Saturday, September 27, 2014

Survival Mode


We've had to scale back activities for the past few weeks due to the convergence of a few factors, including my head cold, Andrei's heavy teaching/conference schedule, and dreary weather. I guess I sort of alluded to it in the last few posts. Anyway, I did an assessment today and realized that I had let go of a lot of my goals and just a lot of self-discipline went out the window. I think it was okay to have a few "pajama" days, and that was a conscious decision-to not put too much on myself that would lead to exhaustion, during a time when Andrei needed to focus on other things. Taking naps during the day with David. But it is hard to get that momentum back, and I know that I will need to work hard at it as those gray winter days set in.

I've been mostly better for a few days and then I got these blisters on the corners of my mouth! Sorry if it sounds gross, but it's just another sign that my immune system was weakened, I guess. So I've been increasing the vitamins and probiotics again. I was preparing to head to worship practice this week, but when I thought about the mouth sores and needing to open my mouth to sing, or press my flute against the wound...well, that's pretty much a deal-breaker. It will have to wait.

I got into a fiction series this week (first installment free on Kindle and it's a nice length) about mother-daughter homesteaders in present times who live sort of in isolation. It's a Christian series with some good values, but it still manages to romanticize the homesteading life a bit. Who wouldn't want to make their own ice cream and hand-stencil wallpaper? Heh. It addresses the issues of time management, and that got me thinking...how is it that we do so little "manual" labor these days, yet we still never have enough time? Well, obviously a job and its commute will do that to you, but I feel like I never get anything done even being at home. Soap-making, are you kidding me? Where does the time go? And part of what gets me is that everything in modern life is so fragmented. I wish it could all fit together somehow. Why do I resent going outside for a walk? I wish it accomplished something...I wish we had a task to do out there, other than trying to get some exercise in order to sleep well. Why do we have to get exercise on purpose, instead of just naturally doing physical tasks throughout the day? But my big question for the homesteaders would be what they do with their children. Is it just more natural to have children wandering around as you do outside chores? Okay, they're all perfect angels and help out, but you have to teach them, and that takes time, and is more messy in the meantime. Is there such thing as abandoning farm chores because of a teething toddler, or staying in when you have a cold? The thing that sounds nice about homesteading is the "home" part. And I suppose many would agree. I like my modern technology, but I do get tired of the city, and its vices (as bottles shatter outside the window).

Another idea mentioned in the (first) book is that "every day should have its Sabbath"...I don't know if they borrowed it from somewhere or not. Basically, the lack of electricity forces you to slow down in the evening. And I'm sitting here tapping out a blog post at midnight because there is NO other time when I can work in peace. And the household chores still aren't done. But I'm not complaining. I'm just thinking about priorities.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Sniffles again


So I finally succumbed to The Cold that's been chasing us all this month! It kept flirting with me and then going away, and then settled in for a longer stay a few days ago.

When David was sick I tried to get him outside anyway for fresh air, but while I've been sick I just can't find the energy to get us both dressed and out the door.

So there has been a lot of junkfood-eating and cartoon-watching going on. And baking, because it makes me happy...even if the dirty dishes are still going to be waiting in the sink in a year or so.

This isn't a "domestic bliss" shot below, just one of those milestones where he's starting to do more things on his own. Maybe we never got to the point where he plays quietly at my feet while I cook, but at least we can do it together and make it a learning process!


Also, I am starting to get excited about Christmas. Maybe if I start working on Advent now, I'll actually finish something this time around?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

The story of re-entry


I was pondering how I've readjusted to Russia on various occasions, and I realized that having a child definitely makes a difference. I've struggled to understand other ex-pat parents in the past, and now I am getting there myself.

Without kids (or a husband), I would arrive and hit the ground running. Back to the orphanage the next day, or getting called up to teach Sunday school because someone else was sick. Just kidding, that's an exaggeration...of course I had the jet-lag, and it's worse flying east than west! But I got into society...I had to.

Fast-forward to this past Sunday: almost 3 weeks after arriving, I got on the metro the first time, and went to church. When you delay re-entry, you are in a bubble of sorts. Maybe it is easier on your health to take one shock at a time, first getting used to your home-away-from-home before venturing out into your culture-away-from-your-culture. And actually, I was in domestic bliss-checking out the new shelves Vladimir put up in our kitchen; rediscovering cups and plates; setting up David's new toys and books....But there's more to life, isn't there? We are meant to go out and see people! We had colds though, so had to be quarantined a bit.

