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Wowzers

Hi there, blog world! It’s me again, the coughbloggercough back at it after quite some time away. Why have I been away, you might ask? Here are thoughts on that:

  • Life is busy busy busy! Since March (seriously, I haven’t blogged in over 4 months???), Charis turned 2, I finished a sprint triathlon, my boss up and left us (gasp! jk Julie, but you know we do miss you!!), I was promoted to Director of the Academic Resource Center, our office registered over 500 new students for college classes, I went to a conference in Seattle for a week, we have had lots of family visits, and so on.
  • I haven’t really wanted to write. I’m dealing with some tough life issues right now and it turns out I have been procrastinating about processing the information adequately due to being busy (see above).
  • Procrastination leads to more procrastination. In our office my colleagues and I were sharing life wisdom to our student worker about how going to the dentist is important. She doesn’t want to go, we explained the benefits of going to the dentist, she still doesn’t want to go, and we convince her that the more she avoids it the worse it will be. It was kind of like that for me and finally getting back on my blog. I finally did it. We’ll see if she goes to the dentist. 🙂
So here I am, back in the saddle again. I’m not going to make any promises as to how often I’ll blog, but I will try to do it more often. And I do promise to include some cute stories and pictures of Charis!
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Thankful Thursday

With everything that has happened in Japan, I am most thankful for our lack of natural disasters here, our safe home, and great community.

Charis is talking up a storm and just loves to chat. She “helped” me with making dessert tonight, loves watching videos of herself “more?? more?!,” and she has the cutest smile…. especially when she wants something. Cookie? Candy? Yup, she’ll have you wrapped around her pinky in 2 seconds flat.

I’m thankful for being in Gunnison. Great coworkers, friends, and such a sense of community.

I could go on and on… what are you thankful for?

Project Simplify Week 1

I stumbled upon (Simple Mom), a great blog. I happened to visit as she was previewing her Project:Simplify, a 5 week plan to clean and tackle different areas of your house. The first week just ended and I was able to get down and dirty with my clothes! I cleaned everything and seriously went through them to decide what could stay and what could go. Because I moved not too long ago and I did a serious overhaul of my clothes while packing, I didn’t have too much excess but it still feels great to have a neat and organized closet!
Here are my before and after photos!

I went running (jogging, huffing and puffing is more like it) this morning. This triathlon is coming up quickly and I know I simply need to get out there and run as often as possible. I did 20 minutes an only walked once at the 10 minute mark, and I was really excited to do that.
I was a tad shocked, however, to hear the crazy negative self talk that I created on the way home. It sounds ironic- I want to get better at running, yet I really don’t want to put in the time necessary to get better. I think to myself that I’m simply not going to get better, that I’m better off not putting in the time and effort. I count the months between now and planned- for triathlon (2-3) and I dread having to run for those months.
Then I finish, take a hot shower and I’m fine. Sore, excited to have completed it, but not yet looking forward to another run. I have been wondering about this negative self talk all day and I think it stems from the fact that running is a challenge for me, and always has been. I would describe myself as athletic, and most sports have come quite easily to me. So why would I ever choose a sport that doesn’t come easily to me when others are a-ok? Part of it is a challenge, and part of it is because I have to. Honestly, if I could choose to play water polo, row, or ride a horse as the third leg of the triathlon, I would sign right up. But alas, I’ll do what I need to do. And I’ll try to think of it in an optimistic light, but I’m not making any promises!!

In the kitchen

Sometimes I am really surprised at the joy that comes to me when I am in my kitchen. I didn’t grow up with a love of being in the kitchen, only with a love of the food that came out of the kitchen. I baked sourdough bread for the first time and my mom posted this on facebook: You’re amazing! You would almost think your mother was a gourmet cook and handed it down!!! HA-HA!!! In her defense, her mom wanted to teach her about the kitchen, and she wanted nothing to do with it. She wished to invent a pill for each meal, as she thought the preparation and cleanup were just too much for the enjoyment of the meal. I remember being in high school and looking through a recipe book to make grilled cheese…. and reveling over the time that I made my first tuna noodle casserole in college… and the fact that I have a photo documenting the meal I cooked for Eric when we were first married, in our first house (pasta from a box, frozen green beans, and mild in wine goblets).

