Backslide

Over the weekend, Cadence turned eight years old. Family came over to celebrate and we had so much fun. I cannot believe she’s eight years old!

I spent most of the weekend so stressed out. Birthday shopping, juggling four children who each have completely different needs, laundry, keeping the house cleaned, getting things in order for a birthday party, and baking a cake. All of it combined with sleep deprivation just completely overwhelmed me.

Stress is a bitch. It can, however, be a manageable bitch. I just wish I had thought about it that way before I let myself get so completely out of control this weekend.

I am so disappointed in myself, y’all.

I haven’t gotten a workout in since Thursday morning. On top of that, I’ve eaten like crap and I haven’t logged a darn thing in my food journal. Not one single thing. It started on Thursday afternoon. The backslide. I promised Cadence I’d put together her Valentine box for her Valentine’s Day party. Her box took a lot of work, but she was so surprised. It was a unicorn! I was, however, exhausted by the end of the night and decided I would workout on Friday morning instead. That workout never happened.

On Friday morning, while she was at school, her dad texted to let me know he’d be picking her up after school to spend her birthday weekend with her. I knew I had to make sure a weekender was ready for her before she got off the bus, so I went to her room to gather clothes. As I started looking, I noticed that a majority of her clothes were completely missing. The laundry room was devoid of anything waiting to be washed. She hadn’t left anything in the bathroom floor. And Ava, her older sister with whom she shares a bedroom, keeps the room clean, so there was also nothing in the bedroom floor. Where on Earth were all of their clothes?

I started snooping and oh, how I wish I hadn’t. How I wish I hadn’t looked in the closet or under the bed! Y’all, there was so much under the bed and in the closet that it completely took up the middle of their room. And here I thought Ava was keeping things clean. After all, she had been telling me for weeks that they were good on laundry and didn’t need anything washed.

Just looking at that pile of laundry made me want to pack my things and go to a hotel for a few days.

That pile of laundry is where my clean eating and routine workouts went to die. I swear it! So, here we are, going into an already busy weekend and now there’s suddenly a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest staring me right in the face. Sure, Cadence would be leaving most of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean her needs went with her. After all, most of her clothes were in a pile on the bedroom floor and there was a birthday party to prepare for.

On Friday evening, the husband took me out for Valentine’s Day. We had sushi and I ordered a soda because bottled water wasn’t an option and our city water is disgusting. By the end of our meal, I was proud of myself. I didn’t drink even a third of that soda. I took small sips to wash down my meal, but otherwise didn’t drink it. Then we got home and, again, I was tired and decided to put my workout off until the next morning.

That workout never happened either. Washing, drying, folding, tidying up the house. It was a cycle that repeated itself the entire weekend. I ate whatever was easiest to get my hands on. Doritos, Little Debbie snacks, Valentine’s Day candy. And I didn’t workout even once. The only thing I was successful at was drinking water instead of soda. My husband loves Coca-Cola and keeps it in the house at all times. I craved it a few times, but I managed to talk myself out of that craving. I’ve finally gotten past the caffeine headaches and I do NOT want to go back to that, so I inhaled water every time I craved one.

Here I sit, however, and, as of the writing of this post, I still haven’t worked out and I spent the day eating like crap. I also still haven’t written down a single thing that I’ve eaten. Looking back on all of it, I probably don’t want to write it down. I treated my body like a waste bin this weekend. And I am not proud of it. This post is here as the turn-it-around notification to myself. I can do so much better. My body deserves so much better. And I will not reach my goals by allowing stress to trigger a backslide. There are much better methods of navigating stress. A thirty-minute workout, going for a walk, getting in some Yoga.

Backsliding is like falling down. It’s only a failure if you refuse to get try again.

Weekly Motivation #3

Finally! I am over the six-weeks postpartum hump! Honestly, I have been waiting for this day since the day that I was admitted to the hospital to have my little girl. I am thrilled to have her, but I am also thrilled to have my body back to myself. Being beyond six-weeks postpartum, I am officially cleared to start getting myself back in shape. Since there are no more babies in my future, that also means it is the best possible time in my life to start working on improving my health and fitness.

This week’s motivation is dedicated to the beginning of a new journey:

Getting into the best shape of my life!

