Thursday, December 30, 2010

What it is like.

I have been told numerous times lately that it is beneficial to try and see other people's viewpoints. This may seem simple to most people and just like a "duh" kind of thing but to me its difficult. It has nothing to do with what I want for myself and more to do with how my mind interprets information. But I am slowly relearning some things and working on it. But that isn't really what this post is about. But this idea of see other people's perspective and putting myself in their shoes for a moment has made me ponder if people who don't have anxiety know what it is like.

I can't begin to explain what having an anxiety disorder is like so that people "get it". But maybe I can share someone else's experience that maybe you haven't thought of. Or maybe you absolutely know exactly what I mean. Whichever case... this is just what I feel like writing about today.

I hate when people are late. Like... loathe it. It is borderline obsessive how upset I get. At about 5 minutes past our meeting time, my heart starts racing, my throat starts closing up, my head starts spinning with thoughts.  It is not that I want to be rude or lose friends. It is that I literally am terrified when someone is late. They have gotten hit by a car, or their child was kidnapped, or they are being held hostage at a bank... I have a hard time keeping my thoughts under control. She caught all of the stop lights red or she got held up in a slow line at the convenience store or she had to go get gas before heading my way... those seem like logical enough thoughts except they are never the ones that come.

I also can't be late. It, too, is obsessive. And the anxiety is a bit different. I start feeling overwhelmed, nauseous, irritable, angry and upset when I run late. My hands start sweating, head pounding, sometimes if I think I 'might' be late... there are tears. I have actually told my counselor before that if I am late for a session she should probably call my husband or the police because it would really be an emergency if I were late. I just can't handle it. I feel like I am being a disappointment, that I am holding people up, that I am setting myself up for an odd social experience. I start to feel like I am being rude and that people will judge me or won't ask me to do things with them anymore.

And social stuff... yea, I pretty much hate it all. It is all overwhelming and scary. What if she doesn't like me, what if I spill something, what if I have nothing to talk about. I am stupid, I don't have a degree, I hate feeling judged. Sweaty, sick, avoidant. Shy... I don't like talking to new people. It is so hard. Crowds freak me out. What if there is a fire when I am in a crowd. All I can think of is that episode from Seinfeld where George is running out of his girlfriends sons birthday party pushing over all the kids and old ladies to save himself. And I am short so I just feel like I am all closed in.

And family, my family is like the source of so much fear and anxiety. What if I die? What if one of them dies? What if no one likes my sons and they hate school and... What if my husband leaves me? How can I handle something like that (so not even a legitimate fear just so anyone knows... that is a huge part of why anxiety sucks... most of it is not logical, I just can't stop my brain)? What if someone kidnaps my children? What if someone hurts them?... I literally do not leave my kids with anyone. I have when it was absolutely necessary... like when I had a baby or when I had surgery but I have so much fear and anxiety about leaving them with people. I know they are mostly safe with me. That I won't hurt or abuse them. That Daddy won't hurt or abuse them. But I was abused by a babysitter in various ways so I know there is distrust there that comes from somewhere but it doesn't mean its logical for me now.

This is the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on and on. My mind just runs like a crazy fool into the land of scary. And if it were as easy as just thinking differently, I would do it. I do take medication that helps somewhat but it just never completely fades and if I get too quiet I start worrying again. I have tried praying, I have tried meditation and working out and they all only help... while I am doing them.

Not that I want people to feel sorry for me. Because that would suck. But I do want people to understand anxiety and how it affects people a little better... maybe? I don't want to worry. I am envious of how my husband can put things on a shelf and say "there is nothing i can do about it, I will think about it when it happens." But all you can do is work on it right... slowly but surely it gets a little better, a little less overwhelming. I even let someone be 10 minutes late the other day and didn't cry :) Not that I want it to happen again or anything but its a step in the right direction.

I do really want to be able to understand people better and I want to be more honest so people can understand me better. I guess that is part of healing and figuring it all out. If I have been a pain in the butt to you in the past with how stubborn I can be on some subjects, I am sorry. I am trying to be more... I don't know... empathetic. It takes time and unlearning a lot of stuff and replacing it with healthy stuff so give me some time but I am trying.

Wow, long super rambling kind of post. Sorry about that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Expectations

I am learning a lot about myself. Starting to figure out what is truly important to me and what is meaningless. Starting to learn how I actually feel instead of covering it up with pleasing everyone. Addressing all the hard stuff in my past and even present and putting them in their place, assigning feelings and emotions, and working... legitimately... through them. 

One thing that i have learned through this is that expectations get you in trouble. Not that I am good at letting go of expectations yet. In fact, I suck at it. But I want to get better and am working on figuring out how to get my expectations for people lower. It is two-fold... I want to get hurt less. Even if I can meet the expectations I set for others, it is hurtful to me when they can't. It is so hard to have people in your life that you can't even hold reasonable expectations on because they can't come near meeting them. I feel like I am babying them because I literally have to strip down everything I had thought and expected before to nothing. And ideals get in the way too. Family "should" do this or family "should" do that. Family should never speak to me that way or they should respect my feelings and needs. Or they should not hit below the belt because they are angry (by the way, I really think its ridiculous to attack someone's beliefs because you disagree with how they are behaving... it is a low blow and I may have a very hard time getting over it). And it is hard and frustrating. I want to be able to have relationships that I can depend on and where I don't have to do so much teaching and boundary setting. I desperately want normal but that is an absolutely unreasonable expectation. So my expectations set me up to get hurt a lot. But also the high expectations give me an easy out for relationships. It is a protection mechanism. I have these expectations and once you piss me off... I can pretty easily write you off. Unreliable, untrustworthy, liar, incompetent... it leads to lots of judging on my part. And I realize these are learned behaviors and they will take a while to unlearn but I am so done. I just wish I could get it. That things would click and I would be able to make friends and that I would be able to accept my family for what it is. Manage relationships in ways that are healthy for me and not feel obligated to others. 

One of my 12 steppers (I have two amazing women in my life in recovery and I refer to them as 12 stepping me when they pull out things they learn in the 12 step program :)) told me the other day that "expectations are resentments waiting to happen". And when I look back on my life I see that pretty clearly. Especially as an adult... most of the time I get upset or angry with someone is when they don't meet my expectations. Even if my expectations are low... it is not my job to enforce expectations on others. I mean I can set boundaries, I can back away from the relationships, I can stand up for what I feel is right... but I can't push my own morals and views onto other people. That is their choice and I have to find a way to let other people handle their own "stuff" without feeling so hurt by it. And I also need to figure out how to give people 2nd chances so I can make friends. I need to stop dismissing people for mistakes. 

A friend of mine and I had dinner together the other night. One thing we discussed is knowing when its time to have children. She has been married for a bit over a year. And she said to me that she was scared of loving another person because she is scared that they will... not always be there (the particular conversation was referring to death)... but it struck a chord with me because I feel the same way. My fears hinge on something different but they are very similar. I am terrified of being abandoned. I am scared to death to get close to people and have them leave me or hurt me or disappoint me in ways that can't be repaired. It is pretty much all I have known. My husband and best friend are really the only two people I trust not to do that. And sometimes I even doubt that pretty strongly. And I am not sure, today, how to get past that fear. I want to badly because I really want to work on having relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial to me and the other parties... I just don't know how yet. I keep reminding myself that it is a process. So I am going to keep pushing and keep learning about myself and... try to lower my expectations. Even if just a little at a time, I will be moving toward some of my goals.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cr-48

I had been expecting a package to come in the mail for my boys for about a week. On Thursday night the doorbell rang and I peeked out the blinds and saw that the ups man had just made a delivery. I was very excited to go get the gifts that were being delivered to my little men. Ooohh... pretty plasma cars. They are not from me and MW so I was even going to let them open them that night. We were planning on having a fun time trying them out! I went outside and the ups guy yells to me that he put the package behind my door. I went and picked it up and was rather confused because it was 1 very small package. Not heavy at all like I expected the gifts to be. I walked inside and went into my room to open the box stealthily in case I had forgotten another Christmas gift that was being delivered to our house. When I opened the box I found the weirdest box I think I have ever seen. It had a hamster on it with a helmet and like this hamster wheel and bolts and a rocket with fire coming out of it. Well take a look for yourself. I was very confused. I slowly opened the box very curious about what could be inside. And it was google's new Cr-48 notebook! It was pretty. No logos, tiny, light. I was excited!

On December 9th, I think, my husband messaged me and told me I needed to apply for this pilot program google was doing to test out their new operating system (Chrome OS). He gave me this long tech nerd story about why he couldn't and suggested that I might be part of a unique demographic they could use. So I applied. Two days later people were getting their notebooks and we had nothing. We assumed I wasn't chosen and went on about life. Which is why I was very confused by the package. I had completely forgotten about it. Anyway, I did a happy dance. My desktop is seriously about to implode. And honestly, trying to figure out how to get the money for a new computer wasn't seeming like a top priority right now so I was just going to have to make do.

