Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Saying Good Bye to Mommy Regrets

        Every parent feels hassled these days. PTA meetings, soccer practice, cub scouts, double ear infections, homework, and the list goes on and on. It's so hard not to succumb to the every day stress of simply living your life.

      As a parent with chronic illness, the challenge is even harder. I have to accomplish things AND do it in such a way that I'm not desperately over tired the next day, so I can get up and do it all AGAIN. It's hard some times. I am however, proud to say, that I have hauled myself out of bed and gotten Doug to school everyday he needed to go. He has never missed a day of school due to my illness. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but some days the personal sacrifice is huge.

     And that's why I'm cutting myself some slack. Back in September, when my endometriosis pain started becoming so bad that it was painful to walk, I decided that I would 'treat myself' and drive to school rather than walk in the mornings. I have also decided I will pick him up in the car when it rains as the logistics of walking a toddler to school, in the rain, are insane. We have bought a huge box of chicken pot pies from Costco to have on nights when I'm not up to making dinner. We also have frozen pasta for the same reason. Today, I decided to treat myself to the five dollar surcharge and pick up my groceries at the store instead of shopping for them in the rain. Good use of five dollars and it will save me quite a bit of energy and precious time.

     Letting go of things you haven't accomplished is difficult. I had bought some crafts for Doug and I to do over the holidays, but due to a long, awful, migraine cluster, they didn't happen. I also bought lots of dry ingredients for cookies I never baked. Instead of feeling anxious about these things, I've decided to just let it go. No point dwelling on what cannot be changed. My energy is better spent else where for sure.

   So I think in 2017, I'm going to give myself more license to cut myself some slack. Let the clean laundry sit in the hallway for a day. Let the kitchen floor go longer between moppings. Stock the freezer with meals to make for when I'm unable to. So cut yourself some slack too! Have a glass of wine and watch some tv on the couch tonight instead of paying the bills.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shifting Gears

So I've been in a nasty flare up, since June. For whatever reason, my endometriosis has been pissing everything off in my pelvis. It makes it difficult and uncomfortable to sleep, so naturally that leads to a flare up of my fibromyalgia. Now there's pain from my fibro, which also makes it difficult to sleep, which leads to... more pain. It's a nasty cycle, and because of my endo involvement, I'm having a hell of a time breaking out of it. Even my physical therapist and neurologist are getting frustrated by this.

I've been in denial, somewhat, about the length and severity of this flare up. I finally realized the other day that so many of my recent daily frustrations stem from the fact that I'm trying to live like I'm NOT in a flare up. So I realized that I need to retool things, down shift to help me get through this. I know that there have been relationships I've been neglecting, and it hasn't been personal, it's been an attempt to save my energy for other things. And unfortunately, there's going to be a lot more of that for the time being.

The good news is that I feel like I have finally reached the bottom of the pit of despair, which means there's only one direction left to go, up! This past weekend was difficult. I had a treatment in the doctor's office on Friday which at first seemed promising, but then seems to have failed. I was also given an increased dosage of one of my medications, which the cost of is now astronomical. I can afford it, but I choose not to spend an absurd amount of money on it (what I had been paying for a three month supply is now the cost of only one month). Luckily, Jeff realized that I was stuck in this pit and threw down a ladder and climbed in after me. I think I'm going to be able to make it out, again. Because that's what you do when you live with chronic illness, you keep climbing out of the same pit, over and over gain, because you have to.

Self care is important, be well!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Quiet Time Bag

          Four o'clock in the afternoon seems to be the witching hour around here. Luke is usually down for a nap. Doug and I have typically just finished his homework. I am usually exhausted by this point in the day, but need to start making dinner soon. And Doug is usually full of energy and wants to yell and run around the house. In case you don't live in the DC metro, we've had over two consecutive weeks of rain, so throwing Doug into the yard hasn't been an option much. I ended up losing what little control I had left with Doug by this point in the afternoon. After several days of this, I thought to myself, "I can do better. WE can do better." I just needed for inspiration to strike, and it did.


    I give you: The Quiet Time Bag. It. Is. Awesome. I'm really not over selling it. I found some things that Doug can do QUIETLY, in his room, for about half an hour. Thirty minutes is enough time that I can regroup, take a brief break, and start dinner. Jeff typically walks in the door not too long after, which is a huge help.
Anyway, in the bag we have a note, Colorforms, secret market reveal pads, sticker books, Spirograph, coloring pages, blank pages bound together in a binder (he loves this, for some reason). Doug loves the bag. He will ask for it all the time. I try to limit its use to those afternoon times and Saturday mornings. We already had some of those things (paper, Colorforms) and some I bought in the dollarish section of Target. I save some things to put in later and plan to rotate things in and out so Doug doesn't get bored.

