Category Archives: love

Update on the Big Boy Room, 33 Weeks

Bed rest shmed shmrest?

In lieu of actual bed rest, I’ve been trying to “take it easy”, and in my opinion, re-doing a big boy room and a nursery count as “taking it easy”. Over the past week I’ve updated mini Gwinn’s bedroom with some new decor, including new curtains, sheets, pictures, and a big boy bed (so proud of him for transitioning so easily!). The paint and the twin bunk beds (obviously we’re separating the bunk beds for two different rooms) were the most expensive aspects of the update, but the nursery has the same accent wall design and the bunk bed cost was split in half, so really, new pictures and all, mini Gwinn’s total cost of room update equaled $165 (furniture included). I’ll put up nursery pictures for 2.0’s room when that’s finished, but for now, here’s mini Gwinn’s room:

In other news, I’m 33 weeks and Captain Laser Pants has told me I’ve officially crossed into “torpedo belly” territory. This week at the high risk doc, the measured the (not so) little guy and checked his lung development to make sure he’s ready to make his debut FOUR WEEKS from today. A few days ago he was 4 lbs, 9 oz, and I think they said 15 in. long? So, even though he seems big to me, the doctor told me not to expect him to be bigger than 7 lbs. total. His lungs look awesome and there is virtually no hint at needing an amniocentesis to test lung development before the induction. I’m so relieved for that!

But I’m not so relieved that acid reflux is back in a BAD way. Or that the symphsis pubis dysfunction is HEINOUSLY painful these days, and practically constant, when before it was just at night. I have a near constant headache as well, most likely related to the high blood pressure, but long story slightly shorter: I’m so over this pregnancy. I’m done. April 18th can not get here soon enough.

Any way. Mini Gwinn has started counting, talking constantly, and generally is just the most adorable he’s ever been in his entire life. I’ve got some mom guilt action happening right now because I hate that his world is about to be turned upside down with the addition of a little brother, but I hope he loves having a life long best friend, even if he doesn’t grasp that right now. He may harbor some toddler resentment for us in the upcoming months, but maybe one day he’ll be thankful for the existence of 2.0.

My hot husband and sweet boy at our fave Mexican restaurant

My hot husband and sweet boy at our fave Mexican restaurant

I’ve been reading a lot that somehow my heart will swell even more when I see my husband with our second child. And despite my pregnancy- induced angry outbursts (only on occasion) at little things CLP does, I have a hard time believing I’m going to love him more in four weeks than I already do. The way he’s stepped up in caring for our son and our home, and still being so loving toward me… he just amazes me. His patience and strength through such a trying time in our lives are inspiring. And I love him so much. Even if he does leave tuna on the counter by the sink and I run into it with my belly. Knowing we’re about to change our lives for the third time since we’ve been together, I’m trying to sit back and enjoy these little delicious moments of joy, just the three of us. We’re going to be even more exhausted and our patience will be worn, but I wouldn’t crawl through the trenches of hell (or child rearing) with anyone else at my side.

Ok, thanks, pregnancy hormones. You can shut up now.

What are you up to, interwebs?

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Little Things

Mini Gwinn has been 16 months old for a few days now. I marvel at how quickly he has grown and changed and how much he understands now. I’m going to update you on some new things, whether you like it or not, so sit tight. For instance, he:

-knows where his tongue and his nose are. This is quite cute when you ask him.
-knows what “water” is in his bathtub. He will happily demonstrate this knowledge by splashing ecstatically.
-runs. Falls. Looks at me. Smiles. Repeat.
-knows the dogs’ names. Says “beans” in reference to Jovee, who is known as “Jovee Beans”.
-leans in for kisses, especially for dogs, CLP and myself. Talk about heart melting, people.
-said “no way!” and shook his head vigorously as I offered him bread. That’s right, my kid is Paeleo, people. He won’t eat noodles or bread. I’ve tried quinoa noodles with no success, bread with some honey and butter, sandwiches- nada.
-goes down the slide solo. Like climbs to the top of the jungle gym at the park, and sends himself backwards down the slide.
-goes up AND down our terrifying staircase. He’s been going up for months, but he has now mastered the art of the descent.
-says “need help” when he wants assistance. This isn’t consistent yet, but he does say it.
-throws the ball for Jovee. Plays tug of war with her. Thank God she’s so gentle with him.
-really, really enjoys repeating “l” sounds, especially “bl” together, which from what I’ve observed, are usually pretty difficult for many children until the age 3-4 (that’s not the case for all, of course, but more of a blanket statement after spending time with many children)

He does this a lot.

