A graduation of sorts

Yesterday was my last physical therapy session.

I’m not better, but things have drastically improved. I can sneeze and cough without wanting to cry. I can bend over and pick up Legos without (much) cursing. I can pick up my son without help from people or furniture. My lower back moves now. Not without pain, but the pain’s bearable. I can work through the rest.

Now it’s on me. If I want to keep being able to do those things, I need to carve out some time each day for my exercises. That’s been hard, especially this week. I logged close to 80 hours of work this week, and Monday was a holiday. But as I heard my therapist say to another patient yesterday, “Work is important, but so are you. And if your body doesn’t work, you can’t.” Too right. So on today’s agenda is setting up an exercise schedule.

The second part’s harder. Most of my pain now comes from dietary flares. They’re not as bad as they were, but I’m still swelling enough that I have to wear R’s pajama pants to bed. R outweighs me by about 50 lbs. I should not be swelling that much. So clearly I have more work to do on my diet. I need to be a bit more scientific in my food trials, and I need to start menu planning again. For all of us — our eating habits went out the window when I stopped planning dinner menus.

Also on my radar is intermittent fasting. (My preferred eating schedule when I was younger — back before it had a name, and influencers.) If the only sure-fire way for me to feel better is to not eat, maybe I should try to plan not-eating times into my day. I made a half-hearted attempt at IF earlier this year, before the house blew a hole in my routines, and it helped a bit. Perhaps it will help more if I don’t eat trigger foods during my eating window.

Today, though, I’m taking it easy on myself; I’m sore and swollen from yesterday. So I think I’ll do some stretches. Plan some menus. Set up an exercise schedule so maybe I don’t have to go back to PT.

I love my physical therapist, but I’d rather spend that money on furniture.

Advertisements

Homecoming

I don’t believe in love at first sight. But if I did, I’d say have experienced it exactly six times:

  1. At 16, when the boy who would become my first love smiled at me for the first time.
  2. At 27, stepping into the living room of the apartment my wasband and I ended up moving into together.
  3. At 32, the night I first locked eyes with R.
  4. At 37, when I held our daughter for the first time.
  5. At 40, the morning I gave birth to our son.
  6. At 44, when I first entered the house we just bought.

Each time, that first glance set off a chain reaction deep inside me. A sense of homecoming. It wasn’t so much that I could see the pieces falling into place, but that I could see where I fit, finally. Everything up to that point suddenly made sense, because it all led me to that moment.

20190505_123028
There is nothing about this living room I don’t love.

It’s a little embarrassing to talk about, really. I don’t tend to think in such woo-woo terms. But I can’t deny that those six moments held a significance that was apparent immediately. I dated a lot of guys between that first boy and R, but the others didn’t make me feel the same way. I’ve lived other places, and even loved those places, but none of them gave me that immediate feeling of being home.

20190427_175544
This picture pretty much sums up the adult life I’ve been working towards since I was 19.

So buying this house was understandably a big deal in more ways than one. Because three of the people on the list above moved into it with me. And while there’s still much about the house that feels weird and foreign and new, in many ways it feels like we’ve always been here.

I recently came across the Day Zero post I wrote nearly a year ago, in which I committed to writing my wish list for a house. It’s funny how much of what I was looking for I actually got. Of my incredibly specific 34-point list, here’s what I didn’t get that I can’t easily/immediately add myself:

  • A built-in vanity in the master bath
  • A walk-in pantry
  • A covered patio/sunroom with a ceiling fan
  • A walk-in closet for Anya
  • All wood/tile flooring

I mean, if I were designing a house from scratch, what I’d come up with would be almost exactly this house. I imagine that factors heavily in the way I feel about the house. But it’s more than that. We just fit here.

20190502_155027
See, even the couch fits! Not that we won’t be buying a new one at some point. This one’s ten years old, and looks it.

