Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Where Has She Gone?

You may be wondering where I have been lately.  That is assuming that you desperately love reading this diatribe about how crazy my son is and how fat I am, depending on the day of course!

Things have been insane lately.  

First, I have been in a horrible funk.  I SERIOUSLY hate the time change but this year it hit me harder than normal.  It is dark when I get up and dark most days when I go home.  I just feel so sad some days.  I am normally a very happy person so I hate this blah feeling.  On top of that I have been really irritable and grouchy too.  As you can guess, my period finally came and hopefully this funk is behind us.

Second, tons of family stuff has happened lately.  My grandfather was in the hospital.  My dog is reall sick.  My mom is stressed out.  Etc, etc, etc.  It has been a bit of a shit storm lately.  All that stress and worry really starts to wear on you, probably adding to my general bad mood the last couple of weeks.

Third, I am clearly going thru a massage sugar withdrawal.  The week leading up to Halloween and the week after can only be described by saying that I completely gorged myself.  I am thoroughly disgusted by what I ate, yet I kept shoving tootsie rolls in my mouth.  I have slowly been trying to get myself back on track but the early darkness and blah mood makes it hard to stay on track some days.

When I list all this stuff out, probably 90% of my problems are my diet.  I have been eating crap, so I feel like crap.  My skin is gross, my clothes are tight....blah blah blah.   I wish I could bottle this crap feeling so everytime I want to grab a candy bar, I can take a whiff of this and remind myself that it JUST ISN'T WORTH IT!

Realizing that you are being a complete bitch because your tight pants are sawing your stomach in half and you are so uncomfortable is a rude awakening.  As I type this, I am cheers-ing you with a tall glass of water, instead of a much wanted glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  

Hears to your health, my friends!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Clearing Some Space

I know what you are thinking.  Christ this girl is purging her house again!  But no, I have stopped obsessively donating things.  (For the most part!)  The space I am talking about is head space.

I know, I know.  Hug a tree for god sake, right?  This new age, hippie talk is so not like my sarcastic self.  Did she start wearing birkenstocks?  Did she trade in the Volvo for a Subaru?  Nope, I am just trying new ways to feel better!

With my 2016 Fitness Challenge, I have devoted a lot of this year to bettering myself.  I read a few self help books, I read A LOT of parenting books, I really devoted myself to Yoga again, I (for the most part) cleaned up my diet and much more!  But I still feel mentally exhausted a lot of the time.

Let's be honest, life is exhausting.  I have tried to really simplify our life but I still have to work and I still have to be a parent.  These two things weigh on my mind a lot.  They keep me up at night.  They are the basis of most of my worries.  

So I decided to try meditation.

My brain runs about 4,879 miles per minute.  It races day and night.  I am notorious for making to do lists while lying in Savasana.  When I workout, I keep a notepad nearby so I can write down thoughts.  It sounds neurotic but these thoughts slam around in my head until I write them down, so I finally gave in and started doing that.

I have been trying this for about a month now and it is by no means easy for me.  First, I have a really hard time sitting still.  I fix my hair, I fix my bra, I wiggle.  It is shocking how hard this is for me.  Two, my brain is so chatty.  I have to constantly bring my mind back to the meditation.  All of these things have made meditation more of a chore. 

Because of this, I have gravitated towards guided meditations.  Focusing on someone else talking has made this endeavor a lot easier.  I have been using the Meditation Studio app and it has been fantastic.  I am strictly a 3-5 minute meditator but I can't tell you how peaceful I feel when I am done.

I am still very new to this and I have to constantly remind myself to make time to meditate.  But I am really feeling the results of it so I am going to stick with it!

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Workout Challenge

September was a bit of a rough month.  I am coming off of a long vacation in August and with school starting again, I have been having trouble finding my groove.  My diet has been filled with treats and drinks and more.  Because of that, I have been feeling tired and not 100%.  I have been working out routinely but a bad diet means that you will never see the results of all that work!

I really hemmed and hawed on what workout to do in September and finally I decided to go back to my winter staple, the Sworkit app.  I seriously love this app and if you haven't tried it, you have to download it.  It is completely free and a co-worker recommended it to me this past winter.  

You can pick from four types of workout, strength, cardio, yoga and stretching.  The cardio is KILLER.  Like your heart is going to pound out of your chest.  For this reason, I usually do the strength workout.  Once you select strength, you can pick from full body, upper body, core and lower body.

This month, I did all full body workouts.  I started with 25 minutes and slowly worked myself up to 45 minute workouts.  For the most part, I did these workouts 2-3 times a week.  The rest of the week went to pilates, Barre3 and yoga.

What I like about this workout, is the way they time it.  Yes it is a 45 minute workout, but every excercise is only 30 seconds.  Each exercise is different and it is very rare that they repeat in the same workout.  After 5 exercises, there is a 30 second break.

You can give your all for 30 seconds.  Anyone can!  Then before you know it, 45 minutes is over.  It is amazing how fast it flies by!

I have been feeling very soft and puffy lately.  Maybe from the entire bag of caramel corn I ate Saturday night but who is pointing fingers here!  Either way, I have been craving a workout that makes me feel strong and this definitely filled that need.

What workouts have you been trying lately?

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Perfect Weekend

As a parent, you know that there is really no such thing as the perfect weekend.  There are always going to be some bumps in the road.  A minor meltdown here, a kicked dog there.  You get the picture.  But this past weekend was the closest thing to perfection I have had in a long time.

August was really hectic.  To give you an idea, this was Max's August:

First week with his dad.
Second week bug camp fail and a back up babysitter.
Third week normal babysitter is back.
Fourth week, my grandmother dies, so Monday in LBI with the whole family, Tuesday and Wednesday in Rehoboth, Thursday and Friday in LBI without me.
Fourth week was our vacation, so just chaos and minimal sleep.
From that vacation, we went right into the first day of school.

With school, we have new kids in the classrooms, new teachers (his is out on a leave of absence right now) and two new babysitters.  On top of that we are back to routines but not the same routines we had last year.  Now I put him on the bus but this means I go to work later and get home even later.  I am down right exhausted and I know he is too.

This weekend, I wanted to really enjoy ourselves.  So Friday night I did all the laundry and cleaned the house. My house is super small so this takes maybe an hour.  But I wanted all of the chores out of the way so we could relax and have fun all weekend.

