Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best of 2010- Good Night and Good Luck Vinsons

In 2010 we: turned 35, 35, and 4, found out Baby V 2.0 was indeed a boy, welcomed Ian after 10 hours of labor, moved into new big boy Cars bedrooms, left a job x 2, started a new job x 2, figured out how to work the 2 kid game after a rocky start, hung out at the pool every day of the summer, went to Y daycamp and idolized Mr. Steve, read 24 books, wrote 159 blog posts, started a Freeze Ahead Blog then ignored it then decided to restart it then ignored it again, enjoyed the beach twice, traveled to Disney again, dressed up as Toy Story Family, ran 2 5k races (Bill), started training for a 5k (Heather), lost 44 lbs (Heather), plateaued at 168 lbs lost and 18 past his original goal(Bill), visited family in FL, AL, and SC. Did Mondo and Dream lab and wrote out a list of life goals.

I feel like I have spend the last couple of weeks recounting a great 2010 so here's the short (yes, possible) recap.

Best Books- The Help, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Freedom, Drop City

Best Movies- Inception, Waiting for Superman, The Hangover (special note it makes the list a 2nd year in a row. It's our go to can't think of anything else to watch AND seriously took my mind off laboring)

Best TV- Lost Finale in May, Honorable Mentions for True Blood and as always my love of Mad Men.

New Restaurant Tried- Not really a new place, but realizing that we could split entrees at Angus Barn with no extra charge for sides has turned it into a fav night night spot.

New Family Outing Location- The various places we enjoyed on Ben date night. New for the agenda for 2011 bowling, Canes hockey game, ice skating, preschool cooking class, roller skating.

Best(Cheap) Kid friendly item- Refillable thermos from Crocodile Creek for Ben that goes everywhere.

Best Children's Toy/Book Purchase- iPad for games and books for Ben (that is when it can be pried from Bill's hands.)

Biggest Surprise- I actually made it through a whole month off all social media back in October. 2nd place tie, that I kept up with Twitter and that I ran anywhere in 2010.

Moment of total sobbing like a baby in public- I hate crying. Public crying is even worse but watching Bill finish his first race was my Total. Embarrassing. Moment of 2010.

Moment of total lack of parenting skills- Ben pooping behind a bush on a playground.

Best way to spend Sat: Spin class, Freeze ahead goodness with This American Life, naps, park with the kids, a date night at home/out.

Most proud of: Getting Ben potty trained (minus the playground incident), myself for really making fitness a goal everyday, making the WAHM thing work after a crisis of confidence, admitting I couldn't do it alone (see long ass post from yesterday)

Most awesome 60 seconds of 2010- Holding Ian for the first time

Best decisions of 2010: EVERYTHING I wrote about in 10 for 2010.

Lesson I'm taking forward into 2011- Ask for help. Just maybe not to clean up your kid's poop on the playground.

2010, Good night and thanks for a wide, crazy ride I'm personally glad to be exiting.

2011, You ain't seen nothing yet. Ass kicking and name taking starts now.

Below are my 4 fav pics from the year. A million thanks to LauraC for capturing Ian (and Ben) at their best. I love you for so many reasons, but these pics make me loose it. Thank you for bestowing your amazing (growing) photography talent on my family.

Cheesy, but summer pictures taken on a last min whelm before the HHI trip.

The boys = Double trouble wrapped in sloppy sugary smiles

The family = Happiness, contentedness, feeling complete as a family.

Happy 2011. I know it already feels like a New Year at Casa Vinson.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 for 2010 How You Spend Your Days is How You Spend Your Life

I'm not sure if I actually got to 10 items for 2010 but it really doesn't matter. I'm ending the year tomorrow on a positive note with my Awards for 2010 Post with Fav 2010 pictures.

Today has to be the last 10 for 2010 post. So here goes for #8-10.

Awesome #8- Doing Mondo and then Dream Lab. Spending the time and energy to write out my life goals was defining. Putting them into practice is now the real task. Learning to give up the fight to live some perfect, idealized life and just live (and love) the reality.

Awesome #9- I'm within 9 lbs of my personal 2010 goal and within 40 of where I want to be for the surgery. My much anticipated first consult with the plastic surgeon earlier this week was rescheduled due to the snow. First available appointment was the week of my birthday in Jan. Perfect.

Now, I just need to get up the gumption to go, not to bail on the appointment and be honest in having a physical body to match the one in my head is within sight.

