as i type this, my daughter is playing in the guest room with her grandmother, we have a fridge groaning with delicious food, i just got a sweet laughing hug from my man, my legs are sore from yoga yesterday, the city is humming with cars zipping around, and christmas lights still blink from so many apartment windows all around us. i’m sitting at our living room table, with videos playing on the ipad as i type on my old faithful laptop, surrounded by piles of classifieds with circles around possible real estate listings, notebooks slowly being filled with ideas and thoughts, a basket full of sembei that is theoretically just for our daughter but we all find ourselves snacking on, and a pile of clean dishes and wineglasses from a fun small get-together we had a few days ago. oh and my hair reeks of coconut oil as i let sit a last-of-the-year hair mask.
in other words, life is very very good. goodbye 2012 ~ it’s been a tough year at times, but overall, i’m a super lucky girl who has finally truly realized that fact. i can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.
i think this is the first year in many that i’m feeling ambitious enough, brave enough really, to make resolutions – to say “this is what i want”. eek! but yes, i’m going to try to make more of this good life happen, instead of just oops, falling into it, or pretending i did. that is quite a departure for me, but hey, i’m 35 and i’m ready, and i’m greedy for more. i like this (lasting, regular, stable) happiness thing a lot.
happy 2013 to you all ~ and may it bring us all health, happiness, and love.
a couple years ago, i made a real effort to stretch regularly enough so that i could at least touch my toes without too much effort. i’ve always had tight hamstrings and it’s never been easy for me, even as a kid, when we’re all little elastic munchkins.
during the pregnancy and first few months after n was born, i did little to no stretching and lost that ability to touch my toes, which on top of all the body changes i’d been through that year, was a little depressing. it’s easy after giving birth, well it was for me at least, to think ‘ohhh now i’m old, i’ll never be the same body-wise’ etc etc.
so, before we went to japan over a year ago and since then fairly regularly, i’ve been stretching – maybe it’s 5 hours of yoga in a week, or one hour of cardio in a week, or maybe just a sun salutation or two every day for a few weeks – but something gets done.
on top of that, n and i walk to the park almost every day and/or i carry her for a good 10min of walking, and we often walk more too, with her holding my hand (or sometimes not as she is miss independent more and more..). i still use my ergo carrier too (love love it! hands-down the most important baby item to have, among a handful of other must haves) and as she’s a over twenty pounds, it’s no laughing matter to go for a good walk with her in it.
and on top of that, i’ve been trying to eat better. i’m still breastfeeding n (18 months and counting!), so i have all the more motivation to eat with health in mind. i eat a lot more fruit (it’s just too easy in bolivia, with fresh fruit vendors on every corner.) i try to have a green smoothie at least once a week, if not a few times a week. we’re so lucky to have a great local dairy company that makes delicious fresh yogurt every week (and cheeses too, hooray!) so that, with some chard or spinach, chia seeds, maybe some coconut oil or protein powder (made in bolivia too!), a banana, whatever other fruit we have, and ta-daaa, i’m full of energy for most of the day. sounds hokey, but i really can feel a difference in my mood and energy when i have the smoothies.
with all that said, what’s the end result? so far, a body that’s better than ever. i’m at my lowest weight in probably 10 years, after a minute or two of stretching, i can touch my toes no problem, and, get this, i can even do push-ups! like real ones, several of them in a row. ;D that might seem ridiculous, but i couldn’t even do a so-called ‘girl’ pushup a year ago.
it feels really good and so, part of the reason i’m writing this post, is to remind myself: don’t stop now! and as much as i enjoy the cardio and having to toss jeans because they’re too big for me now, i really really love yoga. it feels so great to stretch – like a giant sigh of relief and i find myself smiling a lot during my sessions. i do it at home, with videos/dvds, and though i’m often interrupted by nayrita (sometimes she joins me, which is so friggin’ cute, other times she decides that right at that moment she needs some milk from mama), whatever i can fit in makes such a difference to my day.
so. that’s where i am touching-toes-wise. my next goal is to do a handstand. or any kind of arm balance or inversion. that would be awesome. oh! and i also decided to join this 4-week plank challenge, though a week late. today i did a measly 1:16 minutes of plank. here’s hoping i can double that number in three weeks. so, that’s a short-term and long-term goal each.
i can’t imagine that this is all that interesting to anyone besides me ;) but i do intend to post photos soon too, so keep an eye out for that. happy sunday! ~ ~
lately i’ve been waking up early, well early for our schedule nowadays.
