Thursday, May 23, 2013


In my efforts to start fresh with healthy behaviors and attitudes I've done a couple of key things: committed to more physical activity and started this blog. Doesn't sound like much, but really, it just might be enough to get me over the change curve I need in my life.

I'm excited about this change, figuring it out, writing about it... maybe too excited like looking forward to a vacation a little too much, then it can't possibly meet your expectations... I hope I can keep my expectations for change grounded in reasonably small steps.

One thing I haven't thought a lot about in the midst of all of this planning was making time for grief. My father passed away from an apparent heart attack nearly 6 months ago. It was sudden, unexpected and tore my world apart. I was also eight and a half months pregnant at the time.

I love my father very much. It was never lost on me just what a special person I had raising me. My mother was kind of his antithesis in many ways, so I grew very close to Dad and remained that way for many years. I could talk to him about anything, loved spending time with him, learning from him, even debating with him... he was quick to forgive, quick to laugh and loved those he loved very deeply.

So when my mother called us at 10:30 on the last Friday in November I knew something wasn't right. My husband took the call in another room and while he was on the phone a feeling came over me "He's gone..." I knew it, somehow. I didn't have a premonition or a vision, but I knew. It wasn't until my husband confirmed it "That was your Mom. Your Dad passed away tonight" Those words still tear at my heart when I think of them. It was over. He was gone. I would not hear his voice, hear him laugh, see him smile... Then the sinking feeling washed over me when I thought about my daughter: He won't see her... she won't know him.

I think I was in shock for about three days straight, then was in "mothering" mode for my family around me. We made the arrangements, I wrote the obituary, worked on the order of service, wrote his eulogy, contacted family... there's so much to do when someone dies. I also had to continue to work, make all of my doctor's appointments and prepare for the baby.

There was a little time for mourning, but not much. Especially when Baby came, our lives were so different and she needed us to be fully present, if not fully awake. I couldn't take time off to go have the breakdown I do desperately wanted. The loss of my father was worth tearing my hair out over, sitting in sackcloth and ash, rending of garments would have been completely appropriate. But none of that happened.

This week my grief came due... two weekends of family events, where his absence was so present... how could we all just be moving on? How could my daughter possibly be growing up in a world where he isn't here? To be alive is an amazing thing. There is no substitute for it. There is no angelic third presence between alive and dead that we get to occupy. It is stark and terrible and painful, this loss. He would have loved her sweet face, her blueberry blue eyes, her chubby little legs.

Time heals nothing. I can attest to that. Busy-ness cures nothing. Grief will have it's way. If there was ever true Love it requires mourning when it's gone. I need to wade through this heartache I've avoided for so many months. I unwillingly started that this week. I got out of the shower Tuesday night and cried so hard my eyes were still swollen and dry the next morning. How this ties to my goals for myself is that I don't think moving forward is possible with unresolved issues, un-repented wrongs, un-grieved heartache. I don't think it will ever stop coming completely, but for now I'll be giving in, wading through, and wait for the healing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Who She Needs Me to Be

I have never in my life been more concerned with who I am than since my little girl was born. I don't know if this is a common feeling among women or not. I don't really feel a "societal" pressure to be a particular type of mom, nor do I have to be the mother of all mothers... I just need to be my Baby's mom and do the best job I'm capable of doing.

I had a conversation with an acquaintance years ago who was "trying to figure out women"... I listened to him talk for a long time about how difficult things were, then I said, "You don't have to figure out women, you have to figure out YOUR woman."  I think it was a real moment of clarity for him to be released from the self-inflicted burden of understanding all of woman-kind in order to make one relationship work. Honestly, are our lives complex, or do we make them that way?

Focus on what matters, what impacts your world.

So, I've been looking at myself a little differently these past few months. My lens includes new questions among many others: What does my baby need from me? Who does she need me to be?

I've got some answers:

  • Healthy: obviously I need to drop weight, manage my health better overall to be here with her and so she won't pick up my bad habits that will become burdens in her own life.
  • Smart: My daughter needs to see me thinking things through, praying, listening, deciding what the best option is. If I do this, she'll learn to do the same. 
  • Loving: I want her to know every single day that she is loved and she is welcome. She belongs right where she is and we are grateful for her.
  • Forgiving: Mistakes will be made. Forgiveness is a gift to the whole family. We have this policy in our marriage - once it's forgiven, it's gone. It makes for a much happier present and a more promising, joyful future. Mistakes will happen, amends will be made, then we move on. 
  • Playful/Creative: I can't imagine not having time to just be silly and enjoy each other, to explore and create together. This kind of joy can't be replicated by other means. 
  • Weak: She needs to see me screw up sometimes, to be honest about my struggles, to seek out the right path. Being strong all the time is no attribute, it becomes an impossible standard that breeds insecurity. 
  • Satisfied: Constant complaining, comparisons, and criticisms don't make for happy people or a happy home. Most of us have more than what we need on any given day, we have people who love us and resources to help when we're coming up short. 
It's interesting to think of who I am and how I can grow to meet her needs as a mom. Maybe more later on what I've missed not having a Mom with a Mission... 

