There’s nothing worse…

…than that phone call from daycare when you’re going about your day.

Yesterday, I got the call while I was on my way to drop my brother’s lunch off, the lunch he’d forgotten on the counter on his way out the door.

“I’m calling about Liam’s fever.”

Of course, I was thinking to myself, what fever, but I played it cool and didn’t let on that I was really confused and really panicked.

“Yeah, it’s 101.2, that’s without the degree added.  He’s been fussing all day.”

Again, I was confused.  My child was laughing when I dropped him off.  Had things gone left so quickly?  Did he have (another) ear infection?  Would this be the one where they recommended tubes?  Am I a bad mom?  (All roads lead to that, by the way.)

I dropped my brother’s lunch off, raced down the beltline, and called the ped on the way to daycare.  I arranged a sick visit within a half-hour, pulled up to where Liam was, and hopped out, with the car still running.

When I burst into the infant room, Liam, dressed in his finest shark onesie, turned and smiled at me.

Play it cool, Cheri.  He has a fever. “Hiiii sweetie!”

The women taking care of him all looked really confused.

“They called you?!”

So, in the midst of baby snuggles, I gleaned that it was another little boy in Liam’s class, not Liam, with the fever.  Apparently that was lost in translation when they’d asked for the front desk to call a mom.  I scooted out, and headed back to work.  I’m sorry for the little one with the fever.  But glad Liam was okay.

 

We did a thing! On roadtripping with a baby.

In case you’re wondering where I’m writing to you from today, it’s not a Carrie Bradshaw type of situation.  I am typing away in a back office at my place of work, topless, with my pump strapped to me, trying to extract enough milk so that my boobs don’t feel like they’ll turn into stone and fall off.  Did you know pumping is the worst?  I’m convinced that bad pumping experiences are why a lot of women ditch breastfeeding.  And I don’t blame them.

So.

We drove to New York City with a baby, and lived to tell the tale.

So sometime, like a month or two ago, I decided we needed to go see my grandmother.  She is my last living grandparent, and though she was able to travel to make it for my wedding, she isn’t traveling much these days, and I thought it was important that Liam get a chance to hang out with a great.  That doesn’t happen for everyone.

We tossed around the idea of flying, but to be completely honest, flying just isn’t fun anymore, and we needed, at the absolute least, a stroller and a pack n’ play for Liam to sleep in, and gate-checking these items, or renting them once we got there, was a little too much for me to handle.  I just couldn’t.

So Austin rented a giant car.  I’m used to a compact (my teeny Korean car, suitable for a small family of three who still parallel parks from time to time), so this car, a Nissan Pathfinder, was like the Titanic to me.  We packed the car the night before, slept for a few hours, and executed our plan to be out of the house by 4am that Friday morning.  Really, we pulled the classic Armour, and didn’t leave until 4:20ish, but still within a reasonable time frame.  I fed and dressed the baby absolutely last before we left, loaded him up, and headed out of town.

Austin drove the first shift, and we didn’t have to stop for a few hours.  Our first stop was at a truck stop McDonald’s, which allowed for us to hop out, feed and change the baby, let him crawl around in the third row (which we flattened), and finally, I pulled the jogging stroller out and walked a few laps while Austin cleaned out snack trash, bought more coffee, and set us up to drive for another few hours.

Liam minorly freaked out for a few minutes, and we found ourselves playing, then replaying the baby version of Nina Bonita (there is an entire Spotify album that’s really good, dedicated to this Venezuelan duo and their greatest hits), but he was pretty calm as we made our way to the bottom of the Brooklyn bridge where we were staying, and while Austin laid down for just a few minutes, we played.  We finished night one with a short walk halfway across the bridge, and an early night to bed.

The next day, both of us donned workout clothes, and we walked into Manhattan with a few extra diapers, a change of clothes, and a plan to spend most of the day out.  We walked to first find coffee, to Oculus, the WTC memorial, to a late lunch to meet a camp friend, and finally, we hopped on the subway to go back to Brooklyn to see my grandmother, who was delighted to see Liam.  Liam had a rattle grasped firmly in his fat little hand, which he kept swinging.

“Gentle Liam, gentle!”

“It’s ok,” my grandmother said.  “I’m a mother too.”

