Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Full Circle

I know it's been a long time since I have written, I guess you could call it writers block,   Today has been a much anticipated day but one of mixed emotion.    You see my youngest started school today.  Yep I am that much closer to being an empty nester.  Oh I know that seems like I am jumping the gun, but when I think of how fast these past  6 years have gone by, I don't think I am far from  the mark. 

You see John II was born when Izabella was in Kindergarten.  Look at this picture.
See they are just went by in a blink.  The saying, "the days are long but the years fly by,"  is not wrong!!

Many know John II turning 5 was hard for me.  Maybe its because I got to keep him in a baby like state for longer than most kids.  Maybe it's because when you are a mom who goes through hours and hours of therapy with your child a bond is formed stronger than anything you can imagine.  Maybe it's because John II came to us on the heals of losing a pregnancy and so our appreciation of his life was increased.  Or maybe it's just normal mommy uncertainty of who am I when they are in school.  Whatever the case, my son may have started off doing some things a little slower than the pack, but he sure has made up for it.  Teaching himself to read at 4 was a little much for me...but losing teeth before even entering kinder was the straw.

So, while my son was excited to go to school today, and I am excited for him, I also have other emotions flowing through me.  The unexpected tears as he marched off with the rest of his class was just the start of a day reminiscing. 

All day I have been expecting to hear him ask for something, or calling to me so he can show me his latest art piece.  But I am excited for him to tell me how school was!

I think part of my emotions is not just for my youngest, but for my oldest.  She starts Jr. High today...what!?! Did I just type that?  Yep!  Jr. High starts in 6'th grade at our school.  Wasn't I just holding my little 5 pound baby?  Now she is a fashionista.  She made breakfast this morning for everyone...where did my babies go?

I can't leave Alina out...after so many struggles we are excited for a year of progress for her.  As she said nervous/excited!!
So I wondered what I would fill my days with and immediately took to filling them.  I will be working for stericycle still.  I am also going to begin my career as a substitute teacher.  I will continue my role as a Young Living distributor .  I am PTSA president.  And I am in school again.  Just taking a class so I can be a better substitute teacher and it turns out a better mom (yep it will help me for both).  So here is the full circle.  My oldests' kinder teacher is now my teacher. 
Here is to a year of new adventures, exciting changes and lots of learning!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mommy you're beautiful

Of late my 10 year old and I have had a hit and miss relationship.  I know this is common  but that is of little consolation when your once cuddly child screams "I hate you and I can't wait to leave this house."  Truth be told my cuddly infant screamed A LOT, so who knows what she was thinking at that time, perhaps the same thing but no language skills to convey the message.  But the Dr. tells me she was trying to tell me her tummy hurt.

There are days when I spend it on a self imposed time out for fear of my own reaction to her outbursts.  Often while in isolation I am praying and often my prayers are pleas for guidance and that this will pass soon.  I am sure we have a long road, but I always remember that when women and hormones combine it is a caustic reaction for some that takes years to control and some never do learn how to.  So, it's easy to forgive the drama.  I remember when my low thyroid was yet to be diagnosed I was no peach to be around that's for sure.

Then add into the mix my poor little Alina who struggles with temper much as I did as a child, only she has the added benefit of a medication, albeit temporary, that has a side affect of making you snarky.  Awesome!  So I have a two fer right now and neither one is truly in control of their emotions.

But hearing on a fairly regular basis how awful you are you begin to believe that you have indeed earned this title.  I began looking in the mirror and seeing an old hag.  The back pains and knee groans did nothing to make me feel younger.  Nor did the increasing visibility of gray hairs or the fact that others noticed and commented.  My tummy has cellulite and stretch marks and my legs have lypoma's.  I am beginning to sound a little Dr. Seuss but you get the point.  I was not liking my reflection and part of it is, if BOTH my daughters are so angry at me, perhaps there is something wrong with my heart (not physically but spiritually).  Basically, when you feel like a bad person it's easy to see ALL your flaws.

