Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Weightier Matters

I've had an annoying 20 lbs of extra weight on me since I had Sophia that will not go away. I figure it has to do with me being in my thirties when I had her and also how screwy my metabolism must be after throwing up my guts for almost 9 months. And then, if you include all three of my pregnancies, I have more than 40 extra pounds overstaying their welcome.

See, I've never been heavier than I am now...as a non pregnant person anyway. And when I say the weight won't go away, I really mean it's not just disappearing on its own volition because I certainly haven't been doing much to make it leave. I haven't seemed to care enough about the fact that I can't fit into the majority of my wardrobe or that I'm always a little surprised to pass by a mirror and see how I really look or that Chloe has told me numerous times that I'm "still fat." Obviously, being thin is not super important to me right now. Not enough to make the changes that are needed in my diet and activity level in order to actually see improvement.

But then Sophia and I started to have thrush issues when she was two months old. You know how it goes, baby gets thrush, mom gets thrush and it just keeps getting passed back and forth. I treated Sophia internally and myself externally at first but it still keeps coming back. Again and again and again. Finally, a week or so ago, I noticed the poor child had eczema starting to set up shop all over her arms and legs. My eczema has also come back with a vengeance, along with several yeast infections (sorry for the TMI there) and just plain not feeling good.

Since some things are more important than being skinny, I bit the bullet, and started back on the yeast control diet. It's something I've been on before and it really helps all of the above mentioned situations, but it's difficult. No sugar. No cheese. Obviously no yeast...which means no bread. No white flour. Basically, those are all the things I love and just about all I ever eat. No wonder I have been riddled with yeast this last few months! And poor Sophia....she has no choice but to eat what I eat and so she is full of the yeasty beasties, too.

So, a week ago yesterday, I started my diet. Every time I'm tempted I just have to think about how miserable Sophia must be and it gives me the impetus I need to stick with it. And guess what? I already feel better myself. I have only gotten angry at my kids/husband twice this whole week, and believe me, that is a HUGE improvement. One of those times was when I was upset because we couldn't find Bria when we went to check her out of school on Friday. She disappeared for a half hour and I was getting extremely nervous and anxious so I took it out on Joel. We won't discuss the other time.

Guess what else? In only one week I have already lost 8 pounds. It took my baby's comfort level to push me to make the changes necessary to lose weight. I'm not even really doing it to be thin at this point...but it's a happy little side effect.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Seeing Red

If any of you have seen my glasses recently you know I am in dire need of new ones: The protective lens coating has started peeling away, the ear pieces don't match the frames anymore because Chloe broke them a few years ago and they had to be replaced with new ones that didn't quite match, and one of those mismatched ear pieces is currently being held on by a paperclip that I had to cut down because the screw fell out and I couldn't find it anywhere. Embarrassing, I know.

So, I finally got all my vision stuff taken care of. New contacts first (also a major need there) and yesterday I had my appointment to get my new glasses. I wanted them to be fun this time and not stay with the same old black rectangular frames that I've had for the past five years, cool as I thought they were. I was excited to see that the new trend in eyewear seems to be uber funky and colorful.
After trying on orange, purple, green, white, tortoise and green frames I finally went with red, as we all knew I would anyway. They have little purple stripes too and I am SO excited to get them and be done with my sorry specs. Now I can be totally stylin' when I take Chloe to preschool in my sweats.

Yep. Totally stylin' and seeing red.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The love life of a 3 year old

One of the most exciting things (if not THE most exciting thing) about moving to Cedar City was the fact that Joel's brother and his family live here. This means cousins for the girls to play with: Hana and Emma are 8 and 7, perfect for Bria to play with. Timmy is just a couple months older than Chloe and Ada is 2.

Chloe and Timmy love each other so much that they often get married and go on honeymoons together. They also love each other so much that they have lots of little spats when they are together (which may have more to do with their age than their love). I have heard Chloe yell "I am not going to marry you now!" at Timmy when she is mad at him, and she frequently stomps her foot and puts her hands on her hips in exasperation with whatever it is that he should or shouldn't be doing to/for her.

But, they seriously had me in stitches the other day. I was doing the dishes while they played in the living room. I heard them get in tiff over some toy or the other and Timmy told Chloe she was mean. She got up, sassily put her hands on her hips, yelled, "I am NOT a mean girl! I am a NICE girl!", stomped her foot and ran into her room where she slammed the door for good measure.

