For the (not so) love of Oatmeal.

One of the things that has happened in my adult life is an interest in trying new foods. I’ve tasted, and fallen in love with foods from all over the world. Some foods, that if you told my 18-year old self a decade and a half ago that I’d enjoy – I’d have laughed at you, then polished off the rest of my large pepperoni and extra cheese pizza.

There are, however, some things that I have tried and just cannot like. I’ve learned a lot about myself and food over these years of food adventures. For example: texture. It actually has come to play a huge role in, of course, the one type of food I just want to like already. Seafood.

It smells amazing. Looks amazing. But I just can’t get past that texture. And it’s horrible. And heartbreaking.

Which brings me to oatmeal.

Like seafood, I continue to try it every now and again. Hoping that something has changed.

…and nope. wp-1460642424421.jpg

After my son was born, I began living off of Jamie Eason’s Turkey Meatloaf muffins. Guess what’s in them? Steel cut oats. There’s a start, I thought to myself as I popped my 100th one in my mouth. (They were super easy to eat with one hand and hold a baby in the other, and momma needs to eat!).

Next came lactation balls to try to keep my supply up while I was nursing him. The recipe a friend gave me had oats in it. Now we’re getting somewhere…

Fast forward to yesterday. I got a few things of the Quaker Instant Oats on sale at one of my local stores about two weeks ago. I figured it was my perfect opportunity to try again.

Made up my oats yesterday around lunch time because I was feeling lazy that morning and instead of prepping something, I just grabbed the package and tossed it into my work tote. While they were “standing for 2-minutes” in scalding hot water, I worked on cleaning up our photo gallery online here at work, letting the smell of maple and brown sugar fill my nose.

Damn, these better taste as good as they smell!

After a few minutes, I dug in. Then promptly resisted the urge to spit them right back out.

The oats were sweet, and partly tasted delicious (does that many any sense at all? It did in my head…), but I just couldn’t. I managed to gag down about 2/3 of the cup before tossing it. And it lingered with me the rest of the day. Every time I even thought about them, or when I was recalling the “incident” to my husband later that day, gag. Legitimate gagging.

But, a sucker for punishment, I’m not ready to give up yet. Even if I have to hunt down a unicorn and steal it’s sparkle to sprinkle over the top, I’ll do it. (Same with seafood).

What is YOUR favorite way to have your oatmeal?

No more apologies. I am officially UNapologetic.

“I’m not flashy with my body in public.”

This was a text response I sent to my husband after he sent one to me telling me that I should get a string bikini this summer for the beach, after I daringly sent him a collage of dressing room photos to get his input on cut and color for new suit bottoms.

After getting his response, I raised an eyebrow and ran through my head the series of jumping jacks, running in place, miming dive bombs and whatnot that I had just performed in the tiny, cramped dressing room – for each suit bottom I tried on. My mission of the day was to finally find the bottom half to a swim suit in which I could chase after an active 15-18 month old this summer and not have to worry about my butt cheeks eating the suit bottom, the suit bottom coming untied… and avoid as much as possible: judging stares, which was the driving factor in my response to him. And tends to be the driving factor in a lot of my presentation of myself in public. Anything to avoid those stares, the glances, the hushed (but audible) passive aggressive remarks…

I could sit here and type out every single time instance in my life that makes me hesitant to send even my very own husband, a photo of me just simply dressed in a swim suit. I struggle to do so with shirts, pants, anything. But that’d take days, I’m sure WordPress has a word count limit, this isn’t a pity party for me, and there is always going to be someone out there reading this, judging me because in their eyes: I have no right to “whine”. About anything.

Remember, no one’s life is perfect. Just because you perceive mine to be…

But this is where it all stops. This is where I stop apologizing.

I am not sorry.

wp-1459799895429.jpgI posted this picture on Instagram the other day as part of a yoga challenge. I had just gotten home from a run, and I’m one of those who gets extremely warm when I run. The second I stop, get to that end line… If I could strip naked? I totally would. I’d strip naked and jump in a giant bucket of ice cubes. My brain goes into slight panic mode if I can’t cool myself down in what it deems as a quick enough time. This day, was no different. I got to my front deck and started peeling my layers off and stretching out from what was a tough run physically and mentally for me.

