Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Walk in the Park

After a strange week of higher than normal temps (sunny and in the 80's- even requiring the air conditioner to get turned on), this week has been more like the spring I love.  It's still a bit warm- no need for a jacket during the day.

Instead of locking myself in the gym at lunch, I've been heading outdoors.  Yesterday, I walked in a local park and thought I'd just share a few images that I captured on my cell phone.


And I wish I had brought my good camera along.  This is an older woman- I'd say in her 70's and 2 people I'd guess to be in their 30's.  No kids in sight.  And they came to the park to fly a beautiful butterfly kite.  I wondered if this was a brother and sister celebrating a day with their grandmother.  I wondered if the kite or it being a butterfly held special meaning.  There had to be a story.  I considered approaching them to ask- but decided I preferred being an outsider and imagining all the possibilities.

This year, I think I'm enjoying Spring more than Fall.  Fall is one of my favorite seasons because of all the color changes as the leaves turn red, orange, yellow, purple, and brown.  But this year, I am really noticing the colors and vibrancy of Spring.  The whites and pinks and purples but also the different shades of green and the shapes and growth of the green of the grass and trees and bushes.

What season are you seeing where you are?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hungry For Change

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE   ß Click to go watch the trailer and then watch the film!

Free instant access online through March 31.  Please go watch it.  It could change your life.  Really.

It starts out talking about what our current food industry is doing to our bodies.  Moves on to how we can improve our health through the foods we choose to eat.  Ends with important lessons on loving yourself.  

I took a lot of notes while watching it and I'm going to share them here.  Watch it for yourself and take your own notes- see what sticks with you.  


“As long as you are starving on a nutritional basis, your body is going to stay hungry- to get those nutrients.” 
The foods throughout our markets are high calorie, low nutrient.  We are overfed but starving to death because we don’t provide nutrition to our bodies.

“We left farms and moved to cities…”

“We aren’t eating food anymore. We are eating food-like products.  And they are adorned, they are made to look better and smell better and be presented so people are attracted to them. And they are made to have a long shelf life… The objective is not to give you a healthy product.  It’s to give you a product that will make you buy it, will last long, and will make a lot of profit for the company making it.”

“Our bodies were not designed to sit at desks under fluorescent lights in a cubicle and chow down on processed junk food all day long.”

Studying obesity- you study mice. But there aren’t fat mice. You have to make them fat.  How do you make them fat? MSG.  Google “MSG obesity induced mice.”  MSG is in 80% of all processed foods in grocery stores and restaurants- and it is addictive.

Sugar, snacks, soda, diet soda will give you that momentary feeling of euphoria as the sugar impacts your brain but then it drops off and you start searching for that hit again.

Diet cola- deadly combination of caffeine and aspartame.  The combo actually creates a buzz in your brain cell- right before the brain cell dies.  Aspartame causes formaldehyde build up in the brain, can causes headaches and migraines, cognitive problems, and can even lead to cancer. 

America loves an enemy- deploy all its forces against it. We started becoming fat so fat became the enemy.  But we replaced the fat with sugars and carbohydrates and we became the most obese country in the world.
Food kills more people than any drug around the world.

Fit For Life (book)
Juice Master (book)

“When my body wanted to be fat, I could not lose the weight.”

First step: detox
  • -          Green veggies, rich in chlorophyll
  • -          Chia seeds, aloe vera, seaweed (plants that produce gel fibers)
  • -          Parsley & cilantro (parsley cleanses the blood supply, cilantro moves metals out- like mercury from fish)
  • -          Water
  • -          Sunlight

To improve your health, include these types of foods:
  • -          6-8 servings of veggies & fruits (vegetable juicing- celery & cucumber as base then add kale, collards, etc)
  • -          Need more raw veggies & fruits
  • -          Juicing- easier to absorb, “fast food” (fast to make, fast to absorb into cells)


Properly fermented foods are important!  Yogurt, kimchee, sauerkraut.

Exercise- increases the feel good hormones (the same as what we seek from junk food)

Laugh more to decrease the stress hormones!

Power of Visualization

“Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.”  Anthony Robbins.

“Let us love you until you love yourself.”

Love Yourself

“I accept myself unconditionally right now.”  ß THE MESSAGE OF MY SERMON!!!

Loving yourself is hardcore science!

Where does my food come from? What went into the food in terms of compassion? What is my intention of doing with the food- will I be using it to fuel the good things I do?


If you think you are helping your waistline by eating meal shakes or bars, by drinking a diet soda, by eating whole grain cereal with skim milk, by buying fat free anything... think again!  This is a message I've tried putting into words so many times.  Please watch this film.  And then come share our thoughts and feelings.  

Next week- I'm going to delve into the world of juicing.  I'm ready, I'm excited!  Watching this film gave me a spark that I needed to take that next step to get fully back on track!  Weight Watchers got me started but it encourages low fat, fat free, reduced calorie, 100 calorie packs... I want to be back on a mostly produce diet! I want to be back to a mostly clean diet!  I want to commit to this and see how my body changes, my skin changes, my mind changes.  

Who's with me?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Week 7 and FitCity: Feeling It

I'm down another pound!

I have to give a lot of credit to my workouts.  One of the great things about the Weight Watchers program is that I earn points for my workouts- and I get more points for higher intensity workouts and longer workouts.  If I can hit the Y and do 30 minute son the bike or treadmill, do my strength training routine, and then take a group fitness class, I end up with a great amount of points that I can use on indulgences or I can just hold on to and take pride in my good choices.  Weight Watchers tracking will automatically deduct from my Activity Points if my daily points go over my daily allotment.

Something interesting over the past month, as I try out different group exercise classes and workouts, is that I am realizing just how much fitness I've lost in the past year.  When I backslid, I really backslid.  I gained weight and lost a lot of strength and endurance.  Check out my post about it over at FitCity and let me know if you've experienced something similar as you work towards healthier living.


