Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 1204: Me Time

As if HH hadn't done enough for me, today he took over with the kids while I got some much needed "Me Time".  I was supposed to nap.  And I really meant to.  But... then I saw my therapy journal.  Which I haven't written in in forever.  And a lot of important and significant things have happened/been discovered, learned, and processed.

So, I sat down and wrote.  And wrote and wrote.

And, it was really good.  It was a great opportunity to reflect on all of the great progress I've made recently.  And writing about it helped me internalize it all the more.

And I got in some much needed quiet scripture study time, too.

So, today was really great.

And this fun hair was just an added bonus.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 1203: Better Than Expected

In so many ways.

Last night was rough.  I usually have a hard time sleeping before a race.  I just get too excited and nervous.  And paranoid that I've forgotten something.  Like a towel.  I might have just borrowed a pool towel from our hotel... Don't worry, we returned it.

Anyway, so I was relieved when it was finally time to get up and get ready.  I forced my nervous tummy to accept a decent breakfast and then headed out with a friend, leaving HH to get everyone ready and come over hopefully in time for the race start.

I met up with the rest of my friends and we got set up and laughed about how nervous we were.  And anxiously awaited start time.  And finally it arrived.

It was an indoor pool swim, so the starts were one at a time.  Fortunately for me, I wasn't too far from the beginning.  I couldn't handle waiting much longer!  As I stood in line, I listened to the guy right behind me talking about all of the other triathlons he's done this year and judging everyone's swim technique.  And I got super nervous!  I was sure he was bugged that I was ahead of him, thinking there was no way I'd be a faster swimmer than him.

Add to that, I kept scanning the on-lookers for HH, but never found him.  He had been worried about the amount of time it would take him to get everyone ready.

Finally, it was my turn.  I felt an added pressure to do well with my friends watching and this "pro" going right behind me.  Thankfully, HH showed up just in the nick of time, for which I was very grateful.  So, he and the kids watched my start.

Which was pretty awful.  The pool I swim in is too shallow to allow diving, so it's been years and I totally flubbed it!  I left the ground too early (not yet at the edge of the pool), landed lopsided, and kind of went down too deep.  And all I could think was that the guy behind me was judging my every move.  So, I sprinted through the first lap, completing the first 50 meters in about 30 seconds.

I know that because he dove in right as I was coming to the wall and we were spaced 30 seconds apart. Unfortunately, I can't sustain that pace for 300 meters, so I knew I had to slow down, but my adrenaline was pumping over time from all the nerves!  It was a serpentine swim, meaning that we went down and back in one lane, then ducked under the lap line and did the same thing in the next.  Six times.  I tried to flip turn under the first lap line and came up right under it, so I switched to only doing flip turns at the far end and just coming up for air before ducking under each time.  This slowed me down a bit, plus I was really tired from going out too hard, so I really struggled during the last 100 meters.  I was sure the guy would catch me, so my pride and stubbornness were enough to push me.  And he never caught me.

Well, not in the pool.  He did catch me as we ran out to the bike transition.  I came out of the pool more disoriented than I expected and he helped me avoid a pot hole in the grass as we headed outside.  Which I'm grateful for.  It would have been incredibly disappointing to twist my ankle at that point.

My swim to bike transition was painfully slow.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to wear my bike gloves or not.  Finally I decided I would and then they took an eternity to get on.  And I kept thinking, what a bad idea this is!  But, I finished putting them on and hopped on the bike.

It was a little bit of a slow start, thanks to a misunderstanding with one of the people directing me where to go.  And then I turned up the main road.  Straight into a headwind.  I had learned on the Weather Channel this morning that 25-35 mph winds were expected today.  Those are fantastic to ride straight into, let me tell you.  At least, I had the consolation of knowing it would be at my back on the return because it was an "out and back" ride.

I knew one girl (the daughter of a friend) was ahead of me from the swim, so when I caught her at Mile 2, I was ecstatic.  I was in first place for the women!  I could hardly believe it.  I kept going back in my memory to try and remember if there was another girl ahead of me in the swim, but I couldn't think of seeing one, so I was pretty sure I was in first.  Thanks to the headwind, it felt like I was going painfully slow on the bike.  I got passed by a few guys, but not as many as I expected.  And I passed a few more people, too.

