Tag Archives: healthy-living

Want vs. Need: The Bucket List

Is it a want or a need? I ask myself this question a hundred times a day. Sometimes it is a slippery slope and I can feel myself justifying before I even get to the answer. Somewhere in between the wants and the needs is a space for the things that we feel we “deserve.”

I want a new pair of jeans. I need to wear something. I deserve to wear a pair of jeans that fit and make me feel good. But none of that answers the question – Do I buy the jeans?

Nine times out of ten I come to the conclusion that I don’t really want or need to buy the object in question. I go around and around in my stay at home mom mind and I decide “Nope. Don’t buy it.” I am fortunate to have a partner that lets me budget our family’s expenses. It makes sense this way. I do the bulk of our spending. Food. Kid stuff. Clothes and whatnot. I have a good handle on what we have in the “Fun Money” pile and I think we do a pretty good job of spreading it around the family. Sometimes just feeling like I could buy the pair of jeans is all I need.

And then I got this fitness bug. I want a gym membership. I need the hour and a half to myself. I deserve this head space and so do my kids. It makes me a better parent. So. Gym membership is a green light. Whether it falls in the want or the need doesn’t matter. It works for us. Embarrassing truth: I spent more on Diet Coke and peanut M&Ms in a month than I spend on a gym membership for the entire family.

And then I picked up what might be the potentially priciest hobby one could choose in the realm of casual athletics. Don’t pick one sport, Kelly. Pick three. Well, all you need to run is shoes. And a better running bra. And the swimming, well, you only need a swim suit. And goggles. And a cap. And you can ride almost any bike if you’re looking to finish not compete. And I was lucky that my mom had a bike I can use. Oh. I need a helmet. I found a triathlon suit online for wicked cheap that is remarkably unflattering which means it must be a good one as they all seem to be more unflattering than the last. I just need sunglasses. And a water bottle. Oh, man, I get heinous chafing when I run in a wet sports bra so just one thing of Body Glide. And maybe a few energy drinks or something. And even if my tri-suit was inexpensive I don’t want to safety pin my number to it so I will need a racebelt. But they are only five bucks.

And that’s it. That is totally all I need. Right? The elastic shoelaces that make my running shoes turn in to slip-ons were a splurge. I admit it. Best six bucks I have spent in a long time.  Still cheaper than a great glass of wine.


This sprint triathlon training has been riding the fence between want and need since the beginning. Even just signing up for one is spendy. But I feel so good. I am proud of myself. And it has nothing at all to do with my kids. That’s huge.  It’s worth it. What’s that old saying – “Happy wife, happy life.” Hanging in our laundry room when I was a kid was a little plaque “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Mama is happy. This is good. It is like the trickle down economics of “Fun Money” spending.

I’ve blown about a hundred bucks in the last fifteen weeks. That is in addition to the hundred bucks my mom slid in to my back pocket the last time I was at home.  I promised her I’d not spend it on groceries.  Two running tops, a sports bra, six pairs of socks, a new cap, a water bottle, a headband and a pair of sunglasses later I took this picture for her.  “Done. You spoil me,” I wrote in the text. I comparison shopped and considered different options for weeks before I almost let that hundred dollar bill burn a hole through my wallet.


It’s Thursday.  Three more days and it is “Race Day.”  I have worked hard. I am really excited.  I have read a million blogs.  I have looked at a million lists of Tips for Tri-Newbies.  Tie a balloon to the bike rack so you can find your bike.  Don’t think so much about what you look like.  No one is watching you.  Don’t get upset when the 80-year-old woman on the mountain bike passes you. Pass on the left.  Don’t litter.  Put your stuff in a bucket.  Set up your transition area on a towel and use your bucket to sit on while you put your shoes on.

A bucket.  You can get a 5 gallon bucket at Home Depot for three bucks.  I could let Em decorate it with a Sharpie.  “Go MOM! You can do it!”  It made me smile to think about it.  But I have a bucket in the shed.   I don’t need a new bucket.  I just don’t.  Not when I have this one.

I’ll be the girl with the hot pink shoe laces and the paint covered Sherwin Williams bucket and the tears running down her face.  Wish me luck.

The Bucket

Spring Sprang Sprung

From you have I been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him. ~William Shakespeare

Can you feel it now that spring has come?
And it’s time to live in the scattered sun.
Waiting for the Sun, Waiting for the Sun… ~The Doors

Pick your poison.  Shakespeare.  The Doors.  Donna Summer.  The Beatles.  Elvis Presley.  Springtime.  It will make you run outside and sing and dance and fall in love.  And if you have school-aged kids it might make you pack up some stuff and hit the road.

