Your brain on its first stroller run.

At my annual review, my boss informed me that he wanted me to do more writing. I cannot remember the last time I put out a column for our section. I’m just going to go with: that time I kayaked on my front lawn. Sounds good enough.

Formulating thoughts for a column, especially limited to a certain scope of topics, isn’t easy. Then, finding the time to put it together amongst the photos, events, occasional feature stories… It gets slid to the back burner.

We then got talking about running with a stroller and how it’s a whole new world in comparison to a solo run. There are strong numbers in stroller runners here in our area, and we tend to see them frequently at road race events we are at. One father runs with a double stroller, both toddlers tucked in tight. He’s a top-5 finisher. Once he is done with the race, he’ll run back through the course, find his wife, and finish it with her.

He definitely makes it look easy. And here’s how I officially discovered that.

Your brain on your first stroller run:

Oh, it’s such a nice day today! FINALLY! My legs are itchy, let’s get out and get moving!

Do we have everything? Binky, check. Blankets, check. Burp cloth for accidents, check. Housewpid-1440602438743.jpg keys, check. Phone, check. Water, check. Should I just bring the damn diaper bag? What about my debit card in case we have to get something in town? Sigh… 

...and you’re off! (At this point, you’ve set your phone up with a HIIT timer to help you keep a tempo going)

(Two minutes in, your phone gives you the green light to start your jog)

Running, so this is how we do it again. Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped running so soon. I could have run my first trimester, and maybe part of my second. Ugh, what was I thinking?

Well, that was quick. Not so bad. Maybe this won’t be so horrible after all.

Thirty seconds? Damnit. I should stop and recalculate that. Thirty seconds is a million years. My legs can’t do this thirty-seconds-on-90-seconds-off thing. No freaking way. 

(Glance down at phone) TEN SECONDS?! I’VE ONLY BEEN RUNNING FOR TEN SECONDS?! That cannot be right. No it can’t.

Walking, this is nice. We can do walking. 

I’d fail at bootcamp right now. Fail miserably. I can’t even push a ten pound baby in a stroller on a run, how the hell could I carry a rucksack? Pffffttttt… I suck. 

No. I don’t suck. I’m out here doing this. I’m moving. I’m off the couch. We’re getting fresh air. 

Ugh, running again. This sucks. What was I thinking. 

Then, as you’re strolling up the driveway, leaning on top of the stroller, peeking down through the plastic window at your sleeping bundle of joy in his puffy blue snowsuit, tucked in cozy with a blanket that might heat the entire North Pole (it’s winter, snowy and frigid)… You find yourself, as much as the entire experience sucked, patting your back.

Because guess what? You did it.

 

Changing the view of food. No weight-loss magic here.

I’m going to shatter the universe with my opening blog statements today. Hold on to your britches folks, because it’s going to be a big’un.

There is no big secret to weight loss. There is no magic pill, powder, plant, food, or hobgoblin.

The answer is not sitting in some top secret lab, buried in the depths of some rainforest, or carved into the side of some obscure cliff face.

Despite what the marketing gurus promise, throwing out at you their stats from their studies, on their products… It’s just not so.

So why don’t we take a seat for a moment, shed a few tears, and I’ll give some sympathetic back pats and rubs.

Alright, now up we go, and lets get on with it.

If I had a penny for every time I have had someone ask me, or have overheard someone else being asked “What’s your secret?!” I’m quite sure I’d have my Lambo, and my family and I would be sitting with our butts in the sand on our private beach — on our private island.

The biggest thing, that somehow, everyone seems to forget is: genetics.

We can thank all of those in our families before us for the basic, essential build-up of our bodies. I wish I had bigger ta-tas, but hey, guess what? Not happening in my family full of smaller boobied ladies. That was a universal agreement amongst the genetic Gods before I was even born.

But, on the same vein, genetics can be a tricky, tricky thing. Take my sisters and I for example. We’re all created from the same pool. Yet, we’re all different. My older sister and I have blond hair, blue eyes; the younger sister is dark haired with hazel-ish colored eyes. We’re all built differently. I’m the smallest of the three.

So in reality, yes, genetics. Digging deeper, it’s all in how each gene is pulled and stuck together ultimately.

