She Biked Like a Girl!

I got a text today with this picture.

Coast to coast victory

Coast to coast victory

I’m not sure that I’m going to do this picture justice and explain the past 54 days of the journey it took to get this shot.  As I stayed nice and toasty in the summer heat wave of Seattle, this lady got on her bicycle in Astoria, Oregon until she reached Portland, Maine.

THREE DAYS! That is how many days of the 54 were not spent on a bike…only 3 free days over the past 2 months.  Her lowest milage was clocked in at 30 and her highest a whopping 134!  That is an average of almost 70 miles on the days she biked.  I could go maybe a mile down hill with no gear.  She faced mountain passes and carried the weight of all her essentials on her bike.

Unbelievable…so UNBELIEVABLE.

She was able to pedal her body physically across the States.  The part that I find would be the hardest is the mental battles.  There is nothing but your feet pushing you on and nature guiding and hindering the way.  It would be interesting to see the internal dialog going on and how she really made it during the hardest times.

I’m honored to have her as a bestie.  I couldn’t be more proud of her journey this summer.  This is a moment in time that will stay with her forever.  Simply life changing.

Kiri’s Blog

 

My Calling?

A couple of months ago I had lunch with a friend of mine who is the writer of the Between series.  She has a handful of novels written and an expert when it comes to making your dreams come true.  I spent our four hour lunch digging inside her brain for the tools it takes to be a writer.  I’m sure she was exhausted after the first 10 minutes when I had already pressed her with 64 questions.  What does it take to be a writer? How do you have time to have a full time job, be a wife, a mother, and still write? Where did you get your ideas from? On and on and on I kept drilling her until her food was cold.  She graciously answered all my questions.  I walked away feeling empowered.

I’m currently in two book clubs.  I just read My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock for one of the book clubs.  It is another fad book where the author is doing one thing a day for a year.  What made this book intriguing to me was she faced a fear she had everyday between her 29th and 30th birthdays. It was about her finding herself with Eleanor Roosevelt as her mentor.  Sure, she wasn’t changing lives and making a huge impact on society by going skydiving but she was changing herself.  I found it really moving.  Why can’t I face my fears and leap, knowing this is my time.

So…here I go…

Anyone close to me knows this, but I WANT to be a writer.  I feel the flood of questions coming but to be honest, I don’t really know what that means.  My writer friend said that an important question to ask is, “Why do you want to be a writer?”  I was sitting in a crowed room of people days later and realized I have my answer:

So people can hear my VOICE.

I have a quiet voice that is muffled and I mutter. When I’m writing people will be able to hear what I’m trying to say without asking me a hundred times “huh?”  It is quite comical sitting around the dinner table with Tim’s family.  My brother-in-law and I are kindred spirits.  Sometimes we have private conversations sitting on opposite sides of the table in our decrescendo voices. It is a on going family joke among us and we end up laughing about it at every dinner together.

I can find humor in it but it feeds my insecurities of feeling invisible and unmemorable to people.  I’m sure this is irrational and not true but it is how I feel.  So here I go, I’m leaping off the boat…I’m going to make it happen even if the only person to read what I have to say is Tim.

Words Hurt

When I was younger my parents would come into my room and kiss me goodnight.  My mom would sing me a song and my step-dad would give me a hug and a kiss.  I remember one night as my step-dad was giving me a kiss his face was really scratchy from not shaving that day.  It tickled so much that I started to play a game with him where I would try as hard as I could to not let him kiss my cheek.  I would shake my head back and forth as fast as I could trying to detour his goodnight kiss.  I would laugh and laugh.  This game was short lived.  One night he came in and I started shaking my head and saying, “no you can’t kiss me!” He said, “Okay, fine.” and walked away to never give me another goodnight kiss again.  I can’t tell you how old I was but I remember being so confused and hurt at the time.

To recall the memory now makes me really sad.  There is so much I missed out on with a relationship with him because of miss read signals.  If only I could have told him no I do want your goodnight kisses and I’m not trying to hurt your feelings…I just thought it was a fun game.  It’s too hard as a kid to fully understand what is going on.  Looking back now, I know it was a loaded situation with a lot of things stacked agains us having a father-daughter relationship.

