Friday, May 27, 2011

will i be potty training forever?

Potty training.  I have not been looking forward to this task of parenting.  In talking to friends who had kids before me, I would hear the sighs…the groans…the utter frustration.  Many parents got so desperate they just let Junior wander around pants-less, which to my germophobe mind sounds rather disgusting. Imagine the surprises Junior could leave, say, behind a chair.  If I wanted the opportunity to put my foot down into a pile of poo, I would get a cat, or a dog. 

But, who knows, maybe I will get that desperate too.

I have worked through a lot of my worries about potty training.  I still find it extremely difficult to figure out how to travel while potty training and I do get thrown off from my attempts if the routine changes.  But I’m getting a little more ok with the whole idea, a little more ready to be done with diapers.

But Burrito is showing so little interest in the potty that I begin to have self-doubt.  Have I talked about it too little?  Too much?  Have I failed to motivate her?  I’m trying, now, I really am.  We tried the sticker chart.  Yeah.  In a week and a half, she earned a combined total of zero stickers.  And she loves stickers.

Every time I bring up the potty, she almost without fail says, “NO!  No use potty!”  And when I do insist and have her sit there, she simply can’t (or won’t?) go.  I did manage to get her to go ONCE last week for the reward of a chocolate chip, but it hasn’t worked since.

I feel like I did when I was pregnant with Burrito, when I thought, “I’m gonna be pregnant forever!”  In this case, “She’s gonna be in diapers forever!”  She just isn’t interested and I feel like by trying to force it, I’m making her less interested.  But if I don’t try to force her, won’t she be going to prom in diapers?  Which will be like seriously embarrassing! 

It’s amazing how whatever stage of life we are in, it is so easy to be tempted to see it as lasting forever.  But if I had a penny for every time an older parent told me, “It goes so fast,” I would be a wealthy woman indeed.  I heard the perfect quote about parenting young children recently, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  That’s why I have made a concerted effort from the beginning to remind myself that I will long for these little kid days later.  I have made an effort to remind myself of this on the most frustrating days.  When baby wouldn’t go to sleep.  When toddler wouldn’t use the potty.  When she wanted to whine about everything under the sun. 

I may be frustrated about potty training (along with every other parent of a toddler on earth), but maybe this frustrating time is a time to slow down and savor these last moments of babyhood with her.  Parenthood is a process of your little one becoming bigger and growing farther and farther away from you.  That letting go is sad and tough at every stage.  I get eighteen years to raise her.  Eighteen years to hold her close and train her in the way she should go.  Eighteen years.  Funny, before I had kids, it sounded like FOREVER.  Now it sounds like the blink of an eye.

I can potty train a little longer.  Yes, I can do that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

guest post by christopher: from 331 to 231 pounds

In honor of my husband reaching his long worked-for goal of losing 100 pounds comes this post in which he writes about the tremendous journey he has been on.  I couldn't be more proud of him. If you're facing obstacles and an uphill battle, Christopher is proof that you can do it.

In May of 2005, I married the love of my life. However, the previous years of loneliness and self-loathing had taken their toll. On my wedding day, I weighed 331 pounds, my heaviest to that point. My wife is a beautiful, slender woman, and I never thought I could find someone like that to love me at that size. But she did. And I wanted to change. I wanted to change for myself, but I had never done it for myself in the past. I realized that I needed someone else to change for, and I had one of those people now.

I say “one of them” because I still needed one good kick. I was on my internship in Glenville, MN when I got married, and the congregation was trying to raise funds for their youth going to the National Youth Gathering in San Antonio. I was trying to figure out a way that I could be a part of that. One day, the idea struck me: take pledges per pound lost over the summer. I wrestled with the idea for a couple of weeks, and with Rebecca’s encouragement, I decided to take a chance. At the end of that summer, I had raised $600 for the youth, and dropped my first 22 lbs.

