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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Solitude

Yeah...so I'm back on FaceBook. I reconnected with an old high school friend via FB a few months ago and it turns out she has a son 2 1/2 weeks older than my daughter. She also got married three months after I did in 1997. Anyway, she was the only FB friend I had who actually kept my email address and dropped me a line directly after I left FB. We decided since we now live within 25 miles of each other that we really needed to get together, which we did. Then she called me to tell me that there were old high school pics of me posted on FB and she would try to forward them to me since I'm not on FB anymore. So I caved out of curiosity and I logged back in to FB after about 6-8 weeks of swearing off of it. So far, though, self-discipline has been fairly good. I had to post some old pics myself. Something about a 20 year high school reunion in a few weeks. I'm not going, btw. But I've had such a great time laughing about the good ol' days with my old friend. We've actually gotten together twice now, and the kids have had fun playing while we talk about things of 20 years ago.

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I'm enjoying the 15 pounds lost, but getting desperate for the next 12. I was recently down 17 pounds just long enough to get really really excited, and then those two last pounds came back way too fast. *sigh* Still haven't resolved all my metabolic issues, heading to the doc to plead for some Cytomel next. Apparently I messed myself up a bit roofing and gardening and mowing in the heat over the past few weeks. Nutrionist says my electrolytes are way off right now and also finally decided that since my liver is not straightening up enough with any of our approaches, I should see if my doc will agree to adding the Cytomel. We'll see. Meanwhile, since working outside in the heat last weekend, I've become as bloated as a beached whale; I'm miserable. We'll see if the coconut water my nutritionist recommended to replace electrolytes will soon have me peeing a river. He said if we can get my liver happy and get me balanced, my goal of losing those last pounds can really become a reality. I've been at a near standstill the past two months and discouragement is setting in.

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Life is good right now. I'm enjoying a calm that's been too long in coming. Summer has been good. Enjoying the lazy, free flowing days with the kids has been great. I'm enjoying the kids, period. All the hype of back-to-school is bringing me down. I'm not ready. We're still enjoying the pool and water fights with the garden hose, getting together for play dates with friends, staying up late and sleeping in, and lots more.

Tonight I came home from work and was greeted by my daughter running into my arms and squealing that she loves me. Minutes later my son ran up the stairs yelling, "Mommy???!!!" before landing on me with a big hug of his own. It had only been five hours since I saw them last. They are great kids. As I grabbed my late night snack that takes the place of dinner when I work late, I mentioned to Dear Son that there was an avocado on the counter we were going to have to eat tomorrow. He insisted he wanted it now. "Do you want slices or guacamole?" I asked. "Guacamole" he answered. Of course. He wasted no time getting the lime juice out of the fridge and set it on the counter where I was working with a "Here!" The kid loves guacamole so much that he even knows how to make it. I handed the bowl to him when it was ready along with some chips to dip, and his face disappeared into the bowl for awhile. I listened to his crunching and munching while he downed the entire bowl of guacamole by himself. He turned around when he was done and flashed me a double-dimple grin when he realized I was watching him. There's just something about his yellow curly head that makes it hard for me to resist squeezing him and kissing him.

Daughter was in her room cleaning up and making her bed to please me.

There was no fighting between them tonight. It was blissful. I dared to hope that we've turned a corner. In the next breath I gently cautioned myself not to get my hopes up.

Even the June Beetles are gone now. No more dive bombing 747's until next summer.

Yes, Life is good now. I can just about manage everything and even have time to breathe some evenings. Can't I just freeze frame and live right in this place forever?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Snippets From Our Life

If you were a FaceBook friend of mine, I hope you realize I didn't delete you (or technically your friendship either). I deleted myself. I developed a love-hate relationship over the past year and a half with FaceBook that turned to primarily hate the last six to eight months. Launching a FaceBook page was just a bit beyond my comfort zone in the first place. I'm a private person. I'm not one of those people who feels compelled to tell the entire world publicly what I ate for lunch or what random thought is running through my head at every moment. There were times I would go days and sometimes weeks without logging on, but then when I checked in I felt compelled to catch up and see what everyone else ate for lunch or randomly thought at every moment for the previous two weeks. I'm seriously OCD like that. Before I knew it I would lose ninety minutes with nothing to show for it...except knowing what all my friends ate for lunch over the past two weeks.

