Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monthly Snapshot: special double edition - June & July 2012

Why, hello there! 

I'm sorry it's been so long.  I had every intention of getting you a lovely June snapshot, and then.... well, then the whole house kind of just slid into hell for awhile.

It is really difficult blogging from hell.  They don't even have wi-fi there.  It's all dial-up.  No kidding.

They also don't have those little dark chocolate squares with sea salt that I like to munch on while I blog.

You can see how this would be an obstacle.

At any rate, I think we've finally recovered from that short stint of hell, and I'm going to attempt to recap June & July rather quickly.

Bahahahahaha!  You totally believed me, didn't you?  Come now, when is the last time I went about writing something that went 'quickly'?

Fooled you!

But I really am going to write about June & July.......

Incidents & Events

June started off pretty well, and we had plenty of fun with things like trips to the lake, a visit from my sister, Michelle, seeing the zoo (again.  and again.  and again.....), my wedding anniversary and heading out to After Dark (yes, that's the only bar I go to.  Get over it.)

Daniel and I celebrated 7 years of marriage this June.  Can you believe it?  7 years?!?!  Clearly this demonstrates that I got married when I was just out of high school, because there is no way I'm old enough to have been married for 7 years.  Except that I am.  We had a quiet dinner out at The Deck to say, "hey, I'm pretty glad I married you!"  It was nice.

We also had a visit from Michelle in June.  I think it was mostly an 'I'm homesick' visit, but I will take pretty much any visit I can get from my lovely sister.  First we spent some time with her at the lake, where she and Chris' dad, Kip, taught Norah how to fish. 

First rule of fishing:  Try to catch actual fish.  No one wants to eat the lakeweed.
Second rule of fishing:  Get Aunt Chelle to put the worms on for you

Josiah got to do some fishing too!

Heck, even the big kids got to do some fishing!

I'm pretty sure Erica never touched that fish.  C'mon, Erica,
don't you know,that fish is more afraid of you than you are of it?

Overall, the fishing excursion (alllllll the way out to the pier.  Right in front of the lakehouse.  Erm.) was a success.  As in, everyone had a good time.  Not as in, 'we caught fish we were able to eat'.   It's important to create your own definition of success.

For example, this looks a lot like success to me:

I have a photo somewhere of my cousin and I around this age looking at fish in a bucket.  This makes me think of it, and makes me smile.

Meanwhile, elsewhere.....

Miles and Sophia were like, "Dude, we cannot fish.  We are tiny people.  We shall sit around making you melt because we are soooooooooo cute you can't stand it."  And then they followed through and stayed good to their word(s).

Note the wicked smile.  "You see, Grandma, you have fallen into the trap I have devised to force someone
 to hold and cuddle me while someone else catches my fish.  It's working, I tell you, it's working!."

Must revise plan.  Turns out no one here can actually fish.  Gonna eat watermelon.

Eventually there was swimming......

Don't worry baby brother, I'll save you!!!!

and sandcastle building.......

After our visit with Michelle at the beach, we spent a day with her at the Zoo with Teresa, Erica & kiddos, & Wendy + Charlie! 

Norah and Josiah are ready to go!

Gotta be careful captioning this one - don't want to blow her cover!  Hello, Miss Movie Star!

Josiah and Teresa go exploring

Hello there, sister!  So good to see you again!

Miles loved coming along for the ride...

All the kids (and the grown-ups!) had a great time, and I loved spending the day with my sister and her friends.


It was a wonderful visit!

I also got to spend time with lots of friends these past few months.  Our favorite thing to do is go to After Dark and catch a drag show, so that's what we did!

Curt & Mike

Jason & Anna

Ooh, look!  There's me with some pretty ladies!  (Mallory & Meghan)

 Holy crap, turns out I know lots of pretty ladies:

Meghan and Sarah
Mallory, Sarah, & Nicole

Seriously, girls, how do you get through the day, carrying the burden of all that beauty around???


Unfortunately, not all of June went so smoothly.  Here's the bit where we slid into hell for awhile.....

The last Friday in June there was a severe wind storm here in the Fort.  I had the extreme misfortune of just so happening to be driving home from the grocery store with my two small children when the storm hit.  Here's how the storm went down, from my slightly panicked point of view:

*Daniel calls me and says, "Hey, did you hear there's a nasty storm coming?  You should get home now!"  As I was already driving the car toward home I just kept heading there, not knowing what else to do and not having any sort of concept of how severe this storm was getting.

