Tuesday, July 30, 2013

C25K Take 1

Remember how I wanted to run a 5K? Remember how I was so committed to the idea that I actually went out and purchased a sports bra that actually fits (this is a big deal! Involves lots of research and paying lots of money - they don't come cheap in my size!). Remember how it felt to get out of the house all by myself, "jogging" (using that term very generously, more like "feet shuffling") and walking at timed intervals within a set 30 minute timeframe, rocking out to Macklemore and Beyonce and P!nk as I went? (No, you wouldn't remember, because that memory belongs to just me).


You guys - I thought I'd fail because I'd wimp out and it would get too hard. Or, I'd just be too lazy to get off my rear end and actually work out. I didn't think I'd fail because I'd suffer some sort of knee injury from unknown source.

It could be that the two workouts were too much for my body. It could be. But, I kinda doubt it because they weren't hard workouts at all - thirty minutes of time, including a 5 minute walking warm up and down, and 90 seconds of walking followed by a light 60 second jog is not exactly strenuous. I honestly think that Ellie did it to me. I know, blaming a 2 year old for my workout failures isn't very cool of me as her mom, but there's this game she likes to play, where she sits on my feet when I'm sitting down and I raise my legs up and down and give her little rides. She's 30 pounds, and maybe that's just too much for my old lady knees. (After all, I'm almost 30!).

Needless to say (kneedless to say! ha!), I've got a situation going on where I can hardly walk, can't bend my knee and have a terrible time lifting my leg off the ground at all. Very painful. Ice and Advil and compression helps, but when they wear off, it's obvious that it's getting worse. I'm going to the doctor today. Pretty positive I'll either hear "Rest, Compression, Ice and Ibu" or "let's do an MRI or XRay for further diagnostic testing" (after which I'll just hear "rest, compression, ice and ibu"). I'm going anyway because after a week of hobbling and the pain getting worse, it just seems like the right call.

Hoping there will be a C25K Take 2, but for now, I'm watching The West Wing episodes with my sick baby  boy during naptime because I can't do much/anything else around the house. And eating brownies. Because, duh.

He's snoring now that he's asleep. He's sad because his sister gave him the sniffles, but he's oh, so sweet.

Friday, July 26, 2013


After a glorious week of sunshine and summer activities, both kids seem to have the sniffles today.

In fact, Ellie, who hasn't had an actual cold in at least 10 or 11 months (and now has the ability to actually talk about how she's feeling), woke up congested this morning and not knowing the difference, pointed to her snot and told me it was "dirt."

No worries though. We're sticking close to home today.
Pretty happy about it, too!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Moments, unprepared

I was as prepared as I could be for so many aspects of parenting. I was well read, had some good experience under my belt, and came to the party with a great deal of confidence and level-headedness. I think the preparation has served me well in a lot of ways, but something I was not prepared for is the height of the parenting highs. 

It's funny - I knew as a parent that I'd experience a greater depth of love than I ever had before, and I knew that things my kids would do would make me feel all happy and giddy inside. I knew that, but I didn't realize just how happy my heart could actually be over the smallest and seemingly most insignificant moments.

Example 1: Ellie learned how to say the word "yeah" and knows how to use it in the proper context. Ask if she's hungry and she'll give you the correct answer. Turns out, yes and no are fantastic methods to take the guess work out! Every SINGLE time she says "yeah", my heart melts a little. It's seriously the best and cutest thing ever. Me: "Ellie are you happy?" Ellie: "yeah." This morning she woke up a bit early and in tears, so I went in to rock her back to sleep. Peter was still home and she knew this, and was crying painfully for her daddy. He came in and was trying to soothe her and said "Ellie, are you going to have fun today?" Through sobs she answers "yeah." And my heart melted. And it's true - we're going to have some fun today and she knows it. My sweet girl. 

Example 2: Ellie fell in the tub a couple weeks ago and chipped one of her front teeth. Sigh - it was inevitable. We took her to the dentist Monday and I could not stop gushing about how proud I was of her. Just a trip to the dentist, and her "exam" took all of 90 seconds - just laying back on the dentist's lap, opening her mouth and letting him take a quick look at her tooth. Seriously though - so, so proud of my big girl. She left with two small prizes (bouncy balls), one new toothbrush and shortly thereafter got her milkshake reward. 

