Looking for Patience and Grace

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I’m constantly reminding myself to chill out. I’m always noticing a pan that didn’t get washed well enough, or seeing that J’s third shirt (of the morning) is dirty, or remembering something I forgot to do, or… you get the point. I immediately want to freak out at these things. My life is full of messes I can’t clean up and accidents I can’t prevent. O ye of little patience, I am your leader.

Being a parent, a wife, a human, is a lesson in patience for me. Being a teacher for six years was as well. I’m all about some deep breathing, counting to ten, and clasping my hands very tightly in my lap. Patience is the biggest thing for which I’m constantly asking God. Sure, I say it different ways: “Help me get through this traffic without succumbing to my Atlanta-bred road rage!” or “Help me not to yell at EK for spilling the sunflower seeds all over the floor because I know she didn’t mean to.” I come by it honestly; I can be high-strung and short-tempered (just like my parents – sorry, Mom and Dad). Hubby is a saint for putting up with me. But I don’t want my kids to grow up afraid of me because I lurch quickly into frustration. I don’t want them to have memories of me flying off the handle over small stuff. But how exactly do I extend the patience and grace that have been extended to me?

Hubby is a wonderful example for me in patience.  When I said he’s a saint, I was serious. He is able to absorb my craziness and let it go. He shows me endless support, patience and grace for my quick temper and my OCD nature. I see his patience with the kids and with me, and I know I can try harder to give others (okay fine, my kids) a little more grace.

I don’t have it perfected yet by any means, but I start by repairing my thought life. Toxic thoughts just multiply unless I change them. Changing the way I think changes the way I react. Changing the way I react changes how I feel. Often, if I have no patience in a situation, I notice it immediately, and then I get angry with myself for having no patience! It’s a vicious cycle if left alone. However, if I can wait, change the way I’m thinking – extend a little grace and a little patience – it makes all the difference in the world. When I feel like I have no patience or grace to give, I sit back for a moment, and draw from the boundless stores we’re blessed with every moment of every day.

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Run. Go on, do it!

(This post is a continuation of Run Away.)

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Two and a half years ago, I couldn’t run a mile. I had had EK four months prior, and wasn’t in shape at all. At the beginning of that Stroller Strength Challenge, I could do almost no push ups, only a few sit ups, and walked most of my mile. At the end, I ran the mile (yay!) and almost tripled my number of sit ups and push ups. Yes, I worked my butt off. I worked out in some way almost every single day, I cleaned up my eating BIG time (including two bursts of completely clean eating) and got Hubby on board with my eating/working out habits. (Side note: He has always been healthier than me, an athlete, and a guy who likes working out. When I say I got him on board, it mostly meant we did it together.) What made it even easier and more fun was my tribe of Stroller Strength gals. To know you’re encouraged by women in the same boat as you makes it so much better!

Obviously, there is a season for everything. That was a time for me to find my “ground zero” where I felt like I was super healthy. I wasn’t looking to achieve a certain number (size, weight or otherwise). I was looking to feel great, and to start being able to set a healthy example for my family. I feel like I reached that goal.

That being said, I’ve got a new goal. I’ve discovered that I love running. I know… late in the game, you might say. However, it’s a stress release, it’s a fun time with other people if you find good running partners, it’s a great way to get outside, and it’s fun for me to run to the nearest playground, let my kids play for a while, and run home! Everybody gets what they want, right? My goal for this challenge is to complete a 10k that I’m running in October (The Ardmore RAH – check it out!) and I am struggling in this hot weather to get there. I’ve been running between two and three miles at a time for the past month. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut… maybe it’s a “three mile hump” thing and once you get over three miles, the rest comes easier? Probably not, but I’m trying. With my kids schedules, it’s difficult for me to get them up, fed, and in the stroller before it’s hot as hell outside. Therefore, I’m so hot by the time I’ve done mile two that I can’t think about anything but AC and a bathroom break. Mile three is simply getting home from wherever I am at mile two.

I’m at least thankful that my kids love it. They love our stroller (BOB Revolution Duallie), they love being outside, and I always pack snacks and sippies to get us through the trip. Often, we can run to someone’s house to say hi, or to the playground, or even run to a farther location- like the grocery store – and let Hubby come pick us up (yes, it’s happened more than once). And every once in a while, when I go on a run without the stroller full of heavy kids, I feel such immense freedom and lightheartedness (light-everything-ness) that I think I could run that 10k right then.

Let’s just say I’ll be excited for a weather change – and not only because of my running… but because it’s my favorite time of year. Scarves and boots and running without crying, here I come!

I Had a Meltdown

The other day, Hubby and I needed to run some errands. EK had been sick, so we hadn’t left the house very much, and if we had, she hadn’t gone with us. We needed a nice family outing to make us feel like we weren’t such homebodies.

We went out to lunch, and headed to Target. When we got there, EK was asleep (her schedule was totally thrown off while she was sick, and we haven’t straightened it out yet) so I ran in and left Hubby in the car with the kids. I wasn’t THAT long, but when I got back in, she was awake – aka not a long enough nap.