Timmy just sat there playing for a second. Then he very sweetly yelled, "Chloe? I love you. I didn't mean to say you were a bad girl. I was just trying to help you. I really love you."

And then she came out of her room, he gave her a hug and all was right with the world again.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Early to bed and up before dawn...
May make me wealthy, but it sure makes me yawn!
(and other updates)

Update #1:

I'm tired.

Remember those lessons in St. George that fell into my lap? Well, I have 10 (yes, TEN! Do you realize what this will do for our financial situation?) students and I started teaching them this morning. Joel and I decided that it was best for our family to start early. Very early.

So I left the house at 6:51 a.m. today and drove down there to start my first lesson at 8:00 a.m. I finished up there at noon and did a quick stop off at Costco and was home by 1:45 p.m. And then I taught another lesson. And did some cleaning. And took care of kids while Joel went off to his own rehearsal.

And I'm tired.

Update #2:

We got Sophia's carseat back safe and sound. But only after I called United Airlines Lost Baggage department every single day. And every single day they told me it was probably in Seattle, and they had to verify it was mine and they haven't updated yet. Finally, after about 10 days I got really upset at the guy and told him that at the rate they were working to solve the problem I wouldn't even NEED a carseat anymore and what was United going to do about it? To his credit, he was extremely patient with me and kept saying things like, "I understand you're frustrated. I see you've called every day for 9 days and that we keep telling you the same thing. We are working our best to get your carseat back. Etc."

But guess what? After I blew up and kept asking for real answers, I had my carseat back the very next day. Flown right to our teeny tiny local airport. Amazing.

And now Sophia has her adorable pink and flowery carseat back and I am happy again.

Update #3:

Sophia is easy to get to sleep now!

We have a system, and by George, she likes it! I have to put her binky in, throw her blanket over her head and stand and rock her. At first, it took a while to get her to sleep via this particular method, but now at the first sign of tired-fussiness I just whip that blanket over her adorable little head and she is usually asleep within minutes.

Boy, has that ever made my life easier. And I stand by the fact that she is an easy baby.

Update #4:

Remember my New Year's Resolution? To care more? To not procrastinate stuff?

Well, I am over half prepared for my YW lesson tomorrow. This is improvement, even though I'm still stressing about finishing it.

My voice lessons have been better prepared. I actually did a syllabus for SUU this semester and was well prepared for the St. George people this morning.

Dinner? Not so much. The kids are hungry and I'm sitting here blogging away because Joel said he'd make dinner when he got home. But, I'm thinking I should probably get up and get it started.

It would be very caring of me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Creative responsibility

So today I decided that no matter what, I was going to scrapbook. I haven't done it in a long while due to other, more mundane, tasks and reponsibilities in my life. After I've gone a time without doing anything remotely creative, I start to get a bunch of ideas kicking around in my head, and finally, I just have to give in to them and actually sit down to create.

So, I got the baby down this morning and then I turned on a movie for Chloe, hoping to buy myself enough alone time to get a layout done. I snuck to my craft corner, that is tucked in a corner of Sophia's room (I put her down in my room to avoid waking her up) and started pulling out stuff and pictures and deciding what to do.

Not 5 minutes into it, Miss Chloe came in and wanted to scrapbook with me. Begrudgingly, I told her she could. Mostly, she just enjoyed watching me and "helping" me, but she worked on her own little project, too. She used my punches and the negatives from some chipboard letters I was using to make her picture. I was astounded at the creativity this little girl has, and just how much she LOVES to draw and color and glue and cut. I've mentioned it before, but she pretty much does this all day long. Her favorite gifts this Christmas were markers, paper and some "how to draw" books. I also got her a cute expandable file to keep all her creations in, and it is already pretty darn full.

We had such a nice time together doing something that we both really enjoy and it got me thinking: I need to spend more time doing stuff like this with her.

Isn't that more important than all the energy I often expend making sure those mundane responsibilities that I mentioned earlier get done? Somewhere in the recent past I've forgotten about all the joy that can be had by just setting aside all that "important" stuff and attending to the really important stuff. Which, for me, is my kids. My husband. My family. Heck, even myself.

Basically, I need to spend more time creating with Chloe, bonding with Bria, snuggling with Sophia...because that is simply my responsibility as a parent. And it isn't even a mundane one, either!

So, I guess I'll be scrapbooking more often...besides, you can't deny it. The kid has some talent. It needs to be nurtured.

