Changes

50. That is the total number of pounds that I have lost and kept off for more than a year. That is a record. That is something I am very proud of and this new body is getting stronger every day. It does not matter that it took me almost 40 years to gain control of my body. I finally have control and will continue to let it attain its fullest potential.

When I started making changes to the way I ate and adding Crossfit to my life, I was met with varying responses. Many were supportive but more like “alright, good for you but we’ll be here when you fall” kind of support. Or maybe I was over-sensitive, since I have failed so many times in my life. I never kept the weight off or persisted in those other fitness endeavors before, why would I now?

I think a year is more than sufficient proof (to myself) that this change is here to stay. It may evolve as time goes on but my diet will always follow a primal template and exercise will always include strength and interval training, with elements of play.

Elisabeth Akinwale puts it perfectly:
“…if you have conviction about what you are doing, you must hold onto that as your shield against the naysayers. You are responsible for your body. You are responsible for your own health and happiness. How your body transforms is secondary to the discipline you’re displaying and the sense of accomplishment you earn in your daily workouts and progress towards your goals. People who really care about you should be uplifted by your joy, hard work and accomplishments.”

Gratitude

Most of us count our blessings around November. Don’t get me wrong, it is a perfect time for it. The year is winding down and we are thankful for everything it has brought us. I thought it would be refreshing to count my blessings half way through this year.

For second chances. For a chance at this life that I feel so lucky to have. No, I didn’t overcome a big health problem to get here but I did overcome an emotional block in my life. It was a path that I had to navigate in order to find myself today. I almost lost all that was good in my life but I have been fortunate to get another go at it. What a wonderful go it has turned out to be.

For my loyal and loving partner and best friend, Mike. He makes it so easy to be myself and I cannot thank him enough.

For my wonderful and very busy little boy, Sagan. He helps me learn more and more every day, about the world around us and especially about myself.

For my parents. Who are always quietly supportive in my every endeavor.

For a cosy and beautiful house that keeps us warm and safe. For continuing to inspire my eye for beauty and functionality at the same time.

For finding fitness through a wonderful community at Rocket Crossfit. I have not been this healthy or strong in my life.

For the time that I have been able to stay at home with Sagan. 2 years is such a blessing. It could continue but it’s time he get some time with more of his peers. He should wear some other folks out!

For friends, old and new, who always offer a listening ear and share their funny and/or inspiring stories. It makes a difference to know that you are not alone in this crazy thing called life. This includes my blog friends here.

For the rest of my family, I miss you all and even though we are apart, I always cherish memories we have made together.

For these and many more blessings, I am grateful.

Courage

Heroics are often about putting our life on the line. Courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. If we want to live and love with our whole hearts and engage in the world from a place of worthiness, our first step is practicing the courage it takes to own our stories and tell the truth about who we are. It doesn’t get braver than that.

Brené Brown


2012

Goodbye 2011! You were good to me most of the time. I wish that I didn’t have to live through most of your days but I did. For all of it, I am stronger. My prizes are more than worth it. You know what I mean. I made a leap and found such joy in something I was afraid to want. I found something else that I had ignored for a while. Something so precious that I almost let go of.  And through it all, I have now discovered what happiness I had all along with me.

For all my family and friends, I wish you a wonderful new year. Whether 2011 has been good or bad or mediocre for you, I ask that you bid it farewell. Look forward to better days and hope for more happy discoveries. Be brave and go with the flow of life. Breathe in and out, pick yourself up and see yourself through. You owe yourself that much. I don’t have to remind you that life is precious. So cherish it all.

I’ll leave you with this:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
-T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Happy New Year!

8 weeks

My darling little boy is 8 weeks old now. I cannot believe that so much time has passed. It felt like a really long time when I waited for his arrival in those last few weeks and suddenly, he is all of 2 months old.

Those of you who are friends with me on FB have been bombarded with constant updates and pictures but I realized that I haven’t had the chance to update my blog for over a month.

