A different sort of year in review…

Every year in the blog I do some sort of year end wrap up. This year is different. This year my blog has served a very different purpose than it ever has. It hasn’t documented the every day hum drum of life. It documents some things and some things get left unsaid, but if I do this review right most of the important stuff will easily be remembered.

I saw this on pinterest and thought it was a really interesting take on the year in review and hoping it serves as a walk down memory lane for me.

14587398123_69b593e6a3_z10 Highlights-Accomplishments and Best Memories: 1) Watching my family’s faith, love and strength grow in immeasurable ways. This is not really the way you want it to happen, but I remember in those first days several people tried to tell me if there were some good to come from it all that would be it. I had no idea how it would bond us all. 2) The absolute elation when Dr. Banas here in Fort Wayne told us, “I can’t help you, but I can set you up with the best.” I was so worried our lives would be forever spent in protein shakes ashbday10and pain that I had to sit and witness on an hourly basis. 3) And that moment wasn’t that far from the phone call from Indy from my guy after seeing Dr. Cohen-Gadol he said, “They are getting me in in a week.” 4) Not to be out done by telling my guy 247+ times that they found two compression’s on his brain that were aggravating his trigeminal nerve. It was very groundhog’s day like, but wonderful each and every time. 5) Not every good moment centered around TN, Baby girl # 1 turned 13 and we got her good with a surprise party. 6) #2 was picked to help compose a musical piece for FAME something she saw her sister do and wanted to do since. 7) Getting accepted into the Ball State PhD program. 8) Starting a masters program in communications and rhetoric and learning so many new things that I thought I knew or should know but don’t. 9) #3 starting kindergarten and doing amazing despite concerns since she was our last. 10) The massive amounts of support we received this year from friends and family is hard to utter without losing my breath. We are blessed beyond comparison. 

10 Disappointments-Failures or Missed Opportunities: 1) The biggest by far is having to defer my PhD program indefinitely and I am not sure I will ever feel resolved over this, all I know is I cannot realistically be the student I can and need to be at this point with my guy’s TN. I hope one day it won’t be a regret or missed opportunity when my life looks very 41different. 2) Getting healthier in my life. There is always an excuse for why I need the caffeine I do. This year was my best excuse yet, but I know it is just that…an excuse. An excuse I need to quit making. TN isn’t going anywhere and neither is my busy life. I need to just derive my lack of energy from what I eat. 3) I miss my family a lot. I live two hours + away from them in almost every direction and sometimes it is so hard to pack us all up to leave and go see them. I want to and need to, but I don’t because it is hard. Refer to excuse above. But then when holidays come and I don’t have my mom’s cooking or my grandma’s hugs I feel sad and lonely. I learned a huge lesson this year in the importance of my family and I feel close to them all, but I need to see them more. I realized this weekend that my nieces and nephews are almost adults and how much I have missed on seeing them because it is hard to travel and I don’t like it. 4) Softball season. The second it is over I am sad. The minute it is here I complain about the money, travel and time. I need to get over it because I love the chaos and crazy and family time we get traveling. 5) How much time I spend beating myself up for not looking pretty enough, for not being perfect enough, for not cooking enough, for not being a good enough friend, daughter, mom, wife and the list goes on. I seriously look at social media sometimes and feel so inadequate and I am not sure bf1why. I know my priorities but I still let it kick me in my side every time. 6) The opportunity to spend more time with my guy. I made a promise in the darkest days that our relationship would forever be changed and I would always know just how fragile life is and our relationship. And for the most part I do, but man is it easy to go back into being upset because the toilet seat is up and he stinks at matching socks. 7) Another year has passed and on my priority list I am about at the bottom. This reflects in my health and diet more1d84c-6a019aff3f67ab970c019affb5be14970b-pi than anything. 8) To continue to try and make our lives as normal as possible and realize TN is just another component to this crazy life, it is NOT something I can control. 9) A better garden. I love to garden, but since I have had kids I just let it fall by the wayside. When I have energy (which is seldom) I usually opt for something else beside the garden. It is an awesome family activity and something that my guy and I both love, so why would we not do it? 10) Probably the most important of all of these is to be more forgiving of myself for all the above. You know that saying, “You are your own worst critic” ? Yup that is me. I know my time is limited, as is my energy and I am only one person. I also understand that that can be an excuse, but most of the time it is truth. It is my truth. 

