That Hair

This is me at three months old. I was born with a full head of hair and it never fell out. I’ve had lots of dark hair ever since.

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My hair has been medium or long since I was a kid, and it has always been thick and prone to tangling.

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It was long all through high school and into college, when I tried a layered cut that was chin-length. Ever since then, I’ve gotten my hair cut once a year (like a responsible adult) and done a cycle of grow-it-out, chop-it-off.    DSC_2328_WEB DSC_2363_WEB

(One time I cut my own hair, just because!)DSC_2981_WEB

I got it cut fairly short a couple times while I was in New York. Sometimes I liked it and sometimes I didn’t. Mostly because I didn’t/couldn’t style it, so it didn’t look nice enough or something.

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So early last summer, I went in for my yearly haircut. It was getting long-ish, and I had decided that instead of chopping it off and tossing it, why not let it do some good? I didn’t want it anymore, but it could still go to someone who would want it. It was decided: I was officially going to donate my hair! After that I’ve actually gotten trims every three months, like you’re supposed to. (It really helps my hair feel healthy great, who knew!)

My original plan was to do the Big Chop in the spring. But then that didn’t happen…and I told myself I would do it after I got home from NYC in June. But I kept putting it off.

In the past week or so, my one hair clip that held my hair…wasn’t holding my hair anymore. There was too much hair. I couldn’t do anything with it and it was always in my way. Then, on Monday, my hair clip broke.

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I decided that was my sign to finally do it! Get this hair gone!

One thing that I’d planned to do before the  big haircut was one last photo shoot featuring my hair. I wanted to have a couple nice shots to look back on. You may have seen one of those on Facebook. 🙂

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Later that day, I did it. I got ALL MY HAIR CUT OFF.

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The donation was thirteen inches of hair! The initial cut was about at my chin but the final cut is mid-jaw-length. I didn’t want more flatness or weird roundness with this length, so I asked for more layers to give it more body. And…there is plenty of body. Sort of mushroom-shaped. DSC_9739_WEBThe day after the haircut I had to go get some hairstyling products (because I don’t want to look like a mushroom), so I’ve been sort of experimenting. I’m not very good at styling, and I’m also lazy…so the spray-in/leave-in stuff is right up my alley. I’m sure I could blow dry it and make it look at sleek and pretty…but I don’t know how to do that.

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I’m still not sure about the whole thing–the style/length, I mean. I’m glad that all the hair is gone and I hope it will go to good use!

TL; DR: BIG HAIRCUT AAAHH!

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Looking back at 2014

Early last year I made another set of goals for 2014…And I didn’t really think much about them after that. Have I mentioned that 2014 got really busy? Looking at the list, I’m a little disheartened, but I have to remind myself that the point of my goals was/is to help me focus on the good stuff in life, and in that regard, it was a successful year. I think at this point in my life, goals like this may not be the best for me and my scatterbrain. Hopefully in future years I’ll get back to it. I have a slightly different idea/plan for next year, but I’m going to put that in a separate post.

So here’s the analysis of 2014:

  • I continued to work my butt off in my business and the year was pretty amazing. Woohoo!
  • Due to the aforementioned busyness, my blogging here often fell by the wayside. I now have almost 40 incomplete blog post drafts! I think at the beginning of 2014 it was closer to two dozen.
  • Not only did I not complete MuTu, I did not a single day or week of it. However, I was pretty good at taking walks regularly, and I even actually lost a couple pounds! (One of the post drafts is all about that kind of thing.)
  • I completed my reading goal and read 63 books. A few of my favorites were: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, At Home by Bill Bryson, Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, and of course Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
  • Due to reading at night before bed, I would therefore stay up too late. I had days/weeks here and there where I got to bed by 1230 (which is early for me), but just as many days/weeks when it was 1am or later. 😦
  • We did take family photos and couch photos of the twins each month this year (though I’m stopping the monthly couch ones, and will do every six months from here on). I continued Project Life as well as the 365 project (a photo a day, on flickr).
  • We did go on a two-night overnight trip to the coast, and to OMSI, though we did not go to the Zoo (other than for Zoo Lights, which was ridiculous) or the Children’s Museum. We did go on all the now-yearly-I-hope local adventures, like Mt Hood, apple picking, a pumpkin patch, that kind of thing, plus did two daytrips to the coast. So overall I’d say the local adventuring goal was a success!
  • We did not Get Our Shit Together, but we did go away for an overnight without the babies!

