Sunday, April 24, 2011

Three Months!

Thirteen weeks ago Ben made his debut into the world and our lives were forever changed. On this Easter Sunday evening as I am relaxing on the floor next to my little man, I am amazed that he is already three months old. He has changed so much over the past three months and the memories of my waddling pregnant body are fading.
The past month has been filled with people. We started out the month with a visit from my mom who came to help with my transition back to work. She enjoyed the week of snuggling with her grandson and we appreciated her help around the house. Not only did my mom come to help out, but we also had my brother Brian and his girlfriend Jen, Andrew's sister Joanna, and Julie from church all took time to help us out and watch our little guy.

Ben with Brian and Jen

The transition to being a working mom hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, we don't fold laundry until the weekend, dinner is quick and I am never on time but we are surviving. My students are happy to have me back (I think!) and I think they are relieved that I no longer look like I might explode. Every day one of them asks me about the baby and they enjoy looking at his photo album on my desk. I miss my boy when I am gone but we are both handling things well. The biggest obstacle we've had to overcome is eating.

We started Ben on a bottle at four weeks of age to make sure he would be satiated while I was working. He enthusiastically devours between 15 and 18 ounces of milk while I am gone during the day and enjoys frequent trips to the mommy buffet when I am home. On the weekends he still eats about every 2 1/2 hours which is perhaps why his cheeks are so round and the rolls on his legs are abundant. Our chunk weighed in on our home scale at about 15.8 lbs on his 3 month birthday yesterday.

My chunky boy in his blue bunz.
As far as diapering, we are staying strong with the Fuzzibunz. We've had a few kinks to work out but I switched to a cloth diaper specific laundry detergent which seems to make them more absorbent. We were keeping a few disposables on hand for emergencies and time at the babysitters but I've yet to restock my last batch which ran out three weeks ago. He loves his Bunz and hasn't had any true diaper rash yet.
In addition to being the cutest baby of all time, Ben has added to his charm by talking and smiling at his parents. He gives us giant grins when we walk into the room and enjoys looking at us as we make silly faces at him. He coos, "gees" and giggles. He flirt smiles and will wave his hands over his face as he turns his head. It is easy to get lost in his face and both Andrew and I have felt the time warp that is Ben. This past week he found his scream and knows that if he screams, his mom and dad pay attention. He has the most adorable little pout that make Andrew and I smile. He has started rolling from side to side and we are waiting for him to make it all the way over to his belly--although I'm sure when he ends up there he'll be upset as "tummy time" is on Ben's list of dislikes.
Ben loves being on his back on the floor on his gym. He has found his hands and is starting to make deliberate movements to hit things. It is fun to watch his face when he makes a connection with his hands. He brings his hands together in front of his face and tries to shove his fists into his mouth. He enjoys his bouncy seat and thanks to Joanna we discovered it plays music. His favorite thing to hit on his seat is the purple hippo with his left hand. He's sat in his Bumbo a few times although his huge noggin is a bit of a challenge to hold up for long periods of time. He still enjoys talking to the animals above his changing table and is entranced by his face in a mirror.

He isn't sleeping through the night but he is ready for bed around 8:30. He typically sleeps for about 5 hours, visit the mommy drive-thru and sleeps for another 3-4. He still sleeps in our room but we hope to transition him to his crib when I'm done with school. He loves his crib thanks to the beautiful mobile that Joanna made. He still hates the pacifier and has only successfully taken it one time without spitting it across the room. We think he might be a finger sucker once he figures out how to keep them in his mouth.

As far as parenting goes, we're learning. We know what his cries mean and when he is sleepy. We are both head over heels for our little guy and enjoy every minute we get with him. We're looking forward to seeing him grow over the next month and wonder what new things he'll do next!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is there anything as motivating as being terrible?

Nothing motivates me like being really, really, incredibly bad at something.

Take cycling. I am not a very talented cyclist. That is just gospel. I don't go down hills like the fast guys, and I certainly don't go up hills like the fast guys. I routinely bobble and fall on stuff in races that I can ride with one foot clipped in when I'm not racing.