I remembered the challenge started that day, propped my camera up, and let it roll while I was going through my stretches, and eventually incorporating that day’s pose. Not even thinking, I took my screen shot, used the black and white filter because it looked, well, really cool that way, and posted it. Then I walked away from my phone for a bit, enjoyed time with my son, picked up the house, made dinner. Totally spacing out about it.

Later, when I picked my phone back up, I had likes, a few comments, and some private messages. Two in particular, were in relation to the post earlier. I was being unfollowed. Why? These particular followers wanted to let me know that they were decided in that I “was no longer an inspiration to them” because I posted a pose in my sports bra and workout pants. I was now, in their mind’s eye, just like every other “yoga person that does yoga in their underwear”. I was no longer “one of them”.

It’s particularly fascinating to me that I garnered this kind of response, when just weeks before, I had received messages saying that I should do yoga IN my underwear, because it was sexier.

Let’s go over this: I don’t want to be sexier. Especially to the general public. I also do a lot of yoga with my 13-month old son, so I will be doing my yoga clothed thankyouverymuch. And lastly, I am sincerely disappointed that in just one post, I lost followers because I was seen as no longer relatable.

I saw the picture as me stepping out of my comfort zone a bit, because you could see my back. Which is considerably more skin that I show, ever. Typically I’m in my workout clothes, my pajamas, or even my clothes from the day (I still can’t figure out how I can nail crow in a pair of skinny jeans, but can’t in a pair of workout shorts….). I saw the picture, and see my muscles. The work I’ve put in with weights this past year. I see my inner strength as I stand tall and proud, having overcome SO much in my life, having risen above hard times, an abusive relationship, made it through deaths of loved ones and friends. That photo, putting truth the the “a photo is worth 1,000 words”, is so much more than tree pose for a yoga challenge on social media.

I started to type out that I was sorry… then stopped myself. I have always apologized. For who I am. For what I look like. For anything. No. More.

This is where leading by example for my son takes priority over everything. I don’t want him to be forced to apologize for maybe being tall. Or being strong. Or being fast. Just being anything either because genetics, in someone’s eyes, favored him, or because he put in hard work. I don’t want him to feel that he has to apologize for living his dream, or for even reaching for it to begin with.

So, I am not sorry you don’t like that I don’t do upward facing dog in my underwear. I am not sorry that I may occasionally do yoga in my sports bra and workout pants. I am not sorry that this summer I may even really step out of my comfort zone and post a yoga photo in my bathing suit. I am not sorry I am me. I am not going to come up with reasons, or make excuses. Not anymore.

And neither should you.

(Unless you’re doing something legitimately wrong, that is. But never apologize for what you look like or who you are.)

Motherhood and the Coffee Shop.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. Motherhood.

A little over one year into motherhood, and I’ve faced many challenges. Internally. Externally. With him. With myself. Things and people around me.

I’m the mother I always knew I would be, and it has been fascinating to see how who he is has let me be that for him. How this picture of how I am with him, who I am for him, what I represent hasn’t changed from the day I realized I wanted to be a mom.

I’m tapping this out, on my phone, from the floor of his bedroom. A rare moment, him waking in the middle of the night. My presence nearby gives him the comfort he needs to drift back to sleep. When that happens, I’ll save this to draft and wait until the next moment comes and I can continue.

Those moments are very few and far between. And that’s okay. My days are filled with laughter, fun and curiosity. When I’m not at work, I have a small audience of one (well, two if you count my dog). Everything I do is being watched. Because of that, I’ve made sure to lead by example.

But that can be a slippery slope. I want my son to see me as a strong mother, woman, human being, that can handle whatever comes her way. I want to shield him from the tears that escape in the dark. The moments of doubt. The moments of loneliness. Heartbreak.

I need to let him know, by showing him, that’s it’s okay to reveal those vulnerable moments. They are what makes us human. We can’t be strong all of the time. Despite our valiant efforts to try.

Tomorrow, when he wakes, we’ll slip downstairs and snuggle on the couch. We’ll watch a favorite cartoon or two before starting our day with breakfast and some playtime. If it’s nice out, we’ll maybe walk down to our favorite coffee shop, where we’ll sit on the sofa in the window, watch traffic and I’ll inevitably answer 1,000 “wassat?”s. It’s a big change from nearly a year ago when I’d sit in the same coffee shop with him sleeping against my chest in his carrier or tucked snuggly inside his stroller.1456526103304.jpg

The little shop has become our “thing”. A place where we can go, easily, that gets us out of the house and gives us time together. Just the two of us. And that time is ours alone. Almost like our little secret.

