There Is No Wagon

I had an absolute meltdown the other morning. A wonderful meltdown, because it led me to a wonderful revelation. For quite a few weeks now I’ve been trying to get back into a regular exercise routine. For me, the strategy is to incorporate it into a routine part of my day so that it becomes habit for me, a no-brainer that I don’t need to think about. And the most logical place for me is to plug it into my morning, first thing. I get up, brush my teeth, drink some water, then hit the gym or run. And it’s been a great way to start my day.

However, there is one little thing that keeps derailing my “exercise every day” goal. And that little thing is my little daughter. On the days I have my kids, my 3-year-old usually wakes up sometime in the middle of the night and makes her way to my bed. If I’m not in bed with her when she wakes up, she hunts me down and cries and fusses and generally starts the day off with a meltdown.

Now ideally – and this is what so many other parents are able to successfully do – I try to get up way before my kids wake up so I can get a home workout in before the house starts stirring and demanding attention. This should be easy. However, every time I gently roll out of bed and tip-toe downstairs to sneak outside to the cold, dusty patio, I’ll just be loading weights on my bar when a frantic, sobbing 3-year-old in Paw Patrol jammies launches herself at me accusing, “I didn’t know where you were! You were gone! I was so scared!”

I mean, how do you even respond to that?

And so I hold her and I console her, and usually I take her back to bed with me, because it is still ridiculously early for her. I coax her back to sleep for an hour or so while I just lay there next to her, wide awake and in my gym gear, my feelings ping-ponging between the love and comfort of snuggling my little one to bed, and seething in resentment that can’t I just have this one time to myself to get my stuff done? I mean, she owns me all throughout the day, is it too much to ask if I have from 9pm until 6am to myself??

And so here I was, laying in bed next to my tiny daughter, and it suddenly occurred to me that she’s almost 4 years old. And her brother is almost 7. And she’ll grow out of this eventually, this crawl-in-mommy’s-bed-every-night habit. And I know I’m going to miss it so hard.

In another year or so she’ll be fine and won’t be climbing into my bed every night. And then I get sad that she won’t always be this small, dependent, and cuddly. Do I really want to give up these quiet mornings of snuggles and closeness for exercise? Am I prepared to start paying the cost of having my kids need me less?

I don’t know if I’m really ready for that yet, because I know it’ll come sooner than I’m prepared for. Soon they’ll be requesting slumber parties with their friends, asking me to drop them off at school around their corner so their friends won’t see me. They’ll stop giving me hugs and kisses and start hiding behind closed doors and giving me one-word “grunt” answers to “how’s your day been?” They’ll be dating. Breaking curfew. Planning for college. Then one day moving out and holy crap I’ll be an empty-nester and then I’ll totally have all the time in the world to exercise anytime for as long as I want!

So to the moms of small children out there who struggle to find time to take care of yourselves and feel guilty about it: if you can’t find the time to consistently exercise and it is stressing you out, that is totally and completely okay to just not work out. You are not indifferent to your health, lazy, or uncommitted. And if you can’t give yourself permission to not feel guilty about not having “structure” or “a routine”, then let me give it to you. You have the permission to drop the idea that you need to work out every day if trying to fit it into a day that already starts too early, ends too late, and has approximately zero amount of self-care time built in is causing you stress and shame. Because this is just a phase of life and This Too Shall Pass. Soon you will sleep through the night again, have time in the evening to cook a real meal and even maybe sit down to a TV show uninterrupted or be able to go to the bathroom alone. I know, right?? Such dreams. But it’ll happen someday.

Now, I’m not saying never work out. When you have the opportunity, seize it! Had the baby off to the other parent, and jet off to the gym. Use a lunch break to squeeze in a run. And when you can get it done, relish it and feel good that your doing something good for yourself. But don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not doing enough, that you need to “get with the program” or “get back on the wagon,” because I’ll tell you a secret …

There is no wagon.

So just do what you can, let go of what you can’t, and just live your life. Because if you can find the happy and joy, you get to model how to be happy and joyous to your impressionable little ones who are always watching, and isn’t that what parenting is really all about?

And the little kid snuggles are so, so worth it.

Go make it a great day, friends!

Just Stop Already

It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I hadn’t worked out in almost a week, so I blasted to the park the other morning for a quick run before I clocked into work. It was a glorious 3 miles, and it felt so good to get my body moving again. I drove the kids up to Oregon for the week, and both work and all the smoke from the wildfires kept me from getting my run on. I am also way overdue for a drop-in to CrossFit GP, so I totally owe you guys! 😉

In other CrossFit news, my L1 certification is only two weeks away! Eek! I also realized that I chose to attend a fitness certification in the mountains. At altitude. And I am a coastal girl. This won’t be painful at all. No worries, it’ll just be two days of sucking wind under a pvc pipe, what could possibly go wrong?

