Colorado Reflection

IMG_7906

Let’s get real.  No matter how needed the change is…starting a new job has got to be one of the most terrifying experiences ever.  Why? The fear of the unknown of course. What are my new coworkers really going to be like? Is my boss going to micromanage me? Is my boss going to support me? Will everybody like me? Will I do a good job? Will I really enjoy this role? How will I balance working at home?  How will I balance trying to visit 100 high schools this fall? Was this really the right choice? AHHH ENTER ANXIETY ATTACK HERE. You get the point.

The first month of my new role has been a tad stressful as I have worked through fuzzy expectations and tried to figure out my new norm.  There is so much that is a new experience for me. Going from working to a school with a population of 4,000 to 30,000 alone is just nuts. The processes are so different, the mentality is so different. Pretty much everything is different, I feel lucky that I know the admission cycle and know this field well, so that I at least have a good base of knowledge and confidence to start with.

Being able to work from home has been of course awesome and I am definitely going to have a bit of an adjustment period once I start hitting the road this fall.  I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to be working in my home office and hearing my mom and Rocklyn in the kitchen (and sneaking in kisses between tasks, duh).   There sometimes is a day or two during the week when I will be home alone with her which can be tricky to be as productive, but luckily still manageable thanks to her solid napping schedule.  I have been a schedule and sleep nazi since she was 2 weeks old and it has paid off!

IMG_7959

Last week, I had to go to campus for 7 days to get some new employee training and officially meet all my new colleagues.  I was excited for this, but I will be honest I had more anxiety about it than anything.  The thought of leaving her for an entire week had me literally sick to my stomach, I was a total disaster.

As it turns out, part of being a parent is the challenge of not having time to yourself.  When you do have those moments, your mind still never takes a break. I am always worrying and thinking about her and for goodness sake I miss her when she is just napping.   So as hard as it was to leave, I knew this week away would be good for me as a chance to be present with my own mind and take everything in around me. I just had to get there.

My week of employee training was pretty crazy. I met so many new awesome people ( I love my new coworkers they are so fun and nice) and took in SO much new information.  Each day I was there I became more excited to represent this school in Chicagoland. I am so blown away by the opportunities a big school like this provides to students, it is insane. Additionally, I was able to hit up a local breweries, restaurants, coffee shops, thrift shops etc. after work each day.  Sometimes a co-worker came with me, but sometimes I was solo. I made a pact to myself to be as present as possible, no sense in going back to my hotel to cry about how much I miss my daughter.  She is safe.  I am here. I need to be here.  Full disclosure; I still cried in my hotel a couple times.

IMG_7933

When the weekend came, I legitimately spend the entire two days hiking (and paid for it Monday morning). Some people feel close to God in a church, but I feel close to God when I am sitting on top of a boulder at sunrise looking out at the horizon. This time was really REALLY good for my soul.  The picture below was on the halfway point of Bear Peak, a solo 6-ish mile hike I did on Saturday morning. I think I probably sat in this spot for a good hour.

IMG_7846

I cannot remember the last time I spent so much time on my own.  Even though I was only a few states away, it felt like I went on an international trip. I explored so many new places, had intriguing conversations about life with total strangers, spent lots of time reading, writing and just reflecting on my life.  If part of my heart (my family) was not there with me, I would tell you my heart was full. I felt totally refreshed.  As much as I dreaded leaving my family behind for a week, it was truly good for me. It opened up my mind. It helped me to re-set and realign and essentially prepared me to go forth into this new job, but aslo gave me an incredible amount of energy to come back and be a mom.

IMG_7882

New Beginnings

I have had a lot to think about in these last few months into being a working Mom.  As you learned from my last post, balancing has been pretty tough for me. I have been constantly faced with the question of… do I really HAVE to do it ALL?? Every time a gracious fellow working mom has told me that I will get used to this new normal, I think to myself; but what if I don’t want this to be my normal? Because I don’t like it.  Enter temper tantrum here.

