Just Ask. And Then Let Them.

I tell myself a lot of stories in my head when it comes to asking for help. I’m not good at it. I don’t need to do it; I can handle this myself. If I ask someone for something, I will be in debt to them and feel guilty until I can go above and beyond to repay them. This and so much more runs through my mind when I’m in a tight spot or in need of assistance. Do you ever tell yourself similar stories, maybe surrounding different issues?

Since I came into motherhood, I have had to work on this. A lot. When you don’t live in the same city (or state) as family, and you have Littles, you are inevitably going to need help from others. Sometimes a lot. The concept of a village is no joke, and in the 7 3/4 years (the 3/4 is very important to HD these days) of being a mom, I have been fortunate enough to meet and surround myself with some of the best and most caring helpers out there.

And yet, still, I sometimes don’t know how or when to ask for help.

Yesterday started out as one of them.

In my defense, I did not know what was coming for me yesterday. Now that it’s over, I’m still not entirely sure what came at me, but it turned out to be far more intense than what I anticipated when I got sick before breakfast yesterday.

Since my initial OB appointment, I’ve been taking a little medicine before bed each night to curb the nausea and help me get some sleep. All safe. All doctor approved. Since I’ve been feeling better for the last week and a half and Wednesday marked 13 weeks, I decided that night not to take it because I thought I was past all that.

When I hardly slept, had a raging headache, and then got sick at 7 a.m., I thought otherwise. In fact, I thought I had made a very stupid mistake and was being treated to some really crappy morning sickness in return. Yesterday was HD’s first day of summer vacation (read: my first day with all four kids home) and Ben’s last day of finals, so I knew I just had to suck it up. I was stuck, sick, at home with four kids all day and that was just that.

Except then I continued to get sick. Nothing stayed in my system. By mid-day, I was so wiped out that I knew I was either in the middle of the worst morning sickness flareup EVER or had the stomach flu. But I still didn’t reach out to anyone because Ben was at least able to come for a few minutes to throw lunch at the kids (anyone else use that expression?) and then it was crash time for me and the baby during afternoon nap (which turned into extended screen time for the Big 3 which might have been just as good of a start to summer vacay as if Mom had been upright and functioning). So we were surviving. Mostly.

After Ben got home for good post-testing, I crawled into bed with the computer and reached out to some mamas in town to see if they knew about anything going around that I might have caught. From there, bless their sweet hearts, we parsed my situation and ruled out the morning sickness entirely, and settled somewhere between potential bug and potential food reaction. I was all in favor of diagnosing myself with something that wouldn’t spread to the rest of my family, and by that point in the day I was at least keeping Gatoraid in me for a little bit before getting sick again so I thought things were improving.

And then they went downhill again. Frequency and intensity of sickness increased and had it been just me at stake, I probably would have just toughed it out. But by the afternoon, every time I’d run for the bathroom, I kept thinking about this tiny baby growing in my belly and felt so bad for the wild ride s/he was being given. So after Ben got the kids down for the night, we called the answering service for my OB’s office and got a return call from the doc soon after that. He was very reassuring that Baby was undoubtedly fine, and that it was really just up to me on how I felt on whether or not I should go up to the hospital for fluids. I mean, at that point, I hadn’t kept anything down in over 12 hours for more than 30-45 minutes at a time, and couldn’t remember the last time I peed, so we decided going in was probably a good call.

Not only was it absolutely the best thing to do for my body, it gave me another opportunity to know just how willing my people are to step up when I just ask for help.

With some quick phone calls and later messages, we had people here at the house to hang with the sleeping kiddos, a friend to sit with me at the hospital while Ben ran up to school to get his tests to grade (so he could stay home and take care of me/the kids today), and eventually, thanks to the beauty of social media, lots of well wishes and prayers from all of you as you learned about the day and the situation. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculously awesome care I received at MLH – they always go above and beyond and if I start writing about that, I won’t stop.

img_6228At one point, Ben and I were sitting there in the room, waiting for the fluids to start working their magic (which they totally did, by the way) and I told him I was glad we didn’t decide to wait overnight to see how things went. He looked at me and told me point blank that he was very glad I had come in because he knows how much I tend to push through and that I had already done plenty of that yesterday as it was. That sounds like false humility when I read over it, but it’s also just witness to my stubbornness and my “I don’t need to burden others”ness which he sees.

