Present

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” ― George Harrison

It’s about that time of year again. You know, New Year’s Resolution time. I always do the typical – eat better, save more money, read more. You know the drill. And like all of the resolutions made each year, I pretty much give up on them (or forget I made them) around February (or January).

Lately I started to think about abandoning the resolution thing. It seemed pointless since the resolutions I made last year were a spectacular failure. Plus, with all that has happened in the past few months, I didn’t really want one more thing to do or one more thing to feel guilty about not doing. Who wants that hanging over their head for twelve months?

However, now I decided that I do want to make a resolution.

I’m a “future thinker.” Of course, future thinking also means future worrying. I think it’s partially the pessimist in me. I always imagine the worst. I won’t say that imagining the worst doesn’t come in handy once in a while.

While we were waiting for Mia to be born, Nate and I had the “hope for the best, plan for the worst” attitude. It was the worrier in me that read through tons of information about Down syndrome and the possible health risks and delays that can occur. After Mia was born and Ds was suspected (later confirmed), reality hit and I really started to worry. What now? The diagnosis is only the beginning.

From the time she was born, it has become a “when is the next shoe going to drop” kind of life and she’s only 8 weeks old. Even though day-to-day living has been pretty normal after her bumpy start, I still worry about what will happen tomorrow. Will her heart continue to be okay? Will she meet developmental milestones? Is she eating enough? It’s a mix of normal worries and worries about the symptoms of the trisomy disorder.

The problem is that if I always worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, I’ll miss out on all of the great things Mia is doing today. It could become a really sad life if I continually worry about the next milestone. Not just sad for me, but sad for her as well. She needs to be able to celebrate reaching the summit of one mountain before she starts on the next. The fact is that there will always be one more mountain.

Albert Camus once wrote, “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” With that in mind, I resolve to live in the present and celebrate now and worry less about tomorrow. I know I’ll always think about the future. I know I’ll always worry about what’s going to happen 5, 10, or 20 years down the road, but I have to make an effort each day to forget about all of that, even for a moment, and just be here with my kids, with Nate, and with all the great people in my life. The future will have to wait.

Here’s to living in the present in 2013. Cheers!

Stupid wagons.

January 24, and as I sit here I’m eating M&Ms. Darn it. I am such a stress eater. The last couple weeks have been rough. Poor Fynn has just been so frustrated with speech therapy. It doesn’t help, I’m sure, that I’m frustrated as well. We’re sucking all of the joy out of playtime by constantly harping on language. Poor little kid. I had a long talk with Fynn’s speech therapist this morning, and we both think it’s a good idea to back off with the speech play at home. Not that we’d stop, but let Fynn lead the playtime so he doesn’t feel pressure. I’m down with that. I’m so stressed out by it that I can’t imagine that Fynn doesn’t feel it just emanating from me.

But since I’m stressed, I’m eating. Boo. Time to get back on the stupid wagon today. I’m putting down the M&Ms right now, I promise.

I did get to yoga on Saturday morning. I’m still sore, but it was amazing. It was a great way to start the day. Can’t wait until next Saturday.

Winter, Motivation and the Urban Mom.

Well, that was a bad weekend for the diet! While I ate a bunch of healthy foods, I also ate too much bad. Frustrating, but today is a new day. At least I didn’t do a lot of sitting around the house this weekend. We took the opportunity to go to through all of the closets in the house (luckily we’d already gone through the majority of the storage unit) and throw away a bunch of junk. My little family lives in a 900 sq foot apartment. You would think that it would be difficult to cram so much stuff into our little space. Well, it’s not. We took out 8 bags of junk to the trash and a trunk-full of stuff to Goodwill. It does feel good to have that out of here. I’m glad I finally felt the motivation to do it…even if that motivation didn’t translate to sticking to my diet this weekend.

Today, I took the little guy to the zoo. It was over 30 degrees and he needed to get outside. I thought I’d explain why Fynn and I spend so much time at the zoo. I have two words for you: “urban mom.” I knew that when I decided to have a child in an apartment building on the East Side that it would be more difficult. Besides laundry and parking issues, we don’t have a backyard. During the summer, we have a little courtyard that Fynn and I can play in, but in the winter that courtyard is filled with snow that has been piled there by the plows. When he was really little and wanted to ride in the stroller, it was easy to take him for a walk. Now that he doesn’t want to sit in the stroller (good thing), but he also doesn’t want to hold my hand on the side walk (bad thing), and he has a tendency to dart towards the street (very bad thing). Walks on the sidewalk of Prospect Avenue aren’t really fun right now. I’m all nerves, I have a really bad back (so I can’t carry him when he gets tired), and I don’t want to bring the stroller because I need two hands to catch him before he runs into the street. It’s not as bad in the summer because I can hustle down to Brady Street Bridge and go to the lakefront and it’s easy. While on the trail, we only have to worry about crazy bicyclists who don’t really believe that walking pedestrians have the right of way. We do go to the park as well…even though he gets bored pretty quickly on the equipment and spends most of the time just looking for a good stick.

