I’m Healing! There’s Hope!

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Not to be overly dramatic, but I kind of doubted if I’d ever recover from this knee business. I just felt really old and broken, and after such a short time of run/walking, that’s discouraging. Very discouraging. I’m going to share the 3 things that have gotten me quickly on the road to recovery, in case you’re ever in such a situation.

1. GO TO THE CHIROPRACTOR. STAT.

It turns out that my chiro, who I hadn’t seen in about a year, just had a baby (yay!), so her office referred me to another chiro. I felt like approximately a zillion bucks when I left her office. I had all kinds of things “out” in my back and hips – it’s no wonder I was in so much pain, and why I probably had issues with my knees in the first place.

2. Take glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM.

I don’t know whether it was one or all of these supplements (or none?) that helped. But they certainly didn’t hurt. The bottle says to take 1 pill 4-6 times a day, and I did. I was popping them like candy the first couple days. I used this one from Natural Factors.

3. Wear a knee brace. Or 2, if both knees are toast.

I just grabbed a couple of stabilizing knee braces at the store, because after the chiro, I felt like my knees were just all over the place. I needed some extra support, especially because the kids had 4 soccer games over the weekend, between the 2 of them. The braces made my knees look very rotund under my jeans, as well as quite sweaty, but they definitely served their purpose.

Even though it has felt like my knees were broken for approximately 4 years, it was really just over a week. I know, I’m a total weenie. When I woke up this morning, I felt notably better. Not stiff or sore or anything bad. I handled the stairs a couple times today without making things worse. There were some twinges while going up or down the stairs, but nothing insurmountable. I feel very hopeful that with some regular strengthening exercises and yoga, I’ll be back on a run/walk/5k program in a few weeks. I’m excited!

Flying Caterpillars and Monkey Babies

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My littlest monkey is now climbing up on All The Things, including the thing we use to keep her safely enclosed in the living room. It’s a tote full of books, and her new favorite thing to do is wiggle herself up on it, stand up, and look around proudly to see if anyone is noticing. Her father is less enthusiastic about her new skill, but I think it’s pretty awesome. We started putting a basket full of socks on top of the tote of books, which is successfully thwarting her for now. On a related note, am I the only one that has totes and baskets full of things that most people have on shelves or in drawers? Hmm.

She also enjoys climbing up and standing on the raised hearth of our fireplace. This is a bit more troubling due to all the sharp edges and corners, but again, her absolute joy at being in such a forbidden location seems to really thrill her to no end. She’s figured out how to scoot off and land on her feet (most of the time). It’s all very enjoyable to watch, when it’s not terrifying. My mom often chooses not to watch.

Sometimes, when she tries to break the glass front of the bookcase with a hairbrush, and I prevent her from doing that, she does this:

She’s also a favorite pet of the 3 year old. Watch what happens when Fi plays with the baby…

There have been multiple days this week that were warm enough for the kids to go outside for many hours on end. It has been amazing. AMAZING. The baby even spent some time out with the kids, walking around in the now soft grass and mud, picking up things to examine, and waving and laughing at me as I look at her from the window.

Charlie Brown otherwise known as a wooly bear

Yesterday, Fiona got irate with Eli, because he told her to put down a charlie brown that she found and she wouldn’t. For some reason, he was all fired up about her putting it down, and when she wouldn’t, he took it from her and threw it. The shrieks were intense, as was the snot-faced distress of my little girl as she came in crying to me and screeching about how “ELI….DID FROW…..MY CHARLIE BROWN AND I’M NOT FORGIVE HIM!” It was heartbreaking and adorable. I made Eli go search for that thing, and bless his heart, he did. He couldn’t find the little guy, so he brought her some pretty rocks. She pretty staunchly snubbed her nose at them, but her heart started softening after he sincerely apologized. These are the fights that happen when it’s warm, and I much prefer them to the alternative. I’ll take it.

Couch to 5k, Day 3: The Day It All Went to Ca-Ca

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Brian and I had to run separately for the first time on Saturday, because Nini was off visiting her dad and sister. Bri asked to run with me instead, and I let her. And she kicked my butt. It didn’t help that my knees started hurting as soon as I started running, and I kept going, thinking the pain might chill out. It didn’t. I finally gave up running on the last interval, and I was pissed. Pissed that I only made it to Day 3 before getting hurt. Pissed that I spent a zillion dollars on shoes that I can’t use, at least for now. Pissed that I was feeling good, strong, motivated, and invigorated and it’s all come to a screeching, aching halt.