And then I dropped my water bottle just before Mile 5.  And suddenly, my throat felt parched.  But, I did the turn around (embarrassingly, I had to stop my bike and walk to turn it around--I'm that bad at turns!) and headed back.  Once I got back onto the main road and had the wind at my back again, things were great.  I felt like I had some really good speed and just had a good time.  It was hard to know how hard to push it and how much to hold back for the run.  I typically just go all out in workouts, but I haven't done any triathlon-specific training for this with the back-to-back bike to run.  So, I just tried to go hard without going all out.  And I was pretty confident that I was far enough ahead of the other females to maintain my lead on the run.  It was fun heading back because I got to see my friends as we passed by each other and cheered each other on.

So, I finished my ride, threw on my running shoes and headed out.  Just in time to remember that I'd forgotten to put on my hat, so my hair wouldn't be all in my face and I wouldn't look quite so gross.

Too late.

Going from 3-4 minutes/mile on a bike to 7 minutes/mile on your own two feet is rough.  It felt a lot more like I was doing 10 minute miles.  My goal was to finish the 2 1/2 mile run in under 20 minutes.  But, as I felt like I was running through sludge, I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen.  I knew that I needed to just keep going and eventually, things would get more comfortable as my legs made the transition from bike to road.  And they did.  I was definitely tired, but it was a short run, so I knew it would be quick.

And then another girl passed by me on her way back from the turn around point for the run.  Too far ahead of me for me to even consider trying to catch her.  So, there had been another female ahead of me in the swim.  And she was still ahead.  I was disappointed at first.  But then, I kept reminding myself that I had signed up for this with no intention of placing whatsoever.  This was for fun and it was okay.

And it really was okay.

I finished my run, passing a few men along the way and cheering with my friends as we passed by each other again.  I had a strong finish.  My goal had been to complete it in an hour or less.  I finished in 59:41.

And I'm pretty darn proud.

HH was at the finish with Sweet P and Little M (the race was hosted by a YMCA and they were watching the younger two in their child watch facility).  It was great to see them and have them along to support me.  And then, it was fun to watch for my friends and cheer them on as they finished.

And to take plenty of group photos once we were all done.

The girl who took first was in my age division, so I ended up getting the first place medal for our age division, since she had the first place overall medal and I guess they wanted to share the medal-love.

It seems like ever since I started racing again after having babies, I'm always within just a couple spots of missing out on a medal.  So, today's accomplishment should have been a really big deal.

And it was.  It was exciting.

But, as I reflected on things after, I noticed that the fact that I'd done this race with my friends meant a lot more to me than placing and receiving an award.

I'll be honest--that surprised me because I am SO ridiculously competitive.  But, it was a gratifying surprise.  I'm proud of myself.  I'm finally getting my priorities where I want them to be without forcing it.

And this makes me really happy.

Plus, after watching the whole race, HH decided he wants to do one.  So next time, I get to race with my BEST friend.

And this makes me really really really happy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 1202: Taper

I don't know what an appropriate taper before a Sprint Triathlon consists of.  I'm pretty sure I went a bit too hard early on this week.  So, I decide to compensate by going easy yesterday and today.  Some of my friends are doing this tri with me, so I suggested that we go for a pre-race walk this morning.

It was so much fun.

I used to see my friends at the gym every day, but now Darling A's nap schedule conflicts and I work out early in the morning.  And I really miss seeing my friends!  So, the walk was great and it was a good chance to discuss different race details.

The rest of the day was spent getting ready and then we made the 2 1/2 hour drive to the town where the race is.

I've had butterflies in my stomach for two days now.  I'm excited and nervous and really looking forward to race time in the morning!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 1201: Fourth Child

I heard once that a comedian had explained what it feels like to have your fourth child like this:  Imagine you're drowning in the ocean.  And then someone comes up and says, "Here!  Have a baby!" and tosses it in to you.

I've related to that over and over and over during the past year.

But, I think I'm finally learning how to stay afloat again.  Or, maybe things are just getting easier now that I don't have the demands of a newborn on my hands, in addition to everything else.