Also coming up, the kids start school next week! Squish has leveled up to First Grade (!!) and will be attending the same local elementary school as last year. I’ve chatted with him about it, and he seems pretty nonchalant about the upcoming year. Buttercup has me a little concerned. She’s starting a brand new school this year, since her current one is closing. While some of her friends will be moving to the school with her, I know she’s had a really rough year as it is with all the changes in her little life (PSA: divorce is hard on everyone, yo) and transitions have never been her forte. I’m anticipating a few rough weeks of tear-streaked drop offs until she settles back in to the new-new-NEW normal. But kids are resilient, and I’m almost certain I’ll have a harder time with it than she will.

Stop growing up. Just stop already.

That’s all from my side of the mountain, have a most wonderful week, and go make it a great day!

But First, Coffee

Just so you know, I now offer a free service. 


According to my sister, I have a superhuman ability to find a quality Starbucks or coffee shop anywhere. I don’t care where you are; I will find coffee for you. It’s my gift to humanity.
Saturday we took the kids to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park to meet up Amanda and her husband for a day of gettin’ our learn on. Squish was super interested in the exhibits (especially the Earthquake interactive display) until he discovered that there were interactive iPads with games on them at every turn. Then he just played games instead of, like, looking at the exhibits. At least I think he’s learning.


Buttercup was a lot more interested than I thought she would be. We made it in time to see them feed the Penguins, and she sat still in my lap through the entire presentation, watching them gobble fish from the biologist (Squish was long gone into iPad Land at that point). Then we checked out the huge aquarium and she was just mesmerized with the giant reef exhibit.


Then Sunday I went to CrossFit. Yay! At our gym Sundays are for hero WODs, so the suck factor is always at full-throttle.

“Donny”

For time, sets of 21-15-9-9-15-21 reps:

  • Deadlift (men=100kg, women=70kg)
  • Burpees

I scaled the weight on the deadlifts down to 50kg (110 lbs) because I recall 70 is my 10-rep max, and this workout requires, like, 90 reps. So, nope.

I started out trying to pace at sets of 5 deadlifts, which worked out okay for approximately 2 minutes. I hit the “pain cave” hard and fast, and it was one of those workouts where I about started crying because when I go that hard I get super emotional (It’s no wonder that they call it “barbell therapy”!), but I didn’t cry, my hands didn’t rip, and I was done in 17:11.

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

This Week’s Workouts and Hold My Calls

I almost missed posting today. For a good reason.

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It’s here! My “Food Freedom Forever” book arrived yesterday, and I’ve been curled up with a mug of tea devouring – nay, savoring – it the moment I had all of the Life Responsibility stuff tucked away. Which means I blasted home from work, threw pizza at the kids, told Hulk to pretend I’m not home, and locked myself in my room. Obviously.

Last week I was feeling run down, so I took it easy, sleeping in a little and going a little lighter on workouts. I had anticipated to hit it hard this week, but what is it with me and taking a week off where I have the hardest time firing up the motivation engine again? I know I love to go to CrossFit, I feel fabulous when I’m there, but getting the shoes on and getting out the door. I’d rather stay home and read in bed. So this week has seen more general lifting and hiking and less CrossFit.

Friday – rest day, I think. I can’t remember

Saturday – Saturday WOD:

  • Partner WOD for time,
    • Complete 300 double-unders,
    • THEN:
  • Complete the following in sets of 21 – 15 – 9 -15 – 21:
    • Pull-ups (I did ring rows)
    • Dumbbell Squat Cleans (I used 20# dumbbells)

Hulk and I took the kids to the gym together, so we partnered up for the WOD, which was great for me because I love double under practice and he’s really been nailing the kipping pull-ups lately. We cranked through the full workout in about 20 minutes, but I was getting a bit … “wifey” with Hulk. I was trying to be all focused and super serious, while he was just there to get a sweat on and have a good time. He would be, “what rep are we on?” and I would scold him back, “We’re on 8 of 15! You need to keep track on this!” What didn’t help is Buttercup’s cries from the kids’ area, where I could only see from my vantage point that she wasn’t wearing pants. I couldn’t tell if the diaper was off as well or not, so my only focus was to get the workout done so I could run over there and check to make sure she didn’t discard a poopy diaper in the play area (as she sometimes does if we don’t catch a dirty diaper fast enough for her comfort). Note to self: next time, put Buttercup in a dress. There are no pants to take off when you’re wearing a dress.

