my mind, all pointing towards something, but I couldn't figure out exactly what.

So, I kept mulling things over in my mind.  I thought about how I kept my depression a total secret from everyone (except HH) for a few years and how when it finally came out, just to those closest to me, it was such a relief.  I had been paranoid that people would be disappointed in me, or would get weird and judge-y, but everything had been okay.  And it was nice to not have to hide it from people like my parents any more.

So, I started wondering if maybe learning to be even more open would help the same way, because maybe this intense mortification of the details is somehow holding me back?  Because it was keeping me at, what I feel at least, a safe distance from everyone around me.  But, it was starting to feel like keeping people out is part of the problem and not something I'm supposed to do any more.

Then, I went to the temple Wednesday night.  There were some times where  it was just quiet and nothing was going on.  During those times, I would think over all of these thoughts and try to sort them out a little better.  I was kind of having a conversational prayer with God and I asked why it matters if I let people in.  I said, "Why do I need to need people in my life?  I'm just fine the way things are."  And the answer I got came in a line from a quote from Marjory Pay Hinckley, who I love, "Oh, how we need each other!"

Every time I tried to argue with the promptings and feelings I was getting, that same line would just repeat in my mind, over and over.


So, I mulled things over some more.  I went home and discussed all of the different pieces floating around in my head with HH, trying to make more sense of them.  And I told him about what had happened in the temple.  And as we talked, things started to get clearer.  The following morning, I did my best to write down all of the different pieces.  And what it boils down to is this--I am totally living (or trying to) two separate lives.  I try to put on this picture of perfection for everyone everywhere.  I was going nuts over what my therapist thinks because he is the one person outside of HH who knows just how un-perfect I am.  On the few occasions when I've bumped into him outside of therapy, it's been major stress because I've felt this overwhelming need to prove to him just how great I'm doing.  How weird is that?!

I put on the facade of perfection, so that I don't have to let people in.  I don't have to tell anyone what is really going on with me.  In part, so they don't get disappointed in me, but also so that I won't ever be vulnerable to them.  If I let people into my inner weakness, then there is this really scary vulnerability.  Then I might begin to rely on someone else to help me when I'm emotionally struggling.  And what if they can't?  Or, what if they won't?  Then I'm the one left disappointed and hurt.  And I don't want that.

But, I also realized (and this is actually something I've been aware of most of my life), that I don't have the same close relationship with others as they have with each other, or sometimes even, with me.  I just don't form the same level of a bond as other people do.  Because in doing so, I would have to let myself need someone else.  And that has just always seemed not worth it.

HH is the only exception to this.  And that is because I had several powerful experiences while he and I were dating that led me to know that I had to let him in.  And I'd be lying if I said I'd never regretted that.  Sometimes it's resulted in a lot of pain when I've needed him and felt (whether justified, or no) that he didn't give me what I needed.  I've threatened to shut him out, just like I do with everyone else.  I'm a really good actress and he and I both know I could do that.  I could hide it from him every time I feel the pain and darkness of depression.  But, I also know that would destroy us.  We could not have the closeness and unity that we share without me needing him.  It's just the nature of relationships.  All relationships.

And so, suddenly, I felt like this huge fraud.  I recently had a conversation with a really close friend in which I was made keenly aware of this issue, as she expressed a closeness to me that I didn't quite feel in return.  I wanted to.  I just didn't.  And it made me sad.  But, I pretended I did.  And that's not the first time I've done something like that.  And I'm sorry to all of my friends.  I have never understood the close friendships other girls have with each other.  In fact, most of my life, I've felt kind of a disdain for them.  But now, I'm starting to feel differently.

I also feel like a fraud in terms of this blog.  Everyone is always praising me for being "so courageous" and "so open" and "honest", etc.  I've even prided myself on it.  But, the truth is, my posts are pretty censored.  I only share just enough so you know the general mood going on.  And when things get really bad, I don't post for a few days.  That way, no one can know when I'm in currently in my most vulnerable state, to look at me weird, or try and do something kind that just feels weird because I don't share that same affection.  And then, I can catch up those post rapidly and make sure the last one, the one that will be at the top of my blog and most current for my followers, is the one where I say that everything is okay and I'm doing so much better.  So, I don't need anything from anyone else.  I took care of it on my own.

