Monday, February 27, 2012

Big Picture, Little Picture

As we've previously talked about, I am totally one of those people that takes an idea and runs with it. I am a total dreamer and visionary. I tend to overlook some of the day to day details because I am dreaming up a huge project, or a vacation, or planning an event. There are definite benefits to being always focused on the big picture. I try to take the little things in stride and not let small things bother me (note I said try). I am always looking ahead which means I am setting goals and hopefully following through with them. There are of course many downfalls as well. I tend to get so focused on things that are months away that I can become very overwhelmed. Occasionally it takes a giant reminder from the Lord to slow down. Like, for example, my back locking on me. I am on day five of extreme pain and limited mobility. I don't know if its because of the fibromyalgia or what but it happens about every month or two. This time I had both kids with me at the studio with a group of toddlers. Fortunately I had another teacher there who has watched the kids before. She was available to help take me to the chiropractor and watch the kids at home. It was incredibly frustrating to be stuck at home and not able to do anything. I had someone helping with the kids and it would've been the perfect time to do laundry, clean, clean out paperwork, do anything at all. Instead I was forced to just stand (sitting and laying hurt too much). The kids cry and don't understand why I can't pick them up or why they can't jump on me. Jason has to do double the duty and I feel like I am putting everyone out. Its very frustrating. It also forces me to rest, physically. I try to rest mentally but my wheels just keep turning. Each time my back locks I just remind myself its like a forced time out. As if God is like, ok, you're over doing it you need to just stop and be still for awhile and quit focusing on all of the big things. It reminded me of a story that occurred when we were in Denver for Remembering The Brave in September. We took the kids to the Zoo, which was amazing. The kids absolutely loved it. Towards the end of our visit there, we approached the elephants. The children were finishing up the popcorn we had bought them and were accidentally spilling it on the ground. 
They were fighting over the drinks and so focused on the snacks they didn't even notice the giant elephants coming right over to us. A couple of little birds hopped along the ground searching for popcorn pieces and the kids were fascinated. Cruz and Wren chased the little birds all around seemingly unaware of the enormous animals looming close by.
 We kept telling them to look up but they were in their own little worlds.

 Wren kept throwing pieces of popcorn trying to lure the little birds.
After like fifteen minutes of persuasion they finally caught glimpses of the elephants. That evening we attended the Remembering The Brave Ceremony to honor the fallen. We sat at a table with two amazing families who's sons had both paid the ultimate sacrifice. As I told them of the experiences that day I shared how silly it was that they were so caught up in the little tiny seemingly insignificant things that they were missing the big picture. One of the mom's flipped the scenario around for me. "I think its nice, some people are so caught up in the big picture that they don't stop to enjoy the small things." It stopped me instantly. It's very true. So, here I sit at the computer with my back locked up not able to move my head side to side being forced to just sit with the kids and not try to accomplish anything. Actually, in all honesty I did try to do some laundry this morning. It took me about three times as long and I think I've actually made my back much worse. Sometimes it is so hard to force yourself to slow down. Once again, I'm learning lessons from my kids whether I want to or not.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Condition of The Heart

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost. ~G.K. Chesterton

In honor of Valentines Day it is only fitting for me to post something regarding hearts. It's not going to be the typical lovey dovey romantic story or even a sarcastically humorous venting session. One year ago today I was running ragged with two teeny tiny tots strapped to my hips losing my mind trying to keep up with them and the house and the dog and my job. Cruz had some valentine hearts that he became obsessed with. They were very special to him. The little tiny hearts with the comments barely written across the tops that make you sometimes ask, 'seriously? who wrote this? He would carry them everywhere. His little sweaty dirty hands would make those hearts just moist enough to collect pieces from anything it came in contact with. Any lint, hair, dust, you name it. It was disgusting. He would drop it on the floor and I would jump leap and fly through the air in dramatic fashion to try to pry it from him before he placed it right back into his mouth. At times I succeeded but many times I failed. Franklin would walk past him and the heart would just stick to his tail. Or even worse, Cruz would hold the heart out in his hand and let Franklin lick it! For those of you asking, 'where was the mother during this' just know I was close enough to see and close enough to yell stop but not close enough to catch it. All I could think of were the germs and the nasty texture that it must create when he put it back in his mouth. I kept asking him to give it to me, to trust me, to let me wash it off in the sink and that I'd give it back, or get him a new one. He had a very difficult time letting go. He wanted to trust me, he just really struggled with it. Each time I would rinse it, that little heart would get smaller and smaller. Each time Frank licked it it would get smaller. I would tell him, 'Cruz, be careful, your little heart is getting dirty. Let me take care of your heart so you don't drop it. Don't lose your heart'. Poor Frank, he didn't know. He had no bad intentions but a kid was letting him lick candy so of course he did. I would yell at Frank and to Cruz "Stop it, he's going to destroy your heart". The words resonated like a familiar song in my head. I said them all back again. I shared the story later that day with a group of high school girls, who inevitably saw the amazing correlation. So, I now pose the question to you. What is it that you are allowing to come in contact with your tiny precious little heart. Don't you value your unique one of a kind heart? What are things in your life that you are allowing to damage you. It may be an unhealthy relationship, it may be an addiction, it may be a group of friends, or bad television, it could be anything. On this Valentines Day, please take some time to evaluate the condition of your heart. Don't be careless with it, for from it springs the well of life. Don't allow others to take advantage of it, you only have one. Value it, treasure it, and share it with people when their heart is broken. And guard it with all your might.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chinese Fire Drills