To combat cabin fever in the winter and summer, Nate and I have purchased yearly memberships at multiple places in town – Discovery World, Betty Brinn, the Art Museum, and the Zoo. We also go to Central Library quite often. What I love about the zoo is that once we’re on the grounds, I can just let him run and play. He doesn’t have to constantly hold my hand, we both get a lot of exercise, and I can let him direct where we should go. He gets to have a say, which he just loves. It’s funny to watch his route – through the Family Farm to see the cows and the ducks, up the hill to see the monkeys, to the fish and reptile house to see the alligators, down the hill to see the elephants and giraffes, around the bend to see the kangaroos, sheep and the polar bear. Then he hops in the stroller for a snack while I head over to see the big cats. Then we have to go back to the Family Farm so he can play with the little kids tractor and milk truck. When the train is running, we have to get a ride. It’s fun, safe and relaxing (most of the time). So there you have it.

Well, back to dieting. Have a great MLK Day!

And the diet continues (really!)

Fifteen days into the diet and I’m still going strong. I’ve still only dropped 2 pounds, but I’m finally resting comfortably within my allotted calories. It’s always a balancing act between meals. If I don’t eat enough for breakfast or lunch, dinner is a disaster. If I eat too much for lunch, I don’t eat enough for dinner and I’m starving by 10 p.m. I feel like I have a fairly good handle on it now. I’m even doing little calorie cutting things – like leaving the extra teaspoon of sugar out of my coffee. We’re still indulging in dark chocolate (thank you, Dr. Oz), but at 50 calories for a square, it’s a nice little treat.

Speaking of good ol’ Dr. Oz. I’m actually on Day 16 “Calculate your BMI” which I did today. I didn’t do it by hand because…well…I’m an English major. So I just used the U.S. Health and Human Services link. I’d like to sit in the middle of the normal range. I feel like I can not only achieve that, but I can be at a good happy weight at that level. There are, of course, a ton of health benefits for being in the normal range – from lowering blood pressure to lowering risks of type 2 diabetes.

I start yoga on the 21st. I’m pretty excited about that. It has just been too long since I’ve been in the studio. I’ve gone to the same yoga studio for years – Tosa Yoga. A very good friend of mine runs it and she is just awesome. I even did private lessons with her when my back was a mess. It helped quite a bit.

So, I’m still picking a book. It’s between 3 – The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Middlesex, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have to pick tonight.

Happy dieting and reading everyone. That’s what January is for, right?

Day…oh, I don’t know.

Well, still on my diet (although I went off course a little tonight with the potatoes au gratin – low calorie…but I ate too much of that delicious warm potato goo). It was a pretty good day without a lot of cravings. So yesterday, the Dr. Oz plan day was “Get More Sleep.” I mean…hahahahahahahahaha….how could I … hahahahahahahaha … with a toddler … hahahahahahahahaha … That’s how I feel about that one. Today was “Meditate.” I’m not really a “meditator.” Probably the closest I get is yoga. Although, I did read about one mantra in the book “Eat Pray Love.” I believe that it’s the “Om Sai” mantra. Basically you breathe in “Om” and breathe out “Sai.” I tried it during the end of a yoga classes when we were meditating. Usually, I just thought about what I was going to eat when I left, but I have to say that the little mantra helped me clear my head and get in a stress-free zone.

The little man is feeling much better lately. Thank goodness. Since he was feeling better, I took the little guy to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum this morning. He did pretty well. I’m always nervous when I take Fynn to places with other children. The reason is that Fynn is very tall for his age. He’s larger than the average 3-year-old (and at this point probably the average 4-year-old), so basically I have a 2 ½ – year-old who acts exactly his age plus has a speech delay, but looks 4. So, you probably can understand my anxiety. More than once, a 5 or 6-year-old has asked Fynn to play, not realizing that although he’s nearly their size he’s still just a really little guy. I just feel bad for him because he’s going to have to deal with that for a long time. He also doesn’t really know his own strength, but that’s another story.

