Friday, July 30, 2010

Personal Information

This is outside the realm of parenting - sorry family members! Just wanted to share a moment I had yesterday that should have been way more awkward than it was. I blame childbirth, as once you've gone through that and let it ALL hang out (twice), you really have no shame at all. At least, I apparently don't.

Had to go in for a follow up X-ray yesterday. Follow-up, some of you may ask? For those of you that aren't family members or Facebook friends, you probably don't know that I broke my finger about two and a half weeks ago, right before going on vacation. Great timing for my first broken bone, right? You can all give M. a hard time about it, because it happened as I was throwing the dirty socks he left in the living room up the stairs, closer to the HAMPER, where they should have been in the first place. You could also blame Lucy, as the only reason I was picking up the house that day was because I was home with her due to the bouts of diarrhea she decided to inflict on herself and her daycare the day before, thus getting herself sent home from school. Regardless, while I exuberantly threw the socks UP the stairwell, my aim was a bit off, and my pinky finger connected quite loudly with the bannister, bending in the entirely wrong direction. Ugh. Anywho, went to urgent care the next day, got an X-ray that showed the digit was indeed broken, and had an appointment with an orthopedic specialist before leaving on vacation.

My follow up with the orthopedist was yesterday, and I had another X-ray taken to determine the healing progress (it is healing very well, in case you were concerned, as I'm sure you were). This is where the awkward-ish moment comes in to play. The first time I had an X ray, they made sure to ask me if I was pregnant, and I signed a sheet verifying that I was not pregnant, knew the risks of X-ray while pregnant, etc. This time around, the technician (young male), asked if there is any chance I was pregnant. I said no, of course, as I did the first time around (OF COURSE. I'M DONE). And maybe this is just the orthopedic office's standard protocol, but it's like he didn't believe me because he then asked me when my last period was. First, let me just say that it's not always easy to recall that kind of information. Unless you are currently tracking your periods for some sort of birth control method (hah!) or because you are trying to conceive, there is no real REASON to remember exactly when you last started bleeding like a stuck pig. I always, always have a hard time with this question.

This time, however, was not so hard. Why? Of course, because I'm in the MIDDLE of my period. So I had to answer "Right now, actually" to him. Nothing like admitting to a young male stranger that, why yes, don't come too close, I might bleed on you. It seemed a bit intimate to admit to someone, but then again I didn't even blush. Awkward, schmawkward (after all, here I am posting it on the internet, so... yeah, officially no shame over here). And then he wrote the date of my period on a sheet of paper that also included all those above-mentioned carefully-worded statements about risks and pregnancy and X ray, etc, and made me sign it.

In blood.

Just kidding, I used a pen, but that would have been funny, right? In some circles?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Naughty Cookies

Sometimes I worry that the daycare where we have our children is not exactly giving them the best head start in life, academically-speaking. Some of this worry comes from the fairly frequent spelling and grammar mistakes we find in the monthly newsletter, on the menu list (example: Chocolate was spelled "choclate" twice on the snack list. Also distressing because chocolate makes a frequent appearance on the snack list, but that's more health-related than academic...), and on notes from the kids' teachers (example: one teacher left us a note that she "adiccently" wrote that Lucy had hot dogs for lunch on her daily sheet, but really she ate food from home [we don't allow Lucy to have hot dogs yet]. Took me a while to figure out that the word she meant to use was "accidently").

I hate to sound snobbish, but this does not come from a place of having a Ph.D./higher education/whatever. These are grammar and spelling rules I learned well before college. Should I really be worried about this, or does it frustrate me because grammar/spelling mistakes are a pet peeve of mine?

My latest favorite, on Lucy's daily sheet, listing her snack for the day:

"Villan Waffers"

Wonder what the cookies (I assume they meant wafers and not waffles) did to deserve the criminal rep?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beach rundown, in photos

Well, our much anticipated beach vacation/family reunion in Nags Head, NC has come and gone. I had high hopes of blogging a bit during the trip, but a non-functioning internet connection and Lucy's complete and utter regression to newborn sleeping habits wreaked havoc with that plan.

