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!

My Dirty Secret

I suffer from a painful addiction.

Some people think addiction only applies to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and other commonly accepted vices. I know you can be addicted to other things though.

Every sort of addiction starts out innocently. It’s something that seems so bad yet feels oh so good. You think you can control it, and usually you can, for awhile. Whatever you’re addicted to begins to take over your mind at some point, though, and that’s when the trouble starts.

Maybe, if you’re addicted to a person, like me, your mind starts rollicking at 2am wondering what you could do differently to win this person over again. Perhaps you replay the entire relationship over and over in your head, looking for any clues that justify the way you feel. Sometimes, you even begin wishing things were different, even though wishing is a fruitless endeavor.

One time, I decided to confront someone who had been hurtful and deceptive. It was someone who I thought I was close with and could count on to remain in my life, confrontation or no. Clearly I was wrong, because she snarled back with scathing insults and cut our relationship off completely.

I agonized about it for far longer than I should have. After awhile, after I had exhausted the story with all of my friends, and after I still didn’t feel better, I started hiding my feelings again. I’d get off the phone with my best friend and think to myself, Well that was good! I didn’t bring her up at all.

It felt like a victory over my addiction, but it wasn’t. I just started hiding my obsession, which began to make it feel dirty. Hours of Googling the same information over and over. Hours of Facebook stalking. Hours of looking up articles about how to get over a hurt. Never any luck moving on.

holding-onAfter a year, it started hurting slightly less. Let me emphasize slightly. I found out she was pregnant, and after I got over the shock that I was so cut out I didn’t know, I decided to send a congratulatory card. Weeks went by, and every time I received a Facebook friend request, my heart skipped, hoping it was her. It never was. I have no way of knowing the spirit my card was received in, but it became obvious that she wasn’t interested in rekindling a relationship, even on a lowly surface level.

Cue more hurt. Cue more anger. Cue more obsession.

I knew what I had to do. I had to stop getting my fix. Once again, I consulted Google. Once again, the only answer was what I had dreaded doing from the get-go. If I really was ready to move on, it was time to employ a block.

The panicked addict in me freaked out. Maybe I should try calling or texting her, just one more time to see what happens. Once again, I had to realize that she’d had plenty of opportunities to reach out to me over the past year-and-some-change.

Nothing but radio silence.

With that brief glimpse into my fevered mind – and trust me, this version is really the TL;DR version – I decided it was time. It was time to stop agonizing, and it was time to stop caring, and the only way I knew I would stop was by cutting it all off. No more does my blood pressure rise at the sight of her name. No more does my stomach roil when I see a new photo. She is frozen in time where I left off.

I still obsess, but without new fodder, it’s going to get easier. I still wonder if my niece gets the cards I send, but I’ve had to accept the fact that I can’t control that. I still agonize over how I’ll explain this to my daughter without her worrying that every time she gets in a fight with someone, they’ll cut her off forever. I wonder how I’ll feel the first time she asks me why she doesn’t have aunts, uncles or cousins. How long will it take her to realize her family doesn’t look like the other kids’?

Anyway, here’s to the first steps of freedom, and no more burnt skin.

Kicking Ass

I’ve decided to be more kick-ass.

That’s right. I want to get stronger, faster, bolder. More authentic. Obviously, fitness is going to play a big role, but it’s more than that. Becoming a mom has encouraged me to be my best self, and that means doing more of the things I love: cooking, decorating, putting outfits together, writing, working through things psychologically.

So let’s do this!

Yesterday’s workout was for legs and back. At the time, I came up with an acronym: O.K.A.Y. Do I remember what it stands for now? No. I know the K.A. stood for Kick-Ass. Anyway… here’s the routine. Strengthening your ass is a good way to become Kick-Ass, right?

You Will Need:
A barbell
A step
A resistance band
A kettlebell (or dumbbell)
A yoga ball
A sled
30-40 minutes of your time

The Exercises:
Switch lunges – just like regular lunges but jump as you switch legs
Barbell squats
Step-ups with kickbacks
Shackle shuffles – this is what I call putting a resistance band around your ankles, squatting and shuffling down the length of the room and back
Kettlebell rows
Russian kettlebell swings
Back extensions on ball
Jump squats
Supermans
Deadlifts

Complete each exercise ten times (for ones that require both sides, you’re only doing ten total – five on each side) and finish five sets. After each set, push the sled down one length of the room and back.

