Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wok the fok! My Qi is Stagnant.

Well.  I have discovered something important today....My liver qi is stagnant.  Along with this realization, I fully admit today and for the foreseeable future, that my mother is almost always right.

-Flashback to the early 90s.  - My mother received a wok for Christmas.  I kid you not, I distinctly remember her reading a book about eating broccoli and its healing/antioxidant powers....  So we ate broccoli- every evening from Christmas until about Valentines Day.  (Wok the fok.)  I also remember around this time my mother practicing Tai chi in the kitchen on Saturday mornings.  It kinda looked like she was sparring with the slowest mime on Earth....

I didn't know why my mom was mime-sparring or why I was eating the same vegetable every night for over a month, but now, I think I do.  I think her qi may have been stagnant and she was just trying to get it moving again.


Today I went to the acupuncturist.  I wanted to check it out.  This year I turn 32.....  I need way more healthy coping mechanisms in my emotional toolbox than I currently have.  So the really nice guy did the intake.  He looked at my tongue.  He set me up in a warm, quiet room and then he stuck me with little needles.  Then he came in and took them out, and I rolled on my belly and he put more in my back and he left me alone again in the warm, quiet room.  Did I mention there was soothing music on?

I recount my day in jest, but truth statement: It. was. awesome!  I felt tingly and then awake.  Not annoyed awake but calm and energized awake.  He and I had a great discussion about how it's very common and most likely that my liver qi (the organ which is the most affected by emotional chow chow emotions: anxiety/depression/stress) was most likely stagnant.  This did not sound promising.  However, he handed me a list of healthy foods to aid in the healing of the liver qi....on it? Broccoli.

I booked my next appointment and stopped by the grocery store.

I wonder what the statute of limitations for apologies for making fun of your mother and/or their cooking is?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Director of Operations

#worlds toughest job.

Sooo being a parent is thankless.

I agree that being a parent is the toughest job. There's no handbook to consult.  Your "client"  can sometimes be tyrannical and moody.  Deadlines are short.  Demands are high.  The moments where you do get positive feedback are fleeting.

I get it. Point taken: call your mom. say "hi."  Give her some positive feedback - but then have her PASS THE PHONE TO DAD, because he deserves the vote of confidence too.

.....and for the record, I take coffee breaks.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Run strong. Be well.

There is one week until the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Last year the hubs ran the course in 2 hours and 43 minutes.  Praise God.

...He was in the car with his parents, starting to drive away when the bombs went off.  I was already back at my parents house in New Hampshire with mini #1 and napping (due to incubation of mini #2).  I had no idea what had happened.  His sister called me in a panic.  Then the hubs called me in a panic and asked me what had happened.  Confused, I got out of bed.  My mother and I turned on the tv and we saw the aftermath unfold.  Then the phones stopped working.

Here is my angry/sassy letter to the marathon bombers: 

Dear Assholes,

     I am not a hateful person, but I really think you are the devil.  If you or any of your wannabes steal my husbands joy help me, I will lose my shit.  The most beautiful day..was sullied by your bombing bullshit. Injuring innocent bystanders.  Creating a cascade of panic.  Phones blocked, roads blocked and people scattering.  Joy, stolen.  

     Hours of pounding pavement.  Commitment to training schedules, strategic pacing, practicing preparing pre-race meals.  Joy, stolen.  

Not only was joy stolen from runners but joy was also stolen from their family and friends who made sacrifices of their own to see their loved ones realize their dreams.  

F you.  

Here is my joyful letter to runners:

Dear Runners,

Goodluck.  However you don't need luck-because you have been running for the last several months.  You deserve joy on this day.  Do not run in fear.  Run strong, be well.  Let your love be genuine, hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).  Realize your dreams.  Thank God and your support system who helped make it happen.  Go get em'.  Ooze joy.



What is happiness to you?

