Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Just In: Stress Shrinks your Brain

Recently heard a news story - there has been a revelation! Stress has a negative affect on our brains - causing it to literally shrink - reducing the number of cells, our memory capacity, and other functionality. WOW! The things our money goes into researching. We can't get rid of people who knowingly cause us to drink plastic and eat things that our bodies can't properly digest... But - we will pay good money to science to teach us what we (or any parent at the very least) already knows. Maybe we could use another great flood.

I experienced this great reality of the stress = shrinkage discovery first-hand today... ALL day. As I sit here typing my mommy-blog - it's because I have to keep my mind on SOMETHING while my 4-year-old proceeds to scream, cry, beg and plea to 'go to grandma's house'. I took an extreme measure today to teach her a lesson in respect. She has been suddenly employing her little x-friend's mind-games/ attempted manipulation, back-talk, and general sass. So - since taking away treats, shows, toys, etc weren't working... it was time to haul-out the big-dogs. Today was my 'day off' - and the day for them to spend with grandma. Well, the other angel of a child, miss Myla, got to go and have a fun day with the retired grandparents. Addie however, was kept home. So much for my day for ME - but hopefully this opportunity will get the point across to Addie - that WE are in charge... NOT her. She literally screamed and cried all day - with the exception of a nap where she fell asleep. UN-REAL. Day from hell, pretty much! But, I'm catching up on my blog, and getting out some vented frustrations in that process ;) Radio is up (loud)... and I'm type-type-typing away. All other ploys (putting her to bed, putting her in the play-room w/ door closed, etc) didn't work to keep her quiet. So - I just started to ignore her - you know - like she was doing to ME? Yeah - anyway - she actually recently fell asleep again. (Focus on the small miracles every day.) Must be tiring to cry and scream for a full day... Sure pooped me out! Anyway, in my process of venting here, I find myself continually trying to find a certain word (simple words) - and I have to google related items & terminology to locate the verbiage that my shrinking brain can no longer conjure up. Coincidence? Definitely not. I mean, I have science to back me up now!

Today was kind of the clincher - after a series of road-blocks that perpetuated my daily flow. Little things that added up over the course of the past few weeks have finally blasted my brain into fragmented smitherines. Getting stuck behind the one putz who undoubtedly begins the putz-parade when in a hurry to get to an appointment on time... Going to Cub to learn that our 2.5 gal jugs are on sale - and they have NONE left. Travel to next closest Cub - still no 2.5 gal jugs. Finally, one must say "F-it", and gather the oodles of 1 gallon jugs to compensate. Finding Hormel (gluten-free & all natural) salami - and of course buying 2, only to learn (the hard way - you know - on the toilet) that the meat is bad... Having a kid with a fever - Minute-clinic co-pay for nothing... Urgent Care co-pay - STILL for nothing - as they still cannot locate any reason behind said fever. J & I leave for our mini-get-away as a couple around the time of day we expected to ARRIVE at our first destination... Everything takes us 2X the amount of time expected, and we roll into the driveway upon our return several hours later than expected, and to some frustrated care-givers. Oh - and let's not forget having a bird that shit on my head while on a long-awaited REAL hike with J (2.5 miles!) in pristine scenic wilderness... THIS has to be MOON-PHASE related! Or that damn Venus...  Whatever it is - I've (thankfully) rediscovered a sense of 'zen' - even in the midst of all of this chaos... Sometimes I get a little 'anxious'. Then, I remember to TRUST... and it helps... gradually... get me back to a place of 'good'. Now, if I could just regenerate some lost brain cells~

TIP: Coconut Oil is touted for brain-feeding/ healing properties... Check this out:
A QUOTE: "I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain."  ~Jane Wagner
WHIDFML: I'm (once again) looking for that open door that appears when the one I was initially heading for managed to close... AND, had a solo mommy-walk along the river. :)

Word of the Day: Assertive

Okay - I like to keep it real. I like to do things that mean something to me, and not out of a sense of expectation or obligation. I like to pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve, and keep communication lines open. I'd rather confront someone, or ask if I may have misunderstood something - than clam-up and dwell & possibly over-react. I'm honest. I like to be able to just tell the truth. I LOVE a real friend who can keep it real too! (Shout-out to KP!) They understand when you have things to do, or simply don't feel up to doing something in particular. You can be honest with them, not make excuses, and they respect you for it - and do so in return. 

