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Another birthday, another day

I think when I get sick, everything I’m working on suffers.

I have lost track severely of the self care challenge due to taking a full break from everything.

Thanks to my husband getting worse, we found out it was the Parainfluenza Virus- so it wasn’t treatable by antibiotics. We kept our older daughter home from school the majority of a week and now the three of us (me, the three year old and the seven year old) are on the mend. My husband is feeling better as well. He ended up taking 3 days off work but has been back for several days now and I’m back to doing stuff.

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I am officially 31 today, of course I don’t feel any different, just a bit more depressed about being that much closer to middle age and that much farther from my early 20s. Not sure if that will change, it maybe my OCD ruminating it in my mind over and over. I have the house to myself- so I guess Netflix and trying to straighten up the huge mess of toys here in the living room. We take them up to the girls’ bedrooms and they multiply as they come back. I look at pictures of peaceful and beautiful living rooms and it’s about the only time that makes me feel slightly jealous, I’m not a jealous person in the least, either.

I also have to watch out because I’ll start buying one item for storage and go overboard. I think random storage items are half my clutter. Funnily, I didn’t start decluttering after watching Marie Kondo- I started after hearing about her. I’ve been watching her show on Netflix and it’s helping a bit. I don’t thank my clothes but I can now fit them in my dresser. (ok, and my half of the closet… as long as some are in the dirty clothes basket… but I do wear everything now, for the most part.)

I go through my clothes on a regular basis so I only ended up with one bag to donate this time. The first time I really did, I ended up with three trash bags.

I fail to see how this is some kind of “middle class privilege” as I have read. If you live and have family, you can quickly build up things. I cleared 5 bags and 3 boxes out of my kitchen alone and need to finish the kids’ rooms. I got 2 bags of toys and 2 bags of clothing already.

We aren’t poor, but we’re not rich either. We just have ended up being given so much over the years, both of us came into the marriage with a bunch of stuff- stuff from when we went to college, stuff from my former apartment and a bunch of furniture and shelving that came with me from my mom and dad’s house. We use my old bed from when I was a teenager. We still use it (it’s pointless to buy a new bed, we had to break the box springs because of how narrow our stairs are so we are going to replace that when we move)

I’m currently working as much as I can on getting rid of as much clutter and trying to organize while I don’t have a day job, I could be unemployed for the rest of the month or could end up getting employed again next week. It all depends on what I can find. We’re in a kind of weird situation where I’m having to look for specific types of employment. Either way, this is my first birthday in years that I get to spend some time alone. The girls gave me my birthday gifts, my mom and dad came over with a flourless cake- it was a good, but rich, almond torte. Now, they are at grandma and grandpa’s house until tomorrow afternoon.

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My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.

I was asked what I wanted.

All I could tell them was I wanted something I can play with, not a need and not clothing or something to use for my business. I want something just for me.

Now, I am at a total loss- no clue what I want.

My brain is going full speed but unless it’s like a book or something, I no longer can think of hobbies.

It’s kind of sad that at 31, I have no hobbies because I spend all my time working or writing and it’s making me realize how little I really have.

I work 24/7 unless I’m sleeping or running after my kids, I have lost damn near all my social skills and quit talking to my friends. My #1 identity is D####’s mommy” or “M#######’s mommy” and it feels like even with me taking time for myself and strongly believing in not losing yourself, I have lost myself.

Before kids, I was a gym rat. I had gym memberships and was actually taking a boxing class. Music was my life. I played basketball and walked all the time.

I’m still interested and keep promising myself I’ll start walking again but never get an opportunity.

Now that I’m out of the pregnancy and young baby stage, it is 100% time to get back to my center and find what works.

Its kind of funny when an innocent question like “what would you like for your birthday?” triggers such a mental storm, but it’s not a good thing when you’ve been lost for 8 years.

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In 2 days I will have a 7 year old

I never believed when people said time flies by, but my tiny little doll sized baby will soon be 7. She’s reading, telling time and knows the days of the week. She knows which therapies she has on what days and reminds us on a regular basis.

I don’t know how her future will look, it’s 50/50, but she is already showing herself to be more intelligent than people give her credit. She’s kind, sweet, goofy and loving and I’m so lucky to call her my daughter.

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I never thought I’d be the type to let myself go after a marriage and these past 2 years (last year and this year) I’m getting myself back.

I have been with my husband almost 8 years now. Before he and I met, when I was younger, it would take me over an hour just to leave my house. My hair, make up, clothes and everything had to be perfect. After we had our first baby, I had an extra 60lbs (went from 125 to 198 at the end of my first- complicated- pregnancy) and I started stress eating (before that, if I was stressed, I couldn’t eat). I managed to lose 10lbs down to 180 but stuck. I did workouts sporadically but the stress turned to fatigue and even laziness.

