This running thing

Just wanted to share what motivates me.  It's NOT someone yelling at me and telling me that I can't do something, or I'm not doing it well enough so I need to try harder.  I know a lot of people feel motivated by that (to prove someone wrong), but I don't.  I just completely shut down.  It didn't work while I was learning piano and it definitely doesn't work when I exercise.  I need encouragement and sense of accomplishment.  So instead of "Come on I know you can do this, you just need to try harder" I need "wow, look at all you've already done, great job!"  And then I'll work harder, and I'll push myself...  So here is what runs through my mind as I'm running these days...

First off, my goals:
-Most important is that I want to be healthy.  After putting on a big amount of weight very suddenly while pregnant (which I know is normal and fine), I realized that I do NOT like the way I feel when I'm carrying extra weight.  Everything hurts, everything is hard, it's miserable.  So I want to stay at a healthy weight.  Which is not to say that I want to be skinny.  I"m perfectly fine being just healthy.
-I want to run a half marathon.  A full one just seems crazy, and hard.  TOO hard.  I have no desire to go through that.  At least not at this point in my life.  But a half?  I could do that.  Not this year though...  This year I want to try for a 20k.  Why?  Well it's only about a half mile difference, but the 20k is NOT a half marathon.  So I will leave that goal unaccomplished this year, meaning I will have to keep working on it for next year.  Hopefully this will keep me running over the winter.  That's the plan anyway.

My method:
-Put on my shoes and move for 30 mins, 3 times a week.  That's my expectation for my "runs."  It takes a lot of pressure off of me if I don't have outrageous expectations before I even start something.  And usually what ends up happening is this "Man, I'm tired today, but I know I have time to get on the treadmill right now, so I will.  I'll probably just walk though, which is fine, because that's better than nothing. [gets running gear on and starts treadmill]  Well, since I'm here I may as well use this time efficiently and do a little running...  oh you know what I feel pretty good, maybe I'll run a little harder." And I do.
-Slow and steady.  I have no desire to be fast at this point.  I just want to be able to run for a long time without walking.  So slow and steady it is.  If I feel good I'll pick up my pace for as long as I can, if I feel tired I drop it down until I recover.  No judgement.
-Think about what I'm doing.  Boredom is an issue for running, especially on the treadmill.  But I have YEARS of experience with trying to perfect small muscle movements over intense practice periods (hello 3 hours piano practice sessions).  So I just do the same thing while i run.  Think about  my stride, how my feet are hitting, are my shoulders tense (always), how's my pace, maybe if I adjust this muscle things will feel better, now try this, or maybe I need to relax my neck, go through all the things I can think of and when I'm done, start over again.
-Very small pushes when I am capable.  If I feel good, I run a little longer, or harder and fast.  I tell myself "dig deep and push harder."  I think of how good I'll feel when I reach my small goal.  The other day I ran with the treadmill set to 7.0 miles per hour for 30 seconds at the very end of my run (instead of slowing down).  It was hard, but I felt great.

-Runners in general.  After Dylan was born, I started running to lose baby weight (despite nursing for a year, apparently that doesn't cause weight to just fall off for everyone) and now I'm in the same boat after having Aaron.  The reason I picked running... well, have you every seen runners?  They are skinny.  I figured it must be because running helps you lose weight, and lots of it.  Also, I didn't need to join on a gym, or be in a class at a particular time, or invest in a crazy amount of equipment.
-My dad.  He runs more than anyone I know.  Probably more than anyone I know knows.  He does ultra distances, which is plain CRAZY.  SO whenever I get tired or think "how can I possibly run 5 miles?"  I think of my dad, and the fact that he doesn't run marathons because they are "too short."  If my dad can run for 24 hours straight, surely I can manage a pathetic 30 minutes.  Also, he makes me feel okay for being slow.  As long as I just keep running.  And he gives me lots of tips about running in general.
-My friend Melissa.  She had her second baby 6 months after Aaron was born.  And she's running a half next month (wait, this month?)  If she can find time to train and run while her baby is 6 months younger than mine, then I should definitely be able to.  Right?
-This blog.  I went to college with her.  Now I stalk her on her running blog (Hi Katie!).  She is my current running idol because she gives me hope that maybe I can one day be a fast runner like that if I just keep chipping away at this thing.  Well, maybe not just like her, but something close.

