Monday, March 16, 2015

A Toolbox

Today I had a fantastic discussion with one of my clients about "parenting". I had a rough weekend with some emotional news regarding family issues. It rocked me to my core, and opened the door on some issues from my own childhood. It made me contemplate my own parenting practices as well.
In my conversation this morning we discussed some of the things we've found that have worked and maybe "not worked". We talked about the different types of children we have and the struggles that come with different personalities.

We talked about how important it is to tell our children "I'm sorry" when we make mistakes. There are definitely days that I think I apologize to my kids more that anything else. I told her that I think that especially with older kids respect goes both ways. I have to respect my kids if I expect their respect in return.

I told her how much I absolutely LOVE having teenagers, which I never thought was possible! But it's so true... the older my kids get, the more fun we have. Our relationships change, but get stronger and more "real". I told her that parenting a teenager feels like being a "back-seat-driver". They are at a point where they are making their own decisions, but I am there to support them. I can offer my advise, but ultimately the choices are now theirs! It's a fun new stage of life, and it's so exciting to see the amazing women my girls are growing into!

Consequently, after dinner tonight I had a chat with my Miss BiGaddi. She is quite a little perfectionist, and has started struggling with anxiety lately. It has seemed to escalate in the last bit. She has a bit of a meltdown tonight and I thought it would be good to address. We talked about having a toolbox with us to tweak and fix things as needed. I told her that I want to help her have the tools she might need to handle some of the things that come up. I told her that some "quick-fix" tools might be taking a deep breath, going on a little walk, walking away from a situation... or something that might give her a moment to re-group. She seems to get worked up, and once she is in that place it is hard for her to get out. So we talked about using tools before she gets to that place, and tools to use to get out.
We talked about remembering positive things when our mind wants to just focus on the negative. (We are working on not using absolutes... Always, Never, etc.) We talked about working through the "what if's?" Like what if something doesn't happen just right? What if I can't get whatever I need at the moment? What if... what if... what if? So take a minute to answer the what if and follow it out. Is the world going to end? Are you going to die? If the "What if" happens will you still be just fine? Chances are, there might be a little discomfort if your "what if" happens... but everything will be fine.

We talked about the pro's and con's of Perfectionism, and sometimes the tool becomes just reminding yourself that doing your best is all you can do... and that's okay!

Anyways, Addi needed some one-on-one time tonight so we had a little date night at Barnes and Noble. On our drive there she piped up from the backseat. "Mom, do you know what other tool I have?" I said "What's that?" She answered "Knowing that you want to help me. That's the best tool in my toolbox!" It was all I could do to not wipe the few tears that ran down my face. "That's right sweetie, You have people in  your life who love you and always want to help."
But it made me realize that this is something she will have to work out. Cori went through something very similar a few years back, and she had to figure her way out of it. She manages stress SO much better now, so I know Addi will figure it out. But I love that she knows I am always there. It was one of those parenting moments that made my heart so happy. If nothing else... I pray that my children know I love and support them NO MATTER WHAT!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

In men we trust?

