About Us

Monday, November 17, 2014

That's Right, I'm Mentally & Physically Challenged | Weight Training Postpartum

There are innumerable things I have wanted to blog about -from sharing pictures of Tennyson and the kids, our latest adventures, to cute and mundane things that make life sweet.
But let's talk about weights.
Big.  Heavy.  Manly weights.

I started to get to know them -weights, that is- last summer.  With Brian's guidance, I began a regimen of lifting after my runs.  It lasted about 6 weeks and then became mainly a mental challenge that I didn't have the energy for.

Cut to a few days after giving birth.
Brian asked, if I was up for it, if I'd like to start weight lifting routine.  (He knew I'd be doing something to work off the baby weight quickly, getting back into shape for acting.)  It would be strictly a weight training routine.  The plan was to eat normally -don't do anything strict, eat as much as I feel like- and lift.  A post-partum woman with some extra weight and not a lot of muscle is the perfect blank slate to see the results of lifting, it's effect on weight (fat) loss AND, most importantly, physique.  As I've always wanted a butt (and Santa hasn't ever delivered on the request) I agreed to be his guinea pig.

Let me tell ya, walking into Brian's home gym space, surrounded by weights and bars and mirrors (oh, the dreaded mirrors) I felt as out of place and awkward as a grown man in a little girl's ballet class.  Wearing a tutu.  And sparkly lip gloss.

There are a lot of mental barriers to overcome.  First, it's "boy stuff."  Heavy weights, straining, bulking up, yada yada yada.  I mean, we girls like step aerobics, yoga, jogging with friends -stuff that makes you feel like "Whew!  That sure raised my heart rate!  I mean, at least a little.  See, I'm *sweating* -time for a shower and a glass of wine.  Aaaaaaand some chocolate -because, well, estrogen and stuff."
So weight training is a TOTALLY different mentality.  And it feels like life and death.  The PUUUUSHING, the physical and mental challenge in short bursts.  It's intense, man!

So, feeling like I don't belong in the guys world of lifting AND it being such a different type of challenge, I realized something important: it's all in my head.

I had to convince myself that, yes indeed, Kelly Cameron belonged around weights.  Seriously, this I say to myself every time I walk into our home gym.  "This is my space, too.  RaaaAAAWWR!"

Secondly, I have to mentally psych myself up for lifting.  I used to do that for running -and, being honest, it took my a long time to build up to running past 1 mile, then 2 miles, etc.

Lifting is about mental strength, and I've been learning that this mental strength doesn't just stay in the gym, it translates to every other area of life.

Busting your personal records (PRs in the, ahem, lifting world,) conquering a heavy lift session -those are EMPOWERING experiences, girls!  Like on Friday when I was mentally stuck on pressing 35lbs (yes, yes, you read above that I have NO muscle tone) I was determined (and scared) to bump up to 40lbs.  But.  I.  DID IT!  And the confidence from that personal win has been resonating in my heart all weekend long.  "YES!  I CAN do it!"

It's easy for me to let various challenges in my life defeat me.  "I can't do it.  It's too haaaarrrd!"  Or "I don't know the answer, what should doooo?  I'm stuuuuuck."  Whining is not becoming, but it's so eeeeaaasy.  

Weight training, along with my new mantra "I take responsibility for today," are helping me develop the mental strength to conquer challenges in the gym, as a parent, a business owner and a woman.  Those little "I caaaan't"s that used to debilitate me, I can now squash those as I flex my budding biceps and -judo chop!- "I CAN," said wearing Ray-Bans, head angled slightly to the left, whisper-yelled like Jack Bauer.  Or Michael Keaton as cheesy Batman.

The other really rad thing about weight training is having Brian as my coach.
For one thing, he's SO good looking.  I mean, who doesn't want to have a hot personal trainer?!  Secondly, he's as encouraging as all get out.  Feeling so out of place and "weird" in the lifting culture, I seriously feel like the old dude in the tutu and lip gloss surrounded by preschool ballerinas who are rocking their pirouettes.  And it doesn't even dawn on Brian that (snear) "Hey, sissy girl!  You're WIMPY!  You don't belong in a gym!  Go back to step aerobics!" Instead, we now have a shared activity (and every good marriage needs at least one shared activity, right?  That's what the books say.)  He's teaching me something, and I'm growing -physically and mentally.

And what melts me even more is that all the while as Brian's encouraging me, sharing his 25 years of lifting knowledge, he's holding our baby.  That, to me, spells the ultimate support.
Hot Trainer+Good Dad+Encouraging Husband = JACKPOT!

Though it's only been 3 weeks of regular lifting, I'm greatly encouraged as I'm pressed to reach new challenges in an area I never thought I could enter.  Ideally, I'd like to have the goal of lifting (almost exclusively) for the next year to see just how much I can develop.  Sticking with that will be a huge mental challenge, but I'd like to think that I CAN conquer it.

Here's to the challenge.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How Tennyson Arrived | An At-Home Water Birth Story

I blame Ricki Lake.