3 Game Changers-Three things that shifted your priorities. 1) The most obvious is my guy’s TN diagnosis. It was piano11devastating, life altering, priority shifting and heart breaking all in one and we went through it twice. 2) Seeing my guy in ICU. I will never ever forget that fragile state and what it did to me. It changed me to the very core. I imagine myself as a quilt being sewn and there is a wrinkle that you find in it after you have sewn it all. That wrinkle is not something you can get out and you just have to find a way to live with it. I feel angry, sad, happy and changed for seeing it. 3) This is a strange one to put into words. But my guy takes care of me. It isn’t in anyway where he takes my independence away from me, but he truly makes my life easier in a whole lot of ways. We have been together for a ridiculously long time and all of that time being taken care of I had to finally stand on my own two feet alone this year. I stood alone in ways I never even dreamed were possible. It was so super scary, but in the end it was so good to see I could. There is an independence within me that I never knew I had.  

3 Things I focused on 1) It is no secret, I am so passionate about what I do for a living. It will always remain one of my steadfast dedications of time. It is mine. I didn’t get it because I know someone. I worked hard for it and I work hard to maintain it. 2) Part of that job was something new I began to focus on. I have always loved theater. That love didn’t change
once I grew up. My love is different than the usual loves of theater though. I love the back stage, the lights the sounds and the chaos. I got to stage manage and light/sound/tech for our school play. I am doing the same for the musical this spring and I am in love all over again. I realized I will always be the silent theater type and I am completely okay with that.
3) My family. We had to really just rely on each other so much because no one can really understand what it is like to watch someone go IMG_0172through what my guy has gone through. I am so grateful for the focus on all three of them. They are amazing little people who are growing up to be amazing big people. 

3 Things You Forgot About1) How much I love to cook. I often cook to relieve stress and get a break. I need to do that more and make more time for it. I have never walked away from cooking being disappointed. 2) More time on me. I need to make time to take care of myself and my needs. It is so hard, but I have too. 3) Photography – I need to remember to take pictures more with more than my cell phone. I love photography, but doing it so much for school I often don’t feel it at home and I need to capture those moments more. They are vital to my existence. 

Reflections for Next YearI need more family time, more time for myself and more focus on the inward and less on the outward. I have an amazing job I love doing what I love doing. I need to focus more on the things that I love to do with my family and for my family. In that I will get more time with my extended family and my immediate family. As we head into TN this January I hope to deal with it with more grace and love than I did last year. I will also be more forgiving of myself if I am not and recognize that the person I love more than anything in this world is hurting and therefore I hurt. I need to be grateful for every single second of my life because I know you aren’t promised anything in life. I need to always remember that love always wins, you just have to let it. 

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Life is what you make of it.

The E clan has been perpetually sick since Thanksgiving. It has been one thing after another. In the fourish weeks since Thanksgiving some one in my house has ran a fever, puked, been puked on, had a headache, had a stomachache, had breathing treatments, passed out, had nerve pain, a root canal and multiple cavities filled, braces worked on and teeth pulled, had an earache has slept almost 24 hours and had the flu (the illness not the stomach version). christmas2014m

It doesn’t take rocket science for me to know it was kinda our own doing. Stress will kick you in your butt and keep kicking. Those last two weeks before school got out my guy and I were literally grasping through the hours. We just wanted to get through them and not get the dreaded call from school that one of the girls were sick. Or have to finagle classroom subs because we were sick. All of which happened and we survived.

But by the time we got there I knew it was so very important that we re-evaluate why things were so rough this fall. The stress of my going back to school has disrupted the schedule. The stress of trigeminal neuralgia and trying new meds. And somehow both of our jobs have been incredibly stressful this year both for very different reasons. Add in sports schedules, a play, piano practice and a myriad of stuff and it was a perfect storm of not enough sleep, not enough healthy eating and too much caffeine to survive for me. I am trying to revamp it all because not much is changing for the spring semester.

Kyle got into the neurologist with Goodman Campbell who Dr. Cohen likes to work with. He sees him either the 16th or 19th. I am not sure because I don’t have it here in front of me. They added additional neurotin to his meds and with it has come some memory issues. Mostly they are just entertaining at this point, but he is on the same dosage as last year before the surgery. Thankfully, this year he doesn’t have all the other meds added in. But it is still frightening that we are here again. I can say two things for sure, he can eat which is not at all where we were this time last year. In fact, I remember us struggling because Santa could not eat his cookies last year. The other is that his pain is not where it was last year. It has returned to the surgical side and it is also on the right side. Last year his pain was off the charts. He is not there now. He is having the shocks on both sides and the constant numbing like pain. Again migraines have been pretty well controlled and really only flare when he is crazy tired.

