The Next Room at Daycare

I’m a bit feverish, so it’s time to write an update!

Lady Jr started in the Infants 2 room at daycare this week. They move babies in there when they reach a certain level of mobility and there they stay until they’re two. It’s a small thing, but it’s made me realize our little baby is fast on her way to becoming a little toddler.

She got to eat big kid food, which is awesome because now we don’t have to send lunch every day. She also seemed a lot happier when she got home – it seems like she’s starting to actually play with other babies. And I’m sure now that the cacophony of crying newborns is gone, that helps too.

It’s only been two days of course, but they spent most of August transitioning her and even before that she’d been going over at the end of the day when all the infants had been picked up (we seem to be the only ones with a 9-6 schedule).

But it’s just another reminder that October is coming.

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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.

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30 going on 31

My birthday is just under a week away. I don’t have any plans aside from the 5k tomorrow and that’s all right. When I think about what I want to do, I just want to spend time with my family, get some writing done, maybe make a delicious meal together. That’s where I am these days, that’s where 30 has brought me.

A lot of older millennials have had a difficult time accepting adulthood. Even me. Especially me. I think a lot of us look around at all the responsibilities heaped on our plates and wonder who trusted us? I don’t know why or how this happened, but we seem to have a collective impostor syndrome, somehow believe that there are other, more responsible people out there. Actual adults who are more adulty. But no, this is it. Adult isn’t a mindset or a particular set of skills. It’s just an age where people expect you to deal with your own shit.

All that is to say that I’ve been slowly accepting adulthood over the last few years, but 30 shoved me over the edge. People call me “mom” now. I joined an informal online writing group and the people there spontaneously started calling me mama Speck. There are a lot of people I’ve met who didn’t know me before Lady Jr. And it’s… weird? But also kinda freeing.

30 was cataclysmic. A vast and massive upheaval. I didn’t mean to pack so many life changes into one year, but apparently when I do, I go all out. But I had wanted it. I had asked for it. I was getting bored and tired and learning that one of my Big Fears was just going through life, doing the same thing day after day. When Dr Lady and I initially left FL to move to WA, I warned her that I’d probably want to move again every few years. And while that has changed – I long to stay in one place and establish a community now – I still crave the change itself.

And 30 gave me more than enough to last a decade.

Let’s see, last year I:
– Moved from AZ to MI (technically I was still 29, but the change affected all of 30)
– Bought a house
– Gave birth
– Signed a 3 book contract
– Moved from an office to working at home
– Experienced the deepest, darkest depths of sleep deprivation
– Wrote a book

Plus my wife changed jobs and there was all the fun of adapting to the constantly changing needs of an infant now a baby now an almost-toddler while juggling my own career(s).

30 saw both my highest highs (book deal!! baby!! lifelong dreams coming true!!!) and my lowest lows (severe anxiety from sleep dep, sobbing because I couldn’t appreciate baby’s smiles, loneliness, and the stomach virus that I had to ignore to keep taking care of the baby).

It was intense. And I’m ready for it to be over, ready to move on to 31 and beyond. And, y’know, maybe have a year or two that’s a bit more boring. I think I can handle that. 🙂

(I’ll write more about my wishes for 31 next week.)

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Charlottesville

I’ve been having a difficult time grappling with what happened last weekend not because it happened – we knew this would happen, it was a when, not an if – but because our president failed the single easiest moral test: condemning Nazis.

Instead, I keep stumbling over the fact that there are human beings in this country who can look at a sea of white men carrying tiki torches and chanting white supremacist slogans, can hear those same white supremacists calling for ethnic cleansing, and still say “both sides are bad.”

I’m not surprised that there are Nazis in our country. They’ve always been here, a stain allowed by our facade of tolerance – a tolerance that only seems to be touted for white people, btw. I am surprised by the sympathizers. The people who say “but both sides…”

This is going to get worse. I don’t know what to do aside from stand up and shout. Vote, obviously. But I’ve been doing that for a long time. But talking needs to happen, too.

I skyped with my mom last Monday and although every thought I had was surrounded by Charlottesville, we didn’t touch on it until the end. And that was when my mom asked, “where did these people come from?” And I was flabbergasted. Because they’ve been here, they’ve always been here. They shoot up theaters and mosques and night clubs. They murder trans people and stab women who turn them down. They shoot black children holding skittles.

