Saturday, November 29, 2008

Huh?

Before I begin this, I am changing one of my children's names. Not in real life, that would be too confusing to him. Plus, I like his name. We knew not long after we found out we were expecting that his name would be....HA! You thought I'd slip, didn't you?

Bugaboo doesn't quite fit my six-year-old son anymore. We've been calling him "Lion", so that's what he'll be here too. It's quite appropriate, considering he roars any time things are not to his satisfaction. He loves it though, so it's a quite fitting term of endearment. I say "I love you (insert real name here) lion" and he says "I love you Mommy lion".

Tonight we were reading scriptures together as a family before bed. All was lovely and spiritual until Princess, who was on the floor with Lion by my feet where I couldn't see, started crying. The gist of the situation was that she had swiped at him, so he hurt her. I scolded her while James spoke to Lion.

"Are you a boy?"

"Yes."

"Are you bigger than her?"

"Yes."

"Under no circumstances should you ever hurt your sister, period."

Professor spoke up. "I didn't think little girls had periods."

James and I looked at each other and started cracking up. Lion, still on the floor, was quizzical.

"Pyramids? Pyramids? Like Mario and Luigi?"

I believe I told him yes.

You'd think we let that boy play video games all the time with as much as he's obsessed with them.

We don't, by the way. We use all four kids games that we own as reward and punishment, mostly. "You play that video game until you're blue in the face, that'll teach you!"

Just kidding. Well, maybe.

No, for real. Just kidding.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Positive Self-Esteem

I've done a lot of thinking about self-esteem lately. Ever since Jen announced her Self-Esteem Carnival, in fact.

I thought about it the day I read her post. I thought about it when I went into the hospital last week with newly discovered pregnancy and diabetes. I even wrote a post chronicling events of my life that led to my difficulty with my own self-esteem. It's still in my drafts folder, not quite expressing my thoughts quite right.

Hmm, that's interesting. I said I had thought about self-esteem, but really what happened is that I would start to think about it, then shove the thoughts away. It was as if I really didn't know what to think about it. Or my subconscious did, and didn't want me to go there.

So much is in our media about the need for us as women to take time for ourselves, focusing more on what we want out of life. I agree that making time for myself is important, but I've always felt that there's more to having a positive self-esteem than just getting regular facials or attending yoga classes. Painting my toes does make me feel pretty now and then, but the feeling never lasts as long as I wish it would.

Positive self-esteem is more important to me now than ever, because I have a three-year-old daughter. She practically hero-worships me at this point. She's so much like I was as a child, enthralled with princesses, babies, pink, dancing, and dresses. I don't even want to think about her getting older and having the challenge of developing a positive self-esteem in this world. I'm concerned about my sons too, but let's face it--our culture is more obsessed with women being perfect in every way than ever before.

I feel the pressure to have it figured out so that I can help her all I can. After all, if her mother doesn't have a positive self-esteem, what does that say to her?

One of the last days I was in the hospital, I made myself think about self-esteem, more specifically, mine. Not just barely think, but really dig deep down. I learned a few things.

The times in my life where I have had good self-esteem was, paradoxically, when I was not thinking about myself. The time of my life just before I met my husband was probably the most positive self-esteem I have ever had. I had gotten over an ended relationship, and learned to be true to myself. I went out with the sister missionaries in my church, and taught the gospel. I read my scriptures, prayed, and decided that other people's opinions didn't matter as much to me as my Heavenly Father's opinion. I found a new job, went to dances and spent time with my friends. I served where I could. The most important people in my life were my family. I decided that I was going to be me, and if other people, namely men, didn't like it that was too bad. I figured that as long as I was asking the Lord's guidance on my life, that I was satisfied with it and at peace with myself.

On the other hand, the lowest points of self-esteem in my life were when I have been focusing on myself. How fat I looked, how tired I was, how messy my house was, what a crappy wife, mother, church teacher, etc that I was. It was all focused inward on me, me, me.

Why, I asked myself, would I have a poor self-esteem when I'm serving now more than I ever had before? When I know I'm doing what God wants me to? When I'm sacrificing myself for my family, each and every day? The answer lies in this key fact: I can wash dishes, do laundry, cook, and clean toilets while being entirely engrossed in myself.