Then we have to add in: mindset.

Some of us will forever struggle with sticking with something. I call it commitment ADD. Others either have to give it their all, or nothing. So many things in our minds that can hitch us up, and lead to failure.

Stop calling them cheat meals. You’re not cheating. Stop using the term “allowance”, because you’re not a 10-year-old unloading the family dishwasher. And for the love of all things puppy, stop calling your food a reward. You’re not a dog.
Meals are meals. End of story. Snacks are snacks. End of that story.

I’m about to explode what’s left of the universe right now, and reveal my “secret”.  Which isn’t really a secret, but hey, a lot of people seem to think it is. The shocking deets on mine: it is how I look at food.

Food is fuel. It keeps my body happy, healthy and GOING. I fear death (don’t we all?), illness (again, don’t we all?), and all of the bad stuff the boogey man brings in the dark.

I don’t track my food. I never restrict myself, because restriction diets are bad news. They encourage disordered eating in more ways than one, and you’re not even realizing what’s going on until you’re deep in the throes of it. The only thing I do keep an eye on is my sodium, but that’s because per doctor’s orders, I’m on a 2500mg-a-day restricted sodium diet – for the rest of my life. And trust me, that’s not fun, at all.

95% of the food that is in my hands, on my fork, on my plate, is healthy. I eat my veggies. I love my fruit. I snack almost never on packaged, processed things. I can’t remember the last time I drank a soda, or a sugary juice. My meat is local, so I know where it’s come from and what they’ve done to Bessie before she came home with me.

Five-percent of the time? Well, you see the blog photo. That Italian chicken sandwich wpid-img_20150803_121819.jpghas been on my mind for two months now. I just haven’t gotten the chance to go grab it and put it in my belly. Last week, it was a root beer float from a local ice cream stand. A few days ago, it was chocolate chip cookies that had somehow escaped us heathens (my parents offspring, our significant others, and our offspring) the previous family dinner just days earlier.

And, because this is how I “practice” daily eating, I enjoy food at its fullest. I’ve also found, that by helping others change-up their view on food (it’s not evil, trust me; food is good for you, so stop treating it like terrorists on your plate!), they take on a much healthier view of it, and find success with eating – and dropping pounds at the same time.

Shocker, I know. You can lose weight AND eat at the same time!

Which brings me to moderation. It’s the mindset we all need to work to get at. It’s not easy. There will be times for some, when it’s really, really damn hard. But you can get there. I’ve seen some of my clients seem like they will never find even the start of that path, that are nailing moderation-365 daily now.

If you want to eat it: EAT IT. Really. If you really want it, take a few bites. Ten times out of 10, that’s all your body really wants. Just a couple of quick bites to send those pleasureful pulses through your brain.

If you’re craving it, give it a few days. If a week has passed, and I’m talking a full on seven 24-hour days here, and you still want that milkshake from Burger King? Go get it. Seriously. Stop depriving yourself. It won’t be the end of you or your weight loss journey. You won’t have suddenly fallen off the healthy bandwagon either.

Don’t you dare call it a treat. It’s just a milkshake.

Walk away from the infomercials, pills, tree bark and other stuff companies are pushing as the “cure all”. Change your approach to food. Change your relationship with food.

Your mind, body and heck, even your soul, will thank you for it.

Like a girl.

Each time I think about this campaign, this blog post takes a little bit more shape.

You got us marketing gurus. You tricked us all. Hell, even I used the #likeagirl a few times on my social media posts right after the campaign first geared up in Super Bowl commercials.

Then I really sat down and thought about it. I mean, really looked at the campaign as a whole.

I get what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to give a voice to the female gender. Trying to tell us women that we can do anything that a man can do. I get it.

However, the approach? Skewed. Slightly messed up.

Like a girl.

The campaign asks girls, if doing something like a girl was a bad thing. Which all felt it was, even if they were unsure.

But then, the campaign has photos of girls doing things, with the hashtag #likeagirl.

“Throw #likeagirl.”

“Dance #likeagirl.”

No, no, no, no. Like-a-girl-cover-600x400

Do you see what’s going on here? It’s continuing on with the gender stereotype. The “You throw good, for a girl,” as said by one of my male friends in my teenage years. Or even “You kick like a girl,” said by my well meaning husband when I finally got back onto the football pitch after having our baby.

