Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seven Years a Daughter Makes Seven Years a Mum

Not to expose your true feelings to an adult
seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.

George Orwell

Tomorrow is Fifi's seventh birthday.

Really, how have seven years gone by? I look at my toothy, trendy, talkative teenybopper and wonder where the tripping, tubby toddler went. How could I possibly have a seven year old, and how is it possible I've been seven-years a mummy?

With Fifi at school all day, I feel I don't get to connect with her as well as I used to. I feel her slipping through my motherly grasp, learning things I never taught her and discovering interests I never instilled. She's becoming her own person, with emotions I don't always understand, stories she keeps to herself, and experiences all her own. I miss the oneness we used to share, when we spent all day together with jigsaw puzzles and baby dolls. Now we only see each other on evenings and weekends, and at those times she just wants to watch TV shows and read books by herself.

I didn't expect for my first born to grow so independent so soon. I imagined we'd still be sitting side by side, playing pretend, coloring with crayons.

She still likes playing pretend - though her imagination is much more grown up now - and she still likes to color - drawing made up inventions that do wild and wacky things.

There's also me. I've grown away from her in a sense too. While she goes off to school, adapting her life to suit herself and friends, I'm at home lassoing Lolly and chasing Jaguar. My energy is spent by 3pm, and I don't give her as much attention when she gets home as I'd like to be giving.

I know children grow up fast, but seven years seems an awfully short time to feel you're already losing your babies!

Tomorrow is Fifi's birthday party. She wanted to invite nearly everyone from her class. She wanted to invite the boy who never gets invited to parties and the new girl. She has a heart of gold. She is oscillating between feeling like a child and feeling grown up; she wants to have a fairy-themed party but said making balloon animals was 'babyish'. She wants a fishing rod and a weave-your-own-bracelet set but also asked for a Barbie. My little girl - still so little, yet also so big.

I love who she's turning out to be, but it scares me to think that once the children go to school, I'm setting them loose to develop without me. My influence is still there, at home, and I'm sure it's still strong, but there's no denying the influence of their peers is huge too. I can see why people home school. It seems five, six, seven years old is too young to let them go so freely. When I think that I only have seven more months with Lolly before she too heads off to school and starts breaking our special ties, I'm terrified. After Lolly, there will only be Jaguar; give him another four years, and they will all be off on their own wee paths. Fifi will be almost a teenager.

I feel desperate to grab hold of her and hold on to the years. Keep knowing her, keep sharing with her and talking to her. Keep in touch with her feelings and her experiences as she grows and has her own life apart from the one we share at home. I want to turn off the after-school TV more and read more of her stories, work more jigsaws, play more board games. I want to stay connected with my seven year old so when she's eight, nine, nineteen, we'll still be connected.

I know I can't slow down time, lasso Lolly less or keep Jaguar off the coffee table. Therefore I know I'll often be short of energy and patience. I'll have days where the TV is my savior and the kids in closed rooms will be a sanctuary (even if to them it's a prison cell). I know I can't be as in tune with the needs of my seven year old schoolgirl as I am with my one year old baby, but I plan to make more of an effort. Spend more one-on-one time with her. Make our moments count. With Fifi in school nine hours a day, and sleeping another twelve, the quality of our time together will have to count more than quantity.

In the morning, she'll wake up a seven year old girl and I'll wake up a seven year old mum. It's a birthday for both of us. I hope I'm maturing as beautifully as she is.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drummers Make Lousy Lovers

All my writing focus has been on my "project" as of late (and I've been writing like a ... a ... steam engine.) I hate to neglect my dear, faithful blog though, so I offer a sacrificial poem. An old one, but one of my favourites. Young love...