He does this a lot.

Can he identify colors? Does he know where his tummy, eyes, toes and fingers are? Nope. But he does say some funny stuff and he amazes me every day with all the little things he’s learning. He doesn’t let me cuddle with him, but he is so much fun. He’s getting more into cars now, which is awesome for his parents (we really like cars). He has a sense of humor. He is quiet for long stretches of time, steeped into his own world of thought and discovery, then he pops his head up, says something of deep, profound meaning, “GAH BAH DWEEEB BLEETHEL! Bleethel bleethel bleethel.” and then he falls back into silence (I still don’t know what “bleethel” means but he loves to say it). In my whole life I never thought I would find such joy in watching someone so small discover life.

All smiles on the swings!

All smiles on the swings!

These past few months have been particularly difficult with crests and falls that would make lesser couples crumble. There have been times, even today, when I feel like I am at my weakest, and those exquisite, striking blue eyes look up at me and I feel like I can keep going for a little longer. Coffee helps too. But my son, in all the struggle of life (even with him, sometimes), reminds me that there are better days ahead.

He had to stop driving to tell me something important.

He had to stop driving to tell me something important.


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!


The Changes Held Within a Year

It’s been a year and a week since mini Gwinn 100% changed my life. That may sound dramatic to those without children (not to exclude you, but it is just really hard to fathom until it happens to you), but to the others in the parenthood ranks, you get it. The day you meet your little biscuit face to face is the day your perspective on everything changes.

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Sitting in the hospital bed together

When I was playing landlord to this little guy, I imagined what his personality was like. He kicked when I laughed, squirmed and wiggled nonstop when I laid down, and kicked Captain Laser Pants in the face when he laid his cheek on my belly. Back then I thought, “Wow, he’s an angry little sucker, just like his mama!” but now I know how wrong I was. He is the happiest baby I’ve ever met. The slightest tickle or funny face results in an eruption of delicious, angelic laughter. He never stops moving; he is infinitely curious about his surroundings and the faces he sees. Months after he was born, CLP told me a fear he had while I was baking mini Gwinn. He had read studies that proved the mental and emotional state of a mother while pregnant affected the baby’s physical and emotional health. He was concerned that our little bear would be somehow “off” because of my horrible mental state. Miraculously, he’s an incredible child, well adjusted, secure, and very, very funny. He has off days, just like all of us, but I feel so, so blessed to be raising such a precious little man.

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Blue eyes, big hair and opinions! Oh my.

This time last year we were struggling in every sense of the word. The exhaustion of taking care of a newborn (for those with family near you, you are so lucky!), the realization of the financial strain of going from two salaries to one, and reconciling the major changes my body had undergone (and would continue to undergo over the next nine months) made life, erm, difficult. The parents that have been kind enough to be honest with me confided that the first three months were just about surviving, and they couldn’t have been more correct. Captain Laser Pants was finishing the hardest semester of his college career (Calculus 2 and Physics, yuck), working long hours and coming home to a madhouse, with his wife as the chief lunatic. I was investing the stress and anxiety I had into running. Mini Gwinn liked being outside, even then, and I (shockingly) felt good enough to start a four mile run four weeks after I delivered our baby boy.

It’s intense for me to look back on those hard days. The emotion is still fresh, the memories aren’t rose colored. The nurses in the hospital told me I would forget how hard the pregnancy and the first few months would be, and with an easy delivery, I’d want more children, and soon. I laugh, even now, at the thought. Perhaps with “eager moms” (those that planned pregnancy, those that enjoyed pregnancy, those that have a normal body image, etc) the idea of having more children is a positive one. For me, the idea of stretching out over a 36+ week course, feeling gross and grossly sick for the majority of the pregnancy, and the immensely strenuous first three months just doesn’t seem worth it.

