Knocked Up and I’m Just Not Feelin’ It

Congrats, you’re knocked up! Now that you know your missed period is not just a fluke have fun navigating the utterly endless, contradictory and mostly non-factual information about you and your new wombmate.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally stoked about meeting our little person and was relieved as hell when my midwife said I could continue doing any and all activities I had already been doing. I was really looking forward to keeping the regular workout regimen I had build for myself. But at almost half way through I feel like pregnancy has been another tale of, things people don’t tell you because if they did you’d never go through with it.

Take the first trimester for example. All you ever hear people complain or sigh in relief about is morning sickness. But they grossly (and I suspect, purposely) failed to mention the resemblance of the first trimester of pregnancy to PMS. Yes, you read correctly, PMS. I swore in those first few weeks I was giving life to the worlds largest cheeseburger because that’s all I wanted to eat. Pair that with a certain all around whiny and complaininess about me and yea, pretty much sounds like PMS to me.

At about 14 or so weeks I started to feel like myself again. Phew! I’ll start working out now, I said. Not so fast. I read on a list somewhere that pregnant women are lazy, but never in my life have I been so compelled to do nothing but make a dent in my couch for hours on end. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some working out. Walking, a couple pre-natal yoga classes and some weights because I know it will make for a better labor and recovery. I try to rationalize with myself and find balance between carbs and cardio, but man, it would be easier to get a nun to go to a bar!

I thought for sure I’d feel more like Heidi Powell given my recently found ‘fit chick’ status, but sadly I feel more like Honey Boo Boo. It’s kind of motivating at this point, I am making a real effort to just move more and try not to define my workouts so much. Just find things that feel good, that will help me sleep, (I may write a whole other post about pregnancy sleep) and that make me feel normal.

I’m hoping to feel more like this picture as my pregnancy progresses, if for no other reason than I know I will feel like Wonder Woman when I can catch my little bean in my arms at birth.

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Did you ever feel like no one ever told you something about pregnancy, kids, marriage or anything? I feel like it happens a lot! Share your horror stories and giggles alike!

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Love for the Canoe Project

I catch a lot of flack from friends and family for my love of Twitter. I take it all with a grain of salt because I really do feel there is something to love about Twitter. What that something is has been hard to illustrate, until today.

If you’re a member of the Twitterverse than you may have noticed the WLRN Canoe Project going on this week. If not, here’s a break down of what the canoe project is all about. WLRN contributor Terence Cantarella is making his way through Miami via the canals and waterways of the city. You may be asking yourself why someone would take on such a project? He’s  doing it for the sake of the adventure which I think is pretty effin’ cool!

Terence is reminding us to look around and see the adventure that awaits us right in our own back yard. He’s seeing parts of the city most of us only pass over on the highways while we curse the traffic. He’s also reminding us that Twitter really is about having conversations and connecting with people. How do we connect on Twitter? You can go meet Terence as his adventure comes to an end at Scotty’s Landing on Thursday afternoon.

You see, on Twitter there are no privacy settings – you’re tweets are either public or they’re not. The great thing about not having that grey area of “privacy” on Twitter is that it puts you out there for people to approach, most of the time it works out great! You talk to people, you compare views, and you can even make friends in the process.

Terence has awakened a bit more adventure in me and he has solidified the love affair I have with Twitter. The friends I’ve made, the conversations I’ve engaged in and the cool stories like this one have been too good to pass up

An image captured by Terence while canoeing through Miami

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I will keep on taking flack for tweeting to my heart’s content and will find a new adventure of my own. Thanks Terence, you’ve inspired me just a little bit more this morning.

With Great Charity Comes Great Responsibility

Unless you have been living under a rock the past few days you must have heard about the lunacy going on at Susan G. Komen.

In case you have not let me bring you up to speed.

What they did 48 hours ago,  and now reversed their decision, was say they were no longer going to allocate funds to Planned Parenthood. They alleged that their policies prevent them from donating to an organization that is under investigation. The general consensus was that they were not going to donate to Planned Parenthood anymore because Komen has close ties to pro-life Republicans — the details of which are neither here nor there in relation to this post.

The hoopla over all of this brought me back to my thoughts on charity and how I decide who to support. I recently noticed that a lot of people my age, our age, give blindly. The obvious example being Komen, whose funds do not go towards research for a cure, they go towards “awareness”. This is why they can color EVERYTHING pink and call it do-gooding.

If this is your donor style, hey, that’s fine by me. I just want more. I don’t want t-shirts, posters, toolkits and races, I want results!

I am not really sure why people feel they should get something back when they make a donation. Why the t-shirt, why the big party? Why divert funds from your chosen charity? Where do you think this money is coming from? Did you ask that your donation go towards a program or administrative costs like payrolls? If you didn’t there’s a chance your donation is doing nothing more than printing flyers.

