Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Oh, Hi April!

The ebb and flow of life makes life too interesting some times, and not boring enough other times...

I've been reading about traveling to Mars.  A knitting personality trying to get a web show off of the ground.  A friend going through back to back health challenges.  And, a (semi) interesting take on Prince Charles as the next King.  Oh, and my son needs more feeding help.

Did I also mention I am trying to get back into the swing of things with my academics because of my own pressing need to get back to me, as in less mom identity, and more Ely, who is also a mom...  I realized a little too late, that when I started school last fall I should have done more to be outside of the home more.  Yes, my son has needed attention and my availability has made meeting those challenges easier, but I really failed on the personal balance front.  I know myself, and I need to be doing, and monitoring his feeding schedule is not doing.  To remedy this, and because of our limitations that don't allow for putting him in any private care right now, I have been researching jobs to do from home that are inline with my studies.  So far I have some leads, and while I have physical and time limitations, I am strategizing work arounds.  

I'm calling it my Take Care Plan.

This includes giving myself a facial while my little guy takes a bath.  Declaring independence from my hair and chopping it off.  Finding the right balance of foods to keep me satisfied, but not overly full.  Taking stock of how I use my free time.  Deciding in a  more thoughtful way, how to spend money, and what projects/businesses/ideas should get what little disposable income I have.  So while I am a crafter, I put my dollars towards a 12- week New Yorker subscription instead of the web show I linked to above, because I already have a monthly membership with Creativebug.  I look and I dream, but this isn't the season for being able to have all of the wants.  And that's okay- nothing is lost.  It just lights a fire under my butt to get moving!

More (sooner than) later.

When I am feeling soulful, I like to listen to Jill Scott.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It Has Been a Time

A month has passed, and life is going through the doldrums of winter.  It has not been especially winter-y here, but depressingly gray and overcast most days.  Still, I wheel the kid and myself out and about just to get some fresh air.

While my studies have been put on hold due to scheduling changes on the school end, my time has been much needed at home.  Things happen for a reason?  Things happen for a reason.

(skip the rest if you're not interested in reading kid stuff)

At his last wellness visit, when kid's get shots and their height and weight are measured, my little guy's measurements showed nothing.  No progress.  Off the growth chart, but in a negative way.  And all of this dancing around that I am doing equates to a diagnosis of Failure To Thrive.  Nice sounding, right?  FAIL.  So heart wrenching to hear when I had nourished this person in my body, then with my body, and then he stalled out.  He's not the best or most interested eater, my little guy, but you don't know how bad things are until you're faced with numbers and charts, and so you're told this thing about your child and the helplessness sets in.  And of course, you want to jump into action tout suite, but you must wait for THE appointment.  Side note: one of my many complaints with the medical field is that even with all of the questions that one can ask, you're still not given a complete picture when you don't have something super life threatening.  But maybe that's just me- I like looking at a complete picture.  I wanted, needed, to know if we were racing against time to get this turned around by a certain point to avoid some unknown consequence.  And unfortunately, Dr Google is not the answer when trying to figure out medical issues as for whatever reason Google leads with the negative and devastating articles.  You're also left alone after receiving negative news so must seek out support on your own.  Unfortunately everyone has picky eater stories, but those don't match up with the extra challenge that we have been facing, so not helpful.  Ironically, my trainer put me in touch with a friend who has a child who received the same diagnosis, and we have had a helpful- to-me email exchange. You don't always have to meet someone in person to receive time and kindness.

Anyway, we went through a series of appointments with first a Neurologist, then a GI specialist, and finally a Nutritionist.  The head appointment went fine.  Our Pediatrician was concerned that my son's head was growing too well, while I felt like my son was just joining us in the big headed people club.  And he is.  The GI went through some of the facts with us, but the main take away was that visually my son didn't look like an emergency case and since just a short amount of time  had passed since his growth stalled, we would take a more measured approach.  So nutrition first to pump him full of calories, and then evaluate after a month to see if his body is absorbing said calories, and if not, the tests and maybe food therapy begin. Of course I am mentally freaking out, and the visit to the Nutritionist didn't fill me full of hope, but you have to just hold it together.  Of course I thought the food advice was not aggressive enough, like doesn't she know that my son isn't growing (!), but in the same vein I had to trust.  So, I did.

Her advice was simple: do a better job of reintroducing foods, add fat to the foods he doesn't mind eating, and most importantly set a mealtime schedule.  3 meals, 3 snacks.  I'm not going to lie, getting into the routine of almost constantly feeding my child leads our lives, but at the same time, he's getting more food in, and as an added bonus, this practice has changed my habits as well.  I now make a concerted effort to mentally prepare what I am going to do for my own meal and snacks so that I minimize the need to graze.  And honestly, this has balanced out the variety of foods that I am getting.  The only thing I need to work on is a more filling before bed snack.

