Monday, December 28, 2015

The Story of Nothing Is Clean

Sometimes I look at my house and realize nothing is clean. Actually, this probably happens once a day. If not twice.

I used to be able to get everything done at once. At least to my comfort level. Dishes cleaned. Vaccumed. A bit of time for myself, for knitting. Laundry done and put away. And bedsheets changed, pillows rotated. Things felt in order. I like how it feels when things are put up where they belong.

This month I've been wondering what is wrong with me. Why do things have to feel like they are clean and organized? Why when the dishes are not done and the laundry is in a two day pileup and my baby is crying do I feel as if the world has ended?

Do other moms feel this way?

Many times when Brian is holding Reuben I will do the dishes. When they are done I will feel as if things are put right. A sense of calm will descend on me. I think to myself "well, at least now I've accomplished something today."

As if clothing and soothing and feeding a small baby with my body isn't "doing something". As if changing and tickling and loving Reuben isn't enough.

This must be a human thing.

Before baby I had a lot of time to waste. I had more time to clean, as well. Now sometimes it's like I'm juggling. The balls in the air are all chores, and the ball for free time never seems to come around. I think sometimes I'm drowning. But the day always comes in the morning and breakfast always needs to be made and dishes always need to be done again and

Life can be overwhelming at times.

We are in the middle of setting up Reuben a nursery, and my house is in a state of chaos it has not been in since we bought him home and all this started. I don't know why but the fact that our normally clean back splash looks like this has been a source of a few fights between me and my husband. It's his things, from a engineering project he started a few months ago as well as bread machine stuff and a few purchases he bought for another computer project and tools because we are dismantling a whole room and rotating house. It's just piled up and it is literally driving me crazy.

I want to clean it. He has asked me not to, several times, because he is in the midst of working on it. But it's been three months. I feel like it would only take me a half hour to put to rights. A half hour. Does my husband not have a half hour to dedicate to my sanity? Every day that I see it I remember that he still hasn't done it.

Today I finally wondered why it matters so much to me. Will having that back splash clean make my life better? Is it really worth it? Why does it make me panic to look at it? Why do I feel like things are falling apart because it isn't clean?

These are things I am pondering, tonight.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ruffle Boot Cuffs

I made these cute ruffle boot cuffs just for fun. And to practice ruffles, because I have two nieces and they need ruffle hats and diaper covers. (next project!!)

So to make these boot cuffs you will need two types of worsted weight yarn. You will need 100 yards for the cuff, and about 50 yards for the ruffles. I used red and green for seasonal reasons, but whatever colors you want are great! I also used a 4.0mm crochet hook. All my crochet projects use US terms.

Gauge is 4 hdc per inch, when hdc is preformed in the continuous round. Finished cuff measures (taken flat) 4.5 inches by 5.75 inches, and fits a 8-9 inch ankle.


Chain 33, with main color yarn. Boot cuff worked from bottom up.

R1: skipping (sk) the first chain (ch) and half double crochet (hdc) 32 times, one in each stitch (st).

R2: join in the round by hdc into the first st. do not slip st. continue hdc around until piece measures 3.5 inches. Do one single crochet (sc) and then 2 slip stitches (sl st) Cut yarn.

R3: (with ruffle yarn color) starting in any stitch, pull up a loop and do a sc only in the front loop. Now *sc, ch 3* in each st around, only working into the front loops. Sl st into the first st, and cut yarn. I weave in ends after each row.

R4: (with main color yarn, and working in the back loops of the very top of round 2) yarn over twice on your hook, and do a chainless starting double crochet (see video) this counts as your first dc. Now dc into each st around in the back loop for 32 dc.

Repeat round 3-4 for as many ruffles as you want. Weave in all ends, and wear :)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

Imagine you struggle with drugs. You can't stop thinking about them, obsessing over them, and you have a terrible addiction. It's bad. After spiraling into a downward depression, you finally decide to seek help. It takes all the courage you can muster to talk to a woman in your church about your ongoing problem.

But after your tear-filled confession imagine your surprise as she tells you not to worry, that you must be mistaken. Of course you don't struggle with drugs! Of all the things to say! She pats you on the head and comments on how cute your baby is while you try frantically to explain that yes, you do have a problem and its eating away at your life and please, please you need help.

Her brow furrows. She repeats again that nothing is wrong, you are fine.

The conversation ends. You feel alone. You feel isolated. No one sees you. No one will help you.

This sounds crazy, right? No one would really do that.

But they do it to me every day.

Only my problem isn't drugs. My problem is my postpartum body. I am really really struggling. Yet when I tell people in person all I hear is "You are beautiful! You look great! Don't worry!" or "Look at how amazing your baby is! Wasn't it worth it? Don't worry about it, because you have a beautiful, healthy child."

