Mindful Me

I write blog posts for my job.  Sometimes I write one’s that I really want to post on my personal blog.  Today I wrote one on mindfulness, and it really hit home with me.  More than I thought it would.

Usually in the afternoon, after work, I feed my little one, try to get him to take a nap (which is harder than you’d think) and then either finish up some chores or collapse on the couch and watch a little TV.  Today it was relatively easy to get him down for his nap – yay – and after I finished a couple of chores, I collapsed on the couch to watch some TV.  Fifteen minutes later, 35 minutes into his nap, the cries came.  And it’s never a good thing when your little one wakes up crying!

Usually when the little one wakes up crying from a nap, dread hits me as I picture the rest of the day filled with overtired crankiness.  But today, I took a deep breath, went in his room, picked him up and held him in my arms on the rocker, as I normally do to calm him down.  He immediately fell asleep.  And usually I put him down in the crib pretty quickly after he falls asleep.  9 times out of 10 the second “put down” doesn’t work and he immediately wakes up.  So I decided to just hold him and let him sleep in my arms.

I held him and let him sleep in my arms.  I wasn’t thinking about all the things I could be doing.  I wasn’t thinking about anything but holding my baby.  I looked at his sweet little face as he slept, and felt so blessed to have him.  It was such a special moment.  He’s weeks away from turning 1 – and the time has passed by so fast.  I feel like soon he’ll be a teenager and I’ll long for these moments.  I need to treasure them now, even though at times I don’t.

But today I did.  I held him.

 

 

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Changes and Dreams

I used to pride myself on being able to handle change well – even craving change.  But these past several months have challenged that thought.

I have had a lot of change.  Like, if you ever take one of those life stressor polls, I’d rate pretty darn high.  I actually just took a quiz (the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory) and scored well above the high rating and they predict I have an 80% chance of having a major health incidence in the next 2 years.  So…um…

Every little change is now effecting me in a negative way.  For instance, our neighbors moved.  We weren’t close.  I knew their names and would wave if we saw each other – but that’s about it.  But now at night, when I’m washing the baby bottles, I look out our kitchen window and don’t see the familiar view of our neighbor sitting on her couch working on her laptop.  And it makes me sad.  I feel out of control.  And I hate that.

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In order to make myself feel more in control over all these out of my hands changes, I tend to dream about my life in the future.  I don’t dream too far in advance, maybe 6 months to 2 years.  And I’m not unrealistic.  I don’t envision myself winning the lottery or moving to France.  I envision real-life possibilities.  And it helps.  It gives me a sense of calm and control, even if the control is just an illusion.

But I don’t tell anyone my future life visions.  I think it’s because I’ve had goals I’ve shared in the past, and didn’t make them, and felt horrible about myself.  It was embarrassing.  So I stopped voicing my dreams.  Which is sad.  I kind of need to voice these, right?  I mean, how can I make my life more of what I want, and make sure my husband and I are both seeing the same, or close to same, things – unless I share these.

It’s hard to find time to talk seriously with him now.  In depth conversations are a thing of the past.  We now talk about poopy diapers, what we can scrounge out of the fridge for dinner, and our deep desire for more sleep.  Nothing serious.  But that’s my goal for the weekend.  To voice my dreams.  I may have to give a dream disclaimer.  Something along the lines of “is this doesn’t happen, it’s OK.”  Give myself a little out in case I change my mind, lose my way, etc.  Maybe that will make the conversation a little easier.

Once I share them with him, I’ll share them with you.  So stay tuned…

What day is it?

I’m having difficulty remembering what day it is.  Days tend to all blur together – one bleeding into the next.  We actually still have a notebook we keep logging our son’s diaper changes, feedings, naps, etc.  Otherwise we won’t remember.  Parenthood definitely takes away some of your brain power.

So it’s already Wednesday.  Wow.

I am happy to report I did good on my workout goal for last week.  I did every workout except for Sunday’s yoga DVD.  It’s probably the one I need to most, but the one I feel least guilty about skipping.  Odd, right?  But there were days I had to force myself to do my 15 minute exercise  – and I did it.  So yay!  Small victory dance.

