Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Teaching my Kids How to Work

  I remember taking hours and hours to do the dishes when I was a kid. I probably spent about a third of my pre-teen and teenage years in the kitchen not getting the dishes done. My room was always a mess, much to the chagrin of my sister, and it was not often that I actually finished pulling weeds outside in the hot Arizona sun. I remember my dad saying over and over that he wished we lived on a farm so we would know what REAL work was. I had responsibilities at home that I never really fulfilled as well as I could on a regular basis.

  Now as an adult I still struggle with keeping things cleaned up. The laundry and the dishes seem to pile ever higher as I get more and more overwhelmed with the task before me. I have shed tears and even gotten into big trouble because of the state of my house. Poor health and a difficult pregnancy contributed to the problem, I fell out of the habits I was building to keep it clean and now I frequently look at my house and despair that the next decades of my life I will be little more than a maid in my home.  Of course that is a little on the dramatic side ( I am a dramatic person and I know it). I have a wonderful husband that pitches in where he can, and I am beginning to realize that I also have my children to help with the work.

   At church on Sunday I heard someone mention that she had at one point written out a huge list of the tasks that she wanted her children to be able to do at their age. She talked about how this didn't work out exactly as she planned, but it made me think. I rarely ask my children to help out beyond a quick pick-up in the living room, or their bedroom. I realized that I had no idea what my kids are capable of when it comes to cleaning the house, and that in my own struggle to be a better cleaner I was completely forgetting to teach my children about it. Obviously this is unacceptable, and I need to fix it.
   Yesterday while I was out at the store my husband rounded up the troops to get the living room clean, and while there was a marked improvement by the time  I arrived home, it wasn't remotely close to my own standards of a clean room. So when evening came and the room was still a mess Chris and I decided to have a Family night lesson on the importance of having a clean home. Then, everyone of us got up and we cleaned the room together until it was just about perfect. It was a good experience for all of us, especially my three year old who then proceeded to clean up her own playroom and bedroom  without being asked!

   This morning the trend continued when my six year old and my three year old got the kitchen table cleaned off for breakfast while I fed the baby. It has made me realize how important it is to clean with my kids. There are times when it is easier to just to it myself. But if I do that all the time then two things will happen  I will get burnt out and two my kids will not learn to clean for themselves. This morning after breakfast I asked the girls to help me unload the dishwasher. They very carefully handed me each dish to put away in the cupboard. It was a pleasant experience, and afterward as I was preparing the girls schoolwork Lucy (my oldest) asked me what her next task was. They are primed and ready to help out. I just have to ask, and while I'm sure there will be times when the helpful attitude doesn't last at least at that point I will know that they know how to do it.

UPDATE: On the health and weight loss things. Weight loss is going slow. This morning my workout was still insanely hard but I stopped less. It also helped that my sweetheart got my breakfast shake ready and rubbed my feet afterwards (Go ahead ladies be jealous of my amazing man!) I am continueing to make an effort to plan healthier meals.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tears and Defeat

   I called my mom this morning in tears and defeat. I had finished a 30 minute workout. I was hot and sweaty, but severe cramps in my feet and legs meant I couldn't do the full thing full out. It had taken me too  long to even pick a work out this morning. I didn't want to do yoga, one of the nineties workouts with the underwear over the leggings just made me laugh too much to take it seriously and then Chris picked the Jillian Micheals 30 Day Shred. I kind of liked the sound of it. I like to feel like I really worked at the end of a workout. However when the first thing she wanted to do was jumping jacks I began to get really frustrated. First of all I have one bra and it doesn't even fit right and it is not suited to jumping up and down in a comfortable manner. I glared at my husband daring him in my mind to make a stupid flirtatious joke on the subject, lucky for him he just recommended a sports bra. He then turned around and left for work. The next activity was jumping rope. By now the cramping had begun in my left foot and shin. I tried to compensate. First I tried not jumping so high, and then I I tried alternating feet while I jumped. I finally had to come to a crashing halt and try and stretch the cramps away just in time to hear Jillian Micheals say that if her 400 lb clients can do it so can I . She said a lot of things that really annoyed me on that video. By the time 30 minutes were over the total awful truth of my physical condition had come crashing down on me. I felt like I could never change.
  Talking it out helped. At least it gave me a clearer picture of the end for just a brief moment. It's really hard to keep your goal in mind when the path is painful. I was calmer when I got off the phone. I  made myself some Replenish (it's an Isagenix sports drink, and it's tasty and awesome) and sipped it while I made breakfast for the kids. Sitting here at the computer I don't feel as defeated as I did just after the workout. I feel very tired though, and there is a long day ahead with my three wonderful amazing, and very playful children.
   Despite how annoying the workout was and how awful I felt emotionally afterward I probably will do it again. I have already invested in it. I spent a whole $1.99 on it on Amazon, and there is that whole half hour of my life that will just be lost time this morning if I don't stick with it. Okay I am definitely trying to talk myself up to it. I don't want to be defeated the first week of this thing I'm doing. I don't want my kids to ever go through this anguish physically or emotionally because I wasn't a good enough example to them. I want to look and feel as awesome as I am on the inside. I have a lot to offer my family and this world, and it is going to be a lot easier to do that when I don't feel so tired and I don't have to fight my own body to get the simple things done. I really hope I can do this. I CAN do this, I can do this, I can do this....

