Starting - to exercise. Which is kinda a big deal. I really like having a generally active lifestyle. I really hate "exercising." But this is the first time I've hit 9 months postpartum with some baby weight on me - and I'm really tired of wearing the same 2 bottoms (one pair of shorts, one skirt). I started Lindsay Brin's postpartum slimdown challenge which is free on youtube (you can get here calendar free through email to go with it) and its starts you out gentle and it fairly light on cardio which works for me. I have to be really careful about overdoing cardio because of my Hashimotos but I've only had one day where I felt bad after working out (not sore, but BAD). I'm halfway through week three and feeling a lot stronger and I can tell my endurance is up. What else is still up? My weight. I've lost exactly 0 lbs and really that's fine albeit a bit annoying. But for the first time in well over a year, this fits.
And even in the summertime when its always been a little tight! So I know its working. I'm actually enjoying it. Probably because Craig takes the kids when he gets home and I retreat to the cool, quiet basement and let him deal with the witching hour of 4-5pm. This seems kinda cruel but its the only time that works so he's being a super trooper about it.
Preparing - For our last summer roadtrip. This one is a doozy and I'm trying to be overly prepared. So even though I've got a bit of time, I've started my lists of travel foods/snacks, picking out our audiobooks for the trip, researching fun stops on the way. And I normally pick out a really light reading book for the car for myself although I'm still searching so if you've got a suggestion for something I can pick up and put down approximately 20 times an hour which reaching behind me to hand out snacks and books without losing my mind, feel free to share!
Fasting - From Social Media. I just needed a break from the onslaught of opinions about everything.And wow do I think I picked a good time. I really wish social media would stay more social. For me, Facebook is the biggest change. I actually had Craig change my facebook password for me which is great. And as soon as I did that, I lost all desire to be on their right now. (Except now I can't log into Spotify without his help which isn't cool since we use that for school). I do miss certain groups so I'm sure it won't be forever but so far, its been really good. I think I will add back instagram and pinterest fairly soon as those are more social for me and I never really stopped Goodreads which I guess is technically sm but I don't really use it as that. But even stopping those has been interesting as I feel myself reaching out to specific people more to share things, instead of just wanting to share with "the world"
Finishing - A couple projects that should have been done months years ago. The first is Lucy's stick unicorn. The horn was overstuffed and popped open about a month after I gave it to her. But it worked and none of the stuffing was coming out so I kept meaning to get to it and never actually getting to it. But I did it! It really only took 45 seconds of hand sewing. And now Lucy is upset because it looks different. I'm sure she'll get used to it and now it doesn't mock me every time I see her play with it.
I also whipped up some bibs for Norah. I've never been a big bib user but I think my bibs were just bad bibs. The food still got in through the neck hole so I normally either 1) don't bother and get stains or 2)strip my babies down to their diapers to eat. But my mil often sticks new kitchen towels for me when she sends boxes for the kids which is great. Because I know kitchen towels would never make it on my needs list and having them always there makes it easy to toss grungy looking ones without a thought. But when I noticed I had some ribbing too, an idea was born. Not an original idea, but a "I think I've seen something on pinterest like this" and I kinda made it up as I went but they work. Really well. And Norah now matches my kitchen :-)
Appreciating - Electricity. Right after I wrote the above sections, our power went out. For almost 36 hours. No lights, no air conditioning and because we are on well and need electricity to refill our reserve, by the second day, no water. It was a long day and a half. We did okay, going to a park, going to wal-mart, going to the pool, going to a friend's house (I had no shame, I was begging for playdates!), going out to eat. A lot of going. And I'm a homebody and so are my kids so we were all kinda done by the second evening and, for reasons I'll get into below, everyone was a big emotional but the alternative of hanging out in a dark house creeping up through the 80s was not appealing. And we rallied. We even got two compliments on how well behaved our kids were! Either standards at Bob Evans aren't high or they were just too pooped out to be crazy :-) And last night we all slept in the not-too-terrible hot basement. We were told to expect power by tonight so I was bracing myself for the full day (and thank you friends that offered us their home for some respite!) but sometime early in the morning, we heard the a/c click on! Thank goodness.
