On Being Thankful

11 weeks out from delivering our beautiful girl, I find I have been really down on my body.  It doesn’t even look like it did before Cricket… not even at the same weight.  Things don’t fit the same.  I don’t feel the same.  I look at it and it looks like the body of someone else, someone older and doughier.

I took 10 weeks of maternity leave full-time, and 2 weeks part-time from home.  These 2 weeks have been an eye opener… I struggle to get work done, and keep Cricket taken care of.  To pump and feed.  To do laundry and clean house.  To make delicious and nutritious meals…  Working full-time and caring for an infant will be no joke.

I haven’t found time to exercise while on maternity.  A few walks here and there…  Some strength training spattered in there as well.  I don’t imagine it will be better when I get to working full-time in the office again.  And that makes me so sad because I truly wanted to start out with habits during this transition in our life that I could share and show Cricket.  It makes me feel like I’m failing her already.

And then I thought about how lucky I am to be where I am at with my body.

Because I have a beautiful baby girl, whom I love more than the world.

Because I am so lucky that my body carried and delivered her to us.

Because my body provides her with milk and comfort.

And I am so thankful for those things…

And for this girl…
best day ever
1 week old
so little... so tired
Lady
Smirky

Weight Talk Wednesday

I have tried to flesh out several different topics for today’s Weight Talk Wednesday… but none of them feel fully formed just yet.  So today will be more in the format of musings on a few subjects.  

  • I’ve been reading and working pretty intensely through The Rules of “Normal Eating” by Karen Koenig this past week.  I’m feeling extremely happy with my progress.  I’m feeling like its really clicking for me, and that it’s going to help take me where I want to go with my relationship with food and my body.  However, it’s intense and draining…  I don’t have a ton left to give to thinking on this topic.  It’s amazing that there’s so many books on this topic but once you find that one that talks to you in the right way, it really gives rise to hope.  
  • I’ve been really focusing on my hungry/full signals, and letting myself throw out food or put it away if I am not hungry anymore.  It’s been a really calming experience.  
  • I’m really really anxious about our trip home and my eating habits and the mental progress I’m making.  I worry that it will unravel when I’m home.  When I’m around Hub’s parents we eat relatively healthy and clean because they are very Mediterranean in their eating habits (My MIL is 1/2 Italian and my FIL is 100% Greek), but it’s a portion thing.  My MIL is an amazing cook, and I think often shows her love with food.  I end up eating so much each night at dinner that I’m surprised I can get up and move after!  I don’t want to hurt feelings by refusing that second portion or by leaving food on the plate.  I am really hopeful my work on exploring this will help me set my boundaries and rationalize the situation better.  Realistically, I highly doubt that me not overeating will say to my MIL that I don’t like her!  
  • When I’m around my family I tend to eat differently than I want to.  I eat different foods, and I literally find myself racing to eat as much and as quickly as possible.  After thinking about it and spending time with the situation in my mind I have established that I eat to quell anxiety, and to quiet the emotions I don’t want to deal with.  I also tend to drink, a lot when I am around my family.  I know these two activities are not healthy for me; mentally, emotionally or physically.  I know emotions are what help to guide us, and if I can just feel the emotions maybe I can help navigate that part of my life better.   I tend to slip into a mode where I don’t want to rock the boat, and I want to keep the peace at my (And to be honest The Husband’s) expense.  If I am to be authentic to feeling my emotions and caring for my own needs/wants, I am fairly certain to rock the boat.  I have been getting more and more anxious about that as I get closer to vacation. 
  • I’m still acclimating to the heat.  It’s 77* inside when I wake up, and 82*-86* (depending on how often/how long I use the oven during the day).  I’m feeling a little drowsy and lazy during the days.  And the heat is making sleep somewhat of a struggle.  I sleep best when I’m cool and when I’ve worked out and walked the dog.  I like my body tired so it can override my mind if need be. 🙂  That’s not happening with having to wait for the house to cool down before sleeping, and therefore staying up late.  As you can imagine, that also skews getting up early to work out.  My muscles are craving a good workout, but it’s just not happening!!
  • Summer pictures are already gracing FB…  It really makes me want to let go of my body issues and just enjoy.  I am not going to magically wake up tomorrow and be thin… so I might as well embrace what I am working with in the here and now, and let myself enjoy that for what it is… and let myself enjoy the sunshine, water, wind, whatever.  Maybe a month down the road I’ll be more comfortable… but the size of my body does not determine my ability to have fun and to love the summer.