FamilyphotoI am hoping in January we have more of a plan of action and idea of where he is headed. He struggles (we struggle) with the meds. They make him so tired. They steal his memory. They age him. Their side effects right now aren’t outweighing their benefits for now. That is why it is so important for me to control that above chaos as much as I can. Calm and peace are so important.

But finding it is the difficult task when you are raising kids and you are in the midst of prime of your life. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and not even realize it until you are dropped down into a mess of stress/life induced illnesses. I guess you could say a new year’s resolution, but it isn’t really that. It is more about admitting to defeat that we did this fall semester did not work for us. And us has to be a priority because life is what you make of it.

And we gotta make it better. We know that. As big of an advocate as I am for my husband it is so easy for me to let myself drown in the daily ongoings of TN and I just can’t do that. My girls need to see and have us function as normal as we possibly can. Therefore, I intend to do my best to make this life better.

I had forgotten…

I truly had forgotten just how therapeutic writing could be. After my last post, You moved on. We didn’t., I felt so much better. Actually I still do. The hardest part of this all for us is how easily people wipe themselves clean of you. As if we are some sort of burden because our problem doesn’t have a simple solution. I wish it did, but then again I actually don’t. The growth that has happened for my family during this has been amazing to be a witness to and be a part of.

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Since my previous post I am not sure if it is his meds working more in harmony, the peace of knowing he is back under the care of Cohen and his colleagues or if I just feel that cathartic feeling you get when you get something off your chest. Whatever it is I seem to have found some sort of peace or I made peace. I have no doubt it is coupled with the many prayers we have received. We get so many texts, messages and just general concern that it makes me feel a little less alone. But in all honesty, he is doing well.

It is always easy to say that at 54 degrees outside and no stressors going on in life.  It won’t stay. Cold spells and stress are the worst. And we have plenty of them. Dr. Cohen has picked a neurologist to work with specifically on his case. We now have to wait. He has first access, but unfortunately that could take months. We are told it is because there are only a few who work with this and because he is sought after. He is constant contact as needed with both Cohen’s office and his neurologist here.

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Cohen did increase his dosages of neurotin so he is dealing with short term memory issues and fatigue at certain times of the day. He wanted to add in tegretol but he resisted because it requires weekly liver panel testing which he had to do from November 13 until March 14 of last year and does not want to do that. Of course, he will if needed. The nerve block seemed to cut down on the severity of the migraines and I have only noticed him complain about them about 4 times since he had that done. His biggest complaint now seems to be the transference to the right side of his face.

So yes I guess ranting in my blog helped. It always does. I just worry people get sick of always hearing it. But it is my reality. But my reality is also living in the moment. Today I got to go to lunch with my guy. A normal lunch where we held hands and talked about our future. It included TN, but there was good. There was a plan. That is my very definition of love winning because it always does.

xmas2My life isn’t perfect, but inside it there is a whole lot of perfection. 

 

I am not sorry.

I want to walk this life with grace, love and peace. I want people to think of me and think wow she is so strong and handled that so well. But there is a huge large gap between what I want and what has actually happened. And hate to sound even more bitter, but I am not sorry.

Instead lately I feel like I spend more time hanging out at the corner of bitter and angry. I am not even the one that suffers from tn and I am peeved. My reasons for being peeved are numerous and so very strong.

I imagine I am somewhere in the land of caregiver burnout where I think things that make me feel bad or I shush and rush out of my head. Or I think of people who have worse. People say…..like my husband. And I go into this world where I recognize none of this is about me.

But my gosh my life. My girls life. People ask me how they are doing. People ask me how he is doing. Rarely do people ask me how I am doing. I don’t need it either, it just gets lonely. I spent 50% of my life hoping and praying life gets less painful for him and I spend the other 50% worrying that my girls know and feel my life and desire for them to lead as normal of a life as possible.

Can you do the math there? I fit in there no where. As well, this is bitter and cynical me but my true people are few and far between. That means when things get bad or I am on mom/wife overload and I could use a hug or a phone call or just a reminder I can do this often the only person there to pick me up is myself. The people I think are my true people. The ones that will always be there. They are no where. They don’t call and they don’t text. I get angry and upset about that because they are supposed to be my true people.

