Saturday, June 29, 2019

Yoga Class, Yoga Club, and a Tiny Bit of Not Yoga

It's 3:40 on Saturday afternoon. We're done with our swim meet (these 5:30 a.m. Saturday swim meet wake-up calls after a week of ALL the yoga and work and none of the sleep are just exquisitely painful), I've run all the errands, dinner is prepped for tonight (my parents are staying over on their way to Colorado!), the house is clean, and all the laundry is done. The Great British Baking Show is on, James is napping (as is the bulldog), and the kids are all watching Goosebumps 2 in the other room after cleaning their own rooms to my ("impossible") level of satisfaction. I should absolutely attend the 4:15 yoga class in 20 minutes because I missed yesterday, but there's an 85-100% chance I will still be sitting on this couch when that class begins, looking much like Maggie when I "caught" her on the couch earlier this week.

This is strictly NOT allowed. She looks super worried about being caught doesn't she? And since can't hear anything, it was a good 10 minutes before she realized she had been. But once I (gently) gave her the (not at all) rude awakening she deserved, I believe I made myself VERY clear (to the deaf dog) on the couch/house rules. As you can tell by how I found her at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Duly chastened. Feels terrible.

Tuesday night began week 2 of yoga teacher training and it is SO MUCH. So much work, knowledge, inspiration, sweat, exhaustion, work, knowledge... It's a lot. I'm fitting in extra yoga classes everywhere I can and snapped this pic on Tuesday as I ran in to a lunchtime class because I was wearing a top my mom bought me and a necklace from my sister and I always love to show them how I love the things I've received. Plus, despite the fact that I'm sweaty and exhausted 50% of the time, I've been really good about following my skincare routine for the last few months and I feel like I see results? I'm the oldest person in my teacher training by at least 10 years, but feel like maybe I look like it's only 5? Or maybe I'm just bleary eyed from exhaustion...

Regardless, the top and necklace are great and despite being gifted about 5 years apart, compliment each other perfectly.

[Author's note. It's now 4:15. Yoga is starting and I'm still on the couch. I have no regrets.]

This was my car at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday morning:

- Jacket to wear over my dress to pretend it's a suit for my video conference presentation to the full Commission in DC
- Heels to switch out for the flip flops I was wearing in the car
- Regular pink purse
- Gym bag with three sets of yoga clothes and two bags to store sweaty clothes for the two evening yoga classes + teacher training I had on the schedule
- Blue-ice filled mini cooler with the homemade protein power balls I brought to eat between work, double yoga classes, and teacher training
- Lulu bag filled with teacher training journals, workbook, homework, and required reading
- Yoga mat
- Giant water bottle full of ice
- Hot tea

I left home at 7 a.m. and got back at 11 p.m. It was quite a day. But my recommendation was approved by the Commission and we filed our action in federal court, which is always exciting. I took a picture of my outfit because I was wearing my grandma's pearl earrings and my aunt/godmother's pearl ring and I love showing my grandparents how they and my Aunty Mary are part of my big moments at work.

I survived my double yoga classes (we have to attend 60 in addition to the training sessions so I'm trying to squeeze them in wherever possible, and after I realized last week that I would only pass James and the kids in the driveway on Wednesdays because their swim practice is later, I'd just double up with class that night and not come home at all) and then the training was a 3.5 hour lecture on yoga history and philosophy. I don't want to shock anyone, but yoga has a lot of both of those things.

New nightly routine

Overall between the classes and the trainings I wore 12 pairs of yoga pants in the last week, so I decided to treat myself to a few more options. On our first night of class I'd complimented one of my classmates on her killer yoga ensemble. She said she got it through Yoga Club and sent me a referral code. I placed an order immediately (I love surprise boxes of things in the mail!) and my box was delivered on Thursday.

Y'all, for all my struggles and successes with Stitch Fix (usually only liking a few things, if any, but then absolutely LOVING those few things), I LOVED my first Yoga Club box. Maybe because exercise wear is just less fraught with fit and style issues and I'm more flexible on the overall look, but I really loved all 3 pieces and it was so fun to be surprised by them.

