Monday, May 12, 2014

RPM is (almost) 2!

I've done a terrible job of keeping up with this blog but I can fill you in on the last few months pretty quickly - this pregnancy has totally sucked, my family is a mess, my Grandma is dying of cancer, and my husband is awesome but there are still times where I have felt totally and utterly alone in this journey. I think I've cried every single day of this entire pregnancy. However, I don't really want to dwell on these things too much, I'd rather focus on something positive. And while he is too young to remember this time and will probably never know the difference, I feel like Ryder has gotten a little lost in the shuffle of all this nonsense. He is my ray of sunshine, my heart walking around outside my body, my little miracle, my pride and joy, and whatever other mommy analogy/cliche you want to use. I have never loved another being as much as I love him or with the same intensity. I look at his perfect little face and think every day how lucky I am to be his mommy and just how amazing it is to create new life.

His first year of life was tough. I understand this to be true for pretty much all first time mommies but with all of the health issues we had from his early bought with RSV it was tougher than most (although I am thankful every single day that he is a healthy boy who got sick, not a sickly baby from the start). The sleepless nights were compounded by months of around the clock breathing treatments and multiple ear infections. Throw in the awful day when he was hospitalized for dehydration and sprinkle in some other colds, infections, etc. and he was sick pretty much constantly. Add in a job that has stupid crazy hours and throw in a husband who works nights and it is amazing I remember anything from those first 12 months. (Shout out to the grandmas who helped out more than I will ever be able to repay)

But something happened when he turned 1 - it was like a switch was thrown and life instantly became easier. Not that the health stuff didn't continue but it was everything else that got so much simpler. No more bottles. He could eat what we were eating for the most part. He started walking. He started being able to communicate with us. We could leave the house with a little diaper caddy instead of an entire luggage set and 3-5 pieces of baby gear. Daycare got cheaper. Not all at once but quickly enough that by the time he was 15 months or so I was loving life. I also had a lot of time off last summer so I got to spend a lot more time with him during waking hours and I fell more and more in love with him then I ever thought was possible.

That first year has some amazing milestones. First tooth, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, first steps, eating solids, waving, clapping, smiling, first words. But this second year has been full of so much more and I've so enjoyed it, more than I ever thought possible. Watching his little brain work to make sense of the world, observing his problem solving skills, hearing his vocabulary develop and those first sentences where he is actually a thinking, talking little person who isn't just repeating the things you say... I could go on and on. I feel like every day I learn something from this little man and I see the world in a whole new way.

Now, I'm sure every parent suffers from the same biased perspective that their child is a genius, is very advanced, is the most amazing and hilarious and smart and cute child that ever existed. And I am no different. And I want to capture the amazing and hilarious and smart and cute things that he does right now, I never want to forget them. And knowing that any day now our family dynamic is about to be rocked I am terrified of missing out on more amazing and hilarious and smart and cute things. So I want to try to hold on to some of them here so that one day when I am sleep deprived, in desperate need of a shower and ready to tear my hair out because I have 2 boys in diapers, I can look back and remember just how special this time is right now.

