Feeling Alive

After an entire week off school last week due to snow, I eagerly laid out all of my son’s clothes for school this week. An outfit for every day, show and tell, snacks, right down to socks and underwear ready to go. This week, we would get back into our routine.

And Monday and Tuesday were glorious. I was not productive, because I chose to take the time for myself instead of work.

This, incidentally, turned out to be a wonderful decision, because snow, ice, and cold temperatures struck again and school was cancelled for two more days.

My son has gone to school 6 days this entire month. There are 31 days in January. He has gone to school for 6 of them.

This exhausting trend has led me back into old patterns reminiscent of my stay at home mom days when he was a baby.

Days of exhaustion and pajamas, days when accomplishing one load of laundry was my highlight of achievement. Days when I would go days (weeks) without any makeup and I did not wear jewelry for years to avoid the tiny tugs of baby hands.

I have these wonderful ideas of getting the house clean and enjoying the indoor time while at home, but everyone knows those kind of fantasies are futile when you’re trapped at home with a little one.

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw that part of myself again. My face that had not put on make up in two day, my hair in an un-styled ponytail. I was wearing pajamas and was back in a cycle where putting on black work out pants would actually be more dressed up than my current state.

The house is a wreck because my son and I had not left it in two days. Honestly, I am feeling like I am at the end of my rope.

And I remembered those early baby days when sometimes I felt the same thing. I felt so isolated and so “not me” without a sense of busyness; a reason to leave the house, a reason to put on real clothes and make up.

I’ve discovered that a schedule and looking put together make a world of difference in my mood.

Right now, we are curled up watching the new “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and blogging. But in just a minute, my son and I will venture out of the house for the first time in two days. Clothes, make up, and all.

And I’m so very much hoping it will make me feel more alive.

For some reason, sparkly things make me feel more put together and bright. I am hosting an online trunk show with Stella and Dot. There are some amazing pieces and come just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Shop here: http://www.stelladot.com/ts/kkyv5

Being a Boy Mom

Being a boy mom is…weird.

Never in my life have I discussed penises more than I do as the mother of a boy.

Before having a boy, I never had to make myself highly interested in bugs. Or slime. Or bodily functions.

Before having a boy, I never had the life experience of cleaning up poop from toilets, floors, and walls. And the top of the toilet. And the carpet. And almost any other possible surface.

Before having a boy, I never realized just how active boys really are. I hear people say it all the time, but I think they really are wired differently than girls. Little boy brains just think differently.

So, naturally, when surprising moments of being a boy mom happen, I Tweet about it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a boy mom surprises and challenges me.

And it is absolutely perfect.

30 Day Shred: Day One

When I started this blog, I had decided that I was going to lose some weight. I have been very lucky in my life to always be at a naturally healthy weight. I am not too skinny (except for highschool but that doesn’t count) and not too fat, just naturally normal without really having to try too hard.

I maintained my wedding weight until I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I gained a ridiculous 50 pounds, but by my son’s first birthday I had lost it all. Breastfeeding is an awesome weight loss tool. I breastfed my son for two years, and from the time I weaned him in August of 2011 to January 2012, I gained 13 pounds. That’s crazy, right?

So in January, I decided I would try to watch my diet. And I failed. Then in February, I bought a membership to a mom’s only workout place. And I HATED it. I have never been good at working out. When exercise was in my life it was through dancing and cheerleading. I’ve never been a girl who does push ups and crunches and runs. But since I had the membership I thought I would try it out. The problem was, I could only go when my son was in school. He went to two-day a week preschool last year, so I would drop him off, drive to the work out place, do an intense workout for an hour that made me feel like I wanted to die, and then go pick up my son. Because my husband works all the time and we do not live near family, those two days a week were the only time I ever got to myself. By replacing my me time with an intense workout that I hated, I started to feel drained physically and emotionally. I came to the conclusion that I would rather be a little bit fat than lose my sanity.

So for the past four months, I have not paid attention at all to my eating or exercise habits. Then, the other day, in a moment of bad judgement, I stepped on the scale. Oh my gosh. My scale is a mean little thing.

