This Too Shall Pass

Seeing as it has been the fastest-but-longest month (winter) E.V.E.R., it’s both impossible and totally reasonable that we are now in the final days of April. Oh, April. You’ve challenged me before and you’ve challenged me once again. I don’t know why we have this beef, but it seems that every couple years, you come with…..lessons. I really can’t believe how quickly the month has gone but looking back it was also a pretty damn hard month, so I’m not exactly sad to see it go.

It started with the stomach bug that knocked me out at Easter, the very first of the month, and it’s continuing here, four weeks later in the form of continued boob drama. What started as a bleb in one breast and then shifted to a clogged duct in the other then turned into a bleb in the super sore boob and now remains as two just generally cranky boobs. You’d think we just started nursing instead of being five months in based on how I feel and I have zero explanations for it.

I’ve had Wilson’s mouth checked and there’s no sign of a tongue tie or teeth or thrush (thank goodness to all three of those things) but there’s also no clear indicator as to why her latch is what it is (kinda crappy, kinda leaky at times) or why my nipples are so sore. It just is and I just am.

So we wait it out. Give her time to grow and maybe time for me to heal, and we see what happens. 12 months remains the goal and Lord in Heaven, I may have to be VERY stubborn to make that happen based on how things are right now, but I worked hard enough to get her going in the first place to be able to come home 100% breastfed, so I suppose I can somehow get there. Right? Right.

The other “this” that needs to/shall also pass is a different kind of stuckness (nope, not a word), and it has to do with my physical routines.

I don’t have a set time post-baby where I suddenly start working out again,10452ba4-24b1-4483-ad23-6d8a3fe746c0 but around this time the baby tends to get big enough to start straining my back as I carry the car seat (or just the baby in general), which prompts me to start doing more yoga, etc. to strengthen my body. This go-round I had not only the desire to yoga again but also to RUN which I haven’t done seriously since before children; but I couldn’t get it out of my head, so instead I just went for it. And by it, I mean a run – with Raegain and then Lincoln – and it was great. I logged less than a mile total and there was definitely some walking in the midst of that running, but I was excited to baby step my way back in to what once was a big part of my life.

However, right when my legs stopped being crampy from the yoga + running, my boob/side exploded in soreness from the clogged duct and alllllllllll the nursing resources out there say rest, take it easy, go slow when you’re having these problems, and so. Here I am. Taking it slow which looks and feels a lot like still doing nothing. But that’s not really true, is it? Because if you’re anything like me, you know that sitting in stillness is very much not nothing, nor is it easy.

img_9914So no big physical practice for me right now. On the mat or on the streets. Instead I’m committing to Legs up the Wall and a meditation/mantra of being healthy and whole and that’s it. It’s not exactly what I wanted to be doing right now but it is what my system is clearly, loudly, painfully telling me I need.

It won’t always be like this. In a year’s time, in a month’s time, everything will be different, and I’m much closer to having my body be entirely my own again than I have been in almost a decade, so there’s that to consider, too. Time will pass. Circumstances will change. Focus will shift. For now I’ve got to stay the quiet course and that’s just going to have to be OK for as long as time says it needs.

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#Goals (How We Get H-word)

This summer, as one of my dearest friends and I drove back from Colorado (and I heaved the whole way home thanks to pregnancy-induced altitude sickness), we started joking at one point (because, yes, even six hours of being sick in a car can still have moments of light-heartedness, apparently) that the sweet babe growing in my belly was going to 1) be a girl 2) come out with a fist raised in the air and 3) be singing Nahko songs.

If this is all very confusing to you, let me clarify.

We were just coming back from a two-night weekend of performances by one of our favorites, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and even though I was still less than 20 weeks at that point, during the concerts I could very VERY much feel the baby moving around and responding to the music at each show. Nahko’s music is very socially and spiritually conscious which explains the arm lifted in resistance bit, and as for the gender prediction? Well, I can’t remember that part of the conversation now, but I’m sure we had some good reason for thinking it at the time.

