Just Keep Swimming, errr running…

running liz

i guess that one way to look at this, is that at least i’m getting a chance to write it down, blog, have record.  because clearly, the only time i sit down to reflect is in the middle of the night when my kid is screaming and i’m trying to figure out if i should go in or wait it out, when i’m watching the clock, counting the minutes, reminding myself to breathe.  we had two, maybe three good nights of sleep.  and then last night a bit more fussing than i would prefer.  and tonight – ugh – it feels like we are back to square one as i sit at my computer at 4:15 in the morning, watching the monitor.  i should be thankful that everyone else in my house is sleeping.  that it is just me and Z who are exhausted to the point of no return.  and i’m pretty sure the neighbors hate me.  or us.  i mean i would.  ALSO, basically every night/morning, when i sit at the kitchen table, i see someone parking a car or someone leaving.  what the hell is going on IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?!  we live on a cul de sac so it’s not really hopping (i mean, unless it’s the 4th of july).  someone needs to explain.  also, ABN and i could use a REAL date night that requires me to brush my hair and perhaps apply a little makeup because we are like two ships passing in the night at this point – but i guess that’s a post for another sleepless night.  moving on…

you may or may not have heard the news (kidding, it’s all over social media, mostly my social media, but still) but i ran my 1st 5k last weekend.  i guess technically it wasn’t my 1st, i’ve been running that distance for several weeks now and for the last couple of weeks, i’ve been running it fairly comfortably, ie. without feeling like i am going to die.  but this past sunday, i ran a 5k with other people (like 14,000 other people to be exact – go big or go home).  i ran my first race, the giants race, which started outside the stadium and ended on the field.  and because i love to state the obvious…it.was.awesome.

i didn’t run super fast (um, you sorta can’t when you are crammed between what feels and looks like a billion people) but i also didn’t run super slow.  i ran and i ran and i ran some more and although i felt super annoyed as i waited for my corral to finally start (didn’t know that was a thing like, at all), once i did start moving, i was pumped.  for me it had little to do with the other people, or the fact that i was at giants stadium or the medal that i received at the end (although EBN really really really appreciated all of those elements) but much more to do with the fact i had done something purely for my own benefit, to mark my own accomplishment, to take care of myself.  ABN and the kids and BUDDY were there to greet me at the finish and giving them super sweaty hugs was a really great feeling.  the feeling that i had made it – through the race – through the last 6 months – felt like quite the accomplishment.  also i ate the yummiest sandwich post-race.  and that felt special too.

which is basically the opposite of how i am feeling at this very moment, as i type these words.  sorta ironic.  right now i feel like a failure, like i’ll never sleep again or feel like a whole person again.  in the two or three nights of sleep that i got this week i started to feel mostly functional and getting a glimpse of how the other half live, somehow makes it more difficult to return that half-functioning state that i seem to know so well.

strollerz

i followed up my 5k run with Z’s first jaunt in the jogging stroller.  he turned 6 months this week (which means he REALLY should be sleeping better than he is) and although i really count my running time as my alone time, i can’t quite figure out how i am going to squeeze it all in if i don’t start running with him at least part of the time.  so i broke out the jogging stroller, made all the necessary adjustments and off we went.  and although he only lasted 2.2 miles (i’m going to argue that i could have made it further although when he broke down i gave in quite happily) i see a future.  or something.  we will try again this week, adding a little more distance each time hopefully.  it’s like his own version of couch 2 5k.

and then i really went for it.  on Z’s 6 month birthday.  i ran mostly along a beach path (that also contains a bitch of a hill) and a mountain valley and i listened to THIS AMERICAN LIFE and i just ran and ran and ran some more.  i didn’t initially set out to go far, just my normal run, but once i started i decided i should go a little further, and then a little further and next thing i knew i was getting close to hitting my new goal of 6 miles, so why not go for it.  and so i did.  6.5 miles.  my furthest run yet.  a 10k, done and done.  man oh man did i feel it after that run.  turns out a 10k is way more than a 5k (duh) but the freedom that comes along with it is just as big as well.  with very little sleep (hi, 4:45am) i’m planning to go for it again, later today.

