I’ll start this post by telling you about my son’s PMS.

Shortly after I started on the Provera, Kai’s mood swings became a sight to behold. One minute he was snuggling me and telling me he loved me. The next he was literally bouncing off the walls and cackling. A moment after that, he was shrieking at me in rage and beating me with his toys. While I was trying to put him in his car seat after dropping his sister off at art class, he fought so hard to get out of my arms that he slammed his face into the edge of the car door hard enough to make his lip bleed. And then shrugged it off and played happily in the front seat for 15 minutes. He sees your Terrible Threes and raises you a 13-year-old.

Because I was PMSing hard, and it sometimes takes me a bit to realize my mind is not my own in that state, I thought my son had gone completely off the rails, and that it was a sign of my utter ineptitude as a parent.

Then I realized that part of the problem was my own hormonal state. So I lifted the sugar embargo. And gave him some, to boot. It worked. He happily munched on candy, then lay down on the floor and passed out. When he woke, he was my cuddle bug once more.

The next day, he had a series of epic poos. I realized that, though his fever was gone and his symptoms had tapered, he was still sick. And he is not a patient sick person. His sister could wake up with the plague and still go to school. Not this boy.

The nurse at my doctor’s office also called me back and reassured me that it was highly unlikely that he was getting enough Provera to cause mood swings; he’s just 3. So that’s a load off. But also not, because he’s going to get sick a lot more frequently than I am going to be on Provera. (Plus I could just refuse the Provera.)

Speaking of the Provera, I’m finally done with the bottle and am now waiting to start. Whether the 3MS is done remains to be seen.

In other news:

  • Now R has the crud. Thus far I have stayed out of the fray, despite the fact that Kai has been sneezing in my face for days on end now. Go go gadget handwashing.
  • Mom is doing well. She’s even shopping again, which is freaking amazing considering she just had a damn heart attack. I bet Kevin Smith isn’t feeling that great.
  • I took advantage of R’s sick day to (finally) update my name on my bank account. And once again butted heads with small-town patriarchy. It is simply inconceivable to these women (yes, every single person who has pushed back against my married name has been a woman) that I would choose a name for myself that wasn’t First Maiden Married. “You’re changing your maiden name?” Um, no. I’m taking a new last name that reflects my legal and emotional bond to the father of my children but doesn’t erase the identity I’ve had for the past 43 years. (I’m working on a whole separate blog post on the topic.)
  • I have abandoned, for the moment at least, the ban on sugar. And the food diary. I can’t seem to keep a food diary without counting calories, and I can’t count calories without trying to keep them to my pre-baby levels, and that just isn’t enough calories for a breastfeeding mom. So I’m just trying to eat 2 fruits and 3 vegetables each day. And just like that, my headache went away. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
  • I have been snowed under with a huge work project these past two weeks, so not much else has been going on. But I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, there’s cookies in it.

Filling up my cup. Or my candy jar.

The thought I’ve been wrangling with this week is best summed up by this comment I made on 43t:

Whatever you call that place inside you that you use to fill yourself back up when you run dry…mine’s empty right now. Nothing is filling me back up, and I can think of nothing that could.

Then, out of the blue, this happened:

In case you can’t tell, that’s two empty boxes of chocolates pictured. He helped me eat them, but he fed me most of the candy. And afterward…I felt better. Cutting back on sugar can have its downsides, it seems.

So I took a page from my friend Telly’s book and declared yesterday No Law Thursday. Whatever I wanted to eat was okay. I had an English muffin and Little Debbie cakes and cookies for lunch. Took the kids out for Sonic and ice cream after school. Then came home and ate a fistful of Tums, because I’m 43.

I feel better today. Bloated and gassy and still a bit queasy, but better. And I have some ideas about how to refill my cup.

