Her story

I have not been myself lately. People tell me I’ll go back to normal eventually after my hormones settle down. But I feel like women don’t actually have a “normal”. Our entire lives are a screwed up roller coaster of hormonal ups and downs.

But anyway, I woke up feeling off again. Couldn’t get myself out of bed. Skipped another workout. Moped around the house for an hour before deciding I just needed to get out of there. I grabbed Elora and we went down the street to Starbucks because where else do you hang out at 9am?

One thing I MISS is reading. When Josh and I lived in St. Louis I would walk down to the Starbucks and read for hours. Uninterrupted. Without a child trying to eat the book. And it was glorious.

Elora absolutely hates the car seat so I had her on my lap. I had this picture in my mind that she would sit there and just play with a toy and I could read a book.

Adorable right?

Nope. She was annoying the crap out of me. Ripping my book, covering it with her body, slapping at my face. Suffice it to say, reading just wasn’t happening.

Just as I was about to give up and leave, a sweet lady came over to us. She told me how absolutely precious we were. She asked me for my phone because she wanted to capture the sweet moment for me.

It reminded me of this video that a friend of mine shared on Facebook a few days ago. It’s called “A Normal Day” and totally worth the minute and a half to watch.

My little girl just loves me and she loves being near me. That won’t always be the case. Ever since I watched that video I have been trying to think of my days through Elora’s eyes. What would her story to Josh be at the end of the day? I don’t want her to see me as a tired, worn down, irritable momma. There will be plenty of time for reading later on in life. And when that time comes, I’ll probably be doing it to distract myself from the fact that my children don’t need me anymore.

Easy like Sunday

I firmly believe happy is a choice. It doesn’t just happen. But I do pay attention to things that make me feel happy because I think it helps me find my sweet spot. That place where being happy doesn’t feel like such a struggle.

One of my classic sweet spots is the Sunday of a three day weekend. When you know you have Monday off so you don’t have to do all the things you usually do on a Sunday night. You get to play a little bit longer than usual and sleep in the next day. It feels glorious.

I was one of those people who contributed to the debasement of Mondays by dreading them every week.

But something really wonderful happened to me. A few weekends ago, Josh and I were going to bed on a Sunday evening. I laid down and realized that I had a really good feeling. An easy going contentment. I was looking forward to the next day. I had several things to do but I wasn’t dreading it like I used to. I was ready for the day to come.

It was such a reinforcing moment. When Josh and I gave up the security of my 8-5 job it was a huge leap of faith. But we have been gifted in so many ways since then. I know now that we chose the right path. Now every Sunday is like the Sunday of 3 day weekend for me. I look forward to my work. I don’t dread Monday anymore. I look forward to the possibilities that a new week brings.

 

But seriously…why is Josh always right?

Josh is such a great coach. He is so encouraging and involved. He knows when to push and when to just let you work it out. He is what I call a noticer so he remembers things about people. He remembers what your previous weights and times were. He remembers things that are going on in your life. People really respond to him and love him as a coach.

Except me. It’s different when that coach is your husband. Or maybe it’s different because I’m a perfectionist and don’t want Josh telling me what and how to do.

I actually wrote about this way  back in 2013, when Josh started teaching me CrossFit. I titled it Suffer Now because I needed to just get over myself and let him be the expert. Still working on this one ya’ll…

I’ve been in denial for years. I mean…years. I have always just tried to outwork my diet with exercise. I have a few go to treats…

But now that little bit has come along, I’ve found making time for exercise challenging. Sometimes just moving her back and forth between all the play mats and exersaucers is my workout.

And Josh has been telling me for years to get my diet stuff under control. He’s been telling me I would feel so much better if I could stop eating breads, sugars, and excessive dairy. But what does he know? I LOVE those things. I NEED those things.

So back in November Josh told me that he wanted to do a paleo challenge at the gym. I was like

But then he said he wanted to do strict…which means no dairy…and I was like

So it took him 3 months to convince me to do this. The fact that I felt like crap every single day helped. I would rather feel the discomfort of avoiding certain food groups than the discomfort of bloating, headaches, low energy, and constant sinus infections.