Photo Credit - Thor Muller - Flickr

Drummers Make Lousy Lovers

All the peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches in the world
will not stop these tears from waterfalling,
and I’ll never take another entomology special study
without daydreaming of our favorite black putrefaction
that we love so dearly and know so well,
thanks to those morbid phone hours we wasted.
And next time I dance I won’t lead because you taught me how,
and I’ll choose white over wheat out of spite.
And when the daffodils die, Spring will too, and I hate that
but it happens, just like long wavy brown hairs that I find on my bed
that aren’t mine or yours happen, but I’m not assuming anything.
Good Records leaves a bad taste in my mouth and E.T.
might as well fly me across the moon
since you just let me fall half way.
Take my spare key and clip it to your belt loop and see if I call back.
I probably will, you know that’s my downfall,
but at least I haven’t driven by your duplex yet, wouldn’t that be psychotic?
And now pink toenails or French manicures seem ridiculous,
and why do I shave my legs after all? I never wondered before,
thanks, darling, for whitewashing my brain.
Power chords still play though we never wrote those songs,
and in church I won’t sit by you, and we’ll see who talks about it.
I’ll still read a book a month, even though I’m behind,
but all the upside down kisses in the world
and all the green tea can’t fix what you broke.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

25% Bad Parent

I'm just going to put this out there for all the others who sometimes feel this way.

Some days, I'm just a lousy mum and wife.

I woke up this morning to my too-early alarm and instantly had a fight with my husband. I rolled out of bed, despite wanting to snooze, because my eighteen-month-old son was in his room crying, my almost seven-year-old was already bright-eyed and bushy-tailed waiting for breakfast and my cat was scratching and meowing at the door for his breakfast. I plunked the baby in his high chair, poured a large bowl of Fruit Loops out for the first-grader/teenager and dumped some cat food into the cat dish, all with unnecessary humphing.

I nipped at Fifi to hurry up and get ready for school. I nagged at her about always losing her backpack. I shouted at her to go find her coat, it was still in the car from last night, and yeah, it's cold outside, that's why you need your coat, now go get it!

Scott took Fifi to school, and I still in pajamas collapsed onto the arm chair with a second cup of tea and grumbled when Lolly woke up and wanted breakfast. As she ate only the marshmallows out of her Magic Stars (I'm not paying that price for name-brand Lucky Charms!), I turned on her favourite - and the most inane - TV program imaginable, Winx Club, and dozed in and out on the chair. Then I remembered that her home school tutor was dropping by in half an hour, so I threw some clothes on and picked up the mess in the living room and the kitchen table. I then realized I hadn't changed the baby's diaper since he woke up, so I changed and dressed him.

I perked up a little after that and played with the kids for awhile. I put Jaguar down for a nap and did some school work with Lolly. I did manage to control my urge to snap at her when she wouldn't pay attention, and we got through it pretty easily. I turned the TV back on for the remainder of Jaguar's nap even though the sofa was covered in laundry needing to be folded and the sink had a load of dirty dishes waiting to be cleaned. After Jaguar woke up, we went into town to hang out with my friend Devon. I'm always in a better mood with the kids when I'm with a friend. It takes the stress off.

We picked up Fifi from school, and for the first half hour at home, she was great. Then I asked her to take her toys to her room, and she went into whiny melt-down mode. I lost it. I shouted at her to stop being so whiny and just do it. She drooped her shoulders as she took her two small toys out of the living room like I was inflicting some kind of heavy labour on her. I threatened to turn off the TV (I'd put it back on for them so I could clean out the ridiculous mess the kids had made of the minivan) if she didn't change her stinky attitude right then. (Hey, Pot, it's Kettle. You are black.) Jaguar was running around wild trying to throw everything in the trash and open every cupboard door and drawer in the kitchen, and each time I said no, he threw himself on the ground screaming. I was trying to cook dinner and was getting really frustrated with him too. I plunked him back into his high chair with jelly beans to keep him quiet, blood sugar and tooth decay be damned. I repeatedly kicked the girls out of the kitchen and yelled at them to stop fighting with each other.

Scott walked in just as I finished dinner. As I set the table, Scott and I managed to fight again over trying to set the barbecue sauce where the burgers were about to go. We shot each other snarky little comments back and forth in front of the kids until we both went silent. I seethed inside about him being so grumpy when he gets home from work and about no one thanking me for making them dinner. At least the children ate it without complaining for once.