All this to say I don’t want to make the same mistakes with my kids.  The girls have hurt my feelings this week and it has been a harder few days. I really love how much they love their Daddy.  He is the best daddy after all.  But its still hard for me when I’m with them all day and try and put their needs before mine and I they make little comments that sting.  Kaia this morning crawled into bed with us and told me “I don’t want to snuggle. Can you go sleep on the couch.” I have NO idea where she got that from! Tim has never said that. I have never said that.  Ouch it stung.  Ari the other day told me to “Go away” when I was accidentally blocking her view of the TV.  I’m hoping it was because I was blocking her view and not because I was having Tim get up and help me get dinner ready.

Both times I talked to the girls about how they hurt my feelings and how we need to find nicer ways to use our words and express what we want.  Words hurt no matter the size of the mouth.

Finnian picking blueberries

Finnian picking blueberries

Being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Being in charge of these three growing and developing minds and personalities is a lot to take in.  We are given the charge to shape and guide them to be people who can make it in the world.  I just hope we give them as many tools and resources as possible with this short time we have to influence them.

With great power comes great responsibility!

Blessings

Tim and I look at each other with big smiles the other days and said, “How did we get so lucky?”  We were both looking at our kids as we said this.  The girls are two and a half months away from being three, and Finnian is pushing close to eight months.  Life, as you can imagine, is busy.  A joyful pulling hair out as we go busy.

I am also out of the postpartum fog.  I was feeling more normal by the sixth month but now seven and a half months later I am pretty much my fun loving self.  I’m also happy to report that I haven’t had anxiety like I did after the girls.  I think having our own space has really helped me awaken and breath.

Our new place is oxygen.  I love it.  If we become millionaires tomorrow I would still want to live here. Truly, I have no desire to own a house and have all those responsibilities that tie you down.  Not that we have plans to move but it’s nice to know if we need to, there is not a lot to hold us back.  This place has everything we want in a place and it is new, clean, and kid friendly.

We also celebrated our six year anniversary at the beginning of July.  I’m pleased to say that I am MORE in love and head over heals for Tim then when we first got married.  I don’t believe in soul mate or prince charming.  I believe in hard work of ups and downs.  Finding someone who you are compatible with and will be able to face the worlds challenges side by side with and laugh along the way.  Tim is simply the perfect match for me.  I feel blessed to be in the place we are right now despite getting married young and the odds not being in our favor.

One thing that has been weighing heavily on me is how finically limited we are.  We are quite simply poor.  I actually have no concern about not making very much and being within the poverty level.  What has been eating at me is what we are going to be able to offer our children.  I have looked at swim lessens, sports, music, preschool…and all of them cost $$$…times two…times three when Finnian is older.  Because it is so important and the legacy that my parents bestowed on me, I know our kids will do extra curricular activities but it will be limited.  UGH!! I don’t want my kids to be limited to one activity a year.  It is hard to think that they might want to be involved in something and we have to say no just because we can’t afford it.  I’m sure many parents feel this way and want to offer their kids the moon.  But I just want to make sure they are well rounded and cultured individuals.

So…the solution…

Free things in the area!

The first Thursday of the month many museums are free.  The third Friday of the month the Imagine Children’s Museum is free. So we are trying to exploit all of the free stuff our area has to offer.  I’m hopping with frequent trips to the library and lots of reading they will be ready with their peers to enter kindergarden.  I just want them to be able to experience the world, to know that anything is within their grasp and more so I hope that their lives will be richer and fuller than mine.

We are very blessed to have endless resources at our disposal and I am blessed to have an incredible family to enjoy it with.

Goonies House

Goonies House

The Best Question: Why

I started to grind my teeth.  Not the grinding teeth in the middle of the night while I am in a light rem sleep but the kind that happens in the middle of the day, wide awake.  What is completely disturbing to me is that I am not aware of this grinding. I would not have believed Tim when he told me I was if it wasn’t for 1-my friend that is a dental hygienist that looked at my teeth back in February for fun and 2-my jaw has really been hurting.