It wasn't until I realized this that things are slowly changing for me. It's entirely possible to focus on myself when washing dishes (WHY do they dirty so many, I'm not the maid...), do laundry (I have nothing better to do than get stains out of clothes, a robot could do this...), cook (I spend this long cooking and it's gone in a flash, no one appreciates me...), and clean toilets (Is it impossible for them to get it all in the toilet? Really?)

How could I develop a positive self-esteem with all of these negative thoughts running through my day?

When I started replacing these thoughts with others, my happiness and self-worth began changing. I still struggle with negative thinking. However, I'm discovering that it is possible to focus on others, and in the process, lift myself. Positive self-esteem is found in doing mindless, mundane tasks when I remember who I'm doing them for. When I focus on laundry for example, I can choose to be thankful that we have clothing and that my children are healthy and growing.

In the last while I have also learned something else critical for developing a positive self-esteem. Forgiveness. I am finally learning to forgive myself.

It started in the months leading up to when I'd turn thirty. The big 3-0. That was on October 30th. Golden birthday, double whammy.

The thought of turning thirty was really hard on me. It wasn't the number so much as for what it stood for. I had wanted to have it all together by that time. I didn't want to leave my twenties fat, or with a messy house, I wanted to have achieved something, a personal goal. I felt like a failure.

Then, a few weeks before the big day, I began changing. Maybe you get some magical wisdom by turning thirty, I don't know. But I began to look at my upcoming age in a different way--instead of an ending and a failure, it became a chance for starting new and fresh. I started becoming eager to leave my twenties behind and become an older, hopefully wiser, me. And when I did this, I started learning to forgive myself.

Forgiveness is different than making excuses. Forgiveness means telling yourself "Yeah, this did happen. Own the problem and accept it. Then you can move on."

I forgave myself for all the self-loathing I have done over my body. I know now that there was so much more going on than just gaining weight, both emotionally and physiologically. It doesn't mean I have to like it or love the fat rolls, but a little kindness is better than hatred. Hatred does nothing but anchor them more firmly.

I forgave myself for the times I've gotten upset with my children. It does no good to beat myself up constantly for my mistakes. Those keep me in the past. I can't fix them. The only things I can do is make better choices every second, every minute, every hour, every day; and say I'm sorry when I make a mistake.

I forgave myself for having a messy, unorganized house. I know think it's a miracle that I functioned as well as I did before knowing was making me feel bad. Feeling overwhelmed can be physically crippling.

I forgave myself for not being in the kind of physical shape I wanted to be in. All I can do is take care of myself and try my best. Beating myself up over it never accomplished anything, and worked against me.

I forgave myself for not putting enough trust in the Lord. He knows me. He knows what I can handle, even when I don't think I can.

We women sabotage ourselves in so many ways--our looks, our clothes, what men think, what other moms think, what well-put-together women think, our houses, our religions, our service, our parents, our houses, our hobbies, our total happiness. All I can say to this, is STOP DOING THAT.

The way to positive self-esteem is loving ourselves if for no other reason that we are daughters of God. The way to positive self-esteem is forgiveness and acceptance. The way to positive self-esteem is struggling past our own hurts and pain to lift up someone else.

So, what will I tell my daughter to help her feel she has value?

That I love her, unconditionally.
That she's a daughter of God.
To find joy and feel God's love by serving others.
To forgive herself for making mistakes. God does, so should she.

And once in a while, take a bubble bath with a good book.

Giving Thanks Today

First, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes! They mean so, so much to me. You have helped to sustain me and make me feel like my spirit has been hugged. It's a safe, warm, wonderful feeling.

There's so much that I am thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family. For my best friend, my husband. For my children. Each one is so unique.

I'm thankful for my parents, sisters and brother.

I'm thankful for the smell of pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon warmed all together.

I'm thankful that Princess tried to help me by folding laundry this morning.

I'm thankful that I'm feeling better today than I was yesterday.

I'm thankful for Bugaboo's smile as he proclaimed over and over that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. (It's because of the food.)

I'm thankful for the laugh Princess gave me when she found out that Bugaboo was in the bathroom and she had to go. She told me, "I guess Bugaboo didn't know that it's ladies first." So funny coming from a three-year-old!

