Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nine years

Nine years ago today (well, yesterday - I meant to finish this last night but didn't have time) I wore the big white dress, walked down the aisle on the arm of my father and pledged my life to another person.

Our wedding was fantastic. Our friends and family literally talked about it for years. The ceremony was a little long for some (it was in a Catholic Church, but not the full mass, which is even longer), but the reception was a great party. Everything about it was perfect. Sure, there may have been some details gone awry (my dress got dirty during picture taking prior to the ceremony), but those details didn't matter even the tiniest bit when we stood up there and said our vows. The dress, the decorations, the flowers, the tux - all of it melted away and there we were, standing before our loved ones and before God and pledging to be true until death.

We've been through a lot these past nine years. So much has changed, it almost feels as if 9 years isn't enough to hold all that has happened. We started out living in my dad's spare bedroom after returning from our honeymoon, what few posessions we had stacked in a storage unit. Now, we own our second home, complete with four bedrooms that are quite full. We've been through jobs, moves, family dramas, therapy (for him, LOL), the birth of two kids and so much more. Our life is so utterly different today from what it was 9 years ago when we said those vows.

I think if you had asked us that day what we'd like our life to be like 9 years in the future, this would pretty much be it - a good career, a nice house, a couple of kids. It feels good to be where we're supposed to be.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Scheduling the lives of the four of us can be pretty complicated sometimes. We have to consider feeding, pooping, napping, bedtime, etc. Not to mention the adults have needs as well. I try not to let my needs fall by the wayside, at least not too much. I live my life around their schedules, but I do my best to incorporate my stuff in there too. But it isn't always easy.

My current quandary revolves around fitting in my workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I thought I had a good plan when I signed them up for the current session of classes at the Y. The class schedule for summer is reduced, so there aren't as many options. I had to put D in gymnastics on Saturday, since the only weekday classes were right at G's naptime. G gets to do swimming on Saturdays as well, but that left us with nothing scheduled on the weekdays. I like having something at least a couple of days a week; it gives us some structure, and something to get us out of the house and look forward to. The solution - toddler gym! D has always loved gym class, G is now old enough, and since the class runs from 10m - 4 years, they can be in the same class together. I just have to juggle chasing after G with watching to make sure D doesn't jump off of something too high.

The problem is for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put them in the 8:45 class. My thinking was that I could take them to gym class, then come home and take them out for a run afterwards. And if the weather is really bad, we could just stay at the Y and I could workout there. The problem with that plan is we don't get home until about 9:45, which means starting a run at about 10. And that means G will very likely fall asleep in the stroller, since it's close to his naptime. Granted, he might not, but he definitely could, and probably would often. Considering he'll only sleep about half as long, not to mention I get zero break when that happens, I don't particularly want him napping in the stroller.

I asked this morning about switching to the later class, but both classes are totally full. So we're pretty much stuck.

The thing that sucks is none of my options are that great. I could try working out early, before we have to go - but considering I have to get them both fed and dressed, my husband fed and his lunch made, and myself more or less presentable, all by 8:20... not likely that I can squeeze in a workout, especially considering my husband is busy getting ready for work and can't exactly watch the boys while I'm gone. And in order to take them out in the stroller with me, we'd have to leave at like 7 - that just isn't going to happen, even on days when they both wake up early.

Option two, is of course, my original plan - workout after class. I could stay at the Y and run there, which alleviates my napping in the stroller problem. But of course, the childcare isn't free, so I'll be tacking on an additional $11 per week (it's $5.50 for an hour for both of them, times two extra days) to what I already spend. Ouch. The childcare cost adds up fast and I don't know if I can afford to pay more.

Option three is to workout after naptime. But that would have me running in the heat of the day (and I think we might actually get some summer weather finally, after a very dreary spring). Plus, I'd have to shower with both boys up, and that's just a PITA. My normal routine of working out in the morning and showering with G is napping has worked really well.

Option four is workout after they're in bed, but that doesn't do me much good either because evenings are when I work. I can't lose two work nights a week, especially right now when I'm so busy.

I know, I know, there are many worse dilemmas to have. And I also know this is probably the most boring blog post ever. I'm writing it down more to work out the details than because I think anyone will find it terribly interesting. It's just some of the juggling I go through, trying to schedule our lives around each other.

