Friday Fete

Yesterday I drove to Utah for work, a nearly 200 mile drive each way. My kid woke up exactly 30 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, so I was up at 3:30 trying to calm her down. Then it was pointless going back to sleep, so I just got ready and then I started my drive. And realized when it was too late to turn around if I was still going to make my 8:30 AM meeting… I forgot my wallet. And suddenly I felt so vulnerable. No license, no credit cards… Fortunately my mommy works with me (for a little longer until she retires this summer – Boo for me and everyone at work, Yay for her!) and she was able to help me out. I had meetings, I was a guest lecturer and I drove home still in time to pick #AwesomeA up from school… but we couldn’t go directly to a park. I was in dress clothes and my work shoes had been munching up my Achilles tendon all day. I needed to go home and bandage those up!

Some random thoughts floating through my head as I drove…

I love peanut M&M’s… I mean, I REALLY love them. I lived 34 years of my life thinking “Peanut M&M’s… they’re tasty enough to eat a couple sometimes.” And then for the past 2.5 years my thinking became “Peanut M&M’s are the best thing in the whole world. I NEED them now!” I wonder if having a kid had something to do with my addiction surge? Like the way some mothers use wine to make it through?

peanut-m-m

I recently finished the book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. It was well-written, easy to read… but I’m starting to think that maybe I shouldn’t read any books that have anything to do with parenting.

  • One, it made me really nervous about the teen years (and my kid is two! I have a way to go here!)
  • Two, it made me discredit the book when I read the teen year info. What do you mean they can’t think about future ramifications of their actions?! That’s all I thought about when I was a teen!
  • Three, it made my resentment toward my husband increase. It discusses how most men say they split childcare duties 50/50 with their wives but research shows that it’s actually more weighted to women doing the work. (Like 60/40 or something, I don’t recall the exact numbers.) And all I could think was “Who are these men doing 40% of the childcare?!” Because… the vast load of childcare falls to me in my household and I frequently look at it as a 95/5 split! Maybe 90/10 if I’m having a pleasant day!

But it was interesting how modern parenting has changed. Compared to my grandmother’s time, when women didn’t work as much to now… parents actually spend more time one-on-one with their kids. We live in a world where we can’t just say “Go outside to play and don’t come back until it’s dark.” like was possible in the past. So now we stress ourselves out with making sure that we’re super employees and super parents, thus we’re not having any fun despite thinking our children are our greatest joys. (And yeah… #AwesomeA is pretty much the best thing in my life… while also the hardest thing in my life!)

The author did a TED talk, if you’d rather just spare 18 minutes on the subject as opposed to the whole book:

I also read The Girl on the Train. At least in that book I didn’t find myself comparing my domestic life to the ones in the book. But I’ve decided I’m tired of book reviews saying “It’s the next Gone Girl!” No… it’s not. There is only one of those and that’s the way it should be. It was a good book, but I think that led me to think it would be more explosive than it was thus leaving the book to feel a little like a let down. But if I hadn’t been given that pre-conceived expectation, I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

I’m ready to taper. Next week… my taper starts. I don’t think I’ll even have any taper madness. I’m just looking forward to it! I’m going to throw a taper party. No I’m not… I don’t throw parties. But I’m going to be relieved! This tweet made me feel better about my current level of exhaustion:

Balance: Is this a real thing?

what-is-balance

This month Stonyfield wanted those of us on Team Stonyfield to talk about how we balance everything as we train for the Boston Marathon. And I gotta say… some days I feel like the whole idea of having balance in your life is a myth. Like a unicorn.*

There are days where I feel like the wheels are turning and I’ve got it all going smoothly.

