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Challenge, Life, These days

These Days: Embracing the Mundane

(This post is going to be kind of all over the place, sort of like my brain right now.)

It’s time for a little update from the trenches – I want to share what’s helping me in case it could help someone else. I’m finally sleeping better after I started taking contrast showers again (basically switching between warm and cold water, ending on cold) and decreasing my evening liquid consumption (this really should have occurred to me sooner, but I never claimed I was very bright). JK and Nora dragged me out on a couple of walks last week, and this week I promised myself I would go for at least one every day. Crying a little bit less. Still eating way too much chocolate, because it’s really hard to not treat myself when I feel like this.

Yesterday a friend encouraged me to look closely at all the different thought processes in my head right now, all the little negative, ruminating thoughts that are causing all sorts of anxiety and general malaise. I wrote them all down, all those ugly thoughts, and it was incredibly helpful to see them listed out like that. It let me see those thoughts a bit more objectively, and come up with some concrete steps I can take that might help counteract and disprove them. Even just feeling that I have a plan has made me feel a little more confident and…more positively inclined again.

And while I can clearly see that it’s worrisome that I’ve seemingly totally lost interest in my favorite hobby, hiking (but one part of my action plan is to force myself to go out on a real hike anyway and just see what happens), the good news is that I’m still able to notice and appreciate happy little moments throughout my days. This means I haven’t quite hit full-blown depression yet, which should give me a healthy chance of getting out of this hole reasonably quickly. I’ve talked about this before, how important it is to fully take in all those little beautiful little parts of your life, and I am fully embracing that now (and hoping to crowd out those negative thoughts in the process).

This quote really resonated with me, and I think it’ll be a good one to keep in mind in the upcoming years of domesticity when our life might feel a little small but will actually be pretty damn big.

In the name of economy, of time or capital, we have outsourced to others those key activities that define the day-to-day. Don’t want to make lunch? Buy a Lunchable. Don’t want to help your kids with algebra? Hire a tutor. But what is life if not the day-to-day? Sunsets in Nicaragua and family vacations in the Canadian Rockies are spectacular, but if that’s what we’re waiting around for, what is the point of a Wednesday evening? The tasks we have decided to label mundane – as tasks! – are that which accumulate into relationships and memories. Cooking dinner or helping your kids with homework.

Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble

In the spirit of all of this, here are some things I’m loving right now:

Nora is not a fan of napping, even when she’s in desperate need of one, but lately I’ve been able to bribe her into taking naps by promising her that she can eat a baked potato when she wakes up. She used to not even like potatoes, which made me worry that there was some sort of mixup at the hospital since this simply could not be my child, but now she loves them to the point where she’ll take a glorious 1.5 hour nap and wake up super happy, yelling “BAKED POTATOOOO” the second I walk in the door to get her. Loving this while it lasts.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium cleaning products. This has been my favorite late summer/early autumn scent since I discovered them in 2009, and it gives me happy little flashbacks from seasons of yore. It makes doing the dishes feel downright delightful.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

Evenings on the deck, especially now that we’ve lined it with mosquito-repelling plants and herbs. And Nora loves eating said herbs throughout the day, which is good, because they’re basically greens, right?

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

The way the Powerline Trail smells like ripe blackberries right now.

My early autumn tunes. Every year around this time, I obsessively listen to The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond and the Ride the Divide soundtrack, but currently I’m also playing the new Head and the Heart and Bastille singles on repeat.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016
Summer 2016 Summer 2016
Summer 2016 Summer 2016

Cooking! I’ve been trying out a bunch of new recipes lately (JK and Nora were both big fans of Oh She Glows‘ African Peanut Stew), but this time of year I always come back to Daily Garnish’s Blackened Tofu and, my favorite, homemade pasta sauce. We planted our garden late this year so we don’t have any tomatoes yet, but at the Saturday market in our town, you can usually buy big bags of cosmetically challenged ‘maters that are perfect for sauces. I also just bought Vegan Bowl Attack and everything in it looks so amazing that I’m thinking of testing two recipes a week from it as a project for a little while. Thankfully Nora is really good at playing independently while I cook, either playing with her Duplo excavator and Peppa Pig figures or drawing on the little blackboard we have in the kitchen, so I can usually find time to make fuds during the day.

