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.

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.


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.

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.

Tunnels, Light, and What’s that Smell?!

You guys. It is here! The end of the biggest year ever of adjuncting and, ta-da!!!! My final grades are entered! I did it!!! Do I currently sound like an over-sugared 5yo who just found out she gets more sugar? Yep, and I’ll own it because this year was a PUSH and after all that we are not only at the end of an academic calendar, we are also at the point of making the LAST PAYMENT on our debt snowball!!! Yeah, I think I’ve earned all the !!s and imaginary cartwheels I can muster right now because this year+ of effort has been intense and deserves a moment of recognition.

The other incredible news? I am starting to feel human again! And two weeks ahead of schedule AND without taking my B6 anymore. Can you believe it?! We were so caught up on Saturday morning with soccer games that I totally forgot to choke down my pill and since I still felt fine-ish by noon, I decided to just go with it the rest of the day. And then I didn’t take any yesterday either, or this morning, and I am totally still standing. WhooHoo! I had honestly gotten so gaggy every time I tried to take one that I wonder if they were starting to be counter productive. Whatever the cause, since I’m no longer feeling quite so face-dragging-on-concrete, I will totally take it (and again do imaginary cartwheels). Side note: ironically, last night, after approximately 30 hours of feeling better-ish, I had a massive attack of heartburn. Ahhhh, growing a human – it is never dull!

img_6035-1Also, never dull? Life with toddlers. Trumy had a heckofa time of it last week with a cold that turned into a nasty cough and then, on Friday afternoon (of course), a spikey fever and then seemingly better over the weekend and then last night at bath a Do-Not-Touch-My-Right-Ear most likely ear infection. Took him in this morning (after I got HD out the door and RL dropped at preK) and sure enough – infected! But now we’ve got meds and he’s got the first dose in him and is taking a late morning nap and hopefully all will be back to his table climbing, snack mess making, normal self very soon. And all this before 10:00 today! I realize this entire post just sounds like a big ball of self-congratulations, but seriously. I feel a little bit like Wonder Woman to have handled all this already today.

Less than wonderful, however, is the unknown smell coming from my kitchen. I mean, I get that my housekeeping standards have been less than stellar lately, and maybe it is just my uber/pregnant nose being sensitive, but something in my kitchen needs to be found and removed. IMMEDIATELY! But I’m not that much over my queasiness to feel brave enough to go searching and eliminating, so I’m not really sure how this is going to go. Can I somehow avoid the kitchen for the rest of the day until Ben gets home and I can put him on the task? LOL. Nope. Not an option. But dang – what the heck happened in there? Is it the the trash? The sink? Heaven help me (and hire me a cleaning service for a month, please).

Minus the cleaning fail in the kitchen and the fact that I’ve got a kiddo on meds (but hey, at least he can also now be on the mend), I feel like things are coming up a bit rosy for the Welschies on this Monday morning. We’ve been in some dark, long tunnels in the last weeks/months/year and suddenly it seems like there might just be light at the end of all of them. Incredible!


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.



Can’t We All Just Get Along?

11 Weeks. Today I am 11 weeks which puts me 1 week away from bump pictures beginning and still 3 weeks away from feeling human again. Here’s what I’ve learned about Baby No.5: with said baby, one feels (and looks) very pregnant for a very long time (and this little gem of wisdom from someone who still has 3/4 of the way to go!). And of course every single second of it – the upset tummy and disturbed sleep and holy-mother-of-never-have-I-been-so-tireds – is worth it. But do I dare tell the truth and say that somehow some of these seconds seem to last hours? As in 14 weeks, much less 40, feels light years away still and I am continuing to struggle a bit with our day-to-day.

Now, of course, our days have been rather extreme this entire school year what with all the adjuncting and business starting and eventual new-human-growing, so I’m trying very hard to give myself some space and grace around the fact of this struggle. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to fly through these months with a constant smile on her face and 100% of her shit together, so why do I kick myself for being human, and especially right now? It’s unnecessary. I still haven’t had a chance to write about the awesomeness that was our Sunday workshop with Lora McCarville via Grounded Sky @ Prairie Loft, and I promise that is still coming, but I mention it here because it helped remind me that this – this crankyness, this tiredness, this holding on for dear life – is an extenuating circumstance. In fact, some things are already lightening and brightening.

For one, my semester is in its final week. I have some stacks of grading to tend to yet, but the end is NEAR. VERY NEAR, and I have learned that this double-nights-a-week business is not for me. While I’m thankful for where the elbow grease got us this year, I am not looking to do it again anytime soon.

In another move to lessen the demands, I made the call to offer less yoga this month. That may seem like an interesting choice to some for a growing business still very much in its own infancy, but if I can’t model self-care and self-preservation with my own life and career, then what business do I have in teaching these things?

The one place where conditions could still improve (besides my tummy which seems to get most cranky between 9-10 p.m., making my attempts to go to bed peacefully very interesting) has to be with handling all the momming that must continue, especially in regard to the one who will no longer be the baby by the end of this year. Yes, when I ask, “Can’t we all just get along?” I am specifically talking to this dude: the one who both refuses to leave my side and wants to do All The Things on his own. img_5951How is that even possible? How do you get a kiddo who is 100% committed to both clinging and independence?! And because language skills are still slow coming, the amount of fussing and whining and other forms of communication add to the draining factor of chase me/don’t put me down/chase me/don’t put me down/chase me/pull me off this piece of furniture/don’t put me down/chase me/get me a snack/not that snack/retrieve me from some place I should not be/don’t put me down/chase me/don’t put me down/don’t sit down either EVER. Yep. Not joking. But that on loop and welcome to my days (with just one of the Littles!).