Awesome # 10- Owning up and admitting I can't do it alone.

Holy Hell I need some courage to keep writing this post publicly.

Don't delete...wincing...saying yes to courage to put this out there today....

2010 has been a year of extreme highs and lower than imagined possible lows. Bringing a much wanted 2nd child into our family, high upon high. Watching the relationship between Ben and Ian develop, sweet goodness. Having one of the best years of my marriage, unbelievably thankful. Having supportive friends, rocks.

The transition from one kid to two was so much harder than I ever imagined. I didn't have this fantasy idea that babies are easy, I remembered how exhausted I was with Ben and a full time job. But, I honestly cannot even begin to put words to how hard the first months juggling new dynamics, the return to crappy sleep, and trying to make it all work when all I really wanted was not to be a participant.

Add in a hard fought lesson about putting work before family priorities as I sat through work meetings with a 8 day old infant. I swore never again to let work come before my family, and for the most part I'm living this daily.

About a month after Ian arrived soul crushing depression and then anxiety that left me frazzled and almost unable to take care of my kids set in. It was gradual and since I didn't have any issues after Ben I thought it was just run of the mill depression. It wasn't until early June that Bill came home most days to an utter and complete mess of the house, the kids, an unhinged me.

I was really trying to keep it together but this round of depression was darker than I remembered from the past. It didn't lift after a couple of weeks like normal, it got worse. Seriously scary worse.

I lied to just about everyone because I couldn't give voice to something so increasingly vile that was swallowing my days and then keeping me up at night. I was embarrassed, esp since admitting that this baby that I longed for was in part the reason why functioning on any level seemed a herculean task.

I even lied to my long time therapist who was genuinely surprised when it took an impersonal email to ask her for a recommendation for a med consult with a psychiatrist. Coming clean has been hard, it is STILL hard to admit I can't do it on my own and just think my way out.

I met him, feeling like a total sell out after 10 years of sticking out the hard without having to succumb to better living through chemistry. I did meds a long time ago for insomnia and swore that I wouldn't again. Some options I don't need on the table.

This time I admitted that I couldn't just stubbornly persevere through. My kids and Bill deserve better. Hell, I deserved better. Six months later I can say that I'm glad that I have worked for the latter half of this year to try different cocktails of meds to find a good match.

I'm ending this year in a happier, more content, less frazzled place than I have ever been. Like ever in my adult life. It's not *just* because of the meds, or losing weight, not working full time, or spending more time with my kids.

Admitting that I didn't like the self depreciating place that I have been stuck and taking the steps to change has made all the difference in my quality of life. Even with the ongoing mess with my family, which is still a very big mess, I don't want to hide.

I want for so many things for myself and my family in 2011, but most of all I want to life the most authentic life I can day after day.

How I spend my days is how I want to spend my life with no regrets and no missed opportunities.

In 2011 I promise to not use I like a million times in every post. I'm starting to be Oprah-esque in my self-centered posts :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 for 2010 The $350.00 Holding Pattern

Crazy productivity while my MIL is in town. Starting with the 24 hour home alone while Bill/Ben drove to pick her up and meet up with his brother. I managed to clean out 2 closets, go through all bins of kids clothes and pack up 4 bags to pass on, purge medicine cabinets, AND go through all of Ben's toys to declutter. I started on the pile o' teaching stuff that is literally taking up 1/4 of the garage but I gave stopped when the garbage can was stuffed FULL.

I rock. And I did all of this with a baby that was needing crazy attention crazy and inconsolable at times due to an ear infection (confirmed Monday.) I literally took him room to room, talking/singing/holding while sorting to keep him happy and me working.

Also, I did this without power for a bulk of the afternoon. It did come back on before it was dark and the house was too cold. We pulled a week without power in this house a few years ago so I know it can be done.

Yesterday Bill and I met with our financial guy to go over our portfolio and set up a 529 education plan for Ian. It was nice to hear that our decision for me to continue to stay home is possible if we continue to live within our means, trimming extra monthly expenses on essentially one salary.

On the way there we stopped at our fertility clinic to pay the 2011 storage fee. I had talked clinic last week about options AND found out that we could use our Flex Med account to pay for the fee. Case closed and alas our 3 frozen babes will be saved another year. Bill and I had agreed not to make a decision about more kids until Ian was at least a year.