If you want to try it (and that link is a referral code that gets you $20 off your first box, and me $10 off my next), you take a style quiz with your sizes and preferences. I liked that you selected both your preferred types of items (capris v. full length leggings, loose v. fitted, short sleeve v. long sleeve, etc.) along with your preferred styles and patterns (you rank a bunch of different sample outfit collections). You choose whether you want a 2-piece or 3-piece outfit (I went three piece: bottoms, sports bra, and top) and how often you want to get a box delivered (you can cancel/pause/skip a shipment later).

I was at first surprised at the solid colors- I'm usually a crazy pattern pants person, but the leggings are super smooth and a rich navy blue and I love that they have pockets. I also realized I didn't own a single pair of solid color leggings, so this will actually be a nice addition to my wardrobe (which is one thing I also loved out the Stitch Fix subscription; it made me add staples to my wardrobe I never seek out on my own, I'm like a magpie when I shop, but instead of shiny I want color and pattern). The strappy sports bra was cute and comfortable and the short-sleeve top with keyhole back will be great to also wear out on errands and trips.

The color also perfectly matched a pair of patterned leggings I'd picked up from Lulu earlier that afternoon!

Maggie approves.

The quality of all three pieces was really high and I'm excited to have them. The total cost for my box was $60, since I had used the referral code. My next, full-price box will be $80 for the three pieces. The price tags add up to $202, and while I wouldn't necessarily have spent that, I do think $60-80 is a good deal for 3 pieces of high-quality athletic wear, particularly three pieces that I didn't have to pick out or go get. So I'm looking forward to the next box!

Other things I was looking forward to included a margarita meet-up with mama friends on Friday evening. Work had been crazy, yoga had been crazy, I hadn't had a grown-up drink since the Friday before and I was missing my mamas.

We got to chat and sweat and sip beverages on the 100 degree patio while our kids occupied other tables and ate queso for dinner. Afterward, two friends had to go home, but my bestie Kim came over and we took our inaugural dip in my pool!

Normally I don't go in our pool until July, but I was SO HOT and so sweaty and I just felt inspired. And it felt amazing.

Also amazing was this swimsuit I'd bought on Amazon a few months ago for $23. I was feeling down about my 10(+) lbs weight gain and wanted a one-piece option when I saw this linked in a lawyer mom group and with free returns on the table I decided to try it out. I really love it and felt really good in it.

The kids- hers and mine- were also swimming and it was a lovely way to round out the week. When it was time to get out, I saw mine all linked together and realized this was a prime picture taking opportunity.

So we're doing good. I'm super busy at work and I have GOT to start making myself fall asleep before midnight, but the kids are good, our routine is good, and though I miss James terribly (we're usually about 2 feet apart from 8 p.m. to midnight every evening), we're good too. He's so happy for me to have this yoga training opportunity and he's having to do so much extra to make it happen that even if it started to feel like too much, I come home to my clean kitchen and sleepy kids and husband waiting up for me to tell him all about my day and just feel so grateful for it all.

Now I need to go to some yoga homework and yoga journaling and convince at least one member of my family to let me practice teach my yoga sequence. I hope you all have wonderful weeks ahead. Maggie loves you.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Sunday

HUGE storms are crashing in the skies above me, so since I won't be able to sleep until they calm down (the downside to 50 skylights running across the ceiling of your bedroom and a whole wall made of glass) I'm hoping I can get in a blog post before I pass out. Because you guys, I started yoga teacher training this week and it is A LOT.

Car selfie at 10:30 p.m. after the first class

Specifically the training is 3 hours of class from 7:15 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights for the next 8 weeks. Plus reading, homework, essays, and journaling. Plus attending 60 regular yoga classes during the 8 weeks (you could log 15 ahead of time, which I definitely did). So I get up and go to work early, stop at a yoga class for an hour on the way home, get home, make dinner, watch my loved ones eat it, and then leave at 7 for 3 hours of pretty intense physical, mental, and emotional training, come home and talk to James for a few minutes, take a warm bath, journaling the night's training while the tub fills, and cool down in the TV room with a foam roller and cup of sleepy time tea. I'm trying to set up a sustainable routine (so no TV or computer after class) and keep a close guard on the rest of my time with James and the kids.

