as if I needed another reason to hate going to the doctor: a saga

Last week is going to go down as one of the most ridiculous weeks of my life. If you've been around here for awhile, you know I have had A LOT of ridiculous weeks in my life. So this is saying something. I started to write a post on Wednesday about what a bizarre week it had been. It's a good thing I never published it, because things escalated quickly.

It started when our new next door neighbor(s?) moved in last weekend. It's been a week with no sight of them, so I still have no clue who they are, but one of them is a woman, judging by the frilly pillows on the patio furniture. There was a lesbian couple who lived next door as long as we've been here. They were quiet, reclusive, had several large chili pepper plants and pushed their dog in a stroller. I was sad to see them go because I was slowly befriending one of them. The new neighbors spent an entire Saturday moving in, yet they were relatively quiet. No matter how much I spied, I never could get a good look at anyone. Once 10pm hit, their friends and family pulled their Ford F150s into the grassy area and on the sidewalk out front, which I'm sure is 100% not allowed. They were honking horns and slamming doors well into the night AND playing loud music. We share our bedroom walls, and apparently our beds are against that same wall. They spent THE ENTIRE NIGHT blaring music and putting the bed together, frequently banging the wall with it. James can sleep through a nuclear explosion, and even he was awake and angry most of the night. I might have held one of Gracie's musical toys up to the wall for revenge. It must've worked, because I've heard nary a peep since.

On Tuesday, I had an emergency. That emergency was needing more fall decorations. I took Gracie to Hobby Lobby, conveniently located just down the street, and started browsing. I was inspecting a purple ceramic pumpkin when I heard "MICHELLE!" I looked up, stunned, to see an old friend from high school I had lost touch with. We did a lot together back then, but I hadn't seen her or spoken to her in years. The whole interaction was strange, and she was completely different from how I remember her. I left feeling a bit dazed and confused. We ran a few more errands, and once we got home I realized I had been walking around with a GOLF-BALL SIZED HOLE right in the rear of my shorts. My favorite, most comfortable shorts of all time that I bought this summer.

I wonder if this had anything to do with the dream I had that night about my intestines falling out?

Gross. Moving on.

On Wednesday, the Women's Bible Study through my church was starting up again. This has been a horrible running joke for two years now. The forces of the universe have worked together to keep me from going every time. I explained the whole saga last spring, the last time I managed to go, and never went back because I immediately got a cold and then my MIL came to visit. I know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but I very much felt I needed to try again. I did everything in my power to make sure nothing would go wrong. I watched the traffic patterns the morning before and I had everything ready ahead of time. I was ready right on time and told Gracie to put her shoes and socks on. If WWIII starts anytime soon, it won't be because North Korea nuked us, it will be because I asked Gracie to wear socks with her tennis shoes. She FLIPPED OUT. I know she's a two year old and these reactions are par for the course, but the level of insanity was uncharacteristic even from her. I finally won the battle, and then realized my car keys had vanished. Completely disappeared. I searched my purse 10 times, the kitchen, the toy box, the living room, everything. After 15 minutes, I called James exasperated and on the verge of tears. I finally found them in the bottom of the Hobby Lobby bag. Serves me right for needing more pumpkins.

By this point, we were leaving 15 minutes late despite all my efforts. I put some coffee in a travel mug because I needed it more than ever. My traffic app said traffic was light, but light it was not. While sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway, I picked up my coffee to take a drink and dumped it all down my shirt. This is the same mug Gracie knocked over, spilling coffee in a woman's purse at church, so that mug is no longer a part of our lives. I finally got a half mile away from the house we were meeting at when the road was suddenly closed. Completely out of the blue. Just a closed road with no way around it, in an area I am very unfamiliar with. We were over 20 minutes late, but after wiggling my way through a neighborhood, I finally found my way there. Once we got there, everything went so well. It was completely worth the headache, but I'm already bracing myself for what will go wrong next Wednesday morning.

That's not even the beginning of the craziness of the week.

I started having some bad pain early in the week, but I blew it off thinking it would go away. It got gradually worse every day. By Thursday, it was nearly unbearable, so I went to the doctor. She confirmed my suspicions that an old postpartum issue was responsible for the pain. I had a traumatic recovery after Gracie was born, and I felt like I was walking through the pain all over again. She gave me a prescription but told me I would most likely need surgery soon to correct it. I had anticipated that, but I went home in tears.

