Monday, May 11, 2015

my circus, my monkeys

There is a quote that floats around social media stating "not my circus, not my monkeys." Every time I see it, I giggle

Because the circus around me-IS MINE. And the monkeys? Yup, MINE TOO. Many moons ago, I originally called this blog "Three Bean Circus" as a play on our nicknames (Bean & Beana) and our kiddos. 

Bean works for a university library and was able to check out a nice camera for the weekend. We didn't take a load of pics, but it was nice to capture our family with more than an iPhone. We dream of a super nice camera.

Definitely monkeys. I was blessed with THREE bouquets of flowers this Mother's Day. I love flowers but I don't buy them much for myself, nor do I receive them often…ahem, Bean. 

I stopped caring much about perfected posed photos and smiling children YEARS AGO. I want to capture my family in the moment and sometimes they are beautiful happy ones, and other times they don't want to pose and the sun is shining in their eyes. Yes, we still threaten and beg for smiles but there are times---like this one right here--when I say, it's fine, just roll with it. 

This guy. Still makes my heart go pitter patter. I feel so incredibly blessed to be his wife and share this life with him. Yes he drives me absolutely crazy sometimes, but it keeps life interesting. Aren't we a cute ad for Spy Sunglasses?

I love my circus, and my monkeys (the big guy included).

Monday's coming

I have a love-hate relationship with Mondays.

As a routine-oriented person, I look forward to the start of a new week. As much as I don't like getting up before 7am, I like knowing we NEED to get up and the kids need to get off to school. It's nice to have several hours where I get to set the schedule and decide what to do when. On a weekday I'm not working, I can almost guarantee I will spend some time with my Bible, exercise, pick up the house, do dishes, maybe do laundry and probably go to at least one store.

But when the alarm goes off at 6:30am, chances are Lilybug has already woken and is either checking the weather app on my phone or asking me when we are getting up. I didn't make lunches tonight, so I HAVE to get up at 6:30. No snoozing until 6:45am. Plus Miss Rose has started taking morning showers (I feel like this is a sign of her impending middle schooler adolescent status) so I need to get her up too. I will stumble into the kitchen while Lily chatters at me a mile a minute (she is SO her father and an absolute morning person). By 7 or slightly after, I will be more awake and feeling better about facing the day. 

I have this very dichotomous personality, which I am becoming more aware of.  I have taken many personality tests over the years but I remember nothing of them. I need to do a little more study of myself to make more sense of this. I love people, speaking and singing in public and teaching. Yet I also desperately need quiet time at home. By definition, I think I am an introvert. I've realized the utter exhaustion I would feel after a Sunday full of ministry had more to do with being "on" for many hours than actual physical exertion. Yet I wouldn't have changed it at all.

I want to be spontaneous and not have plans and go with the flow. But yet I love lists and calendars, plans and goals. Sometimes I want to have a plan, and other times I don't. 

And so this is why I have a love-hate relationships with Mondays. I love the return to routine, yet I wish I could sleep in and have just one more lazy morning with the kids.

But I will wake up and decide to punch Monday in the face. I will get the kids off to school, get my home in order and maybe run on some trails.

Cause whether we like it or not, Mondays coming.

Let's embrace the day.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday songs

Sometimes you hear a song dozens of times and it's good, but it doesn't hit you.

And then you hear it, really hear it. The lyrics resonate and the composition swells within you.

While on a short run today, the song "Anchor" from Bethel Music's "You Make Me Brave" album started playing.

And how how these words resonated with me.

In every season, in every change
You are near
In every sorrow,
You are my strength
You are near

A peace in the storm
Your voice I will follow
In weakness I rise
Remembering You hold the world

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways

The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change

I love You, I love You

My great Redeemer,
My constant Friend
You are near
My faithful Father,
You took me in
You are near

I will remember Your promise forever
My Strength, my Defender
I can count on You
You are my Savior, My Hope and my Shelter
Your love is forever
I can count on You

Saturday, May 9, 2015

some mother's day thoughts

 Mother's Day is tomorrow. My past two mother's days have been spent studying for nursing school finals. I had some time with my family, but we couldn't do much to celebrate the day.

I'm a bit conflicted when it comes to Mother's Day.

I absolutely love being a mom. It's the greatest privilege and blessing in my life. It's truly my dream come true. I couldn't wait to be a mom and it wasn't long after Bean and I were married that I started to think and plan for when we would start our family.

