Tag Archives: the horror

The D-Word

Here are 4 words that I’ve never said before but are now actually true: I’m on a diet. 

Why do I feel kind of shameful saying that? I do. I’ve felt weird about it since I started last week and I decided that meant I probably needed to blog about it to work through whatever it is that’s going on with me.

It’s not that I’ve never tried to lose weight. I just never did anything official, anything with rules. I would just watch what I ate, so to speak. I cut back on things, I ate smaller portions, I worked on healthier foods, etc. But I never called it dieting because I was just trying to be healthy or whatever. It’s not like watching what I ate meant I wouldn’t eat cheese. (God, I miss cheese.)

But now I’m all official. And while internally I feel really good about this decision, it’s one I am really embarrassed about making public.

I have good reasons. I know I’m justified. I gave myself a year after Tessa was born to not worry about my body. And then I gave myself a year to gradually work on it. But those years have ended, and while I lost most of my baby weight, I’m stuck. Very stuck. The only time I made progress since hitting my plateau was the stomach flu. And it all came back a week later. I’d like to give it a real effort to see if I can get where I’d like to go. It’s a realistic goal but one I haven’t been able to meet on my own. 

I joined Weight Watchers because 1) it’s at work so it’s not extra effort for me to get there, 2) it’s covered by my insurance, and 3) I have a group of online friends who have done it and who know their stuff and who are super supportive.

Now that I’m in it I finally get why people hate dieting. It is TERRIBLE. I am surrounded constantly by things I cannot eat. I am meeting someone for a drink on Friday and I will have to limit myself to a single glass of wine and even then I’ll be using up a majority of my extra points for the day on that one glass. Goodbye to a cold beer on a warm day, it was nice while it lasted. And now he wants to make it dinner and I’m trying to think of how I can order a meal that won’t be one of those “girly” meals that makes it really obvious I’m on a diet. At home I have lots of options for what I can eat and on that front I’m doing okay, but wow there’s just so much that isn’t an option. 

I realize how many restaurants I follow on Twitter, how many bloggers are posting recipes, how much I think about and talk about food. It sucks. 

But the embarrassment may suck more. Why am I embarrassed? Since when is it not okay to decide you want to lose extra weight? Maybe because I’ve worked so hard on accepting my body and being okay with it that now admitting I’m still not fully comfortable is admitting some kind of defeat? Maybe because I think I’ll have to insist that I really need it when people say I don’t?

I’ll be honest, I do not like my stomach. It is so much worse after Tessa. I still get people asking if I’m pregnant from time to time. I hate that. I know losing weight may not do anything for my stomach at all, but I’d like to at least give it a shot and see what happens. I’d like my dresses to fall a little better, like my jeans to fit a little better, all that stuff. 

And let’s be fully honest. I’m single. I’m dating. As much as I don’t want my looks to matter, they do.

On the bright side, my will power is pretty kickass. Then again, it’s only been one week.

I guess I just want to throw this out into the ether because I wonder what the rest of you out there do and if there’s some amazing tips you can give me or if you can just pass along some solidarity or commiseration. Because there’s 11 more weeks of this to go. It’ll be September when I’m finished. Summer will be over, Graham will be in school, the time stretching in front of me is intimidating.

Also I’m kind of nervous that I’ll lose weight but it’ll all come from my boobs. Worst possible outcome.

Fireworks and Memories

When my friend Kirk asked if I wanted to go out in a kayak on the Charles River for the fireworks on the 4th, my initial instinct was to say no. More specifically something along the lines of Hell, no. 

It was a reflex. I haven’t celebrated holidays for years. And holidays involving big crowds and late nights are generally something I avoid. If it sounds exhausting I’m usually not up for it.

But instead I said yes. Because, well, why not? I didn’t have the kids that day and I figured I might as well go for it when I no longer had them as an excuse. 

Thanks to inclement weather, the fireworks on the 4th got moved to the 3rd and our leisurely outing became a bit more hectic, with both of us scrambling to get there after work and not having the time we expected to prep. But we had an anchor, we had a couple snacks, and they gave us everything else we’d need when we got there. 

So off we went. Kayaking down the Charles. 

I admit, one of the things that held me back is that I am not a particularly athletic person. I think I did much better than I normally would have done since I’ve had to lug around a certain 2-year-old who’s decided she must be carried everywhere for the last couple months. I did okay. I took plenty of breaks. And WOW it was a long trip. From all the way out in Brighton to the middle of the city. 