our schedule is mostly dictated by baby girl’s sleeping patterns, which shift fairly regularly, and as i’ve reassuringly read, is super-normal for toddlers, particularly in the 18-21 month set. she is a good sleeper, i’d say, and only gets restless in the early morning right after the sun rises. my guess is that if we had blackout curtains, she’d sleep through those early mornings, but i love our pretty pink-red curtains and the way the sun slowly brightens our room, and anyhow, it’s just a hypothesis and would probably be nullified sooner or later with her changing sleep habits.
i remember just before she was born, i would worry about what kind of mother i’d be – largely because my sleep was so uncomfortable at the end of the pregnancy, that i’d often be wide-awake at 3 am and sleep in until 2 pm and so on. (not that there weren’t many other reasons to worry about motherhood, but sleep, like hunger and thirst and warmth, has a very physical way of making itself a Priority.) it’s depressing to wake up when everyone is finishing up lunch. it feels like life is just passing you by, you lazy girl.
and now, well, i take sleep when i can and i try to not beat myself up about it. i’m pretty sure i’m chronically underslept, but since (almost) no one seems to notice i’m terribly changed behavior-wise, then i guess it’s slow on having drastic effects. i’ve definitely, oh very very definitely, been much more emotional these past two years, but it’s hard to separate all the many things that invariably are affecting me – moving to another continent, losing my profession (just for now, not for always – i tell myself that regularly), leaving my family far away, starting a new family, loving them so but feeling the precariousness of building rather than being born into, feeling my body change for pregnancy and then (in two days!) eighteen months of 24/7 breastfeeding, the exhaustion and amazing joy of letting a big new love in your life (oh baby girl, we love you so), the general stress of aging (hello mid-thirties! yup, not a young pup by any means.), and so on and so forth.
but really, at the end of the day, we’re just animals. and though it’s taken me many years of reminding myself the same thing over and over and over, these three magical questions solve the majority of my stresses if i’m upset: have i eaten lately? am i well-slept? am i physically comfortable? if i answer no to any of those, well break out the food, catch a nap, kick off the shoes and/or jump in the shower. invariably, i’m at least 50% better when the above questions can now be answered with yeses.
however. record scratch here. babies do not allow for any of the three easily, especially the “catch a nap” part. and really, at this point, i need more than a twenty-minute power nap. i need some r.e.m. and no, not the music. i need a week of eight-hour sleeping. it feels positively indulgent to even type that out. (see how low my needs have dropped? eight hours! i remember when eight was a minimum, nine or even ten was really the sweet sleep number.) i can barely believe it now but i haven’t sleep more than oh four hours without waking in almost two years now. and waking, nice readers, is the kicker. i sleep much much better than a year ago, definitely. but it’s the continuous sleep that’s the main problem. i’m no longer a walking zombie, like i was way back in the newborn time a year or so ago. now i’m just a quick-to-anger emotional .. well, not wreck, but definitely rubbernecking-worthy event. at some point it will come. that’s what all experienced mothers say. hard to believe. even harder to believe is that probably most of all the mothers of toddlers i see out-and-about are this sleep-deprived. how in the world do we do it! seriously. we really deserve medals or something.
so, with all that said, all that whining!, why am i happy to be waking earlier than baby girl? if sleep is oh-so-precious, why am i using time i could be sleeping to ramble away on this here blog? three reasons: 1) we live next to a school yard which, however many pluses it has, means i’m regularly woken by screaming pre-teens (why do they do that so much? i don’t remember being so screamy) and extremely loud and over-used teacher’s whistles and megaphones; 2) beyond the three items listed above (sleep, hunger, comfort), time to oneself is the next most valuable prize a parent seeks. it is my Precious.; 3) i’d rather be wide awake when baby girl tosses and turns to awake, because i’m able to see how adorable she is, rather than, mid-sleep, be super annoyed and impatient with the kicking feet and searching arms and cries of mama mama. (oh those feet! they kicked my ribs constantly in pregnancy and haven’t stopped trying to kick me in the eighteen months since. co-sleeping, i love you, but really there is no bed big enough for those feet.) impatience is my worst mom fault and when i’m wide-awake, i’m ashamed that i’d ever be even slightly annoyed with the cries of mama mama, as they are the sweetest words i’ve ever heard, coming from that mouth, with those searching arms and anxious tone, eyes still closed in sleep, but there it is. i’m a mama, so proud to be one, but i’m also still me, still andrea, who used to take sleep for granted, who used to take time for herself as a given, and who has always been a bit too rough with the loves in her life. so, all in all, wide-awake is the best way to be in the early morning.
