Saturday, March 30, 2013

warm and dry

Quite a few firsts rounded out my afternoon ride at Harmony Hill:
  • first pasty-legged shorts-wearing outing this year (wow, my legs are ghastly and I don't even care right now)
  • first time out solo since almost a year ago
  • first time out postpartum on completely dry trails
  • first glimpse of daffodil blooms at the ruins (the bulbs we planted last November...I can't believe something that I helped plant grew and came back)

Coming home, I struggled a bit on the road due to poor nutrition this morning (meaning next to nothing).My mood, however, was greatly boosted by glorious sunshine and a bounty of springtime distractions.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I used to be this, I used to be that...

My dad and I rode over to the trails earlier this week and found conditions to be surprisingly good.
A little slick in the corners, a little greasy where the sun was warming up the ground.

I'm not racing at all this season.
If my dad had agreed to team up with me and Bill, I would have done the Marysville relay for fun (on my birthday, so, yeah...for fun)...
Needless to say, BP wasn't really into the idea and honestly, I wasn't even remotely bummed when he said no thanks.

I used to be a bike racer, I used to be fast, I used to win, I used to lose...
I used to love packing up/fueling up/lining up.
I used to love crossing the finish line...first/last/second to last/third/somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Now I am just having fun and proving to myself that the fun rides are just as good for me, just as important, just as challenging, and every bit as meaningful.

As we started climbing away from the ruins, I spun out on a root and clumsily toppled over into a patch of brambles.
I fell because I wasn't paying attention...I guess the ruins are always going to distract me a little bit from now on.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

just don't...

I think Bill is the only one in this house who didn't end their day in a heap of tears...

that sentence is so poorly constructed, but you get the gist, right?
Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

an interview with Max: roadtrips and getaways

Traveling with kids is easy when you have low flexible expectations and an open mind.
Ever since Max was a toddler, I've made sure we take to the road and enjoy a change of scenery a few times a year.
Some of our best memories have been made during impromptu jaunts to nearby cities (DC, OCNJ, Baltimore), often on the (fairly) cheap.
Following our trip to Philly this past weekend, Max was kind enough to share some thoughts about his travels...
Max, what is your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?
Jumping from bed to bed. And if there is a pool.
What do you like about visiting a new city or a part of a city you've been to before?
Discovering new stuff. Walking down the streets. Taking a taxi. 
What things should you bring from home to make your stay more comfortable?
Your favorite blanket and some of your toys. Maybe some snacks. Ritz crackers. They are one of my favorite snacks.
What are your favorite roadtrip tunes in the car?
The Clash. Gorillaz. Beastie Boys. 
Is there anything you don't like about staying in a hotel?
Where do you like to eat when you go away?
Buffets. Breakfast buffets because they have my favorite cereals.
Where are some of your favorite travel destinations?
Mohonk and New York City.
What is your favorite part of traveling?
Rock scrambling, finding new places to eat, breakfast buffets, museums, staying up late, watching movies on demand, and toy shopping.
Have you ever brought home a really cool souvenir from your travels? If so, what was it?
Yes. It was a hiking stick with a wolf carved on it from Mohonk Mountain House.
Did you ever eat anything really memorable (good or bad) while traveling?
Good: churros in Disneyworld. Bad: nothing.
Any advice for parents about taking their kids on little vacations or adventures?
When your kids are in a comic shop, give them as much time as they need. Make sure you have cash for cabs.
Cool. Thanks for your time, Max. Care to add anything?
No. I'm hungry. What's for breakfast?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

three months

So, I am fried...
I started this post like three times and found myself just totally zoning out like huh??
I know I can come back to this later, when I have more energy and can actually articulate my reflections on the past three months with our daughter, but...

It's been a hell of a week
Monday found me enjoying an impromptu ride with my dad leaving my legs destroyed and my spirits lifted.
Tuesday was a wreck. I'll just summarize by saying my mom ended up in the ICU after a what was supposed to be a relatively routine out-patient procedure...what matters right now is that she is home and well and that's really all I want to say about that here for now.
That and thank god.
Wednesday...I don't even know what happened Wednesday.
Today, Thursdays, my daughter is three months...sometimes I feel like she just got here, like a second ago.
Sometimes I feel like she's been here with is all along.
I didn't expect to fall into such a comfortable and natural groove with her right away.
I thought I would be teetering on the edge of all kinds of anxiety and worries about a brand new baby again.
I thought, honestly, I'd be a mess for a while.
It's refreshing to be here with her every day and not feel rushed to get to that next milestone, to anticipate that next month, that next thing...
If I could change anything about how I handled myself as a new mom the first time around, it would easily be to enjoy the present moment.
Yeah, that's a cliche and all the seasoned parents are quick to warn us rookies with our little infants, "Cherish this time, it goes so fast, they grow so quickly blah blah blah..." 
It's true.
Except this time, I am that seasoned parent, but I'm kind of the rookie, too...eight years is a long time between babies.
(hey, when son was an infant, we had dial-up took me an hour to "Ask Jeeves" about teething woes or how to calm a fussy fact, I was more inclined to pore over actual books)
This time, I am not in a rush to reach that next milestone...
This time, I am even more sentimental (if that's possible)  when it's time to pack up tiny outgrown pajamas and onesies small enough to fit Max's teddy bear.
This time, I have more confidence as a mom (thanks in large part to a loving partner who isn't shy about cheering me on and helping me feel like we know what we're doing).