Things I absolutely love about RPM as he turns 2:
- the way he says Mommy and Daddy, like we are the most important people in his world and he loves us totally and unconditionally
- he is a little bossy butt, always bossing around our kitty, his friends, even Mommy & Daddy when he can get away with it
- the way he only needs to be shown something once to remember it or to make connections
- the way he can legit count to 5 on his own and how he counts to 10 by 2s
- the way he loves music and singing and will beg for songs over and over, the way his little face looks when he is singing a song he likes and how cute he is doing any applicable hand motions (Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider, I Am A Fine Musician, and If You're Happy and You Know it are current favorites)
- the way he is obsessed with animals and the sounds they make, especially cows and lions. He has also mastered snorting like a pig after months of trying
- the way he uses his imagination when he plays
- how he is OCD about everything which also means he is a great helper when it comes to cleaning up
- how much he loves his grandparents and GGs
- how he still uses my hair as his security blanket when we cuddle before bedtime
- how much he LOVES books and reading, we read a lot throughout the day and at bedtime but now I can hear him reading his favorite books to himself from the backseat of the car (favorites are Goodnight Gorilla, Very Hungry Caterpillar, Moo Baa La La, Go Dog Go, Hop on Pop)
- how he asks for his favorite foods with an emphatic "PLEEZE" and a head nod. Actually, add in all the ways he has good manners - please, thank you, no thank you and excuse me
- the spontaneous "Wuv You"s
- the way he marches around with a purpose but will always stop to notice something new and wonderful in the world
- the way we say goodbye to everything as a way to cope with leaving something/somewhere fun
- his obsession with construction vehicles, all of which are "tractors" but vary by color; if there is a tractor to be seen anywhere around us this kid will find it
- the way he knows all of his colors and likes to point out the different colored cars and tractors when we drive
- the way he already loves hockey and loves to cheer "go Bolts!" no matter who is playing
- the way he is fearless and only wants to do whatever the big kids are doing, especially at a park or playground. Screw the baby stuff
- his giggle and his belly laugh
- his willingness to try new foods but his stubbornness when it comes to his favorites
- his spontaneous bear hugs
- how he loves to wrestle and tackle and play rough with Daddy
- his snuggles at night and requests to "rock Mommy, rock" in our rocking chair before bed every night
- his smile

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The purple bedroom

So my world has slowly been imploding. That may seem dramatic, and I'll go ahead and say pregnancy hormones may be making things seem worse but truly it seems like things are falling apart on all sides. My family and my closest friends are all suffering and I can't help but take it to heart. Especially as I seem to be the rock for everyone. Which is fine, I a wouldn't want it any other way, I just wish it wasn't all at once.

So my family is coming apart at the seams. My grandparents are aging poorly and now feuding and my parents are in the beginning stages of a divorce. It has been going on for years but has really seemed to come to a head in the last 6 months. And I'm stuck in the middle of all of it.

My parents were high school sweethearts, forced into marriage at age 20 because they got pregnant with me. But through the years they've had their ups and downs and managed to see it through. I'm one of the few people I know who's parents were still together in a world full of broken homes and step-families. My parent's parents were best friends and we spent every holiday together. My mom's niece and nephew even call my dad's mom Grandma, despite no true relation, other than both families were always together. Fast forward to 2008 and all of us are now living in Florida - my parents are in the same development as my dad's mom and 6 miles down the road from my mom's parents. I'm 45 minutes south of them all. Needless to say, we spend a LOT of time together.

It started with my grandpa, who doesn't take care of himself to begin with and who barely survived colon cancer about 10 years ago. He started really going downhill in '08 and has gotten progressively worse. This in turn put a lot of stress on my grandma who has slowly but steadily been declining in both her physical and mental health. They are both in total denial about their conditions and how it has come to affect the rest of us. It has gotten worse each year and fallen on my mom to bear the brunt of the care taking, being right down the road. Her siblings all live in other states (or countries) and have made it clear that they think my mom is exaggerating or being a drama queen when she asks for their help. This has caused her a lot of stress and heartache which in turn affects her relationship with my dad. Add that last year my dad's mom was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and underwent her own health ordeal and he and my mom are both drowning in caring for their aging and increasingly unhealthy parents.

Without going to crazy with the details I will just say that all of these issues have become a downward spiral leading to a full on melt down between all family members over this past summer, about 2 months before my wedding. The majority of is stems, in my opinion, from the fact that they all spend too much time together, they all see how the others are unhealthy but refuse to see their own dysfunction. Well, for several months my grandparents weren't speaking to each other and my mom wasn't talking to my dad's mom and my dad wasn't talking to my mom's parents. I will say that everyone involved had valid complaints but years of denial and passive aggressiveness led to a breaking point where I truly believe all relationships are beyond repair. My wedding in August was the first time everyone was in the same room together and I'll give them all credit for being on their best behavior but it was certainly strained and put a lot of extra stress on me on an already stressful day.

