Monday, December 28, 2015

I Done Swolled

Well the holidays are almost behind us and I am officially fat again.  And I have no one to blame but myself.  I ate and drank my way thru the month of December and now it is time to repent.  

Back in the summer, when I did the Isagenix 30 Day cleanse, I felt amazing.  My skin looked great, my clothing was loose.  It was the best I have felt since I had Max.   

But then work, Max's school and other personal things got in the way.  This derailed my health goals.  I still worked out like a mad woman but my eating habits got lax and I kind of stopped caring.  I have finally realized that I can work out 24/7 and it won't matter because I have to stop putting crap in my mouth!

This ends today.  I want to feel like I did this summer.  I want to look in the mirror and like what I see.   I control my happiness and this is a key piece of the puzzle.  So it is time to take charge!

I know most people wait till after New Years to start but I literally can't stand how I feel.  My clothing is tight and that makes me uncomfortable and cranky!  I can't go another day as a fat ass so I am getting down to business starting today.

I love this quote because it is so true, especially for me!  I lose my focus on the weekends, when I am elbow deep in pizza and white wine.  I just have to keep my eye on the prize this year! I want to feel beautiful again and 2016 is the year to do it. 

Whose with me?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Call Me Scrooge

It sounds terrible but I am kind of over the holidays and we still have another week to go.  That makes me sound like such a Grinch but I am definitely in a holiday funk.  I don't know if it is the weather this year, which is crazy warm, or too many cookies but I just feel kind of blah.  I don't have the Christmas spirit right now.  I never say this but I am actually looking forward to the New Year.

The source of my Grinchiness is way too much junk food and alcohol.  My body hates me right now and I have no one to blame but myself.  I have had an excess of holiday parties and holiday luncheons this year and I am paying the price.  This week alone I had two lunches and four parties.  Can you say way too much white wine and finger foods!

All of this rich food makes me feel kind of gross and unfortunately there is no end in sight right now. I feel fat and so tired.   Even my skin looks sad.  I need a healthy dose of water and spinach.

So how do you turn this around when there are endless Christmas Cookies at your disposal?

I think the best way to beat the holiday blues is to recharge and take care of yourself.  It is only Thursday but I am already planning my weekend.  I am going to eat really healthy, drink a ton of water and work out daily.  On top of that I am going to slap a face mask on and paint my nails.  By Sunday I will feel like a new woman!

When I feel good, I look good.  Right now I feel like garbage and my dream is to never get out of my pjs each morning!  So a change is definitely needed!

With 7 days to go till Christmas Eve, I think some cleansing is in order.   Clean your house, clean your body and clean up your diet.  Then you can really enjoy all the treats on the 24th and 25th.

So who is with me?  Less focus on baking cookies and wrapping gifts.  More focus on recharging your batteries and taking care of yourself!  Don't be fat Barbie!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Training Like a Boss

I know you have heard it before.  New year, new you.  Get healthy in the new year.  Get the body you always wanted.   Blah blah blah  Been there, done that.  Bought the t-shirt.

But what if you really do want to get healthier, get fit, lose weight, etc.  That is me.  I really do want it.  I just can't seem to stop the candy corn and wine from going into my mouth.

And there in lies my problems.  I have NO self control.

Even at the peak of my marathon training, I thought I was overweight.   I was running 50+ miles a week but eating everything that crossed my path.  It was so frustrating to not see the results that I was SURE I would see.  Where were my rock hard abs and my skinny runners legs?

Flash forward, here we are a couple of years later, a couple of pounds heavier with a kid in tow.  So what do I do now that I can barely squeeze in a 30 minute workout, let alone a 3 hour long run?  Yeah, I don't have the answer.  I was hoping you did!

Kidding..... sort of

I recently tried Daily Burn.  I can't seem to get myself to the gym anymore and I actually really liked the idea of being able to work out at home but I was struggling to constantly come up with workouts.  So at $15 a month, I was intrigued.  But I have to say I am not in love with it.  The videos never change so three months later I am constantly repeating my workouts.  

I also mentioned before that I have been seriously considering the Kayla Itsines Beach Body Guides.  I like the idea of under 30 minute workouts, at home.  I know I can do that.  Will I be bored without videos to follow?  Probably.  But it won't be impossible.  

The other day I was surfing Instagram (stalking running accounts) and I found another runner who did the Beach Body workouts in addition to running.  I have done P90x in the past but an hour+ for working out is a pre-kid luxury.  So they now have Focus T25, which is similar to Kayla in the shortness of the workouts.  But these are videos, so easier to follow.  But almost double the price.

My workouts are a huge part of my fitness and I am always up for trying something new.  But I can't seem to bite the bullet on any of these.  So I guess I am looking for a suggestion.  So what to do?  Any one want to chime in?  Preferences? Experience?

Help a fellow runner out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hey Hey December

I can't believe today is December 1st!!!!  This year has literally flow by for Max and I.

2015 was a really hard year at some points.  There were highs but the lows were sooooo low!  I honestly thought that nothing was worse than the year when my ex and I divorced but after looking back, this year was much harder.  Every bump in the road for Max was like a rejection and while I know he won't remember them, I also know I will never forget them.