But this isn't entirely about me, the mom,  at three months.
Our girl is growing and filling our home with tons of little squeaks, smiles, gurgles, and coos.
Her head is fuzzy with a crop of soft reddish hair and ridiculously long eyelashes to match.
She lights up when we greet her in the morning and when her brother enters the room.
We spend our days batting at soft toys, hanging onto a rattle for a few minutes, grooving to the Scooby Doo theme song,  lounging on the floor, and bundling up for chilly walks. 
My little girl has encouraged me to slow down and just be here.
Having a baby again has helped me cherish my firstborn in a new light, too...I didn't expect that and I didn't think I could love him even more than I already did.

So, three months...
I'm so beat.
It's awesome.




Tomorrow we'll find out if my son has outgrown his peanut allergy.
When he was two years old, our allergist said, "Thirty-three percent chance he'll outgrow it."
No idea where a statistic like that comes from and I am so horribly bad with numbers, but thirty-three feels at least a tiny bit hopeful.

Max had an anaphylactic  reaction to a mini Butterfinger when he was two.
Not even "fun-size".
The tiny little square bite that leaves people like me rabid for fifteen more. At least.

The mini butterfinger.
A toddler-sized nibble of a tiny piece of candy. 
Immediate vomiting and hives.
I was calm. How was I so calm and so sure?

Benadryl the car, buckle carseat, drive to ER..."You will be okay. I promise you will be okay." (this I repeated to my son as much as I was saying it to myself)
I remember looking at him in the rearview mirror as he kept scratching his neck while his airway began to close.
It took us six minutes to get to the hospital where the doctors swooped in and wasted no time fixing our boy.

Since then, we are always armed with an epi-pen and an action plan.
For six years, it's been drilled into Max's vocabulary, "Is this okay? Is this safe? Any nuts?"
We are stern and direct and serious about this allergy, but we also don't live in a bubble.
Although I am happy to share information about food allergies and commisreate with other parents who share this issue, I'm not a food allergy advocate.
I'm not the Peanut Police.
I am an advocate for my son's safety, but I don't expect the entire school to be a peanut free zone (he does sit at the peanut-free table at lunch).
I don't expect my dad to give up his Naturally More PB habit (he buys that shit by the case).
I don't count on other people to take this allergy as seriously as we do, which is why Max will politely decline birthday cake or ask where a product came from (and even then, when we're told it's from somewhere "safe" or reliable or trustworthy, more often than not he'll still say, "No thanks"). 
We use common sense.
I am so proud of Max whenever I hear him tell an adult or a peer that he has a peanut allergy.
He is so matter-of-fact and practical about it.
It's scary to have a life-threatening food allergy, but he doesn't let the fear get bigger than him.
(there are thirty years between us and I should really take a page from his book in that department)

I have found that when people don't seem to take a food allergy seriously, it's only because they haven't been well informed or educated.
The mom who lets her kid run around the playground with a peanut butter sandwich in one hand probably doesn't realize that my son will break out in hives simply by touching the oils left on the monkey bars or swing.
She's not a bitch, she's not insensitive...she is feeding her kid (and if her kid is anything like mine, there are probably three things in the bland rotation of what they'll eat for lunch).
We read labels vigilantly and then read them again.
We wash our hands a lot.
We ask questions about ingredients at restaurants and parties, but ultimately rely on our own judgement and err on the safe side.
Sometimes I roll my eyes when Max pours himself a bowl of plain Cheerios, asking, "No nuts, right?"
I'm like, "Max. Those are safe. They were safe yesterday. Same Cheerios. Yes."
Then I'm like wtf Kim? He hasn't let his guard down. All these years and this kid is on the ball. Every day. 
Yay, Max! Yay for being proactive and cautious every single day.
 Like his life depends on it.
Because it does.

If he hasn't outgrown this allergy, he will be okay.
We will be okay.