The visit was amazing, and we hopped back on the subway to head back to our corner of Brooklyn, where I prepped Liam for bed, and sent Austin on a quest to find us something to eat (in the hallway, since our room was small, and Liam was asleep).  After a little bit of sleep, we prepared to head back, and the trip back felt much shorter than the trip there.  Austin took the first bit of the drive, and again, we stopped and walked around some stops, and I took over for the last few hours of the drive, built in a few extra stops, and made it home with enough time to lay the baby down for a nap, and do a walk/run before it got dark.

So, all of that to say – if you’re thinking about traveling with a little one, here’s what I would suggest.

  • Pack your food/snacks.  Pack the baby’s food/snacks.  The week before we left, I bought car snacks like waters, dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars to tide us over and keep us from having to do too much fast food.  I packed some solids I’d made for the baby in a cooler bag, along with my hand pump in case I had to pump at all (I didn’t), and it made for a healthier, cheaper trip.  On one of our stops, we opened the tailgate, and I was able to feed Liam on one of the stops.
  • Leave disgustingly early.  We woke up at like 3, got everything together, and took the baby with us last.  I dream-fed him, put him in his car seat, and he was asleep by the time we were just south of Virginia.  He slept from them until like 8 or so, which gave us a few solid hours or driving without really having to worry about a meltdown.
  • Pack the stroller to walk on breaks.  I guess this depends on if you have a baby that enjoys walking, but even for your own exercise and sanity, having the stroller so that you can do a few laps for 15 or 20 minutes while one of you throws out car trash and programs the XM is really worth it.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time.  A 9ish hour trip took about 11.  And that’s a-ok, we made it so we didn’t have anywhere to be the evening we got there.
  • Be prepped for meltdowns.  Occasionally, your child may scream like a demon because he’s been strapped in a carseat for hours and he wants to crawl around like a normal baby.  Keep. Your. Cool.  Don’t freak out, don’t rip your hair out, and don’t yell at your driving partner.  It ends.

Anyways, so we made it to NYC and back, and I’m excited, not only to our next trip home, but also for other trips.  We’re planning another trip to Fripp, a few trips home, and one big trip to Florida to see family at the end of the summer, so this definitely gives me a little more confidence in this moment.

 

My first girls trip!

Hi!  Hey!  What’s up?  Do you miss me?  Are you wondering if I quit blogging?  What am I doing?  Maybe not?

So hey, I’m still here.  I just have a (not so) newborn, and I’ve been crushing it at work, but not crushing it as much in blogland.  Which I absolutely hate, so here we are!

I somehow by the grace of the good lord above ::skin-tone appropriate praise hands:: have survived a few whirlwind weekends of work, travel, and packing the baby and husband into my little compact, and making it back in one piece for work on Mondays.  It’s nuts.  It’s crazy.  It’s fun.

So let’s take it back to a few weekends ago, when I survived my first girls trip!

So a few months ago, a friend who was turning 30 said he wanted to plan something, and he sent out an invite, a date, and a gorgeous photo of a cabin in the Shenendoah State Park area of Virginia.  I’d just had Liam, but I was really determined to do something that would require me to leave him at home with dad for a weekend or so, and I figured that early spring would be a good chance to try it.  So I talked it over with Austin, confirmed, and since time is accelerating (I swear it is), found myself up early on a Friday morning, packing stuff for me, getting the baby’s stuff together for daycare that day, thawing milk, and finally, heading out of town on a rainy Friday, with my podcasts (S-Town), my audiobooks (Andy Cohen’s Superficial), and my breast pump stuff for the morning and into the afternoon.

My first stop was in Richmond, about 3 hours away from where I am in Raleigh, to have lunch with someone I used to work for.  She’d just accepted a position in Richmond, and I stopped just off of 95 with her to have some lunch and to take a pump break before I finished the last two hours or so.

I arrived at the cabin just after dinner (I had to stop at the super Target in Short Pump to pick up some cleaning stuff for my bottles), and was one of the first ones there, along with the birthday boy, and some friends.  I ran to my hidey hole upstairs for one more pump break (that was kind of the theme of some of the weekend because OMG) and we started the weekend.  We drank, got in the hot tub, I called the hubby and the baby, who were both doing amazing, and we finished off the night by watching RuPaul’s Drag Race (now at a bizarre time on Vh1, which is a discussion for another day), and I fell asleep after promising I wouldn’t, long before everyone else did.  Seriously, there is a photo of me dead asleep with my phone still up to my ear (I may have been talking to Austin?!) completely passed our for the night.  I was told that someone came in and flipped lights on and off, strobe light style, and I didn’t budge.

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The cabin! 