And once again, from January 2013:

I feel such pressure to have some perfect beginnings for things like plans and photos ready on the first day of the year. Honestly, I’m always so scatterbrained that it just never happens. I’m a mess and I never know what day it is, so often I have to scramble to think of anything. A lifelong procrastinator, that’s me. This year is no exception–as you can tell by getting this up on January 3rd. (I wanted an extra day or two to come up with any more goal ideas.)

I was just reading through the January issue of O Magazine and there’s a section in there about goals and resolutions, and a couple things really stood out to me.

Rule #1 is “You Must Stay True to You.” Don’t make goals that don’t make actual real sense for your actual real life. For example, I could make a goal that I will train for a marathon this year! Except that I hate running, I have zero interest in doing it, and while running a marathon is an impressive feat, I have absolutely no desire to do it. (Also, I am lazy.) So even though it might be good for my health and my bragging rights, I’m never going to do it. And I’m perfectly okay with that!

So in the past, when I’ve thought about making goals, I tend to think about the things I’ve been wanting to do, and things that I’ve gotten close to doing already, and things that are just enough outside my comfort zone that it’s not crazy to imagine doing them. A few years ago, I’d been dabbling in knitting and crocheting, and so I made a goal to knit or crochet a garment (something bigger than a scarf or hat). A logical goal that I already had the skills for, if not necessarily the confidence for. (I think I ended up crocheting a vest, which sort of felt like cheating because it was too simple. A different year I did knit a baby sweater, and that felt like a bigger deal!) I do wish I was better and more creative at coming up with interesting lists of things to try and do, though. I love reading other people’s goals and resolutions, as motivation and inspiration for my own. 🙂

Rule #2 is “There’s nothing magical about January 1.” This article in Smithsonian about how time is just an illusion made me feel a little better about being so unprepared for the new year. 🙂 The start of a new calendar year seems so fresh and clean and full of potential! And what better way to make yourself fresh and clean and ready to fulfill your potential than carefully crafting thoughtful resolutions, along with beautiful images representing them, well ahead of time? The fact that I’m never ready for anything on January 1 makes me feel sloppy and a little pathetic and a little panic-flail-y (thanks Elizabeth for that excellent and apt term!). So I try to console myself that it’s okay not to have some amazing plan already written out or in the works. And that I can’t magically change myself either, no matter how many goals I keep or track. I’ll still be the same old me at the end of the year, regardless of how much I weigh or how much sleep I’ve gotten or how many vegetables I’ve eaten.

Rule #4 says, “Your slip-ups are only detours.” Have you heard that Jerry Seinfeld motivational advice about don’t break the chain? This is where Rule #1 comes back: I know myself and I know that I will always break the chain. Like most days I’ll break it. Just in the last few days (er, weeks, months), I tell myself I’m going to bed early! And then I just don’t. For whatever reason (ok, it’s usually the internet and/or a book), I stay up too late. I’m a night owl, I like reading before bed, and it’s hard to put down a book, even when I know I’m going to be tired later. So if I were to make a specific, actionable, responsible goal for 2015 like go to bed by 1230 every night, I would have failed three or four times already! No chain at all to even break! So much failure in just the first week of the year, and that would be a terrible way to begin that fresh new 2015. So I don’t make goals like that for myself. I make goals like “be better about XYZ” to try to keep it in mind, without that fear of failure, in fact, sort of building some failure into the process. Goals in that vein aren’t SMART goals, but for the way I am, they’re more realistic and achievable. I want to push myself to do and try to do more and be better, while also accepting who I am (and who I am not).