Back on Tuesday when everything first started to come together, I felt strongly that I should set up another appointment with my therapist for this week.  I knew that if I waited two weeks for my next scheduled appointment, I'd have talked myself out of any of this mattering and would just keep going the way I have been forever.  But another appointment in one week?  Ew.  Let me tell you how reluctant I was to do this.  I kind of tried to sabotage my minimal efforts by giving him a very narrow window in which the appointment could happen.  It was somewhat legitimate, as the friend I asked to babysit could only do it at a certain time, but I knew that I could probably get someone else to watch my kids at a different time.  My therapist however, seemed more than willing to make this work.  I think he could tell something was different since I'd never done something like this before.

So, we had that appointment today.  I was so sick all morning.  I thought I'd throw up.  But, I didn't.  Nor did I hide from my therapist just how little desire I had to be there.  And then I confessed how much it weirded me out to see him outside of therapy and why  And then, in the spirit of full confessions, I just kept going with everything else--even more detail than I've gone into here.  And then I told him that I was kind of hoping he would tell me that all of this was normal and to just go home.

Surprisingly, he did tell me that part of it is normal.  He said that some people just don't let other people into their inner life.  And since there was no traumatic episode from my past that had resulted in my being this way, then it was probably okay.  There was no need for me to change, unless I wanted to.

Then, he told me that he thought I was probably exhausted.  From all of the effort of pretending that I and my life are perfect.  And we discussed that at length.  Because, of course, he's right.  It is exhausting.  But, it's such a habit.

And our appointment went over again.  As the last several have.  But, something felt different about this one.  Like maybe, I've uncovered something more significant here.  Or maybe, finally be honest with someone else--AND myself--is just such a huge relief.

Which is why I knew I needed to type this post.  I know I said I wasn't going to chronicle my therapy progress here any more.  But, that is when I was thinking I was almost done (insert wry chuckle here) with therapy.  Now, who knows.  Maybe I'll be in it forever.

This current line of thinking and discussion though, just feels right.  This is what I'm supposed to be focusing on now.  The full quote from my experience in the temple is this:

"We are all in this together.  We need each other.  Oh, how we need each other.  Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old... We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.  These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance.  We need to renew our faith every day.  We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth."

I know my therapist said it is okay for me to continue being a rock and an island.  But, it seems that that is not what God intends.  I feel quite strongly that I am meant to form those "deep and satisfying and loyal friendships" with the amazing women I am blessed to have as friends.  That quote is a bit too long to be my new mantra, but it is my inspiration.  I resolve to be a better friend.  As I pondered how to do this, I was reminded that sometimes when I am wishing to feel more love for HH, I find ways to serve him.  When we serve others, we are serving God and He blesses us to feel a portion of the love He feels for the person we are serving.  So, I will find more ways to serve my friends.  Which I'm excited about, because it's about time I started doing more for them, as they do so much for me.

I also resolve to be more honest.  And thus, I'm lifting the ban on discussing things I post on this blog with me in real life.  You are allowed to approach me about it when I'm going through a rough patch.  I know everyone knows I'm not perfect, but now I'm going to start behaving as though I actually believe that.  No more of the two separate "realities".  I'm just one me, somewhat flawed, and somewhat on my way to perfection.  Still a far cry off.  But, that's okay.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 1143: Good Help

Isn't all that hard to find, after all.

HH borrowed a Harry Potter cookbook from the library (you know how kids tend to get obsessed with one topic for a while?  They all deserve daddies like HH who does so much to nurture and make the most of those obsessions.  I love that he takes care of them in this way!).  There are some really awesome recipes--haggis and black pudding, anyone?  And some really complicated recipes.  And some in between.  So, I told the kids to pick one and we'd make it.

Little M picked rock cakes.  And did a ton of the work helping to make them.  He is such a good helper in the kitchen and it was a fun, bonding Joyful Moment for us both.  The rock cakes ended up being a lot like scones--the biscuit-y kind, not the fried--and were really quite yummy.  So, it was a double win.

Then we took the boys to get haircuts, long overdue.  They look great.  And whenever Baby B's hair is short, it seems ta accentuate his ridiculously long eyelashes.  This makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 1142: Remember Who You Are

We met up with some friends at a local "play center"--you know, the kind with all of the fun stuff to play on, in, and around.  The kids had a blast and it's not far from our house and I've been contemplating it for a while, so watching them have a blast and get some good exercise and all get along together clinched the deal--we bought a membership.  The kids were excited beyond belief when I told them.  I'm pretty sure they'll be asking to go just about every day now...(:

I didn't have the camera, so you don't get a picture, but Darling A had her first go in a baby swing today.  She mostly just wanted to eat the swing, but she also gave some pretty good giggles and it was stinkin' adorable.