I LOVE it.

On Friday I capped off my first week with a lunchtime class and an evening special Summer Solstice class of 108 sun salutations, which is maybe way more sun salutations than anyone should ever do in one sitting. I wore 9 pairs of yoga pants in 4 days and topped it all off with a frozen margarita with my loves at our favorite restaurant. It was a WEEK and I was basically high on all the knowledge and work and positivity of my teachers and fellow students.

I've wanted to do this for a long time and I'm forever grateful to James for secretly saving up the money to make me take the plunge and seamlessly taking on the additional load at home to make it possible for me to disappear three nights a week. It means so much to me. The training, his support, the kids seeing my passion and work towards this goal... I have a lot of feelings about it and I climb into bed, completely wrung out and exhausted at 10:45 p.m. and, half-asleep, he reaches out and pulls me into his arms to cuddle and I mentally talk myself through the Sun-A sequence while feeling so fiercely happy I almost can't stand it.

So it's a lot, but it's good. Seven weeks to go!

In other good things, a friend and fellow skin cancer survivor told me about Free Fly apparel and, always looking for cute, cool, not crazy expensive SPF protection, I immediately placed an order. I got the loose pants, two long sleeve tees, a long sleeve hoody, and a short sleeve tee. I loved all of them, but after much agonizing, decided to keep the long sleeve hoody and short sleeve t-shirt. (I already have 3 pairs of hiking pants and that's really all I need, though if I ever needed more I would re-order these immediately; same with this long-sleeve tee, though the other long-sleeve tee was too long on me.)

I think the hoody will be perfect to pull over a suit at the lake, pool, or beach, particularly now that I rarely wear a rashguard since I even more rarely actually get in the water, and I wore the short-sleeve all at our crazy hot swim meet on Saturday and it protected my skin 110%. Today you could can see the exact line where the shirt ended and my haphazard sunscreen reapplications began.

I really need a hat. Particularly if I'm going to be doing timing shifts directly under the glare of the sun. Usually I stick to dark and shaded areas like a vampire.

Saturday's meet went well. It was painful (literally, after those 108 Sun-A's the night before) to wake up at 5:10 a.m. to get ready to leave, but the kids did great and no one melted during the 6 hours we were there.

Cora earned her first-ever overall first place ribbon in the 25 free! I can't believe only 2 years ago she was the very tiniest of swimmers- the 3-year-old "6 & Under" taking well over a minute for her 25 free and now she's beating the whole pack! She is delighted by her every event and watching her is pure joy.

Clairebear won her 25 breast and made 3,000 rainbow loom bracelets between events.

James won everything and remains famous and much discussed in the stands, much to my general amusement. Towards the end of the meet he jokingly told Landon that if he could do a no-breather 50-free (that's 2 lengths of the pool, with a flipturn, without a SINGLE breath), he could earn back the 30 Fortnite minutes he lost for some poor behavior the day before. (He gets 60 minutes on Saturday and Sunday and he is like Gollum and his ring about them, which is as disturbing as it is genuinely useful when it comes to issuing consequences for tweenage asshattery.) I told James it was mean to dangle an impossible task out in front of him and James just laughed and said Landon wouldn't do it.

Except he did.

When he got halfway down the pool on the second lap we were both like "oh my god BREATHE!". But he didn't. And he didn't pass out either! He touched the wall and looked right at us in the stands, full of glee at his victory. So he got to play his game as soon as we got home. I still can't believe he did it. There will be no more dangling of faux Fortnite carrots. Oxygen is important.

Maggie worked hard while we were away and woke up a good 15 minutes after we got back home, thrilled to find us in the house again. We had a yummy, refreshing dinner of Greek Farro Salad with snow cones for dessert. Maggie went with us, of course. She really misses her regular car rides and we try to take her along whenever we can.