I do feel like we had a break through with our oldest and there has been a greater sense of peace in our home.  I have watched my daughter truly take the lead on projects near and dear to her heart.  Literally, going to all of our neighbors and selling her wares to support American Cancer Society.   Watching her realize her sister has not exactly been dealt  a fair hand and the complete compassion she has been able to show, this is such a gift from God.

But today was the best.  She wanted to sit next to both her dad and I in church.  She at one point snuggled in close and whispered in my ear, "Mom, I just wanted you to know, you are beautiful."  I don't think she realized how old I have been feeling (ridiculous I know), but she erased years in that moment.  Then like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes when later she saw her sister was cold, took off her sweater and then lovingly placed it on Alina and then fixed her hair.  It was all so tender and I almost felt guilty peeking in at such a clearly private moment between two sisters. Today my fears for their future relationship were assuaged.  I am sure we will still have tantrums and sibling spats.  I am also certain I will still have times of self imposed isolation.  But today I was shown my daughters true heart and for that blessing I will forever be thankful!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Scary Moments

There are those times when you truly have to trust your mother's intuition.  When your brain says, "everything is fine stop worrying," but your heart says, "This is the moment to worry!"
Most of the time I do feel I worry too much.  Is it because I feel the weight of three innocent lives somehow entrusted to me?  Maybe it's that feeling you get when your little one is sick, that foreboding, that dread?  Or maybe it's because I just tend to be an anxious person.  So for me knowing where the line is, where to say "Here, here is the moment it is ok to worry," and when to do my deep breathing exercises because I am obviously having another irrational moment,  is not very clear much of the time.

Part of my problem is when Jasz was not walking yet and instead he was scooting, I had plenty of voices telling me to worry, including my own, but our Dr. was not concerned.  I let that voice speak louder than mine.  Same with his assessment of Alina.  nothing major wrong, just a little OCD and she'll grow out of it.   Turns out both those insights were wrong and that nagging voice in my heart was very very right.  So then I  swung the other way.

That resulted in a couple of ER trips and thousands of dollars to be told, "she has a virus, nothing we can do, go home."  I had been certain there was something major wrong...I mean she had a temp of 103 for 5 days and Tylenol wasn't bringing it down.  The response was that I hadn't been giving enough Tylenol.

So what's a mom to do?  Well this mom has taken control over our health as much as I can and armed myself with powerful tools.  Instead of sitting idly by while my daughter starved before my eyes I found alternatives to such medication.  The first step has been diet change.  This significantly improved our families health.  Gluten and dye removal has been pretty effective at removing the need for ADD meds.  Some Dr.'s will say there isn't research to back it up, some say  there are studies that do so you really have to make the decisions with your intuition.  In the end I decided it certainly wouldn't hurt them and just  might help.  I'll tell you I know for sure we will have a spiral out tantrum if we have a red lollypop or M&M' we choose not to and my kids know why.   My first step in this was to have frank and concrete conversations with my kids so they would be on board.  All three jumped on board without hesitation.  Now they say there are things they miss, but the consequences to them are not worth it.  You see added  bonus we've noticed an improvement in gut function as well.  I also have to add I was paid a compliment by Bella's teacher. She told me there were a couple other kids in her class with food allergies who were embarrassed to be different and so wouldn't ask if a snack contained wheat.  She told me that whatever I said empowered her and she owned her food choices, she was being a model for others.

My next powerful tool I added to my arsenal was Young Living Essential oils.  These are high quality therapeutic grade oils.  The breadth of their use spans centuries and everyone of us can benefit from them.   I have been using lavender and peppermint to combat allergies.  Stinky dog?  Purification to the rescue.  Restless night?  Peace and calming and Lavender.  Stomach bug?  Peppermint.  Colds and Flus?  Thieves.

I could go on, but I am trying to keep my post down in size.  I can and will do a whole post on Epilepsy and ADD and oils...but today I want to talk about this past weekend.

