Thursday, June 28, 2012

'Present' Expectations

'The Current Time'
'To Present'
'A Present'
'A Birthday Present'

There are several days during the year that require presents. Christmas, Birthday's and Mother's/Father's Day. These are sacred days to my husbands family. To be planned and celebrated and 'presented' every year. In my family it's very haphazard. Some years there are presents, some years there aren't, some years there's a phone call, sometimes it's just a card. We're pretty ok with it. I think part of our apathy has come from being in such separate states at times that getting together isn't realistic and we're miserable at putting things in the mail. We have very good intentions, but somehow that package is still sitting in my trunk four months later because I never made it to the UPS store and we all do it. With my family, it's the thought that counts. With my husbands family, there must be presents, at every occasion and, unless absolutely impossible to arrange, it requires a gathering. This didn't start off being that big a deal, but, it's a little harder now. I joke with my husband that we don't visit anymore, we invade. Us, our stuff, our two (70lbs each) dogs and all their stuff and now Baby A and all the baby stuff. We descend on a family member's house looking like we're staying for a month, not two and a half days. Plus my in laws and their dog, my husband brother and pregnant wife, and my husband's sister and her tattoo covered, nipple pierced, 45 year old art student boyfriend and all their beer (that will be a future post) and there is not a horizontal surface to sit on.

Back to the 'present' issue. (haha)

Mother's/Father's Day.
This year was our first round of Mother's Day/Father's Day presents for my husband and I and we both did a pretty good job. My husband got me pearl earrings to match my antique pearl necklace that was my great aunt's, something I've wanted for years. I got him a Kindle Fire because a few months ago he started taking the train to work and has been choosing the books to read based on size and if they'd fit in his briefcase. More than probably should be spent on a Father's Day gift but it was the first one, and it was something I knew he'd appreciate and it was better than a tie. It doesn't stop there though. My husband's family buys mother's/father's day gifts for their parents every year also. 30-something years later. And it's not just the 'kids' expectation it's the parent's also. I think my Father in Law might just shed a tear or two should he not get a father's day present. My mother in law routinely get's gift certificates for a nearby spa or some nifty gadget she's been wanting. One year we 'kids' spent around $250 on a kitchen appliance. I don't remember what it was but I remember commenting it might be a little 'out there' spending this much for Mother's Day and my husband looked at me like I was the black plague of death.

And now we're coming up on present phase two. Birthday's.

Birthday's are a big deal to my husband. I can't say I've ever really given them much thought before I had met him. It was essentially just another day. Yes there would typically be a present or two, or, more recently, my mom and I would spend the day shopping together and she'd get me an outfit or something fun I needed. With my husband and his family birthday's are an event, and I mean that literally. My husband is a twin, he and his brother were born on their older sister's birthday. So all three of them have the same birthday which happens to be two days after the 4th of July. As you can imagine, it's a holiday like none other. There are almost always three cakes, plus cookies, extravagant meals and a pile of presents to rival Christmas. It was a zoo to start off with, now it's a three ring circus as everyone is married/in a relationship so the present giving is multiplied. The parents give presents, the siblings give each other presents, and then the wives/boyfriends give presents. I feel like I"m a pretty good gift giver and usually work pretty hard to come up with something special or unanticipated. Some years though I go off the 'lists' that start going around two to three weeks out. Everyone is required to send a list and it has to have at least three reasonably priced items on it and maybe a few higher cost items that people might go in together on.

Again, parental birthday gifts are also required. Let me layout the schedule for you.
April - Mother in Law Birthday
May - Mother's Day
June - Father's Day
July - 'Kids' Birthday's
August - used to be a break, now Baby A's Birthday
September - Father in Law's Birthday (soon to be niece's birthday too)
October - My Birthday
November - catch your breath
December - Christmas

Seriously?!?!?! We're buying presents EIGHT months out of the year. Really?? The only thing I can really be thankful for is that all the 'kids' are in July otherwise we might be at 10 months. I feel like such a scrooge. I also feel like at some point this has to stop, right?

Now, for the Birthday Extravaganza I have come up with, what I think is an equally impressive gift. Tickets to a Braves game and a hotel reservation for the night in downtown Atlanta. Not just any hotel, the Hyatt Regency, which is one of the only ones in town with a pool and a poolside restaurant (i.e. bar). To top it off, my mother has volunteered to stay at our house for the night with all the babies so we can enjoy a night away together. Our first since Baby A was born.