Today is house cleaning day, which is best done before the house gets crazy-hot.  It started out cooler today, and it’s very pretty out with a nice breeze.  Plus, our septic tank (which is desperately in need of pumping) is getting pumped today so we should finally be able to run the dishwasher the same day as we do laundry… so I can get back in my Suzy-Homemaker-Mode!!!  Fingers crossed I can get some quality sleep tonight, and we can get up and workout in the cool of the morning!

Feeling shameful…

The focus of my blogging is (in my mind at least) a pursuit of balance.  Balancing myself as in my physical health, mental health, emotional health.  Balancing my life as in work and play.
So everything I’m about to share makes me feel a little like a sham…  Be forewarned!
I stepped on the scale yesterday…  It was a very bad number.
I hid my scale away around the beginning of October.  I tend to develop a very unhealthy relationship with it and with the number it provides.  But all of my clothes fit too snugly… and i always feel these things more sharply when my mom is around.  So I decided to bite the bullet and step on that frenemy of mine.
It was the highest number that I’ve ever seen.
Part of it is probably the weight gain from letting go of dieting and letting go of “forbidden foods”.
A larger part is that I know I haven’t been listening to my body the past couple weeks on what I want and when to stop eating, but it seems irrational for it to cause such an increase.

When things feel frazzled, or chaotic, I have a hard time staying centered and grounded.  I have a hard time maintaining what I want and why.  It’s my flaw.  I don’t blame anyone else for it.  It’s a big reason I love yoga; it helps me to go inside myself and calm that chaotic monkey inside me. 🙂  That’s also a HUGE reason I want to cultivate a daily meditation practice.  With practice, I find i can channel these skills sets much more easily.  I find they balance out my mindlessness, or my lack of focus/being grounded on my purposes.

We went to the co-op yesterday, and (since it was after I stepped on the scale and eliminated my self-esteem to zero) I had the most shameful feeling.  I felt like I did not belong there.  Like I didn’t deserve the highest quality of ingredients there.  Because I continue to abuse my body by not taking care of it, and not honoring it.

I spent yesterday feeling a combination of shock that I let myself gain so much, shame that I couldn’t do better and understanding on how easy it is for the obese to get there.

I don’t want to feel chained down by all of this.  I let myself feel poorly about it yesterday.  Today’s a new day.  Today I can take each moment to honor myself, to honor my needs and wants.

I found this quote yesterday on FB, and it was startlingly true…

If it’s important to you, you will find a way.
If not you’ll find an excuse.
And that my friends, is the thought I will leave you with today.

Don’t Tell Uncle Bobby….

My uncle Bob is a appliance guru….  His business is Bobby’s Appliance Repair… Trust me, I looked for a link to link you to him… However, it apparently doesn’t exist!! (What’s up with that Bob? 🙂 )

So it would probably disappoint him to great length to read what is coming next…. Thankfully, I think only my sister, my mother and occasionally my husband read my blog (within the family)… So I should be in the clear.

We’ve pulled the fridge out and cleaned behind it before… mostly because our ice maker had a little leak coming from the hose in…. Our solution was to shut off the water and buy ice.  Yes.  Frugal, cheapo us buy ice.

I realize the better solution might be to just get the stinkin thing fixed…  but I digress.

I thought i heard it dripping the other day.  I was dead wrong, but it did provide me with an opportunity for Hubs to pull out the fridge and for me to get my vacuum on behind it.

Now to the biggest confession/disappointment…

I’ve never cleaned an oven out before.

