Friday, June 24, 2011


Which are NOTHING like The Happening. Recently my 9 year old has made a rash of comments about wanting to learn to sew clothes for herself this summer. She is known to be somewhat of a klutz and always rushes into things with exuberance and her interest starts to fizzle out somewhere mid-project. Before long you will find her holed up somewhere with a book or wandering around in the woods behind our home looking for slender trees, "like the rope at school" that she can climb. Oh, those poor, tender saplings.

During lunch she ventured into conversation about sewing again and I had an "Aha!" moment. In light of the patriotic holiday that looms on the horizon I drafted a simple 6.5" X 9.75" paper piecing pattern in the the shape of the American flag. It's all straight lines and nothing fancy so ::fingers crossed:: it'll be a quick enough project that she won't lose interest. We have busy weekend before us but more (yes, more) rain is expected next week so I expect that we'll get cracking on it and likely finish it up Monday or Tuesday. I have to go raid my fabric stash and hopefully we can find some reds. I LOVE red but I just nearly never find myself sewing with it. Fortunately this is a small project--think mug rug--so even if I only find the smallest of scraps we should be golden.

Who knows, maybe action shots and even a pattern could be in the works. DH might need to assist on that one; my computer savvy has up and skipped out on me since I had children and abandoned any interest I ever had in the digital world save checking my email and surfing the web from time to time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And then the rain came

I suppose that my post earlier this week has been a long time coming. I've been struggling to get back into blogging but things just never seemed right. To be quite honest, getting out of bed every day has been a struggle, let alone taking care of four children and myself--forget the house and the chores entailed in keeping it running smoothly. I've soldiered along with a "fake it till you make it" attitude, barely keeping my head above water. Sure, some days are better than others. In reality though, I feel hollow far more often than I feel anything that vaguely resembles happiness.

If I look back over the course of my life, I am sure that I have struggled with depression for... gosh... probably 9 years. Maybe longer. I've never admitted it. I'm a strong person. I scorn weakness and people who seem to *choose* to live in pitiable situations. Not people who have no say in the matter, but people who just refuse to work to make their life situation better. Complainers annoy me. They get under my skin. When I listen to people going on about a troubling situation I think to myself that if they would take half the time they spend telling others about how badly off they are and just use that time to work on making things better the world would be a better place. Or at least we'd only have to listen to their sad story half as much, either way, it's a small victory for mankind. I jest. In part.

I suppose I have struggled with looking at myself and saying, "I'm depressed." because that's just not something that *Christians* do. Christians don't get depressed. They have an awesome God that has redeemed their soul. They have a promise of an eternity in paradise. Depression is looked at like a spiritual condition that evidences a person's lack of faith and prayer.

I haven't gone to see a doctor. Up to this point in my life, I would have deemed it an absolute lack of faith in the God to turn to a man for help. I don't know if there is a person who has wanted a cloud of darkness to be lifted from them so badly. I've prayed. I have fasted. I have tried to fake being happy until I felt it. At this point, I do not believe that my state of mind it just that, a state of mind. I firmly believe there is a physical diagnosis that contributes to why I feel the way I do. Or rather, for why I feel almost nothing most days.

In light of my person confession, I have another one to make: I still know that God is good. His hand in my life is undeniable. I feel His presence, hear Him speak and KNOW that He is guiding me to a better place. Even though I feel like I am walking through the darkest valley the psalmist wrote of, I know that God is with me. I am hid in Christ.

I am sure that I am not alone in my personal struggle. There are others out there who may feel guilty that depression is a cross that weighs heavily on their shoulders. To admit that you struggle with dark days, months or even, as in my case, dark years is not to deny the power that lies in the cross that Christ bore for us. In this search for personal healing, on our journey to become whole, God is always faithful.

There is a song that has spoken volumes to me and become a personal anthem of sorts to me. On brighter days Brian Doerksen's "Your Faithfulness" is a song of thanks. In my darkest days it has been a song of hope and encouragement. Always a reminder that God will never leave or forsake me. He is always here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taking Resposibility... or Maybe it's Time to Give it Away?