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My goal this week is 30 minutes.  Yesterday that didn’t happen.  Yesterday was chaotic.  My sitter didn’t show up and I had an early morning meeting with my boss – so my husband had to stay with the baby.  And from then on, craziness ensued.  You know how when your day starts off crazy, it just stays crazy.  Unexpected trip to the pediatricians office, ridiculously long lines at the grocery store for 11am on a Tuesday, all that happened.  So no, I didn’t workout then.  But I did my 30 minutes on Monday and today, so I’m just picking up where I left off.  No guilt.  Things happen.  No quitting – that’s the more important thing!

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On a totally unrelated note, while I’m happy I’ve started this exercise regime, I still can’t help looking towards next year for me to finally have some happiness.  I don’t know why – I’ve never been a New Year’s person.  January 1 is just the same as December 31st in my book.  But for some reason I feel like all the hurt and stress I have buried deep down in me will disappear with the changing of the year.  It doesn’t work that way, I know.  I just don’t have the time or the means to release it, and it will stay with me until I do.  That’s a scary thought.  But I just have to keep powering on.  When the feelings overcome me, I let them.  I don’t judge myself.  You can’t wish away sadness anymore than you can wish for more money.  So I just feel it.  And hope that one day I won’t be so sad anymore.

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But that’s my update.  Nothing overwhelming.  Just thought I’d throw this out there.

Dogs go to heaven

There are two things in this world that can easily pull at my heart-strings.  My son and my dog.

For those of you who are not pet-people, you probably don’t understand how my son and my dog could be listed together.  But for those of you who are, you totally get it.

This is hard for me to write, but I feel an overwhelming need to put this out there.  To let the world know how great this little girl was.

Yes, was.  It’s been 4 weeks since we said goodbye to my dog of 14.5 years.  But it still feels like yesterday.

I was lucky enough to find her online through a local rescue group during my senior year of college.  I was getting ready to move to Florida for grad school, and my Mother and I both agreed I needed a companion for the move.  So I looked for a dog.

I went to meet her.  She was sweet, cute – and the only one of the dogs in the little pen the rescue lady set up that wasn’t jumping and barking all over the place.  I immediately loved that about her.  We got her out and petted her, but she wasn’t leashed – so once the hands were off her she ran like the dickens.  Luckily, she came back.  And she was mine.  From then on, she was mine.

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I named her Caroline, after my soon-to-be alma mater, UNC aka Carolina.

She traveled with me to Florida for grad school, then back home to Charlotte for life after school.  Along my chaos of boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, jobs, former jobs, several different apartments, and all that goes along with a 20-somethings life, she was there.  She would curl up underneath me whenever I sat on the couch.  She would sniff around at my feet every time I went to the kitchen.  She would jump in excited every time I said ‘walk’ or ‘outside’.  She was the best squirrel-chaser in the world.  And she was the most loving dog anyone could ever meet.

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Then came my 30’s, and the meeting of my later-to-be husband.  She took to him right away, and he to her.  He included her in the proposal which was outside at a local park.  Every time I passed that bench I thought of our proposal.  Now I think of her.

She was at our wedding.  I could not imagine having it any other way.  My favorite wedding picture is of the 3 of us – me, him and her.

She traveled with us, she hiked with us, she made us laugh and smile.

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Then she got kidney disease.  And she was a fighter.  But those kidneys are a bitch – and they won out.  It was her time, even though I so desperately didn’t want it to be.  She had been with me for so much, I wanted her to see my son grow up a bit more.  Her little brother – she never really got to know him and that makes me so sad.

She lived a remarkable, beautiful, active, happy and long life.  She was 3 months shy of her 16th birthday when she passed.

Since her passing, I’ve walked a lot.  One of our favorite things to do together was walk.  I’d go on the paths she used to take me on – the further from home the better for her.  I see a ceramic cat she used to pull towards, thinking it was real, and smile – then cry.  I see a road she loved to walk on because it was full of squirrels, and walk down in her memory.

