Kindergarten is happening

Wednesday night

Lunch prep: Day 1

Lunch prep: Day 1

Tonight I put together Olivia's lunch for school. Tomorrow. Because school starts tomorrow.

I never really understood the people who created designer lunches. Sushi shaped like faces. Carrot smiles and sandwich cut-outs to look like eyes, pretzel noses and broccoli ears.

It's complete overkill. But now I kind of get it. Because whatever I put in this little flower-patterned lunch bag is what she will have when I'm not there. This is what I send with her. And I want there to be a moment in her day when she opens the bag and sees how much I love her. How much I believe in her, and how I'm so proud. Even though she's bravely entering this world of school and new friends and new activities, I want her to know that her mama is still here loving her and I always, always will be.

Now how do I show that with food?

Thursday morning

We got up at the earliest possible time. I wrote out our plan on my white board (Lord I love white boards) and referred to it occasionally. As long as I get out of the shower by 6:40 this will all work out.

It didn't matter. We got to school a half hour before the bell rang. Like maniacs. There were still cars pulling in as we left, way after the bell, and the worst part of me was like, how are all these people *just* now getting here? Don't they love their children??!! (kidding)

We went into the cafeteria where the kids wait for their teachers to come and get them and lead them off to class. Several families looked like ours: two parents, a little sibling, all eyes on the kindergartner. Olivia looked so small and her backpack looked so big and the school seemed enormous and perfectly clean and the parking lot was chaos but inside everything ran like a well-oiled machine.

Two kids from Olivia's daycare ran up to her and hugged her, so excited to see her after hardly seeing her at all during the summer. And I sent a little prayer of thanks up to the heavens. Thank you! Thank you for sending these friends to her. Please let them be helpful and nice and make her look cool and popular. Okay, just joking about that last part but if it's not too much trouble, it wouldn't hurt, you know?

Eventually the moment came where we had to say goodbye and we had to do it without crying. That would have completely freaked her out. So I smiled my biggest smile at her, and gave her one last hug.

"Have fun today, okay?"

"Okay, mama."

"But not TOO much fun, okay?"

"Mo-om!" (laughter)

And the bell rang, and the teacher gather her group, and the little ducklings waddled off behind her single-file. And the two parents and the little brother watched until she was down the hall and out of sight.

"Olivia school," Henry said. "Yes."

Saturday night

My sister and I were talking. It always starts innocent enough. How are you! How's the house? Ok, so how is Kindergarten going? How is really going?

Okay, well, here's the story. So I told her how it went.

"This is not an easy story to hear," she said to me. Or maybe there was an exclamation point there, because it wasn't easy [!] It was hard! There were tears!

And so we had some tears, her and I. It felt good to be understood. Even though I still don't completely understand.

Sunday night (1 week later)

Sunday was book club night. Several mamas whose children haven't started school yet, some with no school kids, and two of us who just started. So it was a good time to hash it out. We talked about the details, the pick-ups and drop-offs, the classrooms we hadn't fully seen inside, and the kids who were mean on the playground this week.

These are all part of the picture. But it's still hard to explain the emotions behind the Kindergarten transition.

Earlier in the summer I really didn't think it would be a big deal. Lil O has been going to daycare since she was 8 months old, and she loves it! She loved the summer preschool program we enrolled her in. And I knew she would. Because she is social kid. A rule-follower. A born learner. Like me, she tries to get all the gold stars. Like Jake, she is charismatic, she thrives in a crowd.

But she is also my baby. Watching her walk down the big hall of this big school in single-file behind a teacher I felt like I was watching her walk straight into this next phase of life. A very tangible transition.

When a baby learns to walk, there is no "first step." People try to capture this moment and they might tell you that they did. They'll say that Baby So-and-So walked on THIS date. But in reality, learning to walk is a long process. It's a lot of inching out and falling down, inching, letting go of the coffee table for a second, then grabbing again, then letting go, falling, getting up, and so on. One day you look at her and realize she's walking more than crawling. Thank goodness, you think, that took forever. 

Not school! School happens on one day, ready or not. There's no grabbing the coffee table a little longer for stability. You just let go. The bell literally rings, and you let go of them, and they walk into Kindergarten. It's beautiful. And heart-wrenching. And perfectly normal.