  • Depending on my pain level next week (today I’m back to holding on to furniture as I walk, though I’m hoping some yoga will help that), I’m going to check out a class or two at the local gym. They offer childcare, and their monthly fees are affordable should I decide to go that route.
  • I’m declaring a weekly No Law day (day to be determined). I need to let go and stop stressing about food periodically, but to do so I have to put it on the calendar because I am me.
  • Likewise, I will cut back on, but not eliminate, sugar — at least for the time being. And I will happily indulge in caffeinated tea so long as I am regularly awakened in the night by hot flashes and a nursing toddler. Self-denial has its place, and that is not in the life of an already overextended mommy of littles.
  • Until I get a handle on my current workload (and my current nearly 3-year-old), I’m not taking on any additional work. I’ve worked 40 hours this week, and it nearly killed me.
  • I do still want to get back to my pre-Cesarean fitness level. But I need to come to terms with the fact that until I stop nursing, I may not be able to. So I will put together a small wardrobe of clothes that make me feel good about me right now because the self-loathing is just another layer of stress and I already have more stress than I can deal with.
  • My fitness and dietary goals will stop centering around my waist measurement and start serving my energy levels and health, because I don’t have time to be sick or tired.

All of which means I need to find a new goal to throw myself into. Just in time to start putting together our spring garden.

Rainy Sunday, with snotty raisin

I meant to open Fitbit to log my breakfast and opened my blog instead. So I guess subconsciously I want to write. Or I’m just sleep deprived and typing on autopilot. Either way, here’s the haps:

  • Kai shoved a raisin up his nose last night. He tried to sneeze it out, to no avail. I tried to suck it out with the nasal aspirator, and also tried to blow it out by closing his other nostril and giving him mouth-to-mouth, like the internet told me to do. I can see the raisin, but I can’t dislodge it. So I’m waiting for the clinic to open so someone can pull it out with tweezers. The only thought keeping me together while I wait is “at least it’s not a battery.”
  • I’m having some pretty serious endo pain this weekend. And also hot flashes, so I’m unsure that I will start my period and thus get relief from the pain. It’s…pretty depressing, to be honest.
  • The Medrol the dentist gave me for my oral virus (did I mention that? I have some sort of mouth crud that has made everything from toothpaste to food feel like broken glass on my tongue for two weeks now) is contributing to the hot flashes and giving me red clown nose. Also blinding headaches. But I ate almonds today for the first time in days without wanting to cry, so I will deal.
  • Here is life with this two-year-old: He was, just now, screeching like a banshee, at glass-shattering octaves. “Kai, can you please not do that?” I ask, wearily. “Okay, Mommy. Sorry.” And he stops. I’m torn between pride that I can have a conversation with my son (I didn’t have intelligible conversations with Anya until she much older) and frustration because he’s proven that he hears and understands me, but simply chooses to ignore me 90% of the time.
  • I have had very little sleep. I stayed up later than usual last night because I was in desperate need of me time. Then Kai’s snoring awoke me in the wee hours, which is when I was able to confirm that his congestion included fruit. Wasn’t able to get back to sleep after that, because I was too busy Googling “Toddler raisin nose removal” and trying to find a sleeping position to place him in that would prevent him from inhaling the raisin into his lungs.
  • Anya is all dolled up, but will not be going to the minor med with us because boredom is her kryptonite and I can’t handle two crazy babies on 4 hours of sleep. She is going to Mimi’s. She’s cool with the arrangement for now. But I wonder if she will remain cool when I drop her off and leave with her brother.
  • My bright spot right now is that Kai will very likely doze off on our way to the clinic, so I can have a little break from the terrible almost-threes.

Think good thoughts at me. I need them today. And a swift and minimally traumatic raisin extraction.


The week in review

I’ve come to realize I’m over my goal update posts. I track my progress on 43t (which is no longer 43t, though I’m in denial about that) and PC, and have a host of fitness/productivity/progress trackers besides. I’m tracked. That info is of little interest to anyone but me.

The weekly questionnaire doesn’t excite me, either. I feel like I’m doing things simply to blog about them, which is stupid. And while it’s abundantly clear to anyone who’s seen my social media that I’d rather talk about my kids than myself, I’ve fallen into the rut of talking about them when I have nothing else to say. Which defeats the purpose of this exercise. I’m not writing for them; I’m writing for me. I just write about them a lot, because I rarely talk to anyone else. It’s a conundrum.

Anyway. I’m not sure where I’m going from here. I want to continue to blog, because I want to write regularly and it’s easier to dash off a blog entry than jump back into my book for a quickie, and also because I want someplace to jot down the random thoughts I have that have nothing to do with my goals or my book.

I think what I’m going to try now is a less regimented update template. And shift the weekly updates to Fridays, because Mondays are crazy and Fridays are slow. Also, it makes more sense to update at the end of the week than the beginning.

