Sunday, June 14, 2015

WW Update--A year and a baby later!

I rejoined WW this week (you can read about my joining last summer here).  I had lost about 7 lbs when I found out I was pregnant with H.  I gained only about 18 lbs from there during pregnancy (checked into the hospital at 223--with J I was 240 at hospital time).

Well, six weeks postpartum, having really been attuned to my health during pregnancy since I had the dreaded gestational diabetes, I am 17.4 lbs down from where I was when I joined last year.  What an awesome boost to keep going!  I haven't been this low a weight since right before I was pregnant with J more than 4 years ago.

My healthy inspiration/motivation

The scare with diabetes has really kicked my motivational butt.  I don't want to deal with the health issues my dad had during his last years because he had not managed his type II well.  I don't want my kids to worry about me.  I want to be active and healthy like I used to be.  My ulcerative colitis is under control, so I really have no more excuses not to focus on really being HEALTHY.

A note about WW--they kept all my info and recipes on file, so it has been really easy to just pick right up where I left off.  And they are currently doing a "be happy" promotion focused on bringing positive emotions to your weight loss journey.  I am really glad I chose this program for support.  It is exactly what I need right now.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Going from one child to two... some emotional observations after six weeks.

I have been a mom of two for a little more than six weeks now.  It has been an adjustment for our family, but for me, it has been a deeply satisfying and alarmingly positive one. I had read a lot of stories about how much harder it was to have a second child and was afraid that expanding our family would leave me with lots of unanticipated negative feelings.  It hasn't.  I'm sure that my daughter's easygoing infant personality and temperament are a major factor (she goes 6-7 hour stretches at night between nursings most nights; my son wasn't going that long until at least 8 or 9 months and still waking twice a night to feed at 18 months).  I love me some sleep.  But it is more than that.

Here are some reflections after six weeks of going from three people to four (and mothering a daughter, specifically):
  • I fell back in love with my husband.  I think I did this after J was born, but we were too sleep deprived to enjoy it and fought over stupid stuff for those first six months.  With my daughter, it is an even more powerful feeling.  I don't think I've ever been more appreciative of what Min Gi brings to our family--energy, enthusiasm, discipline in the areas I lack them and relaxed adventurousness in the areas I am disciplined.  Our children are growing up in a rich, loving, healthy, learning environment in large part due to his efforts as a full-time Dad.  I continue to be amazed by how much I love him and how glad I am he is my family.
  • The emotional highs I get from witnessing the positive interactions of my son and daughter were a completely unexpected delight.  After the high highs of parenting I learned after having my son, I thought that was it.  I was wrong--so wonderfully wrong.  Nothing sweeter than listening to J "teach" H how to throw a ball or read her one of his books.  The feeling is just incomparable.
  • There is a settled completeness with two children I never felt with just J.  I don't know how to explain this well, but here is my attempt:  With J, Min Gi, and I, our family felt like a couple with a kid.  What I mean by this is that I felt like a parent, but that my world "shouldn't" be absorbed with children.  I didn't think it was good for J to think that he was our entire world or for our marriage to only be centered around our role as parents, but I didn't have time or energy to pursue many outside hobbies, so I mostly just thought I was always doing a bad job.  I was too focused on our son or I was too focused on selfish pursuits.  With a second child, I now have "children," and it seems more ok to pull back from adult things to focus on our family.  Even though I could have let go of this "should" while I had J (and should have--ha!  Now I'm "should"ing myself!), I didn't.  It is easier with two.  I feel more balance, more complete in my family life.  And, ironically, it frees up all that time I used to spend "worrying" to actually pursue my reading and writing and have meaningful adult conversations with my husband... So...
  • It hurts more than I can ever explain to know that H and my dad will never know each other.  I cannot fix this except by sharing my stories of him with my children.  And I do.  I do...
  • The perspective I have as a mom is much more sane the second time around.  Sleeplessness?  Baby acne?  Can't hold up her head?  Difficult latch?  This, too, shall pass.  So much easier knowing that on an emotional level, not just an intellectual one.  It's actually making it easier to weather J's difficult stages because parenting him for the last three years taught me that about parenting H.  By logical extension...
  • Having a daughter is both different and the same.  It is different because I have found myself recommitting to my feminist ideals for an entirely new reason--I need her to have a world in which she is valued for who she is as a whole person.  I find comments about her "girl" status and J's "boy" status to grate more than they used to.  
  • On the other hand, parenting a daughter is the same as parenting a son for the most part.  People are individuals; so are infants and children.  We can ascribe our societal gendered notions on them if we like, but H acts no more like a "girl" and J no more like a "boy" than the portions of their personalities so far that intersect with our preconceived notions.  J likes trains, but he is also emotionally sensitive.  H has long, pretty hair for an infant, but she also makes wicked poop faces.  They are who they are.  I don't really see aspects of their personalities coming from their gender.
And that's all I have time for right now.

I'm loving this time.  I feel healthy and balanced, even with emotional highs and lows.  More when I can...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mom, Round Two

I have not blogged in a long time.  I let my domain lapse, so a lot of former readers probably won't even be able to find this piece anymore.  With the loss of my father, it has been a particularly difficult year for my family.  I am pregnant, due in less than 3 weeks (May 3), though I think she will probably come sooner given all the pre-labor I'm experiencing.  I'm writing because transitional times like these make me reflective.  I have this lovely little space to reflect in, though sadly neglected, so here we are.  Hello.