Anyway, more to come very soon on ideas for 2015…

Happy Birthday To Me

I’m thirty-five! Of course, it’s now been almost two months since my birthday, and it shouldn’t be too surprising that this post is so late; procrastination is a fully-ingrained part of who I am at times…along with many other questionable qualities.DSC_5950-Edi-2t_WEB

Much like turning thirty did, the idea of turning thirty-five made me panic a little bit. Should I celebrate with an amazing birthday bash? Should I make some drastic and impressive personal goals to achieve? Should I map out my next five years to become My Very Best Me? Agh, so much pressure to reflect and plan and be introspective and thoughtful and intelligent. Qualities I don’t always have.

The first weird thing is that 35 is in a whole other age range. The vaunted 18-34 youth segment is officially in the rearview mirror. I’ve never been a good ‘young person’ but now I officially am no longer one. I kind of feel weird about that, like now that I can’t be in that club maybe I should have been a better member of it? I’ve been old at heart for a long time and have embraced the fact that I’m forgetful, a homebody and kind of a square, and so maybe now my physical age makes it a little more acceptable?

And the other thing is that 35 is one of those nice big Grown Up Adult ages. I’m an employee, a business owner, a wife, a mother. I should know what I’m doing, right? Like, I need to have Life, The Universe, and Everything figured out by now. (Although I suppose I have until 42 for that, right? Haha! Dorky book joke!) But…pretty sure I don’t have any idea about much of anything. This year more than ever, I’ve had to work on juggling and balancing everything. It’s tough, for sure. It involves a lot of list-making, trying to focus on certain tasks at certain times of day, and staying up way too late just about all the time.

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I think back to my 33rd birthday–when the babies hadn’t arrived yet and my face and belly were still so swollen–and I feel like I kind of haven’t changed, or that time hasn’t really passed. Which is ridiculous, because now we have these huge toddlers and all these baby gates, and I’m generally a lot more tired than I used to be, and I have no free time. I do get so much love and joy from our little ones growing and changing and hugging, and I’m working on being patient (overall I’m waaaay more patient than I thought I’d be, but there are plenty of occasions when I just can’t deal with whatever anymore). But for the most part, I feel like the same old me. And I don’t have any maps or grand plans or bashes.

So what did I do this year? I read some books. I participated in a lovely book club. I took a lot of photos. I took a lot of walks and listened to a lot of podcasts. I didn’t sleep enough. I went back to New York for the first time. I kept up (in fits and spurts) with my Project Life album and continued my photo-a-day project (thank god for the iphone). Our family went on various adventures, small and large. I’m working on being more present and attentive; the boys have been so much fun as they keep growing and developing, and they seem to love having fun with us. In this next year, I hope to continue working on the ever-elusive work/life balance, and trying to squeeze in more fun, personal, hobby type activities. DSC_5951-1_WEB

And of course I’m sure there will be all kinds of new adventures this year too!

Having It All

Another post from over a year ago. The babies have changed so much, and yet my day-to-day mama experience is pretty much still the same. Seriously, I need more hours in the day.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

{breath}

Hahahahahaha.

That’s funny. At this point I would settle for having some of it. Whatever “it” is.

I currently have eleven drafts here on the blog, ranging from just a title to nearly done. I have a list of literally seventeen more posts I want to write.

I’m reading another book on my kindle, occasionally, during the last feeding.

I’m a month behind on Project Life. I just finally ordered photos. I don’t know when I’ll actually work on getting everything done once they arrive.

I also want to use Project Life to document all the trips we’ve done in the past few years (Costa Rica, Greece, Central Europe) plus the wedding. At this point, I’m not sure if this will ever happen.

I’m always between a day and a week behind in uploading photos to flickr.