When I told all this to another yogini/Nahko-loving friend the first week we were in Omaha, she responded, “That was no joke – that was a vision.” and I have to say I’m pretty sure she was right because Wilson very much came out as a peaceful warrior and has been keeping her hand high, fighting her way through SO much in these earliest days of her life’s story.

Perhaps it is fitting, then, that the very first Nahko song I played for sweet Willa is a new img_8528one of his called “Dragonfly” (oh my, did she hear this song a TON from my belly this fall because I loved it AND my own spirit “animal” is in fact the dragonfly, which just happens to be part of the decor in our part of the hospital) in which the main message sings simply, “This is resistance, I’ll survive. I’ll survive. I’ll survive. This is resistance.” Maybe we listened to that song so much in September-November because it would need to be on repeat in my (and her) brain during this wild ride of plane rides and abdominal surgery and recovery and learning to feed that has been the whirlwind of our NICU experience.

Because resist (or rather, persist) we have and survive we will, and today we got to hear for the first time what actually needs to happen in order for us to start talking about the h-word so we can put all this behind us. And while it’s still a mountain to climb, she’s already made great progress up it this week.

Essentially, we have to get to the point where Wilson is taking 80-90% of her feeding amount independently (from me/the bottle). Her amount will still increase by 5mls here at some point, but that is nothing like the moving benchmark (from 40-70) we experienced last week/over the weekend. Right now we’re averaging 50-60% of her amount (which is awesome!), so that gives you some idea of where we stand there. After we hit/maintain that goal, the NG tube will come out and we’ve got to have at least a couple solid days of feeding solo-solo in order for the magic word “discharge” to bring about the uber-magic word “home.”

So this is still very much a process and it’s not going to happen overnight. There still could be “bad” days or “bad” feeds. But we feel like we might be closer than ever to her taking off and us all coming home which has obviously been the end goal since before the start of the whole roller coaster ride, so we will take it. We will resist the obstacles. And we will survive (with peaceful warrior “fists” raised high, just like our Wilson Ann came to teach us to do). img_8515

 

 

Cry Me a River

Well, I guess it wouldn’t be a yoga training without an update and some tears, but wow, friends. We’re not just dealing with some here. Somehow, something dislodged in my dam and this weekend I am a blubbering, weepy mess all of the sudden.

So, first…a little backstory. Maybe two. To clarify – I am in Lincoln, NE this weekend for an intensive training immersion for Yoga Nidra. I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity and have been waiting months for this weekend to arrive. Nidra has become more and more an interest of mine, as a teacher and as a practitioner, and the wisdom and knowledge being shared with us from our teacher, Sreedevi K. Bringi from Naropa University in Boulder, CO is so very much spot on with the way in which I want to learn and expand my knowledge of this subject matter, that I am nothing but grateful to be here.

I am also, apparently, a big-time crier this weekend, which leads me to backstory No.2. Remember the comparison post between Baby No.5 and Linky? Well, what I don’t think I mentioned (or perhaps I did and missed it in the skimming/remembering) is that my last couple therapy sessions have been boring. I’ve only been going once a month and while they have still been helpful and beneficial, I almost felt like both times I was running out of stuff to say. This is actually a great thing, because even with all the chaos of this spring semester, I felt like this meant I was handling things (i.e. life) pretty darn well.

And not to say that crying (a lot) means I’m not handling life well, but I certainly don’t know where all of these tears are coming from, other than they must have been storing up for a while now, because I can’t remember the last time I had a good, big ugly cry, but that’s sure what keeps looming during our training sessions.

Both last night during our introductions/what led us to this weekend, and then today when sharing and getting feedback on our sankalpas (think a personal resolve/intention that guides your YN practice each time you practice), I pretty much instantly turned into a blubbering mess. Even just in passing conversations during breaks, I keep welling up with emotion.

The heck?!

Again, I ask, where is this all coming from?