Scott playfully teased the kids while I tried to put on a smile. Scott was teasing Fifi, so I whispered a good comeback to Fifi to use on her dad, and cut my eyes over at him to watch his reaction.

Then something wonderful happened.

When I looked at him, my stony, grumpy attitude melted away. I was swept away by his handsome face, the way his work shirt looked paired with the jeans he'd just changed into, and the amused look in his eye at Fifi's comeback. I couldn't stay angry or annoyed any more. I was twitterpated.

I couldn't help smiling and telling Scott how handsome he was. His frustration with me melted too, and he gave me a kiss. Usually Fifi screams, "Ew disgusting!" when we kiss, but this time she just smiled and said, "I didn't even look away that time!" Lolly then told us she never wanted to kiss a boy, but she really wanted to lose a tooth. We all cracked up; it's a Scottish thing to say to a kid who's just lost a tooth, "You been kissing the boys/girls?!" Fifi whispered in her ear that the kissing boys to lose a tooth thing was just pretend. Scott and I smiled at each other.

After dinner, the kids played, and without too much drama, we put all the kids in bed.

Some days I'm just not good at being a mum or a wife; some days I'm great at it. Today I was pretty rubbish, but I certainly wasn't my worst!  It's okay though, because I'm going to try harder tomorrow. That's the thing. We all have days where we totally blow it. That doesn't mean we can't change our stinky attitudes and start over again the next day. I'd like to give myself enough credit to believe that my kids won't be damaged for life because of the days I've been impatient, nippy and sour; I'm pretty sure that all the other days when I'm NOT a lousy parent are the ones they'll remember. I'd like to think I'm a good parent at least 75% of the time (maybe 70%). I'm also pretty sure that while I might be a caustic wife on some days, I'm a great wife on others. Luckily my husband believes this fallacy as well.

We screw up a lot, and, well, that's just all there is to it.

Been there before? Don't beat yourself up over it, we've all been there.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The "Project" That Shall Not Be Named

A goofy Fifi picture

Tonight, I'm taking a break from writing. Except that I'm blogging, which is writing which means I'm not taking a break.

For the past full week, I've spent every spare moment writing. I don't know what's gotten into me, but whatever it is, it wants out. I posted a glimpse of what's being going on in my head a few days ago, but most of this is getting saved and quietly digested as I try to decide what it even is.

All I know is the last time I started something that I felt really passionate about but didn't know where the obsession was taking me, it turned into my Lunch Is Boring bento business. (Gosh, I miss that business.) Lately, all these memories, most of them kind of scratchy and raw, have been clawing out of me onto computer screen. It's been cathartic and exhilarating and draining. Somehow I feel that dredging up the past is helping me understand my present, and maybe my future.

It's probably just a load of bollocks, but that hasn't stopped me from constant writing.

Tonight, however, I'm taking a break from it. I need a breather. I need to reconnect with the present. Saying that, last night I felt the same way and ended up writing six pages on "the present". No, I'm taking a break now from thinking *period* and from scraping my insides out like cantaloupe seeds. Scott and I are going to watch Community and then I might read a book or mess around on Facebook or go to sleep. The writing bug is on me, but tonight I'm swatting it away. I feel like this whole week I've been living underwater, and I need to emerge briefly to take a breath before diving back down into it. Any other writers feel this way? Or is taking a break the death of my project?

...For I'm only willing to call it a "project" right now until I know for sure what it is.

And now I'm stepping away from the computer, because even thinking about it is sparking ideas that need to get put down in words, and I'm TAKING A DAMN BREAK. I haven't spent quality time with my husband all week, though he is fully supportive of my new writing streak, excited for me even.

I'll blog as often as I can in the new few days/weeks/however long, but I'll be keeping *most* of my project to myself for the time being.

