Thursday, July 31, 2014

If I Were To Create A Workout DVD...

Let's talk about this. Exercise. I hate it, ok? I really do. I hate prepping for it, I usually hate doing it, but I LOVE how I feel afterwards and it's good for me and essential for my mental well-being or whatever. This is the pits.

Also, I had a baby six months ago. Exercising is crucial, for many, many reasons. Sanity. Health. Self-care. Toning and tightening all of the areas. Fitting in jeans. Plus, I keep thinking that my attitude will one day miraculously change as I continue to work out and I'll be one of those perky (just one letter away from "pesky"...) people who just really loves everything about it. Holding on to that hope, hard.

But...this healthy lifestyle thing. SO hard.

I'm one of those people that eats a healthy snack and thinks "not enough chocolate. Or peanuts. Or nougat. I guess what I'm trying to say is, why isn't this a Snickers bar?"

I'm the kind of person that considers lacing up my shoes part of the workout. Didn't make it through the whole workout DVD today? No big deal. Shoes are on.
Didn't even start the DVD? No worries. Got the shoes on. Nailing it. Killed it. Might as well have ran 3 miles. Count it. Post on Facebook about how good it feels to work up a sweat.

Am I alone in this? It feels like getting the shoes on is the biggest hurdle in working out. I can be totally set to do my workout and then realize my shoes are ALL THE WAY upstairs and I'm like "well, that's a wrap. I gave it my best shot. I'll just eat my Snickers protein bar and call it even."

If I were to create a workout DVD, first of all, it wouldn't be a DVD. Because half of the problem is that you have to actually locate the DVD, turn on the DVD player, but the DVD in the player, navigate through, like, 15 menus, and THEN press play.

That right there is a workout. I do all of that and it's like "whew. I'm done. Time for a post-workout Snickers bar."

So my workout "DVD" would really be a digital format, so that you could easily pull it up on AppleTV or stream it from some device and launch it through the Cloud stratosphere straight to your living room screen. Or you know, however that works. I'm pretty sure that's accurate though.

Also, my workout program would have a countdown in the corner of the screen, so you can see how much you have left. You know how some workout DVDs have that? And you're all "25 more minutes...Ok. 25 more minutes. I can do that. 24 minutes 15 seconds. (huff puff) Ok. 24 minutes 15 seconds.

(stop looking at the countdown clock.)

(Look back at the countdown clock.)

"23 minutes 55 seconds. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! TIME HAS NEVER MOVED SO SLOW. NEVER. N.E.V.E.R. This workout won't end. It....will....not...end. I'm just going to go into child's pose for a while."

Child's pose. God bless child's pose. As long as we're talking about yoga, I have been known to forego my daily Beachbody T25 workout in favor of yoga for the very simple reason that my shoes are upstairs and yoga does not require shoes. Walking upstairs is an extra element of this workout that I did not sign up for, thankyouverymuch.

My workout program would probably also have a motivational countdown like "So far you have worked off...3 fun-size Snickers bars." And then as you progress through the workout, you work off more Snickers. So that finally at the end, little confetti cannons fire and it's like "ACHIEVEMENT: 1 King-Size Snickers bar worth of calories worked off!"
So you're like "Oh my gosh, I'm amazing. I worked off 1 King-Size Snickers bar. Which means....(pause for calculations) I can eat at least 2 fun-size bars and still have had a successful workout. Boom."
*Note that this would be a feature you could choose to turn on or off AND you could customize it to the following choices: Thin Mints. Donuts. Glasses of wine.

Finally, my workout program would contain substitution options. For example, say you've already done 2 loads of laundry, which means 2 trips up and down 2 flights of stairs with a heavy basket in you arms. Let's just call that 600 calories burned. So you'd have the option of inputting these types of daily activities before you started your workout...then the program would use a fancy algorithm to determine how long today's workout should be and what it should include. So let's say you've already done the dishes and loaded the dishwasher. Played with your baby. Walked the dog. You select these options and the program takes 20 minutes off the workout, just like that. Squat track removed. Dead-lifts reduced by 5 sets. Vacuumed the house already today? Forego today's workout entirely.  Enjoy those buns of steel, you champion. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ruminations on Motherhood

After nearly 6 months of this gig, here are some things I've discovered.

