7

Baby girl. You’re seven today.

Seven.

Not days, or weeks, or months, but seven whole years. And they’ve been such wonderful years. You’ve taught me about the world, ignited my inner science geek, and made everything brighter.

You’ve challenged me to be a better mother, and I’ve learned to fight for what you need most. Every day I learn more about how to raise a gifted, highly sensitive kid.

You make my world better. You see the world in a way that helps me remember that life is awesome. You’re endlessly curious, amazingly creative, and tender-hearted beyond compare.

Because of you, this year we’ve:
– gone to Kennedy Space Center
– read a million books
– become vegetarians
– walked a family 5K
– explored the Everglades
– met Chewbacca
– visited the train museum
– cosplayed at ComicCon

And so very much more. You continue to make our world a brighter place, and I’m so lucky to have you. You fill a place in m my heart no one else could fill.

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And That’s How We Became Vegetarians

Her face was already crumpling as she came up the sidewalk to meet me. We barely made it into the empty cafeteria before she fell into my arms, a sobbing bundle of gangly arms and bruised legs, smelling of sweat and playground dirt.

I held her close with one hand, signing her out of the after-care program with the other. She sobbed it out for a minute before the words finally came, in heaving, hiccuping stutters. “They killed it.”

Oh baby. What happened?

“The boys. They killed a saddleback caterpillar.”

Honey, I’m so sorry.

“They had a ball. The kept throwing it at him and he died.”

Oh baby. I’m so sorry. That’s so unkind. But I think maybe the caterpillar didn’t suffer. He probably got squished fast, and didn’t feel anything at all.

“No, mommy.” Heave. Sob. Sniffle. “They hit him in the back first, and he curled up. And then…”

A shuddering lower lip. Eyes brimming over with barely controlled tears.

“They just kept throwing it.”

Oh, my love. I’m so sorry, baby.

“I told them to stop.”

I know you did, baby. That was a really good thing to do. Thank you for being so brave.

She cried a little more, the heaving slowing down and her breathing settling back to normal.

“Penny says that when she’s President, she’ll pass a law that no one can ever hurt animals.” She’s barely breaking a whisper against my shoulder now.

That would be nice, huh baby?

She nods, and then is quiet for a while.

“Mama, we have to kill animals to eat them.”

Yes baby. But when we do, it’s much kinder. They don’t get squished. They aren’t in pain.

“I don’t think I want to eat them anymore.”

Okay baby. Let’s be vegetarians for a while.

Finally, her tears began to dry and her little spirit lifted a little. By the time we got in the car, she’d moved on to a much lighter discussion of how anyone could be so awful, and why the boys didn’t make any sense to her. And that she wasn’t sure she would permanently stop eating bacon. (#iknowright)

So for now, we’re trying it out. Meat-free until she decides otherwise. And I know I could “cheat” and eat meat at work, but then I’d have to tell her. I tell her everything, and I promised her I’d do this with her. I’ll be packing pbj or cheese tortillas for her lunch every day so that she has a meatless entree option, and we’ll be talking about how she’s feeling, what she’s thinking…

I’ve never seen her take anything so hard. My sweet, tender-hearted, fragile little bean.

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Adventures in Achilles Tendonitis

Last Friday, I finally went to the doctor after a super painful tearing feeling in my heel left me with consistent foot pain. Per the podiatrist, I have a small tear in my Achilles tendon, a whole lot of swelling, and something that’s probably a bone spur but could be a crystal built up from too much uric acid.

The treatment? Rest. Ice. A blood test to determine the answer to the spur/crystal debate. A corticosteroid to decrease the inflammation and give things a chance to heal. And, once the pain passes, regular yoga to keep things loose, warm, and stretched out. Oh, and a doctor’s order to stop wearing cheap, unsupportive shoes.

What caused it? Increased bootcamp and running alongside nearly no yoga. Age. Bad luck. All of the above and a sprinkle of who knows.

What am I doing? Well…not what I should. Since Friday I’ve done no yoga. I didn’t pick up my steroid until today. I went to the zoo on Sunday and walked all over the place, even after my foot started hurting. I’ve been using cold packs at night, and wearing braces or compression socks. I got supportive shoes for work. The things I’m doing right are helping, but they aren’t outpacing the things I’m doing wrong.

So I’m committing to doing what my body needs. I’m taking the month off from bootcamp, resting and wrapping as needed. I’m wearing good shoes with braces all the time. I start my steroid tomorrow, and will call to schedule my blood test. I’ll ask for orthotics when I go back to the podiatrist next week. I’ll take my medicine like a pro, and once the pain passes I’ll stretch like I should.