We then moved to Rockford, IL, for her internship. Rockford sort of became a “lost year”, because of my eating habits those days. However, I did find something there that has helped me ever since: the 5K. I was walking one day along the Rock River, on a multi-use path, and I noticed that they had distances marked in the pavement. I was trying to get back on track with my weight loss, and I thought that doing a 5K, which are usually run for charity, would help me with my “do it for others” motivation. I ran my first 5K in Janesville, WI on August 5, 2006. I was sucking wind at the end, but I finished in 38:40, proving that I did run at least some of it. When we moved back to seminary, I was still around 300 lbs.

At seminary, I tried to get to the gym to run three times per week, and we had a huge hill to walk up to get to class. We bought a new scale just before the new year, and all of a sudden, it said I was 286. I wasn’t even trying! So, of course, I had to start trying. I did a number of 5Ks that year, and tried to get to the gym as much as possible. On graduation day, May 2007, I weighed 266 lbs, 65 lbs below my wedding day.

Moving to North Dakota was tough. I put about 15 lbs back on in the first few months there. Then I got my treadmill. I was able to work out without leaving the house, and it saved me a whole lot of time. I could “shoehorn” workouts into my day, and I started dropping again, reaching 247 lbs when everything changed again: Grace was born.

Caring for an infant takes a lot of time away from caring for yourself, unfortunately. I crept back upward again, reaching 264 in January 2010. It took me a while to get back into a routine where I could run consistently, because when I ran, my eating habits were better too. I tried early morning. I tried later at night. However, it just kept shifting on me. I kept going down, though. I eventually reached 236 in mid-April 2010. I wanted to hit 100 lost then, but then various stressors conspired against me. Grace needed more attention, my wife lost her father, my wife’s job was threatened, and there was no peace in our work. By the time we left North Dakota to move to Montana, I was back up to 253.

When we got here, I resolved that I was going to find a way to stick to my routine. I talked it over with Rebecca, and I decided that I would work it into my day. I would be in the office from 8-11, come home to run and have lunch (and stop sweating), and then head back to the office at 1. It has worked tremendously well. I have still had some bad days (and weeks) with the eating, but I try to keep myself at 1700 calories per day, which gives me plenty of energy while still putting me at a calorie deficit on the days I don’t run. Just before my birthday, I realized that I was again within striking distance of losing 100. This time, I committed myself to it. I’ve already run 2 5Ks this year to keep me motivated, and I publicized my goal with some of my congregation members, who have been asking me how things were going. When I got on that scale this morning, and saw the 231 I’ve been waiting for, I was immensely proud. I know how hard I’ve worked, and to see the results under my feet is very satisfying.

I’ve still got some work to do. According to the BMI tables, in 10 more pounds, I will no longer be “obese”, just “overweight”. To get into the “normal” range, I’ve got another 47 or so to go. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I’m going to keep running, keep eating sensibly, and just keep living. I know I’ll still stumble at times, but if there’s anything this part of my life has taught me, it’s that you’ve got to get back on the horse. I’ve had to get up off the ground a lot of times, but it’s been worth it every step of the way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This week is Christopher’s and my 6th wedding anniversary.  I can’t tell you how happy I still am to be married to him. 

Honestly, our relationship might not have worked.  But I’m so glad that it did.

Christopher and I met at seminary.  We were friends—good friends, trusted friends.  He had a little crush on me.  We both dated other people.  I had a devastating break-up and Christopher comforted me (as a friend).  But I didn’t want to take advantage of him, because I knew he still had a little crush.  This crush was confirmed during a trip to Florida for a pair of friends’ wedding.  He said, “Can I talk to you?”  And because of all the sighing that went on before this question, I already knew what he wanted to talk about.  He was about to go on internship to Southern Minnesota, while I remained in the Twin Cities for my next year of classes.  He knew he would always regret it if he didn’t tell me how he felt about me.  But he, above all, was concerned that I was still healing from my break-up and didn’t want to add more stress.  Hence all the sighing before our conversation.  I like to say that I let him down REAL easy…so easy that I married him!

