Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wiggle it, Just a Little Bit...

"Wiggle It" is one of the songs that we use in my Bodystep aerobics class.  I remember it from my teen years. It's fun and you can move to it.  I also enjoyed doing what I thought of as one of the easier routines. When the refrain, "Wiggle it, just a little bit" comes on, we all go to the corner of our step, raise our arms above our head and we wiggle it.  It's easy. We do this on each corner a few times and then continue our routine and when the refrain plays we wiggle it again. Not bad, eh?

Um, have you ever looked at yourself in a full-length mirror while wiggling it in spandex pants?  The refrain really should be "jiggle it" for me.  I was horrified. Here I am having fun and thinking, "wow this is easy and little silly" and then I saw myself. My saddlebags jiggling oh so unattractively.  And then I move to the next corner, and yup, there they are, still jiggling unattractively. I couldn't believe it. I thought the pants I was wearing would contain the jiggle, no-no, they only enhanced the jiggle.  It was like a bad accident. Every time we had to wiggle it, I analyzed myself in the full length mirror directly across from me.  To make matters worse, in my mind it happened in slow-mo, every time I looked. I'm not a small girl. I'm 5'3" and still about 25 pounds overweight (though I have lost 20 lbs and the last of the baby weight from daughter since October, thank you).  It's just not pretty. But I remind myself that's why I'm there.  Mirrors and judgmental onlookers be darned, I'm gonna wiggle it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Than...

I've started and stopped writing this post two times already. Maybe 3rd time's the charm.  Every time I sat down to write it, it sounded like I was complaining or unhappy with my roles as wife and mother. It's not that at all!!! I adore my roles as wife and mommy, two roles that I would never give up. They are the highest calling and I'm glad that I had enough sense to say, "yes."  I am so blessed and lucky that the love of my life chose me to be his wife. I'm so blessed to have my two beautiful children who bring laughter and sunshine to my life on a daily basis.

But I discovered something. Well maybe not discovered, more like remembered. I remembered that I am more than a mommy. I am a friend, a confidant, a dreamer. I am a person who has dreams, aspirations, and goals. I am so accustomed to being my family's biggest cheerleader that sometimes I forget to be my own.

I woke up so early on Saturday and when I called my husband hours later to chat he laughed when I told him I was up at the crack of dawn.  He said, "You don't know what what to do with yourself, do you?"  I really didn't. I'm so used to having a few minutes to myself in the morning and then being there for the kids the rest of the day. Being away forced me to be selfish and create my own timetable.  What a glorious and luxurious weekend it was. I was able to read, write, finish one of my long-standing projects (my son's baby book, woohoo!), talk for hours with my best friends over mugs of hot tea and good music, appreciate my husband who is home with the kids, and just take time to do whatever I wanted.  This was the perfect weekend for this discombobulated mommy. I felt like I could go back renewed to my family and give them everything that I have, again.

I was reading my Real Simple magazine this morning and came across an article "10 Secrets of an unflappable working mom" by Michelle Slatalla.  It was #10 that struck me most, especially as I tried to convey in this post how refreshing it was to remember that I was "more than...." and kept failing to do so without sounding like I was unhappy or complaining. Just the opposite. I was and am pumped to rediscover parts of me that I have neglected. It was like finding a $20 bill in a jacket pocket that you haven't worn since last season.  Ahhhh, I'm wife and mommy, but I'm me, too. That's what it is.

Here is a part of the article from Michelle Slatalla:

#10 STOP THINKING OF YOURSELF AS SPLIT INTO SEPARATE BUT EQUAL ROLES MOTHER, WORKER, ME.  Listen to  philosopher John Locke, who said that a person recognizes himself as the same being throughout his life, in different times and places.  You are one person, invisible, who just happens to wear many hats...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spa Weekend Getaway Part II: Renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated

Saturday morning I officially woke up just after 7am. About the time I would wake up  if I were at home and sleeping in.  I took time for my morning devotional, prayer, and blogging.  When I finally spoke with my husband hours later, I found out that he truly slept in until 8:30am and when he asked if I had done the same he laughed when I told him when I had woken up.  He said, "You don't know what to do with yourself do you?"  No, I really didn't. I am so used to taking care of someone else that it was weird not to do so. What do you do when you have hours to do whatever you want?   I ended up filling my time with reading, having a long and leisurely breakfast (I didn't have to scarf it down to assist someone else), and working on my daughter's baby book.

