I used to blog every day and now every time I sit at my computer to blog the words don’t come. I have so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how to get it out these days. … Continue reading
It has been a long time since I’ve written a Grati-Tuesday post so I thought I would do that today.
I have been struggling for so long that I have forgotten to be grateful. In fact, at one time I wrote “Gratefuls” to my sponsor every day and I haven’t been doing it much at all lately. I need to get back into the habit of gratitude.
My wonderful hubby.
My beautiful kiddos.
Our view and rainbow (second one recently).
Girl time with Karis eating homemade pizza and watching Gilmore Girls. This will happen more often now that it’ll just be the two of us during the day. She’s excited!
Having summer staff (and one full time staff) over for a big breakfast a few days ago :-).
Date night in of steak dinner with Robert thanks to my mom buying the steaks.
We played games and watched a movie :-).
My Happy Planner and seasonal stickers, my household notebook, pumpkin spice candle in a fun mason jar, and coffee with pumpkin spice creamer in it (NO, it’s not too early… see header picture! haha).
The kids played store for HOURS this morning. I love that they spent so much time without electronics by choice!
Then they played with friends. I love that they have great friends that are like family here. I also love that Robert and I have great friends that are like family here. We are so blessed to be here. This is the only picture I took.
Tonight Karis has her two good friends coming over and the boys are going to our neighbors’ house. We will be making dessert and watching a movie.
My anxiety breathing issue has been so much better since Sunday. I don’t want to get my hopes up, though, because it could come back.
On a similar note, I don’t feel 100% because I still have a cough. I called Teladoc and the doc told me that I have a viral cough and they just last a long time. There’s not much that can be done for it… She gave me 3 days’ worth of cough medicine (they can only treat for a few days and if it lasts longer they tell you to see your doctor), and she told me to drink honey and lemon in warm water and use a humidifier (which I don’t have, but I might get one Friday if I decide not to go to my doctor).
Robert and I spent all afternoon/evening Sunday cleaning the kids’ rooms, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping food for the week. We took the boys separate beds and put them back into a bunk bed (their request) and deep cleaned their room. It took hours. It was so bad. The goal is to make them clean after they play now.
I made Italian coffee cake, peanut butter pies, peanut butter chocolate protein steel cut oats (recipe to come!), cut veggies for snacks and meals, boiled eggs, made chicken salad, and cut summer sausage and cheese. Robert helped with a few things.
Fall is coming soon which means ROUTINE! In 2 weeks (from tomorrow!) the boys will be going back to school and Karis will start homeschool. Friday we are buying school supplies. The boys are super excited! Levi will be taking his lunch and Ethan wants to eat lunch there most days (they get free lunch… everyone at that school does).
I meant to do some school planning today but it just didn’t happen. I have time, and I don’t have much to do :-). I pretty much just need to update the schedule/checklist that I made for Karis.
Karis will be staying home alone (with neighbor’s on call for emergencies) on some Mondays or Wednesdays that I go to town for AA and/or counseling. I plan to go once a week either of those days. Robert will be off 2 out of 3 Mondays pretty soon so it’ll most likely happen on a Monday. We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to give her a chance :-). The beauty of living here at camp is that there are people everywhere to help out! And this is a safe place.
Things are looking up :-).
I thought I would give a little bit of an update on things.
I am night and day better from where I was this time last week.
I have settled into the idea that I will only be homeschooling Karis, and I’ve learned to be good with that. She does better at home, she is mostly independent, and she is fun to work with. There is no stress or anxiety involved in it. I’m looking forward to digging into things with her. And we have a good relationship and she’s now a pre-teener so this is good for us. I plan to really dive into stuff with her and learn along side her. And on the days that I don’t feel up to it, she is capable of doing everything on her own!
I hope to do Poetry Teatime every Friday with the girls at the camp. It will be so fun.
The boys are so excited about going back to school, and honestly they do really well in school. I’ve talked with their teachers from this past year (one emailed me and one I emailed first), and they are so happy that they will be back. They were so encouraging and positive. The boys will learn and grow at school. We will have a regular routine/schedule every day which will be good for my anxiety and good for my Ethan’s anxiety as well. He needs that routine.
