Monday, January 7, 2013


The first three months after Clara was born were not the easiest I have ever experienced. The poor baby cried. A lot. I tried giving up dairy, I tried swaddling, gripe water, baths, anything at all that might help her, and still I spent every evening walking the floor wondering what else I could do to comfort her. Everything I thought I might know about babies was lost, she defied it all.

Car rides were a disaster. She would scream from the second she was lowered into her car seat until we were finally able to take her out. Nights were impossible. She would sleep little tiny stretches and stay awake for hours crying in between. Sometimes, she would finally settle down just before it was time to wake up with the other kids. I even quit my job (which wasn't entirely because of her, but which was pretty much the best decision I could have made at this point in my life!) It was an entertaining time, that's for sure. Thankfully after raising four other kids the one and only thing I do proclaim to know is that nothing lasts forever. 

Well, eventually two things happened that coincided with her turning a corner. One, I brought her to the chiropractor once or twice a week for several weeks and slowly noted improvements until one day I was able to lay her down on the floor without her screaming, and then one day shortly after that we rode the entire fifteen minutes home from the chiropractor while she slept. And, two, I cut out wheat from my diet (and along with it a lot of sugar).

Now, this is not a post about why you should give up wheat, but I will say as much as pertains to this post. It has made a huge difference in my life. I'm much less anxious than I used to be, I have energy, I feel more calm than I probably ever have, and overall I just feel so much more alive. Of course, I keep going- is it really the wheat or is it just a combination of many different things? I'm not sure. But for now, it works. And I'll take it, because for months I have felt really good. And my baby is a different baby than she was in the first months of her life too. It wasn't until I ate a lot of wheat in one day, however, that I fully realized how much better we both function without it!

Anyways, because the dust is settling (literally and figuratively) I'm finding I might actually be able to get back to doing some of the other things I used to enjoy once upon a foreign time in my life. Not that I don't enjoy cuddling with my baby, but believe it or not I do have other things I would like to do as well.

Around Christmas time, I got together with some friends and one of them said something about my projects. Hah. I quit projects too. Gave them right up along with planning meals, exercising, cleaning house and doing laundry on a regular basis. Apparently with a fussy baby you realize how very minimal you can do and still go on. Just fine, I might add. But, now that she's taking a little longer naps and actually going to bed at a somewhat normal time most evenings, I think I could actually get back some... projects. Or meal plans? Or- I know, I know, this could be a bit of a stretch- workouts. All in due time.

I'm pretty sure Clara's temperament was a very good way for me to examine my life and prioritize the important things. Or to realize how very stressed out I had been feeling for quite some time. It was okay, I realized, to give up some things and not fall completely apart. And it was also all right to admit that everything was starting to feel very much like a constant battle between I need to do this and I have to do that.

Turns out, I'm not as good at balancing everything like I thought I would be, but that is fine. Balance is a tricky word. I used to be always seeking it, but more and more I realize nothing is ever going to be balanced in life. There's always a side that tips a bit to one way or another and that's what keeps it interesting. It prevents us from thinking we have nothing left to learn, keeps us trying new things and exploring different ways of solving the same puzzle.

Sometimes we just have to throw everything back in the hat and then start selecting new priorities. What worked five years ago, probably doesn't work as well now. Life changes constantly and we need to remember to give ourselves a break, sit back, take a breath... catch up. Sometime, that can be hard to see. We run on empty for so long it becomes normal. And, sometimes we just need a reminder... like a sweet little fussy baby... to remind us it's time to rearrange. And that is okay.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, New Dreams

So I've been thinking long and hard about starting to blog again. Not really. But I'm sitting here reading through other blogs and past posts of mine and realizing- this was a pretty cool way to document our lives, even if the history of my ramblings have been rather sporadic. Maybe I'll start again. Maybe I'll just write all night and make up for my months of silence if I keep chomping on these chocolate covered espresso beans like I currently am.

Christmas was really nice. The kids (and I) slept in nearly every morning (except, of course, December 25th), Ryan was off of work for five days and school for two weeks, everyone stayed healthy, and the ice rink got completed. And, seriously, as I sat by the kitchen window holding Clara the first night the kids got to skate, I got overwhelmed with emotion at how truly blessed we are. Kids learning to skate on a backyard rink with their dad under the moonlight. Yup, that will do it. A perfect moment.

Admittedly after such a decent break from school, I was kind of disappointed they had to go back the day after New Year's Day. I'm actually being serious here. They're growing up. Too fast. I appreciate their humor, their thoughts, their presence around the house in the middle of the day. Yes, I also appreciate the somewhat quieter atmosphere that results when school is back in session too, but if all we ever had were the moments when we are all here in this place together that would be enough. Possessions get lost, broken, neglected and worn out. Family, though? Family weathers storms, helps each other up, defends, protects, accepts, loves, and grows together to form a beautiful strong weaving of memories, traditions, and time.

I tend to get a little reflective at the end of an old year and optimistic as the new one begins. There is something so exciting and beautiful about beginnings. Life is full of tragedy and pain, loss and heartbreak. But we all know it's also filled with amazing beauty, perfect moments, happiness and dreams. It's a package deal, this life. We get it all.

Whew. Didn't quite intend for this post to get so sentimental, but it's a reflection of the way I've been feeling lately. Lucky. Blessed. Happy. This life is good.

I am looking forward to this year. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of me right now. It's a good time to initiate new dreams and build upon past hopes.

Meanwhile, it's 11:10 and the exhaustion I felt while the kids were still awake has eluded me now. Ah, the miseries of a night owl- I'm sure I could fall asleep in minutes if I went to bed... But then I would miss out on all this free quiet time.