A Review of Jennifer Fulwiler’s One Beautiful Dream

books, pregnancy

Contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m not necessarily a mom yet, so mom-guilt is not something I have (yet) experienced. I grew up in a house where my mom worked. She was an engineer and my siblings and I went to daycare and a local babysitter. But as I have made preparations for the future — Bruno and I accepting teaching jobs, getting childcare for the new baby (yes, we’re doing daycare), and just thinking about what life will be like (I won’t say planning, because I know how that goes) – I have noticed the quickness with which people are willing to make frankly judgmental general comments and how it often can lead to, at least in myself, a lot of self-doubt.

Most books about working and motherhood seem to go either all in one direction (how to be the big bad career woman while being a mom) or completely in the other (careers are bad, you must stay at home to be a good mom). But what about the person in the middle? The person who wants to work (in this case, for me, be a teacher) but has no desire to be at a Sheryl Sandberg-level in anything (I wouldn’t have time to mom, let alone run, read, write, make sourdough bread — my own version of a “beautiful dream” — you get the picture). Jennifer Fulwiler’s book One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both came at the right time for me.

Fulwiler writes about the period of time when she started writing again and wrote her first book Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It (I have yet to read it, but after this book it is definitely on the list). During these time she juggled writing and childcare and the guilt that comes with both putting off your goals and the fear that you are putting effort into your personal goals at the expense of your children. Though she determines you can have both, I don’t think she means you can have both in the way that the infamous Anne-Marie Slaughter article declares is impossible.

I think this book is a great antidote to the idea that you can only have one or the other — motherhood or personal passion, or even the way “having it all” is encouraged today. It does this through common sense. When feeling guilt about not spending all her time with her growing family, Fulwiler writes, “Now I suddenly realized that mothers throughout history never did this; they never had time. Children’s primary sources of entertainment were outdoor play and other kids, not their mothers.” Reflecting back on my own family, this seems true. My paternal grandmother had fifteen children on a dairy farm. I highly doubt her day was spent catering to my aunts and uncles. She had a lot of work to do — cows don’t milk themselves, you know. Granted, milking cows is not the same as following a personal passion (well, unless you are my father) — but I suspect the time given to running a farm is requires more time away from your kids than that of the latter.

The image Fulwiler presents is a sort of happy chaos. There is no separation of family and writing. It goes better when they are all together. Towards the end of the book, when Fulwiler is finishing her manuscript, she describes a great scene where she is driving around with her kids. She parks to write while they keep the baby entertained. When the baby gets fussy, they drive around again and repeat the process. It turns out to be one of the best chapters. I’ll admit my German love of order opposes everything about this (this love of order will certainly get a shock to the system in two months), I think it recognizes an important truth. When you get rid of the standard of perfectionism, what you love can work together.

There’s a very simple line in the book that did stick with me. She writes, “I walked back to my car with no answers, only a strong that somehow, it would all work out.” We tend to tell each other it will work out all the time to the point of cliche, but also, for the most part, tends to be true. Fulwiler presents no solutions, no plans, no seeking of perfection, just an assurance that pursuing motherhood and pursuing personal passions can work out. This future mother who has an abundance of personal passions hopes she is right.

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March 2019 Goals : How did it go?

dissertation, goals, graduate school, year of 1% better

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. You can see January goals here and outcomes here, February goals here, and February outcomes and March goals here.

I started last month feeling burnt out post-dissertation. I’m happy to say I feel much better now. I’m not ready to go get it yet, but March featured some big changes. We know we’ve moving. We know we have jobs for next year (a big relief). I still feel tired, but this is more physically because of being in the third trimester, not from stress and mental exhaustion. Of course — I’m still stressed. Who am I kidding? But at least the stress is about different things and not well, the big D-word (dissertation).

I did begin to downsize. I donated two trash bags of clothing to my little sisters, packed a fair amount of clothes I knew I probably would not be able to fit into for awhile yet, and am starting another trash bag of clothes now. We started bringing up boxes of books from the basement to go through and determine what to donate. All primary texts are safe, classics we thought we would read have to go. I actually expected to be more attached to my books, like “oooo, I totally want to read that” but I guess my self-expectations have become more reasonable, because when Bruno held up Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, I responded, “Yeah, get rid of it.” Sorry, Waugh. This moving vehicle will have no room for good intentions.