Anyway, I have been playing with the Cr-48 for a few days now and have some initial thoughts...
Pros:
1) It is FAST. It boots fast, it wakes fast. You close the notebook and as soon as you open it... like within a second it has woken up and returned to your screen.
2) it is tiny and portable. 12.1 in screen, sleek, light. I think it weighs like 3 lbs. Not quite as small as a netbook but not nearly as bulky as a heavy duty laptop. The resolution is awesome too. I think its a really nice size. I have seen and fiddled with some netbooks and they are just tiny.
3) full size keyboard with individually spaced keys. Love the keyboard. So easy to get used to and type on. I like that the keys are individual buttons.
4) Google Chrome. Great browser... you can synchronize everything in chrome. The apps are easy to get to and use. I was worried when things turned on and the only thing on the computer was a web browser. It takes a minute to get used to but you really can do 99% of what you use a computer for on the web. Well me anyway, there are a lot more people who use computers for way more complicated stuff that facebook, shopping, communicating and educating small children. Obviously a notebook like this is not going to be conducive to programs like photoshop or lightroom. But once I learned how to find apps that were useful, I was up and doing all the things I do on my desktop pretty easily.
5) Battery life. This little puppy can get up to 8 hrs of battery life when in use. Up to like 8 days in sleep mode. That is insane. I have used it all day without plugging it in once. It really is travel friendly because of that.
6) No caps lock! Ha, yea I think this is cool. They replaced the caps lock with a search key. I am a fan. If you must needs caps lock though there is a keyboard shortcut to get to it. Although I never use caps so I couldn't tell you what the short cut is.

Cons:
1) Wifi only. That pretty much speaks for itself. The laptop only connects to the internets via Wifi or 3g network (although we do get a small amt of data free from verizon every month for 2 years but... a tiny amount. Any more and that is a pretty penny to pay).
2) The OS is web based. So if you are not connected to the internet, it is not of much use. Not a huge deal... you can find wifi if you need it pretty much anywhere. But, even writing documents and such is done through the web based OS right now. I think they are working on tasks like that being able to be done without the internet though. This operating system is in the testing stages so I am sure there will be lots of changes and more to learn about as I go.
3) Buggy... and will be as they test and fix and test and fix. But that is part of testing a new operating system.

So far I like it. It is way simple and if you live on the web it will be perfect for that. Its weird. There are no desktops or files or anything you are used to. Just a browser. But it really hasn't taken long to get used to at all. I am sure I will have more opinions later as things improve but so far I am impressed with the ease of use. I am not a "tech nerd" like most of the people who got these. I am a mom that blogs and uses the computer to teach my curious 4 year old about all of lifes most pressing questions. But I do live with a tech nerd so he is helping me navigate the waters so it is working out very well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A big change

I only have the time and or... energy to discuss one huge life altering event at a time. And since there are plenty of them going on in my life right now... I guess you just have to wait in suspense. Or something like that. I highly doubt anyone actually waits in suspense for me to update my blog but I can dream. Ha!

Anyway, I guess the real story starts back in October. I was working on telling my family big stuff and writing letters and doing all sorts of stuff in counseling. Just a lot of stuff going on... when I got an email from my biological father. To me, it was complicating an already complicated time. I am angry with him and don't understand what is going on at all. The email basically said that he has been thinking about us (me and my brothers) and that he was interested in meeting up with me in December to explain everything or answer questions or just to... try and see if we can get to know one another. He wanted to be in my life and in the life of my family. I was pissed. I hadn't seen him for 20 years. He missed everything important in my life. Christmases, graduations, basketball games, my wedding, the birth of my kids, trips to mcdonalds... anything as big or small as you can imagine, he missed. He was completely absent in my life throughout my entire childhood. I did not at all understand any of it. Why now? Why if he changed his life 15 years ago... why not then? There are just so many questions going through my head. It is all so confusing. And I sat on it and stewed on it for a good long time. Well over a month of just thinking about it. Spending lots of time talking to my younger brother, counselor and husband about it. Getting angry, getting hopeful, getting confused and frustrated. I feel like my younger brother is the only person in the world who understands me right now and I just kept talking to him about it. Getting angry together... cooling off together.

Then I came to a point of... I am trying to change some of the things in my personality and life that have held me back from relationships. I am trying to change my black and white thinking. I am trying to see more sides of the situation than just mine and open up to the fact that sometimes there is more than one right. I am trying to become open minded and more forgiving. There are several people in my life who I have given chance after chance after chance to. Why can't I give him a chance to show me that he has changed and is sincere. With no expectations. I don't expect to get a dad out of this. Most of me feels like that ship has sailed. But, I could have some sort of relationship with him that works for us. And my kids could gain someone in their lives who will hopefully care for them and be good to them. So why can't I just meet with him and let him explain? Why can't I let him give my boys a Christmas gift if he wants to do that? Why can't I try and put the past behind me and really, genuinely try and get to know who he is now? There was really no good reason that I could think of. I was acting out of hurt and fear and anger. My first reaction was all frustration and anger. But it wasn't logical and it wasn't a reaction that took what I am trying to do with myself into play. Once I realized my brother was warming up to the idea and starting to feel like maybe we should give him a chance to explain, I pretty much knew that is what I needed to do. So my younger brother and I are going to go have lunch with a man that we haven't seen in 20 years next week. A man that provided the genetics to bring us into this world but that neither of us know. And I am scared and nervous and scared. But I will have my brother with me for support and he makes me feel safer. He has made me feel understood lately when no one else has been able to. And I know its because we have been through so many of the same things together. We genuinely do understand what its like.

I figure... what is the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is I find out he hasn't changed and is a jerk... and I don't have a relationship with him. But it brings closure to the whole thing. I already haven't had a relationship with him for most of my life. So the worst that can happen is things stay the same but I shut the door to a lot of unanswered questions. There is a whole list of better outcomes than that so I guess my odds are pretty good at a positive learning experience. I am hanging onto that. Keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Most likely we will be doing lunch on the 21st...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sicky boys

Sorry about the long break. My Super Muscles was very sill for almost a week. He is finally getting better and it looks like little bub has croup. So I am in the middle of juggling sick kiddos with all of life's other adventures. I do have some big life updates coming soon though. So... I know you are on the edge of your seat. I hope to update very soon. Just keep thinking and sending and praying good stuff for me right now. A lot going on. A lot of challenges and new experiences to come. I will post more when I have some time. I am going to try and get sleep though while the small child is finally sleeping (poor bubs had to fall asleep upright on me tonight before I could lay him down for bed).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grief comes in waves

The other day I was adding some items to our registry like I do every year. Our families really like having this so they have ideas about what we need and would like. They don't live close so this really helps everyone out in many ways. Anyway, I went to the page and signed in... and I saw that the last visitor to my registry had been MW Grandfather. And I just sat there and cried for a while. Sad that he won't be picking out the boys' Christmas gifts this year. Every year since we had Super Muscles, Papa had picked out their Christmas and birthday gifts. It is just what he did. They never really bought anyone else gifts. They gave cards and money to their children and grandchildren. But he loved picking out gifts for our boys. After that I was getting Slobber Rocket's shoes on and they were the gift that Papa had picked out for him last year. His very first pair of sneakers. The shoes he learned to walk in. And since he is so tiny, he is just now starting to get real snug in these shoes and we have recently went up a half a size but he can wear these if his bigger shoes are hiding and that is what happened that day. And I just thought to myself, I am not sure if I can ever get rid of these cute blue stride rites. They were the last thing that he gave to my son. And it has all hit me like a wave... the first Christmas since I was 15 that I won't spend with this great man. With a man that had so much influence on my husband and the person he grew into.

The paintings on my wall that he did for us. The gift my husband gave me when we were 16. It was right after his grandfather started painting again after his stroke. It is a painting based off of a special place that we went the summer before. It was given to me on our first official date (I wasn't allowed to date alone until I was 16... pretty sure its a good rule and will be the rule for my children too). It reminds me of such a happy day in my life. And it was so special because it was the first painting of the MANY that he would paint over the next several years. My husband asked him for this and it sparked something in his grandfather... and it was something we would come to enjoy watching from then on out. Every time we would return home from college for a break, we would drop in and see the newest paintings. And the joy that he had creating something beautiful. And I love having a piece (or a few pieces) of that in my home. I miss him today. I am heartbroken that my boys will never know him the way I knew him. Funny and witty and charming and talented and smart.

But they will get to see him as we saw him through stories and memories. And I am sure my husband will bust out the "Hey stand up, I think you have something on you"... "While you are up, can you get me a soda?" haha... on our kids. His grandfather did that to me one of the first times I had dinner at their house. It was so funny, I still laugh about it. I was so confused. lol.

Like a wave... today I am a bit overwhelmed by the sadness that comes with losing someone you love so much. He wasn't biological family but he adopted me the day he met me. And treated me just like I had always been a part of his family. This Christmas is our first with out him and I know its going to be hard on so many people. I just wish there was more I could do to ease the pain for my family this holiday season. Love you all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 29: Super Muscles

Heh, I am bad about skipping a day on the weekend. Too much football I suppose.