It is more than just grinding.  I clench my teeth.  I have done this for a long time.  It seems that it only took 27 and a half years for my clenching to turn into grinding.  Who needs teeth anyway?  This week, the grinding has been especially bad.  I think it is safe to say it has to do with stress.  Just got to love it when stress has a very physical response.  I have just felt completely heart sick and violated by all the violence that is going on.  Violence is something that has been going on for a long time but it has become tangible by striking places and people I love.

2005, I left Idaho in the dust and saturated my feet in the emerald city of Seattle.  I have counted many times and always lose track of all the different houses, schools, towns I have lived in.  Lets just say that I never completed a section of school from start to finish with the same mascot and I have never lived in one place longer than five years.  That is until I moved to Seattle.  Seattle Pacific University became my home.  The place that I felt comfortable and was able to be myself.  For all intensive purposes, it was my Hogwarts.  Four years of my life were spent running from one class to another, meeting up with friends, and having my eyes open to the possibilities of what the world offered.  I felt safe and had the first consistency in my life.  I graduated in 2009 but I still have this feeling of home when I think of SPU.

Thursday June 5, there was a shooting at SPU in Otter Miller Hall.  In the building I had many classes in.  At the university that shaped my identity.  I’m not sure how to exactly express how I feel.  Are there words?

Sunday, I got to gather with some of my friends to celebrate an up coming baby.  These friends are the ladies I met the first quarter at SPU.  We forged some strong bonds.  It seemed we were all still in shock about the events that had taken place at SPU.  None of us could really grasp how we were feeling.  Ache, shattered, sick, surreal, molest…what is the right adjective?

Now, I am five years removed from my time spent at SPU and this is how I feel.  How then does my current family feel? Those that are spending their hours running from one class to another, meeting up with their friends, and having their eyes opened to the possibilities of what the world has to offer?  My heart breaks for you who are currently students.

Kaia adding flowers of the corner of 3rd and Nickerson

Kaia adding flowers of the corner of 3rd and Nickerson

During Friday’s service, my kids and I sat behind some current students.  I shared their pain as they openly wept and locked hands leaning on each other for comfort.  Our home is now violated and covered in Paul, Sarah, and Thomas’s blood.  The current students have lost their innocence.

Two days ago there was a shooting in Las Vegas.  I have a hand full of family in Las Vegas, so I was immediately thinking of them upon hearing about this shooting by Wal-Mart.  My cousin is a police officer in Las Vegas.  He is going to be getting married in a couple of weeks and the girls are going to be flower girls.  I started to grind my teeth as I talked to his fiancé the see if he was ok.  He was one of the first officers to respond during the shootout. I felt sick, I FEEL sick.  I’m thankful that he is physically safe but am sad about how much pain he must be going through with the loss of friends and the added hours of work that are now required of him.

And then today.  Yet another school shooting in Oregon. No words…

Guns are used in all of these tragedies. Yes that is true.  But taking guns out of the equation, there is something else going on.  Why are people doing this?  Why is there a need to go out and kill?  I’m just not convinced that more gun control is the answer.  I DO believe that there should be strong regulations about who can have a gun, I’m not trying to argue that. Gun control just seems like a bandaid on a severed artery.  Is it the prescription medication that people are given that is pushing them to be rash?  I do think that we should visit this idea that antidepressants can really bring out some violent tendencies.  But there has to be more going on.  I always feel if you truly know someone you will love them.  What are these ‘villains’ saying, what are they crying out?  What are we not listing to?

I have no answers.  I only have questions and a very sore jaw.

Today’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Being a parent is just simply hard. Kids drive you to breaking points that are completely unexpected and buttons are pushed that one doesn’t even know exist. I am quite certain nothing has ever been as much of a double edge sword in my life between pure unrated joy and sheer rage. But at the same time, when they are asleep and the house is quiet, I think on the day and would change nothing.

