Friday, November 2, 2012

Gratitude Abounds: Day 2

Doing good so far; I've made it back for day two. I am practically on a role here.

2. The comforts I enjoy in my daily life have been thrown into sharp relief over the past week, as Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath have devastated so many communities on the east coast. There are many days that I come inside from the rain and the wind and I am so happy to be walking into my warm, dry house. However, the news from across the nation has reminded just how damn lucky I am to have consistent access to gas for my car, to stores stocked with food, to new rolls of paper towels and the stores that sell them, to Target for all the things that I know I do not need but buy anyway, to electricity to do silly little things such as charge my phone and run my modem. I know that life can be lived fully and very satisfyingly (is that a real word?) without any of the above things, so I do not doubt that, if I chose to do so, I could live my life quite well without any of them (some easier to give up than others). However, they have become creature comforts that make my life easier and, to a lesser extent, less dire and survivalist. And for that, I truly am grateful.

And I am grateful for warm kitties who, while they absolutely will not come sit on my lap no matter what I do, will always curl up on the arm of the couch to at least be near where I am (but would never admit this, if they could speak English, that is).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude Abounds: Day 1

So this has been one killer year. Probably one of my best ever, if I do say so myself. I think the hubs would back me up on this one, too. We have made new friends, traveled to new places and experienced new things, we have become healthier than ever, we are constantly striving to make changes that make our lives better...happier...more fulfilling.

Because of all this, I feel it is time to start counting my blessings. Quite literally, in fact.

I give you Day One of what I am calling the 30-Day Gratitude Tour de Force.

P.S. To do this successfully will require me actually posting something on this somewhat musty blog each day for 30 days, so, you know, win-win.

1. I am immensely grateful for the job offer from a certain Ms. Holly Armstrong six, almost seven, years ago that brought the hubs and I down to Olympia to live. After hearing about the position opening as an aside, I have never worked so hard for a job in my life, even asking friends who knew Holly to call her after my interview to put in a good word for me. The hubs and I ran through practice interviews at the Starbucks near our house in Phinney Ridge, I drove through a torrential downpour to get to the interview, had to park half a mile away and paddle my way upstream to get to the Legislative Building in time to somewhat dry myself off with paper towels in the women's restroom before sloshing into the Governor's Office to wait, nervously fidgeting on those uncomfortable and forbidding-looking brown leather couches.

Luckily Holly is much less forbidding than those couches and I soon had a chance to work for her for two all too short years. Life-changing in so many ways, the events that led up to me getting that call from Holly ended up being what set my life on the path it is on now.

(I am also grateful for wireless internet. Seriously.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The few, the proud ... the parents of multiple children

Invoking my "do-not-have-to-summarize-everything-that-has-happened-since-I-last-posted" clause ... NOW!

This post is dedicated to my sistas from another mister, those of you with two or more kiddos. I am humbled before your tired feet and your frazzled mind.

Allow me to explain. Tonight my hubs is going to be home later than usual. Notice I did not say late, just *later*. He will be here long before the kiddo goes to bed.

However, it is now about 20 minutes or so past the time one of us (between the kiddo and I) starts to peer out the front windows, hoping - for very different reasons - that we will soon see our crappy little rundown truck pull up. (The kiddo: "Ahh! Daddy daddy daaaaaaaadyyyyyyy! Mama, it's daddy! He's home!" Me: "Oh thank god.")

And I am already starting to question everything that led up to having a child.

Any parent who is honest will tell you, you live with that ambivalence. You look at the face of your beautiful, lovely child and you think two things at the exact same time: ‘I love this kid so much that it ‘s changed my whole life. I love other people more because of how much I love her. I love people that died years ago more. My love has traveled time because of how completely I love her and she loves me back. She’s completely given value to life that didn’t exist before and I regret every decision that led to her birth’. That’s how it feels.
Louis C.K.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Coming up next

In a little over two and a half days, I will start a new chapter in my life.

Scratch that.

A new book.

I will be attending a weekend training to become a FITNESS INSTRUCTOR! I know, right? To be specific, a Stroller Strides and Body Back instructor, which I think is the best kind there is. Yeah, I'm biased, but you will be, too, once I tell you why.

Six months ago, I hauled my sleepy, bleary-eyed self out of bed at 4:50 a.m., put on an (as you'll see in the October 2011 photos below) ill-fitting shirt and pants, laced up my shoes and drove downtown for my first day of Body Back. I seriously had no idea what to expect and was pretty nervous, as I had heard there would be running involved and I couldn't even remember the last time I had run without being chased. By something scary and possible dangerous.

Anyway, yes, there was running (only a half-mile, but that's a lot for someone who, again, doesn't run unless it's to save herself from certain death), as well as push ups, sit ups, bicep curls, planks, a weigh-in and measurements and photos.