The lack of posts recently is because I have been busy. First unpacking, which is now mostly done — no, really! — and then cleaning and sorting and organizing. Which will be an ongoing process for a while.

20190412_104010
I wish I could say this was a temporary state, but the big difference is the garbage bags have been emptied and removed. All that crap’s still on the floor. I just stay downstairs as much as possible. But I will eventually have to go up there and deal with it.

The previous owners took good care of the property, but they weren’t much for dusting and vacuuming, it appears. My birthday present of a new Roomba (named Milo) is getting quite the workout. We’re all pretty congested these days, but I’m hoping that things will improve once I get some of this dust out of here.

The sorting and organizing I expected; no matter how streamlined and efficient your organization process, it never transfers perfectly from one house to the next. You have fewer drawers, more cabinets, more closets but less shelving. That sort of thing. My current project is the closets: They all have wire organizers that are simply not up to the loads we need to place upon them, so we’re in the process of replacing/upgrading them.

20190512_124802
I am also in the process of buying all new curtains, because the last time I bought curtains was with wedding present money. From my first wedding. In 2002.

Funny thing about these projects: They don’t feel like home improvements, but home realizations. It feels like we are helping this house become what it was always meant to be.

Ours.

 

March was busy

Lucy, I got some updatin’ to do.

  1. We bought a house. It was a whirlwind sort of thing. I saw a house I liked. We filed our taxes, and I found out we qualified for a mortgage sufficient to buy said house. Before we could view the house, however, someone bought it out from under us. But then we viewed two other (better) houses, and made an offer on the second one on the spot. Now we live in it.
  2. I had a follow-up with my nutritionist and found out that while I am not deficient in anything (go-go gadget multivitamin), I am sensitive to stuff I have been consuming every day for years. Like milk. Wheat. Quinoa. Ginger. Vanilla. Mint. Soy. (Have you ever tried to remove soy from your life? It’s in everything.) Life makes a lot more sense now. I still don’t have my stomach under control, but I gurgle less.
  3. I started PT for my stomach and back. I am tight as a drum from my ribs to my hips. I also have diastasis recti and adhesions from the cesareans. Hence the pain, and the pot belly even when I was 105 lbs. I’ve spent the past several weeks trying to teach my lower spine to curve. I didn’t realize this was a thing you could forget how to do.
  4. Moving week saw me get another cortisone shot in my wrist. Scalpels were mentioned. I’ve decided I’m going to let the nice PT ladies take a crack at it first. I don’t love needles, but I hate scalpels.
  5. R got a new job. His new employer lets him come home way more often than his former employer, and also gives him two whole days off every week. Compared to how things had been going, this feels like he’s working part time.
  6. Kai turned 4. He would be starting pre-K in the fall, but the local school canceled pre-K next year, and he refuses to go to a different school than Anya. So I get one more year with my little man. I’m deep in my mommy maudlins these days (mah babies are growin’ up too fast!), so I’m totally fine with this development.
  7. Anya is improving in all ways, but none so much as her science game. Kid has the mind of a biologist. And we are all learning much about science along the way.

We are currently settling in to our new digs. More updates when the dust (literally) settles.

Waiting for spring

A few quick updates from last weekend:

  • I did not puke. Nobody did. I’m hoping that means the bug is all gone. (We Lady Macbethed the house, just in case.)
  • I woke up Thursday looking more like myself than I have in lo these many moons. The big dietary difference was peanut butter. PB is now getting the stink eye. One by one, all the foods I used to love are moving to the no-fly list. My younger self would recoil in horrified confusion at my diet these days. But then my younger self would view everything about present-day me with baffled amusement.
  • After a bumpy start (the first printer didn’t work coming out of the box, so tech support sent me a new one), my new printer is installed and works beautifully. Mostly. I haven’t managed to set up the ink replacement plan, because I can’t get the Best Buy site to talk to the Canon site. But I can print. So I’m better off than I was last weekend.

What else is new?