I plan to still do some nature studies with all of the kids. We will try to take a few “field trips” but not as many as when I would have had them home.
And I am happy to be able to focus on getting healthier mentally and physically. As you know, I have mental illness, and I also went to rehab last fall for alcoholism (which is a mental illness as well). I need to be able to focus on keeping myself healthy and sober. In addition, I’m trying to get back to health physically (using the Balance 365 program) because I haven’t been doing too well there, either. So I guess this is just a season of health for me. Maybe once I’m healthier, I can bring my boys back home (if that’s God’s plan). It’ll probably be a while if that does happen. In the meantime I’m happy about playing with the kids until the boys’ school starts on August 23rd. We were going to start school next week. And I’m looking forward to doing some back-to-school shopping and all of that.
Family camp this week has been pretty great so far. We have 2 more full days, then we leave on Saturday. I haven’t felt good the whole time, though, because of my cough and constant nausea. I’m also really tired all the time. So I’ve just been resting as much as I can. We have done 1-2 activities per day and played in the game room a lot. We have had great meals, fun themed nights, and I’ve enjoyed time with friends. We have been gone from home for a full week already, which is hard for me because I’m a homebody and an introvert. I’m making it, though, and am trying to just enjoy the time that I have with my family all together! It is a blessing to have this opportunity.
Here are some pictures of our week so far:
I actually did the Cross Bows!
The kids love the foam pit, but not as much as last year.
Family devotionals and outdoor worship
RC Cars were fun!
Patriotic night ended up being indoors.
Drift Ball ended in some minor injuries.
Tonight is Luau night.
The next two days are packed full of fun activities. Paint war, lake front, date night, hiking, more RC cars, kickball game, dessert, and a dance.
“Hyperventilation syndrome (HVS); also chronic hyperventilation syndrome (CHVS) and dysfunctional breathing hyperventilation syndrome is a respiratory disorder, psychologically or physiologically based, involving breathing too deeply or too rapidly (hyperventilation). HVS may present with chest pain and a tingling sensation in the fingertips and around the mouth (paresthesia) and may accompany a panic attack.
People with HVS may feel that they cannot get enough air. In reality, they have about the same oxygenation in the arterial blood (normal values are about 98% for hemoglobin saturation) and too little carbon dioxide(hypocapnia) in their blood and other tissues.”
I’ve had this twice before, lasting 3 months and 1 month. This time it has lasted about 1 month so far (though it has been more off and on this time).
I’m thankful for my hubby. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out WHY I’m anxious. I’ve been thinking that there has to be a reason, and it must be my fault. I must have done something to cause it. But he reminded me that I have generalized anxiety disorder and it’s a chemical imbalance. I will have anxiety just because. I don’t have to have a reason, and it’s definitely not my fault. I can do things to help, and I am being proactive. Tomorrow I’ll be getting blood work done, going to AA, and going to counseling. I’ll see my doctor in about a month. I’ll be taking some supplements as soon as I receive them from Amazon. Last night I meditated twice and that helped. I use these apps:
I’m also happy that I have continued to be present with my family despite this, and we have done lots of fun things! Poetry Teatime, I cooked a big dinner last night, we made Oobleck and homemade playdough yesterday, Levi and I played several games the other day, the kids have been crafting like crazy in our new craft/reading room, and last night we did independent reading as a family and Robert read aloud to the kids. All of this helps a ton because I’m not as focused on the anxiety (it’s still there while I’m doing all of this, but I’m not thinking about it as much).
I feel like this hyperventilation syndrome will last forever but Sue in my Parenting with Anxiety group reminded me a while back that it won’t. It just feels like it.
Like my counselor says, “feelings aren’t facts.” And what I say to myself matters!
Now on to supplements…
I have these supplements: Melatonin (I take these every night), B12, Cod liver oil, Garden of Life Vitamin Code, and Garden of Life Probiotics.
I ordered Vitamin D3.
I ordered Calm Magnesium but then found out that it isn’t absorbed well into the system and it tastes gross (it’s a powder that you mix with water), so I’ll be sending it back. My best friend ordered me some magnesium glycinate, which is the highest absorbed into the system, and it’s a tablet! I’m so thankful for her (I had found out about the Calm after it was too late to cancel and I am out of money for supplements… this is my birthday present from her!).
