This holding what I have loosely thing is a continual practice.
Definitely not a once and done "this is what I'm going to do, that's final, I've got it down, moving on" type of decisions.
It reminds me of my yoga practice (which I'm now feeling a little anxious to get back into. I do some prenatal yoga, but it's not quite the same. Any locals have affordable ideas for a mama in need of regular yoga, including childcare?).
Sometimes it's several times in one moment that I have to consciously determine whether I'm doing what I can on my part and then let the rest go. I have to open my hands, sometimes physically to let this trusting parts of my life that I cannot control to someone or something else happen.
Y'all, I want to control parts of my life that I can't, even though I don't really know how they are going to turn out best. I don't like that in-between discomfort that comes with letting life unravel. I want the comfort of knowing.
I don't know when my Selah girl is going to show up. I want to tell her any day but one, because I don't know how her being born then will effect others' feelings. I want to control her birth and I how other people feel about it.
My sweet niece was born yesterday to one of my favorite people in the world. She sleeps 1,450 miles away, and I don't know when I'm going to get to snuggle her.
I've been spending quite a bit of time researching Noonday, wondering if it's the right fit for me and my family. There's only so far I can go until I get the answers I need, and the one or two people who are assigned to answer them for me are currently occupied with other things.
Yesterday, I found out that one of my dearest, kindred-spirit-type friends is moving 1,600 miles away in less than 3 weeks.
Y'all. I can't control any of that, and it's hard.
I can keep playing my own part and opening up my hands, even when I have to pry them open (several times in one moment).
I will. I'm going to practice that.
I have to believe that there are beautiful things to be had in
practicing openness, not shutting down
doing the best I can with what is mine to control
look for reasons to be grateful
for parts of life I don't love right now.
That is the hope I am holding onto.
The countdown til Thanksgiving is on!..along with a "challenge" to document 25 things I have to be grateful for.
I've written about 2 so far- on to number 3!
See that beautiful woman next to me? That's my very good friend, Sonya, and her adorable 6-week-old baby girl.
Sonya and I have been friends for over 15 years, but have grown especially close during the last few. She is like a breath of fresh air. We're so different and yet the same. She puts my anxious mind at ease with just a few words, and our friendship has that "oh, yeah? me, too! I thought I was the only one!" factor. We have the kind of friendship that's okay with saying nothing or everything...or both. I'm pretty sure I could never have enough Sonya time, which made it even MORE special when she traveled to my house from an hour away last week WITH an itty-bitty baby. <--She's amazing, right?
I was feeling like...some kind of alien and I wanted to write it out. Life is just different as a mother.
(I'm imagining the long-time moms reading this and chuckling at me. It's okay. You can. It's like when I look at my little boy and say to Tim, "he's such a BOY!" I know how simple my "revelations" are these days. )
I often try to get Nolan and I out of the house to do "something fun" 1x per day. I've noticed that any more or less than that usually gets to be too much for both of us. We both love to be around people, we really do, but we need plenty of time to recharge, too.
Here's the thing. If said outing includes (much-needed) time with a dear friend and Nolan is awake and we are not going for a walk or he just doesn't want to be in his stroller...well, then, friend time now Nolan time with friend on the side. And it's fine; it really is. Nolan is a charmer most of the time, I'm proud of him, and people like to see him.
I just have this need to be known. I want to feel understood...so sometimes I put too much pressure on a particular experience, instead of just enjoying the moments as I live them like I should. And then of course I am disappointed because life often has its own agenda.
It is these types of feelings that lead me to be thankful for the internet. Places to write and have conversations and read posts that I can just nod my head as I read...
And think maybe I should start that moms group I've been thinking about. I'll make the food, and they'll make me think I can have a conversation without having to explain myself or Nolan. Not that anyone makes me think I have to offer up excuses; it's just me. Something I have to deal with and get over.
My little night owl woke up early, ate, and went back to sleep. This is becoming a routine I can (mostly) count on and it works well for this morning-loving mom. I feed him, sometimes pump, then have some time to do whatever takes priority in my eyes.
This morning it was a tough workout.
And I don't know- maybe it was the fact that everything seems better in the morning or the endorphins- but today just seems better. Brighter. Less self-induced pressure. More do-able.
I think I may just start that brunch-for-moms group, though, because I'll need help fighting off the alien feelings when they come back.
[Photo taken by my sister-in-law, Steph]
Much of (my, and maybe yours, too) life comes in waves.