I have worked very hard to get to where I am in my career.  Starting off 8 years ago as an itty bitty college grad, so excited to be a Freshman Admission Counselor at Aurora University.  I had all kinds of visions of where my career would take me, becoming a leader in my office, heck maybe even the Director of Admission someday.  I set goals, tried to outwork and impress everybody, say yes to everything, take on new projects and do my best. This brought me to a leadership position in my office that I often times felt unqualified for. It has challenged me and grown me so much professionally.  These challenges have also brought me so much closer to those I work with, who happen to be a group of really amazing people.

au4u

Interestingly enough, the more responsibility I have taken on at AU, the less time I get to spend directly with students, which has been tough for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is awesome to be a part of all the behind the scenes work in admission and have a say in a lot of things that effect our work.  But, my TRUE passion lies on the ground floor at a college fair, in a high school visit, or one on one with those scared little high schoolers. Not in meeting after meeting after meeting. I did feel better about this transition when I created our Spartan Ambassador program, who are the 25 current AU students that work in the office and help run our events and campus tours.  They helped me get that fire back as I was able to interact with and mentor them daily and loved it.  Although eventually, I even had less time for them with responsibilities continuously pulling me in different directions.  In constant talks with myself I have often been conflicted. Shouldn’t I be thankful that I am given more responsibility? Shouldn’t I be proud that I have the opportunity to lead others and impacting change? Isn’t this the path I wanted? To move up the ladder? To be a leader? It is the path that makes the most sense, right?

If I continued in my current role, I know I would eventually figure out a groove and it would be fine. I know I would still be successful and make a great impact at AU. I know I could probably hold a fancy title, make a decent salary and keeping adding to that good ole’ retirement fund. Part of me knows it is crazy to leave that path behind.  But titles and money mean absolutely nothing to me.  What means something? Being in a career that I am passionate about while simultaneously having more of a presence at home with my family.

front porch

I have decided to leave AU because I was in need of a change, an opportunity to have more time on the ground floor with students which I love, but also I was in need of a more flexible schedule to be with Rocklyn.  My new position will be working for the University of Colorado, as the Assistant Director of Admission for the Chicago Region.  What this means is:

1. I will get back into the college fair and high school visit circuit which I am SUPER excited about. More time with students!!

2. I will get to represent a school that has always seemed like a dream to me AND get to  visit the mountains several times a year (which is good for my soul).

3.  I get to work from home and see my baby more.

YWOQAUPBUTFYZPU.20110425223602

So, even though I will have busy times of the year where I am out for very long days, when I am back in the office…that office will be home.  Even though Rocklyn will still be with a sitter, I will be able to sneak in a snuggle and a kiss in between phone calls and emails  and not spend 10 hours a day every day away from her.  This is CLUTCH.

I am not sure if this is the answer I am looking for, but I knew I had to pursue this opportunity and give it a try.  Continuing on the path I was on was simply not working for me.  I have been miserable.  And Jill does not do miserable, Jill does happy.

dolly-parton quote

AU has been so good to me and is such a special place.  In fact, when I nervously shared my news with my boss and co-workers, everybody was so supportive and understanding. I am not sure why I was surprised, but it has blown me away.  Makes it harder to leave even though I know it is the right decision.

My quest for balance continues, cheers to new beginnings!

 

 

How am I balancing? I’m not.

Let’s see. The last time I wrote a post, it was the day before I was returning back to work from my maternity leave in March.  I was sad, nervous, excited, and wondering how I was going to balance working and being a first time mom.  Not gonna lie, I had felt pretty on top of my motherhood game at that point. I have a happy baby with a good routine who sleeps through the night, I can totally handle work. How hard could it be?

I am a few months into that journey and let me tell you…I am not doing so hot.  In fact, I am one big train wreck.  All the time.

March through May is the busiest time of year in higher ed, so I had to hit the ground running as soon as I got back. This of course was a blessing to keep me distracted, but a curse in my stress levels.   My day was instantly filled with insanity…and I mean INSANITY. I have barely had time to breathe. During this time of year, I usually like to go into work extra early a few times a week to stay caught up or power through some tasks without distraction.  Honestly, I COULD be doing that, but I don’t want to.  My child sleeps from 730pm- 630am.  So the way I see it, I already only getting 3 hours TOPS a day with her awake.  Leaving the house earlier than 7:30am or staying at the office later than 5pm meant missing out on even more time with her.  This gives me so much anxiety because I already miss her so bad it hurts.

toes

So, for these last few months I have been getting to work on time if not late, which stresses me out.  Despite not getting everything on my list done, or responding to all the emails I should have….I leave at 5pm regardless.  Which stresses me out. This is not the kind of employee I am or have ever been.  But I am struggling to find a balance.  I miss my girl, all the time.  I am dying to get home every day to see her and it kills me that for 50 hours a week somebody else is taking care of her when she is MINE. So I end up leaving work feeling like a terrible employee because I didn’t accomplish what I needed and then I get home for the 2 hours left with my child feeling like a terrible mother.   Apparently this is the crux of parenthood.