Except now, it’s putting it onto us women. Virtually, if you really think about it, making us insult ourselves. “I lift, like a girl.”

No. I lift. I run. I’m strong.

My gender, your gender, has absolutely nothing to do with it. NOTHING. Do you hear me ladies?

So please, stop using that hashtag on your fitness posts. You flex. You have muscles. You clear those hurdles on the track course. You do it, because that’s what you do. Not because you’re a girl. You don’t do it like a girl, you do it like a human being.

YOU DO.

I DO.

WE DO.

Break down the barrier. Kick it in the teeth. Grab the bull by the horns.

Banish #likeagirl.

Spark creativity: Why I do other trainers programs.

Six weeks ago, I started Jessie Hilgenberg’s Home Edition workout program. It was interesting to see how many people, stood off to the sidelines of my social-media-led workout life, scratching their heads.

“Aren’t you a personal trainer?” and “Why are you doing someone else’s trainer? Can’t you come up with your own?” Even… “Isn’t that a waste of money?”

Yes, I am a personal trainer. Yes, I can create my own trainer for myself. I have done so, many, many times in my workout life. And there are many, many more self-written ones to follow. Thing is? It gets kind of boring after awhile. I can write myself a hell of a workout, but, it’s not the same as pulling and doing one created by another. Be it a fellow local trainer, or someone like Hilgenberg.

I’ve done probably about a dozen different trainers, from other fit professionals, over the course of the 13, almost 14 years of my weight lifting life. They not only challenge me in a way that I may not have been able to come up with on my own, but they show me a little of the mindset of another trainer. What works. What doesn’t work. Long programming versus short programming. Super versus giant sets. It gives me better, on-hand, personal experience.

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Phase two wrapped and in the books.

It helps me do my job better.

To not do it, would to be much like an author who never reads anything but their own work.

It stifles the mind. Staunches that creativity.

There are a lot of times, where I will take that trainer and tweak it a bit here and there even, in the midst of my doing it. For example: Box jumps on leg and back day of the phase two portion of the Home Edition trainer. Did I do them Saturday when I was out there sweating my ass off in hot, humid, sunny weather?

No. Instead, I did the rear flyes on their own, and in-between each superset, I ran down to the end of my driveway and back (about 400-feet, give or take a few steps).

Why did I do this? First, I did just have a major surgery not even five months ago (that’s right folks! A cesarean is a major surgery, let’s not forget that part like so many of us all do!). Yes, I may be back to working out. Yes, I may have done pelvic floor rehab. Yes, I may not have gotten diastasis recti. BUT, I know my body. I know what it’s been through, I know what it can handle at this moment in time, right now. I also know, I want to continue to heal properly. I don’t want to be down with injury. So, I knew just flat out, box jumps were a no-go, so in came the substitute.

Sometimes, I don’t have access to certain things. That first phase, I couldn’t get my suspension trainer up yet to do pull-ups. So instead, I swapped it out for an exercise that was going to accomplish the same thing.

Adapt and adjust. The only way you’ll ever find success.

I can accredit the on-the-fly type of thinking to the fact that I have that kind of experience under my belt. I’ve done so many different workouts, between my own and others, that when it comes down to a “Oh crap! This isn’t a good idea!”, I’m not looking around for an alternative. I’ve already got it at the snap of a finger.

I’ve been with clients before, who, the day of their session, tell me about an old injury flaring, or a sudden issue they may be having. If I couldn’t think quickly enough of a safe alternative, then I’d have to scrap the session all together. Do that enough, my client walks.

I’m a believer in it, and I always, strongly encourage all of the trainers I meet to do the same. Who knows what may come of it?

Being with social media.

I’ve always been the nine-to-fiver when it has come to social media. My presence, my voice, would drop off of the face of the earth, so to speak, the moment I walked out of work, and not be seen or heard again, until I walked back in the following day.

It was never purposely planned out that way, it’s just how it has been. When I’m not at work, I’m not typically in front of my computer. My phone gets forgotten here or there throughout the house, and I end up becoming so involved in what it is I’m doing after work, I just never bother grabbing it.

