Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cropping Out a Patch of Honesty

Exploring Scenic State Beach Park, Jan 15, 2017

Tonight, My Sailor is in bed early, ready for a 3am wake up call in the morning. Beanie Girl is fast asleep after a busy day of egg hunting, walking (and being carried by mom, sans carrier or stroller... things I'll probably remember not to forget again...) about 3+ miles today and lots of time outside. She'd live outdoors if I could let her. And I'm up spending some quality time with a snoring old Boxer dog, one of my favorite old sci-fi shows, Firefly, and a my laptop.

I'm finally spending some time editing some long overdue photos, and a certain subject keeps cropping up. While I remain well motivated in #ProjectMakeWeight, these pictures tell an interesting story... There are a hundred little things in these photos that I'm sure she won't remember...

In this world of modern parenting, there is so much that seems to revolve around appearances. "Does a new baby have the perfect nursery?"
"Does the new kid have the perfect clothes?"
We add a few new pieces to her wardrobe, but 99% of her clothing are hand me downs from family, friends, and the local Buy Nothing Project.
"What?! You didn't have any maternity/newborn/monthly photos taken?!"
It's true. We haven't had a single professionally taken family photo, well, ever. Our adventures are documented through selfies and a camera one parent is behind. But I'd say so far, the results aren't half bad.

But in a world with perfection expected in every filtered instagram selfie, it's easier than ever to notice our physical flaws.Yes, I'm still working to shift the MomStrongBod into, well, whatever it's going to look like going forward, I'm just as tempted as the next person to crop out photos of me that I don't care for. For example, I see photos like this and see the 'flaws'. To most, these things often go unnoticed. But I see them. I see hair that hasn't been cut since December of 2015 (though that's likely to rectified this week) and can barely be brushed through. And Hello hips! Some photos show a bit of the battle of the pudge I'm still wrestling. But here's the truth - My mother probably noticed all the same things about herself... But I always thought she was beautiful. So, while I'm not keeping every half blinking photo, I do keep one or two in each file that I don't perhaps love of me. I'm keeping them for her. Because I want her fearless spirit to burn bright. I want her not to worry about the assumptions being drawn from the other side of the lens, and to be who she is - unique, brave, excitable, anxious, and beautiful - no matter how unruly her locks may be, or how much or little jiggle there may be elsewhere among her form. Anything less wouldn't be honest.

And while I'm on the topic of honesty -

Let's just say there were certainly other times in history where it was probably less intimidating to be a military family. This weekend, My Sailor and I watched the award winning Hacksaw Ridge.  Now, I should know better than to watch war movies - even fantastic ones - as the idea of a military graveyard or a flag over a casket sits a little too close to home. With my father buried in a military graveyard and My Sailor being, well, a Sailor, it can be a challenge to be faced with the idea of losing him (even though such thoughts linger in the back of every military spouse's mind from time to time).

And that train lead to the reminder of how little time we really do have together. With both of us working 6 days a week, and opposite shifts to boot, it's challenging - not to enjoy family time - but to protect it as fiercely as we might. We often bow out from things due to work conflicts, and when we do have time, we selfishly haul it away to build memories with each other and Beanie Girl. Memories that are vital for all of us - even though Beanie Girl may not recall them when she's older without prompting. Those memories are vital. While nothing is ever sure in this life, active duty military families face 'what ifs' of a terrible, glaring variety.

War movies always make those dark thoughts whisper just a little louder and make the priority for family time and adventures even more poignant.

Only a few more weeks until we head to Disneyland for a little much needed R&R and memory making. Sure, she's too little to remember it (maybe) but some memories aren't necessarily for her. Some memories are for us.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ringing in a Soggy Spring

Spring is finally upon us here in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, it's rainy up here (no surprise, right?) but since October, we've gotten more rain than we usually get in a year. While it's great for the plants and wildlife, we're REALLY looking forward to some fun in the sun. (And when the sun DOES come outside, we make the most of it. Beanie Girl would LIVE outdoors all day long, if we let her. We're all getting a bit of cabin fever.