I don't like to feel as though I'm taking advantage of someone... and I therefore don't allow myself to be taken advantage of. I'm not a push-over, though sometimes, when put-on-the-spot, I might hesitate about the best way to handle a scenario.

When my kids' safety is at stake, or they are being negatively influenced - you bet your ass I'm gonna step-in, even if it might 'hurt your feelings'. 

Our sweet little 4-year-old (You know, the one who says we find out the weather by "calling Jesus"?) turned into an entirely different kid, right around the time she began to have play-dates with a new (so-called) friend from school. She began hitting, pushing, and spitting at her sister (and us!) when she didn't get her way. (We later learned this was being done to her by the supposed friend)... She began talking-back, sassing, telling US 'no', and blatantly disobeying. Each time we inquired about where she'd learned these behaviors... she insisted, "Nowhere!" Finally - through some parental manipulation, she started to share the name of supposed friend. Thing is, I wasn't shocked at all. We'd see heightened naughtiness after each play-date that ensued, which would gradually dissipate again as there was more distance between these pay-times. Aside from that, I'd witnessed first-hand on many occasions how this supposed friend acted-out just during school drop-off & pick-up times. Sadly, Addie was too greatly influenced. Of course, it's hard to expect otherwise. She's 4. She's seeing this 'friend' get her way constantly - just by being a brat. If she wanted her way - she'd employ those same tactics. Difference is - we'd discipline her for it, and she didn't get away with anything. However, this supposed friend was overheard telling my little girl to 'be sure to remember to be mean to your mom..." Soon, she spat at me directly when I picked-up our daughter from their house. Then, our little lady began hitting her dolls, and calling people names (i.e. 'stupid' & 'loser'). This was the line. I'd had enough. A) This was no friend. A true friend doesn't hit/push/ spit on you to effectively boss you around. B) She was rubbing-off way to readily onto our child. It was time to put greater distance between them. I started out by offering up (legitimate, though I still hate to do things this way) excuses whenever a "play-date" (i.e. free babysitting for their kid when her dad needed it) was requested. J & I put our heads together, and sat down to write a letter of concern for the parents - to fill them in on all that has ensued. Unfortunately, chances are - they'll share a school, as they live close by. BUT, they no longer play together outside of school. It took some 'convincing' - which I'M still convinced has been tossed-aside unrecognized - about the persistent problem with their kid's behavior. They tried to play the manipulative, guilt-trip game on us... to prevent us from wrongly 'punishing the kids' over our lack of ability to bring these things to their attention at the time of each occurrence, so that punishment could be administered timely. It was "OUR fault". (The apple doesn't fall far??) Ha! Nice try. They were still trying to coerce us into allowing play-dates.  Seriously? Finally, in true immature fashion, we were ignored and "un-friended" on fb. Aw. Dang. It's over!

No - we won't be able to 'shield' our kids from the "V's" (first letter of kid's name) of the world forever. But at this fragile age where they are learning so much from the world around them, I have every right as a parent to step-in and teach the necessary lesson. "Don't act like naughty friends, or you won't get to keep that friend." And, "Don't act like that at all - or you'll suffer the consequences." In so much as I could be looked down upon for inevitably trying to 'choose their friends' at this stage... I don't care. I will do whatever I can to limit their interactions with so-called friends who hurt them and who show zero respect for authority. As long as I can, I will. Besides, I'm no fan of double-standards. Her dad admittedly 'chose' her friends by encouraging her to play with (and invite herself over to the homes of) people who conveniently live close by. Hmmmm... Really? Yeah - Assertive feels good! If that makes me a bitch in the eyes of some people... Then I'm okay with that. 'Cause I'm a happier, less stressed-out bitch! ;)

TIP: Enforce consequences now, while the price tag is still small. It's our responsibility to properly 'shape'/ guide them as they come into contact with societal influences. You'll be glad you did when they turn 13!
A QUOTE: "You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself. " ~Eleanor Roosevelt
WHIDFML: Chucked that unnecessary stress to the curb! Saw HUGE improvements in our little lady over the course of the past few months without that influence. Unfortunately - there is still some residual that creeps up now and again - when she really wants to get her way. This leads to my next post...  

Instilling Fear...

Isn't it sad? We have to instill fear into the hearts of our children to protect them. "Don't talk to strangers." Yes, there are nice strangers who truly do want to simply say hi and elicit a smile from an innocent child. Then again, there are creeps out there who want to steal them away from us or do them harm... And then there is that tricky place in between - "Yes honey, you can trust this teacher/ nurse/ doctor/ care-provider that we've just met - because they have undergone background checks to be in these positions..."
We have to teach them about all kinds of dangers as they develop & grow, to keep them from unwittingly doing harm unto themselves - or to prevent others from harming them. It's a bit of a frustrating recognition, and yet, a necessary evil in this thing called life.