Tonight I went to the temple.  First time ever without HH.  He stayed home with the kids while I went with a couple girl friends.

It was so what I needed.  My mind has been in overdrive this week, trying to sort through some stuff, so the opportunity to sit in the peace and quiet was so wonderful.  And as I sat there, I was reminded that I truly am a daughter of God, and of all the amazing blessings and privileges I have been promised as such.  Everything seems so overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating right now, but I (along with everyone else on this earth) was destined for greatness and this is all a part of that learning process.

Plus, it was great to visit with my friends all the was there and back.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 1141: At Least The House Is Clean

Today was interesting.  Not necessarily in the best way.

Lately I've noticed that after an appointment, I kind of obsess thinking through every little detail of what was discussed and then I start to feel weird and awkward about it all and I can't shut my brain off and it's really annoying.  And tiring.

So, that was what was going on today.

But, I tried to keep myself busy by cleaning the house.  In a big way.  That was one thing HH shared yesterday that has been bothering him since his surgery.  I've let the house cleaning slip a bit because I've been busy with other things and I've been tired.  I thought that would be a good thing since he's always wanting me to relax about it anyway, but it turns out, it's made him feel guilty.  Like it's kind of his fault that it isn't super clean.  Especially the kitchen because that is his room.  Normally, he super duper cleans it just about every night and it looks great.  So, I kind of got out of the habit of worrying much about it during the day.

Only problem is, he can't really clean like that right now with his one arm in a sling.  So, it gets cleaned every night, but not in the same way.

And I had no idea that was making him feel guilty.  So, today I cleaned it really well.  And the rest of the upstairs.  It was quite therapeutic, given what I had going on internally.  And I could tell he really appreciated it when he came home.

I appreciated it too.  It's nice to have things super clean again.  Definitely a Joyful Moment.

Tonight was an activity at the church.  A nice dinner to celebrate the birthday month of the Relief Society--largest women's organization in the world.  It was really nice to be there with my friends and to forget my weird thinking for a little while.  I have such great friends.  So, hanging out with them was a Joyful Moment, too.  And having everyone fawn over my sweet little Darling A. 

I love being her mama.

The good news is, I have a feeling I'm on the edge of figuring out something significant here.  I just wish my brain could get right down to the heart of it and do it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 1140: We're In This Together

Well, yesterday's storm ended up being a much bigger deal than I anticipated.  Could be because I haven't paid much attention to the weather except to rejoice in being able to go out without a coat on Saturday.  So, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that it is, in fact, still winter.

And the storm packed a bit of a punch, so all sorts of things were rescheduled and rearranged this morning.  Including my therapy appointment.  Fortunately, we still made it.  I really don't like going so I have to psych myself up the day before and once I've done that, I really don't want to postpone it for another day.

Plus, she looked to cute to stay in all day, right?

Anyway, I dragged HH to this appointment with me.  The fallout from his surgery (compounded with the crazy year we've had) has sort of highlighted some of the weaknesses in our relationship.  Nothing major.  And not even stuff we couldn't necessarily handle on our own, but given how much we love each other, my depression is inseparably connected to our relationship and its ups and downs.  So, it made sense to discuss some things together.

And it was really nice.  I mean, as nice as therapy can be. (:  But, it was nice having HH there with me. In my humble opinion, he and I have a stellar relationship, but it was interesting to have a third party there as we discussed somethings.  It helped to open up some new lines of communication that I think will be really beneficial as we continue to work on making our relationship ever stronger.

And it means so much to me that HH was willing to come in with me.  He has a long list of reasons why that would be an uncomfortable thing for him, but he came anyway.  Because he loves me.

I'm pretty lucky.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 1139: Catch All

That's what it seems like we're doing this winter--catching every bug t hat goes around.  Fortunately, this one feels like just your run of the mill cold and so far (knock on wood!), I'm the only one.

So, that was of course a bit of a damper on the day, but not too big.  For the most part, today went well.  Better than expected in a lot of ways.  I could do without the winter storm blizzarding down outside, but even it isn't bothering me too much.  At least it's a Sunday so there was nowhere we had to go once we made it home from church.  It was just a nice, laid back, uneventful evening.

