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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stress Eating

     She sat, looking at the cinnamon roll on her plate. It was a good one, gooey with cinnamon, topped with a cream cheese frosting. Well, not really a frosting - it wasn't thick enough for that - but neither was it the thin consistency one typically pictures when thinking of a glaze. She shrugged her shoulders; ultimately, it didn't matter. This was her favorite kind, and it little mattered what the topping was called. 

     It had been a long day, she was tired and just needed a break from it all. She picked up the roll and began to dissect it. Some people like to eat them from the edge on in, but not she. No, she preferred to find the edge of the roll and unroll it, eating it one piece at a time, savoring the buttery blend of cinnamon and sugar that comprised the filling, plentiful on every bite that way. As she popped the first piece in her mouth, she could feel her body relaxing, releasing the built up tension from the day. 

     "When did it come to this?" she asked herself. "Finding solace in food?" She sighed, thinking back on her life. It wasn't always like this. The food was healthy enough growing up. When there were treats, they were just that, treats, and more often than not home made ones at that. Even now, grown woman that she was, she still had ingrained in her that three or four cookies was the "limit". Excess wasn't the problem, thankfully. 

     College didn't change her eating habits too badly; if anything, it made them slightly better as a result of the not so great food served up at meal times. Eating what many would consider non-filling junk for so long leaves one longing for real food. She smirked at the memory. Marriage hadn't changed her diet much, either. So what was it? 

     "Children," she breathed, "it was the children that did it." Only it wasn't that simple. It wasn't the children, necessarily, that caused her so much stress - it was the food. Silly, yes, but that was how it was. Mostly dinner. For some reason, she was finding it difficult to merge the boys' dinner time with what would be her husband's dinner time, due to the early bed time that the boys had. Oh, and the fact that dinner prep time coincided nicely with super fussy time, which made even the easy, quick, healthy recipes seemingly impossible. 

     "Who has time to actually prep things?" she asked, nearly aloud. "Clearly not someone with little people tugging at their pant legs, crying because who knows why." She sighed, and her head dropped. It started because trying to cook real food was stressing her, so she opted for quicker, not so good for you food in order to keep her sanity. Then it somehow snowballed, going from 'food is stressing me, I want comfort food', to 'I am just stressed, I need comfort food'. 

     Her eyes started to moisten; her current bite of cinnamon roll stuck in her throat. She hated that she felt this way. She hated leaning so unhealthily on food. She hated her inability to stop, even though she knew it was just a vicious cycle. Stressed, comfort food, guilt about comfort food, stressed, repeat. 

     She sat, looking at the gooey center of the cinnamon roll, her absolute favorite part. The frosting had melted down, nearly covering the entire morsel, mingling with the syrupy cinnamon which was also concentrated there. "My favorite part," she thought, as a tear slid down her cheek, landing with a soft plink on the edge of her plate. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And #3 Is...

     So, we found out who is arriving in August, and were waiting for Easter to announce uber-publicly. Well, Easter has come, and here it is!
Mary Ryan
     Mary Ryan will be joining us in August! This is the best picture we could get of her; the placenta is in the front, so it was a little difficult to get to her. Which is good information for me to know, since I wasn't feeling her as much as I had by this time with the boys, so I was getting a little worried that something might be off. Like, missing limbs and stuff. 

     The pregnancy has been going pretty well, now that we are out of the morning sickness stage. The mood swings could very well have been due in large part to the fact that we have a girl coming. Extra unstable female hormones, flooding the system, you know. 

     Excited? Um, sometimes. Scared mostly. But that is the subject of multiple posts, I think. 

     And I think that's about all, except for my exciting discovery of varicose veins in the back of my thighs. Huge ones. I'm not pleased with this discovery, in and of itself. But is nice to know why my legs have been feeling bruised and sore for the past few months. Trying a blend of cypress, lemon, orange, and lavender essential oil on them to see if it helps any. It is supposed to. A friend also gave me a trial version of Arbonne's Seasource Detox Spa Renewing Body Gelee, which she says helps hers since it contains ingredients that are anti-inflammatory. 