Pardon all the pissing.

Going up and down stairs hurts. A lot. Sitting hurts my knees and standing hurts my knees and all at once I feel old and creaky and broken. I hope I can run again, but at the same time, I’m a little afraid to try. Walking isn’t an option. It’s so BORING. Riding bikes isn’t my jam, at least not for the purpose of exercising. Swimming = bathing suit + membership fees. No bueno.

I’m dejected. I’ve resorted to ibuprofen for the pain, because rubbing Panaway on the sore spots isn’t helping. The ibuprofen absolutely does help, but I hate taking medicine.

Any tips or words of wisdom? I’m all ears. My knees thank you in advance. Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here. Being old and pouty.

Monday Things

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Today was special in a way that only Mondays can be. You’ll notice a trend if you stick with my little blog for long enough: Mondays suck, and if one doesn’t, LOOK OUT FOR TUESDAY. Snot has been thickly oozing from the baby’s nose for a few days now, so we were up a lot last night. There’s not much sadder than a nursing baby who is too stuffed up with phlegm to nurse. Horrible sounds, that one was making. We woke up around 8 and hit the ground dragging.

Interestingly enough, today we read the chapter in Parables from Nature titled ‘Kicking’. I had no idea as we read it how freakishly apropos it would end up being for today, but I should have guessed that something apocalyptic was going to occur. It’s all about a colt who resists authority and discipline, and thus never gets broken, and so bounces from owner to owner, always blaming others for his unhappiness. Bri enjoyed it, ‘got’ the message, and then promptly acted it all out, with her in the role of Firefly, the unruly colt.

I asked Bri and Eli to clean up the kitchen this afternoon. Eli cheerfully (I know – what??) set himself to the task, while Bri busted out her best bad attitude and started giving Eli a hard time. He basically dismissed her, saying he’d do it himself. I told her to pick up the living room and dining room instead, which would have been Eli’s normal chore. She freaked out, blamed Eli for not letting her help in the kitchen, and donned her best stone face, frozen in a look of absolute derision and disregard for All The Things. This was not going well. I thought perhaps she and Eli had pulled a Freaky Friday moment, and switched bodies, but no. This was Bri, fully fired up with pubescent hormones and total indignation.

She wasn’t even looking at me. Just standing there, staring disinterestedly over my right shoulder, and right then I realized it was going to get ugly. I told her to do the chore. I explained that her behavior toward her brother wasn’t acceptable. I repeated that she needed to start cleaning. NOW.

The blank hate stare continued.

I added another chore, to which she didn’t react in the least. This cycle continued with me warning her, assigning punishment, and her ignoring, until the list looked like this:

  • Clean the kitchen floor
  • Clean off the school bookshelf
  • Match all the socks in the sock basket
  • Clean the stairs/landing
  • Grounded from everything for a week
  • 8:30 bedtime for a week
  • No soccer

She also gave her camera to her brother and said she didn’t want a birthday party (she turns 11 next month).

Does anyone have kids that do this? They play like they don’t care about things that they absolutely do care about, so they give them up, as if it somehow punishes me. They then proceed to cry inconsolably with regret. WHY?

Regardless of the reason, I was grateful for the torrential tears, because it meant no more Hatey Hatey Stoneface Girl. She went through the stages of tween grief, we had to talk a lot while she cried a LOT, and eventually she proceeded with her long list of chores. She recovered, as did I. Her brother sweetly gave her back the camera, and we gave her soccer back (as that was another one that she had taken away from herself).

Later, she requested that I chop off her hair. To her shoulders. So I did. She’s certainly lovely and precious. But I don’t know that we will both make it through her teen years.

My Baby, World Traveler Extraordinaire – Paris Edition

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After a couple of fabulous days in London, it was time to hop on the Chunnel (because the girl clearly hadn’t done enough insanely awesome things, yet) and head to Paris. The highlights of their stay include Deb getting her wallet stolen on the subway before they even got to their hotel, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Bri’s first beret, and of course, Disneyland Paris! Enjoy :D

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These Eyes

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I have 3 daughters, and they all have beautiful eyes, each with their own unique color. My oldest has brown eyes, a chocolate shade somewhere between milk and deep dark.