I was hoping to get the medicine that night, but the pharmacy was out and had to order it. Of course. OTC remedies weren't doing a thing to help, and the pain was so severe I couldn't sleep. Not to be dramatic, but I basically writhed in pain and cried all night. At 8:00 on the dot Friday morning, I called the doctor's office and begged her to refer me to a surgeon, and make it clear I need help ASAP. It wasn't a serious issue, but that didn't mean it wasn't extremely painful. I didn't think I would be able to live with this level of pain all weekend. I knew it would be a long shot for someone to fit me in on a Friday, but the procedure was quick and it would give me the relief I was desperate for. I got a call back not even 30 minutes later that she had sent a referral, and the surgeon's office should be contacting me shortly. I hadn't heard anything by 1pm, which wasn't shocking since I've worked in a doctor's office and know how things go, so I called them. No one answered. I left a kind but very dramatic message basically saying HELP ME PLEASE I CANNOT LIVE LIKE THIS ANY LONGER. No one called me back. I called three more times. Each time, no one answered. They were supposed to be open on Fridays, so I assumed someone had the day off or they closed early. I'm trying to believe the best in people. I tried to prepare myself for a long, miserable weekend.

(Before you ask, no--I couldn't go to the ER because it wasn't a *true* emergency and they would just tell me to schedule an appointment with a surgeon, so I would've had to pay big bucks for them to tell me what I already knew.)

By late afternoon, I had given up all hope. I had laid in bed most of the day and let Gracie watch Daniel Tiger on my iPad. Desperate times, people. To top this all off, James was hounded with a massive and very important project at work, so he couldn't work from home like he sometimes can. We had completely run out of food by Thursday, but I couldn't go to the grocery store because the pain was so bad I couldn't do anything, not to mention Gracie has sworn off clothes and will not wear ANYTHING. Bless him, James came home from a stressful day of work, made us quesadillas with refried beans for dinner (pretty much the only food we had), took care of Gracie, and went to the grocery store for me. On top of that, he came down with a bad cold. And so did Gracie. On top of that, Gracie fell off the bed, hitting the nightstand on the way down, and gave herself a bit of a swollen black eye.

So by Friday afternoon, I was a wreck from the pain and from no one helping me. I had even called other surgeons, but no one could get me in in a timely manner. Keep in mind I will put off easy phone calls for months because I hate them, getting a shot makes me cry, and yet I made over a dozen calls asking for someone to cut me open with a scalpel. I was that desperate. Just before 4:30, I got a call from the surgeon's office. Apparently someone had been there all along! The woman basically said "I got your voicemail, but I have no clue what you're talking about because I didn't get a referral for you. I searched everything, we have nothing for you." I begged her to make me an appointment anyway and I would straighten it all out Monday morning, but she wouldn't do anything without the referral. I begged, I pleaded, I told her I needed this surgery immediately. She gave me a nervous giggle and made me tell my doctor to check the fax number, and that once she got the referral, I would have to wait another 24 hours just for someone to contact me and schedule something. That won't work. I'm traveling in a week while James is on a business trip, and after that my MIL comes. I have to get this taken care of asap. I got off the phone and immediately called my doctor to see what happened. A recording played that their office closed at 4:30. I looked at the time on my phone.

It was 4:31.

I'm not even kidding.

By Saturday, I was still in terrible pain, and James and Gracie both had fevers and were miserable. We all needed someone to take care of us, but poor James still took care of us all, even bringing me breakfast in bed. We were in survival mode. Gracie and I wore the same shirt day and night for three days (she did get a few baths, we're not the worst parents). We did our best to keep tabs on things, but she still managed to dump the cat food in the cat's bowl of water, color all over our sheets wth green and orange highlighters, smuggle my floss into her crib and then pull it all out during nap time, and memorize about an entire season of Daniel Tiger. But we're all still alive, so success.

