Sunday, April 29, 2012

My covert lactivist mission

Can anyone give me a good reason why the sign for a nursing room would have a symbol of a bottle on it??



It couldn't be that the room was meant for bottle feeding moms. The room is clearly labeled as a "nursing room". And besides, who expects bottle feeding moms to go to a special room to feed their babies? They can just feed their babies out in the food court where everyone else eats! No, that can't be it.


Maybe the people that made the sign couldn't find a symbol for nursing that is universally recognizable? I mean, the bottle is widely recognized as a symbol of infant feeding. But there's the international breastfeeding symbol, so that couldn't be it!


Maybe the person in charge of the sign knew that children would be walking by and wanted to avoid posting something inappropriate? But nursing is not obscene, and is actually intended for children! That certainly couldn't be the reason for the nonsensical symbol choice.


The only logical conclusion is that it must have been a simple mistake! Yes, that must be it. And if it was a mistake, surely they'd be thankful if someone corrected it?



There, that's better.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Segmented Sleep Fail

It's not SS's fault though. This one's all on me. After that lovely update last week about how well segmented sleeping was going, I totally fell off the wagon. Oops.

On Wednesday nights, we have Bible studies at our house, and at my 9PM bedtime I still had a houseful of people. On Thursday, I decided to stay up late because I had been up late the night before, and I knew I would be up late again on Friday. On Friday, my wonderful DH took me out for my birthday! He invited another couple that we're close to and we went downtown to see a Broadway show!!! I had such a blast. I used to dance, years ago, so I very much enjoyed seeing all the dancing. Saturday night I had to stay up late to finish making snacks for children's church the next morning. And last night I was just too lazy to go to bed early. It's been a busy, exhausting week.

Half life, half loss of motivation. All bummer though. I've felt so good on the days that I have stuck with my program that I'm really determined to give it a good shot, I'm just not sure if life will let me! We're driving to our old town tonight for a visitation service, and I'm not sure if we'll be back before 9, and even if we are, there's a good chance that the kids won't transfer seamlessly from the car to their beds and I'll have to stay up late to get one or both of them back to sleep. But if we do get back in time for me to go to bed by 9 or 9:30, and if the kids are also in bed by that time, I'm going to give this another shot tonight, and then hopefully again tomorrow night. I know I'll have to stay up past 9 on Wednesday night, but hopefully I'll be able to go to bed early the rest of the nights this week. I'll keep you posted on how it's going!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just a quick sleep update!

You can read more about my sleep experiment here.

It's 4AM and I've got to get back to sleep, but I wanted to go ahead and update really quickly since I have a busy day planned tomorrow and I'm not sure if I'll have time.


Before I get to the update, let me first explain about our normal sleeping arrangements so that the update will make more sense. Most nights in our home, The four of us start out in different rooms. I'll be in the bed in our room, DH will be on the couch, and the kids will each be in their own beds. Why does DH sleep on the couch? Do we hate each other that much? Nope. There are several reasons, actually. One is that after a couple of years of often working late nights, he's gotten in the habit of accidentally falling asleep on the couch while watching a little late night tv to unwind. My pregnancy with Tristan only encouraged that habit- I had to sleep with this huge pregnancy pillow to get comfortable, and there wasn't much room for him in the bed. The other is that since our family is big on co-sleeping/nighttime parenting, if both kids come into the big bed with me, there's just not room for him. It's a little sad, and I'm totally kicking myself for not getting the king sized bed back when we got furniture early in marriage. Co-sleeping was not on my radar back then! But don't feel too bad for my DH- our couch is actually more comfortable than our bed, and a lot of the time he actually prefers sleeping out there! So anyway, most nights we all start out in separate rooms/beds. Hayden will usually come into the big bed with me around midnight or 1AM. Tristan is the wild card- sometimes he'll come into bed with me around 1 or 2 AM, and then other nights he'll sleep most or all of the night in his bed, and not come into my room until 5 or 7AM. (See- they really do sleep on their own when they're ready!) I know this arrangement might not work for everyone, but it works well for us. I believe that nighttime parenting is just as important as daytime parenting, and that babies and young children weren't designed to sleep on their own. I think that the security that I can give my kids by being close to them if they need it during the night is well worth a couple of years of sacrificing "normal" sleeping arrangements. (More on that in another post.) Our marriage is faring wonderfully, BTW. Sleeping 8 hours in the same bed every night is nice, but certainly not a requirement or a sign of a good marriage. (Why do I feel like I'm defending my choices on my own blog? Moving on...)

