Friday, June 28, 2013

In Everything Give Thanks

Here I am, in the process of writing two posts on motherhood- one on its joys, one on its desperate state- and I get caught up in it.  It's made real.  One of my progeny falls apart at Vacation Bible School. Twice. Two days in a row.  We're talking toddler-like tantrums, sulking, and throwing things.

I'm embarrassed.  Frustrated.  Sad.  Angry.  Discouraged.

And somewhere at the end of the path of all these emotions, after we've missed the ice cream social, and talked it through, and I wonder if we've even gotten anywhere, I am....


Thankful that I'm his mom.

Thankful that God answers those desperate cries for wisdom when I'm in the thick of it.

Thankful His mercies are new every morning.  For both of us.

Thankful I get to walk with him through this difficult journey of growing up.

Thankful for the promise God has given me for his life:  He who began a good work in him will be faithful to complete it.

Thankful that I don't go long thinking that I am the mom who has it all together.

Thankful that I can look in his eyes and honestly tell him I love him no matter what.   And so does our God.  And He will help us both.

It is so crazy-hard sometimes to be a mom, but I'm thankful I am one.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Can I Get a Hey Girl?

We homeschoolers have a sense of humor.  We can laugh at ourselves and our stereotypes.

While it hasn't been updated in a while, for a time there was a  Ryan Gosling homeschool meme going around.  I confess Ryan Gosling doesn't do much for me.  But I've got to admit some of the photos were really funny.

I thought of this one today, when my very first humongous Rainbow Resources catalogue arrived in the mail.

  Seriously, I've never received one.  It's mammoth.  Some of you girls will get this.

But, like I said, Ryan Gosling doesn't really spark my attention. But I recently confessed to my hunk of a husband, while watching When in Rome, that Josh Duhamel... well, he kinda does spark my attention. But in a good way.  Something about him, in several movies I've seen starring him, reminds me of Josh.  Seriously. No lie.  So this is my fresh take on the whole hot celebrity homeschooling meme thing.  Tomorrow, when he gets back from that four day hike into the wilderness, oh yeah....

Good times are on the way.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When the Day is a Bust

Today was a bust.  I was honestly being a little spontaneous.  I had thought of taking the kids to the zoo last night.  But this morning I committed to the idea.  I was up at six, read my Bible, and skipped my workout so that we could all get ready and out the door at a decent time.  I packed snacks. I remembered the drinks.  Loaded up the stroller.  Reminded everyone to use the potty.
By then I was pretty exhausted.  But we hit the road.
Fifteen minutes down the interstate, someone has to go potty.  I didn't figure it was very serious since we had all just gone.  But five minutes later, we stop at a (nice) gas station and I discover she's soaked.  I brought extra clothes, but the car seat is another thing.  I don't even have a towel to cover it up.  So the only thing I can do is turn around and go back home.  Hose off the car seat and try my best not to have a pity party that our plans are broken.
The day's going to be long.  My husband is gone on four day hike.  This is Day One.  The sun is gloriously warm, it's a perfect day to be outside, but I just want to crawl back into bed and hide.  Cry a little.  Maybe a lot.
Cause it's not just a wet car seat, ya know?
And it wasn't just a day at the zoo.
It's just constantly trying to figure this thing out, day after day after day. 
What are we doing here?
Am I totally blowing it as a mom?
Why am I so sad?
Can I possibly ever do enough?
I want to salvage the day.  My son asks me if we can make monster bubbles.  We need a wire hanger and some yarn to make a giant wand and I remember that I bought two one liter bottles of bubbles. Sure, we can make them
 We all have a lot of fun creating huge bubbles and watching them contort through the air and pop on our head or against one another.  One bubble splits into two or even three.  Sometimes two collide and become one.
One guess how many bottles of bubbles didn't get spilled.
They look at me, faces stricken.  They expect me to freak. Cause, hey, I do that sometimes, over small things.  Like two bottles of spilled bubbles.
But I laugh.  And they ask me why.  I don't really have a good answer for them, except that I just knew.
I knew the bubbles would spill.
I knew the popsicle would drip on the brand new tee shirt and on my cushion.
I knew they'd fight over the wand.
I even kinda knew we'd never make it to the zoo today.
But I had no idea what else to do.
The zoo or bust.
I guess it was a bust.
Monster bubbles.
Playing with the hose.
A few books together on the couch.
Printing off some coloring pages.
Waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream for supper.
Popcorn and a movie before bedtime.
How many kisses do you want tonight?
How bout a million? she says with a mischievous grin.
I don't think I can count to a million, I say.
A million is much more than ten, she says and sticks her foot in my face so I'll kiss it.
And she laughs and laughs.
Nobody complained about not going to the zoo.
I worry too much.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

60 Days Into a Challenge....

For the past 60 days I've been part of a Beachbody Challenge group, working out with a program called Turbofire.  There are five of us, plus our coach, working out together, encouraging each other, confessing our struggles- things that go beyond the temptation to shove mass quantities of cookies in our mouth.  Hormones, bad weather, kids, work, even death.  We're women and I find how very much we have in common, no matter our age, marital status, number of children, careers, spirituality, or jeans size. 

We get tired.  But we have this ability to push so hard no matter how exhausted we are.

We've been hurt.  But we know we need to forgive if we're ever going to be whole.

We want to be beautiful.  And we sense this goes far deeper than our weight, the structure of our face, and even deeper than skin.

We want to do something that's bigger than us, more important than us. Leave a legacy to our children, fight the bad guys, love unconditionally.