What is about making healthy choices that suddenly puts a glaring spotlight on just how unhealthy I’ve been?

I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for almost 2 months.  I joined the YMCA in addition to my other gym membership in an effort to have a workout facility available evenings and weekends and in order to encourage my husband to focus on fitness, too.  I’ve been making a serious effort to try new group classes and invest myself in what is offered to me with the Y and with Weight Watchers.

I’ve lost 14 pounds.  I’ve been working out consistently.  I’ve tried Zumba, Strength & Endurance, Interval Training, and Water Aerobics.  I’ve been slowly working my way back into running but my passion isn’t back just yet.   I have a strength training program.  I am on my way to healthier living.

So why does making these healthy choices lead me to realize how fat I am?  How unfit I am?  How much I struggle?

Truth is… it’s easier to be fat and lazy.  It is easier for me to choose to eat food-like products and sit on my couch and tell my kids what to do and what to play and watch TV than to focus on eating real food and plan my day to include time for exercise and focus on getting the entire family up and active.

The first group exercise class I tried at the Y was Water Aerobics.  It was a 90 minute “Super Session” and I have to say that I enjoyed the workout.  It is definitely easier on the joints and ligaments and such as I didn’t have that post-workout pain that can happen from certain muscle use.  This was my first ever group in a pool experience and I was definitely nervous about it when I walked into the locker room.  I found 2 friendly faces in bathing suits and asked if I could tag along.  It broke the barrier for me- from there, I was ready to try a new class.  I felt like I had taken a risk and discovered that maybe I wasn’t so bad off in terms of fitness.

The next week, I ended up in FitCity’s own Taylor’s Strength & Endurance class.  Um…. she whooped my backside.  Well, really she shredded my thighs.  I think we did about 1 million different squats and lunges.  Then there was the weight work that killed my arms and shoulders.  It was a great workout in terms of really working all the muscle groups.  But I had a very emotional moment in that class.  We started doing a series of push ups and I could barely do 2 or 3 and that was doing them “girlie style.”  A year ago, I was working my way toward being able to do 100 push ups and I was up into double digits and here I could barely do 1.  I almost broke down, I almost quit.

This is where I should say uplifting and encouraging things about how I kept going and stayed strong.  But that isn’t where my head went next.  I felt like a failure, I felt damaged, and I felt like I had really let my body go downhill.  I felt like it was completely unfair that I knew how it felt to be fit because I’d been there just a short time ago and so now I have this real gauge of just how unfit I’d become.

From there, I struggled with my clothes, my belly, my food choices for a few days.  How can it be that I was working so hard to get healthier but I was suddenly very painfully aware of how bad I’d let myself go?  I’m one who really focuses on loving myself- this self-pity was an old demon that I didn’t want back in my life.

So I wallowed in it for a few days. Partially not by choice since Taylor’s workout left me incapable of walking for 4 days.  But I allowed myself to have my pity party while my head sorted some stuff out.  And when I came out the other side, that’s when I was ready to start up with the encouraging words and thoughts.  That’s when I realized that this isn’t about the past (can’t change it and can’t go back to it). This is about the choices I make each day in how I will care for my body with the food I eat, the schedule I keep, and the activity I choose. 

I am not as fit as I was 1 year ago.  And a year ago, even though I was making great progress, I wasn’t as healthy as I’d been as a teenager.  I’ll never be as anything as I was in the past- my focus is on today and the goals I have set for tomorrow.  Yes, I backslid over the past year.  I gained some of the weight back and I lost a lot of levels of fitness.  But if all I do is focus on being fat, all I will ever be is fat.  If all I do is focus on what my body can’t do, I wont ever get my body to do those new things or reach the next level.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Disappointment @TheRevolveTour

The very first thing I have to say is that the thing I loved most about The Revolve Tour Dream On 2011 was the time spent with the youth from my church and the connections made with the other chaperones.  This year, the same holds true.  I loved having time with the 3 senior high girls who also attended last year's event.  I enjoyed getting to know some of our junior high girls a little better.  And I loved connecting to our youth leader and some of my mom friends in a fresh, new way.

That's a big positive to come out of this event.  But it isn't something that would be unique to this event.  Plans can be made to create an environment where shared experiences bring us closer together.

The girls who attended this year for their first time really enjoyed it and were excited about the message they got- especially from Chad.  Chad talks about relationships between girls and boys and answers a lot of those looming and confusing questions.  Last year, the words were fresh to me and to the older girls.  This year, the exact same words came from his mouth.  Fresh for the newbies, old news for those who were seeking new inspiration.

I was aware that the tour had the same name, same theme.  I assumed that the abbreviated format (going from a Friday evening and all day Saturday to just 7 hours on Saturday) meant new content.  The only new content was from illusionist Harris III and I felt like he didn't get enough stage time and that he probably has a deeper message.  He was a highlight for me this year.  He escaped from a straight jacket- which was very impressive and also made me squirm quite a bit.  But he spoke about the straight jacket being like the problems we face in life and once he went through the very difficult maneuvering and work to free himself- it was pretty powerful.  But it was short and didn't get as much time as it deserved.

We heard from Jamie Grace (love love love her), Jenna Lucado Bishop, and Chad Eastham.  And they shared, word for word, the same messages as they did 1 year ago.  We heard the same quotes and they had less meaning because they'd felt so special the first time around.  "Don't be Jello, eat Jello- it's delicious."

Let's chat about the schedule change for just a moment.  Last year, the event started on Friday evening.  Revolve says they got feedback that with school and community commitments, that was a challenge.  So they went to 1 day.  But it's just a 7 hour event.  And then there were 3 40-50 minute breaks.  So about 3 hours of the 7 hour day were spent sitting around, standing in line for the bathroom, being encouraged to buy books, CD's, t-shirts and stuff, or to adopt a child through an organization that shouldn't be allowing minors to make financial commitments, or waiting in a never ending line for incredibly over priced food.  Not a good use of your 7 hours where you are supposed to be feeling uplifted, recharged, finding new insights, and connecting to God in a personal way.

