So Long, 2015!

I perused through some of my old posts from this time last year (I hardly ever do this!) to see if I did any sort of New Year’s resolutions or goals. I didn’t. Big surprise. But I did stumble on my journal from earlier in the year that declared my theme for 2015 to be “authenticity.” This time last year, I was still struggling to find the “new normal” from Buttercup’s arrival and feeling the loss of “baby” Squish as he pretty much turned into a little kid overnight while wrestling with postpartum depression in our tiny apartment in downtown San Francisco. Most of my friends were single, childless urban dwellers that I would occasionally be able to meet up at a bar or at a party, but there was a chasm between our life states I could never really bridge. They thought I was super cool that I was a mom twice over that could still “party.” And by party, I mean get a sitter for a couple hours so I could pretend I enjoyed the club scene. But I hated it. My body and emotional state rebelled. The weight piled on, the depression got worse, and I had no idea what it would take to feel normal again.

We moved in May to the East Bay, to a beautiful “forever home” in the perfect suburban neighborhood close to good schools and surrounded by other families with littles. Slowly things started to look up for me. I was surrounded by nature, and tried to take advantage of the nearby fire roads and hiking trails. The kids suddenly had tons of room to play and grow and make friends. Squish started preschool. I connected with some of the neighbor moms. I took on a couple of Whole30s and started to feel kind of good again. I could breathe.

All my life I’ve just sort of done what everyone around me is doing, what I’m told to do. I just wanted to be normal. But now I know that normal is painful, and you have to do what is right for you, not everyone else. That’s what this year has taught me, in a weird way. You’d think that, “Well, duh. You had a family and found out city life doesn’t work anymore. Shocking.” But it’s not just that. You have no idea how much I rebelled at the though of being a suburban mom. It seemed so cliche. I wanted to be the hip, cool lady that just happens to have kids and does all the things so effortlessly. I am not immune to the wretched no-name plague that strangles otherwise smart, confident women into thinking they are doing it all wrong, that it shouldn’t be this hard, that if they could just be more _____ (organized, smarter, calmer, focused, whatever) then everything will magically happen and you win, I don’t know, some life award or something. “Congratulations, you win at Adulting!” Ugh, worst award ever.

Whatever you’re drawn to, be open to it. It’s okay to like weird stuff. It’s also okay to like what everyone else likes. It’s all okay.

2015 kicked my ass, and I am grateful for it. I’m so pumped to see what adventures 2016 has in store!

Crossfit Catch-up

I have no idea what just happened. I was doing a pretty decent job of posting regularly, then … I dunno. I just didn’t.

Anyway, I left off all squee-excited to start Crossfit. I made it through the fundamentals series, and had my first real class on Sunday. And I am still sore. It’s awesome.

The fundamentals series is divided up into six classes over two weeks. It’s designed to introduce you to all the common exercises,proper technique, and general class format so you don’t walk into a class, get super confused, then totally kill yourself and blow out body parts. I was one of three women in my class, and it was comforting that we were all pretty similar in life status and goals: all moms of littles looking for fitness in a challenging, positive environment. Every class consisted of a group warm up, some technique work, and a daily workout of the day, or WOD.

I was impressed on how structured the programming is.

The series send me along a spectrum of emotions and challenges. I have always been the type where if I don’t pick up something immediately, I get really frustrated really fast. Needless to say, the double-unders (jump rope where the rope goes around you twice – remember those days back in elementary school gym class?) were my worst day ever. But for the most part, I loved the heck out of everything else. Power snatches? Yes, please! Bring on the burpees! Hey, let’s go do pull ups! But I did struggle with wall balls on the last day because I slept weird again and pulled something in my neck/shoulder making it impossible to throw the ball while looking up at it. So I did what I could and called it a day; my legs were totally trashed by day 6 anyway!

