Friday, September 23, 2016

Grabbing Time

It's been a crazy back to school season. It's been all about transitions. 

Transitioning back into school, back into routines, and crazy busy schedules and homework and practices and ahhhhhhh. I hate transitions and being busy. I mean seriously, I hate it. My peri-menopausal hormone-induced heightened anxiety that I've been experiencing of late has made it all a million times worse.

So, this past week I took a little bit of control back and found time and hope and felt so much better.
Here's what I did:

I didn't wait for the right time. The only night we all were together for a family dinner was Monday night. So, I lit candles and put on some music and set the table for the fam. I made a normal night something special because it felt good and it didn't matter that it was a dumb Monday night.

I skipped curriculum night at all my kids' schools. Instead, one night we went on a family walk instead with the dogs; on another night, I watched Peyton's football game instead of missing the end and rushing to the elementary school. After I got over the initial feeling of guilt and like I was failing because I wasn't going to everything, everywhere, it felt nice. And relaxing.

I ran while the lasagna cooked. I found out last week that not running or exercising led to so much more anxiety. So, I snuck in a run when I could. One night it was while the lasagna was in the oven. I ran four very slow miles but I felt happier and more in control, and less guilt when I ate a lot of lasagna.

I watched TV with Tim. When Tim and I are out of sync the family feels out of sync. So, we made time for each other. Sure it was just hanging out watching TV, but it was really good TV and we were together in the same room (that's rare!). We watched the new show This Is Us and LOVED it. We also started watching Homeland...intense. It's nothing expensive and fancy, but it's also better than nothing and not talking.

(I so needed a show like this on TV. It's good.)

I left the game. At first this was a very low moment for me, but it turned out to be a good lesson. I had a mild panic attack at JT's football game. Instead of forcing myself to stay and fight through my anxiety and potentially have a bigger panic attack, I left. I was embarrassed and sort of full of shame as I was leaving and even later that night. But then I realized it was the best thing I could do for myself at that moment and taking care of myself was/is important. JT came home and excitedly told me all about his game. My mom friends in the stands texted to see if I was okay and gave me so much love and support. Just like an athlete who is cramping or playing injured, sometimes you have to take yourself out of the game to stay healthy. (We are big on sports analogies here at our house, so this one felt right on.)

When I was a teenager my dad used to say "it's not about not having time, it's about not making time." Oh my god, I hated that so much. But last week, I made some time. Instead of running around and doing all the things and resenting all the things and losing myself to all the things, I said no to some of the things. I made and found some time and it helped so much with everything. It probably won't be possible to skip all the meetings and I hope I stay for all the rest of the games, but when I can find time for a dinner on the porch or a walk through the woods with the kids and the dogs, I'm going to grab it because my god it feels good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Celiac Disease Awareness--Gluten Free, Not a Choice, A Cure

Yesterday was Celiac Disease Awareness Day. In true me fashion lately, I'm a day behind. But I thought I would take the opportunity to share how Celiac Disease impacts our family and spread a little awareness.

My third child, JT, has Celiac disease. 

He was diagnosed when he was 3 1/2, a few months after Wade was born. JT had never been a big eater, he always preferred drinking a bottle over baby food and a sippy cup over lunch. He would get bad stomachaches and get sick to his stomach a lot.  But I had no idea what Celiac was. Being "gluten free" hadn't gone mainstream yet so I wasn't familiar with that either.  After he had hernia surgery, JT started losing weight and was sick all the time. He was slipping off the growth charts and was what doctors call "failing to thrive."  He couldn't digest any food. He looked like a starving child.

Once we got the diagnosis, everything changed. We got rid of the gluten in our house and in most of our life and JT started getting better. He gained weight. He grew. He got happier. He got healthier.

Going gluten free wasn't a choice, it was a cure.

Here are a few of our truths about what Celiac disease was and is for us....

Celiac disease was watching my 3-year-old waste away.
He could not keep any food down. His arms were like toothpicks. His belly was distended and hard as a rock and hollow sounding. He was pail and sickly. But he still smiled because he is JT, such a positive, sweet boy.