Next we hit Babies R Us (right across the street). I only needed one item, so I just ran in, grabbed it, (paid for it, obviously) and ran out. Super short. When I got outside, Hubby said J had been crying, so he didn’t want to get them out of their seats, so he was standing at J’s door entertaining him. When we got back in the car and started moving, he was alright.

At Lowe’s, Hubby ran in to get one thing. I could tell they were getting restless, but I thought we were done, so I just turned up the radio and tried to entertain them by singing along. It kinda worked.

Hubby got back and headed to the music store. I should have know to just get the kids out, but he said he just needed one quick thing (I also should’ve known that there’s no such thing as “one quick thing” at a music store). The longer we sat (with the AC on, of course) the worse it got. J was really sick of being in his seat, and every time he cried, EK cried. That phenomenon is BRUTAL and pointless. What is she trying to accomplish by crying when he cries, anyway? I know him crying and not being able to stop it is annoying. You don’t have to tell me. But when you start, also? That’s just ridiculous. Keep it together, girl.

But she didn’t keep it together. And neither did J. So I got out, got the kids out, and walked in the store. Of course, Hubby is just strolling, looking at something or other. He sees us, and goes to the register, where he’s already down everything he was going to buy. COME ON DAD! We are tired and hot and need a change of location from Mom’s TINY CAMRY. Let’s go.

Once I start putting J in his seat, he’s done for. He knows it’s time for him to eat and nap and he is pissed. Like I said, I should’ve known better. He wails all the way home. EK has finally decided that adding to the noise isn’t worth it, and she’s staring out the window trying to forget her life, teenager style. (I’m in trouble later, right?) Finally we get home. Once J is out of his carseat and EK is walking in the house, it’s like there were never any problems. I can’t even explain how weird that is to me. I wanted to be in the house, but even when I got in, I considered bursting into tears because I was so relieved and tired and frustrated and hot and wishing I could blame my crazy on hormones – I’m 8 months post-partum… does it still count?

Being in the car with two crying kiddos is my hell. Seriously. If anyone wants to make me miserable, that’s the way. Knowing there’s nothing you can do to help said kiddos is just the icing on the cake.

Have you ever had the moment where you’re at the tipping point? Wishing you could just call it and teleport to the beach, or a remote cabin in the woods? How do you cope in the moment?

Run Away.

Friends, this might be a long one. I’m going to tell you all about my fitness journey for the past couple of years. I’ll give you cliff notes today, and details in several posts coming up.

I haven’t really ever been someone who works out. I ran cross country in middle school, I played volleyball in high school, and I played beer pong and flip cup in college. (Can I get witness? Roommates? Hubby?) My journey to living a little more healthily started when I got pregnant with EK. It became a priority to me mostly because someone else relied on my healthy choices. If I ate healthy, so did the little peanut in my belly. I ate pretty healthily, did prenatal yoga (and LOVED it – Judi at the Yoga Gallery is my favorite) and took lots of walks – especially the last 11 days… past my due date. After she was born, I still tried to eat fairly healthy, but then I started thinking about getting my body back.

A friend of mine found this awesome group of ladies that worked out together, called Stroller Strength(find them on MeetUp.com in Winston-Salem and Jacksonville). You bring your kids and some toys and snacks, and the leader/trainer works your butt off for an hour. I loved this option because I had gone back to work, and I didn’t want to leave my daughter for another hour to go to the gym. I wanted to maximize my time with her. So naturally, I took to this group quickly and easily.

Twice a year, the group does a “challenge”, where we set goals, take measurements and starter statistics, and keep logs for an 8 week period. Right after I started attending was when the first challenge happened. I busted my butt for 8 weeks – ran, worked out even outside of class, did clean eating, and won the challenge! It was madness, and I have not been so proud of myself many times in my life. I have now had another kid, and done another challenge, and signed up for my third one, which started this past Monday. This challenge is all running-based. I’m running a 10k in late October, and I am terrified. But that’s what pushes you, right?

So anyway, I’m on an 8-week mission of running a lot, eating REALLY CLEAN (a la The Gracious Pantry) and doing some lifting to compliment my running. You will be updated!

Anyone else on a mission?

Pregnancy: The Struggle Is Real

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

Pregnancy agrees with me.

Hey! Stop throwing those tomatoes! I’m not trying to say that every single thing about pregnancy was a piece of cake. For instance, when I was pregnant with EK, I was exhausted dead tired for the whole 10 (yes, 10) months. I don’t mean kinda tired. I mean, I came home from work every day at 3:00pm, collapsed in the bed, woke up to a plate of food from a concerned Hubby around 6 or 7, and passed out again until the next morning. We jokingly tell people I disappeared for the whole first trimester. The good part about that? I was only sick once, because I was asleep most of the time.  I attribute the non-sickness to learning very early that hungry=sick for my body, so as soon as I was the tiniest bit hungry, I started eating. I curbed the nausea with food.