Last year I watched The Business of Being Born and my view of birthing was turned upside down.
I had hospital births and epidurals with both Wilder and Waverley.  The few women I knew who had natural or home births I thought were INSAAAAANE for doing so.  "Why put you and your baby at risk like that? Why CHOOSE to go through all of that PAIN?"  Oh my gosh, I thought they were nuts.
Until I watched that documentary and realized that what our bodies have been doing quite successfully for millions of years isn't so crazy.
The hospital is 8 minutes away from our house *just*in*case* but with both previous pregnancies being perfectly normal, perfectly healthy, I was an excellent candidate for a perfectly normal, perfectly healthy natural at-home water birth.

So now you know the WHY, here's the events.

If you've read through some of the past posts, you've gathered that I expected this baby to arrive early like my other kids.  Through my last days of pregnancy (filled with griping) I learned that, apparently, "the third child's arrival time will generally be the opposite of your previous children."
Well, thanks a lot, third children. Sheesh.

On Thursday, Oct. 9th, I went in for my weekly prenatal appointment, 40 weeks and 4 days of being pregnant.  My wonderful midwives checked my dilation and -tada!- I was 5 cm, 90% effaced and baby was at station zero.  In other words, "Houston, we're ready for lift off."

Now, this day was special.  Starting the weekend of my due date I began planning evening movie parties with the kids.  We'd pick a movie, make "theater tickets," decorate paper lunch bags to be filled with freshly made popcorn and snacks, make a movie poster and have a ball.  This night we were having a Sleeping Beauty movie party -the DVD was arriving by UPS that evening and Waverley was convinced that the princess dress we saw the day before at the Disney Store was going to be part of the celebration.  So, after my prenatal, I picked up the dress (hey, it was 40% off and she was a little too thrilled about it not to splurge) as well as some cupcakes to REALLY get the party started.  My contractions began kicking up as I made my way home.
I got a little excited...

Time for another try with the castor oil trick.  At lunch I did my 1/2 teaspoon dose with an OJ chaser every half hour for 3 doses.  Tucked in my office editing a wedding, I waited -partly in dread- for the potion to do it's dirty deed.  My contractions had, sadly, subsided and I had given up any expectations that today would be out of the ordinary.  I had already set my sights on that weekend being the delivery experience.  You know, "hope deferred" and all that.

Not to say that this day wasn't significant.  You see, the day before was a full moon -a blood moon, actually.  A lunar eclipse with the sun coming between the moon and earth giving the moon a deep orange glow.  Apparently an old wives tale has it that the lunar pull the day before and after a full moon can bring about labor.  And changes in barometric pressure also have an effect.  We had a storm on top of this blood moon -you can see how I had a few extra things going in my favor.  Still, I tried not to get my hopes up.

Along with a storm and a full moon, I also had a trend going for me.  My body had brilliantly developed a "1 day of strong contractions, 2 days of rest" pattern, thus bringing me to 5 cm dilation.  Thursday -yes, that very day- was to be my 3rd day of strong contractions.  I hoped, but did not expect. 

Hours go by after the castor oil trick.  No regular contractions, not even any "movement" in the bowel region.  So, I kept editing and working away.  Around 5pm, I went on a little walk with the kids and the dog in the neighborhood.  Nothing major -I was quite nervous about being away from a toilet while waiting for the castor oil to still kick in...  We got home and began getting ready for dinner.  I was in the mood for a little Italian, so I uncharacteristically made a lovely family spaghetti dinner and we all gathered around the table -yes, with a lit candle, too- while classical music floated in the background.
It was perfect.
Until Wilder, our near 7 year old, decided to be rude-head.  His attitude resulted in no movie party (*sniff*sob*whaaaahhh*boo*) and an early bedtime.
And contractions started.  Just the "1 day of strong contractions, 2 days of rest" kind.

I pulled Waverley aside and Brian and I gave her the Sleeping Beauty dress before bed -it wasn't her fault her brother was being a poophead.  She LOVED it -put it on, twirled around, wanted to sleep in it (totally appropriate, right?  I mean, it's what the princess did.)
Contractions still coming regularly.

Oddly enough, the kids both wanted bath time in our garden tub upstairs, so we started the bubbly, wet process of bathing.  Even more oddly enough, they both allowed us to wash their hair *GAAASP* -that never happens.   Okay, these contractions -they're feeling a little more intense, still coming regularly.

Toothbrushing time...aaaaand, nope, I'm feeling the castor oil FINALLY kick in.  Helloooo, toilet!  How YOU doin'?!  (A big meal with the castor oil, that's the trick to getting things moving, I say.)

I've got to hop in the shower -these contractions be feelin' real, yo!  It's 7:45pm.
"Brian, you're going to have to do the rest of the bed routine, I'm headed for the hot water."

This is where it gets a little crazy.
I had never truly felt these powerful contractions before with my other pregnancies.  For months I had read and reread the hypnobirthing and natural birth books, read women's birthing stories, practiced relaxation techniques, visualized my birthing experience -I was ALL prepared to go all zen with the home water birth, breeeaaaath through those contractions and visualize my peaceful, happy place, allowing my baby to slip out without even pushing.