There were other periods of time that I couldn't muster the self-discipline not to check in every day. I do a lot of work on the computer. My counseling practice is all electronic except for the part about face to face sessions. What people don't realize is that there is a lot more to be done for each of those fifty minute hours than just the fifty minutes of chat time. My client intakes, insurance info, treatment notes, treatment plans, and billing records are done and kept electronically. My calendar is managed electronically. Sometimes (most all the time) when I flip open my laptop it's because I need to be doing the electronic work that goes along with each of those fifty minute hours. I've never been much of a procrastinator until the past year when I found myself doing everything possible electronically EXCEPT the work I needed to do. I couldn't quite resist clicking that link to FaceBook and reading about everyone's lunch, or checking all of my email accounts to see if there was anything new I needed to know, or perusing Craigslist for bargains, ...checking the weather...reading the handful of blogs I still follow...shopping via Internet.... I was highly distracted and something had to give; it was FaceBook. I told myself I would drop it for a week or two and if I ever still had enough down time to browse everyone's lunch menu I would re-instate it. Two weeks passed, then three, four...and I lost count. Whenever I thought about FaceBook, something else came up quickly enough that I never go to it. FaceBook became what it was supposed to be for me in the first place: not a priority among things that were much greater priorities. So please don't take it personally if you were on my friends list. As I said, I didn't drop "you," I dropped FaceBook. If you were a FaceBook friend, feel free email me directly instead; I'm still highly distracted by that.

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Yesterday I spoke to the editor of a local paper in which I advertise my counseling practice. We were discussing the renewal of my ad. They've published my articles a couple times in the past year as well. The most recent one was directly solicited of me by the chief editor to whom I was speaking yesterday. He had asked me last spring if I would write an article for them focusing on why, during these challenging times in our country, do some people lose it and shoot themselves, shoot their families, shoot their neighborhoods, or do other crazy random things while others maintain their sense of "okayness" and well being. He gave me up to 250 words to write this article. You know by now that I am long winded. If I had been given a two page spread, I could have cranked this article out easily in an hour or two. Writing what was requested from me in 250 words took me nearly the entire weekend.

Yesterday the editor referenced that article, and informed me that he appreciated that he didn't have to do any editing on it; he just cut and pasted it right in. He said he could tell I had writing experience because of this and because I got a great point across in very few words. He said that good writers can do that and that I did it well. That made my day.

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I had a flashback tonight that was contained within a flashforward. As I cleaned up the dishes from the evening meal, I saw my four and a half year old boy-child outside the kitchen window. He was half galloping half running exuberantly out to the chicken-coop-in-progress to hang with his daddy. I watched his yellow curls bounce with excitement as he ran, and I had a flashforward about 14 years in the future to a time when my boy-child doesn't half gallop half run anymore. I saw myself 14 years in the future standing at the same kitchen window and watching my nearly grown boy walking across the yard while having a flashback of today when he was still my four and a half year old boy-child half running half galloping across the yard to see his daddy.

My heart hurt a bit, and I had to resist running after him to sweep him up in my arms and smothering him in kisses while I still can.

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I took my almost seven year old girl-child shopping today for some new clothes. She is literally busting out of all her clothes, and it's killing me. We bought some size 8's some size 10's. TEN! She is just about to turn seven and she is beginning to wear some size TEN clothing.

She ran around to racks of clothing that looked very teenager-ish. The styles were made in her size, and many were inappropriate for teens or women of any age, let alone for a six year old. She grabbed various things telling me she liked this and like that while I was choosing some other pieces for her. She protested a bit to some of my choices and argued with me that some shorts I said were too short were not too short as far as she is concerned. "You are still SIX years old!" I exclaimed as a sales associate passed by. She smirked over her shoulder good naturedly towards me and said something to the effect of how she seemed a bit young to be getting into clothing arguments with me already. I only paused a moment in my mind to realize the dread I already feel about parenting my girl-child through the teenage years to come.