Saturday morning we had a playdate at his school.  It is run by the school and is a great way to meet parents and exhaust your child.  (Win!)  From there, we picked up my sister and went apple picking.  Max was amazing.  He was so fun and really sweet the entire time.  He kept hugging us and telling us what a great day it was.  We picked a ton of apples and had a lot of treats.  We ran some errands and then went home for a quiet night.

Sunday we got up and played with toys and read the paper before soccer.  Max wasn't feeling that great, so we came home after soccer and just relaxed.  We read some books, watched the Minion Movie and watched about 3,897 episodes of Transformers.  We REALLY love those Transformers.

There is no guarantee that this mystical beast of the perfect weekend will occur again but this is my recipe for it:

  • Limited activities
  • Keep it very simple 
  • Base most of what we do around him
It sounds so simple but it really isn't.  There is no choice, the house must be cleaned, the laundry must be washed, groceries must be purchased and lunches must be made.  I normally do all this on Sunday and we battle it out most of the day while I try to clean and he follows me with a path of destruction.

When the weekends are simple and a little quiet, we all have a great time.  He is happy and I am happy and that is an amazing thing.

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

August Fitness Challenge

Obviously like my last post, this is a very late follow up.  But I feel compelled to share this utter and complete failure with all of you!

August was all about trying the Tracey Anderson workouts.  And oh my sweet baby Jesus, I hated every one of them.

If you are a dancer, then maybe these workouts are for you.  I am not a dancer until there is a lot of alcohol in my body.  Because of that I just felt awkward and stupid every time I did these workouts.  The motions are so weird and fast and I could barely keep up.

I also can't stand her.  Sorry but I can't!  She has no expression on her face and just looks bored the whole time.  I don't feel compelled at all to work out with her.  All I could do was stare at her enormous fake breasts that never moved even though she was working out in a backless halter top (Seriously!)

I bought three dvds on Amazon for my trial.  Her live stream workouts are $95/month and that was just too much of a commitment for me.  The dvds are beginner, intermediate and advanced.  I only made it thru the first two before I threw in the towel.

So August was a big old fail!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Where Did You Go?

I can't believe it has been over a month since I posted.  So much has happened that the time just flew by.

Unfortunately my sweet grandmother passed away in mid August.  She was 94 years old and had lived a wonderful life but I was still heart broken from the loss.

Right after that was my 34th birthday.  Unfortunately this year I wasn't very interested in celebrating.  It just felt like it was too soon after my grandmother's passing.

From the 27th of August until September 6th I was on vacation down at the Jersey Shore.  It was a really nice vacation for the most part and it was wonderful to get away.

School started for the minion on September 6th and I am thrilled to have him back in school.  Max is a child who thrives on routine.  Summer is wonderful but all that free time is a little too much for him.

My college friend Andrea got married last weekend and I spent Saturday drinking my liver away and dancing until my feet were sore.

So that is my last month wrapped up in a couple of sentences.  Trying to get back into the swing of things over here!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Check Off July

I am a couple of weeks late but obviously the July workout challenge is done and we are on to a new workout in August.  July was sweaty and steamy so I decided to keep the workouts indoors instead of hitting the pavement for a month of running.  

This month was dedicated to strength training.  Back when I was a young twenty year old with oodles of free time on my hands, I used to strength train religiously.  I would work out four days a week.  I would run six miles, do some ab work and then work on my arms or my legs, depending on the days.

I obviously don't have time for that nonsense any longer.  Not really but I kind of fell off the wagon and never got back on.  Every spring I grab some 5lb dumbbells and figure that a couple of bicep curls will tone up all those jiggly bits on my arms.  But we all know that isn't really how it happens.

So I decided to really dig in this July.  Three days a week, I did a workout of legs, arms and abs.  It was about 45 minutes.  I would do weighted lunges and squats.  Calve raises and wall sits.  All the fun stuff.  Then I would move on to biceps and triceps, ending with a nice ab session.

The best part about this whole workout is that it allowed me to multitask.  Not only was I working out but I was catching up on all of my Real Housewives at the same time!  Dudes, we are in the middle of New York, New Jersey and the OC right now.  There is no time to waste!

But in all honesty I did enjoy these workouts.  I had that wonderful soreness after most of them, that is proof you worked hard.  My arms feel a little more toned and thanks to some recent clean eating, you can actually see a ghost of some abs.  A win win in the middle of summer.

August is here and we are on to a new workout.  I am giving Tracey Andersen a try.  By the end of the month I should be looking exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow so prepare to be jealous!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Not the Outcome I Had Expected

Max's babysitter has been away for the last two weeks.  Last week he spent time with his dad and this week I put him in camp.  This particular camp is held at the local Audubon Society and this week is dedicated to pond life.  Bugs and fish and turtles and frogs.  Every boys dream right?

Wrong apparently.  This week has been a huge let down.  Not only does Max hate camp, he apparently hates being dirty.  Yeah, I didn't get that memo.

Monday went ok but he was super nervous about not knowing any of the kids.  Tuesday they were in the pond and he had a minor freak out about how muddy he was.  Yesterday was rainy and they were stuck inside all day.  He was very upset about some kid knocking down his blocks and they had to put him in a time out.  None of these are the outcomes I had been hoping for.

So we sat down last night and talked about how nervous he is.  We talked about how he has to take calming breaths instead of getting mad.  But instead of that chat working and soothing his fears, he woke up at 4am this morning because he was so worked up.  Now on top of dropping off an overly nervous child, I am also dropping off a super exhausted one.

These are those parenting moments that you just can't plan for.  I am trying with every fiber of my being to be positive and optimistic about today's outcome.  Putting all those good thoughts into the universe and all that stuff.

But deep down, in my core, I know today won't go well.  This is classic Max and I can see the writing on the wall.  He is only four and he doesn't know how to turn these things around.  On top of that, he doesn't know how to deal with all of these emotions inside of him right now.  So when these situations happen, he literally just self combusts.  

All of those frustrations and nerves and fears are like a bottle rocket inside his little body.  I seriously wanted to say that he didn't have to go to camp today.  But it is really important to finish what you start and we only have two more days.  So I put on a big smile and packed him up in the car.  

It is so frustrating when you plan something hoping that they will love it but then they don't.  You want them to know it is ok for them to not like camp or that party or soccer, etc.  But I need to work, so he needs to go to camp.  So what is a mommy to do?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Scratch First, Itch Later

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed in the last two weeks that I have been suffering from Poison Ivy or the Devil Plant as I call it.  Let's be honest, there is no way you wouldn't know about it because I have been bitching for a solid two weeks.  Like non stop!