Please, God, let her just walk into that classroom like it's no big deal. Let her fit right in. Let those JCPenney clothes be just the right thing we were supposed to buy. Let her backpack be cute. Let her lunch remind her that her mom and dad love her. But do not let the carrot sticks remind her too much of home. Keep homesickness at bay, please oh Lord. If there are tears, let them be mine. If there are scraped knees, let them be some other kid's. Or maybe hers. Let her days be filled with equal parts challenge and triumph, timidity and reassurance. May she grow to love learning. May she grow a bit slower (please?) but always just surrounded by love.

Crossfit Training Like a BOSS

I been runnin. I been runnin.

Big news update: I'm training for a crossfit competition this summer. Very excited. It's been a long time in the making. Here is a little interview I did with myself and a few pictures I took of myself (awkward).

How long have you been training?

  • Good question, me! I've been doing crossfit and similar style workouts (HIIT, Tabata) for nearly 4 years. At that time I had been working in a new job for several months and was finding it hard to find time to work out. So I joined a lunchtime class at my gym in the hopes of doing a really hard workout in a small amount of time.  Crossfit seemed like a great bang for the buck.

Did it work? Is crossfit a great bang for the buck?

  • Yes and no. Like any workout, crossfit is all about what you put into it. If you train hard and show up regularly, you will definitely see results. As in, you'll be stronger and you'll get better at it and you might even get addicted (like me). But it won't build you gigantic muscles overnight. And like any workout, it doesn't solve everything. Food is a big factor if you're hoping to lose weight. I lost 5 lbs pretty easily in the first month I tried it, but after that, nothing.

My gym. Where the magic happens.

What exactly is crossfit?

CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.
— crossfit.com
  • Ok, I kind of needed to look this up. I know what it is at MY gym, and that's the only place I've done crossfit (so far). Crossfit workouts are intense, it's all about lifting as much as you can, as quickly as you can, in the shortest amount of time. The workouts are timed, so there's a fun, competitive component. And we write down our times and weights afterward. I keep my own book to record my 1-rep max for the weight lifting and a few of my scores and workouts. That's all about measuring my own progress and keeping myself motivated. One important thing about crossfit is the people. It's really fun to get together and do hard workouts with a group of motivated people (not muscleheads), just regular folks. I love it.

Why doesn't crossfit make you lose weight?

  • Honestly, I don't think crossfit ever promised to help anyone lose weight. So that's one thing. It's a high intensity workout that combines cardio and weights. It does not care about calorie burn so much. I think it's more about making you a powerful, dynamic person.
  • In my case, I learned this the hard way. After losing that first 5 lbs I quickly realized that the weight was not melting off. I got discouraged by the scale, so I stopped getting on it. Bad decision? Maybe. I certainly didn't lose the baby weight I was hoping to lose. I did the opposite, in fact. One year after starting my crossfit journey, I weighed the most I've weighed post-pregnancy.

What do you do if you want to lose weight and do crossfit?

  • I think you need to separate your crossfit journey from your weight loss journey.
  • For me, I needed to tackle my food game, big time. I won't get into the details of it (less caloric intake, basically), but I will say it was helpful thinking about how much you needed to eat for that day. On workout days, I ate more, especially protein, in the mornings. On other days, I stuck to my plan. Finally by the 1.5 year mark, I was slimmed down and feeling really good about myself and my workouts. I was kicking ass. And that's exactly when I got pregnant again.

Can you do crossfit while pregnant?

  • Yes! Obviously, check with your doctor first. My care providers (midwife and physical therapist) wanted me to be careful not to raise my heart-rate too high. So sometimes I needed to take longer breaks between sets or modify a movement or walk instead of run, etc. But I stuck with it and tried to basically do the same workouts as the class, just modified.
  • My coach, Heidie (pictured here being amazing), also did crossfit while pregnant. She was very inspiring. If you ask her if you can do this while pregnant she will tell you Absolutely! And she will tell you about how she went into labor while doing double-unders. It's a cool story. I won't ruin it. (She had a baby afterward and he's a very sweet two-year-old now.)