In the summertime, I tend to disappear even more. Shuffling as quickly as possible, while still maintaining my superb self-expectation bar with the work I put out, through my work day so I can skip out onto the water for a paddle. Sneak home for a long run. Hit the beach with a book. The non-technology world always wins when I’m given the option between the two.

Which means: I miss a lot. But guess what? I don’t really care. And that’s not a secret. Friends will ask if I saw this person’s post on Facebook. If I heard about this or that, etc… My best friend, who lives almost two hours away, is more tuned into what is happening up here in our hometown, than I am.

But I don’t care.

I’m just over here, in my little slice of the world, doing my thing. I don’t kid when I say “You do you, I’ll do me.”

When the baby came, I found myself becoming more aware of the time I did spend on social media. It was still pretty sparse at that point. I may have posted a little more in the evenings just before he came, but that was where my work hours had shifted to. Because near that last stretch, the evening and night hours were where I functioned best.

I didn’t really need to make a mental note of when to be on and when to be off, after almost a decade, I was pretty well “trained” from my life in general. However, I was home all day for almost fourteen weeks. I knew it could be easy to slip into the “round the clock” mode. I told myself: When he’s awake, the computer is off, the phone is down. He will have my undivided attention.

And that’s how my maternity leave went. When he napped, I blogged. I hit Instagram. Checked Facebook. Browsed around on Twitter. Pinned, pinned, pinned. Until he woke up. A few times, while he was just chilling on the couch, I caught up on deleting spam mail in my work account. I blogged once.

I still had a full handle on my social media social life.

The shift came when I started work. In my effort to keep my daily hours far less than they were before the baby came, I started unplugging from the world wide web, more and more. When I would come home, I would check everything. For two weeks, I let the connection win.

Then I slammed on the brakes and came to a screeching halt. That wasn’t me. And I had always put forth the effort (unconsciously) to keep my “screen time” to a minimum. Here I was, blowing it all to hell. It wasn’t okay.

So I changed it. I changed it even more than what it was before. I’ve started calling it “Being with social media, but not on it”. I’ll look at my different social media accounts here and there throughout my work day, but I’m not scroll, scroll, scrolling to my last login point anymore. I might hit two or three hours back. Ten minutes. Maybe three times a day during the work day. Ten minutes in the evening after baby goes down for his early evening nap.

It’s been fantastic. I have gotten my balance back. Not just with time, but with life. I’ve gotten back to balancing work and my social life (you know, the REAL kind of social, where you go and meet, in-person, with friends?) alongside my fit life and family life with my husband and the baby. I’m getting better at self-care, which is the biggest kicker to this.

I’m back to pulling up my chair outside and reading. I’ve rediscovered my passion for cooking, coming up with a few new recipes over the two weeks so far the being with social media has been in place.

We are still doing yoga, still working on those poses for challenges. Some are getting videoed, yes. But fewer and fewer are, and less are getting posted for challenges. It’s summer. Here it is fleeting and treasured. My baby is growing, and I don’t want to be that parent I was starting to become the first two weeks of returning to work. I want to be that parent I have been the most recent two weeks. Present. 100%.

It took me those full two weeks to get this blog post typed up. Doing it here and there during naps, between book pages, around workouts and yoga. My levelness has returned. I’m back to “missing” things that have happened on Facebook, groups, or wherever. And it’s okay. Because that’s just not who I am.

Bikini Rebellion.

I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say about the first day of Neghar Fonooni’s Bikini Rebellion challenge in a post on Instagram (where the photo referenced can be found). So it’s become a blog post.

I have never posted my bare stomach to the world before. It’s not because I was self-conscious of it. It’s just that it never happened (and I’ll admit, it felt weird). This is what pregnancy has done to my body. To the left, the day after I found out I was pregnant. Taken first thing in the morning. I was roughly 15-16% BF at that point. I never really weigh myself, so I couldn’t be accurate with my stats at that point. I just know that I’ve never focused on my stomach. If it was flat, it was flat. Most times, it had that “athletic figure” small bulge. Which was fine. This is also the same day I told my husband to remember what I looked like in a 2-piece, because after the baby, it’d probably never happen again. I didn’t know how I’d handle stretch marks. I have them from growth spurts on the insides of my thighs and the sides of my butt, but how would I be about them on my stomach.

