Category Archives: exercise

Second Trimester Lower Body Workout

I can’t believe this pregnancy is just about halfway over. It’s wild to think that this time with mini Gwinn I was still working and moving from an apartment to a house. And I was showing in a different way. I mean, I’m showing now. But, in the first go around, right around 18 weeks, I had a rotund belly that was very obviously “pregnant belly”. Now I just look … fat. And it’s not for trying otherwise. I’m eating pretty well, working out a few times a week, and staying active. And with the exception of needing to wear bigger bras and slightly bigger clothes, I’m nowhere near maternity clothing. I can wear a couple pairs of my regular jeans still (I was definitely in maternity clothes all the time by this point with mini Gwinn). But 2.0 is as active as his/ her older brother was in the womb. I feel head over toe flips, wiggles, and barrel rolls.

I digress! Here’s what I’ve been doing for my lower body workout while in my second trimester.

Warm up: stationary bike at a moderate resistance, 5 minutes
Backwards static lunges on Smiths machine (bar weighs 15 lbs, I add 10 lbs to each side for a total of 35 lbs) – each leg, 3 sets of 6 per leg
Normal stance squats on Smiths machine (35 lbs total) – 3 sets of 8
Narrow stance squats on a Smiths machine (35 lbs total) – 3 sets of 6
Leg press jumps – 30 lbs, 12 jumps
Leg press varied height squats – 30 lbs, 12 at each height (start with your legs straight and do a shallow squat, then go slightly deeper, and progress all the way to the point where the weight stack you’re pressing is very close to the stack you’re not lifting- this gets really tough!)
Hip Adductions- 95 lbs, 3 sets of 8
Hip Abductions- 130 lbs, 3 sets of 8
Standing calf raises – 125 lbs, 3 sets of 10
Squats with kettle bell or free weight – 25 lbs, 3 sets of 5
OR Bosu ball squats with 10 lb. free weight – 3 sets of 5
Swinging leg hinges – 3 sets of 10 each leg
Elbow to knee wide stance push ups – 3 sets of 8 (push ups are always good!)
30 second standard plank – 2 reps
Cool down: stationary bike at moderate resistance, 10 minutes
LOTS OF STRETCHING. Ya know, cause pregnancy.

I really like the Smith machine because of the range of motion stoppers it provides, as well as the stationary bar (as in you can’t accidentally pull it off the machine frame). Walking lunges are frowned upon during pregnancy because of pulling round ligaments or pelvic muscles blah blah blah, I don’t remember the reason, but backwards static lunges on the Smiths are both challenging to your muscles without risking injury to your pregnant body. I’ve tried running a few times with lots of pain in my knees (totes bummer), and now that my feet hurt pretty regularly (and lower back), the stationary bike is my new go- to for cardio.

What are you up to, interwebs?


Target Thinks I’m Pregnant

Have you seen this article from Forbes.com about Target’s analytic results, based upon one’s purchases, of a calculated score of the likelihood of her pregnancy? The anecdote featured in the article even details out a true story of a dad finding out his daughter was pregnant based upon the targeted advertising the mega- store does. It’s kind of crazy, right? For the record, I’m a die- hard Targetophile. I can tell you about their “May I Help You” initiative, their rules for lines not being over two guests per line, their design for end caps and retrofitting for new features of the store (I’ve been to the Target museum in its headquarters in Minneapolis, eaten lunch in the HQ cafeteria [it’s catered, folks!], and know the inside scoops on their big meetings that have Fergie and Faith Hill). The fact that the store gathers and analyzes this kind of data (and to this level of personal privacy invasion) should freak me out, especially since I hate the idea of “big brother” watching what I already do, but honestly, I think it’s kind of cool in a “that’s really, really crazy and creepy, but thanks for taking interest in me” kind of way.

Any way. So, Target thinks I’m pregnant. I’ve even gotten emails with VERY specific advertising, (no joke): for athletic second time moms, how to handle the second round with an active toddler”. So, not only does the big- box store know I’m athletic (well, that’s a loose term, but “desperately pursuing athleticism” doesn’t have as much of an appeal), but it knows the age of my child (which is fair, I did register for my baby showers there).

Joke’s on Target, I’m not pregnant.