Once more, I have decided I’m going to do something about this. I’m not trying to be super skinny like I was in high school. I’m realistic that my body will never look like it did pre-baby. But if I could just lose 10 to 15 pounds (ok, I’d really like to lose 20) and start to feel less “blah” about myself, I think I would be happy. After talking to a few friends, I decided to try the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. It’s cheap (only $9 at Target), it’s accessible (in my livingroom), and it might help me lose weight AND maintain my sanity.

So I went to Target, bought the DVD, and prepared for my first workout.

(photo courtesy of amazon.com)

Except I was totally unprepared. The workout went down like this:

Straighten up living room by putting away all of the toddler’s stray toys. Put DVD in. Press play.

Watch the introduction where Jillian promises you will lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days! Awesome.

Start warm up. In the middle of arm windmills, hear toddler yell, “Mommy! I pooted!”

Press pause. Go wipe toddler’s bottom. Try to get toddler to put clothes back on. He refuses. Allow toddler to run around naked.

Press play.

Move on to cardio warm up jumping jacks. Realize I am not wearing the right bra for this. Hold boobs while jumping so they will not hit me in the face. Watch toddler attempt to do jumping jacks and say, “Mommy! Why are you holding your nurses?” (Yes, he calls my breasts “nurses.”)

Move on to lunges and weights. Realize I do not have weights. The toddler notices that the ladies in the video have weights and I do not. He brings me two of his blocks.

Press pause to answer the phone. It was a sales call.

Press play. Continue to push ups. The toddler thinks I am in piggy back riding position and climbs on my back. I attempt to do push ups with a 32 pound toddler on my back. I do not succeed.

When Jillian asks us to get into reverse crunch position, where you hold your legs up in the air, the toddler thinks I am in airplane position and climbs on. I fly my toddler on my legs.

The toddler kind of gets into it. He starts doing jumping jacks and kicks with me. He really likes the cross punching part.

He even becomes my personal motivator.

Jillian says, “Up and squeeze.” “Up and skeeze, Mommy!”

Jillian says, “Almost there!” “Awmost there, Mommy!”

At the lunging part, the toddler crawls back and forth between my legs.

I have trouble doing jumping jacks as he holds onto my ankles.

The pause button gets pushed a few more times for such emergencies such as looking at play dough carrots and a piece of dirt found on the floor.

Finally, it’s time for a cool down.

As I sit down and lean over to stretch, the toddler again climbs on my back.

I decide laying down is a good idea.

Jillian says something like, “Good job! You are well on your way to get shredded!”

We’ll see, Jillian, we’ll see.

*Does anyone have toddler friendly workout/weight loss tips for me? This is obviously not my area of expertise.

My Shopping Day, Or Why I am Such an Old Lady, or Ways that I am a Nerd

Wednesday, I did something I very rarely do. I went shopping…at the MALL! Full out, I-don’t-have-a-reason-to-be-doing-this browsing shopping.

It started out as a family trip to Old Navy. Which is very sneakily placed in the mall. We went to Old Navy and got the things we were looking for. Then we made the mistake of actually ENTERING the mall.

I used to love the mall. You know, when I was young and childless. It was a place to go and socialize, shop for clothes that fit my once tiny body, and spend all that disposable income I used to have.

Now, I think of the mall as a scary place. All those people! All those stores! All those places with clothes that don’t fit me and where I should not go lest I be tempted to spend money I don’t have.

So, after we conquered Old Navy, we wondered the mall. I tried on clothes in Ann Taylor LOFT, my pre-mommy FAVORITE store. And guess what? I still LOVE that store. I found a really cute outfit. I looked good in it. I felt good in it. I wanted to buy it. But one look at that price tag, and I had to leave it on the rack. Because I can not spend that much money on clothes for myself.

While I moped about the adorable outfit I had to leave behind, we wondered a little further into the mall. Then we found Crazy 8, an adorable children’s store. And we bought a new outfit and some new shorts for the toddler. Sure, there’s symbolism about how I have no hesitation about spending money on my son but won’t spend money on myself, but really it just comes down to the fact that those three pieces for him were literally one-third of the cost of one shirt at the LOFT.