There was something really dumb that I am sure a lot of us did when we were young immature teens when we subconsciously thought we were invincible. Just to show random strangers how crazy and spontaneous you were, and to get a rush of adrenaline, as you approached a red light you would suddenly yell "Chinese Fire Drill". It didn't matter who called it, everyone was forced to participate in this sudden race. Even if you didn't want to, but someone else threw their car door  open and started to run to your side you had to immediately partake or the light would turn green and you'd block the intersection. Suddenly you were driving someone else's car or sitting in someone else's seat and the car screech's forward so as to not hold up traffic and your heart is racing and everyone's laughing and someone usually yells, 'we're so crazy!' as if it is a sense of accomplishment. 'Yep, I'm so crazy and cool I just ran around the car in a busy intersection and its 10 degrees outside and I almost fell on the ice' isn't that awesome? Never mind the poor grandma in the Buick next to you having heart palpitations thinking your friend in the hoodie was running towards her to rob her.  I'm not sure how this teen tradition came to be. There must be something naturally ingrained in select individuals that seek that rush of adrenaline. Those people are the whistle blowers that start it. Then there is the rest of us that are dumb enough to follow along. Cruz is a whistle blower and I am the idiot, at least it feels that way, and the Chinese Fire Drill is the closest comparison I can think of right now to explain our latest situation.
 Cruz is no respecter of time, schedule, location, or emotion. If he decides it's time for some action, he does it. He has at times left the room, at times snuck up behind me, at times just turned his back and with no provocation he pulls his pants down, rips his diaper off and does one of two things. He either poops on the floor or he pulls a poopy diaper off and gets poop all over himself and the floor. Its hard to explain the initial reaction that I have. In the beginning, a few months ago, we thought, 'oh little Cruzie doesn't know what he's doing. Maybe he's just trying to start potty training and doesn't know how to do it.' That was 189 times ago. If he didn't know the first 17 times that it was wrong, he learned quickly. He has been able to pee in the potty on occasion with assistance and has done it at school but hasn't mastered it yet. I just kept questioning myself on how to train him correctly, how to teach him about how we use the toilet (or just keep the diaper on). One day I was getting ready to run errands and leave him with a nanny, who he loves, and he told me 'no'. I gently affirmed that mommy would be home really soon but I had to leave for a little bit. He proceeded to rip his diaper off with eyebrows raised. In his own right, minus words, he was challenging me. He might as well have raised a fist, or blown a whistle. In that moment I knew that this little weasel had been trying to manipulate me the whole time. Just Thursday morning it happened right as we were about to head out the door. The bus would be here to pick him up for school in 5 minutes and what happens? He poops, rips the diaper off, smears it across the rug on his floor and then calls, 'mommy'. Like an early valentine present he stands proudly over his steaming gift of love that he expressly gives me almost every day now. Not a hint on his little face indicting remorse or guilt. Not the slightest hesitation in calling mommy to come see his work. Like his abstract painting just got invited to The Louvre. Beaming from ear to ear and he swayed back and forth waiting to see my response. Thus, everything comes to a screeching halt, as I know that the timer has started. There is but only a few moments to get his body cleaned up, keep Wren and Franklin away from it, get the poop cleaned up, redress him and have him outside waiting for the bus. This morning before church Cruz completely undressed himself from head to toe, removed diaper, and peed on the carpet. This afternoon he went into our bedroom and pooped all over the hardwood floor. I'm talking in the cracks and crevices, smeared on a sham that was on the ground, everywhere. It was everywhere, all over him and any item within a 2 step radius. The imaginary siren sounds and like a cartoon on a submarine its 'ALL HANDS ON DECK'. Jason peeled his shirt off (it was the only article of clothing left on him) and threw him in the shower, I ran and got the paper towels and cleaning supplies. Wren sat up on mommies bed watching wide eyed and repeatedly saying, 'uh oh' and 'oh no'. Franklin had to get in the mix and between running back and forth to the trash, kids in and out of the way, in all the chaos, we are just baffled why he keeps doing this. He was spanked and then placed in the quiet corner for time out and wasn't allowed to talk or move during that time. We are literally baffled. Today had been a great day, time spent together as a family, a great lunch and he even got to have a piece of cake... it was stacking up as a pretty awesome day for a three year old. Again, we find ourselves plunged into panic mode by the simple direction of a 29 pound, skinny as a rail, bobble headed little boy. (I say that because his weight is in the 10% percentile and his head is in the 95th% for kids his age) We don't want to play his games, we don't want to stop what we are in the middle of what we are doing, and we definitely don't want to miss the bus or any other event we are headed to. Until we can resolve this problem, we stand ready for the call of duty for the next time he decides he's ready to blow the whistle.
Well, thanks to a suggestion, we are trying something new tonight. Jason used duct tape around the diaper. Maybe now he will learn he has to tell us if he wants his diaper changed. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