Of course, some of it can be blamed simply on hormones. Those are clearly in abundance in my system right now and many a pregnant woman has been known to be extra weepy. But I also think that my lack of time at home this week, coupled with the (amazing) intensity of this training has just put my nerves on edge to the extent that my emotions have decided to wring themselves out a bit while we’re at it.

And you know what? That’s not a bad thing.

img_6926I still haven’t gotten in (or would it be out) the full blown sob fest that seems to be sitting just under the surface, so I’m kind of hoping I can get that in BEFORE we begin our final session together tomorrow, otherwise, perhaps I’ll just go ahead a skip the mascara altogether, because so far I’m two-for-two on training time taking a majority of it off for me. But so it goes. You’ve got to have a little rain for growth.

Are You Listening?

Wowzers. Another month, another adventure.

In some ways, that adventure was legit, honest-to-goodness, fill-up-the-soul experience. In others, it was a metaphorical lesson of “Yep. You are so totally human and so totally growing a human, to boot (now, chill).” You’d think by Baby No.5 that I had learned all of those lessons possible, but I’m pretty sure I could have 13 kids like my great-grandmother (bwahaha – SO. NOT. HAPPENING!) and I still wouldn’t know it all because it is no joke that every babe is different and so is every pregnancy, so the lessons just never stop (but as for me and my uterus? yeah. stopping). 

First, the soul-filling. Last week I got to road trip with one of my dearest friends to see one of my absolute music LOVES in concert not once but twice in Colorado. I pretty much blew up my IG and FB with pictures, so you probably already know all this, but Chelsie and I had an incredible time seeing Nahko and Medicine for the People in Boulder the first night and at Red Rocks the second. Nahko has been a bucket list point of mine for a few years. Red Rocks? Oh, I’d say I’ve been waiting at least 20 years on that one, so to combine the two? Ahhhh, so good! I’ve shared N&MftP’s music before in blog posts and online, but for real – if you aren’t familiar, take a stroll down Spotify or iTunes to take them in because they aren’t kidding when they call their work medicine. Their stuff is charged and conscious and speaks so much to the humanity and spirit in all of us, plus our connection to the planet and each other. I could gush on and on, but instead, take a listen for yourselves and check out these six men on stage together having the absolute best time ever playing together and interacting with the crowd and you’ll get a tiny taste of my last Thursday and Friday nights and why they made all the chaos to come totally worth it. 

Because of the dual venues and decent drive to get to CO in the first place, both Thursday and Friday turned into long days and nights. Thursday was especially rough as my excited night-before-Christmas feeling self didn’t sleep well before we got up pre-sunrise to hit the road and then were up past midnight mountain time that same day because the show ended late (um, hello – my other musical love and Nahko BFF, Trevor Hall, surprised us by showing up during the show’s encore and I may have bruised Chelsie’s arm slapping her so hard out of “OHMYGOSH! DOYOUSEETHIS! TREVORHALL! TREVORHALL!” fangirl excitement, even though, yes, she clearly had two eyes to see for herself all the awesomeness). But yeah, there was definitely more activity and adrenaline going on during our trip than actual rest and relaxation. 

And of this was totally fine, until it totally wasn’t. 

Saturday morning we again got up pre-sunrise to begin the long-ish road home and were in the car for less than an hour, chatting away and looking for a coffee stop, before all of the sudden I broke off mid-story and said, “I think I’m going to be sick.” And because I just can’t put you all through the gory details like I did poor Chels, just imagine that scene happening again every 45 minutes or less the rest of the way home from Denver. It. Was. AWFUL. I was a shitty travel companion and felt even shittier myself on many fronts. For one, I couldn’t believe this was happening again less than a month from when I would up in the hospital for an IV. It’s hard not to feel responsible for getting sick when it feels like you haven’t taken very good care of yourself/know you’ve pushed your limits and figure exhaustion is then getting the best of you. I also thought for sure I was headed back to the hospital because whoa. How is a mama supposed to get ahead?! 

