Monday, December 15, 2014

I think I'm done but no, it's not up to me

Yeah that's me. Yes. I am a badass.
No, that's not Mr. Hall.
Nice dude though.
Excellent dude indeed.
Been fostering low these last two years now. Two placements.  One is on and off. One is here for the duration. It's been a crazy experience to say the least but nothing prepared me for the sheer longevity of it.
Nothing happens. Literally each month goes by without much changing. There is no checklist and things are done. There is no timeline. Things seem to drag forever. Foster daughter's mom is doing about the best she'll ever be doing. We've made peace with that. She's not an addict, a child hurter or a monster. She's a mom that struggles but when she doesn't struggle she's decent enough.
She's not struggling now. We are though. We.are.tired.
Our third child came within months of our foster kids and then we had five. Again, that was 2 years ago. Through a lot of prayers and tears and me want want want wanting...I have finnally accepted the reality that we can't be their parents. Like Mr. Hall said, "They have parents. They need to go back to their parents."  I realized that my need to adopt was truly clouding my vision. And I realized Mr. Hall is correct.
At this point we are exactly where we were a year ago. Foster daughter spends more time with mom than with us. As it should be. We still have her a few days a week and the ensuing aftermath that comes with that.
They say foster kids' behaviors (tantrums, screaming, ripping wall paper, screaming) gets worse as the reunification comes closer. They are correct. It's a lot of manage this type of thing. It's not normal tantrum. Someone called it 'a behavior storm'. That person is correct.
I feel for my foster daughter. She wants to go home. We want her to go home. She can't though. Foster care is not a checklist and done deal. Mom has to prove SUSTAINED non struggling. I have no idea how long sustained is. I don't envy the social worker who has to quantify that sort of thing.
Part of me thinks the birth mother is done too. Which would make her work harder than she ever has to get her kid back.  But who knows? This is the exact same spot she was in a year ago. She was two weeks from getting her daughter back. Then she completely unhinged. She knew enough to not pick her daughter up that day. We were a safe place to put her daughter that day.
That is what Mr. Hall wants to be. He never wants to be done being a safe place for these kids. No matter what,  he wants to be there for our foster daughter. Even after she's long gone from our house. That to me is amazing.
So. I need to focus on what I can do.
Which is lift heavy weights, count weight watchers points, accept God's plan of stasis. Pray and put myself inside a tiny child who feels a million times more frustrated than I ever will. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm one Tough Mudder!

I heard about tough mudder years ago. At the time, I wasn't sure the people who did tough mudder and I were the same species. But I started to dream. I started to want.

I would run into folks who had done this and I would ask them millions of questions about it. I can't remember any of them saying, "you should do this." When people ask me questions I don't encourage them. Maybe I should.
But after the want--- years passed on. My want never passed.
Then I had my last baby making me a mother of five (three our own, two foster kids). A month post birth, while I was still nursing, I joined weight watchers. I was determined to get healthy once and forever.  

 And I stumbled onto crossfit and said out loud, "I'm going to do the tough mudder". It was a bold but quiet peep of a statement. It caught in my throat and startled me. I was determined though.

So, let's begin shall we?

I don't believe there is a way to train for the tough mudder. You need to be ready though. Be strong, be fit, be badass and work hard. That's what I did for a year prior. There was a lot of crossfit involved.

The event itself is 12 mud laced miles of running, climbing, bashing, running, hills, reaching, swimming, climbing, MORE EFFING RUNNING, hills, berlin walls and running. Go ahead and google the photos. They're pretty accurate.


These yellow things have electricity in them.

Grabbing stangers in places you normally just grab your husband.

These monkey bars are fun. I got on one ring and promptly feel into the water.
but wow. look at this.
When they handed me the orange head band.
I started hysterically crying.
Happy holy mother of God tears.
Hypeventillating tears.
People were asking if was ok.
It was out of my control-

 I did it. and I'm so proud of me.
I got flowers from Mr. Hall and everything. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"We had this conversation 3 years ago"

With a little downtime today I can talk about why we aren't going to adopt our foster daughter.

When Mr. Hall told the social worker he didn't want to adopt, he was teary eyed. She was there to start the paperwork and I thought maybe we'd just discuss things. I know he had reservations but I was in denial. Turns out, he really doesn't want to adopt and feels shitty even saying that. The social worker was very kind and saw us, Mr. & Mrs. Hall, divided. On the couch.