I can doooo it! 8 months pregnant, going to class.

I did it! 2 years later.

What are your goals with this?

  • My biggest goal was to go and compete. And I'M DOING IT!! After I had baby Hank, I resolved to get back into shape (and better than before) and enter a real competition. I got back in the gym at 3 months postpartum and all my workout buddies were preparing for the Crossfit Open. I really wanted to join, but I was like a floppy fish at that point. The following year I entered the Open, and I didn't do too bad. Out of the 8 or so competitors at my gym, I usually finished 5th/6th/7th. That was about 6 months ago. For the summer games, I am competing as a team with the lovely, Janelle. I'm hoping we finish in the middle of the pack. The middle-middle. Not bottom-middle. Ha!
  • So over the years my goals have gone like this:
    • Workout regularly (check)
    • Lose weight (check)
    • Get back into shape after having baby (check)
    • Compete!

Me and Janelle!

So that's my story, and off I go to THE GAMES on August 20th!!!

Just Your Average 8 Year Anniversary

Young kids. No idea what they were getting into.

When I was 22 I could not really fathom being in a relationship for 8 years.

When I was 23 I met Jake.

Jake was different. He was unlike just about anyone I'd met.

Except when he wasn't. Except when he met my family, and it seemed like he was one of us. It seemed like he'd been there all along. We started to feel really weird when he wasn't there. We didn't like it.

Saying "yes" to a first date with Jake was exceptionally easy. Especially, because, when you think of it, I kind of orchestrated the whole thing. I told my friend Tiffany who told Johnny who told Jake, that if he asked me out, I wouldn't say no.

I never said no to spending time with Jake. After our first date, we spent 4 more days together that week. (Our first date was a Sunday. Something kind of holy about that, I think. Also I had the day off from work.)

A few things about me and Jake: we like each others' company. We hang out a LOT. And we haven't seemed to get tired of it after 8 years of marriage (plus 4 years of dating). We also like hanging out with other people. There aren't too many people that are "just my friends," or "his" friends.

A lot of that can be attributed to Jake, of course. Because good people flock to him, and then the two of us devise a plan to keep those people around as friends. And it works.

It works, I think, because in our 8+ years together we have sort of melded into a unit that is better than the sum of its parts.

When I think back to the person I was at 22, I can't really fathom being that person today. Not because I was a bad person. I just had such a harder time being soft and easygoing, letting things go when I perceived them to be unjust. I had a hard time when people around me let me down, or seemed to do so.

I really don't know how to put this concept into words, but I think something happens when you spend so much time with someone you love and admire. (of course it does, I know) But it's more than just "he makes me a better person!"

My husband allows me to look at myself from an outsiders' viewpoint. I can see him, see me, and love me for the person I am. He can forgive the parts of me that I don't very much like and wish didn't exist. But they do. They are there, and they are not all bad. Like that part of me that cannot abide with injustice. It comes from a person who wants the world to be a kinder, fairer place.

Still crazy after all these years...

It comes from a person who doesn't fully understand why the world is not so fair. It is part naiveté, and part la résistance.

And that's all well and good. But it's also okay to walk away from the revolution from time to time and just be a person. A wife. On a couch, in a house that we bought 7 years ago, when we barely knew what we would become.

You are my heart, dear husby. Happy Anniversary.

Goodbye, Daphne girl

I have been known to say that sometimes things don't feel real to me until I write them down. That's how I feel now about the loss of my dog.

On February 17, 2016, we lost our dear old Daphne girl.

She was the best worst dog ever. It's the only way to describe her.

For fourteen years she was our constant companion. She was, like all family members, a combination of endearing and infuriating traits. I can't possibly capture everything I want to say about her. I'll focus on a few key points in her story. Especially the ones I don't want to forget.

Chapter 1: I want a dog

Jake and I are sitting on our green furniture warehouse couch in the University family housing apartment we had rented my first year of law school. We are having a conversation we've had many times before. It goes like this:

"I want a dog."
"I know you do, but we aren't allowed to have one here."
"Then let's move!"
"We can't afford it."
"We have to. I want a dog so badly I can feel it."

