Category Archives: goals

14 Months & 2017

december-57

14 Months

For the most part, I just say she’s one year old. But every month she’s more capable, more aware than the one before. And at 18 months, I’ll say she’s one and a half. Every day builds on the next.

One day, she started pulling up. The next, with a little help, she was pushing one of those stand up toys. Now she’s walking back and forth across the living room, barely using the elephant walker to stabilize.

A sixth tooth broke through last week. From all the drool and whining, it seems a seventh may be on its way.

She chatters and laughs and giggles and whines and throws herself down when she’s upset and clings and rests her head on your shoulder and cackles while trying to shove her fingers up your nose. I love this age so much. I’m trying to appreciate how easy it is right now, because I know it’s about to get much harder. She has such big emotions for such a tiny body and she’s only starting to learn about them.

After a really hard week with copious amounts of vomit & diarrhea, she’s also started sleeping straight through from 10pm to 5am, and I kind of love it. Now I just warm a bottle up when my alarm goes off at 5am. She usually wakes up shortly after, takes a bottle, then goes right back to sleep. I get a solid hour, hour and a half of writing/editing in every morning. Living the life, y’all.

 

2017

This has been a strange year. Politically, it’s been a devastating roller coaster. But personally, it’s been amazing. I wrote a book and then I went through edits and just yesterday my editor accepted it – which means 2018 will be pretty exciting, too. 2018 will also be the year (more) people I don’t know read it (oh god). I met people in my field and made friends and connections. I’ve never been this excited – or hopeful! – about my career. I’ve never had a career.

And this baby – oh, this baby. She has been the joy and the adventure I dreamed of and so much more. She has taught me so much – about myself, about the world, about hope. I love watching and sharing her joy. Her sadness breaks my heart a hundred times over. And it’s only been 14 months!

Life has been so different and yet not at all. I get up and pet the cats and drink coffee and write and make breakfast and go to work – except now I also keep an eye on the baby monitor, bring her milk, open the door when she’s up and sing good morning, baby – the light’s come on and so I smile wide and say –

I was struck the other morning by how quickly this all became normal. I was sitting on the couch at 6am, reading the edit suggestions from my editor, my robe smelling faintly of the baby’s vomit from the day before, the coffee satisfyingly hot, a cat licking her paw by my ear. I have felt so much despair and hopelessness and loneliness this year, but really: I have everything I could wish for. This is the life. This is my life.

And I couldn’t be luckier. ❤

I wasn't really looking forward to 2017, but it was good for me. Now I'm very excited about 2018 – Lady Jr will be walking, talking, and growing into a Real Human Being. My book will be going out to other authors, to reviewers, will get a cover, will be in my hands. My wife will begin searching for her next job, her hopefully for-a-long-time job, and we might begin to have an idea of where we'll be in 2019.

I'm gonna cherish every minute of it.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under defiant, gaybies, goals, happy things, no more waiting, writing

Overseas with a Baby

Deutschland 2017

We did the seemingly impossible. We took an 8-hour transatlantic flight and spent a week in Europe with a crawling, active, chatty 13-month-old.

And it was fine!

It was more than fine, it was fun. I spent a lot of time in the weeks and months leading up to the trip worrying about whether or not this was the Worst Idea Ever. I’d heard plenty of horror stories about babies/toddlers who’d spent the entire flight screaming or needing to be walked up and down the aisle of the plane. I’d worried about sickness and jetlag and whether or not it’d all just be too overwhelming.

What I learned is I should trust my baby. And also, everything is more fun with a laughing, giggling, wide-eyed little girl.

There were hard bits. I couldn’t sleep on the flight over, even though we had a whole row to ourselves and got to put the carseat between us. Lady Jr conked for a good 3, 4 hours, but there were other babies who had a harder time and, well, airplane seats just aren’t very comfortable.

Coffee saw me through until we could nap at the Air BnB, but it was touch-and-go. But after that nap, well, life was a lot better.

That first night was hard on us all because of the time change. Lady Jr slept for a few hours and then kept waking and crying every few minutes. Eventually, I just got up with her at 11pm and we watched German-dubbed X-Files until past 1am – which would’ve been 7pm our time, aka her bedtime. She went right to sleep after that. She pulled the same routine a day later and by then we’d figured out it was her Circadian rhythm and just went with it.

