Thoughts from a Mom with a Young Basketball Girl (A Mumbles Post – 79)

Good Monday Morning! How is your President’s Day? Mine is FABULOUS now that I know the snow we received last night and early this morning was not enough to compel school closing. So I have a day off work and I am free to do what I will for the next few hours. I scheduled a couple of appointments I needed to get done today and I might slip in for a pedi/mani if I have some time.

I have some lingering thoughts I wanted to write about basketball. Girls basketball in particular, since that is my experience so far. Yesterday was the end of Helen’s basketball season. She plays in a development league for our Catholic schools and it ends in a tournament each year.

1. I love helping to coach her team. A dad is the main coach for the girls and he’s terrific. I mostly just nod my head and reinforce with support. The girls are so much fun. They are all sweet. My experience coaching girls is that sometimes someone needs to step in and discipline a little or keep the girls focused on the task at hand. I have had to do this only a few times in the course of two seasons. These girls really want to learn how to play basketball. AND…they have a ton of fun together. I never have to get on any of them for picking on each other. They laugh. A lot. I love that.


2. Sitting on the bench helps me keep calm and cool perspective. From what I understand, hearing opposing teams’ parents up in the crowd would most likely cause my blood to boil. So, I am spared all that by coaching. Sad, though, that parents are actually the worst culprits of poor sportsmanship.

3. Speaking of sportsmanship…parents — your kids are watching you. They hear what you say and they see what you do. If you are poor sports, your kids will be, too. 

4. Evidence of #3: yesterday, Helen’s team lost in the tournament championship game by a buzzer beater put-back from the other team. Heartbreaking. She came back to me with tears. I told her to take a deep breath — it was time to congratulate the other team on a job well done. As they went through the line, the first couple of girls from the other team leaned into her face and chanted, “We won! We won!” in that nasty little girl way some girls do. When Helen told me this, what could I say? Teaching moment right there — we discussed that we still congratulate the winners on a game well-played and try to win next time. And should we win, remember how it felt to be on the receiving end of poor sportsmanship and do the right thing.

5. Oh. And one of the girls on the other team kept jabbing, pushing and pinching my daughter and when Helen asked her to stop, she said, “This is basketball!” 

As you know, the instigator in these situations, often goes unnoticed and when someone retaliates, they are often seen by the referee and called for a foul. Several times this year, my daughter and other girls on the team have gotten so frustrated with the physical play that they have pushed back. We talk with them about no pushing, but it’s so hard for 8- and 9-year-old girls to understand how to play a physical game without getting frustrated. And honestly…jabbing and pinching is really out of line. The referees weren’t seeing it because my daughter didn’t have the ball when it was going on. So…what a pain in the butt to help my daughter figure out how to stand up for herself and not take any crap from these other girls…yet, when she does push back, she is the one “caught” and called for a foul. Oh…and thanks to that girl — she thinks that THIS is basketball.

6. And honestly, I guess it IS basketball, right? I have been around girls’ basketball all my life. I played it from 7th grade through high school. I watch the women’s college game and WNBA on tv and I see that it is a much more physical game than the mens’ game. So basically, the bullies in the game are the winners. Great.

7. I had a friend mention that maybe she’d have her kid play a city rec league as opposed to our Catholic school league because the examples of poor sportsmanship were so disappointing. My daughter loves her friends and loves playing for her school so I don’t think that’s an option for her, but I understand the consideration.

8. Are we Catholics really so bad at sportsmanship? Or…are we just like everyone else, but it’s so disappointing because we should be holding ourselves and each other up to a higher standard? It is this question that I grapple with any time I am disappointed with Catholic school, church, etc. I think there is definitely a large part of it that causes disappointment simply because as Christians, we should be treating each other better.

9. I’m happy the Helen loves basketball. Maybe I will try to get her some private coaching or a camp or two this summer so she grows in her skills a little faster this year. Of course, if she’d grow a few inches…that would probably help her the most, haha.