Instead, I got tribal.
Hey, I didn't throw out the relaxation stuff or the zen tips I had read, but I did "let my monkey do it" -as legendary midwife Ina May Gaskin says.  I focused on using the deep, gutteral noises, kept my body loose and did whatever the heck I felt helped make progress and got me through each contraction in an open manner.
So, basically I was bouncing around in the shower and -seriously- doing my own impression of tribal dancing.  There was clapping, there was banging, there was dancing (sort of.)  As Elvis would say, there was "a whole lotta shakin' goin' on."

8:30pm FINALLY Brian came back to check on me after putting the kids to bed (at this point I was groaning out his name like a cow mooing, trying to get his attention.)
It was time to call the midwife.

8:40pm My legs began to feel weak and worn out, so the shower time was over.  I transitioned into the garden tub where I planned to birth my baby.  The contractions were progressing -oh, HEAVENS, this was some serious business.

Around 8:50-9:00 Salli, my main midwife, arrived with Heather and Randy, the second midwife and assistant, followed soon after.  In the tub, I was vaguely aware of their presence, engrossed in relaxing my body, breathing and focusing on being "ooooopeeen" through every contraction.

My midwives were wonderful.  I had called Brian over to be my "handles" as I grasped his hands behind my head while the waves of contractions came crashing through my body. The midwives stayed in the background, checking my blood pressure every few minutes, checking the baby's heartbeat after each contraction, but allowed  Brian and I to take the lead through the birthing.

I called Salli in around 9:20pm to check my dilation.  I was 8-9cm. "You can push whenever you want to -it should be very soon that you'll start to feel the urge."
Originally, I didn't want to push at all.  The hypnobirthing book had said that our bodies naturally expel the baby through the birth canal without having to push -that sounded nice, let my body do the work while I relaxed through it.  But there was no relaxing.  When I felt the urge to push, I pushed.  My body's instinct had taken over and I was just holding on.  Repeating words like "Open, open, open, open" and "I'm happy, I'm happy, I'm happy, I'm happy," I tried to consciously help my body stay loose while moving the birthing forward.

Fear constricts your muscles and that's what I was working on countering.
I sang long, low notes as the heavy contractions crashed through me.  I chanted those "open" "happy" words.  I did whatever I could (quite loudly -sorry, neighbors) to stay loose.
And -OH MY LORD- each contraction felt like a car wreck.  I knew women said birthing was painful, but I had NO IDEA.  My 8"x3 1/2" tattoo done over 4 hours was noooothiiing compared to labor.  

And I'm ready to push.  Don't ask me what time it is, I'm a total animal at this point.  The guttural screaming/groans began.

Baby is ready to crown.  I've moved from a laying position to knees apart, leaning forward off the middle-side of the tub.  The midwives have checked our vitals and baby's heart rate is getting a bit low.  "Deep breaths, breathe down to your baby."  Well, I'm trying but it's too much to focus on -pushing, breathing, pushing.  Salli has me get up on my knees facing away from her, holding on to the higher ledge by the window.  Baby's head is crowning.  Heart rate hasn't raised yet -not dangerously low, but they'd like to see his heart rate get back up- so they slip an oxygen mask on me and...


I felt like I was tearing my body in two.  I'd been so concerned about not tearing -hoping to be able to ease his head out while the skin slowly stretched around it.  At this point, it didn't matter. I was getting this baby out.  NOW.

A few more pushes.

10:29pm, out he came.
We managed to get my leg lifted around the umbilical chord to untangle myself and they had freshened and warmed the bath water a few minutes before the big pushes.  They placed Tennyson on my chest and Randy brought a hot towel fresh from the dryer and wrapped it around the front of the baby and I.
We laid there in the tub, spent.

Amazingly enough, I only experienced a minor, superficial tear. No "ripped in two" for this gal, like it felt.  Tennyson's head was 14 1/4 inches and he weighed in at 8lbs 12oz. A full pound heavier than my other kids. 

The rush of love hormones and bonding emotions?  I didn't feel them immediately.  I had just been through the most physically traumatic event of my life.  As I held Tennyson I was more focused on remembering to keep his head above the water and "Oh, yeah, this is how you hold a baby, right?"
11 minutes later the placenta expelled.  The midwives placed it in a bowl next to us in the tub and it floated around while we waited for the chord to stop pulsing.

Salli asked, "Do you want Brian to cut the chord?"
"I don't care.  It's whatever."
Yes, yes.  You could say I was a bit ambivalent.  What mattered most had already happened:  my healthy, beautiful baby boy arrived and I was done with all that labor experience.  No ceremony here.
Brian did end up cutting the chord and the three of us just rested, Brian by the tub, leaning over my shoulder, Tennyson and I staying warm in the water.

Eventually the midwives came back with the herbal bath that would help heal my lady parts and the baby's chord.  They rinsed the tub while we stayed there and prepped the herbal bath.
It was at least two hours after delivery before I got out of the tub.

Brian took Tennyson, swaddled in a fresh towel, for a stroll around the house while I showered.  That was a wonderful experience...

The midwives had readied our bed and the three of us settled on it while they finished up.  Tennyson had his newborn physical.  Paperwork was gone over -all while Brian, Tennyson and I rested on our very own bed.