I’ve been trying to get out a little bit during the week when it’s just me and the babies. I’ve taken a couple walks and went to baby group. All has to scheduled around feedings, naps, and pumping.

We really need to rearrange our living room. The way we originally set it up, it’s all sectioned and blocked off. But I want to arrange it to open up some space in the middle–which we need for baby stuff and soon moving babies. But first I must organize and eliminate piles of my crap. The actual moving things around is a big project that will have to be done in one go, on a weekend when we have someone here visiting who can help.

We need to put the second crib together. At least that’s only a one-time thing too. But it’s a pain in the ass.

I also have a husband that sometimes I hang out with, on the couch with some tv.

Usually I try to eat “meals” or at least a series of snacks.

Every time I walk into a bathroom, I sigh to myself because everything needs to be cleaned. Really every room in the house needs to be cleaned and tidied. But half the time there’s a screaming baby (or two) in the next room. Or it’s time for me to pump. Or eat, or go to bed. Or I am trying to get something else done. Or really, let’s be honest, I just don’t want to.

Because I am a crazy person, I decided that I needed to get a little bit of crafting time in again and started a small knitting project (and sketched out a potential crochet project).

The only thing I am ever caught up on is Facebook, since I can scroll with one hand during feedings.

The time I have to do all these things is in either in 30-40 minute segments during naptime (if it doesn’t happen to overlap with a pumping session, like right now, where I’m stuck on the couch), or in a stretch of about five hours in the evening. During which two pumping sessions occur. Oh yeah, and dinner and a shower.

Daytime tasks that may or may not happen during naptimes and awake times also include maintenance tidying–like trying to keep the coffee table from overflowing with crap even though I just cleared most of it the day before; moving and ‘arranging’ the big baby equipment to maintain a bit of precious floor space; washing and rinsing bottle stuff over and over again; making food/cleaning up dishes in the kitchen, etc etc.

Then there are the two days a week when a nanny is here. My schedule on those days was pretty great. I would pump upstairs while reading the internet, take a nap for 2-3 hours, pump and eat lunch, go run errands (Target, Costco, groceries), come back and take a walk. Notice that I still didn’t make time for all the “tasks” up above (though occasionally I would clean and tidy), but it was okay because I was actually able to take care of myself for a little bit, and get out of the house by myself. Which never happens in daylight otherwise (I also tend to run to the grocery store at night now after babies are asleep).

Now it’s a whole new ballgame, because I am once again working (part-time, at home).

I hoped I would be able to get a few things done here and there during the week when I was on my own with the babies. Hahahahaha yeah right. I can respond to a quick email here or there, or do a quick computer task if babies are calm-ish, but in general, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there’s no point in even trying to work on those days. It’s just not going to happen. That’s actually freed me a bit, mentally. I don’t stress or worry about it on those days. Plus it means that I can try to do an occasional fun (or at least outside-the-house) thing on those days.

So now on days with a nanny, the entire morning and first part of afternoon is spent working (often at my desk in the living room, which is probably awkward for the nanny) and then in the afternoons figuring out what of the million things I want and need to do can actually happen. I can take a nap OR run errands OR go for a walk. If I time it right, I might be able to nap AND walk, but then I have to cut both of them shorter than I would like. (Boohoo, poor me, right?)

We are (crossing fingers) about to add a third nanny day. That will mean I can work more hours and therefore earn a little more (to pay for the nanny), but it will also mean even more to juggle.

Obviously I realize that almost all of my list is optional stuff that I choose to do (or not be able to do, as the case may be). And of course I know that we are super privileged to be able to afford part-time child care. I also know that I still have it pretty good, since things are so flexible and I don’t work that much. But still. I get stressed out sometimes and feel despair looking around our messy house or at a to-do list left un-checkmarked.

Really, I think the only answer to women having it all is to freeze time and squeeze in an eighth day each week just to get shit done.

Couch potato

You know, I’ve been un-pregnant for three months now. I figured my body wouldn’t hurt anymore. But somehow lately, everything kind of aches. My shoulders, my back, my hips, my calves.