My next planned post was to go into detail regarding some issues we've had lately with Cruz. That topic is getting tabled a little longer due to the high demand request on facebook to talk about juicing. One simple statement led to multiple messages and a few requests on the blog, so here goes. Juicing is changing my life. Literally. My mantra for 2011 was "Happy and Healthy". I really strived in everything I did to allow this mantra to affect my decision making. After the two babies back to back with c-sections, the fibromyalgia, all of Cruz's issues I decided to get serious about getting to the bottom of my health issues. I started seeing a naturopathic who started me on this journey to a new me. Most of you already know this, but we went gluten free a year ago. I got a membership to the gym and hit the gym 3 days a week without fail (unless a kid was sick). I just kept chipping away slowly and surely. My ultimate goal wasn't to lose weight, but I am thankful that I have. I wanted to be stronger, better, faster and have more energy. My sister started juicing at Christmas, got some books and got super into it. I thought, 'that is so gross I just don't think I can take it that far'. The thought of drinking liquid broccoli made me sick to think about. She just kept telling me how great she felt and went on and on. So I decided to try it out. Thankfully, my mother loaned me her juicer from like ten years ago to be sure I liked it before I bought one. Now she'd have to pry it out of my hands to get it back. I went to the store and got a ton of produce and made my first juice for dinner while Jason was gone one evening. I didn't love it but I could tolerate it. It was a little earthy and a little tart. I thought, well, I'll try it for breakfast again and just see. No lie, by that afternoon I realized I had way more energy than normal and I felt really good. Within 24 hours I seriously felt like a new person. That was three weeks ago an I've juiced at least twice a day since then for breakfast and lunch. I can't really explain how I feel other than my body recognizes that THIS is how its supposed to feel. I definitely have more energy. My joint and muscle pain seems to be less and I have lost some weight. My main reason to initially take the jump was because I wanted to see if Cruz would drink it. I know he is low on nutrients, he hates to eat, and he loves to drink liquids. Classic mistake on my part, I had him try the very first one I made which was a little on the bitter side. Now when I offer some to him he immediately refuses. He does however like to watch me push the veggies in and see the colorful juice squirt out the side. I will have to start back with just fruit and slowly get him to try it again. Now I have kale, spinach, broccoli, celery, cucumber, and pear once a day and for the other I usually do carrot, cabbage, bok choy, leeks, and apple. When I am running low on produce I use whatever is in the fridge. I have juiced asparagus, green beans, beets, swiss chard, you name it. Carrots, beets, apples, and pears sweeten everything. The cucumber and celery are very mild and a good filler to mix with some of the others that have a stronger flavor. I try to do as many different items a day as I can to try to get as many different nutrients and vitamins that I can. I felt bad throwing out all the pulp and so I've been saving a little bit and adding it into other recipes. I even made a breakfast muffin with some of the pulp, following a carrot/pumpkin recipe from a gluten free cookbook. So, there you go. I highly highly encourage it. I didn't think I would be able to do it. I get low blood sugar, I get hungry and cranky... but honestly, I've never felt as good as I do now. In fact I rarely need coffee anymore, which some of you know means a lot! Some of you guys had emailed me about restricting other foods. Like I said, I am doing it for the benefit, not to lose weight. So if I am hungry or want a snack I will have a high protein snack. We are still gluten free and Cruz and I are dairy free. So, for a snack I might have some organic chicken, gluten free protein bar or crackers. It just depends. I have also sometimes made an additional protein shake right before I start teaching class at 3 because I sometimes teach straight until 7 without a break. I am by no means an expert on any of this. These are just my experiences that I am sharing with you. I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or recipe ideas. So, empty out your veggie tray, juice it, raise your glass and Cheers to a better healthier you.