But then I remember I am going on one of year of this life. And honestly five if you really add it up. No one wants to hear about the same whiny story for a year, let alone five. So I don’t blame them. It is what it is. The life of being married to someone with a chronic pain illness. That I suppose makes me needy. Or maybe that is just my own insecurity.

Yes that. Before tn I was not insecure. But now I am. I worry am I dominating too much conversation with tn? A constant inner dialogue plays in my head where I tell myself to shut up. They are sick of hearing it. If they really cared they ask. And maybe that is true, maybe not. Who knows? I know I don’t.

Then you have my relationship with my husband. My go to guy. Who I am fearful of burdening with my stresses and loads. I know well the martial vows we took. He will be there for me I have no doubt. But I can’t. I have to keep life as simple and easy as possible for him. That is hard though and I feel like I screw up daily.

I bought into the surgery will fix it world and yea it didn’t and I am mad. I want my normal life back.  I didn’t ask for this. My husband didn’t ask for this. My kids didn’t ask for this. And yet we are in this. Talking so much about tn now that at this point we don’t even need too.

So yea I guess this is caregiver burnout. I am so worried. I am so tired emotionally, mentally and physically. I am so ready to just sit it on a shelf even for a little bit. But I can’t. This is my life. This is his life. This is our life.

He tried a treatment last week. Good news we got a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia and it helped. Bad news it helped for two days and he was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia.

There are no words. There are a few prayers and hopes that it will get better. I believe in love and I believe in faith. Right now I am struggling with the idea of love winning and I believe that is because I am losing the faith.

And if you read this I imagine you are one of three things….

1) sick of hearing about it
2) think I am dwelling on it
3) want to be there, but don’t know how

I will tell you I am not gonna quit talking about it anytime soon. If you are tired if reading it then don’t. Defriend me, unfollow me if you need too. I don’t care. And if you think I am dwelling in it or living in the past or whatever go ahead think that. I am okay because I don’t really care what you think. Watching my husband living with this disease for the last five years is the worst thing I have ever witnessed and continue to witness. I don’t need people who don’t understand that around me anyway. As well, I would not wish it on my worst enemy so I will be grateful it isn’t a struggle you have to understand. Finally, I get that last thought. I do. It is hard to talk about hard things. What do you say? What if you say the wrong thing? I know. I live with that feeling daily. All I know is what is like to witness this disease. I have no clue of its actual feeling.

It is what it is. It sucks. I am gonna talk about it. There are some really amazing days and with those amazing days there are crummy ones too. But I am not sorry for hanging out at this corner of bitter and angry or being so brutally honest.

Tn taught me to wade past the crap and find the real.

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Yeah, I guess that changed things.

“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” 
― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

I was reading my blog reader yesterday and I came across Broadside’s “Life Changing Moments” blog and I felt inspired. I felt inspired because I feel like my guy and I are trying to start anew. Our lives have changed, they aren’t over, but it is definitely one of those things that makes you stand back and take inventory. We wear life on our faces. In our bodies and the way we feel and speak and think. We resist those changes and sometimes even try and convince ourselves they are not there. Until one day we look in the mirror and we recognize who we are and we appreciate how we got there.

I thought long and hard about my moments last night. What were they? When did they happen? And why are they my moments? And there are a few reasons why I think each of them are my moments. And they are probably obvious ones, but not the obvious reasons. They are the moments good and bad that consume my soul and whisper their story (my story) to me over and over until it becomes so ingrained in my heart that I can’t forget, nor do I want to. They were moments of achievement, wanting and of hesitation and pain. They changed me and my very being in unchangeable ways. The kind of ways you can’t go back and redo.

With each moment (with the exception of one because you can’t photograph it) I have tried to include photos that show the transitions.

Moment # 1

It was not only meeting, but marrying my husband. I had only ever met and dated jerks before him. I had this penchant for finding the wrong guys, and for allowing them to treat me horribly. Somehow I always convinced myself that it was love or what I deserved or a combination of both. And then I met him. I didn’t realize it or know it at the time, but he was exactly what I needed. Once I realized it, I didn’t want to need it because I am fiercely independent, so I tried pushing him away. But that lasted short. And before I knew it I was all out fully swept away in love with him. The things I thought he threatened in my independence actually were our strengths. I felt comfortable becoming who I was and he allowed me to explore that and pushed me to become better. The more we built our lives the more I knew he was the “one”. But this is one life moment there was definitely a before and an after. Before I met him I was confused about who I was and where I wanted to go and who I wanted to do it with. After it all made sense.