  • Get up early and run 8 miles before work. CHECK
  • Shower and eat. CHECK
  • Get the kid dressed with no battles. CHECK
  • Food in the kid. CHECK
  • Productive day of work. CHECK
  • Take the kid to a park and have a lot of fun. CHECK
  • Make dinner that the kid eats cheerfully. CHECK
  • Give the kid a bath and get her in jammies with smiles. CHECK
  • Bed time with hugs and kisses and stories and cuddles. CHECK
  • Make the kid her lunch for the following day. CHECK
  • Husband is home in time to watch The Walking Dead on Netflix with me. CHECK

But then we have days that feel more like this:

  • Get up super early to run, as I’m on my way out the door I hear a wail, “Mommy…. I need you.” Soothe the kid, get her back to sleep and go run half my planned distance.
  • Get home, kid is waking up and crying. Go into her room and she is happy until I tell her she needs to get her uniform on, then we have a meltdown.
  • Kid is finally dressed, take her downstairs to get breakfast and she refuses everything. Instead she just wants to watch videos on the iPad, which isn’t allowed before school.
  • Strap the kid into her carseat so husband can drive her to school, go back inside and realize I am a good 45 minutes late for work, still gross from my run and haven’t eaten. Grab something simple to nosh and sit at my desk. Go take a shower when my co-workers are usually going on break.
  • Every project at work decides to take a left-turn on direction. Months of work is kind of thrown aside like it was nothing. Finish the work day feeling like I want to scream.
  • Pick the kid up from school. Go play at a park, but the park I take her to is the wrong one so she’s not happy.
  • Kid doesn’t eat anything for dinner.
  • Kid won’t read stories. Jammies are all wrong. The blankets are all wrong in her bed. There are no happy faces when the kid goes to sleep, an hour past bedtime.
  • Husband strolls in from work about 10 minutes after the battles have subsided, getting to miss it all.
  • I go to bed annoyed at everything then toss/turn all night long.

So is the simple fact that I get up each day and do it all again and hope for scenario number one “balance”? I guess so…  I just need to keep in mind that when there are the frustrating moments, “it is what it is” and “this too shall pass” and “days are long but years are short.” Are there other cliches that are applicable? Because I certainly don’t ever feel like I’ve got a balance going, I feel like I’m just careening through the days, mostly out of control.

It’s been an adventure training for the Boston Marathon, that’s for sure. I’m thrilled that I get this opportunity (Thank you Stonyfield… every day, Thank you so much!), but I have decided that I am not going to do anymore races that are out of town in the months of January-May as long as my husband is still in public accounting.

*Speaking of unicorns… my daughter started saying yesterday she wanted to “go to the unicorns” and she almost cried this morning when she asked if she could go to the unicorns instead of school. So I promised her a “unicorn adventure” after school… trying to figure that all out while I work. Wish me luck!

Oh… and while searching for unicorn stuff online for this “unicorn adventure” I stumbled upon this picture and it reminded me of when my daughter turned me into a potato and then I laughed! So… the fact that I can still laugh, that’s balance?

unitato

Kid Day

Yesterday, this happened:

Just had to share… she’s learned the joy and excitement of new running shoes a lot younger than I did! :-)

Today I had to take the day off work because my daughter’s school was closed for parent-teacher conferences. (BTW – she’s brilliant and has “mastered” everything at school!) There was no discussion about who would take the day off, there never is. It’s just always assumed that I will. It’s a good thing that the massive work projects are delayed a couple of weeks, not because I’m failing on any of my parts in the project. I always have my tasks done on time!

But school closed = no kid care. So I’m hanging out with #AwesomeA today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some work today, responding to emails all day and assigning tasks/approving things while playing at the park and actually sitting down with my computer while she watched some kids music videos for an hour as “quiet time.” But we’ve been to a couple different parks today, had lunch with a friend of mine where “A” got to have an ice cream cone for the first time. (Jason’s Deli… you rock for having tiny cones!)

The next couple weeks may be my undoing though! Marathon training is peaking, work projects will be peaking, my daughter’s school has a week where there is no school for spring break so she’s enrolled in spring camp for the week, but that’s just 6 hours a day, and my perennially busy spousal work schedule… my head may implode. I actually bought these from Swanson’s Vitamins:

Swanson's Stress Burnout & Exhaustion Relief

I hope they do something to help me, because truthfully… my heart starts to race when I think about everything I have on my plate and I feel my chest start to constrict.

But aside from feeling anxiety about missing out on stuff, I do enjoy having time with my daughter. She wanted to go buy nail polish and paint her nails. We bought this blue nail polish by Sally Hansen that she picked out herself… after I directed her to those Insta-dri ones because it’s impossible to get a 2-year-old to sit still long enough to let nail polish dry.