My best friend and I had spa appointments that weren't scheduled until 1:45.  I drank 2-3 glasses of water before the appointment because I remember reading that you can become dehydrated during a spa session, and J. was doing it, so why not. If you have ever been with me anywhere you know I suffer from "Mommy bladder." You know, having the tiniest bladder ever and the urge "to go" every 15 seconds. My mommy bladder is also combined with "anxious in new situations" bladder. A really bad combo. Why oh why didn't I think of this while I was hydrating myself before my sessions. I even thought I was being good and peed 3 times before my facial. 

I loved that I was forced to slow down and take my time. With our weekend package we were given a "complimentary" facial. I thought it would be a mini. But it was complimentary, so hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  I was enjoying my facial that I thought was going to take 20 minutes when it happened. My bladder filling and filling and filling.  So instead of enjoying my facial which ended up lasting about an hour, I was praying and silently begging for it to be over. I think I started sweating and if I had been standing, without a doubt I would have done a great rendition of my 3 year old son's pee-pee dance.  I kept trying to think about other things, but all that kept playing in my head was my son's pee-pee dance: the anxious funny little hop, the running as fast he could to "stop" the pee-pee from happening, the adamant NO.  That was me in my head.  Not to help matters, but the technician was playing a CD with waves and had turned on of those babbling fountains to soothe the soul. Complete opposite effect.  It made me want to pee.  Here I am a grown woman getting a spa treatment thinking that the best thing in the world would be a toilet. I almost died when she said, "I'm done, can I get you some hot tea or a glass of water." Just the thought of more liquid was enough to bring me to my knees and tears to my eyes. I almost ran her over when I hopped off the table begging for a bathroom.  

I apologized profusely when I returned realizing I still had to finish the rest of my treatment, a complimentary paraffin hand treatment. If I hadn't used the facilities before the hand treatment can you just imagine what would have happened when I put my hand in the warm wax. Accident City, that's what.  

Thank goodness the technician was really sweet and understanding.  I finished my hand treatment and was sent to the serenity room. Ahhhhh, another place to relax before my hot stone massage. My friend joined me shortly after her facial. While we were waiting for our next session, I had to get up and go to the bathroom two more times. I think they thought there was something seriously wrong with me. No, it was me being ridiculous and drinking 2-3 glasses of water in less than hour. It reminded of me when I was pregnant and had to drink a ton of water for my mid-pregnancy sonogram. HA! and doh!doh!doh!

 Fortunately I was able to enjoy my hour long massage without incident. It was so awesome.  I've never indulged in a hot stone massage before and it was perfect, especially, in this cold, cold climate. I highly recommend it. My entire spa day last about 2 1/2 hours. 

I loved that it forced me to relax and enjoy my time (peeing excluded).  I loved that my husband was so awesome about encouraging me to go. I loved that I got to experience this weekend with one of my dearest friends.  I loved that I got to spend time and take care of me and to do so without guilt.  I even allowed myself to go to bed even later on Saturday night and to wake up later Sunday morning.  I cut myself a break and made it okay that I accomplished 1 of the possible 3 projects I brought with me.  I am renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated...and slightly lighter ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spa Weekend Getaway

So here it is, my first spa get away weekend. My very first time to go on a mini-vacation without the kids or my hubby and what do I do? I wake up at my normal time of around 6:30am. I tried to keep sleeping and made it to 7:07am. I spoke with my husband last night and he said he would laugh at me if I went to be before 10:30pm. As he put it I would be able to sleep in so why not stay up late. I thought, yeah, you're right. I finished my almost 4-yr. old son's baby book and read until midnight...and I woke up early. Huh.....I know that if I was at home, I would still be sleeping. I don't sleep as well without my hubby.

