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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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Life Lessons

Whiny Mc Whinerson

There is something about whining. Something about it that makes me absolutely crazy.

Ladies and gentleman, I have a whiner. I have a kid who reacts to whatever the latest reason I told him “no” (one cookie is enough, please don’t climb on the stove, don’t poke your sister in the eye) with an ear piercing, throw his head back cry or whine or kick or sometimes all of the above. Sometimes, even when he asks for things, he whines. (mooooooooore peeeeeeeeeeeeese)

Unfortunately for me, he isn’t quite old enough yet to understand the concept to “use his big boy voice” or “I don’t understanding whining”. I mean, he is two. And don’t get me wrong, he is truly the sweetest little boy. He keeps an eye on Abby at all times, calls for her when she’s in a different room, brings her crackers and cookies before he gets his own. It’s like that saying or book – when he is good he is very very good, but when he is bad he is……..whiny.

if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure if its the whining that makes me crazy, or my reaction to it. Because I know that I do not react well. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, and after the 2nd or 4th or 239847932th time, I find myself yelling “stop whining!”.

P.S. That doesn’t help. Just in case you were wondering.

Every age has brought with it its challenges, and honestly overall I enjoy toddlerhood much much more than I thought I would. The things they say are hilarious (Miles pointed to my sisters parakeet on my head over the weekend and said “its a bird hat!”), and really, he is just being two.

I just its probably me who needs a few extra deep breaths (and glasses of wine).

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Sticks and Stones

It can be tough to be a kid. I’ve worked with a share of what many would consider the “underserved” population – kids who live miles from the nearest WalMart, without a car, and with much much less than my own kids have. Kids with family issues that leave you shaking your head. Kids with under involved parents. I’ve had more than one make a comment that he made seem like no big deal, maybe about someone who teases him at school. But even the kids with new clothes every season, loving families and all the advantages aren’t always left alone. Bullies go after the unsuspecting for reasons that aren’t even logical, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

I often find myself searching for something comforting to say. I’ve heard it so many times myself that I think I just repeat  without thinking- something to the effect of don’t worry about what other people think, or it doesn’t matter what they think. Let it roll off your back, like water off of a duck. The problem is, not only is that nearly impossible to do, it seems extremely invalidating. Nothing makes you feel like your feelings don’t matter than a “don’t worry about it”, even if the person muttering those words meant no harm.

Recently a member of a Facebook group I’m in posed a question (I’m paraphrasing as I don’t want to give anyone away) – are here any cures to care less about what people think?

The truth is, it doesn’t get much easier as an adult. Our brains are better developed to understand the logic  behind why someone might throw hurtful words at you, but often times it doesn’t take the sting of them away. The older the twins get, the sooner they will become susceptible to this kind of pettiness and, quite frankly, bullshit. It’s a virtual guarantee they won’t go through life without someone speaking badly of them, weather its to their faces or behind their backs.

One day, surely sooner than I’d like, one of them is going to come up to me crying because some kid said or did something mean to them. I want to be able to validate their sadness, but unfortunately there is no cure. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? LIES.

I don’t know what to say. This is part of the reason why I run – because it helps me let go of anger and unfairness. I can sweat it off, both literally and figuratively. I can usually think it through.

People just suck sometimes. Words hurt. Kids are mean. Adults are assholes. That is the way the world is. It is ok to feel sad and it is ok to be hurt, but don’t let it take control. Find an outlet. Make a goal. Accomplish something, even if its just to show yourself, and no one else, that you can. Don’t stoop to their level. Strive to be better than that. You’ll do it. You’ll be mean, you’ll be petty, but recognize it and work to change it. Find friends who care. Sticks and stones may break your bones, words CAN hurt you.

Let it hurt, then use them to become stronger.

Sing

I wake up most mornings, thoughts running through my head. Though the morning routine rarely changes and my schedule is almost always memorized, I mentally run through all of it anyway – often more than once. Sometimes as I stand at the counter cutting strawberries as Miles chimes “more more” behind me or take a few sips of coffee I find myself thinking about the long day that lies ahead.