What's even more sad? The fact that we have to instill fear into adults to get them to take action against the corporate upper-hand who maintains an ability to pay-off anyone to say anything to make their big $$. I've begun using any 'spare time' I have to follow-up on researching those rumors that pop-up about the possible hidden dangers that lurk in our foods, our cleaning products, our food & drink packaging.... I've been beyond grateful for this go-green-generation... masses of people seeking a return to nature and simplicity and REAL, authentic, HEALTHY - truly natural foods, cleaning methods, etc ~ 

Thanking God that this hippie-chick is alive during this new revolution, since I obviously couldn't be here for Woodstock. However, the reality is that as long as the big-buck-corporations can keep something hidden to maintain their bottom line... they will - regardless of who they are hurting in the process. I can't believe they can get away with some of this crap! And the FDA? HA! I trust things MORE when they are NOT FDA approved. They get paid the big bucks to let things 'slide' as well... Trans fats (hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils), canola oil, margarine, gluten, artificial hormones fed to dairy cattle, cigarettes, the effects of GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods on the nutritional values of foods, the effects of pesticides & fertilizers on humans & waterways... the effects of putting soy into everything, and the list goes on & on. Think about what it takes to even get the word out there... And then when someone does (this is when I tend to THANK the news propaganda for their drama-riddled desire to leak info!) - people go "Ah... yeah right. The FDA says it's okay... So what's the big deal?" What?!?! 

It takes big efforts from small groups of folks who are dedicated to letting the truth be known. Watch "Super Size Me", "Tapped", "An Inconvenient Truth", "Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster - Surviving Disaster", "The Future of Food"... Documentaries are the BEST! So informative. Most of the people who make them don't have a good reason for doing so - outside of making the truth apparent... They don't have oodles of money to create these docs, and aren't going to attain fame or fortune from (trying to) get it published. Discerning fact from fiction isn't as hard as it seems - when you toss a little common sense into the mix of info you take-in.

I tell you what. I notice things - differences in my ability to think, to function 'normally', energy, weight management, sleep quality, etc, etc, etc... Sometimes - I just struggle to find the newest source(s). As I learn about the potential harm a substance might do to me or mine - I'm going to do whatever I can to avoid being poisoned by the people who are living the high-life off of our losing battle with quality-OF-life. I just wish there was some kind of greater agency out there who would push aside those green-backs to tell us the TRUTH - and make certain legal obligations are in place to keep society healthy! Most people don't make the kind of time necessary to research these things on their own... and then most won't believe you if you share... (or won't think it's worth it/ a big enough problem/ can't see any direct link in their lives, etc.) GREED brought down many of the previously fallen societies. America isn't immune to it either. Not so much a matter of "if", but "when"... and I'm a glass-half-full type of girl (usually)! Prob is - we can't keep going like this. Something has got to give.

TIP: Even if your tap water comes from an aquifer (underground spring) - it goes through a treatment plant where they add things like chlorine & fluoride. Glennwood Spring Water is sold in safe plastic jugs (both the 1-gallon & 2.5 gallon jugs; NOT safe in a water-cooler-jug) without these added chemicals. Yay!
A QUOTE: "We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them."  ~Abigail Adams
WHIDFML: Bought the whole family their own stainless steel refillable water canteens ($8-$13 - to fill from those Glennwood containers. 

Simplicity is So Damn Complicated!

So - sometimes the simple act of saying "no" is so difficult. In my desire for more simplicity, more time to be spontaneous, less rushing around, and less overall stress, I've taken it upon myself to limit any unnecessary commitments over the summer months. It was hard to officially decide this, and difficult to implement it from a psychological standpoint... but now that she's all said & done, damn it feels good to be a gangsta! (Reference to a song found in the movie "Office Space". If you haven't seen it - I highly recommend.)