I'm thankful for Professor helping to take care of his brother and sister so much lately. He makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich in the sandwich maker.

I'm thankful for the Relief Society president who called this morning to offer to send a child or two over to help me cook Thanksgiving dinner. It was so thoughtful and sweet. I had bought pie and rolls, so I didn't need extra help, but it was so kind of her to offer.

I'm thankful for my golden tablecloth that matches the beautiful fall silk flower arrangement that a friend made me for helping with her daughter's wedding. It's so beautiful, and the look on the children's faces when they saw the table was priceless.

I'm thankful that I enjoy cooking. Even when I'm tired, it's therapeutic. Making food for my family with my own hands is such a loving act for me. So basic, the nourishing of loved ones, but so fulfilling.

I'm thankful for the sounds my children make as they're eating when they love their food, especially when it's made up songs that they hum.

I'm thankful for the insulin that I take so that I can eat without hurting myself or the baby inside me.

I'm thankful for James. He is so supportive and I love him now and forever.

I'm thankful for the occasional ligament pain that means my baby is growing. Whether this baby is meant to be with our family now or not, every day I'm thankful for it. It doesn't matter that it's only the size of a sesame seed now. (I actually showed Bugaboo and Princess a sesame seed, telling them that's how big the baby was. After the explanation I didn't think twice about popping the seed in my mouth, but the two of them looked shocked. Princess' eyes were big and she looked slightly horrified. Should have thought twice about eating it!)

I'm thankful I found out that I have diabetes. Knowing why I've been tired and had a difficult time losing weight is the first step to getting healthy.

I'm thankful for my dog. He misses me when I'm gone, and is so thankful for every little kindness I bestow on him. I need to give him more little kindnesses. I also need to bathe him so I don't cringe when I pet him. He needs love too.

I'm thankful for the internet and my computer. I would be lost without them.

I'm thankful for warm water from the tap, bathtubs, and indoor toilets. Seriously, I do think about that stuff.

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving. I love this holiday. It gives me a reason to think all day long about what I'm thankful for, and I have so, so much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lab Results and Rebellious Produce

You know, I need to post something funny. I need funny after the power steering belt broke on the way home yesterday. My car must think I'm the Hulk. At least it went when we were almost home. It would have been worse if it had gone on the highway home from the hospital.

I need something funny because my baby girl had a 102.6 fever last night, and Bugaboo feels warm. We're missing Thanksgiving with the family, whom we haven't seen in a while, and I'm not at all motivated to cook.

Right now I can hardly stay awake, let alone cook, clean, or think of something funny. If I try, the first thing that comes to mind are penguins, which aren't really funny. I guess they could be if one talked to you and told you a joke, but that doesn't happen as often as I like. I think the whole penguin thing is a remnant of some inside joke from the early years of our marriage. I don't even remember the situation, but James started talking about penguins when he was overtired or some such nonsense.

Speaking of overtired, that's where I am. With higher blood sugar levels, I'm foggy and loopy. I just want to curl up in bed and go to sleep. The emotional and physical stress from this makes me almost numb. I got hold of my OB this morning, because my levels aren't good. I tried to call the endocrinologist yesterday, but they were not helpful. I asked for someone to talk to because I had gotten out of the hospital the day before and had high readings, and was told to leave a short message on the blood sugar readings message line. Sheesh, after hearing that I had been in the hospital and needed to talk to someone they should have had a doctor or nurse call me back.

After some back and forth with my OB's nurse, the endocrinologist's office called. This was AFTER I found a new one in my city, because I don't want to travel far to go to a doctor unless I have to. They changed my dosing and directions, quite a lot. I didn't get some critical info when I was discharged, and was told to test 4 times a day when it's supposed to be 7. I could go on and on but I won't, as no one reading this probably cares or needs to know, but it's therapy for me at the moment.

I asked my OB's nurse about my hormone levels. My HCG has gone up appropriately, but the progesterone has gone down so they want me to supplement. If the baby makes it through the next two weeks, they'll do an ultrasound to see if it's ok. I'm hanging on until then.

If you've made it this far, you're getting a reward. Here is something funny, it's one of my favorite silly things in the whole world! Enjoy!


