Resolution Checkin: Book Three

Book three was Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer. I’m not sure if I had trouble with it because it followed Lily and the Octopus or if I just didn’t like it. Either way… meh. I had trouble connecting with the wishy-washy main character. I had trouble believing the 15-year-old’s character. I had trouble believing most of the story itself – and not in a fun-loving way, like Lily and the Octopus managed to do. Well, back to the library today to pick another one! You win some, you lose some, right?

I made it out the door with the Bob the other day. The weather has been ridiculously nice here and all the snow and ice have finally melted, leaving me with clear sidewalks. Even if the wind is blowing, it’s not as harsh as it was when the air was colder. I completed my longest stroller run ever (3.22 miles)! Even more impressive – to me, at least – was my time for each mile. I took a lengthy walking break each mile, and still managed to get my best stroller run pace ever! I don’t know why. Maybe it was a fluke! At any rate, I’m enjoying my spring fever feeling.

You know what though? I’m glossing over my biggest triumph this week: sleep training. Adalynn just stopped sleeping the other week. She was waking up, realizing we weren’t there, and wasn’t having it. After pulling her into our bed every night for a week or two I had enough. I wanted my bed back, and I wanted my baby sleeping again. Sleep deprivation is no joke. That’s why they use it to torture people. So even though I had been staunchly against sleep training and letting your baby cry it out*, I decided that’s what needed to be done.

*For the record, cry it out (a.k.a. extinction) is not what most people are doing when they tell people they let their baby cry it out. Most of us are “Ferberizing” (a.k.a. check and console).

The first night sucked. She did pretty well – she went down to bed easily, and at her 9:30pm wakeup cried for about an hour and twenty minutes. At the time, it was horrible. Looking back though, it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t sleep a wink. I was hypervigilant, listening for any noise. The second night, her longest cry was about twenty minutes.

And after that – so far – we haven’t had to check and console at all. We put her to bed awake and she puts herself to sleep and I either hear one peep from her if she’s hungry in the middle of the night or no peeps at all. I know, I have a magical unicorn baby. Don’t throw tomatoes at me. I’m really really really trying hard not to brag.

Furthermore, we all know babies teethe and grow and have developmental leaps so trust me, I know that we are still in for rough nights. Regardless, I’m proud of Adalynn for learning how to put herself to sleep so easily.

Thank God for sleep. That’s all I have to say.

Moving My Body

I decided last weekend that it was time to start moving my body again after a hiatus of a week or two.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercise when your baby suddenly decides she won’t sleep in her crib anymore and ends up in your bed. It sounds so easy to say she ended up in our bed, but my resistance was so great that this was a several-day-long battle of her waking up every 30 minutes to an hour each night. Cue exhaustion. Cue anger. Cue depressing thoughts.

Now, with the overwhelming prospect of having to sleep train (gulp!) looming, and trying to figure out what that even means, and wondering how long it will be until my husband gives in and screws up any progress we make… I have to move my body to relax. I have to move my body to relieve my stress. I have to move my body to gain energy.

After a couple of weeks without running at all, I forced myself to go to work early on Sunday and hop on the treadmill for a speed workout. Instead of holding at a steady speed, I decided to do an interval workout: 7.5mph for 1 minute, 6.0mph for 2 minutes. It was interesting to see that these recovery intervals felt easy, whereas running a mile at 6.0mph the other week felt hard!

I ran a mile in 9 minutes (yay!) and felt refreshed and motivated again. It’s still hard to get outside with the baby because the damn mountain wind is back, but my goal is to run outside before Sunday and complete an upper body workout.

Resolution Checkin: Book Two

The fact that I’m writing this post so quickly after my last one should immediately indicate that the following book was thoroughly enjoyable!

It was an easy one to select from the library: there was a dachshund on the cover. It took me longer to get into the library with baby than it did to find my next book.

Lily and the Octopus, written by Steven Rowley (his first novel, in fact), gripped me from the very first page. Obviously I’m a sucker for dachshunds, but it was more than that. His easygoing writing style, coupled with empathic stabs at anxiety and depression, made me feel like the story was about Lady and I. I found myself reading 50 pages a night – not always a brilliant idea when your baby is on a sleeping strike.

I bawled at the end, trying to keep quiet so my husband could sleep. I cuddled my dog. And once more I’m reminded that dogs die before we do, and it just isn’t fair. But still! Sad as it is, this book is a great story, and even with the heavy emotions, it’s a read that’s easy to enjoy. I was sad to see it end. I’ll be looking for more novels from Mr. Rowley, that’s for sure!

Resolution Checkin: Book One

I finished my first book of the year a week or so ago but true to form, I haven’t had the time to talk about it! Momming is busy.

Now let me remind anyone who may not know that I am not a book review type person. I can merely say if I liked it and why. These checkin posts are more about keeping me on track than recommending books.

Anyway! Book one was The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. I found it by going to the new book section of the library, which is what I’ve been doing now that I can’t spend an hour perusing the shelves. It sounded really interesting, and it was. Essentially, you’re taken on a journey of three different versions of what could have happened between a couple. I give major kudos to Laura Barnett, because she wrote three different books and managed to string them together into one relatively seamlessly. It was easy to keep track of the different characters, even the children, who are different in each versions because they have different parents and different circumstances.

Today I’m hauling baby to the library to get another book. I haven’t had anything to read in a few days and I’ve been climbing the walls!

As for my other resolutions, I haven’t had a chance to run in a week or two. It’s been snowy and icy, and while the snow usually melts between storms here, it hasn’t been doing so, and I don’t feel comfortable pushing the stroller and running on ice. Wimpy, I know. It can be hard to find a few moments to get on the treadmill before or after work, too! A couple of weeks ago I ran a mile at 6.1mph, but that was the last time I did anything resembling a run.