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My metabolism is still sluggish. My thyroid is getting better, though. Actually, my nutrition consultant said my thyroid is doing quite well now, but my liver is still suffering, and that is what is bringing my thyroid down. I've hit a wall with the weight loss after reaching a 17 pound loss a week ago. I bounced up four pounds in a few days and then down two again. I haven't lost anything significant in two moths. I'm discouraged except that I took measurements today. While I haven't lost any notable pounds in the last two months, I've lost another inch from the waist and inch and a half from the hips and inch from the thighs. My nutrition consultant said my body would change shape as I follow what he is teaching me and that it may not result in pounds lost, but will result in a mass change. While I'm excited to have lost a total of 3 1/2 inches from my hips, 3 inches from my waist, and 2 inches from my thighs since March, I can only lay real claim to a loss of 14-16 pounds depending on the day. Oddly, it hasn't been enough to drop me a full size in most of my clothing. Close, but not quite. Instead, I am at that annoying between sizes point where one is too big and the next smaller one is too small. I am still determined to lose that last ten pounds that will certainly bring me comfortably into the next lower size, but I am having my moments of frustration when day after day and week after week the scale doesn't budge. Despite my efforts. I hate this metabolic nightmare my body is in!

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Last night I got home from work "early" at 8:30 pm. I was opening the window in the master bathroom and saw some deer in the distance by our bonfire pit. It was a momma with her two babies. I had just been thinking recently that we hadn't seen any deer in our backyard for awhile. The kids creeped outside with me to peek at them in the dusk and the husband attempted to take pictures of them with his new camera until the flash scared them away. Apparently he didn't get one good enough to download anyway.

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We enjoyed a true RedNeck Fourth of July last weekend. We bought fireworks from a local tent, set up the fire pit and lawn chairs in the driveway to roast weenies and marshmallows for s'mores, and enjoyed our own fireworks show as well as those of the neighbors a few miles in the distance on either side of us.


























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The afore mentioned chicken-coop-in-progress is still in progress. Dear Husband has been working hard on it while I manage pretty much everything else around the house and mowing the lawn. Last Friday he took a day off from work to start the roof. I took the kids to the pool for the afternoon and when we got home Dear Husband was beat. The underlayment was finished on the roof, but it was naked and there were chances of rain. I climbed up and laid the tar paper before it got dark and laid and nailed the shingles the next morning while Husband handed them up to me and trimmed them as necessary. It rained on us for about half of the time. I've done roofing before, but this was the first time I did it in the rain.

Our closest neighbor wandered over with his son late Friday night while I was pounding the tar paper in place. "You do ROOFS, too?!" He exclaimed. I giggled as I thought about the time he came over and I was busy chopping wood with the chainsaw, and his wife's response about me being the one who mows our five acre yard.

Despite the fact that I had been rained on and tortured by giant flying June Beetles all day while up on that roof, Dear Husband apparently still felt compelled to try out his new camera while I was on the roof.

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And finally, I leave you with some images of life as we know it at our house. Don't look too close at Dear Son's shirt or you will see lots of little finger tip sized stains. Apparently he had a few allergies bothering him that day. He has this disgusting habit of wrapping his shirt around his finger and sticking it up his nose rather than using a Kleenex. Yeah...nice, huh?


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Turning Corners

The dust is settling! Well, as much as dust ever settles for me, I guess.

The dog days gave reprieve this week to some beautiful 80-85 degree days. Not much reprieve from the kamikaze bugs, however. We are filling three "beetle bags" a day full of those wicked wicked Japanese Beetles. The bags won't catch the ones that are four times larger, though. Nothing catches them; they are practically indestructible. These critters threaten to ruin six precious weeks out of every summer for me. That's about the span of their God-forsaken lives. I know I'm dramatic, but so are the critters zooming about in droves across our five acres. Disgusting!

I've never been a big fan of summer time. I know that sounds odd to a lot of people, but I'm not a hot weather person, never have been a big fan of swimming or other summer sports, and I've already made my point on the bugs. Last week a client informed me that she saw a Black Widow spider on the doorstep of my office. This week the same client came in with one of those giant green June Beetles riding on her shirt. She must have it out for me.

Despite not being a big fan of summer, I am really enjoying it this year. I am loving the long lazy days with the kids. I have been really really busy with work, but I have been determined that I will play harder than I work. I've been robbed for too long of my time and energy and emotional and physical resources with the inane ordeal I've described here in bits and pieces over the past couple years. I've put it behind me now, and I've found a good groove with the work of managing my own private counseling practice. Now I am putting my attention towards living up the summer with the kids when I'm not at work. The pressure of homeschooling is temporarily lifted, although we continue to read, read, read (because we love it), and are doing a unit on oceans followed by a unit on Oregon in preparation for our nine day stay in Yachats, Oregon in October. Dear Daughter is so excited to have the ocean in her backyard for the week. The kids will get to meet their only cousins for the first time and enjoy seeing their Grandpa and Grandma M.