As far I as I know, there is no cure for Tired Mommy + Rambunctious Toddler, so we’ll just keep chugging along, hoping some sort of balance comes soon. There are just a couple weeks left in the school year and then I’ll have my co-pilot back to help (actually, take over, at least in the mornings as I am planning to teach a 5-week summer class) AND best of all, I’ll finally cross the 14 week mark and be in that blissful second trimester stage of functional human again.

Return Coming? 

So apparently when you are face-on-concrete tired and nothing sounds good except for peanut butter sandwiches (and even then) and mochas, you know you are in trouble. And I will apologize right now for typos in this post because our laptop died two days ago leaving me to blog with my thumbs on my phone, and why it can recognize AYFKM but not Thanks instead of Hanks is beyond me. 

So, another week, another update. Still feeling on the verge of running for the bathroom all the time but must be faking it at least some of the time in public because a friend told me over the weekend that I looked well (& I may have laughed in her face which wasn’t the most kind response but it was my gut reaction because Face. Concrete. Etc.). All the effort it takes to do the running around is getting me though and I continue to be my less than shining self at home. PPM still here. And then Guilty Mommy shows up because I feel like I  am doing nothing to take care of myself and so of course I am a crazy (thanks, phone), cranky mess. I know there are small steps I can take and should take and here’s hoping I actually take them because it feels pretty unfair to my entire family for this to continue much longer. As in, must find boot straps. Now. 

And enter coffee. Yes, it’s back. My chai is disgusting to me and I can’t seem to drink a regular cup of tea for the life of me these days, but coffee with milk and chocolate? Yep. Bring it. But again, sitting here kicking myself doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I just need to take it one cup/day at a time, knowing that if I can just get through the next couple-few weeks, I will in fact feel human again and I won’t be drowning in laundry and dirty dishes (*snort* yes I will, but at least I might actually feel up to doing something about it), and won’t be so snappy and snippy. At least I sure hope that is the case. Oof. 


So at the end of last week, afterI shared my previously written post, I thought things were actually on the ups. I mean, come the weekend, I survived our first Saturday Soccer Morning Shenanigans (we are coaching two kids on one team while a third kiddo is on a different team and naturally everything happened at the exact same time on far opposite sides of the field space for round one) AND Easter festivities on Sunday and was actually feeling OK. Not quite so much face-on-concrete, which is nice, you know? I was all Heck yeah, this B6 is working! 

But then the week came and I have been huffing and puffing my way through the nausea and back to waking up for hours on end during the mid-to-early-morning part of night and just Blergh. I’m not doing so great. Like any other human, I get cranky when I’m behind on sleep. When you add in the “nothing sounds good to eat and that I’m having a hard time swallowing water much less my little vitamin that’s supposed to keep me from urping” factor, I am not a terribly pleasant person these days. I never am in the first (and last, and maybe middle) part of pregnancy, and darn it – my oldest two are definitely old enough this time around for Pissy Pregnant Mommy* Syndrome to stick in their little memories.  *Note the use of my non-preferred mom name there, although I get called a little bit of everything by my children, including “ma’am” which is pretty funny. I’m using it here because I’d like to think this is my evil twin mom persona and therefore should not contain the actual word “mama” in it. Have I mentioned that pregnancy makes me both cranky and crazy?

So anyway. Interesting week around here. Back to more of the face-across-concrete to get through the daily routine, not to mention the finishing of a semester in adjunct world and the maintaining of a new business and a house and yeah. Don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful blessings. Even the extreme exhaustion and 24/7 icks in my tummy are good because I know every single day brings me closer to not only 14 Weeks when I’ll start to feel human again, but also to meeting this newest sweet peanut and while I obviously would give back the tireds and the tummy troubles, I wouldn’t actually trade this opportunity for anything in the world.

And, to be fair, not all has been lost this week. In fact, today, Lincoln and I had the sweetest darn moment when he was helping me clean the house (because I had to, people, NOT because this was anywhere on my actual list of wants or even priorities) and I thanked him, mid-load of carrying crap from one room to another, and he responded, “We’re a great team, Mommy!!!!” (see, he’s one who “mommy”s me a lot and therefore I don’t hate it, but you know a name’s a name, and I just like “mama” better), which melted my cranky heart right to puddles (and even, almost, made up for the massive fit he threw later in the day when we had to return an overdue library book that he very much wanted to keep forever and ever and always, apparently).

Zero bits to do with the post, except that it’s a great shot of Lincoln showing off the bird feeder he made this week at preschool. Again, heart melted. 

So it will probably go for the next 5-30 weeks. We’ll have our moments of crankiness and we’ll have our moments of sweetness, and somehow we’ll get from one chore to the next and one week to the next and not all will be lost. Not even when I’m at my crankiest and my craziest, because we are in fact all a very good team.