The coffee shop has become a place where I go to decompress. To sneak away from all of the demands around me. The demands that I be and do everything I did before becoming a mother. The demands of being a mother.

The demands of doing it all.

Not even Wonder Woman could do it all.

Why am I expected to?

I always leave the coffee shop, my little sweetheart in tow, feeling refreshed and ready. My mind is sorted. My shoulders feel a little lighter.

We always walk down to the harbor, where I say goodbye to any lingering stressors, then we head home. Taking our time to get there.

Because home is the place of piles of laundry that need to be folded. Toys need to find their homes. Dog hair tumbleweeds roll across the floor when the hot air heat kicks on, because I haven’t had a spare moment yet to vacuum. Cluttered tabletops and counters. Floors that have to be mopped, not just vacuumed. Where the shower is in need of scrubbing. Soon, I’ll be able to add the gardens to my list. Other outside tasks, like the someday vegetable garden so that we can be a little more self-sufficient.

A million things that loom just over my shoulder.

But while we’re at the coffee shop, or walking around our little sea captains village, are all tucked in the depths of the mind.

Tasty Thursday: Spinach Ricotta Cheesy Chicken.

(Let it be noted that that’s probably not the name of this recipe. It came nameless, and it’s the best description of what I made and am passing along the recipe for…)

I have an aunt that’s really good at doing one thing with her Facebook… And that’s making me feel like I’m dying a slow, painful death from starvation.

She’s the queen food and recipe poster. It’s not just one or two things she posts that looks delicious and I feel I HAVE to eat, it’s all of them. Literally, all of them. Even the seafood ones. And I still, in my early 30s cannot do the texture of seafood. But, I’m willing to try for the sake of eating some of these dishes.

The other day, she posted one of those quick-flashing video recipes that had spinach, ricotta, chicken, cheese and paprika… It looked quick and simple to prep, and delicious to eat.

I learned pretty quickly last night that it was either REALLY small chicken boobies used, or they really skimped on the spinach and ricotta.

The recipe:photogrid_1456365128821.jpg

  • 1/3 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • A dash of salt
  • A dash of pepper
  • A sprinkle of paprika
  • 1 tbs olive oil

How to cook it all:

Pre-heat your oven to 400-degrees fahrenheit (about 200-degree celsius). Cook down the spinach in a small skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in ricotta and mix well. Take the chicken breast and spacing each cut about 1-inch apart, slice “valleys”. DO NOT GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Stuff in the spinach and ricotta. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Now, if you’re like me with cheese (very generous), I suggest putting the breasts in the pan (glass is best) first. THEN cover with cheese and sprinkle on the paprika. Bake in the oven for about 30-minutes.

What happened with mine:

For starters, I had to double the spinach and ricotta. So I used about 2/3-cup for each instead. Second, my boobies were about a half-pound each, so that made me need to adjust my cooking time to 45-minutes instead of 30. And I used fiesta blend instead of cheddar for more “oomph” in taste.

And taste it had. It was quick to prep, easy to cook, and even easier to clean up. In my household, anything that’s a win-win-win like that AND tasty to boot? Gets a repeat serving, without question. But maybe next time I’ll use pepper jack instead, give it some more zing instead of oomph…

 

Supplement education – family style.

Last night, in the middle of our first significant snowfall of the season (which feels weird to say that, given where we live… but a different story for another day), my son, while splashing around in the bathtub, sending Ducky sailing through the air to plop messily in the bubbly water, points to my phone perched on the bathroom sink and questions: “Zat?”

“I’m not sure who that one is buddy,” I reply. And I’m serious in my answer. Despite listening in on several conference calls over the past two months, I still cannot tell the difference between the voices I hear on the calls.

Back to kicking and splashing he goes, and back to tidying the bathroom up I go as I listen in on the recording of the missed call.

“Zat?” He asks again, pointing. Someone on the call has chimed in with a question. He listens for a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face. He says something in his curious baby language and go back to playing, again.