I do think that Mother's Day (and Father's Day) are special and worth celebrating. But at the same time I truly feel that just being a mom is gift enough.

I am conflicted because I have so many friends who long for motherhood and are still waiting for that dream to come true. Mother's Day holds grief and heartbreak and I just hate that.

That being said, I did shamelessly email my husband some helpful hints. This is also the first Mother's Day in two years we've had room in the budget for gifts. I know that Bean loves to get me gifts and since it's been so long since we've been able to do that sort of thing, I gotta help a guy out as to what I'm into these days, right?

But even without gifts the past few years, Mother's Day has been great. Because I am a mother.

I am conflicted for my friends who will avoid social media and church services which inadvertently shine a light on their non-mom status.

I am conflicted for friends who's motherhood looks much different than they ever thought it would.

I am conflicted for those who's moms have already passed from this life and their absence will be strongly felt tomorrow.

I am conflicted for my single mother friends who don't have a husband to help the kids pick out gifts or put the extra touches on the day.

Yet I cannot discount my blessings, the children I have been given and the privilege of being mom.

For those who struggle on Mother's Day, I do not take any of this for granted. I hurt for you, I pray for you. I do not take for granted that I have a children, that my mom is steps away from my front door and that I have a husband who has been running secret errands all day.

I do not take it for granted.

A few Mother's Day reads for you to click to…

Ann Voskamp's poetic writing always enraptures me, Why Mother's Day Really Is For The Birds and The Most Life-giving Thing Any Mother Can do for Themselves This Mother's Day

For the Mothers who never got to hold their babies in their arms, On Celebrating the Other Mothers on Mother's Day.

I've long had a tumultuous relationship with Proverbs 31 and it's use on Mother's Day and Rachel Held Evans sums it up perfectly in this post, 3 Things You Might Not Know About Proverbs 31.

Shauna Niequist's post from a few years ago "What My Mother Taught Me."

How to Not Be Disappointed This Mother's Day

Saturday, May 2, 2015

the latest and the greatest

When you haven't blogged in two months, it's hard coming up with a title. And I will confess that my title sounds more exciting than this post may be.

Our computer has been dying a slow death these last few months. A few of the letter keys stopped working and when we took it in they said the cost to fix it wasn't really worth the value of the computer because it could no longer be updated or supported. We bought it a few years old from a friend, for a great price, and it served us well for 8 years.

The temporary fix was to get a USB keyboard. Which was functional, but ever so annoying. I love sitting on the couch with the computer at night and using the keyboard was cumbersome. Plus the battery had lost all it's juice and didn't even last an hour.

Therefore: no blogging. I just couldn't seem to get motivated to blog on my phone and the iPad was usually otherwise engaged.

But we have a new to us computer!!! God blessed us with an amazing hook-up once again. Friends were selling their hardly used Macbook Pro and now it's ours. It's so nice and shiny and has a backlit keyboard.

So once again I'm sitting on the couch, putting words to the screen.

The latest and greatest...

I am about 2/3 done with my nursing new grad residency. This means that I am in training--although a full RN--working clinical shifts with a preceptor and receiving additional education as well. It's kinda like being paid to go to school--which I am okay with! I feel confident with a lot of the basics and now it's just gaining more experience on various procedures and cases we don't see all that often. The program has been great preparation and I know once I complete it I will feel ready to be on my own as an RN. I love it more every day and am so thankful to have a job in pediatrics--being around kids all the time is just great.

There are a few great things about nursing--at least in my opinion--you never stop learning. One because things are always changing and two because unique cases always come through and you gain new skills and knowledge. And because you don't care for every type of patient every day, there are nurses who have been practicing for 10+ years who have questions or need support. It's great to be in a supportive environment where you can ask questions and confirm your decisions with those around you.

I'm working both Saturday and Sunday this weekend--which is a bit of a bummer. But it means we don't have to worry about childcare. BUT I'm off next weekend! Which happens to be Mother's Day as well. I'm excited because the last two Mother's Days I was studying for finals in nursing school--but this year no studying and no work.

I can't believe another school year is about to end for my kiddos. My oldest is graduating 5th grade and will be moving on to middle school next year. YIKES. And my baby will finish kindergarten. This summer is going to be amazing. Because I won't have to make lunches for 2.5 months! And I won't be in school and working just my three 12-hour shifts--so I envision a lot of beach days. We didn't get to go a ton, but they really enjoyed the beach last year and so I know this year will be the same.