Sunday – home gym workout:

  • “Death by weight” back squats at 5 reps per set:
    • Start with the bar and increase 10 lbs per set

I made it to 125 lbs and only squeaked out 3 reps, so that was 10 sets total. And now the garage is clean enough to work out in again!

Monday – Strength class:

  • Anderson back squats, 5×3 at 60-70% max (I used 35kg)
  • Russian kettlebell swings, 5×8 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Weighted belt squats, 4×15 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Farmers’ carry, 5×200 yd resting every 1 min between sets (I used 53 lb kettlebells)

I’ve been wanting to try some of the strength and oly lifting classes at the gym, and Monday was a good opportunity for me to finally get to one. Hulk wanted to do the WOD at the same time, so we packed up the kiddos, he did the CrossFit class and I took the strength class. Mostly I wanted to check out the class format so I can do more stuff at home.

The Anderson back squats were a trip. They’re designed to help you work out of “the hole”, so you rack the bar at the bottom of your squat, using arms or other props. Then you get under the bar, position yourself in your squat, then stand up and bring it back down, sort of the reverse of a standing squat where you go down and come back up. I thought they were really fun, and can’t wait to try this at home.

The weighted belts were fun too, I’ve never used one before. It’s a weightlifting belt with a long chain in the front so you can clip weights (we used kettlebells) to it to add bodyweight. We then stood on boxes to provide clearance for the weight when we squatted, and cranked them out. It’s supposed to work your core and stability, because as you move the kettlebell starts to swing and you have to keep yourself tight to not fall over. I’m filing this one in “stupid human tricks.”

Tuesday – hike with Olive

Olive and I set out on the ridge trail at like 5:30 in the morning, so it was dark the whole time. I forgot my headlamp, but the trail is on an open ridge, and there was plenty ambient city lights to see. Olive loved it.

Wednesday – hike with Squish

I started to get ready to go to CrossFit when I went to pick up Squish from preschool, but on my way there I felt like I’d rather be out in nature with trees instead of the gym. So I asked Squish if he would prefer going to the gym with me or going on the ridge trail for a hike. He choose hike, and I was glad. When we got there, they had a huge herd of goats grazing the dry grass.

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I’d seen them from afar working on the other hills, but this time they were right over the trail. I delighted in being so close to them, watching them munch the grass and casually saunter away from us. Squish wanted to pet them (of course) but I told them that the goats were working and couldn’t be disturbed. So he settled on talking to them. It was a delightful walk to remember. Oh, and he also found a stick.

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It’s his “special stick”. I’m sure Olive will find it special to chew on at some point.

That’s all from me for now. How did you move this week?

Go make it a great day!

So Long, San Francisco!

It’s been a year since my family and I moved from our downtown SF apartment to our “forever home” in the East Bay. I had started this post last year but never published it because, well, we moved and I was totally swamped with moving-related activities. The past few moves we’ve added a child each time, and it’s amazing how exponentially harder it is to move with the addition of each small human. I normally like to move, but after this last one, I’m happy to stay camped out for a while! Anyway, here is a little tribute to our happy little cosmopolitan nest perched on the 31st floor that we enjoyed for 2 1/2 years.

That time is finally upon us. After months of searching and weeks of planning, we are moving out of our little SF apartment to our new home in the East Bay. We’ve had quite the adventures over the past couple of years.

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Moving day view from the living room, 11/25/2012

We came to SF from Sonoma County because I found a job downtown mere blocks from our apartment. It was a dream to have a commute I could walk.

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Then I took another job on the peninsula where I could bike commute to the commuter train. Still pretty awesome.

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Our little Squishy-man celebrated three birthdays in our apartment, growing from a baby to a toddler to a preschooler in a blink.

And let’s not forget that Miss Buttercup made her debut. Followed by Olive’s introduction to the family.

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And we said goodbye to our furry friend, Duke. I still miss you, buddy.

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We had tons of fun in SF events that were in our own backyard.

And had our fair share of good times with our city crew! Plus that New Years Eve 2013 party we hosted on the roof was epic. Just sayin’.

It was also fun to watch Squish become a “city kid.” He had a very different experience than Hulk and I did, growing up in the suburban midwest! That kid will never have a fear of heights, that’s for sure.

And then there was the pool. I’ll miss the pool.

 

And now it’s time to pack it in, and say our goodbyes. It’s been an incredible stop in the proverbial journey of life, but now it’s time for a new chapter. And I do not care that I am mixing metaphors.

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Farewell, San Francisco! We’ve had a wonderful time. And you’ll only be a BART ride away for future adventures and shenanigans!

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Is Butter a Carb?