I am not here to tell you where your charity should go, to each his own, really. I am stating that I have changed the way I donate. I look for organizations who are closer to the cause I want to give to, whose focuses are more narrowed on a specific cause, and I have chosen to specify where my dollars go. In 2012 I hope to help more charities bridge the administrative costs gap that haunts all of them so much.

I am donating with my eyes open, I hope others will open theirs too.

I do not have a future in competitive eating…

Remember that moment when you’re watching Man V. Food and Adam has the meat sweats and you wonder how he will ever go on with the challenge at hand? Or you sit there and wonder how he can ever enjoy a piece of food every again – well you have no idea just how difficult food challenges can be.

In a stroke of insanity, I recently decided to enter The Battle of the Beast: a burger eating contest in which 4 contestants ate 3 of Pinchofactory’s specialty burgers, competing to see who could eat all three first. I entered the competition because I am a fan of Pinchofactory, I liked the idea of a competition and I also knew I would be the only girl at the competition table and that kind of turned me on to it.

Honestly, I thought about chickening out once or twice but decided hey, it’s just a friendly competition and no harm will come if I lose. So I psyched myself up, mentally stretched out my tummy and showed up to Pinchofactory on Sunday May 1st ready to take the title already displayed on my back – Burger Queen.

When I arrived at Pinchofactory, I was so happy to be greeted by a slew of supporters. They made signs, a crown and brought their screaming voices to cheer on the underdog favorite of the competition. Just as the tension was to the point where I was nauseous from nerves it was time to sit down and attack the challenge.

The first burger was brought out, the buffalo blue: blue cheese, buffalo sauce and onion crisps. I attacked it and finished so quickly the second burger was not even ready for me. Good, I get a break, but bad because the burger was so piping hot I found myself chugging cold water to keep it from burning the inside of my throat. Surprisingly, at the end of the second burger (the Fritanga burger) I was doing alright, sure I did not really want to eat that last burger but I did not feel as though I was going to die just yet. No, that feeling came on with burger number three, the angry Texan. Texas toast, jalapeno cheese, turkey bacon, barbeque sauce and a huge mean looking patty – oh my God, why did Pinchofactory do this to me? The swallows became harder, the sweats became more prevalent and I started to feel nauseous. Was I going to make it? Had this challenge licked me? Keep in mind, I had not looked at my competitors, I was tracking their progress solely by what was being broadcast to me from the crowd of supporters — I knew I was in the lead, but how far in the lead I did not know. It did not matter, I had to finish and the pressure was on, on my stomach, throat and will to win. I wanted it bad, but would my stomach give out on me?

The last few bites came slowly and were tough to swallow but I managed to finish. The crowd went wild, they declared me the winner and I excused myself to the nearest garbage receptacle to evacuate the excess beef from inside my gut. Funny enough that got a reaction out of them as well.

I got home that day, after the pictures and the hoopla and I actually fell into a food coma, I wonder if that’s what Richman does post challenge? Almost a week later, my stomach has still not recovered.

The feeling that came over me during and after the challenge are feelings of fullness, disgust and revolt that I would rather never feel again. Every time someone congratulates me, I cringe because I think, wow, I did that most disgusting thing and people are still congratulating me? It’s a strange feeling, one I cannot explain, I am seriously revolted by the fact that I was able to consume that much food and still eat dinner the following day – something has to be wrong with my stomach?!

The main thing I took away from completing this challenge is that a serious change in diet is upon me. I do not like the feeling that came post challenge – I feel gross! I wanted to eat a salad for the first time in I don’t know how long!

My crowning moment

The weird thing is, I am still really happy that I won, regardless of the gross yucky feeling in my gut I still won. I am the winner, the burger queen and the chick that beat three guys in a burger eating contest – I am a bad ass.

My Furry Maniac

Some people would describe themselves as animals lovers, I would not. That is, not until a little furry maniac named Moe made his way into my life.

In true digital age fashion I found Moe while browsing an online pet finding site. Yes, I found my dog on Match for animals! http://www.petango.com/Forms/Petmatch.aspx I saw his little face and knew we had to meet him. Yes, the decision to bring Moe home was not one I made on my own. My often amazing, never disappointing counterpart who is an avid dog lover convinced me I would love having a dog at home and like many other times in our relationship he was right.

The minute this feisty guy saw us he knew we were hooked – all it took was one belly rub. We bought him a bowl, a leash and a bed and were off to show him his new home.

Flash forward a few weeks, the maniac is settled into his new home, he tells us when he has to pee and what foods / toys he does not like and I have gotten over the idea that he likes “dad” more than he does me. I look at him in the morning, half asleep as he stares at me from inside his cozy bed and I wonder – how did I become this loving of a dog?

My two guys!