It's been such a learning experience.  A quest not just for a better, stronger body, but a quest for wholeness and peace.  The workouts, sure, they are tough. They kick our butts some days. But the mental and emotional work, the sweat dripping from your eyeballs some days... we all know that's more than sweat.  Sometimes they're real tears.  Because mentally, emotionally, we're working out too.
Sweat is just your fat crying, right?

In 60 days I've lost 9 pounds and 10 inches.  My pants are looser, my love handles are no longer squeezing out over the waist of my jeans, getting dressed is easier.  Hiding the extra weight around my middle was getting hard and consuming too much of my thoughts and emotions. I'm thankful that my hips are typically the first place I lose the weight.

However, my thighs are typically the last place where I lose the weight. I'm sure it's genetic or at least it's how God built me.  Wearing a bathing suit still isn't a pleasure, thanks to all the attention the legs get.  You can cover the tummy, minimize or maximize your bust, but legs take center stage in any kind of swimsuit, even one with a skirt or shorts.  Sigh. 

I've learned a lot in the past 60 days, some things I'd like to share. Some I've learned from others, some are personal to me and not to be compared to.  Just my own observations and things that have "sweat" out of me.

First, I'm learning how I like to exercise.  The experts say you should find an activity you enjoy and do it.  I've found that I enjoy Turbofire with its kicks and punches and fun music (music is highly motivating to me) but I also really love running on the treadmill.  I love putting on my headphones and staring straight ahead and getting in a zone. I don't have to think about steps or punches, just running.  I can get lost in the music or do some deep thinking. I can get aggression out.  I also enjoy training with weights, though mixed with cardio.  I don't want to do a half hour of weight lifting. I like to mix it up.  So, essentially, I get bored easily!  I want to Turbo some days, run on others, and do a mix of weights and cardio sometimes too.  I have exercise ADD.

Second, it's impossible to have a body like any other person.  I'll always have stretch marks. Exercise won't change the perkiness of my chest.  Saddlebags could quite possibly be in my DNA.  Aspiring to look like any one else or achieve the results of anyone else is just frustrating and impossible.  I have to constantly keep my goal of being the healthiest and strongest me as the main thing.

And that leads me to my third discovery.  It really is about being healthy. I really don't want a skinny body that badly.  I want a healthy weight. I want a healthy heart. I want to gain lean muscle (mostly so I can eat a little more. Muscle burns more calories.)  I want strong bones.  I want healthy joints.  I want good levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. I'm halfway to 40 on Saturday and I know for sure these things get less stable as we age, particularly if we're not being proactive.  I don't want to lose my quality of life due to illness, if it's within my control. There's plenty that isn't within my control.  I recognize that.  What I stuff in my mouth and how active I am- that's within my control.

Also, food is my nemesis.  I love it. I know very few people who don't love food.  I don't get those people who don't love chocolate.  Seriously? I mean, I don't love it as much as coffee, but it's darn good.  Carrot cake, fresh baked bread, a good steak, this cheese dip at my favorite restaurant... I just love it. I love cooking.  A girl's gotta eat.   But I've got to make peace with a few things about food.  Number one, some foods don't make me feel good.  I've discovered wheat makes my legs so sore, I can't exercise the way I want to and it zaps my energy.  So on most days, like all the ones except when I go out for that favorite cheese dip, I need to stay away from it.  Secondly, food is fuel and it can be really tasty in that form.  It's really, really tasty as filler, but this girl needs fuel.  I've got three kids. I need power.  But I'll also enjoy some Lindt 85% cacao chocolate too.  Having too many things on my "Thou  Shalt Not Eat It" list sets me up for depression and burn-out.   Because, like it or not, food is closely connected to everything in life.  And I'm on the "like it" side of that camp.

I'm also learning that no one can do this for me.  I'm grateful for the support of my husband, my challenge team, my coach, my friends, but I've got to do this.  I've got to prioritize my health.  This is difficult because I can be lazy, I can mentally burn-out, and I get bored.  But more commonly, I don't make it a priority because I struggle with where this priority is on the hierarchy.  I've already got so many important things to do in a day.  My first priority and true desire in the morning is to get up and read my Bible and journal.  It's me, Jesus, and a cup of coffee. And I don't like to rush it.  I like at least an  hour. Sometimes I push in on two.  I get up early on purpose, but within this time the kids get up. They put on the TV or their game systems.  It niggles in the back of my mind that if now I go exercise, once my Bible time is over, then they'll be on their electronics, on their own, for another hour.  I don't want to cut my quiet time short, but I don't want to skip my workout.  I've done some working out in the afternoons or evenings.  I try to remain flexible. But I'm the type of personality that likes a schedule and order.  And I feel guilty taking this time away from my kids. 

At times I wonder if I really have more energy because working out can take a lot out of me.  Again, I'm learning through this.  Some days I naturally have more energy. Other days, I'm amazed and frustrated by my lack of it.   I cannot deny the power of hormones and other invisible forces in my body.  I also can't deny the need for food energy and the power that too much carbohydrate has over me, physically and mentally.   I'm still learning what my body likes best and true to females, your guess is as good as mine on any given day.  Some days I feel satisfied by that handful of almonds and other days I am having a tantrum at myself for not buying that whoopee pie at the grocery store!

So where am I at?  What have I decided?  Where do I go from here?  Well, I have thirty more days of being committed to Turbofire.  After that I plan to continue exercising five days a week, probably with a mixture of things as I mentioned above, until I decide on perhaps another 90 day challenge.

This is what I know.  I need to take care of myself in order to care for the ones I love.  I need all the energy I can get ahold of.  I know I haven't figured this whole thing out, but thanks to this challenge, I'm no longer standing still... I'm moving forward.