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Monday, October 18, 2010

Juggling Chaos

That is my life these days. Juggling what is inevitable chaos. I thought of using the word controlling the chaos, but I'm not even sure that I'm that lucky these days. :) Basically, I'm trying to manage the many, many balls I have flying up in the air at the moment.

Ball 1: Baby

Yes, this is a big one! He is one of three of the sweetest, most precious babies ever, but he is definitely an incredible amount of work. I would not describe him as an easy baby. Sweet, adorable, precious... yes, but not easy. He doesn't nap for much longer than 30 minutes at a time, and does not like to be set down for much more than 15 minutes at a time. That makes for a lot of hip time with mommy. He isn't one to entertain himself either. Toy bars, play mats, and mobiles, are just not near as interesting as someone speaking directly to him. And as much as I love being his most favorite person in the world, it does come with a cost that means he prefers me to anyone else and therefore daddy and other's can only accommodate him for short periods of time. He still likes to eat every 2 hours typically despite the fact that he gets cereal now twice a day, and he absolutely refuses to take a bottle of any kind, so my time away from him is very limited. He does however sleep very well at night, getting up to eat generally only once, so that is worth a lot of trouble on the flip-side. :)

Ball 2: Cooper and Gracie

Though they are in school for most of the day, what comes afterwards is a lot of work. We spend every afternoon each week at either ballet, gymnastics, soccer, or some other activity except for Wed. and Friday afternoon. That means that from the moment they walk in the door until bedtime, it is go, go, go. We're talking snacks, loading everyone and all necessary supplies in the car (this is WAY more difficult than it sounds), fitting in activities, homework, dinner, playtime, baths, stories, and packing everything up for school the next day. And keeping up with everything that is going on at school is work in and of itself. I'm not sure if it's just our school or if this is just the way that school is these days, but it is difficult keeping up with items I'm supposed to send in, events I've volunteered for, and even special colors they're supposed to wear to school. I know that a lot of that I could just not worry about, but they worry about it. And my being there for special events and remembering to dress them in red for Red Ribbon Day is important to them, so I make it important for me.

Ball 3: The Dogs

Lately, I've been feeling like a really bad doggy-mom. I don't walk them nearly as often as I should. I have been late a few times recently on their heart worm pills. Lucy has become our middle-child. We say she has middle-child syndrome. She likes Cohen, but she's definitely jealous of him. When we have visitors, they must pay attention to her first before visiting with the baby. Trust me, she makes sure of it. :) Rocky, well, he just wants to be fed. I love them both dearly, but they've been driving me crazy. We live on a street full of children and they bark at every little thing that moves by. This is I'm sure a contributing factor as to why Cohen probably only naps 30 min at a time.

Ball 4: The house

Honestly, I don't know how other mother's work outside of the home. I spend so much time cleaning, it is ridiculous. Yet, I swear my house is always a mess. The laundry, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, paying bills, running the errands, it may be cliche to say, but it is seriously a full-time job. Doing all of it with a 3 1/2 month old clinging to you non-stop makes it all the more difficult.

Ball 5: Workouts

I'm enjoying being back to working out, but it's hard working up the energy sometimes with everything else I have going on. Running isn't a problem with my handy-dandy jogger and the possibility of going to the gym, which makes swimming plausible a couple times a week as well, but biking is more difficult. Cohen's no where near hanging out long enough for me to ride my trainer for any decent amount of time, and until he can go a whole lot longer than 2 hours or so between feedings, an outdoor ride is no where in the near future. But, I have to keep reminding myself that I'm NOT training right now. Honestly, all I want to do right now is lose weight. If you told me that clogging would take off this baby weight, I'd devote all of my time to that, because despite the working out that I have been doing, my weight is barely moving. I seriously don't get it. How can I go from bed rest and McDonald's twice a day to working out 5-6 days/week with a day or two doing 2 workouts during the day and eating pretty healthy, and lose only like 1/2 lb every 10 days or so?? And breastfeeding isn't helping either. All I know is I'm so stinking frustrated about this I'm close to losing my mind. I'm fat and have no clothes that fit me. I'm working my butt off and even taking the time to try to prepare healthy meals, and am seeing no real results from it yet. The weight is going to have to give soon or I'll be participating in the grapefruit diet or something! That can not be pretty. :)

Ball 6: The hubby
Unfortunately, when life gets complicated and crazy, Adam tends to be the last priority on the list. But it's of course important to be sure our relationship doesn't get too neglected. Fortunately, Grandma Peggy is around whenever we need her. Even if it is for a quick dinner out. :) And that means certain things that some other's may find easy to eliminate stay on this to-do-list in our lives. As strange, and maybe even bad as it may be, prime time t.v. time is "our" time. So even if that means staying up later than I should sometimes, cuddle time on the couch is a must!

So this is my day to day. It's stressful and sometimes a little overwhelming, but I wouldn't change a thing. Everything on this list is my world, and I just want to spend each day perfecting it. And one day when all of these things are finally under control it will be time again to do Ironman!! :) HA!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A New Beginning

If you have followed me in life over the past several years, you know that blogging definitely was not high on my priority list for awhile. :) I created a blog after competing in Ironman Florida in 2007 because it seemed like a great way to "meet" and communicate with others who shared my passion of triathlon, and the response I received was amazing! I've loved communicating with and sharing experiences with others from all over the country, and I feel that I've made some real friends through my blog.