As it turns out Landon was the only one who got a snow cone.

Cora refuses to try them since she thinks they only taste like fruit and no amount of reading her other non-fruit flavors will convince her to attempt them. Claire had some issues earlier in the day with sibling kindness and being 9. Maggie gave her comfort and a bit of a smile.

Landon sharing his snow cone gave her more.

Today we slept in, I journaled and did some yoga reading while the kids lounged, and then we all went to Target for our urban suburban family field trip. I then headed to a yoga class (gotta fit them in!) while James and the kids continued to Costco (the field trip add-on bonus pack) and then I taught my barre class. I'm going to need more leggings, but in the meantime Target made me get this shirt.

(And also this one. You don't know what you need until Target tells you what you need and apparently I needed this.)

We went to an afternoon showing of Toy Story 4 and really enjoyed it. Super cute and touching and not at all repetitive of the stories before.

The kids loved it and I loved that they let James and I sit together after many years of needing us to sit between them.

Dinner was grilled trout, whole wheat orzo, and these amazing parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts. (Oh! I made these cookies with dark chocolate chips for Father's Day and they were INCREDIBLE. I also made the parmesan Brussels that night and it reminded me that everyone needs to go make both of those things.)

The storm has moved on (sorry to whoever is next in line, it was a doozy- at least two patio chairs are now at the bottom of our pool, which has never happened in 7 years of summer storms), so I'm headed to bed. I have a big week of a work and my second week of teacher training ahead of me! I wish you all a week at least as cool and fabulous as Maggie's every day:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Storytime with Lady Maggie Moo

So after last week's heavy Thursday (all is well here; all computers remain on lock down, appropriate and positive follow-up conversations have been had, a mama's night out with friends has been enjoyed), I thought we'd turn to Lady Magnolia Jane. Also known as Maggie, Maggles, Maggie Moo, Maggie Moodle, Magna Doodle, Noodle, Gorgeous Perfect Angel Puppy Dog, she wants you to know she loves you and thinks you're doing great.

Maggie has been with us for just under 5 months and she is just the most magnificent and majestic of canines.

Her scars, skin, teeth, and vet records tell a sad story we've pieced together over the last few months, but her smiles lift her ears and our hearts and I'm so glad she's now ours to spoil.

We know that Maggie was a puppy mill mama. The industry that breeds purebred dogs to sell for thousands to those not looking far behind the curtain rests on the often neglected backs of the mama dogs. Kept in a metal box (her teeth are ground down into her gums from chewing the bars); badly bitten by one of the male dogs used to breed her (a bite left untreated to slowly heal on its own, resulting in the large, ugly scar she has on her back hip); her tail broken, likely from repeatedly wagging against the metal bars, again left untreated until it was so infected it was removed at the vet after she was rescued; ears so badly infected and so long untreated that the scar tissue inside looks like a bomb went off in her ear canal; and top teeth pulled, possibly to prevent biting, she's a bit of a heart-tugging mess. Her belly bears multiple c-section scars, something I can't even think about given the complete lack of pain and wound care she received where she was kept. Her ears were gnawed on by other dogs and scars cover their rough edges.

At some point in August of last year, fresh from another recent litter and c-section, Maggie either escaped or was dumped on a 107 degree day and was found dirty, starving, and delirious near a lone tree by the side of a road. A sweet woman picked her up and called the Lonestar Bulldog Club Rescue. She spent 6 weeks at the vet undergoing multiple surgeries and treatment for her ears, tail, skin, and heartworms. Her veterinary records frequently mention that she was in "rough shape" but was "very sweet and gentle" and very trusting of her caregivers.

I can't imagine looking in these eyes and being indifferent to her pain, but that life is far behind her now.