Since then, no one has really apologized or actually dealt with the real issues at hand but instead we all just smile and pretend things are okay when they really aren't. Birthdays and holidays have been extremely strained and unpleasant as a result. If it wasn't for my son and the fact that I know he brings joy to a group of chronically unhappy people, I would be avoiding everyone. Well, that and an extreme sense of guilt because I know that they all have limited time left and that I should really spend as much time with them as I can. But it is so hard to see how much they are all deteriorating.

All of this has really taken a toll on my parents. I will be the first to say that they both have their faults and that when I take both sides separately I can see validity in both arguments. But they have not dealt with these external stresses well and their own relationship has crumbled in front of me. It has come down to they are planning to get a divorce (to be honest, I'm not sure what they are waiting for at this point) and that they don't really speak to each other anymore and that every time I've tried to make any kind of plan that involves my family lately it has fallen apart and become more stress and work on my end than it is worth.

As much as I do not want to be in the middle or choose sides, I have been put in a position where I have to sometimes. I know better than anyone, thanks to my own divorce, that there are two sides to every story. And I know what each of my parents bring to the table in terms of their faults, weaknesses, and they way they deal with issues. I've tried to be there for each of them while maintaining impartiality and it is starting to be more than I think I'm capable of. In hearing both of their versions of what is going on I can't help but realize it is a pattern that I've been witnessing for years. They amazingly have the exact same complaints about each other. It is odd how much their versions mirror each other and yet, they can't both be right. Right? It reminds me of another situation with them, involving their purple master bedroom when they first moved to FL.

When they first came to Tampa they had a townhouse in which each room was painted a different color. There was a blue room, a green room, and the master was the purple room. All FL pastels. When they moved out my ex-husband and I lived there and then I left and my brother and his girlfriend lived there. I spent a good amount of my time "healing" from my divorce locked in that purple bedroom. My mom had mentioned that I could re-paint it if I wanted to because she never liked that color. She claimed that my dad had picked it out and she went along with it because she thought he liked it. Yet if you asked my dad, he would tell you that my mom picked it out because she always wanted a purple room and that he went along with it for her sake. So basically they both hated the color and thought the other one liked it. And rather than speak up they just went along with it to make the other person happy.

The more I hear of their complaints and reasons for moving towards a divorce, the more I realize that it is just like the purple bedroom. They think they are doing what the other one wants, that it isn't what they want but that they don't know how to make the other one happy. I have no idea how to bring this to their attention or how to point out what is clearly a pattern of non/miscommunication in their relationship. Only instead of an ugly room that could easily be re-painted, we are talking about a 37 year relationship that is about to get thrown away.

Despite being an adult and being mature enough to understand why a divorce may be the best option, it is in no way easier to be the child going through it. I feel torn between both of my parents, I feel pressure to be a good child, and unfortunately the burden of trying to split my time between the two falls on me. I'm coming to find the entire process to be traumatic, especially when trying to add the component of not letting it affect my own marriage.

Let's also throw in that my very best friend is going through the end of her own 14 year relationship after several years of dealing with her husband's addiction and abuse and another best friend is in the middle of her own life crisis (at the risk of sounding dramatic, her life really did fall apart over the summer and she is trying to put the pieces back together). Sprinkle on top that my dear cousin (he might as well be my big brother) is dealing the possibility that his wife is suffering from a fatal illness - only time will tell but it isn't looking good at the moment - and it has been nothing but doom, gloom, sadness and bad news for many months now.