With all of that, it is really important to balance out my year with all the good that came out of it.  So here is what I have:

  1. My dude- Max is my number one.  I want to sell him some days but he is the best.  So funny at times (his Christmas request of a remote controlled Chipmunk) and so sweet (like this morning when he told me I am the best Mommy every).
  2. My family- I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for them.  When everything fell apart, they moved me back to Connecticut, helped me rebuild, helped me buy a new house, etc.  They are the best family and I am really sorry that yours isn't as cool as mine.
  3. My health- I am healthy as fuck! I see people who are chronically sick and I know it is because they don't take care of themselves.  I cheat all the time and I have a serious love affair with candy but I work hard and my health is the benefit of that.
  4. My strong body- It is not the body of my 20s and yes I would love to lose some weight and grow 5 inches and have my hair triple in volume.  But when I am out running, I feel so strong and invincible.  This body grew the world's biggest baby (not that 15lb Chinese baby, but close), has run marathons, gutted and rebuilt a house, etc.  Not too shabby, right?
Given all of this, I am a pretty lucky lady and it is really important to remember this!  

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Lure of the Long Run

Saturday morning was my first long run in many, many months.  And it was amazing!

In my pre-Max days, my Saturday mornings revolved around my long run.  I would schedule my run with friends, discussing distance and routes.  All the nerdy things that runners love!

I would get up early, have my coffee, lace up my sneakers and go.  After the run, my friends and I would meet at a coffee shop and just relax.  To me, there was no better way to start my weekend.  By the time I got back home, I would feel accomplished and energized.  And I still had the whole weekend in front of me!

Over time, I lost this part of my routine.  Saturday's became filled up with errands and laundry and soccer.  But this past Saturday, I was determined to get out there.  I was craving the exhaustion that comes from a really good run.

I dropped Max off with the parental units and hit the road.  I decided on six miles since my longest run, lately, has been around three miles.  It was cold as shit when I got out there but I felt so good!  I had a great stride going and I loved being outside in the quiet.  I even threw in some hills for shits and giggles!

The best part is I was done by 9am and had my whole day ahead of me.  I had all this crazy energy, so I ran errands and even repainted my bathroom.

By 9pm, I was in bed with a glass of wine and so exhausted.  To me that is the sign of a great day!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Runners Lust

I like to think of myself as a "basic" runner.  Not basic like pumpkin spice and all that shit.  Basic like I don't believe in a ton of gear to get out running.

I still have a vivid image from my first 10k.  I ran a race down in Arlington VA.  There were a couple of water stops on the course and it was April, so still nice and cool.  I passed this dude wearing a water belt, iphone on his arm, visor, sunglasses, etc.  All that shit to run six miles.

It seems so ridiculous to me.  I never run with music.  I really like to enjoy nature and the quiet when running.  I usually just lace up and go.  So to me, there are only a couple of things I spend good money on.

I obviously spend a lot of money on sneakers.  I feel really strongly about finding the right shoes for your feet.  Shoe manufacturers change sneaker models constantly so what worked last year may not work this year.

To give you an example, here was my progression in sneakers.  First it was the Mizuno Wave Riders.  I seriously hearted these shoes for year.  They were reasonably priced and fit great.  Then they changed something and I made the switch to Asics.  Mostly the Gel-1170 which is expensive but not terrible.  But then they changed something and I switched to Brooks.  They were pricey and honestly, they aren't as pretty as the other running shoes.  And everyone knows bright shoes make you faster!  I just started running again so I have been using a pair of Nikes but I know they won't work when I get up to higher distances because I need more support.

My other big running splurge is my watch.  I totally drink the Garmin Kool-Aid and I truly believe in spending a lot on a great watch.  I don't run with music thus I don't use my phone to track my distance.  So I need a watch to track my mileage.

When I first started running, back in 2007, I splurged on a Garmin 305.  I think I spent $250 on it and it was the best $250 I ever spent.  I trained for two full marathons and a handful of half marathons with it.

I finally switched to a Garmin Forerunner 10 in 2013.  I spent around $130 on that watch and was able to sell my old 305 for $50 on ebay too.  It's a nice watch but the screen is small so I can't have all my data at the same time.  With the Forerunner 10, I only get run time and mileage on my watch screen.  With the 305, I was able to get distance, current time, run time and pace.

So I am considering upgrading again.  I have two Garmin watches that I am interested in.  The Fenix 3 and the Vivoactive.  Both are expensive so I am really hemming and hawing on this purchase.  I am leaning towards the Fenix because it looks nice enough to wear all the time.  For $600 I need to really justify this purchase.  I like the Vivoactive because it looks cool (bonus) and it tracks steps and has phone notifications.

Have any of you purchased these?  Thoughts?  Want to buy me one?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dating in your 30's

Ugh, just the title alone makes you want to barf, doesn't it?  Dating is awful.  But doing it again in your 30's is just terrible.

Honestly I never thought this would be my reality.  I really believed my ex and I would last forever.  I didn't just love him, he was my best friend.  We had so much fun together, just doing stupid things like grocery shopping or going to Target.  We would have been together forever....if alcohol hadn't happened.

But you pick yourself up and you move on.

The worst part about dating again after divorce is the baggage.  You can never trust blindly like you did when you were young.  You hold everyone back because you are afraid of them hurting you.  You (may) have a child, so you want to protect them too by not letting some rando into your life.

I started dating again about a year after we separated and it has been pretty much downhill ever since.  Given all of my experience (bah ha ha ha ha), here are my thoughts on dating in your 30's:

  1. Online dating is the devil.  It gives free license to be a dirty freak or downright rude.
  2. The next best thing is NOT one swipe away.  
  3. I don't have time for bullshit or head games.  My life is really busy between work and Max.  Just say what you think.  It really isn't that hard!
  4. If you have kids, your best bet is probably to date someone with kids.  People without kids say they understand but they really don't.  (I'm looking at you, Dude who told me to get a better babysitter so we could stay out later!)
  5. Try really hard to not take things too seriously.  The minute you overthink a text or a call, it starts to go downhill.
  6. Remember that you are worth it.  Don't waste time on someone, just to be with someone.
  7. Being alone is hard but it isn't going to kill you.