And let's chat about the venue.  I have been to the Old National Center for events before.  Well, for concerts.  It's a theatre venue- not a stadium.  Last year, Revolve was filled with high tech and flashy and social media.  This year, it was a stage, lights, and one screen that was partially blocked for anyone sitting on far edge seats.  The worship leader and performers kept encouraging the audience to get up and dance or jump up and down but you can't do that in old theatre seating.

The biggest issue was the food situation.  Revolve encourages attendees to bring a picnic lunch so they can head out to their cars on breaks to eat.  They apparently didn't fully cover that with the venue first because as we approached the doors to see if we could go hit the Subway next door, we were told that if you go out, you can't come back in.  So we staked out the concession stand lines.  In this venue, there is 1 main lobby.  There is 1 concession stand- like a large bar.  They had about 10 lines open but hadn't somehow anticipated that the thousands of girls and moms would be swarming the place at that first 1:30 break after waiting in line since pre-11:00 to get in and get good general admission seating.  So they first break- right at that prime lunchtime eating time- the concession stand was mobbed.  They actually ran out of some food.  And because they weren't allowing people to leave and come back, this was the only food option.

Don't even get me started on the prices.  $4 for a bottle of water or open cup of soda.  $4 for a pretzel, $5 for a hot dog, $10 for a grilled cheese panini.  I bought 5 drinks and 4 pretzels for $36.  Ridiculous!

Near the end of the first break, the rules changed and folks were allowed to leave and come back.  However, you can't bring any outside food into the venue.  My youth leader friend and I were left trying to figure out how we could get food to these kids without requiring that they end up missing some of the event. That's when we went for the pretzels and drinks and figured we'd plan out the rest of it on the next break.  We head back in and that was when I realized that the words were echoing last year's words... that the things being said were exactly the same as the year before.  My heart sank.  At the next break, we figured out a plan to get the older girls out to Subway- they didn't mind missing some of the event because, you know, they'd already heard it- while the younger girls stayed with the moms who had already bought the hot dogs and pretzels.

2 of my girls needed food- real food.  Last year, box lunches were provided- turkey sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie.  This year- nothing but junk at the concession stand.  I've got a girl with a blood pressure issue and a girl with diabetes and I need real food, real protein for them.  So my youth leader friend and I took a group out and headed to Subway and sat and enjoyed some fellowship time.

I really hate being this complain-y and whine-y.

One of the speakers is really out of touch with the mission.  At least that is how it feels.  I hope she connected with someone in that audience.  But the feedback I got- which matched how I felt last year and this year- was a lack of authenticity and a lack of actual connection to the mission and to what girls are facing today.  Too much focus on trying to be Bible based and not enough focus on the everyday issues these girls face.  Chad Eastham gives a great talk on questions girls have about guys.  What they needed from Jenna was to hear about managing relationships with parents, with friends, handling gossip and bullying and stuff.  And when things did get touched on, it came from left field and didn't connect with what was being said.  I really felt like it was a missed opportunity last year and this year.

The biggest missing piece was the lack of drama team.  Last year, there was a drama team that presented skits at different points.  Sometimes they were light hearted or funny.  But one skit stayed with these girls- and with me.  It was a very serious presentation on suicide- and specifically on what it does to the people left behind.  The girls missed having a team of people on that stage who really understood the fears and pain and suffering and anxieties and insecurities that they face.

One other concern- there is a Q&A session held at the end.  They are answering questions from the audience (even though the questions sounded staged).  Too often, the message was "When you face something difficult, turn to the Bible."  You know what?  That isn't a good enough answer.  It just isn't.  When you are seeking real advice and guidance on how to deal with a friend gossiping about you or about your parents divorce, having someone tell you to read your Bible and then have them quote some Scripture at you does nothing to help.  Should we encourage kids to read the Bible?  Absolutely YES.  But when they come to an adult and ask for help, reach out with a problem, please don't slam the Bible into their faces.  Use it as a resource WITH them but connect in to their feelings, their questions, their situation.  Give them what you would be seeking if you turned to a friend when you were facing a hard time.  Would you want a friend to just hand you a book or tell you to Google it?  Or would you want them to be straight with you and really help you through your problem?

There were a lot more issues and disconnects.  I think the overall feel was that this condensed soup version of Revolve was really just a watered down version with a few lumps of chicken tossed in.  For those who don't know how awesome it was last year, this was a very nice event.  But for those who know what Revolve offered last year, this was a complete miss.

And I don't think you need a lot of bells and whistles to be successful in your mission.  You need authenticity, you need connection, you need love.  These girls were eager for new inspiration, new advice, new insight.

One of the best moments of the day was when the worship leader, Tiffany Thurston, was singing Hillsong's Forever Reign.  She would stop singing and let the crowd sing and it was beautiful to hear all these voices lifted up together, all these girls connecting into one voice.

If you have to have a smaller Revolve, focus on simplicity and not on just cutting things out.  If this is truly a ministry that the participants are passionate about bringing to teen girls, a team of people can easily occupy the stage for 7 hours with minimal breaks.  A workable food plan makes everyone happy.  But most of all, the message has to be fresh and relevant.  An entire year has passed since we last attended Revolve.  In that year, these girls have gone through friendships ending, boyfriends coming and going, parents divorcing, suicides happening, bullying on the rise, kids walking home getting shot, bus accidents, natural disasters, and so much more.  They were eager to go to Revolve and hear about hope for getting through these chaotic times, to know they aren't facing these struggles alone, to know that they are special and loved no matter what.

Revolve lost its heart this year.  I hope it finds it again.


Friday, March 23, 2012


Mommy's Idea

I am looking for a few guest bloggers.  I'd like to have 5 lined up for the days around Easter.  Drop me an e-mail or connect with me on Facebook and we'll work something out.  Thanks!