The conference call recordings have become a regular part of our household. Either playing while I’m making dinner, during bath time, folding laundry and even while I’m working out. Such is the life of a busy, working parent. I have only ever caught one live, during a rare afternoon when my day job was slow. But the rest have all been played either later that evening, or over the weekend while doing house chores.

The voices in the phone or coming from my iPad or computer have become sort of an integral part of our household.

Little did 1st Phorm supplements know, back in December when I was welcomed into their “phamily” as a Legionnaire, they were also being welcomed into ours.

Over the span of the calls, I’ve gained a knowledge about supplements I wish I’d had back in the initial forming of my fitness journey. The days when I’d stand in our local GNC, staring down the shelves of proteins, vitamins and the likes, trying to figure out which one had the most servings for the cheapest price.

Back when I thought protein was just… protein. That those shysters who charged $50 for a pound of protein were running a racket and getting rich quick. While there may be some truth to that, the past two months have been a huge eye opener for me.

It’s not only changed the way that I’m looking at my own supplement use, but how I talk to my clients about theirs.

It’s something that was never discussed in my nutrition classes in college. Well, it was, but in summarization. Like, a blip on the radar. Now that I know why that protein in the two-pound tub was only $19.99, I want to go back and kick myself in the shins.

In the two months I’ve been under some serious supplement education, and using the 1st Phorm supplements myself (protein and vitamins), I can say one thing: I will never use other again.

The bloat I felt after drinking my post workout drink is a thing of the past. They sit better with my body. My body digests them better. My body is certainly happier that I made the switch, that’s for sure. Not to mention, my training results have taken a completely different, and much better turn (that’s honest truth right there, that’s not me trying to get you to buy into it. I didn’t think this was a thing, but I’m finding out that it is – and I’m angry with myself for being fooled and not knowing that there was a difference).

What’s the difference? Is it worth the price? Hands down it’s worth the price, and the difference is easy – more bang inside that tub of powder.

The easiest way to explain it is with chicken. Chuck a piece of chicken breast on the grill, move that thermostat up to the highest temp setting and cook it. It’s gonna cook quick, it’s going to shrink up, dry out and probably char. Do you think that piece of chicken is going to hold any nutritional value for you? Maybe just a little.

Now, take a piece of chicken breast and toss it in your slow cooker. Set it to low and let it cook for awhile. Sure, it’ll take longer, but when it’s done, you’ve got a nice, juicy piece of chicken to enjoy. It’ll be packed with all the nutrient greatness that we know chicken to have.

It’s the same way with protein. 1st Phorm is low temperature processed, never exposed to high temps during the process. What does that mean? It means that you’re going to get the max integrity of the bio-active protein fractions – further meaning: your body is going to be able to utilize the highest amounts of protein possible. Which will help you repair your muscle, and develop lean muscle tissue.

Break it down in fitness speak: less suffering of the dreaded DOMS and more gains. Bro.

Since making the switch, gone are the super tight and sore muscles the day after. I get some soreness, I won’t lie. But I no longer feel like I have to hug the elevator walls the day after leg day.

Fueling your body properly, and with the proper tools is essential. Not just for someone like me who has powerlifting meets quickly approaching and needs to really buckle down, but for someone looking to lose weight, or just live healthier (supplements aren’t just for people who workout! #breakingnews?) Sometimes we just can’t eat all of our macronutrients our body needs (I’m not the only one with an insanely busy schedule who may need to reach for the shaker and drink their nutrients in a shake/smoothie), and that’s where these supplements come into play. To fill in the gaps where/when needed.

Most of us can gather an idea of sort of what we need, but we don’t really know exactly what we need in order to best succeed. Break that plateau.

It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I even really knew the answers. As a trainer and nutritionist, that hurt my pride that I couldn’t answer that. But now I can. I can help my clients that I have now, I can help people who may shoot me a message over social media after seeing one of my training posts. I can help new clients coming in. I can help you.

Let that change for a better you, get that progress going again, today. Seriously.

 

Program changing. Need to stay focused because: Shoulders.

I’ve always enjoyed dabbling in other programs. Ones either created by a trainer friend of mine who lives in my town, or some of the fit pros I follow on social media. But, pre-baby, even during my pregnancy, I loved most the programs that I created for myself.

Because I can write a mean program. Both literally and figuratively.