Which is crap. And I need to keep reminding myself that that story is crap. Of course I need others. Asking them for help is not burdening them; it is allowing them to be part of my life, to be there when I am vulnerable. I very much need all the people who reach out and help, or offer to help, and show that they care. I can be as tough as I want, but I still can’t exist in a vacuum, sick or not. I am very lucky to have such good support and I hope my friends know how much I appreciate them, even when I don’t always reach out to them when I should.

As for the health front…I got to come home at 11:30 last night and crawl into my own bed where I collapsed and thankfully slept without getting sick the rest of the night. I woke up today with a headache that has persisted even now, but have kept down all fluids and dry cereal that I’ve had so far today. I call this a major win, especially compared to yesterday.

Going in was the right call. Asking for help and being willing to take that help was also right. It always is, for all of us.

Your people love you. Let them.

Dream Job

For months (and months), big things have been a’brewin’ over here. There has been a whole lot of talking and dreaming and brainstorming and planning and yes, best of all -DOING going on, about which I am so excited to finally begin sharing with you.

As you know, if you’ve been reading along the last several months, I have continued to teach yoga as a solo instructor, both on my sun porch and eventually in a friend’s space once we outgrew the porch. Those classes have brought so much joy and I am profoundly grateful to those who have practiced with me in that time.

What I am excited to share with you all now is that this little solo side-gig thing is going full blown, legit small business. Yes, that’s correct! I am now the proud co-owner (along with my amazing hubs) of my (our) very own L.L.C. – Grounded Sky – a little yoga biz with big heart and big dreams.

There is much to tell and much to share, but in due time. Official filings and openings (think legal paperwork and bank account) are now in place. The classes and other special offerings are also very much in the works, along with collaborations with some amazing souls (who have already given such great support, not to mention brain power!), but it’s too much for one little post to carry, so for now – I’ll leave you with a big dose of excited to be adulting and learning in whole new ways. Cheers to 2017!

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I’m Breaking Up with Coffee

Maybe this is the Norovirus talking, but it looks like coffee and I may be done. For good.

Shocked? Let me distract you a bit first with a health update before I explain.

Here’s the State of our Union as of Thursday night: better but not great, and certainly not 100%.

As you may know from FB, RL was the last one to fall in the wee early hours of this morning, and she’s had a hard day of it. Actually, she was oddly perky in between bouts of upring, which made it all the harder to get her to rest, but sure enough, just when we thought she was in the clear and could sleep in her own bed tonight, she got sick again and is back on the couch in the living room with me. Currently she is sleeping sitting up against the back of the loveseat; I don’t understand this.

Thankfully the boys are all back in their own beds tonight, but none of them had a totally clear day, either.

HD’s was the best but it wasn’t until just before bedtime that he actually ate anything, so he’s home from school again tomorrow to keep from getting totally depleted (and exposed to anything else just yet, tyvm).

TJ and LT kind of tie for crappy days. After seeming so much better yesterday, Truman was feverish and punky most of today and took in nothing other than breastmilk and some electrolyte liquids from his sippy cup all day long. He took extra long naps, one of which he woke up from sick in his crib, and even took a third nap on me during our late img_4882afternoon nursing session. The scariest part was when he went 5+ hours without a wet diaper, but then he started peeing again, so I’m hoping we’re over whatever hump today was for him. Did I mention that when he was awake he did NOT want to be put down? Made for an interesting time of trying to tend to any of the others, so thankfully Ben was home today to recover himself a bit and help with the herd.

LT, after seeming better late Monday and Tuesday, has been backsliding the last two days, so thanks to the knowledge that some other friends have had other illnesses creep in post flu, we took him in to the doc this afternoon and sure enough – the kid has strep. But at least for that we can get meds and get him on the road to mended because wow, he’s been out of it the last 48 hours.

So what does any of this have to do with the apparent end of my love affair with coffee?

Well, obviously yesterday there was no chance in hell of me drinking a cup of coffee. Usually when I get that sick, I also get an awful caffeine withdrawal headache. But yesterday was different in that sense; while I thought of coffee later in the afternoon, I wasn’t hurting for it and I certainly didn’t want it keep me up last night, so I made it to today where even though I didn’t get the same lengthy naps during the day, I had no desire to drink any.img_4888

OK, that’s crap.