Those of you who hit the ground running and/or come on a short-term trip with a packed schedule: You get tired! You're immersed! You have to face your fears ASAP, because you can't wait a week to mail that letter or make that phone call. Short-term missions has its critics, but there is a vulnerability there that makes you seek God in every little moment.

Not sure where I'm going with this....marathon vs. sprint, perhaps? We are in a "slow and steady" phase of life, with occasional bursts of panic frenzy more intense activity...like this week, while Andrei has been teaching at two different universities and preparing for 2 upcoming conferences. But we're really thankful for where God has brought us so far and for whatever the future holds!

Another thought from today: Took D. to an athletic field to run around (please oh please go to bed earlier tonight) and we came across an middle-aged man (after an injury?) doing PT with a trainer. It looked like he was learning to WALK again. I hope this doesn't sound totally inappropriate, but I wanted to watch! Isn't it amazing to witness a healing process? Not to gawk, but to see how far a person comes. I peeked a little bit and noticed how hard they were working to take steps...we went to the store and came out and they were still training! I wonder what he went home and told his family...was it a triumphant day, or a setback? Sometimes it may feel like we are limping along, but aren't we advancing all along, thanks to the Great Physician?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Happy New Year


Blog post before midnight...ready, set, go!

I don't normally pay attention to New Year's resolutions, but something about September has me itching to make changes in my life.

Here are a few major goals I'd like to work on this school year:


1) Make a new Bible reading routine.

2) Continue healing my DR. (work on alignment)

3) Go outside with David at least 2x per day.


There are a few other goals and plans that I may or may not share on here.

Read more for some details about my recent endeavors...


Make a new Bible-reading routine.

God's Word is such that you don't really need any special equipment or even the perfect setting to dive in...but I still would like to find a format that works for me right now. I turn on an audio recording while doing chores; I open up the Bible while David is playing nearby...but it's only little snatches. There were a few days during jet-lag when David was still SOUND asleep late morning and I even got up before him...but those days are over. Anyway, I've come across a lot of blog posts recently about how to organize (or not) "Devotional" time, so it's been on my mind.



Continue healing my DR (work on alignment)

It annoys me that I didn't word that as a specific goal, but I'm trying to get my thoughts down quickly here. I have a few recently acquired clues as to ways I could change the way I use my muscles in various tasks. There are a few specific things I'm working on to correct my posture. Even as I'm sitting here typing, I move into a slouch about every 30 seconds or so and have to correct myself. Making even small corrections can immensely help my body recover from carrying a child (and likely having poor alignment for much of my life prior to that). I'm making this a priority.



Get outside with David (2x a day)

We've had a pretty good track record (for us) so far this month. We are up to going outside ALMOST every day and are working up to twice a day. Sometimes the second walk is performed by Andrei, which is also good. Maybe David's grandmother will also do it sometimes. But I can benefit from it, too. I am trying to no longer regard yucky weather or stuffy noses as adequate excuses. Apartment air can cause far more damage!

...However, we have a few obstacles. The first is just plain lack of motivation. I hate the ritual of getting ready and going outside and keeping track of David and trying to get him to behave and not take other people's toys and then coming inside and getting all cleaned up. I hate playgrounds, I hate grassy patches strewn with trash/presents from dogs, I hate teenagers on mopeds who interrupt naptime and almost run us over, and I have no interest in socializing with other caregivers who stare at me when I speak with David in English. Just being honest here...I'm working on this!

So that's the first obstacle...LOL. The second problem is trying to get out the door. I don't understand how mothers do it. David doesn't let me brush my teeth, change my clothes, or gather our bag. He follows me around asking for a hug or to read a book. So terrible, right? Well, it is if we truly both need fresh air and exercise. I have told him we're going out, but he just doesn't understand or want to cooperate with the getting ready part! Almost every time, I'm about to scream and drop everything and forget it all. Sometimes I do lose it. I don't care if we leave later than planned...it just feels like we'll never, ever be ready. And I also feel partly like the walk is a task I have to perform, so I can receive my reward of coming home and eating lunch and doing domestic things. So it's maddening when it drags on and my chance to perform the more pleasant tasks is slipping away. Meanwhile...my plan is to tweak the routine a bit so we get dressed earlier, before David is getting clingy. Plus get my clothes out the night before. I'm not sure if I will be able to find this magic combination, but we'll see.