Team Gwinn, Christmas 2011. Yowsers.

Team Gwinn, Christmas 2011. Yowsers.

The wild part in all of this? Despite my strong feelings of not wanting more children, I have had several pregnancy dreams (not pleasant ones, but still)  in the past month or so. It could be that many ladies I know are currently pregnant, or just that dumb biological clock ticking, but my subconscious mind is blowing my conscious mind. How a year has changed us. No more double chins, for one thing. But CLP and I seem so much stronger. I know that I am for sure, and not just emotionally. I feel more stable and more unstable all at once. I am strong for my son, and weakened by him. Rather, I am more vulnerable because of him. Give- a- thons for orphaned children make me cry. Scenes in Walking Dead make me cry. Once upon a time, I’d be critiquing the choices of the zombie apocalypse survivors, taking notes on survival tips. Now? I am emotionally involved, I’m putting CLP and I in the place of the main characters and fearing for our son if we had to live in a survival- type scenario.

Everything has changed.

At a wedding, November 2012. Yay for change!

At a wedding, November 2012. Yay for change!

This morning, while shopping with CLP and mini Gwinn, I jokingly asked my husband when I had gotten soft. We both laughed and he commented on the way parenthood has changed us both. I truly don’t mind 99% of the changes (belly skin pleats? I totally mind that). Being a mother has given me an entirely new strength in my life. While every woman has a different path in pregnancy, labor and raising her children, I will say that every good mother (not you, crack addicted mom. You should be shot in the face.) grows as a person in tremendous ways. The change you will experience over the first year will astound you. It certainly amazed me.


BatFletch

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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.


Sippers and Shooters

I am somewhat obsessed with personality sorters and tests. Captain Laser Pants finds it exhausting when I talk about fictional characters and their four letter personality label; I find it fascinating to be able to “type” a person and work out (in my head) how to interact with them. In case you are as nerdy/ weird as I am, I am an INTJ (introverted – intuitive – thinking – judging) and have been since I was 16 or 17, and my DISC profile has a ridiculously high DC with a crazy low IS.

What does this have to do with the price of eggs?

When it comes to people, I am often intrigued by the inner workings of their minds- how they think, why they think and do what they think and do, and the best ways for me to approach interaction with them (yes, that sounds very scientific, but it’s true). If the world answered my suggestion box, everyone would have a name tag with their Keirsey Temperament type written on it. So it should come as no surprise, then, that I enjoy dissecting and analyzing relationships. Some people are sippers and some are shooters.

Huh?

For people that drink, you probably picked up the reference by the title. People that like wine, for instance, usually sip, taking in the bouquet of flavors and enjoying the aroma as they slowly drink. Those that enjoy shots, however, take in the whole of the drink in one fell swoop. Approaches to relationships can be categorized (loosely!) in these two ways- those that are “sippers” and those that are “shooters”. Sippers take their time with relationships, moving slowly in hopes to extend it to a long term relationship. Shooters enjoy the immediacy of moving quickly, and then move on to the next relationship quickly. I’m not saying that wine drinkers prefer long term relationships and shooter girls are short term types, it’s just a comparison in the style. Moving on…

I was listening to a Bon Iver song a while ago called “Blood Bank”. The lyrics have a lot to say, but a particular verse reminded me of the way a new relationship feels – you know, the electricity between you and that someone, the excitement of getting to know a new person and sharing those endorphins and adrenaline and all those other fun chemicals you feel when you’re falling in love. As I was driving and listening to the song, a wave of – I guess it was sadness? – washed over me as I realized I would never experience those feelings again. Those chemicals are so addicting, that even though I have a remarkable relationship with my husband, I was bummed that I would never experience that “high” again.

My logical side (and frankly, my heart) squashed my dumb, immature feelings almost immediately after they made themselves known. How stupid! Captain Laser Pants is the person I pursued for months. He is the man I learned to know and understand over a long period of time as friends constantly on the cusp of falling in love. I won the prize! I ran in the race, the huntress overtook the chase – I have the relationship with the man I never dared to dream existed.  Those feelings of infatuation are nothing compared to the deep river of love I have for my husband.