And aside from the fact that I haven’t been able to figure out how to appease her constant request today for “frogs riding bicycles” – it’s been a pretty chill day. I decided I wasn’t going to do any household chores, so no laundry or grocery shopping. Just hanging out and playing with her (with little spurts of work inserted throughout the day!) and that’s been good.

I’m a Potato!

Being a potato sounds so nice right now… you just lie there, until someone mashes you up. Or roasts you. Or bakes you…. Wait, that is what work is like now. Except you just sit there and voice your opinions until someone mashes or roasts or bakes them. But then they try to form the original idea back into a potato, so it becomes twice-baked? This is one messed up metaphor. Maybe it’s my brain that is a potato now.

Sigh…

Also… why did my kid decide she was turning me into a potato? Of all the things to turn someone into, why a tuber? That cracked me up!

a potato

Friday Fête

Well… I’m off to a race this weekend! The following text was all written when I thought I was going to a race… I actually started on my way to the race. But my kid puked in the car twice within 30 minutes of home and I knew I couldn’t handle at least 2 more hours in the car with that on my own. So… like I said, what follows was all written when I THOUGHT was leaving town to run a race. But once you read the final lines of this post, they feel even more important to me now!


I’m super excited to run the Zion Half Marathon this weekend (it will be good for me to practice pacing myself in a race environment, since marathon pace is not the same as half marathon pace) and experience the event once more. This was the first half marathon I ran postpartum, when #AwesomeA was 6.5 months old. Now she’s 2.5 years-old and life is a whole lot different!

2013 Zion Half Marathon - Alex and Mommy

Throwback pick to the 2013 Zion Half marathon, one of my favorite race related photos EVER! #AwesomeA is almost 7-months-old here.

When I did the race in 2013 I was a stressed out mess because I forgot a part for my pump, so I had to wake my baby up and feed her before I left and then hope she was all good when I finished. She was sooooo hungry when I finished and I felt like a selfish jerk.

This year, at least I don’t have that worry, but I have all new stressors. I’m driving north to my mother’s house in Utah, “A” and I will stay there overnight and then I’ll wake up at some insane hour in the morning to drive an hour to the start line. Then I’ll do the race, catch a shuttle back to my car and drive back north to my mom’s place so I can get my kid and then drive back home. I just stress because I have so much work to do (seriously, this site gets pushed further and further down my priority list because… well, it has to. It’s not my job and it’s not my family!) and I thought I would have to take today away from work to drive to packet pick-up, but they are offering that at the start line race morning. But my mom had plans tomorrow and her husband had surgery yesterday, so I felt like an imposition asking them to watch my rambunctious little girl. I am sure it will be okay and they are excited to see us, I just hate feeling this overwhelmed.

Fortunately I was able to still send my kid to school today and I was able to get a lot of work done this morning (probably because the rest of my co-workers are OFF today for a holiday… so I had gloriously uninterrupted time to be productive). And now I need to go fill my car up with gas, make some sandwiches for the road and double-check that I have everything I need packed up.

Hope you have fun plans for the weekend! And that you aren’t as stressed as me.

Remind me to not do races January-May in the future, okay? And tell my work to not decide to do huge projects during this time period when I’ve signed up for races too, okay?

Run Run Head Games

This weekend I had a dreadful run. Like, just really really awful where I don’t want to get into the gory specifics… but it’s one of those runs where you’re passing a construction zone and think, “I could totally hop that fence to get to that porta potty.” And where you end up with chafe wounds, despite using some kind of product to prevent that type of injury. And where you feel completely depleted emotionally and can’t bear to go on any more, so your planned 18-19 miles turned into 10. And where you may have cried a little in frustration.

This run sucked! Oh well… Another day, another time. #shoeselfie #runselfie #teamstonyfield

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

And this kind of run, combined with the previous week of zero running because of a sick kid and a sick myself, starts messing with your brain. “Why am I doing this? Why was I even selected for this journey? I so don’t belong on the team with these other amazing women. I was a wee baby of 29-30 last time I ran this distance. Now I’m so old* and just can’t do all of this now.”