I’d never put my thought into my body, until I became pregnant. I’d throw on a swimsuit without a second thought and go out and mow my lawn, do my gardening, wash my car. Never caring what people said or thought. After I found out I was pregnant, I realized I was throwing on a tank top over my swimsuit, and just dealing with sweating to death as I mowed or gardened. I’d sit out to read in my suit, just around the corner so traffic couldn’t see. Partly because I wanted to keep my pregnancy secret until we hit the end of the first trimester. And partly because, I just wanted to hide.

The only place I grew was my stomach. And to the point of extreme discomfort. I didn’t think my stomach could stretch anymore.

The photo on the right, is just me a few days ago. I judge my body based on how my clothes fit, and after I’d gotten dressed that morning, the pants I’d bought just a few weeks before were super baggy. I stripped down and put my “slacker” clothes back on. At this point, I’d worn my suit a few times. Just sitting outside and reading. Around the corner. Away from traffic on my busy road.

That little bit of belly that is still hugging me feels weird. For the most part, the fact that this belly was home to my little baby, seems foreign to me. I look down at my body, and the only marks that I bear is the one from my cesarean and my fading linea nigra. I’m free of varicose veins that some have during and after. Those two little marks that I had thought were stretch marks have disappeared. I do not bear the stereotypical “mom bod”. I’m just a body.

I’ve always had a little bit of a tummy, but until now, it’s never caused me a sense of discomfort. When I run, it runs too now. When I do jump squats, it does jump squats along with me. It’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable. But yesterday I did something different. Something I only did once last year while pregnant (the photo on IG standing by my car with my kayak paddle in hand). I put on my suit, parked my car on the lawn, and washed it. No tank top and shorts on over it. No occasionally having to squirt myself with the hose because I was hot and sweating (I love summer, but I do get REALLY hot when I’m outside doing things, hence why I wear my suit for EVERYTHING). Traffic went by, and I never hid.

I dug deep to push aside whatever demon had put me around the corner. Put me in that tank top. I found myself again. Little baby pooch and all.

Whatever it is that had me running for the corner, I need to stop. I had a baby. I’m only 16-weeks postpartum (I’ll be four months on the 14th of this month). I’m not a supermodel. Or a fitness model, who, just two weeks postpartum was posting video of walking lunges, training for a 50-miler at just four weeks postpartum. I’m not that actress that graced the cover of Women’s Health just six weeks after giving birth, having admittedly nearly killed myself to get that “bikini bod”.

I’m a real life person who just had a baby. A real life person that is taking her time, letting my body heal.

I’ve never compared myself to them before, so it’s foolish of me to do so now. Even if it is subconsciously.

Cooking Workout #1: Chicken & Shoulders.

Let’s start a new trend here. This is for all of my busy mommas out there who want to get in shape, but just don’t have the time. The mommas who work all day, tend to the household duties, and the kids. The stay at home mommas who don’t have a spare minute between keeping those busy babies and kids entertained and the household duties.

Guess what? You can take a moment for yourself, while not losing your mind about those duties piling up as you do so.

How? The first time I dragged the grill outside this season, I did something new to pass the time. I sometimes can be an impatient cook (especially when I’m hungry), and to make sure the food gets enough time to cook, I often start doing things that need to be done around the house. Well, that can come back to bite me in the ass in the form of OVERcooked food.

I made probably the juciest, yummiest burgers ever that night. By killing time lifting weights. I did a light round of back and chest with my suspension trainer in-between burger flips. And by some miracle, it worked.

So last night when I was cooking for not just my husband, but my mother in-law as well (which meant the food had to be spot on), I hit a shoulder work-out that in the end, resulted in not only the start of getting my sculpted shoulders back, but some pretty wpid-img_20150528_212600.jpgexcellent grilled chicken.

The recipe:

You Put Vanilla in What? Chicken

  • 2lbs boneless chicken boobies
  • 4 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2c balsamic vinegar dressing
  • 1tbs vanilla
  • 2tbs fire-roasted tomato flakes
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper

Slice three of your limes into 1/4-inch slices. Use the ends of each for juice. The fourth lime is just for the juice. Cut your lemons half, then quarter them. Use the ends of those with your lime juice. Add the balsamic vinegar, vanilla, salt and pepper. Stir well.