My first real workout Sunday was a good ol’ fashioned chipper. I’m not 100% sure what a “chipper” is, but I think it’s a longer workout designed to work on endurance. At least, that’s what it seemed like:

  • 800m run
  • 15 overhead squats (I think women were to be at 30kg)
  • 15 toes-to bar
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 toes-to-bar
  • 5 overhead squats
  • 5 toes-to-bar
  • 400m run
  • 15 overhead squats
  • 15 toes-to bar
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 toes-to-bar
  • 5 overhead squats
  • 5 toes-to-bar
  • 800m run

I had to modify a bit since I still don’t know what I’m doing and am not strong enough in some areas. I used a junior bar for the squats (15kg) because I am still working on my form. I’ve only done back squats my whole life, and my chest/shoulders are really tight from my computer jockey job. As the workout progressed I felt more confident in my technique, so next time I’ll use the women’s bar (20kg). Also I’m not strong enough to do toes-to-bar yet (when you hang from a chin-up bar and pull your feet all the way up to the bar – hence, toes-to-bar) so I modified with pulling my knees to chest. I still need to work on stabilizing my body so I don’t start swinging all over the place, but it’s a fun move for me so I enjoy having something to work on.

I finished in 21:43, not a bad time for my first chipper! I can’t wait to see how much I improve in the next few months. As my momma always says, “there’s nowhere to go but up!”

Go make it a great day!

Happy 4th Birthday, Squish!

My little man is now 4 years old! We had a big birthday bash at our home with lots of out-of-town family and friends to celebrate.

As usual, I wasn’t able to take too many good pictures since I was running around setting out napkins and such. But there were gifts, and there was cake. A very specific Thomas cake. It was a thing.
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Squish also shares his birthday with his grandpa, and since everyone lives in the Bay Area now it was an extra-special celebration!

I continue to be amazed at how awesome and special Squish is. I’m sure every parent is just a little bit biased, but Jared has such a sweet and joyful energy about him, and he gets along so well with everyone and everything. Going into his fourth year, his favorites include the color red, playing with his trains and cars, running around the house with Olive, making his little sister laugh, and hamburgers with french fries (as we say around here, “burger on top with fries” where I think “on top” means including a bun).

Happiest of birthdays to my Squish-Monster! I have a feeling that four will be a fantastic year for you.

2015 08 16 Jared Cheers

Excited Can’t Even

It’s Monday, say whaaat?!? And this gif sums up my life perfectly right now.

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I have a super pep in my step in these wee hours because in a few short minutes, I’m going to my FIRST CROSSFIT CLASS! Ahh!

All the excited can’t even.

In other excited can’t-even news, my sister Amanda got engaged!

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

It’s been a big weekend of anticipation.

What’s the most exciting thing to happen to you lately? It’s okay if your answer is you got a nap in. That’s pretty exciting.

Go make it a great day!

Hot Bar is Saving Lunch

I am now in love with the Nob Hill hot bar.

  
It’s saving my Whole30-ish lunch. Chicken, meatball, stuffed mushroom, mashed sweet tater, mashed cauliflower, steamed veggies was the menu for yesterday.

We had some glorious rain last night. I’m hoping to get my new hiking shoes muddy later today, then we have a potluck holiday party for Squish’s preschool. I’m in charge of salad, and I combed The Internets to find a festive winter salad that I can incorporate fresh lemons from our lemon tree. There are so many! Squish and I have been enjoying lemon tea together in the mornings (with a touch of honey in his).

  
Pro tip: if you go to pick a lemon right after it rains, don’t stand directly under the branch. Trust me on that one.

Do you have fruit trees or other edible vegetation where you live?

Favorite lazy lunch spot?

Go make it a great day!

Because Sometimes Wine > Exercise

I sort of started this goal of consistently posting for the month of December. I haven’t been perfect, and it’s a challenge to put my butt in front of the computer every morning when I feel like I have a million other things to do (okay, two things, but they’re both crying about something. And a third thing that’s probably chewing on something or peeing somewhere right now). But I feel accomplished when I can track what’s going on as of today, and the few missed months this year kind of make me sad.