Most days, I spend literally 19 hours a day sitting on the couch. I also tend to hunch over when I’m at the sink or changing table (though I finally got some risers to get the table higher, and that was a big help), and when I’m on the laptop my shoulders tense and hunch upwards. Honestly, for the past few weeks, it feels like the entire day is uncomfortable somehow. And now that I’ve started to notice it, it’s worse because I don’t know how to fix it or prevent it.

Every so often I’ll notice my shoulders and try to un-tense them. When I try to relax, though, I think I tense my lower back. Also, the tension creeps back within seconds or never un-tensed in the first place. At this very moment I’m typing around the pump, as I so often do nowadays, and that makes the shoulder tensing worse, because my elbows are forced outward a bit, so the position is unnatural and my shoulders and back seem to be over-compensating. In other words, it kind of hurts just to sit here sometimes.

A couple days a week, I go out for a walk for 30-40 minutes, which I think has helped melt off some pounds and inches, but doesn’t seem to do much to undo the muscle fatigue. (Muscle ‘fatigue’ of sitting on my ass all day? Get a grip. I don’t know what else to call it, though. Laziness ache? Couch potato syndrome?) I’ve been trying to stretch a bit while I’m moving around the house–lunges to stretch my atrophying hip flexors and calves, forward bends to relax my lower back. Those brief stretches feel good, but it still isn’t enough. Neither is walking. It’s like I need to do the physical opposite of sitting to undo the damage. I don’t mean standing, I mean the angles need to swap. Instead of sitting in a 90 degree angle, I need to stretch to a 270 degree angle! Haha, can you imagine!

I’m starting to wonder if lying down in bed more would help. I’m still only getting about five hours of sleep, which is also not helping because I am so tired. But lying straight instead of sitting up is probably less stressful on my body. I certainly don’t hunch my shoulders when I’m sleeping! Doctor Self, I’m prescribing ten hours of sleep a night to combat your aches! Along with weekly massages and jacuzzi baths!

One major problem: there’s no end in sight for the sitting. I’m still pumping five times a day for 30-50 minutes. On the couch. Often that doesn’t overlap with feeding the babies. Can’t exactly do that on-the-go, so on-the-couch I am. This week I’m starting some work from home again, and you can guess where I’ll be stationed!

I do have some yoga-ish dvds that I think would feel really good. It’s just a matter of finding time and space to do that during the day. Not as easy as it might sound, unfortunately.

I hope I can find some solution that works, so my body will start feeling good again. Or at least stop feeling so uncomfortable.

Sigh.

These every-three-hour feedings never stop. I mean, duh, but the time between them feels so fleeting. And I feel chained to this stupid pump. I’m so tired of doing that all the time. I’m trying to multitask, but there are always so many things I want to do at the same time (like eat or go to the bathroom). I’m already antsy to be done with it altogether, but I want to delay full-time formula for as long as possible, mostly for financial reasons. These babies already go through so many diapers, it’s crazy (about 20 a day). So to have that expense plus formula every month…I would feel so guilty. But I’m already afraid to stop pumping or even reduce it, for money reasons but also because I don’t know what will happen to my supply. God, and they’re only going to eat more and more at each feeding. So far I’m keeping up, but who knows how long that will last. If I have to keep pumping at every feeding (I’m already skipping one overnight one to sleep), I’m going to go stir-crazy. But that’s so selfish and small-minded. So I keep telling myself to suck it up and just do it already. But I whine about it every time, either out loud or in my head.

The other day I hit the wall of tired–I can’t seem to feel rested. Even though I’m getting 5-6 hour stretches of sleep, thanks to our overnight shared feeding schedule. And I shouldn’t be complaining really, since our babies aren’t screaming all the time like I know some do. But they do get seriously grunty, so there isn’t a lot of long periods of actual quiet. Again, if I were someone else, I would kick me for saying anything at all.