Monday morning came bright and early, and I called my doctor's office the minute it opened. I was immediately put on hold for a good 3 or 4 minutes. Once the receptionist came back to the phone, I very politely explained that a referral had been sent over to the surgeon, but they never received it, and I need help asap. She cut me off mid-sentence and said, as annoyed as possible, "Well, we sent it. I'll do it again. Bye." AND THEN SHE HUNG UP ON ME.

A few hours later, I called the surgeon's office to see if they received it. Glory be, someone answered the phone this time! And they had my referral! Things were looking up. He started asking my info, and he said he wanted to confirm he had the correct number for me.  My jaw actually hit the floor when he read off the phone number he had. IT WAS FROM 20 YEARS AGO. It was literally the house phone number to our home in Nevada. TWENTY YEARS AGO. From when I lived on the opposite end of the country. Riddle me that, would you? I don't even know. He read off about 6 other phone numbers he had. Every number I've had in the past 20 years. "I've never seen someone with so many phone numbers in their chart," he said. To say I was unnerved was an understatement. I had never been to this office or health care system.

I told him I needed an appointment as soon as possible. First available, please. This is urgent. I cannot live with this pain much longer, and I've been trying to make this appointment for days. "Sure, sure, I totally understand. We'll get you in as soon as we can." Sigh of relief. We're getting somewhere. Maybe tomorrow? Worst case, two days from now. I could suffer through.

And then he said, as nonchalantly as possible as if this was a completely reasonable time frame, "Ok, so the first available appointment we have is in November." NOVEMBER. As in TWO MONTHS FROM NOW. I laughed like a maniac, said "thanks but no thanks" and hung up.

 I finally found another surgeon who was able to fit me in for the next morning.


I wrote most of that the other day. I figured I would finish it after I had that appointment with the surgeon that should've hopefully fixed everything. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Shocker! The simple procedure we expected has been ruled out as it no longer applies, so I'm looking at possible full surgery--put to sleep in an operating room and all of that. There is a small chance medicine and at-home remedies could help me heal, but the pain could come back at any time since it is not healed correctly. It's looking like surgery is probably in the cards no matter what, maybe soon, maybe later. The worst part is that the surgeon said the surgery will be "extremely painful with a long, agonizing recovery." You can imagine how well I handled that information.

This is not a serious health issue, and for that I am so thankful. It's not like I have cancer or anything even remotely like that. I'm so thankful it's me dealing with these issues and not Gracie. This too shall pass, I know. But it's still turning my world upside down at the moment. On top of the pain, I have a full-blown cold I got from James and Gracie. Not a big deal, but it's just adding to the misery. Our family is going through a hard time right now, and I ask for your prayers for healing. Taking care of a 2 year old while in severe pain is incredibly difficult and frustrating, not to mention cooking/cleaning/laundry/grocery shopping, etc. James is going on a business trip soon so there's no way I could have surgery any time soon. I have some heavy duty medicine coming that should help facilitate healing. Our families are both 500 miles away and we don't have people living close enough who we could ask to drop everything and help, and things are just hard right now. God is holding us and will take care of us. We will get through this one day at a time. But for now, we pray. And I ask for your prayers too.

At least now I know what will be keeping me from future Bible studies!

(It's ok, you can laugh.)


recent reads

It's been so long since I've done one of these because I was eyebrow-deep in the Anne of Green Gables series for months. I finished them awhile ago, and I'm honestly grieving it. The last, Rilla of Ingleside, was by far my favorite. I can't wait to read it again one day, and I'm not a re-reader by nature. Other than that, I've read a strange assortment of books this summer. A little bit of everything! It's been nice to throw myself into some good fiction as well as some interesting nonfiction.

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan--5 stars: I followed the Honest Toddler twitter account long before I was ever pregnant. Even when I had zero interest in all things kids, I found it hilarious. As a mom of a toddler, I still find it wildly hilarious and horrifyingly accurate. All that to say, I love Bunmi Laditan, so I had to read her novel. The subject matter and humor is certainly not for everyone, but I LOVED it. I know some people will find the whole thing dumb, but it was exactly what I needed. I laughed so hard the whole way through the book and talked about it to everyone around me. It's about a first time mom who had planned to be a perfect Pinterest mom but turned out to be a hot mess instead. She was honestly insufferable and definitely a caricature, but I could still relate on many levels and felt more than a little validated. The way she spent money nearly gave me a hernia. She joins a bootcamp to be a better wife/mom/housekeeper, and chaos ensues. If you have ever rolled your eyes at the moms on Instagram who make life with kids seem like a walk in the park, this book is for you. It pokes fun at all sides and the mom wars, and it's just a genuinely enjoyable book to read. Ridiculous, yes. Exaggerated, yes. But so good and funny.

