Monday, April 11, 2011

Ready for Spring (cleaning)

I'm at the end of a two week push, one of those weeks when something is on the schedule every single evening.  Thank goodness for the rainy day that cancelled Doug's track meet one night, but Hannah promptly reminded us that the introduction to junior high was that evening, and we'd lost the paperwork that was sent, so she and I went out that night, too.

My brain feels mushy today.  I went back to bed this morning when Garion kindly decided to sleep in and Olivia decided she would love to watch High School Musical. I'm oddly satisfied by things like folding the four loads of laundry that are cluttering up the hallway and finding a section of the kitchen counter under all the dishes that have been piling up.  I think I could take another nap, but I don't really need it, so I'm trying to decide what put-off project I should resume for naptime.

It's an amazingly beautiful, sunshiney day.  It makes me want to throw open all the windows and clean everything!  I look around and there is stuff everywhere!  Time for a purge and cleanse!

It's not just in our house that things get put off when we're busy.  I know I put off dealing with stuff inside of me because I don't have time to think about it.  When issues come to mind, I shove them down, not having the energy to even look at them.  I think I'm ready to do some spring cleaning inside me, too.  I want to try to look at myself with clear eyes, to see how I really am and not how I convince myself I am.  No excuses, no defensiveness.  I need a healthy dose of reality and honesty to spur me on to grow.

I also need to start working on my eating habits and exercise routines again, but I know that all these things go hand in hand.  My physical behaviors are connected to my emotional and spiritual condition, which directly affect my home and the people who live there.  Like it or not, I am one of the keystones of my family and my attitude often sets the tone for everyone.

So let's start shoving the junk out, letting the light in, and rejoice in this season of renewal.

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 things

A lot of nights, I look back at my day, and am disgusted with how I spend my day.  I "didn't have time" to exercise or read my Bible or play a game with my kids, but I did win a few computer games and read about all the things other people are doing in their houses.

I want my daily life to reflect what is the most important to me.  I decided there were 3 things I want to have in each day:
1. Some time with God
2. Something active, which has to include my back exercises
3. Intentionally connecting with each person in my family

I am really good at feeling guilty about all the things I should be doing.  All the things I think I should be doing overwhelm me so I don't do anything.  I needed to create an achievable goal.  "Lose weight" is too big and vague.  Same with "keep the house cleaner" or "do a better job with my kids."

This I can do.  If I do these three things, I can be okay with my day.  Hopefully I'll get something clean in the house and make healthy food choices, but that will just be icing on the cake.

mmmm, cake.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Struggling and Blessed

I've been struggling.

Struggling to get out of bed.
Struggling to be productive on consecutive days.
Struggling to eat sensibly.
Struggling to be active.

I've been blessed.

My husband has stepped up as I've been gone more evenings and feeds the kids and puts them to bed.
My oldest daughter is blossoming into a beautiful young woman who (mostly) has her head on straight and takes joy in helping me.
My second daughter is loving basketball and giving us ample opportunities for training.
Number three is joyful and takes pleasure in making herself beautiful.
My five-year-old showers love on everyone and especially admires her two baby girl cousins.
The youngest girl works on making all the most expressive faces and wants to "nuggle" all the time.
My baby boy wraps his arms tightly around my neck and laughs infectiously.

I'm trying to find my way out of a tired, gloomy place.  My circumstances will not change.  I will continue to be busy, actually it's going to get busier.

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." Matthew 5:3 from The Message

I'm trying to figure out how to lean on God.  What does that look like?  How does he help me?  I know he does, I see it after the fact, but how do I purposefully depend on him when I'm tapped out.

Help me, Lord, to choose patience and love and joy and discipline
when I want to yell and ignore and mope and eat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Food makes it better?

What is it about eating that brings so much pleasure?  Why do I use food to make myself feel better?  It is an easy place to turn when life is crazy around me.

