Saturday, January 31, 2015

brain dump on writing, running, {not} eating & embracing

I came across some old files the other day that contained a bunch of poetry and writing from high school. I was reminded how much I enjoy writing and it's always been therapeutic for me. I'm not saying any of it is Pulitzer Prize material, but it's real and it's me. Early in high school I started keeping a prayer journal. Each entry is a mix of a letter to God and a diary entry about my life. I have saved them all and have probably thousands of sheets written. I still keep a prayer journal, although my entries aren't as long as they were in high school.

This space is an outlet for me too, and a great way to document my families life. I enjoy the community I have found in the social media world, although my real every day community always takes priority. Too often I get caught up in wanting to make my blog feel more professional or carefully crafted posts. But maybe I just need to return to writing. After all, some of my favorite blogs to read are just about everyday life, fun and challenges.

The running bug has bitten me again, as I knew it would once I finished school and had more time. But the more time doesn't always happen and I wish I was able to log about 5 more miles a week than I currently am (10-15). But my health journey and all I've learned in the past few years puts me a bit at odds with logging lots of miles. I know that chronic cardio can be detrimental to your health and that cross-training and have enough rest is important too. So I am trying to balance my need for miles with respecting my health--especially when I am recovering from working a night shift.

In fact, I have decided to place myself on the inactive running list for the next week. I have been having a lot of frustrating digestive issues and my current caloric intake isn't truly enough to support running. I still was running this past week--because NEED--but it may not have been super smart. I ran a few treadmill miles before work tonight and maybe one of them was pretty fast and maybe my back is hurting, My own fault. So I'm going to borrow PiYo from my sister-in-law for the week and take things down a notch.

This whole stomach thing is super frustrating. I already eat almost all real food--nothing super processed, I avoid all the weird chemicals and preservatives. I eat gluten-free and have been strictly grain-free for a few weeks. I have even eliminated caffeine, dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts and seeds the past 10 days to try and fix things. None of these foods give me problems that I know of, but I know they are inflammatory and so I am trying to treat any root causes I can. I have a doctor's appointment next week because this has been going on for weeks now. Eating the equivalent of 1-2 meals per day, if I'm lucky, just isn't ok.

Some days I rock at this whole "embrace the day, whatever it holds" thing. But a lot of days, I don't. I find myself comparing, unsatisfied with areas of my life, frustrated that I never seem to cross anything off of my perpetual "to-do" list because the daily non-negotiables fill the day. And things happen like yesterday when I realized 2 of girls needed antibiotics and so we spent almost 3 hours in Urgent Care to get it taken care of.

The manifesto I arrived at for the year? Just survive. And do my best to thrive. I need to accept and embrace better. And carpe diem. Instead of worrying about tomorrow.

And that, is my brain dump. And this is my prayer. That be clothed in strength and dignity and face each day with all my trust in God.

Friday, January 23, 2015

field trip fun

In the past two weeks I was able to go on field trips with my 2nd grader and my 5th grader. While I've tried to make to at least a few class parties these past two years, nursing school made it difficult to do much else with the kid's school. I was so thankful I could make my work schedule to accommodate these trips. It makes me so happy that my kids WANT me to come on these trips with them. Especially the 5th grader. You never know when kids decide they don't want you around. My philosophy is to be as present as possible when they actively want me, trusting that will build bridges for the years when parents aren't so cool.

First up was a 2nd grade trip to the zoo! One of the benefits of living in San Diego is their educational trips are someone's summer vacation. I'm thankful these locations value education too--as an extra parent I was able to participate for just $11.

Gracie was being goofy and insisting I hold her like this for a photo. All the kids had some sort of identifying name tag with their school info on it. Gracie's class decorated these visors with animal stickers and the info was written on the underside. Cute and creative!

We took a bus tour first. Almost all the kids and the "official chaperones" sat on the top deck. As extras, several other parents and I sacrificed and sat on the bottom. And by sacrificed I mean we got to chat about life as well as what we were seeing and not be overwhelmed by loud clamoring kids. It pays to be an extra sometimes!

Here was our group of four koalas, I mean kiddos, and there were three parents along too. So we were pretty set!

Of course the zoo is always looking to make another buck, and so you can take a photo in front of a green screen and they photoshop baby pandas in. I may have gotten in trouble for snapping this photo of the computer screen. But we were under strict orders to buy nothing at the zoo, so I was just following directions. It was too cute not to have record of.

One of my favorite exhibits at the Zoo is always the monkeys and gorillas and Gracie loved them too. In fact her second birthday was a monkey theme because she loved monkeys.  It almost looks like she's right next to this orangutang, but in fact there is glass between them. The orangutangs were really active and seemed to interact with the kids. Gracie took about a bazillion photos on my phone at this exhibit.  I wouldn't be surprised if her future career involves animals somehow.

 And this week was a 5th grade trip to Sea World. The parent-child ratio in our group was much larger and wow I never realized how excitable and loud 5th graders are! Our little gang with a penguin friend.

We started off in on a simulation ride and it was mostly filled with screaming 5th graders. I felt sorry for the mom and her 5 year old son who ended up with us. She turned around at one point to tell me and another mom "I can't hear any of the narration." Sorry about that!

We've had Sea World passes for many years now and I always try to spend $0 when we go because it's usually just for a few hours and I bring snacks and drinks. But I acquiesced--because 5th grade field trip--and let Miss Rose feed the bat rays. She shared her fish with friends. Her face was priceless after the bat ray sucked up the fish with it's mouth which is on the bottom of its body.

There was an educational Shamu show for all the schools in attendance that day. Our school had a special post-show photo session and Q&A with a trainer thanks to a dad who works there. First, check out the one month old baby killer whale swimming the pool after the show.

It was a bummer the kids didn't actually see this whale up close behind them, but what an awesome photo! They had the whale come up just for the photo. I hope these kids know how lucky they are to spend the day at Sea World! (and my parent ticket was just $6!)

I am so happy I was able to share this experience with my first baby girl, who is turning 11 next week. She's just a few inches from being taller than me. I love seeing her interact with her friends and be a kid.

This is a blessed life. In spite of challenges and struggles and trying to make it all work, I love this life God had given me.