Wednesday, May 30, 2012

See Mama run out of steam

Last weekend was a whirlwind.  On Saturday I headed about 3 hrs south to see two of my closest friends from way back when.  They are twins and they are both expecting their first babies one month apart and nothing would have kept me from the shower.  It was so good to see the girls and to get to celebrate with their family and friends.  They are two of the kindest, sweetest, brightest, happiest and most loving people  I know and they will be the most amazing moms!

The next day we had a party next door to celebrate their little girl's second birthday, then Haven had her sleepover extravaganza.  I am pretty sure the girls all had a great time and I got NO sleep that night so needless to say I was a bit wiped by morning.  Thankfully the hubby took Grayson to the farm to get milk while the babies, the big girls and I grabbed a two hour nap.  It was bliss.  Then we had a fantastic supper of grilled steaks, watermelon, corn on the cob and fried onions for me....oh it was so yummy!

Yesterday we went and got my windshield replaced and while we waited the babies, Ryan and I poked around in a flooring store and a countertop/cabinet store.  Since we are looking to move in the next year, I wanted to get some ideas in case we need to replace the countertops or put in new floors.  My hope is that  the entire house will be wood floors except the full baths.  With a hoard of kids and a very hairy dog, wood floors are just easier to keep clean.  We will have some rugs, but again, those can be sent out to be cleaned unlike carpet!

Today we were supposed to have Finn's therapy session but his therapists son was sick so she had to reschedule. I had a ton of work to do, so it was a home day with the babies.  Dinner was easy, french toast, homemade buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, we are embracing our southern home more and more.

The next few weeks are still crazy with events, doctors, birthdays (ahem...mine!) and a trip up north to New England followed by a trip down south a few days later to North Carolina!  I just need to make it to July so I can relax!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How did this happen

Tomorrow my oldest girl turns twelve.  Twelve!  How did that happen?  I cannot believe I have been a mom for 12 years, that the sweet, chunky, little baby that I had twelve years ago with the glowing yellow head and huge cheeks has grown into this tall, lanky, bright, interesting and opinionated young lady.  Haven and I butt heads a lot, she and I can fight and argue and some days we struggle, but she is the first to try to cheer me up if I have a bad day, and she reacts deeply when I am hurt and she and I have a unique and special relationship that I would not trade for anything in the world.  I look at her and I catch a glimpse of the young woman she is becoming, and oh, what an amazing young woman that is.  She is so smart, and she can connect with people in such an honest way.  She is funny and silly and impulsive.  She is kind and sweet and feels things deep in her core.  She is constantly singing and dancing and has no problem standing on the bus stop dancing her heart out for the world to see, I admire that.  My girl, now 12 years old, the one that made me a mama is going to great things in this world, and I am so lucky to get to see her do it.

Help please and repost!!!

If I can ask again, if you have not yet done so, please go to 

and fill in the survey for my doctoral research..pretty, pretty, please!

Oh and if you have a blog and can share the link, I really would appreciate it, I am so close to reaching my sample size!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Update on Finn

So here we are, almost a year to the day that we started trying to find out what was going on with Finn.  The "crisis" moment happened last year on my birthday (6/9) when Finn had what looked like a seizure, but it had really started a few months earlier when we noticed he was very floppy and not growing well.  The following months were scary as we learned in detail what his heart condition was and we were finally sent to Children's Hospital to see genetics.  Then even more waiting as we waited almost 4 months for results and finally a diagnosis.

Well here is where our sweet, amazing, silly and fun little guy is now as he nears 18 months old.  He walks beautifully and even jumps well.  He loves to climb and has great muscle control given his poor muscle tone.  He eats a ton and has filled in nicely which makes his skin look much less saggy and loose, and my little peanut who a year ago was not growing at all is simply HUGE. He is starting to say a few words, but is still lagging behind in speech, but we are working on it.  He does communicate well, he points and grabs and lets us know his feelings.  We can tell he is bright and his therapist believes his speech delays to be either due to muscle tone in his mouth or possibly some hearing issues, so we will follow up with audiology in June.  We also will see genetics this summer and pulmonology as well as cardiology.  Lots of appointments, but they will help us see what is going on with Finn and allow us to make choices or get help if needed before a real problem presents.  His condition is one where things can go wrong with organs slowly over time. My goal is to catch it at the first sign and not wait until he is really sick. The earlier, the better.