(above: Her scrapbook project from today. below: A picture of Princess Dora the Explorer she drew on Saturday. I apologize for the shadows on the scans.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Last Neves standing

I hear that the first year of teaching public school is the worst. Not because of the piles of lesson plans or learning the ropes, but because you get sick all the time. I'm finding that this is definitely true for Joel. Normally healthy as a horse, he has had strep throat, several colds, and the flu already this school year. And he's generously shared with the rest of the family by bringing home the yucky germs and making sure at least one of us comes down with his sickness du jour.

Last week he brought us home a doozy. Some icky stomach bug that landed him in his bed for an entire day. He didn't move. He couldn't eat a thing without it coming right back up. He was achy and feverish. After about a day, he felt better...well enough to go back to school. But, he still hasn't been able to eat much without feeling sick. (Good diet, eh?)

So, Bria was the first to catch it from him...the very next day. She got up in the middle of the night and threw up. Now, you need to understand that Bria is deathly afraid of vomit and she becomes hysterical if another person is throwing up. You can only imagine how she acts when it's her own self that is sick. So, at 2:00 in the morning, we could hear her in the bathroom wailing:

"I'm throwing up! Do you hear me throwing up? WHY did Daddy get me sick? WHY DID HE TOUCH ME!!!!?"

And then she had problems with the sickness on the other end. We went through a couple pair of underwear the next day, and of course she was really upset about that. Again, wailing from the bathroom:

"I didn't know I was going to go in my underwear! WHY did that happen to me? I'm just wondering if I should sleep on the toilet so I don't do it again!!! WHY AM I SICK??!!!"

But, just like Joel, after about 24 hours she was good to go, just had a little bit of residual tummy hurting when she ate.

A few days passed with nobody else falling ill, and I thought maybe the rest of us had escaped the bug. Alas, I hoped in vain and Chloe and Sophia both came down with it on Sunday night.

Chloe is much more stoic about being sick. She throws up, washes up and sits down. The first time she threw up all over her favorite blankie and all she said was,

"Oh, I frowed up my moodles on my pink blankie. We should wash it, wight Mommy?"

And that was that. She camped out on the couch watching movies all day yesterday, occasionally throwing up in the bowl we kept next to her, and Baby Sophia slept almost all day. And now, they both seem to be just fine.

That leaves me.

Please don't let me get this crud.

And please Joel, don't bring home anymore for a while. Deal?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The ABCs of me

I've seen this now on several blogs, and since I haven't done a meme in a really long time I thought I'd go for it. If you decide to play too, post a comment and I'll come check out your personal alphabet!

A Aphrodisiac. What turns you on? Beautiful music (usually of the opera variety) and definitely a clean house.

B BFF. Who’s your best friend? My best friend is Joel. As far as best girlfriends go, I am at a time in my life where I don't really have any ONE best friend. I find myself saying "My best friend..." in reference to several different women, and they know who they are.

C Celeb. Favorite? Most annoying? I've never been one who really gets into the celebrity stuff...but I guess I'd say my favorite is currently Reese Witherspoon. I just like how down to earth she seems. As far as most annoying? I'd have to say most of them.

D Drink. What’s your poison? Right this moment it's hot chocolate. The Dulce la leche caramel flavor by Stephens. (And since I'm supposedly "off" sugar, this isn't good.)

E Everyday essentials. What do you use everyday? My computer.

F Fav. color. What’s your signature color? If you know me at all I don't have to answer this question. If you don't know me, I'll tell you: It's red, red and red (with pink coming in as a surprising second).

G Groove. What music are you enjoying today? Well, the girls were dancing to "The Nutcracker" earlier. Otherwise I haven't listened to anything today.

H Hot! Who’s hot? Who’s not? I'm gonna say Joel's hot, because he told me today that I don't think he's cute. Well he's wrong, I think he's cute AND hot. Not hot? No comment.

I Indulgence. Dish about your guilty pleasure. Scrapbook mags we don't really have the money for. It used to be scrapbook supplies, but sinceI haven't scrapbooked since November I just read the magazines.

J {dream} Job. What would you do? When I was little I wrote in a journal that I would like to be a singer, actor, entertainer, dancer, musician, mother when I grew up. That still holds true for the most part. And, teaching voice lessons is something I really enjoy, so my actual job is kind of dream status.

K Kitchen Companion. Most used item in your kitchen? Ummmm....my computer? But if that doesn't really count, I'll say the microwave.