Those were my humble beginnings in the kitchen. And although I truly enjoy being in the kitchen, baking bread, making yogurt, etc, I still have a difficult time with regular meals. I don’t have a box of old recipes that I love or favorites from my childhood (I’m OK with never eating chicken and spaghetti again), and because I’m fascinated with food, I love finding new recipes. I really treasured when I worked part time and could work on a meal throughout the day without feeling the 5 o’clock rush. Now that I’m back working full-time, meal planning has taken the joy out of my time in the kitchen. I’m still browsing new recipes, yet I’m finding that it’s still difficult to create those meals on our average weeknight. Eric gets to come home for dinner when he works, yet it can be anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30. Most often it’s 5:30, and with getting out of work at 5, picking up Charis, and getting into the house, it barely leaves me time to boil water, let alone have a meal ready by the time he’s home.

I tried out a new meal plan subscription (yes, I have tried several meal plan subscriptions- definitely at least 3 before this last one) a couple weeks back and I enjoyed it. It’s called Make 5 Dinners in One Hour and the idea is that you go shopping for all items you’ll need for the week, prepare all the meals in one hour, and then they go into the fridge or freezer. On the day that you cook the meal, follow the instructions, and voila, dinner is ready. We all enjoyed the meals from the first week, and since this is an area of stress for me, I figured that I would sign up for the subscription ($15 for 3 months worth of meals).

Part of me is really excited that this weight is lifted off of my shoulders, and the other part of me is sad, feeling like I will have to give up my recipe hunts and totally from-scratch cooking. But alas, that’s what the weekends are for. Like when I made yogurt yesterday in the crockpot (so easy!!!)- it makes me feel like I can be a full-time working momma who has a big heart for homemaking. 🙂

UPDATE:
Grocery shopping: 17 minutes
Preparing 5 dinners: 43 minutes
Peace of mind and an evening playing with Charis: Heavenly!!

Thankful Thursday

I would describe myself as an optimistic, glass half-full person. OK, most of the time. I wish it were all of the time, but really, I don’t know if that’s possible. I often play the role of cheerleader for others and do enjoy my positive outlook.

Yet there are times when something little can cause me to change into Eeyore in 2.5 seconds.

And the crazy thing is, once I turn, it takes me quite a long time to get back to my normal self. I really don’t like when this happens. It happened tonight when I came home to a slight disaster of a kitchen. My mood went from lighthearted and carefree to downright angry, thinking of how I would need to spend the entire evening cleaning. Again.

 

I have been challenged to create a family mission statement, and doing some thinking about it has caused me to really reconsider how I want to live my life and what is most important not only to myself, but my family as a whole. When I get so cranky so easily over little things, it makes me think about the impression I’m leaving on Charis and how I am encouraging her not to get frustrated about little things. Ironic, isn’t it? Parenting is wonderful for self-reflection and humility.

So I have decided to do a Thankful Thursday post each Thursday to help me re-focus my crankiness. Here’s my list for now:

  • My best friend & husband Eric
  • The cutest and craziest little lady Carebear
  • Family, both near and far
  • Friends scattered among the country
  • Health
  • God’s provision for our move, employment, housing, and overall blessings
  • The ability to exercise

I so often take things for granted and am trying to start each day with a thankful heart instead of a to-do list. Because really, at the end of the day, if I didn’t have dishes or food, I wouldn’t have a messy kitchen. And a messy kitchen is better than no kitchen!

Wordless Wednesday

Green smoothie, oatmeal, granola, kefir, lentil and rice taco mix, quesadilla fixins & tortillas, and my sourdough starter!

The Club

(I’m just going to skip over the fact that I haven’t blogged in over 2 months… here’s what’s happening now!)

I’m in a triathlon training class at Western. I have wanted to do a triathlon now for quite some time, and I’m excited to have this time available to train and check this goal off of my list of things to do! I’m finding that the class is taught by people who are “in” the club. Which club, you ask? The crazy athlete club. Our instructors, Jenny and Brian, are professional athletes. Cyclists by trade, they have competed around the world in cycling, running, and triathlons. Today we had two guest coaches, both are crazy athletes- the guy does Ironmans and the gal, a swimmer by trade, is also an endurance runner and triathlete.

I was looking at the upcoming triathlons in Colorado to determine one that would work best for my schedule. Thing is, before the class started, I had found one in August that sounded great. First day of class, however, we are told we will actually be doing a triathlon the last day of class. Which is April 4th. Which is just over a month away. Yikes. So my thinking has transitioned to a leisurely introduction to triathlon and gradual training over the course of 6 months to trying my best to kick my butt into shape, get this triathlon thing over with, and be done with the insanity. Because truly, it’s slightly insane to train for three different sports.

