Category Archives: defiant

Diary of a Strong Mom: Days 4 & 5

On Friday (day 4) I finally lifted. For weight training, I’m going back to the basics, which means the Starting Strength program. This is a quick, simple program that is as basic as you can get with a natural progression built in. Basically, you switch between two workouts with three lifts each and just do three sets of five for each lift. With a warm up, it never takes me more than 30min to complete.

This week I did:
3×5 squats @ 100#
3×5 strict press @ 60#
and 3×3 power cleans @ 70#

The picture above (aka my evidence) is mid-clean.

The squats felt pretty heavy, especially by the last set. The presses were very hard. But the cleans were easy – I probably should have started heavier. Technically, this is not my first workout of the program. I’ve been off and on trying to get started with this since February. If it were, my squats and press would be substantially lighter. Since the goal with this program is to add weight every single workout, you’re supposed to start out super light. And I did – my first squats were at 65# and my press were 45# (aka empty bar). So it’s okay that they’re heavier now.

I talked already about my goals for running, but I haven’t touched on my goals for lifting. I could just say I want to get strong, but what does that mean? Well, first I would like to get back to my old strength. For me that means being comfortable with 5×5 135# squats and being able to squat 165# x3. This also means getting back to 175# x5 and 200# x3 deadlifts. I was cleaning 115# x3 before I got pregnant, so that’s a good number to aim for.

After I hit those numbers and feel like I’m back to my old strength, I’ll reassess and set new goals. But I think it’s simpler to focus on just getting my strength back first.

And then this morning I went for another run. Almost 3 miles! What! It felt great and I got to watch some folks paddling around the nearby lake in funny, viking-esque boats while I ran.

Looks like I’ll be able to hit 5k much sooner than I thought. Not on the next run – I want to run with baby next, and so that’ll be a shorter run by necessity – but the one after that I will see if I can hit 3.1 miles.

My, what a difference sleep makes, huh?

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Diary of a Strong Mom: Days 2 & 3

It’s been a rough week. I initially ran a second time over a week ago (looks like Tuesday). I wanted to plot while I ran, so I only listened to music and used the Runkeeper app to track my run. Somehow I ran for almost 30min – huh! Didn’t feel like it. That’s always lovely.

And then I got sick. ūüė¶ And Lady Jr got sick. So neither of us slept well and my lunch breaks became nap breaks instead. I lifted once with Dr Lady on Wednesday but didn’t get any further than that.

We did go for a walk on Saturday, which was lovely with all the leafs and green, but less lovely with all the mosquitoes. Seriously – wth Michigan?? It’s freezing for 6 months straight and as soon as it warms up past 50, there’s mosquitoes??? Ayyye.

Tips for keeping the nasty buggers off of baby would be appreciated. ūüė¶

Last night Night before last I got 7-8 hours of sleep (interrupted, but I’ll take it). I took Lady Jr to baby school a little earlier than usual because she’d woken up earlier than usual and was left with almost an hour before work. Knowing that I might need to nap again on my lunch break (eff this cold), but feeling pretty good at that moment, I decided to go for a run.


This time, I ran with my trusted (and favorite) Zombies, Run! It was fun and exhilarating and of course after every Zombies, Run! episode I desperately want to listen to the next one, which is added motivation to run again. Seriously, if you have a smart phone and you want to get into running, you should check out that app. It’s so good.

And there we have it. I actually wrote this Thursday (yesterday), but never finished it up. Last night Lady Jr only woke up once (!!), so I have high hopes for a day 4 update soon.

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Things Tend to Work Out

Honestly, I came to hate the phrase “things will work out!” during our TTC years. When everything looks like failure and you can’t see a way forward except for giving up, it doesn’t provide much solace.

But it’s not untrue.

I don’t know if it’s the Way the Universe Is or a greater force or simply our very human way of making sense out of our otherwise senseless experiences, but things do tend to work out all right. Coincidences and happenstances accrue until you can look back at a certain point and seriously believe This Was Meant to Happen.

Dr Lady is gone all week so I’ve had a lot of time alone by myself to think and talk to Lady Jr. And I realized in talking to her the other night that we would not be here, with her, without those struggles, without those failures, without all those opportunities going up in smoke.