I am so thankful to have all my children, to be blessed to have a houseful of kids and the privilege of caring for them.  I am excited to see them all grow up and become the men and women they were meant to be.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Remember when I used to cook and bake?

Yeah not so much these last few weeks and I hate it!  I have been so swamped that I am throwing things together to feed the masses and not really *cooking* like I like.  Now they are eating just fine, they had a homemade Lasagna I had in the freezer one night, and shrimp and rice another, and a nice chicken dinner, but nothing elaborate.  Last night Haven cooked since I was on calls all afternoon and she made cinnamon rolls (from a can, ugh!), potatoes and omelets with ham, cheese and tomatoes.  Not too shabby for nearing 12.  I planned to make some marinated chicken and grilled veggies tonight, but there is just no time so I am ordering a pizza I think.

To be fair, I was closing out Spring classes at PT school, working FT for FT school, we are having our "virtual" faculty conference this week which equates to me spending 10 hours on the phone in addition to my usual calls and workload, plus I had to go do some data collection and still take care of the babies, the house, do laundry, etc.  Yeah I am beat so pizza it is tonight.  Next week I plan to do better :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Yesterday, as most of you know, was Mother's Day.  I have a hard time doing for myself, buying for myself, etc. but the husband has found a few ways to get around that.  A few years ago he came home with a gift card to one of my favorite supply stores, Sur La Table and then said we were going there.  I had no choice but to use the gift card since he already bought it, and I had a blast spending the money without feeling guilty.

Yesterday we planned to take a ride to the big super fancy mall so I could finally get my apron at Anthropologie and shop some at Sur La Table.  As a bonus, we booked lunch at Maggiano' style.

The morning started great, cards, flowers and blueberry pancakes, my favorite! Then we had a rough patch with arguing kids and an OCD flareup and meltdown.  Then we got out the door and had an amazing time.  Kids were so well behaved at lunch, I was one proud mama.  Food was incredible and the wait staff took great care of us and watched out for Haven's allergies. We really enjoyed sitting around the table, talking, eating and sharing with one another.

I must admit that shopping was fun too.  I got a new apron, new blender and a bunch of kitchen gadgets.  It was so very nice.

Understanding limits

The week was a good one, I tried to cram in some fun but of course paid for it with a stack of work waiting for me.  The transition from Spring term to Summer is always a bear, but I also have some side course design work and a summer course I am teaching that is making this even harder than usual.

The family has been sick.  Haven had strep and I think Ryan may too, along with a horrific cold that has a cough that just goes on for days and congestion.  Haven now has the cough, as do a few other kids, and this morning I woke up with it as well.  I knew it was coming, haven't felt well the last few days, but I really don't have time for it this week!

Today I have three hours of work calls, Finn has therapy and I have a date with Grayson, plus regular work.  Tomorrow I have a mere two hours of calls, plus a SEPTA meeting (I joined our local group and it has already been one of the wisest decisions I have made-so many people with so many resources!) plus of course, regular work!

Wednesday I have my coffee with Sarah (that MUST happen for sanity sake) and three or four hours of calls. Then rinse and repeat for Thursday and Friday-minus the awesome coffee date.  We have our "virtual" faculty conference this week, that is why I will be glued to a phone and a webex for the better part of this week, but this too shall pass.

On to managing limits.  Here is the thing, I suck at it. I am the first to throw myself under the bus, overload my plate, say yes to too much, and almost always it is stuff that I don't want to do, and then I don't have time for what I do want to do.  I am happy I joined SEPTA and I want to be involved, so I will need to set limits with work.  I can, on some weeks between my FT gig, PT gig and all the side work I take on, log between 70 and 100 hours of work.  If you ask people around here they wouldn't see it, since most of my work is done in between changing diapers, vacuuming, making dinner, etc.  I work in every spare space of time, after kids go to bed and often before they get up in the morning.  It can be too much.  I have to say no sometimes to the extra tasks, I need to learn that even though the extra cash would be super nice, it is not worth my sanity.  I need to learn to sit still and watch a movie with my kids and husband, to enjoy some quiet time to myself, to read and be still.  I am working on it, because I have to.  The schedule I am on has me overwhelmed.  Being overwhelmed triggers my OCD which then makes my anxiety go through the roof.  I am often up at 3 am anxious and panicking over nothing and trying to talk myself back from the brink of a panic attack.  All of this has led me to a place I rarely visit, depression.  It is hard to watch something like OCD and anxiety that helped you manage your life, take it over.  Hard to struggle every day in my own head, trading off and reorganizing every detail of my day, and knowing that I am losing out on what I want most, time with the kids and Ryan, because my head says vacuum or do laundry or work.  I am going to see what I can do about this, to quiet this inside my head, to find a place where it is OK to let something go, we will see if I can manage.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I have made it to Day 3 :)