With my second pregnancy (the one we lost) my weight stayed the same after the baby was born and I was too depressed to really work on it.

By the time I had my third, I gained up to 220- higher than I ever weighed and was a size 18. This time, I was more active but my thyroid went into hyper due to the toxic cyst and I lost 30lbs in the first 6 weeks and another 20 recently. Now that I’m down to about 170 and a size 14/16 I’m gaining the motivation to continue.

After I had my first baby, I continued with my hair, make up and skin routine but over time, lost it.

In the past few months, I’m working on changing myself. I realized a while back I let myself go so now I’m working on undoing the damage before it becomes harder.

My daily skin routine now involves pre cleanse and cleansing, sometimes exfoliating (not every day- usually 3 times a week to every other day), spraying my face with either rose water or Dermalogica’s Multi-Active toner, moisturizer, then I’ll put on a mask 1-2 times a week. That’s my evening before bedtime routine. My morning routine is the same but after the moisturizer, I’ll put my make up on. That full routine can keep my eczema from acting up too bad. I have found that to keep it down, exfoliating and moisturizing is key.

I’ve studied skin care professionally (I’m a licensed skin therapist) so keeping my skin next to perfect is key. Luckily for me, when my eczema breaks out, it’s mostly still skin colored but the itching does me in. I still get compliments on my skin on a daily basis- I get rid of zits immediately, don’t have black heads and you would have to look at my skin under a magnifying glass to see my pores- my skin has been my pride and thanks to that, I still look as young as I did when I met my husband. I’m heavier now, but I’m also working on losing that (I did make it from 130 to 220, I’m back down to 170 and working on losing the last 40lbs if possible). I’m down 50lbs from 220 to 170 from two years ago (hit my peak weight at the very end of my last pregnancy- but there will be no more pregnancies so I can focus on losing the last bit)

I’m also looking at what types of workouts are best for people with Osteo arthritis and Ehler Danlos Syndrome to try to get my body toned back up.

I’ve been working on trying to get back to how I was in college. Back then, I was active and felt great. I also looked better. I’m not sure how to handle my thinning and really dry hair (the wrong shampoos grease my hair up and make it look wet, when it dries it dries like straw. It’s hard having greasy skin in that one area of my body but then having dry hair. The thyroid issues don’t help at all.)
The selected image is what I looked like in October. I’m hoping to get back to a slightly older version of what I looked like when I met my husband. I’m not trying to look like a teen again (or very young adult) since I’ll be 30 this week, I just want to be about the same size, weight and to feel good again.

The first picture was taken right before my husband and I met (same week)

The one with the hat was shortly after we got together, before I got pregnant and the third was our first Christmas with our new baby (she was 9 months old)

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One week left in 2017

I do resolutions yearly. It’s more of a list of things I’m wanting to do as a challenge to see if I can do them. I love trying to challenge myself on a daily basis. At work, I give myself private challenges, same with home. At times I’ll secretly compete with coworkers or at home I’ll even secretly compete with my husband. It all depends on what I am doing and how hard it seems to be- if it’s hard, a fun challenge makes it easier to do. I figure if I make larger lists, I’ll be more likely to find a way to succeed with some instead of failing at all. This list is what I’m hoping or needing to change over the course of the next year or so. I do know from experience that making things public does help me stick to it- more accountability.

Most of the time, I do fail to complete the resolutions but it’s still fun sitting down at the end of the year and making a list. I have a few I’m determined to actually do this year.

1. Reprogram my mind to think more positive. I am a realist so at times I come across as pessimistic but I also come across as highly optimistic at other times. I have been working through the past year on trying to distance myself from people in my life (in all areas) who complain a lot or just have a more negative vibe and it’s been working a bit.

2. Think less about the diagnosis’s and medical issues. I’m still in the coming to terms with not being fully healthy stage so it plagues my mind constantly but I found that pushing the thoughts about OCD to the back of my mind gives me longer times of not obsessing over something (I have been having issues with the OCD being an OCD obsession lately so not researching it and trying to think of other things has been helping me a tiny bit)

It may or may not work with the other medical conditions, since they’re all physical but it does help with the OCD. I have conditioned my body to function with the fatigue that comes with Hashimotos and I found the gluten free diet clears all my digestive issues up and makes the Osteo pain a tiny bit easier. My Osteo acts up but not always horrible, I found that really cold and warm weather both have no effect, it’s mostly moderately cold and wet weather. I am determined to find a way to slow it down. I know it’s progressive, but I’m still able bodied so I should be able to slow the progression down.