First of all, if I tell you I am struggling with depression and anxiety daily over my 30 pound weight gain, and that I am having trouble functioning and getting out of bed sometimes---you tell me to get over it? You tell me that I am beautiful? So you just ignore my problem and instead try to tell me it's all in my head?

This leaves me not only confused, but not trusting my own feelings. You are telling me that the things I am dealing with are not real and are not of any value. I feel isolated, and alone. I came to you because I need help, not a pat on the back and a trite saying. I know I'm beautiful. I still want to lose 30 pounds. I don't feel ugly. I feel fat. And telling me I look great is not helping because I can feel the difference and see the difference in my own skin and my clothes and it makes me want to hide.

It's like you are trying to ignore the elephant in the room. No matter how many nice words you throw at it, it's kinda hard to mask. I mean, it's an elephant. My mom just last week commented on how much weight I'd gained and told me that even with it I still look awesome. This helped. She recognized my issue and then complimented me. We talked about it, and she offered tips to help as well as prayer. It was refreshing to hear someone agree with me for once. I gained weight. It's okay. She saw and addressed the elephant instead of trying to cover it up with nice sounding words.

The second thing I hear is even worse. A few people have instead told me how beautiful Reuben is and that I should not worry about my weight because at least he is healthy. And I am so glad Reuben is healthy. I make sure all his needs are met, and I love him to pieces. But this is not about him. This is about me. I don't blame Reuben for my weight. However, the answer is not to throw all my life into him. If I stare at my baby for hours and make him my world I'll still be 30 pounds (or more!) at the end of the day and back right where I started in terms of depression.

People who just tell me I look beautiful and I am fine make me want to eat a whole pizza.

Clearly this is still a uphill battle for me.

And yes I know people mean well when they tell me that I am still beautiful and not to worry. But it still hurts and makes me feel like a child being reprimanded for daring to mention that I am totally struggling with body image. Thank you for the lady in yesterday's post who told me to mourn. I felt that I finally found the word for what I am feeling.

And yes I know I am totally guilty of this too. I know I've told people who are struggling with body image "not to worry, they look great". I regret every single time!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Learning to Love my Body, Again

I'll be honest guys. The first three months after having a baby I would look at my body and cry. I would try not to look at it, not to think about it. I knew I was fat and ugly and pudgy and saggy everywhere, and it pissed me off. I worked SO HARD before getting pregnant. I was down 25 pounds, I could do a plank for almost three minutes and I was fitting in my size 8 pants again. I had never felt better.

Now I look like I am three months pregnant, I am wearing a size 14 and everything sags.

I am not here to tell you it is worth it. I am not here to tell you that, in the wake of my adorable little boy and his beautiful smile that everything is bliss and happy rainbows and that my stretch marks don't make me die a little inside every time I see them.

I also don't want to you think I am exaggerating, so here is a picture.

It took a lot to post this pictures. Also, my husband took it while holding a baby on my iPhone, so yeah, it isn't the best. But it's raw. And real. And I am almost crying looking at it.

I exercised all through my pregnancy. I gained a total of 50 pounds, and lost a whopping 30 pounds at birth. I birthed a 10 pound 6oz human. I didn't exercise for 6 weeks after having him. I started after my checkup determined to change my body. I exercised for 6 weeks and didn't notice a single thing changing (I am sure things did) and in a bout of depression I quit. I gained 12 pounds and my feelings about my body plummeted even further.  

Yesterday, 5 months postpartum, laying in bed I finally realized that I don't like my body. I am not comfortable in it. I really want it to change. I know I need to actively work towards that change. I feel so stuck, so trapped through. I thought nursing would help me lose weight. I thought I would have energy to feed myself veggies and not binge on pizza because I am starving and my baby is clingy and my husband is home late and I am just done with the day.

Today I realized it's okay not to like my body. It's okay to hate it. It's okay. My body is not who I am. I mean, physically it is. But beyond my tangible features, who God created me to be is so much more than my body.

Knowing this still does not help me not cry at night.

Knowing this still does not help me feel terrible when my clothes don't fit.

Knowing this still does not help when kind people ask me when I am due. (LITERALLY)

Knowing this does not help.

But maybe it is a start.

I really want to exercise. I want to try and change my body if I can. I want to actively work on shrinking my midsection and I want to lose weight. Mostly I want to feel like ME agian.

I know I am not my body. But I can't help but feel like I am.

Confessions of a new mom.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


It is a rare moment to have time to myself. I've started staying up an hour after baby goes down, about every other day just to have time just to myself. My rule is no chores. No husband. Just an hour to do something fun.

It's seriously helped my stress level.

But you know what? I started this new rule last week, and today when the baby went down and as my husband watched Chuck (it's our new Netflix love) I realized I honestly didn't know what to do to with myself. It is so rare I have a moment without the baby. Last night he woke up and cried right when I put him down and I just went to bed, him in the crook of my arm, to nurse him to back to sleep. The night before that he didn't nod off until 11pm and I was to tired to stay up.