This year has been very enlightening for me in terms of my spirituality.
I've taken a huge step back in the "religion" aspect of my life to evaluate myself, my beliefs, and my relationship with God.
I've gone through a lot of painful experiences in the name of church and religion, but last year was a breaking point for me. It's interesting to read back through my posts and see how much stress, turmoil, and unnecessary heartache came into my life again and again. I think that even though I made it through each experience, every time I struggled and pulled myself up off the ground I was a bit more damaged. I moved forward each time more broken, licking my wounds and thinking that things would get better.
This year I've learned so much about myself. What makes me truly happy, and I've strengthened my personal relationship with God. I've removed myself from situations that are negative, toxic, or just plain harmful to me or my family. It has come with plenty of criticism and misunderstanding.
It hasn't been smooth sailing, and I'm still figuring out what works for me... but what I finally know is what DOESN'T work for me. Sure... it sucks sometimes, but it's such a better place to be.
Extended family situations have been tough for a few years now. In a family like mine with such a messed up history I know there is bound to be issues. I've never thought that things needed to be perfect, or even that everyone needed to get along. However, my family is so far beyond not seeing eye-to-eye or having differences. People are cruel, they hurt each other intentionally, it ranges from snarky rudeness to lengthy plots of manipulation and lies. I've learned that putting distance between myself and those family members is the best for everyone. I'm not good at pretending anyway... so being open and honest just gets me in trouble.
It's a similar situation with church. I thought that removing myself from that situation would be hard, but it has been so good! I have felt so much better about myself. I have been happier than I've been in a long time. I've realized how much of my life I've lived motivated by fear and guilt. I've realized how hard I've worked to please other people... people who can't be pleased, and people who don't matter. I haven't been doing things because I love the Lord, or because I want to live a life that makes my Maker proud of me.
I think the breaking point was at the end of last year. I was asked to pray about something... which I did. I poured my heart out to the Lord, went to the temple, fasted, and did everything I could to feel the spirit and come to a decision. When I was told that my personal revelation was wrong and my decision was incorrect I thought at the time I had no choice but to basically discredit my own spirituality.
As the next couple of months progressed and my life basically came crashing in on me I was forced to look at my situation and decide just how I got there... and how to never be there again. I felt helpless and not in control of my own life. I was hurt, angry, and confused. Not only was this situation somewhat familiar to me... it was forced upon me by a person who had "power" and "authority" he abused.
I have so many childhood memories of feeling the same way... helpless, bullied, and not in control of my life. As a kid, you don't really have a choice. If the people who are supposed to love and protect you decide not to do so... you really are stuck. I was abused by the hand of someone who told me it was because he loved me. It was tolerated and sadly "allowed" by others who had the power to stop it, but for many reasons felt out of control as well. My childhood felt like a trap. A trap I couldn't get out of. I made some very poor decisions trying to take that control back, but once I got that control back, I found that I actually have the capabilities to make my life pretty great! I look at where my life is now and realize that I've willingly given way too much control to other people in the name of "religion"... and not because I trust them, or love them... but because I'm told that I HAVE to.
If I put my faith and trust in the Lord instead of in people I don't have those feelings. It doesn't mean life isn't hard, or that tough decisions are easy. But, my life feels like mine again. I am motivated by love and happiness... not fear and guilt.
I am trying to separate what is truth and what is right for me from what is just familiar or what is culture. Stepping back and looking at things through a clear lens is helping me sort out what I really believe and what feels right in my heart. Taking my faith from people or men, regardless of their "power", and putting my faith back into God. Listening to my own personal revelation, knowing that God loves me unconditionally... and His acceptance is all that matters.
I have't felt this good in a REALLY long time. My family is happier and I feel SO much better about my life and the direction I am taking. I love to serve my family and friends. I love surrounding myself and my family with positive people who love us and want what is best for us. I appreciate supportive friends and my amazing husband. I'd be lying if I said it is easy... this culture I live in does not like people to express thoughts that are different than theirs. I've heard some pretty vicious rumors and people who were once "assigned" to be my friend have turned their backs on me. The nice thing is that since I'm not playing "the game" anymore... I hear things and it just makes me sad for them. Sad that they are living their lives the same way I did for so long. I can only hope that they find their own happiness or move to another target.
I pray that I can teach my children to develop their own personal relationship with God... and whatever that looks like for them. I want them to live a life that makes them happy and learn to stand up for themselves and the things they feel are right in their heart... even if it goes against those around them. My job is to protect them from bullies (both physical and spiritual) and teach them to protect themselves. I want them to be motivated by their love of God and appreciation for their Savior... and never feel forced into situations that harden their hearts or damage their spirits.

I read a great quote recently...
“The problem is that if we trust in man we are always let down. No, we shouldn't trust in man-- not ultimately. If we don't trust in man or God, we are in an awful lonely mess, too. You see, if we don't trust anyone, we live in fear, but if we trust in God, then we don't have to fear man anymore.”

I'm not sure if I can define my spirituality just yet, I think it will take a lot more time. But I know that if I trust in God and only God, my path will be the right one for me. I know that I will never allow myself to be in the damaging situation I was in a year ago and many times over the last years. Whatever this journey looks like, it will be what is right for me. If something doesn't feel right to me I will no longer just accept it. That's the beauty of being an adult... I am no longer at the mercy of someone's poor decisions! I don't have bitterness or anger in my heart... only thankfulness for the good I've received and things I've learned. I believe that everyone's journey is different, and we all need to do what is right for us. I often look back at my post called "messy roads" and think about the place I was in. As difficult as it may be... sometimes we have to chose happiness over acceptance.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Whole 30 conclusion

