Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soaking Wet

I think I am still drying out.

This weekend was the Crazylegs Classic in Madison. It is an 8k run and 2 mile walk. It has been awhile since I have done a run, so I was excited to take part. That is until the storm clouds started to roll in.

T was going to push the boys in the double stroller for the walk while I ran. But as we stood in line to catch the bus, trying to balance an umbrella over the stroller, shivering and getting drenched, we decided that wasn't in their best interest. So I did the run, and T and the boys just walked the very end of the course but still got the chance to finish on the 50-yard line of Camp Randall.

During the run, I dodged puddles and endured squishy shoes and saturated socks. My hair was wet and blocking my vision. My hooded sweatshirt was soaked and heavy. Maybe just because I was anxious to get the run over with and get into a warm shower, I got a pretty good time. I finished the five miles in 40:09.


My parents came over today for several hours. It is so vastly different when they live an hour away versus across the country. I made eggs, and we had Kringle, bloody Marys and coffee. In the afternoon, my mom helped me plant containers with flowers, herbs, tomatoes, beans, and peas. I am far from a natural gardener, but I am trying to broaden my horizons. This is my first experiment into growing a garden. I'll keep you updated on how long I keep it alive.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Making friends

I went to the first meeting of my new moms group today. It is a Meetup group as was the one I was part of in Oregon. We were supposed to meet at a park, but because of cold, windy, generally crappy weather, we gathered at a coffee shop. It was so nice to compare notes and chat and watch the kids play.

I am a huge fan of moms groups and knew I wanted to join another one. I highly recommend a moms group of some kind to new moms or moms who are new to an area. They are such a nice respite from the monotony of your day and an easy way to form a new network of friends and supporters.

Making friends gets harder the older you get. T and I have left our circles of friends every few years; after high school, college, our first jobs, and our second jobs. We have kept up with them through email, Facebook, and occasional trips, but you always need those friends right down the street or a short drive away. For some reason, men rarely initiate the friendship. So if I want some people to hang out with, I have to go out and find them for the both of us.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Time away

Today was refreshing. I instructed my first Pilates class at the employee fitness center of a corporate headquarters. I had to get a badge to wear and a security tag to beep me through several doors. It's pretty interesting. The class went well. It felt good to get back in my groove. The participants weren't overly friendly, but I think they will warm up to me. Yoga is Wednesday.

A childcare provider came today to watch the boys for three hours, while I went to class and to run a few errands. She is just for this week, and we are still struggling to find a provider long-term. It was such a nice little break to get out of the house and have some time to myself. I feel guilty even admitting that, but I can accept that that is just how I am. Some people can feel great and keep going strong all day and all week, but I am just not one of those people. I returned home happy and energized. I played with the boys the rest of the afternoon doing puzzles and games and then made quesadillas for dinner.

Today I got the chance to do my own thing and focus on the boys. I think it's a routine I could get used to.


Sunday, April 19, 2009


A bout of stomach flu is finally leaving our household. I'll spare you the details, but it wasn't fun for any of us. T seemed to be mostly spared, but the boys and I suffered varying degrees of misery.

One semi-disgusting note: It is strange to watch a child throw-up when they don't really understand what is coming, and they don't know to cover their mouth or try to get to a toilet. It is sort of demonic-looking. Poor Q was scared and shaky after these gross bouts. He just didn't understand what the heck was happening to his little body.

It is definitely a trial to take care of sick children when you yourself are sick. On Friday, I desperately needed to lay down. I reclined on the couch while the kids played in the living room. I would get up to lift R away from the cable box or stack of magazines and then retire to the comfort of the couch again. I emailed T repeatedly imploring him to come home early. He mercifully arrived around 4:00 p.m., and I cocooned myself in my bed for several hours.

Today I am finally feeling back to myself. I did lose five pounds in the process...a small benefit. But of course those are climbing right back on.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Best time of day

Nap time that is. I find that if I get a brief break from my children, I like them more. Is that horrible? Probably, but it is true nonetheless.

Last night I had a CPR class to renew my certification. I need it to teach exercise classes. T was running late to meet me for the start of the 5:30 session, so I lugged the two kiddoes inside to await his arrival. "My husband will be here in like one minute," I told the instructor as I balanced R on my hip and held Q's hand. He was very understanding and even offered the kids an armless, legless, faceless baby dummy to play with, but I thought that would freak them out. T soon whisked the kids away, and I settled in to review CPR basics.

I have been CPR-certified since I was 16, so the material was nothing new, though they have smartly simplified some of their guidelines. Still the hour and forty-five minutes was all my own without a child asking "Why?" or a baby demanding to be held. By the time I went out to the car to meet T, I was feeling refreshed. You just need a little respite during the day. At least I do. So the afternoon nap is a much-anticipated part of the routine.


I landed my first instructor gig. I will be teaching yoga and Pilates twice a week at lunchtime at a corporate regional headquarters. It starts Monday and sounds like it will be simple and fun. The complicated, irritating part is finding childcare. We have met with a couple of prospects and are meeting two more today. Few providers want to take on such a small time commitment. One provider who seemed wonderful wanted a four-hour window at $8.50 an hour. That would result in me paying money to work. It's not like I am expecting this very part-time job to pull in a ton of dough, but I would prefer it not to be a loss. I feel frustrated, because on the face of it, I should just say, 'Forget it. It's not worth it, and I should just stay home and avoid the hassle.' But I need something of my own. I can't go from a full-on career and a side job to absolutely nothing. It is just throwing me for a loop. So I am soldiering on, determined to find a provider who is a good fit and result in me at least bringing in a little money. And protecting my sanity.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Fresh start

Just got back from cleaning up Q's giant barf in his bed. It's always something isn't it?