 Last summer my hubby went to Chicago on business for 6 weeks. While the kids and I joined him after the first 3 weeks, the 3 weeks without him were tough on me. At the time my son had just turned 3 and my daughter was 8 1/2 months old.  I missed my husband like crazy and trying to take care of the needs of two little ones on my own was hard. I think I psyched myself out thinking that I could not do it alone.  My husband and I really are a team and the child-rearing is a team effort in my house.  My kids are great, but I love that my husband takes over after he gets home from work and plays with the kids. He gives me a few minutes to veg out on my own before we say nighttime prayers and he puts the kids to bed.  So not having him for 3 weeks was like missing half of me.

Soon after the Chicago trip my husband suggested that I go away for a spa weekend with a friend. This was said over the summer and it's February and I've finally done it.  At the time of the suggestion I was still nursing my daughter. So I set the date to be sometime after she weaned. When I was telling one of my best friends about Will's suggestion (fully intending for her to go with me) she asked me, "Are you asking me to go with you?" YES!!!!!  Her husband was in the room I think I saw the faintest look of nervousness as all husbands do when they realize that their wife might go off and leave them with the children for more than a few hours.  HA!  I think my husband didn't think I would go through with it. But I knew that if I had a partner in crime, then we would hold each other accountable and really go and leave our families for a couple of nights and spend time pampering ourselves.  What better partner to have than your former college roommate and best friend of 13 1/2 years?

J. and I decided that we were actually going to do this and set up a date to go.  After doing some research we decided where and what. I volunteered to make the call and make reservations. When I did I think I closed my eyes and held my breath. Almost like pulling off a band-aid. I couldn't believe I was doing it. Putting down a deposit meant that I really was going to go away for 2 nights and spend some time on my own. Holy cow!!!!!  I'll admit that I didn't talk about it much with my hubby or plan for it or think about it. It was like a dream and if I thought too hard I'd be sure I'd imagine all of it.

So here we are in a little in-town suite in Berkley Springs.  We spent the night scrapbooking and listening to music and catching up. The hubbies are at home with the children.  I feel a little guilty leaving my children and taking time for myself, but at the same time I think that maybe my BF should do this again in the next year to two years when neither of us will be pregnant or nursing (which we are both kind of hoping will happen in the next 12 months).  I think that J. and I are getting to a point in our lives that it is okay to take step away and spend some time by ourselves. Our husbands are great hands-on fathers, and our first children are getting old enough to be of some help around the house...at the very least more independent.  So I'm thinking we should make this an almost annual get away and make it annual after we are done having children. It's kind of hard going away when you are hugely pregnant or nursing an infant. So J. if you are game let's do this again and make a deal that it won't be more than 2 years before go away again!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Extravagant Giving

Today I read short story about when an unnamed woman poured spikenard (a costly perfume) over Jesus' head during a banquet. She was chastised by those who saw it and couldn't believe that she would waste so much money.

The question for today was: What would be extravagant giving for me?  I 'm sure this may mean in the financial sense. If you know me at all, I'm lousy with numbers and my husband is the frugal one in our marriage. I always thinking I'm getting a great deal...but really there is a better one to be had.

But when I thought about extravagant giving, money did not come immediately to mind, but really the most valuable thing that I have to give is time. I don't have a lot of it and what I do have is really precious.  Again, I feel like I'm running around in a million directions trying to get everything done.  One of the cutesy commercials comes to mind...I think it's clorox wipes. The little girl wants to dance with her daddy and all he had to do is clean up a mess (one handed!) with a clorox wipe and then he has time to dance with her.  Giving us the message that there is no reason to spend time cleaning up and we should spend more time with our kids....yeah, talk about guilt!

Lately, I've been finding myself setting aside some chores here and there when my 3 year old asks if we can play his favorite board game or to read a story to him.  I look at the house and groan and then say, "sure" because my first-born is growing up way too fast.  I'm still trying to find that perfect balance between chores, errands, and spending time with my family. Spending time with my family is the reason I decided to take time off from work and become a stay-at-home-Mom.