It turns out I’m a terrible patient, and awfully stubborn. I don’t like not being able to do what I want, feeling weak, or being limited. BUT it’s time to do the right thing so I can heal completely, or I’ll end up even more injured than before.

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In Which I Explain Catcalling to my Kid

Last week the kid had a dentist appointment, which meant we were done with work and school a little earlier than usual. Left with a couple of extra hours in the day, we headed to the library to return some books and pick out a few more. At which point I found myself in the decidedly irritating position of having to explain catcalling to my six year old.

A group of 20-something guys, 2 or 3 of them, were hanging out in the library parking lot smoking. Whether it was that or something else that set me a little on edge, I don’t know. But the moment I got out of the car it started.

Hey, beautiful.

Smile for me, pretty.

Hey, miss thing.

Hello? Come on mama.

I ignored it, wrapped her in my arms, and carried her into the library. Which isn’t something I’d normally do, but I already didn’t feel safe I guess. We got all the way through the doors before she said anything. She’s a perceptive kid.

Why were they saying that stuff, Mommy? Why didn’t they stop when you didn’t answer them? Why do they think you need to smile?

And there it was. Me, standing in a public library children’s section, explaining catcalling to my daughter. Explaining that it’s not about attraction or kindness, but about power. Explaining that men who can’t or won’t pick up on the cues that you’re uncomfortable are, for better or worse, something we have to be afraid of. Explaining that it’s happened to me for most of my life.

Will boys say things to me too like that?

Yes, honey. Probably.

Should I ignore them?

Mommy? What if they get angry because I won’t answer them?

What if they do? I had to admit it was a possibility. I told her I’ve generally had decent luck with ignoring catcalls, that it’s more than once brought on an onslaught of insults but I’ve been lucky enough to never come to harm.

Find a safe place, I told her. Go into a business. Stay where people are. Get on the phone and call the cops. Call me. Make noise. Be seen.

Protect yourself. You aren’t a prize to be won, an object to be controlled. You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe strangers a smile, and you don’t have to be “polite” or make other people happy, particularly when they’re busy making you uncomfortable.

It was a necessary conversation, I guess, but one I never thought I’d be having with my elementary schooler. I guess it’s good that I did. She hasn’t talked about it again since. She needs to sit with things for a while. I’ll be interested to see, in a few days or weeks, what bubbles up.

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Cheer Me Up (+ a GIVEAWAY)

We said goodbye to our pup of 16 years on Wednesday and, honestly, I’m still in the grieving phase. So, to cheer myself up a little bit, I wanted to talk about some of the things that are making me feel really happy right now.

StarburstCabooseSoybu – I’m on a mission to find incredible, easy to wear, doesn’t break the bank workout clothing. So when I got the chance to review some Soybu gear thanks to getting to know them at FitBloggin last year, I jumped at the chance. And you guys? It’s amazing. The Starburst Tank is insanely comfortable and looks incredible on, and the Killer Caboose pants might actually be dangerous! Both of them move beautifully for yoga, and breathe well enough for outdoor bootcamp. So in love.

Want your own Killer Caboose pants? Leave a comment after you complete each step! Every comment is an entry.

  1. Follow Soybu on Facebook
  2. …on Twitter
  3. …and on Instagram.
  4. Join the Soybu mailing list  (and get a 25% off coupon when you do!)
  5. Tell me in a new comment what you want most out of your workout gear

I’ll choose a winner by next weekend!!!

20160101_135606St Ives – I got some amazing St Ives stuff from a recent Influenster box, and I am LOVING it. I used to rock the old school apricot scrub when I was in high school, and I switched away from it for a LONG time. Now that the oatmeal scrub is hanging out in my bathroom, and it smells amazing, I figured I’d give it a go. I’m SO glad that I did. It’s great for getting rid of dead skin without being harsh on my face. They also sent an awesome citrus bodywash and pear lotion that are equally incredible.

Camp Gladiator – I can’t say enough about how Camp Gladiator has given me back a love for challenging myself physically, and the camaraderie is unmatched. Trainers check in on me, other campers friend me and add their support to mine. People encourage each other, no one is out there to judge anyone, and I’m FIRED UP. I hate missing it, and even when it’s incredibly tough and I am DYING out there, I love it. I’m SO glad I found it. You should try it if it’s near you. Check out the locations here.

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I Am a Gladiator (or FREE CAMP GLADIATOR BOOTCAMP)

879957dfc17a10151c7You guys.