So I've tried every diet out there. Honestly, you name it and I've tried it. The ones that didn't work... Slim Fast, Apple Cider Vinegar, Cabbage Soup, Dexiarim, Alli, Green Tea, Hydroxycut... and the ones that did work, somewhat... weight watchers, body for life, Jillian Michaels, Atkins, Biggest Loser, South Beach, The Zone, Medifast... honestly, you name it and I've probably tried it at some point over the last 15 years.
In my experience, the most effective and healthy diet for me has been Body for Life. It was the first time I had fed my body complex carbs. I found out I like wheat bread and brown rice. It was balanced and incorporated working out 6 days a week. The problem was it was a 12 week program, and while I ate really well 6 days a week, one day a week was a "day off" and you were encouraged to eat junk and crap. Which for me meant that after rocking the 12 weeks, everyday was a "day off". I tried to keep some good eating habits, and I continued to workout. However, life got crazy and convenience made for poor choices which added up over time. Oh yeah, I also had 2 more babies.
So I'm struggling a bit in where to file this 30 day experience. I learned some new things, and I liked the way that eating "clean" made me feel. I've learned some good lifelong habits. I believe that everyone's body is so different, and what works for me is specific to my body.
So here are my thoughts on Whole 30...

Knowledge is power. I learned so much valuable information on the "why" not to eat certain foods. I could feel the way certain foods effected me. Sugar is poison for my body. Specifically for my inflammation. I feel 100% better not eating sugar. I also learned that sugar is my main drug of choice. Above all else... breads, fried food, salty snacks... I would trade them all for sugar! On Whole 30 my downfall was fruit. I gave up Diet Dr. Pepper and sugar-free jello... but I made up for it with fruits. Dried, leathered, frozen, pureed, freeze dried, etc... It gave me my sweet fix. Even though I tried to avoid the higher sugar fruits like bananas, coconut, grapes, figs, etc. I ate fruit in moderation, but it still was my weak spot.
Cutting out processed food was awesome! I don't even know what chemicals or preservative specifically make me feel the worst, but cutting them out was great! "Clean" eating might be both physical and mental for me. Knowing I'm putting good things into my body just physiologically feels amazing.
This program is crazy restrictive, making it very difficult to socially fit this program into everyday life. 30 days isn't hard, but I need something maintainable. I need to be able to eat out now and then, go to lunch with friends, and grab something quick as I'm running errands or working.
If found out that my body doesn't like milk... but cheese is okay. No sugar, no flour, no white rice, no potatoes... all equals major gut rumbles and gas! They aren't hard for me to stay away from, simply because they make me sick. Although I'm sure if I started eating it regularly my body would adjust.
In conclusion... I've decided to steer clear of sugar, white flour, white rice, potatoes, milk, fruit and most processed foods. My body does well with protein, veggies, and very little carbs. I basically sticking with meats, nuts, eggs, cheese, and veggies. Which is surprisingly easy to stick to. Easy to find at restaurants, and easy to grab on the go.
Oh... and I'm also drinking Diet Dr. Pepper... in moderation of course! Except when life is crazy, I need a boost, or I just need to get through the day. Then it's not so much in moderation.
Am I going to do another Whole 30 down the road? Maybe. Am I going to wait until after Christmas... absolutely!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Whole 30 and Halloween

Doing this Whole 30 program has taught me a lot about my relationship with food. Why I eat, what I eat, when I eat it... I always knew I was an emotional eater, but I keep learning it over and over again. Each time I learn it I am floored by the strength and power food has over me. Food really is my drug of choice, and eating can seem to solve all my problems... and I have plenty of problems to eat!
Halloween is the "Candy Holiday" and this program has taught me that candy is not special. Family recipes are special, homemade comfort food is special, things your Grandma makes once a year are special... candy is not special!
I helped in Addi's and Sophie's classroom parties. I set up a bubbly drink of "witches brew" in Addi's class and did Halloween bingo with Sophie's class.
I love having older kids, they can party with the grown-ups and enjoy a fun evening. The best part is that I don't have to entertain them every minute. Lexi and Cori both had friends over. We had the Soderquists, Thomas', Sam and her boyfriend, and my Mom over. I always make a chili or hot soup and rolls. This year I made my grandpa's wassail and lots of healthy snacks. I made chicken and wild rice soup, and butternut squash soup. Luckily, the squash soup was something I could eat! No rolls, but I made 72 anyways... and they were warm, buttery, fluffy, and looked delicious! So I was able to have soup and healthy snacks. It was a great Halloween and we spent time with friends and family. Our neighborhood on Halloween is straight out of a movie set. This year it has been so warm, so there are millions of kids swarming our streets. Mom's are handing out hot chocolate, cotton candy, and homemade carmel apples. It really is picturesque. We get hundreds of trick-or-treaters and Mike loves to dress up as the resident Frankenstein and scare all the little's.
Halloween has always been a favorite Holiday over at our house. I know that sounds evil... but it really is. We all love to dress up, I love feeding everyone, and the kids excitement (or sugar high) is contagiously fun. The friends and family who come over actually want to come hang out. No one is forced to pretend, no one is mean, and the only uncomfortable moments come when kids are too scared to get candy from Mike... and honestly he loves it!
The good news is that not eating candy on Halloween didn't make it any less enjoyable, who knew?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 2... My brain desperately misses caffeine!!!