Well, I have made it to Day 3 and I have to say, it has not been that easy.  Day 1 was OK, made it through the day with ease until dinner time rolled around.  By then I was getting hungry, like seriously hungry, and decided to make a tomato based juice thinking it would be heartier. I was so wrong.  It was like bitter tomato water and was awful and made me want to cry, but I drank one cup since I had made it, and then rewarded myself by juicing some watermelon and drinking it over ice, that was super yummy.

Yesterday I had a good start, had a fruit juice for breakfast (apples, carrots, berries, clementines) and a good hearty green juice for lunch.  By dinner, again, I was starving but Ryan was taking Gray to a cub scout thing and promised to bring me a smoothie (no yogurt, no sugar) which I was so excited about since it included the whole fruit which meant it would be more filling, so I held off on making any juice.  They ran late and I was actually in tears when I though the place would be closed, but it wasn't, and I got my smoothie and it was delicious!

Today I have had my tea and I am drinking some straight watermelon juice for breakfast.  I am going to have a salad for lunch (organic greens, carrots, jicama, cucumber and avocado) which I am looking forward to since I want to chew something, and with that I will have a green juice (just one cup, not two like I usually have) and then dinner tonight will be juice based again.  Tomorrow will be the same routine as today.

I am happy with my progress and comfortable with adapting things as needed.  For me, all juice all the time doesn't work so I am adding the salad a day early.  I don't drink enough juice, only about 32 ozs max, so I feel like I need more to keep going and not crash. I also want to be able to chew food, so the addition of the salad will help.  Thankfully, I have come to the point where I am adding stuff back in slowly and will only do straight juice days a few times a week moving forward.

This has been a good journey thus far.  I am down about 7 lbs in the two days, but a lot is probably water weight, we will have to see.  My plan is to switch to a long range eating plan, so the initial weight loss is nice, but just a bonus.

I also have not been extra crabby...big bonus for my family!

Monday, May 7, 2012

God help my family

So I decided that once PT school was over, it was time to attack my lifestyle and make room for exercise, stress relief and better food choices.  We already make a lot of good choices in what we buy, such as organic, local, hormone free, etc, but I want to go a few steps further for myself.  I bought a juicer awhile back and have been experimenting since I planned to do a short juice fast before introducing all the changes.  The juice fast will help reset my body, get rid of toxins and eliminate cravings that can destroy a new diet plan, so that is what I am doing.  I am starting the juice fast today, that means that from today through Wednesday I will only drink juices that I make here at home with good, healthy produce.  I will also have a few cups of green tea a day since it is good for balancing the body, and of course I will be drinking plenty of water.  On Thursday I will introduce some solids in the form of a salad once a day, basically good greens like spinach, cucumber, jicama, avocado and a light dressing made with honey, mustard, olive oil and vinegar.  I will also eat this this Friday and Saturday.  Now come Sunday, which is Mother's Day, I will juice in the morning and at night, but will say screw it around midday since we are going to Maggianos :)  I will try, try, try to eat responsibly, but Mother's Day and my birthday in June are the two "pass" days I gave myself, so I am going to enjoy them!

After Mother's Day, I will do the same schedule that I am doing this week, except next Sunday instead of eating at Maggianos, I will be adding fish to go alongside my salad at dinner along with a good whole grain such as barley, wheatberries or quinoa.

After the two weeks, we will see how it is going.  I anticipate trying to have juice only days two days a week, juice and salad days two days a week and juice and healthy lean protein, healthy carbs and salads three days a week.  Wish me luck, better yet, wish my family luck...notice there is NO coffee on that list!  I will have some on Mother's Day and may allow it on two other days a week after this week, but I am not so sure yet.  Hopefully I can do this for at least the next month, then I will begin to add more food days and less straight juice days to the schedule.  This will be a challenge, I need to make food all day long for my family, but I think I will like how it makes me feel and I am up for the challenge.