We’ve had visits from friends and family. We’ve ventured out as a little family to the farmer’s market. We’ve taken some fairly long drives to the East side. We’ve changed hundreds of diapers. We’ve shared as many tickles, cuddles and kisses, maybe even more. We’ve had many firsts with Sagan and are anticipating so many more wonderful times.

He is such a sweet kid. Always a trooper. He does have a little bit of a temper but it only shows up when he does not get to his food fast enough. Other than that, we have no complaints. He is low maintenance.

As for me, I’m tired. Not as tired as those early weeks. I’d like to think that I’m getting the hang of this but it’s just as likely that the little one is starting to sleep more hours. In other news, I am slowly finding my way back to the kitchen. All thanks to Nigella Kitchen episodes! While nursing, I turned to my trusty new iPad and caught all the Nigella Kitchen episodes on YouTube. So far, I’ve made her Spanish Chicken recipe as well as the Pantry Paella. The Spanish Chicken was delicious but the paella recipe needed a little bit more liquid (half a cup or so) for the rice to cook thoroughly. Also, cooking it with the lid on helped. Tonight, I’m planning to make her Chicken and Forty Cloves (of garlic).

I wanted to leave you with a couple of interesting links I’ve encountered lately:

Children

by Kahlil Gibran
 
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
 
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
 
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Transcendental

I can tell that it is the early evening because of how much sunshine is coming through the front windows. Sagan is sleeping quietly in the swing that we call magic (he almost always falls asleep every time we put him in it). I actually have a couple of minutes when I am not holding the baby or the breast pump. My neck and shoulders are less achy, I think I am getting used to holding the baby and looking down at him as he nurses. My incision from the c-section has healed well and I am off the pain meds. Our little family unit is gradually coming together, mostly it is a question of feed, change, burp or entertain. It is easier in the day time to navigate these cues from the little guy, at night, it is mostly a fumble. Still I think we are doing okay.

My mum has been a blessing to have around, she cooks all our meals, keeps the house clean and is always more than happy to hold and entertain the baby. I am one lucky girl. I have such wonderful support.

I also wanted to thank all of you for your overwhelming well wishes and gifts, your offers of help and support as we learn how to take care of our new little one. It has been such a new and slightly harrowing experience for us but whenever we look into those tiny soulful eyes or hear his little coo, we swoon. It becomes all worth it. I am aware of how time flies and am learning to cherish each moment, groggily.

What is sleep when you can hold this little face close to your chest?

40 weeks

Happy Friday! He’s not here yet but he will be here this weekend. We are heading to the hospital tonight to start the process. The induction process is highly frowned up by mothers who prefer a natural process but we have to do this, for medical reasons. Docs won’t let me keep him in there for more than 40 weeks with my gestational diabetes. Contractions are few and far between for me but I feel him descending lower into his exit space. That is encouraging. At this point, I just want to hold him and see his beautiful face. I know that we can never predict how we would react until we are in a certain situation and anticipating this “falling in love” is heady enough for me. Even more so, I am looking forward to seeing how M will respond to his arrival. It will be magical.

The nursery is ready even though he will be in our room for a while. His little swing is waiting by the front windows downstairs in the living room, soaking up the summer rays. Still, it’s almost too difficult to imagine him in our lives. It’s surreal.


It looks like summer is really getting into Seattle this week. I am grateful for good weather. And when I’m laboring for this little guy’s arrival, I will make it a point to look outside and be thankful that we would be able to share the lovely weather together.

Recently, we have started to get to know our neighbors on our little short street much better. We had an impromptu get-together at a nearby pub one Saturday evening and then a pot luck dinner a few weeks ago. We are lucky to have these neighbors – all very lovely people and supportive in their own ways. It makes me proud to live on this street. Also, baby boy S will have little friends to run around with. H is 2 and C is 1. Occasionally, R comes to visit with his grandma and he’s 2.5.

I’ve been off work for about 10 days and I do miss it. I know that I’ll get used to it.

Check out this cute bag from Zakka Noveau.

How about these cute little boots from Bloesemshop?

Oh, this is such a cool app – Letter M Press – for the iPad.