*I’m not old.

I feel like I’m failing at training, I feel like I’m failing at being a mother, I feel overwhelmed by stupid decisions at work, I feel unsupported in daily life and I’m just tired. Basically, to use a direct quote from my 2-year-old… “I have too much in my hands.” Except in my case, it’s that I have too much in my brain.

I start to compare myself to the other ladies on Team Stonyfield and wonder why on earth I was selected to be with them. But then, we all bring slightly different perspectives to the training. Mine is that of the woman with a 2-year-old kid, a busy more-than-full-time job with completely unrealistic deadlines right now, a spouse that works a bazillion hours from January to May, trying to train for a race distance that bested her and forced her to face her eating disorder once upon a time. And in looking at my teammates blogs, they all have their own issues that crop up and play head games with them too.

But there are good things to remember:

Despite the terrible run and feeling kind of beat up, I actually did feel like I could have kept going to complete those remaining miles… assuming I hadn’t been bleeding from open sores on my back and running on complete empty from being sick.

I finally booked my flights for Boston!

Cute AND comfortable new compression socks from Lily Trotters!

lilytrotter-socks-mirror.jpg

I basically “paid” for some other woman’s yogurt at the grocery store the other day because I saw her looking at the Stonyfield yogurts and gave her a coupon for a free big container of greek yogurt. Share the love!

My kid is freakin’ awesome… and no matter how hard things are when taking care of a kid, my heart melts a little with all the cute things she says and does. For a woman who loathed her entire pregnancy and didn’t want to have a kid, I sure have turned into a sap when it comes to her.

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

2015 New Year Crap: Hobbies

It’s a New Year and I’m not unique in that, just like everyone else, I’m pondering my future and what kind of changes I’d like to make. Right now I envision multiple posts on the subject, but I haven’t hashed that out fully in my mind. So don’t hold me to that.

But to start off, a friend shared this on Facebook and I liked it:

Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, one to be creativeHobby That Makes You Money

My hobby that makes me money is web development. It was my hobby when I first started building web pages back in 1994, then I turned it into my career in 2001. However, doing freelance web development does NOT make me happy. I can’t do a full-time job and take on all kinds of freelance work, while still maintaining time to take care of my daughter and my own sanity. I feel guilty for turning people down, whenever someone asks me to do something I spend days laboring over the idea. I’ve got such a request in my inbox right now, a project that would be a fun site to build but the actual time to devote to it might burn me out. I gotta weigh these things more. In the actual career, I’ve felt burnt out and I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I don’t foresee any career changes for several years… my telecommuting gig just works well for being a mother. Her school is close to home so I can run over to get her or drop something off as needed fairly quickly and my longevity with the job allows me some flexibility to take days off easily if I need to due to child illness. But I’m sick of feeling out of control in my job. This year, I’m taking back my control. Of my voice, my creativity and my team. Without turning into a control freak!

Hobby to Keep you in Shape

Running… straight up. I love to run, I love learning about new running technologies and innovations and science. I love running news and articles and books. Running keeps me in shape physically. But when I start to let it get in my head and tell me that I’m not fast enough or that I’m not built like a runner (these are both bogus claims, BTW) it gets to a place that takes me out of “mental shape” – if that’s a thing. I’m not going to beat myself up over paces this year, I just want to run for the enjoyment. Sure, I may try to do a little more speedwork this year, but I think I will do it more on rate of perceived effort, or lactate threshold (my BSX Insight should help with this when I get it) or even heart rate.

Hobby to be Creative

I like writing… that’s why I can’t quit blogging. Sure, I’ve enjoyed not having to write the past couple weeks over the holidays. But I feel the need to write out my thoughts. When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be an author. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write a book… but a blog-to-book thing for me seems like it would be highly improbable and slightly boring. But I’ve been writing a blog since 2001… It’s basically a part of who I am now. However, I’ve had so many pitches coming to me and I feel so many deadlines from people that it feels like a chore, not an enjoyable and creative outlet. So I need to be more selective. I will still review products that are sent to me or that I purchase myself. But I am not going to let someone who sent me a $7 product badger me repeatedly to get something posted about their product. I mean, to test and then write about something takes more than an hour. Even if the testing might come during the course of a run I’d do anyway, I take my mind to a place to evaluate the product. And then I end up “working” for people for essentially nothing. I’m worth more than that. And all of you who take the time to visit my site are worth more than a half-assed review on so many products that I can’t keep them straight!