So I was explaining my choices to Eric and was explaining that a good option might be a triathlon where the swim is indoors so I don’t have to get a wetsuit. He asked why I wouldn’t want a wetsuit, and I explained that I didn’t think I would be doing more than one triathlon, and buying a wetsuit would be silly if I were to only do one. He was a bit shocked that I wouldn’t want to continue with the triathlons, knowing how competitive I am. Here’s the thing: I am competitive, when it comes to things I’m good at. Aren’t we all a bit like that? Running, my dear friends, is not something I’m good at. And knowing that all triathlons come down to a running race, well, doesn’t excite me. I’m going to compete against myself purely because I want to finish the race. I don’t have a time goal, transition goal, I just want to cross the finish line exhausted, knowing I put my best into the race.

Back to the club. It’s interesting realizing I’m not part of the club in class. Two friends are in the class, and they’re into it. Big time. Guess what? They’re runners. Go figure. They also don’t have a two year old. My competition has turned from athletics to my family. I strive to make great meals for Eric & Charis, to spend quality time with them, and to give them my love through creating a welcome home. It fills up my free time, I work hard at it, and by golly, if there were a competition, I would sign up.

So maybe I’m in a club, just not the triathlon club. I’m in the mommy/wife club and I’m loving it.

Mourning

I don’t know where to start. I haven’t blogged in quite a long time, and so much has happened in the past 2 months. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Still living with Jus & Miah- we’re thankful for the hospitality, the family, and good times together while Eric searched for a job and we looked (er, are still looking) for our new home. While there are times that I crave privacy and my own place, I’m taken back to their generosity and letting us stay here for so long.
  • Eric found a job! He’s working in the produce section of City Market, and although it’s not his dream job, it is a good job with good people and they like him. Plus, he works afternoons, so Charis is only in daycare for a half day when we are both working.
  • Charis started daycare! There were tears the first couple times, but when we dropped her off, she ran over to the toys and we were able to sneak out the door without her noticing. And she didn’t cry at all! She seems to love it, and it’s great for this social butterfly to be around other kiddos.
  • Work is going quite well for me. My boss is fantastic (and no, I’m not saying this because she reads my blog! 🙂 She truly is great!), my coworkers are great, and I’m really enjoying building relationships with the students at Western- something that was a big determining factor for taking the job.
  • Our stuff is still in Jus & Miah’s garage, which is difficult at times (I have no idea where my box of winter coats are. Thank goodness there are plenty here for me to use!), I’m certainly learning to get by on less and am excited for the opportunity to pare down even more once we’re moved.

Lastly, we found out the morning of November 18th that we were expecting our second baby. While this came as a total surprise to us (myself especially, as I’m quite the planner and having a baby 9 months into a new job was not my ideal plan!), we were thrilled. The estimated due date was July 10, which would make the baby & Charis a little over 2 years apart, which was in my plans. Our joy quickly took a turn for the worst, as the ultrasound at our first appt showed an empty yolk sac. My Dr. told me that it could be a blighted ovum or that the date calculation was off and it was earlier along in the pregnancy than we thought. First dip in the roller coaster. Over the course of the following week, my blood was drawn 3 times to measure hCG levels and although they weren’t doubling every 2-3 days like they should, it was increasing. My Dr. saw this as good news and I was scheduled for an ultrasound in the hospital. An upswing on the coaster. At the ultrasound (which the tech was 25 minutes late for, while I was holding an extreme amount of water and had to pee so badly it wasn’t even funny), the embryo measured 6 weeks 1 day (based on my lmp, I was 9 weeks along at this point), and she couldn’t find a heartbeat. Another dip on the coaster. The ultrasound tech was not pleased with the results and said she wished she had found a heartbeat and asked if I was ok. I was definitely saddened by this news, and went to tell Eric. Less than 15 minutes later, my Dr. called and said that because the embryo was bigger, she felt that it was a viable pregnancy. At this point, I didn’t know what to feel, as I was still feeling the effects of the downward ride. I told Eric and we knew we had to remain somewhat realistic over the course of the next two weeks, as that was when she suggested we meet again. Frustrated by this news, and encouraged to see another Dr (an OB, as my Dr was a GP), I made an appointment for…… 2 weeks later. As frustrating as this was, I knew we would have an answer by December 23rd, the day of my appointment.