From late 2007-2008 I enjoyed blogging about my experiences as a mother, wife, triathlete and ultimately a coach! It was fun and a community in which I felt I was a part of a group. However, beginning the 2009 season I found myself burnt-out and tired, which was not a good position to be in as I had planned on making that my biggest triathlon season yet competing in Ironman Wisconsin and Ironman Florida. In addition to my already somewhat depleted spirit and body, I experienced one of my most difficult moments in life ever in February of 2009. My father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.

Initially I was of course stricken with grief. Losing a parent is an incredibly difficult and complicated process. I believe that it affected me in ways that I wasn't even fully aware of at the time and may still not be. Life continues to move forward, even without our loved ones, and I attempted to continue with my life at that time as planned. However, Ironman training is exceptionally taxing on one's life. It places a great amount of stress on your mind, body, family, etc. and that is when you have no real additional stress to add to the equation. It requires a great amount of support from your family, job, friends. You pretty much need to have all your ducks in a row before embarking on an Ironman training plan. :) And heading into a 2 Ironman season while dealing with a widowed mother, changing family dynamics, and a heavy heart is definitely not an ideal equation. Therefore I spent the season ill, injured, and mentally not in the game. I pushed myself to the starting line of Ironman Wisconsin, but at too much of a cost and found myself unable to finish the race. My first DNF, and it saddens me to this day. I was prepared to have a decent day physically, but mentally was not there. I realize that now. From there I pretty much checked out completely and when I found myself ill yet again in October, I made the decision to end my season early and withdraw from the Ironman Florida race. This proved to be one of my best decisions to date.

Upon making the decision to take a real break from training for a bit, I began to reevaluate other aspects of my life. Adam and I had always pondered the question of a third child. At times I very much wanted another, and at other times (typically when the two I already had were driving me crazy :) I thought there was no way. However, I began really questioning the issue at that time because with an already 5 and 6 year old, I felt like time was approaching to make a final decision on this issue. In that month of October 2009, Adam and I had decided to really think things over. Well, life has a way at times of figuring things out for itself, and it was in that month that I became pregnant with our third child! Something that would not have happened had I decided to proceed with the IM Florida plans, and so I am beyond grateful for being led in the right direction.

I was excited to be expecting again of course! My first two pregnancies had their own share of difficulties. Cooper was brought about to some degree through fertility measures and therefore I was exceptionally cautious as far as exercise was concerned with his pregnancy. I became pregnant with Gracie only 8 weeks after delivering Cooper and decided to be cautious with her as well with the suddenness between the two. So I wasn't one of those "fit, cute" pregnant mamas with them if you know what I mean. :) I had visions of being just that this time around, and once again I realized that sometimes life has plans of its own.

My third pregnancy ended up being the most difficult of them all. I began the pregnancy up 10 lbs from my IM Wisconsin weight. Coming off of the race with a DNF I was hungry and somewhat depressed and so chocolate and french fries were part of my daily staples. :) As soon as I became pregnant I experienced some horrible morning sickness. And it unfortunately lasted for 22 LONG weeks! I tried to exercise when I could. I ran a few times and walked some. I remember swimming once, but wasn't really a fan. I guess because it was my 3rd child my stomach popped from the moment the plus sign showed up and made exercising even that more difficult. Once the morning sickness finally wore off, I was enormous and started having some difficulties. For whatever reason every time I would walk, even easily, I would experience bleeding. So the Dr's said no more exercising. By 28-29 weeks I started having blood pressure issues and was on some form of bed rest from 30 weeks on. I swelled like a beached whale and packed on pounds at a rate I didn't think possible. By 37 weeks I had developed a mild form of pre-eclampsia, I was on full bed rest, and had gained a whopping 80lbs since towing that starting line at IM WI just 10 months earlier!! Good thing I deliver all of my children early and my new sweet baby was born at 37 weeks.

Cohen James Mills was born on July 4th weighing 7lbs, 4oz. He is the final puzzle piece that completes our Mills family. :)

So that in a longer version that I intended of course sums up my life during my blogging absence. I consider myself for the most part to be a very happy person, and when I was struggling with really difficult times in life and there weren't happy things to write about I just didn't feel like writing at all.

But now I feel like all of that is behind me! I'm still of course saddened by my father's absence daily, but time has proven to help me move beyond those initial stages of grief and to make him a presence in my life in other ways. Cohen has brought new energy to my life as well, which brings me to an entirely new phase. One that I'm beyond excited about!

It's been 3 months since Cohen's birth, and I have an incredible journey ahead of me. :) I ran 3 miles today at an avg pace of 11:30 min/mile and was thrilled! This believe it or not is a huge improvement from even 5 days ago, so I accepted it as the success that it was. It sure is a far cry from where I left off, but I know that I will get back to where I was + meet new PRs. And more importantly I have so many wonderful experiences to look forward to with Cohen and Cooper and Gracie as we begin the journey of raising another baby and doing so with older children as well.

And so 2 years ago it was my goal to be the best mother, wife, coach, and triathlete that I could possibly be. Now, that is the same goal + 1. More difficult...probably. Different...yes. But worth every minute of it I'm sure! :)

I found myself wanting to begin this blog again. We'll see how it goes. Life is busy and I am honestly not sure how often I will be able to post, but we tend to find time for things that we enjoy and find meaningful, and so we shall see. If it's a success, great, and if not, well... there's always facebook! :)