Sunday, 5 March 2017

10 Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood

When I first started blogging, I was so excited when I started getting nominated for various blogging awards from fellow bloggers. Then I realised that they really are modern chain letters and I started to find them annoying and stopped participating. It seemed that everyone else grew tired of them as I hadn't seen anyone else promoting a blog award. Then I read a post by my bloggie bestie Risa on 10 Ways I'm Rocking Motherhood. I thought it was just a creative list, so I was quite shocked to discover at the end it was one of these chain letter blog posts, but I was even more shocked to see my name! What me? I'm rocking motherhood? Seriously?

I decided to take the plunge and list my motherhood highlights and I really encourage others to do the same. We're so hard on ourselves. We're our toughest critics. It's worthwhile to remember all the things we do well.

1. I'm the Executive Chef of our house

I make all our meals. I google search for new recepie ideas. I plan our weekly meals with attention to what leftovers can work for lunch, effortless meals for my late nights and gym nights. If I make a simple mistake, such as forgetting to defrost some chicken... it can wreck my delicately crafted plans. I also have to work around the fact that Husband won't eat leftovers for dinner as he doesn't like to eat the same meal two nights in a row. I could be sympathetic if this were an OCD thing; but it's not. His mother let him get away with being a spoilt little brat. I used to make a large meal on Sunday, so we could just re-heat it on Monday, when I work late, but he started boycotting leftovers for a second night's dinner. I tasked him with coming up with an alternative and noted that it had to be specific. "Something easy" he replied. Still not specific. "Something quick" Like re-heating leftovers!!! I thought my head was going to explode.        
I create meal plans. Then I make shopping lists. Then Kate and I do the shopping. Then I run out during my lunch at work and pick up stuff I forgot during my weekend shopping trips. On Sundays, we go to the Farmer's Market. Then I come home and cut up fruits and veggies for Kate's and my lunches for the week. I still make my own packets for her. I used to make a big meal on Sunday (so we could have leftovers on Monday), but now I do something simple since lunch prep takes up so much time. Meal prep extends throughout the week. After cleaning up dinner, I cut veggies, meat and prepare dry ingredients to make quick work of cooking. Yes, the crock pot is awesome, just walk in the door at night and dinner is ready! Yet, you still have to spend time doing your prep work. I know this doesn't really make me a rockstar of a mom, as it's sort of my job, but it's exhausting. Often unappreciated by my spoilt brat Husband who will decide at the last minute that he doesn't feel like having what I've planned, prepped and started making. As if I have a back up alternate meal ready to go. (I'm so close to declaring every night a FUFFY -Fuck yoU Fend For Yourself-) If Kate doesn't like something, she'll throw it on the ground, which also makes me feel unappreciated. (Earlier this week, I hear myself cry out 'You zoodled the cat!') Actually, she's become a little more polite and sometimes she'll hand her food back to me, which still makes me wonder why I bother. I'm sure most every mom has these same challenges and the same struggles, so I acknowlegde that I'm no different, but I want to give a shout out to everyone who feels their meal planning/prepping/cooking efforts go unappreciated. I appreciate all the work you do. It's all consuming and exhausting.

2. I still make myself a priority

I still remember when my cousins had their first baby. We went to visit them a few months into their journey and listened to them describe how time consuming a little infant can be. "If you guys have kids.." My cousin's husband warned "all the sports and activities you do will go right out the window." I thought it was an odd remark considering that my cousin and her husband didn't do any sports or activities before they had kids. I smugly thought to myself Challenge Accepted! Well in a way he was right. As my mother abruptly pointed out, I'm no longer playing tennis or field hockey, but technically those stopped before Kate. I'm not bothered about field hockey, although I miss hanging out with my old teammates (I was so happy to get together with our old goalkeeper while I was in London. The goalies and sweepers are bonded for life). I'd really like to play tennis again, but I can just about manage to keep up with swimming and going to the gym. Let me tell you; it doesn't always happen. There are days when she wakes up early in the morning and especially if she has a cough or cold, the mom guily overwhelms me and I'll stay home from swimming. Then I'll log on to and see what I missed at practice and the swimmer's guilt sets in. I'll try to take her to the gym while she's napping and sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she wakes up after I've barely rowed 500 meters. But there are some days where one of the life guards at the poool will play with her if she wakes during swim practice, or I'll coordinate with another Cross Fit mom to bring her kids to play with Kate in the gym's kiddie area. Kate recently hit a PR and stayed in the play area for an entire workout. No it, doesn't always happen, but it will never happen if I don't try.        
Yes, gone are the days when I could run 1-2 10 Ks per month and aim to complete 3-4 half marathons per year. At least for now. My fantasy of being the long distance stroller pushing mom is being dashed by the reality that Kate doesn't like being in the stroller for a long period of time. A 5K is her max and race strategy is now all about making her milk and snacks stretch thoughtout the race. Maybe when we move up from the jogging stroller to the little thing that is like a tent on wheels and she doesn't have to be restrained, it will be more fun for her. Or maybe I'll just have to wait until she's big enough to run along with me. Maybe the window is closed for now; but out the window? That's not going to happen.

3. I made sure Husband was going to be a 'Hands-on Dad'

When Kate was only a few months old, I read an article on Scary Mommy, or some other parenting website. The author had two kids, aged 5 and 8 and one day she discovered that her husband was so inept that he couldn't even call their local pizza parlor and place an order for the same pizza and sides that they have every Saturday night for the past few years. It dawned on her that she had been parenting all by herself all this time. As moms usually do, she blamed herself for not ever requiring her husband to share any responsibility or teaching him what to do. I felt that this article carried a warning: don't let this happen to you! I consulted the lone Dad in our New Parents Group. The poor guy who is now probably permanently cross-eyed from trying to avert his eyes away from all the breastfeeding moms sitting around the circle. "Don't just ask for help," he advised "Assign a specific task". "Lists are also useful" he offered. I wrote out the inventory of the diaper bag on a little index card and I'm thinking I should do the same for packing Kate's lunch. When I gave Husband the task of washing pump parts and preparing Kate's bottles, he took it very seriously and I feel he earns some of the credt for giving Kate breast milk for one year.

Don't let me lure you into thinking that we operate in some kind of utopia where the work load is split 50/50. Ha! Most of the time, I feel like I am the default parent. I take care of packing the lunches, her school bag, giving her bath, putting her to bed, picking out her clothes to wear. I do most of the diapering, because Husband admits he is "lazy" about it. Sigh.  At least I know that he can do these tasks when I need him to. He gives Kate her dinner, does her bath and puts her to bed on nights when I have my department dinner meetings. Once he cmplained that I didn't have any food ready for her dinner. "Oh, you mean you had to figure out how to heat up some meatballs? It's a good thing you have a doctorate" On Friday mornings when I leave the house by 6:30, sometimes Kate is still asleep and he has to give her breakfast and get her ready for Day Care all on his own. It may mean that on some mornings, such a last Friday, "breakfast" involves giving her a container of blueberries and letting her walk around the house with them... but I've learned to let that go. I did not think about smushed up blueberries all over the house as I drove to work. That was his problem.        

4. I involve her in the household chores

Shit has to get done! I want her to appreciate that life is not all fun and games and we all need to work at times. She'll help with the laundry and emptying the dishwasher. She's still really curious about the vacuum and I know that when I've vacuuming, she'll actually sit still for five minutes and I don't have to worry about her getting into anything. She's also getting a bit better at engaging in her own independent play while I'm cooking or putting her clothes away.      

5. I enjoy my time away from her

I love that little girl with all my heart and then some more. Everyday I feel fortunate to have her in my life. But I need a break now and then. It's nice to have some separation and to go out of the house and spend a few hours away from being mommy. There are some mornings where I don't really feel up to going to the gym. Then I remember it's a hour of kid-free time, plus driving time and suddenly I feel like working out! I used to feel guilty about the fact that I didn't cry dropping her off at Day Care and I don't think about her during the day, but NonSequitur Chica reassured me that it means I feel comfortable with her Day Care Attendants and I'm busy at my job. We'll see how I do when I go to Dallas for the weekend at the end of the month. I realised it will be the first time being away from her for a night since she was placed in my uterus in embryo form on October 21, 2014. How much I miss her may also depend on if my parents are driving me nuts.

