Feeling stuck

I am running on nothing.

Last week’s conference was a huge success. I need to write about it, about the people, especially, but I can’t even get my head around how to do that right now.

blogfest group shot 2016

There’s always this crash that happens after. It usually takes me about a week to recover from Blogfest, but this year has been extra special.

We went straight to Tahoe (so long, steamy Austin!), and the adjustment has been rough.

I am wiped out. Mackenzie is wiped out.

mackenzie bear suit

It’s the HAF. The dreaded, cacophonous HAF (high altitude flatulence), which strains and contorts Mac’s little body, and keeps us bicycling and bouncing through the night.

It’s the dark moments pre-dawn, when despair gives way to melodrama.

I’ll never sleep again.

I am sure of it, each time I start a new set of bicycles on her squishy little thighs.

It’s the pediatrician’s raised eyebrow as he says, your 6 month old is physiologically capable of sleeping through the night.

mackenzie merlin

It’s the moment when I look at my to-do list, rich with exciting projects I’m so inspired to charge into, especially after the heady dose of energy the conference always injects me with.

But I look at that list, and I just want to crawl away and hide.

It’s that Tigger died last week, and I pretended it didn’t happen so I could get through the conference without making everyone listen to me talk about my dog. Oh, and so I wouldn’t spend all weekend bawling my eyes out. 

tigger in the sand

 

Post-conference, I’m flirting with the denial phase of grief and also, occasionally, bawling my eyes out.

 

A photo posted by Alyse Mason Brill (@alysemb) on


Every time I walk into a room, I miss his outsized ears swiveling around to meet me, hopeful with the promise of playtime.

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Every time I crawl into bed and have enough space and somewhere to actually put my feet, I miss the warm heft of his always-in-the-way body.

tigger on the pier

Every time I look at the lake, I miss him.

tigger pinecone

Every time I spot a pinecone, I miss him.

Every time a toilet paper roll needs changing, I miss him. Every time I finish a plate or bowl that could be licked clean, I miss him.

 

I know it was his time. He made cancer his bitch and lived 3 times longer than any of the professionals projected. More than once, they told us they were astonished he was still alive.

Nothing we can do. We’re not even sure how he’s still walking. 

I’m sure that in just this one week he’s spent in doggy heaven, he’s already blown past his personal best of 3 tennis balls in his mouth at once.

tigger 3 tennis balls

 

This feeling will pass, I know. I will sleep and we will get another dog and Mac will delight in her ability to fart independently.

In this moment, I’m sad. Tired. Stuck.

Let’s turn this baby around

We’re just wrapping up our first week of our annual Holiday Sweat Challenge, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of my online community right now. It’s been a rough couple weeks, activity-wise, thanks to some travel, a nagging cold that just wouldn’t quit, and the fatigue.

amarillo warrior 3 with truck

Oh, the fatigue. After our annual ladies’ trip to Amarillo to celebrate my grandma’s birthday, I spent literally an entire day in bed. I couldn’t keep my eyes open or convince my body to do much more than laboriously turn over to my other side mid-nap.

I was so grateful to have my cuddle buddy and my snoogle back–from now on, anywhere I go, that silly looking, cumbersome pillow goes too—and the flexibility to decide to work the evening shift that night. Daytime working just.wasn’t.happening.

tigger snoogle
Tigger loves my snoogle, too.

tigger snoogle overhead

Taking time to rest and getting my energy back felt extra important, because I found out last week that Moonshine is hanging out contentedly in a breech position. And while it’s too early to seriously worry about that, I’d really like her to get to turning sooner rather than later, so I’m doubling up on any exercises and positions that will help encourage her to rotate head down.

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So far, my regimen includes pelvic rocks, hip circles, crawling, and getting back in the pool. It also means avoiding the “channel changing” position, which, oh dear god, I am already missing like crazy. It’s bad enough not being able to sleep on my stomach; now I can’t even recline to read or watch Scandal.

Alyse-15
The reclining days are over for me.