Um happiness to me is waking up and finding this video on my Facebook feed.  Fun fact:  I played it every class period while my students did some group work.  These guys are the NH Gentlemen Acapella group who did a cover of the song "Happy," by Pharrell Williams. Who doesn't love a group guys- singing a school appropriate song- in suits on the UNH campus-in the springtime.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Holding the Envelope - My Messy Beautiful

The mess started with falling in love- it always does, doesn’t it?  I got engaged, moved in with my fiancĂ©, got a new job, bought a house, got a dog, got married, went on amazing Italian honeymoon, got pregnant, got pink slipped, got rehired, had a baby, suffered from postpartum depression and voluntarily checked myself into a behavioral health unit for treatment: All. Within. Two. Years. 

Yep. That’s a lot. You’re thinking it. It’s ok.  I totally agree.

If I am required to talk about emotional chow-chow my feelings, I usually say I had a “rough time,” after my son was born or my son had a “slow start.” It sounds, …..well…glossier....almost “status update”-worthy.   But truth statement: it was pretty freakin’ gritty. 

You would never guess by the way my son and I currently interact that:
I spent the 1st week of his life in the hospital recovering from preeclampsia while he was taking his sweet ass time regulating his body temperature, weight, red blood cell and glucose levels.  I spent the second week of his life in a casserole induced haze and the 3rd week of his life in legit denial that I had produced another human.  By the 4th week of his life I was having exhaustion fueled hallucinations as well as suicidal ideations and his fifth week voluntarily in a psych ward.

….I returned home from the hospital on a Monday – (I think).  My co-worker and his wife stopped by to meet my son. (Just to be clear I had no idea that they were coming because we had made plans during week 4 and my phone was confiscated when I entered the unit during week 5.)  I thought I held it together pretty well during their visit. Hahahahah! Later on my friend told me I spent the entire visit walking around my house, holding an envelope, trying to decide where to set it down. 

You see.. I descend from two family lineages, which lovingly converge into a large artery of addiction, depression and anxiety.  Thank goodness my husband is a patient, kind and light hearted guy, otherwise our mini-humans would be doomed! But I am not my past or my genetics.  

In this moment: 
I am a bold youngish mother.  I am a slob. I am practical. I am impulsive. I read Star magazine, make my own baby food and adhere to the 5 second rule.  I force myself to do sentimental things.  I am a science teacher -kind to my students and hypercritical of myself.   I am a firm believer of God AND Evolution Gasp!  And even though some days my lows are so low, that I put myself in time out/throw things/question what the heck am I doing ……. I love my son so fiercely that I ache.  By the time he was about three months old, I felt like things were a whole lot more manageable.  Turns out, the love I have for my son trumps the tense grip anxiety and depression have on me.  So, when my son was about a year and a half- the hubs and I decided to have another baby…..because our lives weren’t busy enough. #sarcasm.

  It wasn’t until the final trimester that I had time to stop and think hey, I am preggo, perhaps I should reflect about this and naturally I started to panic.  I would cry hysterically and mutter to my husband:  What am I thinking having two mini humans?!  What if I go to the bad place again?!  What if the depression is even worse, what if I can’t do it? what if, what if, what if?

His response? “Well if we did it once (meaning survived the bad place), we can do it again if we need to.” Good point hubs.  And that was that. 

My daughter’s birth was uneventful.  She came out super healthy, went right to the boob and knew what to do.  She rarely cried.  I snuggled her.  It was peaceful.  While my hot tempered two year old was literally hanging from the light fixture as I daughter was so incredibly laid back, it was laughable!  I am still exhaling.  I did it!  It was nothing like the first time!  My past did not dictate my future!  My heart explodes with joy as I see my two children interact, neither of them knowing their beginning stories and how different they are – unless my 2 ½ year old reads my blog.  Honestly…I wouldn’t put it past him. 

  This essay and I are part of Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project.  To learn more  CLICK HERE! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Belize and the Bus

In 2011, I traveled to Belize for a one week teacher exchange.  I was 5 months pregnant with mini #1.  Ironically, I ran into the woman who organizes the yearly trip at the NSTA conference in Boston yesterday, which jogged my memory.  Then this post was born.
The most intensely pure and peaceful place I have ever been is the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve in Belize.  The lodging part of the preserve was a series of bunks along the edge of a rainforest and a short walk led you to a hut with a kitchen (and electricity!)  Otherwise, our bunks did not have much in the way of light.  The preserve lacked ever present glow of dense civilization.  Naturally, my flashlight stopped working at that moment I began walking back to my bunk from a communal dinner. I was struck by how absolutely dark it was.  Honestly, I was scared.