I really should know better, because generally before I know it it is time to head back home from work. On the car ride I play through the evening routine: dinner, bath (usually), play, sometimes a small snack, Pocoyo and bedtime. More often than not, by the time the the twins’ bedtime rolls around, I am ready. Toddlers are constantly moving. Even more so with two.There is a good chance I’ve been running around all day and there is probably still more to be done once they are sleeping. I don’t really look forward to the “fight” of toothbrushing and sometimes find myself sighing at the bookshelf of books wondering which one I’d like to read for the millionth time to an audience who still seems to really care less. (On the other hand, perhaps I will wish for this when they reach the age when we’ve finished book number 4 and they are begging for “one more!”)

Before the twins were born my parents gave us a set to go on the bedside table that went with the theme of the room. It had two book holders, a picture frame and a musical snow globe. The snow globe sat untouched for over a year until Miles took some interest in it and responded to its song by bringing it back over to us to play it again. After that, I started winding it up before I left the room for the night. It was cute, but not a song I recognized and so held no particular sentiment to me. This went on for a few weeks until one night I remembered an old music box from my childhood that had been sitting on their dresser, also generally untouched, save for the few times it was picked up to dust under.

I wound it up.

Sing

The first night or two I simply let it play, but soon I found myself singing the lyrics to myself while I tucked them in.

Sing a song

Then I began singing it to them while I walked back and forth, fixing blankets, retrieving stuffed animals, offering head rubs and a couple belly tickles.

Sing out loud

After a few nights I began to really look forward to these last few moments before the end of the day. I picked Abby up out of her crib and danced with her while I sang. She laid her head on my shoulder. I picked Miles up out of his crib and did the same, or “kissed” his cheeks with a stuffed animal while he laid down giggled.

Sing out strong

It wasn’t long before this became my favorite part of the day. No matter how stressed I feel, how tired I am, how ready I am to sit for a few minutes. No matter how distracted I feel or how many things left on the to do list, those few moments are my time – our time. Sometimes Miles dances with me, sometimes he stays comfy in his crib. Regardless, he utters the sweetest sounds of contentment as I hold him or run my fingers through his hair. Abby has come to expect it now and will start to stand as I put Miles back down and walk over to her crib, arms outstretched. Sometimes she lays her head on my shoulder, sometimes she says “hi”, sometimes she tries to sing along with me. I’ve started cherishing these few verses each night, these snuggles before bedtime. No matter how bad the day, I feel at peace, and I think they do too. I think about how I hope that they will grow up happy, find something to be passionate about. I hope they will be themselves whoever that might be, without worrying what others think. I think about how how much they’ve changed me, and how I hope I’ll be a good role model. How I hope I’ll be able to find the right balance between love, discipline, expectation and freedom. Mostly though, I enjoy them, and hope that one day they’ll remember I sang to them.

Don’t worry if its not good enough

For anyone else to hear

Sing

Sing a song

Life With Twins – 18 months

Be warned – this post is very picture and video heavy.

Gross Motor

Abby has figured out how to climb on and off the couch, unless she is wearing slippery pants, that is. Miles isn’t nearly aware of his own body in terms of other objects and still tries to take a nose dive. He has, however, mastered climbing up the stairs, something Abby has only recently attempted after falling down a couple a couple of months ago. I’m jumping ahead a little here since we are technically today in what would be going towards their 19 month update, but at the risk of forgetting, she figured out how to climb down the stairs today. I’ve also noticed both standing on their tip toes, and are finally starting to show some interest in actually riding on the riding toys.

Otherwise, of course, we run everywhere. Abby obtained her first black eye this month while trying to reach ball between the patio and the fence. Ouch.

Fine Motor

We still prefer to feed with our fingers while holding the utensil in the other hand (or throwing it on the floor). I’ve gotten the puzzles back out now that they’ve stopped putting EVERYTHING in their mouths and they can manage to get a big peg puzzle piece in the spot 25-50% of the time. Miles also recently started throwing a ball (with his left hand).

