Thursday, September 15, 2011

Come Away with Me

I can't make this stuff up.

I know I complain a lot - it's part of my personality that I am trying to change and staying positive is really a challenge for me. Especially now, with everything that is going on - well, you know. So I tell you this today not because I am complaining or because I want some sort of sympathy, it's really because it is just so tragically funny that I have to tell someone, because I don't believe it myself. This is truly, pretty much a "typical" day for me lately.

Yesterday I wrote a post on the subject of clean eating and my immediate struggles with the 30 day challenge. But what I didn't tell you were the small details and obstacles I had to overcome in order to maintain a positive attitude and stay on track, just in the time span of yesterday afternoon. And trust me, I did vent, and whine, and moan and groan to 1 person, only because I couldn't contain myself and I know that she will still love me today when it is all just passing trouble. (you know who you are, and thank you, I love you!)

Yesterday, on the whole, wasn't too bad. I spent the better part of the day at a friend's house with little Port; a weekly thing she and I and one other stay at home mom have started doing in an effort to have a "work" day for us where we can get something done, still have a friend to talk to if we need it, and have a place for the wee ones to play where they will be, for the most part, out of our collective hair. ;) So far, it is working out great, and I look forward to going each week. So that part went well, and we all filed out of her house right in time to go pick up our school aged kids from school.  Port and I headed to Kiddo's school, and arrived about 8 minutes before the dismissal bell. We had to sit in line on the main road (the whole pick up procedure saga is a post for another time, but let's just say, it was not ideal), but I was hoping the wait wouldn't be too long. After about 15 minutes, the line began to move and we all eased our cars closer to the school, inch by inch.

I have found there are 3 types of drivers in traffic like this. The Few - drivers that remain a safe distance from the car in front of them and maintain pretty good focus and attention when inching their car along the way. The Annoying - those that stay 20 feet back from the car in front of them, don't pay attention when the line moves forward because they are busy fixing makeup, digging in their purse, turned around swatting at the child behind them or playing Bejeweled on their phone (which isn't supposed to be in use in the school zone anyway...). And the Impatient - those that inch their car up, literally, by the inch, and they are so close to the back of my car they practically could see my Bejeweled score on my uh, they could reach out and touch my car. The Impatient has somewhere very important to be that is not where they are, and they should have been there an hour ago, so God forbid anyone get in their way because given the chance, they will Run. You. Over.

I had an Impatient behind me in the pick up line. And even though I tried to stay a close but safe distance behind the car in front of me, and I made sure to move up at any and every opportunity, the Impatient didn't think I was going fast enough and 2 minutes after the line began to move...

She rear-ended me.

Oh yes she did.

Thankfully, she basically just tapped the luggage rack we have in the tow hitch on the back of the car, so no damage was done. But the Impatient didn't know it was there because she was trying to EAT my back bumper. So of course we had to park our cars, get out, smile apologetically at each other, inspect the damage, laugh, mumble something of concern like "are you alright?" and then back away from each other and hastily retreat to our vehicles before the line moved up enough that someone could cut in front of us.  Good times.

Two minutes after that, the a/c compressor on my car began to cut in and out rapidly, and the car started to over heat.

Day number 86 (85? 423? I've lost count) of over 100 degree temps in Austin and the time was up on my a/c usage. It was a hot ride home. Top it off with Port screaming the WHOLE way because we only picked up one boy at school. He wanted to pick up 2 boys (Kiddo and his buddy). His whole world was ending and we all got to listen to it. Can someone say tired??

Ah home, the place where you can get away from the craziness and relax with your loved ones... NOT.

