Favorite Things : May 25 – 31, 2019

favorite things, pregnancy

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

This will be my last post for the next few weeks. After my ante-natal appointment yesterday, I was told I probably would not go beyond this weekend, but if I did to show up Monday morning bright and early to be induced. It is strange to think that there is an actual end in sight. In fact — it made everything seem so much less abstract. We came home and I immediately started cleaning. Must be prepared! Constant vigilance!

This week will mainly involve waiting. I do not think I will be able to finish the Harry Potter series as I had planned, but I should be able to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I started Emily Oster’s book Cribsheet this week — so hopefully I can get through some of that to “prepare myself.”

I’m hoping to pop in to check-in in about two weeks! Until then, here are this week’s favorite things:

Cities are not the only location where innovation happens — turns out most of it is in rural areas.

30 lessons of 30 years.

I always feel terrible when I travel. Here are nine tips that can help.

Modern Mrs. Darcy on the writing process.

As someone who wants to do all the things (run, cycle, swim, lift, etc.), I like the idea of being a generalist in sport.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the early weeks of June!

 

A Review of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmeal Earley

books, catholicism

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

thecommonrule

It is probably Earley’s misfortune that I read The Common Rule at the same time I have been reading Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life. The latter makes the former seem incredibly shallow. I will try to be fair, because I do think if you are the type of person who does have a chaotic, out-of-control life, maybe Earley’s book can provide a beginning place for you — milk before meat for beginners and all that.

After an anxious breakdown Earley creates a rule of life to bring peace for himself and his family. While eating dinner with friends, he vows to practice this rule, determining that limits are the key to freedom. He writes, “I had lived my whole life thinking that all limits ruin freedom, when all along it’s been the opposite: the right limits create freedom.”

It is a Christian book and most of Earley’s advice revolves around ways Christianity and the Bible can help us with bringing order to life. He divides the rules into eight daily and weekly habits — a daily example being kneeling at prayer, weekly one hour of conversation with a friend. The appendix contains how to ascribe some of these rules to different walks of life — for parents, addicts, artists. I thought this was a good idea — one size does not fit everyone.

None of his rules are objectionable. Most — like scripture before phone in the mornings, curating tv to four hours a week — are very good ideas. Also — they are measurable for someone who just wants to try something, anything to make life feel better and more manageable. Sometimes I think advice can seem so vague, but the actionable nature of Earley’s rule I think could be really helpful.

Here is what I had a problem with and I say this tentatively: I am not too keen on the self-helpification of Christianity.

Take habit no. 3 – one hour with phone off (which is small potatoes to any Cal Newport reader). Earley writes about the importance of presence in life — we learn this with the creation and salvation stories. Turning off the phone gives us more time with children, but it also has another important benefit — you can get more done at work! And get into the state of flow! Of course — this is true. But I don’t exactly know what this has to do with living a Christian life. I didn’t realize the point of Christ was to help me be more productive, but ok.

I’m being snarky and perhaps even nit-picky. Still — Jesus is not your self-help guru. I love self-help books. I love books on productivity, I’m not sure the point of living in accordance with the Gospel is to become more productive.

I do not not recommend this book, but after reading it I suggest picking up something else, like a secular book on the same subject (7 Habits, being my favorite) or if living a better Christian life is what you want, pick up Introduction to the Devout Life. It is a good starting point, maybe, but even at that it is lackluster.

Memorial Day Murph at 39 Weeks Pregnant

crossfit, pregnancy

Last year I wrote a “race report” for my first Memorial Day Murph. At that point, I had only been doing CrossFit for less than a month. It was heavily modified with ring-rows and knee push-ups, but I finished and I was proud. I thought I would share a report from this year’s Murph — still heavily modified, because I am heavily pregnant. I am 39 weeks along — waiting any day (any second, really) for this baby to show up.

So what is Murph? RX’d it is 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run all done while wearing a weighted vest. Now, even under the best of circumstances, I would not be able to do this work-out RX’d. Last year, it left me completely drained and I could not walk right (from all those squats!) for at least a day or two.

Now I cannot walk right because of the baby. I was not planning on doing Murph at all. But all I have been doing is waiting for the baby. I felt like I had no events or any goals coming on to focus on and this has led to quite a bit of impatience on my part. Plus, I was starting to develop some serious fear of missing out and a little bit of a desire to give myself a nice pat on the back — look at me 39 weeks along, doing the Murph! (Humility is something I should work on.)

I mentioned wanting to do the Murph with another pregnant nooner. She asked if I would want to split it and do a partner wod — team Prego. We talked to our coach, who was encouraging. We signed up for the 10am heat. Here’s the thing, I knew I probably could do the whole work-out if I scaled it (ring rows, wall push-ups, etc), but it was more a question of should. I think doing half ended up being the better choice. I felt tired afterwards, but not drained.