I had no clue how to… so I have been putting it off…. for years.

The stupid thing was smoking when you’d preheat the broiler, so I knew this couldn’t go on any longer.

Plus it’s sad when boys are taunting you about not cleaning out your oven (You were right Tim, it was easy).

The best attempt I have at a “before” picture…. look at the crap at the bottom of the oven…

So Friday night i sprayed the ever loving crap out of the inside of the oven.

I let it sit.

Until about 3:30 yesterday.  I only really made myself tackle it because I thought that was the only way to have delicious pizza with the Hokie game…

OMG was it easy!!!

It just wiped right down and off.  That baby is CLEAN now…  I mean seriously mysteriously clean.

I was so MAD at myself for putting it off…

Now, Uncle Bobby can come back to visit…  and i won’t have to hide my appliances from him… just as soon as Hubs cleans out the dryer hose.

Wedding on the Water, and so much more!

Ever since the summer Hubs and I tied the knot (2008) his family has had a wedding a summer from his generation.  We were fraught with fears that this summer would break the trend.  In fact, just back in June I had been chatting about this with Aunt Sue and Uncle Dwaine at my grandmother’s wake.  I guess Nammy must have heard the disappointment in my voice and got the wheels turning up there because within a few days an email rolled out from Aunt Sue letting us know her oldest child was getting married… in July…. of this year!!!
The wedding was scheduled for this past weekend, at their family camp on Lake Groton, in Vermont.  It was an amazing day, and we were so happy to have been part of it. 

The tent all set up for the reception
With the short-ish notice, we had worried about how to manage it all, but knew it was super important to us to be there.  The flights from Hades occurred this past weekend, but even in light of that, we had an amazing Vermont weekend. 
The In Law’s Garden and beautiful views!

My MIL outdid herself as usual.  She made an entire batch of gluten free blueberry muffins with blueberries from the patch in her backyard.  There was a big tray of gluten free snacks.  There were gluten free rolls in the freezer.  She’s learned so much about cross contamination and handling.  It warms my little heart. This worked out so well for me, because I was so exhausted from the flights, that when we got back to their house I don’t think I would have had it in me to run to the grocers.

Saturday, while the FIL was delivering the mail, Hubs and I hung out at his family homestead with his mom, his oldest brother and his brother’s very lovely girlfriend.  And of course had to get the required Vermont Maple Creemee!!!  We hit up Morse Farm in Montpelier.  That had to be the best maple creemee I have ever tasted.  We also ran into my middle school and high school band director… which was a nice quick trip down memory lane. 

Art outside of Morse Farms

The crew entering the farm…

Some of the wares inside the farm store

My husband… the maple connoisseur

Maple creemee!!!

Saturday evening we dined as we often do with Hubs’ family… we had lobsters!!!  The last time we were there, the lobsters shells were so thick we had to break out the HAMMER.  This time, we barely needed anything more than our very own paws.  Kathleen (BIL’s girlfriend) also taught us some lobster secrets, something about meat behind the knuckles.  I’m not sure I can do her lesson justice.  We also had porterhouses, and various sides… a salad, tons of fruit, MIL’s Special Green Beans, raspberry gelatin salad.

Surf n Turf Feast!

The fam

Sunday Hubs and I got to sleep in a little!!  But we missed church. 😦  I was kind of looking forward to seeing the church Hubs went to his entire life… but hopefully next time.   We all cycled through showers and our beauty regimens.  The In Laws went to pick up Hubs’ Gram, and we went off with the BIL and his GF.  We spent the afternoon at the wedding…  When I say afternoon, I really mean afternoon into very late in the night/next morning.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and one of the most joyful couples I’ve ever seen.  We got to spend a lot of time with Hubs’ extended family.  I’ve been lucky to be so loved and accepted by such a happy fun family.  I really got to spend some time with people who’ve deeply touched my heart and I know I will always carry in my heart.  Such a blessing. 