People simply can't take it personally, or try to turn any potential insecurities back around onto me by assuming I place myself on some kind of pedestal. The truth is, I'm placing importance on what's important to me... That doesn't mean I don't care about people & their goals... I just have to keep in line with my own goals as well. My goal? Thriving. Not merely surviving... but THRIVING. Time to relax, time to enjoy a meal as a family, time to picnic lunch outside with my girls, time to sit near the brook and listen to it babble by as it glistening in the summer sun, time to take in the smell of the pine, the sound of the frogs & crickets, the glow of a fire, the breeze in my hair. Memories. Making them with my closest people - those with whom I share an honest bond... Joel and I want to look back on memories we've made exploring our world together with the girls. We want them to have such meaningful memories to recall - reflecting on the joy, the excitement, the fondness of living in the moment with us. Hopefully they'll carry that with them into adulthood, and remember to continue to thrive.

And so - simplicity means treading a line between selfishness & self-knowledge. The way I see it, if we aren't actually hurting anyone, and we're living-out our dreams, we have more to offer people when we are in their presence. Unfortunately others often see it differently. But then again, that's their problem, not ours. If I give it my infamous rocking-chair-test... I'll gladly look back with no regrets over driving forward to fulfill our dreams and instill a sense of family in our kids, rather than appeasing those who may look down on us for it. Live & let Live!

TIP: Certain music can soothe the soul... Both for the kids when they try to sleep, and for you when you try maintain a certain level of sanity during the ebb & flow of the tides~
A QUOTE: "One man's frankness is another man's vulgarity."  ~Kevin Smith
WHIDFML: Put this amazing song on repeat: Movement & Location, Punch Brothers

The Innocence~

Joel: "We need to go see what the weather is gonna do..."
Myla: "How do we check the weather?"
Addie: "We call JESUS!!"

Myla: "AH! Daddy - there is a spider!"
Joel: "Squish it!"
Myla: "Do you really think I'm QUALIFIED to kill a spider?"

TIP: When a kid doesn't want to do something responsible because their "leg hurts", they are "too tired", they "have a tummy ache", or they "can't"... Respond with, "Well, then I guess you're (too tired/ leg hurts too bad/ tummy hurts too bad, or you 'can't') _________(insert anticipated FUN activity here.) You'll be amazed at the miraculous turn-around!
A QUOTE: "No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal." ~Bill Cosby
WHIDFML: Turned on the radio - LOUD.

Has Anyone Noticed... The Full Moon?

Wow - been a while since I've written. I've mentally recorded a few funnies... and one frustration (brought about by society rather than my own kiddos) to be jotted here in the ol' e-diary... But nothing much to really 'write' about it quite a duration. Let's just say that limited time, no need to vent (read: generally good kids!), and gorgeous weather have all equated to a lack of writing-focus as of late.

However, the full moon seems to be screwing things up for me again. I know, I know - it's not really the moon's fault. Whatever it is - there is a definite ebb & flow, such as the moon phases, that has me dancing that dance... going from glowing, to balancing, to down right on edge. Today? You could say I'm on edge... but that would be putting it lightly. I'm pretty sure I should just take a migraine pill now... as preventative, along with a shot of anything - ANYTHING I tell you. It's TIME... to VENT! 

But first, I'm going to work my way up to the current conundrum by playing catch-up... I'm going to start on a cute note - which will give way to the gradual decline that has since unraveled. I know - any outside readers hate the suspense. ;)

TIP: MEANINGFUL CONSEQUENCES. That's all I have to say about that for now. More to come...
A QUOTE: Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. Mark Twain
WHIDFML: Said, "No thanks."~

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another Shout-Out to My Favorite Mommy-READ!

Can I just say that I absolutely laughed until I cried as I read this post? To the point where my own little 'moles' were jumping up and down in my face, voices growing louder with each urgent plea for an answer as they begged the question, "What's so funny, mommy? What's SO FUNNY??!!??!!" I wanted to say, "You'll find out one day when you're a mommy, just what is 'so funny'." Instead, I simply replied with, "It's a funny story." Funny because I could relate to every letter that formed every word, and I'm certain that every muscle in my body thanks me for this read. Cheers to this - and to Joel's and my much-deserved and long-awaited weekend away alone. I hope Grandma & Aunt Debbie are up for some "Whack-A-Mole" this weekend. It could go either direction; A) They'll be angels for everyone else... OR B) They'll pull out all the stops to see how far they can get with those who are less adapted to the 'game'. I shall pray for letter A. 

TIP: If your kids share a room, often the threat of placing them in another room by themselves to sleep for the night will help to silence the moles a bit earlier-on! 
A QUOTE: "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book."~Unknown
WHIDFML: Took the 'plunge' - and trying a new holistic approach to some health betterment, and am OH so glad I tried it! Sometimes you gotta take a chance~