Upper body strength is going a little better, because that’s easier to do at home with a baby. I’ve also been hitting heavy bags at the gym, which is amazingly fun! I’m planning on keeping myself on track with tiny goals each week.

2017 Goals

Happy new year! I’m glad that NYE is over. It’s one of my least favorite holidays, mostly because I have built it up in my mind every single year and have been disappointed in the outcome 90% of the time. Anyhow, like most people, I enjoy creating resolutions to welcome in the new year. Here’s a sampling of what I’d like to accomplish in 2017. I have a lot of other more personal goals that I’m not sharing, but hopefully what I’m sharing here is going to influence those goals as well!

  1. Read 13 books. That’s one book every four weeks. I’m counting the book I’m currently reading in this total because I’m only halfway through – it would be nice if I made it to 14 instead! Last year, new baby in tow, I would have thought this was an impossible goal; ever since we moved Adalynn into the nursery, I’ve been able to read for enjoyment again.
  2. Run sub-10-minute miles. As I’ve written many times before, I run slowly. Since taking months off due to pregnancy and postpartum recovery, along with time constraints due to said baby, I’m currently somewhere between 11-12 minutes per mile (doing a 4-1 walk-run), depending on the day and route and mood and weather and everything else life throws at you. I’ve been running about one day a week lately. My goal is to run two or three days a week (two is realistic right now, with winter weather). Another little challenge I’m doing now that I have consistent access to treadmills is running a mile at a sustained (current) speed of 6mph. My plan is to increase the speed by 0.1mph every few weeks or so and really push myself to complete a mile without slowing down.
  3. Climb ropes/monkey bars. I remember watching the other kids scramble up the rope in gym class, wondering how the hell they did it. I never understood how, nor did I have the upper body strength. Well, no more! There are short ropes and monkey bars in the functional fitness room at work and I’m going to be able to clamber up them with ease by the end of this year. Upper body strength is the key, as I mentioned, and I’m going to continue the regimen I’ve recently started to get there. Now that I’m back at a gym, I’m reminded of how much I love strength training. The world of barbells, battle ropes and heavy bags is my habitat.

I’ll update my progress periodically, holding myself accountable to achieve success. Remember, sometimes it’s easier to focus on creating good habits rather than eliminating bad ones. That simple flip in thinking may be exactly what you need to reach your goals!

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Goodbye 2016

I finally got around to taking the photos off my phone and organizing them on my computer. I know it’s old-fashioned, but I still panic and think, What if I lose my phone? What if something happens to it? I’ll lose everything! Having these photos in a few places puts my mind at ease.

Of course, looking through them has been a trot down memory lane. For example, look at this beauty from January:

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Look at me displaying my bump! The bump that was barely there. You’ll see why this is funny to me when we fast-forward to June in a few. I remember thinking I just looked fat. I remember wanting a real bump, so that no one would wonder if I was or wasn’t! To quote Calvin + Hobbes, “I was so young and foolish. I thought those days would last forever.”

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In March I visited my hometown after a long hiatus. My mom and two best friends threw me an amazing baby shower. It was wonderful to see everyone, and I had a lot of fun walking around Hubbardston with my mom. I remember noticing it was indeed easier to breathe – or at least talk and walk. I ended my trip at a conference in Boston. It felt good to be back in my city!

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Shower Two (actually, I dubbed them East Coast Shower and Western Shower) took place in May, thrown by my dear friend Julie. I still had ankles! But for how long…?

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Here it is, folks: the last photo I have of myself before I gave birth. This was taken on June 8th. I still had two weeks to go! Remember when I said I wanted a bump? Yeah… this was the most uncomfortable, miserable feeling. I marveled for weeks after giving birth about what a relief it was to be able to sleep in any position I wanted, with no heartburn, and no awful taste in my mouth.

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Alright, I guess feeling like a small planet was completely worth it. Look at that tiny face! This was taken two days after her birthday.

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This was life now. Somehow I still managed to paint my toenails! I remember wondering how on earth I’d be able to work full-time. I also remember feeling extraordinarily stir-crazy and dying to be able to work out again, sans beach-ball-belly.

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Look, I made it back to working out! I even managed to run a race in October. I also managed to leave my full-time job and take on two part-time ones (one of which didn’t work out, most definitely for the best). Suddenly I was one of those Stay at Home Moms, questioning every life choice I’ve ever made.

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Thanksgiving was the first time I’ve ever cooked the whole dinner myself. It turned out great! As soon as we were ready to eat, Adalynn had an uncharacteristic meltdown, of course. Eventually she passed out in her crib and we wolfed down our food in the 20 minutes she napped. She awoke refreshed and ready to try her first solids: sweet potato mixed with breastmilk. As you can see, she loved it!

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Ah, Christmas with a baby. Look at the mountain of clothes, the pile of toys, the debris of merriment. It snowed all day, making a magical scene. Adalynn made lots of scenes, because she had decided to stop sleeping all week – no naps, no long stretches at night. It wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be. Then again, can’t that one sentence sum up motherhood? There’s always next year.

I know everyone wants 2016 dead and buried for many reasons, including horrible celebrity deaths and an Orwellian election. I kind of want it gone, too. But it was also a good year for me. It’s ending with me feeling like I’m on track to be the best version of myself that I can be. I’ve added a few new facets to myself – mom, battle rope enthusiast – and deleted a few too – development professional, pregnant woman. There are bright days ahead in 2017. I have goals for 2017. Until then, there’s a glass of champagne with JRiff all over it.

Happy new year!