"You guys are in a tough spot.", she said.

Oh my heart that day! I was sinking, sinking, sinking.

The number one thing people ask us as foster parents--is "Isn't it hard to give them back?" And I always said, "No, they have parents that love them and if they can get better, the child wants to go back and that's were they belong. We're just temporary."

So, with that pressure in mind, the pressure of what people expect from him, what I wanted from him, he had the courage to say, "No. It's not right. I don't feel connected to her. She needs to be with another family when the time comes."

Oh my heart that day! Sink.........sink ....sink....

I felt for my husband. It makes him sound like a bad guy. He's actively hurting me, with my big let's adopt ALL THE CHILDREN puppy dog eyes.

It was a rough week after that. My heart was just aching and I couldn't go to Mr. Hall, the one I go to. It was the first time we've ever had uglies and sad. Foster care challenges us in ways unbelievable.

So we prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. And I cried and trusted God and trusted God and prayed.

And his heart didn't open and mine opened other ways.

Mr. Hall wants to help ALL THE CHILDREN. He sees many foster kids coming and going through The house of Hall. We'll work on their stealing, lying, scratching, temper tantrum fitting for two hours and ugly. Helping them and sending them on their way. And, he says, "When the time is right, when I feel it's right, we'll adopt. This is what we talked about three years ago when we started this." I guess I didn't remember having that conversation. Hearing what I want and ignoring what I don't is a habit of mine.

A few weeks have gone by and we revisited how we felt last night.

I feel better. It's better to be honest. So we talked about the future of our little girl. Nothing BUT NOTHING will change for a good long year. Even though bio mom's rights will be terminated and she'll be available for adoption, that wouldn't happen for a year. A year for the termination and another year for someone to finalize an adoption.

In other words, she's not going anywhere. She's hear for the duration. And whatever dream I have of children, our permanent children,  is still fuzzy. The dream is not clear I dream on.....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hands up

This is me in all my badassery. I love this photo for the following reasons:

1. I look super badass.
2. I am photo'd at a 3/4 angle. DUDES--never photograph a woman from the side, always 3/4!!
3. The dude behind me is at least 6'4". I am a foot smaller. I like the dude behind me. He's a swell guy. Super nice.
4. The exposed particle board shows how unfancy crossfit is.
5. I supered the color so my tank top pops.
6. This was during a partner workout and Mr. Hall was struggling. So I took over for him doing my part and his. Love being strong enough to help him.
7. Feel kind of proud I was tougher than him that day. That doesn't ever happen and while it's petty, I'm proud.
8. This is a praise position. Like at church, when people raise their hands up in praise. Only my hands are holding 55lbs. SUPER PRAISE!!

1 Timothy 2:8  New International Version (NIV)
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Mr. Hall and I have had many tearful conversations about our foster daughter. Tears on my part and his. At the end of many prayerful nights we have decided not to adopt her. Our intention is to love on her and then transition her to an adoptive family when the time comes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Psychology of the run

My head is absolutely swimming. There's not much to say so I'll talk that photo up there. That's me. Running. Running during a recent crossfit workout. Before crossfit, I never ran at all.

The work out was run 800 m, do a bunch of weights and push ups, run 800 mg, do a bunch of SERIOUSLY? more weights and push ups, and then run 800 m. This is the last 800 m. I was soaked through. The tank top came off for the first time ever.

This photo was the last 800 m. I didn't want Mr. Hall to run beside me. I didn't want his constant stream of encouragement. I didn't want this photo taken.

I'm glad Mr. Hall didn't listen. That photo is BADASS!

Running is hard. It's long and plodding. There's nothing you can do but plow through it, one step after another. Burning lungs and all.

We got an email about our foster daughter. They'll be terminating the birth mother's rights and they want to meet with us to talk about 'adoption'. And now I'm losing my mind.

It's not a big surprise, this development. The birth mother has had a lot of time to get it together and she hasn't. The foster daughter needs permanence. I want to be her permanent. Mr. Hall is not so sure. It's killing me all of this.

Mr. Hall doesn't want to stop being foster parents. He wants to take kids in, work on their issues and send them back to their mom. He has energy for these kids that we don't even know yet. If we adopt this shuts things down. The other option is helping her transfer to another adoptive family.