And that is how I am slowly turning myself into a runner.


Sick Sickies Over Here

Our home has been hit by the stomach bug.  It's not pretty, it's not fun.  So far I've been spared, but I figure that's just because I'm the mom and I have to take care of everyone else while they're sick.  Then they all get better, and that's when it hits me.  That's how these things tend to work, right?  Fortunately, we are a pretty healthy family so we haven't had to do this often.  We get random colds here and there, but we haven't had anything quite like this yet.  In fact, prior to yesterday, Dylan hasn't thrown up since he was about 9 months old.   So we've bunkered down at home and have been taking it easy, watching lots of cartoons all week.

I'm not sure which sick person is worse...  There's the 11 month old who has no idea what is going on, could be in pain or aching and not able to communicate it (other than crying), and who has no way of warning you before he gets sick.  Then there's the 5 year old who knows he's sick and is as mentally upset about it as he is physically upset about it.  And still might not know how quickly he needs to get to the bathroom so he doesn't wind up puking in the middle of the living room.  And then there's the husband who, because he's got it too, wants to help take care of the kids, but is too sick to do much.  But at least he can mostly take care of himself... he can also tell me how bad it really is though.  My poor boys :(

I made this comment to a friend and it's worth repeating here...  Never have I felt more like a mom and wife than when I am taking care of my sick family.  Laundry piles, holding kids while they puke, sips of pedialyte, tylenol, blankets and pillows on the floor, hanging around in PJs, and cartoons all day...  that's what moms do.


Piano Lessons as Life Lessons

I miss playing piano.  I just don't really get the opportunity any more.  I have probably only played 3 or 4 times since Aaron was born, not counting the little bits here and there when I'm teaching my weekly lesson.  But right now, it's just too hard to work into my regular schedule for two big reasons:  1- It's hard to play when Aaron is awake, because he likes to crawl all over me, whine, and generally do his best to distract me, and 2- I can't play when he's asleep because I do NOT want to wake him up.  I have an upright piano, it's loud and there's no barrier between where the piano is and his room, other than his closed door which just isn't enough.  So I pretty much have to wait until there are no kids in the house, which doesn't happen often (I'm thinking maybe 3 or 4 times in the last year).  So right now I'm going through piano withdrawal.  I know it's temporary though, one happy day I'll get back into it.

While on my hiatus I have been thinking about piano quite a bit.  I mean, I have poured a good bit of my life into music and piano, so it seems only natural that my thoughts wander towards that every once and a while.  Lately I've become aware of how much my life and who I am has been shaped by my piano background.  Mostly for the better I think (the judging and performance anxiety aside).

Perhaps I'll get more into that in my upcoming posts.


Well that didn't work

So apparently I couldn't follow through with my 3 posts a week goal.  I tried to write posts a few times and ended up deleting them.  I am totally stuck with what to write about.  It used to be little stories from my day or interesting things I stumbled upon.  But now my day is consumed with small children things.  Not exactly the most fascinating subject (and I am all too well aware of how less interesting it is to people other than my kid's parents).  So I'm just not sure where that leaves my blog.  Do I turn into a Mommy Blogger??  I guess in some ways yes.  This blog has always been intended to show my growth and talk about who I am and who I'm becoming.  And being a mom is a HUGE part of who I am.  So despite my best intentions of not turning this into a blog all about the cute things my kids did today (because let's face it, my kids ONLY do cute things-- I saw while Aaron whines away in his high chair next to), I think it may have to go there.  For a while.  I'll try to make it work.  But right now I'm stopping this post to tend to my increasingly unhappy baby (who-- is he still a baby at 11 1/2 months?)


Quiet Morning

I've pretty much given up on sleep.

I am still up with Aaron 2-3 times a night.  Actually 4 times last night.  I'm exhausted all the time.  If I hadn't had to do this with Dylan, I would be a mess.  But this time around I decided I wouldn't complain about lack of sleep.  Occasionally things get too much and I need a nap, but for the most part, I keep chugging away.  But I am TIRED.

Doesn't really matter though.  I got up early today, before the kids (who are super early risers, so that's quite a feat) and now I'm going for a run.