And the rest of my life outside of work and Rocklyn? Feels almost non- existent.  Keeping up with the house, bills or even something simple as responding to text messages or being nice to my husband (who is constantly traveling for work), seems near impossible. I have miraculously managed to workout a few times a week, BUT in order to do that I have to be up at 3:45/4am at the latest in order to fit that and pumping before she wakes up. This is also why I am dead to the world by 8pm.

mom quote 3

Guys, I have one kid.  ONE. UNO.  Again, a happy one.  Who sleeps and is the awesomest little being ever. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?  Why do I feel like such a constant train wreck and failure?  I have not felt this out of sorts since I was in college and was losing my keys every other day and going negative in my bank account on a consistent basis.

Good news?  Things are starting to slow down a little, thank heavens.  So I can regain my composure (a little) and try to figure out how to get a handle on my life again. I know I am not the only one running frantically through this journey of being a parent and facing the challenge of trying to be decent in my different roles.  My favorite role is Rocky’s Mom, the problem is trying to make time for the other roles that seem oh so less important.

I think there is a way to feel a LITTLE balanced with all of this, maybe not all the time but at least some of the time.  I really am working on it.  To my fellow Mama bears out there, we can do this.  I think.

Stay blessed in the big OLE MESS!

mom quote

 

 

Back to work tomorrow? WHAT?!

We have an almost 3 month old guys! When did that happen? I cannot believe I go back to work tomorrow, I am struggling with that a little. Okay fine, A LOT. Let’s not talk about it, okay great.

 IMG_5709

I love being a mom so much. SO MUCH. I feel like I was meant for this. While nothing can truly prepare you for a newborn and I knew that…I will say that all the years of babysitting/nannying and growing up with much younger siblings has really helped me to be very calm and comfortable with this whole experience. Naturally there have been some stressful moments, but nothing that I feel like I can’t handle thus far. Just the typical stuff. Is she eating enough? Why is she being fussy? Is something wrong? What is that rash? Am I doing this right? Is that normal? And of course the OMG IS SHE BREATHING?!

I tried to mentally prepare myself for whatever kind of baby Rocklyn was going to be. I remember talking to Shain before she was here and warning him that there may be nights where she screams for hours and that even though we probably won’t sleep for a month straight, we must stick together!! We can do this! I think I may have terrified him a little. Overall, we have been so blessed. Rocklyn is a very even tempered baby and aside from her first two nights home, she has been an awesome sleeper. She even started sleeping consistently through the night at 8 weeks! Way to go little lady, you are the bomb.

If there was anything I knew for sure prior to having a baby, it was that I was going to be a scheduled obsessed Mom who craved consistency and routine. By nature, I am terribly disorganized and discombobulated. So when I force structure and goals on myself I am just a happier and more productive person. Being a mom has made that even more important for me. Having my daily routines and systems in place has really helped me keep my sanity and feel like I have a good handle on things.  Rocklyn has also responded well so far to being put on a consistent feeding/napping schedule which has been awesome.

IMG_5377-2

I will say that there are some things about being a Mom I was not prepared for. Lonlieness being one of them. Despite having a supportive husband/father, there is just something about being the woman in all this that comes with a different kind of territory.  There is a lot of pressure and emotions that a man just cannot understand. Yes, we are hanging out in our sweatpants all day which may seem easier than going to work. But it is SO NOT.  As the Mom, this little being’s life literally depends on you and YOUR body to survive and sadly wearing sweatpants and having movies on all day does not make that any easier. It is a ton of pressure and it can make you feel trapped and suffocated in many ways.  Even if I am physically able to step away and take a break, mentally I am never able to truly check out…EVER. And being that my other half doesn’t really feel the extent of that, can be very lonely sometimes.  Especially in those early weeks when you are the only one that can feed and it’s 1am anddddddd your beloved husband is out like a rock 😉   It is easy to see how Mothers can kind of lose themselves in this process of raising a family and how important it is to get out and do some things for YOU.