TV time!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Summer of Flies

During the summer after seventh grade, I went on an eight-week mission trip with Teen Missions International. I and about thirty other teens went with five adult leaders to Pakistan. It sounds ludicrous now to take a team of teenagers to Pakistan, and it wasn’t much less crazy then in 1995. People thought my parents were crazy, but my parents trusted the organization and believed in its cause. The summer prior I had taken a trip to Venezuela with TMI and helped refurbish a Christian school. This year, we would be running a two-week training course with local Pakistani Christian students in the still developing town of Gujranwala (now one of the largest, most prospering industrial cities in the country) and afterwards building a garage for a local Christian mechanic in Jhelum. Then, as it is now, people could not come into the country as Christian missionaries but were permitted as tourists who might volunteer their time helping Christians already living there. We weren’t allowed to do any proselytizing but could encourage those already struggling as the religious minority in a Muslim nation.

I was the youngest kid on the team, one of only two thirteen year olds. I was extremely immature. I didn’t like washing my own clothes in a bucket. As if the flies weren’t bad enough already, I wore the same dirty socks for days and days without a mother to do my laundry for me. I still had that weird sense of humor but now also a “bad girl” persona that I thought suited me. I said a few swear words. I was utterly boy-crazy too. I was irresponsible and moody. I was, believe it or not, a typical thirteen year old.

Two of my leaders, Pam and Sam, rhyming names, were a stuffy British couple who took an immediate dislike to me. I was probably a little difficult to handle. That’s not to say I didn't try though; on the contrary, I tried hard. I may have seen myself as a little bad and daring, but in reality, I was still almost perfectly squeaky clean. I was still afraid to ever do anything really bad. I ended up with a sort of boyfriend on the team, which is a TMI major rule-break. Still, even though we gave each other little notes declaring a little affection for each other, and even though we sat together at lot on buses and at meal times, we never held hands or kissed or did any of the actual boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. We got split up repeatedly. For days at a time we were forbidden to speak to each other. The older girls on the team, particularly Jane, took me under their wing and were wonderful to me, and tried to help me understand why this rule existed. I tried not to “pair off”, but I couldn’t help it. I was friends with nearly everyone on the team, but any conversation lasting longer than a few minutes with Tim was picked on by my leaders and separated we’d be again. I also got in trouble repeatedly for “pairing off” with the other thirteen year old, Laura. She and I were instant best friends, but even best friends were prohibited. I spent a lot of time separated from the two people I cared most about.

I wasn’t trying to break the rules. I never tried to break the rules. Not until one weekend when our team took a special break and visited the beautiful town of Murree. Only two of the younger adults, Martha and Jack, accompanied us there. (Daniel, our sixth leader, was hardly ever in sight. I barely remember him.) TMI has a lot of rules about how team members behave and look on mission trips. We had to wear eight-inch tall army boots at all times, making us stick out like crazy religious thumbs everywhere we went. Besides the ‘no pairing off’ rule, there were others like no secular music, no discussing theology, no piercings (other than one set of earrings on ladies), no sleeveless tops or skirts that showed the knee. As members of the Pakistan team, we all wore shalwar kameez to avoid offending the Pakistani people – a rule I believed in then and still do today. Yet, while we were in Murree, the rules all seemed to relax a little, with our stuffy British leaders out of the picture. We stayed in a Western Christian boarding school for missionary children, and spent the evenings in the common room listening to Snoop, Nirvana and Beck. We spent time in rooms of the opposite sex playing cards (two more broken rules). Everyone was involved; I recall no one abstaining from the debauchery.

One afternoon, in my dorm room with Laura, Tim and one other guy, someone suggested we play strip poker. It was silly. We removed socks and boots and hair bows, that was it. Not so much as a hairless boy’s chest was revealed; I was far too prude to go any further. After our silly game ended, I headed back to the common room for some more forbidden secular music and dancing (so many broken rules) with other members of the team.