First, I have eaten more things off my shirt in the last 6 months than I have in my entire life. I don't know if it's because I'm eating one-handed, or rushing through eating, or if I've just really given up...but I find I am constantly dropping food on myself and then scooping it back up and putting it into my  mouth. Just this very morning, I sat down and immediately felt something a little...mushy...under my forearm. Upon further review, I discovered a piece of my plum tart sticking faithfully to my shirt. It's been a little while (minutes, not days...calm down) since I ate the original pastry. This guy was just a bonus bit. Scoop. Eat. Is this motherhood? Have I arrived? Oh the glamour. Shield your eyes from my brightness.

(My mother is horrified. Sorry, Mom. This is real life.)

Secondly, one of the BEST things that has happened to our home d├ęcor is pillow-covers. You know, for the throw pillows on your couch. A while ago I got annoyed with the fact that the pillows on our couch and chair were the same fabric as the couch and chair themselves, so I turned to the source of happiness in dark times...Pottery Barn. Even though I bought them on sale, I was a little bit horrified at the price. BUT NO MORE, MY FRIENDS. Those pillow covers were an investment. They have paid for themselves by now. You'll recall we have a Great Dane, one who has jowls that hang a few inches off her face, collecting slobber and various debris with the efficiency of fly-paper. You'll also recall we have a small child, one who drools and frequently spits up sour-smelling milk. I cannot even tell you what our couch, chair and pillows have been through. I don't even want to know. We bought a steam cleaner, ok? BUT, the beauty of the pillow cover is that every few weeks (read: when I sit down at the end of the day and smell sour milk and rule out my own clothes as the source) I just pull those puppies off and throw them in the washing machine. They come out fresh and clean and it brings me peace and joy. Invest in pillow covers, my friends. Save the pillows.
Also, this really makes me want to get slip covers, too. FOR EVERYTHING. Couch. Chair. Dining room table. Dog. Lamps. I just want to be able to strip my entire life and throw it into the washing machine, only to have it emerge smelling like Lavender Breeze and sans slobber/drool/plum-tart filling. And I also want the fairies to dust and vacuum while everything is being cleansed and purified. As I'm getting a massage. I'm a simple woman with humble needs.

Finally, I don't care how much gas costs, I will drive 1000 miles out of my way if that means Zoe gets a good nap in. "But Katie...gas prices are so high." "You monster!You're polluting the earth!" I know, I know. Please sent hate mail and certificates of failure directly to my email. I've already set up a "very important" filter for these messages...they go straight into my "READ IMMEDIATELY" folder. I like to keep them all together so I can delete in bulk. The thing is this: Zoe fights sleep so hard. So when she FINALLY succumbs to those heavy eyelids and we are a mere 10 minutes from arriving home, I have 2 options. 1) I can proceed directly on my usual route, pull into the driveway and watch those little eyes fly open the minute the car shuts off, then deal with a cranky, over-tired baby while also trying to put away groceries and make dinner.
2) I can take the long way home. There are so many "long way home" options. I can make this nap last 20 to 30 more minutes...40 if I get stuck behind a tractor. We will arrive home and those little eyes will fly open and we've just accomplished a successful nap, so a smiley, happy baby we have.

I choose Option 2. Every time. Even if I have to pee really bad.

This is a beautiful season, is it not?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lake Como and Venice, Italy

Pictures are worth a thousand words. So I'm posting a thousand pictures.

Basically, an amazing weekend away. Sunny. Hot. Beautiful. One of our favorites.

