Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Xmas Delima

Most of my life I’ve heard that I should never, ever use the word “Xmas” to refer to Christmas, lest I be guilty of leaving Christ out of the holiday.  I love Jesus and certainly don’t want to leave him out, so I’ve just always stuck with using “Christmas,” and assumed that people who don’t, well… they don’t.  

But then last year I saw my pastor refer to Christmas as Xmas in a Tweet… he loves Jesus (and only had 140 characters to make his point). Then, I saw a few other friends use Xmas in text messages, tweets and Facebook statuses… they love Jesus, too. So, it made me think that maybe, just maybe I was missing out on something. Maybe there was something more to the word Xmas.

So, I did some research, and guess what I found?

The use of the word Xmas was, in fact, not designed to leave Christ out of the holiday as the marquees, bumper stickers and Facebook posts say. I’m almost embarrassed that I’m just now doing the research (and if you’ve posted one of these posts, or have the bumper sticker, I’m not judging).  

The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, and is translated as “Christ.” The use of Xmas showed up in English in the 1500’s, pre printing press, when books were handwritten. Because it was so difficult and expensive to handwrite books, they used the word “X” to save time, space, and money. Pretty smart.

Of course, now days we don’t have much reason to abbreviate Christmas to Xmas (unless limited to 140 characters), but there’s a bit of a sense of relief that I no longer feel the need to question the motives of a person who does. I’ll just assume that they’re familiar with the origin and definition of the word, they need to abbreviate, or they’re in a hurry—regardless, I’ll choose to see Christ in it. And when my kids ask what Xmas means, I’ll explain the true origin of the word, so even if it is meant as an attempt to avoid including Christ (which no doubt happens a lot), they’ll still see Him in it.

Now, if you get a card from us (which may not happen until January the way things are going), I can guarantee that we'll say "Merry Christmas"; I just like the word (and I don’t want to run the risk of offending those who can’t get past it). But, if I’m sending a quick text or a tweet where I need to abbreviate, I may use Xmas. If that happens, you can rest easy knowing that I do love Jesus and the “X” isn’t replacing Christ, it’s just another way to say His name.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Almost Got this Starbucks Thing

The thing about being perpetually tired is that I’ve learned to like coffee. A couple of years ago (in the midst of really, really bad sleepless nights) we bought a Keurig. It’s now on my list of favorite things (so if you’re thinking about getting one for someone for Christmas—I say YES!) No one even has to know that I don’t know anything about coffee when I buy those little K-cups. 

By the way, I know absolutely nothing about coffee. Only that it keeps me from falling asleep at my desk. 

Since I’m pretty frugal (and paying $4+ for a drink gives me the shakes), I’ve just never gotten in to drinking coffee from coffee shops. That’s the story I’ll tell at least. Reality is, I’m a coffee shop dummy. And I’m intimidated. I’m afraid I’ll (a.) pay $5 for something I really don’t want, or (b.) say something stupid in my quest to order coffee and be embarrassed. Since I would rather neither of these things happen, I just don’t do it. 

But lately I’ve done some work travel with much more sophisticated and cultured co-workers, and I’ve learned a little. What I know is that both a Salted Carmel Mocha and a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks are yummo. That’s where it ends. I feel a little embarrassed to say “Grande,” instead of my typical “medium,”—do I say it like “grand-a” or “grand” without the “a” sound. A girl with an Arkansas accent saying something like “grand-a” doesn’t really shout SOPHISTICATION. 

I would like to roll the “r” just once. But I won’t.

This weekend, while out with Kerry (my sister) and Christina (my friend), we stopped by Starbucks, and I ordered a Grande Salted Carmel Mocha. It didn’t disappoint. Again today I went through the drive through and ordered this:

A Grande Peppermint Mocha. But this time threw in “skinny.” Almost like a professional. 

I may even do it again tomorrow. I think I’ve got this.

To those who are professional coffee drinkers/orderers, etc., feel free to send advice and tips. I'm trying to own the fact that I don't get out much. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Date With the Treadmill

I've struggled a little with whether to post this--I'm typically pretty guarded. But I'm confident my struggle is similar to that of a lot of other people, so here we are.

If you've known me long, you know that my weight has gone up and down my entire life. You probably even  know of my most recent weight loss. Two years ago I decided to try Metabolic Research Center. Within 4 months of eating almost nothing, and drinking lots of protein supplements, I lost around 40 lbs. I felt amazing. I was getting up at 4:30 a.m. to work out before work, running 5k's, and was very encouraged by the compliments of people who noticed the weight loss. I stopped going to MRC in February, knowing that I had things under control. And I did. I kept the weight off for several months. Then, in late October I injured my ankle running on the treadmill and had to stop running for 6 weeks. That 6 weeks turned into 6 months...and now a year. And the lack of exercise turned into eating anything I wanted. And no exercise and eating anything I wanted turned into no energy... and here we are, back to the girl who felt terrible.