Last night was a quick thrown-together dinner of Safeway rotisserie chicken, salad, and some rice pilaf Hulk made with homemade chicken broth. I had intended to give my new hiking shoes a spin, but the only spin they took was down the hallway to the kids’ room to get them corralled for bedtime. By the time that was over, wine > hiking. I’ll try to squeeze a test hike in tonight if Hulk can kid-wrangle for me.

I’ve been doing pretty well on my Whole30-ish eating, I would give myself a B+. But I’ve been ravenous, despite feeling stuffed to the gills after every meal. The other night I was super hungry after dinner, so I ate a corn dog before bed. I probably need to eat more fat, since I have been absolutely craving avocado lately. I should probably stock up on some good food options because the whole chicken- or ground-beef-on-greens I’ve been doing is going to get old pretty fast. 

Any tips on feeling full but still hungry?

Do you like the phrase “hump day,” or hate it? Or ambivalent?

Go make it a great day!

Suburban Running Problems

I think Norther California has finally accepted the fact that it’s fall. Even though it’s almost winter.
  
With the cold(ish) temps and foggy, rainy days also come the early darkness. This whole it’s-5:30-and-completely-nighttime-outside thing is really putting a cramp on my attempts at running. Hashtag “convenient excuses.” But lately I’ve had a lot of motivation and maybe an opportunity to lace up when I get home from work, but it’s now so dark I don’t feel safe. Our neighborhood planner wasn’t exactly a big fan of sidewalks it seems, so I have to run on the shoulder on many of my routes. I also like to run on the nearby trails, but that seems like the perfect recipe for a twisted ankle.

I was complaining brainstorming with Hulk about this the other day, and he suggested for the trails I get some legit, waterproof hiking shoes. That way I could go hike rain or shine and not worry about getting too wet. I love hiking in the rain, so that was a no-brainer, and some (hopefully) super sweet Merrill trail shoes are being delivered by the merry Amazon elf today.

My next hurdle besides the proper gear is lighting. I’ve ran with my iPhone flashlight on, and it’s annoying and lame. Hulk suggested I carry a real flashlight, and that seems slightly less lame. I have considered one of those geek-tastic headlamps for ultra running in the middle of the night which seems to fix my problem but I’ll feel like an idiot wearing one. Unless I’m running a 50k over a mountain at 11:00 pm I feel not “legit” enough to rock one of those. Silly, I know. 

Finally, safety. I have a white windbreaker I’ve been wearing for visibility. I might want to get some reflective stuff for it, too. I’m down with the blink light thing; coming from former bike commuting I could not put enough red blink lights on my person to feel confident I was visible to traffic. But even with all the reflection and blinky lights, I’m still betting that the driver of the car coming right at me will actually SEE me. I’m thinking I need to find some safe sidewalks to drive to for runs instead of heading out directly from my house and crossing my fingers as I trot down the shoulder of the dark road.

Ahh, suburban running problems. I’ll have to mull this all over for a bit. But I’ll take this any day over hassling through downtown SF crowds and the occasional crazy person aggressively screaming to themselves and possibly urinating on various street corners.

Are you cool with night running/walking? I’m comfortable in group runs, but solo is tough.

Blinky lights while running – yay or nay?

Go make it a great day!

O Christmas Tree

Hello, and happy Monday!
  
I was having serious motivation issues this morning, so big thanks to @youareluminous on “the Insta'” for the inspiration.
I can’t imagine why the severe case of the Mondays. Maybe because we picked out and decorated our Christmas tree this weekend? My inner Jingle Elf is raging with uncontrolled excitement.

  

We found a cut-your-own tree farm out near Half Moon Bay complete with all sorts of activities such as a petting zoo and train rides. I found that out of my family, only I am interested in ponies. They are my “squee” animal. Everyone has some creature or animal that makes them go, “Squee! Look at the cute pony/unicorn/banana slug!” in a high-pitched voice. So I got my squee on looking at the ponies, then we got to work selecting a tree. As usual, Squish was a very “helpful” child to bring along.