My goal during this "journey" is to just keep laughing......

Monday, November 16, 2015

Adventures on the Trail

I used to really love trail running.  When I lived in Philly we had some really great, local trails for runners.  One of my favorites was the trail around Haverford College.  

It was only about 5 minutes from my house and I used to sneak away at lunch time for a quick run. 

The best part of trail running is how much different it is from road running.  I have about zero coordination so I spend 90% of the run staring at the ground, trying not to trip.  This takes my mind off of miles and minutes.  There is less impact because you are running on dirt.  And for the most part the trail is really quiet and peaceful.

I didn't have a chance to run at lunch this week so I was determined to get up this am and run.  It is cold here in CT and super windy.  But tough tacos, quit your bitching and get out there.

Max and I hit up our local trail, the Pequonnock Valley Greenway.  This trail is really great because the path is nice and wide and mostly smooth, so I can push the Bob stroller.  Don't be fooled though.  There are still hills and Max probably weighs about 45 lbs.  

Add in all the crap we had to bring with us, water bottles, books, puppy, blankets, etc. and I was probably shoving around 50lbs up those hills.  

Right around mile two, my Garmin crapped out on me and my phone froze up.  So I was basically running blind.  And (gasp) it was kind of nice.  I knew this would be a slow run giving the stroller and the wind so I just decided to enjoy it.  

I didn't worry about my mileage or how fast each mile was.  I just enjoyed talking to Max, the pretty trees and listening to him screech the ABCs to me.  Really soothing, right????

I probably ran around 3.5 miles which is a nice, easy run.  It felt really good to get out and run early in the am.  My whole weekend used to revolve around my long runs.  So it is nice to get back to that.  But even better I got to show Max again how much I love running.

Kids learn from their parents.  I want him to see how awesome running is.  I want to be able to share my love of running with him.  And hopefully one day he will run with me!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Being the Best Alex

You may have noticed that I am a bit of an over achiever.  Please pick up your jaws.... I know you are all shocked by this statement (sarcasm obv)

I am the OCD queen.  I love a to do list like no ones business.  I make to do lists and then up date the to do list on fresh monogrammed paper.  I have weekend lists, house lists, work lists, etc.  I have long term goal lists, short terms lists...  Feel free to hate me!

So it comes as no surprise that I seriously love me some New Years Resolutions.  I write them every year and I try my best to accomplish all of them.

I have ratcheted it down in recent years though.  There is only so much free time for me anymore and I can only accomplish so much.  I try to break my goals into three areas, financial, personal and misc.  This year my misc list was all about my house.  In previous years it was about my job.

For the last three years, most of my personal goals are about my appearance.  I have really struggled with losing the weight the I gained during my pregnancy.  Obviously my post pregnancy time was really tough and weight loss was my last thought.  But I am the first to admit that I have let myself go.

This year I took the first step towards changing that.  In August I used the Isagenix 30 Day Nutritional Cleansing System and lost 9.5 lbs.  I felt fantastic after.  So much lighter and healthier than before.  I have continued using the shakes as a breakfast replacement but I know I can do more.

For 2016, I am going to try the Kayla Itsines Guides.  I feel like my fitness goals could use a shake up and I love working out.  I know it sounds weird but when I have a bad day, I come home and do a quick 20-30 min workout and my whole head is cleared.  It is my go to for stress relief and constantly changing it up keeps it fun and exciting.

I just recently got back into running which is fantastic.  But as a long time runner I am aware that doesn't tone me up.  I love it but I need something else.  I need to challenge myself and I think this is just the thing to do it.

I like planning and trying new things so I am really excited about all of this.  What are your fitness goals?  And what are you trying new?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Finding Stability

I think I can be the first person to say that 2015 has been a rough year for Max and I.  Maybe more for me than Max but either way it has been tough.

I don't like winter but I am secretly counting the days till 2016.  I know most of our issues won't go away in the new year.  But there is something to be said for a fresh start, right?

Child care has been our biggest issue this year.  I feel like Max is a ball bouncing from school to daycare to nannies, over and over again.  We have been through three daycares this year.  On top of that, we are on our 3rd nanny of the year and already it isn't looking so good.

From her aggressive texts asking for more money to her 6:30 am text today saying she couldn't watch Max, she is stressing me out.  When you hire someone to watch your child, it is like any other job.  You don't get to change your pay mid way through.  You don't get to pick the days you work.  But she must not have gotten that memo.

On top of that, you pay a fortune for a nanny so that you have constant care and you can decide when you need them longer.  I am not getting any of those benefits right now.  So why am I spending so much money?

I also start to wonder about the negative effects of him bouncing from caregiver to caregiver.  I know kids have to learn to be flexible but at the age of 3, you can only expect so much from him.  He gets attached to each daycare teacher and each nanny and then they leave him.  When he asks for them later on, it breaks my heart.

I am the first to admit that Max is a handful.  I don't ever sugar coat that.  But he is a sweet kid and really loving too.  I wish I could make everyone see that.

The problems with his childcare have caused me to have to make changes at work too.  I have had to change my job because I never know when I won't be able to go to work.  My hope is the job changes will remove some of the stress from my life.  But there is a small part of me that feels like a failure too.  I will never be this amazing business woman.  I will just be mediocre because I was held back by my personal life.

All of these things have made 2015 one of the roughest years of my life.  But on the flipside I have really learned priorities this year.

As a single mom, having a social life is really important.  Not just in the aspect of dating but because you need time to be you.  For me, finding the time to run again has been amazing.  I feel so great that I have been able to fit that back in.  It sounds crazy, but I love it.