The next day, we all woke up, and one of us cooked breakfast.  I pumped, ran down our corner of the mountain and back up, and by the time I got back, we were getting ready to do a gorgeous hike in the park.  It was rough, and about halfway through, we split off, and half the group headed back, and the rest of us continued to the peak.  I was reminded that I don’t entirely do heights (at all), and as we came back down the mountain, it was starting to get a tad darker and a tad chillier.  That evening, we cooked dinner, baked a birthday cake for the birthday boy, listened to ALL the music, practiced old tap routines with one of the theater nerds there, some of us got back in the hot tub, and just enjoyed one another’s company.  I managed to pump some more and build up a little stash, and major shout out to my friends, who don’t have kids for the most part, but who were ridiculously understanding and curious about what breastfeeding entailed.  They are the best.

Sunday was good

We need to talk about Prime Now.

Hi!

My son is 6 months old.  How in the world…

I like to think about the fact that 6 months ago, which sometimes sounds like the longest time and shortest time ever, I was not yet a parent.  I was big and fat, and waddling around in the late summer heat, but not yet a parent.  And now I like try to balance the fact that I’m a parent and I have some very adult responsibilities with the fact that I feel like I’m totally faking it as a grown-up.

Which brings me to Amazon Prime.  Specifically Prime Now.

So, I work full-time, which turns out, is really freaking hard when you have a kid.  Moms of multiples (I’m friends with this dude who’s a triplet), and moms of more than one, how in the world do you get anything done?

I really do love my job, and part of what makes it a great gig for when you have a kid is how flexible it is.  I work really hard, and I work STUPID hard during our campaign season, however, when I need, I can come and go, I can bring the baby to work with me when daycare isn’t open and let him hang out in my office, and I get to teach, one of my favorite parts of the job.  But, since I’ve been back, I’ve managed to forget something huge at least, at least once a week.  I’ve forgotten parts to my pump, the really important parts.  My lunch, brown bags for milk, storage bags, running shoes for when I’ve been teaching, socks, really, the limit does not exist as far as forgetting things goes.

So, Monday was a total Monday.  Once I got settled at work, it was time to pump.  I headed downstairs, took off my shirt, slipped on my pumping corset thingie, and then realized that in my haste to get dishes washed, I’d washed pump parts, stuck them in the dryer, and then left them there.  I had no bottles and no phalanges.  And I was already pretty uncomfortable by that point in the day.

Enter Amazon Prime Now.

I was kinda of running between meetings, and didn’t have time to run home, so I quickly g-chatted my husband, told him about my mistake, and asked him to look on Prime Now to see if we could find phalanges and bottles for my pump.  They were there, and he ordered them and had them sent to my work address.

I shit you not, within like 40 minutes, just before another meeting was starting, the stuff showed up at the front desk in a brown paper bag, and I was able to bust into it, wash it, and pump, very much to my relief.

I honestly think every time something something cool comes out, like when GPS because readily available to everyone, that technology truly cannot get any better, and then something like this totally blows my mind.  And it wasn’t like it was super expensive either, it was normally priced emergency stuff for moms whose brains haven’t yet returned to its normal size.

Side note: the next day, I forgot sneaks to teach my 12:15 cycling class, and I had to pull some major major major strings (I am so grateful for this friend) to get a pair of sz 10 shoes to the branch just in time for me to teach, then teach again, and then teach one more time.

I’ll get this working/momming thing down pat one of these days.

Have you ever used Prime Now?  What do you find yourself ordering off of there?

Beyoga

Okay, so first off, I am not at all unbiased when it comes to Beyoncé – I know that.  However, what does the woman have to do to win album/record of the year at the Grammys? I’m not in any way demeaning Adele’s talent.  She is talented, and I bought hard copies of both 25 and Lemonade, but Lemonade was the better album from start to finish.  The committee did her dirty, and Adele agreed, according to last night’s speech.

Ok, we’re done with that.  But it kind of ties in to what I did this weekend.

I mentioned this a few posts ago.  But a really sweet girl who works at the Y bought me a gift card to a yoga studio I’d mentioned wanting to try out, and so once a week or so, I will actually trek down to Durham, and take a class there.  It’s good for me.  The drive is nice, Austin gets to do some dad duty, and I get a really good practice in.  We all win.  (Plus it takes 20+ minutes to get there, so I get to listen to podcasts on my way.  It literally is so good for my mind to get down there once a week.)