After that first eight-week session (October to December 2011), it was really difficult for me to pick out what I liked best about the Body Back program. You workout with a group of mamas (score!) who, like you, hauled themselves out of bed insanely early for a super tough workout (score!), you are accountable to yourself for the food you eat and the work you put in (score!), you may even start feeling like you are accountable to your fellow mamas (score!), you meet the most amazing women you will ever know (double score!) and you make changes in your life, not just in your body (triple score!).

Then Kim Bauer, our Stroller Strides and Body Back maven and one of my favorite people, sent me my before and after photos. That's when I realized that my favorite thing about those first two months of Body Back was that everything I mentioned above leads to this: it works.

More to come!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And now for something completely different

I really don't like to go out on a limb and say things like, "Best ever," "Nothing like it," and "Life-changing," because those are pretty big words that could lose a lot of their oomph if you use them haphazardly.

Keeping that in mind, you may know that last October I took the first step on what has turned out to be a truly life-changing journey for me. I signed up for Bodyback, a more intense program from the fab mama who created Stroller Stride that includes workouts and a food component and it ended up to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. When I tell people about it, I have a hard time talking about the food part of it because it is definitely not a restrictive diet or calorie counting. I guess I haven't exactly found the right words to describe that part of it. The next eight-week Bodyback session begins next Monday (my third!) and I was looking back over my food journals to see how I was eating when I started this process.

My very first day of Bodyback, when I came home from my first group workout with my new food journals in hand and I had done no shopping to prepare any of the meals included, I had a bowl of cereal and a protein smoothie (one of the Bodyback recipes) made with a banana, yogurt, rice milk, protein powder, flax seed and peanut butter (because we are the type of family who has all these things in the house at any given time). It was a few days before I was only eating one of the breakfasts at a time - I did a few days of the peanut butter protein smoothie with something else, like the egg breakfast sandwich or the breakfast quinoa.

It took me about a week to incorporate the two snacks into my day, and then a few more weeks to actually eat them consistently every day. Looking over all of the week's of food journaling since October 24, there hasn't been one entire week where I didn't have at least one after dinner snack, be it healthy or not!

Now that I am working out six days a week, my eating and need for energy has changed so dramatically from my needs the first few weeks. Add on top of that I am achieving a personal best for running distance each week as I train and prepare for the Capital City Half-Marathon, and some days I find myself needing to eat every hour and a half to two hours! Certainly a change from the beginning.

Anyway, I promise to update this more as I move through this next session of Bodyback., My goals are different and my body is different from when I started, so I really have no idea what to expect.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So It's Been a Long Time. Whatevs.

Anything less than a year and I consider myself a candidate for sainthood.

Today happens to be Valentine's Day 2012. Our kiddo's third day Valentine's Day.

We (okay, maybe it's just me - I probably shouldn't speak for the hubs) would put ourselves squarely into the "less is more" category when it comes to giving gifts. I got my husband a thoughtful card and made us a super delectable, unexpected Valentine's Day treat (The New York Times' Dark Chocolate Cherry Ganache Bars). I'm planning a flavorful yet relatively healthy dinner (The Gracious Pantry's clean eating curry chicken and Enlightened Cooking's Moroccan quinoa salad) and that's it. It should be noted here that I love to cook and would have made dinner anyway - now I get to make something brand new. We got the toddler a big ol' red mylar Valentine's balloon and a card that plays music. And that's it.

That being said, I can't help but feel like I should be doing more, what with all the ads littering the right side of my Facebook news feed for 14 dozen roses, delivered by a dancing cat dressed like your favorite character from Downton Abbey, and the posts from friends in which they share that they made their kids a fully-functioning servant robot.

I've never been one to go all out on Valentine's Day and, in fact, I am a pretty awkward romantic dinner date. I'm also a hot mess at arts and crafts and other homemade-y gifties. What about you all? Do you go all out on this day, or is it just an exceptionally pleasant February day?  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Talk About Your Delayed Gratification!

So it turns out that the last time I wrote for this blog was my kid's birthday. When she turned one. Not the one that just happened, where she turned two.

Yikes. I am behind.

In an effort to save you and me both from the written word version of the time-passing montage in movies, I'll try my best not to recap everything that has happened in the last year.  I can tell you that it involved a trip to Hawai'i, a handful of birthdays, a Thanksgiving dinner with friends, a Christmas holiday with a very sick kiddo, a trip to the coast, innumerable Facebook posts, and, perhaps most happily, growing friendships and a connections to a place that we may just very well end up calling home.

Things seem to be going well on the home front - for example, I can hear my kiddo just woke up from her nap and is doing some wake up yoga in her crib: "Meow, moo! Meow, moo! Woof woof woof woof woof. Meow, moo!" (That's cat and cow pose, with a few downward dogs thrown in for good measure).

I have an idea for a post swirling about in my head, on the topic of kid-free flights, or restaurants, or dog parks (see this article, shared by a friend on Facebook: More adults support kid-free zones) but I haven't sorted out my thoughts enough to write anything on it without coming across as a raging loony. 

What are your thoughts on the topic? Please share them in the comments.