Lastly, you have to realize what is important each day.  Homemade cupcakes for school really don't matter when you are up at 2am baking them.  Sleep matters.

Get the sleep.  Buy the cupcakes.  Wear yoga pants.  Have a dirty house.  You can even have dirty hair.  It is all ok.  I said so!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Run Forest Run

Those of you who know me from back in the day (pre Max) know that I used to actually be a runner.  I actually ran a couple of times a week, ran tons of races each year and even (gasp) ran a marathon or two.  I even had a blog on the interwebs, just to talk about my running obsession.

For years, running was more than my passion.  It was my lifestyle.  My weeks were filled with early morning runs with friends, weekly runs with my running club and my weekends were solely devoted to the long run.  I spent a fortune on shoes and race fees.  I owned more running shorts than I did jeans.  I talked about running 24/7.

I ran on my wedding day because there was no way I was going to skip a scheduled run while training for the Marine Corp Marathon.  I remember telling people that my NYC marathon race was so amazing that it was one of the best days of my life.  Running was literally my everything.

I can't pin point when it all fell apart because I think it was a slow crumble.  First my ex's drinking made it hard to leave the house, then I was pregnant and running wasn't fun, finally when I had Max, there was no way I was leaving him with a drunk.  The fews runs I went on after I had Max, I remember being so exhausted that I stopped on the street and cried.  I felt broken.

It was even worse when I moved back to CT.  My life was in shambles, I was living with my parents, and Max took up every second of my day.  I tried to come back from all of this by running a half marathon that June and it was awful.  My worst time EVER.  I was actually ashamed of the results and barely told anyone I ran the race.

That is probably the moment that killed me.  Runners are highly competitive and I was once at the top of my game with sub 2:00 half marathons.  That last half took me almost three hours.  What the fuck happened to me?

Either way, I broke up with running.

I was talking to my sister the other day and she told me that when I was running, I was the happiest I had ever been.  It completed me.  It helped calm me and center me.  I worked through all of my problems while running and when I was done, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle anything.

For the last couple of weeks, I have started going for runs during my lunch break .  It is hard and not always enjoyable.  But when I am done, I feel amazing.  Hot and sweaty and amazing.

So running and I are getting back together.  You heard it hear first.  Time to lace up those sneakers, bitches. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Throwing in the Towel

I don't like to think of myself as a quitter.  The core of my personality is a relentless barracuda (charming picture right?).  But some days it all just seems too much and the thought of throwing in the towel sounds so easy....

During my first marathon in DC I was separated from my running partner.  It was around mile 16, I still had 10 to go and I was fucking dying.  My legs hurt, I could barely breath, I was mentally and physically drained.

I remember running thru Arlington and every person I passed kept chanting "You got this", "You are almost finished." I imagine that, at that point, my face was frozen in a rigor mortis of pain.  I must have looked scary to all those spectators!  All I wanted to do was lay on the ground and give up.  Then before I knew it, I was at mile 25 and so close to finishing.

When I finally crossed that finish line, I sobbed like a baby.  Then a week later, I decided to run another marathon the next year.  No way was I going to let one marathon crush me!

I can still vividly remember that night 3+ years ago when I gave birth to Max.  I had been in labor since noon and it was closing in on Midnight.  My epidural had given up the ghost and I was in excruciating pain.

I remember looking at Scott and telling him that I couldn't do this.  I couldn't possibly give birth to this enormous baby boy.  I was sobbing.  I was 100% ready to throw in the towel and be pregnant for the rest of my life.

Then my doctor walked in, told me to suck it up and push that baby out.  I screamed like a banshee but I did it.  When they put that beautiful, 9 lb Thanksgiving Turkey in my arms, I wept tears of joy.  I still can't believe that I did that and I am in awe of how beautiful he is.

Today was one of those days.  We are in week two of our third daycare and already I can see the problems.  Max has behaved really badly the last two days and today I had to pick him up early.  I was driving to the daycare and for a brief moment I thought that it would be so nice to walk away from these problems.  Trust me, I am ashamed to type this.  To utter aloud those thoughts.

I spent 9 months growing this child.  I have raised him virtually on my own for three plus years.  I solely support him.  I have given him my everything.  I have had countless sleepless nights worrying about his care, his development, his lack of gluten free snacks, his fucking sippy cups.  To throw in the towel now is not something I would ever do.  But for that brief moment, it flitted thru my mind.

But I like to think of myself as a problem solver.  Or even better, a kick ass, karate chopping, problem solving ninja.  I know that no matter how this plays out, I will find a solution.  I am not a quitter and Max is my biggest accomplishment.  I refuse to let a small bump in the road derail everything.

No one ever said parenting was easy.  It is fucking hard.  Every day they challenge you.  Test you.  Push you to your absolute breaking point.  But you have to believe that at the very end, when you are old, that they will be sitting next to you.  Because they are your best friends and the true loves of your life.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Successful Hostage Exchange

The hilarious Clemsongirl used to talk about her summer hostage exchanges, where she would ship her boys off to grandparents camp.  That is what this week is for me.

Max is living it up on LBI with Paul and Debs and I am living it up in CT.  It really isn't as exciting as it sounds but I feel so free this week.  I went home last night and spent two hours online shopping on my couch.  What????????

Of course, I am insane, so there is minimal relaxation so far.  Sunday I cleaned my house top to bottom.  I moved furniture, dusted, vacuumed, decontaminated, etc.  I did about 10 loads of laundry and even went through Max's toys.  I donate old crap, threw away broken crap and finally collapsed in my bed at 5pm.  On freshly washed sheets!