As it turned out, getting home really was the best medicine for me. I crawled into my own bed where I napped and sipped on Gatoraid and got to see my sweet babes and really, with the exception of one more yuck before turning in for the night, my tummy settled and I was “just” left with a nasty, nasty headache. I was so relieved because Sunday was our first charity yoga event and I did not want to miss it even though I totally did have to take other items off the Sunday To Do list because even feeling better did not mean feeling normal after the insanity of Saturday. Also, check out my right leg. I remember it being sore while I was trying to sleep at the hotel Friday night, and then I wore pants Saturday, so it wasn’t until late that night when I had changed into shorts that I caught a glimpse of my lower leg when I saw holy moly pissed off Achilles’! Thankfully I don’t think major damage was done and the bruises are all but gone today, but wow. I don’t think I need any more signs at this point, do you? 

So. Did we ever determine the cause of said sickness craziness? Well, again – like the supposed food poisoning – we think so. After posting and hearing back from multiple friends over the course of the weekend, we think that yes, exhaustion did not help but that the real culprit was altitude sickness. Apparently it can go bonkers during pregnancy for some women (I had no issues with it in Aspen last summer and was there for four days) and it can take up to a couple days to strike. And that super sucks because I am supposed to go back later in the summer and now don’t know if I can handle it because I honestly can’t keep doing this get sick, kind of get better, get sick business. This babe and I are worn the flip out and I need to get that true reset to my system that I keep talking about here on the blog, which leads me back to this post’s title. 

Am I listening? Yes, I am. Or at least I am trying, and will try even harder after this weekend’s experience. I have loaded my summer pretty heavy and now I see that the bump and I need to just be as much as possible (with five other people in our family who still need time, attention, and love) and that means taking things off the schedule. That’s not going to be fun. In fact, it’s going to plain hurt in a couple cases, but the message I keep getting is slow down. Knock it off with the Trying to Do ALL the Things and listen. 

If every pregnancy is different (and it is), then every baby teaches us something different, and I do believe we’ve figured out that this baby’s agenda is: patience. Might seem kind of ironic for fifth kid to come with that approach but it might also be totally perfect. S/he (who is going to very much need a whole lot of Nahko on a birthing playlist) might just really be this mama’s best teacher when it comes to not rushing, not forcing the issue (Dear God, please do not let this mean that s/he is going to get super cozy in my tummy and go (way) past due date like my other Nov. baby). 

Because I’m themey and my brain has been singing 30 second shuffle sound bytes ever since Thursday night, I’ll end with this conglomeration of Nahko lyrics that echo this baby’s prescription of how to proceed: 

Nature has her signs/And they’re clear affirmations. 

It all can be done/Whatever your theory or method of one/It all can be done. 

Take your time, with every little thing/With every little thing, take time. 

Update Overdue

I’ve gone with some quiet periods on the blog before, but I don’t know if ever before so many crickets have chirped here between posts. Since getting sick mid-May, we’ve been in the whirlwind of transition between Ben’s school year and my summer adjuncting, plus house projects, and even though I often have words dancing through my brain and stories waiting to be told, I just have not made time to sit down and get them down on paper (page). But today I have a spare moment and some time to myself, so I’m vowing to get back to it with the writing here and now. What follows may be hodge-podgey and scattered, but so it goes with my brain anyway these days, so why not embrace it, right? img_6269

The Monday following my whatever-the-heck-that-was, I started my first ever five-week course at CCC. In summers past, I have always taught three-week sessions, but this was asked of me and I could make it work, so I took on the challenge of leading a dual-course Emporium Lab. Thankfully I did not have to create the course(s) from scratch and once-upon-a-lifetime ago, I did offer self-paced classes as a full-time instructor, but I have never done what I’m doing currently which is to guide students in two classes through their work simultaneously. Actually, some of them are doing one and then the other in the span of five weeks while the rest are signed up for just one of the two.

Have I confused you yet? Yes, I know. It’s unique!

