Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Week Without Kids

The boys have been at camp since Sunday. Sleep in a cabin, swim in a lake, learn archery, make lanyards camp. It's been weird.

We all know kids change your life, but I think the scheduling part of parenthood might have come as the biggest's not easy to explain to someone without kids that once the children arrive you will have to account for your location and your kids' locations at all times...that your day will really revolve around when those kids need to eat and sleep (even when they're bigger)...and that leaving the house in the morning and returning only when it's time to collapse into bed is something childless people do. I mean, sure you can explain it, but they won't get it until it's happening to them. Which is probably just as well.

I'm not complaining. I've adjusted to being home way more than being out and about. It's just weird to suddenly not have the kids around for such a big stretch and realize how long it's been since you could have a spontaneous happy hour after work or go out to a movie on a weeknight...or not cook dinner for almost a week(!).

I miss those boys, but it's been a good week. [With the exception of my dear Lola dying yesterday. Rest in peace sweet mouse.] It's been busy and tiring in good ways. And I've barely watched any TV, so now I'm starting to understand people (childless people, at least) who tell me they don't really have time to watch TV.

The boys come home tomorrow and I am torn between spending my last night without them purging and cleaning their rooms (like I vowed to do when they left) or just going out to another movie and having a margarita in the, when you say it out loud the choice seems a lot more obvious.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Foot in Front of the Other

I did it! This morning I ran an entire mile without stopping - and more importantly, without DYING!

I've been working on this for awhile and I am just amazed at how quickly I was able to increase my distance by running outside. The treadmill and I are no longer friends. (However, the Nike + GPS app and I are BFFs.)

I'm ridiculously proud of myself. And motivated. I actually think I'll be able to run a 5K this year...possibly this fall.

Running a mile is nothing to many people, but I'm not kidding when I tell you that I did not think I was physically capable of it just weeks ago. But now I am!

Here's to setting goals and achieving them - especially when they're actually good for you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

If We're Friends on FB, You Probably Know All of This

I'm afraid that Facebook is replacing my brain's need to blog...which once replaced my need to journal (on paper! privately!). It all feels a bit like switching from eating grapes to drinking grape-flavored Fanta. (I've mentioned that I'm analogy challenged, yes?)

Anyway, I have about seven zillion things (or at least seven) that I've wanted to write about during my blog silence, but today I must first acknowledge that today is not just Father's Day, but also my husband's birthday. I am very lucky to have a husband who is both an amazing person and an amazing dad. So even though I feel bad that he kinda got screwed in the celebration department this year, it at least gives me the opportunity to say how happy I am that he was born on this day 36 years ago because otherwise my life as I know it would not exist - including these crazy fantastic kids. So, honey, thank you for that. 

In other news, I am in the middle of another whirlwind-y phase at work. It's the travel that really throws me into a tizzy. On the one hand, it's kind of fun to take a break from routine, visit a new place and play the role of business traveller. Last week I was in Vermont hanging out with some very cool snowboarders. Tomorrow I'm going to Boston to hang out with a whole lot of IT guys (and gals) and probably some of them will be pretty cool, too. (Plus, I'm going to visit the birthplace of Boston Cream Pie!)

One the other, bigger hand, it's hard to be away. I hate seeing how much bigger the boys and the pile of laundry have gotten while I've been away. And then it's never like there's a catch-up period, you're just back in it, only a few days behind. It makes me a little crazy.

But, after this trip I should be home again until we leave for our fantastic voyage down the Pacific Coast Highway in August! I just made the last of the hotel arrangements (no, I don't camp) so we're good to go! 

But much sooner than that, my tiny babies who are somehow now 8, are going away to overnight camp...for a week. A week! Last year they did the mini-camp that lasted only 3 nights and they had SUCH a good time. No TV, no video games, just the woods and swimming and campfires...I know it's all so good for them, I'm just having a hard time knowing that they'll be gone for 6 nights this time. I will, of course, fill those 6 nights with happy hours and movies and whatever else kidless people do on a whim, but I will also miss seeing those little faces every morning. Sigh.  

Since we're having the blog of randomness today, I'll also throw in that in my quest to lose weight, I've taken up running again and yesterday I ran 0.86 miles(!), which is very, very close to my goal of being able to run a whole mile...which, in turn, will bring me closer to fulfilling #1 on my 40 by 40 list: Running a 5K. 

Everyone told me this, but I didn't really listen because I liked being hidden down in my basement: Running outside makes all the difference. I ran 1/2 a mile on my first outside run. On the treadmill, I am near death after 1/4 mile. It's the ability to slow your pace down without having to think about it, but I think it's also just seeing actual progress...getting from one place to the next. It's much easier to will myself to run to one more mailbox or to the end of the next block, than it is to stare at numbers on a screen. 

To be clear, even though I'm making progress in the endurance department, I haven't lost any weight. It's actually pissing me off a bit, but I know I'm supposed to be patient. I have the good fortune of being related to a health counselor, who has instructed me on volumetrics, among other things, so I am slowly learning to fill my belly with whole grains and nutrient dense vegetables. Combined with the running, I am bound to see progress soon. 

Soon, I tell you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cold Turkey

I recently went off my anti-anxiety medication (Celexa) cold turkey. I had intended to step down off of it, but I guess my brain had other plans since I found myself suddenly forgetting to take it for three days in a row.

