Relief. Anxiety. Relief.

I will start with the best text message conversation I never wanted to have:

The major players are me [B] and Jake [J]

5:22 - B: Come home and get the car if you want to. It's frigid outside.
5:23 - B: Um, I meant to send the car thing like 30 minutes ago.

5:47 - J: Seriously almost got run over. Fell off the scoot and everything. Lady at OCU was backing out of the Blackwelder spots right as I was driving behind her. I'm okay, but my glove and jacket broke my fall. She was freaked though.
5:48 - J: Scoot's okay too.

5:49 - B: Did she hit you or Scoot or did you fall over and out of her way?
5:49 - B: (I'm glad I'm on anxiety meds.)

5:50 - J: I fell to avoid her. She was backing out fast.

5:51 - B: Holy smokes. Are you at the church now?

5:52 - J: Yep. Just a few scrapes. Are you going to mutual tonight?
5:53 - J: My battery is out. See ya around 9.

5:54 - B: No. We're home tonight.

It has finally happened. Jake gets to work on our scooter every day (Our scooter's name is Scoot). He has a one mile commute - no bigs. I'm glad it happened where it did, and not on Classen where him falling over could have meant falling into another lane of traffic. And I wish my text would have gone through because then it would have meant him going a different way towards home to get the car instead of down Blackwelder toward the church. 9 is approaching. The peroxide and Neosporin will be waiting for him.

I went to the doctor yesterday to discuss the anxiety attacks I've been having. I'm so glad a friend referred me to this doctor because she was wonderful. I'm still waiting to hear the results from the blood work, but I started an anxiety medication that should help sort things out in 3-6 months. I've spent the last few months hoping that my herbal remedy [that was a dream in the beginning] would keep on keeping on. I like to treat everything I can naturally. I've noticed an improvement in just one day - my heart has stopped racing. It's been a while since the most random things wouldn't set it off on its fast pace. This is a huge relief. My mind feels at ease. There are some definite cons present so far as well. I went to bed at 9, fell asleep around 10, woke at 11, fell back to sleep around 2, woke up at 3, fell back to sleep at 5, and woke up for the day at 6. 3 hours of interrupted sleep. The sleep thing coupled with nausea hasn't been fun. I took my pill this morning in hopes that it would help with sleep tonight. I need it. I've had a migraine today because of the lack of sleep. One of the side effects listed is excessive yawning, which totally made me laugh. It's like a side effect of the side effect of loss of sleep.

I'm going to spent the next 3-6 months getting to a place I really want to be physically and mentally. I haven't been running much lately, but I'm running a 10k in the Memorial Marathon relay at the end of April. This is the perfect time to get training with a purpose. I also haven't been practicing yoga. Intense physical activity and the calm that yoga brings me are HUGE, and I know I've been neglecting them. Over the weekend, I made a list of things that make me feel anxious. I'm going to continue to concentrate on these things and change what I can and change my way of thinking/approach to the things I can't change. I'm "writing it out." There are some things that I just need to get out. It's amazing what that can do. The last (but not least) thing I'm going to focus on is my diet. I really only want to be eating the best things. I've been concentrating on this for Lent, but not not practicing it perfectly. I'm hoping the side effects will be short lived because I feel like I'm running at about a 51%-49% ratio on the pros and cons. A calm mind and heart - incredible. A completely worn out body that doesn't really care for any food and has a headache - not cool. I'm grateful for what's working so quickly and praying for what isn't - mostly sleep.

On the Farm. At the Opera. On my Feet.

Yesterday we had a family birthday party for Cora, Vaughn (Jake's dad), and Becky (Jake's aunt). It was held at Jake's grandparents' farm in southeastern Oklahoma. It was such a good day. The weather was a little cold, but nice in the sun, and that's where we spent a lot of time. Peepaw (Jake's grandpa) has about 15 calves that were just delivered. We spent time oohing and awing over them. I think little baby anythings are sweet, except for maybe baby spiders and snakes. We spent our time with the calves watching where we were walking, if you know what I mean. A few steps out of the pen, I stepped in on something squishy. And a little crunchy. I was certain it was poop, but it wasn't. When I looked back, I saw that I'd stepped on a dead mouse. A DEAD MOUSE! Not poop. Squishy dead mouse insides and crunchy little bones. I screamed a little and "ulched" a lot. Peepaw had found the mouse dead in a water trough that morning and threw it out where I would find it later that afternoon.

