Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Fitness Wagon

Ah, the fitness wagon.  I'm a frequent passenger, but I usually buy the multi-stop ticket so I can jump on and off as I see fit (no pun intended). I'm hard core, I'm lazy. But the Fitness Wagon is always on my mind, for over a decade now it's consumed my life.

I don't want to be a fat chick anymore.

So last week I had my annual check up and I'm totally healthy. No concerns. Perfect blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure. No weird spots, no weird symptoms, no strange pains. C-section is healed, my body is ready for another baby.

But I'm not ready yet. I still have work to do. I still have a long ride on that Fitness Wagon to take.  So why is this so hard? Am I just lazy? Am I scared that my identity will melt away with the pounds?

I know that's ridiculous and yet, something has held me back for over ten years. Something has derailed every Fitness Wagon ride I've been on since college. Frankly, I'm sick of this bullsh*t. Excuse my French.

I've lost only 17 of the 30 pounds I set out to lose by June.  Now, June's almost over.  Still got 13 pounds to go before I'll let myself have that second baby.  So if you're waiting for pregnancy news, keep waiting.  Mommy's not allowed to do anything until she finishes this. Seriously.

So this summer, I hope I run right by you on the sidewalk. I hope I kick the pants off of Jillian Michaels and her insane workout DVDs. I hope I finally give myself the reward I deserve for all my hard work. And I hope I can finally be proud to stand next to my hot, 60-pounds-trimmer husband and feel like I belong there.

Give me a leg-up on this Fitness Wagon and then, please, keep the cookies and the cupcakes out of my way, okay?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Only For Now

There's this awesome Broadway show called Avenue Q, a twisted version of puppet-storytelling made just for the adults who grew up watching Sesame Street. While it's not something I'll be letting my kids watch (or hear) anytime soon, I really do love it.  I especially like the subtle wisdom it purports to fans... that growing up is sometimes disappointing, boring, and filled with things we don't really want to do.  But we do it anyway, sing a song about it, and move on.

As the finale song says, "Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life is only for now."

So yeah, I think about that when stuff isn't exactly the way I expected it to be.  When I go through rough patches, it helps me stay focused on how I'm going to change what I can in my situation.  It's a good motivator, and a catchy tune too.

When I had Ellie, things really sucked. She was sick, I was distracted... it happens. But it was only for "then," and now we're on to the next things.  When I had a tough time juggling work and a baby and my writing, I pushed through it and kept reminding myself it would pass, it would get easier.  It did, it always does.  And now, here I am. A brand new set of "only for nows" in my life, a whole new list of struggles. Honestly, I don't let it bog me down.

I really don't have the luxury of letting myself get bogged down. It takes up too much time.

Yeah, parenthood is tough... mostly because it's so vastly different from the way your life used to be.  Who doesn't wish they could just go get an ice cream late at night or see the latest movie with only a few minutes' notice?  Spontaneity isn't one of my life's accessories right now.  But it doesn't bother me at all.

One day, my kids won't live at home anymore and I'll be able to see all the movies and get all the ice cream cones I want, with no one to stop me. But I'll have my own struggles when that happens and I'll probably mourn my "empty nest."  My "only for nows" suit me just fine right now and I plan to enjoy them for all that their worth.

I'll trade all the ice cream cones in the world for the day-to-day life I have, even with all the limits and difficulties. I don't want to be rescued, I don't need to be freed.  I get the occasional night out and I enjoy it, but really, I belong here. And I like it here.

Even if it's only for now.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Elissa at Sixteen Months

It's been a long, long time since my last Ellie update. And if you don't follow me on facebook, you've been left in the dark.  For that, I apologize.

Meanwhile, my little jelly bean turns 16 months old this week... and what an incredible journey it has been so far!  She's walking, talking, and causing trouble like a little tornado. It's certainly keeping me on my toes, but it is much more fun to spend the day with her. She's mimicking almost everything I do now (which means no more cursing!) and wants to explore every bit of her environment (which means more toddler-proofing is required!) I'm having a great time watching her learn and grow, possibly the most rewarding aspect of parenting I've discovered so far.

Another thing that's changing about our little Ellie is her crazy mane of hair. We've gone from short, stick-straight locks to all-out curly tresses.  I suspect she inherited this from my youngest sister, the only one of us to have so many curls and keep them later on.  Ellie's hair is beautiful (if I do say so myself) and seems to be staying light and naturally highlighted for the time being.

We're down to just one nap a day now, but at least she's sleeping through the night again... finally!  Those last four teeth came in all together and kept us up many, many nights together.  I'm just praying that her mollars come in one at a time and let my angel get some sleep (and me!)