“Love your body.”
“Let exercise be your stress relief; not food.”
“You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.”
“Don’t eat less, just eat right.”
“Don’t use the weekend as an excuse to give up on your goals.”
“Only you can decide what breaks you.”
“Girl, you got this!”
“Don’t kill my vibe.”

Sunday Funday: Recap

It was a lazy Sunday. I didn’t plan it that way. It just kind of happened that way.

On Saturday night, I decided to escape the insanity that is my home most days (kids are so much fun!) and went to do a bit of shopping. While I was out, I bought myself an adorable little fitness and food journal.

Being six weeks postpartum, I can finally start working on getting myself into shape. Oh, how I have been waiting for this! I’m hoping the journal will keep me a bit more conscious about what I put into my body. With heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes being very prevalent throughout both sides of my family, I think it is so important to take care of myself.

Probably more important than taking care of myself, I want to teach my kids healthy habits. I want them to understand the importance of really taking care of themselves. And, along with that, I feel like it’s time to start showing myself some love and stop putting me last.

That mantra is probably one of the most important things that my mom has ever said to me. I haven’t really taken it to heart in the past, but I am now. So, Sunday was mostly about setting myself up for an active week, healthy week.

My kids left for church with my neighbors, as they do every Sunday, and I actually made myself breakfast. Oh my goodness, you guys! I made bread in my microwave to go with my eggs! It took a whole ninety seconds and it was so good. Even my husband liked it.

Recipe courtesy of Eating on a Dime: https://www.eatingonadime.com/the-best-90-second-bread-recipe/

Presley woke up right as I wrapped up breakfast and she was hungry. She snorts when she’s hungry. I think that’s how I tell the difference in her cries. Her hungry cry comes with snorting. Once she was fed and happy, I put her in the wrap and we had a dance party. She fell soundly asleep as we danced to Taylor Swift.

The rest of the day was super lazy. I tried to take a nap, but that didn’t work out quite as well as I planned. Tristin’s mom and sister came for a visit when he got off of work. We talked for a while as they took turns holding little Presley. Once they left, I made my husband and I each a salad for lunch. I love a good salad. I could have absolutely used more veggies in mine, but it was still yummy.

I had every intention of putting together my new desk today and getting rid of my old one, but that didn’t happen. I think I’m patiently waiting for my husband to have a day off so he can do it for me. No part of me wants to put a desk together, honestly. We spent most of the afternoon relaxing and watching ‘Raising Hope’. He made dinner for all of us and then it was time to get kids to bed because they have school this morning.

I went to bed early thinking I would get some sleep before Presley woke me up. She routinely wakes up at 2am, so I just knew I’d get plenty of sleep if I laid down between 8 and 9. Joke’s on me because she woke up quite promptly at 11 and I have been up ever since.

I definitely need a bit more sleep before the kids get up, so I’ll end it here. Because I am starting a journey to a healthier me, I will leave you with a picture of myself shortly before I had Presley to remember where I started.

Have a happy Monday and great week, guys!

Problem Child

Parenting is tough. Each child is so different and, as such, has completely different emotional needs. When it comes to being a parent, it goes so far beyond just providing shelter, food, and clothing. It requires a genuine understanding of your child’s emotions, thoughts, and overall psychological needs. For the longest time, I thought I had it figured out. After all, my older daughters are flourishing in their own rights. They both perform well in school and exhibit generally wonderful behavior.

My son is a completely different story.

Over the last couple of years, he has rebelled so much. His grades at school have suffered as a result of that. While he and I both know that he is completely capable of doing the work, as demonstrated on several occasions, he simply refuses to do it. For a while, I focused on what he was doing wrong.

Perhaps, though, it is something that I am doing wrong.

As a parent, it is easy to focus on a child’s bad behavior and never look at yourself. While I am no psychologist, I do know that children often exhibit behaviors as a way to project their feelings about the world in which they live. With that knowledge, I’ve started to wonder: Is there something that he is not receiving enough of from me, is there something that I am doing wrong to cause this? Or, is there something from our disastrous past that he hasn’t been able to deal with emotionally that has him locked in a perpetual state of misbehavior and bad choices?