Night one of segmented sleep went fairly well. I went to bed at 9PM, and slept all night until about 5AM when Tristan came in to nurse. I think I might have woken up earlier if he had, but since he slept in his bed most of the night, and since I was a bit sleep deprived going into this thing, I slept hard for about 8 hours. (Hayden came into bed with me around some point, but I don't usually wake up when she comes in. She usually just sneaks in and snuggles up- Tristan closes doors loudly and then wants to nurse. ;) ) I felt pretty alert at 5AM, but even though I'd had 8 hours of sleep I was nervous about getting up that early. 5AM is eeeaaaarly, for me anyway. I didn't want to be super groggy all day. I went to the bathroom and surfed the net for about 15 minutes, and then decided to lay back in bed to see what happened. I wasn't tired at first, so I had some nice, peaceful moments just laying there in the peace and quiet. It's rare that I get to just lay down alone with my thoughts. It was sooo relaxing- so relaxing that I fell back asleep. I wasn't sure if I had fallen back to sleep until I realized I was dreaming about someone's carpeted stairs and tiny bathroom- not sure where that came from. When my alarm went off at 7AM, I was pretty groggy. It took me a little while to orient myself and drag myself out of bed. I'm guessing I had too much sleep and I should have just gotten up at 5, after 8 hours of sleep. Oh well, live and learn, I suppose. The day went great though- no sleepiness, no grumpiness!

I'm in the middle of night two right now! DH took me out for a date night, and we got home around 8. I had to finish putting the kids to bed, and checked my facebook and stuff, and then I realized it was getting close to my new bedtime. I dawdled a little bit, then decided that I needed to stick to my commitment! (Good thing I'm blogging about it to keep myself accountable!) Plus I was feeling really tired- more tired than I usually do at that point in the night. I'm trying to listen closer to my body's sleep cues, so maybe that's why. I left a couple dishes unfinished in the sink, which I never do, and I opted out of my nighttime snack, which I also never do, and went to bed around 9:30. Slept great, and then woke up right at 3AM. Felt decently awake, and even more awake after I went to the bathroom. I grabbed my iPad and headed out into the living room- where I realized DH was sleeping. Oops. He asked me what in the world I was doing(I guess it's hard to remember your wife's crazy sleep experiment when you're asleep yourself), and I told him that I was just coming out to be awake for a little while. I sat on the other couch for about a minute before I realized I was going to be too disturbing for him. Hayden was sleeping in my bed already, so that left her room open and I headed in there. I'm starving, but don't want to go into the kitchen and risk waking DH up by making something. Hayden woke up after about 10 minutes and realized I was gone. I put her back to sleep in my bed, told her I'd be back in a little bit, etc, and then came back in her room. I'm not sure how much she understood, because a couple of minutes later she went into the living room and said something to DH. I'm not sure what happened there or what they worked out, but it sounds like she's now asleep in my bed again. So, a couple of kinks thrown in my plan tonight, but time will tell if they're workable or if they make this plan unrealistic for our family. I did get an hour and a half of alone time though! It's almost 4:30, and if I go back to sleep now, I should be able to get 8 hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 7. Sounds good to me! I'm interested to see how I feel in the morning. And I can't wait to eat the big bowl of yogurt and berries I've been craving since last night!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Giving segmented sleep a shot.

I haven't been getting enough sleep. This is a big problem. I'm not a good mom when I don't get enough sleep. Lets face it- I'm not a good person when I don't get enough sleep. It's been a while since I've gotten a decent amount of sleep, but this problem has been getting really bad lately and so I'm shooting it right up to the top of my priority list.


As I've explained before, we're right in the middle of a church plant, so my husband is out of the house a lot. Also, my children don't take naps. I don't know whose brilliant idea that was, but it certainly wasn't mine!!! Most days, the only time I get to myself is after the kids go to bed. I'm a big introvert, and I really need that alone time! But lately, I've been using that as an excuse to be totally lazy after the kids go to bed. Most of the time I'm too tired to actually do anything productive, but I don't want to waste my alone time, so I stay up and surf the net, or watch tv, or something like that. Those things are nice to just veg out sometimes, but they're not exactly refreshing, you know? Watching tv doesn't feed my soul. Surfing the net doesn't help me grow as a person or be a better mom tomorrow. (Ok, well sometimes it does. Depends on what I'm reading.) Point is, I need to be more intentional with my time. I want to spend my downtime doing something that will help me be a better person, or at least doing something that refreshes me(reading a book, taking a quiet bath, writing, etc), instead of just vegging on the tv or computer. But it's hard for me to focus on making those positive choices and changes when I'm so darn tired!