It wasn't until then that the bonding feelings began to flow over me.  There we were: Papa, baby, me.  Oh my good gracious, it makes me tear up just thinking about it.

By 1:30am Salli was finishing the last of the clean up and heading home.  The midwives had lovingly taken all of the dirty towels and started washing a load.  They'd removed the trash.  They cleaned the tub. They'd gotten the bed all ready for us to tuck in.  We were so well cared for.

Brian checked on our kids as he made his nightly rounds.  He poked his head in their room and both of them shot up -apparently I had made enough noise to wake them, but they hadn't ventured out to hear what was going on.  "Why was Mommy yelling?" they asked.  Brian brought them to our room to see.

On tiptoe, the kids came in and met their new brother.  A few minutes of wonderment and they were back off to bed.

Personally, I was ready to start an X-Men movie party downstairs, but by 2:30am Brian and I were settled in, staring at our baby boy.  The three of us fell asleep, all together in our very own bed.

And that, my friends, is how we welcomed our third child into this world.  All in a record 2 hours, 45 minutes.

So what were the major differences and benefits I experienced by having an at-home water birth over the hospital births?   Having control of my birthing experience. Having a very personal, intuitive and nurturing experience with the midwives and Brian by my side. Being at home, sleeping together in our comfortable bed, not having 22 different nurses popping in and out every 2 hours interrupting your rest. And recovery? Ridiculously fast compared to my epidural births! I was easily moving around the next day, I took only two doses of Tylenol right after giving birth and didn't need to continue after, by day 8 I had resumed exercise, my superficial tear healed by 1 1/2 weeks and my bleeding has been significantly reduced.  Recovery has been amazing! 

Many, many thanks to the midwives of Central Texas Birth Center.  If we have a 4th child, I'm definitely doing a home birth with this ladies again. And I'm pretty set on having a 4th child.

As Ah-nold would say, "I'll be bahck."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Introducing Our Newest Member: Tennyson Lee

So, the story of his arrival will come next -I'm working in 20 min. intervals in this lovely time of newborn bliss- but I wanted to introduce you to our newest family member, Mr. Tennyson Lee.

The short of it is, Mr. Tennyson made his arrival the night of October 9th at 10:29pm, weighing 8 lbs, 12 oz and measuring 19 inches long.  He may be two inches shorter than the other kids, but he's a whole pound heavier.  He was born at home with a record delivery time of 2 hours 45 minutes.  Getting to sleep together in our bed that night was simply wonderful and I'm excited to share the story of how he came into this world.

For now, here's Tennyson at 3 days old.  He's a very relaxed young man who enjoys his milky beverage and likes snuggle time.  

We couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What to Expect: Nothing | 39 Weeks Pregnant

Wilder was electively induced at 38 weeks.
Waverley arrived 8 days before her due date.
This child?  This child is still here.  4 days until its estimated ripeness.
(Due date's October 5th.  Sending the baby an eviction notice pronto.)

For some reason I've been poised, on my toes, ready to deliver (which, imagery-wise doesn't make any sense at all) since the start of 37 weeks.  Anticipating.  Expecting.  Ready. And yesterday I was certain THE DAY had arrived.  I did the whole castor oil trick in the morning, sandwiched the day with two walks, had mild, regular contractions starting around 1pm which, excitingly, developed into hardcore surges by 6pm.  From 6pm until we put the kids to bed around 8:45pm, the contractions -which were hard to breath through, coming every 1:30-3:30 min- told me "Hey, we're getting serious here" and I could feel the baby move even further down, very engaged.  But after saying night-night and tucking the critters into bed...put, put, put, pfffttt.  All those exciting surges let up.

I woke up this morning pretty urked, let me tell you.  Pretty. Dang. Tired of expecting.
So?  I'm not expecting today.  I haven't expected a thing, except to wrap up editing a wedding (which did get accomplished, so "Tada!")  And now I'm expecting to have a quiet evening with the kids and Brian.  And tomorrow I'm expecting to get together with a friend and her boys for a little social time, perhaps a walk in the park.  And
...I expect to have a BABY.

Today I ate a crap ton of chocolate (thanks Mom!) and watched episodes of  "Call The Midwife" while I edited -subsequently bawling my eyes out, releasing all those pent up emotions and hormones.  Basically, I fed my girly-girl needs and simply expected to be pregnant today.  And it was a mighty good thing.

I vividly remember being around 7 or 8 years old, waiting for a friend to come over to play.  I had several hours to wile away, so I put on a movie.  Didn't help.  I tried playing the piano.  Didn't help.  I ended up alternating sitting by various windows and pacing (much like our Border Collie, Shelby.)  FINALLY my friend arrived. And I can't even remember who it was or what we did.  It had better have been fun, though, right?  After all that excruciating waiting around?

In the meantime, while we wait for this (big, I'm sure) baby to arrive, I'm trying to make the most of the time I have with the three precious people around me.  We've been snuggling, playing, talking, walking -just living life, and me attempted to do it a bit more purposefully.
And part of me is sad.  Sitting on the couch at night with Brian in the quiet of the evening -it'll be years before that'll happen again (alone.)  Having one on one time with my babies will be a luxury, and it will be several months before we're able to have that again.

