The New Normal.

I knew having a baby would change things. But I didn’t know how exactly, or how much. Well, now I do, and it’s time to try and get back into the swing of things.

So this means it’s all back to normal? Nope. Is it at least stable and routine? Nope too. It’s taken me a while to realize this, but not only is every baby unique, but some babies, mine included, are uniquely random. He’s sort of predictable. But there’s no point waiting until he has a routine for me to renew my old occupations. It’s not about to happen. 4/5 days he’s timely, then he has a bad one. But I finally feel confident that I can roll with this.

Everything else slowly fell into place, and I relearned how to take care of everything that matters: first Jon, then housework, the pets, cooking, my little projects, socializing. So it’s time to renew writing, blogging and art. And in a few months, paid work and gardening. All with a helpless little human strapped to me. It’s not the same. But it’s something you figure out as you go along.

I’m back everybody. 😀

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PS: Babies aren’t expensive. Yet to see about toddlers, but doubt they are either. 😛

There isn’t one me, and that’s OK.

A post at Hearthrose’s blog got me thinking about something recently.

Although I take pride in being pretty independent and happy to be alone, like all people I try and craft myself a story which minimizes conflict, which allows me to appear more congruent, to fit into the group.

But the thing is, although I am functional, stable and happy, I am not a sane, balanced, “one story” sort of a person. I’ve done a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff has happened to me, and my refusal to adhere to one group means my outlook on life isn’t from the same vantage point as any given person I am talking to. I have been on welfare and among the elite at the Oxford and Cambridge club. I have spent time in churches and posing nude for painting and photography groups. I have been paid to write liberal essays, but I have also intentionally associated with Marxists and feminists. I have lived across countries, incomes, social boundaries… And between that and the randomly flicking light switch which is my hormonal balance, I am not sane or balanced, there is no “one story”.

I find that with the way my head works, it’s hard to reconcile many different aspects of myself. I learned from a young age that people as disjointed and random as me aren’t “real” people, that I needed to simplify myself in order to be “genuine”. Although no one person has mattered to me beyond Jon, I’ve still tried to minimize conflict by wedging myself into one story and hiding anything which didn’t quite fit.

Pregnancy has given me some time to think about this though, especially about disorders like bipolar and disorders of shallow affect. I know they’re highly heritable. But I don’t want my son to end up like my father: a bipolar alcoholic unable to reconcile all the facets of his identity into something pleasant and superficially genuine, which people might find easier to swallow. I want my son to be able to be weird and disjointed, to not commit to something unless he needs to or wants to or believes it makes sense, to not force himself into an indentity or a group without reason. I don’t want to make him think he has to find a community he can perfectly blend into and fade into the background. Because that is what happened to my father and it doesn’t work.

I don’t care any more if I’m a bit too sweary or immodest at times for the traditional spheres. Or if I’m not racy or flaunty enough for social media. Or if I’m not religious enough for small communities. Or if I’m not abrasive enough for my age group. I don’t care that I read anything from the KJ Bible to Deadman Wonderland, that I’m an anime nerd, that I can’t hate the sex industry, that I prefer to be alone most of the time, that I’m self-absorbed, that I like to do traditional tasks, that I hoard money instead of using it.

I’d rather get on with being me, doing what I must do in order to succeed at what I want, accepting the different sides of myself and not hiding them in order to fit in better or appease someone. If something needs fixing, I’ll fix it, not pretend it isn’t there to give a better impression. And if I lose a few people along the way, then they’re not part of my story, are they?

FitFriday, FatFriday XV. Tired.

So, as some of you may know, we were moving in with a relative and it’s gone sour and now we’ve had to move back in and start making plans for how to work the baby into our current home and how my work will go. So I’ve been a bit too busy for anything as leisurely as blogging, gardening, art, etc. The holiday was nice, but other than that it’s been moving boxes and furniture and cleaning, plus usual work, and basically not stopping from sunup til sundown. Which is bad enough for normal me, but pregnant me has literally no energy for it. And somehow I still can’t stop because there is a mess and I want to clear it up.

Remind me never to rely on people with emotions ever again.

Baby.

The bump is still apparently too small. Jon pointed out that some first time mothers don’t even show until the last month, whereas others grow as big as a melon by the fifth week. Which is true and kind of reassuring. But he also added that I’d better be eating enough for his baby and that he would watch my food from now on.

