#mightyifitkillsme, craftastic, food, insert emoticon here, The animals, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

This morning I drank a smoothie while making scrambled eggs with cheese, raisin toast, and bacon for the rest of the humans in the house. Then I ate a piece of raisin toast and called it a win.

In the course of living today, I:

  • jammed copper wire from the pan scrubber under my thumbnail
  • had a stack of four garbage cans roll over my big toe because I wore flipflops to Lowes
  • broke a nail while doing dishes
  • took a baby skull to the cheekbone
  • spent 20 minutes trying to convince G to nap but really just getting kicked in the boobs a lot
  • crawled across the floor and managed to put my knee, the one with the big-ass scab on it from falling two weeks ago, right onto an alphabet block
  • wrenched my shoulder, the problematic one, while picking up G at a bad angle
  • walked into a bag of Sakrete on a shelf at Lowes, jamming my upper arm into the corner of it
  • I don’t even know why my left hand hurts but it does

Did you know that if you sprinkle cheerios onto beef-and-bean enchiladas, like a garnish or a seasoning, the toddler whose dinosaur divided plate holds said enchiladas and cheerios will be compelled to eat the cheerios, because toddler, and then will also eat the enchiladas beneath the cheerios despite rejecting said enchiladas not 10 minutes earlier? Because cheerios are the ultimate in food and make everything better.

Note: This does not work on sauteed spinach. Sauteed spinach is for losers, and the toddler will just pull the spinach off the cheerios before eating them.


The kid who lives in my house can now wash her own face (badly), brush her own hair (badly), open the refrigerator (too easily), close any and all doors (so far, with her on the correct side), and independently travels around our home.

It’s brilliant.


I think I’m not going to have a full two-day weekend where I am home and not working until late May. I’m trying not to dwell on this. I chose this life, I love my work, it’s exciting times, and I’m doing good things. But man, would I like to disconnect for a few days in a row…

We took the crib side off of her bed, and made it a toddler bed. Because, hell, she doesn’t sleep in it, so we might as well make it into a little book-reading couch.

Jack has moved in. He sleeps there, now. Screw you guys, this is my new house.

I washed all the dishes ever to dish today. Justin emptied, vacuumed, sorted, dusted, and windexed both cars. We ate homemade breakfast, ran errands and went to four stores, and were home by 10:30 am.

I have no idea who we are anymore. Strangely competent (and yet fully incompetent) adult-type people, I guess.

I have not yet exercised or meditated, but I played with my kid without distractions, I did at least 30 minutes of housework, I made a food plan and stuck to it, and I cooked food for my family. All of those are daily goals, and I did them. I’ll see about the meditation and exercise after I do a few hours of work.

And the whole “get 10 hours of sleep” thing can just go crawl back under its rock, because BWAHAHAHAHA.

I’d like to crochet a blanket for Gwyn, inspired by Wee Liam’s blankies that come with him on Fridays. Then I think about my life and I just set aside that desire for some other time.

Maybe while we’re at Pennsic. I can crochet in garb.



There is a flying pig on Gwyneth’s new carpet. It’s awesome. When pigs fly, dude. When pigs fly.


There is a line I will not cross, and that line is 190 lbs. And I am dangerously, dangerously close to that today.

You shall not pass.

So today I recommit. (AGAIN.) I will clean up the exercise room. I will start tracking what I eat. I will plan my meals and bring food to work. I will stop buying chicken quesadillas for lunch. I will actually exercise daily.

And I will feel better for it.

And as an added bonus I will look like this, again.

Photo on 2011-09-14 at 17.44Photo on 2011-08-25 at 16.24Photo on 2012-01-31 at 10.12 #3

That woman has cheekbones, a chin, and fits in her pants and pencil skirts. I liked that woman. Let’s see if I can find her. She’s about 20 lbs away, and she has a friend who’s about 15 lbs further to whom I’d like to introduce myself.