Although it is a day late for my March goals, I did resubmit my “revise and resubmit” for an academic journal yesterday. I really struggled with procrastination on this one. I probably could have had everything done much earlier, late February or early March, but I dreaded working on it. I would set a half hour timer and persuade myself, “Ok, just a half hour. You can do a half hour.” And I would go from there. This was sort of the last big thing hanging over my head, so now it is done I can say I feel free. Until, the next thing of course. I’m considering getting another article ready to send out before baby comes, but given that my future career decision kind of means leaving the academic rat race, I’m not sure.

Did I relax? Define “relax.” Ok, ok, it is true, I feel much better than I did at the start of the month. I spent a lot of time reading, which was great. I began thinking about post-graduate school goals. Also, great. When I was tired, I slept. I start trading out rowing for wods. So yes, I would say I relaxed, but I still think it is something I need to work on. A lot of my relaxing time, I found myself scanning through facebook or instagram. Still, less than I used to, but more than I want to be on those websites. I’ll just keep working.

How did your March goals go? We’re a fourth of the way through the year, is 2019 going strong?

 

 

 

Monday Miles : March 25 – 31, 2019 (30 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

Every Monday marks one week closer to my due date. We are currently at nine weeks to go — 63 more days. I’m both impatient, but also overwhelmed by how little time left there seems to be. Nothing baby is set up in the house, although I am in full nesting/getting ready to move mode. It mostly has involved getting rid of as much stuff as possible.

I took it a little easier this week, I think. It ended up being for the best. On Monday I was still shot from 19.5. The WOD called for the Chief, but I knew it was not going to happen without me feeling even more beat up than I already happened to be. It ended up being for the best, because I was really happy with the rest of my work-outs for the week. I do have some things to improve one — mainly, I haven’t been doing anything on the weekends. It hurts to walk for a long period of time. I’ve tried to yoga, but everything seems to be in the way, so it is more uncomfortable than relaxing. This is the part where I tell myself to harden up and do it anyways. Though it is funny that the only exercises that has been “comfortable” has been CrossFit. Maybe it is because wods are always uncomfortable, so I don’t notice?

Anyway — here are my work-outs for this week, which I think are pretty satisfactory for a 30 week pregnant lady.

3 – 25 : I did the warm-up with everyone else at CrossFit — 2 x 10 ring-rows; 10 knee push-ups; 10 good-mornings; 10 air squats; 30 second plank hold; 30 second bike. I followed it up, however, with 30 minutes on the rower. 5667 meters. About ten minutes of mobility work afterwards.

3 – 26 : CrossFit. Increasing kettle-bell swings and box step-ups for 7 minutes (ex. 1 swing, 1 step-ups; 2 swins, 2 step-ups, and so on) – I made it ten rounds plus 3 kettle-bell swings. I used 20 lbs. for kettle-bell. Every 2 minutes for 10 minutes – Sumo Dead-lifts.  3 x 85 lbs., 95 lbs., 100 lbs., 100 lbs., 100 lbs. I don’t love regular dead-lifts and I do not think I like the sumo variety either. Bruno rolled me out — torture.

3 – 27 : CrossFit. Row sprints intervals – 1000 m : 4:43 minutes; 800 m – 3:36; 400 m – 1:50; 400 m – 1:52; 400 m – 1:45. I was happy with this work-out went, especially because my last 400m interval was the fastest. That said, everybody else was running, it was beautiful outside, and I was jealous.

3 – 28 : CrossFit. Every 3 minutes for 9 minutes – 3 x strict press + 3 green band pull-ups : 40 lbs., 45 lbs., 50 lbs. Every 3 minutes for 9 minutes – 3 x push-press + 3 green band pull-ups : 55 lbs., 60 lbs., 65 lbs. Every 3 minutes for 9 minutes – 3 x push-jerk + 3 green band chin-ups : 70 lbs.; 75 lbs.; 80 lbs. I think all three push-jerks were PRs. I was happy with how I executed this work-out, starting really low on the strict presses and adding five pounds until the very end. This work-out was also helpful for educational purposes — I always get the push-press and push-jerk mixed-up. Now I know.