But as we have adjusted and settled into life as a family of four, I am almost certain that by next year I am going to let the 3 embryos go. This almost seems like the ultimate no brainer of decisions. I really don't want to be pregnant again at an older age and I want to move ahead with the surgery by the end of 2011.

If I have learned anything in the past 8 months is that the adjustment to 2 kids was harder than I thought. Then there was helping with my friend's twins this summer. It kicked my butt. The idea of even a possibility of multiples as our reality along with my TWO OTHER KIDS all but has helped me make a final call that we are done.

But, for 2011 I'm still leaving the very, very small possibility that something might change. We might decide that we can't live without knowing what became of those three chances at life. I'm donating back all my unused, unexpired meds to the clinic as doing another IVF cycle from square one is definitely off the table. I am happy to know they will be used to hopefully bring someone else a baby.

2010 was such an awesome year to bring sweet Ian into this world. I have to think that there was some divine intervention for only one of the two embryos we put back creating my sweet boy.

So among the awesome is almost a final decision on being a +2.

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 for 2010 Getting on the same page

Short post but to get all my 10 things in by 12/31 I needed to post today. My goal of making 300 posts by end of 2010 is going to fall short namely due to taking the month of October off and also the whole had a baby, adjusted to 2 kido land seemed to suck time away. HA.

One of the things I am most proud of was watching Bill finish his first race in March of this year. It was the culminating of months of following his post surgery diet, adding exercise as part of his daily schedule, and setting a goal to finish a 5k post surgery.

18 months post surgery and he is keeping his weight off with a total weight loss of near 170 lbs. A whole person lost. A whole person gained. One that is on the same page about incorporating healthy decisions as part of a changed lifestyle.

We have been together for 16 years, and not until this year did it ever feel that we were in agreement in living our lives for each other, for our boys, and for a lifetime of opportunities that better health affords.

As we start a new year we both have fitness and weight loss goals. Bill is planning on training and running a 1/2 marathon in March. I am on my final week of Couch to 5k and have hit 3 miles without stopping!!! I have yet to really start running pushing the stroller. My goal until the April 9th Cary Road Race is to run the entire way AND push. Personally I would like to get to 7 miles without stopping by April.

We have challenged each other in 500 in 2011 with the prize to be determined. As corny as this sounds, my prize is walking around with another 20 years on his life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Family

Truly one of the best Christmas days ever as I am listening to the boys play together with a Hot Wheels Trick track and a Fisher Price Baby car track, think there's a theme going on?

Star Wars in full force with pancake molds used, matching Ben and Daddy Darth Vader and Stormtrooper Lego clocks, and then Ben's final present a huge box of Daddy's SW toys passing from one generation to the next. Ian got a new play kitchen and a passed along play tent that both boys have been enjoying this morning.

Christmas Eve was spent at the children's early service then driving to look at Christmas lights... think a self proclaimed "Happyland" with million lights in rural Wake Co. We then headed home to eat appetizers, set up for Santa and the Santa Mouse (Mommy tradition), and most importantly leaving food for the reindeer after Ben was over concerned they would be hungry.

After bed, Bill and I set up all Santa gifts, staged our front porch to appear that the reindeer had indeed polished off all the food and left hoof prints on the steps.

Enjoying the this LAZY Christmas day at home watching the kids open gifts, play TOGETHER!!!!, and planning a nice steak dinner.

We are so incredibly blessed beyond reason as the Vinson family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 for 2010 Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

ME! How about as of this morning while on the phone forever with insurance realizing that I am owed money. How about that when I checked our balances on our Flex Spending we have $$$ left to SPEND!!!

How about we won our 2nd appeal with Bill's former company to pay for our IVF meds. We both thought that going up against Goliath was a long shot, but how glad am I that we appealed, and WON!

How about for the better part of a year with a maternity bills and baby related visits we had double insurance that picked up the tab for most all medical related bills.

How about that since I don't have to carry the insurance for our family, continuing to work from home is a possibility.

It seems almost vulgar in a time when so many so without healthcare that I have an abundance.

For 2010, the security of healthcare makes the list of awesomeness.

On a side note Ben and I went on our last date for 2010. I let him pick the place, Marbles (again) We then made a surprise stop complete with a blindfold to the downtown Krispy Kreme to watch doughnuts being made.

Ben had the snowman, I the raspberry filled. We bought some for Bill and for breakfast. Even Vegas got to eat the last Lemon filled I bought for myself.