The girls are about to turn two. Like every parent, I’m wondering where time went. Seems like yesterday we were bringing Ari home from the hospital and starting our journey into parenthood. They are talking in full sentences, running marathons in the house, and laughing when things amuse them. I find myself proud of them and the way they are blossoming into individuals. It makes me beam to think of the girls as my children. I dreamt about what my children would look like and be like since I was a child and am ecstatic at Ari and Kaia are more than I could have dreamed.

However….

The past couple of weeks have simply been TERRIBLE. I want to lose it every time they don’t listen. So far, I have been able to handle everything, but the lack of listing has driven me to the edge.

Going out in public with them has been quite a challenge. After our trip to JoAnn’s last week, I may never go anywhere that doesn’t 1.) have a cart that seats two or 2.) has a cart that will seat two in the basket. Stores are clearly not twin friendly…might just be trips to Costco for now on. They don’t hold hands, they knock/grab stuff off the shelf, and worse they run away from me in different directions. None of this is ok with me. It becomes a safety and respect issue. I usually leave the store trying to breath, holding two hands in one, holding my bags in the other hand, and holding my wallet in my armpit. When they are in the car and I’m able to sit down, I just try to not scream. I always ask myself, “Why did I even leave the house with them?!” Truly doesn’t matter where we go the scene is always the same.

I could handle the quest of taking them out in public, but to add to that, they have been a handful at nap time. So much so that somedays I don’t even want to try because I don’t want my buttons to be pushed too hard that they break. It all started because they learned…to…climb…out…of…their….CRIBS! This might not be terrible but there are two of them! They climb into each other’s crib and keep each other awake. I recently asked for advice on FaceBook. There were a lot of really great suggestions but few we could actually try. We only have one bedroom. There is no other way to put their cribs but touching in a little nook. The only thing that separates their beds from ours is a curtain. It isn’t that they are growing out of naps, I would be totally fine with that, it is that they are a complete mess without the nap.

All this ranting to share what transpired today…what wielded all three ladies to tears.

We went to the party store and the dollar store this morning. I just wanted to pick up last minute stuff for their parties on Saturday and Sunday. Does the party store have shopping carts? No. But they do have a huge closing sale of 50-75% off. I’ll let you just imagine what transpired at this store and why the owner quietly gave me candy to stop them from crying after Ari ran out the front door as Kaia was pulling all the suckers off the shelf. Dollar Tree has a cart that I can put one in the child seat and one in the basket. The whole time Kaia says, “No Mama, no!” for no reason and trying to take Ari’s candy that the party store lady had given them. Ari of course shrieks, “NO! It’s mine!”

We eventually make it home without me wanting to scream in the car and eat lunch. So far the day is sitting at a five (one being the worst and ten being the best). Average days are pretty good and desirable in my book. Things quickly changed as we approached nap time. Diapers got changed, stories got read, it was time to lay down. As my first defense, I let them choose a book to look at in bed. The rules are- you lose it if you get up or try and climb out. I kiss them and say I’ll be back to check on them after I go to the bathroom.

5 minutes later I go back in the bedroom…

I smell poop. Please let one of them JUST need a diaper change…

Must not have said please loud enough. Both girls were in Kaia’s crib. Ari just had a shirt on. Kaia had a wipe she was using to clean up the smear marks with. It was everywhere…

Their logic: Ari needs a diaper change and Kaia can help change it. They even hide the diaper and pants between the crib and wall so no one will know.

Reality: Both girls go in the shower. Daddy comes home and all three of us are crying. Bedding goes in the wash…cribs get completely disinfected…and girls are fast asleep.

This was officially a one on my day scale. Here is to hoping tomorrow will be a two or higher!

20131029-175702.jpg

20131029-175727.jpg

Tim’s Surprise

I have tried to write this post in different forms three times now. I finally feel I can put the work into it that it needs. I’m going on empty with emotions and might have vision loss from my eye lids swelling shut. True my short story Professor in Argentina said not to write about raw feelings when in the moment but to come back to those feelings and put the power of a cultured understanding of those feelings. But it was August last time I attempted this topic…I have some cultured understanding on the matter regardless of still going through it. Plus I just want to get this out there before I end up trying a forth time months down the road.