*Driving toward home on Taylor street, the wind started picking up and the debris started flying.  The baseball diamonds off of Taylor were creating some kind of crazy dust storm I was attempting to drive through.  As we went down Taylor, the stop lights started going out as we came to them.  It was freaky.  We'd pull up at a stop light and then the lights would go dead.  This went on for 3 stop lights, until we turned down Broadway toward home.

*Broadway was blocked with 2 giant poles down in the middle of the street.  Uh, what?  Not good.

*I turned around down a funny little side street to get back onto Taylor and attempt to drive over to Fairfield.  As I was turning around I got a giant branch stuck underneath my car.  I got out of the car to pull the giant branch out from under the car.  As I was standing there, the top of a tree broke off and fell ON THE CAR CONTAINING MY TWO SMALL CHILDREN.

Cue freakout.

Luckily, I was able to get back into the car, back the car out from under the tree, and then get around the branches and drive away.

That was, quite seriously, the scariest moment of my life, watching a tree fall on a car I knew my kids were in.  No one was hurt, and the car isn't even in bad shape - just scratches - but right at that moment....... so scary.

Once we got out from under the tree, we did manage to get onto Taylor, but we couldn't make it to Fairfield because of all the trees in the road.  We went down what felt like a zillion side streets, turning around every few blocks because we were blocked by tree branches.  We finally made it back to Fairfield, only to find half a tree in the road just a few blocks from where we needed to turn to get home.  Grrrrr.  We did finally get home after driving through someone's yard and the wrong way down a one-way.  But we got home, and everyone is safe.

Poor Norah was fairly traumatized and will tell anyone (even the most random of stangers!) about the tree that fell on our car.  She's pretty scared of storms right now, understandably.  Miles slept through most of it, though Norah will tell you he was awake and crying for all of it (projecting much?)

Then we kicked hell up to a new level.

Naturally, the power went out.  Until Monday. 

And Dan had to leave the state the next day for work.

And that night, Norah developed a mysterious 104 degree fever, and Miles developed some not-so-mysterious teething crankiness.

It was such a fabulous weekend.

Did I mention it was 100+ degrees outside?

It just gets better and better.

The kids and I spent most of the weekend at my parents' house, and we got all of our food (read:meat) out of our deep freeze and into spare space in theirs.  *whew!*  Unfortunately, Norah continued to get high fevers in the night.  I took her to my Dr.s' clinic Sunday afternoon when her fever spiked in the middle of the day, but all they could tell me was that she had a bladder infection.  So from Friday until Tuesday, I was up with her every night putting her in cold water in the middle of the night.  Sad face, for sure.

Power came back on mid-day Monday and I hauled all my stuff back home with my kids.  Norah's fever broke Tuesday night and she was doing better by Wednesday...... when I came down with it.  Naturally, Miles came down with it on Thursday, but for some reason he felt he had to out-do us, and came up with an impressive 105.8 degree fever. 

Douse baby in cold water, feed baby Tylenol.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  While I myself am sick. 

When you give a pre-school aged child medications every 4 hours, you can wake them in the night, pour it down their throat, cuddle them a bit, and put them back to bed.  When you need to give a baby medications every 4 hours at night, you have to wake them, pour the medication down their throat, and spend the next two hours trying to rock/nurse them back to bed.

So essentially, I spent the next two nights sleeping in 2 hours increments.  Which is probably why I had a hard time getting better myself.  Oh, and parenting my two kids all day while sick.  Right.

I was under the impression that once Daniel got home we would all be better - not because he is magic, but because he left for 9 days, and that is more than enough time to get better.  Miles and I did actually get better and stay better, but Norah got sick again.... and again..... All in all, we took her in to the Dr. 3 times to finally find out she had strep.

So, to recap:  Giant storm, tree on car, power out, husband out of town, oldest child REALLY sick, me sick, baby REALLY sick, no sleep.....

From the last weekend of June and for the next 3 weeks I didn't sleep more than 3 consecutive hours at a time, which is why you did not get a June update.  We were in hell.  There is no blogging in hell, only desperate attempts at getting sleep and something to eat other than shredded cheese scrounged from the back of the refridgerator meat drawer.

It was not good.

I understand now why everyone was so mad at Rob Bell when he said there was no hell.  Clearly there is.  Clearly Rob Bell has never been that sick while taking care of his children who are also that sick, by himself, on no sleep, while the power is out, in 100 degree weather, after a tree has fallen on his car with his kids in it.  Because otherwise he would not have titled his book, "Love Wins", but rather, "Holy Shit, The Gods Are Pissed"

Mommy & Miles check out the chalk art
Fortunately, we are all finally well and have had a much better time lately.  In July, we got to have a good time heading down to the Three Rivers Festival with Dan's mom, Ann.  We checked out the chalk art downtown, looked at all the crafty booths, dipped our toes in the water, and got some delicious goodies! Mmmmm.
Festival time with Norah!