Quarter your chicken. Sprinkle the tomato flakes on both sides. With tinfoil either line a metal grilling veggie dish, or make your own by rolling up the sides high enough to keep the juices in. Place the chicken in first, followed by the cut and sliced limes and lemons. As you put the limes and lemons in, squeeze a little juice out of them and over the chicken. Then using a basting brush, make sure your balsamic mix coats the chicken. Dump the excess around the edges.

Cook on medium heat for a total of 30-minutes. (Or you can cook on the stove in a large skillet on high heat for the same amount of time). Use grill tongs to turn over chicken pieces and re-blend after 15-minutes.

wpid-wp-1432926054218.jpgThe workout:

(8 reps of each)

Front dumbbell raise
Dumbbell Side raises
Bent over reverse dumbbell flyes

10 reps of hanging power cleans (with either a barbell or two dumbbells)

Do two sets all the way through, then turn over the chicken pieces and remix in the limes and lemons. Then do another two sets all the way through. If you want to, after you turn your grill off, to let everything simmer together just a little longer, do one more set all the way through.

Boom. Muscles and a yummy dinner.

*Make the side of your choice. This dish goes excellent with wild and brown rice tossed with halved grape tomatoes and cooked loose corn.

Postpartum workouts: Moving on to splits.

I gave myself six full weeks after the baby came to rest and recover. The sole amount of activity I did was walks after two weeks, very light tempo runs after 3 weeks, and yoga around the same time.

It was decision I had made long before he came. I was going to enjoy my time with him and take my time getting back to where I wanted to be with my body. I wanted my recovery to be full. Not just physically, but mentally as well.

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Every woman should read this. Your health is not a race. Take it at your own pace!

Then, after six weeks, I gave myself another six weeks of light, full body workouts. The goal was to get my body moving, get my form back on target. Get used to this new body of mine.

Twelve weeks. That’s what I gave myself.

Twelve full weeks of healing throughout, and practicing patience.

I knew when I went back to work, time with my baby would be less. I couldn’t take an hour out in the garage for a full body workout. A full hour away from him, added to the other hours I would be away from him, which included work and other moments throughout the day for “mommy time”.

My body responds better to splits to begin with. And the glaring reason why I prefer splits to full body?

Muscle imbalance. As an athlete, my skills were only required to be honed in primarily on one side. My dominant side.

After the first week of my new workout, adjusted for splits, and after my husband finally hung my old vanity mirror on our bathroom wall, I checked myself out in the mirror.

And there it was. Right there where your arm meets your chest and near the collar bone. My right side was taking shape beautifully, and there was my left side, late to the party. It pregamed it a little too hard and is a little slow now.

There are plenty of ways to correct muscle imbalances. But, they all work differently for the individual. Over the years, I have found single limbed movements to be my best success. So, for the next 10 weeks, my upper body program with arms and shoulders, where my imbalance lies, I’m focusing on dumbell or kettlebell movements that make me move one arm at a time.

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One of my current arm workouts that keeps me focusing on single limb movement.

Why? When you’re holding a barbell, and one side starts to run out of steam, the other compensates.

Or, your form on both sides is different. This causes the muscles to work differently.

By using single limb moments, you can concentrate on proper form/movement. You can also recognize, when in a set, where the muscles on that side begin to fail.

At that point, you can either compensate by doing the remaining reps in smaller sets and adding more overall sets in order to help keep the form “pretty”. Or, you can play down the dominant side by cutting off reps where the imbalanced side fails. Then, once the imbalanced side evens out, begin slowly adding more reps to the workout.

Making peace.

This morning was a blur in my house. I have averaged possibly 4 hours of sleep in the past 72 hours. And not because of baby. I have a fog horn that refuses to see a doctor that shares the bed with me. We got up late to meet a friend for a walk. I had to do some serious multitasking to feed baby, pump milk for baby, eat my own breakfast and tend to a dog whose eyeballs were practically floating.