But yes, on the whole, pregnancy has agreed with me. I had the glow. I gained weight only in my belly. I felt great (read: wasn’t sick) and had great deliveries. And (gasp!) I lost all my weight pretty quickly. I’ve told all my friends who haven’t had kids yet that I’ll do it for them… I love being  pregnant that much. The miracle of life inside me was enough to overshadow any feelings that were less than positive.

I do, however, feel like I controlled part of my experience. I ate extremely healthily during my pregnancies. I busted my butt as soon as I could to lose the rest of that weight and get into my jeans and dresses. My babies both got huge quickly, so I didn’t have a tiny little thing I held with one arm… I had huge squirmy tanks that took both arms, good core strength, and a wide stance to wrangle. I’m too busy and active and crazy to sit around, eat a dozen donuts, and watch a fourth chick flick. I’m just not that kind of gal. Yes, I’m blessed with good genes, and that has a lot to do with it. But none of these things should give you license to dislike me or make comments about how easy it was for me and how hard it was for you.

Pregnancy ain’t no joke – for anyone. You’re growing a life in that womb of yours! But for Heaven’s sake, try to be happy for yourself, and for other gals who are pregnant. It helps to change your thoughts to positive ones, and try to focus on the good stuff. I know that’s easier said than done if you’re hanging over a toilet or glowing green instead of “adorable”. Moping about how awful you feel doesn’t help. Moping after your baby is born that your friend is faring better than you were won’t change anything, either. Be happy for a girl, can ya? You’re going to have the sweetest little light you ever laid eyes on at the end of this tunnel. Do the stretchmarks. Milk those maternity clothes for as long as you can. Love the dirty hair and hairy legs you’ll have for longer than you’ll want to admit. You worked for it! But don’t grumble about the women you know who didn’t get the stretchmarks, wear their pre-pregnancy jeans, shave their legs and wash their hair. To each her own! The struggle is real for everyone, even if it doesn’t look the same as yours.

38 weeks with J
38 weeks with J

Birthday Macarons!

For my bestie’s birthday, we have several things going on. Yesterday was her actual birthday, but we started celebrating on Sunday. She had been wanting to try making macarons (an extremely temperamental item to bake) so she found a few recipes and we gave it a shot! (The one we drew from the most was from here.)

First thing on the recipe: Occupy the little man so we can get as much done as possible.
First thing on the recipe: Occupy the little man so we can get as much done as possible.
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Almond flour and sugar. Already a yum.
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Macarons are basically meringue cookies, so you start with meringue!

 

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Combine it, and color it if you want…
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Try out your first Jamberry manicure while they bake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Add some icing (or lemon curd, if you’re Lala and me) and make it a sandwich!
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Viola! Cute and delicious. A little underdone (we didn’t double the baking sheets. Oops.) but totally yummy!

Stay tuned to hear about our upcoming BEACH TRIP this weekend! First time I’m leaving the kiddos with Hubby, and I’m pumped!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAUREN!

A Helpless Letter to My Sick Kids

Kids,

As your mama, I’ve been extremely lucky that you’re almost unfailingly healthy. In every manner of the word, you kids have been healthy, never catching colds or stomach bugs, and tirelessly playing and eating like horses. But all at once, I was faced with a situation I hadn’t encountered: not one, but both of you sick at the same time.

At the point when I realized one of you had a cold and the other had a cold plus an upset stomach, I was stumped. I mean, yes, I was concerned with your symptoms and how to treat them and what might be causing them. I was concerned with calling the doctor’s office and whether we had enough children’s Tylenol. I was concerned with the fact that Hubby had to leave to go to work and I was on my own to take care of you.

But more than anything else, I was acutely aware that I, your problem solver, day-saver, and magically-make-it-better hero couldn’t snap my fingers and fix your problem. I’m so accustomed to providing for your needs easily and quickly. Have a wet diaper? Boom! Here’s a fresh one! Hungry? Boom! Here’s a healthy snack! Fall and bump your elbow? Boom! Here’s a kiss, a snuggle and an ice pack! But this time- runny noses, coughs, fevers, one upset tummy, and what can I do? Make a phone call, administer Tylenol, and put a movie on. Oh, you aren’t feeling better yet? Well crap. What do I do now?!

There were copious amounts of snuggles, special allowances (ie: snoozing on the couch an hour before bedtime), stuffed animals and favorite blankets. Noses were wiped (and suctioned, poor little J), tears dried, temperatures taken one more time, and prayers said. I know it has to be hard when your vocabulary doesn’t allow for an explanation of how you feel or what you want/need. You’re inexplicably feeling yucky and Mama, who has always helped you out, hasn’t made you feel any better.

Well, Mama feels just as bad about that as you do, kids. Every tiny cough that didn’t wake you up woke me. Your sniffles kept me awake half the night with concern. Prayers for your fevers were said as I tossed and turned. When you guys woke up, groggy but smiling, at 6:30, I was tired but happy to see smiles under the snotty noses. Because truthfully, I love you. I’m always doing my best to make sure you feel your best and more comfortable. You’re mine and I’m yours, sick and sad or healthy and happy.

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