When I get poison ivy, it actually gets in my blood stream and spreads across my entire body.  So I was lucky enough to have huge patches of it on both of my arms, my left leg, my stomach and my boobs.  Oh yeah baby, right along the bottom of my right breast so that my underwire in my bra was constantly scrapping it raw.  Sexy times here folks!

After a really uncomfortable weekend, with crazy hot temperatures, I was near tears.  I called my doctor and I had to go to his office to get a shot and then take two rounds of steroids to calm it down and it still hasn't gone away.  When the rash finally flattened out, it left behind huge dark red/purple spots, so I looked like I had been burned.  You can imagine how calmly I have been taking all of this.

I have become a skin warrior!  Fighting against the evil poison ivy to rescue my poor, poor skin from it's itchy wrath.  Aka, I have been spending obsessive amounts of time online, looking for ways to calm my skin down.

Here is what I have found:
Posion ivy comes from the oils in the plant.  These oils are completely immune to soap (bastards) and unfortunately soap actually spreads the oils and the rash to places you would NEVER want it to go.  This laundry soap is strong enough to cut thru the oils.  Some people said it actually dried out the poison ivy but that didn't happen for me.  It is a pretty random choice, being a laundry soap, but at $1.49 a bar it was totally worth the try.  It really dried out my skin so I tried to just keep it on the rash.

Once the rash starts to spread, the itch will literally drive you insane.  I had a week of minimal sleep because it felt like my body was on fire.  I used this Gold Bond lotion in addition to a topical steroid cream to control the need to scratch.  This lotion has a really icy feel after you spread it on.  The cooling effect really calmed my skin down.  It was also super helpful in the 100+ degree heat we
had last week!

Once the poison ivy was almost gone, I was really worried about scaring.  This Sovereign Silver gel is amazing.  Not only will it heal any cuts almost instantly, it did an amazing job of reducing the red patches.  I have been using it since Friday and they are almost all gone.  It is truly a miracle product.

I now feel like my skin is super dry, probably from the excess of creams and lotions.  So I have been really focusing on exfoliating and then using a really rich lotion to sooth my poor skin.  I used Skinny & Co.  Sugar Scrub this morning and my skin feels and smells amazing.  The scrub has coconut oil in it so my skin was so soft after my shower.

Then I applied this because I personally feel this is the best body lotion of all time.  I use it religiously in the winter time to stop dry skin.  It is so thick that I actually have to fight to get my pants on afterwards.  That is so sexy right?

So this has pretty much been the focus of my last two weeks.  Probably because of the excess of steroids in my system, I have felt a little off lately.  I am desperately in need of a good nights sleep which is my game plan for tonight!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Back on Track

I think we can all agree that summertime can be rough on your diet and exercise plan.  Which is funny, since that it is the time of year that you are showing off the most skin.

On hot days, I just want to eat ice cream all day.  At the beach, I want to drink beers and stuff my face with chips and salsa.  But at the old, old age of 33 (soon to be 34), my body is all "no way Jose."

After a couple of long weekends down in LBI, I realized I was getting a little plump again.  Plus I had back to back doctors appointments which is never fun when they weigh you and then say "no more carbs lady!"

So I decided to give an elimination diet a try.  Don't get me wrong, this is not for the faint of heart.  There is way more that you can't eat, than you can eat.  But I have to tell you that after a week, I am feeling so good.  And I currently have poison ivy all over my body, so that is saying a lot!

I gave up alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy.  I have been cheating and having yogurt every morning though.  I don't eat meat and yogurt is a big source of protein for me so there is no way I could give that up too.  I have also been drinking a ton of water because it is crazy hot on the East Coast right now!

I have been doing this for over a week now and I feel great.  My stomach is a lot flatter, my head is clearer and I feel a lot calmer.  Given the insane itchiness that I am feeling 24/7, that is a really big deal.  I also feel like I have more energy.  I was ALMOST able to keep up with Max!

You are supposed to do this for 23 days and then slowly these items back into your diet.  The only thing I really miss is my delicious goldfish crackers so this is probably for the best anyway.  Oh and wine.  I really miss wine!

I don't know what will happen after the 23rd day but I feel so good right now, so I really want to keep this going!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Essentials

It is so hot right now.  I love summer but even I have been bitching about the heat.  I have an older home and we don't have central air.  I know that sounds completely insane but with all the house projects on the docket, the air just didn't get handled this year.

Considering I will spend most of my summer covered in sweat, these are some of my favorite summer products to beat the heat!

My number one staple is iced coffee.  I need my coffee to survive.  But fresh out of the shower, add in hot coffee, and I am instantly covered in sweat.  I put coffee and warm water in the french press and leave it in the fridge over night.  Instant refreshment!

We would not survive without ceiling fans.  I have them in every room in my house.  I turn them on in May and basically shut them off in October.  I seriously lurve them!

Apparently there is a weight limit on slip and slides.  After tearing ours last year, we just went back to the old fashioned sprinkler.  Last night I mowed the lawn and weeded.  When I was done I was literally DRIPPING with sweat.  I pulled out the sprinkler and it instantly cooled us down.

I just found this lotion and I love it.  It is really light weight and it is extremely cooling.  Heavier lotions make my face all sweaty.  So this is an amazing find!

Last, but not least, is this spray.  I just recently purchased it and I am completely in love.  It is so cooling and refreshing.  I carry it with me everywhere and just spritz my face when I feel really over heated!

I seriously love summer but I don't love being sweaty all the time.  These things keep me cool which basically keeps me sane!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Running Inspiration

In the last couple of years, I totally fell off the running wagon.  I just couldn't find the time but on top of that, I couldn't find my mojo.  Running used to make me feel amazing.  But now it is just kind of painful.  This really frustrates me because I really love running and more importantly, I love the way I feel when I am on top of my game.  

Unfortunately, running is about 70% mental and that is really hard to get past at times.  So I have been looking for some inspiration to bring me back to my running roots.

I found a couple of podcasts that I really enjoy and have been listening to those on my weekly drives to and from the Jersey Shore.  They make the trip go by so fast and I love listening to them.  

The first is Running on Om.  I am going to be 100% honest and say that Julia's voice and manor does annoy me a little.  But she does a monthly series with Lauren Fleshman called Ask Lauren Fleshman that I just love.  It is a lot of running chit chat but there is also a lot of conversation about writing, kids and just life in general.  It is really good and definitely worth listening to Julia.