And to think we want to add another person to this zoo? I shake my head at myself often over that one.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Future memories of Papa's house

Today we spent the day at my in-laws. It's almost a two-hour drive, which for us on the verge of being too far to go just for the day, but that's usually how we do it. Occassionally my husband will take D and those two will spend the night down there, leaving me in the strange world of having just one kid to take care of; but today the whole fam decided to head down.

My in-laws live near a river that empties into a bay; they're also Native American, and things like clam digging, fishing and hunting are a normal part of life. A lot of members of that part of our family make their living harvesting shellfish and fishing. My college student brother-in-law spends most of his summer alternating between digging clams with the tide and long lining for black cod and halibut off the coast with his dad. Since they're Indian, they get certain privleges with regards to fishing and shellfish and the like - so for a lot of people, it's a decent way to make extra money.

In any case, it's clam digging season and my BIL was off digging clams this morning. After we arrived, it was decreed that we should meet him down at the docks and go for a boat ride. The area that was open for digging today is only accessable by boat, so after he'd brought in and sold his buckets of clams (he dug over 300lbs, which is an enormous amount of clams when you see it all piled up) we piled in the boat and rode around the bay for a bit.

There's this tiny little town on the edge of the bay where we rode; it isn't the town where my in-laws actually live, but it's a place my husband (and myself, actually, thanks to the number of years I've been with my husband) has spent a lot of time in. My FIL grew up there, and his father grew up there; it's actually the ancestral home of the Indian tribe my husband descends from. Anyway, it's this tiny little place where people don't lock their doors, there are two churches, one tavern and a little convenience store that still sells penny candy to the kids. The rules of the modern world don't seem to apply there, like it's a place suspended in time. Sure, the buildings look older and more worn than they did a decade ago, but you can do things there that you don't often see people doing in other places these days.

Like let your three year old sit on your lap and drive.

I had this great moment while we were driving around this little town today, after our boat ride. We'd made a quick stop at the beach and D had jumped into my FIL's car with him. I watched as my FIL sat D in his lap, turned the car on and lightly gripped the wheel to guide the car as D enjoyed the thrill of "driving". What was so great about that moment? I happen to know that's one of my husband's fond memories of his dad, and of that place - sitting on someone's lap and driving around, and even as an older child, being given the keys to the car and driving himself (long before the legal age to drive). I'm sure people do that kind of thing still - up and down their street, or in a parking lot. But something about seeing my son, in that place, on the lap of his grandpa with his hands on the steering wheel - it made my heart happy.

There is nothing like watching someone else enjoy your child to endear them to you all the more. If you love my kids, I'm pretty much going to love you - simple as that. And my FIL adores my boys. It becomes all the more apparent as D gets older; he likes babies ok, but he's great with kids. He's the kind of grandpa who loves to play, to entertain, to invent games and indulge their ideas for pretend. He'll drink endless cups of "coffee", push him for what seems like forever on their swing, exclaim in delight at a relentless slough of silly faces or peekaboos, and snuggle in the chair at the end of the day when even the vast trough of three-year-old energy runs dry.

I feel more a part of their family than I ever have in the past. I've known them a long time and enjoyed their love and acceptance. But being the mother of their grandsons makes me feel like they truly are my family. They are my sons' family. Their house is the place my boys will remember going to. They'll remember the boat rides, digging clams on the beach, fishing for crawdads in a bucket with a strip of bacon on a string, swinging in the yard and driving on Papa's lap through Bay Center.

Good times.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Giving it another go

I'm back with another weight loss attempt. I've been working out, training for my races and all that. But I've managed to put on 7lbs that I'd lost, which SUCKS. I want to give this a strong, honest attempt, diet wise in particular, to see what my body is willing to give up now. I'm not nursing as much as I was and I'm hoping that the decreased demands on my body will free up some of the "just in case" fat that it seems to want to hang on to. We shall see.

I've been eating on plan for two and a half days now, which isn't much, but I feel fine - and that's huge. I'm decreasing my calories by more than I have so far (since G's birth, anyway) and yeah, I'm hungry a lot, but it isn't I'm-going-to-pass-out hungry; hopefully it's just burning-the-fat hungry. I felt like this a lot of the time when I was dropping pounds before I was pregnant with G, so hopefully that's a good sign.