3 – 29 : Rest.

3 – 30 : Rest.

3 – 31 : Rest. See what I mean? I should do something in these three days.

Totals: 3 hours CrossFit; 30 minutes rowing. 3.5 hours total.

Onward!

Favorite Things : March 23 – 29, 2019

favorite things

Good morning! I’m up early today. Some days I am unable to sleep past 3:30, so I’ll get up for a few hours and go back to sleep later in the morning. Ah, that post-dissertation flexible schedule life!

I have no big plans for this weekend again…thank goodness! I’m hoping to finish a revise and resubmit and send it back out today and get some packing and cleaning done. Other than that, I think some couch time with a good book is in order.

Here are this week’s favorite things:

Saved for post-baby goals: Eight things ultrarunners can do to improve training. 

Snowplow parenting.

50 miler recap which is a good reminder of the importance of patience.

Your first three hours of work will make you or break you.

But also — morning rituals for the reasonably productive.

Life goals.

What a beautiful and important post on special needs from Cup of Jo.

Will a woman finish the Barkley Marathons this year?

I have never visisted Tulum (nor have a ever planned on it), and I have to wonder after reading this article whether it is ethical to do so.

Interesting (depressing) article from the Chronicle about the destruction of the college faculty profession.

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

Big News…We’re Moving to Austin, Texas!

austin, daily life, texas

Along with, you know, the rest of the United States.

I’ve mentioned that I have been traveling and one of my goals for this month was to start down-sizing in order to prepare to move. Well — it is official — Bruno and I will be moving to Austin to teach at a classical high school. It is a big decision. I have never lived further than 2.5 hours away from my family or away from the midwest my entire life. Bruno lived in Dallas for a year. We’ve both lived in Michigan for several years now and have grown attached to a place where we met, dated, spent the first two of our married years, and will have our first baby. We have a good community here, both grad school friends and CrossFitters. Though I think we are excited about everything to come, I think it will be very hard to leave.

Anyway — Texas — we are excited about this new adventure. We flew out to Austin a few weeks ago (during SXSW actually) and though we mostly prepared for our teaching demonstrations and at the school, we did get a chance to do some exploring and most importantly — eat tacos. Sunday we ate at Torchy’s. As I mentioned — I’ve lived in the midwest all my life. I know tacos are a contentious culinary topic in the South and I admit to lacking sophisticated taste, but I tell you what — these were the best I have ever had in my entire life. I already cannot wait to go back and drink the queso.

I also satisfied my brisket craving at Salt Lick in Round Rock. Heaven. Just heaven. I love where I live now, but the amount of restaurants is…well…lacking. Aside for the heat, this will probably be the biggest adjustment — all the opportunity to eat out wherever I like. Not good for the waistline or the budget, but then again — I am growing another human being right now so I ate every bite that was on my platter.

bbq

Belinda Carlisle is right.

Actual Austin exploring mainly took place on South Congress. Luckily – though it was SXSW – we did not have too many crowds. We stopped at Jo’s Coffee and I took the necessary touristy picture in front of the “I Love You So Much” mural. When we stopped by, I did not have to wait in line, but later that day I saw quite a long line to take a picture in front of this mural. That is kind of ridiculous, right?

53639394_602283296941431_206196754201182208_n.jpg

All in all — it was a good trip — and I think we could really see ourselves living happily here. One thing I’m excited about is all the outside sitting. We have friends who recently moved down a couple months ago and they took as to Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden and it was perfect. I loved being able to just sit at a picnic table, eat from food trucks (it was promised to be an “authentic” Austin experience), and just enjoy good conversation with good people.

When we flew out, it was kind of weird to think that when we come back, we’ll come back as a family of three and as residents. I’ll be honest — after living in small town after small town, I never thought I would end up living somewhere “cool”. Then lo and behold, in a couple months we will live in one of the most popular cities in the country (not that I really care about that…it is just kind of amusing to me). Someday Austin will be home and hopefully we love it as much as we love our place here in Michigan. We will leave in July, but in the meantime I’ll be dreaming about queso, packing (this is a marathon, not a sprint), and dreading/looking forward to the day we say good-bye and begin anew.

