Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 27: Express

I cut my hair.

There's even a TV Tropes entry for what I did: "When a character cuts off his or her hair, it often symbolizes a rite of passage or bout of character growth. A princess striking out on an adventure, or a new recruit at boot camp, for instance. Hair is something that takes time and effort to grow, so parting with it voluntarily can be a powerful act." Visit TV Tropes at your own risk, by the way, lest you get sucked into the abyss and emerge 16 hours later, hungry and disheveled.

Cutting my hair felt good. I don't know what is next, but I am ready. And so is my hair.

That fuzziness isn't a filter. It's me being a crappy selfie taker.



Capture Your Grief, Day 27: EXPRESS. This is the day in month where you can say whatever it is on your heart that you would like. Is there anything that you were hoping would be in this month of subjects that wasn’t? I am sure there is a bunch of things! This is your chance to share it. Find your voice. What is it that you want to express Is there anything that you want the world to know about your grief or children?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Capture Your Grief: Day 14, Dark/Light

I haven't done Capture Your Grief so far this year. I didn't participate in the August 19 Day of Hope either. I guess I feel all jumbled up with my grief over Garrett and the not-adoptions and the agency dropping us and all the emotions tied up in infertility (who knew that one would pop up again?) and I simply have little to say and much to process. Grieving the loss of expectations probably covers everything from "Garrett would have been" to "Jaden is now..." to "the second baby whose name we're not certain of would be..." to "well, I guess since it's unlikely we're going to adopt, at least any time in the near future, we better go ahead and turn the nursery into a guest room."

This is one of the brief moments when it wasn't raining.
Mike and I had our 12th anniversary on Sunday. We were on the way home from Missouri because we took Autumn to the Laura Ingalls Wilder House in Mansfield. We had a good time touring the museum, going to the Pioneer Village and sampling each of the three restaurants in town. But the whole thing was tinged with bittersweetness: the awareness that the only reason we took that trip is because we aren't in Texas for the adoption orientation. And that, well, we need to make the most of what we have since all signs point to not having more.

And we have a lot. No, we don't have the big family we and nearly everyone else expected we'd have. But...we have each other. I have Mike and Autumn and even grumpy Molly the cat. We have wonderful friends who love us. We have incredible family. We have jobs. A warm house. A great school. Jobs we like. Faith, battered but marching on.

Mike and I had a good conversation in the car about how our marriage has had crazy ups and crazy downs. We talked about how maybe the secret of looking back and saying, "it was a good life," is going to be not getting mired down in what didn't happen. We grieve our losses. Acknowledge them. Embrace them. Live them. And we move forward. We don't leave it behind and pretend our sadnesses never happened but we will carry them and learn and grow and--in the same breath that it never quite leaves me that something, someone, is missing--appreciate what there is with an intensity we might not have had before.

And so we soul search to see what is next. What path will we take now?

I'll leave off with what Carly Marie, the founder of Project Heal wrote for this day because it's excellent. Mike co-signs.

They told me I would feel sad for a long time, but no one said anything about anxiety. No one said it would creep in when the sadness eased and cripple me at times. No one said it would stop me from sleeping. No one said it would affect the way I parent my living children and how it would almost kill me to separate fro(m) them. No one said anything about the nightmares. No one said anything about the bitterness I would feel when I saw other pregnant women. No one told me I would have to struggle to not verbally abuse someone for complaining about how hard they have it with parenting their beautiful living children. No one told me what I should write when the form asks me how many children do I have. No one ever said I would miss him forever.

They said I would feel joy again but it wouldn't be the same. They were right, it is a much deeper joy now. No one told me that grief was just a deeper form of love. No one said that grief didn't have to be my enemy. No one said anything about how my life would be irrevocably changed through the incredible life changing friendships that I would forge. No one told me that I would find my life's purpose in the depths of my grief. And no one ever said that I would be grateful for the lessens and the experience.