For fans of: Honest Toddler, sass, not feeding your kids all organic food, wearing stretchy pants, waking your husband up from laughing

Villette by Charlotte Bronte--3.5 stars: Ah Villette, the little melancholy sister to Jane Eyre. She could never quite measure up and was forever overshadowed by her older sister's triumphant accomplishments. Kind of life the relationship with Charlotte and Emily, but now I'm just getting back into my literature essay mode and this is not the time nor the place. I loved Jane Eyre so fully and deeply that I was dying for anything else written by Charlotte. I loved it, and yet I didn't. Lucy Snowe finds refuge in a boarding school in France and winds up a teacher. She has a toxic relationship with her colleague and mentor, goes a little crazy, and yet tries to find her own way in the world though the odds are against her. It has a touch of The Bell Jar with a dash of Wuthering Heights. I loved the writing and some of the plot, but I walked away feeling very confused. Was I crazy? Was Lucy crazy? Was I completely misreading parts of it? It wasn't until I read Charlotte's biography that I realized how intensely autobiographical it was. Her inspiration for Paul Emmanuel is straight up freaky and sad. I have to read it again knowing what I know now. I think it will change everything.

For fans of: Sylvia Plath, confusion, french dialogue with no translation, chilling endings, Heathcliff 

Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman--4 stars: This biography was FASCINATING. It should be mandatory reading for any Bronte fans. I'll admit, it was very long and you do have to trudge through some boring details, but I now need to reread Jane Eyre and Villette with fresh eyes. It answered so many questions I didn't even know I had. The way Charlotte wove so many details of her life into her novels is fascinating. The biography also touches very heavily on her parents and siblings. It's more a biography on the whole family than it is just Charlotte. I had completely forgotten she was first famous under the pen name Currer Bell. I loved reading the inspiration for her books and how she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Charles Dickens. Her life was far more tragic than I knew, which was sad to discover. Charlotte was my partner in crime with HG. It's nice to add her to my exclusive club with Kate Middleton, though not nice because IT KILLED HER. Praise the Lord for Zofran and Diclegis.

For fans of: Victorian literature, Charlotte Bronte--duh, any of the other Brontes, Elizabeth Gaskell, life in Victorian England

12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke--5 stars: The first time I saw this book, I wanted to add the tagline "A Massive Guilt Trip." I started to see a lot of people I trust and respect give this book rave reviews, and with my own turbulent thoughts about smartphones and social media, I decided to read it. It absolutely blew me away. It's a look at the way phones change our lives, but from a gospel perspective. It doesn't bash phones or social media, but strongly pushes the need for solid boundaries. I think we could all benefit from frequently redrawing the lines regarding our phones. The ties he made between scripture and how our phones distract us from things that matter was MASSIVELY convicting, but in a good way. It changed my perspective on a lot of things and has made me think harder about social media than ever before. I plan to read it again soon, because there was so much wisdom in it that I feel like I only skimmed the surface with one read. I would love to hear what other people think about this book as well. Social media lovers might feel differently.

For fans of: deactivating your Facebook account on a weekly basis, conviction, looking for further proof that we should all be Amish, basically anyone who uses social media and reads The Bible

