I'm not really talking about the physical changes, exactly. We all know (or at least suspect) there's a baby growing in there.
Here are a few non-textbook things that changed about me when my second offspring showed up on the scene (many of these happened with my first pregnancy, too):
1. I can hardly stand spinach. I've had one or two green smoothies that were tolerable since the beginning of this pregnancy. Other than that, spinach turns my stomach.
2. I have less of a filter. For the most part, I like this. I've had a conversation with one of my best that I've been wanting to for awhile and I told another she's been doing a hell of a good job with her toddler + twin babies. I like this version of me.
3. I want CHEESE. I'm pretty sure a good chunk of our grocery budget goes to Organic Valley these days.
4. I get winded going up the stairs. Yikes! Blaming it on the increased blood capacity, but it's still embarrassing when I have to stop to catch my breath at the top of a single flight.
5. I have nicer hair. I still need a hair cut (as usual), but I'm overall happier with it...even when resorting to last-resort hair supplies.
My "Getting Healthy Mama" Instagram account didn't last long. I'm just not a person who keeps separate personal AND health and fitness accounts.
I mean, really, I AM a person who likes to try a LOT of new things and can't seem to sit still (sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively).
EXCEPT. The last few weeks, I have HAD to sit still.
I am nearly 15 weeks pregnant; doing a few simple household chores wears. me. OUT. I'm trying to get back to working out; I did NOT work out today, even though I hadn't done so since Monday because, you guys, I vacuumed the house. I'm serious about this!
The temperatures dipped in the single digits; we had to stay inside because a degree or two is not quite enough for me to take my (albeit mostly tough) 2-year-old outside.
Also, my entire household got the flu, during which my son was waking up a few times through the night (plus my nightly need to wake up to pee at LEAST once; thank you, Tiny Baby.)
We've been tired. And staying still. The ball of Winter Blues got rolling for me.
I fell off the wagon of actively seeking out community (due to need- no one wants the flu!). I fell off the wagon of getting ready in the morning- yesterday, I spent my whole day in my pj's, developed a rat's nest for a hair do, and all-in-all put little effort into myself (other than eating). I've been frustrated and getting grumpier almost by the day.
Plus. I am not a fan of winter; I hate what it does to my spirit.
Last night, when I finally showered for the day, I realized I really just need to deal with the fact that winter and flu season is sticking around for a little longer. I can be mad about it, or I can be proactive about doing my best trudge through this next period of time. I tried (and succeeded) to get a good night's sleep and then I:
-got myself dressed and ready for the day as soon as it seemed feasible.
-had a morning outing ready to go.
-talked through my current parenting frustrations with a good friend.
-planned some play dates.
The difference between yesterday and today is amazing. I need to do that again.
But first! A good night's sleep. (Good night!)
I'm a strong believer in food as a foundation for a lot of things- community, energy, mood, quality of life...
Yet there is this part of me that struggles with abusing. I'm not talking about treats. I see nothing wrong with occasional treats; after all, they can be a fun part of quality of life. I'm talking about eating in mass quantities, eating so my mood dips low, so I don't sleep well, my energy dips, all of that.
I am a fan of food journals. Not the kind that count calories; I've been there and it's not for me. I've filled journals with what I've eaten that day, notes, shopping lists, highlights from the day...that kind of thing.
During this season of my life, sitting down to write what I ate is not how I want to be spending my time. There are cards and posts I haven't written, books I haven't read, friends I haven't met with....
This morning, I created a new Instagram account (in addition to my personal one, which is mostly pictures of Nolan) to document my adventures in making choices that lead to the quality of life I'm after. I think it's going to be a lot more fun than a food journal. Want to join me? Check out http://instagram.com/gettinghealthymama.
See you over there!
This little spunkster just passed out. At 4:48 pm.
Oh, it's been one of those days. The kind where I'm sure Nolan is testing me all the live long day and I'm failing. I'm sure there is a better mother out there for him.
My adventurer can now climb in and out his crib, so although he's not ready to drop his nap, he's decided he is. It's a choice that results in an ultra sunny disposition in the afternoon, I can assure you. He's also figured out how to knock down the gate keeping him in his room, so enforcing quiet time is out.
I was pretty sure I was about to lose it, so I called my husband to tell him so.
Waves of you can't call him, he's going to think you're doing a bad job. He's going to worry about leaving you home with him whirled around my mind. But I called. Just like I should have. Talking to Tim was just what I needed to breathe in and breathe out, go about the rest of the day with a better perspective, and be the better mother I thought might be inside me somewhere.
