A Good Ol’ Sob Fest

Good morning, friends!

It’s another beautiful day, and I’ve had so much going on lately. Last night I saw “A Star is Born,” and can I just say I must have a heart of stone or something? I swear I was the only one in that theater not crying at the end. I mean, I felt a little emotional but there were folks outright SOBBING as the credits rolled.

photo credit: <a href=”http://photo%20credit: Aramisse Grieving with a little friend via photopin (license)“>Aramisse

I must admit,  I was disappointed. The whole reason I went was because I wanted to experience a good, emotional cleansing and I even brought tissues expecting a good cry-fest. But it turns out I only needed them when I spilled my water down my shirt. Anyone else love a good cry at a movie? I think the last movie I actually cried at was the whole opening story line of Disney’s “Up”. If you don’t feel a little sniffly about that beautiful montage of life and tragedy, I’m not too certain if you’re even human. I mean, you could be, but I’m just not certain.

But historically, I have never been much of a cryer. Which I’m working on changing recently. Did you know that crying is actually really good for you? In addition to relieving stress and pent-up emotions, it also provides a detoxification pathway via tears, kills bacteria, improves vision, and (no-brainer here) can elevate your mood.

Despite all the benefits (and the fact that crying is a normal human action) our culture has historically had such a stigma around crying, especially for men. And I get it. When I’m around a crying person (99.9% of the time it’s one of my kids) I feel this uncontrollable reaction to MAKE IT STOP. Make them happy and feel better RIGHT NOW. Why does crying cause such discomfort in the observer?

When I need a good cry, I just want to get it out and done. I understand that sometimes crying is the best therapy for me, and the quickest way to get from Point A (sad) to Point B (relieved and refreshed). And I am relieved and grateful when I have the space to just let my emotions out in peace and move on with my day. So if I’m good with my own crying, why can’t I be good with others’ crying? I can only conclude that it’s because I was conditioned all my life to believe crying means there is something wrong, and it needs to be fixed.

But that’s just not true. Crying can be many things. It can be from overwhelming happiness. It can be from anger or frustration at a situation out of my control. It can be from processing grief, which I know from personal experience that “the only way out is through.” And in the case of my kids, crying is a last resort when emotions don’t make sense or are just too intense and crazy. Because it’s always SUPER disappointing when you don’t get the red cup instead of the blue cup, isn’t it?

I’m on a mission to evangelize crying. At home, in public, at work, wherever. Now, you can be discrete (I’m not at the point where I can just sit at my desk and ugly cry yet), but if I need to excuse myself to squeeze some tears out in the women’s room, I tell myself that I’m a human having a human experience, and I don’t feel so ashamed when I get back to my desk with the lingering red in my eyes. When my kids cry I check in with them, ask if they need me or want to be alone, and let them have their feels. And especially when I find myself needing to cry around my kids, I am not afraid of letting them see it, letting them know that grown-ups can feel sad too and that’s okay. Just like when they’re crying and I offer to talk about their feelings, I tell them mine. “Mommy’s feeling overwhelmed. I need to stop and take care of myself for a bit.” or “I feel sad because I miss Grandpa.” They need to know (just like I need to remember) that emotions aren’t scary, and feelings do not require fixing.

So let the floodgates flow! The waterpark is open for business! Find a corner and let it all out. As I heard the other day, “Put your issues in your tissues.” Detoxification and stress-relief benefits with one simple exercise? I’ll sign up for that!

Go make it a great day!

(photo credit: Aramisse Grieving with a little friend via photopin (license))

So Done: Rewriting Unhelpful Patterns

So, I treadmilled last night.

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I didn’t really want to. I mean, who wants to run on a treadmill when there’s the whole outside to run in? But I really, really felt like moving my body in some way, and I had Buttercup with me so running outside wasn’t an option. I also didn’t really want to pay the $5 for childcare at the gym, and it was getting late in the evening and I knew we wouldn’t make it to CrossFit in time. So, I put on my run gear, handed Buttercup her tablet to keep her occupied, and did my run on the treadmill in the apartment gym. We got it done, and treated ourselves to sushi afterwords.