We returned to Jhelum and our project. Our project, as mentioned before, was to build a car shed for a local mechanic. We mixed and poured concrete, we dug holes, and we broke bricks with hammers. We wore hard hats and boots and shalwar kameez. We drank water by the canteenful and sweated and suffered heat rash. Building this car shed for our mechanic missionary was hard labor, but we loved it. We had fun testing the limits of our youthful bodies. We fought over who got to turn the enormous cement mixer. We laughed and chased each other and sang praise songs while we worked. We had a higher mission; we were working for the glory of God.

During the afternoon monsoons, we stayed indoors for Bible Study and laundry and shower time. In the mornings before the sun blazed too hot, we had our “devos”.

“Devos” were an integral part of the Teen Missions experience. Every morning, before breakfast, we broke up for personal devotions. For thirty minutes, we sat alone, in any inspirational and comfortable place we could find for silent reflection, prayer and Scripture reading. I loved devos. I felt they brought me closer to the Lord -- except for when it put me to sleep. I found it so hard to stay awake so early in the morning, silently reading the Bible and praying in my head on an empty stomach. I often found it hard to know what to read or pray about. Many times I was asking for forgiveness for falling asleep, or for wanting to fall asleep. I found if I moved very far away from the rest of the crowd, I could whisper my prayers, and that kept me awake. I was also distracted by all the flies. If you sit still for any length of time in Pakistan, you will be quite literally covered in resting flies. I got used to it, but when they covered my Bible, it was hard to read for all the swatting. I was also terrified to put my Bible down. I’d been chastised by a Pakistani pastor for doing devos with my Bible on the floor for they believe that is highly disrespectful to God. I couldn’t show the bottoms of my feet either, so finding a place to sit on the ground, with my Bible elevated, the soles of my boots facing down and my shalwar kameez discreet, I was never very comfortable. It was remarkably still conducive to sleep though.

When I wasn’t nodding off, however, I was growing closer to Jesus. I was taking in his words – the Gospels were my favourite – and I was maturing in a slow, honest way. Things that challenged me I really took to heart. I was a child, but when Jesus said hating your brother was as bad as murder, I repented of my hateful feelings towards others.

One particular morning, during devos, I had a wonderful experience. I was praying for God’s power, when the sun broke through the clouds and a ray of sunshine poured directly onto me. In my mind’s eye, I remember a sunray like a yellow painting, coming from a holy cloud, warming my body and my spirit. I basked in it, as the cool of the morning burnt off me in comforting, spiritual tenderness. After devos was over, I was eager to share my heavenly experience with the rest of the team. The older girls were thrilled for me. I told my leaders. The younger adults smiled, the careless British ones blew me off.

I don’t know how long after that experience the next thing happened. Laura, Tim, our other male friend and I were called up to speak privately with the leaders.

Stuffy Pam asked, “Lori. Did you break any rules while you were in Murree?” Baffled as to why I was being singled out about this, I stumbled over my answer as the other three looked off into the fly ridden sky.

“Um, yes, ma’am. I, well we, I mean we listened to secular music. We played cards, and we danced.” I was blushing horribly with the guilt and embarrassment of being so unfairly, singularly scrutinized.

“Anything else?” I thought hard. Shamefaced, I added, “Boys were in girls’ rooms.”

“And?” I was baffled now. I couldn’t remember anything else we’d done. I looked to my friends for help but all eyes were cast down.

Sam helped me out. “We have been made aware you were also involved in playing strip poker?” Petrified, and afraid I’d looked like I was lying by omission, I tried to explain.

“We, well, I mean, yes, I guess we did sort of play strip poker, but I mean, we didn’t take anything off! I mean, I’m so sorry, I just forgot about that, because we didn’t do anything...” No one was giving me any help as Sam and Pam glared down their noses at me.

I was then informed that if we weren’t only one week away from the end of our trip, I and my partners in sin would have been sent home early. My stomach nearly dropped through my colon. I burst into tears. How could I have been so stupid! Of course strip poker is strip poker, even if nothing came off!