My heart breaks for all of these people and I wish I could do something to help them. But at the same time I'm starting to feel guilty and angry because I feel like I can't enjoy my own life as a result. I am newly married to the love of my life, I fall more and more in love with our son every day (a smarter, cuter, more amazing little boy never existed, I swear!) and we are so excited for the upcoming birth of our second child (yeah, not even going into how physically miserable this pregnancy has been) that this should be the happiest time of my life! Even work is going really well with exciting things on the horizon for me. And I feel like I can't share my happiness with those closest to me because they are so embroiled in these terrible things. I feel guilty when I don't want to answer the phone because I know it will not be a happy conversation. I am emotionally exhausted. I know at the end of the day that these other problems aren't mine to fix but I can't help but feel like I need to at least try to be there to support the people I love the most during these awful times. Oh yeah, and pregnancy hormones.

Sorry for the short novel (I tried to keep it brief because believe me, I could write so much more in depth about what has been going on) but I really just needed to vent. The last month has by far been the worst and I have spent too much time crying lately. I thought maybe writing it all out would be cathartic in some way but it just makes me more sad thinking about everything. All I can do is try my best to enjoy the good days when they happen, add a little distance from my family when possible, and focus on keeping myself mentally healthy for the sake of my husband and our sons.

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Ugly Pregnancy

"It must be a girl". I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard this so far this pregnancy. Apparently because this one is so vastly different from the first it must be a girl. Since I am so sick it must be a girl. My doctor even went so far as to say that many women who are pregnant with girls have what are called "ugly pregnancies" because of the additional hormones - ugly because they are physically harder on the mother and they can wreak havoc with how we look.

My first pregnancy was pretty easy but this one has been pretty awful so far. I'm nauseous constantly, even throwing up sometimes, I've had wicked headaches, my hips and back already hurt, my skin is freaking out, I'm a new level of exhausted, and throw some constipation into the mix just to round it all out. I know these are all normal parts of pregnancy but I avoided most of them with Ryder and didn't have the rest until late in the 3rd trimester. Here I am at 14 weeks wondering how on earth I'm going to survive the next 6 months. I'm waiting for that magic 2nd trimester, the one where all of a sudden you are supposed to feel great and have ton of energy. Or if I can't feel good, I'd like to at least look presentable.  I have psoriasis and it was pretty non-existent with Ryder. Now I have it all over the place, including my face which is somewhere that I typically don't get it. So not only are my knees and elbows flakier than usual but my scalp is practically peeling off my head and my face is all read and blotchy. The best part is the medicines are all steroid based and not recommended for use during pregnancy. Score.

I am so worn out, mentally and physically that I am starting to really resent this baby which of course only makes me feel worse about everything. I somehow manage to get through work every day (yup, those famous 65 hour weeks during the season) and collapse every night and most of the weekend. Mike ends up with most of the housework and Ryder watches a lot more movies than I am comfortable with but I feel too much like a zombie to really be able to do anything about it. My son eats healthy meals, gets naps, is bathed daily, has clean clothes and we read at least 3 books a night when I am home to put him to bed. But I know he would love to play outside or go to a park or have play dates and I honestly shut down just at the thought of trying to make any of that happen. I tell myself that he gets lots of stimulation and playtime at school and its okay to be lazy on the weekends but I don't 100% believe it. At least he gets unlimited cuddles on the couch or in mommy's bed pretty much on demand these days. Poor Mike must be wondering what happened to his wife. I can think of one true meal that I've cooked in the past few weeks and we've had sex once since finding out I was pregnant - it was terrible for me as I was trying not to throw up the whole time. He knew it was a pity lay so I doubt he really got much out of it either. On our nights off together I'm  usually asleep by 9 or we are fighting about something (mostly how little I'm doing these days) so the honeymoon is most definitely over folks.

All of this leaves me feeling tremendously guilty. We really wanted to add to our family but weren't ready to do it just yet and part of me is not really happy about being pregnant again. It is really hard for me to say that because this baby is truly loved and wanted and we know it is another miracle since I wasn't even supposed to get pregnant in the first place. But I can't help feeling frustrated that In the last 2 years my body has only been my own for less than 6 months. Between pregnancy and breastfeeding I spent 18 months as slave to Ryder in some form or another and now I'm doing it all over again. I had just started feeling good again - working out again, fitting into my old clothes, sleeping normally, and actually wanting some sort of social life because I had some spare energy. The separation anxiety was under control and Ryder was finally healthy (although he still gets a daily breathing treatment, 14 months and counting) and I was at a point where I was missing my non-mommy friends and wanting to get out once in a while. Mike and I were planning our honeymoon and maybe buying a bigger house and I feel like it all just got derailed.