I did order Rescue Remedy candies (along with the Calm). These are alcohol free.
I will order a Super B complex when I run out of my B12 and Vitamin Code. I will probably also order some epsom salt because I’ve read and heard that it’s good for anxiety (it is magnesium!).
I listen to my Serenity Spa Music often during the day and especially at night, then switch to ocean sounds (white noise app) to sleep (I have done this for a long time).
Robert and I have decided that we will work on becoming caffeine free again. My counselor told me to do this a while back. We were almost there, then I started increasing my caffeine more and more and now I drink a lot of caffeine again.
Along those same lines, I’m going to switch from Coke Zero to only sparkling water (over time).
I also need to get back to being outside more. I can’t do major hikes because when I get out of breath it makes things harder for me, but walks are good.
I also pray a lot, but I struggle with this because I am kind of frustrated that God would allow me to suffer with anxiety so badly. I feel like my prayers are going unanswered.
Last night right before our reading time, it rained (for the first time in a long time), and I saw this beautiful rainbow out of my back windows/door.
It was a great reminder that God is with me. Even in the moments when I don’t understand why He allows things to happen, I can trust that He will use it for His glory.
The last 2 times this happened I took a LOT of Xanax. My previous doctor gave me 120 tablets at once and told me to take it every 4 hours! And he knew that I drank a lot because I told him and he did urine tests! Drinking and Xanax aren’t options anymore so I’m praying that the natural remedies and things will work!
Like I’ve mentioned before, someone graciously sponsored me to do the Healthy Habits Happy Moms Balance 365 program. I started a few weeks ago and I tried to “do all the things” and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I also started homeschooling the same week. It was just too much.
I have since pulled back and decided on two things: self love and daily Bible study. You’re really only supposed to choose one, but self love will be something I’m working on every day for a long time so I’m doing that at the same time as another. Daily Bible study obviously isn’t one of their habits, but it’s one that I want to focus on because I am desiring a more intimate relationship with Jesus over anything else right now.
I have started a book/study that a friend of mine bought me when we were in rehab. It’s amazing so far!
It’s a study of Romans, complete with the scripture right in the book. I’m so excited about it :-).
Also, I am working through the self love and gratitude journal from the B365 program.
I made some huge revelations yesterday about my self love journey.
Yesterday I wrote this in the B365 Group:
“How can you love yourself as is and still want to lose weight? The idea of possibly losing weight is what is keeping me stuck. Then I just want to diet again to make it happen faster. It’s a vicious cycle. Right now I’m working on daily Bible reading and self love as my habit, but it’s hard when all I want to do is move on to the ones that will “matter.” I have been diet deprogramming since like March, but I still feel like I’ll never get there.”
A new friend wrote this:
“Also I’ve found the more I love my inside me the more I no longer see my body as me but rather a vessel that holds me. When it’s no longer the main focus of my value the easier it is to be okay with me. Or to accept slower changes. I still have longer term goals to be smaller, but only if I’m healthier than now.”
I realized in that moment that that’s the issue. I don’t love the inside of me.
“I think that’s the hard part. With having mental illnesses and alcoholism, it takes a lot to be happy with myself. I don’t feel like I have much to offer, and I feel like I’m a burden to everyone.”
I will never be able to love my outside if I don’t love my inside. So that’s what I need to work on in the self love department.
Also, many people mentioned that health should be my goal, and I know this, but I have been programmed that a smaller body means healthier. That’s not always the case! I need to come to a point in which I don’t care if I lose weight as long as I’m healthy. And the health part will take time as I pick up one healthy habit at a time. That’s what works long term and is sustainable. Dieting and trying to do things all at once isn’t sustainable.
I pulled out my book, Healthy at Every Size, again and am reading through it slowly. It’s so informative and helpful in thinking of my body in a different way.
Thing is, I am struggling with my body mostly because of what people think. For example, a friend wrote on Facebook the other day that it’s not healthy to be big and you should always try to be smaller (summarized). I know that this is the way people are conditioned by the (60 billion dollar) diet industry, but it’s hard to ignore that kind of stuff. I assume that people are judging me for having gained weight.