It's the beginning of something new.  And it's also an end.  Mamas, sometimes we need to grieve that part, just as much as we are thrilled for the new chapter. 
Life is about to change drastically for each of my family members.  It's something new, and it's beautiful.  And I'm so glad that each of us will be part of it.
It will happen.

In the meantime, wanna see some photos?

Wilder had an audition for a grocery store commercial.  When I asked him on our way there if he liked auditioning he said no.  Hm.  "So, do you want this to be your last audition?"
The man has spoken.  Still, he had a pretty fun time.

Shelby and the bump and I, 38 weeks pregnant.

How I felt after my 38 week check up last week.  Captioned: Done.

Waverley has been my main walking buddy these past few days as I attempt to keep my back in shape and kickstart contractions.  I've truly loved getting outside and having special time with her.  She's a wonderful, energetic buddy.  Though she is in a "collecting" phase and wants to constantly stop to grab "special" leaves, rocks, flowers, sticks, etc.  Piles and piles of nature we have 'round here now...

On Sunday (Sept 28th, the day I had my heart set on to go into labor) we had THE BEST family day with MiMa and Boppa.  A clean house, quality game time and visiting, a trip to Berry Springs Park, treated to a marvelous dinner at the kids' favorite Italian restaurant -I mean, this day was fabulous!  It would have been magical to have a baby that evening.  But, you know, I'm still pregnant... ahem, ahem, Baby.

39 weeks pregnant.  The roundest I've been yet.

A sunset walk with Wilder and Shelby.  I treasured this rare time alone with my Baby Bear.  He never wants to go on walks anymore, but it's something we used to do all the time from when he was a baby onward.  He's growing up so much, consumed in his own little world as he has a grand ability to focus on his interests with undivided attention for hours upon hours.  This will always be a very sweet memory of time spent together.

And now?  I'm going to snuggle some little people, kiss that handsome husband, and finish (most likely the last) novel I'll have my hands on for quite some time.

And I'm not expecting ANYTHING tonight.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Learning How To Be A Grown Up. Finally.

They don't teach college courses on this, but they ought to.
Matter of fact, it should be a prerequisite for any high school grad -taking a class on how to be a grown up- don't you think?

Sure, we're taught how to balance a check book and write a resume, basic job application skills, etc. (okay, maybe we're not) but one thing we are never educated on is how to emotionally be an adult.  What does that even mean?

"Oh, GROW UP."
What does that mean to you?
Act mature.  Stop yer whinin'. Cancel the pity party, no one's coming. Get off your butt and DO something.

But what it mainly means -what I'm FINALLY figuring out is that acting like a grown up all boils down to one thing:


It's embarrassingly simple, but can you believe that this little revelation whacked me upside the head recently with all its sense-making?  It did!   34 years old, a business owner, married nearly 10 years and with a third child on the way.  (Shaking my head.)

Recently I've been going through my past, trying to make sense of why I have tendencies towards certain behaviors, attempting to get at the root of issues so I don't continue unhealthy patterns or copy unhealthy modeled behavior.  It's easy to fall into what you know -and when what you know is ruining your personal life, it's time to get out the sledgehammer and bring that house down.

What I've found is:
It's valuable to understand your past, but most importantly take control of your present and future.
And the way you do this is to start each day with this one phrase:


What you are in control of -your thoughts, actions, motivations- are owned.  By YOU.  No one else.  Thank goodness that most of us are not in hostage situations where we are not in control of our own choices, right?  But we live that way -as if we're hostages to our circumstances, our emotions, our behavior.

You are in control of everything from your to-do list, to what you eat, how you spend every moment in between --we're always making choices and the power comes in being conscious of that.  Everything is a choice, and we make those choices.

And that's what being a grown up is -being responsible for ourselves.  When we blame others, play the victim, never own our mistakes or our choices -yes, we remove ourselves from culpability, but we also treat ourselves as POWERLESS, and that's one hell of a lie, people.

It has been so empowering waking up each morning and saying, "I take responsibility for today."  I'm not taking responsibility for the world going right, or solving the problem of hunger or war, but I am saying that, today, in every moment, I have the power to choose.  And I get to own my choices -good or bad.  There's no one else to blame for my actions or words.  I have the power to choose. Knowing this, thinking this throughout the day, has been more life changing than anything else I've experienced.

I used to be afraid of being powerless to certain impulses.  Drinking, eating, anger, making poor decisions, etc.  But putting myself in the drivers seat and knowing I get to make my own choices, no longer hanging on to the "oh shit" handle in the back of the car and hoping my decisions wouldn't wreck my life or others --it's been the most empowering thing ever.  "I'm driving the car, asshole.  And this is where we're going."