I have been toeing the line on looking at maternity clothes (only if they’re at their cheapest clearance price), etc etc, but I haven’t taken the plunge for a 2.0. Captain Laser Pants is ready, and I’m more in the category of “HOLY CRAP JUST LET ME LOSE FIVE MORE POUNDS AND WEAR MY CLOTHES FOR A WHILE”. To his credit, he’s not forcing me to make him a baby this week or anything, but he is letting me know that this is the year for another kiddo. My reasoning behind not wanting another one is 100% selfish. The first pregnancy was so, SO bad (partial placenta previa, kidney stones, preeclampsia symptoms, bed rest, 55 FREAKING POUNDS gained, pinched pubic bone nerve) and honestly, I’m pretty fond of my abdominal muscles. It’s nice to feel pretty, especially now that Spring is here and I can wear my favorite clothes again, and the last thing I ever felt while pregnant was pretty/ attractive. To add to it all, mini Gwinn is SO MUCH FUN right now. I don’t want to miss a moment with him. He says things like “aceful” (graceful) and “fabuwous” (fabulous), and “Where’s Daddy?”, “You do this. I do this,” (when I’m reading to him), he gives kisses and leans in for them, and he’s just so darn funny. But CLP doesn’t want him to grow up alone. And, because my husband was an only child and he truly wants another baby, I feel like it’s my responsibility as his wife to give him his heart’s desire. He wants another baby more than I don’t want another one. And it’s not even the additional baby I don’t want. It’s the pregnancy. I will happily take a newborn home. I just don’t want to do the baking.

How have you moms of many dealt with the knowledge of a potentially impending baby? Please assist in talking me out of my selfishness.


My Mom’s Gonna Hate This One (Or: Moderately Revealing Post- Baby Weight Loss Progress)

Ok gang. I’ve been off the grid (again) due to a really busy month, a cold, and a certain little person growing five teeth (including two molars) at once.

I’ve been semi- obsessed with weight lifting lately. Until I really started digging around, it felt like my options for a weight lifting routine were really lame (like Prevention Fitness magazine “lift these two 3 lb. weights for sculpted arms in a week!”) or steroid- using dudes looking to max their pump. Either one extreme or the other can work for some, but not for me. So I talked to some trainers, looked around the intwebs, and decided what I was doing was working, I just needed to do more. So, here’s what I’ve been doing at the gym lately and here are some progress pictures.

Warm Up: 1 minute walking on incline on treadmill, 4-5 minutes running an 8.22 minute mile OR walking on the stair mill for 4-5 minutes at ~80-100 stairs a minute
Pull Ups (4 sets of 4)
Farmer’s Carries (45- 50 lbs. each hand)
Standing Weighted Penguin Taps (45-50 lbs each hand, 2 sets of 20)
Leaning Lateral Raises ( 15-20 lbs, 4 sets of 6)
Bench Press (so far I’m up to 20 lbs. plus the additional 40 of the bar [I’m new to bench press!], 3 sets of 8)
Running on treadmill for 1.5 minutes at 10.00 minute mile
Balance Squats on Bosu Ball (3 sets of 10 with 15 lb. free weight)
Crunch Machine (45 kg, 3 sets of 10)
Suspended High Knees (holding yourself up on dips bars and bringing your knees to your chest alternately, 4 sets of 20)
Running on treadmill for 1.5 minutes at 8.22 minute mile
Leg Lifts (leaning on giant workout ball, each side, 2 sets of 20)
Some Move with the Stability Ball Between Your Ankles/ Leg Raises (lay flat on your back, raise the ball up and down 10 times, rest, do it again. It’s really, really hard)
Basket Twists with 25. lb free weight (2 sets 20)
Push Ups/ Modified Push Ups/ Army Style Push Ups (24 total, varying positions) – no girly push ups!
Cool down: Walking 3 minutes on treadmill, stretching

I have to admit that my thighs are still my problem area, mostly due to a really unpleasant pinched nerve issue from pregnancy that keeps me from running races and doing much inner thigh work. If you have advice on this, bring it! I need help in that area big time.

5 weeks post- delivery

5 weeks post- delivery

5 months post- delivery

5 months post- delivery

10 months post- delivery

10 months post- delivery

16 months post- delivery

16 months post- delivery

In other news, what the heck, Spring? What happened to 72 degrees and sunny?

Also, this guy:

He models for Janie and Jack. Not really.

He models for Janie and Jack. Not really.

My sister’s mother in law is an awesome photographer, and she captured a rare moment of mini Gwinn being still and pensive.

So, also in other news, six of my girlfriends are currently pregnant. Dare I say I’m feeling a twinge (TINY) of jealousy while still being excited for them?

Do you have workouts you love? Are you as bummed about Spring being bi-polar as I am?


