Category Archives: Caitlyn

Motherhood Summed Up

Today, Caitlyn and I tried making our first Syrian food on our own.  We made sambousak.  The variation we made is Spanish cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and fried in zayt (olive oil).  I did some of the frying–Caitlyn did all the rest.  We realized part way through that the oil needed to be hotter…that made her nervous, actually made me nervous too, but I had to be the mom and be brave.

It brought to mind a story that pretty much encapsulates much of motherhood for me.

When I was about Caitlyn’s age, 12, I had to swallow a whole lot of fear to help someone else.

We heated our house with wood when I was growing up.  We had two wood stoves on the main floor of the house and a wood burning furnace in the basement.  Putting wood in them scared the crud out of me.  I was terrified of the flames.  Then, in the dead of winter my mom got really sick from an allergic reaction.  In my young mind, I was afraid she was going to die.  I did everything I could think of to take care of her.  I got worried she would get cold so I gathered up all my courage and learned to put wood in the furnace.  I did it time and time again.  I can’t even tell you it got easier, but I learned I could do what had to be done.

That, to me, is a lot of what motherhood is.  Seeing the fear, feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.

The results aren’t always pretty, but it gets done.  One fire at a time.

Not Just Words

It is incredible how much we say in a day…print media, broadcast media, social media…it is all focussed on one thing–what we have to say.

Do we mean what we say or are they just words?

When Caitlyn was little and learning how to say words, she picked up the phrase oh my gosh.  We as a family do not say oh my G-d, to borrow a way of writing it from a friend because even typing that phrase hurts me.  We believe using the name of God in this phrase goes against scripture where it says in the old testament, Exodus 20, verse 7, among others, you shall not take the Lord thy God’s name in vain.  So as a weak substitute, we say oh my gosh, but in her young speech you couldn’t really hear the distinction, so we banned the phrase altogether.

Time has passed and we have let oh my gosh slip back into our speech…and as I write this, I realize we need to change that.  God, my Heavenly Father, deserves more than just changing a d to a sh.

We’ve been working on this a bit anyway as Sue talks so fast it is almost impossible to hear if she is saying d or sh.

Well, that wasn’t what I meant to write about…

Anyway, in a conversation with a friend tonight, I said, “I’ve been praying about it.”  And I wondered if she knows that I have been or might that sound like just words.

They aren’t just words to me.  Ever.  But especially not right now.

I have always loved to pray.  Since I was a little girl.  I believe in prayer.  I know God hears us.  And I know He answers according to His will.  For decades, I have known the Lord has a strong desire on me to pray.  But prayer is daunting.  How do I start?  How do I keep my mind from wandering?  How do I not fall asleep?  Will any of my prayers get answered?

Years ago, I read a book, Intercessory Prayer,  by Dutch Sheets. * Parts of it I found outside of the teaching I have heard in the church, but none of it evil, so I reread the book recently.  And then another of his, and another.  Now I have branched into other authors.  And actually spent time praying.  I love it just as much as I have always said I do.  There is a connection with God that is comforting and challenging.  A desire to see if that close feeling continues if I keep praying or if it is a passing fancy.  I find it to be consistently, over the years, always feeling like I am home, where I belong when I pray.

So, next time you talk to me or read me say that I am praying for you or that situation, rest assured it is true, very, very true.

*Please note I just found this website as I was writing this post.  I have not studied it and including it here is not stating that I agree with his ministry 100%.  As I read, I will decide that, but I thought it was worthwhile to include this link.

 

 

Running with the Girls

Saturday I modified my half marathon training to run a 5k with Caitlyn and Sue.  We ran the Mind Over Matter 5k to raise money and awareness to fight suicide.

It is a lovely course and incredibly important cause.

I was so proud to run with my girls.

We worked hard and all made it to the finish.  This race is one we will always have on the schedule.

Most of the time I run just for me.  Saturday we ran for others.

Training Again

Today I ran twice.   I am training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) on May 20.  Caitlyn and Sue are logging miles for a Martian Marathon April 14.  We all needed to get some running in today.

The Martian Marathon is specifically for kids.  Each logs 25 miles before race day and then runs 1.2 miles with their group to each complete 26.2 miles or the distance of a full marathon.

Caitlyn and Sue did it last year for the first time.