The students spend three and a half hours with me four mornings a week and work through course content, quizzes, and writing assignments at their own pace (which has to be quite regimented for those attempting to complete two courses in this one session). I am there to guide, facilitate, answer questions, respond to writing, give quizzes, and keep everyone on track/target. I thought, going in, that it might be a bit dull on my end since there would be no formal lecture, but holy moly cow. Not dull. Now that we are two weeks in and some are on the verge of finishing all units of their said class while others are still working to wrap up one class in order to move to the next, I see just how wild a lab like this can be.

I feel like someone is constantly calling out “SQUIRREL!” at me, not because the students are bothersome (I’ve been off from summer teaching for a bit and I forgot just how much I appreciate summer students and their dedication), but because someone is constantly doing something different or needing something else than the person next to them, and I spend my mornings trying to keep it and them all flowing smoothly. For the most part, I think it is, and I appreciate the focus and attention this group has brought to their mornings with me.

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Post-class selfies with TJ. 

After I get home for the afternoon, I’m pretty well shot and most days have to throw lunch at myself and then rest for a bit. That doesn’t exactly help with productivity around the house, but B and I have saved that for the evenings as we decided to – finally, after 5+ of being in the house and me wanting to change it all that time – paint our giant, pink-ish living room. Baby No.5 has actually inspired several house projects to make our space even more functional for our crew and painting was a precursor to making those other things happen. I’ll be sure to do a post soon with more detail on all that has happened thus far and other plans to come, but for now I’ll share a few pictures so you can see some of the transformation.

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The painting process was a little scary, not to mention strung out over almost a handful of days because, hi – it’s not easy to paint with this many little Littles in the house (at least not when they are awake), but we got it done (save for the top edge of the room) and I really like the end result.

Other reasons for not writing in the evenings these last two and a half weeks? Well, for img_6276one, we started allowing Harrison to stay up later than the other kids, during which time he and I read together. This is lovely and he’s so darn excited about it but I have to say, it has cut into some of my own personal time in the evening and I legit feel that in my energy level. That doesn’t mean I would trade our new little routine for anything, but I’ve got to be mindful of not letting the tiredness that creeps in during 50+ minutes of extra reading with him totally wipe out the rest of my nights. I’ve recently reactivated my YogaGlo account and am very much dedicated to practicing for myself and this growing babe at least once a week, no matter how long the days seem (another soon-to-come post, I’m sure).

The final two culprits? Books and Netflix. I finished only one book in April (hello morning sickness and end-of-school year rush), but I more than made up for it in May by completing seven titles (two of which I started in April, mind you). And then Netflix decided to drop new seasons of all our favorite original series of theirs plus Hulu has The Handmaid’s Tale and yeah…..more “TV” for me in last three weeks than the previous three months, I bet (and we still haven’t even touched two of our faves on Netflix).

So there ya have it: life as a busy mama who is growing a babe and a business while teaching and momming and still trying to be a person with actual interests pertaining to self. It’s a wild and wonderful ride and even when I don’t always record all the details, I’m still happy to come back to this space and reflect on just how we fill our days, hearts, and minds.

The Magic is in the Coming Back

I’ve had almost a week to absorb and process the wonder that was last Sunday’s Spring Clean workshop with the beautiful Lora McCarville here in Hastings. And finally I have a few spare moments to write about it here….

The day itself was less than beautiful. We’re talking cold rain pretty much ALL day and even snow and slushy crap at other times. It was very nervous making for me as I had people traveling in from hour(s) away for the event and I was very anxious about everyone making it here safely. But that’s the thing about Nebraskans – we are a hearty bunch and when it comes to getting some time to check in with our heads and, more importantly, our hearts, we don’t let a little snow + showers on April freaking 30th stop us. No way. Every single person made it and on time and so we got to enjoy the warmth of the Prairie Loft Pavilion and the teachings of one of my absolute favorites all together, just as we were meant to do.img_5977

Call me a fan girl all you want. I don’t hide that because every time I get to sit and talk with and learn from Lora, I take away new a-ha’s and gentle reminders of wisdom I already carry with me, and all of us need people in our lives who can be those sources for us. And as everything came together for Sunday’s workshop, despite the weather obstacles and challenges of coordinating such an event from a business perspective, I can say that once again I landed right where I needed to be that afternoon, hearing perspectives that I very much need in my life these days.