While we were sitting around, we saw that a calf out in the field was on the wrong side of the fence. About the time we all saw it, a big black cow went running across the field toward the calf. I went with Peepaw to let the calf back into the pasture. The mama and baby cow were mooing to one another, and as soon as the calf got back on the right side of the fence, it ran over to its mother to eat. It was sweet. And I'm so sentimental/sensitive that I felt sad for the other calves that had just been delivered - that they could't hear or see their mothers mooing for them on the other side of the fence nor run up to them for a comfort feed. If there's something about babies, there's something even more about babies and mamas.

The girls stayed the night with Vaughn and Tracey, and Jake and I came home to see The Barber of Seville. It was wonderful, even if it was almost 10 when we were going into intermission. That Rossini - brevity wasn't really his thing. Let it be known that David Herendeen is an amazing director. For a show [an opera!] that lasted that long with the longest scenes ever, there wasn't a moment where I wasn't caught up in the singing and the story. Props to everyone involved in the production.

While at the opera, I was thinking about my shoes. I wear shoes until they shouldn't be worn anymore - maybe a little longer. Like until there are holes in the soles. My current favorite pair of shoes are green velvety flats with an ankle strap. I got them at Ross almost five years ago. It took three visits before I bought them. The last time I went back, I went in knowing that if the shoes were still there, they were going home with me. They were there, and marked down. I think they were 8.99, and I for real don't know how they lasted at Ross for like two weeks.

Yes I do, we were meant for each other.

They were an occasional player in my wardrobe until several months ago. Now I wear them almost every day. Running errands, to church, through rainy streets in Chicago, on the farm [stepping on little mouse carcasses], to operas. They're holding up quite well, though fading a bit around the toes, and the insides are quite worn where the balls and heels of my feet rub. The soles are still intact. I think they have a good year left in them. I was lamenting the thought of the day I could no longer wear them, so I looked up the brand - Seychelles - in hopes of having a replacement in mind. I was happy to see some cute flats with ankle straps, and I hope that every season they offer something similar. And I was happy even almost five years later that I paid $9 for my pair because they are really ten times as expensive. But now I know they're worth it. I like Freesia in nude and navy, and I like Model Citizen in stone and whiskey.

Since I don't know the official style or color name, I'll just call them My Faves:

Winter. Time. And in other news...

Winter in Oklahoma decided to show up when I was really hoping for Spring. I think it's definitely a pattern now that it has snowed the week of Cora's birthday for the last three winters. Over night we got something like two inches of sleet in one hour, so just about everything was shut down today. Our first snow day of the season - at the end of February.

I enjoyed our snow day. Jake wasn't completely off the hook. OCU opened at 9:30, but we was gone by 8:30. I got a text from my aunt before 7AM that my cousin Katelynn had delivered her first child. A sweet little babe named Danielle. I made strawberry scones for breakfast in honor of her arrival (the recipe is for marionberry lavender scones, but I skipped the lavender and used strawberries instead - they were the best scones I've ever had). I also made a chocolate cake for dinner dessert just because, though my girls were sure it was for some sort of celebration.

There is a hole in my heart where Katelynn is concerned. She was the cousin I saw most growing up. I spent summer vacations with them, I lived with them for a while before I got married. We shared a room when we were post high school girls figuring out life and in-love with the men who would become our husbands. This is the hole in my heart part: I haven't seen her since my wedding. 

Over nine years. 

If anyone would have told me I wouldn't see her for that long the last time I saw her,  I wouldn't have been able to contain my laughter. I don't know how time has slipped by like this. There's a family shower planned for her on March 9th. Jake was asked to be a rehearsal accompanist today for a show that OCU is doing in April, and while there's no way it would work out, I was almost crazy enough to make him a deal that if he did it, I would be in Sacramento for a shower in a few weeks. And crazy it is because he would be gone from 7AM-10PM (a little before and a little after) for six weeks. And crazy because he already has 20 known conflicting events he needs to be at that he would have to have a sub fill in for him at the rehearsals. So he probably won't be home from 7AM-10PM for the next six weeks away, but I thought it might just be my ticket. 