I'm pretty proud of my gift giving so far this year. My problem now is Present Giving Day Phase 3: Christmas. It's only 6 months away and I have to come up with a third present idea for my mother in law, father in law and, of course, my husband. Maybe a tie?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Months and a Day

Yesterday my little girl turned 10 months old. I've read blogs by other mom's who talk about their 2 year old's realizing they're not 'babies' any more and simultaneously struggling with that while reveling in the fun and interaction 2 year old's bring. I miss that tiny baby, with her scrawny legs and her newborn cry where her little chin quivered and it was adorable. At the same time, I love, love, LOVE, playing with Baby A now and how I can tickle her and make her squeal and giggle. I don't miss the sleepless nights, I love that Baby A sleeps 11 hours every night. I do miss the snuggles, she's way too busy to curl up with me now. I can't believe how much she's changed in 10 months. What's 10 months to an adult, nothing, it's part of just another year and most of it is unmemorable at best. 10 months to a baby is huge. So much happens, so much changes, so much is learned and developed. It's an amazing privilege to watch and be a part of it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Morning Raspberries are Best

I slept in Friday morning and had a quiet, calm start to the day. I was still up by 5:30 but instead of being sweaty and gross I was just rolling out of bed, getting a cup of coffee and snuggling in bed with the dogs. It's a nice way to start the morning. One of my favorite things in the morning is to hear Baby A waking up in her crib and blowing raspberries while playing quietly by herself for a while. She can spend half an hour or more in there entertaining herself. I almost hate to interrupt she's usually having such a good time. Then I look at the clock and realize it's time to get moving or be late getting out of the house.

I'm starting to lose momentum on my 30 day fitness campaign. Not because I don't want to continue getting up early and working out. I kind of enjoy that start to the day. It's more like I"m starting to realize those last few pounds and that last inch that is going to make my 'small' pre-baby clothes fit (comfortably) may not be what my current goals should be. Yes, I'd love to lose the last bit of baby pudge around my belly, but who am I kidding, I'm a mom, in my 30's and no one really cares anymore what I look like in a sports bra. And even if i had washboard abs again I'd still wear a shirt at the gym, or the lake, or out walking the dogs, because I'm not 22 and reveling in the attention. There's also the fact that my pregnancy left me with a herniated bellybutton and I HATE the way it looks. Permanent outie. The only fix is a quick surgery which I fully intend on doing. I just have to wait until we're done having kids.

The organized side of this endeavor will stick. I have to be more together to make it through these long weeks on my own.

In honor of my acceptance of these last three pounds, I went clothes shopping this weekend. I bought shorts, one size up, a skirt, one size up, and four tops all mediums instead of smalls. I went through my closet and threw out all clothes that, even if I was a small, I shouldn't be wearing either due to age of clothing, or mine, and I put away the items that it us unlikely I'll fit into again but want to keep 'just in case' or for my sister and her skinny little ass.

In all the excitement I also went through my shoe boxes and realized I hadn't pulled out all the heels that I stowed while pregnant and unable to squeeze into anything other than flip flops. I found my fabulous wedding shoes and wore them to work today. Yes, my wedding shoes. They are gold and black stiletto heels and cost more than my dress (which wasn't actually that expensive, but it's the principle of the matter).


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day...17, maybe?

Worked out, fed the baby, fed the dogs, walked the dogs and baby and got out of the house on time. I even remembered to take out the trash! If I did this everyday, I'd probably be onto level 3 on my workout program by now. I have to stop taking weekends off!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Joy, Peace, Life lessons from a funeral

This is a long post. It took several days and a lot of tears. I hope if you read it, you read all of it. I think it is an important look at life and death and how what we view as tragic, can be wonderful.