A visual aid, if you will.

kayak Fireworks and Memories

For those of you who like to be precise about these things, the distance from start to finish is approximately 70 bajillion miles. Very, very windy miles. 

But despite my tired arms, it was delightful. A different way to look at the city. And I was glad I was doing it now, just having passed my 4th anniversary as a Bostonian, when I could look on the city with grateful and loving eyes. 

We arrived pretty early. Not many kayaks were around, but there were sailboats everywhere, terrifying me since they seemed to have no clear idea which direction they were going. We dropped anchor on the opposite side of the lake from the fireworks set up where the sailboats were less plentiful. We chatted and passed the time waiting for the sun to go down. It was lovely. Not too hot, though it was too windy because this is Boston so of course.

IMG 20140703 185502 e1404490034231 Fireworks and Memories
Windswept, on-a-boat, Pru-photobombing selfie

When we were out on our kayak I thought back to all my previous fireworks outings. And there honestly aren’t that many as an adult. Watching the fireworks over Town Lake in Austin with my summer boyfriend (and Allison) when I was 18. Watching the fireworks over Lake Tahoe with my on-again-off-again semi-boyfriend when I was in law school. Watching the fireworks over yet another lake with yet another boyfriend in my mid-20′s. And I’m pretty sure that was it. Which means it’s been nearly a decade. And that my experience of fireworks mostly involved boys and bodies of water and I didn’t have anything particularly memorable. I hadn’t even spent much time remembering those previous firew0rks-watching escapades. Sometimes you have to do something to remember what it’s like, how you’ve done it, how it fits into your history, how it makes you feel. Skipping the 4th for so many years meant I’d forgotten so much of that.

I was deeply happy to be out there, having the freedom to do something I wouldn’t normally do, something that would’ve been nearly unthinkable just a couple years ago. 

I started hatching plans while I was there to stop avoiding these big festivities and just finding a way to do them that works for me. I thought maybe next year I’d get a room at the Liberty or the Sheraton and bring the kids and watch the fireworks from our room together. 

It got dark, we watched the big boats come in and get settled, we got kudos from the State Police and the FBI for our impressive anchor (the cop presence was well done on the water) the Boston Pops began to play, a group claiming to be the Beach Boys sang three entire songs, (though I was unable to see who they were and they sounded suspiciously un-Beach-Boys-like, so I sat there wondering which bastardized re-birth of the Beach Boys this was, the one with Mike Love, or the one with the other guy who I don’t think was actually an original Beach Boy, and of course I regaled Kirk with my vast knowledge of Beach Boys history) and then the show finally started.

I didn’t take pictures.

Because pictures of fireworks do not do them justice. They can’t recreate the sparkles, the sounds, or the smell of the smoke, or the bang that you feel in your bones. I realized how long its been since I’ve seen a fireworks show, or a really good one, and saw kinds of fireworks I’ve never seen. Stars, smiley faces, one that kind of looks like Saturn that gets this amazing circle of sparkles after a ring of color. 

It was amazing. It was incredible. It made me smile. I remembered that when I see fireworks that sometimes I just can’t help gasping or saying “Oooooo” out loud without meaning to.

It was something you really should do, especially if you delight in the fact that the water wasn’t crowded and you didn’t have to deal with the masses of people one normally does at these events. 

The other bonus: you don’t have to wander through the busy streets and subway tunnels.

Well, you usually don’t.

About 15 minutes post-show, when we’d pulled up our anchor, got our lights ready, picked up our paddles and began our long trek back to Brighton, my inner monologue went something like this:

Brighton is SO FAR. I know I’ve had like 4 hours of rest, but that 70 bajillion miles is really going to take some effort. 

Didn’t we row into the wind on the way here? How are we rowing into the wind AGAIN on the way back? And wow, they must be getting a great fireworks show over in Newton or wherever that is. Because those are some bright lights flashing off the clouds. 

My arms are already getting crampy. This is going to be sooooooo loooooooong.

We haven’t even hit the first bridge yet. And my recollection is there are many many many bridges. So many bridges. Seriously, Newton, kudos on the fireworks. I mean, that is definitely fireworks. So much light, so regular, it’s definitely fireworks.