And in other news: I've been having anxiety attacks. I had my first about a year ago. It was a series over the course of a few weeks. I was finally beside myself, researching everything I could. St. John's Wort seemed promising, and I'd mentioned my all over the place-ness to a friend, and she said that St. John's Wort had helped her. I went to Whole Foods the next day and bought the big bottle of the herbal supplement, and the difference was amazing. But my trusty herbal friend isn't quite cutting it anymore. When this all first began, Magnolia had just stopped breastfeeding. I'd also broken my foot, so I wasn't running/exercising and getting all of my happy endorphins. I'm to the point where I'm quite certain there is an underlying medical condition. Since I stopped breastfeeding, I've been getting ovarian cysts. Before all of this, I'd had one ovarian cyst. We were staying with Jake's parents before we moved to Chicago, and one night I was having trouble sleeping because of a pain in my abdomen, so I went to the bathroom to get some ibuprofen. One second I was standing there about to get a drink at the sink and the next I was on the floor. I passed out long enough to fall over, but I remember the sound of my head hitting the door on my way down. Thankfully that sound also woke Jake up, which is rare as he is a really heavy sleeper. (When I was little, I thought the name Jacob was 'Jakeup' and it was so funny to me.) 

I don't have a primary care physician (I haven't really needed one), so in asking a friend who is also a therapist for advice on where to start with the whole anxiety attack thing, she graciously recommended her own PCP. I made an appointment with her, but it wasn't until March 15th. I called another recommended physician, and got an appointment for March 12th. I was very happy to get a message on my phone this afternoon that there was a cancellation with the March 15th doctor and I can get in to see her on Tuesday. The timeline feels like such a relief. Anxiety attacks are so scary. I haven't fingered out what has been triggering this new round. Last year, I could feel the stress, even if I knew my reaction to the stress was irrational. The four I've had recently have come completely out of nowhere. They've happened on good days. The first one I had, I felt like something hit me, and a few hours later, long after the peak, I could feel the awful heaviness just leave as quickly as it came. It's taking a huge toll on me, and I can also see it affecting my girls, which is the worst feeling ever. Thankfully I know that we have a very established bond of love between us. They know I love them, I know they love me, even if I have to spend time during our days trying to keep myself from breaking down, or putting myself back together if I do. 

I had to tell the sweet family of the baby I've been watching that I just can't do it. I obviously need to concentrate on figuring out what's going on, and even though Baby E is super easy, having an extra someone has made for an extended adjustment for my girls (namely a very clingy Magnolia). I'm watching her through the end of the month, which is the end of next week. If you know anyone or are that someone who can watch the most content little newborn through the end of the school year, let me know. 

I can't wait to get to the bottom of this. I still feel like me almost all of the time, but there is definite stress that comes from wondering when another attack will come. And that, along with recovering from the attacks, is physically and emotionally exhausting.

Dear Kristin Welch

I'm writing a letter a day for Lent, but rather than a handwritten letter, I feel like writing you here.

Visiting with you was one of the highlights of my latest visit to Arizona. Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and my evening with you added to that. I loved being part the end of a busy day with your family that is twice as big as when you moved away from Oklahoma. When I think about how you have six children, nothing seems too out of the ordinary, but when I was thinking about you last night, I thought, "Kristin is the mother of one son and five daughters." That was a WHOA moment. You have five daughters. I don't know why this perspective is so different, but it is, and it's important to me.

Back when Kailey and Abigail were your only two, you said something about how people always asked if you were going to try for a boy, or if you really wanted a boy next. I loved your answer that it didn't matter, and that you loved your little family of girls. I loved that your third baby was a girl too. I was also happy to meet Cameron when I was there: "He does exist!" I'm happy that five young girls have a wonderful mother to look up to. You are so smart and loving. I've always enjoyed watching you with your children. You were an example to me of the kind of mother I wanted to be.

I've had these daydreams about moving right around the corner from you in Mesa. Cora and Magnolia would be best friends with Jessica and Megandee. And you and I would find random moments throughout our busy days to visit, and eat oranges. I know you've been back around the orchards for a while now, but I miss walking up to a tree and pulling some fresh citrus off. [And maybe someday Cora or Magnolia would marry Cameron, and we would share grandbabies, and we'd never get upset over where our children were spending the holidays, living right around the corner and all. ;)]

I shared with you that one of my friends (and fellow ward members) lives right across the street from your old house. And just yesterday, I went visiting teaching at another family's house in your old neighborhood. I always take the long way to their house just so I can drive by yours. Sometimes I feel like walking up to your old door and knocking on it, like the house will magically turn into a time machine, and when the door opens, you'd be smiling on the other side.