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Story of the Past Four Days

First of all, I'm sorry that I scared you, Jen and Michal! I didn't realize I would do that!

Here's what happened:

Monday night I found out that I was pregnant.

Tuesday I started to feel thirstier than usual.

Wednesday I felt even thirstier, so thirsty that I could have drained a lake and still been thirsty. My fingers and lips were tingling.

Having had gestational diabetes with my other kids, I knew I needed to test. I went to Walmart Wednesday night and got a monitor.

I tested my blood sugar and it was very high. That was surprising because I eat extremely healthy, mostly veggies and some fruit. No sugar, no white flour.

I was up until 3:30 am, worried and searching on the internet for info. I didn't want to go to sleep and risk my sugar level going so high that I passed out, so I waited until it went down some. That plus my hands were tingling so badly that I couldn't sleep.

I called my OBGYN early Thursday, and they had me come down right away and put me in the hospital. I was on an insulin drip to stabilize me until Saturday evening, then put on insulin injections. That wasn't a big deal since I had been on insulin when I was pregnant the last time.

That's the story. It turns out that I actually have diabetes and have for at least the past 3 months, but didn't know it until the pregnancy hormones made me feel the effects. It also explains why I've only lost 5 pounds in the last month and a half despite eating the extremely healthy diet I have been. High blood glucose makes it very difficult to lose weight.

At this point we don't know if the baby will survive. My HCG levels are fine, and the chances are good since we caught it so early. I was only 4 weeks when I went into the hospital. The bad thing is that my progesterone level has dropped some, and if it drops too low it causes miscarriage. My doctor is monitoring my levels and will supplement me if it goes too low.

Uncontrolled diabetes is very dangerous to unborn babies. The most critical time is the first trimester. If it's not caught, it can cause miscarriage or birth defects. We caught it so early, before much of anything has developed, that the chances are good.

I'm putting my faith in the Lord. All I can do is take the best care of myself that I can, and trust in Heavenly Father. I know that whichever way the next few weeks go is according to his will.

I'm feeling better now, and I'm so thankful for my sister and her husband. They took care of our children when James was at work. Scott got me books to read from the library to take to the hospital, and Karen sent dvds with me. Scott even took the boys to the arcade that first day. It means SO much to me and I love them immensely. Karen was getting a yucky sickness but still took care of my children in addition to her fussy, getting sick, 7 month old baby.

My mother talked to me every day in the hospital, several times. She calmed me down when necessary, and listened to me ramble on about everything. I talked to my dad a couple of times as well, and feeling his strength and love helped me handle missing my family.

It was hard being away from James. He is my rock. We spoke on the phone every night as he struggled to stay awake. I'm so happy to be home with him.

I'm so thankful for the ladies in church who have brought dinner to my family while I have been gone. They're bringing it through tomorrow, even though I said it wasn't completely necessary. Through this time of adjustment, and not knowing if the baby will be ok, the extra love and support is so welcome.

I go to have more bloodwork done tomorrow. Right now I need to go to a pharmacy to have my prescriptions filled, so I'll sign off.

But before I do, I have to tell you that I missed you all. I thought of you often as I sat in my hospital room. I wished I could read your posts and laugh, cry, smile, or completely identify with you as I always do.

Any prayers you can send our way would be so greatly appreciated!

Quick Update:

I haven't been around because I've been in the hospital since Thursday and just got back about 15 minutes ago. I'm fine. I'll elaborate later, but I wanted to let everyone know why I haven't been around lately. I did not take another break! :D

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weird Dream

Night before last I had a really vivid, weird dream.

If you are my mom or sister you'll probably start shaking your head and groaning. Why? Because whenever I tell them "I had a dream last night" the first words out of any of my family's mouth are "Oh no." That's because I have some of the weirdest dreams in history.

The funny thing is that I usually can remember certain things that triggered specific parts of the dream. The other night I'm sure it was seeing "Failure to Launch" on TV Sunday night. I also wish that TBS hadn't agreed to show nudity, especially since I was treated to the sight of Terry Bradshaw from behind twice! I stopped trying to poke my eyes out this morning.

Anyway, in that movie Matthew McConaughey's character keeps getting bitten by animals. One of the cringe-inducing moments was when he was rock climbing and a lizard, hiding in a crevice, decided to try to make a meal out of his finger. I'm quite sure that is what I need to hold responsible for this dream.