Bri of the chocolate eyes

Then there’s my middle girl, the one with eyes somewhere between amber and hazel and green, depending on the light. Look at that child!

Oh, that face. Oh, those eyes!

And last but not least, the baby, with her perfect, still-blue eyes. It’s kind of looking like they’re going to stay blue with this one!

Baby blues

Love.

Couch to 5k, Day 2

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I was up late last night, as I often am after a miserable day. It’s not really a conscious thing that I mean to do, but more a need for solitude and peace for awhile. Maybe it’s my body’s way of trying to prevent the sins of today carry over to tomorrow.

Regardless of the why, the fact is that I was up until 2. It felt good to purge the day out into words, and I was definitely excited to get Bri’s London photos up. My phone woke me up at 7:30, I reset my alarm for 8:30, and finally crawled reluctantly out of bed at 9. I was a little apprehensive and I carried a bit of the previous day’s residue on my heart. Kind of like an emotional hangover.

Anyway, I’m very thankful that Brian is on board with the running thing, because without him spurring me on, I probably would have skipped today’s run. He came home early, as he generally does on Wednesdays, and whipped up some delicious homemade tortillas for taco night. I got ready and we started out around 3. The run/walk intervals went 5 minutes longer than yesterday, and while I struggled a bit toward the end of each running interval, I felt stronger overall. My body started to ‘remember’ how this running thing works and I didn’t feel as much like an elephant trying to glide gracefully as I did on day 1.

Our route ended up being 2.1 miles, which seemed significant enough to make me happy, and took 30 minutes. When I got home, I stretched a bit, then figured it was a good time to do a little strength training before I changed clothes. I did this quick homemade workout that I made up on the spot, which fatigued my muscles and kept my heart rate up for awhile longer. Here’s what I did:

- 6 regular squats
- 6 more squats, but as I stood up on these, I threw my baby in the air, caught her and squatted again (She was fussy because I wasn’t nursing her yet. How dare I tarry??)
- 10 push-ups (girl ones)
- 20 crunches, half of which were done with a baby crawling on my chest
- 10 lunges on one leg
- 10 tricep dips (done on our raised hearth)
- 10 lunges on the other side
- 25 Russian twists
- 10 push-ups (girl ones again)
- 5 more baby throwing squats
- 20 Russian twists

Now my legs are jelly and I can absolutely feel shin splints coming on. However, that’s pretty standard for me, and it’s well worth my improving health. I also noticed afterward that some more of that residue was gone from yesterday’s debacle. Now I’m off to recruit someone to rub magnesium lotion and peppermint essential oil on my achin’ legs!

The Spirit of Monday

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I should have known yesterday, when it was all idyllic and productive, that Monday would not be thwarted; Monday would not be swept under the rug and ignored. I couldn’t expect things to be smooth sailing just because True Monday was uncharacteristically Not Awful. It was good, even for a Friday, you know?

Today, the Spirit of Monday roared, and my reaction was not pretty. I held it together for a long time, through various stormy moments. Brianna couldn’t do math today. It was impossible, but pouting and looking forlornly up at me? Those she could do in spades. I reminded her that these weren’t new concepts that she was attempting to learn. This was basically review, but my goodness, if you were an innocent bystander witnessing this, you’d think I was expecting her to self-teach differential equations while reading a physics text, written in Braille, with her toes.

Miss Fiona was in fairly typical form. Lots of throwing herself down on the ground and screaming at everyone and everything for basically not bending to her will/being what she wants/being comfortable. It’s surprising that we have any carpet left, as seemingly all the carpet fibers can be found tangled in her hair at the end of each day, what with all the thrashing around she does on the floor.

To cap it all off, my mom and I took the kids for a walk this afternoon, thinking we’d all benefit from the sunshine and fresh air (before the Endless Days of Rain begin). Bri and I got into a magnificently epic battle over some serious attitude she was sporting, and it was ugly. She was convinced I hated her, and she said she wished I wasn’t her mom. I of course just carried on and got us all home, but is any mom unaffected by that kind of comment? Especially one delivered so venomously from the mouth of her first born child?

