Friday, November 9, 2012

Keeping the Surprise

I wanted to write this blog post before I left but that would have spoiled the surprise.  I just did one of the craziest things I have ever done, especially since having Mr. F. ,  I flew to London to have twenty-four hours with my husband.

This was important on many fronts.  It wasn’t something I decided to do lightly.  Originally, F and I were going to go on Clay’s business trip, but F didn’t have a passport and it was too complicated to get one in a hurry.  [In hindsight I am happy I wasn’t trekking a stroller around London.]   Looking at calendars, the only logical time was for Clay to be gone over his fortieth birthday.

As I started to think about birthday gifts, it became clear that the best gift I could give him was to be there for him—as he has done for me over the last seven years.  I then started a two-part process:  1) See if my mother-in-law would be willing to take care of Mr. F while I was gone and 2) Did I have enough miles left from my flying days as the tickets were expensive.    I was in luck as I actually found a saver ticket and my mother-in-law said yes.

It is much easier to think about leaving your child than to actually do it.   My guiding premise throughout this is that a strong family is based on a strong marriage.  Eighteen months after the birth of Mr. F, I’d be the first to admit there have been a few nicks to mine.  Free time only comes when the baby sleeps and at that point it’s either errands or exhaustion that takes over.

As I boarded the plane I almost had a full-fledged panic attack.  It’s not that we haven’t left him for a night, here or there.  All of a sudden I was leaving the country, I worried that we hadn’t childproofed the pond yet and what if he decided now was a good time to start crawling out of his crib.  What if something happened while I was on the trip?  I didn’t want to be the star of a made for tv movie.

This is the tough part of motherhood—every day you make choices that affect your child.  What seems like a good one at the time ends up being the wrong one.   I’m happy to say that nothing happened while we were away.   Everybody enjoyed themselves [though Nana might be a little tired at this point].   Clay was truly surprised and I was able to even stay up into the wee hours of the night.

Now I realize that this was a grand gesture and doing these type of things are often once in a lifetime, but what I do think is critical that sometimes we need to be a wife first and a mother second.  Even if you can only get a babysitter for an hour on a Sunday, go to the coffee shop and just enjoy the moments that brought the two of you together.    

Mothers who consider it a badge of honor to never be separated from their child are puzzling to me.  I shed a couple tears on the flight across the ocean.  There was an adorable nine-month old right in the seats in front of me.  I missed F terribly, but I also miss just being me. 

Having had a couple days to rejuvenate I am ready to come back and be super mom.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fifty-Six Days Later

While walking the kids tonight, I saw a father and his young daughter in the cul-de-sac "playing" tennis.   That scene took me back thirty years ago when my dad would play tennis with me in front of our house.  
Besides making me tear up, it also reminded me why health and fitness are so important.

I have never intended to be the parent that is just on the sideline.   Whether it's football, skateboarding or basketball, I've always wanted to have the energy to teach and to participate.   That's the tricky part about being the older mom--that energy isn't as abundant as it used to be.   Yet, this motivation still hasn't been enough to keep me on track.

Over the last eight weeks I've felt better but not consistently.   Some of it wasn't my fault, such as getting sidelined with a cold after our vacation.  Worst possible timing given that we had consumed a year's worth of calories at the Minnesota State Fair.  I needed action not couch sitting.  And, then of course, there's the birthday--who doesn't eat cake on their birthday?  [Me, this year, but that's another blog post.]

According to my fancy scale this morning, I am four pounds lighter than what I was.   That's a healthy loss of a half pound a week.   I definitely have smaller chicken flaps.   Yet, the issue I still haven't solved is energy. As I said in my last post, on the days I do everything right:  get 7-8 hours of sleep, take my vitamins and eat nutritionally; I feel great.    However, it just doesn't seem to be very sustainable or replicable night after night.
I'm working with a start up right now that might actually be able to help me with my dilemma.   I can't say much more at the moment, but I'm looking forward to sharing some secret sauce soon.

Until then, I'll leave you with a trip to the pumpkin patch.  F and I on the "Cow Train."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Halfway to Nowhere

I am almost at the halfway point of my quest to be more svelte and less tired, so how am I doing?   I wish I could be more inspirational, but after 3 weeks I've only lost 2.5 pounds.  I had lost 4 pounds at one point, but a week of business travel and no exercise is a bad combination.   But, that would simply be an excuse.