For now, I really appreciate that you have been part of my Oklahoma life, and that your homeland is my homeland. You exist in two of my favorite places, and I'm certain that seals a forever friendship between us, even if the time between visits equals years.

I love you.

My Girl turned 5

I felt a little like this when she turned one. My little baby, a whole year under her belt. The week leading up to that milestone found me an emotional wreck. I was a puddle of myself. And now she's five. Way beyond baby. No longer a toddler. I am the mother of a five-year-old. This is elating and a little heart-wrenching. I'm about to cry right here while typing this. 

She's beautiful and amazing and smart and funny. I love that she is always paying attention. She's an observer. A girl after my own heart. She's quirky and always has a story to tell, a song to sing, a dance to perform. She loves to make rhymes. Words are fascinating to her - the way they flow together. 

For her birthday we enrolled her in a dance class for the semester. Her Gram and Offey got her the gear. Today was her second lesson, and she was working so hard. [I need to teach her how to skip.] In the last week or so, she has learned how to keep going on a swing. It helps that she now has a swing set in the backyard. She surprises me almost daily with something new she's learned. And I love that she loves to tell me or show me what's new in her world.

Her party was sweet. We had ten kids, including her and Magnolia, in our little Dot, and it was so much fun. They went on a little treasure hunt around our house to collect the four parts needed to make their Magic Rainbow Wands. I would give them a clues, and they would run off in one little clump from place to place trying to find an item in the particular place I was hinting towards. It was pretty comical. One of my clues was really straight forward because I hadn't come up with a clever riddle: "The next part is under the black desk in the dining room and you need to pull the colorful string to get it out." Where did they go? They ran right by the black desk in the dining room to Cora's room. Here they are sitting down to make their wands.

We had rainbow cupcakes. The whole party was a sort of rainbow theme. Cora really loves rainbows and unicorns and fairies (and mermaids and princesses and all of the most girliest of girlie things). And Dora the Explorer. Rather than having a character themed party, we had an explorer theme - hence the treasure hunt. Treasure, rainbows, get it? We got my parents' gift for Cora in the mail three days before her party. We opened it while skyping with them, and I was happy to see a new rainbow shirt. Cora was spotlighted in primary for her birthday, and when I asked her what her favorite color was (it usually goes back and forth between pink and purple) she replied, "All the bright colors." This shirt is perfect.

I don't know at what age children outgrow this, but I love how they all love handing their own present to the birthday girl. I did notice that this year they didn't announce what was inside before it was opened, which was the case when she turned four.

I love these sweet little kid parties. I know that it would be about ten million times easier on me to outsource some of the preparation, and even the location, but there's something so lovely about a special handmade event happening in our home. This will be a fun memory. 

Here's a link to How Cora Got Here. And I feel like I know enough new people and have a broad enough audience to explain that the posts just prior to her birth story will be beneficial to understanding some parts of the HCGH post. A quick summation: I went into labor with her at 32 week. They weren't able to stop the labor, but Cora was 1/2 Frank 1/2 footling breech. (One leg was running parallel to her body, the other was tucked underneath her.) She was wedged in my pelvis, so I was dilating very slowly because there was little pressure on my cervix. The time between finding out I was in labor and actually having her was a really strange waiting game. We knew she would need to come via c-section, but knowing the right time to deliver a premature baby who was wedged while her mother's body was doing its best to birth her all came down to how long my body could tolerate being in labor. Three weeks was the answer. And just incase you were wondering, my longest contraction during that time lasted for 7 minutes. I wish I had the print out (I was being monitored when it happened) because I think it might be a record.


I've yet to take part in a full Lenten season, but this is my year. Last year I was going to give up facebook, but instead I wanted to exhibit more self-control without deactivating my account. It worked for the most part, but this year I'm going all the way. Starting on Ash Wednesday, I will deactivate my account. But Lent isn't just about giving things up, it's about improving oneself. I'm going to write a handwritten letter to someone everyday through Easter. I think we were all just as connected before facebook, but it was in a much more personal way. I'm still going to be blogging, so if you find my little spot on the web through facebook, know that you can find it other ways, too.