Smart and quirky. Fun and lovable. Carefree and hilarious. My Super Muscles is a boy after his daddy's heart. From the way he thinks to the way he talks to the way he dances... it has his dad written all over it and I LOVE it. He is super intelligent and talks like hes 15 quite frequently. He loves puzzles and reading and writing and art and math. He adores showing off his new tricks and the new knowledge he has gained. He has brown, thick hair and amazing, intense blue eyes. His nose and cheeks are starting to be dotted with freckles (which is one thing he is getting from me!). He is getting long and lean and starting to look like such a boy and not so much a small child. He is timid to try new things until he has conquered them in his head first. He wants to work it all out in his mind and have a firm grasp of a new skill before attempting it. And... it works for him. Once he tries something, he usually gets it very quickly. He isn't great at pretend play and sometimes has problems relating to other kids... those are also things he gets from his parents. I am not exactly socially skilled and Daddy is admittedly an introvert and he likes it that way! And so far Super Muscles likes it that way too :) He is not much for cuddling but he gives some of the best hugs ever. And I LOVE that he pulls arms fulls of books onto my bed in the morning and reads to me and his brother. Today I am thankful for Super Muscles! He is my first born and the boy who changed my whole entire world at first glance. A lot of the selfishness I had before he was born just melted away upon his arrival and I am so thankful that he has taught me what love and selflessness look like.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 27: My Slobber Rocket

Blonde hair, hazel eyes, 30.5 inches tall, 19.5 lbs of... pure energy! My Slobber Rocket is a complete and total blessing. He is very animated and happy. Nearly always laughing or trying to get laughs out of others. Funny and ALL boy. Crashing cars, riding bikes, throwing balls. He has a big personality. He shows all of his emotions in a huge way. You know exactly what he feels and what he wants. He is a super communicator. He has the cutest stink face I think I have ever seen and he gives it to people he is unsure of all the time. They can't help but laugh because even though hes trying to be mean, its so cute. He is very adventurous and curious. Always climbing and jumping and spinning. He keeps my heart in my throat if you know what I mean. He is social and sweet. A cuddler. He loves his mama and daddy and bubby so much. When he is scared or wary of the situation he pats my leg and tells people I am his mama and just tries to make sure I am close. He is stubborn and refuses to listen at least half of the time. My husband says his stubborn is all me. lol. He is probably right. But the point is, I am absolutely in love with my youngest son. He has added so much joy and fun to our family. He has taught us a million and four lessons. Patience and how to adapt being two of the biggest. He has had some struggles with sensory problems and with growing "normally" but even those things have taught us so much. I can't imagine life without those bright eyes and his big, fun personality. So thankful for my littlest boy today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 26: Motherhood

Life changing, world shifting, huge responsibility... children. I am so thankful today that I have had the opportunity to be a mommy to my two fabulous sons. I will talk about how thankful I am for them in the next couple of days but motherhood seems a bit different to me than being thankful for them.

Becoming a mother has taught me so much. It has sent me on a path to try and find healing for myself which is one of the biggest gifts I can think of at the moment. It has taught me care and concern for others. Love and compassion. Selflessness. It has made me face so many fears. Trivial fears and huge fears. It has made my heart jump out of my chest when I have thought something was wrong with those tiny people. It has taught me about the words *I choose to use and how they come across to people. Gentleness. Strength. Courage. Enthusiasm. It has made me evaluate what I want out of life and from the people around me. It has made me stand up for myself numerous times in an effort to protect my little ones. It is like there are these things inside of you that you really never knew were there. This strength that being a parent has brought out of me. Lessons I would have never in a million years learned without my sons. Laughs that I would have never had. Tears I would have never cried. Love that I would have never known.

So thankful and blessed to be a mama.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 25: Thanksgiving Day

Today is a day to take time out and intentionally and gratefully think about all the blessings in your life. It is amazing how overwhelmed I feel when I think about all the blessings in my life. Most of them are in my house right now laughing and watching "Kung Fu Panda" on tv or pacing around the house really wanting to go outside to be with her master who is starting up the grill to smoke the epic turkey he has worked so hard on. Oh he is very excited about this turkey. It is my husbands first official thanksgiving turkey. He has spent days preparing it. I love how he wants to do everything in his life well. It makes me so thankful and proud of him. The man has an awesome work ethic and amazing integrity.

Children laughing. Loving marriage. Food for our bellies. Friends to share the day with. Healing. Happiness. Warmth, Love.

It is all in my house today. And I am so thankful for it. I am thankful for a day being set aside each year to be intentional about sharing what you are thankful for. To force you to think about blessings instead of trials. Because no matter the trials in your life (and goodness knows my life is chaos right now), there is always hope and there are always things to be thankful for.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with laughter and love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 24: Mentors

I am thankful for the mentors I have had in my life. These would be women who have led me in faith and have taken me under their wing and nurtured me. Been there to give tough advice and help me through crisis in ways only a mentor can. A friend but a different kind of friend. Maybe not someone I see so much anymore but people that I KNOW that I can call anytime and they will make time for me and care for me. These ladies are trust worthy, generally older than me (though one of them isn't much older than me!), compassionate, great listeners, wise, battle tested, strong... So thank you Becky and Amy and Carol... I truly appreciate your role in my life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 23: People who "get it"

I have 3 girlfriends who "get me". One of them is my best friend who I mentioned on another post. She certainly gets me. My jokes, when I am sad and hiding it, when I am frustrated... she knows it. All about it. But I have 2 other friends who get me in a way that is hard to explain. Both of these friends are long distance friends. I have met one of them... once and the other one I have never actually met. They both have kids Super Muscles age.  And they both just... get me. I think we all share some personality traits and life experiences and think in ways that are all similar but its more than that too. They have helped me so much in the past 6 months.. helped me to see myself in ways that others see me, helped me to realize when I was stuck doing actions just because I was used to doing them that way, helped me to try and find courage when I pretty much thought that I could never do the things I was trying to do. They have been there for me through thick and thin. And I have been through some tough stuff with them too.

L and T, thanks ladies for sticking by my side through it ALL. Thank you for seeing the good in me and for being honest with me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 21 and 22

Sorry.. the weekend got the best of me again. Lots of fun to be had with my family and I just didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. Please forgive me :) I am completely committed to getting all of my days in though so you get 2 days worth of thanks today!

Day 21: My peeps who always help me find those important Christmas gifts (or any other random thing I am looking for) for my boys. I posted on facebook about trying to find a duck pillow pet and got loads of helpful comments! I had a good friend call me yesterday to tell me she found one even and would get it for me. See... isn't that brilliant? I have had friends from CA and NC and ME and MD and various other places send me clothes for my boys right at the moment I have needed them the most. It just blows me away how many people I know all over who are always ready and willing to help make my life a bit easier. Help me hunt down bargains or provide something my family really needs. And it is rather impressive the way communication works now that I have a wide network of friends all over the US and even the world (lots of buddies in Canada and Australia and Germany and the Netherlands) who though sometimes we don't KNOW each other we care about one another and help one another. Its really a neat thing. The girls I was in a due date club with when I was pregnant with Super Muscles is about to launch our yearly Christmas ornament exchange... we have been together for well over 5 years now getting to know each other and watching our Feb 06 babies grow up. It is so neat.

Day 22: Work! I am so thankful that in this economy my husband has a job. I have known so many people who have lost jobs and had to switch jobs and all sorts of things. And sometimes I tease him that he doesn't have a "real job" because he is still in school. But the fact is that he works very hard and has a good reputation and is daily proving himself in grad school. But even as good as he does at his job, for many people production doesn't matter. The bottom line matters and people have to be let go to make the numbers balance out. No fault of their own and I realize that and I am very thankful today that my husband has a job and that we are able to provide for our family.

Freebie: this weather is AWESOME. 60 degrees in the middle of November. It is making me seriously happy :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 20: Sports and Competition

I am a very very competitive person. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love to win. I love to play sports and games. So I am thankful for sports and competition today :) Thankful for the softball teams and volleyball teams I have been on since I came here. Thankful for the friends I have made playing sports. Thankful for the fun and the laughs. Thankful for the undefeated fall ball season. Ha! I am thankful for my new goal of running the half marathon and that its teaching me a new kind of competition and motivation. One that is with yourself rather than against others. I love conditioning and training my body and pushing myself. I love the high of winning and the tense moments and the camaraderie. It is all awesome. Losing sucks but you always learn something from it. You always figure out what you as an individual need to work on and what your team needs to work on.

I feel like with sports and athletics... I can always get it. I might not be good right away but there is this idea that more practice and more time will improve you. I am naturally athletic and coordinated which definitely helps me think about sports this way but it is a place in life where I feel comfortable. I feel confident. I feel like an important part of what is going on even if ultimately a game is pretty insignificant. It is hard to explain. But it has just always been something that I have connected with. It is a way that I can meet people more easily and build relationships. In pretty much all other areas of life I feel inept at making relationships. But there is something simple about teamwork. Something that forces interaction and communication. And for these and about 100 other reasons, this is why I will play sports and enjoy competition until I am 99 :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 19: Community

I saw that a friend today posted about how much she loves the community we live in. And... I kind of agree with her! I love the place that we are calling home right now. I love the massive amounts there is for families to do here. I love that there is a lot of culture. I love the University and all the opportunities it provides. I really enjoy the people I have met here. It is so... mid west. People are just... generally nice. I like all of the amazing organizations that support people in our community. It is just a nice place to live and a great place to raise a family. I admit, I will be sad to move from here in about 18 months. I will be sad to leave my house, my church and my community. But until then, I am so thankful to be part of this community.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A perfect heart

Slobber Rocket's doctor's office just called to let me know that the little man has a perfect heart. Completely normal! This doesn't really help us know why he isn't growing well but it does let us know that it isn't because of a heart condition. The leading theory is still a hormone problem so we plug forward with that next... well, we are hoping to enjoy a rather medical free, test free holiday first and then we plug forward with that. Our pediatrician here is trying to get ahold of Slobber Rocket's endocrinologist (the hormone dr... most often works with diabetes) to see what kind of testing he needs before he goes down there. So he may have a bit of blood work soon but I am really hoping that we can just sit back and coast through the holidays and tackle this after we enjoy lots of family time and holiday cheer together. Anyway, just wanted to post a quick update so no one is worried about us.