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Life Moment # 2

Probably again pretty obvious it was becoming a mother. The thing is I was never confused about that or had no idea. It was a matter of getting the rest of my life together to become a mom. But I had some fairytale ideas of motherhood and what it looked like. So the adjustment with # 1 was rough, but thankfully my most flexible baby girl was # 1. She never missed a beat and loved me just the same. And still does actually! This was something I was just meant to do and with each one I got better at it. With life and its bumps I am still learning. But my girls are my everything. They keep me focused and achieving more. I also feel like the perfect person to be the mother to girls. I am trying so hard to show them you can do and be anything you want, but you gotta work for it. I have been a successful business woman, a stay at home, a teacher and a professor. Those are all my professional titles. To them I am just mom and they know that comes first.

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Moment # 3 

This is probably a sadder moment in our lives. But we lost a pregnancy between # 1 and # 2. And this change was more my own innocence being wiped away. It was this loss that my guy and I grieved together as parents. We had grieved before, but it was different and there was always one of us removed. It was my grandma or it was his. But it was never ours. We really wanted another baby and I will never forget having to tell him that I thought I was losing our baby. I knew it in my heart. I won’t forget his face. And I won’t forget our loss of hope. Neither of us held the hope and innocence for pregnancy as we did before that moment. It was a sad loss and one we eventually overcame, but it forever changed us and the way we looked at the world.

Moment # 4

My obtaining my Masters degree, was so huge for me. It was huge for a lot of reasons. And a lot of them are entirely selfish and have nothing to do with anything other than me. I wanted to better myself. I wanted to study writing. I wanted to become a voice in my field. I wanted to prove all the statistics that teachers had thrown in my face since I was the product of a divorced family and shove them in their face. I wanted to prove I could do it to my algebra teacher who told me I would be nothing if I didn’t understand slope. I wanted to prove to that professor who said the academic life was not for me because I was a mother wrong. There are whole lot of thats. But mostly, I wanted to be a first generation college student with her BA and MA and maybe even PhD. I want to show my girls and myself that with faith and love all things are possible. I remember on my graduation day last year I was in my classroom alone and dressing for the ceremony. I became absolutely overwhelmed by the feeling of accomplishment. For so long I had worked for and tried to achieve that moment. I imagine the PhD to even that much more sweet. The first photo always took my breath away because that was the moment I got hooded. I walked down the stairs and there was the photographer. The first person to see me and this accomplishment. The second one was a bad selfie, but a selfie none the less of me taking in the moment. Being there and aware. So important in these “moments” to recognize them. And maybe that comes with age and time.

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Moment # 5

And this one is most obvious, but the most life changing. It aged my guy and years. If you don’t believe I will show you pictures to prove. Pictures that were taken about a year apart. My guy’s TN. I realize it may feel a bit like I am beating a dead horse with his TN. But trust me I am not. I have been trying to place into words why I feel so displaced from people my age. I hang out with friends and people my age and I feel disconnected. I feel disconnected because what we went through and continue to go through is one of those moments that inspires this post. There is a distinct before and after and you can’t go back even though you desperately want to. I can’t unsee my husband and machines in the ICU. I can’t unsee the pain in his eyes and me willing him to want to live. I can’t unhear the words I heard. I can’t unsign the paperwork I signed and he signed when he went in for a high risk surgery. It changed both of us to our cores. I am still trying to get to the other side of this. It is there and we are finding it. But damn we grew up. We learned life is hard in a way that people our age should not have to. But it has made me savor life, love and the pursuit of good. It has forced me to find my voice in a way I hadn’t managed to yet. It has solidified my marriage and my family and our resolve and strength. So yea we got some extra grays and a few more wrinkles. But we found everlasting love in so many more ways than I could type on some blog.

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bf5What about you? Do you have moments? Tell me about yours!!

 

Ain’t nothing gonna slow me down.

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How do you balance your teacherhood? I am gonna be honest I struggled last year. I started out with culture shock at how different teaching high schoolers was compared to university students. Then I had to remake ground and show em’ my nice. I constantly have searched for that balance. I don’t want to be harsh and mean. But I understand quite clearly that I am NOT there to be their friend. I know there is a balance in the middle and I must find it. And I think I did.