10. Basketball is a great game. I prefer to watch when one of my kids is not on the floor because the emotional investment is so great. I had a blast playing it. Watching my kids go through this stage has made me wonder if I was one of the bullies. Of course, I didn’t start playing until 7th grade, my coordination was pretty well-developed by then so maybe it didn’t have to be as physical. I don’t know.

Any experiences out there to share? Does it get any better as the girls get older? I remember in high school that our coach said, “If you’re getting pushed around…push back and do it hard…you get one foul to make sure they know you aren’t going to let them push you around.” I don’t even recall it being that much of a problem. 

But I am 41 years old now, I might not have the best recollection. Do boys’ teams even have to discuss this sort of thing? I wonder if my experience is unique to the league we play in or if I went around town to all sorts of girls’ basketball tournaments if I would see the same stuff.

Is it really better, though?



My Strong-Willed Child

He’s the child I never knew I missed.


I wasn’t quite ready…but you can see Vincent was 🙂

He’s the one that made us say, “If he’d been first…he might have been last.”


He loves to say “CHEESE!”

He tests my patience. Yet he fills my heart so full it could burst.

He wanted us to have “silly sticker noses”

I’d always heard about this thing called a “strong-willed” child. I thought, perhaps, I had seen glimpses in my other children. But I only learned how naive I had been when Vincent was born into our family. Because our experience with him highlighted for me that the glimpses of “strong will” we’d seen in the other children were just your normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill challenges of normal-tempered children at different stages. Vincent showed us that “strong willed child” means strong-will, all the time, every day, every minute, with every choice and every occasion.

Vincent goes all-out, all the time. Even in the beginning–I can look back to pregnancy and labor/delivery and say, “I should have known…”

Vincent was the one of my pregnancies where we checked progesterone early and often and it just kept plummeting. It was Vincent who wouldn’t cooperate at 12 weeks and let the doctor get a good heart beat with the doppler thingy and so he had to do a pelvic and jumble things around until we heard it and put my mind at ease. It was Vincent who forced his way to 27 hours of induced labor including 16 hours of “good” contractions before finally deciding to descend and be born in the matter of about 5 minutes. All on his time, you see. I joked with my doctor about whether this was a “5th child” thing — the kid taking his sweet time to be born (my doctor had shared that he was a 5th child…) Honestly, the newborn months are a blur (as they are with all the kids), but as we emerged into our new normal, Vincent still exhibited this all-out, all the time personality.

Three-and-a-half years in, I regularly acknowledge that Vincent is my strong-willed child. He’s wild. He’s loud. And…he gets what he wants more often than not.


He loves cars…so surely he enjoyed playing this game with his daddy.


I’ve tried to be a mother twho “chooses” the “battles” carefully. But I never had so many to choose from before Vincent! I never realized how blessed I was with the older four that “choosing my battle” meant just once or twice a week. Because with Vincent I am choosing between 6 or 7 a day (sometimes the choice between 6 or 7 happens between 6:15 and 7:15 a.m.!!)

The fact that Vincent is 3-and-a-half-years-old now only exacerbates the issue because now he can talk (and yell, scream, etc) and make sure we know what he wants and that he won’t back down. Sometimes I force my hand and he has to do it my way — and I’m rewarded with a screamfest for the ages. More times than I like to admit, I give in and decide it is not worth it to fight.

A mom often ponders whether she is doing a good job at being a mom. When the kids are older, you start to realize that each of them has a personality and temperament that determines how they behave and what kind of mom you are seems to have less and less to do with anything. With Vincent, I question even more, my abilities, than I did with the other kids.

He’s the first one that’s been in daycare for his whole life, we’ve had an awesome experience with our daycare, too. The woman who cares for Vincent all day is gentle, kind, loving and still firm — is his experience the reason he is so different?

Vincent is the first of my kids to reach this age without another child joining the family (on Earth) — does that motivate him to behave the way he does? I experience so much more of Vincent because I don’t have a baby on my hip, I’m convinced. Is my perception colored by this new and different experience? I am sure it is.

And perhaps my perception is colored, too, by the fact that I miss his little brother at times. Who knows what kind of child Vincent would be with Gregory tagging along…?