We also got a visit with Michelle at the very end of July, but that's going to go in your August snapshot.  There's just no space left here!

The Littles

Take a moment and just look at them:

They really do love each other, you can tell.  Every morning Miles wakes up first, and he and I putter around, folding laundry, tidying up, eating breakfast.... and when Norah comes wandering downstairs his eyes light up and he smiles and squeals and crawls over to her.  And every morning when Norah wanders downstairs, the first thing she wants to do is find Miles and give him a hug.

Before Miles was born, when I was pregnant, I was convinced I was ruining Norah's life by having another baby.  I was really worried about it.  It turns out, that was a really silly thing to be worried about.  I'm quite relieved to find that adding Miles has been really great for her.  Norah, in turn, is trying to cash in on my relief, telling me that I need to have 5 more babies.  Erm.  She's a tricky one, I tell you.

Norah has had a pretty good summer this year.  She's really enjoyed swimming at the lake and going to the zoo - two things we've done regulalry.  She even got to feed a giraffe this past month!

Nom nom nom.... Norah calls all lettuce 'salad', as in "I fed the giraffe some salad!"

Totally honest?  This freaks me out just a tad.
Norah's favorite show to watch right now is Calliou, which is on PBS, and her favorite books to read are: A Fish Out of Water, Mouse is Mad, and Llama, Llama, Red Pajama.  She likes to play with the pillows off of our bed, either climbing on them or hiding in them.  She also likes to play hide-and-seek, though it appears she's a little unclear on the concept, as she generally shouts, "I'm behind the chair!" every time someone comes to look for her.

This summer Norah has discovered that she has her own will, which has resulted in some interesting afternoons.  We are working on whining, asking for things nicely, and listening.  I'm discovering that whoever came up with the catchphrase, "Terrible Twos" only did so because their child was not yet three.  Three has been quite a learning experience for both of us, though I feel good about the way we are learning to handle some of the difficulties and the strides that Norah is making in being able to cope with her feelings.  Just the other day, instead of smashing up an offensive (read:slightly broken) granola bar, as she would have in the past, she spat out, "I'm.... so.... FRUSTRATED!!", and then got herself calmed down and eventually ate the granola bar.  So we're getting somewhere.  I think it must be very difficult to be 3 and to have big feelings and a big will and not know what to do with them, and not be able to do what you want all the time.

Norah & Mommy - It takes a special something to really pull off a good mustache.

Miles is growing by leaps and bounds.  He's got 4 teeth now- two on top and two on the bottom.  The top ones were what contributed to our before mentioned weeks of hell.

Miles crawls everywhere with surprising speed.  He's been pulling himself up on the furniture, cruising around the house, trying to climb the stairs, and generally wreaking havoc.  Some of his favorite forbidden toys are daddy's TV remote, toilet paper rolls (on the holder, in the bathroom), and mommy's phone.  His favorite allowable toys are a soft, cloth-backed mirror, a bathtub book, and his maraca.

Miles is all about food.  He has a special food squeal he does if you have food and he happens to spot you and wants to share.  I'm trying to teach him signs so he can ask more nicely, because that squeal is fierce.  We'll see how that goes.  Some current favorites are bananas, yogurt, shredded cheese, and raisins.

Aaaaaaannnnd, he has fuzzy hair!  It's one of my favorites of his cute baby attributes.  You can see it sticking up nicely here:

Me 'n my beach baby.


 Some Stuff I'm Doing for my Body

For the most part, I'm going to talk about CrossFit now, because that's the only thing I'm doing that's really new.  We're still struggling to eat less sugar and fewer grains, and we're still working on eating more produce and healthy fat.  I feel like that's going to be the story of my food life for a long time to come.  Not that it can't be interesting, but I just don't have a lot to say about it right now.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I joined CrossFit Fort Wayne at the end of May.  It is kicking my ass.  There are so many fabulous things I could say about CrossFit that I'm not entirely sure where to start, so I think I'm just gonna ramble for awhile.

First of all, I have been at it for, what?  2 months?  2 and a half?  And I'm down to the smallest size I ever got into after Norah was born.  This is significant.  I had an awful time trying to lose weight after Norah was born. It took me a year and a half, some hardcore weight-watcher-ing, and weaning her to get into a size that was not even my pre-baby fat clothes.  That is depressing, people.  In contrast, Miles is 8 months old, I'm only vaguely watching what I put into my mouth (though I am focusing on cutting sugar and getting more fat), and the kid still nurses around the clock.