So I did it. 30 days of strict paleo. I’m down 10 pounds and I lost nearly 9 inches in my torso and legs.

But I gained so much more. I have energy for the first time since before I was pregnant. My mood is better. I have a happier outlook. I just FEEL BETTER. I never felt good after having 2 margaritas at dinner. I mean, they tasted good but I always had to suffer with the after effects. It’s just not worth it.

So even though this is the last day of the challenge, I am going to maintain a mostly paleo diet. And I’m going to start listening to Josh more because dang it, he’s usually right.

Ctrl Alt Delete

Turns out I’m not perfect. Despite all my efforts, I still stumble and sometimes I even fall. Here is actual footage of me trying to figure out this whole working from home with a baby thing…

I’ve always been really great at time management. Back when my life had neat little categories, I worked 8 hours a day and in between those hours, I could do whatever I wanted. Owning a business is not like that at all. Add a newborn in there and yikes! It’s consuming. Every day is different which I love, but also I hate it. So while I’ve been trying to juggle everything, I pretty much dropped the ball labeled “Take Care of Lindsay”. The other day I had coffee for breakfast and lunch. Alone time and exercise are nearly nonexistent. Ya’ll, I own a gym and I’m lucky to get one workout a week. (Not counting all my nightly trips back and forth between our bedroom and Elora’s.)

Last fall when I was on maternity leave, I felt free. I got to be with Elora every day and spend time with Josh up at the gym in the afternoons. Even though I was still working the business, it felt like a vacation. It was a really great season of my life.

Now that I’m actually marking the “self-employed” box, it’s different. My expectations suddenly changed. I think I allowed myself to feel guilty that Josh was gone working all day. So I put all this pressure on myself to perform. I started basing my self-worth off of the number of tasks I completed in a day. (Which is unpredictable when you have a baby in your home office.) If I didn’t accomplish all the things, I felt like I was “less than”. But even if I did all the tasks, I didn’t feel great because I would just invent more things to do. Before Elora was born, I did so much work learning to be grateful, focus on the present, and breathe out anxiety. I was feeling the best I’ve ever felt. But during the last couple of months I accidentally forgot to do that and let myself fall into the rabbit hole of self doubt and worry.

It’s been bad. A lot of freak outs, crying, and heavy breathing. So since wine isn’t a great long term coping skill…

I decided I should really do something about how I’ve been feeling. First things first…

I’m terrible at this! I allowed guilt and pride to consume me. But that obviously wasn’t serving me very well. So I’ve started letting people help me with Elora. HUGE difference! Second, I’ve been working through my negative thought patterns. THANK GOODNESS for my friend and business coach who reminds me how to be a better me. In our conversation this week, she helped me realize that I am in overwhelm. I need to press Control, Alt, Delete and see how many processes I’m running in the background. (TOO MANY!) They all basically boil down to guilt, anxiety, and fear. =Waste of time! I need to go through and End Task on all those unnecessary processes.

One day, I’ll be sitting in an auditorium watching Elora graduate from high school. She’ll be radiant with all the possibilities her life holds. I’ll be so happy for her. But I’ll also be sad because it will mean that she won’t need me as much anymore. On that day, I can guarantee I won’t be thinking “gosh, I’m so glad I kept the house clean and filed all that paperwork back when Elora was a baby”. I won’t remember anything about the annoying day to day tasks of running a business and home. But I will definitely remember these moments.

Holding my sweet, precious angel and letting her snuggle me. Listening to her little breaths and soft sighs as she falls asleep. Inhaling the captivating scent that is unique to my little girl.

LOVE. That is all there is. It is the only process I need running. Everything else follows.

 

 

 

The testing of your faith

When Josh and I were newlyweds we didn’t have a whole lot of money. I mean, we had a home and plenty of food (as you can tell from pictures). But we sacrified quite a bit too. We shared a car and lived in a tiny duplex in a shady neighborhood. We didn’t run the heat our first winter together because it was too expensive so we just wore sweats and jackets and bundled up under a blanket on the couch in the evenings.

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We didn’t have cable television or internet for several months because we couldn’t afford it. I had to keep track of everything I put in our grocery basket and add it all up at the end to make sure we had enough money for it, otherwise, I’d have to put some things back. Our parents helped us a lot. We argued so much that first year struggling to figure out how to live together and share everything.