 

If there was ever a blog post that could be used as birth control – this is it*.

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please note – this photo was not captured during sleep training but rather, the night before, while happily sipping wine, watching trashy tv and weaving in ends – as the baby peacefully sleeps. i thought i had it all together…

if i ever write a book, which i used to think would be like the ultimate accomplishment, and now i feel accomplished if i shower 3 out of 5 days, i think the book will be subtitled: things i wrote while sleep training, because…yeah.

i’m back at it.

after, what i considered a solid effort on my part – he was going down fine(ish) and sleeping (for the most part), but once 4 am rolled around he was up and i was up and he was crying and i was watching the clock.  and with things not getting better night after night i decided this was all pointless and i’d rather just bring him into bed with me.  he’d nurse and go back to sleep…right?

wrong.

4 am (and then 3 am) would come, and he’d wake and he’d come to bed and snuggle and nurse and then dude would be all, ok mom, let’s party!  i’m gonna babble (yep, we’ve got another chatter box!).  i’m gonna exercise (leg-lifts are a favorite).  i’m gonna try to scratch your nose off.  and so while we were in bed, we still weren’t sleeping.  and the only thing worse than being up at 4(3) am is being up and in your own bed at 4(3) am.

also, as a side, ABN is the best dad/husband ever, but sleep training, or middle of the night anything, is just not his jam.  under the best set of circumstances.  add to that an exhausted and over-worked ABN (it’s been a big few weeks) – Z isn’t making any friends.

anyway, all of this brings me to today.  in which it is 1:50am (dude), and i’m sitting in the dark, at the kitchen table.  and the kid is crying (on and off) and i’m again counting the minutes until i can go in and tell him (and myself) that it is all going to be okay (will it ever be ok?  at this point, i have no effing clue).

_______________________

thumbbighter

i realize that as i sit here at just about 2am, i have nothing of interest to write about.  my thoughts are a jumble of anxiety before my first 5k (eek), praying that Zman’s crying (which, just to fuck with me, is on and off.  so, just about every 90 seconds i’m sure he’s finally given up, called it a night and is going to sleep.  until another 90 seconds passes and he proves me wrong – assures me he’s in this for the long haul) doesn’t wake EBN, because the only thing worse than one baby awake is one baby and one almost 4-year-old awake, and cataloging unfinished crochet projects in my head (because i seem to be moments away from finishing several but not quite done with any).  fun stuff…right?

my race is sunday.  i’m just doing the 5k.  i shouldn’t say just because if you had told me, 6 months ago, that i would be running a 5k i would have laughed in your face and thought it was like the least likely thing ever.  for me. to run. a race.  but then i had Z and i had to get back in shape (or get in shape period) and get the hell out of the house and running seemed like a viable option.  and so now i run and honestly a 5k, at least distance wise, doesn’t seem like a big deal.  the part i’m most nervous about is the race itself.  there are logistics i don’t understand and the unknown makes me anxious.  especially unknowns that involve thousands of people.  i’ve never run with another person before so it feels a bit overwhelming for my 1st experience to be with like half of san francisco. at giants stadium.  but i’m sure it will be fine.  just like sleep training.  oh god.

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cuter

i spend a lot of time comparing EBN as a baby to Z as a baby.  it is a silly thing to do for several reasons, but mostly because i’m fairly sure i have a very selective memory of what EBN was like as a baby.  it also turns out that while i wrote some things down, i didn’t write enough down (or the right things down) for an accurate depiction of what it was really like.  i do think she slept better.  sleep training (in my memory) was a breeze.  i do know i never found myself sitting at the computer at 2am.  earlier this week, in a moment of pure exhaustion, i found myself trying to explain natural selection to EBN.  “it’s a good thing Z is cute,” i said, rubbing his back, as i walked in circles through my house, trying to keep him happy-ish because it was only 5:22pm and not bedtime, although he wanted bedtime so badly.  “because if i was a lion, and Z was my cub, i’m pretty sure i would have eaten him by this point.”  she looked at me, shook her curls and smiled.  she has since told all of her friends.  #badmommy.