Jack is a remarkably good kid. At least, somewhere in there, that remarkably good kid exists. He is as polite at the day is long when interacting with most people. From holding the door for strangers to using good manners when speaking, you’d be never know that he struggles everyday both at school and at home. Ever the entertainer that he is, he spends his time in class goofing off and inciting his classmates rather than doing his work. He gets bored easily in class, he gets frustrate easily both at home and at school, and he acts out more often than not. This didn’t use to be the case.

In the past, he rarely ever displayed bad behavior.

Things changed, however, shortly after my now ex-husband came home from deployment. We hadn’t honestly lived together until he came home. We got married and he headed down range just a few days later. Our entire first nine months of marriage were spent in different countries. During deployment, he got angry with me quite often. He’d yell at me on Skype and then I wouldn’t hear from him for days at a time. Usually not until he deemed me worthy of his acknowledgement again.

This happened often. Several times a month in fact.

Silly me, I thought it would end when he came home. Maybe it was just the long distance that made him so angry. After all, during our relationship prior to marriage, we fought a lot too. I lived in North Carolina and he lived in Texas. I chalked the fights up to distance just putting a strain on the relationship.

He came home, though, and nothing changed. We fought more often than we got along. Of course, he involved his family in all of our fights, so they were awful to me as a means of taking his side in everything. Usually because they only heard his side of things. Over the next five years, the fighting only got worse. I should have left. What my kids went through is entirely my fault, because I didn’t leave. Of course, I wasn’t aware of their suffering until well after the fact, but I still blame myself for not leaving.

Sometime during our second year of living in Oklahoma, he lost his job. Despite my best efforts at encouraging him to just take a job anywhere that was available until he could find something more suitable to his preferences, he wouldn’t try. He was too good to flip burgers even if it meant providing for the family that he chose. I worked and he stayed home with the kids. He still yelled all the time. It got to a point where I would take the long way home just to make the five minute drive take a bit longer, because I dreaded going home.

At some point, the yelling turned to physical violence. He flipped a recliner into me, leaving a large bruise on my thigh. He pressed his knee into my chest to hold me in place on the couch while his fist was at my face. It had gone from psychological abuse to actual abuse. I was afraid to talk about my feelings on anything. I was afraid to spend money without asking first. Afraid to go out with friends or talk to anyone about what I was going through. Somewhere between being depressed and being afraid, I forgot to ask myself: If he’s doing all of this to me, is he doing the same to my kids?

I wish I had just left sooner. I should have LEFT SOONER.

After he finally moved out for the last time, my kids became comfortable enough to start talking to me about their experiences. The things I found out weren’t pretty. During my shifts at work, when they were left in his care, he’d restrict them to their rooms the entire day. If they asked for food, he’d yell at them. When he finally got tired of them asking, he’d give them cold leftovers or a peanut butter sandwich and then send them back to their rooms. There were instances of being dragged by their hair, smacked, kicked, and knocked to the ground. I had no idea that they were suffering so much while I wasn’t home. I was so consumed with fear, dread, and depression, that I couldn’t see what was happening.

Jack’s behavior changed during that time. He became seemingly angry. He lashed out easier, cried easier, stopped making an effort in school. His behavioral changes are more my fault than his. As a mom, I failed him. I absolutely failed him.

We went through so much and we have come so far, but he still struggles every single day because I failed him.

The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to fix it. How do I help him heal from five years worth of living with a volatile, abusive human being and get him back to the boy that he was before all of that happened? What do I do?

I’m still trying to figure that out but knowing where things went wrong is a start. My boy is loved unconditionally beyond measure and I am proud that he is my son. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just do not know what to do to turn things around.

Thanks for reading.

-Quinn

Weekly Motivation #2

I will preface this week’s motivation by saying that I am flat out exhausted. It was one of those nights. Presley was grumpy and wanted nothing to do with sleep. She is such perfection. I am not complaining a bit that she needed me most of the night. The long nights are worth it. Having been awake since early yesterday morning makes for one very exhausted momma. On top of her being a typical newborn, my older children had need of me throughout the night as well, though their reasons differ a great deal from hers.

With that, I bring you “Weekly Motivation #2”. As sleep deprived as I am, motivation is absolutely necessary if I am going to keep functioning. Coffee is amazing, but it does not always work miracles.