I want to be honest and look through my last few years. I had two miscarriages. This plays a role here, I know it does. My healing has moved forward in leaps and bounds but it'll never be fully healed. Not until I'm in heaven with John and Chloe in my arms.

But oh my God this girl we call foster daughter. I can't even breathe if we're offered the chance to be her real mommy and daddy. 

So now, I pray, on the knees and matter what happens this race is a long one....with Mr. Hall beside me... taking pictures of my badassery.......

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mad Men, foster care and the rest

My love of Mad Men knows no bounds. Like everything else I like, I don't just like--I obsess. The season is over for now and nothing will appear until next year. I like how the final season is going. Don is starting become a human being.

The writer of this show, Matt Wiener, enjoys exploring the sequelae of ugly childhoods. Don is a child from a neglectful and abusive childhood. He was born a bastard and unwanted. He was molested in his early teens by a prostitute that lived in the same house. That house up there is a house of ill repute, his childhood home. He is showing the house to his children. Meta!

Neglectful and abusive childhoods cause a child to be centerless. They don't form a center from which we trust, seek out and reciprocate love. Don is not able to do this. He is a self centered and manipulative man. Good looking as he is, his suit is quite empty.

In the words of Queen Ellen, "He is all sizzle and no steak."

The steak that makes us who we are suppose to be. We are to exchange and be intimate. We are to love and get crazy together. It's a stupid, hard world out there and we need each other.

I place all of this in context of my foster daughter's life. She's been with us for 17 months now. Parenting her is somewhat like parenting my own kids. The evil one fights to come out, the kids give lip,  be disrespectful and display general childhood grumpery.

Then there is this:

"I don't want to be a child in your family.",  my foster daughter said to my husband last night.  I had sent her downstairs to brush her teeth. The signal for bedtime. She said, "Other families watch movies and stay up late. Other families don't have bedtimes.You guys are boring!" 

In her 6 year old mind,  she wishes we were like her mom and her other family. They stay up until 10 pm and watch movies. They have no rules or structure. I can't say I blame her, I'd want to live in Neverland too. Except Neverland is a nightmare. They do all sorts of things we don't do. Like smoke weed, stab each other, kill family dogs and do lengthy jail stays.

Her mom is currently in jail, in segregation  no less. Segregation means she can't even keep calm and behave so she's in a cell by herself. The more I know about this woman, the more I want to throw up. She's chaotic and violent. She has no center. She can't attach with others on any sort of healthy or sustainable level. My heart aches for this woman. I can't help but love and care for her because I love and care for her child. I pray for her.

It makes me mad because she's not going anywhere. If we adopt our foster daughter, she's not going to just die. She won't stay in seg for ever. She'll be there in the background. The Lord has a plan for this woman and we're becoming part of it.

I know what would fix this woman. I know what will fix my foster's daughter's yearnings to be free from rules and constraint. I know what will fix my anger and my husband's sadness about all of this.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
So I pray. I pray and pray and pray . . .

I pray that His love will come through us and form the center she needs not become like her mom. That'll be my start.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The psychology of the clean and jerk

The clean and jerk

As a foster mom there is a lot of waiting, phone calls and endless nothing. I want to obsess. I want to reread the social worker's email and search for clues about things. I want to quiz my husband about every conversation he has with the guardian ad litem. I want to know what is going on besides nothing. Nothing but waiting and nothing decided and it's been over a year and it's going to be longer. Unless it isn't.

Obsessing over nothing is a large waste of my precious energy. And makes me neglect Mr. Hall.

So, this is what I'll do instead:

1. focus on calming the hell down. Breathing. Accepting. Moving on. Be still and know that I am.

2. Fill my obsessive needs with what I have going on right now. Right here. This includes the many kids I have and their various needs.

3. Play more youtube videos and dance all crazy like with the kids.

4. Focus on my crossfit training and marvel and my excellent clean and jerk skills. Every time I go to crossfit my heart explodes with awesome uplifting awesomeness. It helps me channel my crazy in ways I never knew possible.

5. Focus on competition training because holy crap! I'm going to be competing! I hope to add something to my team. I'm working extra hard to be an asset!!

6. Give Mr. Hall extra wifey love because he is worn down.

7. Go to church and try not to cry and cry anyway because I'm so overwhelmed with love.

8. Deeply and madly enjoy each dress I wear. I have so many dresses for summer!

9. Chase my toddler around.

10. Make a lot of food with shrimp.  And that tasty pink sauce that is on the sushi. That's good stuff, what is that anyway?

