It never goes well for me when my husband is out of town. I know that sounds like a very dramatic statement, but it is a true one. Everything that can go wrong generally does when he is travelling. Reference the School Days blogcelebrate-school-days-come-on.html and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. My life is generally random and a bit of a disaster, but the intensity increases when I’m temporarily a single mom. Last week was no exception.
Gregg was gone the entire week, so naturally life at the Greebon house exploded. Let me break it down for you.
Monday: I actually got up and moving and got the boys to school without drama or tardiness, so I felt pretty good about things in general. We had celebrated Emry’s fourth birthday over the weekend (insert nostalgic face here….my baby is not a baby anymore), so were all in a state of more-than-usual exhaustion coming out of the weekend. Other than dragging a bit, though, we survived the day pretty well, even though Emry refused to answer me if I didn’t address her using her full title….she informed me that I may call her Four-Year-Old-Emry from this point forward. Hopefully, this is a temporary phase. My children have short names for a reason….. Luckily, it rained all day, so while we got soaked during grocery shopping, this meant soccer was cancelled and I only had to scramble to one sport practice that night (This is Texas, people. We do not cancel football practice. Ever.).
Tuesday: I got everyone to school on time and got to all of my patients. Ironically, I had an incredibly heavy caseload, so was cramming in more than my usual number of patients. Plus, it was a week where I had to work later, so balancing child care was like planning military ops. Still…doable. I got home to meet my mom and let the boys into the house before leaving again for late patients and this is where things started to fall apart. On my way home, I had noticed that my stomach was unhappy, but didn’t pay much attention. Until I got home. Then, I had to pay attention. It took about 20 minutes for me to figure out there was no leaving the house again. Let’s hear it for the tummy bug! In true fashion of my determination to be positive and strong, I pep talked myself into looking at it as a weight-loss aide and forged ahead with dinner/bedtime/etc. (in spite of all three kids repeatedly telling me how terrible I looked – not the most compassionate crew, here). I started feeling better about midnight, so figured my mind over matter methods worked.
Wednesday: Until I woke up with pink eye….again. While it was nowhere near the case from before (those of you who’ve been with me from the start may remember the Pink Eye blog…that was a fiasco), it’s still pink eye – itchy, inconvenient, contagious pink eye. I resigned myself to cancelling more patients, no make-up, extra hand washing and dosed myself silly with eye drops (which I still had from the previous bout…score!).
Thursday: I woke up, clear-eyed and ready to go….hustling kids out the door, ready to cram patients into every nook of my day. I had pick-up and drop-offs set for all kids….my wonderful dad was helping get Emry from pre-school and meeting boys off the bus. We were set. Ha! Apparently, pink eye isn’t the only contagious factor. While picking up the princess, my dad’s car died, stranding them at her school. Who knew bad luck was communicable? I won’t bore you with the details of the mad scramble to work around this issue. Just know that everyone survived and made it home eventually. That evening, I had worship practice, which was perfect. Goodness knows my soul needed a healthy dose of music and Jesus by then. Feeling much revived, I headed home afterwards. As I approached the train tracks on the road home, I noticed a rapidly approaching light coming towards me from the side and a louder than usual train horn (is it called a horn on a train? Whatever…you know what I mean). The railroad arms were up, but I had the nagging feeling that the train was closer than usual (visibility is bad right now due to construction and piles of materials and dirt everywhere). Right before I got to the tracks, I slammed my brakes on. Thank goodness, because the warning arm came crashing down as the train went flying by in front of my car. I sat there with my mouth open, heart pounding, thinking, “Well, that would have just topped my week off beautifully.”
Friday: I decided there was no need to push my luck. I can take a hint. So, I cancelled all of my plans to leave the house before I had to work (and make up the visits I had missed earlier in the week). It was all for the best – this place looked like a bomb had gone off in it and needed some serious cleaning/organizing. My precious friend, Jen, came over to watch kiddos for me while I worked. She told me (in a rather sheepish tone) that she spent the entire drive over to my house praying that nothing bad would happen to her since she was helping me out. It seems I am developing a reputation as a bit of a jinx.
