25 February 2013

A bit more creative

One of the best things about writing is the dynamic ways in which it can be done.
I have decided to create another blog on which I will be writing more creatively. I want to try and write a bit more story-like, rather than just the updates and life happenings.

If you are interested, head on over to Gas Station Flowers. I hope to keep that updated at least once a week or whenever the creative mood strikes me.

Thanks always for reading and I hope you like the creative side as well.

Raphael: Two Months

I can hardly believe it, Raphael is two (as I write this, already three! the plight of motherhood, everything takes longer to do) months old. Everyday he is growing, learning and becoming even more of a little human. Month two was a big month for us, lots of changes in our life including daycare and back to work for me.

Here is what we did in month two:

We took a few baths. Raphael even learned that he didn't mind bath time! We had to bathe via sponge bath for most of this month due to Raphael's bellybutton not fully closing yet. We still need a follow up visit with the doctor before we can get in anything that looks like a real tub, sorry bud.

Bath time with our ducky towel

Such a little gentleman

Raphael played on his play mat. He even started batting at the monkeys! Mike and I listen to more "monkey music" at home that real music now. At least it plays Cannon in D.

But his real favorite toy is a ceramic snowman I had on the table. He talks to it with coos and giggles. I hope it snows a little longer so I can keep the snowman out without looking like I forgot what season it was! (update as I write this post, it has not snowed in a while...it is starting to look silly).

Two months flew by. I cannot imagine how the next 10 will go! I am trying to soak it all in as fast as I can. Luckily I take tons of photos.
And videos. 

Raphael has even started to sleep more than two hours at a time during the night. Not every night, but most. His record is 8 hours IN A ROW! 
That time is so precious to me. I am so thankful for those nights. It helps me get through those other not so great nights.

I returned to work full time this month. I was nervous about the whole bottle feeding thing, but just like the go-with-the-flow kid he is already, Raphael took it well. At first he was particular about the bottle and nipple being warm, but a few weeks in and the ladies at daycare mentioned he took the bottle cold, right out of the fridge. 

I have been able to steal away a few mornings a week to get a run in. Even a brief few miles leads me feeling re-engerized and ready to tackle the day. All the stars have to align in order for me to run, but some careful planning and the right feeding time has allowed me to get out the door. 

I can still hardly believe this wonderful little man is ours.

always, Erika

15 February 2013

On Running This Season

I have developed a strange relationship with running and my season in life.  I feel pulled in two directions. Constantly. It is a little unnerving. It wasn't always like this.

On one hand, I want to spend as much time as possible with my little one. Especially since I am back to working 40 hours a week. It is hard to leave him each day and then get home each night to spend maybe 4 hours together before he is ready for sleep. I want to soak up as much cuddling, laughing and playing as possible. He is only going to be this little once.

On the other hand, I want to run. It feels great. I love the time doing one of my favorite activities. I love being outside, getting fresh air and tired legs. The strength running gives me makes me a better mother, a better wife. I find solace in being alone for even just a quick 3 miles. I miss running competitively. I miss the hard workouts followed by exhausting long runs that add mileage to my running log.

Plus add on top of that a very busy husband trying to make his way through medical school.

I create instant craziness in my head.

I go back and forth with this dilemma more that I care to admit. I spend more time worrying about the days that go by without a run then what I am going to make for dinner. I am in a constant state of battle within. I want to run, to be in shape but I want to be there for my son.

I ask myself where the middle ground is, where can I compromise. If I get less sleep will that really allow me to have a good run or will it just lead me to crankiness. Other mothers do it. It must all be possible. I can do it all.

The reality is, I can't. Not right now. Not given the circumstances, the life strings that are being pulled are not in my favor. Life has changed, so must this season of running.

I want it to be easier to admit, but the first stage of self-forgiveness must be admitting what I am doing wrong even when it is hard. It is hard to tell my inner collegiate athlete that running 6 miles a day just isn't going to happen right now.

But that is the important part of that realization. It isn't going to happen right now. Not that it won't in a month, a year or many moons from now. It is ok. Life has seasons, and my season is parenthood right now. Next season might get a little easier.

Writing it, speaking it out loud is good. I need that reconciliation with myself. I need to allow myself to embrace the change.

I know running will keep me healthy, help me get my body back. And I will do what I can, when I can. 5 am on days it works, in the dark when it doesn't. Being healthy can me a quick walk with the little guy, a swim or even a good 20 minute yoga session during nap time.

I need the grace from myself more than anything. More than new running shoes to help motivate, I need a long deep breath allowing myself to be ok with my wants, selfishly or unselfishly. I can make it through this.

It isn't going to happen now. But some day it will again. And I will be so glad.

(I still have that marathon and 100 mile race on my running to do list, don't worry)

This song sums up how I feel about running right now. Thank you Mumford and Sons.

08 February 2013

A few favorites for the weekend

I was browsing around today and wanted to share some fabulous internet finds.

Enjoy the weekend! Stay warm and try not to get buried in the snow.

And what post of mine wouldn't be complete without some pictures of my little man. 