Historically friends and family will tell you that I subscribe to the belief that dogs were meant to guard the home and were not supposed to be small enough to fit in your purse. I also believed dogs should be kept outside and did not enjoy them invading my personal space with their hair, smells and saliva, gross! Things are different now, with Moe I feel like he understands me and my limitations. He’s not a kisser, does not drool and is kinda sorta getting the hang of this whole, he is not allowed on the bed thing. I feel guilty when I get really mad at him for having an accident in the living room or running away from me during a walk but I think that frustration will pass over time as we continue to get to know each other.

For right now, I love him with his little doggy faults and all – I did not know I could do that. Love an animal unconditionally? It is a strange and new place for me, but then again if we are not putting ourselves in strange new places than I do not believe we are really living.

Another candle blows out, another question rises.

Tonight as I blew the candles out on another year of my life I also got to listen to an exceptional person speak about her life. The insight was a gift she did not realize she had given me.

Gabrielle Hamilton recently released her book, Blood, Bones & Butter and held a reading at Books & Books in the Gables. The book describes her life, growing up in the kitchen, being thrust into restaurants as a career and battling the inner want to write. Listening to her speak about her loves, writing and cooking made me think about how in my past year and upcoming year of life my struggle continues to be to find my loves.

With a wish made on a candle I foolishly hoped a fairy godmother would come out of the sky and say, “Happy birthday Vanessa, here is your passion.” That did not happen – great, now what?! Gabrielle talked about making the decision to leave one dream behind and pursue the more attainable of the two – I do not even have the one to start with?

Should I leave the dream of finding a dream behind and immerse myself in the monotony of a life void of a passion-driven career? Should I quit whining and count my blessing (there are tons)? Although I do not feel my desires make me any less grateful for my blessings than I am I cannot shake the feeling that something is missing – the only question is what?

The smoke is rising off my candles now, the room where Gabrielle spoke is empty and I am left another year older and another idea short of a life long passion. Like the bad cliffhanger on a prime time TV show, we will see you next season folks.

 

 

Happy Anniversary?

Birthdays, anniversaries, and memorials. Happy or sad there are thousands of occasions that are commemorated at yearly points in our lives. But do we ever stop to realize that on any given day when we are celebrating something momentously happy another person has just shed a tear at the reminder of something terribly sad? So is the case today.

Today is the day my god daughter was brought into this world but it is also the day my life changed like it had not done so before. Although our events took place a year apart the time lines, emotions and realizations are all eternally intertwined, leaving all who know their significance affected for a life time. It goes to the very core of how although technology connects us through social media, the internet and messaging, it cannot feel and it cannot help you tell someone that while their heart has just filled with joy, yours has just shattered into thousands of little pieces.

The birth of a child is always a joyous occasion, as was the birth of my little Addy. Huddled in the waiting area of Mercy hospital I paced with the anxiety of a parent, praying every minute that it would all go smoothly and that soon I would meet this little person who I was anxiously awaiting. Finally, they wheel out this tiny plastic box and inside was this tiny human princess. Sure babies are born every day, but they don’t all make a specified impact on our lives at all times. This one did. From the moment I set eyes on this child I knew she was a special one. One reason being I had no quams about grabbing her up into my arms swaddled as tightly as she could be and staring at her as if there was no one else in the room. While they were all really giving me the stink eye because they wanted to take a look.

One of the happiest moments of my life has been sitting on a chair in the crowded hospital room little Addy in one arm and big brother Michael staring at her as intently as I was while sitting on my lap. We were bonded together by our infatuation for the little bundle and every one else in the room melted away for those few precious moments. They don’t put that kind of stuff on Hallmarks people!

We associate the circle of life with one birth for one death but do you ever stop to think about it as one joy for one pain? I surely didn’t until the moment I realized the healing affects being with Addy had on me during my time of need. She didn’t know and I probably wouldn’t have acknowledged it at the time but taking care of that girl and being there when she needed anything from a diaper change to a kiss goodnight was the best medicine every prescribed.

Fast forward to exactly one year later. Birthday party plans are in place, but first an appointment. Actually it was a court date. One I won’t soon forget. We waited in almost silence, our names were called the papers were signed.

Mrs. and Mrs. once were now Mr. and Mrs. no more. Bring on the candles.

So today on the anniversary of these double wammies I remember, reflect and refeel all of the emotions I felt on those days one and two years ago. I’ve taken the time to be glad and proud that Addy is now speaking, walking and pretty much ruling her world but I’ve also reflected on my emotional journey and the new places in life it has brought me. My mind is like a museum with history on its walls and emotion through art strewn across like paint on canvas.

Lewis Carrol said it best, ” I can’t go back to yesterday- because I was a different person then.”

Down to my core I am different, forever changed by a tragedy and a blessing and I will forever remember that the circle of life is not so simple as birth and death but it is a mosaic of despair followed by success and a canvas full of black strokes and white ones. They all add facet to our character if we let them and all remind us that despite machines, we are all susceptible and touchable humans. We all feel human things and make human mistakes and no distance, time or ip address will change that.