Sitting in the Darth Vader chair…hmmmm

While Vincent takes so much of my energy with regard to discipline and formation, he also replenishes my emotional stores faster than I remember it happening with the other kids. Vincent works hard and loves harder. He looks up to Dominic with a ferocity I haven’t seen in the other kids. He pays enough attention to his sisters that he knows which of them can provide him with what he wants when he wants it. He makes my heart melt when he requests a hug and a kiss before I leave the house or leave him at daycare. He doesn’t say “I love you” all the time like the other kids did when they first realized how much I liked hearing them say it. But he says it when I least expect it and I can feel his emotion reaching my heart every time he says it.

A strong-willed child is a special experience. Yes, it can be difficult and worrisome. But, at least in my case, it’s accompanied by such passion! I love that. 

It is only because Vincent joined our family, that I am able to experience it.

One Year of My New Life

Remember this? Here I Go Again

One year ago today, I walked into the Weight Watchers At-Work meeting to weigh-in for the “first time” again. I am happy to report it was my LAST “first time” and I made changes that started that day and stuck with them now for a year.

One year ago on November 1 (tomorrow) I went to my first CrossFit workout. I had surgery six weeks before and had abided by the “no lifting” restrictions. But I was cleared and ready to go. I remember that workout like it was a year ago. 🙂 We did back squats. We did Cleans. And I was oh-so-very sore all weekend long. (I also came down with Strep that weekend, which was not so fun.)

Today, I reread several of my posts over the past year and I link them for you now:


Tomorrow, I will compete in my first CrossFit Competition. I’m nervous. But it’s the good kind of nervous. I am entered in the scaled division and I just hope to do the very best I can and see how it goes.

As I think about this past year the main thing that comes to mind is my focus on maintaining these changes I have made. AS my initial “Here I Go Again” post mentions…I had always been an active person, but the food was my problem. I’m not going to lie, even with the changes I made this year, the food is still my problem. It’s something I cannot ever let myself become mindless to ever again. I will forever need to keep track of the food I eat on a daily basis. I will forever need to regroup after my inevitable falls “off the wagon” and get back to tracking.

Actually, I’ve been “off the wagon” for about four weeks now. It’s just been crazy with our schedule and Craig’s new job. I’m hopeful I can get back on now. Does that mean that I’ve gained 15 pounds? No. But it means that if I don’t get it in check, I might. Does that mean I haven’t worked out? Nope. Still haven’t had more than a 2-day layoff for exercise in a year. But the exercise isn’t the problem.

I recently reviewed the time since November 1 to see about workouts and was pleased to see that it was true that I had not had more than two days in a row with no formal/vigorous exercise since then. Even when we had a 2-day road trip for our vacation, when we arrived at my sister’s, I headed out for a 5K just to get something in on that 2nd day. I try not to obsess, however, my anxiety kicks up if I start thinking I won’t be able to get a workout in if I didn’t get one the day before.

In the last few months, I’ve had some interesting internal struggles with what I’ve done and how it impacts my family. First of all, there’s no question I am healthier and a better mom when I feel good about myself — both my actual health and my appearance. Secondly, I know I’m showing my kids what a healthy life looks like and I’m proud of that. The struggle comes in where the potential for weight-related problems rears its head with my kids. My kids are growing right now and are active and make (for the most part) healthy choices in the kitchen. But it was recently pointed out to me what my transformation in the past year may look like to them — especially my Helen, who wants so much to be like me in all ways. I believe my kids are proud of me for making healthy changes, but I worry that my girls (especially my girls) gain or retain some part of MY insecurity with weight and body image by seeing me work so hard to change my own weight/body to fit something I am happy with. This is a real concern. I want my girls to know they are beautiful no matter what. I worry that because they’ve watched this transformation over the past year, that they may think that I don’t think I am beautiful no matter what. So, that’s probably a post for another day. But it’s something I’ve had on my heart for a few weeks.