“No one looks back at their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep.”
“I’d rather be completely exhausted from the hard times which breed success than well rested from achieving nothing.”
“When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase, and strengthen you.”
“My life is far from perfect, but I’m happy with what I have and working hard to get where I want to be.”
“Your life isn’t yours if you always care what someone else thinks.”
“I am resilient and can get through anything.”
“Somewhere, there is a past you overflowing with so much pride looking at how far you’ve come.”
“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”

Good Boys

A couple of nights ago, after all of the kids were asleep, the husband and I watched “Good Boys” for the first time. I rented it from YouTube because we’ve been wanting to watch it but just hadn’t yet.

Does Seth Rogan ever get it entirely wrong with his movies? They’re almost always hilarious, even if they cannot be watched with my kids in the room. “Good Boys” is seriously funny, but I couldn’t turn off the mom-brain throughout the movie. That’s not a bad thing. It just left me with a few questions and thoughts.

1. Do my kids behave that way when there aren’t any adults present to witness it? Goodness, I hope not!

2. Do my kids think they’re as bad ass as these kids think they are?

3. Why are there no teachers supervising in that cafeteria? Seriously, my kids’ middle school cafeteria is full of teachers. Even the Vice Principal supervises their lunch periods.

4. Things like this are why I don’t own a swing.

Honestly, though, it was such a funny movie. The husband and I laughed pretty hard and not just because it was 3:00 in the morning and we hadn’t had any sleep.

I definitely recommend it if you haven’t watched it.

Does this look like a sippy cup? No. It’s a f*cking juice box! Because I’m not a f*cking child!

Thor, Good Boys

Presley

In April of last year, I learned that I was pregnant. A new adventure was blossoming within me. We were so far beyond ecstatic. Around week twelve, genetic test results came back with the news we were hoping for. Our sweet little jelly bean was a girl!

Deciding on a name was hard before I knew what we were having. I thought I was set on a girl name and I was no where close to deciding on a boy name. When we got the news that our baby was a little girl, I instantly knew. Presley. I chose the name for her Nana, who is a huge Elvis fan. To keep in theme with her Elvis-driven name, I decided on Presley Gracelyn as her full name.

My pregnancy with Presley was by far my hardest. Maybe it was my age. By comparison, I had my other three children during my early twenties. Being in my thirties made a big difference. Around week twenty, I started having issues with hypertension. My blood pressure was crazy and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what triggered spikes and what didn’t. It was insane. Not only had I completely blown up (I looked super pregnant within a week of finding out I was pregnant, at seven weeks), but I hurt all the time. My hips and pelvic floor seemed to absolutely hate me.

By twenty weeks, I could barely make it through an eight hour shift at work. Walking hurt. Standing after sitting down for more than ten minutes hurt. Changing positions in bed hurt. Everything I did seemed to hurt. It was okay, though, because I knew Presley was worth whatever I endured.

Around thirty-two weeks, I failed my three hour glucose screening. Ugh.. The glucose screening. The one hour screening was a breeze, even if I failed it. The three hour screening, though? Not so much. I went to my original appointment to do the screening and didn’t even manage to keep the orange drink down for a full five minutes. The second time was easier, but I got tired of being a pin-cushion. I’d already had a few other blood tests that week and then had to deal with blood being drawn four times the day of my glucose test.

At week thirty-four, the doctor started discussing inducing because of gestational diabetes and hypertension. Without a doubt, we would meet Presley by week thirty-eight. My doctor started having me do twice-a-week non-stress tests during the second week of December. The first two non-stress tests went great. On December 17th (the end of week thirty-five), I went in for my third. Within a few minutes of being strapped up to the TOCO monitor, her heartbeat dropped. It only slowed for a couple of minutes, but it was enough to get the nurse’s attention. My doctor ordered an ultrasound to see what was going on. A few minutes after the ultrasound technician left my room, the nurse came in and asked “What do you say we have a baby?” My husband was sent downstairs to register me to be admitted and I was transferred to a Labor & Delivery room.

At just after 3:00 that afternoon, they started inducing me. Between the excitement and stress of the whole situation, I couldn’t relax. Not a bit. By the third day of being induced, I was tired, irritated, and still not making much progress. I was told I could opt for a Cesarean section if I chose to do so, but decided that I wasn’t giving up until my doctor did. On the evening of December 19th, my mother-in-law asked the nurse to give me Benadryl because I was incredibly itchy but afraid of bothering the nurses.

