Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bucket of Wrenches

Sometimes life is just a bucket of wrenches. Not that I’m against Forrest’s Mama and her box of chocolates, but the bucket can at least have more uses….like for puking when you overeat the whole box of said chocolates.

Wrench #1 = My hubby has torn his Achilles tendon playing basketball. His surgery is tomorrow. He’ll be on crutches for 8 weeks, then a boot for 8 more weeks, then PT for 6 months. Timing is not so good….Sami’s surgery is in 2 weeks (Wrench #2). Wrench #3 = Neither of us can afford to take time off work (we just now paid off a doctor’s office visit back in Oct to Omaha), neither of us can afford to make it look like our employers don’t really need us by being gone too much, neither of us is sane/patient enough to be a stay-at-home parent (or recovery patient in his case).

So, what’s a college educated gal to do? I’m smart, right? I should be able to handle all of this. And the eureka moment arrives…..I think I finally found out how to use my college degree….it’s time organization. The actual classes were, well, dumb. The Theory of Education did nothing to help me teach 7th graders, but did teach me how to manage my time and what is worthy of skipping (classes) and what is worthy of attention (test dates). You learn quickly in college who takes the best notes (that was actually me) and who is just so good at bullshit they can pull 5 more pages out of your paper to make the professor’s requirements (20 pages on Yugoslavia, really?!?! I said everything I could in 10. Thank you Pat and Karen).

Here’s the plan =
1. Stocking up the freezer. We are not eating restaurant food for weeks on end. I’ve been asking friends and family if they could make a few things for my freezer, as well as making double recipes myself. Target is having a sale on Breyers Natural Ice Cream and I bought a bunch last night (plus you get a $5 coupon if you buy 5). If you’d like to donate to my freezer, I’d gladly accept.
2. Hire a housekeeper. No, I’m not Superwoman; I can only do so much in a 24 hour period. Having someone come 3 times while Sami is recovering will be such a blessing I almost want to cry just thinking of everything being sparkly and smelling fresh without me losing sleep to accomplish it. Yes, this will cost money, but what doesn’t, and my sanity is worth it. My children will thank me later.
3. Finding friends that can visit Sami at home and friends Carter can go to visit someplace else. He already feels that Sami gets a lot of attention so play-dates will be essential for him. It’s extra hard for him with his Aspergers (wrench #4) to understand that his moods are what make others not want to hang around him….not so much that his sister is that great.
4. Do a board game/card game/movies exchange with some friends. After a week, we’ll have gone through all of our games and movies.
5. And pamper myself!! I will continue to play volleyball on Wed nights, finding a “sitter” for hubby and the kids. I’m going to run and do yoga as much as possible. I will take long baths at night. I will get hot chocolates from Quik Trip. I will get my eyebrows waxed. I will hide in the library. Because, let’s be honest, if I go down my family is in a world of hurt. So pampering me is very important!

I’m sure I’ve left something out. It’s probably at the bottom of my bucket just waiting for me to lift one of my wrenches so it can be released to pop up, but oh well. That’s life. It will be another good reason for me to stop, count my blessings, and say “thank you for the lessons… get away from those chocolates or you die.”


Friday, April 23, 2010

Neck and Back Pain

How many of you are in the same boat I am right now……disgusted with yourself for not taking care of yourself to the point that now you’re in deep trouble?

Basically, I’ve let stress and overused muscles go ignored (pushed aside really) and now I can’t turn my head, sleep, or lift anything without my neck/upper back/shoulder/and arm screaming in pain. But, what are the honest alternatives?
1. Rest (hahaha),
2. Non-use (right, having a non-ambulatory child really doesn’t mix with that one),
3. Massages (at $100 a pop, who has that extra money for splurges),
4. Alternative medicine (which I would love to try, but insurance won’t pay for), or
5. Loads of pain meds that will basically deteriorate your internal organs over time.

I have found, though, a doctor who says posture is really the number one problem and I have to admit mine is horrible….has been since I was a kid. I wanted to fit in so bad that I hunched over to 1. Not be taller than the other cute, petite girls, and 2. To hide the fact I had no boobs. Now that I’m an adult and I fixed those self image problems, the bad habit of slouching is hard to break, especially when I’m dead tired from taking care of the kids. I carry my stress in my upper back and I’m sure there’s a huge blockage of chi going on there as well. I wish I could say that yoga was helping, but it hurts too much to do it.