6. I can manage parenting solo

I totally admit I was terrified when Husband had his first business trip after I went back to work and I was left on my own with Kate. Not only did we manage; it wasn't too hard at all (not that I'll admit that to him). My biggest challenge was trying to get up before she woke so that I could shower and would hope that she wouldn't wake up while I was in the shower. Not I opt to sleep as long as I can and I'll give her some milk and brings some toys into the bathroom while I scrub. I know I've said it a million times and I'll say it again, that I don't know how single parents manage and I'm in ever in such awe, but I can manage for a few nights or a week every now and then. Actually, last month when Husband was away, I found that with Kate going to bed earlier and sleeping through the night, I could enjoy having the house to myself like the good old days.

7. I'm a master bargain shopper

Since we don't need to buy them that frequently due to our cloth service, I only buy diapers when they are on sale or sponoring a promotion. I never waste a BBB 20% discount or $5 off coupon. My parents are also signed up and they forward me their emails and mail circulars. I've been known to make separate transaction during the same trip when I have multiple coupons available. I would often purchase exactly $25 worth of Baby.ganics stuff so I could earn another $5 BBB gift card. I make use of all my's Reward points and Gymbucks and Gap Cash.  I shop the Clearance racks and looks for Kate's next size. I've sold a lot of her used baby equipment on a group and I frequent a local conseignment shop. At least a third of their inventory are clothes that have never been worn or worn once or twice maximum. I hit the Dollar Store when I need cheap toys for travelling. As soon as I can be confident she won't destroy the books, we'll start going to our library.

8. We follow the No TV Before Two rule (sort of)

Please note! I am not criticising any mom who lets her kids watch TV! Actually I'm a little bit in the camp of "My mom let me watch Sesame Street before I was 2 and I turned out okay". I can say to this day that I still remember a lot of what I learned on the Street. I still sing 1-2-3-4-5, 6-7-8-9-10, 11, Tweeeellllvvvveee! I often play 'one of these things is not like the other' I learned cultural awarness. As we lived in Wonderbread Whitetown, the first people of colour I saw were characters on Sesame Street. I discovered people speak different languages because there are other countries and other languages. The first Spanish words I learned were from Luis and Maria. I learned about death when they said good-bye to Mr Hooper and I first learned about adoption when Gordon and Susan brought little Miles into their family.

More so, it was a call to action for Husband and I to cut down our own TV time. In the words of the great Eleanor Roosevelt, "You cannot ask of others that which you are not willing to do yourself". We ditched cable and switched to Roku. Now we only watch a handful of shows in our room and we listen to Pandora in the kitchen. I decided I was going to have to break my no TV for Kate rule when we flew back from England (direct to SFO is 11 hours). Years back, I worked with a women who flew a lot with her 4 year old and thought that personal DVD players were magic. "The key to it's success" she explained "is that it's only a treat for the plane. We tell her it doesn't work at home." Ah, take advantage of your kids while you can. In my case it backfired. Kate had no interest in watching The Secret Life of Pets or Finding Dory. (I enjoyed them both, but I watched them with subtitles, so I feel I need to see both again to appreciate the movie with the voice actors) I downloaded some signing videos for my iPad and that held her interest... for maybe 20 minutes. Then she tried to send an email to Kimberly Q.

Our rule has been that the only time TV is on in front of Kate is if it's sports. [and the Gilmore Girls revival] When the election was in it's final weeks, we started watching political news shows while she was in the room. Now that it's a total shit show and we want to be aware of just how much is fucked up, we're kind of watching political stuff all the time. I'm recognising that I need to be careful with Real Time with Bill and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, not only for the language, but a recent episode led her to dance along with "A Man Like Putin"

9. I'm doing things I said I would never do.

Well actually, it all started when I said that I would never do IVF... Two stim cycles and five transfers later, I'm going to Mommy and Me singing activities with Kate. I have a horrible singing voice. I was rejected from school chorus in the Fourth Grade and I have traumatic memories from that. I always said that I was never going to do any activity that involved mommies sitting in a circle singing with their babies. That's why I signed us up for signing classes...and we learned songs on the first day. Then I tried Baby Yoga... and there was also sitting in a circle and singing! Finally I relented and we started going to baby music. In the privacy of the dance studio, I sing, dance and play instruments. Something I never wanted to do and for such a long time, never thought I would never have the opportunity to do.

10. I know I just really lucked out

I have to be humble and admit that some of the things that make Kate a great baby are just sheer luck and I can't take any credit for it. Nursing went well, but it wasn't because I have any special skills. She's a good sleeper because that's just the way she is and not because of anything I did. She just happens to be an easy kid and fso far parenting her has been pretty easy. So much so, that I really fear she's saving all the hard stuff for her teenage years.

I nominate all the moms who read this blog to write your own list of the ways you are rocking motherhood. Maybe it's an idea for your next post, or the post that brings you out of blogging hibernation. Maybe just write it down on a piece of paper and stick it in your sock drawer. Reflect on it the next time it feels like motherhood is rocking you and know; you've got this.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

19.5 Months

Setting new fashion trends...

My swim coach has us do kicking drills that she calls "underwaters". The objective is to swim one full length of the pool without taking a breath. The purpose is to try to build breath control so that you learn to take fewer time stealing breaths. To offer some encouragement, or at least perspective, she often reminds us; "it's only twenty seconds of your life..."

It's only twenty seconds of your life. I was applying that mentality as I was facing the visit with my in-laws. I was really dreading the trip as I still have PTSD from their last visit. Yet, it needed to be done. They need to spend time with Kate and their son and I just have to put on my game face and suck it up. Place your hands in streamline position. Squeeze your ears between your biceps, take a deep breath and kick until you get to the other side. It's only twenty seconds of your life. Except in this case, it's not twenty seconds, it's two weeks or give or take 1,209,600 seconds.

So far, we're one week into our stay, and it hasn't been too bad. Kate provides a welcome ice breaker to the awkard silence. While I wouldn't say that I feel comfortable in my in-laws house, I'm feeling slightly less uncomfortable. I'm finding it easier to talk with my MIL, my FIL; not so much. It has helped that we've been getting out every other day, including a visit with another infertility survivor and her two amazing IVF miracles. However, I am holding my breath. Literally. Their shower broke the day before we arrived. My FIL ordered the part that he needed online and it was due to arrive on Monday. Since, we weren't doing anything on Sunday except recovering from the jet-lag, I figured I could make the most of the fact that I rarely get to spend the entire day in my pajamas. Then Husband pointed out that as the part was ordered late on Friday night, the company probably wouldn't process the order until Monday morning, which means we wouldn't get the part until Tuesday.

I hadn't showered since Thrusday night and couldn't go one more day. I had to ask my MIL if she could ask their neighbour if Kate and I could use their shower. "Oh, I suppose I could" she responded. Thank you. I know it's not their fault the shower broke, and I'm impressed that my 82 year old FIL can fix it himself and I understand that they may not be able to afford a plummer, but I was annoyed that they didn't try to provide more of a solution other than putting a plastic cup in the shower and nothing that we could stand in the shower and pour water over your head. On Monday afternoon, my FIL checked the order to make sure it was processed and the part would be sent overnight. He saw that it would only be sent by first class mail and asked Husband to call the company to complain. "Let me check the invoice first" Husband thought it was wise to do so. "Dad, you didn't request overnight service, only first class mail. Didn't you think it was odd to be paying only three pound fifty for overnight service?" I was really struggling to contain laughter.

The part arrived on Tuesday afternoon. Husband and his dad worked to install it on Wednesday. They spent hours at it and at last I heard the sound of water running out of the spicket. Success at last! Not exactly, it was ice cold.  I had showered at the neighbour's house and Chris's aunt's house (two showers with the weakest shower pressure ever, but beggars can't be choosers) I also went to a Sportscentre and paid 15 pounds for the daily rate and longily walked past all the gym equipment as I felt lazy only going into a gym to use a shower. On Thursday, I had to take a freezing cold shower and was still shivering hours later. My ILs haven't showered at all during this time. Husband later figured out why the water was cold. The mixing valve had broke, so water that came out of the shower was either freezing cold or scalding hot. He ordered a new part to be shipped overnight (which cost twenty pounds for overnight service). The part arrived on schedule at 9 AM on Friday morning, and at press time (5 PM) they're still working on the shower and I'm still in my pajamas, holding my breath...

