Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Month for Chalean Extreme!

This week I started The Lean Phase of the Chalean Extreme program.  I'm loving it despite the fact that each workout is about 15 minutes longer than the workouts in The Push Phase.  I'm sore in some very good ways.  The only issue with lifting heavy weights is that I get a whole lot of painful tension jammed in my shoulders.  Going to the chiropractor helps but I haven't really had the time to get there.  I should though.  In addition to working on The Lean Phase, I'm also sticking with Ab Ripper X.  I tried Chalean Extreme's "Extreme Abs" workout but it creates a lot of uncomfortable neck tension.  I hate sit-ups and sit-up like exercises so Extreme Abs is not a good fit.  I'm not thrilled about continuing with Ab Ripper X but I'm starting to see some real improvements.  The Fifer scissors are my biggest struggle but I'm able to do 10 in a row, take a break for 5, and complete the last 10 with my legs completely straight.  This is good progress for me.  I can do in-and-outs with my arms up which I discovered last week!  I mean, there's so much that I can do now with this workout that I couldn't do before--and I love it!  So I'm going to work on mastering Ab Ripper X.  I'm very pleased with the results doing it are yielding. 

Oh, and I've also been making more of an effort to eat more lean protein. I think that's making a bit of a difference too. 

I also realized just a few days ago that a 5K race is just a little over 3 miles.  I'm looking forward to finding a race and training for it just to see how I will do.  I ran 2.5 miles this morning . . . it was kind of rough because I was trying to do it within a certain amount of time (30 minutes).  I just  really want to see how much I can do if I focus and train. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Respect Each Others Paths

You know, against my better judgment, I post my two cents to certain threads on message boards from time to time.  Even though I do it much much less than I used to, I still can find myself emotionally entangled by these "discussions".  Luckily, I'm wise enough now to know that I should quit early and I do.  Luckily, I have this blog to lay out my thoughts and get it all out.  Hopefully, I will learn that I shouldn't get involved in the first place because I really don't have the extra energy to spare.

Anyway, one such thread I posted to was about the fact that in regards to finances, it's more difficult to be single.  My comment was that while I'm happily married, I can't help but feel a little anxiety at the thought of being completely on my own financially.  I've never had the experience of living completely on my own having left from my parents house right to my husbands house.  It would be a real learning curve but I know within myself that I am resourceful and smart and that I could get on my own two feet.  Some folks responded to my comments as if I would stay in a horrible relationship because of what would, in my opinion, be normal anxiety at a complete change of lifestyle.  Others simply stated that they would advise all women to live completely on their own before marriage.  This was the comment that got under my skin.  There's nothing quite like someone implying that the decision you made for you life was wrong, or worse, stupid.  What happened to respecting other folk's paths and decisions?  Of course, I've wondered at times what life would have been like had I rejected the hubby's proposal and remained single . . . would I be amongst the statistics of women who are simply not getting married these days?  Maybe.  But that's really not the main point:  there is not one path for everyone and not more than one generation ago, it was the norm for people to move out of their parents home into their marital home.  Furthermore, as I have discovered, having married at a young age directly from my parents home, I have learned quite a lot--things that I see my unmarried or newly married peers are yet to grasp and may not ever grasp such as learning how to keep your mouth shut sometimes or letting your husband take the helm (not relinquishing your own power but acknowledging that things work better if one person is steering the ship and knowing the differences) or realizing that certain things you may think your husband can give you, he cannot and you're wasting your time looking to him for those things.  How was that for a run-on sentence? It's been interesting growing up within a marriage and I'm blessed to be with a man who really gives me the space to change, grow and be me.  At this point, I am firm in saying that if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way.  As it stands now, I'm done having children and by the time my children are fully grown, I will still be relatively young, which is awesome.  But even though it has been a positive experience for me, I wouldn't advise all women to get married at a young age out of their parents house.  I would say to listen to your gut (intuition) and make a decision that's best for you