We didn’t go over the river.  And we didn’t go through the woods.  But the gals and I headed off to grandmother’s house.  Ordinarily heading home to my mom and step-dad’s house  in the Spring looks like this:


Opening Day at the Nats’ Game


And sometimes it looks like this:


Or like this:20130406-140107.jpg

And this:20130406-140112.jpg

We eat.  And watch baseball.  And drink wine.  And eat some more.  And take naps.  I did all of those things.

Spring Break with the little ones is not so debaucherous.  There is very little in the way of oil wrestling.  The wet t-shirt contests have only one competitor, me, and only when Lucy Goose is having so much fun she skips a meal.  But I ate cheesecake.  And I drank a little wine.  And I ate a bag of cookies.  Spring Break was good to me. Add in a bonus Willie Roberston (of Duck Dynasty fame) sighting and Spring Break was a smashing success.

20130406-140045.jpgAnd all of that doesn’t even count Easter Egg hunts and this morning’s ColorMania 5K.

20130406-140121.jpgYep.  I ran every day but one while I was at my mom’s.  I ran this morning and I am planning a trip to the pool to crush a 3000 yard swim this afternoon before dinner.  My “Spring Break Vacation” was actually a good reason to hike up to my mom’s house to borrow her bicycle for tri-training.  And now I am attempting to hand off a post filled with pictures and sonnets and song lyrics after having been quiet for a week.  Forgive me?  I warned you.

I hope you have had a colorful week.


It’s not a Dirty Secret.


It was an innocent question. “Do you post about it?”

“Eh, not really. I can’t become one of those facebooking stay at home moms that posts about the gym constantly.”

He went on to explain that he thinks it is motivating to people to see people taking care of themselves. He’s right. Intellectually, I know that he is right. And he knows where of he speaks. My friend Tony lost a gazillion pounds in the last few years going to Yoga. He looks just like the handsome devil he was at 20. He is so damn inspiring he was on Good Morning, America. The guy knows what inspiring looks like.

“I agree. I just think that my stay at home mom-ness makes some people have the “Of course she works out – what else is she doing?” reaction, yanno?”

It was the first time I had admitted that there is a certain level of shame that goes along with striving to be fit when I don’t have a “real job.” Somehow making time for myself when I worked 50+ hours a week was more admirable to me.

I let this all roll around in my head for a few days. And then I decided, fuck it. I work about 22 hours a day. That is 154 hours a week. And I find the time. Six days a week I say to someone, even if it just Lucy “Nope, I can’t do that. I am going to the gym.” And I go. Sometimes the only thing that drags me there is the knowledge that I can take a shower. Sometimes I go so that I can get out of my own head for a few minutes. Sometimes I go because I am so damn close to the Wedding Weight (the number on the scale when we got married, at the peak of the Wedding Diet. It shouldn’t matter. I know this. But man, alive, it feels good. My body doesn’t resemble the Wedding Day body. My boobs are still cartoonishly large due to nursing. My stomach is still weirdly stretchy. But the scale, the dreaded scale, is resembling a me that said “Hot damn, take my picture all day and make me your wife!”)

But more often than not I go because I am obsessed. Not with being fit in a general sense. Or dieting. Or zipping up my skinny jeans. Or how I will look in a bathing suit this summer. But because I have a new hobby.

Sprint Triathlons. On April 28th I will be one week shy of 37-years-old and I will be competing in my very first sprint triathlon. Swim 250 yards. Bike ten miles. Run two miles. And I can not wait. I am over the moon excited. I lie in bed and I wonder if I can get my socks on faster if I roll them up kinda like a donut. I go back and forth between putting on a baseball hat under my bike helmet or not. As absurd as the tri-suit bathing suits are they must have a purpose and I scour the Internet for one that is universally flattering and only marginally overpriced.

I am coming out of hiding! I am proudly telling you and the whole damn world that I am “one of those women.” I am one of those women that is showing her kids that it is important to take time to care for yourself. It is important to work for things that you believe in. It is okay to take pride in feeling strong. And it is even okay to be one of those women that hangs around in the lobby drinking a cup of coffee after Spin class like “she doesn’t have anything better to do.” Because my bathrooms will get cleaned. My groceries will get purchased. My laundry will get put away and some more board books will be read. And I just might do it all with a smile on my face because I had a ten minute conversation with an adult that was not about poop or Hello Kitty.

Ladies at the gym in your fancy workout clothes – I am sorry my 26 year old self sneered at you. I did not undertand why you had on a matchy matchy gym ensemble instead of a decade old fraternity t-shirt. I didn’t understand that gym clothes might be the only “getting dressed” you did all day and that it was important to feel put together. I am sorry that I thought it was lame that you were not in any kind of hurry to leave the gym. I am sorry that I thought taking your time meant you didn’t have anything “better to do.” I don’t really have an excuse. I was still lighting a cigarette as soon as I pulled out of the gym parking lot. Can we just agree that there were a lot of things I did not have figured out and forgive me?