When I found out I was pregnant with Baby No.5, I had this notion that I was going to ROCK IT with staying on top of yoga, meditation, and overall fitness. Perhaps this is because I was just coming of my 3/5 Challenge, but I really thought I was going to yoga, meditate, and walk/prenatal fitness DVD a certain number of days each week starting from right there in week 4/5. As in, I was going to be the most fit and functional I’ve ever been. With Baby No. 5. 

And then reality smacked me in the face (or rather in my tired brain and upset stomach) and no. That has not happened. I’ve kept up with my teaching and some of my household duties, but beyond that? Whoa. Let’s just self-care becomes much harder to achieve when your body and brain feel like they are locked in survival mode. And then the guilt comes because you know if you could just do something to take care of yourself, you’d probably feel better, but you don’t have enough gumption to do anything and so on and so on.

img_5995But here is what Lora reminded me of last weekend: The Magic is in Coming Back. That can apply to so many facets of life and of a yoga practice. It can mean coming back to the mat or the meditation cushion. It can mean coming back to yourself and your center. It can mean giving yourself some grace and space (especially under extenuating circumstances). It can mean – and mostly means – coming back to the breath. When the thoughts take over, come back to the breath. This is not a new concept for me; it’s something I’ve been working on for years. But this reminder of what I needed, exactly when I needed it was a true blessing and gift because it confirms what I have said all along – this is a life long practice. There is no perfection. There is no mastery. It is always a practice. It is always about returning. And therein lies the progress. The compassion for self and others. The true magic.

So I’m working on it. I’m getting my feet back underneath me and making a gentle return to gentleness with myself, and eventually I’ll re-establish those practices that guide and ground me. And I’ll give thanks as I do so – for my teachers, my champions, my magic.

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3-5 = 35

Before you get after my math there in the title, let me explain. Remember the challenge I set for myself back in December? The one where I would do the yoga at least 3x a week and the meditation at least 5x a week for approximately 3.5 months? Well, that time frame has suddenly come to a lightning quick end with today, my 35th birthday. Ca-ca-crazy, huh?

Even crazier (awesome)? I did it! With the exception of two bouts of illness, I kept on track and rocked the heck out of this self-care routine and I am so, so glad I did. Getting through the holidays and starting a new semester while also starting a new business on top of momming meant the start of 2017 was intense. It would have been pretty easy to spiral into a giant stress ball, and truth be told, I probably still did a bit on some days. But the challenge and the accountability calendars kept me going and kept me tending to ME in the midst of all the others, which, as you all know, is incredibly important.

 

You have to have your own back. And you have to do whatever it takes to keep you having it. For me that was totally the tracking system. As visual as I am, these were essential reminders and motivators over the last few months.

Side note? See all those Wednesdays I skipped in February? Bad idea. Wednesdays are honking busy days for us – short day of school, after school church stuff, one of my lecture nights on campus – and I felt like I was dragging myself into most Thursdays that month like “I did it! I survived!” which is good but not the best approach. So even though I didn’t practice one or the other every Wednesday in March, I tried to do at least a little more preemptive care because whoa – hectic overload in February. I don’t know that I would have noticed this pattern/bad habit if not for the calendars front and center to display it.

What happens from here? Well, I think I’ve got a new challenge in mind, but I’m still figuring out the specifics. It will definitely still include as much meditation as reasonably possible, and yoga too, of course, but as the weather improves, I’d like to start including some walking and other strength training in there too. That way, even when I run into days when it’s hard to find time to roll out my mat, I can still get some good in that’s just for me.

Ahhhh, 35. You came faster than I ever could have imagined by wow, do I think there is great potential for you to be the most transformative year yet. But yes, stickers are still totally going to be needed, because some parts of a person never grow up!