Shortly after we got back, I got the baby to sleep. Roughly 7 minutes later, I heard Fiona burst into a full blown screeching fit in the front yard, where she’d been playing with Eli. Apparently he’d been trying to carry her inside because she was going outside of her allowed play area and he was tired of fighting with her. She doesn’t take well to being handled. Bri went out to get Fiona, and handled it even worse, carrying Fi in while covering her still shrieking mouth. I’m surprised CPS hasn’t been by after the hub-bub that took place in my front yard.

The baby was obviously awake by that time, so I handed her off to Bri, scooped Fiona up from the shrieky pile she was in, and took her down to her room. We laid on her bed together to get calmed down. Within about 3 minutes, the dogs were barking their stupid faces off (it clearly entered my mind at that point that it was probably CPS or the cops at the door), but it turned out they were barking at nothing. As usual. I called the dogs to come down into the bedroom, but the dumb one would NOT come. This is when things get really heated, and I lost it completely.

I ran up the stairs and chased that dog around the table. I finally caught him, but he didn’t have his collar on so I had nothing to grab. I straddled him and pulled at his scruff, trying to get him to go downstairs. He wouldn’t budge, and all I could do was scream at him, “I HATE YOU, YOU STUPID DOG!”

Yep. Bri was sitting right there when it happened. Fiona could likely hear me from downstairs, and my mom came out from laying down because clearly the world was ending. I felt awful, and I regretted my total breakdown, but my goodness. It was like the day attacked me and I ran out of resources to handle the onslaught.

I closed myself in a bathroom and prayed. I prayed that I could cry, because I never cry, because fluoxetine numbs me. Almost immediately, tears started falling from my eyes, which of course, made me cry harder. I prayed for forgiveness for losing my mind in front of everyone, and for being horrible. Shortly after that, Bri came knocking on the door to apologize for her fit. She said she loves me and that I’m the best mom ever. She hugged me and showed me the book she made 3 years ago about when Fiona was born, to cheer me up. I apologized to everyone and hugged everyone, and we moved on with our evening.

I feel like I got hit by a semi-truck, but the grace I received is a blessing, as is the reminder of how far I’ve come. That type of breakdown used to happen far more frequently, and having one today made me realize how long it’s been since it’s happened. I’m grateful for progress, thankful for forgiveness, and hopeful that tomorrow will be better.

This is my writing buddy - hard to be sad with this on my lap <3

My Baby, World Traveler Extraordinaire – London Edition

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Gorgeous selfie!Brianna, my oldest child, my 10 year old baby, got the chance to go to London and Paris for a week recently, something most are lucky to ever get the opportunity to do. Her grandmother, my husband’s awesome mom, works for an airline and travels frequently. She seems to have made it her personal goal to take each of her (currently) 8 grandchildren on a grand adventure sometime in the next decade. Brianna was lucky enough to be the first, and I’m quite sure that she will never forget it.

They traveled with grandma’s best friend, Deb, and Deb’s 16 year old granddaughter, J. Brianna¬†and J became rather fast friends, and decided to pretend they were sisters for the rest of the adventure. J did Bri’s hair one day (with a flat iron!). They had a week straight of nothing but GIRL TIME, which is just my daughter’s most favorite experience in life, regardless of where it happens. She got to hear lots of probably-too-grown-up conversations, eat lots of decadent things (like French hamburgers), and see amazing places that we’ve read about (Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Big Ben).

J must have been a perfectly lovely girl, even better than I expected, because I didn’t get nearly the backlash of drama and angst from Brianna that I was prepared to encounter after having spent so much time with a teenager. There’s been some, but the whole experience seems to have actually matured her a bit. I’m going to be sharing a fantastically excessive number of pictures of her journey, so we can all pretend that we were with her, and get swept away for a minute. When I looked at her photos with her, I was really impressed by her photos, many of which were taken from the top of a double decker bus. She really enjoyed the architecture, which you’ll notice just from the sheer volume of building photos. Enjoy!

P.S. If you’re viewing on a non-mobile device, I recommend clicking on the slideshow and then on the ‘maximize’ or ‘fullscreen’ arrows to fully enjoy Bri’s awesome photography! There are some really beautiful pictures.

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