Here's what I would have written every day: It was hot. The ocean water was cold. The beach was beautiful. The kids were noisy and exhausting. 6 kids under 4 in 1 house = very little down time for the parents. It was wonderful seeing my family, and we had many fun times on the beach and poolside, but M. and I are desperately in need of another vacation, one without kids...

We got back yesterday, and we've all been having an adjustment period. Lucy screamed like a banshee last night before bed, dashing our hopes that the familiarity of her own room would get her back to her normal sleep habits. A week straight of no naps is catching up with Finn, and his every sentence is accompanied by a side of whine. As for M. and I - well, we will be trying to recover from our collective sleep deficit for quite some time.

I have more details I'd like to share, but don't really know where to start. Instead, I will put up some pictures, and do my best to label them.

The view from the top floor living room in the house where we stayed (and MommyEsq nursing Josie).

M. and both kids by the water front. The humidity was so high that the camera lens is fogged up here. Surprisingly, both of our kids had very little fear of the ocean water.

My niece Cameron, daughter of my sister Stacey, getting sandy.

M. and Finn, digging a hole to China.

Lucy doing a little construction work in the sand.

Finn in the midst of a water gun fight...

With his Uncle Andrew.

My mom and my niece Penny.

A post-snack Lucy.

Craft time for all the little ones with my cousin Abby.

Lucy modeling her new sundress and pulling a Linus with her blankies.

Ned taking a book break.

Josie wrapped up like a little baby burrito.

My dad enjoying some precious down time.

My brother really wanted a picture with all his nieces and nephews.

Unfortunately, only Finn and the non-mobile Josie were willing participants.

Baby Josie - so good, we all hardly realized she was there.

My Uncle Chip, hurling water balloons at some of my cousins down below. Also a view of one of the lizard murals that I suppose gives our rental house it's name: The Lazy Lizard.

The kids all had a little corner of the upper level, in a hallway, that was often a little gathering place for them. It was also often used as a pooping corner.

A typical meal time at la Casa Lazy Lizard.

My cousin Abby gave Finn and Ned some face paint. Finn was a super hero/butterfly here.

Finn enjoying one of our last days at the beach.

And then jumping right into the pool to wash all the sand off. Couldn't ask for a better set up!

Doesn't it look like he's relaxed here? :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Growing Up

Lucy has been a riot lately. She is impish and funny, looking over her shoulder to make sure we are watching her, then taking off to do some forbidden thing while giggling loudly. It's crazy how much personality she has already, at 14 months old. I'm sure Finn was the same way, but it's hard to remember (wish I was writing this blog back then!). Lucy is already playing with toys the "right" way - driving cars down the firestation's driveway, flying batman through the air. She seems to understand their purpose - I'm sure because she has an older brother to watch and mirror. She has clear likes and dislikes, and no problem showing you that. She is also saying a crazy amount of words - more, Mama, Dada, car, ball, kitty cat, thank you, no, duck, woof. She has even strung "no more" together as her first pseudo-sentence. Granted, most of these words sound very different from the way you are really supposed to say them, but WE know what she is saying. She is comprehending so much, and it all seems to have really come about just in the last few weeks. Which I'm sure also explains her recent middle-of-the-night and early morning wake-ups, the less pleasing side effect of lots of neurological development :-).

Everyone always says that you shouldn't compare your kids to each other, that they're all individuals, but it's hard not to. When Finn was this age, he didn't say anything at all. He was a few weeks shy of his first word - "ball". But by the time he was 2, we constantly received comments about how well and how much he talked. With Lucy starting out even earlier, I wonder what kind of ear noise we are in for. I have a feeling we're going to be investing in ear plugs.

Much of my extended family has not met Lucy yet. We live far from them, and usually only get the opportunity to see them every other year at Christmas. Last year was a Wisconsin year for Christmas, where we visited M.'s family instead of mine, so none of my aunts and uncles have had the opportunity to meet Lucy. Of my immediate family (sisters, brother, parents), they have come to visit us, but with the exception of my mom, they haven't seen Lucy since she was 7 months old or even younger. They really don't know her yet. I'm really hoping that during our upcoming vacation (only 10 more days!), they all get a chance to see her personality, to love her the way we do. How could they not, really? :-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!!