I also realized from my own parenting and two years with high school kids. They need boundaries. If you don’t give them they will take liberty with your expectations. But something great has been happening the last few days. Some student reflections in my class, some frank conversations and just some over all honesty.

I encourage reflection always. But if I encourage it I know also must do it. So I have. I believe I have found quite the balance in the teacher department. I have been with this group of kids almost the whole school year and asked for feedback on my teaching. I have been dubbed the “nice” teacher that expects a lot. And guess what…that is what I was aiming for. I do expect a lot. But even better they tell me it is appreciated. They like that I don’t let them give me less than my expectations.

Sometimes it is hard I admit. But it is what I believe in my heart. It is what made me who I was/am. It was my own teachers. Teachers who refused to let me slide into mediocrity. They believed I could do and be something amazing and therefore never let me give them anything less than amazing. That is darn powerful.

A big part of my teaching philosophy is pushing them to be better people, to respect themselves, to respect me, to respect their education. Last year I wavered at my own insecurities and this year I owned it. I am okay that sometimes they don’t like me. Though it is high school, it isn’t high school anymore.

I am a teacher and I have to believe what I sell and have faith that my love first of English and then of teaching will change their worlds. When that starts happening and I see it…it feels so amazing. Students who I believed would hate me forever and sent me home in tears many nights. Come to me a year later thanking me for standing my ground and demanding their best.

I don’t phone it in at all. I go into my classroom heart on my sleeves and I am who I am every single day. Sometimes that is beautiful, inspirational and meaningful. Other times it is tired, grumpy and hoping no ones notices the stains on my clothes. There is something in that that makes this experience authentic and full of emotion. But that is me. And that is the biggest take away for me…when I just own my authenticity they will see all my good shine through even on the bad days.

There is a power in that and that power comes from balance and love. #lovealwayswins

Please listen to my voice.

Dear Self, 

Be easier on yourself. Be easier on others. But most importantly, continue on being who you are. Don't let others sway you from your purpose or goals and don't down play who you are, so they feel better about themselves. But you are human. You make mistakes. You are good people. You just gotta remember who you are , where you came from and that you do matter.

But for those times when you feel like you have hit your stride and your mouth gets ahead of your head remember a few things. 

  • Be kind in your words
  • Silence has more power than unkindness
  • Choose goodness and love
  • Let your voice shine through…sometimes it isn't always about talking
  • Just because someone doesn't validate/value your experience does NOT mean it has no value or validation
  • Feeling is a choice
  • Love always wins be it love of a job, a person, a place, a situation 
  • There is goodness in you
  • There is goodness in others
  • But there are others out there who will bring about your "bad"ness, don't let em'

It is all that matters.

Hey you…yeah you. You judgey mcjudgerton. I see you watching me. I get the messages you are trying to send. You think I am a bad mom. Or a bad wife. Or fill in the blank with whatever bad it is you think you witnessed. 

You saw me forget something or not react the way you wanted me too. Maybe I snapped a little
I-am-enough harshly at my girls or maybe not harsh enough. Maybe I didn't do what it is that you think I should have done soon enough or the right way. Maybe I didn't handle that situation right, or go about it the way you think I should have. 

But I promise if you waited just a bit longer or criticized a little less your version of what you think you see would be very different. Look a little deeper, watch a little longer and forgive a little bit more. 

I am merely mom, wife, teacher and list of many other things just trying to do it all. I don't half ass anything I do. In fact, I give every single little bit of my soul to everything that has my name attached to it. You don't see that do you? 

You didn't see me rub my guys back till he fell asleep because he didn't feel well. And you didn't see me scour the earth for just the right shirt to create this vision of #2's costume that only she could envision. I tried to see it, I listened to it. I didn't tell her I didn't understand. Instead, I went all over every where to find exactly what it was that she needed to make it happen. You didn't see me talking over my girls days with them as we stretched the dough to our pizzas and placed the pepperoni's just right. You didn't see me sneak a pee break really quick between the neighbor visiting and dropping off halloween goodies and the round of dishwasher clean up and dishes I had to do between two loads of laundry. And that is my at home life. 

You didn't see me struggle to comment on student's drafts. I mean real meaningful comments. I do that because I always watch them scour and search for my remarks. They want my approval and when they don't have it, they feel rejected. You didn't see me teach a roomful of kids today about complex characters and character foils about a novel that they all struggle with. But I watched and I saw the light bulb come on. And you didn't see the 10-15 private conversations I had with various students who were struggling personally, emotionally or academically. Or that one student who I reminded if she ever needed a reminder that could do it to see me ASAP. Or that in my few free moments today I spent googling how to encourage kids who really don't want to learn or thinking of the kid who is choosing the fail and exploring ways I can change that. 