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I miss her so much my heart literally aches.  For so long it was me and her, and now I have to figure out how to live my life without her.  And I will.  I know time will heal, and I will live a long and happy life, even get another dog to love, with my little family.  But I also know when my time comes, she and I will have such a happy reunion in heaven.  Because, yes, I do believe dogs go to heaven.  Especially this beautiful girl!

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I love you Care Bear always and forever!!

 

A little progress is better than nothing

I just had to pat myself on the back a little bit.  Three days of doing some working out while my little one napped (or was suppose to be napping).

I have to give you a bit of background information.

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After a rough pregnancy (all day sickness started at 6 weeks – ended 2 days after I gave birth) and a bad recovery (unplanned C-section, reflux baby requiring round the clock care, etc.), working out has not been in my schedule for over a year now.

Before pregnancy, as I went out to run 3-4 miles before a good 30-45 minute strength training session, I used to look at people who were walking and be jealous.  Part of me hated pushing myself so hard to get a good workout.  Now, by the end of my 30 minute walk, I’m sweating.  I’m that person I used to be jealous of – and I’m completely jealous of the old me.  Grass is always greener, right?

So part of me is a bit down on my current workout.

I’m doing the 21 Day Fix DVDs (no, I’m not a Beachbody rep – but I do enjoy their products).  And I’m not even doing all the DVD – I’m only doing one round of each exercise.  So my workouts are more like 15 minutes.  And yep, I get a little winded, sweaty, and I definitely feel them the next day (even though I’m using little to no weight).  Compared to where I was, I feel like a slug doing such a little workout.

But I have to quit comparing myself to, well, myself.  My body has been through a lot – and made a beautiful, healthy and amazing little boy.  So yeah, it’s going to be a little beat up.  And that’s ok.  Because it will get better.  And I may never be where I was when that picture was taken, and that’s honestly 100% ok with me.  My goal, to be perfectly open, is just to fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes.  Not all – but at least a few.

3 days down – 18 more to go, then a habit forms, right?

Don’t fight that feeling

Ugh.  Ugh is all I can say to describe the past few weeks.

Pregnancy symptoms aren’t fun.  And I was having some very un-fun ones these past 10 days.  And the thing with pregnancy symptoms are they are just plain confusing.  One symptom can be completely normal in some women and a bad sign in another.  So there was a lot of confusion on my part.

I hate to be one of those pregnant ladies who calls her doctor every time something different pops up and I tried not to be.  But it took me 3 calls and 8 days to finally get an appointment with the OB on call.  And it wasn’t anything horrible – but it was something that needed attention and treatment.  (I’m sparing you the details because pregnancy details are just TMI.)  So now I’m in the treatment phase and hoping all turns out well.  Whenever you take any medication when pregnant, it’s a little nerve-racking.  But I just have to trust and have faith.

During this time I really did nothing.  I tried to rest as much as possible.  And it was horrible.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my couch time now.  The third trimester is pretty exhausting.  But there was a span of 5 days where I spent 99% of my time lying around our house.  I can’t lie, it made me a little irritable and depressed.  I got over it – I just had to let myself feel my feelings and then they passed.  But man, that was a bad 5 days.

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So now I’m working more, doing a little bit more (though I’m not exercising until I know I’m all better) and feeling generally better about life.

That’s the thing: sometimes your circumstances can dictate your feelings.  Even though everyone says it’s your attitude that makes a situation good or bad, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes you can’t do anything you want, and it bums you out.  It’s hard to look on the Brightside when you are fighting possible illness, bored out of your mind, worried about your health (and your babies help) and frustrated that you can’t do anything.  And it’s ok to be sad.  It’s ok to be frustrated.  It’s ok to feel exactly what you feel.  I’ve had to learn that the hard way.  Fighting sadness, frustrating, depression, etc. will not make things better.  You just have to live in the moment – allow yourself to be in the mood you are in – and once you have felt all the emotions you need to feel, you can move on.

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So hopefully, I am moving on.  Fingers crossed this medication works and little baby and I will be fine by the weekend!

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