Well, a month has passed and my guy has made progress!  He's back on the chart, and doing well enough that we get to wait two months until our follow-ups.  Fingers crossed.  I haven't stopped being diligent because we're not out of the woods yet, and now that we have him on a schedule, he's going to stay on one until he gets into school or at least starts eating us out of house and home.  I pray for that time.

This unexpected journey has been tiring and almost soul sucking.  I have had to let go of almost everything just to keep myself together enough to be patient with the process.  And even then, I sometimes break.  But, I have to hold on to the thought that things happen for a reason and I needed to slow down and take a break for a reason- I haven't lost anything.  And my kid is going to be okay.

Well, I was going to post some cooking ideas, but decided to share some RealLife instead.  Next time.

One of my favorite bands.  This song seems appropriate in light of the current state of affairs...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

All Shiny and New

Well, it's 2017.  It's the dawn of an uncertain time for our country, but life goes on as we all do our best.  It's also a weird life time.  I've never had so much going on all at the same time, well, in a long time.  I want to get off this crazy train as I feel out of control in a lot of aspects of my life.

Oh man, where's my new year cheer!?!?

I wrote out a few thoughts on what I want to cover and do better for the year, but also for this first quarter of the year.  Everything is related to what I am already doing so I don't make the mistake of trying to reach for a fantasy.  And, so far so good.  It's key to think about the "why" behind what you're doing, and work out the "when" and "how" so that it's a legit resolution.

So far: 

~ I am still incorporating fitness into my life, and am reaching for 30 days of pilates.  I have body goals.

~ I am taking my kiddo to the local library to socialize him, and to expose him to more books, songs,  and movement that he doesn't get at home.  And let me tell you, it's a NICE library.  I remember going to the library fondly as a kid so I want that for him.

~ I am working on new craft techniques because I want to keep growing as a maker.


~I am also trying to tackle my mental health...
~Figure out a sustainable home practice for my Japanese studies...
~And get some ESL teaching experience despite the fact that I won't be getting my certificate in as timely a fashion as I had wished... (see tackling my mental health)

Anyhoo, here are some pictures of my "oh, shiny" new technique that I am becoming OBSESSED with:

To leave things on an energetic note:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Perry Mason

Phew! Let me catch my breath for a second!!  Some kind of way, I have been rather busy these past few weeks.

We went to see a Cirque du Soleil show on Randall's Island.  Very cool, and I may have thought about the feasibility of a Las Vegas trip to catch them there. Youtube has a lot of videos about the behind-the-scenes.

Took a frugal mock-staycation in Poughkeepsie.

Saw The Nutcracker with another family we're friends with.  Enjoyable, but our little people were too little for this.  Next year I will look for a more children oriented production.

Oh, and I have been still going to class and dealing with everyday life stuff.

It has all been rather fun, but I am especially proud of our mini-trip, shoehorned into the middle of the week, between prior commitments.  I had originally wanted to go to the Berkshires, but between booking the hotel and car, our trip would have been close to 600 dollars.  For two nights!  And a lot of driving.  So, back to the drawing board.

There's this blog I love,  Frugal Queen, and this couple packs everything for travel to save on costs.  They actually do a lot I can relate to. Anyway, this is where I started.  I looked for places along the rail line, and came up with two viable options.  Both hotels were the same in amenities and close enough in price, except that one had the free breakfast.  That's one meal taken care of.  Menu planning for such a short jaunt is pretty easy- wraps and  burrito bowls.  Baby food.  Snacks. And beer.  Bam!  Was it all a little heavy and annoying traveling the subway system to Grand Central for the train.  Well, yes.  But then we got to settle in and relax without all of the driving stuff. And even though travel was still a little pricey, the trip cost about a quarter of the Berkshires plan.  And, it's closer.

We enjoyed the pool, HGTV, and I got to catch an episode of Perry Mason.  Back when I used to receive the physical DVDs from Netflix, one of the last shows I watched before switching to streaming only, was Perry Mason.  I love that show just as much as Murder, She Wrote.  Plus it brings back childhood memories of watching tv in my aunt's old room in my grandmother's house.  Oh, and side note: the actress, Julie Adams,  playing the wife of the murder victim played Eve Simpson on Murder, She Wrote.  Coincidence, or  meant to be?

In any case, I like this local travel plan better than staying home.  Must do this again.

More on the cool stuff that I am crafting later!!

I tried to get into Netflix's Luke Cage, but after four episodes I just wasn't hooked.  Oh well.  The music though...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

And So,

Wednesday was not a good day.  The weather was crappy, my kid has been going through a cranky phase, and I hadn't slept well for reasons apparent once I woke up and saw the news.