No one ever purposefully plans to go to a funeral as part of their weekend activities. Unfortunately it was one of mine Saturday afternoon. I actually wasn't going to go when I first heard. Then I spent some time thinking about why I wasn't going to go. They were really bad reasons. I didn't want to cry. I didn't want to take the time away from my weekend. I didn't want to drive an hour each way for an hour service. I barely knew the girl it was for. Such terrible reasons. So selfish and I realized how poorly I would have to think of myself for not going just because I didn't want to cry. It was for the daughter of a former coworker who I had unintentionally lost touch with.She had been my boss for the first 3+ years at my job (this year will be 10 years). He daughter was my age and lived in South Carolina. I only met her once, at a baby shower the office threw for her in honor of her mother, who we were all very close with. The daughter had always had problems, drugs, theft, authority issues in general, lies, money, all of it and was then pregnant. Never married, never had a job, never had a drivers license because it was too much effort. Everyone else always took care of her. My coworker adopted the first baby, Ryan, a beautiful and high spirited little boy and has been raising him, her grandson, as her own boy. Late last year I had heard the daughter had gotten pregnant again. Everyone sighs and rolls their eyes in a 'here we go again' silent message. But here's where it gets tricky. During the testing for the pregnancy, the doctors found tumors in her stomach. They were highly cancerous. There were a lot of decisions to be made, by someone who's never had to.

Again, I had lost touch with this coworker. I was not a part of her life while she and her daughter were faced with these decisions.

She chose chemotherapy while pregnant. Knowing the options were do nothing, and potentially everyone dies, or treat the cancer, and potentially lose the baby. How do you make that choice?

My coworkers daughter made many more choices over the 11 months to follow. She chose to find her faith. She chose to repair the relationship with her mother that had suffered for so many years. She chose to repair the relationship with her stepfather who had always tried to love her and be a part of her life. She chose to find herself and become the person she always wanted to be. A stronger person. A happier person. A person with a peaceful heart and loving soul.

Her baby boy was delivered by c-section at 36 weeks, 3 lbs 9 oz, and perfectly healthy. He's a true miracle baby. He's beautiful.

After the delivery and continued treatment, the daughter's cancer was pronounced clear and in remission. She was healthy and while still recovering from Chemo and pregnancy, she was on her way to living.

A month or so later, during follow up appointments the doctors found another tumor. In her brain. With chemotherapy and treatment, she was given a 10% chance at life. She chose not to fight. She chose to trust her God, and her faith and her family's strength, knowing it was a death sentence. She struggled with her personal demons and spent a lot of time questioning if this had been brought on by the life she had lived, was it her own fault. She read her bible. She prayed. She spent time with her family and her boys.

She died last Wednesday afternoon. She passed in her sleep, at peace with herself and her faith. How many of us would have the strength to face death in such a way? How many of us would be bitter? Angry? Question God and faith and throw it all away because it wasn't fair?

I've spent a lot of time thinking about her this weekend and my coworker. She had to bury her daughter. She has to raise two boys while in her 60's. These boys are never going to know their mother. My coworker was at peace also. She was grateful, so very, very grateful for the 11 months she had with her daughter to mend their relationship and grow together in strength. She was able to watch her daughter struggle with the choices in her life and come to peace with them and with herself and let it all go. She was able to see the meaning behind her daughters struggle and death and she could see the miracle in her new baby grandson and how much more precious he truly is. He's the miracle everyone hopes to see in their lifetime, but few ever do.

There is no bitterness. There is a sense of loss and grief, but there's no regret. There's no remorse. There is pride. There is light. There is Joy. There is love, lots and lots and lots of love. I was so overwhelmed by her story and to hear her mother, my coworker, talk about her with such strength and peace.

God heals in three ways:
Medical technology. The medinces, and surgeries, and doctors and nurses.
Miracles. The ones that no one can explain and can only be accepted with gratitude and faith.
Death. He reachs down with His fatherly hand and says 'enough' and He gathers you to Himself and heals all your pains, all your sorrows, all your worries, and He brings you Home.

We should all hope to eventually face our own death, and those of loved ones, with the same peace and strength and find the Joy in their lives, and ours to comfort us and lead us home.

Start the week strong!

What day are we on?? I don't remember.

After a wonderful weekend with my family and some unintended life lessons (working on a separate post for that) I drug myself out of bed this morning and managed about 2/3 of a workout before Baby A started crying. The workout was kind of kicking my butt this morning so I grabbed that excuse with enthusiasm and got Baby A up for breakfast instead of finishing the 8 minutes I had left in the workout.

What's really sad is that I had gone back to the level 1 workout to take it 'easy' this morning since I spent the whole weekend eating junk and not excercising.