Speech/Language

We’ve seen an increase in words, especially from Miles, this month. His words are

  • mom (ma, mama)
  • dad (da, dada)
  • cat (i.e puzzle piece – I was doing a puzzle with him and the piece happened to be a cat. He repeated that, and then used it for every other piece)
  • “here” (doo, da – at least we think that’s what he’s saying)
  • tickle
  • more (muh)
  • hi
  • hot
  • dog (we think)

Abby says:

  • mom (ma, mama)
  • dad (da, daddy)
  • hi
  • up
  • yay
  • high five (a-da)
  • done (though not recently)
  • go
  • hot
  • dog (we think)

Anyway, they are following directions more frequently, accompanied by a gesture at this point. I sing them a song at bath time about body parts and read a tickle book that addresses body parts every night, but they still haven’t picked up on anything other than feet.

Likes

  • Putting things away (Miles)
  • Putting on socks and shoes (both)
  • Baths (both)
  • Brushing teeth (both)
  • Walks (both)
  • Poptarts (both)
  • Pocoyo (more Abby than Miles lately)
  • Hugs (both)
  • Fluffies -aka pulling blankets off the couch and rolling in them (Abby)
  • Dumping ALL THE PLAY FOOD on the floor, particularly right after I pick it up (Abby)

Dislikes

  • When the puzzle piece doesn’t fit (Miles)
  • Having to ask “up” (Abby)
  • Not being allowed in the kitchen to steal the dogs’ food (Miles)
  • Sharing (both)
  • When the TV turns black between the Intro and the actual Baby Einstein show (Abby)
  • Having toothbrushes taken away (both)
  • When the pop tarts are gone (both)
  • When I scold them for throwing milk cups on the floor (more Abby)
  • Being put down before she is ready (Abby)
  • Not being put down quickly enough (Abby)
  • Not being picked up quickly enough (Abby)
  • When Abby takes the blocks out of the container (Miles)
  • When the ball rolls under the changing table (Miles)

I could do this for awhile…

Picture overload time!

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  • Birthday wish pictures get more interesting
We tried
We tried
  • Miles wakes up half out of his shirt
This isn't where my arm goes?
This isn’t where my arm goes?
  • Abby has a ball (hahaha) in the ball pit
Put your feet in the air....like you just don't care
Put your feet in the air….like you just don’t care
  • Miles tries out a new hair do
It's comb over Wednesday
It’s comb over Wednesday
  • We go trick or treating

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  • Miles and Abby come watch a softball game
Hi :)
Hi 🙂
Princess puffy coat
Princess puffy coat
  • We celebrate National Stroller Running Day
Mom. Its dinnertime, stop trying to take a picture
Mom. Its dinnertime, stop trying to take a picture
  • We “share” blocks
block builders
block builders
  • Miles channels is inner Richard Simmons
Aaaand 1-2-3-4
Aaaand 1-2-3-4
  • I couldn’t pass up the tiny tie
I am handsome
I am handsome
  • Miles looks like the kid from A Christmas Story
Puffy coat raspberry
Puffy coat raspberry
  • We take our first trip to the fair
Mmmm, corn dogs
Mmmm, corn dogs

 

It's lots of work to eat a funnel cake
It’s lots of work to eat a funnel cake

 

Food please!
Food please!
  • “here”
  • “tickle”
  • They entertain each other during a trip to SAMS
  • Miles apparently has a preference for felines

 

I tried to get a video of Abby saying high five but she wouldn’t do it. :p

Share Your Passion

While you wait on the edge of your seat for my Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (and mini vacation with lots of pictures) recap, head on over to read my guest post for her theme Share Your Passion (mine is running, perhaps not shockingly) at This Crazy Cass Life.

While you’re at it, wish her luck on her upcoming PhD dissertation defense!

Dear Yesterday

Dear Yesterday,

Apparently YOU woke up in a joking mood.

At 6am my alarm went off to go on my bike ride. I begrudgingly got out of bed, got dressed and trudged downstairs in my workout clothes and socks

At 6:10 am I stepped in dog poop on the wood floor – I then spent a few minutes cleaning it up.

At 6:20 am I nearly stepped in dog pee, which was so conveniently placed right under the baby fence, so I had to keep moving it back and forth to get all of the wet spots cleaned up.

At 6:25 I finally made it outside to put air in my tires.

I rode incident free (thankfully).

I got home, got the twins up and fed them breakfast. Bryan came downstairs and I was stretching. He was taking a video.

At around 9am Miles knocked over Bryans coffee cup (which was lukewarm, luckily), spilling it all over my Macbook Air.

At 9:10 it stopped working.