I’ve been wallowing in musical nostalgia, catching up on what two of my greatest musical loves — John Waite and the Goo Goo Dolls — have been up to since I became a mom and lost track of pop culture. JW appears to have gone heavily blues/country in recent years, and that’s not the head space I’m in now, so I’ve put off listening to his new albums at length. However, after the disappointment that was Magnetic (for me, anyway), I’m in love with several tracks on GGD’s Boxes. We diverged for a while, but it feels like we’re back on the same page — an odd sort of forward-looking nostalgia. GGD was my band back in the day, so it’s like coming home.

Dried chickpeas are a no-go for me, but supposedly I can have canned chickpeas if I rinse them well. So I found a hummus recipe to try. Also a guacamole recipe, because I’m still running low on fat — I’m hoping I can tolerate avocados now. What I don’t like about guac is the garlic, but I can’t have garlic anyway. Maybe I’ll like it without? I have a can of chickpeas, a jar of tahini, a lemon, a lime, and a couple of avocados, so…we’ll see.

Anya’s teacher has recommended that we supplement her school-sponsored speech lessons with outside therapy sessions, so we’re currently searching for a new clinic. Hopefully extra sessions will give her the leg up she needs to get past these last few pronunciation hurdles. It’s one more thing to fit in our days, though. I’m glad the kids weren’t interested in spring activities, considering.

At the shallow end of the pool: Mrs. Meyer’s honeysuckle-scented laundry soap is making me ridiculously happy. Every so often I catch a whiff of something that smells absolutely lovely, and then I realize it’s me. I have unironically held my shirt to my face and inhaled deeply, like someone from a detergent commercial. So even though the bottle’s more than half full, I’ve purchased a backup. When something so simple makes you this happy, you don’t want to run out of it.

Over on the murkier end of the lake: I realized that all of my current writing projects feature my grandmother’s kitchen. I don’t have happy memories of that room, so I’m not sure what it says about me that I keep revisiting it in fiction as opposed to, say, my childhood kitchen, which was the location of so many happy moments. My grandparents are dead and their house bulldozed and gone, yet I can’t seem to let it go.

Speaking of writing, I’m not making much headway on my books. Or any of my personal projects. Perhaps some of the blame lies with the long hours I’ve been working; after dinner, I just want to go to sleep. However, I think the truth of the matter is I’m too busy treading water to muster up creative energy. Somewhere between psychoanalyzing my postmortem relationship with my grandmother and sniffing my laundry…that’s where I’m at these days.

Or it could be that my metaphor’s off. Perhaps it’s winter’s last hurrah: the tail end of my hibernation. Perhaps in a few weeks I’ll wake up and, just like the trees, I’ll find my branches covered in tender green leaves. Maybe we’re just waiting for spring.

Summer’s end

Tomorrow is Anya’s school registration, so even though the summer temps will hang on another month or two (more, if we’re really unlucky), the season is effectively over for us. Which is both good and bad. It’s been a full summer. A good summer. But I’m worn out and ready for a change of pace. The kids are, too.

I’m thinking next summer we need to dial back the extracurriculars just a bit.

Anyway, I did a lot this summer that I haven’t really talked about much on this blog, so I thought I’d recap those things before we move on. Plus, this will help me ease back into weekly blogging, as I haven’t written a blog post all month aside from recipes.

 

How does your garden grow?

All the peas died. From the bottom up. I let them hang on too long, thinking the pea pods might ripen before the vines died, but I was wrong. My beans aren’t doing too great either. And one of my rosebushes is looking sickly; perhaps the lawn guys accidentally hit it with their weed junk? I don’t know. But my other rose bush is rocking. My petunias are going crazy, though they desperately need a good weeding. My iris (I think this is an iris) actually bloomed this year. And my potted plants are hanging on by their fingernails.

I have plants I did not kill, and I am proud.

Are the fish still among the living?