Here’s how we did it — we walked 800m and split 20 rounds of 5 ring rows, 10 wall push-ups, and 15 squats between the two of us and finished with an 800m walk. I can honestly say that last 800m was super slow on my part. After each round, one of us would catch our breath while the other did a round. It ended up being a good plan, because I never felt winded or exhausted. I never had that “so much left to go, will I ever be done?” feeling.

murph2019no6

Murph2019no5

It ended up being a lot of fun. I got a good work out in, but was able to cheer for my partner and other members of my heat. I still felt impressed with my body, especially the fact that I could manage to do 150 squats a week before my due date. I thought I would feel jealous of everyone doing the full thing, but I ended up feeling just fine with the amount I did. Plus, I figured I still was wearing my own version of a weight vest!

murph2019no4

One thing I was hoping, which did not happen, was that doing half Murph would help encourage baby to make his or her appearance. A lot of people from my gym joked that I would have to name the baby “Murph” if a boy. I joked that I was trying to create an inhospitable environment in order to encourage baby to leave. It is Wednesday. Still no baby!

Did you do the Murph this year? How did it go?

 

Monday Miles (On a Tuesday!) : May 20 – 26 (38 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, goals, monday miles, running

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

I feel drained. I still am not sleeping much at all. I thought I knew what heartburn was, but these last few weeks are showing me what heartburn really can be. It is more than an unpleasant annoyance. It rages. I get up at 3 in the morning, sit on the couch and pop tums, waiting for it to go away. Today was not one of those days.

I keep looking at half-marathon plans, dreaming of a post-partum running come back. My best half last year was a three times a week plan. I think that really worked for me and my body, so I’m thinking about getting Run Less, Run Faster and following one of those plans, after I’m all recovered of course.

I am less than a week until my due date. I did half Murph yesterday (will post about that soon — you can see last year’s here) and will keep working out, however modified, until this baby decides to make his or her appearance.

5 – 20 : CrossFit – Helen (modified) – 3x 400m row, 21 kettle-bell swings @ 15 lbs., and 12 ring rows. Even though I heavily modified Helen, I loved this work-out. Every time I would get back on the rower, I would feel another swing of energy and would try to sprint through it. I think it was just hard enough — I did not feel like I was overdoing it, but I also did not feel like the modifications made it too easy. 12 minutes 4 seconds. Walked – 1 mile, 20 minutes.

5 – 21 : CrossFit – for time – 4x 3 hang squat-cleans @ 50 lbs., 6 box step-ups @ 20 in.; 2x 6 hang squat-cleans @ 45 lbs., 12 box step-ups @ 20 in.; 1x 12 hang squat-cleans @ 35 lbs, 24 box step-ups @ 20 in. 12 minutes, 29 seconds. Another fun one. I think the hardest was the second set with the two rounds of six. It got just spicy enough.

5 – 22 : Rest.

5 – 23 : CrossFit – Row for 120 calories. 9 minutes 56 seconds. I did actually come in with a goal for this. I wanted to stay under ten minutes. I thought 60-100 calories was the hardest part, but after 100 calories I could muscle through it and just get it over with.

5 – 24 : Rest.

5 – 25 : Rest.

5 – 26 : Rest

Total : 3 hours, Crossfit. 20 minutes, 1 mile walk. 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Onward!

Favorite Things : May 18 – 24, 2019

favorite things

View at Medium.com

Two things will be done this weekend: 1) We will organize and go through everything we can donate to the church rummage sale this week. 2) We will wait for the baby. I’ve been waiting for the baby for awhile now, but with every day that passes the waiting intensity increases. Will you or will you not arrive today? Though I know it is likely I will go past-due (after June 3), I keep hoping that I will be an exception to the first time mother rule and baby will show up just a little bit early (I start my 39th week on Monday).

For now, I’m sitting on the couch, compression socks on, feet propped up, and have spent most of this morning reading, internet searching, and kitchen cleaning. It has not been the most productive day, but I’m doing a little bit here and there. Plus, it has been hard to concentrate with the baby on my mind.

Here are this week’s favorite things:

Laura Vanderkam answers a reader question: can I pursue my own interests after having a baby? Thankfully, that answer is an emphatic yes.

My idea of a good time.

I’ve always been fascinated by the catacombs of Paris.

I kind of want to make this cake…with ice cream.

As I prepare for the baby, I really enjoyed this post and its accompanying resources on the one parent rule for a less hectic home.

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

 

 

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

What I’m Loving Lately VI

books, daily life, food, music, pregnancy, reading

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

It has been awhile since I have written one of these — not since January. I woke up around three this morning, not feeling well. I fell back asleep at five, but for the most part feel kind of groggy today. This is 38 weeks of pregnancy! Very glamorous.