The second podcast is Another Mother Runner.  The host, Sarah, is hilarious.  She is sarcastic and witty and a super runner, all the things I love.  I seriously laugh out loud the entire time I am listening to it.  

A recent trip home from the shore, that was very long (five fucking hours) and very frustrating, almost flew by listening to them!  Definitely check it out.

After hours spent listening to the these podcasts, I finally laced up my sneakers last weekend.  It was hot and very slow.  I hadn't run in almost four months which is way too long!  I had to take Max in the running stroller and frankly at 45lbs, that was probably pushing it on the weight capacity of the Bob Stroller.  But I decided to not focus on my time or speed and to just enjoy myself.  It felt really good and hopefully I can do it again very soon!

What inspires you to get back out there?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Taking Time Off

As most parents will tell you there really isn't any time off in this job.  The benefits suck and the pay is awful.  Yet we keep doing it because we love their sweet little faces!

My little monkey is definitely a handful and leaves me quite exhausted most days.  After our nanny quit in June, I had a week with no one to watch Max before the summer babysitter could start.  I did a hostage exchange and sent Max off to the beach house with my parents.  Thank god for them!
It was a huge help but it was also the mental break that I desperately needed.

Max and I are together pretty much 24/7.  He wakes early, goes to sleep late and never stops moving.  At almost 34 years old, that is more than I can take some days.  Add in work, the house, etc and I am seriously exhausted most of the time.

So I decided to use this time off wisely.  I normally would have filled up my days with to do lists and errands.  Instead, I worked out, spent time with my sister and relaxed in bed with some good books.   By the end of last week, everyone at work was saying that I looked amazing.  Apparently time alone can revive you that much!

I know that taking time off is virtually impossible when you are a parent but it is seriously necessary if you are going to keep your sanity.  Sometimes you get a whole week off like I did, other times it is just a trip to CVS with no one laying on the floor of the toy aisle crying!

Either way, by the end of last week, I felt like a new woman!  And it was amazing.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Alex Does Yoga

Back in January, I told you I was going to try a different workout every month this year.  January was all about Barre 3 with really great results.  February was dedicated to Yoga and it was an epic failure.  And after that the challenge kind of fell apart.

I was really into Barre 3 and honestly I was ok with that.  I had no wish to try other workouts.  I did have some variations in my workouts over the last four months but it was 90% Barre 3, 1% running, 3% BBG and 6% pilates.

But in June I got back on track and I decided to try Yoga again.  I am clearly a glutton for punishment.

I kid, I kid.

It actually went really well and was a little eye opening.  Here are my conclusions:

  1. It is impossible to practice yoga in the morning.  My body physically can't bend.  It is so painful it makes me want to cry.
  2. It does require more time.  I tried a couple of 40 minute practices but you really get more out of 60+ minutes.
  3. I feel a lot calmer.
  4. I actually feel stiffer after this month than I did before.
The last one is the most shocking, right?  I know I was shocked.  I have always had really tight hips.  Years of running have made it almost impossible for me to do moves like baddha konasana or upavistha konasana.  But I usually grit my teeth and force myself thru those poses.

After a couple of days on the yoga train, I noticed that while I was able to move farther than ever in these poses, when I finally came out of them, I could almost hear my hips creaking.  The same thing happened when I did any pose involving my hamstrings.  

I really believed that yoga would make my joints feel looser and more flexible but that didn't happen.  As frustrating as that is, I do feel a lot calmer after this month.  I am determined to do malasana without crying in pain so I definitely want to stick with yoga.  I don't know that I can do a full time yoga practice but it definitely deserves to stay in the rotation!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Bitch Slap I Needed

My mom delivered the ultimate bitch slap this week and it was much deserved and really needed.

Tuesday morning exploded all over me when the nanny quit.  I can't even say unexpectedly because I should have seen this coming.  I took Max to her house, she took Max to school and then called me and quit.  We had some issues last week, she said some not nice things, then she apologized and I tried to work thru it with her.  Lesson learned on that one.  You really can't come back from some things.

In her defense, I don't believe we were a good fit for her.  She was trying to fit in watching Max with taking care of her three kids and caring for her sick mother.  Max is a handful and whenever she wasn't paying attention to him, he got into trouble.  Her house was smaller and a little chaotic and it wasn't a great scene for him.  On the flip side, the way she quit was entirely unprofessional.  Either way, we are done.

So I am having dinner with my parents on Tuesday night and I am talking about what happened with her.  I am basically whining about how "Unfair it is" "My life sucks" wah wah wah.  You know the routine.  

My mother calmly turns to me and says, "You have become a victim.  And that is not you."  She then went on to say that everything bad happens "Because I got divorced."  "Because my job sucks."  "Because Max is a lot of work."  And I had no recourse but to agree with her.  I have become a professional whiner this year and I am even annoyed with myself.

Basically I am not taking ownership of the bad shit in my life and taking actions to make it better.  I am living in a constant cycle of suffering and the madness must stop!

I knew the Nanny wasn't a good for us this winter.  She would text me all day long telling me what he was doing and a couple of times she even made me pick him up early.  She also canceled a lot and I really don't have the patience for that.  I should have cut it off then but finding a nanny is really hard and I honestly just didn't want to go thru it again.  Max doesn't deal with change well and I thought it was better for him to push thru this.  So I did what I had to do to make it work.  Long story short, I really shouldn't be surprised when this blew up in my face.

The same is true with my personal life.  I am dissatisfied with the way I look, yet I stuff my face all weekend and expect to look like Gisele Bundchen.  I say that I don't have a lot of friends but I never make plans.  You get where this is going.

So like a recovered addict, "My name is Alex and I haven't whined in one day."  Let's see how this recovery goes!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Are You Even Paying Attention?

On Friday I drove to Philly for some meetings.  While I was in the car, I decided to listen to a podcast instead of music.  I know I am super behind on these technological advances but this is the first time I have ever listed to a podcast.

I decided to check out Running on Om's podcast, especially the episodes where she interviews Lauren Fleshman who is a professional runner.  I really like Lauren Fleshman's vibe.  She is a runner, a writer and basically takes no bullshit.  During one of the podcasts, she was talking about her son and how she really tries to be present in the moment.

If she is playing with her son, then that is what she focuses on.  If she is having coffee with a friend, then that is what she focuses on.  You get the idea, right?

I have been chewing on this idea for months now.  I know I mentioned it this winter but I have really noticed how Max acts out when I am playing with him, but also on my cell phone.  Or if he is eating dinner and I am washing dishes.  Basically when I am doing anything but hanging out with him.  It used to drive me insane but when I realized he just wanted my attention, I felt really guilty.