Today was a busy day, but a fun one for the kids.  I broke out the tole paints and let them get creative with some wooden bird houses.  Then we actually had a successful and *fairly* quick trip to Target.  And then we went swimming.

All before lunch.

It may have been a bit too much though, because Baby B took a 3 1/2 hour nap to recover and Little M spend most of soccer practice bawling on the sidelines.

Oh well.  We still had a lot of good times in there.  And I really didn't mind the 3 1/2 hour break from my intense toddler.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 1200: One Of Those


Today was a little bit nutso.

The crazies actually started last night.  I was already super stressed about all that was going on today and then Little M had one of those nights.  And it involved waking (and keeping) us up all night.

Who needs sleep, right?

So, it was rough getting up and dragging myself to the swimming pool this morning.  After a bit of a slow start, I had a nice swim.  And I'm learning to really appreciate my workout time even more these days.  Now that school is out, it is the only time I get to be alone.

And sometimes I just really need to be alone to think, you know?

Anyway, I got home and the craziness began.  Or, continued.  Just a super hectic morning and then an appointment with my new chiropractor.  Have I told you about him?  I met him after my 10 K a couple of weeks ago.  He's kind of a chiropractor/physical therapist.  So, he's teaching me all of these exercises and stretches to do to actually strengthen the areas where I keep getting injured, in addition to helping me recover faster from my daily workouts.  I'm pretty pumped about it.

But, this morning, he was running behind.  Which wouldn't have been that big of a deal except that I had scheduled my appointment with him for just before my appointment with my counselor.  So, the chiropractic appointment was kind of rushed and then I was late to my therapy appointment.  It's always a great feeling to know someone else is waiting on you.

Oh, wait.  It actually isn't.

But, he was really understanding and actually just sympathized with the stress this caused.  That's the nice thing about having a therapist--they always have to be so supportive. :)  And actually, this session was a really good one.  In part, because he helped me realize that I've come up with some new coping techniques all on my own that are really helping me a lot.

Because the past couple of weeks have been crazy busy and stressful.  And I'm still doing okay.  I mean, I've had my moments and plenty of mini-breakdowns.  But, I've started taking a little time out away from everyone to re-group.  When I re-enter reality again, I'm okay.  Maybe not great, but I'm not in an out-of-control downward spiral.  And even though I still live with this paranoia that I'm really just one bad day/moment/comment/etc. away from a total breakdown, I am making progress.

So much so, that HH actually commented on it the other night, out of the blue.  And I really really really needed that.  Sometimes I just start to doubt this entire journey, so hearing (unsolicited) from an outside (but very near to the inside) source that I've made marked improvement was beyond reassuring.

And the truth is, I hadn't even really realized what I'd been doing with taking my little timeouts.  It was only after I explained to my therapist what the past couple of weeks and then this morning itself have been like that he pointed out to me what I'd been doing.

Which again leads me to ask, "When am I going to know myself and not need someone else to help explain me to me?"

Ah, well... it's okay.  The truth is, I'm really grateful that our paths crossed because he has helped me make changes and learn things and helped create all sorts of benefits to my life that will continue long after we part ways.  And it's in been in so many areas that I never expected and sometimes didn't even think needed help.

That being said, usually I leave therapy feeling sick and sometimes a little down after having re-visited so many of the uncomfortable parts of me and my life.  But, today I felt really great.  A little stressed about one of my homework assignments, but I knew it was something I needed to do.  And I did and it's made a huge difference, just like they all have.

I couldn't believe the night and day contrast between how I felt this morning and how I felt as the afternoon wore on.

But, of course, being the somewhat crazy person that I am, I ended the evening feeling a little bit down again.  I went to dinner with my friends and had a great time, but was reminded again that I really do struggle to connect as I watch the different relationships they have with each other and I find myself feeling a bit like I'm missing something.  Some day... some day I hope I can get over my fears and insecurities and issues enough to be able to connect like that.  For now, I'm grateful to have great friends who accept me the way I am and without judgement.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 1199: Full Force

That's how this Monday has hit, my friends.