Day 18: Child Life Specialists

A what? Yea... I had never heard of one either. But SR had an echo-cardiogram today and when I was preparing to take him for this I asked for some advice on how to get him through a pretty lengthy test unscathed. One of my dear friends suggested I see if the hospital we were going to had a Child Life Department. I had never heard of that either. So I searched the internets and found nothing. That is when I emailed my friend who works at the hospital and she hooked me up. And because of that... about 10 minutes before my little guy went back for his test, 2 sweet ladies came into the waiting room with a bucket of toys and sat down and started playing with my son. And they went back into the room with us and they spent the next half an hour with us keeping Slobber Rocket calm and still. They had all kinds of tricks. Bubbles, lights, flashing spinning toy, animals, suggestions for me to help him. Amazing. Of course he had his binky and blankie too but they made the process so much easier than it could have been. And sped it up too since the tech didn't have to deal with any fits.

Actually the tech doing the ECHO had no idea that child life specialists could come help. One had never been to help a tiny patient before and she was beyond amazed as well. Told them she would call them when little people come in and see her. They are rock stars whose jobs are basically to help children with all of the stresses that come along with medical procedures, hospital stays and diagnosis. So... I guess I wanted to let people know that the super awesome people exist. If your child is ever in a hospital or needs lengthy testing, as your pediatrician or call the hospital about this service. Smaller hospitals are not likely to have them but the "big" hospital here has them and all children's hospitals have them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 17: Church

I emailed a church friend the other day because she works as a doctor at the local "big" hospital where my son is going to have his echo done tomorrow. I wanted to know if she could help me figure out if the hospital offers a certain service. I couldn't find any information on line and I have major phone anxiety. Phone tag is probably one of my least favorite activities on the planet if I am honest with you. So she got ahold of the department and even got them to agree to help if they can even though SR won't be in the "main hospital". And this is one of the 900 things that people I go to church with have done for me. The list is long and extensive in ways that my church family has taken care of me and my family. And of course, I would do pretty much anything for the people I go to church with as well.

I think its easy to focus on the problems that churches have sometimes over the actual ways that they are being successful and ministering. My church, like all churches, has it's struggles but... we are really good at taking care of one another. I am so thankful to be a part of a church congregation that cares about one another and helps one another. I am thankful that I know if we ever need something, someone in our church will step up and help (they have too!). I am glad to know that if someone comes to our church and needs help, we will help them as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 16: Needs are met

I was doing the bills today. My husband gets paid once a month. So... every month on the 16th (or the friday before if it falls on the weekend), I set out to pay all of the bills that we have for the month. This is a discouraging thing for me. Like sometimes I get really upset. When I pay all the bills and see how much money is left for food, gas, and fun (or in today's case: Christmas gifts)... it can make me rather grumpy. And I am feeling a bit like that today. So I thought I would try to think positively and write my thanksgiving post about the fact that my needs are met.

I can pay my bills, I can feed my children, we have a warm home, we have transportation, my son has a safe place to learn and grow at school, my family is generally healthy, we have had the advantage and joy of education (MW and me), we have very little debt... our needs are being met.

It takes work and diligence and a bit of pouting sometimes. A lot of sacrifice. But I am thankful for the fact that we have the basics in life and are also enjoying some luxuries (gym, internet, saturday morning breakfast out with my family). That our children are fed and loved. That I am fed and loved. Thank you God for your provision in my life.

On a completely unrelated note unless you count the fact that food is a basic necessity... Meijer has canned veggies for 39 cents a can! Our church stocks the food pantry hard core every year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Maybe your church does something similar or you know of a canned food drive... this is a great way to get a lot of food for one of those! Go check it out :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 15: Doctors

I know I posted being thankful for my Slobber Rocket's overall health and included a blurb about his doctors. But I wanted to add to that. I took my tiny guy to the doctor again today and was reminded how much I appreciate doctors. SR and SM see a female doctor who is kind spirited and calm. She is very easy to like. But most importantly, she really cares about my children and their health and she listens to me as their parent.

Slobber Rocket's growth is still a big concern and we go every 4-6 weeks for a weight and height check. We toss around new ideas and see if there is anything we are missing. Today the little dude is measuring in at 30.5 inches tall and 19 lbs 10 oz (he is near 22 mos old). He did grow a half inch in the past two months which is great growth for him BUT he is still very under normal height and normal height velocity for his age. He is also TINY in weight. He netted about 2 oz in the past 3-4 mos. He was 19 lbs 8 oz a few apts ago but dropped some weight when he stopped nursing so he has made up that weight and added 2 oz. So that his his update. His dr. though is sending him for an echo to make sure his heart is doing okay. She is not that worried about his heart so DO NOT BE ALARMED. But it is one thing that hasn't been checked that could contribute to poor growth. She has, however, not heard any indications on the stethoscope that he has something abnormal going on. But she is also contacting his endocrinologist again and seeing what we can do while we are here for him (labs and any other tests they may need that there is easy access to here) to make our trip to St. Louis in a couple of months smoother and she might convince them to see him sooner (I hope... the end of feb is a long time!).

Anyway I am just overall very impressed with the Doctors I see here. And I am so thankful for medical technology and for the fact that there are tests to figure out what is wrong with children and treatment to help them if there is a problem.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14: Rest

The weekends are generally days of rest and recuperation for me and I am so thankful for them. Saturday morning me and my boys always go out for breakfast, we run errands together, we take naps, we play, I have lots of daddy help with the boys. It is so low-key and relaxing. Actually my anxiety is generally as low as it gets on the weekends when I am spending time with my husband and boys. I look forward to the weekends so much. Sundays is church and football and generally, grilling out (I have a husband who would literally grill in any weather). Sometimes more naps on Sunday too :) Writing, thinking, preparing for my week.Going to the gym when I have time. It is all good stuff. And I love the time we get to spend with Daddy! He works a lot through the week and a lot of days the kids only get to spend 1-2 hrs with him. I know they look forward to our weekends as much as Mommy and Daddy do. So yea, restful weekends... so thankful for them :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13: Finding my voice

I have been really stretching myself lately. Figuring out what is best for me and for my family. Letting go of expectations. Speaking out about past abuse. Setting boundaries. Refusing to own other people's feelings (this is SO hard for me... people pleaser and typical peace keeper). It has been terrifying in many ways. I have confronted some of the hardest and scariest situations in the past 4 months or so. But... it is liberating in ways I had not expected. I had never really known before now that I am holding myself to standards that are way too high. Standards that no one can meet. I can't make everyone happy. I can't always do something that is right and it please every person in the situation. And letting go of trying and expecting that... it has helped me key in on the things I find important. Helped me start trying to make decisions based on what is right for... my family. Not for my extended family or friends. Not for my brothers or mom. Because I just can't please them in all of my decisions. I am finding the things that I value. I am learning about what really matters to me and learning how to prioritize my needs and other peoples needs in a way that is more manageable. And all of this is because I am finding a way to express what happened to me and am starting to learn to accept it. I still have lots of work to do. I have to learn how to make and maintain friendships, how to let go of anger, how to forgive people... the list seems pretty endless sometimes. BUT today, I am thankful that I am finding my voice and refusing to be a victim any longer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dad, I'm hungry!

So my Super Muscles is a thinker. He really is. He definitely contemplates what to say and how to say it and he is kind of... dramatic.

So Mr. Wonderful admitted to me this morning that he was being rather lazy and still lazing around in bed at 7:30. The boys were in their bedroom. I am sure SM was playing and the toddler was in his bed talking and such. And I guess Super Muscles tummy started grumbling and talking to him because he yelled to his father...
"DAD! People will die if they don't eat... but they won't die if they get a pop tart"... NICE.

So... Dad got up and got them some food so that the small people in our house wouldn't die. I was out on my Friday morning adventure so didn't get to hear this gem with my own ears. I do get a little sad when I miss the hilarious things my boys says. Maybe next time!

Day 12: Motivation

I have been wanting to set some pretty big goals for a while. Work out goals, life goals, personal goals.... I find myself getting into a pattern of getting kind of stuck in life. Feeling like I give a whole lot but that I have very little purpose other than taking care of my child. And while that purpose is amazing, I am at a point where I just need something more. I put my schooling on hold when I had my oldest child so I obviously haven't finished school yet and I haven't started a career. So last may when I had lots of amazing friends running the Illinois marathon, I thought maybe that should be my shorter term goal. Well not the marathon... I have never ran a day in my life outside of suicides and a mile here and there when I played basketball. But the half marathon seemed doable for me. So I started talking about it like I was going to do it. And I got some friends to join me. So right now I have a wonderful friend from TN coming to run with me, a friend from central IL, possibly my best friend (still working on her though) and a girl who went to high school with me all ready to come run on April 30th with me. And it is motivating the heck out of me! I am so excited to be training for such a big personal goal for myself. It feels awesome to have people training with me and doing something they have never done (with rare exception) with me. It is encouraging and it feels like I have something to be excited about outside of just being a mom and a wife. It is helping with my anxiety as I train day after day (wee endorphins) and it is just generally giving me something exciting to look forward to in my life. Something that feels like a big accomplishment.