I’m not saying everything is perfect right now. I mean, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m having an early morning surgery to remove some impressively gigantic ovarian cysts. So…there’s that. And food? Still far from perfect, so I’m still trying.

BUT…otherwise? I just canNOT say enough about how much I’m enjoying my workouts lately.

  • I get sweaty and gross, to the point that my ponytail drips and I could legitimately wring out my clothes.
  • It’s all outside, so the humidity is a beast.
  • I get sore, so sore.
  • I have to drink electrolyte water with BCAAs or I get dizzy.
  • Anytime I can, I get up at 5am to do the 5:30am workout.

And I am loving. every. second.

It’s SO hard, and some days I can only do half the reps I’m supposed to, or I have to skip things all together. But I’ve long since stopped feeling embarrassed or weird about it.

The truth is that the environment is amazing. I can go to any camp, anywhere they’re offered, at any time. I can hang with all different trainers, get used to different styles, and no one cares how slow I might go as long as I keep trying.

There are people at EVERY level, from super beginner to competitive athlete, and we all work together to make our workouts awesome.

The trainers are impeccably trained, and all certified.

The workouts are shockingly fun, and the hour goes by SO quickly.

I’ve never, ever felt this good about working out. The group atmosphere keeps me going, the trainers text me if I bail but aren’t obnoxious about it, and I’m already starting to see some legitimate strength and endurance gains.

So, since I signed on the dotted line and put myself out there for a YEAR of this, I want to get as many people as I can hooked on it too.

Want to try it out for yourself? Live in one of these cities? Check out the links to see when and where there are camps near, you:

Sign up with my code, and get the JANUARY 4 – JANUARY 30 camp FOR FREE. That’s a four week camp, that you can go to anytime you want. And it’s free.

Ready? Here’s how:

 

  1. GO to www.campGladiator.com and click SIGN UP
  2. Click REGISTER NOW
  3. Click Single Camp $189, SIGN UP
  4. Click CAMP January 4 – January 30
  5. Select a primary location where you will attend camp most often, you can attend all locations
  6. Click proceed to CHECKOUT
  7. Create an account
  8. Enter promo code in the Promo Code box (HEATHERHURDCHEER2016)
  9. Click APPLY PROMO and the price will change from $189 to $0
  10. Credit card number is required to sign up for camp, but your card will not be charged
  11. Click PLACE ORDER

 

 

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Becoming a Camp Gladiator Convert

633b6127b6515c03486ea73cda8a074cIs it hard to get up at 5am to go to bootcamp? YES. Especially on the mornings when I didn’t go to bed early enough.

Would it be easier, and even more fulfilling in some ways to go back to bed? Yes, yes, yes. Sleep is important too, and I’m sure I’ll choose it sometimes. In fact, I slept in this morning.

So why get up? Because I can. Because right now my body needs, and us even beginning to crave, the challenge. My head needs the community, and the push. When I go to bootcamp, I eat better. I sleep better. I feel stronger. And when I can’t make it in the mornings, I’ll find an evening camp and get in my three camps a week because I want to keep that going.

Have I seen results? Yes? No? I don’t think I look different, and I haven’t weighed myself. But I FEEL different. I’m happier, stronger, and proud of what I’m doing. I do think I’m seeing small gains in what I can do during the workouts. It’s happening slowly, which is how I’d prefer it anyway.

I never, ever thought I’d like bootcamp. It’s outside. It’s (playfully) competitive. We get on the ground. I come home filthy and irredeemably sweaty. There are a lot of other people there who are faster, stronger, leaner.

And it turns out that every one of those things plays a role in how much I LOVE going. Outside can be fun. The competition is truly playful and not mean or weird. We DO get filthy, and sometimes it helps me feel even more like a badass. Those other people? Are too wrapped up in kicking the butt of their workouts to give a flip what I’m doing or not doing, and they’re supportive of everyone else to boot.

I really love it. I signed up for a whole year. It’s not the easiest for me to work it into my schedule some weeks, but I’m determined to make it happen.

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November 15, 2015

Sometimes when you say I just can’t help it, other people here I give up, or I don’t care. And sometimes those people are right, but sometimes you really can’t help it. Sometimes there’s more going on than you could possibly know. And that doesn’t mean that you should let your life spiral out of control, that you should sit back and watch as it falls away from you. What it does mean is that it’s time to ask for help, to reach out, to ask questions and understand everything that’s happening. What it means is that there might be factors outside of your control, but that doesn’t mean you have no control.