Watching : Like nearly everyone else on this planet, I finished watching the final season of Game of Thrones the other day. That said, I’m not sure I can include it in things that I love. I liked the endings for everyone, but I thought it needed more time, more development to get to those endings. I’ve also been watching Chernobyl on HBO and it is terrifying and excellent. I feel so stressed out when I watch it, but it is so well-done I cannot stop watching. Bruno says there is a podcast that goes with it, but I have not listened yet. Other than that — I’ve been trying to watch how much television we watch. I’m tired of feeling like my evenings go to scanning through netflix, hbo, prime to find something to watch before bed. I’m not anti-tv. I love it, but I like to be a little bit more deliberative about what I’m watching.

Listening : My big post-dissertation gift to myself was a turn table. We bought an Audio-Technica. After it arrived, we went to our local record store and I bought Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin. For awhile it has been our only record, so I think baby will be a big Led Zeppelin fan. This last month, however, we bought Greta Van Fleet’s From the Fires, so we are expanding. I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to starting and maintaining a record collection, so I feel like such a newb. I will say this: there is a great pleasure to listening to something on analog. I like having to get up and turn the record to the other side. Plus, with headphones on all the time, Bruno and I do not get to share the music we are listening to, it seems much more communal now. I like that.

Reading : Plenty. I’ll share my May reads later, but I’m also trying to make it through some books in preparation for teaching in the fall. I am reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. I did read a new history textbook the other week. I won’t share the name, because I’m not quite sure it is out yet, but I did not particularly care for it. I’ve been reading Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales in the morning and I love it. And of course — I’m still making my way through re-reading Harry Potter. I’m finally on Half-Blood Prince, so we’ll see if I get through all seven before baby arrives.

Eating : Probably too much. We bought Cook Once, Eat All Week to see if it would help save time and money. I think initially it cost quite a bit — all those different oils, spices, you know. But I think it will end up paying for itself. I spend all Sunday afternoon getting the components of the meals together and I love that it is step-by-step and I don’t have to think about it too much. We’ve been following it for three weeks and have been pretty happy about it. We had some bbq meatloafs with carrot fries which were delicious. Other than that — I am loving ice cream, lots and lots of ice cream.

What are you loving lately?

A Quiet Saturday

daily life, motherhood, pregnancy

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

I suppose, being 38 weeks pregnant, I do not have many quiet Saturdays left. I have had low-grade impatience for the baby to arrive beginning this month, but this past weekend I had a nice reminder to enjoy this time of waiting.

I think it began with the fact I actually had a good night’s sleep. Thank goodness, for Benadryl. I did not wake up once and woke up at around 6:30ish in the morning — which is late for me. Planning on going to my small group meeting in the morning, I read the Gospel for the week and some Harry Potter (what else, ha!) before eating breakfast, hopping in the shower, and heading to the church for my meeting. After my small group, I sat at the church for Eucharistic adoration for about an hour, reading Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life.

I walked to Jilly Beans’ Coffee Shop and bought a coffee and cinnamon roll. I sat by myself and just read for about an hour or so. I’m not the type of person to let little moments pass me by and I’m grateful. While reading, I realized that very soon not every Saturday morning would be able to look as calm or peaceful. Even without a baby, not every Saturday goes according to plan. I think I very easily get sucked down the social media/internet rabbit hole and before you know it, I’ve had three cups of coffee and while I’ve been scrolling like crazy, I feel tired, stressed, and frankly meaningless.

Bruno picked me up and we had a quick lunch at home before going on a two mile walk. I hoped I would go into labor. I did not go into labor. Instead, my feet and what is left of my ankles swelled up like melons. I can barely fit in my shoes. It was hot out, so we joked we were training for living in Texas. The next several hours were spent sitting on our front porch reading. After that — we ate dinner and watched some HBO, before an early bed time of around 9ish.

It really does not seem like much. Dinner was left overs. We watched Chernobyl which was probably not the best choice for right before bed. Most of my reading was for work (though very enjoyable — I highly recommend) — I read Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. Walking two miles is not an impressive work out and a far cry from my Saturday long runs (how I miss thee!). On the surface, the day does not seem special at all.

But, even though I’m impatient for baby, I’m grateful for these last few quiet Saturdays. I’m grateful for these last few walks with just Bruno and myself. Even as the the weeks until baby’s arrival turn into days, I’m going to take advantage that the quiet time I have: read more, write more, walk more and enjoy the calm, not before the storm, but before the creation of a new normal, with new Saturday routines, and a brand new person in the mix.

Monday Miles : May 13 – 19, 2019 (37 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

I would be lying if I didn’t say it is just getting harder. I’m happy that I did a lot of walking this week, but I also have not been sleeping much — so nothing felt good for most of the week. Towards Friday, I started feeling a lot better, but I’m truly counting down the days now. My ankles are huge and swollen and everything for this week seemed to require a lot of motivation. I showed up though.