Lately, I've been doubting all of my progress and thinking that it's all in my head (which is kind of true, since depression is a mental health issue to begin with...) and I'm really just one bad circumstance away from crashing all the way back to the beginning.

But, then I look at what is going on in my life (nothing too crazy or above average) and I know that in the past, I would be in way over my head.  But I'm not.  I'm okay.  I'm still enjoying *most* parts of my life.  I detest bedtime and the nightmare it is attempting to get Baby B to stay in bed, or at the very least, take less than two hours to get settled down for good.  But, even in that, there is progress.  I did not lose my cool with him tonight--although, I was sorely tempted to yell and get mad.

Okay, I did get mad.  But, I kept that to myself and stayed calm in my interaction with him.

Baby Steps.

Anyway, I see that this could turn into a rambling post.  And I'm trying to get to bed early all week in preparation for my upcoming triathlon this weekend.  So, I'll have to interrupt myself here.

The good news is--life is good.  It really is.  I've got a few things coming up that I'm worried about and those worries worry me even more.  I'm always afraid I won't be able to handle what is coming.  But, then it comes, and we get through it okay.  Sometimes it gets a little messy in the middle, but you know what they say, "Everything will be alright in the end.  If it's not alright, it's not the end."

I vowed to post a picture of one of my other three neglected children tonight.  But, then I came across this one from a weekend adventure and it made me laugh, so I had to share.  I love my baby.

And my other three neglected children.  Who are really only neglected as far as photos on this blog go. Please, don't worry about them! :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 1198: Panning Out

Things got better today.

I went for a nice run this morning.  Well, as nice as it can be when you don't know where you are, or where you're going.  But, it was nice.  And I got a better feel for where we are, which was helpful later in the day.

Then, a yummy breakfast as a family.  A nice swim with the kids while HH did some work before heading off to a work conference.  A quiet afternoon while the younger two napped.  And then, a fun little outing.

It's always better to have HH along, but the kids were getting a little stir crazy in the hotel, so we  ventured out on our own.  We went to a little wildlife reserve.  It was fun.  We saw some pretty  scenery.  And Sweet P saw a little snake.  She was pretty thrilled about that.

After we were sufficiently sweaty, we headed out to dinner.  It's only a truly special family that can manage to spend about 1 1/2 hours at Dairy Queen, and that's us.

And now, I'm sharing the awesomeness of Full House with my kiddos.  They love it.  I'm honored to be able to pass this on to a new generation.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 1197: The Drive That Never Ends

We're road tripping.

The drive today was insane.  It just wouldn't end.  There was a lot of screaming.  From multiple sources.  And a sad baby with a fever.

And a recent potty trainer who decided to seriously regress.

There were a lot of sad and frustrating moments.

But, there were also some good moments.  And a whole lot of excitement leading up to the fun drive.

Let's hope those expectations pan out.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 1196: Too Much, Too Many

I really wish I had the time to be posting every day/night!  So many things have been happening.  A lot of it has been challenging, difficult, and even painful.

But, a lot of good has come from it all.

HH and I continue to learn and grow and strengthen our bond as we struggle through our trials together.  Baby B is *mostly* potty trained.  I had a really great conversation with someone I love and was able to strengthen the bond there.  The kids have been making me a little crazy with their constant presence, but there have been a lot of really fun moments and great teaching opportunities.

And amidst it all, I decided I really needed to pray for humility.

I know everyone says not to do that.  Because then the trials come.

But, I reached a point where I knew that that was what I truly needed.  Funny how someone who frequently struggles with issues of self-worth can also struggle with pride.  At least, that's what I was thinking.  But, after a trying week, with building heartache, I woke up yesterday morning finally understanding it all a bit better.

It doesn't matter what other people think about me.  What matters is that Heavenly Father loves me.  And humility involves coming to know and understand that love and to love myself accordingly.  Because then the need to compete with everyone else around me melts away.  I can stop feeling inferior to so many people because I can see that our Father in Heaven loves us each equally.  Just as I love my children.  Although, the love and relationship I have with each of my children is individual and unique, I could not point to one and say, "I love this one most, or even more."  Different, but the same.  And I think that is how God sees each of us.  And that love is the only thing I need to trust in.  So, if I'm not inferior to anyone else, I don't need to try and be superior to anyone else, either.

