Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Community, Books, Food, etc...

Happy Wednesday people! Its been a regular ol' week around here so far. We had such a fantastic and exciting weekend without even leaving our neighborhood! For the first time in a long long time (maybe since May?) we were all here and the weather was actually nice enough to be outside. We spent nearly the entire weekend at various parks and it was glorious. Saturday we went to the riverside park---B on his bike (he can finally ride, though starting and stopping is a challenge) and L on his two wheel scooter. G and I got some active time in, chasing them around, and then friends happened to show up and I got some socializing as well. We then headed to the boys' schoolyard for a back-to-school festival. EVERYONE was there! I volunteered at the activity table, caught up with and met so many parents, and ate delicious tacos. Dinner done. Sunday we had a brunch playdate with one of L's besties from daycare. They have a bunch of different food allergies so I was challenged in creating a gluten and dairy free feast. I think it was OK but the frittata just wasn't the same without cheese. Friend stayed over for more play and park and then another neighborhood friend came over and we had 4 boys fighting with lightsabers and for one amazing moment it was...perfect. My kids, their friends, on a sunny Sunday at our house in the city...that perfect happy kid chaos that is everything I ever dreamed of. And then someone poked someone near the eye and I had to break up the game and then someone was hungry and we had to head back outside and then they fought about what kind of tag to play and it all fell apart but...well...it was a moment. 

A quick list of recent reads:

1) Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. This was well-written and really fascinating but also quite long and took forever. I almost gave up except that B, who is obsessed with the musical, kept asking me to tell him everything about each chapter, and G was also interested in the history, so I kept it up in service to my family. I do love learning about history. I'm really into politics and current events and it is impossible to fully understand today without the relevant background of yesterday.  I'm going to seek out more American history non-fiction. Recommendations welcome. 

2) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. This was fast-paced and quick, but complex. I'm going to suggest it for my book club because it is right up our ally and will lead to a good discussion. I'm not sure who I was rooting for or what I wanted to happen in the end. 

3) The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Hinton. Highly recommended for fans of Just Mercy, this is the true account of a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate that Brian Stevenson helped free. I cried more than once, but was also unbelievably inspired. The positive attitude and atmosphere Hinton was able to cultivate really provides perspective for my day to day grumbling. 

4) I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Maria de los Santos. This was just what I needed after some really heavy stuff (and the wrongful accusation themes of the last 2 in particular) I love all her books, the way she writes about romance/love is like she took a peek into my head when I was in my 20s. Its so perfect its right on the edge of cheesy, but she usually doesn't fall over. She revisits the characters from Love Walks In and Belong To Me, and the familiarity was cozy.

5) Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertali. Speaking of cozy....I'm halfway through so far and this book is.... ADORABLE. I want to be in this family, this close-knit group of quirky friends, this theater club, all of it. Its so cute I almost can't stand it, I want to pinch their cheeks and hug them all. Obviously a YA novel but a must-read for anyone. I also love that its set in the south, but the progressive south, a setting that I would consider underrepresented in modern lit. 

Back to back playdates and being at the park late led to us ordering a pizza on Sunday night instead of grilling our own. And Monday was B's social skills and L's soccer at exactly the same time so we all got home at 7. G miraculously pulled together a meal of TJs freezer delights and I was shocked that both kids at the veggie and shrimp potstickers! We bulked up the meal with some naan and leftover fruit salad from brunch. 

So now we have several meals on our meal plan to get through! Last night I made Korean-style tacos with ground chicken seasoned with onion/garlic/ginger and a yummy gyoza dipping sauce and topped with Asian slaw (slaw mix marinated in rice wine vinegar and soy sauce) and kimchee (for the grown ups). Again, surprised that my kids ate most of this, though they did pull out most of the slaw. Tonight its fish and salad, with toast for the kids, tomorrow will be leftover tacos, and Friday we will grill the pizza I guess. 

We are going camping with our next door neighbors Saturday night. We honestly don't hang out with them much, we invite them over often but they are wishy washy and tend to back out at the last minute a lot and haven't invited us over once in all these years! They missed the other two camping trips to their son's dismay, so we settled on this weekend and no one else can come so its just the two families. I hope its not too awkward. They have a 5 year old in KG at the boys' school and he gets along great with L but that'll be good. The dad is super friendly and will talk your ear off but seems to have trouble organizing plans and the mom seems a bit standoffish though when I've talked to her she's really nice usually. I know they are going through IF, she's had several MCs and has retreated somewhat socially (according to the husband who really will tell anyone anything apparently). Maybe this will be a good chance to forge a stronger relationship? 

