In which my kids get the best of me, as always

By the time I returned from Vegas, Gwen had begun pulling herself up. One month later and the standing is a regular thing, along with creeping alongside the couch (leaving a lovely trail of drool on the cushions behind–apparently she keeps her sense of balance in her tongue.) I can’t say I’m ready for this. She only started crawling for real 2-3 weeks ago, but apparently she’s taking AP courses in mobility. Also, she’s learned to feed herself finger foods, clap, give kisses, and wave hello, all in the span of the last week and a half. If she keeps up at this developmental pace, she’ll be starting college in about, oh, three years. Two if she really applies herself in toddler school… but those quadratic equations are a bitch when you don’t know how to properly hold a crayon. 😛

getaway driver

Gwen taking Driver’s Ed. Careful parellel parking, kiddo.

Now I not only have to keep Ellie from unintentionally giving her sister a concussion, I have to keep Gwen from giving herself a concussion. Double your pleasure, if by “pleasure” you mean “number of small heart attacks.”

Gwen is also teething, and I don’t remember teething being this… nerve-wracking. Maybe I’ve blocked it from my memory for a reason, but Ellie cut all her teeth in the span of about six months, so it was wham, bang, done. No muss, no fuss. In contrast, Gwen’s chompers are taking their pleasant time. Apparently she’s going to draw this out as long as painfully possible and suck down every last ounce of my patience in the process.

Speaking of patience or a lack thereof, let’s talk about Ellie.

A rare snuggly moment

A rare moment of peace

I have mixed feelings about three as an age in general. I realize my experience in this arena is limited, and those of you who are familiar with teenagers are looking at me with “Oh, honey, you have no idea” eyes. Ellie may have an attitude, but at least she doesn’t have car keys, a credit card, and a hulking boyfriend named Todd, right? I still have some illusion of control here.

Ellie, oh my sweet Ellie. I know a big part of my struggle comes down to a difference in personality. She is so fiery, and I am not. I don’t know how to handle all her passion and angst. That’s not to say I’m not angsty, but I’m not outwardly angsty. Keep that shit to yourself, please!

But Miss Three does not know how to keep her shit to herself. Miss Three wants us to know about everything–every single thought in her adorable blonde head. All. Of. It. All the drama, all the time, like a Lifetime movie marathon on constant repeat.

And the noise! “Mama? Mama?!? MAMA! Hey Mama! MAMA!!!!” By the time I go to bed, every last nerve is fried and overstimulated to the point where I can’t sleep. I’m physically buzzing in an effort to keep up with my kids. Like a junkie who gets high on silence and desperately needs a fix.

Mostly, I can’t believe they’re growing so fast. Every time I look at Ellie climb the rope ladder to get to the big kids’ slide, Mama!, and every time I look at Gwen’s chubby legs taking tentative steps alongside the furniture, I am reminded of how much has changed in the last three years. I’m frustrated because I can’t hold onto it. The kids are always slipping out of my grasp, literally and figuratively. They want to move, they want to go, and I won’t hold them back, but part of me wants my babies to stay innocent and sweet and chubby and attitude-free. So much change in such a short period of time is overwhelming. Such is parenthood, I suppose.

😃+

getting healthy! monthly check-in

It’s going…  OK. I’ve lost 2 more pounds since I last wrote… not as much as I would have liked (I was shooting for 1lb/week), but still, a loss is a loss. Considering how one of those weeks was particularly difficult due to travel, and how I haven’t really pushed myself very hard, and how I just went back to work in late November… let’s just say there were enough obstacles that I should probably consider those two pounds a huge success under the circumstances.

(And hey, my house still looks fantastic!)

I was particularly nervous about going back to work, but I think I’ve found a routine that’s going to stick. Currently I walk to and from the office most days, which nets me about 4-5k steps total. Tim takes the girls to school/daycare so I’m free to walk in the morning, then I’ll sometimes walk home for lunch or across campus to Ellie’s school at the end of the day. Two of the three walks per day, plus a concentrated effort to get up from my desk every half hour, is usually enough activity to finish my evenings with relatively little effort. There’s some flexibility built in and I’m always on the lookout for alternatives in the event I can’t do one of my daily walks–for example, I walk to meetings whenever possible or I’ll jog up and down the stairs in my building during breaks. If it gets too cold to walk, I plan on firing up the Wii again.

I also started playing Health Month in earnest, and while I thought the idea was a little hokey at first, I’m surprised at just how motivating it is. I haven’t walked less than 10k steps a day since the start of December because I’m held accountable to that goal every day. Funny how something so simple can be so effective.

There’s also something to be said for the fact that I feel better, not just physically but mentally as well. I noticed after our trip to Santa’s Village that I was not nearly as exhausted as I would have been before–I was tired and sore being on my feet all day, sure, but I didn’t need the following two days just to recover. I also feel more capable, if that makes sense–tasks that used to seem impossible become manageable when I remind myself that little steps add up to big things. It’s a refreshing new way of looking at the world and I’m enjoying it.

So in summary, I’m keeping at it. Some days are easier than others and I suppose it will always be that way. I have to remind myself that weight loss, while a nice side effect, should not be my primary measurement of progress. I’d be happy to maintain my current weight as long as I continue to make small changes toward bettering my health. I want this process to evolve organically in hopes it will become habit and not a dreaded daily chore.

😃+

i like to move it move it

Apologies for the title. Last month, I set a short-term goal of exercising every day for 21 days (thinking if I could do that, it would become habit) and I’ve kept it up for over a month with relatively few complaints. My long-term goal is to get in shape, although I really hate that term–“in shape.” I am “in shape” and that shape is a rather large circle. But I digress. Let’s just say I want to feel healthier.

Exercise and I have a tenuous relationship at best. In college I started walking 20-30 minutes a day and that was my primary exercise. I’m not sure what prompted the routine, but I stuck with it for several years (somewhat begrudgingly.) I was temporarily knocked off track (pardon the pun) when I broke my foot in September 2006, and then again when I got pregnant with Ellie. After Ellie was born, I tried to get back into regular activity using the Wii Fit but that got boring pretty fast.

So this time, I’m making an attempt to do some form of physical activity–20 minutes or so–every day. No pressure. So far that involves walking home from work or aerobic stepping on the Wii, and occasionally I’ll substitute another exercise-like activity for the usual 20-minute stint. As far as I’m concerned, if I sweat, it counts. What surprises me is that I rarely find myself thinking, “I don’t want to do this!” If anything, I look forward to the little break each day. I’ve also lost about 5 lbs, which is a nice bonus.

The biggest challenge will be keeping myself interested when winter sets in and walking outside is not possible. I’m considering a new treadmill, but we’ll see how I fare with the Wii for now. I also have DDR in the event Wii Fit gets boring. Month two, here I come!

😃+