Ben announced loudly to the group of NC State students next to us that he was on a date with his mom. One of the guys gave him a hi-five and told him that moms were cool.

It was one of our best dates of the year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 for 2010: Working the WAHM Gig

First off I'm in utter freakin' awe of the Bloggess and her whole let's get all "it's a wonderful life" just when I showed up to read about clown porn. The Washington Post of like Woodward and Bernstein fame picking up the story last night. Good God I'm inspired.

I had two interesting conversations about the whole WAHM thing yesterday. One online and one with someone who has know me 10 years. Both ended the same way. "You seem happier than I've ever seen you and I think it is in part due to not working 40+ hours in a school."

Part of me is thinking, God you don't know the half of it, but in truth both people nailed one of the reasons why 2010 rocked. I totally took a leap of faith and moved from the financial and emotional security of a 40+ hour a week job to part time at home with almost no structure.

When I hit a serious crisis of confidence this summer I do believe there was a line ready to slap me back into reality. Each person to remind me for the better part of the last 10 years I have increasingly become burned out and not the teacher I wanted to be.

Yes I have walked away from a sizable chunk of income, and yes it is scary thinking of what will happen if Bill's job tanks and I am left scrambling to find any school in the district with an opening.

I should find out by early March where I will be reassigned, possibly as early as around Easter to be expected back at 6:55am with a load of kids eager to learn about US Gov't. At this point I'm not taking anything off the table but all thoughts are leaning to if I can make this work longer termn then why, why, why would I give up the sweet deal of this fall.

When I was really questioning if I could make this work I was seriuosly concerned that I didn't have what it took to be at home all day, with more kid duty than I have ever done. And, do this kid duty without channeling Betty Draper and being bitter, isolated, and asking for depression to come take up residence in the upstairs bedroom.

There are days that are tough and I feel like I have done nothing but heard cats only to have them conspire against me. But in thinking back, what did I get out of this trade off? How about time to enjoy a baby for all of his yummmy goodness in ways I only wished with Ben. How about more time with Ben in the afternoons? I'll just throw out 6 days a week of working out for usually 90 mins a day. And then, time to do insane things like make those damn Halloween costumes.

The list goes on all because I took this leap of faith and said YES.

If anything sucks me back it will be becasue of money. Our 2011 has the potential to be very expensive. In discussing goals with Bill I have to be realiztic and priotize how much do I want to keep the online part-time thing going if it means we will need to change our lifestyle. Already we have been considering getting out of our house as the boys grow and need more space, saving for eduation and retirement, daycare cost for an infant, and then there's the plastic surgery expenses for my much anticipated surgery.

That last one, a post of it's own and you bet is making my 10 of 2010 list.

Monday, December 20, 2010

10 for 2010

Since I proclaimed Friday that 2010 has been an awesome year, here's the last 10ish days of the year to ponder how:

10. Fulling or at least trying to live in the moment with the kids

This was my only real New Years Resolution for 2010. If I were grading myself I would get a C+ for follow through and an A/B+ for effort.

On the drive this weekend I was thinking about how much time and energy went into trying to make this goal a reality. I tend to be a want to be doing, not sitting on the sidelines watching, or even worse substituting stuff to fill up the relationship with the kids.

Not surprisingly, I have bought zilch of the Christmas gifts for the boys minus a few items. Enter in Bill last night who was pulling out items he's been buying for the boys throughout the fall on sale. He's missed his calling to be a personal shopper (for kids.) He commented that he's been trying to find toys that they boys can play together with given how much Ian is trying to keep up.

Yesterday afternoon I got back and Bill desperately needed some kid-free time. He looked a little battle-worn but commented that overall the kids did great. Huge thanks for a 2nd weekend of solo parenting. He took off to see TRON again and we went to a Christmas party and made this beauty. I especially like the pretzel guns and the tokens for steps. Ben told me they were bombs in case someone tried to eat his house. NICE.

As we head into these last two weeks of the year I am determined to not let the events going on at home dampen the holiday with the kids. Ben is so excited about all things Christmas and I want it to be a special week. We still have several items to mark off our Big Holiday Fun list including making cookies, writing a letter to Santa, and more driving to see lights.