I don't do it for the notarity or to even say, "Dang, look at all I can do." I do it because this is the life I chose and I love this life. I wouldn't change it for the calmest, most put together life out there. But instead what you see is the things I forgot or how I didn't do this the way you think I should. 

And you have that right to your opinion. But you should know that when I go to bed at night my family is loved and cared for beyond the sun. I know that. They know it. That is all that matters. When I wake up my day is put in to pay for my family's needs and wants and they are met just fine. I know that and they know that. It is all that matters. I go to work knowing my girls are loved and cared for by the people in their every day lives. I know that and they know they. It is all that matters. I raise my girls to hopefully (like me) identify their proper priorities and I hope I am a gleaming example of that every day. 

So yea, I didn't go to that meeting. And I may have forgotten that candle party or haircut. I may have left that in the bag unintentionally. But good grief I am trying. And to be honest, I am doing a darn good job. And it is all that matters. 

And the diet marches on…

And it is a diet. I hated calling it a diet. Mostly because I have a long streak of I don't do diets in my life. I don't do them for two reasons. They inevitably make me feel horrible about myself and because anytime in life where someone says, "You can't" or "You shouldn't"…can you guess what I want to do? 

I constantly in a perpetual state of proving the world wrong that I can't do something. Ha ha. I don't mean to be but it is born in me. This second week of the cleanse was certainly more diety feeling. I felt deprieved and bitter at times. The funny part is bitter about not being able to have wine. I don't even really drink wine. Or bitter I couldn't have the cake in the teachers lounge. 

Now I sound completely negative Nelly here and I am a little. But what I will say that is positive is that this diet has revealed to me the times that I mindlessly eat. I primarily am a healthy eater. I have a pop addiction. However, I have noticed that I have far too many "special occasions". 

Afef0434b37d0ae0c7849a6b21cbf20fNow let me explain….I had a stressful day at school well then I should reward via pop or a little debbie. It isn't every day and it isn't all the time. But it is happening. This diet has forced me to see those moments for what they are. EMOTIONAL eating anyone? 

Eating is more about the comfort it provides than the necessity for nourishment. I kind of knew this but the treats I am guessing add up. Therefore, I am forcing myself to actually think about what I consume and in those moments when I feel like I need to indulge trying to find other ways to cope. 

What that has made happen in my house and at work is an overly emotional wreck. Let me see, I cried 87.6 times at work this week and about triple that at home. I yelled more than I care to even admit. But I did not emotionally eat. 

And it may sound like I don't really like this diet. But I do. I needed to do it for a few reasons. The first and most importantly to say I did it. To prove to myself I could follow through on it. As I near the end of it this week I am quite proud by what I have accomplished concerning this diet. I know I have lost weight because I can tell and feel it. I also know that I will be more thoughtful in my diet. Less of what do I want….versus what do I need. 

I also know that I need to get better about working out. See that stuff above? Well that stuff seems signifigantly better if I get my butt to the gym. There will always be a reason not to go, but I have to make time. It is important for myself.Plus honestly it is the best way for me to get my much needed doses of Kpuff. Where  would I be with out her? 

From my late night crazy, angry and want pizza texts to the joys of my pants feel a little more loose. I am lucky to have a support like that. From July of 2009 when I decided to tackle a more healthy me she has been there the whole way. Sometimes willingly and sometimes forcibly. But she has been there. She is an inspiration when I want to quit and joy when I am succeeding. 

And the one big thing that has come from this that I think is amazing and kind of surprising is that I think moving forward quite a bit of my diet will be gluten free. My IBS has been signifigantly better. There are quite few healthy gluten free options of everything out there and most of the changes my family have not even noticed. 

Therefore day 14, I see you as a success. I have had more chicken than I can even think of and more salads then I will probably ever want to have again. But I have found out that love lots and lots of veggies that I don't have near enough. Veggies like aspargus and sweet potatoes. And I love pom seeds and grapes. Nom nom nom. I don't need pop to live. I need good food to live. 

And while it is quite unlikely I will entirely give up caffiene. I have found an amazing alternative. I already ordered a tub of Spark. I see an healthy alternative to it. One that I don't need, but is nice to have on those days that I do. 

And I march on…..