Friday, June 21, 2013

What To Do When You Are "Nutso."

My brain's been going a bit nutso lately.  ("Nutso - something or someone that goes beyond crazy."

I taped paper to my wall and labeled it "China Checklist."  Everyday I write on my paper on the wall.  Literally and figuratively, this list hangs over me.  My subconscious clock ticking loudly in my ears, "Nine weeks.  Nine weeks."  

Every item in my home causes my brain to ask, "Pack it?  Store it? Sell it? Give it?"  Every. single. item. all. day. long.

And then most every day I do absolutely no packing, storing, selling or giving.  Nor do I actually cross anything off my China Checklist.

But I fall into bed exhausted.  And then awaken at unearthly hours and lie there for sometimes a couple hours with a zillion thoughts racing through my head.

Then my poor husband gets pelted with those zillion thoughts the following day.  

I read that fatigue makes normally routine tasks seem nearly impossible.  And I thought, perhaps that is why the daily maintenance of life, home, and children feels so very hard.

And perhaps that is why the thought of moving our life, home, and children across the world is making me, well, nut-so.  (And yes, we've done this global move before, but no, it doesn't make it easier.)

The other thing about fatigue is that it makes you want to exercise not at all.  Exercise has fallen so far down on my to-do list, it's not even there anymore.  Like, I wasn't even feeling bad about not exercising.  I mean, hefting a 25 lb baby all day, and squatting over strewn Duplos, and carrying loads of groceries, that's exercise, right??  Apparently not the kind that melts muffin tops.

But I had a revelation today.

I need exercise.

No, I need exercise.  Real exercise.  The sweaty kind.

And not for melting my muffin top.

You see, my brain was ready to boil over. The day was stretching forever long and these kids were stretching me crazy and it was only 10am.

So I click on a youtube Zumba.  And the kids get giddy with the beat.  And we all dance and punch and sweat and jump.

And it feels glorious.

When we're all done, my brain takes a long exhale.  Suddenly I am ready to move forward, with this day, with this move, with this life.  And I say to myself, "I think I have figured out why everyone says exercise is so important."

I'm smart like that.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Travel Tips Learned the Hard Way

We just got back from a whirl wind of flights, family, and friends.  We hugged loved ones we haven't seen for way too long and won't see again for much too long.  It was joy, and it was crazy.  It was exhausting, and it was good.  

I also considered it a sort of practice run for our big flight across the ocean come late August.  The flight out east was a smashing success.  The kids did beautifully.  No screaming, peeing or puking involved.  Fellow travelers praised us for the kids' contentment. We even had some jolting turbulents at one point.  In our back row seats, as we bounced around the kids yelled, "Woo Hooo! This is fun!!  It's like a roller coaster!"  Yep, kids, just like a roller coaster (minus the tracks and 35,000 foot drop below us.)

I walked off that flight mentally patting myself on the back for what great travelers I've made my kids into.  Exposure therapy, I call it.  

Well, fast forward to our late night flight home.  Apparently, our three year old hasn't yet learned that the terrible two's are supposed to be over with.   He reached critical mass where absolutely no form of appeasement or discipline would make him stop screaming his head off.  

The entire time, as Aaron and I swapped kids, thrusting them up and over the backs of seats, I kept thinking to myself, "This is only a four and a half hour flight!  God help us all on the fifteen hour flight."

At the end of the flight, I gave a very weary, "Thank you for your patience" to our seat mates, God love 'em.  I couldn't help giving a snarly look to our very RUDE and unhelpful flight attendant.  I was somewhat soothed by the sweet British passenger that said, "If it's any consolation, every mother on the flight has been there too."

I am sure there are spiritual applications I should make in all of this.  However, all I have to offer today are some "traveling with children advice" that I plan to implement for our big international flights to come.  

So here ya go: 

1.  Do NOT fly late at night if at all possible.  I know the whole idea is that the kids will sleep, making the whole trip easier on you, the parent.  But guess what!  It doesn't work.  Your kid may eventually fall asleep, but only after throwing an I-am-tired-out-of-my-mind tantrum.  Or maybe that's just my kid.

2.  Bring over-the-head ear phones for toddler/preschoolers, because they HATE earbuds in their ears.  Or at least try out what your kid is comfortable with before the flight.  Otherwise all of your carefully selected apps and videos may be for naught.  

3.  Make goodie bags for passengers around you, complete with ear plugs.  I've seen examples of this online, with cute witty notes you put in the goodie bags to help endear your little monsters to those around you.  I didn't bother with it this trip.  I WILL be doing this next time.  

4.  Plead for prayer, prayer, prayer!!  I walked on that last flight over-confident, mentally and spiritually unprepared.  You better believe I am going to be asking/begging every last one of you to be holding up in prayer our future flight, move, and transition.  

There you have it, my take-aways from our not-so-pleasant flight.

Did I mention our car battery was dead when we got to the parking lot?

What's your best travel advice?