anyhow, rambling is what i do best here it seems ~ i used to post links and projects and hey even fotos, but that’s ok. this is my life right now, well the smallest snippet of it, but still a very real one. and it feels good, as always, to write a little something on this here site. happy weekend ~ ~ baby girl is waking up. she is such a sweet armful.
it’s a long sunday night. i doubt anyone in the world reads this, ok maybe two people, and hello! thank you!, but i don’t like the idea of this site sitting all alone, all sad. i’ve read too much science fiction to not imagine fairly clearly a sentient web site that feels neglected and abandoned and hurt. ;) people all say and act as if the 20s are the hardest years, full of doubt and discovery, at best at least, but i found them to be easier in a way, since that’s an out right there – you’re supposed to be confused in your 20s. you’re supposed to listen to a lot of sonic youth and rock and get drunk and make stupid decisions and dye your hair silly colors and make impossible declarations. but your 30s? no, do not pass go, do not take things lightly. this is the decade to Get Things Done. to Be Serious. and if you’re not? or if you’re just ever so slightly still confused? still not sure? still unsteady? well then, you’re royally screwed. or at the very least (feel) pretty ridiculous.
i’ve made some big bold moves the last handful of years, and i don’t regret them beyond the tiny 1% one always regrets every decision, even the most successful ones. nonetheless, now is not an easy time. made all the more difficult because i’m a mom and no matter how much i cry and moan or cheer and laugh, looking down i see a little face, watching me, observing every minutiae. oh lordy. i am officially a Role Model. a major one at that. oh little girl, watch but please, please, don’t emulate. be your own person, your own feelings, for i’ve seen them and they are gorgeous. real. true. sweet as the sweetest flower ever born anywhere. oh please, be yourself, not your mama.
and in the meantime, while i pray, i dance to the music of my youth. abba, oh how you grip me. maybe that’s a ridiculous idea but when i hear “crakin’ up”, i think of a basement, carpeted in a sturdy brown that shows no stains, with five babies dancing around, clamoring to step on their poppy’s feet as they move, looking to their mami sitting in the corner, looking for approval. i see a little girl flipping upside down, loving the feeling of family and togetherness and solidity and blood rushing to her head. i see a family, full of love and doubt and worries and stress and togetherness and, most of all, stubbornness. no one else outside of us seven (now six. oh poppy!) will ever know that, and maybe not even us seven, but i remember it. it’s in my blood, it’s in my bones. it’s the lifeline in me, the stubbornness borne fruit in me. in the unshakeable andrea that exists long after the sadness, the sorry, the tears. i will make that for my daughter, for my family, that feeling of origin, root, strength.
ok, silly me, sentimental me, on a sunday night. i love my life. i don’t always love me, but i love my life. i love my loves.
happy sunday ~ ~
p.s give it a chance: 2-12 The Visitors (Crackin’ Up).m4a
like last year, i’m participating in the goodreads reading challenge. goodreads, if you don’t know about it, is a free site where you can track the books you’ve read, are reading, will read, as well as read tons of reviews about books, join book clubs, vote on book lists for your favorite books, and basically talk about books ad nauseam. it’s wonderful.
so, back to the challenge. unlike last year, this year i’m determined to meet that challenge. last year, as this year, my challenge was 100 books. oh 2011. sigh. i barely made it to 20 books. for the whole year! i read a few more, for sure, but fluffy ones or cookbooks, books that i don’t count. this year i started out at a 52 book challenge but decided a week or so ago to get back to 100, especially since i was already at 15 books. today? 20 books, and getting ready to start book 21.
i’m trying to go for a mix of books and i’m doing okay so far, except that all but one of the books are fiction, so i gotta get through a bit more non-fiction. otherwise, heavy on the fantasy/science fiction but that’s fine with me, with some mystery, children’s, short stories, comics, and fairy tales thrown in as well. i mean to add some classics, a bit of poetry, and hopefully a biography/memoir as well.
my challenge is posted here and click on the image below to see the covers of all the books as of today.
i’ve missed reading and this year, i’m making it a priority. i have a few other reading-related goals as well, but don’t want to jinx them yet. ;)