Naps were almost all on the go, in the ergo carrier, and that worked just fine.

We stayed in Air BnBs for this trip, which I’d A++ recommend. It was great having a kitchen and lots of room for her to crawl around and play. Also great: both had a place for her to sleep. Not so great: both were outside the cities we were visiting, so we ended up doing a fair amount of driving. Lady Jr is not a fan of cars and sometimes we were out for a while, so this was not ideal. Next time, I’ll try harder to find a place to stay *in* the city, even if it means finding novel places for Lady Jr to sleep.

Why did we visit Europe in late November of all times?? For the Christmas markets, of course! 😀 My mother and I had been talking about visiting Germany and their markets together for years and yeas, and I realized that if we didn’t go now, we’d have to wait a few more years and I was worried about how much older my mother would be. Also because of Thanksgiving, I could actually take a whole week off and not miss much work. Hence the timing.

We visited Darmstadt and Aachen, since their Christmas markets opened early enough. I’d never been to either, so that was fun. Aachen is gorgeous and located on the edge of a rolling, wonderful national park and now I want to live there.

I drank all the Gluhwein and sniffed all the things and ate all the baked goods. Dr Lady got to see her first Weihnachtsmarkt. Lady Jr charmed everyone.

Also: dude they’re not kidding around with baby changing rooms in Germany. When they’re there, they’re fancy and nice and clean. One even had warming lamps for newborns. So good. ;.;

Anyway, have some pictures.

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr playing peek-a-boo at the first Air BnB.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Darmstadt countryside.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr learned how to pull up on the trip and is now unstoppable.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
We went for a walk by the Rhein. 

 

Deutschland 2017
HAM

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr was enamored with a toy in the second air BnB and also kept pushing a step stool around and around and around the house.

Deutschland 2017
The countryside outside of Aachen.

Deutschland 2017
A cute little town we discovered nestled in the hills.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Mmm, Apfel strudel.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
*Weihnachtsmarkt intensifies*

 

 

Deutschland 2017

Deutschland 2017
And then it snowed as we were leaving.

 

 

IMG_20171125_023422_950
Aachen Weihnachtsmarkt.

 

 

IMG_20171125_023422_954
Everything is Just Fine.

 

 

IMG_20171125_023422_926
Gluhweing – the Reason for the Season.

3 Comments

Filed under gaybies, goals, happy things, simply informative

Diary of a Strong Mom: Fighter Class

I’ve been taking punching class for two months now and I can tell something’s improving. It might be my stance, it might be my pivot – it certainly ain’t my kick – but I’m getting through the initial Wow, I Suck At This into a more nuanced, Yes, I Suck At This But I’m Learning And It’s Okay.

Those first few weeks were rough, though. No, scratch that. The second few weeks. The first few, I could still rely on the newness of it all, jokingly add that I’ve only been to one or two classes. Now I’ve been to more than a dozen and I hit that wall of feeling like I should be at least good at some part of this already.

Learning new things is rough, especially when you’ve gotten really good at other things. I keep wanting to point at my running or my lifting and be like: look! I’m not bad at these. But those have nothing to do with this. I’m comfortable with those, I know the moves, I’ve even taught some of my friends how to lift. But every aspect of punching class is new and uncomfortable and trying to remember 6 different things at once while also getting up real close to a bunch of sweaty men.

Recently I was in class and failing (spectacularly) again at some key movement and all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and leave. I dreamed of joining a Crossfit box and getting back into doing something I knew well. Of feeling confident in myself again and, even – sometimes – being at the top of the class.

Thankfully I signed up for six months of classes, so giving up simply wasn’t an option. Well, not without feeling like I’d just wasted a bunch of money. So I stayed and then I came back and I came back again.

And then one day the teacher told me I’d improved a lot since August. As an aside, he mentioned that there were one or two things I could change in my stance, but he didn’t want to overwhelm me with the details and I should go home feeling proud of my progress.

I stopped him and told him no. I didn’t want to go home feeling proud. I wanted to go home knowing I was bad at this, but that there was something I could improve. He nodded, and then proceeded to show me those two things, and they made a difference, but I’m still not any good at it.

