Fat Fridays: Fixing the Roadblocks

Today (Thursday) has not been a great day for the diet. In fact, the last three days haven’t been great. A lot of fast food. This morning I had run out of my lite greek yogurt cups. I ate the last of my blueberries and then looked in the fridge again. There was not much there and none of it looked good. I poured myself a bowl of cereal. My first cereal in a really long time. Last night someone dropped off pizza at our house. I thought I would go and cook myself some lentils and rice. Didn’t happen. I was really busy and then I was super hungry so I grabbed some pizza. 

That has kind of been how the days have been going. I’m super busy and there is not-so-healthy food available and so I eat it. 

I’ve been feeling pretty bad about it today. But, as I tried to explain what was going on to my trainer, I got some clarity on what’s going on….

This week has been crazy. It’s the first full week of having all my kids home from school, and that’s following a vacation and then immediately having all my big kids head off to camp which meant I was managing all the little kids on my own for five days. I have written down a new family schedule, but now, by sheer force of will, I have to get all my kids onto this new schedule. And that takes a lot of will power. At the same time I am trying to get my house in order after the vacation and having a week with no older children home to help. And also get my house summer-proofed (organizing my activity drawer for rainy days, organizing books and math puzzles and workbooks for keeping our school skills honed during the summer, organizing all our legos and building blocks and art supplies for bored kids). 

You would think I would have already been prepared for summer to come. After all, it’s no surprise. But, alas, I was so focused on just finishing up this crazy school year that I did not give a lot of thought to summer. Also, we have a foster child who does not handle a “go-with-the-flow” lifestyle, which my other kids are more adept at. We are finding out, loud and clear, that our house needs a strong routine/schedule NOW in order to help her function better. And so this week has seen me extremely busy and slightly panicked as I have been trying to establish order as quickly as possible. 

Grocery shopping and meal prep and cooking healthy dinners have been low on the priority list. 

So, I’ve learned something important about myself. I have to have a routine/schedule or I can’t function as a mom of many kids . 

I have been working hard on fixing that and I’m actually pretty hopeful that by this coming Monday morning, I’ll have the most important things in place and I can be back on schedule. 

It was really helpful to talk to my trainer and put things in perspective. Ok. There is a roadblock. Let’s make a plan to fix the problem and then move on. 

The Great Summer Transition

For the first time since I started writing this blog I have been struggling, the last couple weeks, to find a time to sit down and write. Usually my days have a fairly slow rhythm and I can fit in whatever extra thing I need to do pretty easily. But since summer has started I feel like my personal treadmill suddenly sped up from easy walk to fast run. 

I’m pretty sure that any mom out there that suddenly has her kids home from school will understand. Transitioning to new schedules is not easy. Not easy on the mom, not easy on the kids. And if you have any kids with special needs, that transition is even harder. Routine is a strong glue that holds a lot of people together. Usually I am a little more prepared, but for whatever reason, this summer I’ve been floundering a bit. 

I went out and bought a big dry-erase calendar board that has a “notes” section on the side. Then I realized that wasn’t enough space to get everything written down, so I went and bought another smaller dry-erase board and put it underneath that one. Now, I think I need at least ONE more dry-erase board to really have EVERYTHING written down. (Because writing everything down on a dry-erase board will somehow make everything better!)

This summer I have different children leaving for different camps almost every single week. It’s unnerving. When you have a lot of kids there’s always a bit of an inner panic that you’re going to forget someone somewhere and now the routine is all shaken up and I have to count kids up differently. We’re missing someone!! Oh, right, they’re at camp. And that one is at summer school, and that one is at work, and that one is playing at the neighbors…you can see how it gets a bit unnerving. Like, could everyone just sit still so I know where you are.

I”ve had other unnerving things happen too. Like I had to get a root canal yesterday. Very unnerving. I hate pain. I hate dental pain. I really dislike dental work. 

I’m going on a women’s retreat this weekend. I’ll be gone from the family. That is very unnerving. Not that I can’t be alone without my family. Not that I won’t greatly enjoy being alone for a couple days. But it’s different. It’s not normal, and I have a hard time relaxing into “not normal” things. 