 

 

 

 

February/March Reads 2019

books, reading

I wish I could say I followed up my dissertatin with serious tomes and plenty of reading, but not so much. I have been burnt out, so it has actually been hard to focus on books at all. I had quite a few start-and-stops and I hardly ever quit a book I have started. All book links are to Amazon, where I make a small commission.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

ChamberofSecrets.jpg

I make a point to re-read Harry Potter during the Thanksgiving to New Year season, but I was trying to finish up dissertation work, so Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did not get finished until post-defense. Ah, it is probably my favorite of the earlier ones. That joke Ron makes after extensively cleaning the trophy for service to the school about it probably being for the person who killed Moaning Myrtle? Priceless.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

PrisonerofAzkaban.jpg

I have the hard copies of all the Harry Potter books except for Prisoner of Azkaban. I keep meaning to buy it hard-copy, but also keep forgetting.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

I wrote a review of this book a few weeks ago. I still highly recommend.

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith


I thought The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness was just ok. I think the premise is fantastic. We are all hustling for happiness, but what if being happy is not really the point? What if purpose is? That is an idea, a truth really, I can get behind. But everything was else was just sort of ok.

The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart

In some ways The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture is related to the previous book, but I think it is so much better because it is a look at an individual’s pursuit of purpose in a culture that is constantly screaming more. Moreover, where Esfahani emphasized that purpose can be found in secular life, I think I related to (needed) the Catholic message of this book. I loved it so much, I am reading it again right now. This book was also my #CathoLit2019 read created by the author, Haley Stewart of Carrots for Michaelmas.

Current Reads :

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (of course)

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Benedict XVI

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis — a quick note on this one. Bruno and I have been reading a chapter or two together out loud in the evenings. We had always wanted to do this, but would be a bit too lofty in our ambitions and pick a big dense classic, but this book seems to work perfectly well for some evening reading after a long day.

What are some of your February and March readings? Anything you particularly liked? Disliked? What are you reading now? I’m always looking for new books to add to my kindle.

Tales from my First CrossFit Open : 19.5 Scaled

crossfit, lifting, training

You can see 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, and 19.4 if you click the links!

19.5 Scaled

33 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

33 x jumping pull-ups

27 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

27 x jumping pull-ups

21 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

21 x jumping pull-ups

15 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

15 x jumping pull-ups

9 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

9 x jumping pull-ups

Of all the open work-outs, I am most proud of this work-out. All I wanted to do, when I saw what it was going to be was finish and not only did I finish, but I finished with time to spare. Not bad for a 29 week pregnant lady! That said, of all the open work-outs, this one hurt the most in the during and in the aftermath. I think today is the first day I feel like a normal human being.

Before going into the wod, I was nervous. I think everybody was. I checked previous Fran-style work-outs to see where I was and thought maybe I could finish, but I was not sure. I figured I would be exhausted (was right about that) and was trying to avoid pre-work-out hubris. I decided I was going to break out each section into thirds 11-11-11/9-9-9, etc. with trying to use the knowledge I was about to finish to get to the last set — if I made it to the last set. Then, I would take ten second breaks.

I think — for the most part — I executed this plan well. My breaks were definitely a little bit longer than ten seconds, but I don’t think excessively so. I broke up 33 and 27 thrusters into thirds. I failed to do this during 21. I’m not sure if this was a physical problem or a mental problem. I actually suspect the former, because I was able to do 5-5-5 for 15 and do the last 9 unbroken.

27 and 21 were difficult for me mentally. With every thruster, my thought was “Are we there yet?” It was…not fun. Normally I love chipper work-outs. When my coach said to think of this as a marathon, not a sprint, I knew I could do that. I like endurance activities. But the thing is — you don’t feel like you are going for aerobic endurance when you are doing thrusters. You feel like you are about to spontaneously combust. And though there was a twenty minute time cap, time felt like it went by so slowly — except, of course, when I put the bar down. It was grueling.

It is strange, because once I got to 15, I no longer mentally felt like I was panicking on the inside. I knew I would finish and it became a little bit easier. Don’t get me wrong — it was not any physically easier. But with my mind calmed down, I no longer was freaking out about how much I had left to go. I just did the thrusters. I did the jumping pull-ups. I just kept moving forward.