When I use my food tracker, I manage what I eat much more successfully.   If you are counting the tortilla chips, you are more likely to stop at five rather than ten.   Exercise has definitely improved.  I have found a class that I absolutely love at my gym called Kinesis.  I've done some hard workouts with off-ice hockey conditioning before, but Kinesis kicks my butt.  Essentially it is 45 minutes of interval training.  Unfortunately, it has an additional cost at my gym, but it is cheaper than a personal trainer.

When I do everything right:  eat well, get to bed early, exercise and take my vitamins, I definitely feel better.  But doing all four things often feels impossible. I had one friend write a detailed email to me about how to take care of me.  I've put most of it below as I think she has some great points and I want to share it with my other mom friends.

From my anonymous friend:

First of all, you are now doing at least 3 full time jobs: motherhood, work and everything else in life, not to mention a marriage. Its impossible not to be tired. As F moves into toddler hood , the pure physicality of constantly chasing , picking up, playing, changing , tantrums etc reaches a new level requiring much more energy, often when we don't have any to is what I tried:

One night a week OFF: Every Wednesday for about 5 years, my babysitter picked up my child from daycare or school every Wednesday without fail.  Just this one night that was my own was very helpful, I usually worked out but sometimes met a friend, shopped etc...I never went home before bedtime. We still do this--many years later!

Offload whatever errands/household tasks you can: Housekeeper who does laundry, a gardener, pre prepared meals, grocery delivery..whatever is keeping you so busy at night or on weekends and you truly don't enjoy, off load. This won't last forever but the relief of letting go a lot of household tasks was awesome. Well worth the money

Go go a Naturopath: Due to a bunch of health issues that my medical doc couldn't help with , I started seeing a Naturopath and under her care I am the healthiest I've ever been.

We also used our babysitter for a certain amount of hours every weekend.  This was couple time. Sometimes we did dinner, sometimes a bike ride, sometimes just sitting in Starbucks talking. Purposefully taking time to reconnect as a couple was key.

Know that you don't have to entertain F every minute of every day. I think a lot of working moms fall into this. When we are home we want to be interacting all the time, you don't have to.  Why did playpens go away?  Playing on his own is great for his development and your piece of mind, even if it is just five minutes.

Baby Einstein videos are 30 min of escape.

Get up before everyone else..this may seem counter intutitive as you are so tired, but, I still get up and ready before anyone else in the house. I have my coffee outside in good weather and set my intention for the really helps me to center and focus on my frame of mind for the day. Just a few minutes of peace really helps...

Good luck my friend, remember you are wonderful , fabulous mom!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fifty Days to Undo Tired

First of all I want to say thanks to everyone who commented on Facebook, Twitter and here with their suggestions and encouragement on how to get my energy back.   Just getting my thoughts out there [being the extroverted thinker I am] is helping to crystallize in my mind what’s important to me and realistically what I can focus on.

Starting yesterday I decided to go on my Fifty Days campaign [actually fifty-six to my 45th birthday].  I owed it to myself to spend the next Fifty Days taking better care of me and see what improvements would result.

Yesterday I benchmarked my weight, and I am actually going to put it in print [encouraged by @DonorDiva’s willingness to put it out there].  My 5’7” frame carries a whopping 168 pounds.  My BMI is definitely in the overweight range of 27.   I was trying to figure out what happened as I lost all my pregnancy weight and started the year at 163, but if I look at my Withings dashboard it seems that each month, starting in May another couple pounds came my way.  I have no real explanation except that a variety of cooties and muscle aches kept me from exercising as much.

I am tracking what I eat at .  With their smartphone support, it makes it much easier to track as the day goes along.    Essentially I am trying to do my own personal training right now.  I’ve worked with trainers a lot over the years [and have almost always seen results from it], but I feel like I need to earn my way back to a trainer.  That is should be a reward when I am serious about it.   I am also considering trying Sistas of Strength, an online program one of my Twitter mama friends has.  I’ve been traveling a bit for work, so I like the portability aspect of taking the program with me.

I wish I could be as disciplined as an old high school friend of mine who goes to bed at 930 every night, but I would never get anything done.   I’m compromising and trying to get lights out by 11.  Even with an early morning Squeaky wake up, I stand a better chance of having had enough sleep.