Tomorrow night is our final date night with Ben for 2010. It was my week anyway but I mentioned to Bill I wanted to do the last one of the year. For all the ways I have tried to make time a priority, date night is a super positive for 2010 and a goal of making the time with the kids really count.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- The Brother-Sister Variety

Long week into longer weekend as of around 6 pm tonight I passing the kids off and heading back to SC.

I'm really tired, haven't slept well this week, and feel bad for shortchanging time with my family getting ready for some semblance of a normal Christmas.


Without getting into another long, drawn out ick-filled post it's been a long week.

Skip ahead if you want some awesome upcoming non-family posts to come.

If you are hanging in there with me, I really appreciate the support. Thank you for asking how things are going. Knowing that I have people in our corner helps not feel so incredibly alone with this mess.

As of this morning my mom is still in the ICU has had 4 surgeries to contain infection, debreed and cut away necrotic tissue. Another planned for Sunday. She had been sedated until Wed morning to try to maximize healing from the surgeries and response to the massive amount of antibiotics she is getting. Some positive labs have come back indicating a small reduction in infection.

At this point I still don't know about the long term diagnosis. My only comparison was in January 2004 similar infection set in and she was in the ICU for 9 weeks and then transitioned to a nursing home for another 2 months. Good times, you bet. Drove down every weekend to help, you bet. Back before kids of my own, you bet.

Bill and I are making some hard calls about what to do is this turns long term as he really can't take extended days off to take care of Ian. Once again I feel so pulled that no one is going to be happy and that all this anger and worry is consuming me. I really hate the uncontrollable.

ok.. so for the post. If you know the movie the Savages or the Franzen novel The Corrections, both are spot on realistic to the relationship I have with my brother Brian. We love each other as siblings. But underneath is an ongoing unspeakable rage we both have for being thrust into caretaking mode.

As adult children in role reversal our relationship has changed from one of being a united front against our parents to one of having to be a united front for our parents.

Brian is a surgical nurse who works in Greenville, SC. He's damn funny to the point he should quit taking care of people and write stand up. I can always count on his dry wit to make me laugh even in the most dire of circumstances

He has patience that I do not have. He has a level of compassion that I do not have. He is frankly a much better person that I will ever be. He has essentially given up his opportunity to have a normal 20s/30s to be sole live-in caretaker to my parents. I hope at some point of his life that he will be in a supportive relationship that leads to his own happiness.

As I have moved on to start my own family he is very much still in the same place he was 10 years ago. He has even commented that I have everything he thought he would have at some point with the marriage, kids, even a dog.

Thanks guilt, I knew you were hanging out waiting to insert yourself.

At times our relationship as adult children taking care of our parents has been strained and I feel at odds that he is making decisions without my input. I have to tell myself that he earned the right to make the final call, even when I have not agreed.

It's so easy for me to make the trip down, throw some food in the freezer and play dutiful child for 48 hours while counting the minutes until I can be back home and 6 hours away from the daily grind of caretaking.

I love him because he's my brother, he cushioned some of the intricacies of growing up, he has given of himself more than anyone should be asked, and yes because he makes me laugh.

So I promise that there has been more going on this month other than family drama.

How about some upcoming posts about permanently not going back to 40 week teaching, or that we have come to a decision about the 3 frozen babes, or finally (kinda)getting my shit together with the two kid thing, or how about all the ways 2010 has really been awesome.

Bottom line is for all this ICK, I have my health, my kids, my supportive spouse who once again is taking the boys without complaining, great friends who won't let me hide out, and I have so much ahead next year. 2011 is SO going to be my year.

I've got lots of time to write these posts in my head this weekend, that along with yet another audiobook for the drive and lots of coffee to keeping me going.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reneging on the whole no Star Wars thing

In the quandaries of life there are so many important decisions.

For my love, my husband, my "thank God he met me or his anti-social side would result in him living in a 1 BR nasty apartment littered with spare computer parts" few movies mean more than Star Wars.

If I had a nickel for every time he has asked me when Ben should finally get to watch the almighty, I would really not need to go back to work.

Alas.... this is what Ben chose to have his face painted at Bill's work party Tuesday night.

I on the other hand:

1. Asked Bill why he let Ben pick a demon not knowing this was a Star Wars character?
2. Informed him (loudly) that he was doing bath time.... ALONE.
3. Was thinking, well that's a sucktastic anniversary gift to me.

Once home, Ben proceeded to stand in front of the mirror until I had to threaten to take away his Christmas book growling, hissing, and spitting as he told me he was "the Star Wars"

No character in particular, just "the Star Wars" He went on to tell me that he now only wants Star Wars toys for Christmas.