Now?  I really like being a grown up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who's The Boss of Where You Live? (And Crazytown is Super Expensive)

In a recent conversation, my sister brought up a good point.
(She often does.)
When it comes down to it, you have to realize that (in most people's cases) your spouse doesn't wake up in the morning thinking, "how can I hurt my wife/husband today?"
You -at the very foundation of your relationship- love each other.  You may have squashed feelings about something, but usually spouses don't declare war on each other -and if they do -seriously: grow up.  The "you hurt me, I hurt you" thing is a stupid cycle -easy to fall into, hard to be "big" about and get out of, but that's where love comes in.  We've been through lots of immaturity, lots of selfishness -and I think that's where it all resides, the harmful conflict.  Selfishness.  At least that's my main thorn.  And pride.

I really, really, really like being right.  Even if it's only in a small portion of my argument -hey, there was truth in at least that part, right?  I happen to be married to someone who firmly believes in facts as opposed to feelings (he's a guy, so there you have it.)  That makes it challenging for a feelings-based thinker to "win" a debate (of which there are a ridiculous amount at this here house.)  As a result, he's helped me to be a more rational debater, thinking more critically about what I believe and why I believe it.  Still, there are times when I feel strongly about something, cannot articulate or locate the facts to back it up and I feel like a crazy person trying to defend my feelings or opinion.  Entering CRAZYTOWN, the place where irrationality rules and you wish you could stuff the other person's face full of green jello and post the photo all over social media.  See?  Crazytown.

That's when the shower becomes your ally, and you cry it out (and hide the jello mixes) and allow yourself the all-important, "MY FEELINGS *ARE* VALID!" rant.  And eventually -eventually- you make a choice.

1) (Stay in Crazytown.) "Imma gonna show that jerk how it feels to hurt like this..."

2) (Take a calm, scenic train to Sanity Central.)  "I love that person.  I know that they love me.  Yes, I believe what I believe and they disagree but that doesn't mean I'm less of a person or that I'm stupid, or that they are less of a person or stupid.  I have a right to my opinion and feelings, as do they, and I CHOOSE to approach them with love and move forward."

Some things you have to resolve -both come to an agreement about.  Maybe mediation is required.  And, I know, feeling like you've been banished to Crazytown is one of the worst feelings ever.  But you (okay, let's face it, I'm talking to myself here) are the only one who can keep yourself there.
Who has control over where you mentally live?  Nobody else but you.
Honestly.  Do not let yourself be taken prisoner to what you think someone else thinks.
Oh, really?  You're going to let their perception rule your self-worth?  Aw, HELL NO.
Too often we give others undue power over ourselves -for various reasons, none of them good.  It is our job to hold on to ourselves, to know ourselves, and to treat ourselves with respect -and then, in turn, treat others (especially those we love) with the same respect.

I know that when I feel the most vulnerable, unsure, defeated and lost is also when I treat others the worst.  I reflect on them how I feel about myself.  And it's pretty ugly.
Critical, annoyed, insensitive, impatient, frustrated -and it's all based on my self-perception.  The power to get out of that is when I'm able to identify a funk and say, "Woah, woah, hang on.  What am I feeling insecure or fearful about?  Why am I feeling worthless right now -what is the root?"  When I'm able to address that (and I'm still learning on being successful at this -it's a constant process) I can stop my negative behavior and attitudes towards others in their tracks.  (And therefore avoid most debates that lead me to Crazytown or words and actions that make me go to bed with regrets.)  I can't tell you how many nights I've gone to bed wanting to hold my kids and spouse and apologize for being upset and wacky -and I'm thankful it's becoming less and less of an occurrence.

In conclusion, I've found that most of my relationship and life issues stem from self-perception and only things that I can control.  When I feel out of control, it spills all over my family.  When I feel confident and at peace, that radiants through each interaction with them.  It's a general principle that covers most (not all) situations and it's been a big focus for me lately.  Get my heart and head together, be confident in and at peace with myself, and focus on living in love with my family.

And, by the way, Crazytown is expensive.  You don't want to live there, trust me.  It costs more than you ever imagined and it's totally not worth it.

For a simply FABULOUS,  MUST WATCH short video that will truly set your brain and heart on fire that goes right along with this post -please do yourself a HUGE favor and watch this Soul Biography by Nic Askew featuring Rick Sapio.
I want to be the rider, not the horse.  I'm making a choice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crazy Family Portraits, 2014

It's high time we did some updated family photos, wouldn't you say?  Today's the official Family Day of the week and Brian acquiesced (and eventually Wilder) to doing one of our "hop on the couch with the wireless remote on the camera" family sessions.  Everyone takes turn pressing the button and what we get is what we get! 
I kinda love our Cowgirl Princess ;)

35 weeks pregnant and this little person is definitely going through a growth spurt.  Within the past week I have gotten SIGNIFICANTLY rounder (all over.)  Then again, maybe it's the ice cream.
But seriously.  Yesterday I could not for the life of me get comfortable. Streeeeetch!  I felt my stomach going through growing pains.  Only 3-5 more weeks to go.
(I hate waiting.  It's the hardest part, the last few weeks.)

YAY!  This is the winner for Family Photo 2014 (pre-baby.)