My husband is gone, hours away with his father, who is in the hospital and very ill.  I'm home by myself with 6 kids for an undetermined amount of time.  So what do I do?  I eat the pumpkin pie cake.  And the cinnamon bread.  And finish off the chocolate cake.  I have made progress on not eating when I am emotional and have lost weight.  I've almost reached my first goal.  I can taste it, but apparently not as much as anything sweet I can find in the house.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to choosing what I want for this moment or what I want in the long run.  I seem to find this at the root of so many issues: how I spend money, how I discipline my children, what I choose to spend my time on.  And what I eat.  Our pastor says you have only a few seconds (7? 3? can't remember) to decide to fight sin or give in to temptation.

Overeating seems like a weird sin to me.  But we're doing a sermon series on the seven deadly sins, and the message about gluttony really made me think.  Gluttony always makes me picture this grossly fat man stuffing food into himself, perhaps laughing at the starving people around him.  But gluttony doesn't have to be that extreme or that obvious.  I can choose to overindulge in anything (food, internet time, tv, reading)  to try to make myself feel better.  But in the long run, none of those things will satisfy.

The lie Satan would have me believe is that I should do whatever it takes to satisfy my emotional cravings.  But the Truth is that God alone can satisfy me, and my emotions are not always the best gauge of what I need.  They tell me what I want, and what I need is often vastly different (I try and try to explain this to my children..."but I waaaaaaant to"... can you hear the whine?).

So today I threw away the rest of the pumpkin cake.  Everything else is put away in the pantry or in the freezer, so in the time it would take me to get it out, I can convince myself not to do it.  It's the goodies sitting out on the counter that call out to me.  Well, that and the pumpkin pie blizzards, but thankfully, I would have to drive to DQ and I can't leave the kids home alone.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this fight.  I ask myself regularly if it's one I want to fight.  But then I try on a shirt, and it fits, and I don't want to cry when I look at myself in the mirror.  And I can run for 20 minutes straight.  And eventually my back won't hurt so much (I hope, really struggling with that tonight).  Apparently moderation is an art, and I am determined to perfect it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two weeks of success!

Since joining Weight Watchers, I've lost about 9 pounds in 2 weeks!  Now, I don't think I will continue to lose that much each week, but it's been such an encouragement to have that come off easily.  Even more encouraging is that I feel like God is working on my attitude toward food.  I am finding it easier to fight my emotional desires to eat, believing the truth that food isn't really what I need, just a substitute for something else I'm craving.

Yesterday, I was hungry physically, but also had lots of emotional cravings, which caused me to overeat somewhat.  And afterwards, I stepped back and realized I did not feel better at all.  I didn't beat myself up over it because I can still work my point count for the week and be okay (if I can get some exercise in), but it's important to remember how disappointed and unsatisfied eating that extra brownie really was.  Maybe if it had been the pumpkin pie blizzard I was really craving....fortunately they aren't out yet (and fortunately they have the new mini size).

I love that my pants fit better.  I love that I have cheekbones.  I am looking forward to more good things to come as I get healthier and slimmer.

Today was a tough day, but it could have been so much worse, and as I look back over the week, I can think of so many glorious things that have happened.  So as the thunder rumbles, I'm thankful that we're all home and warm and dry and snuggling on the couch.  Squeeze your family today!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Front Door Project

I am thrilled to post my first project!  I love reading other people's blogs and seeing all their great ideas and projects, and now I get to take part!

I think my husband will just be thrilled that I finished a project (within a week of starting it, no less).

Our house has kind of an odd-looking front entrance, which is a long story we won't go into, but our front door is actually a set of french doors with glass insets.
The previous owner had put sheers over them on flimsy top and bottom curtain rods.  They came loose on the bottom a lot and got stuck in the door.  Since this is our main door for going in and out of the house, and much of our traffic is small children, this was not convenient.

I took the curtains off, but it seemed odd to have uncovered windows where anyone could look into our family room and see us prancing around naked sitting on the couch, so we needed to do something.  Inspired by another person's frosted glass doors she did for a bathroom cabinet, I decided frosting spray was the way to go.

But I didn't want to just spray the whole window--too boring, no personality--I wanted to stencil something.  I debated on several floral or leaf or branch designs, but decided putting our address on the door would be much more timeless.  It reminds me of offices who have names on the glass doors.  Plus it might make it easier for people to find our house and know that these are the front doors (not sure if that will work).