[want an update?  it’s now 2:14.  he’s been crying, on and off for 45 min.  so i went in, picked him up, dried his tears, told him i loved him, and put him back down.  that’s what the book, or my friend who hired a sleep consultant, or the internet – i can’t keep it straight anymore – told me to do.  he’s now screaming his head off, worse than before.  but that’s supposed to happen.  and then he should settle.  and sleep.  it gets better, it gets better, it gets better].

crochet.  okay so i made this AMAZING baby blanket.  it’s gorgeous and colorful and sorta modern (can a crocheted baby blanket be modern?).  i finished it at the beginning of our trip to westport and sent it home with ABN so that i could start a new project.  there are about a million ends to weave in (because i’ll never learn and weave as i go) and the baby is due any day so it’s time to get down to business.  seems like the perfect project for sleep training.  then there is the blanket i’m working on for a wedding gift.  the wedding is the 2nd week in october so i have some time, but not so much time.  this blanket is different and involves weaving – not weaving in ends, but real weaving.  i know.  always taking on a new challenge.  sooooo, i finished (i think, i need to measure one more time) the crochet portion, which is the base.  now i need to spend some time cutting yarn and assembling.  it’s going to be…intense.  and then, because why not, i decided EBN needed a little something for her 1st day of school.  which is monday.  i whipped something up quite quickly, but it requires some…bling…and i had planned to hit up joanne’s earlier today while my babysitter was here (yes, i get 4 hours of freedom a week and it is the very best 4 hours – soledad, i love you!) but i spent that entire time at the car mechanic (technically, while my car was at the mechanic i did go for a 5 mile run – which was awesome, but then i also sat with my computer at the mechanic’s desk…which was weird) so i didn’t quite check that one off my list.  pictures forthcoming.

okay, he’s settled.  slightly.  he’s not hard crying.  he’s just whimpering, on and off.  to me it sounds a lot like, “my mommy is so mean.  i’ll never forget this.  you might think i’m asleep but really i’m just stewing,” or something.  i’m signing off for now.  not quite ready to get back into bed because i’m not that hopeful.  but maybe i’ll weave in some ends or, you know, unload the dishwasher.

*i swear, i should work for scared straight.  i could just tell stories about how little sleep i’m getting and i swear babies would never want to have babies.  it’s 5:23 and i’m up again because Z started up again at 5.  i think i finally fell asleep around 4:15 so you know, i got 45 min.  once 6am rolls around he can get up.  but in this new “training programing” once he is up he is up.  we’re not getting back in bed to nurse and sleep.  lights on, diaper changed, the world is cruel and harsh.  mostly to me.

 

Pretty Sure I Shouldn’t Be Driving…

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it’s amazing how good you can feel after getting (almost) 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, when that much sleep has escaped you for so long.  i write that with not a hint of sarcasm.  as i sip my coffee, project runway streams in the background, and Z sits on his play-mat, aggressively manhandling a caterpillar toy.  all feels pretty right with the world.  except that it’s still dark.  and you know, almost 4 hours is enough sleep for…no one.

it’s been a long couple of weeks in casa bn since returning from our summer in westport.  it has been oh so good to be home, to catch up with friends, to hike and run along our coast, to play in our spaces, to cook in our kitchen, to sleep in our beds…well, some of us anyway.  but transition is tough for a 5 month old (yeah, totally missed that post) and an almost 4 year old (as she will readily tell you) and so is teething.  on all of us.

turns out EBN must have been the easiest baby on the planet – ever – because Z continues to give us, me, a run for my money.  he won’t take a bottle.  he doesn’t sleep through the night and his teeth are causing (us all) quite a bit of pain.  typical baby stuff – but hard and exhausting none the less.  the kid is SO stinking cute, it’s sorta unbelievable.  i think that god must have a greater plan – like this kid has to be tough because otherwise i’d want a boatload.  but the kid also has to be beyond cute because, boy, this kid is tough.  did i mention he sits?  because he does.  like a pro.  and he loves his mama most of all – duh.