Then I realized: that’s okay. I need to stop fighting the discomfort and embrace it. I need to stop trying to prove I’m good at something I’ve only been doing for a few weeks. I need to listen and watch and ask all the questions and practice and get better and then, and only then, will I be able to kick ass.

At that point I also stopped pining after my Crossfit days. I’m not pure Warrior class anymore. Now I’m taking a level in Fighter. And I’m finally enjoying the process.

But one thing I’ve learned from this so far: I am really not good at being bad.

2 Comments

Filed under fitness, goals, happy things, progress

Diary of a Strong Mom: 3.1 miles in (less than) 31 minutes

30 minutes, 24 seconds, to be exact.

I think I could have gone faster. I started out stiff – we arrived with 10min to spare, so I didn’t have much time to stretch or warm up. I just went and did it. So the first mile was basically my warm up, the second was what I should have been running my first mile, and the third was painful and fast.

But it wasn’t as awful as I had feared and I managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. I wish I could have broken 30min, but I’m happy to have a new PR regardless.

Plus, every time I start to think that I should’ve gone faster, pushed harder, done better, I need to remember how far I’ve come. This time last year, I couldn’t even walk a mile, let alone run three. Six months ago, I was just starting to run two miles again. In the meantime, I’ve only been able to run 2 or 3 times a week. I still weigh 10lb+ over my pre-pregnancy weight.

My fastest 5k before this was 31-ish min, and that was back when I was 20lb lighter and doing crossfit. Before that, it was 32-ish min in high school.

I’m 30 going on 31 and I broke a PR I had from high school. I should probably just let myself be proud of that for a second.

Where do we go from here? Well, I want to break that 30min barrier, of course. That shouldn’t take much, but it’s a nice goal for the next two months.

I also need to figure out a way to fit lifting back into my life. Squats and other strength exercises will help me towards this goal. I just need to find a routine where they fit. And on top of that, I want to keep going to the MMA/punching class. I’m really loving learning how to fight.

One of Dr Lady’s labmates said the sweetest thing when she told him I was learning MMA: “She’s already scary enough.”

Yes, that is indeed my ultimate goal.

5 Comments

Filed under fitness, goals, happy things

Diary of a Strong Mom: August

What!

Why yes, that is a sub 20min 2 miles. The first time I’ve done that in, well, ever. At least that I’ve been tracking. I am well on track to run my 3.1 miles in sub 31 minutes. Hell, I could have slowly jogged the rest of the last mile and still hit my goal.

So of course, the competitive side of me wants to try to hit sub 30min. My fastest 5k ever was 30min and change, so that would be an epic PR for me. And even more empowering because I weigh the most now (outside of pregnancy) that I’ve weighed in well over 15 years. So to be able to PR my 5k time right now? Yeah, that’ll be the best birthday present to myself.

Aside from running, I’ve also taken up a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts aka Fighting 101) class three times a week. It was largely in response to all the anger and frustration that I’ve felt with the news and a certain president lately, but it was also a present to myself to help me Get the Fuck Out of the House. I work at home and, while this is absolutely amazing and gives me time to work out and write, it’s also incredibly isolating.

So now three times a week, I help get the baby into bed, pull on some shorts, and head 2min down the road to a studio where I’ve been learning how to kick, block, grapple, and punch. It’s a lot of fun, except I somehow pinched a nerve the first week and so had to ditch the last two classes. But I’ll be back tonight. Just, maybe, I’ll take it a little easier.

And for reading all that you get ONE BABY PHOTO because tomorrow she will be 10 months and then you will get ALL THE BABY PHOTOS.

August DITL

5 Comments

Filed under fitness, gaybies, goals, happy things, Lady Jr, progress

Strong Mom & Blueberries

july-88

First, blueberries.

Ever since I knew we’d be moving to Michigan, I was excited about picking berries. AZ is great for a lot of things – hiking, sunsets, bat watching – but its produce is abysmal. Still, we made the 2 hour trek out to the orchards every fall just to pick apples and pretend it wasn’t 90+ degrees.