So, now that I spilled the beans you can expect to hear more.  Because when I get in to something I get really in to it.  I’ll be racing for a cause, Best for Babes.  You can expect to hear a lot more about that. No more time to gab.  I have a hot date with a treadmill.

Hey you guys!!!

It’s not my best look. I call it “just rolled out of bed not even wearing my cute glasses wearing my favorite sweater and only two sips in to a cup of coffee” chic.

Photo on 1-26-13 at 8.09 AM #2

I just wanted to sit down this morning and say Hey you guys! Yesterday afternoon yours truly was Freshly Pressed and with that comes scads (gobs? hordes? what shall I call you?)  of new readers that deserve a little shout out.

It didn’t seem right to get all fancied up and try and be something I am not and dazzle you.  So. Here I am.  This is where I usually am.  In my chair with the kiddo on the boob.  This morning is cold so I am enjoying one of the four (four!) cowl neck scarves I have recently crocheted.  Yeah.  I am a woman that crochets, guys.  I don’t know how it happened.  Sometime this winter when I realized I had watched everything on my DVR and every single series on Hulu I decided I needed to find something else to do while Lucy slept in my lap.  So, yeah, I crochet.  And I am impatient.  Cowl neck scarf – the four hour project – we are pals.  Stick around and maybe I will send you one if your neck looks particularly cold.

I wish I had more time this morning but I am trying to get out the door.

You know when you do something that you kind of think is awesome but you aren’t sure if it is totally absurd.  You’re not embarrassed exactly, but you’re not sure if people that know you would think “Oh, that is strange.  You don’t really do that, do you?”  When I was fourteen I bought a hot pink swing dress and purple polka-dotted tights to wear to my boyfriend’s graduation.  (It was 1991, it was a hot look.) Previously I had been seen in my overalls.  Pretty much every day.  I thought the dress was cute.  I thought it was kind of adorably Molly Ringwald-ish, actually. But I wondered if it was “me.”

I don’t work hard to stay in my “me” box.  But I think we all have a type.  Not long ago I was horrified when I realized I had Mom-hair but I owned it.  In fact, I declared myself to be the Samue L. Jackson of Motherhood and decided that in spite of my hair I was a bad motherfucker.

So, I am yammering on because I am not sure I can admit this.  I like to work out.  It keeps me from being totally mental.  I run.  I actually love p90x.  I am not afraid of the weight room and I don’t really wear “cute outfits” to the gym.  I like to get sweaty.  But this morning I am going to do something I have been talking about doing forever.  And I might get hysterical and get kicked out but I am going for it.  I am going to Zumba, guys.   Zumba bills itself as a sexy Jazzercise.  Take a minute to chew on that.  Sexy.  Jazzercise.  I hope they serve margaritas.  I am going to need one.  Or four.

So, a big fat “hello” and “happy to meet you” and “what took you so long let’s be best friends!” to the new readers.  I gotta jet.  Get my sweat on.  Oh, and shake my moneymaker. Because apparently when I am not busy being a bad motherfucker or crocheting I go to Zumba.  Sigh.  The latter half of my third decade is going to be weird.  I can feel it.

Am I on Candid Camera?

I did not actually make the international symbol for “Call me!” as I drove away. But that is the only lame thing I didn’t manage to do.

I am trying my damnedest to stick my neck out.  Or my hand.  And make friends.  Mommy friends.  People from Em’s class or women I see at the park.  I adore the friends I have.  And I don’t make the time to see them as it is, so why should I not try to add more people to the rolodex of folks I seem to ignore in favor of going to bed at quarter of eight by the light of Bravo?

Nonetheless I had said I was going to try.

And this morning while jogging an opportunity presented itself. This is not how I usually dress when I try to pick up chicks.  I saw her car pull up at the park.  She had two girls around Emily’s age, one with her bicycle. She was wearing exercise capri’s and sneakers and had the 2012 Mom Summer Haircut.  I watched her from the other side of the walking track.  On I ran,  pondering changing my route so I could pass by her a few times, scope her out, but that seemed absurd.  And as I finished my third mile around the park I noted that she and her girls were by the swings, which is totally near the water fountain…

So I said… “Yeah, not to say “Do you come here often?” but umm… I do… and that is how I know you don’t actually come here often… so I just thought I’d say hello.”  Then I rambled on a bit about how I’d planned on running Monday through Friday in the morning, between eight and nine and maybe her girls could entertain my older daughter and we could jog or plan on meeting up “and it could be like a thing.”  That is what I said.  A thing. Like I asked her on a date but was  scared to call it that.  Or give her my number.