 
Then there is the feeling of inadequacy; oh boy, I am embarrassed to say that this one keeps me up at night sometimes. People warned me about the “mom judgment” thing,  but now I kind of understand it. I think as a parent it is easy to feel judged because there is so much that you are literally just figuring out as you go a long, so of course it is easy to feel insecure. I can honestly say I am pretty confident in my abilities but when another mom talks about a different way of doing something, it is still hard to fight off the negative talk of, “should I be doing it that way?” or “am I wrong?” and sometime it can go as low as….”I am a mess, I suck at this”.  Then I usually have to give myself a slap in the face. Do I judge another mom for doing things differently? Heck no! So why should I feel judged and inadequate as a mom? I should not, bottom line.  If there was ever a time to “do YOU” it is being a parent.  We all have to do what works best for us and anybody who wants to criticize or disrespect that can shove it.

IMG_5750-2

One thing is for certain, it takes a village. Even if that village is your fellow mom who totally gets it and listens to you vent or who you bounce ideas off of. Or an awesome Mother-in -Law who comes over so you can go get a workout in….or go stare blankly in the corner.  As I sit here and meal prep, lay out clothes, and  write out feeding/napping schedules for tomorrow, I am still unsure of how this whole working mom thing is going to go but I will give it a whirl.  These past 12 weeks went by faster than I ever imagined they would. Send some positive vibes to this emotional wreck tomorrow please 🙂

 

2016 Here I Come!

Did you think because I have a newborn at home I wouldn’t be setting goals for this year? Come on! If anything is motivation to get after life, it is having a kid and setting a good example.  Even if they don’t really get it at this point and just eat poop and sleep (repeat 100 times daily).

Looking back at 2015…holy cow. What a crazy year full of the unexpected. One of my biggest goals for last year was to slow down and simplify my life- which turned out to be a near impossible task with the kind of year we had.  I thought 2015 could be a pretty chill year, but as it turns out buying a fixer upper home, finishing my Masters degree and having a baby are not ingredients for a chill year.  But God sometimes has other plans and let’s be honest, his plans are usually way cooler.  I mean really look at this face, it is proof the big guys knows what he is doing up there. Sigh.

IMG_5004

Aside from slowing down, I kept the majority of my resolutions with some hiccups here and there which makes me feel good.  But I am ready for a new year.  Because I spent the majority of 2015 pregnant and not training for any races or competitions, I am SO READY to hit the pavement and the weights hard this year.  I am counting down the days right now until my post delivery appointment when I get full permission to start running and lifting again.  I CANNOT WAIT!  I was able to work out and run my whole pregnancy thankfully, so here is to hoping I can get back into fighting shape pretty quick. Not to mention, 3 weeks into maternity leave and I am already getting a little stir crazy.  Our basement is almost done being finished which will of course be the “man cave” but I also convinced my husband to let me have a little home gym down there, victory! No excuses when I am at home in the dead of winter with the babe.

FullSizeRender-12

I have some pretty big things to accomplish this year, but at the same time my goals are pretty straight forward and simple.  To summarize: Enjoy being a Mom, Get faster and stronger, Write and read more & Save money.  That is the gist of it.

To see my 2016 goals in more details you can click here or if you want some tips on setting your own goals, check out a post I wrote last year around this time here.  Don’t feel pressured that it is already mid January, take this month to really be intentional about what it is you want to do this year, don’t rush into it.  Reflect on it, write it down and make action plans.  One year from today, you will wish you started.

Stay blessed in the mess! 🙂

Mommyhood: Day 11.

Hello World! My name is Jill and I am a Mom.  A FREAKING MOM! 11 days in and I still cannot believe it.  So far it has been the most wonderful, terrifying, emotional, exhausting, BEST THING EVER!!

Much like my pregnancy, I feel super blessed with how everything went down with delivery and how everything is going currently with our new babe. Many people warned me that with this being my first pregnancy, little miss would likely be a few days late, but I had a pretty strong intuition that she would be here before Christmas, and that she was!  The  Saturday night before she was born Shain and I went out to a fancy pants dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then met up with some friends that were in town.  Little did we know that would be our last night out for a while as that night/early next morning I went into labor!

We ended up going to the hospital at 4:30am Sunday morning as my contractions were pretty regular at that point, but they ended up sending us home as I was just not quite there yet.   When I asked the Nurse how I would know when it was time to come back, she simply replied with “Oh, you will know”.  At the time, that frustrated me because I wasn’t sure I WOULD know. How the heck would I know?! I don’t know what this is supposed to feel like! What if Shain has to deliver our baby in the hallway? Or in the car?! I just bought this car! Well, the remainder of the day my contractions got more painful, so I soaked in the tub, took a walk, did all the things they tell you to do and then exactly 12 hours later from our first hospital visit, Shain was speeding down the road back to the hospital gripping my left hand as my right hand was ready to rip the oh sh*t bar out of the car (He was actually very concerned I would rip it out, haha). Okay Nurse, you were right.  I definitely knew.  It was game time.