I was standing by a stone wall, at some park or something. There was a snake in a crevice in the wall. (It being a snake was from all the talk of snakes we had when our hometeachers were over on Sunday.) It was some kind of deadly poisonous snake. I had never seen one with coloring like it before. It was tan and brown with a long arrow shaped metallic blue streak on the side of its underbelly, and green somewhere else.

I don't remember how it got me, but it did. I think it chased me and I twisted and turned to get away, but it bit my foot. (The foot thing was from watching Steve Martin get shot in the foot on "The Three Amigos". That's what I get from watching TV on Sunday, I guess.)

There were people around me and no one was calling 911, for some reason James was trying to get me to walk and I knew I shouldn't because the poison would spread. So, I called 911 myself and tried not to walk too much. My leg swelled up and was huge! It also got super red where the swelling was, and I was trying to describe it to the 911 dispatcher. I remember being surprised that I wasn't dead yet.

The last thing I remember was waiting for someone to show up with an ambulance. I think I was about to drive myself to the hospital, as the dispatcher on the phone didn't show any urgency.

The point of this dream is something we all can learn from. Two points, actually:

#1. Never think you can depend on another living human if you're bitten by a super poisonous snake that no one is familiar with. They won't think it's as serious as it is, and you may die. #2. Keep a suit of body armor in your car in case you find yourself at a park with a brick wall.

Want to hear another dream? Oh, your dog's sick and you have to take him to the vet? Ok, another time then.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

I have sunk to new lows.

The kids have been fighting mercilessly this morning. I'm at the point of shipping them off to Siberia. Or at least banishing them to their rooms all day. The problem with that is number one: we won't get any schoolwork done, and number two: since the boys share a room they'd be maimed or worse within 30 minutes.

All moms know that the moment you take a shower or go to the bathroom that all h-e-double hockey sticks break loose.

Your estimation of me is going to go down a lot after I tell you this.

I stood outside the bathroom door and called to my kids, who had just exchanged more lovely nastiness:

"I am going to go poop. If anyone is mean when I am in there, I am going to make you go in afterwards and I will NOT FLUSH!"

There. I told you I had sunk to new lows. At least they took me seriously and were civil while I was in there.

I hope you'll still talk to me.

Tooth of Wisdom

Oh tooth, fraught with wisdom!

Thou hast been with me many a year. Thou hast given me pain, with which thou has taught wisdom.

Not much pain, perhaps mostly when gnawing on a teething carrot. The wisdom I have obtained is that for adult teething, chilled carrots are delightful.

Thou art my last holdout. I forsee that I shall not miss thee. Why, doth thou ask? Because I have freakish dislike of all things uneven. Thou art the uneven-ness maker in my mouth.

Please do not make it harsh for me. I have a Sharing Time for the children on the Sabbath, and a Song to sing in a trio of praiseful worship in front of many people on that same day.

At roughly 3 o'clock we shall part ways. Please make this a hurried leaving. Do not cling to me. It shall be better for us both.

I shall never forget thee from the first I felt you swelling underneath my skin, to the first sharp points that marred the carrot.

Farewell, O wisdomus tooth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Musical Me

You can tell a lot about a person from their music choices. So, for some unknown reason I'm going to bare my soul by sharing some of my current favorite music artists.

The first one is definitely an artist. Her name is Regina Spektor. You can tell she's Russian, which adds an adorable quality to her voice. This is my favorite music video.


"Fidelity"

Regina is one of my new favorites. I want her newest cd so badly! It's called "Beginning to Hope" and is the yellow cover extended version, in case anyone wants to send me Christmas presents. Why do I need the extended version, you ask? Because it has this song:



"Musicbox"

Regina makes art out of her music. To me this song means that she compares life to a musicbox, mundane. And then she tries to break out and do something completely different, but at the end finds that she's still in the musicbox although her quirkiness (soap bubbles) is still trying to get out. Very cool song.


These next guys are the Christian group Newsboys. I discovered them when I found out they sing the "Belly of the Whale" song in the Veggie Tales "Jonah" movie. They're so much more than that, though. Here are a couple of my favorite songs by them.