After the others confirmed my story, they were dismissed. I was held back. Pam watched me coldly as she said, “I’m sorry, Lori, but I really just don’t think you are a Christian.”

I turned to leave. My boots dragged through the dirt, too heavy to lift, as I trudged back to my dorm for laundry and shower time. Tears dripped down my dusty, tanned face. I was suffocating in a blubbering fog of misery and disaster. Sobs burst out of my chest as I tried to control my crying. How dare she tell me I wasn’t a Christian! All because I did stuff everyone else did too! All because I played a stupid game where I didn’t even do anything wrong! But worse than the mortification and resentment I felt for that mean, terrible woman was the fear in my heart that she was right.

What if I wasn’t a Christian?

But that sun! That light! It had to mean something, right? Or did it? Back in the dorms, I was comforted by the other girls. I told them what Pam had said to me. Jane, the oldest girl on our team, looked me directly in the eyes and told me to ignore what she had said to me, that she had no right. I hugged Jane for her kindness, but the damage was done in my vulnerable little spirit.

How could I ever know if I was truly saved?

They forced us to call our parents and tell them what happened. It wasn’t until afterwards that I learned the whole, miserable story, compounding my humiliation and anger all the more. As it turned out, after our little game of stripless poker in my dorm room, the same group got back together later that evening with a different girl, Tracie, taking my place. In a dark closet, the four played real strip poker and got half-naked together. The rumour had gotten out somehow, and I was placed at the scene of the crime instead of Tracie. How? Because one of our leaders, Jack, had passed by my dorm room that afternoon and peaked in. He saw us playing cards, waved to us and shrugged it off, untroubled by our double rule breaking. Yet when the rumor of the four kids playing strip poker broke out, Jack remembered what he’d seen in my room. Remembered we were barefoot and named us four the offenders.

Hence the reason my friends refused to speak up. Not wanting to incriminate Tracie too, no one admitted there were two games going on and I was innocent of the indecorous one. I was infuriated by the betrayal, both of hiding my innocence and of Tim seeing two other girls in their bras. Tracie was never punished, but the incident was recorded on my permanent TMI record. There really is a permanent TMI record.

I left Pakistan that summer with the disgrace and shame of a depraved thirteen year old non-Christian heathen who never liked to wash her socks. I left with the yoke of uncertainty for where I would be spending the afterlife – in heaven or in hell.

This is an excerpt from something I'm working on, which may turn into something larger. Also, the names have been changed just, you know, in case.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Cold. Conspiracy. Cheesecakes.

Tonight the wind chill is supposed to dip as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. In my book, that's pretty darn cold!

I do remember it getting cold before when I lived here. I even remember trying to tell someone how cold Arkansas could get and not being believed. Through the Scottish years, I began to believe that nothing could be as cold as Scotland, except perhaps northeastern Europe or Siberia. But I was wrong. Rains and winds and low temperatures are the bain of Scottish existence, but I never thought about freezing pipes. Tonight, in Arkansas, it's gonna get chilly. It's clear global warming is just a conspiracy theory. (Just kidding.)

Speaking of conspiracy theories, though, I love them. And actually I believe a lot of them. Scott kind of wants to elbow me in the gut when I start talking about them, but seriously, why not? Do we really believe the government is that honest and open with the public? After all, everyone thought Watergate and the NSA were conspiracy theories but surprise! Nixon was a crook and the NSA is monitoring your World of Warcraft activity.

(They probably have wire taps installed all over our house, thanks to Tec over here.)

Anyway, I won't go into detail on which theories I adhere to, as my husband's opinion of me is still something I moderately value, but just thought I'd throw that in there.