We made root beer floats for the kids with yesterday's root beer--pretty exciting for them, so the day ended on a high note, sore throat and all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 1138: The Amazing Skills of Dry Ice

We have a birthday party coming up.  We only do parties every other year, so there is a lot of excitement for this one.  It's "Harry Potter" themed because the kids are always obsessed with whatever HH has most recently introduced them to.  In two years, I'm going to the party aisle in Target to see what they have and then making HH get them super excited about something current for once.  So far we always seem to be two or three years behind and it's really hard to find stuff!

Fortunately for me, HH always gets into the party planning in a big way.  He's done the majority of the planning for this one, in fact.  I'm a little stressed about the cake requested, so I told him that will be my main concern and he was gracious enough to oblige.

Plus, he's pretty darn excited about it all.

There is a little bit of a disagreement in just who came up with the idea (but it was me), but one of the big parts of the party will be making a potion (a.k.a. root beer with dry ice).  It's been quite the ordeal to gather the ingredients.  I won't go into all of that, except to say that part of it involved going to the store with just Little M and Darling A.  Little M is always a great helper and buddy when he's not competing with other siblings.  Apparently, Darling A doesn't pose a threat to him yet.  So, it was a really nice outing.

The good news is, we gathered them all today and brewed up some root beer to practice before the actual party.  With dry ice.  It was so much fun watching the kids' (and HH's) enthusiasm.  Mingled with a bit of fear over this new and somewhat mysterious substance.

Pretty exciting stuff.

Then HH looked up a bunch of little tricks involving dry ice and they had a blast.  And I thought to myself, "Party planned.  Check."

And then tonight while giving Darling A her bath was another Joyful Moment.  I love watching her experience so much wonder and joy as she discovers the world beyond herself.  Even when it's just a big bottle of shampoo that is empty enough that she can hold it,  She was so incredibly delighted with this discovery.  As much as it pains me to know she is growing up, it is a privilege to experience life in its pure simplicity as I get to glimpse it through her eyes.  It is a beautiful thing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 1137: International Women's Day

I've been kind of fighting this post for a little while now.  But, then I was reminded that today is International Women's Day and I knew it was the right time.

I knew nothing of International Women's Day until 10 years ago when my then-boyfriend (soon-to-be fiance), HH, proudly presented me with a potted gerbera daisy in honor of the event.  How cute is he?  That poor little daisy succumbed to my less-than-green thumb long ago and I still don't know what the intended purpose of the day is, but here is my input for the day:

At my therapy appointment last week, one of my "homework" assignments was to write a list of my admirable qualities.  I came home and reluctantly did so in my journal.  Then I turned the page and wrote that of all the attributes I had just assigned myself, the only one I truly believed I possess was the first one--I am funny.

I'll be honest, it hurt to admit this to myself.  So, I've been kicking the whole thing around inside my head ever since, in part because I knew I hadn't really accomplished the purpose of the assignment, and in part because I know I'm not alone in this line of thinking.  And eventually, both of those parts came together and I realized I should do a post about it.

1.  Because I'm pretty sure that sharing my list publicly will help me to internalize and believe it more; and 2.  Because I'm hoping to inspire someone else.

There is sort of this unspoken rule that you ought not to acknowledge your own strength and abilities.  If someone compliments you, you duck your head and say something dismissive.  Otherwise, someone might think you're prideful and snobby.  But, not admitting, or accepting, your admirable qualities isn't humility.  It's silliness.  So many women are trying to be Super Woman--that woman who really does have it all and has it all together, but when someone acknowledges any piece of this, we have to brush it off.  Silly.  I say, forget that.  It's time to start owning who you are.

So, I'm going to share my list with you.  And I'm going to ignore that voice that is reminding me that I can't own these qualities because I sometimes slip up and am not consistently the person they describe.  Because some (okay, a lot) of these qualities really are a work in progress.  And the voice that is cautioning me that someone who reads this might disagree on a point, or two.  And I'm just going to share it.

And then I hope that you'll do the same thing.  You are more than welcome to share it in a comment here, but I'd love if you made your list more public as well.  Trust me, it might feel a little embarrassing to toot your own horn, but it will feel good too.  And then maybe you can inspire some other woman.  Post it on your own blog and post a link here in the comments, so I can read all about who you are.  Share it on facebook.  Call up your best friend, your dad, your boss and share it with them.  I was discussing it with Sweet P and Little M last night and they had plenty of ideas of their own to add to my list.

It's okay to be happy with who you are.  Acknowledge it.  Love it.  And when someone pays you a compliment today, own it.  Look them in the eye and say, "thank you".