The folks’ property has a nice sturdy foundation in place now. Soon, they will start framing the house.

I just wanted to give you an update on how things are over here at Scarlett…soon there will be some very tired people and a really tiny new member of the family. We promise news as soon as we get it. xo

Courage and 37 weeks (almost!)

I haven’t taken a belly shot in 2 weeks. I’m still expecting this little guy. Tomorrow, I will be at 37 weeks. Before becoming pregnant, I always had fears about what might go wrong with a pregnancy, so much so that I almost wished my way out of becoming a mum. What a mistake that would have been! Somehow, it has taken several missteps and falls before I arrived at today. Belly plump with a full term baby, I am now fully aware of how I must be brave if I want to be a part of this world, to be an active participant in my life.

I want to share this passage from poet David Whyte that I found on Oprah.com:

Can I live a courageous life?

If you look at the root of the word “courage,” it doesn’t mean running under the machine-gun bullets of the enemy, wearing a Sylvester Stallone headband, with glistening biceps and bandoliers of ammunition around one’s neck. The word “courage” comes from the old French word coeurmeaning “heart.” So “courage” is the measure of your heartfelt participation in the world.

Human beings are constantly trying to take courageous paths in their lives: in their marriages, in their relationships, in their work and with themselves. But the human way is to hope that there’s a way to take that courageous step—without having one’s heart broken. And it’s my contention that there is no sincere path a human being can take without breaking his or her heart.

There is no marriage, no matter how happy, that won’t at times find you wanting and break your heart. In raising a family, there is no way to be a good mother or father without a child breaking that parental heart. In a good job, a good vocation, if we are sincere about our contribution, our work will always find us wanting at times. In an individual life, if we are sincere about examining our own integrity, we should, if we are really serious, at times, be existentially disappointed with ourselves.

So it can be a lovely, merciful thing to think, “Actually, there is no path I can take without having my heart broken, so why not get on with it and stop wanting these extra-special circumstances which stop me from doing something courageous?”

I am ready for the next step, to become someone’s parent, mother. Not because I know that I can do it but because I now know that it’s normal to be afraid but still be brave enough to take all of it on. It will be worth my life, my time, my heart and all.

The Wolf and Seven Young Kids

Do you know that Brothers Grimm fable about the wolf and 7 young kids? Kids as in little goats? Well, I have been feeling like how the wolf has felt after his stomach was cut open, filled with stones and sewn back.

I’ve debated about sharing this story with you but it is such a important step in this pregnancy that I have to let you know.

In my last post, I shared about the scary pains in my belly as being a bump in the road but it turns out, it was a warning sign that I needed surgery to remove a cyst that has been growing in my belly. It was such a horrible pain that I felt last Friday (3/11) evening. I was doubled over in pain as M rushed me to urgent care. I feared for my little one’s safety but I could barely wrap my head around the pain I felt. I was hospitalized that night but I knew that I was bound for the OR to remove the cyst.

The surgery went well, M steadfast by my side, reassuring me all the time that it was going to be alright and that he will be there when I woke, even when he feared for my well-being. The nurses and doctors were amazing and supportive. I cannot thank them enough for the care they took of me.

The last of my staples came out today but I am still taking things slow and easy as I heal from the 8″ long incision on my belly. It’s quite the battle scar.

It’s been a trying week, physically, emotionally and mentally. But I really feel like I have found my way home. Particularly to M, who has never strayed from my side since I’ve been a little lost trying to find myself since more than 20 months ago. He deserves the award for a true companion in my life.

We are due for our anatomy scan on Wednesday but we got to see our little one that fateful Friday. I was in much pain but it was still good to see him tumbling about in my belly. Yes, him. I am going to be a proud mum of a son whom I hope, will follow in his daddy’s steadfast and loving footsteps.

Don’t worry about me too much, my friends, I am surely on the mend. My fate will be unlike the one of the wolf who ends up at the bottom of the well. On the contrary, I am on my way up.

Thank you for always keeping me and M in your thoughts and prayers. We are lucky.