The First Year and an Emotional Revelation

Since returning to work after my maternity leave, I really haven’t spent any time on my blog.  I guess I can expect to take up writing on a regular basis again when it comes time for baby number two.  At this point, I’m struggling to really find my place. 

I suffered a terrible bout of Post-partum Anxiety upon returning to work and almost lost my job.  I said some things and felt some things that can’t be taken back and aren’t easily overcome.  I’m not the person who can just say, “well I was sick” and move on.  Those things bother me everyday.  It was in that time that I also became aware of those in my life that understood who I really was and helped to raise me up again. 

This past year hasn’t been all downs, there have been so many ups and watching Timothy grow is something I feel so very blessed to be a part of.  The first year goes by so fast.  It feels like it was just yesterday we were in the car on our way home from the hospital with our amazing baby boy, now he’s running around, laughing, learning and is a complete joy.

Becoming a mother, has really opened up my eyes to what’s really important in life.  It has allowed me to find stores of patience I never knew I had.  Motherhood has given me a new purpose.  The challenge is how to serve that purpose and still maintain the person you’ve always been.  It has been a struggle at times, exhausting for some of them and energizing and inspiring for others.

I feel like life is a constant state of cycles.  Sometimes we are up and sometimes we are down.  It’s not about getting through life on the straight & narrow and scoring perfect scores on life’s tests.  I’m not just living for me anymore, there are big, curious blue eyes that watch everything I do with wonderment and curiosity, just waiting to learn more.  In the end, it’s about learning from our falls, picking ourselves up, dusting off and pressing on because we’re living for more than just ourselves, we’re setting the examples for our children and the generation to come.

Superbowl Sunday…A Clean Eating Perspective

This Sunday will be one of the Fattiest, Saltiest and downright fullest days of the year. Super Bowl Sunday is like the Fat Tuesday of Football. It’s the day that we all say it’s OK to throw caution to the wind and eat our weight in Chicken Wings, Potato Skins, Barbeque, Pizza and Desserts. Then we all wash it down with high sugar sodas or a few frosty brewskis. I’m not even going to pretend that it all doesn’t taste amazing, but I think we all should ask ourselves something:

Do I really need to eat like this to enjoy the game?

This is where most people will look at me like the guy who popped every balloon at the 1-year-olds birthday party. I’m not trying to be a party pooper, but more a realist about what we are really doing this weekend. If we don’t fill the crockpots with lil’ smokies and queso will the game still go on? The sad reality is YES. Yes, the game will go on. Our healthy lifestyle change, however, not so much.
We, Americans in particular, have become the ‘bigger is better’ & ‘We Need More’ society. We see it in product portion sizes already. I would bet that most of America doesn’t realize that a serving of beverage is actually 1 cup (8oz). We are so used to 20oz – 30oz beverages that are bottomless. Add that into the Triple Burgers, Triple Meat Pies and Double Chocolate anythings, and we can start to see the problem.
Why do we tell ourselves that activities are not enjoyable unless we have a bag of chips, a jar of processed cheese and a can of high-fructose corn syrup at the ready?
There are plenty of healthy alternatives to making “football food” and they can help deter our health from hitchhiking its way south. But even at this point, how MUCH of that healthier option are we actually eating?
We can make the healthiest choices in the world, but when we graze on them for 4 hours, we are still doing our system damage. As a Rejuv Biggest Loser Challenge Competitor, we’ve been trained for the last 3 weeks to teach our bodies a new way of surviving. Smaller meals every 3-4 hours with no processed and artificial ingredients are the daily routine.
Why can’t we keep Super Bowl Sunday like any normal day, just with a different variety of foods? Do we have to eat all game long? Why not just make an actual full dinner for the first half of the game and shoot for a healthier protein rich appetizer for halftime? If this seems like an impossible scenario, why are you eating during the game at all? The fate of the football game does not reside on the status of our crockpots and coolers. The game will go on no matter what we do at home. However, the scale and our progress towards a healthier self will suffer if we overdo it. Some people might say, “It’s just one night”, but I know for myself, there is really never a true “just one night”. When we are so new to this new lifestyle change, we NEED to hit the end of our comfort zone. We need to be uncomfortable at times. These small food battles will help lead to much greater things. You’re not missing out on anything by not eating like an animal at your Super Bowl party. But eating “just because it’s the Super Bowl” may leave you missing out on your greatest potential and even leave you with an emotional hangover when the scale calls on Monday.