Smokejumper: A Memoir by One of America's Most Select Airborne Firefighters by Jason A. Ramos--4 stars: This book smokejumped out at me immediately. My uncle was a firefighter. I grew up in wildfire country. Every summer was spent anxiously checking our surroundings for smoke. I remember being able to count 6 different wildfires at one time in the hills surrounding Reno when I was a kid. During the summer of 2000, we nearly lost our home to a fire started by lightening. It came up to our backyard, and by the grace of God, our house was spared. I have vivid memories of planes dumping retardant on the house and yard and the helicopters dipping buckets into the lake a few streets away. I have so much respect for firefighters as well as a ridiculous fear of fire, which made this book a little bit of a horror story that I couldn't tear myself away from. Jason Ramos started off in a little fire station in California, and quickly worked his way up to hotshot and then the elusive smokejumper. The training they go through is absolutely insane, and they literally jump out of helicopters right next to wildfires. He talked about what it was like to go through training, jump out of helicopters day in and day out, and work right next to blazing infernos. He goes into the kinds of equipment they use, the history of wildfires and fighting fire, and even how fires are changing with so many people moving into fire-prone areas. I glazed over a bit when he talked about the pros and cons of different kinds of parachutes, but he went on a diatribe about fire shelters that was horrifying. They don't even work half the time! Firefighters lay under a foil blanket while fire BURNS OVER THEM. I couldn't sleep after reading about that. The writing wasn't that impressive, a few parts were very hard to read, and there is some mild crudeness and foul language, but this book will stay with me for awhile. It is...wait for it....BURNED in my memory forever. You're welcome.

For fans of: fire, horror movies, the history of parachutes, reading the term "fire line" 500 times but never having a full grasp on how it works or what it does, pyromania 

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella--4 stars: I feel hesitant to even bring this book up.  And how dare I post about it in the same post as Charlotte Bronte! In some ways it reminded me of The Royal We--a snappy little 20-something in London and all her friends and cute boys and her many issues. I adored The Royal We and I was LAMBASTED for it publicly and privately and honestly, GOOD GRIEF. Sometimes a girl just needs some chick lit on a bad day, ok? In my opinion this was not as good and a very different plot, but I really liked it. I went to bed early a few times just so I could lay down and read it for a few hours. Katie Brenner moved to London and tries to prove herself to her boss and trick everyone into thinking she's handling life. She's all of us. She posts pictures on Instagram to make her life in London seem perfect (eye rolls). Everything falls apart and she moves back home to her family's home to help them run a new business. Chaos and trickery ensue. It's cheeky, it's cute, it's a bit cringey, it's great entertainment after a long, stupid day. There are some vague s-e-x-y moments (writing that makes me think of my girl Miranda Hart and now I need to stop and laugh for 10 minutes) for those who would like to know that's in there. It's completely unrealistic and borderline predictable. It's exactly what I needed when Gracie put a hole in the wall. SUE ME.

For fans of: chick lit, British things, books that end with everything tied up in a pretty bow, The Devil Wears Prada 

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen--3.5 stars: Imagine it's the early 1800s and your husband dies. To your shock, he leaves you his family's inn in the English countryside to run all by yourself. You have no idea how to run an inn, your employees are questionable, and your MIL hates your guts. Welcome to the life of Jane Bell. Not a lot happens in this book, it's not fast-paced or riveting, but I was genuinely bummed to finish it. It was slow going, yet interesting. I became invested in the characters and their situations. The plot doesn't just center on Jane and her attempt to get a handle on the inn and save it from ruin, but on several other women as well. The book focuses heavily on the plight of unmarried/widowed women back during the early 1800s, and how hard it was for them to get ahead without a father or husband to provide for them. I really wasn't quite sure where the book was going and often didn't know who to root for, but it had the coziness and comfort of watching a PBS period drama. The sequel comes out in December and I've already placed a hold on it at the library.

For fans of: Downton Abbey, books that are good but not so riveting that you can actually put it down at night, PBS, historical fiction

Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle--5 stars: This is not going to be a book that most of you will want to run and buy. In fact, a lot of people will probably hate me for reading it and loving and agreeing with it. That's ok. This is an absolutely incredible book about biblical womanhood. Are you clutching your pearls yet? Merkle spends much of the book explaining why feminism has gotten it wrong from the beginning of time even though, yes, they have accomplished good things along the way. She also explains why ultra-conservative women who think their place is ONLY in the home are way-off base as well. She beautifully and elaborately explains the role for which we were created and how it's so much more than working v. staying at home v. women's marches, etc., and the way we bring glory to God through whatever it is we do. It's powerful, it's Biblical, it's important. I challenge you to read with your defenses down and chew on it.