I went for a run (cough walk) with a friend this am and I am getting a pedicure tonight.  I am going paddleboarding with my sister on Thursday.  I am determined to only do fun things this week.

It is really important to recharge your batteries as a parent.  Those little monsters suck the life out of you.  And sometimes you become a bit of a crazy person because you are literally exhausted.  I mean when you have a meltdown in your kitchen because your kid won't drink his milk in the blue cup, only the green cup, you know you are going off the deep end.....

Old Alex was really fun.  She went out all the time.  Belonged to a book club, a running club, etc.  I ran marathons, did yoga, read books.  I was a real human being who had nice hair and wore makeup.  But my life had a lot of sad times too.  So I was basically running from my real problems all the time.  (Did you get that pun?  I am so clever!)

Things are really different now.  I barely run anymore.  I rarely finish a book and yoga is a thing of the past.  But my days are filled with laughter because of Max.  I rarely sweat the small stuff because there is no free time for that.

Life is constantly changing and evolving.  I could never go back to my old life but having some of that free time again would be really amazing.  No matter what, I am relishing every second of this week.  Each quiet, peaceful, relaxing minute of it!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Turning Things Around

A good friend recently told me that sometimes my blog posts make her sad.  The thought that I had become a sad person really bothered me and it has really stuck with me over the last week or so.

I have never been one to be down all the time.  I usually have my moments and then I generally bounce back quickly.  Honest to god, the most depressed I ever was was the 2 months when I couldn't run and was stuck in a boot.  Wearing men's sweatpants for two months would depress anyone, right?

That said, I took her words to heart and I really started to evaluate everything.  It is really important to be happy every day.  Life is hard enough on its own and you need those good vibes to pull you through the rough patches.

So I am making changes.....

I started a new diet because I am really bothered by those extra 15 lbs I gained TRYING to get pregnant with Max.  Don't get me started on the pregnancy weight too.  Shamu called and he wants his tank back!  I am on day 4 and I already feel better.  Don't get things twisted, I am freaking hungry and I want a donut.  But my pants aren't tight so its a good fucking day!

I also attempted a technology free day yesterday with Max.  When I am glued to my phone, he doesn't get attention.  So then he acts get attention.  I recently read a New York Times article about adult screen time and how it effects children and it kind of opened my eyes.  I am in no way judging peeps who hand their kid an iPad so you can get a moment of peace.  I live by that some days!  But it is a little hard to tell him no when I can barely detach from my phone.

So I tried really hard yesterday to put the phones, ipads, kindles, computers, etc away and just spend the day with him.  And we had a REALLY good day.  (Side note- I spent an hour in bed last night "catching up" on everything I missed yesterday)  It can't be an every day thing.  I work a lot at night and I need to answer calls and emails.  But it clearly doesn't have to be a 24/7 committed relationship either.

Every day can't be amazing, that isn't reality.  But you can't allow everything bad thing that happens to derail your life.  You have to take joy in the little things, laugh at the meltdowns and take every day with a grain of salt!

That's my story and I am sticking to it!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Holding Ourselves Back

I have never been a fearful person.  I have a tendency to run full force into everything and then suffer the consequences after the fact.  I think cutting bangs sounds like a great idea, especially after a couple of glasses of wine.  Maybe I should start striping wallpaper, at 10pm.  Go on an all vegan diet, without doing any research about what I can eat.

Which is why I was so shocked this year to realize that I am holding Max back.  And the cause is fear.....

He acted up a couple of times when we were out with friends.  My immediate solution was to stop doing things with other kids.  If it is just the two of us, no one can see him be bad or judge me as a bad parent.

When we go to stores, I am so fearful of being unable to control him, that I force him to sit in a shopping cart.  Then he yells the entire shopping trip because he wants to be a big boy and walk beside me.  At the end of each shopping trip, I am exhausted and usually pretty angry.

When we left the first daycare, I refused to contact any of his friend's parents.  Because I didn't want to explain what had happened.  I didn't want people to think he was a bad kid.  I didn't want anyone to judge us.

First truth- Max is not a bad kid.
Second truth- He will never remember this shit.
Third truth- I am not a bad parent
Fourth truth- I have to let shit go

I have to stop being such a control freak.  You heard it hear folks, I am a raging control freak.  My child doesn't have to do everything in the order than makes me happy.  Some days we can brush our teeth first.  Some days we get dressed first.  Letting these little battles go make my day better.

I can't always control his actions.  He is going to have good days and bad days.  I have to keep putting us out there and see what happens.  Maybe one day he will shock me with his stellar behavior.  I won't hold my breath, but what the hell, it could happen.

I have to let him grow up.  He isn't my little baby anymore.  He needs to spread his wings and do things on his own.  It means there will be spills and there will be accidents but that is part of the growing process.  And if I have to buy a lot more paper towels, then that is just too bad.

I really felt like I was protecting him by doing these things.  But in the end, I was just protecting myself from more heartache and sadness.  I used to be a really social person.  Max may be really social too.  But I have to give him the opportunity to find out.

We have to stop holding ourselves back.  You have to believe that every time you put yourself out there and try something new, that something great will happen.  You will meet a new friend.  Find a new food you love.  Find out your kid is pretty stellar (even though you really knew that all along!)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finding a Balance

Finding balance in my life is incredibly hard.  I don't care what all those feel good websites tell you.  There is only so much time in each day.  And there is a constant to-do list that never goes away.  You do the math.

If I don't wash the dishes tonight, so I can sit down and watch TV (me time), those dishes are still waiting for me the next morning.  If I spend my whole Sunday playing with Max, then we have no clean clothes, no lunches and a dirty house.

So how do you find balance that is right for YOU.....