Remember me telling you about the pain in my mom community because one of our moms had very unexpectedly lost her almost 4 year old to a virus?   We are taking up a collection specifically to help with buying groceries and meals.  It's tough for individuals to pick up a restaurant meal for a large family.  Plus, this family lives a little further out from the city so coordinating delivery can be tough.  So we are seeking donations so a gift card can be purchased or so someone who can purchase meals will be able to do so with donated group funds.  If you're interested in making a donation, contact me.


We had dinner out on Monday evening in a place located in a little strip of shops.  A family had come in- woman and man drove separately, woman had 2 very small children with her.  They get their food to go and get the kids back in her car and then the man and woman proceed to engage in a looooooong and close embrace.... and then some smooching.  We were totally gawking from our "front row seat" in the restaurant.  Teagan said it best, "They must love each other! A LOT!"


I used to keep a message board- back before I really knew much about blogging and bloggers and Facebook and social media.  My intention was to keep in touch with friends and family in one central location as Jeff and I went through pregnancy and parenthood.  I was already very familiar with message boards and participated on several so it was an easy thing to do.  It was basically a journal and focused on what we were doing at that point in time.  I have no way of taking that Proboard and saving it so I am working on copying and pasting the "important" posts to this blog.  I started blogging in Sept of 2008 but my dates in the sidebar now go back into 2007.


You might remember last year when I got to hang out with a bunch of teen girls from my church for the Revolve Tour.  This weekend, the Tour is here in our city and I get to tag along again- and I can't tell you how much it thrills me that the girls who went last year have expressed to random other adults how much they wanted me along again this time! 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WW: Week 6

13 pounds lost.

Not too bad in 6 weeks.  I tend to drop, then hold. Drop, then hold.

I'm finding that exercise is a really key piece of the puzzle.  I'm also finding that the group classes I take at the Y about once a week are really important in terms of challenging me and showing me where I am in my fitness quest.  They can really kick my hiney!!

Food is still a challenge and I often think it always will be.  It's easier to give in to the sweet and salty treats.  I find good alternatives and I also manage to budget for some of those treats- but I also have my days where I throw my hand sup and choose to eat what I want (like on Teagan's birthday).  What I've noticed is that I am still aware of my choices and, especially since last week's burrito incident, I am finding it easier to be satisfied by smaller amounts.  So I can fill up on healthy stuff from the salad bar and then have a small piece of pizza or a breadstick and not go into Automatic Overeat Mode.

One thing I really like about the Weight Watchers system is that I can look ahead at my day and make a choice that feels more informed.  Do I want my breakfast to be 3 points (oatmeal) or 6 (McD's egg n cheese muffin)?  6 is fine- but that means I should be doing less points at lunch or dinner, perhaps.  It's like a little math game I get to play out in my head.

Next week, I'm blogging over at Fit City and plan to share some thoughts and reflections on these new workouts I've been trying at the Y.  It's been an interesting month.

How are your healthy living goals going for you?


Monday, March 19, 2012


What a weekend!

Friday was Teagan's birthday and she enjoyed the attention she got at school and her special dinner out with Christy (a tradition started last year).  We saved our family celebrations for Saturday.

We started out with pizza for lunch- Teagan's request.  We went to Pizza Hut.  We were just expecting lunch- hoping for the buffet but fine with ordering a pizza to share.  We had one of the best dining out experiences we've had in a long time.  From the time we were greeted as we walked in the door until we left, we felt like they genuinely cared about our dining experience and wanted to really make sure that Teagan felt special.  They made sure that whatever specific pizzas we wanted were on the buffet- and then gave us a heads up as they brought them from the kitchen so we could get to them before anyone else.  They brought Teagan an incredible piece of cheesecake.  And our server, Adam, really kept making sure that she was happy- and did so by talking TO her instead of talking to me about her.  We were very pleased and I made sure the people who need to know were informed.

Any time you want Zach to sit quietly- give him a comic book.  Doesn't matter that he can't read the words. He will sit fully absorbed in a comic book for 15-20 minutes.

After lunch, it was movie time!  We got to the theatre and bought the tickets.  Jeff went inside to save the seats that Teagan specifically had decided on with her friends- the very back row.  I waited out front with Teagan and then got all the kids inside, quick potty stop, then into the theatre.  I rushed back up front to get concessions- 4 kid packs of popcorn and drinks, 2 hot dog combos (all for the kids- Jeff and I had nothing).  The kids had a BLAST.  I loved watching them watch the movie and paying attention to which parts they laughed at our connected with.  And I have to admit the movie was cuter than I expected.

After getting all the kids off with their parents, we took our 2 kids for a sweet celebration at Gigi's Cupcakes.  Zach went for the wedding cake (white cake, white buttercream frosting).  He didn't want to use the fork provided so he got creative in his consumption method.

Teagan thought that would work well for her key lime cupcake, too!

Then it was time to head to one of our local high schools (we have 2 in our district) for a special district wide art show.  I don't know a lot about the event.  We just received notification on Thursday from the art teacher that Teagan had a piece of art that had been selected for the show. But every art teacher from every school in the entire district selected art pieces from their students to be displayed.  Each school had an easel area for drawings and paintings and a table for sculptures.  This is Teagan's "Clay Bird."

The art show was made even more special because our pastor and his wife, my friend Paulette, were there because their daughter, Faith (whom Teagan adores), was playing the piano for the event.  Paulette was excited to show us where Teagan's bird was and Teagan loved the attention from one of her favorite families.  Then Faith played "Happy Birthday" to her and you could tell that Teagan felt special at that moment.

Final stop of the night was to see Jeff's parents.  They had gifts for Teagan, of course.  And Teagan was thrilled- Mimi always picks out great clothes for her.  Jeff and I were exhausted by this time so we opted to stop at Shake N Steak for dinner and we were excited when Jeff's parents walked in a few minutes after us and joined us for dinner!