For a long time, I let myself believe that I didn’t care, that I had given up. I had no control around food I said and I thought that I meant it. I thought it was my fault. I thought that I had just given up, and that I was ready to let everything go. I thought I wasn’t supposed to care about my health anymore or that maybe I had just stopped. And maybe, for a while, I did just stop. I felt hopeless, helpless and I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. But in the end, I finally did reach out. I started paying more attention, I started asking questions of myself and of the people who I trusted. I ask for help, and in the end I got testing done.

As it happened, I had a pretty severe hormonal imbalance. In the end I still didn’t know affixing it was going to solve any problems or make everything worse. But I knew it was worth a try or at least I hoped it was. Now I’m several weeks into hormone therapy, and all of a sudden things feel clear again. Finally.

All of a sudden, my ridiculous cravings for everything bad for me, everything sweet and heavy, everything that would make my stomach hurt or make my head hurt or deplete my energy seem to be gone. I’m not so hungry, I’m not so tired, I’m not so sad. Finally.

I’m not saying everything is perfect, or that everything is fixed right now. I’m not saying I’ll never struggle with food again where that I don’t already do it every day. But now it feels like there might be some hope. I finally have some energy again, & I finally feel like maybe it’s okay to not eat that afternoon snack just because I’m bored, or sad. I finally feel like I want to get off the couch, at least sometimes.

Now I find myself thinking about going to bootcamp. I’ve gone 3 times in a week, which is completely weird for me, and even weirder? I think I’m liking it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hate the workouts while they’re happening. But the way I feel afterwards, and the way I feel about going and getting them done, is amazing. The way I feel when I know I’ve completed a workout, pride and happiness and fatigue and soreness, it all feels worth it when I think about everything I can gain. I can gain strength, confidence, belief in my ability to do…whatever I want to do.

I feel like so much of that had fallen away in a cloud of so much sadness, and that I was really losing a big part of who I was and my motivation to do much of anything. I wasn’t writing, doing yoga, in fact I was barely moving more often than not. I was managing my walk training, but barely and with zero motivation or heart in it. Now that I’m looking at boot camp more often, I’m actually seriously considering backing out of my half marathon. It’s a weekend we might not even be here, and I just feel like I can only focus on one thing at a time right now. Boot camp gives me the opportunity to get stronger, – a quarter, to eat push by someone who knows what they’re doing. It gives me the chance to be surrounded by other people who are supportive, as you want some of the same things for themselves.

It’s not a perfect place. Sometimes it’s a little bit triggering, with everyone focus on calories in or out, weight lost or gained, or how big or small they think they look in their pants. But still, it’s a good place to be for the most part. People’s hearts are in the right place, people are supportive and happy, and people want everyone to succeed. The trainers are cool, and the workouts are really really awful but at least I feel challenged. The more I think about boot camp, the more I feel like I can see a different future. I feel like I can see myself doing this regularly, maybe even liking it sometimes. I can see myself stronger, happier, more confident, more able to do the things that I want to do. I can see myself feeling better physically, having more energy, continuing down this path of less snacking and more mindful eating. Most of it is the hormones, which I couldn’t be happier about. I’m just so glad it worked. I feel so much relief, so much, knowing that I have half a chance now.

But it’s not all on the hormones. It’s still up to me to make a difference, to make the right choices all the time. It still up to me to get up, get dressed, and go to bootcamp. It’s still up to me to make the right choices with food. It’s still up to me to be mindful of how easy it is for me to fall back into serious sugar addiction, and constant snacking just for the sake of snacking. I have to keep thinking, all the time. It’s something that used to drive me crazy, to think that I would always have to be fighting. But maybe that’s just the way it is for me. And maybe that’s okay.

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Camp Gladiator, Day 1

Oh hey.

I’m back. Hopefully more consistently. I finally have my hormones balanced, and I’m starting to feel better. I have more energy, more balance, more happiness. I had WAY too little testosterone, and fixing that issue is already well worth the (fairly easy) procedure.

As my hormones went downhill–and it took me nearly two years to realize that was what was wrong–energy and motivation got harder and harder. I felt sad nearly all the time, constantly craved crappy snacks, and had ZERO motivation to get off the couch. I fell quickly out of the habit, and it’s been months since I even did yoga regularly.

So now it’s time to pull myself out of that, and if I don’t do it now I’ll settle into this new no movement habit for good. So, perhaps despite my better judgement, I signed up for a promo deal for Camp Gladiator.

From the CG website: “Camp Gladiator is more than a fitness boot camp, it’s an experience. Created by American Gladiator Grand Champion Ally Davidson, Camp Gladiator has become the fastest growing and most dynamic fitness program in the nation. Camp Gladiator is a four week adult fitness boot camp that promises a motivating and challenging environment where men and women of all ages and fitness levels can push themselves. Campers should expect a total body workout. A typical session could include interval training, sprint and agility drills, stations, plyometrics, body weight strength drills, cardio mix, and much more. Camp Gladiator is designed to increase your functional strength, speed, stamina and, most importantly, to deliver results.”