I know God works in mysterious ways, and he definitely has a sense of humor (I am reminded by this each time I try to take control of my life!), as I was not pleased by the idea of waiting two weeks to find out about this baby’s life. My parents were planning on coming into town on the 22nd, and Miah’s Dad was planning on arriving the 23rd. As an introvert, if I needed to mourn the loss of this baby, I didn’t feel like doing it in front of everyone. I had some spotting Sunday and Monday and told Julie (my boss) about it yesterday. She asked how I was handling the wait, and I told her it was OK, but I really wish I could find out tomorrow rather than Thursday. See? Sense of humor/answering prayers.

I’m venting here and this is your warning to stop reading if you don’t want to hear about the physical things that are happening.

I woke up this morning and found blood in my underwear and in the toilet. It was as if I were starting my period, and I instantly began to sob. I had called the OB’s office yesterday to ask about the spotting, and she said to monitor it, but if it got heavier like I was starting my period, to go to the ER. This was the last thing I wanted, but knew I should do it. Crying, I went into our room and woke up Eric with the news. He hugged me and asked Miah & Jus to watch the girls while we went to the hospital. We drove down together and I simply felt numb. As we got checked in and met with nurses and Drs, my Dr confirmed that I was having a spontaneous miscarriage. She said our options were to let it happen naturally or to do a D&C. Not wanting a D&C, I told her to let it happen naturally was ok with us. She was really great and hugged me, asked us if we needed anything. I just wanted to make sure that this was it, and it wasn’t a fluke or anything. She reassured that over the next couple days it would take care of itself, my hCG levels would be checked again to make sure everything was OK, and I have a follow up appt Monday morning to check everything again.

So here I am, at home, writing about our loss of life. I am confident everything is happening as it should, as I’m continuing to bleed. I’m also confident that God has a plan for everything, and sad as it seems, this is part of His greater plan. I have so many questions that are unanswered now, and I know I have joined a community of other women who have miscarried who also have unanswered questions. All I know is we are sad for this loss, yet thankful for the family and wonderful daughter that we do have. As we left the hospital, we picked up the girls from Miah and Charis came crawling into my lap saying, “Hi mommy, hi mommy” in the sweetest voice. It made me cry tears of thanks for her and her sweet ways. I’m also thankful that Eric & I were able to be together this morning while Dillen & Charis played in her room. I’m focusing on being thankful for the little things now: the soft snow that’s falling outside, God’s provision throughout this move, friends and family, and life. The flowers that Jus & Miah brought me at lunch- thank you!

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” Job 1:21

Seattle

3 weeks ago, Eric and I were packing our final bags (and staying up way too late in order to finish said packing), having a farewell meal with his parents and my mom, and went to sleep on the airbed in our otherwise empty house. Charis was in her pack n play (and had thoroughly enjoyed her empty room that allowed her voice to echo when she made any noise), my mom was sleeping on the couch (that we gifted to BPPC) in the living room, and we all slept for a couple hours.

We hit the road early, took Mom and Charis to the airport, picked up some Starbucks for energy, and were on our way. It feels like longer than 3 weeks ago, but yet it feels like we were in Seattle only yesterday. Our transition is going well, and we’re meeting new people, enjoying time with our family, and loving the weather! It has been sunny, and besides the snow in late October, it has been such a lovely fall.

Before we left I was thinking about what I might miss about Seattle, and now that we’ve been here past the typical vacation length of stay, I was re-thinking about what I miss. The people. Our BPPC kids, my PEPS, EDGE and momma friends, my college girls, Women@Work friends, in-laws, coworkers, and other loved ones. If you’re reading this from Seattle, trust us that we are missing you! We can’t wait to have visitors!

Something I don’t miss is the sound of planes flying over our house 24 hours a day. It took both Eric and I awhile to get used to how quiet it is here and it was challenging to fall asleep at first (because apparently my breathing is quite loud without the rumble of planes landing over my head), but now that we’re used to it, it’s peaceful. I can sometimes hear a plane at the airport and it’s an enjoyable sound rather than an annoyance. Other things I don’t miss are the grey skies and the commute to UW.

It was nice to have lived in Seattle for 3 years, yet we’re excited to be here and feel quite at home in Gunnison. So for real Seattlites, come visit. 🙂