So today I am thankful for friends coming along side me and providing me with encouragement and motivation. I am thankful for the accountability that comes along with committing to do something with other people. I am thankful for a challenge (yea, I am not a runner... at all) for my body. I am an athlete and competitor by nature... but I have never much done anything that is all about self and self-improvement. And now that I am fully embracing a journey to take care of myself, I am looking forward to a new sort of competition.

So here is an invitation: April 30, 2011 is the Illinois Marathon in Champaign IL. You can sign up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or the full marathon. But I am inviting you to come join me and some other awesome women as we do something challenging and rewarding together. As we leave behind "mommy", "wife", "patient", "professional", etc for a while and focus on our bodies and stretching our limits to achieve better fitness, endurance, mental stamina, anxiety control or whatever else you want to accomplish... join us :) I am thinking we will be having some sort of celebration Saturday night too though I have not got the details ironed out yet. And I fully admit that I might be dragging my tired, broken self to any celebrations we have that evening :) Anyway, you really are invited... contact me if you are interested!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11: Veterans!

Of course on Veterans Day I HAVE to give a shout to out all the veterans out there. You all amaze me and I am so thankful for your dutiful service to our country.

I will be the absolute first to admit that I do not understand war, I can also be the first to stand up and say that I value soldiers immensely. I understand the sacrifice, at the very least, that families make in sending their loved ones into a war zone. Because I have made that sacrifice. But more importantly... my brothers have made that sacrifice. Both of my brothers have fought in Iraq and both of them have brought back wounds from the war (the emotional kind and I can't even say thankfully because I don't wish physical or emotional wounds on anyone). And they are noble and kind men and women with moms and dads, and brothers and sisters and children. They have husbands and wives who missed them when they are gone. And so so many of them have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedom. The principle that our nation hinges on. With out it, we have no guiding ideal or goal. And I find the concept of freedom to be brilliant and refreshing and it is one of the things that makes me so proud to be an American.

So while I can honestly say that I hate war. I hate what war does to the men and women who fight for our country. I hate that lives are lost. I hate that lives are forever marked by violence, death and fear... I am so thankful that we have men and women who are willing to answer the call of service. Who have gone out and fought hard. Who have done everything their countrymen have asked of them and who have done it with honor in their hearts.
________________________________

I have only ever known, personally, one fallen soldier. He was a good kid. Really... he died at the age of 21 in Iraq. He was a kid in so many peoples eyes and I still remember him as a kid. I mean, had he been home... he likely would have been in college and still on his parents' insurance. I remember him as one of my high school class mates. As a kid that my brother wrestled around with frequently (he was in my younger brothers class). The first picture I found after his death was a picture of him in like... 5th grade across my younger brother. They both had pretty silly faces in the picture. They were the kind of friends that got into lots of mischief together and who, honestly, fought and bickered a lot. But... they always came back to each other looking for some fun and more mischief. He had a huge smile and a very goofy personality. He never seemed to take anything too seriously. I had a Spanish class with him in High School... I was always serious and he was always... not. Always trying to make people laugh and rarely doing his work. It is funny how when I was 17 I didn't see the value in that. I didn't see the value in being playful and fun. Anyway, I didn't know him well and his death and the life that he lived have been profound for me. I can't even imagine how this has and still affects his parents, family and friends. I see so many people from my brothers class who knew him well and who literally take a moment every chance they get to remember him and to keep his spirit alive. His life had weight and significance. His life was profoundly important to so many people.         


And I also just want to take a moment in thinking about veterans to let Cpl. Will Powell's family know I am thinking about you. I am sure the likelihood of them reading this is slim but there are people still thinking about and praying for you. There are constant reminders of Will all around for me and I no longer live in Evansville. But I know lots of people who love Will dearly and they make sure he is remembered. There is not a anniversary or occasion to celebrate his life that goes by unnoticed.

____________________


Thank you to all of the veterans out there. Thanks to the ones still here and thanks to the ones who have gone before. Thanks to all of the families who have servicemen and women overseas right now. Thanks to the families who have supported service members in the past. And may God provide rest, peace and comfort to those of you missing you soldier today... and everyday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10: 70 degree weather...

in NOVEMBER! That is right baby, I am super excited about the 70 degree weather we are getting at a time when it is normally freezing and snowing. I am not at all a fan of cold weather. Not only do I hate being cold but its hard for me to go anywhere because as soon as the cold hits my face, my lungs get mad. Thankful for the extra time to play outside. Thankful for the added weeks of good health before the first winter illness settles in on our house. Thankful for the sun and the fact that I don't have to warm up my car before I make a trip... anywhere. Thankful that I have yet to put blankets in the car... oh and since I mentioned that let me give everyone a public service announcement... randomly and on the fly...

PSA: If your children are in car seats... do not put them in their seat in a big puffy coat. Remove their coat before strapping them in! I often times put a fleece sweatshirt/jackets under the boys coats and leave blankets in the car so they are nice and warm. The coat separates the harness from the childs body so they can be thrown from the seat if there is an accident.

Now back to your regularly scheduled day 10 post.

Thankful that sweatshirts have been enough so far this year since I don't have a coat. Rotf. And that 5 am mornings, while chilly, have not left my car windows a frozen mess. So... yes, I am thankful and loving these last few days of warmer weather. Although... my husband is shooing it away and praying for snow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 9: Preschool Musings

Well, as much as a preschooler can muse, I guess. Mine sure tries hard. He is a thinking boy! Super Muscles says some hilarious things when he is trying to figure something out or concentrating hard on something he has learned. We hear gems come from hidden conversations he has with his brother...

MW was just telling me about a conversation he overheard on Saturday night... he had put the boys into their halloween costumes because my very verbal and stubborn Slobber Rocket threw his tiger costume at his dad and demanded that it be put on him. So the boys got into their costumes and went to play in their rooms with blocks and toys... Then Mr. Wonderful hears these words come from our 4.5 year olds mouth. "Touch it baby. It is very necessary." I giggle every time he tells me this story. I guess Super Muscles liked the feel of his silky race car driver costume and was trying to share the experience with his baby brother. But... yea, epic!

Then on another day he was eating a leaf shaped cookie that had some edible glitter on it. Before he would take a bite, he examined it closely. He pondered for a moment what the stuff on the leaf was and then asked "Mom, why does my leaf cookie have pollen on it?"

He also thinks very hard about the rules that we have set for him. We have a "no hands on the goods in public" rule. I am not opposed to my 4 year old exploring his body. Apparently those things are fascinating for some reason. But the rule is that if he wants to touch or examine the thing... he has to do it in the bathroom or bedroom with his door shut. So I caught him messing with himself one day and I said "Buddy, you need to stop touching yourself in the livingroom. This is not a place where you may do that." He thinks... then gets a big grin on his face and says "Okay mom but I CAN touch my p**is (wouldn't want anyone getting to my blog with naughty word searches)  in my bedroom... I will just shut the door when I go in there so no one can see me!" And that is just what he did. And I laughed at him, quietly, for a long while.

Today I am thankful for all of the silly but well thought out things that my son says. He is such a bright child and I love him dearly.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crisis and Conformity

*another excerpt from my brain... may not be completely coherent or even remotely. Please forgive me but I am in a raw kind of mood right now so this will be a raw sort of post. Honesty though, is one thing that is pretty uniformly found in my writing  So, if it doesn't make sense, chalk it up to my brain being special and if it does... I hope it helps you to see life through my lens a bit.

I make no point in trying to hide my past. It seems like wiping out a significant part of myself. It seems so false. It seems like I am lying to make my life look more peachy than it is or to feel like I have no faults. The truth is I have all sorts of faults and learning and understanding my personality and what makes me tick is one way to slowly unravel lots of the unhealthy habits and thoughts that I have.

My family has been... somewhat aggressive in trying to talk with me recently. It has slowed finally and I even knew that it was coming. I prepared for it. I made a plan for it. I had a midweek crisis phone session with my counselor to further solidify my plan and strengthen my resolve to stick with the boundaries. I actually wrote super huge in my journal "STICK TO THE BOUNDARIES". My whole life... I have been honest in my words and in the intentions behind my words but rarely could stick it out. I have an intense need to please people. It is fierce. It colors pretty much all of my actions and in some ways it has been a useful coping mechanism and kept me functional. There is no staying in bed when I am depressed, I have children who NEED me. I do things out of obligation so often that I am really sometimes not sure what my own feelings on the matter are. If I am just trying to meet expectations or if I actually feel I am doing the right thing.

Anyway now to crisis... my family in crisis is an odd mix. We really are not good at communicating with one another. Not on a normal basis and not in crisis mode. There are lots of personality conflicts. A whole lot of black and white thinking going on. The problem... my black is their white and vice versa. So we end up getting very frustrated with one another. The communication skills are just... not there. Well, generally speaking... I don't talk to my family. We see each other a few times a year but we have our own lives. We have our own minor and major problems. We have a hard time communicating. We, in some ways, function better with some distance. At least I feel that way. I can't speak for them. I think we would all like a closer more "normal" relationship with one another but it has never worked out like that. And we do okay. We are not close and we are not normal but we love each other in our own ways. And generally speaking, I know my mom and brothers would cut off their right arms if they thought it would help me. Which is where crisis mode comes in. My families crisis mode overwhelms me. It is like we can not speak for a year and if they feel there is a crisis it is overload. And I don't know how to process it. I don't know what I think of it and I really don't like all of the attention. (especially not in the form of pity or figuring out who is to blame). I mean they definitely want to band together and be this super family when there is a crisis but there is no... foundation... for it. So it is very forced and uncomfortable. Like I said... I expected it but I want to morph it into something that works for me instead of something that brings me anxiety and makes me feel overwhelmed. Which is the importance of all the "boundaries" I guess. It is complicated and I know they are trying to help me in their own way. But I just want people to stop... trying to solve it on their own end. It can't be solved. There is no box and bow to wrap it in. No neat little solution. And the "black and white" thinking is blowing up in my face... people strongly suggestion to me the right way to handle it. Me feeling very obligated to do what is the absolute best possible thing. Because it is bigger than me. But... I don't have to answer to their right and wrong and I don't have to feel obligated or coerced into taking on their feelings and emotions too. And I guess that is the point of needing space. I just can't handle all of their emotions in addition to mine.