OF COURSE I had a desire to drink coffee today. I am totally addicted to the stuff. But lately I’ve been seeing blogs and articles popping up about not drinking coffee and each one is this little nudge to a thought that’s been in my brain for some time which is this: I don’t really think I should drink coffee.

Why? For a number of reasons.

  1. Vanity (it stains my teeth)
  2. Nervous system (more often than not, it gives me the shakes)
  3. Cost (nah – not really; not that I make it single brew at home now, but still – a factor)
  4. Sugar (let’s face it – this is the BIGGEST thing about me and coffee. I love the way coffee smells & always will, but I HATE the way it tastes unless I add stuff to it. Sometimes that stuff is raw sugar and half and half, but lately it has been full on full-of-crap creamers and marshmallows – not kidding. So I ask you, what good is any of that doing me?)

And the amazing part? No headache again today. So how can I not try to continue this?!

Of course I think it is going to suck. Kicking the habit is going to be hard, for sure. I will miss the smell a ton and the ritual, too, of brewing my single cup (and then another) while img_4884the baby takes his morning nap. But don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely crazy – I am still totally going to be drinking caffeinated tea because, hi, I’m a mom of four active monkeys and I have to stand some chance of keeping up with them. Right now I’m well stocked with Yogi Teas – are there others you would suggest trying?

Oh, and as for the leftover coffee grounds and that mostly full container of creamer (I mean liquid sugar)? Well, I’d offer them up to whoever wants them, but since I doubt anyone wants ANYTHING coming out of our house this week, I am going to experiment with some homemade coffee scrubs and maybe some recipes? Surely there’s a Pinterest pin for that, right?!

 

The Water Bringers

Warning: this post contains TMI about bodily functions and is being written by a person who has one slice of toast, a handful of Club crackers, a few bites of Ramen Noodles, and Gatoraid in the last 24 hours – coherence may not apply.

Disclaimer aside, I have to write tonight. Just like I had to force myself to take those few bites of Ramen and get in the shower (Lord in Heaven, I looked and smelled something awful, I’m sure), I have to get these stories and ramblings out of my brain, because I am hoping against hope that all of the children sleep tonight with no pukers and that all of us wake up feeling much more human in the morning.

If you’ve been following along on my FB page, you know we’ve had some illness craziness this week, starting with Lincoln getting sick at 1 a.m. Monday morning, and then Trumy getting sick at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night. From there, it was a damn domino effect, and within eight hours of Trumy’s first urps, I got it, then Ben got it, and lastly HD got it (at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning). Side note: if you are keeping track, yes, that leaves just Raegan and so far so good but as I told a friend via text today, I fear she is a ticking time bomb and my biggest hope is that she holds out until tomorrow morning because Ben and I desperately need some sleep tonight.

Last night was a damn joke when it came to rest. The baby would not settle down nor would he be put down, which means Ben had to hold him for, I don’t know – 10 hours last night? Not even joking. Because I got sick first and the worst, he got stuck with the squirmy, fussing baby (and eventually his own illness, to boot). That is, except for at 3 a.m. when RL came down to tell us that HD had gotten sick in his top bunk bed. In that case, I took the baby while Ben dealt with the mess upstairs and then he “slept” with the bookend boys in the living room the rest of the night. I mean early morning.

It was at that point, post-3:00 shenanigans, that I took to FB one last time to update how fast we had fallen and to send out a cry for help, in the form of 7UP and Gatoraid, that is. Had I been totally honest, my call for assistance would have read like this: Never before have I so desperately wanted and needed a house elf, a night nurse, a wet nurse, and a nanny. Because really, the thought of still needing to nurse the baby and deal with the children and tend to the sickest oldest, all while my husband was just as out of commission as I was seemed damn near impossible.

But here it is, Wednesday night, and while neither of us has a lick of energy (he spent most of the day post-flu symptoms with a raging headache), we somehow got through it. And I know that most of our survival today came from the kindness of others (and Netflix. Totally Netflix for the children).

Side Rambling Note: Do any of you remember the scene in Little House on the Prairie (book, not show) where the whole family gets yellow fever or some other crazy disease and they are all laid out in bed, but then someone appears and helps Laura get water? I might be fuzzing these details, because when I think about it, that’s pretty creepy, but you get the gist, right?