As a single mom (not an excuse, but a fact) there is a lot of multi tasking.  There is no one else to walk the dog, do the laundry, cut up 4,987 hot dogs, put snacks in labeled bags and clean all of the fucking glitter (THANK YOU PRESCHOOL) out of his back pack.  I also want some time to myself each night, so I try to get all of this done before he goes to bed.

But when I only see him for 4ish hours a day, that time together is really special and it is important that I am focusing on him during most of that time.  The last thing in the world I will ever do is shell out parental guilt.  We get enough of that from Facebook, school, the world, etc.  But they are only little for such a short period of time and very soon he won't want to be with me.  So I should really treasure this time now.

Given all of that, I am trying to focus on being present.  If we are in the car, I don't turn on the music, I just talk to him or sing to him.  I can't spend all night playing legos or matchbox cars, but I try really hard to sit down for a solid 30 minutes.  Even if I am not playing too, I sit next to him and talk to him.  

This is just one example of being present but it expands over my entire life.  As the queen of multitasking, I started to think that if I am doing three things at once, am I really doing any of them well?  So now I try to do just one thing at a time and finish the task before I move onto something else.  I make endless to do lists so I don't forget but so far no one has died, so I guess I am doing ok.

Do you have the same problem?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Where Did She Go?

Did you miss me?  I took the blog offline this weekend.  You may have noticed or maybe you didn't.
Last week my ex-husband started following me, under a new account, on Instagram.  When I first separated from him, I deleted my old personal blog about my super cool running journey (insert sarcasm here), deleted my twitter (no more snark?) and blocked him and his family on Facebook and Instagram.  At the time, I didn't want him to know anything about me.

So when he told me he did it, to see pictures of our son, my first reaction was "Fuck No!"  This blog is clearly linked in my Instagram profile so I immediately took this offline too.

Then I mulled over it during the weekend and decided I really don't care.  I don't care what he reads or what he sees because all of that drama is in the past.  I truly wish him well and I hope he feels the same for me. 

My life is different now and if he wants to see endless pictures of yoga mats, coffee cups and a crazy 4 year old, more power to him.  It was weirdly freeing to come to that decision.  Maybe that is the benefit of being older (cough) and wiser (cough cough) but I really don't care what people think of me any longer.

I know I am doing my best and that is all that matters!

Monday, June 6, 2016

It Takes a Village

I know you have heard this phrase before but I never really gave it much thought until a couple of years ago.  When Max left his first daycare and I had to switch to babysitters and nannies, this thought basically slapped me in the face.  Now that I have seen both sides of the situation, I can tell you that Daycares are amazing.  They cost a fortune but you can drop your child off each morning and never think about them again until you pick them up.  You know they are happy, busy and well cared for.  Nannies are the complete opposite of that.

As a single mother, but really for any mother out there, you know that it takes a village or a team to raise a child.  There are family members like grandparents and aunts & uncles.  There are teachers.  There are babysitters, nannies, coaches, etc.  All of these people are part of your team or your village. 

If there is a weak link on your team, it makes it impossible for you to get things done.  That is where I have been for the last couple of years.  I have a couple of weak links and I can't seem to make them stronger.

I in no way mean to generalize but I have found that most nannies/babysitters are highly unreliable.  I know there are some really amazing nannies out there but I have yet to find one for myself.  They cancel when they feel like it.  They quit without notice.  They go on vacation and never tell you.  It boggles the mind how they can be so unreliable.  

My parents are retired now and spend most of the winter in Florida.  So unfortunately I can't beg/force/make them watch Max.  Because of that I have to rely very heavily on babysitters.  I would give any amount of money to have my parents live nearby.  I have actually even considered moving to Florida to be near them!

The first nanny seemed ok.  She had almost no spark but she showed up every day and my house was clean when I got home.  Then one day she never came back.  No email, text or phone call explaining.  So I hired another babysitter for the summer.  She was great.  Showed up every day and was lots of fun.  Max absolutely loved her.  Then August came and she needed two weeks to get ready for school....with one day's notice.  Now I have our third nanny.  As I write this, she has canceled for today, tomorrow, Friday and next Thursday.  She has a lot of really good qualities but I can never count on her.  I don't know of any job where you can cancel at the last minute like that but here I am.

With this weak link in my "team" it is almost impossible for me to work every day.  I have to constantly go to work late or leave early.  I work from home when I can but it is really hard to swing that more than once a week.  I hate being that person, constantly using my child as an excuse but I have no other choice most days.

I have spent a lot of time looking for new nannies but they all seem to be like this.  So how do you continue to get your job done, when you can't count on someone to watch your child?  I have seriously considered requesting to work at home again.  But I know there will still be days when I need someone to care for Max.

I have years of babysitters ahead of me, so what is the solution?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Time to Recharge

I took off last Friday making my Memorial Day weekend a nice four day break from work.  The little dude and I headed down to the Jersey Shore with endless amounts of toys, books and gym shorts.  I don't believe in wearing real clothes when on vacation and my love affair with gym shorts is deep and true.  Add in some old t-shirts and flip flops and you have a true beach wardrobe.

We were blessed by some gorgeous weather for three of the four days.  I ate, drank and read trashy books.  I went for walks, did some yoga and finally washed my disgusting car.  And it was all so relaxing because I made the choice to disconnect.  

Let me paint you a picture of how it all started.  It is Friday afternoon, the first day of my mini vacation.  It is that glorious time of day known as nap time.  The dude is resting and I decided to do a little yoga to relax.  I boot up the old laptop and start to get my downward dog on.  

BING BING BING.  I can hear the emails blowing up in my inbox.

BEEP BEEP BEEP.  The text messages on my phone.

On top of that the fucking landscapers next door started mowing the lawn!

All of the sudden I found myself in warrior two, typing an email.  And that is when I realized that I had finally reached my breaking point.  Enough is enough.  What is the point of doing yoga if you aren't going to relax and enjoy it.  

I finished up my yoga and turned off my laptop.  I put my iPad into night mode so I couldn't hear the alerts from my emails.  And I turned off my phone.  I decided that I am reclaiming my vacation days.  And that is impossible to do when everyone and their mother wants to talk to you about something that can clearly wait till Tuesday when I am back at work.