So it is Day 2 of this madness... whole30. There are some things that are good, and well... no... nope. I've decided that this goes into the list of things I've tried that is just stupid craziness. It's right up there with HCG my friends! I'm hoping that things look up, but I can barely type this entry with my splitting headache. I think my left eye has started twitching. Because really... how bad is Diet Dr Pepper? It will be the first thing I have on day 31, which is November 12th... not that I'm counting!
I bought 4 cases of La Croix, because I honestly thought it would curb my cravings. Here's the truth... this is how sick I am... I like "feel" of it. I like the cold metal can. I like the sound of opening the can, I have the cold can sitting next to me during the day. I even like the feeling of the cold can on my lips... but then I tip up the can and my mouth is filled with a nasty bitter taste! It is seriously disgusting!!! I cringe, swallow, and set my nice cold can back down. I honestly do this every 3-5 minutes just to mentally try and soothe myself. I have opened multiple cans and have yet to drink the entire thing! I was seriously drinking 120+ ounces of DDP a day... and I can't even finish a can of this crap. Ughhh! There... now I've cried about it... on with life!

The girls raced their Pinewood Derby cars tonight. Mike took it more seriously this year... after not finishing so hot last time. This time Addi was 5th overall and Sophie was 9th. They both came in 1st and 2nd in their different individual races. They were so cute and fun to watch! Happy girls and a proud papa!

I've been thinking about my life lately. Kinda mid-life crisis type stuff. Just trying to figure out what the hell I want to do with the next 20-30 years. I've debated working, going back to school, or both. I've thought about continuing my line of work in the beauty industry... or doing something completely different. I don't even know what I'm passionate about anymore. I feel like so much about me has changed over the past couple of years. I'm not only physically limited, but my likes and dislikes are different. So my search continues! I absolutely love my job... but I'm not sure it's sustainable. I can do it for the next 5 years... but I'm not going to be doing lashes at 45 or 50 years old!
It's not that I'm unhappy... I actually LOVE my job... truly! I just am entering a new and different stage of life. My baby is now in 4th grade. I'm not sure how it happened... but it just did. Last thing I remember she was heading to 1st grade and I was excited to finish my salon and build my clientele. Then all hell broke loose and now I wake up here.
I realize I could play the "Super Mom" game, and some days I feel like I should play that game better. I could clean my house from top to bottom, make amazing dinners, volunteer every chance I get and run with the PTA crowd... but honestly, I've tried that. It didn't make me happy. I tried to pretend, compete, smile and put on the perfect show... but that's what it felt like... a show. I've jumped through all the hoops, but I've never been good at faking anything! I'm not sure if it's age or just life, but I'm a lot less worried about pleasing others. So I'm searching... still searching...

On to Day 3. I hope that I will say that it's worth it, but for now I just dream about an ice cold 'jacked' Diet Dr Pepper in my hand. Truthfully, I dream about bathing in it! If nothing else, after 30 days... I will appreciate it more!



