Monday, November 05, 2012

I Moved

We have moved! Please visit www.eubankseutopia.wordpress.com to continue on the journey.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E27

November 1, 2012
This happened yesterday, but since it was trick-or-treat fest, I didn't have time to write until now.

J3 has a speech delay. He is 3.5 but he is talking much like an 18-24 month old. Think language explosion, but it's still hard for most people (excepting those of us who live with him) to understand what he is saying a lot of the time. And even we sometimes can't figure it out.

Yesterday as we were sitting around the dinner table eating pizza and sandwiches (no cooking for me on Halloween!), J3 told us in his disconnected way that he had had to go in time-out today at preschool. I asked him what he did to have a time out, and he said something that sounded like "house everywhere." Kinda makes sense, right? Maybe some kind of a doll house, or a block building, and he scattered it everywhere? So I repeated, "House everywhere?" and he said, "No. House." "House?" "No. Everywhere." "Everywhere" "no." "Horse? are you saying horse?" "No, HOUSE". "House everywhere?"

We went on like that for several minutes, with other family members chipping in with more versions of "house" and "horse" and something like "everywhere." Finally I guess he got tired of it, because he just shrugged, smiled out of the side of his mouth, and said in a tone of disappointment, "Shawy guysh." (sorry guys).

It was enough to make this mama's heart break just a little bit.


Monday, October 29, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E26

October 26, 2012
Let's play a game: Look at this picture for 20 seconds, then look away and write down everything you remember. Ok, you don't really have to play.

Know what this random pile of things is? Can you guess? I'll give you a few seconds to think...


***


***


***


***


Answer: Things found stuffed inside a sub-woofer.

I don't know much about sub-woofers. It's some kind of speaker that goes along with the other speakers that we used to have attached to our surround-sound DVD player. They're not connected anymore because... we have boys... and it just doesn't work.  We'll try again in a couple years. But it might not work then either.

So, the sub-woofer is a rectangular cube (thank you S7 for teaching me that vocab word) with a speaker on one of the big sides and a hole on the top of one of the smaller sides. I don't know what the hole is for, but since it's a speaker, I imagine it has something to do with enhancing the sound. Over the years we knew the kids were shoving toys into the hole. Recently D found a way to empty the sub-woofer of its contents, and this is what we found. I don't know if this is funny to anybody else, but we both cracked up at the randomness and some of the items we haven't seen in years and have forgotten about. A binky (we haven't used binky's in, oh, 2 years). An old credit card. Stickers. Batman. Etc. The first thing we both though was "We have to take a picture!"

I feel like I wrote the word sub-woofer way too many times.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E25

October 27th

Halloween. Costumes. Candy.


Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I'm not a fan of scary costumes OR candy OR spending loads of money at the store for a ridiculously chinsey costume that will be worn for 2 hours.

There is a little weirdness-factor for me, being that everything is suppose to be scary and gross, the focus on death and creepy things in the decorations. I love the "fall" stuff - scarecrows, pumpkins, indian corn. But the scary Halloween stuff bothers me. I also have a resistance to it, being the "devil's holiday," because of my evangelical Christian upbringing. We did "celebrate" Halloween in my family, but there was a definite focus on the fun side of it - getting candy, and dressing up in fun costumes (we weren't allowed to do scary costumes).

As a parent now, I struggle with the "scary costume" thing. I'm not a fan of anything scary. I REALLY REALLY hate scary movies, and I don't get the whole zombie obsession. But I do realize that it's sort of a part of our culture, and maybe it's not such a big deal to let the kids dress up in scary costumes for Halloween. Maybe it's just my personality, and not anything more. I don't know.

I also have a hard time knowing what to do with all that candy. I know there are options - trade it in for money at the dentist, send it to the military, etc. But honestly, I don't even know if my kids would go for those options. They love candy. And I hate it. I'm a little on the extreme side when it comes to "no sugar" for my kids. I don't deny them cake at birthday parties, and I let them eat the miscellaneous candies they bring home from school or whatever. But as a general rule, I don't buy sweets to just have around the house. But when Halloween comes (followed by Christmas, Valentine's Day, and then Easter) it's the beginning of the holiday candy craze. I don't want to be a poop and say "NO CANDY EVER," but there is just always a "good" reason to have candy. I've tried the "eat as much as you want" idea, so the candy is gone sooner. I've tried the "only 2 pieces a day" thing so they're not eating a TON - but then they're eating candy every day for 6 straight months and becoming addicted to sugar, and they start to think that they "get" to have candy every day, and I don't like that expectation either. Ugh.