Logically I know a few things: 1) I have gained because of mental health medications (40 pounds since I started bipolar meds in 2014, and 14 pounds since I went into rehab), 2) I have gained because of quitting drinking, 3) I am balanced (I eat a variety of foods), 4) Being sober is BIG and should be celebrated! This is very healthy!
I just take on other people’s opinions.
If people judge me for gaining (and they truly might be), that’s their problem, not mine. It’s not my business what people think of me.
It might be a while until I am ready to address food and movement habits. That’s okay :-). That doesn’t mean I can’t have vegetables and fruit or protein and that I can’t go for walks. It just means it’s not something I’m focusing on. I’m waiting until I spend time reading my Bible 4-5 days a week consistently, then I’ll add on another habit. I haven’t decided what the next habit will be. I’ll probably focus on eating a protein rich breakfast. That is my biggest struggle when it comes to food!
Yesterday in my Healthy Habits Happy Moms group, someone started a “free the belly” thread. Hundreds of women took pictures of their bellies and posted them in the comments. I was blown away by how different and similar everyone’s bellies were! They are all moms who have had babies in their bellies, and you could tell on most of them. Stretch marks, sagging, bigger than they used to be. It was so helpful. And one mama told me that we are belly twins. It’s so great to hear/see that other mamas have similar bellies to me (my least favorite part of myself). And the funny thing is that when I see my belly on someone else, I see beauty!
I love this!
I have more to offer than my body. It’s just my shell.
I am passionate, I love others without judgment, I am organized and keep the house clean for my family (most of the time, that is), I am a good teacher, I love Jesus (though I want to grow in this area!), I love my family wholeheartedly, I AM SOBER (259 days!), I love to bake and cook for my family, I desire to make learning fun for my kids, I have learned to live simply, I am an inspiration to others through sharing about my mental illness and alcoholism, and I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of.
Celebrate YOU. Learn to love all of you. Inside and out!
I have a history of discontent. If something doesn’t seem to be working well or is hard, I change things. I see the difficulty as a sign that something isn’t right.
Because of this, we have moved so much and I kept chasing something new. We have moved 12 times in the 13 years that we have been married (a lot of that was at the same camp). We moved apartments early in our marriage. We moved twice when we lived in the Dallas area.
This worked its way into homeschooling. I have homeschooled off and on for a long time. When I started struggling mentally, I would put them back into school. This last time I really had no choice since I had to go to town all the time for AA when I got out of rehab. But it still counts.
I have spent a FORTUNE (and a lot of that in credit) on new curriculum. When things got hard for the kids or they seemed to struggle, I would buy the “shiny new thing” thinking that it would be better and they wouldn’t struggle as much. For Karis, this was math. For Ethan, this was reading and phonics.
We are using Math U See for the kids and while I LOVE it, Karis has still been struggling greatly. She’s going into 6th grade and she’s on the 4th grade level and still struggling. She can barely do basic division (2 digit by 1 digit with a remainder). So I was talking to Robert about Life of Fred math and telling him that maybe it would be a good fit for her because she loves reading (it’s story based). Without him even saying anything, I said, “Wait… I just need to stick with something, don’t I?” He agreed immediately and reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily equal bad. And she may just never be good at math and that’s okay. And it’s okay that she’s on a level lower than her grade and it’s okay to take it slow. He also reminded me that it’ll be so good for the kids if I stick with something for a full year. And honestly, I need to stick with Math U See from now on because there is a DVD with a teacher teaching everything (and I’m terrible at math!). He teaches it in a way that makes more sense than any teacher ever taught me. There are also manipulatives and all of the kids make use of them every single day.
I REALLY want The Good and the Beautiful history, handwriting, nature journals, and another science unit. But. We have all that we need for those subjects right now. While I love the set up of those, I need to be content with what we have.
I already have Story of the World Volume one… the book, audio book, activity book, historical fiction novels to go with it (9!), the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, and the Usborne Book of World History. I have an amazing set up for history this year. It would make NO sense to change.