My List:

  • I am funny
  • I am a great wife
  • I am a really good mom, even when my children are challenging
  • I am patient
  • I am a good listener
  • I am a reliable friend
  • I am a caring person
  • I am good at helping others be happy
  • I am courageous in sharing a very personal part of my life here on my blog
  • I am a hard worker
  • I am persistent in the face of adversity
  • I am intelligent
  • I am a rock star in the kitchen--I cook tasty meals and I bake delicious delights
  • I am a pretty good runner
  • I am in good shape because I work hard for it
  • I am lovable
  • I am a daughter of God
Happy International Women's Day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 1136: Read To Your Kids

Today was another really good day.  Per HH's wisdom, I kept all of the doors to the bedrooms and bathrooms locked, so Mr. Mess-Maker was curtailed in his antics for the most part.  That definitely helped.

HH has been reading the Harry Potter books with the kids for the past several months.  It's just the older two who are interested, so sometimes this makes my evening a little stressful with two bored and needy little ones.  And I don't always have the best attitude about that.  But, the truth is, I love that he is doing this.  I love that they are getting read to, that HH cares enough to come up with ideas like this that bring them together, that they are spending quality time with their daddy, and that it means that talk of Hogwarts is constant in our home.

Case in point:  Baby B asked me yesterday, as we were getting into the car, "Are der any dementors in here?"

I did my best to answer respectfully, without bursting into laughter at such a tiny person asking about dementors.

Tonight HH had scouts, so it was my turn.  We read some more of Sideways Stories From Wayside School.  So much fun.  This was one of my very favorite books as a kid and I love love love sharing it with them.  Bam.  Joyful Moment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 1135: Shut Your Head

That's not as harsh as it sounds.  Here is how you do it:

Shut your eyes

Shut your nose

And shut your mouth

He told me that this was what we had to do to keep the scary monster lurking in the corner away from us.  No monster got us, so it must have worked.

Today was a really great day.  I actually had this conversation with a friend:

Friend:  How are you?

Me:  I'm good.  Really good... (as it hit me) That's the first time I've been able to honestly say that in a really long time.

This is a friend who knows that I struggle, so she shared in that Joyful Moment with me.  It was really nice.

There were still some struggles.  My little Baby B, while quite skilled at hiding from monsters, is still on the rampage.  Today his MO was in the Art of Mess Making.  He was quite successful at it.  I wish I could say I handled the whole thing perfectly, but I didn't, so I won't.  But, on the occasions that I didn't respond as ideally as I'd like, I was able to recover and we ended things okay.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 1134: Easy Peasy

Today was actually a really great day.

Yoga in the morning.  I haven't been in a while and it's always nice to learn that you've been missed at times like that.  Plus, I really needed some good yoga.  And I got it.

Then a play date with a really good friend.  We rarely see each other and we've been trying to set this up for nearly a month now, but between crazy lives and 8 children (four for each of us) there has always been something to come up and interfere.  And finally, we made it happen!

It was really fun.  The kids kept us busy--all four of hers are home.  She is amazing.  And she's just sort of a kindred spirit.  One of those people that is so easy and natural to be around.  Just an effortless friendship.  And I love it.  I can be totally honest and open with her and I don't have to feel guarded at all.  And I really appreciate that.  Plus, she's an awesome example to me in a lot of ways.  And she liked my risotto (we had lunch--mac n' cheese for the kiddies and leftover risotto for the mamas).  Complimenting my cooking is always a swift way into my heart.

So, I'm really glad we were able to make that happen.  And I'm really glad she counts me among her friends.

This evening was another story.  But, it's all a work in progress, so that's okay.  Half of a day being great is better than no part of a day being great.  Two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 1133: Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

I'm going back to the daily posting of a Joyful Moment, Friends.

I think I need to take a break from chronicling my progress (and setbacks).  Things are actually going okay, but there are a couple reasons why I need to just pull in for a little while.  For one thing, it's taken a really personal turn, and given how open and honest I've been here, I know you'll trust me on that.  For another, I'm also finding it difficult to articulate what is going on, even in my personal journal.

So, today had its ups and downs.

This little lady was a source of a lot of the ups.  She's so sweet and so beautiful and just makes me happy.

We went for dinner at Chili's tonight (courtesy of HH's mama--looking out for us in the wake of the madness from HH's shoulder surgery with one less meal I had to cook!).  For the most part everyone was really well behaved and it was a fun family night out.  We haven't been having as much fun family time lately, so that was definitely a Joyful Moment.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 1132: So That's What That Is

Turns out that Darling A's system was not necessarily overwhelmed by the antibiotic.

