This summer…

This summer, I spent time outside nearly every day, taking my kids to the park, the library, the splash pad, swimming lessons, or wherever. Last summer I was stuck inside a lot, looking out the window a lot, nursing my fussy, red-faced newborn, and I was super sad and wanting to go outside but also really self-conscious of my face, since I had just gotten Bell’s Palsy, so also felt maybe it was just as well, except there was nothing well about it.

This summer, I flew on an airplane with both kids by myself and I survived, and though I know it was the longest 4ish hours of my life, many of the details are a blur. I know the guy next to me said, “That wasn’t bad at all!” when we landed. He was a kind man and he was happy to hold Lady Bug, my one-year old, whenever I needed another pair of hands, so I can’t complain about that, but I was thinking, “Maybe from where you were sitting.”

This summer, I gave away some baby things, like a baby swing, a bouncy seat, some random newborn diapers, and a baby tub and man, it felt good.

This summer, I decided I would have to be crazy to want another baby. I always thought it might be nice to have three, but now that we have two, I’m fine thank you very much.

This summer, neighbors moved in directly behind us who have a three-year old girl. The conversations shouted over the fence between my 3 year old and theirs are ridiculous and funny and cute and riddled with non-sequitors and I’m sure that if I wrote them down, word for word, I would always have something to smile about when I found that random piece of paper folded up in a drawer or wherever, but I’m always grilling or hanging laundry when they happen, so I never do.

This summer, I read Judy Blume’s latest novel, “In the Unlikely Event” and while it was not the greatest book of all time, it was pretty good, it had me turning the pages long past my bedtime, and it took me back to when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old, reading and re-reading my copies of “Are You There God It’s Me Margaret,” “Deenie,” and “Tiger Eyes” because Judy Blume’s voice is still the same after all these years, and I am still the same after all these years, too.

This summer, three people asked me if I had stopped blogging because they hadn’t noticed any new posts in their Facebook feed or their inbox and I felt bad because I didn’t ever intend to take a hiatus, life just sort of got in the way, but I also felt good because some people beside my mom missed hearing from me.

This summer, I rocked a bikini even though my body doesn’t look like it used to and my sister asked me, “Is my stomach going to look like that after I’ve had two babies!?” “That” is the loose skin around my navel and I don’t know if hers will or won’t so I told her that and she said, “I’ve never seen that before” and I said, “That’s because tankinis.” I think probably a lot of women have some elephant-like skin around their navel after a pregnancy or two but all the magazines say you should be ashamed to have a stomach that looks like that and so you need to cover that shit up. Sometimes I’m a little self-conscious about my stomach, which is when I wear this (eg the best one piece ever and Garnet Hill has paid me nothing to say this, but Garnet Hill, you totally can if you want), but sometimes I wear a two piece and it’s my silent “fuck you” to all the magazines. Also, my tummy deserves to get some sun.

This summer, I biked my girls to the farmers market on a day that Dan went for a hike in a remote area, and when I went to lock up the bike, I couldn’t find my keys. So I decided I would have to leave the bike by our blanket and just hang out with the bike all morning, which was suboptimal, but what choice did I have, except after we spread out the blanket I realized my phone was missing. So I kind of panicked but I couldn’t show it because of my kids. I never saw my mom panic. Well, once I did, and it was because my grandfather passed out dinner, but I handled it because by then I was an adult, too, and I knew what to do.  I stopped a stranger while retracing my steps, and when I started to explain the situation, I almost cried, because she was the first grown-up I was telling this to, and I am prone to crying when I’m overwhelmed, and she was happy to let me borrow her phone so I could at least email the friend I was supposed to meet because I didn’t know her number and then the kind stranger said, “Have you called your phone?” and I said, “You’re a genius!” so I called my phone and someone answered and said my phone and keys were together at the Farmer’s Market info booth and I was so happy I could have cried.

This summer isn’t over yet, which I’m really happy about.

Ironman Boulder: The View From the Sidelines

I spectated the Boulder Ironman triathlon this weekend. I stood on the grassy edge of the paved path where the athletes ran a marathon under the unrelenting late afternoon sun. Some of the runners had a spring in their step, most were shuffling, and more than a few were walking. An ironman is comprised of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. I probably don’t need to explain that by the time you start the marathon, you’re tired.

I watched, cheered, smiled, clapped, rang my cowbell, and offered the athletes fist bumps and high fives, in between wrangling my toddler and retreating to my lawn chair to nurse the baby in the shade. I needed only a quick glance at an athlete’s gait and facial expression to determine what kind of race he or she was having.

I needed no more than a couple of hours of spectating to know I have no desire to cross the finish line of an ironman again.

In 2006, I spectated an ironman for the first time. It was inspiring to me. I was in awe of the athletes. I considered the discipline required to carve out the time to train. I imagined what it would be like to have a goal so unimaginably big that I would be motivated to prepare for it out of fear just as much as desire. I remembered I’d promised my friend that I would sign up for the ironman if she did (and she did). I cheered those athletes on from the sidelines on that July day and knew that I wanted to be doing what they were doing. At 8:50 the next morning, I sat in a Starbucks with a borrowed laptop and my credit card, obsessively refreshing the race’s web page until the 9 o’clock hour finally came and registration opened up. I yearned, then, to focus my energy on a project that I could chip away at and eventually conquer.