Get Skinny Workouts Ad Nauseum

Hey! Happy late Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc! I have been super out of the loop lately. There have been so many ideas on my mind, but finding the time to write seems increasingly impossible with mini Gwinn wandering everywhere and getting into everything. Seriously. This morning he was slamming a cabinet door into the oven just because he could. It kind of happened overnight, but now I have a wild child toddler, and I’m a busy B (yes, “B”, not “bee”.).

I digress. This topic has been weighing on my mind for weeks, literally. It has bugged me so much that I finally locked mini Gwinn in our computer room with my coffee so I could sit down and knock this one out before I adventure out to the gym. Get ready, it’s not gonna be pretty, but let’s hope I get the message across.

If you’ve ever walked by a magazine rack at the grocery store or looked at Pinterest for more than thirty seconds, you’ve seen those absurd “do this lame workout for seven days and watch the pounds drop!” claims, all accompanied by an image of a ridiculously toned/ skinny chick in a bikini or less. To anyone who will be duped by this, please read these words carefully: that chick did not do this lame seven day workout to look like that. No one did this lame seven day workout and immediately looked amazing. Please, put down the Prevention magazine, stop pinning those “inspiring workouts and words” to your fitness board, and take a few steps back from this entire concept of “get fit quick”. Just like getting fat doesn’t happen over the course of a week, getting fit doesn’t happen in 168 hours.As harsh as it may sound, dough doesn’t transform to granite over the course of a week, or sometimes even eight weeks. It takes a lot of time and a lot (I mean A LOT) of sweat to melt fat and gain visible muscle tone. While a week’s worth of working out will make you feel better, give you more energy, increase your appetite (that is a good thing!) and help you sleep better, it won’t magically give you a bikini body for next week’s vaycay. Your best you comes from dedication to improving your health, not attempting to mimic a rail thin model’s body or society’s idea of “beautiful” (unless you happen to fall into that naturally, and if you do, yay for you!) .

In that same line of thought, I have to admit that I was under the impression that “diets” had fallen out of favor with the gen pub. I could not have been more wrong. Seriously, my reaction to seeing “follow such and such celebrity’s three day smoothie diet to fit into your skinny jeans”pins/ magazines was, “HOLY CRAP DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS STUFF?!” If all someone consumes is fruit smoothies for a weekend, s/he may fit into skinny jeans, but s/he will put those on to run to the nearest McDonald’s to indulge in a Big Mac.  Healthy consumption of lean proteins, veggies and lots of water as a way of life, not a temporary starvation diet, will be a better fuel for working out/ health improvement. It makes me sad when I see women who are desperate to feel better grasping at hollow ideas for health.

I’ve heard of many women starving themselves and then running on the treadmill for forty five minutes. If anything, this teaches your body to store up any calories consumed because it thinks it will never be fed AND has to endure major cardio. That’s pretty much the opposite of what any (good) personal trainer would tell someone.

My advice: 1. Learn your body fat percentage, not your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI doesn’t tell much at all about your health. By that same token, your weight doesn’t tell you much about your health. How much fat you’re carrying around? That’s WAY more telling. Gyms will measure your body fat percentage for free. Check out what the numbers mean at Health Check Systems.
2. Eat. A lot. a 130 lb. woman looking to lose fat and maintain/ gain muscle tone should consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. I say “at least” because dietary professionals will suggest as low as 45 grams a day and as high as a 1 to 1 ratio of pounds of weight to grams of protein. That seems impossible to most women, especially given the fact that the average woman consumes around 20 grams a day. Protein will keep you fuller for longer than simple carbohydrates and give you the energy you need to build muscle/ lose fat. Vegetables and chicken, vegetables and fish, whatever your poison for meat- this combo keeps you full. Avoid simple carbohydrates like the devil (this includes: bread, cereal, rice, cupcakes, cake, cookies [my weaknesses], etc). If you just can’t live without grains, try quinoa and oatmeal, both complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to break down and keep you full longer. Kelly the Kitchen Kop gives insight with an interview from Dr. Davis on the dangers of modern wheat and other genetically modified grains. I’m not pushing “anti-carbohydrates”, veggies have carbs too (say what?), I’m pushing “anti-genetically modified grains” here.
3. Don’t limit yourself to cardio. Weight lifting and body weight/ resistance exercises are going to help you burn fat more quickly and efficiently than just cardio (unless you are morbidly obese). Another myth to these crappy “get skinny quickly” workouts is that you can target weight loss to fat in certain areas of your body, like “7 Days to Lean Arms!”.  If that were the case, all my body fat would be in my boobs and my thighs would look like pillars of marble wrapped in skin. While you CAN target muscles during workouts, you can’t target fat, which is why mixing up a workout is paramount to actual fat loss/ muscle gain. The best fat burning technique I’ve tried- interval training. I’ve pushed this on other blog posts in the past, and I’m pushing it again. My current fave? Turbulence Training, as seen on the Greatist.