So we'll see. If I can't lose weight with what I'm doing now, I really am stuck until nursing is over. But I think I'll be able to lose a little. Slowly is fine, as long as I can start moving in the right direction.

As an aside, I have a race a week from tomorrow and it's an open water swim. My wetsuit BARELY fits. Actually, I don't know if I can even make that claim, since I have yet to get it completely on and zipped up. I also discovered one of the seams popped open, but I don't know if that happened a while ago or if that stems from my attempts to squeeze the thing on. I'd hate to think I've ripped it open because I'm too big for it, but that's a real possibility. After all, I am a good 20lbs heavier than when I wore it last. Ugh, that sucks. In any case, I hope I'll be able to get the thing zipped. It's going to be really embarassing to have my mom and my friend both tugging on the strap trying to get me into it. But I do not want to do an open water swim without it - water temperature aside, that thing helps me float!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


With G's first birthday in the past, and the boobs still on the loose, the inevitable question has come up - when will I stop breastfeeding?

I have remarkably mixed feelings about the whole business. I think I need to post this largely to help me sort things out. Sometimes writing down my thoughts helps me to make sense of what I'm thinking. Sometimes not, but we'll hope for the best here.

I don't think I'm game for the whole "child-led weaning" scenario, in the sense that I'd be happy to keep breastfeeding G for as long as he wants and let him control when we wean. I don't think that would happen soon enough for me. I don't exactly have a cut off of when I'd like to be finished, but I also know I don't want it to go on for a lot longer. Does that make any sense? Like I don't particularly want to be nursing when he's 2, but what about 14 months? 15 months? 18 months? I don't know.

Having said that, there is that tiny bit of guilt at the thought of me leading the weaning process because I want to be done, not because he seems ready to be done. I know, I know - breastfeeding is great as long as it's working for BOTH mom and baby. When it applies to other people, I totally believe that. But there's this little part of me that can't quite get over the notion that I should let him nurse as long as he wants - because, you know, so many health organizations throughout the world advocate breastfeeding until at least age 2, yadda, yadda.

The thing is, I'd really like to have my body back for a little while before I go and get knocked up again. I don't even know if I could get pregnant at the weight I'm at right now, and I don't know if it's going to be possible to lose a lick of weight until I'm done nursing. I'd hoped that when he cut down some it might get easier, but I'm still not losing. In fact, I've gained back about 5lbs (which sucks royally, but is entirely my own fault) and I'm fighting just to get back to where I was a few months ago. It would be really nice to have some time to focus on getting my body in the best shape possible to have another successful, and hopefuly fairly comfortable, pregnancy.

My other thought regarding weight is that I can't help but wonder if the birth control I'm on (as in, the mini-pill) is contributing to my lack of weight loss. Is my weight being so stubborn because of nursing, or because of the birth control I have to take while nursing? Does it really matter? I can't take any other type of BCP while nursing, it would be ridiculous to get something like an IUD since we'll be trying again sooner rather than later, I don't want to leave it up to chance (or barrier methods, since I KNOW we'd be super lazy about using anything else), so I'm pretty much stuck. As long as I'm nursing and preventing, the weight thing sort of is what it is.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of my desire to wean is stemming from how I feel about my body. I'm not loving how I look right now. Yes, it could be (and has been) worse. But as summer approaches, warm weather brings out things like capris, tank tops and (gasp!) shorts. At least when the weather sucks I can layer and wear long sleeves. It isn't that I hide under huge, baggy clothes all the time, but you know how much less forgiving summer clothing can be.

I caught a glimpse of my reflection this afternoon in our sliding glass door and I wasn't exactly thrilled. I'm 20lbs too heavy, my tummy still looks like it did when I was about 15 weeks pregnant (at least) and my boobs are too big and saggy. It's hard not to think about how, if I weaned soon, my breasts would (hopefully) go back to a semi-normal size, I could ditch the nursing bras and go back to wearing good bras that actually put the girls up to where they need to be, and I might have a shot at losing the rest of this weight and feeling better about how I look.

But then, what on earth will weaning actually be like? I nursed my first, but he solved the problem for me by abruptly stopping nursing at 10 months. That wasn't at all how I'd wanted things to go, but it's how it happened, so I never had to actively wean. This time around I'm so unsure of what to do, how to proceed, and perhaps most importantly, when to start doing something about it.