We get home and soon after I discover that the soap door on the dishwasher somehow got stuck and the soap packet I had put in it didn't dissolve, leaving my dishes completely filthy. So instead of cleaning the horribly messy kitchen in preparation for the evening's dinner, I had to rerun the previous night's dish load (and try not to look at the kitchen mess that was driving me bonkers). Also, the load of laundry I had run the day before sat too long and mildewed, so I had to run it again. We had a friend over for the boys to play with and about 10 minutes in, they were running around and somehow hit the pull chain on the ceiling fan in Kiddo's room, sending it shooting up into the fan blades, ripping off the tire at the end of the chain, shooting it across the room and under the bed, and then tangling up the chain so tightly around the stem of the fan that it pulled the lights to the off position and I could NOT get it untangled. While I was trying to get it unwound from the fan, Port pulled a cup of water off a top book shelf (why was it even in the room???) and poured it all over himself and all the toys all over the floor. This dousing led to him screaming at the top of his lungs and my last frazzled nerve spontaneously combusted.

Five minutes after that, Kiddo set a chair on top of a rock he found at school (and had left on my living room floor) and then drug the chair across the floor, cutting a nice, squiggly groove in the hard wood.  At that point, I was ready to throw in the towel. I sat down to settle my head (and vent to the above mentioned friend) and I got a nose bleed. Joy.

Like I said, I just can't make this stuff up. Writing it all out feels silly - but it's just so dang funny. I felt like Niles in that crazy scene on Fraiser (I know, I am dating myself here) - remember it? The one where he tries to iron his pants, cuts his finger and ends up starting a fire?  I've shared the clip on here before, but it was a few years ago. Well, here, enjoy a thankfully much faster paced snippet from my life these days (only without the fancy apartment and snooty friends...)

D :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All At Once

"They say women, we're the stronger. Somehow we always make it through. 
Well, that ain't what I feel right now. I don't even think it's true." a couple of days...whatever. lol Sorry to leave you hanging. I somehow lost yesterday in a sea of frustration and whiny children. Such is life. ;)

So anyway, my wonderful friend and gorgeous face behind Body By Dottie, set up a challenge on Facebook to eat clean for 30 days. The challenge started on September 6th, so we are only a little more than a week in. The first day didn't go so well for me because the day before we were dealing with this.

Yes, that would be a Central Texas wildfire less than a mile from my house leading to a mandatory evacuation. We had about 30 minutes to gather up the things that we just couldn't leave behind, cram them in our 1 working car, and drive...anywhere. 

Stressful? Yes. Scary? Yes. {excuse me while I toss this clump of hair in the trash}

So yeah, that was fun. Thankfully we were able to come back to our smokey house with no electricity later that night, but the next morning we almost had to evacuate a second time when there was a flare up in the same location. 

Needless to say, I was not concerned with what I was eating on the first day of the 30 day challenge. 

The second day I did much better though. When I decided to do this, it was mainly in support of my friend, and also to cheer on other friends who were trying it out for the first time. I really believe in clean eating - and while the "program" that is used in the book for weight loss is not something I really need right now, I know that it always helps to bring awareness back to what I eat, and I always eat healthier when I make time to pay attention and plan it out a little. 

So my plan really was not a plan, just a vow to "do better" which, given my current circumstances, is quite an accomplishment.  My first step was to try to limit my refined sugar intake or, at best, take it out all together. My afternoon soda habit was getting out of hand again, and so the sodas had to go. I thought, while I was at it, I would eliminate bread and yeast too, but I realized that I actually don't consume much of that anyway. 

I made myself eat breakfast (I am normally not hungry for several hours after I wake up); two eggs with some homemade garden veggie salsa. For lunch I had my usual big salad ("it's like a salad, only bigger"), a snack of turkey and cheese when the boy got home from school, and then a normal, clean dinner. I was pretty hungry all day but I figured it was because of the lack of sugar. Day 2 went about the same, and with the same intense hunger and some shakiness. I realized that by cutting out sugar and bread/yeast, I wasn't really eating enough calories. And I don't need to lose any more weight! So on the evening of the second day I made a loaf of homemade honey oat whole wheat bread and some coconut butter. The bread, coconut butter and a drizzle of honey along side my eggs in the morning makes all the difference! No more hunger (though I am not opposed to a little throughout the day) no more shakiness and lots of satisfaction. 