So anyhoo, a few weeks ago when I was taking Angela’s class, she mentioned a Beyoncé- themed yoga class.  The class was still like three weeks off, but I went ahead and signed up so that I wouldn’t have an excuse to not go (like I’ve done with getting my nails done every single week since the day before he was born). I signed up, and really didn’t know what to expect.

Sunday afternoon, I got to class about 15 minutes before, set my mat up in the corner, but close enough to the mirror so I could see myself, and watched as the room filled with women, some young, some older, super excited to take the class.

The instructor, a tall, thin, and beautiful dancer-type with mermaid hair was piddling around the room, setting up her mic, and helping folks get set-up while one of Queen Bey’s live tours was playing.  I was pretty impressed – usually the live stuff is reserved for only the biggest fans.  I chatted with the instructor for a second before the last of the nearly 45 women poured in about the Formation world tour, the one during which we’d been evacuated due to bad weather before the Queen re-entered and finished out the show.

So the class started with a talk.  Where I started crying immediately.  Gah.  But Brady, the instructor with the mermaid hair, began to talk about the class, what it meant that we were all women, the fact that the class would have some dancing, and some singing, and would be unlike any class we’d ever taken before.

Ok. I leaned over to the woman sitting next to me, and whispered, “this is gonna be insane I feel like.”

And off we went.  We started with ‘Drunk in Love,’ and began in tabletop.  From there we did dancing lion, a moved I recognized from the pole fitness studio I sometime teach at, and back into downward facing dog, which morphed into a more twerky version of itself at some point, more bouncy and ass-ish.  At the top of the mat, in mountain pose, things started to get different in a great way.  We strutted up and down the mat, waved our hands, sang at the top of our lungs, and between of all this, managed to throw in squats, work on our calves, pushups, and some core work.  I was drenched in sweat 20 minutes into this, and the class was 90 minutes.  I took a few moments during the class to take a mental snapshot…

mental-snapshot

…and it was so neat. It was kind of cool to take yourself out of the place where you criticize any and everything about yourself and someone else for dancing around like a fool, and just go with it.  There were some women who were really cute, perfect-looking lulu yogis.  There was me, in running shorts and a tee, still trying to lose those last few pounds of baby weight.  There was the mom next to me who’d been married for over 17 years as I found out.  There was Brady the mermaid.  There was the cute girl, barely out of college, singing her lungs out in the front.  And we were all just enjoying sweating with one another!

Anyways, so now, I’m feeling really energized.  A little sore.  Inspired.  And totally ready to do some more creative programming and host my own themed classes.

How have you gotten sweaty this week? 

 

A Day in the Life (Lately)

I took the neatest yoga class yesterday.

Last week, one of the super cute girls who works on the floor at the Y invited me to come take this Hot Yoga class at this studio out in Durham.  Durham is kind of a hike for us – we are in downtown Raleigh, and during a high-traffic time, it can take like 40 minutes or more to get out there, but she assured me it was worth it.

Totally worth it, and I ended up signing up for a Beyonce-themed yoga class on Grammy Sunday.  I am super excited for that.

What I liked about this class was that, though the class was an excellent workout (I found myself a little sore the next day in some new places), the focus wasn’t on the workout.  We focused on breathing, and really being present, which is something I needed on Monday, where I felt my focus was pulled into a million different directions.

Anyways, I totally stole this idea from Taylor, a blogger who I’m insanely jealous of because she gets to live in Chicago all the time.  I’ve only ever run the marathon, and I dream about living there.  But it’s kinda cold and my sisters aren’t there, which could present some challenges…

Anyhoo, here’s a typical day (these days) for me.  I caveat this by saying “these days” because I’m still not in a great groove with the baby, and I’m not sure when I’ll get there.

7am – this is sometimes earlier, or sometimes a little later, but this is when I hear Liam start to rustle around.  He’s a morning person, so he’s not usually wailing, just kind of making sounds, and kicking his little feet around.  He sleeps in this…

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…which sorta looks ridiculous, but I don’t care. He’s sleeping, I’m sleeping, and that makes me really happy.

In that time, if he’s really smiley, I literally will jog out to the kitchen and start the coffee machine and let the dog out. I still have a teeny tiny bit of eggnog left that I’m using as creamer. I’m fully prepped to sob when that’s all finished…

7:20am –  I change a diaper and nurse my little man.  This time is super nice for us to hang out.  I’ll listen to a podcast sometimes while we do this.  Sometimes, by the end of this feeding, little man is drifting off, and I’ll have a chance to stick him back in the bassinet for a few minutes while he dozes.