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It was a very frustrating time and one of the hardest years of our marriage. I was very depressed and hopeless. It wasn’t that I questioned my decision to marry Josh, I knew that was good. It was just so hard and we were so young. We didn’t have enough life experience to realize that it was just a season. A passing time.

I often look back at that period and thank God for where we are now. I never imagined we’d be so blessed. And now we are living through another tough season. A newborn and a new business is a lot of stress on a marriage.

Josh and I spent 14 years with just the two of us. And while work got in the way sometimes, we always found time to spend together. After the first few years of figuring out how to live together, we hardly fought at all. We were comfortable with each other and our life. Things ran smoothly.

Now, every extra cent, minute, and thought goes to running our gym. It seems we bicker every other day about some thing or another related to the business. We both feel tired all the time and a constant pressure to make this work. We’ve taken a huge risk and it is absolutely terrifying. It’s so easy to look at other business owners and be jealous or expect the same outcome. We live in a world of highlight reels without ever seeing the behind the scenes.

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My favorite time with Elora is first thing in the morning. She is so happy to be awake and she smiles a huge smile when I come into her room. I love playing with her and making her laugh while I get her dressed for the day. She gives me pure JOY!

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But sometimes I simultaneously  feel immense doubt. What if this gym totally fails and we lose everything? What if a decision we make causes her to have no home? What if she grows up and resents us forever for ruining her life? (you all know I can be dramatic) But still, it is enough to paralyze me with fear.

In those moments I wonder why on earth we chose this path. All the late nights and early mornings. The arguing and constant pressure. It seems there is always a decision to be discussed and finalized. Never enough money in the account. Always a lesson to be learned. Running a business with your spouse is a true test of love and faith.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, THIS IS THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF OUR LIVES. Just when we start doubting what we’re doing, we get heartfelt comments from our members who tell us what we are doing is good. They appreciate the time we give. They share their stories of success and growth. We see them meet their goals and beam with pride. THEY are the reason we do this.

So I think back to our first years of marriage and how hard they were. How we thought it would never be any different. But things did change. We did survive and became better because of it. So in those moments of doubt, I turn away from the fear that strives to pull me down. Focusing on the negative will only perpetuate negative. So I turn to the positive and focus on the things I’m grateful for, and there are many. This is only a season that we will one day look back on with the understanding that only comes from passing time.

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Sorry for being a jerk

Josh will probably agree when me when I say that I can be a butt sometimes. I think I’m pretty good at managing my emotions…most of the time. Now that we’ve been married so long, we rarely get in big fights because we’ve learned how to recognize each other’s triggers.

But lately I’ve been super overwhelmed with everything on my plate. So when Josh came home late from coaching at the gym the other night and said “what can I do?” instead of being sooo grateful for a husband that helps, I snapped at him like a jerk. He walked in and saw me furiously preparing for the next day like a madwoman. I still had so much left to do that evening and it was already past 7 so when he asked me how he could help I just clipped out “LAUNDRY, DINNER, DOGS!”

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Because he is such a good man, he did not get mad and yell back. That sweet man hugged me. Oh my…things could have gone so differently. I think life really is a lot like those books we used to read as kids where you could choose your own ending. To spend the evening yelling and arguing about who does more around the house go to page 93. To hug your wife and tell her you are there to help go to page 54.

Thank goodness Josh chose page 54.  He took care of it all, laundry, dinner, and the dogs. And I thanked him for helping me.

But later that night I was still just really irritated. I appreciated that Josh asked me what he could do but I was still angry that he didn’t just KNOW what to do. The dogs have to eat every night. Just feed them. The laundry is in the basket in the middle of the floor. Just put it away. It’s 7:30 and we haven’t eaten. Just fix something.

Which then got me wondering why I feel the need to thank him every time he does that stuff anyway. It’s just another thing on my never ending to-do list. Thank husband for helping around the house or he might not do it anymore.

But it’s his house too. Elora is his daughter too. It’s not all my responsibility. I don’t say thanks for brushing your teeth today, babe! He does it because it’s what you do. Just like the laundry.