After I was done with patients, the kids and I had a Friday Fun Night, complete with breakfast for dinner and old school movies – the original Ghostbusters never gets old. And it’s a great family film, all things considered. Except for the scene where Dan Aykroyd has the dream/haunting with that blonde ghost. You remember the one to which I am referring? I didn’t, until the last minute….so I started yelling, “Everyone cover your eyes! Now!! No peeking! No peeking!” until it was over. Luckily, my kids were shocked enough by my manic vehemence to obey. When the movie was over, we all got up to dance to the credits (this is somewhat of a tradition in our house). Drew kicked off the dancing with disco moves (He was inspired by the movie Disco Worm. I don’t recommend it. Really, it’s one of the worst movies I have ever seen…..and we’ve gone through a Free Willy 1-4 obsession here). Still, who doesn’t love to disco? So, we all joined in. We did the Saturday Night Fever moves. We did the Hustle. We even did the whole hands in front of the knees crossing over while you wiggle your knees in and out, yelling, “wacca wacca” (which is not actually disco, but fit the mood – please tell me some of you know which dance move this is). Emry was hysterically cute as she tried to coordinate all of her limbs in this new phenomenon. I was so caught up in the moment and teaching her this new skill as a family that I called out, “Come on, everybody! Shake your knee balls!” This would be a ridiculous statement from any grown woman but considering that my degree and career are centered around a heavy knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy, it was just pitiful. And caused each of my children to freeze in their tracks, staring at me with varying expressions of consternation. It also caused our sweet practically adopted sister/nanny extraordinaire, Ashley (aka Pledge Ashley to the Saucy Six) to collapse to the floor, doubled over in laughter, hitting her head against a bar stool on the way down. The jinx strikes again.
I lay on the floor, gasping for air and snorting with laughter (she was fine – the stools are cushioned). There was popcorn everywhere. Dinner dishes were piled on the counter and syrup coated half of my kitchen. Eighties music was blaring from the television. I looked through tears of mirth at the flushed faces of my children and the disheveled state of our home…..and it was beautiful. Because these are the moments they will remember. They don’t see the mess. They don’t care that half of my to-do list didn’t get done (okay, two thirds….whatever). They don’t worry about the balls I dropped all week. And in that moment, neither did I. The credits dancing lives on. Drew has taught his soccer team the phrase “knee balls”. Emry has been practicing her new moves. We all have another memory of laughter and bonding to hang on to.
So, I’d say the week ended up an overall success.
That’s not to say I won’t be prepping for Threat Level Orange next time Gregg leaves town. I know the odds are not necessarily in my favor here.
Solidarity, sisters. Every thorn has its rose.
In an additional note: I arrived at a patient’s house this morning and after I had entered the house and was seated on the couch with my patient’s sibling climbing all over me, the adorable young mom informed me that my toddler patient had just fallen asleep, but she could get her in a minute. She was thinking about calling the doctor because her little darling had a horrible case of pink eye in her left eye, and it was spreading to the right one.
Oh, for the love………
As a general rule, you can tell where I am emotionally and/or mentally by my reading material. I love to read, and I will read anything and everything I can get my hands on. At any given time, I am in the midst of two to three books and a magazine or blog following. I prefer actual books, but my Kindle is impressively full.
I have some staples - pages of recipes and quotes or interesting facts cover the fridge along with my children's artwork/homework/sports schedules/grades/pictures...it's a veritable nightmare for the Feng Shui community. There is no peaceful space in my kitchen. I generally have books scattered by the bed and bathtub - you'll always find titles about child rearing (because, let's face it...none of us actually know what we're doing), spiritual growth or inspiration (I have no illusions about my ability to survive without celestial help), relationships (shout out here to Stormie O'Martian's The Power of a Praying Wife - I purchase it often because I keep giving it away, and I need to keep a copy....some days the only way not to kill your spouse is with divine intervention) and various professional articles (gotta stay on top of my game there). When I am overly tired or overwhelmed, I delve into the area of mindless romance or fantasy - sometimes you need to escape and not think too hard. When I am looking for some extra entertainment or adventure, I'll pull out a great mystery or crime nail biter - for these I look to James Patterson or J.D. Robb. I love novels with strong, funny, independent characters, male or female.
So, I'm sure you are waiting with baited breath to read what my literary ambience is these days. Well, the thing is....I'm a bit discouraged at my lack of progress towards the whole Fit by Forty thing. Which means that my house is currently littered with fitness and health publications. I have got this stuff everywhere, as though by looking/reading/touching these magazines and books I will magically transform due to osmosis. I stare at the cover models in envy, wondering why I can't pull off that look, and making reassuring comments to myself about their trainer budgets, personal chefs and air brushing. I devour the articles, inspired anew with easy-to-do fitness routines that take just ten minutes three times throughout your day! And the recipes...oh my! They even print the quick on-the-go snacks and dinners interspersed with pieces on affordable meals for gals on a budget. There are vegan versions and vegetarian versions and substitute chicken for every meat on the planet versions. Side note - this is hard for me because I don't really like chicken. Shocking, I know.