  • That understanding brought so much peace after a particularly painful weekend.  And that gave me the ability to get through yesterday.  Darling A's first birthday--A day I've been dreading for several months now because it somehow marks the end of her infancy for me.  A fact that I am somewhat devastated about.
  • Father's Day--not really anything inherently bad here.  A great opportunity to celebrate the wonderful man I married.  Just a little stressful trying to make the day extra special for him and feeling like I just kept hitting the wrong mark with all of my attempts.
  • Speaking in church--Initially crazy stressful.  This was a big part of why I was striving so hard for humility.  Anytime I get asked to speak (thankfully, not that often), I want to say something amazing so people look at me and think, "Wow.  She is SO spiritual."  Yes, I get the irony and inappropriateness of this state of mind.  Fortunately, the prayer for humility was answered and the talk I gave seemed to flow right off my tongue--leaving me with no doubt as to where the source of anything inspirational I might have said came from (i.e. not me).
  • Conducting the music--This continues to get less stressful, but it was a little awkward spending SO much time in front of the congregation yesterday.
  • Playing piano for the Primary children--It was just the prelude and postlude.  When everyone is chatting and trying to get settled and really not paying any attention to the pianist.  But, I was still stressed preparing for it.  I haven't had the chance to play in a long time (until practicing on Saturday) and my skills are quite rusty.  I ended up only playing the first prelude before being replace by much more capable hands, so it really wasn't a big deal.  But, the initial stress was already felt and lived through by then.

Fortunately, the whole day went really well.  Except that Darling A became increasingly sick.  We still managed to get a bunch of sweet pictures of her.  Including this one.

There is so much more to be said, but it's late and I have an early morning followed by a crazy busy day, so I'll have end here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 1195: A New Fishy

Boot camp this morning was fun.  I'm finally starting to feel like I've got some friends there and that's important for me.

I had some fun with the kids in the middle of the day painting our nails.  Yes, all of us.  It was supposed to be just me and Sweet P, but the boys did not want to be left out.  So, we painted their toes and then Baby B painted one hand while I was distracted with Sweet P's nails.  So, he's got one purple hand.   It's nice.  It was fun to hang out with them like that though.

Poor Darling A napped through all the fun.

Tonight HH and I swam laps together.  I tried out a new workout that I got from my sister.  It was killer hard!  But, it was fun to mix things up and have a new swim workout.  And then we got the kids and we all swam together.  It was Darling A's first time swimming.  I thought she might be deterred by the FREEZING cold water.


She was thrilled and delighted.  She could not stop giggling as she splashed to her heart's content.  It was so so so fun to watch her.

I love being a mama.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 1194: In Reverse

So, I think I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago I realized that I frequently get down on Sunday evenings, due to a compilation of all kinds of factors.  Well, today I started out already down after last night.

So, HH stuck really closely to the schedule and plan we made to help avoid the Sunday Evening Blues.  And gradually, things started looking up.  It helped that I got to substitute as one of the teachers in Little M's class at church.  So fun to sit in there with him and interact with him.  He was so proud to have me and Darling A there.  I love that it's still cool to have your mom around when you're six.

We capped the evening off with a nice walk around the neighborhood as a family.  We had beautiful weather today.  Seriously amazing and perfect.  And I think I'm doing much better.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 1193: Sowing

We had hardly any rain last summer and our yard took a big hit.  Today we finally tackled all of the dead spots--in the rain, no less.  As I shoveled dirt from the wheel barrow into a particularly large dry spot while getting drenched, I reflected that I would much prefer being soaked by rain than by sweat.  Plus, I'm sure the on/off rain we had all day was perfect for helping our new seeds feel at home.

This is a somewhat daunting task we've had on our to-do list ever since the snow thawed.  I can't express what a relief it is to have it done.  Assuming it all "takes" and our lawn actually improves.

The really nice thing is that the past several weeks we have had so much planned to accomplish for the day that we never get close and I finish the day feeling really frustrated by all of the interruptions that naturally occur in the course of the day with four young children.  Today we finished what we wanted to do and I even had time for a shower.