Honestly, I was sort of surprised at myself. Who is this woman?!? Normally I would look at the clock and say, “Whelp, I guess a workout isn’t happening tonight!” and go watch Netflix. But I’m sort of tired of being that person. To be clear, there’s certainly nothing wrong with foregoing a workout for downtime, and I do enjoy those nights where I spontaneously clear my calendar and turn my to-do list over so I can veg out and stop thinking about responsible things for awhile. But I found that “Ignore All the Things” has been becoming less about de-stressing and more about an unhealthy coping mechanism for me. And I don’t like it.

So I’ve been noticing all the reasons that inspire me to let my healthy habits slide – a late night, a grumpy mood, an unexpected engagement that throws my schedule off – and how I choose to respond to those stimuli. And so much of it is about just not being prepared. So I’m slowly figuring out what systems no longer serve me, and rewriting them. I mean, this is what I do for a living, guys – process engineering. And yesterday, the first thought system to be rewritten is “It’s too hard to work out when I have the kids home.” Because I totally figured out how to get a decent run in, spend time with my kiddo, and still have a great evening together.

What patterns in your behavior are you so done with? Any thought systems or other systems in your life you want to set out to rewrite?

Go make it a great day, friends!

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!

A Day in the Life

I’ve seen these posts from other blogs, and I love them. I can’t remember if I’ve done one of these “day in the life” posts before, so here you go! Edit: yes, I did a Day in the Life post a couple years ago. Time flies!

5:00 – alarm goes off. I scroll through social media for a good 20 minutes until I feel like I’m ready to get out of bed.

5:20 – shower and dress for work

5:45 – head downstairs to meditate and write an entry in my gratitude journal. Because I totally do this every day. And by “every day” I mean once in a while when I remember that I want to meditate and journal every day. And today I nailed it.

6:10 – start breakfast. Squish wakes up and keeps me company. We eat breakfast together

6:30 – I clean up breakfast and do the dishes from last night. We play Lego trucks for a bit.

6:45 – pack my stuff for work

7:00 – time to commute to Silicon Valley!

7:20 – Starbucks stop

8:10 – pull into the parking lot, and there’s an open charging station, yay!

8:45 – coffee #2

10:00 – unplug my fully-charged car and park closer to the building

11:00 – meetings meetings meetings

12:00 – more meetings, but they catered in Greek food for lunch! I ate this x2


2:30 – la Croix break!


4:00 – heading into my last meeting of the day. I won’t make it home in time to pick up Squish from preschool, so I text Hulk to save me.

4:40 – fly out of the office to try and get home in time for CrossFit

6:00 – get home, change, slam down food, jump back in the car and head to the gym

6:30 – CROSSFIT YAY!


7:30 – peel myself off the ground and head home

7:50 – arrive at home. Hulk made the kids popcorn and they’re watching a movie. I join them for a bit; it’s the first time I’ve seen Buttercup today

8:15 – I jump in the shower while Hulk wrangles the kids to bed

8:30 – doing some housework crosses my mind, but I’m too tired to peel myself off the couch. Dishes can wait, I suppose. Hulk and I catch up on our days.

9:00: I’m done. Good night!
Go make it a great day!

Back to the Food

Wednesday means it’s time for What I Ate Wednesday. Who’s ready for some crappy iPhone photos of half-eaten food with captions? I know I am!

I was so irritated this morning. The night before, I packed my bag, checked that my alarm was set, and told Hulk that I was going to CrossFit this morning. Then I woke up at 6:07, 7 minutes after class had started, to find that I must have slept through my alarm. I was super annoyed. I was feeling really pumped and ready to hit it. Instead, I hit some of those egg muffins I made on Sunday for breakfast.

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The picture doesn’t lie. They were terrible. Healthy, but terrible. I don’t like leftover egg bakes. I choked them down, but I seriously need to find something to pair them with. This is going to be a long week of breakfasts. However, I did remember my reusable mug at the coffee shops this morning. Yes, plural. No, don’t care.