Anyways. Lots of updates all in one, if I have the chance to write again this week I have some topics in mind! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Acceptance and Expectations

I'm almost positive I've talked about this before, because it is something I've always found challenging. I just don't really understand the whole concept of self-acceptance or self-love or whatever you want to call it. I don't know how to push myself to be the best I can be without at least a tiny little bit of self-loathing.

How do you find motivation without that critical inner voice? I get to work and tell myself "ugh, don't be lazy" and "you will never succeed without working harder" and I get stuff done. I remind myself "you certainly do NOT need that" and poke at my belly to resist the urge to snack or get seconds.

If I start thinking "kindly" to myself, there is no incentive to change my habits.

I know the answer is to think of yourself as you would your kids or a good friend, you want them to be successful and healthy so you encourage the good habits without denigrating their character. I would never call or imply that anyone  else is "lazy" or "fat". I know that positive reinforcement  is way more effective than criticism.

That inner voice, she's a hard-core bitch. But she can be effective. Until I tell her to fuck off and there go the good habits again. Its an endless cycle and I need to get off that ride. How does one expect more for themselves  while still accepting that they are "enough"?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thoughts on Health, Fitness, and Vanity

I was going to say "plans" or "goals" but really I'm still mulling things over and trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

Our girls trip this weekend was a lot of fun---loads of talking and laughing and bonding---but there were a couple of low points, mostly related to my own issues around my body. I mentioned that I gained weight recently---in fact I've gained almost 15 lbs which is a LOT on my petite self especially since 99% of it is in my belly area (maybe 1% in my chest, my bras aren't loose anymore). Not only can I not fit into my new clothes, I also can't button the pants from 2 sizes ago that I happened to keep around. I literally have one pair of black pants and 2 loose dresses that fit, that I wear on heavy rotation to work.

On that note, I had a difficult time packing for this trip, but I threw in a pair of baggy jeans from just after I had L. I could barely button them, and had to undo the button when I got in the car for the drive home because I couldn't breathe sitting down. I could not fit into my post-partum jeans!

I mentioned that the trip was planned around a one-mile race. Now, granted, I wasn't going 100%---it was rainy and slick and I did not want to eat the pavement! But. It was SO HARD to run fast for even a mile. I thought I was going to die, I felt heavy and jiggly, and my time ended up at 8:26. Which is...fine...but I really would've hoped that my pace for ONE MILE would be faster than my usual pace for 5Ks I do without training.

I have been doing loads of barre and weight training, but with my HIIT class on hiatus and it being way too hot to run all summer, I've done zero cardio. And it shows. All my friends, even those that also haven't run in months, had great times on their miles. I was incredibly motivated by my friend who has been training for the marathon and broke 7 minutes for a PR.

I was watching how the others were eating/drinking on this trip and they seemed to exert much more self-control. They said no to the second glass of wine, they stopped even with half the fries left on their plate (which I then proceeded to eat...), some didn't dig in to the shared dessert plate. I really need to make some changes to the way I approach food & alcohol if I want to maintain a healthy weight as I get even older.  Portion control, stopping when I'm full (or even before), drinking considerably less or not at all (because calories & subsequent poor choices). I have to get rid of the scarcity mentality I have around food where every meal is like the last meal ever, and I have to eat and drink all the most delicious things that minute. Can I go out to dinner and focus on the atmosphere and conversation and just order something boring and healthy? I don't know how to change my mindset, but I gotta figure it out because this is not sustainable.

Also I'm excited to run again---the cool drizzly days this week are actually perfect and I'm planning to start with 3 mile runs at least twice a week and build from there. Maybe I need a race or some other goal to work toward, to keep my focus on fitness and far far away from indulgence.

Friday, September 7, 2018

On The Upswing

I am most definitely in a better mood today, in fact yesterday evening was quite refreshing.

The walk home with the kids was pleasant because we were joined by L's new friend and his dad. The little boys ran ahead of us, I chatted with the dad, and B held my hand and quietly came along.
We got home and made the planned meal with unplanned margaritas and music and it felt like a weekend dinner. I got some nagging tasks crossed off the list: order glasses for B (he's needed them for SIX MONTHS) and create the e-vite and guest list for L's birthday party (still need to actually send them off this weekend).