#mightyifitkillsme, insert emoticon here, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

Things lost in our house right now:

  • Two of my four Lightning cables
  • Justin’s multitool
  • My work keys
  • My wallet
  • The Otterbox for my iPhone
  • Two of our three hairbrushes
  • The pitcher we use to fill the water filter
  • Two of the three new pairs of wool socks I bought myself last month
  • Malcolm’s squeaky frog
  • My big steel mixing bowl

My current office productivity boosters:

  • A State holiday that means hardly any staff are in the building
  • A closed office door
  • Taylor Swift’s new album
  • A Venti cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso

Things I’m shaking off, per Tay:

  • My frustrations about the project I want to control but can’t
  • My feelings of dread about the state of our house (see list of things Lost In It)
  • My bewilderment at the array of contradictory opinions I got about the carpet for the library
  • My generalized exhaustion
  • The fact that a chipmunk family is living in my basement
  • My soul-deep awareness of everything that needs to be vaccumed in our house
  • This nagging feeling that I really do have a head cold but I’m unwilling to admit it
  • My basic set state of anxiety about everything ever

Things I’m holding close:

  • Justin’s graceful and loving reaction to my freakout about the house last night.
  • Taylor Swift makes really good pop music, and I also have the new Miranda Lambert for when I want to change gears.
  • The sweet cuddles and big smile I got from Gwyneth when I woke her for a diaper change and clothes before I took her to daycare.
  • I was only 7 minutes late for my 8 am meeting!
  • The fact that I ate breakfast, packed my lunch, planned my dinner, and am comfortably within my calorie goal while eating well. I got this, yo.
  • This morning’s realization that I never had any muscle pain or strain after my last kettlebell workout. Rock the fuck on, body.
  • My base confidence that I can handle the 51 red flagged items in my email inbox
  • Anticipation of an evening with Michael and Amy, who are coming over for dinner. Cooking is an act of love for me, and I love these people with all my heart.
  • My faith that all of this? It’s all going to work out.
  • My cappuccino.


#mightyifitkillsme, working mother

This afternoon as I was chairdancing a bit to Some Nights by Fun., I realized I need a new exercise mix, something that’ll get me running on the treadmill and into a good rhythm on the heavy bag. But that means clearing space on my phone, which is perennially clogged with photos, videos, audiobooks, and apps.

It’s a pretty good metaphor for my life right now. I’m doing a lot of clearing space.

Space to exercise.

Space to cook.

Space to clean.

Space to enjoy my husband.

Space to work effectively.

Lots of clearing space, emotional, temporal, and physical. And it feels great. It feels right. It feels like progress.

So now to make a new mix for exercising, and clear space for it.

#mightyifitkillsme, working mother

Last night as I lay in bed, looking at my calendar for today, I decided I’d get up in the morning and get back to exercising. Finally. I visualized it all, to make it easier to realize when I woke up: I’d get up, put on the black cropped yoga pants currently draped over the shoe rack, and my black exercise top, then brush my teeth, fill a water bottle, take a hit off my inhaler, and go downstairs to the exercise room. I’d put on my FiveFingers, do two quick sun salutations, and then move to the treadmill. After 20-30 minutes there, I’d work my arms and shoulders on the heavy bag with practice swords until I hit muscle fatigue. All doable, all satisfying.I felt good about it. I set my alarms.

And then I slept right through them.

Tomorrow I need to be at daycare dropoff at 7:45, so I’m not sure I can make it happen tomorrow morning… but maybe tonight. Or Wednesday. Or tomorrow night.

Because I have this great vision, and it seems a shame to waste it.

#mightyifitkillsme, food, insert emoticon here, The animals, The Tiniest Capen

I sort of lost September. I got really sick, and then I weaned Gwyn, and then I got really depressed, and suddenly it was October.

So far October’s been pretty great. Turns out that having my hormones level off and starting a scrip for Zoloft turns me back into the person I was pre-pregnancy. I liked her. It’s nice to have her back. And I’m not sick anymore, and can both breathe and sleep simultaneously, so that’s also good. I took my measurements this morning, and weighed in, and Justin and agreed last night that it’s time to put ourselves back on the much healthier reduced-carb eating plan we were on before I got pregnant. We’re healthier when we eat less pasta and bread, because we eat more protein and veggies as a result. So grocery shopping is on the agenda for the weekend, for certain. And I want to bake, so apples and pumpkins and pie crust are also on the agenda.

The Pook is great, and is growing like a mad thing, and moving moving moving always so busy and really just a joy to be around except when she’s missed a nap in which case she screams a lot. She’s started pulling herself up to standing, but still doesn’t actually crawl — she’s an army-crawl baby. She collects all the dog fur on the rug onto her tummy. She slept straight through from 10 to 6 last night, and when I woke up at 4 to go to the bathroom, she was asleep on her knees with her face buried in her mattress and her little butt straight up in the air. Her cousin Orion sleeps like that. She was also wearing her monster butt jammies (I bought them in all sizes so I could get a year’s worth of monster butts), so I was greeted by a grinning green monster face. Possibly the cutest thing ever.