Today we survived because of our water bringers. And by water I totally mean everything but water that could help reset our systems: img_4877

More than once today, I had tears in my eyes not from the flu, but from the kindness of friends and the people we know in this town. We were blessed by four different friends dropping off supplies for us this morning and I can’t even count how many others offered and checked in throughout the day to see if we needed anything else. When you don’t live close to your family, this kind of kindness matters so very much, and we are so grateful for our village that stepped up and provided today.

We are still a low energy, eating next to nothing, smelly (not me – that’s why I showered) mess, but we are here and feeling melodramatic about the flu because although it is not the way anyone would want to spend the last 24 hours, it doesn’t all totally suck.

Safety First

In just a couple weeks, we will celebrate our fifth year of being in this house. Crazy how time flies like that (and how our kid # has doubled since then), but one thing that has been on the To Do list for far too long post initial move-in and bolting of a bookcase to the living room wall, was this:

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Secure Furniture.

It has been in the back of my mind for years and literally on a Post-It on my fridge since late last Spring (note the garage sale line and studio yoga notes from summer…clearly this list has been gathering items and dust for a while). But since it requires Ben’s help and free time and has to be during awake hours so as to not bother sleeping or napping babies and flatout brain cells to remember doing it, this task has been pushed back and pushed back and totally set aside.

That is, until today.

By now I’m sure many of you – most of you – have seen this bit from the news about the dresser that fell on a little boy and his twin who helped him escape it. Terrifying. Actually, even though I knew the boy was OK, I couldn’t even watch the thing until after we spent this afternoon finally making right and safe what we should have done ages ago.

img_4868Yes, that’s right…we spent from post-nap until supper time getting four pieces of big furniture in two of our bedrooms bolted to the walls, and while we still aren’t done, I am happy we finally made progress in safe guarding our house and our babies from one another just a bit more. And yes, we’ve totally had these at our disposal as long as we’ve been in the house. I’m not proud of that, but thankfully we’ve avoided problems thus far and I know these will help keep my little monkeys even safer in the future.

So please, let me add my voice to the others requesting that you do this: take the time and attach your furniture to the walls. It’s more than worth the effort and cost when you think about the potential disasters averted thanks to their placement.

25 Things, 2016 Edition

‘Tis the season for reflection and introspection, and, in keeping with tradition from the last few years, my list of 25 Things in 2016.

I swear, this task never gets any easier to complete, but I love looking back over my year to round up the big and not-so-big moments that made it what it was.

  1. Boldest move of the year – branching out to teach yoga on my own!
  2. Biggest trip, and most amazing yogini’s long weekend ever happened thanks to Wanderlust @ Aspen/Snowmass. Incredible.
  3. Biggest semester of #adjunctlife came this fall with seven hours offered (and I’m slotted to do 10 in the spring – yikes!).
  4. First trip* to Houston to visit my brother and see him get married! ❤ This one also gets an asterisk accomplishment for flying with four kiddos (and thankfully three other grownups!).
  5. Made the cut at HVFH and had several articles accepted for publication after the site moved away from their monthly publication rotation. Still hoping to one day earn coffee. 😉
  6. Tried and didn’t freak out and even kind of loved aerial yoga. Holy arm workout!
  7. Trimmed my own bangs for most of the year. Let that explain their occasional awesomeness and total randomness and haphazardness!
  8. Wrote 92 blog posts! Well, I think. That requires counting and I don’t math, so….
  9. Read 50 books! That one I know, thanks to keeping tabs!
  10. Started cupping with Ben (our backs and shoulders) and just before the Olympics made it cool.
  11. Pumped every blessed night from July to November so we could know how much Trumy was getting in his last feeding of the day. EVERY. NIGHT. Bless the mamas out there who pump exclusively or at work or at all – it is a pro-cess.
  12. I hugged Glennon!
  13. Took on my first private yoga client. Very fun!
  14. Discovered what it is like to really breathe clearly and smell ALL the things. No joke – my nose is so legit post-surgery, I spent most of the year thinking I might be pregnant, but nope – just uber smeller!
  15. All but stopped buying drive-thru coffee. Yay, me. Yay, FPU! 😉
  16. Which brings me to….participated in my first official Financial Peace University class. We’re still working on our debt snowball, but making great progress (see above about #adjunct life).
  17. Designed my very own (and accidentally patriotic) mala. I adore it.
  18. Got a couple’s tattoo (queen’s crown for me, king’s for him) to celebrate our 10th anniversary in August.
  19. Voted for the first female POTUS candidate.
  20. Took live, in-person, holy fan girl moments! yoga classes from Kathryn Budig, Seane Corne, Rod Stryker, and MC Yogi.
  21. Played taxi service for the middles to preK all the live-long days of the fall semester.
  22. Watched, for the first time, all seven seasons plus new episodes of Gilmore Girls. In five weeks. I am not exactly proud of that.
  23. Thanks to Lincoln, I listened to “Hold On” by Walk Off the Earth approximately 10,000 times on Spotify.
  24. Started going to streamline swim classes, and while I did freak out and I don’t exactly love it yet, I am going to keep at it.
  25. Began a daily meditation practice that has at times fallen off the map, but is back in full force and with a grand goal to start off 2017.