I hate you Bill.

So much for my past 12 month plan of convincing Ben that he really wanted the aircraft carrier and 5 Hot Wheels Trick Tracks that have been occupying space in the attic that I got on a mega sale. Even my lame attempt over the fall to take pictures of things I convinced him to ask for (see items above) and send them to Santa in an email are now toally wasted.

Damn you Bill.

Bill has decided to let Ben watch Star Wars with him something soon and he is going to let Santa rummage through the multiple boxes (like think 5) of Bill's old toys (think 40 Year old Virgin) and leave something under the tree.

Bill has organized a gaggle of like-minded folk for a midnight showing of TRON tonight. I seriously hope he enjoys it because I told his boss at the party (who I actually know, I'm not that weird to call him out to a stranger) to give him total Hell on Friday am when he shows up exhausted tired.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evil Genius aka Happy 8 Months Ian

Doesn't he look like he plotting the downfall of the world? Or whatever he can get into from his vantage point.

The past months have seen sitting without support, crawling, speed crawling, and as of last week, pulling up on furniture. Seriously, in ONE month.

I'm just tired thinking about him at 18 months.

Favorite toys at 8 months are shape sorters, any type of container to throw toys, soft cars, and anything that Ben is playing with to steal and crawl away.

Ben has really come into his own as the protector big brother. Thank God.

As we round out 2010 I cannot imagine anything that brings me more joy than watching this relationship develop.

The Space Between

A wedding is but a day. The marriage is all the days in between.

I want show up ready to live the challenging in hopes of days that leave me deliriously happy.

Happy 14th.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting my game face on

Too much to say but it's really late and my Monday is slammed with work for school, plus all the normal stuff from the weekend, and then there is Christmas in 10 days.

My weekend solo trip to SC was a good decision. My mom remains very sick and the attempt to contain the infection in her hip and dialysis port is still a wait and see diagnosis. All signs yesterday were her prognosis was as better small reduction in infection after 2 surgeries. Another is planned for tomorrow or Wed once 48 hour cultures. She has rallied before at this point so all thoughts remain positive.

Part of the problem is that her team of doctors (all 5 of them that looked like their own Christmas production yesterday before the 2nd surgery) have limited options given her compromised state as an end stage renal disease patient.

Since my brother works as a surgical nurse at the same hospital, he seems to know everyone. We were treated very well and privy to information. Plus the staff let us stay way past the cutoff for the ICU.

I think we ate our weight in packs of crackers and little juices. Which, if consumed in a hospital have no caloric value.

I am taking a wait and see approach about heading down again, most likely I will be down again very soon. When I was alone with her Saturday night I had the chance to talk to her and hoped I provided some measure of comfort. As the day wore on her lucid state of mind gave way to confusion. Before the surgery yesterday she had to be restrained as to not pull out her central line or the multiple monitors.

So much of my energy in 2010 as been spent trying to let go of things I cannot change, do over, take back, or even attempt to try to understand. I've tried to do the right thing even when it was really hard.

I am bound to a situation that has only one end and am scared of what life will look like on the other side. What will I be left with, will I be a different person without this constant in my life, and the ever present question if I did enough with the time I was given.

I am bound of a situation of my own making.

You would think after the decade plus of first caring for our dad and now my mom that it somehow gets easier. It doesn't.

This is so unbelievably hard. This aspect of life that is Messy. Chaotic. Crushing. Mine

Friday, December 10, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- The one where I pledged to run 500 miles

When Bill joined the 500 in 2010 Challenge I was insanely jealous of his ability to be working towards a physical activity goal. After all, I WAS 38 weeks pregnant jumping up and down on a cold March morning earlier this year, cheering him on with an obnoxious sign with feet so swollen I could barely walk.

Buddy, I'm taking you down in 2011. After 7 months of 6 days a week gym time I am working towards my own goal of running/pushing Ian the Cary Road Race in honor of his 1st birthday.

I started using the Couch to 5k app the week we returned from Florida and have worked up to running 2.5 miles in 35 mins without stopping. Go Me. No seriously, I never in a million years thought I could run any amount of time. I have been quoted in the past saying that the only way you would see me run was:

1. Someone was chasing me
2. A Krispy Kream shop was on fire and I had to save the doughnuts

I even ran on a cold rainy Thanksgiving morning (hence the picture) much to the chagrin of my mom and brother who had never seen me in anything resembling running gear.