Part of this is my own fault.  For years, I have worked thru every vacation I take.  I answered emails and phone calls.  I put together proposals and sign off on forms.  But I am always doing these things on the fly, when I should be relaxing and spending time with my family.  I would like to say that I come back from my vacations relaxed but that isn't always the case.  

Given the fact that my stress levels are at an all time high, I clearly need some time removed from my devices!  Four days with no social media, no email and no phone calls was amazing.  I didn't check Instagram or Facebook.  I didn't Tweet.  I barely responded to text messages.  And it was the best!

It is really hard to disconnect.  You are so afraid that something is going to happen and you are going to miss it.  But sometimes it is really important to take that time for yourself.  So let me be the first one to tell you how amazing it was!

Monday, May 23, 2016

This Girl is on Fire

After last week's post, I have been on a complete roll.

Like the uber nerd I am, I immediately jumped on Amazon and purchased some new books.  Fellow nerds will understand that it is nearly impossible to make any changes in your life without new books.  I bought books to relax with (smutty romances), new cookbooks (Heyyyy Gwyneth Paltrow) and books about diet and exercise.  Basically I just love books and this was an awesome reason to blow up my credit card again!

I bought a whole bunch, but have only had time to dive into a couple.  Here is what I have devoured so far!

I know it is so cliche right now, but Kate Hudson's Pretty Happy is really great.  I was doubtful since celebrity books are rarely worth their purchase price (I'm talking to you Pippa Middleton).  But this one is actually really good.  

Not only does Kate Hudson's bubbly personality shine thru but I seriously envy that body.  I will drink any amount of green juice to have abs like that.  I am not done reading it yet, but it is definitely worth picking up.

The second one is Kathryn Budig's Aim True.  I found her on Instagram by way of Gabrielle Bernstein and instantly was drawn to her super cute hair and her happy persona.  The book is a quick read and definitely worth picking up.  There are tons of recipes and some yoga flows thrown in.  But the basis of the book is about loving yourself, just the way you are.  

Hold on for some tender moments.... but that really spoke to me.  Recently I have had some really nasty thoughts...about myself.  Ewwwwww.  Like the ones where you look in the mirror and tell yourself over and over how gross you are.  Or the ones where you lay in bed at night and tell yourself that you are a terrible mom or that you are in a dead end job and are never going to be anything amazing.  I hate those nasty little thoughts.

Part of this year's journey is to be at peace with myself.  As I am today.  Because we are ever evolving and changing and I won't be in the same place next year.  But it is hard to except that change doesn't happy in one day.  You have to constantly work towards it and sometimes you get a little off track.

I totally feel like I am getting back on track.  It may be the sweet smell of summertime on the horizon or the fact that my parents are finally home from Florida (yasssss free babysitters) but I feel good right now!  I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and that feels amazing!

Lastly, I have been playing around with my workouts.  I may have Barre 3'd myself to death over the winter, so I took a little break this weekend for some manual labor and some yoga.  I totally broke my promise to try new workouts every month this year, so yoga is back on the menu.  On top of that I decided to tackle my garden, weeding, plants my vegetables and mowing my lawn.  It felt great to get outside and dig in the dirt!

Ain't nobody gonna break my stride, nobody gonna hold me down!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Keep on Trying

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately.  Work has been insane.  So insane that I blink and eight hours have gone by and yet I feel like I accomplished nothing.  Max is growing up so fast which makes me sad.  This past weekend really brought that home when he turned four!!!!  This fast pace that my life has taken on is exhausting.  And it isn't fast paced like I am a jet setter.  It is fast paced in the sense that I am doing my Barre3 workout, while answering emails and entertaining Max.  It has all become too much and I am just burnt out!

At first I really tried stream lining my life.  I purged and purged.  I got rid of toys, clothing, shoes and other random bits and bobs.  I scanned papers and threw them away after.  I cleaned out both of our closets and tossed everything.  Constantly purging like a maniac.  I have taken three loads of bags to Goodwill thinking that this cleansing period would make me feel better.  But it didn't bring the sense of peace I had hoped for.

Then I tried focusing on my health.  Eating well and working out like a maniac.  But that didn't bring the results I had hoped for either.  It wasn't so much a quest to be skinny as much as I wanted to feel better in my own skin.  But that still didn't bring the inner calm that I am desperately craving.  

So I did some soul searching (Christ, grab a tissue) and found that I am just dissatisfied with my life right now.  I hate saying that.  My life doesn't suck.  I have a job, a house, enough money to live and on top of all of that, a beautiful child and a wonderful family.  Yet I am still unhappy.

And that is because I feel like my life stopped and everyone around me kept moving.  All of my friends are getting married or having their second or third child.  They are in relationships or have these amazing jobs.  They go on beautiful vacations.  None of these things are happening over at Camp Alex and it sucks.  Point blank, it just sucks! (First world problems over here)

My life clearly didn't stop but it drastically changed.  And while I have been rebuilding, it feels like everyone moved on without me.  I never liked the feeling of being left behind when I was a kid and it turns out, I still hate it when I am an adult.  

When you have children, it is important to give them stability and routine.  We get up at the same time every day.  We eat similar things every day.  We do the same things all the time, like go to Target or the library.  We go to bed at the same time every night.  I know this is all good for him but it makes me feel like hamster on a wheel.  

I need to find a way to "spark joy" in my life again.  Running used to do that for me but it doesn't work any more.  Trust me, I tried!  A lot of women would say dating would make me feel good.  But I don't want my happiness tied to anyone else.  I want to find happiness in myself first.  And then if a sexy dude comes along, well that is just icing on my cupcake!

No amounts of green juice, yoga or Barre 3 is going to do it either.  So I am on a quest.  I am going to "spark joy" in my life on my own.  But not with things.  Things don't bring happiness or fulfillment.  I am going to do it with experiences and people.  I am bringing my life back to basics (but not #basic) because if I spend one more Saturday at Target, I am going to throw my Starbucks coffee to the ground and start running as fast as my little yoga pant clad legs can carry me.  

You only are given one life.  And it is your job to make it the best life you can!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Time Just Flies By

I don't know how it is possible that I am now the mother of a four year old.  It literally seems like just yesterday I drove him home from the hospital.  I just blinked and he became a big boy right in front of my eyes.

He is so tall now and he talks so much.  He has the best imagination and he tells the funniest stories.  He loves his friends at school and talks about them all the time.  He is definitely not a baby any more!

This past weekend was a birthday extravaganza and I literally ate pizza and cake until my body begged me to stop.  We celebrated for three days straight! 