After a rousing toddler tantrum at dinner tonight, I was cursing my decision to forgo the wine during the week.  That chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc was calling my name…but I resisted.  Willpower…need to learn how to have it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of Tired

When I start to blame my lack of blogging on working, I stop myself as I know stay at home moms who are having just as much trouble as I am in keeping their blogs up.      The problem is that once the kid is in bed, there is just so much left to do and no energy to do it.     I use my reserves to cook dinner, pay bills or walk the dog.   On the nights where there is nothing left I simply veg in front of the television.  And, there is a lot of couch potato action these days.   

I never was a couch potato, but motherhood has zapped something from me.   About January I went to get a physical because I couldn’t stand not feeling like myself any more.   I appreciate that my male doctor heard me out.   Being a parent, he made some suggestions that helped such as “turn off the baby monitor”.   F’s room is close enough that if he is truly upset we will hear him.   In the morning as we all start to wake his babble is unmistakable.  He also told me what I already knew….exercise, it does a body good.  Easier said than done, which is why the dog is also five pounds overweight as I write this.

My doctor ordered all the standard tests—thyroid, vitamin D [super low].  I went back to acupuncture, took my vitamins and I did start to sleep through the night again.  Yet, six months later I am still tired, not exercising and not blogging.   Though, I can tell you about the season finale of The Bachelorette [weakest season ever].  

How do I get over this hump?   Is it a physical block or a mental block?   Or, is it all connected?  This is where I am calling on my extended mom community out there.    How are you feeling these days?  Are you getting enough sleep?  Do you feel normal again?  

In re-reading this post a day later, I sound like I am whining…and maybe I am, but I just want to be a strong, athletic woman again and not the reigning champion of couch bowling.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Mr. F

Dear Mr. F-

Mom’s a little emotional this weekend.  She can’t believe that this time last year she was in the hospital waiting for you to make your debut—a lifelong dream finally coming true.  

When we had your christening last month, we were asked to give you a blessing.   Ours was very simple.  You bring a tremendous amount of joy to the people who you come in contact with.  Your smile is infectious and makes even the grumpiest of souls melt.  All I want for you is to be as joyful tomorrow [and the many tomorrows ahead] as you are today.

It doesn’t matter if it is your grandpa, your grandma, your nana, your poppa or, even your great-grandma, when any of them are with you, the pictures show how happy you make them.  And, that is truly priceless. 

Mom and Dad would never have it made it through this first year, without them and the many aunties and friends, who were there to bring a dinner or a cup of coffee, take a morning feeding or just offer some encouraging words when we were sleep deprived and not sure how we were going to make it as parents.  
Those first four months were some of the hardest ever, but then these last eight have flown by so fast… 

You are so close to walking.  You just need that confidence to keep putting that foot out front and trying to move forward—and not be afraid of falling.  Mom promises that she’s going to be there as long as she possibly can to give you that encouragement and confidence to go forward in the world.  She’ll be in front of you, behind you or walking beside you in the coming years…  you’ve got her heart and her love forever.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Support the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia

Support the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia

It's hard to believe that in just a month my little guy will be turning one.   This time last year I was looking forward to finishing with work and enjoying the last few childfree moments.    But if you read back on my April blogs, I had a scary finish which included double vision and skyrocketing blood pressure.  

I am thankful that I was monitored closely enough to prevent any damage to myself or Mr. F, but it was the scariest time ever.   For that reason I am walking with a fellow Almaden mom in support of research to prevent preeclampsia.

Meanwhile Mr. F remains a total delight.  He has an appetite like his mom and dad as demonstrated below.   We're almost done childproofing the house, but he continues to show us that nothing is ever safe.  We had a great time in Hawaii, and time permitting I'll do a separate blog on that with some beautiful photos of his beachside baptism.