Still, at least we have a pretty clear route ahead. I finally see other kayaks and canoes. They’re all ahead of us since they didn’t go all the way to the opposite end of the river like we did, but they’re out here, too. And many of them are probably wusses like me. We’re in it together. Even if they’re all in front of us. The water is so choppy, thanks to all those big boats with motors getting out of here. I keep getting splashed. It’s making it even harder to row. Ow, my arms. Maybe I should rest for a minute.

So many people still on that bridge and on the streets. 

Do I hear screaming? I definitely hear screaming. Lots of people screaming. WHY ARE PEOPLE SCREAMING? I didn’t hear gunshots, I didn’t hear a bomb, what is happening? Why are they screaming?

Oh. Oh crap. Oh oh oh oh crap. That wasn’t fireworks. It’s lightning. And they are screaming because they just got hit with rain. Rain that sounds like it’ll be here any second. Rain that sounds like it will be really really hard.

And here it is.

I yell for Kirk to get out the rain jackets, but it’s too late. By the time he passes me one we’re already soaked through. It is that rain that comes down so hard it hurts. 

And if you’re lucky enough to have only experienced that kind of rain while on dry land, let me explain how it works when you’re in a little kayak on a big river. First it hurts. Then you realize you cannot see. You literally cannot see. All I could see was our boat occasionally and sometimes a glimpse of just how big the waves were right next to us. 

We tried to paddle and for a minute or two we went nowhere. And I thought, While it’s a really good thing we read all the safety information before we got on the kayak I’m really feeling underprepared for the current crisis. We finally got a slightly less horrific patch of rain and started to paddle to shore. Only to realize that shore on the Cambridge side nearest us wasn’t exactly somewhere we could dock. But then I spied a boathouse and we paddled over as quickly as we could. 

Luckily for us, it was the MIT Boathouse and it was full of kids partying. Kids who were playing around in the rain and who were fortunately not drunk enough to respond to my calls for help and to assist us in getting the kayak out of the water.

We were drenched, to put it lightly. We called the kayak place and were told to wait it out.

And then the MIT grown-ups in charge of the place said that they were closing up and that even though the rain was letting up they couldn’t let us back out on the water due to the lightning. 

IMG 20140703 232308 e1404490054719 Fireworks and Memories
Not-so-windswept, very-wet selfie.

So we said goodbye to our kayak, walked our wet, wet selves a couple blocks in to Cambridge where the roads weren’t blocked off, and uber’d it over to Brighton where Kirk’s car was and to give the kayak rental place our tale of woe. Some people had actually made it back, most of them spry looking guys in their 20′s. A few, like us, had abandoned ship. 

It was a crazy, beautiful, wet, terrifying adventure. And it’s nice to know that you’ve set yourself a new record. That is, by far, my most memorable 4th of July. 

How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

The last time I bought a real bathing suit, one that actually fits and that I actually like, was before my honeymoon. That suit does not fit anymore. I’ve had a couple cheap ones to get me through since then, but it’s not going to cut it much longer. My kids are getting bigger, I can no longer pretend there’s no such thing as a pool. Oh, and we’re going to a water park in less than a week. It was time. 

Let me tell you a little bit about my body and what I look for in a swimsuit.

  • I’m a size 8/Medium top and a 10/Large bottom, which is why I find two-pieces to be a good option in terms of fit.
  • Even though I’m a smaller size on top, I have a C-cup bra size and a sizable post-baby tummy.
  • I hate hate hate clothes that are very tight. No Spanx for this girl. I suffer through tights. This makes swimsuit shopping particularly hard, since so many of them are heavy, tight fabric.
  • I may have a post-baby tummy, but I am not wearing any kind of suit that is supposed to camouflage or cover up my tummy. No Miraclesuits, please. I want to be comfortable. And have a little bit of jiggle control. And beyond that the belly is what it is.

I put out the call to see where people shop and if they could confirm to me that there is in fact a two-piece that fits my criteria. Based on their recommendations and my own choices I made 3 shopping trips for bathing suits. (Actually 4, but a look at Swim ‘n Sport in the mall yielded absolutely nothing I wanted to try on. Total bust.) Before I get to the specific places and suits, let me give you my tips to make bathing suit shopping a little less painful.

swimsuit 1 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy, but I ate a meal right before I went swimsuit shopping each time. (Including a delightful lunch with several courses in Chinatown.) Why, you ask? Because the last thing I want is to take a suit home and find that it’s too small. I will be wearing this suit before meals, during meals, after meals. I’ll be wearing it when I’m bloated and when I’m not. But the times when I’m stuffed full are the times when I’m much more likely to care about whether this damn suit is comfortable.