Only Miss Rose is playing a sport right now-baseball, and Daddy is a coach. She hit her first home run last month which was AMAZING! She joins the small elite group of girls who have hit home runs on the Majors field in our little league. I am so proud of her. She's a solid player and a great example on the team.

We listen to A LOT of Taylor Swift these days. Gracie and Lily are very into T. Swizzle and love to make up choreography to her songs. "Dance Off " is a popular game between the two of them. Gracie spent several weeks in "jump rope club" at school which was really fun. She learned some fun jump patterns and has a fancy professional jump rope now. Lily just started Heartlight, a dance program. She's been waiting ALL year for an after-school activity she could do as most are for 1st grade and up. Finally this came along and it's right up her ally. She also bravely got her ears pierced last weekend. Anything for fashion, even a poke.

My running has picked up again now that my schedule isn't so crazy. We have trails just a few miles from us but I've always been hesitant to try to navigate them myself. I don't want to get lost and I want to be safe. In the past month I went hiking there with one friend and ran some trails with another friend and am starting to feel comfortable there. I am LOVING trail running. I love the challenge of the terrain (which is actually better for my body) and being in nature. I am pretty driven on the streets to run a particular pace but there is no way to run certain hills and you have to slow at times on trails to navigate rocks so your pace ends up being slower and you really can't control it as much. It causes me to just enjoy the run and not focus so much on pace.

I have some tentative goals for running trails the next few years. I'd love to complete an Ultra trail race around my 40th birthday in two years. Training for trails is much more attractive right now, although I'm sure I will do some road races as well. Another benefit of running trails is you end up faster on the streets. So, I'll take it!

While I am getting more settled in this new season of life, post-nursing school, I am still finding my way at times. I feel like I have no social life (which could be a mom of 3 thing too) and my schedule hasn't allowed me to get more involved in my church. Come July, I will have more control of my schedule and be able to plan around the things I want to do.

Sometimes I am too fixated on the past and reconciling things there. Other days I worry too much about the future. The name of this blog still holds true-- my goal is just to embrace THIS day. Whatever it holds. However it goes. The phrase comes to me often.

Thanks to this new computer, I may be in this little space more often once again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

getting a few hours back

I have felt really tired this week. Especially getting up in the mornings. It's probably due to Daylight Savings Time. There are never enough hours in the day and getting up in the dark makes the day feel extra long right now.

It's rare to get hours back in the day, but I did today and I'm going to enjoy them and maybe I won't feel as tired tomorrow. We were supposed to have a 2-hour Girl Scout field trip this afternoon and I was bracing myself for the complaints of the other two children who aren't Girl Scouts because I decided to just take them along.  Sometimes you just gotta suck it up!

But the field trip was cancelled at the last minute. While my Girl Scout was bummed, I breathed a silent sigh of relief. I was geared up and ready but a whole afternoon at home (it's a minimum day) sounds delightful. I'm at work 4 days a week right now and even though it's still 36-40 hours, "going to work" 4 days a week instead of the 3-12 hour shifts I got used to is extra exhausting. Because that's one more day to plan childcare, pack meals and figure out dinner when I get home.

So while the girls are enjoying some play time and screen time I decided to write here. In the next 30 minutes they are bound to be "bored" and arguing over toys.

I am a pretty driven person (hello two bachelor degrees, a master's degree and an RN license). I've been really enjoying running again and finding some new speed. I usually run on my days off but running does take time and energy (duh). I had to pep talk myself into taking a rest day today, even though I don't have to work. It was a better choice to have a quiet morning, do some cleaning and not feel rushed.

Sometimes you have to save the running shoes for the next day and put on your flip-flops.

I still wanted to run, but I know I got things done at home I wouldn't have done if I had gone running. I'm a firm believer in balance, but I also believe that balance changes day to day--because life is different every day and we wake up with different needs each day.

This is what usually happens on my days off:

We all have that one thing that easily absorbs our time if we let it. Maybe it's a Kardashian marathon or reading a book in one sitting. (I could easily get sucked into either).  Sometimes we NEED to be sucked in to something, to have a Fringe Hour, to feed our soul, to turn our brain off.

But just like I have to turn around at some point on my runs and come home, we can't run away from life forever. There are things to get done.

Well, it's time to get a few more things done with these extra hours in my day.

Tomorrow I don't have to work until 10am, and you better believe I have a run planned in the morning.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

the blessing and the curse of knowledge

They say that knowledge is power and NBC always tells me "the more you know."