I have all these keepsake-type projects I want to do. There’s Project Life, which is a long-term thing, but I also want to take handprints and footprints. In several different formats. There are two long-term series I want to do as well. Not to mention some more photos I want. I’m really unsatisfied with the photos I’ve been able to take so far–they aren’t up to par with what I would like. But taking the kind of posed photos I want and doing these projects all mean that I need cooperation from Andy, and the time to actually just freaking do it, when they’re quiet enough to. And I’m tired of asking for things and needing things done for me. Especially things like this that he doesn’t really seem to care much about. The thing is, though, is that these are all time-sensitive kinds of things, if you will. Their adorable, tiny little hands and feet will only get bigger. If I don’t do these things now, I will regret it and wish I had done it.

Speaking of photos and projects, I keep spending money on them. So far in the last month or so, I haven’t been spending much at all, since all I do is sit on the couch and feed or pump. But these projects that I’m excited about–some of them cost money. I’ve made a few trips to the nearby craft store and spent a decent amount. Not to mention the professional photo shoot we did–I will order some prints but not too many. It’s hard, because as a photographer I really dislike it when clients are too price-conscious and cheap. I am not cheap, but as a client, I honestly can’t afford much. But I won’t make that the photographer’s problem–I will just order a few things for now and maybe more later if I’m working again.

My back suddenly started aching from all the hunching I seem to do–at the sink, at the changing table, at my desk, even somehow sitting on the couch.

I’m at this weird in-between stage of body and wardrobe. I realized today (or was it yesterday?) that I’m no longer eating for three and I need to shape up. But then I remembered I’m pumping to feed two, and allegedly one is supposed to take in 3,000 calories a day when breastfeeding. Yikes. Does that mean I don’t need to feel bad about going to the Jack in the Box drive-thru for curly fries and mini churros? And my clothes…I guess I need to get a few items that aren’t maternity but that are bigger than my previous size. I’m currently apple-shaped (I have no waist and a chubby midsection) and I hate it. I’ve been still wearing maternity clothes for the past few weeks, but they don’t fit quite right (obviously), and I’m tired of my one pair of maternity jeans. So I should probably go spend yet a little more money for some in-between clothes. And then I’ll have to make time to go through the boxes of my regular clothes that have been sitting in the basement. (Hallelujah for basements.)

It hasn’t even been a month and I’m some kind of restless. I feel like I need something but I don’t know what.

Thirty Three

(it got a little squished, but this chocolate fudge mini cake from JaCiva’s was DELICIOUS.)

On occasions like birthdays, it’s always interesting to take a moment and contemplate and compare life with the previous one.

Last November 1, I lived in Brooklyn and had been working as a ‘consultant’ for my company for a just over a year. I was working weekends shooting babies. I didn’t really do much else.

The twelve months to this November 1 must set a personal record for most/biggest changes. (And I’ve had some big years in my day!)

  • In January, I was hired full-time at my job. Finally!
  • In April, I found out that I was pregnant. And then that it was TWINS.
  • In May, we went to Central Europe for vacation.
  • In June/July, my company reorganized and I lost my job.
  • In the spring/summer, I did more portrait work and even shot a wedding.
  • In the summer, we finally made the decision to move out of NYC (well, more like Andy finally relented that it had to happen).
  • At the end of June, I stopped shooting babies.
  • In August, we drove across the country to move to Portland.
  • In August/September, I got my job back, part-time.
  • In the fall, we’ve been settling in to our rental house, and I spend a lot of time on the couch.

Wow. It’s been a heck of a year. We joke sometimes that we’re getting all the big stuff done and out of the way at once this year.

The time until next November 1 won’t be filled with these kinds of life changes, except that it will include one of the biggest lifestyle changes I can imagine–we will become parents. My next birthday will be so different! I wonder how different I will feel and look. I envision a family photo on our front lawn–me and Andy jumping, and two little ones either standing up or falling over trying to jump with us.