I don't know about you, but I don't function when I'm tired. At all. I didn't get enough sleep the night before last, and then last night I once again stayed up later than I should have. After I did finally go to bed around 1AM, I ended up laying in bed for 2 hours trying to get to sleep. That 7AM alarm was just horrific this morning. DH didn't get much sleep last night either, but I guess he woke up during a better part of his sleep cycle than I did, because thankfully he got up with the kids when they woke up. I spent the next hour in bed, trying desperately to open my eyes and get out of bed. I felt absolutely dead to the world. Around 8 I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, and I literally stumbled into the kitchen and went straight for the coffeepot. Things only went downhill from there- Hayden refused to eat her breakfast without my help, and I refuse to help her since she's almost 4 years old and perfectly capable of feeding herself. We were both frustrated, and I ended up missing my workout this morning because I didn't want to take her out of the house without any food in her stomach- that's a sure recipe for disaster. Our whole morning was chaotic and frustrating. Aside from the obvious, I couldn't figure out why I was in such a terrible mood. It hit me around noon- I didn't get enough sleep last night! I can't keep doing this!


Then I thought back to last Monday, when I woke up from my first night giving segmented sleep a try. I felt amazing and my whole day went wonderfully! Totally opposite of how today started out. So as much as I hate going to bed early, and as much as I feel like I need to drag out my alone time at night as much as possible, what I really need is to get enough rest. I'm working so hard doing the GAPS diet, and it would really be a shame to sabotage both my body and my emotions by not being disciplined enough to get enough sleep. My kids deserve a mom that is awake and attentive too- and I'm sure my husband would appreciate not being snapped at because I'm tired. I need to make this happen!


I'm blogging about this to keep myself accountable- and because maybe some of you out there have a similar problem? I've decided to give segmented sleep a try. Segmented sleep is the concept of sleeping for 4 hours, having 1-2 awake hours in the middle of the night, and then sleeping 4 more hours. Some people say that's how humans used to sleep before the invention of electricity. I have no idea if it's true or not, but the idea makes enough sense in my mind that I at least want to give it a shot. I know every night when I put the kids to sleep, I'm so tired that I usually fall asleep in their beds for a couple of minutes. Wouldn't it make sense for me to go to bed then, when my body's telling me that it's tired?


I'm not sure if segmented sleep is a great idea or a stupid one. But it's something different, and I'm hoping that the novelty of trying something different will keep me motivated to really keep going with this. I also know that I'll be a lot more likely to go to bed super early if I know that I can have a couple of hours in the middle of the night that I can use to get stuff done.


I'm starting tonight! I'm planning to go to bed around 9, and the idea would be that I'll be awake from approximately 1-3AM, and then sleep again from 3-7. I'm not going to be setting an alarm for 1AM though, so I'll only get up if I wake up at some point and feel alert.


Do you have trouble getting enough sleep? Have you ever tried segmented sleep?






Monday, April 2, 2012

Thank you, GAPS!!!

I've been on the GAPS diet for about 8 weeks now, and boy oh boy have I seen some results!!! I'm very excited about how I'm progressing. I'm still doing full GAPS- I haven't done the intro yet or added in any supplements. I do have some fermented cod liver oil on the way, and I'm planning on ordering some probiotics in the next day or two, so hopefully adding those two things will only help accelerate the healing!!!


One awesome change that I've seen is that my seasonal allergies have all but disappeared!!! I've had awful allergies since my teens. I couldn't even really call them seasonal because they bothered me year round. Springtime was the absolute worst though! Months at a time would go by without me being able to breathe through my nose at all. It sucked, but after so many years it was just a normal part of life for me. I'm so, so thrilled to report that I haven't struggled at all with my allergies this year- even with spring approaching(and basically in full swing here in south Texas- we've hit 90 degrees already). I'm breathing through my nose! I don't have to carry kleenex around with me wherever I go! I don't have to keep toilet paper(for blowing my nose) in every room of the house! So awesome!