EBN starts school a week from monday, not that i’m keeping track :).  although in all honesty, she is too.  oh, and a last minute change in plans: she is going 5 mornings a week.  we’ve been going back and forth with the decision for a while, well, i have anyway.  i think that ABN mostly felt ok leaving the final call up to me.  we all know that she loves school like WOAH, but i also want her to keep her very strong connections here in pacifica.  but this year many of her pacifica friends are also doing preschool in the am and with afternoons still free – 5 days felt like the right option in our house.  she’s already asked if she can go 6 days next year so i think she’s feeling pretty good about things.

while we anxiously wait for school to start we’ve been filling our days with mini pacifica adventures (bug catching with friends), a million projects (legos and beading are big these days), the last few swim lessons (my girl has GOT this) and of course, helping to raise Z.  i literally have no idea what i would do without EBN by my side.  she is so helpful and whenever she walks in the room Z gets the biggest smile on his face.  he just loves his sister – and so do i.

ABN has been working a lot which is what was expected – and tough (theme?).  he’s excited but also stressed and i’m supportive but also stressed and so it’s a difficult balance (often shifting more towards the stressed side for both of us).  last night, after i put both kids to bed and realized that we had no chocolate in the house (how this is possible i do not know) ABN saved the day by stopping at safeway on the way home (which wasn’t until close to 11pm) and picking up an its it.  #herostatus.

 

Runner’s World

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10 weeks ago, i started running.  i know this because of instagram and other social media.  without this “record” of my life, i would remember nothing.  seriously.  if it doesn’t get posted to facebook etc, it is basically as if it didn’t happen.  especially now that we have two kids.  i can’t keep track of anything.

anyway, i started running because i knew i needed to do something to help shed the baby weight.  running is cheap.  running doesn’t require a lot of advanced planning or a specific schedule.  running doesn’t require a ton of equipment.  for all of these reasons, i decided to give it a try. if you are a long time reader you’ll remember that way back when (think late 2011 – i’m telling you it feels like a lifetime ago) i attempted to be a “runner.”  i tackled couch 2 5k, but then i stopped.  like completely.  it wasn’t just that i never pushed myself beyond a 5k, (honestly, i’m not sure if i ever got quite that far — i ran for 30 minutes but never kept track of distance or pace) but i put away my running shoes and called it a day.  i’m not really sure why but if i had to guess it was because there was always something else i could be doing – and running was never ever, ever at the top of my list.

but now, and no one is more shocked at this than me, it is at the very top of my list.  not because i LOVE running – because i don’t.  i spend the vast majority of my running time thinking about, praying that, this run is almost over.  but, my run is me time.  and me time is so precious now.  i’d rather go for a run than sit on the couch and watch pretty little liars.  i’d rather go for a run than hide in the basement and crochet.  i’d rather go for a run than try to get an extra hour of sleep.

running lets me clear my head.  i’m a crazy woman who listens to podcasts while i run (the time passes by SO much more quickly than listening to music + the added bonus, i sometimes learn something new!) and so i’m often running with a ridiculous grin on my face because of something that peter sagal has just said.  sometimes i have tears streaming down my face because my run is the 1st time in days that i have been able to walk away from my whining kids and my dirty house and my husband who i feel like is CONSTANTLY getting the short end of the stick and the guilt i feel about that – is just too overwhelming.  running is my chance at a little freedom.  i live in fear of when Z turns 6 months old and is therefore old enough to go in the jogging stroller (who am i kidding, the kid is 16 lbs and can hold is head up like a pro – he’s ready now.  but the label says 6 months and i plan to hang on to that excuse as long as possible).  it won’t be as easy for me to walk out of the house and leave both kids behind – it won’t be as easy to get away.  (also, running with a stroller seems WAY tough).

i’m stronger than i’ve ever been (which may not be saying much…but still) although EBN did ask me today if i had another baby in my belly (thanks kid).  and i’m tan – in a way that only someone with fair skin and freckles can appreciate.  i get to breathe in the fresh, salty, pacifica air.  i get to run past the ocean and through the canyons of the mountains.  i get to clear my mind and think deep thoughts while wearing shorts and shoes that are so bright they glow.  can’t see a reason to stop anytime soon.