Okay, I'm getting a bit of cabin fever. My Sailor is probably wishing for more indoor time. (Destiny...) But I'm looking forward to some summer adventures as things level out here a bit. It seems we're finding a steady routine that's working for us, for now - which is a breath of much needed fresh air for me.

With Beanie Girl finally deciding that food is the latest greatest thing in nurishment (you know, instead of nursing) and all of the junk food now out of the house, I'm looking forward to making some serious headway in losing the discouragingly sticky extra pounds. Since we've found a bit of a routine to life now, we have had a few good talks that I think most new parents have at some point. "Okay, now that we're pretty sure we know how to get this little human safely through a day, it's time to make sure we take care of ourselves." For me, that means taking extra time to get into the gym and lift whenever I can. Sure, I follow MammothHunters simple body weight stuff at home but it's just enough to keep me loose and flexible. It's not going to make me into the athlete I was. Which is fine - it has its purpose and I'll probably keep on it, but if I want to be a lifter, I have to, you know, lift.

So here I am, breaking out the motivational mantras, taking progress photos, and getting back to the coaches that helped me come this far. I honestly don't feel like I've lost much in the way of technique or strength, but I have about 45 pounds to lose to get back to competition weight. Instead of focusing on the insanity that is the scale, I'll just focus on fixing the lifestyle things that need tweaking (especially now that I'm getting regular amounts of sleep - Wahoo!) and I know the rest will fall in line in time. American Open next year? Maybe. Maybe the year after. We'll see!
Disney California Adventure 2014, Our Waiting Trip

In other news, I'm pretty excited to see my family (all together, in one place) for the first time since Christmas 2015. We'll be spending 3 days at Disneyland with them, introducing Beanie Girl to her first theme park experience. My mom is graciously flying us down and helping with hotel stay so we can make this happen. It looks like this will be the year of mini trips, rather than a week long vacation anywhere - but we're really looking forward to this one. It just so happens that it's the same weekend as the Disney Podcast Network meet ups in the parks, so I'm hopeful that we'll get to stop by and meet some of my podcasting buddies and grab some cool swag while we're there. My Sailor really wants to take Beanie Girl to Disney World in Florida while we're still a family of 3. (We're waiting to find and adopt her brother/siblings until 2020.) Since he's likely to become deployable again next summer, we'd like to pull it off sooner rather than later, but I'm sure that will work itself out as well.

It's kind of nice to be in this space. Oh, I can't say can't say things are perfect.

Clydas has a skin infection and has been slowly losing weight. The vet says if we can get a handle on the infection, and if his cancer isn't back and causing the weight loss, than he might be around for another year and a half, but that's likely to be the max. It's crazy to picture life without my boxer buddy by my side. He's seen me through a lot - 5 moves, 1 divorce, countless tears, crazy schedules, nights spent in the theater and days spent in the California sun and Washington rain. He's been responsible for more laughs than I'll ever know how to measure. So we're in the, 'keep him comfortable in his old age' stage now. He was, oddly enough, born in 2002 on the same day Beanie Girl was born in 2015. He still greets each day with zeal and snores his way through each night.

Things COULD always be better.

But things aren't bad.

And that's good.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Stories From the Bathroom Floor

I've seen way too much of my bathroom floors lately.

It started on Monday night. The week had begun bright and promising, with a great walk and talk with a friend, but car trouble kept me from my awesome Tacoma clients. (Boo hiss!) Come 1am on Tuesday morning, I suddenly needed to more closely inspect my toilet by way of losing my dinner there... over and over for about 6 hours. When even water wouldn't stay down, we packed up and headed to the ER.
After about 6 hours in the ER (where they threw every anti nausea drug they had at me, ending up with what they called a 'migraine cocktail' - after I'd thrown up something that tasted like the saline solution they'd put in via IV...) I was sent home with still more anti nausea meds and explict instructions to not 'chase the nausea' for the next few days.

