Friday, January 24, 2014

Hitting the Wall Four Months In

No Friday night Zumba class for me. It's as if my body has hit the wall. I have been SOOO tired. At random times recently, I have found myself dozing off on the couch. When Jason tries to talk with me at night after the kids go to bed, I feel like a brain dead zombie, unable to understand the strange noises coming out of his mouth or articulate a coherent response.

At the beginning of this month, I began counting calories and working out about 3 times per week. I've given myself 2000 calories, what I think to be a generous and healthy amount while I am breastfeeding. I've lost about six pounds so far, which is great.

However, for the past week, my energy level has been very low. I think even possibly lower than when we first brought Teresa home. Hmmmm. This has got me thinking about what I need to change.

First, I am adding another 200 calories to my diet. Hopefully, this will help some. I do not need to be losing weight as quickly as I have so far since the beginning of the year. On average, I have lost about 2 lbs per week. I was aiming for more like 1 pound per week. I am hoping that if I add some more fuel to my diet, my energy level will go up.

If it doesn't go up, I may have to pause on the whole calorie counting business for a while. It might just be too soon for that. I am still getting up in the middle of the night with Teresa and she is still breastfeeding exclusively. While I am so anxious to lose the pregnancy weight, I may have to just wait a few more months.  In a few more months, she will be eating solid food and HOPEFULLY sleeping through the night. I was hoping to get the majority of the weight off by this summer, but that just might not be able to happen.

It's really only for vanity reasons that I want to lose the weight right now. In terms of my health, a few more months won't really matter. It's just frustrating and discouraging to have to wait. They say that it's harder and harder to lose pregnancy weight with each baby. I have definitely found that to be true. With Joshua, all I really had to do was breastfeed for the weight to come off. But with each baby, my weight has plateaued at a higher and higher number and I have had to work harder and harder to get those pounds off.

I also need to manage my day better. Because I've been so tired, I have been sleeping in more. While this might seem like a good idea, it's not. It means that the rest of my day is like a hectic race that I never get to finish, with no time for any breaks. If I could be disciplined enough to go to bed by 10:00-10:30 and get up each day at 6:00, this would make my day much more relaxing and calm. It would also make time so that I could get in a much needed afternoon break each day.

It's crazy to me how much time, energy, thought and discipline it takes just to take care of myself. It can be so difficult and is such a balancing act. This week it seems I have fallen off the tightrope down onto the trampoline. Thank goodness I can bounce back again on Monday.

For the zillionth time in my career as a homeschooling mom, I will be working this weekend on a daily schedule that includes time for rest, cooking, teaching, prayer, eating, laundry, cleaning, etc, etc. This exercise will help me to visualize my week so that I can be the most efficient without completely wearing myself out.

When I think about it, it seems obvious that I would be tired at this juncture in my life. Sometime I feel dumb for being surprised or frustrated with it. OF COURSE I'm tired! A four month old baby, four children and homeschooling? This is a recipe for exhaustion! It reminds me of when I get annoyed at how much laundry there is. OF COURSE there's a lot of laundry! Did I really think we could have four kiddos and not have a lot of clothes that need washing?

But even though I knew motherhood would be hard, I didn't realize how hard. And I didn't understand how much laundry there would be. And I didn't know just how tired I would be.

What seems important now is how I am going to respond to these things. How can I handle the mountain of laundry? Get at least one load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away six days a week. How can I handle my tiredness? Eat well, manage my time, exercise, and get enough rest.

How can I deal with the difficulties of motherhood? Talk with Jason and other moms, pray every day, read about the specific issues I am facing, be patient and forgiving with my children and myself, receive God's grace through the sacraments, and pray, pray, pray some more for even more of God's grace. For with God's grace, anything is possible.

Loving Mama Like a Two Year Old

"You're a good mother," Veronica told me this morning, again as I was brushing her hair. She tells me this frequently.

"Thank you. You're a good daughter," I answer and smile.

"I wouldn't go anywhere without you," she tells me. "And I would go anywhere with you."

I repeat what she said back to her, making sure I understood what she said. She nods her little head, confirming that I had understood. I look at her with joy and admiration.

"What?" she asks, curious about my look.

"You're just so sweet," I explain.

"I love you," Veronica says.

"I love you too."

What an amazing way to start my day! How I LOVE that little girl!







Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Loving Jesus Like A Two Year Old

"I want to give Jesus a big hug," Veronica told me this morning as I brushed her hair. "At his house. I am going to go give Jesus a big hug."

She was picturing hugging the statue of Jesus at our Church. Knowing this wasn't really possible, I told her to close her eyes and imagine Jesus' arms around her, holding her tightly, His cheek against hers. I told her Jesus loves her very much and wants to be her best friend.

A few minutes later, she walked out of her room, dressed for the day.

"How did you get to be so beautiful?" I asked her.

"Jesus made me beautiful."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Four Months

The months keep slipping through my fingers and yesterday, Teresa turned four months old. She really isn't an infant any longer.

Yesterday, I pulled clothes out of her dresser that are now too small for her to be put away in the garage. My heart is pulled in two directions, stretched between the excitement that I feel for watching Teresa grow up and develop her own personality and the sadness I feel as I watch her infanthood pass by. With each tiny newborn outfit that I set aside, I would smell the newborn smell, tears streaming down my cheeks.

I thought about each one of my babies. This spring, Joshua will turn 9, Noah 7 and Veronica 3. For about nine years now, I have watched my children grow, stretching my heart further and further between excitement, pride, love, joy and sadness, reluctance and fear to witness them grow closer and closer to the day when they will no longer be children. In another nine years, Joshua will be eighteen.

If only I could press the pause button. If only I could turn the sand running through my fingers into something more graspable.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Resolution

While taking down the Christmas decorations last weekend, I tried to organize them in a way so that they will be easy to put up next year.

Next year. What will our life look like a year from now?

A year ago, I was going to Alicia's bachelorette party. A year ago, I was praying every single day for another baby. Since then, I found out I was pregnant, went through another pregnancy, labor and brought Teresa into the world. A lot can change in a year!

A lot can change in a day, in an hour, in a moment. And so many moments will pass between now and the next Christmas season. I pray that by 2015, we will be better in mind, in body and in Spirit. I pray that we will have the grace to take on whatever the year brings us.

I have two 2014 resolutions:

1. Lose the baby weight.

and

2. Enjoy the moments that pass by with full awareness that I have no idea what our life will be look like when 2015 arrives.

Pictures taken for our Church directory
Five kiddos looking at the camera AND smiling?! A Christmas miracle!
The boys
The girls
My love