Tissue box cover
I wish I'd had a tissue box this cute!

One of my biggest reasons that I started GAPS was to try to get a handle on my hormones/PMS/anxiety. It's been something I've dealt with for years, and it's really been a thorn in my side. A couple of years ago, I was so depressed that I could barely function. I was on the edge of being suicidal on my worst days. Now that I know what I know about GAPS, I realize that I was literally poisoning myself with my diet, and that my gut disfunction was having a direct impact on my mental health. (GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome- my gut was messed up and it was effecting me psychologically, big time!) My lowest point was just before I cut gluten out of my diet. Not only did I have a leaky gut, but I was feeding my leaky gut something that I was extremely allergic to! No wonder I felt so horrible!!!


I started taking a quality fish oil(Norwegian gold critical omega- I highly recommend them) and exercising, and that made enough of a difference so that I was able to function on most days. But when that time of the month rolled around? All bets were off. Seriously off. I literally felt like a crazy person whenever my hormones would start going nuts. I would get panicky. I would think horrible thoughts about myself and others. The slightest irritation would seem huge to me- things like music too loud, the kids touching me, or even anything out of place(OCD?) would be enough to almost send me over the edge. I felt like I had no control over myself. I tried really, really hard to control the way that I was feeling, and to not lash out, but it was almost impossible. Sometimes I'd just erupt- even as I was trying not to. I hated it. My family hated it too. It was like something was taking over my mind and body, and each time I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could get back to being me again.


Not only did I deal with that before my period started, but I dealt with it before I ovulated too. Twice a cycle I'd become a crazy person with little control over myself. It'd last for 3 or 4 days, with the last day being the worst. On top of all that, I'd had 40 day cycles for several years- 10 or 11 days longer than a normal, healthy cycle.

shark bait nebula (red)

This January's cycle was unforgettable. On January 1st I cut out sugar completely. I wasn't expecting that change to dramatically shorten my cycle, but it did. So when I started getting those horrible PMS symptoms, I didn't realize what was going on. I thought I was just having a really bad couple of days. On the third day or so, I was having a really crummy day, and DH said something to me that he shouldn't have.(To his credit, it wasn't nearly as bad as my reaction.) I fell apart. I got in the shower and sobbed. I had super powerful thoughts of hurting myself. I spent half an hour in the shower trying to silence those thoughts and regain composure. I was so scared. I hadn't felt or thought that way in over a year, and I had no idea what was going on. I eventually got control of myself, and DH apologized, which helped me to feel a bit better.(I was too scared and emberassed to even tell him what had happened.) Even though the worst was past, the range of emotion I had felt was so huge that I felt like I had been hit by a truck, even the next morning. When my cycle started that evening, I was shocked! I hadn't had a 29 day cycle in about 7 years.


That was my last cycle before I started GAPS. My first cycle on GAPS was a bit better than that, but still pretty awful. But the second one? Big difference. First of all, I barely even noticed when I ovulated, vs. the crazy hormonal mess that ovulation used to throw at me. Three days before my period, I started to feel a little emotional. I teared up near the end of a killer Crossfit workout. I was a little irritable. Nothing too bad. The next day, I was fine. The third day, the day before my period started, things got a little worse. (This would normally be the worst day for me, the day where in January I totally lost it.) I definitely felt hormonal, irritable, and a little anxious. But I was able to keep it under control!!! It took effort, quite a bit of effort. With just about every thought, I had to consiously remind myself to calm down, that this was just PMS, and I could make it through. I'll be honest, I did yell a couple of times. But before I would have yelled, and kept yelling, and wouldn't have been able to make myself stop. But I was able to make myself stop this time, and calm down almost instantly. It was definitely still a struggle, but one I can handle! I'm hoping that things continue to improve the longer that I'm on GAPS, but even if they don't, I've at least got something I know I can handle now!!! That's a huge deal.


And another 29 day cycle! I've had 40 day cycles for almost 7 years now. Isn't that amazing- that after just a couple of weeks of dietary change, my cycles changed from 40 days to 29 days??? I've known that diet can make a difference in your health. But to see it with my own eyes, in my own body, and in such a dramatic way, is just amazing!!! Thank you, GAPS!!!