Monday, July 25, 2011

A celebration that lingers

It's been 3 days since Andrew and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary, and my cup is still overflowing from the joy of that evening. I knew it would be fun. I knew I'd wear my wedding dress again and we'd renew our vows. But I wasn't expecting the well of emotion once the evening began and our friends and family started to arrive. Suddenly, there was so much love filling the atmosphere. So much support and happiness! I felt it down to my bones. It's easy to take for granted all the wonderful people in your life who are there for you and who want the best for you, until you get a ton of them in a room together. :) It is a shower of laughter, hugs and hope!
I think God wants this kind of celebration for all of us every now and then. To remind us that we aren't just loved, we are LOVED. I was (and am still) so, so happy.

But, of course the celebration eventually came down to just the two of us. Andrew and me, going on 10 years as man and wife. When I walked out to meet him again...this time with our dainty daughter's tiny hand in heart was near to bursting!
.This time, Andrew and I know completely what it all really means. We've been thru a lot. We understand the gravity of those words we are saying. There are no romantic notions clouding our view. And yet, there is still so much love for each other. So much assurance that we are meant to be. We'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. And we did.
It's been so nice that the contentment of the evening has lingered in my heart. It's only the really special memories that can do that; I could probably count them on one hand.
But this evening? This evening was for the books.
And it was the perfect foundation for the decades to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 Thoughts That Kept Me From Another Unpublished Post

I looked thru some old drafts a few days ago. You know, the posts you write just to get stuff off your chest, then decide there's no way you're going to put that kind of hot mess out into the world wide web?! Ha! Well, that's what this little poem was. I wrote it back in January, and it had obviously been a bad few weeks.
If I'm sure about anything,
It's that my life is unsure.
I had lots of plans this week.
I've been feeling stable,
And stable is as good as it gets.
So I made plans--
To meet up with some new faces,
Have a play date,
Celebrate a birthday,
Shop for curtains,
Be with SaraRose.
But it all came to screeching halt.
Because I went for a walk on Friday
Yes, something as simple as that...
And I've been in bed ever since.
I'm tired of being the variable,
The one everyone has to work around.
The one stuck at home,
Not being able to give all I want others.
I'm tired of catering to the pain.
Cause I don't want it to win
But it so does some days.
Most of all I'm just tired.
So so tired.
I want an end.
I need a reprieve
God help me.
I can't imagine why I did publish that! Yea. It's probably a good rule of thumb to not post anything ending with the phrase "God help me." :)
But oddly enough, when I reread it a day ago or so, it was comforting to me. Because I was struggling with those exact same thoughts again.
Only this time, it was not being able to keep up with my family's vacation pace that had me feeling overwhelmed. My older sister and her 4 kids (whom I haven't seen in 3 years) were in town, and my back problems seemed glaring because there were tons of fun things planned and people to spend time with....and I simply couldn't keep up. It always makes me so sad. It makes me feel like I'm 80 years old.  This go around tho, even tho there was some crying and some major moments of frustration, I worked hard to not sink into the bleakness of said poem above.
Instead, I fought to look at things like this:
1. I still have the best part--Though I may not be as physically fun as I'd like to be, I'm still able to bring the most important stuff to any event I'm a part of. I can bring my energy, my personality, my enthusiasm, joy and love with me. I may not be the one running, jumping and swimming anymore but I can still laugh, talk and connect. I can still help people have a good time when they're with me.
2. Memories can be streamlined: I wasn't able to host my 9 year old niece sleeping over at my condo every night like she wanted, but I made the most of the one sleepover we did have--we stayed up late, watched movies, did beauty shop and played Clue.  I may not have been able to swim when we went to the beach or to the pool, but I organized and judged a splash contest and helped my nephew improve his underwater hand-stand skillz. If I had a moment--even if it was short--I tried to make it the best I could.
3. Choosing one thing over another: UGH. It speaks for itself and it's my least favorite. I'm naturally a I-want-to-do-it-all kind of girl. But here's one example (from several this week) of something I chose over another to help keep my pain down and my chin up: my dad baptized my niece and nephew on Sunday night and I didn't want to miss a sweet moment like that! So, I chose not to go to the party celebrating it after church. But I got to be there for the event and to hug and congratulate them both, as well as sit next to their drying little wet heads thruout the church service. To me, that was more important than the party.
4. It is worth the effort: I pushed myself to be an active part of everything I could, even if I wasn't feeling very well, because it's always worth the effort. And you know what's funny? Later, when I think back or look at pictures...I rarely remember how badly my back hurt or how frustrated I was about what I couldn't do. I just remember how much fun we had, who played what joke on whom, and how blessed I am to be part of such a wonderful family.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My favs: The pricey edition