This is a lack of self-discipline that I can't hide. It's totally visible to all who knew me then and know me now. I'm super disappointed in myself. Losing the weight initially was such hard work. Like really, really hard. And now that hard work was for not. Ugh.

I know for certain that in order to be at a healthy weight, I have to work hard every single day. I have to be disciplined in so many areas of my life (work, family, schedules, etc.) that in selfish childishness, I've been telling myself that in this area I'm going to do what I want to do, not what I need to do.

You know what? It stinks. But, it's life. And I know for sure that I'm not the only one with these struggles (though it feels like it some days). I also know a lot of people with amazing self-discipline, who have the same responsibilities and time constraints I have--so there's no doubt it's possible.

Though I lost weight with MRC, I'll never do anything like that again. It's not a reasonable way to live. I have to control my diet and find a way to get some serious activity back in my life. Likely that means going back to a 4:30 a.m. date with the treadmill; that doesn't sound fun at all.

More sleep, more exercise, a healthy diet--sounds like some big changes are about to happen around here.

Now...who wants to hold me accountable?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleepy Time

I covet sleep. Had you told me when I was a 19-year-old college student that I would be getting up at 5 a.m. to be at work at 7 a.m., (while going to bed at midnight) I would have told you that you were absolutely out of your mind. But alas, this is my reality. I’ve actually learned to live on very little sleep. Until it catches up with me. Then watch out—I’m a cranky mom (and wife, daughter, co-worker, etc., etc.). The good news is that I have a fabulous husband who knows when I’ve hit the wall and tells me to lay down. If I’m not trying to be a martyr/hero, I usually take him up on it.

Here’s what I know (because I’ve read about it). We need sleep—and lots of it.

The National Sleep Foundation (you know it’s important if there’s a foundation about it, right?) says that adults need eight hours of sleep a night.

Eight hours of sleep.  

Can I get an amen?

When I look back at my old posts, I can see exactly when the sleep deprivation began.

With this guy...

 My precious little silly, rambunctious Eli. 

Chris and I joke that we think we’ll be able to consistently sleep through the night in 2015. It’s good to have a goal.

Over the past four years we’ve gone through colic, night terrors and just plain old not wanting to sleep. We’ve prayed, read books, talked to his pediatrician, researched blogs and websites, but in the end, I think it’s just going to have to get better on its own. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve learned some tactics that definitely help, but I think he’s just a bad sleeper.  He’s getting better, though—most nights we just have to get up with him 1-2 times. We can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. This morning at about 4 a.m. he walked into our bedroom and whispered “mommy, tan I tet in your bed?” This is a HUGE improvement from lying in his bed screaming several times a night. And the night terrors are few and far between. They typically only happen when he’s had a very, very active day with no nap. For Eli, naps are good/over-stimulation is not.

Now that Eli is beginning to sleep better, I’m challenging myself to go to sleep earlier. Bedtime for C & E is designed to be at 8:30, but somehow it always turns into 9... 9:30... And then I feel like I’m missing out on life if I just fall asleep when I finally get in bed at 10/10:30 (though I’m usually so tired that I totally could). So I spend the next 2-3 hours talking to Chris, watching my DVR’d shows, reading blogs, catching up on Facebook and Twitter, etc.  Obviously I love sleep, so I’m not sure why I choose media over it... but I do.

The experts say that apathy, slowed speech, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and the inability to multitask or be novel are signs of sleep deprivation. If you spoke with me today, that’s exactly what you would find.

Starting tonight I’m shooting for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at least 5 times a week. That means drinking a little of this (sleepytime tea is my fave),

sleepytime tea

then going to sleep by 10:00 without turning on the TV, laptop or iPhone.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm back!

Today I realized how long it's been since I've blogged (personally anyway). I write every single day of my life at work (and love it), but to go home and write while caring for an infant, a toddler and a husband was a little more than this sleep-deprived momma could handle back then. So I decided to take an indefinite hiatus.

But today something inspired me to pull this old blog up and take a look.

And surprise, surprise... I got a little (okay, maybe a lot) emotional. I had no memory of a lot of what I read, until I read it (thank goodness for my mother-in-law writing down everything my kids do and say or they would never know anything about themselves). I love that I can look back at the things going on in our lives back then and see how far we've come. In retrospect, I wish I had never stopped. 

Now that we've gotten through the no-sleep infant stage (though we took a long trip through the no-sleep toddler statge too), we're sailing throught the elementary and Pre-K stage with a whole new set of struggles and victories.

And this is when I start writing about them again. I can't wait.!