So yeah, that's what I'll do instead!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Let's pretend I'm in charge

Let's pretend I'm in charge.

Let's pretend that I get exactly what I want when it comes to my foster daughter. Since her birth family is not stepping up and/or nowhere near appropriate to care for her, she can be our daughter. For realises.

I can stop getting emails about her hair and how it's not done properly. I can stop looking up her mom's inmate status and future court activity. I can stop having her mom in our life, like some ghost haunting us. Crazy ghost with buckets of crazy she crazily pours on everything. I can set limits with visitations and start making rules of my own.

This is the hard part of foster care. We are in limbo. Nothing is moving forward or backwards. Nothing is set in place or outlined. Things change month from month. Laws, relatives, personal actions and non actions determine what happens next. Not me or Mr. Hall. So we wait, give the best mommy daddy care we can.

And then I start to dream.

I see a courtroom. I see my husband and I with her in hand. The judge goes through the paperwork and asks us if we want to be her mom and dad and we say yes. I facebook it. Her last name becomes ours. The following week we have an adoption party.

Until then. Or whatever else happens. I'll just be thankful for the strength I'm gaining. Thankful for the minutes, hours and days with her. Children are a gift from God. They are not hers,mine or ours.

I'm very thankful we've found each other. And really, very thankful I'm not in charge after all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The bragging rights of Coraline

My foster daughter loves the movie Coraline. I find it creepy and unsettling. I'm sure you can wikipedia the plot but it goes something like this:

Coraline, the little girl pictured above, moves to a new city with her family. In her new house, she finds a door that leads to another family's house. The other mom makes cakes and cookies. She's odd and wildly permissive. Coraline shuttles between the two families. Eventually, things get super creepy. The other mom becomes possessive and morphs into spider. She traps Coraline and tries to sew buttons on her eyes. It's creepy and I can't watch it.

My foster daughter can't get enough of this movie. A thousand times I've asked her why, but no clear answer is found. I'm sure it has to do with her, living with us. I'm sure she can relate to this kid on the screen, going back and forth between two vastly different worlds. Two moms and  what not.

She does a lot of things I don't understand. She is a lot of things I don't understand. Everything from her hair to her way of tearing up napkins while she eats. I'm learning about her hair and we finally found a decent hair shop (read: black people salon). It's a struggle since I didn't birth her. I'm still learning how to operate her without triggering meltdowns and tantrums. It's a process and it's coming along.

One thing that she does really bugs me. It's the bragging. She constantly brags about her mom.  Whenever she spies something she likes, she claims her mom has it or has given it to her. For example she'll say, "My mom has that shirt" "My mom has that car" "My mom takes me to this park" "My mom buys that shampoo" "My mom has these socks".

The thing of it is, it's all lies. Her mom is in jail, facing some significant jail time. She'll be sentenced next month and it looks like her parental rights will be terminated. Termination of Parental Rights is the legal term. Her mom given over a year to get her act together and be a mom. She can't though. For a lot of reasons she can't.

So, when I hear my foster daughter brag about her mom, I get irritated. I am not proud of this. I realize she brags because she's scared and wants it to be true, this super mom in her head. I pray for the Lord to protect my heart. Anger is not helpful with any of this.

I'm mad at her mom. I want her mom to be a full grown human being. One that behaves without irrational actions. One that doesn't smoke weed or spend tons of money on crap. One that has a decent credit rating and doesn't depend on sugar daddies. One that doesn't strike out with violence. But--that's not going to happen.

So, I'm let my foster daughter brag till the cows come home. I'll be with her until she can't brag anymore. I let her talk, wax poetic and be whatever she needs to be. Because I'm her foster mom and I want to be something to brag about.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Psychology of the Snatch

This is Camille Leblanc-Bazinet showing us how it's done

The snatch is a weightlifting movement wherein the snatcher grabs a weight from the floor and hoists it overhead whilst squatting. Once everything is locked, as seen above, the snatcher stands the hell up.

Google for more detail if you want.

This week, my crossfit practice has been heart breaking. My head screams for me to sleep in before I leave for the gym. It's unrelenting these days, starting a good 12 hours before I go. SHUT UP BRAIN! IT'S NOT HAPPENING! WE'RE GOING! GET OVER IT!