Stats: 26 lbs 32 inches

Teeth: At her 18 month check, my pediatrician thought her incisors were coming in, but so far, not yet. 

Eating: This has become a little bit of a struggle. As Kate transitioned to the toddler class, I think they are keeping her busier that when she was in the infant group and she's really tired when she comes home. Some nights she's been so tired that she fussies and cries and refuses to eat and we end up just putting her to bed, which makes me feel like this:

I love Fowl Language Comics 

The trouble is that the difficulty with feeding carries on into the morning. Especially on the mornings when I swim, Husband was finding that she would resist sitting in her chair and so he would take her out and let her eat on his lap, or walk around the house making a mess where ever she goes. We hit a bit of a parental disagreement, as I want him to be firm and insist that she eats at the table (we transitioned her from the high chair to a booster chair), as she does with me. I feel he gives in too easily with her at times. We came up with a bit of compromise and set up her table in the kitchen, so she can eat at her own table.

Table for One

Since we arrived in England, the time change and unfamiliar setting has intensified her eating struggles. She's been picky about what she eats and refuses to sit. So far, it's been yoghurt to the rescue, as it's providing some protein and she'll actually sit and eat with a spoon. I'm hoping that these eating struggles are part of a phase that will pass soon. If I'm the only one in the room, she'll sit and eat, but when anyone else is present (mainly Husband) she'll fuss and squirm to get down. Obviously, this is not ideal. 

She still really loves her milk. As we've been trying to wean her off a bit, it's become more difficult to
hide it from her. If we're going out, I have to prepare she sippee cups with her out of the room, otherwise she'll start making the milk sign as soon as she hears the fridge door opening. When we're stopping, she recognises the red carton of Horizon Organic Whole Milk. Husband and I used to refer to it as M-L-K, but now she's starting to recognise those initials so we've been calling it Martin Luther King or Harvey, but then realised it may be a little inappropriate to be referencing two slain civil rights leaders in such a manner.

Sleeping: Since the toddler class wears her out, we've had to move her bedtime up to 7:00 from 7:30. She still falls asleep really well. Our routine is really simple, change into jammies, read stories whilst she drinks her milk and she's been doing the sign for brushing teeth when we finish with the books. After brining her back into her room after teeth cleaning, if I say "night, night" she'll parrot back 'night, night' as she gives me a kiss. I'll tell her "I love you!" and she'll respond with Mwa-mwa-wah-wah [insert Charlie Brown teacher voice] which only I can intrepret as "I love you, too" and my heart just melts into a big puddle on the floor. Some nights there is no crying or fussing once I place her in her bed. Since she's been going to sleep a little earlier... it does mean she's been waking a bit earlier. If she wakes up after 5 AM but before 6 AM, we'll bring her back to our bed, and most times, she'll fall asleep for another hour or so. Again, not ideal, but we're rolling with it for now. 

Her napping has been better. I was a bit concerned as her day care providers in the infant class noted that she needed to be held and cuddles for quite a while before going down, which was the struggle I have and sometimes leads to her napping in my arms. The toddler class does more of a group nap, where they drag out a bunch of mats and blankets and the kids each lie down and go to sleep. Maybe she's sucombing to peer pressure, as her attendants report that they have no problems getting her to nap with this approach. As it's been a bit colder, I've lost the option of putting her in the stroller to fall asleep as the cold air and any blowing winds keeps her awake. I've had to switch to Cross-Fit classes on Tuesday, as it's just been too cold to keep her by the pool. I was worried about what we would do while we were visiting my in-laws, where we would face the same problem of cold and rainy weather removing the stroller option, but she's not had any issues napping in her crib like a civilised baby. She does want to mimic her night time routine and signs to brush her teeth after reading. No problem. We can add an extra teeth cleaning if it gets you to nap. 

So, I'm hoping that the napping success carries over when we go back home, but I'm dreading what we'll face when we re-adjust to the time change. For the first few nights, Kate would wake up in in the middle of the night and we'd take her back to bed, where she'd toss and turn for 2-4 hours before falling back to sleep. One night, she was in a more playful mood and starting slapping Husband and me in the face. She was instructed to stop and was threatened that she'd have to go back to her bed and she responded by giving me a stinging slap that left a red mark. I brought her back to her bed and we let her cry it out, which lasted just over 35 minutes, which was also the same time it took for the stinging sensation wear off my cheek. However, she slept through the night that night and has been sleeping through every night since then. We did have some explaining to do to my ILs in the morning. "You know we have rules against that in this country" my FIL told husband (because they don't have such laws in the states and apparently we're child abusers), until Husband informed him, "no, Kate hit Jane..." 

I consulted another ex-pat, who has done the England trip with her toddler a few times, to see if she had any advice. "Not really, just wishing you luck." She replied. She checked in a few days later after Kate's sleeping schedule had adjusted. "So, how is it when you go back..?" I was almost afraid to ask. "Oh, it's much worse, since you have to go back to work and don't have the luxery of napping during the day" she replied with brutal honesty. 

Milestones: I was starting to feel a little frustrated with her language progress, as one of the claims with baby sign language is that toddlers will actually have a larger vocabulary than their non-signing peers. One particular reference book has a comparison chart and Kate's number of words for her age was more consistent with a non-signing child. What the hell? However, when I went throught the signing book to count the number of signs, which was over 30, I had to acknowledge that she does know all the words for those signs, even if she doesn't always use the word when she signs. I've noticed that signing is also helping her appreciate homonyms. The sign for pig is the same sign that is used for the word 'dirty' and within the span of an hour she correctly excuted the 'dirty' sign when she was trying to touch her diaper pail and then later did the same sign when she saw a picture of a pig. She also can use the 'orange' sign to recognise the fruit and the colour. 

So, I've been pushing on with the sign language and I've been introuducing Spanish. We have an animal book and a colours book that are in both English and Spanish and we sign as we read. My pediatrician wants her to know 3-5 colors by her 2 year check up and my goal is to have her know those colour names in English, Spanish and ASL. It seems to be paying off, as she's really excellerated her spoken words and signing in the past few weeks (she now knows the signs for 3 colours -4 if you count orange). The little play kitchen that Myrtle gave her teaches some Spanish; specifically 'abierto' and 'cerrado' for when the fridge door is opened and closed. If she wants something opened (a packet, or a door) she'll ask "Abri! Abri" I don't think she's ever used the word 'open', so it's the first word that she only knows in Spanish, which makes me feel quite proud.  Actually, she also only knows 'beso' (kiss) in Spanish. Husband taught it to her, as I think it's the only Spanish word he knows.

I'm finding that it's becoming frustrating to go out with her to do shopping or errands. She doesn't like being in the stroller as she wants to get out and walk. Physically she's capable of walking for long distances, but she has no focus. She just runs around and gets into everything. It's become another aspect of parental disagreement. As soon as she exhibits the slightest bit of fussing, Husband urges "Get her out." Right while we're going through Immigration and still have to schlep to baggage claim. Do you really want to be chasing her through a busy airport? I insist that we can't give in every time she fusses (additionally I read that kids sometimes fuss in the pram when they need to pee) but I often try to appease her/keep her occupied = quiet while she's in the pram by giving her something to eat or drink, which is also not ideal. The other aspect of the struggle is that Houdini can wiggle her way free. She's been able to pop her arms out of the shoulder restraint for a while, even after we re-adjusted it to match her new height. Today, she demonstrated that she can stand on the seat and work her way out of the lap belt. Such a spirited little shit. I'm looking into to getting a harness for the chest, but I'm not too far off from using a bungee cord. 