The strong desire to eat my feelings, the urge to run, the amount of time I spend cooking meals. how much time I spend writing...
It all comes in waves.
I can tell you that it's all always there, somewhere.
One day I will have the urge to just go outside and run, and I will do it if at all possible.
Some weeks I making cooking more of a priority than I do other weeks.
Some weeks I have so much to write, some I don't, and some I just can't get to the computer to bleed out all the craziness that is happening inside my head.
And that old familiar urge to handle unwanted feelings with food, food, FOOD..? It's still there, sometimes up front and center, and sometimes completely buried. Always there.
I purposely cut WAY down on sugar this past week. I haven't cut it completely out- if I really want a sweet, I will have it, a little bit, and I will enjoy it. If there is a little sugar in my food (and there is sugar in a lot of unexpected foods!), I will still eat some, but I will be mindful of it. I just can't cut almost anything completely out and feel healthy mentally.
I'm not cutting down on sugar for Lent.
I'm doing it because I'd gotten myself caught up in the I've eaten sugar so I crave sugar roller coaster until I just wanted more and more and felt like I just couldn't be satiated.
Cutting down on sugar makes choosing not to binge much easier...but the default setting of handling difficulties with way too much food is still there.
This morning, I really wanted to gather all the peanut butter and chocolate I could find and go to town. I credit not being hopped up on sugar with being able to think clearly enough to tell my husband.
I avoided saying anything self-deprecating about how I was feeling. I allowed myself to feel, to be honest.
And just like that, that intense desire to ease the tensions I was feeling with food until I was numb? Dissolved.
At the end of it all, I felt so glad that I was able to be so honest with Tim, that I'm able to come here and be just as honest, that I made a choice that enables me to live life a little more fully today.
Happy Friday to me.
That default setting? I'm convinced it will never leave, but I have some thanks to give to a few people who have helped me process life through it and live life a little more fully. I'm looking at you, Tim, Mish, Eating as a Path to Yoga, Kristin T., Tina and Katie. (Eep! I hope I didn't miss any body!)
This past week was a big one in Babyland.
-Tim and I attended our first birthing class.
-My mom and mother-in-law threw me and Baby K. a shower that left me overwhelmed by how loved and supported our little family is.
-My sister and her boyfriend flew in just for the shower!
-I got some quality just-Sarah-and-Katie time.
-I interviewed by husband on the process of being a father. (Did you get to read it yet? If not, you can do so here or scroll down if you did not click on a specific post.)
-I got my blood tested for Gestational Diabetes and anemia. (I did fine on the GD test, but my iron is still low.)
-I met up with my long-time (15 years?!) friend, Di, who lives in Texas now.
It's been a very good, ooshy-gooshy, how-did-I-get-this-lucky, love-filled week.
Whew. Really. How did I get this lucky?
Along with my appointment to test for Gestatational Diabetes and anemia yesterday, I did have a regular check-up. Baby Boy's heart beat was in the 160's- higher than it's been for my last 2 appointments-and my blood pressure was down just a bit. (Both are within healthy ranges.) He measured right at 28 weeks (he'd been measuring big at earlier appointments.), and I'm up a total of 14 pounds so far. I'm at the point where I have an appointment every two weeks (time is flying!) and I told my midwife about my butt pain. She thinks it comes from a pinched sciatic nerve from all the weight in my belly pulling on it. I started icing the small of my back (where the nerve starts), and it's been helping at least a little!
Coming up this week:
-birthing class #2 on comfort measures during labor
-house sitting for family (at my favorite house to do so. I love pretending I have lots of pets, a home gym, and a gourmet kitchen for a few days)
-a birthday bash in my mom's hometown
-handing in my final grad project again (oh, I didn't tell you? The first one got lost).
-getting closer to having a finished nursery!
-anticipating the birth of a dear friend's baby girl
- fully intending on spending lots of quality time with my husband while it's still "just" us
It's baby season in my world.
Not just me.
I can think of at least 6 women I know outside of the blogosphere who are about to have a baby in the next few months, many of them estimated to give birth within the same week I am.
I'm not quite sure when, or where, but I came across category of recipes called "lactation cookies." It's sounds at least a little bit strange, right?
Really, they're just oatmeal cookies with a couple of extra ingredients intended to help new mamas produce more milk.
They're safe for anyone else to eat.
