Thursday, October 29, 2020

Are All the other Mothers better?

I don't understand how I can have my ducks in a row one day but the next everything falls apart. I don't understand how my kitchen can get so dirty on an hourly basis. How I can clean it cheerfully for weeks but one day I can't, so I cry and eat chocolate and feel wretched. 

Today it rained so the children were inside and I desperately needed a break and didn't get one. I tried to get them to watch TV which backfired because television makes them cranky and irritable which also didn't help my (or their) moods. So we made muffins and after almost two weeks of eating soup I really wanted a muffin. I wanted my digestive system to allow me to eat a muffin. I wanted the muffin not to cause me pain and bloating but to nourish me. It sucks that my digestive system is broken. 

I ate four muffins and I hate myself.


I know I am not the only mother that struggles. 

I know I'm not alone. But I also know a lot of moms who seem to have it all together. I've never heard them yell. The craft pictures they post to Instagram while I'm trying to hold my sanity together are amazing. They make dinner every night. They have great marriages, big houses, and minivans. Like, is everything a lie or am I just a mistake?

Okay, so I know I make crafts with my kids too. But I also have raised my voice at them and been so touched out I have struggled with being present, cooking, cleaning...and feeling good/confident about myself. Don't have children if you are looking for a confidence booster. 0/10 stars. 

So many things are wrong with me. For one, I have started responding to the comment "so when are you going to have more babies" or "time for number three?" with the words "I have too many dead babies". I hate saying this. But it just happens. I literally have no other words for inquiries into my procreation plans. And it is true. I would love to have more children, but they keep dying, so I guess it isn't part of my future. I'm okay with it, which basically means I'm not okay with it but don't see how to change it. We have quit trying and now when I think about pregnancy it is with horror and guilt, and with a heart full of trauma. 

I want to change. I want to schedule my time wisely so I cook, clean and educate my small charges without anxiety, stress or panic attacks. I want to have the kind of life where I can remember to brush my teeth and hair without rushing. I want to look at my body in the mirror and not see all the babies that didn't make it. I would love for there to be some time for me and my husband to make deep and meaningful connections and I wish I didn't feel like I was sprinting from one task to another and always, always, behind. 

I have no idea how to achieve any of the above anymore. 

I hate that I live where I work. I wake up at work. I go to sleep at work. If my husband has to work late, I have to work late. I take my work with me when I go to the grocery store. I'm always at work. 

I don't know how other women do this. 

I've written a lot of positive posts but this isn't one of them. I'm exhausted. And there is no one to help. My husband has been working late daily and we can't afford a babysitter. 

I love my children, and I'll never ever regret them. But I do regret that I have all these problems and scheduling issues that get in the way of me being a good parent. I regret all my health problems that take up so much of my time as I try to figure out how to get better. I dream a lot of "one day" when I won't have to worry about what I'll eat or if I'll have energy. I hope that day comes soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

GAPS diet [week one]

Yes, it seems to be that time again: the time that I will try a crazy diet to see if it helps my crazy autoimmune issues. If you have read my blog before, you will know I have tried the paleo diet for around three years and I was keto for eighteen months (these time frames are guesses) and now...I am trying the GAPS diet. 

I have read about the GAPS diet a long time ago but thought it way too difficult. But now (a few years later) I watched a video by Bumblebee Apothecary and...decided to give it a try. I saw her on YouTube and I literally decided to go on the diet THAT SECOND as I watched one of her 3 minute videos. I ordered her 30 day GAPS intro meal plan and have been GAPS for one week without even reading the book yet! (It is on the way to me in the mail).

Here are the symptoms I am trying to heal with GAPS: anxiety, bloating, digestive issues, memory issues, skin/hair issues (like dandruff and eczema) and chronic constipation. Mostly I would just like to be able to eat something without being in pain and looking six months pregnant. 

Here are my thoughts so far.

[stage 1 intro diet]

Day one: WOAH. this is amazing, and easy. I love not having to think about what I am making for meals. Soup is so easy. This is fun! The kids eat all the soup too.

Day two: I LOVE THIS DIET. (also I am super bloated I wonder if this is normal) Kids say no more soup mom please I hate soup.