Weather swap outs

I'm a big fan of different seasons.  Each has it's unique identity, it's pros and cons.  We are finally out of the cold weather months and heading into warm and eventually hot weather.  But it's not just which clothes we put on that is affected by the seasons... I've come to realize that seasonal changes affect many facets of our lives.

Clothes of course.  I'm currently switching out my winter and summer wardrobes.  Bonus:  I am pulling out my pre-baby summer clothes and laughing at how enormous my shorts from last summer are!  I like swapping out my closet every 6 months because I can't stand to have lots of clothes to sift through in the morning when I'm getting dressed.  The smaller my wardrobe, the happier I am.  Though I still need to work on having a good wardrobe, but that's a different issue.

Music:  The next big shift I notice this time of year.  Time to put away classical, indie rock, and mellow laid back stuff.  Time to pull out poppy, happy, bouncy, stuff.  Gotta match the sunshine-iness outside!

Food:  Less warm, filling comfort food.  More fresh, light seasonally ripe food.  Also, I cook with thyme alot in the winter, but dill is my favorite summer time herb.  I just had my first egg salad with dill the other day, it was perfect!

Activities:  Okay, I was lying before this is probably the biggest shift, especially with kids.  In the winter it's all indoor stuff.  And trying to find a way to let your kids run off their crazy energy while staying indoors (moon bounces, indoor playgrounds are all good, but can be expensive).  Now it's picnics, long playground dates, baseball practice, and walks through the woods... and for Aaron it's tree watching (one of his favorite activities) and mulch chewing (which, being the mean mommy that I am, I don't allow).  And everyone is happier for it (except when I'm fishing mulch and sticks out of Aaron's mouth, then no one is happy).  I have never really been an "outdoorsy" type, but you don't really get that option with small children.  For the sake of my sanity we need to be outside as much as possible... and then some.

Housework:  The need to spring clean is strong.  But it's tough with Aaron.  I can only do so much while he naps.  So I think this year all my little clean-out projects are on hold.  The basement will just have to accrue more junk for one more year before I can purge it all away.  But we also have to start back up with yard work.  Matt does 99% of this, and he does it well (so that it looks nice without being high maintenance).  Thankfully.  I'm not sure how I'd manage to mow and weed, etc at this point.  Plus, he's talking about adding a second tier to part of the garden this year.  I'm not sure what all that means, but based on how things looked after the make over last year, I'm excited!

A few other little gripes.  I LOVE winter.  I love snow, I love bundling in sweaters and blankets.  I love that the sun goes down early (makes bedtime that much easier).  So I am sad to see it go.  But at this point, my kids need to be able to play outside.  And I'm happy that they can now.  But I HATE the bugs this time of year (especially with another brood of cicadas on the way) and the sweltering heat (because I sweat), and the fact that my children only want to sleep when it's dark (which isn't very long these days), and the allergies.  But even still I'm learning to embrace the warm months more than I ever have.  Now I'll I need is for Aaron to start walking and we are good to go.  :)


I'm Back- April 2013 Resolution, a bit delayed

So this year I've decided to do monthly resolutions instead of vague general "for the year" resolutions.  A lot of them are little things, and a lot of them aren't even begun until the middle of the month.  But I figure that's better than nothing.  I've struggled with a good April resolution until this morning... "I should get back into my blog!"  So here I am.  April resolution begun...  hopefully 3 posts per week, starting today.

I have an overall theme for 2013... Get My Life Back Together.  After the birth our our dear sweet Aaron last year, my life kind of fell apart.  And by kind of, I mean, COMPLETELY.  Between his nonstop crying for the first 4 months (thank you silent reflux), his constant need to be held by me, his terrible night sleeping (he's still up 2 times a night FYI, but it is faaaar better than it was 3 months ago), and his general unhappy disposition, I just didn't have much in me beyond meeting the basics:  feeding my family and keeping the house from completely falling apart.  But I decided once the New Year hit that I needed to quit with the excuses and start functioning like an actual responsible adult again.  It probably helps that Aaron has suddenly turned into a happy baby.  Okay, it helps TREMENDOUSLY.  Anyway, so Project Life Back to Normal is underway.  Here's a brief overview.