A little food baby isn’t going to require you to go a size up, it’ll just help you make sure you’ve got a good fit.

Also food is awesome and you might as well enjoy something before you go into the fray.

swimsuit 2 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

Start at the top and the bottom of your budget. When you know what’s out there for $30, it’ll give you a lot of perspective once you get to the pricey ones. You may also find that the most expensive suits are not necessarily your favorites. 

Also don’t be afraid to buy more than one suit. If you find something that works, buy it. If you find something else you like better, buy that and then return the first one. Or you may find two suits that you love that work in really different ways so you opt for both. 

swimsuit 3 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

Look, no one expects this to be fun. But if you do your job right you won’t have to do this again for a LONG TIME.

Now let’s do this.

 

First Stop: Macy’s

Pros:

  • Variety. Way more than you’ll find at a store that only has one brand.
  • Great brand names: Nautica, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors all had plenty of suits there.
  • Sales! More sales, more coupons, more promos than you’ll find at many stores.
  • Suits for all body types, all kinds of coverage and several with built-in bras.

Cons:

  • Not every store has the same variety. It’ll vary depending on where you are. 
  • You may find yourself in a very sad dressing room. Again, it varies.
  • Rare to find someone there to help you get a new size. Best to bring a friend.

What I Found:

My favorite suit from Macy’s was not one I expected, but it fulfilled all my requirements. And it was on sale so it cost less than $40 to buy both pieces.

macys suit 1 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

This is basically a bikini with a crochet cover below the cups. But it was unexpectedly flattering. Only downside is that with nothing holding on to the belly, it’s not great for running around. On the plus side: I looked pretty damn sexy in it.

20140614 131552 e1403012526287 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

The big thing I learned from this suit: emphasizing the boobs can go a long way to help you care less about the belly. And it was possible for me to feel kinda cute and sexy in a suit. A welcome discovery.

 

Second Stop: Athleta

Pros:

  • Oh comfy. So comfy. Like yoga clothes for the beach.
  • Lots of options for mix and match two-pieces.
  • Easy online shopping.
  • Lovely dressing rooms, and there was always someone back there to get me more sizes or options.
  • Really good refund policy.

Cons:

  • Not many brick and mortar locations.
  • Less selection. There’s much more online, but in store is limited.
  • Little in the way of boob support. Skip this one, big-breasted ladies.

What I Found:

I wouldn’t have considered Athleta if a few friends hadn’t given it high marks. I only took two suits back with me to the dressing room. Their one pieces looked too complex for my taste, and even their two-pieces felt the need for a lot of detailing. So yeah, I was skeptical.

Until I put a suit on. And then I was just so happy. It was comfortable. The skirt had shorts beneath it, shorts that ACTUALLY FIT. I can’t remember if I’ve ever worn a pair of swim shorts that actually fit. The shorts have bikini bottoms beneath, and same deal. Actually fit. And I love that the shorts look like cute sport shorts instead of too-tight swim shorts.

athleta suit How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

This suit was not at all too tight on the tummy, the fabric was light and breathable. I just felt like I was wearing a tank top. It also didn’t feel too short, which is a definite plus.

20140616 121331 e1403012452828 How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

(Apologies for the blurry pic.) But boob coverage is one of their weak points. I loved this suit, which also came with lots of cute bottoms, but the boobs were not having it.

 

Third Stop: Lands End

Pros:

  • Lots of mix and match options.
  • Lots of colors and styles.
  • Good variety of sizes, including plus-sizes. Lots of cover-ups, too.
  • You can try on suits at Sears if you don’t want to roll the dice online.
  • Lots of suits with underwire bras.

Cons:

  • So many skirts. Seriously, WTF? (Maybe it was just my story, but crazy.)
  • Prints are okay, but not great.
  • Old-school styles and fabrics.
  • Sears dressing rooms leave much to be desired.