IMG_4776

Once we got to the hospital, I laughed about how earlier that morning the Nurse at the front desk asked if I needed a wheelchair and how I politely declined. This time around I could barely make it the 10 feet from our car to the door, dear GOD get that wheelchair over here!  But honestly, once they got me all hooked up and got the pain meds in, it was all gravy. I wish I could tell you that I fought through another 12 hours of contractions with no epidural and have you think I am super tough.  Nope, I welcomed that big ole needle like a long lost friend.  Maybe next time I will go for the all natural…maybe.  Anyways, once the pain subsided we spent the rest of night dozing in and out of sleep, watching Christmas movies and just waited for things to progress.  Baby girl descended very slowly but once I was at 9cm the Doctor decided to finally break my water and we got the pushing party started a little before 5am.  25 minutes later she was out! I could not believe how seamless it all went! Despite not sleeping for pretty much two days straight, it all could not have gone better.

You know the saying…”when time stands still”?  I experienced that the moment Rocklyn was out and they put her on my chest.  I seriously sobbed for a solid 30 minutes and had no recollection of anything going on around me.  Poor Shain finally tapped me on the shoulder and was like “Ummm…is it okay if I hold her now?”.  What a jerk I am! I literally didn’t even know how much time had passed at that point.  The world just stopped. One of the best moments in my entire life.

IMG_4839

Many people have asked if there is a story behind her name as it is a little different, but quite honestly there really isn’t.  We really liked the idea of the nickname Rocky- it is cute, strong and different.  Not to mention, it is one of Shain’s favorite films that represents overcoming odds and determination. So when we were toying with what names could produce a nickname like that, Rocklyn kept popping in my head.  As we went back and forth on other ideas for names the last few months, that one just kept coming back.

IMG-6

Rocklyn is now 11 days old and things are going great. We have had one really bad night where the poor thing had a bad case of gas and screamed for hours and hours, which I am pretty sure was entirely my fault from something I ate that afternoon.  But we got through it and knock on wood, things are going well.  She sleeps well through the night, besides of course having to be woken up to eat, is nursing really well and her temperament is totally chill which is quite the relief.

There is a lot we are learning still and lots of trial and error of course. It is a little overwhelming to constantly think about following all the rules that the doctor/nurses/lactation consultants gave, make sure she has this many wet diapers, is eating this many times a day, don’t do this, don’t do that etc.  But the biggest lesson I have learned so far this early in the game is that I just have to be in tune to our baby and treat those rules as guidelines.  It is much more enjoyable for all of us that way- so I’ve just been kind of letting her take the lead as we all figure each other out.

I already see this world through a whole different set of eyes which has taken some getting used to.  My happiness and newfound love for this little human is also accompanied by constant anxiety/worry of all the things that could happen, so that is something I am working through.  I still however feel blessed beyond belief right now.  What a cool new chapter this will be, thanks for all the love 🙂

 

LESS than 8 weeks to go!

Is this real life? Less than 8 weeks to go until we have a real live human? I have not written in a while because well…things have been crazy.  Yes, I know insert your surprised face here. Jill? Busy? Shocker of the century.  Between the usual craziness of the fall season in admission, finishing up our house projects and then the other to do list of things to get ready for this baby specifically, every minute of every weeknight and weekend has been accounted for. Except for Friday nights when Shain and I are dead to the world and fall asleep on the couch by 9pm.  We laugh when people say things like “Oh just wait, your social life will go downhill when you have a kid.”  Social life…riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Wyatt preggo

Anyways, here is a little pregnancy update for you.  Honest to goodness I have been SO blessed.  SO BLESSED.  Those of you who have read my previous blogs know, the first trimester was really hard for me.  I did not get sick or anything like that, but I was really depressed, anxious, emotionally unstable and of course exhausted.  I was truly worried it was going to be a long road for me, but thankfully around week 18 that all dried up.  Weeks 19-21 were a little tough physically because when I started to pop, I felt a lot of cramping pain and pressure which made it difficult to workout/run.  However, once I got past 22 weeks that also went away which was GREAT!