January... This sounds terrible, but hear me out.  My January resolution was to actually start feeding Aaron solid food.  He was 8 months old in January.  I waited until 6 months to attempt solids, he just didn't like them.  At all.  It made meal times stressful and miserable.  After dealing with Dylan's extreme picky eating, I just couldn't handle the struggle again. I'd already decided not to make homemade baby food since that was probably the biggest waste of time when Dylan was a baby, so I least I saved myself that frustration.  So I kind of took a hiatus.  I'd try every once and a while, but we just never got anywhere.  Then I started hearing from other people that their babies didn't really start eating until they could feed themselves table food (which I totally understand, pureed baby food is GROSS).  And I thought to myself "I bet that's what Aaron is waiting for."  Guess what?  It was.  Once he was able to pick up and chew soft bit of actual food, he was fine.  Better than fine even, that kid eats anything and everything if he can chew it (most meat is still a little tough, but he tries!)  So in January I started sitting him down for actual meals on a regular basis.  I give him little bits of whatever we're eating, and he pretty much stuffs them in his face...  black beans, grated cheese, strawberries, blueberries, ORANGES (his current fave), peas, sweet potatoes, slow cooked beef, roasted chicken, curries!, you name it, he eats it.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to start refusing food, but so far, we're good.  It's SOOOO nice, especially since Dylan still doesn't really eat well (he eats healthy, just not much quantity, which is a different kind of stress since he's a little bit of a lightweight).  Only food issue we have with Aaron is that since he doesn't like purees, and won't eat the iron fortified baby cereal (I still try) he's got an iron deficiency.  But I give him vitamins for that and so hopefully he'll be back to a healthy range at his next appointment (at which he'll be one... ONE!  I'm about to be the mom of a 5 year old and a 1 year old...  WHAT?!?!?!?!?)

February... I got Aaron's eating under way, now it was time to address my eating habits.  Here's what they were at the beginning of February...  I EAT EVERYTHING ALL DAY.  It's because I'm still breastfeeding so my body needs the extra calories, that's why I'm hungry nonstop.  Except no, at some point I need to be responsible and start eating like a healthy person.  So I made one small change.  A salad at lunch.  I can eat everything else as normal, but I should just have a salad at lunch.  My mom made me a really good one when I had lunch there one day...  avacado and oranges.  So I started making that everyday.  I keep lettuce in the fridge, already washed, so it's easy to assemble.  And that was a great start.  I immediately noticed a difference (huh?  my weight is finally moving in the right direction again) so I started making other little changes.  No more whipped cream on my coffee every morning.  Uh, yeah, I was doing that.  It's just SOOOO good.  LIke, one of my favorite things in the world to eat good.  But not healthy.  So I stopped.  And it continued to snowball... smaller portions, better decisions, less snacking.  Good eating as much as possible, with a few little indulgences here and there.  Because I am a believer in regular small indulgences... they just got smaller and less frequent.  So now that I am eating healthier we come to March.

March.... Start running again!  Wahoo!  I have been looking forward to this goal for a LONG time.  I looooved running for that one summer I did it way back when.  There were a lot of reasons for stopping (which I won't go into), but once Aaron was born I was ready to dive back in.  It took longer than I wanted, but if I kept waiting until the ideal schedule to start I'd never make it.  So I decided to just run twice a week for 30 minutes on our treadmill while Aaron was napping.  It was tough when I started because I was SOOOOOOO out of shape.  Like crazy out of shape.  But I've been keeping with it and am slowly getting back into the groove of things.  I also added a weekend outside run now that the weather is nice.  I have to keep my expectations for results low, because part of me thinks I should still be able to run 8 miles no problem, but my body is DONE after 2.  So at this point my only goal for each run is to "Put on my shoes and move for 30 mins" even if I just walk slowly.  Typically once the shoes are on though I manage a decent routine.  Plus a slow, short run is better than no run at all.  This past Sunday I managed a 2.5 mile run around the neighborhood in just over 30 mins (no walking!).  The last half mile killed me, but I felt great otherwise.  That's some pretty good progress in a short time. In May I plan on running a 5k.  I'm super excited.  

Also, just this morning when I weighed myself I was FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY officially at my pre-Aaron weight.  Thank you February and March.

Which brings us to April.  The return of the blog.  Here we go...