L Life is incomplete without. . . ? My husband, kids, and the Gospel.

M Mc. . . What would you “Mc”? I have to say I don't really understand this question. But I'll say McMusic just for the heck of it.

N Natural or dyed? I dyed my hair darker (believe it or not) once in high school. Now it's darker even than that thanks to pregnancy and childbirth. I keep it totally natural. So far, even at age 32, I only have found one gray hair. We'll see how long that lasts!

O Outrageous Outfit. What’s hiding your closet that you’re dying to wear? It would only be outrageous if I wore it (them?) now. All of my clothes from before I was pregnant...stuff I can't even squeeze myself into at this moment in time.

P Pet Peeve. What makes you absolutely crazy? Whiners...mainly of the "my own children" variety. Things not being put back where they go. Spelling errors where they shouldn't be, like a national magazine.

Q Quote. Share some inspiration. "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." ~Pablo Picasso. I like it because I need to stop procrastinating the important stuff.

R Restaurant you give rave reviews. Just to bug Joel I'll say Chili's...especially since we just got one in town. Also the Garden House. A local restaurant that is just amazing.

S Starbucks order. Well, since I don't drink coffee, I don't exactly frequent Starbucks. I have, on occasion, grabbed one of their pumpkin scones. Yummiola.

T Television. What keeps you glued to the couch? Not much. I recently watched all 4 seasons of 24 and am going to start on Season 5 tonight. I'll be watching it this season, just as soon as I get caught up. Of course, we can't forget American Idol, either! Otherwise, I won't be watching TV.

U Ultimate Vacation Destination. In the US: New York City. Outside of the US: Probably Italy, if I have to only choose one country. But a whole trek through Western Europe with one stop off in Romania would be the ultimate.

V Virtual Babe Name. What’s your online ID? lalakme

W Wonder Woman. What woman leaves you in awe? My mom is pretty darn amazing. Her, and Jaroldeen Edwards.

X eX - _______________ Ex-College Student? I can't think of very many things I've been that I am not anymore.

Y Youth in a bottle. What keeps you feeling young at heart? Playing with my girls.

Z Zodiac sign. Leo

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Balancing my life on the end of my nose

It's no secret that I am a busy woman. Probably no secret that most women are rather busy. It's also not a big surprise that I am easily overwhelmed in my busyness. I don't know how many other women are like me in that regard, but I hope I'm not the only one.

It's been a journey for me to deal with my schedule without flipping out. In college, every finals week I got sick and/or had a nervous breakdown. Without fail. On my mission I had a few episodes where I was so stressed out I felt like I just couldn't go out that day. And, if you talked to Joel, I have no doubt he'd confirm that there is a crazy woman that comes to live with him every once in a while (or more often than that) when things start getting out of hand. Hopefully he'd also tell you I've come a long way since he first met me in dealing with these things.

I've become more organized. That helps a lot. But the thing I have yet to figure out is balancing my life so that the important stuff always gets done even when there are fourteen thousand important things to do in a day. That's why my favorite talk in the October conference was Elder Ballard's talk called "O Be Wise." It's mostly about how to have balance in our Church callings, but he said one thing that hit me like a ton of bricks:

"As mortals, we simply cannot do everything at once. Therefore we must do all things "in wisdom and order." Often that will mean temporarily postponing attention to one priority in order to take care of another. Sometimes family demands will require your full attention. Other times professional responsibilities will come first. And there will be times when Church callings will come first. Good balance comes in doing things in a timely way and in not procrastinating our preparation or waiting to fulfill our responsibilities until the last minute. "

So you mean I don't have to do everything? You mean to say I actually can't? I have always carried around a tremendous load of guilt because I was a stellar mother one day, but only mediocre the next because that day I was too busy being an amazing voice teacher or excelling at whatever Church calling I currently held. Sometimes I had the right priorities, and sometimes they were definitely out of balance.

I'm trying to let go of that guilt. To realize that sometimes I have to focus on one thing and let the other stuff go for just a minute. And yet, the other part of what Elder Ballard said, you know, the not procrastinating part, is really difficult for me. I've got procrastination down to a science. I am a master of putting things off until the very last nanosecond possible.

And so, in the spirit of caring more, I am going to stop that. I'm going to be more prepared. I am now going to make sure that I have prepared Mia Maid lessons, voice lessons and anything else that needs preparation (like possibly dinner) instead of surfing the internet in boredom.

