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!

By Special Request

I returned home late last night to the much anticipated family-bomb. Hulk and the kids picked me up from the airport all smiles and a few screams. During the drive back home from SFO, Squish filled me in about the goings-on from the week while repeatedly requesting me to sing his favorite songs (Jingle Bells and Puff the Magic Dragon); Miss Buttercup just screamed because she was restrained in her car seat, not cuddled in my lap where she wanted to be. “Get used to disappointment” is the common phrase we throw around in this situation. Once we got home she was all giggles again.

I ended up working from home to accommodate some weird meetings, and since Hulk had been single-parenting it all week he arranged the kids to go to Gramma and Grampa’s house for the weekend so he could have a breather. Gramma came to pick the kids up over lunch, and Squish was super excited he gets to use his new “going to gramma’s house” suitcase!

One exciting part about having the kids at the grandparents’ this weekend is Hulk can join me in Friday Night Lights for the Crossfit Open 16.2 tonight! Yay! Who’s ready for some double-unders?!?

Time to head to the gym, I’ll be back later with a 16.2 recap … Go make it a great day!

Back to Reality, Again

Well, bummer! I thought I had saved my post, but it somehow wandered away into the internet abyss. Sad panda.

Oh well, I was just checking in to say hi. I’m on my way back west after spending a few good days visiting with family. It was a nice trip overall, and I’m looking forward to bringing the rest of the family later this year to see everyone again. Now it’s time for the hurry-up-and-wait routine that is airline travel.

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I had intended on doing the scheduled crossfit workouts yesterday and today, but yesterday we didn’t make it back to the house until late in the evening, and then today I wandered down the rabbit hole of thinking, “I’ll work for a bit then take a break to work out later,” then several hours later I’m still working and it was time to head to the airport! Oops. Well, I guess I’ll be really refreshed and ready for 16.2!

One cool thing about this trip, I had about a bajillion miles saved, so I was able to use my miles to book a first class ticket. Flying in style, yo. I love the real glassware and fancy cloth napkins.

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(New library book. I’m geeking out on the history of beer!)

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

Remembering Grandpa

Friday afternoon I got a call from my dad to tell my that my grandfather had passed away. That kind of sucked.

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Grandpa and me, maybe around 1987-ish. Wow, I’m like, Squish’s age in this photo.

I’m still sort numb and in denial about it all, but I’m sure it’ll hit me soon. Slowly as stories are shared and pictures passed around, all of the memories of Grandpa as I was growing up start coming back. Since moving to California and starting a family, I’ve had fewer opportunities to visit. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family. So I was on a plane yesterday flying to my folk’s house to participate in the usual family “life celebration” festivities in my original hometown of New Ulm, MN.

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And there’s snow. Because Minnesota.

I want to keep up with my Crossfitting, so I didn’t my gym’s WOD in my folks’ garage and played around with the Total Gym.

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Strength:

  • Handstand or pike push-ups 5×3

WOD:

4 rounds of AMRAP in 2:3o with 1 min rest in between:

  • 10 push press (Rx is 35kg, I used the Power Block dumbbells at 17lb/each)
  • 30 double unders (I just hopped in place 90 times since I didn’t have a jump rope. And I can’t do double unders.)

After work I went out to dinner with my parents. There’s a tap house that had a fun beer selection, so I ordered a flight of some interesting-sounding brews.

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Beer love! The Lift Bridge Batch 1800 double IPA was my favorite, I think.

That’s it for now. Make sure you hug your loved ones, or at least call if they’re not in a hugging distance, and 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!

The Best Kind of Adventure

Greetings, blog world!

I’m still not sure what to write about, but I really want to keep posting and not let this blog drift away. Things keep happening that are milestones I want to document for the sake of record-keeping, like how Buttercup is crawling all over the place and how she stood up by herself in her crib last night. Stop growing. Just stop.

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She’s a lumberjack, and she’s okay.

Meanwhile Squish just spent a week up in Tahoe over the 4th with some family friends. He basically partied with the other kids until he dropped, lather, rinse, repeat.

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And I’m over here realizing that just because I’m not cooking health-blog-worthy meals right now (I use the term “cooking” very loosely here) or working on killing my half marathon PR doesn’t mean I can’t blog. I use this space to document my health journey, and that journey can sometimes make detours too, and that’s okay. Last post I lamented about trying to find time to squeeze in all the things. I was focusing so much on what I’m not doing that I failed to see all that I am doing – tons and tons of self work. Journaling, meditation, talking to close friends and family, and personal reflection do take up quite a bit of time, and I realized that this is where my time has been lately. The specifics are a little personal to talk about on the blog right now, but I hope you understand that it’s a work in progress and once I figure things out I’ll probably have a nice little “lessons learned” write up someday.

So this place might get a little w00-woo as I sort out the (ugh) feelings and stuff. I’m not a big “feelings” person you may have noticed. But that may change. Anything can change. I’ll keep on rocking my little road over here. If you want to hang in for the ride, you’re more than welcome to. It’s quite the adventure as I have no idea where I’m going or how I’ll get there. Which is really the best kind of adventure.

Go make it a great day!

Land of Lysol

Weeeell, this has been a fun week. Sunday night Squish started throwing up all over the place. One by one we were all taken out by the rogue Stomach Bug of 2015 (calling it this gives me hope that there will only be 1 this year). Hulk was the last to succumb to the minor inconvenience yesterday, so let’s just say I’m glad for the weekend, so I can get caught up on all the laundry. We have nary a clean towel in the place.