I suppose what I’m preaching here is the opposite of what many women do, which is “starve and go easy at the gym”. I say, spoil yourself by eating a ton of yummy, healthy food, and abuse your body like crazy at the gym. Go at it until your clothes are soaked and you can barely walk out the doors. These three day diets and seven day fitness routines aren’t going to cut it; quick fixes NEVER do. Dedication to fitness and a true lifestyle change in how one approaches food will result in a total health and body transformation. It’s pretty obvious I’m no personal trainer or health expert, but I am passionate about my personal health. This makes me seem like a self indulgent psycho to some, but my health matters for the sake of my family (and my sanity). If you’re anything like me, when you feel better, everything seems better, more accomplish-able, less insurmountable. Plus, I’m a lot less likely to Hulk out on someone when I’ve burned all my excess energy (read: rage) at the gym. It boils down to the fact that I just want people I care about to be healthy and happy.

So, in the coming weeks, or whenever I find time to sit down and write a bit, I’m going to start working on the reverse side of “Being Kind is Hard”. Every post for the next several weeks will include a glowing review of someone I love in my life. It will serve as a very public way (with his/ her consent) to display my appreciation, and hopefully spur kindness in myself and others.

❤ to you!


Steppin’ Up on Workin’ Out

Lately, with the past few weeks being especially erratic, going to the gym has been really (REALLY) difficult. As a result, I’ve noticed in the mirror that I look a little… mushy. My abs are no longer as defined as they were, and my muffin tops look like they’re freshly baked. When I was getting to the gym regularly, my focus was usually on one or two major muscle groups a day, which put me at the gym right around 30-40 minutes. That worked well for me, when I was going 5-6 times a week. With the crazy car situation, starting a new (wonderful) job and squeezing in training during the past week, going to a wedding (so much fun- congrats, you two!) which somehow put Captain Laser Pants and I out of commission from exhaustion for a few days, and our little guy starting to cruise around the house (aka using furniture to walk), life has been a little hectic.

I needed to step up my game for riz at the gym. With lots of new tunes (mostly seriously hardcore stuff that makes me strut around like a tough girl) and some new exercises, I was ready to spend over an hour at the gym every day I go. So far so good, even mini- Gwinn is doing really well at the gym nursery (of course they love him there, he’s darling). I’ve been getting there 3-4 times a week for the past two weeks and I’m already seeing a difference. Below is what I did today, be prepared to be OMAZED. That’s right, o-mazed. I should say that since I’m experiencing some pretty annoying pubic bone pain (pretty sure I have a pinched nerve, awesome) and both my knees are prone to giving out, I modified my routine A LOT. Like, no more running (sad face), easy on the leg press machine, and easy on the squats. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Warm up: 4-5 minutes on bike at a mid-range resistance

Tricep extensions 20 lbs x 10 reps
Tricep kickbacks 15 lbs x 10 reps
Bent over rows 20 lbs x 10 reps
Repeat above 3 times
Standing side ab crunch 25 lbs x 10 reps, each side, 2 sets total
Every other day: bench press ~40 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Calf raises 120 lbs x 12 reps, 3 sets
Leg extensions for quads 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets (gotta go easy on my knees!)
Leg extension for glutes/ back of thighs 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Pull Ups – 30 total with ~60 lbs. assistance

Hip Abduction machine (inner thigh) 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Hip Abduction machine (outer thigh) 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Lat Pull machine 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Chest Press machine 75 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Every other day: Leg press machine 150 lbs x 8 reps, 2 sets

Wall bridges x 10 reps, 2 sets each side
Side crunch/ toe touches  x 10 reps, 2 each side
Weighted crunches, side to side and middle 12 lbs x 18 reps
Army style push ups x 5 reps, 3-4 sets
Side leg raises (for inner thigh) 12 lbs x 15 reps, 4 sets each side
Every other day: plank, 20 seconds, 3 total (I freaking hate planks)

Cool down- walking on treadmill 3 minutes, lots of stretching after

It’s intense, but seriously, two weeks ago I could only do five Army- style push- ups. Now I can do 20.