Still in a I-must-spend-money mood, we wondered into the next store in the row; Victoria’s Secret.

And here’s where I really turned into an old lady, if the whole I-buy-clothes-for-my-son-but-not-myself thing wasn’t a good enough start.

I was shocked at this store. My internal thought process went something like this:  “Is this what kids are wearing these days? Who sees all these girls naked? Why in the world do you need all this lace and crystal on a bra? Who are you trying to impress with this? Do they sell anything comfortable in here? I don’t think I can successfully chase my toddler around with this push up bra that puts my boobs in my face and panties that barely cover my bum and/or put dangling sparkles in my private area.”

Naturally, I bought some panties. (It was the semi-annual sale. Which was lucky. Because I was NOT going to buy those things full price.)

By this time, the hubs and toddler had found the mall’s germ-infested play area, so I decided to take advantage of it and continue this day of ridiculousness. I went into the store that was my favorite place ten years ago, Charlotte Russe. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest person there. It’s obviously meant for teenagers. There were definitely no other moms in there. Except for the moms with teenage daughters. So since I was already out-of-place, I just decided to keep my head down and peruse.

You guys, I could not stop laughing. The clothes were so skimpy. What looks like  regular t-shirt in the front is backless. A reasonable looking dress? Has the sides cut out. And there was a whole section of leather bustiers. By the time I got to the back of the store I think I had actually laughed out loud.

Why did I find this so funny? Maybe because I used to shop there. Maybe because I find all of these styles of clothes pretty ridiculous. Or maybe just the fact that I knew I had absolutely no business walking around in that particular store.

But people? The clothes are cheap. For half the price of the LOFT shirt I was coveting, I got a navy and white striped t-shirt (with no cut-outs) and a gray cardigan. So there actually are mommy-appropriate clothes in that store for low prices. If you feel like digging around and getting a good laugh.

So we left the mall with a new outfit and new shorts for the toddler, two shirts and some panties for me, a shirt for the hubs, and my new-found realization that I have kind of turned into an old lady. Or maybe just a nerd. Either way, it’s good to know.

Style Evolution

I just stumbled across this blog tutorial on how to do hair and make up and my first thought was, “This girl does not have kids.” It’s an adorable blog, with a lot of great tips, and I was memorized for hours a while, but who puts this kind of effort into their looks? Oh, women who are not mommies. And who have time. And who care about their appearance. Kind of like me, when I was 18.

I wish I could blame my lack of style and hair and makeup knowledge on being a busy mom and never having enough time, but that just wouldn’t be the truth.

The truth is, I lost my style long ago.

In high school, I was stylish. I was in the popular crowd, I knew what clothes were acceptable and what weren’t, and I even prided myself on never wearing the same outfit twice. I also spent hours doing my hair and make up, which involved a long routine of shower, blowdry, flat-iron, and curl. And of course, occasionally style up in some way, but only after completing the above process. My make up routine was equally involved with foundation, concealer (for what I don’t know…my 18 year old self would be appalled at my now nearly 30 skin) powder, blush, 3 different layers of eyeshadow, two different eyeliners, mascara, lip liner, lip gloss, and shimmery highlighting powder. Whoo, just writing that made me exhausted.

When I went to college, I discovered this horrible thing called the 8 am class. That meant I had to be up and ready to go by 7:15? Usually after staying up until wee hours the night before? That hair and make up routine got dropped pretty quickly. My college uniform quickly turned into jeans, a college t-shirt, a ponytail, mascara, and chapstick. I still knew how to get pretty for evening activities, but I never made any friends in classes. I was into sleep more than impressing co-eds.

After college graduation, I took my first job as a nanny. No need to dress up for a newborn, a 3-year-old , and a 5-year-old, right?

When I got my first teaching job, it was in a pre-school/day care environment where you could not wear jeans (oh no!) but you could wear scrubs or “professional sweat suits.” I don’t know what that means either. I took it to mean gray sweatpants, t-shirts and soaking wet hair ponytails, and got away with it. I am actually still terribly embarrassed that I went to work like that.