And Waverley let me take a few before we put everything away.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My First Maternity Session | 2014: The Year of Abundant Happiness

{34 weeks of pregnancy.}

Yesterday I had my first official maternity shoot -at least this baby gets one "first."  My pregnancy with Wilder was so new and wondrous, with Waverley it was filled with girly excitement, this baby has been more "welcome to the party" than "let's throw a party."
The party's started.  
We're not doing a baby shower (though I would like to have a casual gathering of friends just to say hello and visit before baby comes -just to celebrate friendship- but I doubt I'll get around to planning it.)  We're all just feeling so chill and I'm embracing it.

But this maternity session?  Oh my goodness.  So special.  I've seen a few sneak peeks and they are just gorgeous.  I'll share when I get the edits in the next few weeks, you bet your buttons.  

Thelma, owner of Divaz Fabula -a sister duo hair and make up team, came to the house to get me gorgeous. And she certainly did.  I've only had my hair and make up done three times in my life for photoshoots that were personal -not for my wedding, not for prom, just for one round of headshots, last year's creative shoot and this maternity session.

Before and After with hair/make up company Divaz Fabula

I've often felt that getting hair and make up done was on par to having a manicure.  It's something you should be good enough to do yourself -passably.  It's like ordering a coke at a restaurant when you'd be fine with water.  Maybe it's my Presbyterian (read: frugal) upbringing.  I won't splurge on handbags (hello, imitation vinyl at Burlington Coat Factory!)  You won't find designer brands in my closet (unless they somehow made it to the local thrift store -and, by then, they're "vintage" and highly appropriate for recreating Angela Lansbury's look in "Murder, She Wrote."  My favorite.) I just have a hard time spending money.  Unless it's for a bargain.  Or chocolate.
Tim Waters Photography, HMU Divaz Fabula.  34 weeks pregnant.
BUT, hiring Thelma -having my hair and make up done professionally- was absolutely worth it and I firmly believe that if you are going to have a professional photoshoot, you NEED to spend the money on looking your best.  Just from the sneak peeks, what Thelma did with my eye make up completely made my look and I love the photos 200% more than expected because of her work.  My photographer, Tim, said the make up was so flawless, he wouldn't have to do a single retouch.  As a photographer, that's a big deal.

It makes a difference.

Sunday morning I woke up from a dream that I had the baby, but nothing prepared.  Not a single diaper.  Logically, after getting ready, I headed to the store to stock up.

It was the sweetest shopping trip I believe I've ever had.  Standing in the various aisles at Walmart, I could be found hugging diapers with glee, tearing up as I picked out the lightly scented baby lotion I'd be lovingly rubbing into my baby's fresh skin, and laughing out loud, drunk on the thought of soon being in Babyland.  Now, baby can arrive and I'll be ready.  Wipes are under the sink.  Diapers are nearby.  Mattress protector purchased in case my water breaks in bed like last time.

Speaking of my bed, that's another thing that was ultra special about this maternity session.  Done in my studio, which doubles as our bedroom, this is where I'm planning on delivering.  Behind those double doors, I've created a birthing sanctuary in our bathroom.  Peaceful, soothing, filled with green plants, natural light and candles, I've been imagining the birthing scene and mentally preparing with this space.  Having my maternity session captured where the most intimate moments of our live have occurred (yep, TMI, but it's *true*) is just priceless.  So much more meaningful than if we shot in a random field or venue.  THIS is home.  THIS is where we live and love.  THIS is where we'll usher -as a family- our next member into our lives.
I cry just thinking about it.

Get your hair and make up did by a professional like Thelma.
Baby prep shopping at 34 weeks is FUN.
And I have pretty pictures coming that are so very special -and it makes me happier than a June Bug.

Side Note:
2014 has been the happiest year of my life.  Maybe it's the hormones, but I doubt it.  Most of it is due to changes we made as a couple and a family -a change of focus and how we spent our time.  We united where we had been divided, and coming together -re-prioritizing- has been the secret sauce to our happiness.  It seems every day I am hit with how tremendously blessed I am and how thoroughly happy I am right where we are.  I used to dream, "Oh, when we live here, I'll be happy" or "if only we had more money and could travel, I'll be happy," etc.  Now I wake up and snuggle with my hubby, overwhelmed by how lucky I am to have him next to me.  To see Waverley peek her little blonde head up from behind the bed and hop in for a few minutes together before the coffee starts brewing.  To watch my little boy so enthusiastic about the things he's learning, discovering and enjoying at this stage -as SOON as he gets out of bed.


That's the best way to define 2014: The Year of Abundant Happiness.
And I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

You don't want to read this. Fair warning.

So, I hugged a stranger yesterday.  That's not what I had in mind to write about, but it happened.  It was awkward and funny.  Someone I thought I knew, greeted enthusiastically, went in for a big hug and "So, how ARE you?!" and realized within 30 seconds... I've never met this person before.
I got her business card, though, and she seemed to dig the overwhelmingly friendly connection.
She's from out-of-state, so: Welcome to Texas, Sister.
We're huggers.

This... well, this is a majorly "TMI" post -you probably don't want to read it, just a warning.  It's about labor dreams.  But it's just too odd not to write about.

Feel free to exit through the gift shop now.  No purchase necessary.