Squish did get really good about using The Bucket.

  
Just. Stay. There.

Before the Land of Lysol started,  I was off to a really good week. I’m so close at actually running a 5k.

 

Just about a half mile to tack on, and I’m there!

I also spent a lot of time with Squish since he was an invalid. He started getting major cabin fever last night, so I took him to the roof to ride his bike around and get some “fresh” air (as if city air is fresh, haha. I can’t wait for East Bay for that reason).

  
He hardly fits that scoot bike anymore, he’s so huge. Hmm, that might be another thing we tack on to the “Stuff for the New House” list.

And I got to enjoy the sun set while he tore around.

  
There was a blimp. Still can’t beat the view from the roof.

Buttercup also had her five month birthday anniversary! She’s getting to be such a big girl. It seems like just yesterday I was freaking out about going in for an induction, and she was just a tiny newborn.

  
Not so tiny now. Feed me.

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

Good to be Home

Good morning!

It’s so good to be home!

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Of course, I’m up at the crack of dawn with the time change from being on the East Coast. But it gives me some of my favorite kind of time to do stuff. I love working early in the morning when the rest of the house is still quiet.

Got my tea on. “Midsummer Night’s Dream” from David’s Tea. Mmm.

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I had a great flight back from Pittsburgh. Up bright and early and grabbed a breakfast sandwich at the airport Fresh Choice kiosk, with quite possibly a cup of the world’s worst coffee.

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I maybe ate half of the sandwich, I just wasn’t that hungry. Oops, I just realized the other half is still sitting in my unpacked bag. I should probably go take care of that.

Mid-flight snack, an apple and peanut butter I swiped the other day from the hotel buffet.

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I didn’t get lunch over my layover, because  I was upgraded to First Class and knew I would be served a free meal! Woot! I love status.

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They give you mini water bottles instead of those flimsy plastic cups of water.

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And your drinks are served in real glassware! I had a ginger ale and a tea while waiting for breakfast.

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Breakfast took the flight attendants longer than expected to prepare, so they passed out snacks to hold us over until it was ready. Oh, those poor first class passengers had to wait for their food, how horrible!

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Finally breakfast was served! I chose the “Farmers Market Frittata” with mushrooms, goat cheese, mango has, poblano chiles, garden salsa, and sweet potatos! With a side of fresh fruit and a little power cookie thingy.

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OMG this thing was good. Anyway, there’s what happened on the way home.

I got home for lunch, so the family grabbed some sandwiches next door and we enjoyed them picnic-style by the pool. Squish shared my tuna sandwich with me.

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With salad and Pellegrino “lemonade,” as I told Squish what it was.

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Okay, now the morning’s task is to migrate over to “self-hosting!” I hope to see you later, if it is a success … eek!

Easter Festivus

Really this post should be titled, “How I Ate All the Things.”

We survived yet another family holiday. After realizing that I had boiled all of our eggs for egg dying and didn’t have any to make the egg casserole for Easter brunch, I set foot out into the city to try and find a store that was a) open and b) had eggs left. Three stores later, I ended up at a 7-11 to score the last dozen of mostly-intact eggs. This is when planning ahead would have been nice.

When I returned from my shopping expedition, Squish was up and we checked out the goodies the Easter Bunny left him.

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The Easter Bunny was going to fill the eggs with jelly beans, but at the last minute decided to put in coins instead. But that’s okay; he still received his annual allotment of Blue Dye #2.

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Peeps on a stick! Who knew?

Brunch turned out awesome despite my last-minute running around for ingredients. We had egg bake with bacon, cheese, and green onion, fruit salad, and some pastries I picked up from the bakery around the corner. On the fancy china, of course.

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Then we enjoyed the awesome weather San Francisco was having. My folks took Squish up to the roof to get his bike riding on while Hulk and I lounged by the pool. Then it was time to head to my sister’s place for Easter dinner. We got cleaned up,

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I can bring my bike, right?

And headed North to Napa, where mimosas and piles of deliciousness awaited us.

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Amanda even got me sparkling white grape juice for my mimosas! Didn’t even miss the real thing.

Then we ate. And ate. And ate. And Squish found some hidden eggs so he mostly ate chocolate.

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I think it was pork tenderloin stuffed with some spinach stuff and topped with cumberland sauce, asparagus, beet and goat cheese tartine, and homemade fresh-baked bread! Nom.

And then we rolled home.

 

A Baby Story

The other day I was reminiscing about the day that Squish made his appearance.

Jared

I never really told my birth story with Squish. At the time I didn’t realize it was a blog “thing”, and really I was so overwhelmed I didn’t really know where to start. The short version was 20 hours, no pain meds (because I’m nuts), yes pitocin, 3 pushes, 2 stitches, and no poop. Score.

It was a pretty incredible day.

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I still don’t remember how we brought him home. I was in some state of hormonal bliss. Or sleep deprivation. Maybe both. Apparently, we both made it home. Photographic evidence.

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It continues to be a remarkable experience.

Squish 2 Collage

Especially when he teaches me that there is more than one way to play a kazoo.

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So we figured, what the heck? Let’s do this all over again.

Squish gets a sibling! Baby #2 coming this November.