So this week, besides applying heat pads, I’m consciously reminding myself to line up my head, shoulders, and hips. Guess what, it actually helps!! At least at work where I’m sitting….being home with Samantha is a different story. Healing my muscles will be a long and slow process, I understand that, but I’m hoping to be feeling better by Sami’s surgery in May – and I hope to not slide back down the healing ladder with the stress and overuse that surgery and recovery bring.

This is a prime example of the fact that I didn’t take care of myself first, so now I’m suffering big time. I’m just disgusted with myself for breaking my own rule. But, as usual, I’ve learned the hard way and have had to let many things go so my stress level can come down.

Here is the Neck/Back Pain article I read in case you are wondering….

To your great health,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

C'est La Vie

C’est La Vie. That’s life. Besides being one of the only phrases after four years of high school French I can remember, and a popular song by Robbie Nevil, it’s an extremely hard concept for Americans to grasp.

Let’s just be honest here. As a nation, we are very uptight people. We like answers, all the answers, in a neat little box with a bow on top. We are sex obsessed, yet aren’t having any, and despise those who do. We are very prudish about natural things and discourage any passion in our lives. Fear and Guilt are our biggest emotions and Cleanliness is almost Godliness. Our lives are full of extremes – all or nothing, black or white, heaven or hell, “he loves me, he loves me not”, success or failure, St. Theresa or Lady Gaga, prom queen or porn queen. We have no middle ground, no gray areas, no mystery, no pleasure in just being. Living as the days come just isn’t allowed here because it means you’re not in control.

So we are back to c’est la vie and living with what comes. Facing real life, not the extremes of reality show life. I’ll admit this is a hard concept for me too. It’s very ingrained into children to be perfect and the disappointments of not living up to expectations are overwhelming. And what are we afraid of? Not being liked. We aren’t raised to not give a shit, to have confidence in ourselves through our own accomplishments, to be self-possessed. We are raised to double check with everyone before making a decision on what we should wear.

I recently spoke to a lady who will become a grandma in May. The baby has OI, just like Sami. The mother, who I haven’t spoke with, seems to be going through a very hard time of adjustment. This I can relate to completely. There is a lot of grieving that happens for many of us for the loss of ideals, dreams, and the “perfect” life your friends are living. Being the mother of a fragile child is daunting – I won’t lie to you. Being on alert 24/7 is taxing on your mind, body, and soul. So there is a lot of readjusting of how you think about yourself as a woman and mother now that life has thrown in the wrench. This grandmother is in complete denial of what her child (the mother) is emotionally going through, constantly saying how blessed Mom is, how Mom won’t need any more help than what family will give her, and how Mom’s strong faith will cure everything. Ummm, that’s not real life, that’s reality show life….hell, that’s actually a Donna Reed and June Cleaver life.

Who can truthfully say they are blessed each time their innocent child breaks a leg? Geez! Yes, Samantha and Carter are both huge blessings to my life, but their disabilities are a pain in the butt. I’m not afraid to say that, it’s true. Does that change how much I love them? NO. Does it change my “glass is half full” mentality? NO. My money and my time schedule? Quite a resounding YES! C’est la vie, so be it. I live with the reality of everyday life. I’m a damn good mother who makes tons of triumphs and mistakes every day. I like my shade of gray life; some days more blue, some more silver, some days no fractures or questions about death (or Pokeman), some days full of tears from other kids’ teasing, some days the house is clean, some days I cry in my closet from exhaustion and binge eat Girl Scout cookies, some days I get to park in the closest parking spot. I admit having the answers would be simplier and nicer, but not as much fun.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Challenge Results

Okay, I’m laying it on the table. The “Eat 5 Fruits/Veggies a Day” challenge kicked my booty!

WOW!!! I never realized how much protein and grains I eat a day. I had to consciously think about eating my fruits and veggies to get all 5 in and only made it on one day. Usually I got to 4. I wasn’t counting juice to make sure I was getting all the rawness I could handle.

So, I’m doing it again this week and being a better planner about it. Granted, last week was semi-hell with Sami’s broken ankle, birthday cakes, and Easter (how do you eat carrots when there is so much chocolate?) I found that if I have the stuff already cut up, I’ll nibble on it throughout the day as I go about my business. If I don’t, I’ll find something else to eat while I’m moving from one thing to another. Unfortunately, I don’t live in France and can’t take the time to sit while I eat for longer than 10 minutes. Yes, I know this is a huge issue, but I’m tackling one thing at a time here. (Think that wolfing food comes from our school days of only having 17 minutes to eat and socialize….now it’s a habit.)

How did you do?