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back at it

I've been reading through old posts lately... getting good doses of my own advise. I read back and think "Wow... who was that girl writing that?" It's strange to see how things have changed in my life, how life experiences can shape and re-shape a person.
Recent experiences have changed my course once again. I find myself in a strange place of re-evaluating my life... in nearly ALL aspects of my life.
I'm debating whether or not to try and catch up, or just start today and move forward. I'm thinking that looking forward would be best. I'm afraid looking back would be too painful in some aspects. I would never say that I'm thankful for the negative things that have happened, but they have brought results that have helped me grow, learn, and expand my view of the future.
I have had to put distance between some of my family members. I guess maybe they put the distance there, and I just stopped taking the abuse of being around them over and over again. It has been both healing and also enlightening. It's amazing how much clearer you can see things when you're not swimming in the thick of it. The thick of selfishness, intentional cruelty and competitiveness. Speaking of...
I've given myself some distance with church as well. Again, not at first by choice, but the opportunity has taken me out of the fog. I feel like I've been slowly dying inside without even knowing it! The negativity of others criticism and being spiritually bullied by adults with the "power" to make me feel helpless in difficult situations was killing me... I was miserable. I am trying to figure out what exactly I truly believe, and how I want to practice what I believe.
On a positive note, yoga has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long time! I am taking better care of myself. I have lost quite a bit of weight this year, and I contribute it to taking a step back and realizing what I'm doing that isn't healthy for me... for my body, my spirit, and my soul. I found that some of the most damaging things in my life were people or things that should have been good for me and I was forcing myself into harmful situations out of guilt, or the feeling that I didn't have a choice. The truth is... I ALWAYS have the choice. I just have to decide that I choose ME. I choose HAPPINESS. I've learned that sometimes things are just no longer good for us, and we have to let them go. It doesn't discount the fact that they were once good... even great. However, things change... and you have to let go of things that are holding you down, or drowning you!
I've let a lot of heavy things go this year. Amazingly enough... I have felt lighter, physically and mentally. I feel better than I've felt in a very long time. I didn't know how bad it was until I started feeling better. It was very, very bad. I was in a bad place earlier this year.

So much of my life is different, and I'm not sure if it's been aftermath from the car accident, time, age, or just where I am at in life. I feel like things with family, friends, spirituality, career, education, kids... it's all changed. And although I feel like it's all changed for the better... it's so different than I expected. It's crazy that life can take you in directions you never expected.
I'm excited to get back to writing and blogging. I love taking the thoughts and feelings I have, putting it into words and getting it out. It's so therapeutic and helps me sort my craziness. Because let's be honest... no matter how much life changes... I'm still just as crazy!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Family Tree

So... my family tree is a strange one. I always pictured it something like this...


I have my Dad's family... who I didn't get to know very well until I was older, and my Mom's second husband's family... who I knew super well as a kid, but pretty much lost at the age of 15. Which was super strange because it left me at a very lonely place at a young and impressionable age.
Now that I'm older with kids of my own, I often think about the things that molded me as a kid... the good, the bad... the crazy.
This weekend I attended the funeral of my Mom's second husband's Mother. Which sounds a bit distant... but was the Grandma I saw the most often as a kid. She went by "Grandmother", and from the ages of 5 -14... she was one of my 7 grandparents.
I remember taking the 3 hour drive out to Vernal probably 4-5 times a year. We always went out for Memorial Day and a couple summer trips. My Mom's husband had 2 half-brother's that lived out in Vernal (I told you the tree was strange!), and one of them had kids the same ages as kids in our family. I remember how exciting it was when I was little to get instant cousins. They were the cousins I grew up closest to.
At the funeral this weekend I got to see those cousins again. I always wished I was part of their family when I was young... and honestly I still wish I was part of that family! The cousins my age were boys, but they teased me and taught me things I would imagine I could have learned from having brother's. I remember loving them as much as you can love boy cousins... but that love grew from a mixture of admiration, fear, respect, and sharing fun and crazy experiences growing up. This family had boats, snow mobiles, dirt bikes, motorcycles, and more toys and gadgets then I can even remember. They were the first people I knew to have a Nintendo (which we weren't allowed to have) and pets (which we weren't allowed to have) and when we were in Vernal it kind of felt like another world to me. A world wherein I thought all kids lived the most care-free and fun-filled lives! I think I felt that way because Vernal was where life felt the most normal to me.
Visiting now is different, but it still brings back so many fun and crazy memories. My cousins have grown and we now have children who are as old as we were when we had some of our adventures. I got to visit and see all of them... and what I love is that their family is still close and yet they have a realness that is so refreshing. I long for both of those things... and have neither... closeness or realness!
I came home from my visit and told Mike that "that" is what I want for my girls. I want them to stay close, raise their babies together, and be there for each other forever! I want my girls to have a strong beautiful family tree, with just enough branches to make it beautiful.

I am so grateful for their example to me, they give me hope and bring me happiness. They make me want to care for... water, fertilize, prune, spray, and really work hard to give my girls the strong and beautiful family tree I always wanted!