Do you know what this means?


I will wean him someday.  I could pay more attention to what I'm eating.

I could, potentially, spend portions of my 30s - *gasp!* - in shape!

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, because in all reality I'm still only barely buttoning those pre-baby fat pants, but still..... there is some promise.  For the first time in a very long time, I am thinking about my body with feelings that are not 'despair', and 'loathing'.  It is a good thing.

Hey, that's me!  My face looks skinnier.  Maybe it's CrossFit, maybe it's Photoshop....

CrossFit can be hard.  They run me ragged.  At the end of the workout I am tired and I hurt and I am covered in sweat.  But it is good.  I love that the workouts are short and high-intensity, rather than dragging on forever.  Zumba and me?  Not good friends.  That's an hour of me dancing like an idiot, watching the clock, and sincerely wondering if I will be able to keep breathing after the 35 minute mark.  I love that I can do really hard work for, say, 13 minutes, and then go home and that's that.

I can do anything for 13 minutes, even if it is torture. 

Ask my midwife.  She will tell you.

I also love that I can do things that sound really badass.  "Oh, yeah, we did some deadlifts tonight," sounds so much more badass than, "I turned up the speed on the treadmill."  Don't you think?  "Those hanging power snatches kicked my ass," just sounds so..... cool.  This is the first time in my entire life I have ever been able to say something that sounds really badass and have it be true.  I'm kind of relishing in it.

Now that I have joined the cult CrossFit box, I want everyone I know to join.  It's part of the 'obsessive personality' thing I have going on.  I can't help it.  Really, I can't.  I think it's genetic.  But seriously, anyone can do CrossFit.  I can do CrossFit.  Come now, people, think about that.  Everything is modifi-able, which is wonderful.  And the coaching is absolutely fabulous.

I do have some strengths and weaknesses when it comes to my success at CrossFit.  For your entertainment serious consideration, here they are:

Some things I have going for me:

1. I am basically fearless.

When I was 17, I once had to resolve an issue involving a suicidal young man slathered in butter.  In my early twenties I regularly spent time in a little room with people with criminal records containing such interesting crimes as arson, battery, and murder.  Said great contribtors to society were already pissed off at me because I had denied them housing benefits, and they wanted a fair hearing  My protection consisted of a panic button and a small, white, middle-aged woman  whom I could have broken over my leg.  After that, I attended church while also having two gay best friends, one of whom received actual hate mail from the church staff. 

Srsly.  I am basically fearless.

So when someone is like, "How's about you put 95lbs on that bar?" and I don't have the foggiest clue if I can even lift it, I'm still like, "ok," and I do it.  What's the worst thing that's going to happen?  Really?  No one is going to jump over the table at me screaming that I'm just jealous because 'her babies are prettier', and I'm not going to have to call the police because my schizophrenic client brought in a knife and we're on lockdown. 

Not that that ever happened.

(Actually, yes, it totally did.)

If you have ever been a social worker, CrossFit is nothing.  If I can't pick up the bar, I can't pick up the bar.  I take some weight off of it.  End of story.  No butter, no bodily threats, no eccentric religious people.  In retrospect, I don't know why I didn't join CrossFit sooner.

2. My comfort zone.  Or lack thereof.

I think I spent about half of my teens and twenties feeling uncomfortable about something.  Some of that was intentional - there really is no good way to build community without putting yourself out there and risking a lot of rejection - and some of that was just the way life went.  See bullet point #1 for examples.  Really, who is comfortable around someone who is holding a razor and telling you they want to die and who is also slathered in butter?  No one, that's who.  There's also that little thing where I never really fit in anywhere.  I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about, what with me being soooo smooth and all, but it's true.

Somewhere in my mid-twenties I think I just quit giving a shit.  I started doing things like paying money to watch men dress up in women's clothing and lip sync to Rihanna.  And I liked it.  Because once you stop giving a shit, it really is much more difficult to get all uncomfortable, and much easier to just enjoy what's out there.

This is not to say there is nothing that makes me uncomfortable*  It's just that, most of the time, I'm not terribly bothered by it.  I'm uncomforatble - so what?  It will pass.  I will survive.  So when I walked into CrossFit and I saw, painted on the wall, "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,"  I thought maybe we might have a beautiful thing going.