Today I took a rest day. I decided a day spent being sore instead of becoming more sore was a good idea. Also, I slept horribly last night. It’s a bad idea to take Sudafed before bed, no matter how stuffed up you feel. I sort of laid there in a half-coma all night, tired but not actually falling asleep. It was weird. Anyway, Olive scored with a nice walk around the neighborhood this morning.

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I’ve also been experimenting with different food plans. One of the coaches put together sort of a macros-based performance eating group for anyone interested. I decided to play around with it. Why not? I’ll probably do a full post on what all it entails when I’m not so brain-dead tired, but basically you calculate out an estimated grams of protein, carbs, and fat to eat in a given day. Sort of like calorie counting, but the type of food matters more than just the calories. Anyway, I’m giving it a whirl for funsies. I’m logging my food in My Fitness Pal and it’s curious to see where I end up.

Breakfast was eggs, spaghetti squash, and broccoli.

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Lunch was a few corn dogs because I sort of got distracted while working and just ate what Hulk put in front of me. I was surprised; since going paleo I’ve sort of learned to “embrace the fat” and include dietary fat with abandon. Turns out that corn dogs really check in on the fat content. Now that my meal template is decidedly less fatty and more carb-heavy, I’m having to do some reassessing of my go-to staple foods. Which means corn dogs might now earn a place into “once in a while for a treat” rather than “emergency can’t-even food.” Tragedy.

Dinner was some “paleo spaghetti” with meat sauce and spaghetti squash. And a beer. Because carbs.

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Yeah, I know. They’re not buying it either.

That’s it for today. Go make it a great day!

Friday Favorites #1

Hi again. It’s Friday, and I’m feeling a bit festive. Why not jump on the “Friday Favorites” theme?

Favorite #1: Snapchat.

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I’m on Snapchat now! I have no idea what I’m doing. Follow me at @emilyrocksroad if you dare. There will probably be mostly snaps of food and children doing silly things.

Favorite #2: My BBB time

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Lately I’ve invented some “me time” which I call BBB – Book, Bath, and a Beer. I soak in the tub with a beer while reading whatever book catches my interest at the time. Last night it was an epsom salt soak with lavender and ylang ylang essential oils, our home-brewed oatmeal stout, and “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking since I was feeling a bit smarty pants.

Favorite #3: Toddler Hair

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Buttercup’s hair is almost to a point where we can style it now, which is giving me such a squeee-able assortment of possibilities. It was pretty hot last weekend, so I experimented with a couple of ways to get her hair off her face and neck. Which she promptly tore out, but that makes it fun, right?

That’s it for now, go make it a great weekend!

Happy Pi Day!

It’s Pi Day!

Pi Day

Mmm, pi.

Along with 3.14, how did 16.3 go?

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That well, huh?

For the Women’s Scaled division, here was the workout for me:

WORKOUT 16.3

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
10 power snatches
5 jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men use 65 lb.
Women use 45 lb.

That’s it. What, like it’s hard?

Yeah, it’s hard. While warming up, I couldn’t get a single chest-to-bar. Not a one. Turns out between my stumpy legs and my complete lack of being able to generate any sort of power resulted in a weight-to-power ratio of “Well, it’s cute that she’s trying.” Whatever, I figure I’ll land a score of 10 with the power snatches and spend the rest of the time trying to land a pull-up.

The cool thing about the Open is that it doesn’t feel like a regular workout. There’s still the atmosphere that it’s a competition, and sometimes that works to your advantage. While I couldn’t land a pull-up while warming up, once the buzzer rang and the workout started, suddenly I sort of feel superhuman. While I was jumping toward the bar desperate for contact and being so close to making it, at one point I adjusted my feet and angle while I jumped, and my chest about slammed on the bar. I got my first chest-to-bar! I went from thinking I wouldn’t be able to finish a round to nearly completing three; for every C2B I succeeded, I had about 5 or 6 no-reps. But at the end with a score of 41 I was pretty happy. I am eager to see what score I can get up to once I have the technique down!

Meanwhile, children. Because I know for some of you this is the only reason you check out my blog.

Squish was getting all ‘stached up at preschool the other day.

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The other night I was participating in the rare activity of watching TV, and the characters were playing poker. Squish was interested in the game they were playing, so I decided to break out the ol’ poker set and make sure my kids know how to win their lunch money back someday.

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It will probably be a while until I post some good pictures of Buttercup. She has firmly hit the stage where 1) she doesn’t stop moving long enough to take a photo and 2) once she sees the camera/phone out, she immediately wants it. I remember this stage with Squish, too. Pretty much ever photo ends up like this:

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Precious memories.

That’s it until next time. Go make it a great day!