8:15am – So for the last bit, I’ve probably been scrambling around the house, listening to podcasts, and collecting workout gear (for my workout and in case I’m teaching a class), work wear (slightly business casual), my lunch, and his bottles that I’ve pumped for the day.  He’s probably stirring by now, so I’ll pop him out of his sleep suit and into this really cute bouncer thing I bought for him at a yard sale for $20.  I pull it into the bathroom, just outside of the shower.  He entertains himself while I shower.  He’s pretty chill, so usually, I have time to put a little makeup on, and smooth my hair down before I get dressed.  He’s ready for a snack, so I’ll nurse him, change him one more time, put some clean clothes on him, grab a few extra diapers with diaper cream depending on his skin that day, and hustle us into the main room of the house.  This is where I load him into his carseat, throw on a hat for him and some socks or shoes, and begin the process of getting everything into the car.

9:15isham – Sometimes this is a little earlier, or a little later, depending on who’s picking Liam up from daycare.  But we’re out the door, and I drop Liam off at daycare quickly before I scramble off to work.  I’m eating a peanut butter bar thing and a coffee for breakfast.  Breakfast is my favorite thing, and I make sure never to skip it, but it’s certainly not elaborate.

11:15am – So say I’m teaching the lunch cycling class?  I’ll go back to the closet to pump, and maybe have a snack.  I’ve been snacking on boiled eggs lately (gross, but filling), so I may pump, eat an egg, and make sure I’m slamming water (since I’m prone to headaches if I don’t).  IMG_1745.JPG

I’m off diet soda, but still like something with bubbles, so I may enjoy one of these (these are great, let’s chat about them some more later), and I get myself cleaned up before class.

12:15pm – We cycle.  I like teaching this class a lot.  I teach to tempo, so I love to really think about what music we’ll be using, and build the class.  I’m a disgusting sweaty mess after, so I try to pop into the shower at work, and get myself looking presentable for the day.

2:00pm – I pop over to Liam’s daycare sometimes to nurse him.  That way, I can skip a pumping session (because pumping absolutely blows), and I get to see him a few times a week at that time.

3:00pm – It’s sort of late for lunch, right?  But since I go to Liam’s I’ve skipped lunch, but still need to eat.  I know this is against all of the nutritionist’s rules for mindful eating, but I totally take lunch at my desk most of the time, and try to catch up on emails, and take care of some work for a while.  That’s so bad.  I should not be doing that, I need to do better.

5:00pm – So, so today’s one of those days Austin is picking Liam up from daycare, and say I’m not teaching an evening class .  THIS is when I usually get antsy.  So I’ll change into my workout clothes, and attempt to do a really really quick workout.  My latest favorite is something called the Sprint 8 program on our treadmills.  It’s an interval program that has you pushing, or sprinting, for 30 seconds, and then doing some active recovery for 1:30.  IMG_1752.JPG

I love this because I feel like intervals are the best way to mix up your cardio and make it fun and interesting without spending like an hour on the treadmill.

5:45pm – After a quick workout, I stay in my gross clothes, and head back to my office to work a little more.  It’s emails, sometimes writing blog posts, coordinating last-minute subs, and checking in with the classes going on in the building.  Our campaign season is in the fall, so we’re in a lull as far as fundraising.

6:15pm – Austin went to pick Liam up, so he brings him to work so he can work out, and I can take the baby home.  A lot of times, he’s asleep after his big day at daycare, so he sits in his stroller while I keep an eye on him, and finish some things up.

7:20pm – We’re done with work, and at home.  Usually, every few days, I try to put something in the crock pot so we have a little something to eat.  Sunday, it was a not-as-creamy wild rice soup…

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That was pre-liquid and spices, but you get the idea. Usually, Austin will come in right behind me, run and shower, while I heat up dinner. While dinner is warming up, I nurse Liam, and set him in his bouncer or his activity mat while we eat. After dinner is when things get nuts until Liam goes to bed. We start tummy time around 8. Bathe him (only once or twice a week). I slather him in coconut oil since he’s got dad’s skin. And he’s usually asleep by 9pm.

9:30pm – Me and Austin may watch a show (Blackish lately), and after a show, he’ll wash and fill bottles for the next day, while I start writing, cleaning up, and pretending I’m going to shower, when in reality, I’m not.  Unless I’m feeling really special and energetic.