I decided to quit after my doctor confirmed that I had gained 8 lbs. in just six months. Add that to the weight I started gaining two years ago when I switched birth control, and then the normal couple pounds a person gains each year as they get older and it’s a lot. The meds were the obvious culprit for the recent weight gain – my doctor said that she had seen other patients gain 20, 40, even 60 pounds on the same or similar meds.
“You don’t want to keep gaining eight pounds every six months,” she said, eyeing my 5’1” (and a half) frame. No, I certainly do not.
So, it’s been nearly two weeks and I feel...anxious. And tired. And overwhelmed. And unmotivated. In other words, not great. I don’t yet know how much is withdrawal and how much is what I blissfully forgot I felt like before the meds.

It’s weird because I didn’t think the meds had made a drastic difference. I felt better, sure, but I had described the effect as merely “taking the edge off” my general neuroses. Now that I’m returning to my natural state, I’m finding myself getting much more easily frustrated, the house feels much dirtier, and I’m in a constant state of trying to remember what I forgot to do. This is what I used to feel like most of the time. This is why I went on the meds in the first place.

The fact that I’d been coping with all of this without meds for so long made me think that my anxiety wasn’t that big of a deal…and in the sense that I am able to function in society, I guess it’s not – is “functionally anxious” a term? – however, I can’t help aspiring to do more than simply function.

What does all of this mean? I have no idea. In the short term, I plan to use my yoga breathing and channel all this anxiety into losing weight. I’m shooting for an even 10% of my current body weight. It’s not going to be easy since I have almost no willpower and I still hate exercise, but I’m hoping Minka Kelly’s belly will supply enough motivation to keep me jogging and crunching for at least a little while.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another Year Older

And so another birthday weekend has passed... 

I'm okay with being 34, but I'm having a hard time with this 8-year-old business. It's just so unbelievable that my babies are such big'd think I would have seen it coming. Sigh. 

I won't give you the full play-by-play on all the festivities, but I do want to tell you that taking a group of 8-year-olds to a restaurant where they juggle knives and cook over open flame right in front of your face isn't the smartest idea. I mean, everything was fine and the kids had an amazing time, but as we sat down at our teppenyaki station, I couldn't help but think that I might be tempting fate. 

I also should tell you that iPod Shuffles are, in fact, the perfect gift for 8-year-olds. Owen actually asked if he could listen to his iPod rather than play Wii today. Sure, there's a lurking fear that I'm paving the way to a reclusive teenage-hood where they sit alone in their rooms listening to headphones (yes, I know, they're "ear buds") and refuse to speak to me, but I'm trying to keep a lid on that for now and instead enjoy the peace that comes from personal music players...even if the first thing Aidan bought from the iTunes store was Ke$ha. Seriously.

The end of birthday weekend also marked the beginning of the 10 Percent Challenge, which kicked off strong with a jog and a day of sensible eating (and no sweets!). More on that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tales of Travel and Not Saying Anything Dumb

Has it really been 2 days already? I got back from Vegas on Monday and suddenly it's Wednesday...huh.

So this was an unusual trip to Vegas, as it centered around our very first Vegas wedding, and we stayed at the Red Rock Resort, which is way off the Strip.

The entire weekend was lovely. The couple getting married had planned activities for the guests on Friday and Saturday night (wedding was Sunday) and it was all just fun.

I must also note that I found myself in the same room as Kristen Bell, on whom I have had a crush since Veronica Mars. But since I never got the opportunity to speak to her, I didn't make a fool of myself. I should also mention that she was with Dax Shepard. Had I had the opportunity to speak to him, I would have quizzed him on where they're getting the autism story line on Parenthood. My husband assures me that as a mere actor on the show, Dax would not know such things, but it wouldn't have stopped me from, yeah, it's probably good that we were never introduced.

But oh, the wedding. You know when you go to a wedding and you're just so incredibly happy for the couple? Not just happy in a "good luck!" kind of way, but in a I'm-so-happy-you-two-found-each-other way? That's how I feel about this couple. The wedding was pure them, which is to say it was classy and entertaining and fun. It made me want to have another wedding so I could steal some of their ideas.

And yes, I wore the dress and it was fabulous. Not so fabulous was the sinus infection I seem to have acquired as soon as our plane hit the ground in Vegas. I started out the evening strong, but by 10 p.m. my head felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls and I just wanted to go to bed. A real bummer as I think that's the kind of dress that likes to stay out late.

As for the Red Rock, it convinced me that off-Strip can be better than on-Strip accommodations. I missed some of my on-the-Strip favorites, but it was really nice not to have to weave through hundreds of people every place we went. Plus, the place is gorgeous, there are lots of good dining options, and they had a bevy of Irish-themed slots (Gettin' Lucky, Emerald Eyes, Reels O'Dublin), which became my new focus for this trip. There's something particularly nice about hearing an Irish jig while gambling. I might even (gasp) consider taking the boys to this place someday, as they've got a movie theater and a bowling alley attached to the casino, which means that once the kids are old enough to do such activities on their own, it really could be fun for the whole family.

In short: Vegas is still fabulous.

Now we must shift our focus to the upcoming birthday bonanza. On Saturday, I will turn 34 and on Sunday, my babies turn 8 (and I cry). The weekend is full of festivities, which I will enjoy extra hard, as on Monday I am beginning what I am dubbing "The 10% Challenge," during which I will work to lose approximately 10% of my body weight. It's no Biggest Loser or anything, but it's a big deal for me and so, I will drag you along with me, dear readers. More on that next week.

Now I must rest up for this weekend.