Moving and Not So Much Moving

So, I've got a re-committed eye on exercise, but I am struggling to get in a groove. We went out last night with Baby on a walk (first non-rainy day in awhile). I do get out sometimes, but it's the Monday Muscles that remind me that my short weekend of activity is considerably more than I get during the week.

Because it's important I am going to take a walk when I get to work in the morning, then I have to go to silly lengths to make sure I'm moving enough during the day. Sending documents to copiers on the other side of my building, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, checking the weather by literally walking downstairs and going outside... you have to do these things when you have an office job.

I also realized, holding my Baby on our walk last night, that my upper body strength is pathetic. I need to build up and get stronger to keep up with this little one. I'm sure there are a million little things I could do, but the one that makes the most sense is to just lift weights on a regular basis.

Getting it all on the calendar... getting it integrated into my life... I'm getting there.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Time

Blink.Back at work.

Two full days at home and I have little recollection of where the time went. Sure, yesterday was easy: Church for my niece's baptism, then a three hour nap, in laws coming over for a visit, but what did I do with the rest? I struggle to find time to get all of the little things done like dishes, laundry, grocery shopping that don't infringe on my already limited time with my Little One.

I look at the weekend on Friday afternoon and breathe deeply thinking this time the time will go satisfyingly slow enough for me to catch up on all my errands, spend loads of time with Baby and Hubby, and still get myself together before the week starts again.

Time has become a difficult thing to manage in the last month. I've always been good at coordinating our household efficiently. I could fit 5 hours of work into 2 if I wanted to - I was a marvel at errand running, cleaning, organizing... now falling behind. It doesn't stress me out as much as it just feels disappointing that I can't somehow stand between the brick walls of 8am Saturday morning and 10pm Sunday night and, with my superhero arms, push those barriers out to three or four days.

It's challenging too, how much of our time is pressed upon by others. Sitters that linger once I get home, my mother in law wants to come over a lot since she doesn't have anything to do during the week, family get-togethers in a season of birthdays, christenings, mother's and father's days... I like seeing other people, but then our time alone with Baby gets gobbled up. I have a consistent feeling of "didn't I just see you yesterday?" every time I turn around. Time management isn't rocket science, but it definitely feels like working on a rubik's cube - trying to get all the little parts to line up 'just so'... Starting with this weekend I think it's best to change one element at a time rather than working with all of the little pieces:

So, after two weekends loaded with extended family stuff, I'm putting our little family in quarantine for awhile. I don't yet know how to shoo off the sitters respectfully once I get home, but I'll figure that one out later. I just want quiet - no grandma voices, no other kids around, no big travel plans, just our little nest of three. I'll have to start planning the week and errands to work around that so our weekends can be more relaxed. I think my short term strategy may be to do errands before the Baby wakes up in the morning, if I can.

We'll see how it goes.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Books I'd Like To Get To

I love reading. I do. I just don't do it very much anymore. Honestly, with a job and family, it's all I can do most days to remember to put on deodorant (you're welcome). I was an English major in college and got my MA in English Lit - love writing, reading, listening to books... anything that's good and gets my brain rolling, I'll take it. 

I haven't found the balance yet with getting books back in my life without feeling like a neglectful mother. I'm away from my sweet girl all day and then I go read for a couple of hours? Nope. I think my short term strategy will be my lunch hour at work. 

Here's what I'd like to get off my shelf and into my brain: 

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

What Women Fear by Angie Smith

Bebe Day by Day by Pamela Druckerman 

She's Got Issues by Nicole Unice

I'm going to start with Quiet at work next week (since it can be applied to the workplace I won't feel quite so weird about it) and see how it goes. 

Meanwhile, I've gotten Little One some of the board books by Baby Lit. So far in the collection: Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility; A Christmas Carol. Got my eyes on Jane Eyre next. She's reading better than I am these days!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Looking Forward

I find that when I am struggling with being "good" with food, with exercise, with anything really, it's helpful to remember where I'm headed. I'm a visual thinker so it's good for me to peer into the future and see myself healthy with my little one running around, enjoying a Mommy who can play hard and isn't pooped all the time.