I was in Oakland for work this week, onsite for a project launch. I have found my most favorite lunch place Uptown that does a really nice shawarma salad. Today was lamb and beef. It was terrible. Next time I’ll try to take a picture before I consume all of the salad.

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For dinner we finally dug into the pizza spaghetti pie I made Sunday. Everyone was super hungry and we made quick work of it. I was too busy loading Buttercup’s plate with more steamed carrots and telling Squish to keep his glass of milk away from the edge of the table to take pictures, but it pretty much looked like this:

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Photo source

Yes, just like that.

You know what’s messed up? Letting a four year old watch “The Land Before Time,” then telling him it’s bedtime literally right after Littlefoot’s mother died. That may have happened. I should know by now to simply take the remote and say, “Let’s watch Bob the Builder!” when Squish repeatedly asks me, “What’s happening?” over and over in a worried voice during any intense scene. My penance shall most likely be a few 3am wake-up calls from a preschooler terrified awake with nightmares.

And that’s it. Go make it a great day!

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!

 

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!

Happy Birthday, Buttercup!

It was Buttercup’s first birthday this weekend! We had a Hello Kitty themed party for family and friends to commemorate the occasion. And it true “bad blogger” form, I was too preoccupied getting everything set up to take pictures, so if you have some good ones from the day, please feel free to send them to me!

  

  
She grew up way too stinking fast. And since this is the last first birthday party I’ll ever have to throw, I wanted to do a REAL party. With, like, decorations and planning and stuff.

Prepping the night before:  
Hello Kitty totally threw up all over our living room.

  

  
  
 

  
Even Olive got all festive.

  
I still can’t figure out how to take a good picture of a black dog. She’s all shadow.

 

Anyway, the kids put on their party hats and were ready for a good time!  
  
Squish was ALL ABOUT the hats. Buttercup, not so much. But how cute is this “Birthday Hat” my sister crochet for her?!?

  

She clearly did not appreciate it as much as we did.

But she did appreciate the cake. She started with dainty little finger-dips in the frosting before digging in with both hands.

  
It was a great party!

  
Happy birthday to our little miss Princess Strawberry Mochi Cream Puff Buttercup! 

Playing Catch-up: Parenting Rites of Passage and a Standing Desk Update

Greetings! I haven’t blogged all week, and I feel like I have so many updates now.

Filed under “parenting rites of passage achieved,” Buttercup threw my phone in the toilet last week. In the upstairs bathroom. Yes, while I was taking a nap, she crawled up the stairs, in my room, took my phone from the nightstand (which I had no idea she could even reach), crawled into the bathroom, opened the lid to the toilet (I think Squish just taught her how to do that one) and tossed my phone in. To quote Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad; I’m impressed!” This happened Thursday afternoon and thanks to a loaded schedule and me not being an authorized user on our phone plan, it took until Sunday night for Hulk and I to replace my phone. I actually really liked the unplanned electronic vacation, but I wish it wouldn’t have costed me the equivalent of a real vacation.

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The standing desk continues to work for me. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, mostly because I’m an idiot as usual very good at overestimating my abilities and figure I should just stand all day. And start up running again. My joints are very much “no, thank you” these days to put it politely. But it’s been very interesting to learn more about how my focus works. When I’m productive, I’m laser-focused. But when my brain just isn’t into it, since I’m standing I tend to get fidgety, and it’s very obvious that I need a break. When I was sitting, it’s easy to just sit and do nothing. It’s hard to stand and do nothing. So my productivity has gone up even though I find the need for more frequent breaks, which research shows isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Oh yeah, I’m trying to run again. Again. I keep going through this cycle of thinking, “I’m in rough shape, need to start working out again,” followed by an insane plot to do All The Workouts, and they only count if I do it at the crack of dawn, and I need to do them every day, then I burn out and can’t figure out why this isn’t sustainable. So I decided to take a step back and start small. What exercise makes me happy, do I enjoy doing, can be done whenever I have time, and can I see a lot of benefits from? For me, that’s running. So I’m committing to running three times a week to get back in the habit. Ideally, I want to add lifting and some yoga to the plan, but for right now my 30 minute runs three days a week is all I want to try to manage. So yesterday after work I went for a jaunt around the neighborhood to break in my new shoes.