And really, that’s all. September was a loss. Autumn is good. October is better. Monster butt jammies for everyone.

#mightyifitkillsme, food, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

Today I gave myself a pile of small luxuries.

I blocked off my calendar (defensive calendaring for the win!) and so I have no scheduled meetings today. This makes the rest possible.

So because I had no time I had to be in my office, I didn’t set an alarm, and got up when Gwyn got up, which was about 7:15. After I fed her, I handed her off to Justin for her second sleep, and dressed in workout gear.

And then I spent an hour in the basement, on my yoga mat, listening to an audiobook and moving my body in intentional ways. I did 30  minutes of yoga, mainly focusing on mobility in big muscles and opening my hips and balancing my feet and lower legs. Then I ran through my arm and abs apps — 30 knee pushups, in sets of 5 and 7, 80 crunches in sets of 15ish, and 50 reverse crunches in similar sets, interspersed with the crunches.

Then it was time to feed the baby again, because babies are hobbits and second breakfasts are awesome, and when she was fed, I chilled with Her Cooingness for a half an hour before I got myself ready for work.

I’m wearing new-to-me clothes that fit courtesy of Sarah’s closet, I’m making peace with my postpartum hair, and I have lovely new makeup via Karla’s garage sale. Small pleasures.

I put a container of chicken breast and another of mushroom-quinoa casserole into my totebag, made all the simpler by the fact that I had pre-packed both things on Sunday. I made my breakfast (sausage and cheese on toast), I put two oatmeal raisin cookies into another bag, and I made myself a bottle of seltzer in the SodaStream, then packed my Trinity travel mug for coffee at work. Good food easily at hand.

And now I’m at work, at 10:00, which sets me up for my very favorite workday: 10-6. I love 10-6. I am functional and at my most clever and energized from 10-6. Most days, my work requires that I be here at 8 or 9, and that I sit in meetings for much of my day. Not today. Today I get to work 10-6, and I have no meetings, and I am going to knock this to-do list out of the damned park.

Because I gave myself small luxuries. Exercise at my leisure. Small material comforts and vanities. Useful, tasty food. Satisfying working hours.

Because I deserve them. And today I’m also going to earn them. Watch out, endless tedious to-do items. You’re next.

#mightyifitkillsme, food

So what do I actually eat for breakfast? My true preference? An everything bagel, with a mountain of cream cheese, topped with crispy bacon. HOWEVER, I did say I’m trying not to be a carb-and-cheeseavore. So…

Mini quiches. These do require prep, but I can do them over the weekend in minimal time, and then they’re ready to nuke and eat come morning-time. Six eggs, some milk, a cup of chopped and lightly steamed broccoli, some baked and chopped bacon, a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Distribute broccoli and bacon into a six-muffin pan. Mix eggs and milk, and pour over the top of each. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake until they’re firm in the middle. Store in the fridge until you want to eat them. MyFitnessPal says that’s approximately 250 calories each; I tend to eat 2.

Breakfast burritos. Even more prep, but these can be wrapped in parchment paper, stuck into a gallon freezer bag, and frozen, which in my world means make a huge pile at once and eat ’em for months. Start here, make your own recipe. MFP tells me my preferred egg-sausage-cheese-potato-salsa version is about 475 calories per.

Smoothies. Today I dumped a banana, a cup of red raspberries, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and a cup of coconut milk into a tumbler and stabbed it with the immersion blender. Breakfast, ta-da. And MFP tells me it was 50 grams of carbs (yo, banana!), 25g protein, and 12g fiber (and 300 calories), so that doesn’t suck. Some days I add yogurt. Some days I use normal milk. Some days I add juice. Sometimes the bananas or fruit are frozen. Eh. Add anything. It’s pretty foolproof.

Yogurt-granola-fruit. I make homemade granola, so that I can control the ratio of oats-nuts-coconut — but really, buy it at the store if you don’t cook. There is nothing more foolproof than a bowl with yogurt, fruit, and granola in it. My fruit standbys are raspberries and bananas, but if you live somewhere that actually has decent stone fruit, peaches and nectarines are also pretty spectacular.

Sausage sandwiches. This is the guilty pleasure breakfast. A frozen breakfast sausage patty, an english muffin, and melted cheese. CARB-AND-CHEESE-AVORES UNITE.