11:00pm – Because I’m nursing, I usually try to empty the boobs before I go to bed, otherwise I’ll wake up super uncomfortable.  I pump, wash the parts, and will most likely forget my pump on the coffee table, so I have to figure out what the heck I’m going to do the following day.  If we don’t have a plan for dinner the following day, I’ll try to figure something out, maybe throw something in the crockpot or prep something really quickly.

12:15am – BED.  

Whew.  Where did all the time go, right?

What’s a typical day like for you?  

Hey!

Haiiiiiii!

I’ve been gone a few weeks.  I started back at work a little over a month ago and it’s been hard.  Super hard.  I will talk more about that soon, but I’ve struggled endlessly with balance since going back to work.  I like working, I like earning, I do not like feeling completely unmoored every day of the week.  I forget something every day.

Last week was no different.

So I’m breastfeeding baby Liam.  It’s gone well, we both are enjoying the process, but when I’m at work, it involves a lot of time spent in the supply closet.  I have feelings on that by the way, but it’s not the time nor place for me to rant on women in the worksplace right now and how we are seriously undervalued.  Okay, I’m done.

If you’ve never worked and breastfed at the same time, it’s sort of a complicated dance.  It kinda starts when your baby is between 3-4 weeks old, the sweet spot, I learned, when your baby will decide if he or she is going to take the Dr. Brown’s bottles you received at your shower.  You make your partner deliver the bottle, and leave the room (maybe the house) so baby can’t smell you.  For me, I started with just an ounce or two until we figured out that Liam was a little more of a 3-4 ounce kind of kid. And then there’s the pumping.  The bane of my entire existence.  It just sucks.  It’s loud, it’s not comfortable, and as someone recently reminded me, it’s the shitty reminder that your baby isn’t around for a big chunk of the day.

I pump a few times a day at work, usually twice on a loose schedule, or when I feel my boobs tell me that it’s time.  It takes a good amount of time, and a production.  If I’m in my nice fancy work clothes, I strip off my nice shirt and set it aside.  I strap on a pumping corset.  I hook up the phalanges. Screw the bottles into those.  Attach the tubing.  Plug my machine in.  And finally, get to pumping.  (And pouring and labeling and sneaking milk into the fridge in the kitchen blah blah.)

But guess what last Tuesday?

I went through most of those steps before I realized that, sitting there half naked in the closet, that I’d forgotten the bottles and the phalanges, and my boobs were really at the end of their rope.

FACK!

I could try and stick it out until the end of the day, but risk a clogged duct.  I could run home, but today just wasn’t a good day to escape home – I had a lot to do.  I could see if I could convince my dad or my brother to go home, but they didn’t really know what they were looking for.

So I waited to see if I could make it to the end of that day, and then one small stroke of whatever genius I have left struck me.  Rite Aid was down the way.  I could see what they had in the way of pump accessories, and take it from there.

I have never driven so fast (within my legal limits) to a Rite Aid in my LIFE.  IN MY LIFE.  So I get into the parking lot, and…

The Rite Aid has moved.

I’m not kidding.  Around the corner, but it had totally moved.

I raced around the corner, and into the store, where I found a single electric pump.  I put it on my HSA, designated it for my car, and proceeded to pump like thirteen ounces before a meeting.  Ridiculous.

All that to say – I’ve started working.  My brain still hasn’t returned to it’s normal size.  I’m not sure when I will start functioning more normally.  But I am making it work!  Trying to at least.

 

 

 

My first BodyPump back

I’m kind of getting a kick out of like, telling you what I’m doing as I’m writing.  So now, I’m sitting in the lobby at work (because I needed a locale change), taking a little break from work-work, and decompressing with a little writing.  The lobby is a challenge because you literally see everyone you’ve every known in your life.

People keep stopping, and looking at me sort of suspiciously.

Them: …did you??

Me: Yeah, I did!

Them: …what did you…

Me: A little boy, want to see a picture?

I think everyone is like really hesitant to ask, in case I’m not who they think I am, and then they’ve got this awkward moment where they’re in two camps – I either look like all the other black women they know OR they’ve just implied that I look like I just had a baby.  Which I don’t mind at all, because I did, but I understand how that could be a little off-putting to someone not feeling their best on that day.

*******

So I finally, taught a BodyPump™ class.  It’s one that I haven’t really committed to teaching because it requires a lot of forethought, and teaching it is really hard.  They recommend for instructors to teach the tracks with the same weight that you’re instructing the students to do, so I was not super looking forward to squatting with like a billion pounds on my back when I’d just given birth.