Which for as much as I am learning that I can't conform to what they need me to be or how they think I should act. I am starting to really discover and dissect my own issues with wanting/needing/feeling owed that they conform to how I want them to be. When I can no more conform someone than they can conform me. I have to have their permission for one (and I give people permission to conform me by my own personality flaws and insecurities) but  also I just can't ever spend enough time with someone to perfect and groom them into someone I want them to be. It just can not be done. Not to say I am giving up and declaring that nothing needs changed. But I am trying to be realistic and slowly trying to tweak my thinking on the subject. I want something from my mom and something from my brother and something from my step dad, etc, etc, etc that they can not give. I want the "ideal family". I want what I often think that some of my friends have. I want good, healthy relationships with my family. I want to feel loved and respected and valued. But maybe it just can't be done. And maybe I need to... I don't know, stop basing my expectations on something I have never had and will probably never have. I need to stop trying to conform people who I don't have permission to conform and accept that maybe these relationships have to be different than I always imagined and pictured. Maybe I have to figure out how to find additional relationships that fill some of the voids and find a way to love and accept them where they are right now. I know there are going to be some things in myself that is going to be incredibly difficult to change and this might be one of them. Even as I write this and try to reassure myself that this is healthier thinking... I am incredibly unconvinced. I still "want" in my heart to have a different family. Not different people. I see such good in these people, I just think its buried under all of the hurt and pain. And the poor communication skills we have with each other doesn't help. It is me too... it is my hurt and pain and it is my very inflexible thinking on right and wrong and it is my avoidance and my lacks of good communication. I fully admit that I contribute to it. I am trying to change. And I am sorry that I have spent so many years being part of the problem. I don't want to be part of the problem any more. I am trying.

Day 7... AND 8

Yea, I know... I blew my 30 straight days. Ha. It was a busy weekend.

Anyway I am going to post 2 things I am thankful for today to make up for it!

Numero 7- Alone Time! And that awesome husband of mine who makes sure it happens. It can be exhausting being needed 24/7. It is actually very hard sometimes. I am not a big toucher and my kids (especially Slobber Rocket) LOVE to be touched and cuddled and kissed and tackled and rocked and I sometimes get over-touched. I hope no one takes this wrong because I love being able to stay home with the boys and most of the time I don't even mind the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. But as much as I love it, I appreciate that I have a husband and partner who is willing to take the boys by himself and give me some much needed rest. Every week he makes a huge sacrifice on monday and friday. He handles everything and even goes into work late so that I can go to the gym, spend some time by myself and go to session. That is 3 hrs, twice a week. That is time away from work so that I can take care of myself. Time away from work so that I can do some things to take care of myself without adding anxiety to my day (I would be seriously stressed if I needed a sitter twice a week... trust is not easy for me). I love my husband and am so thankful that he can see my needs and that he works hard to meet them. My best friend visited this week and he, again, kept the boys for several hours so we could spend time together. He took them to the library and I am sure they played lots of football in the house :) It is truly amazing for me to see fatherhood in way that is healthy and mutually beneficial to both father and children. <3

Day 8: Slobber Rocket's health. I know I have the ability to get fixated on problems until they are fixed. That is part of what makes SR's sensory issues (he is improving so much here though!) and tininess hard on me. I don't know how to fix them. Hopefully the upcoming appointment in Saint Louis will help but I am thankful for these words: "He is very tiny and not growing well but he looks and acts so healthy!" I am thankful that he is learning and mastering new skills. That his language is exploding and that he is such a happy, joyous little person. I am thankful for the people who provide him with care and who are working hard to make sure he is okay. And I am so very thankful that he has not had a major illness in a while or a fever. *finding wood to knock on* I am praying that this winter is not as rough as last winter was for him but seriously... big picture stuff is that he is doing amazingly. He is intelligent, funny, physically coordinated, verbal. That is all a comfort to me even when we aren't exactly sure if there is an issue with his growth. And the good news is that all the big scary stuff has been pretty much eliminated (rare illnesses, CF, kidney and liver stuff).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 6: Best friends

Every have a friend that is totally like... I don't know... living inside your head? Well, I do. I don't have many significant relationships in my life (again this is not a reflection on people that care about me but more the inability for me to maintain trusting relationships or relationships that are not superficial... I am working on it!). So this friend is pretty special to me. The fact that we have been friends since our freshman year in college is quite an accomplishment for me. But she understands me and she loves me anyway. We get each others jokes and I totally love her sense of humor. And she is always there for me. She is honest with me even when it is something kind of hard to hear and I am like that with her. And we never get mad about it, that is just how it is. She is like a sister to me and I want what is best for her and she reciprocates that.

She has taken text message after text message and phone call after phone call from me the past several months and let me cry and vent and sit silently on the phone and talk about unimportant stuff to take my mind off of the heavy stuff. She checks in on me on days when I feel like pretty much everyone has no clue how I am feeling and wouldn't care even if they did. That is usually precisely the moment I hear from her.

I am also super proud of her. She is accomplishing so many of her goals and has a job that helps people. She is confident (mostly) in the decisions she makes even when people around her question them. When are you having babies anyway? ha!

There is a lot more I could talk about but I don't want to make her cry or something like that. Anyway, thanks so much for loving me friend. I can't wait to spend some time with you today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 5: Preschool Teachers

Today I am taking a moment to express my thankfulness for Super Muscles preschool teachers. They are fabulous. He has 3 teachers in his head start class and they are all extremely kind and patient. You can tell that they enjoy their job and they are all such compassionate people.

School has been fabulous for SM. He loves going and I know it is because of M, F and Miss L. They spend one on one time with him and really help him through some of the sensory struggles he has. They also somehow manage to give my kiddo one on one time even though they have many students. I worried a lot about this but they do well with my boy. The teachers always take time with just him during nap time because he is one of the 2 kids that refuses to sleep but he gets to read and learn with his teachers instead so I think it works out nicely. lol. Mostly it has added to my sons life more adults that he loves and trusts which is always a fabulous thing! I am very glad I got over some of my anxieties to finally put him into a preschool program. It was very hard for me to do but it is working out quite well.

Right now my little man is at an all day pajama party reading bedtime stories and doing puzzles and I know he is happy and safe and being well taken care of.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4: my home

Almost 4 years ago... MW and I set out with our tiny 10 month old Super Muscles to explore central IL to see if it was a place we wanted to move to. Really the options were few considering Mr. Wonderful was starting school as a grad student in the spring rather than the fall. It is very rare to do such a thing. But we decided that UofI was an awesome school and there would have to be very big reasons not to come here... Like tripping over a dead body during the campus tour big. This school or one like it is what my husband has dreamed about for a long time. So when we came up here I had already contacted a realtor because we needed a house... or at very least a yard with a fence and I didn't know how to do that without a house. I had just gotten MW a surprise for graduation... a very large dog. So... we did the school thing, had dinner and decided this is where we would be. The next morning we met with a realtor thinking... well we can look... if we don't find something today though it would be pretty unlikely that we would be able to buy a house anytime soon. The logistics just weren't going to work if we didn't put an offer in that day and have it pretty promptly accepted. So... we went and looked. Our price range was pretty low... MW was going to be a grad student and I was going to stay home with our boys. We had to do some work to get a loan because of how grad students are paid. And most of the houses we looked at were going to require too much work.

Then we came across a tiny little gem near downtown Urbana. And by tiny, I mean... some days I am not sure how we all fit. 890 sq feet and in wonderful shape for the age of the home. The price was a little more than we had set out to pay but there would be far less work to do on the house than other places we had looked. I fell in love with the tiny blue house. It was near the bus line, in a great school district, right across the street from a church and a preschool (which my son now goes to), and a couple of blocks from the police station and fire station. It is also very close to campus and you can easily get to anything you need since it is only a few blocks from down town (the library, food, small mall, starbucks, groceries). So we put an offer in that day. Had to haggle a little bit to get it all to fall into place. The electrical was terribly outdated and we had to work getting it fixed into the agreement. But, we did it. We put the bid in the day before thanksgiving that year and closed on Dec 23 2006.

I often tell my husband that even though we will be moving on to a bigger and more comfortable home at some point... I KNOW I will miss this house. There are so many memories here and it is the only home my children have ever known. My boys in Christmas pjs and opening gifts on Christmas morning. All the messes and art projects. The new experiences. Both of them had there first steps here. Well pretty much most of their firsts have been here, in this house. This tiny little house that seems smaller every day that my kids get bigger.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cute kids in costumes :)



And a cute daddy with his adorable blonde haired look alike. <3 this man and all the ways he takes care of us.