I stopped where I was and looked up at the night sky.  It was littered with stars. I felt so insignificant compared to this massive display of beauty.  It was joyfully overwhelming, so much so, that I began to cry.  It was the darkest place I have ever been, yet the glow from the stars was comforting.  I thanked God for slowing me down to see this.  I closed my eyes.  I told myself to never forget this moment.  I realized that it would be the one of the purest moments of my life.  

To this day, I have never again witnessed that level of peace within my natural environment.  Nothing rivals that starry night walk in Belize where tears gathered in my eyes because I simply knew this. was. it.  However, all joking aside- a close runner up has to be the bus I am on to Boston.

(This is a big deal because I am Boston-phobic.  The city makes no sense to me and it triggers me to have panic attacks.  So I felt pretty badass when I got on the bus two days in a row and attended a science teacher conference in Boston.) This bus company does not allow people to talk on their cell phones or use anything with a volume.

It has been blissful.  Besides the hum of the bus, or a rogue sneeze, there is nothing to clutter the audible environment.  I was thinking yesterday, this is just about the quietest place I have been since my kids were born. The incessant chatter, the pings, dings and tweets pull our attention and focus away from prayer, meditation and reflection.  It's exhausting!

So, today, I embrace the silence of the bus with a big goofy grin on my face.  Now if only the bus took me from Boston to the Belize.......

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Response to Dr. Oz's 3 Day Smoothie Detox

It was a while ago -aka, January "the month - which we do not mention," but after a day or two of research the hubs and I decided to take part in the Dr. Oz 3 day smoothie detox!

We did our research and we bought one of the best things ever! A NINJA blender.  Seriously people, I feel like there is a list of things that someone should pull you said aside and say - hey ps. as an adult, please spend your money on X.  X - being an expensive blender, a decent iron and a good hair cut.  The Ninja was paramount in making smoothies for three consecutive days and yes, did actually "make ice into snow." I am a believer.

At any rate, I digress.  We used a coupon to purchase the NINJA at Bed Bath and Beyond.  We made a smoothie exclusive shopping list and were ready to detoxify!

It is a three day regimen where you drink a lot of green tea and eat three smoothies/day for three days and are supposed to take a relaxing bath with special oils and salts - (but that didn't happen because this was before mini #2 was even remotely close to sleeping well.)

I really enjoyed this program and after it was completed I felt really good.  I was not painfully hungry, in fact at times I felt too full to eat another freakin smoothie.

Here is an accumulation of truth statements about the detox:

Get a heating pad and a foam roller/tennis ball! This is the best piece of advice I can give you.
After one full day of smoothie intake, I felt pretty gross with flu like symptoms?! What the heck was going on?  Naturally, I googled it and discovered that when toxins leave your body and enter your blood stream, it can in fact mimic the effects of the flu.  I was achy all over.  I strongly recommend using a heating pad and foam roller on your muscles.

It says to give up coffee.  Haha. NO.  I did however cut down from 32 to 24oz and eliminated any sweeteners. Dr. Oz, I am down with that toxin.

Prepare the smoothies all at once.

I found it very easy to take the smoothie recipe and triple it. Then freeze it in mason jars.  Then at night, thaw the necessary smoothie for the following day.

Purchase fun colored bendy straws.
When the smoothies were cold and I was drinking it out of a purple bendy was fun?

Be prepared for the intestinal revolution
All systems during the detox were working well.  However, one thing that I love/hate about the detox thing is that when you start eating other foods again is that it can start a gastrointestinal war fare.  For that reason, it is best to eat clean and carry on with that sort of lifestyle.  My first meal post detox was sushi - which I thought would be ok...and it was not.