You see in my research for epilepsy and oils I found there are oils that should not be used on epileptics, two of them are in the Thieves blend.  A single drop of thieves stopped this cold/flu in its tracks for Bella and me.  Literally went to bed feeling yucky woke up and felt totally healthy.  I gave us each a drop a couple more days for good measure but that is it.  But I could not use this blend on my son.  Oh I have since learned there are other powerful immunity boosting oils that I can use, but I had none of them in my possession.  So I watched with that feeling of helplessness as my sons head cold became something much more ominous.  The fever spiked, the cough sounded like it was something to worry about.  The first night I fought with myself because we've been here before and spent so much money to be told it's nothing.  But Saturday my heart was telling me it was something and if I let it go it might be something we couldn't come back from.

Jasz using his nebulizer...he is a pro now
I was right.  I took my wheezing, weak, limping son to urgent care to find out he has pneumonia.  Thus began a weekend of antibiotics, breathing treatments round the clock and looming hospital admission hanging over our heads.  We are now the proud owners of our very own nebulizer.  I came out of this with three lessons.  1.  Always trust your intuition, God gave it to us for a reason.  2.  Modern Medicine can be life saving and it has it's place; and 3...never be caught off guard again.  I will have on hand the oils my babies need because this is the healthiest cold flu season we have ever had and Jasz still ended up with pneumonia.  I firmly believed I could have kept it from getting so bad if I had the right tools at my disposal.

I am off to love on my kiddos but I leave you with this:  Never let anyone shame you into doubting yourself.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to be a Drought resistant family

So you may have heard that Governor Jerry Brown Declared on Friday, January 17 that we in California have a State Drought emergency.  Click here for the LA Times article on this.

 Two years of almost no rainfall has taken its toll on our water supplies making crop shortage and fires a real and present danger.

This mom has lived in this area her entire life and is well acquainted with the drought cycles.  I remember summers where lake Cachuma was closed and our lawns were brown.  The photos of Lake San Antonio I saw last week brought tears to my eyes as it is a puddle now.  Inaction by politicians could be blamed as the average person simply enjoys the warmer weather and does not connect the dots as to what it means in the grand scheme.

However, I think we all have to pay attention to what is going on around us and realize mother nature warned us and for the most part we ignored her.  This family didn't though.  We have not really watered our lawn in a year.  We did water the backyard because I had food producing plants, which fed the local squirrel and rabbit population, much to my irritation.

I will say we were not a good as we should have been.  But now we have been asked to cut 20%.  It's voluntary but this blogger urges you to treat as mandatory as we will face bad consequences as we hit summer.  Here are some ideas to reduce water:

1. Stop watering lawns, best would be to remove the lawn and plant drought resistant landscaping.  That way when the the drought is over water use for your yard will have no need to go up.  Why is this important?  We need to have long term strategies and be cognizant of the fact we live in a desert.

2.  Don't use the hose to wash your car.  Those car washing assembly lines typically recycle the water making them much more conservative of the water use than you can be at home.

3.  Turn off the sink while brushing your teeth or shaving.  There is absolutely no need to have water running down the drain while you brush.  If you are shaving fill the sink with a little water and rinse your razor in that.  I guarantee you will use less.

Say  it gets to a point where these are not enough of a cutback and it may just get to that point in some parts of California.  Here are some more, less appealing ideas.

1.  Shower less often and use the Military shower model.  First of all you actually produce more oil the more frequent you bathe.  So stretching the time between showers may actually help skin issues.  Next if it gets to this point we have to do what we have to do,.  Have the kids share one tub of water.  Or turn the water off between soaping and rinsing.

2.  Hand wash your dishes in a tub or basin and use the dishwasher as a drying rack only.  We use a more natural dish soap that has no harmful chemicals in it, so I could then use that water to water my lemon, orange and apple trees.

3.  Flush less often.  Sounds gross I know, but when you need to you need to.

Whatever happens we are in this together and depend on each other to be wise with our resources.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Grace is Gods gift to mankind.  With such a  great gift comes immense responsibility.  Is the expectation that of perfection.  No.  But it is to stop expecting perfection of everyone else.  We all stumble.  We all fall.  But we all have been given grace.

We have been given forgiveness, but we don't forgive so easily.  I was talking with a friend today and a memory was brought back.  The memory was of a friend who found herself pregnant out of wedlock.  This friend was not married but they were committed to marriage, and now their baby on the way.   She was asked to step down from our choir as it wouldn't look good.  However, a male counterpart in a similar situation only no committed relationship was allowed to keep his position.  When asked why, it was because people could visually see the evidence of her sin, while his was not front and center.