So here again, time...This weekend I am going away for a spa weekend with one of my nearest and dearest friends.  A whole weekend without the hubby and/or kids. I have never done that.  I'm so looking forward to relaxing and spending some time doing things that I want to get done (like the kids' baby books), read an entire chapter without being interrupted, work on a baby blanket without it getting wrapped up and tangled in someone's cute, sticky hands). As I write this, I realize that I have big plans for a two day weekend that is already scheduled with a few spa treatments, huh.

 I already miss my family and I haven't even packed yet. But again, if I make some time for myself, I will be able to make some time for them when I get back. I'm hoping the calm will return and my precious time will be given extravagantly to God, my family, to the Church, and to the community.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today is a day of fasting, prayer, and penance.  I sit here early in the morning with my head racing in 15 different directions...so fast that I can barely keep from jumping from one thought to the next...hence the "discombobulated" part of Mommy.

The more that I think that I need to take a deep breath and just breathe...my thoughts are going wildly from one thing to the next. You would think that I am anxious or worried, really I'm just trying to plan my day. What I need to do is: stop...breathe...think...breathe...reflect...breathe....  It's hard isn't it, when you are a mommy? Do you ever feel that not only are you the caretaker for your little ones, but of also your spouse? the house? the cruise director for the family? the detail person?  I love my role, but it is also very overwhelming.

Today as we begin Lent it gives me time to reflect.  I find that I spend a lot of time running around in circles and spending way too much time on the internet, particularly Facebook. Why am I so interested in the lives of those around me when I should be more focused on the lives that are under my roof? I am in desperate need to take some time to spend with me, just me, before the kids wake up and begin our day, and before the hubby comes home from work.  I rarely get to reflect where I am in life and who I want to be. I feel like I'm always focused on something else. This Lent I am going to take the time that I usually use on Facebook and spend it in prayer and quiet reflection.  I think that in order to be a better Mommy to my two beautiful kids and wonderful husband, I need to spend some time working on myself.  Be the kind of person I want to be. If I can take some quiet time before the house wakes up and hustle and bustle begins, I might find that I will have more patience throughout the day.  I might stop looking at other people's statuses and comparing myself to my friends.

Some things that I want to work on during Lent (this is not a "hey, look at me") but more of, this is my reflective blog as a mommy and getting my thoughts on virtual paper, written for me so that I can go back and reflect in 40 days.

--Spend time with The Little Black Book: Six-minute meditations on the Passion of Mark
--Spending time with a devotional for moms
--Fasting (one day a week) and spend more time in prayer
--making a blanket for a pregnancy center (the current one has taken me 4 months and I'm still just finishing it up...I'll give my self a break and work on the new one, knowing this will be a belated gift.)
--blog (this is so cathartic for me and helps to get my thoughts in order. It will also help me to be more reflective.)

Lent is a time of Fasting--Praying--Almsgiving.  Too often I have heard, "I'm giving up chocolate" or "I'm giving up soda" for Lent. I'll admit that giving up chocolate, in my case, is difficult. It can be a sacrifice. But this year I wanted to look at the three traditional practices of Lent and see what I can do and make true sacrifices, seek true penance, and to do good works without seeking praise.  Through this I want to come closer to God, be a better (and more patient!) Mommy and to be a better spouse.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm No Florence Nightingale

Last night my 3 year old son came down with a stomach virus. It's been going around around the preschool set, but hasn't hit our school yet. But I have noticed through Facebook that many of my friends and their children have been coming down with it.  My son was given a clean bill of health exactly 36 hours before he came down with the stomach bug.

My husband and I had gotten the kids to bed early in order to fully enjoy the much anticipated LOST Finale season premiere. I was feeling guilty that I was giving up 3 hours to sit in front of the television.  But my husband and I were looking forward to a little down time. It was the perfect setting: the snow was falling with the possibility of hubby having a day off, our favorite show was on, the kids were in bed, we had popcorn, we were together. It was perfect!