As I said, I have a hard time admitting these feelings because I know how lucky I am to be having another baby. I know the pain of thinking you are infertile and that it may never happen to you. I know the fear that once you are pregnant, that something could go terribly wrong because it wasn't supposed to happen in the first place. And I've mourned with friends who've experienced the tragedy of losing a pregnancy. So I tell myself that I should be grateful and excited and happy about this experience and make the best of it. Which only makes me feel worse.

I've started to wonder if maybe there are some hormonal things going on or if I'm not just plain old depressed because it can't be normal to be this unhappy. But that terrifies me too after my long and negative history with antidepressants. I guess I'm just not in a great place right now. My husband says I will get through it and that he loves and supports me. My mom says it is normal and that I should give myself a break - of course, this from someone who wasn't happy about either of her pregnancies, but still. My non-mommy friends don't get it at all. I really think that if I could just go a few days of getting sleep and not feeling physically ill I could get in a better place mentally. And I've learned that if (God forbid) I ever get cancer or some other terrible illness I will suck at it - I will not be one of those people who everyone says is so gracious and strong. I will be a big fat mess.

Boy or girl, (because plenty of people were miserable and sick and had boys, even the Duchess Kate!) I know that I will love this baby and that it will be a welcome addition to our family. I know all the pain and sickness and misery will be worth it. I just hope I can survive these next 6 months with dignity and grace and with my sanity in tact.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Luck O' the Preggo?

So I hate Oreos. I think they are disgusting. The cookie isn't sweet and the filling is too sweet and instead of combing the two for a perfect combination of sweetness you just get a disgusting crumbly mess. However, when I'm pregnant (and subsequently breast feeding) I can't get enough of them. Weird, I know.

So lately I've been so sick and nauseous that I haven't been up to eating much. But when I do eat, sweets tend to help settle my stomach so combine that with actual Oreo cravings and, well, you do the math. Since I still technically hate Oreos, I prefer to eat them in ice cream form. (FYI, TCBY sells a really good cookies and cream frozen yogurt that I get at Target. I might as well be somewhat health conscious if this habit is going to continue for the next 7+ months)

Last week I met my mom for lunch. I had a bagel and lox, also something I've been craving recently. It wasn't on the menu but they had all the ingredients in other dishes so I tried to politely be "that guy" and basically create my own custom item. To top it off I ordered a side of fruit but had to inform the server of my strawberry allergy, in essence cementing my status as super annoying picky customer. Since I'm not visibly pregnant yet I can't fall back on that as a plea for strangers to humor me. I felt bad but knew I was at least leaving a good tip. After lunch I ordered one scoop of cookies & cream ice cream. Well, our server brought me a huge bowl of it and said that he had accidentally brought me a smaller side of fruit than I should have had so he wasn't charging me for the ice cream. Yup, definitely got a good tip! And I guess I wasn't as bad as I thought as far as being annoying and high maintenance.

Last night I had to work an event at a McDonalds. I haven't eaten McDonalds since a certain pink goo chicken nugget picture surfaced during my last pregnancy, turning me off to fast food forever (not that I ate it all that regularly anyway. Also, In N Out Burger does not count). Well, being hungry and pregnant and still recovering from a poor fry experience on Saturday I decided to get some fries. Then I saw the Oreo McFlurry and decided I needed one of those too. The sweet awkward teenaged guy running the register asked if I was sure I didn't want some real food, like he was generally concerned for my health. So I sighed, figuring he was right and changed my order to the cheeseburger meal and no McFlurry. Then after paying I realized I forgot to say no onions on the cheeseburger and sheepishly asked if it was too late and apologized for having changed my order 3 times. When my order was ready they handed me not only an onion-free cheeseburger but also an Oreo McFlurry. The girl said she had already made it and could tell I really wanted it.