So we agreed to move in a few months, and we did. Within days of settling into our new apartment, Jake's folks arrived with our beautiful, special, indignant bundle of love, Daphne.

Chapter 2: A brief backstory

*Not actually Daphne, but a very similar picture. She had lots of black fur as a puppy, which gave way to light brown as she grew.

Daphne was born somewhere in Oregon to a breeder of Pembroke Welsh Corgis. She was small. She was the alpha, they said. Cool! said Jake's folks, and they adopted her. A few years later they adopted her "sister" Ruby. It turned out that being the alpha meant that Daphne liked to pick fights she couldn't win. Ruby wasn't looking for trouble, she would just casually try to eat her food, or exit the room, and BAM! Daphne attack!! So the sisters needed to be separated. We eagerly volunteered to take Daphers.

The Christmas before we got her, I sat on the ground of my folks-in-law house petting her head. "We get to have you soon, Daphne!" I whispered to her. I was giddy with excitement.

Chapter 3: Perfecting dog ownership

Upon adopting Daphne, I mentally created the following list of things I would do as a dog owner:

  1. Feed her at the same time every day. Routine is comforting.
  2. Take her outside on a small walk every morning, and a longer walk each evening. We didn't have a backyard, so we had to take her out on the leash.
  3. Try and socialize her at a dog park or with our friends' dogs.
  4. Go running with her on the weekends.
  5. Buy high end dog food.
  6. Brush her weekly, if not daily.
  7. Never let her sleep in our bed.

One night Daphne got into some ranch dressing. (Don't ask how. Dogs are clever.) We freaked out. Jake called the pet emergency clinic. They were great, and they walked us through exactly what we needed to do next: calm the eff down. Was she acting normally? Yes. No vomit/diarrhea/fainting? OK. She's ok. She's a dog. 

Phew!

We would look back on this story for years with combination of endearment and total hilarious embarrassment. And it would not be the last errant ranch dressing container or cake slice or chunk of cheesy human food that she would get into.

Chapter 4: New family members join us

I finished law school. I got a job. Jake and I started talking about babies. Friends were having babies. We were doing pretty well at the whole dog-raising thing (we had relaxed our standards a bit, but at least she still had the coziest sleeping spot in the house - square in the middle of our bed), and in 2009, we moved into a new house that has a great back yard where Daphne could run and explore and be free.

Which was good, because our commitment to daily walks twice a day was flailing. It was a chore, and it seemed like she started to use those morning walks to hold us hostage. Daphne had the tendency to hold a grudge.

Chapter 5: We fail at doggie parenthood in several respects

Before our first daughter was born, we researched exactly what to do. You take a baby blanket and wrap your newborn child in it, get it really gooped up with newborn juiciness. Then bring that blanket home and let your dog smell it and get all up in it. When you bring the baby home, she will instantly become part of the pack.

As it turns out, this. works. PERFECTLY. We did it! We added a member to the pack without anyone losing a finger, or a claw. As time went on, parenthood overwhelmed us and consumed our every ounce of attention. I would sometimes joke that I had no idea if Daphne was fed during the first two months of our daughter's life. I felt like I had put my head down, and when I looked up... whoa. She was still there. Has anyone fed this dog?! (Yes, Jake did godblesshim.) And somehow, she still loved us. Although a little bitter about the sudden drop in walks, she had been extremely protective of the pack, especially it's newest member. For four straight days after we got back from the hospital, Daphne kept watch and followed us around with the baby and attended every diaper change (even in the night) and barely slept. On the fourth day she completely crashed.

We didn't completely fail during these years of having babies and keeping up a house. But we did fail some. And I feel inclined to at least mention it, because it is real, and it happens. Daphne didn't get the attention she used to get. The brushing, the walks, the consistent feeding times...all of that got stretched and compromised. I would feel incredible guilt at times. While laying on couch, scratching behind her ears, I'd ask her for forgiveness and say "you know we love you, right?" She would look back up at me suddenly with big brown eyes, the cataracts starting to show through. Partly, she was saying "why all the chatter, keep up the stratching, lady!" and partly (I hope), she was loving me back.