In other news, here’s a picture of Captain Laser Pants and myself at the wedding:

We didn’t mean to match, we just both like blue.

Mini- Gwinn is in the Gerber Baby Photo Contest on facebook. You can vote for him, his ID# is 317.

 

Our little guy likes blue, too.

And, last but not least, I finally have new glasses. Which are also blue.

“I’m blue, da ba di ba di da…”

 


If Apple Made Free Weights

Is there an app for making iPhones really heavy at the gym to emulate lifting free weights? I’m not really tech savvy, especially when it comes to Apple products (ew), so I could be completely missing this nifty application. Are they called iWeights?

What’s that you say? This idea is preposterous?

That’s precisely my point. If you (the existential “you”, not YOU) are at the gym, walking on the treadmill at it’s slowest pace, yammering on your cell phone, what is being accomplished? Aside from taking up space on the cardio machine, just going to the gym isn’t really enough to jump start weight loss or healthy living. Example- I went to the gym on Thursday with every intention of staying for an hour to do a full body weight training circuit. As I dropped off mini Gwinn, I saw a large woman in small spandex situate herself on a leg lift machine while talking on her phone. “Whatever,” I thought, as I started up my warm up. About fifteen minutes later, after I had finished my warm up and tricep weights, I made my way back to the leg machines. The woman on her phone was still sitting on the leg lift machine. I worked around her, doing the calf raises and the other leg machines, until, finally, I could avoid it no longer. I glared at her. She was laughing, licking her leg against the resistance bar, literally doing nothing. Why take the effort to shove one’s self into spandex (which I suppose I could assume was a workout in itself), drive to the gym, only to talk on the phone? She was eating into my workout time and was accomplishing nothing simultaneously. Once she finally noticed me staring ninja death stars at her, she looked irritated that I wanted to use her chair. She finally got up and I was able to continue.

Run with this, tubby!

Let me clarify. I don’t “hate” “fat” people. Her complete lack of consideration and her all encompassing laziness are why I’m still mad about this today. “How do you know she wasn’t injured?” Please, if you’re politically correct, your feelings are hurt easily, or you make excuses all the time, please stop reading my blog for forever. I know she wasn’t injured because she was having an animated conversation on her phone. If someone is trying to work through something or work on something at the gym, they are not there to have a thirty minute phone conversation. If you have to walk on the slowest pace possible on the treadmill because that’s where you are physically, I am cheering for you in my heart and head for trying. I think it is freaking awesome that you are taking those steps to improve your health! If you’re walking on the slowest possible pace on the treadmill because you’re not coordinated enough to talk and walk, then I hope you fall off so someone who wants to use the treadmill productively can get on it. Is this harsh? Maybe. Am I right? Yes.

Look deeper into this “laziness at the gym” issue. Our society and technological age highly encourage us all to engage in multiple conversations at once, take in several types of media simultaneously, and divide our attention completely. When was the last time you looked at your phone? Facebook? Email account? It is now considered the social norm if people have their cell phones out at group gatherings or dinner. People text and drive while their children are screaming in the back seat. Parents look at pictures of their children while their children are sitting in front of them. Text message conversations to seven different people carry on through the day.

When was the last time your attention was completely focused on one thing?

My sister told me a story of a time (this was years ago) that she and her husband met a monk (I don’t remember where) and what he had to say was brief and wise- Whatever you’re doing, do it fully. If you’re driving, drive (dear God, drive with your full attention. Please). If you’re with your children, be with your children. If you’re eating, eat the meal fully and enjoy how it tastes, how it fills you. Be there. I don’t want my baby to remember me with a phone in my hand, and I don’t want to miss all the amazing things he does because Facebook has some crappy update I just “have to see”. Seeing the woman at the gym was a great reminder for me to “be there”, wherever “there” is.


“First World Problems” is a Stupid Phrase and More

Hello my jolly rogers! I took an unexpected hiatus from everything except living like a hermit (which I shall detail below). I trust you all lived with baited breath as you eagerly awaited my next post. If you really did, then may I suggest some social activities for you, perhaps a riveting game of BINGO or curling?