While You Were Sleeping…

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another hiatus – although this time, it was less because i was overwhelmed by life and more because of technical issues.  seems ABN’s server was hacked (yeah, i also have no idea what that means) and so we were not only off-line for a while but he also spent many hours that he really doesn’t have getting this space back in some semblance of order (it should be noted, all this work wasn’t JUST for my blog – the server, apparently, is sorta the center of a lot that is important to ABN – at least the things that aren’t living and breathing).  ANYWAY, all of this is a very long way of me saying – hi.

things are good.  it’s been 4 months since Z made his debut and we are finding our groove – although, that groove has a constant way of switching things up…but still…we’re making it work…most of the time.  i continue to believe that having two kids is like the hardest thing ever (and feel strongly that the silence around the subject is some weird evolution thing– otherwise us humans might die out!), other than 3 or more which is just damn crazy.

our summer continues to trek along.  EBN spends her days at “camp” (which is exactly the same as school except i pack a lunch and she brings a swim suit that she uses at a water table) and at swim (which i drive to the other end of the earth for but it’s worth it because the kid is learning to swim).  and Z gets schlepped along.  he rarely naps for more than 45 minutes but he also rarely gets the chance to nap in his crib so really – he can’t be blamed.

EBN also continues to manhandle her brother at every opportunity.  it’s like a magnet pulls her directly towards him.  she grabs his feet and does wheels on the bus, she squeezes his cheeks and tells him he is so cute and she falls on top of him and covers him in kisses.  it’s adorable and it is also…a lot.  i figure at some point in the not too distant future he’s going to slug her but for now, it works.  i guess.

we leave for the east coast in a little over a week.  truthfully this seemed like a great idea at the time – and by that i mean when Z was no more than a bump on a log and i figured he’d nurse and sleep and not move much throughout the 6 hour flight.  but now the kid wiggles and rolls and is huge and, of course, still spits up a ton.  so that should be fun.  luckily, EBN will have her binder (more on that in another post one day when i get around to it) and the iPad (i seriously have no idea what we would do without that thing) so it will just be all Z all the time.

oh, and we’ve been sleep training (and by WE i mean me because ABN is useless in the middle of the night – i say in the most loving way possible.  all i really need for him is reassurance that we’re doing the right thing and not scarring our child for life, because when the kiddo cries at 3am it hurts my soul.  but if i wake ABN and say Z is crying, he leaps to his feet to run to the rescue, forgetting the intended goal.  not helpful).  you can go ahead and judge me but the kid is 4 months and 16 pounds and while i’m happy to still feed him once a night (which i think is generous of me, really), i’m not prepared to feed him every two hours.  and i’d like him to be able to go to sleep on his own rather than being rocked because, well, i want it all.  he cries for 5 minutes every time i put him down (yes, i’d prefer him to babble for a bit and then roll over peacefully but there are somethings you just gotta go with) and sleeps from 7-5 with a brief waking around 3 in which he rolls around and fusses and i watch him intently on the monitor.  i think we’re doing pretty well.

alright, EBN and ABN are on a rare morning walk which means i should take advantage of only having one kid and give him some direct eye contact.  more sooner rather than later…

On Why Two is Tough

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if i’m being completely honest, and at this point, why the hell not, the hardest part of this mama of two thing isn’t that Z cries a lot or the lack of sleep.  it’s not the endless laundry or the fact that i have basically no downtime and am therefore only on episode 3 of the new season of OITNB (for shame).  without a doubt, my greatest struggle is how little patience i have these days.  and this amazing girl – the one riding her bike and learning to swim.  the one who says things like “freaking awesome” and “mommy, take care of my baby.”  the one who would like to do “projects” until the end of time and has created her own mash-up of jingle bells and do you want to build a snowman (that oddly works).  the one who calls me her best friend. she is the one who is mostly bearing the brunt of my short fuse.

it is literally heartbreaking to me – when she gets quiet, puts her head down and says softly, “you talked in a not nice voice.”  oy.  she’s right.  i allow her to poke gently every inch of the baby, even with her dirty hands, but when she squeezes his nose for the 3rd time after i have asked her to stop, as i’m chopping vegetables to go in the slow-cooker, i snap at her to stop touching.  i allow her to pile him with soft toys and wave things in front of his face.  but when she pushes too roughly on his tummy, while i’m opening windows and making beds, i bark at her to get away.  when she goes into the closet where i keep the art supplies and starts rummaging and i hear a crash as i am changing a dirty diaper, i yell at her to get out of there and that the planned project is cancelled because she went where she wasn’t supposed to be.