I love the conceit of “if we were having coffee,” but it’s been so long since I did that with anyone that I can’t even pretend to know how to have catch-up chats. So I think I will stick to a weekly review. The executive summary. I know how to do those.

This week’s review:

  • Kai is ever closer to 3. And has an ever-increasing stubborn streak to go with it. Which is just about the best birth control you can get, because I don’t think I could deal with this a third time.
  • The up side is he is very, very affectionate. Every day I get multiple kisses and big squeezy hugs. Anya wasn’t so demonstrative, so I’m enjoying the extra love.
  • WAHM woes: Kai takes apart everything. Hopefully this means that someday he will be able to fix my car/computer/life, but for now it means I throw away pens faster than I can buy them. Because after he takes things apart, he loses the pieces.
  • Anya is feeling very left out lately. She keeps asking me if I still love her, and why I pay more attention to Kai than her. I have tried to explain to her that Kai requires a lot of attention, whereas I can trust her to play in her room without, say, stuffing a battery up her nose. But I get that she needs her time in the spotlight, so I’m trying to schedule mommy-daughter days.
  • And mommy-only days, because I desperately need some time to myself.
  • I am having a bad endo week. Pain is shooting from my abdomen and lower back down both legs like someone is tasing me from the inside. I’m also either suffering allergies or have a mild cold; breathing is a challenge. Exercise, diet, etc. has been thus abandoned in favor of hygge.
  • Ovaltine > Swiss Miss.
  • The raccoon is back. And I am back to researching ways to get it to leave the bird feeders alone.
  • I realized that I’m no longer chasing work. I have all the work I need. I’m content to let work chase me now, and pick and choose what work I take. This is a marvelous feeling.
  • The week has brought with it subtle shifts that speak of spring. I’m not quite ready for spring yet, but I am ready to start moving in that direction.

Contingency plans

Children are really adept at upending the most solid of plans. Like when I got up at 5 this morning, all fired up to yoga and meditate and blog and even, I don’t know, put on makeup — and my son got up with me. And turned on the overhead light, waking his sister. So my peaceful Monday morning slid into chaos, where it has remained.

I’m trying to roll with it. (And now I have that song stuck in my head. Great.) After missing yoga, I ate breakfast way early, but it was a low-sugar apple muffin. (They are amazing, despite what the little ingrates think. Go make some.) Then I’d intended to make today a shouting-free day, for them and for me, but ended up snapping and grounding them from the Play-Doh. However, for a blissful 20 minutes they played together peacefully and listened to me when I spoke, and nobody yelled, and I got my first hour’s work done on time. Now things are peaceful again, and I’m trying to keep it that way. I have a little lull between work projects, and the minions are distracted with tablets and food, so I’m going to try to sneak in some yoga after I write this post.

In the time I took to type that, the scene shifted again. Now they are fighting — laughingly, but still tussling — over a Babybel cheese. And I’m ignoring them because I still really want to do yoga.

I will probably fail at that, too, but I will persevere.


Goal in focus: Eat less sugar

So as I mentioned, today hasn’t started out well. Instead of waiting until 10 to eat breakfast (thus controlling the amount of junk I eat by controlling the number of hours in which I eat), I ate at 7:30. However, it was a low-sugar muffin, so I’m cutting myself a little slack. If I can wait until noon for lunch, all will be well.

In theory. Because my mother baked M&M cookies and oatmeal cookies over the weekend. So of course my weekend eating plan was shot to hell. If I had anything resembling willpower, I’d have quit smoking ten years sooner.



Last year’s snowfall didn’t impress Kai. He was far more upset about the cold aspect than he was charmed by the fluffy white playstuff. This year, though, he cried when I brought him in from playing. The first day, that is. The second day, he was content to pat it once on his way in Mimi and Poppy’s house. It was fun, but he’s over it. (And they’re calling for more!)



Kai’s been bringing me books to read. He doesn’t make it through the whole book, usually, but he is interested. I may turn him into a bookworm yet.



Writing time has taken a back seat to cooking and snuggling and playing in the snow.


Listening to:

My Exist report for the week says I’m more productive when not listening to music (which is apparently a rare trait). At first glance, I thought “no way.” But upon reflection, I think it is sometimes true and sometimes not; I think I am more productive when listening to music when I don’t want to work. And I have been very much in the mood to work lately, so no tunes have been required.