A week or so ago, Abbey, who typically teaches the lunchtime class at this other place I fill in at, cut her hand like cooking or something.  And she cut it badly enough that she had to sub out all of her classes, one of which was like a 30 minutes pump format, followed bay BodyAttack™.  Which I don’t teach, but I offered up a cardio step.  30 minutes works, right?

So, I tried to get my tracks together on one playlist the night before, for organizations sake, but ended up falling asleep when the baby went down around 9:45, and then never waking up to do much of anything.  By the time I got bottles packed and Liam off on that morning, I was running around like a lost little chicken, and barely had my phone charged and myself dressed before I went to go teach the class at noon.  I ran in a few minutes before class was supposed to start (big no-no), and pretty much started the playlist and went off.

I screwed up the entire warm-up.  I’m talking about (if you know this format, you’ll know what I’m talking about) the entire part at the end of the warm-up where you’re supposed to lunge on one side, and then the other was lost, until I realized and fumbled my way back there.  But I smiled a lot.  Since I was running late, I hadn’t gotten the chance to pump and drain everything like I like to do before I work out, and I turned around and what I saw was absolutely obscene.  I was wearing a grey tank top that I’d worn through most of the pregnancy.  Grey is really fun because it shows all of your sweat, but I think I look pretty decent in the color so we have a dilemma.  But as for the obscene part, my boobs were hanging out of the top of my shirt and bouncing with like every single step I took.  It was nuts.  Because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it, I just pretended like I didn’t notice, and avoided eye contact with the guy in the front row.  Eep.

Other than my complete chest hanging out due to my lack of planning, and the flubbed warm-up, the rest of the class went really really well, and the cardio portion that I incorporated a step into went awesome as well.  I snapped this before I left…

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…and I suppose I’m really feeling okay with the way things are going as far as teaching. I’m definitely, definitely not back to, or capable of, teaching 5-6 days a week right now, or multiple classes a day, days and days in a row. I’m still healing up some of those ligaments that went loosey goosey during the pregnancy, and I’m still not up to 100% high-impact moves. Jumping, for instance, is something I’m not comfy with just yet, so I modify by keeping one foot on the ground, things like that.

So I guess I’m getting back to some things?  And feeling okay about it?  But that was my first Pump.  Looking forward to a few more in the new year.

 

Cheri’s Most Fascinating People of 2016

I find it kind of fun to let you know where and how I’m writing from at any given time.  Before kids, it’s like “hey reader-folks, I’m comin’ atcha from a DESK!!”  Now, I am literally in the supply closet at work, pumping so Liam can ride this breast milk wave as long as we can.  Pumping is not a ride at the amusement park, so I’m sort of hunched over, with my right hand slipped underneath the bottle on the right side.  I also wore a dress to work today, so I had to take the entire thing off, and make sure I locked the door.  My left side is all done, so I just keep dripping milk from the flange on that side, onto my thigh, so I should be good and sticky for the remainder of the evening.  I truly feel like such a glamorous woman right now.

I had so much fun writing this post last year, that I had to do it again this year.  Of course, this was before…you know what?  Let me not spoil this list.  Let’s just get to it.

5.  The Cincinnati Zoo and the Harambe memes.

The story of the decision that the Cincinnati made to shoot Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo just sucked.  To  me, it seemed like the zoo was put in a really impossible situation.  What followed after was some heated debate.  The sanctiparents said some awful things, including that the mother should have been shot instead.  I think everyone was collectively really sad for the loss of the life of the gorilla.  We were all really glad that the child was okay, but the gorilla was just being a gorilla, and no one wanted to see things end like that.  But since 2016 has no chill, the situation got really, really out of hand.

There were the hashtags. Annnnd then came the memes. They were really weird.  They were terrible.  And they were really, really, funny.  I won’t publish any here, because I don’t want you to think I’m a terrible person, but first you’d laugh, and then groan.

In a really mystifying move, the zoo, un-amused,  issued a statement.  And basically told everyone to knock it off with the memes.  Bad, bad, bad move.  That’s not exactly how the internet works.  Which I feel like most of us know, but that’s kind of lost on some folks.

The response was a resurgence of #dicksoutforHarambe.  And a swell in the memes.  Because the internet is both a wondrous and terrible, terrible place.