I yearn, now, for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

I yearn for other things, too. I want to finish the home birth book. I want to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. I want to become a kinder, more patient person, if only so that Sweet Pea and Lady Bug can have a better role model. I want to stop being afraid to admit that I really want to be a writer and commit to it. I would like to do the Triple Bypass someday and I want to visit the rocky beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Also, I want to read everything on my “To Read” shelf on Goodreads and check everything off my to-do list.

I do not want to do another ironman.

In 2006, the fear of not being ready for race day got me up in the morning, often as early as 5am. Now, the sound of the baby snuffling in search of a breast gets me up, often earlier than 5 am. I used to daydream about the race announcer bellowing, “Pam Sinel, you are an ironman!” Now I daydream about how “Pam Moore” will look on the cover of a book. I used to think the most efficient bike workout was a series of hill repeats. Now I think the most efficient bike workout is a spin to the library with a kid in the Burley trailer.

I used to think an ironman was the most grueling, rewarding test of endurance I would voluntarily undertake. Now I know that motherhood and marriage are the most challenging, joyous feats of endurance I have ever signed up for.

The red Ironman logo sticker I proudly affixed on my Jetta the day after Ironman Lake Placid 2007 has since faded to pale pink, then to light orange, only to eventually dry up and peel off. In it’s place is a discolored, textured patch of paint in the shape of a perfect oval. I wish the sticker hadn’t left such an ugly mark, but these days, I usually take the minivan anyway.


Year in Review: 2013

January: Spend a week in Kona with Dan and Sweet Pea. Pack all three of us in one suitcase. Do not bother to brag about this on Facebook but probably should. Highlights of trip include scoring a free empty seat for Sweet Pea on the flight out, hiking down Pololo Valley, eating at Sushi Rock, unplugging (mostly) for an entire week, dinner at Brown’s Beach House, and the nice lady from Aloha Nannies.

February: Celebrate Sweet Pea’s first birthday. All grandparents, one aunt and one uncle and about 40 friends are present to celebrate. Feel this is the last time we will attempt to feed 40 people without hiring a caterer.

March: Sweet Pea starts to walk. Currently feeling a bit brain dead re: this being only distinct memory from March.  Must resign self to having become what I used to loathe; type of woman who, when asked what is new, gives an update on her offspring.

April: Can’t remember anything noteworthy from April. Must also resign self to having become type of woman who blames poor memory and general mental dullness on motherhood.

May: Boulder’s Listen To Your Mother Show a smashing success. Feel proud to have co-produced this amazing event.  Get a mani/pedi with my mother the day before the show; also momentous. PR in ten mile distance albeit unofficially due to failure to read any of about a dozen emails stating packet pickup would not be on race morning. (See above, re: general mental dullness)

June: Attempt family camping trip and fail; end up at a motel. Travel to Rhode Island for fabulous long visit. Stay at parents’ beach house almost entire time without luxuries of wi-fi or tv which is actually a luxury all on it’s own. Freak out about weaning but do it anyway. Turns out to be not as big of a deal as anticipated. (See also: everything else I’ve ever stressed about).

July: Traveled to Chicago for BlogHer conference without Sweet Pea or breast pump. Newfound freedom reminiscent of being 17 and going away to college only without the awkwardness and insecurity re: being an adolescent.

August: Attempt family camping trip and achieve success. Get first period ever since before getting pregnant with Sweet Pea.  Feel simultaneously relieved and slightly annoyed. Am again reminded of adolescence except am now fully comfortable using tampons.

September: Mark date of likely arrival of period in planner in secret code. (In case planner is confiscated by fertility spies, obviously). Take pregnancy test on said date which is negative. Feel stupid for having hoped. Take another test three days later, which is faintly positive. Feel faintly excited. Take four more faintly positive tests. Discuss meaning of possibly ambiguous results only with select experts such as sister and certain girlfriends who took a lot of pregnancy tests because promised Dan to keep it on the down low for now.

October: Dress up as Mad Men’s Joan Holloway for Halloween. Feel so sexy with large balloons for tatas and signature gold pen on a necklace but realize am about four years too late at Halloween party where no one except one person spontaneously understands costume. Leave party while other guests still arriving. Want to punch said guests in face for nonchalant attitude re: luxury of sleep schedule not being dictated by a toddler yet acknowledge the decision to procreate had nothing to do with them.

November: Feel human again and realize intense fatigue of previous two months was not result of freaky-energy-sucking ways of evil fetus but rather everyday first trimester fatigue.  Summon energy to make pregnancy Facebook Official.

December: Travel with Sweet Pea to visit sister and her new baby. Sweet Pea is enchanted with newborn. Am relieved to see how much she adores the baby. Am astounded by how long it takes to do nothing and everything with a tiny baby. Am further astounded by how easily and quickly all the hard parts of having an infant evaporated from my brain. Also, attend 10th annual Hannukah bar crawl. Reflect on difference between experience of bar crawl as a single 20-something, getting loaded and trolling for guys, versus current year’s experience as a pregnant married lady drinking mostly water and one Guiness with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Despite personal changes am still known among bar crawl crowd  as The Girl Who Ate the Chicken Wing and to set the record straight, in a bar in Harvard Square in 2007 I did not ask strangers for a random chicken wing; rather I was welcomed- no, urged- to take said chicken wing, which is why I ate it.

2013: From this…..

Char 11 mo in kitchenIMG_2294IMG_2267

To this

Hannukah me and Sweet Peamom sweet pea henry 2013Sweet Pea and doll xmas 2013Me at 17 weeks pregnant with baby #2, December 2013Dan and Sweet Pea Dec 2013