At 9:15 I took a very frustrated shower and tried to figure out how many pictures I’d be able to recover from my blog and family should it decide to die.

At 9:40 I took the twins out to play on the water table and started sneezing. I proceeded to sneeze ALL DAY despite my allergy pill and a Benadryl.

At 11:00 I laid down to rest for a bit, and then knocked over half a glass of sweet tea.

At lunchtime neither Bryan nor I could get the warped lid off of the milk container, so he punctured it with a knife, then spilled milk on the floor.

At lunchtime I went to put the rinsed blueberries back in the fridge, but forgot to shake off the excess water, thereby spilling a nice puddle onto the floor on the way to the fridge.

I’m still sneezing.

At 2:00 we take the twins and Quinn (my friends 5 year old we were watching) to the pool, which was luckily also incident free (thank goodness)

At 4:30 Bryan starts the babies dinner and spills more milk on the floor.

I am still sneezing.

At dinnertime the twins throw their milk cups on the floor for the millionth time and….you guessed it, more spilled milk.

At bedtime neither of them want to go to sleep because they are overtired (oops).

At 9pm I decide I’m tired of sneezing and go to bed. I accidentally drop my invisalign into the recycle bin.

I go to bed after 2 more benadryl and toilet paper stuck up my nose.

You suck,

The Powers*

 

*the macbook works! phew! And its been backing up all 2000 pictures since yesterday at 11am.

*no, I did not cry over spilled milk, in case you were wondering 🙂

*always put your pictures on a back up hard drive or online storage!!!!

If it Makes You Happy

Anyone who has read more than a couple of of my blog posts knows that exercise and fitness is very important to me. I run, swim, bike, rollerblade, practice yoga or some combination thereof 5 days a week, with few exceptions. Second only to the my own health and the health of my family, exercise takes priority.  I set my alarm and get up before everyone else. If that doesn’t work, I’ll let Abby and Miles watch 30 minutes of Pocoyo and hop on the elliptical run on the treadmill while they nap. I’ve been known to (and will probably continue to) wake them up a little early, plop them in the jogging stroller with milk and a snack and bring them running with me.

I don’t plan exercise around my life, I plan my life around exercise.

It sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, though. Exercise is a necessity for me, not just physically, but mentally.

I also work away from home 3 days a week. It was something I chose to continue doing after the twins were born. I like my job and I spent 6 years studying my field. It is important to me that I be able to contribute some financially and I feel like I am helping make a difference. I am a nicer, more sane and happier person when I am able to work.

Still, sometimes I catch myself feeling guilty. Sometimes I feel like I should want to stay home and willingly skip my workout so the twins can sleep an extra half hour. Sometimes I feel like a bad mom when I turn on Pocoyo so I can run out some frustration or kiss them goodbye as I leave for work. Even though I feel like these two things make me a better person and mother, particularly after infertility, I sometimes feel guilty.

Cate Pane recently posted a link to a page on The Science of Raising Happy Kids. It contains a lot of good, interesting information, but one fact in particular stood out to me.

Your (moms) happiness matters.

It says that a moms satisfaction with her life is more important to a young child’s social and emotional skills than her education, her income, whether she has a job and the amount of time the kid spends in childcare.

Last week I read a post in Favorite Run Community that left a bad taste in my mouth. The woman posted about how she sees all of this support to moms who run, even waking their kids to take them along. She disagreed with this mentality and said that if she can’t get someone to watch her kids, she just doesn’t run. Family first. I get up early and sometimes take them with me with the hopes they pick up the same habit (of course, if they are ill or truly need me, I will stay home). The post left a bad taste in my mouth because I thought that doing something to keep myself sane and demonstrating a healthy habit was setting a positive example. I thought doing things to ensure my own happiness WAS, at least in some ways, putting my family first.

You know the saying, and apparently its more true than we realize – if mom isn’t happy, no one is happy.

Or at least if mom is happy, her kids will be happier.

Take care of yourselves, moms.

 

 

 

I’ll Take a Slice of Humble Pie

Kayla at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins sent me an email asking if I’d like to write a guest post (hey thats TWO now!). Her twins were not conceived as a result of fertility treatments and I wanted to share that motherhood after infertility has its frustrations, too.