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Dear Son has decided he likes swimming pools after all. Last week I took the kids to the community pool and they both played in the water for three hours and still begged to stay longer. We've also gone to the downtown water fountains to play, to the library lots of times (completed the summer reading program already), to friends' houses to swim in their backyard pools and play on their water slides. We've had water fights in the backyard, played on the slip and slide, and gone to the movies on hot summer evenings.

Earlier this week I took the kids to do some errands and just meander wherever we felt like meandering around town for the day. As we drove along in the family-mobile, I looked in the rearview mirror at the two sweet little heads bouncing along in the second row seats, and I felt my heart swell. I told them that I love being able to just "goof off" with them some days. Dear Son's impish little four-year-old face erupted in all dimples as he grinned, and his yellow curls wiggled as he giggled. He shot a grin across the row to his big sister, who was also grinning and giggling. "What's 'goof off'?" Dear Son inquired with delight because he apparently thought "goofing off" sounded like great fun. It was all I could do not to pull over and wrap my arms around him and kiss his chubby little cheeks.

"Goofing off means having great fun doing whatever you feel like doing!" I informed him, and we proceeded to do exactly that for the day.

Yes, the dust has settled. I have the distinct feeling that it's not just the dust from the past several weeks, but also dust from the past couple years. I'm breathing, relaxing, enjoying peace and calm, and finding my space again. In this space there is room to really notice and appreciate my children--to push all potential distractions aside for pieces of time and just notice them, invest in them, and thoroughly enjoy them.

My girl child is so big now that I can no longer pick her up. She is already disappearing into her bedroom with the door closed to listen to music and read books. She's not quite seven. This isn't supposed to happen until she's 11, I thought.

I can still pick up my boy child, but he is over 40 pounds now, and all legs. There isn't much time left for holding him like this, and it breaks my heart. He loves to mow the lawn with me every Saturday, and I envision 1o years into the future, his yellow curls blowing in the breeze as I turn the mowing completely over to him and he speeds along on the mower all by himself.

When they were each babies, and then toddlers, I wanted it to last forever and felt my heart ache at the thought of them growing into "big kids." While I cherished those years, I'm finding a different joy in getting to do more activities with them now that they are older. We can now spend an entire day "goofing off" around town with no concern of when and where we can change a diaper, have a bottle, find a potty chair, take a nap, or have a screaming tantrum. We can just go wherever the day takes. us. Dear Daughter still has this thing about "I have to go potty" at the most inconvenient times, but she is also now old enough that I can let her go to public restrooms by herself so long as I can watch her go in and come out the door. in fact, I had a moment of great satisfaction and liberation when we went grocery shopping this week.

In the check out lane at the Stuff Mart, my cart was full, and Dear Daughter said, "I need to go potty." Of course you do; it's the most in-opportune time possible. Dear Son piped up, "I need to go potty, too!" Dear Son is quite opposite of his big sister. I have to require him to go potty sometimes because he doesn't seem to notice or care about going until he has to go so bad that the pressure makes it impossible to aim, and it sounds like he is going to pee a hole right into the back the toilet. In short, when Dear Son admits he needs to go, it's serious and there isn't much time to think about it.

I chose a check-out lane where I had a clear visual shot of the women's rest room, and I asked Dear Daughter to take her little brother with her and stand outside the stall door while he goes potty and then have him stand outside the stall door while she goes potty, and then wash their hands and come back to me in the check-out line. I scrutinized every person who entered or exited the restroom until they returned to me, grinning and carefree. It was a freeing moment in which I found great liberation in their growing independence.

I thought to myself how some people barely reach this point with their kids and they bring another baby into the picture. I am quite satisfied to have just two. I can love and squeeze two at the same time. I feel good that attention divided between two is still a generous amount of attention. I can go grocery shopping without having to leave them with a babysitter. I am sure those with more than two are satisfied in their own ways with their beloved brood, and I don't fault them that. It's just not for me. I'm not wired with that kind of patience and tolerance. My heart is overflowing with what I already have, and what I have is enough.

I realized this week that once again we have turned a corner, and Life is good.