Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fitness Plan for After the Third Baby

Eight months along with baby #3

Before I had Finny, I made a list of ten things I wanted to get done before he was born that would make me feel more prepared. I had already had a baby, so I knew that none of these things--in fact, nothing at all in the whole world--would actually ensure that I was prepared for this new HUMAN when he arrived to restructure my universe. But that didn't stop me from wanting to feel prepared, or more accurately, feel proactive.

Now I've had two babies so I'm less bought in to the notion that preparedness is a reasonable goal; and furthermore, to the extent that it is reasonable, we're already there. If the newborn-plus-toddler-plus-preschooler combo hits us like a pile of bricks, we know how to order our groceries online and how to access a lactation consultant and how to frantically call my parents and screech "CODE OVERPOPULATION!" over and over again until they show up at our door.

So my proactive focus for this third go-round consists of only two prongs: maintaining my mental health is one, and regaining my physical fitness is the other. Below I'm outlining my goals for the latter--not necessarily to "hold myself to it," but more so that I can keep track of what worked before...and to give you all a chance to gently remind me of what didn't. (My hindsight may be 20/20, but it's still impossibly rose-colored.)

1. Give myself two weeks. Some moms give themselves an established "wait" period before jumping into tasks like birth announcements and organizing the non-gender-neutral baby wardrobe. Those are the things I will love doing while Dave is home (or at least home more often than not). I will also be establishing a milk supply and trying to sneak in sleep where I can, so I will NOT be doing any official exercise in those weeks.

2. Spend the next six weeks doing something active every day, but count on that "something" involving a baby. For instance: go for a walk with the baby in the carrier, or work out at my parents' while he/she sleeps next to me, or do an exercise DVD in our basement in between feedings (and while the older guys nap).

3. Get gung-ho with exercise at the start of week nine. Eight weeks after my due date is when our summer sitter comes home from school to start helping me out. At that point I'll have a designated time every day when I can at the very least do a more strenuous DVD workout downstairs. Hopefully the baby's feedings will be a bit more spaced out, and it will be MAY. Glorious May! I might be able to do some runs outside if it doesn't straight-up kill me.

4. Join Weight Watchers online at the start of week nine. Truthfully, the WW allowance for nursing moms means it's barely a diet, at least for me. I know that's the point--you're not supposed to diet when you're pregnant or breastfeeding--but it is frustrating that I seem to be one of those who carries an extra layer or two until I've weaned my baby. That being said, for the purposes of being proactive, it does make me feel better to keep track of what I'm eating and how damaging or beneficial it might be to my overall fitness goals. That way, even if I'm unable to lose all the baby weight until I'm done nursing, at least I'll be on the right track already.

5. September will likely be a transition month, and I hope that getting in shape can be a top priority starting then. The boys will go back to school; the baby will be six months old and eating some so-called solids; it may be easier to utilize the Y's baby-sitting room while I hop on a treadmill or take a class as the weather gets chilly.

To some, this plan probably sounds like overkill--to others, it might seem lazy or just unrealistic. But the truth is, even though I started this post by separating my mental and physical health from each other, getting in shape only changes my mindset for the better. A few friends with kids have described one benefit of going back to work as "focusing on something else for a while every day." I'm not going back to teaching anytime soon, so when I need to focus on something other than parenthood, fitness can be that focus. I also feel like my non-pregnant self starts coming back to me when I am able to fit into my...well, my non-pregnant clothes again. Where the body goes, the brain will follow. I hope. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Last week, Dave's uncle passed away suddenly. I wanted us all to go, but it wasn't going to happen at eight months pregnant, so I stayed with the boys while Dave traveled to New Jersey for the wake and funeral. Will has been talking a lot about Uncle Bill and Heaven, drawing pictures for him at preschool. Finn will randomly say something like "I miss Uncle Bill"--obviously parroting one of us, but still pretty sweet.

On the same day (within minutes) that we got that bad news, we also got the wonderful news that my friend Mindy was in labor. A few hours later she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

I guess that's fitting, right? I'd like to think Uncle Bill gave baby Grace a high five as they passed each other in opposite directions.

Losing a member of the family and gaining a member of our (and our kids') inner circle has made this Valentine's Day a little more special, and easier for us to count all of our blessings with infinite gratitude. Case(s) in point:

Will wore this shirt today to school and informed me that his nickname was "Heartbreaker--because that's another language for 'I love you.'"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Keeping Me...Well, Not Sane Exactly

I started this post at the end of October 2011. Weeks nine through twentyish of this pregnancy had been trying, but the holidays were coming, so! The things that were keeping me sane were things like Good Housekeeping's sugar cookies (they call them Valentine's cookies, so maybe the idea's still season-appropriate, even months later; we'll go with that). Will and I made them together, and I vaguely remember that we did have some fun.