All of this was going through my head when I sat down to nurse Elora before bed. I pulled out my phone and the first thing I see in my facebook newsfeed is this blog a friend shared called something like “why you should stop being an asshole wife”.

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Noted. I was totally being an asshole wife.

I cannot find that article anywhere now. I would love to share it because it was such a good read but I guess it was meant for just me, I don’t know. Our purpose on this planet is to love each other. And a really good way for me to do that is to tell Josh thank you when he does stuff regardless of what it is or how he did it.

So today is Josh’s 30th birthday. We’ve spent nearly half our lives together. When I’m not being an asshole wife, I am in complete awe of the man he has become. While I was searching the internet for that article, I came across a lot of weird things…I don’t recommend typing “asshole wife” into your browser…

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But most of the results were articles and forums about asshole husbands. I am so grateful that I am not searching the internet for advice on what to do about my jerk husband because I don’t have one. I do spend it trying to figure out how to get poop stains out of onesies, signs your baby is teething, and how to quit your Starbucks addiction, though.

Josh is up at 4:45 every morning to provide for us. He works hard all day to build the life we’ve imagined for ourselves. And when he finally gets home 14 hours later he still finds the energy to cook dinner and do the laundry. I have absolutely nothing to be upset about.

So, I’m sorry again, Josh, for being an asshole wife. But thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for working hard, thank you for cooking, and thank you for killing all the bugs around our house. But most of all, thank you for being born so that we can share this life together.

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“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make — not just on your wedding day, but over and over again — and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”-Barbara De Angelis 

Dream giver

So here I am again…transitioning to a new season of life. Years ago, I sort of fell into my career in higher education and I’ve truly loved my work. I learned so many skills and met a lot of amazing people. But I’ve dreamed of owning my own business for a very long time. When Josh and I started CrossFit Backward Arrow, I knew things were changing for us. We had no idea where this adventure was taking us but we knew it was the right path.

And now we’ve hit a fork in the road…

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This is how I envision it in my mind. One way is flat and at first glance, seems easier. But I have a strong feeling that way is muddy and I’m pretty sure my feet would drag and get stuck in the thick ground. I wouldn’t make much progress.

The other way is uphill and seems daunting. I can’t see what’s waiting on the other side and that’s unsettling.

Neither of these options is easy, they’re just hard in their own way.

So I’ve been staring at this fork for months now, trying to decide which way to go. As ya’ll know, I believe in intuition. I always ask God to guide me in my life decisions and He almost always answers me in various ways. But He’s been silent. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to hear. So I have been sitting and waiting. That is until last week when I got my answer.

I was trying to decide if I should keep my job at the university and run the business on the side (the flat path) or leave my job and go full time with the gym (the uphill path).

One night last week I was leaving the gym after a long and taxing day. I got in the car and sat there quietly praying for a few minutes and taking deep breaths trying to make the decision. Feeling frustrated, I just suddenly said out loud “God, I don’t know what you want. What is it you want me to do?” I sat there in silence for a few minutes before turning on the car. I almost never listen to the radio, but for some reason I felt compelled to turn it on to Airone.

Here is the song that played at that moment:

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

So there it was. My answer. Scary as it may be, it’s time to close the door.

When I left my job back in 2012 to move to St. Louis with Josh, I had no idea what was going to happen. We were moving there with no money, no jobs, no insurance, nothing. Just us and our clothes. Even though it made no sense and I was utterly terrified, I knew it was supposed to happen.  And guess what? The money came and we were taken care of. And when we got back to Texas, things fell into place again.

And here I am in almost the exact same position. Leaving the security of my full time job and trusting that it will all work out.

In the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson he tells the story of Ordinary who lives in a town called Familiar. Ordinary has a big dream but he has to leave his comfort zone to go after it. And he has to entrust his dream in the hands of the One who gave it to him.

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So even though it’s uncomfortable, I am prepared to leave the town of Familiar and climb the hill to my dream. And I don’t have to know what’s on the other side of the hill because The Dream Giver has this under control.

