Two practices and two kids: a lesson in routines

I find comfort in routines.  I enjoy knowing what will happen next in my day.  On the days that I am just completely zonked, I like being able to just ride the flow of my routines and know that thinking really isn’t required.  Morning routines are especially important in our family.  On a good day, we have two yoga practices to accomplish, a Walter to get to school, an Alex to get to work and a mommy and Ella to get back home before Ella just can’t deal with the car one minute more.  Before Ella was born the routine had been honed to a fine art of perfection.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m.  I jump out of bed (jumping is quite a helpful tactic that early in the morning to assure that you don’t just roll over and go back to sleep!), get dressed and bike to the yoga studio.  I practice between 6-7:30 a.m. and then about 7:35 a.m. Alex and Walter would show up in the car and Alex and I would swap.  He would start his practice and Walter and I would either head to take him to school or home to begin our day.  Alex finishes practice around 9ish and bikes to work to begin his day around 10 a.m.

There are two things that have thrown a wrench into this perfectly orchestrated dance: Ella and Alex’s early morning meetings.  Ella does not like the car nor does she like to drink from a bottle.  Both of these cause large problems when trying to get everyone out the door in the morning.  Alex is working with a team in London and because of lovely time changes, the best time for them to meet is 9 a.m. – double yuck!  Between the two of these, we are having a really hard time of settling into a routine which is driving me a wee bit crazy.

We keep trying new things (switching off practice days, me practicing at home, different feeding times and ways to convince Ella that bottles aren’t the end of the world), but nothing really seems to be taking hold and working.  Logically, I know that eventually this all will pass, but right now it is hard to be constantly trying to change things and make something else work. In the chaos that is having a newborn, I long for the routines of life before.  I miss being able to schedule something and know that I could get there on time. I miss the simple ability of getting in the car and going somewhere without bracing myself for the continual crying that is sure to occur.

When all these thought begin to overwhelm me, Ella will just start smiling at me and chatting in her little baby way (also referred to as dispensing the baby crack in our household) and I will find myself smiling back and the horribleness is held at bay for just a bit longer.

Inside the crazy mind of a woman attempting to get pregnant

Alex and I want to have another child.  We are actively trying to make this happen and it is making me crazy and oddly enough no one really seems to talk about this.  It seems to be discussed in hushed tones of “we are trying”  or “we would like to have another child, but it hasn’t happened yet” However, I need to talk about it in the hopes that it will make the  voices in my head SHUT UP!  The first couple of months of trying is fun.  I didn’t really expect it to happen right away and the sex life of parents with young children tends to be rather non-existent since the last thing you have energy for at the end of a long day is attempting to be sexy, so it was fun to focus on it again.  Then after a couple of months, my type A personality starts to kick in and I begin thinking, “What is going on? Why is this not happening?”  With Walter, that was about the time I actually got pregnant, so they craziness was minimal.  However, this time around, that has not happened so the craziness seems to get a wee bit worse every month.  I should say for about two weeks every month because that is the time between when you ovulate and the time when you get your period and find out whether you are pregnant or not.  I think for the first two weeks of my cycle, I am pretty normal.  I can drink, I eat sushi and I don’t worry if my bind in D is going to somehow cause me to miscarry.

This month has reached monumental craziness because of one single fact: with Walter, I missed my period, took a pregnancy test, it was negative, but lo and behold and I was still pregnant which I figured out about two months later.  Luckily the extra wine I drank during that time doesn’t seem to have affected Walter much!  I thought it was a fluke – somehow I did the pregnancy test wrong last time or something.  So this last month, Alex and I do a bang up job of having sex at all the right times.  Then around day 20, I start bleeding and do so for three days.  I scour the internet trying to figure out how to differentiate between an actual period and implantation bleeding which, as it turns out, not really much different.  So I am not sure what to think.  Then on day 24 I start feeling nauseated and just generally yucky.  I hit a wall in my practice when I hit floor poses and despite my attempts to just push through, I just don’t have enough energy.  The nauseousness disappears as I take the first bites of lunch and I realize that I am starving.  These are all similar signs of pregnancy to what happened to me when I was pregnant with Walter.  So I wait a couple more days until what would have been the first day of my period, and take a pregnancy test, it is negative.  Then I wait another three days, til this morning.  Take the pregnancy test at 2 a.m. cause I am awake and cannot sleep.  It is negative.  I give up on sleeping and just go work on my computer.  I finally fall back asleep only to have Walter decide it is time to get up.  Oh and I am still feeling nauseated today.  Do you see how this can make a person crazy?  Basically either I am just making all of this up or I am actually pregnant and the tests are lying.  So at 4 a.m. I emailed my ObGyn and asked if there was anyway I could get a blood test done with the hope that it will be more accurate and end all the craziness going around in my head.