This evening the boys have a play date/dinner with neighbor (though L may not go because "I want to be wif YOU") and tomorrow I will wake up early to go to a barre class and then pack for my 24-hour-moms-trip. I am joining a few friends (mostly mothers of L's pre-school friends who we still hang with frequently) for a trip ostensibly to run a one-mile-race but really to party in the big city! And I planned exactly 0% of it, I'm just coming along for the ride. I told G he should contact the other dads so they can get the kids together while the mothers are away, so hopefully he won't have too rough a time of it on his own.

Other good things: FULL DAY of school today, SEVEN books that I had on hold for ages all came in this week (which is also somewhat stressful #librarypeopleproblems), several fun things in store for the fall, and...my patient was late enough that I had time to finish this post! Off to clinic and to finish off the week on a high note.




Thursday, September 6, 2018

Meh

How many posts have I written with that title?

So much for the renewed September energy, the long weekend was meh and this week hasn't been much better. We honestly didn't do much this weekend---Saturday we had a few things planned, and the weather was nice, but Sunday & Monday were hot again and we didn't do anything. Honestly, I had planning fatigue and just gave up. I kinda hoped G would step in and announce we were going to do something Monday (he likes to be "spontaneous") but nope. I was feeling physically and mentally not great (I've been having daily migraine-type headaches with nausea and also wondering if I need to up my P@xil even more) and spent a lot of time on my phone, to the point that L even called me out for my "double device" session where I was scrolling social media while watching a movie with the kids. In my defense, Kung Fu Panda 2 didn't require my full attention, but still....

Basically the kids fought, whined that they were bored, than figured out what to do and did it for a short period and began the cycle again... I ended up playing LOTS of Go Fish and chess games. Lots and lots. Also found myself picking up my phone during the games which is terrible!

So not doing so great sticking to the social media break. But I'm doing fantastic with the healthy eating. After 10 days of meal planning and cooking healthy meals, no eating out or take-out, no snacks before or after dinner, bringing a salad and veggies for lunch every day, and drinking mostly water, I weighed myself this morning and...gained a pound. Argh.

Work is...not progressing anywhere near the speed I imagined. Everything is taking eight times as long for reasons both internal and external to myself. The combination of the two makes for exponential slowness!

Two more half days of school this week, and just really miserable weather. Its my turn to pick the boys up and bring them home today and...I have to psych myself up for that task so I don't get h-hangry (hot/hungry/angry) and yell.

On the plus side, B has MUCH less homework this year! He's been getting it done in after care, and L just has reading and sight words. B was convinced that the homework in 3rd grade would be intense so we are both relieved, but now pretty irritated with the 2nd grade teacher for being such a hard-ass.

Somewhat hungry but I've eaten all my food and I just need to drink water and get through to dinner.
Hopefully in a better mood tomorrow. Its supposed to rain so at least at won't be 100 degrees.





Friday, August 31, 2018

September Goals and Long Weekend Plans

Going to be a pretty low key 3 day weekend. We are still trying to settle into the new routines and I haven't had the time/energy to plan much, so we will take it easy and use the extra day to get ahead on prepping for the week.

Current family plans: one birthday party, trip to rock gym, park with friends
G also has an outing (rare!) and I have a couple workouts and a work event (not fun, but showing up and speaking at an "awareness day" for a condition I specialize in)

I want to set aside some time to meal plan and prep healthy dinners and lunches for all of us.

This all fits in line with what I'm hoping to achieve over the next couple of months, which is basically trying to reset after a summer of sweet indulgence.