Then at 10pm, 2 hours into our LOST evening, my son begins screaming for my husband. Terrified screams. At first we thought night terror and I offered to run up and take care of him, thinking it would take only a few minutes.  Seven hours later, several buckets later, several wardrobe, and bed changes, it was evident that my son had a stomach virus.

My husband took over 3 year old duty and I was given 1 year old duty. My daughter woke up crying when my son started screaming.  I think I was given the better end of the deal.  My daughter and I finished watching the end of LOST while my husband changed sheets, soothed our son, found buckets, lysoled everything, washed sheets, and stayed up until 5am with our son who vomited for 7 hours every 20-30 minutes.

I am no Florence Nightingale. I can handle the basic sick symptoms, but vomiting is just not where I'm at.  I'm a total wimp when I'm sick. I hate being sick, I hate throwing up, I'm pathetic.  I want to be taken care of when I'm sick. In my mind, misery loves company.  My husband on the other hand wants to be left completely alone. He wants to be in bed by himself curled under the covers. He doesn't want anyone talking to him or taking care of him. He wants to do it alone and be miserable alone. He's pretty easy, but it's taken me years to realize to just leave him alone. For years I tried to take care of him the way I wanted to be taken care of when I was sick. Now I know he does better if left to his own devices.

So what did I do when I realized that my husband might have to go to work the next morning? I panicked. Utter panic! How am I going to take care of a child who is vomiting constantly and consistently while taking care of another younger child who will want to be in the midst of everything? I asked my husband to take a sick day and help me and he said, "I don't think so." WHAT?!? "I don't think so?" What does that mean?????  Let me also say that I came down with the stomach flu three times last year. This was with a newborn and a 2 year old.  Nothing like having to nurse a baby every 3-4 hours and take care of a two year old while you are sick out of both ends.  Every time I was sick I had asked my hubby to stay home and take care of the kids so that I could be sick and not worry about them. It just so happened that my sick days did not fall conveniently in his work schedule. He was either in meetings or giving a presentation. Not something he could easily leave and do later.  There was no one I felt comfortable enough to ask to take care of the kids and really who wants to come over and take over 2 possible carriers of the stomach flu?  So when hubby said, "No" I panicked. I curled up on the couch and tried to sleep while my son was sick while hubby took care of him. I get no points on the mommy scale. None at all. I left the caregiving to my husband. I hate vomit, and I was trying to figure out how I would handle the next morning.I was feeling abandoned and I was useless.

 My husband took care of our son for 7 straight hours.  He washed multiple bedclothes, cleaned out multiple buckets of vomit, soothed our son, and jumped every time our son called from his bedroom.  My husband gets mega points for being an incredible dad.  Even though he said he would probably go into work, my husband stayed up until 5am taking care of our son.  He got up at 8:30, he's taking a shower, he's going to shovel the drive and then drive to the store to pick up gatorade, crackers, and soup.   He's even going to try to get in to work.

Our son seems to be on the upswing. He's had some water and he's kept it all in.  He's sitting and watching a Thomas video while the baby is playing with a stuffed animal in the living room.  When our son woke up he called to me and I sat with him in the bathroom for a measly 30 minutes making sure that the water he was drinking was going to stay inside.  I get maybe a half point.  I will finish washing and putting away the sheets, pajamas, and disinfecting tubs.

I think when my husband heard me ask for help he thought I was being overly dramatic. When I heard, "no" I felt abandoned and left on my own. We both jumped to the extreme: me not having enough confidence in myself that I could handle a very sick little boy while caring for my daughter, and my husband saying, "no" as a reflex because he thinks I'm being overdramatic.  We really need to listen to each other. I need to feel supported and encouraged, and I need not to jump to him as my failsafe.  So my first marathon of child vomiting is a FAIL. I'm very lucky to have a husband who jumps in and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty.  I just wish he didn't shut me down right away and said, "no," but I'm comforted in knowing that even though he said, "no" he still jumped in and took care of our son when he most needed it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ever Have One of those Days?