What I Found: 

So I’ve been hearing about Lands End suits for AGES. YEARS. I have walked by them and thought about trying them on plenty of times. I finally bit the bullet and I was… not super impressed.

lands end suit How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

Yes, they have a variety of tops and bottoms. Lots of colors. But not one suit was flattering. Putting them on was horrendous. And once on they were tight and not terribly comfortable. They were everything I don’t really like about swimsuits. Everything I was trying to escape. Everything that made me dread trying on swimsuits in the first place.

They tended to emphasize the belly (especially the pink one) and do nothing for the boobs. I swear the models have their boobs smushed up to get cleavage in these suits or were photo shopped in. So yeah. We did not have much fun.

lands end suits How to Survive Hell (aka Swimsuit Shopping)

Look, it’s not like I look hideous in them. But they kinda look like wearing mom suits. And I definitely wasn’t paying that much for a suit that didn’t do much for my body.

 

The verdict

I ended up buying both the Macy’s and Athleta suits, but I’ll be taking the Macy’s one back. It was a good one to have in case I didn’t find anything else I like. 

The Athleta suit was more than I wanted to spend. But it really didn’t cost more than a Lands End suit. And I liked it a whole lot more. I also feel pretty confident taking it to the swim park, especially because their return policy is that you can work out in their clothes and return them if they don’t perform. So we’ll see how a day at the water park goes…

 

Anywhere I missed? Any tips you’d add?

Shrug It Off. Or Not.

Manners. It’s one of those things I wish I cared about less than I actually do. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think of myself as a laid-back person even though I often seem that way to other people. My Mom was first and foremost the person who made me care about manners. She knew every rule and let me know what they were. I was a rule-follower by nature and I took to it naturally. I read Miss Manners books and columns. For fun. (I still do.)

As an urban dweller I’ve had to shrug off manners a lot because here in the Northeast people tend to be a bit brusque, plenty brash, and not exactly readers of Emily Post. We’re all smushed together and sometimes you just have to stop caring.

I’m not always successful. Which is one of the reasons why going back to a rush hour commute is the biggest downside of going back to work. I try to drown it out, I try not to care about the lack of courtesy, but it’s an effort.

Lately, though, I’ve had a string of worse than usual encounters with bad manners. Not just having everybody stand at the front of the bus instead of moving back (ARGH!), not just people cutting me off in traffic (GRR!) but in-your-face rudeness.

Two of them were about exactly the same thing. Apparently to some people “sorry” is a lesser word than “excuse me.” While I care about courtesy, to me it’s the thought that counts. I don’t care if you say “I’m sorry” or “pardon me” or whatever you choose. But in Target when I saw a pair of tights on clearance and reached for them, then realized they were the wrong size and reached for the pair next to them before I saw that I would be sticking my hand across another woman’s line of sight, I let out a quick “Sorry!” snatched the tights and got out of her way as fast as I could.

For this I received a tongue-lashing in the middle of a crowded Target on a Saturday because didn’t I have any manners and know how to say “Excuse me”? 

But here’s the thing that makes me crazy when this kind of thing happens. It is bad manners to correct or call out someone’s bad manners. I mean, I’d be willing to make a case that it’s okay if it’s your kid since you’ll want to direct them to apologize for their behavior to the aggrieved party. But if it’s an adult, even if it’s a family member or someone you know very well, if you’re going to let them know they did something impolite, you do it quietly and privately and kindly. 

So yeah, this was a double whammy. Someone I didn’t know called me out for bad manners when I’d already apologized for my bad manners. I wish I could recover from this kind of stuff and shrug it off, but I haven’t yet developed that skill. When someone flips me off while driving I feel angry and frustrated for a good hour or so afterwards. And this was no different. All afternoon I felt annoyed and angry because I’d been treated badly even when I’d already tried to make it right.

It happened again last week on the bus. To avoid making a woman with a baby stroller move from her spot in the aisle, I had to squeeze my way through a packed aisle to get to the other exit. As I walked I said, “Excuse me … sorry … excuse me … pardon me …” but one woman yelled at me after I walked by and said “sorry,” angry that I hadn’t said “Excuse me.” This time I was happy that another man nearby took up my cause. “She SAID ‘Excuse me,’” he called out. Even though he was showing just as bad of manners as she was (correcting someone else’s behavior in public) at least he was trying to look out for someone.

One thing I’ve learned from those experiences, coming in such close succession, is that to avoid them in the future–the only way I can really help myself is to avoid them–is to say “Excuse me” loudly whenever I get in anyone’s way.