Now, I do require music to run. Because running. But thanks to the return of my dear Aunt Flo (does anyone really call it that anymore? I don’t even have a Great Aunt Flo), I’ve not been doing much running of late.

Anyway, no, I’ve not been listening to music.



I’ve been reading up on gardening tips and techniques, so I can improve my chances of growing enough food to eat this year. I’ve also been studying the bird feeder and have determined that whether or not they can taste it, the birds are reluctant to eat the suet cake if they can see cayenne on it. So next time I’ll just cut to the chase and buy the hot pepper cakes.


Working on:

My wrist appears to have improved, so I’m going to try to get some work done on Anya’s blanket today.



Our Celebration of Light. The kids are excited for an excuse to party.


Making me happy:

Kai and Anya, when they aren’t being little terrors, have been really sweet today. Which is amazing considering they are sleep deprived.



The week’s progress

Two posts in one week? Madness.

My goals are off to a slow start. I’ve been getting up at 5ish (depends on how restless my son is) and doing some yoga. Which inspires me to keep the living room floor clean; who wants to clean the living room at 5 a.m.? But I’ve lost a lot of ground on the adhesions. I can’t cobra; I can lay on my stomach and prop up on my elbows, but those elbows aren’t straightening. And even that small stretch leaves me in pain for about an hour. But every day I get a little bit further. At least I’m getting up and doing something. Eventually it will get easier, but for it to get easier, you have to begin.

One thing I’m pleased about is that I’ve kept up the yoga despite the fact that, after 112 days, I finally started my period. The yoga was slow, and gentle, and not precisely graceful, but I’m determined to do something every day I can.

I’m having good luck with the sugar thing thus far; I allow myself one sweet treat a day, usually around dinnertime. I have shifted my eating schedule back to that of my cubicle days: I don’t eat until 10 (used to be 11, but I get up at 5 these days — that’s a long time!), and stop eating after dinner. I have a harder time denying myself junk food if I’ve eaten three square meals that day, so the shorter my eating window, the easier it is for me to keep a handle on that. Also, I’m ensuring that breakfast involves fruit of some sort. It’s been a bit chilly for smoothies, so I’ve been having a cup of unsweetened applesauce and a handful of unsalted almonds. Lunch is…whatever (I’ll be working on that next). I’ve gotten into meal planning — I currently have a month’s worth of dinners planned out at the moment — so dinner is in the bag. And I see nothing wrong with having a glass of chocolate milk or a cookie or something after dinner if I eat well all day. So…let’s see if I can keep this up.

Another adulting win: I nearly have all of my accounts switched over to my new name. I even updated my retirement account beneficiaries. (Way overdue on that one. I still had my parents listed.) Now I just need to consolidate my two little accounts with my one big one.

I mentioned to Kai that he has a birthday coming up, and started asking him questions about what he’d like and what sort of party he’d enjoy. He lit up — “Par-ee? Cake?” he exclaimed, and began to babble excitedly, looking around for the decorations. So he gets parties now. His birthday’s not til March; perhaps I should cool the birthday talk for a bit. I did at least get some present ideas for him. Now I just need present ideas for his daddy.

Starting next week, I’ll take on some additional work responsibilities, so my goal is simply to keep up the yoga and the healthy cooking/eating while also getting ish done.



Okay, 2018. Let’s do this.

I made the executive decision this year that resolutions don’t start until the tree comes down. Around here, the tree comes down on or around January 6, Little Christmas. (I was raised Catholic.) I don’t typically start resolutions until Monday, simply because it’s easier for me to start routines on a Monday. So today’s the day.


Goal in focus:

Cut back on the sugar. I’ve been really going overboard with the sweets. Granted, a lot of that is likely due to the progesterone I’m taking, as it turns me into a PMS monster. (Provera especially. Had an anxiety meltdown over the weekend.) And the fact that there have been cookies and candy on tap nonstop since October hasn’t helped. But I want to get a handle on it. (I ate all but I think 3 of the ninjabread men, for example.) When I lived alone, I didn’t buy cookies or candy and thus didn’t eat them often — only when someone brought cake to the office, or when I ate dinner out and we got dessert. I would like to get back to that. It’s just going to be harder now, because kids.