Friday, March 15, 2013

these aren't the droids you're looking for

  • he's not waiting because I'm slow, he's taking a breather
  • that's not a climb, that's a gentle mound of dirt
  • granny gears are for...grannies
  • these are abs goddammit...abs!
  • I just had a baby {okay, this one is partly true}
  • that drop is huge {the tiny one I "rode"}
  • that drop is huge {the one I chickened out on, the one that wasn't even a drop}
  • I am so effing FIT
  • I am crushing this climb  
  • wow, the energy I have right now is staggering...I can do this all day
So, it was a Jedi mind trick kind of ride for've had those before, right?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

busted up

I pulled a muscle hoisting my daughter's carseat into the car...
She's only twelve pounds and the carseat itself is probably about the same.
Am I just old or out of shape?
Need more yoga in my life?
Strength training? (well, yeah...obviously, as I approach my forties...duh)
That's funny.
I sure as hell don't act my age.
More like my shoe size.
Which is seven.
And a half, actually.
Which means I want to eat candy for breakfast and ride my bike all day and not clean my room.

So, left shoulder is completely jacked up and I can't move my neck very well in either direction (imagine Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles sans neck brace).

Sunday, March 10, 2013


It's March 10th...
pretty much a holiday.
More daylight, yay!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

lacking (yesterday)

I was thankful that Max had a birthday party to go to (for 3 hours!), as there was no school (inservice day).
I was thankful that Maeve took several long naps (one on my chest, snuggled on the couch while I caught up on last Sunday's "Girls", lights off and volume waaaaaay down).
I was thankful Bill grabbed a pizza for dinner.

I was lacking patience, motivation...I was lacking kindness and compassion.
I was testy to my 8 year-old when he wanted to wrestle and play Transformers.
I was counting the minutes to bedtime (theirs) and bathtime (mine).
I considered having a beer while the tub filled, but didn't...alcohol would probably only compound the horrible way I have been feeling.
I have had a killer headache since...Friday (it's Thursday now), maybe that's why I was a groggy bitch all day.
It's been almost a week.
A seventy-two hour migraine, one visit to Urgent Care, one prescription for Maxalt, and several days of lingering migraine-hangover headaches...guess it has all caught up to me.
I can't be like this to my family (or myself), so I am seeing a specialist next week.
Maybe some answers, maybe some (non-narcotic, hopefully) relief.
Migraines suck and until I was afflicted with them myself, I always thought people who suffered from them just couldn't handle headaches.
Isn't that mean?     

Saturday, March 2, 2013

two months (a week ago...close enough)

I can't get over how much personality she has already...she doesn't even do anything yet, you know?
Yes, she does.
She smiles.
In the morning, I hear her gurgling and making tiny little sounds in her crib...
Quietly, I sneak into her room and gently say "good morning," waiting for her to look up and realize I am there...when she sees me and smiles, my heart pretty much melts and explodes all at once.
Every morning.

At two months, we have settled into a bit of a groove...our days have fallen into an easy, predictable routine.
The biggest (and most pleasant) development at the two-month mark is having a baby who consistently sleeps through the night.
I have nothing to attribute this to other than pure luck.
When my son was an infant, sleep was brutal...night time was an ominous, lonely black hole that filled me with dread.
At the time, my (ex)husband was working nearly seventy hours a week and I was an incredibly anxious (and likely depressed) new mom. I had expected breastfeeding to come naturally (it didn't) and naively dismissed the notion that it was a full-time job (it was). All nighttime duties fell solely on me and Max ended up sleeping in spurts, exclusively in his carseat, for the first four months of his life.
I remember it like it was yesterday...whatever works whatever works whatever works...
With Maeve, I braced myself for more of the same, but I guess I paid my dues because the sleep gods have mercifully smiled upon me.
(knock on wood)
What else is going on two months in?
She clearly digs the Scooby Doo theme song, much to the delight of her big brother.
Like me, she can't unwind without a long bath at the end of the day.
Any day now, I think we'll hear some baby laughter...her little voice kills me.
Also, Bill must have some seriously strong genes because his baby girl has been running marathons the way she kicks and moves her legs whenever she's on her blanket or play mat.  
Her hair is beginning to fill in (so long pitiful baby mullet) and there is definitely a hint of red (!!).
As for me, I love being home with my kids and I am proud of how relaxed I am this time around (thanks to an easygoing husband and very adaptable son).
I'm still sad about the way I was let go from my job, but that wasn't my identity anyway.
Although there are moments when I miss my friends or long for some interaction with grownups (which is when I saunter down to the Pernas midday and bug them for coffee or the new issue of Rolling Stone), I feel quite at home getting lost in the hours of simply marveling at a baby.   

Mostly though, Maeve was born just two months ago and it feels like she's been here with us all along...she  fits right in and goes with the flow.

Friday, March 1, 2013

it's March

  • daylight savings (nine more days)
  • daffodils
  • Easter (cadbury mini eggs, zitners in the green package)
  • new season of Duck Dynasty
Four things to be pretty excited about this month.
Doesn't take much these days...