The note I included:


I also made a sign to put up by the baby gate. You can see what Doug thought of it:


So far, I'm pretty happy with how the Quiet Time Bag is working out. I 'll have to keep it interesting to keep his attention, but I'm happy he's doing something creative. And most importantly, I'm glad he can be quiet and I don't have to yell.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spend, Save, Give

      I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can't and I don't remember where I first read/heard about it. Our pastor last Sunday gave a good sermon about tithing and fiscal responsibility, which jarred this idea about of my memory banks. So many adults struggle with money issues. We teach our children lots of things, but not routinely about money. So why not start some financial responsibility when they're young?

Anyway, the idea is simple. Get three jars (or in our case use one Batman bank we already have) and label one 'Spend' (Batman) one 'Save'  (although ''Save' seems more appropriate for Batman, no?) and the third 'Give'. I don't know how most people give their kids money, but at 4, I feel that Doug is a little young for an allowance. What does happen is this: I get change in my wallet. I do not like change in my wallet as it makes my wallet and then purse heavier to carry. So then usually at some point in the week, I dump all of my change out on the table and Doug runs in Golm like to collect it. Jeff will do the same thing too.

So the other night we emptied out Batman and explained the procedure to Doug. At the end of the year, Jeff will either open a savings account for Doug at his credit union or we'll stick the 'Save' money in his college fund. The 'Spend' money can be spent however Doug sees fit. He did mention wanting to save up for a Lego set (surprising). The 'Give' we'll give to a charity of Doug's choice at the end of Advent. Doug likes and has given to Ronald McDonald House in the past, so I imagine he'll pick that again. The 'Save' and 'Spend' jars got a pretty even distribution of coins. But you know what? Doug put the most in 'Give' (he's passionate about Ronald McDonald house, or as he calls it "for the sick kids in the hospital!!!". He's been very excited about this so far and I think this will be a good on going project for him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Things I Care Passionately About

So, being pregnant I've discovered some things that I apparently care very passionately about, to the point of tears:

1. Raspberry Lemonade. I was trying to kick my soda habit and looking forward to making some raspberry lemonade and having a glass in the evening. I had bought two cans of mix at the store a few days ago in preparation. Fast forward to that evening, I could not find the cans of mix. I tore the house apart, looked in the car, everywhere. I'm guessing that pregnancy brain took over at the store and I left the bag with the mix in it there. Jeff comes in and tells me he'll get some tomorrow. I naturally began bawling because I had been looking forward to it ALL DAY. Jeff ended up making an 11 o'clock trip to WalMart to get some more. Life was good again.

2. Clean sheets. Every week of our marriage, on Sunday nights, Jeff and I always have the same discussion; "It's time to change the sheets, Jeff." "But we just changed them last week.". Every week for 7 years. It gets old. Anyway, the previous week we had to change the sheets on Wednesday. Doug had come in our room in the middle of the night because he had wet his bed. His shorts were wet and he was leaning up against the side of the bed. So the next morning, I changed our sheets too. I was willing to let the sheets stay on longer than normal because they were changed midweek. And I was tired as hell. So the next Saturday the sheets had been on our bed for a week and a half now. It was late and we had to get up early for church the next day, but I was really looking forward to sleeping on nice, clean sheets that night. Jeff, as usual, shared his resistance to the idea of changing the sheets. Being tired and hormonal, I couldn't take it anymore and burst into tears. Over sheets. It was one of those situations in which you're crying about something, but at the same time you know it's absolutely ridiculous. So naturally I start laughing while I'm crying. Anyway, it was effective, because we got the damn sheets changed.

3. Infant carrier car seats. After yesterday's ob appointment, I dragged Jeff to the baby supply store to check  out infant car seats. I hated Doug's with the fire of 1000 suns. It was heavy, clunky, awkward. My legs looked like bananas gone bad they were so bruised from the damn carrier knocking into them. I had seen these carriers when Doug was an infant with different shaped handles that allowed the parent schlepping the baby to hold the carrier in a more natural position. I don't know why, but no one seems to make them like that anymore. Anyway, the store had one model like this and the buckle was made out of plastic, not metal. We were disappointed. Then I started looking at all the carriers, trying to find one that weighed the least in the hopes that that would be helpful. They all weighed between 8 and 9 lbs. So, last night we dug out the old carrier and weighed it. It weighed 7.4 lbs. LESS than all the 'light weight models'. I burst into tears. It was like being told that the thing that felt like an Albatross around your neck was actually a Cardinal, so you should be grateful. The thing of it is is that because I have fibro, I tire easily. I get sore more easily and it takes longer to recover. So being told that the thing I already thought was unmanageable is actually lighter than any of the others was a bit crushing.