Day three: hungry, super bloated. a bit tired of soup. (also anxiety) Making kids separate foods because soup.

[stage 2 intro diet]

Day four: probably in ketosis (soup is low carb). a bit less bloated but still very bloated. I GET TO EAT EGG YOLKS NOW OMG.

Day five-six: best days ever. I feel great. no bloating at all. my stomach is flatter then it has ever been in like eight years since these autoimmune problems started flaring. Also I realized I actually love soup, and yogurt and sauerkraut and keifer....and while I do want some chocolate this diet is amazing

Day seven: a small amount of bloating returns. I added onions to my soup. I wonder if it is the onions? Am I over thinking this? Should keep a food diary? (also anxiety on this day too)

I am hopeful this diet can heal my gut. I'm going to read the book and do the intro diet to the full gaps diet! I will keep you guys updated. So far, I feel really hopeful...

Also, you notice I didn't mention diabetes or insulin resistance...that's because my blood sugar has been PERFECT since I did a (horrible) candida cleanse. WHOO! Like literally I can eat bowls of rice and my blood sugar is normal. Its crazy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Facing the Last Nine Years

I realized the other day that for the nine years I have known my husband, 7 of those years I have been in mourning. Mourning, at first, my inability to stay pregnant after two losses. Wondering if I would ever have a baby.

With the birth of Reuben in 2016, I mourned the loss of my independent life and the changes pregnancy and childbirth inflicted upon my body, even while I rejoiced in the arrival of my beautiful son who I had longed for. 

We had Becky in 2018. 2018 is one of the best years of my life. My autoimmune diseases were subdued enough that I was living normally. My husband was helping so much around the house and with the kids. I felt seen and cared for postpartum. I thought maybe I was better. After two kids, maybe I could have more. Maybe my dream for a large family of 5 or 6 children was attainable! Hope blossomed in my heart and my desire for more babies thrilled me. I tried not to think of my years of infertility and miscarriage before I had Reuben.

In November of 2019 I was diagnosed with step throat and took a round of antibiotics, the first round in 6 years. I don't know if this was the trigger or just a side note, but my health has been abominable since. All my autoimmune problems are flaring. I went on to suffer two miscarriages in 2020, one at 8 weeks in January and one at 10 weeks in May, during covid.   

For the rest of May, June, and part of July I had a awful flair up of Epstein-Bar virus or ME/CFS causing me to be bedridden. After taking a round of herbs, I am left with on and off chronic fatigue (but only occasionally, thank God) horrible gut bloating whenever I eat anything, stomach pain, headaches, depression and anxiety. I'm seeing a natural doctor to see if they can help, and would appreciate prayers. 

And again, 2020 has been the year of mourning. Again infertility haunts me. All the fresh pain of losing babies with the waves of those I have already lost is staggering. And, so many are suffering due to covid...the explosion in beirut...war in artsakh...racial issues in America...I could go on, but I won't. During all of this, I have been in deep morning. Mourning the losses of my little ones. Mourning our choice to stop trying to have more babies, because my body can't, I can't go through this again. Mourning ending of my nursing years, as my debilitating chronic illness made it necessary for me to wean.

I always wanted a big family. I have eight children. But only two are with me right now. I have two beautiful blessings to be thankful for. And even though they were not allowed to stay, I am thankful for the six who wait for me in heaven, so thankful for the little time we had together. 

I have a God who loves me and who is good. My trials point me to Jesus and how much I need him in my life. I am his. His will for me is good, even when it doesn't seem that way to me. I have a husband who works hard for me and who loves me, and I am able to home-school. I have a lot of yarn. Yes, I am thankful for yarn. I love knitting and crocheting and the process of making something and sharing it with the world. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for God is with me and his rod and staff will comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

There is more suffering to come, because we are but sojourners on this Earth. God is good and I will trust in him.

I wonder what the next nine years will be like? All I can do is keep going. And rest, and give myself time to grieve and time to mourn and time to pray. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Crochet Super Slouchy Leg Warmers

I love these fun legwarmers! They are perfect for fall and crochet in the round with bulky yarn and a 6.0mm crochet hook. Check out the free pattern here! The video is below. How would you wear these?