Also of note, this month we're deep in the thick of pull up progressions. My goal is to improve my pull up capacity-which is zero. I'm not getting very far. pfft.

On Wednesday, we did death by thrusters. 'Death by' means  you have one minute to do one lift--like the thruster.

Thrust                                                ers

Then, the next minute you need to do two. Each minute means you do one more than the previous minute. Until you can't surpass the previous number. I was the first one out. BOOH :(

Sometimes I really REALLY suck at crossfit. I fell twice this morning doing my snatches. Butt to the dang floor! Sometimes it's all I can do not to fricking cry. And I can't cry because then I'd be the girl who cries. So I don't. There's no crying in crossfit!! I save that for the ride home. :)

The problem is, I'm starting to care about crossfit. This isn't someplace I go to put my earbuds in, hop on the ellipse and blank out. There is no TV to stare at. Its us, the mats, the bars and humble pie.

Right now I'm laying the foundation. Learning how to squat down and stand up. Learning how to fall and to fly. The weight will come. The pull ups will come. It's a process.

But, I need to remember, my badassery is already here.

                                        Mrs. Hall, in the pony tail, showing us how it's done

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy in the dressing room

I had a moment in the dressing room last week. At my house, there is no full length mirror so it's quite a shock seeing myself in technicolor. The evidence of three, hard fought pregnancies is undeniable. Yet, I was quite pleased with myself. In fact, I was happy.

Imagine that. Happy in a dressing room.

I don't have a flat, concave belly. I don't have chisled anything. Yet, I'm pleased as punch. I never expected this. My goal was not to be the fat mom. That was my first and only goal.

I can't express the relief I have, not being the fat mom. At the park I'm wearing skinny jeans and crawling in the tubes with the kids. I'm trying to do pull ups on the monkey bars. I'm laughing and chasing my tiny kids. Pretending I'm a hungry monster trying to eat their toes. They squeal with wide eyed happiness. I don't feel exhausted or dehydrated. I feel strong and pretty. Mr. Hall gives me hugs and pats me on the tush. It's all very exciting.

Let me tell you about the dresses.

Downtown, there is a consignment store I've been eyeing for years. All manner of dresses and cool vintage wear. I've been coveting. Deeply, privately and with hope. Last week I was there and wow. I am a fox when dressed properly.

There was one dress I loved the most. It was from banana republic. Retro inspired, black and white pattern. There was a red dress so beautiful, it made me blush. The owner gave a frowny face. She loved those dresses too. "But I'm too big for them". But  I'm not. To the victor go the spoils.

This is my real life. I'm capable of lifting heavy things, hopping on boxes and jump rope a mile a minute. Nothing seems impossible now. I feel smoother and taller. And it's not going to stop.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nobody, but nobody . . . loves you like your Mama

Me and my toddler, getting in a snuggle while he still snuggles  . . .

You can find anything online.

Court cases are updated hourly in some counties. Thus, I was checking for any movement on my foster daughter's mom's case. Today was not the day of her sentencing but scheduling the sentencing. It'll be another three months before her sentence is handed down.

 I also scanned the county jail inmate list for my foster son's mom. I already know her sentence but was curious to see if she was out of seg. Seg is segregation--meaning she can't be housed with other inmates because she was fighting.  She has her very own sad cell.

I sent out prayers and thought about them. Would they behave in court? Would they flip attitude with the judge? What happens if the sentence is nine months?  How are they doing in jail? Are they taking the time to read and grow? Are they going to their drug classes and learning what they need to learn? Are they ok?

I realized I was worrying about them like I do my kids. I have kept track of court dates and names of their lawyers. I've prayed for them. I want them to do well. Well enough to take their kids back.

Sometimes it really pisses me off, these moms. I help house and Mom their miracle kids while they frick around with drugs and dumb choices. I tie shoes, wipe noses, put on time outs and tuck them in at night.

Because nobody, but nobody loves you like your Mama.

Nobody worries about your fingernails or bowel movements like your Mama. Nobody watches endless youtube videos labeled "how to take care of black hair" like your foster Mama. Nobody is flooded with tears by a photo taken just 3 months ago, marveling at your growth. Nobody except Daddy of course.

Every time I breathe, in or out, they are on my mind. And the longer I take care of these kids, the more the Moms are on my mind too.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How men talk to each other (in the gym) + crossfit games

Was in the gym and ear witnessed the following.