Jeff managed to calm me down. Part of it was that I was started to get sick when Doug was two months old, and it was just so hard to leave the house. He reminded me that this time we know what we're dealing with so I can get the meds to treat my fibro faster this time. He also reminded me that it took me a while to realize that I'd save energy by getting a combo diaper bag purse instead of carrying one of each. I have my eye on a Vera baby bag that also converts into a backpack. I'm also thinking of getting one of those snap and go dealie strollers for the car seat. So I have options, we just need to be creative about them.

I can't wait, and I'm sure Jeff agrees, for this hormonal roller coaster to be over!

Ps, Sarah Mclachlan, if I see your face on tv, consider the channel being switched!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Doug and Herbert

     Doug and Herbert go waaay back. I got the duck that I named Herbert at Doug's baby shower; he was a gift from my mother. He's a soft, small toy, so we gave him to Doug when he was pretty small. Quickly, Herbert became THE lovey. Which was great and all, except that the manufacturer doesn't make him anymore. The internet has been scoured by multiple people in this family, but to no avail. Because of that, Herbert is a bit of a shut in. He's not allowed to leave the house unless we go on vacation. That hasn't stopped Dug from loving him though.

    Doug's affection for Herbert is rather intense at times. I have to say, I love that relationship (except at bedtimes when we can't find Herbert. Then it really sucks). Herbert has gone from only being a source of comfort to a companion for adventure, like Calvin's Hobbes. And boy, do they have adventures.

I think here they might be in a hot air balloon. Or a train. Who knows? When Doug is playing by himself, Herbert is his favorite buddy.

      Another interesting aspect of the Doug/Herbert relationship is that Doug uses it to pretend about things that are concerning or upsetting to him (I feel like Mr. Rogers would give him a gold star here). Last week Doug overheard me scheduling his flu shot and promptly freaked out. A while later, Jeff came in and told me that Doug had gotten his doctor kit out and that Herbert had received quite a few flu shots. In the middle of the night when there's a thunder storm, Doug comes into our bed not because he's scared of the thunder, but because Herbert is.

   Herbert also brings out Doug's nurturing side. He takes care and cuddles Herbert when he's 'sick'. He sings to him and reads Herbert stories when it's time for Herbert to go to bed. Lately, Doug has been telling me stories of  when he was 'pregnant with Herbert' (there's so many things wrong with that statement, that I just let him have it).

   I will be very sad when Herbert's reign is over. I don't know how long we have, but I'm going to enjoy watching. Doug is very excited to help pick out a lovely for the new baby, he understands how important that relationship can be. I will always be grateful for Herbert. But we are totally buying three of the same lovey for the new baby.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Popcorn Reading List

The other day I was lounging on our couch in the basement, watching Doug and Jeff play. Directly across from me are two large bookcases. As they played, I looked at some of my favorite books on the shelves. So many books, some I haven't re-read in quite a while.  As I looked over the books, I was realizing the books had a few things in common. Being physical books, they were all purchased prior to Doug's birth. And while most of these books wouldn't be considered high literature, they were all decent reads, meaty, thick books with complex characters and plots. I'm sure many of them have been on the NY Times best seller lists, etc.

Then I began to think about the kinds of books on my Kindle. Sure, there are a few books like that, but not as many as I'd like and certainly not too many after Doug was born. I still read regularly. I will admit my reading took a hit during the first trimester when I was exhausted (making up for it in the bathroom though, I think).

As I began to ponder the issue and review what I've been reading in the past year, I realized that my reading selections tend to be books that are easily consumable. Books that are satisfying but have no intellectual value, like popcorn for your brain, delicious, but not nutritional. Last winter/spring I began reading romance books, for something to read. The characters aren't deep, the plot is always predictable and my brain doesn't have to do too much work. Easy for a tired brain. I probably didn't read much more than half a dozen of these books before I got tired of them and moved on.

I don't remember exactly how I stumbled into the next books I began reading, but it was sometime late last spring. To date, I've read probably close to a dozen Star Trek the Next Generation books. And by read, I mean devour. For a while I was confused by this new trend of mine. I'm not really a sci-fi reader. But then I realized it wasn't too difficult for my poor brain. It was drawing on an established list of characters with predictable reactions. The plots were much more involved than the romance novels and funnier, and more enjoyable.  For a while I was unhappy with this new literary fetish of mine, but then I realized it doesn't matter, I'm reading and it's enjoyable.

I did join a book club recently and I am sprinkling more 'literary' books into my reading. But right now, there's a crisis the Enterprise is facing, and I don't know if the crew will be able to save the day....