For me it has been really hard to find and I am still working on it everyday.  But I feel like I am too frustrated and too angry lately, so I know I have to make some changes.  I need a couple of minutes each day where no one is hanging on my leg, screaming mommy!  A couple of moments of peace and happiness.

So what did I do?

I pushed my work hours back.  This actually happened because of Max's new school but it has been an amazing change for me too.

I used to be at work at 7am.  If I wanted to workout in the morning, I had to get up at 5am.  I am constantly exhausted so that rarely happened.  That meant I had to come home and fit in the workout before dinner.  But Max would want my attention so it would be a complete shit show.  Then because I woke up so early, I was asleep by 9-9:30 most nights.

Now I get to work between 8:30-9 each day.  What did this do for me?  So much!  I am able to work out each morning before Max gets up.  I can stay up later because I am not waking with the birds, so I have time at night to relax, watch tv or read a book.  Plus Max is great in the am, so our time together is really nice.  A lot less screaming and crying which is always a bonus.

This morning, the school bus was early, so I rode my bike to work.  I was a sweaty mess when I got there but it was so nice.  Another little moment of me time.

I know this afternoon when it is 90 degrees I will regret the bike ride home but it doesn't matter.  I will have the wind in my sweaty bangs, the sun on my arms and my head will be free of all the garbage.

No day is ever perfect.  There is always going to be some meltdown, some yelling or some crying.  Max is an active toddler and that just goes with the territory.  But if you balance the rough patches, with a lot of good, you can make it all work!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When Life Derails

I didn't really plan on ever sharing this story but I feel like my life derailed this past winter and I can't seem to get us back on track.  This is really Max's story and I didn't feel it was right to share it.  But I never had any idea how much this would effect me.  So here it is...

This past winter, the shit hit the fan.

In December, Max's two daycare teacher abruptly left the school.  He doesn't always accept change well so I was worried but I thought we would muscle through.  In January, I could tell things weren't exactly kosher all the time but no major drama, so I left well enough alone.  Then at the end of January, things got bad.

The last week of January, I received calls from Max's daycare every day.  Max was rough, Max was aggressive.  I needed to pick Max up right away.  Finally, the last Friday in January, the daycare director called and told me that Max had hurt a teacher and they were done.  Max had been kicked out of daycare.

My son is big for his age and he can be aggressive.  But he is a lover and I really find it hard to believe that he that bad.  Trust me, I am well aware of my sons faults.  There are no blinders here.  But I strongly believe things at this school were exaggerated.

I was so in shock when I drove to the school.  I honestly didn't know this situation was possible.  But weirdly the night before, I didn't sleep all night, like I knew something bad was going to happen.  I got to the school and his belongings were sitting by the front door in trash bags.  I begged the director to give me a couple of weeks to find another solution but she was adamant.  It was over.

I remember sobbing the whole way home that day.  I literally didn't know what to do.  Around lunch time, I came out of the fog and got down to action.  I called my ex and first the first time in a long time, he stepped up to the plate and agreed to take Max for the next week.  Then I started hammering the phones.  I called every daycare in Fairfield and the neighboring towns.

By the end of the day, I had six appointments for the next week.  I dropped Max off that Sunday, determined to find a solution.  After a long and exhausting week, I thought I had found a solution.  A local daycare, that was less expensive, on my way to work and provided diapers..... cue the hallelujah chorus.

That daycare couldn't take him for two weeks so I managed to find a temporary nanny and then took some days off from work to supplement.  Add in snowstorms every Monday and this was a really depressing time period and I know Max could feel the strain.

Daycare number two was bad from the beginning.  I wanted to throw up every morning when I dropped him off and every day my stomach would start to hurt right before I picked him up.  He sobbed when I left him every day.  It was so awful that I would cry on my way to work.  The teachers were emotionless.  Every day when I picked him up they never had anything good to say about him.  It was so frustrating but I was determined to make it work.

That first Friday the director called me and said she thought Max might not be a good fit for the school but we would give it a couple of more weeks.  I was so discouraged.  How can you make that decision in just three days?  Why doesn't my son deserve a valid chance?

By the end of March, it was official.  School number two was a bust.

The last week of that daycare I posted ads on, interviewed nannies, called references, etc.  It was exhausting.  Every lunch hour and every night was poured into this.  I couldn't go to a third daycare and fail again.  Finally, I found A.  She seemed really great.  Early to work every day, house was spotless, etc.  She wasn't warm and fuzzy but neither am I.

Mid May, Max was offered a spot at the ECC.  It is a special preschool run by our town.  The best way to describe it, is a program for kids who need a little extra help.  Max needs that and I was ecstatic to get a spot... until they told me it was only three hours a day.  Who does that work for??

I kept A on to supplement his time at the ECC but she was starting to become problematic.  He was always in diapers (even though we are up to our eyeballs in potty training) and then he told me that she spanked him.  Before I had the chance to talk to her about it, she quit.  No need to rehash that story, but as you can see, I was once again in a bind.

I pieced together the past couple of weeks by using family members, other babysitters and vacation time.  Tomorrow the new nanny starts.  Then in the fall I hope to place him in his third daycare.  He will go there after his mornings at the ECC each day.

Where am I going with all this drama?

Basically, when this stuff happened with Max, my life derailed too.  The stress of managing his care eats away at me.  I don't sleep well any longer because my mind is constantly spinning.  I had to quit my gym because I didn't have time to go.  I haven't been on a date since December.  I haven't been out with friends since February.  The cost of the nanny hindered any extra money to be spent on fun things like weekend babysitters or new clothes.  In addition, the ex stopped paying child support.