Do you have three hobbies that fit those categories? What are they? I think I could stand to have more hobbies too, just for my mental health!

 

Healthier as a Parent?

I got an email from the BabyCenter site this morning (I should really remove myself from their mailing list! They were a source of constant misery throughout my pregnancy and now they are just a nuisance.) and it had links to ways to tell if my child is developing normally or not at this age, tips from professionals in a field about fixing certain behavioral issues, a story about whether you should teach your child a foreign language at this age (mine is learning Spanish, which means I’m learning Spanish) and a quiz about “Do you try to be healthier now that you are a mom?” That one caught my eye, so I clicked through. It was an interesting thing to ponder.

Mental Health

I think certain aspects of my mental health are better but other aspects of my mental health are far worse. I am impressed and surprised at the amount of patience I have when it comes to my child. I thought I would be a lot more antsy when it came to slow eating, putting shoes on, etc. In fact, the one thing that I am finding my patience waning on is the “I have to go potty” statements that arise continually throughout meals, particularly when out to eat. Nobody wants to hang out in public restrooms much, especially repeatedly when you’re trying to have a meal.

I harbor a lot more anger and resentment right now, mainly geared toward my spouse because it feels like men get the easier part of this parenting gig by far. This area my patience is far quicker to wear out. I don’t need to parent a small little girl and a grown man, yet there are times that it feels like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

But it is a lot easier to be happy around this kid.

Best… swing… EVER!! #AwesomeA

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

Habits

In terms of bad health habits, I didn’t really need to worry about cutting back on the booze or cigarettes as they mention, those aren’t issues for me. So I guess I can give myself props for still not abusing those!

The quiz asks if you drive safer now that you have a child. I think my driving habits for the most part are the same, except I did put in an Automatic device on my car. Overall I think it’s not as great as I had hoped, but it did allow me to program in an alert if I top a certain speed so my car now chirps at me if I hit 82 mph. A lead foot is my biggest driving sin.

(PS – Apparently the Automatic is on sale for $79 right now. That’s better than the $100 I paid…. but still doesn’t feel like a price consistent with what you actually end up getting. I keep hoping they’ll release more improvements. And I hate that it gives you a drive score and docks you points if you do things “wrong”. Because one of the things that it says is wrong is driving over 70mph. Which means I would be a better driver according to this thing if I’m putzing along the freeway and being a general hazard instead of keeping up with traffic. And it’s not like the drive score matters… but I like getting good scores on things!)

Nutrition

In terms of eating healthier, no…. I am a far worse eater now that I am a parent. I inhale my food at rapid speeds in between various mother duties, sometimes realizing at the end that I might not have even tasted my meal. Time to cook is diminished because the child seems to go from “Play with me mommy!” to “I’m starving and I will die!” in a matter of moments. My breakfast and lunch are consumed at my desk every weekday.

My dinner repertoire is so small because I want to make sure the kid is actually eating something and I need to have something ready for her about 5:30-6 pm, while also playing with her because I haven’t seen her all day while she’s been at school (I would rather play than cook, FYI). My husband usually walks in the door from work right as I’m getting dinner on the table… no matter what time it occurs. He’s got some kind of skill that way.

I used to think I liked cooking. But now I realize that I don’t like cooking much. Nobody appreciates it around here and most of my food fascination from years ago came because I was starving myself to death. (This is a known fact… those who are starving often fantasize about food. ) I do still like baking, I wish I had more time to bake bread, but I don’t.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

A weekly staple the kid will eat: cook a tortilla, spread with these beans and guacamole. Serve with fruit. Voila! Dinner is served.

Exercise

This is an area I wish I knew how to improve. As it is right now, basically all I do is run 4 times a week. I was getting in a Surfset class once a week for a little while… then my job decided to explode further and I couldn’t squeeze in the class as my lunch break anymore. I love the classes, but the studio is about a 25-minute drive from home. I really need workouts that originate from here. (Thus why running works.)