  
We found an awesome tree, then checked out the rest of the activities, with the obligatory train ride.

  
The kids were very enthusiastic with decorating the tree. Squish put about 7 ornaments on a single branch, and Buttercup played with the bead garland, keeping her well distracted and contentedly out of the way. Olive kept running off with ornaments to chew so I would have to chase her down and take it away only to have her steal another one (otherwise known as Best Game Ever). It ended with me giving up on a non-sentimental plastic ball ornament, which Olive and Buttercup traded off to chew on.

  
The best part came Sunday morning, which is St. Nicholas Day. I grew up Catholic, so to celebrate we would leave our shoes outside for St Nick to fill with treats and small gifts, usually a new tree ornament to commemorate the year. This year St Nick also added candy canes to the tree, and filled a holiday-themed candy dish with wrapped chocolates. St Nick should probably have been less ambitious. I woke up at about 6 in the morning to all sorts of crashing sounds. I’m still not sure exactly what happened, but Squish and Olive combined forces to strip all of the candy canes and most of the ornaments from the tree, and the chocolates from their wrapping. The candy canes were all smashed to smithereens on the hardwood floor (“it was an accident” Squish told me) and the chocolates in a pile unwrapped on the coffee table. I think Olive ate about five before I figured it out and got to them. I’m still looking for some of the ornaments, which were relocated to Squish’s Most Favorite Branch for ornament hanging (I think we’re at 11 now).

So I went and booked a 90 minute deep tissue massage that afternoon. Happy St Nicholas Day to me!

Let the holiday madness begin!

Real tree or fake tree? Have you ever done one of the cut-your-own tree farms?

Do you have any nontraditional traditions leading up to the holidays?

Go make it a great day!

Important Announcement

 I just signed up for Crossfit.

 

I AM SO EXCITED! There is not a sufficient enough emoji to express my excitement.

  

And let me just take a moment to express the struggle that is to find the appropriate Anchorman-themed “Everyone, I have an important announcement” gif for this post. You have failed me, Internet.

Anyway, too excited. Big thank you to Hulk for my early Christmas gift!

Go make it a great day!

Always a Bright Side

 Yesterday I had to take the little miss into the doctor. She was up half the night crying off and on, which was extremely unusual for her. After a quick Dr Google consult (with a sobbing toddler in my ear) I was concerned she had an ear infection. Turns out she didn’t, but since we all got hit with The Crud (my affectionate term for when you don’t know if it’s a cold or a sinus infection) over Thanksgiving, the doctor suspects her sinuses were blocked up and the pressure was causing her pain. Which is the worst as a parent, because you know how much sinus pain sucks, and since small humans can’t take decongestants, all you can do is give steam baths and feel inadequate as you child cries in confused pain. Couple that with Squish coughing so hard he threw up last night, it’s been several nights of rest and relaxation over here.

On the bright side, after Buttercup’s appointment I took the kids to Shari’s for pancakes in the shape of an animal face, the perfect antidote to a rough night. I had a Denver omelette which both kids helped me eat the toast.

  

Everyone was in the mood for comfort food, so for dinner I made spaghetti squash and meat sauce with sliced bell pepper on the side at Squish’s request.

I did get a break from the madness and go on a couch-to-5k run. It was dark. I can’t decide if I like running in the dark or not. On one hand, it feels deliciously mysterious and exciting. On the other hand, I trip a lot and am constantly worried about being hit by a car that won’t see me, despite my reflective, white jacket. I need to invest in some lights.

    

And it’s Friday so you know what that means … A weekend of home improvement ahead!
 

Not for me, really. I just wanted to use that meme.

Any weekend plans?

What’s the worst you’ve been sick? For me it’s probably last year when I got strep throat while on a business trip. By the time I got home to see the doctor it had spread to my ears. Not fun.

That’s all for now, make it a great day!