HH and I were just a little way into Date Night last night (Batman movie at home), when I heard Darling A awake and crying.  Unwillingly, I headed upstairs to get her.  Then I heard a worse sound--Little M doing this extreme cry that he's been doing a lot lately.  I may sound horribly uncaring, but it really grates on our nerves.  It's hard to describe or imitate.  Just really irritating.  And he does it at the slightest provocation, too.  It's the kind of cry that ought to be reserved for a broken bone, or a severed limb, or something serious like that.

So, I went in to his room in a less than patient manner.  I started to put my hand over his mouth, so he would quiet and not wake up his little brother.  Then he told me that he threw up.  You can guess how quickly I removed my hand.

Poor Little M.  He threw up a few more times.  And in the process, my tummy started to hurt too.  I was hoping it was just sympathy pains, but by the time we all got to bed (don't worry, Darling A was tended to in the process as well) I could tell that it was not just sympathy pains.

And then I started putting all of the pieces together--Baby B had had diarrhea for a few days at the beginning of the week, Darling A threw up Thursday morning and still has diarrhea, now Little M was throwing up, and my tummy was telling me it wanted to follow suit.

We have the flu (stomach flu this time, not the real influenza deal).

Sorry to everyone else we've exposed as I've been so slow to recognize this.

I spent most of the day in bed.  HH was wonderful to take care of the oldest three and Darling A as much as he could, but of course, there were times that I was the only one who could take care of her.  I felt awful pretty much the whole day.  Yesterday's boot camp suddenly seemed like the worse idea ever.  On top of the pain of being sick, every muscle in my body is sore!

Now for the less gross part of this post.  As I've been praying for guidance in how to overcome this latest setback with my mental health, I felt really strongly that we needed to attend the adult session of stake conference going on tonight.  For those of you unfamiliar with these terms--twice a year we have a conference with all of the members in a broad regional area, known as a "stake", to be taught and instructed by the leaders of the stake.  Saturday night is an adult session and Sunday morning is a general session for everyone.

So, I had arranged for a babysitter and HH and I had made some plans to go out for a little date afterwards.  But now this.

I was really disappointed.  And confused.  Why had I felt so strongly that I needed to be there tonight if I wouldn't be able to go after all?  I knew I could drag myself out of bed (I felt lousy, but this was a pretty mild strain of the stomach flu--Little M seemed better by mid-day), but it seemed really irresponsible to have the babysitter in our home and expose her to our germs.

So, I prayed about it.  And I felt very strongly that if I could get up and disinfect pretty much the entire house (mainly bathrooms and kitchen) that everything would be okay and we could still go and the babysitter would be fine.  I prayed again about this a few times, because it still felt really irresponsible.  But, I got the same answer every time, so I trusted in it and dragged myself out of bed to begin cleaning.

Pretty miserable, really.  But, with everyone having been sick all week, it needed doing anyway, and I knew I would be grateful to have it done.

Then I ate a little and we headed out for our evening.

And I knew why I had felt so strongly I needed to be there.  Most of what most of the speakers said felt as though it were directed specifically to me and my current circumstances.  A lot of it even coincided with things my therapist had advised and discussed with me at our last appointment.  I took copious notes and felt so much of the peace that has been absent of late.

The rest of the evening was fun, although, ice cream is not nearly as yummy on the tail end of the stomach flu as it is at other moments. :(

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 1131: A Year And A Half Is Too Long

I did a Boot Camp class today.  Haven't done that since I was about 5 weeks pregnant with Darling A.  Let me tell you, it was rough.

And yet awesome.

I need to be more powerful and adding that into my weekly routine is definitely going to help.  Super excited about that.

Even though I won't be able to walk tomorrow.

The rest of today was pretty chill.  HH took himself completely off of the strong pain meds and just took Advil so he could drive himself to therapy this morning, and then to work.  So, we actually had a normal day around here.  I like having HH home, but it was nice to get back to our routine.

Sweet P and Little M went straight to some friends' house right after school and Darling A took a long nap, so Baby B and I had a lot of quality time together this afternoon.  Pretty sure he really needed that, so I'm glad it could happen.

And, I think I've finally broken through the brick wall I've been hitting up against for so long as far as finally moving forward.  That's pretty dang exciting.