This first one is beyond awesome. The music video is really neat and has a lot of depth to it.


"Million Pieces"


Here's a really fun one, I think it's hilarious. This is not a Newsboys video, some guys made this up using their song. I love it!


"Breakfast in Hell"

Next up is the brilliant KT Tunstall. I swear, she could sing the alphabet and make it sound great! I've been a fan of hers since I first heard "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" in TJ Maxx, danced in the aisles, and remembered enough to rush home to look up the lyrics to find out who she was. This was just as she was first starting to be played on the radio. A month or so later that song was everywhere!

First, a really neat music video. This one makes me think of her going through all different music styles (notice the ones that remind me of Jennifer Lopez and Jewel?) before realizing she likes where she is.


"Hold On"

Then another one. I love this song.


"Saving my Face"

Next up from KT is one of the best covers of a song that I've ever heard. I wish she'd put this one on one of her cds. Another cool thing about this is you can see how much of her music she plays herself. She has a recorder thingy that you see her stepping on to loop various parts she plays.


"I Want You Back"

Last, but not least, is *cue girlish screaming* Michael Buble! I've posted about him before, (When I went to his concert, jealous?)but here is a song that just...ah...melts me. I debated about posting this because I know that the song is a little...you know. No swearing or graphic anything, but a wee bit sensual. Of course I could make that argument for anything he sings, even if it's about a toaster oven. (No, he doesn't really have a toaster oven song.) At the risk of getting my good girl reputation revoked, herrreeee's Michael!


"I'm Your Man"

I think I'll end this on that note.
So now you all know a little more about me. If there was any doubt about my weirdness, there isn't now. Of course I have even more favorites than these, but I'll keep those until later. I thought They Might be Giants and Weird Al might be a little over the top today. I'm saving Mozart, Bach and Beethoven for a Sunday post!

Have fun going through the day with "Musicbox" stuck in your head. Meanwhile, I'm going to scroll up to the last one and click play a few more dozen times!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Nemesis.

You didn't know that I have a nemesis, did you?

If you know me personally you might be surprised to hear this. I, who avoid confrontation at all costs, have a nemesis.

He's downright evil.

Even so, he seems to have a right to be here no matter how I'm feeling. I wish I could kick him out, but he has such a hold on me...

Oh, sometimes he tries to pretend he's my friend. When I say hello I'm never sure how he'll react. Most of the time he's unkind, even demeaning. But at times he's almost sweet, and nearly fools me for a day--but never more than two. Then he goes right back to being the biggest scumbag on the planet.

He's not perfect looking. His gorgeous exterior has been marred. A big scar appeared across his previously clear face somehow in the last few days. I've been both feeling slightly sorry for him (because after all, I do have a heart) and wishing I had put it there. Goodness knows there are days I could gleefully stomp on his face. But I don't, because in hurting him I only hurt myself.

So why do I keep going back for punishment? I'm not sure. I feel like part of me will be lost if I kick him out. Plus, in a sick way he keeps me in line. You know that line about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer? Exactly. Although I suspect that if I could keep him away for at least a week at a time perhaps I would slowly be able to make some progress on my own and not be so dependent.

Even if I kick him out, I still need to see him now and then. I can't break myself of this. I tried kicking him out for a few months 9 years ago, but by the time I let him back in my life I was a mess. He made life even harder for me when he was away. Better to keep him semi-close.

I really, truly hate him. There are moments I could kiss him, but mostly I hate him. Even in those brief, kissable moments I still hate him because of what I'm sure he'll do to me tomorrow. Although, I never cease to hope.

He's leaving for a week. I haven't told him, but he's going. Would you like to meet him before I kick him out? He looks a little different in these pictures. I think he's had some work done since. One of them shows him in action. I don't know who he's with, but he's a whole lot nicer to her than to me. I don't get it. What did I ever do to him?




























Hmm...you know, maybe part of it's my fault. After all, I do think he's beneath me. I step all over him every day, sometimes several times a day. Come to think of it, maybe that's why he hates me. Now I feel guilty. I'm going to send him on an all expense paid vacation for a week, maybe two.

Yes, that's it. A nice location. Peaceful, quiet, dim light perfect for resting.

The closet.