So twice in a week I scored free Oreo ice cream, both after I could have been considered an obnoxious customer and not deserving of free anything. I'm going to be huge if this streak continues!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sugar and spice and everything nice

So the "secret" is out - I'm knocked up again. I guess I don't need to call it that now that I'm married to the man who also happens to be the father of my other child but since this isn't something we planned or were overwhelmingly excited about upon finding out (like we were with RPM) I feel that the term fits my state of mind best.

Considering I spent a decade of my life believing I would never have children, finding out I was expecting Ryder was the most amazing and stressful thing I've ever experienced. My absolute joy at becoming a mother was tinged with fear that something would go wrong with a pregnancy that was never supposed to happen in the first place. Not only did I have an easy (don't let that fool you, parts of it still sucked!) pregnancy, but I had an easy and complication-free delivery and gave birth to a perfect and healthy little boy who has since become the love of my life.

After Ryder, the question "will you have more" was pretty standard and our answer was always "it may not be up to us but we hope one day to be able to give him a sibling". In our perfect plan we would have started trying next summer while on our honeymoon in Europe. Considering I had my bachelorette party after my wedding and we got married over a year after having our first child, I guess I should learn that planing is often futile and my life has a habit of not being conventional. We knew we were playing with fire by not using protection but I really dislike how my body responds to the artificial hormones in the pill and since I was sort of regular 2 months in a row (which is unusual for me) I thought we were in that brief "safe" zone and didn't insist on a condom.

So here I am, 9 weeks along and nurturing another little bean. I found out exactly 2 years to the day of the day when I found about Ryder and am due 2 years and 2 weeks to the day from Ryder's birthday. (Side note, Mike is not allowed to even look at me in August ever again) I've known for about 4 weeks now which is 3 weeks sooner than I knew the first time. I would venture to say part of that is because I actually knew what to look for, having done it once. And part of it is because I started feeling like absolute shit for no reason.

With Ryder I was tired and hungry and I was nauseous for aprox. 7 days. It was hard keeping the pregnancy a secret for the supposedly magic 12-14 weeks because we were so excited, but we did it. So far with this one I've been nauseous for the last 4 weeks, including actual puking and all around just feeling miserable. I'm sick from the minute I wake up until the minute I fall asleep at night which is roughly 10 minutes after putting the baby to bed. I don't sleep through the night and I have to force myself to eat. Granted, I actually feel some relief from the nausea for about 20min after I eat but I can't allow myself to just eat all day, I'd be enormous! Not to mention the constant burping and dry heaving that follows each meal is not ideal either. Keeping this one a secret has not been easy and I wouldn't say it is much of a secret, short of announcing it on Facebook. For how sick I've been, 95% of the people who do know say "it's probably a girl". They're probably right.

It is all I can do to get up every morning, get myself to work and function in some capacity for a full day, then pick up the baby, feed him, bathe him, and put him to bed before collapsing each night. I feel like a zombie. Luckily my boss's wife is pregnant so he is really sympathetic. Mike has been amazingly understanding as well, putting up with my lack of energy, and bare minimal house work. I have no clue what it will be like once this baby is actually here but I already know that the next 2 years are going to be pretty awful and exhausting.

Don't get me wrong. This baby may not have been planned but he/she is definitely wanted. As miserable as I am, I would be devistated if something were to happen or we were to find out there were any issues. I'm already looking forward to holding my newborn and savoring every minute now that I know how truly quickly they grow up. And I love the idea of Ryder having a sibling. But I'm still overwhelmed at the thought of being pregnant again and getting through that first miraculous, stressful, exhausting, demanding first year of life. I feel like I had just gotten my body back and was feeling somewhat normal again. I even had a little bit of a social life! Ryder is starting to be a lot more fun and a lot less work and life was pretty great. Now I can't even think past tomorrow, let alone plan to bring a new life into the world.