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Going to the market as a family outing every Saturday, loading up on juicy donut peaches and fresh flowers. Sometimes there’s live music and Nora gets to show off her dance moves. If I ask Nora “It’s Saturday, what should we do today?” she’ll say (in Norwegian) “The market! Nora in the wagon! Buy peaches tomatoes flowers! Pappa and Nora eat PIZZAAA!” and like all parents before me, I’m amazed by the fact that my baby is now a walking, talking human. She’s talking so much, stringing longer and longer sentences together every day…but my favorite words are still the ones she mispronounces, like “zimmie!” (smoothie) and “wassermomo” (watermelon).

My Born Wild mug.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

My new planner from inkWELL Press. I totally don’t need a planner since I’m a stay-at-home-mom (emphasis on the stay-at-home), but I’m finding it really helpful for keeping track of all my little goals and for jotting down random rambly thoughts and cute things Nora says. (Plus it’s just really pretty.)

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

The way Nora climbs on top of me, melts into my body in the perfect cuddle, and asks me to sing to her. I don’t even mind singing the same song (she usually requests a Norwegian Christmas song) six times in a row, because it’s just snuggle perfection.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Nuff said.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

Baby movement! So much! An almost worrisome amount compared to last time, which makes me think that Little Sis won’t be a chillaxed late walker like her Big Sis.

Summer 2016 Summer 2016

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Challenge, Life, Pregnancy

Missing Mojo

I’ve been having a hard time getting back into the swing of things. Mostly because the trio of regular insomnia, pregnancy insomnia (damnit, bladder!), and jetlag have ganged up on me to make me feel utterly exhausted in a way I haven’t felt since the newborn days. But I also just really got out of the groove this spring when morning sickness hit. We were in such a good place back then, I was so energetic and Nora and I had an awesome routine and lots of fun together…and then suddenly I started puking 20-30 times a day and we had to get Nora into part-time daycare because I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone a toddler.

Now I’m not puking anymore, but I’m left feeling totally wiped and unmotivated. I can’t tell if pregnancy is kicking my ass way harder this time around or if I just need to get a grip and start taking better care of myself again. At 23 weeks with Nora I felt amazing and was still trail running! Now I can barely get out the door for a walk on the Powerline Trail a couple times a week. The hikes we’ve tried to go on since returning home have been foiled for various reasons…but the truly worrying thing is that *insert horrified emoji face* I kind of don’t even want to go hiking right now. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know what a lack of movement does for my mental state.

So yeah, I’m stuck in a vicious cycle and I want to get out of it. I feel no need to be running up summits right now, I’m actually very content with our quiet little life here in town, but I just want to have the energy to start enjoying all the little things again. This will likely be my last pregnancy, because there’s just no way I can be that sick again with two kids to take care of, and I want to savor the experience instead of spending each day counting down the hours until I can go back to bed. I’m descending into the dreaded dumps, and it’s important that I nip this in the bud before it spirals into something more sinister, especially given the huge life change we’re about to have.

I’ve done this before, I’ve climbed out, and I know what helps at this stage. I need to:

(a) exercise, outside
(b) set tiny little achievable goals
(c) notice and appreciate the little things/live in the moment/be here now etc etc
(d) eat like I give a damn
(e) try to not feel guilty about the 5,736 things I’m feeling guilty about

Another thing that might sound weird but totally helps for me is to blog more. I think it’s because I tend to become even more of a hermit than usual during times like these, and writing a blog is a tiny little lifeline that keeps me connected to others, even if it’s just via the internets. So I will do that too.

These all sound pretty obvious and straightforward, but anyone who has ever dealt with depression knows that something as simple as walking the dog can turn into a Herculean task. This isn’t going to be easy, but that’s the way life goes.

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Hiking, Me, Pregnancy, TNAB

Date Night TNAB

This spring, I was in the best shape of my life – so far – and when the babysitters, uhm, I mean my parents came to visit in April, I knew I wanted to spend one of my rare date nights with JK hiking with the Thursday Night Afterburners.

I had spent the winter killing my quads and my lungs on the Cable Line Trail on Tiger Mountain, so I was a little bummed when I heard that the week’s scheduled hike was going to be…the Cable Line Trail on Tiger Mountain. But hey, I do kind of love that trail (in a hateful sort of way), plus we were adding some extra summits with actual views, and there would be a sunset and lots of people I like, so who am I to complain.

TNAB West Tiger 3-2-1

I was also 7 weeks pregnant, and if I remember correctly, this was the very last day I actually felt reasonably okay before the worst of the morning sickness began. So it was good timing after all.