Thursday, August 28, 2014

After traveling


Thought I’d wash some dishes dash off a quick blog post while I wait for Andrei to get back from paying for the Internet.

It’s 50’s here and rainy, a little different from the 80-degree weather we left behind. And I have a raging headache, though it’s subsided some. Still dizzy and thankful to be off the plane.

It’s hard to believe this is the country the U.S. is at odds with. There is such a disconnect between daily Russian life and all that hype in the media. I've heard there are increased anti-American sentiments, but I’m not sure if that would be applicable in our residential neighborhood …??? Also, the airport has been renovated and looks a little more modern, and passport control was a breeze. The only thing was that the lady inspector laughed, saying I didn’t look like my passport photo…

“Huh. No resemblance!”

Me, taking off glasses: “Is that better?”

“Okay, that’s better. This IS yours, right?” (showing me the passport)

Me, squinting: “I GUESS. It’s Elizabeth. I don’t have my glasses on now so I can’t see it!” I could have only handed her mine or David’s, and I assumed it was the right one.

She giggled. “Okay, Elizabeth, you can put your glasses back on now.” She typed (!) up a migration card, printed it out, and handed it to me with my passport/resident card. Whew!



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crossing

Seems appropriate...
We're leaving in just a few days to go back to Russia! Suitcases are already bursting at the seams with plentiful contents.

Last week we had some fun sibling interaction time, and David got to see almost all of his cousins! We got a few photos, but not too many as it's an active bunch! With kids you often need both arms to give a hug or stop a fight, so the camera takes the backseat.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what changes have occurred while we've been away.

One thing I've gotten wind of are changes to immigration policy. It sounds like I might need official employment in order to keep my resident status. I can't even imagine what I would do about that. David is still young and I don't like the idea of needing employment just to stay in the country, especially when I have a family! Looks like we will need to visit an immigration lawyer when we get back.

I was looking forward to going back until this came up. I guess there are always ups and downs, and there also seems to be a paper trail no matter what country you live in!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Diastasis Recti: Summer Edition


The journey of healing continues...


The OB/Gyn I saw this summer wasn't very helpful in that she saw Diastasis recti as a "cosmetic problem" that could be treated only with surgery. Unfortunately, I think that's a fairly typical response.


Here are some other approaches I've been using this summer to work on this aspect of my health:



Exercise

Haven't done so well on this count; fairly consistent daily walks but not as vigorous as I'd like. Part of this is due to hot weather and not being able to go very fast. I also feel like with the stroller I obsess over whether I'm in the right "alignment" or not for core healing. So the exercise has probably been more about getting fresh air and Vitamin D than weight loss or toning.


"Tummy Team" rehab program

I started this 8-wk program shortly after we arrived in the U.S., and the very week I started was a challenging one with various setbacks ranging from David nursing a lot again to waking several times at night, etc. So in turn I needed to be taking naps as opposed to doing workouts, etc. That was quite frustrating, but eventually I was able to follow the schedule somewhat and work my way through the rehab points.

I haven't felt much of a result from the program, and that's a little disappointing. I'm taking it all in and incorporating some of the concepts, but it hasn't been a life-changer. So I hope to revisit it in the future, maybe even in the fall when I can get into a routine and work the movements into daily life in our apartment (ha ha, routines aren't our strong point, but we can always try).


Seeing a specialist

This was probably the breakthrough this summer out of all the approaches. My mom asked a local Pilates instructor if she had DR experience, and she said yes...and was telling the truth! I really enjoyed meeting her and having 2 sessions of working on my core with professional guidance.

I will say that all the work I've been doing for the past year+ has provided a good foundation. She was impressed by how I could do the breathing correctly and engage my core while doing some movements.

Some of the helpful information I received included learning how to adjust my alignment and also discovering that my split is actually pretty high up. Those are pieces of the puzzle that are hard to figure out long-distance. So now I have some more tools to work with as I go back to Russia.




I've been spending some time just going back to the basics and doing some breathing exercises with my hands on my stomach to feel how everything is working. And doing it over and over again until I feel the muscles going IN, not protruding out.

Each healing approach regarding DR has its own words to promote visualization, and I'm gradually adding all of these descriptions to my toolbox so that I can integrate healthy movements into my daily life.