However, I’ve found myself a little lost since having the baby and getting back on track with working out. For my first stretch, I kind of wandered. Easing back into everything. Then I jumped in with both feet to Jessie Hilgenberg’s Home Edition when it was released back in June-ish. It helped me out of my funk. I found myself on solid ground again — for myself (at this point I was still writing up programs for clients, easy peasy).

When I ended the Home Edition, I set to work on a strength program. Set up my splits, and merrily went on my way…

At week 10 of 12… I faltered.

Switched things up.

Two weeks in, it happened again.

What’s going on?

I’ve admitted before, I get a little ADD with my workouts. I loose focus on some, and mostly that is because throughout that program, I’ve found errors or things that just didn’t jive with my body. Things that didn’t blend with my body and how it works muscles, creates muscles, and functions day-to-day. Certain workout types just don’t work for certain people, and it takes a little bit of time to realize that.

It’s why, when I give a program to a client, I always tell them to not be surprised if we have to tweak it some as we go. We have to find the right tools to put on the workbench to get us the final build product we’re looking for.

In my situation, I’m learning what worked for me before: doesn’t work for me now.

Between how my body has changed after having a baby, and muscle maturity starting to set in, my body is building muscle in a different manner and at a different rate than before.

But my shoulders…

If you’ve been with me awhile, you know those suckers and I just don’t get along.

Splits and I are still best pals. My lower body is still my most responsive, so obviously I don’t want to train it more than once a week. My back and chest are still on par, so those are only a once-a-week. My arms have become a once-a-week. The muscles are responding on a faster track than they did pre-baby.

But my shoulders…

Still a twice-a-week there. BUT – there IS hope.

Tying my hair up in the mirror before brushing my teeth the other day, I saw shoulders. Wait. When did those get there?

I’m four weeks into my hodge-podge of a program, where I’ve given Samantha Leete’s shoulder workout from BB.com a go.

On shoulder day one, I’m hitting the workout as written. On shoulder day two, I’ve been dropping the third exercise in each triset and making it a superset, then adding in a little shoulder burner I saw once on Sarah Bowmar’s Instagram.

And it’s proving to work quite nicely, because, shoulders. Barely a month in, and I’m seeing progress already. So, yes, shoulders. Can you tell I’m excited?

What’s even more great about it (and just focusing on splits all around) is the time. It takes me less than an hour to hit both variations of the workout. Which means: it’s easy enough for me to squeeze it in either during the early evening nap-time, or even some days before I leave for work.

Here’s what the layout is (detailed instructions for reps and sets, plus a demo on each can be found here):

  • Machine Reverse Fly
  • Upright Row
  • Handstand Push-up
  • Face Pull
  • Lateral Raise
  • Walking Plank
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Front Raise
  • Shoulder Tap

The second run of the workout for the week, I’ll drop the Handstand Push-Up, Walking Plank and the Shoulder Tap and perform what’s left of the trisets as supersets. Resting about 45-seconds between each round. At the end I’ll do this little gem:

  • Front raise sweeping right out to a lateral raise, sweeping to a front, then overhead raise. From the overhead raise, the arms come straight out and down behind the back. Bringing the arms up, turn your hands facing you (this is important in preventing injury), and in a sort of dragging motion, bring the arms down the front and repeat. Do until failure.

The key with the burner is to grab a lighter weight. One even lighter than you’d think to grab. Trust me on this one. You’ll be able to do a few extra, but you won’t hurt yourself doing it. (The IG video can be found here).

So, if you’re like me and lacking in the shoulder department, give this a go and see what it does for you. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t give those shoulders a little growing boost, because the key thing to remember is: It may not work for you just because it does someone else. Although, it’s always worth a shot. Every exercise is when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it. Because, if you don’t try it, you won’t find what does work for you!

Meatless Monday: Gnocchi aioli.

When I’m in the heat of playoffs at work, life can get a bit insane. It’s often during that time, I’m either leaning heavily on the use of the crockpot, or I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about food prep on Sundays. If I even have Sundays for food prep. Sometimes, when we have a record number of teams getting sent off to playoffs, and continuously advancing, I don’t even get Sundays. Which is what I just recently learned.

So… When that happens, I pull out my go-tos for speedy-fast meals that take less than 25-minutes.