SELF
  • Operation fit-in-pants: I can write a whole post on this (ooh, I will), but basically sticking to sane eating habits and anything I can do ahead of time to make this easier to achieve.
  • Social media break: I'm looking at YOU FB. I am not ready or willing to completely give this up, but I like taking month long breaks every now and then.
  • Wake up early to plan/work out/meditate etc... just to not feel like I'm already behind by the moment I get to work

FAMILY
  • Research/sign up and start sports for each kid. Pretty sure L is doing soccer but B has aged out of the local parks program. He may enjoy basketball. I also need to stop procrastinating on the private swim lessons. I am determined that they are water safe by next summer.
  • Stress free evenings. Figuring out a rotation for who picks up kids vs. gets home to walk dog and start dinner is key. This is going to involve a stern convo with G who is often "running late" by just enough that I basically have to do all 3 most days, since if I get home before him the dog needs to go out and the kids are hungry. RIGHT NOW  Its the time I am 100% more likely to yell and lose my shit and gets the whole evening off to a horrid start. Good luck getting kids to settle in for homework/reading after that (or for me to resist stress eating/drinking). 
  • Set up playdates for weekends this fall. 
WORK 
  • I made a list of what I need to accomplish and I will consult it. Not going into it here because its very specific and would sound overly vague and boring!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And...that's a wrap

Summer 2018 is officially over. The kids are back in school, such as it is, given that we have THREE half days this week (1 planned, 2 due to "excessive heat" in district in which some schools are not air conditioned or well ventilated). Why did they decide to open before Labor Day this year (and it'll be even a week earlier next year)?? Summers are getting hotter and hotter every year and I only see it getting worse over time (climate change, ya'll).

I am spending some time today reflecting/planning for the fall so I can get back on track in all areas of life.

Quick recap of the past 2 months.

Things I didn't really do
  • Blog (obvi)
  • Cook. We did lots of eating out/take out when the kids were away, and lots of grilling/sandwiches/simple meals when they were here. Back to meal planning and prepping.
  • Go into work on non-clinic days. It was too hot and the commute took too much time/energy, especially given that my day was shortened by the camp schedule. Plus my computer died and there were summer students working outside my office (and chatting/on the phone) and various other reasons that just made it better to work from home. Also I could wear leggings or shorts. 
  • Wake up at 5:30 AM to work out. I would wake up later and run or go to a 7:15 AM barre class. When the kids were gone I did some evening classes, and I also did some lunch time "express barre" classes on work from home days.

Highlights from July/August
  • HAMILTON! G and I went to see it on Broadway last week. Culmination of 2 years of waiting and it was even better than I imagined. Aaaagh, so glad we went. Our entire family is kinda obsessed right now and we still listen to the recording on the regular. In fact, after seeing the show, I am much more into the 2nd half of the songs, which previously somewhat confused me because I didn't know who was saying what in all the political battles.
  • Camping trip with friends and kids. This was in July and it was so much fun we are planning the next trip and can't wait. It was just nice to be away from home/the city for a couple days. 
  • Beach trip with my family. The cousins, my sister & BIL, my parents....lots of great family time and junk food and reading and splashing. 
  • My weekend to myself. Last weekend G went to go pick up the kids from MIL, and I was blissfully alone! I exercised, I did chores, but I also read books & watched Crazy Rich Asians on my own (LOVED IT!) and met friends for drinks and just decompressed. 
  • New hobby: rock climbing! We took the kids when we visited MIL and they loved, so G and I went our own and learned how to belay and climb and we had so much fun. It'll be a good healthy family activity for summer/winter/rainy days. 
Lowlights 
  • None of my clothes fit anymore. Obvious result of above. Working on fixing my eating habits so I don't have to buy new pants after ditching the larger size pants just a couple years ago. (and in a fit of uncharacteristic optimism, getting rid of them altogether last summer)
  • I had to increase my P@xil dose to combat the return of insomnia, anxiety, apathy and hopelessness that crept up slowly and reached a peak in July. Thankfully its working. I am crawling out of it. 
  • The heat. OMG it was painful. This was by far the hottest summer I remember since moving here 12 years ago. We usually spend lots of time at the park and have dinner outside in our backyard and we did those things ZERO times this year because it was truly unbearable. Just the walk home from work/camp nearly killed us and we slumped in puddles over the AC vents until we were revived.
  • Overall low productivity at work due to above fun and said apathy but ALSO so so many unexpected and annoying things that happened at work (within 3 weeks my computer & laptop crashed, I lost some data, my -80 freezer crashed while I was on vacation and I lost samples, just to name a few...)
  • I had a root canal revision that ended up being SO MUCH time/energy/pain/$$$ and DID NOT EVEN HELP the mild pain and discoloration that led me to have it done in the first place
I have pages of FALL PLANS and GOALS in my bullet journal that I am eager to bombard you with so I'll stop here. Happy New School Year!