I also wanted to be very connected to the traditional practice of Lent, which, in some cases, meant abstaining from meat, eggs and dairy. And in Eastern Christianity, it's still common to only eat vegan meals for the duration of Lent. Since my every day diet is a vegan one, I've decided to give up all processed foods. This is hard. Really hard. And I'm not sure if I'm going to make an exception for Cora's birthday party yet. I think it would be weird not to partake of a celebratory cupcake. I guess I will see what I feel led to do. And what if the sacrament (communion) bread is white bread? ;) I don't eat a lot of processed foods anyway, but I've been depending on them for their convenience more than usual lately.

To conclue my experience with Lent, I want to participate in the Seven Churches Visitation on Maundy Thursday, however, it might be nice if I could spread it out throughout Holy Week. This is actually a really dreamy aspect to me. I love visiting other churches. If your church participates in this practice on more than just Maundy Thursday, or if you love your church and think I would love stopping in briefly, let me know. You can tell me through a comment here or you can send me a message on facebook if you do it before the end of tomorrow (Tuesday).

I'm really excited and slightly daunted at the task before me, but it's supposed to be that way, right? Things that are daunting are often the most humbling. And rewarding. I'll be attending the Ash Wednesday service at Church of the Open Arms if anyone would like to join me.

Brahms and Breakfast and Babies

Jake has been rehearsing a lot with a horn trio over the last month. The trio, Trio Riccio, performed last night, and it was incredible! My high review is a miracle really. There are two things about classical music that I haven't developed a real sense of appreciation for: 1. the Horn. 2. Brahms.

While Jake was rehearsing, I knew the time would come where I would have to sit through both. What a pleasure it ended up being. My world was rocked. First, props to Kate Pritchett. Ne'er  once did I hear a bellow-y animal in distress sound coming from her horn. Just lovely rich, warm, air filling sounds. You have single-handedly changed my opinion of your instrument. And now Brahms. They played Trio, op. 40. I feel like his pieces get stuck. Much of a piece is really beautiful, but it doesn't go anywhere. I didn't feel that this time. The third movement was so emotional. I feel like the violin starts out singing a lullaby, and then this heartbreaking longing is born out of it. So moving. My eyes are welling up just thinking about it.
[Photo by Michael Anderson]

I also really loved Lennox Berkeley's Trio, op. 44. There were so many variations, I lost track of where we were, but one of them was one of my favorite things I've heard in a while. It was just brimming with the feel of the time in which it was written, but it also had a timeless feel. I was completely caught up. I'm going to make Jake play through all of the variations so I can designate the one I loved so much, and I will listen to it over and over again.
[Photo by Michael Anderson]

Do you have a favorite breakfast? For a long time, I ate toast with peanut butter honey or agave with bananas on top. Lately (for the last few months), I've been hooked on a cold cereal concoction inspired by Rip Esselstyn's Big Bowl. Mine always includes old fashioned oats, a teensy bit of Grape-Nuts, Uncle Sam's Original Cereal, Vanilla toffee almond, a sliced up banana, almond milk, and a drizzling of honey. It's so good. I can't imagine ever getting tired of it. Jake's favorite version is LOADED with fruit. Tons of it. Like his fruit addiction was adding almost $60 to our monthly grocery bill. I've reigned him in a bit.

And onto babies: This is our third day taking care of a sweet little baby. She is seven weeks old today. She is currently snoozing and Magnolia is hanging out in her swing. She came to her parents just before Christmas, and it is the most amazing adoption story you will ever hear. I'm not going to share it here, but wow. Miracles happen every day. Her mom is a teacher, so we're watching her through the end of the school year. I'm happy to have her. The first two days, she was hungry right when we needed to leave for school to either drop Cora off or pick her up. Cora was late yesterday! My only hesitation in watching her was how having another little body might disrupt our family's schedule, but aside from the   mealtime thing, it has been great. And our schools breaks match up with her mom's, so we're all good there. She's a blessing to me right now because she's sort of curbing this monster baby desire that hits me sometimes without warning. (I wish I could always blame it on ovulation.) I get to love on a new baby, and I don't have sleep deprivation, I'm not 30 pounds overweight, I didn't just have a comically complicated pregnancy, and I'm not sick (I got sick right after I had both of my babies). It's glorious. But really, the sleep thing is the best part. I've even been to the grocery store twice. Yesterday was with all three girls. I got special treatment when they opened up a new line. I wasn't next, but everyone else who was gave us the green light to go ahead of them. Someone is stirring next to me. I'm off to prepare a meal. ;)


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