Ahem. Onto other things. So, after my “Overwhelmed” post, I didn’t think things would/ could be harder, but guess what! Things got harder. Mini Gwinn caught a bug the very day we went back to the gym, and promptly shared with me. The virus, as I was told by his pediatrician, would run its course within a week and leave us unscathed. So, naturally, a few days later when my throat was to the point that I couldn’t swallow or speak, the baby and I spent the day at my doctor’s (oh waiting room joy with a wildly active baby who wants to crawl everywhere!) only to find out that the virus had evolved into a heinous sinus infection. So we spent another week away from the gym, but we were both sick, so it wasn’t a major loss. While this was going on, our AC decided to run six degrees higher than its setting. This also happened to be the week that we were topping out at 105-110 degrees in the lovely (read: miserable) South. With multiple calls to maintenance/ AC and no real fix, a sick mom and recovering baby, we were on our way to misery town. Saturday I started feeling better, so we packed up the baby and headed to Costco for some good old fashioned American grocery shopping and sample eating (plus, the store was better air conditioned than our home, so it was more comfortable). Seeing that our radiator reserve tank was low, I added some (ok, way too much) water to the tank. While we were shopping, mini Gwinn peed through his Costco diaper (we don’t usually use those, and now I remember why) and ALL OVER my shirt. Naturally, he and I ran to the car while Captain Laser Pants finished the shopping. On the way home, our (NEW!) car began to overheat. We stopped in the ghetto between Costco and our home (why there is a section 8 stretch of hood between two lovely communities I will never know- good job, Atlanta) and the (NEW!!) car decided to die, right there in the parking lot of a grocery store, quite dramatically, I might add. So, it’s 104 degrees, we have meat and frozen veggies in the back quickly losing their cold temperature, the baby’s sweating, CLP is dripping with sweat as he troubleshoots the vehicle, and I’m freaking out because I think I caused the whole issue.

Fast forward to today- Wednesday- and the car still isn’t revived. CLP has been a super hero in his efforts to repair every aspect of the engine that comes to mind, to no avail. This man took the first few days off this week so he could rest (rest? What rest?), instead he’s been sweating it out in our garage trying to figure out what’s wrong with our beautiful new Jeep. He has spent days consoling me and telling me there is no possible way I could cause this bizarre, unexplained engine failure. Things he’s replaced/ investigated so far: camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, fuel pressure, battery, fuel injector and no codes. Suffice it to say, he’s running out of ideas. We haven’t been to the gym since the day the baby contracted the virus, and I may start sticking forks in my eyes.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. On Pinterest (the place where my soul and self esteem go to die) I saw one of those retarded “text as motivational decoration” signs that said, “There are many who are happier with less than you”. Woo- freaking- hoo. I’m so glad they’re happy. And if it makes me seem evil for saying that “first world problems” is a stupid phrase, then I’m evil. Firstly- I like creature comfort. And my husband and I work darn hard to ensure said creature comforts. And yes, our country is the best of the best (if you don’t agree, go somewhere else), and yes, Americans are mostly spoiled. Are all the issues I complained about above first world problems? Yeah. But it’s the only world I’ve lived in, so I’m just calling it “my world problems”. Of course I have sympathy for those in need (truly, I do), but I also don’t have guilt for living in America. People that suffer from “white guilt”, “wealth guilt”, “having AC guilt” and any other kind of guilt for being born into a certain circumstance shouldn’t push their guilt on others. Go be guilty all on your own.

Moving on.

Rant number two (hehe, “number two”) for this post: women without children who talk about pregnancy and post- pregnancy. Shut up, or I will put a boot in your mouth. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Unless you’re an OB (which they never are), you only know from theory and watching what it looks like. You don’t know from practice, and you sure as heck don’t know what it’s like post- pregnancy. Stop putting up “how to tighten your post pregnancy belly skin” tips, stop suggesting ways to breastfeed your four year old, and stop pretending to have any idea what It’s like to live the life of a mother for even ten seconds. You deserve to have a boot in your mouth.

 

Favorite comic strip of all time- Calvin and Hobbes. Chances are, you know some people that should line up for this, too.

Ok, phew. Rants over. I promise I’m not in a horrible mood! To all of you who are happy to celebrate your first world problems/ spoils/ wonderments of life- Happy Fourth of July! Even if you’re a noncontributing zero, like myself, I’m sure you still appreciate the hard earned freedoms our country has.

I promise PROMISE the next blog will be better written and about something more thoughtful and thought provoking. This was just a “stream of consciousness/ I’m still here” post. Topics I’m mulling over: women with higher than average testosterone, pornography and modern media in marriage, the one article of clothing I own, and more. Thoughts? Ideas?


