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Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer in a Vice Grip

A coworker of mine tweeted yesterday about not dumping the sand out of her $350 handbang in a effort to hold on to summer just a little bit longer, and it plucked a such chord in my heart, and made me realize that it was time to mobilize.

My 7 year old (super smart, and easily bored when not challenged) girly-girl and my 4 year old (high maintenance, "cars-n-trucks-n-dinosaurs") boy with the jet-fueled energy level have had a pretty rough go of it this summer.  As has their mommy.  Abby has been so patient with her brother's incessant chatter and roughhousing, when she has just wanted to sit quietly and watch a show or read a book.  He is constantly flying airplanes (complete with sound effects) in her face or jumping around and being a spaz, and I can't blame her when she gets short fused with him.  He needs constant attention.  I often have to tell him to please just leave her alone, and I have spent quite a bit of time this summer seperating them in an effort to keep the peace.

We have spent a lot of time in the pool, but times being what they are and money being tight, we really have not done much else.  No trips or excursions, other than July 4 fireworks and a Phillies game. Still, despite the bickering and the boredom, with just 10 days left until school starts- I want to hang on to summer and wring every last little bit of fun out of it that I can.  When Sarah tweeted about the sand in her purse I got a little misty-eyed and wanted to scream YES!  I started a mental inventory, right then and there, of things to be done over the next 10 days.

Take the kids to the beach and eat boardwalk fries on the boardwalk.  Build sand castles. Camp in the back yard.  Walk to the playground and slide down slides and swing to their hearts' content.  Trace their bodies with sidewalk chalk and have them color them in.  Make S'mores. Blow bubbles.  Picnic.  Have a lemonade stand. Hear the music in the neighborhood, and run to the corner to buy ice cream from the Mr. Softie truck. Have a water balloon fight. Go to the zoo. Picnic again. Fingerpaint. Run. Play. Repeat.

I should have been working at this list all summer, but at least it will end memorably. Raking leaves, apple picking and leaves tumbling from the trees will have to wait.  Summer - I am not finished with you yet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Affirmations About the Sum

I am not defined by:
  • the extra cream I put in my coffee today
  • the large healthy salad I will have for lunch
  • the exercise I did for an hour yesterday
  • the complete absence of exercise over the weekend
  • being the mom who can make her daughter laugh so hard that she cries
  • being the screaming shrew of a mom who yells at kids for hours every afternoon, all while trying to get work done
  • being the "always on" employee with the great job for people she genuinely likes
  • being the person who just wants to shut off the work when the weekend comes
  • my home, which looks like it was kit by a tornado most days
  • my ability and passion for tidying up and preparing the perfect party
  • having the worst brought out in my by my mother, when offereing up her parenting "two cents"
  • being the daughter who is so grateful for the amazing amount of love she gives my kids each and every day of the summer, when most kids of a working mom would have to be in day care
  • wanting to throttle my husband for waiting until the last possible day to pay a bill
  • adoring this man so much it makes my heart ache
I am the sum of all these things, and more.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Milestone 18 Years in the Making

I did something today that I haven't done in over 18 years.

I ran. 

Just a few days before my 25th birthday in 1993 I was in a car crash that catapulted me through the back seat, tearing the upholstery, into the trunk of the car.  I crushed my 4th and 5th lumbar, fractured my 3rd cervical vertebrae and snapped my collarbone.  I was able to avoid surgery, but I was immobile in bed for 7 weeks and in physical therapy for a better part of a year.  Since then, I have not even tried to run.

Fast forward more than a decade -  I have gotten married and had two babies.  With both pregnancies I actually lost weight because I was so unhealthy to start out with, and my calorie intake was more than enough to fuel me and the growing baby.   In 2006 - 2007 I lost 82 lbs, only to gain most of it back by not making room for any exercise when my daughter started kindergarten and the family schedule changed.  I am obese, unhealthy and terrified of not being here for my children.  My dad had his first heart attack when he was 43 - the age I will be in January.  The age my mother was when she was widowed.  Yesterday, my 68 year old uncle died in front of the computer at his desk of a heart attack.  In front of the computer is how I spend much of my life.

Today, I ran.

It was more of a jog than a run, and It wasn't pretty.  It was on a treadmill as "Sandstorm" blasted on my MP3 Player.  The song accelerated and so did I, my index finger frantically tapping the "speed "up" button.  I stayed there for 2 whole minutes, before tapping the button back down to my fast-walk pace, sweat pouring off my face.

My body didn't get this way overnight and it certainly isn't going to change overnight.  But I do feel like I am making good choices, cooking whole foods that nourish me and my family, that I am looking forward to those 30 minutes of 'me' time every afternoon when I escape to the treadmill.  I know myself well enough to know that making goals for myself at this stage is setting myself up for excuses and failure, so I will go slow and commit only to the idea that when my son starts kindergarten in a year, I won't let the family schedule stall me, like it did when my daughter started.

I won't stall.

I will run.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life Clutter

My husband had two days of vacation last week, and spent one of them cleaning out our full of shit over-cluttered office.

It is adjacent to our kitchen and at one time, before babies, functioned as our family room.  Once we had kids, we inherited volumes of hand-me-down toys,baby gear, etc from siblings and cousins, received more gifts that I wouldn't be caught dead giving my kids (helloooooo-Bratz dolls!?!?) and basically sacrificed the idea of an office, turning the room into more of a giant closet of miscellany.  Which grew. And grew some more. 

Did you ever watch Friends?  Ever seen the episode about (super OCD) Monica's closet of crap?  That was our office.

Did you ever notice that most Bratz dolls look like Snooki ? :::shudder:::

But about the a couple of years and another kid later: I now work part-time (ish) for these fine folks, telecommute for about 20% of my work week, and have set up camp at the kitchen table with my computer and peripherals.  Because the office was buried under kiddie crap, Christmas wrapping paper and extinct electronics.  Which doesn't exactly make for a fine family dinner experience unless you really want to nosh pork chops and examine spreadsheets simultaneously.  (Don't laugh, I've done it)

On his days off  hubby emancipated the desk, set up the TV and FREED THE TREADMILL from its tortured kiddie-clad tyranny!

The result you ask?  I have a refuge to actually get work done, still within earshot of the rugrats as they play, with a real desk chair instead of a ladder back kitchen one, and with fabulous light and a view of my back yard.  More importantly - the treadmill - the sweet, sweet $2,000 investment we made a year before my 7 year old was born that has not yet (still) earned her keep in this house...she is being used and enjoyed and I feel slightly re-energized in my quest to get un-fatty-fied.