Chapter 6: Dogs get old

Sometime after her 11th birthday, Daphne's effect on the wall-to-wall carpet was grossly irreversible. We got new flooring installed and committed to putting down towels or doggie pee pads every day. What was once an occasional, vindictive "I'm going to pee here to teach you a lesson," eventually became "I'm going to pee here each and every day and never remember a time when I didn't pee right here in the dining room like it's my job." It was endearing. Almost as endearing as the tap-tap-tap of her nails on the hardwood, no matter how short we trimmed them. At least we'd never lose track of her location in the house.

I started to mentally prepare for doggie old age and the big Good Bye. But it never seemed to get that bad. She was slower, but could still walk with us on wagon rides around the block. She could still snatch a cheese stick from little Henry's hands. She had accidents, but wasn't incontinent. (We spent $250 to figure that out!)

Until, it really did get bad.

Chapter 7: All dogs go to heaven

"She hasn't eaten anything in two days," Jake told me. Well, that's usual, I thought. "Let's try to soften the food more, maybe it's her teeth," I suggested. (In addition to her crippling fear of swings, oars, and windshield wipers, Daphne detested having her teeth brushed, which resulted in a surgical removal of 5 and the mysterious disappearance of another 4 teeth.)

We tried softer food. We tried basic mush. Covered in cheese. It wasn't working. We could see the writing on the wall.

On the night before we took her to the vet to confirm things, we talked to the kids about how Daphne was quite old (14), and not feeling well, and she would probably die. We didn't shy away from the word "die," and we let them see that we were sad. We cried. We answered questions. There was one thing we didn't anticipate, though.

In the morning as we were getting ready to go, we hear Olivia: "Let's go, Daphne, let's go! Time to go die!"

Yikes...not sure we dealt with that one correctly. Or maybe we did?

The thing they don't tell you about adopting a dog when you're young is that some day the two of you will grow up, a lot. And you'll have to make the hardest grown-up decision you've ever made, and then have to explain it to your kids. Jake and I did our best, we held it together until after we dropped the kids off at daycare, saying our last good-byes and taking a few more pictures. But once we got to the vet's, the tears fell and fell.

I held her and nuzzled her head. "You're a good dog, Daphne. You were always a good dog. You know we love you, right?"

Jake got her out and whispered something to her. They had a special bond. The scene inside the vet's office was the saddest thing you ever saw. The staff got choked up, we were a mess. Daphne, in her sweet tired way, went out panting and "smiling," probably trying to tell us it was OK. All dogs go to heaven. And wherever she is now, I hope there are plenty of squirrels to chase, endless energy to do so, and never a windshield wiper. 

Chapter 8: After she's gone, there's a hole in our hearts

Now that our dog is gone, we feel her absence constantly. Whenever we open the front door and start to announce our usual "Daphne, we're home!" she isn't there. When we turn off the lights at night, there's no dog to let outside. There's no food bowl to fill. There's no dog sitter to call when we plan a trip. (We are also aware of the upsides, it's true.)

I think what I miss the most is the constant unfailing love of my dear friend. Pets love us with such an intense loyalty unlike anything. Daphne sat by my side through law school, through losing my first job (I'll never forget coming home early, plopping down on the couch, petting her and crying), and through kids, pregnancies, new jobs, postpartum depression, and all the years when I felt like a failure at doggie parenting. She didn't see me as a failure, she just loved me. She loved us all, and she will always have a tender place in our hearts.

God bless you, Daphne girl.
 

What I've learned from mindfully eating for 30 days

My favorite goal from the latest 30 Day Challenge (#hmvlifechallenge) was "mindful eating." I'd vaguely heard of the concept, but never researched it. And I didn't plan to, I wanted to try it with a blank slate, no preconceptions. Or, as the French say, "like a virgin."

The idea came to me over a boring turkey sandwich at Burgerville. This was right after the holidays, and I was feeling overweight with food and sodium and the last month or so of poor decisions. So in a way the sandwich was self-punishment for my gluttonous ways, and in another way it was the beginning of making healthier choices. I don't know, take your pick.