and i know, she’s just trying to help her mama out.  help by entertaining Z as i try accomplish the smallest of tasks.  help by dressing herself so we can get out of the house more quickly.  help by attempting grown up jobs (like collecting art supplies).  but it is rarely that simple – Z starts to cry, getting dressed takes 3 times longer than necessary, things crash to the floor.  and i react “in a not nice voice” before i have time to take a breath.  and it’s like a punch in the gut – even as the words are coming out.

when i was pregnant i had a lot of anxiety about how a new baby would effect my relationship with EBN.  i mean, we’re a pretty dynamic duo who had a pretty great routine going on.  i was worried she’d resent the fact that i didn’t have time for our regular backyard mani-pedis or massive cooking adventures in the kitchen.  and while those activities are now few and far between – i’ve made the effort to make sure EBN and i get some “girl time” to do our thing.

sure, before Z she did things that made me not so happy, but i always had the time and energy to explain why something wasn’t safe, or why it made mommy’s life more difficult or why i’d prefer if she did it differently.

for now, i admit my mistake.  after a beat i bend down and hug her close and apologize for using my “not nice voice.”  i tell her that i know she is trying to help and that i can’t imagine doing this without her by my side.  and she quickly moves on.  and i wallow and sulk and stress, and cry to ABN that i feel like i’m letting her down.

this being a mom of two stuff is really hard sometimes.  but we are all trying our best.

Is 7:30 too Early for a 1st Nap?

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i can’t believe i’m about to type this, but this whole 5am thing isn’t really so bad (i say now, check back in at about 3:30 this afternoon.  on our drive back from a swim lesson.  when both kids are crying.  pretty sure i’ll be in desperate need of a diet coke).  the house is quiet, the sun is (almost) up and i’ve got this chubby dude throwing smile after smile my way.  i’ve had my first cup of coffee (there will be more), changed three diapers -two poopy – and one outfit (there will be more), and now, once the rest of the house wakes up, or at least ABN, i’m ready to head out on a run.  weird.

i think that in an effort to keep EBN occupied during the two weeks between the end of school and the start of camp (please note – as far as i can tell there is very little difference between school and camp: same room, same teachers.  i guess the kids change depending on the week.  and there is more outdoor time which for us just translates into a greater probability that EBN will get sunburned.  and i have to send a lunch), i have totally overwhelmed her.  the girl is exhausted.  between playdates and picnics and swim lessons – she is just so very tired all the time.  and, i can’t seem to get her to catch up (although as i type this, it is 7:12am and while she doesn’t usually get out of bed until her “owl turns green” at 7:20, she’s typically singing show-tunes by 6:45…so perhaps she is sleeping in?!).  she still naps for the most part but i’ve cut it from 3 hours (which she would take if i let her) to 90 minutes tops because otherwise she’s up til all hours and mama needs like an hour sans kids at night.

on saturday morning i escaped to crochet and ABN was alone for the 1st time with 2 awake kiddos.  not only that, but he ventured out!  it’s true, sometimes it’s easier to be out of the house than stuck inside.  we all start to go a bit crazy.  i’ve been making a point to take hikes in our county park with Z and i’ve been wanting to know if EBN was ready to come along as well.  i typically do a 3 mile loop trail and while i’m pretty sure she’s not ready for that, i was wondering how much she would be willing to take on and what her attitude would be.  by all accounts there trek was a success.  ABN sent lots of pictures of a very happy trio and my little girl happily scaled the mountain looking for “fairy poop” (that’s really another post for another time).  as i wrapped up my time away i did receive a desperate phone call from ABN that our minivan door wouldn’t close and he was sure the car was broken forever and he’d never be able to get the kids home.  or something like that.  i smiled as i drove up to save my brood. turns out, all it needed was a mama’s touch.  glad to know they i’m not totally replaceable.