Example 3: Yesterday I was completely caught off guard by her, and it's left me almost floating with happiness since. It was nice and warm yesterday and we went to my mom's house to cool off. One of my mom's neighbors got her a puddle jumper life jacket to swim with (best thing ever!) and we decided to go down to the lake to try it out - just the two of us. Dash was sleeping so my mom watched him, and off Ellie and I went. She's a fish (she's Nemo, as she likes to call herself) and she was having a great time splashing around in the shallow end of the beach, playing with toys and another kid. Soon, some neighbors joined with their two year old (wearing his own puddle jumper), and they started leaving the shallow end and swimming out toward the dock (probably 75 feet from the beach and obviously in deep water). I was sitting on the beach watching Ellie (carefully!) and before I realized it, she had - on her own - paddled out toward them and was treading water by herself (with the life jacket)!. I hopped into the water and basically did nothing but swim right alongside her, occasionally giving her a hand or guiding her, while she swam all the way out to the dock, grinning the entire time. Oh, my heart. My sweet girl and I were actually swimming together. I still can't get over how happy this made me. She swam to the dock, paddled around it, climbed up the ladder and then got back in the water, paddled about some more and eventually we made our way back to the beach. At one point, she reached for me, gave me a big water hug and said triumphantly "MY mommy." Such happiness.

I won't forget Dash. He makes my heart soar too, but in slightly more predictable, baby kinda way. His smiles are incredible and the way his eyes follow me across the room remind me that we belong to each other. He's a lover most definitely - a much more smiley baby than Ellie was, but he saves his best smiles for me. I can calm him like no one else can (hello, boobs), but even just being near him will calm him down. I find myself just staring at his sweet face and wondering who he is and what he's thinking. I can't wait to learn him more.

I am basking in baby bliss today, most definitely. Much love!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I love my body. I love my body. I love my body.

I've fallen into the trap of admiring photo shopped celebrity bodies and the unreachable standard that they've set many times over the years. I've silently and not-so-silently criticized my belly, thighs, arms and breasts over the years. I've reaffirmed my choices to not critique my body out loud in front of my daughter many times, and then slipped back to where I was before - making snide comments about the way I look as effortlessly anything else that I might do.

Lately, I've been told a couple times by my observant and loving husband that I shouldn't talk like that, and how he wishes that my negativity would stop. 

So I've been trying so hard to change my tune.

Here's the synopsis. Since August of 2010, I've gained 70 pounds, lost 75, breastfed for 20 months straight, gained 60 pounds, lost 37 and breastfed for another 3 months so far. I've developed more stretch marks than I could count, more varicose veins than I had before, my hips have widened permanently, my breasts have sagged. My hair has fallen out and returned to a 100% natural color, my skin has wrinkled in expected and unexpected places. My arms have strengthened, my back has weakened. 

And I have two beautiful and healthy children as a result of all of this. I adore them. At this moment, one is snoozing on my chest and the other is sitting next to me, clutching my arm with hers and stroking my skin, which is perfect to her. And I have my body to thank for these two souls.

My body has been at the mercy of child-bearing and baby-raising in the last three years. Clearly I'm still baby-raising, and obviously I wouldn't trade my children for anything in the universe. But it's hard to see yourself in the mirror and not recognize the body that's looking back - even with the major boost of self confidence that carrying and birthing two children has done for me.

So, I've decided it's time for a personal makeover. It's time to reclaim some of my body and to treat it properly. My back injury has gotten worse, and I need to address the root causes and find solutions (and I KNOW exercise is a huge part of the solution). It's time to feel better about the way I look and feel, and it's time to feel strong and capable again. I think my child-bearing days are over, but even if they're not, there's no excuse for waiting anymore. I have time and motivation.

And it starts with how I talk to myself. Lately on our trecks up the hill where we live, while I'm pushing the double stroller and panting for breath, I've been repeating to myself, "I love my body, I love my body, I love my body. I love my hips, they birthed my babies. I love my breasts, they sustain my babies. I love my arms, they carry my babies..." (you get the picture).

It is about the way I look, but so much more than that - it's how I feel about myself and how I treat myself. My body has done amazing things, and I'm going to thank it by getting it back into strong and working shape. I've decided to take a huge leap out of my comfort zone and sign up for my first 5K. The last time I ran a whole mile was probably in elementary school (I am SO not a runner), so this is a big thing for me, but I'm super excited to do something completely new and challenging, while hopefully getting a bit stronger and more fit. 5K, bring it on!
My very first day of 5K training. Hello, gorgeous.
Obligatory "before" shot

Friday, July 19, 2013

Return to Normalcy

As of this week, I am officially staying at home, solo parenting two kids. I have to admit, since the day we found out baby #2 was on his way, I was petrified of what parenting two babies, all by myself, all day long, would feel like.