Here's how it came out:

I am very happy with it.  The frosting isn't completely even, but it looks different from different angles and is opaque enough that you can't see in at night.  I'd like to paint the front doors now--I'm thinking a nice olive green maybe (any suggestions?).

The cost for this project was only about $5!  I bought two cans of frosted glass spray paint, but only used one, and the only other thing I bought was a contact paper remnant from the thrift store for 50 cents, so if you have some leftovers laying around, you can just use that.

Here's how to achieve similar results:
Print out whatever design or letters you want on your computer.  I ended up using a font called Hiragino Kaku Gothic Std, which I believe was one included with my Mac operating system.  My letters are 475 point in size.  I also used the outline feature when printing to save ink.

I taped them up on the glass and went outside to look them, figuring out where I wanted to align the letters and if they were big enough.  Then, thinking long and hard to make sure they would face the right way once I stuck them on the window, I taped the numbers and letters onto pieces of contact paper.  Since I was spraying on the inside of the doors, I taped the letters face up on the back side of the contact paper, taping in several places so it stayed in place
Then cut out the letter, cutting through both layers.  Take your time to do this well, since the quality of your stencils depends on it.  

After washing the whole window, I used a ruler and a wet erase marker (like for an overhead) to  make a straight line for the bottom of the letters.  Peel the contact paper letters off and stick them on the window.  I used the straight line for the bottoms and eyeballed the spacing between.

Letters taped on to look at them again before peeling the contact paper and sticking.

I also taped the edges of the windows and added pieces of paper from our recycling bin to cover the wood.  I'm not sure how necessary this was, because I'm not sure what this paint would do to it since it seems to spray on clear, but I didn't want to risk it.

Edges masked, letters stuck on, ready to paint.
I chose to open the door to paint to help with the fumes.  I sprayed it completely, waited a couple minutes, then went over the whole thing again--going for slow steady strokes and even coverage.
The can said it can take 10 minutes for the frosted effect to show.  It's hard to see where you've painted because the color doesn't change right away, so it's good to wait for your second coat until you can see where the first one was heavy or light.

Once it's pretty dry (I only waited about 15 minutes), peel your letters off, take off the tape, and step outside to behold your beautiful handiwork!

Finished product

Close up of the letters

View of the house now.

I'm picturing this with a nice porch with a portico above (not in the budget right now), comfy seating, nicer lighting, and a striking front door color.  Green? Maybe red?

Thanks for letting my share my success!
Have a glorious day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Reason to say no to myself

I love food.  I love baking.  I love eating what I bake.  I love hot bread right out of the oven.  I love chocolate and peanut butter in almost any combination.  I love feeding people who are impressed with what I've made (usually not my kids).

I do not, however, love the shape my body is right now.  I'm actually surprised at how big I am when I look in the mirror or try on clothes.  There are so many reason/excuses -- 6 pregnancies, 6 kids, hard to find time to exercise, on and on.  But I know I will be healthier and my back especially will be much happier if I lose some weight.

For a couple weeks I've been debating how much I want to do this.  The question I keep asking myself is "fat and happy or skinny and starved?"  But that's not really true.  I joined Weight Watchers on Tuesday.  They're giving away a free month if you pay for 3.  I've done the online point system before and I know it will work if I stick to it.  When I eat the points I'm allowed, I'm not starved.  But I can't binge like I want to.  I can't eat all the cookies or sit down with a container of ice cream, but that's a good thing in so many ways.  So why couldn't I just decide not to do those things?

I need a reason to tell myself no.  And when I'm paying money out of our tight budget for this, I better make it worth it.  I can still have my Pepsi One (thank heaven).  I can sit down with a small bag of microwave kettle corn and eat the whole thing when I feel like snacking.

When it comes right down to it, I don't overeat because my body physically wants me to, I do it for emotional reasons.  I'm frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, and that nice burst of deliciousness in my mouth sounds wonderful.  I'll have to think of different things to do for myself now.  Anyone else struggle this same way?  What do you do that helps you deal with your emotions (that is possible to do with little kids at home)?