Dear Mother..I finally understand

No matter how many times my mother told me that “someday I would understand”, I never believed her.  Not once.  She was always overreacting, overprotective and overly concerned about any and everything I did.  She kept me on a short leash, but yet I was allowed independence.  Oh yes, do what you will, til dark, then it’s in the house for the night.  Yup. That was curfew; Dark.  When you grow up in North Dakota, in the winter, dark is 4pm. Oh Joy.  Dinner was always on the table and the house always seemed to be picked up, even though I hadn’t lifted a finger.  My clothes were washed and folded in my room and other than the occasional “turn the music down”, she let me be myself.  Whether it was talking on the phone, listening to the radio, reading a book or playing Nintendo, I had some pretty great teenage years.  I was very active in High School.  Art, Soccer, Theatre, Choir, you name it, I did it.  She always seemed to be there when I needed it.  Sometimes, she’d be there when it wasn’t “cool” for moms to be there.  I know I snapped a few hurtful words in her direction multiple times throughout my teen years and even into my early adulthood.  I was so concerned with being independent, that I never realised the amazing role she played in my life.

When Charlie and I welcomed Timothy Michael into this world, everything changed.  I’m not talking about late nights and no sleep, I’m talking about quiet moments and memories that come flashing back.  I remember the townhouse we lived in when I was young.  My room was at the top of the stairs and I used to sit up and there and play for hours, but it was the old brown couch downstairs with the crocheted throws on it that I remember.  That is where my mother and I would sit and watch movies or read books together.  I would sit with my plushie dog and woobie and look through photo albums and ask who people were and no matter how many times I had asked, she always answered with a smile.

I remember crawling into bed with her when I couldn’t sleep or had a bad dream, she’d rock back and forth til I was sound asleep.   I remember the smell of her sheets.  Only she can make my sheets smell that good.  We would sing along to the radio in the car and just laugh.  Go for bike rides in the summer joking that she had a bike that looked like the wicked witch’s bike from the Wizard of Oz.  The saving of the “plushie” dog numerous times involving everything from sewing him up to glueing his nose back on.  Even when I was older, I remembered the way her hugs fit just right and no matter how “fallen apart” my life would be at the moment, that was all I needed.  My mother and her hugs.  Of course, I was so stubborn and set on being my independent self, I never really admitted that to her.  I now know, that she needed to hear that.  She needed to hear it everyday.

Grandma and Timothy (2 mos)

Timothy is 2 months old now.  He is absolutely the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.  I look into his blue eyes and my heart almost stops.  There are times that Charlie and I will almost argue over who gets to put him to sleep for the night.  If you’ve ever had your heart broken, it honestly hurts.  It’s chest clutching, sobbing, aching pain that can stop you in your tracks.  For me now, it’s realizing we’ll never get this experience back again. Followed by a slight bit of panic, where I want to pick that sleeping baby back up and never let him go.  Every time I have to put another set of jammies away because he’s outgrown them, or I watch him learn new things and become more independent, my heart is overjoyed and breaking all at the same time.

Two months, honestly, feels like a week. I can’t imagine how fast each year will pass. I just know that no matter where he goes, or what he becomes, he has a huge piece of my heart that will break and heal itself over and over again as the years go by. I suppose that heartbreak is what reminds us to cherish every moment.  I can’t go back to all the times I didn’t tell my mother how much I love her, appreciate her and how she also has a huge piece of my heart, but I can tell her today.  And yes, she was right that someday I would understand.  That someday is now.