Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Getting Brighter!

Lately, I have not been a very good example of living the SWEET Life, but I see myself turning a corner . . . My ESL class at Chabot College ends on Tuesday, which will mean more nights at home, eating dinner with my family, making sure my girls get to bed at a decent hour, and ideally, having more time to spend with Nick!

Sleep: The last two nights I have slept well, despite whatever musical beds were being played with my daughters. But I only slept well 6 out of the last 12 nights!

Water: I haven't been drinking enough or paying enough attention to it. Some days I'll fill my pitcher, determined to drink it all, but then I'll be out of the house much of the day or something that throws off my water intake. I'm sure I'd feel better if I drank more and cleaned out my system. It's been about 10 days since I know I drank 8 cups of water in a day.

Eating: That's been a mess too. Mostly, I haven't been paying attention to what I've been eating. Also, I haven't been grocery shopping very much because I'm gone for dinner so often. The end result is that we don't have great food around the house, and I can't honestly say that I've eaten a balanced, healthy diet for the past week.

Exercise: I've been a bit sick this week, so I only exercised Monday and Tuesday. Today, I really should have, but I didn't. Surprisingly, I just bought a new pair of running shoes, which usually really motivates me to go running, but despite having them for a week, I haven't used them yet! It doesn't feel like it to me, but besides this week's illness, I had been exercising 5x/wk.

Tranquility: I don't feel like I've had much Tranquility lately. It seems that whenever I have free time, I spend it doing things that need to be done, like preparing my ESL class, rather than what I would like to do. I don't even know what I would like to do anymore! There are just so many things that I don't know where to start! I've had Tranquility 3 out of 6 days this week.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I had a S_ _ _ T Life.

I've been looking forward to finishing my ESL teaching for so long that that has been my only focus. Everything else has been put aside until after that class is over, so all free time has been devoted to doing what I can to finish the class (lesson planning, grading, thinking ahead to the final exam, etc.). I was smart enough to set aside 4 hours today to spend preparing my final exam. Nick took the girls out of the house, and I worked and worked. They actually came back, lunch in hand, after 3 1/2 hr, and I think I could have finished writing my final if I'd had that extra 1/2 hr. But it's good to know that I'm 90% finished writing it. Working, focused, for that block of time made me feel really relaxed afterwards, like I could just enjoy the rest of my Saturday with my family.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sometimes you need a new routine

Sleep: Zoe still keeps me up most nights, as I mentioned before. But I've gotten more sleep the last 2 nights, partly because I'm not getting up to exercise at 6 a.m.

Water: Yes, I still drink enough water, but I have to focus on it these days; it's not automatic to drink enough.

Eating: I've been using my SWEET Life Plan, front and center on the fridge, which helps me focus on what I'm eating better.

Exercise: This week, I'm focusing on a new exercise routine. I'm giving up my early morning exercise in order to get more sleep because Zoe keeps me up most nights. I'm also interested in teaching group exercise classes at the gym where I work, so I'm trying to take more classes. I planned for a class every day this week, but I only went to two because Maya's been sick and stayed home from preschool (when I was going to take classes). However, I did, also, do some new exercises from Fitness magazine one day, and I biked, dragging the kids in a trailer, one day.

I'm getting into biking these days. I always feel silly when I drive 1/2 miles to Park St. to run errands. When the kids were babies I strollered over there a lot, but now that they are toddlers, they want to walk, but can't walk that far. I biked one mile to the Harbor Bay Club twice this week, with kids in tow. I feel like I just discovered it even though we've had the bike trailer for 3 years. The main problem was that the bikes were not easily accessible, and I had to drag out the trailer, put it together, etc. It would take 1/2 hr just to get set up to ride 1/2 - 1 mile to run errands. Now we have the biking stuff more easily accessible so that it's much faster to set it up and go. Unfortunately, we don't have a garage where we can simply leave the bikes & trailer all ready to go. I'm hoping the combo of biking and exercise classes will keep me motivated to exercise for the next month or so.