Ceci also taught me how to make washable, toddler-sized pillows for the boys, and that made me feel capable and like I could indulge my nesting habits without giving fistfuls of money to my arch-nemesis, Pottery Barn Kids.

And I made some really easy pumpkin muffins.

That's the end of my notes from October 2011.


Now that it's February, the list has definitely changed. Here's what's keeping my head juuuuuuuust above water lately:

In the Human category:
  • My mom, who babysat and mother's-helped while both Will and I were down 'n' out with a stomach bug last month, and who ignores her back pain to WRESTLE with my toddlers whenever we visit (My dad is also wonderful with the kids, but he misses out on top billing since he's not around as much.)
  • My midwives, who make home visits and ALWAYS leave me calmer than when they arrived
  • My husband, who can take both boys out into a snowy (or, more frequently this winter, sunny) backyard for hours without complaint and give me time to actually get something done on the weekend
  • My girlfriends, but you know what? Some of them just got a whole post to themselves, so we'll leave it at that. 
In the Things are Organized? Kind of? category:
  • A new diaper bag. I know, long-time friends will groan at this bullet point, and here's why: I am currently in possession of four diaper bags that were created to function as such, and instead I've been using a tote-formerly-used-for-work for the actual, you know, diapers. But I DO use the diaper bags! This one is a messenger bag from Lands End, and it was cheap, and I can wear it across my ginormous body, and it's one of those Mary Poppins-ish bags that magically holds three times its actual capacity. It may not be sufficient with a newborn in tow, but it's ideal for two toddlers when one's fully potty trained.
  • My kids are sharing a room. They've been sharing a room (at night) for twelve days now, and they were both smitten with the arrangement after the first night. It's clear that they both get comfort from having the other nearby. There have been some growing pains--Finn has woken up early (7) a few mornings, which in turn wakes Will up before he's ready. But the fact that we have a whole room, outfitted with a crib and a changing table and a built-in closet, to spare* is great for our mental health. We don't even plan on putting the baby in there right away, but it's nice to open up the options a bit.
In the Distractions category:
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: I was completely bored by this show the first (eight) time(s) I caught a clip as I was switching channels. One evening recently, I watched an entire episode and nearly cried laughing. Then I watched a few more and DID in fact cry laughing. For me, it was an acquired taste that's quickly become the only thing I want to watch most nights. I DVR all the late-night repeats and then if I can muster the strength to stave off bedtime past nine (seriously), I'll lumber downstairs to watch them. Dave followed me down the rabbit hole, so at least we laugh until we cry together! (I should note that this show is incredibly inappropriate, so I'm not actually recommending it, nor will I be offended if you don't get/like/tolerate it. Unless you're Jenny Sheehan, in which case I'll assume you've been supplanted by a pod person.)
  • My iPhone: I remember my lovely friend Inger reminiscing about her middle-of-the-night sessions with her first daughter, and what she would do on her iPhone, and I'd be all, "Whatever! We just popped in a DVD of The Wire when Will was eating at one a.m. What's wrong with a good old-fashioned DVD, Inger?!?" Now I have an iPhone with HBOGO and have in fact watched an entire miniseries (John Adams) on that tiny screen (also developed moderate crush on Thomas Jefferson while watching, strange I know), and I may actually be sad if this baby's eating is too efficient to justify TV in the middle of the night. No, I won't be sad, but I do love my iPhone.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Very Belated, Very Jersey Christmas (2011)

On Christmas Day, we headed to New Jersey so we could celebrate with the other half of our family. Aunt Jen and Uncle Kai didn't even stay in the same house with us this year, but they still dominate our photos! 

(That's okay--they're pretty photogenic and the boys had a great time with them--and their grandparents and all the aunts, uncles and cousins of course.)

On our way home, we met up with my good friend from college, Amy, and her husband (also a Dave) plus their completely adorable then-nine-month-old, Ben.

That's the two of us with our three boys 
(and whoever is waiting in the wings in my belly).

And...that was our last trip to New Jersey (or anywhere, really) before we have a third little one to tote around. We're really hoping he/she is a car sleeper like Will and not a car screamer (for the first seven months!!) like Finn; that way we can attempt longer trips before NEXT Christmas. Fingers crossed!