Hubs and I – at the In Laws before the wedding

Gram and the Groom

The Happy Couple

Monday we had breakfast with Hubs’ cousin who drove us to Barre late late late in the evening/early morning, and stayed over!!  It was awesome to get so much time with him the night before, and to spend even more time with him in the morning!!!  His heart is so big, he’s the funniest and nicest guy I’ve ever met.  Missin family already. 🙂

Later we went off to play in the grout piles…  What’s a grout pile?  It’s a stack of the excess granite or other stone they just dump in various different places.  Hubs’ family home is in Graniteville, near Barre.  Granite and stonework is big business around there.  We found some amazing pieces.  Even a huge perfect square of a light tan stone for the In Laws… It was probably 2 ft by 2 ft!  SCORE!

My FIL came home and we spend another few hours with them before we had to race off to take on the air transportation challenge that was our flight home.

The misty view from the In Laws

The In Law’s themselves!

Tigger trying to escape from my grasp

Pretty kitty!

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. ~Author Unknown

You may have wondered where I disappeared to.  Hubs and I drove up to Vermont on Wednesday of last week, and returned Tuesday evening of this week.  That’s the simple answer…  The more complex answer is why we went.  My grandmother (more fondly referred to as Nammy) battled cancer for a year and a half…  and it was important for us to spend some of the last moments we could with her, so we raced up I-81.  We were lucky to be surrounded by my large extended family and loved ones during this time.  Our trip home during this sad and stressful time reminded me that my family is filled with people whose hearts are so big that you often wonder how their bodies can hold those hearts in!
I grew up with 7 houses between mine and my grandparents.  Later, I lived in a neighborhood across the street and three houses up the road from them.  They were a central force in my life.  When I moved to Virginia, saying goodbye to my family was the hardest part of the move… Especially saying goodbye to my grandparents.  They made 2-3 trips to Virginia to visit my husband and I.  We were so lucky to spend such quality time with them.  There are stories upon stories of how my grandparents, or even Nammy in specific impacted my life.  I think the biggest part of it was they always accepted me with open hearts and open arms.  My beloved Nammy passed away early in the morning on Wednesday, June 15th.  I miss her dearly, but she is in peace now. 
Nammy’s To-Be Published Obituary — Written by Ken Degree, Edited by Valory Degree
 GLADYS RUTH DEGREE
One of the greatest angels to walk the earth has gone to her maker. Born Gladys Ruth, the daughter of Allen and Orrena (Cavanaugh) Provost, on January 11, 1933, she served everyone she met as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and friend. Coming from a large family taught her the patience needed to manage her own family. Gladys attended Irish Settlement Grade School in Underhill, and she graduated from Mt. Saint Marys High School in Burlington in 1951.  She married her soulmate and love of her life, Harold Degree, on October 24, 1953 at St. Stephens Church in Winooski and they spent 57 wonderful years together.
Although she occasionally worked outside the home, ruling her brood was her chief occupation. She had six children of her own: Reggie, married to Valory, with children John and Anne, Kathleen, with daughters Lynsi and Melinda, married to Jon Grange, Kenneth, married to Lori, with daughter Juliet, Michael, married to Melinda, with sons Dustin, Ryan, and Aaron, married to Kristin with daughter Ella, Sharon, married to Mark Pakulski, with sons Joseph and Sam, and youngest son Robert.
          Gladys also took in children of others to care for and made a name for herself among the friends of her children during her rewarding life. Most importantly, people need to remember that no matter what the problem, Gladys and Harold (Mom and Dad) would always be there to help.
          She is survived by her husband Harold of Colchester and sisters Mary, married to Roger Boozan, and Eleanor Brown, and brothers Raymond, married to Marilyn, and Leon, married to Diane, and many nieces and nephews.
          She was predeceased by her parents, and her sisters Catherine Corse, Elizabeth Potvin, Dorothy Dyer and Mildred Smith, and her brothers Harold, Donald, Lawrence and James Provost.
        In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gladys’ memory to the American Cancer Society, 121 Connor Way, Williston, or the American Heart Association, 434 Hurricane Lane, Williston.