When we adopted her she was learning to like grass (most mills just use concrete surfaces that can be hosed off), walks (the leash was VERY SCARY and it took weeks of gentle practice and treats to keep her from cowering and peeing whenever she saw it), and a potty schedule (willing, just occasionally unable to communicate her needs without her foster pack to follow). She had nightmares, occasionally waking up from a deep sleep with a yelp and heart-wrenching cry. Maggie is completely deaf and never barks, so it was shocking to hear such a tortured sound come out of her, but it's been a few months since it last happened and I hope those bad dreams are gone for good.

Despite her background, she IMMEDIATELY loved all five of us, all of our guests, all dogs, all food, and ALL of her outfits.

When I would hold up a new little dress or sweater, she would jump up and down (as much as her short legs and general level of athleticism allowed) and duck her head so I could put it on her.

She is a natural model.

I had testimony today and start my yoga teacher training tonight (7:15-10:15 p.m. Tues, Wed, Thurs nights for the next 8 weeks!), so I thought I'd start this busy season off with a few of my favorite Maggie stories so far. I look forward to many years more:

~ ~ ~

Back in March, on her 2-month adoptiversary, Maggie celebrated by throwing a party from 12-2 a.m.: jumping up in our bed repeatedly (a trick she’d never done before and was TOTALLY delighted by), running the loop through our closet/bathroom/bedroom, collar jangling merrily all the way, and making me take her outside twice for reasons neither of us could figure out as we stood there staring at each other in the grass, me barefoot and half-naked in the dark at 1 am.

The next morning, after dragging our exhausted party-girl out of bed for breakfast, she exhibited another feat of athleticism never before seen, running through my legs and jumping up into the car while I was loading Cora and her things for school. Maggie evaded my attempts to get her out of the car, hopping nimbly between seats until I dragged her out, Cora cackling from the back row, my black pants now covered in fur.

She passed out while I re-rolled my work clothes and I left her snoring loudly, sleeping off her fun night out with mom. I smiled the whole way to work thinking of it.

~ ~ ~

Landon takes Maggie on a morning walk down the street every day before school and camp. One day in April he came *bursting* back into the house at 7:30 a.m., trumpeting news of Maggie’s incredible bravery.

He said they were walking past our neighbor’s house when Maggie got bold and decided to walk on the grass (she was still in her pavement-only days). Suddenly a squirrel ran down from a tree right in front of her! She got scared and hopped backwards twice. THEN, looking at her vulnerable human boy, she got “VERY brave” and “charged forward 3 BIG steps” and barked one time! (Maggie is deaf and doesn't bark.) Landon was SO proud. Maggie was dubbed a knight of the seven kingdoms and spent the rest of the day sleeping off her heroic act.

~ ~ ~

On another exciting night in April, she remembered she could jump on our bed around 2 a.m. and proceeded to do so four times in rapid succession. She'd jump up, I'd pick her up and drop her off the other side of the bed, and then, thinking this was the best game EVER, she'd take a running leap and do it again.

James snored through the whole party and Maggie has not attempted it again. I wonder when she'll next remember that she can.

~ ~ ~

The kids adore their new fur sibling and each of them has a unique and deep bond with their "Maggles."

One afternoon I was cooking dinner and looked over to the living room where I heard Cora crooning gently, “Okay Maggie, so you put one foot here and two feet here and that’s how you play Hop Scotch!!”

Maggie did not quite grasp the game, but Cora never gave up and declared Maggie the champion after several (unsuccessful) attempts at the first square.

She is the center of the Lag Liv household. We're 5 minutes late to everything because "Oh I didn't say goodbye to Maggie!" or "Maggie needs one more pet mommy!"

Maggie loves them back just as fiercely.

~ ~ ~

On Saturday the kids were at a swim meet with James (Claire did her first no-breather 25 free! Landon won everything!) while I stayed home with our still-sick Cora. After 4 days in the house, Maggie and I decided Cora needed a field trip so we packed her in the car and headed to a nearby Starbucks. The fact that we wanted an iced chai and a puppuccino was just a coincidence.

Maggie LOVED her Puppuccino.

She loved it so much I had to pull back into the parking lot and going through the drive-through just so she could finish it before we got home. She can't wait to go back.