One guy was on the floor--foam rollering the kinks out. Another guy walks buy and says, "Dude! you're getting a gut--you need to work on that." And foam roller guy nods, agreeing and smiling a bit.
Then they were done.  
My jaw hit the floor as I heard this. SERIOUSLY??!! IS THIS HOW GUYS TALK TO EACH OTHER?? This would never EVER happen between women. EVER. I almost did a spit take!!!

Moving on.
The Crossfit games are going right now. Which means all the crossfit gyms do the same workout on weekends. We all compare our scores.  There are super athletes who rack up the numbers and there is me. I'm NOT last but more middle of the pack. Mid to lower give or take.
The problem is, the work outs are secret until Thursdays. Which goes against everything I am. Which is a type a planner obsesser type. Because seriously,

We're still kicking ass though. And I"m doing almost better than Mr. Hall. Which I celebrate by prancing around the house announcing he got beat by a girl.

Awesome stuff indeed!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Waking the dead lift

Went out to lunch with friends the other day. I couldn't stop talking about crossfit or the crossfit games currently going on. Then I realized I COULDN'T STOP TALKING ABOUT CROSSFIT AND THE GAMES. I had to forcibly shut myself up because seriously. I am a learned, cultured woman. Sure, my brain doesn't work what with the five kids. And I'm running out of walking dead material, but still. I should have more to talk about.

Then I apologized.

And my new mommie friend said, "At least you HAVE something to talk about!"

So, ya'll can expect a bunch of crossfit related posts. Enjoy!

Tonight, at crossfit, we did an AMRAP or As many rounds as possible in X amount of time. Rounds of what you say? Rounds of hard, grunty work. Like 11 pull ups, 2 dead lifts and 10 push ups. Then repeat these things until 10 minutes is up.

I was slow tonight. Well, not slow, but intentional. I took my time. I felt no need to chase the highest score. And, the dead lifts are no effing joke. That stuff can hurt you if you don't focus on form. It looks easy but nope....

Also, the pull ups . . . dear LORD. There just comes a point where I can't get more out of me. There's a point in the work out when I'm done. But I look at the clock and it says YOU STILL HAVE 3 MINUTES LEFT and YOU CAN'T JUST SIT THERE.

In end, after a grunty 10 minutes, I did 55 pull ups, 10 dead lifts and 47 push ups. To be clear, it was 55 pull ups with a band, 10 dead lifts and 47 push ups on the knees.

I'm not a total badass yet.

But I'm getting there.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Four seeds and counting

I look back and see the seeds of revolution.

Some 14 years ago, I was looking through my parents' wedding photos. The photo above is not them, but, close enough. All decked out in 1950's wear. My dad with a 28 inch waist and my barbie doll mom.  She had a Jackie O pill box hat.

I remarked to my friend Sarah, "Hmm... I guess when you get older you just get big." I said this because my mom and dad, 30 years later, are big. Like 300 lbs big.  

"It WON'T happen to me!", she declared. Her confidence befuddled me. Sarah is a marathon runner and I was not like her.  Not yet.

It was the first time I questioned the inevitability of getting fat. Was there another choice? Did I have a choice about this? I didn't know yet.
But, the first seed was planted.
Enter the ultramarathon man

8 years ago, I read that book up there.  It was fascinating and fun stuff. Surprisingly, Dean Karnazes is just a man. Who runs. A lot.  Running isn't that hard he explains, it's the mental battle.

The idea of a  'the mental game' was new to me.  Could I  push past comfort and survive? I didn't know.

I still read this book every so often. It is my all time favorite memoir. And I've read thousands.

Working the mental game.

Two seeds now.

Enter bikram yoga 

Around the same 8 years ago, I sought  professional help. There were demons in need of mining. The counselor put me on a program of weight watchers and yoga. For the next nine months, demons flew out at a furious pace. The wind nearly knocked me over.

Once I stopped waging war with my body, I needed to deal with things like a grown up. It was so tough.

It was nine months of hot, sweaty bikram yoga. Buckets and buckets of pain being poured out. Tears came and I let them. Everything that had been done to my body, from age 13, was leaving. On that mat, in that still space, I pushed out mountains of pain. I told Mr. Hall all these horrible things I had never said out loud before. It was so hard.

Yet I wheeled, downward dogged and revolved triangle. I let it all come and let it all go. My body started to feel like home. 