Logically this is all ridiculous.  I have to laugh at myself because I spent a good part of my high school and college years (and honestly even into law school) having nightmares where I was pregnant and I hadn’t actually done anything to get pregnant!  I didn’t want children then and was pretty convinced that having one would ruin my career and my life.  I think I must have taken all that abstinence only sex education that our lovely Texas schools taught quite seriously!  Well it turns out that life changes and as it changes, I changed too.  Having a child at a reasonable age with a partner I love is a whole different idea than randomly getting pregnant at 19.  It also helps that as far as I am concerned, working doesn’t agree with me and I enjoy life much more when I am my own boss at home (weeeelll, Walter would disagree with that, but I need to hold onto some of my delusions!).  However, as it turns out having children has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with emotions, so if you see me just keep this in mind.  I can’t promise I will be more sane once I am actually pregnant, you can ask Alex what I was like last time.  Thank you very kindly for listening to my rant.

Walter playing on the playground at the beach

Tim Miller and Encinitas

We spent a lovely Labor Day weekend in San Diego with my two sisters and my fantastic brother-in-law (read 5 adults to one toddler makes for a fantastic ratio for all involved. Walter gets someone to constantly play with and no adult gets too tired. I just realized that it takes the energy of 5 adults to keep up with one toddler comfortably, oh my goooooodness).  Then we headed slightly north to Encinitas to hang out at the beach and practice with Tim Miller.  Did you know that the beach has a fantastic playground?  Walter was stoked!

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On going back to work from a Stay at Home Mom

I feel like there has been a lot of back and forth lately about women and their choices around when they go back to work after having kids.  I just read another article The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In by Judith Warner.  These women aren’t quite my peers, but are about 10 years ahead of myself.  Judith goes back and profiles 10 women who all dropped out of high powered jobs in order to be stay at home moms.  Now for varying reasons most of them are trying to re-enter the workplace and it doesn’t seem to be easy for them.  A good chunk of them are taking pay cuts, but working in fields that mean something more to them than their previous jobs did.

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Blueberry Muffins

Cooking without a Kitchen

We are quickly working our way through week four of this kitchen remodel.  There are times when I feel quite zen about the whole thing and other times when I am completely convinced that it is absolutely never, ever going to be finished (insert very dramatic music here)!!  Sometimes, I feel both things in the same day.  The last couple of weeks it feels like such a monumental task to do the slightest thing that involved cooking.  We currently have most of the kitchen kind of set up in Walter’s bedroom (his bed is currently at the end of ours because he refuses to sleep by himself, but that is another post…) along with a coleman stove on the patio next to my grill.  As I type this, it sounds not that bad, I have some basics, so it seems I SHOULD (oh the “shoulds”) be able to whip something up.  The problem comes when I attempt to find anything.  The kitchen is in Walter’s room, but most of the time I have only a vague idea of which box it might be in.

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Rocket ship for Walter!

Kitchen Destruction!

It started out simply enough.  The tile has been coming up in our kitchen since the day we bought the house.  So when our tax return came back, I decided it was time to replace it.  It was also white and white is just an awful color for a kitchen, especially one that a toddler and dog use every day.  I could clean it constantly and it would never actually stay clean.  But I digress….So this re-tile…I called the contractor we used for our previous bathroom remodel; he came over; gave me a price and told me it would be simple and take 3 days. It seemed so easy, that I felt like dusting off my hands and calling it day. Continue reading

My continuing obsessions with food: both eating and not eating it

I have been trying to start a new way of eating.  The problem is that every time I try to change my eating patterns, it forces me to examine all my past choices and then deal with how I am going to go forward.  I have two parts of me: the part that wants to eat and cook every delicious thing out there to the point of being quite a larger person (it is very hard for me to moderate) and then there is the person that wants to stay healthy and active and likes to look good in a pair of skinny jeans.  I should add that there is a third food personality in there too: the Ashtangi.  I didn’t realize it when I started doing Ashtanga, but you can very easily become obsessed with food in Ashtanga.  There are all these rules as to how a proper yogi/Ahstangi behaves and they seem to involve a lot of “no.”  No meat, no booze, no eating after 5 p.m. or if you are really good, no dinner at all.  Yogis are supposed to eat lightly. There is a saying that goes something like this, “A yogi eats once a day, a bogi (non-yogi) eat twice a day, and if you eat three times a day you need to find yourself a cemetery plot.”  I make fun, but it is all in the quest for a better practice in the morning.  I have never really bought into the Ashtangi side of it too much, until we were in India and it was so hot that eating too much was just uncomfortable.  Not to mention that when it is 90°, the electricity goes out and your fan stops working eating just sounds like a bad idea.  I did notice by eating less the night before, my practice was better in the morning.  I just felt lighter and not as heavy.  This led to some of my favorite type of practices; the ones where it just feels all sparkly and magical.  Those practices are a bit of a drug and they lead you to want to create more of them.