I guess I have always been somewhat possessive of my "things". Don't get me wrong, I'm a sharer--and I would like to think that I am selfless and giving. I try to encourage my children to be generous. My husband and I are naturally givers. I do feel though that when I am really invested in something, I take full ownership. You know the old saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself"? Well, I guess I take that to heart. Probably a little too much. Ironically, I often feel as though there is very little that I DO get done right, even when I do it myself.

When it comes to raising my children I am certain that I am doing them an incredible disservice some days. I know the line about a village raising a child. I agree with the concept. I love that there are people in our community that will impact my children's lives for the good and teach them lessons that I never could. When it comes to watching my children though, I feel guilty at the thought of asking someone else for help. I am not the mom that would EVER in a million years get a sitter so I could go shopping or do something that was optional. Heck, I took my 3 year old daughter to every single one of my OB/GYN appointments when I was pregnant with my third child. She was playing with her stuffed animals behind the examining table while my feet were in the stirrups.

I have seen mothers that call for a babysitter on a whim so they can go tanning or take a bubble bath. They ask a trusted neighbor, a relative or a friend to watch their child/children so they can shop for groceries. The concept of leaving my children with someone else is just absolutely foreign to me. There was a brief period of time that it was necessary for me to go back to work in between having my 2nd and 3rd daughters and they did spend a considerable amount of time with a daycare provider. My four children are not ALL with me ALL day long; my two oldest children ride the bus to school and are away from me for 7 1/2 hours 5 days a week. Homeschoolers aside, that's a pretty mainstream norm though. My kids don't go on playdates without me. And I don't go on playdates without them.

Before my husband and I got married we never went on a single date. We were in a long distance relationship and had ***very*** little face time before the big day. After the wedding bells rang we were just too poor to go on dates. I joke around now that we have too many kids to go on dates. Part of me feels irresponsible for dumping my kids with a sitter just so I can go "have fun". Part of me feels guilty asking someone to watch my FOUR kids. This is probably why I can count the number of "dates" my husband and I have gone on in the past 9 years on one hand.

Truth be told, I suspect the reason I don't want to ask anyone to watch my kids isn't because I think they are a nuisance or terribly misbehaved. I think that if I could be honest with myself, I would admit that I feel like I am the nuisance. I tell myself that I am just being a responsible mother. I reason that a mom who can leave her child with anyone without a real reason for needing a sitter is lazy. Irresponsible. Immature. Selfish.

I guess before I sat down to write this post I wanted to give a broad vision of the homemaker that stays home with her children and contrast that to the mom who spends more time away from her children, by choice, than she spends with her children. I wanted to say I'm tired of seeing moms that can leave their babies with just about anyone for just about any reason. I was willing to admit that I should go out with my husband every now and again. That maybe Ladies' Night Out wasn't so bad after all. I might have even found my ever elusive "Middle of the Road" (which, I was fairly certain, was most likely much closer to my side of the highway than hers) in this navigable journey through motherhood.

I didn't stop to think that maybe I'm judging harshly, in part, because I might be jealous. Is there really something wrong after all with a stay at home mom who gets a sitter a few times a week so she can go to lunch with friends or shop till she drops or snag a hot date with her hubby? Probably not. Is there something wrong with a mom who grabs a sitter at every possible opportunity because she can't stand being around her own children? Possibly. Is there something wrong with a stay at home mom who won't ask ANYONE for help because she's embarrassed, afraid or, dare I say, ashamed to admit that she can't do it all on her own? Probably.

I guess what I am saying, if anyone is out there listening, is that I need help. I'm not supermom. In fact, I'm so far from it that I'm not sure I would recognize competence in myself if I ever achieved it. I'm tired of trying to be great at everything that my family needs and instead disappointing them with only being able to be mediocre at a bunch of... well, stuff. I tired of feeling guilty. I'm tired of smiling at other women as they make lunch dates with each other while inwardly cringing at the thought of them having a good time while their child is at home needing their mother more than their babysitter, their grandmother, or even their own father. I'm tired of longing for life to be different, to feel full. I am tired of being tired. I want to try to be selfish. I want to be better. I want to feel happier--and not just for my children to see a happier mom, but for me to actually BE happy FOR ME.

My husband asked me the other day if he will ever see the "old" me again. I'd like to think that maybe there's a chance that the world can see a new me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Level Up!