On the weight loss front, Scott and I are now seven pounds lighter each. Today was the first day I looked at my semi-naked figure in the mirror and thought, 'Is that tummy a little flatter?!' Incidentally, I feel great too. I have more energy than I've had in a long time, I'm never hungry and my cravings are mild. The one complaint I have of this keto diet is that it is affecting my sleep. I used to be able to fall asleep the moment my head hit the pillow, but these past few days I've tossed and turned, unable to get comfortable or sleep for long. I keep waking up all night long, and this morning, which should have been my lie-in morning, I woke up at 7.30 when Jaguar woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Scott says my body will adjust to this new energy. I hope he's right. Sleep is my favorite pastime.

In half an hour, we're heading over to my mom's for dinner. She's made chilli, which is off limits for us on our diet. However, we were saving our carbs all day for dinner anyway, as I had some spicy chicken nuggets we were planning on having, which are a little higher in carbohydrates than we would normally eat. I guess we'll just substitute yummy spicy breading for yummy jalapeƱos and beans. I've ordered us some Ketostix (though the off-brand, much cheaper), so we can verify if we are still in ketosis after moderately over-indulging now and then.

I'll leave you with this. Last night Scott made us some incredible low-carb cheesecakes in the microwave. Find the recipe here at Your Lighter Side. Each 1-cup serving was only 2.5 net carbs and 299 calories. All I have to say about these is DO IT.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Diet, Not Dying

So one of my New Year's Resolutions is to lose 15-20 lbs. This has been Day 2 of mine and Scott's keto diet.

Very briefly, for those of you who won't be interested enough to click the link, the ketogenic diet is a diet that puts your body into ketosis. Similar to things like Atkins, keto is very low carb (between 20-50g a day, ish), very high protein and high (animal) fat. IT'S NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS. It is very effective for diabetics, for instance, as it keeps blood sugar low and insulin steady. When Scott first told me about this diet a year and a half ago, I was appalled, but through time, he's convinced me. He lost over 40lbs in 3 months last time he went on this diet and kept most of it off

When we eat carbs all day, which turn into fat, our body burns that for energy, leaving the fat stores alone. In ketosis, the body starts burning the fat stores off for fuel. As long as you don't under-eat, or eat less than about 20g of carbs a day, your body won't go into starvation mode. Besides, carbs make you tired and sluggish and are just generally not good for a healthy, balanced diet.

(Let me add I'm still new to this, particularly the science part, so if I've made any errors above, someone more knowledgeable about it than me is welcome to correct.)

When you start a low-carb diet, the first few days are MISERABLE. Not only does your mind crave carbs, so does your body. Yesterday, my first day carb-less, was awful. I was grouchy, touchy, irritable, felt clammy and achy, and all I could think about was bread and cake and those delicious, fudgy dark chocolate brownies left over from Hogmanay. I went to bed last night at 10 just to escape my misery.

Today was a whole different experience. I woke up optimistic. I weighed myself and found I'd already lost 4 lbs. In one day! It was only water weight, but I'm not complaining. That's nearly a quarter of my total goal!

I also felt less sluggish today than I have been feeling lately. Also more motivated. I decided to take the kids to the zoo. Normally I dread the idea of taking my kids somewhere like that on my own, because I'm lazy and I prefer some company to keep me sane, but even with both my buddy Devon and my SIL Charity unable to join me, I still showered, fixed my hair and makeup, dressed the kids, and packed them all into the car with bottles of water and a stroller. The four of us were practically the only people in the whole zoo. We saw only two other families the whole time.

... Side note: I'm sure glad we have a zoo membership though, and I hadn't actually paid to get the four of us in. All the animals were hiding. It was a lot colder today than I realized. The only animals we saw were the tiger, the elephants, the giraffe (who was inside his house), and the primates and reptiles that were inside a building. The indoor birds section was closed for repairs, and all the other animals were no where to be found. Even the penguins were hiding indoors. We still managed to spend an hour at the zoo, though, walking around and getting some cold, fresh air.

Here kitty kitty kitty.

I came home, made lunch, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner... all feeling very with it, calm, and motivated. Supposedly this feeling only gets better as my body adjusts to its low-carb and healthier state. I'm still expecting another crash at some point before I start feeling really good, but today was pretty awesome.