I shot a wedding on Saturday and so the clean eating pretty much went out the window that day. But that is ok; the great thing about it is that it's super easy to get back on track when you are ready. And on high stress days, it's nice to treat myself to something comforting, knowing it's not going to be hard to overcome. I hope in the coming weeks I will be more disciplined, and can experience better skin and more energy in the process. I will keep you posted. :)
D :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tonight, Tonight

"I don't know if I'll make it, but watch how good I'll fake it."

As you know, if you are a friend, family member or reader of this blog, things have been a little stressful for my family lately. And I, as usual, have been feeling it, and living it, and freaking out about it, and worst of all, trying to ignore it.  And the thing about extreme stress is that when you ignore it or deny it or try to pretend it's not there instead of DEALING with it in a healthy way, it starts to mess with your body.  And boy, is it a devil if you let it be.

So, I have been internalizing my stress. I've been putting on a happy face and pretending to be positive instead of being genuinely positive (not on purpose; I am still trying to get the hang of REAL positivity - fake it till you make it, anyone?) and for the past 9 months or so my body has taken the beating.

It started out with weight loss. And before you all start hating on me, I wasn't NOT eating or anything - on the contrary, I was and always have eaten more than my fair share. But for some reason I was dropping weight. And for a while I worried about that too, thinking something might be wrong with me. But I think now that it was the combination of being 3 years away from my last pregnancy and all of the stress I wasn't dealing with. When Kiddo turned 3, I dropped a lot of weight too (I guess 3 years is just the magic amount of time for my body to recover) though back then I was helping it some by changing my diet and eating healthier.

Then, in the past few months, my skin has been messed up. I feel like a teenager again, dealing with all that mess. I haven't felt like I was in my own skin in quite a while.

And in the last 2 months, at the height of the stress, my hair has started falling out. Ladies who have had babies, you know how when you get pregnant your hair gets all thick and gorgeous, and then when you have the baby it starts falling out by the handful? Yeah, it was like that, only worse. And I don't have a lot of hair to begin with, so it was even more disturbing.

Then, the bonus problem of them all - for about 3 weeks now I have been having heart palpitations. It gets better for a day or two and then something comes up that is stressful (ex: my grandmother's passing) and it picks back up again. So some days I am fine and some days I spend all day feeling my heart do little hiccups. When it does it all day it is exhausting physically, so I have spent a lot of time being tired.

So, something needs to change; I am a hairless, zitty mess (no, not really, but it feels like it!). I am working on the mental aspects of dealing with the stress; taking time for myself, talking to trusted friends, eating better, drinking a lot... ok maybe not the last one.  But I am trying to break the cycle, get used to our new "normal" and "let go and let God", as they say.  I think I am getting better, but it's really going to take some time.

All that is to say that - through the past 3-5 years one of my goals and what I feel is a great accomplishment, was changing our diets to healthier eating.  Now, my idea of healthy and other's ideas of healthy are often 2 totally different things, but overall my goal was to get us back to eating REAL food with real ingredients.  I stay away from convenience foods, prepackaged foods and most anything with ingredients I can't pronounce. In the last year or so I have tried to move away from high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. (I made brownies the other night to satisfy a craving, and in my laziness I used a boxed cake mix - BLECH! It was so gross - I can't even stand to eat the fake stuff anymore. I can taste it like it's poison!)

So we eat pretty clean around here, but when my friend, Dottie, created a 30 day Eat Clean Challenge to start on September 6th, on Facebook, I thought it would be a good way to get me back on track, and hopefully give my hair, skin and energy levels a kick in the pants.  If you are not familiar with Clean Eating, it *basically* involves eating how I try to do anyway - with no artificial ingredients or additives, but it also encourages little to no sugar and no refined ingredients (like white flour) as well. I think it's a great program, and so I signed up to do the challenge, even though I am doing sort of a modified version.

And tomorrow I will tell you all about it!

D :)

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