Whether Ryder gets the brother I want for him or the sister that Mike is hoping for, I know we will get through this and I look forward to our growing family. In the meantime I apologize in advance for being a misesrable, self-pitying zombie for the next few months.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

You gotta start somewhere

I think it is safe to say that every day I compose a blog in my head. They are typically on a variety of topics and of course I think they are quite witty and interesting and sometimes even profound. Yet somehow there is a gap between my head and actually sitting down to write them. Blame it on a lack of time and energy, or the fact that I truly only like writing/typing on a real keyboard and at home I only have a laptop and smart phone. Or maybe just that everything isn't as witty and interesting and profound as I think it is.

I would like to be better about keeping this blog. I wrote in a diary daily from age 9-17, kept a journal on in college and even wrote fairly regularly on my myspace page in my early-mid twenties. It is funny to me to look at the progression from totally private "for my eyes only" to semi - public where only people who know about my diary on diaryland actually read it to mostly public on myspace. (Of course, back then I had no real responsibilities and only worked 40 hours a week) Part of wanting to write is wanting others to share my thoughts and maybe even enjoy what I have to say. But part of it is still that little girl writing down her most secret wishes and dreams. I end up questioning some of what I compose in my head - do I really want to share this with the world? Is it too private? Is it too much information? Will anyone even read it or care? And then I psych myself out of sharing.

I find this argument amusing. So much of my life is already out there and public. I am on Facebook daily. I tweet. I have a LinkedIn profile. I write book reviews on Goodreads.  But I am extremely cautious about what I say and share on those sites. I carefully choose what I post while considering who will see it. I try to keep my political and religious views to myself. I don't share the majority of details about my husband and son and our lives. While part of me yearns to freely and publicly express myself a larger part of me instinctively wants to keep things close and private.

I enjoy the blogs of my friends and other more public figures that I read on a regular basis. I think, if they can do, so can I. And I quite enjoy the little Carrie Bradshaw voice in my head that narrates when I do write and I can party imagine I am someone glamorous and important who's words matter to other people.

So I add it to the list of things I want to do - learn to knit a sweater, run another 5k, floss more regularly, write more frequently. We'll see what I accomplish first...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Runner's High

So it has been awhile since I've written anything. And I think feeling the need to explain why and apologize  has kept me from returning sooner. I think I will save all of that for another day. Suffice it to say that I returned to work and the world only sort of fell apart - the last 8 months have been filled with a sick baby, a favorite relative battling cancer, a work stoppage, a crazy insanse condensed season, a sick baby, a sick baby, a sick baby, lots of stress and fighting, a sick baby, oh, and a sick baby. But Ryder just turned one and is currently not sick (I don't even know what to do with myself), Mike and I are still planning to get married (because we still love each other even after seeing the worst in each other during all the stress), I still love my job (most of the time) and life goes on.

Along those same lines, I am slowly re-gaining some sense of normalcy to my life and routine. Not breastfeeding any longer (I lasted 9 months and then my body rudely said it was done so that was that; also probably another blog) not working 70 hours weeks, and actually getting more than 3 hours of sleep at a time has given me somewhat of a predictable schedule, an increase in my energy level, and a small amount of free time. It's fantastic! I've started cooking again, catching up on reading (although I do feel like I'll never actually be caught up thanks to an ever-growing to-read list) and working out.