I don't remember much of Tuesday. Our entire household pretty much slept through it. After The Lady in Grey came to our rescue to let The Impossible Girl run around a bit while My Sailor sat with me in the ER, we all came home and snuggled into bed and slept until dinner time. All three of us...

By Wednesday it had already been - that kind of week.

I was feeling better in the morning and thinking that maybe this was just one of those nasty 24 hour flu bugs. I  planned on going through with all of my appointments.

My Sailor, knowing I had had about 1000 calories in 3 days, thought I was ambitious...

And he was right. By the end of my first appointment, I was so dizzy I could barely stand. So I sat for a while, picked up The Impossible Girl from Child Watch, and went home, canceling or rescheduling my evening appointments.

So one more day of rest it was.

Then I work up Thursday hoping to get to my evening appointments in Tacoma. I was able to keep a homemade smoothie down foe breakfast just fine. But The Impossible Girl was impossible to get to sleep the nighy before. In fact, she slept from 3am until 7am... That was it. The rest of the night was a screaming fit that would not stop. (Gas pain plus molars plus being a baby is hard.)

Although I hadn't thrown up since Tuesday,  the dizziness struck again (likely due to exhaustion) and long drives at night, spinning rooms, and anti nausea meds don't mix... so again, I was rescheduling my day.

But the day at home was hardly restful. The Impossible Girl was attached to me physically the entire day. And everything was a battle. No, not everything, breakfast was good, but everything else, from getting dressed to walking across a room was accompanied by screaming herself hoarse and tears.

Finally, sitting across the bathroom floor from her as she screamed at me across the room, I absorbed the weight of utter surrender. It just wasn't worth the battle - over changing her soild diaper was not worth this. I knew she was uncomfortable and guessed that was why she was crying, but the prospect of getting her diaper changed was completely overwhelming to my equally as exhausted toddler. She had run across the bathroom away from me and was letting me know how she flet in no uncertain terms. I offered her a hug if she'd come over to me. She didn't, probably (accurately) feeling that I'd sweep her up and change her (god forbid...). So after a good 8 minute stand off of her in of constant tears, I scooted over to her (which elicited half laughter through the tears and hollars) and offered her a hug at her place.

'Meet people where they are.' It wasn't a lesson taught to me in Foster care training. I'm not sure when I figured it out. Maybe it's because that is where most of the people who have greatly influenced my life have met me - where I was, rather than were they may have wanted me to be.

Anyway, it worked. She took me up on that hug. Collapsing into my shoulder. I laid back on the cold tile and hugged her to my chest, rubbing her back.

It worked.

She stopped hollaring, and just sniffled softly, gradually relaxing. Sure, she still needed a diaper change, but right now, she needed comfort more.

I'm not sure how long we lay like that, against the cold tile floor. My mind filled with the agony of my nearly entire week of canceled work, the intense demands of the last few days, the fact that I still hadn't recovered, My Sailor was also still sick, and - to put the cherry on top- the damn giant great pyrenees would not stop barking all day long, I decided to join her in sniffling a few tears of fruatration and surrender for myself- but no more than a few.

It's these moments that feel so big, but are really so fleeting that I understand the test of motherhood. There will come a day when she doesn't come to me for comfort like this, when the house will be too quiet, when everyone will be well and busy again. So, for now, even in the pit, I'll try to remember that the lesson is always - meet her where she is, and she'll come to you. No alterior motivations. Even if it means spending a few more minutes in a nasty diaper.

We did end up getting outside for a walk (once she let me get her dressed, a few hours later) and picking up a few supplies at the Dollar Store to do a new craft project. (Finger painting!) And all in all, after the stressful day, she finally fell asleep about 30  minutes before her usual bedtime with little to no fight, and I happen to get emails from 4 new prospective clients today.

So maybe today the bathroom floor is exactly where I needed to be.