So, here I am, flying along on this fast-paced “new” schedule that hasn’t become a comfortable routine yet. My kids are all off in different directions. I’m doing something different this weekend. The end result is that I’m battling with some anxiety and panic. And in the middle of all this chaos, God has been downloading his goodness to me. And I want everything else to just hit pause so I can just soak it all in, but instead I just find myself dwelling on it in bits and pieces when a quiet moment arrives. 

My teens went to a church youth camp and when they came back, some things had shifted spiritually for some of them. And I can see a difference. And I just want to cry because really, the only important thing in my entire life is that my children follow after God, and when you see them taking ownership of that relationship and becoming independent in that area, there aren’t any words to describe your joy. 

Another thing, a friend of mine has been posting Bible devotions/research that she has been doing about Jesus as the Groom and God has been shining a spotlight on the intimacy of his relationship with me. And it makes me feel cherished and special. It’s an overwhelming answer to that lifelong question, “Do I have any worth? Am I lovable?”

So, here I am, waffling back and forth from a spiritual high to anxiety. It’s a weird place to be. Writing this down helps me get it all sorted out in my mind though. God loves me. I can be at peace knowing he’ll help me figure out this summer. 

The Power of a $6 Pedometer

A couple days ago I was sitting with my husband and he asked, “What’s got you down? ….I mean, besides everything else that’s going on?” And I had to laugh. “Uh, Everything that’s going on is what’s got me down.” Let’s recap…Worldwide Epidemic, quarantine, economic shutdown, school closures, church closures, park closures, library closures, Kids Museum closures, play spaces closures, our community park closure. And then there are all the consequences from that…homeschooling a houseful of children, limited meetings with friends, nowhere to take the kids to just get out of the house. Plus some pretty high-stress situations we’ve had with our foster kids…Yeah, it’s all getting me down. And then, just to make things a little happier, my brain has decided to remind me that I’m overweight and out-of-shape, just so I can have one more thing to be down about. 

 

So, this was my state of mind. Looking ahead to the summer, trying to figure out what on earth I’m going to do with the kids all summer if all the playgrounds and splash pads and libraries and kid’s museums and public play spaces are all closed? And no camps this year. 

 

It kind of feels like I’m complaining, except that I think it’s a legitimate problem. If you are someone who has always fully utilized all the public parks and libraries and play spaces and then they are gone, what do you do? 

 

Well, in all of that turmoil, I got an idea. I’m going to go ahead and give God thanks, because I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own. A friend of mine has been running and she’s been making monthly goals of how many miles she wants to run a month. Very cool. I, however, am not a runner, but I do love to walk. Which got me thinking about setting goals for walking, which got me thinking about pedometers, which got me online researching how many steps are good to take in a day, and the end result was, I have decided to set myself the goal of taking 10,000 steps a day. 

 

Yesterday I went out to Walmart in the morning and got myself a cheap $6 pedometer. Then I bought a no-pull harness for my dog, who has never done well on a leash, and got some new insoles for my tennis shoes. All set. 

 

Yesterday I managed to walk 11,526 steps. Yay me! 

 

I went on my elliptical twice, reading my book on my kindle app while I walked. Then we got the dog all harnessed up, the kids all got on their bikes, and we took a long walk around the neighborhood. It was fun. The dog loved it and the harness worked really well for him. (We have a large yard that he runs around in, but he recently got fixed and has already started packing on extra weight, he needs more exercise, plus our neighborhood is the type that I feel better going on a solo walk if I have a big dog with me, win-win for both of us.)

 

This morning I got up early and one of my daughters and the dog and I took a long, hour-long walk, which knocked out half of my needed steps for the day. 

 

Here’s the thing. Setting that one goal really didn’t solve all my other problems. But it gave me an injection of hope. Something to work towards. And it’s also got me thinking of how to incorporate walks into each of our days. Start taking the kids around to different places where they can ride their bikes or their scooters. It got me thinking about how Andy and I could walk on our date nights, there are a lot of places within walking distance of our house we could go to. And while all the other problems about homeschooling and summer schedules, and worries about the world, they’re still here, I’m finding myself a little more energized to tackle these things. 

 

Two days ago I was feeling hopeless, today I’m feeling energized. I will never cease to be amazed how Every Single Time I think I have reached rock bottom, God comes and blows a fresh breeze in my face, revives me, and sets me back on the path with a pat on the back. And he uses the craziest things to do it. A $6 pedometer. Who knew that’s what I needed?