Another lesson learned: no more trips to the Cinema Pub, a movie theater with food in a Boston suburb. I was there this weekend with a friend seeing Her, and I admit the audience didn’t quite look like I would’ve expected for a decidedly quirky and unusual film with a rather small audience. Sure enough, they were a raucous and rude group. I can’t help but think the setup–which felt more restaurant than theater–contributed to the atmosphere. 

I did my best to hold myself back. While it’s impolite to call out bad behavior, there are times when it’s okay. Like, for example, when you’re in a place like a theater where quiet is expected and a manager could be summoned to remove people for impolite behavior. I kept my mouth shut as a few groups of them chuckled through serious scenes and giggled like children during sexy scenes. 

But I lost it when they started making wisecracks about halfway through, joking during the dialogue and laughing in response so loudly I couldn’t hear the movie anymore. I looked over and gave the glare. When that didn’t do anything, I shushed. I shushed maybe 2 or 3 times over the course of half an hour. Yeah, it didn’t matter much. They could’ve cared less.

And yeah, it made my blood boil. I wish it didn’t bother me so much. I wish it hadn’t pulled me out of the movie and lessened my experience (I, for one, loved the movie). More than that, I wish I could shrug things off, just move forward, not hold a grudge. 

That’s just how it is, I guess. There’s a lot of things that have changed in my life and in my personality. I have become more relaxed, more laid back. I worry less. I don’t spend so much time focusing on the future, I live day to day. There are just some things I won’t ever shake. 

There are worse things.

18 Hours of Fail

Monday was my first day at work and happily it was a no-kid day. I had the freedom to get up, get ready and get going without worrying about anyone but myself. And the same with my return home at the end of the day. (I might even have gone out on an elusive Monday night date. That’s me, walking on the wild side.)

Tuesday was a half-kid day, so the morning was all me but end of the day was everybody. I thought I was primed and ready for this. I was not.

Let’s do this by the clock, 24 style.

4:00 pm  Working. Happy. Feeling pretty good.

4:13 pm  Phone rings, number isn’t one I recognize. But I answer it anyway. It is bus dispatch. They want to know why I haven’t come out to pick up Graham from the bus. I freak out a little bit at my desk (which, by the way, is out with all the other desks all open and such) and apologize that they weren’t notified that he should’ve stayed at school for the After School program. They say they can take him back to school.

4:19 pm  Call school, let them know he’ll be there in 5 minutes.

4:20 pm  Wipe tears from my face, feel like worst mother ever. Graham tends to freak out over the slightest change in routine on the bus and I can’t help but think about how upset he must be.

4:30 pm  After trying to push through for a while, I give up and decide I’m going to leave a smidge early to get the kids.

4:35 pm  Walk to the train, then catch the bus to daycare. Email their dad because apparently our co-parenting agreement hasn’t covered the finer points of school communications on days where we also have a hand-off and we both had different ideas of how that would work. New procedure agreed upon. 

5:15 pm  Arrive at daycare. Tessa is thrilled to see me and it helps erase a little bit of the mom guilt. We put on shoes and coat and take home several adorable art projects. We sit in traffic and listen to Let It Go on repeat, neither of which is my favorite.

5:45 pm  Arrive at Graham’s school. I realize that my thoughts that I could plan to leave work at 5 on kid days were misguided. No way I can make Tessa’s 5:30 pickup and Graham’s 6 pm pickup so actually it wasn’t a total loss. Graham is playing, happy, and totally chill.  We get in the car and I’m planning to drive them home for dinner instead of our normal Tuesday pancake night at IHOP (kids eat free!) but Graham’s request for pancakes comes the minute he sits down in the car and I am not quite ready to say no to him. In the car I ask him about the bus and if he was upset and he insists he wasn’t. Usually he’ll tell me if he cries but I can’t believe he made it through this unscathed. He narrates them going to our house, honking, waiting, leaving, dropping off other kids, coming back, honking, then coming back to school. I’m glad he isn’t still caught up in being upset, I was worried he’d be inconsolable, but it’s still not helping much.