The truth is, I told him at the time that I wasn’t interested.  I hadn’t really felt that way about him.  I had a habit of being interested in moody, artsy guys… guys that gave me the thrill of the chase.  And there was no chase with Christopher.  There was just respect, openness, clarity.  No challenge at all!

So I let him down easy.  He went to internship.  I went to class.

And then I started missing him.  I started thinking about what a true and good person he was.  I started thinking that we could really make each other happy.  We could really be committed to each other.

I called him up.  “I think I want to ask you something.”  “You think you want to ask me something??”  “I do want to ask you something.”  I asked him out.

I asked him out, but he planned the date.  And instead of the sports pub types of places he would frequent, where you can get wings, watch the game, and play a little trivia, he found a super classy Italian place down-town.  Then he took me out to a jazz club for a poetry slam.  He knew I wrote poetry.  It wasn’t really his scene, but he was so thoughtful to do something I would enjoy.  It really touched me.  I began to see him in another light.  We had a wonderful time.

On the ride home, though, I was careful to caution him that despite things going well, I still wasn’t sure where I was at with our relationship.  I asked him to guard his heart.  I didn’t want to break it.

We talked a lot on the phone in the weeks ahead.  We had some serious conversations about worries I had, questions I had.  Finally, I felt a release in my spirit to take the plunge.  We started dating.

We’ve never looked back.

We got engaged pretty quickly.  In seminary you kind of have to make a decision about a relationship because the process forces you into it.  But we probably would have anyway.  We are people who commit.  That was the beauty of our relationship.  We had never been the type who tried to date lots of people.  We wanted to date one person and then marry them.  It was great to find that same trait in each other.

Even so, as I look back now, sometimes I think our early love was a bit immature.  It was all flash and fire and pizzazz.  And even though we had told ourselves there would be challenges, that didn’t make tough times any easier.  It just made them expected.  But through it all, we’ve had our communication, our love, our concern and respect for each other.  And that has made our lives together so good.  And if our early love was infatuation, our later love has deepened and I like to think it has also matured quite a bit. 

When we were first married, I used to worry all the time that if I ever said I was sorry for anything or if I ever stopped putting my needs at the top of the list, I would disappear (this from witnessing several bad marriages close-up).  But after being married to Christopher for 6 years, he has convinced me that he is not the kind of man who will trample me under foot.  He will never make me a doormat.  He has no interest in me disappearing.  And so, I have mellowed a lot.  His unconditional, consistent love has taught me that it’s ok to admit I’m wrong, ok to put his needs ahead of mine sometimes.  It’s ok to love like that. 

It’s kind of like how the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5 that husbands should love their wives the way Christ loves the Church.  I think my husband does that.  Not perfectly, of course.  He’s only human.  But his love draws self-giving love out of me.  Slowly, little by little I too am learning to love like that too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I am computer-less at the moment.  I am able to steal away a few times a week to use my husband's computer in the church office briefly when he isn't using it but until our new hard-drive arrives from Acer, to replace the hard-drive that went kaput a mere 4 or 5 months after purchase...until then I am computer-less.

Woe is me.  I have been cut off from the world, from blogging, from Facebook right when the MOST IMPORTANT WORLD EVENTS IN A LONG TIME have taken place.  From the joy of the Royal Wedding to the game-changer death of Osama Bin Laden.  If there was ever a time I needed to tell you my thoughts, and to read others' thoughts about the ups and downs of our world it is now.  Alas.

Well.  I think there are worse problems to have.  Like about a month ago when I was down in the deep pit of anxiety and depression.  And come to think of it, I have been getting a heck of a lot of reading done.  (I just sprinted through Unplanned by Abby Johnson and From Black Hills to Tractor Wheels by The Pioneer Woman.)  And I've been less distracted with Burrito.  She's gotten to the point where I have said enough times to her, "Mommy needs to check something on the computer" that she now says, "I check on the computer."  Hm.  Maybe a little breather isn't so bad. 

Still, I would like to get up to speed on the bloggers' reactions to Princess Kate's dress.  Ah, well.  The blogosphere waits for no one.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...