On Friday, my co-workers had a little party for Max after school.  It was so cute and he loved the attention!

Saturday morning was his birthday party.  A couple of his friends from school came and I had it at a local park.  It was the perfect size and he had such a good time.  I was a little nervous that he would be overwhelmed but instead he was so well behaved and had a ton of fun.

It was construction themed (shocking right?).  So every kid received a tool belt and a construction hat.  I put the drinks in Home Depot buckets and the snacks (goldfish and chips) in his dump trucks.

My mom made this amazing cake.  Two layers and tons of icing.

The cake was a huge hit!

On Sunday, his actual birthday, we had breakfast with the family and then we had a Barbecue for dinner.  We rounded out the weekend with our third birthday cake and then collapsed into a sugar coma.

 We are officially birthday-ed out.  Too much sugar and way too much pizza but so much fun!

My sweet little baby is a big boy now.  It makes me a little sad but so excited for all the fun to come!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Asking for Help

I like to call this another of my ah-ha moments as a Mom.  I was laying in bed this morning, way too tired to get up and do my Barre3 workout.  So I began to strategically rearrange my day.  Because that is what us Mom folk do.  We tightly schedule every day, so when something changes, it takes a lot of coffee and some smart thinking to fit everything in.

Originally, I was going to work out this morning, run errands at lunch and then go grocery shopping after work with Max.  I know, big mistake bringing the little monster to the store, but at this time of year you can't really leave groceries in the car all day.  So I would brave the check out line mine field of matchbox cars, cookies and gum in order to bring home unspoiled yogurt.  I can be totally honest and say that going to the grocery store with Max totally sucks most of the time and I try to go without him as often as possible but I also like to eat lunch so there is only so much time in each day!

But my laziness this morning changed that.  So how do you fit all of that in now?  My workout is really important to me.  But if I don't go to the grocery store, we won't have coffee and I might kill someone tomorrow.  The lunchtime errands include getting money from the bank to pay the babysitter.  She is the only thing keeping this machine running some weeks, so that is a super duper priority.  So what is a girl to do?

You ask for help, which I am really, really bad at!  That help was Stop and Shop's Peapod service, which delivered  my groceries to my house.  Now I don't have to brave the checkout line with Max.  I just pay them $6.95 to deliver the groceries to my front door! (virtual fist pump)

I tried Peapod before but I have a big problem paying for services, when I can do them on my own.  I prefer to spend my money on overpriced coffees from Starbucks and cheap yoga pants.  But with us traveling on this weekend, there was no room for error this week, since I wasn't going to have time to catch up this weekend.  So at that point, I have to give up being able to do everything myself and get some help where I can!

This is just a minor example of how hard it is to fit all this shit into our days, wether you are a Mom or not.  You often have to give up things to fit everything else into a tightly packed schedule.  Most often we give up the things that make us feel good, like our workouts, manicures and hell, even showers.  But in the end we are resentful of the little minions who took up all of our yoga time.  So if you can find a way to fit it all in, even if you need some help and have to pay a little more, isn't that best?

That is my new lease on life.  I can't work full time, workout, take care of the dog, grocery shop, clean our house, do laundry, sleep and wrangle Mad Max.  Not without more hours in my week at least!  So I have been finding ways to get stuff done and make time for myself.  And just so you all know, this is totally not a paid post.  I would LOVE for Stop and Shop to sponsor me in the form of free goldfish and hotdogs but alas, not today!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Advice From Some Old People

A friend of mine shared this and it was too good to not share with all of you!  From Imgur:

1. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.

2. You might live a long life, or you might live a short one — who knows. But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.

3. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead.

4. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust?

5. People always say, ’’Make sure you get a job doing what you love!’’ But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.

6. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savour all that is beautiful and comforting. Take a deep breath, relax.

7. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!

8. Don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is.

9. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am. Everyone else is just an acquaintance.

10. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them.

11. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more. Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.

12. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke — so you never actually become one.

13. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important… Floss regularly, dental problems are awful.

14. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice…

15. The joints you damage today will get their revenge later. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!

16. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.

17. Appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. What do I mean? Well, it seems today like younger people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.

18. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.

19. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.

20. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and other people’s lives.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Recharging Over the Weekend

As a parent or even as a human being, we all reach a moment where we know we are at our breaking point.  Last week was a really rough week.  Work was insane.  So insane that I had a headache for three days straight because of the pressure I was putting on myself to finish all of my work.  On top of that, Max was really pushing all of my buttons.  I mean EVERY LAST BUTTON. There was only one night last week that there were no tears at bedtime, his or mine.  By Friday night I felt ready to crack under all the stress, pressure and emotions.

At times when stress is crushing me, I have a tendency to move faster and try to do more.  And that always leads to epic meltdown status.  I make mistakes, drop things, spill things and have to redo most of what I just did.  It is like being in the middle of a cyclone.

So when we woke up on Saturday morning, I was determined to leave the week behind me.  We got up early, picked up my sister and drove to LBI for the weekend.  And it was fantastic!

We opened up the beach house, turned on the water and then did one of our favorite things....went to Walmart.  I don't know what it is about the Walmart at the shore, but I seriously love it.  We went in, wandered thru the store, buying all this crap we don't need.  This includes new yoga pants, candy, a Dirty Dancing dvd, Captain Crunch cereal and other general ridiculousness.  We laughed so hard that I almost peed my pants.  It was great!

Riding a skateboard while pushing a shopping cart!

We drove back onto the island and ended up at the tail end of a......FIRE TRUCK PARADE.

I seriously thought Max's heart would explode with joy.  Beach Haven was dedicating a new fire truck and there were almost 60 fire trucks from all the surrounding towns there for the ceremony.  It was so fun and amazing to see them all!  The lights were flashing, sirens were blaring and Max was so excited.

That night we had nachos for dinner and after Max went to bed, my sister and I laid on the couch and drank way too much wine.  We laughed, we cried and then we drunkenly stumbled to bed. Two bottles of wine and a bag of Raisinets probably wasn't great for my diet but some days you just need to enjoy yourself.

Sunday was a rainy, gross day so we headed home early, making sure to stop at Sonic and at Wawa.  Because we apparently needed more junk food.  It was a long trip home but it was really great to spend family time together.  

These moments were exactly what I needed.  Junk food, laughs and a lot of down time.  I barely looked at my phone all weekend and it was fantastic.