"junk" includes wings and beer at Taco Mac Friday night with my husband and Baby A. French fries and a coke Saturday afternoon just because and then Papa Johns pizza, loaded, for dinner Saturday night because I was so tired I couldn't make myself get off the couch and fix the grilled salmon and salad that I had planned for the evening. I even asked my husband go order the pizza because it was just too much work to find my phone.

This week is back to the single mom nut show. My husband is out all week for work, back on Friday. My attempt for organization will be to pack my lunchs for the whole week this evening so all I have to do in the morning is make a sandwhich before hitting the door. (I don't like day old, or more, sandwhiches, they taste wrong.) Workouts at 5 am and two walks with dogs and baby each day.

Here we go!

Taco Mac Friday night. I love that we can bring her with us everywhere.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 13 - Debunking Established Routine

So I slept in. Apparently all it takes is one tiny little, half formed suggestion that wasn't even a suggestion, but more of a question posed from my husband last night before bed:

'Are you taking Friday morning off from exercising?'

Well the thought hadn't entered my my mind before he said anything, but once it was said, it sounded like a great idea. I've worked out three days in a row. Three whole days! Friday morning to sleep in 15 extra minutes made complete sense. And so, I turned off the alarm clock and slept in, a total of 7 minutes before Old Lady started woofing in her sleep at 5:07 which gave me another 8 minutes before it was time to get up and walk the mutts. I console myself by saying at least I walked the dogs. Overall, kind of a lame morning and I should have just gotten up.

Meanwhile, Baby A pushed up to all fours during tummy time this morning. Pretty excited about that! She's not crawling yet, but it will likely be very soon. Once she decides to do something, she just goes. A mobile baby is going to really mess up my morning! I've appreciated almost 10 months of being able to put her in a spot, leave the room, and find her in the same spot when I come back. I guess I knew it couldn't last. Time to put up gates and plug the outlets!

Baby A enjoying the new grass, followed by an attempt to eat it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

11 & 12 - Establishing a routine

I'm am slowing coming to the realization that I enjoy morning workouts. It's never something I had attempted with any consistency before and whenever the well-intentioned alarm would go off, I would very thoroughly convince myself (in approx 10 seconds) that the next 20 minutes of sleep was essential and that I would absolutely workout in the evening after getting home. Then when the evening actually arrives, I'm completely worn out, still have to make dinner, feed the baby and get everything ready for the morning, which all takes much longer than it should. So now, I convince myself that I'm much too tired to work out and I'll absolutely get up when the alarm goes off and workout extra hard in the morning to make up for missing today. Rinse and repeat...

The last three mornings I have pried myself out of bed at 5, even with my husband still tucked in and snoozing. This morning, it actually wasn't so much of a pry, as an 'ok, I'm up'. I start my day feeling like I've already accomplished something so that no matter how the day goes, I've already worked out. I'm already one step ahead.

Next week my husband is out of town again, just me, baby and dogs. The traveling schedule is currently expected to last until October, four months away. By that time I could be in pretty amazing shape! Or I could be pregnant again, not that we're trying, but the conversations have started. Given the fact that I"m going to be 34 this year, and 35 next year (pretty sure that's how it goes), I think I'm leaning towards sooner rather than later for baby #2. Of course that means all this hard work and dieting to fit back into my jeans will be undone rather quickly. That's OK. If I can do it once...I can look back and say 'meh, good enough'.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Days 6-10

I did great last Friday, got up, worked out, and shock of all shocks, made it to work on time. I literally spent the whole drive to daycare and the office trying to figure out what I forgot to do. Still not sure, but loved the feeling of getting everything done and getting out the door on time.

After my husband got home Friday afternoon, it all went down hill. Apparently all my motivation and organizational drive goes right out the window as soon as he walks in the door. I've decided that because he's so high energy and in constant motion, he wears me out without me doing anything. I didn't even walk the dogs this weekend (to be fair, it rained all day Sunday) and left that to my husband.

Yesterday after getting scolded by my husband that my big 30 day buckle down had started to droop, I resolved to get out of bed this morning and start back on the routine that I did all last week while he was gone. I managed to follow through on that too. I got all my lunch stuff, and Baby A's lunch together last night and so this morning I got up a 5, worked out, walked the dogs and then got ready for work. And again today, I got out of the house on time! Yay me!

Baby Moment: Baby A pushed up from tummy time to a sitting position all by herself! I don't think we're far from crawling!