Tranquility: I don't feel like I've been getting a lot of tranquility lately. I have some down time, but not a lot of time where I feel very relaxed and content.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a SWEE_ Life.
I was feeling very down and depressed last week, and this week I feel much better, more motivated, happier, etc. I still don't have enough time for the things I want to do, but I don't feel as overwhelmed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Girls Gone Wild at Night

My life hasn’t been very SWEET lately, so I haven’t had much to blog about.

Sleep: A new trend of night terrors and waking has become a bad habit. Zoe wakes up screaming bloody murder, nightly around 12:30 a.m. It’s extremely loud, and if I let her “cry it out,” she ends up waking up Maya and Nick. Then Maya is screaming because she’s been woken up by her little sister’s screams. I thought we’d hit a turning point because Zoe started crawling out of her crib (which she’s known how to do for months but just didn’t do). I thought she’d just walk into our room during the night, which is its own problem, but is much quieter and less disruptive to me. But that only lasted about a week; she’s back to screaming again. Zoe also kicks like crazy in our bed. She’ll push herself down under the covers to the foot of the bed and then crawl back up to the head of the bed, constantly, down & up, down & up, for 2 hours! Seriously! It’s impossible to sleep with her kicking in my bed, but she’ll scream her head off and wake the family if I put her in her crib. It’s crazy.

Then there’s Maya. She regularly wakes up around 3:30 a.m. and comes to our room. At least she’s quiet; I don’t have to get out of bed, and she falls quickly back to sleep after climbing into our bed. However, that puts our queen-size bed total up to four people, including one wiggler, who, alone, is one too many people to sleep with. I often move to Maya’s, now, conveniently empty bed, where I sleep wonderfully, alone, however many hours there are left to sleep.

Yet, I have not even mentioned the difficulties we have in getting our girls to GO to bed. This problem started, as I expected, shortly after I started working 4 nights a week. I knew I would lose all control over bedtime and bedtime routines. I was, in a sense, happy to relinquish all responsibility for bedtime to my husband. However, I did not expect to come home at 10 p.m., exhausted and ready to go to sleep, and, on the contrary, find dinner dishes on the kitchen table, girls wide awake, laughing and running around, fully clothed, and without their teeth brushed! At 10 p.m.! After a couple months of becoming grumpy the instant I walked through the door to the excited greetings from my wide-awake girls, I finally had to tell Nick that it would make me . . . “less unhappy” . . . if I came home and at least the dinner table were cleared and the girls were ready for bed. Of course, what would make me HAPPY would be that the kitchen were clean and the girls were asleep, but I decided I might get better results if I asked for the minimum that would keep my mood neutral. So now, after a few months of girls gone wild at night, they are used to (1) staying up until 10-11 p.m. (they are 2 & 3 yr old!) and (2) passing out from exhaustion, with mom/dad, on our bed, which they affectionately call “snuggling.”

Well, I’m at a point where I can definitely count down the days until my Tu, Th evening ESL class ends: May 27, within this month, 3 weeks away, 7 class days left. That’s encouraging but still feels far off. Once it’s over, I’ll be home more evenings to get the girls in a “bedtime mode.” When I AM home for bedtime, it starts right ager dinner, which I make sure ends by 8:00. At 8:00 we brush teeth, put on p.j.’s, use the potty/change diapers, put away toys, and read stories, with lights out at 9:00. But then they want to “snuggle” or the aren’t tired enough to sleep because they’re used to staying up 1-2 hours longer!

The problem is that it’s really taking its toll on me. Why not on anyone else? I’m grumpy, less productive, hooked on caffeine, more emotional (for example, less patient), generally run down, and unhappy. The SWEET Life starts with Sleep, but I haven’t been getting enough for a few months now. That means I’m too tired to Exercise in the morning; too tired to pay attention to drinking enough Water or to Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and I spend what could be Tranquility time “survival napping,” which isn’t the same thing as Tranquility.

How do I get my girls to (1) go to sleep in their own beds (2) at an earlier time? And (3) sleep through the night? In their own beds?