Archive for the ‘Life’ category

Bye-bye, Vegan… Bye-bye.

February 29, 2012

5 months.  Not too bad for an experiment that was supposed to last 21 days.  But, ultimately, veganism and I  parted ways on Valentine’s Day 2012.

Many, many good things came out of my being vegan for a bit…. not the least of which is my newfound ability to mix in a salad now and then.  I eat much better than I used to.  I realize that the food choices I make have an impact on animals and on the environment.  I am simply more aware.

But I missed the social aspects of eating.  I already don’t drink (which is a wise, wise choice on my part…), and cutting out another social outlet (like gathering for a meal) felt really isolating.  In all of Tampa, there was one restaurant where I could get brunch… and they serve vegan brunch once a month.  If we lived in a bigger place, with more vegan options, I know I could have made it work.  But we don’t, and ultimately I decided that, for this girl, being a vegetarian who enjoys vegan food now and again is enough.  And, boy, does being a vegetarian seem super easy now!  The freedom!  The choices! Whoa!

But I do miss the vegan community.  And to celebrate them, tonight I will enjoy a vegan oatmeal raisin cookie from Whole Foods.  Everyone, raise your almond milk!  (No, for real.  I love almond milk)

 

Fickle

February 9, 2012

A snapshot of my day:

Jane:  Up.

Me:  You want to come up?  Shouldn’t you go play with your toys?

Jane:  Up.

Me:  (picking Jane up) Would you like to read a book?

Jane: (vigorously signing please)

Me:  Brown Bear Brown Bear, wha…

Jane:  Bye-bye. (squirms to get down)

Me:  Are you going somewhere?

Jane:  Bye-bye (waving)

….

Jane:  Up.

 

Flawed

February 8, 2012

This morning, during breakfast, Jane decided to let her water from her sippy cup run back out of her mouth instead of swallowing it.  No big deal.  She was just playing.  Like toddlers do.

Let’s just say that my reaction was disproportionate to in relation to the actual harm done (which was, by the way, none. No harm.  At all).  I may have slammed her sippy cup down on the table.  This response may have made her cry.  I am not actually admitting to any of this, mind you.  Because that would be embarrassing.  Who slams their toddler’s sippy cup down as an instructional method?  No one sane, that’s who.

I spent the remainder of my morning doing penance for my over-the-top reaction.  First, I beat myself up about my temper (I rarely have one, by the way).  Then I berated myself for my lack of patience.  I apologized to Jane, although she had completely forgotten about the incident by that point.  Then I spent some time praying after my run, while Jane slept in the stroller (because God knows I need help, if I am slamming sippy cups).  Once Jane woke up, she and I spent copious amounts of time crawling around on the floor, wrestling and playing–all the while I kept hoping and praying that these are the moments she remembers, instead of my occasional parental lapses.

Parenting Jane brings out the very best in me, most of the time.  But sometimes I am forced to confront my character flaws.  And I just have to keep reminding myself that everyone has flaws; the real tragedy would be to see them and then do nothing to try to change them.

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Saturday Run (and ache for days afterward)

February 7, 2012

After several years as a runner, I should know that my performance on a run depends as much on my mental state as my physical state.  I should know this.  I never seem to really remember it, though.

I do my long runs on Saturday.  I wake up early.  I head out no between 6:30 and 7, so that I am finished no later than 9.  Amy respects my need to run, but I don’t want to make the whole family’s Saturday revolve around my running schedule.

I started feeling a sneaking dread about last Saturday’s run on Friday night.  I felt tired.  I didn’t want to blog.  I didn’t want to do anything.  In fact, I laid about on the couch from the time Janie went to bed until I went to bed playing the free version of Scrabble on my phone.  That’s right… I don’t care enough to buy the actual app, yet I wasted an entire night messing around with my online Scrabble opponents.

Maybe dread is too strong a word.  It was really more like apathy.  I didn’t want to do a long run.  I hadn’t run more than 5 miles a pop for more than two weeks, and I felt ambivalent at best about putting forth the amount of energy a 13.1 mile run takes.  So, I kept hitting snooze on my alarm.  Even though I knew I needed to get up and eat, so I could get out of the house on time.  Even though I could smell the brewed coffee waiting for me in the kitchen.  Snooze.

All this is a long lead in to say that, while I made decent time on my Saturday run, it was painful.  In fact, I decided to cut my run down to a 10 miler, because my right calf began cramping around mile 8 and my left quad tightened a bit more with each mile.  And my knees felt every connection with the pavement.  I am not fan of stopping short of my mileage goal on a run, but I also know running shouldn’t hurt.  Especially not in a training run.  A stubbornness inflicted injury also would not get much sympathy from Amy.

Why all the aches and pains?  Remember that apathy/dread I mentioned?  It manifested itself in tension in all my muscles, an obsession with my pacing, and a bizarre (and misguided) need to push off with my calves to gain speed.  My head just wasn’t where it needed to be, and my body responded by completely freaking out.

I am actually looking forward to this Saturday’s run.  My calves finally feel normal again (I could barely walk for two dang days), and I am excited to see what I can do out there.  And this is a much better way to approach a run.

13.1 miles.  Bring it.

ONE!

February 2, 2012

Jane turned one (ONE!) this past Saturday.

For the week or so leading up to her birthday, my mind kept coming back to what I was doing last year at this same time.  Waiting.  I was waiting.  All her tiny clothes had been washed (one vivid memory stands out of folding onesies in my sunlit laundry room, wondering about the brand-new person that would fill them). I had occupied myself for days organizing the pantry and the cupboards in the kitchen.  I spent hours roaming the mall, trying to coax out the little one who seemed to want to take permanent residence inside my body.  She was a week late… and that week seemed longer than the entirety of my pregnancy.