~ ~ ~

Car rides remain Maggie's FAVORITE thing. She can't hear, so she can't figure out what signals whether the car is on or not, so every time I let her outside she runs hopefully towards the car, waits a few minutes, and then if I don't go open the door, she gives up and goes about her business. But when I do open that door, her whole face lights up.

On Wednesdays she was my co-pilot as we dropped various children off and picked them up at all the different activities. She took her job seriously, staying alert at least 35% of the time and getting pets from one and all at drop off and pick up.

I can tell she really misses our Wednesday routine of spending 90+ minutes in the car driving all over town. (I, on the other hand, do NOT, though I try to give Maggie rides whenever possible to make up for her loss.)

~ ~ ~

We used to have a routine where I took her out to go potty every night when I went to bed around 11.

Maggie had a routine where she absolutely refused to wake up or move until I picked her up and carried her outside, and if I set her down any moment before we were both fully outside with the door closed, she'd run straight back to her bed.

After 2 months of no accidents in the house I decided she could decide when she wanted to go outside and no longer bother her after her bedtime of 7:30 p.m.

It's going well for both of us. She gets her 12-13 hours of uninterrupted beauty sleep on her favorite bed in the art room (snuggled under two blankets we tuck around her after we finish dinner because we are all ridiculous) and I don't have to raise my heart-rate by dead-lifting a bulldog at 11 p.m. Another upside: she now sleeps in the main part of the house and I don't hit James at 3 a.m. to make him stop snoring when it's actually Maggie snoring from across the room.

~ ~ ~

One thing we noticed quickly is that Maggie will ALWAYS find her spot in the sun.

She sleeps approximately 20 hours a day but somehow she stealthily wakes up and shifts over just enough to always stay within its warm rays.

She LOVES being outside and will snooze until she's sunburned (literally, we have to put sunscreen on her scar) and near to overheating. We keep a close eye on her and she does NOT like it when we drag her inside when her time is up on a hot day.

Luckily, she's in a house full of floor to ceiling windows and skylights, so sun can almost always be found.

I feel like there's a life lesson in there.

~ ~ ~

My final favorite Maggie story from our first few months together is how she follows me around the house whenever she's awake. Having a deaf dog is such an adventure- she can't hear a thing, so when she wakes up, she's never sure if anyone is home or not (it's still funny to me that she has no idea when we come home from being out; she wakes up whenever she wakes up and is like "oh! you're here! how great!")- so anytime she wakes she does a little loop around the house to see who's here. In the mornings, she follows me from the kitchen where I start my tea, to the bathroom where I step in the shower. Once I'm in the shower I have disappeared and she spends the next 10 minutes trotting around the bathroom in circles looking for me. I'll open the (clear glass, but now fogged) shower door to wave, she looks relieved, and then I close it and I've disapparated yet again. She can't hear the water, the fog is apparently totally opaque (we're pretty sure her eyes aren't very good either), so it's a BIG surprise when I step out of the shower in my towel a few minutes later. Watching her trot circles around the bathroom hunting for me is one of the highlights of my morning.

~ ~ ~

And that's it for today's collection of Maggie stories.

I did not have this much love to give a dog when my human babies were young and demanding, but now, there are many days where she is for sure my favorite child.

[I'd be remiss if I didn't add that Fort Worth has a huge overcrowding problem in our pounds, shelters, and rescues right now. I read that over 300 pets were surrendered in the last 6 days and the city is having to euthanize animals for space. There was a devastating article last year by a shelter worker describing the physical act of walking dog after dog down to be euthanized and then dealing with the volume of dead bodies afterward. It was haunting. If you're interested in adopting, fostering, or simply donating to the cause, please google your way to a rescue organization near you! Here in Fort Worth you can volunteer with the city Animal Care & Control and Cody's Friends Rescue and Saving Hope are doing great work for foster and rescue, along with SO many others. And of course the Lone Star Bulldog Club Rescue is near and dear to our own Maggie-loving hearts and can always use donations to support the rescue of these wonderful, wrinkly, medically demanding doggos.]