I ran with each of them today (I don’t want them out there alone just yet–crossing roads and such–even if they are just side roads).

Both of my runs together only equaled 5 miles–but I got faster with each run.  I have always found after mile two I get faster and hit my groove.  Every mile I ran was faster than the one before.

This week has had some good mileage in it.  I ran to the library and back on Tuesday–6 miles in the rain, around in circles on Wednesday–3 miles, no rain, and 5 miles today with my girls–no rain.  The schedule calls for 10 miles tomorrow, but 8 or 9 is more likely…

Here are some recent pictures.

A treadmill run

Glad to be running outside again

Truth

 

Happy New Year!!

Back in the day…before hubby…there was this guy.  We made it as far as engagement…and then he dumped me via text message.  Cool, huh?  We’ll skip all the messy details and go with, it was all for the best and I learned how to say hello and Happy New Year in Chinese from the whole situation.

And today is the day I get to use that knowledge!

It is the beginning of the year of the Dog.

Caitlyn made Wonton Soup (so yummy).  I made beef broccoli (in the Instant Pot).  Sue, Patrice, and Caitlyn made a dragon. Sue and Patrice wore their outfits that grandma gave the girls years ago.

Fun was had!!!

GUNG HAY FAA CHOY!!!!

 

Another Glimpse

I don’t think this is the first time, but I thought a glimpse into the hypomania side of bipolar disorder might be an okay idea today.

But first, check out this cute.

My girls are so beautiful and I am so proud of them.  They keep me moving literally, mentally, and emotionally.

And lately, I have been moving…non-stop.  It started with just busyness.  Sue was finishing up practices and launching into performances for Seussical.  It was phenomenal.

But it’s done–thing is, I can’t stop keep moving.  Yes, life is busy, but I should be capable of slowing down, of stopping.  I’m not.  Having open time fills me with overwhelming panic and dread, like everything is going to fall apart if I stop for one single minute.

On the upside, there is always a lot to be done.  Even hypomania can’t get me on top of all of it, but I am using it as much as possible.

Today included planning and organizing for the upcoming school year, laundry, and a million other little things.

This has been going on for weeks, which is not normal for me, and my thinking is starting to get much harder to control, my anger at things is out of proportion, I am over thinking EVERYTHING, so on and so forth.

Monday, it was time to call the doctor, so I did.  He upped a med and I am headed to his office tomorrow.

I know it will get sorted out.  Hypomania has always been a strange bedfellow for me, but one that can be helped.  I know help is coming.

Sugar Butts

I am the potty mouth in this house.  My hubby never, ever swears…well, okay, he did when the camper flipped over and he was trying to control the car…but that doesn’t count, does it?

So, when someone gets in trouble for saying a “bad” word in this house, mommy is to blame.  Sigh.

Today, Caitlyn and Sue were working on putting together some projects they received for Christmas.  Caitlyn started her catapult yesterday and teased Frazier today by launching pieces of burnt bacon.

Sue started her robot today and was having a hard time finding one of the pieces–“damn!”

“Mommy, Sue said damn.”

Sigh…time to head to their room for a chat.

“Sue, you can’t say damn.” “But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“But I can’t find the piece I need.”  ”

“I know, but you can’t say that word even though mommy does.  Say, um, ‘sugar butts’ like daddy does.  Or dude.  That’s the one I like.  You can say it with emphasis.  DUDE!!!”

Insert eye roll and a big, heavy sigh.

A few minutes later she is still searching for the piece, looks over at Caitlyn and mutters, “sugar butts!!”

My work here is done.

I’ve had a couple “sugar butts” kind of days lately.  It has been raining.  I have not been running.  I am coming off two medications due to side effects.  I am recommitting myself to eat low FODMAP to control some health issues that are obnoxious and kind of hard to control.  And there is still homeschooling and its duties, May has a couple super social days in it, and another birthday for me.

Sigh and a big helping of “sugar butts.”

What is your safe word to say around kids or that your kids are allowed to say?  If you don’t have one, go ahead and have ours.  We’ll share!

Raising Me

I hate the Bipolar.  I hate the anxiety.  I hate what it does to me.  I hate how it makes me feel and act.  I hate it.