Then there's the other issue of costumes. My frugal and artistic sides scream at me "DO NOT BUY COSTUMES!" They're a HUGE waste of money, and isn't it better to be creative and make your own costumes? Not that I sit for hours at a sewing machine creating beautiful artistic costumes, but I'm talking, go to the thrift store, throw some things together, and be a Pirate or a Grandma or something like that. Then there's the uber-busy, side of me screaming "I DON'T HAVE TIME!" I don't even have time to think about planning make-your-own costumes, let alone actually going to the store and finding the pieces and then putting them all together. Halloween is only 5 days away, and my girls still don't have costumes, and they're bugging me about it constantly.

The lies are creeping into my brain: "If you buy a costume, you're wasting money and giving in to commercialism" FAIL. "You don't have time to make a costume now, you should have done this weeks ago" FAIL. "What on earth are you going to do about all that candy" FAIL.

So I have decided to reject the lies that I'm a failure at Halloween. I am going to buy costumes. I'm going to go to the dollar store and buying the cheapest costumes I can find. And I'm not a failure. I'm going to chalk it up to "I just can't do everything." I can't do everything I would like to do, and I can't even do everything that I think I should do. That doesn't make me a failure. It makes me human. And that's ok, and I'm going to choose to be ok with it.

Do you think I over-think things? I think maybe I do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1: E24

October 25, 2012
It's a beautiful, rare, 75 degree, late October day here in Indiana, and my child is wearing snow boots because  I cannot find his shoes. I have searched the house high and low. They're probably hanging out with all the missing socks, hair ties, and pens I can never find. {Incidentally, have I mentioned we're reading The Borrowers? Things that make you go hmmmmm....} All the other kids at Dance/Gymnastice were wearing flip flops, and we show up in snow boots. But on the bright side, there was another mom there telling me about her mom-failure - she forgot to pack stuff to do for the kid who wasn't in the class but had to tag along. It's easy for me to say, "big deal" to her, but at the same time I'm judging myself because my kid is wearing boots.



Stuff like that (what I might harshly and superfluously (did I use that word right?) call "bad mom" moments, or "failures") are just dumb things that don't really matter. The girl with "nothing to do" found things to do. And my kid with the snow boots on doesn't wear them for class anyway. So whatever. THESE THINGS DON'T MAKE US BAD MOMS. It's ironic that I was a foster parent for about 3 years, and have seen first hand what truly "bad parenting" looks like. So bad, in fact, that the government actually decided to terminate parental rights and give those rights over to some other parents (ME, no less!). It takes a lot for that to happen, it truly does. And yet I can beat myself up over sandals vs. boots in October. What is wrong with me? Why is it always a competition to be the best mom? To have the best kids? To always look good in the eyes of everyone around me? Other moms look so "together" and I feel like such a mess. But what I'm trying to learn is, SO WHAT? So what if I look like a mess? So what if they all judge me? The only person I have to worry about judging me is God, and He loves me. He knows my heart, he knows my struggles, and HE LOVES MY KIDS INFINITELY MORE THAN I DO. So what if my kid is wearing snow boots when its 75 degrees out. Is he hurt by it? Did he eat today? Did he go to the dentist today? (In fact, he did!) Did somebody help him wipe his butt today? Has he had a bath lately? THOSE are the things that make a good mom. Maybe I need to start focusing on all the things that make me a GOOD mom instead of worrying about the so-called failures of every day. Let's all do that, ok?

The key word for my life right now seems to be "Freedom." Freedom from lies. Freedom from perfectionism. Freedom from comparison. I'm in the middle of this transformation, and I'm not sure where it's going to take me, but I am looking forward to finding out.



Also, our pumpkin is melting. I guess pumpkins aren't made for warm October weather.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E23

October 24th, 2012 {Our 9th anniversary}!