Now I am at 32 weeks, trucking along and feeling good. I don’t have a lot of aches or pains, some here and there that freak me out a little at times but for the most part I am still pretty comfortable.  I have been consistent with working out 5-6 days a week mixing in running, crossfit, yoga, spin etc.  My pace is of course that of a turtle and my strength is steadily decreasing, but that is cool! I just feel so thankful I am still able to get up and get moving.  I am really hoping it will help with my delivery and recovery.

32weeks

SHAIN even ran a 5k WITH me this past weekend! Can you believe that? Anybody that knows my husband knows he is not a runner.  He is an active guy, former football player, dedicated lifter but hates all things cardio. HATES.  He was even smiling at the end! I also happen to think it is a bit unfair that he could do a 5k with zero training and not have to walk any of it.  But I digress.

Shain 5k

I will admit that I always thought the hardest part of being pregnant would be the physical aspects.  Gaining weight, feeling uncomfortable etc. which surprisingly has not been that bad.  Different yes, but not bad. I am blessed with a positive body image, so the fact that I am growing by the day is of course weird and hard to get used to but honest to goodness it does not bother me too much.  Sometimes it throws me off when I catch my self in the mirror…WHOA!  Or when I see a picture like the one above somebody took of me running…WOOF.  For the record, I still love this picture.  My husband is running with me, it makes my heart happy.

All in all, I am not indulging in junk food everyday and I am staying active.  So I feel good about the growth that is happening as it is all part of this beautifully bizarre process.

Aside from becoming more difficult to sleep through the night, the part that has been the hardest of this pregnancy is the worry. The “is she okay in there?” thought that comes into my head every 5 minutes.  I pray every night that I can safely carry this baby into the world and that I am not doing anything to harm her.  It is extremely difficult sharing a body with a little being who you already worry and care so much about.  You have to think about every thing you do in a different way and THAT has been the hardest, mentally exhausting actually.  Do I follow all the crazy pregnancy rules? No, because I really do think some of them are flat out crazy.  But I still worry…A LOT.  And from what I understand, that worry won’t stop once she is a real little human in this world, it will get worse! Yikes.

So here is to hoping these next 8 weeks continue to be smooth sailing. Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

 

 

Still hoping, still dreaming.

The dreamer in me is feeling a little bummed out this week.  I received the official news recently that once again I did NOT make the registration cut for the Boston Marathon.

For those of you who are confused by this, let me explain.  Despite the fact that I finally reached my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time in 2014, it still did not guarantee me a spot in the Boston Marathon.  The time I needed to qualify was a 3:35 and I ran a 3:34:54.  In the past, all who qualified for Boston got in even those like myself who barely made the cut.  However, in the past few years the running community has increased, gotten faster AND the desire to run Boston since the bombing has been huge; so the last two years they were not able to accept everybody who qualified due to the large amount of qualifiers and field size limitations. Therefore, the fastest got priority.  Last year was one of those years and so was this year- go figure right?  My time was good for two years, so despite being heartbroken from not getting in last year, I was hopeful that this year I would have a chance. Not so much.  This means if I want to run in the Boston Marathon, I will need to go back to the drawing board and run another qualifying time. I plan on doing so, I plan on getting faster.

bq2

Receiving the confirmation that I did not get in brought back all kinds of negative feelings and thoughts of not being good enough.  I was not born a natural athlete by any means. No matter if it was on the cross country & track team or soccer field I have always had to work much harder than my peers to barely be at their level.  This has done enormous things for my character growing up and truly taught me the meaning of work ethic and perseverance.  But I would be lying if I told you it didn’t break my spirit sometimes to work so hard and still come up short.

I had two big things I really wanted to cross off my list before Shain and I started on our journey of having a family. Run the Boston Marathon and and go on a solo international hiking trip.  I thought I had it all planned out.  I thought it was going to work.  But it is no news to anybody that life does not always work according to plan.

IMG_4350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had booked a trip to Peru for this past May but due to everything going on with selling our house, buying a new one and finding out I was pregnant- I had to cancel it.  I was elated to find out we were expecting, don’t get me wrong.  The day I took my pregnancy test I was alone at home and I literally started dancing and jumping around in the hallway like a little kid.  But a part of me was also sad that the person who could book a trip on a whim or could dedicate hours and hours a week to training for a race/marathon/whatever- would not be the same. This little person who I already love so much is going to change everything.