January 2 + Day 6

Hello from day six of the diet. Now that the carbohydrate addiction has abated, I can actually think clearly and I’m not starving all of the time. Today was a good day for healthy decisions. The family and I were out and about today, shopping and getting photos taken, and we had to make the dreaded “all of us are hungry and our son only eats chicken nuggets” decision. We decided to head to the golden arches because we were in a hurry. Doesn’t that sound familiar? After debating what to eat using my handy-dandy LoseIt! ap, I went with the Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no mayo) – only 350 calories and 9 grams of fat and skipped the French fries. Perfect. Disaster averted even though that cheeseburger still looked pretty good.

Speaking of food, the hubby and I have returned to cooking from our favorite cookbooks on the planet – Cooking Light. Between the cookbooks and the website, it is a great place to find low-calorie delicious recipes. One of the reasons for failure with the majority of the diet attempts I make is a lack of variety. I really hate eating the same thing all of the time. Plus, when we’re busy and don’t have a plan we fall back on easy foods that are not very healthy – mostly pasta dishes – so basically sugar. So far this week, we’ve enjoyed 5 recipes from the book and they have all been yummy. Last night, we ate the gruyere, arugula, and prosciutto stuffed chicken breast – delicious and only 300 calories. The only change I would make is skip the sauce because it’s a little weird and doesn’t add a lot to the dish. I have to say that I’m particularly lucky because my husband really likes to cook and he’s willing to go on a diet with me. I’m a pretty blessed wife.

According to my Dr. Oz plan (here’s the link to it on Oprah’s website), today is “Sweat, Even Just a Bit” day. While I didn’t officially exercise today on my Spin bike, I did take the toddler to the mall for photos (which is exercise…you mommies understand), ventured to Buy Buy Baby (oh, how I love this store. I love you, Buy Buy Baby!) to buy a potty and a booster seat for the Fynn (a “Cars” potty with a gear shift that makes car noises! Hopefully this will make my potty training adventure/nightmare bearable), and cleaned the kitchen. I’m counting all of these activities as my exercise for today. I did sweat a little, promise.

I chalk day 6 up to another success! The husband goes back to work tomorrow and on we go.

Day 5 … and Success!

Happy New Year! So far the day has been interesting. Besides the EPIC temper tantrum this morning because I wouldn’t let him play with the knife drawer, the little man is doing better. Nate and I were actually able to give him amoxicillin without covering ourselves with it as well. I love how the pharmacist gives you the medicine and says, “Good luck.” Because that’s exactly what you need to give a toddler medicine. At least this isn’t as bad as the eye drops for pink eye. That was the worst! Nothing like holding your son down while he screams his little head off and there is nothing you can do about it because he has to have the medicine. But, I digress.

Day 5 in my Dr. Oz plan calls for me to memorize a poem. I should have mentioned before that the 28 day plan is a mind, body, soul kind of plan. Due to the fact that memorizing yet another poem makes me think about graduate school, I think I’ll skip this one (and just read a book) and move on to Day 6. Oooooops. Okay, Day 6 is “Get Busy Getting Busy.” I’m SO not going to blog about that here. Darn it, blushing already.

On to Day 7 “Write Every Bite, Scribble Every Nibble.” Oh, I like this one. This is quite frankly the best thing I believe a person can do to lose weight. I really do have to write down everything I eat and count those calories. Before I started doing this last year (when I lost 20 pounds), I had no idea how much I was eating. I mean, I guessed 200 calories, 500 calories, but really didn’t have a good concept of how much total I was consuming during the day. A friend of mine showed me the Lose It! ap for the iPhone. It also has a website: http://www.loseit.com/. The best part about this ap – it’s FREE. Plus, the people who use it really do support each other. I’ve posted my weight loss on their Facebook page and so many people show you the support and love. It’s awesome. I’m really fortunate that my husband is doing the Lose It! thing with me again. We both log, we’re friends through the site, and I can see his progress and he can see mine. Plus, this time around they added bar code scanning. Ooooooo. Now that is awesome.

The good news is that this morning, after only doing the diet for 5 days, I lost 2 pounds! It may not sound like a lot, but that little needle moving 2 little notches is pretty awesome. I even feel skinnier. Because we’ve been doing so well, we treated ourselves with a pizza today. The best part is that the pizza was the California Pizza Kitchen Thin Crust Sicilian, which is only 540 calories for ½ of the pizza. It was delicious and it didn’t destroy my progress. Perfect.

Well, back to relaxing while the little one naps. Enjoy your day everyone!

Happy (almost) New Year!