Astonishingly, yes. And huge. The lady at the booth where we won them told us to feed them a pinch of food every three days, and had I done that, they’d likely have stayed small. But they may also be dead by now, so I have no regrets. These big, fat fish love me. (And R, and anyone who’s ever given them food. But mostly me.)

How are those sweaters coming?

I have half of the back of Anya’s sweater done; we’ve been on the go a lot, and also business picked up. But I’m hoping to jump back into it in the coming weeks. (It’s not like we will need sweaters for a few months.)

How go the diet and exercise goals?

I downloaded an app called Aaptiv and am working my way through the 30-day free trial. So far I have sampled some body weight exercises and some yoga and stretching routines, and they’ve both kicked my butt…but I’ve worked out at least 10 minutes per day since I downloaded it, with an average of 30 minutes per day, so there’s that.

I’ve also gotten the fam back into Pokemon, so much walking is taking place, heat be damned. (Gotta catch ’em all.)

In a surprise plot twist, I appear to be sensitive to gluten. And almonds, and oats, and possibly other grains. Me, the person who as a child was crushed that “grainatarian” wasn’t a thing. So that’s been interesting. I’m currently on an elimination diet (and already so very tired of rice), but expect more recipes in the coming weeks as I slowly figure out what the heck I can eat.

Any goals you’ve been able to cross off your list?

I brush and floss twice a day now. I wear sunscreen on all exposed body parts daily, and double up when I’m going to be out for long periods of time — I’m even putting sunscreen on my scalp. (Only took two sunburns to get me to this point. I have a strong family history of skin cancer, so this isn’t simply vanity on my part.) I have an honest-to-goodness skin care regimen for the first time in my entire life. I’m keeping the house fairly clean and tidy. As I mentioned, I’m exercising for roughly 30 minutes every day, and am working my way up to doing both yoga and strength exercises daily. I set up an independent savings/retirement plan — nothing big, but anything’s better than what I’ve been saving these past couple of years.

How was Camp NaNo? What’s the current word count?

I didn’t win, but I never thought I would. Current word count: 12,051.

Read any good books lately?

YES. I jumped back on the Atwood bandwagon and blew through The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam in about 2 weeks. Love her. Though I still say Oryx and Crake was the best of the three.

Did you check off all your summer to-dos?

We put up the pool and played in the sprinkler. We went to the zoo and the Botanic Garden and the Dixon gardens and the Children’s Museum. We ate snow cones and made homemade ice cream and had a cookout. We blew bubbles and played with sidewalk chalk. The kids took swimming lessons. Anya went to nature camp. Kai played t-ball. Both kids took dance lessons. Anya had sleepovers with her Mimi and Poppy. I grew flowers, and tried to grow a kitchen garden. We spent an afternoon at the splash park. We attended birthday parties and pool parties and went to the drive-in. We went bowling and had family game nights and caught fireflies and looked at the stars. We played Pokemon past our bedtime. We napped on the couch. Yeah, I think we pretty well covered summer.

What was the best part of the summer?

Setting fun goals and checking them off. I always include fun things on my to-do list now — they’re just as important as changing the furnace filter.

Tell me your favorite Anya story from this summer.

Anya showed an amazing leap in maturity when she selected a toy she really wanted as a gift for a friend’s birthday party. And she was the one to explain to Kai why neither of them was getting a toy that day. I’d braced myself for an argument that never came. Those are the best kinds of arguments.

She’s grown so much this summer, really. The tantrums are fewer and further between, and she’s become such a help to me around the house. I’m beginning to see the young woman she will someday be.

And your favorite Kai story?

This summer took Kai from a baby to a little boy. He can speak in (mostly) complete sentences now, so we converse rather than merely communicate. He took swim lessons, and was able to tell me when he didn’t want to go back. (He didn’t care much for the instructor…and frankly, I agreed with him.) He requested dance lessons, and still dances around the house. He learned to play Pokemon, and is actually pretty good at it. He’s figured out how to defeat the babyproofing on the fridge, the toilet, and the doors. (That’s been fun.) And potty training is coming right along. I miss my baby desperately, but I love my little boy.