Just for fun, once I was done I kicked the heavy bag too. It’s a great way to get out aggression! I encourage you to name the bag after someone you dislike.

Upheaval 2.0

Remember my last post? The one about life moving in unexpected ways?

Well, this morning I drove to work and drove home again shortly thereafter, having endured what can only be described as a mutual resignation.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you think they will, or hope they will. In this case, although it’s scary as hell to have left a job without a backup (and without a plan, since this was somewhat of a surprise to me), it feels like a relief. I wasn’t free to be me at this organization, and was wondering how I was ever going to get all the work done without a ton of guidance, and with baby in tow. It’s for the best.

Still, this is the first time this has happened to me, and it doesn’t feel good. It feels humiliating and shameful. It doesn’t matter that Erik says it’s OK and that it’s for the best. It doesn’t matter that my mom says, “Well, that’s life. It happens to everybody!” It just feels off; it feels weak.

Oddly, as frightening and embarrassing as it is, I must go back to that feeling of relief. I know I have a lot to offer. I know this job wasn’t a great fit, and only a month in, it was already stressing me out. I know that my daughter needs a happy mom, and Erik needs a happy wife.

This will all work out just fine.

I’m going to enjoy my Thanksgiving! I was stressed about fitting in work this week; now I don’t have to worry about it. Always a silver lining.

Upheaval

People talk about major life changes (births, moves, changing jobs) and encourage you to be kind to yourself when these things happen. They urge you to only tackle one thing at a time: i.e., if you’ve just had a baby, maybe you shouldn’t move or change jobs.

But if you’re insane, you do all three. That’s how I roll.

Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I’ve spent almost three years as a cellar dweller in a depressing, scummy-slummy apartment. Erik and I figured the trashy folks upstairs would never move out because they were just too poor to save up to rent anywhere else. Imagine our surprise when we learned they were leaving! We immediately called our landlords and asked if we could move upstairs. They conceded.

That week, I decided to give my notice at the Y. It was gut-wrenching for me. I’m still bitter about it. For many reasons I won’t go into here, it was the right decision. Sometimes the right decision is hard. I still call it my Y. I still say “we.” And then I realize I don’t work there anymore, and it hurts all over again. Ah, well. This too shall pass.

Anyway, the move was made without much help from me. Moving with a baby really stinks. Luckily, we’re blessed to have many friends who made the move with us. For the low price of pizza and soda, we all got it done.

The improvement in my mood was almost immediate. Seeing the sunshine everyday does wonders for the soul! I didn’t know how much I missed it until I had it back in my life. I still look around and take time to appreciate it, even a month later. I’ll strive to continue remembering what life was like in the downstairs apartment, just so I can be sure to practice gratitude.

Anyway, our landlords decided to raise the rent. After I decided to work part-time. Ah nuts.

Then, my resignation was sort of rejected, and I was bullied into working longer. My life became a string of one job after another, everyday. Learning two new jobs, and struggling with the anxiety of working one that I wanted to be done with but still felt guilty about leaving.

Then came the guilt of not being able to keep up with the housework like I thought I’d be able to. Taking care of the baby can take a lot out of you sometimes!

Then came the crib transition: something I was putting off until life “settled down.” Ha. Anyway, she was fine with it. We’re at almost three weeks now! I however was not fine with it. It stressed me out further and made me more emotional than I thought possible.

Now, one of my part-time jobs has asked me to put in more hours every week. “Sure!” I immediately agreed, only to later realize I’m almost at 40 hours a week again between my two part-time jobs… after wanting to only work 25.

Ah nuts.

But you know what? Some of these days have been hard, sure; sometimes I worry about money, and sometimes I’m exhausted. But once again, God is moving and shaking things up. Driving to Denver one day a week has made living in Estes Park a lot easier. I don’t have cabin fever as much. Getting into civilization is nice. Not to mention I get to write for a living again! It feels good.

And working at the gym is amazing. I get to really be myself! I can show my tattoos, I can swear, I can laugh and make friends with all types of people. It’s exactly the stress-free job I was looking for – my fun job. And it helps me stay on top of my health and fitness goals – not always easy when you have a four-month-old at home.

I’m hoping that all this change is an impetus to write in my poor, neglected blog once more.