They won't cause your husband/boyfriend/brother/non-lactating female friend to start producing milk.
They could be something sweet, satisfying, and maybe helpful that I could give to the new mamas I know. Even if some choose not to breastfeed, life with a newborn calls for a supply of healthy and easy-to-grab snacks, right?
So I tried my hand at a batch, this one intended for my sweet friend, Kristen, who is due to give birth to her baby girl in about a week.
I subbed sweetened dried cranberries for more commonly used chocolate chips, due to the recent heat, and the fact that they would need to make a trip cross-country.
Tasty. Granola-like. But dry and crumbly.
These will not make the trip intact ( but maybe as granola, as my husband suggested?).
Has anyone made lactation cookies before? Do you have a go-to, non-crumbly recipe you would share with me?
Today, I am thankful for......my sister, who seems to always know how to help me relax when it comes to life. My concern- and really, overanalyzation- of what I do and don't do and what that means might be quite obvious.
But even if it isn't, she knows about it.
Katie knows how to help me loosen up and let my shoulders melt away from around my ears.
And maybe find humor in it instead
or even better, invite me into their own craziness.
Opportunities. I love it when I get word of a need and pointers on how to contribute. I don't always participate, but it kind of fuels me up when I do. Makes me wonder why I'm so hesitant to share my own opportunities.
Ezekiel bread and tortillas. Banana. Cinnamon. Flax. Cashew butter, peanut butter, almond butter. And Sunshine veggie burgers. These have been some of my favorite foods lately, and they've kept me fueled for some wild rides.
It's been a few days since my last post.
Which is of no consequence, really, because blogging is not my job (although some days I wish it was), and everyone will get along just fine without yet another peak into the mess that is my brain.
Except I want to write.
Writing is such an outlet for me. In the same way that runners and painters find release in the activities that label them as such, I guess I am a writer. Not because anyone else says so; writing is just part of who I am. I think I've been this way ever since I learned about written words.
I haven't written (even though I've wanted to) because there is a lot swirling around inside of me right now, and I really don't think I'm ready to let everything settle down into neat little topics just yet. (Nothing bad! In fact, I haven't even been binging.) Luckily, a couple of much-loved bloggers gave me an easy out: blog awards. Which means I share 7 things about myself right here. That works out for me because I love lists, and it gets me writing.
1. I think I just shared one: I love lists. Whenever I am looking forward to something, there will be lists. All kinds of lists. Lists of meal ideas, tasks, and brainstorms. If you see me writing a list, you know I'm ready to celebrate something.
2. I have two pink birth marks- one on my foot, and one on my butt. I really like them; I think I always have.
3. I'm convinced I like anything coconut. Have I mentioned this before? My current stock of coconut is as follows: unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut butter, and cacao coconut butter.
5. I am a processor. I cannot usually have an in-depth discussion all at once. I'll have it, but I'll most likely get to the heart of things over time (sometimes over night and sometime over years).
6. I have never owned a bikini. At one point, I determined I would as a sign of comfort in my own skin, but I have yet to follow through.
7. One of my best foodie memories is of the day my sister and I spent hours on a big Italian going-away-party feast before she left for Mississippi. There was just enough excitement, sweat, chopping, anticipation, and hurry-it-up-a-little to make for a perfect day.
This is the first post in a series. If you're not interested in where I've been or what that means for right now, go ahead and exercise your freedom by skipping these posts. They'll be clearly labeled so you can do so or look out for them if you're itching for a little back story and update on my current situation.
If you've been around and you've heard my stories, some of this will be a repeat for you. Scanning is allowed, of course, but whatever you choose to do,I have a story to share. It's starts with something like, "once upon a time." Truly, it was nearly 10 years ago. At 25 years old, ten years is quite a bit of time. So. Here we go.
Once upon a time, something woke up in me. I am a somewhat indecisive person, but when I set my heart on something, it's set. I'm determined and stubborn, and quite trusting (at least somewhere within me) that I will get what I want. If you fast forward the story a bit, you will see that this was true of the man I fell in love with and one day, I completely believe that it will be true of my desire to adopt. In this story, I was 16 years old with a lot of weight, questions, and insecurities on my shoulders. One day, something just snapped in me-pretty much like those glow sticks you can buy at...well, I don't know where you can buy them, but you snap them, and then they glow. Do you know what I mean? And I knew. My husband was going to be a youth pastor.