For many reasons, that job wasn’t a good fit, and I interviewed and got hired by a “real” school, a local public elementary school. There was a professional dress code here! You had to wear stuff like khakis and real shirts! (I also had things like a salary and benefits. I was a grown up!)  But I was still teaching Kindergarten. So my wardrobe became fitted with all things Old Navy and Target. Khakis and v-neck t-shirts people. Outfits of the stars. (Seriously. I think my class was the shining stars…or something like that.) I also upped my hair and make up routine by wearing my hair in a deep part, low side bun every day and actually wearing make up! But this time, the routine consisted of Bare Minerals foundation, mineral veil, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. So quick, so easy, and I looked so presentable every day! Amazing.

A year and a half  later, the stay at home mom gig started. I would go for DAYS without putting on a trace of make up. Or getting dressed. Or showering. Or touching my hair. Yes, my husband is a lucky, lucky man.  Fortunately, the baby didn’t care.

As I started to feel better and get back into the world, I realized that I honestly forgot how to do this. This body was different. This hair did not style the way it used to. This skin does not conceal! Seriously, having this baby changed EVERYTHING!

Slowly, I found my way back to the deep part low side bun ponytail. Bare Minerals saved my life. And I only had to invest a million dollars use a few resources to get back to a wardrobe I’m comfortable with. Which now involves jeans, v-neck t-shirts, and the occasional print blouse. I know, my style is so enviable.

I have also discovered that I need to keep my hair at a manageable length. Although I love my hair long and styled, long with a baby just meant daily ponytails. But too short also means daily styling, which just doesn’t work. So a medium length gives me the freedom for ponytails often, but also the capability for a down do every once in a while. I also learned to keep make up in the car. Parking lot mascara anyone? The toddler even knows to wait just a minute after we arrive at a destination so “Mommy put on make up and not look scary.” He’s a charmer.

So I am not the most put together mom, and even though the morning ritual of lets-fight-about-putting-on-socks-and-shoes definitely interferes with my make up time, having a toddler isn’t the only reason I’m not so put together. My style has just been a constant evolution. My adult life has been devoted to the caring of children; often in non-structured environments. And it’s just so hard to put forth the effort to get all done up when you just don’t have to. (And when you have little people yelling at you. Like right now. The toddler needs juice.)

I suppose it is something that will continue to evolve and change as my life does. But it kind of also looks like I just might not be as girly as I used to think I was. A style evolution and a personal revelation; who saw that coming?

So, my friends, do you have any style advice for me? As long as I can still do the pre-school drop off by sitting in my car with no bra and sweat pants, I would love to take you up on suggestions. :)

My Scale Is An Asshole

I don’t usually use such vulgar words in my life. But unfortunately, there is no better word to describe my bathroom scale.

My scale is stubborn, brutally honest, and holds an unwavering poor opinion of me and my weight. It is, in short, an asshole.

I am working so hard to improve its opinion of me. I am eating better. I am working out 3 days a week, an hour at a time. I am constantly chasing a toddler. And yet, when I go to my scale for validation, it unsympathetically gleams back a mean number. It is not apologetic and harshly blunt in its delivery.

I know that a relationship requires the effort of both parties, and I am willing to do my share of the work. I am aware that changes in interaction take time and I will do my best to be patient.

I wish my scale would be like those you see on the Special K commercials, and instead of giving me a number, a show me a word of encouragement. For example, “strong”, “beautiful”, or “you-are-a-great-mommy-and-you-are-super-sexy-and-I’m-proud-of-you-for-making-healthy-life-changes.”

Is this asking too much?

Perhaps.

Even though the dates I have with my scale often leave me feeling defeated, I still continue to go back and strive for its validation. One day, it might change its opinion of me and show me a nice little number. One day, I might change my opinion of my scale. I am looking forward to a good relationship, but it looks like this is going to be a long road.