And yes I agree, knowledge is good and powerful and important. I love learning new things of all types.

But there is a negative side to knowledge too. . Because when you identify the cause of a problem, when you finally understand something important, when the haze clears--it can be overwhelming and depressing.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk about food. So forgive me for talking about it now. But sometimes a girl just needs to process and get it out. In writing I often find truths I never saw before.

2015 has not started well for my digestive health.

Here's the elevator version of the past few years...

Summer of 2012, on the testimony of my chiropractor, I listened to the audio version of "Wheat Belly" and decided to do a gluten-free experiment. After two weeks of GF eating, I reintroduced gluten and found that my lifelong debilitating migraines were linked to gluten. And suddenly I HAD to be gluten free. Because even just a little gluten caused a massive migraine. (The irony of my post about this discovery is that now I can't even eat tortilla chips and most ice cream has too much sugar or crazy ingredients that make me feel yucky.)

My sister introduced me to the Balanced Bites podcast. Then I found "The Paleo View". Suddenly everything in my life was pointing me to Paleo. I was commuting hours each week and had plenty of time to listen and learn. I was intrigued by the science, the testimonies and saw much of myself reflected in the accounts. I gave up Diet Coke once and for all. Completed a 21-Day Sugar Detox and a Whole 30. I noticed that many grains were causing discomfort and bloating so I reduced my consumption but still seemed to tolerate them on occasion.

Last year (2014) I had to eat pretty strict Paleo to feel my best. I knew if I was eating too much sugar or too many grains or processed foods because I would get bloated and have more headaches and digestive distress. It was also a pretty stressful year of completing nursing school. I am pretty convinced that had I not discovered the gluten link to my migraines and the Paleo lifestyle I would have had a major health crisis during nursing school or not been able to finish it.

Early in January I seemed to get a stomach bug that it took me almost a month to fully shake. Or maybe it was something else, I don't know. All I know is I was having digestive issues, consuming way less than my body needed and really struggling. I lost at least 5lbs. I cut out every possible irritating food group (nightshades, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds). Yeah, doesn't leave you with a lot of options.

The last few weeks I've been doing a little better, but that also means I started reintroducing foods into my diet--some that probably are safe for me, but other "gray area" foods and probably thanks to Valentine's Day too much candy and chocolate. I probably should have tried to continue eating a more limited diet. I'm pretty sure I have a "leaky gut" and need to continue to avoid those foods in order to heal.

And so tonight, this San Diego just wanted to enjoy a Mexican style meal. So I ate some tortilla chips and a small scoop of beans with my carne asada, cheese and guac.

Unfortunate mistake.

Within several minutes I had a stomach ache, a headache and feel bloated and awful.

The truth is, my body CANNOT tolerate grains. I had a small scoop of rice the other night with a similar reaction. This means I can't enjoy most "gluten free" foods many use to still enjoy a cookie, a piece of toast or pizza. All of those products are made with rice and corn.

This is a difficult truth for me to really own. I want to be able to eat a few tortilla chips or some rice on occasion. The reality is, it's not worth it. And like the title of this blog, I need to embrace it. To own it and live it. Even when it sucks. Even when I have to turn down 99% of the food offered at a party or event. Even when I can't eat 90% of the food my family eats.

I want to feel good. I need to be healthy. My family deserves a mom who isn't sick or laying in bed with a stomach ache, which is what I want to do right now. The fetal position sounds amazing for my hurting belly.

The knowledge of nutrition and digestive health is overwhelming to me right now. There are so many different approaches I could take to healing. I wish I could go to an integrative doctor and have a lot of fancy testing done to determine the root of some of my problems and the best approach to healing.

But I do know how to eat to feel good and not feel sick. And so that's where I need to start and where I need to stay. No indulgences that I will pay for. It's not about being on a diet or "cheating". It's about my body receiving nutrition it can digest and process and put to good use.

Once again I'm really just preaching to myself. Because I've not been following this gospel, even though I have already experienced the truth of it.

So yes, I do eat Paleo. I eat real food that is nutritious. Not to be snotty or stuck up. Not because I want to be trendy or because it's the latest fad diet. I eat this way because I have to. If I don't want to feel awful and sick. And I am thankful I discovered Paleo because it probably is saving the quality of my life.

Don't be fooled though, I'd give anything for some doughy pizza, soft chocolate chip cookies and to enjoy some of the Thin Mints my daughter is currently selling.

Those desires may change some day, but that day is not today.