TNAB West Tiger 3-2-1 7 Weeks

Being pregnant meant I couldn’t go all out up that hill, but it was nice to just put my headphones in, turn on a podcast, and mosey on up at a comfortable pace for once. Even so, it was my fastest pace ever at a TNAB, and probably the only TNAB where I haven’t felt like I was going to keel over and die.

TNAB West Tiger 3-2-1

The company was excellent, as always, and seeing Mount Rainier adorned with alpenglow really is a rare treat for us these days.

TNAB West Tiger 3-2-1

It’s a little strange to look back on how strong I was back then from my current vegetative state on the couch. I had signed up for a couple of races this spring and summer, mainly to have them as consolation prizes in case infertility struck again, but we lucked out this time! I was too sick to race, but who cares. We have another baby on the way! And since I got into this kind of shape once, that means I can definitely do it again.

Trail time is invaluable me-time, something I didn’t do a good enough job prioritizing in the months after Nora was born. Come next winter, when I’ll have two kids at home, getting some me-time will be a must.

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Hiking, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Grandparents in Paradise

(I’m starting this blog post at 10:30 in the morning and NORA IS STILL ASLEEP, so at least one of us is over her jetlag and is catching up on lost zzz. The other is chugging as much coffee as pregnancy allows.)

Snowshoeing with grandma and grandpa

It feels kind of wrong to be writing about this trip in July, but since we haven’t quite hit those sweltering summer highs yet here in Seattle, I’ll take us back to the April snow on Mount Rainier.

I go for a Paradise snowshoe at least once a year, whether it’s a magical November jaunt above the clouds, a hike up to see the climbers’ basecamp at Camp Muir, or a freezing cold date with a new friend.

Snowshoeing with grandma and grandpa

Last year, we brought lil’ baby Nora for a very successful picnic at Glacier Vista, and this spring we wanted to repeat that success with the grandparents in tow. They had made their snowshoeing debut at Gold Creek Pond when they visited over Christmas, and apart from some grumbling about having to walk “straight uphill”, I think they enjoyed this outing too.

Paradise with the grandparents

Nora, however, was angry in a way only toddlers can be right off the bat. We figured it was just because she had missed her nap, but then we realized that it was because she did not in any way want to be in the carrier – she wanted to sliiiiide down the magical snow!

Snowshoeing with grandma and grandpa

So once we stopped at a spot that allowed for a relaxing lunch with a view for the adults while still providing a little hill where our little glissader could go crazy, she was very very happy.

Paradise with the grandparents

I can’t wait ’til she tries skiing!

Paradise with the grandparents

(Okay, now it’s 11 and Nora is STILL ASLEEP. This oughta make up for the fact that she was up for 19 hours straight when we flew home from Europe.)

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

Layout Share

I have so much to share from the past few months, but since we just returned from a trip to Norway and England and I have been awake since 2 am thanks to jet lag and the return of raccoons nesting under our deck and I have no brain power but am desperately trying to stay up at least another hour or so and am obviously writing even longer run-on sentences than normal and am probably not making much sense, I am just going to share some scrapbook pages for now.

Check
AE

These were all made for Ali Edwards’ Creative Team, because she was the only one who could motivate me to scrapbook through morning sickness. For reals. First up: documenting JK’s volcano climbs. I joined him on Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams, but he added Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier to complete all five Washington volcanoes. That deserves a scrapbook page!

Wild
AE

Next is a gushy page about Nora, our greatest adventure so far. Aaaww.

TNAB
AE

Back when I put together my hiking/memoir album, I wrote a list of must-make layouts, and TNAB was at the top of that list. We may not be TNABing much these days, but we have a lot of good memories from those tipsy evening summits.

Born to hike
AE

This one documents Nora’s transition from womb-dwelling hiker via various carriers to her current status as a legit biped. (She even hikes with a BACKPACK, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever.)

Our life looks like this
AE

I participated in Ali’s Day in the Life in April (egads, I just realized that I failed to include a date on this page!) but instead of making a mini album, I just made a spread that will go in Nora’s album. I definitely want to make more of these as our lives and routines change.

Hello Vacation
AE

This last one is from my birthday trip to Hood Canal, a last-minute adventure that ended up being one of my favorite vacations ever. Seriously, it’s right up there with St. John! Therefore it deserves a spread in the vacation album, even though it was only a weekend trip.

Now I will attempt to make friends with Pacific Standard Time and hopefully return with exciting tales of nauseous hiking and growing bellies (is it chocolate? is it a fetus?) at some point when I start feeling vaguely human again.