Jane finally arrived after 14 hours of labor and an unplanned C-section.  And she was amazing.  I didn’t fall completely in love with her at first sight, though.  It wasn’t until I held her for the first time (about 30 minutes after her birth) and felt her latch on to breastfeed that I was completely overwhelmed with the enormity of being someone’s mother.  And completely taken aback by how much I loved this tiny baby girl.  Every fiber of my being belonged completely to her.

The first few months of her life whirred by in a sleep-deprived blur.  I wrote lots of things down during that time, in her baby book that I haven’t touched since she was 6 months old.  Then, there seemed to be lots of time to write and contemplate.  She and I had a slow, easy rhythm to our days.  But, once she could sit up (at about 6 months… I am sure I wrote it down somewhere), our times together exploded with possibility and little adventures.  And writing things down fell by the wayside.

I find myself wanting to capture every moment with her in my memory, freeze it so that I can look back and cherish each moment like folks keep telling me to.  But everything happens so quickly.  Now she is a big girl who eats brown rice, tofu and pineapple for dinner with her Baba and I.  She says “mama” and “baba” continuously.  She adores bananas (NANA!) and books (which we have to read over and over again).  She is a toddler.

I am fascinated with the child she is becoming.  She loves people.  The folks at the Y and at the church nursery always talk about what a happy child Jane is.  Amy & I didn’t have much to do with that, Jane just kind of came that way, but I bask in the compliment nonetheless.  At the mall playground the other day, a little girl wanted to hug Jane.  And she did.  Multiple times.  Jane gamely played along.  She even gave the little girl a kiss.  She is just that kind of kid.

Our days aren’t without meltdowns and tantrums; Jane has a strong will and her own idea about how things should go.  And any disapproval in my tone can send her into a crying jag.  But she rebounds quickly.  Tears are followed by hugs and (if I am lucky) a kiss.  I like that she knows what she wants.  And I am thankful that I am strong enough to set boundaries for her.

Jane had her very first cupcake for her first birthday.  She dove right into it, grabbing fistfuls of blue icing and shoving her little hands into her mouth.  She ate that cupcake like she lives her life, with enthusiasm and joy.  I am so amazed that I get to be her mother.  And so very grateful.

love at first lick

Rainbows & Tutus

January 31, 2012

One of the most awesome parts of having a kid is dressing her in crazy, fun get-ups that I never would have been allowed to wear when I was little.

Exhibit A:

Rainbow

Rainbow leg warmers!  And a rainbow shirt that has each color of the rainbow spelled out in said color… And the cloud!  The cloud just says “fluffy” over and over in a cloud shape!  Y’all, I would totally rock this outfit if I could.  But I get to do the next best thing:  put it on my one year old daughter!

And, oh are there outfits for special occasions.  See Exhibit B, in which Janie debuts the tutu for her first birthday:

Happy 1st birthday Jane!!

Doesn’t this outfit just scream, “ONE!”?  Yeah, I thought so, too.

I know one day Jane will have very strong opinions about her clothes.  But right now, she rocks the Punky Brewster chic without a care in the world.  And. it. is. awesome.

Five Fingers Debut

January 30, 2012

Over the Christmas holiday, I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.

I know, I know.  I had a hard time admitting that I wanted a pair.  But, after reading Born to Run, I felt like giving my feet and legs a chance to perform more naturally could really enhance my running.  And the idea that a barefoot-like experience could help my feet naturally rebuild their arches got to me.  One of my arches collapsed when I was about 13–completely excruciating pain.  Over 20 years later, I still cannot relax enough to get a decent foot rub for fear someone will accidentally touch my arch.  And Jane once swung her little foot around and landed it right on my arch, and I almost puked.  So, yeah, if my arches could be less sucky, that would rock.

Since I have a  race coming up in March, I am leery of overdoing the Five Fingers.  I have heard that too much mileage too quickly can really trash a runner’s legs.  So, I opted just to wear them to the gym for their inaugural outing.

Now, I will freely admit that for whatever benefits they may offer, these things sure are crazy looking:

When I walked into the YMCA today, people could not stop staring.  Truly.  As I was dropping Jane off at the childcare area, a woman stopped me to ask me if I ran in those (as she pointed to my shoes).  I gave her too much credit and actually assumed she wanted a real answer.  But as soon as I said, “Well, not really…”  She jumped in with “Well, why are you wearing them then??”  Okay, Captain Combative… Do I really owe you an explanation for my footwear?  Then she proceeded to (very loudly) discuss with the woman next to her how much shoes like that cost.  Lovely.

After the initial encounter with a rather confused public regarding my choice of footwear, I made it into the gym and actually began working out in the Five Fingers.  Um… RAD.  I could feel the muscles in my feet and legs working as I went through my routine.  Heck, I could even see the muscles in my legs responding differently.  And I was comfortable.  I felt athletic… and natural, somehow.

I guess I will get used to people staring, because the Five Fingers will be making a regular appearance at the Y.  And I am hoping next week to ease them into a short run on one of my off days.  I really didn’t foresee crushing this hard on these crazy shoes.  But the three year old at the Y really got me (and the shoes)… he squatted down in front of me and petted them lovingly.  His horrified mom could barely drag him away.  And the whole way out, he kept talking about the shoes with the toes (over and over again).  Yeah, little dude, I totally know where you are coming from.