Talking with my friend and remembering this I said to her in words I wished I'd had then...All of us have a scarlet letter.  All of us fall short,  Without exception.  So, why shame one and not all.

This was on my heart and why I share it here today.

See the pregnant girl
  Give her Grace for letting life live instead of shame for a mistake.

See the angry mom
  Give her Grace for the morning of constant battles, backaches and dirty dishes instead of mean glares for       having a bad moment.

See the child throwing a fit
  Give Grace for the child whose tummy hurts, muscles ache, and to whom the world seems a constant confusion; for to you it may seem like a spoiled brat but for them life is a struggle.

See the man looking with disgust at the children laughing around him
  Give Grace for he was told he would never have one and his heart breaks but our world doesn't allow for a    man's heart to.

See the homeless man
   Give Grace because he tried, he was once a productive member of society and became it's out cast,    and now all he wants is someone to call him by name.

Give grace
   for it is easy to judge, but remember eyes are watching you too.

I for sure need to remember these words.  Even the smaller imperfections need Grace too.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New years no resolution

I get the idea of the new year and turning a new leaf, but I have rarely had success at this.  There is one exception.  Before I had kids I weighed over 200's tough to think about now.  But just after 9/11 I ended up in the ER with a kidney infection, the follow up Dr. appointment I was told I was morbidly obese and I needed to make changes.  This was in October 2001.  That sent me into a depressive tailspin which of course made me turn to food.

That Christmas we spent with my hubby's family and it was one that, for a time, made me have a distaste for every single one of them,  They were beyond mean in their criticism of John and I and it was beyond hurtful.  I remember crying to my sister-in-law and how angry she got.  She told me, "I've never seen you as fat, I just love you for who you are."  I did need that reassurance, but the truth was I had been denying my weight problem.

That Christmas we also spent some time with our adapted family and our adapted Brother Brian and his Fiance had lost a ton of weight.  So we spent an evening with them and talked to them about how they did this.  They told us Weight watchers.  I appreciated their form of honesty because they both understood what it was like to have food control you so they were loving and kind about each and every word. Their time is what motivated me.
John and I the Christmas of 2001

I guess I look back and realize that John's family also motivated me, but it was not something I would ever do to anyone.

Yes the words we heard still hurt, but yes I still love them all.  I realize now that I am here and not there that we were all younger and more immature and their comments likely came from a place of concern, so for that I am thankful.

I vowed after talking with Brian and Ida that I would lose the weight.  I joined weight watchers  January of 2002...John did this with me only at home.  John joined a fitness competition at work with money on the line.  He tied for the pot by May.  By August I had lost 65 pounds and was trying to reach lifetime.  In September I discovered I was pregnant with I never reached lifetime.  Though my weight has fluctuated I have never again reached those heights.  I believe weight watchers taught me how eat right and what a portion looks like and it has stuck with me.

What I love about that experience is rarely can someone say they look better after having 3 kids than they did on their wedding day.  I actually had that confirmed when a cashier at Osh Kosh (who happened to be a young male college student) did a double take of my id.  You see that picture had been taken just after our honeymoon.  There I stood many years and three kids later.  He finally asked me how old the picture was.  I told him and he was flabbergasted...he then said that he had never met anyone who looked better after three kids.

A side by side comparison, wedding day and May of 2013

Aside from that one year I have never really made a resolution...probably for fear I won't reach it nearly as successfully as I did that year.  Also, I think we should always be making small goals to improve ourselves...and if we slide back, we don't give up.   Don't wait a whole year because you messed up on week three of 2014.  It takes consistency to make any changes.  

Lets make this our resolution revolution: I vow to try my best every day and not let failure defeat me.  I vow to make the healthier choices even if they aren't the more fun options.

These are things we should be doing anyways and it's a day by day adventure not a mammoth task that ends the next new year.

Here's to a happy, healthy and thriving 2014 and beyond!!!