I want it to be as smooth and painless for both of us as possible. I'd like to slowly decrease the number of regular nursings until we just stop altogether and it's no big deal. I'd love to be able to tell people later that it was easy and he seemed ready - no trauma at all.

However, right now I feel completely incapable of making any moves towards doing that. He is nursing less than he used to, but that's all him. I nurse him whenever he seems to want it. It's usually only 4, maybe 5 times a day, but still. There are certainly days (like today) when it's more and the thought of even just keeping him to the 4 or 5 is hard. When I pick him up and he's fussing and tugging on my shirt and I've tried everything else - he clearly wants to nurse. I'm not ready to deny him that, to limit nursings - let alone try to cut any of the regular ones out.

But if it's going to take a while to accomplish, I have to start sometime, right? I just don't have any idea of when that will be.

I'm a planner. I like having things at least loosely planned out. I'm flexible enough to change my plans when necessary - but that just means having a new plan. With nursing, I have no plan. I don't have a time in mind when I feel like I should start limiting nursings, then start cutting down on them. I couldn't tell you if that will start happening next month, or the month after or six months from now. And that makes me uncomfortable. I wish I could just be content with how things are now; be happy that he nursed this long and be comfortable to just go with the flow. But I'm too much of an overthinking planner to be content with that. I want to be able to tell myself that in X months I'll cut down to three nursings, then in X months down to 2, etc. But that would require an end date, and I don't have that. It would require admitting that I want to actively wean, and committing to a course of action that will make it happen - and risking that I'll feel guilty and sad when it's over.

I'm just not sure what to do. So often I wish I could just temporarily shut down the part of my brain that insists on having things planned out; that I could enjoy today for what it is and stop focusing so much on the future. The times I'm really able to do that are when I have a plan. Because once I have an idea of how things will go, I can (somewhat) let it go and wait for said plan to take place.

It's a good thing my husband doesn't read my blog; he'd really realize how insane I am.

(who am I kidding - he knows.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Last week I was chatting with a couple of my friends from my Bible study group. They're both a bit younger than I am, and are married but no kids yet. They seem to like to talk to me about what my life is like with kids - I think because they're both contemplating having kids but aren't sure if they're ready yet. I'm like a living museum display; they get to peek in and see what it's like from a distance.

In any case, I was talking about my work situation - in that, I work about 10 hours a week, all at home, and squeeze it in when I can, usually in the evenings after the boys are in bed. One of them called me a "total supermom".

I don't think I really want to be a supermom.

I appreciate her compliment, I really do. She's told me before that she thinks my kids are really well behaved, and coming from an outsider, that is nice to hear. D is a sweetheart, and he's also a very energetic 3 1/2 year old boy - and as parents, we're biased. We simultaneously think our kids are the best kids on the planet, and also are hardest on them as far as their behavior. If he acts up a little bit in public, most people would say, "Oh, he's fine!", while I'm ready to haul him to the van for a time out.

In any case, I was thinking - I'd rather not be supermom. If I could drop the work entirely and it not affect our financial situation, I would. Honestly, I don't do it to "stay in the game" or stay connected with some semblance of a career. I do it because we need the money; this makes our lifestyle a lot easier, has helped us pay off some debt and allows us to save more and have some extras. Those are good, necessary things and I'm willing to put in my hours to have them. But if I didn't have to, I wouldn't be working, even just the 10 or so hours a week I do.

The thing is, I'm mommy from the second I get up in the morning until we get them both to bed in the evening. During that time I have to manage to get things done around the house, do a thing or two for myself (like workout), run errands, cook dinner - everything that taking care of my family entails. Once D is in bed for the night, usually between 7-7:30 these days, I have to put in a couple hours working. That doesn't leave me much time at the end of the day when I'm not busy. It's a lot to pack into a day.

I don't mean to complain too much. I'm very grateful for my situation. I'd much rather do this than work full or even part time outside the home and have to juggle childcare and all that. For what it is, this situation is darn near perfect and I'm very glad to have the opportunity to earn money in this way. But, given the choice, I probably wouldn't do it. Someone else can be supermom - I'll settle for just mom anyday.