This post is brought to you by a bottle of rioja, and 9:30 pm fireworks that require one parent to stay home with the BABY, and the other to escort the three-year-old to his first foray into colorful explosions in the night sky. As the one stuck at home in a quiet house with nothing but my iPod and the hum of the monitor to keep me company, I'm not sure I have the better end of the deal. But I do have some rioja, so that helps.

So, Happy Independence Day! I tried very hard (somewhat hard) (not at all) to dress my kids in festive red white and blue and capture wonderful photos of them. This is the best I came up with:

Lucy's outfit was picked out well in advance, but Finn had an early morning accident that necessitated M. dressing him (as the parent on duty for early morning risings today, and the one with slightly - but only slightly, as I would classify him as a metrosexual - less fashion sense) in whatever he could find. The polo shirt and red/blue plaid shorts I had planned were no longer acceptable once I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7:30, so instead you are stuck with half-hearted attempts to capture the kids (and me, in one photo) in various play activities. I would have tried harder had Finn been slightly more presentable, but I'm sure I would have merely frustrated and disappointed us all.

I'm going to blather on about some very unrelated topics now (Ooh, by the way, the fireworks just started, can hear them from our house, they sound QUITE thrilling).

1) Took Finn to Toy Story 3 this past weekend. It was his first time in a movie theater. I knew he had the attention span for it by now, as he has sat through several movies already. But I wasn't sure how he'd do with the dark and the loud sound system. I can now safely report that he does, in fact, do quite well with those things. He enjoyed the whole movie, and only got a little tired right at the very end. I pulled him onto my lap in the midst of the "scary" part, to make sure he was okay, and he told me he was tired and asked if the movie was over yet. But he made it through the ending credits, and apparently had such a good time that he broke down sobbing in the lobby when he discovered that we couldn't go watch another movie right away (don't think Lucy and the babysitter would have been too happy about a double feature).

2) Finn watched an episode of Special Agent Oso from the Disney Channel this morning. The premise is built upon a trainee spy bear who is learning the ropes, basically through his talking watch called Paw Pilot. Paw Pilot gives him instructions in the form of steps, in song. Am I the only one who hears the songs and immediately thinks: "Step 1: cut a hole in a box. Step 2:..."

3) I had another crappy workout last night, but this was after a good 3 hours out in the sun with the kids and a couple (2.5) glasses of wine the night before. I am not discouraged, and I spent some time downloading a few new songs for my iPod after the workout (to help with Tuesday's workout and beyond). I took Lori's suggestion, and looked up a few other running mixes on iTunes to get some suggestions. I added to my Lady Gaga collection, put in a few eclectic songs with a good beat (One Republic, Alien Ant Farm's version of Smooth Criminal), and downloaded some songs that I unabashedly just enjoy (some Pink, Kelly Clarkson, etc). I find the thing that keeps me going during a run most is not a steady beat, but a song I really enjoy, one that I would sing along to if I had the breath to do so.

4) One of my closest friends came over for dinner tonight with her fiance. She lives in Baltimore, which is just far enough away to make it inconvient to get together, especially now that I have kids. We met as hallmates in college, eventually became roommates, and spent SO much time together in college. I have so many great memories hanging out with her and my friend Jen. The three of us had many, many laughs together. It's wonderful and sad to spend time with someone who knew you so well once, and still knows you. It's like we can pick up wherever we left off, whenever we want to. I feel like the friends I make now only get to know part of me, the part that has a job and kids. Not the stupid/crazy/funny/rebellient/do-gooder/virginal-but-trying-to-lose-it/loving/ambivalent person I was back then. Am still now, occasionally (when I've had too much rioja?). I am still that person, the one my high school friends and college friends knew/know. And yet I live near none of them, see none of them on anything more than an erratic basis. It's lonely and disheartening and hard. I wish, wish, WISH I lived closer to my friends. I don't make them easily.