We would have had a different Lady Jr, a different donor, and a wholly different work situation. For one thing, if we’d had our BFP sooner, I would not be so calmly looking forward to getting to work at home in my last weeks, to knowing I’d have a job when I come back from maternity leave, to the sheer flexibility of this work. I would still be working with the county, in a job that I had learned to despise, a job where I’d have had to go on FMLA for my OB appointments (I’m not even kidding), where I would have gotten three months off but then would have had to come back to work full time right away. I would have felt stuck there, unwilling to leave the security of regular pay and benefits with a child on the way.

If I’d had our BFP sooner, I doubt I would have gathered the courage to quit that job and I would never have been available at the exact right time for this new job, where I have already learned so many new things and had such a great experience.

If we’d had our BFP sooner, we would have been in the much less envious situation of moving cross-country with two cats and a small child. We would have been flying around the country this last year, visiting newborns and relatives and weddings, with a crawling/walking toddler. Which is doable! But goodness am I glad that when Lady Jr is one and two and three, we will have the luxury of driving to see most of our relatives.

If Dr Lady’s opportunity to go to France hadn’t fallen through last autumn, there wouldn’t even be a Lady Jr. Honestly, there might never have been a Lady Jr. It was that very month that I had fully given up, and it wasn’t until after it fell through that I thought – well, I guess we might as well try IUI.

If Dr Lady’s opportunity to go to France hadn’t fallen through last spring, well – I’d still be pregnant, but I likely wouldn’t have a stay-at-home job and I wouldn’t have been able to attend my friend’s wedding.

If I hadn’t spent so long in TTC, I would not have the appreciation for all this that I do now. I wouldn’t have found out I had PCOS – which ended up explaining all the weird hormonal stuff in my past. I wouldn’t have found this community. And I wouldn’t have learned so very, very much about not just TTC and how our bodies work, but about babies and pregnancy and breastfeeding and what you need and what’s normal and what’s not. I wouldn’t have had the chance to read so many others’ experiences, in real time. To gain so much knowledge and understand that yes, it’s hard, but it’s also doable.

TTC was hard. Missing out on France was hard. Quitting my job and dealing with four months of unemployment and uncertainty was hard. Accepting that we needed medical intervention was hard.

But… I wouldn’t trade where I am now for anything. Lady Jr is a unique confluence of events and I couldn’t have chosen better ones.



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Desert Appreciation: Sunrise/Sunset

It wasn’t until college that I tried to catch that liminal point when night turned to day or vice versa. Partially because there were just so many trees in the way and sunrise was little more than a lightening of the sky. Our college, however, was situated facing west¬†on a bayfront, the perfect spot to witness the end of a day. That spot became a regular refuge from the stress of papers and exams. We’d sit with our feet inches away from the water, heads back and skin slick with humidity, watching the light fade and the stars come out.

I watched sunsets in Seattle, too, but it wasn’t until we moved to the desert that I began watching sunrises. Since the thermometer starts shooting upwards as soon as the sun crests the horizon, I quickly learned to appreciate the early morning hours. I became an early-riser just to get outside once a day and enjoy the world without all the oppressive heat.

The desert more than rewards the¬†the effort, with its mountains and open horizons. Almost every sunrise is a spectacular event, full of color and bravado. If I could, I’d watch every sunrise, even – especially – the ones at 5am.


Four: The Tranquility of Solar Transition




Sunrise from Tumamoc Hill








Ball of Sunset


Sunset #43: This time with ponies




Sunset at Gate's Pass


Star Gazing at Gate's Pass


Star Gazing at Gate's Pass


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Desert Appreciation: Monsoon

I grew up in Florida. I know about thunderstorms. Throughout the summer, we’d get them every day around 3-5pm like clockwork. Small bursts that would congregate and dispense rain like sudden, divine punishment before slipping away to the next block. You could look out one side of the house and see sunlight and blue sky, only to go to another side and find darkness and rain. Larger storms that would stretch into the night, rain drumming louder than a rock concert.

Then there were, of course, the hurricanes. Tropical depressions, tropical storms, cat 1, cat 2, and time-to-evacuate cat 3.