Tonight was my first workout. I was super hesitant to try it out because my schedule makes it so hard to consistently make any workout happen…but I did it. And? Here’s the truth.

In the car, driving home: I was the fattest, slowest, and weakest. I was embarrassed and sad. I felt awful and nauseous. It was the worst thing ever. I don’t think I ever want to go back. I could only do maybe a third of the exercises that they gave, and even those I did so slowly that I managed maybe one round when everyone else did four. I know I’m not supposed to compare myself, but this was completely disheartening. I feel awful.

1 hour later: I feel a lot less awful and more hopeful. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe I need to really put on my blinders and focus on only me. I need to fuel better before, hydrate better during, and get the right modifications in place.

3 hours later: I’m really proud of myself for going. I know I have a lot to gain from sticking with this for the six weeks I signed up for. I’m in this to make myself stronger, and not for any other reason. I have nothing to prove, nobody to impress, and so much to gain.

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Equinox

And just like that, it’s fall. I find myself restarting my fitness plan for the third time in as many weeks. I started to feel bad about that, until I took a hard look at the last three weeks. More workouts, less crappy food, more produce, less stomach issues. So even if I never “follow through”, even if I never finish this the way it was intended to be done, I’m still doing awesome things and maintaining a significantly better lifestyle, much closer to my ideal health and wellness goals.

And what’s better? I’ve got the kid working out with me. She’s six, and she’s happily sweating and stretching and lifting at my side. She likes it. She asks when we’ll do it again. It’s awesome. Although I do, now, feel pressure to make sure she’s not hearing body shame in these videos, which is surprisingly (maybe not?) pervasive. I don’t want her hearing that you need to sweat off the pounds or work off the donut. That’s crap. We move because we’re meant to. We sweat because it helps us live and work and study in better moods, with more energy to give to the tasks at hand. I’m hoping that’s the lesson she’s learning, at least mostly. I know I can’t control outside influences forever, but I can try.

Speaking of the kid, she’s two weeks into the new school year at a new school, and overall she seems to be doing really well, which makes me happy. We really struggled with the decision to take her out of private school, but the cost was breaking us and it meant never being able to do other things–everything from buying much needed new mattresses and school clothes to seeing movies or going on vacation–without guilt and/or further financial distress. So we moved her to a public school…and she’s doing just fine. She’s bored in class, but she was bored at the private school too, so atleast we aren’t paying for her to be bored. And she’s getting the chance to meet a much more diverse group of kids, which can only be good for her. And seriously, the joy this kid finds in buying hot lunch from the cafeteria every day is amazing.

The husband, as always, is traveling a lot for work. He hates being away, but it comes with the job, so we spend a lot of time on Skype and phone calls and email to stay connected, and then we celebrate his very existence every weekend and on the ocassional day that he’s home during the week. It happens now and again.

So we’re doing well, all told. I’m stupid excited for pumpkin season. The kid and I are both looking forward to a repeat of our ComicCon costumes for Halloween, and we’re in the process of researching all sorts of cool after school options for her now that we actually have a tiny bit of money to put toward enrichment programs, karate class, swim lessons, or whatever else strikes her fancy this year.

I’m really glad it’s fall. I’m yearning for the Mid-Atlantic fall weather, with cool breezes and crisp leaves and that smell in the air. Instead, I get more muggy Florida days for at least another month, but I can still enjoy the fall. I know it makes no sense, but it has always felt like a time of renewal for me, and this year it feels particularly apt that it’s happening…because it’s time. It’s time for a sloughing off of old habits and old thoughts, and turning toward some shiny new ones. It’s time to recommit myself to all the love I have around me, to giving and receiving it, to being grateful for it on a regular basis. When I focus on love–for myself, for others…it hardly matters which–everything else tends to fall more simply into place, and the world seems gentler around me. And that’s what I’m aiming for in the end. A life that feels at times thrilling, but more often than not just gentle. At ease with it’s own existence. Full of possibilities but striving for nothing more than simply being in the moment, the here and now.

Writing feels good, particularly now. I’m determined, among the swim lessons and school events and work crazies, to start making a little more time to write again. I have a partially finished, potentially wonderful story sitting on my computer breathlessly awaiting completion, and I have this blog, that has been the portal to so many meaningful connections in my life.

Thanks for being here.

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