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Hard things

A couple of years ago, my sister and I were having lunch at a burger place with her kids. My nephew ordered a hot dog and tater tots. When the food came out the tots were steaming hot. So we tell him, buddy, those tots are pretty hot so you’re gonna want to blow on them before you eat them.

Because he is fearless, he says “I LOVE hot things!”

Ookaay…

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He spit the tot out…

Starting a business with Josh is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done. Marriage is hard. Having a baby is hard. Maintaining your marriage with a new baby and a new business is just excessive. But we started down this path and we’re too far in to go back now. Nothing worth having comes easy.

I do a lot of research and reading about resilience and grit. It’s what I plan to write my dissertation on. So I am a huge proponent of doing the hard things in life. Ironically, struggling through the hard in life is the underlying motto of our gym. I guess you could say that I LOVE hard things.

Until I’m doing the hard things. Then I’m ready to spit…

Fever

Being a mom is simultaneously the absolute best thing and the absolute worst thing. It’s a constant state of conflicting emotion. I am head over heels in love. I never get anything done because all I want to do is sit and stare at this beautiful face.

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Yet I feel the heavy weight of the responsibility of caring for this child’s every need. She is with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I look at that sweet baby sleeping in my arms and I feel completely inadequate. She depends on us completely for everything. She trusts us to take care of her and provide all that she needs to be healthy and happy. And I am so grateful that we get to do that.

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But it’s overwhelming sometimes. When Josh does have a free moment to take her for me (in between feedings of course) I feel lighter, and somewhat relieved. And then instantly guilty for thinking of the beautiful soul God gave us as a weight jacket.

It’s like that feeling you get on a windy day at the pool. The sun is shining and you’re hot so you get in the water. But when you get out the wind blows over your skin and you’re cold. But the sun is still shining so you get that prickly feeling from the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze happening at the same time. Like having a fever.

Parenting is an emotional fever.

 

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No question

Pregnancy  is just another way that life is teaching me to keep calm and realize I’m not the one in control. No matter how much I told myself I wouldn’t spend the last weeks agonizing over when this baby would come, I can’t stop agonizing over when this baby will come.

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Our official due date is September 24th but we all know that babies do what they want. Which makes planning a little difficult.

Between work, school, and our gym, I’ve got a lot of things going on and it’s hard for me to just be ok not knowing when baby girl is going to make her arrival. So far, I’ve been focusing on not going down the worry road. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop, take a deep breath, and tell God that whatever He has planned is fine with me.

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But when I started having regular contractions this past Saturday I freaked. A month early is just a little too soon.

Labor class 101…I was probably just moving around too much or too hot. So I sat down in a chair and drank a bunch of water. The app on my phone was timing the contractions at about a minute each and only 3 minutes apart, which is kind of serious. After a little bit of this, the app told us it was time to have a baby and we should make our way to the hospital.
And I was like

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But I kept timing, because it was just too early. Surely this would go away. I was probably overreacting. But two hours later, contractions were not slowing and the app got a little more forceful

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So we called the on-call doctor, who just happened to be my doctor, and checked in at the hospital. One of the longest, most annoying days of my life ensued. Long story short, we finally got the contractions stopped and I went home that night. I’m on activity restrictions until I hit 37 weeks this weekend. After that, I have the choice to keep patiently waiting or push things along. But then my doctor is going to Haiti for a week.

So now that relaxed, ‘oh it will happen when it happens’ feeling is gone. Saturday was a total surprise and I’m a little sad that we had to stop the labor. Though, I’m grateful that Elora will stay and grow a little longer. My heart is so ready to hold this sweet baby, but my mind keeps worrying about the logistics of her arrival. What if my water breaks in the middle of class this weekend? What if she comes while my doctor is away? What if now she doesn’t come until the end of September?

It feels like when you’re waiting on news to come. Your mind is consumed with all the possible scenarios, good and bad. You over-analyze every little thing as a potential sign.

But it’s a waste of time. This baby is coming. It’s not like there’s a chance I won’t go into labor, it’s going to happen. I don’t know when, where, or how, but I do know that it will all be ok. So rather than spend these days fretting and pacing, I am trying to relax, spend time with Josh, and sleep as much as I can. Because worrying won’t make it happen any faster…or slower…

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