And that’s it! That’s the year! I could go on and on img_4427about this, the Year of the Appliance and Car Maintenance, but really this list is full of love and growth, so maybe 2016 wasn’t such a kick in the pants after all. Or, if it was, it was a kick in the right direction with so much excitement for things to come in 2017.

Bring it, New Year!

And a happy one to all of you, too!

Pool Full of Doubt?

OK, maybe not an entire POOL full, but at least a hot tub or a bathtub, but neither of those seem quite as scary because, hi, you can’t actually swim in them.

What the what am I talking about?

Anxiety. Breath. Swimming. Avoiding. All the things, really.

This morning, after two weeks off (one for laziness and – truth – late night Gilmore Girls watching, and one for the mysterious cough that was only a cough), I got back to the pool for the stream line class. This was after having a wildly successful second go at it the week directly after the first rather disastrous week. With me so far? Cool.

So, last night. I’m getting the kids’ clothes all laid out like I do every night, and gathering up my swim stuff, and my poor husband – he had to listen to me wish-wash on whether I was even going to swim this morning at least 10 times. Each way.

WHY?! Why is this so hard?!

And actually, when we said “goodnight,” he thought the final call was NO, because it was. But then I happened to wake up this morning and look at my phone at the exact right minute (5:12 a.m.) to still make it almost on time for the 5:30 start of class, so I rolled out of bed, grabbed all my gear and layers, and headed out into the Arctic chill to get there, nerves and all.

At least this time I had finally remembered to place my order on Swim Outlet to get my own goggles and swim cap (no, really – I spent a week waiting for a package that I didn’t actually order the first time I tried), so if nothing else, I looked more official.

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Thankfully the first class back wasn’t as rough as the actual first class, but it certainly wasn’t as smooth as the second, either. I guess part of that could still be the recovering lungs. And another part could be that this is still only my third time in the pool in years and years, so you know – baby strokes.

The fascinating and ironic bits for me are how badly my breath continues to freak out when I am trying to swim. I am doing loads better putting my face in the water in the deep end without having anxiety (thank goodness) but why in the why is so hard for me to exhale while putting my face in the water?!

My dear friend and swim teacher told me this morning to try holding my breath a bit and then letting all of the bubbles go while my face was down, and while I totally heard her and understood her, I couldn’t seem to get my body to actually do that very well.

Of course, all that time in the pool, slowly swimming laps and trying to breathe without freaking the eff out, gives a person some time to ponder, too. And as a yoga teacher, I obviously know and think about the breath quite a bit, so today my (brain) wheels were really spinning as I kept coming up sputtering for air.

This summer, at a meditation workshop, I learned about how the inhale and exhale are connected to the future and the past, respectively. I also learned that most of us have a preference for which part of the breath we prefer/find easier. For me it is the inhale. I can suck air in for days! Maybe this is part of my former life as a runner? Trumpet player? I don’t know. But it explains a lot, because I also know that when you take in more air that you let out, you tend to work yourself up (and hello, Type A and all that), so no wonder I get myself going sometimes.

The exhale, however, is where relaxation and release comes. Again – knowing this has explained a lot about my personal tendencies and my yoga practice and many things this year, and I’ve been working on it. Been making progress, too. But you throw me in the pool (jokes-  they do not throw you in the pool), and I go right back to bringing in all kinds of air and then super struggling to let it the flip out.

So, I guess the point of all this is to say, patience and practice remain key. I have to channel my inner Dory and yogi, and I simply must just keep swimming AND just keep breathing. I mean, what other way is there?!