6:15 pm Arrive at IHOP. Realize with a groan that it is National Pancake Day. We go to National Pancake Day every year (free short stack!) but I always take a little time to mentally prepare myself for it as it’s always packed full of people and I have to remind myself it’s for charity. Tell Graham that maybe we should eat somewhere else, he refuses. Assure him that we will have to wait a long time before we eat. He promises in his most earnest little boy voice to wait nicely. I cave. We go in.

6:45 pm Seated at a table. Lately instead of sitting with Tessa on one side and having Graham alone on the other, I let them sit on the same side. They generally amuse each other well and it’s oddly calmer that way. They actually do really well even though we’ve waited for a while. They split a short stack and there is minimal whining about the fact that these pancakes do not have chocolate chips or a smile made of bananas. Of course, it wouldn’t be eating out if Graham didn’t declare an urgent need to go to the bathroom the minute our food arrives on the table. 

7:40 pm Escape relatively quickly, but it’s already past Tessa’s bedtime and we still have to make a quick stop at the grocery store which is just down the street. Cereal, fruit and veggies, and other necessities are required. It will be a short trip, but it’s an essential one.

8:10 pm Our short trip is officially not short. Tessa has decided she wants to walk and we are slowed to the pace of her tiny tiny legs. Then we end up in line behind a woman with WIC checks. I always make a point not to huff or complain when I’m behind someone with limited money or food stamps or WIC checks. Today it takes extra patience. Tessa is all over the place. Graham is whiny. And the lady keeps forgetting she has another check and making them start the whole process again. I’ve done it, it’s not a fast process. It almost feels designed to humiliate you. When she gets to the rest of her purchases she realizes it costs more than she thought and we wait while she decides which items to take away from her choices. 

8:30 pm We finally get out of the grocery store. It is now an hour past Tessa’s bedtime and 30 minutes past Graham’s. Everyone is fussy and tired and low on patience. We get home and I pack them both off to bed immediately, before I even unload the groceries. It goes smoothly and quickly and thank heavens for one thing going right.

9:30 pm Once everyone’s down for the count I head up to bed myself. I have a lot of things I need to do this week but I don’t know when they’ll get done and I’m just too tired for now, especially since I have to be up early for my first morning dropoff before work.

12:00 am I wake up. Like really awake. Well my brain is awake and every other part of me is exhausted. I read, I look at my phone,I meditate,  I do every trick I know but I can’t get back to sleep. I haven’t had this kind of constant-brain-that-won’t-stop insomnia in years. 

2:00 am-ish I finally get to sleep.

6:00 am Alarm goes off. Not super happy. I can really feel those lost two hours. Jump in the shower, though I have to leave the door open in case anyone wakes up and wonders where I’ve gone to.

6:20 am Out of shower, kids still asleep. Win.

6:40 am Dressed, hair, make-up. Kids still asleep. Win.

6:45 am Wake up kids. We’ve got to get moving. Take kids downstairs and say we’ll have a short breakfast since they’ll both be fed after dropoff. Both turn up their noses at their usual cereal and ask for yogurt instead. T eats only a little of hers and gives it back. I lay out G’s clothes and make his lunch.

7:00 am Start getting kids dressed, change Tessa’s diaper, get my own lunch ready, realize I’ve forgotten to eat my own breakfast.

7:20 am Make coffee to take in the car since I don’t have time to drink it. Make sure kids are dressed complete with socks and shoes. Get Tessa’s hair pulled up in a little ponytail while she is distracted.

7:35 am Leave the house, 5 minutes late but surprisingly close to on time. Tessa has a suspicious cough.

7:40 am Drop off Graham, feel annoyed that I have to get Tessa out of her carseat and then back in for all of the 90 seconds it takes to walk him inside and walk back out. Also annoyed that it is freaking freezing outside still.

8:00 am While driving to daycare Tessa starts to fuss and when I turn around to look at her she throws up her yogurt. A few times. Crap. Wait until I can turn around, drive back home.

8:30 am Email work to tell them I’ll be out. Put Tessa in bed.

Yup, had to take a day off on my third day of work. Still haven’t completed a full day of dropoff/pickup. At least I found some time to post to my blog today, run some laundry, do some dishes, work on my taxes, etc. Tessa had a few down hours this morning but was perked up and normal by 11 am. And while I’m glad she’s feeling better it still has me miffed to be missing a full day. 