The point is, once I started on my sad little sandwich, I realized I could actually just forget all the sad self-talk and just try to enjoy it, even though it was healthy and basic and not slathered in sauce and cheese (boo!). I could decide that it wasn't necessarily a sad sandwich, maybe it could be good. What if, I thought, what if I just close my eyes and really taste this sandwich and savor it? And...

It worked!

No really, it actually worked. Instead of absentmindedly scarfing it down, I really tasted the swiss cheese and felt the multigrainy-ness of the bread. The mayo (my fav) tasted fantastic, the lettuce was all crunchy, I was like "This is the best freakin turkey sandwich I'VE EVER HAD!"

My world was rocked. So off I went, for 30 days, trying to be mindful at every meal. Specifically (because your goals should be as specific and measurable as possible), I tried to

(a) Put my fork down between bites, and
(b) Close my eyes and focus on tasting my food.

Pretty genius stuff, right? Like I said, I wasn't trying to do it exactly by the book. I just wanted to try something basic and see what this "mindfulness" stuff could do, if anything.

So here are a few of the effects I've noticed in my 30-day experiment:

  • Everything tastes better!
  • Or it tastes worse, because I actually notice how icky it is (e.g. Doritos...very fake cheesy)
  • I stop eating when I'm full (usually)
  • I'm aware of when I'm overfull, and it bothers me
  • I leave food on my plate, often
  • I also leave wine in my glass
  • The mindful eating has expanded to mindful ... umm, drinking?
  • I notice that happy, warm feeling that an alcoholic beverage produces, and I enjoy it in a very "present" way
  • It's still hard to stop eating when the food tastes so good, or cost so much, but I'm at least passingly aware that this is is a crazy reason to keep eating
  • Mindful eating doesn't solve everything
  • I didn't drop weight like crazy. I think that's ok. This is all about the long game.
  • I don't see food as the enemy or a temptation to be conquered
  • I enjoy food more
  • As food is becoming less of an enemy, it is also becoming less of a reward. It's settling into the "just food" zone. I eat it because I'm hungry. I eat it because it nourishes me. Along the way, I enjoy it.
  • I'm still human, so I like food. So there's that.

This is not an exclusive list, but one that I've been keeping and adding to. Mindful eating is an interesting way to conquer your food issues. If you do it like I did (barely knowing what you're doing but open to whatever happens), I think you'll learn a lot. You might unravel these weird things that we do with food. Like eating too much because it was expensive. Or scarfing something down because you're late to a meeting. I really do believe that all food can and should be enjoyed. The results that come from enjoying food and really thinking about what you're eating and why ... well, I think it could be game changing.

Enjoy!

January 2016: A new #hmvlifechallenge and my goals for the new year!

New year, new me! Right?

Not exactly. That phrase is rather obnoxious. But I do have a few goals for the year. And a fun way to kick it off!

I started another 30 day challenge to kick off the year on a healthy note! This one's called the 3x30 Challenge. You can now find all my #hmvlifechallenge posts in the "Topics" link at the top of my new and improved menu bar. Ooooooh look at me being all website-making. I'm such a web wiz! (said no one ever) (it literally took me all night to figure out)

The January 2016 challenge is the second challenge I've organized, but it's so much better, because my friends are co-organizing it with me! It's fantastic. We've taken turns kind of 'leading' the group and posting every day and encouraging people. It's not like there is a script for these kinds of things, but keeping people engaged and involved is so crucial. Most people start out posting daily. Then it drops a little. People get busy or forget. Some aren't big on social medial to begin with. Some are actually following along daily but not posting much on their own.

I'm pretty keen on social media. I like posting, I like reading people's thoughts, I like commenting or "liking" or re-tweeting or whathaveyou. I'm very social in general, so having a little online discussion with friends throughout my day is energizing to me. Not always, though. I did take a little Facebook break back in December when my news feed was a never-ending stream of bad news and bummer comments. I figured out how to tweak some settings, and now I'm back!

The 30 Day Challenge captures that energy of social media and uses it to do good. On Day 1 we all post our goals. It can be any goal, but they're related to health and fitness and you can only have 3 this time! (Hence the 3x30 Challenge, get it? 3 goals, 30 days). Here are mine:

  1. Track all my food and drinks for 7 straight days.
  2. Do daily push-ups and sit-ups.
  3. Mindful eating, specifically, put down my fork between bites and really taste the food.