1. Last night, I was reading a bedtime story to the girls. Conversation as follows:
J6: (randomly interrupting the story, which is not that uncommon) Mom, if somebody is having trouble breathing when they go to bed, will they die in their sleep?

S7: Yes. If you stop breathing, you're dead.

Me: No, that's not true, you can stop breathing for a little while without dying. (long explanation ensues about CPR/rescue breathing, etc. I didn't even think about the fact that you can hold your breath! duh!)

S7: (regarding "mouth-to-mouth") EEEWWWW! that's gross, that's like kissing!!!

Me: Anyway, why are you asking about this?

J6: Because I wanted to know if I'm gonna die while I'm sleeping.

{Earlier in the evening she was playing outside and fell, and got the wind knocked out of her. Apparently it was still bothering her a bit. Not sure if it was actually her lungs, or her ribs that were sore, but I gave her a breathing treatment (she has very mild and very occasional asthma), just to be safe. She made it through the night thankfully.}

Oh my goodness, the things kids think of!!

2. Fast forward a bit to this morning... the hubs and I are chatting in the kitchen for a few minutes (which is obviously the perfect time for the kids to get into trouble, right? because they don't want their parents to EVER give ANYONE but them ANY attention.) Anyway, so our conversation ends, D walks into the living room to discover T3 and J3 have milk on their heads. MILK. On their HEADS. Yep, our clever little T3 has a fascination with holding his sippy cup upside down and shaking. The whole "non spill" thing is a BIG FAT LIE! But that might be because I can't bring myself to spend $7 on a sippy cup when down on the bottom shelf they have some for $2.

This is his grumpy face because I was about to make him take a shower to wash the milk out of his hair. He hates showers. MUAaaaahhhaaahhhaaaahhhaaahaaa!

3. I am reading The Borrowers to the girls for their bedtime story. S7 told me tonight that she didn't like it because it makes her scared that they are real (we are only on the 2nd chapter). I said, "They're not real. They're like little fairies." And she replied, just as straight faced as can be, "Yeah, but I know fairies are real, because I saw one when I was two." I asked her some questions about it, because I've never seen a fairy before. I found out that this fairy was maybe 2 inches tall, and made a sound like jingling bells. I'm not saying whether or not fairies are real. But if she says she saw one, I'm not gonna deny the possibility.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E22



Me, unplugged, again:

I mentioned in a previous post that I have struggled with anger. It started about 4 years ago, and at that time it was mainly during a certain time of the month, only it was MUCH worse than what had previously been normal for me. My doctor prescribed a couple different anti-depressants, but the first one gave me migraines and the second one gave me a rash. So I decided I would have no more of that. I started taking St. John’s Wort, and that helped quite a bit with the anger, but not 100%. 

This past Spring I did my first Beth Moore Bible study. The study was called “Believing God” and I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about it at first, because I’m always skeptical about "Christian" products. I can’t even begin to explain how timely it was in my life. About a month into it (March of 2012), I started having all kinds of weird physical symptoms like shortness of breath, light headedness, trouble sleeping, extreme exhaustion, etc. Convinced I had a heart or lung problem, I went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with stress-induced-anxiety. She wanted to put me on an anti-depressant/anxiety medication. I agreed to try it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I did NOT want to take it. Sure, part of it was pride – I didn’t want to be one of “those” people who can’t solve their own problems and need drugs to help them feel better. (Not judging – everyone has to do what they feel is best. Just being honest about my feelings). But it was mostly the simple fact that I prefer the natural over the medical whenever possible. AD’s are known to be difficult to get off of, as well as for dulling ALL of the emotions, not just the negative ones. So my wonderful, supportive husband and I brainstormed some ways to reduce stress in my life. We decided that the kids could pitch in more with daily chores, and got them on a weekly dishes/floors/bathrooms routine. 