How are your parents doing?

Good! Mom didn’t get a clean bill of health from her infectious disease doctor, but she was able to come off of the antibiotics for her MAC infection. She’s not having many bad RA days as of late, either. Dad had his hernia surgery and is recovering nicely. Overall, they both are feeling a lot better. Anya’s even had a couple of sleepovers.

What’s next?

In addition to school, this month brings Anya’s birthday, and the fair. Anya will start art classes and Girl Scouts once more. We have a bit more summer to squeeze out before fall (otherwise known as the best season) gets here. I’d love to take a quick weekend trip, but we’ll have to see how things shake out.

Coffee with Lorna

Still at the kitchen table, because the kids have allergies (the sinus infection-inducing kind) and I have work. More updatage, then. (Do we drop the silent ‘e’ when adding -age to a word, Pauly Shore? Both ways look wrong.)

Just in case this becomes a thing, these update posts, I thought I’d try a different format. I’m going to pretend I’m having coffee with one of my favorite bloggers. Not that I drink coffee. Or know how to drink a warm beverage in a coffee shop with an adult without the adorable frustration that is a 3-year-old who wants to open and sample allll the things. But I will pretend I do. And I will pretend, for the sake of argument, our littles are off playing somewhere (or watching a tablet together) so we can chat in peace.

….

I have been having good luck with a combination of plant-centric eating and intermittent fasting. It means I’m cooking less, and preparing things my family greets with raised eyebrows. But I feel better, at least.

.

Art class is over, and softball season’s nearly done. But Anya will be attending four day camps this summer, and her brother will start t-ball. They’ll both take swimming lessons, though not at the same time. I’m jealous of their extracurriculars; I’m thinking of signing up for one myself. Just not this summer. This summer is booked with all their stuff.

.

I discovered that Kai’s definition of “widdy butt” (lady bug) extends to all insects. He’s been feeding ants underneath his kiddie table in the kitchen. (“Widdy butt hungry!”) And he sobbed when I squished a spider. (“Widdy butt! Nooooo!”)

.

I cleaned out my closet and the kids’ closet, filled a ThredUp bag with the good stuff, and donated the rest. Rather, I tried to donate the rest. Some people took off with the bags before the donation truck could pick them up. I’d be miffed, but my goal was to keep the stuff out of the landfill — what do I care who uses it, so long as someone does?

.

Anya’s doing so well in school that I’d almost forgotten that kids used to be mean to her because of her speech issues. Then the other day we ended up going from park to park to park, trying to find one where the kids would play nice with her. Not that she always realized the kids were being mean; in some cases she thought they were playing with her. But I heard them whispering about her, and realized she was not a part of the game but rather the butt of it. We did finally find a park with a kid who was happy to play with her. I love kids like that. They restore my faith in children.

.

We’ve gotten the chance to enjoy spring, allergies and freakishly cold weather aside. We’ve flown kites. Visited the Botanic Gardens and the Dixon Gardens. Attended the annual rock show and loaded up on sparklies and fossils. I’ve even worked in a few solo walks. I still have a few things I want to do before it gets hot: Have a picnic, plant our veggie garden, plant some flowers around the bird feeder pole, go to the zoo. But if I accomplish none of those things, I still think we did right by spring.

.

I haven’t had the chance to write much on my book as of late, but my characters are never far from my mind. I like them so much, I wish they were real. But that’s what got me into writing in the first place — the overwhelming desire to write a better reality than the one I was living.

.

In two days, I’ll be 44. The age is not as meaningful to me as 42 and 43, but I like it. It has a good feel to it. I like that it’s an even number, that it’s a doubled number, and that it follows such eventful ages. I feel like, as did the years preceding it, 44 will bring good things. Am I being superstitious and silly? Ask me in a year.