Side note- this is not a bitch fest.  I will admit that my plate is very full.  I own an older house, I have a wild Indian for a child and I also own my own business.  But my life is not horrible.  There are people out there who have much greater challenges than I have.  But some days all of these moving parts do feel like they are about to bury me.  Those are the days, like today, when I am so sad about all of this.

What I am trying to say, is that when I got divorced, all I wanted to do was rebuild me.  Lose the baby weight that won't go away.  Make new friends.  Buy a house.  Finally meet someone I can share my life with.  But the basis of all of those things is that I want to be happy.  And that is not too much to ask for.

But then this stuff with Max happened and I had to scrap all of that.  The bottom line is that your child comes first.  No matter what.  He has to come first.  I am his care giver, his provider, his advocate, his protector.  I am everything.  There isn't a B team to pick up the slack.

Everyone likes to talk about Me time.  But what do you do when there physically isn't any more time left in the day.  When there is no money to spend, no more energy to give.  What do you do then?  How do I put our lives back on track?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Things No One Tells You

If back when you were a naive little newlywed, trying to get pregnant, and someone told you about the rough days of parenting (in explicit detail) I swear half of us would never have kids.  I am not just talking about the attitude or the sicknesses or the potty training.  But the trouble finding someone reliable to watch your kid.  Any the worry that keeps you up at night even though you have never been more tired.  The days that literally break you under stress and back talk....these are the things that make us true parents!

Yesterday my Nanny just didn't show up.  Literally, no call, no show.  I had texted her Sunday night, no response.  Again at 6am and 7am on Monday.  Finally at 7:45, I started calling.  My last call she rolled right into voicemail.  Fuck meeeeeeee

Now it is Monday at 8am and I am late for work with a crazy boy running around screaming.  The panic sets in and I start furiously texting everyone I have ever met.  Every babysitter, one babysitter's mother (she is at camp!!!) and all of my friends.  When all else fails, like a little kid, I called my Momma and started crying.

In swoops Grandma to save the day!  She picked up Max, dropped me at work and saved the day.  She is my savior and I owe her a kidney, some wine and a million dollars.

After I calmed down, I realized that the Nanny had left her key on my table on Monday.  Apparently in this new, modern world that is a resignation.  No, "Hey I found a new job." or "I won't be here Monday because your kid is a monster".  Because that would take manners and class...apparently this girl had neither.

Now I am without a nanny and two months of Max's time to fill.  I finally found someone for this week and next week we are on vacation.  But what do I do then....

The reality is that it took weeks to trust the last Nanny.  To leave the iPads and laptops at home and stop listening on the baby monitor to make sure she wasn't killing my kid.  It took weeks to get in a rhythm and not feel sick to my stomach about Max's care.  Now I have to start all over.

And when you boil it all down, I am just fucking tired.  Tired of working so hard just to go to work every day.  This winter alone, I have been through two daycares and two nannys.  That is four failures under my belt and the thought of that is just exhausting.

I never thought I would be a single parent and that all of this shit would be on me.  I never thought I would have to manage all of this on my own.  Which makes the failures even harder to swallow.

But I do and that is my reality.  Some days, like yesterday, are really hard.  I literally want to curl up in a ball and cry.  Other days I feel like superwoman, getting shit down, crossing of my lists and still finding time to run through the sprinkler (while changing beds, laundry, walking the dog, teaching Max Mandarin, potty training, etc).  You know....the basics!

I don't want anyone to misunderstand, I would never give up my little monster for anything.  Even when yesterday, during all the madness, he stuffed two allergy pills in his mouth and I had to call poison control.  Even that won't break me.

But late at night, when I can't sleep, I won't lie and say that a few tears weren't shed and that my heart was a little broken yesterday.  I brought this person into our life and I thought she honestly liked Max.  So my heart is sad for him because this felt like a rejection.

Moral of the story, those Pampers commercials are all a lie.  It isn't all rosy days at the park and dry diapers.  Parenting is fucking hard and it never gets easier.  The problems just change and evolve.  But you would like to believe that in the end you produce this amazing adult that can someday become your friend.  And a small little part of me looks forward to the payback.  When I am 80 years old and Max has to care for me, I am going to fill my mouth with allergy pills so he is the one on the phone with poison control!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I'm Desperate....

I am literally a desperate woman, at the end of her rope.  I don't know what to do with my child most days and I feel like such a failure.  

Max, my beautiful, willful, little monster is driving me insane.  He is deep into the ugliest part of the terrible twos (times a million) and I am at my wits end.

He is such a vocal child.  He talks constantly (I mean constantly).  Telling you about his day, what he thinks, what he feels, what color the sky is, etc.  But that same vocabulary switches on a dime and becomes an incessant stream of "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" until I want to run out of my house screaming.  Most days I feel like he is jack hammering my brain.  I try ignoring him but he is relentless.

On the flip side he is a stubborn little goat.  He knows the exact buttons to push and he pushes them about 1,764,982 times a day.  By the time I finally put him to bed, I throw myself on my bed in complete exhaustion.  I honestly don't know how you do this with more than one child.  I would be sitting in a corner crying.

Tonight was a particularly bad night.  At my office, he hung up on customer, drew all over my papers and crushed crackers into my files.  At BJ's he screamed "I want a toy" for a solid 30 minutes and then was bewildered he didn't get one.  When we came home he threw his bouncy ball at the dog until I screamed.  During his time out, he stripped the bed completely bare and then sobbed when I spanked him.  He is now naked in the playroom, talking to his matchbox cars, while I sob into my white wine.

How do you redirect a mastermind child like this?  No means yes.  Up means down.  Stop means he runs as fast as he can.  I used to be able to work with this but now his safety is in question.  I don't trust him in parking lots.  We can barely go for walks together.