Likes: Even before Kate was born, Husband and I agreed that we were going to try to be 'low-tech" parents. So I became annoyed when he started giving her his iphone to hold when she was just four month old. "She's going to discover that it does stuff..." I warned. [of Note, Husband finally stopped handing over his phone to her after she threw it in the cat's waterbowl and ruined it. He wasn't planning on getting the iphone7, as he had just finished paying off his old phone, but he is quite content with his upgrade] If either of us leave our phones within her grasp, she'll snag it. As I leave my screen locked, she'll mostly just press the main button to make it beep and will occasionally summon Siri. I know there is an emergency call feature, but she'll randomly Face time people. Such as contacts from a former job that I never got around to deleting. Kate's random Face timing had become the new butt dialing. I decided I needed to take a fight fire with fire appoach and I picked up a Price toy cell phone for her. It has a mirror and makes the 'click' sound so she can take selfies. It also has a 'swoosh' for when she sends emails and 'tweets', so techincally Kate is on twitter before we are. Oh, it also plays music and actually rings, so she'll know phones are used to call people, which she often will hold it up to her ear. Husband and I have vowed to be more vigalant about not playing on our phones in front of her. 

She really loves her baby doll. Whenever we are getting ready to go out, she puts her dolly in her pram and pushes her toward the door. There have been a few occasions when we've had to take the doll and her stroller with us. She's also getting really good at puzzles. Not puzzles with interlocking pieces, but the ones with cut out shapes and little pegs. She's showing that she can play independently for a few minutes, but when she wants to you play with her, she'll let you know my grabbing your hand (if you're sitting down, let's say trying to sip your morning coffee) and will demand "Up!" She is also really into washing her hands. I had a travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer attached to her diaper bag, which I had to remove as she kept flipping the top and squeezing a small amount onto her hands. I'm wondering if there is anything in the sanitizer that is appealing to toddler, as she kept running back for more like a junkie. She's a junkie of a different kind. My kid has OCD. 

Her Daddy-itis has become much worse. While we're at home, she definately shows a preference for him. Since we've been in England, she'll go into full-blown tantrum mode if he has the audacity to leave the room. Of course, this makes him look like a rock star parent in front of his parents, which is very good, but it does make me wonder what they think of me as a mother. I've had the opportunity to practice the Harvey Karp Toddler-ease Fast Food Rule to deal with her tantrums "Kate want Daddy? Kate wants to see Daddy. It will be okay. It will be okay. Let's go read some books" It has been working like a charm, but I hope it's effectiveness doesn't wear off from overuse. 

Oh, remember how I said that I didn't want to do extended breastfeeding as I didn't want her to be putting her hands down my shirt? Yeah, she does it anyway.

Diapering: While my mother was visiting over Christmas, she noticed that Kate has a fairly obvious tell when she is doing a #2. I felt embarassed as I've been rather oblivious to it, but once we recognised her moves, we started teaching her the sign for 'poop' and now she'll alert us when she needs a change. She's also started wiping herself. Since we change her whilst standing, I once handed her a wipe just to keep her occupied, but she demonstrated that she knew what to do with it. I've decided that we're ready to start potty training.

Clothing: Her legs are skinny, but she still has a round baby belly. I've been dressing her in sweaters (as it's been colder) and trousers with a onesie underneath as her sweater or top tends to ride up and would expose her skin without the onesie. In preparation of potty training, I've been shopping for regular shirts in a size 2T, large enough to hopefully keep her skin covered. I wanted to do some clothes shopping while we were in England to pick up some items that we couldn't get back home and I ended up going a bit mad. Will need to have a glass of wine it's time to pay the bills as I can't remember the last time I spent this much on clothes for myself... 

Looking forward to: Potty training! Seriously! I know there is a bit of debate about doing it early versus waiting until they're ready, so all I'll say is that I think this is the right time for us. Okay, I will admit that I am a bit motivated by the fact that my cousins and Myrtle didn't have their kids completely potty trained until after the age of 4. I've just be contemplating the timing. I figure it will take some time the re-adjust once we get back and we'll be busy getting back into our usual routine. I have a swim meet in the middle of March and then two weekends later, I'll be in Dallas. (My friend did get the job and moved to Chicago last week, so hopefully I'll still get to visit my other friend if she's not in labour). We have a week off from Day Care, but I only have two days off that week and my parents will be visiting. I'm not sure it would be the best idea to potty train during their visit as my Dad probably won't help at all (just being honest) and my mother will have her own opinions on how we should be doing things. Not ideal.

I have a big swim meet the following weekend and then we're planning to see our friends Robin and Barney and their two year old daughter for a weekend in early May, and I don't want to take her to someone else's house until she's really got the potty thing down and isn't having accidents, so I'm looking to start it over Memorial Day weekend and I'll take the rest of the week off from work and keep her home from Day Care. Wish us luck! In the meantime, I'm working on gathering supplies and teaching communication for when she needs to pee. My plan is to dress her in a shirt and diaper and make notes when I see the line turn blue.

This Friday we're gathering with our friends in London who are single, or don't have kids and my in-laws will baby sit. The get-together is actually to celebrate a friend's birthday and for some reason both Husband and I thought the event was last Friday and didn't realise our error until that morning. I suggested that maybe we could go out for a date night since my in-laws had already agreed to let us go out for the night. Husband took me to the restaurant where we had our rehersal dinner. It was great to recount the memories of that night and the years that followed and it was great to see that the pub (which had just recently opened when we held our event) is doing so well that they built an addition to accomodate more seating and created an outdoor seating area. We are fortunate that we get a night out every now and then thanks to Kate's Day Care offerning Saturday night baby sitting, but some how, we always end up at our usual pub. We ate at the bar of this pub for both Mother's and Father's Day (although I admit it was because we were watching the Warriors in a playoff game and bar seating has the best view) and recently we tried a new restaurant only to find it was really disappointing, so we ended up back at the bar of our favourite pub. Not that I'm complaining in any way, it just was really nice to feel like an adult by having a proper fancy three course meal back at the place where it all began.

We ended up sneaking another night out as our friends Leonard and Penny have divorced. Due to their custody arrangements and the fact that he and Penny don't even speak to each other, let alone be in the same room, we ended up having dinner with Lenoard one night as Penny will be the one attending the birthday drinks. It will be an early night and a light one too, as we fly out early the next morning and the only thing possible worse than an 11 hour flight with a toddler, would be an 11 hour flight with a toddler whilst hungover. Still, I'm just looking forward to being in a bar in London, overlooking the Themes and the city landmarks. Brings back so many memories...

I'm also looking forward to my home shower. Oh, how I miss my outdoor pool deck best shower in the world! We visited friends over the weekend, and I was treated to a bubble bath complete with a glass of wine! It was so decadent! I was able to get a shower on Sunday, but when we came back, the shower still wasn't fixed, so Husband and his father spent most of the day working on it. They installed all the parts, but kept finding leaks. Finally, they were able to get it to a point where the leak was slow enough that my FIL figured we could use the shower for brief periods of time. We were able to use the shower on Tuesday, but my FIL had left the hot water heater off, so it was another cold shower. On Wednesday, we had hot water, but I had to keep my shower really quick as I also needed to wash Kate as well and I didn't rinse the conditioner fully out of my hair. Throughout this time, my in-laws still haven't showered (although they do 'wash up' each day) and my FIL isn't planning to finish the work until after we leave. Holding my breath. 1,209,600 seconds of my life. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

"Why don't you take a vacation?"

I am a mother to a nineteen month old daughter. I have three fro-yos in the freezer. I am currently using Nex.planon for birth control. Yet, I am still infertile. I am still infertile as I get annoyed with stupid shit well meaning people tell their infertile friends. Nothing grinds my gears more than hearing the suggestion to take a vacation. I think this one really gets me as Myrtle really pushed it. When I told her that Husband was diagnosed as having mild male factor infertility due to a low sperm count, her response was "Fuck the fact that you're staying at your in-laws and try to conceive in England" [This was a few months before our scheduled trip to go to London for the 2012 Olympics] Apparently, her logic followed that maybe if he were back in his home country, his sperm count would go back to normal? She pushed it again when I visited her for her baby shower one week before we left for London. [I had a positive OPK that weekend and thus missed another month to make a futile attempt at conception] "I still think you should try when you're in England" she advised. Sigh. I tried explaining that I have a long follicular phase and wouldn't ovulate until we returned, and by the way, we're staying in the House of Abstinence, but maybe she thought I was going to be the next immaculate conception after the Virgin Mary.