It has helped tremendously, but true healing had to happen within my heart and soul as well. The week of my appointment, the topic in Bible study was “I am who God says I am.” I’ve forgotten the details, but the one thing that stands out in my mind is that she said the devil will take our insecurities about ourselves, and make us believe that they are true. My own insecurities stem from the {false} belief that I have to be REALLY GOOD at EVERYTHING that is good to do. I have to be A REALLY GOOD wife, a REALLY GOOD mom (and within those two categories alone there are countless other things to have to be REALLY GOOD at). I have to make nutritious, homemade meals that my kids actually like. I have to keep my body physically fit – for my health, and also for my husband (I don’t want to become unattractive to him). I have to be a REALLY GOOD housekeeper, because it would be horrible if someone came over and saw my messy house. I have to be involved in the community, involved at church, involved at my kids’ school. I have to help my kids with their homework, and with their friends, and make sure they’re really great, amazing kids so nobody thinks I’m a bad parent. The list is endless. And I become insecure about myself when I feel like I’m not measuring up to what I “should” be. When I saw that perspective – that I’m convinced that my insecurities about myself are true – I was able to recognize them for the lies they are. So my house is a mess. So I get grumpy sometimes. I can’t possibly be perfect at EVERYTHING all the time.  I can’t possibly be super involved in EVERYTHING. And I DON’T HAVE TO. I am who GOD says I am, not who the world or society says I should be, or who the devil says I am, or even who I think I am, or who I think I want to be. 

In addition to spiritual healing, I also knew I needed physical healing. I contacted my friend from high school who is a Certified Naturopath (I think of it as kind of like a “healer” of the olden days – I love it!). I asked her for a recommendation for treating anxiety naturally, expecting her to tell me the name of an herbal supplement. She told me that the best thing for most health concerns is a clean diet, meaning fresh food, not factory produced or processed. I started praying for God to open doors for me to feed my family natural, fresh food. Since then I have found a local farmer to buy milk and eggs from, another local farmer from whom I have bought beef and chickens, and I’ve been able to purchase locally processed clean lard from the farmer’s market. I also spent all summer buying about 75% of my produce from local produce stands and/or the farmer’s market. 

Once I realized what my problem was, I was able to see the correlation between stress and anxiety. Whenever I felt that 5 different things were demanding my attention at the exact same time, I would start to panic. If I came home from the grocery store at lunch time, I didn’t know what to do first.  Let the dogs out? Make lunch? Put the groceries away? Take meat out of the freezer for dinner? Everything seemed to scream at me “TAKE CARE OF ME RIGHT NOW!!!!” Sounds crazy, I know. My therapy for those moments was to make tea. At first it was a physical remedy – herbal tea is calming, so if I feel panicked, I should make tea. After a while I realized that the very act of pausing to make tea gave me a few minutes to order my priorities, and by the time the tea was made I was already feeling better. Over time, the panic attacks have become less frequent and less severe.

It has been about 6 months now since that initial appointment with the doctor, and I am starting to have some huge victories. In the past 2 months I have had only the beginning of one panic attack. I quickly stamped it out. Last month I had NO emotional symptoms of PMS whatsoever – I don’t think that has ever happened in my life. For the past several weeks I have been feeling more like the “old me.” The happy, peaceful, roll-with-life’s-punches, laid back girl I used to be. This morning started with a series of events that, several months ago, would have sent me to the kitchen for my dose of “Tension Tamer,” but today none of it even phased me. It helps that my children are now all 3 and older (boy was the infant/toddler stage ROUGH)!  It has taken some time, but I have begun to re-train my brain and my body not to react to those stressful moments in negative ways. And I am being healed in body and in soul. When somebody asks how I’m doing, rather than just nodding my head and giving the ambiguous answer of, “I’m ok,” (which actually means “not great, but I don’t really want to talk about it”), I can honestly answer, “I am doing really well.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E20

October 9, 2012

1. Running errands with one 3-year-old is SO. MUCH. EASIER. than running errands with two 2-year-old's!!!!!

2. T3 is SO. MUCH. EASIER. by himself. I can tell, now that J3 is in regular preschool, T3 is going to totally redeem himself for the past 3 years. And so are mommy and daddy. 




Monday, October 08, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E19

October 8, 2012

1. J3 started Head Start today. He was on a waiting list, but now he's in! Now four days a week I will be down to ONE KID for THREE HOURS! Ah, sweet relief. I seriously don't know how you homeschool moms do it.

2. T3 started saying "You Betcha." He's not even from Minnesota, and I do not say it. No idea where he got it, but it's funny!

