108 days…

A friend of mine just completed a 100 day challenge of exercising, eating well, and generally being great to himself.

It has inspired me to do the same.

My diet is pretty good and I don’t want to mess with it right now as I’m nursing my little peanut… BUT I could certainly use more exercise in my life!

So here’s my 108-day challenge:

  1. 10 jumping jacks
  2. 10 high knees
  3. 10 burpies (ugg!)
  4. 10 push-up arm raise things (see this awesome video of my friend, Chris)
  5. 10 leg lifts
  6. 10 bicycle crunches
  7. 10 bridge lifts
  8. 10 russian twists
  9. 10 cobras with chest extension (again, see Chris here)
  10. 10 superman lifts
  • and 8 deep breathes

These are all moves that can be done anywhere with no equipment and don’t take very long – this last point is especially important when you have a fussy baby that likes to be held constantly and only naps in 30-minute chunks. :)

Why 108 days? 108 is a very auspicious number and I like the idea of a day for every bead in my beautiful mala. 108 days brings me to August 3rd… Let’s do this!

august108

What can you do for yourself in 108 days?

mxo

surviving colic

Colic is a poltergeist.
It’s like waking up in a zombie infestation.” Yup.
It’s hard, really hard.
It challenges every fiber of your being,
Makes you feel like a rotten failure,
And drives you bat-sh*t crazy.

Sometimes shhhing helps. Usually it doesn’t.
Sometimes the swaddle is a blessing. Mostly it’s the devil.
Gripe water works one out of ten times.
And when you’ve finally found the magic cure – baby in carrier with Bob Marley in the background, probiotics, fancy body treatments – it stops working.

At times (ok, often) you can’t help but wonder what you did wrong during your pregnancy, or in the first few weeks, or what you’re doing wrong now.
And then you turn to Dr. Google to figure out what’s wrong with your kid.
NOTHING.

He is perfect. He is exactly who he needs to be and maybe his little soul chose you because he knew you could handle it.

So here’s to my peanut and all of the peanuts struggling with the colic monster. And mostly, here’s to the parents who are doing the best they can.

 

Hugs,
mxo

 
P.S. I actually wanted to post “Welcome to this World” by Renee & Jeremy but couldn’t find a video. It makes me cry every time. So beautiful.

evidence…

The left shoulder of every shirt I own is perpetually covered in puke.

My belly is a collage of stretch marks and my belly button, once a cute outie during pregnancy, is now a cavernous hole.

My thighs are sturdier and my hips wider.

I’m still wearing my maternity jeans.

But as I look in the mirror, I see my most beautiful self. My body is now evidence of my greatest accomplishment: my beautiful baby boy.

mxo

accepting help…

When I was 18, I left home. With fiery abruptness, I started my independent life. Work, school, survival… somehow I managed on my own.

In hindsight, that time in my life makes perfect sense. I was always fiercely independent. I’ve had some sort of income since I was ten. I walked myself to school in Greece when I was four. At six or seven, I decided to leave our seventh storey apartment, walk a few major blocks across big intersections to Kmart to buy my mom a gift – a fancy mug. Needless to say, my resourcefulness was often the cause of much worry and drama.

Age 3. I made myself lunch. Note the back-up spoon in my right hand.

Age 3. I made myself lunch. Note the back-up spoon in my right hand.

This unyielding independence has made it extremely difficult for me to ever accept help and I’d certainly never ask for it. It always seemed like a sign of weakness… until now.

We have survived the last few weeks with Ryan thanks to the grandmas who held him until the wee hours of the morning, the aunties who dropped everything when Matt was sick to provide an extra set of hands, the grandpas who bought groceries and fixed pipes, the friends who dropped meals on our porch like sneaky little mice… We needed help and we got it.

It’s been hard for me to accept this help without feeling like a failure – ‘I should be able to do this on my own’. But two light bulbs went off this week:

One – My doctor told me to stop squandering the help I’m being offered and try being grateful instead. Ouch.

Two – I stumbled upon these wise words:

“I’ve always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness, but when my mother died, I learned that it takes greater strength to lean on others than to stand alone. In order to heal, I asked, ‘What help do I need in this moment?’”

mxo

joy…

I’m up a bit earlier than I’d like but Ryan rules these days. Doc says little ones often peak in their fussiness around six weeks, as their tiny digestive systems mature, and judging by all of the squirming and tooting, this is definitely the case with Ryan. He sounds like a horse having a bad dream or an old fashioned machine that needs oiling.

So I’m sitting in my in-laws beautiful family room wrapped up in blankets with my favourite creature in my arms. I’m not sure life gets any better than this.

This is joy, pure joy.

It’s different than happiness. Happiness would be sleeping in, waking up late to go to brunch or yoga, lazing around aimlessly – in essence, my old life. I had to go hunting for joyous moments (see project joy). Now, despite the exhaustion and occasional weepiness, it overwhelms me.

I can only hope that my life is filled with more of these moments. I hope yours is too.

Hugs.
mxo

P.S. For a truly inspirational read, check out my friends Mark and Lynne at http://www.tenpercent.ca and http://www.lynnenewman.com

Joyous Quote

Joyous Quote

point of arrival…

6:40am. I’m actually starting to enjoy these early mornings.