And then HH and I went out for dinner and a movie to celebrate his birthday--a few days late.  It was a really really great evening.  Yummy dinner (pad Thai!) and a fun movie.  And, as always, a really great guy to hold hands and share everything with.

And then we came home and discovered that what we had believed to be water spilled by Baby B on the fitted sheet on our bed was actually some other substance.  That refused to dry.  We are pretty sure it was lotion, but we'll never know for certain.

And it just kind of piled onto the stress of all the other things he has recently destroyed, ruined, wasted, made a mess of.  And then all the other stresses and worries decided to jump on the band wagon... and, well, you can guess where things headed.

Boo.  Horrible end to what had otherwise been a great day.

Day 1192: Workout Buddy

Today ended up being kind of stressful.  Potty training Baby B is getting a little exhausting.  He's doing pretty well, all things considered.  But, I have to follow him around everywhere because he's not as reliable when I let him out of my sight.

So, my house is trashed and I'm getting nothing done and I'm a little tired of sitting on the bathroom floor and reading stories.

I shouldn't say that.  I am grateful for this little boy and the effort he is making to get potty trained and I know it is a blessing to have someone to read stories to in the first place.  Today was just long.

I went to the Open House at the kids' summer camps this morning.  It was fun to have them show me all they've done and learned.  They were pretty proud.  It was a little chaotic because they were happening simultaneously, so I had to keep going back and forth between class rooms, but they seemed to be pretty understanding of my predicament.

Baby B's favorite part was definitely this moment.  And he actually did a pretty good job of being gentle with that poor little snake, too.

So, best thing for the end of a stressful day--HH and I went for a bike ride together.  My first time on a bike since before I got pregnant with Darling A.  Which meant that I slowed to practically a crawl at every turn and corner, but during the straight parts, it was great fun!  And it was just so nice to get out and have a good time with my HH.

Of course, some of that de-stressing was diminished when we got home and couldn't get our new bike rack off of the hitch on the van and I was wondering if we were going to have to somehow saw it off, but, in the end, we figured it out (thank you, The Internet!) and all was well again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 1191: Artifacts

Today was a good day.  Sweet P and Little M have been attending a day camp in the morning every day this week with a couple of their friends.  They are in separate classes and it is good for everyone to get a break from one another.

Plus, they're actually learning quite a bit and having a total blast at the same time.

And it makes focusing on Baby B a whole heap of a lot easier.

So, we're getting into a good routine and it's keeping everyone happy.

Tonight we went to a local history museum with the whole family.  They had all kinds of neat stuff and the kids had so much fun exploring and touching everything.  And it was just really nice to be together.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 1190: Celebrating HH

Today was HH's birthday.  Sometimes I think I get more excited for his birthday than he does.  My birthday is a big deal to me, so I can't help but make a big deal out of his.

And for the most part it was a success.

But, a few things went awry.  Because Baby B has finally decided to commit to potty training and that means not letting him out of my sight at all.

He might have pooped outside all over the backyard yesterday morning when I made this mistake.

Good thing we're friends with our neighbors.

Anyway, I love my HH.  It was fun treating him to a special day, even if he would have been happy without it.

And, of course, I'm grateful that he was gracious about the things that didn't turn out as intended.

I love you, HH.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 1189: A Fact That Seems Like It Can't Be True

I think I participated in my first ever 10k race today.

This seems weird because I've been running and racing forever.  But, to my memory, this was my first 10k race.

I did race a 10k another time, but it was part of a triathlon, so it's in a different category.

Anyway, this morning's race was pretty fun.  The weather was perfect.  It seemed like the wind was always in our faces on the uphills and at our backs on the downhills.  I might have preferred the opposite, but it was okay.

My goal time 48 minutes and I did it in just under 47, so I'm pretty happy.  I pushed myself pretty hard the whole way.  I would like to eventually be able to do it in 42, but for all that the last year has brought me, I'm really proud and pleased with that time.

And it pretty much kept me on a runner's high all day.

Super excited for my triathlon in four weeks!!!

Super grateful for HH and his support in these things since it means he's stuck watching all four kids by himself!