It is in my throat. That is where all this pressure builds and my heart starts racing against the pressure. It builds and builds. Nothing seems to help but staying away from the triggers. But what triggers my anxiety? Let alone what is this anxiety! Nothing I have EVER experienced before having the girls. It started when the girls were 7 1/2 months. I’m thinking it was because they started eating solid food and breast-feeding less. I believe my hormones went hay wire trying to find all the “normal” connections and levels my body needed.

It happened at first over going out or packing for a big trip. I would find myself paralyzed with the simple task of finding what onesie to bring. Not normal for me. I’m am hands and heart a LEAPER. I don’t need time to think about something, if I want it, I will do it. I was utterly confused as to why I couldn’t function to get moving out the door. Thankfully, it was never so bad that it interfered with my day to day life. Let me stop here, if you have anxiety or depression, ask for HELP and do not disregard what you are going through! No one should live like that.

In total, I have had a small handful of anxiety attacks. Running and friend support has really helped, but this week was another story.

I’m going to blame stress for this one. With so much family hardship going on in my mom’s side of the family, I have been a basket case.

Tuesday- I get a fever, not just a low grade can still function but a high delirious can’t move from the bed fever. To top it off, Tim was working and the girls wanted to play. No one could help. The girls were only fed dry cereal from the snack pouches in the backpack and made to watch TV all day. This is where I wished more than anything that my family lived here. My mom would have came in a heart beat. At 3:30ish, I was so far gone that I couldn’t even move when my savor Kiri came to watch the girls. To be honest I don’t remember much until later after Tim finally gave me medication.

Wednesday- I had jury duty. I was actually originally excited to be on it. I wanted to see what it was like to be behind the scenes and learn the whole process. I figured childcare wouldn’t be that difficult due to the fact my mother-in-law comes up all the time to watch my sister-in-law’s kids and my close friends could possibly help out as well. Turns out my mother-in-law could only do one of the four days because she wanted to spend time with her other grand kids too. That is fine, I can work with that. I call on the Friday before and learn I am needed a day later. Perfect only three days to cover. And covered they were until I got sick. For fear of sickness (my mother-in-law has congestive heart failure) she couldn’t come to help. After asking people, I finally twisted Pam’s arm into watching them in the morning in the middle of her busiest days of the week. Then I served on jury duty for a little over 30 minutes and was sent home. The person pled guilty before the hearing started. And Childcare was only needed for a small hour.

Today was the breaker. The girls must have sensed all my stress and anxiety about not getting help and the stress of missing my family because they pretty much lived in time out. I was on the edge. I stayed calm but made sure they knew it wasn’t ok to act out. When Tim comes home, all my rattling pieces exploded. I can’t explain any of it. My heart started to really physically hurt and swallowing was a challenge. My friend anxiety barged in with FULL force. Weight…every abstract anger, every sadness that clutched at my soul in the past week came screeching on me fast…unbelievable weight. Weight and udder numbness. I’m pretty sure I had a break down and was ready for the mental health hospital.

In my coma state I fought with Tim. “You don’t know me.” “You don’t know what I need.” I whispered to him. Hurtful words were said and tears found their way out of sorry eyes. While Tim was changing the girls, I looked at him and asked if we were going to Cirque du Soleil for V-day. For a couple weeks, he told me we had plans, but I thought nothing of it. It was Gods way of dragging me out of the black hole of anxiety. My lifeline back to reality. Tim KNOWS me, Tim LOVES me. Might sound silly to you, but it was a switch turned on for me. He REMEMBERED how much I wanted to see a show and was trying to surprise me.

Though life is hard and we make a little more than 14 dollars a day per person in our 4 person family, we truly do love each other. I would never want to go through life with anyone other than Tim, Ari, and Kaia and all our dear friends and family.

I’m please to say, I currently just have a head ache and have a pillow calling for a new tomorrow.

20130207-233257.jpg