The arctic freeze hit Toronto again and yesterday was just far too cold to take my munchkin out. So we put on our comfy pants and started the countdown to when daddy got home.

A few hours in, I had a thought – just how much of my life has been a countdown to something…

… to finishing high school
… to exams being over
… to graduating university
… to my wedding day
… to babies
… to my due date
… to when this horrid winter finally lifts
… and to the next phase of Ryan’s life

And in counting down, how many precious moments did I wish away?

If we’re always looking ahead, when do we ever arrive?

Right now, I don’t want to be anywhere else but here and now, with a beautiful baby boy who will never again be five weeks, three days and one hour old.

mxo

quilts…

Imagine your life as a quilt. There are pieces made up of past experiences, squares of personality traits, fabrics of previous loves and broken hearts… all woven together into the collage that is you.

Sometimes life can pull at the threads and the seams can come undone. As painful and vulnerable as this may be, it also presents an opportunity. The rough patches let us stop and consider how we might want to sew our quilt back together so that it’s stronger and more resilient.

Certain pieces will always remain – you can’t change your past. But others can be discarded – like those personality traits that no longer serve you (perfectionism, self doubt, regret, etc). And new pieces can be added – wisdom, strength, growth.

Every bump in the road is really just an opportunity to rewrite our story.

Hugs.
mxo

Einstein

time…

Yesterday Ryan celebrated one month of being on this planet. While the days were long, very long at times, the month somehow flew by.

20140221-064534.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the depths of new momma baby blues, a sage friend sent me these words:

The ancient Greeks had two concepts of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is the inexorable grinding on of time without a foreseeable end—like when 5pm can’t come soon enough or that meeting just won’t end, or your kid won’t stop crying. Most of the time we find ourselves in chronos, wishing we could be on to the next thing. In contrast, kairos describes those rare and precious moments in which time seems to stand still—when we fall in love, when we are blissed out to our favourite song, or playing a sport, or generally doing anything we love. Importantly, it is the moments of kairos that make all that chronos worthwhile.

This is a metaphor for parenthood. Most of our days are spent in a state of fatigue or overwhelm or anxiety, and if we focus on that we miss the moments of kairos—like when your baby smiles at you and he is so perfect that it makes all those sleepless nights worthwhile, and you would do it again in a heartbeat. Look for the moments of kairos, because in this twilight time of new parenthood they will be your guiding light to the end of the tunnel.

I hope you find them as profoundly healing as I did. Thanks A! Major love.

Hugs.
mxo

early mornings…

It’s 7:00 in the morning. Munchkin is fast asleep in my arms… again. I foresee a lot of early morning posts in my future.

We had a great night going into yesterday. Ryan slept for a good portion of the night between feeds which meant I could attempt some shut eye (though he’s such a loud little bugger when he sleeps, it’s hard to actual doze off). This last night was a different story. He slept just fine as long as he was being held… constantly. The second I put him down, all hell broke loose.

So I’m catching up on my email, online shopping, and contemplating life.

It seems my biggest challenge right now is the lack of control. I’ve been such a control freak my entire life and now, I’ve lost control over the most basic things (eating, sleeping, etc). Things that seem to work with Ryan one day make him scream bloody murder the next. Not being able to control the situation has turned me into a ball of nerves.

But I suppose that’s what parenting is about and there’s a life lesson in there somewhere. Parenting might just be the greatest teacher for staying present in the moment.

Looking backwards can be frustrating (like when you look at your bed wondering how you took those glorious nights of slumber for granted) and it’s pointless – those moments are gone.

Looking forward is a crap shoot. In an hour, Ryan and I might be napping peacefully together (fingers crossed!) or we might be back in the emergency room. Flip a coin.

So all that’s left is the here and now. It’s now 7:27am and he’s still slumbering. Rather than worry about what being held might mean for his future sleeps, I’m just going to enjoy this peaceful moment. If only the tea delivery service would wake up. :)

mxo

earlymornings

I made tea!

Four weeks…

It’s just after 7 in the morning. My little munchkin is fast asleep on my chest. Somehow we have survived almost a month. Somehow.

Life as a new mom is overwhelming. You lose all control over your life and body. Feed, burp, change diaper, soothe baby before he takes in too much air screeching, stare at this bundle in utter amazement because YOU MADE HIM and you didn’t know love like this was possible, cry for no good reason, and repeat. Brushing teeth, showering, eating and sleeping are all optional. Throw in a myriad of doctors appointments and hospital visits and you get the last month of my life.

I’d be lying if I said it has been an easy month. It hasn’t. In fact, it’s been much harder than I could have ever prepared myself for. But with so much amazing support from my family, we’ve made it to four weeks and in this moment, I actually feel calm. And happy.

There’s no real point to this post except to share my journey. It’s been a difficult one and I think it’s important to admit that. So often we don’t want to own up to the struggle because we’re ashamed and worried that it makes us bad mothers. That silence can be so deafening. So if you’re a new parent and you stumble upon my words, know that you are not alone. Know that it’s all completely normal.

And when all else fails, have faith that everyone is right and this too shall pass.

Hugs.
mxo