We returned last night from Boston after spending Easter with T's family. It was a lovely visit. We rode the train to the children's museum to the delight of Q. He was also fascinated with the flight there and back. T's family enjoyed Q's antics and R's smiles. We hunted and dyed Easter eggs and blew bubbles in the backyard. We chatted with T's cousins and caught up with his high school friends. It was great to take a direct flight to our destination and to get there in just a few hours rather than an entire day.

But that is just one perk to our new lives. I am really savoring the start of something new. Many people dread having to set up their routines again. Like finding a new dentist and new friends, learning your way around, and discovering the best coffee shop. I kind of love it.

I'm no stranger to being a stranger. I went away to college and then moved to Iowa for a few years, then Oregon for a few more years, and now back to Wisconsin, hopefully for more than a few years. I do feel a little stressed as I adapt to my new surroundings. Having a GPS unit in the car does help end some of the wandering trips I am prone to. I like reorganizing my things and restructuring my schedule. I feel accomplished as I establish a routine and find a great pediatrician. I experiment with hanging my paintings in a different room and storing the crystal in a more accessible area so we are more likely to use it.

It all just wakes me up a little and gets me excited about my life again. A big change brings anxiety and upheaval, but it also brings opportunity and possibility. I can't imagine staying stagnant in one place and one life for 30 years. Maybe that will happen some day, but for now I am content periodically starting anew.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Birthday bonanza

My little baby is 1. Well, he will be Tuesday, but we celebrated today, and I am still worn out. Kid parties should be light-hearted and fun right? So why are they so tiring and expensive?

The theme of R's party was a Balloon and Bubble Bonanza. That meant a ridiculous amount of balloons, both air- and helium-filled, a balloon animal artist, and bubble-blowing galore. I made turkey, ham, and veggie sandwiches, potato-asparagus salad, and fruit kabobs. We had "bubbly" to drink (champagne and sparkling grape juice), and I made chocolate cupcakes with different colored frosting and licorice strings to look like balloons. The gift bags included a small bottle of bubbles, a balloon, and candy tied to a helium balloon. I think it turned out great, and though R was mostly oblivious to all the fuss about him, the other kids seemed to have a blast.

All the food preparation, decorating, and shopping took hours, and I felt like the two hours of the party passed in mere seconds, but that is just the beginning of a mad week. Tomorrow, we are moving. I can't tell you how excited I am about that. I have been at my parents' house for almost two and a half months. That is a long time for a 30 year old with two kids who hasn't lived at home in 12 years. I am dying to get settled into our own space and to start our new life. I am sad for my parents because I think they have enjoyed having their grandkids constantly around, but we will only be an hour away instead of on the the other side of the country.

I have job interviews for two fitness instructor positions Tuesday and Wednesday, an interview with a potential child care provider Wednesday evening, and then we fly to Boston for Easter with T's family Thursday night.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home base

We have finally found a place to live. It is not exactly what I pictured, but it is has a lot going for it.

I had my heart set on a large, inexpensive condo downtown, so we could just walk to coffee in the morning and stroll the city blocks. We found that this just doesn't exist. The condos and apartments are exorbitantly expensive and often tiny and most are anti-dog. So we looked at houses, apartments, flats, duplexes, and condos all in and around Madison. I was getting frustrated when the house looked a lot crappier in person than in the picture or when the perfect house was not available till Fall. Or pets weren't allowed. Or the apartment was in a bad part of town. Or it was a block from the fraternity houses. Or it didn't have any parking.

We even found an ideal home with three bedrooms and a den across from a park. It even allowed dogs. The problem? No cats. Very frustrating.

Today we signed a lease on a lovely, large townhouse. It is three floors with a large den/playroom upstairs. The boys will share a room, and we will put all their toys and my treadmill upstairs. It is actually in a suburb of Madison and will be a bit of a drive, but we are thrilled to have a place to finally call home. We move next week.

I also had an audition today for a group exercise instructor position. These interviews are different than your average business interview. You actually have to teach a mock class to the interviewer. It is a little unnerving to stand next to this extremely experienced instructor and say, "OK, stand up tall, knees slightly bent, breathing deep...etc." But once the music started, I got into my groove and enjoyed being back in that element.

I have taught classes for more than ten years now. It started in college when I was a freshman taking tons of aerobics classes. I decided I could do that and maybe better than they were. So, I signed up for a class to learn to teach classes and have been doing it ever since. I was putting together my resume for the position today and was surprised by my depth of experience without even really trying. I was always working so hard to fill out my resume for broadcasting and this side job just sort of came along with it. It is certainly serving me well now though, so I am appreciative I made that move as a 19-year-old college freshman.

Today's developments are easing some of my anxiety over this state of limbo. I feel like I have some solid progress. I am confident I will get the instructor position and have another interview next week. We now have a place to live and are looking into childcare providers for a few hours a week.

Things are finally coming together.