Selfies in London Day One

Rise and shined from my morning nap to hit the streets to see what I could see. It has been a long time since I explored a new city and, even longer since exploring an international city. I contemplated running my sleepy self around. Then I thought I again. Why hurry through? This is time for meandering.

My Mom has a fascination with the stories of Henry the VIII and his wives.I am embarrassed to say that thanks to the HBO series, The Tudors, so do I. Who needs history class when you have dramatized fiction based on history? So Mom, you will be happy to know The Tower of London was first on my list of attractions this afternoon. I crossed the Millennium Bridge, breezed by the free version of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and footed it over to The Tower. Much to my surprise The Tower is actually a compound of structures and tours with history and exhibits worth multiple visits. I got my money’s worth today though and covered broad ground with a close of the Armory exhibit. I also got a close up of the encryption  in the walls of a tower that kept ‘prisoners’ through the centuries.

After my tour I continued my walk across the iconic Tower Bridge and looped back for the comforts of my hotel.  Walking back during evening commute I caught many runners with backpacks obviously combining their commute and their run. My novel idea is not so novel here. It makes perfect sense. Urban run-commuting through London is probably the most efficient use of time.

I did find myself lonely and thinking of my family often. Man, I can cover a lot of ground on my own but, it just isn’t as fun as sharing it with my people. They make everything more interesting for sure. They also make everything more challenging.  I literally had to pee for like two hours before I found a bathroom and, I was starving! No kid of mine tolerates that for ten seconds. Nor should they. It isn’t good for a person. My boys keep me on track.

When I as trying to figure out how to reach Aaron through hangouts I stumbled on this gem:

Periods, Running, and a Household of Boys

For years I have fought with the natural cycle of my body. My period would arrive and I would be like, “Ugggh one more thing to manage around everything else I am doing.” Now instead of resisting and fighting with my body’s natural cycle and the inconveniences it brings to running, mothering, and working…… I work with it. 

Once a month my cycle acts like a siphon of much needed energy for my brain and muscles. It stresses my nerves, patience and hijacks my sense of humor (ask my husband about that one!). During this regular scheduled monthly occurrence I am afraid to be around anyone for fear that I have been possessed by someone unrecognizable to the outside world who will wreak havoc on my skills and relationships. 

Then, one day the light bulb came on. I don’t know if it was when I was trying to manage stuff  in the bathroom with my little boys busting in and out, or if it was talking with my amazing coach that enlightened me to to stop fighting the cycle and work with it instead.

One week out of every month since seventeen years old I have lackluster energy and little desire to exercise let-alone train for anything. Yet, I muddle through with junk miles and poor recovery for fear of losing fitness. Ha! The irony is that the junk miles hurt me more than helped. Once my period had passed and energy level returned to normal my body was stuck recovering from the slog the week prior which hurt more than helped.

I complained about this to my coach and she proposed what today seems so obvious. She said, “Listen to what your body is telling you. Slow down. You feel tired and overwhelmed. Slow down everywhere, and offer yourself  the kindness and understanding you give to everyone else.” So I did. Now I schedule training on a three-week cycle. On the fourth week I give myself permission to “do” and run less. I run no more than three miles, three days that week. I also got really honest with people I deal with on a daily basis about my cycle and instead of taking on more I take on less. 

The first time I did this I was nervous about it hurting my ambition and fitness. It didn’t. In fact, I came back stronger, faster, and more organized. It sounds too cliche to be true but it is the truth. Instead of putting my body in a hole that I needed to climb out of I maintained. I gave my body time to adapt and it worked.  

Each month when the lack of energy (which is now more intense than it was when I was seventeen ) begins to set it I count the days on the calendar and prepare to move into an easier gear (pun for you bikers intended). Of course, there is a moment where I lament this forced slow down but than I remember how much better I feel when I work with my cycle instead of fighting it.

Working with my cycle also means being honest with the boys in my household about what and why mommies sometimes need a little potty break …..alone.  They get it. They also now know it isn’t their fault when I don’t laugh at something I would usually find funny. Why fight nature? Being upfront and honest about womanly needs that enable human existence in this world is really not too much to ask.


Eight Anniversary of Coming Home

December tenth doesn’t mean much to my enthusiastic 8 year old. He doesn’t get presents and it isn’t his birthday. To me however, this day never goes by without a moment to note its very special significance. Today will always be the day we brought our first born home from his 96 day stay at California Pacific Medical Center. It was a long sleepless night for all of us.

I was terrified. I had convinced myself that babies were best cared for under the twenty-four hour attention of highly trained medical professionals and, maybe he was better off there until he is was one year old. Something so natural as bringing your baby home from the hospital seemed inconceivable for me at that time. He seemed so safe in the hospital. Bringing him home felt equivalent to running a mountain ridge with scissors in your hand.

First Ride in the car. Destination? Home!

Of course it was time and ready or not he was coming home leaving behind the sanitized medical facility for the warm and nurturing environment of home where he has continued to thrive every since.