Now, despite not being a mom yet I am not the person who believes that life ends once your family starts. I know life will change drastically.  I will give everything to my family, I have felt ready to be a Mom for a long time now.  I believe in putting my children first, but I will not sacrifice who I am, that would be a shame. How is my little girl to learn what hard work and perseverance look like? She will watch her dad travel all over the country working his butt off in his day job so that he can support us and she will probably tag along on weekends to help him work on his house-rehab projects, just like he did as a kid with his Dad.  She will watch her mom finally run that Boston Marathon that she trained for in the wee early morning hours or evenings when she was sleeping (fingers crossed on the sleeping part).  Maybe when she is old enough she will even travel the world with me on all kinds of adventures. This little girl will feel all the love and support in the world, but also watch her parents go after what they want and hopefully she will then learn to do the same.

Yes, the dreamer in me is a little saddened this week.  But as I am typing this, my baby is kicking away in my belly and I tell you what- that has got to be one of the best feelings ever.  I may not have hiked to the top of a mountain this year or run a fast enough marathon, but God gave me the talent to create a life and that is something I will never take for granted.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

Is a Simple Life Even Possible Anymore?

As some of you know, one of my resolutions this year was to “slow down”.  To live simply,  plan less and enjoy more. Things were going great in the first few months of the year, I got into a good groove of doing morning reflections, writing more, reading more and just trying to stay off the “running around like a chicken with my head cut off” path.  Then life happened…again.  As I look back at the last few years I realize I have been saying the same lines over and over again, “when this month is over it will be better” or “when I get through this project/event/season things will slow down” and guess what? It never slows down.

FullSizeRender-11

When I made the decision to quit part time personal training a few years ago, I was sad but also excited for my newfound free time I would have on evenings and weekends.  But then my work load at AU picked up much more and I also started planning a wedding.

When the wedding planning was coming to an end I was relieved, again, for having my nights and weekends back….and then I had the opportunity to begin grad school.

When grad school was over I wanted to shout from the rooftops because I thought… okay this is really it! I am married, grad school is done, yes my work load is still a lot but I can handle that!  All gravy now! Nothing big was on the horizon so I even booked a solo trip to Peru to do a big hike as a celebration to end the few years of madness and finally be able to breathe and settle into life.

IMG_4127-2

THEN we decided somewhat on a whim to buy a fixer upper house and sell ours.   All while Shain and I had the craziest spring in the history of ever for work, this was also around the time I found out I was pregnant.  All HUGE blessings and wonderful things of course, but all things that yet again sped up our lives and stress a couple notches.

I am not ungrateful for the wonderful opportunities that present themselves in my life all the time, I really am not.  All of them were conscious decisions that I made or my husband and I made and decided to pursue. I am just exhausted.  As all of these wonderful things have happened, my work life balance has gotten worse and worse.  Sure, that might not be too bad when you enjoy what you do.  But I have been having a very hard time lately “shutting it off’.  When working 10-12 hour days and trying to do things on the weekend is still not enough time to cross off everything on your to do list, there is something SERIOUSLY wrong. I don’t care how much you love your job.

I truly feel I put everything into what I do, I am not just saying that to make myself look better or feel better.  I really really put it ALL in.  I will never be that person that when 5pm hits I am out the door and done caring for the day.  Truth be told, I have tried to be that person to make it easier on myself. But I cannot.

I try to be a good boss and mentor to my 27 student ambassadors, I try to be a good support system for my freshman admission staff and making sure things are running smoothly and their needs are met, I try to be a good admission counselor to the new territory of students I get every year (which ironically have become needier and needier in the college admission process over the years) and then I try to be good at everything else.  Helping support my boss in his role, coming up with new ideas/incentives, trying to set a positive attitude for everybody.  I TRY really hard.  But lately, no matter how hard I have tried at all those things, I come home feeling like an exhausted failure.

I barely have time to respond to text messages, phone calls and emails (personal and work) unless I can do them in the early dawn hours or late at night when I am home and not being pulled in a hundred different directions.  My to do list never seems to be caught up anymore…ever. So what do I sacrifice? My time at home? My morning workouts? My weekends?  I believe in following through with my responsibilities, which yes sometimes means sacrificing those things BUT to what extent? I am having trouble knowing when to draw that line and I know I am not alone in this.

I have found myself becoming resentful of others who are not able to fulfill their own duties and then I have to step in.  Or resentful of those who spend their work days browsing Facebook and shopping.  I find myself becoming anxious when somebody just wants to come and chat with me because all I can think about is that to do list and I have a hard time giving my full attention. I don’t like having those thoughts and feelings, they are not right and that is not me.