.

I am currently deciding upon a recipe that the kids will like: chocolate cake. For my party, and for after Anya’s softball game (my birthday happens to coincide with her day to bring snacks). I’m also decorating the kitchen. Because R and Kai share a birthday, the only birthday that would ordinarily go without fanfare around here would be my own, and what fun is that? So I bake a cake and decorate the kitchen and put on a cute outfit. Sometimes there’s even an outing. This year’s decorating theme was very nearly llamas, but ultimately I went with spring flowers. Spring’s never long enough here anyway, and this year it was frustratingly brief. So it’ll be spring in my kitchen, even if we’re also running the air conditioner.

.

Did you know llamas are the next big thing? Someone decided that they’re the new unicorns, but nobody asked Anya about that. I don’t see her embracing the llamas. I think they’re cute, though. And I’m over unicorns. Still, who decides these things? And where did they come up with llamas?

.

It’s pretty quiet over there. Best check what the kids are getting in to.

….

 

3MS

I’ll start this post by telling you about my son’s PMS.

Shortly after I started on the Provera, Kai’s mood swings became a sight to behold. One minute he was snuggling me and telling me he loved me. The next he was literally bouncing off the walls and cackling. A moment after that, he was shrieking at me in rage and beating me with his toys. While I was trying to put him in his car seat after dropping his sister off at art class, he fought so hard to get out of my arms that he slammed his face into the edge of the car door hard enough to make his lip bleed. And then shrugged it off and played happily in the front seat for 15 minutes. He sees your Terrible Threes and raises you a 13-year-old.

Because I was PMSing hard, and it sometimes takes me a bit to realize my mind is not my own in that state, I thought my son had gone completely off the rails, and that it was a sign of my utter ineptitude as a parent.

Then I realized that part of the problem was my own hormonal state. So I lifted the sugar embargo. And gave him some, to boot. It worked. He happily munched on candy, then lay down on the floor and passed out. When he woke, he was my cuddle bug once more.

The next day, he had a series of epic poos. I realized that, though his fever was gone and his symptoms had tapered, he was still sick. And he is not a patient sick person. His sister could wake up with the plague and still go to school. Not this boy.

The nurse at my doctor’s office also called me back and reassured me that it was highly unlikely that he was getting enough Provera to cause mood swings; he’s just 3. So that’s a load off. But also not, because he’s going to get sick a lot more frequently than I am going to be on Provera. (Plus I could just refuse the Provera.)

Speaking of the Provera, I’m finally done with the bottle and am now waiting to start. Whether the 3MS is done remains to be seen.

In other news:

  • Now R has the crud. Thus far I have stayed out of the fray, despite the fact that Kai has been sneezing in my face for days on end now. Go go gadget handwashing.
  • Mom is doing well. She’s even shopping again, which is freaking amazing considering she just had a damn heart attack. I bet Kevin Smith isn’t feeling that great.
  • I took advantage of R’s sick day to (finally) update my name on my bank account. And once again butted heads with small-town patriarchy. It is simply inconceivable to these women (yes, every single person who has pushed back against my married name has been a woman) that I would choose a name for myself that wasn’t First Maiden Married. “You’re changing your maiden name?” Um, no. I’m taking a new last name that reflects my legal and emotional bond to the father of my children but doesn’t erase the identity I’ve had for the past 43 years. (I’m working on a whole separate blog post on the topic.)
  • I have abandoned, for the moment at least, the ban on sugar. And the food diary. I can’t seem to keep a food diary without counting calories, and I can’t count calories without trying to keep them to my pre-baby levels, and that just isn’t enough calories for a breastfeeding mom. So I’m just trying to eat 2 fruits and 3 vegetables each day. And just like that, my headache went away. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
  • I have been snowed under with a huge work project these past two weeks, so not much else has been going on. But I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, there’s cookies in it.