My husband was quite funny the first time I slipped aioli in something I cooked for us. If I remember correctly (I was very pregnant at the time, so my memory is a bit, spotty, to say the least), it was toasted roast beef and cheese sandwiches. Instead of mayo on his, I put a little bit of the peppercorn and chive aioli I had bought earlier that day into it.

Needless to say, I’ve concluded he has absolutely no taste buds. It wasn’t until I asked him if he’d noticed anything different about his sandwich, that he had realized his “mayo” had a bit of zip to it.

For those that have never had aioli, it’s essentially just a fancy mayonnaise. No, I don’t make my own. I’ve got a few recipes that I’d love to try, one from Bon Appetit, that sounds perfect for Spanish food, another from Taste of Home that could be perfect with Italian. The ingredients are pretty basic: usually garlic, always egg; sometimes mustard, always olive and veggie oil. A lot call for lemon juice. And you can add things here and there to tailor it to your desires. The one that I used in today’s Meatless Monday recipe has chives and peppercorn in it. It’s a good anytime aioli.

Without further ado… My Gnocchi Peppercorn & Chive Aioli contribution to MM…

wpid-1447076660203.jpgWhat you’ll need:

  • 1 package of potato gnocchi
  • 2 handfuls of chopped baby spinach
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2tbs of peppercorn and chive aioli

Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. While gnocchi is cooking, in a medium frying pan, add tomatoes, onion and peppers. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add cooked gnocchi, chopped spinach and peppercorn and chive aioli. Mix well. Cook on medium-low for 5-8 minutes. Serve.

*Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over for added yumminess. 

The dog is staying.

An interesting thing happened when I got pregnant.

It wasn’t an avalanche of pregnancy stories from women who had “been there”. It wasn’t the start of the unsolicited advice. Or the judging stares when I wasn’t ballooning up in my weight as people expected.

I was being told to be prepared to give away my dog, Dunkin.

That’s right. Suddenly, I had people all around me telling me that I was going to HAVE to give up my dog the second my child came into the world.

“Even though he’s your baby now,” they would say, referring to my dog, “you’ll have to find him a new home or take him back to the animal shelter.”

Why? Why can’t I have both my dog and my baby? Why did it have to be one or the other? My older sister successfully had both. Two of my closest friends have successfully had a baby and a dog in the house – at the same time. Why couldn’t I do it?

My dog came to me with a sad, and a disappointingly typical story. After he was no longer a puppy, he was tied out with no food or water. Neglected. Forgotten. He chewed through his lead and ran away. Because he was chipped, the shelter was able to locate and contact the owners. Their response “Keep him. We don’t want him.”

My scared but mischievous pup came to me a little over a year old. He was skinny and afraid to trust humans. With a lot of love and work, we have gotten through many, many hurdles and eight years later, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

So why couldn’t I have him and baby?

The only responses I was getting from these people were… “Because you will.” Or simply, “Because”. It wasn’t enough for me.

I have seen many, many times in my adult years, people give away their dogs on yardsale pages, swap groups (swap a dog for a ATV? Sure! Why not?), or bringing them to animal shelters. And I know personally several who have given the dogs to family members or brought their dog to the local animal shelter.

Dogs are family. When you take in a dog, whether you have adopted it or bought it from a breeder, you make the commitment to them to take care of them and love them – forever (their forever). What is it about bringing home a baby that causes the shift?

Patience.

It’s something we as a human race no longer have. I see it in my husband. I see it in my coworkers. I see it in the stores. In check out lines. On the road.

Everyone is in a hurry.

They run through life, letting all of the important things pass them by.

They give up on love quickly and easily, because it has fallen on a brief moment of hardship.

I get it. Sometimes I want what I want, and I want it now. Grow muscles! Dammit, grow!

But, as I have gotten older, my patience has expanded. And guess what? It’s because of my dog.

We had a rough first year. Peeing on all the things. Eating all the things. Give him a half-of-a-half-of-half an inch? He’s gonna make a run for it. The licking the pillows. The walls. The walk-in shower. The chasing the vacuum cleaner like a vicious attack dog. The need to practically lay on my head at night when we slept. He jumped off a deck that was 12-feet off of the ground to chase turkeys one afternoon.

It was trying. Sometimes I felt the thin spots coming in my patience. But we did it. We persevered. Overcame. Even the vet at our check-ups was noticing the shift.