#mightyifitkillsme, food

I’m trying to embrace small goals — small achievable goals — but it’s not an easy path for me to choose to walk. I like big stuff. I like doing shit. I like getting it all done. I like winning on my own terms.

I just don’t have time for getting big shit done. So I have to redefine winning, again, and this time it needs to include smaller chunks of things.

This week’s chunk is to start eating better. I know, from past experience and continuing learning, that I need to eat breakfast at home, I need to make sure I get enough protein and water in my diet, and I need to eat about 500% more vegetables than I default to when left to my own devices. (My own devices like grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and burritos with extra cheese and sour cream.)

So I’m starting with “eat breakfast at home”, and making sure that I prioritize dinners that better resemble something you’d feed an omnivore, not a carb-and-cheese-ivore.

Because this battle?

It will not fight itself.

#mightyifitkillsme, food, insert emoticon here, The Tiniest Capen

It’s really interesting to me how many people say “you should be easier on yourself” or “take it slow” to postpartum women, and genuinely mean it as a kindness. I mean, I totally get it when it’s in reference to “I can’t figure out what do do with this creature that wants to eat and then cries anyway and then wants to eat again and oh god its butt is wet again and why do baby clothes have so many snaps and did I eat yet today I can’t remember oh crap it’s hungry again but wait it apparently hates my nipples so maybe it’s not hungry but if it’s not hungry how do I know what’s wrong and I think I snapped its clothes wrong anyway so let’s start there but oh god now it’s peeing on me.” Going easy on ourselves on that stuff? That part makes perfect sense. Cut yourself some slack. Infants are bugfuck crazymaking.

But when it’s about me, and how I choose to navigate my adult existence, about the choices I make about shaping my life and lifestyle, about things for which I have clear agency and an active locus of control, I wonder. My health. My fitness. My diet. My housekeeping. My time management skills. My daily planning. I am actively in charge of those things in my own world, or partnering with Justin on them, making choices together. And about those things, I wonder why we say “Oh, go slow, honey!” or “Take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to be [insert thing here].” I hear those responses every time I talk about anything vaguely self-improvement related, and I just wonder at it. Of course I don’t HAVE to be [insert thing here]. But I do get to make choices about how I live, about what I desire, about my goals for myself and my lifestyle. And I’m choosing to be [insert thing here]. And why is it not the default to assume that I’m actively content with those choices? Why not assume that I want to live as I’m setting forth as a goal? Why not assume that I actually desire to live to the standards I’m openly choosing to hold myself to?

Instead, it seems like people are assuming I’m responding to some external impetus — some social force, some unwritten expectation — that says that I must do these things. And so people say “oh, you don’t have to [do that thing]” in a way that seems to assume I probably don’t want to do the thing, and am only doing so because I don’t have permission not to. To which I often think in response, “Have you MET me?” I am a deeply action-based person, driven by the intrinsic rewards of successfully completing tasks I’ve set for myself. Having reached age 38, a second marriage, fulfilling hobbies, and a healthy career, all of which have contributed to making me the happiest I’ve ever been, I rarely do shit I don’t want to do. And I certainly don’t set myself goals that don’t have value for me. So when I say I’m going to get fit, eat better, get to work on time, write my thank you notes, take the dog for a walk, stop eating oreos and staring at the ceiling, or whatever today’s goal is, you can pretty much trust I’m saying it because I want to do it. Because I have agency over those choices and actions. And because I value the outcomes of making those choices and doing those things.

Knowing that’s my headspace, I can’t see why people want to tell me to stop. So I pretty much assume they aren’t thinking of my likely headspace, or they aren’t familiar enough with me to understand it. And I know that most everyone means well, is trying to be supportive and encouraging, and speaking from a place of compassion.

But it lands wrong, with me. If you want to encourage me, what I want to hear is “GO GO GO! You can do it!” Continuing to live in a totally indulgent postpartum headspace where I’m late for everything, the dishes are always dirty, household paperwork is piling up on my desk, I don’t exercise, and I’m mainlining Oreos really truly isn’t going to make my next 6 months of climbing slowly back to work and fitness and health any easier. Is it fun to live a life of laziness and cookies? You bet your ass it is. Does it promote goals I value, and outcomes that make my life better? No way. Not at all.

So I’m defaulting back to where I started my pregnancy, when I said “I’m just pregnant, I’m not broken” a lot.

I’m just postpartum, I’m not broken. And I don’t want permission to stay that way.