Because, busy woman that I am, I still have plenty of minutes, and sometimes even hours, that I fill with mindless, unimportant stuff. Stuff I can do without. Stuff that very definitely adds to my stress level. Just a bunch of overwhelming, overstuffed stuff.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Where is Mommy?
(In my mind this is sung to the tune of "Who is Johnny?" If you don't know that song, you'll just have to make up your own.)

It isn't separation anxiety. At least, I don't think it is.

During the past two weeks or so, Sophia has changed a bit. Perhaps it was all the "strangers" we were with all through the holiday, or maybe it's just that she turned 5 months old on Christmas Day. Whatever it is, she wants me.

It's not that she won't go to other people, but if she can't have me, she sure keeps tabs on me. It's kind of humorous to turn around and notice that her eyes are boring into my very soul, watching every single move I make, just waiting to catch my eye and flash that gorgeous smile of hers. She starts to fuss a little if she loses track of me, and will lunge towards me as soon as I get close enough. The one drawback is that once she has me, she doesn't like for me to put her down.

My other two weren't like this. Chloe just plain screamed if anyone had her but me. Rather exasperating, actually. Bria, on the other hand, would happily go to anybody. Almost to the point of worrying me because she wouldn't even care if they walked off with her. I think maybe Sophia has it right.

It brightens up my day to see how excited she is to see me. It's nice to know that no matter what, Sophia always wants Mommy. Just mommy.

At least for now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Carefully resolute

With the New Year always comes a desire to be a little better in many areas of my life. I don't know if it is because that's just how the New Year has always been viewed or if it's because I just finished eating like crap, staying up late and being cranky with the people I love. Either way, I always have the desire to make goals and resolutions right about now.

But guess what? I don't do well with a lot of goals. I have problems focusing on so many things at once. I end up doing an awesome job on all 8 of my resolutions for about a week, and then, one by one, they quickly fall off of my radar until I am left with one single goal. The last goal standing is usually something I do pretty well on for the year.

Last year I was pregnant and throwing up my guts at this time. I think my only goals were to get through the pregnancy without dying and to be more organized. I actually did both. Besides the fact that I am no longer pregnant and very much alive, I really feel like last year I finally got it together in many areas of my life. I could stand to do even better, but am happy with the momentum I still have. I am especially happy about the way that self-imposed organization has really helped me be less stressed. (That's probably obvious to most of you organized people...but I honestly didn't realize the connection in my life until recently.)

I've been thinking about how I'd like to improve for this year without making all the goals that I know I won't do. And I have finally come up with my ONE New Year's Resolution for 2007: To care more.

I have found that I get apathetic about things very easily when I am overwhelmed and it kind of helps me cope with the situation. Yet, it becomes something of a vicious cycle as the very apathy that destresses me causes me not to do things that would help alleviate my stress, thus heightening my original stress levels and increasing my apathy even more. So, in 2006, it all started with being pregnant and sick and overwhelmed. I had to stop caring about a lot of things in order to just survive. After having the baby and having to move the apathy and stress both continued and so here I am today vowing to care more.

If I care more about my husband I will support him better in his endeavors and not resent it when he is gone all the time. I will make it a point to spend more time with him rather than waiting for him to invite me on a date.

If I care more about my children I will help them immediately when they ask. I will not be annoyed because they want my attention while I am reading a book that is so much less important than they are. I will be more motivated to teach them. I will be less inclined to be frustrated with them. I will spend more quality time with them.

If I care more about my relationship with God I will make time to read my scriptures daily. I will do more than just read, I will study. I will be more sincere in my prayers. I will pray more often. I will look for more opportunities to serve.

If I care more about my calling I will put in necessary preparation. I will pray for my Mia Maids. I will develop relationships with them. I will have lessons that are conducive to the Spirit.

If I care more about myself I will not eat junk. I will find the time to exercise. I will not put my hair in a ponytail every day. I will take the time to look nice by putting on make up, nice clothes and (gasp) perfume. I will give myself time away from serving others to rejuvenate myself.

And the list goes on. Caring more about my home, about my job, about my parents and siblings, about my friends, about my finances and even about my sanity will help me make a lot of positive changes. Simply caring what my actions will do or will not do will hopefully cause me to make evaluations and changes that I would not otherwise make. So here's to a wonderful New Year filled with love, happiness and most importantly, care.