It was a day packed with celebration and fun.  Teagan felt special many times throughout the day and I know she has many memories to cherish!


Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16

It's a special day in our family!  We plan to spend much of this weekend celebrating.

Today, Teagan is 7 years old.

I've shared her 4th, 5th and 6th birthdays on the blog.

This year, Teagan has been really interested in learning more about when she was a baby and when she was born and stories from my pregnancy.

The birth story that Teagan hears is:

For many week before Teagan was born, Mommy and Daddy would enjoy some time together watching a TV show called "Jeopardy."  We watched it every night at 7:30 and enjoyed trying to guess the answers before the players did.  On the day Teagan was born, we had gone to the hospital just after lunch time.  The doctors and nurses didn't think Teagan would be born until much later at night, but Mommy and Daddy knew better.  We told Teagan, in my belly, that she needed to be born before Jeopardy came on.

She was born at 7:29.

Now, for those who love a detailed birth story, I am glad to say that I did write hers out within a few days of her birth.  Sadly, I didn't do the same for Zachary- I was far more exhausted and his birth was a lot harder on me.  Here is Teagan's very detailed birth story:

I started having cramping and possible contractions on Tuesday at lunchtime. Went home early from work. Christy came over and we went out walking the neighborhood for over an hour. The pains stopped and I was exhausted. I had hoped that the walking would bring on labor but it didn't seem to work.

Woke up Weds morning at 6 to get ready for work. Cramping like crazy and feeling really odd. Called in and started to really look forward to that afternoon's doctor visit because I had high hopes for some good news about progression towards labor. Jeff headed off to work. Around 9, I noticed that the cramps were becoming more intense and more regular. And more all over my stomach. Around 10, I called Jeff and told him he might want to be home within the next hour because this could be it. Called the doctor's office and told them what was going on and asked if I could come in earlier than my 2:15 appt. They asked some questions and told me to come in right away. I called Jeff back and told him to come home right away- we needed to get to the doctor's office. 

Jeff got home, we took off. These are feeling more and more like contractions but I'm still not convinced that this is the day. We see Dr. Payne and he checks me- I'm dialated to 4 and am 90% effaced- time to head to the hospital! 

We get to the hospital around noon. I actually had to sit through admitting while having contractions. We complained about that- not a big deal but it was annoying. When we had our false start on Sunday, they took me to a room right away and Jeff handled admitting for me.

Anyway, they got us into Labor and Delivery Room 9. The contractions are definitely regular and more intense and I can no longer deny what is happening. The pain is pretty managable and Jeff is doing a great job coaching me though them. At 1:30, Dr. Wright checks me and determines that we should break my water. They do and there is a lot of meconium- so the NICU is alerted to be ready when we deliver as she will need extra suctioning attention to remove the meconium from her body. Once my water was broken, the contractions were beyond intense. It was a pain that I cannot put into words. I became very gutteral and withdrawn during the contractions. I would still respond to Jeff's coaching to breath and relax but was groaning out each breath. The neatest thing was the immense feeling of relaxation that occured between each contraction- that let down feeling was incredible. However, the contractions weren't worth that feeling! They got so bad that I was crying and on the verge of not being able to focus and when offered an epidural, I took it. I feel like it was the best decision I made.

Relief was almost immediate and I was then exhausted from the 3 hours of hard contractions (2 after the water breaking) and was able to sleep off and on. We got the epidural around 3:00. Jeff was so wonderful during that epidural. They were adjusting my bed to do the procedure and needed me to sit up. When I started to sit up, a contraction came on. Jeff had been helping me sit up and when the contraction started, I couldn't move forward or backward because the pain was unreal. My husband stood there, braced himself, and kept me in my position with one hand until the contraction was over. He was a hero! During the epidural, he stayed with me and kept his face over mine so I wouldn't raise my head and so that I would feel comforted- which I did. He was everything I needed and more. Anything I asked for- lip balm, ice chips, etc- he was on it. Frequently, I didn't even have to ask as he would just offer.

At 4:30, I was checked and had dialated to a 5. The nurse thought we would probably deliver around 11 or 12 that night.

Around 5:30, our nurse determined that there was something wrong with my contraction monitor. We'd been having trouble with it the whole time- it didn't want to register my contractions. So, she had called Dr Wright to see if we should use an internal monitor. He came to do the monitor at 6:00. He checks me first and it turns out that in an hour and a half I had gone from a 5 to a 10 and was ready to push!

The epidural had spread evenly throughout my lower half and then, because of how I was propped up, I began to feel contractions on my left side. They didn't hurt but I was aware of when a contraction would start. When it was time to start pushing, I was no longer tilting to one side- I was evened out. And I had no sensation in my right leg! The nurse stayed on my right and Jeff stayed on my left. Since the monitor wasn't working, my job was to tell the nurse when I felt a contraction. She would hold up one leg and Jeff was instructed on how to hold the other while still giving me his hand to hold when I pushed. I was coached to push from my gut- like doing crunches.

I pushed for an hour and 10 minutes. A second nurse joined us around 7- shift change- but our first nurse still stayed with us to finish the job! After that hour and 10, the doctor was called in- and told he had better hurry because I could have the baby at any second. I was actually told to not push for the next couple of contractions! Dr Wright arrived, I did a few sets of 3 pushes. I could feel her coming and on the last push, I did the 3 and they asked if I could go four- but I was already going for 4! Her head came out and I began to cry. I couldn't even put into words everything I was feeling. 

I pushed again when instructed and our beautiful baby girl was born. She was placed on my stomach for initial suctioning and cord cutting. I couldn't see all of her- but did see her right shoulder and arm. She shot her little hand straight up in the air and I put my finger in her palm and she grabbed on so tight! Then she was taken to the warmer so the NICU team could get her cleaned out. Just hearing her cry made me cry more. I told Jeff that I was fine and that he could go and be with her and he went and held her hand and got to meet his baby girl for the first time.