3. Find more easy for lunch and good dinner recipes to stick with the gluten free diet. I have been studying it for years, learning about it, following pages and blogs and saving recipes for a long time but for some reason, rice pasta became my go to for work lunches. I could toss it on the stove and forget about it for a bit but certain brands turn to mush no matter low low I set the heat or how long I cooked it.

4. Quit eating out at work. It ends up costing way more than I’d like to spend. I could take the money I waste on lunch and save for something different- something for the family or even treat myself to something. You also consume manmore calories with store bought or restaurant cooked meals than you do with making things from scratch.

5. Cooking and baking more often. When my 6 year old was younger, I stayed home. I was on Pintrest for new craft and recipe ideas constantly. I’m planning on returning to that since I have been working with 2 kids for 2 years now and am finally getting to the point of having a set routine that works. I’m able to spend quality time with my kids, work, eat, sleep, shower and do my hair and makeup and we don’t have a dirty house (it is a bit messy at times, but we do keep it clean). From the time my younger daughter and I wake up until I go to work, I have a schedule I just fell into- it’s not set in stone but it works and I get errands, doctor appointments and readings done in a decent time and since the holidays are over, everything is slowing down so I can focus more on the home making skills I developed from staying home for four years.

Those are five and along with those 5, staying gluten free without cheating or going back to a normal diet and quitting smoking are both listed.

I read that if a smoker quits by 30, they go almost to nonsmoker risk of dying from smoking related diseases but where I have OCD it turns into an extreme- “I have to quit by the minute I turn 30 or I’ll be doomed to die” and it will start to feel like I HAVE to do it, put tons of unnecessary pressure on me that I do not need and I know isn’t necessary and I’ll freeze and fail. Every time I quit, the OCD puts undue pressure by making me think in extremes. I know the problem, I know the cause and I have been working on trying to “rewire” my brain. I can think logically now, even when the OCD is kicking in, so now I’m working on easing the anxiety by facing whatever causes the anxiety in the first place. It’s always going to be there, it will always act up but the more I work on controlling it, the easier it is to differentiate between reality and the OCD.

I do have to wonder if other people with OCD have serious problems quitting smoking due to the OCD. How it affects me, it almost seems like it would be normal.

 

There is my list- put up publicly because, accountability. Do you do resolutions? If you have that tradition, do you fail or succeed typically?” Is it for fun or serious attempts at improving your life?

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Is there a perfect number of gifts to buy your young kids?

As the holiday season is starting to wrap up, I have been noticing every thing other people have been buying their kids. I have seen some people spending as much as several hundred on one child with a cart full of big and small items. I have also seen some people buy just one or two items. It’s just one store, but when it’s a full buggy you can get a pretty good feel for how they shop. I do not compare myself to others, but I do try to make sure my kids fit into the area as best I can.

We didn’t have a budget, per se, but did have a rule this year that we would get several small but no big toys. We just don’t have the room in our small house right now for another huge toy and still have one or two play sets boxed up that haven’t been opened yet due to lack of space. We also knew, more than likely, we would get something big from a family member. Last year, we came home from his family’s house (alone) with our full size truck loaded with toys the girls were given so we decided then that we wouldn’t get much since the family gets them so much.

On the other hand, I read the 4 gift “rule”

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.” I think it’s a good principal, but always felt the need to get them more toys than just one.

We both are more materialistic by nature and we do own too much stuff. Since they see it from us, they are also becoming little consumers. I’d like to think we have hit that perfect balance. They opened gifts this evening after I got off work and loved everything they opened. We got them several small items that they will play with and we didn’t max out a single credit card nor did we break our bank. I would still love to know what that perfect balance is- between the year we maxed out two credit cards and the year we didn’t. Did we give them enough? Too much? I know it differs with everyone and I’m trying to remember from my childhood (I was an only child and would typically burn out by a certain number). My two year old seemed to get bored with opening by the fourth gift and we had to coax her to open the rest, my six year old loves the act of opening gifts so she finished the two year old’s for her.

It’s also making me think back a bit- how funny it seems now. Back when I was a child, I loved toys- and I loved having tons of toys at the end of the day. Today, I’m perfectly happy with the Starbucks gift card I got and the two tiny gifts from my kids. As you get older, priorities change. You go from wanting everything you see and giving a huge list to not being able to think of anything until after the holiday ends. My youngest’s birthday is in December and mine is in January- both of us within 3 weeks of Christmas, so that six week period wipes us out- both emotionally and financially. Luckily, since I’m the mom, the birthday isn’t as big a celebration as the child’s is so it’s not as draining.

 

What do you consider to be the right number of gifts to buy? I don’t necessarily mean a physical number. What is that perfect amount? Do they always have to be big or can they all be smaller? Is there a perfect amount or is it only based on the parents and the kids?