Monday, October 12, 2020

Wonderfluff Coat

Becky wanted a "fairy coat" and thus I made her this coat with pink trimming out of wonderfluff bulky yarn and some fingering wool yarn from Knitpicks. 

She loves it! I made up the pattern all on my own and crochet it in two days. Oh, those wonderful two days of work. I love the process.

And shes at that age where she will wear anything I make and adore it to pieces which of course goes right to my head.

Friday, October 9, 2020

September Mother Culture

May, June, July and August "Mother Culture" goals had to be put aside due to a miscarriage and my autoimmune diseases flaring. Also the anxiety of covid and political and racial unrest in my country didn't help. But, this is real life. It happens. In September, I became slightly more functional and was able to start knitting and crocheting and reading again. I made something for Becky! I crochet her a hat and a sweater. Isn't she cute?!

I wasn't able to read any of the books I actually scheduled for this month, but that is okay. I'll celebrate what I was able to do, and that was also make something for Reuben. He was gifted this warm hat in green, which he adores, and I'm making it into a pattern to share with you all! He is in this stage where he doesn't like pictures, too, so I had to bribe him with chocolate chips. And of course Becky wanted some too. But I am glad he loves his hat!

I am reading Redeeming Money now for October and also need to find that stocking I started crocheting for my husband. It feels good to be making and planing again, instead of curled up miserably on the couch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Homeschooling won't save my kids

No matter how much organic grass fed beef you feed your children, they will still sin.

Homeschooling? Your child is going to sin.

Public school? Sinners.

Eat at the table as a family every night? Sinful children.

No tv in the house? Kid is still going to wallow in sin.

Allow tablets and screen time? Better be ready for some rebellious hearts to surface.

Are you vegan gluten free homesteading off grid with rescue cows? Sin will rear in your child heart.

More and more I realize there is no right way to train up a child. Yes, you want to point your little darling sinner to God and you want to mirror a repentant heart to them. Yes, you want to follow the bible and cling to God's promises. But the little things? I'm beginning to think they are not as as important as I thought.

Take homeschooling, for example. Homeschooling is great. Your children will have a first person viewpoint into the mess you call a family. Every day they will struggle to see you get your shit together, for lack of a better word, as you strive to mother, teach, clean, manage and cook. They will see your broken moments. They will see you stressed out and anxious and upset. Things they wouldn't see if they were in a school system and you, as a mother, were able to have eight hours of uninterrupted peace.

They will also see you fall on your knees before God. They will see a real human deal with real life, and that is hopefully a good thing? Ask me in 15 years.

I pray I'm being a good example to my children. I love homeschooling, but it is a lot of work and there are definitely cons! My children are just as sinful as public schooled children. We need just as much grace. I desperately need space and time away from my family and sometimes I don't get it, so I throw an adult tantrum and eat chocolate.

God is good. 

Homeschooling won't save my kids.

What was the point of this again?

Oh, sinners. I'm starting to realize the real meat of parenting is teaching your children to battle the sin in their own hearts. While striving against your own sin, of course, and maintaining your house, cooking, meeting the emotional needs of your husband and taking pictures of your perfect little toddler's crafts for Instagram so Sally can see what a great mom you are.

Life really has too many plates to keep spinning. And I don't even know how to juggle.

It's a good thing I serve a God who doesn't care about messy floors, burnt chicken, or the 310th picture of my daughter that I uploaded to Facebook.

All I need to do is trust Christ and live for him, the rest is chaff in the wind. My kids are going to sin. It's inevitable, and instead of thinking "they will never do that" I need to plan and prepare their own hearts for the disappointments and sin that is to come.

Only God can save sinners. 

Trust in him, dear mama.  Not organic chicken or teachings at home or how many hours of daniel tiger you watch a day. Just trust in him.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Reuben's Preschool Synoposis

Reuben is officially a kinder-gardener, and has been for weeks now! I wanted to remember all the things we did for preschool, so here is his preschool recap. We started light learning activities when he was two, and I don't regret it at all, though I know play is the most important thing for the preschool years. Here is the post I wrote when I was planning his preschool, oh how it feels like yesterday!