Two and a half years later, after many failed infertility treatments, she was still insisting that taking a vacation was integral to success. She suggested that we take a trip to Hawaii after our embryo transfer. As a fertile trust fund baby, she had no idea that one is a bit cash poor after paying about five thousand dollars for a transfer and it would be difficult to coordinate as I wouldn't know my exact transfer date until 1-2 weeks before the date was set. We had to endure even more theories about Hawaii promoting conception from my cousin. She experienced infertility and was a first time IVF success. After their son's first birthday, they decided not to pursue any more transfers with their frozen embryos and would embrace their only child. A month later, they went to Hawaii for a holiday and brought home a special souvenir. "Oh, we were just so relaxed," I had to listen to her say that over and over again and I felt those words were a betrayal to the infertility community every time I heard them. No, you were just lax about birth control! I said to myself at that time. Now, as I've done a vacation to Hawaii with an infant, I call double bullshit on that statement. You are not relaxing while on holiday with a baby.

A few months ago I gave an infertility primer lecture to our primary care department. I had seen a few cases where patients weren't counselled about when to have labs drawn, or they were interpreted incorrectly. As I had heard that one doctor advised a patient to "just relax", I included a section busting common myths. "People take their infertility diagnoses with them when they travel," I explained "Maui may be magical, but it does not enhance fertility potential" I ad-libbed. Then I thought of something else to include; "actually, traveling can be rather stressful."

Warning: what will follow is some serious first world problem whining and I apologise for that; but if you stay with me, I may actually have a point. I want to go beyond explaining that a sandy beach is not a sperm producing, ovulation inducing, fallopian tube opening and implantation welcoming paradise (correlation is not causation) and introduce the notion that a vacation can carry bring just as much stress (if not more) compared to the amount of relaxation. Here's what went down preparing for our recent trip. (Full disclosure: There is no potential for conception during this trip, thanks to two highly effective contraceptive methods. Nex.planon and staying with my in-laws)

  • Looking at our schedules to find a time for a holiday
  • Both Husband and I need to secure the time off from work
  • Purchase airfare. In this case we needed to coordinate Kate and I flying into New York, and then all of us departing New York to London. After a few searches, we found some flight prices that weren't too bad. There is always the possibility that you can make the purchase only to see the price drop in a few days, or alternatively you can wait and see the prices rise and feel like an idiot for not snatching the lower price earlier
  • Obtain passport for Kate and re-new my expired passport. Pay additional $50 for expedited service as we delayed getting this done, which still wouldn't guarantee that we would receive the passports in time. Fortunately, they arrived rather quickly, making me think we probably didn't need the rush order. Better safe than sorry
  • Text my swim teammate, who lives nearby to see if she can take care of the cats. She's been swimming at a different time and I rarely see her, so I start to feel guilty that I only contact her when I need a pet minder. Once again, I vow to invite her out for dinner some time. To save some effort, I asked my swim coach to facilitate passing on our spare key.
  • Finish a shopping trip and discover and I forgot to pick up a box of cake mix and frosting, which is the payment my cat sitter requests. I'm sure I'll need to go to Tar.get later this week
  • Swing by a drive through ATM to get some cash for cat sitter. Although, she only requests cake mix with frosting and Annie's Mac and Cheese (I'm re-gifting a few boxes that my mum sent me for Kate) I pay her in real money when it's a long trip. Actually this part is not too stressful. Drive through ATMs are genius.
  • Contact cleaners to cancel cleaning service while we're away
  • Request to hold the mail
  • Email our diaper service to coordinate a vacation hold
  • Message our pediatrician to have him refill Kate's prescription for Nystatin. I'm sure she'll get a diaper rash and I want to be prepared. Make a mental note to pack her antibiotic eye drops (She had conjunctivitis a few weeks ago and a recent playmate was diagnosed with it) as well as the leftover Amox.icillin from her last ear infection
  • Swing by the pharmacy after picking up Kate from Day Care. It's really busy at this time and her patience is thin
  • Spend the last week at work frantically trying to tie up any loose ends. Work on contacting patients with results so they don't wait over two weeks for my return. I also need to finish closing charts as it will be the last day of the month when I return
  • Do multiple loads of laundry in preparation for packing
  • I figured I would bring two weeks worth of night-time diapers, so we don't have to buy a full box in England. Discover I only have 8 left. Need to run out on Wednesday during lunch to buy more diapers. Pick up the cake mix and frosting.
  • Clear the fridge of perishable foods. Get a little carried away and remove condiments and sauces that have passed their expiration date
  • Prepare to mix up the cats' dry food. Fuck! We're out of dry food. Will need to go out on Thursday, which will cut into my work time.
  • Get soaked, as it's absolutely pouring down rain when I run out to get the dry food for the cats. 
  • Make reservation at the off-sight long-term airport parking. Last trip, I didn't make a reservation, they were full and I had to park in the airport parking garage at $25 per day. Ouch
  • Write instructions for the cat minder, even though everything is easy enough to figure out and she's done this before. Still feel this is something I should do.
  • Pack. Discover that I'm packing way to much stuff for Kate and I'm running out of room for my clothes. Re-evaluate what I need for Kate. Decide I don't have enough room for the nighttime diapers
  • Charge iPad and phone
  • Pack the diaper bag with toys and lots of snacks for the flight
  • Decide I can't be bothered to weigh my suitcase. I need everything in it. If it's overweight, will have to pay extra
  • Load up my car. I have to remove the jogging stroller from the boot and to do this, I need to have the garage door open to have the extra space. I realise this defeats the purpose of having an attached garage and being able to discreetly pack your car so that others don't know you'll be away. 
  • Try to spend some quality time with Tyler. He's keenly aware that we'll be leaving him
  • Wake up at 0330 as I need to leave the house by 0400. Our flight is at 0700.
  • It's raining as we leave. I seem to be hitting every pothole on the road and I'm surprised I haven't broken my car's suspension
  • Arrive at the parking garage. There are signs indicating that the elevator is broken. Valet parking is encouraged. I'm tempted, but the price is $21.95 per day, which isn't too much less than the rip-off airport parking. However, I could get my car washed... which is needed as some birds have shat on it. Decide against it, dump the suitcase, pram and diaper bag on the curb
  • Place sleepy Kate in the carrier as we take the shuttle to the airport
  • Discover the suitcase is 5 lbs overweight and the fee is $100, which is quite a sticker shock. I figured I would have to pay $35, which is the fee for a second bag. Grab some items from the suitcase that I can stash in the basket in the pram. Stop at the airport gift shop to pick up a plastic bag so I can better secure the items in the basket
  • Go through Security. Get pulled aside so they can inspect Kate's milk
  • Uneventful flight with Kate -she actually napped for 90 minutes! Arrive in New York and meet up with Husband. Check in and go through security again.
  • It was a long flight to London. Kate didn't want to sleep and I felt travel sick. Realise I haven't slept properly for three nights in a row
  • Kate gives us priority status so we go to the head of the queue at Immigration and our bags arrive early off the carousel. 
  • Despite the fact that Husband had a valid UK driver's license, for some reason it takes us three times as long to get our rental car as others in the queues. Kate is about to lose it during this wait and I'm not far behind her. Wait is extended a bit as Husband takes his own photos of the car before we leave the lot. 
  • We're off to start our vacation, feeling absolutely exhausted

Even when you are going on a proper holiday, like last year when we went to Maui, there are still some stresses. Finding your destination. Wondering if the actual facility is anything like the photos on the webpage. Checking in and lugging the suitcases out of the car. Figuring out where to eat. If there was a time change, jet lag can take a serious toll on your body. I've always found that for each hours deviated from your home time, it takes that many days to adjust to the local time. Even if there is not a time change involved, some people find that they don't sleep as well in a new place for the first few nights. Although you're not supposed to think about work; sometimes it's inevitable. Work doesn't stop just because you're on holiday. Yes, it is a total American thing that we can't ever relax and check out of work. I find it's better to log in and keep up with my results and messages as it make an easier return when I get back. Even if you are able to do something fun or relaxing, sometimes people feel a certain pressure to make sure they're making the most of their vacation time, or making sure the vacation is living up to expectations. Sometimes there's also an unspoken pressure to have sex, because that's what you're supposed to be doing on vacation, even though you'd rather catch up on sleep. I'm actually surprised that anyone conceived while on holiday.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

2017 Goals

Yes, I am stealing a lot of ideas for posts from Non-Sequitur Chica (but you will see one of my goals is to write more posts). I couldn't resist this opportunity as I've heard that if you write your goals down and share them with others, you will be more likely to achieve them.