So, I'll keep that mental picture in mind as I grocery shop after work today. It's very easy to give into temptation (especially when you're shopping hungry) and if I have to think twice about an item it's likely I shouldn't get it at all.

If the ice cream isn't in my house, I can't eat it. If the picture of where I want to be is in my head I can't deny today matters for tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Mommy's going to get there.

On Walks

I did take Baby out on a walk yesterday and it felt good to get out and move. I realize I hadn't done it in awhile and my knees hurt now, so it's a nice reminder to keep moving and work out the kinks. I think a daily walk after work will be good for both of us.

I didn't think of 35 walks after all. I tried and did think of a few, but my mind drifted instead to the people I walk with. The special or monumental moments of walking side by side with someone in joy, despair, or just ordinary sweetness. My father walking me down the aisle for my wedding, my husband escorting me on the way back; my sister and her baby walking with me and mine when they were just weeks old; my husband walking in the door with me as we brought our baby home from the hospital. Walking in the door to my parents house shortly after my father died...

There are some walks you don't forget. I want our little girl to remember our walks (especially when she's actually doing the walking!) as times where we had good conversations about the world around us, about what she's thinking, about who we are as a family.

Somehow exercise doesn't seem so bad when I think about it like that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When I get home tonight I am going to kiss my baby, make sure the chicken is thawed for dinner tonight, then pack up the baby for a walk. I will walk for at least 30 minutes. I won't think about the minutes, I will think about the walks I've been on. I'll try to think of one for each of my 35 years. Well, I don't know that I can recall the first few years, but I'll imagine.

So, that's my commitment for tonight. One walk 35 memories. If none pop up I'll make them up.

Get out, get moving with the one(s) you love.


Since Baby was born I have been determined to be(come) healthy. Of course the first month or so after she arrived I was just determined to take care of her and sleep as much as possible. No real lofty goals beyond that. Now that we're five months in I have felt a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to my health.

Being diabetic I was closely monitored throughout my pregnancy. Delivering a healthy baby meant taking care of myself - something I'm not especially good at. Already being overweight it was a mandate from my OB to not gain more than 20 pounds during my pregnancy. I think gained 21 pounds to be exact. So much for perfection.

Within a few weeks of delivery I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Weight of fluid & baby alleviated soon after delivery and then not eating a great deal when we got home (sleep over food) meant that the weight was gone without a great deal of effort on my part. Now the tough part starts. The rest of the weight. I am genetically pre-disposed to diabetes (check); high blood pressure (not yet) and other assorted issues that might be significantly reduced if I were to lose weight.

The tough part for people who have been overweight most of their lives is that losing weight is a losing battle. It's a territory of failure. It's pounds and pounds of wasted effort, guilt, and emotion that not only don't get rid of the pounds for good, but usually a few more are added on for good measure.

But now I can feel the future coming and how this is going to impact my life with Baby. She's getting to be so active. She's rolling over, and will be crawling soon. I need to be able to keep up with her, keep pace and enjoy her. I don't want to be the mom who has to take a break every few minutes and watch her play from a bench. I want to be in everything with her... not really possible in my current state.

Activity is tough since I've been back to work. On leave I could take her on walks everyday, and was active just keeping up with all of the chores and day to day tending that the Baby needed from me. I felt good and felt like a more positive person, too. Now, back at my desk and with tons of snacks around I find the sluggish sloth returning.

So, with longevity as my goal I would like to drop 50 pounds in the next 6 months. I've set goals like this before and failed. But when I think about what kind of Mommy I want to be, it's worth the try.

Wish me luck.


First post - always weird.

Like going to parties where you don't know anyone, introducing yourself over and over to strangers, trying to make yourself sound like-able and impressive... beginnings are difficult.

I don't have a complex thesis for this blog. I like to write, and I don't do it enough. I have things in my life that I'd like to change and I need some anonymity to think openly about those little journeys. I also don't really want to hear a lot of feedback so I've turned off the comments on this blog for now. I just want to clear my throat and talk without interruption, without encouragement or criticism and see where this takes me. I don't want to be distracted by "hits", "likes" and opinions of any sort.

My impulse to write this blog comes mostly from being a new mom. I've just gone back to work, and life is full and good. But my weight is too high, my schedule jam packed, I miss my baby, and my spiritual life frays at the edges. So, I want to get healthy, get it together and go deeper - not just because I have a husband and child, but because I want my life, including my family, to be full bodied. Time passes so quickly and I want my time to be meaningful. It's likely it'll only be meaningful to people in my life, but still, that's something.

So, if you're interested, welcome to this place. It's a beginning.