You can view my post here, and then serve me a slice of the humble pie.

(Oh, and you can still click away to vote for me using the little picture on the right – one vote per day is allowed and I’ve already jumped up to #12!!)

Winnie the Pooh Has It Right

Running, motherhood, and life in general after babies has been both easier and harder than I expected.  (So is getting  “older”, as I turned 31 today!) This post has, too, as I’ve been working on it in my head for over a week without any real idea of how its going to start and end.

One of the best and worst things about me, I think, is that I tend to set expectations high. Because of that I often find myself simultaneously proud and disappointed. I’ve almost always been the type to wear many hats. For example: singer, runner, wife, infertile, bad amateur comedienne, girl with really curly hair, speech therapist. Fourteen weeks ago I added another much desired hat: mother. Something about the addition of this hat changes the balancing act. When I’m honest with myself I realize that I’m having difficulty finding my place.

I easily identified myself as an infertile. I found this great community of other women going through something similar who shared great advice, support and excitement when our IVF cycle worked. Now of course my life mostly revolves around the babies and so my blog posts do too. Though a pregnancy doesn’t take away the infertility I find myself feeling more separated because I’m doing what I think most infertiles would respond to with a gasp: actively preventing another pregnancy. I continue to find myself shocked that I am a mother. Even 14 weeks after birth I STILL sometimes feel like I have to return the babies to someone – almost like an extended babysitting gig.  I find aspects of motherhood to be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly frustrating. Though I always knew logically that, infertile or not, there would be difficult parts of it, I still wrestle with guilt when I get frustrated. I seek support from other moms just to make sure its normal. Infertility makes some aspects of motherhood both harder and easier than I expected. I feel like anytime I “complain” I have to back it up with a “I love my babies and wouldn’t trade them for the world” – which I wouldn’t, but I don’t like that I feel like I have to add that. This isn’t the fault of anyone but myself either. No one but me has made me feel guilty. On the other hand, I think generally speaking that all we went through for these babies does make me appreciate motherhood more than I would have otherwise.

I returned to work 3 weeks ago. Despite my desperate proclamations while infertile that I’d happily stay home, I’ve always known that I’m not meant to be a Stay at Home Mom. I worked hard for 6  years to earn my degree and enjoy my job/career. (However I am NOT knocking anyone in a similar boat who decided to stay home – it simply isn’t for me) I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to return to work part time – enough to stay current, converse with adults and contribute a little financially, but not so much that I feel like I miss all of the babies’ “firsts”. I know this set up makes me a better mom. What I’m having trouble with is fitting back into the work crowd, as if the change in status has somehow changed my place there.

As I try to rebuild my speed, stamina and miles, I find I’m not sure how to 100% identify myself as a runner either. I once compared infertility to a marathon, noting the ups and downs of training and the race itself. There were points in both where I really had to work to muster the energy to keep going, knowing in the end it would be worth it.  I’m not really sure of the reason for this “identity crisis”, if you will, I just know that sometimes lately I feel a bit uncomfortable in my own skin. I guess I had this expectation that I would just slide right into this entirely new role seamlessly and without much effort, which in hindsight is pretty unrealistic.  hopped on the treadmill the other day for a run that was supposed to be an easy one: 3-4 miles at a 10min/mile pace. About a mile and a half in, though, I was tired. I stopped, frustrated, unable to understand why this easy run suddenly required so much effort. I took a break and after a few minutes realized I wasn’t just frustrated by the effort of the run, but also with the transition that I crazily expected to be “easy”. Its funny how frustrations tend to make themselves known in other ways.

One of my favorite quotes also comes from one of my favorite cartoons: Winnie the Pooh.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”

I don’t know what the solution is. I do know that after a few minutes rest I got back on the treadmill and finished the run. I have as many hard runs as easy ones but usually finish them all (unless an injury is involved). I thought to myself as I finished the workout that I have a better appreciation for running because it makes me push myself and realize I have more stamina and strength than I think. I am stronger than I seem. For now I’m still working on balancing all of this.I’m still not sure how to be a good wife/mom/runner/coworker/speech therapist etc all at the same time. The balance will come. Until then, I keep running – remembering the wise words of Winnie. Because who wouldn’t follow a big fluffy bears’ advice?

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