1. Continue Whole 30 lifestyle. I did two rounds back to back and was very successful (Ugh, that sentance sounds like Donald Trump). I gave up Coke Zero, I stopped adding Spend.a in my coffee or tea. I learned how to make better food choices. I lost weight and felt good about myself. I had the confidence to wear a two piece not only to swim practice where there are really fit twentysomethings; but also to Baby Swim -where there are judgy moms. I managed to hold most Whole 30 principles even while I wasn't constrained by the rules. I had a necessary drink on election night, but brought my own paleo food to Thanksgiving dinner. Then I really got derailed in December. I feel like I'm starting over again; but I'm determined.

2. Improve my score on the Body Fat Test. I have this coming up and I'm clinging to hope that I made some improvement since October, but I'd really love to achieve a personal best by the end of the year and improve from where I was in 2014. Update:  I dropped 3 pounds of fat and added 2 pounds of muscle even after my holiday indulgences; my personal best is insight for my retest in June. 

3. Maintaining friendships. My challenge for this year is that at least once a month I have to reach out to someone and plan an activity. I also need to send more emails to connect with people who are important to me. Liking pictures are dropping the occasional comment is not enough. I also plan to get back into sending birthday cards.

4. Be more politically active. Contact representatives, do some work with local activist groups. Attend the next protest rally. Do more than just posting links on as most of your friends already share your opinions.

5. Read at least one book a month, which must be purchased at a local book store. I think I struck out for January. The only new book I picked up was The Whole 30 Cookbook (which I picked up at Costco). I flipped through it cover to cover, but I didn't make anything.

6. Keep up with blogging. I started this blog over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 and submitted 34 posts. I wrote 160 in 2013, 91 in 2014, 48 in 2015 and 21 in 2016. This blog means so much to me and I want to continue with it.

7. Spend more 'Face Time' with Husband and make sure we spend less time on devices while we are together. Although as I write this, we're in bed; me typing on the iPad and he's finishing work on his lap top.


1. Hit my metrics for responding to messages, reporting results and closing charts.

2. Submit a proposal for a lecture and next year's conference.

3. Write an article for a peer reviewed journal.

1. Be able to do 5 strict pulls up and 10 kipping pull ups. I'm actually close to this one, but I'll be away from the gym for nearly three weeks while we go to England and then I'll have to start all over again

2. Work up to doing a WOD at the Rx weight. Increase 1 kilogram at a time.

1. Set a PB in any Free or Fly distance (note, picking a new distance to enter for the first time doesn't count)

2. Swim the 100 Fly in Long Course Meters

3. Attend a clinic to work on starts and turns

1. Try running 5Ks with Kate

2. Do some practice runs in my neighborhood

3. Run a half maration (I acknowledge this is the one goal I probably won't reach)

1. Accomplish potty training by the end of the year

2. Work on language acquisition with her, continuing signing and introducing Spanish

3. Send my in-laws photos and updates on a regular basis. I was sending her monthly photos to them, but as I'm not doing monthly photos any more, their updates have dropped off.

4. Host a successful birthday party for Kate

Monday, 30 January 2017

A Day in the Life Winter 2017

0104 Woken by the downpour of rain.
0107 Husband gets up; he turns the light on in the bathroom to take the world's longest pee.
0110 This wakes up Tyler, who has been sleeping by my side.
0145 Woken up by the sound of Tyler batting is paws on the shutters in the living room. [we have plantation shutters throughout our house] Tyler has always been a nocturnal cat with annoying behaviors. It used to be banging our bathroom cabinets (we baby proofed them before we were pregnant) or trying to get into the linen closet (he does like to sleep on the towels), now it's banging on shutters all hours during the night. These annoying night time behaviors usually wane over time, but he's been doing this for over a month.
0155 He's still banging on the shutters. Pick him up and take him back to bed.
0313 More batting on the shutters. Pick him up and take him to bed again.
0440 That fucking cat!
0520 My alarm goes off to go to swimming. I didn't fall back asleep after the last time my sleep was disturbed by Tyler. I consider bailing since it's been a shitty night of sleep, but as I'm not working today, I can function on less sleep, so it's not an excuse.
0540 Turn off the alarm (which is unfortunately right outside the door to Kate's room). Wait one minute to make sure she doesn't wake up before sneaking out the door.
0541 Drive to swim. Contemplate that I need to contact the vet about Tyler. Watch the temperature drop from 56 degrees (my garage) to 43 (the parking lot at the pool)
0603 The moment I've been dreading. Taking off my parka and stripping of my clothes. Fuck! It's cold!
0604 Dive into the pool. Surprisingly, the water isn't too bad. Although the pool is covered at night, rain still gathers in the pool creating pockets of cold water. It usually takes a few laps to mix up the water.
0630 It's a butterfly set. I really don't have the energy for this.
0645 Get out of the pool. Practice goes until 7. I usually stay till the end on Tuesday (I leave 15 minutes early on the days I go to work) but Husband has a call at 8 AM and needs to eat and be showered before it starts, so I have to be back in a timely manner. It has nothing to do with the fact that the set is kicking my ass.
0647 Turn on the shower on the pool deck. The water is freezing cold
0650 The water is now tolerable, so I can start washing my hair. I'm feeling a bit guilty as I watch my teammates finish the set. After three rounds of 50 Fly x 4 and 100 Free, I can't believe our coach is having them get out to dive.
0653 Hot water is now coming out of the shower. It feels amazing. The water pressure is awesome. It's the best shower in the whole world. Especially when you're greeted with a beautiful sunrise.      