*A short list of things that make me truly uncomfortable: 1)The sheer amount of body hair I have to regularly remove from myself.  2) Extremely conservative Christians who want to tell me I am wrong about talk to me about  the gays, gays getting married, gays & AIDS, gays and adoptive children, gays and hell, and, if I haven't mentioned it, the GAYS. Or Chick-fil-a.    3)Anyone holding a loaded weapon that is aimed at me.  4)The part in Paranormal Activity where the lady just stands there and stares at her boyfriend in the middle of the night for hours and hours on end.

3.  I am really good at asking questions

This speaks for itself.  If I don't know what to do, I ask someone.  If I think I'm doing it wrong, I ask someone.  If I forgot how to do it, I ask someone.  I think the world would run so much more smoothly if more people learned how to just ask questions.

4.  I don't know enough to know what I shouldn't be able to do.

I have this thing that I do where I trust basically no one, but once you've earned my trust I will believe or do almost anything you tell me*.  This is another one of those things you can ask my midwife about.

The big difference between my midwife and the fine folks at CrossFit is that I actually know some stuff about birth.  I know nothing about fitness.  Zero.  My friend Beth keeps posting all these links that say things like, "Sprint, don't run!", "Stop doing cardio, it is making you fat!", and "Lift heavy things and you can enjoy a strong pelvic floor (see: 'birth' once again) and have a nice ass".  These things make me feel better because, in truth, this is what I want to hear.  I don't want to do cardio.  I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate cardio.  I just want to lift some heavy things and run around the building and magically get skinny.  Doesn't that sound fabulous? But I know next to nothing about the science behind these claims or how to achieve my goals.

The CrossFit people know stuff.  They go to special training and conferences and do all kinds of wild things to ensure they know that stuff I don't know.  I trust them a lot.

No one has ever thought to tell me, "Hey, Heather!  Probably you can't do that power snatch." so when the coach at CrossFit is like, "Hey, we're doing power snatches," I'm like, "ok".

This is much how I learned to sew.  No one told me I wasn't supposed to be able to put in piping, add a zipper, or make darts without being taught, so I just kind of went for it.

I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't stop learning about things all together and just go for them.  Sky diving?  Zombie hunting?  Let's do it.

*Almost anything.  Things I will not do, no matter how much I trust you: 1)get an epidural, 2)attempt to smoke out a wasp or hornet's nest,  3)try new foods which still have the eyeballs in them, even though they have been cooked, 4)attempt to babysit twin or triplet infants.

5.  I'm very flexible. 

Like, crazy flexible.  One of my instructors called my Gumby the other day.  I have no idea where this flexibility comes from.

Some things  I have working against me:

1.  I'm not really up on the 'friendly competition' thing.

I am slow.  I know I am slow.  I don't really care.  Yes, sometimes it is frustrating to see that, once again, I am DEAD LAST (which is better than 'did not finish', which is better than 'did not start' - which is infinitely better than, 'sat home and ate Oreos'),  but for the most part I just don't really care.  I'm just stoked that I managed to show up and actually do whatever it was I was supposed to do.  It is difficult to engage in friendly competition with someone who has already accepted that she will be dead last.  I know.  Maybe someday when I am better at this, I will be better at the competition aspect as well. 

2.  My goals are fuzzy.

When I went for my initial introduction, Sophia asked me what my fitness goals were.  I said, I kid you not, "Well, I want to be soft, but, uh, not this soft."  I don't know why no one has come up with a specified training program to meet that goal, do you?  Oh, you do?  Because it's completely vague and lacks any meaning at all? 


3. My current life situation isn't conducive to spending lots of time in the gym.

I have two small children, one of whom is still nursing around the clock - particularly at bedtime (so no 7:30 pm workouts for me).  I also have a husband who regularly travels for work for anywhere from 5-9 days at a time.  CrossFit has childcare, which is awesome - but the days and times are limited and don't always fit in with what else I can manage.  Utilizing childcare also means I cannot come to class early or stay after class to work on things.

So, I'm not a gym rat.  I'm coming in twice a week for classes, and that's pretty much it.  That's what I can manage.  But that's kind of where I am right now, and I think that's ok.  I won't always be at this particular place in life, and so I'll have the chance to do more at some other time.  For now that will have to be enough.

4. I have basically no upper body strength and no core strength.

I think this speaks for itself.

Incidentally, almost nothing about my ability to do CrossFit has to do with physical ability.  You know what that means, right?  YOU can do CrossFit, too!  Yes, YOU!!  Join your local CrossFit cult box today!

And that's all for now!  Join me next month for a new snapshot (and new photos!)

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