But if making like Cleopatra and lounging on my side is what it takes to avoid major abdominal surgery, goddammit, then I’m in.*

Anyway, back to swimming and getting moving again. Apparently the kicking and hip movements involved in freestyle (no more backstroke for me, until that baby turns!) help encourage her to float that head down. And apparently the threat of surgery is what it took to get me motivated enough to face the prospect of washing my hair daily, because I’m slapping on those goggles and shamelessly rocking a (bumpalicious?) bikini.

prana bikini
That man swimming laps totally caught me taking a sneaky photo of the pool. #awkward.

Thank you, prAna, for my bikini that stays put during lap swims and is gracious enough to work with my new figure. You saved me from paying for a frumpy maternity suit that probably wouldn’t even keep the girls covered.

I can’t help but feeling like one of those fragile older ladies at the Y who do gentle senior water aerobics. My swim usually only lasts about 30 minutes—sometimes more, sometimes less—before my back starts hurting. And when I get out of the pool, I’m that lady who goes way out of her way to use the ladder rather than hauling herself up and out. Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way, folks. #savethebeachedpregnantlady

The nice thing is, the Holiday Sweat Challenge is all about setting your own goals, so my goal is to make this baby turn.

And to do something active, even if it’s only a walk, every day. If you want to get involved (prizes!) head on over to Fit Approach and just make sure you’re registered.

* If Moonshine stays breech, I have a good chance of ending up with a C-section. While I’ll do whatever it takes to have a healthy baby, I would really, really like to avoid the surgery route if at all possible.

Baking healthy and busting stress

Ever since college, I’ve used baking as a way to beat stress. Finals would find me up to my ears in batter and surrounded by a throng of salivating roommates.

I’d spend hours meticulously decorating sugar cookies with my vast sprinkle collection. It was a soothing way to avoid Chaucer or Faulkner and retreat back into happy memories with my mom and brothers, decorating holiday cookies or just-because cookies.

Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.
Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.

 

Now that third trimester is nearly here and the fatigue has me limited to basically one active pursuit a day, I’ve turned to baking again to help keep me chilled out. And since a multi-hour operation felt a little daunting, I was extra grateful to have a cookie mix by Fit Body Bakery to test out:

Fit Body bakery conquer it cookie instructions

The concept is awesome: it’s a healthy cookie base that you can keep as-is or add to until you create the cookie of your dreams. For all you gluten-free, paleo, and/or no-refined-sugar folks, these mixes were MADE for you.

I’m not any of those things, but I love the idea of (a) a simple cookie base that I can use as a starting point for anything, and (b) a kitchen helper for those times I need to bake with certain dietary restrictions in mind. Being in the fitness industry, I am often around and eating with people with the above dietary preferences… and I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start if I had to make a sweet treat they could actually enjoy!

The mix is super easy: all you need is an egg, some kind of fat (I used butter), and water. Easy peasy.

Fit Body Bakery ingredients and mixer

Of course, I wasn’t stopping there. I knew I had to make cookies in my favorite combo: peanut butter and chocolate. To keep with the healthy theme, I used Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter with flax & chia.

I just mixed the Mighty Nut with water as indicated on the package, and added it to the mix.

These were on track to being the healthiest stress buster cookies I had ever created.

Fit Body Bakery dough in mixer

 

The dough came together really easily. I found I needed to add a tiny bit more water than is called for to get it to all stick together.

 

Fit Body Bakery cookies on sheet

 

Love this – a workout while you wait for your cookies. Because you know those are the longest ten minutes EVER.

Fit Body Bakery mix box bake time workout

The cookies came out fluffy and pretty – no collapsing or flattening at all.

 

 

Fit Body bakery cookies baking sheet overhead

Fit Body Bakery cookies out of the oven

Fit body bakery cookies plated

They have a nice, light, and melty texture that totally worked for me. Again. And again.

And if you weren’t convinced yet, here’s the kicker: my husband, an ardently anti-healthy-cookies person, liked them too.

Want to try a Fit Body Bakery mix for yourself? There’s also muffins, brownies, and pancakes, oh my! Use the code SP15 for 15% off at FitBodyBakery.com. Expires 11/30/15.