I’m struggling with the switch from just having a bit of a bump to properly sticking out frontally. Every time I press the bump into something I end up panicking that I have hurt the baby and need to sit down and wait for him to move.

Diet.

Other than the newly added layer of supervision, the diet is pretty much as it was. More good days than bad days though, and I’m getting plenty more random offal in now that the base formation of the fetus is over and done with and slightly imbalanced minerals won’t bother him. It feels good.

Coffee is not so good, but when you have someone with cyclothymia in her third trimester getting up early to spend 5 hours working, 5 hours on housework and another 4 on what’s basically manual labour, plus weights and cuddle time and actually scheduling meals, she’s going to need her artificial energy. Because nature did not come equipped.

Workout.

My workout most days has been sorting our stuff back into the house, walking around for appointments and getting things clean, but I’ve still managed a few proper workouts and enough yoga to almost avoid pulling my abs again.

Anyways, everything is looking pretty neat now and I should be able to sort of relax and get back to usual, with normal work hours and a bit more time for blogs and properly chatting between my other work. And maternity leave from the 1st of December.

How did your week in fitness go?

FitFriday, FatFriday XIV. Back from holiday.

Been away a little bit due to staying in Gran Canaria with our friends G&A. Had an awesome time, although I wish I had done the usual millenial thing and taken a billion photos, rather than the one or two here and there. It was all so pretty and it feels like I need a picture of everything to compensate for my leaky memory. ^^ Being pregnant does get in the way of a few fun activities (no swimming with sealions because pheromones, no water sports because bumping around, no seafood… but I didn’t follow that one], but it was still pretty awesome.

Baby.

Considering that at almost 26 weeks my midwife told me that I was measuring and weighing right for an average first pregnancy at 24 weeks, I shouldn’t be surprised that the bump sort of exploded out this last week. Still a bit small for 27, even for first baby, but I’m also pretty sure that the ridiculous tension my abs are capable of might be responsible. Baby is wriggly and happy and last scanned at exactly the right size, so I’m not too fussed. Plus, our DINK friends were suitably freaked out by the moleman impressions going on whenever I was in a bikini, which was funny.

Diet.

That said, I also ate like a bit of a pig on holiday. It was so good to have proper Spanish food again. We had a mix of cheap local places, touristy restaurants and higher end ones, all of which were cheaper and tastier than most counterparts in the UK. I broke pretty much every diet book rule: no counting calories, all the carbs and pastries I wanted, slight excess of caffeine, seafood, dairy galore, etc. I doubt I went much over 2000-2500kcal/day, though, due to the lack of internal space, the fact my UK average was only 1400/day, and the lactose intolerance ruining my fat absorption most days. Pure gluttony, to be honest. But I loved it and my body isn’t any worse for wear. I adjusted back to Spanish food really quickly and, as usual, had no issues at all with novel bacteria and a more chemicalized water source. Immune system of iron, I’m telling ya!

Weights.

No weights for a week, because holiday. We walked loads, went swimming at the waterpark and in the pool and sea, and I made a point of still doing my usual basic housekeeping like dishes, cooking and laundry, even if the suite had someone to do the cleaning for us. I brought some resistance bands with me, but didn’t really touch them.

Weirdly enough, it seems my weights have not gone down despite a 16 day gap between some workouts. I’ve always retained muscle quite well, but I was expecting a bit of a let down after spending most of my time relaxing. However the weights are pretty much where I left them, so thank you progesterone.

How did your week/s in fitness go?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

FitFriday, FatFriday XIII. Feeling girlier.

Baby.

Pretty sure it’s baby’s fault I’m feeling so much girlier lately. Hormones. But even facial analysers are coming back calling me a few percentages more feminine and more attractive, so I suppose it’s not something to complain about. Only I’ve never been this concerned about social repercussions, making my hair nice, or small talk and gossip before. It’s like my brain is trying to force me to integrate. Shame I’m too asocial to find anyone to integrate with. Whoops. Then again, caffeine seems to get me thinking straight in no time and I’m sort of liking being a little more carefree about work and fussing over my appearance and the baby room.

The bump is still not progressing much. The midwife says even for a first pregnancy I’m measuring at 23-24 weeks, not 25+. But apparently my old bodybuilding and bellydancing routines may have given me slightly too robust abs, which may be resisting the effects of relaxin. Hoping that doesn’t mean I’m at much risk for diastasis recti, because exploding abs does not sound fun. They don’t work as they should already.