I was bleeding very heavily and extra measures were taken to stop the bleeding. Teagan was eventually suctioned out and we got the news that she wouldn't have to stay in the NICU nursery. Once I was done being stitched (episiotomy) and my bleeding was under control, Teagan was brought to me. I was so overjoyed. She was (and is) absolutely perfect in every way! 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Busy Weeks Ahead!

Our lives have become insanely busy.  Again.  As usual, I suppose.

Over the course of the weekdays, Jeff or I have commitments at least 3 nights of each week.  That's on top of the regular stuff- cramming in homework, bath time, down time, bedtime into the 90 minutes we get to spend with our kids each evening and sometimes squeezing in errands in that time, too.  We've had bigger and bigger homework projects and school events for each child and that definitely adds some stress (like having to plan and build a leprechaun trap).

As I look at the calendar at our weekends,  I'm exhausted and excited by all we have going on.

This weekend, we celebrate Teagan's birthday.  She is going out to dinner Friday night with Christy (sushi, of course).  We are taking a group of friends to see The Lorax on Saturday.  Sunday is our church's 10 year anniversary so there is a special church service and luncheon afterwards.  Sometime Sat or Sun, we will be going to a school district art show- Teagan has a piece of art that was selected to be featured.  Sunday afternoon, Teagan has Daisy Scouts.  Sometime Sunday afternoon, I will be getting a text to start a special project for work for about an hour.  Sunday night, Jeff and I podcast with Dave after the kids are in bed.

The next weekend, I am spending all day Saturday with the young women from our youth group at The Revolve Tour.  I had the pleasure of an overnight trip last year for this event.  I will miss the road trip and overnight aspect of this year's event but am excited for this time with these young women.

The following weekend kicks off Spring Break.  There will be time where the kids are away at Grandma's house, time where Jeff is off for some gaming, time off of work for me.  Spring Break goes right into Easter weekend.

The calendar has events scheduled throughout April- evenings, weekends, and the ongoing high demands of our jobs and school- and well into May.

I'm tired.  A lot of the things we do are things that revive my soul or refresh my spirit.  This past weekend was a solitary little island of downtime where Jeff took the opportunity to try and turn me into a gamer (more on that another time).  It was a nice weekend of time at home where we truly ignored our responsibilities and just did a lot of vegging out.

But it feels like we are running non-stop.

I started to daydream of a getaway... something where we don't have the chaos of the messiness and demands of our house... something where we could be outdoors and get fresh air... something where we can sit and relax...

It made me realize that our getaways over the past couple of years have been fun but busy.  We come back refreshed and full of fun memories but still tired.  We go somewhere and we have an agenda, a plan, a list of things to see and do and experience.

So I am on a mission.  I am trying to find a cabin or lakehouse in a secluded area where we can spend a long weekend.  I've been pinning ideas like Brown County, Indiana cabins onto Pinterest.  I sat too long on the cabin I was eyeing and it became booked.  I started expanding my search to other parts of Indiana.  I don't want to drive more than 2 hours- keeping that busy-ness and stress down.

I found a lakehouse on Lake Freeman that I am hoping to get.  I've contacted the owners and am waiting to hear back.  I'm already daydreaming of the afternoons with the kids playing in this fenced in yard, the mornings where I take my coffee out to the boathouse to sit by the water, the evenings where we play board games or do fun activities, the baking I can do with the kids.  I'm already planning out how we would pack the van- we plan to take the dogs- and what shopping would need to happen and if we should take our bikes and...

I'm ready to go.  I'm ready for a break.  I'm ready to sit and breathe.  I'm hoping that this works out and the home is available and that we can make this work.  I think we all need it.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mean Girl

My daughter's mean side has come out once again.

I've written about our experiences with our daughter being a bully starting in Kindergarten, again in 1st grade, and realizing things about her personality that play into her bullying.

Last night, more evidence of her mean side came through.

Over winter break, Teagan had a playdate with a little girl in her class.  The playdate included another boy they are friends with and a girl that the host girl is friends with from her old school.  By all accounts from the kids and the parents, everyone had a great time.  Teagan has continued to be good friends with the 2 kids who go to her school.  The other girl has never been mentioned since.

Yesterday, I was checking the papers in Teagan's school folder to check her schoolwork and see about her homework for that evening.  My heart stopped when I found this:

Looks innocent enough- until you read it.  "Laniy, are enmey."  Erased in pencil at the top "I hat you."

I stood with it in my hand and asked Teagan, "What is this?"

She froze.  She got upset.  She apologized.  I opened it up.

"Mean Laniy. Like a grila. I think you are nice. But you are mean. You hit Elizabeth in the face. I do not like your family."

Wow.  Now, part of me wanted to laugh.  Like a gorilla??  But most of me was hurting inside because my daughter had to have been filled with a drive to be cruel.  She had an audience- a friend in her class- that she showed it to and they laughed.  Then she put it away in her folder and forgot that she was bringing it home.

The back of the card.

"I am not your friend. I am onley friends with nice people. Mean people or you (couldn't read the rest)"

Now, this kid doesn't go to Teagan's school.  This wasn't shown to this girl.  This wasn't seen by the in-common friend who hosted the playdate (she was out sick yesterday).  This was something Teagan says she did on her own and laughed about with another friend.

She cried.  She apologized.

I don't know how but I stayed calm throughout.  But I was pretty dang mad about it.

I talked about how writing such mean things about someone you don't even know really tells me that Teagan is feeling some yucky stuff inside of herself.  That I can tell she is feeling bad on the inside because her evening up until that point had been emotional and whiny.

So she didn't exactly bully.  But she pulled a mean girl stunt to gain approval from another friend.  I asked how she thought the in-common friend would have felt if she had seen what Teagan wrote.  I asked how Teagan would feel if someone else wrote that about one of her friends- or about her.