I'll post more about these soon, with updates. Here are a few of the great goals that other challengers have set:

  • 10000 steps per day
  • 5000 steps per day, increasing 500 per week
  • Workout 2x/week
  • 1 run or hike each week
  • Meditate for 10 mins/day
  • Drink 100 oz water/day
  • Drink 65 oz water/day
  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Lose 10 lbs
  • No fast food for 30 days
  • No dessert for 30 days
  • Dessert only 3x/week
  • Salads for lunch
  • Eat the Whole30
  • Salsa dance 1x/week
  • Barre3 classes online 3x/week
  • In bed by 10:15pm
  • Stick to a diet buddy diet (two friends)
  • Enjoy time at home with my kids

First of all, can we applaud how specific and attainable these goals are? This group is so smart and creative. We all could say that our goals are to "eat healthy and lose weight and get fit." But the way we'll get there is different. And the way we do it should reflect the things we like to do, and the way we want to live. But first, how do we specifically get from where we are to where we want to be?

For example, several people are trying to change habits and do things like "drink more water." Well, that's great, but where do you start? It turns out that you can start by calculating how much water you drink in a given day, buying a bigger water bottle, then counting how many times you need to fill it daily to up your intake. How do I know that? Because that's what several people posted about one day, and they did it! It's happening!!

I continue to be inspired by the power of the group. This is why the good Lord created social media (probably). To help us help each other to reach our goals.

Good luck out there!



Holiday Stress: A December Tradition

A photo posted by Hmv (@hmvlife) on

Oh Christmas stress, oh Christmas stress! How stressy stressful can you be??

Happy Decembertime everyone! It's that time of year when everything is magical and Christmas carols play in your head all day long and no one freaks out and everythingisfine! Right?!

NOPE.

There are so many beautiful posts about the serenity of this season right now. But sorry, this is not this one. Here's a little walk into the mind of hmv right now. Warning: I'M FREAKING OUT.

5:00am Henry wakes up. I bring him to bed.

5:15 I'm going over my list of presents and trying to remember if we have anything for Jake's sister yet. Maybe Olivia can make something? Can her daycare lady teach her to crochet in 1 day?

5:40 Go to sleep, damnit!

6:30 Eff it, I'll get up!

6:47 Take "shower" (standing in shower thinking about everything I need to do today)

7:00 Get kids ready. Relent. Let kids dress themselves in plaids, stripes, and last night's pajama pants.

8:00 Yell at everything until it gets out the door and into the car.

8:05 Feel bad about yelling. Where is the yuletide spirit around here? Resolve to not yell any more ever again.

8:15 Roll into work. Open inbox. "You have...18,437 unread emails!"

8:30 Try to remember that thing Olivia suddenly got fixated on. Princess kittens? Hedgehog underwear? A real unicorn with a real gold horn named Carol. Hop onto Amazon and quickly purchase them all.

Eat breakfast.

Work.

Listen to my Holiday station on Pandora. See? I'm in the holiday spirit! I did it!

Recall that project that I'm running behind on. Open it up. Do a little . . DING! "You have....314 new emails."

12:00 Go to the gym? Scrap that.

12:04 Run to the mall. Shop my face off. WOO! DOING ALL THE THINGS!!!

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

1:00 Rush back to work.

Eat lunch.

Work.

Try to ignore the running mental to-do list scrolling through my head like an oppressive credit reel to a movie you've seen like a hundred times that won't end even after they've listed the 2nd Assistant Cinematographer, all the extras, their cousins, and every inanimate object in the entire film.

What was I saying? Oh yes...

5:00 Rush out of work. Rush to daycare. Retrieve children. Pause momentarily to adore the Christmas art that the children have created that day, specially, just for me. With red crayons, because that's your favorite color, Mommy! Oh, my. These kids really are so sweet, how luck are we? How great is this daycare to drum up all these holiday activities?  ...sigh...

Oops! Got to go! Who wants to help me pick out a present for Daddy?? Yay!