I can't specifically recall having labor dreams with the other two kids, but the only dreams I've had regarding labor with this little person have had a very common theme.  Nothing that scary, thank heavens, but just weird.  You'd think I'd never given birth before.

The first dream, I was laying in bed in the middle of the night.  I woke up (in my dream, mind you) and my water broke.  Along with the gush of amniotic fluid, a grey, spongey matter expelled.  The thing looked like a loofa.  A grey loofa, but softer.  And -in my dream- it was COMPLETELY NORMAL.  Within a minute, the baby just slipped out.  The beautiful, gorgeous, healthy baby.  I turned to my sleeping husband and said, "Hey, Brian!  The baby's here!"

When I recounted it to him, he said, "That's the kind of home birth experience I'm after.  I'll just sleep through it."

Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

So last night, another labor dream.
It was daytime.  I was using the downstairs toilet in our home when my water broke.  And then... (seriously, where is this coming from?!) all of this spongey matter and (soggy) papery products started coming out of my body.  It looked like 10 lbs. of excess...um...excess(??) emptied out of me.  And my thought was, "Oh, huh!  I had no idea I had 3 rolls of toilet paper, etc. stuck inside of me!  I feel so much lighter now!"

(What is WRONG WITH ME?!)

Then I started to freak out a bit.  I was only 33 weeks pregnant and my water broke.  What do I do now? I didn't want to go to the hospital, but it seemed logical.  Thank heavens I woke up before I had to hop in the car and make the drive.

Ladies and gentlemen, I warned you.  It was certainly too much information.
But now I will have a record of my insanity for years to come.

Oh, thank you, Dear Internet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bitchy isn't clever, it's just bitchy | Reactionaries Versus Diplomats | And Poirot References -gotta love 'em

Lately I've gotten back to one of my favorite shows, Agatha Christie's  "Poirot" starring the wonderful David Suchet.  When I hear the theme music begin it feels odd not having a glass of wine and a gourmet cheese plate in hand, but there it is.  (8 months pregnant, whatchagonnado?) There is something sumptuous about this hourly indulgence with such a smart (in every sense of the word) little Belgian nestled in 1920s England.

David Suchet as Poirot by erebus-odora found on deviant art.
What's most endearing about this charming man?  True, he's quirky, picky, a bit prissy -I grant you- BUT: he's diplomatic and polite.  Sound boring?
Well, it ain't.

We are being trained -and told it's "cool"- to be reactive, unthoughtful, unfiltered individuals.  We rarely censor what we say or share -and it's easy to put our foots in our mouths with all the instant outlets for emoting: facebook, twitter, instagram, even blogging.  "I'm just throwing this out there..."
But what are we throwing out?  Usually negativity.

Complaining is rampant.
Griping is on the rise.
Acting badly then attaching a "don't judge me" at the end is totally normal.

We're losing the art of being graceful.
Why do people despise being....well, pleasant?

I get it.  Being "real," dropping the facade, admitting we aren't super women -YES.  True, I agree whole-heartedly!  But are we doing ourselves any favors by reverting to childlike, knee-jerk reactions.  The number of small business owners I know who gripe openly on facebook alone -UGH!  What are they thinking?  How is this helpful -to ANYONE?  Particularly anyone who is/was contemplating working with or associating with them?

I will always remember a former employer who -at least in all my interactions- was a perfect example of diplomatic behavior.  He ran a very successful company surrounded by emotional artists and the typical restaurant employee problems, yet never spoke an ill word of anyone -expect local politicians, but that was his job.  He handled issues gracefully and I always admired him for it.
And that, my friends, is a hard thing to do.

So who are our role models? Snarky reactionists -"Oh, they're so edgy.  I love their brutal honesty," or
pleasant people who weigh their words carefully?

Maybe it's because it's such a challenge to be gracious and we so often fall short.
We hate falling short -feeling inadequate.  But perhaps that's because we aren't trying -or aren't try hard enough.

I am NOT perfect -I continue to learn that in greater fullness with each passing year. But I know that I admire those who, above the circumstances, attempt to be loving speakers of truth and who strive to live in joy.  While the snarky reactionists may be entertaining, I certainly wouldn't want to work with them in any facet or spend any amount of time with them.

Too much sunshine and buttercups for you?
Well, as Poirot would share in sentiment, "Have a pleasant day, my friend."

Mid-Day Photo Break | Berry Springs Park | Heat of Summer

 It just felt right to grab my girl, the camera and head to the park.  She let me *gasp!* brush and curl her hair (thank you, young lady) and was okay with mama taking pictures of her.  Granted, no poses occurred, just Waverley in true form -which is always the best way to capture your kids.  I mainly caught the back of her; she's always on the move, engrossed in something, off on an adventure.

As luck would have it, we brought carrots for our personal snack and they were excellent in drawing out the sweet donkeys at Berry Springs Park, one of my favorite places in Georgetown.  Scratch that.  My FAVORITE place in Georgetown.

And this -THIS- is what my Waverley looks like most of the hot Texas summer.  Shirtless and happy being herself.


Related Posts with Thumbnails