No TV in our house last night.  She was just sitting down to eat when I found it so she finished dinner, got a shower, off to bed.  Homework had already been completed at that point.  After she was showered and in her pajamas, I asked her to write 10 nice things about this other girl, "Laniy."  Jeff pointed out that she might not be able to since she doesn't know her very well.  I explained to her and to him- that's my point.  If you can sit down and writ mean things about someone you don't really know, then you can certainly sit down and write nice things.  10 nice things about this girl, 10 things about Teagan that are nice.

This morning, we talked about finding 3 ways to be kind at school today- beyond the basics of what she already does and already enjoys.

Jeff and I talked about our fears- that when she is a teen, she will be one of those uber-popular mean girls and will be heading up the Burn Book and tagging other kids to get picked on and directing her minions to do her bullying for her.  And that's why we address it every time it comes up.  We could have just laughed off that card.  We could have joked about it.  We could have made light of it.  We could have ignored it and just thrown it away.

But my daughter is someone who needs more than that.  My daughter needs some consistent redirection when this side of her comes out.  And that is what she will get from us each and every time something like this happens.


Monday, March 12, 2012

WW: Week 5

This is going to be a grumbly, complainy, mad post.

I have really struggled the past several days.

I take that back.  No struggle- I've just been making crappy choices whenever I feel like it.  I've made minimal effort and haven't really thought about my choices.  So no struggle- just bad choices.

I'm hoping that this morning was my turning point.  I don't know why but I decided to swing through the Hardee's drive thru- just to get a Diet Dr. Pepper.  It was truly my intent.  But then I found myself staring at the "fully loaded burrito."  It's bad because of the big tortilla, the large amount of cheese, and the 3 different kinds of processed crap, er, meat.  BAD.  There is NOTHING about this menu item that is a good choice.  There is nothing on the menu at Hardee's EVER that is a healthy choice.  EVER.

But I ordered it.  And I ate it.  I got halfway through and thought "If I throw it out the window now, it will be a half serving instead of a full serving."  But I kept eating- figured I could take it to 3/4 of a serving.  Then I ate every bite.  I felt gross almost right away when my head cleared and I realized what I'd done.  Part of me started to imagine pulling over and making myself throw it back up.  But I can't make myself throw up- the idea makes my skin crawl.

I came to work and forced myself to plug in the info on Weight Watchers.

20 points.  I get 34 points a day and I just consumed more than I have normally consumed by 4 pm within the first hour of my day.

I don't know if I want to cry or curl up in a ball or what.  This sucks.  I'm not one to wallow in regret but I sure am today.  I feel like I need to be on a liquid diet the rest of the day.

So... silver lining... this will definitely inspire me to get to the gym today at lunch.  I am going to the YMCA this evening to learn the strength training equipment so there is another opportunity to burn some of this bad choice off my body.

This is also the most honest and open I've been about my eating habit.  It feels weird to be so honest- to confess.  Maybe part of food's power is the shame associated with our choices?

Last week, I didn't get to the gym as often as I wanted to and my diet was mediocre.  Weigh in is later today and I'm guessing I will regret it- I'm betting on at least a 2 lb gain this week.  Check back in this afternoon...

I lied. Check back tomorrow. Went to the gym, did 2 miles in intervals (yay! I ran!), and completely forgot about the scale.  

3/13 Update:  Well, color me shocked!  I lost my bet.  Not a 2 pound gain at all.  In fact, it's a 2 lb loss!  Say what??  My eating habits Fri-Sun were pretty crappy and then there was this whole burrito incident.  But somehow, I'm still doing better than I was before!  And I worked off that burrito yesterday- did my 2 miles running intervals at the gym at lunch, walked 30 miles on a slight incline at the Y in the evening, and then did a strength circuit at the Y.  I feel great today!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fragments - No Catchy Title

Mommy's Idea

Today is the day that Amanda buries her 3 year old son, Elias.  Please pray for her and her family often today.  Check my posts from earlier this week if you want more information.  If you feel called to help this family, I have 2 ways you can do so.  1.  There is an online auction happening on Facebook.  Bidding just opened at 8 a.m. EST today and goes through Sunday.  Bid high, bid often.  There are items to bid on and there is also a space where you can pledge a donation to the family.  2.  If you have PayPal and would like to simply make a donation, donations are being taken via Pledgie.  Through both of these efforts, the hope is that we can alleviate the cost of the funeral, take care of the medical bills (would like to prevent them from even showing up- what a horrible reminder), and raise money for everyday expenses.  Amanda's husband is self-employed so if he can't work, there is no money being generated, there is no company giving paid time off or offering financial assistance.

I've made some changes and updates on the old blog.  Reposted some of my pages up above, changed up the background, cleaned up a few things.

Ever noticed that when you get a nice little windfall, the money just flows back out again that much faster?

I thought I had a lot of fragments saved up.  But I don't.  My heart aches for Amanda and her family.  My mind keeps imagining the horror that they are living through, the moments they are facing, the things they are forced to survive, the very long road ahead.

Trying to decide on plans for Spring Break.  My kids will be spending time with Grandma and will be away from home for the longest stint they've ever been away from us.  I am really looking forward to that time- not just for me and Jeff but also for them.  I have a lot of fond and precious memories of time spent visiting my grandparents for a week or more every summer and in the winter.  For the rest of that week, we are considering a getaway to the middle of nowhere- renting a cabin for a few nights and just being out in nature with no list of things to do, no agenda, no touristy stops.

Hug your kids.  Kiss your spouse.  Count your blessings.


Thursday, March 8, 2012


When I was in college, there was a classmate down the hall in my dorm who was known for being a pothead.  She and her boyfriend and her circle of friends were known for sneaking off into the woods and partaking.

I remember talking to her one night about why she chose to smoke as much as she seemed to smoke.  Her response was that she was hooked on the love.