Now. The reason why I love G&B is because the history covers all periods of history in one year (adding to it each year), it has fun activities, it has an amazing book of stories, worksheets, and a game for review. But I can always get it next year! No big deal! I’m not even sure if I’ll want to change after we finish what we have… I may want to stick with Story of the World!
Also, I was looking at buying handwriting from G&B. I ALMOST did. Then my doctor and I were talking about my impulsive spending and reminded me that if I am buying something new even though I already have something for that subject (and causing final trouble), that’s a sign of being impulsive. And she’s right! It stopped me in my tracks! I have Handwriting Without Tears, and the kids even like it!
Now. Next year I will probably buy G&B because I love that it teaches handwriting through copywork. It would cut out a step of our writing. But I can wait till next year! No big deal!
I was also looking at buying the G&B nature journals. But I already have some from Simply Charlotte Mason! They love them because they can watercolor right on the page (the pages are thick).
And… Science! I have SO much to teach science. I have one unit of G&B science already (which will last us about a semester), and I also have Apologia Astronomy. AND LOTS of science books and encyclopedias to make my own units if I want. I really have enough to make science work for a couple of years honestly. Now. When Karis is in 7th or 8th grade, I will be buying the junior high science books because she’s going to need them to prepare for high school (and honestly she LOVES science so she’ll be happy). But I have a year or two before I need to do that (I can’t believe she’s already in 6th grade).
All this to say… I think I will finally have a FULL year in which I don’t buy anything new! I have everything I need for at LEAST a full year (maybe more) and I am happy about that. It’s weird, to be honest.
And… we are not going anywhere. While camp ministry is HARD because especially lately Robert has been working a ton, we are content to stay right where we are. We love the way Camp Eagle is run, we love the people (camp family!), we love our home, we love that we live on 1400 acres and there are hiking trails and a clear river to play in. Moving to Camp Eagle has been the best thing that has happened to us!
Deciding to stick with something long-term actually takes away a lot of anxiety. I have a major spending issue, then I feel bad and feel anxious after I have spent. It’s so easy to buy online and I just throw money away that way. We were going to have me spend only cash but it hasn’t worked out well (lots of reasons), but at least this next check I will only have cash to spend (and less than usual because we’re going to New Mexico in a few weeks and we need money for that). I think we’ll actually be able to save up this year. And do more fun things with the kids.
I’m feeling content, hopeful, and peaceful. I know I will still have times of anxiety and depression (hopefully not, but I’m planning on it happening eventually), but I know I can work through them and just do what we need during those moments. That doesn’t mean we need to move, it doesn’t mean I need to stop homeschooling, and it doesn’t mean I need to buy something new and shiny. It just means we need to spend time in prayer and God’s word, I need to work through it, and I need to teach my kids to do both of those.
Yesterday was a fantastic day. Robert didn’t work. He’s not home often right now. There are so many projects going on here at camp. Things should slow down soon, and we are taking a few trips this summer.
We cleaned up the house, Robert worked on our Xterra a bit, then we went to town so Robert could buy some things for camp.
We went to Sonic for ice cream, went to the park (a new one that we hadn’t tried before), and went to a book store that we had never been to before.
The kids played on the little kid stuff at the park :-). Haha.
The book store that we went to gives 75% off the cover price if you bring a book to trade (I didn’t know this so I paid 50% off the cover price). You have to bring kid books to buy a kid book. But we have a lot that we won’t read. I think we’ll plan to let the kids pick out a book each time that we go into town. This will give them something to look forward to and maybe the boys will enjoy reading more (well, Levi enjoys it already but Ethan pretty much hates it). Levi started reading one of his Star Wars books right away and is several chapters in. It blows me away that he can read and comprehend books that are written for older kids. Karis actually struggled with reading until she got a little older (now she’s on like an 8th grade level). Ethan has always struggled (and still does). So for Levi to be in first grade (well, just finished) and able to read big chapter books blows me away. He’s also really good at math. And spelling. Things just come easy to him! I’m thankful!
I didn’t get Karis any books because she has a LOT of books that she loves (the boys don’t), and I just didn’t see any that she would enjoy.