I have been moving at mach speed lately and I was feeling seriously worn down.  My emotions have been at a high point lately and I don't like feeling that way.  These moments of weakness causes all of my doubts and worries to creep in.  I don't have the patience for Max and all of his toddler antics and we spend too much time screaming and crying.  It is awful to be in that cycle and I am so glad that I woke up today feeling refreshed and ready for a great week.  I will probably go thru a hideous sugar withdrawal this week but it was totally worth it!

A dude and his love of trucks!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run

This was one of my favorite songs in college.  In my dorm room at the University of Delaware, when I was downloading millions of songs on Napster, this was my jam!

This is also the theme song of this week.  "You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run"

It has been one hell of a week.  I have been incredibly exhausted all week.  Like going to be at 8:45 at night exhausted.  On top of that, Max has been really pushing his limits this week.  That has included a lot of back talking, throwing things and screaming.  I have tried really hard to be understanding but everyone has their limits.

Some of the more delightful moments this week have been:

  • Banging his cars against the fish tank and causing mini sunamis
  • Pouring out two bottles of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner and a tube of face scrub in the shower
  • Laying on the ground in my office parking lot and sobbing over chicken nuggets
  • Shaking out an entire bag of popcorn in my bed
But today, he really brought it home.  I dropped him at the nanny's house at 7am.  She texted me at 7:30 to say he had hid her keys and she might not be able to take him to school.  I texted back that they had an hour and I was sure she would find them in time.  8:15 I got another text that she still couldn't find the keys.  So I drove to her house, threw him in the car and raced back across town to our house.  I got to the light across the street and his bus was waiting in front of our house.  I had a mini heart attack while waiting for the light to change but finally pulled up behind the bus and hustled him on.  I finally got back to my office and got back to work.  10:30 my phone rings and it is the school, telling me that they found a set of car keys in his lunchbox..............

Given all of that, I decided we had had enough this week.  I picked him up this afternoon, drove to the grocery store, bought a box of frozen waffles, drove home, toasted these culinary delights and plopped him down on the couch to watch the Minions.  I even treated him to some M&Ms!

Everyone has those days or weeks.  And sometimes you have to accept that you can't make it any better.  You just have to relax and take some quiet time to recharge.  And pray to god that tomorrow will be a better day!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Planting a Seed

It is hard to believe, but in three weeks, I will have been a divorced lady for two years.  It will also be Max's fourth birthday.  It is really hard to quantify how much my life has changed in the last two years, let alone the four years since he was born.

I don't know if it is the anniversary of those two big life moments or the recent spring flowers that are popping up all over my yard, but I have had change on the brain for quite some time.

During our vacation I made an honest effort to unplug, even going so far as to leave my phone at home each day.  Obviously you all missed out on my super cute Instagram posts since I barely took any pictures.  But it was really nice to disconnect for a short period of time.  This doesn't sound like a big deal, but last winter, I went so far as to take my phone to the beach every day of our vacation and I was answering emails while my child was building a sand castle.  I don't want that to be my life, so on this vacation I put my phone on silent and left it that way for six days.

This big change (for me) lead to me thinking about the quality of my life.  I can't pinpoint the minute that it happened but over 10 years ago, my job took over every waking second of my day.  I was checking my emails before bed and the second that I woke up.  It was literally all I talked about.  Then I added a needy husband, a baby, a divorce, single motherhood and home ownership to the equation.  All of the sudden every second of the day was about someone else and their needs.

So I decided to change that too.  I made a promise to myself at the beginning of this year that I was going to make time for me.  And I did in most aspects of my life.  I hired a babysitter for every Saturday morning, I started working out more and eating better.  Basically just taking care of Alex!  I have tried minimizing my screen time, going back to reading paper books before bed to give my eyes and my head a rest.

But even with all of that, I found myself laying in bed last night thinking that I was just marking time.   It was the typical roller coaster of self doubt and envy.  It usually happens after trolling Instagram or Facebook.  Seeing people engaged or with new babies.  Things I would like to have but don't.  This then spirals into me saying that I would get a better job when Max finally goes to elementary school.  Or that I would start dating when he was older.  Basically saying that nothing can change for years!

So am I really making myself a priority, when I keep putting everything off till later?

I am not dissatisfied with my life.  I have worked really hard to get where I am and I am happy most days.  But this small seed was planted in my brain a couple of weeks ago and now I just can't let the thought go.

What if change would make everything better?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Post Vacation Snooze

Max and I are back from vacation and I am exhausted.  I know you are supposed to come back from vacation so refreshed but I think that is a pre-parenting myth.  So I am super tired now but we had an amazing time.

Anyone who tells you that vacations are relaxing, clearly doesn't have children.  On vacation, you are together 15+ hours a day.  Which means you are constantly entertaining a whiny little dictator.  If your child is like Max, they wake up even earlier on vacation, rarely nap and go to sleep even later.  This means there is little rest for the parental units, like myself.  This also means you have to buy a kings ransom in Matchbox cars and other bribery.  

We went down to Naples, Fl a week ago to stay with my parents.  We were there for six days and we did nothing but swim and play.  I came, I burned and I conquered.

Max was amazing in the airport and on the plane.  Our first couple of flights, when he was younger, were horrible so I have a Max-proof strategy now.  It includes toys, treats and lots of iPad time.  We only do early morning flights, I pack his backpack with new toys and I pray for the best.

He was really well behaved on the flight, which is pretty impressive for a child that can barely sit still.

Once we got to Florida we spent all of our time at the beach or in the pool.  Max is the most active child I have ever met and water is the only way to exhaust him. 

I bought him goggles and diving rings and taught him how to swim under water.  We also searched for seashells, had water gun fights and spent hours splashing each other.

This was every night of the trip.  By the end of the day, he could barely stand up and he would fall asleep within seconds of his head touching the pillows.

He is a full on surfer dude now!  He even told me that he wants to wear his hat backwards, like the "surfer dudes".

On our last day of the trip, I took him to the  Everglades Wonder Gardens, which is a historic roadside attraction in Bonita, Fl.  It was opened in 1936 as a place to stop on the way to Miami.  It was originally an alligator farm and they recently restored it.

There were alligators, flamingos and a peacock.  It was so much fun and Max loved it.

Sadly our vacation ended and we had to go home.  I made a rookie mistake of a night time flight back to NYC and it was rough.  We landed at 8pm and didn't get home till around 10pm.  The dude was so tired and refused to go to sleep till we were home.

I came back to mountains of emails, dirty laundry and a slightly traumatized dog.  We are finally starting to get back to our normal schedules but it took a lot of nap time (for both of us)!