An alleyway in Bellagio on Lake Como

Our breakfast view

View from our hotel

2/3 Family photo. Zoe is in her carseat under the canopy

Our sweet little B&B on the water

Wandering around town on a cloudy afternoon

Ergo Carrier. The best baby-gear purchase EVER.

Afternoon in Menaggio



Happy traveler

Driving out
Right outside our hotel in Venice

Arm picture off the Rialto Bridge

Zoe adoring her daddy

One of our dinner spots

View from our hotel room. If you're heading to Venice and need a hotel recommendation, let me know!

Another family arm shot

Two cuties

Our last night

Our little trooper

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Road Tripping to Italy

This 4th of July weekend we took a road trip to Lake Como and Venice, Italy.

I took about a million pictures of both destinations, places so beautiful that they lead you to suspect you are, in fact, an amazing photographer.

But I think Z and I would agree that a huge part of what made this trip one of our favorites was the drive. And sadly, I could not capture that with pictures. And I think that even if I had tried, I would have just felt disappointed that the camera couldn't do justice to the magnificence we witnessed.

We took different routes on the way in and out, and both boasted some of the most amazing scenery we've seen thus far. The route in through the Alps was dramatic, remote and a little bit scary. It felt wild and raw and intense and as we weaved up and down these gigantic mountains I found myself thinking "what would happen if we had car trouble out here?". My nerves about the steep drop-offs and hairpin turns were mixed with absolute awe over the endless snow-covered peaks and countless waterfalls cascading hundreds of feet down the mountainsides into valleys dotted with villages that seemed miniature when viewed from so far above. I felt very, very small in our little white Honda as we drove through those mountains.

The drive back was equally impressive, although not as intense. The mountains were...friendlier, I think. There were more rolling green spaces dotted with farm houses. More scenic vistas. A little bit more civilization. Still beautiful and transfixing.

I let my mind wander and found that I was incredibly curious about what life looked like for the people who lived in the many valleys we passed or in houses perched precariously high up the side of a mountain. What did they do for a living? Had they always lived there? Were the stuck when a big snow falls in the winter? Where did they get their groceries? Had they ever even tasted Cheerios?!

And did they appreciate the view that they had or did the daily-ness of it dull the sense of awe? Did their breath still catch when the sun hit that peak just right? Did they still stop and stare on an especially clear day when all you could see were rows upon rows of mountains?

It is one of things I am most thankful for about this stage of our life: the opportunity to get in our car and see these things. Z and I talked a lot on our drive about how road-tripping around Europe holds different value than simply flying in, hitting a few spots, and flying out. As with any trip, you see and experience more when you are given the opportunity to make the journey part of the adventure, not just the destination. I know this isn't always the case with road trips...I would have given ANYTHING to fly to Ohio to visit my grandparents every year rather than endure 12 hours in the car. And I'm sure my parents felt the same way, but driving was obviously more affordable for our family of 5. But in this case, we're not talking a Georgia to Ohio trip, where the highlights are ... what? I don't even know. Probably McDonalds, at least for me at that stage in life.

Driving through the German, Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps is obviously a different story. I'm so glad we didn't fly over them, missing so much of their beauty.

Z and I both wished we could have pulled over many, many times to soak in the view and get some pictures. But I think in the end, we would have been disappointed that the pictures didn't do justice to what we saw. And some things are just better when they are savored and sacred and not interrupted with a well-orchestrated photo opportunity. We did pull over at one point, right before sunset, to try and capture just a hint of the ongoing panorama...and of course, I was saddened that the camera just couldn't grasp what our senses could.

This trip will definitely go down as one of our favorites. The beautiful drive, the gorgeous weather, the amazing destinations...which certainly made up for the fact that our little one screaming in teething-induced pain was the soundtrack that accompanied the visual feast of our road trip. It's important to share this information with you lest you romanticize our trip too much or have a false sense that we are having picture-perfect experiences all the time. Life is still life, no matter where you live or what you're experiencing. You take the good with the bad, my friends. You take the good with the bad.