So now we have one week left until Daddy is on vacation, Mommy's book comes out next month, and the Ellie Bean is growing big and strong and getting ready for her second exciting adventure-filled summer.  I hope it will be easier for me to keep you posted in the meantime!

My Neglected Blog...

Oh, my poor blog. How could I have neglected you for so long?

Once again, I broke my word and left you to suffer, while I busied myself with other blogs, articles, and novels. How dare I? 

Truth be told, I've even considered moving you to Wordpress, where my posts won't get randomly deleted in a systems upgrade. But I haven't had the time or energy for that yet.

My poor, neglected blog.

I'm back now. It's all going to be okay.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rearing, Writing, & 'Robies

The new Three R's are my life are exactly that: rearing, writing, and 'robies.  What's 'robies?  My nerdy term for aerobics, i.e. the Jillian Michaels' DVD I complete every single stinking day and my revved up treadmill training for that 5K.  The rearing--duh--is Ellie. And the writing--also, duh--is my job. And my hobby, consequently.  It just so happens to be the same noun.  And verb. Oooohhh...

See? Word Nerd.

So that's that. My life in a series of disjointed words, similar only in their alliterative appeal.

Giant Word Nerd.

The trouble is that they all demand a lot of my time.  Cramming a 20-hour-a-week part-time job into the nooks and crannies of my day is quite taxing.  Choosing whether to work or work-out? One of life's great rock-and-a-hard-place decisions.  Neither is ever done... I will work every day and I will work-out every day.  If I skip a day? I pick up where I left off tomorrow.  So how do you choose which is most important?  They all keep cycling back on themselves, a never ending hamster wheel of my life (I don't like the term "rat race," hamsters are far cuter and less disease-ridden...mostly.)

But of course, my priorities are already arranged for me, aren't they? That's the part of motherhood that doesn't translate from the pages of What to Expect... You know the baby will come first, always. That's obvious.  But they don't explain to you what it feels like to compartmentalize the rest of your life around the baby. 

And that's why the Three R's of my life are set up in that order.  Ellie always comes first, and with the rest of my time, I write to meet deadlines and I work-out as much as I can every day.  The result is that sometimes I can only get the DVD in and other days, I can find some time for a full hour-long run.  Once in a while.

But what you might notice is missing from my Three R's is the all-important fourth R. One that's probably missing from most mom's priority lists.  Relaxing.  Nope, there's not much time for that.  And within that elusive, missing R lies the time for my hobby.

You try writing a novel and selling it when you only have about two hours a week to really dedicate to your craft. For real.  Go ahead.  It's fun for me, it's good to have a hobby, but why did I pick one so aggressive?  No idea.  I'm an overachiever even in my spare time. How lame.  Or I'm just in love with the idea that I could make people laugh, worldwide, in their own time to Relax.  Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?

Maybe it will happen. And maybe I'll find space for a Fourth R.  But if basic elementary school curriculums couldn't do it, is there any hope for me?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Confession: My Kid Likes TV

All right, folks. You might judge me for this post, and that's okay.  When I had Ellie, I too scoffed at parents who let their kids watch TV.  I swore a television wouldn't raise my daughter.  I promised myself not to get sucked into Nick Jr or the Disney channel or even PBS.

Yet here I am. Another victim to the television.  Another helplIess parent who switched on the TV and found something fun to watch.

My first parenting confession is this: I let Ellie watch TV sometimes.

Although experts recommend that you keep your kids away from the TV until age 2, I have to argue that it's not really feasible.  What kid isn't going to see a TV by then?  We watch TV and I'm fooling myself if I think Ellie's not watching it too.  Hell, my kid loves football, as we discovered this NFL season.  That made me very happy indeed, and it introduced me to the notion that the television might actually hold her attention long enough for me to get a fresh cup of coffee.

Yeah, it sure does.  It also helps distract her when her poor little mouth hurts from teething.  And when we sing along with her favorite show, she's learning how to dance.  Through some intense self rationalization, I've realized that TV isn't really all bad.  It's got some handy benefits.

The thing about TV is that you can't let it raise your kid, sure.  If I was plopping her in front of it for hours and doing my own thing elsewhere, I might feel guilty.  But her favorite show is "Bubble Guppies," this really cute little show with songs and dances in it.  And we both enjoy watching it together.  She's not old enough yet to learn colors or absorb the other content, but we can work on language and practice those toddler dance moves. 

Yes, it gives me time to go to the bathroom.  Sure, it's nice to relax and let someone else take over for a few minutes.  But it's more than that.  It makes her really happy when it comes on, and when she looks over at me all excited and starts clapping because I've cued up an episode, I can't really feel that guilty at all.