For today, I am going to celebrate. I’m going to celebrate the fact that my weight is in a healthy range, that my cholesterol (both the good and the bad) are in optimal ranges, that my resting heart rate is fantastic and that my blood pressure is excellent. Today, I celebrate the fact that I know eating a cookie is not going to derail my health because I know to limit my intake to just one (or two! haha) and not eat the whole box. Today, I celebrate that I understand how processed foods and sugars impact my body and I know how to make healthy and moderate choices on those. I celebrate the fact that I can Back Squat 185 pounds; I can Front Squat 145 pounds; I can Hang Squat Clean 130 pounds; I can do good-form “perfect” push-ups to the tune of 10 at a time; I can do unassisted kipping pull-ups. I could go on, but I won’t. I feel so empowered from all the goals I have reached in the last year and for that, I am grateful and I want to celebrate it.

Many of you have sent me congratulations and celebrated my success over this past year. Thank you for that. I knew that I needed a lot of accountability and  checks to keep me going and I appreciate that you all agreed to help me with that.

My journey is still far from over, though. Because I believe the hard part is in the maintenance. Yes, losing weight is hard — I’m not going to deny that. But I’m discovering that maintaining those changes when the weight is gone can be its own kind of incredible struggle. When the focus is not so much on losing and you can widen your lens-of-life and look at more things everyday — taking the time and the part of your lens to continue to focus on your health still takes effort. Some days that effort is easier than others. But no matter what, I must continue to focus on maintaining these healthy changes.

My focus continues to be on these main things:

  1. Tracking my food in a food diary
  2. Exercise most days of the week (this typically means one true rest day per week and sometimes two rest days per week, depending on the schedule…usually NOT two days in a row if I can help it)
  3. Stick to the Paleo philosophy most of the time

So, I’m going to allow myself a “Birthday” Treat — if you will.

My New/Healthy Life is 1-year-old today.

Happy Birthday My Love!

Today is Craig’s birthday! I kept thinking about what I might write about Craig this year, but I couldn’t come up with anything more than what I wrote last year. As I re-read this post from last year, I realize how much of it still applies. No, this year has not been full of loss. As a matter of fact, it’s been a year full of winning. I’ve gained my health back by losing weight, getting stronger and fitter and faster. Craig’s moved on to a new job that we think will be an excellent turn for our family. Adjustments are hard, and we’re working through this one just as well as we have all the others — much thanks to Craig and all of his wonderful qualities. The kids are getting older and we’re facing new challenges together.

And ultimately, that’s why I celebrate Craig today. He and I face all of the everyday — the fun, the sorrowful and the mundane — together. I walk beside this wonderful man every day of my life knowing that God blessed me far beyond anything I could have ever desired the day our “two became one” and I thank Him every day for creating such a wonderful soul.

So, a little Throwback Thursday action for you.

Happy Birthday, you sweet, gentle, caring, loving man!

*******


October 16 is Craig’s birthday.

I’ve always been happy to celebrate the day of his birth, but I think this year, I praise the day even more. This has been a difficult year for us and I’ve leaned on Craig far more than I ever expected to need to. I knew he’d always be there for me and could handle my leaning on him, but I just never thought I would.

You see, I’m the kind of woman who can handle anything. I grew up starting at the age of 8 without my father, helped care for my younger siblings, dabbled in unmentionable activities in high school — and survived it all. I take pride in my ability to do many physical things — I’m a good athlete and I’m competitive and I win. A lot.

When we opened our marriage to new life in our children, it happened for us (pretty much) whenever we wanted it to. When I have gone for promotions at work, I’ve (pretty much) gotten them. It really wasn’t until about 11 years ago that I truly started to understand that I am blessed more by Grace than my own means…but a lifetime of a lack of humility is difficult to tame (though I’m always trying).

This year, I haven’t won very much.

Losing Gregory was the hardest thing I have ever endured. Having pregnancy end in death was not something I ever had a mind or heart for (who does??) And while that’s the biggest hard thing that’s happened this year, there are others.