Peter went back to work on Monday (yay!), and as a result, our five-month family vacation/his extended paternity leave is over. I've said this before: him being out of work was such a huge, huge blessing (yep - I used the word I rarely use, to be used only on exceptionally intentional circumstances). I do not know how I would have completed that pregnancy without his daily help. He was vital to keeping our family functioning, and I cannot stress that enough. Then of course Dash came early and we had our hospital stay, and then a brief period of newborn life to adjust to. We always knew he'd go back to work (obviously), and it was looming on the horizon for me as a real test. How deep will I have to dig to find extra reserves of patience and energy, dealing with both kids by myself? What will happen when they both need me at the same time? When Ellie has her meltdowns, how will I handle it? When Dash melts down and Ellie refuses to cooperate (of course, this always happens at the same time), how can I manage all by myself? What about stuff like cooking, cleaning, showering, etc? I hadn't had to test myself and my limitations with him home, so it was a big unknown for me.

And it turns out we're managing okay. Baby steps, but my confidence is building.

Interestingly enough, it's the first time in almost a whole year that I've felt capable of parenting by myself. I got pregnant at the end of August last year, and since then my confidence has taken a nosedive. I spent 35 weeks trying to get through the days with as little extra effort put in as possible. We were in survival mode. I had the tv on almost nonstop when we were home, trying to find ways to keep Ellie somewhat distracted and entertained. It certainly didn't help that the pregnancy coincided with the grey and dreary Fall, Winter and Spring seasons which give Seattle its bad reputation. I was sick, had zero energy, and was quite frankly pretty depressed.

So this week has been a breath of fresh air. It almost feels like my "real life" has been on pause since last September, to restart this week. We had a glorious and wonderful five months with Peter home, but it felt like vacation. Now it's real life again. Big difference is that there are two babies now, but other than that, it's strikingly similar to last Summer. Sunny days, long walks, park time, fun with friends, and it's only been a week. I'm so thankful to feel like a capable solo parent again (this is despite Ellie giving me a serious run for my money this week. Chipped teeth, corn kernels up the nose, diaper-less diarrhea at the park....).

So, here's to at least a couple more months of glorious summer.

He smiles!
I got sunshine with my girl
Life of luxury
She adores him
and he is terrified

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breastfeeding. In Public.

Frequently, an article or blog post will go viral in defense of breastfeeding in public. The message tends to be the same, although worded or presented differently. Here's an article that I've seen in multiple places today. To summarize: a poet who was once shamed by breastfeeding in public put together a defense of why she will no longer be shamed. She speaks the truth.

I'm passionate about breastfeeding. My own breastfeeding journeys I've taken (and are currently on) with my babies is sacred to me. I didn't start out breastfeeding to take a stance or to make any type of statement - in fact, when I put Ellie to breast the first time, it was just because that's what you're supposed to do. A mother is meant to nurse her babies, and it honestly never even occurred to me that I wouldn't. Of course I would.

With Ellie, I will admit that I was a bit cautious and shy at first. I wasn't comfortable breastfeeding in front of just anyone, and would use blankets to cover her if we were out and about. I'd duck into the back room if male members of my family were around, and hesitate to nurse on occasion when she was hungry if we were in a public place. The fact that my breasts are large made me even more nervous, and left me with few options when it came to being super discreet. Some skin would always show, and it made me feel very vulnerable.

But then I got the hang of it. And I started reading about other women's journeys, and reading supportive online articles and books, and was subtly encouraged by older mothers (even great-grandmothers!) and eventually, all my hesitation fell by the wayside. I found myself responding to her hunger wherever we were, because...wait for it...a hungry baby should be fed. And I was her source of food. I dropped any effort to cover her head with a blanket, because that's not fair and it's not convenient for anyone, let alone the infant who is being asked to eat with a blanket over her head. And I continued to nurse her, for as long as I had milk. She was about 19 or 20 months old when she weaned (I can't even remember!), because I was pregnant and had no more milk left.