I don’t have time to run with friends anymore, I don’t even recall the last time I did that. I used to feel a little bad about missing out on group runs, but now it seems like it would feel like an awkward blind date and I’m okay not dealing with that right now.

I recently bought a bunch of Barre3 DVDs to do at home. In a perfect world I’d be able to do one of those 4 times a week in addition to running 4 times a week, as well as making sure I have a good core/strength training routine going on. But nothing is perfect… so I do the best I can, which never feels like enough.

barre3-dvds

Before having a kid I did yoga several times a week, all at home, but it feels humorous to reflect on how I could accomplish that. And I kind of need yoga, it makes me feel a lot less crunchy and stiff.

Conclusion

So I’m going to have to say that no, I’m not actually healthier than I was. But my happiness with my daughter is so high that helps the mental side of this equation get boosted a lot!

I have really good friends who have used the birth of their child(ren) to spur on their fitness habits. I’m impressed and proud of them. For me, so far it has been the opposite.

What about you? Do you find that having kids improves or challenges your healthy living habits?

Friday Fête: Reading List and Protein Smoothies

Yesterday I got up at 4am to drive to Utah for work. In a 13 hour period I had driven 2.5 hours, had several meetings, gave a lecture, had lunch with my mom and drove 2.5 hours back home to pick “A” up from school. Then I realized I had forgotten to get anything out to defrost for dinner… so we “sadly” had to go out to Cafe Rio. I will happily eat at Cafe Rio nearly any day of the week! Meal planning has been hard for me and it seems to get harder and harder each week. But with all the work/mom tasks on my agenda this week and the fatigue from no sleep during Ragnar, running has taken a bit of a hiatus this week and that makes me sad. I like running, but I have to live my life in a balanced way and sometimes you just can’t “have it all!”

When I do run, I have been listening to audiobooks a lot lately. I rarely have time to just sit down and read books these days but I still want to get in some reading. So instead of choosing between reading time or running time, I merge the two! Recently on my reading list lately:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poeher's Yes Please

As I was listening to this book, I kept wanting to tweet out or share on Facebook lines from the book. But if I did that, I would have ripped off the majority of the book. I really loved when she talks about how career and passion are different things and says that your career shouldn’t define you because your career will cheat on you or push you aside for a younger model so you shouldn’t wrap your whole self-worth up in that. Instead focus on the passion of doing work that fulfills you and doing it well, but practicing some level of ambivalence too. She also talks about keeping a positive body image and the demon that it seems all of us have in our heads and learning to not let it control us.

Hopefully as you get older, you start to learn how to live with your demon. It’s hard at first. Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story

I like Jim Gaffigan’s comedy, so this book is an extension of his standup shows. In fact, if you’re familiar with his standup you’ll hear some carry over from those into this book. But there’s enough new stuff to make it entertaining. Enough to actually make me laugh out loud while running and causing me to feel like a doofus. There’s a section that comes from his Mr. Universe special, but is a little bit adapted/updated in the book to have more 2014-ish references, but it resonated with me.

I’m tired of people acting like they’re better than McDonald’s. It’s like you may have never set foot in McDonald’s, but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly. Hey, that’s still McDonald’s. It’s just served up a little different. Maybe your McDonald’s is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch “Glee.” It’s all McDonald’s—McDonald’s of the soul: Momentary pleasure followed by incredible guilt eventually leading to cancer.


I don’t know how most people get a toddler to eat breakfast each day, it’s nearly impossible for me to get “A” to sit down and eat breakfast. Particularly on school days, she wants to “read stories/watch videos/play slide/put ponytail in/go potty/get smiles/RUN RUN!” – in no particular order. Plus we’re trying to do all this in the window from 6:45 when she wakes up to about 7:15 when she needs to leave with her daddy to go to school.