Another thread about finances discussed the fact that some women feel the need to have a secret stash of money just in case.  My opinion is that unless there is some kind of abuse or gross mismanagement of funds, this is not necessary.  But I can respect that a woman may have that need inside her to keep something for herself, completely away from her husband especially if she has seen things go horribly wrong in her mother's relationship to her father.  I don't have that need.  I kept my own personal (pre-marriage) account until I couldn't anymore because I didn't have consistent income coming in and they were charging me to keep the account open.  I closed it and for a number of years, we just had one joint account.  During that time, I was able to develop a deep and abiding trust and confidence in my husband, which is priceless.  However, when I started my job, I got my own account in my name alone.  It certainly feels nice and is a huge boost to my self-esteem to have my own money yet I wouldn't say this is something every women must go out and do.   I (foolishly) shared my experience on this thread and the response was (and I'm paraphrasing), "You idiot! Don't you know that anything you open after marriage, your husband has access too?" Well, obviously!  Anything you do while married is potentially something your spouse could lay claim to.  That goes both ways.  So because you're married, now what? Don't invest? Don't open any accounts? Don't do anything for fear that your husband may one day go insane and try to take all your stuff?  I totally don't get it!  It kind of flowed along the same lines as the other discussion, i.e. it's best to be on your own completely before marriage and then to keep all your own stuff after.  Now, don't get me wrong:  I see nothing wrong with that approach but I also can acknowledge that other ways of going about things could work well too. 

Anyway, this post is more of a venting post that anything else.   I'm fascinated (and sometimes saddened) by all the different ways people approach this often challenging thing called marriage.  To each his or her own, I say.  It's a reminder to me that it doesn't feel good when someone decides how they did it was the best way to do it and is how everyone should do it and those who don't do it that way are  misguided, living in a dream world, stupid or just plain wrong.  It reminds me to respect the path and decisions of others--even if I don't necessarily agree.  And to stay the hell away from these threads.  LoL!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What next?

For the past two nights, Z2 has fallen asleep at night without nursing.  The first time, I thought it was because he was really tired since he hadn't taken a nap that day.  He just sort of passed out.  Last night, all I did was sing 2 or 3 rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and he was out like a light.  So, I think our nursing days are really winding down.  I'm ambivalent about it though.  On the one hand, I'm happy that I don't have to nurse him to sleep anymore.  I can't imagine there is any milk left but he still needed the comfort and, I don't know, it was cozy and sweet to nurse him to sleep most of the time.  Other times, I just wanted him to go to sleep already.  The other part of me knows that this means that the baby days are drawing to a close and I'm not quite ready for that to happen yet.  Especially since Z2 will most likely be my last baby, a fact that I have grudgingly accepted.  I know there's still a chance that we might have another one since no permanent steps have been taken, but the hubby is really adamant about it with no budging in sight.  And looking forward to taking those permanent steps.

So Z2's weaning, in conjunction with getting an extension to my teaching certificate for two years (I can't extend it again after this) also forces me to think about what I'm going to do next.  I believe Z1 and Z2 still need me around most of the time so I'm trying to think of what I could do that would allow me that flexibility:
  • Go back to school for my Ph.D.?  Can I find a fellowship/scholarship?  I refuse to take out any more loans for education and really, a fellowship or scholarship is the only acceptable way for me to go this route.  I love teaching and just from teaching my crochet class in June, I know that I would really enjoy teaching adults.  Plus I could write academically.  I know being a professor would be a fulfilling experience and realized a few weeks ago that even when I wanted to be a doctor, I knew I didn't want to practice medicine forever: eventually, I wanted to teach doctors.  I wanted a Ph.D. after my M.D.  Interesting.   
  • Sell my Subaru Outback wagon and get a bigger car (like a Toyota Sienna AWD) so I could babysit two or three children?  This would do two things: scratch my itch for more children and bring in some income.  I could definitely homeschool with this arrangement.  But just like I don't want an education debt, I don't want any debt from a car.  The Subaru is paid off and has lots of life yet.  How and where could I get a (relatively) new car without getting into debt?
  • Focus on my writing and really push to get published.  This is an ultimate goal in my life.  Should I really just concentrate now?  Can I concentrate now with the kids so young?
  • Go back to teaching children?  Now that I know so much more about how I would approach it, I am sure I would do better.  But teaching in a traditional school setting just doesn't afford me the flexibility I need.  But it's a wonderful career that I know could (potentially) be fulfilling. 

So it really feels like I'm at a crossroad (though I think I have about two more years or so before I can jump into any option--I need Z2 to be at least 4) . . . just because my breastfeeding relationship with Z2 is coming to a close.  I always tell people that breastfeeding is much more than providing nourishment for a baby.  There is nothing quite like looking down at the angelic face of your baby and knowing that you are the one providing sustenance.  Amazing.  But for me, there has been much more to it.  It's been a real test of character and perseverance.  I wouldn't be facetious if I ascribed some spiritual attributes to it as well.   The connection to Z1 and Z2 that I formed because of it . . . I can hardly describe.   The connection to other breastfeeding mothers . . . beautiful.  And now as my journey is ending, breastfeeding is what I will use to mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life . . . powerful
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