And now? I continue to breastfeed my baby. I will breastfeed him wherever, whenever he is hungry or needs it. I will not walk away, find a corner to hide in, cover his head, nurse him in a restroom, or do anything but feed my baby to meet his needs. I, like all breastfeeding mothers I've known, do not "whip it out" or "flash it around" to show off. No one does. We are not exhibitionists who get thrills showing skin because it's some sort of taboo. We are feeding our hungry or sad or hurt babies. I am not doing it to make a statement - I am doing it to feed my baby. Although, if anyone dares ask me to move, stop or cover, I have no doubt that I will make a very, very strong statement. I dare anyone come between me and feeding my baby - luckily nobody has tried. :) (not even today, when I was walking and shopping and feeding my baby!)

I haven't been a picture poster, because I always thought to myself, "no one wants to see that" but actually, I don't think that's true anymore. It's beautiful, and it's helpful for other mothers to see. Frankly, it's helpful for everybody to see, so as to not encourage the notion it should be done in private, with a cover, etc.

So, here we are. My favorite moments captured.

Eleanor, 1 month. Our photographer snapped some pictures, and I was a bit uncomfortable then, but am SO glad he did now.
My friend took this of Ellie in her christening gown. 3 months.
Dash's second day nursing ever. I love how he's looking up at me, and I even love the little feeding tube in his nose. He was so little.
Same session, in the hospital. I was so incredibly happy.
Dash at the park, three weeks old. Probably our first public breastfeeding session.
Dash at his Auntie's High School graduation. 2 months.
Sunny day at the lake. Showing no more skin that was showing in my bathing suit.
Sweet, eager, hungry boy.


I don't post a lot of recapping types of posts. I tend to think that nobody likes to read them, but then I remember that that isn't really true. Plus, without telling you all what we've been up to, you might think we've been up to nothing. And while some mornings or afternoons that is definitely true, we've actually been having a super fun and busy summer. So, let's recap the last 6ish weeks, shall we?
  • Family came to visit! We hosted my brother-in-law for about 20 hours or so, and my mother-in-law came to town for several days. Both visits were a blast, and both were way too short and left us wanting more time with the family we don't get to see regularly.

  • We've practiced being spontaneous and gone on lots of outings. The zoo was a favorite, by far. 
  • Ellie's vocabulary has exploded and Dash has learned to smile. Both big accomplishments.
not smiling, still cute!
  • We've done lots of relationship building with our kids. Peter's been home which means we've spent literally countless hours doing kid related things around the house, which - while seemingly insignificant and a little mindnumbing at times to us - has highlighted the sweetness of Ellie's eagerness to learn and desire to be with us. Lots and lots of building blocks, countless hours of Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Cars, reading books over and over again, going for walks, going to the park, painting, playing with playdough, etc. 
    block village
    Ellie needed the hangy-toy thing from the bouncy chair attached to her rocking chair. Weirdo!
    shaving cream + food coloring = huge mess + lots of fun
    park time!
    cheesy kid!
  • Ellie's gone swimming a ton, played in the mud, played with "her" new puppy, eaten way too much ice cream, etc. Dash has chilled poolside, nursed himself into size 12 month clothing and spends most of his hours snoozing, preferably on my chest. 
    ah, sweet bliss!
    Don't be deceived: she'd just come out of two rounds of bathing to remove all the mud...
    my boy. in his signature pink!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Randoms

Jumping right in to Friday Randoms, shall we?
  • I spent most of the day thinking it was Saturday. That's what happens when we're both home right now - the days melt together and it's really quite wonderful. Sadly, (or, happily!) this arrangement isn't going to last much longer, so pretty soon I'll start knowing the days of the weeks again.
  • The Fourth of July has come and go. In our family, this is a pretty big holiday (at least in how we celebrate). I've mentioned before that my parents have a big blowout bash - they throw open the doors and upwards of a hundred or more friends and neighbors come through (or stay a while!) to celebrate. There is plenty of food, festive decorations, alcoholic drinks flowing freely, badminton for the kids, lots of friends and even live music. We (they) live on a lake, so when it's nice, you'll see people out and about on their boats, and usually at least one or two neighborhood houses do a pretty spectacular fireworks show. And this year, they roasted an entire pig. The whole darn thing. But - the thing is, and I'll be honest here - it's just not as...fun when you have small kids to tend to. Sure, it's absolutely wonderful to see your kids having a blast (and Ellie dancing, all on her own accord, to live music? So, so sweet!), but I literally spent the afternoon/evening tag-teaming with my husband who handles which baby. The house is on a lake, and Ellie cannot be left unsupervised in that kind of environment. So this year was very limited on the small talk and festivities for me, in lieu of baby wrangling. Sweet, yes, but a raging fun time? Not so much. Plus, we leave before dark, so no fireworks for us while the babes are still little.