I keep reading people saying “this is not US.” But it IS US. These people are us. These people are American. This hate is woven deep within our society. We can’t let it be buried again. We have to confront it. We have to drag it out and have these conversations that hurt. Because yes, there are Nazis and yes, there are white supremacists, but they are an extreme. What leads to that extreme is everywhere around us – our words, our biases, our system.

It’s fun to punch Nazis. It’s a whole lot more difficult to talk to your uncle about racism. But it’s a conversation we all need to have.

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10 Months

10 Months (Clap clap)

New things!!

– As you can tell from the photo, clapping. She’s also figured out she can make adults clap. It’s the best game.

– Her sitting is stronger than ever. We’re to the point where I can plop her sitting on the floor and not feel like I have to be right there in case she topples over. She’s started doing controlled topplings herself, although they’re less than graceful.

– Her mobility game in general is so strong, they’re moving her on to Infants 2 at daycare. She still doesn’t crawl efficiently, but she can get wherever she wants to go and she is strong enough to stand without support, even if she never wants to. Diaper changing has become increasingly difficult, though, as have the monthly photos. I haven’t decided just yet when we’re going to stop doing floor photos and start doing sitting ones, but it’ll be by 12 months definitely.

SLEEP IS AWESOME. I’m going to regret writing that I know, but she reliably wakes only once a night and we’ve even hit two all-nighters this past week. So that’s what it’s like to feel well-rested. Holy wow. One night I even got to stay up until 10 and then get up at 5.30 and I still got enough sleep. I’ve been looking forward to this day because it means I’ll be able to have a more routine wake-up time and be able to get my writing in and maybe (gasp!) a little lifting before she gets up for the day. We’re so close. So close!

– She has gotten so big. She had another appointment 2 weeks after her 9 months to check her ear infection and she’d gained 1 pound. She has a follow up tomorrow (the fluid wasn’t completely drained) and I suspect she might have gained another. She’s quickly outgrowing all of her 9 month clothes and a few are even too tight on her arms. o.o

– Stranger danger has arrived. Our friend came to stay with us this week and arrived after Lady Jr had already gone to bed. While Lady Jr was eating breakfast the next morning, friend came in and she started crying. It only took about a day for her to get used to our friend, but daycare did mention the week before that new/unfamiliar people scare her. I’ve also noticed more hesitance in public, although as long as she’s in one mommy’s arms, she’s usually fine.

– Do we have the beginning of tantrums? Sometimes Lady Jr will just arc her back and start screaming for no discernible reason. It doesn’t appear to be pain because we can often distract her out of it, but she did it when I interrupted her playing once and another time when Dr Lady was taking her to the car to leave for daycare. She’s done it when I’ve taken my keys from her (she loves the keys) and she’s done it when we put her down to change her diaper. Her face scrunches up and her back goes rigid and she lets out this long, keening wail. She’s going to the dr tomorrow for the ear follow up, so I’ll ask about it there, but I have my suspicions…

– Favorite foods include chicken (a perennial), cantaloupe, cauliflower tots, anything mama-Kai is eating, and whole fried eggs (yes, even the whites now *fistpump*). She still won’t touch avocado and has started to eschew sweet potatoes.

– As soon as she’s comfortable/feeling safe somewhere, she gets so chatty. It’s da-ba-da this or mwa-mwa-mwa that or one long, concentrating aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. It’s so good.

– She has favorite books! Basically anything with something to touch, but she also loves Max’s Bath which is… not something I expected. That and Baby Loves Quarks, which is def one of my faves.

 

As for Speck… things are going fine. Chipping away at Book 3. Trying to fit everything in. Enjoying (almost) every moment with Lady Jr. Letting the chaos just… be sometimes, which if anyone else is Type A and/or a virgo, you understand is a big deal.

I turn 31 in just about two weeks and I’m trying to grapple with that and all the changes of the past year, but that’s more than enough for it’s own post.

And now…

The pictures.

First, a blast from the past (well, around this time last year):

 

Then our first time visiting the Lake Michigan shoreline:

 

And now some random life photos:

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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

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Strong Mom & Blueberries

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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.

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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.

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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.

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