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Flashback: Mamie taught me to love exercise, but now it's Lizzie's turn to be my coach

I wrote this essay (originally published by Mom Babble) in 2015. I was just reading it today and reliving some of that enthusiasm for activity! And remember when I was running, pushing Mamie in that stroller every day? Well I figure I have one more year at home with Lizzie, and I'm ready to recapture some moments on the road and at the gym with her. <3 p="">

I'm Healthier Because of My Daughter(s)
Mamie laughs at the leaves falling on her stroller, complains when I tease them out of her mouth. This is our third walk around the neighborhood today, shooting for a goal of three miles. This toddler is my shield, a salve to soothe the awkwardness I would feel if I were out here alone. I am no stranger to attempts at personal wellness. I have notebooks full of food logs, exercise logs, and blood sugar logs, stretching back a decade. I never imagined a baby’s motivating influence would trump every trick I had tried before. From the second she sparked into existence, my…
Recent posts

No room for shape wear in my life

It was our first post-baby date night nearly five years ago. With time to spare before our dinner reservation, we were kicked back in the hip understuffed chairs of our favorite coffee shop -- a luxury I hadn't experienced since the little one started sucking all the chill out of my days. Except that I wasn't... relaxed. I was taking shallow breaths and squirming to find any position that didn't make me wince. I excused myself to the restroom and came back a few sweaty minutes later with the flesh colored sausage-casing shapewear in my purse. In those few minutes I made the calculation: I could look lumpy or I could look miserable.  Happy lumpiness won! And my husband said he couldn't tell the difference. Let's be frank. I am a big, fat girl, and no article of shapewear is going to disguise that. I don't actually need a disguise -- my body is not an arch villain trying to infiltrate a world of tight, smooth midsections. The early-2000s brought a surge in the popular…

Summer smells like pool water

Early 1980s, summer smells like pool water and cheese crackers from the vending machine at the city pool. And 7-Up in a can because at least one summer, it seemed like we had endless cases of 7-Up in the porch fridge. (I assume you are familiar with the porch fridge.)

I don't know who took me to the pool (Mom? Grammaw?); I don't know if I wore a seatbelt in the backseat; I don't know if anyone ever put sunscreen on me.

But I know what the combination of pool water, cheese crackers, and 7-Up smells like -- a sense memory 35 years old.



Early 1990s, summer smells like pool water, cigarette smoke, and NO-AD tanning lotion in Stacey's backyard. After the sun set, it smelled like plumeria lotion on hot tanned skin and B.C. Moore's parking lot. I never got close enough to a boy to smell Drakkar Noir.

Stacey's mom is gone since last year, and no one smokes cigarettes anymore. I feel so deeply hurt for my oldest friend to have lost her mother and so disoriented to be in…

On the topic of stuff I don't want to do: Cook dinner

Saturday night I tried really hard to get out of cooking dinner. No, I'm not perpetually steam-drenched, hunched over the stove every night, just looking for one night off. I have just about every night off because Nick cooks most of the time, and when it's my turn, I tap into my arsenal of delivery services.

This is not how my mama raised me.

Saturday night, I did, very begrudgingly, grate carrots and sauté bokchoy and glaze chicken. Nick said, "You don't seem to like cooking." But... but... but, I wanted to defend myself, I know how to cook; I used to cook; I used to like cooking.

Things change.

For example, kids. Feeding kids for the last 4.5 years has consumed me, no apology for the pun. My obsession with managing their growth and nutrition is totally separate from cooking. It's a mental tally of macronutrients and micronutrients; it's creating the perfect veggie snack plate with every cucumber slice salted; it's composing and blending superfood sm…

Milestones, I curse you with the foulest language!

I just created a document to list the words I've heard Lizzie say. I count 14, but I haven't consulted with Nick or her grandparents to see if I've missed any. I'm doing this homework so when people question me about her development, I can say assuredly whether or not she is meeting her milestones. This week I was ashamed to not know whether she typically leads with her right or left foot, or if she often kneels while playing, and if so, are her hips bent or straight? What direction does the third finger on her left hand point while she lays in bed on the night of a full moon? There are so many things I didn't realize I should be noticing.

I hate all those stupid f**king lists of milestones. I can't articulate it any better than that.

So many nagging lists of things a child "should" be doing. I think "should" implies some moral imperative or an obligation to meet external expectations, and I swear the word doesn't apply to a baby.

That s…

2018 So Far: Killing it

I was prepared to ask for a do-over on Week 1 of 2018. I have legit excuses, right? Husband rang in the new year in a hospital bed far away from home? We barely got back home by midnight on Wednesday -- half the week was gone before it even started!

Last night (Saturday), I was about 50 percent done with my ambitious plans for the week.

But it turns out that Sunday can be a powerful day for productivity. Today, a miracle happened: I unpacked my suitcase less than a week after returning from a trip.
Then another miracle happened: I organized my sock drawer.
And another: I convinced Nick to run an errand and bring me coffee while I took a bath in the middle of the afternoon.
As it turns out, this whole week telescoped to pack in so many things a normal, less magical week would not have accommodated:
We spent three extra days in Atmore with family, and got to see a full supermoon in the country -- it would not have been possible from our house in San Antonio.Lizzie used that bonus grandpa…

On not waiting for the perfect time

When I got pregnant the second time, I was waiting for that stage to end before I would live my life. Exercise, activities with kids, travel, writing, house projects... Then after the Lizzie came and things were so complicated, I still found myself waiting until she was older, waiting to get out of tangle of doctor appointments.  Then I was planning to start life after both kids were in school, at least three years away! Enough!  Anything I want to do can be adapted to start now, incorporating the kids and whatever challenges we face in our plans.  Some dreams may be better suited for the future, but there will be no more blanket attitude of putting things off for later when it would presumably be easier or less busy. 
There is no perfect time, but the best time could be now.