Monday, February 9, 2015

Feeling CRAZY Taking it one day at a Time

   My sweetheart has lost eight pounds since we started this health plan together. He is on a more aggressive plan than I am on though. I have to be careful about cutting to many calories since I am still nursing the baby. I have no idea if I have lost weight in the last four days.  I refuse to step on the scale at all until I reach a week. Stepping on the scale can be a hazardous practice for me if done to frequently. I am going to weigh in on a weekly basis.  The differences I have noticed so far though include a little bit of energy and an intense pain in my upper body. I lifted weights on Friday with the hubby,  and had to get his help undressing and dressing for the next 24 hours after that. 
He was really encouraging. Laughing a little with me over my pain, but also reminding me that the pain meant that my muscles were activating and coming to life. Doing the job they are supposed to do.

   I am feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed when I begin to think of all the work I have to do before we move next month. The amount of junk we have just boggles my mind. I'm tempted to just close my eyes and pitch it all in the dumpster, but I fear that I might throw out something we actually need. On top of that I have chores that must be done daily, homeschooling for the kids, in addition to the things that my sweet little squirts demand outside the normal feeding, bathing, and dressing. I have found myself to be rather cranky. I know that there are lots of people with a busy, more hectic, more demanding schedule than what I have right now, but I was never the kind of gal to rejoice over other people's dilemmas and feel better over my own lot in life. So I am trying to take deep breaths when I want to cry, to call someone when I feel too lonely or overwhelmed, and make sure that I get a couple minutes to myself to read a book I really want to finish. I am also trying to take the mess, and the organizing and the de-cluttering, and the homeschooling, and the terror of leaving a place and friends I have loved for the unknown one day at a time.

   I have to believe that I am going to make it in one piece. Perhaps a different and more beautiful shape when I am through this, but all together a whole and healthy person body and soul. It's days like today when the baby refuses to nap and kids are driving me crazy that I really have to hope that crazy isn't such a bad thing to be.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

When I grow up

   I am tired. I am tired and my joints hurt so badly that it makes simple things like standing and doing dishes difficult. I hate the way my clothes don't always quite cover me properly. I loathe when I go to a public place and my hips brush the arms of the chair uncomfortably. I despise the way that the water gets blocked in the tub behind me when I take a bath. I would show you a picture of the way I am now, but I have really tried to stay away from the front of a camera lens. In November I played flag football with some gals from church and somebody took pictures and posted them online. Seeing myself in in too tight clothes next to the gorgeous and fit women I was playing with was enough to make me cry. My body is just so far away from where I want to be.

   These are feelings that I know are not unique to myself. There is someone very close to me who has dealt with these kind of issues and feelings for most of my life,and that is my mother. I can't tell you enough good things about my mom. I call her nearly everyday for comfort and guidance, and sometimes just to tell her the funny things my kids say, and she is always willing to listen. She is always willing to advise, but also to back off if needed. My mom is one of my best friends and I feel privileged to be her daughter.
The path my parents have walked has not been smooth. In addition to my mother's problems with her weight she has also had to deal with the bad health of family members (namely my father and myself), financial distress, and the challenges of having an autistic son. She has come through each of these trials with grace and dignity and a resilience that I really hope I can live up to. She has also had the wisdom to seek out help and healing for the emotional damage that life has given her.

This is my mother in 2012

It is hard to find photos of my mom where she isn't hiding behind someone because like me she did not like her body and appearance when I was growing up.

This is my mom now

She is leading a full and active life that she loves. I love her for it, and I love the example that she is to me. In early 2013 my mother and I were introduced to a program called Isagenix. My mother has flourished with it.  Through it she has made friends with outstanding and optimistic people, and found a way to put good nutrition in her body.

My mother took many years to find healing and peace. She learned to make the switch in her brain of "I am depriving myself" to "I can eat what I want, I want to eat healthy."  Only then was she ready to commit to something that finally has helped her be the person she always wanted to be.