I received a mix of Fit Body Bakery Conquer It Cookies and a package of Mighty Nut to try. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support the #sweatpink community!

The honeymoon is over

I’m somewhere on the cusp between 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and holy hell, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

Cresent pose with tigger emma long

After a (not hard, not fast) hike yesterday morning, the fatigue knocked me flat on my back. I spent the afternoon clearing out my DVR, tagging #sweatpink shoelaces, and snuggling Tigger.

sweat pink laces snuggle buddy

Not a bad Saturday afternoon by any measure, but I’m so not ready to say goodbye to the honeymoon second trimester, with all its energy and raging appetite.

Days like this also make me wish for a couch-time wine pairing. I settled for kombucha in a wine glass, which felt almost like having a real drink.

kosmic kombucha wine glass

This change also reminds me that, holy shit, we’re so close to her actually being here. Just 85 days until my due date, says my app. I have a mile-long to-do list before then and at this rate it’s going to take me 800 days to get ‘er done.

On the bright side, I’m starting to feel very zen about the birth. I think I’ve saturated myself in enough natural birth books to start to believe that my body can handle this, and that while it will be harder and hurt more than I can possibly imagine, I can do this. And I have the right support team in place to help make it happen.

We’ll see how long that blissed-out attitude lasts. 😉

 

 

 

I’m back, b*tches!

I’m officially on day 2 of my second trimester and wowee! I love second trimester energy so far. I still have random bouts of nausea, mostly at night, but overall, I almost feel like myself again. Never again will I take normal life, energy levels, appetite, or activities for granted.

shredded paper chain
Paper chain: ELIMINATED.

 

Lots of big news around these parts:

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I’m eating vegetables. Like, so many vegetables. And fruits. And eggs. And sweets. And basically anything with flavor. There’s a whole new world to explore.

kosmic kombucha

  • I got the green light to drink kombucha. My midwife said all the live cultures are great for me, and the tiny bit of alcohol wasn’t a concern. Her words were, “If you start feeling drunk, stop drinking it. Otherwise you should be fine.”
  • Speaking of… after dating interviewing lots of care providers, from OBs to nurse midwives at birthing centers to the hippiest of the hippie midwives, I’ve made my decision. More on why I’m going with midwives, coming soon.

sweat pink gaiam

  • I went to yoga this morning. My couch potato streak is over. Good riddance. I’m not fully up to speed with exercise—yoga this morning was a relatively low-intensity, not too challenging class, but still rather humbling. Even so, just being there and making it through the hour made me feel like a champion. Also, endorphins. How I’ve missed you, my pretties.

sweat pink fit pregnancy

  • I may have done the impossible and overdosed on my favorite food. I ate so much string cheese, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandos during first trimester that I’m kind of over cheese right now. Not so much that it makes me sick to think about or eat, but I am tired of it. I’m not choosing it.

 

  • My jeans feel really uncomfortable. I can mostly hide this bump situation—right now it just looks like I have a beer gut or ate too much queso—but ick, buttoning my jeans feels awful, as does zipping up several of my skirts. As I discovered this morning trying to get dressed for yoga, the same is true for most of my yoga pants/ athletic wear. This is the downside to having been at a more or less consistent weight for the last seven years: I don’t really have any fat clothes to rely on. The wardrobe options are getting more and more scarce. Time to go shopping, obviously. 

 

Now that I have all this energy, I have a few missions I’ve set for myself. First and foremost, get back into regular exercising. It couldn’t be more perfect timing that the #LJInspired challenge starts on Monday: I’m thinking of that challenge as the perfect opportunity to get my butt back into gear, and have some built-in accountability and motivation.

I’m planning to take full advantage of BlogFest next week, namely, some of the sponsors that will be there. One of my favorite yogurt brands, Siggi’s, is bringing us some super delicious yogurt snacks (!!) and I am so, so happy that I’ll actually be able to enjoy all that yogurt goodness.

blogfest sweat pink
I’m also putting together some final thoughts on survival skills for the first trimester (coming soon). Hopefully it will be helpful to someone. If nothing else, I still have some venting to do, and y’all know how I love to vent.

 

Happy Friday, everyone!