3. T3 has also started saying "You da best fing in da hoe wide wold, mom!"
     {translation, "you're the best thing in the whole wide world, mom"}


4. Yesterday, I had so much fun with my kids. At church they were dancing like crazy, and it was so fulfilling to watch. In the afternoon everyone just played nicely together for hours. Yes, they made a mess, but it was a mess of toys and books and crayons and paper, not the mess of toddlers dumping out drawers and emptying bottles and putting holes in walls. It was glorious. It was the most peaceful Sunday I've had in years. If you didn't read my post from the weekend, you should read it to find out why a peaceful Sunday is so special to me.



Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Eubanks: Unplugged: S1:E18



This is me being real again, only this one's not funny. I debated whether to post it because it's scary to put the honest truth out there for the world to see, but I was convinced this morning by a friend that there might be others out there who need to hear it. 


October 5th, 2012
I’m doing another Beth Moore Bible study. At the beginning of the study one of the questions asked was, “What do you seek,” or “what do you want,” or “what are you looking for?” Basically all the same question, worded in slightly different ways. My first internal response was “Peace.” My life has felt anything but peaceful for the past 4 years, starting with when we got a particular foster child. My experience with him drew out of me a monster that I never knew existed, and I’ve been fighting it ever since. I have struggled with anger, anxiety and possibly some depression. I have tried medicines (which all had negative side effects for which I’m actually thankful because I don’t want to take medicine anyway). I have tried natural/herbal supplements, which helped quite a bit, but not completely. The food changes I’ve been making over the past 6 months have had the biggest impact. 

One thing I’ve really struggled with in the last few years is an inability to enjoy parenting. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything, and we do have some wonderful times together. But I thought parenting was going to be like climbing a mountain – difficult, exhausting, maybe scary, but oh, so awesome. Look at the beauty surrounding the climb! Look at the view from the top! But honestly, the last few years haven’t been so great. I feel more like I’ve been slugging through a sewer. It’s been difficult, exhausting, scary… and so very far from awesome. And it’s no wonder. My youngest spent about a year filling my days with poop in some way or another: taking off a poopy diaper and smearing it all over himself, wiping it on walls in his room, etc. Not every incident was exactly the same, but there was oh, so much poop in my life. And it was absolutely not a mountain climbing experience. If you have children, or have worked in a nursing-home, you know just how deflating it can be, day after day, to clean up somebody else’s poop. “Humbling” is probably the proper word, but “deflating” sounds less spiritual and more real. 

My precious baby boy turned 3 a few days ago. I’m now standing in the man-hole, ready to climb out of this sewer. In addition to peace, and even more so, I am seeking to enjoy raising my children instead of feeling defeated by them. The thought has been wrapping itself around my soul for the past several weeks.
I received a rare word from God today during Bible study. Beth Moore was rattling on about I’m-not-sure-what, but God was speaking to my heart, and I felt compelled to start writing. When I began to write, these are the words that poured off the pen: 

“Don’t worry about the rest of the world, and what they want or what they think. Your job right now is to raise your family. I have given you these children for them, AND FOR YOU. They are everything you need. I will do this for you. Your parenting of them is not the only influence in their lives. Let go of the pressure, be your wonderful self, and do your best. I love you. ~God.”


Yes, God called me wonderful. As I mentioned, I have struggled with anxiety due to the pressure to be perfect at everything the world expects from me. That’s a story for another day, but this word from God spoke to that aspect of my struggle. The focus of my life right now is to raise my children. There are so many wonderful things out there to eat up our time, and I’m not invalidating any of them. But I am to let go of it all – the pressure, the guilt, even the desire – and just raise these precious children that I spent so many years begging God for. God also revealed to me that I am not the savior of these children. Yes, I have been given responsibility to raise them to the best of my ability, but in spite of all my mistakes and imperfections, God’s got it taken care of. And they are FOR ME as much as I am for them.  They are for my enjoyment, as well as my refinement. During my trek through the sewer, God has been right by my side, leading me, teaching me, maturing me. And I believe the next chapter in my life is going to be full of joy. As I exit the sewer, I stand at the foot of a mountain. And there is nothing I love more in nature than mountains.

{Incidentally, in 2010 the 5 of us literally drove through and did some climbing in the Rocky Mountains, and that was an amazing experience.}