Dogs: Poor Big M is back in training. We're learning some new commands to help him with his 'other doggie' anxiety. Whenever he sees another dog and he's on a leash, he goes a little nuts. Trying to give him some direction. My other dog, Old Lady, is still my little brat.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 5 - Rest Day (slept in)

I couldn't bring myself to crawl out of bed at 5 this morning. The dogs woke me up woofing in their sleep at 4 am and then Baby A started talking just before 5 so I rolled over, turned the alarm off and stayed in bed until 5:30. I decided a rest day was a good thing. I can actually walk today without massive amounts of pain and going down the stairs didn't make me look like a 92 year old grandma with bad hips. Pretty excited about that. I thought I might enjoy it for 24 hours before torturing myself again.

I had a nice weigh in yesterday and today, two days in a row makes it official and so it is now entered into my myfitnesspal weight loss numbers. I should probably wait to make sure the lowered number sticks around for a third day, but I like seeing the amount of weight lost go up so I entered it anyway.

Very excited for my husband to come home tomorrow. We've been doing very well this week on our own, but it's definitely harder and having someone around in the evenings to help with the dogs, the baby and dinner is nice. Plus I've had to do all the dishes this week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 4 - Work it baby

Day two of getting up at 5 am and working out before the baby wakes. It's so much easier to pry myself out of bed with my husband away for work. When I know he's still there, warm and sleeping, it's really tough to make myself get up to workout. I still hurt, a lot, but I think it's getting better.

My favorite breakfast lately has been plain nonfat Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit that I get at the farmer's market on Saturday's. Total calories, including coffee with cream, 228 and TWENTY grams of protein!

The best part about working out in the mornings, plus walking the dogs twice a day...I can have a small glass of wine in the evenings and still be under my calorie goal for the day.

Today's Perspective: It only hurts if you let it.

No, it pretty much just hurts. Ibuprofen is my friend today.

Funny moment today. After walking the dogs this morning, Baby A is sitting on the floor of our bedroom and I look over to see Big M, my 70 lbs male boxer, sitting next to her, and a big swipe of drool across Baby A's head. Nice Big M, good job.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 3 - Amazing levels of pain

While I did manage to accomplish all the goals I set for myself last evening, the time table was not at all realistic and so by the time I sat down to eat dinner it was 8 pm. I hate that. I did work out though and I did get everything ready for this morning so it was one less thing to do, which is a very good thing considering I slept through my alarm this morning and got up 10 minutes late. My husband wasn't there to wake m up. I almost used the opportunity to skip the work out, but knew if I didn't do it now, it was highly likely that it wouldn't happen this evening. So, Jillian Michaels and I had a rough 5:15 am work out. I love the fact that on this video there's a moment when the girl doing the 'hard' version takes a break from doing lunges while Jillian is detailing the 'easy' version.

Only 15 minutes late getting out the door. Tomorrow will be better.

I don't think there's a part of me that doesn't hurt right now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 2 update

Is it bad that, in order to ensure everything gets done, I have written out a timetable for the day with all the things that need to happen, in the order they need to happen in, and with appropriate amounts of time for each item, including bathe the baby, and eat?

Is it bad that I added things like 'eat' just so I know I can check something off the list?

Day 2 - June 4th.

No, you did not miss day 1. Yesterday started my 30 day, 'get your shit together' campaign. Today I decided I needed some accountability.  I have a 9 month old daughter, Baby A, who is amazing. I have two rescue dogs, both boxers, who make me laugh every day. I have a wonderful husband who will be spending most of the next 30 days traveling for work which is very unusual and part of why I feel the need to take a new approach to containing my life. I don't have big goals. I probably don't have anything meaningful to say. But for the next 30 days, I will be working on being a more together person.

Yesterday I started the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.
Today my husband flew to Chicago for 5 days.
Today I will workout this evening after walking the dogs and Baby A, feeding, bathing and putting Baby A to bed.
Today I will get tomorrow's stuff ready so I can workout at 5 am, get ready for work, feed & dress Baby A, walk the dogs and Alice, and then head out the door, on time, for daycare/work at 7:25.

Not lofty goals but somehow the smaller ones seem harder to commit to.

Today's perspective. My entire body hurts from yesterday's workout. I'm wearing pants that don't button just so I don't give in to the procrastination I know is lurking around the corner.