I’ve struggled in my job. You see, I have a complex where I want all the people in my group I manage to like me. And it’s been a hard lesson to re-learn that I can’t please everyone.

Discerning God’s plan for our family size was difficult earlier this year. Gut-wrenching actually. Discovering through prayer and discernment that my final foray into childbearing would end the way it did, with no chance at a “happy ending” to console me was almost impossible, if not for Craig, would have been impossible. He helped me to face my selfishness and lack of trust. It was somewhat selfish that I wanted another baby, because it wasn’t what is the best thing for our family. And though it was difficult, Craig helped me to wade through those feelings and prayers, and reminded me of all the ways we are blessed.

I’m the more uptight and intense partner in this marriage. Craig is gentle, forgiving, loyal and unwavering.

I want what I want and I want it now. Craig reminds me that sometimes God’s blessings and timing are very different than ours.

I have been an emotional wreck for most of this year — sobbing through Mass, not to be counted on to assist with the children. And at times, feeling like doing nothing around the house, even when there is clearly much work to be done. And there is Craig, rubbing my shoulders, giving me a hug, taking charge of Vincent at Mass, cleaning the house, disciplining the kids — doing his part AND my part — because I am not doing it. Craig has been rock solid and is the reason our home hasn’t fallen apart in the midst of all the chaos this year.

So…I asked Craig what he wanted for his birthday and he said he didn’t want presents (unless the kids insisted, ha). I know he likes cards, but I am so bad at picking one out. There are many cards that could tell Craig how much he means to me, but I have this public blog and all…so I thought I’d write it here.

Happy Birthday to the kindest, gentlest, strongest, most caring man I know in this world. My children are blessed to have him for a dad. And I praise God that He saw fit to bless me with Craig for a husband.

October 16 — my world is infinitely better because Craig was born on this day.

Remembering Gregory

Complete and total darkness.

A gaping hole in my heart.

The feeling of having the wind knocked out of me over and over for 48 hours straight.

Taking deep breaths, only to realize I cannot breathe deeply enough to eliminate the pain I feel.

Photo Credit


When I remember February 28 through March 2 of 2013 — these are some of the things I remember. I’ll never forget how it felt when I heard the ultrasound technician say that she could not locate a heartbeat at my mid-pregnancy ultrasound. I’ll never forget talking to my doctor on the phone as he tried to comfort me but also let me know what we could/should do to move forward. I will always remember grappling with the idea that for a period of time (probably about 10 days) I had carried Gregory’s body, even though God had already called him Home.

Honestly, I still try to think about those 10 days and figure out if I could have known something was wrong. The only thing I come back to is how terrible I felt on the Thursday night a week before the ultrasound. We were having a snow event in Kansas City and I was staying in a hotel so I could be available at work the next day. I’d eaten the dinner provided and had the worst heartburn and stomach ache I had ever had while pregnant. And I was incredibly tired. The whole pregnancy with Gregory I was tired. And I kept playing it off: “What mom of 5, plus 1 in her belly, isn’t tired?!?” Even my doctor admitted that he passed off my complaints of fatigue in that fashion.

In the end, it didn’t matter if I could have known sooner that something was wrong. Ultimately, the infection that claimed Gregory’s life was lethal, even if it had “resolved” as the bloodwork showed. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I could never have done anything to effect a different outcome. I simply did what I was called to do as a mother — I loved my baby fully from his conception until his natural death — and assisted in the creation of another soul for Christ.

I pray and ask Gregory to pray for me often. I ask him to pray for me to be a better mother to his siblings, that I can raise them to join him someday in Heaven. I ask him to pray for his siblings, too. When I “talk” to him, I remind him how much his siblings love him. I tell him how his siblings remember him. Dominic remembers that he has a brother in Heaven. Helen has asked about Gregory from time to time. Dani has included Gregory in her writing in the past. Vincent was too small to remember, but he knows there’s an extra birth stone on my “ring with all the kids on it” (my mother’s ring) and he’s heard the other kids point to it and say, “That’s Gregory.” Sarah, being the oldest and, quite honestly, the more private of my children when it comes to emotional expression, doesn’t say much. But I know somewhere in there she also has a love for her baby brother.