And now we are sufficiently updated on the goings-on. Go make it a great day!

 

Some Days are Like That, Even in Australia

Yesterday was one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days for me. I can’t even explain it. Monday I went to bed feeling all the gratitude and warm fuzzies about the world. Tuesday I woke up and felt like Kill All the Things. And I’m not even on Day 5 of a Whole30!

Breakfast

Since I was all grumpy, I skipped out of the house as soon as I could after the usual kid-wrangling to avoid making the rest of the family miserable, and grabbed a sausage breakfast sandwich from the deli by my office. Their breakfast sandwiches are magical, being hand-made on a toasted croissant. It’s a nice food-treat to start the day. I also downed a couple of coffees with milk.

Lunch

I was still feeling sort of reclusive, so I went to a nearby cafeteria where I knew it was chicken tandoori day. Some chicken tandoori, curried veggies, and rice were some good soul food. I also walked to and from the office, so it was a good sunny mile walk each way.

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Snack

I wasn’t hungry in the afternoon, but I did indulge in some mood-eating. A KIND bar and a few Andes mints were a decent distraction, washed down with a couple Diet Cokes.

Workout

I came home to some good family news, so that perked me up. No public announcements yet since it’s not quite a done deal. True to my “no beer before barbells” rule, Hulk offered to put dinner together while I worked out in the garage. I started the Champion program on the Spitfire Athlete app. I didn’t have time to get through the whole workout, but I completed most of the weight lifting and skipped out on core work.

  • Assisted pull-ups, 3×12
  • Cable pulls (I modified with a band since I don’t have a cable to pull), 3×12
  • Bent over barbell rows, 3×12 @ 45 lbs
  • Reclined dumbbell arm extensions, 3×12 using a 10lb plate
  • Inclined reverse dumbbell flys, 1×12 @ 3 lbs (yes, 3. It was either that or 40)

Dinner

Hulk outdid himself for dinner: hamburger patties topped with cheese and fried eggs, with a side salad and peas. We ate on the patio again, and I showed Squish how to angle his fork through the patty to make a sort of meat-on-a-stick method of eating the hamburger, rather than cutting it into bites. Then we drank some beers on the porch while watching the sun set. Hulk took care of the domestic stuff while I went to bed early and read my book. I’m almost done with “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and I have only cried twice so far.

I know I’ve been succumbing to emotional eating lately, and I just have been allowing it. It’s hard not to have Whole30 rules to fall back on when things are difficult. I know what’s wrong – I want to do all the things and am frustrated that there are only 24 hours in a day –  but eating just seems easier than fixing it. There are also a couple other health-related things I’ve been meaning to explore, such as maybe giving myself a caffeine holiday.

I’m also really trying to figure out how to get more exercise in, and I’m caught in “mom guilt” whenever I take time out for myself, which was part of why I was so grumpy yesterday. I had planned on working out in the morning, but then children/life happened, and it didn’t get done. I’m so sick of falling victim to excuses, but I just can’t get myself together. I know I need to take care of myself in order to take care of everyone else, but it’s so much easier in theory than in practice. I think I’m going to get up at 6:00 for a run, but then at 5:58 I have a tearful preschooler climbing in my bed after a scary dream, and while I’m getting him settled I then have a baby that’s all “IT’S [6:17 in the] MORNING WHY AREN’T YOU ALL READY TO PARTY YET? And why are my pants so squishy?” and by the time I’m done with her diaper blowout the preschooler is now awake and asking for “milk and chocolate toast” and my window of opportunity to scrap together any time for myself this morning is firmly shut. Fortunately this phase of life is temporary and I’m doing my best to appreciate the little things involved with taking care of small children (stop growing up!) but it’s hard when I know I need to exercise and rest and keep myself sane above it all. But tomorrow is always another day.

And that’s it for this day. Go make it a great one!