I have a hard time being vulnerable. That inner dialogue is kind of normal for me. Although it doesn't keep me from doing what I need or what to as much as it used to, I can't remember the last time I called a friend with an SOS call like that. I have some good friends, people I could trust with my insecurities (I'm failing as a mother. I'm screwing this whole thing up) and gently correct me if I need it.
I've been writing up some highlights from 2013 (which I'm not sure will actually get published- you may have seen how irregularly I tend to post) and then some ideas on making memories this year. And I do. I want to make memories and be intentional and not take my time with anyone for granted.
I think another goal for the year will be connecting. Giving people a chance carry my burdens- and that is hard for me to write, let alone do, but carrying burdens is what people who love each other do. My relationships aren't at all one-sided with me doing all the giving; I need to be doing more carrying, too- for family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. I just think that practicing some vulnerability, especially during my ugly I'm going to lose it! moments will set me up for deeper connections.
I think that's what people who are trying to follow Jesus do- we get broken and poured out for other people. We carry heavy stuff for each other. I think that's where true community comes from.
I am a woman with several balls in the air and only two hands.
I know I am not alone in this.
I know this is not a new thing, that balance isn't something found and then attained forever. It's a teetering back and forth, sometimes falling, and getting up again.
I am working a job for which I am not qualified on paper, but I am trying hard to learn and do well at it.
I am wanting to keep our house clean and inviting, share meals, and be present and loving for my husband and son. I am trying to maintain relationships white fighting off the winter blues and figuring out which spot that doesn't center around ME do I jump into so I can give of myself?
I NEED all of those things- the working, the relationships, the taking care of my home, a place to give of myself that is REALLY giving.
Oh! and then there's self care.
Whether or not some do more (surely some do more or less), I don't know how I can fit it all in every day.
I'm pretty sure I can't do it all every day.
I can do some of it every day- the most important parts for that day, maybe.
And every once in a while, I'll get a surprise window of time when I can sit and write and feel the deep sigh of contentment that comes with it.
Today was...busy, and then there is this window of peace. I'm going to soak it up and I'm not going to clean or try to juggle anything. I'm just going to enjoy.
I realized yesterday that I've been entirely self-focused and as a consequence, debilitated by that.
Even by writing this, I am talking about ME, engaging in navel-gazing, focused on how I perceive the world.
Part of that is inescapable. You and I have our own unique perspectives to offer up right where we are, and there is good in that.
But I've been so focused on how I am being impacted that I've been forgetting about looking for ways to engage and listen and pour out what I have to offer.
As soon as I realized that, my whole being felt relief.
Because engaging and giving what I have to offer isn't only a chance to feel good about myself; it is being in relationship as I am meant to be. I give because I was made to have something to give and because doing so is a part of fulfilling who I am.
I am terrible about asking for what I need, but I have to practice. Because I have gotten into the ridiculousness of assuming those who love me will just know what I need and if they want to, they'll do it. But THAT JUST ISN'T TRUE. I need to ask. Just by doing that, I am being in relationship as I am meant to be.
Give and take. Give and take. Consider myself, but consider others just as much, if not more.
It's time to get back to that beautiful dance.
I recently posted a request for questions on Facebook. Based on those questions alone, I have quite a few posts to write!
Let me just put in my disclaimer here: I am not an expert on fostering. I don't know all the answers. I am learning more and more about the realities of the foster system, but I still have my rose-colored on about it. I am writing to dialogue, process, and share.
With that out of the way, let's address the easy stuff first.
What agency are you going through? We are going with Cobys Family Services.
I think that about covers the easy stuff.
How about one more?
What sparked the interest in becoming a foster family? Has it always existed or did it come up when you were doing research on adopting?
It came up when we were doing research for adopting. I can't even remember a time when Tim and I didn't want to adopt. We have never been the people that know exactly the place they want to adopt their child from, so we ruled out international adoption. (It's expensive and there's a greater chance of participating in a corrupt adoption.)
At the time, we weren't even considering fostering. We didn't want to deal with having our child taken away from us after falling in love with him or her.
But then we found out that there IS a time period that birth mothers are allowed to change their mind.
Well, that ruins THAT plan.
Oh, and there's this whole thing about paying for an adoption that's a little out of our reach. Even if we could raise enough funds, there's a LOT of extra expenses that coming with raising a child, particularly one that might need extra services based on his or her history. (More $$$)
We found out about SWAN adoptions. Essentially, the state will pay adoption fees for kids ready to be adopted from the foster system and in many cases, will pay a stipend for their care until they reach the age of 18.