Now, keep in mind, I was sixteen. I never really dated, unless you count elementary school, which I didn't (and there was that one boy in seventh grade...but I'm telling you, none of that counts as dating. Either way.). Most of the time, I really wanted a boyfriend, but even more than that, I wanted an older brother. I wanted someone to look out for me and take care of me and threaten everyone who threatened me. I didn't know any boys like that.
Time marched on. I was 18 and up for anything. I joined my school's volleyball team because it was my senior year, my sister was impressively athletic, and it was something we could do together. I was not good at all, but I went and I learned and I spent some quality time with my sister.
Around this same time, a couple of my friends invited me to come visit their youth group. I had volley ball practice, drama practice, year book deadlines, playbill meetings (I was very much into all of those things and still would be if they were available to me...well, with the exception of volleyball. I get plenty of chances to play and usually opt out). Words like, "maybe next time" flowed repeatedly out of my mouth.
Eventually, I went. I followed a friend around like a puppy until I felt comfortable, but I kept going. I brought friends and my brother and sister. I went on trips and got pulled in. I think it was mostly because suddenly I had older brothers. Guys who cared about what happened to me and how my day went and made me feel safe. Guys who just wanted to hang out and had girlfriends who weren't jealous and just wanted to be my friend, too.
Let me tell you, I made a lot of female friends at that youth group- probably more females than males. But it was the choices of the males that won me over. Those choices help fill that deep desire that needed to be filled before I could even hope to make a good decision about that youth pastor I wanted to marry.
I'm a week into a four-week food blogging experiment.
So far? I'm liking it.
At the moment, I think my brain has already started turning mushy in hopes of sleep, so all the pretty words floating through my head earlier today (when of course, I couldn't sit down to write) are gone. Instead, you have Sleep Sarah, here to take a stab at telling you a story. Good luck to you.
The fact that I am committed to posting every day for twenty-eight days straight is really the only drawback to this whole thing because really? I can't write great posts that many days in a row. Sometimes writing is inconvenient, and sometimes I should probably be in bed instead of clacking away at keys and waiting for photos to upload.
But this whole food blogging thing has turned out to be a great experiment. It has me making more conscious decisions about what I eat (including those times when I don't feel like it and I'd rather mindlessly eat whatever is carby and full of cholesterol). I feel fantastic (other than this whole I-should-be-in-bed-right-now thing). My jeans fit better already, and wonder of wonders, food has kind of slipped away from center stage somewhere during the last few days.
Something in the mix of blogging every day, taking better care of my body, and making more conscious decisions has seeped into other parts of my thinking. I like writing every day; it leads me to think about what I am choosing to do and not do and why.
Every day, I get to (try to) answer the question what do I want to do with my one wild and precious life? (I got that phrase from here, and I love it.) Some days, I want to spend an evening with my husband because he's the kind of guy who I do believe would travel to proverbial hell and back with me, should the need arise. Some days, I want to take a couple of kids out for the afternoon because I want them to believe me when I tell them I love them and because maybe their mom needs a break. Some days, I want to stay in to work on homework because I've spent a long time feeling second-class compared to some of the brilliant people that I know. But I've got a brain, and it works, and I'm done comparing and I'm ready to do the best I can with what I've got.
Some days, I choose to run home after work, change clothes, grab a glass of iced Coke Zero with fresh lemon and head right back out the door. Because I have a dinner date with a long-time friend who has seen me through years of life, and it's been too long since I've seen her. Like today. (This is one of the few pictures we have together! I brought my camera to dinner in anticipation of a long-awaited Jess and Sarah picture but was thwarted by a dead camera battery...perhaps that's something I should have checked on ahead of time?)
Catch-up sessions require refueling, so I chose some raw veggies from the restaurant's complimentary happy hour table, plus Summer Thai Shrimp and Lobster Soup and two seared scallops with a mango orange lemongrass glaze and baby bok choy.
Oh, and that thing that got me blogging every single day in the first place? Food documention? Here we go...in addition to what I already wrote here, I ate:
-Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin with cashew butter and cinnamon, a banana, and a cup of coffee for breakfast
-an Amy's burrito, Clif Builder Bar, and some leftover dessert hummus with animal cookies to dip. (When I'm tired like I am, I often crave sugar mid-day. I tried to make some good choices with that craving in mind.)
That's all for now, Folks. I hope everyone (including me!) has a good night's sleep tonight!