I've never been a fan of working out. I always played sports and loved it and at various stages in my life have had gym memberships that I've used sporadically. I've even tried exotic fitness classes and have a new appreciation for the athleticism of really good strippers - not the ones who just strut around and hump the ground but the ones who can really work the pole. During my divorce I started working out with a trainer religiously and got in really great shape - then I met Mike who loved me unconditionally and actually told me he preferred me curvy. My job also shifted at that point and working out fell off the prioroity list. Then a few years later I realized I was not happy with myself or my lifestyle and I wanted to get healthy in the event that Mike and I ever decided to get married (wanted to look good in pictures) and/or had kids (wanted to be a good role model and a MILF- hey, just being honest). I had also set a goal to run a 5k a long time ago and decided it was finally time to work towards that. So I got into a great routine of going to bootcamp 3 mornings a week at 7am, running 3 or 4 times a week, and taking yoga classes 2 times a week. I got into really great shape and got knocked up. We're pretty sure that I was able to get pregnant because I was in such great shape. But then I was so terrified to lose the baby (if you've read any of my earlier posts than you already know this) that I quit doing anything active.

Fast forward and here I am, at my pre-baby weight but still feeling and looking totally out of shape. My clothes fit, but not always in the most flattering way. I've taken the plunge and started going back to yoga and throwing in some intermittent cardio - I will run another 5k one day soon! Yoga is really frustrating because I love it and was so proud of how much I had progressed prior to becoming a drop-out. I feel like I'm starting over as a beginner again, re-teaching my body the proper form for poses and increasing my now non-existent flexibility. But I keep telling myself that I was a beginner at one point and that if I stick with it, I'll get back to where I was and hopefully surpass that. My instructor is really big on mantras and intentions and each practice we take time to center ourselves and focus on our intentions. The first week mine was just to make it through the whole class but lately is has been to continue to gain strength and flexibility. My mantra has been "my body is womanly, my body is beautiful, my body did what it was designed to do and I have an amazing baby boy". I just repeat that over and over and over while I'm trying to breathe rhythmically and keep my balance in half moon pose.

The running has come along much more slowly. Mostly because I don't actually like running. I'm a competitive person and I also like acheiving goals that I set for myself so running a 5k is more of a challenge than a hobby. Even though I was a bit of a track star in jr. high and high school, I was a sprinter and never one to really push myself. I guess it is sort of strange that I voluntarily spent so much time and energy focused on something that I don't enjoy. I've never felt that "runner's high" that you hear about and have always sort of suspected that is is something of a myth. I keep thinking one day I'll feel it and imagine that is will feel like the rush I used to get from being a daredevil (aka reckless idiot) in college or the natural high I used to feel at the begining stages of falling in love. So far I only end up feeling tired, sweaty, and totally out of breath. I do love shopping for cute workout clothes but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

Yesterday at work upper management posed the challenge to us to come run the stadium stairs. Our 3rd level is a 1/4 mile long all the way around and we have 23 sections of seating, each divided by a stairwell that goes from row A to row S or T in some sections. The goal was to show up at 7am and starting at section 301, run from row A to S/T and back down to row A for each set of stairs all the way around. Somehow I thought this sounded like a great idea - pretty sure that I was trying to impress upper management by being one of the few (only about 15 people) who accepted the challenge. Mostly I think I just wanted to see how far I could get. Well, I made it all the way around. I didn't run, I walked, and half-way around I started only going down to row G (there is a platform at row G that is the entry to each section from the concourse) but I did it. I showed up at 7, I got my butt moving, and I made it all the way around. And it sucked. I wanted to die by section 309. I was the last person to finish. And my legs didn't stop quivering for a good 3 hours after we were done.

But I did it. And you know what? I felt pretty great about it. I had a bounce in my step all day from knowing that I had put in a great workout before the day even started and that I had completed my challenge to myself. And I started remembering how much I loved that feeling after each bootcamp session and after each run. The sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, the appreciation for my body and what it is capable of, the pride when I look in the mirror and know that I look and feel better after each and every time I work out. And it dawned on me, maybe that is my own personal "high". I couldn't tell you if it was enorphins or just a mental feeling but either way, I finally recognized it. Maybe it isn't the true runner's high that marathon runners feel (and I'm pretty certain I will never know but I'm okay with that - those people are crazy!) but it was still a great feeling and one that I look forward to feeling more and more as I work back to a fit and healthy lifestyle.