It is funny to me that the thought of “wah, I’ll never fall in love again” even crossed my mind. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I was never the type to jump in and out of relationships, and (as an INTJ) I tend to prefer the tried and true method to the new idea. But, odd fact: I preferred a shot of something to a glass of wine when I would have a drink. Maybe that instinct to be an epicurean and move on quickly is in there somewhere. To be honest, I tried it with Captain Laser Pants – danced around the idea of the relationship, but was too scared to invest. Clearly, my fears were quelled and any thought I had of being hurt was overpowered by the immense love I’ve had for him for so long.

Are you a sipper or a shooter? Am I a weirdo for not liking wine? What’s your Keirsey Temperament? DISC profile?


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…


Letters to Your Husband, Present and Future

Last week’s blog on baggage and intimacy (as seen here) received more feedback than anything else I’ve written on here to date. Emails, text messages, and Facebook messages came pouring into my inbox. So many of us are walking around with hurt, some with the help of a significant other, and some without. One message in particular spoke volumes. Without revealing too much, she told me she is waiting for the right man to be brought into her life. I don’t know about you all, but waiting is one of many things at which I am dismally horrible. After a marriage, a child and a divorce, I cannot begin to fathom the pain of waiting that she is experiencing. So, in a brief moment of wisdom and/or clarity, I suggested that she write letters to her future husband any time she was feeling lonely or that the wait was too hard.

This morning, as CLP had his arm draped over my waist and was snoring in my ear, I thought about how devastated I would be if we were separated. We truly are two halves to one whole. A light switch turned in my head and I appreciated the snore (really), the weight of his forearm on my stomach as he slept. There are so many tiny moments of our relationships that we take for granted with one another. When he leaves the leashes next to the front door after walking the dogs, I have to check my attitude on occasion- should I be upset about the minor inconvenience of three leashes on the floor, or should I be grateful that I have a husband who takes time from his morning to walk our dogs so they’re better behaved for me later in the day?

For our first anniversary gifts, we wrote letters to one another. As you can imagine, mine was long, detailed, filled with lots of commas. I poured my tired little heart out. His letter to me mentioned the fact that he tells me how much he loves me every day. While at first I was just a teensy bit sad that his letter wasn’t three pages long like mine was to him, it occurred to me that a) yes, he does tell me every day (what a lucky gal I am!) that he loves me, and b) men, no matter how cerebral and verbose, communicate differently than women. The letter is in my jewelry box, where some of my most precious, costly gifts sit.

Where am I going with this?

Write a letter to your spouse, whether or not you are currently married. If you’re writing a letter to your husband, break up the length (for his sake). Date it. Men need to know their wives respect them- tell him you do. They need to be desired- tell him you do. Does he wash your car or mow the lawn? He’s taking care of you, above and beyond the big stuff that matters. Tell him thank you. If you’re a dude, write a letter to your wife. Work to make it long (for her sake). Women need to know they are loved- tell her you do. Remind her that, of all the women in the world, you chose her. Does she make you dinner or go grocery shopping alone so you don’t have to endure the store? Thank her.

Letter writing is a lost art. If you’re stuck or you can’t find the words, copy someone else’s love letter. There are epic, legendary letters of men to women and women to men out there from some of the greatest minds ever to have lived and loved. Seek inspiration. Check our your spouse while they’re getting ready in the morning. Be inspired by the love they have given and have taken from you.

No Shakespeare? No problem.

Letter writing is not something you have to build up to doing. Working through emotional baggage, trust, respect and communication- all very important!- can be done while you’re honing your sonnet skills. A little note card with an “I love you. Let’s make out later.” written on it can be slipped into a work bag or taped to a mirror.

If you’re not married, let your spouse know you are waiting for your relationship with anticipation. When you feel lonely, writing it out to your partner is a good exercise in healing together before you’ve even begun. Let your future spouse know your triumphs, your failures, and your heart. Don’t be a stranger to the pages- someday the person who will know you best will be reading them.

Don’t be intimidated by a pen and paper. Your heart and your mind were some of the reasons the two of you fell in love in the first place.