  And I thought I lost this whole thing, and spent some time typing up a second, only to find out that this one was saved. Urgh. I think it's time to stop the typing now. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Via Dolorosa That Is Motherhood

        Pain. Heartache. Agony. Not words which one typically associates with motherhood. I, however, am coming to realize how fitting they are, at least for me. Now, before you get all huffy, hear me out. Perhaps I am doing it wrong. I don't know. But it hurts, deep down to my core. Yes, the sacrifices I have to make in order to be the kind of mom I want to be hurt; but that is to be expected. The guilt I feel for failing so very hard (at least to my thinking, at times) cuts deeply. The pain and confusion that comes, when trying to "research" what is the best way to raise children only exasperates the problem. The times when you are tired and at your wit's end, and it isn't even lunch time yet and you just want to throw in the towel, because no one is listening to anything you say, and you just feel crushed inside. When you lose your temper with children who are pretty much angels, and it leaves you so wounded you wonder if you'll ever heal. 
     It isn't just the tough, hard times that pain me, though. It's when marveling at your two and a half year old, who refused to even hold the mail, because his hands were chocolatey and needed to be washed first, without any prompting from you. It's when the 14 month old insists on hugging during a story, again and again and again. It's their faces when you get them up in the morning. It's the fact that you are still completely their whole world, in spite of the times you've messed up. It's watching them learn and grow and develop, and you realize that one day you are going to lose them to the world of grown ups, and your heart aches at the thought but feels like it's going to burst from pride at the same time. 
     The weight of the responsibility of teaching these little ones about God. Teaching them how to be more than you are, when you are so very lacking. Being the whole world to two little boys, but having to split yourself between them. Wondering how you are going to manage when Number 3 comes along, knowing you cannot be all things to all children. Knowing how weak I am, how I cannot do it all, on my own. There is so much heartache, so much pain, so much agony. 
     This is the part where, if I were really good, which I'm not, but if I were, I would tie it all in nicely with it being a fitting crucible for sanctification, and other lofty thoughts of that nature. But, I'm not that good; my brain is empty of deeper thoughts, which is weird. Pregnancy messes with the proper functioning of pretty much everything. 
Image found HERE

Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Club: "The Mood Cure"

     Well, here I am, finally writing an update. I haven't been sticking to my nightly schedule so well, as I'm sure you might have noticed by now. The time change isn't helping any. We decided to keep schedule with the boys' body clocks rather than the analog one, so bedtime is now 7 p.m. rather than 6 p.m., and bedtime hasn't really started before 7:30 p.m. at all since Sunday. That means we aren't done with the "Good nights" until 8 p.m. at the earliest. Oh, and supper time has been thrown off due to Code Monkey having longer days at the office due to looming deadlines. So it's pretty much been 1. eat all together and start bedtime at 7:30 or later, or 2. do bedtime earlier, and do dinner after. Either way, 8:30-9 is late for me to start things, when I'm supposed to have an ultimate bedtime of 10 p.m. *sigh*

     As promised, here is a little review of The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, accompanied by a general update on how my moods seem to be doing. The basic premise of The Mood Cure is that our brains are being deprived of the necessary building block, amino acids, required for proper functioning. This is the result of stores being depleted and insufficient diets which are not replenishing said stores due to being nutrient deficient. In addition, there are certain foods which mess with our ability to regulate hormones, which further disrupts things. 
     Julia Ross is a psychotherapist who has been counseling people with emotional and mood disorders since the 1970s. In 1980 she began to wonder if the food people were eating had any effect on their moods and began working with nutritionists to see if there really was a connection. Turns out, the people who changed their diets from highly processed fast food to a more whole food, more veggies one had significantly more success in therapy than those who didn't. In the mid-80s, Ross was researching and found the research of neuroscientist Kenneth Blum, who had success treating addicts with the use of amino acids, which were able to help them come off the drugs and alcohol they had been using to give themselves emotional boosts. 
     There is a quiz, of sorts, which one takes to determine which particular mood areas need work, and I failed with flying colors. My midwife, who recommended the book, has given me an amino protocol which I have been using for a few weeks now, and also recommended following the nutrition advice in The Mood Cure in regards to going gluten free and ramping up veggie and protein intake. I've been gluten free for almost two weeks now, and plan on continuing until Easter because Lent, before reintroducing to see if I notice any change. Overall, my moods have been greatly improved, though not perfectly. When I have had my down times, though, I've been able to break out of them much more quickly than before. But because I am trying to attack from so many angles, it is difficult to tell exactly which ones are working, and which are not. 
     I started a daily journal last week, writing mostly about how I felt and reacted to the happenings of the day, and I am becoming more aware of what my triggers are. This is particularly helpful, because once I identify situations that are going to be troublesome, I can prepare for them, and have a reason for my moods, rather than them being completely random and unpredictable. I know that is a really bad sentence, but I'm not sure how to say it. How about this:  It gives me hope, seeing that I can control them, that there are real reasons why I react the way I do, instead of being a victim of my "random" mood swings. 
     As I mentioned above, I'm not sure if it is specifically the amino regimen or not, but overall I feel better, more balanced emotionally and calmer physically. That being said, I do recommend The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. It may not be the self help book you need, but it does have a lot of interesting info, and many, many citations giving the studies the information is based on.