This has been a much more challenging pregnancy than J's from a health perspective.  I've had gestational diabetes since the first trimester (I do miss carbohydrates...).  I had a bleeding scare in second trimester.  And now I've been having early, intense contractions.  Thankfully, through it all, the baby has been healthy and though challenged to the point that this is definitely the last member of our family to join us this way, I am doing alright.  I had to give up the second job (which was a challenge financially and mentally, since I enjoy the work I do on crisis hotlines), but all is going well and we are ready to become four.  Meeting my daughter is mostly what I think about these days.  Especially when having contractions.

J is now almost three and half and such a delight, although we are seeing evidence that he might be just as frustratingly stubborn and independent as his parents.  Min Gi and J traveled to Korea for the month of March and his growth in Korean from that trip was pretty remarkable.  He now speaks very comfortably in both languages and switches more naturally when speaking to Min Gi or to me.  We are now beginning the rounds of soccer and swimming lessons and some preschool for next year (although Min Gi continues his excellence as a full time dad and expert household operator).  He loves books (especially about trains and construction sites) and slides and other children.  He rides his bike with the training wheels and chases birds in the park.  He tells me about all the things he will do for his sister (feed her milk, help her build train tracks, teach her to drive--I don't know about that last one).

I am trying to plan for a peaceful, but enjoyably occupied with much family time, summer.  Next school year I will face two major challenges--a new teaching prep that I am very unprepared to tackle and the final course of my administrative certification: an intensive internship.  All while being a working mom of two, not just one.

This year, immersed in grief and occupied by health concerns associated with pregnancy, I have allowed some habits to set in that run counter to my true goals and values.  I have been trying to get back in touch with my true loves--with my family, with literature, with my health.  It is going well.  I will continue to focus on aligning my habits with my goals--realistically, that is the only way to accomplish the goals I want.  Continuing on after the newborn crazy haze of the first 6-8 weeks, I hope I can get back into using the blog as a way to focus and shape my efforts in these areas.

I suppose you'll see if this happens!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Joining Weight Watchers

Life update notice:  My father died of a heart attack on June 5, 2014.  I will write about it.  I will.I just can't do that right now.  I'm going to write about something else important to me, but not at all in the same way: my weight.

I have to face it: I gained about 15 lbs when I moved from Korea to America in 2010 (and was definitely not at my lowest at the end of my Korea stay--around 180lbs) and then put on a lot more (45) while pregnant (I weighed 240 at the hospital weigh-in while in labor).  I lost some of that (about 30 lbs of it) within the first few weeks and then another 10 or so while breastfeeding.  This school year I had a really tough schedule.  My students ended up being awesome, and I felt a lot better about it as a teacher than I really expected to, but the stress contributed to packing on a few more pounds and that 10 I lost breastfeeding has crept back.  I haven't seen below 200 since before I was pregnant.  It's time to get serious about this problem.

I joined Weight Watchers with Mom about three weeks ago.  I like it a lot more than I thought I would.  The first week, I weighed in at 212.6 lbs.  They set a goal for me to lose 5% (or 11 lbs.), which seems very manageable for me.  I've decided when I hit that goal, I will dye my hair red again.  I've been wanting to for some time, but not really doing it because I'm so unhappy with my appearance at this weight.  It seems like a perfect reward for my first goal!

Tomorrow will be my second weigh-in.  I'm not doing perfectly, but it is helping me focus on building more healthful habits again.  And I lost weight the first week (2.4 lbs, actually... which was more than I expected to lose) and think I might be down another pound this week (my clothes are starting to feel more comfortable again).  Then again, I was flaring this week and started the steroids again, so my cravings were out of control some days.  We'll see tomorrow.

Honestly, though, just being part of the program is bringing a mindfulness to my health choices that I'm already really enjoying.  I have been exercising more and have been more attentive to both my food choices and my portion sizes.  I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables.  I feel a lot better, even though I've been working a lot at hotline and curriculum writing.  It is nice to feel healthier and more powerful that way.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Bunny Train

Yesterday may have been the best day of my son's life.  You see, J has an obsession with trains.  We have so many train books, train toys, train pajamas, train ... everything currently cluttering up our home that it is difficult to believe so many varied train THINGS even exist.  Furthermore, we cannot go anywhere in the world without noticing that hey--over there are some train tracks!  Wow--look at that train!  Hear the train sound!  Trains--totally exciting.

We often walk to a small park near our house and along the back of the park runs an old train track.  I found out, through googling, that the track is used only by a small, historic rail company operating out of Walkersville, MD called Walkersville Southern Railroad and Museum.  They run mostly day train excursions on weekends in spring, summer, and fall with occasional dinner trains and events.  One of their more popular events is the Easter Bunny Train.

We rode the train yesterday with the Easter Bunny.  He gave J a little bunny toy.  Then, we went to the little museum and had juice and cookies.  It was a lovely afternoon and a beautiful trip.  It ran through the back of some neighborhoods, through the two parks near the center of Walkersville, past the high school where a baseball game was happening, and through several farms--mostly dairy I'd guess from the presence of the cows.  The best part was the little bridge over the Monocacy River.  Spectacular views--I wish I had brought my camera.  Min Gi remembered his on his phone, so we got a few shots, but not the ones I would have taken.

J has not stopped talking about it since then.  And probably won't for awhile.  I love how easy it is to make his day these days.  I am very excited for this summer and the toddler adventures to come.


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