I went to the gym and then I died

Let’s discuss how I am fat, you guys. Not obese and not horribly fat, but enough where I am in a size I never thought I would be in and where I just don’t feel comfortable. I feel yucky. The kicker? This weekend, I helped throw a baby shower for one of my best friends.  There are three of us that grew up together and have been BFFs (yep, I totally went there) since third grade. A LONG time. Now that we are older the pictures of the three of us together are getting harder and harder to obtain, so of course we had to get one at this shower. You guys, you could not tell which one of us was pregnant. It really just looks like a picture of the three of us and we’ve all just had way too much to eat over the years. Which is true. But one of us has a baby in her belly. And I do not. That’s a problem.

I’ve been feeling yucky about myself for a while but lacked the true motivation to do anything about it. I bought a gym membership deal off Living Social in October but never activated it. Until Friday.

With my new-found motivation to get in shape and my half off gym membership waiting to be activated in my car, I decided Friday was the day. I pulled on my big girl panties, some sweat pants,  the one sports bra I own, and a baggy t-shirt. Rea-dyyy!! Then I got my little guy ready for school and we headed out. After dropping him off I programmed the GPS to my new gym location and headed that way. Of course I got lost. But alas, the gym was found and I went in.

This particular “gym” is not actually a gym, but it is a place geared towards moms and offers fitness programs based on classes. It seems you are not paying for equipment, but rather for the camaraderie of other moms working out with you and for an instructor to keep you going. When you walk in, there is a front desk where you sign in and register and then just a HUGE open room. That is the workout room. They only hold one class at a time. If you need childcare, the children are watched by one supervising adult out in the hallway. (Not sure I was a huge fan of that part.)

The particular class offered that morning was called “Friday Booty Blast.” The description reads, “(for moms only) is a high-intensity circuit training class guaranteed to burn calories and blast fat. Start your weekend off feeling fit and strong!” Or completely defeated. You know, however you want to feel afterwards.

First of all, these moms do not wear sweats and baggy t-shirts and probably own more than one sports bra. These moms were in CUTE workout gear. They looked cute! My insecure inner self immediately resorted to pubescent thoughts of self loathing. Why did you wear such ugly clothes? Now you will never fit in with the popular kids. And why, oh why, didn’t you wear make-up?! 

The class started with some stretching, some neck rolling and some side to side step touching. I got this. Then we moved on to stations in groups of 4. First up, arm workouts with resistance bands with a partner. Done. I carry around a 30 pound toddler on a daily basis people. Next, sit ups with a partner while throwing a medicine ball. Ummm I honestly don’t remember the last time I did a sit up. But I handled it. Third, stepping up on a 5 foot high (this is only a slight exaggeration) platform repeatedly for thigh strengthening. I think I’m losing this game. Finally, planking and walking with your feet in a side-middle-side motion. Yep, after one, I was just sitting on the floor watching.

After stations, we regrouped for group circuit training which involved one minute of various exercises in between sets of 30 jumping jacks. The various exercises included jumping in place, squats, lunges, push ups, planking, tuck jumps, burpees, and mountain climbing. Some of these things are what I imagine football teams do for training. I am not a football player. By the end of this torture, I was just side to side step touching for everything. You go, you cute, popular girls! I’ll just be over here….

Then we got a water break, which I took to mean, go to the bathroom and contemplate your own existence while peeing because oh my god I am dying, then splash water on my face and pretend that I totally belong here. (Even though, obviously, I do not.) I went back in the room to find that the newest game was to crabwalk the length of the room, do a set of one of the various activities from circuit training, and run back to bear walk across the room, etc. I look ridiculous. Is everybody looking at me? Why does my shirt keep riding up and showing my belly? That’s not attractive. 

Thank goodness that after that we came back into a group and finished up with a “butt toning” exercise and stretching.

Afterwards, the instructor came over and asked if I had any questions and said she hoped I would be back.

Oh, I will be back because I just activated this month membership and don’t want to waste the money. I mean I knew I was out of shape, but oh. my. gah.

I thanked the instructor and told the front desk lady I would see them next week. And then I went to my car and died.