0702 In my car and getting ready to drive home. I'm not sure how much extra I paid for heated seats, but it was worth every penny. Turn heat on full blast
0720 Arrive home, our attached garage opens into the laundry room. Throw wet clothes and towels into the dryer.
0721 Walk past Kate's room; to my surpise, she's still asleep!
0722 Tip toe into my room and strip out of my swimsuit and put on my robe. I can't resist this opportunity and crawl back into bed. I pick up my iPad to email our vet about Tyler's behaviour. Is it too inappropriate to write 'Help! My cat is an asshole?"
0735 Finish email to vet. Read some late Microblog Monday posts. Check Facebook. Yup, the world is still going to hell in a handbasket
0740 Start to wish that I had made myself a cup of coffee to drink while lounging in bed. Especially as Kate should be up soon.
0742 Kate is awake
0743 Greet Kate and change her diaper. Her PJs smell a bit funky. The fleese ones are so absorbant it's hard to tell when she's wet through. Better add doing laundry to the to-do list for today
0745 Set Kate in her high chair and offer some milk, yoghurt and Cheerios while I cut up some blueberries.
0750 Perpare my weekly breakfast of sausage scramble.
0800 Sit down to eat                        
0820 Finish breakfast. Place remaining scramble into containers for my lunches and Kate's. Clean up breakfast dishes.
0830 Place Kate in the learning tower to work on some meal prep. Making butternut squash in the crock pot. I use pre-cut squash and I cut up carrot and onion last night. I also prepared the dry ingredients. I have to peel and cut apples, this isn't too easy with Kate trying to climb on the counter. I decide to use minced garlic in a jar in lieu of peeling fresh garlic.
0845 Soup is on. Next task is to make some packets for Kate. Steam broccoli, boil zucchini and cut pears. Throw everything into my Ninja chopper. It works much better than the Baby Bullet. Assemble filling station and label packets. Kate enjoys watching me fill the packets. She reaches for the first one I finish.
0930 Packets are done; head to the garage to put them in the chest freezer and to move some older ones into the house freezer. Both Kate and Tyler follow me into the garage. Kate wants to ride in her trike. I push her around a few laps before deciding that I'm getting cold. I use the trike to 'chase' Tyler into the house.
0945 I realise that I forgot to get some chicken and pork to thaw for this week's meals. Head back into the garage to be followed by Kate and Tyler
0950 Round everyone back into the house. I'm getting pressed for time. We have to clean the kitchen before heading to Baby Music.
0951 Give Kate a sippee cup of milk. It keeps her occupied while I clean up from making packets
1000 Change Kate and get her dressed. Put on her shoes and coat. Grab her diaper bag and snack bag, which I packed last night
1010 Realise that I need to get dressed myself. Sweetly ask Husband to put Kate in the car, while I get dressed.
1035 Arrive at Baby Music a little late, but the class hasn't started yet.
1140 Baby Music concludes. While I'm getting Kate's shoes and coat on, the instructor calls me over to her desk. She distributed the companion CD last week as it was the start of a new session and she saved us a copy as we missed the class due to Kate's 18 month check-up. I feel really guilty about the fact that I have never even unwapped any of the companion CDs from these classes; let alone listen to them with Kate. I acknowledge that I really should play them in my car.
1205 Arrive at the gym. Kate has fallen asleep. I decided to wait a little bit more before transfering her to the stroller. Check the news on my iPhone. Cringe at how Trump is destroying the country so quickly
1215 Feel totally depressed. Successfully transfer Kate to the stroller and push her into the gym.
1220 Set up the start my 'Baby Work Out'. Row 5K, 75 Wall Balls 10 Pullups.
1243 Kate wakes up. I've only rowed about 2500 meters
1245 I put her on my lap and row another 500 to finish at 3K
1250 Kate seems intrigued watching the class complete the WOD. I take advantage of this and join in. It's a Tabata (20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest) doing planks, goblet squats and single leg dead lifts. I use Kate as my Kettle bell.
1305 Kate is actually trying to climb back in her stroller. I offer her a bottle while I complete my wall balls and pull ups. I mention to Kate that Mummy can do pull ups but Daddy can't.
1315 I change Kate in the gym bathroom. There is only a small amount of counter space to use. I unwap a tampon and let her play with it to keep her occupied while I change her. I figure she needs to become familiar with them sooner rather than later.
1320 Load Kate into the car and give her a vegtable packet. Head to Costco
1330 Find a parking space within walking distance of the store! This is the time to go!
1415 I can't find the canned coconut milk. They moved it to be a part of a display for Chinese New Year and I must have walked passed it three times.
1420 Take another spin around the store to hit the best spots of sampling. Kate has had some tomato soup, pork rolls and chicken tortitas.
1435 Secure Kate in her car seat and offer her a recently purchased Aussie Bite. Look at it longingly as I can't eat it due to Whole 30 this month.
1440 Eat my Epic bar and drink some coconut water.
1510 We arrive at the park. I feel a litte skittish as I'm pretty sure this is the site where she contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
1520 Only ten minutes in and she poops. There are no changing facilities at this park. It rained last night, so the ground is still really wet. I would change her in the boot of my car, but it's loaded up with Costco groceries. I'm running out of options, so this is going to cut our park time short.
1530 Kate wants to go on the swings. As I'm pushing her, I glance at my phone to check the time and notice I have a work related text message. Answer the message as it involves scheduling an important meeting. I also received a reply from the vet. Apparently her cat likes to scratch underneath her bedroom door and she tried stuffing a towel underneath the door and squirting the cat with a water pistol. Cats are inherently noctural animals. She lists a website that sells 'quiet toys for nighttime kitties'. I figure I could spend money on such toys and Tyler either wouldn't play with them; or would play with them and then continue to bat the shutters. She says we can try Kitty Prozac. I reply that I want to give it a go.
1545 Oh crap, I forgot we were supposed to leave early as I need to change her.
1600 Arrive at a nearby sporting shop as they have changing facilities and they sell Lara bars in bulk. After changing her diaper, Kate wanders into the swim department. I take note that rash guards are on sale. I've been wondering if one might keep me warmer in the morning. At 40% off, I can find out. I also spot a kids TYR bathing suit is size 2T which is only $13. They have my favourite flavour of Lara bars so I buy three boxes as they don't always have this flavour in stock.
1630 Head home and prepare to face traffic
1705 Arrive home. Kate plays in the garage while I unload the items from Costco
1720 I wash a few dishes that I left in the sink this morning. Kate is in her learning tower watching me/biting my arm. I tell her not to bite. She does it again. I threaten that I will spray her with water if she does it again. She bites me again. I check the temperature of the water and quickly splash her with the sprayer. She has a dazed look on her face. To this day, she has not biten me or anyone else again
1730 Take Kate into her room to change her wet top and diaper again. We play with some puzzles and look at some books
1750 Head back to the kitchen to get dinner ready. Heat up some meatballs for Kate while I work on prepping our dinner. She is getting really cranky. I offer her some Annie's cheddar bunny crackers
1755 Not in the mood for crackers and she throws the container on the floor and really starts crying. I try to engage her in her little play kitchen, but she's not having it
1815 Place Kate in her highchair and offer her some yoghurt snacks while I wait for the meatballs to finish. She goobles them up and calms down
1820 She is devouring her meatballs. I made eight, figuring she's eat four tonight and have four to take to school tomorrow. She's already eaten five and is signing 'more'. Now I know why she was so cranky; she was hungry. Not to self: you can't feed your kid lunch by sampling at Costco
1840 Offer her some watermelon for dessert. The 'use by' date passed a few days ago, but it still looks and tastes okay.
1850 Draw Kate her bath. She received some waterprood books to use in the bath. We go through one with animals and she demonstrates the signs for each animal.
1900 Wrap her up in the Hello Kitty robe, while I drain the tub.
1905 Brush Kate's hair and get her changed into her bed clothes
1910 Husband brings in Kate's milk and says good night to her
1915 Read a few books as Kate drinks her milk. Turn on her sound machine. Turn out her light and allow Kate to turn on her sleep sheep.
1920 Take Kate to the bathroom to brush her teeth
1922 Return to Kate's room to cuddle for a few minutes before putting her to bed. I tell her "night, night" and she echos 'night, night'. My heart swells.
1930 Set Kate down in her crib, pat her back and leave the room
1935 Enter the kitchen. The salmon is baking and Husband is cooking zoodles
1945 Sit down for dinner. Realise I forgot to feed the cats
2010 Husband helps clear the dinner dishes while I start the task of packing lunches of myself and Kate.
2030 Lunches are done; now on to meal prep for tomorrow. I cut up veggies and prepare dry ingredients.
2105 Head to bedroom. Layout swimgear for tomorrow
2115 Climb into bed. Tyler joins me a few minutes later and settles on my lap. I google Whole 30 menu ideas from some of my favourite sites.
2200 Husband has drifted off to sleep. I load up Gilmore Girls from Netflicks. I'm planning to pay for only one more month and I'm trying to watch the whole series again. So far, I'm only on season two and I'm discovering that Rory was a really shitty friend to Lane. The friendship seems really one sided at a times Rory is even snide to her.
2330 Apparently I fell asleep as I was woken up by Tyler banging his paws on the stupid shutters. I take him back to bed with me and he snuggles next to me for about 5 minutes.
0116 I pick him up and give him a quick but firm slap on his hindquarters. He runs underneath my bed
0118 I feel really quilty and want to pick him up to cuddle him, but I know it will defeat the purpose.
0520 Alarm rings to wake me for swimming. Tyler is asleep on the foot of my bed, so apparently I'm forgiven. He didn't bang on the shutters for the rest of the night. This might have worked as well as the Prozac.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

2016 Reflections

I saw this survey on Non Sequitur Chica's blog and decided to give it a go:

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

I submitted an abstract to speak at a major conference. I was inspired by my Australian friend, who came state side to present at a conference. She described that she decided to submit on a whim, didn't think she'd get picked and then once she did, realised 'oh shit! now I need to come up with some data'. I was hoping to duplicate her success and sumbitted a propsal somewhat at the last minute. It didn't get selected.