Capture Your Grief, Day 14: DARK/LIGHT. Today we are acknowledging the dark and the light sides of grief. The ugly and the beauty. The bitter and the sweet. The anger and the peace. You might want to write about the moments when everything falls apart or maybe the moments where our eyes are opened to the gifts that this journey has in store for us. Or maybe you just want to write about both.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nutrition Journey 3: FAT, the good kind!

It's October which means Capture Your Grief is officially launched! I'm not sure how much I'll be participating but I look forward to seeing others contribute.

I figured it was time for another nutrition update! I left off with learning how to eat fat. After my second visit with the dietician, we talked about my usual meals and she said that it sounded like I was getting the hang of the pre- and post-workout snacks and my carb intake was looking good. But she suggested I work on getting more fat in my meals, to help with cravings and staying full, among other health benefits. I found a post by a blogger I'm not familiar with but whose post here is similar to what I learned in my sessions.

AUTUMN took this picture of me at the zoo. Didn't she do an amazing job?? And, check it out...I have a muscle!

Adding fat to my diet has taken a couple of visits to get right. I just had my fourth session and we were still increasing my fat intake! Isn't that a strange thing to say? It's kind of like how weird it felt to eat enough when I first started this process. Like I was doing something wrong. I'm glad I'm learning more about fat, though, because I've been thinking about how having a low-fat diet was probably as bad for Autumn as it was for me, with her growing like a weed and all. Plus, I've always had a sweet tooth and since I've been increasing my healthy fat, I find that I don't want sweets as much as I used to, even though they aren't FORBIDDEN DELICIOUSNESS.

An easy way to get some good fat into my diet would be with avocados but I'm afraid I'm one of those people who doesn't love them, at least not enough to buy and eat a whole one. So, I have other ways of finding my fats. For one, I'm using full fat dairy. When I make scrambled eggs, it's with a splash of cream and cooked in a little butter. I can't handle much more traditional dairy than that. But, I can eat yogurt so I buy whole milk yogurt. It's hard to find at the stores here! And when I do find it, it's almost always plain. Which is fine but I miss vanilla yogurt. When we were in Florida in July, I got SO EXCITED because Publix had whole milk vanilla yogurt. I think Mike thought I was crazy. A Whole Foods is opening up near me soon so I'm pumped about more potential yogurt options! Because...well, I'm a nerd.

Anyway, outside of dairy, I put nuts into my cereal in the morning. We cook in olive oil and have low-lactose cheese (usually aged cheddar) and hummus around all the time. I've been trying to vary up my snacks some with trail mix, kind bars, homemade granola, and other protein/carb/fat balanced foods. If you recall, nuts are one of the big things that "you should eat 1200 calories!" doctor warned me against. Thank heavens for second opinions, right?


Before I started this process, I was hungry all the time. Looking back, even though I rather thought I was eating enough, I was starving myself of fats and carbohydrates: the things my body needed to fuel my lifestyle. Today, if I'm hungry, I eat. The dietician gave me a hunger and satisfaction scale that helps, too, because I think I had forgotten how to listen to my body. The photo above is similar to the sheet she gave me that hangs on our fridge next to a list of snack combination ideas. I like it because it reminds me that if it's noon and I'm not ready for lunch, I don't have to eat! If it's 7pm and I ate dinner and I'm still hungry, eat some more! SO SIMPLE. Who knew??

I guess it's a little like martial arts. I tell my adult students that, at the beginning, martial arts is often about relearning how to walk and how to be on the ground, sitting and even rolling around again. Visiting the dietician has been that kind of relearning. Basics. 

Oh, and for some measurable results, I had my cholesterol rechecked when I had some other blood work done. In the past my total cholesterol has been up to 235 and it's genetic. My mom and grandmother are the same way. My total cholesterol is down and HDL is up. They calculated my cardiac risk. Average for women is 4% and I'm at 2% although on the surface my cholesterol still looks a little high. Weight-wise, I am holding steady although I've had a major increase in calorie intake. I've gained some muscle mass which is pretty cool. I'll do some measurements and pictures soon.

Next time! Not counting calories, protein, adjusting for insulin resistance, and a food diary!