For fans of: the Bible, women

At the moment I'm reading everyone's go-to light hearted pick-me-up, Schindler's List. I've never seen the movie (gasp) so I figured I may as well start with the book. I went to grab it from the library the other day and also came home with a stack of novels, which is unusual for me. I grabbed another Kate Morton (it's been months since my last KM novel, so I think I'm emotionally prepared), a historical fiction about Queen Victoria, and something about a Christmas Knit-Off. What can I say? It sounded cozy. I'm always looking for more cozy in my life.

What are you reading these days?


from the week, vol. 2

Oh man, the past few weeks. I got zero sleep one night (literally zero minutes of sleep), and I was on the verge of crying about it the next morning when James called to tell me he had a flat tire. It turned into another expensive car repair fiasco with the tow truck driver banging on the door for the car keys, which I couldn't find in my sleep-deprived stupor. Our next door neighbors moved out after loudly packing and vacuuming in the middle of the night last week, and ever since people have been POUNDING on the walls and floors for 12 hours a day all week. Major headaches. Naps and bedtime have been anything but peaceful, and Gracie put a large hole in the bathroom wall. Woof.

Thankfully, other things have happened too.

1. We went hiking one Saturday morning on a nearby trail. It was really fun and Gracie did so well. I crept out into the water, slipped on a rock, and fell into the water in a very dramatic fashion. I was so stunned I didn't move for at least 10 seconds until a nice woman walked over to help pull me out. It was not my finest moment and I've got a few nice bruises, but it was worth it. Next time I'll stay safely on the bank. I can't wait to go back next month when the leaves are changing.

2. We might have found It Takes Two on Hulu one afternoon and watched it. I haven't seen it since I was a kid, and it's just as magnificent today as it was in the 90s. Kirstie Alley was in her glory days! I want to rewatch all the old Mary Kate and Ashley movies now. Passport to Paris and Billboard Dad were my favorites. And How the West Was Fun. Basically all of them.

3. We went on a very rare date night last weekend. The funny thing is, we got into an argument the day before trying to decide what we should do. That should tell you how much we needed that date. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey spiraled on top of us all day, and it was pouring so we had to change plans. We went to a pub nearby for dinner that we've been wanting to try for years. Oh my heavens--it was SO GOOD. The food was fantastic, and the tables had a jar of trivia cards on them. We quizzed each other while waiting for our food. We went to a couple bookstores and sat by the fire in a coffeeshop and drank hot apple cider while it rained. Correction, I drank CHAIDER. A combo of chai and cider. It was just as fantastic as the wordplay. The barista explained it to me by calling it a "chaibryid" of chai and cider, and I almost asked her to be my best friend. I love a good pun.

One of the best parts was that it was 59 degrees and raining. I wore jeans and long sleeves for the first time in months. I danced down the brick sidewalk of German Village with my umbrella. FALL IS COMING. The other best part is that we grabbed donuts on the way home. We needed that evening desperately, and I'm so thankful for it.

4. I KNOW hurricanes are devastating forces of nature. I'm praying fervently for people recovering from Harvey and in the path of Irma. I would never wish that kind of destruction on anyone. However, the weather nerd in me is FREAKING OUT right now.

4.5 Speaking of hurricanes and the entire western US being on fire right now, I had a crazy dream about them that meshed the two together. I was in Florida with my family, but instead of prepping for a hurricane we were trying to evacuate since huge forest fires were coming. There was one across a lake from us, and even though the buildings weren't on fire, they were smoking already. I was having a full-fledged panic attack about the need to evacuate, and my mom looked at me and said verbatim "Here Michelle, eat this pumpkin spice yogurt and calm down." It may have been a dream, but I'm going to take that advice to heart.

5. My Gracie girl has STRONG opinions about her clothes. Getting her dressed in the morning is a battle I dread. I usually let her pick her own outfits out unless we're going to church or something like that. The Minnie Mouse shirt I bought her a few weeks ago has become the bane of my existence, and I don't know why I've bothered to buy her any other clothes. She wants to wear it all day and sleep in it at night. Heaven forbid I need to wash it! It's taken the place of the red hat obsession (which she still loves but doesn't wear every day). It looks like she'll be wearing this shirt for approximately 9 months, if the past tells us anything.

She pulled the bonnet out of her dresser and I was so excited. It was a 2nd birthday present, but she was so engrossed with the red hat she didn't care until recently. Then she asked to hold the corn at the grocery store, and Little House on the Prairie collided with 2017, and all my dreams came true.