I have this running joke with friends and family alike that as we achieve new accomplishments in life or as we reach a new state of adulthood we are "Leveling Up". Sure, it's a cheesy video game reference. For the most part though it makes me feel much better about aging. There are lots of great ways to level up, some not so great. Here's a list to start your gears turning, the sky is the limit:

Get your first job
Get glasses
Get a REAL job
Get in a committed relationship
Get married
Have a child
Get a family pet
Have another child (or 3)
Get a minivan
Get stronger glasses
First child begins to read
Find a gray hair
Develop a "muffin top"
Deal with the loss of a family pet
Go to a high school reunion
Find a *wild* stray hair growing from your nose, ear or in your eyebrows

I think you get the picture. This week I leveled up and joined a club. From what I gather this club isn't very exclusive but it isn't talked about much. Most members like to keep their membership on the down-low and no, I'm not talking about the Freemasons. I have officially joined the ranks of TWCTLTS: Those Who Cross Their Legs To Sneeze. Or Cough. Or Laugh. Or Giggle. Or Go on Long Car Rides. Or Short Car Trips.

I joke about unlocking new achievements but some of the road stops on my journey to maturity are less than fun; chipping a tooth, reaching to check the mail and feeling "something" happen to your back, worrying about how that Mexican food is going to affect your bowels later on. At 29 years old I do feel that I've leveled up a little early in some areas, I'm not sure whether that's an achievement or not.

This latest development has me a little troubled though. Of course I had to google "incontinence remedies" and "treatment for bladder leakage". Some of the results I came up with were simple, some drastic and some were just funny.

While Kegel exercises seemed to be the easiest route to go (after all, we were good girls and all did our Kegels during pregnancy, right?) I will admit that the Kegel exercises have been somewhat elusive for me. Finding my "special muscles" has been puzzling for me. I've tried taking a pause for the cause in the bathroom but lately that's nearly impossible without crossing my legs. Truth be told, I think that most of the time I'm just giving my anal sphincter and my cha cha a good workout. Those pelvic floor muscles must just be flaccid. After having my last child I went in for a post-partum visit and while my midwife was doing her job she casually dropped a "Kegel for me". I thought I Kegeled but apparently I wasn't doing much of anything. I got a flatline expression she promised that she'd give me a few tips before she left. She forgot the tips and quite frankly, I was a little embarrassed to ask her how to give my lady bits a good workout. I'll admit that my lady problem is mild but at my age it should be nonexistent. I think. I mean, I don't see all the other mommas at the playground slamming their knees shut like a locked bank vault while pushing their tots on the swings, falling to their knees, twisting around like maniacs with a smile plastered to their face that says "Nothing is wrong!!" pushing a cart at the grocery store or traipsing along downtown sidewalks with tinkles on their trousers.

Again, Google to the rescue: while fashioning a cadaver mesh sling to support my bladder didn't sound fun, bio-electrical feedback sounded weird and the thought of incontinence pads was insulting at the tender age of 29, I did find multiple references to vaginal weights and exercisers. Hmm, weights ehh? I'm no body-builder but the thought was intriguing. It conjured images of a six-pack surrounding my bladder. Some brands were entirely clinical, devoted to the mature woman, a seasoned veteran in my sneezing club. Other brands were devoted to emphasizing all of the double-your-pleasure-double-your-fun benefits with a slice of incontinence control on the side, and others were somewhere in the middle of the road. Some of the descriptions made me blush while reading them, others made me feel like I should buy them for my grandmother and save her some money on the Poise pads. Some products promise grab-and-go ease: "Simply insert the weights and go on with your day, exercise your lady bits without even knowing it!" Others caution that you'll need to set aside a half an hour for a full on workout--and boast that you'll be able to apply 9.5 POUNDS of pressure when you're done with a workout. When it comes down to it, if the product advertises a satin carry-bag, a velvet lined case or something of the like in its list of features, I probably won't be buying it. If there is a picture of a cute old lady on the box, I most-likely won't be purchasing it. If there's a chance of one of my kids walking in the room and asking, "Mommy, what are you doing?" or "What's this funny toy, Mommy?", I'll probably pass.

For now, I'll stick with my daily sessions of squeezing every muscle between my belly button and my thighs while contorting my face and holding my breath, 20 reps at a time while pondering the Hab It.

Anybody out there Level Up lately?