I came back from Mysore with the idea that I would try to impliment some of the ways of eating, that had served us so well in India, here.  Did I mention Alex lost something ridiculous like 12 pounds while we were there? He was the thinest he had been since high school or something crazy like that.  The first main idea is that we would eat a larger lunch and start to scale back dinner.  This is significantly harder to do than I thought.  You see, this smaller lunch, larger dinner is rather ingrained in our culture and in my stomach.  My stomach is perfectly happy to eat that larger lunch, but then it is not happy when I attempt to give it a smoothie or salad for dinner.  It protests loudly that it would like some proper dinner thank you very much!

The second part is that when we were in Mysore, I went to a lovely woman named Angelika.  She is an intuitive nutritionist amongst other things.  She did a reading of sorts where she went through almost every food that she could think of and a couple of other things that I eat regularly and asked the universe if it was in my best interest to continue eating it. The large overarching themes were that I needed more protein (animal and vegetable), more raw or lightly cooked veggies, less fruit and then to cut out dairy, soy, white flour, sugar and avocado oil.  Oh and no chai, to drink coffee instead.  I came out of meeting with her a bit crushed.  It seemed like an impossible task to give up so many things that I really loved.  When we got back I tried to follow the instructions when I could, but didn’t work at it too hard.  I had my sister’s wedding coming up and the prep that went with that, then my parents were here for two wonderful weeks after that and my father loves to put tasty things in the fridge that I just don’t want to not eat.  Surprisingly, I was able to give up most of the dairy rather easily and I have felt a marked change with that.  So that brings us to last week when I had promised myself I would start and I did kinda, but I just got all cranky and was having a devil of a time getting myself to buckle down and behave.  Which led to my current state of trying to figure out if this is one of those things that I need to apply strong will to and DO or if perhaps I am just asking too much of myself right (for whatever reason).  I am fairly strong willed and have perfectionist tendencies.  This causes me often to push on something to the point where it blows up in my face and causes me a lot of anxiety and insecurity.  I am much more aware of this now, but I still don’t have a good idea generally what is good enough so I tend to push myself too much.  In this particular situation, I don’t have a good answer to it and so I think I will just have to sit with it over the next couple of days and see how things go.  Somehow I need to find the moderation.

Mayo in the food processor

Mayonnaise

We are slowly making the transition back from India.  It is funny how we had an incredibly hard time there at first and then we found our feet and now we are having trouble adjusting to being back home.  Alex and I have developed an acute need for coconuts!  Part of our readjusting is getting the house back in order and running smoothly again.  A big part of that is restocking my fridge and pantry with all my essentials.  I cleaned out the fridge completely before we left.  It felt good to get all the crap out and start clean when we arrived home.  So now, one of those things the fridge needed was mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise seems to have developed a bad rap over the years.  No one likes it.  If you only eat the crap that they sell in the store, I don’t blame you.  However, I use mayonnaise for a surprisingly large number of things; its current most important function is a necessary ingredient in my homemade vinaigrette (I have to confess that I use America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe.  They are like crack for cooks, just start with their recipes you will never ever stop and then when you do use another recipe you will be mad that it does not measure up to the same precision and wonderfulness that theirs does, but I digress….).  It really just pulls it together and makes it a tasty dressing for my salads.  I would argue that it is one of those fantastic kitchen staples that takes no time to make and it is just too delicious to ever buy store bought again! I admit to possibly liking the spatula when it doesn’t all fit into the designated jar.  So on that note, here we go!

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Jetlag and daylight saving

Nothing quite like being up with a jetlagged toddler at 3 a.m. Alex has some ideas on that too…..

 

Being 12 hours jetlagged makes for a really mind-bending experience, and such experiences are very good subjects to describe!

For Walter, it’s actually pretty easy, because he has bi-phasic sleep. He sleeps twice a day, so his sleep schedule naturally allows for a 12-hour time change – his afternoon nap is longer and it’s dark outside, and his nighttime sleep is shorter and the sun is up. Not a big deal, actually, which is part of why Walter did fantastic in India and didn’t really get overly sleepy and cranky that first week.

For those of us with single-phase sleep, however, it’s a pretty massive jump. When we flew to India, the sun set on us twice during 12 hours. When we came back, it was in the sky for over 24 hours, which is even longer than the longest day on the north pole.