I thought I was ready for monsoon season. Rain? Check. Heavy rain? Check check. Rain so thick you can’t see the hand in front of your face? Checkity check check. Gimme some hail and some close calls with lightning and it’ll feel just like home.

I was ready – for the rain. But not for the desert side of things. The way you could watch a storm approach from miles and miles away. The way clouds bubbled and boiled and burst above the mountains before spilling over in a frightening rage. The way the riverbed, always dry, suddenly filled with churning water, sweeping along anything and everything in its path. The way day turned to night and lightning streaked from one side of the horizon to the other.

And the aftermath. When a Florida storm passed, it left little more than wet concrete and steaming asphalt. When a desert storm passed, the world was changed. The oppressive heat was broken, cut down from its dizzying heights to something more livable, breathable. The desert perked up, cacti swelling with the rain and brush bursting with green. The crisp, tangy smells of ozone and creosote permeated everything. Toads quarked loudly in the mud, emerging from their months-long hibernation only for the rain. The desert was renewed.

In Florida, rain is at worst a nuisance, at best a time to set your watch. In the desert, rain is at worst a flash flood that rips down streets and drowns cars, at best – life. The only way this barren, dusty landscape becomes livable.


Three: The Majesty of Monsoon


Microburst over Oro Valley


Afternoon sunshower


Rain on glass


Gathering storm


Monsoon over mountains and hills


Monsoon, Part: Approaching from Over the Lake


Storm rolling across mountains


During the storm


Water under Campbell Bridge


Water in the Rillito


Rainbows after a storm


Stormy Sunset


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Desert Appreciation: Bats

When we moved here, we picked an apartment on the waterless river within walking distance of a grocery store. It was perfect. We could walk along the river path to the store, crossing under a bridge for a busy road and never having to wait at lights or run across said busy road.

Because we moved here in summer, the best time to hit up the grocery store was in the evening, as the blisteringly hot sun was finally going down. So it was no surprise that we quickly found out that the bridge was harboring a secret: bats upon bats. We had inadvertently picked a home near the busiest, battiest bridge in all of Tucson.

Best luck ever, right?

And I love it. The bats are semi-migratory, so there are far fewer in winter than there are in summer, making Watching the Bats Come Out one of the few reasons to go outside when it’s 110+ degrees. I will remember many a sticky night spent swatting mosquitoes, sweat streaming down my back, leaning over a metal rail and watching the bats swarm and dart and finally flow free.


Two: The Splendor of a Bat Explosion


Campbell Bridge Bats


DITL May 17th



DITL May 17th


DITL May 17th


DITL May 17th


DITL May 17th


An Eruption of Bats


A Snake of Bats

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Desert Appreciation: Spring Blooms

As we near both the bleakness of summer and our move-outta-town date, I’m going to do a series of photo posts about the desert, Arizona, and our time here. It has truly been worldview-shifting and an amazing experience that I never could have anticipated. To be honest, when we were making the choice between grad schools way back six years ago, I really wanted to move to Oregon. But I am so, so glad we came here instead.

Let me count the ways.


One: The Glory That is a Desert Spring



I grew up in Florida and never really experienced spring. Because it never quite froze during the winter, plants kept their leaves and weren’t rushed to bud and bloom as soon as it warmed up. After all, they had 11 months to do all that.


Spring Blooms in the Desert

Then we moved to Seattle and I watched the leaves fluoresce orange, yellow, red, before giving way to cold and dark and brittleness, and then suddenly blossoming again with bright-bright green buds come spring. My favorite part were the daffodils and crocuses that popped out of the snow, brilliant bits of color in an otherwise stark landscape.



But Seattle has nothing on the desert.

For about two months out of the year, the drab brown is awash in yellow and orange and pink and white. Mostly yellow: the palo verdes go to¬†town, blanketing streets and backyards in yellow blossoms and pollen. An allergy-sufferer’s nightmare, true, but worth it.


Spring Flowers

The plants don’t have much time to get in as much growing/blossoming as possible before the temp spikes over a hundred and what little moisture we got over the winter is all gone. So they go all out and it’s epic.


Spring Flowers


Ocotillo Blossom





I’m definitely going to miss this time of ecstatic bloom.


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