Then I turn to the page with the heading, "Hollywood's Best Bodies", and I am alternately discouraged and determined anew. Ok....enough whining. Let's find some recipes and a workout program and get cracking. I can do this. Oh....this particular article named Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston. I know you were holding your breath in anticipation. You may now exhale.
So, I see a picture of a cool looking treat and decide to start my journey. It's a recipe for roasted cherries with cocoa mocha granita. Sounds pretty fabulous, right? And it's in Health magazine, which means it has to be healthy and likely low-cal. I am the ultimate target consumer for these people. Prep time is only 15 minutes. Bake time is only 15 minutes. Freeze time is one hour. Okay, no big deal. I just have to plan ahead. I'm not sure what granita is, but the picture looks like brown sugar with cherries on top, so surely it's edible. I started going down the ingredient list.
Cherries - check
Sugar - check
Lemon juice - check
Kirsch - what??
Seriously, what the heck is that? I have no clue, not even the faintest guess.
Why is it that these recipes always have that one ingredient (sometimes two) that is impossible? It's either really odd or difficult to prep or hard to find (you know, the foods that are only sold in organic whole food stores that ship from a specialty grower in Oregon) or is in season the first and third Thursdays of April. Don't they know that working moms in Texas want a chance to be skinny, too?!?! I need ingredients I already have around the house, or can at least find at HEB.
FYI: Kirsch, or kirschwasser (German for "cherry water") is a clear, colorless fruit brandy traditionally made from the double distillation of morello cherries.
Thank you, Wikipedia.
I don't even want this stupid treat, now.
I flipped past the recipe section, disgusted, and found a promising article. A late night snack can actually help you sleep better, and, according to the doctor spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, we should eat 30 minutes to an hour before bed for optimum relaxation and restful sleep. Score! This is my kind of study. I went on to read more, riveted. The best snack includes complex carbohydrates. Even better! Permission to eat carbs! So, she suggests cheese and whole wheat crackers or almonds and a banana. What? That's not a nighttime munchies snack! Who even eats like that??
Probably Gwen and Jen.....which may go a long way to explaining why they have documentation worthy figures and I don't. Hmmm....
Because, honestly, this stuff only works if you do it. I can lament from now until the end of days about how my abs don't look like the Shape cover girl of the month or why my thighs aren't shrinking at the rate I want them to or at the unfairness of my scale's harsh honesty.....but if I refuse to follow the programs, recipes, routines and expert advice, none of this will ever change. Forty will come and go and I will be disappointed and depressed at my lack of goal attainment. Yes, the media darlings have trainers and chefs and seemingly unlimited funds. However, they still put in the work and shut out the calories.
Last year, I lost a tremendous amount of weight through a strict nutrition program, complete with vitamin shots, bi-weekly appointments, weekly check-ins with a nutritionist and food journaling my 800 calorie/day diet. Along the way, I had comments or questions from other women about what I was doing, and the odd comment about "doing it the easy way" or "cheating". Excuse me, sister, but there is nothing easy about 800 calories/day. It sucks. And it's hard. And it works.....but only if you do it right, with determination and accountability. Is it sustainable? No way. The maintenance program is, but (say it with me) only if you follow it. So, I am paying the price for falling too far off the wagon. But that's on me.
Because anything we hope to accomplish in life takes action. Yes, we need to find our motivation. Yes, we need to discuss our options and plan of attack, getting advice and setting a course. But if we never leave the finish line...if we never take that first step, and then keep putting one foot in front of the other.....we'll never move towards our goal, much less accomplish it. There is no "easy way". There never has been, at least not for anything worth fighting for and accomplishing.
Don't believe me? Check the books, beginning with the greatest one ever written. The instructions are clear - don't just listen to the Word, do what it says (James 1:22), because faith without deeds is useless to the point of being dead (James 2:20-26). For the more secular minded, you'll still be hard pressed to find any tome that doesn't say the same thing. Until you get up and get going, you don't move out of the place you're in. And the perfect plan only works for those who bring it to life and apply it. Period.
So, I'm actually cooking the healthy recipes I read and/or pin.
I'm hitting the road for my much accursed runs.
I'm sticking to an earlier schedule for bed time and kitchen closing.
I'm watching what I put in my mouth, mind and heart....fitness isn't just about the scale, my lovelies.
But there's no way I'm shopping for kirsch. The buck has to stop somewhere.
Solidarity, sisters. Women of action can change the world (along with our well-bein