Of course, I don’t need a day like “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day” to remember my sixth child, my third son. (I would imagine that Breast Cancer Survivors don’t need the month of October to remember what they went through either.) Every day there is a way that I remember Gregory. Sometimes I simply glance at my ring and I’m reminded instantly. Everyday that I use a physical Rosary to pray the Rosary, I think of Gregory.

A beautiful gift from Gregory’s godparents

I have pictures and memorabilia the hospital gave me so I can remember what size Gregory was when I delivered his body. I don’t need them, of course, to remember how his whole hand fit on the fingerprint pad of my index finger. Even though his head was tiny, his facial features were already so much like his siblings.

 

No, I don’t need a special day to remember that I cried and my heart ached for so long as I worked through the seemingly endless grief of losing a child before I was ready. And try as I might, I still haven’t had an overwhelming peace that I understand God’s ways in this. I know that understanding will most likely only come when I meet God face-to-face at the end of my life.

I suppose having a “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day” gives me an outlet to write about Gregory, to share my memories publicly, and to share his brief life and the love for him as a member of our family. I go back and forth about how much I should or shouldn’t talk about Gregory. When people ask me how many kids I have, I typically say that I have five. Because in the physical realm of this world, that is what people see. Especially when I have just met a person, it seems awkward to launch into a story about my sixth child who is no longer with us. I’m okay with that. Only those who know me personally would “get it” when I say I have six children. But on a day like this, I can openly acknowledge Gregory — and all the unfulfilled desires of my heart that are made evident in that acknowledgement. It’s true that I feel like someone is missing at times from our family — but then I realize it’s not that he is missing from our family, he is simply with us in another way. He’s praying for us and he is happy and united with God.

Sometimes I think about our (very) human ideas (with our earthly attachments…) of Heaven. I’d like to think that my grandparents are in Heaven and they see Gregory and welcomed him when he came. My grandmother had two children that didn’t survive to adulthood (one stillbirth and one child who died when she was 4). I’d like to think that they were there, too. and the babies lost in pregnancy from my siblings. Even Craig’s Dad, who passed away 5 years ago — I’d like to think he is there showing Gregory “the ropes” of Heaven life. Oh, and how can I forget Aunt Bea?!? She loved children and babies. Perhaps she and Uncle Alex hang out with Gregory and she makes him her Fudge. Haha. that idea really makes me smile.

I don’t need a special day to remember Gregory. But, Gregory is someone worth remembering on a special day.

Paleo Challenge Part Three (the Part After)

I completed four weeks of clean eating (Paleo) and maintained my workout regimen with CrossFit. This afternoon, I went in for my post-challenge body composition. I am thrilled with the results.

As you know, I’ve been maintaining accountability with my posts throughout. So, I will structure this post a bit like my Part One post with sections.

How did the food part go, really?

Honestly, it went pretty well. I refused to allow myself room for cheats. I simply didn’t allow my brain to entertain options that weren’t Paleo. Because this was my mindset, I believe I did very well sticking to the plan. If you read my “Part Two” posts, you probably saw that I ate a lot of eggs and bacon for breakfast (and sometimes for dinner), and I ate a lot of salad with no dressing. I learned to put guacamole or salsa on my greens. I also learned to eat tacos without sour cream, cheese or taco shells/chips. And it was good!!

Did I miss anything? Yes. No lie. I missed cheese. I missed margaritas. I missed cookies and chocolate. But the biggest missing took place in the first week to ten days. From there, I was so focused on how big my size 6 work pants were, that I started thinking I might never eat another cookie, piece of cheese or taco/chip!

I did “cheat” after getting my numbers taken today. We needed to use some leftovers at dinner and I decided to allow myself one evening to have some chocolate and a bite of pasta.

However, I plan to be back on the Paleo wagon tomorrow morning and through another 30 days. I am signed up for my first CrossFit competition (scaled) on November 1 and I think maintaining the clean eating and exercise regimen will help me be as prepared as I can be for that.