Is it possible to be a good employee, good wife, good everything and still have balance these days? Good lord I am not even a MOM yet and I am struggling with all my roles! Is a simple life even POSSIBLE if you don’t life in a shack in the mountains or just decide to be a slacker and not care? There has to be a middle ground.

IMG_4161

I know in the field of education especially, it is expected to give give give until you seem to have nothing left.  Because you believe in students and you believe in what you are doing; unfortunately this also makes it easy to become taken advantage of. I am sure that is true of other fields of work as well. Everywhere I look I see understaffed organizations and overworked people.  I personally cannot keep this up, nor do I want to.  I crave a simpler life so badly. I just want time to breathe. To enjoy the little things.  Is it possible to live both a passionate AND simple life? I really want to believe it is.  I truly feel the way we all live our lives today, passionate or not, is not healthy.  We are running ourselves ragged. What is the solution to this?  I am still trying to figure that out.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

My take on being “fit and pregnant”

Having a background in personal training for 7+ years and having worked with pregnant clients (AND having numerous pregnant friends in the past years), I thought I knew exactly how this whole “staying fit and pregnant” thing would go for me.  Of COURSE I would keep the same workout routine!  Of COURSE I would keep the same running mileage!  I mean how hard can working out while being pregnant really be? It will just take a little will power and perseverance, that’s all.  I can totally be like those girls on the Fit Pregnancy, magazines with their super toned arms and legs and little baby bump.

IMG_4031

I could not have been MORE CLUELESS.

Hilarious what you don’t realize until you are physically growing a human.  I have a whole new respect for all the mamas out there who stay active AND for the ones who choose NOT to stay active.  Because I get it now. Growing a baby is hard freaking work. Not only did I not take into account the aches and pains that occur, but the constant (and sometimes totally irrational) fear of “is this okay for my baby?”.  Am I being selfish?

First trimester I kept pretty much the same workout routine.  Most weeks, I would do 3 days of Crossfit and 3 days of running.  The only differences were that I was overly cautious and EVERYTHING was slower, but I could still do most movements without feeling uncomfortable.

Weeks 15-22 have been interesting thus far.  I stopped doing full burpees, crunches, box jumps etc. things of that nature but I have continued crossfitting/lifting and just lowered  the weight depending on how I am feeling that particular day.  I do not follow the “do not lift more than 25 pounds” rule, with permission from my doctor.  But I am lifting considerably less than I would normally and will probably go down in weight even farther as I get bigger. I also ate a hot dog last week and it was delightful.  Please save the speech.

FullSizeRender-8

Running also depends on the day: some days I feel so great (minus the snail pace) and try to go at least 4-6 miles.  Other days, which happened a lot in weeks 19-21, I can barely make it 2 miles without feeling like my bladder is going to explode or feeling an insane amount of pressure in my abdomen as if I am going to give birth right then and there on the neighborhood trail. How’s that for an introduction? Hi neighbors!

In the last two weeks my belly has also popped significantly, which explains all the extra shooting aches and pains and the extra pressure.  So, I ordered a maternity belt and used it this week and it made such a difference!  I don’t think I have ever been so happy to make it 4 miles! As you can tell in the picture below, Wyatt was happy too.  I am hoping this will help me to continue running through my pregnancy, but we will see.  I did some swimming and spinning last week which caused me zero discomfort (except for being in a bathing suit ha!), so I may have to switch to that eventually.  But I have let go of this idea that I just HAVE to be one of those girls who runs until the day she delivers. If I can keep up a varied workout routine, I will be happy.

The inconsistency of how my body feels obviously makes trying to keep a routine kind of impossible, I literally wake up every morning and say “Okay body, what is it going to be today?”.

IMG_4042

Mentally, it has been hard for me to even want to workout when I cannot push myself as hard as I am used to.  I enjoy going all out and pushing past the pain and pushing past my comfort zone.  So quite frankly, I really don’t feel the satisfaction or endorphins I usually feel after workout out anymore which makes it difficult to stay motivated. None the less, I have been trucking along and doing it anyway.  I know it is good for me, helps me keep my ridiculous roller coaster of emotions in check and it is good for my baby. They are different motivating factors for me these days and I am okay with that.

4 1/2 months to go!

Stay blessed in the mess 😉