July hit and with it the realization that, well hot beans, summer ain’t gonna be around much longer. Last year the warm weather stretched well into October, but I know the north is fickle and there’s no guarantee we won’t get an early frost this year. Plus, berries are only in season for a few short weeks (see: weekends). So we’d better hop on it.

We hit up a patch that was supposed to be an hour away, but due to random construction, ended up being two hours. By the time we got there, the clear day the weather forecasters had promised had become cloudy and misty. We pulled into a muddy parking lot still speckled with other cars and figured we wouldn’t melt and, well, it was better than a hot, humid day.

july-92

Aside from my shoes getting drenched, it was perfect. We took turns holding Lady Jr & an umbrella and picking blueberries. It misted and rained and misted again. There were a few mosquitoes, but far fewer than there could have been.

The blueberries were perfect. Lady Jr kept stretching for the leaves, so I guided her to a clump of blueberries and she pulled one off and ate it. Then she ate another one. And another. She just kept plucking blueberries and eating them and I was so amazed I didn’t stop her. In hindsight, I should have, because she ended up puking blueberries all over my shirt. Whoops.

Chubby baby arm

Oh well. I bundled her back to the car, cleaned us both off, then put her in the carrier. Together we walked up and down the rows of blueberries and she fell asleep with her head back and her arms crossed under her chin.

Two hours later we were home again and I was rinsing off the blueberries (nine pounds!!). I offered one to her, but apparently it wasn’t fresh enough. Fair.

july-89

And now, a strong mom update, because finding time to update in general has been tough, y’all. Mostly I just wanted to say

I ran a 9:13 mile! Aaah!

I haven’t run a sub 10min mile in easily 2 years. I am not a speedy person. I am a lifter and I am tall and I am big. So getting that close to 9min is a big achievement. Now to hit my goal of 3.1 miles in 31min, I just have to do that twice over. Considering I had to warm up with a 10.50min pace and then had to walk for a bit after, I’m still a ways off, but…

That’s what goals are all about, right? Pushing your limits and being surprised at what happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stuff my face with blueberries.

2 Comments

Filed under fitness, gaybies, goals, happy things, Lady Jr, progress

Sleep Training: Night 5

Ugh.

We pushed through last night. She went down without a hitch around 7.10pm. She rolled over and we watched her eyes slowly close on the monitor. But we didn’t celebrate. We knew better.

8.50pm she woke up crying. I’d been about to go to sleep. Instead, I poured myself another glass of wine and put headphones in. We started the soothing waves. No pacifier this time. 3min. 5min. 7min. 7min. 8min. I was near my breaking point. She was still crying. I said one more wave. And, as if she was just waiting for it, she fell asleep after another 2min of crying.

Lady and I stared at each other. It had taken 40min, but Lady Jr had fallen asleep. I dream fed her and went to sleep myself.

And then she woke up two hours later. An hour later. And then every hour after that. I got up at 5am to pump and write. She woke one more time at 5.30am and I helped her get back to sleep – then she stayed asleep until 8am.

So: no change. Maybe I should have let her cry when she woke up each time but after the first one I wasn’t awake enough to remember what time it was or how long it had been or if I’d fed her or not.

And now I’m sitting here even more exhausted than usual because at least usually I go to bed before 9pm. The line between functional and not is very very thin for me lately and I’ve been straddling it most days, but something as stupid as getting one less hour of sleep is enough to throw me off. And so I frantically googled for advice, support, anything this morning, but every time I read that someone’s baby “only” slept three hours or omg, maybe you shouldn’t expect baby to sleep for 10 hours at this age, I started crying. I don’t want her to sleep 10 hours. I want her to sleep 3.

Lady urged me to take a nap during my lunch hour today, but I have so much to do. And what’s 40min in the grand scheme of things when really I need a week’s worth of sleep? I need to be stronger. I have to be stronger.

I told myself we’d be done if we couldn’t get through last night, but we did. Now I’m telling myself we’ll be done if nothing improves after two more nights. I can’t think any further out than that. I’ll just keep coping as I was coping until she’s old enough – and it’s warm enough – to move her crib to the office.

Or, according to some wise soul on the internet, most sleep issues resolve around 15 months. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but only 10 more months, right? Right?

9 Comments

Filed under depression, gaybies, goals