Kid's got another off school as I go around and put things back. It's really amazing how entropy takes over and how quick its effects are when I'm not working 24/7 to keep things under control. On the bright side, I feel pretty good that my daily efforts do make a difference! And my fridge is now emptied and clean for our trip. I'm not sure what we'll eat until then because the only things we managed to save were condiments and things like carrots and strawberries that didn't really need full coldness. But it could have been worse. We didn't really have a lot in there so it wasn't like I had to throw away a bunch of expensive meat and our freezer stuff seems to be fine.
Missing - Chicken Jane. But let me start at the beginning. Just forewarned, it doesn't end well. Craig had noticed she looked a bit off earlier and I caught her yesterday to give her a good checking over. The kids were playing outside because it was hotter in than out so it seemed a good time. My diagnosis - egg blocked/prolapse. She had a minor issue like that a few months ago but we got here through so I went carried her inside to get a bin to fill with warm water. This is the time I discoverd we had no more water. We don't normally lose electricity for long enough to affect the water. So I let her go again and realized I smelled - really bad. Really really bad. Like decaying chicken covered in poop. And all I had was baby wipes. Then I smelled like decaying chicken covered in poop and baby wipes. Eventually I discovered something that was left on my shirt and a wardrobe change helped - a little bit. (This was about the time I added a stop at the pool to my agenda.)
But it wasn't looking good for Jane. This time her issue was much worse than before and generally speaking this isn't an issue that resolves easily even when one follow the recommended course - which required things I didn't have, mostly warm water. So we had to put her down last night. And put her down means I had to help Craig snap her neck. It was rough on me. I wish I had a homesteaders attitude. I don't. Our chickens are pets, they have names, they are beloved. I cried. I feel silly but I did. And then Lucy cried. Actually she cried beforehand saying goodbye, afterwards when Craig was burying her, and later on when I told her we had to go out to eat and she realized that she normally likes to eat chicken when we go out. She just couldn't bring herself to eat chicken yesterday. Me neither. Sorry cows, I had a big hamburger. She had pancakes.
I know we did the right thing. But part of me keeps wanting to think - we could have tried X or Y. But no, we really couldn't have. And even if we did, she's one of our oldest which means she's not only on the downward trend in egg production, but also that she's going to be more likely to have this issue again. And what if we did manage to get her on the road to recovery which itself would be a miracle then we'd have to leave her and hope it didn't happen while we were gone or she could suffer because our chicken watching teen wouldn't notice or know what to do. Or Jane would die on her and we would never get her to watching our chickens again! This probably seems like a lot of justification for a chicken and it's mostly for my sake, not yours. It's not that I think y'all are judging my chicken raising decisions, I just need to talk it out.
But like I told Lucy, she really had three of the best years a chicken in this world could ask for. And beyond that, I'm glad we have these experiences for me and my kids. How many years of my life did I go eating chicken and never even seeing a chicken in person. Or a cow. I might have had similar thoughts to Lucy when she cried yesterday "I never want to get any chickens again!" but really, even though its painful, I want us to be in touch with our food. (Although not literally in this case, I wouldn't have had an issue turning Jane into stew but, with no hot water, we really didn't have the ability to process her. She got a burial instead). I'm learning its one thing to watch a documentary and say "It's horrible how far removed we are from our food, how little our kids know of how things work. Someone should do something!" and it's another to choose to do something about it and actually make the decision to get chickens. And then - it still gets harder. Talking to your children with their quivering chins and teary eyes, getting covered in chicken insides, making decisions, killing something with your own hands. That's hard. Harder than I thought. But maybe it won't be for my kids - or maybe it will. Either way, I'm choosing to be thankful for these opportunities and for Chicken Jane.