Go ahead and help yourself, Ellie!
  • And they are still little. But, Dash is getting huge, and Ellie is morphing into a big kid - more and more every day. Her latest "big kid" trick? She essentially potty trained herself, for real. With the exception of three errant poops we found on the dog & rug this afternoon (yeah, she pooped on the dog. And then it rolled to the rug. It was awesome, and hilarious to boot), she's been doing awesome. Dry diapers/undies all day the last couple days, as the promise of TWO WHOLE SKITTLES is just too much for her to pass up.
See? Huge!
  • I'm obsessed with Rice Krispy Treats right now. Can't get enough. You'd think I was pregnant at the rate I'm craving them, but nope. Just breastfeeding and hungry.
Even made some festive ones!
  • Has anyone else had shingles? Just me? I got them 7 years ago, and after the initial rash went away, I was left with permanent nerve damage where the rash used to be. It's in the upper quadrant, above the bra line, on the left side of my back, and it's basically a big numb spot. Sometimes it tingles (like when your foot falls asleep) and sometimes it aches a little bit. When I'm sick it tends to get worse - number (if that's possible), larger (probably not, but it feels bigger) and more tingly. It's been ridiculously bothersome lately - omnipresent and very annoying and a bit painful - and I'm chalking this up to postpartum stress and hormones. Nerve damage is permanent, so YAY me!
  • I'm walking a lot lately. Trying to take daily walks with the stroller, in hopes of fitting into more clothes sooner rather than later. I know I've got a long time to really tackle the extra weight, but I just want to wear the clothes I have instead of buying more. Just keep walking... 
Happy Friday Night!
She climbed a tree!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Lazy Days

We Seattleites are funny about the weather. Starting sometime mid-January, everyone starts complaining about the lack of snow days. Come mid-February, it's the never-ending 40 degree days which has everyone in fits. Around mid-March, the griping reaches a fever pitch, and this time it's about the nonstop, never-ending grey and drizzle. This goes on, usually until the end of May by which time we've had a couple of great Summer teasing days thrown in to get everyone to stop running their mouths. Then comes June, which is commonly known 'round these parts as "Juneuary" because it never delivers the Summer weather which everyone is waiting not-so-patiently for.

And then, sometime around July 5th, Summer arrives in Seattle. And it's glorious, and beautiful and there's nowhere else in the world that most residents would rather live, because it is just, so incredibly perfect.

Mind you, when the weather reaches 85 degrees, the complaining picks up again, this time it's about the heat and lack of air conditioning and whatnot. If we ever hit 90, the whole area is abuzz and in a frenzy. What's a resident to do?? Luckily, this only happens a couple times a year - max - and to me, these are the very best days.


We've been incredibly lucky the last week or so with mindblowing early Summer weather. I say early because, as stated above, Summer isn't supposed to happen until July 5th, so we're a couple weeks ahead of schedule at least. Although, I did read that this has been one of the hottest Junes on record in the area, so maybe a whole month early. Needless to say, when the weatherman (or woman, of course), starts predicting 85 degrees, my spirits lift. I adore this weather.

We lug our seldom used fan out of the attic, throw open the windows and turn off the lights, and spend the mornings relaxing in our perfectly temperate main living area. After nap, it's time to head out to my parent's lake, where Ellie has spent the last couple days delighting herself (and us!) in the newfound joys of lake swimming. We eat dinner with the family, and head home to our stifling hot upstairs, but perfectly warm basement where our bedrooms are. We bathe sticky babies in cool water and if we're lucky we might get cool showers to rinse the sweat of sand and heat and sunscreen off our own bodies. We kick off the blankets and find cool sheets to cover us and we sleep with the windows open and fan rotating between our room and the babies' room. It's perfection.

I spent my childhood summers in my bathing suit and sunscreen, hanging out for hours on end at pools and lakeside. When we were old enough, we'd blow up the floaties and paddle our way to the middle of the lake, where we'd float and swim for entire afternoons without pause. My best summer memories and probably related to water, and I'm so happy to watch my little girl start to develop this joy for herself.

The hours pass slowly while the temperatures rise, and we all slow down to soak in every moment. These are the days which we hold on to when the weather turns back toward winter, and these lazy days are the happiest of all.