And then as soon as we got home, she demanded to wear her watermelon swimsuit. Maybe I should've given her a pumpkin spice yogurt and told her to calm down.


I have made a huge mistake

My body was not made for physical activity.

No stop, don't roll your eyes. I have zero athletic abilities. As much as I hate this fact, it's true. It doesn't stop me from exercising, it just means I could get lapped by a 92 year old with a walker.

I was a distance swimmer in high school (that sounds far more impressive than it was--I have hilarious stories of my failures), but my endurance in the pool has never translated to running. I can't run to save my life. Honestly, if I had to run TO save my life, I would die. I've accepted it, it's fine. I'm at the bottom of the food chain. IT'S FINE.

My first semester of my freshman year of college, I made the mistake of befriending several runners. What this meant was that every evening, they dragged me outside and forced me to run 2 grueling miles with them on our very steep, hilly campus. One night they literally had to pull me by the shirt to keep me moving. They wound up being some of my favorite college memories, but THEY COST ME DEARLY. After several months, I could finally run the two miles without stopping, but I was lightyears behind them and usually crying and about to throw up. After transferring schools and against all odds, I kept my running mojo for the next year. I was stick thin, I was in amazing shape, and my feet hurt all the time. Every morning I laced up my shoes for my 2-3 miles. My class schedule eventually changed, a gym wasn't convenient, and I fell off the wagon. I've been trying to get back on the wagon for the past 9 years. I haven't been able to because the wagon is moving and in order to hop on, I'd have to run after it.

And we all know how I feel about running.

This is the part where the people who can lay in bed for a year and then easily get up and run 5 miles can just stop. Just like the people who don't get morning sickness--I'm happy for you, but I need you to stay quiet right now.

The past 9 years have been full of bouts of running that never lasted. I'd do well for a few months, but then I'd catch the flu, get an injury, or something would happen and I've never be able to find that groove again. I've resorted to long walks and lots of bike riding. I want SO BADLY to be a runner, but it's not in my DNA. Which is funny, because every morning my dad used to wake up at 5am and run several miles. I didn't get my athletic skills from him.

I've tried the Couch to 5k program many times. It's brilliant, it really is. It's like slowly lowering yourself into shark-infested waters instead of diving right in. I can never make it past week 4 or 5 no matter how hard I try. Something happens every time, and I lose my groove. It's one of the unexplained mysteries of life. Has absolutely nothing to do with my self-discipline.

My last running groove was the spring of 2015. I was running at 6am, going to work, and then coming home and going on a walk or bike ride. I was deep in the fitness zone and my pants were getting looser by the day.

And then I got pregnant. It jumpstarted my goals in that I lost 10 pounds in the first several weeks, but as you can guess things didn't stay that way. I've finally conquered my demons and started waking up early every day to at least go on a walk, and I figured I might as well try the C25K thing again. 5th time's a charm, right? And here's the thing--other than that fluke in college, I've never been able to successfully run outside. If I run any distance at all, it's always on a treadmill. Just like my friends had to pull me by the shirt, I need a rapidly moving belt to force my feet to keep going or I will stop. I just will. I don't want to, but I will and I hate myself for it.

I hit the start button on my C25k app at approximately 7:09 Friday morning. I was tired, but I felt good and ready to go. I gave myself a pep talk during the warm up: "Michelle, you survived 9 months of pregnancy with Hyperemesis, you gave birth to a baby and survived a horrendously painful 3 month recovery, and you went through breastfeeding hell at the same. YOU CAN RUN A FEW MINUTES ON THE SIDEWALK." In all honesty, I wasn't too worried because I remembered the first few weeks being fairly easy.

I survived the first running segment and felt invigorated. I made it through the second one and felt slightly less jolly. By the third, I was wheezing. My thighs were itching with the power of 600 mosquito bites. By the fourth, I hated everything. It was 56 degrees out, yet my face was radiating so much heat it will probably be held responsible for global warming. During the 5th run, I started making sounds similar to the ones I made in the delivery room that I swore I'd never make again. I was getting lightheaded. I saw a teenage boy get on the school bus and I almost went with him, because returning to high school can't be as painful and uncomfortable as running. Also I really wanted to sit down on the bus.