She takes me to Krispy Kreme, but only lets me have a bagel.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

T- 2 Months

In two months the little guy will be turning one.   I look at the last ten months and am just blown away by how fast the last few months have gone.   I made it no secret that those first couple of months were not the bliss I was was seeking.  They were hard and I was unhappy.   Yet, I wouldn't change a thing--except wish that I had taken Franklin to the pediatric chiropractor earlier.
I got up too early today.  I'll snooze while mom and dad suffer.
 I wouldn't say that Clay and I are completely in our groove yet, but we are starting to find that balance of being active parents while still being ourselves and a couple.   In fact I am writing this from a coffee shop, enjoying a baby-free mocha and my thoughts.   I'll return in an hour and Clay will go do his weekly off-ice workout class.   One of the ups/downs of being an older mom is there is a higher desire for self.  Just having this hour will energize me for the day.

I need all the energy I can muster these days as Franklin is moving and grooving whenever he is not confined to a stroller or a high chair.   He's not walking yet, but the bets are on....  Someone thought he'd be walking by next week.  I think he'll definitely do it before he's one.   He's trying to learn to stand--he does it for a half second before falling on his bum.

To feed all that energy, he is quickly starting to leave the baby foods behind and eat as many real things as he can.   Yesterday's breakfast included his first scrambled egg yolk and bagel with cream cheese.    For dinner we are often having ground beef, turkey or chicken which he will voraciously stuff in his mouth.    You would think that we never feed him.   Zamboni is very pleased with this turn of events as anything that doesn't make it into Franklin's mouth ends up on the floor, and ultimately, in Zamboni's belly.   We are going to have to keep a close eye on the dog's weight with this new turn of events.

As near as I can tell my return to an office full-time has not affected him.  There are still plenty of smiles in the morning and the evening.  You do really learn to appreciate the time you have with him.   When I am with Franklin, I try to refrain from doing anything else.   No cell phones, no laptops, no televisions.   It's not always easy, especially when there is still an hour or two left in the "informal workday" [after five pm].   What I do miss is some of the play dates with the moms--almost all of us are back working now.   Our only opportunity to get the kids together is usually on the weekends.  

So, it has taken me almost five days to finish this blog....Today I had my first away from baby meltdown.  I ran to the coffee shop to fuel up for a late work night and someone had their baby with them.   It just made me cry.  I had only ten minutes with him this morning and wasn't going to make it home tonight.  I know that working is the right decision for me, but it just isn't easy when you leave this face behind.

Friday, February 10, 2012

And, He's Off to the Races

Getting a still photo is a miracle these days....
Mr. F is going to be 10 months before I ever get this written.  If I thought time was moving fast before, it is now speeding by in a blur--which is what happens when your relatively immobile baby is now crawling.  Parents have warned me that the changes come quickly and they weren't kidding.  

What started out as a cute army crawl is now the impetus for my daily exercise.  I can no longer leave Mr. F alone anywhere for more than a second because in that time he can pull down a fake tree, climb up stairs and suck on a lamp cord.    We were supposed to have childproofed the house over the holidays, but it just didn't seem that urgent.  Now it is necessity.  

He's still a fairly happy guy.  He has three basic needs:  food, sleep and a clean diaper.  If all of those are taken care of, he'll kindly repay you with smiles and giggles.   However, I wish he'd read the memo about not having a conversation before 7am.   This last week he has begun his eloquent monologues about 6am--Zamboni doesn't even want to hear them [and tries to curl up more deeply in his pillow].  

For those who want his stats, he's 29 1/2 inches and 22 pounds and 10 ounces.   I don't even look at clothes that are smaller than 18 months.  He's going to be one of those guys with long legs and a smaller waist--wonder where he gets that from?

Having a giggle with Dad.      

Next week at this time I will have finished my first week of full-time work after a ten month hiatus.   The good news is that I feel extremely lucky that I have been able to hire someone to watch over him, who has my confidence and trust.   As I have said all along in this journey, people and events come into your life for a reason.   In hiring a nanny I wanted to find someone I could partner with.   I'll be the first to admit that I am not an avid reader of child development texts.  I wanted somebody who knows enough to help me evaluate my options as a parent.  

This afternoon we were discussing what was we needed for childproofing.   There's one cabinet that doesn't necessarily need latches, but it also shouldn't be 'free to access'.   The nanny asked me if we were gong to be willing to invest the time to teach him that there are forbidden places. That's my preference, but we'll see how easy that is with a little boy!

Sunday mornings are swim lessons.  He loves being in the water--which bodes well for the warm weather vacations we hope to take again [and starting in March with our 5th anniversary celebration].