It so happens that we were in India during the US daylight saving time change, and the clocks don’t change in India. The stats: India is GMT +5:30. and Pacific is GMT -8:00 in the winter and GMT -7:00 in the spring. That means heading east, we stashed 13 hours and 30 minutes in the DST bank, and on our way home, they gave us back only 12 hours and 30 minutes. (I guess they charge some hidden fees!)

It doesn’t seem like you’d notice that one lost hour, if you were away when the clocks actually changed, and it was a week ago that it happened. Can we really tell the difference between a 12:30 mindwarp and a 13:30 one? I would have guessed we’d completely miss the usual DST-induced jetlag, just a bit of noise in the signal.

But here’s what Eva and I both felt this morning: the sun rose later than it should have. If you were here for the DST change, the clocks jumped ahead, so the clock also showed a late time when the sun rose. Are we actually feeling the daylight saving loss on top of the jetlag? Sunrise went from 6:30 in India to 7:20 here, so I think we’re confused by what the clock says, and the DST change actually matters. I guess you also feel the same way if you travel far east or west in China, where they have only one wide timezone.

It also was dark longer last night. We got up before dawn every day in Mysore and got used to how long it took to get light. In my case, I was always practicing at the yoga shala at dawn. Now that we’ve gone further North, the daylight time is 9 minutes less. That’s not much, and it’s hard to think that would have an effect, but maybe we’re feeling that too?

There are actually a lot of changes that contribute to the disorientation this morning. For one, we went back in time one season, from almost summer to almost spring. We forgot how to wear sweaters and Walter doesn’t seem to remember socks very clearly, not having seen them in a month. Life moves faster, everything looks perfect, everyone is white. There are no animals in the street except the ones on leashes, which means the cars are more dangerous when we cross the street (they go fast and expect no obstructions in the road).

Of course we really feel the day-became-night change. It’s just so unnatural to add an extra 1/2 rotation to the earth overnight. But there was so much travel (1am to 8pm yesterday plus 12:30 is 31.5 hours) that I was ready to sleep last night, and we slept a nearly normal amount. So I think we’ll make it up just as quickly as a return trip from London.

I guess my summary is: the culture change and the DST change seem just as disorienting this morning as losing a night and half of sleep and being on the opposite side of the Earth.

To add one more insight: even if you don’t ever travel, it was pretty strange for our bodies when they changed the start and end dates for DST. I want to think it’s spring now, because it used to be close to spring when the clocks changed. But it’s still not light for enough hours to be spring. So that’s one way the clock can mess you up.

PS: it was nice having the moon still behave the same in India. That and the same gravity was all that made it feel like we stayed on the same planet.

Highlights from Conference (3.10.13)

Alex wanted to cover some interesting things Sharath talked about in conference last week. :) So here we go….

I asked, how much should we encourage friends and family in their yoga practice? Practical answer: let them observe your practice, answer their questions, and then let their curiosity and inclinations lead them. Sharath talked about how Guruji never advertised, and that was critical to his success. Like the honey in a flower, the bees just came to find him. He laughed a bit about Guruji being honey. It’s interesting that there are Sharath and Saraswathi posters in California and I’m sure New York as well. But Sharath doesn’t claim to be the guru.

Asked “is it okay while here to practice extra postures in the changing room” he replied with a nicely stated “absolutely not.” If you already know the postures, why come study with a teacher? There was then a sizeable lecture about the relationship with the teacher. This brought another Guruji reference: how he had an aura of light coming from him due to his accumulated amrita bindu [http://suzanneelsafty.com/2011/12/23/conference-the-true-purpose-of-asana-4th-december-2011/]. You can’t get an aura along with your certificate at yoga teacher training, he added.

He also talked about Guruji when asked, how do you continue to learn after the master has left? He answers that though the teacher is gone, the teachings remain, and that he has observed the large June full moon and thought that as the moon follows you wherever you go, but you cannot reach it, so it is now for him with Guruji.

Very interesting answer to an obsure question about beginning vs. advanced series. First, he clarifies that they’re essentially the same, it’s just that for a sadhaka who is more flexible or strong or has better balance, they take more challenging asanas. Even those doing half-primary are doing real Yoga. But also a more personal illumination: when Sharath practices Kapotasana, it’s not the same as when one of the students practices it. It’s not that he’s egoistic about it, rather, he has a different experience while in the pose than others have. He becomes fully absorbed in the posture, and doesn’t know where he is. I suppose as a result of incredible focus. He told the story of his first demo in the US, where he was to perform some asanas for a crowd of 500. A friend asked if he was nervous, but he laughed that no, he wouldn’t have any idea the audience was there.

Last question: should one practice at a shala [presumably with an authorized teacher] or at home? Sharath gives no guidance, it’s totally at your discretion.