Well, it’s not all balloons, confetti, and roses at our house this New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the little man is not the only sick person in the house. Now, all three of us have the COD (cold of death). Fortunately, the Sudafed is actually working and I don’t feel like passing out from lack of oxygen anymore. The hubby is feeling the ick coming on. What a way to celebrate. At least we have one special item in the house – an entire bottle of champagne that Nate and I will be consuming all by ourselves tonight. I’m going to try to convince him to get a second bottle while he’s at the store.

I have to admit, for our family, 2011 wasn’t too bad. The first half was pretty stressful. There was a lot of uncertainty about it. I didn’t love working with a weird schedule. Nate was stressed at work and traveling a lot. We were kind of flailing. There is a great C.S. Lewis quote that describes my life at any given moment. “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.” I believe that I fall into the second category most of the time. Usually I do it my way until I’ve become completely lost in the brambles or I’ve completely messed up everything. Then, I pray for God to intervene. I’ve been very blessed in my life that there have been very few times when He has not intervened for me. Fortunately, we were blessed again and God intervened for us and put our life back on track or, at least, offered a little boost and some clarity.

I’m definitely one of those people who look at the New Year like a new start. Not necessarily a “do-over” but a chance to reset my mental clock. From fixing what I’m eating, to starting yoga again (yep, I did sign up for a class that starts in mid-January), to setting some goals for myself, I feel ready to explore all of the possibilities. I’m taking this opportunity, this “break” from the world of work, to figure out (amidst the work of a stay-at-home mom) to figure out what the heck I want to do with this life I have. What’s next? I’m not really sure. We’ll see what 2012 holds.

Here’s to a happy, productive, and fulfilling New Year. “May you live all the days of your life.” Jonathan Swift.

Day 2 of the diet…and my monster is sick.

And by my monster I mean my little guy. Fynn has been sick for about 7 days now with a pretty nasty cold. He’s been particularly strange today. Crying and screaming for no reason and being downright difficult. I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and then when he got out of the bath tonight he started tugging on his left ear like crazy and crying. Uhg. So I’m thinking he has an ear infection. We gave him a dose of acetaminophen, and we’ll call the doctor in the morning. Seriously, with this parenting thing if it’s not one thing it’s another. I’m hoping that I’m wrong and it’s just the stupid cold.

On another note, day 2 of the diet is going much better. I’m not feeling as run down and weak. My energy is actually increasing – likely from the healthy foods and green tea. So, it’s probably just the caffeine kicking in. Today was, of course, dark chocolate day in my Dr. Oz plan. I’d been doing that already so nothing big to report. Apparently the natural ingredients in dark chocolate improve your eyesight and circulation. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea if that is working. I mean, let’s face it, I’m the mother of a toddler. I’m lucky I’m still standing up-right.

Apparently I’m running a day ahead on this plan because tomorrow is “Cook for your Heart” day and I’m supposed to try salmon. I ate that for dinner tonight, so I can check that off my list. The story is that all of the omega-3s in salmon lower triglycerides (which can cause plaque build-up in your heart) and o-3s can reduce clotting. Also on the list of heart-healthy foods are tomatoes, garlic, and lima beans. I’ll have to eat one of those tomorrow in honor of the official day 3 of the plan.

Cross your fingers that Fynn does not have an ear infection for me! I’ll be saying a little prayer for a healthy 2-year-old.

I’m so hungry. :/

While I appreciate the results from a good healthy diet, I really, really hate the first three days of any diet. No matter how many good things I eat, I’m still craving those carbohydrates. Sugar addictions are really nasty. No wonder it’s hard to lose weight when you start a diet and your body is literally going through withdrawals. It’s a mental game. I know I’m not hungry. I’m sure of it, but my mind is saying, “Eat, eat, eat!” The good thing is that I’ve done this a number of times, so I know the first 3-4 days are the worst and then it gets better. I just have to make it these next few days.

Speaking of diets, I started Dr. Oz’s 28-day thingamajig. Today was the “Go Green” day, meaning drink green tea. So I’ve had a cup of green tea after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I do like green tea, so this one is really easy. Apparently green tea has a number of interesting side effects. It lowers risk for some cancers, it can lower bad cholesterol, and it can promote weight loss – all awesome. Tomorrow is “Indulge in Dark Chocolate” day. I’ll let you in on a little secret – I started this one a day early. Yum.

One more funny side effect from the first day of my “cleanse” is that I have had to pee like 50 times. I must have been retaining about 5 gallons of water. Holy cow!