I can remember a hundred years ago going back to the same bar over and over again because a guy I’d liked might show up there again.  All I ever got was drunk.  Maybe I’ll just keep going back to the park. Only this time I might get healthier instead of broke and loaded.

So… I floundered at the end.  But I was feeling kind of awesome this morning anyway. When I got out of the shower I looked at myself in the mirror.  And with the handheld liposuction, you know where you hold your stomach up, thereby eliminating the hanging post partum marsupial skin (note that I have spared you a picture of this) I didn’t look half bad.  I felt good.

I pulled on a favorite pair of Old Navy cargo pants, elastic waist band, drawstring really, but they were pre-baby pants.  I felt kind of normal.  And good.  Tomorrow is the first day of my summer as a mostly stay at home mom of two and it was gonna be cool.  I grabbed my pita pocket sandwich, my diaper bag and  my kid, slipped on my totally adorable purple flats and headed out the door.  Lucy dropped her toy. I bent down to grab it and did not drop my sandwich or spill my coffee.

But I split my fucking pants.  Eh.  Can’t win them all.  If this gal ever shows up at the park and we chat and she likes me I’m totally gonna tell her this.  “So I was feeling all rad for trying to make a friend.  And then I split the ass in my favorite fucking pants.  You’d better be worth it.”

Perfectly Normal at Night!

I woke this morning and felt like a B movie actress in an old-school Skinemax flick. My bed has been more Slip and Slide than Soft Core in the last three months. Now would be a good time for my male readers (in particular those to whom I am related) to just move along.

My post partum bleeding was average. But my hyper focus on doing and being everything to everyone meant it came back for round two. “You’re doing too much,” said the midwife. But I have a six year old and an infant and a husband and I am trying to justify in my own mind why I do not have much of an income anymore!! So that means I need to spread mulch and clean my ceiling fans, right?

And then I decided that jogging at 6 weeks post partum was important to my sanity. And the post partum bleeding came back again.

If that weren’t enough fun… my period returned at 9 weeks in spite of my frequent night nursing and the voracious day time appetite of my nursling. Lucky girl, right? Exclusive breastfeeding is supposed to postpone the return of your fertility.

I have a three month old baby this week and will be celebrating my one year wedding anniversary on April 30th. Do the math. I am plenty fertile. We may actually have gotten pregnant at the altar. So back to the midwive’s office I went for a new IUD.

In spite of my issues with my last one there is no better non-hormonal way to prevent pregnancy. Unless you count infant-induced abstinence. The new IUD brought with it the week long “spotting.” Have all the sex you want, just ignore the bleeding, right?

So that about sums up the leaking in the southern regions. Upstairs? My side of the bed has smelled like sweetened condensed milk for the last three months. If you’ve not ever been or loved a lactating woman perhaps you are unaware of this fun fact – milk does not let down only from the boob to which the baby is attached. Boobs are on or off. There is no fade. No balance, like the car stereo. Nursing pads have been my constant companion. And one must hold them in place with something. So add to the equation a sports bra, a nursing tank, something. All. the. time.

Add it all up. The exercise, the hair cut, the positive outlook, the husband and the newlywed status (for three more days!) and I still didn’t really feel like a Woman. Contrary to any kind of logic, all of this very female leaking does not magnify my Womanliness in my own mind.

But this morning I woke up feeling like a capital letter W Woman. I still had a wiggly baby to my right. And a bed rail. And a towel I had stuffed down my shirt next to the opposite boob and dark circles under my eyes because a certain someone woke up four times last night to eat (thank you very much three month growth spurt.) So why did I wake feeling more Miss Universe and less Mother of the Year?

I went to bed last night in black underwear and no nursing bra and a black tank top with easy access (for the kiddo! don’t get excited.) And I woke up dry.
Unencumbered by leak-catchers of any sort.

And damn if I didn’t feel smokin’. Who knew the absence of my own bodily fluids is all it would take? Sitting right now with my laptop perched on the arm of the rocking chair,drool running down my arm, in the clothes I was wearing yesterday I threw on so I could peel myself out of bed to pack lunch for school… I still feel unstoppable.

I snapped a picture this morning to remind me who I am under all of this Mom-ness. My stomach may only be flat when I lie down. And my stretch marks are still visible, even in the early morning light. But there is a hip bone under there. And a bare shoulder. And they need some attention.


* Shout out to Keller Williams for the title. All morning I have been singing Freeker by the Speaker to myself. Subbing out “Leaker” for Freeker and tweaker. Try it. It’s catchy. “Leaker! Right by the speaker, never seem to get enough. Priceless expression when space is possession. Like yeah, that’s the stuff…”

I just might bust out a windmill or a backspin at the grocery store today.