On the plus side, the baby is doing great. We can actually see him moving through the skin now and it’s the weirdest thing ever. Sometimes it’s just a twitch, sometimes my skin flies out of shape, and sometimes it looks like there is boiling water just under the surface, he’s so active. Unsure how freaked out Jon is by it as he conveniently manages to be at work, asleep, or otherwise distracted whenever the evening aerobics start.

Diet.

I have no idea what food I need any more. If I don’t eat at least 1400kcal I get a sore throat, which is a pretty good sign I need that much, but then again my belly is measuring small, but then again I have so little room for my meals, but then again some days I am quite active, but, but, but. Seriously, nothing makes sense. I’m going by “if I’m not getting very fat or losing weight and if the baby is moving, I’m probably OK”.

After a couple of busy days where more junk went in than usual I am recalibrating and getting better meals. I’m not really one to usually overeat or undereat when stressed, but if I have literally five minutes for breakfast, it’s going to be a bar of some description. Or Hello Pandas.

These are far too nice.

These are far too nice.

Workout.

Some weights continue to go up, which is weird because I was told that after the ab pains that was it for exercise. It seems the yoga I did to retrain my waist is working and now I naturally know how far I can stretch or tense without upsetting ligaments and muscles. Which means I can do more weights now than last week, despite being significantly fatter and more tired.

That said, the weights we dropped are going to have to stay out. Every time I try and do them there’s no body room, no energy, or it just pulls something. I need to keep myself in order so I can do other exercise for longer, not injure myself trying to reintegrate old weights too soon.

There will probably be belly pictures soon, when I’m feeling less awkward. But we’re on holiday shortly, so there’s no escaping the bikini pics. Will find some decent ones to post when we’re back.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How did your weeks in fitness go?

The Garden Haul Comes In.

Interrupting the recipes for a quick update on the garden foods.

Well, we’re not quite there yet. Beans are not yet ripe, neither are tomatoes. Still got plenty of greens to harvest, as well as around 4/5 of the potatoes. The carrots and beets and turnips could do with another growth spurt too. But both in preparation for moving and because things ripen at different speeds, a load of stuff has already been coming in.

The raspberry bushes. Not actually “ours”. Wild-seeded.

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Raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant jam prep.

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This year’s attempt at restocking the jam supplies. Got blackberry jam to make soon, then elderberry jam and apple sauce. Hopefully plum jams, but we don’t grow our own so that depends on overstock from neighbours.

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Just a little peek into the top of our bag of frozen blackberries. Pretty much every time I’ve gone out, I’ve been picking early blackberries and freezing them. The picture doesn’t show it well, but the bag has around 1.5-2L of blackberries in it. They will need rinsing from frozen, defrosting gently, adding to however many fresh ones I can gather as September advances, then stewing down for more jams!

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The very last batch of rhubarb. Probably going to be a tart, or maybe a sweet sauce for topping a flan. Now’s time to move the plant roots into pots, to move down to our new place, ready to plant out next Spring.

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Around 1/10 of the potatoes, because we ate half of this batch before I took a photo. Digging them up 1/5 at a time, starting with the shallow ones, to prevent parasites and rot from getting them first. They’re possibly the starchiest potatoes I have ever had. 😀

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And finally some of the greens we are growing. No pesticides, so a bit nibbled, but fine to eat.

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Here are some fresh greens, early beans and herbs being prepped for a stew.

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In short, the garden is serving us well this year.

Sadly my pea plants were not as robust as the beans, though, and produced only a handful of pods before succumbing to the sun during my week of absence. There’s always next year, though!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Fit… Saturday. Meet Our Baby Boy!

Missed Fit Friday yesterday due to being generally busy, but the main update here is: it’s a boy.

It was hard to get a good shot of him, what with all the moving and refusing to cooperate. But this one looked kind of cool, with the skull in full profile. The only way he could look more metal is if he’d flipped his middle finger out at the sonographer.

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Also, if I have another elderberry muffin I will have to revoke my “healthy pregnancy card”. But I haven’t gained an ounce in over five weeks, ie a month, so maybe more muffins are needed. At least the baby is healthy and happy, albeit camera-shy and grumpy like his dad.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!