I've found that I can't expect free time. If I do, and I don't get it, it's stressful and makes me upset. I try not to expect it. I try, honestly, lately--to just survive. Most days are survival days.

At one of my mommy meetings (yes I am so old I go to mommy meetings, I can literally hear my teenage self laughing) someone said the first 7 years of raising a child require two types of days. Survival days was the second type she mentioned, where you are basically trying to make sure no one dies. Raising a baby is often like that. I make it through the day and Reuben didn't die and he is wearing clothes, so it was a good day even if the dishes are not done and my husband happens to pick up dinner while I cry in the shower. Other days are Get-Ahead days. Those are rare. You know, days where the baby actually sleeps and I vacuum. And the dishes get done AND maybe I get to film a video for my Youtube channel, about the only thing I even attempt to keep up with at this time in my life.

Anyway, that brings me back to my main point. An hour to myself. I decided this hour I would write a blog post. But then I had to think, what do I want to write? And I had a moment of panic realizing I a) don't know how to use my brain anymore and b) have no idea what I want to say because (a) and when do I have time to like, think about what I am going through anymore? As I said, most days are survival days. I survive, but I don't think. It's react and muscle memory.

I love being a mom. Reuben is awesome. Brian is awesome. I don't know who I am much besides a mommy right now. I have not worn a single piece of lingerie for my husband since I gave birth. When I have a tiny bit of free time during the day I choose, usually, to do the dishes instead of brush my hair. I usually brush my hair in the car, with Reuben in his car seat, on the way to an event.

You may think I am exaggerating. Let me tell you, I have a kid that does not nap. Ever. You complain that your adorable offspring only sleeps 30 min? Mine does not nap unless he is nursing (and then I of course am trapped sitting) or in the car. He used to nap when I baby-wore but he has even quit doing that, so I mostly wear an awake baby and try and do things sometimes, but he is heavy and I can't kneel/bend over and I can't back-wear yet, so no cooking (hot things) or dishes (sharp knives) or anything dangerous.

He really does not nap. I was worried but that is just some babies. He does sleep really well at night (a good 6 hours) so I'll take it, I suppose. I don't know any different. Maybe soon he will start napping. What is normal? He "naps" by nursing and sleeping about 3 times a day, for about 45 min each session. He wakes up when he pops off my boob even if I stay sitting down, and especially if I stand up and try to lay him down or move him. What can I say, he loves being attached to me.

I don't take pictures on my DSLR anymore. Every pic I take is on my iPhone, rushed so I can eat or pick up Reuben but taken nevertheless so I can remember how small and cute and wonderful he is. I don't really wear dresses anymore. I used to wear a dress almost every day. How that has changed. Leggings, and a long sleeve tee that is easy to pull up to nurse are my go-to. I haven't sewn anything, although I am dying to make Reuben a pair of leggings. I have knit, but have no time to take pictures for this space, my blog. I really do miss this space. I read some old stuff I wrote while I was nursing and thought I was funny. I am still funny, when I remember that I have a brain. Hah.

I talk about my baby a lot. Seriously, it must be annoying, but I can't stop. I am one of those moms.

I still make videos, because it's easy, and I need something, at least, to do that is creative... 

And I just heard my baby wake up. 19 minutes. Better than yesterday. And I had more to say, but I suppose that, too, will wash away with whatever else I've forgotten to get done today.

Until next time. I don't even have time to check this for errors, not that I catch most of them anyway. But trying is nice.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What I Wanted You to Say

Me: I'm fat. *cries dramatically*
Husband: You are not fat! You are beautiful!

What I wanted him to say: Your body has changed after pregnancy. I see that. You are still my wife and I love you and I think you are beautiful. It's okay.

Elder Lady at Church: Oh! Are you expecting again?
Me: Uh, no. I'm just, uh, fat. (yeah that is how I responded...)
Elder Lady at Church: ...

What I wanted her to say: Oh dear, I am an busybody old curmudgeon who needs to keep her opinions to herself. Here is $20.

Pre-Pregnancy Jeans: You are crazy if you think you can fit into me.
Me: ::tries on Jeans:: ::can't sit down, breathe or move:: ::is depressed::

What I wanted them to say: You've moved on, girl. To new and better things, but alas I am no longer the go-to item in your wardrobe. Buy some leggings and get rid of me so I don't sit in your closet for months reminding you of how much your thighs have expanded.

Baby Reuben: Iloveyou Ilove you ILOVE YOU omg I love you love love love mommy mommy mommy why aren't you holding me
Me: O_O

What I wished he would say: Oh dear, I see you didn't get much sleep because I kept you up. Here is $20.

The struggle is real. Also nothing is ever clean at the same time. I love being a mother. But can someone come hold my baby so I can finish the laundry?

(I may have had postpartum depression last month. Lets not talk about it, shall we?)