And so,

Wednesday is my workout day, and as much as I wanted and needed to go, I was looking for reasons not to.  I slowly got ready, almost reluctantly, but the only other person in the room didn't care if I went or not, just me.

And so,

We went to the park to do the workout and halfway through my kid lost his shyt for the first time since I started this exercise program.  As one does, you begin to cycle through whatever means you have to calm your child and nothing was working.  I was thinking that we'd have to leave because I felt completely out of control of the situation, and my kid had set the other child off.  But then the instructor said, "let's pause."

Yes.  Let's pause, not flee.  Adjust.  Find a solution through calm.

And so,

I ran a few laps around the park with the stroller and then the instructor pushed my kid around to help him fall asleep while I resumed my workout.  And when it was over I went on with my day.

And so,

In the days following I have limited my news intake and instead have chosen to embrace peace of mind.  The holidays are coming up and there are some crafty plans afoot that I am excited about: on the calendar there are two shows to look forward to- first, Cirque du Soleil and then seeing The Nutcracker with friends.  I picked up some mulled wine at a festival last month, and I have apple pie filling I cooked down in the slow cooker waiting in the freezer to become handpies to be shared with friends.  A friend and I are also going to collaborate on some homemade gifts, which I will share once all the deets are worked out.

And so,

Through the gloom we can still rise.  This does not mean burying our heads in the sand but it also doesn't mean we should be so afraid that we can't keep moving forward.

And so,

Friends, be well.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Time Change, or Times are Changing

Yesterday I took myself out for a Sunday walk.

And it was much needed.

Recently with all of my life changes, I have begun to reflect on what my needs are and actively limiting the extras, so just taking the time to breath easy felt necessary to begin this week.  All of these extras have included podcasts, websites, tv shows, social media, some relationships(!) and even my crafty home of Ravelry.  I mean I'd try to cycle through a bunch of this stuff daily, and really why?  Some of it was pleasurable but a lot was just me escaping my life and looking at (and thinking about) other's people's lives.  And, most of them strangers!!   Honestly.  Not living my best life.

Let me tell you, letting go hasn't been a bad thing because keeping up can be draining.  And this includes maintaining relationships with everyone you know.  I don't chase people anymore.  I try to keep up to a certain degree and if I can't, that has to be okay.  No one is loved or cared for any less.

So in releasing the "dead" weight, what am I making room for? Well Japan is and will become my second home, more so than here in the States. My mom is gone, and while I still have family scattered around, it's complicated. Not in any dramatic sense, it's just that we've just never been THOSE people. Everyone is at arms length and well my Japanese in laws and extended family are most welcoming and that's that. Me being black is not a thing and I never feel weird.

I will write more about where they live and some of our adventures in another post, but visiting them earlier this year and deciding to become an ESL teacher have got the mental juices flowing towards a life I want.  I want to restart my Japanese studies as I am learning about learning from a theoretical point of view in my current studies.  The generic way of teaching/learning languages has never worked for me and I am slowly learning how to turn this around in the future both for myself but also my students.  I have neither the time or money to invest in more classes, but I am plotting out how I can make Japanese work for me within our home.

I want to be more creative- developing my knitting and sewing crafts more.  I can't devote unlimited hours at a sitting to a project anymore, but in chunks I can make things!  Japanese sewing books are a puzzling undertaking that I dream of mastering.  My language skills will grow as I learn the vocabulary to create and this is exciting to me.

I've made a set time to get outside and work out with other mammas.  The trainer doesn't take it easy on us and we're not easy on ourselves.  In going once a week for about the last 5/6 weeks I can see the physical differences in my body.  Yes, I would love to do add in another one or two workouts, but that just doesn't work right now.  But what I can do, while my kid is rolling around on the floor, are some squats and mountain climbers!  Maybe a pushup or two.

I don't have more than 24 hours in a day, but I can change how I am using my time.

And on that note one of my favorite albums when I'm in my head...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nature's Candy

I usually refer to raisins as "nature's candy" but the fruit that I came across in a mall's basement supermarket was so lush, it's like candy.  So, I thought I would share some more pretty pictures from visiting the in laws. Oh, and as A mentioned, keep in mind the exchange rate, but this produce was still pricey!! That said, this fruit is obviously cherished and it really puts into perspective the things we buy and hold on to and buy and hold on to, instead of just enjoying for the moment.

You ever hear some music that just pulls you out of your seat and into your fantasy singing or dance life?  I recently started watching this anime, between life and assignments, and the opening theme is just that.  (Note: this anime is not for the young or the faint hearted.  Shyt happens and it's not pretty).