“You’ve done amazing work with him,” the male vet would say.

“What an improvement from those first visits,” the female one said.

When I found out we were going to have a baby, despite everything people said. I made the promise to my dog that we would make it work.

Jealousy issues? We’d figure it out.

If he peed on the baby as he did when new things came into the house (yes, even at almost 9-years he occasionally does this and it’s been the ONE thing I’ve had trouble breaking the habit on)? Then we’d deal with it.

Time was going to be trickier. He wouldn’t have my complete attention anymore, and that was something we were going to have to figure out too.

I was prepared for it all.

We had my older sister, who was caring for him while I was in the hospital, bring one of the baby’s blankets to him to sniff. He snuggled with it all night.

My husband brought the baby’s hat in before I walked in with the baby on the day we came home.

Dunkin sniffed and rubbed up against it.wpid-img_20150930_100539.jpg

I sat on the floor of our living room and let Dunkin smell us over and greet his new bald puppy. With a happily wagging tail, his floppy ears bounced as he licked and said hi to the both of us.

When the baby cried, Dunkin would peek in on him. If I wasn’t near the rocker, he would come to me, looking back towards the baby, concerned.

When I would lay the baby on the floor, Dunkin never strayed far. Keeping a watchful eye on him.

Now that the baby is moving around, Dunkin follows him around. Even if it’s rolling from one side of the living room to the other. Dunkin will follow. In the walker, Dunkin walks alongside it. Laying on the floor watching Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave, Dunkin is there, curled up next to him.

Those yoga challenge photos that you see my Instagram account peppered with? Dunkin is just out of the shot, right there. Never far from me or the baby.

When we go on walks, Dunkin checks the stroller every now and again. Keeping an eye on him. Almost like he’s making sure that he’s still there.

They talk to one another. Dunkin in his dog chatter that everyone knows him for, and the baby on level 10-screech of excitedness.

They’re best friends.

And my heart is full.

We’ll have moments here and there that we’ll have to work on. Dunkin has developed selective hearing, and we have to be a little more adamant with the word “No” with him. And I expect that.

There may be a day where he does decide that the baby’s toys are not off-limits and take one. We’ll handle that when the time comes.

Time.

Because that’s what it takes.

Patience.

Because it’s my duty, as a compassionate human being, to give it to my dog. Just as I will my child as he grows.

I will have to teach my child right from wrong, and my dog is not any different.

With love, time and patience, we will do this.

The Forgetful Momma: No egg, no butter pancakes.

I can’t really call myself a forgetful momma, because, well, I was this way pre-baby.

Grocery lists and I are enemies of the biggest kind. I can remember childhood friends old house phone numbers. I can remember any birthday. Addresses. Names of all of my teachers. My brain retains some of the craziest, pointless “facts”. But when it comes to remembering what I need at the store? Fagheddaboutit.

I make a list, I forget the list on my counter. I put the list in my phone, because we live in the age of technology that lets us do that – and I forget my phone in the car.

I intentionally drive to the store for something like… say… eggs. I leave with everything BUT eggs.

For weeks, I wanted pancakes. I’m a huge fan of brinner, thanks to my mother and the nights of French Toast and Pancakes scattered throughout my childhood years. But alas, no eggs. I’d used the last of them to make us omelettes at some point over the summer, and by my nature, forgot continuously to replace them.

Finally, I scoured the internet for an eggless recipe. Scored several promising looking ones. Oh, but look, no butter either (damned sugar cookies!). Re-searched for eggless and butterless. Found several that sounded pretty gross. Buried deeper than it should be, I found this gem.

These were super easy to make, nice and light too. Perfectly timed because my mother had just given me a fresh jar of her canned applesauce for me to slather all over the top of them. And I sprinkled, sparingly, some of the very little bit that I have of the maple extract in the batter too.

Eggless, Butterless Pancakes (from food.com)

wpid-1443451813052.jpgIngredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Heat a griddle or pan on the stove top. The griddle is ready for pancakes when water dropped on the hot griddle rolls and sizzles.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the milk, water, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Mix well, but don’t over stir; a few lumps are okay.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  6. Flip the pancake when bubbles form and begin to pop. Keep the heat medium to medium low; they burn fast.

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.