Next year is going to be my year for SO many reasons, starting with participating in the next competition. For now going to count time to get credit for my classes, but just to challenge myself, I'm also going to count miles.

2011. You've just been put on notice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

#reverb10 MOMENT of 2010

I'm sharing a post from #reverb10 writing today. My moment for 2010, where one story ended and a new one began began.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Since my 2010 word of the year is anticipation, the moment that best captures 2010 was the utter joy in realizing a dream come true.

I can't imagine a more powerful experience than bringing new life into the world. The anticipation of laboring, the long awaited final oppotunity to hold what has been moving inside, the acknowledgement of the physical pain and exhaustion that you remember before, and the realization that you are the only person who has been given this work to see to the end.

You know in your deepest being your strong and powerful body is designed to take over, so you give in and resist every temptation to fight. You are reminded by those holding you in their hands that everything you need it right here, right now.

All my focus and energy had to be brought to this one moment. This was my work alone to do. Only I could bring my son into this world and I wanted Ian's arrival to be under my control.

I wanted his birhtday and my labor to be without regret or doubt that I wished I had made different choices. My wish was my reality as I was paired with a supportive labor nurse who worked with my doula Sam. Both attended to me like a daughter, showing me compassion, care, and respect for our decisions.

Even with the unwanted induction and internal monitoring, I still felt like I was able to give Ian the birth I wanted for him. One of the most frequent questions I have been asked is why with the availibility of drugs would you want to feel the pain of childbirth, again?

Because I could. Because I waited and hoped and prayed to have the experience again. Because in this intense physical pain, emotional pain was being released. Because without feeling pain you cannot know intense fulfilling pleasure. I wanted to feel every moment of this experience for all the empowerment it would afford.

When I hit my crisis of confidence, Sam cradled my face close to hers and whispered, "he's coming, let him, don't hold anything back." She then kissed me on the forehead in the most mothering of ways and stroked my temples. It was the simplest of gestures but it was the encouragement I needed to keep going.

And Ian did come, at 4:06 pm after 10 hours of labor. So many times with my boys I wish for time to stand still so I can soak up every last minute of the moment and imprint it in my memory. Remembering the last moments of anticipation slipping into reality as life is placed in your arms is my 2010 moment to remind me that I am blessed beyond reason.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

" falling back on all those that love you"

Another post written but I'm sitting on it, letting it simmer, re-edit and decide if I really have the courage to put it out there. My after kids went to bed all hell broke loose. again. same story. every holiday season situation surfaced. I fucking lost it in an all out unbridged rage tirade. Not proud in the morning after.

We were in the car when the news broke of Elizabeth Edwards death late yesterday. This was not unexpected given the press release on Monday, but still it was a punch in the gut.

I cannot even begin to put into words as beautifully as Jen Lemen did on a post about meeting her at Blogher. The pictures alone capture why I think so many of us connected with her. Her ability to communicate candidly and honestly. Her very public persona about raising children, marriage and the end of marriage, battling illness, and in general living a fulfilled life found an audience. She was in her own right more than the proverbial politician's wife because of her authenticity.

Just as we were about to start ivf last year Laura in her quiet and compassion way, showed up at Ben's 3rd birthday party with a frozen food for our freezer and a basket filled with things to sustain and nourish the upcoming insane time. I posted a write up and review in the midst of the craziest month ever.

Among the items was Edwards book, Resilience. This book was of comfort detailing how she found strength and resolve. I later passed it on with a note to another friend facing a difficult situation with this sentence marked, "in a time of sorrow, fall back on all those who love you." How comforting and the first person I hope Elizabeth was able to hold yesterday morning was her precious Wade.

Elizabeth was a local celebrity in Raleigh and I regret all the times that she appeared at local venues that I didn't take the opportunity to meet her. I take away that despite her critics that she was a class act, never to be deterred by what life handed her. She lived her life to the fullest with no regrets.

If ever someone was living Mondo it was Elizabeth Edwards.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#Reverb10, New MB Dream Lab, the non-mundane Monday

Much to say about my Monday:

Helped with Hunter twins at a hospital follow up. I'm in awe of modern medicine's ability to transform.

Appointment 1 of 3 this week to burn Flex Med funds. Why the hell did I book them all this week?