I read 1-2-3 Magic but it really didn't work with him.  Plus I got really freaking tired of cleaning up the destruction of his room every time out.  I know they say to ignore the mess and let them just live in it but diaper cream squeezed all over the pillows, comforter and sheets has to be cleaned by someone and last time I checked three year olds don't do laundry.

The schools told me to ignore the bad behavior.  They say he just wants attention.  No shit he wants attention!  But how do you ignore him spraying Clorox Bathroom cleaner all over your bedroom furniture.  Tell me what person wouldn't lose their shit over that.  I want to meet this holy apparition!

So what do you do?  He is the first child to try and break his parent, right?  Please god tell me one of you has experienced this!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Battle of Bedtime

Most nights in our house, bedtime resembles the WWE.  Or maybe WWIII would be a better analogy.  It is downright ugly.  End of the world, apocalyptic uglyness.

The night starts out so great.  We brush our teeth, read our book and then I tuck my snuggly little boy into bed.  I kiss his forehead, say goodnight and shut the door.

And that is when my sweet little boy turns into a little demon monster, just like Carrie in the exorcist (minus the pea soup)...

For the next 1-2 HOURS he slowly breaks me, until I am a complete raving lunatic.  Screaming at the top of my lungs, taking away teddy bears, snatching pacifiers and the absolute worst...turning off all the lights so he is in the dark.

If the US Army wants to take notes, this is how you truly break someone.... Max style.  From the moment I tuck him in, it is game on.  He keeps getting out of bed like a jack in the box.  He slowly opens the door and then when you look at him or tell him to go back to bed, he laughs.  YES, HE LAUGHS IN MY FACE.

At first, I am able to ignore this.  I tuck him back into bed two, three, four times.  By time number five, I am gritting my teeth, determined not to lose my temper.  By time number ten, I am yelling and taking things away.  By time number fifty, I am screaming like a mad woman.

In between getting out of bed, he systematically destroys his bedroom.  Ripping sheets off the bed, banging creepy talking Elmo against the door until you are sure he is going to break the door down, clanging the blinds against the window.  All in hopes I will come running in.

When that doesn't work, he screams Mommy over and over until my ears start to bleed.

Last night, I literally broke.  By 10pm I lost my temper completely.  After two hours of destruction and laughing, I just snapped.  I yelled and I spanked him and then he sobbed hysterically and told me I scared him.  I hugged him, went into my bedroom and cried like a baby.

Bedtime shouldn't be like this right?  It should be peaceful.  But we are stuck on a merry go round of terror,  complete with scary clowns, screaming and destruction.  I literally don't know how to stop it this hellish ride and we are starting to spin out of control.

I tried ignoring but that didn't work.  I tried the no talking, no eye contact.  But how many times can you tuck a kid back in.  After two hours of bedtime battle, how do you end it.  There has to be a way to take back bedtime.  But for the life of me, I can't figure out how.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Long Overdue House Update

I have been living in my house since mid November and I have been meaning to write this post for weeks.  But something always comes up and distracts me from doing this!

In the heat of closing on the house and starting my renovations, I forgot to take a bunch of "before pictures".  Here is the kitchen:

And the bathroom

Gross right?

My mom refinished this antique Hoosier Cabinet for me so I would have more storage.

And we painted the cabinets gray and the walls white.  Say bye bye knotty pine!

I completely gutted the bathroom, moved the tub and the sink.

It is a really small bathroom, so I had to get a little creative with storage but I love how it turned out!

We also ripped up carpets on all the floors and refinished the hard woods.  The rooms look so big now.  Any house is a work in progress and I know I will be working on this house forever.  

It is really nice to be in our own space and to have a home again!  Makes me feel amazing!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter Time Blues

I seriously can't believe the last time I posted was on 10/23.  I have no idea where the time has gone.  The holidays flew by and now I am stuck in what I consider the bleakest part of the year.

I am not a fan of winter.  I hate to be cold.  I hate how short the days are.  And I seriously hate snow.  Worst of all, it makes me a little sad.  Like I want to get in bed and get out on April first.

I wouldn't say depressed because by nature I am not a sad person.  But I definitely have a case of the winter time blues.  I just don't feel like my normal happy self right now.  Maybe it is the dry skin or the frizzy hair or how I look like an oompa loompa in my winter coat, but things just aren't kosher during the winter.  Do you know what I mean?

I would say it has gotten worse since I got divorced too.  Staying home all weekend is really nice when you have someone to spend it with.  When you are by yourself, it just isn't the same.

I am never alone any longer because I always have Max with me but I definitely miss adult company.  Normally we would drive over to my parents house and Max would watch cartoons while I have a glass of wine with my mom.  But my parents are in Florida now.  That is a huge contribution to my blues.

So when the weekend rolls around and I have two days of just Max and myself, I feel like I am drowning a little.  That sounds horrible and I hate to say it out loud but it is true.  It isn't Max at all, though he can be challenging at times.  It is the lack of a conversation that doesn't involve the word why 4,876 times.  It is also how hard it is to do anything at this time of the year.  Try shoving an active toddler, in a winter coat, into a tight car seat and then tell me how much you love running errands in the winter.

In the summer we can be outside or at the beach and the days are great.  I have a million ways to entertain him and myself.  But right now we are trapped inside and I feel like I may go a little insane.  I mean how many trips to Target can one family make, right?

I hate the thought of counting days but that is where I am right now.  I am literally counting days until mid March when the seasons start to change.  In reality, I have 7 weeks till March but I seriously don't know how I will make it through those 7 weeks.

How do you survive winter?