Because it was a breezy, cool day as compared to the summer-like weather we have been having most of the week, the walk was put on hold. Instead, we took an hour to decompress from the rush-rush of the morning with some yoga. Then we bundled up (well, baby bundled up) and set off for a run. If I’m going to put together a local stroller run on May 31st for National Stroller Run Day, then I need to be able to run A LOT better with that dang stroller than I can currently.

We, of course, ended up taking a little break down at the public landing of the little town I live in. The town I’ve taken up a cozy wpid-img_20150508_115840.jpglittle spot in, is a lot like the cozy little town (or village) I grew up in. The only differences are my hometown is also hometown to Andre the seal and comfy cedar sided cottage style homes. The town I call home now, just twenty minutes south, is home to huge homes from the late 1700s and early 1800s that housed captains and their families, and it also has Thomaston Grocery – the down-home style grocer, where everyone seriously knows my name.

This town called home has had this ability to bring me back to center when things have been blown off course (no pun intended there, honestly). I’ve come to a lot of decisions about different aspects of my life sitting on the dock at that public landing.

I’m sure most of you reading this have heard about the app for smartphones called Time Hop. Each day, it shows you what you have posted to your various social media accounts on that day in particular, for the time span that you’ve had those specific accounts. wpid-img_20150508_115902.jpg

Mine for today was a post to Facebook a year ago. The day I sat on that dock with my dog, and came to peace fully, on being told that even with the medical intervention of In Vitro Fertilization, the chances of me being able to have a child were only 30%. I had always thought that I was okay with whatever happened. I truly believed that I was okay with or without being able to be a mom. But that day, I realized I wasn’t fully okay with whichever way the wind blew.

It was like the finally lock clicked open inside. Or at least this is how I tell the story, because on June 22nd of last year, I found out I was five weeks pregnant. I became the one that confused every doctor that had been a part of the almost three year journey. I defied the science of the tests that I had to take. I can’t explain what happened that day any better than, I finally found contentment with whatever may come my way. Of course, doctors disagree with me, because, well… Science.

Today, I stood near the dock, (not on the dock, because that is just absolutely sketchtastic with a baby in a stroller) and I reflected on the, no better way to explain it, miracle that took place. The miracle with bluish brown eyes, watching me curiously as I snapped a photo of him, then the harbor before us, then our feet. The miracle who is sitting in my lap, right now, watching me type out this blog, while munching on his hands and making happy little sounds.

This is what truly happens when you open your heart and soul, and make peace with what is out of your hands.  wpid-photogrid_1431100941008.jpg

 

This is motherhood.

Motherhood has been an easy transition for me. I feel that’s mostly because of how I tend to my crazy dog, Dunkin. And, how I have been with my relationships with friends.

The hardest part of motherhood has been… letting things go.

For almost twelve weeks now, my household cleaning schedule has been mostly non-existent. Yard cleanup, which typically starts happening the second all of the snow is finally gone (if not sooner, because yes, I do tend to rake around snow piles when I just want to get it started), didn’t start happening until this past weekend. Weeks after the snow finally completely melted away.

My car hasn’t been vacuumed in, I can’t remember when. I did however, manage a speed wash and wax just a few weeks ago. Which shows because I have wax blobs in all the nooks and crannies that I’ll be forever digging out.

I look around my house, or I climb into my car to run a few errands and have to fight the urge to cringe. I used to vacuum daily. My car was washed weekly and the inside was cleaned just as often.

Right now, I’m looking at the baby’s playmat that still needs to be picked up and put away. Just around the corner, I have, somewhere under a pile of baby related things, a dining room table. In my bedroom, under stacks of baby books, a burp cloth, and a bib, you can find my nightstand and a dresser.

Even my laundry basket has been taken over by baby things that need folding and putting away. And I don’t even want to get into what my laundry room or bathroom look like.

Yet, with the sun shining on this beautiful day, a day in which our temps finally pushed into the 60s and near 70… I found myself curled up on our bed, my little guy snuggled up with me and my dog at my feet. The windows open, giving us the sounds of the world outside still buzzing about.

Today was the first time since Valentine’s Day, that I was able to just let it go. With only 15 days left of my maternity leave, I have finally learned how.

Just like Elsa. I let the messy house, the messy car, the want to hit the pavement for a run, take up the weights in the garage… I let it all go and for once (despite my OCD pounding at my mental door) embraced the chaos.