Yesterday morning started out like any other morning in a harried mother's life.  The lottery for our application registration for my son's preschool was scheduled on a Monday morning at 8am. Doors close at 8:05am. A head count is taken and then the process begins.  Try getting out of the house with two small children, ages 1 and 3, by 7:30 in order to get to the school before the doors are slammed shut for registration.  Of course, my kids have been sick, and of course they are on nebulizer treatments so this means my 3 year old is up bouncing around at night until 9pm until the effects of the treatment wear off.  This is not conducive to waking the children at 6:30am!

The night before I asked my husband to make sure I wake up when his alarm goes off at 5:30am. This would give me enough time to shower, eat breakfast, put ingredients in the slowcooker for dinner, pack all the things we need for our day because we wouldn't be back until 4pm (this includes the extra change of clothes for a 3 year old who still has occasional accidents with going to the potty) and possibly make a dish to bring to my friend's house for our playdate.  I woke up at 6:15am to the sounds of the shower running. FAIL!!! I'm already 45 minutes behind. I have a tight schedule. I can't be behind!!!!  I bolt out of bed to my husband's bewilderment.  I head down the stairs and start putting together a slowcooker meal. He comes down and helps, but I'm already jamming with all the needs to be done. I managed to prepare dinner, take a shower, throw a load of laundry in, and wake up the 3 year old by....7:25am. FAIL!!! Now I have about 20 minutes (if I still plan to make it to the lottery) to change and feed both children and get everything out to the car. Still not done:  me eating breakfast (I completely forgot), meal for friend, nebulizer treatment for the 3 year old.

I manage to dress and feed both kids waffles in the car. We left at 7:53, arrived at the school at 8:03am. We are literally running through the parking lot. Me clutching the baby likes she's a football and the 3 year old trying to run in snow boots. Oh, yeah, did I mention it's winter? So we need jackets, mittens, hats, and boots?  The principal opens the door to the lobby and says, "Take a deep breath, we haven't shut the doors yet."  I'm near tears by the time I sit down...tears of relief, tears of frustration. My adrenaline is pumping and I'm thinking...it's only 8:03am! How can I be stressed and anxious at 8:03am!!!  As I'm trying to collect myself, another mother who I recognize from the school with children near the same age as my own has the same frazzled and worn look about her. She whispers across the aisle, "I can't believe I made it. My kids haven't even eaten breakfast yet." We swap stories about our morning as we wait for the lottery.  By the end of the ordeal I got number 46 out of 50 for the lottery. Which means that I'm way down the list for getting my preferences for classes...but I'm pretty sure that my son will be enrolled next year.

Scene 2: Go home because it's still another 45 minutes before our follow-up dr.'s appointment. This is our fifth appointment in 3 weeks. My daughter had a double-ear infection and my son had pneumonia.  This was our final appointment to get see if we get a clean bill of health and we do.  But before going we stopped at home so my 3 year old can get a nebulizer treatment. This is when I also realize that I have yet to eat breakfast. I call my husband to fill him in on the lottery and I eat breakfast while my son gets his treatment.  Then it's another mad dash out the door for the doctor's appointment.

Scene 3:  Doctor's office. The kids get a clean bill of health. Yay!!!!  But of course I decide, "Hey they're better, let's get them immunized and vaccinated." Nothing like being a glutton for punishment. Both kids were given the H1N1 vaccine and my daughter was given one of the immunizations needed at 15 months. Both kids are crying, however, the sweet moment of the day happened when the 3 year old told the baby, "Don't cry, it's okay" even though his tears were still glistening in his eyes. We make it out of the doctor's office, in one piece.

Scene 4:  Playdate!  This was the highlight of our day. I have dear friend who was once my college roommate. If she still likes me 13 1/2 years later, then I'd say I'm pretty lucky.  We have children close in age. Our first borns are 3 weeks apart and our 2nd borns are 6 months apart.  Not too shabby.  Even though her family lives an hour away, it is so totally worth it for us to make time to get together. Our children love playing with one another and this gives us a chance to catch up. This was the rejuvenation my soul so needed. The kids played while we chatted away. By the time we left my patience was back, the calm had returned, and I was right where I needed to be...being a positive energy for my kids and husband.