07 February 2013

2013 Goals, Part 2

Part Two of my very lengthy goal setting post.

Goals for 2013:

I should preface my goals with this statement; I know I am a woman and I know this book I reference is "The Art of Manliness".

My husband received this book as a wedding gift from one of his good friends. He read it almost instantly (yes, even on our honeymoon) and then set off improving on his plethora of manly skills. I could tell the book hit home with him and he shared some of the insight with me. The Art of Manliness includes Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues as a prototype for daily living (check out this great post about the virtues here). The 13 virtues resonated with me as they seemed to define the well-rounded person I desire to be. Although some of the virtues are written to apply to men, a few teaks and word exchanges and it can apply to anyone.

So my goals for 2013, following Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues are as follows:

Temperance: Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation
I really like this idea. For me personally, I want to loose 30 lbs. to be back to my "normal" weigh pre-pregnancy. Unfortunately for me, diets just don't work. I eat decently healthy with the occasional dessert or dinner out thrown in. I don't like to worry about what I eat, instead choosing to focus on eating more natural, whole foods not counting calories. The idea of not eating to dullness is a great goal for me because I tend to inhale my food, eat too much in one sitting or not even take the time to enjoy the food. I am choosing to focus on eating moderately and enjoying every bite. Although eating slowly with an infant is kind of an oxymoron, I hope at least being conscience of what I eat will help.

Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.
This virtue is particularly hard for me I read this as saying don't just gab for no reason, have a point in a story or question. Don't just talk to hear yourself talk, or in my case because you don't talk a majority of the day to others. I work in a small office, take very few phone calls and don't always have time to chat around the water cooler. By the end of the day I am wanting to just talk someone's ear off, about anything or nothing at all. Although having a conversation is great, and healthy, talking just because I can leads to a lot of dullness in my personal relationships. That is not to say I won't have meaningless conversations, but to try and keep the junk out of my conversations and talk about something real. I like to walk away from a conversation feeling like I have gained some knowledge or truly enjoyed talking to that person. Plus I have two ears and one mouth, I should listen more.

Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
I am horrible at this. I play this game with picture frames in my house called "where can I shuffle this frame too?". It drives me nuts. This will be a main focus for me. First, have less stuff. Second, find it a home or get rid of it. End of story.

Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
A very fair virtue I think. I am on track with this one for the most part but sometimes my very good intentions don't pan out. Procrastination or lack of enthusiasm often means the end to resolutions. What a good idea to start a new year with.

Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. 
The ultimate virtue when having children. I want my children to benefit from my husband and I paying ourselves first. Including not buying in excess of what we need, but also putting aside money for future expenses. I am energized that this virtue will be great for me to focus on as I enter a very self-less part of life.

Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
Ok, "cut off all unnecessary actions" seems a little extreme but I can see where this goal can go. For instance, my husband and I have some favorite shows we like to watch on some weeknights. After each show there are of course other shows. Some times neither one of us will get up to turn off the t.v. and end up watching an additional half an hour or more t.v. then we planned on. Not that relaxing and not doing anything is bad, but that extra time can be well spent doing other things. Especially things with Raphael. I am guilty about just zoning out, but doing something useful makes me feel so much better. When I head back to work, this extra time can be filled with so many helpful and necessary things.

Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
With this virtue, seeing the good in people before judging can really go a long way. I am forever an optimist but sometimes I wrongly judge others based on stereotypes or worse, word of mouth. Everyone has the ability to be sincere, I want to really cultivate and inspire others to do the same no matter the medium (i.e.-social media).

Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
With people looking inward a majority of the time, I take this virtue to challenge myself to be fair and honest with people. Sometimes I tell a white lie to say what I think others want to hear, but I am doing them a disservice by insulting their trust. I don't want to come off spewing opinions, but making it clear that I mean what I say is important. If a compliment is due or a criticism needed I want to make sure I speak up, especially for others.

Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
This virtue seems easy, but so does not getting dressed when you have no where to be (at least the next few weeks!). I want to make sure and keep things clean both for health reason but also peace of mind. Nothing helps me with order in my life then a shower and a clean house.

Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
I think this means no road rage. Try as you might to be perfect, no one is. With this virtue, I want to focus on letting the little life "oops" moments go. People spell your name wrong, or forget to call. Letting it slip off my shoulder will ease my stress and give others the benefit of the doubt. Everyone has their bad days.

Chasity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
Being married takes care of this virtue so I am going to consider myself on the right track here!

Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
This virtue is really important to me. To show love and reason are essential to life. Although these are almost "untouchable" men in terms of their impact on humans, striving to live out the virtues they establish can be a lofty goal Making any sort of progress with this goal will be worth my time. My plan to work on this goal includes showing kindness when I would rather scream and thinking logically through problems before acting rashly.

Deep breath. This could be a tough year.
Some of these virtues are tough to live out. I hope my goals become a part of my life even more than any previous goals. I cannot wait to let you know how it is going, and to see the change in myself.

Here's to another great year! 
(which is already one month done!)

What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to become?