She explained that she'd had this experience where she'd gotten stoned and was then talking to her mom and she could just see and feel so much love flowing from her mom and felt so much love flowing towards her mom that she knew she had to keep having that experience.

"I love love."  Those were her words.

What was sad to me was that the only way she could feel and experience that kind of love in herself and in her life was under the influence of a drug- that she couldn't see that by having that experience while stoned meant the experience was false.

But her words- "I love love" - still stay with me now.

It sounds corny, it sounds like some stoned hippy tenet, it sounds juvenile.

But it's absolutely true.

I love love.  I am passionate about love.  I am crazy about love.

This has been a really hard week.  I've written about the very unexpected death of a very young boy.  There's been a lot more going on- I've had many friends reaching out, needing prayers, needing support.  Friends who have children making dangerous choices, friends who are reeling from old wounds being reopened, friends who are the victims of others' hurtful words and choices, friends who are facing a difficult anniversary, friends who are facing the moving away of a best friend... there's just a lot of hurt happening for people that I care about right now.

My wish is that all of the people somehow connected to me who are experiencing pain, who are hurting, who are lacking hope, who are angry, who are acting out... would realize that they are loved, would feel and experience the love flowing into them.

I love love.  I love loving my kids, my husband, my family.  I love loving my friends, my close friends, my distant friends.  I had something of an "ah ha" moment about a year ago when I suddenly felt called to love someone that I would normally be angry with or dismiss due to differing viewpoints or might pity.  Since that moment, I have found myself more willing to hear the other side of someone's story.  I've been more aware of what is going on in someone's life that might be driving some of their anger.

I had a conversation with someone recently that showed me just how much there are still people who cling to their blinders- who don't want to see the world beyond the black and white definitions they have given it.  But I believe that love is the thing that will crack open the black and white and start to bleed in some color.  I believe that when someone is loved and experiences love in a deep and unexpected way, that is when their eyes become open to how much more life has to offer.

So to all my friends who have hurts and wounds and scars... whether I know about them or not... if you want to share with me or not... Please know that you are loved.  As much as I can, I am sending my love to you.  When I hug you, when I hold your hand, when I send you a message- those are acts of love.

I have felt for a long time that my purpose in this life is to love others.  I believe that God's greatest gift to us is this thing called love.  I believe that there are many people who have very limited definitions or experiences of what love really means.

Which is why it is so important for me to continue to proclaim that I love love. Love defies definition, as much as we may try.  Love is available for anyone and all people deserve it.  Love has so many levels and intricacies and specialties and meanings.  When I say "I love you" to my husband, it's the same but different from saying it to my kids, my mom, my brothers, my friends.   This kind of love is different than romantic love.  This love that I feel comes from a special place and I am fortunate to find myself overflowing with it.

I love love.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

But There Isn't Anything Else

I thought about blog topics a lot today.  I kept debating about what I should write about... I felt like there was some deep stuff  to share but at the same time... maybe it's better to stick to something fluffier.

Real life is scary right now.

First I have to say that I admire the women who are stepping up and taking the lead on being connected to Amanda.  Kristina, Cindi, and Megan are keeping our mom community informed and keeping us connected to Amanda and her needs as she faces the second hardest day of her life this Friday when she has to bury her little boy

Amanda is someone I've only met once before, I think.  We agree on a lot of topics online and that may be where any bond we have to one another lies- we've known each other online for several years.  Amanda isn't a "friend" of mine but she is part of the group of moms that I care about deeply.

When someone connected to us experiences a tragedy, it impacts us in a personal way.  There is, of course, our concern and caring and compassion for that person, that family, that circumstance.

But there is another side.  Our own individual human reaction to hearing of the tragedy someone else experiences means coming close to the fears we carry with us all the time.

I remember when I first felt this new level of intense fear that I'd never known before- even in all the hard times I'd survived in my life.  We were in the hospital, Teagan was just a day or two old.  We were faced with bringing her home and I realized I wouldn't have a nurses' call button at home.  I wouldn't have immediate help and answers and experienced hands to step in and help.  And when I felt that helplessness, I suddenly dipped my toe into this ocean of fear that I had never known before. 

Every single horrible thing that could possibly happen to my child in her entire life lives in that ocean. 

And when tragedy happens to someone else, I'm reminded of that ocean of fear that can bubble so close to the surface. 

It's so hard to remember that life continues to roll on when someone else's life is suspended in this terrible cloud of tragedy.  I scroll through status updates on Facebook and am reminded to count my blessings because someone else tragedy reminds me of how many blessings I have in my life and that I can overlook the little things that annoy or concern or even anger me.

My friend Ashli's husband, Jeremy, gave the sermon at church this past Sunday.  One thing he said that stayed with me was along the lines of- "When I allowed myself to let go of anger, I found peace."

At home, Zach is fighting a bug - Amanda's son died from a virus.  Every cough, every snore, every mumble and moan has me on edge.  Zach has come to our bed every night this week.  While he hogs the bed, pillows, and blankets leaving Jeff and I shivering on the edges of the mattress... I don't mind one little bit and find great comfort in having him close by.  I've even thought of sleeping on the floor in their bedroom just to stay close to both of them.

At work, I'm having a hard time with my priorities.  My heart is with my kids and my husband.  My mind is focused on those who are hurting from this loss.  I don't have the focus available to match what the people above me find to be so important.  How can I worry about safety glasses when someone I've been connected to for years is about to bury her son, is fearing that her other baby has the same virus that took his life, and is trying to help her oldest child feel special as she celebrates a birthday? 

What Amanda is going through reminds me of the pain of loss that so many others have gone through- Hallie, Lynn, Angie, Satch, Tim and even me. 

It's easy to get pulled down into the darkness, the anger, the fear, the sadness.

So I pray.  And I sing.  And I seek support from others and I offer support to others.  I sing to my kids, I hug them tighter, I find kind words for others, I love my husband.  I thank God for what I have in this moment, at this time, right now.

Because truly- it is all that any of us have.