Sunday, January 31, 2016

Three Million Steps Counts for Something, Right?

The other day I got an email from FitBit detailing my "stats" for 2015. FitBit says I took 3,408,590 steps last year, covering 1,399 miles. (And that of course does not count the days I forgot to wear my FitBit or the week or two when it malfunctioned and I was waiting for the company to ship me a replacement.) Thank God for that email, because it allows me to feel like I accomplished something tangible at some point.

Not that I think I failed at 2015. I just mean that the majority of the time, as a working mom, I feel behind on EVERYTHING. I'm sure all the other working moms out there know how I feel. I may generally get meals made and the house semi-cleaned, but there are still all the other things I do not seem to have time for: figuring out the middle school online communication system that I suppose I should learn now that it is halfway through the school year; printing out photos for my daughters' photo albums (which I have not done since last June); roasting the damn 15-lb. Blue Hubbard squash my daughter won in November when she correctly guessed its weight at our CSA farm's fall storage-share pick-up and which has been languishing in our unheated laundry room ever since (next year: no one in my household is allowed to guess, got that?); replacing the ripped window shades in two bedrooms; hanging the towel hooks in the girls' bathroom (which I bought about six months ago. maybe more. but they require a drill. and no one is offering to help me with that.); organizing my nightmare of a recipe "collection"; making some freezer meals for busy weeknights (aren't they all, though? my freezer is not big enough for that); running more; I could go on and on and on..... And sure, some of it is perhaps nonessential; but lots of it (trust me) is just the stuff of life, of running a household and raising a family--and needs to get done.

Most of the time I don't even feel like I have time to be a very good parent. I mean, basic needs are being met, yes. And I do things with my girls, of course--all the time. But I have this sense that the down-and-dirty details of parenting daughters through emotional (read: all) development takes slow time. I can't articulate this quickly and I don't have time to write more, but maybe you fellow mamas out there already know what I mean. How do you talk about puberty or social ups and downs or self-esteem or disappointments or commitment or an overall approach to the difficulties of life, on the fly?--as you're rushing out the door to school or helping with math homework before sports practices or getting groceries with two helpers in tow who are mainly interested in the free cookie samples in the bakery section? Sigh. I don't know, and I feel like I'm failing a little (or a lot), every day. And it never gets better, it just keeps getting worse.

And with that, I'm off, because I'm an hour late for a workout and my to-do list for today is a mile long. You?


Monday, January 18, 2016

Hooray! Winter Photos!

I finally got iPhoto to upload the many photos on my phone onto the computer. Hooray! Now maybe I can order prints for the girls' (hard copy) photo albums. I'm only about, or eight months behind. OMG.

You guys! I got six inches cut off (the back of) my hair last week, without telling anyone or even thinking about it much beforehand. It was a spur of the moment thing. What the what?!

I had had a horrible day at work, the weather was nightmarishly cold (still is! only colder! ha!), and I needed something fresh to focus on. Mission accomplished.

Oh and hey! There is a movie being filmed in my town right now. Yes! Seriously. It's the craziest thing. I know that when you live in NYC or Toronto or Los Angeles (or even Chicago; I remember a time or two when neighborhood streets on the north side were blocked off for a movie crew), movies being filmed where you live is a fairly commonplace occurrence, but I live in a small, rural, southern-Minnesota river town. Sure, it's home to two elite colleges and is famous for its picturesque charm, but...movies aren't filmed here every day. It's kind of a big deal. I wonder what the movie crew thinks of our 15-below-zero temperature and 25-below-zero windchill.

Genevieve's 4th-grade traveling basketball team got 2nd place in their first-ever tournament...

Julia made it into the district middle-school spelling bee (coming up this week), and today we're off school and work for MLK, Jr. Day. (Hallelujah! Needed a day off, big-time.) We went ice skating with friends (not outside! we'd be icicles!):

That's what it's all about when you live up here in the frozen north--finding friends to hang out with and make the most of winter. Staying active, making homemade soup, watching kiddos play basketball. Monitoring the movie-making progress. Sometimes chopping off all your hair just to get your mind off the fact that it's January.

Stay warm.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

New Year, With or Without Sweets

A new year, friends! I haven't even accidentally written 2015 on anything so far, how about you? Small successes.

My girls and I went back to school/work on Monday, feeling not ready and ready (well, them 100% not ready, ha) at the same time. Our break sped by, since we were out of town for much of it. This made it seem short because we didn't have lots of luxuriously empty at-home days to decide what we felt like doing: sledding? skating? movies? playdates? We did get some of those days near the end, but not as many as we would have liked. Ah well. There is also comfort in routine and a schedule, after all. I am always amazed at how quickly everyone adjusts and gets back to "normal." Within two days it all feels familiar and fine.

We are back to EARLY morning wake-ups, homework, and having no time to keep up with the household stuff (me). The girls are also back to Tae Kwon Do after taking autumn off for other things. That feels reassuring and right, also. Their instructor is a gem who deftly and gently inserts life lessons and values into every class in a way that draws the kiddos in; he starts out talking about, say, determination or respect in relation to Tae Kwon Do practice, then generalizes that to how one (should) behave at home with one's parents, or how they apply themselves at school. Gotta love it.

What else? It turned cold and snowy just before Christmas, so we are finally doing things like skating on the corner pond, building snow forts, and running gingerly on icy streets. Since we did get an extra bonus month of non-winter weather in December, I can't really complain. I just hope this doesn't mean winter is going to tack an extra month onto its end and stay cold until June. It hasn't been bad so far, but this weekend the high temp is supposed to be minus two, so there you go. January.

After the hedonistic holidays, I'm back on the wagon of eliminating (= minimizing) sugar and flour (really, most grain-based carbs, which act like sugar in the body) from my diet in a successful attempt to treat my longstanding joint pain. It has worked like a true miracle; I have been absolutely amazed. My hip joints were bothering me so much in the fall that I felt like an old lady and was fairly desperate. (You have to be desperate to voluntarily give up sugar.) After a week or so off sugar, they felt about 75-80% improved. Another week and the pain was gone COMPLETELY and did not return until I'd been chowing down on treats during all of Christmas break. How clearer could that message be from my body, right?? Hello, sugar is a KNOWN inflammatory. It only makes sense that avoiding it would effectively treat joint pain. I'm not perfect, and it's not easy, but it's going pretty well so far and being able to get up in the morning without having achy, creaky hips (not to mention being able to sleep fine at night without tossing and turning because my hips hurt)---and having the arthritis in my toes not even bother me at all---is so, so, so worth it. It's a quality of life issue, for sure.

I think that's about it in terms of life updates. Thrilling, I know.

Truth be told, one of the reasons I haven't posted here much lately, other than having zero time, ha, is that for some mysterious reason I can't get photos to upload off my phone into iPhoto, and it seems boring and off-putting to publish a post that's just a long string of text with no photographs. I'm sorry. I'm sure this is as boring as it gets. I think my mom is still reading, though.

I hope your new year is off to a good start! Give thanks every day for what you have, find joy in some part of every day, and be optimistic about the coming year. It's a clean slate and an open book! Onward.