Overwhelmed

Typically when I sit down to write a blog I have a vague idea of what I want to say without any sort of “pre- writing”. Most of what I write isn’t polished, nor are there multiple versions before the “finished product” is posted to the interwebs. Today is no different. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on saying anything today.

But, readers, today I am overwhelmed.

It’s no small secret that I handle minor stresses badly. Having a baby? No big. Dishes in the sink? My face could explode. Running late for an appointment? I may blow up the house. Clearly, I should be working on how to manage stress in my life. Normally I work out until I just don’t have the energy to care. Take that away and I actually create problems, usually making a stress mess from nothing.

I haven’t been to the gym in a week. For some that’s not a big deal at all (“Hey, I haven’t been to the gym in 35 years, yuk yuk”), for others that’s mind blowing.

I may actually develop super powers and blow up our entire block because of the pent up energy I have.

It’s not out of laziness, I can assure you. With mini Gwinn’s changing nap routine (he’s growing up, after all- he said his first word on Father’s Day!), the usual time I go to the gym has shifted from the late morning to not at all. The childcare is only open until 1 PM (getting out of the house by noon is next to impossible with his new nap time that he’s selected), so by the time he’s up, fed, changed and I’ve changed clothes after having food thrown at me, it’s 12:45. Captain Laser Pants asked why I didn’t just do what I had planned and ignore the little dude’s nap. “Just put him in the car and go,” I believe, were his exact words.

Any parent knows that an interrupted nap is worse than no nap. To his credit, CLP doesn’t usually see our baby in daytime hours during the week- he wouldn’t know what a napless mini Gwinn looks like. Of course I didn’t follow his suggestion. I’m giving our baby what he needs. So after figuring out the new nap time and duration, I cleverly planned our morning around it and accommodated for the time. We were ready for the gym at our new time and BAM- I couldn’t find my key. Ten minutes later I asked CLP if he had it. He found it in his pocket. At work. Our new car has one key with a broken ring hole- it has been lost several times since the purchase of said vehicle. This minor stress has been accepted and isn’t really an issue. What compounded my reaction was that, after a week of no gym, I also realized that our little guy needs his acid reflux medicine, we’re out of baby wipes, and I need more vegetables to make solid food for the kid. Bonus- I dropped a heavy muffin tin on my toes this morning, my little guy has thrown up on me twice since 10 AM, and I have the caffeine shakes. Don’t get me started on the lack of dinner for tonight.

I’m a little overwhelmed today.

Being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming. I have a house that I can barely keep neat, let alone clean and organized. The three dogs tend to get in all kinds of trouble throughout the day. The baby has discovered new and unusual ways to cause injury to me (he flails his arms in the general direction of my cyst- covered face and leans away from my body, making my arm go numb from holding him). Some days are hard. Some days I want to throw bricks at glass panes. Some days I am amazed at the accumulation of laundry that has developed in the course of three hours. Some days I want to run full speed off the Empire State Building.

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He’s totally worth the stress.

At 6 PM (when my little guy has chosen to make his bed time) I squish my little man up against my chest, feed him, sing him a lullaby, and stroke his hair until he falls asleep peacefully in my arms. Whether or not the day has defeated me, the evening brings a precious peace that feels like melting into a hot bath filled with lavender oil (Wow, that sounds lovely right now). I sneak into his nursery several times between 6:30 PM and when I finally fall asleep just so I can steal a kiss or stare lovingly at my sleeping child.

Funny- even imaging it has calmed my frayed nerves. I suppose it’s all about putting into perspective the paces through which we put ourselves every day. Keeping in mind the obstacles life throws at us, being overwhelmed is normal, nay, expected. Accepting that every hour is different and rising to the challenge of a new day? That’s part of being a mom.

Now, about that lavender bath…


Admiration and Intimidation at the Gym

Firstly, I want to thank all the new followers and readers! I appreciate the support and the shares.

Today I’m taking a break from the “maintenance of marriage” series (as seen here, here aaaaand here) . Feel free to submit your ideas for more posts in the series, because I’m running low!

In other news…

There seems to be a direct correlation between the size of a woman’s fake boobs, orange-ness of her tan and the amount of skin she has exposed at the gym and my immediate attitude towards her. Completely petty and shallow? Yes. Then again, I don’t claim to be “mature” and “deep”, so get off your high horse for a second. I promise this will (may) get better.