I'm not too disappointed, but it really would have been nice. When I was in college, I befriended a guy from Spain. He was a classic over-achiever. The kind you would hate, if he wasn't also such a genuinely nice guy. He had a perfect grade point average while carrying a full academic load that consisted of some upper level classes. He was on Student Sentate, wrote for the paper and did many other extracurricular activies. Feeling that he wasn't being challenged enough, he decided to transfer to Harvard during his junior year and was offered a full academic scholarship. He wrote a letter to the Student Senate (pausing to remember when we wrote letters) to detail his experience at an Ivy League school. He submitted a few articles for their paper and they all got rejected. He was so excited about this. "I'm going to have to write stuff that is even better!". I'm going to channel Alfonso's spirit and embrace this as an opportunity to improve my proposal for next year's conference. Or submit multiple topics to try to improve my odds.

2. Did you keep any new year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I don't remember making any new year's resolutions, so I guess I didn't keep any. Following the advice of Body Shop Girl, I'm going to try to make very practical, realistic resolutions. One is to use my beauty products. I know this isn't really change the world, but I was cleaning through my bathroom and linen closet and was going to throw out all the unused products that had been sitting in my drawers for years. I felt bad about throwing stuff out, so I decided I would use them. It's been kind of a fun challenge.

My more serious resolution is to read more books. Actual books. Reading articles accessed from does not count as reading. My imposed caveat is that books must be purchased from local book stores. No ordering from Amazon.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth

No, but a close friend is pregnant (she conceived on her first attempt) My cousin who is a recovering heroin addict and his recovering heroin addict girlfriend are expecting their second boy in March. My other cousin who got married in June on 2016 are expecting their first baby in June 2017. Everyone in my family seems to be fertile, except me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

No international travel, but we went to Hawaii and to the east coast

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Answering in reverse order:
2016 Bernine Sanders as the Democratic Nominee
2017 Trump Impeachment hearings

7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why

We were in Boston in the middle of September, and while walking down the street some older white man shouted out "Only 6 more weeks until Donald Trump becomes President. It's going to be a great day for our country" The polls were tight at that time. I started to prepare myself for the possibility of a Trump presidency that night.

A few months earlier I was a first responder who started CPR on a man who collapsed during a run. I saw his face turn purple as his heart stopped beating. The next time I saw his face, he was handing out medals at the finish of the New Year's Day race.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year

I did Whole 30 back to back in August and September and not only lost 15 pounds, but got rid of a lot of bad food habits. I gave up soda and adding Splen.da to coffee and tea, which were huge Non-Scale Victories for me. I feel that I'm closer to walking the walk and as talk the talk about healthy eating with Kate. I've been maintaining a weight below pre-pregnancy, which is something I never thought would happen.

I swam in a long course metres meet after a nine month hiatus from swimming, although my times were very slow, I chuckle to myself just for having the courage to enter and it was the catalyst to get me back into the pool. I was hoping to set some PBs at the short course metres (as I did last year only 3 months postpartum) but I achieved my second best time in the 50 Fly. I also tied my best time in the 400 yard kick for time trials. I feel like I'm making gains to get back to where I was.

I did achieve a PR at Cross-Fit. Once the weight came off, my pull-ups came back. We had a WOD that required 50 pull-ups. My initial plan was to do 25 on my own, and then 25 with a band, but figured realistically it would probably be 20 on my own, 30 with a band. I managed to do 20 and felt inspired that I was the only girl doing real pull-ups. I banged out another 5. Still felt good, so did 5 more and hit 30 on my own. Let's do another 5. Can we make it to 40? Well, I had to break into 3 and 2, but reached 40. Everyone else had moved on to the next activity, but I was determined to reach 50 if it took the entire time of the class. I was struggling at the end and probably counted some no reps, but I managed 50 pull ups. It was a huge PR for me.

9. What was your biggest failure

Taking nine months off from swimming. I recognise that I wasn't able to go back to morning sessions until I had finished breastfeeding, but I wished I had started going to noon class once I started having Tuesdays off. I made the excuse that I didn't think I could get back in form by swimming just once a week.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury

I was diagnosed with pneumonia in June. Fortunately, antibiotics kicked in quickly, but I spent a miserable night with a 103 degree fever.

11. Best thing you bought

We hired a cleaning service to clean our house every other week. Husband is loathe to spend money on anything we can do ourselves, but as he got a pay raise, he decided it was worth our time to be free of cleaning chores on the weekend.

12. Whose behavour merited celebration?

Kate's. I'm so proud of her for achieving her developmental milestones and I'm fascinated by watching her process things.

13. Whose behaviour make you appalled and depressed

Ryan Lotche. In 2012 I thought it was just your average dumb guy (frankly, I'm surprised he knows IM order, let alone command such an impressive race strategy) but they way he fabricated a robbery to cover up his actions revealed just how much of a low life scum he truly is. Then the IOC condones him 'He's a great swimmer, so boys will be boys.'

The judge in the Brock Turner case. It is often very difficult to get a conviction in a rape case and it often involves hoping there is enough physicial evidence to support a he said - she said arguement. This case had two eye witnesses and physical evidence. There was no need to be lenient for benefit of the doubt. The judge felt more sympathy for Brock and didn't want the fact that he committed a heinous crime to ruin his life.

Donald Trump. I won't list all the offensive things he's said or done, because we all know what's out there. It just sickens me that such a honour is bestowed on such an undeserving man.

2016 was a celebration of wealthy while male privlidge. It is so clear they're living in a different world that is above laws, social norms, and decency.

14. Where did most of your money go

Day Care. Food. Stuff for Kate. Rarely spend money on myself.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The possibility of Hillary as President. Although she wasn't my first choice I was excited about seeing a woman President in my life time and wish I could have watched Kate grow up with a female President

16. Compared to this time last year, are you;

A. Happier or sadder
Sadder because of the election results
B. Thinner or Fatter
C. Richer or Poorer
Richer -both Husband and I got pay raises. Mine was a "we're increasing salaries to stay competetive" (translation, we don't want you to know you could have been making a lot more money working for Kai.ser) Husband learned that recent hires with less experience were earning almost as much as him and he seized the opportunity to ask for an increase when some other senior scientists had left.

17. What is something you wish you'd done more of?

Spent more time getting together with friends. I need to make more of an effort, we often talk about getting together and then never make any plans.

18. What is somethig you wish you'd done less of?

Waste time looking at crap on the internet

19. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with my parents visiting.

20. Did you fall in love in 2016

Yes, with Kate

21. What was your favorite TV program

Life in Pieces. Such a brilliant comedy, but they blew me away when they included a storyline where a character has a miscarriage. Knowing how common miscarriages are and living through the experience twice, it was so amazing to see it 'normalized' on TV.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I hate Donald Trump even more

23. What did you want and get?

A day off! In order to make it work financially, I could only cut my hours down to 36, so I pitched that I would work a late shift on Monday and early shift on Friday to improve options for patient access. To my surprise, upper management approved my request!

24. What did you want and not get?

Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Nominee and President Elect.

25. What was your favorite film of the year?

Rouge One, because it was the only new film I saw in it's entirety. We went to see Jason Borne, but feel asleep though it.

26. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

This was the year of the big 4-0 and we spent it in Maui

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016

My 'Mom outfit' of yoga pants and a nursing tank. I was happy once I stopped breastfeeding and could wear normal clothes again, but I pretty much kept in my work out clothes. Yes, I've been guilty of wearing active wear when I've not been active. I donated a bunch of clothes that I had been hanging on to for years with the hope that I'd lose weight. That was before I finally did lose weight, but as some of them were over 12 years old, I decided they needed to go merely from a fashion standpoint and not a size issue. I really need to buy some new clothes, but I'm waiting to see if I can lose a little more weight.

28. What kept you sane

Having a day off. With swimming in the mornings, working and going to the gym in the evenings, I feel that I don't spend that much time with Kate during the week. The cleaning service has often been a great relief.

29. Which celebrity/public  figure did you fancy the most

Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders

30. What political issue stirred you the most

Trying to understand how blue collar and middle class workers could support a millionaire who has never showed any concern for the poor and working class

Trying to understand how any one with a sound mind and rational judgement could support a candidate who has never held a public office, displays a narcisstic personality and fragile ego as well as an unstable temperment.

31. Who did you miss

I still miss my old cat Angus

32. How many miles did you run this year?

OMG, I think it was only 25! Maybe 30, if I include running during Cross-Fit. So pathetic!