The last run sent me perilously close to the grave. I let out a long, low moan. I was smacked down with a wave of nausea. I contemplated calling James to come look for my nearly dead body as I prayed for the peace of death. My lungs were burning, my nose was running, my left ankle was screaming, my stomach was cramping, my knees were angrily airing their grievances. I saw a woman easily jogging in front of me. Had I not been under the shadow of the Grim Reaper, I would've begged her to share her secrets. How do you put one foot in front of the other that quickly? How are you alive? Why aren't you moaning? How is it humanly possible to run and not weep for death? By the time my phone buzzed for me to start walking again, I was staggering. I could hardly stand up. I was dry-heaving. The skies and trees were whirling.

Let me be clear: this was not a 3 mile run. This was day one of a running program for people who don't run. And I almost threw up on the side of the road.

I walked inside, ripped my shirt off (not like that, I was burning alive) and fell onto the couch. "THIS IS THE WORST DECISION I'VE EVER MADE" I wailed to James. I was about to sob and I didn't even know why. Everything hurt. It was the exact opposite of my refreshing walks. My spirit and muscles were broken.

A few hours later after a large mug of coffee, a nourishing breakfast, and a shower: "yeah, it sucked, but it wasn't that terrible."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the exact reason people do things like go back to school, have more kids, and run.


a real life sunday morning

You wake up via the jingling of your husband's alarm. It jolts you out of a dream about a high school reunion, which explains the headache and mild stomachache. You take a shower, do your hair, eat breakfast, and try to put your makeup on while fielding 500 repetitive questions from your toddler and remind her not to leave her snack on the toilet.

The car starts making a few strange noises on the way to church. You and your husband try to guess what's causing it, which leads to a difference of opinions, which leads to bad moods and attitudes. Your daughter, very out of character, is talking about the nursery and how excited she is to go. This must be a turning point, you think. The past few weeks of happily playing in the nursery must mean things should be smooth-sailing from here on out. You try to shush her while she says "Mommy, what are you doing?" as loud as can be during the prayers, but she takes great offense at being shushed and then asks even louder. You let her stand on the floor, and before you can stop it, she knocks your mug full of coffee over. It falls backwards off the folding chair and lands upside down in the purse of the woman behind you, drenching everything. "DAMN IT" slips out of your mouth, loudly, before you remember you're in church and the pastor is in the middle of a prayer. Grace upon grace, right?

Your husband runs to the bathroom for paper towels while you, completely mortified, apologize to the woman profusely. She is very kind and gracious about the whole thing, but you want to fall into a hole and die. Your daughter watches her father head toward the bathroom and loudly yells "DADDY'S GOING POTTY!" to a silent congregation. You decide to test out your daughter's new found love of the nursery. As soon as you walk in, she bursts into tears. You take her to her favorite toy, a car she can ride, but nothing cheers her up. She refuses to play or unclench the jaws of life grip she has on your neck.

You and your husband have an agreement that should you not return in 5-10 minutes from the nursery, he has to go rescue you as it can only mean you're being held hostage by a small child. Distracted by the coffee incident, he forgets to come to your aid. The clock keeps ticking and the baby keeps crying. You finally take her back to the service. As soon as you walk through the door, she yells "DADDY? WHERE ARE YOU?" while an emotional man gives his testimony on how the Lord saved him. You trade off, and he takes her back to the nursery instead. It doesn't go well. You spend the rest of the service taking turns keeping her quiet and calm. Even though she is not one to be the center of attention for anyone other than close friends and family, she is as chatty and disruptive as can be.

Things get to the point where you have no choice but to leave early. You get her situated in the carseat and are about to close the door when a bee flies inside the car. You are TERRIFIED of bees, and it acts as though it has no intention of leaving. After many minutes of trying to coax it out and keep it away from the babe, it finally leaves. All three of you drive home in frustrated silence, and as soon as you pull into the neighborhood, the babe falls asleep. It may have been a 30 second nap, but all moms know the chances of a crib nap have completely vanished. By this time, your headache has morphed into a migraine.

They say that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Hopefully that doesn't mean that a Sunday of doom brings a week full of gloom.