We will never know for sure why he was born at 26 weeks and 2 days gestation. Could have been my body with an attitude problem, an incompetent cervix and an over active uterus. It was most likely not one thing but rather, a variety of factors that we solved for during my second pregnancy.

Today Eric is a growing boy so enthusiastic to start each day that he sets his alarm clock in case his internal clock which, rises him with the sun, fails him. He begins his day immediately asking the questions on his mind and talking about the plan for the day. He winds down at bedtime, all tucked in his cozy upper bunk-bed, talking and squirming and processing the activities of the day to himself as he falls asleep, smiling most the while.

Loving his home

He is always moving and never content to sit still. He doesn’t have ADHD. In fact he pays close attention to what is going on around him picking up on conversations I would have rather he missed. This is just his temperament.   

Observing his temperament and comparing it much to my own has lead me to believe that our combined temperaments of being early risers, morning learners, and active people had something to do with why Eric was pushed out by my eager to contract uterus.

His introduction to our home and the world outside has been slow and steady, and eight years later his temperament has remained true. He is busy, active, and social despite his seemingly sheltered two years of “baby steps”.

I guess what leads me to write these words is the fact that I was told by many people who had not experienced what I had experienced that I was harming his social development by not doing things like taking him into crowded places like day cares, grocery stores, or shopping malls. To those people I say LOOK At US NOW! Oh how far we have come. His temperament and my own would never have allowed us to stay put long! 

Total mommy immersion program

When I think of these past five months one word comes to mind joy. I have had the most joyful five months getting to know Noah and nurturing our new family dynamic of a foursome. You will laugh when I tell you the joyful feeling began when I went into labor. If you would have seen me then you would not have described me as joyful, and Aaron is also laughing because he would not describe me as joyful at 4am or any time he caught me with rattled nerves. If you saw me in our first month (Mom) you wouldn’t have described me as joyful either, but underneath a veil of sleep deprivation, nursing woes, and postpartum recovery was a strong sense of happniess and relief that Noah was here, healthy, and happy. The 3 H’s.

Clif Bar & Co provided me a generous five month maternity leave that I like to refer to is the Total Mommy Immersion Program. We started out with a crash course in swollen & bleeding boobs, pre-schooler pink eye, and new-sibling rivalry adjustments. But, you know what was joyful about all of this? It was simply the normal challenges of becoming parents to two kids.

Thankfully Grandma was around to help us through our new normal, and after the first month we settled into our routine of really, no routine. Grandma went home leaving us to fend for ourselves with dinners, Dadda went to work,  and Eric went to school. I took the popular advice I received and kept Eric in his routine of attending Little Lions each day. He got to play with his friends, learn things, and be rowdy with the other boys his age while Noah and I got acquainted.

The days flew by and I truly soaked up the moments. Unlike Eric at this early age, Noah and I were eager to get out and about together. A big difference with a full-term baby is that instead of our lives coming to a screeching halt, things kept moving and we had to incorporate Noah into the action right away with activities like going to the park, the Oakland Zoo, grocery shopping, lunch dates, and strolling boutiques on Fillmore or Chestnut streets.  Aaah, so this is what it is like to take a new baby out in public.

I was eager to introduce Noah to others and we had many visitors: Isabella, Moose (a big dog), Lisa, Nicole, Sam, Maylen, Addison, Susie, Rachel, and our friendly neighbors. How nice to let someone hold him without feeling a rush of panic come over me. Sharing our joy is really fun.

Over the course of the past five months I have watched the seasons change from winter to summer through the view of our pear tree out our front door.

This earthy measure of the time is now green with leaves and staining our cars with each splat of falling pear nuts. The tree is telling us 1) that it is time to put the car in the garage and 2)it is time for me to return to work doing I job that I love, for a company I love, with people I love being around.

I can say that I have enjoyed just about every minute of my Mommy Immersion immensely, but I am craving some self-expression and time to think differently, which I am lucky to bring to the work I get to do.

The work I do is a true expression of another side of me. Having completed the Mommy Total Immersion Program I am ready to graduate to phase 2 of Nutrition Strategy Career Mom. Working at Clif Bar recharges me and makes me a better mom. Our kids thrive on the change in energy. To sweeten this deal, soon both of my boys will join me at my office, all piling into the car and heading to Clif Bar together, them to the Clif Children’s Learning Center and me to desk at our new office location! What will Dadda do with the new-found quiet house? Probably recharge and have the break-through epiphany ADS is just waiting for!

Family Pic

Grandma Lorraine has been here since Sept. 8. Thank the Lord for grandmas.

Here’s grandma visiting Eric while he is under the bili light (which helps prevent jaundice).

We’ve had lots of great support from family and friends! Thank you all so much. Tara’s bro Sean and his girlfriend Courtney stayed with us and helped up through some tense moments last week. Susie and Sam paid us a visit on Sep. 8. Susie brought to us the wooden toy trains that my dad gave me when I was born. Sam certainly enjoyed playing with the choo-choo or “do-do” as he calls it.