We also got stuff for s’mores and hot dogs at Walmart.
When I went to Walmart to get the stuff for s’mores, I had to walk by the cases of beer (cause grilling, fires, s’mores, and beer all goes together). I looked closely at my Blue Moon that I used to drink. I had a fleeting thought of how nice it was when I could drink it and sometimes I miss it. But. I wouldn’t trade where I am today for what I felt like a year ago. I’ve had anxiety lately but it’s nothing like it was a year ago. I had hyperventilation syndrome and I couldn’t breathe right. I had restless legs a lot. I had terrible insomnia. I would wake up after the alcohol had worn off and couldn’t go back to sleep. Every. Single. Night. I tried everything to be able to sleep. I had an obsession and compulsion to drink and the more I had the more I wanted. It was never enough. I threw up multiple times a week (like I’ve mentioned before). The room spun every night, and I often passed out. Many, many times I woke up wondering if I had done anything that I shouldn’t have (looking at texts, FB messages, and fb posts). I also didn’t remember a lot. Being an alcoholic is ugly and embarrassing. There’s nothing glamorous about it. And statistics show that 15% of people are addicts/alcoholics so I know there are people reading this that are and don’t know it. Or they don’t want to admit it. You can have this freedom that I have with some work! I’m 228 days sober today and I take it one day at a time!
We ended the night with a fire in the fire ring. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. Some neighbor kiddos came and told camp fire stories. It was super cute. The kids had a blast.
Ethan told me yesterday that it was the best day of his life.
I would agree that it was a pretty good day.
Friday was a fun day home with my kiddos. It started out rough with a major fight over the Wii, but once I grounded them from electronics it got better. We colored and decorated eggs and did some crafts. The kids also played outside all afternoon with their friends.
Robert was supposed to be home but he ended up having to work. Oh well.
Yesterday was a great day at my parents’ for Easter. The kids had 135 eggs to hunt and they found all but a few (whoops). We had a fantastic lunch of ham, beans, and homemade potato salad.
We ended up deciding to come home yesterday instead of today. I got their Easter baskets set up last night. We kept it cheap and simple this year. A few cookies that a friend of mine made, glow sticks, Reese’s bunny, bubble gum eggs, and a fun cup that matched their personality. They were happy with what they got :-).
This morning we watched part of the worship service on Watermark’s website, and we praised through YouTube videos. We didn’t go to church for various reasons, but mostly because my anxiety can’t handle it right now.
We had a great lunch of grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad, and the kids’ favorite Hawaiian rolls.
We read The Flowering Cross and made our cross cake. This is our yearly tradition. They’re getting a little big for it, but I will keep doing it as long as they let me. They didn’t want to do Resurrection Eggs :-(.
We also cleaned the house and got ready for the week. In a few hours we are celebrating with our camp family! Lots of celebration!
This past week was another week of figuring things out for our family. Monday we decided that the boys need to stay in school. At least another year, but possibly until Ethan is in 6th grade and Levi is in 5th grade. I’m not willing to send them to junior high for many reasons. But also by then I should be mostly stable and will have several years of sobriety under my belt. We’ll pray about it again for the year after next, though.
Wednesday was a rough day with anxiety, and I just felt exhausted for some reason.
Wednesday night Robert was out from about 7:30 till about 10:30. I couldn’t talk to him and I was extremely worried about something.
I was worried that Karis needed more interaction with kids. She spends all day with just me, and sometimes with her friend across the street that is 2 years younger than her. She spends a lot of time on electronics because I can’t entertain her all day. I was also worried that I was trying to save her from difficulty.
I went to bed before he got home.
I woke up the next morning feeling somewhat better about things, and talking to him “sealed the deal” for me.
He said that while he feels public school is best for the boys for now, he doesn’t feel it’s best for Karis. He feels that homeschool Karis is best for her.
I immediately felt peace again.
I’m so thankful for his leadership in our family. I’ve learned to listen to him (sometimes I fight it, then I give in). Through listening to him, I have peace.
This past week was lllooonnnggg. I had bad anxiety and I could barely see past it. I was pretty selfish through it and have had to repair a few things. I’m grateful for the grace of people in my life … Continue reading