5:30 Stuck in traffic.

5:45 Still stuck.

Gahhhhh!!!!

5:51 Park. Get out of car. Get Hank out. Get Lil O out. Grab purse. Grab children. Get inside. Shop. Pull things out of the kids' hands and put them back on shelves.

5:56 "Mommy, why don't you ever buy ME anything?!" Waaaa! Tantrum!

6:01 Buy the child juice. Make the child drink the juice like Sally Field did to Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias. (Please tell me you get that reference and we are best friends for life)

6:10 Do everything in reverse. Get back home. Fall face first onto the couch.

6:12 Hide Daddy's gift. Remind the child that we are hiding Daddy's gift, a gift that she no longer gives two hoots about because it isn't for her!

6:15 Give heartwarming speech about Christmas, and how it's about giving AND receiving, and lots of kids don't even get to have gifts, and we should all be so thankful for our family and house and remember that we love each other, it doesn't matter if we get gifts or not, we always love each other.

At this point, although she is listening, she is also looking back with a very blank stare. She is, after all, only four years old. She doesn't grasp the nuances of a gift-giving holiday and the spirit of the season and baby Jesus and all that. Plus she has the blood sugar level of a Type 1 diabetic bride.

There will be more time to talk about these important things. We will have more Christmases. For now we can just focus on one thing: what's for dinner?

 

Goodbye November, Hello December 2015

Ahh another month, another chance to blog it all out. All the feels. November is a sweet month, but a bit dark this year. A bit gloomy at times. It never fails to end with Thanksgiving, though, and for that I am grateful.

Good-bye November:

  • On November 13th: we lost 130 people in the city of Paris. Terrorists attacked several locations and claimed to be with ISIS. It is still very fresh in our minds. We still do not know what this will mean in the long term. It feels a lot like post-9/11. When we didn't even know it would be called "9/11," and we didn't foresee the long war that would follow in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we on the verge of another war? A world war even?
  • Violence: is a theme right now. I don't want it to be. I worry that it's getting to me. The news never seems to be good. On the 30th, yet another mass shooter attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. All of this on the heels of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College. My colleagues went to UCC afterward to help, and their stories were heartbreaking. Where will this end? Something needs to change.
  • I've been feeling: down. I said something about it a few weeks back and my people reached out big time (thank you, people). One thing about being pretty open and honest about your feelings and your struggles is that folks aren't shy about offering support.
  • Work: has been a little frustrating. But still very grateful for my job and my people there, too.
  • Thanksgiving: went pretty well. It was a long process traveling to see my family. It always is at this time of year. Impossibly difficult at times. But what are we going to do, not see family on Thanksgiving? No. Our family is just too much fun. (Side note: there is no remaining Fireball whiskey in the city of my hometown.)

Hello December:

  • This project at work: I'm going to figure it out. It's going to come together. The answer will reveal itself, and then...poof! All my problems solved forever.
  • Shopping anxiety: won't get the better of me. I can be obsessive about getting our holiday shopping done. And done well. And sometimes when you have two young kids and a husby and a jobby job, well, finding the perfect gift for everyone just can't be so important. It can't consume my life. ...but wait wasn't there a promo code I wanted to use today on Shutterfly??...And did I order a dress on Stitchfix?...And put Jake's clothes on our Amazon list? Bahhhh!
  • Christmas lights: are going up next weekend. Promise! I'd prefer to put them up early, like November 5th, but no one around here let's me do that. Also I kind of forget about the lights as soon as I get inside our warm house.
  • Christmas tree hunt: also this weekend! Trying to talk Jake into a Noble this year. My friend gets a Noble usually, whereas we (like fools) insist on getting a tree that smells good. The evidence is in: none of them smell like anything after you cut them!
  • All I want for Christmas: is four glorious days of peace and quiet. In the super quiet, super laid-back city of New Orleans! Woooo! Adult time! A-dult-time! A-dult-time! *fist pump* *confetti*
  • Last wish: to enjoy the season. Not overdo it. Not feel rushed. Just have a cup of coffee. Sit in pajamas. Enjoy the kids opening gifts and playing with cousins and remember that this time is so special and so fleeting.