Day 3: my counselor

Yea, no joke... this week in particular I am very thankful for my counselor. She spent a half an hour on the phone with me yesterday helping me work through some stuff and talking out the events that are unfolding right now. She is infinitely patient with me but also very firm and wants to push me to change/succeed and reach my goals. Sometimes she pushes me right to the edge but she always seems to know what I am capable of even if I don't quite know. But mostly and more importantly I am learning to trust someone who isn't my husband and who isn't my best friend.  That is kind of a big deal.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crazy week.

Be superforwarned... this is a very disconnected brain purge. If it makes no sense, please don't say I didn't warn you.

I am pretty sure this has been the most emotionally draining week of my life. There is too much that is too private to go into but I think I can hit some of the highlights in order to document how I am feeling without getting too into it all. So far this week I have let go of a huge secret, been contacted by my biological father (who left my family when I was 2 years old and who I haven't seen since I was 5) and also been contacted by one of my half/step brothers (not really sure completely of the relation at the moment. He has a different last name than me so I don't know if he just considers my bio dad his dad or what).

There has been a ton of emotions flowing through my body in the past several days. From making the biggest decision I think I have ever made and how it affects everyone around me to just feeling confused about... everything. Confused about my place in the world. Confused about the value of some of these people to me and my value to them. Wondering where intentions are and if things are really as they seem. Or if it is just how it is today and it will change as fast as everything else does. Frustrated with feelings of guilt and anger. Stressed out. Super anxious. I have spent 4.5 hrs at the gym over the past day and a half. My anxiety is very high right now. It seems to be one of the only things I can do to calm myself down and talk myself down from near panic attacks. And I am not even sure why I feel documenting some of this is important. I just know that writing helps me for some reason.

I just don't even get most of what is happening, how it is happening and why it is happening. I don't understand the consequences. I don't understand people approaching me wanting relationships with me when they haven't seen me in 20 years. I don't get the outpouring of emotions to me when I have so much of my own stuff to take care of. I don't get the disrespect. And I hate all of the vulnerability. But I can only stand on the truth and that is what I have done. I can be at least sure that it was the best thing for everyone even if there are lots of consequences. Protecting the people I love and standing on truth... that is what I am doing. I will rest in that knowledge and keep trudging forward I guess.

Learning to set boundaries has been hard for me. Right now it is near impossible. I have already called my counselor once today and made a new game plan for maintaining a healthy distance from some of the fall out. It is frustrating that I have a hard time figuring this stuff out on my own. I am sorry if you guys don't understand right now. I hope sometime you will though. I have to do what is healthiest for myself and right now, that means I need to focus on myself and my family.

Keep praying and sending good thoughts. I need them in a big way right now. Still striving...

Day 2: carefree childhood

Since I can't do anything to change my past, I have been damned and determined to give my own children the childhood they deserve. The childhood all children deserve. When I think about all of the things I am thankful for this is right up at the top of my list. I am so very thankful that so far my sons have had a carefree childhood. They don't have to worry about their daddy leaving. They don't have to worry about being abused. They just have to worry about being children. No growing up really fast or adapting to situations the best they know how because we are there for them to help them grow and learn. I am really thankful that in my brokenness I still managed to chose a man that is an amazing father to our children. A man that helps me heal a bit everyday by restoring my faith in the hope and fact that there are some good dads out there and some amazing husbands out there. A dad that daily sacrifices for his children. I mean, not that I am doing a bad job either. I am trying so hard to be the mom they need. I am trying to get help with the problems I have with relationships now before I pass on the same fears and anxieties to them. And I know by our daily interactions that they feel safe and secure and know that they are loved. They are just precious little people and I am so thankful to be given the honor of providing them with the care and nurture they need.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Day 1: Gym Membership

I don't like Christmas music very much... true story. But I do love Thanksgiving and I think Lindsay has a great idea in her "30 days of Thanksgiving"  blog extravaganza. So I have decided to participate.

I will post either one entry about what I am thankful for every day or I will add it to the end of a post if I have a different one for the day :)

I am thankful today for the gym membership I have. I hate working out in front of people, as I have mentioned. But going to the gym and working out is pretty helpful in combating my anxiety for a while. So this morning I got up at 5am and got ready and went to the gym. Worked out for an hour and got my endorphins kicking to start my day off. Seems small but my husband is making a big sacrifice in money to let me have a gym membership. He is pretty much the best. Also I have asthma so running outside is no longer an option. So it is fabulous to have a warm place to go so my lungs stay semi-happy. And the quiet, kid free drive on my early mornings... listening to music..., heaven! Oh and child care when I can't make it super early. It is all fabulous. And group cycling... it is pretty much my fave.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I did it.

I have been in counseling for four months now working on one goal and one goal alone. Well today, I accomplished that goal. I do have to sit back and wait for the bomb to go off but I did it. I am a nervous wreck. My hair is falling out, my stomach hurts constantly, I can't think, I am nauseous, I am getting lots of headaches and body aches, I can't sleep, eating is difficult (unless its a brownie)... but I did it. And for the next several days I just have to wait. And probably go to the gym a lot to combat some of this anxiety! (but hey, can't complain about a motivator to get to the gym... I have been working out 5-6 times a week the past few weeks because of anxiety). Even if nothing changes with the people involved, I know I did what was right. I am confident in that. I am frail and unsure about everything else in life but I am so convinced this is the only solution that it doesn't matter. Anyway I know I am vague but I also know that many of you have been praying for me or shooting your good thoughts my way. Keep them coming because I have a lot ahead of me but the good (and terrifying) news is that I did it. The rest of it is out of my control and I know I have the right people in place to help me get through this.

In slightly less serious news. I went to the gyno today. Found out I have polycystic ovaries which we pretty much assumed since I have had high androgen levels (male hormones like testosterone) for several years now. But I have been on birth control before and between and and after children so we haven't been able to see the cysts on my ovaries until today. Once I was off the pill for a while my ovaries started producing many cysts instead of one to be ovulated. And we saw that very clearly on the ultrasound today. Basically, I don't ovulate or have a normal cycle... the good news is that I don't need to ovulate since I am not having anymore children anytime soon (if ever, from my own uterus. The plan is adoption). And birth control will regulate my hormones. Thankfully I am finding this out for sure after I have already had 2 beautiful little boys. And to this point I have no insulin resistance or other thyroid issues. So really it is pretty good news as far as an incurable disease goes. I hope this doesn't sound too odd. I do really think that it was pretty good news. I am so thankful knowing what my ovaries look like now that I have two children. I sometimes wonder if things would have gone according to MY plan how that would have all ended up. At any rate... hopefully my body is going to be getting regulated like... yesterday :) My doctor was dressed up in her full Colt's garb today. She has season tix to see the boys play and she wears this to every game she goes to. She definitely got bumped up a few cool notches. Now to figure out how to get her season tix when they can't make a game. *sigh*.

Keep thinking about and praying for me though. The next few days are going to be very difficult... it will be a waiting game. Followed by reactions. So I need lots of encouragement, support and prayers for the next little while. But... I did it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being okay...

with not being okay.

My counselor asked me to think about how I can be okay with not feeling okay as I make some very big decisions. I have avoided answering this question for days. It seemed the hardest of the things I am supposed to think about.

I guess the first question is: is it okay to not be okay? I generally feel like I am letting people down if I am not okay. I have kids to raise, a house to clean, dinners to make, parent teacher conferences to attend, church obligations, a dog, a husband to spend time with... the list goes on and on and on. Looking at my schedule for next week makes me all too aware that I have a lot of stuff to take care of and it makes me feel like I don't have time to "not be okay". Really, I don't. Every moment of my week seems to be occupied by... something. And the moments that are not occupied by something, I should be cleaning or cooking or making Christmas gifts. So going into it, I thought that I just can't be not okay. I can't because I don't have the time and I don't want to punish my family.

But the truth is that whether I have time to be not okay or not... I am not okay. I am struggling badly with anxiety. Worry about big decisions, social anxiety, general worries about kids and health and family and schools for SM and panic attacks and asthma and allergies and so much stuff. I think people that don't struggle daily with anxiety have a hard time actually knowing what an anxiety disorder must be like. I technically have 2 anxiety disorders. So on top of worrying about everything in life and it's sister, I have triggers for anxiety related to the past abuse and my childhood. It is a fairly complex beast. But when I am not taking care of myself and filling up my cup with healthy and useful coping skills... anxiety can be a very debilitating thing for me. OR even when I am taking care of myself but have very hard choices to make or am trying to do something that scares me to death... I am not okay. Right now, I am not okay.

So after I established that I am, in fact, NOT okay... I started thinking more about the question. How can I be okay with not feeling great? How can I be okay with not being okay? Is it even possible? I often times feel like I just don't work right. Is it okay that I don't work right? That I have to exert a huge amount of effort to just be able to cope with... taking my children out in public or being able to handle anxiety enough that I can actually sleep normally? Is there really a way to be accepting of the fact that even though I love working out I hate going to the gym? I hate people looking at me, I hate talking to people, I have to go to the locker room and calm myself down after I leave my 20 month old with people I barely know? Or that I can't make phone calls.. I have to be desperate for help before I make a phone call. Will accepting that help? When you accept something as truth does it mean that you are making excuses for not doing things right or well?

I don't like being like this. I don't like being socially awkward. I don't like struggling to make friends or struggling to trust people with my kids. I don't like that I seem judgmental to people because my brain works how it works. Because it puts actions and people into very neat little categories and I lack something in there to create more than 2 categories.