So what have I eaten these past two days without starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, or those delicious, gooey brownies?

Day 1 (Jan 1)
3 egg omelet with bacon, cheese and red chilli flakes with 1 avocado on the side (4g carbs all together)
A few slices of cheese wrapped in deli-sliced turkey and 1 sugar-free jello (0g)
A few slices of cheese and 5 olives (1g)
1 smoked rib with a little BBQ sauce and fried okra (roughly 20g because of the okra and BBQ)
Cup of tea with milk and a sugar-free jello (1g)
Total for the day: 26g

Day 2 (Jan 2)
3 egg omelet with bacon and 1/2 an avocado (2g)
Lettuce, turkey and cheese rolls with 10 olives (2g)
Sugar-free jello with whipped cream (1g)
A boiled egg and a string cheese (1g)
Beef mince and pureed cauliflower (looked/tasted like mashed potatoes) and green beans (5g)
Total for the day: 11g which means I need to actually go eat at least 9 more! Think I'll have half a clementine!

It's amazing. Yesterday, I was peckish all day. I kept opening the cupboards hoping to find something magical to eat. Today, I never really did that. In fact, my dinner STUFFED me.

I'm feeling so positive about this diet now. Last time I tried it, I had only just had a baby a couple of months prior, and it was a really bad idea to try it then. My milk supply went down, and I felt very 'carb-fluey', and it was really bad compounded with post-partum lethargy and life adjustment. Now seems to be a much better time in my life for it, and I'm ready.

Let's do this!

This is a positive, smiling, ready to get healthy me.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

There's a lot of Resolution Nay-Sayers out there, but I for one am all about them. I love the clean, fresh feeling of a new start on January 1st. I am never good at starting something new in the middle of a categorized time frame, whether it be a week or a month. Starting anew at the beginning of the year just feels right to me.

Some years I have a lot of resolutions; some years just one or two. Some are big, some are small. Here's a few resolutions I've made from years past (gathered from my nine years of 40 Questions).

- Washing the dinner dishes as we go, instead of letting them stack up
- Lose weight, get fit
- Get house back in order
- Read more books, write more poetry
- Maintain chore schedule, eat healthier diet, blog more, finish reading through the Bible, stop shouting/control anger
- Blog more
- Live simply, unmateriallistically, and not take on too many responsibilities
- Nothing (the year I had a two year old and a newborn!)

Some resolutions I was able to keep, at least for a little while. The hardest ones to keep for me are the healthy eating and getting control of my house types. I love food and I'm a scatterbrain. But I keep trying, year after year after year.

This year, I have a growing (it's allowed to grow for a few days into the new year, as long as I haven't utterly blown it already) list of resolutions. For 2014:

- Save lots of money. I want to see our savings account get super fat this year. We are working through our future plans, and all of these plans need money.
- Lose 15-20 lbs. This one is very specific, because I specifically want it to happen. I never lost my baby weight from having Jaguar, and I know I'm not healthy. A lot of it is thanks to being a little depressed and in the house all day with nothing to do but snack, so I'm on a mission. Scott and I are both back on the keto diet. Scott's done it before and lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately, he's annoying me already with his know-it-all advice. (Half a day on keto and I'm already feeling very grumpish.) (I just learned the word grumpish.)
- After losing said lbs, eat healthier and exercise more as a general thing
- Have lots of sex (part of exercising and getting healthy you see!). Also works wonders with the relationship!
- Drink more water. Occasional cups of tea and no more than one fizzy drink allowed a day.
- Love and listen to the children more and shout/punish less. I once read a great book which I am now re-reading called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk. It's an excellent book. I haven't read it in a while, and now that my kids are older and in a different place than when I last read it, it's time for a refresher course. I don't like feeling like a bully when I'm with them. I'm their mother but not their dictator.

I talked to Fifi a little bit about New Year's Resolutions too. She wants to eat healthy food and be good. Aww. She's an extremely good kid. Lolly didn't want any part of it. So Lolly!