I don't have the balls to start fast or the guts to ride hard during the rest of the race. I quit. I neglect my bike, then throw it into the woods when it doesn't work right. I race in a category where I don't belong.

I don't train. I ride. I don't lift, eat well, or try hard.

Why? I mean, I can be pretty focused, I can get all type-A on my life, but the will has been gone. The will has been broken.

Not through failure, but through perceived success.

Two years ago I rode 9:50 ish at the Mohican 100. I'd been gunning for a sub-10 hour hundie for a couple of years. When I hit that goal, I quit trying. I dabbled a bit, but mostly I got fat, made a baby, got a couple of ornery dogs, and turned into a schlub. A tubby, schlubby guy with a hot wife and a baby and dogs.

Not all bad. But I want to be a fast guy with a hot wife and a couple of babies and a couple of dogs.

This weekends complete and total failure at the Big Bear XC gave me some motivation. Nothing like a good old fashioned butt kicking to get the fire burning. I'm just too much of a competitive jerk to enjoy riding, or even kind of enjoy RACING if I'm not competitive.

2 years ago, when I was clinging to the vestiges of my intentional training - intervals, long rides, periodization, I was 10 minutes off the leaders the big bear XC. The past two years I haven't even finished.

It is time to clean off the HRM and get back to training. Nothing is fun until you are good at it. That is especially true of the hard and unforgiving sport of bicycle racing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Identity

As my life has been in near constant flux for the past 3 years, I've struggled with my recreational identity. I have gone from being a very serious mountain biker (2008-2009) to a schlub that didn't ride at all (2010) to a beefy generalist (2011).

Obviously, this isn't the most serious thing in the world. I think this post might qualify for www.whitewhine.com, but that's cool. I am a big fan of having first world problems.

I guess at the core of my dilemma is the time commitment it takes to be a good endurance athlete. In 2008-2009 I got pretty fast. I rode with oh so pro Chris Michaels and oh so fast and skinny Chris Nichols. I did my best ever 100 miler (9:50 - mid pack madness) and had my best ever result in a mountain bike race - 2nd at ACCC "B" mountain bike championships.

I haven't had the most dramatic of falls, but I never rose to the highest of heights. The thing is, I feel like I was getting close to real fitness, real speed. I really only had one significant problem - hip pain - and a supportive and active spouse who did things like run 50k races and marathons.

In the past few years, though, we've started our careers, we acquired a couple of dogs, and we have started our family. Things are a little more complicated.

I've set goals, then moved ignored them. I've gotten serious for a week or two, then fallen off the training wagon.

Basically, I've been a squiffy, non-committal goof off that hasn't accomplished anything. And I say that about myself with love.

So, as I told Gunnar and Betsy, THIS YEAR IS GONNA BE THE YEAR. I am going to achieve everything. I'm going to vote for Pedro, and all of my wildest dreams are going to come true.

As of December 31st, I will have lost 100 lbs (weight loss goals only count if they're totally unrealistic), and I will win every race I enter: running, mountain biking, skiing (ski-mo, nordic, and downhill, even though I'm no good at any of those disciplines right now). I'm also going to win the Crossfit games, and beat hercules in an arm-wrestling match.

Have I ever mentioned that I was a totally dreamy and totally egotistical kid? I came up with the all time greatest one-wish: To be a million times better than the very best at every single thing in the world. It is the ultimate trump card.

But I digress.

This year, I am trying to move away from unrealistic, event and achievement focused goals to lifestyle and training goals. I'd like to ride my bikes three thousand miles this year. I'd like to run 500. I want to spend time outside every single day.

I will have a sub 6 minute "Fran."

I will fiddle with my diet until I find a set of eating habits that leads to a skinnier, healthier feeling Andrew.

Will I race? Undoubtedly. I'll race until I'm too old to get out of the house. Then I'll just talk on the internet about how awesome I am/was.

Until then, though, I'm going to focus on habits, on lifestyle changes, on process, instead of on events, on races, and on results. I'm not trying to be a non-commital loser, I'm trying to figure out how much I can commit to my various hobbies and pursuits.

Next year, though, I might regress a bit and dive back into the type-a racer boi mindset. But we'll see how this year goes, first.