   I have been working on the inner healing thing. My weight has been an issue much of my adult life. I also have struggled with an eating disorder most of my adult life. In college I was about a size 10/12 and I did some pretty unhealthy things to keep myself there. I played sick games with myself, skipping meals for days on end, and taking measures to get rid of food that I felt I had eaten in excess. Every time in the past where I have put myself on a diet, strictly counted calories, started freaking out about my weight, or gone through a stressful time or trauma (and I have been through some pretty hefty traumas in the last couple years) I have turned back to those unhealthy behaviors. I've been working with a therapist on my mental issues with food, and one thing she has said to me is "an eating disorder can't survive in the light" So here I am putting it out there to fry in the sun. I'm not putting it out there to gain any unsolicited advice. I am putting it out there with my head held high. I HAVE ISSUES. I AM HUMAN!! I do not want to feel shame anymore, and an eating disorder can be a very shameful thing

   I was encouraged , by my therapist, to just start eating whatever I want. As I allowed myself to do so, I started feeling better mentally and emotionally. No food is completely off limits. That is a rule I have lived by over the last few months and it has helped me. I don't obsess over the food that I can not have. I don't eat too  much of the food I want because it is "forbidden" and I feel I have to hide it. Having not eaten too much I don't feel guilty about it. I can continue my life eating when I am hungry, stopping when I am full and not feeling totally engrossed by what I eat. I had to learn what it is like to feel hungry, as well as what it feels like to be full. I really messed up my body with all the strain that my eating disorder put it through. I finally feel like I am mentally ready to start making the changes I need to get healthy. I have learned that what I really want to change doesn't start with what I eat, but what I want to eat.

     On Facebook, my mother has issued an invitation to join her for something called the Isa-Body Challenge, starting on February 23rd. When I saw it I felt something inside me stirring into action. I am 27 years old and over 100 pounds overweight and I am no longer finding that acceptable. I have an urgent desire to follow my mother's amazing example. My sweet heart and I have talked about it and together we decided to use the same system to get healthy.
   I know I have to be a little cautious on what limitations I give myself. I have learned that drastically changing my diet to something more suited for healthy living often leads me to make bad guilt ridden choices, so I am choosing this path with support from my husband and my sweet mother.
My amazing man is helping me out by being my  support for fitness. On the days that we have time to, he is helping by arranging time for us to go work out and on the days when there is little time he is still holding me accountable for some form of exercise.

   My mother is helping me by supporting on the food end of things. In addition to her expertise on the Isagenix products she has also offered to help me out by making suggestions on little things I can change to improve my diet. She knows what I have gone through and offered to give me as little or as much help as I ask for in these matters. Which is really what I needed the most.

   It took my mom a very long time to get to where she is today. It took a lot of heart ache and stress and fad diets and lots of things that didn't work. Now she is in her late forties and for the first time enjoying the way that life can be when you are physically fit. I have no intention of waiting that long. By the time I am thirty I fully intend to be right up there racing around with my mom. I know I can do it. I have a wonderful loving husband who supports me, an amazing support of family and friends and something else that my mom didn't have. I have her.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reflections on Breakfast and Lullabies

I have had success in running my children through a bedtime routine the last couple of nights. The evenings have gone a little more smoothly. The kids have stayed in bed a little better, and I actually have found that I can more easily relax after bedtime. Maybe that's because the constant clamor of children running up and down the stairs has decreased quite a bit, but I have also found myself falling into a little more of my own night time routine. After the kids are in bed I'll watch maybe a show or read a book, take a bath and go to bed. I have been feeling pleasantly tired at the end of the day, and it hasn't felt like I am longing to stay up later and later just for some much needed me time. I definitely like this night time routine thing. Another unseen side affect of having a routine with my kids is that by making going potty part of our night time routine my oldest daughter has wet the bed less this week so far.

The mornings have been less structured. My girls are frequently awake before I am ready to go get them up. If it gets to be around 7:30 or so and I still haven't heard from a child, then I go upstairs and wake them. However, like I said most mornings the girls are coming in around 7:00 or earlier. I have found the key to getting them dressed right away is to make sure that their clean clothes make it up to their drawer. This morning for example my youngest girl got herself dressed right away and the other had to be told several times that her clean clothes were in the dryer. I have come to the conclusion though that I don't necessarily need to be the one to wake up my kids to have a good and productive morning. I think I am going to put more effort into the night time routine.

Now my AHA! moment here may seem like a Duh to lots of people, but I'm the first to admit that my organizational skills are lacking. It is a weakness that I intend to put a lot of effort into. So far the efforts that I have made have really paid off.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Things do not always go according to plan...baby steps

   It is harder to stick to a bedtime routine over the weekend. I tend to be a little more relaxed with timing and things. This morning I didn't get the kids up with breakfast I got caught up working on our budget and didn't get to it until after they got themselves up. On the plus side I finally got some laundry folded and put away over the weekend and the girls were able to dress themselves without help, because clothes were in the drawer.

   Things are pretty stressful around here. We are getting ready for a move next month. Today I gave our 30 day notice to our property management people. It is starting to  feel real and scary. Once we are done where we are at my sweetheart has to find a new job, and we have to find a new home in another state. It is a lot harder to stick to goals I set for myself when I am so stressed. At the moment my goal for a week seems really huge and unattainable, so I am going to break it down a bit on here

Today's Baby Steps

1. Do 1 load of wash that includes clothes for girls tomorrow and pajamas for tonight

2. Plan and prepare dinner tonight ON TIME!!! at 6 to prevent bedtime being put off

3. create a bedtime chart for girls and run through it with them at bedtime

That's it. Just three itty bitty things. I can do just three itty bitty things... I CAN do just three itty bitty things.