Crazy amounts of tutoring with my online kids during these last weeks of class. I am this close to offering to meet them at their school for a group econ session for those in the same location.

Final decision for Donors Choose schools to support!!!

Another 2 miles run without stopping + a barbell strength class. Ask me if I wasn't a little happy to hear the instructor that prides herself in leading 100 push ups, 100 squats, and 100 crunches is returning to her family in England until January.

New Mondo Dream Lab is starting in January. Very excited and hoping they offer an alumni rate before I pull the trigger to sign up. I actually had started the book, The Gift of Imperfection after a compelling discussion among like minded folk in the community. Check out Brene Brown's TED Talks, and prepare to be amazed.

On that note I am on the side writing daily prompts for Reverb10. I'm not sure how much will be publicly posted but I love the 20 min and 750 max word count guidelines. It's been a great way to reflect on the year and prepare myself for the coming 2011. So far a sampling of past week's prompts:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I'm starting to wish I had 31 more days to live out my December.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2 Miles, Mimosas, Santa's Workshop, & SNOW-Real and Fake

As much as I am trying to protect the month of December it seems like almost every day is CRAZY.INSANE.BUSY.

The highlights since my posts from Thursday and Friday never made it out of draft form.

10.5 hours at the gym last week. This included running 2 full miles without stopping in 28 mins. Go me. My 2011 plans are quickly being re-evaluated to push it further. Go Me, again.

Thursday, we rode the Santa Train at Science and Life. This was our first year as we normally opt for the Pullen Park Santa Event. I'm glad we had tickets for the 5:20 pm train early in the event opening. It was packed as we were leaving. Fun time, but we will be back to Pullen next year for the sheer amount of times you can ride the train.

Saturday, Ben and I went to Santa's Workshop in Cary. This was a first for this event but it's a repeat. In 1.5 hours we made 8 easy crafts (some of which are now gmom gifts),met Santa, watched a local ballet company or the "pretty ladies", and then walked to a local pharmacy with an old time soda fountain for lunch.

I headed downtown Raleigh for a quickly moved up birthday party for an old teaching friend. Think mimosas, then gourmet cupcakes, a birthday party minus screaming kids, then the 1st snow of the season. PERFECT. It was lovely to see her and recant stories of dragging 60 kids on a scavenger hunt through the Smithsonian. Somehow I kept being introduced to new faces over lunch as, "I've never met you, but your stories seem to live on."

Sat night we ordered take out and watched Peanuts Christmas. We built another piece in the Lego Countdown calendar and enjoyed a night in as the snow came down.

Sunday we headed over for a fake snow event at a local park. When I booked the tickets in early Nov I had no idea that there would be actual SNOW on the ground for real. Bill and Ben sledded while I stayed home with a sleeping baby (YAY) and pile of school work. Ten bucks that Ian has his own sled next year. His new found mobility is keeping me busy.

I wrapped up the weekend by venturing out for a performance of the Messiah. Usually Bill and I go to Duke for the full-on 3 hour version, but we opted to use the babysitter for our anniversary next week. Bill thanked me and I loved 2 whole hours of bliss.

This week is Crazy busy, but then I bet yours is too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a (Christmas) list and checking it twice (or 18 times)

Last night Ben and I kicked off our annual family Christmas countdown with an extra special date night at a local Festival of Trees.

Ben enjoyed the show choir performing more than the trees (unless they had a toy or something pink theme). We left when I found him writing his name repeatedly on the silent auction list.

Last year I felt like we shoved way too much into the month of December. This year I sat down with Bill and talked over how we could incorporate date nights and special one on one events with Ben in lieu of trucking everyone all over town. Here is our tentative list of family events we hope to hit before the end of the year.

Nightly participation in the Jesse Tree Advent calendar

Build the Lego Christmas advent set

Sing Silly Christmas Songs/Listen to Christmas music in the car

Attend a live Nativity

Read 2 Christmas bedtime books with Ian under our tree (mommy collects kids Christmas books and has over 50)

Try ice skating

Ride the Santa Train

Make a special gift from Ben and Ian for Grandmommy, Mema, Uncles Jamie and Brian

Sled at the Bond Park Winter Wonderland

Visit with Santa

Check out the area holiday lights/inflatables

Decorate a Christmas tree

Attend a Christmas parade

Make a gingerbread house

Write a letter to Santa

Watch Christmas programs on family movie night

Go to the Festival of Trees