Yup, money was our obstacle and then it was our motivator (to look into fostering, that is. Let me be clear, we are not going to MAKE money off of this if we properly care for our child(ren). Which we will.)
The more we learn, the more we think fostering-to-adopt is something we can do.
One of the things that foster kids really need from foster parents is a willingness to ride the parallel tracks of adoption and reunification with their families.
I can't say I was always up for being a middle man while birth parents sorted out their issues and maybe reunited with birth kids. For me, it came with time and education.
If I do end up pouring myself into a kid in the process of finding a child to adopt into my family and then that kid leaves, my hope is that I will have been a part of being Jesus with skin on for a little while. Healing broken spots. Finding beauty and joy. Loving when my foster child doesn't want to be loved/doesn't feel deserving/rejects love. Challenging what isn't right.
Fostering and foster-to-adoption is a function of tragedy and loss. My end goal is currently adoption but if a family gets a chance to heal and try again and my (current) family gets to be a part of that, awesome.
We said, "we couldn't be foster parents because we could never deal with loving a child and then giving them up."
I laugh about that now because we are currently in process of training to become foster parents.
They said, "we're going to tell you the horrible things these kids go through, what it's like to be them, so you know what to expect, so you're equipped to deal."
And they do.
I think it's been every week that I've thought OMG I didn't know what I was getting myself into! Every week, I think that the foster system needs many, many more loving people involved in it, and I'm pretty sure me and my boys are supposed to be some of those people.
I have a lot to say and a lot to process.
I have a lot of interests, a lot of feelings; I am an all over the place kind of person. It's why I've never really been able to stick to one topic on this blog.
But I think I'm about to enter the all about family/fostering/adoption portion of my blogging life. I have lot of posts to catch up on, but right now I'm wondering....do you have any questions for me, related to the process?
Be back soon. Even if I can only carve out 5 minutes in a day, I think writing about the way my family is about to grow is something I need and want right now.
One day, maybe I'll stop offering an explanation when a visitor walks into my house to find Nolan's eyes glazed over in front of the TV or he is eating crackers for lunch or he is refusing to do what I ask him to do.
Maybe I won't.
Maybe I shouldn't.
There is that side of okay, I don't have to answer to everyone for everything I do. We could have had a perfect day up until the moment that thing I am offering excuses for what just happened; I don't have to prove that to anyone.
But there is this other side of maybe we should talk more. Maybe we should listen more.
I hear a lot about The Mommy Wars...but you know, sometimes I wonder if they actually live in our insecurities and are pumped up by media.
I haven't experienced any sort of Mommy War other than the ones inside myself. She probably thinks I shouldn't be working at all. ..She doesn't respect me because I don't have a career. ...I can't talk to her about this because we ______ differently.
NONE of my fears have been founded in someone else's remarks. They've come from the messiness and uncertainty that comes with being somebody's mother. They've come from old insecurities and the feeling that there must be one end-all, be-all book on how to be a parent in just the right way in my particular family and I am missing it.
There are times when I feel like, "Hey, I love my child, we're doing great, I got this." There are other times when I want to yell into a canyon, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!!!!"
Those are the times I need to talk most. I need to share my story and I need to hear yours, even if it is different than mine (because it's going to be.)
I think the story-sharing is why I have a hard time believing that The Mommy Wars actually exist. If you tell me you've experienced them through actual words of other people, I will believe you. But I really believe if we get to know each other's stories, instead of looking for where we stand on a particular issue, the wars won't exist between us. Maybe there will even be the support we all very much need. No one was meant to raise children alone.
an ordinary person whose go-to means of interacting with the world is food.
People don't have enough to eat and meat requires lots of crops? Go vegetarian.
Someone is sick, needs some love, just had a baby, or is grieving? Make a meal.
Stressed? Lonely? Bored? Eat, eat, eat.
Sad because I'm feeling especially maternal and I know baby animals are taken from their mothers so I can eat cheese? Go vegan.
Freaked out because all that stress eating planted several pounds on my butt and thighs? Count calories! Eat all the protein! Find the perfect eating plan!!!
I make my own head spin sometimes.
I am easily distracted, easily influenced, and an easy target for marketers.
So I forget, quite easily, what sits best in my spirit. And what that is goes something like this: Eat real food. I , you, and every other person, animal, and this earth are masterpieces. As best as you can, eat in a way that honors that.
(Sometimes that looks different on me than it does at other times.)
I need to be reminded.