I work out semi- religiously at LA Fitness. It’s not exactly a prestigious club, but it has everything I need and the cost is excellent. Added bonus- there are three within fifteen minutes of our home. The one where I usually go is in an area that is, ahem, a bit pretentious. The commonly known “East Cobb snobs” nickname isn’t unearned. That’s not to say that all East Cobbians are snobs, but most of them do hold the title with pride. I digress (just trying to give a proper mental picture, yeesh). Since I’m officially a suburbanite stay at home mom, I go to the gym in the late morning- after the little dude has eaten, napped and eaten again, and most (ok, maybe only one or two) of the household chores are done. Apparently, late morning is the prime time for stay at home moms (or trophy wives, it all depends) to get their fitness on. The gym has plenty of us present between the hours of 10 AM and 1 PM. Here’s a nice rundown of the categories into which we fall:

-The mom whose children are clearly much older and self sufficient than mine. She has a giant SUV that costs a year’s salary. Her hair is bleached blonde (of course), brushed and neatly pulled into a ponytail. Her Nike running shoes appear to be brand new, as do her matching Nike running shorts and compression tank top. She is thin, bordering on skinny, tans at a moderately frequent rate, and her name is probably “Buffy” or some equally 1980’s country club name. She intimidates me.

-The mom who probably isn’t a mom at all, but more than likely a trophy wife to a much older, successful business man. She has gigantic, Dolly Parton- esque breast implants that are placed ridiculously close to her chin. She is orange from daily tanning/ spray tanning. She is wearing only a sports bra that barely encases her ridiculous tatas and a pair of micro-shorts to show off whatever she is inclined to show off. Her hair, bleached blonde, is down and styled. She is wearing full makeup. She leg presses 20 lbs. She flirts with every male trainer present on the floor. From a distance she looks 22, up close she looks to be in her late 40s with a belly button jewel. She irritates and intimidates me.

-The mom wearing a “10k for Childhood Diabetes Cure” shirt, which she got last week in the race. Her kids’ ages are unknown. Her arms are viciously toned and tanned from driving her kids everywhere. Her legs are pillars of granite. Her hair is hidden under a ball cap. She bench presses more than I weigh and she’s half my size. Her kids are well behaved, but still acting like children when she picks them up from the gym daycare. They ask if they can go to McDonald’s, she obliges. I admire this woman.

-Me. I am wearing one of Captain Laser Pants’ t-shirts or something of my own that is equally ill-sized and tacky. CLP’s socks. My running shoes have ketchup that mini- Gwinn threw on them (true story). I haven’t brushed my hair in at least two days (another sad, true story). Headphones blaring something aggressive that usually enforces my lack of smile/ hard stare at the gym. I see myself in the mirror doing tricep extensions- I intimidate myself, which makes me smile, because that is funny. I’m not intimidating.

Once in a while a stranger (a woman) will ask me about a certain exercise I’m doing. I’ll take the headphones out of my ears, demonstrate, make a self deprecating joke, smile and move on. On the gym floor, I’m not exactly good at making friends. My music is too loud for me to usually hear, I’m running to each machine or weight between sets, and I’ve seen myself- I look crazy and intense. Usually the women I’m watching (that sounds creepier than it is, I promise), the women I admire, look similar. They’re not at the gym for social hour- they’re there to work. Their time is as limited as mine, and although their health is important to them, they clearly have other places to be. They are usually sweating as much as I am, if not more- they are pushing themselves.

If I’m feeling bold, I say something to them between sets. Something like, “You’re a rock star” or “You’re awesome” is about as creative as I get without sounding creepy. But I mean it. As insecure as I am (especially at the gym), I think it’s important to encourage the women I admire. The trainers aren’t coming over to us to comment on our mad skills (they’re busy with the oompa loompa showing off her cleavage). The other women aren’t exactly complimentary. In a society (and this particular gym) where women are supposed to be “competitive,” when we encourage one another, it’s validating. I’m not saying we all need validation from strangers, but by that same token, it’s not like our kids are thanking us for being strong. And, strangely enough, after I say something to them, I don’t feel intimidated. Instead, I want to go push myself to try a new exercise or to bump weights.

By the time I’ve made it to the nursery to pick up my little guy, I’m usually smiling (dripping with sweat, but still smiling). After a good workout and an effort to be nice, I feel softer and less testosterone-y. It’s usually the days that I go to the gym and work like a man that I feel most feminine. The strength I’ve tested, the intimidation I’ve quelled, and the encouragement I’ve doled out- those are all part of what “being a woman” is all about.

Up next: I have no idea. You should suggest something in the comments! 😀 Seriously.