Do you remember that cartoon Duck Tales? My sister and I watched it faithfully every day after school. "Duck Tales, wooooo-ooooo!" Ah, the memories. Now, do you also recall how sometimes Scrooge McDuck would do the backstroke thru a large vat of money? Yea. Well, you might just need a large vat of your own to afford some of the things I'm going to list here! But still. I thought you may enjoy seeing some of the stuff I find fabulous enough to spend big bucks on. I am a frugal, inexpensive shopper pretty much all the time. But when it comes to a few items, I really agree with what my dad says every single time he buys a Daniel Cremieux tie--"you get what you pay for." :)
Alright. Grab those Benjamens and here we go....
#1) Biolage Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioning Balm.
Not gonna lie, I definitely splurge on my hair. And Biolage is my one true love when it comes to products. To me, no drugstore shampoo can even come close to how manageble and light Biolage leaves my hair. I've used it since the highschool perm days and it's never let me down. Not to mention that the smell of the shampoo remains one of my favorite scents in the whole wide world--I've been known to stop in a store aisle just to have a sniff. :)
#2) DKNY One-Shoulder One Piece.
Anytime I buy a bathing suit, I invest in a more expensive one (like $100 range *cough*). But to me, It. Is. Worth it. They're made better and the fabric is stronger--therefore they last longer and fit well. It's a splurge for sure. This is my new one for summer and I'm really happy with it.
#3) MAC Jazzy-Razz Long-Lasting Lip Lustre.
You're not going to believe the price tag on this one. Don't know how long I'm going to be able to keep it up, but I am in love. At first, I only bought this because I had a gift certificate to MAC, and at the time I really needed some lipstick. But it quickly ruined my ability to wear any other brand. The color is the perfect neutral pink...but it's the subtle sparkle gloss that really sets it apart. It leaves your lips with a very Kardashianish glow. And the color stays on all day long. Seriously, people. BUT it costs $22.00 a pop. Phew.
#4) Calvin Klein Little Black Flats.
These are my most favorite flats ever. My hubby got them for me on our 8th anniversary....and I still wear them like they're brand new. They've stayed comfy and shapely thru two years of wear and tear. And I'm really tough on my shoes! I think they were about $80.00, but they make me reconsider buying cheap $10 flats all the time. Those never last like these have.
Do you like the little pose I'm striking for you here? :)
#5) Zero Gravity Chair from Relax the Back.
Love isn't a strong enough word for how I feel about this wonder chair. It's especially designed to relieve pressure off the lower spine, and it works! As soon as I sit down, my back pain lessens. You're able to easily tip it to whatever angle feels most comfortable. So, much UNlike sitting in a regular chair, all pressure points are gone. It's so cozy that when I'm not sitting in it, someone else always is. The thing I personally appreciate best is that it allows me to be out in the living room (where the action is) more...when I otherwise might have to be back in my bedroom lying down. Suh-weet! Unfortunately they're not cheap. But TOTALLY worth it if you've got back problems.
That just about does it for my list of splurges. I'm much too practical to have many more. But all of these come with the Kristen-I-don't-think-you'll-be-sorry seal of approval. Even if you don't have large vats of money down in your basement. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting Pinned

And I'm not talking about Pinterest, folks.
I'm talking about this: And a little of this:


The first thing people ask when they hear I'm trying acupuncture is "does is hurt?" And the short answer is YES!! It does hurt, people. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But it isn't terrible. Some needles I don't feel at all; most feel like a quick bee sting. Past the initial sharp pinch, tho, I lie in a dark room for 25 minutes (with around 20 pins down my back, hips and sciatic nerve) and I usually don't feel a thing.

Of course the other big question is "does it work?" Well, that one is a little bit longer to answer. It's hard to say definitively. But....I think so? It took quite a few treatments for me to feel any difference at all (not to mention I was the hugest skeptic ever).

But the reduction in pain has not been an overwhelming-100%-I'm healed-kind of thing. BUT. I have noticed small changes, mostly in my stamina. It seems like I'm able to stand/sit/walk longer before pain gets unbearable. Or like I'm able walk around two stores now instead of just one before I have to head home and lie down. Simple stuff like that. Stuff that to healthy person may not seem significant enough to really be worth it. But to someone like me, someone who had reached the end, tried it all and seen no change for years....well, having a bit more stamina kinda seems like a mini miracle. And since it isn't in the form of some new medication I have to ingest--people--I will take it!! Pin me!

Acupuncture is weird. There's no doubt about that. I don't totally get how it works. But somehow, it must. It feel a similar relief in pain to when I take a steroid, so I'm pretty sure it's helping reduce inflammation somehow.

I think in order to try it, you'd have to be in a place like me--desperation:) --for the money, effort, time and pinching to be worth it. But that's up to the person and their need. Who knows? Maybe for someone who doesn't have the humongo issues I do, it would be a complete miracle. There are tons of letters hanging up all around my doctor's office from other end-of-their-rope folks like me. People in all sorts of pain who found relief and many, many testimonies from women dealing with infertility (all with a picture of their new little baby attached and lots of praise for acupuncture.)

It seems so strange that getting stuck all over with pins could do anything good, but I've been known to say I'd hang by my toenails if it would help me feel what's a few little sterile needles, right?