Things to improve on: Stretching, stretching, stretching. I suspect it is my lack of mobility, but the last thing I want to do is get on the floor and stretch even though I know my hips could use it.

5 – 13 : CrossFit. We did the Open Games 11.1/14.1 wod. Of course — I did it heavily modified. 10 minutes AMRAP – 50 single-unders, 35 lbs. hang power-snatches. I managed 4 rounds + 10 single-unders. Aside for all the jump-rope, I thought this was a fun work-out.

5 – 14 : Walk – 41 minutes, 1.5 miles.

5 – 15 : Walk – 40 minutes, 1.69 miles.

5 – 16 : CrossFit/Walk. The actual work-out called for a 5k time trial. I joined in for the warm-up and walked two laps of the 5k route. It was a good reminder that even when I really cannot do the work-out, it is nice to show up. 37 minutes – 1.89 miles.

5 – 17 : Rest.

5 – 18 : Walk – 53 minutes, 2 miles.

5 – 19 : Walk – 20 minutes, 1 mile. I actually stretched after this walk too.

Totals : CrossFit – 2 hours. Walking – Around 3 hours, 20 minutes. Around 4 hours of working out total (combined that crossfit/walk session).

Onward!

Favorite Things : May 11 – 17, 2019

favorite things

Good morning and happy Friday! I’ve been up since around 3:30 today. I took some time to read, but decided to just get into the day. I submitted my minor revisions for an academic article the other day and have been working on editing and cutting down another chapter so that I can send a new article out. I’m reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People and will hopefully will go out and take a walk later. I’m tired, but I have not been able to sleep. Week days and weekends can kind of run into each other when working from home, but I’m hoping that I can find some good time to relax.*

I found a few favorite things from the ‘net this week:

Definitely in line with the idea of 1% better, Modern Mrs. Darcy writes on just giving our goals a minute.

Interesting article form Vox about moving to an affordable city in the midwest.

Things to improve on.

I’m just going to say it. Danielle Steel’s work schedule is insane.

But don’t take my advice!

Progress is never dramatic.

On base lines and finish lines.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

*Amazon affiliate link.

A Review of The Wealthy Teacher by Danny Kofke

books

Something Bruno has been saying a lot lately is, “Boomer is not an age, but a state of mind.” A boomer is defined someone who considers measures of success, how things are going in politics by the stock market, their 401k, the gdp, etc. Frequently, he’ll say something along the lines of “boomers gonna boom” when discussing anyone who tends to fall under this category.

I joked last night that I was probably the “boomer” in our marriage. I’m the one who regularly listens to Dave Ramsey, keeps up the excel spreadsheet that charts our progress in paying our student loans, and reads all the personal finance books and websites. Bruno said he didn’t think so, because I don’t think those things are an end in themselves or the ultimate sign of the health of a society.

Anyway – I finished reading another personal finance book the other week. This one specifically written for teachers: The Wealthy Teacher: Lessons for Prospering on a School Teacher’s Salary by Danny Kofke. I thought it was just ok. I like common sense books about budgeting and money — things are fairly obvious, but I like having guidelines written down. This book is good for that, but you could probably find them anywhere else. It also contains its on “baby step” process makes a few divergences, but for the most part is essentially Dave Ramsey for teachers.

For example, he writes, “In most marriages, there is usually someone who is more of a free spirit and the other one is more of the nerd; in my case, I am the nerd.” This is straight out of Total Money Makeover, but Kofke never cites or provides his source. I think this really irked the scholar in me. Provide your citations and sources — this is basically plagiarism, dude! You’re a teacher. Do better.

One thing I thought was helpful from this book that I’m not sure the Ramsey-lit offers is the chapter on retirement. Once again we get into boomer territory. I think it is funny that we still have books that suggest that retirement is an option in the same way as it used to be, or even that it may even be desirable (especially for those of us who are not physical laborers). I don’t envision a retired future for myself playing golf, traveling, whatever. I like the idea of continuing to be productive until the inevitable happens. Most people have zero idea how to spend leisure time even when they work 40-50 hours a week. Do you know happens after retirement? You wait around and then you die.

But I digress. All the above does not mean I do not think you should be responsible and save for the future. Like I said, I’m totally guilty of being the “boomer” in our marriage. The retirement chapter is helpful if you are thinking about where to put your money, especially since most teachers will not have 401ks. It did give me plenty to think about for our plans.

Still — I’m not sure I would recommend this book. I mean it is ok. If you’ve never read a personal finance book ever, it is fine. If you are afraid being a teacher is going to lead you to a life of poverty and just want to be assured everything is going to ok, I think it has its uses in that realm too. But for the most part, it seems like ideas taken from other personal finances gurus and put together for money-interested teachers.