I don’t want this for my girls.  I don’t want them to feel a single second of it.  And yet, sometimes anxiety does hit Caitlyn.

Monday was one of those nights.

We have been thinking for a long time that Patrice would be really good at gymnastics.  And Caitlyn has been dying to learn how to do a cartwheel.  The big day finally came Monday.  I made preparations last week and Monday we headed off to lessons.

And the anxiety hit.  Me–because I managed to forget the paperwork I had so carefully done, at home.  Caitlyn–because she didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know what to do when.

Patrice was excited from the get-go, but Caitlyn admitted later that she just wanted to go home.  I saw her anxiety.  I saw her fear.  What I tried not to see was me.  I did not want to see Caitlyn immobilized by her emotions.  I also saw her bravery.  She kept going.  She put one foot in front of the other.  She worked to find out what she was supposed to be doing and where she was supposed to be.  She didn’t give up.

As I saw her go from activity to activity, I saw her nail biting lessen.  I saw her paying more and more attention to what was going on around her and less and less attention to what was going on inside of her.  And my anxiety decreased.

Once again, I was able to tell myself I am not raising a daughter who will be immobilized by anxiety.  I am not raising me.

The Day Mama Marched

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.
I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

My husband and I met over 14 years ago at our church.  We were both part of the singles ministry there.  I just visited at first, but as time went on I came to more and more of the activities.  At the time, the singles group took up two rows of seats (actually pews) in the service time.  For some reason, the group chose to sit way up front.  Like 3 rows from the pulpit.  It seemed a little close to me, but so be it…I sat up there too.  No biggie.

Hubby and I got married, moved to a different Sunday School class, started having kids, and along came Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, along with debilitating Social Anxiety.  Attending church became very, very difficult for me.  Sitting up front was out of the question.  I sat as far back as possible most of the time–if not in the foyer.

And hubby noticed.

He realized he could gauge how well I was doing in my head by where I sat in church.  When things were rough I either sat in the foyer or way in the back of the sanctuary.  On the rare good days, I would head much further up in the seating area.  I didn’t notice, but he sure did…and when he mentioned it to me, I started paying attention and he was right.

This weekend was pretty good for me.  Busy, but I handled most of it.  Saturday had some rough spots, where I have to admit I was afraid I was going to lose it, but I didn’t and by Sunday I was okay.

Sunday morning I walked into that church and marched up to the front.  Hubby said, “look at you going right to the front!”

“Of course I am, my babies are singing and I need pictures!”

2016-12-18 09.03.38 2016-12-18 09.03.50 2016-12-18 11.37.34 2016-12-18 11.44.05

It’s Christmas time–time for Christmas programs and yesterday was ours.  The girls sang in both services and had a Christmas party in between.  And this year I was strong enough to be right up front–so close during the first service that Caitlyn could see us and tried to smile for the pictures.

All along, my fight to be well has been for my family–specifically my girls.  The last six years hasn’t been easy on any of us but yesterday was a victory for all of us…the day mama marched into the church to take pictures.

Enjoy What You’re Doing

Ten or so years ago, hubby and I rang a bell at a Salvation Army Kettle.  It is a chilly project, but low stress and high fun.  That experience was before kids.  I decided a couple weeks ago it was time to do it again–as a family of five!!

So, this afternoon we bundled up (glad it wasn’t as cold today as it was earlier this week) and headed out to the Post Office.

We sang, we danced, we said Merry Christmas and thank you!

2016-12-17 14.45.26 2016-12-17 13.15.19 2016-12-17 13.25.17 2016-12-17 13.25.26 2016-12-17 13.25.31 2016-12-17 13.35.04 2016-12-17 13.35.10 2016-12-17 13.39.46 2016-12-17 13.55.06 2016-12-17 14.01.10 2016-12-17 14.25.33 2016-12-17 14.35.02 2016-12-17 14.44.37

We had lots of comments from people saying we looked like we were having fun.  One guy, motioned over to hubby as he danced to Dominick the Donkey, and said, “you gotta enjoy what you are doing!”

And we did.

We were out there 2 hours and 20 minutes.  There were no bell ringers when we got there, so we just started our shift a little early.  People responded well.  Our bucket was completely full when we returned it to the Salvation Army Citadel this afternoon.

Our toes were cold, but our hearts were full from being able to do our part to help.