But I’ve been down this road before. This is my third time starting a job since having kids. They’ve all been different, but I’m definitely used to the insanity. What I haven’t had to do before is deal with quite this level of time constraint. It’s not going to be easy, I know that much. All I can do is just step up and try, and not let it worry me too much when I achieve a constant stream of fail.

Time to Get #Fit4Fall

sponsored post image Time to Get #Fit4FallOfficially the Year of Jess started about 7 months ago at Tessa’s first birthday. (Reminder: I gave myself T’s first 12 months as the Year of Tess, let it be all about baby and not push myself. Now it’s Year of Jess and time to get back to myself.) 

Year of Jess has not exactly gone as planned. (Then again, nothing this year has gone as planned.) So far I’ve updated my wardrobe a smidge. And I got a nice haircut and finally took the plunge and went full-on curly. These things are nice but they are really side projects to the big project which is to figure out the post-baby body once and for all.

That part of it… Well, let’s just say that just yesterday someone assumed I was pregnant. It’s a weekly occurrence.

In a way it doesn’t bother me much. My weight carries almost completely in my tummy right now. But still. Ugh.

So the real big Year of Jess weight project has actually started. At the beginning of August or so I started getting more careful about what I eat. I’m cutting back on portions, I’m cutting down on bad habits. And it’s not just a little, it’s full-on thinking about my meals every meal every day. Not just plain old being good. 

And the even bigger thing, for me, has also begun: exercise. 

Here’s the honest truth: I hate exercise.

And I don’t just mean that in the way everyone hates exercise. I really hate it. I don’t enjoy it. I’ve never had that rush of endorphins people talk about. Ever. Sometimes I feel okay after I exercise, in that I don’t feel like I got hit by a truck but just feel like a more tired and worn out version of myself. 

But seriously. I hate it. 

I hate it enough that I agreed to do the Fit 4 Fall campaign with Planet Shoes, because I hate it so much that I need to be held publicly accountable for it. 

 Time to Get #Fit4Fall
It’s not just that I hate exercise. I also hate my post-exercise bright pink face.

Exercising regularly when you hate exercise is not easy and this isn’t my first rodeo. Lots of things normal people do are out.

Running? You’re hilarious.

But surely you can do a Couch-to-5K?  I CAN do one, but I would hate it so much that I WOULDN’T do it. 

Seriously. Normal people exercise stuff and me just don’t go together. The big problem with running is that there is nothing to think about except the fact that you’re running and how tired you are and how much longer will it be and my brain starts to sound like my 4-year-old asking for snacks.

You may think to yourself, Why doesn’t she listen to music? Or the radio? Or some podcasts? This is a valid response. But they don’t work. I listen to music or the radio or podcasts while I am doing things I dislike, like washing the dishes. But they are not nearly enough to distract me from things I hate. 

But there is a solution: Zumba

The thing about Zumba is that you’re doing these dance routines and you have to watch the instructor and concentrate and pay such close attention and then (if you’re very brave) watch yourself in the mirror to see if you actually look the way you’re supposed to look and remember to do that little hip swirl and the other little hop and it takes so much brain power that you only remember how much you hate it between songs.

And Zumba doesn’t even let you do that because they have less than a second between songs. It’s ridiculous. By the time I take one swig from my water bottle it’s already started up again.

So far I’ve been going to Zumba at the Y since the beginning of August and I’m doing okay. Some weeks I get in twice, some weeks just once. I’m working on getting a schedule figured out. 

The schedule stuff? That’s the thing that’s killing me right now. 

But I’ll get to that next week. For now I have to report I’ve made progress. I was weighing in at around 155 (with some sliding around but that average) and this week I broke 150 on the scale for the first time in 2 years. (Basically since when I was pregnant with Tessa.)  My average has gone down to 152 and then 151 and this week I’m hoping to bring it below 150. 

Pre-baby weight is 140 so I still have some ways to go, but I know that one of the hardest things about post-baby weight loss is just getting off the plateau. Actually making a change and seeing some progress. 

And in that respect? It’s all good.

If you’re also someone who needs public shaming (ahem, I mean support) to exercise, you can join me and my other Sole Sisters at the Planet Shoes #Fit4Fall site. We’re doing a 6-week program where we all set our own goals. Mine is simple: to exercise every week. I may be slow and steady but that’s what wins the race, right? 

 Time to Get #Fit4Fall

Thanks to Planet Shoes for  these sweet Ryka shoes, so far they’ve served me quite well.