Also challenging is my current hormonal state. I got my lab results back; my FSH is in the menopausal range, but again, that doesn’t mean anything until I stop breastfeeding. All my other test results were good, though. (They always think I have a thyroid problem. No, I’m just naturally cranked to 11.) So I will finish out this round of Provera, hopefully have a period, and take it from there. Until that happens, I will cut myself a little slack — but I will try to be good. At the very least, I will stop making cookies, cakes, and pies for a while, and restrict my grocery shopping to ClickList. Lead me not into temptation…



Watching Kai grow. He is speaking so much now, though you have to understand his dialect. “What happy?” means “What happened?” “Ah-bye” means “tabby” (what Anya calls her tablet). Many words are abbreviated; “wah” is “water,” “joo” is “juice,” and “choc” is “chocolate milk.” (He calls all candy “canny,” though he prefers the chocolate kind.) He is also observing and interpreting; he asked me to play “dog hug” the other day, referring to a Charlie Brown movie featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy hugging on the cover. It is still such a thrill to ask him a question and get a response. Even better when he asks me a question. “More-een, Mommy. How you do-een?” he’ll say when he wakes up before me.



The Obsidian Chamber, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I usually read my to-reads in the order they came in, but I just finished The Crimson Shore (the book immediately preceding this one in the series) and wanted to keep going before I forget what happened. (My reading time is stolen, and limited.)

I also read The Giving Tree for the first time, out loud to Anya. I received it as a Secret Santa gift — Santa gave me a stack of books, some for me and some for the kids. (Santa has my number, does he not?) I knew the plot beforehand, but had never read the book (odd, as I am a huge Shel Silverstein fan). And I should not have read it in my current overly hormonal state. I sobbed through it. Which made Anya, my little empath, sob with me. I will have to revisit it when my emotions are more level, because it’s such a beautiful story.

I had the same reaction to the new animated adaptation of The Little Prince, by the way. I still can’t watch it, and Kai was a tiny baby when I saw it the first time. I haven’t decided if motherhood has made me more emotionally sensitive or if I have some raging imbalance that causes me to be extremely emotional. Either way, pass the tissues.



I’ve not had quite the time for writing as I’d hoped, so I will likely not finish my book by my original projected date of February. But I still have hopes that I can wrap it up by May. With school starting back full time this week, perhaps I will fit in an hour or so a day to write. To help ensure that, I will start prying my sleepy self out of bed early again — probably 5 at first, but hopefully working my way back around to 4:30 by the end of the month. I want to resume meditation, too, and ideally morning yoga, and the only way those things will happen is if I do them before work.

But first, writing. I am so close to being done with the first draft of this book.


Listening to:

I am back to scoping out good workout tunes. Less angsty, more uplifting. I’d like to find music to listen to while walking, jogging, and practicing yoga/meditating, as I plan on rotating through those three things this year. (I will be creating a playlist or three as I go, of course.)



A recent Moment of Happiness from Gretchen Rubin provided one of those helpful flashes of insight:

“We lived the whole of our early lives under the rule of postponement: life was not in the present, it was always ahead of us. Somewhere in the future we would be the people we intended to be.” — Diana Trilling, The Beginning of the Journey

This is how I’ve lived pretty much my whole life. In tomorrow. And I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve had better successes, greater happiness, and far more growth living in right now, tomorrow, next week than I ever did living in next month, next year, next decade. I don’t want to save my happiness for retirement; I want to enjoy my right now, too, or else there may not be anything to enjoy in retirement. (Indeed, I may not make it to retirement.) Now that isn’t to say that I will [insert verb here] like there is no tomorrow; that is not me, nor could it ever be. But I will stop looking to the future while slogging through the present, and work to make my present so enjoyable that I’m too busy to look so far in the future.

I’m slow sometimes. But I can learn.


Working on:

Last year we celebrated Chinese New Year as a way to fill the holiday lull between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day; January is a slow month around here, celebration wise. But this year, Chinese New Year is on February 16. So I am making up a holiday. January 19 has been declared the Celebration of Light. Okay, I just want an excuse to hang lighted Chinese lanterns and decorate my cake stand with mini lights. But January is a dark, cold month; it could use some light.



I am really looking forward to exercising again. I feel so stiff and sore and bloated and slow.


Making me happy:

Lice aside, we’re starting the year healthy and happy. That’s a small miracle in itself.