The last 9 felt like they went quickly even though I am sure the thrusters were slow and ugly. I did not set the bar down once. This is probably why I am so proud of the work-out. Aside for 21, I did exactly what I wanted to, stuck to a plan, checked off all the boxes, and finished.

My time was 16:51 minutes. I sat on the floor and tried to cheer everyone on for the last three minutes. Tried being the operative word there. I felt like crying, not in a bad way, but in a “that really hurt and now I’m so glad to be done” kind of way.

Now that the open is over, I am planning on taking it even more easy on the work-outs. I have less than ten weeks until my due date — so I think I can give myself some more time to recover and relax!

How did 19.5 go for you? Are you still recovering? Shell-shocked, even?

 

Monday Miles : March 18 – 24, 2019 (29 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, training

Serious question: Will I ever recover from 19.5? Everything still hurts from Friday. I am planning on working out today, but full disclosure I still feel wiped out. I’m not sure if it is Friday’s work-out, the excessive amount of sugar I ate over the weekend, pregnancy, or a combination of all the above. But I’m so tired.

After several weeks of inconsitent working-out, it was really nice to get back on a regular schedule this week. I have exactly ten weeks until my due date, so I’m hoping to continue to be as consistent as possible in the weeks to come. I suspect I’m going to have to take it more easy though. Though I feel great during the work-outs, it is just taking longer to recover. I’m starting to feel like a train-wreck after every wod. It reminds me of recovering from a long run or Murph. I’m just depleted.

3 – 18 :  Crossfit. 19.4. Yoga with Adriene – Yoga for Anxiety.

3 – 19 : CrossFit. For time – 1000 meter row, 50 dumb-bell box step-overs at 20 lbs. and 16 inches, 5 rope pulls, 50 goblet squats at 20 lbs., bike for four minutes 1.18 miles. 18 minutes 53 seconds. I love chipper work-outs. Yoga with Adriene – Hamstrings.

3 – 20 : I felt worn out from the last two days, so I went with Bruno to CrossFit. However, I decided against doing the work-out and instead parked myself on a rower for a half hour. Row – 30 minutes – 5500 meters. I miss aerobic exercise. I miss running. Rowing is kind of boring, but honestly, I loved just getting into the rhythm of doing the same thing over and over and over again. Constant forward motion. Afterwards, I did a ton of mobility. I loved this day so much, I am hoping to make it a recurring feature of my week.

3 – 21 : Rest.

3 – 22 : CrossFit – 19.5. I was happy with how it went, but still feel like I am recovering. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

Totals : CrossFit – 3 hours. Rowing – 30 minutes. Yoga – about an hour.

Onward!

 

 

 

Favorite Things: March 16 – 22, 2019

crossfit, favorite things, Uncategorized

I just finished 19.5 scaled and I am still recovering. I’ll have more to say later, but for now — that was an experience. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel better.

The weekend is for recovery — from what just happened and from a mildly busy week. I’m hoping to do some reading and relaxing. We have no special plans and are just grateful to not have to travel anywhere for awhile again. In the words of John Denver, “Hey it’s good to be back home again.”

They need a baby registry too!

Mine is chicken, salad, and sweet potatoes. Every single day.

We don’t have a dishwasher, so when I cook, Bruno cleans. In the morning, I put the dishes away.

Do you like your work? I enjoyed this list of reasons why he likes his work by John Warner.

The relationship between work and religion.

I love Amelia Boone. Her latest on injury: Don’ t fight the water. 

Six principles for mastery.

Found this while doing some google searching. Not just for CrossFitters! Here are some benefits of rowing for runners.

Do you follow Feeding the Frasers on Instagram? I swear Sammy Moniz posts the easiest and most delicious meal ideas (glad I’m not paleo!!).

Does pregnancy mean giving up all outdoor sports? Good thing the answer is no.

What about you? Big plans for this weekend? Feel like you are never going to feel better after 19.5?

Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy

pregnancy, training

Shameless plug alert!

I have an article on Evie Magazine published this week called Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy. With a little over ten weeks to go, I have been thinking a lot about what has been working and what has not been working for me as I continue to be active. Please do check it out!