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Challenge, Me, Pregnancy, These days

These Days | Mojo Rising

About a month ago, everything suddenly got worse, but that was the motivation I needed to get serious about getting better. I briefly considered finding a therapist, but then I remembered that talk therapy has never really helped me before and that we would be better off investing that time in trail therapy instead. So now, a couple of times a week, JK drops me off at a local trail to literally run off some steam on a five-mile loop while he takes Nora out on a dinner date or to run errands.

They like to send me motivational photos from their adventures, which gives me a bit of FOMO but I know I need to be out there.

Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016
Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016

It’s been so, so helpful. And I feel so much better. I get to walk (and even run, when the ol’ pelvis and this bladder-hugging fetus allow) fast enough to get that endorphin rush that I just can’t achieve on my toddler-led walks. I get to zone out to a podcast or delve deep into my thoughts. I get to feel connected to the world again by observing the changing of the seasons. I even get biology lessons, like when I came across these two canoodling slugs and learned that they weren’t eating some sort of alien life form – that blue blob is a tangle of slug penises! Oh, nature.

Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016

In addition to my solo adventures, we’ve gone on more wonderful hikes as a family. We’ve stuck mostly to the lowlands to look for chanterelles, but this past weekend we made it out into the mountains again (that one deserves a separate post)! I’m so thankful that my SPD is much mellower this time around – it’s still not at all comfortable, but it only gets really cranky if I pull a dumbass move like getting up while putting all my weight on one leg. I’m going to give myself credit for this one and claim that it’s because I lost a fair amount of weight pre-pregnancy, so there’s just less weight on my joints this time around. No matter what the reason, it means that I can hike 2000 feet of steep elevation gain, something that would have been impossible in the third trimester last time around. (Also, OMG THIRD TRIMESTER ALREADY WHERE IS THE TIME GOING.)

Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016
Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016
Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016

I’ve also finally starting eating better, moving back to the Fuhrmanesque diet I ate this winter when I felt so good, with extra focus on cruciferous vegetables in hopes that I can get some of the antidepressant effects of sulforaphane. Bring on the cabbage!

Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016
Autumn 2016 Autumn 2016

(Cabbage Rolls from Vegan Bowl Attack | Homemade pasta sauce with vegetables, arugula, and red lentil penne from Tolerant Foods | Mushroom Gravy Tempeh from the Green Cuisine cookbook with mashed cauliflower/potatoes, broccoli, and cabbage | ginormous serving bowl salad using the enchilada sauce from Veganomicon as the dressing)

Oh, and I switched out the contrast showers for straight-up cold showers – Ray Cronise mentioned a study that showed a five-minute cold shower could be as effective as an antidepressant. I haven’t even bothered to look up that study, because I tend to just trust whatever Ray Cronise says. It seems to be helping me sleep a little better too, so there’s that.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s working, but something definitely is, and it’s likely a mix of all these things (plus some work I’ve done to reframe my thoughts). I expect that things will keep going up and down, but that’s normal in life – I just need to keep working on preventing the downs from going too far or staying too long, especially in light of our ginormous upcoming life change.

Nora turns two 118
Layouts, Scrapbooking

Working on that baby album

One

Nora turned two on Friday! That was my impetus to finally make a scrapbook page about her first birthday. Heh. My scrapbooking mojo is finally returning now that the seasons are changing, and I want to spend the autumn filling out the most important missing bits and pieces of Nora’s album before another wee babby appears on the scene.

To help me keep things fresh (since I tend to fall back on my same old favorite designs), I’m following Jen Schow and Tracie Claiborne‘s sketches from their new class, Ready Sketch Go Volume 2.

One

I used scrap papers to make this page, and I couldn’t remember where I had originally used those papers until I saw the page this will go next to in the album – things I want to remember about Nora at one year old. It’s fate! Also, I am so glad I wrote all of those things down a year ago, because I had totally forgotten about most of them until I read this again. They change so fast, these little ones.

Remember This

Another recent addition to the album is this page that I made using Ali Edwards’ Food Circles – I grabbed the journaling from this post, it’s about how happy we were with baby-led weaning and introducing Nora to our family’s food culture.

Family Dinner

I have a glorious collection of your typical, adorable photos of baby-with-food-smeared-all-over-her-face/body/hair that really ought to go along with this page, so I think I’ll add them in a divided page protector like I did with the snowshoeing layout in this post. I want this album to be a good mix of layouts with stories, memorabilia (from the hospital and well visits with the pediactrician), and lots and lots of photos.

Detail

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Challenge, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Pregnancy

I did it

I’ve been trying to identify just why hiking hasn’t seemed appealing to me this summer, and I think it all boils down to that thing with depression that makes even the tiniest bump in the road look like an absolutely massive hurdle. We have to pack our gear. Drive to a trailhead. Hope and pray to the mountain gods that we’ll actually be able to find parking, because all the easily accessible trails are so damn crowded these days. Potentially endure a very loud, public tantrum if the young hiker in our crew refuses to ride in the carrier. Risk another injury like last month when that young hiker tripped and faceplanted onto a rock, chipping several teeth and knocking her front tooth loose. So it’s all just a mess of depression-induced anxiety (over minuscule things that must seem completely ridiculous to those who have never experienced this sort of mental state before) that makes me want to just stay home instead, because it would be so much easier.

Mirror Lake

…Except that I know, I know so well, that I need this. Hiking is a huge part of my identity, and I don’t feel quite like myself without it. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to just force myself out there. I needed to show myself that hey, traffic and crowds and loud car rides and toddler tantrums happen, and somehow life goes on.

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

But actually, it was the perfect day in the mountains with my family. Nora amused herself the entire drive by reading books and calling her grandparents on her pretend phone, we pulled into the trailhead with lots of parking spots to spare, Nora was easily coaxed into the carrier with the help of bunny crackers, no one got hurt, and we spent a very, very long lunch break on the little beach by Mirror Lake. We swam, we found excellent sticks and several frogs, we munched on sooo many huckleberries, and Nora was convinced that the peaks above the lake were “man and woman hugging and singing Lava” from her favorite song.

Mirror Lake Mirror Lake

So this was what I spent an entire month avoiding. Harrumph.

Mirror Lake

Since I have now decided that it is fall (because I’m more than ready to see the ass end of this particular season). this ended up being our only mountain hike this summer. And I’m surprisingly okay with that. I’m sure we’ll get out on some autumn hikes, and I’m also sure that the mountains will still be there next year, when I will hopefully be feeling better and have the mental fortitude to adventure with two tiny humans. Gulp.

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

2016stor
Baby

Growing

I really, really love Facebook’s On This Day feature. It lets me relive old backpacking trips, realize just how many migraines I used to have before I stopped eating gluten (and cringe at how much I used to whine about them on social media), and swoon over old baby photos of Nora. And every August 25, I think we’ll have to try to recreate this photo. Aaaaw.

2014 bump | 2015 baby | 2016 toddler and bump.

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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.

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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