How did the workout part go?

The best part of this challenge was the strides I took in the fitness area. I posted four PR’s on the board at the box this month. I PR’d my Front squat by 20 pounds. I PR’d my Clean & Jerk by 5 pounds (I had been stuck at 115 for about 3 months, and just Saturday I got 120 pounds!!) I PR’d my mile run by 54 seconds by running it in 7:12. And, I got my first pull-ups! (more on that in another post 🙂 )

But the PR’s are only part of the story. I didn’t miss a single workout that I intended to make and I actually made it to a couple I hadn’t banked on. I was tired at times (mostly because I switched up my workouts to early mornings after doing evenings for almost a full year). But the feeling of fatigue didn’t carry over into the workouts — once I got going in the warm-ups, my body responded and worked as hard as I wanted it to. 

Body Composition Numbers — AFTER

As stated in my initial post, the goal was to lose four pounds of fat without losing any lean body mass. You can see my initial numbers in this post, but you can also see them in my photo here:


My total mm measured on 8/28 were 137. On 9/28, total mm were 107. So I lost 30 millimeters. The biggest change was in my back area (just under my shoulder blade) going from 21mm to 15mm; my waist (losing 7mm in high waist area and 6mm in the lower waist area) and my thigh where I lost 10mm.

My body fat percentage on 9/28 is 22.9%, which is down 4% from 8/28. My weight is down from 162 to 156. I lost 8 pounds of fat while gaining 2 pounds of lean body mass. 

I’m not gonna lie: those numbers make me want to go Paleo 100% of the time forever.

Results (cont’d)
While I’m happy with how I felt diet-wise, and ecstatic at the progress I made fitness-wise, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how happy I am with the aesthetic results. Sarah and Helen went with me to buy an outfit to wear on a date night with Craig. I’m a terrible shopper. I have no idea what sort of clothes look good on me. This is a result of two main things. First, most of my adult life has been spent living in an overweight, out-of-shape body that I hated trying to find clothes to hide in. Second, there’s rarely room in the budget to buy clothes for me — there’s always something a kid needs and that typically takes priority.

Craig and me before our Date Night!

Sarah and Helen helped pick out a pair of jeans, a top and some flats that really looked nice on me. The jeans were “skinny jeans” — my first pair! And while they feel close, they don’t feel tight and they look nice on me. The shirt fits to the shape of my body and I didn’t feel self-conscious as I would have before losing weight. 

When I came down all dressed for our date night, Helen told me I was the prettiest mommy in the world (which absolutely made my life). The boys begged to get their picture taken with their “beautiful Mommy.” Sarah said, “Wow, you look nice. I like that outfit so much better than the stuff you normally wear.” (That’s 13-year-old speak for “Way to get with the program, Mom.”)

Helen insisted on taking a pic of me by myself — football game
in the background…
My baby girl and me

Even Dani agreed to a photo!
My boys and me, football game still in the background

Now, I was most of the way here before the Paleo challenge. I only lost a total of 6 pounds while doing the Paleo Challenge — but I’m sure the combination of 8 pounds of fat lost and 2 pounds of lean body mass gained makes a difference. But, I feel even more “in control” of things now than I did even before the 30-day challenge. For the first time since I made Lifetime with Weight Watchers, I am not sweating out my weigh-in at the beginning of October…I know I’ll be well under my goal weight, no worries about paying that $10!  

I’m confident as I move forward that I can continue to live at least a 90% Paleo lifestyle. And I’m shooting for 100%.

"Fran," Pull-ups and Me

Fran”

I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.

 21-15-9

Thrusters, then burpees.

90 reps total — which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.

My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.

The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).

Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I’m doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure — Yes, I can do another 10.

From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”…someday I will do this workout Rx.”

Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it’s my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
*****
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started  to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven’t formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women’s problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn’t be it, but I suppose it is.
LINK
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I’m convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I’ve been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or — as in “Fran” today, doing jumping pull-ups. I’m not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it’s definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.

I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.

LINK

All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.