More bikram, more sweaty, more tears and more counting. I bought smaller jeans and marveled at my figure. The pain was gone. I felt amazingly, truly beautiful. Mr. Hall came and partner posed along side me.

Tears and sweat are the healing waters.

Three seeds now.

The next seed begins a year and half ago. My third son was born, making me a mom of five. We have three of our own and two foster kids. My goal was NOT to be the fat mom. Every time I tell people about my family, I want them to see a healthy mom. Something to aspire to so they can be inspired to be like me. And then, more kids will be helped.

So--back to weight watchers I went. I lost 55 lbs and was very happy. Emotionally, it was so much easier. I was ready for the unsteady and now it's ok. I didn't need to see a counselor.

Around this time, a man name Josh walked in with crossfit. Hearing the call of something, I went for a look see. Now, I am smart woman, boardering on genius. (muwhaa haa haa) . This is part of my problem, being a mensa member.

The problem with smart people is the thinking. The living in the head. Like most bloggers, I have a rich interior life. How else would I be able to write these many paragraphs?

Too much living in the head makes the body grow still. Pockets of crazy develop. Left unemptied, they become hard and block the movement of crazy. Make no mistake, I am crazy.

Did I mention the part about my 5 kids? Or my job as a full time mental health nurse practitioner  where I tend to war veterans?  Did I mention that sometimes I feel so blessed I can't breathe? That I feel God's love so much it makes me mute?

 I need to be strong enough to withstand the blessings in my life.

Which brings me to this morning.  To the kettle bell swings that did me in. I started things with a lighter weight I could swing all day. But that's not going to make me stronger. I was given a heavier bell. A simple increase of four pounds winded me. Which is humbling. Huffing and puffing and not being a big shot is humbling. It pops the pockets of crazy like no other.

When it was done I just laid there. Letting the crazy burst and sink into the floor. Just like I use to do in bikram yoga. When I was done, Mr. Hall reached out his hand and helped me up.

It was a good morning indeed.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  The original sweedish version is on hulu plus. SWWEEEEEDDDISSSHHHH.

Takes about six hours. I doubt I'll watch the american version. I've had plenty enough thank you.

So how was it you ask? Well, I watched all six hours and didn't pause in the middle to go to wikipedia.  THAT SAYS A LOT PEOPLE. I'm all about the spoilers. I'm all about reading instead of watching.

I have five kids and no attention span. Reading through the movie takes much less time than watching. And less effort too. Yet, The Girl trilogy managed to catch me.

It is worth the effort. However, there is a LOT of violence against the woman up there. Who is by no means is a girl. Late 20's. It's hard watching sometimes. I fast forwarded through chunks. I found the lesbian sex scene dumb by the way. Not honest or earnest. The naughty scenes in the first film are earnest. No naughty scenes in the third. Just an FYI there for ya.

Some parents gently rock their babies to sleep. Our babies sit on Mr. Hall's lap as he rocks out to Rammstein. This music is German, industrial and loud. They have a axe to grind with America and capitalism. They also like fire and dressing in costumes. Du Hast, Mein Land and Kiene Lust are interesting videos. Not exactly safe for work NOR safe for kids. They have other videos I can't mention because they aren't safe for me!
I find it slightly ironic. Go ahead and get a mohawk. Get down with your facial piercings and scowly badself. PUNK NOT DEAD and all. But, it's just another system of beliefs  that's sold to you. Being a rebel is just another word for conforming elsewhere. So go ahead you crazy Rammsteins, shine on you ANGRY GERMAN DIAMONDS!!
Babies don't know this though. They just like being on Daddy's lap all bouncey bounce! With loud German industrial music ripping through the speakers. They bounce, they tire, they lay their head down and pass the heck out. Best system ever.

 There is a puddle of drool under his cheek.


AND NOW . . .

my thoughts on The Walking Dead

I think I've broken up with The Walking Dead. I don't read spoilers or chase new episodes. I used to love it now.... Nothing. I think it was the pigs. That episode with the pigs just friggin killed me.

And then the last one. With the toddler size baby who almost was killed by the kid. That is just not acceptable. Even in jest. I realize it's a dark, cruel world but enough. I think I've had enough.

All that surviving is wearing me down.

Time to find a new show. Something that doesn't have the color pallette of BLACK/GRAY/EAT 112 OZ OF PUDDING/GERMAN ANGRY!!!!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oh Christmas tree, fake Christmas tree . . . .