Just really, really wishing it was even slightly possible for us to move back home, to my home, right now.

Some coffee in the morning and a lovely bagel slathered in veggie cream cheese should bring me out of that funk, I'm sure.

Whatever the case, as one of the two maids of honor, I'm on deck to plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party for my friend. I'm expecting lots of social awkwardness on my part, but hopefully lots of fun, too. Your favorite non-lame activities associated with both those situations are hereby solicited...

ps: I don't normally say stuff like this, but I do work on an Army post, and I have come to have enormous respect for the people that serve our country in the Armed Forces. I really do respect everyone who has signed up for the job, those who have deployed, are deployed, or are serving our country here in the U.S. It is not an easy life, it is downright scary at times, and I am grateful we have them. Happy Independence Day to all Americans, and especially those who serve in the Armed Services.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Looking Up

I wrote number 14 on my last post and meant every word of it - I had a terrible workout on Sunday, could barely run at all, and I felt complete and total frustration that I've been getting nowhere with this whole running/dieting/getting healthier thing. It wasn't just a one-time feeling, either - in general, I don't feel like I'm coming along as well as I'd like to be with my workout goals (or goal, rather, as I have only one - run one quarter of the Baltimore marathon in October as part of a relay team (which includes my boss!!) without making a total ass of myself).

Since then, though, I've had two really great workouts. Tuesday, according to my pedometer, I ran about 3.5 miles, and today, 3.6. I finally seem to be breaking past the 3 mile mark. Not only that, but I had energy for all but the very end of the runs, and managed to stay fairly strong up all the hills. This week, finally, something seems to be clicking. I give at least partial credit to the light weightlifting I've started to incorporate a couple times a week. I do it during the work day, when showering isn't really an option, so I don't really push myself hard enough to work up a sweat. But the leg presses and squats seem to be giving my legs more juice during my runs, and all the arm reps are hopefully (eventually) doing some good from an upper arm vanity standpoint :-).

I'm still not fast (I'm aiming for 12 minute miles when I run the relay - about a 6 mile distance or so - in October). My face often matches the fuschia color of one of my workout shirts. And I'm pretty sure I still frighten young children with my loud breathing. But I'm getting better at this running thing - for the first time since I started doing this back in January, I finally feel like I'm getting better.

And... in two weeks I'm going on vacation. Which I'm sure will interfere with this momentum I'm building. Not only will it be tough to set aside time to work out, but I find that alcohol really affects my workouts. If I have a couple of glasses of wine at night, the next day I struggle (even if it's been almost 24 hours, which it usually has, as I work out at night after the kids are in bed). And while my family may be unpredictable in many ways, I can always count on there being more bottles of wine than people at any given gathering. Not to mention the beer and the scotch and the Bloody Mary's and did I mention the beer? So, yeah, between the food and exhaustion chasing the kids and the drink and the desire to relax, it's going to be tough to keep this up. My strategy is to aim for 2 runs (I don't want to place unreal expectations on myself) - one early on in the vacation, like the first morning, and one more toward the end. Wish me luck!

Dieting is another story. Talk about treading water and getting nowhere. I was convinced, back in January, that I'd EASILY be down at least 20 pounds by the time this vacation rolled around. Instead, I've managed to lose 5-8 pounds, depending on the day (what is UP with that?). EVEN THOUGH I've been killing myself with these workouts. And quite often, tracking every little calorie that enters my mouth, trying my best to stick to around 1500 calories a day. But there are only so many days in a row I can keep that up, and then I cheat, and POOF! Just like that, the weight comes back in a mere nanosecond.

Rather than dwell on that (and I really try not to, as I don't want to pass on a weight/appearance fixation to my kids), I'm going to focus instead on inspiration for my work out regimen, for getting healthier. I am absolutely loving the new iPod Touch I got for Mother's Day - it makes my runs and my time at the gym much more enjoyable. But I'm starting to get a bit tired of my running playlist - time to go shopping on iTunes and shake things up a bit. What are your favorite songs to work out to, the ones that give you a little boost when you're contemplating quitting?