Celiac disease is a part of our everyday life. We read labels. We research online. We are very careful. Even a crumb can make JT sick. Our household is gluten free because JT gets sick from cross contamination and we want him to always feel comfortable and included at home.
We shop at all kinds of grocery stores and are reaping the benefits of everyone wanting to go gluten free. There are so many more products available at more affordable prices than there were seven years ago!!!!!

And duh, we still eat cake. Gluten free cake! 

When we travel, we don't think that much about restaurants. We have dinner in our room or on a picnic with the gluten free food we buy/bring. It's actually pretty awesome--we end up saving a lot of money and spending more time relaxing together. This was our spread in our tiny hotel in Atlanta this past summer.
Sadly, we miss stuff and mess up and he gets sick sometimes. One time we thought it was a gluten-free muffin mix and it was not and JT got violently ill. 

Celiac disease does not cause anaphylactic shock. Having to be so careful so JT does not get sick and stays healthy and strong has made my compassion sort of explode for other children and families dealing with any food allergy or autoimmune disease. I cannot imagine worrying about whether or not my child would stop breathing. So when a parent asks me to not bring peanuts to school, I don't and it's not a problem at all.

Celiac disease is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disease. When JT gets "glutened" he usually throws up a lot and has severe stomach pain. He also gets very dazed and foggy-headed. He becomes very tired and can be in bed for at the very least 24 hours after ingesting the gluten. 

Celiac disease is our normal. It doesn't slow down JT for very long. He is an active, happy, pretty freakin' fantastic kid.

I love him so much. 

Here's some other information from a great web site, Beyond Celiac:

Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease.

Celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease with a known trigger--Gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley and foods and drinks that contain these grains.

Left undiagnosed and untreated, people with Celiac disease are at-risk for other serious health consequences such as osteoporosis, anemia, thyroid disease and even certain cancers.

Eighty-nine percent of patients experience brain fog after gluten exposure. Some describe it as difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness and grogginess.

Click here to learn more about Celiac disease.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Going to Bed at 8 p.m.

When I started this blog five years ago I thought life was hectic. I look back and I laugh because five years ago I had no idea what hectic was. The kids were little and busy sure, but none of them had phones and they all went to bed around 8 p.m. I never could have imagined how busy life would get, how busy the kids would get....but man, life is nuts right now.

It's not bad, just busy. And no one is going to bed at 8 p.m.

I miss parts of the early days. I miss being in total control of our schedule. I miss being able to entertain all the kids with silly kitchen dances and crafts. I miss writing about all of our sweet, simple adventures here on the blog.

There are so many cool things happening now that I want to document and share. Like Peyton starting high school and Wade's first football game. I want to talk about how I'm training for a half-marathon and how it's so different as an older/peri-menopausal woman (I'm slower and sweatier). I want to write about trying to find balance and my feelings about being a working mom. But god dammit no one is going to bed at 8 p.m. and I am having trouble carving out time to write and document and be creative.  And I miss it.

It's hard to find time for everything and everyone. I just didn't anticipate how busy life would get and how tired I would feel and how fast time would go. Waaaaa. Maybe I'm just worn out from the back-to-school mania of the past couple weeks. Maybe I hate change and I don't want summer to end. Maybe I wish school started at 10 a.m. and weekends were three days long and days had more than 24 hours. Maybe I just need start going to bed at 8 p.m., at least a couple nights a week.

Hereare a few things that happened in the last few weeks:

There were morning runs. Great thing about getting up early to run is morning skies like this one. I like to call these hell yeah skies.

A dinner party.
A birthday party. Yup, his birthday was in May and we just got around to having a few friends over. lol.
Better late than never, right?

One last trip to the beach. Lake Michigan dunes!
And yes, Tim is napping.

One last fishing trip to up north on the lake.

Everyone had a first day back to school.
More cake! 
There has already been lots and lots of football practice and games.

Wade played his first game! 
Post-game pep talks from grandparents. 
Some of us struggled more than others with the early school start time. 
The dogs aren't so happy about all of us going back to school or work. I totally get it. Waaaaa.