*Get smiles = “A” has been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately and she’s convinced she didn’t want to go back to sleep and was awake for the day. I was sitting on the floor with her, feeling exhausted (as one would at 2 AM) and she asked “Mommy sad?” So I told her, “Yes, I have no smiles right now because it’s the middle of the night and we should be sleeping.” She nodded and said, “I go to sleep. I get smiles.” And now that’s our new thing, we say good night and promise to wake up with our smiles. Then in the morning she shows off her smiles!

So most breakfasts are liquid in nature so I can try to get as many different nutrients in there in one dose. She frequently likes to drink “monkey milk” – which is actually Orgain Healthy Kids drink and not actually milk. But if I have a little more time I like to make her a smoothie. This is one of her favorites and we don’t reserve “pumpkin spice” to just the fall in this house… we have it year round! (Stock up on big cans of pumpkin at Costco this time of year though!)

pumpkin-all-year-smoothie.jpg

This is no real recipe though… It’s just kind of process or something. All ingredients are measured in terms of “however much you feel like” while “using your best judgment.”

  • Spinach (did you know that entire bag of spinach has 4 grams of protein? Obviously I’m not putting the whole bag in there, but vegetables contain more protein that we often give them credit.)
  • Pumpkin (plain pumpkin… I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would be delicious or too sweet, but the plain ol pumpkin is your better choice!)
  • Stonyfield Plain Greek yogurt (go Greek… get more protein in there! Of course, their new Petite Creme lineup has a good amount of protein too and would be tasty in the smoothie.)
  • Banana (the riper the better, it will provide all the sweetness needed)
  • Chia seeds 
  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (or cumin, as my daughter always calls it when she shakes it in the blender cup!)
  • Milk of choice (we used soy, it provides additional protein and fat… and isn’t actual cow’s milk which “A” and I rarely drink. Yogurt has cultures that help us digest it.)
  • couple of ice cubes (or use a frozen banana)

Place ingredients in the blending device you have available. Yell “Fire in the hole” and turn it on. Let it whir until it’s all blended, pour it into a cup with a straw… it’s a known fact that smoothies taste better with straws. Hand it over to the toddler or drink it yourself. Watch the toddler dance with joy as she takes a sip. Then try to get her in school clothes for the day.

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I’m running the Boston Marathon this upcoming April as part of Team Stonyfield. I can’t wait! All of my Ragnar mileage this past weekend gave me a much needed confidence boost about ramping up my training for the marathon.

November Stress

How is it already November?! This is one of those things about getting older… time passes faster and faster. You always hear that as a kid or teen, but it gets more real with each passing year. This year is registering in my mind as “What just happened?” (There may be some expletives in that statement too.)

White_Rabbit_KHREC

But today, with it being the first Monday in November, I’m really feeling the weight of stress.  Let’s see if listing things out makes it feel like a less overwhelming time:

  • Have the kid home from school today because it’s parent-teacher conferences. Try to get some work done during this time.
  • Attend my first parent-teacher conference as a parent.
  • Go to the dentist.
  • Vote. Yes, I’m supposed to get time off work to go vote by law… doesn’t meant that it doesn’t add to the stress. I have to take that time away from getting work done, and read through the 9,302 judge options on the ballot. Why are there so many judges?!
  • Run the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay this weekend with a team full of strangers. Kind of having a moment where I’m questioning my sanity on that choice! (It will be fun.)
  • Run a search committee and hire a new employee at work.
  • Finish building the redesigned web site for work, launch it and sit back to field all the complaints that will inevitably come in and be directed at me.
  • Oversee a major household renovation that will be taking place this month.
  • Have the kid home from school again on the 11th, because her school is closed for Veterans’ Day.
  • Guest lecture for a university class
  • Thanksgiving
  • Get the dog to the vet for shots
  • Keep trying to make menus/meals for the fam, which I am getting better and better about FAILING in that regard.
  • Buy my kid some warm clothes. And new shoes.
  • Keep being the default parent.
  • Try not to go completely blog-silent during all this. The site has brought me some amazing opportunities, but it has to be one of the first things that gets relegated to the back-burner… it’s not a living-breathing member of my family nor does it actually pay the bills.

Nope, still feel stressed. Sigh… Oh well, this too shall pass, right? And some of the stuff on the list is really good stuff, it’s just that all added together I feel burdened and unbalanced.