When Mr. Hall and I started dating, we bought a used Christmas tree. It was ugly and full of webs. We vacummed and loved it. Our first Christmas tree. Some 14 years ago. (aww!!)

Several moves later I got a hankering for a real tree. Mr. Hall as having none of it. "We have a tree. When we've put it up more times then the of number times I've moved it--then we'll get a real one!"

The magic number was four by the way. The tree needed to be up four times before we could get a real tree. I don't think we waited that long though. We bought a real tree this year. It was a great adventure--taking all the kids out and hunting for a real tree.

There is something about my husband that wants to see things through. That once he puts effort in, he'll hold tight and settle in. He has endurance.

I've seen these traits while hunting for a new house. I've seen it with the Christmas tree. I see it now with our foster kids.

We just took 30 hours of foster parent training and boy are my arms tired! Wait! That's not the right joke! We did take 30 hours of foster parent training though. And that is a lot!!!!

The moms of our 2 foster kids are falling the frick apart. Despite many opportunities, services and lots of things handed to them--they aren't doing well. It comes down to their stupid choices. And I'm in no mood to be non-judgemental right now, God forgive me.

But, just like everything else in fosterhood, the next steps take time. People ask, "Why don't you just adopt the kids?" It is not that simple. The moms still have chances. And if the moms are out of chances, the foster kid's family gets asked to adopt first.

Which irritates me. If the other family members were able take care of them, then what the hell have we been doing this past year? This past year (and plus some) we've been tying shoes, making meals, cleaning clothes, wiping noses, reading school reports, addressing behaviors and being mom and dad.

I say to Mr. Hall, "We've put in all this work and now we don't get the reward!"

He says, "The reward is not more kids! The reward is a vacation in the Florida Keys. COSTA RICA MAYBE!! We need a vacation! Which we can't take until we hand these kids back to their moms!"

Which makes sense. The weight of caring for five children is a lot. We are sleep deprived and needy for each other.

But yet... my selfishness. It grows. The need for these kids outweighs my intellect. My knowing family is best for these kids. It doesn't stop my heart from breaking. So sad. So sad.

I say this to Mr. Hall, wanting to adopt these kids. He says, "I want to be a foster parent longer then it took to take those dang classes!"

Just like the Christmas tree . . . :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Dream Exchange

In my dream. Last night.

(background about me--I'm a mental health professional who works with addicts daily. Alcohol addiction is the most common of all addictions.)

I opened my office door to let my patient in. Scores of family members began to walk in, in lines of two by two. I yelped to get their attention. "If you are his wife or daughters, you can stay, the rest need to stay outside." The crowd reversed itself. Approximately six women remained. But, no patient.

He was still in the hospital, detoxing from alcohol. I was to order a urine drug screen and talk with the patient about alcohol treatment. Via skype. On a cell phone the size of a T-81 calculator.


The patient appeared in the screen. Flanked by two more daughters. I asked him if he felt he had a problem with alcohol. Because being in a hospital bed, detoxing from alcohol, this is not enough evidence for some people that THEY HAVE A PROBLEM. Neither is 6 DUIs or having lost marriages, homes and custody of children. Denial is huge with addiction.

So is having an attitude.

Which my dream patient had in spades. He said, "there are lots of reasons my drug screen could have come up positive for alcohol." And the family grew restless with me. All manner of six women and two on the screen murmurred that I wasn't fixing him. That I wasn't taking care of it.

I gingerly threw the cell phone against the wall. It gently broke. The women left in a huff. I followed them and found many more family members in the waiting room. Children even. Enough family members and assorted children to fill a big yellow bus. All leaving in a huff.


During this dream I could have busted out my therapuetic communication techniques. I could have therapuetically aligned myself with all of them but I'm not going to. At least in the dream.

Anyone working with addicts knows it can wear you down. Especially if their pathology is locked in the family dynamic. Enablers help addicts stay sick. Families often look to mental health professionals to fix their addicted love one. They forget that the problem and the solution begin WITH THE ADDICT. And when we don't fix them they get on a bus, in a huff, and leave.

I'm very tired and in much need of a vacation. This is what this dream means. I don't see a vacation anytime soon though.

SO--i'll increase my time off. Increase my crossfit. Increase my yoga. Increase my bible study. And relax because I have 25 more years until I retire and will wait for awesome until then. And awesome does happen, it really does.


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