4.  Anna Davies.  And she’s not fascinating in a fun way. 

In April of this year, Anna wrote this article that went a little viral for the wrong reasons.  “I want all the perks of maternity leave – without having any kids” I read the article, and though I had never taken maternity leave before, I knew something was very, very wrong with the article and its author.  She referenced leave as having “perks”.  She compared having to leave the office at a reasonable time to pick up ones children to helping a friend off of a bad date.  She said that parenthood provided the parent “flexibility” as it pertained to work?  Can I remind you that I’m writing this from inside a supply closet?

It just all seemed really really wrong.

And then I left my job for 12 weeks unpaid to have Liam.  Even though I had grand plans during that time to catch up on things, maybe clean my house, none of that happened.  I bled for like 5 of those weeks, took Liam to doctor appointments for weight checks and shots, camped on my parents’ couch when we lost power during Hurricane Matthew, tried to master breastfeeding, worked out a clogged duct, started pelvic floor PT, and tried to keep my hair from falling out.  I’m not sure where in that augmented list of learning, that Anna thought that maternity was some sort of vacation, but she is grossly, grossly misinformed.  And it’s a shame that someone with so little insight has a fairly large platform.

3.  Beyoncé

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I think it was Twitter, or one of the blogs that broke ‘Lemonade’.  It was cold out, I was already pretty uncomfortably pregnant, and per info circulating online, HBO was doing a free preview weekend that would allow viewers to watch the special.  And it did not disappoint.  Start to finish, Bey told a complete story, and I don’t think a single track disappointed.  Later on this year, Solange would go on to release a hit album, proving that the Knowles girls were having one of the best seasons ever.  Queen Bey went on to tour, where I found myself being evacuated due to some nasty weather mid-show, killed it at the VMAs, and made an appearance the morning I had Liam.  I should have known it was going to be a good day.

2. The choker.  Not a person.  But important. 

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Rihanna via HarperLoren.com

I really didn’t want to give into this one, but I will admit, I wore a tattoo-style choker in the 90s. The Jenner girls started wearing chokers this year, along with flared jeans, and I wasn’t sure in my current state of mom if I could pull it off. But I’m giving in. I’m wearing grungey tops (easier to nurse in) and I’m gonna put a choker on. I’ll document for bloggy evidence.  But I think I look okay, and not completely foolish.

1. I have got to give this one up to none other than Issa Rae. 

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I fell in love with Issa during ‘Awkward Black Girl,” her YouTube series that I felt, sang my entire life. I was so, so, happy, and nervous to see that she’d scored an HBO series, nervous only because I wanted her humor to translate, and for people to get her. They totally did, and her series, Insecure, did not disappoint in the least.  It was smart, funny, and contributed to what I feel like is a renaissance of black artists in 2016.  I cannot wait for season 2, and if you haven’t watched, you have got to get on that. Congrats Issa, on a really really successful run!

Honorable mention goes to…

Taylor Swift.  And if I had room for one more on my list-list, she would be on it.  This woman is a lot more calculating than we know.  She found herself in a bit of hot water this year after playing the victim solidly regarding Kanye West’s Famous vid.  Kim wasn’t having it, and released some unflattering footage via Snapchat?!  It wasn’t a good look, and after releasing a statement via iPhone notes (?) she sort or disappeared.  I was really disappointed in that.  But I’m anxiously awaiting new music from Miz Tay and Perry.  Tee-hee.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Hear me out.  And I’m planning this huge piece on the family.  I’ve been studying them for a long, long time.  But the year started out really well for them.  Minus Kanye claiming, in a strange series of tweets, insurmountable debt, Life of Pablo came out, and was received as one of the best albums of the year.  The tour looked incredible.  And then the year took a bizarre and scary turn when Kim was robbed at gunpoint during Paris Fashion week.  And then Kanye was hospitalized for exhaustion after a rant that made it clear that making fun of him wasn’t funny anymore, that something was really wrong.  I really would love to be a fly on the wall in that home, but really because I’m curious, not because I want to poke fun at what seems to be a tough situation.

Zayn Malik.  Whew buddy.  Lookin’ good sir.  Congrats on the success after leaving 1D.  I’m not mad at the album, or Pillowtalk.

OJ Simpson and 90s crime in general.  2016 saw no shortage in specials related to really strange crime.  I watched a lot of OJ stuff, including FX’s special on his involvement in the murders and later, kidnapping in Vegas.  I tried to watch the JonBenet specials, but they really made me ill. I haven’t been able to get through one of those.

On a lighter note, Joanne the Scammer.  She brought me endless laughter in an otherwise really weird year.

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via Twitter

Ok, so in a tough, weird year…who are your most fascinating folks?