So I accept it. Is it like recovery where admitting that it is a problem is a step toward help? Or is it justifying how you behave even if it is unhealthy?

Anyway all of this is basically the preface to an excerpt that I wrote today. This is how I think... its a very long and drawn out process most of the time.

So how can I be okay with not feeling okay (this question is related to a big decision I am making)?

I guess you ultimately stand on principles. You find conviction or confidence or something that makes it worth while. You trust the people around you to make sure you don't break or crumble. Take care of yourself. And... jump in.

I guess I am going to jump in. I might need a push but I am just going to jump in because I have no other choice. Prayers and positive thoughts are very appreciated.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Annoyed

Super Muscles had a dentist appointment at school today. He goes to Head Start in our town and they have a program called Healthy Smiles where they send dentists to the school to check out the kiddos teeth and they get them cleaned. It is a cool program.

Anyhu, Super Muscles got up on the chair and let the hygienist count and floss his teeth. He played with the mirror and he wore super cool shades while the light was in his face. Then... the hygienist turned on the portable machine. That.was.it. He was done. Too loud, too scared, too upset. I did finally get him calm enough to let the dentist peak into his mouth. But the part that annoyed me... she was not nice to my sweet boy. She kept telling him how he wasn't a big boy and how he wouldn't get a tooth brush if he didn't get his teeth cleaned. It made me so sad. Seriously... he is FOUR... not fourteen. He has pretty epic auditory sensory problems which I told them about and that is why his teachers asked that I come for the appointment. But she was not sensitive to my sweet boys' needs.

And thankfully for Super Muscles this generally does not set him aside from his peers. It is infrequently even an issue because how often are there noises so loud that he is scared or that his ears hurt or that he gets stressed out? It isn't terribly often. He is making friends and learning well. But today I saw child after child after child able to handle it. Able to get into the chair and have their teeth cleaned. It just frustrated me that he struggles so much with something most people just intuitively can figure out. But I get him. I am still the same way. I wear earplugs to football games and avoid loud places. I just... I don't like seeing him struggle. I don't like seeing him afraid. And I definitely don't like that, at 4, people are already not very understanding of him.


I spoke to his teacher about it and plan to follow up on it so the dentist can be talked to about it. I think she is a super kind person for volunteering her time to work with some of our communities most disadvantaged children. I really respect that. But I think maybe she needs some new strategies to deal with children.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bullying

THIS is such a good (even if long) read.

I hated middle school... it was seriously the worst 3 years I can think of (and that is saying A LOT). I was teased a lot, I was threatened, I had very few friends, I hated myself. I was short and small and shy. But eventually the teasing helped to turn me into angry and hateful. I wanted some people to die in middle school. I can even feel the sadness just thinking back on it. Heck, I wanted to curl up and die myself many times. I got into a fight one time with a girl that teased me all the time because eventually the teasing turned from me to my mom and what a whore she was (my mom is not a whore by the way). It was the first time I ever used violence to get my way. I was in the 6th grade. And... it worked. Now, I am not saying I became a bully but I did become mean. I protected myself and distanced myself at every juncture that I could. I only had one good friend in middle school and she didn't go to my school. At school I was pretty alone. I did have this sweet red headed boy that I started "dating" at one point who was nice to me. But for whatever reason that didn't work out. Probably because I was mean. ha.

I wish I could say that was my first and only fight. It wasn't... a few months later I got into a fight in my front yard with a set of sibs from down the street who were bullying my brother. I ended up with a handful of hair missing but I sent them both home crying. I smacked the crap out of a kid at a middle school dance for being mean (and nasty) to me when I was dancing with a kid that asked me to dance. He was another loner. Not anyone I liked at all or really knew but I hated feeling like dances were not fun and I hated seeing other people who looked as sad as I felt. Another time... I was playing football with my brother and some friends and one of the kids got angry with me when I got past him for a touchdown. We ended up on the ground because he tackled me as I crossed into the designated end zone. He was mad and he bit me (he was 12 probably). All I could see is red and I got up and just started kicking him... in the head. Eventually my brother helped get me off of him and he ran home crying and had his mom come over to deal with it all. I never got into trouble for fighting (it was the middle of the winter and I had 2 pairs of pants on and the kid who bit me left a giant bruise and teeth marks and blood on my leg) but I can assure you that is never who I wanted to be. But I felt like if I didn't start taking up for myself no one would. And I will defend myself by saying I never picked on other kids or hurt someone for the hell of it. As I neared the end of 8th grade, things did get a little better. At the very least people realized I was an angry kid who wasn't going to be pushed around. I had definitely gotten a reputation for no longer being the easiest target. But gosh I hated who I was and what I felt it was necessary to do to get the teasing to be more bearable. The constant picking to lessen.

High school was much better in a lot of ways. My freshman year was hard. I didn't make many friends. But I was in classes with people who, generally, didn't really talk to me. There were still some mean kids left over from middle school but it was mild comparatively speaking. There were isolated incidences with one girl that I remember vividly. Some times in pre-calculus and French when she would say things to me and I would feel my blood boiling. I ignored it a lot but I did have an outburst when she was very nasty to me one time in French class. I was so embarrassed that I had let her get to me. No one said a word to me though. It was probably the nicest thing a teacher ever did for me... let me stand up for myself without consequence. I just remember her saying something loudly enough that everyone in the class heard and many kids started snickering. I stood up where I was, looked right at her and, not so nicely, told her that she was a jerk and bully and she needed to shut the (maybe a choice word or two) up and leave me alone from now on. I am pretty sure that was the last time that year she said a single word to me.

Sometime in the middle of my freshman year I started asking a sweet blonde haired, blue eyed guy to help me with my math homework. THAT is when things really started to seem better for me. I eventually started dating that sweet guy who valued me and cared about me. I didn't have many friends  but I did have ONE person who genuinely cared about me. One person who believed in me. I still had moments that were hard and I still had a reputation for being explosive when antagonized. But it was slowly getting manageable. I had a person who was reinforcing in me that there were good things. I rarely believed him but his kindness and love encouraged me every day. His letters made me smile and the effort he went through to make sure I was taken care of was noble and wonderful (can you see why I married him? He is totally still that guy who has my back, encourages me, and pushes me to be a better woman).

All I can do is tell my story. I know from experience that bullying sucks. Bullying is hard and hurtful. The effects don't really fully get erased. Life gets so much better after you escape the confines of middle school and high school though. You get to pick a college or career or start a family. And people really learn who they are and what they value, you have a much wider and broader type of people to pick your friends from. You aren't forced into situations where the people you dislike are picking on you. You start to make your own choices and you make amazing, life long friends. You meet your Amanda's and Amy's and Lora's and Joanna's... the people who will be there to share joy and sorrow with you. Who can help you through all that is hard and enjoyable in life.

People have been saying it over and over and it is totally worth repeating: you are strong! Get through high school and the world will open up to you. You will meet people who value you and you will fall in love and start families, you will get great educations and meaningful careers. And life IS totally worth the wait. Living your dreams is worth it. Your dreams matter and are beautiful.

Parents... teach your children to love. Talk to them. Be involved in their education. DO with them. If you had parents who were amazing, emulate that. If you didn't...  DO all that you wished your parents had done with you. But most importantly instill into your children respect, love and honor for all people because that is the biggest step in creating a loving school environment for ALL of our children.

Wide awake and faking it.

Love when its 1am and I am still awake! It usually means I can't turn my mind off or I am not feeling well. Tonight its both :( My ear is not feeling all the cold weather and allergies I have going on. Well, actually, it IS feeling all that. Which means my ear is hurting and clogged and annoying. Good thing I go see Dr. Y on Friday. I am starting to think we will become BFFs before me and my family pack up and leave Chambana. I see him all the time... ha. Not to complain too much but that is one reason I am awake.

The other is that my stupid mind can not slow down tonight. I have been thinking a lot about feeling... inadequate. Not good enough. Like I work so hard but never measure up. Tonight my mind has just been going through all the things I feel so mediocre to horrible at. I know, pity party right? I wish I had more confidence and could just turn these thoughts off. I feel it is useless to try and explain the thoughts because I don't want them to have feet. I don't want to continue giving my thoughts power. I mean, they have power now. I want them to lose power. I want to replace them with healthy and empowering thoughts.

I have a couple of friends in recovery. They give me great advice. I don't mean this lightly. They are two people who understand me better than most people have ever even bothered to understand me. They have been through some similar things and struggles as I face. I have never had a chemical addiction to overcome, thankfully... but they believe strongly that recovery concepts can help me. And they are right. Because their advice has gotten me through some hard days. One such piece of advice I have gotten from both of them lately is to "Fake it until you make it". To act as if... I am succeeding in therapy. To act as if... I don't have anxiety. To be fully in my recovery even when I don't feel like it and even if I am feeling incredibly inadequate. To just keep faking it... and eventually I will get there. Eventually the self-defeating thoughts will diminish because I will be taking action against them instead of living in anxiety. It completely makes sense. I have been trying it... and I am reminding myself of it right now so that when I lie down to try and go to sleep in a few minutes I can fake it and get myself to sleep instead of continuing to dwell on things that I don't want to dwell on.

Anyway, I just want to remind my friends who are struggling... who might even be awake right now thinking about some of the same stuff I am thinking about that if we keep faking it... if we keep aligning our actions with the outcome we want... we are going to get there. And I want to thank my friends L and T for always being an encouragement to me and pushing me to keep faking it, even when I don't feel like it. I love you both.