Flash forward about two hours after the Benadryl was added into my IV. I woke up in pain despite a really well-placed Epidural. I had relaxed enough to allow my body to do what needed to be done and woke up to very strong contractions. Ten minutes later, it was time to push. Of all the babies I’ve had, she was the easiest. Within four and a half pushes, she was out of my tummy and laying on my chest. She was beautiful and tiny, weighing only five pounds and three ounces.

We stayed together in the hospital for three days. She spent twenty-four hours under the Bili light and I had tubal ligation done. We came home on December 21st. Her original due date was January 18th.

She has been here with us for a month and we could not be happier. Everyone went out and got her Christmas presents to celebrate her first Christmas. She is very alert for being so little and tries hard to hold her head up (she can do it for a good few minutes before getting tired). She’s a messy eater, makes some of goofiest faces I’ve ever seen, and loves being snuggled.

Presley Gracelyn Evans.

Born on December 19th of 2019 at 11:18pm and worth every ounce of the pain-in-the-butt pregnancy that I had. She is a blessing.

A Little Inspiration

As a mom, you’ve probably watched movies like Home Again or Cheaper By The Dozen or really any rom-com where the protagonist is a career-driven, highly-focused beauty queen. You know the woman I’m talking about. She has kids, she works all the time, she preps the meals and helps with homework. She’s a referee, a coach, a cheerleader, a nurse, a chef, the reader of stories at bedtime, a chauffeur, and she’s probably exhausted, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her.

Her makeup, hair, and clothes are always impeccable regardless of how tired she is or how early she got up or what she’s been doing that day. I’ve watched SO MANY of those movies and for years I always thought that those outward appearances were not even the slightest bit realistic. How do you juggle children and a job and managing a household and STILL manage to look that perfect? It’s impossible. For most of those years, actually, I was perfectly content just looking like your average Hobbit most days. Who had time for anything else?

At some point, though, I started to realize something. It is possible if you make it possible. I remember going to job interviews throughout my 20s, hoping to land a great job making great money and hoping that success would just happen. For all of those interviews, I usually brushed my hair, threw on whatever I had in my closet, and hoped for the best. My wardrobe consisted of things that your average teenager would wear. That’s right. I was 20-something years old going to job interviews dressed like I was still in high school. I can see why I didn’t get those jobs.

Not only was my body language and way of speaking completely awkward, but I didn’t dress the part, so no one took me seriously. I was 29-years-old when I finally began to really understand that if I didn’t take myself seriously, there was no way I could expect anyone else to do so. That was a huge turning point for me! I needed to start taking myself seriously. It’s kind of like really understanding what it means to “act your age”. I know plenty of women around my age who have always seemed more put-together, more mature than me. Being young at heart is never a bad thing but, in a lot of situations, you have to put the most mature version of yourself forward. That’s where all of this started.

First things first, I needed to act the part. I’ve gotten better at staying focused, being less chatty, and not participating in the rumor mill. It’s not a 100% improvement, but I’m getting there. Next, I needed to start looking the part. Outside of my work wardrobe consisting of a plain t-shirt or button-up blouse and jeans, I switched up my band shirts and Vans for skirts, dresses, cardigans, tons of jackets, lots of heels, a myriad of accessories, pants made of something other than denim, and even blazers. I decided that, if I wasn’t headed to my job, then I wanted to feel like a model when I stepped out of my home.

I’ve started taking care of my hair and skin, which I had let go for way too long. I even got into a routine with my skincare and started shaving my legs regularly. I get up an hour ahead of my boyfriend on days where we both work and make sure that my makeup is done to perfection. Even on days when I’m sick, I don’t want to leave the house looking like I’m sick. I found inspiration in those women whom I envied, the women that I thought it was impossible to become, and started really showing myself the love that I hadn’t in so very long.

That’s when I stopped being a mombie and started working on being someone I’m proud of. I still have a LONG way to go, but it’s better late than never. The crazy thing is that I’ve even inspired my 11-year-old daughter to start putting together outfits that look like something out of a catalog instead of something my 6-year-old would put together if she were unsupervised.

We all have to find inspiration somewhere. For me, it was the glamorous, put-together moms in Hollywood and in the town I live in that inspired me.